This week’s edition of The Monitor will be the last until at least the summer of 2018. After more than 14 years on the air and hundreds of interviews, I am forced to take a break from the show. Listen to last week’s show for more detail.
The Monitor goes on hiatus with a feature length interview with William Binney, a former highly placed intelligence official with the United States National Security Agency(NSA) who turned whistleblower and resigned on October 31, 2001, after more than 30 years with the agency. He was a high-profile critic of his former employers during the George W. Bush administration, and later criticized the NSA’s data collection policies during the Barack Obama administration. In 2016, he said the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election was false. You can read more about Binney in many outlets online, including: CIA DIRECTOR MET ADVOCATE OF DISPUTED DNC HACK THEORY — AT TRUMP’S REQUEST; NSA whistleblower discusses ‘How the NSA tracks you’
William Binney features in a documentary called “A Good American”. This is well worth watching and available now on Netflix. Here is the trailer:
On The Monitor this week:
- WikiLeaks Exposes The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Secrecy and Big Business Agenda – an interview with Sean Flynn
- Left and Right Teaming up for Surveillance State Repeal Act – an interview with Shahid Buttar
More about this week’s topics and our guests:
Sean Flynn is associate director of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at the Washington College of Law at American University. He just wrote the piece “Leaked TPP ISDS Chapter Threatens Intellectual Property Limitations and Exceptions,” which states: “Today’s leak of the Investor State Dispute Settlement chapter proposed for the Trans Pacific Partnership [PDF] agreement would give new rights to private companies to challenge limitations and exceptions to copyrights, patents, and other intellectual property rights in unaccountable international arbitration forums. The text contains the same provisions that are being used by Eli Lilly to challenge Canada’s invalidation of patent extensions for new uses of two medicines originally developed in the 1970s. The same language is also being used by Philip Morris to challenge Uruguay’s regulation of advertising on cigarette packages as an ‘expropriation’ of their trademarks. But the TPP language goes farther. It includes a new footnote, not previously released as part of any other investment chapter and not included in the U.S. model investment text — clarifying that private expropriation actions can be brought to challenge ‘the cancellation or nullification of such [intellectual property] rights,’ as well as ‘exceptions to such rights. Instead of combating the ability to bring cases such as Eli Lilly’s, it invites them. Any time a national court — including in the U.S. — invalidates a wrongfully granted patent or other intellectual property right, the affected company could appeal that revocation to foreign arbitrators.”
The New York Times reports: “The Trans-Pacific Partnership — a cornerstone of Mr. Obama’s remaining economic agenda — would grant broad powers to multinational companies operating in North America, South America and Asia. Under the accord, still under negotiation but nearing completion, companies and investors would be empowered to challenge regulations, rules, government actions and court rulings — federal, state or local — before tribunals organized under the World Bank or the United Nations. …
“The chapter in the draft of the trade deal, dated Jan. 20, 2015, and obtained by The New York Times in collaboration with the group WikiLeaks, is certain to kindle opposition from both the political left and the right.”
WikiLeaks notes in the group’s analysis of the TPP investment chapter: “The document is classified and supposed to be kept secret for four years after the entry into force of the TPP agreement or, if no agreement is reached, for four years from the close of the negotiations.”
Shahid Buttar is the Executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Buttar spoke at a briefing yesterday at the Capitol on this subject. He said today: “The Surveillance State Repeal Act, HR 1466, represents a profound challenge by members of Congress from across the political spectrum fed up with the national security establishment and its continuing assault on our Constitution.
“Most policymakers forget the 9/11 commission’s most crucial finding: the intelligence community’s failures that enabled the 9/11 attacks were not failures of limited data collection, but rather failures of data sharing and analysis. Over the last 15 years, Congress has allowed the agencies to expand their collection capacities, solving an imaginary problem while creating a host of real threats to U.S. national security far worse than any act of rogue violence: the specter of state omniscience, immune from oversight and accountability, and thus vulnerable to politicization. This was among the fears of which President Eisenhower warned us in his farewell address.”
Shahid was also recently arrested for asking Director of National Intelligence James Clapper a question that somehow never came up during his appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The Daily Caller reports in “House Revives Bill To Completely Repeal The Patriot Act, Dismantle NSA Spying,” that: “Some of the strongest reforms to the U.S. national security apparatus ever introduced in Congress were revived Tuesday by a pair of congressmen in the House of Representatives.
“Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan and Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie announced in a press release their intention to reintroduce the Surveillance State Repeal Act — a bill first introduced following the Snowden leaks in 2013 that would completely repeal the Patriot Act and the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, as well as introduce reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
“The bill would legally dismantle the National Security Agency’s most aggressive surveillance programs, including the bulk collection and retention of virtually all Americans’ landline phone records justified under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. The repeal of the 2008 FISA Amendments Act would also prevent the agency from tapping the physical infrastructure of the Internet, such as undersea fiber cables, to intercept ‘upstream’ data in bulk, which critics including the ACLU claim the NSA uses to collect data on Americans.”