Monday, June 23, 2014

US Embassy In Berlin Offering Cold, Hard Cash For People To Create Pro-TAFTA/TTIP Propaganda

Too Much Free Time
by Mike Masnick

from the beats-transparency dept

We've been writing about the big US/EU "free trade" agreement negotiations (which aren't really about free trade at all), variously named TAFTA or TTIP (negotiators prefer TTIP, to avoid comparisons to NAFTA) for quite some time now. If it were really about free trade, there might be some interesting elements to it, but it's much more about the standard issues like providing corporate sovereignty over national sovereignty, and other things like ratcheting up copyright and patent laws in secret. All this "democracy" is all done very much behind closed doors that won't be opened until many years after the agreement is already reached.

The key negotiators have long been complaining about "misinformation" being spread about this and other agreements -- but it often appears that the misinformation is actually coming directly from the negotiators themselves. Besides, it's pretty rich to complain about misinformation on a deal that you're negotiating in secret. Want to end much of that supposed "misinformation"? Here's a simple suggestion: open up, show some transparency and release the negotiating positions you're taking, or even draft documents of the agreement to allow the public to comment.

But instead of transparency, it appears that the US State Department has settled on another option: paying for propaganda.

No joke, the US Embassy in Berlin has apparently been tweeting out offers to give out between $5,000 and $20,000 to organizations willing to produce pro-TAFTA/TTIP propaganda. The document doesn't ask for proposals for unbiased analysis on the impact of any potential agreement, instead it starts out by simply declaring:
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