July 12th, 2019
The United Nations Rapporteur for torture, Nils Melzer, reports that Julian Assange is being tortured in a concerted and prolonged defamation campaign by the UK, US, Sweden and Ecuador. In café Weltschmerz Rico Brouwer interviews Nils Melzer who’s visited Assange in Belmarsh prison. He asks him how Assange is doing and what’s up with the rule of law in our nations? Melzer: ‘to me this is a real test for these countries, for the West. As to whether they take the legacy of the second world war and the human rights treaties that they have established and that guarantee fair trial, that guarantee freedom of the press, that guarantee the prohibition of torturable treatment. They established the United Nations and mandated people like me to observe these rights. If they don’t take these United Nations reports seriously, then it really puts into question the validity of the commitment of these states to human rights’. He continues: ‘If the US acted in good faith, they would have investigated the crimes that were exposed by WikiLeaks and prosecuted the torture and the murder and so on that was exposed, and the corruption. Nothing of that happened. But the Whistle-blower that leaked the information and the journalist that published, these were the people that were prosecuted’. ‘Clearly it seems that they want to make an example of him, and to make sure that what he has been doing is not going to be imitated by others. Because somehow you can manage one WikiLeaks and one Julian Assange, but if you have ten thousand of these organisations and journalists popping up that use the internet so effectively to expose secret information, that obviously would no longer be manageable for these states and it could really change the way that world affairs are being conducted very fundamentally. And that’s what these states are afraid of’. ‘If we allow this precedent to be set, that states can do that, that they can prosecute journalists for exposing true information about crimes committed by Government officials, if that becomes a crime, and these officials are not prosecuted, then we really no longer have the rule of law’. follow Nils Melzer on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NilsMelzer
June 29th, 2019
An investigation was done through visual art into the company Monsanto, that turned into a photographic exposition that’s touring the world. June 28th 2019 they opened in Amsterdam in the Ravestijn gallery (westerdok 824) where I talk to the artist Mathieu Asselin. We talk about how he’s exposing the damaging effects of the company now known as Bayer Monsanto through art in this award winning exposition.
May 31st, 2019
‘.. and you come up to a refugeecamp where people in power are saying to victims: you can only have access to food if I can have access to your children’ new interview with whistleblower @AndrewMMacLeod on how to stop child rape by aid workers …
Rico Brouwer CV:
I am from 1970, married, we have two children together and we live in Almere. Making music is my hobby, running is my sport. In 1988 I got my diploma with an exact curriculum. Then a piece of HTS and then first came conscription, after which I looked for a follow-up study where it was about human work. After that social training (HBO-SPH: youth work, group work, furnishing work, etc.) I started working in 1997 in … technical positions in ICT. I sat at the table with end users, the executive technicians and with the members of the board of directors on strategy. For the past 4 years I have been working as a teacher at specialists in VMware’s virtualisation software, where I simplify complex concepts in a class where people feel at home. Until 2014, I mainly described myself as a musician and technician-with-people-skills. From then on also as a Pirate.
I experienced the .com crash around 2000, but it wasn’t until the financial crisis of 2008 that I started to read myself seriously. You could say that I went to school again. It took until the beginning of 2014 before I also wanted to do things instead of just reading or writing about them. It wasn’t Edward Snowden who made me want to get actively involved, but the cowardly reaction to what has to be done for our parliament. If it isn’t those established parties who stand up for the interests of the people in our society, then who will?
That’s how the Pirate Party came to me. The 2014 programme was fantastic and very complete, but without any depth in the subjects I was also working on: geopolitics, macroeconomics and previous economic depressions. If you look at what has happened since then with the EU, Greece, Syria and Ukraine, the refugees and the tensions with Russia, you can see that that is what the public debate in the forthcoming elections will also be about. If we, as Pirates, do not have an answer to this question, then we will place ourselves outside that part of the public debate.
In my opinion, you can learn from history if you want to inform yourself. For example, the war on cash is something that goes beyond the right to make anonymous payments. We don’t win that war by attacking ‘that handy contactless payment’. If you can show why cash is being attacked, you get momentum.
In the elections, I would like to make a more direct appeal to target groups. I think we are the party for the self-employed if we explain why TTIP and copyright are not in the interests of small businesses. We are the party for students, if we explain how our political agenda reduces study costs. Are you worried about the cost of care? Then you come to the Pirate Party, because with our plans to reform patent law we have an answer to that. We don’t write our programme for ourselves, but for the people who will vote later on.
I don’t have solutions for the problems of our time, but a solution direction. The Pirate issues of subsidiarity and transparency of governance are my themes. Showing how, as a ‘representative of the people’, you serve the interests of the people in our society and not that of lobbyists, multinationals, foreign governments – that is my goal.
Lead by example is contagious. Something is only ‘impossible work’ if no one starts it. With the Pirates, I’ve started a few things in recent years. In 2014 for Pirate Party International in Istanbul and for the ‘working group organisation’. In 2015 I started the money and banks working group and in January/March 2016 the Ukraine referendum campaign, for which I wrote this extensive informative paper on the background to the consultative referendum. After that, swarmwise positively got out of hand to what became the ‘Pirate Campaign’. Over the past few months, I have mainly made efforts to improve the internal organisation of the Pirate Party, such as the Praesidium.