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WASHINGTON – Participants in a high-level, closed door, three-day conference on the integration of the three North American nations debated whether openness about goals was preferred to a stealthy policy of building infrastructure before a vision of the end result was even laid out to the people of the U.S., Mexico and Canada, according to notes obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Official notes taken on a session on “Border Infrastructure and Continental Prosperity” at the North American Forum in Banff, Canada, last September, reveal the internal debate over continued secrecy.

“While a vision is appealing, working on the infrastructure might yield more benefit and bring more people on board (‘evolution by stealth’),” record the notes discovered amid documents obtained by Judicial Watch.

Several speakers at the event emphasized the importance of “deepening economic integration,” “integrating the energy infrastructure” and “the development of new institutions” between the three North American nations.

Participants promoted the idea of using popular issues, such as concern over climate change, to push integration of energy and environmental governance and the possibility of imposing a carbon tax.

Judicial Watch released yesterday the documents it received in a FOIA request from the U.S. Northern Command, whose commander, Admiral Timothy Keating, participated in the conference along with Northcom political adviser Deborah Bolton and Plans, Policy and Strategy Director Maj. General Mark Volcheff. A similar request concerning participation in the North American Forum meeting by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is still pending.

At least one attendee of the conference said the meeting was intended to subvert the democratic process. Mel Hurtig, a Canadian author and publisher elected as the leader of the National Party of Canada, told WND last fall the idea of the North American Forum is to move the countries toward integration without public consent or even knowledge.

“What is sinister about this meeting is that it involved high level government officials and some of the top and most powerful business leaders of the three countries and the North American Forum in organizing the meeting intentionally did not inform the press in any of the three countries,” he said. “It was clear that the intention was to keep this important meeting about integrating the three countries out of the public eye.”

The conference raised more suspicions about plans for the future merger of the U.S., Canada and Mexico – with topics ranging from “A Vision for North America,” “Opportunities for Security Cooperation” and “Demographic and Social Dimensions of North American Integration.”

Confirmed participants included Rumsfeld, former Secretary of State George Shultz, who serves as co-chairman of the North American Forum, former Central Intelligence Agency Director R. James Woolsey, former Immigration and Naturalization Services Director Doris Meissner, North American Union guru Robert Pastor, former Defense Secretary William Perry, former Energy Secretary and Defense Secretary James Schlesinger and top officials of both Mexico and Canada. But the only media member scheduled to appear at the event, according to documents obtained by WND, was the Wall Street Journal’s Mary Anastasia O’Grady.

The event was organized by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and the Canada West Foundation, an Alberta think-tank that promotes closer economic integration with the United States.

The next meeting of the North American Forum is set for Oct. 12-14 in Puerto Vallarta.

The Canadian event is another in a series of meetings, policy papers and directives that have citizens, officials and members of the media wondering whether these efforts represent some sort of coordinated effort to implement a “merger” some have characterized as “NAFTA on steroids.”

Prominent at the Banff conference was Robert Pastor, an American University professor who wrote “Toward a North American Community,” a book promoting the development of a North American union as a regional government and the adoption of the amero as a common monetary currency to replace the dollar and the peso.

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American University Professor Robert Pastor

Pastor also was vice chairman of the May 2005 Council on Foreign Relations task force entitled “Building a North American Community” that presents itself as a blueprint for using bureaucratic action within the executive branches of Mexico, the U.S. and Canada to transform the current trilateral Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America into a North American union regional government.

He calls for the establishment of a North American Community, which some view as a significant step toward a European Union-style system of regional or continental governance.

“Increasing interdependence offers additional costs and opportunities,” he told the Banff audience. “To mitigate the dangers and expand the benefits of a more integrated and less regulated market requires continental plans and institutions. It requires a new consciousness among both leaders and people – a new way of thinking about our neighbors. This will take time, but we want to begin the journey.”

Pastor continued: “Our purpose is to build a greater sense of being a part of North America. We do not want to displace the pride each of us feel in our countries, but rather to supplement that with a feeling of being North American. We do so not to build a fortress or to separate ourselves from the world. On the contrary, we want to connect better with our closest neighbors in order to strengthen our ability to compete in the world and to serve as a models for other regional groups.”

Pastor said narrowing the gap in income “may be the single most important issue on the North American agenda.” He pointed hopefully to a bill introduced June 29, 2006, by Sen. John Cornyn calling for a North American Investment Fund to channel grants to Mexico for this purpose. He failed to note, however, that Cornyn had already withdrawn his bill two months prior to the Banff conference after the senator was alerted by WND to the role it played in fostering regional government in North America.



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