This week is Love Data Week, which is all about celebrating the analysis, sharing, reuse and preservation of data.

“This is a topic near and dear to the Pirate Party’s heart,” said Miles Whiticker, President of Pirate Party Australia. “Information may well want to be free, but it’s human effort that makes it so. We salute archivists, librarians, and researchers everywhere — their tireless efforts ensure knowledge gets out of the filing cabinet and into the public consciousness.”

The Pirate Party has a core policy goal of ensuring that knowledge can remain free. Its legislative proposals include copyright exemptions for libraries, archives, public education and access for people with disabilities. If in government, it would require Open Access provisions for all publicly-financed scientific and academic research.

For more information, follow the #lovedata21 hashtag on Twitter.

In November last year, Burma1 held its second democratic election since the military coup d’etat in 1962[2]. Unfortunately history repeated itself on the 1st of February as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces Min Aung Hlaing initiated a new coup d’etat, claiming that the elections were “fraudulent” and arresting the long time democracy activist and State Counselor (equivalent to a Prime Minister) Aung San Suu Kyi as well as President President Win Myint along with other ministers and their deputies, who were due to be sworn in the next day.[3]

Pirate Party Australia reached out to democracy activist John* from Yamethin in the Mandalay region, who told us “The military has performed coup d’etat in our country and detained the state counselor. Protesters and people who are participating civil disobedience are now in serious threats of being violently destroyed. We welcome your support and want to request you to help support our funds if we found one.”

Regarding Aung San Suu Kyi, they had this to say: “She’d approved of [the Rohingyan genocide] and we are enraged by it. She stayed silent to what awful things military did to the ethnic and religious minorities. People are on her side and we (me and other leftists) critiqued her. But we simply don’t see any reason our revolution will succeed if she were not to participate. So we are in solidarity with both her supporters and people who don’t support her because our common enemy for now is the military.”

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Pirate Party Australia stands with Pirate Party Turkey (PPTR) and their committee member Ural Önel, who has been arrested and assaulted by police for his involvement in national protests over the last month.
PPTR has been calling on people to join the rallies, expressing solidarity and unification in the rights of all people in Turkey, and urging them to stand up and not remain silent in the face of outright injustice and inequality.

“Many students are being taken into custody for their participation in protests nationwide;” said a PPTR spokesperson. “Ural Önel, from PPTR’s Refoundation Comittee, was taken during a protest in Ankara. He, like many other protesters, was beaten and detained without any proper legal reason. Many of the detained students saw bad treatment from officials. Fortunately Ural has since been released, and is recovering. Our Party demands the release of all those in unlawful detention under the Government! We will not stand down!”

Ural is among hundreds of largely LGBTI students, but also teachers and other Turkish people who have been arrested at many similar rallies held in the capital Ankara, Istanbul and other cities following the un-democratic appointment of Boğaziçi University’s new head by President Erdoğan, which circumvented the University’s own election process. This has not happened at the University since the military coup of 1980, and has been labelled a clear attack on educational freedom and integrity, prompting some of the countries’ largest demonstrations for over 7 years.

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Pirate Party Australia is disappointed but unsurprised that the Australian Labor Party, rather than standing up for everyday Australian internet users, side with the Liberal National Coalition on yet another round of legislative nonsense that panders to the interests of their corporate masters.[1]

We are, however, surprised and disappointed that the Australian Greens have chosen to endorse what amounts to a stealth tax targeted at Google and Facebook, except paid directly to Murdoch’s News Corp, to maintain his failing business model. In addition to paying royalties to News Corp, the Greens are asking Facebook and Google to hand over details of algorithmic changes and data collection to inform News Corp’s “business decisions”. Little wonder Google might pull their search product, with their trade secrets under threat. This completely ignores the referral value provided to news media organisations, which Google estimates at greater than $200 million[2] and Facebook greater than $400 million[3].

The Pirates wonder at the cowardice of these parties in avoiding what could be world leading legislation in user privacy. By indulging such tantrum-throwing, the Liberals abandon their stated virtues of free enterprise and a competitive marketplace of ideas in exchange for groveling cronyism, the Labor party betrays the interests of their most staunch constituents, and the Greens are blinded by their mistrust of private enterprise.

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We recently saw Trump pardon four Blackwater security guards who killed numerous Iraqi civilians.[1] In gratitude for the Australian government’s mindless support of the US-Australian alliance, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was repaid with an American military decoration for “leadership in addressing global challenges”[2] which underlines the hypocrisy of US foreign policy, as Morrison has been missing in action during recent Australian crises[3] but not missing so much that he was unable to help out his mates in the gas and coal industry[4].

It illustrates how the US is unaccountable for its actions, because it refuses to acknowledge the International Criminal Court. On September 16 2007 Blackwater security contractors escorting a US military convoy in Nissour Square, Baghdad, Iraq, “escalated the force to defend themselves”[5] by opening fire on civilians, killing 17 and injuring 20. Just two months earlier and 16 kilometres away, two US AH-64 Apache helicopters launched a series of airstrikes which killed 12-18 civilians including 2 Reuters war correspondents, the footage of which was released on Wikileaks entitled “Collateral Murder”. Originally denied by the US Government, it was only admitted to after it was exposed on Wikileaks – even if there might be a reason, or an apology to be made, the US has form in terms of denial and cover-up. This further serves to reinforce the worth of Wikileaks in holding Government abuse to account.

To be sure, it was the own processes of the US Government that found the original claims of self-defence by the Blackwater security guards were not valid, where they ultimately ended up charged and in prison. Nevertheless, this one trace of justice has now been lost, as the result of the whims of a US President who has through inaction managed to kill hundreds of thousands of people amongst close to 20 million cases of Covid-19 during his term.

Our own Government has its own dubious record – of failing to support Julian Assange, of doing the dirty on East Timor and hanging out Witness K and Bernard Collaery to dry. Our support of the US is about cosying up to the powerful in the hope they will do us favours; our foreign policy is rarely informed by principle.

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