Monday, March 10, 2014

My WikiLeaks Party Inquiry

My WikiLeaks Party Inquiry
by Gary Lord (@Jaraparilla)
A full independent review of what really happened to The Wikileaks Party.



I am not a politician.” - Julian Assange.




Mandate

This inquiry is mandated by the need to be transparent and accountable to all disaffected WikiLeaks supporters around the globe, including current and former WikiLeaks Party members, who have a right to know what really happened to the WikiLeaks Party at the Australian 2013 federal election.

This inquiry is mandated by the WikiLeaks Party's own failure to deliver a meaningful promised inquiry into their calamitous “errors” in the September 2013 election, their continued damage of the WikiLeaks “brand”, and their failure to uphold their own stated values of transparency, accountability and justice.

This inquiry is mandated by the dire state of our planet and the urgent need for genuine change to our political, business and social structures. Anyone associated with WikiLeaks should be setting an example, not playing cynical power games.

Terms of Reference

Unlike the six embarrassing pages of garbage (including mis-titled cover page and irrelevant email addendum) spewed up by WLP after five months, this inquiry is not limited by deliberately arbitrary Terms of Reference limitations. Instead it provides a comprehensive, independent, public review of the WikiLeaks Party (“WLP”), including:
  • the creation of the party and the lead-up to the 2013 Federal Election, where the allocation of preferences proved a critical point of failure,
  • post-election responses and further activity of WikiLeaks Party members,
  • the current state of the party,
  • outlook for the future of the Wikileaks Party.

Objectives

  • To hold the WikiLeaks Party to its own professed standards of transparency and accountability, as stated in its Constitution.
  • To examine communications between WLP decision-makers leading up to and following the 2013 Australian federal election.
  • To expose the truth behind unpopular WLP preferencing decisions in NSW and WA, including the unsubstantiated claim of an “administrative error” in NSW.
  • To examine how WLP staff have behaved before, during and since the election, and how this has affected the reputations of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.
  • To recommend future changes.

Scope

This inquiry adopts as broad a scope as is required to get to the truth about the WikiLeaks Party. There are no timeframe constraints or other limitations.

The scope of this inquiry is only limited by WLP's continued failure to explain its own actions, and the author’s inability to get straight answers from anyone still associated with WLP, including several who seem to have left the party but remain silent on their involvement.

The author has made repeated unsuccessful approaches for information to WikiLeaks Party directly, and the following people in particular:
  • John Shipton
  • Cassie Findlay
  • Greg Barns
  • Kellie Tranter
  • Gail Malone
  • Omar Todd

Methodology

This review is presented in the format of a formal audit for no particular reason other than to make a mockery of the WikiLeaks Party's own decision to adopt such pseudo-professional voodoo to whitewash their actions.

The author has examined all available public data, including:
  • Written statements of resignation from ex National Council members Leslie Cannold, Dr Dan Mathews, Luke Pearson, Sam Castro and Kaz Cochrane, plus volunteers like David Haidon and Sean Bedlam,
  • Analysis from interested activists such as independent WikiLeaks-related news source @MarthaGroup (now @Hazelpress),
  • Website content, media interviews and WLP press releases,
  • Twitter and Facebook commentary.
  • SMS responses from Sam Castro to questions others refused to answer.
Where the author has relied on verbal information or personal experience, this is clearly stated. See the About The Author section below for background.

See the Sources section below for links to original documents.

Assumptions

Given the reticence of WLP staff to publicly justify their actions, answer simple questions, or respond to valid criticism, the author has been forced to make assumptions about their reasons for maintaining silence. Of course people have a right to remain silent, but when they scape-goat others without explaining their own actions, and where circumstantial evidence is compelling, assumptions unfortunately become inevitable. Readers are of course welcome to draw their own conclusions.

Review & Approval

This independent inquiry will be reviewed and approved (or not) by the general public. Corrections to factual errors will happily be made if any mistakes are identified and proven.
This inquiry is intended as a positive contribution to further public discussion and decision-making. Anyone disagreeing with any of the facts presented in this review is welcome to leave a public comment below (preferably) or contact the author:
  • Gary Lord
  • garylord@gmail.com
  • @Jaraparilla

About the Author

  • The Australian author of this review is a long-time vocal WikiLeaks supporter who since 2010 has helped organise many local and national demonstrations in support of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange's right to freedom. His tweets and blog articles have been frequently re-tweeted by @wikileaks. He authored the OzWikiWatch site (ozwikiwatch.blogspot.com), which maintained a check on Australian government support (or lack thereof) leading up to the 2013 election. He has spoken frequently in public in support of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.
  • The author is a former member of the Wikileaks Party who was originally selected to join the Wikileaks Party National Council (“NC”). Further background including reasons for not staying on the National Council can be found on the author's blog here (http://jaraparilla.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/wheres-that-wikileaks-party-inquiry.html ).
  • The author has had limited personal contact with the following past or present WikiLeaks Party staff: John Shipton, Matt Watt, Kaz Cochrane and Sam Castro. He has been in contact with Julian Assange rarely and by email only. He has never met any other National Council members, although he has communicated with most at some time via Twitter or email.
  • The author was previously listed online as the Queensland spokesperson for the Melbourne-based WACA group (originally WikiLeaks Australian Citizens Alliance), headed by Kaz Cochrane and Sam Castro. This was arranged because (a) media seeking comments on Assange, WikiLeaks and WLP were unwilling to talk to anyone without a title of some sort and (b) nobody from WACA in NSW or Victoria wanted to post their number publicly, as they were busy with WLP. In effect, the role mostly involved screening calls and alerting Sam and Kaz to any media opportunities. Following the election the author asked to be removed as spokesperson because he has never had involvement in day to day WACA affairs.
  • The author had discussions with John Shipton and Julian Assange regarding (a) running as the 2013 Queensland candidate for WLP, or (b) finding another suitable QLD candidate. The author was not eligible under AEC rules and no other QLD candidate was selected.
  • The author became QLD co-ordinator for election day voting booths (aiming to help provide WLP supporters with How To Vote flyers at booths in Northern NSW), an unofficial position he quit before the election.
  • The author was also a member of the WikiLeaks Party Social Media group, a collection of trusted online activists whom the WLP brought together to help spread a co-ordinated message leading up to the election. The head of the group was current WLP NC member Omar Todd.
  • Since the election, the author has maintained a campaign to demand WLP deliver their promised inquiry into the NSW preferential voting “admin error” http://jaraparilla.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/wheres-that-wikileaks-party-inquiry.html . The author sadly remains a vocal online critic of recent WLP activity and is now campaigning for the WLP to be terminated before more damage is done (see #EndWLparty hashtag). This review sets out the logic and events behind such criticism. Readers are asked to avoid ad hominem attacks and judge for themselves based on the facts presented herein (or in some cases, the facts deliberately with-held from the public by WLP).
  • The author remains committed the WikiLeaks ideals of transparency and accountability. He has no vested interest in either supporting or damaging WLP, and is providing this report for his own personal desire to see real transparency and accountability in action.


Historical Background

This section examines the facts surrounding key events. If you disagree with these facts, leave a comment or contact the author. For conclusions based on these facts, see the Findings section.

Party Foundations


The WikiLeaks Party was incorporated as a political party in Australia in 2013, while founder Julian Assange remained unjustly trapped in Ecuador's London embassy, where he was granted political asylum in August 2012.

Mr Assange's biological father John Shipton performed much of the initial work required to set up the party. Former Liberal Party candidate staffer and disgruntled ex-Greens member Greg Barns was appointed Campaign Manager for the 2013 federal election, which was held on 7th September.

A Constitution was created and posted on the website: https://www.wikileaksparty.org.au
On July 25, seven WikiLeaks Party candidates for the Australian Senate were announced in three states:
  • Victoria:
  • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange,
  • Author and Monash University gender studies lecturer Leslie Cannold (who would take Assange's seat if he were to win but not be able to return home),
  • RMIT law lecturer Binoy Kampmark.

  • New South Wales:
  • Human rights lawyer Kellie Tranter,
  • Former diplomat Alison Broinowski.

  • Western Australia:
  • Refugee activist Gerry Georgatos,
  • President of the National Ethnic Disability Alliance Suresh Rajan.
Some of the above candidates were also on the original National Council, which included:
  • Friends of the Earth activists Sam Castro & Kaz Cochrane,
  • Sea Shepherd campaigner Omar Todd,
  • Aboriginal activist Luke Pearson,
  • Mathematician Dr Dan Mathews, who helped Julian Assange create WikiLeaks,
  • Gail Malone.
Matt Watt (aka @Karwalski, owner of the WikiLeaks Ute) handled much of the technical/web issues and remains the Party Secretary.

The Schism


A schism within the party developed early on, with John Shipton and Greg Barns taking an authoritarian approach to decision-making, while a faction on the National Council demanded more democratic processes based on respect for the WLP Constitution. This faction was largely represented by Sam Castro, a strong personality with years of experience in activism, but appears to have included all the NC members who eventually resigned - Leslie Cannold, Kaz Cochrane, Dan Mathews and Luke Pearson – plus other staff.

In my own pre-election conversations with Sam Castro, she clearly saw the WikiLeaks Party as a vehicle with the potential to grow beyond Julian Assange's influence. This was not necessarily a bad thing, especially while Julian remained under detention. We discussed the possibility of WikiLeaks Parties springing up around the world with a basic message of transparent, open government. There was no reason such ambition could not co-exist with the primary goal of getting Julian Assange safely home and into the Senate. But I suspect others within the Party may have viewed Castro's ambitions less favourably.

Meanwhile John Shipton appeared to have ambitions of his own, despite originally informing NC members that he was going to quit “before the election” and “once the party is set up”. Media appearances increasingly focussing on himself rather than his son or the party's platform and candidates http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/like-father-like-son/story-e6frg8h6-1226663757794 . Perhaps he was granting interviews to the wrong people, or perhaps he was just enjoying the limelight a bit too much. Either way, discontent continued to simmer as the election approached . And Shipton continued to hold onto several key roles in the party, despite being challenged to at least drop all but one of his positions.

Dan Mathews (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/22/wikileaks-julian-assange): “The WikiLeaks party has arguably suffered serious problems from the outset, being pulled in radically different directions from its base and membership, on the one hand, and the figurehead and associates on the other... Barns spoke repeatedly of his conversations with Julian, but it seemed to me that much less communication apparently occurred between Julian and the National Council. As such, in my view, a divide started to appear between an insider group, including Julian, Shipton and Barns, and the rest of the national council... Strong commitment at the center of the party to deals seen as unscrupulous and unprincipled by supporters was a train wreck waiting to happen."

The Preferences Debacle


NOTE: Under Australian law, all political parties must allocate “preferences” for other parties to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC): these preferences are allocated in numerical order after all voters' primary choices have been counted. The aim of this system is to ensure that if a voter's first preference does not get elected (e.g. a minor candidate) they can still have a say in the final outcome. Voters are allowed to personally number all candidates on the lengthy Senate voting paper, but in practice most just choose one party and allow that party's submitted list of preferences to decide how their own preferences are allocated.

The original need for a WLP inquiry arose as a direct result of public anger at how WLP allocated preferences in the states of New South Wales (NSW) and Western Australia (WA). In Victoria, where Julian Assange was running as a candidate, the WLP preferences were generally well received.

The NSW preferencing debacle had a prelude: a few weeks before the election, WLP NC member Cassie Findlay was handing out flyers at Marrickville Markets in Sydney when Greens councillor Max Phillips asked her about WLP preferences. He tweeted that he was told WLP would be putting “rightwing micros like Shooters & Hanson” ahead of the Greens (https://twitter.com/maxphillips/status/366402575991455745 ). This claim was dismissed by WLP supporters (including myself) who could not believe that anyone in a position to know would be stupid enough to tell random members of the public about WLP preferences before they were announced.

NOTE: Max Phillips was only able to identify Ms. Findlay as his source after preferences were announced.

When preferences were finally announced, it was even worse than Max Phillips' tweet suggested. From WLP's own published Inquiry:

Over a period of several weeks prior to the 2013 Federal Election, the WLP National Council members attended internal meetings and conversed via email, telephone conferencing and other electronic media to preference a record number of Senate candidates.
A WLP press release stated (inter alia) that we “aren’t aligned with anyone”.....and will “support and oppose the policies of other parties and groups according to our stated principles”.
The WLP publicly released its group voting ticket on 17 August 2013, in which preferences for the Australia First and the Shooters and Fishers Parties were placed above the Greens in NSW, contrary to exchanges of emails between WLP National Council members leading-up to the deadline with the AEC.
In WA, the Greens were placed below the National Party.

The far right white supremacist Australia First party are generally considered Fascists (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australia_First_Party ). WLP's election fate was ultimately sealed by this singular decision to allocate preferences to Australia First above the Greens, who are Australia's third most powerful party and the only major party to consistently speak up for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks (see OzWikiWatch http://ozwikiwatch.blogspot.com ).

When news of the WLP preferences broke, there was an immediate uproar on social media. The Greens and their supporters were horrified that WLP had placed them behind Fascists and anti-environmentalists in NSW, and behind the Nationals in WA (who are part of a Coalition with the Liberal Party, which ultimately won the election). Even loyal WLP supporters like myself were confused and angry.

In WA, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam had been by far the single most supportive WikiLeaks/Assange supporter in parliament. He had even travelled at personal cost to the UK and Sweden to meet Julian Assange and plead his case with authorities. When WLP preferences were announced, Senator Ludlum said he considered the National Party to be the biggest threat to his own chances of retaining a Senate seat.

The announcement of preferences was a major blow to WLP's public support nationwide, particularly as much of the WLP support base were people who would normally vote for the Greens. By contrast, the Greens had preferenced WLP highly in every state where they had a candidate.

Although Julian Assange had previously expressed support for right-wing Libertarianism and US Republican Ron Paul, WLP supporters had no reason to believe the party would take an anti-Greens right-wing stance, particularly given the principles outlined in its Constitution and stated policies.

The resignation statement from Dan Mathews, who had (sensibly, in retrospect) advocated doing no preference deals at all, explained what had been happening behind the scenes:

“At a national council meeting on 12 August, there was spirited argument between Greg Barns and several members of the national council regarding a deal with Family First. As part of its decision at that meeting, the national council requested Barns to provide certain information.

“Although Assange had not attended the meeting, after receiving the council’s resolution by email he quickly wrote a long email entitled “NC micromanagement of preferences”, in which he expressed his displeasure with the council in making such requests, and proposed an alternative structure for preference decisions. Negotiations would be done by lead candidates, with no restraints on them, and Assange having a right of veto. He proposed giving the national council a role in rubber-stamping the results of this process.

“Thus, one member of the national council was proposing to grant themselves a right of veto and to reduce it to a rubber stamp. Given the eagerness of some to pursue deals even with the far right, I and several others on the national council were keen to retain the national council’s role in these important decisions.

“I told the council that the party could have been set up autocratically, but it was not set up that way. It was set up with a reasonably democratic structure, with a governing council with membership and representation from various sectors supportive of, and related to, WikiLeaks. If it could be overridden by the lead candidate when he disagreed, it would be a sham. This received the support of several others on the council, and it thus appeared that the council would not be reduced to a sham.”

But the National Council was indeed reduced to a sham, along with the rest of the party. As Dan Mathews further explained:

“The council could not practically decide the precise ordering of all parties, and some discretion was left to the candidates and/or campaign teams to establish the details. Nonetheless clear instructions were formalised by Barns in an email sent at 8:16 pm Friday night, which said the following.
I would have preferred to have had Shooters and FF in the mix but the final deals are:
Victoria – Greens put WLP at number 2 and WLP has Greens first of majors and drops Shooters and FF/Christian groups below majors.
NSW – Greens preference WLP at 3, with Pirates at 2, and WLP puts Greens above FF, Shooters and Christian Right.
WA – Greens preference WLP at 2 and WLP puts Greens first of major parties and above Christian right and Shooters.
The Shooters and some parties on the right will probably put WLP below the majors as a result of these deals.
“Nothing further was heard until Sunday, when I woke up to find that the Wikileaks party ticket in NSW had the Shooters & Fishers — and the Nazi Australia First party! — above the Greens. In WA, the Nationals were above the Greens.

“I was dumbstruck.”

The online furore over WLP preferences quickly grew more widespread, angry and vocal https://twitter.com/KellieTranter/status/368988921402626048 . It was already being reported in national media before WLP belatedly issued a statement blaming the NSW preferencing on unspecified “administrative errors”. The Wikileaks Party statement:

The WikiLeaks Party isn't aligned with any other political group. We'd rather not allocate preferences at all but allocating preferences is compulsory if your name is to go above the line.

In allocating preferences between 53 other parties or groups in NSW some administrative errors occurred, as has been the case with some other parties. The overall decision as to preferences was a democratically made decision of the full National Council of the party. 
According to the National Council decision The Shooters & Fishers and the Australia First Party should have been below Greens, Labor, Liberal. As we said, we aren't aligned with anyone and the only policies we promote are our own. We will support and oppose the policies of other parties or groups according to our stated principles.”

There were suggestions that the two women who had submitted the NSW preferences – Cassie Findlay and Gail Malone – had confused the Australia First party with the similarly-named Family First party. It was a lame excuse – particularly for anyone familiar with previous National Council discussions - and it was not enough to placate social media, where intense debate continued for weeks.

WLP's WA candidate Gerry Georgatos – himself a disaffected former Greens member, just like Greg Barns [ed: Barns was a former Liberal Party candidate] – finally admitted on radio that “it was NOT an administrative error” in NSW but refused to elaborate further.

NSW candidate Alison Broinowski : “I am prepared to go along with the explanation of it as an error.’’ http://www.dailyliberal.com.au/story/1723226/wikileaks-candidate-says-there-was-no-skulduggery-in-party-schism/?cs=3275
 
WA candidate Gerry Georgatos: “It was not an administrative error, it was a poor judgement call. I’m not [going to come out] here and bullshit the audience. “ http://techgeek.com.au/2013/08/26/wikileaks-party-senate-candidate-nsw-preferences-poor-judgement-call-admin-error/
 
Gerry Georgatos nevertheless insisted that the state candidates had the final say on WLP preferencing (as per Assange's email), and it had been his own personal decision to preference the Nationals ahead of the Greens' Scott Ludlam in WA. He was adamant that the Nationals could not be considered a “major party” in WA and had no chance of winning a seat.

Georgatos (a campaigner for indigenous rights) argued that the Nationals Party candidate was an indigenous Australian who had no real chance of winning, but deserved a “token of support”.

John Shipton (http://www.altmedia.net.au/wikileaks-calls-for-electoral-reform/82216 ) : “David Wirrpanda is a very notable WA Indigenous person, so we were happy to give him some publicity.”

Senator Ludlam ridiculed the claim that the WA Nationals had no chance of beating him, and events later proved him right: Ludlam ended up being voted out by a very narrow margin and had to appeal for a recount, which was eventually dismissed due to missing votes. He now faces a fresh election.

As it turned out, given the process of allocating preference votes, WLP preferences were not critical to the result in either NSW or WA, although margins were extraordinarily slim at various stages of the count. Nevertheless, Georgatos' claim that the National Party candidate never had a chance was wrong.

Allocating WA preferences to a right-wing Coalition member was at best a foolish gamble, a PR nightmare, and a betrayal of WikiLeaks Party principles (as stated in the Constitution).

NOTE 1: WACA later claimed that an un-named National Council member had caved in to pressure from Greg Barns and “a candidate” to change the NSW preferences. Sam Castro also told me that Gerry Georgatos had emailed Greg Barns asking if it was OK to preference the National Party in WA, but Barns had failed to pass on his concerns to the National Council. So why did Georgatos bother to email Barns, if he really thought he had the final say? Or is that what Barns told him? We don't know because neither has been willing to explain the truth.

NOTE 2: NSW Senate candidate Kelly Tranter posted and then deleted a Twitter post saying that the Greens were punished because they did a deal with the ALP, a party sending asylum seekers “to gulags”. Later, explaining that post, she stated that The Greens “spent weeks talking about the cruelty of the ALP and then do a deal with them”. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/08/18/wikileaks_party_scrambles_to_explain_election_decisions/

NOTE 3: There has been much speculation that a deal was made with infamous “preferences whisperer” Glenn Druery (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glenn_Druery ), who specialises in “helping” minor parties orchestrate preference voting for mutual benefit. Although there was obviously much discussion, I have seen no proof of any such deal. In fact, Sam Castro says that at one stage she heard Druery tell Greg Barns that he had “ruined everything”. Alison Brionowski also denied there was a deal with Druery.

Dan Mathews: “On 6 August, at a national council meeting, Barns proposed a deal with a group of small parties, organised by Glenn Druery. It is of course his job to talk to other parties and I have no doubt he has worked hard and honestly to do his job throughout. This group, including several far right parties, proposed to deliver 7%-9% of the vote to us if we preferenced them all highly. The national council rejected it."

The Walkout


Following the massive public furore over WLP preferences, National Council members met to discuss what went wrong and how it could be fixed. Details of these discussions were published in their lengthy statements of resignation, which have never been seriously challenged (see the Sources section at the end). Dan Mathew's statement, quoted extensively in this inquiry document, is particularly illuminating.

It is worth noting that the resignation statements were relatively subdued and generally did not name names, politely giving the party an opportunity to remedy errors and continue operations without specifically damaging anyone's reputation. It was only in the to-and-fro arguments that followed, where WLP insiders continued to deny responsibility and blame those who quit, that specific people were named.

Sean Bedlam soon revealed that John Shipton was the person who had tried to approach him and establish a new power-base to challenge the National Council. Others (Kaz Cochrane and Victorian volunteer co-ordinator David Haidon, from memory) confirmed that Shipton had also approached him them. As Leslie Cannold stated (http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/julian-assanges-wikileaks-party-running-mate-leslie-cannold-quits-20130821-2sb99.html#ixzz2t73DpSHX ):

‘‘As long as I believed there was a chance that democracy, transparency and accountability could prevail in the party I was willing to stay on and fight for it. But where a party member makes a bid to subvert the party's own processes, asking others to join in a secret, alternative power centre that subverts the properly constituted one, nothing makes sense anymore.

‘‘This is an unacceptable mode of operation for any organisation but even more so for an organisation explicitly committed to democracy, transparency and accountability.’’

Wednesday 21st August, 2013 – three days after preferences were announced - was the day people started resigning. A week earlier I had been offering John Shipton a bed in my house as he travelled up to Queensland. Now, as news of Leslie Cannold's resignation spread across the Internet, I was on Twitter demanding public answers and refusing to take his frantic calls. I sent an angry SMS to Greg Barns:

“This is just bullshit Greg. The people who did the wrong thing with preferences and dragged us to the right should be the ones resigning.”

No reply. But I did get an SMS reply from John Shipton to my public tweets:

John Shipton: “As for the NC being subverted who the fuck told you that? Some fucking lowlife who wanted more shit spread around and could not wait 2 weeks til the election is over... Self righteous vain people. All over.a two bit error that makes no difference to any result.”

I told John to stop texting me privately and get his WLP version of events out to the general public instead. I said the preference deal was a massive stuff up and I was sick of doing damage control on Twitter when nobody in the party was prepared to even defend their own version of events.

John Shipton: “Rubbish and more rubbish . We ensured Ludlam a win in WA . The Nats never get more than 3.5 . Stop believing negative bullshit about us. Politics is all about damage intros and perception. . You hate us yet we work all day and night... Jesus wept.”

My reply:
“John it is not about me: get on Twitter and take a look. I have stood by Julian through thick and thin. And I do not hate anyone involved with WLP. But this massive fuckup was totally avoidable.”
John:
“What the fuck are you gonna say upon finding that Cannold was a plant”

This was an outrageous suggestion, especially because Julian Assange had personally selected Leslie Cannold as his running mate; if he could not take up his Senate seat, she would take it for him. Of course, in the paranoid-inducing global Infosec world of WikiLeaks, such treachery sometimes has to be contemplated, but there never was and never has been any evidence to support such a wild claim. It smacked of crazy desperation.

Me:
“If that is true then tell it to Australia. A smart media manager can turn all tomorrow's bad headlines to WLP's advantage. But to own the narrative you have to get your version of the truth out there. WLP is not doing that. That is what I am saying.” 

It was at this stage that Sam and Kaz and Dan and Sean and David and Luke announced their resignations...

Another SMS from John:

“Really and truly treacherous . No calls to me or Greg or anybody”

NOTE: In fact they had given up on Barns and Shipton and had been trying unsuccessfully to contact Julian Assange in London.

Me:
“Sam and Kaz have been getting arrested for your son. They are wonderful committed people.”

John:
“Loved both those women: but one day, when all is calm we can talk about what unfolded before my eyes and heart.”

Well, John, we are all still waiting to hear your version of events. All we ever got from WLP was a joke of an inquiry, five months late. WLP has never properly explained “what unfolded”.

NOTE: I never heard from John Shipton again. His twitter account @JohnShipton remains silent.

Of course the resignations provided an opportunity for the mainstream media to inform the general public what was going on – and curiously, many readers replied that they didn't even know the WikiLeaks Party existed. In fact, the party later claimed that NSW membership had actually increased after the resignations.

They say there is no such thing as bad publicity: this shows that the party could still have gone on to win votes if they had been able to get their version of events out to the public. But their version of events was something the WLP leadership was desperate to keep private.

The Fallout


Following the resignations, Julian Assange issued a statement and made several Australian media appearances in an effort to limit the damage.

Julian Assange: “I made a decision two months ago to spend a lot of my time on dealing with the Edward Snowden asylum situation and trying to save the life of a young man (Bradley Manning). Now, the result is over-delegation, so I admit and I accept full responsibility for over-delegating functions to the Australian party while I tried to take care of those situations.”

Assange's efforts back-fired because he could not properly explain the WLP “administrative error” and because he simultaneously maintained that as party leader, he could do whatever he liked, regardless of the party's Constitution or the National Council.

By this time Crikey had published leaked WLP emails showing Assange's efforts to over-ride National Council decisions on preferences: http://media.crikey.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/From21.pdf This increased the pressure on Assange to either defend the final preferencing decisions or explain the “error”. He managed to do neither successfully.

Assange's 30 August appearance on The Drum ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbJJx5f1kAY ) was a final PR disaster, epitomised by his bizarre statement: ‘‘I am not a politician, though I am running for election.”

This lengthy prime-time TV appearance was just a week out from the September 7th election. The last best chance to repair the damage had just been blown.

Election Results


WikiLeaks Party won just 0.66 per cent of the national vote. No candidates were elected.

Australian political parties that win over 1.4% of the national vote are eligible for government funding that can amount to millions of dollars. This would have been invaluable to the ongoing work of WikiLeaks. No such public funding was earned.

Post-election Activity


This section details further activity by WLP since the election.

Blogging


After the election, remaining WLP staff went largely silent on social media, refusing to discuss what happened. But the party continued to post bizarre articles on their website, including a “Happy Birthday” hagiography of former Australian PM Paul Keating (who supported Indonesian dictator Suharto) and climate denialist pseudo-scientific nonsense that contradicts the party's own Constitutional support for the environment (John Shipton has told former NC members that man-made climate change was a hoax).

Syria Trip


In late December 2013, en route to visit Julian Assange in London, John Shipton lead a Wikileaks Party delegation to Damascus, where they met with Syrian President Bashar Assad, who is widely condemned as a War Criminal. The visit appears to have been orchestrated by delegation member Daoud Jamal, who joined the WLP NC after the election. Gail Malone was also on the trip.

Syrian TV news portrayed the WLP visit as an official Australian “solidarity delegation”. There was no specific mention of WikiLeaks or the WikiLeaks Party. The Assad regime tweeted a picture showing the President addressing the seated, smiling WLP members, who later admitted they were only allowed to ask Assad two questions. It is clear they were used as a PR tool by President Assad's regime at the height of the Syrian civil war.

The trip brought international condemnation http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2531903/Julian-Assanges-father-leads-Wikileaks-delegation-visit-Syria-meet-Assad-vow-open-Damascus-office.html and WikiLeaks was quick to distance itself from yet another PR disaster:

@WikiLeaks: ''Peace brokering a good idea, but [it was] obvious [the] meeting would be spun without care. Did not know or approve.''

Shipton later stated that he could not tell his son about the trip because their communications were being monitored. This was a ridiculous excuse – is nobody in WLP able to use encryption tools?

''
[Assad] invited us to call in and have a cup of tea, and it was difficult to snub him,'' Mr Shipton said from London. ''We just went along, said hello, didn't say anything much actually.” http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/wikileaks-party-defends-its-cup-of-tea-with-bashar-alassad-20131231-304ne.html#ixzz2vKdiuazY

Media reports typically failed to distinguish between WikiLeaks and the WikiLeaks Party, inflicting further reputational damage on the former. To make matters worse, John Shipton threatened to sue the Australian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister after they condemned the trip as “stupid and reckless” http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/assanges-father-to-start-legal-action-against-tony-abbott-julie-bishop-20140102-3080z.html :

"Because of the defamatory statements made against myself by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, we have asked barrister Clive A. Evatt to begin defamation proceedings seeking $5 million in damages in each case.”

For a party supposedly committed to Freedom of Speech, this was yet another ridiculous move. It was also pathetic. Shipton was clearly trying to save face with a legal threat that had no chance of succeeding. Did he not realise that he was now the CEO of a political party, and as such could not demand the privacy to which a normal citizen is entitled?

Shipton also promised to open a Wikileaks Party office in Damascus, and said WLP would raise $40,000 funds for Syrian people's health. Again, the media were more than happy to use “WikiLeaks” instead of WLP in their headlines: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/wikileaks-reheats-syrian-assad-campaign/story-e6frg6so-1226821976235
 
Strong WikiLeaks supporter Antony Loewenstein wrote an article condemning the WLP Syria trip http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/14/wikileaks-partys-syria-visit-is-a-damaging-and-misguided-pr-coup Sadly but predictably, this article lead to WLP insiders condemning Loewenstein.

Graeme Dunstan, an old friend of Shipton's, told an email forum that the WLP Syria trip was just like Jane Fonda in Vietnam. But Fonda got to make a dozen radio speeches to the Vietnamese people over several weeks, while WLP were only allowed to ask two questions to Assad. Just before she left Vietnam, Fonda was photographed sitting on a North Vietnamese tank, and this “Hanoi Jane” image became an enduring PR nightmare she always regretted. WLP got the PR disaster photo and nothing else.

WLP claimed they also met with Syrian opposition but were never able to substantiate this claim. WLP NC member Daoud Jamal - whose Twitter avatar when he joined the NC was a man with a machine gun in front of a Palestine flag - has blogged explicit support for President Assad, and has been assaulted at Sydney demonstrations by anti-Assad protestors.

Pro-Russian Propaganda


WLP followed up their Syrian PR disaster with a series of interviews with Voice Of Russia journalist John Robles, where selected quotes were hand-picked for pro-Russian propaganda.

Shipton: The Russian diplomatic skills are a triumph, and with the Shanghai Cooperative Organization, the BRICs last year in Far East and this year Syria and the Ukraine. There is diplomatic triumph second to none, and in our view the Russian President and Foreign Ministry people wish to bring peace to allow development. http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_02_05/The-US-and-its-allies-a-horror-show-that-must-stop-John-Shipton-9806/

"Shipton praised President Vladimir Putin and Russian FM Sergey Lavrov and called them forces for peace." http://t.co/vFlms2Rm3v
 
"The envy of Russia & Slavic civilization by the West seems to be boundless." http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_02_09/Western-envy-of-Russia-and-Slavs-boundless-John-Shipton-9691/
 
Even former Campaign Manager Greg Barns (who admits he is not even a member of WLP) did a PR interview with the same Voice of Russia journo:

 
“Certainly, I had nothing to do with the trip, but I didn’t see any endorsement of Assad by those who were on the trip … I wasn’t on the trip, I had no involvement.” 

The WLP Review/Inquiry


The hastily announced WLP “independent inquiry” was never intended to be either independent or serious. As Leslie Cannold said on the day she resigned ( http://waca.net.au/resignations-from-the-wikileaks-party-statements/ ) :

“An additional call was made to a campaign staffer. In direct contrast to the public statement The Wikileaks Party put out this morning in which we promised the public that we would have an immediate independent review of the preference outcomes, this person said that the review would be delayed until after the election and that it wouldn’t be done independently. The caller would run it. This is the final straw.” 

As we now know, that “caller” was John Shipton. And again it is worth noting that Cannold did not name Shipton as the “caller” at the time, presumably because she knew Julian Assange would be damaged by association with his father's lack of ethics. 

The WLP inquiry was eventually sent out to members by email on 4th February 2014, five months after the election. The author was a WLP member who made it clear he did not have enough information to draw any meaningful conclusions.

Here's how Crikey's Bernard Keane, another strong WikiLeaks supporter, described it: http://www.crikey.com.au/2014/02/07/the-highly-emotional-and-volatile-world-of-the-wikileaks-party/
 
It was conducted by Stuart Bell of Bell Campbell Auditing, a WikiLeaks Party member approached by John Shipton, Julian Assange’s father, to conduct the audit. The review is six pages long, including the cover page and an attachment. In it, Bell complains that his conduct of the review was “limited” by his “inability or access to all relevant information and WLP personnel, especially where there has been a severe fall-out over the 2013 preferencing issues in NSW and WA”.

Bell had not been able to interview anyone except for Shipton, but says he took written submissions or phone calls from other key figures like Greg Barns. Bell also laments “limited or no access to WLP official transcripts, minutes of National Council meetings and official emails/correspondence”, which forced him to accept the word of those he interviewed. However, Bell rejected the “administrative error” claim by the party:
It cannot be shown that it was an ‘administrative error’, based on the electronic and verbal hyper-activity by the National Council members … It was a combination of human errors caused by a highly emotional and volatile atmosphere, where a number of key WLP members were instrumental in causing confusion, not from malicious intent but due to a lack of defined responsibilities.”
Bell goes on to recommend that the party make its preference allocation decisions earlier and that someone formally be given the job of overseeing the allocation process.

The WLP inquiry (PDF: http://media.crikey.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/WikiLeaks-Party-Independent-Review.pdf ) was reviewed by the auditor in November 2013, after it had already been approved by NC member Kellie Tranter on 26 October 2013. Of course it is not normal for documents to be further reviewed after they have already been approved, and there is no explanation for with-holding the document a further three months. I asked WLP and Kellie Tranter for comment but got no reply.

Abuse Of WikiLeaks Supporters


Prior to the formation of the WikiLeaks Party, WikiLeaks supporters in Australia were a vocal, united and active group across all states. Public demonstrations in support of Julian Assange's right to freedom were held regularly, along with online activities. Since the election, this unity and support has all but vanished, and WLP has done nothing to replace it.

The problem began when WLP insiders criticized those who resigned (as described above). These personal attacks – accusing people of being treacherous or even secret government agents – have never been substantiated, and there has never been any apology for them.

The problem was exacerbated when @wikileaks began to criticize @akaWACA on Twitter, and Sam Castro in particular. Julian accused WACA of using the WikiLeaks brand to build a power platform and demanded they change name (this has belatedly been done).

Then @wikileaks posted a link to an embarrassing old video of Sean Bedlam (which Bedlam said he had tried unsuccessfully to get removed from a disreputable website). What is the point of such vindictive character assassination? Isn't this the same ad hominem muck-raking UK media has done to destroy Assange's character? Admittedly, Bedlam has posted angry tweets rudely describing his contempt for Julian Assange. But surely a proper WLP inquiry, justifying the unsubstantiated allegations of “treachery”, would have been a better way to respond to such criticism?

On the day the WLP Inquiry was released, Sam Castro claimed https://twitter.com/jaraparilla/status/431997851858526208 someone had deleted all her emails prior to August 13th 2013 (including emails regarding the pivotal August 12th WLP meeting) in multiple accounts. She supplied no proof of this but said other WikiLeaks supporters had suffered the same problem. I asked @wikileaks and @wikileaksparty to deny any involvement in this but got no response.

WA Revote


WLP has recently announced that it will run the same candidates when WA goes back to the polls.

“National Council has nominated our 2013 WA candidates Gerry Georgatos & Suresh Rajan."

Lessons learned? I think not. A recent email to members asked:

"What do we stand for? ... Where the truth is suppressed or distorted, corruption and injustice are allowed to flourish." 

Hmmn. Members were also asked to have their say on how preferences should be allocated this time around. A few hundred replied. The Greens, ironically, were their #1 choice.

Findings


The findings in this section are based on the available evidence as presented above. 
 

The NSW “Administrative Error”


UPDATE: See also this Storify of discussion on 12th March 2014 - it seems the decision to call it an "admin error" may have been made by Kellie Tranter, over objections from Sam Castro and Kaz Cochrane, who nevertheless accepted the National Council vote to go with that explanation but then "went on strike" and called for meetings to resolve the issue: http://storify.com/jaraparilla/wlp-discussion-12-march-2014?awesm=sfy.co_pQwN&utm_campaign=&utm_source=direct-sfy.co&utm_medium=sfy.co-twitter&utm_content=storify-pingback

WLP insiders have consistently blamed those who resigned for their poor election results. This is not true. The damage was done by the preferences, which totally shocked and alienated countless supporters. The debacle was then exacerbated by the flimsy excuse of an unsubstantiated “administrative error” and – finally - the ludicrously cynical promise of an “independent inquiry” after the election.

Circumstantial evidence, combined with WA candidate Gerry Georgatos's public admission, make it clear that the decision to preference Fascists and anti-environmentalists in NSW was no “administrative error”. At best, one might imagine that the preferencing of Shooters & Fishers was deliberate sabotage of the National Council vote while the preferencing of the Fascist “Australia First” party was an accidental confusion with the “Family First” party [ed: or Australian Voice - see emailed comment from Dan Mathews in Comments below]. But WLP have not even tried to substantiate this possibility.
  • Statements from those who resigned indicate that remaining members of WLP, including John Shipton and Greg Barns [ed: Barns did not have a vote], previously voted to submit NSW preferences with the Shooters and rightwing parties preferenced.

  • Weeks before NC member Cassie Findlay personally submitted the preferences (along with Gail Malone) to the AEC, she was already publicly telling people this would happen.

  • Neither Cassie nor Gail nor Greg nor John is prepared to publicly state what really happened.

  • Greg Barns continued to argue post-election that WLP candidates could have won with the right-wing preferences he desired.
While there is no “smoking gun” it is quite clear that the National Council decision on NSW preferences was deliberately subverted. This lack of respect for formal procedures was further evidenced by John Shipton's attempt to build a new power base by covertly approaching Sean Bedlam and Kaz Cochrane Victorian volunteer co-ordinator David Haidon when Leslie Cannold resigned.

The decision to call this an “administrative error” can most generously be explained by blind panic. The fast and furious public backlash on social media seemed to genuinely shock the WLP power-brokers. Having made a mistake, they exacerbated it by lying, thus sealing not only the downfall of their own party, but also denying Julian Assange a fair and reasonable chance to get elected and come home as an Australian Senator.

WA Preferences


WA candidate Gerry Georgatos was clearly under the impression that he had the power to submit preferences as he pleased, whatever the NC may have instructed. Either he was given the nod by someone more senior (most likely Greg Barns, or via Greg Barns) or else he made his own arrogant decision. In either case, he does not appear to have been admonished – quite the opposite. Georgatos' decision to subvert NC procedures confirms Julian Assange's admission that he did not exercise proper oversight of the party.

And either way, whatever Georgatos or Matt Watt may say, it was clearly a foolish decision. It contributed to the broader national anti-WLP backlash, it definitely and significantly endangered Scott Ludlam's chance of a Senate seat, and (perhaps most importantly) it must surely have left a damaging impression on Senator Ludlam and other senior Greens, who may well choose not to spend so much time supporting Assange and WikiLeaks in the future.
Assuming Senator Ludlam still has a future in parliament. The WA re-vote is scheduled for April 5th 2014.

Allocating WA preferences to a right-wing Coalition member was at best a foolish gamble, a PR nightmare, and a betrayal of WikiLeaks Party principles (as stated in the Constitution).

Blaming The Greens


There was a pre-election deal between WLP and the Greens, who accepted that WLP would preference minor parties (but no major parties) ahead of them. Gerry Georgatos' insistence that preferencing the Nationals in WA did not breach this deal was clearly ridiculous: they are a key part of the Liberal-National Coalition that has held power in Australia for most of the past 20 years.

With the deal broken, the Greens did not hesitate to attack WLP for supporting Fascists and anti-environmentalists. This may have lead some within WLP to call the Greens hypocrites and even ultimately blame them for the ensuing debacle. But the Greens were well within their rights to attack WLP, who (on the basis of their listed preferences) should have been prepared for such criticism from all sides.

The fact that both Greg Barns and Gerry Georgatos was a were disaffected former Greens member [ed: it was Jamal Daoud not Barns who was also a disaffected ex-Green. Jamal later joined the NC but quit acrimoniusly blaming Shipton. Georgatos set up a breakaway group called The Real Greens] obviously did not help in this situation. Indeed, it seems to anti-Greens sentiment within the party may be a key reason why the Greens were preferenced so lowly in the first place. Kellie Tranter and Omar Todd also posted tweets that blamed for the Greens for WLP's own failures.

Personal prejudices appear to have negatively affected party decision-making.

Blaming Julian


It is impossible not to hold Julian Assange personally responsible for much of what went wrong with the WikiLeaksParty. It is also impossible to be sure exactly how much decision-making he was personally involved with.

What is abundantly clear, however, is that since the election he has closed ranks with his father John Shipton (despite continuing and embarrassing errors of judgement), supported unsubstantiated attacks on his own supporters, and approved the cover-up of events surrounding preferences and resignations. This is foolish and disappointing behaviour.

It would be nice to blame this on the paranoia induced by relentless pursuit by extremely powerful forces, Julian's continued captivity in the Ecuadorian Embassy, and his consequent inability to meet supporters face-to-face. And nobody should be influenced by the media's relentless smear attacks on Julian's character. But nobody is perfect, and ultimately the WikiLeaks Party failures have exposed an authoritarian element of the WikiLeaks founder.

The author of the WLP Inquiry concluded:

“In the author’s opinion, it was a combination of human errors caused by a highly emotional and volatile atmosphere, where a number of key WLP members were instrumental in causing confusion, not from malicious intent but due to a lack of defined responsibilities.”

In fact, it seems the responsibilities of the National Council were adequately defined in the Constitution, but the leadership chose to ignore and ultimately try to subvert the Constitution.
As founder and self-declared President of the WikiLeaks Party, Julian Assange must take full responsibility for its mistakes.

Mitigating Factors


It is worth pausing to reflect on other considerations which made success for the WikiLeaks Party a serious challenge. These include:
  • The Australian media (with notable exceptions including Fairfax's Phillip Dorling and ABC Four Corner's) and major political parties are generally hostile to WikiLeaks.

  • Volunteer staff were working on a casual or part-time basis.

  • Communication was hampered by international and interstate time differences, lack of real world one-to-one contact between key personnel, and the constant need to consider government surveillance.

  • The party never got close to its declared funding goal and had limited financial resources.
NOTE: Due to lack of solid evidence, this document has generally not examined party financial issues.

Summary Of Findings


The WikiLeaks Party has been an utter and complete failure for all but a small handful of remaining members. It has betrayed its own stated principles, ignored its own Constitution, turned against its own National Council leaders with unsubstantiated attacks, disillusioned its own members, and alienated WikiLeaks supporters worldwide.

The WikiLeaks Party has unnecessarily divided the previously strong community of WikiLeaks supporters and virtually destroyed active, vocal support for Julian Assange in Australia.

The WikiLeaks Party has inflicted global reputation damage by association with WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. Much of this has resulted from foolish and avoidable behaviour, which politicians and an antagonistic media have happily used to attack their prime targets.

Post-election WikiLeaks Party activity has been embarrassing and counter-productive. The party no longer seems to know what it stands for, and its reasons for continued existence need to be urgently reconsidered.

*

The Australian Preferential Voting system is inherently dangerous for any minor party (by design, it would seem). Many people, including the Greens, are now calling for it to be abolished. WLP should have dealt with this danger by either:
  • Adopting NC member Dan Mathews' recommendation not to be a part of any sleazy deals, or

  • Publicly advising members that WLP would be taking a totally cynical, Realpolitik approach to an inherently unfair system, whereby the end (getting Julian Assange elected) justified the means (giving preferences to Fascists etc).
Similarly, the WLP was created with an admirable Constitution, but the leadership appears to have seen the National Council as at best a rubber stamp, and at worst an obstacle for authoritarian decision-making. Assange, Barns and Shipton in particular should have either:
  • Set up the party with a more authoritarian structure, or

  • Respected their own Constitution.
*

In George Orwell's Animal Farm, “some pigs are more important than others”. This appears to have been the attitude of Julian Assange, John Shipton, and Greg Barns, who felt they had a right to impose their will on the National Council, whatever was written in their own Constitution. With no other evidence provided by them, such a warped perspective is the only way to understand their allegations of “sabotage” and “treachery”. Anyone who refused to do what they were told was clearly a traitor intent on destroying all their hard work.

Recommendations


Julian Assange, John Shipton, and Greg Barns have had ample opportunity to explain the allegations of sabotage and treachery from the staff who resigned. They have failed to do so and should apologize for making the allegations. Any money still owed to ex-staff should be paid.

Fundamentally, Julian Assange needs to reconsider his relationship with those who support him around the world. Rightly or wrongly, many strong supporters have complained for years of being “used” and not fairly acknowledged for their efforts (e.g. “stealing” tweets). A more humane and respectful approach should be embraced.

NOTE: I have previously suggested that Assange may have Aspergers and I again urge him to consider this possibility when trying to understand why these interpersonal conflicts continue to pursue his otherwise laudable efforts.

Many WikiLeaks supporters worldwide are deeply disillusioned with the political process, and even question the value of voting, particularly in the corrupted two-party democracies that dominate the Anglosphere. Some, who would rather fight for change from outside the political process, saw the WLP as a rare opportunity to make politics work from “inside the tent”. This effort has failed and the WikiLeaks Party no longer provides any clear avenue for further advancement. For example, consider how the Pirate Party is pressuring governments worldwide with copyright campaigns and good work on Infosec, then ask what additional help WLP provides?

The WikiLeaks Party is currently trying to organize for the WA Senate re-vote in four weeks time. They are fielding the same rejected candidates, with even less funding, even less supporters (going by social media) and no apparent sense of purpose or direction. It would best for all involved if members properly acknowledged the party's mistakes and threw their support behind Greens Senator Scott Ludlam instead.

Having betrayed its own principles of transparency and accountability, the discredited WikiLeaks Party no longer serves any useful purpose and should be shut down.

Sources


37 comments:

  1. "In my own pre-election conversations with Sam Castro, she clearly saw the WikiLeaks Party as a vehicle with the potential to grow beyond Julian Assange's influence."

    Why was growing beyond Assange's influence regarded as detrimental to the growth of the WLP?

    If the primary goal was to get Assange elected to Parliament, would that not counter or be at odds with moving beyond Assange's influence, as such election would inevitable add to his influence?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Quite a few errors in this very biased and one-sided account, which at least the author admits clearly from the start. Here goes:

    "Mr Assange's biological father John Shipton performed much of the initial work required to set up the party." - why no mention of the fact that John Shipton also provided the majority of the funding for the Wikileaks Party? Donations received from members were only a very small part of the total cost of both the party set-up and the election campaign.

    "Former Liberal Party staffer and disgruntled ex-Greens member Greg Barns was appointed Campaign Manager" - Mr Barns previous political affiliations are given incorrectly.

    "Some of the above candidates were also on the original National Council, which included Friends of the Earth activists Sam Castro & Kaz Cochrane"
    - not true. Sam Castro and Kaz Cochrane were not originally on the NC. Sam Castro was brought in as Deputy Campaign Manager - a contracted position, not an elected one - working under Greg Barns. She, and her WACA partner Kaz, were subsequently elected onto the National Council, which meant she now effectively had roles both above and below her boss - an unworkable structure, especially if a 'micro-managing' personality is involved.

    "while a faction on the National Council demanded more democratic processes based on respect for the WLP Constitution. This faction was largely represented by Sam Castro" - see previous answer for actual explanation; it has very little to do with democracy.

    "The far right white supremacist Australia First party are generally considered Fascists... WLP's election fate was ultimately sealed by this singular decision to allocate preferences to Australia First above the Greens" - why have you not mentioned that within a day the Wikileaks Party issued a statement saying this was "human error" in filling out the ballot form? The party intended in that position was the Australian Voice Party. Why have you not included the statement from Dan Mathews' first resignation article where he states unequivocally "I cannot imagine that the Australia First preference was anything other than a mistake. Nobody was talking about putting them anywhere other than last"?

    "When WLP preferences were announced, Senator Ludlum said he considered the National Party to be the biggest threat to his own chances of retaining a Senate seat" - The positioning of the National Party was the ONLY part of the Wikileaks Party WA preferences not previously agreed between Scott Ludlum, Julian Assange and Wikileaks Party. As lead candidate in WA, the Nationals preferencing was a decision taken by Gerry Georgatos alone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. Shipton's personal investment is irrelevant unless you are going to use that as a reason for him to continue controlling the party. If so - give WLP is now considering a name change - I suggest it be called the John Shipton Party (as that is what it effectively is right now). I do not doubt John's love for his son or his desire to help him.

      2. I have updated text to not that Barns was an ex-Liberal candidate, not an ex-Greens. According to Wikipedia he was also an ex-DLP member. Ironically he quit the Libs in 2002 because they could not tolerate dissent. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greg_Barns

      3. I was asked to join the NC before it was formally announced and Sam Castro was on it then, so I do not know where you get your information. If you are correct, you are nit-picking. Kaz took my place on the NC. I was told I could re-join after the election. Oh well.

      4. Irrelevant.

      5. Fair point, I will update text. Email comment from Dan Mathews:

      "You mentioned that there have been these suggestions that the
      preferencing of Australia First (the fascists) in NSW was based on a confusion with the name of another party. I understood that confusion to be possibly with Australian Voice rather than Family First. Since both Australia First and Australian Voice are much less well known than Family First, both are nationalist micro right-wing parties, and both begin with the same word, this would possibly be a more conceivable mistake. Australian Voice is party of Druery's group of parties, but not as fascist as Australia First, at least as I understand it. However, the WLP NSW prefs put Australian Voice at 29-31, and Australia First at 36-37, above Greens at 57-62, then Family First at 69-70. So actually mixing up Australian Voice and Australia First doesn't make much sense, and that scenario would have to include a pretty large degree of incompetence as well as bullying/subversion to be plausible. But I have no more information about this than you do, and in the absence of any explanation from any of those involved, can only speculate. I don't know.

      "There is also the obvious point that, had the whole thing not been
      done so secretively, had it been a little more open and transparent,
      for instance at the very least a final draft circulated to the national council, we would have been much more likely to pick up any mistake."

      6. I think I have covered this adequately.

      Delete
  3. "[Assange] quickly wrote a long email entitled “NC micromanagement of preferences”, in which he expressed his displeasure with the council in making such requests.. [and following paragraph]" - There is no explanation in this 'audit' that having a National Council is a legal requirement for setting up a new political party in Australia. For the Wikileaks Party, the National Council was originally intended to function like a Board of Directors, providing oversight in NC meetings 4-6 times per year. The NC was never intended to have any day-to-day administrative function, much less choose the party preferences. All that changed when Sam Castro and Kaz Cochrane got themselves elected onto the NC. See above for comments about Sam Castro's 'micro-managing' style.

    "it was not enough to placate social media, where intense debate continued for weeks." - Why does this audit make no mention of the heavy and sustained attacks against the Wikileaks Party, and personal smears against several of its public figures, conducted in social media and the mainstream press by both the leader of the faction who resigned and by rival political parties? These attacks included videos depicting Julian Assange as Hitler, and yet you represent this as 'public anger'. It was propaganda of the crudest kind.

    "WA candidate Gerry Georgatos: “It was not an administrative error, it was a poor judgement call. I’m not [going to come out] here and bullshit the audience.“ - While the veracity of this quote is not in doubt, it is - obviously - heavily dependent on the source of Georgatos' information. Who told him it was "a poor judgement call"? Without knowing from whom he got his information, it is impossible to tell whether he had a true picture of events. See previous answer about disinformation campaign following the NC delegates defection.

    "Senator Ludlam ridiculed the claim that the WA Nationals had no chance of beating him, and events later proved him right" - Factual error. Senator Ludlum himself tweeted "Lay off, guys. Wikileaks Party did not lose me my seat" [owtte]. Why has this 'audit' not included this important statement from Senator Ludlum?

    "WACA later claimed that an un-named National Council member had caved in to pressure from Greg Barns and “a candidate” to change the NSW preferences [and rest of paragraph]" - unsubstantiated claim. Sam Castro needs to provide proof of her allegations.

    "It is worth noting that the resignation statements were relatively subdued" - This is plain naive. The publicity surrounding these resignations two weeks prior to an election was devastating to Julian Assange's chances of election. They didn't care. Lesley Cannold went on television to talk about her resignation and all resignation statements were given to major media outlets, Dan Mathews' even appearing in the Guardian.

    Lesley Cannold's public statements/John Shipton approaching others to circumvent the problems Sam Castro's NC management style was causing at a particularly busy time - You have neglected to mention that Sam Castro led the charge out of the door and that Lesley Cannold is a personal friend of hers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. Ridiculous. The NC was in regular high-level meetings to decide policy etc. Perhaps you don't know as much as you pretend, Mr anonymous?

      2. The attacks on WLP were deserved, given the lack of response. FWIW I created that Hitler video myself, and only deleted it because I felt sorry for Julian. I often wish I had left it online.

      3. Georgatos' quote speaks for itself.

      4. I noted that WLP preferences did not cost Ludlam his seat (although it was close). That has nothing to do with the fact that the Nats were his biggest rivals.

      5. The text makes it clear this has not been substantiated.

      6. I think you need to consider the resignees' point of view a bit more. Or are their lives, feelings and reputations of no interest to you? They had a right to speak up and a duty to inform voters what was happening. Good on them!

      7. Sam Castro rang me in tears when Leslie was about to resign, asking what could be done to salvage the situation. So "led the charge" is bullshit. I have never met Leslie and do not know if she is a personal friend of Sam's or not. Is that even relevant?

      Delete
  4. "John Shipton [private msg to the author of this audit]: “Rubbish and more rubbish . We ensured Ludlam a win in WA" - This is correct. The Wikileaks Party running a candidate in WA and the preferences chosen [except for Georgatos' decision re Nationals] were done as a favour to Scott Ludlum.

    "John: “What the fuck are you gonna say upon finding that Cannold was a plant” - this too is correct. Leslie Cannold is a personal friend of Sam Castro.

    "This was an outrageous suggestion, especially because Julian Assange had personally selected Leslie Cannold as his running mate" - No, it wasn't. Julian Assange publicly stated at the time that he had only ever had one conversation with Leslie Cannold. Why doesn't this 'audit' include that statement? Leslie Cannold's candidature was suggested to Assange by Sam Castro.

    "By this time Crikey had published leaked WLP emails showing Assange's efforts to over-ride National Council decisions on preferences" - this leak to Crikey was done by Sam Castro and was highly selective in nature. It managed to twist what was actually going on 180 degrees so that it appeared the exact opposite. It is indeed considered "treachery" by Wikileaks.

    "Shipton later stated that he could not tell his son about the trip because their communications were being monitored. This was a ridiculous excuse" - No, it is not. Assange is under total surveillance at the Ecuadorian embassy and has publicly stated that he is hardly able to speak to either of his parents. It is known that Sam Castro exploited Christine Assange's unresolved issues with Assange's father by claiming that John Shipton was having extensive discussions with his son. This was both manipulative and untrue.

    "John Shipton has told former NC members that man-made climate change was a hoax" - Unsubstantiated allegation. The "former NC members" should stand behind these claims in a public statement, preferably with proof. The audit is also highly selective about articles appearing in the Wikileaks Party blog because articles setting out the opposite of these views have also been blogged by them.

    "Shipton... said WLP would raise $40,000 funds for Syrian people's health." - This is a bad thing? The tenor of this audit is getting less and less like an objective account and more and more opinionated.

    "... person said that the review would be delayed until after the election and that it wouldn’t be done independently. The caller would run it. As we now know, that “caller” was John Shipton. And again it is worth noting that Cannold..." - is a personal friend of Sam Castro.

    "However, Bell rejected the “administrative error” claim by the party" - This is a misrepresentation of what Bell's statement actually says. He says the error cannot be proven to be an 'administrative' one but that it is a 'human error' one. The author here is playing semantics with the general term - 'administrative error' - that Wikileaks Party used in its original statement about the NSW preferences.

    Why does this 'audit' fail to mention that the inquiry auditor was ill in hospital for many months as the primary reason for the long delay in the publication of his report? Why does it take no account of Wikileaks Party funding situation and that the primary donor to the party (John Shipton) is substantially out of pocket and that Stuart Bell therefore acted pro bono?

    "Isn't this the same ad hominem muck-raking UK media has done to destroy Assange's character?" - See above comments about 'Hitler' videos of Julian Assange put out by Sam Castro's supporters, including candidate Leslie Cannold. The ad hominem muck-raking attacks on John Shipton have also been appalling - far greater in number and far nastier than any subsequent comments from Wikileaks.

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    1. 1. So if WLP ensured Ludlam a win in WA why did he get voted out? He only got a re-vote after an appeal.

      2. So Sam is also a plant? Hahahaha. Is that what it comes down to? Unsubstantiated slander? Where's your proof for such a serious allegation?

      3. I have no idea who suggested Leslie, but Julian has to be responsible for his own decisions.

      4. How do you know who leaked those emails? And if they misrepresent the situation as you say, why didn't WLP release their own emails so the world could see the truth?

      5. You have no idea what you are talking about.

      6. Several sources have told me that Shipton does/did not believe in manmade climate change and circulated emails with his pseudo-science. It's interesting that WLP blogging such garbage does not seem to bother you.

      7. Irrelevant.

      8. Irrelevant.

      9. Nit-picking.

      10. If the audit was already approved there is no reason it could not have been released. It's actually sad that a smart woman like Kellie Tranter would put her name on such garbage.

      11. Shipton has been hoisted on his own petard.

      4.
      3.

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  5. "Sam Castro claimed someone had deleted all her emails prior to August 13th 2013 (including emails regarding the pivotal August 12th WLP meeting) in multiple accounts. She supplied no proof of this but said other WikiLeaks supporters had suffered the same problem. I asked @wikileaks and @wikileaksparty to deny any involvement in this but got no response." - It is quite extraordinary that the author of this 'audit' does not challenge Castro to provide proof of her claim that she was hacked - a relatively easy thing to do, and appears ready to suspect Wikileaks or the WL Party of involvement in something which is effectively an unsubstantiated claim that conveniently provides an excuse to not provide the evidence of her original claims concerning her faction's walk-out two weeks ahead of an election to try to win Julian Assange a seat in the Senate.

    "the ludicrously cynical promise of an “independent inquiry” after the election" - the ludicrous aspect of this is the suggestion that the busy week immediately prior to an election is the ideal time to hold an inquiry into preferencing mistakes and the resignations of party officials and candidate.

    Findings: NSW administrative errors - The bullet points in this section are better read by substituting the words 'coalition of micro-parties including some right-wing ones' wherever the word 'right-wing' appears. This 'audit' is not presenting its information objectively, instead choosing to use loaded terms.

    "Georgatos' decision to subvert NC procedures confirms Julian Assange's admission that he did not exercise proper oversight of the party." - Hold on, a minute ago the author said Assange "simultaneously maintained that as party leader, he could do whatever he liked, regardless of the party's Constitution or the National Council".

    "Greens did not hesitate to attack WLP for supporting Fascists and anti-environmentalists. This may have lead some within WLP to call the Greens hypocrites" - Indeed. It is important to note that Senator Ludlum was in entire agreement of ALL Wikileaks Party preferences - in advance - except for the Nationals, Gerry Georgatos's decision, taken alone. The author of this report has also not interrogated the fact that Senator Ludlum's understanding with Assange and the Wikileaks Party was compromised by the false public statement made by Greens party leader Christine Milne. Also, that the Greens' high preferencing of Wikileaks Party was a cynical 'look-good-on-paper' exercise in light of their heavy social media campaigning against WL Party.

    "Due to lack of solid evidence, this document has generally not examined party financial issues." - John Shipton provided at least 60% of ALL Wikileaks Party funding from his own pocket. Naturally he wished to help his son's situation regarding political asylum by achieving an Australian Senate seat for him - the primary reason the Wikileaks Party was set up. I am sure Julian Assange must be quite appalled at the sustained and ugly ad hominem attacks made against his father for these efforts.

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    1. 1. I asked Sam Castro to provide proof of the email hacking and she did not. I make it quite clear in the text that this claim is unproved.

      2. Oh come on. Telling the truth takes about two minutes.

      3. Yawn.

      4. Whether or not Georgatos subverted the NC with Assange's blessing is largely irrelevant. A mistake was made - who's responsible? Nobody, ever.

      5. Oh you think Ludlam agreed WLP should preference Fascists? Srzly? Milne's statement had minor errors but again you are nit-picking (as @wikileaks did at the time). And your last point is just stupid.

      6. How do you know so much about WLP funding eh? In any case, that is not the focus of this inquiry.

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  6. "such a warped perspective is the only way to understand their allegations of “sabotage” and “treachery” - unless they are actually true. https://medium.com/wikileaks-snowden-and-transparency/657466d3dc9

    "Any money still owed to ex-staff should be paid." - The 'work' that the ex-staff are asking to be paid for - out of John Shipton's own pocket - is their concerted attempt using disinformation put out on social media and highly selective leaking to the mainstream press to "kill the party" two weeks before an election.

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    Replies
    1. 1. Oh get real. That batshit crazy blog was just satire wasn't it?

      2. No, ex-staff are asking to be paid for work performed BEFORE the resignations. And why should ex-staff be paid from Shipton's pocket? What happened to the money donated by members?

      Delete
  7. I have updated the text to remove two errors: Greg Barns was a former Liberal Party member, not an ex-Greens, and did not have a vote on the NC.

    JamesJMartin, thanks for your comments, some of which is news to me. I will seek further information and update the text if needed. It is a pity you do not identify yourself.

    Most of your complaints seem to relate to the tone of my inquiry and things you wish I had included. I have been asking WLP members for more information for six months, and their own inquiry was a whitewash, so perhaps you can understand my frustrated attitude.

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  8. There is no transparent body in Australia. After seeing enough corruption and abuses with our most vulnerable members, I almost lost hope. When Wikileaks came to my attention in 2008 & 09, I was hopeful. I really wanted to expose abuses but, the general interest was in war/intelligence, while these abuses were ignored. This is because of personal experience bias, given whats come out in the wash. Its ruined alot of things. Wikileaks needs to be the transparency it wants to see in the world. It needs detached, but a concerned approach. I love the idea, but sad that it doesnt do more. I have watched people over the years become disenchanted as I have, over egos, ideals and the insular approach that has no room for criticism. Criticism helps my work grow. Of course not all criticism is helpful, but surely from Gary(who seems to be far more patient than the others), this is credible. Gary has been loyal for years. Its not for ridicule or humiliation, but a change. People need to trust Wikileaks and those that represent it. Without the people supporting, wikileaks would not have come to fruition. Its because there is a greater need for transparency more than ever. These people are offering their valuable time. Noone discounts the original efforts its founder made for it to come into being, but by restricting it to what one person wants and blanketing the peoples voices is no different to the corruption people are fighting.

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    1. Thank you. I remain loyal to the concept of transparency, not the cult of celebrity that seems to blind so many people.

      Delete
    2. Your welcome. Yes, celebrities are a distraction when there are so many issues are more worthy of attention. Our food security is being undermined with CSG, human rights abuses at an all time high, our first peoples enslaved in WA for mining(they criminalize, then force them to work in the mines), health risks to rural communties with dangerous chemicals from run down factories covered up. Everywhere a person is in a quiet space, lacking resources to defend: serious harm is inflicted. Its why we need pure hard fact reporting on everything without the distorting of characters as methods to silence. People with "fine hats" recieve an undeserved amount of credibility at the cost of those without them, which they are never greatful for. There is much to be said about refocusing on actions as opposed to fine words. Thanks again for the clarity, it now gives people a chance to reassess the situation from,"transparency is adequately handled by wikileaks org/party/corp" to "we need to establish an evolved mechanism to address corruption" without recognising this, nothing will be done.

      Delete
  9. If it's true, as this Pastebin claims http://pastebin.com/tAAFs8sM, that Gerry Georgatos is stepping aside at the request/suggestion of Julian Assange (and it might not be true, of course, because there's an alternative suggestion that it might be to do with unfavourable reportage on Georgatos' campaign for Shapelle Corby) and yet he's announced that he will happily back the two candidates replacing him and work behind the scenes to support the Wikileaks Party, to me those are the actions and statements of an honorable person.

    Gail Malone's disappearance from Twitter may also similarly show the same integrity - or perhaps she's just being sensible in anticipating, and avoiding, the inevitable onslaught she's now likely to receive from the usual "kill the party" suspects.

    Did you read this bit of the Pastebin: "the group is $70,000 in debt"? Now do you believe what I told you about John Shipton being severely out of pocket for all his efforts to assist his politically persecuted son?

    But I guess you will nevertheless still be hellbent on bankrupting a man - all because a deeply manipulative woman phoned you up once and cried, and even though you know that you aren't in possession of the full facts, you have decided that you simply cannot countenance the fact that you may have been lied to and manipulated - join the crowd, so were Christine Assange and Dan Mathews so you're in good company - bankrupt John Shipton must be!! So says Mr Gary Lord.

    You would do well to reflect a bit more on the morality of your actions, Mr Lord.

    (PS. Kellie Tranter's submission to the inquiry was about 1.5 times the length your own very poorly informed 'audit' above - hers was very detailed, with lots and lots of facts. Human rights lawyers tend to be good at that sort of stuff, setting out all the facts. I doubt she will share any meaningful portion of it with you on Twitter, however.)

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  10. With "supporters" like you, eh? Poor Julian - Gary Lord has persistently and determinedly created so much negative publicity for him that he's having to resort to measures like this...

    I wonder if, when the truth finally sees the full light of day, Gary Lord will ever apologise to Julian Assange for doing all this damage, based on his own blind acceptance of misinformation and lies?

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    1. It is not "blind acceptance" of anything. That's the whole point of setting out these facts and being transparent, right? And how would you know how long Kellie's submission was eh? And why can it not be shared? Who is being protected? Not the people who are blamed for "treachery" and labelled spies, obviously. Instead you have these blind, incompetent acolytes still bringing up one PR disaster after another.

      See the latest complaints from Daoud Jamal, who complains he is being forced off the NC by John Shipton: http://t.co/vxoI0lHcOy

      So is WLP really changing their name or is this just a trick to get Daoud off the NC? And who is making suicidal threats to protect emails? What sort of a party is this? It's a fucking joke and it continues to be a huge embarrassment to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.

      I support Julian Assange's work by telling him the truth, whether he likes it or not.

      Delete
    2. Sorry Gary, it IS blind acceptance of the lies and misinformation you've been told. The "facts" you set out are the resultant spin - sometimes one, sometimes two steps from the original source - FROM the lies you were told right at the beginning.

      Examples:
      I tell you above that Sam Castro was originally brought in as Deputy Campaign Manager under Greg Barns. You don't believe me, or call it "nitpicking", and then, lo and behold, your own Storify for a few nights ago contains email text from Kaz Cochrane "from the campaign team" and confirmation from another source: "Sam and Kaz were part of the campaign team".

      I tell you that the confusion on the ballot paper for the NSW preferences was that the intended party was the Australian Voice party, NOT Australia First. Again, lo and behold - Dan Mathews confirms "well, that would make more sense" and "although right-wing/nationalist the AV party is NOT fascist". [Btw, you said you would amend your 'audit' to reflect this, but a short note referring to the comments is hardly adequate - how about striking through every comment about CHOOSING fascists you've made in the whole thing?]

      I tell you that John Shipton funded at least 60% of ALL Wikileaks Party costs and that he is severely out of pocket. You think this is "irrelevant" (forgetting, of course, Sam Castro's own admission that she was attempting to oust Shipton as Treasurer and take over control of expenditure of these WLP funds herself). Lo and behold, The Australian newspaper confirms that the Party's debts following last year's election disaster are substantial - to the tune of $70,000. Who do you think lost the most money in that lot? The amount raised from WLP supporters and the public was a very, very small proportion of it.

      Want to place bets on how many of the other things I have told you above you're going to get confirmation of from third-party sources?

      There's none so blind as those who refuse to open their eyes and SEE what's right in front of them.

      Yes, I do know how long Kellie Tranter's very detailed and factual submission to the inquiry was. You complain that it's all "evasions and obfuscations" but the things that I am telling you - that people have been trying to tell you for a very long time - are already well-known to a lot of people. It's just YOU who is out of the loop, because you are nowadays seen as Sam Castro's henchman, someone she uses to do her heavy lifting for her. You've been the 'megaphone' for the damage she wished to do to Wikileaks Party's (and Julian Assange's) support in Australia. She had her reasons. They were all self-interested ones.

      Nobody is accusing you personally of lying, Gary. I don't think you've told any intentional lies at all. Your sins are gullibility, ignorance and bullying. You've therefore been a great 'useful idiot' who has caused great damage to Julian Assange's support in his home country (you are frequently 'liked' and retweeted by Sandra Eckersley nowadays, for goodness sake!) I hope one day you do get an opportunity to apologise to Julian.

      Releasing all the factual information from insiders at this point would simply give Assange's enemies, and misguided individuals such as yourself, another go at the 'megaphone' to twist and spin even more. Assange doesn't need that, the Party doesnt need that either. Wiser heads know they are secure in the knowledge that, as they have truth on their side (and they DO...) they can take the moral high ground and simply keep their own counsel for the time being. The truth will out. The truth ALWAYS comes out in the end. By which time, of course, the liars will have already made many, many public statements with which they have hung themselves.

      Delete
    3. Oh, and here's another third-party confirmation for you. Turns out the micro-party alliance that Julian Assange, John Shipton, Greg Barns and others on the National Council wanted is full of right-wing, left-wing, single-issue and utterly uncontroversial minor parties and is not the hugely immoral deal that Sam Castro (Deputy Campaign Manager working UNDER Greg Barns until she got onto the NC and started to try to micro-manage her will onto the Party from ABOVE him) painted it as:

      http://www.smh.com.au/national/number-crunching-microparty-candidates-place-their-hopes-in-glenn-druery-the-preference-whisperer-20140314-34s2y.html

      Amazing how much difference there is between an objective, fact-based article on a particular event, and a negative, biased attempt at smear and spin of the exact same events to fit one's agenda, isn't it?

      Delete
    4. 1. First of all, I deeply resent you insinuating that I am Sam Castro's "henchman". I have put this inquiry together for my own reasons, on my own behalf. Such comments show just how blinkered and tribal your thinking is.

      2. It really is nit-picking to say Sam had another role before joining the NC - what does that matter? This inquiry is already 20 pages and would be 100 if I included every random bit of irrelevant information.

      3. Similarly, I have noted Dan's conjecture about Australia Voice but it remains mere conjecture in the absence of proof, which WLP refuses to supply. I say WLP CHOSE the Fascists because SOMEBODY gave the AEC a form with those preferences. That's a fact, Jack.

      4. Similarly, I really do not give a shit how much money Shipton lost on this trainwreck because he was in the driver's seat all the way, and has only himself to blame. Again, it's irrelevant.

      5. I will not be apologising to Julian if I ever meet him - he should be apologising to me, and to all the other people who stood out on the streets for months handing out WLP membership forms etc etc. Of course it sickens me that trolls are now RTing my comments but again that's a sign of your tribal mentality: we should all be silent about anything that might damage WL/JA's reputation? No, friends tell friends the truth whether they like it or not.

      6. "Releasing all the factual information from insiders at this point would simply give Assange's enemies, and misguided individuals such as yourself, another go at the 'megaphone' to twist and spin even more. " - you sound just like the CIA explaing why they cannot release Bay Of Pigs info because it will "confuse the public". The WLP information should have been released long, long ago - before people voted on Sept 7 2013. You assholes fucked up and you still whine and bitch and blame everyone else. It is fucking pathetic and I am sick of it. If you are not prepared to answer some pretty fucking simple questions about what the fuck happened then just fuck off.



      Delete
    5. "I will not be apologising to Julian if I ever meet him - he should be apologising to me, and to all the other people who stood out on the streets for months handing out WLP membership forms etc etc"

      Wanting to use WLP vehicle to de-influence Assange by positioning others is hardly the reason Assange would have thought the membership base needed to be grown for. Have you considered that the cause of so may issues you bring up is more complex than given here?

      "But I suspect others within the Party may have viewed Castro's ambitions less favourably."

      The above statement knocks on the door of a library with volumes of a narrative unexamined, and thus belies the foundations of any "truth" one rationalises into a seemingly coherent theory of the issues. The theory and speculations given are not taking into account the inevitable degeneration of support and solidarity that cross-purposes (even if well-intentioned) eventually engender. The divided are certainly more prone to fall.

      These underlying, yet pivotal reasons are a root cause that explains many of the symptoms of the degradation examined here. Without the root cause (cross-purposes) being examined, the truth will forever churn in a mix of vitriol and counter-punch.

      Delete
    6. Thank you, Angelis. I don't do vitriol. I have simply been trying to explain to Gary Lord that what he considers the "truth" and the "facts" that he has set out here are actually the result of lies told to him, and to many others, immediately after the walk-out by the faction/person (well, two people actually - the core of akaWACA, Sam Castro and Kaz Cochrane) who wished to de-influence Assange in the Wikileaks Party and run it instead for their own political ambitions. But, as you note, he refuses to even look at the wealth of evidence I have provided to him of this being the case.

      The background - the unexamined root cause, as you call it - is that, having spotted a niche in the 'market', Sam Castro set up the Wikileaks & Australian Citizens Alliance as a recruitment vehicle a few years ago. She then sought legitimization and recognition from Wikileaks itself. All well and good; she should be congratulated for spotting that niche in the market and rallying support around the causes espoused by Wikileaks. The problem, for her, occurred when the Wikileaks Party came onto the scene, as a great many of her 'members' immediately signed up for membership of the Party. She therefore lost of her direct control of her own powerbase to the Wikileaks Party. She got involved with the latter and was a pretty crucial figure in the early stages of its development, becoming first Deputy Campaign Manager under Greg Barns but then getting elected to the National Council along with her 'voting twin' Kaz Cochrane. From that point on, it was as you say, a simple power play, with Sam Castro doing all she could - with her extensive, many-years experience of political activism - to wrest control from the Party's CEO and Treasurer (John Shipton), control over expenditure of funds, control over micro-management of preferences choices, etc etc. John Shipton, however, had virtually no previous political experience and Assange had over-delegated while his attention was focused on aiding Edward Snowden. He was badly let down by Shipton and Barns' inability to deal with the problems created by Sam Castro's management style and self-interested political ambitions. They tried to route around her - making "frantic calls," as Gary Lord explains they did with him and, when it looked like some kind of workaround had been organised and she realised she did not really have the power she thought, she lied to several other delegates on the NC, lied to her friend Christine Assange, enlisted the support of her friend Leslie Cannold and quit in a blaze of high publicity. The result is the public history we already know, the so-called "facts" Gary Lord sets out here. Of course, criticism of John Shipton and Greg Barns is valid - they let Assange down badly because what did the biggest damage to his chances of election was this very high-publicity defection two weeks before polling day. They should have done whatever it took - WHATEVER it took - to placate Sam Castro and keep her and her fellow defectors on board, at least until after the election.

      Delete
    7. But, of course, as I explained earlier in this "root cause" backstory, Sam Castro's problem was that she had lost control over her own powerbase, akaWACA's followers, the minute they had all signed up to the Wikileaks Party. Now she had resigned her control over the WL Party too, so in order to regain her powerbase it was necessary to 'turn' as many Wikileaks Party members and volunteers against the Party, to "kill the Party" - destroy it in order to have those supporters return to her own fold, akaWACA. Of course, this had to be achieved in a very underhanded way. She couldn't just come out and say "don't support Julian Assange or his WL Party". She also needed to hang on to the Wikileaks branding for quite a while too.

      This is the real story behind the "symptoms of the degradation" that Gary Lord does not understand. This is why he cannot see beyond the "facts" and "truth" he THINKS he knows. And this is why I call him an (unwitting) henchman.

      Delete
    8. @JamesJMartin

      "She therefore lost of her direct control of her own powerbase to the Wikileaks Party."

      I observed a very similar scenario regarding the once Wikileaks endorsed Wikileaks Forum. The owner, gaining status, kudos, and potential commercial leverage with the forum's Wikileak's association, fell to the same manipulations, misrepresentations, and outright lies after dis-endorsement as his power play came undone. While the intentions may have been honourable to begin with, as is a danger to us all, the power one may wield due to a higher profile temps to corrupt, insidiously (or, less likely, as a conscious Machiavellian strategy), as seems the case here with the characters you have lucidly described.

      I agree with your assessment that the leadership was wanting (the reasons being clearly understood, yet bounce-backable from). Assange has properly taken responsibility and I expect a modified approach that takes the afore-mentioned shortfalls into account. It would be helpful if the factionalisers also took responsibility for their part, though it's not essential to the Party's future.

      I'd like to thank Gary and yourself for stimulating this conversation, the intent from good people, agreeing or not, to further a decent and respectful discussion into the many facets of our individual and group dynamic.

      Delete
    9. Of course the anonymous "JamesJMartin" demonizes Sam Castro and hangs all the blame on her, because how else is he/she going to explain everything without recognising that Assange himself has been less than perfect here?

      It was not Sam Castro who put the Shooters and Fascists ahead of the Greens in NSW, or the Nats ahead of Ludlam in WA.

      It was not Sam Castro who decided to call it an "Admin Error".

      It was not Sam Casto who promised an "independent inquiry" after the election.

      It was not Sam Castro who delivered a bullshit whitewash five months later.

      Why don't you blame Leslie Cannold for the mess, or Dan Mathews, or Luke Pearson? Do you think they were all just dupes in the control of the all-powerful Ms Castro?

      Keep living the delusion if you want. But stop publicly abusing people without some fucking EVIDENCE.

      Delete
    10. @Jaraparilla

      You make a list of what someone didn't do. Fine. The question that remains unaddressed by this report is what someone did do from the start which forms an integral part of this picture; namely, a non-complimentary (what could only become an antagonistic) agenda to de-influence Assange. Leaving out a discussion on that issue can only lead to the conclusion of partisanship which inevitably (again) skews the narrative and distorts truth. It also polarises discussion so that it becomes nothing that rises much above a slug-fest.

      Delete
    11. Oh come on. Assange has admitted he was distracted with other things and over-delegated affairs to Shipton and Barns, whom even JamesJMartin finally admits were incompetent and out of their depth,. Then you come up with a conspiracy theory where any attempt to save the party from the mistakes of Barns and Shipton was a subterfuge to wrest power from Assange? Get real.

      Delete
    12. You explicitly state the intentions:

      "In my own pre-election conversations with Sam Castro, she clearly saw the WikiLeaks Party as a vehicle with the potential to grow beyond Julian Assange's influence."

      It is your own theory (statement), which I take to task and ask that you consider the ramifications of said agenda and how rivers flowing against each other will naturally cause turbulence.

      Can you present a case where Assange's interest in maintaining (and even increasing his influence) is not going to cause conflict with someone else's counter-agenda of lessening his influence and increasing their own? Without addressing this point, how is reality served?

      Mistakes were made. Assange owned up to them. Not taking responsibility for one's own mistakes, ignoring the validity of the power play scenario is the platform for demonisation.

      Delete
    13. This is just nonsense and wishful thinking. Assange could have stepped in to deal with the schism and resolve issues within the party at any time. He did not do that. He designated responsibility to people who were causing the real damage.

      Assange admitted that mistake but has since blamed WACA without supplying any proof. That is not cool. That is not a very clever way to treat your own supporters.

      I still think Julian deserves a Nobel Prize for all the work he has done with WikiLeaks. I still support his right to asylum and freedom. But that does not mean he is perfect.

      Delete
    14. You seem to be affirming that this was more than a congenial difference of agendas, but a defined schism; and that you see the schism as requiring an authoritarian hand, that of Assange's, whom you had thought was already too authoritarian.

      You have also ignored the validity of Assange's situation and the priority he gave to Snowden's life. What would your choice have been in his situation? It was a mistake for the Party for Assange to delegate so comprehensively, but perhaps not so for the safety of Snowden. No one else outside Wikileaks stepped up to be Snowden's hero at that crucial juncture.

      Accepting that a schism existed and that it was not properly dealt with (under trying circumstances) by Assange, et al, is it not a basic understanding that those who took part in the schism also bear some responsibility for the negative outcomes the Party has experienced? As that responsibility (or even an attempt at a discussion about it) is abrogated via a one-sided blame-fest, the result is inevitably a demonisation of Assange.

      If the schism-makers also took responsibility (as Assange has done for his part in over-delegation), then the process of reparation (or at least some dignity and self-awareness) is potentially possible. It can't happen by ignoring one's part in the negative consequences of the schism-dynamic. It would be unlikely that many, if not most WLP issues, were not coloured by schismatic differences.

      May I ask, was the agenda to de-influence Assange made clear to all the primary players of the Party? If so, could you detail responses (no need to name) so a clearer picture of the schism can be assessed?

      Delete
    15. My God, you people!

      When did I say Assange was "already too authoritarian"? When did I say he should not have dealt with Snowden at the time? I fully understand and endorse that - it is his actions afterwards that I am criticizing. As for "schism-makers" - one side has provided evidence, the other is still hiding it.

      But now you have already convinced yourself there was an "agenda to de-influence Assange"? Go fuck yourself. There's not point arguing with an idiot.

      Delete
    16. "But nobody is perfect, and ultimately the WikiLeaks Party failures have exposed an authoritarian element of the WikiLeaks founder."

      There is another meaning to what you said above?

      "When did I say he should not have dealt with Snowden at the time?"

      I didn't claim that. I claimed that dealing with the schism was not his priority, which is what you said he should have dealt with. Was not the schism entrenched while Assange was dealing with Snowden?

      You made the point of not being the target of ad hominem. Yet, here you are demonising as a substitute to addressing the issues brought up.

      If you think, "to grow beyond Julian Assange's influence" has no relationship to de-influencing Assange, then your are correct, there is nothing of further value to discuss.

      The salt of ad hominem falls into wounds of unreason. It need not be so, yet I can't deny it.

      Delete
  11. "I support Julian Assange's work by telling him the truth, whether he likes it or not."

    "Sam Castro, she clearly saw the WikiLeaks Party as a vehicle with the potential to grow beyond Julian Assange's influence."

    The truth is that some don't like Assange's choices and wish he would accept the choices of others instead. Having the right to make one's own path, the truth is that wanting to make Assange's path for him (the agenda being to de-influence him with regard to the WLP) is a failure of support for Assange, and instead an expression of support for one's own agenda. The dislike is nothing to do with truth so much as it has to do with pushing one out of their preferred path because one happens not to like it.

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  12. Whether or not WLP hacked and deleted members storage of emails can be substantiated. How does James J Martin know that Sam and Leslie were friends without having unauthorized access? Its not the first complaint and generally covered tracks are sloppy enough to uncover. Eg. My virus program blocked a large number of attacks from the IP of the WL server. Of course that was covered later with a false addition in the GIFILES(spoofing), but still did not explain how they knew what I was wearing in front of the computers webcam or a bunch of other things like asking why I chose the password I did. That person also confirms they are a member because they cant help bragging about what is going to be leaked next. Whoever hacked can be proved, but if no action is taken; that person will continue to do that for many years to come. For those who are victims of hacking should take it to the police because mere threatening to do so does not stop it.

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  13. The comment of Mochawithchilli above is interesting and, if they feel that Wikileaks has hacked them or been looking at them through a webcam, I would indeed advise that they take this to the police for investigation.

    Regarding the alleged 'hack' of akaWACA, that is a different matter. As it is akaWACA's claim, before any full investigation can begin they too need to substantiate this claim with evidence of it - and then to take the matter to the police. All they need do is produce logs from their server to show the intrusion/theft and the police will do the rest.

    The police may be able to recover forensically the 'evidence' Sam Castro said she once had backing her version of the infamous 12 August 2010 National Council meeting shortly before her walkout from the party on 'principled grounds'. Or they may not. That would depend on whether the evidence truly existed in the first place.

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    1. James, That paragraph began with "eg". Lots of complaints about hacking seems to be a problem. I refer to previous post by gary about his computer acting strangely. I imagine a lot of people dont really want to bring charges against whoever did this because it could damage the entire cause. However, I dont agree with the action for the same reason people are frankly pissed with NSA and the Murdoch hacking scandal. I think its a genuine concern and if they are shy of owning up, they should simply restore the emails. I like how the debate has gone away from the major public and onto this blog. Its an opportunity to make amends. I think these people are genuinely aggreviated for the right reasons above egos. Waco did a wonderful job at the protest, without the ego present. For as long as the goal is above people, it will be a sucessful endeavor. I think that if the people who have enacted the wrongs were to put the pride aside for a second and make a genuine amends: Gary and the others would not use apologies against or make up stuff to complain about as they are not the type.

      On "deinfluencing": Most people of the left have spent decades making an emphasis that the structure of heirachy is evil and unproductive. Leaking balences powers between the people and those on pedastals. Conquering or couping makes all causes invalid unless the power is returned rightfully to the people. This is how wikileaks party agendas appeared to manifest when its leader began to dictate orders, rather than respectfully acknowledge other peoples ideas and if someone wanted to be responsible for building on that with their own attributes-How on earth is this a bad thing? More work and effort, which is great. What is so bad about the work of Waco, that it had to be shut down? They could have been reminding others of Julians confinement. Not because of "fan crap", but because we care about human beings in these circumstances and know what it is when no good deed goes unpunished. That has been perverted, distorted, leaving people to feel used. Noone needs this. Times are dark enough let alone having to contend with egos of others who are in the same camp.

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