a system of government in which all the people of a state or polity ... are involved in making decisions about its affairs.
You can't be involved in making decisions if they hide the information from you
For the last ten years, politicians and business leaders have been hammering out the largest trade deal in US history. Very few people have actually seen what's in it, and WikiLeaks wants to change that. Youtube Video The document-leaking website, run by Julian AssangeTM, is offering a $100,000 (£65k) reward for the text of …
No baby, I'm tellin yah, no secrets ennymo. No copy right, no hidden subs, just let it all out man. We can do it. That's the way to get peace man, just give everthing away. Soon's we do that there'll be no more wars cos ever one will follow soot. It's easy man, just light up a number and give it all away. Hmm, hmmmmmm. Freaow bebbe. See? Ah feels bedder fo' thinkin about it.
@AC (we all know which one I mean.)
I usually try to limit my swearing and go to some lengths to avoid being directly rude to people.
That out of the way, you are a fucking idiot.
The text of this agreement does not contain submarine locations or some movie-inspired list of secret agents in the field. It doesn't contain the bank account details of your next-door neighbour or the combination to your gun safe. It doesn't dispose of copyright or dissolve patents and it doesn't provide an alphabetised list of state secrets.
It does, however, contain a laundry list of provisions that have been on (US) big-business wish-lists for a long time and are aimed solely at increasing profits for those same (again, US) big-businesses.
While we don't know for sure what is in the current version, we do know several of the things that have been in previous drafts and so the thrust of it is clear.
If it was just a standard trade agreement then it's not a huge issue. But it's not just that - not by a long shot. Some of the parts revealed would, if enacted, impact hundreds of millions of people and perhaps millions of businesses in the participant nations. More than that, there are parts that restrict the sovereign right of the nations to make their own laws and, by extension, the democratic right to the citizens of those countries.
Through the TPP, I, in Australia, may become personally subject to new laws and regulations and new punishments for existing behaviours, based on the lobbying of gigantic US corporations to the US government.
Our politicians in Australia - and the US as well - love to talk about having a 'mandate'. But how can any government claim to have approval from the people (whom they are supposed to be listening to and serving) when we have no ability to see what it is we are getting?
And, all that aside, these provisions will be made public once they are passed. You do realise that, right? They won't be secret - they will be 'on the books' and available for anyone to investigate. The thing is that we want to see them before that happens so we can make informed comments to our representatives.
You do see how that's different from:
"Like wow man, freeeeow! Yeah baby, let's get all the secrets out on the table so we can screw ourselves man! Where our subs are, secrets of the rail gun, yeah man, secrets just wanna be free!"
No? well, refer to the start of my post.
The idea of a "mandate" is just ridiculous when all we really can do is vote in the party whose (announced) policies are the least odious. Or who are actually able to stop bickering and backbiting long enough to put on the facade of a relatively cohesive team.
But even then, when our politicians lie, go back on their promises and bring out entirely new policies after they're elected, how can it ever be claimed that they have been given a mandate by the people to enact those new/changed policies?
Or what if both parties are for some measure or other - such as is the case with the TPP? We had no choice to tell you we didn't want it.
Hey baby, don' git me wrong, I'm on your side. I want all secrets out in the open. I want Julian Assange to be the Neo-Neo, the digital emperor of the wurld. I want all politicians to tell the truth. I want the magic munney trees and the fountains of plenty to be moved from their sekrit locations in the White House and in Downing Street, and to be placed in public locations where common people can drink well-being and withdraw munney at any time of day or night. I want to see Jesus Christ in the Yewnaaated Nayshuns, teechin the wurld and dispensing kindness and tisshoooes to all of the poor downtrodden people who cannot reach the magic munney trees and fountains that are located in western countries. All ya godda doo is trust Julian Assange of Austraylia. He will lead us to the promised land of no secrecy, of no armies and the peeepul truly in charge of the wurld. Stop being so negative baybee, think posiddive and believe in the power of digital spiritchooalideee, beleeeve in Julian.
"That out of the way, you are a fucking idiot." Oh baybee, that is so negaddive, where did yah git all this negaddive stuf from? You bin divin' in imaginary UK dumpsters and food banks agin?
"And, all that aside, these provisions will be made public once they are passed.", now that baybee is rilly posiddive, practically messianic and I applaud yah for it. Yeah baby! Props to Dan1980! with his noo plan! Freeeeeeeeeaow man!
"Are you going for an all-time record?"
Hey man no sweat. Just keep on votin me down baybee! :-)
Truthfully? If you want to change it, get involved. That is the long and short of it. Assange? Well he's a criminal with a criminal record that pre-dates his current offence, for which he's on the lam. Frankly the sight of a criminal offering money is more than crazy. YMMV.
My time of lampooning is gone, I have an injury today. Maybe I'll be back to change the world another day.
"A copy of fly fishing by J.R. Hartley?"
This article's about the Trans *Pacific* Project (yes that's not the official name, I'm using Project in the PNAC sense).
Wasn't J R Hartley a fairly English (not even British) concept?
In which case the equivalent project for that geography and a few of its neighbors would be TTIP, the Trans-atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, wouldn't it?
"Wasn't J R Hartley a fairly English (not even British) concept?"
J. R. Hartley is the name of a fictional character in a popular British advertisement promoting the Yellow Pages which was first shown in 1983.
Lifted from Wikipedia but true as I recall. "Fly Fishing" was the name of his book, then out of print, that he was trying to track down. I also recall that real book shops began to stock such a book - part of the advertising campaign or just opportunistic cashing in, I don't know.
The justification I have heard explaining the secrecy of the text is that "Trade deals are often secret".
As if that makes it ok, (even if it's true).
The nation-state that I live in is part of these "negotiations" despite having no mandate at all from the electorate, and due to an almost complete lack of effective opposition in our political class no-one has stood up and said "We will refuse to ratify this if elected", or "We will annul this treaty if elected".
I wonder why this is, as it would be a popular stance to take.
Yeah baby, I'm tellin' yah, there should be no sekrits, we should all decide everything and then tell our elected representatives to do what we say, kinda like civil servants. There should be no sekrits man, I'm a tellin' yah. Well mebbe just a few; where you keep your stash, how much money you got, how many sexual relationships you've had and are having, that kinda stuff. Any argument that there are things about the state that are analogues of the private person, nuh-uh. No sekrits; get it all out there on the table, so's Putin and co know we mean no harm. We come in peace Vlad! Vlad ain't gonna hurt us, no way. Tell him everything and he'll tell us everything back, like certain man, for sho.
Yore nearly right man, only their keepin other stuff sekrit too, more important stuff about how to use water instead of oil. See Americkys gotten so much shale oil that it needs the rest of the world to want oil, know what I mean? So, cos they wanna sell us their oil an gas they wanna know how much we bought from the Roooshins so they can undercut them pesky Roooshins. Same time's this, the Yanks are tryin to scupper our shale oil by payin the damn greens munneh to combat it. S a damn funneh wurld man. I think I'll go mek munneh by sellin other peeps sekrets. Then I'll get me on that Mars mishun and live off the profits, safe from nooks an kooks. Much easier man.
"Okay, I have read some drivel in the comments sections. Hell, I have written some drivel in the comments sections. But this idiot is taking crap posts to a whole new level of shit."
Why thank you kind sah.
In truth I'm a very highly qualified and published individual, with sufficient reputation to keep my ID quiet. I'm registered with the Reg under an alternative name and such. What I've done is to hold up the mirror for you, using ridiculous speech burgled from things like the HHGTTG, Kelly's Heroes, Red Dwarf and much more. It's easier that way. It's more than faintly ludicrous to read all of this stuff, no, it's bizarre to read these comments about a common criminal on the lam, one with a substantial criminal record facing charges in another jurisdiction. The man is offering money and, frankly, there is only one permutation that I would find more vile, more ludicrous, more obscene and more ridiculous than the current one; Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Daesh or any of the other terrorist groups, offering money for secrets. No one, absolutely no fucker at all, has sat down and penned/typed a critique from that perspective, no one has assessed the merits of the money mad, dubious man Assange's motives and his status in this matter, that is to say, a criminal.
Egads. What a sad world we live in where people can sit pondering the merits of the bait left on a line by a very dubious loon whose meanderings on political philosophy would not be acceptable as a first year submission at university. This man is offering money for god's sake; have you asked where it comes from and why he didn't put it up for his very own bail, instead of rooking his supporters, those people who offered pseudo profundities about his rights and the wrongs of the matter? I see not even the faintest flickers of depth here.
There, I've started the ball rolling, now get your goddamn stick on the ice and scrutinise that sack Assange. I don't expect any of you will, I don't expect any of you to debate the new wave of security employed by Daesh, the Taliban and Al Qaeda that has made it difficult, practically impossible, for security services across the world to monitor and counter them, which occurred because Assange and his idiot informer swamped the world with very sensitive information. Oh no, that would be too much like hard ethical work but, should any of your relatives die in an incident that could have been countered using meta data and the ability to burgle Daesh accounts, what will you then say?
To use your line, this El Reg debate is taking BS to a whole new level. It's not even frivolous, it's not even mundane, desultory; it misses the point entirely. You have swallowed the hook, if not the money bit, then certainly the ploy. That is what Assange wants, and for that he is to be congratulated.
Mate, if you're still reading this then the answer to one of your questions is that the money is coming out of individuals pockets - it is being 'crowdsourced'.
So, this money is not coming directly from Wikileaks or Julian Assange (who is a distraction) but from ordinary people who are concerned by this and willing to contribute to this cause.
As hinted above, I believe Julian Assange is a distraction here and your focus on him misses the point entirely. That point is about the TPP and getting caught up with one person and what his crimes may or may not be, is playing the man and thus avoiding dealing with the issue at hand.
So what if it's not Wikileaks but some organisation of unimpeachable trustworthiness? Is it a worthwhile initiative?
The question is: how do we, the people, let our 'leaders' know that this secrecy is just not on and we'd like a say in how we are governed that reaches beyond our invitation to choose a fresh lizard every four years.
For example, it seeks to extend American copyright laws to participating nations, possibly even going so far as to make ISPs responsible for any copyright infringement by their users, and impose criminal charges on downloaders.
National laws are not passed via secret treaties, bilateral or otherwise. They need to be voted on by parliament. These things are null and void. Next there will be secret ententes promising military assistance in case bullshit happens during dickwaving with the neighbours. Oh wait...
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Until I read his 'freeow' comments I was a bit cynical about the story, but once some arse tries to rubbish a stance it's worth inspecting, and like wow, but not freeow.
Go check this out. AC if your moronic asides were intended as a double bluff to get the tech world interested then I suspect you're a genius. Otherwise, not so much
Is that any way to garner consensus across the aisle? Someone who is the very epitome of the liberal "running dog lackeys" of Obama calling someone else a "Teabagger-type fucktard"?
All I see from the posts is that he was trying to explain something and then he must have gotten REALLY high. All their education and ability to spell went right out the window along with your ability to form a cogent, reasoned argument and devolved into profanity. You should apply for Sara Harf's old job. You have a lot in common.
To be clear - I am opposed to the secrecy surrounding this agreement.
However, this has got to be the stupidest thing Wikileaks has ever done. Previously they could claim that they never actively participated or coerced information but this changes that and possibly in a very, very bad way.
I fully expect details (perhaps not full disclosure but partial at least) to be leaked to them and as soon as they actually pay any cash then BAM! Jailtime for anyone involved. Actively causing, arranging or assisting in the leak of confidential documents is a crime, and I have no doubt that offering payment to directly cause said leak will also be some kind of crime like bribery, it's like theyre begging to be shut down and jailed. I really do not understand why the members of Wikileaks would consider this, multiple agencies from a number of governments must be literally drooling in expectation of shutting them up for good (and having a legitimate legal reason to do so).
I have to wonder, is this some faustian deal that asshat Assange has arranged to be made free? Betray Wikileaks and ensure its permanent shutdown and get safe passage to an airport? I don't see any other way that this could make sense and even then I don't see how those currently running Wikileaks could think this is a sensable action.
Well.. as we know, Assange is an attention-freak. This will stir up lots of undesirable attention and probably ensure that he remains in embassy. I would imagine that if it is leaked to Wikileaks that Assange will be wanted by a whole lot more countries than those that want him now.*
*Smarmy aside.. why any country would want him is beyond me. They probably should just ignore him. He won't go away but he could end up irrelevant.
I think the docs would have to be official secrets rather than just confidential by convention before leaking them in and of itself would be a crime. However as has been noted already, by offering payment for copies of the documents Wikileaks have created an opening where you could argue criminality on corruption or bribery laws (depending on the specifics of the case if there were ever such a leak.) Even if the offender weren't in the relevant jurisdiction, they could be hassled with extradition requests or limits on travel.
"To be clear - I am opposed to the secrecy surrounding this agreement.
However, this has got to be the stupidest thing Wikileaks has ever done"
Well baybee, youve said a lodda things that ah shoulda said ........ ........but I chose to parody the right-on, tie dyed loose hippy piffle that I read. I could say a lot more, but I'd give away who I really am. Suffice to say that a lot of the stuff I read in El Reg comments pages is far removed from reality, and has a lot more to do with the resin tinged thinking portrayed in the fantastic philosophy section of Animal house in which people fantasize about what the universe is.
I read all of that crud in this comments section just before bed and found it both annoying and amusing. The serious conversations of the ill informed does that to me.
My job is done now. Byzieee bye and, to the ones who took their fantasies seriously, HAVND.
"Alas the rot is already spreading:
On the other hand, a government could always tell a company to piss off, especially a foreign one, and what could anyone really do about it? In practice, not really all that much.
Given it's a trade treaty (albeit only partially) and there is a transnational court (which will meet in secret iirc, in keeping with the original negotiations) to enforce the regulations, I think any government refusing to agree to what the company wants will be screwed over badly. They will be instructed to reverse their decision, pay a fine (probably, if there is enough between the positions to warrant recompense) to the relevant company and if they tell said company to piss off, they may find that they're no longer in the trade club, their ratings slide and their economy starts acting like Greece.
They've been discussing the rules for 10 years; I think they will have considered enforcement.
"But Mr Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine months."
"Oh yes, well as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn't exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them, had you? I mean, like actually telling anybody or anything."
"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 flashlight."
"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'."
The second the money is transferred, one of the relevant government would notice and arrest the person responsible right after freezing their assets... Receiving money for spilling a secret agreement like this could be considered treason. So who would be close enough to the trade talks to get a copy yet value their life at less than $100,000?
"for spilling a secret agreement like this could be considered treason"
I can but hope that this would be the fate of every single politician that votes for the agreement and thus willingly permits the democratic rights of the county's citizens to be overruled by the corporations of a foreign country... and that's just the parts we know about.
A trade agreement of this scale and with this level of impact should not be secret. That it is, you really have to ask yourselves why.
"Yes, yes, I know it's just a trade agreement and not some super secret criminal laws... yet."
Ahhhh . . . well, that's the thing: there is at least one provision there (in the parts of the drafts we've seen) that does specify 'criminal laws'. Specifically as relates to copyright infringement by individuals.
"(Yes, yes, I know it's just a trade agreement and not some super secret criminal laws... yet.)"
Based on what we do know of it, it does contain changes to criminal law and in most of the countries involved this is something which should be publicly debated under their constitutions, not just foisted onto the public as a done deal. There may be a case to have it overturned locally as a constitutional issue if anyone has the money and the balls to take it that far.
....the tobacco industry dearly wants an end to Australia's highly-successful Plain Packaging laws.
Instead of killing their customers, for a change, it's killing the cigarette manufacturers.
@Winkypop - "the tobacco industry dearly wants an end to Australia's highly-successful Plain Packaging laws"
And tobacco is going to great lengths to prevent other countries from introducing similar laws, using incredible litigation and strong-arming methods.
In Australia, one tobacco company tried to prevent the plain packaging law change by suing the Australian government for 'unlawful trademark seizure' using a trade agreement between Hong Kong (where they had moved their business) and Australia, on the basis that removing their label from a cigarette box is trademark seizure against that trade agreement. The methods they use on smaller, poorer countries is simply bullying.
As is often the case these days, John Oliver did a piece on this in February - Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Tobacco.
Just for sake of information (and I don't mean to talk down to anyone) - Investor-State Dispute settlement (ISDS) is a part of many trade agreements and this is why Philip Morris Asia is able to bring an action against Australia regarding the plain packaging laws.
The agreement that allows them to do is over two decades old so these provisions are nothing new.
ISDS was born from the risk of investing in nations that were still developing and may have poor legal system, which might see a foreign investor lose assets as situations change. This limits trade and so ISDS was created to fill that need. One can hardly argue to countries like Canada and Australia and Japan and New Zealand have weak legal systems so the reasons for having ISDS in the past just don't hold up anymore.
Even taking ISDSs as a whole, the TPP is worse because of its scope; most other Trade Agreements are between two or three nations.
With the Philip Morris case against plain packaging, one of their claims is that PM Asia (HK) will lose on their investment in shares of PM Australia. Amusingly, PM Asia only obtained the shares after the legislation was announced and after they had registered their opposition with the Australian Government.
They knew it was going to happen and they then went and acquired the shares and now are complaining that those shares have lost value and/or will lose value.
ISDS at work.
In other instances, companies have sued over countries raising minimum wages. Yes, really. In Australia, we might be prevented from raising minimum wages for fear of being sued. Or we might shy away from introducing laws around product labelling or nearly anything else that could affect profits.
I asked for J.R. Hartley to highlight the futility of all this.
Nobody is going to release the text and if they do it's not going be complete/true, I would say it's only when it starts getting enacted will people sit up and take notice then I remembered it's all done in secret courts, silly me...
Under the terms leaked so far, transnational corporations would have the right to sue governments for loss of earnings if they pass laws that hurt their profits
I really cannot comprehend how anybody claiming to work for a government can have thought this was a good idea.
"Oh hey, you've discovered that our new drug was causing cancer, so now you're trying to ban it; but that would make us lose money, so you'll just have to reimburse us then."
not the TTIP bit. The crowdfunding of the $100,000.
Could we see the start of a more crowdfunded political system ? Where citizens engage with notes not votes ?
Could this be the end of party hegemony, where people can individually support points of view that when aggregated don't map to any single party ?
Speaking as someone who happily (and successfully) crowdfunded Richard Herring to produce 18 video podcast interviews with various comedians, I can see it gaining traction. For my £30, I get 18 HD podcasts - each at least an hour long, knowing that the only editor between the show and me is Herring. No TV execs. No sponsors. No plugs for latest books.
Let's put it this way, having read this article, I'd happily donate $20.
How long before governments the world round make it illegal to crowdfund for political purposes ? Probably with some draconian anti-terror laws ?
And what's the betting the UK will be the first.
"Could we see the start of a more crowdfunded political system ? Where citizens engage with notes not votes ?
Could this be the end of party hegemony, where people can individually support points of view that when aggregated don't map to any single party ?"
It's called lobbying and is a multi-billion dollar industry already. Corporate "citizens" have been doing it for years and have very deep pockets. That's why these "trade agreements" are being discussed.
We are battling against something similar in Europe - TTIP is the equivalent for the USA/EU.
This is a huge wake up call for everybody!
It has already started - with the tobacco companies.
Their next plans are going to be Monsanto suing the governments of Europe for loss of profits due to the ban on GMO (Frankenstein) foods.
This sham needs to be stopped in its tracks.
The EU document (fact sheet) says they want to improve the dispute process by:
*Preventing abuse of the system by allowing early dismissal of unfounded claims, preventing investors from bringing multiple claims in various jurisdictions, and discouraging frivolous or tactical claims by making an investor who loses a case pay all the costs, including those of the state.
*Making the system more transparent by making documents publicly available, providing access to hearings, and allowing interested parties like NGOs to make submissions.
*Preventing conflicts of interest in arbitrators by having a code of conduct.
*Introducing safeguards so governments keep control over how investment provisions are interpreted.
*Preventing tribunals from ordering the repeal of a government measure.
*Setting up an appeals system to get more consistent results.
All these points seem reasonable
"shouldn't they maket their documents publicly available?"
The 'nothing to fear, nothing to hide' principle says that they should not be hidden, doesn't it (there may be an assumption in there).
The fact that the documents are still secret tells the rest of us everything that we need to know:
this could be a Global heist attempt by the 1%.
This must rank as the biggest "land grab" in history. I fear that we will all be enslaved by the mega-rich. The word "Free" will become a trade mark, any use of it will result in severe penalties.
All Linux users will be arrested for circumventing DRM. I'm only being half serious here, most likely just having libdvdcss installed will become a criminal offence.
Why are our politicians doing nothing? Is it because the NSA has enough dirt on them to exert control?
Bad days ahead! I am at a loss to express my sadness.
> All Linux users will be arrested for circumventing DRM. I'm only being half serious here, most likely just having libdvdcss installed will become a criminal offence.
It's already an offence in some places.
I was reading "Right to Read" (http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html) only this morning - it's not one I'd come across before. For something written nearly 2 decades ago, it had considerable foresight.
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