I guess You all know the WTO right?
World Trade Organisation (WTO): An illegal organisation that violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In preparing the Seattle Millennium meetings, Washington in consultation with Brussels and the WTO in Geneva, is set on weakening and dividing social
movements and citizens' groups which have converged on Seattle from all over the World. Meanwhile, local organisers are busy --together with the FBI
and the Seattle Police Department (SPD)-- in carefully planning "security arrangements" for the official venue. An extensive police apparatus has
been set motion. Special Forces from the FBI, the CIA and other federal agencies will be on the scene. "Trouble-makers" are to be held at bay, well
equipped riot police are on hand including Gang Squads and SWAT teams of the Tactical Operations Divisions which constitute the "more militarized
components" of the police force.
Everything has been put in place to keep the Citizens' Summit physically removed from the Ministerial Conference. As in previous counter-summits (Rio
de Janeiro, Madrid, Copenhagen, Beijing, etc.), the intent is to ensure that the numerous protest meetings, teach-ins and mass rallies do not obstruct
or in any way threaten the legitimacy of the official venue. In Seattle, the holding of parallel sessions by NGOs requires formal "accreditation"
with the Seattle Host Committee chaired by Microsoft's Bill Gates and Philip Condit of The Boeing Company.
Several months ahead of time, the WTO and Western governments had called for a "dialogue" with selected civil society organisations in setting the
agenda for the Millennium Round. "Partner NGOs", namely those "we can trust" were provided with funds to travel and organize their respective
"teach-ins" in Seattle. Already last year, the WTO had announced a plan for "an on-going collaboration with partner NGOs" while emphasising that
the WTO "recognizes the role NGOs can play to increase the awareness of the public in respect of WTO activities". Similarly, the European Commission
had underscored its "commitment to transparency and openness in trade policy-making".
Carefully screened "partner NGOs" were invited to participate in a number of preparatory "issue-specific" events. The European Commission held
several rounds of consultations with selected consumer, labour, environmental and development organisations with a view to "to improve the
transparency of WTO meetings" including public access to WTO documents and the creation of an WTO "information ombudsman". In the words of (former)
European Trade Commissioner Sir Leon Brittan:
"A Millennium round of trade talks should not just benefit business. We can and should ensure that Consumers and the environment also gain. The
Commission has today opened a dialogue with a wide cross-section of NGOs as it believes transparency and openness are essential if a new round is to
reap its full benefits. NGOs are crucial partners in preparing for the negotiations that lie ahead."
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[Edited on 11-8-2003 by CoLD aNGeR]