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Videos: Three sources including Julian Assange on the dangers of the Trans Pacific Partnership

Inside are three videos warning about the dangers of signing the TransPacific Trade agreements that global organisations want to get many countries, including Australia, to sign. The first is a very quick overview. In the second video, at Democracy Now, "Secretive Deal Isn’t about Trade, but Corporate Control", Julian Assange speaks in some detail on the subject. Sophie Shevardnadze's interview on with Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of the Nation Magazine follows as a partial transcript with a link to the actual interview. We have previously published Kelvin Thomson's Australian opinion on the dangers here, which is in agreement with the other sources.

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Julian Assange on the Trans-Pacific Partnership - Exclusive Interview by Democracy Now

As negotiations continue, WikiLeaks has published leaked chapters of the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership — a global trade deal between the United States and 11 other countries. The TPP would cover 40 percent of the global economy, but details have been concealed from the public.

TPP agreement will deal mortal blow to democracy in US - Nation magazine chief

The following is an extract from "TPP agreement will deal mortal blow to democracy in US - Nation magazine chief" from this video of Sophie Shevardnadze interviewing Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of the Nation Magazine (United States).

SS: I want to talk about another deal that’s grabbing attention now in the U.S. and that’s the Trans-Pacific Partnership. However, the details of this agreement are unknown, Obama insists the TPP is not secret, but in reality, a deal that is supposed to affect millions of Americans is classified, and even members of Congress can’t just go and flip through the pages without minder hanging about. Why?

KVH: I don’t think it’s consistent with American principles, but I’ll tell you: it seems the trade agreements have been, for the last decades, negotiated this way. But, this time, because of a mobilization of labor groups, citizen groups, workers, people inside the Congress, business isn’t being done as usual. People are saying: “Enough! We don’t want this to be done in secrecy; we’ve learned enough from our history to see what these trade agreements have done to communities around the country and workers.” In fact, Sophie, one of the most controversial parts of the trade agreement is the investor dispute settlement provision – which is truly anti-American, allowing corporations to suit governments and countries if they try to institute health and safety measures. It was leaked by WikiLeaks, which is how people know about it. So we need a new way of doing business, we need a new way of doing trade. I’m not…progressives are not against trade, they are against the way banks and investment firms have dictated the terms of trade. In fact, the big fight over TPP is really about corporate power and who’s going to write the rules about the global game, so to speak. I think this is a wake-up moment, and I place it very clearly in this populous moment I described earlier.

SS: But the people who are most outspoken about being against this deal are trade unions and worker’s rights groups and environmentalists – those are the ones, the people who traditionally are on Obama’s side. Now, if the agreement is going to hurt them…

KVH: This is an interesting, very interesting new alignment, but it’s a very interesting new alignment that President Obama is essentially fighting the core elements of his own party. This is not fully new, because President Bill Clinton with NAFTA 20 years or so ago was also at war with his own party. But this coalition is far stronger, Sophie, far stronger, because… President Obama accuses his own coalition of peddling recycled arguments – no. This coalition has learned from history, workers have learned on their own backs, communities have died, jobs have gone, factories closed – but others are now standing up and saying: “enough! We want true enforcement mechanisms of labor and environmental protection; we want to know what’s in the agreement.” How is this truly American to have agreements, conceived in secret with private corporate courts overseeing and arbitrating agreements? No, enough!

SS: Now, you’re also saying that TPP means loss of jobs and sinking middle class, extreme inequality. But those who are in favor say that it would actually benefit the U.S. companies and create new jobs at home. Why are they wrong?

KVH: I think you need to look at history. Those were the same arguments, Sophie, peddled, 15-20 years ago, and we haven’t seen those benefits. Again, not against trade or globalization, but the way the rules have been written have shown that they don’t benefit workers, they don’t increase wages, and they don’t help environmental problems. So, I think, we need to step back – and there are, by the way, good proposals, the Congressional progressive caucus, the group of about 80 Representatives in the House, have put forward an alternative. I think we need to end this particular round, step back and think anew about what a fair trade deal would mean. Finally, President Obama now seems to be…you know, there are new arguments, the new arguments are now about how we need to really counter China in setting the rules of the global economy. This is very tricky, to use this trade agreement for that purpose.

SS: But just really quickly, in a nutshell, can you really undermine China in the region, economically? I mean, is that really possible?

KVH: No. In fact, China is already between the partnership with Russia, the Investment Bank it has set up, bringing in both the UK, I think, and Germany; what you want to do is engage, you don’t want to have a so-called “pivot”, which essentially is countering or jettisoning the relationships. So no, I don’t think so.

SS: Thank you so much for this wonderful interview, we were talking to Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of the Nation Magazine, talking about what needs to change in U.S. foreign policy and if the 2016 president hopefuls will stand a chance of delivering this change. That’s it for this edition of Sophie&Co, I will see you next time.

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Adapted from Trans-Pacific Partnership battle: Barack Obama handed defeat by Democrats (13/6/15) | SMH :

Washington: Democrats in the US Congress have defied the president and voted down part of a package of bills designed to speed negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The loss is humiliating for the president, who on Friday morning had for the first time ever travelled to the Capitol building in order to directly appeal for a specific piece of legislation.

As protesters gathered in sweltering weather outside, the president attended the Democratic Caucus meeting and reportedly told members that a vote against the bill would be a vote against him.

Even the Democrats party's leader in the House, Nancy Pelosi, spoke against the bill.

In the end just 40 Democrats sided with the president, while 144 voted against the bill.

The bill allows the White House to negotiate a deal and then present it to Congress, which can ratify or block, but not amend. This gives other signatories to trade treaties confidence that any deal arrived at with the White House will not later be altered to suit vested interests.


America's trade union movement celebrated a victory.

"The House of Representatives has done the right thing, but the fight isn't over," read a statement by Richard Trumka, of the AFL-CIO, America's peak union organisation.

"This is a significant day. American workers came together and spoke with one voice about the path their country and economy should follow.

"We are very grateful for all the activists, families, community leaders, and elected officials who worked so tirelessly for transparency and worker rights in international trade deals. "


Published on YouTube Feb 11, 2015

Scott speaks to the Senate on the Trade and Foreign Investment (Protecting the Public Interest) Bill 2014 and the importance of protecting Australia from the Government's secretive TPP agreement.