By Phyllis Schlafly
Monday, January 7, 2008
"WTO" now stands for "World Trade Outrage" rather than its original name, World Trade Organization. The World Trade Organization just ruled that the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda can freely violate American copyrights and trademarks in order to punish the United States for laws prohibiting Internet gambling.
Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006 after finding that "Internet gambling is a growing cause of debt collection problems for insured depository institutions and the consumer credit industry." The social and financial costs of gambling would be greatly increased if the United States permits Internet gambling.
The World Trade Organization ordered this punishment because it says U.S. laws interfere with free trade in "recreational services." The foreign tribunal ranks free trade as more important than the intellectual property rights Americans have enjoyed since the U.S. Constitution was written.
The World Trade Organization's 88-page decision issued in December contained the panel's remarkable admission that "we feel we are on shaky grounds." But that didn't stop the Geneva tribunal from issuing its ruling anyway.
The United States has every right as a nation to protect its people against the corruption and loss of wealth that result from gambling on the Internet. It is shocking for an unelected foreign tribunal to tell the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate and the president of the United States that they lack the power to protect U.S. citizens.
Even American supremacist judges would not have the nerve to authorize stealing copyrights and trademarks as a remedy for one side in an unrelated dispute. But the World Trade Organization granted what has been called a "piracy permit" that allows a small Caribbean nation to "pirate," or steal, U.S. property rights.
The response in Washington was to announce an attempt to revise the conditions under which the United States joined the World Trade Organization in 1994. That's a non-starter because these changes in the World Trade Organization treaty would require the approval of all 151 members, most of whom don't like the U.S. anyway.
The World Trade Organization has ruled against the United States in 40 out of 47 major cases, and against the U.S. in 30 out of 33 trade remedies cases. After the World Trade Organization ruled that the U.S. cannot divert tariff revenue to U.S. companies that are injured by foreign subsidies to their competitors, Vice President Dick Cheney provided the tie-breaking vote in the Senate on Dec. 21, 2005, to kowtow to the World Trade Organization.
For many years, opponents of the World Trade Organization have predicted that this foreign bureaucracy would massively interfere with U.S. sovereignty. This new ruling is crazy, unjust and impertinent, but without a lot of public protest, it looks unlikely that our "free trade" president or Congress will do anything to protect U.S. citizens from the World Trade Organization.
How is a foreign tribunal in Geneva able to put the United States in such a box? It's because the internationalist free-trade lobby cooked up a sleazy deal to force the World Trade Organization on Americans in 1994 during the week after Thanksgiving, when Americans were preoccupied with Christmas shopping and festivities.
The deal to lock the United States into World Trade Organization consisted of three parts. First, the 14-page World Trade Organization agreement was surreptitiously added, without debate or publicity, to the 22,000-page revision of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, implementing legislation, and was voted on under "fast track" rules that allowed no amendments or changes, severely limited debate, and forbade any filibuster.
Second, the Treaty Clause in the U.S. Constitution for ratification of treaties was ignored, and World Trade Organization was declared passed by Congress as a non-treaty. Third, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organization agreement was passed in the December lame-duck session with the votes of dozens of Congressmen who were looking for lucrative jobs representing foreign interests because they had already been defeated in the Republican landslide of November 1994.
The World Trade Organization is not "free trade" at all, but is a supra-national body in Geneva that sets, manages and enforces World Trade Organization-made rules to govern global trade. The World Trade Organization includes a one country-one vote legislature of 151 nations (the United States has the same one vote as Cuba), an unelected multinational bureaucracy, and a Dispute Settlement Board that deliberates and votes in secret and whose decisions cannot be appealed or vetoed.
The World Trade Organization is a direct attack on U.S. sovereignty because it claims it can force any nation to change its laws to comply with World Trade Organization rulings. Article XVI, paragraph 4, states: "Each Member shall ensure the conformity of its laws, regulations, and administrative procedures with its obligations." The World Trade Organization has the final say about whether U.S. laws meet World Trade Organization requirements.
In this presidential season, the World Trade Organization should make easy target practice for any candidate to speak up and defend U.S. sovereignty against globalists who, under the mantra of "free trade," willingly allow the World Trade Organization to say which laws the U.S. may or may not adopt.