TPP “Partner” Jails Human Rights Blogger

Dave Johnson

Wall Street really wants Congress to override both presidential candidates and We the People, and push that Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) through after the election, but before the new President and Congress take office.

As Politico’s Morning Trade reported Thursday, “Eight major financial services industry associations made an appeal to congressional leaders to support passage of the TPP this year.”

Well, that’s that, then; instructions have come down from management. Get TPP done — and lock in corporate rule — before democracy and representative government and We the People can stop it.

Meanwhile … those countries we are “partnering” with? How are people and workers treated? How do countries like Vietnam handle basic human rights, labor rights, environmental protections, things like that? What are we getting ourselves into?

Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh is coordinator for the Vietnamese Bloggers Network and receiver of the 2015 Civil Rights Defender of the Year award,

Civil Rights Defenders is delighted to announce that the recipient of the 2015 Civil Rights Defender of the Year Award is Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh. She is Coordinator for the Vietnamese Bloggers Network and well known for her use of social media to speak out against injustices and human rights abuses in Vietnam.

In 2014, Quỳnh the Stockholm-based NGO Civil Rights Defenders honored her as a Human Rights Defender.

Quỳnh blogs under the pseudonym of Me Nam (Mother Mushroom). She writes about corruption in the government and warns readers about problems with things like the way the government protects them from things like toxic chemical spills.

Because of this, Vietnam has arrested Quỳnh on charges of “spreading propaganda against the state.”

NY Times, October 11, “Vietnam Arrests Mother Mushroom, a Top Blogger, for Criticizing Government“:

The authorities in Vietnam said on Tuesday that they had arrested a popular blogger who has criticized the country’s one-party government over politically delicate topics, including a dump of toxic chemicals that devastated fishing communities and set off protests.

The blogger, Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, 37, was detained on Monday in Khanh Hoa, a south-central province. She was accused on Tuesday of distorting the truth and spreading propaganda against the state, according to the Vietnamese news media. The charges carry a maximum prison term of 12 years. No trial date was given.

Quỳnh could be imprisoned for up to 12 years for criticizing her government’s handling of a toxic chemical spill at a foreign-owned steel mill.

In April, Human Rights Watch wrote a “Letter to President Obama re: Vietnam“:

As you know, Vietnam’s government remains among the most repressive in the world. Basic freedoms of expression, association, and assembly are extremely limited. The media and Internet are controlled and censored. The Vietnamese Communist Party controls all public institutions and uses them to maintain its hold on power. Genuine elections do not take place; those being held in May for the National Assembly are a form of political theater. The courts are party organs and lack independence. Similarly, independent trade unions are not permitted.

In short, Vietnam is a police state. In our view, the main priority of the leaders you will meet is to maintain their party’s hold on power. …

There are many human rights issues that you could raise during your visit, including freedom of speech and assembly, political prisoners, and labor rights, among other topics.

THAT is who we are “partnering” with if Congress passes TPP. (Never mind Malaysia’s slavery problem…) The corporations want tariffs dropped with Vietnam so they can move production there, lowering wages and removing costs of protecting the environment and workers. They want to use that to extort lower wages and fewer protections here. The rest of us want better.

TPP advocates try to manufacture consent by telling us that the deal will improve human rights, labor rights and environmental protections. They also tell us it will bring jobs. Because that’s what people want to hear. But it is not what will happen.

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