Last week, New Mexico became the second state to ban the practice of civil asset forfeiture, which allows state and local law enforcement agencies to seize property from innocent people.
Gov. Susana Martinez (R) signed HB 560 on Friday, which states that property can only be seized if a person is “arrested for an offense to which forfeiture applies, the person is convicted by a criminal court of the offense, and the state establishes by clear and convincing evidence that the property is subject to forfeiture.” In other words, property seizure is only permitted if a person is guilty of a crime. The bill, which received unanimous approval in the state legislature, was first introduced by Rep. Zachary Cook (R). …
In 2009, just a year before Sebastián Piñera became president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet approved the training of 211 Chilean recruits at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), formerly known as the School of the Americas (SOA).
Between 1999 and 2010, Chilean governments sent a total of 1,205 recruits to the school, with Bachelet remaining at the helm of cooperation with the U.S.-based institute that has graduated scores of alumni involved in human rights violations under Chile’s dictatorship era from 1973 to 1990.
Despite the macabre reality inflicted upon Chileans during Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship, the Concertación governments of the center-left, allegedly embarking upon a democratic future for Chile, retained ties with the school that produced torturers such as Miguel Krassnoff Martchenko, who, according to torture survivors, never concealed his identity while subjecting his victims to brutality.
Bachelet’s father, Gen. Alberto Bachelet, who was loyal to socialist president Salvador Allende, was tortured to death by the Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional (the National Intelligence Directorate, also known as DINA). Bachelet herself was detained and tortured by DINA, later fleeing into exile and returning back to Chile in 1979.
Under Bachelet’s first presidency (2006-2010), Chilean cooperation with the U.S. expanded, especially following her one-year stay at Fort Lesley J. McNair, in Washington, D.C., which provided the prelude to Bachelet’s military and surveillance investment. Socialism quickly eroded into opportunism, with the country’s first female president emphasizing Pinochet’s legacy of oblivion as she extended diplomatic maneuvers to former DINA torturers, even praising generals allegedly involved in the torture that contributed to her father’s death. …
The powers-that-be are pushing this week to fast track a horrible treaty which would destroy America.
The treaty is called the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The U.S. Trade Representative – the federal agency responsible for negotiating trade treaties – has said that the details of the TPP are classified due to “national security”.
Why’s the deal being kept secret? Because it would be impossible to pass if the public knew what was really in it:
Ron Kirk, until recently Mr. Obama’s top trade official, was remarkably candid about why he opposed making the text public: doing so, he suggested to Reuters, would raise such opposition that it could make the deal impossible to sign.
Senator Elizabeth Warren notes:
Supporters of the deal say to me, “They have to be secret, because if the American people knew what was actually in them, they would be opposed.”
But it’s not only being hidden from the American people … it’s being hidden even from most U.S.Congress members.
A Congressman who has seen the text of the treaty says:
There is no national security purpose in keeping this text secret … this agreement hands the sovereignty of our country over to corporate interests.
It would also allow foreign corporations to challenge U.S. laws. It will literally override American law. As the New York Times headlines in Trans-Pacific Partnership Seen as Door for Foreign Suits Against U.S.:
Companies and investors would be empowered to challenge regulations, rules, government actions and court rulings — federal, state or local — before tribunals organized under the World Bank or the United Nations. …
While it’s falsely called a “trade agreement”, only 5 out of 29 of TPP’s chapters have anything to do with trade. And conservatives point out that even the 5 chapters on trade do not promote free trade. Bloomberg calls TPP a “corporatist power grab”, “as democratic and transparent as a one-party state,” and shrouded in “Big Brother-like secrecy”.
TPP would increase the cost of consumer loans, make prescription drugs more expensive, destroy privacy, harm food safety, let Wall Street run amok, make it illegal to favor local businesses, and – yes – literally act to destroy the sovereignty of the U.S. and the other nations which sign the bill.
A very credible inside source also tells Washington’s Blog that TPP contains provisions which would severely harm America’s national security. Specifically, like some previous, ill-conceived treaties, TPP would allow foreign companies to buy sensitive American assets which could subject us to terror attacks or economic blackmail.
Huffington Post quotes the New York Times and Wikileaks to explain how the dispute provisions would gut the American legal system:
The WikiLeaks analysis explains that this lets firms “sue” governments to obtain taxpayer compensation for loss of “expected future profits.” …
To give an idea of what would happen to American law if TPP passes, just look at Equador … Its courts awarded billions against Chevron for trashing huge swaths of rainforest. But then a private arbitration panel simply ignored the country’s court system. If TPP passes, we’ll be treated like a third world country, and our American laws and courts will be ignored as well. …
The backers of TPP – including Obama and many in Congress – are trying to approve a “fast track” procedure this week that would prevent Congress from having any real input into the agreement, or to even have the opportunity to debate what should be in the agreement.
But the treaty is so bad, that if we just defeat the attempt to fast-track it, it will die a natural death as soon as it’s made public … and Congress has to engage in serious debate on the horrible agreement, and answer to its angry constituents.
We’ve stopped other bad trade bills … and we can stop this one.