On WikiLeaks

December 5th, 2010 at 9:50pm | 13 Comments

A number of Pirate Parties around the world, including Pirate Parties International, have come out in defence of WikiLeaks, a whistleblower site that has received a great deal of attention (both positive and negative) in recent months.

This has led to a number of queries regarding the Pirate Party of Canada’s position on the matter. In response, allow me to simply say that we as a party support democracy first and foremost, both in our government and within our party. I don’t believe that our administration can justifiably form a position on this potentially-divisive issue without first putting the matter to a vote by our members. To that end, the question will be put at the regularly-scheduled December 19 General Meeting a special meeting to take place on Tuesday, December 7, with telephone and web voting available for the following week, as required by our meeting procedure 3 days. Once this process has concluded, we will issue an official statement and take action according to the will of our membership.

To those looking for a response in advance of this, I will simply reiterate the two points of our core values that are particularly germane to the matter: first, we support open government, which is certainly an end furthered by WikiLeaks’ actions, but we also believe in the importance of protecting individual privacy, which has been compromised by a number of releases to date. Reconciling these two positions, already somewhat at odds, with the question of WikiLeaks will be the task of our membership in the days to come.

Finally, allow me to apologize for the lack of promptness in this regard. Democracy, as you are no doubt aware, is a horrendously inefficient system of governance, but it is the only one that can achieve worthwhile results.

Mikkel Paulson
Pirate Party of Canada

Updated: In light of the urgency and interest in the matter, we have scheduled a special meeting to decide this matter earlier than originally announced. However, the 1-week online and web voting period will remain in place.

Updated again: At the meeting, a motion was passed to reduce the voting period to 3 days, so voting will be open between 8 pm ET on Wednesday, December 8 and the same time on Saturday, December 11.

13 Responses to “On WikiLeaks”

  1. Wes Cook says:

    What urgency could really force you guys into having a meeting to decide if you support them? I’m all for democracy, but quite honestly, this all feels a little dramatic. I think we can all agree that people calling for Julian Assange’s assassination are a little crazy, and that WikiLeaks is primarily a good thing.

  2. Dear Wes says:

    Wes, we are a democratic party and will decide our stance as a party. I’m not sure how you missed that.

  3. Dan C says:

    Actually Wes, we cannot all agree on that.
    More likely we can all agree that Assange and Wikileaks conduct themselves as if they are above the law, which they are not.
    They are irresponsible ideologues with an overinflated sense of their own moral and intellectual superiority
    Anyone who claims to be a guardian of the “truth” should not be trusted.

    Mikkel, I will be watching to see what the party line ends up being on this.
    It will surely impact whether I support the party or not moving forward.

  4. Red says:

    Regarding threats to personal privacy and the confidentiality of American sources, it is worth noting that the files themselves have been redacted by wikileaks prior to publication. Also, casting serious doubt on claims that the leak harms U.S. personnel is the fact that when given the opportunity to redact the files by wikileaks, the U.S. Consulate in London refused to be involved. This indicates either that there are no leaks which endanger lives; or that the American government does not care about those lives. Either way, it makes discussion of the subject somewhat of a moot point.

    I am all for the party hosting Wikileaks. Other Pirate Parties around the world have done the same. Make no mistake, choosing to do this would be a political action - but a good one.

  5. Dan C says:

    Or maybe, red, it indicates that Wikileaks lacks the qualifications to properly and responsibly redact the docs.
    How the hell do they know what some of these dumps reveal?
    Wikileaks operates in a void. They take one snapshot and claim that it represents the whole movie.


  6. Red says:

    I don’t see why that is a logical inference from the available facts.

    However, we are not discussing the credibility of Wikileaks’ effort. We are discussing what should be done about it. And the truth is that these files will be released, one way or another. No one can stop that now. But we must decide whether participating in such an effort is consistent with the aims and principles of this party. I believe that it is.

  7. Wes Cook says:

    Dear “Dear Wes”: I understand that it is a Democratic party, I certainly didn’t “miss that” as you claim.

    Dan C: Fair enough, we have differing views.

  8. DC says:

    Information wants to be free. The best way to love the law is to challenge those laws which are not just. Looking foreward to the vote.

  9. @Dan C

    Would you also cry for a serial burglar whose house got broken into? The US is the world’s premiere practitioner of wholesale surveillance. It’s poetic justice that they themselves, for once, get punked.

  10. Dann says:

    Dan C, perhaps you forget that your opinion is not the gold standard for wikileaks to hold itself accountable to.

    I believe that wikileaks in fact, DOES have the qualifications to properly release information that is GIVEN to it by people with access to the information.

    Blaming wikileaks is like blaming torrents for copyrighted content. It’s merely a means to an end, and end that the government wants stoppered at any price. You see, the governments involved are the ones who are not properly releasing information. It is their decisions that are having the negative impact on themselves. Decisions they are blaming on someone else, go figure.

    Also, releasing information is not above the law. And did you hear that they censor information that they believe will have repercussions?
    Quite simply, they are doing reporting that the media, journalists, and reporters have neglected to do for ages.
    To quote a saying that I’m sure you’ve heard before:

    “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”
    - Google CEO Eric Schmidt

  11. michealPW says:

    @Dan C: Are you for real? Have you even bothered to spend 5 minutes looking into WikiLeaks and/or Julian Assange? Clearly, you have not.

    Julian Assange is a journalist and as been for quite some time, contrary to the mass-media’s portrayal of Assange as a “Hacker”. Assange, by creating WikiLeaks, has created a medium for people to speak out against companies or governments that are doing shady things. Too many times have honest “whistle-blowers” been imprisoned, tortured and killed for their actions. Something has to be done, the people need to know and I’m both glad and scared about this whole WikiLeaks thing.

    Glad for the obvious, moral reasons, but scared by the reaction that WikiLeaks and Assange have recieved… This is absolute Tyranny. This man is being hunted down like a dog. Politians in “civilized”, “lawful” nations like my beloved Canada are calling for his ASSASINATION. Web Hosting companies are deleting his content, Domain Name companies are deleting his domain all while a massive, constantly evolving DoS Attack on a scale that could only be from a large organization is knocking down mirrors as fast as they come up… Maybe the Russians and Chinese I beat at StarCraft who make fun of me being a Canadian “lap-dog of American Imperialism” are actually right! We can’t seriously be the bad guys they make us out to be… Are we?

    - michealPW.

  12. michealPW says:

    Sorry to double-post, I can’t edit my previous one but had something to add.

    …. We all need to be more concerned about this and way more vocal. Do not let the mass media and governing elites win.

    “The first serious infowar is now engaged. The field of battle is WikiLeaks. You are the troops.”

    If they can shut down WikiLeaks when nobody has commited a crime, simply because their content doesn’t “jive” with the ruling elites, they can shut ANY SITE DOWN, c’mon guys think about this! We need action!

  13. Mikkel says:

    I’m going to close this discussion thread down now before it gets completely out of hand. Please save it for the meeting, or if you’d rather continue in kind, head over to our forum.