The Real Purpose of ACTA
There’s been a lot of coverage of the secretive ACTA negotiations. Or rather there’s been a lot of attempts at coverage. Since the negotiations are secret, the coverage to date has been limited to a very few interviews, where very little was said, and to several leaks of documents.
The problem is that all of the articles that have been published to date are totally wrong, due to a fundamental misunderstanding of what ACTA is really about, a misunderstanding that the countries involved have deliberately let stand. The only truthful statement made about the negotiations so far was by Ambassador Ron Kirk, the head of the United States delegation when he told James Love that people would ‘walk away from the table’ if the text of the treaty negotiations were made public.
So we have a treaty being negotiated under exceptionally secretive conditions. This sent alarm bells ringing in a lot of places. There have been a variety of attempts to get more information using Freedom of Information requests. There have also been questions asked in the European Parliament, Canadian Parliament, United States House of Representatives and United States Senate, none of which have been answered, which has added to the paranoia.
The secret to understanding ACTA (ACTA stands for ‘Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement’) is in understanding the basics of how treaties are normally negotiated. The first point to consider is that trade treaties are usually negotiated in a relatively open manner. They have to be, to ensure that all of the stakeholders have a chance to heard. The ability of all stakeholders, including end users to be heard is what gives this sort of negotiation it’s legitimacy.
This hasn’t happened with ACTA. There has been some consultation with certain industry bodies, however all of the groups involved have had to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements. This was the first indication to me that ACTA isn’t really a trade agreement.
Some further though led to the conclusion that it had to be a cover for something else.
Consider. I’ve been doing research on ACTA for nearly six months. Every article I’ve seen calls it a trade agreement, but the backup information indicates that it can’t be. The public statements made by those supposedly involved in negotiating it have been contradictory in the extreme. One representative will claim that no changes need to be made to existing laws, another will claim that changes will be minimal, and another will imply that changes will be required, but that they are consistent with existing law, none of which makes any sense.
There have been a number of ‘leaks’ of documents supposedly pertaining to ACTA. These documents have also contradicted each other.
So it is obvious that whatever ACTA is, it isn’t a trade agreement. I came to this conclusion before Christmas 2009, but didn’t publish anything at the time, because I had no conclusive proof that it wasn’t a trade agreement. It’s obvious that something was being negotiated, but what?
The situation reminded me of the World War 2 Allied deception plans that were put in place to fool the Germans into thinking that the invasion of Europe would be anywhere other than Normandy.
So if ACTA is a deception plan, what is it hiding?
On February the Second, I dropped my wife off at the airport, for her trip to England. This would be her first trip back since her Mom and Dad moved their family here in 1973. She was really excited to be going back. On Wednesday she sent me an IM. Apparently she had gotten bumped to Business Class (she wasn’t complaining about that of course) and ended up sitting next to a 50ish guy in a suit, who was working away on his laptop. She noticed the word ‘copyright’ on the screen, and as a singer/songwriter copyright is very important to her. She also knows men. She made a quick trip to the loo, and came back with her top rearranged slightly to show her assets (a lot of our friends used to call her Heidi Hooters). She managed to engage the chap in conversation, and found out that he was returning to the UK from Mexico via a stop in Toronto to visit his brother.
This set off alarm bells. She was quite aware of my interest in ACTA (in fact she had been getting sick of hearing about it) and decided to play kitten. Several drinks later (for him, she doesn’t drink) he started to loosen up. Some of what he said she didn’t understand, but she did record it using the microphone and camera on her laptop. Some of what he said didn’t make a lot of sense, as he got drunker and drunker (she was buying, and he apparently appreciated this, and the chance to gaze down her top at her boobs).
The main points I got from her recording were:
- ACTA would not require any changes to IP laws. Note that this is impossible if the Treaty actually had anything to do with IP, but he was adamant on this point.
- He kept mentioning Prince William. He seemed to thing that Prince William would become King of the United States, as well as England, Canada, Australia, and Mexico.
- He was under the impression that no one would accept Prince Charles as King, due to his marriage to a divorced woman, an exceptionally archaic viewpoint as far as I am concerned.
- He then confirmed that ACTA would require changes to laws. When she questioned him on this, as he had said earlier that it wouldn’t require changes, he said ‘I said it wouldn’t require changes to IP laws, I didn’t say it wouldn’t require changes to other laws’.
- He then proceeded to mumble about how paranoid the Americans were, and how wrong they were about the ‘New World Order.’
Under questioning while he was very drunk indeed he finally admitted the truth. ACTA is not a trade agreement. ACTA is an attempt to replace the United Nations with a new British Empire, based on the model that has worked so well in Canada.
My wife nearly fell over when she heard this. It sounded so incredibly insane. And of course the guy was pretty drunk.
When she got home I viewed the video. The webcam that is incorporated into a MacBook Pro is really pretty good, as is the microphone, and the words were fairly clear.
- Charles Windsor would step aside so that his son, William Windsor could become King.
- Queen Elizabeth plans to step down shortly from her role as Monarch in favor of her grandson.
- The current system, where the King/Queen doesn’t introduce legislation would remain in effect.
- The King/Queen would be expected to take a more activist role in rejecting legislation which is harmful to the state and it’s people.
- The new ‘British Empire’ would take the place of the United Nations, which has in recent years become far less effective.
- The United States and the European Union have already agreed to this. There are concerns by certain states (Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden) which are monarchies, and which do not want their kings and/or queens to be reduced to a second class role. This would be handled by tying the blood lines together through marriage.
- Andorra and the Vatican also have issues, due to the structures of their governments, however they would probably take the Swiss route, declaring neutrality, and therefore not joining the new British Empire, but having close relations to it.
- Other countries would be invited to join, provided that they accept the basic laws of the Empire, which would include Free Speech rights, etc.
I was aghast at first when I viewed this. But after thinking about it for a while, I think it could work, and work well. And it would give all of the constituent nations (which would remain sovereign) a framework to work together.
I still don’t know what the letters ACTA stand for. Based on some of the mumbling near the end of the video, I think that the actual words are latin, but since my understanding of latin is minimal, I could be wrong.
Friday February 19, 2010