Accuracy in Media

By Wes Vernon*

Readers of the AIM Report are accustomed to learning of huge distortions or omissions by the media. This time, the under-reported story deals with the possible end of America, as we know it.

Major players are secretive and are trying to keep the media out of the loop. But that does not let the mainstream media off the hook. There is enough stonewalling, secrecy and there are plenty of telltale signs, so that any assignment editor whose curiosity is not aroused is probably in the wrong business.

But in terms of the national media, only Lou Dobbs of CNN has blown the whistle on a scheme whereby a North American “Security and Prosperity Partnership,” being implemented by the Department of Commerce, could pave the way for a transnational entity called the North American Union.

The implications of this scheme are staggering. Some experts say that up to a million people in Texas stand to lose their homes and 584,000 acres of rich farm and ranchland are to be destroyed, all for a privately funded highway. Of course, this is not the first time property-owners did battle with highway builders. That in itself is getting lots of media attention, but almost entirely in the regional/local media. At first glance, one might say this is a local story, so why should it go national?

But suppose you were told that this “highway” (to be built largely by foreign investors) could serve as the starting point for a much larger plan whose end result would be to erase the borders (figuratively if not literally) between the United States, Mexico, and Canada? Wouldn’t you be curious, no matter where you live? The national media isn’t interested.

The Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) is its official name. Critics call it the NAFTA Highway. The publicized TTC is being treated as a regional story because of the disruption to Texas farmers and other property owners.

The TTC is no ordinary highway. The toll road would be four football fields wide. It includes separate lanes (up to six for automobiles, four for large trucks), plus tracks for freight trains, separate tracks for high-speed and commuter rail, also space for oil and gas pipelines, electricity wires, and broadband transmission cables.

The Associated Press (AP) has carried regional stories focused on the Texas politics of the TTC highway?the anger of the farmers and other property owners likely to get their Kelo notices soon now that the election is over. Kelo is the U.S. Supreme Court decision that said it was okay for government to take your home away from you if some big corporate hotel chain, strip mall contractor, or?in this case?foreign investor wants to build on your land and create a fatter tax base than what the government can get from ordinary home-owners.

But Freedom of Information (FOIA) e-mails suggest the TTC is but one part of the drive for a North American Union?not unlike the European Union. The vehicle for that is the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), housed in the Department of Commerce in Washington.

The Council on Foreign Relations constantly promotes the SPP and supported the conference that created it. That trilateral meeting in Waco, Texas in March of 2005 ended in a handshake between President Bush, Mexican President Vicente Fox, and then-Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin.

A press release was all that was issued. Any formal treaty would have required ratification by the United States Senate. None was written and submitted to the Senate.

Hidden Agenda

The SPP is very secretive about the 20 “working groups” it has spawned where bureaucrats from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico are rewriting proposals for our laws, regulations and trade agreements whose ultimate effect would be to create a North American Union.

AIM e-mailed the SPP asking where and when the “working groups” were meeting. Who are their members? What rules, laws, regulations, and agreements were they re-writing? What is their content?

Trying to penetrate the layers of bureaucracy to get to the SPP office can put one’s patience to the ultimate test. Telephone inquiries get the runaround, and e-mail requests for information are ignored. A Commerce spokeswoman did tell investigative author Jerome Corsi the working groups “do not wish to be distracted by calls from the public.” That sounds like code language for an attempt to keep it hush-hush as long as possible because they know there would be an uproar otherwise.

Where’s Congress?

All these meetings are going on without any congressional hearings demanding answers as to the wisdom, legality or constitutionality of any of the proposals. Before our borders virtually disappear, Congress has a constitutional responsibility to be in on the ground floor. The SPP says it is keeping members of Congress informed as to what is going on. 

So AIM e-mailed SPP requesting the names of the members of Congress who are in the loop. Again, no answer. Corsi, who is writing a book on this, says he has talked with many members of Congress in their offices, and by and large they were totally unaware of the undertaking.

A red flag should have been raised in Senate testimony by Dr. Robert Pastor, Vice Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Task Force on North America. Dr. Pastor was the Latin American specialist on Jimmy Carter’s National Security Council. He was instrumental in the turnover?some called it a sellout?of the Panama Canal.

In fact, when President Clinton nominated Pastor in 1993 to be ambassador to Panama, his confirmation was effectively blocked by conservative Senator Jesse Helms, who charged the nominee was responsible for a “cover-up” of Sandinista Nicaragua’s arms shipments to leftist terrorists in El Salvador.

Currently, Pastor advocates “economic integration” of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico and says their citizens should “think of themselves as North Americans.” In an e-mail to AIM, he said he has had no formal connection with SPP or the 2005 trilateral conference, but that he offered his recommendations on North America to leaders of the three countries.

On infrastructure, Dr. Pastor told a subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee he favors “new North American highways and high-speed rail corridors.”

The CFR guru cheerfully told the senators on June 9, 2005 that the North American Union would be helped by creating “a new consciousness among Americans.” Shorn of the euphemisms, that could be taken to mean we must disabuse these Americans of their quaint notions of sovereignty.

No Border

Dr. Pastor has a simple solution to the problem of illegal immigration: Stop defending the U.S. border. “Instead of stopping North Americans at the borders,” he says, “we ought to provide them with a secure biometric EZ Pass that permits cars and trucks to speed through tolls.”

In fact, the FOIA e-mails and documents show that “trusted travelers” and “trusted traders” would be able to enter the U.S. just that easily, come and go and/or live here if they want to for as long as they desire. How one would qualify as “trusted” is not spelled out, but Dr. Pastor contends once a program is in place, security checks at the border and at airports could be curtailed.

Senators present at the hearing (Norm Coleman, R-Minn. and Chris Dodd, D-Conn.) were mostly non-committal.

Senator Coleman said he was concerned about security issues, and that Pastor was saying “instead of thinking small, we have got to think big, and ultimately I think we will, but I worry about the disruption before we get there.”

Many of Dr. Pastor’s ideas are spelled out in a CFR report, “Building a North American Community,” which he co-authored. AIM has a copy. The CFR advocates “establishment by 2010 of a North American economic and security community.”

CNN’s Lou Dobbs, one of the rare voices in the mainstream media to throw any light at all on this scheme, was prompted by Dr. Pastor’s treatise to cry out that our political elites have “gone utterly mad.”

According to the 1987 book Covert Cadre, Dr. Robert Pastor in the seventies was involved with the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), a pro-Marxist think tank. The author of Covert Cadre, S. Steven Powell, wrote that “By carefully selected euphemisms, such as progressive and alternative, IPS has successfully marketed its Marxist and radical views to the mass media. And the media in turn have softened up Congress.”

The China Connection

To read the bland wire stories about the superhighway, one would never suspect that it is part of a plan to use the port of Lazaro Cardenas in southwest Mexico (which has been vastly expanded) to take in huge cargo shipments from Communist China, load them onto Mexican trucks and freight trains and route them on up to the border at Laredo, Texas and speed the cargo through the Lone Star State, ultimately ending up at a Mexican-owned customs facility at Kansas City, Missouri. Reaching Canada will come later.

Officials of the Kansas City Smart Port have claimed that the envisioned Mexican customs office will still be on U.S. soil. Those officials are “lying,” Corsi tells AIM. Internal e-mails he obtained under Missouri’s “sunshine” law, clearly show that the Mexican facility right in the heart of the USA will be “Mexican sovereign soil.”

The North American Forum for Integration (NAFI), another group pushing the NAU held a secretive September meeting in Banff. It included high officials of the Bush and Clinton administrations and Dr. Pastor, a member of NAFI’s board of directors. WorldNetDaily reports the only journalist invited was Mary Anastasia O’Grady of The Wall Street Journal. But an AIM Google search found no record of her writing about the conference.

National Network

NAFI has on its website long-range plans for other huge highway projects in all regions of the U.S. One such highway (which was on the Department of Transportation website) would connect Mexico to Canada by way of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. 

Then the question arises: Are the investors (including Cintra of Spain and Macquerie of Australia) going to sink all that money into building this huge “highway” only to have it stop at the Oklahoma border out in the middle of nowhere? The Oklahoma Department of Transportation claims not to have any plans “now” to build a NAFTA superhighway or to continue the Trans-Texas Corridor into Oklahoma.

Says Corsi, “They’re technically correct. They don’t have any plans now. But I can pretty well guarantee they’re going to have plans. They [the investors] are not building a four football-field wide highway to end at the border.” Ultimately, those investors will go to Oklahoma DOT and say, “We’ve got money for you.”

Superficial Coverage

In addition to its regional coverage, the Associated Press (AP) has also run a few reports about the Texas controversy on its national wire, but even there, the emphasis was on the TTC with only a brief reference to the bigger picture, as for example in a July 20 story with this bland sentence: “Supporters say the corridors [such as the TTC] are needed to handle the expected NAFTA boom in the flow of goods to and from Mexico and handle Texas’s growing population.”

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents obtained by the Minuteman Project and Judicial Watch clearly indicate that a North American Union encompassing the U.S., Mexico, and Canada is the ultimate goal. The investigation on this story has been done by watchdog groups, not by the media.

Other than Lou Dobbs, almost no mainstream outlet has touched on the full implications of a North American Union. There was a Time magazine story in 2004. But like the AP story cited above, Time mentioned the NAFTA trade and the huge highway, but not plans for a North American Union.

Some conservative columnists, notably Phyllis Schlafly and Pat Buchanan, along with Jerome Corsi, have been exploring the long-range plan. William Hawkins of the U.S. Business and Industry Council wrote an article in the Washington Times. Beyond that, very little. The blackout has been pervasive.

Why The Cover-Up?

Question: Why do politicians of both parties totally ignore and even defy the wishes of 80 to 90 percent of Americans who demand border security? Could it be that if the borders are ultimately to be rendered meaningless anyway, why hassle our fellow “North Americans?”

On October 25, a Washington news conference announced formation of a coalition to oppose any North American Union. Leaders include Howard Phillips’ Conservative Caucus, Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum and the Minuteman Project. The coalition includes Americans from more than 60 organizations.

Because the event was held at the National Press Club, it was within convenient walking distance for hundreds of Washington journalists. But the only mainstream medium in evidence there was a camera crew from CNN?possibly at the behest of Lou Dobbs. Most of the attendees were from watchdog groups or researchers. This writer attended to gain information for AIM.

Corsi said the creation of the North American Union  would follow the Council on Foreign Relations “blueprint [which] is to be put in place by 2010 [and] would include courts beyond the NAFTA courts; a parliamentary structure that would supplement and strengthen existing parliamentary groups in effect today in Canada, the United Sates, and Mexico; and the beginnings of a new executive office?where some 5 to 15 people will be appointed?how, we do not know?to preside over the continuing institutionalization of what will become the North American Union.”

“Free trade does not mean the United States has to give up its sovereignty?the way the European community evolved into a European government,” Corsi warned. That is important. When this writer recently gave a speech on this, one member of the audience implied opposing the NAU was to oppose free trade. Not so. The two are different issues.   

The coalition at the Washington news conference charged the North American Union would create a government “of the elite, by the elite, and for the elite which will ultimately destroy the middle class of the United States” systematically “over one or two generations.” It would involve “illegal immigrants who will be reclassified as trusted travelers and trusted traders, open our borders to slave labor goods produced in China” and will?in Corsi’s words “undermine all manufacturing in the United States.”

One would think that the media in this nation’s capital (many of whose offices are housed in the 14-story National Press Club building or within a few blocks) would be more than casually interested. But that was not to be.

Tell The People

The American people will oppose this plan solidly when they understand that our sovereignty is at risk. But how are they to understand when their media won’t tell them about it?possibly not until the plan is a virtual done deal?

Phillips told the news conference that he had met recently “with an individual who is a top advisor to the new prime minister of Canada [Stephen Harper]. He expressed his complete support?reflecting the support of the prime minister”?of in effect eliminating the border between Canada and the United States. Phillips added, “The new president [president-elect] of Mexico [Felipe Calderon], I understand is similarly on board. So there are foreign leaders who are part of this effort and are far more knowledgeable than are most [U.S.] senators and congressmen.” 

But some lawmakers do know what’s going on and are pushing back. Four of them?Congressmen Virgil Goode (R-Va.), Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), Ron Paul (R-Tex.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.) have sponsored a House resolution expressing “the sense of Congress that the United States should not engage in construction of a North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Superhighway system or enter into a North American Union (NAU) with Mexico and Canada.”

Where Are The Dems?

Though these four are Republicans, there is also potential for Democrat support. After all, unloading Chinese cargo in Mexico would bypass the International Longshoreman’s Union; sending more Mexican trucks into the U.S. will bypass the Teamsters.

Rail labor has said there’s no way its unions will sit still for any diminution of its train crews on any railroad operation on the TTC. Corsi?whose father helped organize the United Transportation Union (UTU)?says the switch from Mexican to UTU crews at the border will probably happen “for awhile.” But he believes the downward pressure on wages will be designed “to impact the security of the United Transportation workers.”

Kansas City Southern (KCS) will likely be the main (not necessarily the only) TTC freight railroad. In an e-mail to AIM, the railroad was circumspect. “KCS has no current role in any Trans Texas Corridor proposals [italics added]; however, KCS has given notice of its interest in participating in hearings or proceedings regarding the proposals.”

Phillips, Schlafly and Corsi on the right will seek allies in organized labor on the left to knock on every congressional door next year and urge hearings in the House and Senate. Moreover, in 2008, a left-right coalition would seek an ironclad commitment from every presidential candidate not to permit a North American Union to be created.

Does one dare to dream that the New York Times, the Washington Post, the L.A. Times, ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR, PBS and other establishment media outlets will pay some attention?

What You Can Do

Send the enclosed cards or cards and letters of your own choosing to Lou Dobbs of CNN, James Thompson of Stoney Creek Inns, and Tim Goeglein of the White House.

Thanks to you, AIM has made tremendous strides this year. It was your help that enabled us to prevent Al-Jazeera English from entering the U.S. media market.     

But this battle isn’t over. To continue our campaign to keep Al-Jazeera out of your living room?and provide all the other vital facts you need in 2007, please support AIM’s work with a generous, year-end contribution.

*Wes Vernon is a Washington-based writer & broadcast journalist.




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