On September 6, negotiators will go to Leesburg, Virginia, for the latest round of secretive talks on the "Trans-Pacific Partnership" agreement. This proposed agreement threatens access to essential medicines in developing countries, threatens environmental regulations, and threatens internet freedom. Even Members of Congress and their staff have been blocked from seeing the draft text, while corporate representatives have been allowed to see it.
Americans - and citizens of the other countries that would be covered by the agreement - have a right to see what our governments are proposing to do. Parts of the draft negotiating text have been leaked. But don't we have a right to see the whole text before the agreement is signed? After the agreement is signed, if there's anything in it we don't like, we'll be told that it's too late to change it.
Just Foreign Policy is issuing a reward if WikiLeaks publishes the TPP negotiating text. Instead of getting one rich person to put up the money, we're "crowdsourcing" the reward. We figure, if many people pledge a little bit, that will not only potentially raise a helpful sum of money for WikiLeaks, it will show that the opposition to this secretive agreement is widespread.
If WikiLeaks publishes the TPP negotiating text, it will show that WikiLeaks is still relevant to citizen demands for government transparency, that publishing U.S. diplomatic cables wasn't the end of WikiLeaks' contribution to public knowledge of government misdeeds. And it will show that the WikiLeaks campaign for government transparency isn't just about issues related to war, but extends to every area where secretive government action threatens the public interest.
This week, Ecuador granted political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from the threat of political persecution by the United States - as thousands of Americans had urged Ecuador to do. But the UK authorities have refused to grant Assange safe passage to Ecuador, and he remains trapped in Ecuador's embassy. Meanwhile, the corporate financial blockade of WikiLeaks has starved WikiLeaks of resources, while the legal fight to protect Assange from the threat of extradition to the United States has drained resources.
Protecting Julian Assange's civil liberties is crucial, because it's a test case for all future whistleblowers. But it's also crucial to protect and sustain WikiLeaks, for exactly the same reason: the U.S. government and its allies are trying to set a precedent of successful intimidation, to deter future whistleblowers. We cannot allow this precedent to stand.
By making a pledge to our reward for WikiLeaks if it publishes the TPP negotiating text, you can vote twice with one ballot: once to support WikiLeaks, and once against a secret attack on access to essential medicines , the environment , and internet freedom.
Robert Naiman is Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy.
Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 8:16 AM PT: Our "crowdsourced" reward now stands at $10,689