Written By: - Date published: 2:22 pm, May 21st, 2014 - 29 comments
Categories: accountability, afghanistan, democracy under attack, greens, john key, labour, same old national, Spying, trade, uk politics - Tags: drones, GCSB, obama, Surveillance state
There are a range of issues in the main and secondary media, which are part of a GCSB-intelligence-surveillance-military-complex. Some significant elements seem to be posing as diversions from other parts of the complex, and the way all parts hang together. What will he offer Obama, to advance a NZ’s position in the TPPA?
Most of the mainstream media are focusing on the drone issue. They and politicians are keeping up the heat on John Key as to whether he and/or the GCSB have been complicit in providing intelligence resulting in US
drones attacking drone strikes killing civilians and (at least one) Kiwi s in Afghanistan Yemen.
Surprisingly, as micky savage points out, the MSM has pretty much ignored the significance of the extra details, and narrative produced by Campbell Live last night: a narrative that charts the shift of the GSCB’s main focus from military-based security, to include a strong focus on “economic” security. This includes issues of digital copyright, as reflected in the Dotcom saga, as well as with significant aspects of the TPPA.
The Green Party and David Cunliffe have raised questions about why the PM is not going to be asking questions related to the drone issue, in his up coming meeting with Obama. In contrast, Key has said the focus of his talks with Obama will be trade and the TPPA (see for instance Patrick Gower’s article on this). Here, in plain sight, is an issue that, in the MSM today, is not being treated as a major issue. This is at a time when the TPPA negotiations are at a crucial point. Claire Trevett gives it passing mention:
A White House statement said the meeting will cover co-operation on matters from the Trans Tasman Pacific Partnership to military to military co-operation. Mr Key said that did not necessarily mean a visit by a US warship was in the near future.
[…]Mr Key said he would not raise issues of drone strikes or mass surveillance by intelligence agencies.
Jane Kelsey’s press release today, on her monitoring of the TPPA negotiations, has received little attention.
‘At the end of a two-day ministerial meeting on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) in Singapore it seems clearer than ever that New Zealand stands to get almost nothing if they do reach a deal, and we will pay a very high price in return’, according to Professor Jane Kelsey, who has been observing the meeting.
Today’s statement from the TPPA ministers had the familiar recycled rhetoric of “meaningful progress”, “narrowing remaining differences”, and “building momentum”.
‘There are signs of a possible breakthrough on the sticking point of agriculture. But that would fall far below Trade Minister Groser’s “gold standard” of comprehensive liberalisation for agriculture’, Kelsey said.
While Grosser has claimed he will not accept any major formal concessions on “medicine patents, copyright, or state-owned enterprises,” it is unclear how his lack of bargaining chips will result in significant positive results for NZ. Kelsey concludes:
‘In return for what looks like an empty deal, New Zealand will still be expected to make major concessions on the rules for Pharmac, Internet freedom, regulating foreign investment and much more’.
The TPPA ministers announced a ‘pathway for intensified engagement’ in market access and rules, such as intellectual property and state-owned enterprises, includes another ‘chief negotiators’ meeting in early July. By not calling it ‘a round’ they can avoid the need for any formal stakeholder presence.
‘The question now is where the New Zealand government will draw its new red line, and what price it will make the country pay for a deal that delivers few, if any, tangible returns’.
So what can Key possibly achieve in his talks with Obama on trade? And does he think he has some major bargaining chips? Some TPPA concessions for NZ in response to Key holding the line in support of the US government and intelligence services with respect to drones, digital surveillance, etc?