Stop TPP! The San Diego Negotiations/Last Chance To Save Democracy: Day One

By Brett Redmayne-Titley

Author’s Note: This is the second part of an ongoing series on the secret TPP negotiations, originally published in 2012 and updated. These negotiations mirror the European/ UK version; TTIP. For Part Oneand information not repeated in this part, See Here.

TPP has come to the shores of America and eleven other nations. Will you have the will to stop it?

American apathy allowed NDAA to be signed by a treasonous president. Americans accepted a fraudulent rationale and then allowed a fabricated war in Iraq to commence and never end. Next, you, the American public, looked past your best interests and allowed corporations to force the public health care option to go the way of the Dodo. While other nations revolt against similar oppressions in massive national public swarms of hundreds-of-thousands, you, the apathetic, junk-food addled voter, can barely muster together 5,000 like minds for a national opposition conference. You are a public ignorant of your adversaries. These adversaries know well your endemic weakness and are thus emboldened.

Now, these corporations conspire for your democracy’s final demise. Titled, the, “Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement,” (TPP) these adversaries of your freedom and safety are again making a bet with your money while using your politicians: That you will do nothing to stop it. So far they are right.

Wake up! It is time to act.

The TPP is very close to becoming binding law. If you sit and watch, it will be law within a few months and you will have again allowed your treasonous congressmen, senators and president to give away American sovereignty to corporate control.  From July 2-10, 2012 the embodiment of globalization that is TPP and its new corporate, authoritarian, democratic business model will appear in San Diego, California, bringing TPP one step closer to secret passage through the halls of Congress. This gathering will be attended by over six hundred negotiators from Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, Mexico, Canada and the USA. All attending will be there representing corporate interests, not their populations’. Sovereign interests are not of concern here; exactly the opposite. TPP is designed to seize control of these sovereign nations and their laws and governance. Really!

Also present will be protesters. Hopefully, thousands of protesters. TPP is madness. It must be stopped.

America. Wake up!

Thanks to the efforts of a core group of activists leaders from the San Diego area will be getting a rousing welcome. Literally.

Driving down Interstate 5 to review the advanced protest groups strategically placed at San Diego’s Lindbergh Field, protesters have already lined several freeway overpasses, all holding-up to the traffic passing underneath huge signs with one single letter on each that spell, “STOP TPP !!” At night these will be illuminated.

After parking many blocks away and then walking closer to the entrance of the Hilton/San Diego Bayfront – the scene of the TPP negotiations – a swirl of multi-colored signs and banners of the activist groups and several hundred protesters quickly come into view. They have already commenced some of the actions on the Hilton’s front lawn and the access street in front. Protests are planned for throughout the eight-day event. While proceeding onward along San Diego city streets, one of “working groups,” comprised of articulate and eloquent opposition force members has placed a member at any major intersections. From high atop their soap boxes they pass out leaflets while they cry out to the walking public their warnings – the facts of TPP. Now, with the front lawn of the Hilton growing ever-closer, the “Welcoming Committee” can be seen applying their duties. As limousines and expensive cars arrive, these committee members politely greet all the negotiators with goodie bags of local San Diego treats. Next, they each attempt to engage the negotiator – as they exit the insulation of their chauffeured vehicles – in discussion of the evils of the TPP agenda. The Welcoming Committee intends to show this first outward sign of resistance and opposition, via hospitality and communication to the negotiators as they arrive. More importantly, these protesters hope to get their opposition message out to the threatened 99% not yet in attendance. This is the opening salvo.

The machinations of the week-long TPP negotiations have allowed for just twenty one-day entrance passes to be issued to a few public, “Stakeholders.” An ominous term when viewed in context. No one else is getting in. These twenty Stakeholders are members of the community and universally in opposition, but they will be given a very limited glimpse of a small portion of the negotiations by attending the two-hour, “Stakeholder’s Meeting.” Here they will be given access to this single public portion of the negotiations and a chance to meet and discuss policy with the negotiators from each country as well as several corporations. The term, “Stakeholder,” implies participation, but how much influence this actually provides will likely be nil. This “Stakeholder’s Meeting” is a mere facade of participation designed to add perceived legitimacy to the TPP plot. These Stakeholders, the only true representatives of the American people’s interest, are in actuality, as with the disaffected 99%, sacrificial lambs. Global Trade Watch, which released two secret chapters of the TPP, warned the Stakeholders that they will be foils for the negotiators who will attempt to win the argument at every opportunity.

Finally standing on the Hilton’s front lawn I meet with an area activist group that has very generously provided the single activist journalist present one of the twenty highly-coveted Stakeholder’s Passes. Due to ongoing draconian police measures by the San Diego police in quashing all first amendment rights, protesters do not like to be named or give too many details. Infiltration is a new national police sport in America, as is the occasional dose of internal agitation. San Diego police have a reputation of thrashing free speech protesters just as thoroughly as any cops in America. Today’s beautiful, cloudless southern California summer day belies the hearts of darkness within the walls of their Hilton sanctuary.  Everyone is being cagey.

My ire at this dog-and-pony show of manufactured corporate propaganda is already rising quickly, as is my resolve and my thanks. With handshakes and hugs all around I departed for the entrance of the Hilton and the first phalanx of black-uniformed San Diego’s finest. As I presented myself for inspection, a tingling around the ears and at the base of the skull brings the hairs on my neck to attention. I have felt this warning too many times before. The menacingly dark sunglasses, now dissecting me mere inches from my nose, affirmed this intuition.

My Stakeholder’s pass having the effect of a garlic-dipped cross, the next inspection was now a hundred feet farther on at the revolving main entrance door. Here brown-shirted private security – with two additional black-shirts watching closely – again allow me to pass. Further inquiry reveals that this private security is not being paid for by the Hilton. Now inside the faux-opulence of the Hilton’s huge foyer, there is a relative quiet that does not indicate the presence of the six-hundred delegates. With high ceilings done in golds and yellows and cherry colored wooden trim lining similarly colored walls, a lush expanse of carpet spread out before the front desk. Having no need for a room, (the Hilton has been completely booked for TPP) the escalator to the right leading to the second floor becomes the next priority.

Here, my Stakeholder Pass is declared temporarily invalid by both security guards on duty at the bottom of the escalator – the Stakeholder’s Meeting does not start for an hour. However, much to their dismay this reporter’s name does appear on the Press List and the press passes are being issued on the second floor. So, now three-for-three against TPP’s minions it’s upwards – with a smile – to the second floor. The lone guard at the top steps to the side, having already observed the previous inspection below. Pointing ahead, he reveals the desk for the press passes.

All goes smoothly and a very sweet and professionally attired woman in dark blue presents a laminated press pass with the correct name on it. This is a relief. Now properly adorned, and with pass swinging from its blue lanyard, it was time for a lucky reporter to begin pushing one’s luck.

The second floor was busier. Here, on either side of the escalator the negotiations were in progress. Noticing that the one guard was busy with his back turned, it was time for one quick, nonchalant lap around the expanse of the second floor foyer. Doors to four large halls – two aside – made up the perimeter. Each of the huge wooden cherry double-doors were, thankfully, open. Walking by each open door as slowly as possible it wasn’t possible to tell what the subject of each actually was. Each hall had chairs for approximately one-hundred-and-fifty, but each had far less in attendance. Passing the last set of doors, the one guard noticed me, but appeared for the moment unconcerned while speaking softly on his radio. Feeling secure, after a hard left passed the guard a long similarly carpeted hallway ahead deserved a closer look. With the second floor foyer out of sight and out of mind behind, there suddenly came the echoes of thunderous slams … one, two, three … then four. The huge cherry wood doors were now performing their proper duties; they were all closed.

In the second floor hallway all doors were still open because; they had nothing to hide. On the left, several open single wooden doors showed the Press Room, and farther on a room to be used for the several scheduled press conference. On the right, two separate pairs of the doors revealed another large high-ceilinged conference hall. This one contained few chairs but instead was ringed by tables covered in white tablecloths set up in a large rectangle that would allow for participants to meander around the perimeter. This was the place for the upcoming Stakeholder Meeting. The tables provided dedicated space for about forty interest groups, from national trade representatives to corporate ones – and a couple activist groups like – to engage the public. Each space was already set up with multiple piles of literature at the ready. No one was yet in this hall.

Heading back towards the second floor guard I preemptively inquire regarding the next escalator rising to the third floor. “Off limits,” comes the expected reply; however, the much nicer woman at the Press Pass desk kindly allows that, “The third floor is only for negotiations. The floors above that are reserved for the delegates.” With further investigation impossible it’s time join the like-minded down below.

Encountering, of course, no resistance to exiting the negotiations, it is easy to see that the crowd of protesters has swelled. But they still number less than four hundred. Enthusiasm abounds – a troupe of costumed actors goes by performing a skit for amusement for the crowd lampooning TPP and the politicians who spawned it – but it’s not enough. Amongst the protesters and their colored posters, signs and banners, two news crews are working the crowd. The atmosphere is cheerful like the surrounding afternoon. Chants of protest fill the air but there is no challenge in their tone. No one is confronting the many cops protecting the entrance and the cops now chat quietly while watching with disinterest. Both sides are on their best behavior. Confrontation, today, does neither side any good. Suddenly, the Hilton grounds keeper appears, bullhorn in hand, beseeching the crowd to “please?” move off his lawn. The protesters happily comply.

TPP has attracted dozens of notable activists and journalists, many of whom have authored books, and who have detailed knowledge to share with the protesters on a wide range of topics regarding TPP’s future drastic effects. Many, we are told, will be at the press conference. They are in San Diego as keynote speakers of the many conferences that will be held each evening at other locations after the close of each day’s negotiations. These will be open to the public and will discuss the adverse effects of TPP on a wide range of subjects.

 (emph HHA)

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