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The Transatlantic Free Trade Area, TAFTA for short.

The recent revelations of spying by the US government

Along with traditional ideological adversaries and sensitive Middle Eastern countries, the list of targets includes the EU missions and the French, Italian and Greek embassies, as well as a number of other American allies, including Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey. The list in the September 2010 document does not mention the UK, Germany or other western European states.
Demonstrate a fundamental distrust by the US of even its closest allies, the only reason the UK isn't on the list is because of the almost fusional nature of GCHQ and NSA operations.

This activity seriously puts into doubt whether a "free trade" zone should be even considered. Trust works both ways and how much the PRISM and Tempora programs have been used to data-mine corporate communications has not as yet been revealed.

To be quite frank the whole idea of TAFTA is merely to benefit a few and Europe and the US have great cultural divides in terms of how a State should be run.

Labor laws [holidays, maternal leave, unions etc etc]

Universal health care.

Climate change mitigation.

Agriculture [GMOs, HFCS, Hormones etc etc]

To name but a few, and few in Europe would be satisfied with the alternatives to these in operation in the US.

We don't have to be part of a global free for all [or in reality for the very few].

Europe should have learnt its lessons from the lies to war by the Bush Administration and there will come a time when Republicans will again be in the White House.

The EU should learn from this massive spying operation that the US cannot be trusted, and the last thing its corporations want is a level playing field.

The question this spying also raises is the future of NATO

Germany's justice minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, demanded an explanation from Washington, saying that if confirmed, US behaviour "was reminiscent of the actions of enemies during the cold war".
TAFTA should be immediately relegated to the box of bad ideas, and the US should have to answer some serious questions, and just saying, but, but everyone knew; wont hold water.


Apparently I am not the only one making this connection

“Partners do not spy on each other,” the European commissioner for justice and fundamental rights, Viviane Reding, said at a public event in Luxembourg on Sunday.

“We cannot negotiate over a big transatlantic market if there is the slightest doubt that our partners are carrying out spying activities on the offices of our negotiators,” Reding said in comments passed on to reporters by her spokeswoman.

The European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee head Elmar Brok, from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats. echoed those views.

“The spying has taken on dimensions that I would never have thought possible from a democratic state,” he told Der Spiegel.

“How should we still negotiate if we must fear that our negotiating position is being listened to beforehand?”

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar. Not the PR the US would like. (29+ / 0-)

    "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

    by LaFeminista on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 02:39:45 PM PDT

  •  it's time to scrap ALL "free trade" agreements (17+ / 0-)

    aside from the fact that the US is massively hypocritical when it comes to what it considers "free" trade, the supposed benefits we are supposed to see don't happen.  International corporations sure do seem to benefit though.  "Free" trade agreements are bullshit, and Congress should have the courage to block any more from going through.

  •  What does the NSA have to do with free trade? (3+ / 0-)

    I realize the politics are conflated, because inchoate public feelings of distrust touch all politics, but logically there is no overlap between the spying issues and free trade issues. And the future of NATO? Seriously?

    The quickest way to bad policy is to make policy based on emotion, which is exactly what this diary champions. TAFTA should be pursued or rejected on its merits, not on the bad feelings deriving from another orthogonal issue.

  •  I think u want (4+ / 0-)

    TAFTA to be scrapped as a retaliation for the NSA revelation. You diary would have made more sense if you were straight forward about it rather than ranting about trust. The notion that America cannot be trusted and the EU is more trustworthy is laughable. Politicians on both side of the Atlantic are untrustworthy. Read about EU austerity policies and educate yourself.

    •  Everybody is as or more trustworthy. The US (4+ / 0-)

      uses spying, covert action and military action to achieve its goals, and one of its principal goals is the enrichment and empowerment of US headquartered corporations. Nobody's trade secrets would be safe.

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 03:34:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ever heard of MI5? (0+ / 0-)

        The US emphatically did NOT invent sigint, or listening in to all of your "allies"'s conversations as well as your enemies'.  In fact, part of the NSA scandal is the worldwide intelligence-sharing cooperation between the NSA and its counterparts in other English-speaking Dominions: Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand all share similar information with us and maintain similar spy operations to the extent of their capabilities.  And don't forget Israel.  No, everybody's doing it.  The US is just doing it bigger and better while hypocritically proclaiming FREEDOM and LIBERTY louder.  It's the hypocrisy that offends our very sophisticated partners in Europe.  Spying, they've been up to their armpits in since Louis XIV.

        •  So what's your point? Which of them invaded (0+ / 0-)

          Iraq for the benefit of their corporations? Which of them threatened India if it didn't let their cola company rip off all of its water? Pinochet was whose proxy? Who invaded Panama?

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 08:46:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Without TAFTA, the UK will go down (0+ / 0-) doubt. Overall, it will likely be a burden on those at the bottom. More jobs; less pay.

    The entire reason for TAFTA is to form a Western Trading Bloc to compete with China/Asia.

    Meanwhile -- what's the mood where you are, La Fem?

    Is this big enough to trigger the (long overdue) marginalization and containment of the US?

    Denial is a drug.

    by Pluto on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 03:21:24 PM PDT

    •  Oh, and: (0+ / 0-)

      The US war on continental Africa is due to begin by the end of this year. It seems the French (alone) are all hot for that.

      Any chance this betrayal can stop it?

      Denial is a drug.

      by Pluto on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 03:24:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  US war on continental Africa? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sky Net

        You must be smoking something.

        Somalia and D R of Congo barely exist as states. "War" doesn't exactly describe it; more like complete turnover of authority to anyone with guns. Nobody other than the NRA could like that. Nobody else seems to care.

        Mali, which was a free, democratic country just two years ago, has had a coup and an Islamist insurgency by people every bit as bad as the folks who attacked the US on 9/11/2001. And they've done more long term damage there, destroying priceless Islamic manuscripts that are irreplaceable. France's intervention saved northern Mali from the fate of Afghanistan under the Taliban.

        •  If Obama won't go to war in Syria (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          charliehall2, Sky Net, cynndara

          (and we should pray he doesn't)then he sure as hell isn't going to war in Africa.

          Happy just to be alive

          by exlrrp on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 04:54:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We don't have boots on the ground in Syria. (0+ / 0-)

            Thank god. (officially)

            But we do in 34 African nations -- just this year. The supply train highway we are building across the continent is just about complete.

            Denial is a drug.

            by Pluto on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 05:08:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  A little bit of logistics (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              isn't a bad thing to have available, given the rather regular emergencies in what has been a roadless, almost trackless wilderness.  We do need to keep an eye on them, though.  John Michael Greer has pointed out in his ArchDruid's Report just how easily we could run into conflict with the Chinese over African resources.  China won't fight for territory outside of their historical sphere of influence, but they will fight for a necessary supply train.  And the US will soon find itself to have limited advantages on territory that's pretty much equidistant from both interested Powers.

              I wouldn't be surprised if the two of us turn Africa into our proxy playground, but it's a losing proposition.  America no longer has the economic strength to conduct massive wars at a distance, and cannot unless it starts taxing the people who profit from them who are frankly too stupid to realize that it's become a zero-sum game.

              •  The Chinese have made business deals (0+ / 0-)

                ...with the Africans. They are partners.

                China has no military in Africa.

                The US doesn't make business deals. They foment civil war, then seize the resources for US corporations. That requires CIA advance forces, followed by Libya-style bombing runs.

                There is no geopolitical analyst in the world who is not aware of what's about to happen.

                It's all the African's fault for sitting on top of our resources.

                Denial is a drug.

                by Pluto on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 02:48:50 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  And if our seizure (0+ / 0-)

                  of resources runs head-on into China's purchase contracts, of which they have set up quite a few in Africa?  What then?  There's a reason they've been building up their military apace.  We are NOT the only ones interested in the region.

                  •  China is not going to fight a war with the US (0+ / 0-)


                    The US will be putting down Africans and calling them al Qaeda.

                    China will maintain the contracts they have. The US will seize the resources that are not yet under contract.

                    This was always the outcome.

                    Denial is a drug.

                    by Pluto on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 11:40:22 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  "Going to war in Africa" (0+ / 0-)

            Might have stopped the Rwanda genocide. Or the Darfur genocide. And the French doing just that has saved northern Mali from a horrible fate.

            War is not necessarily the worst thing to happen :(.

            •  How much success have we had (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cynndara, Pluto

              trying to set countries straight completely on the other side of the world ?
              How much success have countries had who fought wars in Africa? (hint: ask the UK)
              I learned a very important lesson once trying to make the world free for democracy: never go to war unless there's something in it for you.
              Following that advice would have kept us out of Vietnam,  Iraq and Afghanistan and I hope it keeps us out of Syria and Africa as well

              Happy just to be alive

              by exlrrp on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 06:49:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I agree on Mali. A terrible thing. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          As for Africa, in general, I'm usually pretty well-informed.

          Denial is a drug.

          by Pluto on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 05:04:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Live the Hate America rhetoric (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      johnny wurster

      At least I would if I were a right wing Republican. I'd be twittering screen shots like crazy.

      Long overdue marginalization of the US?

      If you think that the Republican austerity policies have been bad, just wait until the US becomes a totally marginal economic player.

    •  See update. (0+ / 0-)

      "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

      by LaFeminista on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 01:33:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Most all FTA's have turned into clusterfucks. (4+ / 0-)

    More isn't better for anyone.

    Living the austerity dream.

    by jwinIL14 on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 03:24:31 PM PDT

  •  I hope this also brings down the TPP aka NAFTA on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nada Lemming, LaFeminista

    steroids', or 'the Corporate Bill of Rights'.

    If the Trans Pacific Partnership fails over this what a wonderful bit of unintended circumstances,.

    without the ants the rainforest dies

    by aliasalias on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 05:04:13 PM PDT

  •  Corporate espinonage and Prism... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...I would argue that a lot of what's going on in the NSA is just that.  (Real terrorists can hide from the NSA.)  I don't doubt that Goldman Sachs is most interested in what goes on off the record at central banks.

  •  I'm being contrary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    As long as we're going to have "free" trade with every undeveloped and exploitable nation in the world, we ought to have free trade with those who are actually our "near-peers" in terms of economic and social development.  Put into free and open competition with Europe, the US would soon learn the difference between being a powerful bully state and actually being civilized.  Furthermore, free trade would be a useful preliminary to "free movement of peoples", i.e., freedom for AMERICANS to give up on this sewer and find a home and a job on equal terms in a civilized nation.

    Finally, Europe is the one area of the world where Americans have NEVER had the freedom to trade without heavy penalties FROM OUR OWN GOVERNMENT.  The one place that Washington and New York are afraid to compete with on equal terms.  The one place that they don't want average Americans to go, because they can discover that America really isn't the center of the universe most easily.  Throughout American history we have had tariffs blocking the import of European goods.  If I have to live in Corporate World, I want to be able to exercise my single freedom -- the freedom to BUY -- by purchasing European goods without having the pricetag doubled by import tariffs.  If we can open our market to every cesspot and sewer drain on Earth, we should be able to open it to the one place where our corporate propaganda isn't automatically believed and our corporate toxins aren't freely dumped.

    Yeah. I think free trade with Europe could be an excellent idea for the American people.  It might not be so great for the Europeans.  But when America's backwoods, ignorant, parochial politicians have to compete with the sophisticated leaders of a place that's been breathing politics since DC was undeveloped swampland, they won't be nearly as all-powerful any more.

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