In the face of mounting public awareness and criticism, the Bush Administration is launching an offensive to claim that those arguing issues of NAFTA Super-Highways, a North American Union, or a new currency called the “Amero” are largely Internet conspiracy theorists whose claims should be dismissed as imaginary.
Several months ago, few U.S. citizens had ever heard of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP). Now, SPP.gov, the Department of Commerce website dedicated to advancing the Security and Prosperity Partnership, has been forced to add a new “Myths v. Facts” section aimed at debunking arguments made that SPP.gov is advancing an agenda to create a new regional government, along the model of the European Union.
The first myth/fact exchange addresses the legal status of SPP. To quote directly from the document on the SPP.gov website (including the grammatical error in the first sentence), we find the document’s first attempt at denial:
Myth: The SPP was an agreement signed by Presidents (sic) Bush and his Mexican and Canadian counterparts in Waco, TX, on March 23, 2005.
Fact: The SPP is a dialogue to increase security and enhance prosperity among the three countries. The SPP is not an agreement nor is it a treaty. In fact, no agreement was ever signed.
The intent here appears to be to belittle the importance of what is happening within the many cabinet-level “working groups” constituted with the executive branches of the three countries. In doing so, the Bush Administration admits that the SPP activity is nothing more than “a dialogue,” mere talk. Evidently this point is conceded because the alternative would be to insist that any trilateral written agreements resulting from SPP should be submitted to the Senate as treaties demanding a two-thirds vote for approval. In an effort to down-play the importance of the extensive SPP activities being organized under Secretary Carlos Gutierrez in the Department of Commerce, we even find that the once ubiquitous SPP logo has been carefully removed from the current “debunking” version of the SPP.gov website.
Yet a close examination of the SPP.gov website makes questionable that that SPP is doing nothing more significant than talking. The “2005 Report to Leaders” contained on the SPP.gov website lists more than 30 references to “trilateral memoranda of understanding,” “mutual agreements,” and other “frameworks of common principles,” all of which strongly suggest that formal, written legal agreements have been reached by the trilateral “working groups” operating within SPP.gov.
The first five public policy areas listed in “2005 Report to Leaders” are quoted directly below, to illustrate the nature of the formal written agreements and subsequent executive branch governmental decisions and actions that are proceeding from the dialogue, making it clear that much more than talking is going on. We have underlined the terms that suggest much more than mere neighborly conversation.
- Electronic Commerce. “In June 2005, our three countries signed a Framework of Common Principles for Electronic Commerce that will encourage the development of trans-border online business in North America.”
- Liberalization of Rules of Origin. “We have completed the implementation of modifications of rules of origin, covering goods such as household appliances, precious metals, and various machinery and equipment parts.”
- Consumer Products. “Canada and the United States have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance and strengthen the exchange of information and cooperative activities on public health and safety protection related to the safety of consumer products, and encourage compatibility of standards-related measures to the greatest extent practicable. Likewise, Mexico and the United States are holding negotiations to reach an agreement on a similar Memorandum of Understanding.”
- Textiles and Apparel Labelling (sic). “We have reached an arrangement on the Use of Care symbols on Textile and Apparel Goods Labels that will facilitate market access of textile and apparel goods by the uniform acceptance of harmonized care symbols in North America. We plan to sign this agreement in July.”
- Temporary Work Entry. “The three countries have forwarded a trilateral document setting out each country’s domestic procedures to modify NAFTA’s temporary entry appendix on professionals to the NAFTA Free Trade Commission for approval. This will clarify procedures in each country, thereby providing a mechanism for more North American professionals to be given temporary entry.”
Why aren’t the many tri-lateral agreements discussed in the “2005 Report to Leaders” published on the website, hot-linked within SPP.gov so they can easily be referenced and read? Nor can we find specific oversight congressional hearings which have examined these agreements in detail or questioned the “ministerial level working group members” about the specific legislative authorization they relied upon to constitute their working groups or to derive the many trilateral agreements that have been reached within what appears to be secrecy (or, at best, minimum disclosure) by the various U.S. executive branch administrative agencies involved in the SPP working groups.
Only a few documents and government websites are listed on SPP.gov under “SPP Documents and Useful Links.” Are these the most important or the most current trilateral agreements reached by SPP.gov as described in the “2005 Report to Leaders” on the website? Or, are these references meant merely to be representative of the wide range of working group activity and trilateral agreements achieved to date? Why are these documents on the SPP.gov website and not other documents? Why are the published documents and linked websites not identified for easy understanding and simple reference back to the more comprehensive “2005 Report to Leaders” that is on the website?
What appears to be going on within SPP.gov is not simply a dialogue, but a massive and on-going re-writing of U.S. administrative law to “integrate” or “harmonize” our administrative law with the corresponding administrative law of Mexico and Canada. A wide range of public policy areas are involved in the SPP re-write of U.S. administrative law, ranging from e-commerce, through air travel, steel policy, textile policy, energy policy, environmental issues, trusted trader programs, trusted traveler programs and biometric cards issued to citizens of the three countries. The resulting “trilateral agreements” are being achieved by SPP all without specific disclosure to the U.S. public or direct oversight examination by Congress.
Charges of this magnitude demand we consider the possibility that an executive branch coup d’etat is underway to create a new regional government below the radar of media, public, or congressional understanding or scrutiny.
Examining the hundreds of government websites devoted to SPP.gov in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, we find additional evidence that belies the assertion that SPP.gov is nothing more than a “dialogue.” The SPP website of the President of Mexico refers to SPP.gov as an “Alliance,” a word much more suggestive of a treaty, or at least a new formal status of international relations, that has been formally declared among the three nations. This Mexican website also lists much more clearly and comprehensively the full range of cabinet-level and administrative branch officials involved in the SPP.gov working groups, ranging in the U.S. to include at least the following U.S. executive branch administrative agencies: U.S. Department of State, Department of Commerce, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Treasury, Department of Transportation, Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Human Services, as well as their counterparts in Mexican and Canadian executive branch agencies. We find no reference on SPP.gov to indicate that any members of Congress have been invited to participate in the working groups, even as informed observers.
President Bush’s statement following the Cancun trilateral summit in March 2006 also calls SPP a “Partnership,” echoing Mexico’s suggestion of an “Alianza,” suggesting that the legal status of SPP is more than a mere declaration or press release. Consider President Bush’s description in this document of the extensive trilateral administrative work underway in the many executive branch agencies of the three governments:
This Partnership (SPP) has increased our institutional contacts to respond to our vision of a stronger, more secure, and more prosperous region. In June 2005, our three governments released detailed work-plans identifying key initiatives that form an ambitious agenda of collaboration. Since June, we have worked to implement these initiatives. Many will take months or years to be completed, but we already note significant results. We ask our Ministers to build on this momentum.
On September 13, 2005, Deputy Secretary of Commerce David A. Sampson admitted that SPP was a “blueprint” in a speech given to the Canadian-American Border Trade Alliance:
The SPP announced last March by President Bush, Prime Minister Martin and Mexican President Vicente Fox, unveiled a blueprint for a safer and more prosperous North America for the 21st century.
Since the trilateral summit meeting in Waco, Tex., the governments of the U.S., Mexico, and Canada appear to be acting as if the three nations have achieved some formal new status, declared as a Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America. We are invited to consider whether SPP in reality is not just a “dialogue,” but a formal and advanced integration of the three nations such that the administrative law in each nation has been altered by the executive branches of the three governments to accomplish regional goals, not specifically national goals. Is then SPP a second stage NAFTA, a “Super-NAFTA,” designed to function as a transitional second stage on the way to the end goal of a true regional government, a North American Union expected to emerge as a fait accompli from the SPP rewriting of the three nations’ administrative law?
The question is this: What is the SPP “blueprint” intended to build? The second myth/fact exchange in the newly posted paper under that title on SPP.gov denies forcefully that the intent of the Bush administration is to create a North American Union:
Myth: The SPP is a movement to merge the United States, Mexico, and Canada into a North American Union and establish a common currency.
Fact: The cooperative efforts under SPP, which can be found in detail at http://www.spp.gov, seek to make the United States, Canada and Mexico open to legitimate trade and closed to terrorism and crime. It does not change our courts or legislative processes and respects the sovereignty of the United States, Mexico, and Canada. The SPP in no way, shape or form considers the creation of a European Union-like structure or a common currency. The SPP does not attempt to modify our sovereignty or currency or change the American system of government designed by our Founding Fathers.
Interestingly, this denial of guilt implies the seriousness of the charge. In other words, if there were not prima facia evidence suggesting the SPP blueprint was designed to create to advance the agenda of creating a new North American regional government, why should SPP.gov seek to refute the assertion so univocally?
Unfortunately, since Watergate, we have had to learn that even strongly worded presidential protestations of innocence cannot always be taken as definitive or reliable as stated. “Which is more believable?” is the question we must ask in today’s post-Watergate world. Do we believe as a matter of trust Tony Snow’s denial that the Bush administration intends to create a North American Union? Or, do we believe the ample evidence already published on SPP.gov describing the extensive rewrite of U.S. administrative law designed to achieve trilateral bureaucratic integration that is quietly being advanced by the Bush administration under cover of denial?
We have previously noted that Robert Pastor, whom we have called the Father of the North American Union, informed the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in June 2005 that the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) report titled “Building a North American Community,” of which he was a vice chair, is the SPP blueprint. Dr. Pastor’s testimony to the Senate on this point is clear and direct:
Entitled “Building a North American Community,” the report offered a blueprint of the goals that the three countries of North America should pursue and the steps needed to achieve these goals.
On page 7, the CFR document in question calls for putting in place by 2010 the integrated trilateral long-term institutional structure needed to realize ultimately a fully functioning North American Union, along the political model of the European Union.
If SPP.gov is following Dr. Pastor’s roadmap, why wouldn’t we also reasonably also conclude that SPP.gov intends to arrive at Dr. Pastor’s destination, regardless of protestations to the contrary?