admin On aprile - 22 - 2014


by Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
The sagacious Information Technology expert, Omar Todd engages himself betwixt freedom of information and environmentalist. His I.T. skills caught the attention of Julian Assange, who appointed him as his Deputy Chairman for the WikiLeaks Party, something which keeps him very busy but does not distract his attention from his commitment to protecting wildlife and ecosystems, as he reveals in this Exclusive Interview:

What brought you onboard the WikiLeaks team?
I got in touch with Julian Assange’s mother because I truly was enthralled by what he was doing. I was in London when he was at the embassy and asked to meet him. Julian invited me to the embassy, this was in 2011, and in that occasion we came up with the idea of forming a political party. When I met him he was already famous, but I found him a very personable interesting fellow. We share a lot of ideals, particularly with my internet background and the fact I feel very strongly about internet freedom.

Now you are trying to bring WikiLeaks to the Australian Senate…
The WikiLeaks party is a dream come true: it formed early last year, we only had three months before the first selection to really get our paces. We put up six candidates and we got just under 1% of the vote with not a lot of resources, so we were quiet surprised: nearly one hundred thousand people voted for the WikiLeaks party. We did reasonably well considering we are a new party, and it is my job to continue to apply the principles of what we want to bring to the Australian political landscape, which is a party that looks at what the government is doing and we force transparency and accountability, which of course creates justice. So we want to be the party that oversees all the government’s activity. We would be like a group of reporters trying to make sure that the government is kept honest, for a transparent democracy. We are now waiting for the next selection; we didn’t get any candidates in this time unfortunately. It’s difficult to run a campaign when your main candidate is stuck somewhere else.

How about your environmental commitments?
I’m the Technical Director of Sea Shepherd, which is essentially a non-profit conservation organisation, whose mission is to end a destruction of the habitat’s slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and our species, but also to protect our future. In the last five years the TV show commissioned by Animal Planet called Whale Wars really put the organisation on the map, and is now on its sixth season. My collaboration with Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society began when I met someone who introduced us: I was entranced by his talks and I became more and more inclined to help. Sea Shepherd has now been around for 35 years and still today I’m very much inspired by Captain Paul Watson and his dedication in fighting for the oceans for so long.

Are you planning to make WikiLeaks and Sea Shepherd work together somehow?
As a matter of fact, so far the WikiLeaks publishing organisation has helped Sea Shepherd, by releasing documents about a Trans-Pacific Trade agreement, which of course is being negotiated in secret between 12 countries that represent 40% of the world’s GDP deciding about our futures in regards to copyright laws, intellectual property. It’s a very critical document that not many people have heard about, but it actually involves countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Mexico, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, and Brunei.
Sea Shepherd has used these documents to bring awareness to that particular partnership’s consequences to the environment if it’s signed by all these countries. The Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement  is one of the most significant contracts that is going around and it’s a very secretive trade pact, nobody really knows what it is about, but what we do know by the drafts that are being leaked – through WikiLeaks – is that as well as affecting us all it bypasses sovereignty. It’s almost like a shareholders’ agreement and protects the corporations. For instance, if in your country you affect the trade of a foreign corporation and sign this agreement, then your government can be sued and you can be sued for damages: so it transcends sovereignty. Down the road, Sea Shepherd will have the consequences of that agreement at its doorstep.

What can be done to prevent this going through?
There are a number of websites that talk about it and one particular page is http://www.fightforthefuture.org/ which is a campaign to stop the agreement being signed and at least force the negotiators to make a public domain.

 

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