01 April 2007

A secret Free Trade Agreement

Over the past decade or two, the US has signed Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with various nations of the world, with the biggest and most significant ones being NAFTA (Canada and Mexico) and CAFTA (Central America). There have been many opposition protests over these, the largest being the ones in Seattle in 1999 during the World Trade Organization meetings.

To prevent these protests from ever happening, and to sneak a new FTA past the American people without their knowledge and approval, the US media has imposed total embargo on any news involving the new FTA with South Korea being negotiated now. There are no protests in the US over this new FTA, the biggest for the US since NAFTA, because most Americans simply don't even know. However, protests have been going on non-stop on the South Korean side, where apparently this FTA is headline news. (And some Americans in the know, such as Medea Benjamin, have protested with the Koreans.)

FTAs can be a boon or a bust, depending on how well they are negotiated, and how the interests of various groups (such as farmers and manufacturers) are represented. But I cannot support this particular FTA, just by virtue of the media embargo. The fact that the media has abdicated its responsibility of reporting something that could be very profound for the American people, smacks more of a Stalinist dictatorship than a democracy. Thank goodness there is the foreign media, which continues to deliver the truth - such as BBC, whose latest report is linked below.