Part 3: Arrogance and misrepresentation toward elected officials
Preface by Pam Barker | TLB staff writer
In parts 1 and 2 of this multi-part series on the 13th round of TPP negotiations in San Diego back in July, 2012, journalist Brett Redmayne-Titley first accused Obama of treason for signing away American sovereignty and, in the second, bemoaned our national apathy for not protesting more vigorously against the TPP.
In the 3rd article in this series, Redmayne-Titley is witness to the lying of Barbara Weisel, the US Chief Negotiator, and her defamatory remarks against certain members of Congress and Senate who had formally complained of being kept in the dark as to the text of the TPP treaty.
Underscoring the lack of transparency of the TPP to elected officials before this meeting, Redmayne-Titley writes:
So far, all U.S. senators and congressmen have been denied access to viewing any draft of the proposed treaty or attendance at the negotiations. In reaction, on June 24, 2012, four members of the Senate and next, on June 29, one hundred thirty-two members of Congress, in anticipation of the San Diego-hosted, 13th round of the TPP negotiations, sent formal letters to U.S. Trade Representative, Ron Kirk, demanding that America’s elected officials be allowed to participate in, and view draft copies of, the proposed, twenty-six chapters of the TPP terms regulations.
Weisel, in response to the letter written by four Senators as well as that signed by 132 members of Congess, blithely claimed both groups of misleading the public and of lying. That is, until she thought she was being recorded.
Enjoy Redmayne-Titley’s account of this meeting.
By Brett Redmayne-Titley
Author’s Note: This is Part Three of a report direct from the 2012 San Diego TPP negotiations re-published by Activist Post to bring urgent awareness of the threat of TPP to its American and international readers. TPP is treason. TPP must be stopped. Now! B.R-T.
“Is that thing on?” gasped Barbara Weisel, U.S. Chief Negotiator at the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations, one millisecond after having just accused four U.S. senators, and 132 US congresspersons – including to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) who has, repeatedly, demanded to see a copy of the treaty – of lying to the American public! Now she spied the arch enemy of all political miscreants blinking menacingly on the white tablecloth right next to her: the voice recorder. Snatching-up this reporter’s voice recorder, she anxiously attempted to shut it off and/or erase the recording. “You can’t record this,” she continued still anxiously fidgeting with the gadget, obviously aware that she had been caught on tape in several very inflammatory, and by all prior reports fraudulent, accusations. She is employed by the US Congress. You would not know it to speak with her.
Barbara Weisel, US Chief Negotiator
Twenty minutes earlier I had been chatting comfortably with Sierra Club Transportation Chairman, Mike Bullock, about TPP’s lack of transparency at the negotiations and the lack of media coverage – in the quiet of the Conference Room – now empty at the end of the day’s “Stakeholder Meeting.” I had been waiting for US Chief Negotiator Barbara Weisel, who had been dodging questions all while the hall was crowded to show up to meet with me for some prepared questions. Mike – thankfully – decided to join me with some questions of his own.
Short, diminutive, but feisty, Weisel, like the other delegates, was in attendance to aggressively put forward the soothing TPP rationales designed to quell all fears of global domination. Striding in from the dark-wood double doors at the far end of the hall along with her handler, Ms. Nkenge Harmon, she was prepared for a fight. She was not, however, prepared for the sharp sword of the truth. Nor, cutting-edge technology.
Very conveniently, Ms. Weisel entered our conversation at a time when we were talking about the lack of transparency regarding American and national sovereignty at the negotiations. So far, all U.S. senators and congressmen have been denied access to viewing any draft of the proposed treaty or attendance at the negotiations. In reaction, on June 24, 2012, four members of the Senate and next, on June 29, one hundred thirty-two members of Congress, in anticipation of the San Diego-hosted, 13th round of the TPP negotiations, sent formal letters to U.S. Trade Representative, Ron Kirk, demanding that America’s elected officials be allowed to participate in, and view draft copies of, the proposed, twenty-six chapters of the TPP terms regulations. These regulations will give multi-national corporations supreme power over US courts, corporations, and the laws and sovereignty of America and eleven other nations. In response, Weisel maintained that the American Public already has plenty of representation via the unelected US negotiators, despite all being employed by the multi-national corporations that have spawned TPP. She did not see this as a conflict of interest. She did, however, admit it was completely up to only these few U.S. corporate negotiators to get it right on behalf of the American public before the treaty is signed. When would that be? “Today?!” she suggested brightly, would be a good day for a signing ceremony.
Now pressed on the issue of access by members of Congress, she continued to assert that all members of the Senate and Congress have always had “complete access” to the draft treaty. She repeated several times that “many members of Congress have seen the draft of the treaty” and that they had also been continually given updates on the progress and terms of the negotiations by the office of the U.S. Trade representative, Ron Kirk. Tossing before her both the senatorial and congressional letters that expressed the contrary, the obvious next question was, “why?”
Confronted with the letters barring 136 signatures that vociferously disagreed with her assertions, she preened, “Those members of Congress are deliberately misleading Americans.” Asked about the four senators’ letter, thus US Chief Negotiator for the United States at TPP assertively responded, “those senators are not being honest.”
Then… she saw the voice recorder.
Rarely, in the annals of political over-confidence has a look of supreme confidence turned to one of abject terror so quickly. As she fumbled with the device, finally grudgingly handing it over, Weisel was visibly overcome at the realization of her recorded words, becoming suddenly distracted while presumably re-playing her defamation of just moments before and already calculating damage control.
Fortunately, she was saved by her handler, Ms. Harmon, who conveniently informed us it was time for the press conference which Ms. Weisel was to give in the room across the hall. I gave Mike Bullock a very-narrowed sideways glance, as both blustered off. Once out of earshot, the first obvious question to Mike was, “Confirm what we just heard.”
Contacting the Oregon Office of Sen. Ron Wyden for comment, reaction was direct and swift despite the pending 4th of July holiday.
“It is disappointing that a member of the USTR staff would make comments like this in the press and it underlines the concerns of Members of Congress that the negotiators are not taking the interests and input of individual Americans seriously in the negotiating process.” responded Press Secretary, Tom Caiazza, in a written response to this reporters request for comment. Further highlighting Weisel’s defamation, it continued, “Senator Wyden shares the same concerns expressed by his House colleagues and stands by the facts presented in the House and Senate letters. Right now, corporations and interest groups are provided far greater access to, and influence over, international trade negotiations than United States Senators and the public they represent. Unfortunately, neither group [congress and senate] has that opportunity now.”
Well, amusingly, the voice recorder was actually turned off, of which I repeatedly tried to assure Ms. Weisel as she continued her harangue, thus assuming that I had set her up to voluntarily put her foot in her mouth. After contemplating withholding this surreptitious device from me she finally returned it and was off to the “press conference.”
So, today it was shown to America and eleven other nations what the true meaning of “Transparency” is, here at the San Diego TPP negotiations.
TLB recommends other articles by Activist Post
Link To The Letter from 132 Members of Congress to US Trade Rep. Ron Kirk: http://cwafiles.org/national/News/Release/TP_Ltr_Final.pdf
About the Author
Brett Redmayne-Titley began reporting on-scene in an effort to provide better quality reporting from current events of geo-political, environmental and moral importance. A life-long activist, political commentator and world citizen, he has published over one hundred in-depth articles, many of which have been re-published and translated internationally. He can be reached at: live-on-scene [at] gmx.com
About the Contributor
Pam Barker is a TLB staff writer/analyst. She has an extensive background in the educational system of several countries at the college and university level as a teacher and administrator