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Spirit of Contradiction

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Over 2 million People sign European Citizens’ Initiative against EU-US TTIP trade deal

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | press release author Wednesday June 10, 2015 14:23author by No to TTIP Report this post to the editors

‘Stop TTIP’ calls on European Parliament to reject Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) in upcoming resolution

The European Citizens’ Initiative "Stop TTIP" has reached a new record number of signatures a few days ahead of a critical vote on TTIP in the European Parliament. With 2 million signatories, this is the largest European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) since the introduction of the instrument in 2012. In order for an ECI to be successful, half this number would suffice. Moreover, Stop TTIP has collected the required minimum number of signatures in 14 EU Member States, double the amount needed to receive an official response from the European Commission and a hearing in the European Parliament.

The day after tomorrow, on 10 June 2015, the European Parliament will vote on a resolution concerning TTIP. Michael Efler, member of Stop TTIP’s Citizens’ Committee commented:

"2 million people are demanding to stop the negotiations on TTIP. Members of the European Parliament should remember this when making their vote. The draft resolution is weak in that it welcomes the inclusion of investor-state-dispute-settlement (ISDS) in TTIP. This would allow corporations to sue governments in private courts for practically any state action that interferes with investments and lowers their expected profit, a practice that would undermine the rule of law and democratic principles."

"We call on the European Parliament to reject TTIP because it is a threat to our democracy as well as protection standards for labour rights, the environment and public health. At the very least, the European Parliament should take a clear stance against ISDS. All the improvements to ISDS that have been proposed by the European Commission and European Social Democrats are insufficient. The problem remains that ISDS would constitute a parallel justice system for investors that would be unnecessary, dangerous for democracy and could prove very costly for taxpayers. If no clear statement against ISDS is included in the resolution, the European Parliament would do better to reject it all together."


Stop TTIP is carried out by an alliance of more than 470 civil society organisations - consumer watchdogs, environmental groups and trade unions - from right across Europe. Signature collection will continue until 6 October to increase political pressure further. The largest ECIs so far were “Water is a Human Right” (2013) and “One of Us” (2013) with 1.8 million signatures each. The European Commission had rejected Stop TTIP in autumn last year as an official ECI. The alliance is currently challenging this decision in the European Court of Justice and is meanwhile carrying out the ECI signature collection on a self-organised basis.

Related Link: http://frackingfreeireland.org/2015/06/08/stop-ttip-cal...tion/
author by 1 of Indymediapublication date Thu Jun 11, 2015 22:14Report this post to the editors

This piece is from the Guardian:

"The number of suits filed against countries at the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) is now around 500 – and that figure is growing at an average rate of one case a week. The sums awarded in damages are so vast that investment funds have taken notice: corporations’ claims against states are now seen as assets that can be invested in or used as leverage to secure multimillion-dollar loans. Increasingly, companies are using the threat of a lawsuit at the ICSID to exert pressure on governments not to challenge investors’ actions."

These type of payments are already out of control, never mind what would happen if TTIP comes in:


Fifteen years ago, Parada’s work was a minor niche even within the legal business. But since 2000, hundreds of foreign investors have sued more than half of the world’s countries, claiming damages for a wide range of government actions that they say have threatened their profits. In 2006, Ecuador cancelled an oil-exploration contract with Houston-based Occidental Petroleum; in 2012, after Occidental filed a suit before an international investment tribunal, Ecuador was ordered to pay a record $1.8bn – roughly equal to the country’s health budget for a year. (Ecuador has logged a request for the decision to be annulled.)

Parada’s first case was defending Argentina in the late 1990s against the French conglomerate Vivendi, which sued after the Argentine province of Tucuman stepped in to limit the price it charged people for water and wastewater services. Argentina eventually lost, and was ordered to pay the company more than $100m. Now, in his most high-profile case yet, Parada is part of the team defending El Salvador as it tries to fend off a multimillion-dollar suit lodged by a multinational mining company after the tiny Central American country refused to allow it to dig for gold.

The suit was filed in 2009 by a Canadian company, Pacific Rim – later bought by an Australian mining firm, OceanaGold – which said it had been encouraged by the government of El Salvador to spend “tens of millions of dollars to undertake mineral exploration activities”. But, the company alleged that when valuable deposits of gold and silver were discovered, the government, for political reasons, withheld the permits it needed to begin digging. The company’s claim, which at one point exceeded $300m, has since been reduced to $284m – still more than the total amount of foreign aid El Salvador received last year. El Salvador countered that the company not only lacked environmental permits but also failed to prove it had obtained rights to much of the land covered by its request: many farmers in the northern Cabañas region, where the company wanted to dig, had refused to sell their land.


Full text at Guardian link below

Related Link: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jun/10/obscure...icsid
author by fredpublication date Sat Jun 13, 2015 15:04Report this post to the editors

from zerohedge:

Enter WikiLeaks, with what in a fairer world would be a crucial spanner in the works.

The fast track authority would extend US presidential powers for no less than six years; that includes the next White House tenant, which might well be ‘The Hillarator’ or Jeb “Putin is a bully” Bush.

This presidential authority to negotiate dodgy deals includes not only the TTIP but also the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA).

WikiLeaks, just in time, published the Healthcare Annex to the secret draft “Transparency” chapter of the TPP, along with each country’s negotiating position. No wonder this draft is secret. And there’s nothing “transparent” about it; it’s an undisguised hold-up of national healthcare authorities by Big Pharma.

The bottom line is that these three mega-deals – TTP, TTIP and TiSA – are the ultimate template of what could be politely described as global corporate governance, a Bilderberg wet dream. The losers: nation-states, and the very concept of Western democracy. The winners: mega-corporations.

Julian Assange, in a statement, succinctly nailed it “It is a mistake to think of the TPP as a single treaty. In reality there are three conjoined mega-agreements, the TiSA, the TPP and the TTIP, all of which strategically assemble into a grand unified treaty, partitioning the world into the West versus the rest. This 'Great Treaty' is described by the Pentagon as the economic core to the US military's 'Asia Pivot.' The architects are aiming no lower than the arc of history. The Great Treaty is taking shape in complete secrecy, because along with its undebated geostrategic ambitions it locks into place an aggressive new form of transnational corporatism for which there is little public support."



http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-06-12/american-dream...rberg

 
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