Desperate To Sew Up TPP Negotiations At Any Cost, Politicians Agree All Future Meetings Will Be Completely Secret

from the slap-in-the-public's-face dept

We've been reporting for several years about the extraordinary levels of secrecy surrounding the TPP negotiations, where little information was released about what was going on, and there were few opportunities for representatives of civic and other groups to meet with negotiators to present their point of view. More recently, there have been some indications that this lack of transparency is fuelling increasing discontent among some of the participating nations.

In order to get the trade deal sewn up by the end of this year, and before resistance spreads further, the negotiators have decided to hold 'inter-sessional' meetings for the remaining unresolved areas. But as this article from Scoop explains, these won't be like routine TPP meetings, with their routinely unhelpful levels of opacity:

Detective work indicates that informal 'inter-sessional' meetings on six chapters are scheduled within the next four weeks -- all in North America.

' "Inter-sessional" is a misnomer', says Professor Kelsey, 'because they are not planning any more formal sessions. There will be no access for the media or stakeholders to these smaller meetings.'

'Past inter-sessionals have been shrouded in secrecy to ensure we can't find out what's happening and we don't have access to those negotiators who see value in talking with us.'

'The last three years of the TPPA have been widely condemned for their lack of transparency. The process is now going further underground'.
That is, rather than opening up TPP in response to widening criticisms, its negotiators will now be meeting in complete secret, presumably until they emerge with some kind of a deal, however bad. Since no information will be released about those gatherings behind closed doors, and there will be no opportunities to convey concerns to the participants, the public in whose name all these talks are taking place will have no way of knowing what is going on or of offering its views. It's the ultimate in arrogant, "we know best" negotiations where citizens are expected to accept what is given, no discussion allowed.

The last time this approach was used on this scale was for ACTA, which was ultimately rejected, largely because the European public took to the streets to express its outrage at the contempt being shown towards it by the negotiators. Interestingly, in Colombia people are already taking to the streets to protest against the effects of free trade agreements with the US, Europe and Canada, at least in part. Do the governments participating in the now-secret TPP negotiations really want to risk the same happening in their own countries?

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Vincent Giannell, Sep 3rd, 2013 @ 11:13pm

    "Do the governments participating in the now-secret TPP negotiations really want to risk the same happening in their own countries?"

    They probably would because they're sick and tired of people protesting against the TPP and they might try to outlaw protesting against trade agreements. They'll do anything to get what they want even if it means having protestors arrested or killed to do it too.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2013 @ 11:13pm

    Secrets?

    Ummm... Maybe we could ask the NSA what the negotiators are up to. Or maybe AT&T...

     

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  3.  
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    Josef Anvil (profile), Sep 4th, 2013 @ 12:14am

    Who says politicians don't learn from the internet???

    TPP negotiation routes around transparency.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2013 @ 12:17am

    In the spirit of closed negotiations

    The citizens of said countries should really plan their protests in secret and execute the protest in a manner not in keeping with the wishes of the government. These protests should be strictly aggressive, support only the views of the populace and never back down unless they get their own way.

    The citizens should ensure that secret secure communications are always used, tracing of said protestations is not possible and anyone found to be leaking information about such organized protests is dealt with harshly.

     

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  5.  
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    ECA (profile), Sep 4th, 2013 @ 12:18am

    LIST

    LIST TO LEGISLATORS WHO VOTED THIS...

     

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  6.  
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    Charlie, Sep 4th, 2013 @ 12:31am

    Australia

    You know what shits me the most about this? We have elections coming up THIS WEEKEND and we can't even vote OUT the party who agreed to join the TPP in the first place, becasue, as far as I know, BOTH parties are for it! Not that either party have mentioned it in their campaign.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2013 @ 12:54am

    TPP negotiators learned from the NSA: hide everything, shut out any oversight and most importantly - the public is the enemy.

     

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  8.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Sep 4th, 2013 @ 1:12am

    How's that saying go again?

    'If you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide'?

    While a rubbish argument in most cases, I think in this case it's pretty clear that the reason for the total silence is due to the negotiators having plenty to hide regarding what exactly they are fitting in there, in fear that if the public knew what was being negotiated 'in their name', they would protest loud and publicly against the terms.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    any moose cow word, Sep 4th, 2013 @ 1:35am

    Re: In the spirit of closed negotiations

    If we were to do that, we'd be branded as terrorist, but when they do it, it's for economic security.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2013 @ 3:54am

    Re: Australia

    Could always vote for one of the other parties? However much good that would or wouldn't do.

    Here in NZ we'd pretty much be shot of national by now if the media didn't keep spinning it as a US style two party presidential race and constantly spamming polls showing national winning by itself. (Something like 1/3rd of voters didn't bother as a result, and they Still didn't manage it.)

    Media, it should be noted, which is roughly 50/50 NZ government owned and American corporate interest owned.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2013 @ 3:59am

    Re: Re: In the spirit of closed negotiations

    Everything is terrorist to them, including existing.

     

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  12.  
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    Marak, Sep 4th, 2013 @ 4:29am

    I didnt think id get to the point where i would say this but, its America pushing around other countries again, no surprise there.

     

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  13.  
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    Jay (profile), Sep 4th, 2013 @ 4:50am

    Yo Dawg

    I swear this is like WWI all over again...

    But now, we SEE how opaque and obtuse these proceedings are being in order to promote private interests over the public good.

    And the entire point of this is to make it even LESS transparent?

    I swear, there seems to be a Yo Dawg meme around here...

     

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  14.  
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    CopyAndPasteProgrammer (profile), Sep 4th, 2013 @ 5:00am

    Secret Treaty

    I am not sure GMO based food is in the best interest of the people of any country. Monsanto wants to control the world's food supply through GMO patents. This is our business and no country should tolerate a secret treaty for trade which includes food.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2013 @ 5:06am

    And they want people to respect the rule of law, when the laws are a scam?

     

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  16.  
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    Capt. Underpants, Sep 4th, 2013 @ 5:06am

    You see, this is the best thing about a representative government - they actually represent the wishes of their constituents (the people in their district, not their campaign contributors).

    ..... oh wait - no, that is in bizarro america.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2013 @ 5:17am

    ACTA fell primarily because the commission was goating the parliament with obscure and never before used procedures. Most parties were pissed already, when the opposition towards ACTA gained steam. There were a few parties who changed or got an official opinion during the parliamentary work, which made ACTA fall.

    Secrecy during negotiation is not bad if it is closed to every external influence and there will be a real work done on the legal effects of TPP. In absess of those, secrecy is a sign of complete resignation from politicians. They have no idea about how to handle the industry influence or public perception. Secrecy and fast-track procedures are signs of irresponsible politicians who lack fundamental understanding of what is going on and how to discuss it without pissing away their campaign money by offending sponsors or answering to the public/their district.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2013 @ 5:34am

    Re:

    "Secrecy during negotiation is not bad if it is closed to every external influence"

    This will work out great when the negotiating members are industry goons. Yup, no problem here.


    "signs of irresponsible politicians who lack fundamental understanding "

    Bingo

     

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  19.  
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    The Real Michael, Sep 4th, 2013 @ 5:38am

    The legacy corps disregard the will of the people, yet our government gives them enough leeway to pretty much do whatever they please, like a bunch of spoiled rotten brats. No matter how much they've got, it's never enough.

    They act in secrecy because their actions conflict with the interests of the greater good. They are motivated purely by greed and selfish desire. We should demand full access to whatever they're agreeing upon in our name. They shouldn't have the right to shut us out and then inflict their will upon us.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2013 @ 5:55am

    everything about TPP is as bad as it was in ACTA, probably even worse if the truth is ever known. the most troubling piece of information from the report above though, to me is that the meetings are going to be held in the North America! the only reason for this can be so there is difficulty in voting against the proposals etc but also to ensure that the entertainment industries and Hollywood will be able to put the worst of the worst of conditions in place to ensure that the public are deemed as criminals from day one, that they can be sued at the drop of a hat, have almost no way of refuting any charges or being able to produce evidence of innocence and being kicked off the internet!! the last one is the important one because the thick fuckers in these industries still think that the less people there are on the net, the more they will go back to buying cinema tickets and dvds/blurays. every other use of the internet for people is going to be completely ignored, just as long as those industries get what they want!! instead of going down this road, they need to be forced to do what customers want and governments, instead of doing what businesses demand should be doing what the electorate says!!

     

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  21.  
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    PopeRatzo (profile), Sep 4th, 2013 @ 6:19am

    Too late for all that

    It's too late to deal with the TPP through regular political means. As we've learned from ACTA, only mass protests and civil disobedience makes any difference.

    There's only two ways this can go: badly for them or badly for us. The economic elite have shown that their only interest is in making sure people who don't have wealth never get any.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2013 @ 6:26am

    I'll be specifically breaking any international laws they draft during this period, because this kind of shit doesn't fly with me.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    slinkySlim, Sep 4th, 2013 @ 7:01am

    Nothing Good Can Come From This

    Death To The TPP

    and if there did happen to contain some goodness therein its demise shall be deemed the responsibility of the "negotiating" parties for secretly negotiating in the name of the public the deeds, means and methods for corporate and government takeover of said public.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2013 @ 7:40am

    Lets face it, the very existence of patents is just as much a sham as the existence of copy'right' law. These laws are a complete sham and shouldn't even exist and their alleged justification is as out of touch with reality as the current state of these laws and the secrecy behind them. Those attempting to justify these laws are the same people responsible for their current state and the secrecy revolving around them and these people are liars. There is no justification for IP laws. Abolish them, completely.

     

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  25.  
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    caviaremptor (profile), Sep 4th, 2013 @ 7:49am

    So many things a war can obfiscate like TPP and the Septaper untaper. Real economic numbers awful. The Fed runs out of wiggle room to cook the books mid October.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2013 @ 9:27am

    Re:

    "and being kicked off the internet!! the last one is the important one because the thick fuckers in these industries still think that the less people there are on the net, the more they will go back to buying cinema tickets and dvds/blurays. every other use of the internet for people is going to be completely ignored, just as long as those industries get what they want!! "

    The government will go along with this, though. Regardless of whether people buy more DVDs/Blurays, keeping people off the net will keep them away from any news reporting worth a toss. No more reading Techdirt. No more reading any other internet news sites and finding out the truth about what the governments and corporations are up to. Just 24/7 mainstream media news that rarely reports on anything more substantial than the latest celebrity disgrace and never reports on anything without self-censorship and complete adherence to the pre-approved Party line.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2013 @ 9:52am

    No one can really get kicked off the internet. Just get up on the roof and swing a Yagi antennae and choose from your wide selection of wifi open networks.

     

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  28.  
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    riii, Sep 4th, 2013 @ 12:04pm

    Can anything be done to end TPP if it passes?

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2013 @ 1:03pm

    No legislation without representation!

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2013 @ 2:07pm

    i will bet you anything you like, there will be a massive attendance to these meetings by Hollywood and the rest of the US entertainment industries. i also bet what you like that the threats will be flowing thick and fast at any country that refuses to stand up against what those industries want to do to prosecute people, to sue people, to bankrupt and to imprison people, all over the sharing of a movie or song. fucking tossers!!

     

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  31.  
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    Rekrul, Sep 4th, 2013 @ 3:22pm

    Since no information will be released about those gatherings behind closed doors, and there will be no opportunities to convey concerns to the participants, the public in whose name all these talks are taking place will have no way of knowing what is going on or of offering its views.

    In what world do you live? Deals like this are negotiated solely for the benefit of the corporations.

     

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  32.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Sep 4th, 2013 @ 8:18pm

    I wonder if Edward snowden had access to the TPP negotiations.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    observer, Sep 5th, 2013 @ 10:04am

    NSA

    Secrets to the rest of the of the parties except full knowledge to the US counterparts - NSA = NO Secrets Anymore.
    How to negotiate with someone who knows your moves...

     

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  34.  
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    CopyAndPasteProgrammer (profile), Sep 5th, 2013 @ 12:16pm

    Secret Treaty

    Trade treaty without public review should be rejected.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Alan8, Sep 6th, 2013 @ 7:11am

    Re: Australia

    "...as far as I know, BOTH parties are for it!"

    The Green Party runs in virtually every country on the planet, and they are solidly AGAINST the TPP. They don't accept corporate money, and they represent CITIZENS' interests -- not corporate interests.

    Your Green votes send a message to the corrupt parties that selling out their citizens to corporate interests will cost them votes.

    And this message is sent even if the Greens you vote for lose.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    OH, Sep 8th, 2013 @ 8:27am

    The worthless rich are always whining, nobody appreciates us, we invented electricity, we invented engineers, and nobody is aware how special and worthwhile we are. We don't get worshipped enough - maybe it's because you're inventing your brilliant improvement for mankind in secret?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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