by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
acta, negotiations, tokyo, transparency

Latest ACTA Negotiation Kicks Off By Making It Difficult For Consumer Rights Groups To Attend

from the how-nice dept

While it's not clear that it's done much, at least at the last few ACTA negotiation meetings, time has been set aside for various "civil society groups" to meet with the negotiators and ask some questions. Apparently, the ACTA negotiators would rather not do that anymore. Sean Flynn has detailed just how difficult the negotiators made it for such groups to attend the latest meeting in Tokyo. Everyone knew that the meeting was happening in Tokyo, but the rumors were that it started next week. Nope. At the last minute, it came out that they actually start on Thursday of this week -- and that info wasn't released publicly until it was effectively too late for most to get a ticket to get to Japan:
You can't book a plane trip if you don't when to book it for. It takes 15- 20 hours to fly to Japan from the east coast of the U.S. and you land a day after you take off. So U.S. groups that want to attend the meeting at the start of it -- you needed to buy your ticket when the announcement hit after 3pm yesterday and be on a plane now. If you want to go to the one hour civil society meeting, you need to leave by tomorrow. Those that have bought a ticket likely have one for next week -- when everyone thought the negotiation would be. So they will miss the civil society meeting.

Figuring out that the announcement of the date of the meeting was made yesterday was no easy feat. Two individuals (myself and Malini Aisola from KEI) inquiring with USTR yesterday about the meeting were first told that they had to contact the Japanese Embassy for information on the meeting. We were given the name of Mr. Kazuyuki Takimi, First Secretary, Economic Section, Embassy of Japan,, 202-238-6729.

Mr. Takimi said he did not know when the meeting was going to be held because he had not spoken to "Tokyo" lately. He said he recalled it might be meeting on September 23, but could not confirm. He said he had no agenda and no knowledge of any civil society meeting opportunity.
Nice of them, huh? Flynn also notes that while an agenda has been posted on the USTR website, it's almost impossible to find:
If you want to laugh -- go to that site and try to find the agenda. It is not in any of the press releases on the top or bottom of the site. It is not the prominent link on the left for the agenda to the 5th Round -- that was in 1999. It is not in the upper right hand or left hand boxes where the recent announcements are. Still looking? It starts with the 372nd word in the background essay in the middle page.
Of course, if you do find the agenda (pdf), you discover it's nothing substantial at all. It basically just says they'll be meeting pretty much every day.

Considering that almost everyone agrees the Tokyo meetings are intended to "finalize" the (still secret) agreement, it looks like ACTA maybe going out the same way it came into life: in near total secrecy, without involving rather important stakeholders representing the people ACTA will impact the most. What a disgraceful process.

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  • identicon
    Nick, 22 Sep 2010 @ 3:52pm


    Wow, what a dick move on their part.

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

  • icon
    crade (profile), 22 Sep 2010 @ 4:02pm

    Ensuring that the electorate doesn't know or have input in the negotiations is a matter of national security. What more do you need to know? :)

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

  • icon
    James Carmichael (profile), 22 Sep 2010 @ 4:03pm


    The sheer lack of ethic, intelligence and honesty that every single people involved in this ACTA thing just amazes me. These are actual people, knowingly doing really sketchy stuff, knowing that we know, too.

    I mean, way to have no self-respect, guys.

    On a good note, it's good seeing that good people are reporting it.

    But okay, even if they finish that bill, what are the probability that it gets taken seriously in the US? What about Canada?

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

    • icon
      crade (profile), 22 Sep 2010 @ 4:07pm

      Re: Ethics

      I think it has a good chance of being taken seriously by Canada. The U.S. doesn't want to change any of their own policies, but you can bet that they will use any and all leverage to push Canada and the others to change their laws. And Canada is a pussy when it comes to standing up to the U.S.

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

    • icon
      Greevar (profile), 22 Sep 2010 @ 8:44pm

      Re: Ethics

      This isn't the first time that the powerful have met in secret to circumvent the will of the people. Prior to 1913, the "Money Trust" (i.e. Carnegie's, Rothschilds, etc.) gathered on an island off the coast of the state of Georgia and crafted what is now known as the Federal Reserve Act. This law was announced as a measure to put the Money Trust down and the people ate it up. A law crafted by the people it was supposedly intended to regulate? That never happens. And water isn't wet either.

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

  • icon
    Richard (profile), 22 Sep 2010 @ 4:16pm

    Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

    "Beware of the Leopard"

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

    • icon
      slacker525600 (profile), 22 Sep 2010 @ 6:26pm

      Re: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

      I was about to post "
      But the plans were on display.'
      On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.'
      `That's the display department.'
      `With a torch.'
      `Ah, well the lights had probably gone.'
      `So had the stairs.'
      `But look you found the notice didn't you?'
      `Yes,' said Arthur, `yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of The Leopard".'" "

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

  • icon
    Hephaestus (profile), 22 Sep 2010 @ 4:59pm

    What I have heard ...

    They are probably rushing this so that it can be signed by the president before the mid terms. Why I have no idea.

    Anyone care to explain or throw out ideas on the subject?

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

  • identicon
    Trerro, 22 Sep 2010 @ 6:32pm


    This level of multinational shady corporation-as-government deal sounds like the sort of thing that belongs in a sci-fi dystopia, not the real world.

    While a lot of us want a sci-fi future, we want the one with space travel and contact with interesting races... not this crap. :P

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

    • icon
      vivaelamor (profile), 23 Sep 2010 @ 3:36am

      Re: sheesh

      "This level of multinational shady corporation-as-government deal sounds like the sort of thing that belongs in a sci-fi dystopia, not the real world."

      Welcome to the information age. I don't believe that these shenanigans are new, just easier to spot.

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

  • icon
    Masayuki Hatta (profile), 23 Sep 2010 @ 3:23pm

    Evem for Tokyo natives...

    I was invited (in Sep. 22!) to attend so-called "civil society groups meeting" or whatever today. It seems to be merely an one hour lunch break, the latest draft is not given beforehand for scrutiny at all, and E-J translators are not provided(thus many other Japanese activists can't join), so I figured this is basically more ceremonial than substantial discussion. Also, Sep. 23 is a national holiday, so many people take a 4-days off. Even I originally considered to take a vacation today.

    Anywise, I'll be there and at least say ACTA has lost all legitimacy in any sense. What a shame.

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

  • icon
    Christopher (profile), 23 Sep 2010 @ 3:24pm

    This is seriously disgraceful. The whole point of DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT is to allow the citizens total scrutiny into what their government is doing, unless there is a VERY GOOD and sane reasoning why something should be secret.

    In the case of ACTA.... that is not met. NOWHERE NEAR being met.

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

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