On Monday, Greenpeace leaked the highly confidential negotiating drafts of the TTIP, a top-secret, big-business-friendly trade agreement between the USA and the EU.
The leak was significant because the drafts have been kept secret from elected Members of the European Parliament (though bureaucrats in the European Commission and EU business leaders have had access to them).
The finished TTIP documents are now available, in theory, for MEPs to see. MEP Luke "Ming" Flanagan, independent Irish MEP, video-recorded the farcical circumstances under which MEPs are allowed to view the documents — documents which will determine the legislative future of the EU for decades to come.
MEPs are made to relinquish their phones and other electronics, and are supplied with pens and paper, but are forbidden from writing down any verbatim quotations from the documents — on pain of all future Parliamentary scrutiny of the TTIP being cut off.
The EU establishment calls this "scrutiny" of the documents, but as they cannot be published, debated, or, indeed, altered, it's a pretty thin kind of scrutiny.
If this sounds familiar, it should. This rigmarole is nearly identical to the procedures imposed on Senators and Congress members in the USA who wanted to view the TPP documents. The major difference is that US legislators were threatened with prison if they divulged the text of the TPP documents, while MEPs were merely threatened with being denied all future access.
The European Commission has ordered Flanagan to remove his video. He has refused. I uploaded a copy to Youtube for safekeeping.
— Luke 'Ming' Flanagan (@lukeming) May 4, 2016