Mink-holding should be a professional sport, as it seems harder to hold a mink for 8 seconds than to ride a bull. Coyote Peterson tries to hold an Alaskan mink, which promptly shows why members of the weasel family are known for weaseling out. Read the rest
Read this account of James Love's conversation with Ambassador Ron Kirk, the head US Trade Representative, on the question of why the Draconian Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is taking place in secret. Love cornered Kirk on a United Airlines flight from Geneva to DC following a WTO Ministerial meeting. Love asks Kirk why the treaty isn't public, and Kirk's answers are -- at best -- total weaselling and at worst fabrications.
I had a chance to talk to Kirk about the secrecy of the ACTA agreement. He said the ACTA text would be made public, "when it is finished." I told him it that was too late, and the public wanted the text out now, before it is too late to influence anything.
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Kirk said he was aware that there were those who wanted the text public, but the issue of transparency was "about as complicated as it can get," and Kirk didn't want people "walking away from the table," which would likely happen if the text was public, he said.
I said that it was untrue that IPR negotiations are normally secret, mentioning as examples that drafts of the other IPR texts, including the proposed WIPO treaty for disabilities and the climate change agreement language on IPR, as well as several drafts of the FTAA text and the 1996 WIPO copyright treaties had been public. Kirk said that ACTA "was different" and the topics being negotiated in ACTA were "more complex."
I brought up to Kirk that the USTR had shown ACTA text to dozens of corporate lobbyists and all of its trading partners in the ACTA negotiation, and the text was only secret from the public.