Greenpeace Publishes Leaked TTIP Documents... Show How Backroom Deals Are Driven By Lobbyists

from the because-of-course-they-are dept

We've written plenty of stories about the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership) agreement being worked on between the US and the EU. Think of it as the companion to the TPP, which covers the US and a variety of countries around the Pacific ocean. Like the TPP, the US has demanded extreme levels of secrecy around the negotiations (in the past, the US negotiating body, the USTR, has admitted that the more the public is aware of the details, the less likely they are to support the agreement). And while there have been reports out of the EU arguing that negotiators there are more willing to be more open about the negotiations, so far, the US has not allowed it. This has resulted in some crazy situations including secretive "reading rooms" where politicians are carefully guarded if they look at the current drafts -- and where they're not allowed to bring any device or copy anything from the documents.

Now, Greenpeace has leaked a bunch of the TTIP documents... and also set up their own "reading room" which mocks the secrecy of the current reading rooms, by making it very, very transparent:
As for the contents revealed, it's pretty much what everyone suspected. Most of the focus, so far, is on details showing that the US has been pressuring the EU to loosen various consumer and environmental protections in the EU. While it hasn't received as much attention, the leak also does suggest problems for digital rights, mainly by giving telcos much more power. And while the "intellectual property" chapter does not appear to be included, one of the leaks is the "tactical state of play" document. This document isn't part of the negotiating text, but a general summary on where things are... and it's fairly revealing on a variety of topics, including intellectual property.

In the discussion on the intellectual property agreement, it notes that at the latest negotiation, the US refused to put forth "concrete proposals" on issues such as DRM, but the report notes that these are being pushed strongly by "rights holders." The EU, apparently, is nervous about what kind of language it will eventually see from the US. The US, in response, apparently told the EU negotiators that this would be a different kind of intellectual property chapter from the TPP:
A positive feature of the twelfth round of IP discussions was the US submission, for the first time, of some texts on relatively consensual areas (international treaties and general provisions). However, the US remains unwilling to table, at this stage, concrete proposals on more sensitive offensive interests that have been expressed by some of its right holders or that are explicitly referred to in its TPA (for instance on patents, on technical protection measures and digital rights management or on enforcement).

When confronted with the EU warning that bringing sensitive proposals that would require changes in EU law to the table – and doing it at a late stage of the negotiation – may have a negative impact on stakeholders and has very limited chances of being accepted, the US reiterated its understanding that the IPR chapter should not be a standard (TPP type) text, but also insisted that such a departure from its “model” creates some difficulties in terms of addressing the demands included in the IPR related sections of its TPA.
The report also notes that Congress' unwillingness to pass laws to stop patent trolls or in support of (awful) broadcast rights, public performance rights and resale rights, may be an issue, since all three are important to EU rightsholders. We've covered all three issues at various points in time, and all three involve basically expanding copyright law in dangerous ways that will further limit the public's rights. In this case, it looks like it's the EU that's pushing more strongly for them, which is too bad. The public performance rights have the most forward progress in the US right now, with the push to ratify the Beijing Treaty, but hopefully that's an area where legislative indifference kills a horrifically bad idea.

In short, it appears that there are a lot of competing interests on both sides of the Atlantic around the intellectual property chapter, but both sides appear to be focused almost entirely on the protectionist, anti-innovation, anti-public interests of specific rights holders and how to make them happy. There's basically no discussion of how all of this impacts the public.

That's not too surprising, but it also shows why they've worked so hard to keep these documents from being seen by the public. The TTIP agreement was already way behind the TPP agreement, and it's quite doubtful that a final agreement will be reached before the new US administration is in place, which could result in some pretty massive changes in terms of what the White House is demanding. But, as of right now, the agreement looks like yet another mess where lobbyists try to divvy up the spoils in taking things away from the public.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 May 2016 @ 2:18pm

    hopefully, not only will these mean the end to TTIP, more people will get off their fat ass and refuse ALL of these entertainment industries sponsored 'Trade Deals' that do absolutely no good to anyone else other than the USA and the industries! perhaps people can also be persuaded to kick up about the deals that are in place already and how they were 'negotiated' with no input or notice taken, of any of the things that would benefit the public, even a little bit!

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

  • icon
    Jordan (profile), 3 May 2016 @ 2:29pm

    How is it..

    that it seems for things like this every representative looks out for the government and big business and not their people? Are there that many democrats onboard with the secrecy? What's the justification? How do they JUSTIFY this to the people?

    I'm not a conspiracy theorist but sometimes I wonder about things like this...

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 May 2016 @ 3:20pm

      Re: How is it..

      Tell me... do you know of anyone that voted for an R or a D? Will you be voting for one of these two parties?

      How about the next time you serve as a juror? Do you plan on skipping out if you can, or will you stick around to make sure a fellow citizen is not getting fucked by this corruption you and most other Americans "CLAIM" to hate so much?

      Have you walked down to your local city counsel and asked them if they plan to clean up corrupting in the local police force?

      Do you keep voting in your representative because they get your district things like Jobs & other Government Bennies?

      They justify this shit to the people every time they get voted back into office and every time we vote in a fucking party politician.

      Because at the end of the Day... they BELONG TO THE PARTY!!! not your stupid ass!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 May 2016 @ 3:38pm

      Re: How is it..

      1 party two public faces: Democrat and Republican. They both act like they are opposing views but they are really all for personal power and personal wealth especially if it means making it so everyone else has less than them.

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

    • icon
      crade (profile), 3 May 2016 @ 3:50pm

      Re: How is it..

      Mostly because the voting system is set up to value money over public interest. Politicians don't fight for votes directly, they fight for money from lobbyists, then use the money to control the information the public gets to base their votes on.

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

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 3 May 2016 @ 5:23pm

      Money.

      How is it...every representative looks out for the government and big business and not their people

      During the trial of Al Capone, Justice James Wilkerson learned that even he was on Al Capone's people-to-bribe list. In that moment, he realized how pervasive Capone's influence and corruption was, and when the court was resumed, had the bailiff swap juries with Judge Edwards down the hall. Indeed, Capone had bribed all twelve.

      Anyone can be bought. Anyone.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 May 2016 @ 7:41pm

        Re: Money.

        The problem is that those that can't be bought have difficulty making it to a position of power. Unless they're already too rich to be bought ... then I suppose you get people like Donald Trump ...

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

        • identicon
          LAquaker, 4 May 2016 @ 12:22am

          Re: Re: Money? No Need

          ...."Oh, by the way. We have a 10-year-to-Life LSD conviction siting in our file for you.
          No, we don't need evidence.
          So, for your family, don't forget to take our phone calls.....
          Oh, BTW, let us show you OUR film in Dallas on November 22, 1963"

          Need an example? The prior Governor of Illinois came on the nightly TV news, standing with a group of 'laid off' factory workers; Bank Of America was holding their back pay.
          The FBI brought the 'file' to his home at dawn the next morning.

          See A Very British Coup (1988) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094576/

          Not c'est moi? Ninety-seven percent of federal and ninety-four percent of state convictions are plea-bargains; see themarshallproject.org.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2016 @ 11:16am

          Re: Re: Money.

          I am hoping trump wins, he is insane enough to cause massive reform of the corruption just from people being fed up with him, where they refuse to do it for any other "moderate"

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

        • icon
          crade (profile), 4 May 2016 @ 11:53am

          Re: Re: Money.

          already too rich to be bought == already bought

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

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 6 May 2016 @ 5:44am

      Re: How is it..

      How is it that it seems for things like this every representative looks out for the government and big business and not their people? Are there that many democrats onboard with the secrecy? What's the justification? How do they JUSTIFY this to the people?

      "Socialism."

      Basically, anything done by the government for the people is cast as "big government" or "socialism." When people hear that word, they drool on cue like Pavlov's dogs and move along because as far as they're concerned there is nothing to see here.

      Hilariously, the VERY SAME drooling doggies who flip out at the word "Socialism" ALSO flip out about crony capitalism, as if it was actually true that merely withholding your hard-earned $$$ would make the companies involved think twice about what they were doing.

      That whole culture wars thing you've got over there has people fooled into thinking that Dems are liberal and Reps are conservative, and they align themselves accordingly. Erm, it's not true. Many Dems have always been on the dark side, i.e. they're neoliberals or neocons. It was the Republicans that ended slavery, remember, so don't drool when the whistle blows because the dish ain't getting filled.

      What I'm saying is, they don't need to justify what they're doing to THE people, but THEIR people, and you may find that it works just fine for them because they hate [$party].

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

  • icon
    jarhead66 (profile), 3 May 2016 @ 2:33pm

    sunlight is the best disinfectant for corruption

    I generally support free trade, but can't support trade agreements negotiated in secret because they always have details favoring crony industries who are bribing politicians through lobbyists to get favored trade status. If politicians are negotiating free trade deals, they should see the full light of day and by approved by the Senate. I don't want any Atlantic or Pacific secret trade deals that the public can't see.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 May 2016 @ 3:27pm

      Re: sunlight is the best disinfectant for corruption

      I generally support free trade

      Free trades makes the citizens poorer and the rich folk richer. I am no longer amazed by the number of literal idiots running around saying that corruption needs to be fought while simultaneously being okay with or "supporting" the very things that create and promote that corruption!

      Every time you hear about those poor kids in sweat shops for clothing and electronics, remember... that is a direct result of FREE TRADE!

      If you support free trade, especially with nations still conducting SLAVERY then you are you saying you support that shit! Think again! Grow a Brain and realize this is NOT a global economy! Human trafficking, slavery, abusive employment, multiple wage gaps, or out right unfair labor standards is the de-facto world standard!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 May 2016 @ 3:11pm

    Worried about demands in the TPA?

    Ha! They weren't worried about taking direction from congress during the TPP until after the negotiations were basically complete. I find it ironic that they're worried about it now.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 May 2016 @ 3:34pm

    The moment the US government went out of their way to rewrite laws concerning having nothing to do with countries that support slavery to supporting said countries should hav e been a clear sign it had nothing to do with benefiting the public but only enriching a select few.

    This will sell hundreds of millions of people into slavery for their leaders to profit off of.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2016 @ 1:35am

    TTIP - anti democratic

    real democracy has no room for secret negotiations, secret agreements, secret contracts, secret courts

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

  • identicon
    Manok, 4 May 2016 @ 5:01am

    Pfff, this deal MIGHT collapse, but then before the dust has settled work will already be on its way on an even more secret and further reaching trade deal.

    American standards in Europe should be a huge no.

    And 'Corporate Sovereignty'... I don't get it... How could such a thing ever get approved, except by corrupt and/or bought politicians? How could such a thing be a boon for any country signing up?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2016 @ 5:42am

    We lazy Americans ...

    ... are the last piece of this co-conspiracy that the people who drive this require, because at the end they still need us to actually vote them into office, and we cooperate wildly. Sure, money buys information control, but we let it happen by not looking enough into things for ourselves, and by slovenly just waiting on the couch to be passed whatever information those in power deign worthy of repeating. Heck, we will even vote for somebody just based on silly things like yard signs and name recognition (dismiss this, if you will, but the signs wouldn't be there unless they worked).

    Until we change ourselves first, our arguments about things like this are just noise.

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 4 May 2016 @ 7:43am

    Slightly off topic, the agreement seemingly sends environment protections to hell as well. These public commitments from Governments towards better environmental practices are just a circus. Behind the scenes some countries are trying to completely strip such environmental protections altogether for progress.

    Talking from my reality, the political instability here in Brazil is being used to fuck up all sorts of rights and protections despite the fact that nature has given severe warnings that we are on course for our own demise. For all the water abundance we do have there have been major shortages all over with the episode in São Paulo metropolitan area being one of the worst. But hey, let's just ignore this, money speaks louder than millions of people suffering and possibly dying.

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

    • identicon
      Big corporation, 4 May 2016 @ 10:54pm

      Re:

      Suffering is fine... we have drugs we can sell you to help deal with that.

      We don't want anyone to die though, not if they can suffer and pay us instead!

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

  • icon
    Ronald (profile), 4 May 2016 @ 8:01am

    Treaties also work to get things done inside one's own country

    What (American(?) people seem to not see, is that treaties are also a deft workaround for things your interest group does not seem to get accomplished within your own country, since a treaty supersedes local law.
    This is a route that has been in use un the EU for a few decades now, and the telecom part of the TTIP seems to be not only aimed at the EU, but in my opinion more directly at the FTC. The (US) telcos already lost big last year when the FTC reclassified internet access as common carrier http://arstechnica.com/business/2015/02/fcc-votes-for-net-neutrality-a-ban-on-paid-fast-lanes-and-ti tle-ii/
    So it is not very unusual to direct efforts at an international treaty where your nefarious conspiring will (hopefully) stay below the radar until it is too late, since consumer organizations are conspicuously absent from these negotiations.

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


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