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Read the Trans-Pacific Draft Trade Agreement Here

Posted 10 months ago on Nov. 13, 2013, 11:02 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: TPP, Wikileaks, copyright

Here's the document that's going to break the internet and destroy your career: http://wikileaks.org/tpp/

For those of you who don't know the #TPP is an international trade agreement that is being written for Disney so Mickey Mouse doesn't go into the public domain. Mickey Mouse is still worth billions and Disney is fighting tooth and nail to keep copyright restricted so it protects only the rich and powerful.

Public domain is the status of most media made more than 70+ years ago. It's why we can put an Albrecht Dürer print on a magazine cover or play Beethoven in any media without having to pay anyone.

The whole point of copyright is to protect innovation. If you spend 10 years developing something, like a cartoon mouse for instance, you should have the sole right to sell that mouse until you recoup the development cost. This prevents a competitor from making a copy of your work and selling it for less (because they have no R&D budget to make up).

What is happening now is that rich and powerful organizations are extending copyright well past any reasonable time line.

Disney is destroying the very thing that allowed them to thrive. Nearly all of their early works are taken from past works that were in the public domain (Snow White, etc.)

Think about it, Star Wars will probably NEVER be in the public domain. If you want to make a fan fiction, sell prints of a sick ass tie fighter print, or use any of the names or events in the movie for anything you have to pay Disney. If they don't like what you're doing, they can take it down.

Further more, let's say you post a video of a cop beating the shit out of a protester while people sing the imperial march song in the background. Well that's copyright material now, so Disney can pull that video off line.

The rich are, once again, fucking you and you're just going to let it happen?

18 Comments

18 Comments


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[-] 5 points by elf3 (2506) 10 months ago

what if they own the copyrights to our genes or our food ... ? Can they pull them to teach us a lesson? I'm really scared of where this is all heading - what ever happened to restrictions on patenting life ? That should be also on the forefront of Occupy ... please watch Death to China (it's on Netflix now) and tell me that TPP is good for the American people. Future of Food is the most informative doc I've seen on patenting life and our food supply. As far as extending copyrights - these pricks think the Constitution doesn't apply to technology - this is all about ebooks my friends - they don't want education that fits in our pockets free from a library - they want to own and rent them all - like I always say on here the new motto is "Rent Forever - Lease Forever" Also smarter people are likely to rebel ...ah hem ... thanks - enjoyed the video !

[-] 5 points by Nevada1 (4651) 10 months ago

Petition

http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_the_corporate_death_star/

One of many online Anti-TPP petitions

[-] 3 points by DKAtoday (28256) from Coon Rapids, MN 10 months ago

Signed Thanks. We must end the corp(se)oRATe conquest and destruction of the planet.

[-] 4 points by LeoYo (5762) 10 months ago

The People Can Defeat the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Saturday, 16 November 2013 10:07 By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers , Dissident Voice | Report

http://truth-out.org/news/item/20082-the-people-can-defeat-the-trans-pacific-partnership

Momentum is growing in the campaign to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Yesterday, the TPP was dealt two blows. Each could be lethal but the TPP, and its Atlantic counterpart, called TAFTA, are not dead yet. It is time for the movement of movements that formed to oppose the TPP to stand in solidarity, defeat these agreements and end the era of rigged corporate trade.

Yesterday’s first blow came from Wikileaks, showing once again that when government works in secret with big corporations, exposure by whistle blowers is critical to changing the corrupt direction of government and the economy. Wikileaks published the full text of the intellectual property chapter; the leaked document included the positions of all the parties. It will take time for all the corporate rigging in this lengthy document to be understood, but already it is evident that Internet freedom will be curtailed, access to health care will become more expensive and access to information will be undermined.

This is not the first leak of TPP text. Previous leaks are consistent with the Wikileaks leak – enhanced corporate power that puts profits before the needs of the people and the protection of the planet. The Wikileaks release shows that the United States is by far the most aggressive advocate for trans-national corporate interests, often isolated in pushing for harmful policies.

The second blow came from members of the U.S. House of Representatives. In recent days, several letters were sent to President Obama opposing Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority. Fast Track undermines Congress’ responsibility under the Commerce Clause to regulate trade between nations by allowing the president to sign the agreement before Congress even sees it. The letters made public on November 13th demonstrate broad bi-partisan opposition to Fast Track with 179 Members signing at least one of the three letters.

A letter spearheaded by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Rep. George Miller (D-CA) garnered the support of three-quarters of House Democrats with 151 Members telling President Obama they oppose Fast Track, writing:

We will oppose ‘Fast Track’ Trade Promotion Authority or any other mechanism delegating Congress’ constitutional authority over trade policy that continues to exclude us from having a meaningful role in the formative stages of trade agreements and throughout negotiating and approval processes.

Important leaders of the Democratic Party signed the letter including 18 out of 21 Ranking Members who would chair committees if the Democrats were in the majority. This means that to pursue Fast Track authority, President Obama will need to challenge three-quarters of his own party.

But, that is not all. In another letter, organized by Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and signed by 12 of the 16 Democratic Party members of the Ways and Means Committee, which is primarily responsible for Fast Track legislation, members expressed opposition to Fast Track unless it was radically different from previous grants of authority. The letter says it “cannot just be an extension of earlier trade promotion authorities. Any new proposed TPA must . . . ensure Congress plays a more meaningful role in the negotiating process.”

And, the opposition is bi-partisan. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) and Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) drafted a letter signed by 23 Republicans. The Republican letter emphasized that Congress has the “exclusive authority to set the terms of trade.” Further, “The Founders established this clear check and balance to prevent the president from unilaterally negotiating with foreign nations and imposing trade policies that Congress would deem to be against the national interest.” They write that they refuse to “cede our constitutional authority to the executive” through Fast Track. These are just the latest problems in the quest for Fast Track, indeed a bill has yet to be introduced. The previous US Trade Representative, Ron Kirk, said in 2012: “We’ve got to have it.” He wanted the authority by the end of 2012. In April, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) promised Obama Fast Track by June of 2013. The broad bi-partisan opposition announced this week shows that winning Fast Track has very little support in Congress. In fact, the letters may be the death knell for such legislation.

The Wikileaks documents show there is a lot of division among the negotiating nations with important disagreements on key aspects of the text. Without Fast Track to guarantee passage of the TPP, these nations will be even less likely to agree to demands by the U.S. Further, Asian countries are negotiating their own competing agreement, which does not include the United States but, unlike the TPP, does include China.

Latin American countries are also speaking out against the TPP. Earlier this year, Rodrigo Contreras, Chile’s lead TPP negotiator quit to warn people of the dangers of the TPP – highlighting how big financial institutions will dominate their governments and how the TPP “will become a threat for our countries: It will restrict our development options in health and education, in biological and cultural diversity, and in the design of public policies and the transformation of our economies. It will also generate pressures from increasingly active social movements, who are not willing to grant a pass to governments that accept an outcome of the TPP negotiations that limits possibilities to increase the prosperity and well-being of our countries.” And, recently the Parliament of Peru passed a resolution “requesting that the government open a ‘public, political, and technical debate’ on the binding rules being negotiated in the TPP.”

In the United States, cities and counties are beginning to pass TPP Free Zones, saying they will not obey the TPP if it becomes law. These local governments are concerned with provisions that would not allow them to give preference to buying local, buying U.S. made goods or other provisions that undermine their sovereignty. In addition to opposition in the U.S. government and foreign governments, a mass citizen uprising is developing against the TPP. There have been large protests in many of the countries involved in the negotiations as well as in the United States. The night before the Wikileaks documents were released, 13 cities did visibility protests opposing the TPP in light shows. In September we joined with activists in Washington, DC in a series of protests, includingcovering the office building of the US Trade Representative in banners toexpose their secret trade agreement. Protests are scheduled for Salt Lake City, UT on November 19th where lead negotiators from 12 countries will hold meetings. A global day of protest is planned for December 3 against not only the TPP but also the WTO and all toxic trade agreements.

The TPP is running into resistance in Congress, local governments and among Pacific nations in Asia and Latin America; and by people who oppose the agreement all over the world. This is part of a growing movement of movements – all of the movements impacted by corporate trade; e.g. labor, environmental, Internet freedom, health care, food sovereignty, immigrants’ rights, banking regulation – are joining together to defeat it.

The people are winning. Fourteen trade agreements have been stopped in the last 14 years and as Tom Donohue of the US Chamber of Commerce wrote this week “the WTO has not concluded a single new multilateral trade agreement since it was created in 1995.” Mass protest against rigged corporate trade agreements can end the experiment in trade that puts profits ahead of the people and planet.

We are on the verge of defeating Fast Track. It is important that we keep the pressure on Congress. Neither the TPP nor TAFTA will become law if people learn what is in them and Congress fulfills its constitutional responsibility to review their impact. Denying the President Fast Track is the essential step to defeat both of these agreements.

Once we defeat Fast Track and prevent TPP and TAFTA from becoming law, we need to remain in solidarity and work to transform trade so it becomes “fair” trade that puts the necessities of the people and the protection of the planet first. The people will have firmly established that they will not tolerate rigged corporate trade deals. If corporations want to see trade between nations, they need a new approach – transparent, participatory and fair – with new goals of serving the people and planet.

To get involved in the campaign to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership visit Flush the TPP.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 4 points by Ache4Change (3158) 10 months ago

'Why Do We the People Have To Read TPP on Wikileaks' - http://www.nationofchange.org/why-do-we-people-have-read-tpp-wikileaks-1384524807 & -

http://www.nationofchange.org/wikileaks-releases-tpp-text-1384439117

http://www.nationofchange.org/wikileaks-leaks-controversial-secret-trans-pacific-partnership-documents-1384444412

The TPP is great news for The Corporations - so by definition, very bad news for The 99%.

Never Give Up Resisting Corporotocracy And Plutocracy! Occupy Democracy! Solidarity.

[-] 4 points by shoozTroll (17632) 10 months ago

People around the world are beginning to wake up to this travesty.

"The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is the evil inevitability that nobody’s talking about. It’s the next big thing in the global economic stratification meltdown. It’s the heat-seeking dagger in the hand of multi-national corporate interests, aimed squarely at the heart of workers’ rights.

Unless of course it falls apart.

We have sounded the alarm about the secret trade talks the U.S. is engaging in to fast-track the TPP. Union presidents have spoken out against it. The workers of the world have spoken out against it. Elizabeth Warren has publicly bucked Obama over it. It really pisses people off.

But according to The New York Times this morning, the U.S. House of Representatives might actually have the wherewithal to upend this thing:"

http://wepartypatriots.com/wp/2013/11/13/prominent-trade-watchdog-this-could-be-the-end-of-tpp/

[-] 4 points by LeoYo (5762) 10 months ago

Breaking: Pivotal Trans-Pacific Partnership Section Revealed

Wednesday, 13 November 2013 09:39 By Staff, PopularResistance.org | Press Release

http://truth-out.org/news/item/20006-breaking-pivotal-corporate-dominated-trans-parcific-partnership-section-revealed

The TPP has been shrouded in secrecy from the beginning because the Obama administration knows that the more people know about it, the more they will oppose the agreement. The release of the full Intellectual Property chapter today by Wiikileaks confims what had been suspected, the Obama administration has been an advocate for transnational corporate interests in the negotiations even though they run counter to the needs and desires of the public.

This is not surprising since we already knew that 600 corporate advisers were working with the US Trade Representative to draft the TPP. This means that for nearly four years some of the top corporate lawyers have been inserting phrases, paragraphs and whole sections so the agreement suits the needs of corporate power, while undermining the interests of people and the planet.

Now from these documents we see that the US is isolated in its aggressive advocacy for transnational interests and that there are scores of areas still unresolved between the US and Pacific nations. The conclusion: the TPP cannot be saved. It has been destroyed by secret corporate advocacy. It needs to be rejected. Trade needs to be negotiated with a new approach — transparency, participation of civil society throughout the process, full congressional review and participation, and a framework that starts with fair trade that puts people and the planet before profits.

Congress needs to reject Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority as these documents show the Obama administration has been misleading the people and the Congress while trying to bully other nations. This flawed agreement and the secrecy essential to its becoming law need to be rejected.

For more on the TPP visit www.FlushTheTPP.org

From Wikileaks:

Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership AgreementToday, 13 November 2013, WikiLeaks released the secret negotiated draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. The TPP is the largest-ever economic treaty, encompassing nations representing more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP. The WikiLeaks release of the text comes ahead of the decisive TPP Chief Negotiators summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 19-24 November 2013. The chapter published by WikiLeaks is perhaps the most controversial chapter of the TPP due to its wide-ranging effects on medicines, publishers, internet services, civil liberties and biological patents. Significantly, the released text includes the negotiation positions and disagreements between all 12 prospective member states.

The TPP is the forerunner to the equally secret US-EU pact TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), for which President Obama initiated US-EU negotiations in January 2013. Together, the TPP and TTIP will cover more than 60 per cent of global GDP.

•Read full press release here. https://wikileaks.org/tpp/pressrelease.html

•Download the full secret TPP treaty IP chapter as a PDF here. http://wikileaks.org/tpp/static/pdf/Wikileaks-secret-TPP-treaty-IP-chapter.pdf

From Public Citizen:

Leaked Documents Reveal Obama Administration Push for Internet Freedom Limits, Terms That Raise Drug Prices in Closed-Door Trade Talks U.S. Demands in Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Text, Published Today by WikiLeaks, Contradict Obama Policy and Public Opinion at Home and Abroad WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secret documents published today by WikiLeaks and analyzed by Public Citizen reveal that the Obama administration is demanding terms that would limit Internet freedom and access to lifesaving medicines throughout the Asia-Pacific region and bind Americans to the same bad rules, belying the administration’s stated commitments to reduce health care costs and advance free expression online, Public Citizen said today.

WikiLeaks published the complete draft of the Intellectual Property chapter for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed international commercial pact between the United States and 11 Asian and Latin American countries.

•Read full press release from Public Citizen here http://www.citizen.org/documents/Leaked%20Documents%20Reveal%20Obama%20Administration%20Push%20for%20Internet%20Freedom%20Limits.pdf

•View Wikileaks page on TPP http://wikileaks.org/tpp/

•Complete draft IP Chapter here http://wikileaks.org/tpp/static/pdf/Wikileaks-secret-TPP-treaty-IP-chapter.pdf

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 6 points by LeoYo (5762) 10 months ago

TPP Exposed: WikiLeaks Publishes Secret Trade Text to Rewrite Copyright Laws, Limit Internet Freedom

Friday, 15 November 2013 12:29 By Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, Democracy Now! | Video Interview

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/20081-tpp-exposed-wikileaks-publishes-secret-trade-text-to-rewrite-copyright-laws-limit-internet-freedom

WikiLeaks has published the secret text to part of the biggest U.S. trade deal in history, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). For the past several years, the United States and 12 Pacific Rim nations have been negotiating behind closed doors on the sweeping agreement. A 95-page draft of a TPP chapter released by WikiLeaks on Wednesday details agreements relating to patents, copyright, trademarks and industrial design — showing their wide-reaching implications for Internet services, civil liberties, publishing rights and medicine accessibility. Critics say the deal could rewrite U.S. laws on intellectual property rights, product safety and environmental regulations, while backers say it will help create jobs and boost the economy. President Obama and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman reportedly wish to finalize the TPP by the end of the year and are pushing Congress to expedite legislation that grants the president something called "fast-track authority." However, this week some 151 House Democrats and 23 Republicans wrote letters to the administration saying they are unwilling to give the president free rein to "diplomatically legislate." We host a debate on the TPP between Bill Watson, a trade policy analyst at the Cato Institute, and Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

TRANSCRIPT:

[-] 5 points by shadz66 (19985) 10 months ago

''The purpose of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is to remove the regulatory differences between the US and European nations. I mentioned it a couple of weeks ago. But I left out the most important issue: the remarkable ability it would grant big business to sue the living daylights out of governments which try to defend their citizens. It would allow for a secretive panel of corporate lawyers to overrule the will of parliament and destroy our legal protections. Yet the defenders of our sovereignty say nothing.

''The mechanism through which this is achieved is known as 'Investor-State Dispute Settlement'. It's already being used in many parts of the world to kill regulations protecting people and the living planet.'' from :

Thanx for your excellent and essential info-post Leo. I append the above for insight into what's going on on 'the other side'. Solidarity.

fiat lux ...

[-] 4 points by LeoYo (5762) 10 months ago

TPP Disclosure Shows It Will Kill People and Internet; House Opposition Is Widespread

Friday, 15 November 2013 11:27 By Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism | Report

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/20064-wikileaks-disclosure-of-trade-deal-chapter-shows-it-will-kill-people-and-internet-house-opposition-is-widespread

We posted on the New York Times news story that opposition in the House to authorization of "fast track" authority to the Administration on its pending Pacific and Atlantic trade deals was stiffening right just before a related story broke: that Wikileaks had disclosed the end of August draft of one of the critical chapters of one of the deals.

We wrote yesterday that this deal, the Trans Pacific Partnership, already looked to be in trouble given both Congressional and foreign opposition. The Administration has conducted the talks with an unheard-of degree of secrecy, with Congressional staffers in most cases denied access to the text and even Congressmen themselves facing unheard-of obstacles (Alan Grayson reported that the US Trade Representative created an absurd six weeks of dubious delays in his case). But perversely, 700 corporate representatives got privileged access so they could influence negotiations. It's not hard to see whose interests are really being served in these deals. The Wikileaks disclosure could well have struck the fatal blow to this toxic pact. As we'll see below, it may have been dead anyhow. Obama's relationship with his own party is already on the rocks as a result of Obamacare (not just the rollout but the increasing recognition that the program has more fundamental flaws), so he has limited political capital available to whip Democratic Congressmen back into line. The opposition is more deep-seated and broad-based than I had realized (for instance, 18 of the 21 ranking full committee members in the House are against it). So the TPP looked to be on the Syria incursion path.

But it's hard not to believe that the Wikileaks revelations will galvanize opposition among the other prospective members of the pact. It's hard for democratic countries to agree to a deal that has been revealed will kill their citizens in order to enrich America's Big Pharma incumbents. And that statement is not an exaggeration. Wikileaks disclosed the end of August version (apparently two drafts behind current text) of the intellectual property chapter, which includes the section on drugs and surgical procedures.

The intent is to strengthen America's aggressive patent regime and require foreign countries to comply with it. For instance, the FDA considers minor changes in existing drugs, such as developing an extended release version so that a medication need be taking only once a day, to be a "new drug application" and will extend patents based on that. The draft also would severely limit the use of generics. Higher prices will restrict drug use and is certain to have adverse health consequences for some, potentially many, citizens. And although people overseas will suffer the greatest consequences, Americans will be affected as well. As Public Citizen wrote, "The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has proposed measures harmful to access to affordable medicines that have not been seen before in U.S. trade agreements," and elaborated:

[-] 4 points by LeoYo (5762) 10 months ago

Wikileaks Exposes the TPP as a Capitulation to Corporate Interests

Friday, 15 November 2013 12:16 By Jaisal Noor, The Real News Network | Video Interview

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/20080-wikileaks-exposes-the-tpp-as-a-capitulation-to-corporate-interests

JAISAL NOOR, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jaisal Noor in Baltimore.

On Wednesday, WikiLeaks released a partial secret draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. The 12-nation agreement is being negotiated behind closed doors, and the release is one of the few times the public has been able to read any of it. If passed, the TPP would have serious ramifications for a range of issues, including intellectual property rights, internet freedoms, and prescription drug prices.

Now joining us to discuss this is Kevin Zeese. He's codirector with PopularResistance.org. He's codirector of It's Our Economy, an organization that advocates for democratizing the economy. Thank you so much for joining us, Kevin.

[-] 2 points by bensdad (8977) 10 months ago

If you want to support the TPP, be sure to call & write your representatives in Washington. Also tell them how much you like the filibuster.


FIND YOUR REPRESENTATIVE & SENATORs
CONTACT:
https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
http://www.house.gov/
http://www.senate.gov/


IF YOU DON’T VOTE FOR ME – I WON’T VOTE FOR YOU


Then, “grass roots” your issues :
get at least 2 of your friends to also
email their congressman & get them to “grass roots” this through
repeated generations–till Washington is covered in grass!

You can use www.whitepages.com/person
to look up people & addresses & zip codes.
Important Note:
they will only pay attention to zip codes in their
House - congressional district
Or
Senate - state

If you got 2 people today to write your congressman every day,
and they got 2 the next day to write, and so on -
how long till
YOUR CONGRESSMAN GOT TEN THOUSAND LETTERS?

12 days !!!
now imagine this happening for six months -
NO AMOUNT OF KOCH MONEY COULD BEAT US !!!


THE CAPITAL OF DEMOCRACY IS THE VOTE


[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (28256) from Coon Rapids, MN 10 months ago

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is set to create a virtually permanent corporate rule over the people.

This is the trade scam NAFTA globalized, a devil's deal that has nothing to do with trade and everything to do with corporate protectionism — of the 29 chapters in the TPP, only FIVE actually cover trade issues!

Lax food safety regulation, unregulated fracking, overseas job shifts, rocketing drug prices, Internet monopolies, slashes to public services to profit Wall Street robbers... these are just some of the effects the TPP's passing will have on our world.

Don't let voting nations pass this corporate coup d'etat. Call on the US, Canada, Japan and other nations considering the trade deal to back out of the TPP now!

PETITION TO TRADING NATIONS: Don't sacrifice our rights, liberties and economic independence to profit corporations and monopolize trade. Vote against joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership now.

Click here to sign -- it just takes a second.

Thanks, -- The folks at Watchdog.net

P.S. If the other links aren't working for you, please go here to sign: http://act.watchdog.net/petitions/4012?n=44468854.bxemF2

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5762) 10 months ago

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Treaty Is the Complete Opposite of "Free Trade"

Tuesday, 19 November 2013 13:48 By Mark Weisbrot, The Guardian | Op-Ed

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/20143-the-trans-pacific-partnership-treaty-is-the-complete-opposite-of-free-trade

The proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement among 12 governments, touted as one of the largest "free trade" agreements in US history, is running into difficulties as the public learns more about it. Last week 151 Democrats and 23 Republicans (pdf) in the House of Representatives signed letters to the US chief negotiators expressing opposition to a "fast track" procedure for voting on the proposed agreement. This procedure would limit the congressional role and debate over an agreement already negotiated and signed by the executive branch, which the Congress would have to vote up or down without amendments.

Most Americans couldn't tell you what "fast track" means, but if they knew what it entails they would certainly be against it. As one of the country's leading trade law experts and probably the foremost authority on Fast Track, Lori Wallach of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, put it:

[Fast track] authorized executive-branch officials to set US policy on non-tariff, and indeed not-trade, issues in the context of 'trade' negotiations.

This means that fast track, which first began under Nixon in 1974, was not only a usurpation of the US Congress' constitutional authority "to regulate commerce with foreign nations".

It also gave the executive branch – which is generally much less accountable to public pressure than the Congress – a means of negating and pre-empting important legislation by our elected representatives. Laws to protect the environment, food safety, consumers (from monopoly pricing), and other public interest concerns can now be traded away in "trade" negotiations. And US law must be made to conform to the treaty.

How ironic that this massive transfer of power to special-interests such as giant pharmaceutical or financial corporations has been sold to the press as a means of holding "special interest" groups – who might oppose tariff reductions that harm them but are good for everyone else – in check.

But the TPP and its promoters are full to the brim with ironies. It is quite amazing that a treaty like the TPP can still be promoted as a "free trade" agreement when its most economically important provisions are the exact opposite of "free trade" – the expansion of protectionism.

Exhibit A was released by WikiLeaks last week: the latest draft of the "intellectual property" chapter of the agreement, one of 24 (out of 29) chapters that do not have to do with trade. This chapter has provisions that will make it easier for pharmaceutical companies to get patents, including in developing countries; have these patents for more years; and extend the ability of these companies to limit access to the scientific data that is necessary for other researchers to develop new medicines. And the United States is even pushing for provisions that would allow surgical procedures to be patented – provisions that may be currently against US law.

All of these measures will help raise the price of medicines and health care, which will strain public health systems and price some people out of the market for important medicines. It is interesting to see how much worse the TPP is than the WTO's Trips (Trade-Related Aspects of International Property Rights). This, too, was a massive rip-off of consumers and patients throughout the world, but after years of struggle by health advocates and public interest groups, some of its worst features were attenuated, and further consolidation of pharmaceutical companies' interests were blocked. In case you were wondering why we had to get this information from WikiLeaks, it's because the draft negotiating texts are kept secret from the public. Even members of the US Congress and their staff have extremely limited access. Thus the much-maligned WikiLeaks has once again proven how valuable and justified are their efforts to bring transparency to important policy-making that is done in the darkness – whether it is "collateral murder", or other forms of life-threatening unaccountability.

One part of the TPP that shows why negotiators want to minimize public awareness of the agreement consists of provisions giving corporations the right – as is the case under the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) – to directly sue governments for regulations that infringe upon their profits or potential profits. This, too, is much worse than the WTO, where a corporation has to convince its government to file a case against another government. These private enforcement actions – which if won collect from the defendant government – are judged by special tribunals outside of either country's judicial system, without the kinds of due process or openness that exists, for example, in the US legal system. A currently infamous example is the action by Lone Pine Resources, a Delaware-incorporated company, against the government of Quebec for its moratorium on fracking.

Perhaps less known than its other failings, the TPP doesn't even offer any economic gains for the majority of Americans who are being asked to sacrifice their constitutional rights. The gains from increased trade turn out to be so small that they are equivalent to a rounding error in the measurement of our GDP. The study most touted by proponents of the agreement, published by the Peterson Institute of International Economics, shows a cumulative increase of 0.13% of GDP by 2025. This would be trivial in any case; but the worse news is that, taking into account some of the unequalizing effects of the agreement – these treaties tend to redistribute income upwards – a Centre for Economic and Policy Research study showed that most Americans will actually lose because of the TPP. US corporate interests are, rather obviously in this case, driving the agenda of the TPP. The agreement is in many ways a "plan B" after the last 12 years of WTO negotiations have stagnated – in large part due to considerable, well-organized public resistance in dozens of countries – and failed to achieve many of the goals of its corporate architects. But other branches of the US government have geostrategic goals as well. The world's would-be rulers also hope to separate the "bad kids" from the "good kids" among developing countries. It is no coincidence that in Latin America, the negotiating partners are Mexico, Chile, and Peru, and none of the leftist governments that now prevail in most of the region. And of course, a main goal of the agreement is to try and "isolate" China.

The Obama administration will no doubt appeal to some members of Congress on the basis of this neocolonial world view. But for Americans who are learning about the agreement, it is clear that the real "us against them" is not America against the more independent nations of the developing world, but TPP countries' citizens against a corporate swindle being negotiated behind their backs.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

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