There is now a bounty on the head of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the "monster" international treaty negotiated behind closed doors by government officials and corporate executives but kept secret from the global public.
The media outlet Wikileaks on Tuesday announced a campaign to raise a $100,000 cash reward for the complete text of the agreement in order to end the mystery surrounding the actual contents of the deal that involves the U.S. and eleven Pacific Rim nations.
"The transparency clock has run out on the TPP," said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. "No more secrecy. No more excuses. Let’s open the TPP once and for all."
Despite unprecedented efforts by negotiating governments to keep it under wraps, WikiLeaks has been able to obtain and publish three leaked chapters of this super-secret global deal over the last two years. However, there are believed to be 26 other chapters of the deal to which only appointed negotiators, trade officials, and chosen representatives from big corporations have been given access.
And with the U.S. House of Representatives returning to Washington, D.C. this week to pick up a bill that would give trade promotion authority, or Fast Track, to President Obama the call for someone to leak a complete version of the latest draft has new urgency."Today, WikiLeaks is taking steps to bring about the public’s rightful access to the missing chapters of this monster trade pact," the group said in a statement. "The TPP is the largest agreement of its kind in history: a multi-trillion dollar international treaty being negotiated in secret by the US, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia and 7 other countries. The treaty aims to create a new international legal regime that will allow transnational corporations to bypass domestic courts, evade environmental protections, police the internet on behalf of the content industry, limit the availability of affordable generic medicines, and drastically curtail each country’s legislative sovereignty."
Though lawmakers in the U.S. Congress have been able to review the text themselves, they are forbidden from revealing or discussing its contents. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), one of the staunchest opponents of TPP and Fast Track in Congress, has said: "[They] can’t make this deal public because if the American people saw what was in it, they would be opposed to it."
Wikileaks says the TPP is particularly noteworthy and troubling because it may act as "the icebreaker agreement" for a series of deals – what it calls the "T-treaty triad" of TPP-TISA-TTIP – that taken together would extend corporate-friendly regulations and trade rules to 53 nations, 1.6 billion people and a full two-thirds of the global economy.
As part of its campaign to raise the necessary funds for the bounty, Wikileaks produced this video to highlight the global dangers of the TPP and the other corporate-backed treaties now under secret negotiation:
And there's no time to lose. As Dave Johnson, a fellow and campaigner at the Campaign for America's Future, warned in a blog post on Monday, it's "all hands on deck" for those trying to stop passage of Fast Track, TPP, and the other deals in the global pipeline:
Passing fast track will mean that the TPP is most likely a done deal when it comes before Congress, even though it is still secret from the public at the time they vote to fast-track it. It also means that an upcoming “trade” deal with Europe will likely go through, whenever that happens. And on top of those, it means that future “trade” deals that we don’t even know of yet will likely be approved – even if they are set up to gut our own banking regulations.
The problem here is that these deals are put together using a rigged negotiating process. Our trade negotiators tend to come out of giant, multinational corporations – particularly from Wall Street – and tend to return to them. The 600 “advisors” on the TPP are dominated by corporate representatives. Not only does this set up a corporate-favoring (therefore labor-/environmentalist-hating) mindset within the agency, it also creates an understanding that participants should “play ball” and not make waves against corporate interests if they want to obtain a lucrative corporate position after leaving government. The inevitable result is agreements that rig the game in favor of the interests of the giant, multinational corporations and their investors over the interests of the rest of us – and our government.
And then Congress “greases the skids” with the rigged fast track process to get these deals passed outside of the opportunity for the public to stop them.
And could the bounty help? Perhaps. Though as one Twitter user said in response to the campaign: "Just be a human being and leak it for free."