By Eric Zuesse
U.S. President Barack Obama has for years been negotiating with European and Asian nations — but excluding Russia and China, since he is aiming to defeat them in his war to extend the American empire (i.e, to extend the global control by America’s aristocracy) — three international ‘trade’ deals (TTP, TTIP, & TISA), each one of which contains a section (called ISDS) that would end important aspects of the sovereignty of each signatory nation,
- by setting up an international panel composed solely of corporate lawyers to serve as ‘arbitrators’ deciding cases brought before this panel to hear lawsuits by international corporations accusing a given signatory nation of violating that corporation’s ‘rights’
- by its trying to legislate regulations that are prohibited under the ’trade’ agreement, such as by increasing the given nation’s penalties for fraud,
- by lowering the amount of a given toxic substance that the nation allows in its foods,
- by increasing the percentage of the nation’s energy that comes from renewable sources,
- by penalizing corporations for hiring people to kill labor union organizers — i.e., by any regulatory change that benefits the public at the expense of the given corporations’ profits. (No similar and countervailing power for nations to sue international corporations is included in this: the ‘rights’ of ‘investors’ — but really of only the top stockholders in international corporations — are placed higher than the rights of any signatory nation.)
This provision, whose full name is “Investor State Dispute Resolution” grants a one-sided benefit to the controlling stockholders in international corporations, by enabling them to bring these lawsuits to this panel of lawyers, whose careers will consist of their serving international corporations, sometimes as ‘arbitrators’ in these panels, and sometimes as lawyers who more-overtly represent one or more of those corporations, but also serving these corporations in other capacities, such as via being appointed by them to head a tax-exempt foundation to which international corporations ‘donate’ and so to turn what would otherwise be PR expenses into corporate tax-deductions. In other words: to be an ‘arbitrator’ on these panels can produce an extremely lucrative career.
These are in no way democratic legal proceedings; they’re the exact opposite, an international conquest of democracy, by international corporations. This “ISDS” sounds deceptively non-partisan, but it’s really a grant to the controlling international investors giving them a ‘right’ against the taxpayers in each of the signatory nations, a ‘right’ to sue, essentially, those taxpayers; and ISDS includes no countervailing ‘right’ to those taxpayers, to sue those international corporations; it’s an entirely one-sided provision, and it even removes the authority of the democratically elected national government to adjudicate the matter. It even removes the appeals-court system: once a decision is reached by the ‘arbitrating’ panel, it is final, it cannot be appealed. And no nation may present a challenge to the constitutionality of the ‘arbitrators’ decision. These treaties, if signed, will override the signatory nation’s constitution, on those matters.
This idea started after World War II and the defeat of the fascist nations on the military battlefields, and it moved this great fascist-v.-democratic war to a different type of battlefield. It’s round 2 of WW II.