Unhappy With Even Minimal Scrutiny, US Removes Last Pretense Of TPP Transparency

from the running-scared dept

One of the central problems of ACTA has been its lack of transparency. TPP has also been negotiated behind closed doors, but unlike ACTA has permitted at least one small opportunity for public groups to engage with the negotiators through the use of stakeholder forums, where organizations and even individuals were permitted to give short presentations about aspects of TPP. This has allowed points of view other than those of industry lobbyists to be heard by negotiators.

But it seems that even that tiny shaft of sunlight being shone upon the measures believed to be in TPP was too bright for the US, which is hosting the next round of the negotiations in Dallas, from May 8 to 18:

"As anticipated, now that the US has taken control of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations it has removed the only pretense of transparency -- the day-long 'stakeholder' programme where critics can present information and analysis directly to negotiators", says Professor Jane Kelsey, from the Law School at the University of Auckland.
The excellent site TPP Watch explains why even a few hours of transparency was so threatening:
The stakeholder presentations have offered detailed expert analyses of the legal issues and implications of TPPA proposals that many countries’ negotiators do not have time, resources or knowledge to develop themselves.

They also provide important support for the positions that countries are taking in the negotiations, especially against the very aggressive demands from the US.

Even though it is voluntary for the negotiators to attend, they often ask for follow-up discussions on the issues and how they might protect their interests -- without, of course, the advisers having access to the draft text.
In theory, there are other ways for critics of TPP to gain access to the negotiators. For example, civil society groups might hold an open meeting about TPP in the hotel where the negotiations were being held -- except that last time they tried to do that, their booking was cancelled at the behest of the USTR.

That action, taken with the latest move, shows that the US will do everything in its power to stop any kind of independent discussion of TPP taking place that might bring inconvenient issues about the treaty to the attention of negotiators from other countries. The only consolation is that this kind of bullying proves just how frightened the US is that open, transparent discussions of TPP could cause the whole thing to unravel -- and provides an additional incentive to fight for even more transparency than those stakeholder forums provided until now.

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 3:19am

    After what happened with SOPA/PIPA and now ACTA, the pollies must be waking up to the wishes of the public. This attempt at further secrecy is a clear indication that they know what they are doing will never be accepted by the public and they are terrified of being found out.

    Treat them the same way as any other criminal organisation that is trying to keep its activities secret. Someone not known to them has to infiltrate them and blow their cover. There need to be leaks from insiders. TPP is dead anyway, from a practical politics point of view. The real problem from now on, is to cause enough political embarrassment that the perps do not get away with it.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 3:49am

    What sort of legitimacy does a government have to demand that citizens submit to being constantly under surveillance, when the government itself is hiding information away from citizens for no legitimate reason?

     

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    draph91 (profile), Apr 11th, 2012 @ 4:12am

    soooo

    basically this action shows how much of a coward the us is? YOU HEAR THAT OBAMA AND YOU TOO KIRK?!

     

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      TheLoot (profile), Apr 11th, 2012 @ 4:29am

      Re: soooo

      Don't think other countries wouldn't do this...

       

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        PRMan, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 6:05am

        Re: Re: soooo

        I do think that many other countries wouldn't do this. And the countries that would do this aren't the countries that we want to be like.

         

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 7:52pm

          Re: Re: Re: soooo

          Yet all the other countries will go along with it, because the US tells them to, and they don't want to upset the US, it will mention them in one of their "Special Reports"...

          I would realy like one of the attending counties to prove me wrong and leak it.

           

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            Chargone (profile), Apr 12th, 2012 @ 11:05pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: soooo

            sad side effect of the US's shear size. there is no counter-balancing force, and even if there Was no one's willing to risk a war to enforce anything... because quite frankly no one believes the US government is sufficiently non-crazy as to NOT press the nuke button if they were actually losing a war (as opposed to failing to win and/or cutting their losses and withdrawing. i mean actually the US itself suffering the effects of being in a war they were Losing. blockades, invasions, that sort of thing.)

            not that the USSR was a good counter balance, obviously, as it had the same problems. the British and Russian empires might have been if they were still around. maybe. or they could be just as bad still.

            basically, the only protective buffer in the pacific against actions by the USA is the even Worse position of becoming a puppet of China. this is true militarily, economically, and politically, though the last is mostly due to the first two.

            now, the USA's internal economy might be a mess, but they still exert a lot of force on smaller entities in spite of this.

            so, yeah.

            (doesn't help that the current government in NZ at least is, if not a US puppet, made up of the same sorts of idiots who run things in the USA.)

             

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 4:59am

    would it be a really good alternative for countries to hold separate discussions, without the US being invited and when the TPP meeting gets underway, tell the US representatives what has been decided and what will happen if attitudes dont change? ie, tell the US to piss off!! if it's that concerned about it's 'properties', keep them to itself, but dont ask for anything from anyone else!

     

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      Chargone (profile), Apr 12th, 2012 @ 11:06pm

      Re:

      mmm. problem is the USA has an annoying habit of invading places that do things like that.

      that and bribery and assassination to ensure the people in a position to do so aren't those who would.

       

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    Arthur Petron, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 5:33am

    Too Many Acronyms

    You use so many acronyms that you obscure even the topic of your article. If you define them all once, then everything will become clear.

     

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      Cowardly Anonymous, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 6:15am

      Re: Too Many Acronyms

      ACTA -> Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement
      TPP -> TransPacific Partnership
      US -> United States
      USTR -> United States Trade Representative

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 8:02am

      Re: Too Many Acronyms

      These are generally the acronyms used by the U.S. government. For instance, U.S. = united states. The others are also government designated acronyms.

      For instance

      "21st-century Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement"

      http://www.ustr.gov/tpp

      Even the URL has TPP in it.

      It's not confusing to any regular reader here and if you're new here then it shouldn't take very long to familiarize yourself with most of these acronyms.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 5:41am

    Where this debacle will take place exactly?

    http://www.openstreetmap.org/

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 7:45am

    Ignoring the publics opinions on a subject that effects the public, here's a word for you, and a reminder on the definition

    traitor [ˈtreɪtə]
    n
    a person who is guilty of treason or treachery, in betraying friends, country, a cause or trust, etc.


    They were at least right about one thing, there is treason afoot, just not pointed in the right direction

    Bets on the first one of them to call themselve a traitor, any bidders..........someone???.......Anyone????

    ok, ill go first then.........eigggghttweeeeelve-fitteee-six........yeah, thats my bet, six years, ............plus infinity

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 7:47am

    It's amazing how the U.S. government lies and blames the governments of other countries for this total lack of transparency. No, the U.S. is responsible for this lack of transparency, it is they that are primarily demanding a lack of transparency.

     

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    Justin Olbrantz (Quantam), Apr 11th, 2012 @ 8:16am

    One of Those

    Some countries simply aren't ready for democracy. It appears the US is one of them.

     

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      Chargone (profile), Apr 12th, 2012 @ 11:12pm

      Re: One of Those

      any country you can't cross in a single day (preferably on foot, but anything as common as a car in the west is sufficient) is too big to EVER be ready for actual democracy.

      and Representative democracy is neither representative nor democratic. it is a method to allow the bureaucracy to generally maintain the status quo and press forward incremental changes to the detriment of the public without inciting revolt or finding themselves on the wrong end of a revolution and with less assassinations in the course of choosing who within the ruling elite gets to control what.

      liberty is more easily maintained in a feudal system... if the boss suppresses it, you can shoot him and the new boss can actually do something Different.

      the trade off, of course, is that you get more 'civil' wars.

       

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    Beta (profile), Apr 11th, 2012 @ 8:26am

    can't take my eyes off it

    I know it's not important, but... was anyone else bothered by the phrase "fig-leaf of transparency"?

     

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    Jim, Apr 11th, 2012 @ 8:38pm

    It's amazing that this thing is going to go through the same process as SOPA/PIPA, all the while politicians joke about not being SOPA'd. They seriously just do not understand what happened... it's mind-blowing. Don't they pay people to explain this stuff to them?

     

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      Chargone (profile), Apr 12th, 2012 @ 11:13pm

      Re:

      it is very hard to convince a man of something when his paycheck is dependent on not believing it.

      paraphrasing from somewhere, but there ya go.

       

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