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How the U.S. Uses Surveillance and Scandal in the Push for Global Dominion | AlterNet.org

How the U.S. Uses Surveillance and Scandal in the Push for Global Dominion | AlterNet.org | Trade Relations | Scoop.it

For more than six months, Edward Snowden’s revelations about the National Security Agency (NSA) have been pouring out from the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Guardian, Germany’s Der Spiegel, and Brazil’s O Globo, among other places. 

 

Yet no one has pointed out the combination of factors that made the NSA’s expanding programs to monitor the world seem like such a slam-dunk development in Washington.  The answer is remarkably simple. 

 

For an imperial power losing its economic grip on the planet and heading into more austere times, the NSA’s latest technological breakthroughs look like a bargain basement deal when it comes to projecting power and keeping subordinate allies in line -- like, in fact, the steal of the century.  Even when disaster turned out to be attached to them, the NSA’s surveillance programs have come with such a discounted price tag that no Washington elite was going to reject them.

 

For well over a century, from the pacification of the Philippines in 1898 to trade negotiations with the European Union today, surveillance and its kissing cousins, scandal and scurrilous information, have been key weapons in Washington’s search for global dominion. Not surprisingly, in a post-9/11 bipartisan exercise of executive power, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have presided over building the NSA step by secret step into a digital panopticon designed to monitor the communications of every American and foreign leaders worldwide.

 

What exactly was the aim of such an unprecedented program of massive domestic and planetary spying, which clearly carried the risk of controversy at home and abroad? Here, an awareness of the more than century-long history of U.S. surveillance can guide us through the billions of bytes swept up by the NSA to the strategic significance of such a program for the planet’s last superpower. What the past reveals is a long-term relationship between American state surveillance and political scandal that helps illuminate the unacknowledged reason why the NSA monitors America’s closest allies.

 

Not only does such surveillance help gain intelligence advantageous to U.S. diplomacy, trade relations, and war-making, but it also scoops up intimate information that can provide leverage -- akin to blackmail -- in sensitive global dealings and negotiations of every sort. The NSA’s global panopticon thus fulfills an ancient dream of empire. With a few computer key strokes, the agency has solved the problem that has bedeviled world powers since at least the time of Caesar Augustus: how to control unruly local leaders, who are the foundation for imperial rule, by ferreting out crucial, often scurrilous, information to make them more malleable.

 

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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
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NSA Spying Scandal Roils US-EU Trade Negotiations | HuffPost.com

NSA Spying Scandal Roils US-EU Trade Negotiations | HuffPost.com | Trade Relations | Scoop.it

Another day, another outraged world leader. The NSA was caught listening in on Angela Merkel's cell phone much in the way the crooks at Murdoch's News of the World (now standing trial in a British courtroom) hacked into the phones of celebrities, politicians and teenage crime victims.

 

But there is one good thing coming out of the NSA embroglio. It is endangering the U.S.-EU trade agreement currently being negotiated behind closed doors with some 600 U.S. industry advisers. New revelations that the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is one of the NSA's "clients" will further complicate negotiations set to resume in Brussels Monday, November 11th.

 

Although proponents of the pact like to talk about reducing tariffs, facilitating trade and creating jobs, in actuality the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has little to do with these traditional trade topics. Bound by the longstanding World Trade Organization agreements, the U.S. and the EU have practically nonexistent tariffs and enjoy a robust trade relationship topping $1 trillion a year. Moreover, according to the number crunchers at the Economic Policy Institute, the pact is projected to result in a U.S. job loss of some 700,000 and a deeper trade deficit with the EU.

 

What the TTIP is all about is locking in a deregulatory regime that threatens some of the best consumer and environmental laws on both sides of the Atlantic.

 

At a recent meeting in Brussels with top U.S. and European TTIP negotiators, including Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Dan Mullaney and Ignacio Garcia Bercero of the European Commission's Directorate General for Trade, consumer advocates from both sides of the Atlantic demanded answers.

 

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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
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U.S. Tries To Wreck India's Solar Industry While Pushing Fight Against Climate Change | HuffPost.com

U.S. Tries To Wreck India's Solar Industry While Pushing Fight Against Climate Change | HuffPost.com | Trade Relations | Scoop.it

The Obama administration talks a lot about the need to develop renewable energy around the world to curb climate change. But right now, it's trying to kill India's effort to boost its domestic solar industry.

 

The U.S. wants India to back off a policy that would require local sourcing for solar energy technology, and has sought World Trade Organization enforcement action. Representatives from the two nations reportedly met last week to try to settle the trade battle over India's rapidly developing solar industry, but reached no resolution.

 

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said in February that India's rules for locally made products for its solar power program "discriminate against U.S. exports" and break WTO rules. "We are determined to stand up for U.S. workers and businesses," he said.

 

The U.S. and India have 60 days from last month's announcement of the enforcement action -- until April 11 -- to resolve the conflict before it goes to the WTO, which can impose sanctions. Last month, India indicated it would block WTO investigations into its trade policies, according to Reuters.

 

The dispute centers on the second phase of India's solar power policy, known as the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. PV Magazine described the rules in an article in October, noting that they require that half the solar components come from domestic sources.

 

The U.S. objected to domestic sourcing requirements for the first phase of India's program, leading to WTO consultations in February 2013. Phase II, however, expands domestic sourcing requirements to include thin film solar technologies, which the U.S. exports to India.

 

Indian and U.S. representatives met last week, according to reports. The countries "are consulting," said a spokesman for the USTR, who spoke on background. "We continue to prefer that our concerns be resolved bilaterally, but after we filed last year's WTO solar dispute, India maintained and expanded the local content requirements in its national solar policy rather than seek to resolve U.S. concerns."

 

 

Some environmental advocates have criticized U.S. representatives for challenging a policy meant to help develop India's renewable energy. They argue that the WTO action contradicts work by the U.S. and other nations through the United Nations to reach international agreements on cutting emissions and supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy in developing countries like India.

 

Right now, India is "incredibly reliant on coal," said Ilana Solomon, director of the Sierra Club's Responsible Trade Program. "It is imperative for the people of India and our global climate that India begins to transition away from fossil fuels like coal and to renewable energy sources like solar.

 

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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
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US-India economic relationship: Turn trade potential into reality

US-India economic relationship: Turn trade potential into reality | Trade Relations | Scoop.it
By: Ami Bera & Karl F Inderfurth Though it has recently entered stormy waters, the US-India economic relationship has the potential to be one of the globe's most dynamic and broad-based. Overall,...

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TPP: Poison for Local Community Resilience | CommonDreams.org

TPP: Poison for Local Community Resilience | CommonDreams.org | Trade Relations | Scoop.it

The past couple of decades of globalization have been a disaster for planetary ecosystems, indigenous peoples, and most middle-class citizens, but a gravy train for big investors, investment bankers, and managers of transnational corporations. This unprecedented expansion of international trade was driven by the convergence of key resources, developments, and inventions: cheap oil, satellite communications, container ships, computerized monitoring of inventories, the flourishing of multinational corporations, the proliferation of liberal trade treaties (including NAFTA), and the emergence of transnational bodies such as the World Trade Organization.


Economists said everyone would eventually benefit, but casualties quickly mounted. Inflation-adjusted wages for American workers stagnated. Manufacturing towns throughout the Northeast and Midwest withered. Meanwhile, China began burning immense amounts of coal to make mountains of toys, furniture, clothing, tools, appliances, and consumer electronics, cloaking its cities in a pall of toxic fumes and driving its greenhouse gas emissions to world record-setting levels. In effect, the United States has been importing cheap consumer goods while exporting jobs and polluting industries. In both China and the US, levels of economic inequality have soared.

 

Now comes the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a new trade deal negotiated in secret (only corporations get to contribute to, and look at, the draft language). The point of the Treaty: to double down on globalization at precisely the moment in time when the entire enterprise is beginning to fail as a result of stubbornly high oil prices, worsening climate change impacts (floods, droughts, wildfires), debt deflation, and middle-class fears of losing even more ground

 

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From Canada to Australia, solidarity in resistance to G20 neocolonialism

From Canada to Australia, solidarity in resistance to G20 neocolonialism | Trade Relations | Scoop.it
The G20 process clearly is a contemporary extension of a colonial framework, an extension of the western European capitalist worldview that sees people and lands as territories and networks to conquer. Similarly to colonialism in early inceptions, like the contemporary manifestations represented by processes like the World Trade Organization (WTO) or the G20, do not accept contradicting systems. As indigenous systems of governance and social organization were actively confronted by colonialism in both Australia and Canada, pushing communities toward genocide, today global economic power refuses space for alternative economic models on a large scale, a fact illuminated by the constant interventions by western powers against living alternatives, as seen in Latin America over the past couple generations. Although social movements both locally and globally have won some important space for people outside of the halls of power today, referenced in symbolic documents like the the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the reality is that active dissent against dominant systems of power and economics, represented by organizations like the G20 is not tolerated. 
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