WTO Meetings in Seattle Endanger Democracy, Freedom
WTO Against Informing Consumers
The New York Times says the scenes in Seattle should serve as a warning to WTO members that it is seen as too insular.
We've been swamped with good reports from Seattle where the anti-democracy world government WTO is holding private meetings. The Progress Report strongly recommends that you try clicking here for excellent daily reports and photos.
Below, we look at a few of the mainstream media reports from Seattle and notice their poor quality. Also note the victory for genetic manipulation corporations.
"All WTO deliberations should be open," admits the Times. "One way or another, vital issues affecting the health and prosperity of the planet deserve a visibly fair hearing."
The Washington Post saud the advance of globalization cannot be taken for granted, and the WTO needs to become more open if it is to reach out to its critics.
But the Post also cautions the WTO against taking all the criticism to heart. "If it took on as much of the role of protecting labour standards and the environment as its critics want, it would quickly lose focus."
The Post did not try to explain why a bureacracy "losing focus" would be more disastrous than destroying the environment, abandoning labor safety standards, and eliminating consumer rights.
Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman got fooled by rhetoric instead of questioning it. He wrote, "Free trade means that governments give up some of their power to tell people what to buy and how to live, in favor of letting them decide for themselves." That is true, but that is not what the WTO is seeking. The WTO actually stands for privileged, favored trade, not free trade. The WTO opposes letting consumers know what they are buying -- would overturn labeling laws, for example, and not even allow nation-of-origin labels. Consumer information is part of a free market. Chapman should have looked at the WTO's actions, not its marketing department's words.
The Denver Post said in an editorial that no sane citizen would exchange today's system of global cooperation and widespread prosperity for the trade wars of the 1930s. That is true, but that has nothing to do with the WTO and is not relevant to today's debate. No one is seeking the anti-trade policies of the old Republican Party. The Post fails to look for the real reasons underneath today's issues.
Genetic Modification of Foods Will Become a Private Nondemocractic WTO Issue
It now appears likely that the European Union will accept a US proposal, which the EU had originally opposed, to establish a WTO working group on biotechnology products - a move that is set to undermine the development of a strong international Biosafety Protocol that would have allowed countries to ban imports of genetically engineered food and seeds on health and environmental grounds.
The EU Trade Commissioner, Pascal Lamy, signaled yesterday that the EU had caved in to U.S. pressure.
"This meeting is heading toward environmental disaster," said Brent Blackwelder, President of Friends of the Earth USA.
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