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15 NOVEMBER 2013

Popular Resistance Newsletter - We Need To Know The Truth

Newsletter Austerity, climate change, Corporatism, Criminal Justice and Prisons, TPP, Whistleblowing

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese,

“In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

This week, the text of the full intellectual property chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was released to the public by Wikileaks on Wednesday and has spurred quite a stir as we discover that our concerns about the TPP are justified.

A confluence of events this week has weakened the chances of the TPP’s survival. On Tuesday night, there were light brigade actions in 13 cities from coast to coast. And three letters signed by 180 members of the House of Representatives were submitted in opposition to the President’s request for Fast Track, an authority that would allow him to negotiate and sign the TPP before it would go to Congress for limited debate and only an up-or-down vote. Now, it looks like Congress will not consider Fast Track until the do-nothing election year of 2014.

Opposition to the TPP continues to build. Next week, negotiators will be in Salt Lake City, UT and actions are being planned to protest those meetings. Communities are starting to pass resolutions saying that they will not obey if the TPP changes laws in a way that harms them. You can learn more about this on an open training call on November 20. A global day of protest against toxic trade agreements is being organized for December 3. And that same day, two members of the Australian Parliament will submit a request that the text of the TPP be made public.

We are in a historic moment of people vs. the corporations. We can defeat the TPP if we keep working together in a movement of movements. That success will be a huge win for the people over corporate power. Join the effort.

15 NOVEMBER 2013

Item from Nation of Change:

Wikileaks Releases TPP Text

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 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 profits before planet.

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


Kevin Zeese is an attorney who has been a political activist since graduating from George Washington Law School in 1980. He works on peace, economic justice, criminal law reform and reviving American democracy. His twitter is @KBZeese. Zeese has used his law degree to work to end the war on drugs, stop the use of the military and National Guard in drug enforcement and allow the medical use of marijuana. He has filed bar complaints against lawyers in the Bush and Obama administrations who used their legal degrees to justify torture, as well as against Justice Clarence Thomas for conflicts of interests. He has also filed complaints against attorneys at Hunton and Williams who worked with the Chamber of Commerce and HB Gary Federal to target him for his work criticizing the Chamber. Zeese serves on the steering committee of the Bradley Manning Support Network. Zeese filed a complaint with the Justice Department against Rupert Murdoch and News Corp for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act as well as with DOJ against Karl Rove’s American Crossroads for violating the non-profit tax laws and the federal election laws.


Margaret Flowers, M.D. is a pediatrician and mother of 3 teens from Baltimore, MD. Margaret left medical practice in 2007 to advocate full-time for single payer health care. She served as Congressional Fellow for Physicians for a National Health Program and is on the board of Healthcare-Now. She is co-director of She has organized and participated in protests for health care, peace and economic justice which have included arrests for nonviolent resistance.

15 NOVEMBER 2013

This article is from newmatilda:

TPP 'A Substantial Threat To Australian Sovereignty'

Part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement has finally been leaked - and the situation is grim. NM asked experts, including Underground author Suelette Dreyfus, what concerns them most

The text of the Intellectual Property Rights section of the highly secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership was leaked this week by Wikileaks. We've asked experts from a number of fields to comment on what concerns them most about this wide-reaching (and largely uncontested) proposed change to the law.

Suelette Dreyfus
Research Fellow in the Department of Computing and Information Systems, University of Melbourne. Author of Underground, with Julian Assange. Twitter: @sueletted

The TPP is effectively making secret law that will override the High Court of Australia. It is handing the keys to a foreign power – and in the here and now, that’s a substantial and imminent threat to the sovereignty of Australia and the welfare of Australian consumers.

The TPP mechanisms are too complex to outline in a short space so let’s just talk about what effects they may have. They will turn Australian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) into copyright police. Instead of your ISPs selling you a connection service, the TPP will force them to pry into what you’re doing online. The TPP will make ISPs legally responsible if any of their hundreds of thousands of customers downloads illegal content.

The High Court of Australia ruled in the iiNet case that an ISP should not be liable for its users unlawfully downloading content. There are good reasons for this. If people plan a bank robbery over the telephone, it’s illogical that ANZ should hold Telstra responsible for the content of their telephone conversation. The TPP – effectively a law made in secret – will run roughshod over this High Court ruling, reversing it without recourse to Australian courts or parliament.

The TPP will have a chilling effect on freedom of speech, especially in the wake of Snowden’s revelations about NSA spying on average citizens.

At its heart the TPP is basically a grab for money. It will take money out of the pockets of average Australians and give it to large corporations in the US. We will effectively have to pay more on average for movies, music, games and medicines.

Never mind that we already do that anyway: as an Australian parliamentary inquiry discovered Americans pay just $1.39 for an iTunes Song compared to Australians paying $2.19. We’ll get to do it again under TPP. All of this with no parliamentary committee oversight, and no public debate (until now, of course, thanks to Wikileaks).

The Abbott Government intended to just push the TPP through without a murmur of public discussion, without even showing us the document until they had signed it. This is not transparent, not democratic — and definitely not good governance.

Brendan Molloy
Information freedom activist and Councillor, Pirate Party Australia. Twitter: @piecritic

The TPP, a trade agreement negotiated in complete secrecy, has only been able to be partially scrutinised by civil society due to a very timely leak. This leak has revealed that not only were all the fears we had absolutely on the right track, some parts of the text are worse than expected.

The intellectual property chapter focuses almost exclusively on enforcement. It is a very prescriptive text, that locks us into an inflexible regime that is not considerate of the future. For instance, article QQ.G.10 reinforces one of the worst parts of our current IP regime, which consists of legal protections for technical protection measures. Why should it be illegal to jailbreak your iPhone?

Perhaps the most shocking inclusion in the TPP IP chapter is criminalisation of non-commercial copyright infringement. Article QQ.H.7.2 contains language that is supported by the United States and by Australia, that would potentially imprison people considered to have committed infringement on a "commercial scale", regardless of whether there was a financial incentive. This is a fundamentally unbalanced proposal.

The United States has proposed several provisions that are anti-innovation. One such provision is a blanket ban on the retransmission of TV signals over the Internet in Article QQ.H.12, regardless of purpose, without permission of the rights holder.

As other provisions clamp down on the utility of exceptions to copyright, the flexibility necessary to innovate in the digital environment is being strangled. The text even attempts to consider temporary copies to be copyright infringement! This is at odds with how computers or digital devices work while we undertake many of our standard day to day activities. It is absurd.

The strangest part of the text would have to be the inclusion of language regarding patenting surgical methods, that would limit the flexibility provided by the WTO. There is language that would lower global standards on medical patents and potentially extend patents beyond 20 years, all supported by the United States.

This corporate wishlist masquerading as a trade agreement negotiated in complete secrecy is bad for access to knowledge, access to medicine, and access to innovation. We would be insane to allow this agreement to be put into force.

Angela Mitropoulos
Researcher at the University of Sydney, and the author of Contract and Contagion: From Biopolitics to Oikonomia. Twitter: @Mitropoulos_A

Intellectual property regimes have for some time been the most significant mechanism for extracting capital from the world, the mechanism by which institutions and corporations capture and ensure their ownership of labour, knowledge, invention, molecular compounds, DNA — anything that can be trademarked, patented or copyrighted.

It is not surprising that the objective over recent years has been the development of a global system of rules for the extraction of capital, and the elaboration of the means by which those rules are policed and their infringement criminalised. The stakes in the TPP are simply the norms by which circulation can occur, and whether the only movement that is possible is the circulation of commodities.

In the case of the work that takes place in the universities, the TPP will entrench the system according to which academic writing and research is paywalled by publishers, distribution platforms and corporations. The global IP enforcement rules will criminalise the distribution of an academic’s own research and writing, and provide a global set of rules for locking research to profits, corporate stature and systems of appropriation.

The issue is not some abstract or libertarian precept of freedom. By now we all know where such libertarianism aligns on issues of gender, racism and similar. It is about the complex ways in which something can be transformed into capital. It is, in other words, about power and money, and the increasing concentration of both among those who already have both in abundance.

The biggest winners in the TPP are the largest global corporations and, with the proliferation of mechanisms proposed, they intend to fully harness the infrastructures of the internet and the full force of the law in order to capture and extract even larger profits and a wider share of the world market. It seems to me that the more important contest here is not over “national sovereignty” versus “global capital” but, instead, the creation of a global, non-capitalist infrastructure of communication and movement in the midst of opposition to the TPP itself.

Antony Loewenstein
Independent journalist, activist and author of Profits of Doom. Twitter: @antloewenstein

The details of the TPP, released by Wikileaks and proving the transparency group remains a vital organisation doing the work journalists should be undertaking, are worrying for national sovereignty. The idea that Australia will become even more of a US client state, with the open collusion of Tony Abbott’s government, should be enough to worry all citizens. We should know how willing Australian negotiators have been to allow US demands for national laws to be abandoned in the name of protecting American corporate interests.

We could pay more for medicines, drugs, films and software because American corporations want us to. The US spying regime could be expanded to monitor newly criminalised internet piracy. The fact that multinationals such as Chevron, Halliburton, Monsanto and Walmart have seen the TPP but the public hasn’t reveals the contempt shown by our leaders. It’s ironic that Wikileaks has had to crowd-source money to release the full document that is being negotiated in secret and in our names.

In reality, the TPP is a policy designed by the US and backed by pliant nations to challenge the rise of China. Pepe Escobar in the Asia Times rightly calls the TPP:

“A major US corporate racket that will lower tariffs across the spectrum to the sole benefit of US multinationals and not small and medium-sized firms in developing countries, all this under the cover of a dodgy ‘highest free trade standard’." If Australia had a serious and inquisitive media, the TPP would be leading the news.

Ben Harris-Roxas
Public health specialist and Conjoint Lecturer at the University of New South Wales. Twitter: @ben_hr

The draft chapter of the TPP on intellectual property rights that Wikileaks published this week has shed a lot of light on the process. It will have far-reaching implications, particularly in terms of access to pharmaceuticals and public health.

The TPP negotiations have been an opaque process to say the least. Even now that we have part of the full text I find its implications difficult to gauge. The most worrying aspects for the public are the expansion of Evergreening patents and the US proposal that the patent clock on pharmaceuticals only starts ticking when marketing approval is granted, rather than when the patent is published.

The most dystopian turn is Article QQ.E.1, which proposes patent coverage of plants and animals, including “biological processes for the production of plants and animals". This is opposed by New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, Chile and Mexico in the draft.

A bigger issue is that the TPP is creating conditions that favour the US, Australia and Japan at the expense of the other parties involved. Whatever notional value the TPP offers to the region will be dependent on not disproportionately advantaging the bigger players. That has always seemed unlikely but this leak makes it clear it will worse than expected.

15 NOVEMBER 2013

Why Do We the People Have to Read TPP on Wikileaks?

By Dave Johnson
Campaign for America’s Future / Op-Ed

We the People finally get to read one chapter of the 29-chapter Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “trade” agreement. If this agreement becomes law it will fundamentally alter the relationship between our government, other governments and giant multinational corporations, so you’d think America’s citizens would want to have a say in the negotiations. But the only reason We the People get to even read it at all is because it was leaked to Wikileaks.

Wikileaks Obtains TPP Chapter

Wikileaks has obtained one of the chapters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “trade” agreement that is being negotiated in secret. This leaked section is the chapter about patents, copyrights, trademarks, industrial design and other “intellectual property.” Note that this has little or nothing to do with “trade.”

This chapter is from August, and it is unknown how the chapter may have changed between then and now. The chapter indicates that the US is pushing hard to get strong “protections” for giant telecommunications companies and pharmaceutical patent-holders.

WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange said this in the announcement that Wikileaks had obtained the chapter text, “If instituted, the TPP’s IP regime would trample over individual rights and free expression, as well as ride roughshod over the intellectual and creative commons. If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent; if you farm or consume food; if you’re ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs.”

A Process Designed To Reach A Certain Conclusion

TPP is being secretly negotiated in what appears to be a directed process designed so that the outcome will represent the profit interests of giant, multinational corporations but not the interests of … anyone else. 600 corporate representatives are involved, with access to the full text. We the People are not involved and do not have access to the text at all in full or in part. Even members of Congress are restricted in what they can see and how they can see it.

The leaked section of TPP was negotiated with the interests of companies that hold patents and copyrights and profit from doing represented so at the table, while groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, consumer groups, patient protection groups etc. were NOT at the table. So it isn’t a surprise to read in the leaked chapter that there is a one-sided, pro-giant-pharmaceutical and -telecom result of this process.

Matthew Rimmer, an expert in intellectual property law told the Sydney Morning Herald, ”One could see the TPP as a Christmas wish-list for major corporations, and the copyright parts of the text support such a view.”

So 600 corporate representatives, lobbyists, etc. are part of the process, but:

• Consumer groups are not at the table, so their interests are not likely to be reflected in the outcome.
• Democracy groups are not at the table, so their interests are not likely to be reflected in the outcome.
• Labor groups are not at the table, so their interests are not likely to be reflected in the outcome.
• Environmental groups are not at the table, so their interests are not likely to be reflected in the outcome.
• Patient health groups are not at the table, so their interests are not likely to be reflected in the outcome.
• Civil rights groups are not at the table, so their interests are not likely to be reflected in the outcome.
• Animal rights groups are not at the table, so their interests are not likely to be reflected in the outcome.
• Groups that advocate for the interests of pretty much anything that isn’t about corporate profits are not at the table, so their interests are not likely to be reflected in the outcome.

Not only are non-corporate groups not at the negotiating table, last year they were stopped from even giving presentations to the negotiators. Instead they have to get a table and hope delegates will take a brochure. Read this from April 2012:

Stakeholder registering for the Dallas round of TPP negotiators have been informed that the conference style presentation format supported at all previous rounds has been disbanded and in place stakeholders will be given options of setting up “tables” to pass out information to browsing delegates.

Before this change negotiators would at least set aside a day when groups could make presentations to all the delegates.

Now they get a table and they can hope delegates will take a brochure they hand out.

Two Examples That Make The Point

Here are two examples of what results from this one-sided process.

First, you might remember that efforts to get rid of Net Neutrality and pass the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) failed to make it through our democratic, Constitutional process because people were able to become informed, rally opposition and make their case to stop these terrible things from happening. But this meant that the giant telecommunications corporations lost some power sand profit potential. So TPP becomes a treaty that accomplishes these same corporate goals by going around our democratic, Constitutional process.

Second, while this is not about this particular chapter of the agreement, there is an argument going on inside TPP negotiations about whether to “carve out” tobacco from the treaty. The way the treaty is currently shaping up tobacco companies will be able to sue governments that try to protect their citizens with anti-smoking efforts. So some countries are trying to “carve out” tobacco from those rules in TPP. Never mind other corporate products that harm people, tobacco gets attention because it kills so many people. But the corporations are resisting this because it sets a precedent of allowing governments to set limits on things corporations can profit from.

I think this second example should tell people all they need to know about this and similar “trade” agreements. They are really about setting certain giant corporations above government — and other corporations — restricting competition and innovation so these giants can stay dominant, and keep democracies and their citizens from meddling in the profit stream.

Fast Track

We the People were able to rally and defeat corporate efforts to pass SOPA and kill Net Neutrality. It was a big fight, but we managed to win. Democracy can work, and with a fight We the People can still protect ourselves from the power of the giant corporations and make our lives better.

So if citizens were able to use democracy to fight SOPA and keep Net Neutrality and other things, how can they expect to get TPP through and undo what was accomplished? Here is how: they are trying to convince Congress to pass something called “Fast Track.” Fast Track limits the objections Congress can make to this treaty, forces them to vote “up or down” in a hurry so people do not have time to sufficiently focus and rally opposition, and this will of course happen in the middle of biggest corporate-funded “shock and awe” fear campaign you have ever seen. If you think there is a lot of anti-Obamacare fear-and-smear propaganda in the news today, or if you think there was a well-orchestrated “run up” to sell the Iraq war, well those are nothing compared to what they will do to sell this one.

Key point: They will try to push through “fast track” and then launch a massively-funded campaign to pass the treaty. If we can block Fast Track we might have a chance to head off this corporate takeover of the world.

You can read the leaked chapter here, as a PDF document.

15 NOVEMBER 2013

From OpenMedia:

Now we know why the TPP Internet censorship plan has been kept so secret.

Wikileaks just made public secret documents that show how industry lobbyists are trying to impose an extreme Internet censorship scheme.[1]

We knew it was going to be bad. We knew it could mean that entire websites and families could be kicked off the Internet. We knew it could lock out the deaf and the blind.

But the TPP Internet censorship plan is even worse than we thought. The leaked documents reveal that:

• U.S. President Obama is trying to impose laws that would clamp down on free expression, compel your Internet service provider to track your Internet usage, and impose extreme penalties for everyday online activities.
• The TPP would create secret transnational Internet censorship courts. It could override national courts and national laws.[2]

Yeah, it’s that bad. This leak could change everything -- but only if people know about it. We need to raise a loud public call at this unique moment:


The leaked documents have revealed that the United States government and lobbyists are nearly alone in pushing the most extreme parts of the TPP’s Internet censorship plan.[3]

However, the leaked draft also lets us know which countries oppose these extreme new rules. And here’s the good news: many countries are pushing back.[4]

The more voices we join together, the stronger the message we can send. It’s that simple. Your action today will make a difference.

Thank you. We can do this,

Steve and Josh, on behalf of your team

P.S. If you’re still reading this, it means you care. This plan is worse than our worst fears. Your small team here at are working hard to make sure people know the truth about what’s going on. Can you do your part by chipping in what you can today towards our campaign?

[1] Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Source: WikiLeaks
[2] How the TPP endangers access to knowledge, technology, and information. Source: Public Citizen.
[3] Leaked treaty is a Hollywood wishlist. Could it derail Obama’s trade agenda? Source: Washington Post.
[4] The Trans Pacific Partnership IP Chapter Leaks: Canada Pushing Back Against Draconian U.S. Demands. Source: Michael Geist.

15 NOVEMBER 2013

The Age newspaper letters:

Dangerous power grab

The latest revelations on the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade agreement (The Age, 14/11) expose the sinister corporate power grab that it is. A so-called free trade agreement negotiated in secrecy that includes 600 corporate advisers working with the United States' trade representative. It will represent an attack on Australia's sovereignty and its ability to make binding laws to protect its citizens. It will protect the financial interests of multinational corporations first.

In Australia's interest, it must be rejected and any free trade agreement must be negotiated in the open. This will represent a test of the major parties. Do they work for us or the multinational corporations?

Michael Wahren, Merrijig

Questions of health

It is very concerning that the Australian government is shrouding the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade agreement in secrecy (The Age, 14/11). They already have form in prioritising large companies over Australian taxpayers, with the repeal of the minerals super profits tax resulting in less money for other purposes.

The rising cost of prescription medications already makes it harder for people to purchase the drugs they need to stay well.

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme is the envy of most developed nations, delivering high-quality, low-cost medications. And the plain packaging of tobacco again demonstrates Australia as a leader in measures to reduce deaths from smoking. These are critical public health issues. It is time to put the national interest first.

Dr Margaret Beavis, Brighton

An illogical solution

It might be worth noting that Australia would not be guilty of one of the highest rates of digital piracy if it did not cost an arm and a leg for products that are significantly cheaper in the United States. But, of course, the obvious and logical way of combating digital piracy is to make punishments more severe and make products more expensive. It is time to go back to the drawing board.

Isabella Mason, Richmond

16 NOVEMBER 2013

The People Can Defeat the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Article from Nation of Change

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers

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 healthcare 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, including covering the office building of the US Trade Representative in banners to expose 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, healthcare, food sovereignty, immigrant’s 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

Kevin Zeese, JD and Margaret Flowers, MD are participants in; they co-direct It’s Our Economy and co-host Clearing the FOG shown on UStream TV and heard on radio. Their twitters are @KBZeese and MFlowers8.

Kevin Zeese is an attorney who has been a political activist since graduating from George Washington Law School in 1980. He works on peace, economic justice, criminal law reform and reviving American democracy. His twitter is @KBZeese. Zeese has used his law degree to work to end the war on drugs, stop the use of the military and National Guard in drug enforcement and allow the medical use of marijuana. He has filed bar complaints against lawyers in the Bush and Obama administrations who used their legal degrees to justify torture, as well as against Justice Clarence Thomas for conflicts of interests. He has also filed complaints against attorneys at Hunton and Williams who worked with the Chamber of Commerce and HB Gary Federal to target him for his work criticizing the Chamber. Zeese serves on the steering committee of the Bradley Manning Support Network. Zeese filed a complaint with the Justice Department against Rupert Murdoch and News Corp for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act as well as with DOJ against Karl Rove’s American Crossroads for violating the non-profit tax laws and the federal election laws.


Margaret Flowers, M.D. is a pediatrician and mother of 3 teens from Baltimore, MD. Margaret left medical practice in 2007 to advocate full-time for single payer health care. She served as Congressional Fellow for Physicians for a National Health Program and is on the board of Healthcare-Now. She is co-director of She has organized and participated in protests for health care, peace and economic justice which have included arrests for nonviolent resistance.

17 NOVEMBER 2013

From Nation of Change:

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

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez Democracy Now! / Video Feature
Sunday 17 November 2013

WikiLeaks is back in the news after it published Wednesday part of the secret text of a massive new trade pact called the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

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.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: WikiLeaks is back in the news after it published Wednesday part of the secret text of a massive new trade pact called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. For the past several years, the United States and 12 Pacific Rim nations have been negotiating behind closed doors on the sweeping agreement. On Wednesday, WikiLeaks released a 95-page draft of a TPP chapter focusing on intellectual property rights. WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange appeared in a YouTube video Tuesday talking about the leak.

JULIAN ASSANGE: We released today the secret international—the secret intellectual property chapter, what they call intellectual property, but it’s actually all about how to extend the monopoly rights of companies like Monsanto, which has genetic patents over wheat and corn; extending the ability of Disney to criminally prosecute people for downloading films, prosecute Internet service providers; Japan introducing something they call a patent prosecution highway—Japan has. And so, we released all this, their secret negotiating positions for all 12 countries.

AMY GOODMAN: The WikiLeaks release of the text comes a week before a TPP chief negotiators summit in Salt Lake City, Utah. 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 what’s known as "fast-track authority." However, this week some 151 House Democrats and 23 Republicans wrote letters to the administration saying they’re unwilling to give the president free rein to, quote, "diplomatically legislate."

Well, for more, we go to Washington, D.C., where we host a debate on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Bill Watson is trade policy analyst at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. And Lori Wallach, the director of the fair trade group Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Bill Watson, why do you support the TPP?

BILL WATSON: Well, we need to remember, when—when we see some of these reports about the intellectual property chapter, we need to remember that the free trade agreements are about fundamentally something very different: They are about free trade. And the value of free trade, I think, is really incontrovertible. The United States has been lowering its barriers for 50 years to engage in the global economy in a way that increases growth economically, that improves the quality of life of people in the United States.

We still have a number of protectionist measures in the United States that an agreement like the TPP will address. Particular to Asia that are at interest in this agreement are tariffs, quotas and subsidies dealing with things like footwear and clothing, consumer items that these barriers really act as taxes on the poor, mostly, who end up paying a larger portion of their income to support an economic policy that benefits a select few.

The protectionist measures in place, these trade barriers, are special-interest handouts to big businesses that have good lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C. The purpose of a free trade agreement is to overcome an inherent political difficulty in getting rid of those barriers. We know we want to get rid of the barriers, but it’s hard to counteract these special interests because they have a lot of influence in Congress.

So, the idea of a reciprocal free trade agreement, where the U.S. lowers its barriers and, in exchange, other countries lower theirs, is a way to gain—to—really, to gain special-interest support for the free trade agreement that U.S. industries that benefit from export access abroad will lobby. They have a concentrated benefit in the agreement. And so, they will counteract the special interests that are supporting the existing barriers. The end result, ideally, is open markets at home and abroad. And this is a very good outcome.

The problem at this point, if you can say there’s a problem—

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Bill Watson, if we can, if we could bring in Lori Wallach to respond to some of your comments, especially in terms of the—we’ve had lots of publicity over pharmaceuticals and the huge disparities in prices of pharmaceuticals around the globe and how this might affect the—under the TPP agreement. Lori?

LORI WALLACH: Well, free trade is a pretty theory, but as yesterday’s WikiLeaks showed, the TPPhas very little to do with free trade. So, only five of the 29 chapters of the agreement even have to do with trade at all. What’s in that intellectual property chapter? What the Cato Institute would call rent seeking—governments being lobbied by special interests to set up special rules that give them monopolies to charge higher prices. What does that mean for you and me? In that agreement, we now can see the United States is pushing for longer monopoly patents for medicines that would increase the prices here. They’re looking for patenting things like surgical procedures, making even higher medical costs. They’re looking to patent life forms and seeds. And with respect to copyright, the U.S. positions are actually even undermining U.S. law. So, for Internet freedom, if you didn’t likeSOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, the domestic law that Congress and amazing citizen activism killed last year when it was attempted to be pushed here domestically, huge chunks of SOPA are pushed through the backdoor of this intellectual property chapter.

Now, what the heck is that doing in a free trade agreement? I would imagine the Cato Institute is also wondering: Are Adam Smith and David Ricardo, the free trade philosophers, rolling in their graves? Because that is protectionism. This is patent monopolies. This is copyright extensions. This is actually exactly what Bill just talked about, which is powerful special interests—Big Pharma, Disney and the other big-content guys—undermining us as consumers—our access to the Internet, our access to affordable medicine—and they’re using their power to put that into an agreement that they’ve got misbranded as "free trade." That’s what’s the real TPP. So maybe, actually, we agree, between the consumer group Public Citizen and Cato, that what’s in TPP, whatever you think about free trade, ain’t so good for most of us.

BILL WATSON: This is a rare occasion where I do agree with Lori Wallach. I agree that what’s going on in the IP chapter is a special-interest free-for-all, a grab bag, that U.S. companies are pushing to get what they want in these agreements. And the problem, really, with that is that intellectual property is not a trade issue, and it shouldn’t be in the agreement. Originally, adding intellectual property into the agreement was a way to bring on more political support, to be able to bring in U.S. companies to counter other U.S. companies that would oppose the agreement. At this point, I think we’ve gotten to where the intellectual property chapters are so expansive that what you’re seeing is a domestic constituency, people concerned about copyright and patent reform, who are opposing the TPP, not because of anything having to do with trade, but just because it’s going to reform U.S. copyright and patent laws. So, the—what I would say is that we need to have a renewed focus within these trade agreements to be more about free trade and less about some of these other issues like intellectual property rights.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: But, Bill Watson, why should we even have to depend on WikiLeaks to provide information on what’s in this proposed agreement? Isn’t the actual—just the super secrecy under which this agreement has been worked out, raise questions for ordinary citizens about why all the secrecy?

BILL WATSON: You know, I’m certainly glad that WikiLeaks published this report. Personally, I like to be able to read it. It’s very interesting. I wish that they would publish the rest of it, to show us the rest of the draft text. I don’t think that it would be, at this point, particularly harmful to the agreement to let us know something about the countries’ negotiating positions.

But I really—I really disagree that the TPP negotiations are especially secret. There’s a lot that goes on in Congress that the public doesn’t know about. When Congress writes a law, we don’t know in advance what it’s going to be before it gets proposed. So, they’re still trying to figure out what the contents of the agreement will be. They don’t know yet; they’re working on it. So, eventually, we’ll see something. We’ll see it well in advance of when it becomes law, and Congress will have a chance to decide to vote yes or no on the agreement.

AMY GOODMAN: Lori Wallach, what most surprised you about seeing the TPP agreement for the first time yesterday, you know, the WikiLeaks leak?

LORI WALLACH: Well, first of all, this is extraordinarily secret. I’ve followed these negotiations since 1991 with NAFTA. And during NAFTA, any member of Congress could see any text. In fact, the whole agreement between negotiating rounds was put in the Capitol, accessible for them to look at. In 2001, the Bush administration published the entire Free Trade Area of the Americas text, when it was even in an earlier stage than TPP is right now, on government websites. They’ve even excluded members of Congress from observing the negotiations. I mean, this is extraordinary.

And so, to me, what was the most horrifying, I would say, is the ways in which the U.S. negotiators are using this agreement to try and rewrite U.S. law. I mean, I find it morally repugnant and outrageous that the U.S. negotiators be pushing Big Pharma’s agenda to raise medicine prices for the developing countries in the TPP. People in Vietnam, in all the developing countries that haveHIV/AIDS, that have malaria, they need access to generic medicines, and this would cut it off. But they’re actually doing it also to us. So, to the extent, theoretically, they’re sort of supposed to be representing our interests, it would make cancer drugs in this country more expensive. Evergreening of patents, changing just a little tweaky thing, the six-hour versus 12-hour version of a medicine, you get 20 more years of monopoly. Also undermining our Internet freedom by rewriting U.S. law? There’s language in there where U.S. law says there’s an exception for liability for U.S. Internet service providers. The U.S. is the only country in that bracket that’s saying, "No, we shouldn’t allow that in TPP." It’s backdoor diplomatic legislating.

And that ties into that business with fast track. Why were—and it’s now 27 Republican members, because there was a second letter that came out of the Republicans, and 151 Democrats—why were they all saying together, in the last 36 hours, "No fast-track trade process. We don’t want to give away our constitutionally granted authority over trade policy"? And a big piece of the reason is, the left and right in Congress may disagree on what the policies should be, but they actually believe that, constitutionally, Congress gets to write our legislation. So the notion of this backdoor legislating, that we saw actually revealed in this WikiLeak, is precisely what is uniting, animating congressional outrage at the notion that after being left out of these negotiations uninformed, somehow they should volunteer to handcuff themselves so they can be thoroughly steamrollered and have even their legislating authority undermined through this so-called trade agreement.

That’s really a backdoor coup d’état on domestic policymaking.

AMY GOODMAN: Bill Watson, might this be another place where you and Lori Wallach agree?

BILL WATSON: Not really, no. I see—on fast track, let me just say that I don’t have a lot of confidence in Congress’s ability to come in and resist special interests and make good policies on these areas. But, actually, fast track is a way for Congress to exert its influence over these agreements. When it—when Congress passes fast track, it imposes a number of negotiating objectives. One of those, if Congress imposes fast track, is to—is to have strong IP measures in the agreement. So, you know, you don’t necessarily want Congress’s input, you know, if you’re trying to get a good policy here. But you do get it through fast track, and you get increased transparency. Fast track will set the rules for what the president—who the president has to talk to and inform in Congress and how Congress participates in the agreement.

But let me also say, you know, when Lori talks about how increased patent law on pharmaceuticals is going to harm people in poor countries like Vietnam, I’d like to point out also that trade barriers harm people in countries like Vietnam. Our trade barriers harm them; their trade barriers harm them. It stunts the growth of their economy, prevents them from engaging in commerce that increases their quality of life. What we need to do is not ditch the free trade agreement because some parts of it are harmful; we need to get rid of the harmful parts and recognize the value of these agreements in improving quality of life around the world.

AMY GOODMAN: Lori Wallach?

LORI WALLACH: I’m sorry, right now under the so-called trade authority system, there are 600 corporate advisers who, with the executive branch, are behind closed doors making these rules, seeing the text. I, myself, have much more faith in the U.S. Congress, the U.S. public and the U.S. press and the democratic process, with all of us who will live with the results, messy though democracy may be, having the ability to make sure these policies work for us. I don’t want a bunch of unelected U.S. "trade negotiators" and 600 corporate advisers dictating my future through so-called trade agreements.

I mean, these agreements, once they’re implemented, you can’t change a comma unless all the other countries agree. It locks into place, super-glues, cements into place one vision of law that, as we’ve seen, has very little to do with trade. It’s about domestic food safety. Do we have to import food that doesn’t meet U.S. safety standards? It’s about setting up international tribunals—can’t imagine the Cato Institute likes that, global governance and all—where U.S. government could be sued and our Treasury raided by foreign corporations, who are rent seeking, compensation for not having to meet our own laws that our domestic companies have to meet.

And I’ve got to say something about fast track, which is, in fact, empirically, Bill, fast track is a huge giveaway of Congress’s authority. And for anyone who wants to get into the weeds, please take a look at my book, The Rise and Fall of Fast Track Trade Authority . You can get it on, We looked at the history of trade authorities since the founding of the country. Because of the old Boston Tea Party, Congress—the Founders put Congress in charge of trade, so the king couldn’t just dictate, with a few special interests, what would be our trade policy. And historically, Congress has had the steering will, the emergency brake. Nixon came up with fast track in '73. It's anomalous. Sixteen agreements ever have used this handcuff procedure. Why are Democrats and Republicans together saying, "No more"? Not because they want to have a seat at the negotiating table, but because they want a role in the formative aspects of trade agreements.

In the end, how they vote on it ain’t the issue. The question is up front: Is it going to be in our interests, with accountability and actually not having these corporate advisers making the calls, or is it going to be a trade agreement like TPP, which, Cato must agree, really is not about free trade but has become, really, the Trojan horse for all these other issues? So, in the end, the process is really important. And historically, we’ve had a new trade negotiating mechanism every 20 years until now. President Obama, as a candidate, said he’d replace it. You can find out if your member of Congress was amongst the 200 who said they would hold on to their constitutional authority, or if you need to do a little conversation with your member. You can see all of that at That’s a website,

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Lori, if I—if I can bring Bill Watson in, on this issue of—because you, yourself, Mr. Watson, admit that there are objectionable parts to this agreement that need to be changed, but how would that change occur if the pact is being negotiated essentially in secret and then fast-track legislation would require Congress to vote it up or down? How will the changes occur?

BILL WATSON: It’s very good question. And, you know, to be honest, the problem with issues like intellectual property is not just in free trade agreements. Congress is not very good about intellectual property, either. So, I think that we need to be more active in explaining to Congress what the right policies are, to use the democratic process. Fast track and, indeed, these negotiation—negotiated agreements are not really a way to bypass Congress. Congress still has say. They still have to approve the agreement. They can—they can do a number of things to exert pressure on the administration to include certain things. They don’t always include very good things. So going to Congress is not really the best way to get the agreements through. And indeed, fast track is a way to increase the power of Congress, in a number of ways, and so may—I agree with Lori Wallach there are some dangers to using fast track, but—but in the end, I just don’t see Congress, and even a little bit more transparency, as really a panacea for solving these problems. This is a larger issue.

AMY GOODMAN: As we wrap up, Bill Watson, we gave you the first word; Lori Wallach, you’ve got the last.

LORI WALLACH: The bottom line of all of this is we need a new procedure to replace fast track that gives the public the role and Congress the role to make sure what will be binding, permanent, global laws do not undermine either our democratic process of making policies at home—that we need—or that lock us into retrograde policies that the current 600 corporate trade advisers are writing to impose on us. So, we need a new way to make trade agreements to get different kinds of agreements. And the bottom line with TPP, as this WikiLeak just showed, it’s very dangerous. It’s not about trade. You’ve got to find out about it. And you’ve got to make sure your member of Congress maintains their constitutional authority. Democracy is messy. But I, myself, more trust the American public, the press and this Congress rather than 600 corporate advisers. We need to make sure what’s in that trade agreement suits us, and you all are going to be the difference in doing that.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’ll certainly link to the document that WikiLeaks has just leaked, the draftTPP proposal. Lori Wallach, thanks for being with us, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, and Bill Watson, trade policy analyst at the Cato Institute.


Amy Goodman is the host of "Democracy Now!," a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 900 stations in North America. She is the author of "Breaking the Sound Barrier," recently released in paperback and now a New York Times best-seller.

18 NOVEMBER 2013

From The Age newspaper:

Free trade not a licence to rip off Australia

November 18, 2013

Australians have long known that multinational corporations' regional pricing tactics deny them a fair price for many consumer products. We did not need a federal parliamentary inquiry to confirm we pay far too much for medicines, computer software and hardware, movies, music and computer games, as well as old-fashioned books. Still, in July, the inquiry called for an end to the market manipulation. It is alarming, then, that leaked details of a draft treaty among a dozen Pacific nations suggest Australia is not strongly resisting pressure to rewrite trade rules to enforce regional disparities. The Age believes in free and fair trade. We also condemn the pirating of copyrighted or patented products. This is theft from the creators of intellectual property, which discourages further product development and innovation.

But the draft of a Trans Pacific Partnership shows the US favours trade rules that will help multinational companies to continue charging more for consumer technology products in certain markets such as ours. The inquiry found we pay 42 to 66 per cent more than people overseas for software and hardware; about 60 per cent more for music downloads; and two to four times as much for computer games.

Intellectual property law expert Matthew Rimmer says the draft has ''little focus on the rights and interests of consumers, let alone broader community interests''. Australians elect their governments to put their interests first. Prime Minister Tony Abbott hopes a deal will be reached next month, yet consultation has been limited to ''industry sectors that could be impacted by the agreement''. The affected consumers, the vast majority of us, would be in the dark if not for WikiLeaks. Journalists were barred from industry briefings on the next round of talks starting this week.

The draft treaty's leaked details suggest a possible motive: in only one area is Australia clearly opposing US and Japanese trade interests. That is pharmaceuticals, for which the Commonwealth pays about $20 billion a year. The US is seeking ways to extend patents, which would restrict production of cheaper generic drugs.

The draft treaty terms seem to be very much at odds with the inquiry's recommendations to remove parallel import restrictions, which push up prices, and to educate Australians on their right to circumvent measures that prevent consumers in one region from buying or using the same product from another region. The High Court has upheld Australians' right to bypass regional DVD coding.

The inquiry called for laws that clearly uphold ''consumers' rights to circumvent technological protection measures that control geographic market segmentation''. Yet the US wants to criminalise this. Australians would expect those negotiating on their behalf to insist on the basic benefit that free trade is meant to deliver: access to products at the best price as set by a global market. That is the only basis on which Australia should sign this treaty. The government must not sell out Australians' rights to a fair price.

19 NOVEMBER 2013

Letter in The Age newspaper:

Sovereignty at risk

Further to your excellent editorial (18/11) about the dangers of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, its investor-state dispute settlement provisions would abrogate Australia's sovereignty. Under these provisions, if a multinational believes an Australian law endangers its "expected future profits", it can challenge the government in a tribunal that has the power to overrule our laws and levy fines against the Australian state. Our tobacco plain-packaging laws, for example, would be at risk of being overruled.

Paul Hobson, Camberwell

From newmatilda:

trans-pacific partnership
15 Nov 2013

Our Future Is At Risk - Disclose The TPP Now

By Matthew Rimmer

The Trans-Pacific Partnership will stifle innovation and put real limitations on our ability to govern ourselves. This is too important a deal to be done in secret, writes Dr Matthew Rimmer

Christmas has come early this year for big corporations. Wikileaks has revealed that the Trans-Pacific Partnership contains a swag of corporate gifts and baubles.

The leaked intellectual property chapter of the TPP looks like it has been dictated by the United States Chamber of Commerce. Among other things, the agreement seeks to provide for longer and stronger copyright protection for transnational corporations.

In the light of day, the TPP appears to be a monster. The Intellectual Property chapter is long, complex, prescriptive, bellicose and diabolical. What's missing, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation observed, is any recognition of the public interests to be served by copyright law:

"The leaked text, from August 2013, confirms long-standing suspicions about the harm the agreement could do to users’ rights and a free and open Internet."

Instead of promoting the progress of science and the useful arts, the TPP transforms intellectual property into a means to protect and secure the investment of transnational corporations. Professor Michael Geist of the University of Ottawa said that there was a debate over the philosophical goals of intellectual property:

"[Other nations have argued for] balance, promotion of the public domain, protection of public health, and measures to ensure that IP rights themselves do not become barriers to trade. The opposition to these objective[s] by the US and Japan (Australia has not taken a position) speaks volumes about their goals for the TPP."

It is particularly disappointing that Australia has been such a passive partner to the United States in the Pacific Rim negotiations, showing little inclination to stand up for the public interest.

The TPP will impoverish the number and variety of works in the public domain with outrageous demands for copyright. The United States, Australia, Peru, Singapore and Chile have proposed a term of life plus 70 years for natural persons. Mexico wants copyright protection for life plus 100 years. New Zealand, Canada and other countries who follow the Berne Convention norm. particularly stand to suffer, given they only have a copyright term of life plus 50 years.

For corporate owned works, the United States has proposed 95 years of protection, while Australia, Peru, Singapore and Chile are pushing for 70. The United States' proposals in respect of copyright term extension in the Trans-Pacific Partnership would be a form of corporate welfare.

Such windfalls would be money for jam. A copyright term extension throughout the Pacific Rim would have an adverse impact upon cultural heritage, innovation, competition, and freedom of speech.

The TPP will also undermine domestic Australian policy initiatives. It will lock nation states into a defective and anachronistic regime for technological protection measures. As Timothy Lee said:

"The treaty includes a long section, proposed by the United States, requiring the creation of legal penalties for circumventing copy-protection schemes such as those that prevent copying of DVDs and Kindle books."

Economist Peter Martin lamented that the Trans-Pacific Partnership undermined the Australian inquiry into IT Pricing. "Australia backs the US at every turn against its own consumers," he wrote. Greens Senator Scott Ludlam concurred. "The current Trans-Pacific Partnership text also entrenches the disadvantages Australians experience in being ripped off with unfair IT pricing," he said.

The TPP will seemingly be beneficial to some of the companies most criticised in the IT Pricing inquiry: Adobe, Microsoft, and Apple. It also limits the policy space for governments to craft copyright exceptions. This is disturbing, especially given that the Australian Law Reform Commission is considering whether Australia should adopt a defence for fair use. James Love of Knowledge Ecology International observed:

"One set of technically complex but profoundly important provisions are those that define the overall space that governments have to create exceptions to exclusive rights ... In its current form, the TPP space for exceptions is less robust than the space provided in the 2012 WIPO Beijing treaty or the 2013 WIPO Marrakesh treaty, and far worse than the TRIPS Agreement."

Maira Sutton and Patrick Higgins of the Electronic Frontier Foundation said that "Given the important role that flexibility in copyright has played in enabling innovation and free speech, it’s a terrible idea to restrict that flexibility in a trade agreement." Only Vietnam sought to put forward positive positions in respect of copyright exceptions in the agreement, noted Sean Rintel of Electronic Frontiers Australia.

Australia stands to be left in a woeful position. We will be burdened with heavy commitments in respect of copyright protection, without the flexibility of the United States regime, with its defence of fair use and first amendment protection for freedom of speech.

The TPP is like the notorious Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) or Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on steroids. It seeks to increase civil remedies, criminal penalties, and border measures. As Senator Ludlam said:

"The TPPA text still forces internet providers to police Australian internet users and enables the US to place us under surveillance, justified as a US-led crackdown on internet piracy ... It's clear this secret deal, driven by foreign interests to benefit some of the largest multinationals, will still censor internet content, impose harsh criminal penalties for non-commercial copyright infringements, and force Australian internet service providers to police users and hand information over to law enforcement."

The investment chapter may frustrate any efforts by parliaments in the Pacific Rim to engage in progressive reform in respect of intellectual property. An investor-state dispute resolution mechanism could be deployed by foreign investors to challenge intellectual property reforms.

The tobacco industry has already used an investor clause to question Australia’s plain packaging regime. Eli Lilly has challenged Canada’s patent laws under an investment clause in the North American Free Trade Agreement. Copyright reforms could similarly be challenged by copyright industries under an investment clause in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The TPP will steamroll domestic laws and regulations.

Politicians around the Pacific Rim have become increasingly concerned about how it overrides national sovereignty, democracy, and good governance. In the United States, Democrats and Republicans alike have rebelled against Obama’s demands for the TPP to include "fast-track" authority provisions to override the US Congress' authority on trade matters. Representative Mark Pocan and fellow Democrats observed: "Twentieth Century ‘Fast Track’ is simply not appropriate for 21st Century agreements and must be replaced." The members insisted that:

"A new trade agreement negotiation and approval process that restores a robust role for Congress is essential to achieving U.S. trade agreements that can secure prosperity for the greatest number of Americans, while preserving the vital tenets of American democracy in the era of globalization."

The Australian Greens have demanded that the Coalition reveal the full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership to the Australian Parliament. Senator Whish-Wilson has maintained that "Tony Abbott must end the secrecy and hidden agendas that have defined his Government." Brendan Molloy of the Pirate Party of Australia warned that "This corporate wishlist masquerading as a trade agreement is bad for access to knowledge, access to medicine, and access to innovation."

In New Zealand, Gareth Evans MP has observed that the TPP will not provide a fair deal for New Zealand citizens and consumers.

Now that Wikileaks has published the intellectual property chapter, the full text and the chapters and the negotiating texts of the TPP should also be fully disclosed. Given the extent of the corporate capture of the negotiating process, the TPP cannot and should not be fast-tracked.

20 NOVEMBER 2013

From Nation of Change:

Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations Meet Protests in Salt Lake City

By Maira Sutton / News Analysis

The U.S. trade office is negotiating TPP as if it already has fast-track authority, by deciding for itself which countries to negotiate with and what issues are on the table.

The newest round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations began Tuesday in Salt Lake City, Utah, where trade representatives will work towards finalizing the text of this sprawling secret agreement.

Last week's publication of the controversial "Intellectual Property" chapter by Wikileaks confirmed our worst fears: the TPP carries draconian copyright enforcement provisions that threaten users' rights and could stifle innovation well into the 21st Century. Public opposition to the TPP continues to grow as a result of the leaked document; an opaque policymaking process that seems geared towards appeasing Big Content does not provide much in the way of legitimacy.

In the past week, 23 Republicans and 151 Democrats in the House of Representatives wrote letters to the Obama administration indicating their unwillingness to comply with the Executive's request for power to fast-track trade agreements through Congress. Fast-track authority, also known as Trade Promotion Authority, limits congressional approval over trade agreements to a yes or no, up or down vote.

If a bill granting fast-track were to pass, hearings would become extremely limited, and lawmakers would have no ability to make amendments. It would give the Obama administration unchecked power to shape TPP and other agreements like the EU-U.S. trade deal, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

There are some Congress members who are actively pushing for fast-track and are vowing to introduce legislation to enact it by 2014. Thankfully, these letters from the House show the White House is going to have difficulty in finding support in Congress to pass such a bill. Still, the Obama administration is going to push hard for the passage of fast-track.

The U.S. trade office is negotiating TPP as if it already has fast-track authority, by deciding for itself which countries to negotiate with and what issues are on the table.

Without fast-track, it's inconceivable that the TPP would survive congressional debate. And that's the point of all of this secrecy: the TPP's myriad harmful provisions for users wouldn't survive the sunlight of transparency, so it's being negotiated in the dark. And since negotiators only get to hear corporations' concerns while drafting these policies, it only makes sense that its agenda would exclude users' interests.

So we need to demand that our lawmakers oppose fast-track. Let's ask them to call for a hearing and exercise their authority to oversee the U.S. trade office’s secret copyright agenda.

Meanwhile, as reported in this article by Tom Harvey writing for the Salt Lake City Tribune:

Outside Salt Lake City’s Grand America Hotel on Tuesday, the rains fell, the speakers rose, the marchers chanted. Inside, top trade negotiators from the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations perhaps discussed imports and exports, profits and products, prices and patents. The exact topics aren’t known. The talks were closed.

And that concerns critics most of all as parties from the Trans-Pacific Partnership launched a 19th round of negotiations — this time in Utah — in search of a sweeping free-trade agreement.

Tuesday’s rally, organized by a coalition called the Citizens Trade Campaign, of Washington, D.C., drew 100 or so protesters, who worry that the high-level talks have been conducted behind closed doors with only multinational corporations given access to proposed provisions.

Watched over by a small contingent of Salt Lake City police and other security officers, demonstrators carried various signs on the lawn and sidewalk in front of the hotel. Among them: “Protect Us From Corporate Protectionism,” “Obama: Exorcise Your Corporate Demons” and “Mormon Environmental Stewardship Alliance.”

One group held a U.S. flag, with the stars replaced by corporate logos such as those for McDonald’s, CBS, Coca-Cola and Microsoft.

Among Utahns who spoke were Dale Cox, president of the state AFL-CIO; Wayne Holland, a United Steelworkers Union representative; and former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson.

Cox pointed to the North American Free Trade Agreement as a model for the proposed Pacific accord, which he warned would lead to the loss of more U.S. jobs. “They’re here to take jobs from us to other countries,” Cox said.

Holland echoed those remarks, saying, “We cannot allow NAFTA in the Pacific.”

Raphael Cordray, of Utah Tar Sands Resistance, said her group fears a final agreement would allow foreign corporations to sue local or state governments that pass laws affecting businesses’ profits.

“That’s what people don’t understand about these trade agreements,” Cordray said in an interview. ” … They can actually take away some of the sovereignty that we have in our local communities.”

Carol Guthrie, senior adviser for media affairs of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which is negotiating for the United States, said her office had worked hard to introduce “unprecedented transparency” into the negotiations. She also touted the importance of foreign trade to Utah jobs.

“More than 100,000 jobs in Utah alone are supported by trade,” Guthrie said. “Twenty percent of Utah’s manufacturing jobs are supported by trade. Twenty percent of Utah’s exports go to the region represented by the Trans-Pacific Partnership.” Besides the United States, nations belonging to the Trans-Pacific Partnership are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Japan and Vietnam.

Groups plan to protest throughout the week, with the talks set to last through Sunday.

Originally published by Electronic Frontier Foundation

28 NOVEMBER 2013

From The Age newspaper letters:

Trade deals fail public

Just five of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement's 16 chapters are trade-related, while the others would water down protections in our Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, telecommunications, media, patents and privacy and data protection; controls on tobacco, alcohol and gambling; and much more.

Much of what is considered ''trade'' is resource and accounting transfers within corporate entities to enable tax minimisation. The TPPA appears likely to promote this scam. And it affronts democracy because its text is secret. The treaty provisions would not be revealed until it was signed, sealed and delivered. The Treaties Committee of Parliament would have 20 sitting days to review the thousands of pages but only on a take it or leave it basis with no amendments possible, so the likelihood of a rejection is remote.

The Investor State Dispute Resolution is also back on the table. This would further empower corporations to sue our governments where, for instance, new laws or local purchasing policies may reduce company profits. Secret tribunals would adjudicate these disputes, without appeal.

So-called ''free'' trade deals are failing societies, making the rich richer and poor poorer. Some countries are reneging on them. Let's have only treaties that we, the people, approve.

Bob Phelps, Clematis

29 NOVEMBER 2013

From truthdig:

As NAFTA Nears 20 and the TPP Nears Birth, the Middle Class Nears Death

Global Trade Watch (CC BY-ND 2.0)

As the Obama administration continues to press for the ill-advised Trans-Pacific Partnership, it is worth taking a look at the repercussions of the North American Free Trade Agreement, nearing its 20th birthday on Jan. 1. The New York Times’ “Room for Debate” weekly battle of op-eds on Sunday trotted out the usual arguments from the free traders, who ignore the sufferings of American workers under NAFTA and focus instead on the amount of business that’s being done.

So yes, one could argue that NAFTA has been a success—for corporations. But not for workers and the communities in which they live—in the U.S. and Mexico. Laura Carlsen, Americas program director for the Center for International Policy, argued:

Nafta has cut a path of destruction through Mexico. Since the agreement went into force in 1994, the country’s annual per capita growth flat-lined to an average of just 1.2 percent—one of the lowest in the hemisphere. Its real wage has declined and unemployment is up.

As heavily subsidized U.S. corn and other staples poured into Mexico, producer prices dropped and small farmers found themselves unable to make a living. Some two million have been forced to leave their farms since Nafta. At the same time, consumer food prices rose, notably the cost of the omnipresent tortilla.

As a result, 20 million Mexicans live in “food poverty”. Twenty-five percent of the population does not have access to basic food and one-fifth of Mexican children suffer from malnutrition. Transnational industrial corridors in rural areas have contaminated rivers and sickened the population and typically, women bear the heaviest impact.

Against that backdrop, governments are trying to hammer out the details of the TPP, a massive gift to corporations at the expense of workers ringing the Pacific. Corporations are at the table during the secret negotiations, but workers’ representatives are not. And as we’ve been writing and posting, the secret discussions range far from basic trade to include erosions of basic democratic and civil liberties.

Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, told “Democracy Now!” recently: “This is not mainly about trade. It is a corporate Trojan horse. The agreement has 29 chapters, and only five of them have to do with trade. The other 24 chapters either handcuff our domestic governments, limiting food safety, environmental standards, financial regulation, energy and climate policy, or establishing new powers for corporations.”

So what has the TPP’s ancestor, NAFTA, done for the U.S.? Increased trade, according to the experts, but led to massive cuts in manufacturing sector jobs, exacerbating the income gap and driving countless middle class families further down the economic ladder. The Economic Policy Institute’s Robert E. Scott wrote earlier this year, after Obama put his full weight behind TPP and other trade pacts during his State of the Union speech, that such agreements are “a fake solution” for fighting unemployment.

The issue is simple: it is trade balances—the net of exports and imports—that can affect jobs. Unless trade agreements promise to reduce our too-high trade deficit, they will have no positive effect on jobs. Even worse, past trade agreements have actually been associated with larger trade deficits in their aftermath. …

In the real world, FTAs [Free Trade Agreements] have hurt U.S. employment. The United States had a small trade surplus with Mexico in 1993, before the North American FTA took effect. In 2010, the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico totaled $97.2 billion, which displaced 682,900 jobs. The President claimed that the U.S. Korea FTA would “support 70,000 American jobs from increased exports alone.” That agreement took effect on March 15, 2012, and yet U.S. exports to Korea fell last year, and the trade deficit increased, meaning that Korea trade reduced demand for domestically produced goods in 2012 and cost the U.S. jobs.

And the permanent normalization of trading relations with China in 2001 led nearly instantly to a steep rise in the bilateral U.S./China trade deficit – interrupted only temporarily by the Great Recession. These deficits displaced 2.1 million jobs in U.S. manufacturing between 2001 and 2011, alone.

So why is the Obama administration—and the Bush administration before that, and the Clinton administration before that—so hot to trot for free trade agreements like the TPP?

Because Barack Obama, the former community organizer, is living in a new neighborhood now, and his new neighbors—corporate lobbyists—want them. Scott again:

U.S. and foreign MNCs carried out 68 percent of all U.S. goods trade in 2010 (the last year for which we have data), and globalization, the proliferation of FTAs, and the growth of outsourcing are three of the most important causes of the historically high share of corporate profits in U.S. GDP and flat U.S. wages over the past decade that the president bemoaned last night. MNCs and their allies, such as the Business Roundtable and the Chamber of Commerce, are big supporters of FTAs, and they have tremendous influence on the politics of trade.

It’s sad to see that President on the same side as the Republican Ignorance Caucus, which does its best to hide unpleasant truths from the public and to suppress research on issues ranging from global warming to the impacts of gun ownership to, yes, the economics of international trade.

More FTAs will only slow the already fragile recovery and further depress middle class wages.

That would be quite a legacy for a former community organizer.

—Posted by Scott Martelle.


From Nation of Change:

Monsanto, the TPP, and Global Food Dominance

“Control oil and you control nations,” said US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the 1970s. “Control food and you control the people.”

Global food control has nearly been achieved, by reducing seed diversity with GMO (genetically modified) seeds that are distributed by only a few transnational corporations. But this agenda has been implemented at grave cost to our health; and if the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) passes, control over not just our food but our health, our environment and our financial system will be in the hands of transnational corporations.

Profits Before Populations

According to an Acres USA interview of plant pathologist Don Huber, Professor Emeritus at Purdue University, two modified traits account for practically all of the genetically modified crops grown in the world today. One involves insect resistance. The other, more disturbing modification involves insensitivity to glyphosate-based herbicides (plant-killing chemicals). Often known as Roundup after the best-selling Monsanto product of that name, glyphosate poisons everything in its path except plants genetically modified to resist it

. Glyphosate-based herbicides are now the most commonly used herbicides in the world. Glyphosate is an essential partner to the GMOs that are the principal business of the burgeoning biotech industry. Glyphosate is a “broad-spectrum” herbicide that destroys indiscriminately, not by killing unwanted plants directly but by tying up access to critical nutrients.

Because of the insidious way in which it works, it has been sold as a relatively benign replacement for the devastating earlier dioxin-based herbicides. But a barrage of experimental data has now shown glyphosate and the GMO foods incorporating it to pose serious dangers to health. Compounding the risk is the toxicity of “inert” ingredients used to make glyphosate more potent. Researchers have found, for example, that the surfactant POEA can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells. But these risks have been conveniently ignored.

The widespread use of GMO foods and glyphosate herbicides helps explain the anomaly that the US spends over twice as much per capita on healthcare as the average developed country, yet it is rated far down the scale of the world’s healthiest populations. The World Health Organization has ranked the US LAST out of 17 developed nations for overall health.

Sixty to seventy percent of the foods in US supermarkets are now genetically modified. By contrast, in at least 26 other countries—including Switzerland, Australia, Austria, China, India, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Greece, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy, Mexico and Russia—GMOs are totally or partially banned; and significant restrictions on GMOs exist in about sixty other countries.

A ban on GMO and glyphosate use might go far toward improving the health of Americans. But the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a global trade agreement for which the Obama Administration has sought Fast Track status, would block that sort of cause-focused approach to the healthcare crisis.

Roundup’s Insidious Effects

Roundup-resistant crops escape being killed by glyphosate, but they do not avoid absorbing it into their tissues. Herbicide-tolerant crops have substantially higher levels of herbicide residues than other crops. In fact, many countries have had to increase their legally allowable levels—by up to 50 times—in order to accommodate the introduction of GM crops. In the European Union, residues in food are set to rise 100-150 times if a new proposal by Monsanto is approved. Meanwhile, herbicide-tolerant “super-weeds” have adapted to the chemical, requiring even more toxic doses and new toxic chemicals to kill the plant.

Most news sources are funded by corporations and investors. Their goal is to drive people to advertisers while pushing the corporate agenda. NationofChange is a 501(c)3 organization funded almost 100% from its readers–you! Our only accountability is to the public. Click here to make a generous donation.

Human enzymes are affected by glyphosate just as plant enzymes are: the chemical blocks the uptake of manganese and other essential minerals. Without those minerals, we cannot properly metabolize our food. That helps explain the rampant epidemic of obesity in the United States. People eat and eat in an attempt to acquire the nutrients that are simply not available in their food.

According to researchers Samsell and Seneff in Biosemiotic Entropy: Disorder, Disease, and Mortality (April 2013): Glyphosate's inhibition of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes is an overlooked component of its toxicity to mammals. CYP enzymes play crucial roles in biology . . . . Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body. Consequences are most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet, which include gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

More than 40 diseases have been linked to glyphosate use, and more keep appearing. In September 2013, the National University of Rio Cuarto, Argentina, published research finding that glyphosate enhances the growth of fungi that produce aflatoxin B1, one of the most carcinogenic of substances. A doctor from Chaco, Argentina, told Associated Press, "We've gone from a pretty healthy population to one with a high rate of cancer, birth defects and illnesses seldom seen before." Fungi growths have increased significantly in US corn crops.

Glyphosate has also done serious damage to the environment. According to an October 2012 report by the Institute of Science in Society:

Agribusiness claims that glyphosate and glyphosate-tolerant crops will improve crop yields, increase farmers’ profits and benefit the environment by reducing pesticide use. Exactly the opposite is the case. . . . [T]he evidence indicates that glyphosate herbicides and glyphosate-tolerant crops have had wide-ranging detrimental effects, including glyphosate resistant super weeds, virulent plant (and new livestock) pathogens, reduced crop health and yield, harm to off-target species from insects to amphibians and livestock, as well as reduced soil fertility.

Politics Trumps Science

In light of these adverse findings, why have Washington and the European Commission continued to endorse glyphosate as safe? Critics point to lax regulations, heavy influence from corporate lobbyists, and a political agenda that has more to do with power and control than protecting the health of the people.

In the ground-breaking 2007 book Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation, William Engdahl states that global food control and depopulation became US strategic policy under Rockefeller protégé Henry Kissinger. Along with oil geopolitics, they were to be the new “solution” to the threats to US global power and continued US access to cheap raw materials from the developing world. In line with that agenda, the government has shown extreme partisanship in favor of the biotech agribusiness industry, opting for a system in which the industry “voluntarily” polices itself. Bio-engineered foods are treated as “natural food additives,” not needing any special testing.

Jeffrey M. Smith, Executive Director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, confirms that US Food and Drug Administration policy allows biotech companies to determine if their own foods are safe. Submission of data is completely voluntary. He concludes:

In the critical arena of food safety research, the biotech industry is without accountability, standards, or peer-review. They’ve got bad science down to a science.

Whether or not depopulation is an intentional part of the agenda, widespread use of GMO and glyphosate is having that result. The endocrine-disrupting properties of glyphosate have been linked to infertility, miscarriage, birth defects and arrested sexual development. In Russian experiments, animals fed GM soy were sterile by the third generation. Vast amounts of farmland soil are also being systematically ruined by the killing of beneficial microorganisms that allow plant roots to uptake soil nutrients.

In Gary Null’s eye-opening documentary Seeds of Death: Unveiling the Lies of GMOs, Dr. Bruce Lipton warns, “We are leading the world into the sixth mass extinction of life on this planet. . . . Human behavior is undermining the web of life.”

The TPP and International Corporate Control

As the devastating conclusions of these and other researchers awaken people globally to the dangers of Roundup and GMO foods, transnational corporations are working feverishly with the Obama administration to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement that would strip governments of the power to regulate transnational corporate activities. Negotiations have been kept secret from Congress but not from corporate advisors, 600 of whom have been consulted and know the details. According to Barbara Chicherio in Nation of Change:

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) has the potential to become the biggest regional Free Trade Agreement in history. . . . The chief agricultural negotiator for the US is the former Monsanto lobbyist, Islam Siddique. If ratified the TPP would impose punishing regulations that give multinational corporations unprecedented right to demand taxpayer compensation for policies that corporations deem a barrier to their profits.

. . . They are carefully crafting the TPP to insure that citizens of the involved countries have no control over food safety, what they will be eating, where it is grown, the conditions under which food is grown and the use of herbicides and pesticides.

Food safety is only one of many rights and protections liable to fall to this super-weapon of international corporate control. In an April 2013 interview on The Real News Network, Kevin Zeese called the TPP “NAFTA on steroids” and “a global corporate coup.” He warned:

No matter what issue you care about—whether its wages, jobs, protecting the environment . . . this issue is going to adversely affect it . . . .

If a country takes a step to try to regulate the financial industry or set up a public bank to represent the public interest, it can be sued . . . .

Return to Nature: Not Too Late

There is a safer, saner, more earth-friendly way to feed nations. While Monsanto and US regulators are forcing GM crops on American families, Russian families are showing what can be done with permaculture methods on simple garden plots. In 2011, 40% of Russia’s food was grown on dachas (cottage gardens or allotments). Dacha gardens produced over 80% of the country’s fruit and berries, over 66% of the vegetables, almost 80% of the potatoes and nearly 50% of the nation’s milk, much of it consumed raw. According to Vladimir Megre, author of the best-selling Ringing Cedars Series:

Essentially, what Russian gardeners do is demonstrate that gardeners can feed the world – and you do not need any GMOs, industrial farms, or any other technological gimmicks to guarantee everybody’s got enough food to eat. Bear in mind that Russia only has 110 days of growing season per year – so in the US, for example, gardeners’ output could be substantially greater. Today, however, the area taken up by lawns in the US is two times greater than that of Russia’s gardens – and it produces nothing but a multi-billion-dollar lawn care industry.

In the US, only about 0.6 percent of the total agricultural area is devoted to organic farming. This area needs to be vastly expanded if we are to avoid “the sixth mass extinction.” But first, we need to urge our representatives to stop Fast Track, vote no on the TPP, and pursue a global phase-out of glyphosate-based herbicides and GMO foods. Our health, our finances and our environment are at stake.


Ellen is an attorney, author, and president of the Public Banking Institute. In Web of Debt, her latest of eleven books, she shows how the power to create money has been usurped from the people, and how we can get it back. Her websites are and


Corporate Greed - Part 1 - Genetically Modified Food - Part 1a
Corporate Greed - Part 1 - Genetically Modified Food - Part 1b
Cprporate Greed - Part 1 - Genetically Modified Food - Part 1c
Corporate Greed - Part 2 - Uranium Mining, Nuclear Energy and Anti-War Issues
Corporate Greed - Part 3 - Free Trade, World Trade Organisation, Globalisation, Trans-Pacific Partnership Part 1
Corporate Greed - Part 4 - Trans-Pacific Partnership Part 2
Corporate Greed - Part 4 - Trans-Pacific Partnership Part 3
Corporate Greed - Part 4 - Trans-Pacific Partnership Part 4
Corporate Greed - Part 4 - Trans-Pacific Partnership Part 5
Corporate Greed - Part 4 - Trans-Pacific Partnership Part 6
Political Polemics Part 1
Political Polemics Part 2
Political Polemics Part 3
Political Polemics Part 4
Political Polemics Part 5

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