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WikiLeaks Promises 100,000 Euro Reward to Whomever Leaks Secret EU-US Trade Deal

Negotiated behind closed doors and described by WikiLeaks as "Europe's most wanted secret," the TTIP would deepen trade and economic ties between Europe and the United States.
Imagen vía Flickr

Wikileaks is crowdsourcing a 100,000 euro ($111,000) reward that it will give to anyone who provides the public with a copy of the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) — a massive free trade deal that is currently being negotiated between the European Union and the United States.

By Wednesday afternoon the group had already raised more than 55,000 euros (roughly $61,300) in donations — including pledges by the former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, and Daniel Ellsberg, the military analyst who leaked top secret documents during the Vietnam War.

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The initiative follows the announcement of a similar project in June to collect funds for a payout to whomever successfully leaks the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade deal being negotiated by Pacific Rim countries that would cover 40 percent of the world's GDP.

Related: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Could 'Establish a War of All Against All

Along with the Trade in Services Agreement, another deal to loosen the trade of services around the world, the TTIP and the TPP aim, in the words of WikiLeaks, "to create a new international legal regime" that will allow businesses to "bypass domestic courts, evade environmental protections, police the internet… limit the availability of affordable generic medicines, and drastically curtail each country's legislative sovereignty."

Secret negotiations
Negotiated behind closed doors and described by WikiLeaks as "Europe's most wanted secret," the TTIP trade pact seeks to enhance market access through the elimination of barriers to trade and investment in areas such as the environment, labor, and intellectual property.

The idea of a free trade agreement between the EU and the US has been around ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. After negotiations began in 2013, the proposed agreement attracted a huge wave of protest, particularly in Europe, where critics have voiced concern over the level of secrecy surrounding the talks.

Since 2013, there have been a further nine rounds of negotiations, the latest of which took place inBrussels in mid-July. It included a "stakeholder forum" during which a select group of non-governmental organizations, consumer advocacy groups, labor unions, and professional organizations were invited to express their concerns.

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Related: How the Biggest Trade Deal in History Could Quietly Change Your Life

In October 2014, the EU decided to make public the previously secret TTIP "negotiating mandate" — the directives followed by the EU negotiating team — after it was leaked online.

In an effort to appear more transparent, the EU's TTIP negotiating team tweeted a link to a "chapter-by-chapter guide" to the TTIP deal in July.

What is really inside — EU TTIP Team (@EU_TTIP_team)July 16, 2015

French economist Vincent Champain, a former executive and an expert in international cooperation, told VICE News that the purchasing power of European households would increase by an estimated 500 euros a year as a result of the treaty.

But many in Europe fear that the US will use the TTIP to impose its own trade standards on the EU, and critics of the deal have expressed particular concern over the lowering of food standards. Activists suggest that the deal would open the door to chemically sanitized foods from America like "chlorine chicken." In 1997, Europe imposed a ban on washing chicken with chlorine to kill off bacteria out of concern that the practice is carcinogenic.

Critics have also voiced their concern over the introduction ofprivate arbitration tribunals, which are used by businesses in the US to sue states.

No single document
Even if there were a willing whistleblower, Champain said, "the document they are looking for doesn't necessarily exist." He expects that the deal is made up of a number of dispersed documents.

"At the end of the day, the treaty still needs to be submitted to the European Parliament and to national parliaments for vote," he noted.

It is not yet known when the next round of negotiations for the TTIP will take place, but a final agreement is not expected to be settled until at least the end of 2016.

Follow Pierre-Louis Caron on Twitter: @pierrelouis_c Photo via Flickr