The world knows that 4 National Council members and Victorian candidate, Leslie Cannold – running partner to Julian Assange – recently resigned from Australia’s newly-formed Wikileaks Party. They may also be aware that a number of key volunteers, including Victoria’s social media coordinator Sean Bedlham, also threw in the towel a few days after the announcement of the Party’s election preferences.

I made a film for the Wikileaks Party to explain the significance of Senate preferences in the Australian electoral system, where the Wikileaks Party were running. It would still be of public interest however, to know why so many people felt they could no longer continue with the campaign.

Voting has now closed, and as we await the results – predicted one week ago by the bookies, the Murdoch press and, minutes ago, by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as a landslide victory for our right-wing Liberal Party – I will take a moment to explain what we, The Wikileaks Party, had intended to do in the Australian Senate.

We had realised that the Upper House, whose purpose was to review and adjudicate on the operations of government – our Lower House – had become more of a House of Deal-Making. Who better, we thought, than Julian Assange and his fellow-candidates to represent us in the Australian Senate, given Wikileaks’s outstanding record of ‘keeping the bastards honest’? God knows we’d tried taking to the streets before the Iraq War, but the man at the top had not heard our voice…

The hope of Julian Assange was based on the idea that one citizen can make a difference, and as a film-maker and citizen journalist, I decided to nail my colours to the Wikileaks mast some 3 years ago. That resulted in the making of roughly 80 films and 200 written articles on the subject of Wikileaks over the last 2 years.

Many Australians, across the political spectrum, liked the idea of a Wikileaks Party representative in the Australian Senate, and we sailed over the line to becoming a political Party. Its motto of “Truth, Transparency and Democracy” – which later mutated into “Truth, Transparency and Justice” – gave promise that we would set a precedent in political history.

When the Party collapsed, I travelled to Melbourne, from where our campaign was being run, to ask why. OMG…

Sam Castro - Why I resigned from the Wikileaks Party

Sam Castro - Why I resigned from the Wikileaks Party

My recognition of the importance of the Wikileaks struggle for transparency and democracy was inspired by the courage and rigour of Julian Assange, and the reliability of his publications. My active participation in the movement was encouraged and facilitated by the grass-roots activism of his mother, Christine Assange, and the idea that she and others conveyed to me, that this was about “Journalism with a Heart”.

I think we lost the heart somewhere along the election trail, and when she became “Inactive”, Christine’s solid moral compass. John Pilger apparently advised Julian against getting involved in Party politics, and I was reminded of this when Christine advised us to support Scott Ludlam, regardless of which Party he belonged to. That made sense, for Australians. At a time when we were floundering in grief, anger, confusion and alienation, her voice rang out to anchor us once again in common values and truth. Without Scott, you Christine, and some heart-felt apologies to our supporters, our party is over…

More revelations about the Wikileaks Party have emerged today from Gary Lord – aka Jaraparilla – who was a member of the WLP National Council for about a week. We discover now why he didn’t need to step down, contrary to legal advice he’d received from within the Party. We also learn of an unexpected connection between Wikileaks and James Ashby?? and of why the Party became divided. ‘Where’s That Party Review?’ is definitely a must-read…

About CaTⓋ

Artist, musician, nerd
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  1. Lynne Bon de Veire says:

    Thank you so much for putting this together . It is the only Post Election commentary I wanted to see. It has helped.
    No doubt along with thousands of other observers, I was devastated by this implosion. As an Aussie watching from Europe – with bated breath , since late 2009, I am now post election, grieving for my home and the destruction about to be metered out by our new Gov.
    Thanks to Julian and Christine Assange I saw that the potential Australia has always had, may actually manifest.. Joined by so many other amazing Aussies, I dared to think that the WLP could be the GLUE together with the Greens, Pirates and ….
    the rest. Bringing it all together and holding it strong. You’re right, the values and aspirations represented by the WLP do not just disappear, clearly the case for all you wonderful people who have given so much, and I send best wishes, gratitude and healing to you all.
    No-one with humanitarian values, principals would have been comfortable to find themselves in the position some of you were in, and therein will lie the perpetual vulnerability for such a Party. High ideals, moral values and thresholds, easily disillusioned, is a full time job for a very skilled coordinator, and also gives easy access to manipulation. If anyone wanted this Party dead, this was how and when to do it.
    Your decisions were clearly very difficult – devastating, but HOW was this not avoided ? We will all watch the consequences of this implosion for many years , all the while shouting that we do not like what we see.
    And here I address all involved in this issue.
    Was no one keeping their eye on the bigger picture ? A general lack of vision, sight, foresight, hearing, communication, possibly compassion — for the only one of you still trapped in the mineshaft ?
    If Julian was shooting himself in the foot due to lack of sunlight, couldn’t one of you have helped him to stop. ? If he trusted someone who doesn’t share exactly the same values as some of you, would patience have come in handy ?
    Questions easily asked from the outside, but no less valid.
    The huge sacrifices of the Assanges, the intelligence and humanity they have consistently displayed, the prison they are both still trapped in, serves as a constant reminder that it remains ( for the moment ) them, that stand to loose the most.
    I will continue to speak out for their release from oppression.
    I await a broader humanitarian response from all involved.
    A rebirth – reconciliation – reboot . this is too valuable too lose.

  2. I’ve been sitting around in Melbourne having flown here from Tasmania on Thursday, ostensibly to hand out how-to-vote cards for the Wikileaks Party. I brought my Wikileaks Party t-shirt, although I had decided days ago I wouldn’t be volunteering for the party. In any event, I hadn’t received anything from the party about who to contact or what booth I would be manning. Without drawing any conclusions, I presumed that may have been because I’d spent days on the Wikileaks Party Facebook page making statements about the apparent deceit and lack of transparency associated with the preferences fiasco. It was frustrating to me that most commentators on the party’s Facebook page who were minded to express concern about what had happened seemed more concerned about preferences going to far-right parties. Surely the greatest problem, so far as this mess is concerned, is that a party claiming to be the Party of Transparency has to live up to that claim; indeed, live that claim. Deceit has no place in a party purporting to shine a light on the dishonest and underhanded practices evident in the conduct of the major parties. To immediately resort to deceitful and duplicitous politicking to attain an otherwise unachievable but preferred outcome, as seems to have happened with the preferences fiasco, is in truth to achieve nothing more than to wreck the authenticity and moral and political capital of the party. If the Wikileaks Party is in fact a party of deceit, then there is no point to it. And that is a crying shame, and a stupid fucking waste.

  3. AJ says:

    Hi Sam, Thanks for the post and video, and for all the work that you put in for the party & the broader cause over the last 6 months and beyond. I think one of the underlying problems with Senate Politics in Australia is that the Group Voting System is screwed and needs to be replaced by something that doesn’t involve back room deals, dodgy preference swaps and sheer luck seeing people elected. Oh well, we can live in hope. In the end it’s looking like two parties who the NC actually agreed to preference (micro non extreme right) such as Australia Sports Party in WA and LDP in NSW are going to get seats. I’m still holding out for some kind of review, but even some kind of detailed comment from Greg/Cassie et al re NSW would be good. Am hoping Gerry resigns from the party but we’ll see what happens..

  4. BK says:

    I can’t wait for the day when those that resigned will stay resigned. I am tired of hearing all the excuses. The system is flawed. You overreacted. You resigned. Enough.

  5. @CantBeAnonHere says:

    Hello Sam, Thanks for picking me up on your Twitter DM. Although not as devastated as you guys probably are, the news today was a bitter blow. We live in a small community and we have no contact with other WLP members so had no idea of the internal problems.
    On Sunday, blindly, I printed all the posters and how to vote cards and spent the day talking people into supporting the party…. What a waste of time.
    Have admired the dedication you guys have had and found inspiration in your tweets. I had hopes, like the comments above that we were about to make a small change in the world and, to quote “reboot democracy”
    I understand at the moment that confusion reigns… When the dust settles please keep me in the loop and know that you have my continuing support.
    Would appreciate it if you passed on my best regards to the others.
    Best wishes .. Peter (Occupy Wingello)

  6. Josh says:

    This is why I am an anarcho-capitalist or voluntarist. You can not please most people and why should most people have the say about whats good for me and my loved ones?

    Politics is a fools game. This video is why

  7. Derek Pater says:

    Thanks Sam,
    This is a great interview, I am a disillusioned wiki-leaks party supporter,
    hopefully the next election this party can get it right,

    Regards Derek Pater

  8. Jean Lee says:

    The reason I became inspired to join ADFoWL and later the Wikileaks Party was after I saw the Collateral Murder Video I felt who ever had the courage to put that out must have much courage and determination to get the message out about a war crime to the population, a message that mainstream media is not even trying to get out, in fact they do the exact opposite. I also felt great empathy for Julian Assange because of the way he was being pursued by the world’s greatest super power.
    The current problems in the Wikileaks Party totally surprise me because we all know ‘democracy’ is an important value and something to aspire to but to survive in the political landscape if you are not prepared to be pragmatic you will not survive for very long, as we have just experienced.
    My loyalty is to Julian Assange and Wikileaks, and the goal of the Wikileaks Party was to get Julian Assange into the Senate, which after watching these interviews, I get the impression the people who resigned had loyalties else where.

  9. Ken Sievers says:

    I have only listened to two of the interviews and I will say the following. Sam Castro makes it quite clear that her primary loyalty was to keep Scott Ludlam (who happens to be in the Australian Greens) in the Senate. I respect that, he is a fine senator. However I joined the Wikileaks party because it had – among other things – the goal of electing JULIAN ASSANGE to the Senate. I think Sam did the honest thing to get out of the WL Party because she does not share its goals. Too bad she had to spread shit all over the walls in the process. The worst thing that could happen to Scott Ludlam is that he would loose his Senate seat. The worst thing that could happen to Julian Assange is that he is either assasinated or handed over to the US. As I said, Sam just realized that she joined the wrong party. Better luck next time.
    I also listened to the “ethicist” Leslie Cannold. As a retired philosopher I will only say that people who claim to be experts in ethics – whether they are secular or religions – deceive themselves and others. Their opinions are of no more and no less worth than anyone else without such a grand title. She puts great emphasis on “democracy”. We couldn’t be part of any party that was not completely democratic. She too has done the right thing and resigned. As I said, I joined the WL Party to raise awarness about the way Julian Assange was being screwed by his own country – and the US to boot. Frankly I never gave the “constitution” a second thought. I assumed that the organizers of the party were putting something together which could register as a party under Australian law and contest for Senate seats in the 2013 election and beyond. I know next to nothing about the disputes which led to these resignations, but I do know what the effect was of the noisy resignations which have occurred. I can see that these people are very pleased with themselves, but when I think about Julian trapped in the little room in London, I can’t for the life of me understand why.
    I actually have had more real disgreements with the decisions of the National Council than either of these two people, decisions which they probably agreed with. Have you heard? Why not? Because my opinions about policy count for nothing when compared to the goal – as I see it – of providing as much knowleldge about Julian Assange and protecting him from his own government by raising awareness in Australia about his activities and his plight.
    By contrast, these two people have loyalties and/or opinions which – to them – are more important than the goal of protecting Julian Assange and the Wikileaks organization. Fine, it is not for me to decide what is important to these people. But as I keep saying, because of their opinions and loyalties, they have discovered that they do not belong in the WL Party. Sadly, as they keep going on publicly about how disappointed they are in the WL Party, they join a long list of people who have been close to Julian at one time or another and then for their own reasons decide that he, or his organization, or the associated party, are really just the worst thing since…..since what??? Since the murder of those journalists in Baghdad? Whose blood does he have on his hands now…?
    Anyway this will all die down eventually. Sooner or later Sam and Leslie will find another cause to join. Just let me know what it is so I can make sure I have nothing to do with it.

  10. Dear Folks,

    I am going to take time to reflect on this and come up with a considered response, at the moment I have no time. Today, it was the Arms Fair in London , tomorrow early morning it’s John Kerry at 8 am at the Foreign Office. This mornnig I wasted 80 mins responding to a OZ Green Party lynch mob that has come out of me making an intervention in this WLP meltdown. Given that I am 12,000 miles away and am a christian anarchist non-voter this has been a significant distraction from important anti-war & solidarity work at hand. All while we host 22 destitute refugees at Giuseppe Conlon House and deal with our eternal internal Catholic Worker, crisis that comes not merely from living ORworking together – but living AND working together.

    We need to get over this WLP meltdown, treat as a speed bump on the highway of trying to stop historic & ongoing Australian complicity in U.S. massacres of children – this week Syrian children, next week? Also the important work of keeping a growing list of our comrades out of solitary confinement in U.S. gulags – originally Queenslander/ Melbournite Julian, U.S. born/ Old South Wales raised Chelsea, “Fast Eddy” outta Hawaii/ Hong Kong, Sarah, Lara, Glenn etc. This is THE important task at THIS historic moment – generating & sustaining nonviolent resistance & solidarity with war resisters.

    I personally know and love Julian Assange, John Shipton, Susan Manning. I have spoken to Christine on the phone and I can relate to her (like Susan Manning), because they are going through what my mother went through when I was banged up in U.S. prisons. I love the work of Sean & Sam and have met them on skype. Sean first saw me as I was bashed at S11, dust myself down and get back into they fray. Julian was at S11 too. I did not meet either of them or see them there – I didn’t need to, we were working together in nonviolent solidarity for a greater goal.

    What I have got going for me is that I have played football since 1966 and continue to play (presently recovering from broken bone or severe ligament damage in ankle). That means I have worked with people in teams who didn’t like me and I didn’t like them for (literally) a greater GOAL! Sometimes I score those goals, sometimes I set them up and sometimes my best contribution is I get out of the fkn way of the ball.

    We have all been hurt by the WLP meltdown (even this christan anarchist non-voter), we now need to dust ourself down and get back into fray. Literally the lives of Syrian children this week/ other children next week are dependent on it. The liberty of John & Christine’s son Julian, of Susan’s child Chelsea, of Edward, Sarah Glenn etc are dependent on it. When the lives and liberty of children are at stake, those of us who have the ability to act as adults need to be acting as adults. We need to forgive each other. The only thing that holds us back from forgiving and accepting forgiveness is our pride and fear. I have pride and fear in vast quantaties. I can be too fearful to forgive, I can be too proud to be forgiven.
    With that block all stops – community, nonviolent ressitance, solidarity. That’s where the empire wants us as it goes about it’s daily grind of producing orphans and kids corpses- as did in Vietnam, Bouganville, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Colmbia, Timor Leste, Iraq, Afghanistan and now Syria

    There endeth the lesoneth
    I will make a more considered contribution to this debate, when I have more time
    I have not had the time to have this dodgy ankle checked out
    Here are some reflections of an interview I did on Friday night in London on Assange/ Manning Snowden solidarity & the ongoing WLP meltdown & the wnti-war & solidarity work at hand

    What is happening with the WLP today, happened with the Nuclear Disarmament Party in the ’80′s, in the Gospels with the original discipleship community, in every Catholic Worker community I have lived in over the last 30+ years, in the film “The Commitments”. It’s nothing new.

    Stay staunch (as they use to say in Boggo Rd.)
    Keep the faith (as they use to say in Long Kesh)
    Ciaron O’Reilly, London

  11. Julie Drysdale says:

    Take a few moments. All this outpouring is good for some, but those of us in the party, not in powerful positions, also felt distressed at the stupidity of the preference deal in NWS. The number crunchers got it wrong by not understanding who their support base was and thereby alienating many.
    However, demonising the family of Julian who have a lot at stake is not helpful. We want an ethical party and the only way to do that is to keep at it from within. Underestimating the importance of getting Julian elected resulted in unnecessary resignations and a collapse of the organisation.
    On the ground, fewer people on the booths mean’t fewer votes. The booths that were manned collected a good percentage of votes.
    I am saddened that so many resigned which left a small core of us running around at pre polling booths and election day trying to cover vast areas with little organisational help.
    To those people who stayed, my heart felt thanks. We were like solitary soldiers out there and it is a time I will remember always.

  12. Bruce says:

    As a party member with a great zeal to be involved, can I just say that my offers of assistance, my requests for info re policies and party structure were completely ignored. I received no communication beyond John Shipton’s form welcome email. I started feeling like I’d been set up and this was a party in name only and the actual members were a necessarily evil. On the volunteers forum I read story after story of meetings being organised and members showing up only to find no-one else there. There was no direction from party representatives/leaders and no clear indication of policies. In short, it was a fucking joke.

    A friend and I also stopped by the rally against surveillance in Brisbane just in time to see Gary Lord, ostensibly representing Wikileaks/Wikileaks Party, give a badly put together speech that briefly mentioned WL, barely mentioned WLP and instead concetrated on informing the small crowd about how 9/11 was a fucking cover-up while everyone, including myself, cringed. He sounded like a juvenile lunatic in the face of other speakers who spoke about the problems of increasing surveillance and the war on whistleblowers and what we could do to hold the government to account.

    I left with a bad taste in my mouth wishing I’d joined the Pirates instead. The only reason I remain a member is because I am a staunch advocate of freedom of information and support Wikileaks and Julian Assange and have this blind faith that eventually the Party will realise the bigger picture – that unless we get a groundswell happening now we’ll all live in a prison with invisible bars where our every move is monitored – and start politicking accordingly.

    • Leo Braun says:

      • Bruce, as a foundation member of a party that purported to hold itself to the highest principles of transparency, accountability and justice — nevertheless being taken for a ride — I feel your pain: “feeling like I’d been set up and this was a party in name only” principled. Party which ostensibly “believes that truthful, accurate, factual information is the foundation of democracy”. Essential to the protection of human rights and freedoms!

      “Where the truth is suppressed or distorted, corruption and injustice flourish”, avowed WLP while giving insider accounts of a broken media system where controversial reports are suppressed, people are censored for speaking out, their lives are shattered. Precisely copped by me at the WLP debate forum where a party member of the impeccable integrity has been vilified, name soiled and dragged through the mud in succession.

      Whatever it takes to trash moral citizen who relied on civic courage, nourished by the championed truthfulness to shine a light on injustice and corruption in the era of universal deceit. As a result, Political Asylum topic was sabotaged, locked and shafted from the general discussion. Relegated out-of-sight out-of-mind into oblivion!

    • Leo Braun says:

      “Barely mentioned WLP and instead concetrated on informing the small crowd about how 9/11 was a fucking cover-up while everyone, including myself, cringed”.

      Lest We Forget: “I believe in facts about conspiracies”! “Any time people with power plan in secret, they are conducting a conspiracy. So there are conspiracies everywhere. There are also crazed conspiracy theories. It’s important not to confuse these two. Generally, when there’s enough facts about a conspiracy we simply call this news”.

      What about 9/11? “I’m constantly annoyed that people are distracted by false conspiracies such as 9/11, when all around we provide evidence of real conspiracies, for war or mass financial fraud”. What about the Bilderberg conference? “That is vaguely conspiratorial, in a networking sense. We have published their meeting notes“.

      Since when did WikiLeaks become the tip of the spear in the global war for truth, transparency, knowledge, and freedom? An organization that rejects the truth that 9/11 was an inside job is not working to promote transparency, free speech, and truth, but more nefarious causes.

      Those who seek to marginalize the global 9/11 truth and justice movement are not on the right side of history. The official 9/11 fable does not rest on solid foundations, but on totalitarian propaganda and trauma-based collective brainwashing. By endorsing the 9/11 fable, WikiLeaks proved itself to be a compromised organization that has no interest in revealing secret truths to the masses of the world.

    • CaTⓋ says:

      And now we know – post Torture report – that Gary was right. The CIA fabricated the story of Al Qaeda to keep their budget flowing in, and that Saudi Arabia, the allies, were responsible. Truly cringeworthy, like something you don’t want to believe. Oh dear, I’ve been reading the comments to this article I wrote 2 years ago, about what the new Government would do to Australia. It’s happened, and now we cringe at the thought of the world listening to our Elite Servant (as Guy Rundle called him) saying that coal is good for humanity.

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