The text of a 19-page, international trade agreement being drafted in secret was published by WikiLeaks on Thursday as the transparency group’s editor commemorated his two-year anniversary confined to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
Fifty countries around the globe have already signed on to the Trade in Service Agreement, or TISA, including the United States, Australia and the European Union. Despite vast international ties, however, details about the deal have been negotiated behind closed-doors and largely ignored by the press.
In a statement published by the group alongside the leaked draft this week, WikiLeaks said “proponents of TISA aim to further deregulate global financial services markets,” and have participated in “a significant anti-transparency manoeuvre” by working secretly on a deal that covers more than 68 percent of world trade in services, according to the Swiss National Center for Competence in Research.
Touting the deal earlier this year, the United States Chamber of Commerce said a successful TISA agreement would benefit America’s services industry and its 96 million, or 84 percent, of the nation’s private sector workers. “As its chief goals, the TISA should expand access to foreign markets for US service industries and ensure they receive national and most-favored nation treatment,” the chamber said of the deal in February. “It should also lift foreign governments’ sectoral limits on investment in services,” “eliminate regulatory inconsistencies that at times loom as trade barriers” and “prohibit restrictions on legitimate cross‐border information flows and bar local infrastructure mandates relating to data storage.”
WikiLeaks warns that this largely important trade deal has been hardly discussed in public, however, notwithstanding evidence showing that the policy makers involved want to establish rules that would pertain to services used by billions worldwide.
“The draft Financial Services Annex sets rules which would assist the expansion of financial multi-nationals – mainly headquartered in New York, London, Paris and Frankfurt – into other nations by preventing regulatory barriers,” WikiLeaks said in a statement. “The leaked draft also shows that the US is particularly keen on boosting cross-border data flow, which would allow uninhibited exchange of personal and financial data.”
For Full Article: http://rt.com/usa/167088-wikileaks-tisa-secret-trade/
Billions of dollars are unaccounted for in the books of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Parliamentarians of 28 NATO countries have no idea how much taxpayers money flows through the military alliance and whether it is spent legitimately, says the Dutch National Court of Auditors. This is due to an administrative backlog of decades and abundantly marking expenditures as ‘undisclosed’. Following is an English translation of a story in de Volkskrant.
‘NATO might be wasting a lot of money, or maybe they are short of cash. Frankly, we have no idea’, says Saskia Stuiveling, president of the Dutch National Court of Auditors. The findings of the official controlling body of the Dutch government are a result of extensive research on NATO expenditures over the past forty years. It will launch a website in English on Tuesday June 10, 2014, to reveal the messy accounts of NATO.
The purpose of the Auditors is to get this issue on the agenda of the next NATO Parliamentary Assembly in November 2014 in The Hague, The Netherlands. The NATO-ambassadors from all member states are aware of the transparency problem, but until now this has not resulted into a solution of the transparency problem, claims the Dutch Auditor.
In a reaction, NATO states that ‘some reports cannot be made public due to the classified nature of the issue audited.’ However, ‘NATO allies maintain full control of the level of expenses and how the money is being spent.’
For Full Article: http://rt.com/news/165268-nato-accountability-audit-demanded/
“It is a scandal that anyone should sleep on the streets in 21st century Britain. Yet over the last three years rough sleeping has risen steeply across the country and by a massive 75 per cent in London,” Katharine Sacks-Jones, head of the homelessness charity Crisis, said in a statement.
“They deserve better than to be moved on to the next doorway along the street. We will never tackle rough sleeping with studs in the pavement. Instead we must deal with the causes.”
Richter agrees, saying the only way to address homelessness is to offer assistance and address the root causes of the issue.
“If you are worried about people sleeping in your alcoves or your foyers or whatever, you need to deal with the reasons they are there. You need to provide help and support as a community. That is the ‘ah-ha’ moment that a lot of communities are having,” he said.
Whether you are putting these spikes in place or spreading manure on homeless camps, or your police officers and bylaw officers are issuing fines to homeless people, really you are pushing the problem around. You’re not solving it.—Tim Richter, head of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness
In Canada, it has been estimated that there are 150,000 homeless people, but the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH) says that estimate is low. It is possible as much as three per cent of the population, or one million people, is absolutely homeless — meaning they ‘sleep rough’ in public parks or other areas. Even more people are considered part of the ‘hidden’ homeless population – those who “couch surf” and have no permanent home.
For Full Article: Anti-Homeless Agenda: Spikes in place in UK and Canada
My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.
You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.
In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.
For Full Article: We Were Made For These Times- Clarissa Pinkola Estes