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TPP, TTIP, & TISA: Secret Trade Negotiations Threaten Government Sovereignty and Individual Rights

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Free speech, including the right to protest, can no longer be taken for granted. According to a newly-released WikiLeaks video (below), multinational corporations have already successfully sued governments on the basis of corporate profits being affected by certain laws. And as the international trade negotiations continue in secret, this corporate power will expand and exert greater control over governments and citizens. These were among one of the bomb shells of the WikiLeaks video detailing international trade negotiations that most citizens are not aware of.

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WikiLeaks, a non-profit organization, has made headlines for information it has made public since 2010.

The YouTube video, titled “WikiLeaks – The US strategy to create a new global legal and economic system: TPP, TTIP, TISA,” explores three international agreements being negotiated in secret.

TheWikiLeaksChannel, the official WikiLeaks YouTube channel, hosts the video, which includes comments from investigative journalists as well as Julian Assange, editor in chief, WikiLeaks.

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The U.S. Seeks To Dominate The Globe

“It’s the United States saying, there may be another power in the world, but we will be the ultimate power,” says John Pilger, an investigative journalist.

John Hilary, executive director of War On Want, an international organization that fights poverty, says the new trade agreements are the future template for all future trade deals. “And that means the rewriting the rules of the global economy,” he says.

And that means for everybody.

Historical Background

WTO // Martin Good

WTO // Martin Good

The video provides historical background for the current trade negotiations, beginning in the 1950s. After the second world war, the U.S. accounted for half the world’s economy. “It (the U.S.) was able to write the rules of international trade to its advantage,” the narrator notes. The WTO (World Trade Organization) came into being in this context, and the U.S. was able to dictate rules that favored U.S. business.

As economies like China and India joined WTO, the organization became a more democratized arena and the U.S. found it harder to control its decision making. “The U.S. felt it needed a new strategy to maintain its global dominance. So in the classical American style, they went big.”

To bypass the WTO, powers behind the scenes are creating the biggest international agreement ever. It’s called the three “big Ts”: The Transpacific Partnership (TTP), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the Trade In Services Agreement (TISA) “And they’re all being negotiated in secret right now.”

“We only found out when WikiLeaks was able to leak part of them,” Pilger says in reference to the trade negotiations.

Hilary notes China is excluded, as is Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa. “They’re all excluded because those are the emerging economies.”

A ‘Geopolitical War’

Matt Kennard of Centre for Investigative Journalism says what’s not often understood is that these agreements are part of a “geopolitical war.” “This is a new war which is taking place within the United States and China,” he says.

The United States is very scared of the rise of China. So it has moved to militarily encircle it through what is called the pivot to Asia and now it’s moving to doing that economically.

“The basic idea which comes across from reading U.S. strategy papers is the construction of a new grand enclosure,” Assange states. “And to put inside this grand enclosure the United States, 51 other countries, 1.6 billion people, and two-thirds of global GDP. To integrate Latin America away from Brazil and towards the United States. To integrate Southeast Asia away from China and towards the United States. And to integrate Western Europe, pulling it away from Eurasia as a whole and towards the Atlantic.”

Also read: Search the WikiLeaks Hacking  Team Dump

TTIP: Clouded In Mystery

Assange // Ric Frazier

Assange // Ric Frazier

Looking specifically at the three agreements, Assange notes that the TTIP remains clouded in mystery.

Among the three big T’s, WikiLeaks has revealed four chapters of the TPP which affects 12 countries and the Americas and Southeast Asia.

WikiLeaks also released and obtained information about the TISA which affects 52 countries including the EU.

“But nearly all of TTIP is still secret,” Assange says.

“Nobody knows what’s being negotiated in our name,” Hilary says. “So you have these far-reaching deals which can completely change the face of our economy and our societies. And yet even elected parliamentarians know nothing about it.”

Big Corporations Have Access To Talks

This is a problem the big corporations don’t share, the video notes. “The world’s biggest corporations don’t have the same problem,” the narrator says. “They have been receiving VIP access from day one. And have had abundant influence in the negotiations.”

“People, the likes of you and I, are excluded,” says Pilger.

Governments to a great extent are excluded. Those who are included are the multinational corporations.

“These agreements are basically corporate ownership agreements,” Kennard observes. “The funny thing about free trade agreements as we understand them is that they often have nothing to do with trade in these sense of the mutual lowering of tariffs. What they are about is enshrining an investor-rights regime in the respective countries and ensuring the corporations can run wild in their respective economies with very very little regulation or impingement by government or authority.”

How Governments And Citizens Fare

Claire Provost of the Centre for Investigative Journalism expands on the impact the agreements can have no governments and on average citizens. “These treaties will have huge, huge implications, literally for almost every critical issue that an individual citizen or community would care about,” she says. “Health, education, the environment, privacy, access to medicines, I mean the list could go on.”

One of the most criticized aspects is a system called the investors states dispute settlement or ISDS. This is secretive international tribunal that allows companies to sue states for anything that they can claim affects their investment.

“If a protest affects their profits, they can sue,” Provost says.

If laws affect their profits, they can sue. If new regulations might impact where or what they want to do with their money they can sue.

“This is a new power which will be handed over to U.S. corporations to sue the governments of Europe in a parallel judicial system which is available to them only alone, so people have no access to it, domestic firms have no access to it, governments have no access to it, It’s just their foreign investors, in this case, U.S. corporations,” Hilary notes.

Corporations Sue Governments

Based on ISDS history, critics argue European state sovereignty and democracy are at serious risk. Previous lawsuits the video notes include Swedish company suing the German state for $3.7 billion for phasing out nuclear energy. British American Tobacco sued Australia for passing a law limiting cigarette advertising. A French company sued Egypt for raising the minimum wage.

“What is so scary about this is that corporations want to lock in their power,” Kennard says. “So that they not only want increased power but they want to make it possible for sovereign governments to reverse the changes which are going to give them power.” For example, TTIP, if it passes, with ISDS in it, the privatization of the national health service which is happening in the U.K. can never be reversed.

“What is democratic about an enormous imposition of power on countries whose citizens have no way of knowing what’s going on, of debating it, or influencing their government in its decision?” Pilger asks. “That’s antidemocratic.”

“The history of these agreements shows that they’re very difficult to change unless people can see what’s in them,” Assange says. “And that’s why they’re kept secret. And when their contents are revealed, it generates an opposition.”

WikiLeaks has had “considerable success” delaying the TPP and opening up the debates around it, and the TISA, by releasing the secret draft text, the video notes. “Our publication of an earlier proposed U.S./EU agreement, the ACTA, killed it entirely. Helped the world become a more transparent place. Do your part. Go to WikiLeaks.org/ttip-reward.”

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Alleged FBI Hacker Lauri Love Ordered to US Extradition by UK Home Secretary

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The long-running court saga of Lauri Love, a British hacker and activist accused of compromising and stealing data from the likes of the FBI, NASA and the US Federal Reserve has been ordered by the UK’s home secretary for his extradition to the United States.

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31-year-old Love who has Asperger’s syndrome launched a legal challenge to avoid his extradition to the U.S., following a court ruling by a UK judge in September 2016. Love, who suffers from depression and eczema argued against the extradition ruling, claiming it could lead him to a mental breakdown or suicide. Despite his plea, the ruling district judge, Nina Tempia, determined that Love would be cared for by medical facilities in the United States, while accepting that Love suffered “both physical and mental issues.”

On the other side of the pond, Love potentially faces legal proceedings in three different US jurisdictions, reports the Guardian. Meanwhile, the UK home secretary had been given a deadline of November 16, in order to decide if Love was to be extradited or not. A day before the deadline, Rudd signed the order for Love’s extradition to the US. His lawyers believe he faces up to 99 years in prison if convicted of charges related to hacking.

The UK Home Office stated that Rudd had “carefully considered all relevant matters” before ruling:

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[Love] has been charged with various computer hacking offences which included targeting US military and federal government agencies.

The case drew parallels to that of Gary McKinnon, a British hacker whose extradition to the US was blocked by Theresa May in 2012, as the home secretary at the time.

Love’s legal battle with the ruling garnered support from The Courage Foundation, whose acting director Sarah Harrison stated:

The US has ruthlessly persecuted hackers and digital activists for years, and nobody expects that to improve under President Trump. Theresa May set a good example by protecting Gary McKinnon back in 2012. For a home secretary in her government now to willingly send a brilliant and vulnerable UK citizen to Donald Trump’s America beggars belief.

Love was bailed earlier this year in June when US prosecutors were already doing plenty to extradite him stateside.

Lori’s alleged hacking endeavors were a part of #Oplastresort, an operation by Anonymous, the global hacktivist collective. This particular operation was in response to the treatment endured by Aaron Swartz a prominent programmer and hacktivist. Swartz faced 35 years In prison, asset forfeiture and a million dollars in fines with two counts of wire fraud. Swartz committed suicide for his alleged computer crimes.

Love’s legal defense is certain to bring up the unfortunate series of events that led to Swartz committing suicide under the threat of persecution. Love has 14 days to appeal against Rudd’s order and will almost certainly do so.

Images from YouTube/AP.

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WikiLeaks: Podesta Received E-mails On Extraterrestrial Disclosure

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While most fallout from the Podesta emails has been political, there are extraterrestrial implications for some of the e-mails released by whistleblower source WikiLeaks. 

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An email on behalf of Apollo astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta turned up in the recent data dumps. The email was sent by Rebecca Wright of the Institute of Exoconsciousness. 

Mitchell requested in an email dated July 29, 2014 to meet with President Barack Obama to discuss extraterrestrial disclosure, but was partially rebuffed.

“Fifty years ago Battelle, Brookings and RAND studies on UFOs convinced the government to remove knowledge of the extraterrestrial presence from the citizens of our country. These organizations advised with their best information. However, today much, if not most, of the extraterrestrial reality they examined is known by our citizens,” the e-mail states. “These organizations’ resultant strategies and policies of 50 years ago no longer hold credibility or benefit.” Mitchell says a well-informed public is important to further disclosure. 

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Podesta’s secretary wrote Mitchell saying Mr. Podesta would rather meet alone before arranging a meeting with Obama. A Skype meeting was scheduled for Aug 11, but whether or not the meeting happened is unclear. Mitchell died in February 2016.

According to the leaks, former Blink 182 frontman Tom Delonge emailed John Podesta twice about extraterrestrial beings.

“Things are moving with the project. The novels, films and nonfiction works are blooming and finishing,” DeLonge said in an October 2015 email to Podesta. “I would like to bring two very ‘important’ people out to meet you in DC. I think you will find them very interesting, as they were principal leadership relating to our sensitive topic.” DeLonge emailed again later.

“When Roswell crashed, they shipped it to the laboratory at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. General McFasland was in charge of that exact laboratory up to a couple years ago,” DeLonge wrote. “He not only knows what I’m trying to achieve, he helped assemble my advisory team. He’s a very important man.”

Hacked reported in 2015 that DeLonge was working on various ET-related projects, and the former pop-punk superstar, whose 1999 album Enema of the State sold 15 million copies worldwide, has since released books and plans to release a documentary on extra terrestrials.

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12 Hacktivists You Should Know About

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Hacktivism, a phenomenon specific to the digital age, represents the subversive use of computers and computer networks. The term was coined by the Cult of the Dead Cow in 1994.

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Hacktivists represent a broad range of personalities and goals. They’ve recently played a greater role in the collective conscious as cyber attacks at banks and governments become a more regular occurrence.

1. Edward Snowden

President Obama once said of Edward Snowden: “I’m not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker.”

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Edward Snowden became notorious after blowing the whistle on mass surveillance in the United States and abroad. It’s been estimated that, since the whistleblowing, Snowden is one of the most powerful figures on Twitter.

2. Aaron Swartz

Aaron_Swartz_4_at_Boston_Wikipedia_Meetup,_2009-08-18American hacktivist Aaron Swartz took part in the development of the web feed format RSS, as well as the organization Creative Commons. A partner in Reddit, he ultimately committed suicide while under federal investigation for data-theft.

Arrested by MIT police on January 6, 2011, Swartz faced breaking-and-entering charges due to installing a computer in an Institute closet to download academic journal articles from JSTOR. Federal prosecutors charged him with two counts wire fraud and eleven violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Swartz faced $1 million in fines and 35 years in prison. Swartz declined a plea bargain under which he would have served six months in federal prison. When prosecution rejected his counteroffer, he was found dead by hanging in his Brooklyn apartment two days later. In June 2013, Swartz was posthumously inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame.

3. The Jester

Who The Jester is, nobody knows. He claims responsibility for many, many DoS (Denial of Service) attacks against WikiLeaks, Islamist sites, homophobic sites and the President of Iran. He claims responsibility for developing DoS software, XerXes.

With Wikileaks in the news, almost makes you wonder: Where’s The Jester now?

4. Barrett Brown

Barrett Brown worked closely with Anonymous. The former writer was not a formidable coder or hacker, but he became a marketing figure for the hacking group, including news appearances. Brown has faced numerous charges related to hacking. In January 2015, he was sentenced to 63 months. 

5. Hector Xavier Monsegur (Sabu) 

Sabu co-founded Lulzsec, going onto receiving press attention after a 50-day hacking spurt targeting the likes of the CIA, Fox, Stratfor, and the US Senate and others. Sabu later turned away from hacktivism, becoming an informant for the FBI and working for them for more than ten months. 

6. Jake Davis (Topiary)

This once active member of Anonymous moved onto LulzSec. During a court appearance in 2011, he pleaded guilty to a charge related to a hack on the Serious Organised Crime Agency’s (SOCA) website. Davis ran the LulzSec Twitter account. Details on his computer leaked him to a hack of Sony. 

7. Oxblood Ruffin

Canadian hacker Oxblood Ruffin is the “Foreign Minister” of the Cult of the Dead Cow network, a hacktivist group. Oxblood can often be seen in the media criticizing the actions of Anonymous and LulzSec

8.  Deric Lostutter (KYAnonymous) 

When two members of an Ohio high school football team were charged with the rape of an intoxicated 16-year-old girl, Lostutter helped leak a video of two Ohio high school football players joking about the rape of an intoxicated 16-year-old girl. He faces charges for hacking a fan page of the football team and could face a 10-year prison sentence.

9. Ron Gonggrijp

This Dutch hacker speaks out against surveillance on citizens by governments and the lack of security in public electronic voting systems. He became a well-known teenage hacker and even appeared in the Jan Jacobs’s book Kraken en Computers (Hacking and computers, Veen uitgevers 1985, ISBN 90-204-2651-6) which details the early hacking scene in the Netherlands.  Authorities in the Netherlands and the United States considered him a “major security threat.’

10.  Jacob Appelbaum

Appelbaum, a Cult of the Dead Cow member, is reportedly a key player behind Tor and now an American journalist. He is the co-founder of the San Francisco hackerspace Noisebridge and has worked for kink.com and Greenpeace. Appelbaum was a trusted confidant of NSA’s Edward Snowden and had access to Snowden’s top secret documents during the 2013 global surveillance disclosure. 

11. Gary Mckinnon

Mckinnon is responsible for what’s called the “biggest military computer hack of all time.”  He hacked almost 100 American military and NASA servers in 13 months from 2001 to 2002.  His goal while hacking NASA was to discover evidence of extraterrestrials.

 “A NASA photographic expert said that there was a Building 8 at Johnson Space Center where they regularly airbrushed out images of UFOs from the high-resolution satellite imaging,” he said. “I logged on to NASA and was able to access this department. They had huge, high-resolution images stored in their picture files. They had filtered and unfiltered, or processed and unprocessed, files.” 

12. John McAfee

The 2016 Presidential Candidate, John McAfee, had a run-in with authorities who he claims set him up for murder. He hacked every major computer of Belize government bureaucracies to prove his innocence. He found evidence that implicated officials in corruption, laundering, drug running and murder. He organized his own escape out of Belize to avoid arrest. He recently posted on social media he got into a shootout with police, though this was a joke. 

Featured image from YouTube/The Guardian.

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