USTR So Transparent It Takes Three Months To Reveal Names Of TPP Chapters

from the yeah,-we-got-that dept

Negotiators had hoped to conclude the big Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement at the last negotiation round, thinking that since the US had finally granted fast track, all the obstacles were moved out of the way. That didn't happen, leading many to wonder if the entire agreement is doomed. However, as EFF recently explained there's still a ton going on behind the scenes (or, rather, behind closed doors). That discussion notes that the USTR has appointed one of its own top lawyers, Tim Reif, to be the USTR's new "chief transparency officer." Of course, giving lawyers new titles and actually being transparent are two very separate things.

The USTR's own posted update on the TPP is full of vague bullshit, rather than details. It comes across as standard "rah rah" propagranda, rather than a recognition that there is widespread disagreement among negotiating countries and widespread concern among the public around the globe about this agreement. It also ignores the fact that negotiators are way behind schedule and that the failure to conclude the agreement in Maui was a huge failure. Instead, the USTR pretends things are going along swimmingly. This either means the USTR actually believes this or it's lying to the public. Oh, and the only mention of "transparency" in the statement is to talk about how the USTR (again, negotiated entirely in secret) is supposed to "increase transparency" in policy making. Seriously:
Through TPP, we are seeking to make trade across the TPP region more seamless, including by improving the coherence of TPP regulatory systems, enhancing transparency in policy-making processes, and combatting corruption. These “good government” reforms also play an important role in ensuring fairness for American workers and small businesses.
If the goal is to increase transparency in policymaking, the USTR might as well begin at home. Because back on June 4th, Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) reached out to the USTR, via a FOIA request, asking for just the names of the TPP Chapters. Not the contents. Not the negotiating positions. Just the names of the freaking chapters. And it took until September 10th for the USTR to provide those.

Again, this is a simple request for the mere chapter headings of an agreement that the USTR is insisting is being put in place to increase transparency, and the USTR can't even respond to that within three months. This is not an organization that understands transparency. It's an organization that only lives by obfuscation and secrecy. That's no way for a democracy to be run.

Filed Under: tpp, transparency, ustr


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2015 @ 7:01pm

    Interesting admission

    It's interesting that they admit that they have corruption they need to combat.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2015 @ 2:31am

      Re: Interesting admission

      No, they are clean as the falling snow. The corruption they are fighting are laws. Those damn corrupt entities are everything that holds utopia back. Utopia being the ability for capital to flow into the pockets of the right people without the wasteful checks and balances of laws and regulation.

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

    • identicon
      David, 12 Sep 2015 @ 9:18am

      Re: Interesting admission

      It's interesting that they admit that they have corruption they need to combat.
      Combat? How do you figure that? They have a chapter "Transparency and Anticorruption". That makes perfect sense, like a hospital hygiene plan might contain a chapter "respiratory and urethral tract infections". Of course the USTR needs strategies to deal with transparency and anticorruption.

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

  • identicon
    Sleep Now!, 11 Sep 2015 @ 7:06pm

    Chapter titles

    There only needs to be one

    RENT.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2015 @ 12:07am

      Re: Chapter titles

      You also forgot such luminary titles as, "Fuck the Sick", "The Cancer That is Killing TV", and "Whatever."

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2015 @ 10:15am

    This is just a list of what they want you to see
    It's the
    Chapter
    1
    .a
    .b
    that we really need to be worried about .

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

  • identicon
    David E.H. Smith, 12 Sep 2015 @ 5:43pm

    TPP’s, et al, ‘Rules’, ‘Regulations’, ‘Laws’, etc., Supersede Existing

    The concept behind rules, regulations, laws, etc. is, amongst other things;

    1) to ensure that the parties to an agreement get what they signed up for,
    2) to provide the means to publicly investigate any claims that may create the basis for unrealistic expectations by the other signatories
    and
    3) to publicly adjudicate & punish those who have created the basis for unrealistic expectations while protecting the harmless taxpayers from becoming collateral damage to agreements that they do not have the where-with-all to provide informed consent & the means to remedy the aforementioned agreements.

    It may be regrettable that Corporate Canada (with, or, without the knowledge, &/or, assistance of another potential signatory to the global corporate economic treaties, &/or arrangements) and its representatives in Parliament, et al, are continuing to deprive some, &/or, all of the signatories to the TPP, et al, of the due diligence information and thus, promoting the unrealistic expectations that they have created. This situation is particularly worrisome for the foreign investors in considering the deprivation of the relevant information to Native Canadians, et al, by Corporates Canada, &/or, the government of Canada, et al, & their subsequent ‘management’ of Native Canadians (re; the unfettered access to the natural resources that are still being discovered in Canada, et al) that is creating a great deal of the aforementioned unrealistic expectations by most of the potential signatories & perhaps, a great deal of trepidation for some of the other potential signatories.

    For more information & questions regarding the concept behind rules, regulations, laws, etc., please consider the issues in the context of the article below.

    ***
    Another good reason for non-Native Canadians, foreign investors, et al, to support Native Canadians in; Deprivation of the Due Diligence Information, Reconciling the Abuses of The Residential Schools (& its subsequent cover-up & ‘Inquiry’), Ending the ‘Designer Racism’, ‘Moving Political talks’ along, the Investigation into Missing Native Women, et al…

    Native Canadians can Save Non-Natives Canadians, et al, from Corporate Canada’s superseding TPP, CETA & other Global Corporate Treaties/'Arrangements'?

    But, Under what Circumstances would Native Canadians consider helping non-Native Canadians, et al, to Co-Sue the Federal Government & Corporate Canada, et al, for Deprivation of Due Diligence Info, besides Ending the ‘Designer Racism’ & other considerations? Non-Natives Canadians, et al, can learn a Great Deal about the Need for Litigation against Corporate Canada & its Representatives in Parliament & Congress.

    While the decision to cancel the license to access & pollute a huge amount of water used for fracking by Nexen’s Chinese & Canadian investors may be good for the citizens of the Fort Nelson First Nation, the context of the decision is still unsettled & dangerous for both; Native & non-Native Canadians.

    This is the second ‘set-back’ for Corporate Canada’s investors in China’s corporate energy participant, Nexen, in the China – Canada Investment Treaty (C-CIT) whereby Corporate Canada & the government of Canada (PM Harper & the executives of the ‘opposition’ parties) have sold, &/or, deliberately misrepresented to China & other potential signatories of the flurry of Global Corporate Treaties/’Arrangements’; CETA (EU), TPP (Trans Pacific nations) &, by association, the TTIP (U.S – EU), on the basis of unrealistic expectations regarding Corporate Canada’s ability to control;
    1) Native politicians & Native voters in order accept unofficial (non-government, or, non-legal, sanctioned fines, &/or, awards) pay –offs
    &
    2) Non-Native Canadians by way of fanning the flames of the uniquely Canadian ‘designer racism’.

    As all of Corporate Canada’s traditional parties (minus the Green party) support the secret Tribunals’ ‘arrangements’, Corporates China & Canada are desperate to avoid having the secret Tribunal of the C-CITreaty financially punish the taxpaying voters prior to the federal election. Corporate Canada is even more desperate to make sure that the decision by the post-election Tribunal deciding in favor of the Chinese & Canadian investors will not:
    1) tip-off the Canadian voters & cause the voters to reject the yet to be ratified TPP & CETA
    &, perhaps more importantly,
    2) tip-off the voters in the U.S., the European Union, the Trans Pacific nations, et al.
    And, finally, the Nexen investors have to wait until after the Canadian Oct., 2015 election in order for the faux ‘opposition’ to put some distance between itself & those ‘evil followers of Harper’ (ie. the Conservatives), even though they, the faux ‘opposition’ (the Liberals & the New Democrats), are also supporters of the means to inhumanely & secretly punish the ‘harmless’ voters, both; Native & non-Native, of Canada.

    And, if one understands why President G.H.W. Bush explained to Canadians ‘Well, you should have Known’* regarding Corporate ‘America’s’ (ie. Canadian investors, et al, in American companies doing business in Canada) reneging on the FTA as per the soft lumber ‘dispute’, then perhaps one might understand why Presidents Bush, Obama, et al, might very well say the same thing to his fellow American voters & the voters in all of the other potential signatory nations.

    And, while some** have concluded that Corporate Canada’s ‘handling’ of grassroots Canadians, particularly, Native Canadians, continues to be repugnant, it may be worthwhile to point out that while grassroots Canadians have been conditioned/educated to defer to government imposed ‘compromises’ & to be reluctant to engage in legal battles, ie.‘suit-adverse’, as opposed to litigious Americans, Native Canadians have wisely & successfully determined that litigation is the only way to get around the secret arrangements that benefit a few band members for the period of an election cycle by engaging in litigation that benefit the entire community by questioning, testing, buttressing & furthering the rights of Native Canadians.

    And, while non-Native Canadians do not have the benefit of having the financial & institutional capabilities to sue Corporate Canada & the government of Canada, grassroots non-Native Canadians may find a vast common ground with Native Canadians, whereby Native & non-Native Canadians can exercise & increase the benefits of their version of ‘democracy’ by establishing effective means of checks & balances over the combined forces of Corporate Canada & the representatives that they choose for the voters to select as Members of Parliament. One of the means for accessing the aforementioned checks & balances arises from creating the forums for all Canadians, et al, to share, improve & discuss, etc., the information & the questions in The W.A.D. Accord*** (also referred to as ‘The Australian Question’) which is intended to prevent Native & non-Native Canadians, et al, from continuing to be deprived of the due diligence information that can provide the basis for the more informed financial planning of their families & communities.

    Therefore, by looking at the context of the decision to turn down Nexen’s fracking license one can get a better understanding of why Corporate Canada has anxiously help develop the aforementioned Treaties/’Arrangements’ that would supersede the benefits in The WAD Accord & its Compensation while continuing to deprive & now, after the ratifications, legitimize Native & non-Native Canadians, et al, of the information in the Treaties/’Arrangements’ & legitimizing (ie. making it legal for Corporate Canada &/or its Associates to make any & all secret, self-serving arrangements in the future).

    David E.H. Smith
    - Researcher
    - 'Qui tam...'

    *see; ‘Well, you should have Known’ at davidehsmith.wordpress.com
    ** Who is the ‘coveted’ Chinese investor who stated:
    ‘When it comes to dealing with Canadians (Corporate Canada & their politicians?) it’s not that we are not racist, we just can’t stand the way that you suck up to us’.
    And, which Canadians are coveting this potential Chinese investor & his global associates?
    ***The W.A.D. Accord, see; Google, or, davidehsmith.wordpress.com
    **********

    For suggestions for Your Submission to your Supreme Court, please see below & share your Improvements: 'The Submission' to The SUPREME COURT of CANADA:
    ‘The SHAREHOLDERS & Corporations of AMERICA, Australia, Canada, the EU, the Trans Pacific nations, et al
    v.
    the (harmless) Canadian NON shareholders, both; Native & non Native, et al’
    including
    'The MERKEL (Chancellor of Germany) Letter; To Sue, or, Be Sued?'
    (see; davidehsmith.wordpress.com)

    **********


    For more Information & Questions re; The Relationship between Human (Nature) Rights & Economics by way of the TTIP, the CET Agreement, TPP, C-CI Treaty, et al, and The WAD Accord
    & List of RECENT ARTICLES, LETTERS & NOTIFICATIONS by DEHS,
    see; davidehsmith.wordpress.com

    ***


    Please consider sharing the enclosed information & questions with 10 friends who will share it with 10 others...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Sep 2015 @ 12:24am

    Reverse logic

    When law makers want to put up surveillance cameras and install mandatory snooping wares on communications equipment, the meme always goes "If you are not doing anything bad you have nothing to fear" - the catch being that the definition of 'bad' is variable.
    When it comes to enterprise-mandated treaties negotiated behind several layers of closed doors, the public need to turn the logic back at the politician puppets and ask if they are doing anything bad since they seem to fear bringing it into the open.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Sep 2015 @ 1:50am

    Man, the freaking left wing paranoia about trade again on Techdirt. What's the big deal about "secret" negotiations? It ultimately will be made public. Then the duly elected representatives of the people will have a chance to approve or reject. Seems the real beef is that the protectionists don't have anything concrete to demagog right now, which pisses them off.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 13 Sep 2015 @ 9:11am

      Re:

      What's the big deal about "secret" negotiations?

      Secret negotiations that will absolutely affect the public, being hidden from the public, until the last minute when absolutely nothing can be changed, and massive pressure will be applied to push it through?

      Yeah, can't imagine why people might be upset about that. /s

      Then the duly elected representatives of the people will have a chance to approve or reject.

      50 out of the entire lot of them, and strictly on an 'All or Nothing' basis. They either pass everything, no matter how bad any given section is, or reject all of it, and you can bet there will be massive pressure put on those voting to pass it by the very industries who stand to gain and who wrote the thing in the first place.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Sep 2015 @ 11:19am

        Re: Re:

        What he doesn't get is that he's admitting that releasing the documents earlier, and giving everyone a more equal opportunity to participate in the discussion, may affect the outcome which is exactly why he doesn't want the documents to be released earlier. But that is exactly why they absolutely should be released earlier because democracy is exactly about maximizing everyone's ability to participate and effect change but he doesn't want that because he's not in favor of democracy. He, admittedly, wants to subvert the democratic process by hindering everyone's ability to effect change which is the very antithesis of democracy. The very fact that he's worried that an earlier release may change the outcome is an admission to the fact that he wants these laws to be done in secrecy exactly to subvert the democratic process and prevent the public and various stakeholders from participating to effect changes so that the laws better represent everyone. The fact that an earlier release could change the outcome is the exact reason why these documents should be released earlier, those changes would be due to the fact that the public and a wider array of stakeholders will get a better opportunity to participate in the democratic process to get laws that better represent everyone if the documents are released earlier.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Sep 2015 @ 9:26am

      Re:

      I really hope you're being sarcastic.

      "What's the big deal about "secret" negotiations?"

      If these negotiations were really what the public wants then why are they being kept secret from the public while being available to special private interests?

      and they are being done in secret. The negotiations aren't being publicly broadcasted and the documents involved aren't being publicly released until later in their development.

      "It ultimately will be made public."

      The point is that a select few are given more opportunity, more time, to negotiate and review public policy than the public. That's not democracy. The public has every right to have just the same opportunity and time to see those documents as those private interests trying to push them through.

      The point is that these policies aren't intended for the public they're intended to serve the interests of the select few that are secretly negotiating them. That's not democracy. What have you got against democracy?

      "Then the duly elected representatives of the people will have a chance to approve or reject."

      Before the public, the ones our bought elected officials are supposed to represent, had the same chance to review the documents as did those private interests negotiating them so that the public can have the same opportunity to give their input. That's not democracy.

      "Seems the real beef is that the protectionists don't have anything concrete to demagog right now, which pisses them off."

      So you're admitting that there is probably something in those documents that the public and various stakeholders will not like. Yet you want them to be kept secret from the public and various stakeholders until the last minute when it's too late to review everything and provide the necessary input on everything that's wrong to negotiate amendments. You don't want the public and other stakeholders, only the ones that are buying politicians, to have the same opportunity to influence the outcome of these negotiations by finding everything wrong with them. That's not democracy. See, you just said it, you just explained exactly what's the big deal. I really don't see how you don't get it or if you are just being sarcastic, it's really hard to tell since IP extremists are just as bad as true sarcasm. It is a big deal.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Sep 2015 @ 9:34am

        Re: Re:

        In fact my efforts to mock IP extremists with sarcasm require a whole lot of effort if I don't somehow explicitly indicate that I'm being sarcastic because some of the things IP extremists say are so extreme, so inane, so ridiculous that it's indistinguishable from sarcasm. They have really made mocking them very difficult due to how ridiculous the real extremist is.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Sep 2015 @ 9:47am

      Re:

      "What's the big deal about "secret" negotiations?"

      What's the big deal about them being transparent.

      "Seems the real beef is that the protectionists don't have anything concrete to demagog right now, which pisses them off."

      Ahh, you just explained the big deal. There is probably something in those documents that the public and various stakeholders won't like and you don't want them to have an equal opportunity to participate in the discussion to effect change. Some democracy.

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

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 13 Sep 2015 @ 2:49pm

      Maximum Poe

      This is like the Total Recall paradox. duly elected representatives hints that this is satire. Then again it hits the corporatist language too well.

      Troll?

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

  • identicon
    David, 13 Sep 2015 @ 7:55am

    No problem with Maui

    It also ignores the fact that negotiators are way behind schedule and that the failure to conclude the agreement in Maui was a huge failure. Instead, the USTR pretends things are going along swimmingly. This either means the USTR actually believes this or it's lying to the public.

    Deadlines are not really important when everybody is on the same page. And the USTR is pretty sure that it's still got the bribes and thumbscrews to bring them all and in transparency bind them in the land of U.S.A. where the politicians lie.

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

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 13 Sep 2015 @ 2:54pm

      The Maui failure buys time for the leakers.

      If TPP can be made fully public, then the public can raise a proper stink about all the creepy bits (like the IP clauses and the SOPA revisit).

      And all during a US national election year.

      Should be an excellent party for all.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2015 @ 9:42am

    lawyer + transparency = im not obliged by "law" to divulge that information, here, here, and here's why

    6 months later, BAM! Slow tracked!

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


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