WikiLeaks on Tuesday (11 August) launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise a €100,000 reward for anyone leaking insider information on a proposed free-trade deal between the United States and European Union.
The controversial whistleblowing website, which hit the headlines in 2010 after publishing more than 700,000 classified US government documents, had already reached 20% of its target by Tuesday afternoon.
High-profile donors included Greece’s former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, fashion designer and environmental campaigner Vivienne Westwood, journalist Glenn Greenwald and WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange.
Hundreds of demonstrations were held in April, mainly in Europe, against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
“TTIP, which is currently under negotiation between the US and the European Union, remains closely guarded by negotiators and big corporations have been given privileged access,” said a WikiLeaks statement. “The public cannot read it.
“Today WikiLeaks is taking steps to ensure that Europeans can finally read the monster trade deal,” it added.
“The secrecy of the TTIP casts a shadow on the future of European democracy,” warned Assange.
“Under this cover, special interests are running wild. The TTIP affects the life of every European and draws Europe into long term conflict with Asia. The time for its secrecy to end is now.”
In a similar move, WikiLeaks offered a reward for the latest information about trade talks for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is being negotiated between the U.S. and 11 other nations.
It has leaked some information from these talks before offering a reward.
In a new 11-minute video, WikiLeaks accuses the U.S. of pursuing trade talks to ensure the dominance of its largest corporations, while excluding major developing nations such as China, Russia and Brazil.
Assange is currently holed up in London’s Ecuadorian embassy where he is fighting extradition to Sweden for questioning over allegations of rape and sexual assault.
If concluded, TTIP would be the world’s biggest trade deal, linking about 60% of the globe’s economic output in a colossal market of 850 million consumers, creating a free-trade corridor from Hawaii to Lithuania.
Negotiations between the US and the EU on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) started in July 2013. If successful, the TTIP deal would cover more than 40% of global GDP and account for large shares of world trade and foreign direct investment.
TTIP would be the biggest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated, resulting in millions of euros of savings for companies and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, supporters claim, boosting the European economy by around 0.5% of GDP.
>> Read our LinksDossier: TTIP for dummies
Despite their clear differences, the EU and the US boast the two most sophisticated regulatory systems in the world, which include basic labor, environmental and consumer protections in their trade agreements.
Proponents insist that an agreement that commits both parties to sustain and uphold such principles and protections, not only vis-a-vis each other, but also together, towards the rest of the world, would be a strong statement of common values and a powerful instrument to ensure that such standards advance globally.
>> Read our Linksdossier: TTIP’s regulatory maze
- 17 July 2015: TTIP 10th negotiation round closed
- By end 2015: Initial deadline for concluding TTIP, now effectively extended until end of Obama administration
- 8 Nov. 2016: US Presidential election
- 20 Jan. 2017: New US President takes office