Leftnews.org | News and Views from the Left
The link address is: http://rabble.ca/news/2014/07/left-front-changing-vancouver-politics
The link address is: http://rankandfile.ca/2014/07/29/model-program-or-mistake/
As the death toll in Gaza passes 1,000 Lia Tarachansky and Phyllis Bennis respond to a poll which found 86% of Israelis reject a ceasefire, while a growing number of Americans want the Israeli offensive to stop | The Real News | Click HERE to watch video
Today marks 100 years since the Serbian campaign that started World War One. Here we republish the Spartacus League’s illegal anti-war leaflet from May 1915. Its author Karl Liebknecht was the most famous anti-war figure in Germany, having been the sole parliamentary deputy to vote against further war loans in December 1914.
Liebknecht was sent to the front for consistent anti-war campaigning, despite his immunity as a parliamentary deputy. He continued campaigning until his arrest in May 1916 for organising an anti-war demo. This saw him imprisoned until the end of the war. The leaflet’s slogan “The main enemy is at home” was an inspiration for all internationalists opposed to the slaughter of the “Great War.” Click HERE to read article.
The link address is: http://truth-out.org/news/item/25131
The link address is: http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/michael-stewart/2014/07/green-party-wins-worst-statement-on-gaza-award-hands-down?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:%20rabble-news%20%28rabble.ca%20-%20News%20for%20the%20rest%20of%20us%29
Self-Deception, Lies And Stupidity: Relevance of Hannah Arendt’s “A Report On The Banality Of Evil” To Gaza
The link address is: http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/07/28/how-israel-spins-war-crimes/
Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (EU-US)
ISDS is slated to be a key feature of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being negotiated between the U.S. and the European Union (EU). The planned provisions are modelled on the ISDS mechanism in the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
The Trade Justice Network, a number of its member organizations, and other Canadian organizations made submissions to the consultation to ensure the connections between CETA and TTIP were reflected in the consultation.
Scott Sinclair of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives made a submission to the Commission which outlines the details of the dangers of ISDS in CETA including how it could be used by US companies to circumvent any attempt to undermine ISDS in the TTIP.2
European and international union federations on CETA and TTIP ISDS provisions
Unison has released strong language on ISDS and TTIP stating "the removal of the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism. ISDS has no place in a trade deal between two trading blocs with well-established legal systems and effective existing protections for investors."3
EPSU has leaked text that show public services have not been excluded in the draft text. The release also outlines how the high number bilateral trade agreements create a maze of agreements that make it virtually impossible to undo liberalization.4 EPSU's 2014 congress also passed a resolution called 19. Fighting for a Future for All which explicitly stated they will "oppose all attempts to include any Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism" in TTIP.5
ETUC has stated that the EU-Canada trade agreement should not be used as a "Trojan horse" to smuggle in a controversial Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).
"This looks like a cynical attempt to create a fait accompli for the EU-US trade talks" said Bernadette Ségol, General Secretary of the ETUC "and to undermine opposition to ISDS."6
PSI Executive Board endorses aggressive and far-reaching programme that included strong language against "new cycle of 'free trade' deals, TISA, TPP and TTIP that represent a direct attack on national and local government ability to deliver quality public services."7
Shifting European Union position on ISDS
European Union parliament has also elected an increased number of anti-ISDS members from both sides of the political spectrum.
Together, this has lead to a shift that has even been reported from the top European Commission trade negotiator. EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht has admitted to the press that his previous "unanimous mandate" to negotiate ISDS into trade agreements could be shifting.
With the incoming EU Commission President Jean-Claude Junker apparently opposed to including ISDS in the agreement with the U.S., the Council changing their minds is a distinct possibility.
iPolitics quoted De Gucht, the EU Trade Commissioner saying:
"This will be a very interesting thing, because it's not only CETA. We will be confronted with that problem in a number of agreements," De Gucht said.
"Parliament will have to ask itself whether they want to put in jeopardy a number of agreements and work of years and years on this. I mean, it's a Parliament, so a Parliament can vote. And that's what a Parliament is made for, to vote."9
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) delegates gave "a resounding "No" to Trans Pacific Partnership" with 90% of delegates voting for the statement that "the TPP should not go ahead and must be scrapped."10
ISDS is a major sticking point in the TPP negotiations, but is currently included in the agreement.
Concerns include the legal action through ISDS against the minimum wage in Egypt and its impact on pension schemes privatization.
There is a sense at the tables that the tide is moving against ISDS. The Japan-Australia agreement does not have ISDS, France and Germany are re-evaluating it; South Africa, Brazil and Indonesia have policy against it.
An additional stumbling-block is that there is no "conflict of interest" provision language in the current ISDS section for TPP. This means that the corruption of revolving doors between the lobbyist community, government and arbitrators directly highlighted by the Corporate Europe Observatory have been ignored for TPP.
Also of concern with ISDS in TPP are that "State-Owned Enterprises" will be captured under ISDS provisions in the investment chapter.
Recent Investor-State Challenges Against Canada
Challenge Against a Drug Patent Ruling
Challenge against Quebec's Fracking Moratorium
$130-million AbitibiBowater payout
Hibernia and Hebron Oil Field R&D
Recent Investor-State Challenges Against Canada
1. Challenge Against a Drug Patent Ruling (NAFTA)
· Eli Lilly (pharmaceuticals) claims a court decisions invalidating one of the company’s patents breach international obligations (2012).
2. Challenge against Quebec's Fracking Moratorium (NAFTA)
· Lone Pine claims that the moratorium against all oil and gas exploration activities under the Saint Lawrence River, adopted June 13, 2011, is a form of indirect expropriation without compensation of the company's potential future profits.
3. $130-million AbitibiBowater payout
· AbitibiBowater was paid $130M to drop its $500M lawsuit against Newfoundland and Labrador after the expropriation timber, water and hydro-electric rights and assets. These were granted to Abitibi a century ago on condition the company use them in its production process.
4. Hibernia and Hebron Oil Field R&D (NAFTA)NAFTA investment panel has asked the province of Newfoundland and Labrador to remove research and development requirements on offshore oil and gas production in the Hibernia and Hebron oil fields. The wealthy oil companies were asking for $65 million in compensation for the R&D policy, which they successfully argued to be a "performance requirement" that is prohibited by NAFTA.
The link address is: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/26/germany-canada-trade-idUSL6N0Q10CS20140726
"On July 19, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) militants attacked gas fields in Sha'ar, Syria, east of Homs. According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as cited by Reuters, roughly 270 government soldiers and gas field employees were killed, many of them execution-style. The jihadists reportedly lost 40 fighters in the assault as well. Another 400 people were killed in hostilities country-wide towards the end of last week, a 48-hour span that represented "the bloodiest fighting since the civil war began in 2011." Full article here.
Ready to pick up the gauntlet? Trade unions must follow Unison into battle on September 30 | Morning Star
The link address is: http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-0090-Star-Comment-Ready-to-pick-up-the-gauntlet
The link address is: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/24/us-mideast-gaza-idUSKBN0FT06I20140724
What would history look like if it were written in the style of the Israeli ‘Protective Edge’ operation in Gaza, asks URI AVNERY | The Morning Star | Click HERE to read article
by Gülden Özcan and Bora Erdağı | MR Zine | Click HERE to reed article
"It is essential to articulate what is implicit in current struggles to show how these contain within them the elements of a new society. To see the future in the present is what is needed if we are to build that future."
Investor-State Dispute Settlement in #TTIP & #CETA: Submission to EU Public Consultation | Scott Sinclair
The link address is: http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/10798