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Nederlog

April 23, 2015
Crisis: TTIP, TTP*2, Mass Surveillance,  US wars from German soil
  "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
 
   -- Benjamin Franklin
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
"
   -- I.F. Stone
   "Power tends to corrupt, and   
   absolute power corrupts
   absolutely. Great men are        
   almost always bad men."
   -- Lord Acton















Prev- crisis -Next

Sections
Introduction

1. New TTIP Leak Confirms EU Proposal Is Covert Attack
     Against Basic Democratic Values

2. With 'Brave Tactic,' Sanders Tries to Slam Brakes on Fast
     Track

3. 
As GOP Pushes Patriot Act Renewal, Critics Demand End
     to Mass Surveillance Provision

4. Bad Guys Pushing THIS WEEK to Promote Global Tyranny
     Run By Corporations

5. A War Waged From German Soil: US Ramstein Base Key
     in Drone Attacks


Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Thursday, April 23, 2015.

This is a crisis blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1 is about an article by Don Quijones on the TTIP; item 2 is about an article by Sarah Lazare that explains how Senator Sanders tries to force at least a discussion about the TPP before it is blindly adopted; item 3 is about an article by Nadia Prupis that explains how the Republicans try to force through a bill that renews the Patriot Act for another 5 years; item 4 is about an article by Washington's Blog that argues - quite well, I think - the horrors of the TPP; and item 5 is a long article on Spiegel International, that explains that yes, the U.S. is making war from a base it has
on German soil that is necessary to its drone wars.

Also, today's NL was uploaded a bit early, because I have to do some things.

1. New TTIP Leak Confirms EU Proposal Is Covert Attack Against Basic Democratic Values  

The first item today is an article by Don Quijones on Raging Bull-Shit:

This starts as follows:

According to a leaked European Commission proposal in the ongoing EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, EU member state legislative initiatives will have to be vetted for potential impacts on private business interests.

The proposal forms part of a wider plan for so-called “regulatory cooperation”. Civil society groups have already denounced earlier iterations of this plan as being a tool to stop or roll back regulation intended to protect the public interest. The new elements in the leaked proposal expand the problem, according to civil society organisations.

Civil society groups have condemned the “regulatory exchange” plan as an affront to parliamentary democracy. “This is an insult to citizens, elected politicians and democracy itself”, says Max Bank of Lobby Control.

The “regulatory exchange” proposal will force laws drafted by democratically-elected politicians through an extensive screening process. This process will occur throughout the 78 States (50 U.S. states and 28 EU ones), not just in Brussels and Washington DC. Laws will be evaluated on whether or not they are compatible with the economic interests of major companies. Responsibility for this screening will lie with the Regulatory Cooperation Body, a permanent, undemocratic, and unaccountable conclave of European and American technocrats.

This means that the multinational corporations will rule supreme - more powerful than electorates, more powerful than parliaments, more powerful than governments, and more powerful than national laws and with only two interests: To maximize their own profits, and to make the top of their managements mega-rich.

There is more there, including some links, but that is it: Bye, bye democracy! President Obama doesn't want it! It's not good for his mega-rich friends!

In case you doubt this (as you very well may): Check out item 4.


2. With 'Brave Tactic,' Sanders Tries to Slam Brakes on Fast Track

The next item is an article by Sarah Lazare on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

In what is being heralded as a "brave tactic," Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday temporarily blocked lawmakers from rushing through legislation that would allow the Obama administration to "Fast Track" the controversial and highly secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

Sanders forcibly delayed the Senate Finance Committee from considering Fast Track legislation by using a rarely invoked senate scheduling rule, effectively preventing the panel from looking at the trade bill until at least 4:00 PM. The committee was widely expected to endorse the legislation.

Although not technically a filibuster, Sanders' maneuver is being compared to the delaying tactic and is being met with vows from Fast Track proponents to do whatever it takes to move the legislation forward.

Huffington Post reporter Zach Carter explained Wednesday that the delay, nonetheless, is significant "because Senate Democrats, including Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), have prepared dozens of amendments to the fast-track bill, which will take several hours to address in committee. If the panel can't finish its work Wednesday, or just decides to call it a day early and resume its business tomorrow, Sanders can raise the same objection again, potentially delaying the process for several days."

And here is Sanders' justification:

"It is absurd that a trade agreement of such enormous consequence has had so little transparency," said Sanders in a press statement released Wednesday. "It is beyond belief that this agreement would let corporations sue over laws to protect public health and the environment."

"This job-killing trade deal has been negotiated in secret. It was drafted with input by special interests and corporate lobbyists but not from the elected representatives of the American people," Sanders continued. "Instead of rubber stamping the agreement, Congress and the public deserve a fair chance to learn what’s in the proposal."

Clearly Senator Sanders is quite right. But most of the Senate and the House serve big business...

3. As GOP Pushes Patriot Act Renewal, Critics Demand End to Mass Surveillance Provision 

The next item is an article by Nadia Prupis on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:

As Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) introduced a bill Tuesday night that would reauthorize through 2020 a controversial Patriot Act provision allowing unwarranted government surveillance, Democratic opponents and civil liberties advocates are demanding an end to the NSA's expansive spying operations.

The provision, Section 215, which gives the NSA legal justification to conduct bulk phone records collection, is set to expire June 1.

Here is Senator Patrick Leahy:
"Republican leaders should be working across the aisle on legislation that protects both our national security and Americans' privacy rights, but instead they are trying to quietly pass a straight reauthorization of the bulk-collection program that has been proven ineffective and unnecessary," Leahy stated on Tuesday. "And more, they are attempting to do so without the committee process that the majority leader has promised for important legislation."
I am not amazed. There is considerably more under the last dotted link.

4. Bad Guys Pushing THIS WEEK to Promote Global Tyranny Run By Corporations

The next item is an article by Washington's Blog on his blog:

This starts as follows (colors in the original):

Here’s How to STOP Them

The powers-that-be are pushing this week to fast track a horrible treaty which would destroy America.

The treaty is called the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The U.S. Trade Representative – the federal agency responsible for negotiating trade treaties – has said that the details of the TPP are classified due to “national security”.

Why’s the deal being kept secret? Because it would be impossible to pass if the public knew what was really in it:

Ron Kirk, until recently Mr. Obama’s top trade official, was remarkably candid about why he opposed making the text public: doing so, he suggested to Reuters, would raise such opposition that it could make the deal impossible to sign.

Senator Elizabeth Warren notes:

Supporters of the deal say to me, “They have to be secret, because if the American people knew what was actually in them, they would be opposed.”

But it’s not only being hidden from the American people … it’s being hidden even from most U.S. Congress members.

A Congressman who has seen the text of the treaty says:

There is no national security purpose in keeping this text secret … this agreement hands the sovereignty of our country over to corporate interests.

It would also allow foreign corporations to challenge U.S. laws.  It will literally override American law.  As the New York Times headlines  in Trans-Pacific Partnership Seen as Door for Foreign Suits Against U.S.:

Companies and investors would be empowered to challenge regulations, rules, government actions and court rulings — federal, state or local — before tribunals organized under the World Bank or the United Nations.

There is also this:

While it’s falsely called a “trade agreement”, only 5 out of 29 of TPP’s chapters have anything to do with trade.  And conservatives point out that even the 5 chapters on trade do not promote free trade. Bloomberg calls TPP a “corporatist power grab”, “as democratic and transparent as a one-party state,” and shrouded in “Big Brother-like secrecy”.

TPP would increase the cost of consumer loansmake prescription drugs more expensive, destroy privacy, harm food safetylet Wall Street run amok, make it illegal to favor local businesses, and – yes –  literally act to destroy the sovereignty of the U.S. and the other nations which sign the bill.

And there is considerably more under the last dotted link.

5. A War Waged From German Soil: US Ramstein Base Key in Drone Attacks

The last item today is an article by Spiegel Staff on Spiegel On Line International:

This starts as follows, and can be seen as a follow-up of an article I reviewed 5 days ago: Germany is the Tell-Tale Heart of America’s Drone War that was by Jeremy Scahill, who also contributed to the present article:

Knowledge is power. Ignorance often means impotence. But sometimes ignorance can be comfortable, if it protects from entanglements, conflicts and trouble. This even applies to the German chancellor.

In the heart of Germany's Palatinate region -- just a few kilometers from the city of Kaiserslautern -- the United States maintains its largest military base on foreign soil. The base is best known as a hub for American troops making their way to the Middle East.

But another strategic task of the headquarters of the United States Air Force in Europe (USAFE) remained a national secret for years. Even the German government claimed to know nothing when, two years ago, the base became the subject of suspicion. It was alleged that Ramstein is also an important center in President Barack Obama's drone war against Islamist terror. A former pilot claimed that the data for all drone deployments is routed through the military base.

And there is this:

Berlin's comfortable position, though, could soon be a thing of the past. Classified documents that have been viewed by SPIEGEL and The Intercept provide the most detailed blueprint seen to date of the architecture of Obama's "war on terror."

The documents, which originate from US intelligence sources and are classified as "top secret," date from July 2012. A diagram shows how the US government structures the deployment of drones. Other documents provide significant insight into how operations in places like Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan or Yemen are carried out. And they show that a central -- and controversial -- element of this warfare is played out in Germany.

The graphics show that Ramstein is involved in virtually every Air Force drone attack.
And then there is this:
For German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the new evidence could be explosive. The air base in southwestern Germany may resemble a piece of Americana with its churches, movie theaters, baseball diamonds and park-like golf course, but it is not an extra-territorial area like the US Embassy in Berlin. The German government has contractually guaranteed the United States use of the property, which is surrounded by barbed wire, but only under the condition that the Americans do nothing there that violates German law.
There is a lot more in the article, that is good.
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