We’re Oceania, Right?

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008, 2:32 pm

So a few months ago the U.S. made a deal with the European Union, Canada and Japan over the WTO complaint those countries filed against our online gambling laws. The thing is, the U.S. Trade Representative refused to divulge the exact nature of the deal. Like, what concessions were made to keep American citizens from gambling online, and how much those citizens would have to pay in order to have their rights restricted.

A freelance writer named Ed Brayton stepped up to the plate and filed a Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of the agreement. No big surprise that the USTR refused his request–the Bush Administration has amply demonstrated over the years that they don’t think the American people have any right to know what they’re up to. But the reason why they refused to release the agreement was astonishing, even in this insane time. From the letter Brayton received:

Please be advised that the document you seek is being withheld in full pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(1), which pertains to information that is properly classified in the interest of national security pursuant to Executive Order 12958.

I don’t think I can put my reaction to this outrage any better than Brayton did, so I’ll just quote him here:

Yes, they are actually claiming that this document, which has nothing even remotely do to with anything that could conceivably, in Dick Cheney’s wildest imagination, have anything to do with national security, has been properly classified. Americans, according to this administration, have no right to know how many billions of our tax dollars they’ve spent with no legislative authorization whatsoever in order to buy the cooperation of other nations and allow them to continue to violate the rights of American adults by preventing them from gambling in the privacy of their own home.

Yes, I will be filing an appeal immediately, and I will be filing a lawsuit if that appeal fails to restore some sanity to the situation. They’ve got me pissed off now.

Got me pissed off too. Everyone who plays poker should be pissed. Actually, every American citizen should be pissed. Trade agreements over online gaming laws are now matters of national security. The chutzpah required to actually make that argument is truly breathtaking. But, sad to say, pretty standard stuff these days.

Permanent link to this post.

2 Responses to “We’re Oceania, Right?”

  1. Darcy Says:

    Good gravy! That’s the most ridiculous thing in the world to classify. I’ll look forward to the updates. Thanks for posting this information. I would never know about it if it weren’t for your blog.

  2. mortal_one Says:

    I know what their thinking is. It is National Security because it involves transactions involving US citizens and non-US financial institutions. Those said institution, be cause the US Gov’t can’t regulate them could be pouring $$$ to terrorists and other bad guys. I don’t agree with this thinking, but that’s what it is.

Leave a Reply