America writing our laws?

Written By: - Date published: 6:34 am, May 3rd, 2011 - 21 comments
Categories: colonialism, leadership, us politics - Tags: ,

The latest release of Wikileaks cables from America’s embassy in Wellington contains some interesting reading (and has attracted international attention). The Greens are on the case:

US influence over copyright law undermines our democracy

The Green Party is seeking clarification over possible US intervention in the run-up to the passing of the controversial Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act under urgency recently.

A newly released Wikileaks cable shows the US Government worked closely with Government officials to ensure draft copyright legislation was expedited and protected the interests of the US recording industry.

“The latest Wikileaks cables show how vulnerable our Government is to pressure from big businesses in the USA,” said Green Party Information and Communications Technology spokesperson, Gareth Hughes.

“Both Labour and National Governments have been subject to intense lobbying from the US. Hollywood moguls shouldn’t be writing our law! … “This kind of blatant intervention in local law enforcement is undermining our democracy. …

“The New Zealand Government has been subject to intense international corporate lobbying. As the Government consults further on the current online copyright regime, it must make decisions that work for the New Zealanders that elected them, not US interests.

“However, this Government has overtly bent over backwards to make labour law suitable to Warner Brothers. Why wouldn’t they have done the same in this case behind the scenes?”

Pressure has been applied to governments (current and previous) since at least 2008. For relevant quotes from the cables and a fuller discussion see Michael Giest’s blog. An April 2009 cable, for example, stated:

Throughout the final stages of the law’s (near) implementation, the Embassy continued to met with IPR stakeholders and GNZ officials to ascertain progress and encourage resolution. To determine how a “workable” section 92A provision can be secured, Econoff met with Rory McLeod, Director at Ministry of Economic Development (MED) with responsibility for IPR within GNZ along with Paula Wilson, Deputy Director for Trade Negotiations at MFAT, and was given assurance that the government remains committed to redrafting Section 92A.

Embassy will continue to stress with GNZ officials the need for a shorter rather than protracted timeline for the redraft and will ascertain the details of a notice and comment period for public submissions once released by GNZ. During this hiatus we’ve proposed holding DVC(s) between NZ and U.S. interlocutors to possibly help with drafting and as a public diplomacy tool to dispel public misperceptions about proper role of IPR protection.

It seems clear that American interests have had a lot to do with drafting this particular NZ law. How many others? How stupid would we have to be give them any further leverage through the TPP? They’re already gunning for Pharmac. I remember a time when we weren’t afraid to assert our sovereignty and our independence from America…

21 comments on “America writing our laws?”

  1. Galeandra 1

    Maybe Goff and Co at least can shine over this issue? While it’s been simmering in the background I don’t think average NZ has paid much attention to it. But there seems to be a very clear pattern now, and with the leaks as ‘evidence’ surely the major opposition party can leverage a concerted attack which the broad public should pick up on?

  2. Bored 2

    Proof that we are part of the Empire indeed, as Tariq Ali pointed out to the noxious Kim we are a vassal state. We follow where they lead, do as they say.

  3. Perhaps they write our leaders speeches too. Here is the speech (and it is literally one speech for both men) both Howard and Harper used to lead their countries to war with Afghanistan in the aftermath of the 911 events. Funny eh, how they are the same. Feeling manipulated? That’s because we are.
     

    • vto 3.1

      Now that is something worth watching…

      Oh but except of course that it is just another conspiracy junkie ranting. Because conspiracies never exist in the policial world do they…….. Nope. Never collusion behind closed doors. Never say one thing and do another. Doesn’t happen. All people of the world, especially those with power, are 100% open and honest. Yep, that’s right. Never in the history of manwoman has there been a conspiracy. Not by your better half even. Not by your boss at work or co-workers. Not by your business competitor. And certainly not by the politicians. There has never been a conspiracy in the world. They just don’t exist.

    • rosy 3.2

      Now that’s a conspiracy theory I can believe. Simple, straightforward and the most likely answer – Two US allies had the same speeches because they came from the same source.

  4. PeteG 4

    The Greens may be on that case, but there are claims they are in the case as well.

    Leaked American diplomatic cable reveals that a discreet diplomatic lunch, a free trip to Washington and assurance of “assistance” from the US Embassy in Wellington have been used to blunt the Green’s “radical positions on many issues”.

    The Americans seduced Green co-leaders Metiria Turei and Norman, the latter with a free trip to Washington, and managed, over a lunch, to get a commitment from list MP Kennedy Graham “to turn (to the embassy) for any assistance he may need in the future.”

    In his reaction Mr Norman said he was not approached to comment and objected to the US cables being handled as if they were truth.

    Contact is obvious, influence is not.

    The Ameicans can also see the obvious:

    In an earlier cable Keegan said the Labour Party needs to “revamp its current parliamentary list, which is replete with tried, tested, and largely defeated Labour Party stalwarts”.

    That would have been before the current list?

    • higherstandard 4.1

      These cables are pathetic.

      1. Good on the greens for getting a freebee.
      2. Like many other organisations the cable reveals that the diplomatic core when reporting to their boss like to massage the truth to make themselves seem to have done a significantly better job then they actually did.

  5. PeteG 5

    Brash’s extra-marital brashness was also noted:

    National Party MPs were initially panicked at news of “colourless” Don Brash’s alleged extramarital affair, amid concerns that his philandering could cost them the female vote, leaked American cables show.

    A cable sent on September 13, 2006, is called: “National leader’s extramarital affair threatens his party’s agenda”.

    The cable concludes with the comment: “For months Brash has been under pressure from National Party colleagues, who see him as colourless and incapable of leading the party in overturning Helen Clark’s government.

    “Whatever the case, the matter will certainly command the bulk of NZ media attention, wiping the Labour election spending brouhaha off the front pages and undermining months of National Party efforts to cast doubt on the government’s honesty.”

    Brash famously had difficulty getting his leg over the frame of a stock car but found it much easier to get his leg over in other ways. Have Act financiers tried to hobble his private life.

  6. vidiot 6

    How to spot an American drafted law:

    * Legalize
    * Customize
    * Analyze
    * Color
    * Aluminum
    * Checking Account
    * Ass
    * Organize
    * Realize
    * Aging

  7. KJT 7

    Com-on! We have had sock puppets for American corporate interests governing us since 1984.
    May have been a break from them in 2000 to 2008, but I am not sure, given Labour is throwing the election.

    Not to mention those who want to sell us to whatever bidder gives them the biggest bribe.

    No wonder why my Indian Friends reckon we are more corrupt than India. It is just much better hidden.

    • Afewknowthetruth 7.1

      No. It started long before 1984. The Muldoon government bent over backwards to allow US corporations to shaft NZ by way of ‘Think Big’. And before that the Labour government bent over backwards to accommodate the interests of the interenational aluminium industry.

      ‘more corrupt than India. It is just much better hidden.’

      The Rothschilds have been in charge of the NZ profit centre since around 1875.

      • KJT 7.1.1

        Actually think big was an attempt to make us more self sufficient.

        I had problems with many of Muldoons policies, but the intention behind think big was correct.
        If oil prices had continued their rise at the time Muldoon would have been a Hero.
        Note that Fletchers, when they bought the case for access to refinery product, showed the refinery was making good money before it was given away. The oil companies had hidden them with transfer pricing until it was sold. Probably the case with many of the projects.

        If Muldoon was around today he would be called a extreme left socialist. Muldoon of course considered himself at the centre of orthodoxy at the time.

  8. M 8

    “Embassy will continue to stress with GNZ officials the need for a shorter rather than protracted timeline for the redraft and will ascertain the details of a notice and comment period for public submissions once released by GNZ.”

    Could it be the US is scared of a left victory?

    Also if Pharmac bites the big kumara will all the herceptin recipients still get their drug? Key certainly didn’t mind his enabler Hide to getting shafted so I guess the gloves are off for everything else.

  9. M 9

    “If the film had featured an etching by Whitmill, the studio would have had to get the rights to show it in the film “cleared”– that is, approved by the copyright owner. That clearance process is a major headache for a lot of filmmakers, especially documentarians who film real life—and therefore capture things like songs, TV shows, and art works. The same rule applies to the tattoo. So far, so good for Whitmill.”

    http://www.freakonomics.com/2011/05/02/can-you-copyright-a-tattoo/

    Studios getting a taste of their own?

  10. randal 10

    hey come on dudes. there was an american warship at the signing of the treaty and the first nz insurance coy was the firemans fund from chicago.
    nothing has changed and nothing is going to.
    I dont care a stuff about intellectual copyright as its basically an oxymoron but Pharmac must be allowed to keep control of supplying drugs so that the margins allow for prescriptions for all and not just wealthy holders of health insurance policies. We dont need that sort of pork barrelling here.

  11. Rights and wrongs aside, I was surprised by how little play this story had in the media. I didn’t see or hear any reports in the newspapers or radio (I don’t have access to TV news at the moment).

    If a similar leak happened in Australia or the UK it would be top of bulletin and on the front pages.

    Maybe I was looking in the wrong places.

  12. katie 12

    good post, interesting comments.

    Yeah, Green opposition to the section 92 draft bill and the recently passed Copyright Infringement Bill was driven by a lot of IT people who have made the Greens their ideological home. Gareth is a bright cookie, and has been noticed not only by the writers at Slashdot, but also by Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing. (to many of us, that was a bigger coup!)

    There is a lot of material in the Wikileaks Wellington cables that is up for misinterpretation; after all, it is the opinions of station heads at the Embassy, coded and sent upline to Washington, and thus has inbuilt bias in the way that they interpret what they have observed. Obviously, during McCormack’s tenure, there was a strong desire to ingratiate himself with the Bush Administration, and be seen to be influencing events. Once the National Government came into play, the Embassy has assumed that its influences will be better received than under Clark/Goff leadership.
    The Warner’s deal is just one example. Secretary of State Clinton’s visit to Auckland, the push for acceptance of the TPP, are further areas where strong influence has been brought into play.

    They are here to advance American corporate interests, just as much as they are stamping visas for holiday-makers and arranging visits for international student exchanges; never assume that an Embassy is not looking out for the main chance for their own people. Such is the way of international diplomacy, such has it been since it’s codification during the nineteenth century.
    The only difference that came in during the twentieth century was the risk of nuclear bombardment if negotiations with a superpower failed; in our recent times, a ten-year war in Iraq/Afghanistan has been an object lesson to smaller nations about the willingness of the American Administration to walk all over any country who even shows the appearance of upsetting them, or attempting to show any sovereignty over the resources extracted from their own soil. Iraq was a war for oil, there were no WMD’s, they lied.

    IP rights are the thin end of a wedge that includes service sector businesses like healthcare and education, and private sector concerns like mining rights. Do we really want to allow the USA sovereignty over our laws, our healthcare, our schools, our national parks, in return for some dubious benefits for signing their TPP, and allowing full access to US-based MNC’s? I don’t think so.

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    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Step Too Far.
    A Crown Asset? For reasons relating to its own political convenience, the Crown pretends to believe that “No one owns the water.” To say otherwise would re-vivify the promises contained in the Treaty of Waitangi – most particularly those pertaining to the power of the chiefs and their proprietary rights ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where Money Comes From
    Most people would say, no doubt, that they have a pretty good idea of what money is. They live with the reality of money every day. It is what is needed to buy the necessities of life and to maintain a decent standard of living. You get money, they would ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Banned by the Green Party leadership: Jill Abigail on women’s rights and trans rights
    The article below was an opinion piece that appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Te Awa (the NZ Green Party’s newsletter) and on the Greens website.  In keeping with their policy of hostility to women defending women’s right to female-only spaces, Green bureaucrats have since removed the opinion piece.  ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The fallacy of the proximity argument.
    Longer term readers may remember my complaining that, as a political scientist, it is burdensome to have non-political scientists wanting to engage me about politics. No layperson would think to approach an astrophysicist and lecture him/her on the finer details of quarks and black holes, but everybody with an opinion ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Where We Stood: Chris Trotter Replies To Stevan Eldred-Grigg.
    Joining The Fight: Stevan Eldred-Grigg's argument for New Zealand staying out of the Second World War fails not only on the hard-headed grounds of preserving the country’s strategic and economic interests; and not just on the soft-hearted grounds of duty and loyalty to the nation that had given New Zealand ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Universities back the climate strike
    On September 27, School Strike 4 Climate will be striking for a future to pressure the government for meaningful climate action. This time, they've asked adults to join them. And now, Lincoln University and Victoria University of Wellington have signed on:Victoria University of Wellington has joined Lincoln University in endorsing ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Another constitutional outrage
    Another day, another constitutional outrage in the UK. This time, the government is saying that if parliament passes a law to stop Brexit before being prorogued, they may just ignore it:A senior cabinet minister has suggested Boris Johnson could defy legislation to prevent a no-deal Brexit if it is forced ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ending dairy in Canterbury
    Environment Canterbury has finally proposed nitrogen limits to stop dairy farmers from poisoning Christchurch's water supply. And naturally, farmers are whining about it:A proposed move by Environment Canterbury (ECan) to protect Christchurch's drinking water by setting tough – some would say, draconian – nitrate reductions in the decades ahead and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Is National the party of climate arson?
    The Zero Carbon Bill is currently before select committee. While its targets are weak, its a generally sensible bill that promises to establish a long-term framework to guide emissions reductions. But National hasn't made up its mind on whether it will support it - and according to Andrea Vance in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Experts warn Harold the Giraffe “well past” typical giraffe life expectancy, may not have long
    Dum-de-doo. Children across New Zealand have known him for generations as the lovable giraffe who tells them to exercise, hydrate and not to shove lit cigarettes up their nostrils. But a world renowned giraffe expert says we shouldn’t be getting attached to Life Education’s Harold the Giraffe, as he is ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • August ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: 22 BLOGGERS WITH ADVICE FOR RESEARCHERS AND EVALUATORS, ILLUSTRATED I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bye, bye to the collusion lie
    Sums it up, really. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Opinion: Treat your car by buying extra petrol to snack on while you aren’t driving
    By Mike Hosking. Yesterday morning, I waltzed into work, and as I walked past the drones aggressively typing out news on the computers I’ve repeatedly asked to be moved further away from, I caught a glimpse of the words “climate change”, and noticed that suspiciously they weren’t in condescending quotation ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • US imperialism, Huawei, racism and imperial anxiety
    by Tony Norfield US political opinion against China has two solid bases. The first is the longstanding racist and protectionist sentiment in the white working class; the second is a more recent anxiety about China’s economic prowess in America’s ruling elite. This article notes some historical aspects of anti-Chinese racism ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

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