Trade Talks Open In Utah, Secrecy Spurs Protests

By Tom Harvey,

Above photo: (Jim McAuley | The Salt Lake Tribune) Bill Moyer, executive director of the Backbone Campaign, and Raphael Cordray of the Utah Tar Sands Resistance speak to demonstrators gathered to protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, November 19, 2013.

Note: The negotiators of the Trans-Pacific Partnership thought they would go to Salt Lake City, UT and not find protesters. Well, they were wrong about that.  A strong crowd came out to the hotel where the negotiators are meeting, putting forth a clear message of opposition to the TPP and the secret negotiations that produced it.   Those coming out against the TPP included labor, environment, Internet and justice activists; including the popular former mayor of Salt Lake City, Rocky Anderson. Protests are planned all week.

TPP protest Salt Lake posterPerhaps the most hilarious and embarrassing comment in the article below came from Carol Guthrie, the senior adviser for media affairs of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, who said the treaty had been negotiated with “unprecedented transparency.” Ms. Guthrie showed the world today that the US Trade Reps office cannot be trusted.  

The TPP is actually the most secret negotiation ever in the history of trade agreements. Today, Bloomberg News editorialized that Obama’s secrecy is destroying the trade agreement.  They have even classified the text so that members of Congress, who go through the process of seeing the text, cannot discuss it with their constituents. Members cannot even bring staff to see it, take notes or bring a computer or camera.  Ms. Guthrie calls that “unprecedented transparency.”  Does she think anyone will believe anything she says in the future?

The Washington Post, normally a very pro-trade agreement newspaper, wrote this week about the Wikileaks disclosure that “it is obvious why the USTR and the Obama administration have insisted on secrecy. From this text it appears that the U.S. administration is negotiating for intellectual property provisions that it knows it could not achieve through an open democratic process.”  

Note to Ms. Guthrie — everyone knows this is a secret agreement.  When you try to mislead us with such obvious lies you destroy not only your credibility but the credibility of the Office of the US Trade Representative.

Note to others, if the US Trade Representative needs to tell such obvious lies it is a sign of their desperation and insecurity. They have good reason to be insecure. If they really want to be open they should do as previous administrations have done and publish the text. In addition they should publish the positions the Obama administration is putting forward on our behalf. The US Trade Rep. tells the media this is a “high quality” agreement, yet they keep it secret.

There will be a week of protests ending with a funeral for the TPP on Friday.  This is an apt finale as the TPP is struggling on its death bed.  Three-quarters of Democrats wrote President Obama this week telling him they were opposed to granting Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority to him.  And Republicans — including moderates, conservatives and Tea Party members – also sent a letter opposing Fast Track. Without Fast Track the Administration will be unable to pass any trade agreement.  

The message: scrap the TPP and the Atlantic agreement, TAFTA, and start all over with a transparent process that includes civil society and Congress in the process, and works for Fair Trade that puts people and planet before profits. The TPP is running into a dead end and the Administration should stop wasting time pursuing this failed global corporate coup.

The article below is from the Salt Lake City Tribune.

Pacific Rim Representatives from 12 nations begin new round of negotiations; Joined by protesters opposed to TPP

Outside Salt Lake City’s Grand America Hotel on Tuesday, the rains fell, the speakers rose, the marchers chanted.

Outside the hotel where the negotiations are being held in Salt Lake City, UT

Outside the hotel where the negotiations are being held in Salt Lake City, UT

Inside, top trade negotiators from the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations perhaps discussed imports and exports, profits and products, prices and patents. The exact topics aren’t known. The talks were closed.

And that concerns critics most of all as parties from the Trans-Pacific Partnership launched a 19th round of negotiations — this time in Utah — in search of a sweeping free-trade agreement.

Tuesday’s rally, organized by a coalition called the Citizens Trade Campaign, of Washington, D.C., drew 100 or so protesters, who worry that the high-level talks have been conducted behind closed doors with only multinational corporations given access to proposed provisions.

Watched over by a small contingent of Salt Lake City police and other security officers, demonstrators carried various signs on the lawn and sidewalk in front of the hotel. Among them: “Protect Us From Corporate Protectionism,” “Obama: Exorcise Your Corporate Demons” and “Mormon Environmental Stewardship Alliance.”

Arthur Stamoulis of the Citizens Trade Campaign speaks outside of TPP negotiations.

Arthur Stamoulis of the Citizens Trade Campaign speaks outside of TPP negotiations.

One group held a U.S. flag, with the stars replaced by corporate logos such as those for McDonald’s, CBS, Coca-Cola and Microsoft.

Among Utahns who spoke were Dale Cox, president of the state AFL-CIO; Wayne Holland, a United Steelworkers Union representative; and former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson.

Cox pointed to the North American Free Trade Agreement as a model for the proposed Pacific accord, which he warned would lead to the loss of more U.S. jobs.

“They’re here to take jobs from us to other countries,” Cox said.

Holland echoed those remarks, saying, “We cannot allow NAFTA in the Pacific.”

Raphael Cordray, of Utah Tar Sands Resistance, said her group fears a final agreement would allow foreign corporations to sue local or state governments that pass laws affecting businesses’ profits.

Rocky Anderson, former mayor of Salt Lake City and former Justice Party presidential candidate opposes the TPP.

Rocky Anderson, former mayor of Salt Lake City and former Justice Party presidential candidate opposes the TPP.

“That’s what people don’t understand about these trade agreements,” Cordray said in an interview. ” … They can actually take away some of the sovereignty that we have in our local communities.”

Carol Guthrie, senior adviser for media affairs of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which is negotiating for the United States, said her office had worked hard to introduce “unprecedented transparency” into the negotiations. She also touted the importance of foreign trade to Utah jobs.

“More than 100,000 jobs in Utah alone are supported by trade,” Guthrie said. “Twenty percent of Utah’s manufacturing jobs are supported by trade. Twenty percent of Utah’s exports go to the region represented by the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

Besides the United States, nations belonging to the Trans-Pacific Partnership are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Japan and Vietnam.

Groups plan to protest throughout the week, with the talks set to last through Sunday.

Originally published at

Create a FLUSH the TPP! Visibility Action on Tuesday, Nov. 12

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November 12th is a day of action in collaboration with Backbone Action Brigades, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch,, Popular Resistance, WFTC, and YOU!



Donate TODAY to support the              movement for WE THE PEOPLEFLUSH the TPP! Visibility Actions on Tuesday, Nov. 12

Mobilize a Backbone Action Brigade for FLUSH the TPP! on Tuesday Nov. 12

RSVP for Nov. 8 Backbone Action Brigade coordinating call.

Stay up to date on details at the Action Event Page

Backbone Action Brigades and allies with banners, LED panels, and Light Projection tools are planning for a coordinated day of action Tuesday, November 12.

Light Projections in Dallas, Spokane, Detroit, Olympia and Seattle are already planned – and we hope to add LA, Baltimore, Chicago, DC, and YOUR city to the list of places where an action will take place.

Coordinating call this Friday, Nov. 8 at 10am (Pacific)/1pm (Eastern)
The number is 712-432-1500 and the code is 865481

TPP Actions by your comradesRise up to stop the global corporate coup and FLUSH the TPP! The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the latest and largest ever free-trade investor rights agreement compact and it is being negotiated in secrecy. Its transnational corporate architects have President Obama requesting Fast Track authority to get it passed without real Congressional or public oversight. The TPP is a disaster for human rights, worker rights, the environment, and the very capacity of people to pass laws to protect themselves, their communities, and the environment. SO, for goodness sake, Don’t Fast Track a Train Wreck for Democracy!

We CAN STOP the TPP by stopping Fast Track. Pull the TPP out of the shadows and into public scrutiny by joining Backbone Brigades and allies in a day of coordinated visibility actions to FLUSH the TPP! Tuesday, November 12.

Join/Form/(or transmute into 😉 a Backbone Action Brigade for Nov. 12 by using one of Backbone Campaign’s fun night-time and day-time high visibility tactics! Invigorate your group and try some new tactics. Use Light Projection as Protest, Join an Overpass Light Brigade, turn heads at rush-hour with a Giant Freeway banner, and more!

RSVP to join Friday’s planning call on Friday, November 8, email or call the Backbone Campaign office at 206-408-8058 to learn what you can do.

Friday Call Agenda (DRAFT):

  • Quick intro to talking points on TPP Donate To Support Backbone's Crucial Porgressive                Movement Building Work(Review some Talking Points HERE)
  • Q & A – Tips and Tricks on the various Tactics
    • Light Projection
    • Overpass Light Brigade Squads
    • Freeway Bannering
    • Spine Card Accountability Toolkit
  • Coordinating Internal Media Plan
  • Plan for Earning Mainstream Media Coverage in each community.



DeFazio on the secret Trans Pacific Partnership "free trade" negotiations

US Representative Peter DeFazio addresses Congress on the pitfalls of the secret “free” trade agreement known as the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. This video predates Japan joining the TPP . . . listen to the “hit” the US car industry will take with Japan joining . . . it also predates US Representative Alan Grayson actually getting a chance to view the document, who ultimately said it was a “huge punch in the face to the middle class of America.” He further said, “The TPP is nicknamed “NAFTA on steroids.” Now that I’ve read it, I can see why. I can’t tell you what’s in the agreement, because the U.S. Trade Representative calls it classified. But I can tell you two things about it.1) There is no national security purpose in keeping this text secret.

2) This agreement hands the sovereignty of our country over to corporate interests.”

Final conclusion from US Representative DeFazio, “Kiss our economy good bye if this secret agreement goes through.”

Watch the video:

Please find your STATE ACTION GROUP Join other concerned citizens in your area to help stop the TPP and Fast Track. NO ON TPP Flyers and other resources available here too.

This "trade deal" STINKS! FLUSH the TPP dot ORG – REPORT from the frontline


This “trade deal” STINKS! FLUSH the TPP dot ORG REPORT from the frontline of the battle for human dignity over the lust for power….

I’m writing from Baltimore after a few days of preparation for operation FLUSH the TPP!
The TPP is a “trade agreement” to hijack our social contract and replace it with corporate courts, of by and for the the mega-corporations, uber-persons-become-uber-citizens, while humanity is to be further commodified and reduced to lab rats in an experiment in greed.

The TPP rally in Leesburg, VA is TODAY! Saturday’s Backbone Artful Activism workshop was fruitful. Trainer of trainers, Kim Marks gave a tour of the art of beautiful mischief, with Backbone amplifying and reinforcing with a verve we are very proud of.

I feel deeply grateful to the web of collaborators we have locked arms with.


TPP harms us all

Trans-Pacific Partnership, the new trade agreement being created in secret, would flood us with unsafe Millions more offshored U.S. jobs. Floods of unsafe food. Corporate attacks on our environmental and health laws.

The cliff is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “free trade” agreement. Trade negotiators want to sign it this year. But you can help stop this “NAFTA-on-steroids” with all of Asia and Latin America.

Sherrod’s bill, the 21st Century Trade Agreements Act (S. 3347), ensures that our trade policy exports U.S. products and not U.S. jobs. The bill protects our values — promoting strong human, labor and environmental rights.

U.S. negotiators are at it again. Behind closed doors, they’re pushing an agenda of corporate empowerment and U.S. job loss that only a robber baron could love. They’re trying to sell TPP by branding it as a “21st century trade agreement” — as if!

Members of Congress, the public and press are locked out of the closed-door TPP talks. Meanwhile, 600 corporate advisors have the secret texts.

Here comes the 21st Century Trade Agreements Act to the rescue: It says what should and should not be in our trade pacts so they work for us. And it would put Congress and the public back in the driver’s seat.

Story here (

Raising alarms about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): worse than NAFTA

America: A Fire Sale to Foreign Corporations

The leaked document reveals that the trade agreement would give unprecedented political authority and legal protection to foreign corporations.  Specifically, TPP would (1) severely limit regulation of foreign corporations operating within U.S. boundaries, giving them greater rights than domestic firms, (2) extend incentives for U.S. firms to move  investments and jobs to lower-wage countries, (3) establish an alternative legal system that gives foreign corporations and investors new rights to circumvent U.S. courts and laws, allowing them to sue the U.S. government before foreign tribunals and demand compensation for lost revenue due to US laws they claim undermine their TPP privileges or their investment “expectations.”

It seems that corporations are playing a role analogous to warlords in Afghanistan or drug cartels in Mexico.