Obama's Classification of ACTA in the Interest of Profit Security, Not "National Security"
You are at the Swiss border on your way to a concert, jamming to some quality illegal downloads. You're late. It's snowing. Halfway through customs, an Austrian guard shoves his hand in your face.
On any other day, in the face of any other customs officer, you'd run. But this one has a grenade launcher with a bicep tattoo to match. He could bench you in his sleep. His fists look as if they have been clenched since the Cold War.
Bjork just will just have to wait. You are ushered into a holding room, sterile and bleached. The guard makes small circles around you, artillery at the ready. But instead of your liver, he asks if he can borrow your iPod. You oblige with relief.
Apart from a closet addiction to pop punk, you have nothing to hide. Or so you think.
Thanks to recently ratified Anti- Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), your music pirating might put you behind bars. Designed to incriminate file sharers and terrorists alike, the treaty boasts such signatories as the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Australia,
New Zealand and Canada.
It is a labyrinth of legal jargon protecting us from poltergeists we never knew existed. It outlines intellectual property enforcements with unprecedented severity. Like most juicy government documents, it's classified. This is assured by Executive Order 12958 of President Barack Obama.
If the treaty is readily available to Japanese businessmen, all 27-member states of the European Union and select U.S. lobbyists, why is it being withheld from the American public? In the "interest of national security," it appears as if the President has shafted us to the kids' table.
Has America retreated back to the Bush regime witch-hunts and wire taps? Will the next four years be laden with lecherous lobbying and cigar-smoking good old boys
impeding on our Bill of Rights?
Was Obama's projected transparency platform nothing more than a happy delusion? Have we elected a phony messiah? Don't taze me, bro.
Two months deep in Roosevelt-style democracy, right-wing barracudas are quick to sink their teeth into this legislative inconsistency. It's tough to be sitting on the wrong side of history.
It's tough to be ravenous for dirt on the
same guy who chose to renovate the White House on his own dime, rather than utilize American tax dollars in the midst of economic decline. But while the order alone has no hope of thwarting the president's postinaugural honeymoon, could it prove
damaging to his national approval
rating? Conspiracy-starved fascists
sure hope so.
Conservative skepticism is not entirely groundless, however. Obama's decision to withhold the document does raise some legitimate concerns. Particularly troubling is the fact that two of the treaty's key drafters include the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion
Picture Association of America (MPAA). These organizations are joined by others such as Time Warner, IBM, the Entertainment Software
Association, General Motors and Wal-Mart on an ever-ambiguous "cleared advisors" list awarded access and considerable influence on the treaty.
It is no mystery that these companies are profit driven. Terrorism is the last thing on a slimy-haired Hollywood executive's mind.
If President Obama is as concerned with curbing lobbyist corruption as he claims, a clear contradiction begins to surface. As increasing numbers of Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests for the treaty content are met with adamant denials, it leaves us to
worry about executive exploitation of the phrase "national security."
Maybe Obama's secrecy isn't the issue. Maybe the ACTA is two treaties inaptly bound as one. Rather than lift transparency binds, perhaps the agreement just needs to be split
in half with a name more apt to the cause. Not that we the American middle class would know anything about slapping labels on counterfeit goods.