Coupling the perennial issue of security with Wall Streetâ€™s measures of prosperity, the leaders of the three North American nations convened the Security and Prosperity Partnership. The White House-led initiative â€” launched at a March 23, 2005, meeting of President Bush, Mexicoâ€™s then-president Vicente Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin â€” links beefed-up commerce with coordinated military operations to promote what it calls â€śborderless unity.â€ť
Critics call it â€śNAFTA on steroids.â€ť Unlike NAFTA, however, the SPP was formed in secret without public input. â€śThe SPP is not a law or a treaty or even a signed agreement,â€ť Laura Carlsen wrote in a report for the Center for International Policy. â€śAll these would require public debate and participation of Congress, both of which the SPP has scrupulously avoided.â€ť
Instead the SPP has a special workgroup: the North American Competitiveness Council. Itâ€™s a coalition of private companies that are, according to the SPP Web site, â€śadding high-level business input (that) will assist governments in enhancing North Americaâ€™s competitive position and engage the private sector as partners in finding solutions.â€ť
The NACC includes Chevron Corporation, Ford Motor Company, General Electric, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Merck & Co., New York Life Insurance, Procter & Gamble Co.
â€śWhere are the environmental council, the labor council and the citizenâ€™s council in this process?â€ť Carlsen asked.
A look at NAFTAâ€™s unpopularity among citizens in all three nations is evidence of why its expansion would need to be disguised. â€śItâ€™s a scheme to create a borderless North American Union under U.S. control without barriers to trade and capital flows for corporate giants, mainly U.S. ones,â€ť wrote Steven Lendman in Global Research. â€śItâ€™s also to insure America gets free and unlimited access to Canadian and Mexican resources, mainly oil, and in the case of Canada, water as well.â€ť
SOURCES: â€śDeep Integration,â€ť Laura Carlsen, Center for International Policy, May 30, 2007; â€śThe Militarization and Annexation of North America,â€ť Stephen Lendman, Global Research, July 19, 2007; â€śThe North American Union,â€ť Constance Fogal, Global Research, Aug. 2, 2007.3.InfraGard Guards Itself
The FBI and Department of Homeland Security have effectively deputized 23,000 members of the business community, asking them to tip off the feds in exchange for preferential treatment in the event of a crisis. â€śThe members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials,â€ť Matthew Rothschild wrote in the March 2008 issue of The Progressive.
InfraGard was created in 1996 in Cleveland as part of an FBI probe into cyberthreats. Yet after 9/11 membership jumped from 1,700 to more than 23,000 and now includes 350 of the nationâ€™s Fortune 500 companies. Members typically have a stake in one of several crucial infrastructure industries, including agriculture, banking, defense, energy, food, telecommunications, law enforcement and transportation.
The groupâ€™s 86 chapters coordinate with 56 FBI field offices nationwide. While FBI Director Robert Mueller has said he considers this segment of the private sector â€śthe first line of defense,â€ť the American Civil Liberties Union issued a grave warning about the potential for abuse. â€śThere is evidence that InfraGard may be closer to a corporate TIPS program, turning private-sector corporations â€” some of which may be in a position to observe the activities of millions of indi-
CONTINUES ON PAGE 18