“Sentence First, Verdict Afterwards”: The Alice in Wonderland World of Fast-tracked Secret Trade Agreements | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

“Sentence First, Verdict Afterwards”: The Alice in Wonderland World of Fast-tracked Secret Trade Agreements

Fast-track authority is being sought in the Senate this week for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), along with the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) and any other such trade agreements coming down the pike in the next six years. The terms of the TPP and the TiSA are so secret that drafts of the negotiations are to remain classified for four years or five years, respectively, after the deals have been passed into law. How can laws be enforced against people and governments who are not allowed to know what was negotiated?

...This corporate coup includes the privatization and offshoring of the judicial function delegated to the US court system in the Constitution, through Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions that strengthen existing ISDS procedures.

As explained in The Economist, ISDS gives foreign firms a special right to apply to a secretive tribunal of highly paid corporate lawyers for compensation whenever the government passes a law to do things that hurt corporate profits — such things as discouraging smoking, protecting the environment or preventing a nuclear catastrophe. Arbitrators are paid $600-700 an hour, giving them little incentive to dismiss cases. The secretive nature of the arbitration process and the lack of any requirement to consider precedent give wide scope for creative judgments – the sort of arbitrary edicts satirized by Lewis Carroll in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

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