any lengths…

Posted on Monday 18 April 2016

Other than the official logos [upper left hand corner], all I can find about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is mass protest and dire warnings – from all over Europe. They refer to it as a Trojan Horse Treaty and guess who the bad guys are – it’s US Again! In the American News, it’s barely mentioned, but in Europe, a whole lot of people are spitting mad…
EUROPE’S elite were facing the wrath of the Dutch people once more tonight as support surged for a SECOND referendum on a controversial EU deal in a matter of weeks.
by Nick Gutteridge
April 16, 2016

The Dutch people are plotting a second EU referendum

Brussels bureaucrats are facing the humiliating prospect of having to justify their flagship TTIP trans-Atlantic trade deal to the Dutch public less than a month after being sent packing over a land grab plot with Ukraine. Anger has been growing across Europe over the hated commercial stitch-up with America, which opponents say will only benefit big business and pave the way for the privatisation of public services including our NHS. And now, much like with the Ukraine treaty, the Dutch public is leading the way in opposing a deal which has already been rubber stamped behind doors by unelected eurocrats. 

More than 100,000 people have signed a petition ordering the Dutch government to hold referendum on the issue in the last few days alone. If it reaches 300,000, humiliated ministers will have no choice but to prepare a public vote.

Such a move would be another crushing blow for the beleaguered EU, which is coming apart at the seams amid an unprecedented outburst of people power. Spurred on by new online movements pro-democracy campaigners are finally fighting back against the Brussels machine, with the historic Dutch referendum earlier this month signalling a landmark victory for freedom and the right to self-determination. Now the rebellious Dutch have TTIP – which stands for the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – firmly in their sights…
It gets the old 60s juices flowing – "power to the people!" "stand up to the Man!" "we shall overcome!" etc. Problem is that I don’t really even know what’s being protested. The Wikipedia version of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is a little help, but barely. I first came onto whatever all of this is about a couple of years ago. I had begun to wonder how the Pharmaceutical Companies had gotten the right to treat the Clinical Trial Data as a proprietary piece of intellectual property, a secret. And was getting all wound up to repeal the proprietary data act…! What I discovered after spending a lot of time writing people to get the facts was that there weren’t any [facts] and there was nothing resembling a proprietary data act. They weren’t granted that right, they just took it.

Two years ago, I had some communication with Trudo Lemmens, a Canadian Law Professor who pointed me to the [weak] legal basis they had rolled out to defend this right-they-really-didn’t-have. It came from a self-serving reading of some trade agreements [see except where necessary to protect the public…, spellbound…, non-negotiable…, tomorrow…]. But in communication with Lemmens, he mentioned that there were some Trade Agreements up ahead that might actually turn that right-they-really-didn’t-have into a right-they-really-did-have and throw a monkey wrench into our hopes for a rational Data Transparency plan – particularly since it’s the EMA [European Medicines Agency] that’s been so rational about this issue. It’s TTIP he was referring to. And now it’s upon us, coming up for a vote by the Council of the European Union on May 26th.

All of those people are marching because TTIP threatens the "social" part of their "social democracies" – something like the "privatization" of the Reagan years  decimated  eradicated our social services here. It seems as if TTIP threatens to export our Corporate Capitalist Greed to Europe, at least that’s how they see it in the streets. If that’s the case, power to the people! I had hoped to report on the specifics of how it might impact of the move for Data Transparency, but alas. I’ve heard from only one of the people I wrote who might actually be able to clarify that point, but he was hurrying off to Brussels to enter the fray. If I find out anything, it’ll be here as soon as I know it. But the one thing I think we can be assured of. The ferocity with which the Pharmaceutical Industry has fought back against letting us see their raw data speaks volumes. They’ll go to any lengths to protect their right to spin [and distort] their results…
    April 18, 2016 | 9:49 PM

    It’s my suspicion that one reason it’s so hard to find clarity on these trade agreements is that they’re intentionally written to be opaque. The powers that be don’t want Data Transparency, and they don’t want trade agreement transparency either. Any set of rules that requires paying a lawyer hundreds of dollars an hour just to figure out what they mean is much harder to oppose.

    April 18, 2016 | 10:20 PM

    I think one of the criticisms (and Brad DeLong linked to something that I can’t now find) saying that it sets up a framework where countries can be sued if they increase worker protections. But don’t quote me on that.

    April 18, 2016 | 10:32 PM
    EastCoaster, Mark,
    I hear the same kinds of things, but finding something that is official eludes me. One of the reasons all those people are marching is that so much of this agreement has been crafted in secret by non-elected officials. My attempts so far has only revealed what has been heard about, but not seen in print. This feels like a coup d’état of sorts.

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