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Fri

27

Jun

2008

SuperCorridor Defeat? Don't Bet On It
Friday, 27 June 2008 09:06
by Stephen Lendman

The title refers to the I-69/Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) portion of the North American SuperCorridor Coalition (NASCO) project. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) announced that, for now at least, it nixed this part of the $184 billion scheme calling for:
— a 4000 mile toll road network of transportation corridors;

— 10 lanes or 1200 feet wide;

— two or more trans-Texas corridors being considered; one paralleling I-35 from Laredo through San Antonio, Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth to Gainesville; the other an extension following US 59 from Texarkana through Houston to Laredo or the Rio Grande Valley;

— others would parallel I-45 from Dallas/FortWorth to Houston and I-10 from El Paso to Orange;

— they'll accommodate car and truck traffic;

— rail lines;

— pipelines and utilities; and

— communication systems.
It's planned across Texas from Mexico to Oklahoma, would have annexed huge private land tracts, and may later on take much of it anyway. Enough to threaten organizations like the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA), Texas Farm Bureau and other rural interests. Their member property rights are at stake, so they fought it, and for now, prevailed - at least partly, but the matter is far from settled.

On June 10, Executive Director Amadeo Saenz announced that TxDOT "narrowed the (TTC I-69) study area (to) existing highway (routes) whenever possible," and "any area (outside) an existing (one) will not be considered" except for necessary portions. NASCO's Texas highway remains viable. It's just a little less "Super" and for now will use mostly existing state highways and connect them to northern links.

The larger project is far more ambitious. It's to develop an international, integrated, secure superhighway running the length and breath of the continent for profit. It's to militarize and annex it as part of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) scheme - aka "Deep Integration" North American Union. If completed, it will extend nearly everywhere - North, South, East and West along four main cross-border regions:
— an Atlantic Corridor, including: the Canada-US East Coast; the Champlain-Hudson Corridor; the Appalachian region; and the Gulf of Mexico;

— a Central Eastern Corridor; an urban one through large cities and industrial areas; another through the Great Plains to the Canadian Prairies;

— a Central Western Corridor, including the largest Mexican maquiladora concentration; and

— a Pacific Corridor linking Fairbanks, Alaska to San Diego into Tijuana, Ciudad Obrego and Mazatlan, Mexico.
From north to south, it will extend from Fairbanks to Winnipeg, Manitoba; Edmonton, Alberta; and Windsor, Ontario, Canada through Kansas City, San Antonio and Laredo, Texas into Neuvo Laredo, Monterrey, Guadalajara, and the ports of Manzanillo, Colima and Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico. Other links will connect Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto, Canada to New York, Chicago, Indianapolis, Denver, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Memphis, Dallas, Houston with still more routes to follow - East to West, North to South across Canada, the US and Mexico.

Canada's plan is called CISCOR - the Canadian Intelligent SuperCorridor running west from Vancouver and Prince Rupert to Montreal and Halifax. Its web site explains it as follows: "The Saskatchen-based CISCOR Smart Inland Port Network will serve as the central logistics and coordination hub, creating a Canadian east-west land bridge (connecting) three major North American north-south corridors; North Americas SuperCorridor (NASCO), Canada America Mexico Corridor (CANAMEX) and River of Trade Corridor Coalition (ROTCC).

ROTCC was created in 2004 to facilitate trade across 3300 miles from Laredo, Texas to Detroit and into Canada. Another route along I-45 extends from Houston and the I-10 corridor and rail route from Los Angeles and Long Beach to Dallas/Fort Worth.

Overall, it will be a comprehensive energy and commerce-related transportation artery for trade and strategic resources with DHS and NORTHCOM in charge. They'll monitor and militarize it through a network of high-tech sensors and trackers to secure the continent for profit at the expense of the greater public good the way these schemes always work.

Part of the plan involves a proposed arrangement between NASCO and a company called Savi Networks - a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Hutchison Ports Holdings, a Chinese ports management firm. If instituted, it will generate huge revenues by paying NASCO 25 cents for each of the millions of "revenue-generating intermodal ocean cargo container(s)" using the supercorridor as well as along other north-south routes being planned. The idea is to install an RFID chip network and put them in containers as well for tracking. They'll monitor them from port of entry to final destination and make shippers pay tolls in addition to transportation costs. They'll, in turn, pass on costs to buyers.

Lockheed Martin runs a Global Transport Network (GTN) Command and Control Center for the military that provides electronic tracking. On its web site, Savi Networks says it "was formed to improve the efficiency and security of global trade (through its) SaviTrack system." It "utilizes a reliable network of wireless Automated Identification and Data Collection (AIDC) equipment and (Enterprise Resource Planning - ERP) software to provide shippers, logistics service providers, and terminal operators with precise and actionable information."

For now, the Texas artery will be less ambitious but still part of the grander scheme. For its part, I-69/TTC remains a government-private partnership whereby new roads will charge tolls for maximum revenue generation and make the public to pay the tab for their use.

Besides the scaled back I-69/TTC, another planned project is just as worrisome. It's called the TTC-35 600 mile corridor extension along I-35 from Oklahoma through Dallas/Forth Worth to Laredo to Mexico and possibly the Gulf Coast. A two-tiered environmental study for it began in spring 2004 and remains ongoing.


Tier One engendered sweeping opposition but not enough to stop it. Public hearings were held for input on potential corridor locations and promoted what's called the Preferred Corridor Alternative. Federal Highway Administration approval comes next, after which a Tier Two phase would identify proposed highway alignments and other modes and potential access points. Hearings would follow for further public input and be as likely to generate hostility as did the I-69/TTC project. It slowed SuperCorridor momentum, but in Texas and across the country it's very much alive and ongoing.

Powerful forces back it in spite of considerable opposition in states across the country. In support are organizations like:
— the Council on Foreign Relation and its influential members; it backed business having "unlimited (cross-border) access in its 2005 report titled "Building a North American Community; its Task Force "applauds the announced 'Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP)' of North America" - aka North American Union and its SuperCorridor project; it also sees a step beyond with "a more ambitious vision of a new community by 2010 (giving) specific recommendations on how to achieve it."

— the International Mobility & Trade Corridor Project (IMTC); it bills itself as a US - Canadian government and business coalition "promot(ing) improvements to mobility and security for the four border crossings between Whatcom County, Washington and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia" - combined called the Cascade Gateway;

— the CANAMEX Corridor Coalition for a superhighway linking Mexico City to Edmonton, Alberta; it supports the "seamless and efficient transportation of goods, services, people and information between Canada, Mexico and the US;"

— the Central North American Trade Corridor Association (CHATCA); it's for a Central North American Trade Corridor fully integrated in the global economy and refers to "5 T's" as "essential:" tourism, technology, trade, transportation and training;

— the Ports to Plains Trade (PTP) Corridor; it supports a multimodal one from Mexico through the four PTP states of Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Oklahoma up to Canada and the Pacific Northwest;

— the Champlain-Hudson Trade Corridor and Gateway Coalition representing trade from Quebec City and Montreal to New York; and

— the I-95 Corridor Coalition alliance of transportation agencies, toll authorities, and related organizations (including law enforcement) from Canada to Florida in support of transportation managements and operational common interest issues favoring business.
Nothing so far is finalized, but SuperCorrider momentum remains viable. It's slowed in Texas, but very much alive and viable.

In contrast, opposition groups are numerous, vocal, but yet to achieve enough critical mass to matter. They include groups like the "People's Summit" that protested in New Orleans last April against the recent three-presidential secret summit to plot strategy. Also, the conservative Coalition to Block the North American Union condemns a "stealth plan" to erase national borders, merge three nations into one, end the sovereignty of each, build a SuperCorridor, put Washington and the military in charge, allow unlimited immigration, and replace the dollar with the "amero."

Still another is a group of citizen-activist Oklahomans and the organization they formed: Oklahomans for Sovereignty and Free Enterprise. Like similar Texas and other state groups, it's against the SuperCorridor and its proposed I-35 route through their state. It's a conservative group believing that "a capitalist economy can regulate itself in a freely competitive market...with a minimum of governmental intervention and regulation." It opposes government using the law to facilitate a "corporate takeover" of society and fund it with public tax dollars. On board as well is an Oklahoma state senator who says "the NAFTA Superhighway stops here."

He'll need other lawmakers with him and on April 29 failed. Despite vocal opposition, the Oklahoma state legislature authorized the creation of "Smart (inland) Ports" and SuperCorridor system despite earlier having passed a resolution urging Congress "to withdraw from the (SPP - North American Union)" and all activities related to it. Besides Oklahoma, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) lists 21 other states that have passed public-private partnership enabling legislation considered essential for private investment to go forward.

At the federal level, there's also congressional opposition (but not enough to matter) in spite of Rep. Virgil Goode and six co-sponsors introducing House Concurrent Resolution 40 in January 2007. It expressed "the sense of (some but not enough in) Congress that the United States should not engage in (building a NAFTA) Superhighway System or enter into a North American Union with Mexico and Canada."

State legislatures as well are against it (in contrast to others in support) - thus far a dozen or more passing resolutions in 2008 and another 20 in 2007. Well and good but remember Adlai Stevenson's response to an enthusiastic supporter during his first presidential campaign. He thanked the woman and replied: "That's not enough madam. I need a majority."

It's no different for the SuperCorridor and North American Union. They're progressing secretly in spite of activist opposition and a largely unaware public. A recent poll sheds light. It was conducted by the American Policy Center that calls itself "a privately funded, nonprofit, 501 c (4), tax-exempt grassroots action and education foundation dedicated to the promotion of free enterprise and limited government...."

It revealed no widespread public SPP opposition because most people (58% living along the proposed Texas to Minnesota route) don't know about it or enough to matter. However, 95% of respondents with awareness opposed it but unfortunately in answer to biased questions. Their wording apparently conveyed the idea of "private corporations (having) power to enforce trade policy that may adversely affect our national sovereignty and independence."

Market researchers know that questions must be neutral and unbiased to produce reliable results. For example, respondents should have been asked: From what you know about SPP, do you favor or oppose it? A follow-up should then ask "why" to get unguided replies. Other biased questions were also asked and elicited strong opposition to an "amero," NAFTA courts superseding state and federal ones, the Bush administration being allowed to proceed without congressional approval, the US being "harmonized" or merged with Mexico and Canada, and more.

Most important is that public knowledge is sparse. What is known is incomplete, at times inaccurate, and either way plans (so far) are proceeding with or without congressional or public approval.

It means a corporate coup d'etat is advancing, aided and abetted by three governments. They plan to unite and become one, militarize the continent for enforcement, lay ribbons of concrete and rail lines across it, and hand it over to business for profit. That's where things now stand. Imagine where they'll end if a way isn't found to stop them.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to the Global Research News Hour  on RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM - 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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