Activist Arrested for Filming Secretive Trade Talks

Cross Posted from Leesburg Today

Talks surrounding the Trans Pacific Partnership have been ongoing since last weekend at Lansdowne Resort, drawing diplomats and trade representatives from across the globe, as well as a good many protestors. On Thursday, Sept. 13, film actress Q’orianka Kilcher, best known for her work portraying Pocahontas in the 2005 Terrence Malick film The New World, was arrested outside the event as she filmed fellow activists.

According to a statement issued by Rainforest Action Network, Kilcher arrived to assist in delivering petitions protesting the trade agreement and was “filming an interaction between other activists and police officers outside the hotel where the meetings are taking place when she was suddenly handcuffed and arrested for trespassing.”

Liz Mills, director of media relations and communications with the Loudoun Sheriff’s Office, said Kilcher was among several protestors who entered the Lansdowne Resort Thursday afternoon. After being asked repeatedly by hotel staff members to leave the premises, Kilcher, 22, was arrested and charged with trespassing. “She was then released on summons at the scene,” Mills said.

In all, nine protestors were determined to have trespassed during the TPP talks—three on Wednesday, Sept. 12, and six the following day, including Kilcher. Kilcher was the only protestor arrested and charged with a crime.

The RAN press release included a statement from Kilcher: “The Trans Pacific Partnership would be devastating for people around the world and it is being negotiated in complete secrecy to hide the content, because these agreements would never see the light of day if U.S. citizens and Congress were allowed to see what is being proposed in our names. While hundreds of corporate advisors have access to the information contained within these documents, the American public, the media and even members of congress do not. This sort of secrecy is highly undemocratic and is a complete disregard of all the systems of checks and balances established by the U.S. Constitution to avoid exactly this sort of thing.”

Kilcher is Peruvian-American—her father is an indigenous Quechua-Huachipaeri Indian. In recent years she has been heavily involved in indigenous rights movements as well as environmental activism. In 2010, she was arrested for chaining herself to the White House fence while President Barack Obama and Peruvian President Alan García met to discuss economic policies in that country. In that incident, Kilcher was charged with disorderly conduct and her mother, Saskia Kilcher, who was also present at the protest, was charged with defacing government property.

For its part, affiliates of the U.S. Trade Representatives Office, which is hosting the talks, say the TPP will address easing technical barriers to trade, including rules of origin, labor, cross-border trade in services, e-commerce, competition, intellectual property rights issues and legal issues. Eight countries are confirmed to be participating in the talks: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Mexico and Canada were expected to become involved with the talks, and Japan is considering membership.

The TPP meetings will continue at Lansdowne Resort through Friday, Sept. 15

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One Comment

  1. Evil, greedy corporations are using the TPP paperwork to further their Neoliberal agenda. Governments and citizens alike will forfeit freedom and fair pay, becoming victims of ruthless new copyright laws that will be applied retrospectively. WRONG! Sign the Avaaz petition re corporate deathstar to show your disgust.

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