Is The US Meddling In Polish ACTA Voting?
from the how-dare-they? dept
With the immediate threat from SOPA/PIPA on hold, people have started to turn their attention to the long-running saga of ACTA. While it was being negotiated behind closed doors, few people knew about it, and protests against it were muted. Now that it has finally emerged into the open and begins its last dash towards the finishing line of ratification, the pace of anti-ACTA activism is beginning to pick up quickly. That's especially true in Europe, where everything hinges on the result of the European Parliament's vote on the treaty later this year. If it rejects it, ACTA is dead.
First we had the dramatic resignation of the European Parliament's "rapporteur" on ACTA, then the public apology of the Slovenian Ambassador to Japan for signing ACTA last week in Japan. Individual members of the European Parliament are also coming out against ACTA, notably the Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake, who has prepared an excellent briefing document on the subject, together with several Bulgarian MEPs. But without doubt, the main focus of anti-ACTA actions so far has been in Poland.
As Techdirt has reported, the first demonstration against ACTA took place in Warsaw, and some Polish politicians donned Guy Fawkes/Anonymous masks in parliament to express their displeasure at the Polish government's signing of the treaty. Even the Polish prime minister is trying to back-pedal. Meanwhile, the Polish "No to ACTA" Facebook page has gathered nearly half a million supporters.
Clearly, something very interesting is happening at all levels of Polish society as a result of ACTA, and someone else has noticed this too. According to a translation of a report on the Polish web site gazeta.pl:
"--It was around 11.00 in the morning when an employee from the US Embassy called. She was curious about the voting [on ACTA]. He has counted the votes and she thought some of the deputies were missing. Eight deputies were for, three against, four have held up. Something's wrong here, because some votes seem to be missing." -- said Mieczysław Golba from Solidarna Polska.
As another Polish politician explained:
"-- If the US embassy was just interested in the voting itself, it's okay with us. But questioning about party discipline is scandalous"-- says Sławomir Neumann from PO. -- "Americans should calm down a little, as such behaviour is an interference into the internal affairs of the Polish parliament. We can treat Americans as friends, but there are some borders that one shouldn't cross.We are partners, but not a parliament dependent on the Congress or the president's Obama administration."
Assuming this really was someone from the US embassy checking up on the whether Polish politicians were following the party line on ACTA -- there's been no independent corroboration yet -- it does seem pretty extraordinary. Judging by the generally outraged tone of the 1100+ comments on this piece, the Poles themselves don't seem very happy either. I think we can expect to hear much more about Poland's resistance to ACTA in the coming weeks.