via Anthony Antonello
Jun 18, 2015
After the church shooting in South Carolina by alleged gunman Dylann Storm Roof, The US POTUS took to the podium to give a speech about the incident. But what was happening outside from what the main stream was covering is much more important. Do you know what happened at the very same time Barry was speaking to the Nation?
The Asia-Pacific Perspective
Apr 28, 2014
Welcome back to The Asia-Pacific Perspective, that monthly show where James Corbett of corbettreport.com and Broc West of apperspective.net break down all the latest news and headlines from the Asia-Pacific region. In this month’s conversation:
Australia set to order 58 F-35 Lockheed Martin fighter jets
Australian PM: $12.4b jets ‘for the unexpected’
Lockheed Martin wins out over taxpayers in the F-35 procurement nightmare
The F-35: A Weapon That Costs More Than Australia
Other Asia-Pacific Updates:
Asia bucks military spending decline
Japan to arm remote western island, risking more China tension
TPP protests intensify ahead of Obama’s Japan visit
Justin Bieber apologises for visiting Yasukuni Shrine
Satellites show North Korea nuclear test unlikely
Marshall Islands launch lawsuits against nations with nuclear arms
Latest Headlines from FukushimaUpdate.com
Stay up to date with the latest Asia-Pacific developments via:
Twitter – @ap_perspective & @brocwest
RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/AP-Perspe…
BE YOUR OWN LEADER
Jan 27, 2014
By Dana Gabriel
In preparation for the upcoming North American Leaders Summit which will be held in Toluca, Mexico on February 19, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently held a meeting with his Canadian and Mexican counterparts. Over the last number of years, not as much attention has been given to the trilateral relationship. Instead, the U.S. has essentially pursued a dual-bilateral approach with both Canada and Mexico on key issues including border and continental perimeter security, as well as regulatory and energy cooperation. On the heels of its 20th anniversary, there once again appears to be renewed interest in broadening and deepening the NAFTA partnership as part of the next phase of North American integration.
On January 17, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hosted the North American Ministerial with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird and Mexican Foreign Secretary Jose Antonio Meade. The discussions centered around topics such as regulatory, energy and trade relations, along with border infrastructure and management. The meeting was used to lay the groundwork for next month’s North American Leaders Summit which will include the participation of U.S. President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. During a press conference, a reporter asked about reopening NAFTA in order to update it. Secretary Kerry answered, “the TPP, is a very critical component of sort of moving to the next tier, post-NAFTA. So I don’t think you have to open up NAFTA, per se, in order to achieve what we’re trying to achieve.” Minister Baird added, “we believe that NAFTA’s been an unqualified success, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations, which all three of us are in, offer us the opportunity to strengthen the trilateral partnership.” Secretary Meade also chimed in, “We do not think it is necessary to reopen NAFTA, but we think we have to build on it to construct and revitalize the idea of a dynamic North America.”
In December 2013, the Miami Herald reported that the Obama administration, “is exploring a regional trade plan for the Americas that would be the most ambitious hemispheric initiative in years.” It went on to say that Secretary of State John Kerry, “would like to first seek an agreement to deepen the existing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada, and to expand it afterward to the rest of Latin America.” According to some of Kerry’s top aides, “the plan to relaunch NAFTA could come as early as February, when President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with his Mexican and Canadian counterparts at a North American Leaders’ Summit in Mexico.” The recent article, U.S. lays out goals for NAFTA cautioned that, “the shared goal of a NAFTA 2.0 that wins fresh, sustainable gains for Canada, Mexico and the U.S., the Americans warn, is unlikely to come in a single, dramatic and easily digestible sound byte.” It further noted that, “Instead, the Americans are urging a more realistic approach aimed at reviving trilateral momentum, with a dogged diplomatic effort that aggressively fine-tunes, streamlines and expands the trade pact.”
Last year, business leaders from across North America released a set of policy recommendations designed to increase continental economic integration and competitiveness. In a letter issued to President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Enrique Pena Nieto, the Business Roundtable, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and the Consejo Mexicano de Hombres de Negocios called for greater trilateral government action in the areas of intelligent border systems, regulatory standards and practices, as well as North American energy security and sustainability. The business organizations explained that, “More can and should be done to promote regulatory cooperation between our three countries, to facilitate the legitimate movement of people, goods and services.” They emphasized that the time to act was now and that their specific proposals would, “help deepen our economic ties, strengthen the international competitiveness of Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. companies and their workers, and realize North American energy self-reliance.” Their goal is to create a seamless North American market.
Global Research TV
July 15, 2013
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is a proposed free trade bloc involving twelve Asia-Pacific countries, including the world’s first and third largest economies. As delegates prepare to descend on Kuala Lumpur for the next round of secretive negotiations, Malaysia-based journalist Nile Bowie joins us to discuss the proposed treaty and its ramifications. Find out more in this week’s GRTV Feature Interview.
by Nile Bowie
April 2, 2013
One of the least discussed and least reported issues is the Obama administration’s effort to bring the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement to the forefront, an oppressive plurilateral US-led free trade agreement currently being negotiated with several Pacific Rim countries. Six hundred US corporate advisors have negotiated and had input into the TPP, and the proposed draft text has not been made available to the public, the press or policymakers. The level of secrecy surrounding the agreements is unparalleled – paramilitary teams scatter outside the premise of each round of discussions while helicopters loom overhead – media outlets impose a near-total blackout of reportage on the subject and US Senator Ron Wyden, the Chair of the Congressional Committee with jurisdiction over TPP, was denied access to the negotiation texts. “The majority of Congress is being kept in the dark as to the substance of the TPP negotiations, while representatives of U.S. corporations — like Halliburton, Chevron, PhaRMA, Comcast and the Motion Picture Association of America — are being consulted and made privy to details of the agreement,” said Wyden, in a floor statement to Congress.
In addition to the United States, the countries participating in the negotiations include Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Japan has expressed its desire to become a negotiating partner, but not yet joined negotiation, partly due to public pressure to steer-clear. The TPP would impose punishing regulations that give multinational corporations unprecedented rights to demand taxpayer compensation for policies they think will undermine their expected future profits straight from the treasuries of participating nations – it would push the agenda of Big PhaRMA in the developing world to impose longer monopoly controls on drugs, drastically limiting access to affordable generic medications that people depend on. The TPP would undermine food safety by limiting labeling and forcing countries like the United States to import food that fails to meet its national safety standards, in addition to banning Buy America or Buy Local preferences.
In the private investor-state that the TPP is attempting to establish, foreign corporations can sue national governments, submitting signatory countries to the jurisdiction of investor arbitral tribunals, staffed by private sector attorneys. International tribunals could have authority to order governments to pay unlimited cash compensation out of national treasuries to foreign corporations and investors if new or existing government policy hinders investors’ expected future profits. The domestic taxpayer in each signatory country must shoulder any compensation paid to private investors and foreign corporations, in addition to large hourly fees for tribunals and legal costs. A good example of how this agreement neuters national sovereignty comes from Malaysia, which was able to recover from the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis more quickly than its neighbors by introducing a series of capital control measures on the Malaysian ringgit to prevent external speculation – the TPP’s proposed measures would restrict signatory nations from exercising capital controls to prevent and mitigate financial crises and promote financial stability.
Of the 26 chapters of the proposed TPP draft text, it is reported that only two chapters cover trade issues, related to slashing tariffs and lifting quotas. The TPP would obligate the federal government to force US states to conform state laws to over a thousand pages of detailed stipulations and constraints unrelated to trade – from land use to intellectual property rights – authorizing the federal authorities to use all possible means to coax states to comply with TPP rules, even by imposing sanctions if they fail to do so. According to leaked documents, US standards for property rights protection would be swept away in favor of international property rights standards, as interpreted by TPP’s unelected international tribunals, giving investors principal control over public land and resources “that are not for the exclusive or predominant use and benefit of the government.”
This article appeared on Counterpunch.
Nile Bowie is an independent political analyst and photographer based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
by Dana Gabriel
Be Your Own Leader
February 25, 2013
The U.S. and EU have agreed to launch negotiations on what would be the world’s largest free trade deal. Such an agreement would be the basis for the creation of an economic NATO and would include trade in goods, services and investment, as well as cover intellectual property rights. There are concerns that the U.S. could use these talks to push the EU to loosen its restrictions on genetically modified crops and foods. In addition, the deal might serve as a backdoor means to implement ACTA which was rejected by the European Parliament last year. A U.S.-EU Transatlantic trade agreement is seen as a way of countering China’s growing power and is the foundation for a new global economic order.
In his recent State of the Union address, President Barack Obama officially announced that the U.S. would launch talks on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union (EU). A joint statement issued by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and U.S. President Obama explained that, “Through this negotiation, the United States and the European Union will have the opportunity not only to expand trade and investment across the Atlantic, but also to contribute to the development of global rules that can strengthen the multilateral trading system.” In a separate speech, European Commission President Barroso also emphasized that, “A future deal between the world’s two most important economic powers will be a game-changer. Together, we will form the largest free trade zone in the world. So this negotiation will set the standard – not only for our future bilateral trade and investment, including regulatory issues, but also for the development of global trade rules.”
The decision to pursue a free trade deal was based on the recommendations put forth by the High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth which was created to deepen U.S.-EU economic integration. In their final report, they called on leaders from both sides to, “initiate as soon as possible the formal domestic procedures necessary to launch negotiations on a comprehensive trade and investment agreement.” According to U.S. and EU officials, talks could start in June with the hopes of completing a deal by the end of 2014. The proposed trade pact would include removing import tariffs, dismantling hurdles to trade in goods, services, and investment, as well as harmonizing regulations and standards. It would also cover intellectual property protection and enforcement. This could be used as an opportunity for a backdoor implementation of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). It was a result of public pressure associated with risks to internet freedom and privacy which lead to ACTA being rejected by the European Parliament in July of 2012. There have already been attempts to use Canada-EU trade negotiations to sneak in parts of ACTA.
Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch Director, Lori Wallach cautioned how U.S.-EU talks, “are aimed at eliminating a list of what multinational corporations call ‘trade irritants’ but the rest of us know as strong food safety, environmental and health safeguards.” She went on to say, “European firms are targeting aspects of the U.S. financial reregulation regime, our stronger drug and medical device safety and testing standards and more.” Wallach further added, “U.S. firms want Europe to gut their superior chemical regulation regime, their tougher food safety rules and labeling of genetically modified foods.” In a press release, Earth Open Source warned that, “An EU-U.S. free trade deal would obliterate EU safeguards for health and the environment with regard to genetically modified (GM) crops and foods.” Research Director Claire Robinson pointed out, “If the new trade agreement goes through, it will be illegal under World Trade Organisation rules for the EU to have a stronger regulatory system for GMOs than the U.S. system.” This is disturbing considering that in many cases, GM foods in the U.S. do not require any special regulatory oversight or safety tests.
Overshadowed by the proposed U.S.-EU trade deal is ongoing Canada-EU negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Despite talks being in their final stages, both sides still have some important gaps to be bridged before a deal can be reached. Thomas Walkom of the Toronto Star acknowledged that, “Europe’s real interest in negotiating a trade deal with Ottawa was to demonstrate to the Americans that a trans-Atlantic free trade pact was possible.” He noted, “EU negotiators will be even more reluctant to make concessions to Canada for fear of weakening their bargaining hand with the Americans.” Walkom argued that, “Canada is under more pressure to make a deal while Europe is under less.” He concluded that. “A Canada-EU deal seems inevitable. But now, with America in the mix, the terms for Canada may be even less favorable than expected.” The Globe and Mail recently reported that the EU is demanding additional concessions from Canada before any agreement can be signed. In order to wrap things up, a desperate Canada may be willing to give up even more. This was a bad deal from the start and it would be in their best interest to just walk away from CETA.
In the coming months, you can expect the anti-corporate globalization movement on both sides of the Atlantic to mobilize against the U.S.-EU trade agreement. It is big business and financial institutions who are pushing this deregulation agenda which threatens health, environmental and food safety standards. Just like NAFTA, the proposed U.S.-EU trade deal is also likely to include an investor-state dispute process which would give corporations the right to challenge government policies that restrict their profits. A trade agreement between the U.S. and EU is the building blocks for a new global trading system. If you combine NAFTA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and a U.S,-EU Transatlantic trade deal, you have the makings for a global free trade area.
Related articles by Dana Gabriel:
Deepening the U.S.-EU Transatlantic Trade Partnership
Growing Opposition to the Canada-EU Trade Agreement
Advancing the Transatlantic Agenda
From NAFTA to CETA: Canada-EU Deep Economic Integration
Dana Gabriel is an activist and independent researcher. He writes about trade, globalization, sovereignty, security, as well as other issues. Contact: email@example.com Visit his blog at Be Your Own Leader
by Dana Gabriel
BE YOUR OWN LEADER
December 10, 2012
In a move that signalled the importance placed on the NAFTA partnership, Mexico’s new president visited the U.S. and Canada before his inauguration. This was seen as a step forward in further strengthening political, economic, energy and security ties between all three countries. Other recent high-level meetings and policy papers are also shaping the future of North American integration.
Before his recent trip to the U.S., Mexico’s new President Enrique Pena Nieto emphasized in a Washington Post editorial the opportunity both countries have to build on their economic partnership. He explained that, “in NAFTA we have a solid foundation to further integrate our economies through greater investments in finance, infrastructure, manufacturing and energy.” As part of his government’s strategy to reduce violence, he stated that it is, “important that our countries increase intelligence-sharing and crime-fighting techniques and promote cooperation among law enforcement agencies.” In a White House press release, Pena Nieto invited President Barack Obama to participate in the next North American Leaders Summit which will take place in Mexico sometime in 2013. With regards to U.S.-Mexico relations, Obama said that he was also looking forward to finding ways, “to strengthen our economic ties, our trade ties, our coordination along the border, improving our joint competitiveness, as well as common security issues.”
According to the new policy brief, A New Agenda with Mexico put out by the Woodrow Wilson Center, “declines in illegal immigration and organized crime violence in Mexico, open up an opportunity for U.S. policymakers to deepen the economic relationship.” The report recommended working, “together with Mexico and Canada to strengthen regional competitiveness and to grow North American exports to the world.” It further elaborated on how, “Economic issues can drive the next phase in deepening U.S.-Mexico cooperation. Investments in trusted shipper programs, pre-inspection programs, and enhanced border infrastructure will be crucial.” The study called on Washington to offer more, “support for Mexico’s criminal justice institutions, and strengthen U.S. anti-money laundering efforts in order to combat organized crime and violence.” It also recommended engaging, “Mexico more actively on hemispheric and extra-hemispheric foreign policy issues, ranging from terrorism to international trade and finance, as Mexico’s role as a global power grows.”
In a recent article, Laura Carlsen, director of the Americas Policy Program scrutinized some the new Mexican president’s policy initiatives. In the area of security, she pointed out that, “A real change in paradigm would require two measures that the Pena government has said it will not take: withdrawing the armed forces from counternarcotics efforts and renegotiating security cooperation with the U.S. government.” She noted, “Pena Nieto has reassured the U.S. that his administration will continue the drug war.” Carlsen acknowledged how, “The U.S. government has actively promoted and supported the drug war model of enforcement and interdiction through the Merida Initiative and spearheaded the massive expansion of U.S. counternarcotics activities in the country.” She further added, “U.S. defense, intelligence and security companies depend on the Mexican drug war to obtain multi-million dollar government contracts. The Pentagon and other U.S. agencies have achieved unprecedented freedom to act and even direct actions on Mexican soil.” As far as economic policy goes, Carlsen was also critical of President Pena Nieto’s commitment to deepen rather than fix NAFTA.
Just days before being sworn in as Mexico’s new president, Pena Nieto also visited Canada. In a press statement, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he was looking forward to working with him in improving trade ties, as well as strengthening North American competitiveness and security. In an editorial that appeared in the Globe and Mail, Pena Nieto announced that, “One of the areas with the largest potential for co-operation between Mexico and Canada is energy production and development. Mexico’s energy sector is about to change. I want to enhance its potential by opening it up to national and foreign private investment.” He went on to say, “We can cultivate a closer relationship in this area in order to attain North American energy security.” Canada-U.S. energy issues are also at the forefront. Following his re-election, President Obama is under pressure to make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. The proposed project would carry oil from western Canada to the Texas gulf coast.
In the report, Forging a New Strategic Partnership between Canada and Mexico, Perrin Beatty and Andres Rozental recognized the opportunity both countries have to reshape bilateral relations. Among other things, the policy paper recommended removing the visa requirement for Mexican visitors to Canada. It supported increasing funding to the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program which is aimed at enhancing the ability, “of government agencies, international organizations and non-governmental entities to prevent and respond to threats posed by transnational criminal activity throughout the Americas.” In addition, the study called for institutionalizing the North American Leaders Summit and establishing a complementary North American Business Council. It also advocated pursuing further economic cooperation with the U.S. on a pragmatic basis and suggested that, “Ongoing border and regulatory initiatives should be results-oriented and pursued in the most effective way possible, bilateral or trilateral, as the case may be. This policy recommendation can be extended to any North American issue, including continental security perimeter initiatives and anti-narcotics efforts.”
Last month’s NAFTA20 North America Summit examined NAFTA’s evolution, as well as its future prospects. Speaking at the conference, Thomas Donohue President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged Canadian, Mexican and U.S. leaders to move forward with, “the integration of our markets to further rationalize our supply chains, increase efficiency, and better position North America in the global economy.” He went on to say, “We need to advance regulatory cooperation, streamline our border, and reform immigration practices to ensure the free flow of products, people, capital, and ideas.” Donohue concluded that Canada and Mexico joining the U.S. and other countries as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement would help maximize the strength of the North American market. Meanwhile, there are growing concerns over the secrecy surrounding the TPP. This includes fears that it would grant corporations more power and further put the sovereignty of member nations at risk. It could also be used as a backdoor renegotiation of NAFTA without officially having to open it back up. With the 15th round of talks coming to a close in New Zealand, a final TPP deal could be reached before the end of 2013.
In October, Ottawa hosted the North American Forum. The annual get-together includes, “Canadian, Mexican and American thought leaders, whose purpose is to advance a shared vision of North America, and to contribute to improved relations among the three neighbors.” Much like other secretive gatherings, reporters were barred from entering the Forum’s events. This year’s discussions centered around energy and North American economic competitiveness. Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay also delivered a keynote address which focused on continental security issues. He highlighted the bilateral defence relations that the U.S. and Canada enjoy through NORAD. MacKay remarked on how, “Canada and Mexico are also becoming important strategic partners and stronger defence ties with Mexico are a priority.” He praised the first meeting of North American Defence Ministers as a, “great opportunity for our three nations to identify ways to work together to address shared defence and security challenges.” The trilateral defence meeting which took place in March is part of the process of integrating Mexico into NORAD and establishing a North American security perimeter.
While NAFTA partners pursue a trilateral approach with respect to different initiatives, the U.S. also has a separate bilateral border and regulatory agenda with Canada and Mexico. This is part of ongoing efforts to create a common economic and security perimeter. As the incremental path towards a North American Union continues, citizens from the U.S., Canada and Mexico are not being consulted, much less being given a choice in the matter even though the plan threatens the future sovereignty of each country.
Related articles by Dana Gabriel
Using the TPP to Renegotiate and Expand NAFTA
North American Integration and the Ties That Bind
NAFTA Partners Take Steps to Boost Trilateral Relationship
The North American Leaders Summit and Reviving Trilateral Integration
Dana Gabriel is an activist and independent researcher. He writes about trade, globalization, sovereignty, security, as well as other issues. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit his blog at Be Your Own Leader
December 6, 2012
December 7, 2012
December 8, 2012
http://youtu.be/z3kHr0G1zuo got footage of the police roughing up protestors 45s-3:44s Police forcing Protestors Back in a big line 8:26s-8:48s Police shoving me through their line when I’d been the one helping them telling the protestors to move stick together and remain calm don’t panic 8:49s Cops preventing me from returning to my car which was open and had lots of equipment in and parked on a bus stop for the protest with a megaphone on the bonnet. 9:05–10:28 Trying to get the cops to break a smile 10:29–11:20 Cop accosting me and violating my personal space because I had a microphone in my camera bag 11:56
August 27, 2012
Tonight we talk to Nile Bowie about the latest developments in Malaysia. From the Trans-Pacific Partnership to the foreign-funded political opposition to the latest activities in the South-China Sea, we explore the stories that are making news across the country and around the Asia-Pacific region.
Nile Bowie is an independent writer and photojournalist based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; he regularly contributes to Tony Cartalucci’s Land Destroyer Report and Professor Michel Chossudovsky’s Global Research Twitter: @NileBowie
September 11, 2012
When SOPA and PIPA, the House and Senate bills to impose draconian regulations on the internet in the name of “protecting intellectual property rights” broke through into public awareness late last year, it caused an immediate, widespread, grassroots protest movement to rise up. With some of the biggest websites on the internet staging a one-day blackout to raise awareness of the legislation, millions were mobilized against it. So loud was the opposition to these bills that they were postponed on the legislative agenda and effectively killed off. Now, a new multinational trade deal nicknamed the “TPP” is being worked out behind the scenes to resurrect many of these same measures. Find out more in this week’s edition of the Eyeopener.
September 6, 2012
This week, government representatives from around the world are meeting with over 600 industry lobbyist “advisors” to negotiate an extreme agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).1
They’ve shut ordinary citizens out of the process, but we know from leaked documents2 that the TPP:
- Threatens Internet freedom by giving media conglomerates new powers to impose fines on Internet users, block websites, collect your private online information, and even cut off your access to the Internet.3
- Undermines our liberty and democracy by restricting our ability to make democratic decisions at a national and local level.4
We deserve to know what binding rules are being negotiated in these secretive TPP meetings, and we deserve to have our voices heard.
Send your message using our easy-to-use tool
to the right [HERE], and we’ll put it on display right in front of TPP officials this Sunday. Supporters of our campaign have a table inside the TPP meeting space, and we’ll project your comments on the walls for all to see.
Let’s open the TPP together. Add your comment now
The TPP threatens your Internet freedom and democratic rights. Use this editable form to send your message and we’ll put it on display right in front of TPP officials this week.
Brought to you by OpenMedia, working with other members of the StopTheTrap.net Coalition
 The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a secretive multi-nation trade agreement that seeks, among other things, to rewrite the global rules on intellectual property enforcement. It is being negotiated behind closed doors by a group of 600 industry lobbyist “advisors” and un-elected government trade representatives.
 Public interest groups have obtained the February 2011 draft of the TPP’s Intellectual Property Rights Chapter and the TPP text on copyright Limitations and Exceptions. The text shows that the TPP would criminalize many everyday uses of the Internet, and give Big Media more Internet lockdown powers.
 The TPP lacks transparency, public participation, and democratic accountability. In this letter, a number of U.S. civil society organizations detail and decry the opacity of the process.
[hat tip: What Really Happened]