Seetell: TPP ‘hands the sovereignty of our country over to corporate interests’
Last month, 10,000 of us submitted comments to the United States Trade Representative (USTR), in which we objected to new so-called free trade agreements. We asked that the government not sell out our democracy to corporate interests.Grayson also noted:
Because of this pressure, the USTR finally let a member of Congress – little ole me, Alan Grayson – actually see the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is a large, secret trade agreement that is being negotiated with many countries in East Asia and South America.
The TPP is nicknamed “NAFTA on steroids.” Now that I’ve read it, I can see why. I can’t tell you what’s in the agreement, because the U.S. Trade Representative calls it classified. But I can tell you two things about it.
1) There is no national security purpose in keeping this text secret.
2) This agreement hands the sovereignty of our country over to corporate interests.
3) What they can’t afford to tell the American public is that [the rest of this sentence is classified].
Having seen what I’ve seen, I would characterize this as a gross abrogation of American sovereignty. And I would further characterize it as a punch in the face to the middle class of America. I think that’s fair to say from what I’ve seen so far. But I’m not allowed to tell you why!The US has led the TPP since it usurped the process from several Southeast Asian nations several years ago. Since then, the entire thing has been classified, available only to the Obama administration, the leadership of participating nations … and 600 of the world’s largest and most powerful corporations which are involved in nearly every aspect of life on this planet.
From Monsanto which brought Asia “Agent Orange” and now is the leading source of patented genetically modified seeds (GMO) to investment bank Goldman Sachs, a key player in the financialization of the global economy. From drug maker Pfizer who wants protection in the TPP which would stifle the production of low-cost generic medication to General Electric, maker of the now infamous Fukushima Daiichi reactors and a proponent of restarting Japan’s nuclear reactors. From automakers Ford and GM which are demanding greater access to Japanese markets to big-farm agricultural giants like Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM) which will benefit from Abe’s plan to force Japanese landowners to lease their small plot farms to ADM, one of the largest users of GMO seeds.
Huffington Post: Alan Grayson On Trans-Pacific Partnership: Obama Secrecy Hides 'Assault On Democratic Government'
WASHINGTON -- Progressive Democrats in Congress are ramping up pressure on the Obama administration to release the text of Trans-Pacific Partnership, a secretive free trade agreement with 10 other nations, amid intensifying controversy over the administration's transparency record and its treatment of classified information.
The only publicly available information on the terms of the deal has come from leaks, some of which have alarmed public health experts, environmentalist groups and consumer advocates. According to a document leaked in the summer of 2012, the deal would allow corporations to directly challenge government laws and regulations in international courts.
Members of Congress have been provided with only limited access to the negotiation documents. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) told HuffPost on Monday that he viewed an edited version of the negotiation texts last week, but that secrecy policies at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative created scheduling difficulties that delayed his access for nearly six weeks. The Obama administration has barred any Congressional staffers from reviewing the full negotiation text and prohibited members of Congress from discussing the specific terms of the text with trade experts and reporters. Staffers on some committees are granted access to portions of the text under their committee's jurisdiction.
"This, more than anything, shows the abuse of the classified information system," Grayson told HuffPost. "They maintain that the text is classified information. And I get clearance because I'm a member of Congress, but now they tell me that they don't want me to talk to anybody about it because if I did, I'd be releasing classified information."