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Corporate Investor-States versus Taxpayers

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posted on Feb, 29 2012 @ 09:08 AM
Once a country signs a "free trade" agreement, corporations have the right to sue the nation to protect "future profits" if regulations interfere with their "right to profit" or their "right to future profit." Free trade agreements confirm profit as the primary goal over environmental, public health, transportation and any other concern that gets in the way.

The legal mechanism, protected under international law, is called "Investor-State enforcement" - and allows corporations to bypass domestic court systems and directly sue governments for cash damages (our tax dollars) over alleged violations of their new rights.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) includes an array of new corporate investment rights and protections that are unprecedented in scope and power. NAFTA allows corporations to sue the national government of a NAFTA country in secret arbitration tribunals if they feel that a regulation or government decision affects their investment in conflict with these new NAFTA rights. If a corporation wins, the taxpayers of the "losing" NAFTA nation must foot the bill.

Investor-State Cases

NAFTA included an array of extraordinary new rights and privileges for foreign investors that incentivized offshoring of jobs and exposed an array of our domestic environmental health, land-use and other laws to attack. These extreme rules have been replicated in various U.S. “free trade agreements” (FTAs), including CAFTA, the Peru and Oman FTAs, and the recently passed deals with Korea, Panama and Colombia.

Most stunningly, these new rights in a public treaty are privately enforceable. A little-known mechanism called “investor-state” enforcement allows foreign firms to skirt domestic court systems and directly sue governments for cash damages (our tax dollars) over alleged violations of their new rights before UN and World Bank tribunals staffed by private sector attorneys who rotate between serving as "judges" and bringing cases for corporations. Seriously!

If a corporation wins its private enforcement case, the taxpayers of the “losing” country must foot the bill. Over $350 million in compensation has already been paid out to foreign investors in a series of investor-state cases under NAFTA-style deals. This includes attacks on natural resource policies, environmental protection and health and safety measures, and more. In fact, of the over $12.5 billion in the 17 pending claims under NAFTA-style deals, all relate to environmental, public health and transportation policy – not traditional trade issues.

Got that? "Of the over $12.5 billion in the 17 pending claims under NAFTA-style deals, all relate to environmental, public health and transportation policy – not traditional trade issues."

Here's a quick sample of some pending cases.

After having lost on the merits in Ecuador and U.S. courts, Chevron has turned to an ad hoc “investor-state” tribunal of three private lawyers to help the company avoid paying to clean up horrific contamination in the Amazonian rainforest.

Chevron is trying to get this private tribunal to suspend enforcement of or alter an $18 billion judgment against Chevron rendered by a sovereign country’s court system. The closed-door tribunal met in a rented room in Washington, DC Saturday and Sunday (February 11-12).

These unaccountable panels, from which no outside appeal is available, have issued perverse rulings in the past on behalf of corporate claimants. Recent U.S. trade agreements empower foreign corporations to use this system to skirt our domestic courts to directly use our government before these corporate tribunals to obtain payment of unlimited taxpayer funds when they claim domestic environmental, land use, health and other laws undermine their “expected future profits.”

Pacific Rim Mining Corp vs. Republic of El Salvador

Pacific Rim Mining Corp., a Canadian-based multinational firm, sought to establish a massive gold mine using water-intensive cyanide ore processing in the basin of El Salvador's largest river, Rio Lempa.

This proposed project as well as applications filed by various companies for 28 other gold and silver mines, generated a major national debate about the health and environmental implications of mining in El Salvador, a densely populated country the size of Massachusetts with limited water resources.

….In December 2008, the firm filed a claim under the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), demanding hundreds of millions in compensation from one of the hemisphere's poorest countries. ….

….Tribunals have ordered over $200 million in payments to investors under similar terms in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Commerce Group Corporation vs. Republic of El Salvador

The Commerce Group Corporation, a mining firm registered and based in Wisconsin, is the second multinational company to attack El Salvador’s environmental policies under the controversial investor rights of the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). The company's environmental permits for its gold mining and milling operations in Northeastern Salvador were revoked after the company failed its environmental audit; in April 2010, the Salvadoran Supreme Court ruled that the company had been accorded due process during and after the audit.

This is just wrong in my opinion. I don't know about anyone else, but I don't want a Global Corporate Government that's all about the "corporate right to profit." I want my country back.

edit on 29/2/12 by soficrow because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 3 2012 @ 12:40 PM
reply to post by soficrow

Great information Sofi!

This really opens up my understanding of NAFTA, and exposes
how the way it was set up was not for the benefit of the people, but rather
the large corporations, and the Governemnt.

Wow, how they continue to find new ways to tax and fine people,
and other countries boggles the mind!

posted on Mar, 3 2012 @ 02:39 PM
reply to post by burntheships

Thanks burntheships. Unfortunately, the terms are not restricted to NAFTA - they've gone global over the past decade, and are included in ALL "free trade" deals. Basically, these "free trade" agreements created the legislation for global corporate government, as well as the enforcement ability.

All done behind our backs.

edit on 3/3/12 by soficrow because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 4 2012 @ 10:43 AM
This is stunning! (first time I've ever used that word here)
Thank you Soficrow for bringing out this information.
I'm sure there is much, much more that we don't and cannot know due to their secrecy provisions.
How much of the US deficit is attributable to private arbitration?
How many of our environmental protections were basically thrown out? (all of them probably)
Nice legacy for Clinton/Gore to leave us.

It truly worries me that subjects of this import and magnitude are lost on most of the members.
Why aren't there more responses here?
Where is the outrage?

This should be mandatory reading for all!

posted on Mar, 4 2012 @ 11:24 AM
reply to post by Asktheanimals

Thanks Asktheanimals. ...These provisions date way back, at least to the 1980's, and the strategy is even older. Another gambit involves defining corporations legally as "persons."

Overall, "free trade" agreements use international law to establish global corporate government. Really, they do. ...Nations have little power left, and after the 2008 financial crisis, no economic clout.

That's why I keep going on about it.

Like I said, I want my country back.

posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 12:03 PM
Everyone around me thinks I am crazy when I talk about this stuff and I hate to say it but I honestly think we are screwed because most people are just to stupid or to pre-occupied with the garbage they flood the media with. I hear more conversation about sports,tv and the latest Iphone than I do anything and when I have mentioned on manny occasions things like this and worse I get that stare, I am sure most of you know it.

We live in a world controlled by greed it seems and NAFTA is just another tool used to exploit the middle to lower classes. I just cant understand it either but I am a dreamer and I hope more people are waking up and realizing this stuff. Lots of people worship Clinton to and have no idea the scumbag he is, what a strange world.

The Canadian involvement also really troubles me, we should be helping poor countries not sueing them.
edit on 5-3-2012 by Slickinfinity because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 10 2012 @ 06:05 AM
Fantastic thread, I'd like to add my thanks as well.

In addition to thinking about it in terms of NAFTA, another piece of the puzzle is the large number bilateral trade agreements and FTAs taking place all over the world, often between countries that one would never associate with each other. The concept seems to have gone beyond geographic proximity and major import/export partners (like Mexico and the US, in both cases) you have countries on different contenents that haven't traditionally been major trade partners signing FTAs with each other.

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