I get so many e-petitions about so many worthy causes I can’t mention them all here, though I do sign them. But here’s one that follows on from the TPP one that I posted yesterday. The issue seems so odd I thought I’d better check it wasn’t scare-mongering, and I’m afraid to say it’s not. Just check any statement like one in the text below: “Tobacco giant Philip Morris is suing Australia for billions of dollars in lost profits because the government took action to reduce teenage smoking.” Surely not? Google it and you get the BBC reporting: ‘Tobacco giant Philip Morris is suing the Australian government over a new law making plain packaging mandatory for cigarettes from December 2012…Philip Morris Asia said the move breached a bilateral investment treaty. It said it had served a notice of arbitration under Australia’s Bilateral Investment Treaty with Hong Kong.’
So they do use trade treaties as ‘Trojan Horses’ to get their own way!!
So here we go – thanks to Wikileaks and advocacy groups like SumofUs and Avaaz & 38 degrees we now know about this skullduggery. From SumofUs.org:
The nuclear power industry is suing Germany because it’s phasing out its unpopular nuclear power stations. Tobacco giant Philip Morris is suing Australia for billions of dollars in lost profits because the government took action to reduce teenage smoking. And pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly is suing Canada for $500 million, just because Canada has laws to keep essential drugs affordable.
Worst of all, these cases are happening in secret international courts to which only corporations have access.
Now, details are leaking of two global trade pacts that would massively expand the power of corporations to sue our governments. Countries in the EU to the US and from Australia to Canada are negotiating right now — and some could be just days from signing up.
Thousands of corporate lobbyists are helping to write these secret pacts — but the public isn’t allowed to see them. Global governments know that the public won’t like these corporate power grabs, so they’re hoping to keep them under the radar until it’s too late to stop them. But if we can raise our voices now, we can expose these corporate charters and kill the deals forever.
Our governments are meeting right now to lock a deal. Sign the petition to demand they reject any secret treaties that massively increase the power of corporations in our democracies.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are called trade deals, but both are corporate wish-lists aimed at attacking everything from environmental protections to affordable medicines to internet freedoms. Worst, they give corporations impunity from governments or citizens that want to reign in their power.
In fact, they’re probably the most important international treaties you’ve never heard of. The TTIP involves the US and 28 EU member states, while the TPP is being negotiated between the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan and other Pacific countries — making these pacts truly global in scope.
There’s lots wrong with the these trade deals, but the unaccountable systems they would set up to allow corporations to sue governments are one of the most frightening. If they are signed, future laws designed to protect consumers, our health, and our environment could be overturned in secret courts by corporations that claim the laws harm their profits — and there is nothing we or our elected governments could do to stop them.
Corporate lobbyists and government insiders are keeping the text of the deals secret because they know that if the full details got out into public view, we wouldn’t like what we saw. But we already know enough through leaks to know they are really bad. We can’t let them sail through without public scrutiny. If we raise a storm now, we can expose the TTIP and TPP for what they are, and make it politically untouchable.
Thanks for all you do,
Paul, Martin, and the rest of us at SumofUs.org