WikiLeaks, the information transparency organization best known for leaking US Military and Intelligence services information in the Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden cases, has released a trove of documents related to the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). Like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), TiSA is being negotiated behind closed doors and the details being kept hidden from the public. TiSA is in fact the largest of the three trade pacts in negotiation, involving 51 nations around the world and effecting up to 80% of the worldwide trade in the covered industries.
A number of the world’s economies, including all the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – are excluded from the TiSA negotiations, which purport to benefit the global economy.
Commenting on the release, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said the published documents do not contain any “protection for whistleblowers or anyone else involved in publishing wrongdoing.”
“It does however have a transparency chapter, but the transparency mandates that European regulators must tell transnational investors ahead of time what they are doing,” Assange said during a video conference at the European Parliament in Brussels on Thursday, adding, “that is a situation where transparency is flowing up to organizations which already have extraordinary power and not to the population of Europe.”
Unlike the other trade agreements, TiSA is being written in such a way as to remain classified for five years following passage and implementation, effectively nullifying President Obama’s previous assertions that any trade pact will be available for public view 60 days prior to a congressional vote.
The New Republic has dubbed TiSA as “The Scariest Trade Deal No One is Talking About” and has one of the most comprehensive analysis of the leaked documents:
The deal would liberalize the global trade of services, an expansive definition that encompasses air and maritime transport, package delivery, e-commerce, telecommunications, accountancy, engineering, consulting, healthcare, private education, financial services, and more covering close to 80 percent of the U.S. economy. Though member parties insist that the agreement would simply stop discrimination against foreign service providers, the text shows that TiSA would restrict how governments can manage their public laws through an effective regulatory cap.
For anyone who sees their profession among those listed, a chilling shiver going down the spine is understandable. Anyone who has seen their job packed off oversees knows exactly what the term “opening markets” really means for US workers.
Whether the revelations about TiSA will be enough to slow “Fast Track” Trade Promotion Authority’s momentum to passage in the House is not certain, however the ongoing secrecy being employed by Governments and Corporate interests working in tandem to keep citizens in the dark as to what decisions are being made that will certainly effect their future– if not up-end their wellbeing entirely– is a disgrace that should not be ignored. Advocates for Freedom, Democracy and Transparency should rally together to influence lawmakers to halt Fast Track and negotiate the merits of each trade bill openly and individually.
“The Most Transparent Administration in History” has yet again proven the duplicity in this self-appointed moniker.[RT][New Republic]