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Abe government trampling on press freedoms – concern grows in Japan

see-this.wayIn Japan, anger at Shinzo Abe’s heavy hand on press turns mainstream (+video)
 The prime minister is accused of blocking free expression and emboldening the ultra right. Meanwhile, the number of international scholars protesting Abe’s views of World War II has jumped from 187 to 450. Christian Science Monitor

By Justin McCurry, Correspondent MAY 21, 2015 TOKYO — Is Japan’s commitment to free speech foundering?

A growing chorus of critics accuses the Abe administration of trampling on press freedoms, moving the issue beyond a coterie of academics and journalists……http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2015/0521/In-Japan-anger-at-Shinzo-Abe-s-heavy-hand-on-press-turns-mainstream-video

May 25, 2015 Posted by | civil liberties, Japan | Leave a comment

UK Navy investigating Trident nuclear submatine whistle-blower William McNeilly

whistleblowerflag-UkraineRoyal Navy investigates Trident whistle-blower William McNeilly who claims nuclear programme is a ‘disaster waiting to happen’ , The Independent 17 May 15 The Royal Navy is investigating claims by an apparent whistle-blower that there is a “complete lack of concern for security” that makes the Trident nuclear weapons programme vulnerable to terror attack.

The claims were made in an online post by 25-year-old William McNeilly, and included a photograph of his Navy ID card.

McNeilly said he had “sacrificed” his freedom and a well-paid career to make the claims in an 18-page report entitled “The Secret Nuclear Threat”, and that after posting it he had gone on the run.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed that McNeilly was a member of the naval service, and a source said the Navy was “concerned for the whereabouts and wellbeing of AB (able seaman) McNeilly and working closely with civilian police to locate him”.

In his report, McNeilly claimed he had witnessed a host of inadequate systems and checks while training with the Trident programme, from “things like food hygiene” to failed launch tests, flooding on board submarines, fires in the missile compartment and “a complete lack of security”.

“If airport security and nuclear weapon security were both compared to prisons,” McNeilly writes, “the airport would be Alcatraz and base security would be house arrest.”

McNeilly’s report: Key claims

• Missile launch tests failed on three occasions
• Collision with French nuclear sub covered up
• Failures to carry out security checks on bags
• Computer waste representing major fire risk
• Missile safety alarms muted and ignored
• Accidental flooding of torpedo compartment
• Failure to question recording of top-secret info

McNeilly described the state of Trident security as “the biggest threat the UK faces”, and said he was only releasing “selected information” in order to avoid damaging security further.

“I’m releasing this information in this way because it’s the only way I can to be sure it gets out,” he said, adding that he had “raised concerns through the chain of command on multiple occasions” and got nowhere……….http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/royal-navy-investigates-trident-whistleblower-william-mcneilly-who-claims-nuclear-programme-is-a-disaster-waiting-to-happen-10256148.html

May 18, 2015 Posted by | civil liberties, safety, UK | Leave a comment

Sister Megan Rice Michael Walli, and Greg Boertje-Obed still in prison with no sentence at all

TNP attorneys file motion for immediate release https://transformnowplowshares.wordpress.com/2015/05/15/tnp-attorneys-file-motion-for-immediate-release/ BY  ⋅ MAY 15, 2015

Everyone seemed to have the same question following the news that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals had thrown out the sabotage charge against Michael Walli, Megan Rice and Greg Boertje-Obed and vacated the sentences on both the sabotage and the depredation charges. The court noted if the three had been sentenced only on the depredation charge, according to the sentencing guidelines, they would likely have received shorter sentences and would have already served their full time. So the question of the day: When are they getting out?

A fair question—they now are being held in federal prison with no sentence at all.

Within days of the Sixth Circuit’s ruling, Judge Amul Thapar, who handled the original case, convened a conference call with the lawyers from both sides. He apparently told them he had not yet been assigned the case, but he wanted to set a schedule in case he was. The result was a July 8 date set for resentencing. (The Court’s decision to throw out the sabotage charge and vacate the sentences could be appealed by the prosecutor, a decision we are told would be made not in Knoxville, but in Washington; the feds have two weeks to file a notice of appeal, then as much as 90 days to actually file the appeal, after which the defense gets time to respond, and the feds get more time for a final response—you can see how this would drag out with Greg, Megan and Michael still in prison.

But the case resides still in the Sixth Circuit (Thapar, who is a federal judge in Lexington, KY, originally drew the case because the Knoxville court had a vacancy on the bench; the judge who had been assigned the case had retired; Thapar drew the reassignment. That empty seat in Knoxville has since been filled, so it is not absolutely certain that the case would be remanded to Thapar for re-sentencing.) So, long story short, attorneys for MGM filed a motion with the Sixth Circuit on Thursday, May 15, asking for immediate release.

The Sixth Circuit wasted no time. Within hours, it issued an order requiring the government to respond to the motion for immediate release by noon on Monday, May 18.

That is where things stand at this moment.

 

Here is a copy of the Defense Motion for Immediate Release:Def Motion for Immediate Release 5-14-15

May 16, 2015 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

India’s government action may force Greenpeace to close there

6ceed-japan-government-officially-censors-truth-about-fukushima-nuclear-radiation-disasterflag-indiaGreenpeace India could close within a month due to government crackdown Guardian, , 6 May 15  Organisation faces 340 job losses in what would be the only forced closure since it was founded in 1971 because Indian government has frozen its bank accounts  Greenpeace India will be forced to close within a month with the loss of 340 jobs because of a government crackdown on its funding, the organisation’s chief has warned.

The Indian home ministry froze seven bank accounts connected with the organisation last month, the latest in a series of moves against the NGO since Narendra Modi’s government came to power.

The international group said that if it was forced to close the Indian operation, it would be the first time since it was founded in 1971 that one of its national organisations was forcibly closed down………http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/05/greenpeace-india-could-close-within-a-month-due-to-government-crackdown

May 6, 2015 Posted by | civil liberties, India | Leave a comment

Monatana’s new law to Protect Journalists’ Electronic Privacy

Montana Becomes First State To Pass Law Protecting Journalists’ Electronic Privacy
By: Rachel Blevins Apr 17, 2015, Benswann1

Montana recently passed a bill, sponsored by Liberty Republican Rep. Daniel Zolnikov, which closed a loophole in the state’s media shield law, making Montana the first state to include a provision protecting journalists’ electronic communications from government entities.

Last week, Montana became the first state to include a provision in its Media Confidentiality Act that protected journalists’ electronic communications from the government when Governor Steve Bullock signed a bill “prohibiting disclosure of media info from electronic communications services.”…………..

The text of the bill states that it both prohibits “governmental bodies from questing or requiring the disclosure of privileged news media information from services that transmit electronic communications,” and prohibits “an electronic communication service from being adjudged in contempt” if that service “refuses to disclose certain information.”

Zolnikov tells Benswann.com that he created the bill to help Montana set the precedent at the state level for the rest of the nation.

Freedom of the press is one of the most crucial rights contained in the First Amendment,” Zolnikov said. “The federal government has cracked down on whistleblowers and journalists in the past few years, and many have said this has a ‘chilling effect’ on news reporting.”……….http://benswann.com/montana-becomes-first-state-to-pass-law-protecting-journalists-electronic-privacy/

April 22, 2015 Posted by | civil liberties, media, USA | Leave a comment

Efforts by India’s government to shut down Greenpeace

India government trying to shut us down: Greenpeace ABC 16 Apr 15 Greenpeace believes the Indian government has blocked donations from being deposited in its bank accounts, both locally and internationally.

greenpeace IndiaGREENPEACE INDIA accused the government Tuesday of preventing local donors from funding its
activities, saying the move was aimed at shutting down its operations in the country.

The latest allegation comes less than a week after the right-wing government suspended the environmental watchdog’s foreign funding licence and blocked several of its bank accounts, citing violations of rules governing international financial transactions.

Following the ban, Greenpeace said, many donors even in India were unable to deposit money into the group’s local accounts. It said it suspected the accounts had been blocked by the government.

The group described the fresh step as an all-out attack by the government to “suppress democracy and silence those with an alternative vision of development”. The government has also blocked our domestic accounts and is now preventing ordinary Indians from supporting our work for clean air, healthy forests, pesticide-free food and a liveable environment,” Samit Aich, executive director of Greenpeace India, said in a statement………http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2015/04/15/4217058.htm

April 17, 2015 Posted by | civil liberties, India | Leave a comment

India’s government acts to cut off funding for Greenpeace: freezes its bank accounts

Greenpeace bank accounts frozen by Indian government Campaign group accuses authorities of ‘attacking democracy’ and being angered by questions over India’s environmental record. The Indian government has frozen bank accounts of Greenpeace after accusing the international environment campaign group of encouraging “anti-development” protests in the emerging economic power.

The Union Home Ministry on Thursday suspended the official registration for foreign funding of Greenpeace India for six months and froze seven bank accounts connected with the organisation, The Hindu, a local newspaper, reported.

Samit Aich, the executive director of Greenpeace, said the move was “an attack on democracy”.

greenpeace India

“They don’t like the questions we are raising. We are environmental activists asking questions about the environment. There has been intimidation, illegal attacks for some time now,” he said……..

In January a Greenpeace campaigner was stopped by Indian officials from travelling to the UK to deliver a talk to MPs about the impact of mining on a poor communities and the environment in central India.

Government agencies had also found that “in the past couple of years, several UK nationals, including cyber experts and activists, had visited Greenpeace’s offices in India allegedly to help it organise protest activities”, the newspaper said.

In January the Indian government was told by judges to unblock funds received by Greenpeace which have been frozen by authorities since June.

The high court in Delhi, the capital, ruled that the previous freeze on funds that Greenpeace India had received from abroad was “arbitrarily illegal” and “unconstitutional”.

Over the past year, there have been a series of measures targeting Greenpeace and several other international NGOs working on similar environmental issues in India.

An intelligence report prepared for the incoming government of Narendra Modi, which took power after a landslide electoral win in May, accused several foreign-funded NGOs of stalling major infrastructure projects at the behest of unidentified foreign powers.

The report, which was leaked to the press, claimed that “people-centric” campaigns organised by NGOs blocked projects in seven sectors – nuclear power, uranium mining, thermal and hydroelectric power, farm biotechnology, extractive industries, and mega industrial projects – were aimed at keeping India in “a state of underdevelopment”.

In June, the government barred Greenpeace from receiving funds from Greenpeace International and Climate Works Foundation – some 30% of its funding. The remaining 70% is raised from local supporters in India. About £180,000 was frozen, before courts ordered its release.

Modi’s predecessor, Manmohan Singh, had complained that foreign-funded NGOs were blocking the expansion of nuclear power and the introduction of genetically modified products. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/10/greenpeace-bank-accounts-frozen-by-indian-government

April 11, 2015 Posted by | civil liberties, India | Leave a comment

Brave Japanese bureaucrat speaks out for reform of energy policy

Japan’s Lonely Brave Bureaucrat Speaks Out on TV Asahi Nuclear Free by 2045? 31 Mar 15 A former high level bureaucrat in the Japanese Ministry of Trade was one of the few public officials to bravely speak up for radical change in the wake of the earthquake-tsunami-meltdown catastrophe. The Economistwas one of the first in the English language media to report on Shigeaki Koga’s radical proposals for reform of national energy policy. In September 2011, The Economist reported his views:

“I believe this is the final chance for Japan to change,” Mr. Koga said in May, when I asked him during a wide-ranging interview why he was speaking out. “If I shut my mouth and obtain a good post in the ministry—even if I did that, in a few years Japan’s economy would plunge,” he said. “That is why I am taking on risks, and I don’t care if I have to resign. Because if I don’t speak out, Japan will not change. It is meaningless for me to be in the government if I cannot advocate reform.”
Since this time he has been shut out of meaningful participation in reform, but he has been a regular guest commentator on news programs. He has been a regular on TV Asahi’s evening news programHodo Station, but things took a bad turn in January, when, taking inspiration from the “Je suis Charlie” frenzy, he held up a placard during the broadcast stating “I’m not Abe.”
At a press conference afterwards at the Tokyo Foreign Correspondents Club, Mr. Koga explained the way he was being excluded from further appearances on Hodo Station:
(Reporter) Mr. Koga, just to follow up on this because your case may be very important for the future of Japan. Could you tell us if you are officially and publicly being “sacked” from your job?……….
Shigeaki Koga may be banished from certain media outlets for the time being, but I have a feeling we haven’t heard the last of him.

UPDATES: 

MARCH 30, 2015: The Japan Times reported on the controversial broadcast a few days afterwards: Ex-bureaucrat blasts Abe on news program.

MARCH 29, 2015: Asahi Shimbun reported on the controversial broadcast the day after I wrote the above: Abe critic claims on air he was axed from TV program at behest of management.


Sources:
The GoodBureaucrat.” The Economist. September 14, 2011.
Japanese Perspective, February 27, 2015

April 1, 2015 Posted by | civil liberties, Japan | Leave a comment

Free Press Corporation in Japan, and pressure from the nuclear lobby

Oshidori, MakoMako Oshidori in Düsseldorf “The Hidden Truth about Fukushima”, Fukushima Voice version 2E 28 May 2014  On March 8th, 2014, comedienne/journalist Mako Oshidori gave a lecture, “The Hidden Truth About Fukushima” in Düsseldorf, Germany, organized by a citizen’s group, SAYONARA Genpatsu Düsseldorf. Translation of Mako Oshidori’s March 6th, 2014 press conference at the German IPPNW (International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War) Symposium in Frankfurt can be found here.The lecture, given in Japanese with German interpretation, was transcribed and translated into English……Transcription by Takashi Mizuno Translation by @YuriHiranuma

Mako: I am the director of  Free Press Corporation in Japan. 

This organization was originally created after the earthquake. The media is controlled as I just mentioned. This alliance was created for the purpose of conveying accurate, fresh information without media control.

Mako: Actually, it was created shortly before the earthquake. It was sort of coincidental…..

 I was invited to talk to you, but I am actually not active in the anti-nuclear power plant movement. What I do is conduct investigations. There are numerous issues in Japan that I investigate, from the nuclear accident to other medical issues such as Minamata disease and Asbestosis.

However, doctors and scientists attending the IPPNW conference, which ended yesterday, shared how they end up being labeled as anti-nuclear activists even though they don’t consider themselves to be as such, when they research and publicize facts inconvenient for promotion of nuclear power. There is a tremendous amount of pressure exerted when researching and writing up facts the nuclear lobby doesn’t like. Continue reading

March 28, 2015 Posted by | civil liberties, Japan | Leave a comment

Campaign to get the Canadian government to stop muzzling science journalism

6ceed-japan-government-officially-censors-truth-about-fukushima-nuclear-radiation-disasterflag-canadaAsk Canadian Scientists Why You Can’t Ask Them About Science http://motherboard.vice.com/en_ca/read/ask-canadian-scientists-why-you-cant-ask-them-about-science by
STEPHEN BURANYI March 24, 2015

​A coalition of journalists and academics is urging Canadians to write letters to government scientists, asking for data on pollution, global warming, and other federal research. They may not get much in response—but that’s precisely the point.

The week-long letter writing campaign, which bega​n on Monday and is called Write2Know, is a protest of the government’s controversial practice of controlling access to both science and scientists—a policy that has never been officially codified, but has been enforced by government agencies fo​r the past half-decade. Continue reading

March 27, 2015 Posted by | Canada, civil liberties, media | Leave a comment

Canada’s Orwellian muzzling of science writers

6ceed-japan-government-officially-censors-truth-about-fukushima-nuclear-radiation-disasterflag-canadaTightened science muzzle is ‘Orwellian’ July 3, 2012 Vancouver Sun, Sept 13, 2010 By Margaret Munro, Postmedia News   https://margaretmunro.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/tightened-science-muzzle-is-orwellian/

The Harper government has tightened the muzzle on federal scientists, going so far as to control when and what they can say about floods at the end of the last ice age.

Natural Resources Canada (NRC) scientists were told this spring they need “pre-approval” from Minister Christian Paradis’ office to speak with journalists. Their “media lines” also need ministerial approval, say documents obtained by Postmedia News through access-to-information legislation.

The documents say the “new” rules went into force in March and reveal how they apply to not only to contentious issues including the oilsands, but benign subjects such as floods that occurred 13,000 years ago.

They also give a glimpse of how Canadians are being cut off from scientists whose work is financed by taxpayers, critics say, and is often of significant public interest — be it about fish stocks, genetically modified crops or mercury pollution in the Athabasca River.

“It’s Orwellian,” says Andrew Weaver, a climatologist at the University of Victoria. The public, he says, has a right to know what federal scientists are discovering and learning………

Environment Canada and Health Canada now tightly control media access to researchers and orchestrate interviews that are approved.

Environment Canada has even produced “media lines” for federal scientists to stick to when discussing climate studies they have coauthored with Weaver and are based on research paid for through his university grants.

“There is no question that there is an orchestrated campaign at the federal level to make sure that their scientists can’t communicate to the public about what they do,” says Weaver, adding that the crackdown is seriously undermining morale in federal labs. “Science is about generating new knowledge and communicating it to others.”

March 27, 2015 Posted by | Canada, civil liberties, media | Leave a comment

You mustn’t criticise the nuclear industry in Cumbria

see-no-evilflag-UKArnie Gundersen and Dr Ian Fairlie Banned from Keswick School https://mariannewildart.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/arnie-gundersen-and-dr-ian-fairlie-banned-from-keswick-school/

March 10, 2015 Posted by | civil liberties, UK | 1 Comment

Russia- South Africa secret deal exposed: details are fearful ones for South Africa

secret-dealsRussian-Bearflag-S.AfricaExposed: Scary details of SA’s secret Russian nuke deal, Mail & Guardian  13 FEB 2015 00:00 LIONEL FAULL The secret nuclear deal our leaders have signed with Russia carries many risks for South Africa. Shocking details of the secret nuclear deal that Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson signed with Russia last year can, for the first time, be revealed. The text, which has been jealously guarded by her department and Russian nuclear company Rosatom, holds many dangers for South Africa.

It creates an expectation that Russian technology will be used for South Africa’s trillion-rand fleet of new nuclear power stations. And by laying the groundwork for government-to-government contracting, it appears designed to sidestep the constitutional requirement for open and competitive tendering.

Once the agreement comes into force, the Russians will have a veto over South Africa doing business with any other nuclear vendor. And it will be binding for a minimum of 20 years, during which Russia can hold a gun to South Africa’s head, in effect saying: “Do business with us, or forget nuclear.”

The agreement confirms the government’s intention to make “Atomic Tina’s” energy department the procuring agent for the nuclear programme rather than Eskom – where the country’s nuclear expertise lies, despite the utility’s travails. Joemat-Pettersson signed the agreement in Vienna on September 21 last year, three weeks after President Jacob Zuma held talks with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, at the latter’s country estate.

It led to an immediate outcry as it appeared that Russia was being favoured over other vendor countries………..

The terms of the agreement lean heavily in Russia’s favour. They:

  • Indemnify the Russians from any liability arising from nuclear accidents during the reactors’ life. The agreement says South Africa is “solely responsible for any damage both within and outside the territory of the Republic of South Africa”;
  • Hand the Russians a host of regulatory concessions and “special favourable treatment” in tax and other financial matters, but offer South Africa no such incentives; and
  • Require Russia’s permission if South Africa wants to export nuclear technology it develops locally as a result of learning from the Russians, thereby hindering government’s aim that the nuclear new-build programme will develop a globally competitive local nuclear industry………..
How we got the secret documentThe supposedly confidential agreement is published among the list of bilateral treaties on the website of the legal department of the Russian foreign ministry.

It was first obtained by South African environmental organisation Earthlife Africa Johannesburg by Russian anti-nuclear activist and head of Ecodefense Vladimir Slivyak, who got it from a source in the Russian foreign ministry. It is in Russian, and includes the signatures of Rosatom’s director general Sergey Kirienko and South African energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

A Russian translator commissioned by Earthlife to translate the agreement into English subsequently also found it publicly available on the ministry’s website. amaBhungane has compared Joemat-Pettersson’s signature on the document with her signature on a current document; they are identical. amaBhungane has also commissioned its own translation of the agreement, which is available to download by clicking on the link at the top of this story. – Lionel Faull

The M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism (amaBhungane) produced this story. All views are ours. See www.amabhungane.co.za for our stories, activities and funding sources. http://mg.co.za/article/2015-02-12-exposed-scary-details-of-secret-russian-nuke-deal

February 14, 2015 Posted by | civil liberties, politics international, Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

Russia cracks down on environmental group Ecodefense – classed as “foreign agent”

censorshipflag_RussiaReactors from Russia are unsafe and unreliable, India shouldn’t buy them: Russian environmentalist Vladimir Slivyak DiaNuke.org, 9 Jan 15  “……….You were termed anti-national and had to face govt repression for raising voice on nuclear safety and environmental impacts in Russia. What is the status now? Why do the industry and govt go so hand-in-glove?

highly-recommendedRussia approved the “Foreign agent” Act in November 2012 which was an instrument to punish civil society criticizing the government. By Summer 2014, Ministry of justice started to forcibly include human rights and environmental groups to official list of “foreign agents” published on the ministry’ web-site. My organization – Ecodefense – was one of the first 10 non-governmental groups included to this list. And first environmental organization on this list.

It is probably symbolic that anti-nuclear group became the first environmental organization on the list of “foreign agents”. Sort of main enemy of the state among environmental movement. We never had any foreign influence on our decisions, and never had foreign people in our organization. Ironically, our work was to big extend focused on stopping the import of foreign radioactive waste to Russia, and also on stopping foreign money for new reactors in Russia. We also did campaigns on education, on climate issues, on coal. But according to official statement by the Ministry of justice, Ecodefense was put on the list of “foreign agents” for specific campaign against construction of nuclear plant near the city of Kaliningrad, my hometown.

We responded to governmental action by declaring that we will not accept the status of “foreign agent” and we will not follow legal requirements for “agents”. For one simple reason – Ecodefense is not anyone’s agent. Our work aims to stop nuclear danger, and not to benefit any government, Russian or foreign. We were openly criticizing Kudankulam project and many other projects of Rosatom, and we were criticizing European company Urenco (and its shareholders RWE and E.On) for sending radioactive waste to Russia.
It’s 6 month already since government declared us a “foreign agent”. We were fined for quite big amount of money for resisting to register as “foreign agent”. We have another lawsuit filed by the Ministry of justice for not following legal requirements for “agents”, this one is in court now. We got 4 other fines, both personal and organizational. We had three branches of Ecodefense legally registered in Russia. Two are closed down by the court in December. And we are struggling in court for our third organization in court. Unfortunately, we spend now a lot of time in courts. Expectations are not good, our last organization may be closed down this year, likely……….http://www.dianuke.org/russian-reactors-are-unsafe-and-unreliable-india-shouldnt-buy-them-russian-environmentalist-vladimir-slivyak/

January 14, 2015 Posted by | civil liberties, Reference, Russia | Leave a comment

The fight against the Trans Pacific Partnership gets more serious in 2015

 It Was a Pivotal Year in TPP Activism but the Biggest Fight Is Still to Come: 2014 in Review  https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/12/it-was-pivotal-year-tpp-activism-biggest-fight-still-come  JANUARY 4, 2015 | BY MAIRA SUTTONA draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s (TPP) Intellectual Property chapter from May 2014leaked this past fall, confirming what previous leaks had suggested: this so-called trade agreement would bring copyright enforcement provisions that threaten users’ right to free expression, privacy, and unfettered access to knowledge online.
texy-TPP

This leaked text also revealed new terms on the misuse of trade secrets. These are dangerously vague and could be used to enact harsh criminal punishments against anyone who reveals or even accesses information through an allegedly confidential “computer system.” This language could have alarming consequences if it obligates nations to enact new laws that could be used to crack down on journalists and whistleblowers. I

t’s no wonder TPP negotiations continued to be as secretive as ever this year—policymakers are taking advantage of back-room policymaking to criminalize the very people who help public interest groups like EFF understand what’s contained in these agreements.

The major fight in the US was a campaign to defeat “fast track.” Fast track authority, also known as trade promotion authority, is a legal mechanism whereby Congress hands its Constitutional mandate to set the agenda and negotiate the terms of trade agreements over to Obama and the US Trade Representative. If fast track passes, the US Trade Representative could pass agreements like TPP and other deals like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with even less public oversight. In January, two of the most Hollywood-friendly Senators introduced it in a bill called the “Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act.

Following a joint effort with various public interest groups and individuals across the country, we collectively sent hundreds of thousands of messages to US lawmakers, calling on them to oppose fast track. We helped convince some leading Senators to come out against it and the bill eventually fizzled. But another fast track bill was inevitable, so we continued our campaign.Digital rights organizations were joined by over 25 technology companies to call on US lawmakers to oppose the passage of fast track authority. Then in September, we delivered a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden to fix the secretive, Hollywood-captured trade process.

2014 was a major year in our fight against TPP, but we’re expecting it will all come to a head in the new year. Public statements from the White House and Republican lawmakers have reiterated their resolve to introduce and pass new fast track legislation in the coming months. At the same time, the US Trade Representative has hinted that it plans to finalize the TPP in 2015.

While we keep the pressure on lawmakers to oppose fast track next year, we’re going to continue our call to TPP negotiators to follow the EU’s lead to bring transparency to trade negotiations once and for all. Stopping TPP is about stopping what has, up until this point, seemed like an endless cycle of corporate-dominated back-room policy laundering. We’ve so far been successful in slowing down the progress of TPP, but when the ultimate showdown arrives, we‘ll all need to be ready to fight.

January 5, 2015 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

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