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A trade agreement Canada intends to sign will have “far-reaching implications for individual rights and civil liberties,” WikiLeaks says.
The group known around the world for publishing state secrets has released a draft chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal being negotiated under what it calls an “unprecedented level of secrecy.” Critics say the agreement favours corporate interests over consumers.
The leaked intellectual property chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement proposes sweeping reforms including to pharmaceuticals, publishers, patents, copyrights, trademarks, civil liberties and liability of internet service providers.
“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,” WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange, said in a press release.
“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.”
Canada joined TPP negotiations along with Mexico last October. It also includes other Pacific Rim countries Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam but not China. The member countries together represent a market of 792 million people and a GDP of $27.5 trillion, or 40 per cent of the world economy.
Internet freedom organizations, including Canada’s Openmedia.ca, have criticized the TPP’s intellectual property provisions, saying proposals in the agreement would restrict innovation and force internet service providers to police copyright.
WikiLeaks says provisions in the deal would create “supranational” courts that could override member nations’ judicial systems. The courts “have no human rights safeguards,” WikiLeaks stated.
The document contains provisions as well as proposed amendments and opposition from the various countries involved. Canada, for the most part, appears to stand in the majority view on many topics and against many U.S. demands, which were often supported by Australia or Japan.
Canada appears to take a more liberal stance on many issues than its southern neighbour. It supported the objectives of the agreement, which the U.S. and Japan opposed, that include maintaining “a balance between the rights of intellectual property holders and the legitimate interests of users and the community in subject matter protected by intellectual property.”
“From a Canadian perspective, there is good news and bad news,” Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in internet and e-commerce law at the University of Ottawa, wrote on his blog Wednesday morning.
“The good news is that Canada is pushing back against many U.S. demands by promoting provisions that are consistent with current Canadian law … The bad news is that the U.S. — often joined by Australia — is demanding that Canada roll back its recent copyright reform legislation with a long list of draconian proposals.”
Canada also proposed that the chapter’s provisions be compatible with other multilateral treaties including the World Trade Organization and World Health Organization, “especially with regards to measures aimed at protecting public health and protecting equal access to knowledge and food.” Mexico and the U.S. objected.
Meanwhile, the U.S and Australia added an amendment that would force each country to also sign onto 10 different international treaties by the time they enter the TPP. Canada and nine other nations opposed.
WikiLeaks says many of the surveillance and enforcement provisions in the agreement include stringent mechanisms proposed in the controversial U.S. Stop Online Piracy Act and Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.
Enforcement measures for policing rights proposed in the document include supranational tribunals, to which national courts would be expected to defer.
The leak of what is perhaps the most controversial chapter of the highly secretive TPP comes ahead of the next round of negotiations in Salt Lake City, Utah from Nov. 19 to 24.
SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act, was a proposed U.S. law that would have allowed the government to create a “blacklist” of copyright-infringing websites it could then block. Critics complained the government would be allowed to censor the internet without judicial oversight.
ACTA, or the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, is a stalled international pact that would greatly increase the power of international bodies to enforce copyright laws. Critics feared the pact would force governments to pass laws that would ban internet users from the web if they were found to be infringing copyright.
WikiLeaks has exposed details of secret trade negotiations that could leave Australians paying more for drugs and medicines, movies, computer games and software, and be placed under surveillance as part of a US-led crackdown on internet piracy.
A leaked draft of a controversial chapter of the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade agreement reveals the negotiating positions of 12 countries – including Australia – on copyright, patents and other intellectual property issues, with a heavy focus on enforcement measures against internet piracy.
Intellectual property experts are critical of the draft treaty, which they say would help the multinational movie and music industries, software giants and pharmaceutical manufacturers to maintain and increase prices by reinforcing the rights of copyright and patent owners, clamping down on online piracy and raising obstacles to the introduction of generic drugs and medicines.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has indicated that he is keen to see the trade talks pushed to a conclusion next month, saying “there’s always horse-trading in these negotiations, but in the end … everyone is better off’’’.
An expert in intellectual property law, Matthew Rimmer, said the draft was “very prescriptive” and strongly reflected US trade objectives and multinational corporate interests “with little focus on the rights and interests of consumers, let alone broader community interests’’.
“One could see the TPP as a Christmas wish-list for major corporations, and the copyright parts of the text support such a view,” Dr Rimmer said.
“Hollywood, the music industry, big IT companies such as Microsoft and the pharmaceutical sector would all be very happy with this.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recently excluded journalists from TPP industry briefings held in anticipation of the next round of negotiations, which begins in Salt Lake City, Utah, next week.
Dr Rimmer said that Australia appeared “generally supportive” of the US or otherwise “quite passive” in the negotiations.
The leaked draft shows that the US and Japan oppose wording, supported by most of the other countries, that highlights the importance of “maintain[ing] a balance between the rights of intellectual property holders and the legitimate interests of users and the community’’.
In April, the then US ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich, accused Australian consumers of habitually stealing copyrighted content and of being “some of the worst offenders with amongst the highest piracy rates … in the world”.
New federal Attorney-General George Brandis has signalled his intention to introduce more stringent copyright laws to crack down on online piracy.
The leaked treaty text also reveals new American and Japanese proposals designed to enhance the ability of pharmaceutical manufacturers to extend and widen their patents on drugs and medicines.
Proposals with the potential to impact significantly on Australia’s Pharmaceuticals Benefits Scheme include a requirement that patents be available for new uses of existing drugs, effectively allowing for the “ever-greening” of existing patents.
The proposals also include compensation to companies for delays in the granting or extension of patents, and measures to ensure data exclusivity.
This would enable companies to prevent competitors, specifically manufacturers of generic medicines, from using past clinical safety data to support approval of new products.
Australia is recorded as having indicated opposition to these proposals, but the strength of this is unclear as neither the former Labor government nor the new Coalition government has publicly challenged the US position.
The draft text also shows that Australian negotiators have not sought any specific exemption to protect Australia’s tobacco plain-packaging laws from the treaty’s strong protection for the rights of trademark owners.
The Australian Greens spokesman on communications and the digital economy, Scott Ludlam, described the treaty as “hugely dangerous” and said people should be “deeply concerned about what is being negotiated”.
Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson on Wednesday moved a motion that calls on Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb to table the draft text of the TPP agreement in the Senate.
However, a spokesman for Mr Robb said the treaty negotiations would remain confidential but insisted there had been “a lot of consultation across all industry sectors that could be impacted by the agreement”.
WikiLeaks has condemned the TPP negotiations as a ‘‘corporatist trade deal’’.
Donation pledges to WikiLeaks exceeding $US73,000 ($A78,000) have been crowdsourced to support the publication of the TPP negotiating text.
The full text of the leaked negotiating text can by found at http://www.wikileaks.org.
China has just one thing to say to all those who engage in the now daily slamdowns of gold just around the time of the London fixing, after 8 am Eastern, which lately have gotten so vicious they have resulted in “stop logic” market halts not on one but at least two occasions, keeping the price of gold delightfully low for all those who instead of selling, are looking to buy: “thanks.”
As the chart below shows, in the past two years since September 2011 (ironically the same month we wrote “Wikileaks Discloses The Reason(s) Behind China’s Shadow Gold Buying Spree” namely that the PBOC was quietly seeking to make the renminbi the new gold-backed reserve currency) the mainland has imported an unprecedented 2,116 gross tons of gold from Hong Kong (in addition to the hundreds of tons produced domestically), for the first time crossing the 2k gross ton import barrier in a two year period!
Focusing on just the most recent import data for the month of August, seemingly unaware that all expert, hedge funds in the US have been “capitulating” on gold just because the momentum trade is no longer there, and because it somehow makes more sense to buy gold when the price is high rather than low, shows that China imported 131.4 gross tons of gold in the month, a 146% increase compared to a year prior, when the price of gold was substantially higher. Indeed, in a “shocking” turn of events, China actually buys more physical gold when the price is lower than higher. So much more, in fact, that August was the second highest gold importing month in history, lower only compared to March when it imported an unprecedented 223.5 tons….
- Uncovering China’s Rush for Gold (therealasset.co.uk)
- How China is taking over the world, one gold bar at a time (therealasset.co.uk)
- Gold Buying Goes Vertical (dailyreckoning.com)
- China’s Hunger for Gold Triggers Speculation About Reserves (blogs.wsj.com)
- Bradley Manning sentenced to 35 years in jail, but could be paroled in 8 (thetimes.co.uk)
- Bradley Manning sentenced to 35 years in jail, dishonorably discharged (voiceofrussia.com)
- Mass Data: Transfers from Germany Aid US Surveillance (rinf.com)
- Edward Snowden (sourcewatch.org)
- Snowden’s links to WikiLeaks and journalists raise questions (miamiherald.com)
Julian Assange Discusses Mainstream Media, the “Wikileaks Party” and our Global Awakening | A Lightning War for Liberty
- Who are our Wikileaks Candidates? (lateralloveaustralia.com)
- WikiLeaks founder and Australian Senate candidate Julian Assange proud of support in homeland (foxnews.com)
- WikiLeaks founder proud of Australian support (nzherald.co.nz)
- The Wikileaks Party (lateralloveaustralia.com)
- Julian Assange: conviction of Bradley Manning a dangerous precedent (theguardian.com)
- Our very own dissident (jewishnews.net.au)
- Bradley Manning faces life in jail: an ugly moment in US history (theweek.co.uk)
- Manning helped pierce the veil of secrecy in Guantanamo (rt.com)
- Infographic: Is Bradley Manning A Hero Or A Traitor? (theonion.com)
- ‘Traitor Or Hero?’ Asking The Wrong Questions About Manning And Snowden (forbes.com)
- Statement by Julian Assange on Verdict in Bradley Manning Court-Martial (economicpolicyjournal.com)
- Bradley Manning is no traitor but he must still go to jail (thetimes.co.uk)
- Military Judge Acquits Bradley Manning of Aiding the Enemy (sgtreport.com)
- Bradley Manning found not guilty of aiding enemy, but convicted on lesser charges, faces up to 136 years – Boing Boing (boingboing.net)
- Bradley Manning Not Guilty Of Aiding The Enemy (news.sky.com)
- Bradley Manning prosecutor calls him a traitor (sfgate.com)
- Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning ‘is a traitor who set out to reveal secrets to anarchists and bask in the glory’, say trial prosecutors in closing arguments (dailymail.co.uk)
- In Closing Argument, Government Casts Bradley Manning as ‘Anarchist,’ ‘Hacker’ & ‘Traitor’ (dissenter.firedoglake.com)
- Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning ‘is a traitor’, say trial prosecutors in closing arguments (dailymail.co.uk)
- US: Alleged leaker Manning is a ‘traitor’ (euronews.com)