John Hawkins apparently has taken on a mission to prove that the Bush Administration is not creating a North American Union to replace the United States, or a new currency — the Amero — to replace the U.S. dollar.
Recently, in a blog debate on this website, I exchanged views with Mr. Hawkins. When Mr. Hawkins declined to respond in what the editors termed “Round 4” of that debate, I concluded Mr. Hawkins allowed me to have the final word because he lacked a convincing rejoinder. Now, we see Mr. Hawkins wants to carry on the debate but this time against a vaguely defined “conspiracy theory” whose proponents Mr. Hawkins neglects to identify except to point fingers at Lou Dobbs, Diane Alden, and me.
Hawkins begins by characterizing the argument that the NAU is being created as a “conspiracy theory.” As I argued in the debate on the blog, this technique is an attempt to discredit the argument by ridicule. What Mr. Hawkins wants readers to assume is that any writer arguing the NAU proposition has to believe by definition that behind the NAU movement are the illuminati, or that Bigfoot is the “brains behind the NAU.”
The tactic was well described by radical socialist Saul D. Alinsky whose 1971 book “Rules for Radicals” asserted that: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule.” Mr. Alinsky was wrong on this, as he was on many political arguments. Ridicule can be countered by pointing out that ad hominem articles are usually all that is left for those who cannot muster the arguments to defeat a debate opponent on point.
Mr. Hawkins, you do not have to characterize statements by those of us who advance the NAU argument as “hysterical quotes” or arguments that are “not true at all” in order to position yourself to make the arguments you want to make.
To set the record straight, I believe there is no convincing evidence that a second assassin positioned behind the grassy knoll killed JFK, nor do I see definitive scientific evidence that the Loch Ness monster exists. I do find credible evidence, however, to advance the argument that the Bush administration is quietly creating the trilateral structure in administrative law of the NAU. The key action is going on within the executive branch in SPP.gov working groups. The goal seems to be to make the NAU a fait accompli without having to present the proposition first to the American public or the U.S. Congress for debate and approval. Far from being a conspiracy, the evidence for these contentions is “hidden” in the open, much of it published on government websites.
Mr Hawkins advances five “claims” which we will examine here in the order in which his article presents them. I will state the claims as Mr. Hawkins phrased them.
Claim #1: There is a Council of Foreign Relations report called, “Building a North American Community,” that’s being used as a “blueprint” for a merger of the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.
First, there is a CFR task force report under that title that was issued in May 2005. Moreover, there was a relatively neglected “Chairman’s Statement” under the title “Creating a North American Community” that was issued earlier, in March 2005.
Mr. Hawkins states that he telephoned Lee Feinstein, who is the executive director of the CFR task force program. Mr. Feinstein denied that the CFR reports in question called for the creation of a “superstate.” Moreover, Mr. Feinstein expressed uncertainty that anyone in the Bush administration was reading the report, paying any attention to it, or using it as a “blueprint.”
While Mr. Feinstein may head the CFR program, we find no mention that Mr. Feinstein participated on the task force of either of the CFR reports documented above. Nor do we find any evidence that task forces organized under Mr. Feinstein’s office have a requirement to consult him or seek his views, advice or approval before issuing their reports.
Mr. Hawkins is non-responsive to the argument I advanced in the blog debate that a scientifically conducted content analysis would most likely show correspondence between the CFR reports in question, the activity documented by the Department of Commerce website (SPP.gov), and the writings of a person who was task force vice chair for the reports in question, Dr. Robert A. Pastor of American University. Regardless of denials expressed by any CFR executive or even a task force member, the documents in question should speak for themselves.
There are too many correlations among these evidentiary sources to document them fully here. To cite one correspondence as an example, we note that the CFR May 2005 report called for the immediate creation of a “North American Advisory Council,” described on page 31 as an “independent body of advisers,” composed of “eminent persons from outside government, appointed to staggered multiyear terms to ensure their independence.” In the May 27, 2005 press conference announcing the release of the May 2005 CFR task force report, Robert Pastor argued for the creation of some “lean institutions,” one of which was described as a “North American advisory council made up of eminent individuals from all three countries, appointed for terms that are longer than those of the governments, and staggered over time.”
The idea for a “North American Commission” surfaced in Dr. Pastor’s 2001 book titled “Toward a North American Commission,” where on page 187 he recommended that the advisory group be “composed of distinguished individuals who are appointed by the three governments but are not in any of the governments.” The homepage at SPP.gov concludes by noting that President Bush, President Fox, and then-Prime Minister Martin of Canada announced at their March 2005 summit at Waco, Texas, “the creation of a North American Competitiveness Council to fully incorporate the private sector into the SPP process.” Then, on June 15, 2006, the NACC was created. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez convened the first meeting of the North American Competitiveness Council, organized exactly as Dr. Pastor and the May 2005 CFR task force report had recommended.
Another correspondence that a content analysis would reveal is the formation of a North American Investment Fund. Robert Pastor discussed this idea in his 2002 speech to the Trilateral Commission in which he argued for just such a fund. Next, the May 2005 CFR task force report argues for the creation of a North American Investment Fund on page 14. The acknowledgments section of this CFR report thanks Sen. John Cornyn (R.-Tex.) for contributing to the task force meeting in New York in 2004. Finally, on June 29, 2006, Sen. Cornyn introduced S. 3622 into the Senate, a bill calling for the formation of a North American Investment Fund. Always the discussion was the same — to create a new North American investment fund that would supplement World Bank funds expended in a trilateral effort to develop Mexico economically.
In the blog debate with Mr. Hawkins, I pointed out that on page 3 of the May 2005 CFR report, the task force referenced the March 2005 SPP declaration and wrote: “The Task Force is pleased to provide specific advice on how the partnership can be pursued and realized.” Given this sentence, we advance the argument that the CFR task force stated openly the intent to lay out a plan, or “blueprint,” for how the U.S. government should proceed to “pursue and realize” the partnership the Waco, Texas declaration had put into effect as of March 23, 2005. We also argued that the correspondence between the areas identified for trilateral agreement in the May 2005 CFR report and the trilateral executive branch working groups established under SPP.gov correspond quite closely.
All this we consider strong evidence that the May 2005 CFR was a blueprint for SPP.gov, a blueprint which is following the intellectual structure Dr. Pastor has put forth in his many years of labor to bring the NAU into existence. These correspondences are empirical documentary evidence, independent of the assertions of any particular executive who may have a personal agenda that informs their statements of denial.
Claim #2: “Quietly but systematically, the Bush Administration is advancing the plan to build a huge NAFTA Super Highway, four football-fields-wide, through the heart of the U.S.” – Jerome Corsi
Here Mr. Hawkins cites the executive director of NASCO, who asserts that NASCO is merely a trade organization that is not part of a conspiracy to build NAFTA super-highways. Mr. Harkins’ argument here is identical to his argument in the first claim: he references the denial of an executive as a statement of proof that their organizations are not involved in the alleged activity. The argument suffers the same deficiency: What is the proof the executive is not issuing a self-serving denial conveniently design to deflect public examination and criticism?
Mr. Harkins’ argument, however, is once again non-responsive. We have argued repeatedly that NASCO members are actively involved in building components of what we argue will emerge as a NAFTA super-highway on the model of the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC-35). We issued a challenge for NASCO to prove their point by repudiating the publicly stated plans of NASCO members, including the Texas Department of Transportation and the Kansas City SmartPort. We charged that NASCO added “debunking” sections to their homepage and website as a public relations make-over designed to deflect criticism. So far, NASCO has not responded, and neither has Mr. Hawkins.
Claim #3: A customs facility in Kansas City is going to become Mexican territory!
Here Mr. Hawkins begins by offering some personal praise, subtly packaging yet another ad hominem attack as professional admiration by characterizing the Mexican customs office being built in Kansas City by KC SmartPort as “a brilliant idea.” He points out that KC SmartPort officials assert that the purpose of the Mexican customs facility will only be to check “outgoing vehicles,” i.e. exports, which evidently Mr. Hawkins believes should give us no reason to object. Finally, Mr. Hawkins relies upon the testimony of yet another potentially self-interested executive, Tasha Hammes, a KC SmartPort marketing manager, who is associated with the Kansas City Area Development Council. Ms. Hammes asserts that the facility will be U.S. sovereign territory leased to Mexico. For Mr. Hawkins, that statement alone ends the debate on the issue.
Again, Mr Hawkins is non-responsive. We have examined internal emails of KC SmartPort executives that were obtained under a Missouri Sunshine Law. We have quoted from these emails to show that KC SmartPort officials communicating with each other in what they most likely assumed were never-to-be-public writings that the Mexican customs facility might just have to be considered Mexican sovereign territory. Moreover, the internal emails document that the question will remain open until KC SmartPort receives approval from the U.S. Department of State of the C-175 form KC SmartPort submitted to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to receive approval on the Mexican customs facility proposal. Mr. Hawkins failed to comment on this internal email evidence that we have presented and argued.
Claim #4: The United States, Mexico, and Canada are going to merge their currencies into something called an Amero.
Again, Mr. Hawkins begins with another form of the ad hominem discrediting argument, belittling anyone who would believe this claim that an Amero is in the works. He writes: “It’s always difficult to reason people out of something that they weren’t reasoned into in the first place and therefore, it’ll be very difficult to convince people who believe in this claim that it’s not going to happen.”
Moving beyond the personal attack, Mr. Hawkins once again advances executive statements to disavow the claim that the Amero is being contemplated by the U.S. government under the Bush administration. Mr. Hawkins notes that President Bush has never advocated this idea. Mr. Hawkins also notes that he spoke with David Bohigian at the Commerce Department who issued a flat denial that SPP was working on merging American currency with that of our neighbors. Again we note, that executive statements are not conclusive when the executives issuing a statement may have a self-interest in advancing a denial.
We have repeatedly argued that the NAU is being put in place incrementally, by executive action that is not explicitly stated in public speeches or advanced through legislation debated in Congress. We have cited the conclusions of Christopher Sands of the Center for Strategic and International Studies that the leaders of the U.S., Mexico, and Canada have committed to a process of bureaucratically led negotiations that will result in trilateral political integration, rather than proceeding through a process of open or public integration that going to the publics of the three countries or their legislatures would entail.
Mr. Hawkins agrees that creating the Amero is an explicit agenda item that Dr. Pastor has actively pursued, so we are spared having to document this point by reference to Dr. Pastor’s many writings and statements arguing for the creation of the Amero. Mr. Hawkins is once again non-responsive to our argument that a large body of academic literature exists arguing the desirability of creating a North American monetary union, whether or not the trilateral currency is named the Amero.
We noted that the updated SPP.gov listing of working groups describes a new “Financial Services Working Group” such that the top-level description does not produce sufficient detail to determine if trilateral integration of currencies is on the agenda, or not.
Even in the creation of the European Union, the creation of the Euro took some time. The European Council meeting in December 1995 in Madrid settled upon the Euro as a definitive name for the new European “unique currency,” even though the origins of the EU can be traced back to the Treaty of Rome in 1957. We expect the actual creation of a NAU unified currency will take several years after the NAU itself is fully realized.
Claim #5: The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America is the government entity that’s working on merging the United States, Canada, and Mexico!
Predictably, Mr. Hawkins establishes his denial of this claim by referring to executive testimony. David Bohigian at the Commerce Department evidently also told Mr. Hawkins that SPP was just “like a discussion you’d have with your neighbors,” not a treaty or agreement to merge currencies or erase borders. We note the contrast between this statement and the stonewalling the Commerce Department is doing with our FOIA request to see the composition of the SPP.gov working groups, as well as the trilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding being written by these working groups with Mexico and Canada. If the activity in SPP.gov were truly as innocent as Mr. Bohigian asserts, why has SPP.gov resisted posting on the Internet the information our FOIA request is seeking to have released for the public to read?
A close examination of SPP.gov documents that many areas of law and regulation that previously were the purview of the U.S. laws alone are evidently being rewritten by executive branch working groups as new trilateral administrative laws and regulations, without first being submitted to Congress for oversight, new legislation, or other forms of legislative approval.
For instance, the 2005 Report to Leaders on the SPP.gov website documents trilateral agreements to issue biometric ID cards to North American “trusted traders” who will apparently be able to use these cards alone to move freely throughout North America, able to live and work where they choose, without any other specific visa or border crossing documentation. This and the “trusted trader” trilateral agreements later described in the document are highly suggestive of the conclusion that SPP.gov is effectively erasing our borders with Mexico and Canada, even if that explicit purpose is never announced or admitted.
Mr. Hawkins also cites Tony Snow’s press conference denial that the Bush administration intends to merge the U.S. into the NAU. Retractions or restatements by White House press secretaries whose prior briefings were incomplete, or whose information given to the public needed otherwise to be restated are numerous in all modern presidential administrations, Democratic and Republican alike.
Mr. Hawkins argues that the creation of the NAU would require an explicit Constitutional process, possibly even a Constitutional Convention. Again, Mr. Hawkins is non-responsive to our argument that the legal and regulatory infrastructure of the NAU is being created by the executive branch in a de facto manner. Nor did he respond to our example that we already have Chapter 11 tribunals under NAFTA that could evolve into acting like the kind of North American dispute resolution institution described frequently in the writings of Dr. Pastor, as well as in the CFR May 2005 task force report.
Finally, Mr. Hawkins concludes with an admonition that we should be happy SPP.gov is working with our neighbors to improve our security and our prosperity and we shouldn’t worry about a non-existent “vast conspiracy to create a North American Union.” The “don’t worry” part of this “don’t worry, be happy” formula is delivered in the last sentence, where Mr. Hawkins cannot resist one last ad hominem shot. I will refrain from repeating the sentence but I will note that the arguments over the NAU gain credence the closer we look at them. I encourage Mr. Hawkins to rely less on personal testimony derived from involved participants and to spend more time studying and arguing from the extensive evidentiary body of SPP documents which many of us who are examining these questions have linked to in our various articles.
I conclude here as I concluded in the blog debate. I am grateful to Mr. Hawkins for continuing this debate. Challenging the arguments on the NAU should only draw more public attention and scrutiny of the many important issues being debated. I would only encourage Mr. Hawkins to drop the invective, which in the final analysis ends up being less abusive to those of us arguing the NAU than it is to himself.