Project Censored’s TOP 25 CENSORED STORIES FOR 2009 – 2008-09-25 22:19:05
(September 25, 2008) — Leaders of Canada, the US, and Mexico have been meeting to secretly expand the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with “deep integration” of a more militarized tri-national Homeland Security force. Taking shape under the radar of the respective governments and without public knowledge or consideration, the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP)—headquartered in Washington—aims to integrate the three nations into a single political, economic, and security bloc.
The SPP was launched at a meeting of Presidents George W. Bush and Vicente Fox, and Prime Minister Paul Martin, in Waco, Texas, on March 31, 2005. The official US web page describes the SPP as “. . . a White House-led initiative among the United States and Canada and Mexico to increase security and to enhance prosperity . . .” The SPP is not a law, or a treaty, or even a signed agreement. All these would require public debate and participation of Congress.
The SPP was born in the “war on terror” era and reflects an inordinate emphasis on US security as interpreted by the Department of Homeland Security. Its accords mandate border actions, military and police training, modernization of equipment, and adoption of new technologies, all under the logic of the US counter-terrorism campaign. Head of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, along with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Finance Carlos Gutierrez, are the three officials charged with attending SPP ministerial conferences.
Measures to coordinate security have pressured Mexico to militarize its southern border. US military elements already operate inside Mexico and the DEA and the FBI have initiated training programs for the Mexican Army (now involved in the drug war), federal and state police, and intelligence units.
Stephen Lendman states that a Pentagon briefing paper hinted at a US invasion if the country became destabilized or the government faced the threat of being overthrown because of “widespread economic and social chaos” that would jeopardize US investments, access to oil, overall trade, and would create great numbers of immigrants heading north.
Canada’s influential Department of National Defence; its new Chief of Defence Staff, General Rick Hillier; and Defense Minister Gordon O’Connor are on board as well. They’re committed to ramping up the nation’s military spending and linking with America’s “war on terror.”
The SPP created the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC) that serves as an official tri-national SPP working group. The group is composed of representatives of thirty giant North American companies, including General Electric, Ford Motors, General Motors, Wal-Mart, Lockheed-Martin, Merck, and Chevron.
NACC’s recommendations centered on “private sector involvement” being “a key step to enhancing North America’s competitive position in global markets and is the driving force behind innovation and growth.” The NACC stressed the importance of establishing policies for maximum profits.
The US-guided agenda prioritizes corporate-friendly access to resources, especially Canadian and Mexican oil and water. The NACC’s policy states that “the prosperity of the United States relies heavily on a secure supply of imported energy.” US energy security is seen as a top priority encouraging Canada and Mexico to allow privatization of state-run enterprises like Mexico’s nationalized oil company, PEMEX.
In January 2008, Halliburton signed a $683 million contract with PEMEX to drill fifty-eight new test holes in Chiapas and Tabasco and take over maintenance of pipelines. This is the latest of $2 billion in contracts Halliburton has received from PEMEX during Fox’s and current Mexican president Felipe Calderone’s administrations, which the opposition warns has become the public front for US monopoly capital privatization. (1) US policy seeks to insure America gets unlimited access to Canada water as well.
Connie Fogal of Canadian Action Party says, “The SPP is the hostile takeover of the apparatus of democratic government . . . a coup d’etat over the government operations of Canada, US and Mexico.”
1. “Mexican Farmers Protest NAFTA Hardships,” People’s Weekly World, February 7, 2008.
UPDATE BY STEPHEN LENDMAN
A fourth SPP summit was held in New Orleans from April 22 to 24, 2008. George Bush, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon attended. Protesters held what they called a “people’s summit.”
They were in the streets and held workshops to inform people how destructive SPP is, strengthen networking and organizational ties against it, maintain online information about their activities, promote efforts and build added support, and affirm their determination to continue resisting a hugely repressive corporate-sponsored agenda.
Opponents call the “Partnership” NAFTA on steroids. Business-friendly opposition also exists. The prominent Coalition to Block the North American Union (NAU) is backed by the Conservative Caucus, which has a “NAU War Room,” a “headquarters of the national campaign to expose and halt America’s absorption into a North American Union with Canada and Mexico.” It opposes building “a massive, continental ‘NAFTA Superhighway.’”
This coalition has congressional allies, and on January 2007, Rep. Virgil Goode and six co-sponsors introduced House Concurrent Resolution 40, which expresses “the sense of Congress that the United States should not engage in (building a NAFTA) Superhighway System or enter into a NAU with Mexico and Canada.”
The April summit reaffirmed SPP’s intentions—to create a borderless North America, dissolve national sovereignty, put corporate giants in control, and assure big US companies most of it. It’s also to create fortress-North America by militarizing the continent under US command.
SPP maintains a website. Its “key accomplishments” since August 2007 are updated as of April 22, 2008. The information is too detailed for this update, but can be accessed from the following link: A href=”http://www.spp.gov/pdf/key_accomplishments_since_august_2007.pdf”>http://www.spp.gov/pdf/key_accomplishments_since_august_2007.pdf.
The website lists principles agreed to; bilateral deals struck; negotiations concluded; study assessments released; agreements on the “Free Flow of Information”; law enforcement activities; efforts related to intellectual property, border and long-haul trucking enforcement; import licensing procedures; food and product safety issues; energy issues (with special focus on oil); infrastructure development; emergency management; and much more. It’s all laid out in deceptively understated tones to hide its continental aim—to enable enhanced corporate exploitation with as little public knowledge as possible.
Militarization includes the US Northern Command (NORTHCOM), established in October 2002, which has air, land, and sea responsibility for the continent regardless of Posse Comitatus limitations that no longer apply or sovereign borders that are easily erased. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) also have large roles. So does the FBI, CIA, all US spy agencies, militarized state and local police, National Guard forces, and paramilitary mercenaries like Blackwater USA.
They’re headed anywhere on the continent with license to operate as freely as in Iraq and New Orleans post-Katrina. They’ll be able to turn hemispheric streets into versions of Baghdad and make them unfit to live on if things come to that.
Consider other militarizing developments as well. On February 14, 2008, the US and Canada agreed to allow American troops inside Canada. Canadians were told nothing of this agreement, which was drafted in 2002. Neither was it discussed in Congress or in the Canadian House of Commons.
The agreement establishes “bilateral integration” of military command structures in areas of immigration, law enforcement, intelligence, or whatever else the Pentagon or Washington wishes. Overall, it’s part of the “war on terror” and militarizing the continent to make it “safer” for business and being prepared for any civilian opposition.
Mexico is also being targeted, with a “Plan Mexico” that was announced in October 2007. It’s a Mexican and Central American security plan called the Merida Initiative, supported by $1.4 billion in allocated aid. Congress will soon vote on this initiative, likely well before this is published. It’s a “regional security cooperation initiative” similar to Plan Colombia and presented as an effort to fight drug trafficking.
In fact, the Merida Initiative is part of SPP’s militarization of Mexico and gives Washington more control of the country. Most of the aid goes to Mexico’s military and police forces, with a major portion earmarked for US defense contractors for equipment, training, and maintenance. The touchy issue of deploying US troops will be avoided by instead employing private US security forces, i.e., Blackwater and DynCorp.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org, Mondays from 11 am to 1 pm CT.
• Center for International Policy, May 30, 2007
Title: “‘Deep Integration’—the Anti-Democratic Expansion of NAFTA” Author: Laura Carlsen
• Global Research, July 19, 2007
Title: “The Militarization and Annexation of North America” Author: Stephen Lendman
• Global Research, August 2, 2007
Title: “North American Union: The SPP is a ‘hostile takeover’ of democratic government and an end to the Rule of Law” Author: Constance Fogal
Student Researchers: Rebecca Newsome and Andrea Lochtefeld
Faculty Evaluator: Ron Lopez, PhD