back to article Assange™ makes fresh bid for FREEDOM from Scotland Yard's 'physical encirclement'

Julian Assange™ is attempting to break out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been encamped for two years. His lawyers plan to file a request with the Stockholm District Court in Sweden, where Assange is wanted for questioning over allegations of sexual coercion, sexual molestation and rape. The WikiLeaker-in- …

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  1. Ragarath

    Who cost the taxpayer £6M?

    Meanwhile, in an effort to gain more UK fans, WikiLeaks claimed that the British government's "physical encirclement" of Assange has cost more than £6.3m in taxpayer money to date.

    Rather than gain more fans it personally annoys me. Just go face your charges. I was initially on his side, but it is not the government wasting the money. It is Assange himself by continuing to evade the authorities.

    Should we let off everyone that costs more than £100 to apprehend? £1000? £1,000,0000? Where do you stop?

    If he had faced the charges initially then it would have cost the plane ticket to send him over there. By not facing up to his problems he has cost the taxpayer that money.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who cost the taxpayer £6M?

      > Should we let off everyone that costs more than £100 to apprehend? £1000? £1,000,0000? Where do you stop?

      It is a valid point, although I have to say 6 million to pay someone to watch a front door does seem rather bad value for money.

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Re: Who cost the taxpayer £6M?

        6m does seem a bit high, but I guess theres some paranoia about letting him slip through the net, so plod have overresourced.

        Of course, even if Sweden suddenly say 'ah, new information, no case to answer', he's still going to be arrested as a bail jumper the second he strolls out into the rain. Pretty much bang to rights too

        1. Ian Michael Gumby

          Re: Who cost the taxpayer £6M?

          Actually if he walks out... he gets nabbed by the UK and then they decide what to do with him.

          He could personally be on the hook for the expense of the police circle and at the end... he won't go to Ecuador but to Australia since he entered the country on an Aussie passport.

          From Australia... he'll be fair game...

        2. James Micallef Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: Who cost the taxpayer £6M?

          "so plod have overresourced"

          You don't say?? 24-hour coverage with 8-hour shifts and 4 police officers per shift means you need 12 officers full-time, for 2 years (24 man-years). Considering backup for vacations, logistical support, additional call-outs etc, being generous lets round that up to 30 man-years.

          That's £200k/year per officer, with another £350k for equipment and expenses (since the exact figure quoted was £6,350,099.96)

          So seriously, where is all that money going???

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Big Brother

          Re: Who cost the taxpayer £6M?

          "6m does seem a bit high, but I guess theres some paranoia about letting him slip through the net, so plod have overresourced."

          1M for actual police staff time, 5M for the donuts and coffee. The good news is that the Knightsbridge Starbucks has never been more profitable!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who cost the taxpayer £6M?

        I cannot believe that a creep like Assange is getting any kind of help from anybody. I believe he'd sell his own mother if he could.

        Any country that assists or in any way defends this man that has cost several people their lives through his infantile behaviour should be treated as an international pariah and shares his guilt.

      3. Robert E A Harvey

        Re: Watch a front door

        All this economics baffles me. Do we /only/ pay him while he's looking at a front door? Would we not have been paying him if he'd been e.g. Stop-and-searching some poor black kid?

      4. Kane Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Who cost the taxpayer £6M?

        "It is a valid point, although I have to say 6 million to pay someone to watch a front door does seem rather bad value for money."

        Not if your name is G4S.

        Mine's the one with the ankle bracelet in the pocket.

      5. Nifty Silver badge

        Re: Who cost the taxpayer £6M?

        Cost of watching front door: £50,000

        Cost of monitoring all IP traffic + voice comms to & from the premises: £5,950,000

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who cost the taxpayer £6M?

        "It may sound callous (Or even sociopathic)"

        I was kind of edging towards bureaucratic as a description. Congratulations on reducing a victim's lifetime of residual trauma down to an hourly rate. The Gordian Knot of emotions and PTSD has been sliced by the keen edged sword of your logic. Let us rejoice.

      2. Irongut

        Re: Who cost the taxpayer £6M?

        Actually it is much worse than callous or sociopathic, you forgot the rule of law. Assange is not a perpetrator because he has not committed any crime. Until he is convicted he is merely an innocent man who has been accused. So by strict application of your views we should spend absolutely nothing.

        1. Chad H.

          Re: Who cost the taxpayer £6M?

          Except he has potentially commited a crime in Sweeden (saying he hasn't commited a crime is not true) and in any case he has now committed a crime in the UK - contempt of court, bail jumping, call it what you will.

          1. Fluffy Bunny
            Big Brother

            Re: Who cost the taxpayer £6M?

            He hasn't committed a crime until the courts say he has. Even in Sweden, the accused has the right to a trial by a jury of his peers. The only person who has signed off on the extradition paperwork is an official in the persecutor's office. Not even a judge.

            1. acacacac

              Re: Who cost the taxpayer £6M?

              "Even in Sweden". Wow, thanks for the vote of confidence. "Even" in Sweden. We're just above the threshold for being considered a developed country where people aren't just summarily executed for stealing carrots, right?

              "...a jury of his peers.". No. Regular trials have no juries in Sweden. But why bother checking such things before posting your comment? Better to just assume stuff, and go with the view of Sweden as presented in US movies and TV series.

            2. nisse72

              Re: Who cost the taxpayer £6M?

              Well, unless his crime is about freedom of the press, there will be no jury.

        2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

          Re: Who cost the taxpayer £6M?

          Jumping bail is a crime in itself. Even if he's found entirely innocent in Sweden would now face charges in the UK. By his own actions he went from possibly innocent to definitely guilty of something.

        3. Ian Michael Gumby

          Re: Who cost the taxpayer £6M?

          Nope he did commit a crime.

          He jumped bail.

          He should have been under arrest during his appeals hearing. He should have been in jail however he was given bail.

          The minute he walks out of the embassy, he's going to jail with no chance for bail.

    3. Fluffy Bunny
      Coat

      Re: Who cost the taxpayer £6M?

      "If he had faced the charges initially " ... I don't think Assange has actually been charged with anything, has he? All the Swedish wanted was to ask him a few questions. I would have picked up the phone, but apparently they do things the old fashioned way in Sweden. Most people seem to think that it is just a political stunt to limit his damage to the US. Oh, and to introduce him to his new accommodation in Guantanamo bay via that old favourite, black rendition.

      The official complaints are that he didn't use a condom. In what rational country is that a crime?

      1. TopOnePercent

        Re: Who cost the taxpayer £6M?

        The official complaints are that he didn't use a condom. In what rational country is that a crime?

        Hang on.... if a lassy consents to a little horizontal boxing provided you wear gloves, and you charge in and turn it into bloodsport, how can you rationally consider that not to be an offence?

        If the lady in question insists he wear his wellies, then that is her right, and violating that IS rape. She'd (apparently) not consented to unprotected sex, so there was no consent in place.

        1. David Glasgow
          Joke

          Re: Who cost the taxpayer £6M?

          Thank you for adding such clarity to a hopelessly confusing story.

          Suddenly his defence "but m'lud, I was wearing boxing gloves" makes sense.

    4. GrumpyMiddleAgedGuy

      Re: Who cost the taxpayer £6M?

      You are naive if you think the police attend every crime and investigate it fully. The don't. They make decisions based on cost all the time. Police in London for example wont come to a car accident, even where road rage is involved, unless someone is hurt. They choose to "concentrate" on more important crimes. [ I know this from personal experience ]

      Recently we had a case reported where a convict escaped from prison for 10 years, no police investigation, in fact it emerged that at one point he even flagged down a police car and got a lift.

      Bear in mind Assange is wanted on a questionable rape charge, Rape has a low conviction rate and the police are constantly criticised over there "inadequate response". Yet somehow, THIS rape case which didn't even happen in Britain, and has been prioritised to the value of over £6,000,000.

      That a political decision made higher up.

      Why I'm so annoyed about this is that a couple of years ago we had a gang appear in our street. The police didn't act on intimidation, car damage, ship lifting and drug dealing that resulted, until a young boy was stabbed to death. Then they claimed ignorance(!) and finally arrested those involved and everything went back to normal. That's the real result of diverting scarce resources away from real crime.

      1. Reading Your E-mail
        Coat

        Re: Who cost the taxpayer £6M?

        "Ship Lifting" damn they do step it up a notch in London ;)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who cost the taxpayer £6M?

        > Police in London for example wont come to a car accident, even where road rage is involved, unless someone is hurt.

        Thanks, that's good to know.

        -- Hullo police? There's been a car accident, could you come to assist?

        -- Our policy is not to attend the scene, Sir, unless someone has been hurt.

        -- Uh, OK...

        BIFFF!!! WAAAACK!!!! SPLAT!!!!!

        -- Could you come now, please?

    5. tentimes

      Re: Who cost the taxpayer £6M?

      So, the CIA set a honey trap in Sweden, with the only intention to get him to the USA to put him behind bars for 100+ years, and that's his fault?

      The man did the world a service, showing the USA for just what they are. Warmongering cowboys who think they can do as they like all over the world with impunity,

      Just look at how they tortured Bradley Manning, before throwing him in the clink for a stupid amount of time,

      History will look back at theses years and see an imploding America that liked to kill innocent civilians either for sport or as revenge for terrorism in it's own country. They are nearly as bad as Isreal. People like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden will shine through as heroes, prepared to make a sick country face it's conscience.

      I really hope we can forge a new world with those animals not in it. And no, I am not a Muslim, I hate religion. "Answer for his crimes" ffs - totally made up honey trap from the CIA.

      1. TopOnePercent

        Re: Who cost the taxpayer £6M?

        So, the CIA set a honey trap in Sweden

        ....

        totally made up honey trap from the CIA.

        So in your mind there's no possibility that the ladies in question weighed up the risks of a painful AIDS related death or a lifetime of ARVs against 2 1/2 minutes fun with Julian, and came to the conclusion that he wasn't worth the risk?

    6. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. auburnman
    Facepalm

    Oh good

    Let's have this argument again.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd forgotten he even existed.

    1. BillG
      Joke

      I'd forgotten he even existed.

      Julian who?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'd forgotten he even existed.

      Hence his new activity. Assange lives by press exposure.

      The worst thing that can happen to Assange is that he's finally dragged off to Sweden, spends 15 minutes in court and gets thrown out with a £50 fine, nothing more. That would mean he would go from his mostly imagined status of US Enemy No1 to some jerk who couldn't be arsed to do a blood test when he did over some girls without a condom.

      After which he is shipped to the UK to serve time for skipping bail.

      I know that's not the right sequence, but a more ego-deflating scenario would be hardly possible for Assange. He may even have to find a job then..

      1. Ian Michael Gumby

        oh but that's just the start...

        First, had you read the papers lately? The US is in no position to do anything about Assange and could ill afford to interfere especially with ISIS and Iraq.

        So he goes to Sweden.

        Worst case... he's charged and faces 4 years in prison. (He's still on the hook for that. And under the law, I believe that's the max he would face for that offense.) But the odds are he would face much less than that if found guilty. He could even offer a plea deal where he serves no time.

        So after Sweden he's returned to the UK.

        He then faces the music.

        He will most likely face a stiff penalty and may get jail time.

        He is then put on a plane and tossed from the UK back to Australia.

        Here's where it gets interesting.

        He's probably going to lose his passport and his rights to leave the country.

        The US if they decide to charge him, can then easily get an extradition from Australia. Remember he's a convict and he was charged and found guilty of hacking US Computers as a teen. IMHO its probably the best shot the US has of getting him, if they wanted him and of course it depends on who's in office at the time. (US and Aussie).

        If he's lucky... he can slip through, get a Ecuador passport and leave Australia before this could happen.

        That's the end game. Then he'll be in a country sized prison just like Snowden.

        1. DiViDeD Silver badge

          Re: oh but that's just the start...

          "Worst case... he's charged and faces 4 years in prison. (He's still on the hook for that. And under the law, I believe that's the max he would face for that offense)"

          Sorry, but this has been covered more than adequately many times before. The maximum penalty he would face is a fine of 5,000 Kr, which is a little under 500 quid. There is no possibility of jail time being involved.

          His reasons for refusing to return to Sweden had nothing to do with a fear of jail, but related to his concern (real or imagined) that he would board a plane at heathrow and wake up in an orange jumpsuit at Guantanamo.

          However, the real oddity in all this has been the willingness of the UK to comply with a Swedish arrest warrant, when that warrent does not involve serious criminal or terrorist action on the part of Assange (the purported reason for introducing this cross border cooperation on internal warrants), nor is the warrent issued in respect of something which is a criminal offence in the UK.

          Can you imagine the outcry if the UK government complied with the UAE if it demanded extradition of a UK citizen to Dubai because s/he'd criticised the Al Maktoums?

          Still, if Julian DOES end up in Oz, I'm sure our government will treat him with the same compassion and respect for human dignity as they do to those from war zones who seek asylum here (although he does have the advantage of not being a 'little bit brown')

          1. Brangdon

            Re: "when that warrent does not involve serious criminal or terrorist action"

            He's accused of rape. Rape is a serious crime.

            1. DiViDeD Silver badge

              Re: "when that warrent does not involve serious criminal or terrorist action"

              No, he's accused of 'Sex by Surprise', which has no counterpart in the legal system of the UK. It's not rape, and to suggest it is serves to belittle the victims of real rape.

          2. DragonLord

            Re: oh but that's just the start...

            The problem with international treaties is that if you want their end to be upheld you have to uphold your end. As this is a European arrest warrant, the UK is obliged by treaty to arrest Assangne if he's on their land. There are penalties if they don't.

            So it's not the crime that's at stake, it's the arrest warrant and treaty surrounding it.

          3. Ian Michael Gumby

            Re: oh but that's just the start...

            I suggest you go back and check out the charges. He would be charged where the one count carried a maximum of 4 years.

            In the US that would be a felony and not a misdemeanor. You don't swear out an EAW for a charge that carries only a fine. (Seems you've been listening to Assange's spin.)

            Again, the US hasn't filed any charges so he faces nothing in the US. Right now the threat of US is of a paranoid man child. But then again, only Julian knows what he did and maybe he has a guilty conscience?

            And yes, he'll eventually end up in Australia. He's Australian and that probably should scare him the most.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: oh but that's just the start...

            However, the real oddity in all this has been the willingness of the UK to comply with a Swedish arrest warrant, when that warrent does not involve serious criminal or terrorist action on the part of Assange (the purported reason for introducing this cross border cooperation on internal warrants), nor is the warrent issued in respect of something which is a criminal offence in the UK.

            That too has been covered adequately - this case has travelled (again at great expense to the UK taxpayer) to the highest level in court where it was upheld that the arrest warrant covers something that has a sufficiently close equivalent in UK law, and it is thus valid and upheld. There are really no doubts about validity in law here, nor about the correct process. I suspect that's why Assange first bailed from Sweden, and then bailed from, well, his bail in the UK - the guy is a total ass, but even he could see he finally created a mess too big to sleep, canoodle or BS his way out of.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: oh but that's just the start...

          "back to Australia....easily get an extradition from Australia."

          Easily? Is there not an Ecuadorian embassy in Australia?

          1. Ian Michael Gumby

            Re: oh but that's just the start...

            Yes, there is an Ecuadorian embassy in Australia.

            But Assange has to fly and land in Australia. That takes time.

            He has to be processed in.

            That takes time.

            He could be held for a short period of time by the Aussie government. (He's a bad boy now..)

            The Ecuadorian Embassy may not want him after 2 years as a guest.

            Lots of things can happen.

      2. Fluffy Bunny
        Unhappy

        "The worst thing that can happen to Assange is that he's finally dragged off to Sweden"

        Actually that isn't the worst thing that can happen to him. The worst is that he gets asked 2 questions, to which I expect he will answer no. Then he will be shipped off to that lovely caribean holiday site, Guantanomo Bay.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > The worst thing that can happen to Assange is that he's finally dragged off to Sweden, spends 15 minutes in court and gets thrown out with a £50 fine

        I've no axe to grind here but mate, you haven't dealt much with the plod, have you? Piss them off for whatever reason and be guaranteed that they *will* make your life hell, just because they can.

    3. Anonymous John

      It's the second anniversary of his arrival at the embassy. You can now forget about him for another twelve months.

      1. Cliff

        Ticket to Ecuador

        What makes people think they'll want him after being such a pain in the arse? We've all had house guests who don't know when to fuck off, imagine being stuck in that small space with that twat 24h/day for 2 years!

        Didn't their ambassador allegedly say to one of the government "we have a problem", to get the response " no, you have a problem "?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ticket to Ecuador

          Cliff, why the name calling? If you happen to know him personally then you're welcome to have any opinion you want of the guy, but it's still rather ungentlemanly to make that public so gratuitously.

          If you do not know him, why should you throw an arbitrary insult? That's mob mentality and hardly makes you appear as a useful member of society yourself.

          This is possibly the sort of reaction this article wants to elicit however, and this is the stuff of gossip magazines. I know readership is king, but come on...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    6M?

    Worth every penny.

  5. David Webb

    Fees

    Can't we charge the Ecuadorian embassy for the added requirement of police labour required to ensure the bloke doesn't leg it? After all, it's due to their decision to shelter an alleged rapist that we're having to stump up £6m and I'm sure they would throw him out pretty quick if UK.gov sent them a bill for added police coverage outside the normal required.

    1. smudge
      FAIL

      Re: Fees

      What "added requirement"? Sure, there have been police assigned to this, who could have been doing other things. But has the police force spent £6M that they wouldn't have spent anyway? No.

      Remember, the UK Government claimed that Thatcher's funeral cost nothing, because no additional resources were recruited.

      Same argument must also apply to watching out for Assange.

      Unless someone can show us the police officers recruited specifically to do that.

      1. David Webb

        Re: Fees

        Well, yes. The police would still have spent the £6m on policing, but on actual police work, not the sort of work you outsource to G4S in the hope the criminals get away to keep prison populations low.

        Going at it from an IT angle, the BOFH suddenly finds his budget for the year is cut by £50,000 because the Boss decided to spend it all and buy 5 iPads, it's still the IT budget but it's been taken away from the actual IT stuff, like upgrading the PFY's PC to have 4 Titan's rather than 3.

        We're spending £6m on 1 thing, guarding the embassy, rather than £6m on general policing of London, and when my local police force is having it's budget cut by tens of millions but £6m is being wasted, I'm pretty pissed that we're not demanding reparations from the embassy.

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