Activists call for increased transparency in Trans Pacific Partnership trade negotiations

Today dozens of protesters gathered outside of the Office of the US Trade Representative in Washington, DC, where secret negotiations are taking place on the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership.  FSRN’s Noelle Galos reports.

“Human rights are what we need, it’s time to flush the TPP!” [chanting]

On bustling 17th Street, protesters chanted and preformed street theater to demand transparency from the countries negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership.  Brent Blackwelder, President Emeritus of Friend of the Earth US, told FSRN that he’s concerned about the quick pace the trade deal is being pushed through.

“Fast tracking is dangerous because if these are so wonderful for people, why aren’t we debating them? What are we afraid of? It’s only when you have something to hide, and what they have to hide are special deals for the most outrageous, un-responsible corporations that pollute the planet.”

The TPP is considered the “cornerstone” of the Obama Administration’s Asia-Pacific economic policy and the Trade Representative has pledged to keep Americans “informed and involved” in the negotiations.  But opponents counter that this isn’t happening.  They say the trade agreement threatens the environment and public health in the US.  TPP members include the US, Canada, Mexico, Peru and Chile on the eastern side of the Pacific, and Japan, Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Singapore and Brunei [broo-NYE] on the west.  Environmental, labor, and other groups fear that the TPP will eventually expand far beyond the 12 original signatories.  Noelle Galos, FSRN, Washington, DC.

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#NoMoreNames Bus Tour rallies for gun control legislation on Capitol Hill on the heels of Navy Yard shooting

Protest signsWashington, DC — Hundreds of gun safety advocates and gun violence survivors rallied in front of the Capitol today to reignite the push for universal background checks after Monday’s deadly shooting at DC’s Navy Yard. Noelle Galos reports from Washington.

Around 200 gun control advocates gathered in front of the Capitol this morning to call on Congress to revisit the Thompson-King bill for universal background checks on all gun sales. Among them was Lori Haas, whose daughter survived the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007:

“It is ludicrous and offensive that we have elected officials who continue to ignore the plight and this plague of gun violence in this country.” 

Other advocates at the rally said that, while closing loopholes which allow many people to purchase guns without background checks is one part of the solution, elected officials need to do more.  Allie Clement, a public health student in DC from Newtown, Connecticut, said mass shootings like those at Sandy Hook and the Navy Yard ought to be treated as a public health crisis.

According to the No More Names campaign, which organized today’s rally, 9,200 Americans and counting have been murdered since Newtown, including 12 killed this week at DC’s Navy Yard.  Noelle Galos, FSRN, Washington, DC.

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