Thursday, December 17, 2020

10 reasons by CETA would finish Ireland - letter to the FT


Can Ireland (indeed Europe) afford the CETA trade deal? 

“CETA hands corporations the right to demand compensation from our government if a law damages their profits. This could cover everything from environmental protections, safety for working people, our health and more” (Uplift). 


The Green Party explanation says there is a new approach “mitigating  the risk  of  abuse and safeguarding the right to regulate in the public interest”.

If you think about it for one moment even, you will realize that every law and policy brought for consideration damages the profits of one corporation or another. Let’s take 10 examples and consequences of abuse even before we give them legal as well as financial power over governments and countries.

Corporations and Covid

1)  New regulations to ‘flatten the curve’ in March. I wrote and asked the government to close abbatoirs and live export as two high-risk businesses for the spread of Covid between both workers and countries, through their lax consideration for life (I didn’t say the last bit in the letter to them but, remember, I was a legal advocate in a protected disclosure case against the meat industry in 2015 and the government took their side, despite the 300 pages of evidence. For restrictions, as well, my TD said “Sorry, Franc, the meat industry are too big” Two months later the virus was almost gone bar several serious clusters in meat factories. Were they closed even for a moment? No. There were still 52-seater buses crammed with sick meat workers being ferried into work on threat of losing their jobs, over 300 new inspectors employed and only 16 inspections carried out. 

Governments Only Pay For Loss of Profits - How long is a piece of string?

2)  The Green party explanation adds ‘The  court will  not  be able  to  award punitive  damages,  only damages  that  amount to  the  specific loss.’ Let’s take the arms industry. That Trident nuclear submarine replacement in the UK is to cost 205 billion. What if the government decide to spend that money in public interest instead? What if they stop sending arms to Saudi Arabia. Will they immediately owe those lost profits. In Ireland we have our own arms industry, military intelligence and although we have just signed the treaty to ban nuclear weapons thankfully (coming in to force on the 23rdJanuary) will we be doing anything about the components (Dail Debate) make here. This article explains how inconsistent Ireland’s policy is already and the fact that the main weapons investors in Ireland are AIB and the Irish State’s Nation Pension Reserve Fund. .  Our military telecommunications exports are around 410 million this year and drones and related weapons just under 40million. What if the government decided that the human cost of war was too great and we shouldn’t host these companies. What profits would we owe them and relocation costs.

What happened to Taxing Corporations & Financial Services

3)  And what if Europe tried to implement that 0.01% tax on Financial Services to save us from the recession? One MEP thought it was so important that he went on hunger strike for more than two weeks to get it discussed again). That will cut into their profits and maybe they’ll be able to afford the best lawyers to argue that it is against the trade agreement to implement any tax. We have our own International Financial Services Centre in Dublin in Northwall & George’s Dock. An RTE report in September 2020 said that before them, people were able to own their own homes without being burdened for their lifetime in crippling debt to get Foreign Direct Investment. For a community-level understanding, think of the IDA grants – for foreign business to start up in Ireland and Enterprise Ireland Business Continuity Grants. The latter, going to Irish SMEs is stopping at the end of December but the IDA will be extended to December 2021. 

Ireland Inc is Itself A Corporation That Will Pose A Threat, Having Already Ripped Ireland Off To The Tune of Billions  

4)  Ireland itself is a Corporation; Ireland Inc. You might have thought they would be on our side but no, Ireland Inc is currently considered the tenth most attractive prospect for Foreign Direct Investment in the world. It was the recipient/destination of 100 billion in shifted profits in 2015, from the International Financial Services Centre – none of it creating any sort of financial benefit for Irish People. If we interrupt their massive profits and tax free status, the financial industry will bankrupt the government first and then the actual productive services (food, clothes, housing, health, education) instantly.

Global Reset = Sue Every Country and Then The Banks End up Owning Everything & Everyone as Collateral

5)  The CETA deal would add legal power to existing financial power. It would facilitate an instant power grab where, government by government and therefore country by country, are bankrupted; the agenda being a financial and wider reset where all sovereignty is lost. The corporations sue the governments and a country’s debt allows the banks to recoup everything in exchange for it. What is sovereignty? The ability for a person or community or country to look after themselves, through growing their own food, their ability to ban or refuse substances or practices that exploit or eradicate social structures and people’s lives. That is the outcome and it would be instant.

Take Power FROM The Banks for their Fraudulent Behaviour

6)  The CETA agreement and the current IDA and FDI extrapolation of wealth is the exact opposite of what the public want. It is the exact opposite of a just transition. It is the exact opposite of starting an EU-wide public bank where people’s money would be safe and facilitates the State’s sovereign right to create the credit we need to support real services and businesses (and don’t get me started on food security and meaningful work. It seems almost naïve to put those two words together anymore). Banks should be having their power taken away right now. They have been operating fraudulently for ten years, lending money, purely digitally, with no regard for their reserves and recouping heinous amounts of interest. We have a window here to say out loud that they are insolvent and they should have declared their insolvency; to insist banks forgive a whole generation of mortgage loans, lent on this illegal basis. They must not be allowed to claim more debt, from offering credit to get recover from the Covid crisis let alone demand more bailouts. Paschal Donohoe must be in on their fraudulent plan or he doesn’t understand. Neither interpretation bodes well in a finance minister.  And why should we be taking away Corporations’ power? They are not paying any tax; we already cannot regulate them. On a ground level, Ireland has banned the use of several toxic fungicides, pesticides and herbicides but does not have the power to stop TESCO or any ‘multinational’ from selling products grown using them. And there’s no requirement to label them either. Think of the massive advantage corporations already take (or we already give) to unethical intensive producers in warmer growing climates, using low paid workers in insecure housing (also known as slavery in their supply chains) and undercutting anything grown properly, harmlessly or locally. 

CETA trade deal leaves no way to address covert profiteering

7)  Brexit is looming and Ireland should be moving our ferries to travel between here and the continent. Instead, the government has been subsidizing the ferries between UK and here ‘for food imports and exports and pharmaceutical exports’. The hauliers should be subsidized not the ferries. And with CETA, Ireland will never be able to address the fraud which is the import of food from Europe to the UK and then how it is just loaded again in UK warehouses and brought over – increasing the price of food here several times over. Instead, the Irish government has been giving recovery grants to the Food and Drink sector including exporters and importers. A cursory look at who those exporters are will show that they are billionaires, nothing like the pubs and venues obliterated here, through changing restrictions (wet pubs? Who coined that phrase, to make them sound like the ‘wet markets’ of China. Everyone knows there’s much less risk from drinking a pint than sitting down to a meal) 

        People might not know that much of the 50 million for farmers’ recovery went to manufacturers too – the very same factories that would not shut and did not lose out and indeed kept the pandemic going flat out when the countr was nearly clear. And remember the pharmaceutical industry are corporations too, and already non-compliant (animal welfare in research and use of ingredients with known side affects) with impunity (it is in law that they are not responsible for adverse affects from their products).  Think of the power they already have over governments, especially as they are associated with hospital and healthcare provision. They have mission statements to have ‘every citizen on an average of 4 prescribed drugs from cradle to grave’ and in America, doctors lose their licenses if they don’t deliver the full complement of 26 vaccines to their patient list. This is big business. In Ireland, who do you think is suggesting that the government should have new school vaccination programmes rolled out and advertise on peak hour radio that people should have flu vaccines every year. They are creating a market. With this latest virus, they are seeking to create a captive market. What does this have to do with CETA? It will be banks, multinational supermarkets, technology (which they are now calling ‘dual purpose’ military and civilian technology. Which should ring alarm bells) and pharmaceutical nano & biological blends that will be controlling us. The government will be able to do nothing about any even of its own commitments laid out in the Programme For Government or the Paris Agreement or EU directives. 

Justice, Precedent and Environmental and Other Laws: Out. Financial Gain As Superior Law: In

8)  How do I know that there will be no instances where a government wins a law suit against a corporation? I take TESCO as my example first, where they kept buying up stretches of riverside and applied for planning permission for their megastores. In response, there were always countless objections and evidence brought forwards of threat to town centre businesses and destruction of natural habitats and species. TESCO would appeal and appeal the refusal for permission, until the County Council’s could not afford to defend their refusal anymore and the stores went ahead.  

Environment Cannot Be Protected: The law of Ecocide has not been adopted in Ireland and so there is not even a case to be made for wilful environmental damage by Corporations

9)  More recently, there was the case of Austria announcing that it would go organic, completely. Everyone was on board and Europe as we know has as one of their directives that each country should aim for 20% organic to save biodiversity. Suddenly it turned out that it would be ‘illegal’ for them to become fully organic and ban Monsanto/Bayer etc farm sprays and seeds. This is an exact case of a corporation’s profits being threatened and that not being allowed.

Public Money is Already Going Directly to Technology With No study of Damage To Civilians or Natural World

10)                  It was 6 months ago today that the Green Business Consultancy got our tender in to run Ireland’s National Biodiversity Data Centre. We had a proposal to roll out a nationwide recruitment of citizen scientists (All the data comes from these volunteers, no one is paid to gather biodiversity data and they had only managed to recruit 10,000 in ten years. We planned to involve every school and every college, as well as members of NGO’s concerned and knowledgable about species and species loss. We had heard that Ireland is charged several thousand a day for our failure to survey and protect biodiversity in the designated special conservation areas, since they asked us to 20 years ago. 

      We knew as well of the roll out of rural broadband and 5G and proposed a survey of areas before and after the shortwave masts went up and the new 'communication hubs' - of which 300 were put on Valentia Island alone (an island that is only 3 miles by 7miles), without any study of increased electro magnetic stress or possible disorientating affects on migrating birds and insects. 

       We went a step further and said we would implement an Information Management System which would allow the government and Local Authority procurement departments to draw down Green Deal funding on the strength of real data and evidenced biodiversity goals and results (Biodiversity includes marine and fresh water life and plants as well as land, soil, wildlife and insects (pollinators/beneficial and harmful insects. Not only did we not get that tender, they wouldn't even read it. They just wanted to give it to Compass Informatics. Even though they have no recruitment drive, no data coming in, no obvious use of the half a million annual contract - except for 4 scientists on about 50,000 who don't want to lose that so say nothing. Everyone telling the same story, that they're terribly underfunded. Even though the hardware is there, the software is there, a hopeless on line shop where the manager sends out a guide to recognising bees or dragonflies. Very fishy altogether. Oh yes, and it's overseen by the Heritage Council, the minister for which also asked them to consider the proposal. 

       At the moment surveys are only done by companies who seek to exploit a resource – as I found out when we applied for the National Seaweed Mapping project. We were going to pay the tradional seaweed harvesting license-holders to observe and monitor their area. But no, they didn’t want to tell the Irish seaweed harvesters about the plan, they wanted only a drone and software to sell to International mechanical harvesting interests. Oh who are they, you might ask. Canada is definitely the main one. And who is the CETA agreement with? Canada. And who has already bought a lot of Irish coastline harvesting rights? Canada. And is there crossover between Irish harvesting licenses and what has already been sold to Canada? Yes. And is mechanical harvesting damaging? Yes. And does between 40 % 80% of our oxygen come from algae and seaweed? Yes. And do you think that traditional seaweed harvesters are likely to win in court, even with the Oireachtas committee having decided to protect their rights in 2019? No. We lost the fisheries to the EU. We are just about to lose the Seaweed. In fact we will lose everything if CETA goes ahead; all our assets, our homes, our freedom, our ability to make our own living and our health. 


Thank goodness for the public campaigns, the opposition and the green party too who questioned the CETA trade deal so it wasn’t ratified on Tuesday in a rush and there’s another month for consideration. This is serious but it’s not through yet. Fight it will all you have.