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Push-Polling in the UK
How would you vote?
Rupert Murdoch's Times commissioned a poll from YouGov.co.uk on the opinions of 1,687 Brits on a number of issues, amongst others six related to Julian Assange and his current situation at Ecuador's embassy in Knightsbridge in London. The poll results can represent a fair estimate of the opinions of Brits in general, but they also represent the job the British media have done in informing their readers of the situation at hand.
Julian Assange is a legend in the world today, and it's only the 'Big Four' - the United States, Australia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom - that at all demonstrate hostility. This is not a surprise: the United States of Barack Obama fears whistleblowers more than any government in the world, more than the United States of George W Bush, and the revelations of WikiLeaks pointed to innumerable war crimes perpetrated by the country.
The United Kingdom was also implicated. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was so shocked at the truth that he visited the House of Commons and asked them to immediately begin a full investigation into war crimes committed by British troops.
But Prime Minister David Cameron visited the House of Commons the following day and told them to ignore Nick Clegg. The war crimes of British troops would not be investigated.
The United Nations, acting on the same information seen by Nick Clegg, ordered Barack Obama to immediately begin an investigation of his own. Barack Obama's response was to simply ignore the United Nations.
Australia, always eager to please their brethren in the US, and now to the extent there are US troops on Australian soil, don't want to hear of war crimes, and in fact have done their utmost to sabotage WikiLeaks and Julian Assange at every opportunity.
And finally Sweden, site of the infamous allegations under the country's bizarre sex crime legislation, where parents are cautioning their children to use their mobile phones to film all their acts of sex so as to avoid legal harassment: today Sweden wants to be the darling of NATO, and things have gone so far that Sweden's Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt delivered the keynote at NATO's recent worldwide conference in May of this year - and they're not even a member yet.
These are but a small fraction of the tidbits that people 'in the know' - people who actually follow the news - are aware of. But Brits can't possibly be privy to this information by reading their own newspapers.
There are only two ways things can go at this point. Either human civilisation is on the brink of a new era of enlightenment where governments, banks, and other institutions can finally be held accountable for their crimes; or the entire planet plummets into a new age of darkness.
And the outcome is all determined by what happens at 3 Hans Crescent - the address of Ecuador's embassy around the corner from Harrods where Julian Assange, founder and leader of WikiLeaks, has been holed up for the past two months.
Assuming that the readers of this article are more versed in current events than those polled by YouGov, there's no reason to make this article even longer with a recap. Instead one can cut directly to the questions posed by YouGov.
Note that is is probably unfair to accuse YouGov of push-polling, even though the phone hacking king is involved. The questions can be fair enough - even if they're poorly phrased - but they assume that people are actually familiar with the subject matter. And Britain is one of four countries where the news - at least in this regard - is not thoroughly reported on, and where the government would prefer you knew nothing at all.
- As you may know, Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, is wanted by Sweden on charges of rape. In order to avoid extradition, he has gone to Ecuador's embassy in London. It is a convention that embassies are diplomatic territory, and British police do [question drops off just like that]
- Britain's government has now said that, under a little-known law, Britain has the legal right to enter Ecuador's embassy to arrest Mr Assange. Do you think the police should...
- If Mr Assange is sent to Sweden, do you think he will or will not receive a fair trial there?
- Mr Assange says that if he is sent to Sweden, he might end up in the United States, charged with disclosing, through Wikileaks, a large number of embarrassing documents regarding America's foreign policy. If he does end up in the United States, do you think he will or will not receive a fair trial there?
- Ecuador has since granted asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to live in Ecuador, do you think Ecuador was right or wrong to offer Mr Assange asylum in Ecuador?s
- If Britain's police do NOT try to enter Ecuador's embassy in London, do you think the police should try to seize him on the way to the airport, or would this be an improper violation of diplomatic convention?
Julian Assange and WikiLeaks received an overall 'approval' with these questions of about 40%. Very low, considering his Sunday speech was a worldwide media sensation, and considering his overwhelming rank and file support even in Britain.
But let's assume the questions are better formulated so those questioned have a clue what they're about. Let's spike the questions with information so those questioned have a decent chance to utter an adequate judgement call. And let's of course stick wholly to the truth - but let's not filter out parts of the truth the British government and the British media don't want you to know about.
Herewith the same six questions again, but reformulated.
- As you may know, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, is wanted by Sweden - but for questioning only, and in matters concerning Sweden's highly bizarre sex crime laws that have already resulted in the tragic imprisonment of thousands of innocent people.
Julian Assange has attempted for two years now to clear his name and to speak with the Swedish authorities, both on location in the Swedish capital of Stockholm and subsequently through Swedish embassies, through what is known in the EU as Mutual Legal Assistance, but the Swedes have refused every time and even refused to say why.
Previously they claimed it was illegal to question Julian Assange in this manner (they even claimed it was against British law too, which is nonsense) but only the other week had to admit they'd actually been lying all along.
Julian Assange is therefore extremely apprehensive that Sweden's primary concern has nothing to do with a police investigation but in fact is a collaborative effort with the United States to apprehend him. And as a result, he sought (and formally received) asylum at Ecuador's embassy in London.
The government of Ecuador took almost two months to research the situation and came to the conclusion that yes, there's a tangible risk Sweden is doing the bidding of the United States.
The United States suffered extreme embarrassment because of WikiLeaks. Their war crimes, outright lies, and other illegal activities were brought into the light of day. And now they need to make an example of Julian Assange to pour décourager les autres - to discourage whistleblowers in the future from contemplating the same thing.
According to the Vienna Convention, embassies are territory belonging to the countries they represent, and not even in the coldest days of the Cold War did any nation violate this convention.
But with both David Cameron and Nick Clegg out of the country, William Hague was unfortunately left temporarily in charge, and he sent a rather injudicious and threatening letter to the Ecuadoreans which caused an international crisis between Britain and the whole of Latin and South America.
Hague's letter threatened to violate the Vienna Convention to kidnap Julian Assange.
The British and international media were outraged as well, and it later emerged that Hague's own staff and legal advisers had strenuously voiced their objections too.
So now Julian Assange enters his third month at the Ecuadorean embassy as Britain refuses to agree to safe passage to Heathrow.
Do you think William Hague should be relieved of his duties?
Do you think Britain should allow safe passage to Ecuador for Julian Assange?
Do you think Ecuador was right in granting Julian Assange asylum?
- Britain's government (under William Hague) has now said that, under a very obscure law that has never been used, Britain might be able to claim the right to enter Ecuador's embassy to apprehend Mr Assange. This law limits use to situations far more critical than the one at the Ecuadorean embassy, and in fact it has never been used, and for obvious reasons: no embassy in any country would be safe once Britain took such a fateful step. Do you think Britain should risk becoming the pariah of the entire planet by violating the Vienna Convention because there's a unilateral law they passed for themselves (which no other country agrees to) that they unilaterally claim allows them to do this?
- Sweden's sex laws are - to say the very least - extremely bizarre. Sweden's supreme court gave a dispensation in 1991 that presumption of innocence is not applicable in such cases, that it is possible to convict on hearsay alone, with no forensic (tangible) evidence whatsoever. The Swedish media are overrun with horror tales of spouses who seek revenge by trumping up accusations, and innocent people being sent to prison for long sentences, only for the complainants to admit years later that they made it all up to get child custody, or ownership of real estate, or to themselves avoid police investigation. One of the women involved in the Julian Assange case once published a 'how-to' for women who wanted to exact revenge by bringing false accusations. If Mr Assange is sent to Sweden, do you think he will or will not receive a fair trial there?
- Mr Assange says that if he is sent to Sweden, he might end up in the United States, charged with disclosing, through WikiLeaks, a large number of embarrassing documents regarding the lies and war crimes of the United States. Several prominent politicians have called for his assassination, several have called for him to be tortured, and some have even openly suggested his children be kidnapped. If he does end up in the United States, do you think he will or will not receive a fair trial there?
- Do you think Ecuador was wrong or right to offer Mr Assange asylum?
- If Britain's police do NOT try to enter Ecuador's embassy in London, do you think the police should ignore the Vienna Convention and try to seize him for the sake of the United States on the way to the airport, or would this be yet another controversial and potentially embarrassing act that would further tarnish Britain's reputation in an increasingly hostile world environment?
The old 'powers that be' in early occidental 'civilisation' - the monarchs and the churches - didn't like people knowing too much. They didn't teach people how to read, for example, out of fear the people would understand too much. The advent of the printing press caused a great upheaval in Europe, with each country trying to control its use. The concept of 'copyright' comes directly from that era. Copyright is not ownership - it's permission to make copies of something. For the powers that be wanted to stop this copying from getting out of hand, stop the people from learning too much.
Today we have the Internet, and the Internet supersedes and overshadows the printing press, and already in its short history has caused more upheaval than half a millennium ago when the printing press was introduced. If you don't believe it, take the London tube to Knightsbridge station and look around.
The governments of the west don't want you knowing too much. They don't want to risk another 2010 when everything blew up in their faces. They will do anything to stop that from happening. They will lie, cheat, and murder. There is no rule of law in the west until the truth is again silenced.
The countries of Latin America, South America; the countries of northern Africa; of the subcontinent of India; and perhaps even China one day: they all want WikiLeaks to flourish. They've been under the heel of the big powers. And the people in these countries are ecstatic about WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. Wonder of it is - or is it pure coincidence - they're far better informed as well. Rafael Correa's Ecuador applauded the WikiLeaks release of embassy cables and even beseeched Julian Assange to be sure to release every last one.
How do you think Ecuadoreans and peoples of other third world countries will respond to the second set of questions?
I'm so sick of it all. Will it never end? At any rate I want to say the other girl's just as much to blame.
- Anna Ardin
Apparently Swedish laws are unique. If you have a penis you're half a rapist before you even get through customs.
- Scott Adams
If I am able to reveal what I know, everyone will realise this is all a charade. If I could tell the British courts, I suspect it would make extradition a moot point.
- Björn Hurtig
I can tell you that the Swedish prosecution still hasn't provided copies of those SMS texts that have been referred to. Those texts are some of the most powerful exculpatory evidence. In Australia prosecutors have a very grave duty to disclose such evidence to courts when seeking the grave exercise of a court's power against an individual. Yet in Sweden in this case, in the first hearings to obtain an arrest warrant, those texts were not submitted to the Swedish court, which is highly improper.
- James Catlin
The prosecutor could achieve this broadening of the law during Assange's trial so he can be convicted of a crime that didn't exist at the time he allegedly committed it. She would need to. There is no precedent for this. The Swedes are making it up as they go along.
- James Catlin
Julian Assange will surely learn that considering what WikiLeaks has published, he's got a few enemies in the Pentagon, the CIA, and the White House. Sweden began an investigation into rape which was later dismissed. Assange was even denied residence in Sweden. One can only speculate to what extent the security agencies of the US were involved. And considering the obvious interest of the US to silence WikiLeaks, is it likely Assange will have an accident of the 'Boston brakes' kind in the coming years? Or will he be snared with compromising information of the 'honey trap' kind?
- 'Drozd' at Flashback 23 October 2010
The truth will out, the truth wins out. Let no journalist ever again speculate into what the protocols say. Six months of digging and the people at Flashback have the actual documents. The sleaze printed by rags such as the Daily Mail, Sweden's Aftonbladet and Expressen, and perhaps above all the toxic Nick Davies of the Guardian, can stand no more. Yet more: these documents are an indictment of the 'news organisations' who've printed deliberate inaccuracies all along or even worse: refused to print anything at all. Nick Davies' account of the protocols was maliciously skewed; both Aftonbladet and Expressen had copies early on and printed nothing. Bloggers had copies but arrogantly kept the information to their Smeagol selves.
- The Assange Police Protocol: Translator's Note