Under the Radar

I raised the issue of the Trans Pacific Partnership at a dinner party a few weeks ago and seven of the other nine members gave me a blank stare. Now these are quite affluent and well educated Sydney-siders, but somehow awareness of the TPP has slipped beneath their radar- or is there a conspiracy of silence in the media? Well, perhaps in the Murdoch owned press. Last October,  published an article by Dr. Mathew Rimmer (Friday, 17 October 2014 ) where he writes
The TPP is literally a Mickey Mouse agreement — with a proposal for a copyright term extension throughout the Pacific Rim to benefit Disney and other Hollywood film companies. The TPP also proposes a raft of copyright maximalist proposals  — including strong protection of technological protection measures and rights management information, and an arsenal of enforcement measures. A non-paper outlines a regime for safe harbours for internet service providers. Rupert Murdoch would be happy with the promise of special protection for satellite and cable signals.”
He points out that “it is disturbing that the Australian government has failed to protect tobacco control measures like graphic health warnings and the plain packaging of tobacco products in the IP chapter of the TPP ” and that “ the pharmaceutical drug industry has lobbied heavily upon patent law and data protection in the TPP…..While the Australian government continues to oppose many of the most problematic provisions, we are concerned about Australian support for the U.S. government’s push to mandate rules that facilitate secondary and abusive patenting by pharmaceutical companies, which blocks more affordable generic competition.There has been concern about the regime for access to essential medicines — a topic of great significance given the current public health crisis in respect of Ebola.”
In addition, the United States Trade Representative has been pushing for criminal penalties and procedures in respect of trade secrets to protect its flagship technology companies, as well as government concerns. There has been a great deal of concern that such measures could be deployed against information technology activists (in the manner of the late Aaron Swartz). ………More disturbing is the real possibility that journalists —  particularly investigative journalists — and media companies could be targeted by corporations and governments for revealing trade secrets. WikiLeaks and whistleblowers, such as Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden could also be targeted for revealing government secrets. …. In total, the TPP is a Halloween horror-show, full of frightening and terrifying measures designed to boost the intellectual property rights of large transnational companies”
Peter Martin (SMH 10th March, 2015) asks if ‘Businesses are supposedly major beneficiaries of international trade agreements, so why are they unenthusiastic about the Trans-Pacific Partnership? And goes on to summarise the issues- read his article at- http://www.smh.com.au/comment/the-secrecy-surrounding-the-transpacific-partnership-has-community-groups-and-businesses-concerned-20150309-13ya0x.html)

Though there is media silence- individuals and groups are working hard to to break the opacity – kudos to the wiki leaks alert – https://www.wikileaks.org/tpp-ip2/pressrelease/
And to others for informing and for continuing the protest:

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