Treaty Negotiated In Secret – Hidden Even from Congressmen Who Oversee Treaties – Threatens to Destroy National Sovereignty

George Washington's picture

The normally-reserved Yves Smith asks whether Obama should be impeached over it.

Democratic Senator Wyden – the head of the committee which is supposed to oversee it – is so furious about the lack of access that he has introduced legislation to force disclosure.

Republican House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa is so upset by it that he has leaked a document on his website to show what’s going on.

What is everyone so furious about?

An international treaty being negotiated in secret which would not only crack down on Internet privacy much more than SOPA or ACTA, but would actually destroy the sovereignty of the U.S. and all other signatories.

It is called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Wyden is the chairman of the trade committee in the Senate … the committee which is supposed to have jurisdiction over the TPP. Wyden is also on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and so he and his staff have high security clearances and are normally able to look at classified documents.

And yet Wyden and his staff have been denied access to the TPP’s text.

This is similar to other recent incidences showing that we’ve gone from a nation of laws to a nation of powerful men making laws in secret.

For example,  in the summer 2007, Congressman Peter DeFazio – who is on the Homeland Security Committee (and so has proper security access to be briefed on so-called “Continuity of Government” issues) – inquired about continuity of government plans, and was refused access. Indeed, DeFazio told Congress that the entire Homeland Security Committee of the U.S. Congress has been denied access to the plans by the White House (video; or here is the transcript). The Homeland Security Committee has full clearance to view all information about COG plans. DeFazio concluded: “Maybe the people who think there’s a conspiracy out there are right”.

As University of California Berkeley Professor Emeritus Peter Dale Scott warned:

If members of the Homeland Security Committee cannot enforce their right to read secret plans of the Executive Branch, then the systems of checks and balances established by the U.S. Constitution would seem to be failing.


To put it another way, if the White House is successful in frustrating DeFazio, then Continuity of Government planning has arguably already superseded the Constitution as a higher authority.

Watch this interview from today explaining why TPP is so dangerous to America … and the rest of the world:

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Ghordius's picture

aw, stop it. it's completely irrelevant who the prez is - yes, this is a point of view from outside the US.

The problem is not the prez, The problem is Congress, the body of elected representatives that are supposed to check on what the prez does.

nmewn's picture

Part of that problem is what Congress is today.

At our inception, senators (one half of "Congress") were not popularly elected...they were appointed and voted up or down by the individual state legislators to go to DC and represent the individual state government interests. The thought being, state legislators would be (and are) held to account more closely for their votes and appointments/nominations...locally.

The Senate is now just a mirror image of the House with different rules...basically pandering fools who's only real thought (mostly) is how to get re-elected and increase their personal wealth while there. Its no accident that someone of modest means can enter the Senate damned near penniless and exit a multi-millionaire.

As it is now, I have two extra representatives who sit in the senate...there is no one representing Florida's government.

Milestones's picture

The most important reason for having the state legislature voting on the senate rep. is that you cannot recall an elected senator but we can recall state reps. if need be if they refuse to remove a  U.S. senator. The 17th amendment needs to be repealed.       Milestones

El Oregonian's picture

You got snookered like I was with Bush. I know how you feel...

Vendetta's picture

We've been snookered since JFK got his head blown off for trying to return the power to the US Treasury to issue currency.

pods's picture

JFK did nothing of the sort.

pods's picture

For the junker, please look up public law 88-36, signed by Kennedy, which allowed the Federal Reserve to issue small denomination FRNs, not redeemable in silver so as to allow the Treasury to remove from circulation the silver backed certificates.

Or this one by G. Edward Griffin (author of TCFJI):

It feels good to believe that a politician had your back and wanted to uphold the constitution, but JFK was not that guy.


nmewn's picture

pods, the bright light of truth can be too bright for some ;-)

cartonero's picture

Doesn't matter who the fuck you vote for.  You're gonna get snookered.

monad's picture

Not if you're voting in a star chamber.

Ying-Yang's picture

Even Nunu-Snookie got snookered.

Thanks GW.... great post. This news should awaken many. No more Red vs Blue when it is us vs them.

jeff montanye's picture

keep voting the rascals out until we get a keeper.

john39's picture

not going to happen... the party system is set up to ensure that the invisible hand controls all choices.   so you get to choose betweent two different factions of fascist puppets.   but like idiots, we keep playing over and over.  voting is for chumps.  If I go to the ballot box it will be to write vladimir putin.

waterhorse's picture

I'll write in Bill Black.

DaveyJones's picture

I'm with you

our priority should be to stop, punish, and prevent the criminals

blackbeardz's picture

I watch from your northern border with grave concern for all these issues. I feel as American as Canadian, having been raised in a border city.

Our policies tend to follow the USA's general direction of deceiving the public. I even expect that politicians from Canada are involved with these secret negotiations.

We don't have any trustworthy hacks left up north eh. Power Corp breed that out of ours 'leaders' decades ago, literally through marriage also.

This ToiletPaperPaper or TPP IS JUST THAT, the internet will survive in some free form but we wont in the long run as a majority of free people. The majority will win, as in the sheeple,

The so easily numbed/dumbed down masses are ruining this North American continent. It is a numbers game and TPTB have that advantage. How else can one explain public gropings across the free nation of America

by the gov't.

/rant off, back to watching cable.

Urban Roman's picture

If they pass a law and nobody knows what's in it isn't it, like, not a law?

Hobbleknee's picture

Didn't you get the memo?  We have to pass the law to find out what's in it!


/Nancy P.

El's picture

Ignorance of the law is no excuse, sadly.

Goldilocks's picture

Ignorance of the law is no excuse?
Legal Studies
Volume 3 Issue 2, Pages 174 - 195
Published Online: 27 Apr 2006
Journal Compilation © 2010 Society of Legal Scholars

Ignorance of the law is no excuse?
Paul Matthews
Lecturer in Law, University College, London

I Introductory

The maxim ‘ignorance of the law is no excuse’ has much to answer for.  Defendants arguing that they did not know or misunderstood the law have been told that their ignorance or mistake made no difference to their liability. The institutional writers have laid down as much.  The courts have repeatedly emphasized it.

However, it is here submitted that this blanket approach, characterised by the very existence of such maxim, is misconceived.  No such general principle exists, nor should it.  Although the judges have spoken in general terms, their remarks depend on the context of the particular offences in question, where no knowledge of the law has been necessary, and liability has been (in this respect at least) ‘strict’.

AU: Paul Matthews
TI: Ignorance of the law is no excuse?
SO: Legal Studies
VL: 3
NO: 2
PG: 174-195
YR: 1983
ON: 1748-121X
PN: 0261-3875
AD: Lecturer in Law, University College, London
DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-121X.1983.tb00314.x

BigJim's picture

The world become more Kafka-esque by the fucking day.

CompassionateFascist's picture

Inasmuch as Kafka = Jew...yeah, that's true.

nonclaim's picture

Ignorance of a *secret* law is not an excuse either as any poor sap living under a dictatorship would bear witness.

Eye opening isn't it?

Poule Mouillee's picture

As of this moment the whole country is on DOUBLE SECRET PROBATION!

earnulf's picture

Otter hell, Where's Blutto when you need him to tell us how the Germans Bombed Pearl Harbor!

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Put Niedermeyer on it. He's a sneaky little shit just like you are, right?

Poule Mouillee's picture

Niedermeyer has nothing on me.  I'm sneakier and shittier by a longshot!

Popo's picture

The Supreme Court can strike down any law.  This is all very concerning.  But I'm not sure I understand why the woman on the video insists that this is "cemented" "forever".   One vote of the court declaring the contents of the act unconsitutional and its done.    And if the corporations believe that this is not the case, then they are simply mistaken as to the power, permanence and effectiveness of treaty.

Furthermore, until I see corporations with aircraft carriers and nukes,  I'm not prepared to believe that they represent the supreme law of the land.

The troubling issue here is not so much the contents of the treaty (which needless to say, are deeply unconstitutional) but that the Executive believes it has the power to originate trade legislation.   This is a complete fantasy re-invention of US Government and is a blatantly illegal circumvention of Congress for private benefit.   To say that this is "impeachable" is a vast understatement.   This is jailable.

odatruf's picture

They are not making laws, they are negotiating treaties, which still must be ratified.  None of it will go into effect until that happens.

While I understand, appreciate and agree with many of the complaints against the Executive, in today's world it is damn near impossible to work out details on anything with sound bite seeking Members of Congress spilling  their ill informed bull shit all over still wet ink.  Too many corrupting and special influences are in play to do this sort of thing in the open.  At least at this preliminary stage.  Once the parties agree on the draft, it can be made public and then debated in Congress (the Senate only if it is a true treaty or the whole Congress if it is a statutory trade pact).

Please save your powder for the right time.  Spilling all that vital essence now will make you (us) impotent later.  :/


X86BSD's picture

Isnt this the thing with secret laws though? How can you show standing that you were harmed by a secret law if you can't produce the law or know whats in it or show how the law harmed you? The SC does not usually hear or involve itself in laws that are secret. They almost always side with the state and its right to secrecy. 

fajensen's picture

Until ..... SAIC, check out the required skillset for the people they are hiring. Here:


zilverreiger's picture

homeland security should talk, those filthy brownshirts are also a real enemy

Jungle Jim's picture

This sure is troubling. :0(


CompassionateFascist's picture

"threatens to destroy national Sovereignty"?? U.S. has had no sovereignty via a vis Israel and domestic organized Jewry for five decades. This is more of same. Bullets not ballots. Invest in lead.  

El Oregonian's picture

Lawyers for Ron Paul have taken over Paul's campaign and will have him nominated as the Presidential candidate and have Mitt Romney stripped of his delegates! Great interview and a MUST LISTEN.  Finally, some really great news on dismantling this Tyranny! Long Live Liberty!!

battle axe's picture

Can Obama shoot himself in the foot a few more times? This guy is the definition of arrogant...

Uber Vandal's picture

It is too bad that the Brickner Amendment did not go through in 1954.


Axenolith's picture

Treaties that presume to abrogate or violate the Constitution are null and void on their face.  You don't need legislation to establish this as a rule.  As it is the supreme law of the land, willful actions which attempt to diminish it are treason on their face.

Freddie's picture

Hope & Chains.

Democrats and evil idiots voted for this in 2008.  

Escapeclaws's picture

More like "Rope and Chains".

roadhazard's picture

Yeah, because it was sooo much better under "compassionate conservatism". :handjob GIF smilie:


If you vote repubican or democrap you vote to destroy our country.

DosZap's picture

If you vote repubican or democrap you vote to destroy our country.

Yep I agree, OTOH, if you vote differntly than the GOP, you will have far less time to make plans,and establish a game plan.

If the mulatto wins, its 100% balls to the wall, both barrels as fast as he can pull the triggers.

Protest votes are votes to his advantage..............not ours.

jeff montanye's picture

i'm with freddie.  one expects hard core fascism from the likes of dick cheney and john yoo.  to get it from the hope and change agent breaks your heart and your spirit.

but as w.c. fields said as mr. micawber in david copperfield: "nil desperandum, mr. copperfield".  indeed.

Marginal Call's picture

Look, they always use the dems for shit like this.  You think a Bush could push through NAFTA or get rid of Glass-Stegall?  Never.  When it's time to cut social security, they'll use a dem.


On the flip side, we'd have troops on the ground in Iran, Syria, Libya, and Egypt right now if McPain had been elected.  It's just a matter of whichever lever they fell like pulling. 

illyia's picture

Yeah. And the Great Alternative Was.... McSellOut and Your Crazy Aunt From Alaska.

Peter Pan's picture

Are you Americans sure that Osama Bin Ladin is dead and not actually directing this shit from the inside? At this rate China and Russia will become the champions of freedom for the whole world. This is either total bull or you have seriously demented patriots over there.

Newsboy's picture

Terminator had it wrong.

Humans won't be superseded by computers, but by immortal corporations, which can be cyborgs.

Colonial Intent's picture

"the life blood of a Zaibutsu is information not people"