11-30-15 Once an ISDS challenge is brought, there is almost no check on the power of the unelected panel of private ISDS arbitrators. The arbitrators are not required to follow any precedents, and there are no substantive appeals from their rulings. As a result, ISDS arbitrators can ignore statutes, regulations, even IP decisions from a nation’s highest court, and make rulings based purely on their own notions of what constitutes expropriation or a required “minimum standard of treatment.”
“ISDS could become a form of supra-judicial review,” said Ramage. “If a company doesn’t like a final court or administrative agency decision in a matter, it can file an ISDS action, claiming that the state action has harmed it or expropriated its property. A country’s supreme court no longer will no longer be the ‘court of last resort’ if you’re a foreign investor … instead, it just may be an ISDS tribunal.”
Many governments are already nervous of adverse ISDS rulings. Because just one ruling can force a government to pay hundreds of millions of dollars, plus encourage similar arbitration claims from other foreign investors. It can effectively make a law or policy too expensive to maintain. This is bad news for IP law in the TPP area. Because of TPP’s ISDS provisions, nations that sign onto the agreement risk the prospect of either paying hundreds of millions of dollars to keep their IP laws in force, or amending their IP laws to satisfy disgruntled foreign businesses.
TPP’s provisions on IP and ISDS will “upset the international intellectual property legal system,” Flynn wrote. There are good reasons for his concern. The USTR was repeatedly asked to comment on the issues raised in this article. The agency provided no response. http://www.ip-watch.org/2015/11/30/tpp-strengthens-controversial-ip-arbitration/
As Iowa Governor, Tom Vilsack was a leading advocate for Monsanto, genetic engineering, and factory farming. President Obama proudly lauded his new Agriculture Secretary for "promoting biotech."
Vilsack has, in fact, promoted the most controversial and dangerous forms of agricultural biotechnology, including pharma crops, plants genetically engineered to produce pharmaceuticals. When grown outdoors on farmland, where most pharma crop trials have occurred, pharma crops can easily contaminate conventional and organic varieties.
In one chilling example from 2002, a corn crop engineered by ProdiGene to produce a vaccine for pigs contaminated 500,000 bushels of soybeans that were grown in the Nebraska field the next season. Before this incident, a similar thing had happened in Iowa where the USDA ordered ProdiGene to pay for the burning of 155 acres of conventional corn that may have been contaminated by the firm's biotech plants.
ProdiGene eventually went out of business, but not before it received a $6 million investment from the Governors Biotechnology Partnership, chaired by Iowa Governor Vilsack. Vilsack didn't want any restrictions placed on experimental pharma crops. In reaction to suggestions that pharma crops should be kept away from food crops, Vilsack argued that "we should not overreact and hamstring this industry."
The Organic Consumers Association generated nearly 40,000 letters opposing former Monsanto lobbyist Michael Taylor's appointment as a senior adviser to the Food and Drug Administration Commissioner on food safety.
Michael Taylor should not be a senior FDA food safety adviser. The Vice President for Public Policy at Monsanto Corp. from 1998 until 2001, Taylor exemplifies the revolving door between the food industry and the government agencies that regulate it.
On October 5, 2009, Roger Beachy, long-time president of the Danforth Plant Science Center (Monsanto's nonprofit arm), became the chief of the USDA's newly created National Institute of Food and Agriculture (a nomination that doesn't require congressional approval).
Roger Beachy should not be steering the direction of US agricultural research. Beachy is a long time Monsanto collaborator who heads an institute which was established by Monsanto and academic partners with a $70-million pledge from the corporation. It's effectively a Monsanto front.
Rajiv Shah, a medical doctor in his 30s with a business degree and no previous government experience, was the agricultural programs director for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and is on the board of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, along with the Danforth Plant Science Center, is one of Monsanto's key non-profit partners, forcing hazardous Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) on farmers and consumers worldwide.
The multi-billion dollar Gates Foundation is helping Monsanto infiltrate markets in poor African countries by fraudulently claiming that GMOs can feed the world and reduce rural poverty with high-priced genetically modified seed varieties that supposedly, but in fact do not, increase yields, resist drought, and improve nutrition. https://www.organicconsumers.org/old_articles/usda_watch.php