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Superhighway 'security' benefits questioned

A Texas congressman is asking his colleagues as well as American citizens nationwide to join him in opposing a plan that describes itself as seeking more security and more prosperity for the United States, when in fact it may do neither.

Rep. Ron Paul has written his weekly “Texas Straight Talk” column about the “Security and Prosperity Partnership Of North America (SSP),” which, he says, “will likely make us far less secure and certainly less prosperous.”

A key to that plan, he noted, is a massive new NAFTA superhighway about which WorldNetDaily has run a series of reports.

“A massive highway is being planned to stretch from Canada into Mexico, through the state of Texas,” Paul wrote. “This is likely to cost the U.S. taxpayer untold billions of dollars, will require eminent domain takings on an almost unimaginable scale, and will make the U.S. more vulnerable to those who seek to enter our country to do us harm.”

Paul said the “Security and Prosperity Partnership” is “misnamed” and is running its course under the notice of most because it’s neither a treaty nor a formal agreement, just a “dialogue” launched by the heads of state of Canada, Mexico and the United States during a summit in Waco, Texas, in March, 2005.

“According to the SPP website, this ‘dialogue’ will create new supra-national organizations to ‘coordinate’ border security, health policy, economic and trade policy, and energy policy between the governments of Mexico, Canada, and the United States,” Paul said.

However, he said it’s clear such plans “have far less to do with the free movement of goods and services than they do with the government coordination and management of international trade.”

He said critics of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, and similar plans warned it was a move toward more government control of international trade “and an eventual merging of North America into a border-free area.”

Supporters dismissed those concerns as preposterous at the time, he said. “Now we see that the criticisms appear to be justified.”

Paul noted congressional oversight of the massive plan is non-existent, and the SPP’s own government website confirms the group is committed to having “our central regulatory agencies complete a trilateral regulatory cooperation framework by 2007.”

“Though the U.S. administration insists that the SPP does not undermine U.S. sovereignty, how else can one take statements like this?” Paul asked. “How can establishing a ‘trilateral regulatory cooperation’ not undermine our national sovereignty?”

The website also talks about improving the health of “indigenous people” through bilateral or trilateral activities including health promotions, health education, disease prevention and research.

“Who can read this and not see massive foreign aid transferred from the U.S. taxpayer to foreign governments and well-connected private companies?” he asked.

The SPP also intends to seek the best practices of registering medicinal products, and Paul said his concern is not only more and bigger government, but an unelected government.

“As the SPP website itself admits, ‘The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America represents a broad and ambitious agenda,'” Paul wrote. “I hope my colleagues in Congress and American citizens will join me in opposing any ‘broad and ambitious’ effort to undermine the security and sovereignty of the United States.”

Providing for efficient movement of legitimate people and goods, cutting red tape on economic issues and working together to battle infectious diseases and respond to disasters all are part of the SPP plan.

“The SPP provides a vehicle by which the United States, Canada and Mexico can identify and resolve unnecessary obstacles to trade, and it provides a means to improve our response to emergencies and increase security,” the website says.

However, it doesn’t talk about the actual impact of its goals. The proposal for a trans-national highway, for example, in Texas alone could displace tens of thousands from their homes and cost billions, according to critics who call themselves CorridorWatch.

Both Republican and Democratic parties in Texas have announced opposition to the Texas portion of the highway, called the Trans-Texas Corridor. It envisions “a multi-use, statewide network of transportation routes in Texas that will incorporate existing and new highways, railways and utility right-of-ways.”

Those routes are to include, in a quarter-mile wide strip running in various configurations around the state, separate lanes for passenger vehicles and large trucks, freight railways, high-speed commuter railways, infrastructure for utilities including water lines, oil and gas pipelines, and transmission lines for electricity, broadband and other telecommunications services.

Its plans are for the project to be done in phases over 50 years, but at nearly a quarter-mile wide, and with announced plans for 8,000 miles of corridor, that would claim almost 2,000 square miles of Texas.

CorridorWatch’s David K. Stall also just this month asked Federal Highway Administrator J. Richard Capka to reject a Trans-Texas Corridor draft Environmental Impact Statement because it disregards alternatives, and he alleges the Texas highway department has suppressed critical information.

Stall told WND the plan was approved by lawmakers who probably didn’t realize what they were reading, because it was part of an omnibus bill that was passed during a war in 2003 between Democrats and Republicans over a challenged redistricting plan.

“It is the brainchild of Gov. (Rick) Perry. He takes full credit for it,” Stall said.

But the result of the omnibus approval is a series of changes that gives Texas the same blueprint for highways that would be found in a Third World country, he said. There any sort of incentives are offered to encourage someone to build them, he said.

Just weeks ago, U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, Mexican Economy Minister Sergio Garcia de Alba and Canadian Minister of Industry Maxime Bernier also launched the North American Competitiveness Council. That was set up as part of the nations’ commitment to the SPP, officials said at the time.

Part of the NACC goals include working “to remove barriers in order to increase the competitiveness of North American firms in the global marketplace and spur economic growth.”

NAFTA, around since 1994, now links 435 million people producing $13.8 trillion in goods and services, its supporters say.

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