back to article Assange's fate to be revealed at high noon

Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño has reportedly told a press conference that Britain threatened to attack the nation’s London Embassy if it did not hand over WikiLeaker Julian Assange. The threat was apparently made in writing. The document is not present on WikiLeaks at the time of writing. Assange is currently holed …

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  1. Nick Kew
    Black Helicopters

    Legal basis?

    The legal basis is cited as a law passed in 1987.

    Hmm, what might 1987 legislation have been targeting? Could it be the incident when a London policewoman (Yvonne Fletcher) was shot dead from inside the Libyan embassy? That kind of incident could indeed merit some kind of extraordinary action.

    Does that mean Mr Assange is armed and so dangerous as to pose a live threat, AND has the collusion of the Embassy? Or is the government threatening blatant abuse of this extraordinary legislation?

    1. Scorchio!!

      Re: Legal basis?

      This is merely a head game, designed to increase the probability that Assange's eccentric behaviour will result in another silly impulse. Assange cannot win as things stand, irrespective of what any one says. Unless Scotty can beam him to Ecuador he must first pass through UK territory to reach Ecuador. If and when this happens Assange will be nicked. Either that or die in Ecuador's embassy, due to age or ill health arising from his new unhealthy life style.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Legal basis?

        I read on The Grauniad website that Ecuador could grant Assange a diplomatic passport, which would render him immune to arrest and therefore allow him to leave the UK.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Legal basis?

          For the final time: Assange will not become a diplomat for many reasons, not least of which is that DIPLOMATS HAVE TO BE APPROVED BY THE HOST NATION. THE UK WILL NOT ALLOW HIM TO BE MADE A DIPLOMAT.

          Has everyone got that now?

          1. Steen Hive
            Black Helicopters

            Re: Legal basis?

            Surely he doesn't need to be made a diplomat, only given a diplomatic passport. It's not the same thing and fuck-all to do with the host nation.

            1. Scorchio!!
              Angel

              Re: Legal basis?

              "Surely he doesn't need to be made a diplomat, only given a diplomatic passport. It's not the same thing and fuck-all to do with the host nation."

              Passport control and the correct and proper issue of diplomatic passports is everything to do with the host nation. You may have difficulty with this, you may stamp your feet and you may thqweeem and thqweeeem and thqweeeeeeeem, but these are the facts of life. Julie has run out of legal road.

              1. Steen Hive
                Megaphone

                Re: Legal basis?

                Not stamping my feet, but I do know several military people who travel on UK diplomatic passports who are most definitely not diplomats in any guest nation. Does this provide any additional protection to a normal passport? Bono estente.

                1. Psyx
                  Stop

                  Re: Legal basis?

                  "Not stamping my feet, but I do know several military people who travel on UK diplomatic passports who are most definitely not diplomats in any guest nation."

                  They are accorded diplomatic status by the guest nation. The fact that they are 'legals' or 'military attaches' has to be recognised by the host country: They are not obliged to let them wander around and do what they like, or even let them in. And that diplomatic status can be revoked and the person declared non grata. That's simply the way it works, I'm afraid.

                  The problem with this case is there seem to be an awful lot of people making statements about diplomatic convention which simply are not true, and people then make judgements as to what's 'fair' based on those. Even the Guardian have been getting stuff wrong.

                  1. Steen Hive
                    Go

                    Re: Legal basis?

                    "They are accorded diplomatic status by the guest nation"

                    What I was asking was does a person in possession of a diplomatic passport have a greater measure of protection against a hostile foreign legal system than a normal passport holder? And if not what is the justification behind their issue?

                    1. Scorchio!!
                      FAIL

                      Re: Legal basis?

                      What I was asking was does a person in possession of a diplomatic passport have a greater measure of protection against a hostile foreign legal system than a normal passport holder? And if not what is the justification behind their issue?

                      No, this is what you posted:

                      "Surely he doesn't need to be made a diplomat, only given a diplomatic passport. It's not the same thing and fuck-all to do with the host nation."

                      In plain language, it has every fucking thing to do with the host nation who will not permit the issue of a diplomatic passport, because they control their borders, not the guest nation.

                    2. This post has been deleted by its author

                    3. Psyx
                      Go

                      Re: Legal basis?

                      "What I was asking was does a person in possession of a diplomatic passport have a greater measure of protection against a hostile foreign legal system than a normal passport holder? And if not what is the justification behind their issue?"

                      Yes, they do.

                      However, the extent of this can also vary to some small degree according to the host's attitude. ie: Borris doesn't think that it extends to the Congestion Charge.

                      Most importantly is the matter of diplomacy. As a diplomatic passport owner, one could breach laws of the host nation and be kicked out of that nation without real penalty, but such deeds are a major issue diplomatically and it is often in the best interests of the issuing country to punish the abuser in their own nation, after expulsion in order to ease international tensions.

                      Additionally, it is bad form to issue diplomatic passports to questionable characters, because it causes a lot of international tension. Diplomacy is not simply a matter of following rules, but about not offending others without a bloody good reason.

                      The system is mostly built on walking softly, diplomacy and mutual respect. It's important for countries to try to not annoy each other over Embassy and Diplomat issues because these are the channels that country's use to negotiate with and talk to each other. Look at the recent China incident: The US essentially 'handed over' the 'fugitive' in their embassy rather than cause the kind of scene that Assange is playing out, and China then acknowledged the US not making them look bad by letting the fugitive go to the US. Result: No massive international incident, and both countries can continue talking.

                      In comparison, Ecuador have been acting bullish in an area which normally sees much co-operation and softly-softly goings-on. The result has been very bad for both countries.

                      1. Steen Hive

                        Re: Legal basis?

                        "In comparison, Ecuador have been acting bullish in an area which normally sees much co-operation and softly-softly goings-on. The result has been very bad for both countries."

                        On one side we have appeals to legalism with rants about HE BROKE THE LAW while at the same time all the "walking softly" approach where said "law" is bent to suit the nations involved behind closed doors.

                        If the UK government think it is worth a major diplomatic incident in order to satisfy the extradition to a 3rd country of an individual who faces no charges, the ball is actually in their court, not Ecuadors. I would presume the true purpose of political asylum is to protect individuals against mendacious government apparatus, and having the benefit of being a Swedish-speaker who followed the handling of this case in Sweden I see no reason to doubt that this is the case.

                        1. Psyx

                          Re: Legal basis?

                          "On one side we have appeals to legalism with rants about HE BROKE THE LAW while at the same time all the "walking softly" approach where said "law" is bent to suit the nations involved behind closed doors."

                          The issue of Assange breaking the law is different from the softly-softly matter of diplomatic relations. In fact, the former should in sane diplomatic minds give a great get-out in ceding to the later. Ecuador have not taken that easy-out, nor did they 'quickly' decide on the asylum issue, and are generally making things difficult all-round.

                          "If the UK government think it is worth a major diplomatic incident..."

                          No; it's if the Ecuador thinks it's worth a major diplomatic incident to flaunt the normal ways of diplomacy by basically saying "Fuck you" to the UK's courts, and "Fuck you" to the idea of making this all quietly go away.

                          Here's a clue: It's really not.

                        2. Scorchio!!
                          FAIL

                          Re: Legal basis?

                          "On one side we have appeals to legalism with rants about HE BROKE THE LAW while at the same time all the "walking softly" approach where said "law" is bent to suit the nations involved behind closed doors."

                          I am sorry to disappoint you but Assange is not a diplomat, and the 'walking softly' phrase is completely bizarre, irrelevant and non sequitur in the case of this convict, who is wanted in another EU jurisdiction.

                          HTH

                          1. Steen Hive

                            Re: Legal basis?

                            "I am sorry to disappoint you but Assange is not a diplomat, and the 'walking softly' phrase is completely bizarre, irrelevant and non sequitur in the case of this convict, who is wanted in another EU jurisdiction."

                            I didn't make the "walking softly" reference in the case of this person who you know is not convicted of *these* crimes. Or even charged for that matter.

                            Anyway, let the games begin. He got political asylum. Sorry about that old bean.

                            1. Anonymous Coward
                              Thumb Up

                              Re: Legal basis?

                              Simple answer for the UK Government declare the Ecuadorian diplomats persona non grata for harboring a fugitive. Then starve Assange out.

                            2. Scorchio!!
                              FAIL

                              Re: Legal basis?

                              "I didn't make the "walking softly" reference in the case of this person "

                              No, but you picked up the ball and ran with the conflation others have been making as pointed out by the original poster:

                              "On one side we have appeals to legalism with rants about HE BROKE THE LAW while at the same time all the "walking softly" approach where said "law" is bent to suit the nations involved behind closed doors."

                              This has bollox to do with diplomacy in the current context, this has to do with another in which the Ecuadorian government is manipulating an issue (the Falkland Is at one end, Guantanamo at the other, another form of issue conflation by the Hispanic colonialists of Ecuador/etcetera) because they conflated two issues, as I have pointed out a couple of times: http://en.mercopress.com/2012/05/31/ecuador-calls-for-an-end-to-colonialism-in-malvinas-puerto-rico-and-guantanamo . I don't see them returning Ecuador to the indigenous peoples any day soon.

                              "who you know is not convicted of *these* crimes. Or even charged for that matter."

                              No, I KNOW that Assange was convicted on 25 counts, which you would have known had you followed the story, thus he is a convict:

                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Assange#Hacking_and_conviction

                              Assange is a convict: A convict is "a person found guilty of a crime and sentenced by a court" or "a person serving a sentence in prison" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convict ). He was convicted on 25 counts and let off lightly on grounds of a traumatic childhood, and that he was merely exercising intellectual curiosity when he hacked (e.g.) the Pentagon, and hacked the Australian state police force that was investigating him (I had to laugh when I read that piece of naïveté). He was advised that the penalty for being found guilty again would likely involve a fairly long spell inside. It would seem that he has managed to find someone who is willing to do his dirty work for him, using classic SE rather than hacking skills.

                              Is this why Assange is in such a panic? Does he really believe that being in Sweden risks him being extradited to the US, terms and conditions of an EAW notwithstanding? Or does he fear being branded a sex offender, does he KNOW that he has not a leg to stand on?

                              Certainly something troubles him, and his claims do not stack up.

                              HTH, old bean.

                              1. Steen Hive
                                Trollface

                                Re: Legal basis?

                                "Is this why Assange is in such a panic? Does he really believe that being in Sweden risks him being extradited to the US, terms and conditions of an EAW notwithstanding? Or does he fear being branded a sex offender, does he KNOW that he has not a leg to stand on?"

                                Are you a thick as shit in the neck of a bottle troll, or something? He can't get a guarantee from Sweden he WON'T be extradited to the US, and if the Swedish government even condescends to ask the UK under the terms your oh-so-important and ever-so-solemnly-binding EAW, Beelzebub will be ice-skating before they say "no". Ecuador is protecting Assange from judicial assault full stop.

                                1. Scorchio!!
                                  Happy

                                  Re: Legal basis?

                                  "Are you a thick as shit in the neck of a bottle troll, or something? "

                                  Oooh, language little boi. The EAW legislation is such that the country (that's a country called Sweden, little boy) issuing an EAW cannot, if successful in retrieving their target, allow the individual to be extradited to another country without the original country's legal say so (that's the United Kingdom, little boy).

                                  If you think that, with the shit storm made by paranoid people like you, the Swedes are about to break the laws on EAW procedures I think that you are truly paranoid. I recommend that you go to this site for help on the matter: http://zapatopi.net/afdb/

                                  HAVND, and watch out for cracks in pavements.

                                  1. Anonymous Coward
                                    Anonymous Coward

                                    Re: Legal basis?

                                    Sheeeeiit, and i thought the Goon Show script was ridiculous.... later on in the episode, a piano is dropped on Seagoon, and so Moriarty conspires to break into the bonded warehouse in which the piano is stored to place CD plates on it as well. At some point someone may or may not fall in the water.

                                    But yeah, the Goon Show was written by a fella exposed to, and seemingly naffed off with, war (though obviously seeing some comedy in the inevitable bureaucracy and chaos). How is it that wars are legal, but assassinating the pricks who cause them isn't?

                        3. mike2R
                          Stop

                          Re: Legal basis?

                          "If the UK government think it is worth a major diplomatic incident in order to satisfy the extradition to a 3rd country of an individual who faces no charges...."

                          This "no charges" thing is dishonest. People who know very well that this is simply a normal attribute of a different legal system are using it to try muddy the waters.

                          It is a fully in-order extradition request that has been exhaustively tested in UK courts. End-of as far as the UK is concerned. This should move to Sweden and be argued there.

                          1. Ian Michael Gumby
                            Devil

                            @mike2R Re: Legal basis?

                            I think he was attempting to say that the UK are the pawns of the US and that by enforcing their laws, the laws of the EU, they are effectively sending him to the US, even though the US haven't yet charged him with anything.

                            I agree with you and your point. I was merely pointing out the twisted logic some A$$nut followers have in trying to make this a US is evil kind of thing.

                      2. Ian Michael Gumby
                        Boffin

                        @ Psyx, spot on...Re: Legal basis?

                        The question is how far will the UK Government go to stop Assange from leaving?

                        I think if you weigh the repercussions with Ecuador versus the repercussions with the EU and potential issues down the road... The UK will stop Assange from leaving.

                  2. Ru
                    Trollface

                    Re: "Even the Guardian have been getting stuff wrong"

                    Say it ain't so!

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: "Even the Guardian have been getting stuff wrong"

                      Does that imply that you think you know of an occasion when the Guardian got something right?

                      1. Scorchio!!

                        Re: "Even the Guardian have been getting stuff wrong"

                        "Does that imply that you think you know of an occasion when the Guardian got something right?"

                        They thought they were right about the sinking of the General Belgrano, until the appropriate heads of Argentinian service agreed that it was at the start of an attack manoeuvre, beginning with the away pass prior to turning. They fully intended to sink our ships, and that is the way war goes.

                        You will probably the current imbroglio has an obvious explanation, inasmuch that the current descendants of Hispanic colonists do not like the British one bit, and Ecuador is clearly no exception:

                        http://en.mercopress.com/2012/05/31/ecuador-calls-for-an-end-to-colonialism-in-malvinas-puerto-rico-and-guantanamo

                        Heh.

                  3. Dave Bell

                    Re: Legal basis?

                    The interesting thing is that a good many diplomats really are spies, and once these people are on the list, the worst you can do when you catch them is chuck them out. But we don't have to let Assange get on the list in the first place.

                    WWTBOFHD?

                    1. Scorchio!!
                      Angel

                      Re: Legal basis?

                      "WWTBOFHD?"

                      'Throw the prisoner out of the airlock'.

                2. Scorchio!!
                  FAIL

                  Re: Legal basis?

                  "I do know several military people who travel on UK diplomatic passports who are most definitely not diplomats in any guest nation. Does this provide any additional protection to a normal passport? Bono estente."

                  To reiterate, the host country is responsible for the correct and proper issuance of diplomatic passports, and that is the UK in this instance; as with every host country they will only authorise such an issue to someone if they are not wanted for crimes in the EU and host nation. As it is a European arrest warrant has been issued for an alleged crime in an EU country, the full and proper judicial process for contesting the EAW has been exhausted and, the moment this happened, the alleged perpetrator took refuge in a the embassy of a foreign power, not for the purpose of genuine asylum, but to evade arrest on the grounds of a bona fide arrest warrant, it being that Assange fled jurisdiction (Sweden) when they were about to arrest and charge him and informed his legal advisor so (naive, yes).

                  Finally, under EU law someone taken from one country to another under an EAW cannot be extradited from the second EU country without prior legal assent by the first country. It would be easier to extradite Assange to the US from here than Sweden, because Assange would be subject to only one set of laws.

                  HTH.

                  1. Steen Hive

                    Re: Legal basis?

                    "To reiterate, the host country is responsible for the correct and proper issuance of diplomatic passports"

                    The UK issues Ecuadorian diplomatic passports?

                    1. Psyx

                      Re: Legal basis?

                      "The UK issues Ecuadorian diplomatic passports?"

                      No, but it doesn't have to allow anyone who owns on 'in'.

                      1. Steen Hive

                        Re: Legal basis?

                        "No, but it doesn't have to allow anyone who owns on 'in'."

                        Obviously, but JA is already "in" on an Australian passport. So. The question remains. What happens when JA walks out of the embassy in possession of an Ecuadorian diplomatic passport?

                        1. Chris Harden

                          Re: Legal basis?

                          I imagine, considering the amount of police surrounding the building, he gets arrested.

                          1. Anonymous Coward
                            Happy

                            Re: Legal basis?

                            We all know that this is a stinking cess pit of corruption and show trial scamming...

                            What we really need is for 10,000 people to turn up at the embassy, at the houses of parliament - and the prime ministers home, and at the airport, and to give Assange a peoples escort out of the country - under the duress of "We know that this whole thing is one fucking huge bullshit scam to get him - and if we see so much as one stinking cretin MP or one Mr Plod entering the scene, you bastards are going to get the beating of your lives - we the people, of planet earth say so."

                        2. PatientOne

                          Re: Legal basis?

                          "What happens when JA walks out of the embassy in possession of an Ecuadorian diplomatic passport?"

                          He gets arrested. He's broken the terms of his bail, and there is an existing, outstanding warrant for his arrest. A diplomatic passport does not give him immunity to arrest as the warrant and the breach of bail terms occurred when he was not on official Ecuadorian business.

                          The UK are legally bound to enforce that warrant, which is why they warned the embassy of what options were open to them. They are trying to come to an arrangement with the Ecuadorians as to how this can be resolved without resort to more extreme measures.

                          In the mean time, there's a fair chance Mr A has finished reading Friday and is now trying to emulate her (fictional) techniques to cross borders...

                        3. Scorchio!!
                          FAIL

                          Re: Legal basis?

                          "Obviously, but JA is already "in" on an Australian passport. So. The question remains. What happens when JA walks out of the embassy in possession of an Ecuadorian diplomatic passport?"

                          Because the UK won't accredit him for UK diplomatic status he goes to gaol. He does not pass go, he does not collect his £80,000 salary and, unless Scotty can beam him aboard, he goes to Sweden.

                          His Australian passport is an irrelevance because of crimes that Assange allegedly committed in Sweden.

                          This is the end of the road.

                        4. Psyx
                          Mushroom

                          Re: Legal basis?

                          "Obviously, but JA is already "in" on an Australian passport. So. The question remains. What happens when JA walks out of the embassy in possession of an Ecuadorian diplomatic passport?"

                          He gets arrested. It would hold zero weight, as it would not have been legitimately issued.

                          Ecuador are already pushing the boundaries, and that would cause a MAJOR incident diplomatically, as it would far, far outreach the ideals behind the Vienna Convention. It's like someone wiping their arse with the rulebook... and not someone with a UN veto either, for a change.

                          Remember that a Israeli diplomat got kicked out on his arse for his country "allegedly" copying UK passports a couple of years ago? This is far, far worse diplomatically. You'd expect their Ambassador to be whisked into have a word with a senior minister, dressed down and declared PNG in the wake of such an incident. At minimum.

                    2. Scorchio!!

                      Re: Legal basis?

                      "The UK issues Ecuadorian diplomatic passports?"

                      Without their authority one for use in the UK cannot be issued. It therefore follows that, irrespective of how many diplomatic accreditations the tin foil brigade would like Ecuador to give in different countries, the one that matters is an accreditation in the UK, and ONLY the UK can authorise it. If you are holding your breath I have to tell you that you are out of luck.

                3. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Legal basis?

                  "but I do know several military people who travel on UK diplomatic passports "

                  Diplomatic, or official? There's hell of a difference.

                4. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                  Boffin

                  Re: Re: Legal basis? @ Steen Hive

                  You are both right in that the idea - Ecuador makes A$$nut a diplomat for some fictional role in Argentina, the Argies say "yes" and the Brits then stand aside - would work in normal circumstances but probably wouldn't work here IF the British authorities really want to grab A$$nut. It is not normal circumstances as A$$nut is now a fugitive from British law, therefore he still risks arrest in trying to pass over British territory as the crime (bail jumping) occurred BEFORE the diplomatic immunity could apply. Diplomatic immunity covers you for events AFTER the granting of diplomatic status. For example, if A$$nut had a speeding ticket before being granted diplomatic immunity he would still have to pay the fine, but after being granted DI he could speed as much as the granting country was willing to accept.

                  But, if I was in the Home Office I'd be telling the coppers to stand aside and telling Ecuador to get St Jules on a plane pronto. Why? Well, this way he remains a wanted criminal in Europe and subject to extradition from many countries that have treaties with the UK. What better way to curtail his future activities and also has the bonus to be able to continually refer to him as "Julian Assange, a previously convicted criminal wanted for bail violations and suspected rape"? The UK no longer has to waste time and money on the A$$nut issue and can leave it to the States to carry on hounding him. A$$nut further digs a grave for his own credibility as a "journalist championing free speech" by hiding behind a regime notorious for their oppression of the press. A$$nut probably has a daydream about hiding out in the Ecuadorean's London embassy for years, keeping his profile high, but that might not sit well with the Ecuadoreans. Hence I think the British half-threat to "invade" the embassy was to push the Ecuadoreans in the direction of getting A$$nut on a plane ASAP.

                  Either option - A$$nut makes a break and gets nicked and passed to the Swedes, or A$$nut goes in the diplomatic mail - are pretty much win-win for the UK.

              2. Dave 126 Silver badge

                Re: Legal basis?

                BBC Radio 4's PM programme took a light hearted look into similar situations from the past. On one occasion, an attempt was made to get an individual from an embassy to another country inside a diplomatic bag- which was actually a shipping crate. The plan failed because a mistake was made in the paperwork.

                All this talk of diplomatic passports is making me think of the Goon Show...

                Greenslade: Very good, sir. We present Baroness Orkesy's masterpiece, Baron Orkesy, or "A Strange Case of Diplomatic Immunity", in which a strange case of diplomatic immunity is recounted. Chapter One, a Strange Diplomatic Case of Immunity, or A Diplomatic Case of Strange Immunity, or through hook, line and blizzard with Ava Gardner.

                Neddie Seagoon gets run over by a steamroller driven by Moriarty. Moriarty then explains that his steamroller has CD plates:

                "Sapristi yakamacaca. Diplomatic immunity means I cannot be arrested, sued, disfranchised, blackballed, guillotined, run out, left in bulk, charged, hung, drawn or quartered, or needle-nardle-noo! You see, I happen to be the deputy vice pomfrit of the Titicacan delegation."

                http://www.thegoonshow.net/scripts_show.asp?title=s06e05_the_case_of_the_missing_cd_plates

            2. Medium Dave

              He could be issued a diplomatic passport, but...

              ...that does not automatically grant diplomatic immunity - legally, it carries as much weight and standing as a frequent flyer card.

              And if Ecuador claim he has diplomatic immunity, that doesn't give him carte blanche to do what he likes: Hollywood not withstanding, it generally only applies to work-related activities. Article 31(c) of the Vienna Convention specifically leaves him open to legal embuggerment for anything he's done outside of official Ecuadorian business.

              Basically, he's stuck in their basement unless he can sneak out - although they could stick him in a crate and lable it "diplomatic baggage" - google "Umaro Dikko".

              1. Psyx

                Re: He could be issued a diplomatic passport, but...

                "Basically, he's stuck in their basement unless he can sneak out - although they could stick him in a crate and lable it "diplomatic baggage" - google "Umaro Dikko"."

                And that was not a legitimate nor legal use of diplomatic baggage, which was why intercepting it was legitimate.

                It was also a major diplomatic screw-up that can endanger the entire status of embassies and diplomats, which is bad for everyone.

          2. Justicesays
            Devil

            Re: Legal basis?

            IANAL, but

            They could grant him Ecuadoran citizenship,

            then appoint him as ambassador to (say) Argentina

            1. If a diplomatic agent passes through or is in the territory of a third State, which has granted him a passport visa if such visa was necessary, while proceeding to take up or to return to his post, or when returning to his own country, the third State shall accord him inviolability and such other immunities as may be required to ensure his transit or return. The same shall apply in the case of any members of his family enjoying privileges or immunities who are accompanying the diplomatic agent, or travelling separately to join him or to return to their country

            In this case the UK would be the "Third state" and not have an option of not receiving the "Diplomat", but be obliged to not hider their progress.

            Pretty sure he already has a visa, which they granted him.

            Then they put him on a direct (charter?) flight to Argentina, and from there he can go to Ecuador

            So long as Argentina don't deny his diplomatic credentials before he gets there.

            Which seems unlikely tbh.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Legal basis?

            NO THEY DON"T, ANY NATION CAN MAKE ANYONE A DIPLOMAT HOW THEY ARE TREATED THOUGH IS UP TO WHETHER THE HOST NATION RESPECTS THEM AS SUCH. Think about what happens when a diplomat gets on a plane that has a stopover.

        2. Chad H.

          Re: Legal basis?

          @ Chris - no it wouldn't. For Assange to have Diplomatic Immunity he would have to have his credentials accepted by "The court of St James'" (ie, the Queen). I'm reasonably confident that even if he managed to get that far, his credentials would not be accepted.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Legal basis?

        I believe a Diplomatic vehicle can be used to aid his great escape... maybe

        1. Psyx
          Facepalm

          Re: Legal basis?

          "I believe a Diplomatic vehicle can be used to aid his great escape... maybe"

          Then it would be the most undiplomatic diplomatic-plated vehicle in history.

          The clue is in the word: Diplomacy is supposed to be about easing diplomatic tensions and mutual respect... Not going out of your way to try to piss the host nation off and flicking the bird at their laws while shouting "fuck you, I've got diplomatic plates on this bad boy!".

          That's a great way of getting your entire staff kicked out and your embassy closed and no favours from the host nation for a few years.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Legal basis?

            > Diplomacy is supposed to be about easing diplomatic tensions and mutual respect...

            Or, as Will Rogers put it, diplomacy is the art of saying "nice doggy" while you look for a big rock.

          2. Dave Bell

            Re: Legal basis?

            And when the host nation is threatening to shut down the Embassy, withdrawing diplomatic status and sending the Police in, how is that any different?

            You might be able to get a motor-cycle through the front door.

        2. Scorchio!!
          Devil

          Re: Legal basis?

          No. Even if you want to argue that CD plates prevent police stopping him (since they would be carrying a wanted man I doubt it, and in these days of Police Cams I suspect the Ecuadorian government will be careful here), he has to tread on the soil between the ground floor flat in which the embassy is housed and the car outside; in between Julie and that car you will find several burly constables.

          1. Psyx
            Stop

            Re: Legal basis?

            "No. Even if you want to argue that CD plates prevent police stopping him"

            Which they don't.

            "he has to tread on the soil between the ground floor flat in which the embassy is housed and the car outside"

            Not that that is Ecuadorian soil anyway. We have legal recourse to enter. It wouldn't be "playing nice", but Ecuador have already thrown the rules of diplomacy out of the window.

            1. Scorchio!!

              Re: Legal basis?

              " "No. Even if you want to argue that CD plates prevent police stopping him"

              Which they don't."

              Indeed, but you have to allow for the k00kier posters that have arrived.

              " "he has to tread on the soil between the ground floor flat in which the embassy is housed and the car outside"

              Not that that is Ecuadorian soil anyway. We have legal recourse to enter. It wouldn't be "playing nice", but Ecuador have already thrown the rules of diplomacy out of the window."

              Indeed, but it seems to have escaped the resident k00k population's attention that, in between the car and embassy lies ground over which the Met have unrestricted control. Even if he appeared in a car with CD plates, somehow dodging the cordon, they'd simply block the car until he was 'released'. A T-ray scanner, kept outside the premises, will quickly reveal if a) Assange has left the building and b) if Assange is in a diplomatic 'bag'. He cannot win, unless he has a 'cunning plan'.

      3. Ian Michael Gumby
        Boffin

        @Scorchoi! Re: Legal basis?

        It think it would be a very risky head game if it were only a bluff.

        I think one has to consider the implications of Ecuador's giving Assange political asylum.

        Political Asylum from whom exactly?

        As a matter of law, the US hasn't charged Assange with any crime, so there is no real threat of that happening. (Note that the law deals with the NOW and not the future.) He currently doesn't face any extradition to the US.

        Assange is however facing extradition to Sweden to eventually be charged with the crime of rape. This was stated in the court documents and under oath by the Swedish prosecutor. So can the Ecuadorian Government grant political asylum in the first place when they are not facing political persecution? Meaning is Sweden or the UK being accused of violating Assange's rights by extraditing him to Sweden to face a criminal charge of rape?

        The UK has afforded every right it could under the law. He was granted bail and allowed to travel within the UK under certain restrictions. He was given not one but three chances to appeal the EAW.

        With egg on its face, I don't think this is a bluff from the UK. There's more to it than just Assange. Lockerbie Bomber comes to mind.... I think that the UK Government will actually stop Assange from leaving. Not doing so will make them look weak.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Fill the syringe boys he's acoming! Yeeeeeehaaaaaaaaaa!

      1. Ian Michael Gumby

        @AC re 'Yeeeehaaa!"

        I didn't realize that the Swedes were fond of yelling 'Yeee Haaa!'.

        Maybe its from watching old Bruce Willis movies?

    3. Dave Bell

      Re: Legal basis?

      I've read the Act.

      The Secretary of State, according to the Act, has to stay within the limits of International Law.

      There's nothing about serious criminal actions by diplomats. Mostly, it's about keeping track of property ownership, which is so very 1987. I suppose it might be invoked if an Embassy's front garden was needed to widen a road.

      1. Annihilator Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Legal basis?

        In very very short terms, "diplomatic passport" <> "diplomatic immunity". Ecuador can give him a certificate declaring him a God for all it matters, as soon as he walks out of the embassy he's on UK soil and they can do what they like to him. So he's effectively in prison.

        Plan B is the UK let him go to the airport, effectively barring him from ever entering Europe again as he's now a wanted criminal (bail dodging, suspicion of sexual assault etc), Jemima Khan loses her bail bond.

        Unfortunately, what will likely happen is the Plan C will happen - the UK will challenge Assange's right to political asylym (as I understand it, the right only applies if your own or host country is persecuting you - the US is neither) in international court, thus dragging it out another 12+ months meaning we never hear the end of it.

        I'm all for Wikileaks, but this is very little to do with them, and all about a man scared to face up to his accusers.

        1. mike2R
          Happy

          Re: Legal basis?

          "Unfortunately, what will likely happen is the Plan C will happen - the UK will challenge Assange's right to political asylym (as I understand it, the right only applies if your own or host country is persecuting you - the US is neither) in international court, thus dragging it out another 12+ months meaning we never hear the end of it."

          Not sure how unfortunate it is...

          As I see Ecuador deserves some sort of response for what has been a deliberate and unnecessary annoyance that they have caused. There's a sort of poetic justice in having them have to put up with Assange in their cramped embassy for a few years.

          1. Scorchio!!
            Angel

            Re: Legal basis?

            "There's a sort of poetic justice in having them have to put up with Assange in their cramped embassy for a few years."

            I understand that his personal hygiene is not too good. There was a long article covering everything about him plus an interview, and this came up as well as the tendency of girlies to wash and iron his clothes for him. The poor love. ;->

  2. Magani
    Thumb Down

    Whatever law is cited...

    ... it would seem to be flying in the face of years (centuries?) of diplomatic immunity.

    While this action might just get HM's government a certain Wikileaker, what will it do when Johnny Foreigner decides to play the same stunt outside a Brit embassy in Far-off-istan?

    Discosure - IANAL

    1. Thorne
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Whatever law is cited...

      Ah the sacrifices the UK must make to appease their American masters......

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Whatever law is cited...

        No; this is about BRITISH law.

        It might be harsh, it might be questionable, but I don't see how the US is relevant to the case.

        Oh... black chopper... so that dumb theory that the US are applying pressure to extradite to Sweden to then extradite to the US, despite one of the conditions of initial extradition being that he not get extradited to the US.

        Stupid idea. Occam's razor dictates that if the US wants him, he'll be easier to get in South America, where he's more off the radar, wandering free, and accidents happen.

    2. Yes Me Silver badge
      Stop

      ...it would be incredibly stupid

      Right. Doing this would set a precedent that would be gleefully used against British embassies in dodgy countries around the world. In any similar case affecting a British mission abroad, can you imagine how Cameron and that bald foreign secretary of his would react? "Squeaky" wouldn't come near to describing it - the Ecuadorians are reacted much more maturely than the Brits would.

      Stupid stupid stupid.

      IANAL either but it's just common sense.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby

        @Yes Me Re: ...it would be incredibly stupid

        I'm not sure how you can say that Ecuador is actually acting in a mature manner.

        Here are the facts.

        Person A fled Sweden before he could be charged with a crime.

        Sweden issues a EAW and Person A is arrested in the UK.

        The UK follows the law and grants Person A the right to an appeal. (3 appeals actually).

        They also extend him the courtesy of bail, something that they don't have to do since he has already shown his proclivity to run.

        Person A upon losing all 3 appeals, decides to hide in the Ecuadorian Embassy, violating his term for bail.

        Person A is now a criminal in the eyes of the UK, not withstanding the EAW.

        Person A doesn't face political persecution in either the UK or in Sweden. Were that the case, the UK justice system would have granted his appeal and not honored the EAW.

        So how is Ecuador being mature?

        The truth is that this isn't setting a precedence for anything other than Ecuador attempting to thumb its nose at the Western countries. Primarily those in the EU and an attempt of insulting the US.

        The only ones being stupid are those in the Ecuadorian Government. Its a very expensive gesture if they don't back down.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whatever law is cited...

      Assange is not a diplomat, he has no immunity.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Whatever law is cited...

        I thought you were going to say :

        Assange is not a diplomat, he's a very naughty boy :)

        /python

    4. That Steve Guy

      Re: Whatever law is cited...

      Diplomats are allowed to operate by the host nation, if the Ecuadorians do not hand over Assange the UK are perfectly within their rights to expel the ambassador and disband the embassy.

      They will not allow this to go any other way than Assange's re-arrest for one simple reason. It sets a dangerous precedent that other criminals could follow. Wanted by the law? Turn up at an embassy with some cash and claim asylum.

      Assange's case is hardly one of persecution byt he British as he has already had multiple appeals every step of the way. The highest court in the land has ruled that the request for Assange's extradition to Sweden is legitimate and valid. Just because Assange is touting that he is going to the USA once he hits Sweden does not make it so.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Whatever law is cited...

        Presumably (IANAL) there's no need to storm any embassies. The UK can simply expel the ambassador and diplomatic staff, and close the embassy. At that point it's just an ordinary London building. The expelled diplomats wil have immunity and will be able to get to Heathrow. Assange won't.

        The question is whether the Ecuadorians want to create all that trouble over an Australian egomaniac who is in breach of his bail conditions. Assange should probably have tried the Argentinian embassy (if there is one), they seem happy to stir up trouble with less concern for the consequences.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Whatever law is cited...

        Assange's case is hardly one of persecution byt he British as he has already had multiple appeals every step of the way. The highest court in the land has ruled that the request for Assange's extradition to Sweden is legitimate and valid. Just because Assange is touting that he is going to the USA once he hits Sweden does not make it so.

        The Ecuadorian government are not considering Assange's asylum request on the basis of his extradition from the UK. They have sought assurances from Sweden that he wont be exrtradited from there to the US, and that assurance has not been given. Since the US has the death penalty, Ecuadorian law considers Assange at risk of political persecution that may endanger his life. As a result, a strict reading of Ecuadorian law means they must grant him asylum - in practice it's more likely they would do so just to annoy the US and what is effectively its continued adherence to the Monroe Doctrine. The lack of an assurance from Sweden on extradition to the US is unsurprising given their role in extraordinary rendition by US agencies.

        Personally, I'd like to see Assange go to Sweden and face his accuser. However, regardless of the extradition possilbility, the case is very murky - the accusation is from a woman who wrote a paper on getting "revenge" on unfaithful men by accusing them of sexual misconduct, and she only reported Assange after discovering he had also slept with another woman. While Sweden is perceived as a liberal state, the judicial system is not based on jury trial, and there have been many cases of judges making bizarre judgments that can only be seen to be politically influenced.

        1. Scorchio!!

          Re: Whatever law is cited...

          "They have sought assurances from Sweden that he wont be exrtradited from there to the US, and that assurance has not been given"

          Oh but it has; Under EAW legislation Sweden cannot extradite Assange to the US without first asking the UK, the place from which the Swedes want to extract Assange. They have said to the US that they are prepared to allow them to have first go on Assange from the UK, but the US declined.

          1. Steen Hive
            Black Helicopters

            Re: Whatever law is cited...

            "Oh but it has; Under EAW legislation Sweden cannot extradite Assange to the US without first asking the UK"

            Shurely schome mishtake? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repatriation_of_Ahmed_Agiza_and_Muhammad_al-Zery

            Sweden has form in getting rid of who it wants, when it feels like it. Allowing the CIA to fly into Bromma airport without as much as a by-your-leave, for example.

            Methinks the tell-tale here is the refusal to bring charges against JA in Sweden, since then as far as I know they would be publicly hamstrung by their own legal system to keep him there for trial. Being at the moment only a "person of interest" they can shunt him on at their leisure. After the mockery the pirate bay case made of Swedish judicial process, one can ascertain how deeply the US is embedded by brown envelopes into the Swedish legal system.

            1. Scorchio!!
              FAIL

              Re: Whatever law is cited...

              "Shurely schome mishtake?"

              Indeed you made one, and should apologise for what I can only describe as what seems to be a high frequency of non sequitur arguments coming from the pro Assange side of things; under the EAW Sweden cannot accede to any US extradition approach without first asking the UK for their permission to extradite. That is to say, he is safer in Sweden than here because he can play divide and rule through two legal systems instead of one.

              Perhaps you don't understand this, perhaps you are not very intelligent, perhaps you are instead playing a silly game but, simply, under EU law/the EAW Sweden cannot allow extradition to the US without asking us nicely. This law was was written specifically to prevent people from moving pieces on the international chess board, the better to persecute others, and you should be very pleased too.

              HTH.

              1. Steen Hive

                Re: Whatever law is cited...

                "Perhaps you don't understand this, perhaps you are not very intelligent, perhaps you are instead playing a silly game but, simply, under EU law/the EAW Sweden cannot allow extradition to the US without asking us nicely"

                Since you are familiar with non-sequitur, you will undoubtedly be intimately familiar with ad hominem too.

                Under Swedish law, Sweden cannot allow extradition to Egypt because it engages in torture and puts people to death. Sweden has provably allowed this to happen in violation of it's international obligations. Claiming that Sweden will adhere to EU law when it demonstrably allows extra-judicial extradition is the actual non-sequitur here.

                1. Yet Another Commentard

                  Re: Whatever law is cited...

                  @Steen Hive

                  Just a small point, extradition is not the same thing as repatriation. I have no idea about the legal impact of either on Swedish or other international law, nor would I draw conclusions on how things would work under one or under the other, but they are very different things.

                2. Scorchio!!
                  FAIL

                  Re: Whatever law is cited...

                  "Since you are familiar with non-sequitur, you will undoubtedly be intimately familiar with ad hominem too."

                  Indeed I am and, faced with repeated silliness in response to the facts I decided to ask the question, rather than to deploy a judgement; your projection is greatly appreciated though.

                  "Under Swedish law, Sweden cannot allow extradition to Egypt "

                  This is not Egypt, it is not America, this is an EAW compiled under European law; the state issuing the EAW cannot, by this very law, allow an EAW arrested individual to be extradited to another state without asking the state to whom the original EAW was issued for authority. Furthermore, in pointing this out to the US, the Swedish authorities offered the US the option to apply to the UK for extradition before they took the option themselves, and the US declined. Is this too difficult for you, or would you like captions for the thinking impaired?

                  As far as your claim that there is a non sequitur here, think again; what I said was not intended to follow from the point you made, nor is it necessary to; this case is taking place in the full glare of international publicity and the superior legal formation in the matter is the EU, not Sweden.

              2. PatientOne

                Re: Whatever law is cited...

                @Scorchio!!

                You're talking about legal extradition. You're missing the option of illegal extradition.

                Sure, that drops Sweden into deep shit, but what does that mean for Assange. Do you think the US, having gotten him illegally (according to EU law) will hand him back? I don't.

                This isn't to say the US give a rats arse about Assange. It doesn't mean the US will risk that much outcry and backlash. It would be taking an insane risk to even try it and I really don't see how Assange is worth the fallout the US will likely endure. But paranoia works off what *could* happen rather than why it would not.

                1. Scorchio!!
                  Black Helicopters

                  Re: Whatever law is cited...

                  "@Scorchio!!

                  You're talking about legal extradition. You're missing the option of illegal extradition.

                  Are there black helicopters outside your room? Do you think that people are reading your thoughts, or inserting thought into your head? Then this is for you; http://zapatopi.net/afdb/

                2. Scorchio!!

                  Re: Whatever law is cited...

                  "@Scorchio!!

                  You're talking about legal extradition. You're missing the option of illegal extradition."

                  I can't be sure if I've replied to you because I have a lot on the boil here. However, the simplest procedure would be to allow Assange to escape to Ecuador and put someone in place to have him killed, or arrange for him to fall down a ravine, in front of a bus/some other simple and final end.

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Whatever law is cited...

                There is a big difference between what they aren´t supposed to do and what they can do. Sweden can send the guy to the Us or Afghanistan if they want to. They arent SUPPOSED to but they CAN. its all a matter of determination. Personally I don´t give a damn I gave up on humanity years ago.

        2. John Sturdy
          Black Helicopters

          If Sweden's real aim were investigation....

          If Sweden's real aim were investigation, they could send an investigator over.

          1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

            1. Steen Hive

              Re: If Sweden's real aim were investigation....

              "As they told his lawyer, before fled, they wanted to interview and charge him; in Swedish law it is necessary to first interview."

              Rubbish. "åtal i frånvaro"is perfectly possible under Swedish law now JA is "häktad". In any case, he's been interviewed by a prosecutor already.

              1. Scorchio!!
                FAIL

                Re: If Sweden's real aim were investigation....

                " "As they told his lawyer, before fled, they wanted to interview and charge him; in Swedish law it is necessary to first interview."

                Rubbish. "åtal i frånvaro"is perfectly possible under Swedish law now JA is "häktad". In any case, he's been interviewed by a prosecutor already."

                His lawyer denied, in an English court, that he'd been contacted by the Swedish police and then had to retract; the Swedish police notified the lawyer (inadvisable, but there you go) that they wanted to interview prior to charging him (this is a requirement in the Swedish CJS), and Assange disappeared, suddenly reappearing in England.

                1. Steen Hive

                  Re: If Sweden's real aim were investigation....

                  For the hard of understanding: public prosecutor Kristian Augustsson was in contact with Assange before the case was dropped with status no case to answer long - before the unholy alliance of Claes Boström and Marianne Ny got involved. Marianne Ny in particular should be sent down for gross professional misconduct in her handling of this case - specifically leaking details of the proceedings to the press from the actual police station where the "complaint" was made which among other things let the complainants be positively identified by the press.

                  Marianne Ny herself re-wrote the EAW application several times because the level of suspicion required in the case needed to be "sexed-up" first from "skäligen misstänkt för brotten" to "på sannolika skäl misstänkt" in order for an EAW request to be granted.

                  It just struck me that Marianne Ny could be Jim Keyzer in drag.

        3. Scorchio!!

          Re: Whatever law is cited...

          "While Sweden is perceived as a liberal state, the judicial system is not based on jury trial"

          This is not new; much of the continent operates using the inquisitorial model of justice, rather than the adversarial form practised in our courts, parading prejudice, arrogance and smears in front of a jury in the hope of persuading them... ...as many continentals would see the matter.

          1. Chad H.

            "While Sweden is perceived as a liberal state, the judicial system is not based on jury trial"

            Given less than 2% of criminal cases in England and Wales have a jury sitting, my response to this is "So What?".

        4. Scorchio!!
          Stop

          Re: Whatever law is cited...

          "the accusation is from a woman who wrote a paper on getting "revenge" on unfaithful men by accusing them of sexual misconduct"

          Full bibliographic citation plus full data indicating the name and other details of the accuser, or retract the claim.

          I have a feeling that the accuser's name has not been released yet, but notwithstanding that, produce the data.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: not going to the USA once he hits Sweden

        If the UK did extradite, and Assange WAS then shipped off to the USA, would the UK say sorry?

        Personally I think we should never allow extradition to the USA until they abolish Guantanamo bay and the policies that allow detention without trial, if a nation doesn't give non-citizens the same rights to a trial that their own citizens have, then they are no better than their enemies.

        1. Chad H.

          Re: not going to the USA once he hits Sweden

          @ AC - As the UK would have to legally consensent to such an extradition... I'm going to go ahead and say "It wont happen, so your question is invalid".

          Neither the UK nor Sweden extradite where the death penalty is in play, period.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: not going to the USA once he hits Sweden

          >policies that allow detention without trial, if a nation doesn't give non-citizens the same rights to a trial that their own citizens have

          The UK also imprisons long-term without trial - including one who's been inside for 8 years now. The BBC was able to get a High Court injunction recently which enabled them to interview him and talk about the case.

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17606337

      4. Psyx

        Re: Whatever law is cited...

        "Wanted by the law? Turn up at an embassy with some cash and claim asylum."

        Traditionally this happens more often that you'd like to think, and embassy staff do their utmost to usher said fugitive out the door and hand themselves in, promising that they'll see to it that there'll be a fair trial, yadayada. All the times crossing themselves and saying "fuckfuckpleasegetoutanddon'tcauseamassivediplomaticincidentyoutwat". And when that doesn't work, the Embassy can and often does just boot them out on the street, because international politics and relationships are usually far, far bigger than any one criminal case e.

        It's only when the embassy don't kick them out fast enough and the media catches on that it hits the news. That's what's happened hear, and the Ecuadorian embassy have really got themselves in a pickle by not managing to get Assange out the door tout suit.

      5. kirovs
        WTF?

        Re: Whatever law is cited...

        @That Steve Guy

        You moron.

        Criminal: a person who has been convicted of a crime.

        Are you claiming that Mr. Assange has been convicted anywhere in the world?

        1. Scorchio!!
          FAIL

          Re: Whatever law is cited...

          "@That Steve Guy

          You moron.

          Criminal: a person who has been convicted of a crime.

          Are you claiming that Mr. Assange has been convicted anywhere in the world?"

          Clever boi! Well dun! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Assange#Hacking_and_conviction

    5. Psyx
      Stop

      Re: Whatever law is cited...

      "Flying in the face of years of diplomatic immunity"

      Please learn what those words mean before touting them.

      Assange has no diplomatic status. He's not even a UK national, and his status to legally remain in the country can easily be removed, making him as liable for expulsion as a persona non grata diplomat... and they don't get to hide in embassies saying "but I'm not going!" either.

      Embassies are not nor ever have been sovereign territory.

      As to others invading UK embassies... well yes, they could legally do so according to the Vienna Convention. It's just that it's diplomatic suicide to do it to someone bigger than you for no real reason.

      Clearly you haven't travelled much, because any seasoned traveller knows that if you commit a crime overseas or are on the lamb, go to court hearings, lose, run out of appeals, and then go running to the Embassy, the UK government will NOT shelter you there, like some medieval church. They will hand you over to the authorities and just try to get you a reasonable trial. If you're lucky they'll send someone to sit at the trial and make sure you aren't beaten too much in prison, but essentially you are on your own. The British consulate will not emerge like descending angels to protect you.

      Sheltering fugitives is an enormous strain on international diplomacy, and diplomacy is the primary function of embassies. Basically, the UK FO will no go out on a limb and risk billions of pounds worth of overseas trade agreements and political tension just because you broke the law. Simple as that.

      Diplomacy is about respect to a certain degree. One has to respect the country one is in, and their legal system. Equador is basically harbouring someone who our courts have determined has questions to answer elsewhere. That's basically Equador *as a country because that's what an embassy represents* saying "Fuck you" to our legal system and hence pretty much our nation. In big letters. That in itself is pretty much grounds for our government saying the same thing back to them, and causing a breakdown in diplomatic ties, and asking for the embassy to be closed and expelling ambassadors.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyway...

    "While this action might just get HM's government a certain Wikileaker, what will it do when Johnny Foreigner decides to play the same stunt outside a Brit embassy in Far-off-istan?"

    The Far-off-istanians will do it anyway, regardless of what you do. You are familiar with the Iran Hostage Crisis of 1979, right?

    No? Well....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      @AC

      Apples and oranges IMO.

      Yes, it was out of proportions and a diplomatic scandal. However; the cause for all that seems to be kept cleverly hidden. At that time the Iranian leader Khomeini basically gave the people knowledge on the real history of the Sjah of Persia (Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, the former ruler of Iran).

      Namely the coup (getting him "out of office") which was officially backed and initiated by both the US and the UK. And the reason? How surprising: Oil.

      How would you feel if you got told that the leader of your country got assassinated in an orchestrated coup backed by another country ?

      Some people read the story and think "oh my", others get so upset that they actually take action and show their frustrations.

      This whole ordeal doesn't make it right, don't take my comment the wrong way. But IMO its a little too easy to refer to the Iranian incident and claim "it can happy anywhere".

      Usually such incidents do not happen "just like that". Even a country like Syria (lets talk about an "evil" country) strictly honours this.

      In 2006 a Syrian man abducted his 2 (Dutch) children and took them back to Damascus. Under Syrian law he was 'entitled' to them and fully within his rights. The kids managed to escape though and found refuge in the Dutch embassy where they stayed several months. Its was a rather delicate issue and although there was some pressure here and there at /no time/ was there a realistic threat that Syria would breach the embassy.

      The reason I use this as an example should be obvious: I know where Holland sits at world level. In a chair at the UN where most US officials probably think the guy sitting there is "the king of Brussels" or something. Do you really think such an incident would have made it as world news? And even if it did; how long before the world forgot all about it?

      So quite frankly; no.. I don't think it can happen "just like that".

      1. night troll
        Pirate

        Re: @AC

        "How would you feel if you got told that the leader of your country got assassinated in an orchestrated coup backed by another country?"

        Given the standard (moral and professional) of some of our leaders over the past few years they would be doing us a favour.

      2. fandom

        Re: @AC

        I am not sure what to make of your post, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi was not killed during the coup that ousted him.

        Besides he was ousted by Khomeini, if I don't undestand you wrong, you are saying that Khomeini revealed that he had been aided by the US and UK, which prompted his supporters to storm the US embassy.

        I must getting your post wrong but I don't see where.

        1. S4qFBxkFFg

          Re: @AC

          I assume he was referring to the leader that Pahlavi *replaced*, which was what the West supported.

        2. Bumpy Cat
          Headmaster

          Re: @AC

          The OP is talking about Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, who was ousted in a US/UK-backed coup in 1953 (called Operation AJAX). This replaced a popular left-leaning government with the Shah. The Shah was a poor and unpopular leader, who managed to unite Marxists, Islamists and everyone else against him to produce the Iranian revolution in 1979.

          The Islamists then turned around and murdered all the communists, trade-unionists, students, Marxists and so on and took sole power. Remember that the next time you see the UK Socialist Workers Party cheering on the Iranian government ...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @AC

            some are of the opinion that Mossadegh had enough enemies within Iran that the Western inlfuence was limited to formenting established discontent off after which the coup went its own way.

            And that the US claiming to have toppled the Prime MInister was a case of over-stating their influence.

            I don't know if time will tell how exactly it came about but creating a right-wing autocrat in the person of the Shah was not a good idea.

            On a related note - who remembers "Whoops Apocalypse" and a deposed middle Eastern ruler stuck on a cross-channel ferry.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Julian has (already) left the building...

    This is all smoke-screening.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Julian has (already) left the building...

      "The document is not present on WikiLeaks at the time of writing."

      It's almost like Assange is prioritising getting his own ass out of the fire by leveraging his own media status, over the thing that gave him that status...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Julian has (already) left the building...

      That's what the Met police will believe, when they search the building. I reality he will be up in the attic.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Julian has (already) left the building...

      Exactly what I was thinking. He'll appear in Ecuador for the announcement.

    4. Old Handle

      Re: Julian has (already) left the building...

      I kind of hope that's true. It's not that I really like the guy, but it I'd love to see these governments who think they have jurisdiction over the whole world find out otherwise in such a spectacular way.

  5. vagabondo

    the Quito diplomatic letter

    > The threat was apparently made in writing. The document is not present on WikiLeaks

    The contents seem to be reported in the Guardian.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/aug/16/julian-assange-ecuador-embassy-asylum

    1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      Re: the Quito diplomatic letter

      Nice catch.

      But I don't see a "threat of attack":

      'The letter said: "You need to be aware that there is a legal base in the UK, the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987, that would allow us to take actions in order to arrest Mr Assange in the current premises of the embassy."

      It added: "We need to reiterate that we consider the continued use of the diplomatic premises in this way incompatible with the Vienna convention and unsustainable and we have made clear the serious implications that this has for our diplomatic relations."'

      Sounds like quite a diplomatic letter to me. Hell, I've received worse from phone companies with whom I had no phone.

      1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

        TV Tax letter

        Sounds just like the stuff the BBC's police squad send me every few weeks.

        How can a country interfere with diplomatic baggage without causing war?

        And why would Britain bother?

        OK so they send artound their glue sniffers to find out what is vibrating the windows. Who cares about that?

        Eese ezpected no?

        Then he gets on a plane from Equador to anywhere in the free world immune to CIA/FBI/USA diplomacy...

        such as errrmm...

        New Zealand say....

        or....

        Somewhere in South America... or....

        Oh I know:

        Cuba.

        Nope; they have torture chambers there....

        Hmmm... good one!

        What he needs is a place he can get access to the internet and a line of willing women with round heels. He doesn't need much else...

        Let me see...

        Equador. What's the weather like there?

        1. Psyx
          Pirate

          Re: TV Tax letter

          "How can a country interfere with diplomatic baggage without causing war?"

          If they have reasonable grounds to believe that it's not legitimate diplomatic baggage. People fall into that category. You can't smuggle people around in diplomatic bags.

          1. Julz Silver badge

            Re: TV Tax letter

            In 1964, a Moroccan-born Israeli double agent named Mordechai Ben Masoud Louk (also known as Josef Dahan) was drugged, bound, and placed in a diplomatic bag at the Egyptian Embassy in Rome, but was rescued by the Italians.[4] The crate that he had been placed in appeared to have been used for a similar purpose before, possibly for an Egyptian military official who had defected to Italy several years before but then disappeared without a trace before reappearing under Egyptian custody and facing trial.

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

          3. Thorne

            Re: TV Tax letter

            How do you know that it's not legitimate diplomatic baggage without opening it? What if you opened it and it was?

            1. Scorchio!!
              Boffin

              Re: TV Tax letter

              "How do you know that it's not legitimate diplomatic baggage without opening it? What if you opened it and it was?"

              T-ray scanner; T-rays can be used to penetrate buildings, housed in vans parked outside. These are ideal, because they can not only help ascertain Assange's position in the building, but also what's in the 'bag'. Hell they'll be able to monitor Assange's shit as it falls into the pan.

              (Feeling paranoid, Julie?)

  6. Local Group
    Thumb Down

    "Give me La Libertad or give me Perth."

    Ecuador in the Guardian.

    "It would be a dangerous precedent because it would open the door to the violation of embassies as a declared sovereign space." Under international law, diplomatic posts are considered the territory of the foreign nation."

    Toothless Bull Dog in the same Guardian article.

    The Foreign Office was quick to downplay the drama. A spokesman said Britain had merely sought to "clarify its position", according to international law.

    Here's what really happened. On June 19, 2012 JA jumped bail and fled into the Ecuadorian Embassy and asked for political asylum. The government of Rafael Correa said it would consider it and announce its decision shortly. Thereafter negotiations began between England and Ecuador probably having to do with safe passage. Meanwhile Ecuador hadn't granted JA asylum and England looked lame in the diplomatic world.

    Tuesday Cameron told Correa that if he doesn't make a decision immediately, then the UK will deem that a fugitive without asylum is living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, which is not the purpose of that embassy and he, Cameron, will charge 3 or 4 press gangs to storm the Ecuadorian Embassy like they did in the good old 18th century when England just did what the f@ck it wanted to and didn't pay any attention to rights, human or otherwise.

    Thursday Correa will grant asylum to JA and most of the non-European countries with embassies in London will begin to wonder how safe they are from the morons running England.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Give me La Libertad or give me Perth."

      "It would be a dangerous precedent because it would open the door to the violation of embassies as a declared sovereign space." Under international law, diplomatic posts are considered the territory of the foreign nation."

      The Guardian are wrong. Check it out for yourselves. That's not how the Vienna Convention works.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    All this for an alleged sexual offense for which the Swedes wish to question him. The same Swedes that gave him permission to leave the country in the first place.

    You have to wonder what the real motivation behing this really is. All diplomatic communications are full of weasely words and generally very guarded and nuanced, but the content of this communication, in diplomatic terms, is pretty strong stuff.

    They must REALLY want this guy to risk pissing off the Ecuadorians.

    1. Thorne

      If Assange manages to sneak off to Ecuador will the UK invade to get him back?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Well wars have been started for less.

    2. Snarky
      Thumb Up

      tainted bananas?

      Yeah, PO Ecuador and they might... well, they could... maybe you won't get anymore bananas?

    3. Psyx
      Boffin

      "They must REALLY want this guy to risk pissing off the Ecuadorians."

      What they most want is not about Assange any more, but about wider issues, as I said above. Even if you're Pro-Assange, step back and look at it like this. Remove Assange from the entire process:

      You come to my house. While there, my puppy shits in the corner. I want to rub his nose in it, but you call him over, pick him up say "No, I'm going to look after him, he's mine now. See: He's wagging his tail and wants to stay with me". I ask nicely, but you start causing a massive fuss and make me look like a jerk to my other guests. You call the RSPCA and try to make me look like an arsehole, in my own house... all the while still sat at my dinner table, saying "you can't touch me, you big bully".

      The incident is no longer about the puppy. It's about the relationship between the two of us, and how the outside world views us. The puppy that shat... or even if it shat at all... are no longer really relevant. That's what has happened here.

      And yeah... for reference, I'd take my puppy back and kick you out of my house. Perhaps I was thinking about selling the puppy, or giving it to somewhere else... or maybe it was a puppy I was looking after for a friend... but that wouldn't matter, because it stopped being about the puppy a long while ago, and became an issue of respect and hospitality.

      "All diplomatic communications are full of weasely words and generally very guarded and nuanced, but the content of this communication, in diplomatic terms, is pretty strong stuff."

      Yeah: "Stop taking the piss with diplomatic rules, intruding into our judicial system and telling our courts that they're wrong. This is our goddam country and you are fucking GUESTS" is pretty much what it says.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        To modify your analogy slightly

        The puppy is not yours, it belongs to somebody else, and you let it into your house.

        The puppy 'allegedly' shat in their owner's house, not yours. As far as you are concerned, the puppy has done nothing wrong in your house at all (other than scamper to your guest when you tried to catch it)

        There is a neighbour (of both you and the owner) who says the puppy is a nuisance and keeps tripping them up, and covering them in crap, which makes them them look silly, and as a result, and would like to exterminate the puppy. The neighbour is not interested in the whole carpet shit story.

        The puppy's owners are shit scared of the neighbour and highly likely to hand the puppy over to them if they get it back.

        The owner has refused to 'pop round to your house' and show you the evidence of the alleged carpet shit.

        The owner has demanded their puppy back and you have agreed to comply ('cos you are shit scared of the neighbour too!).

        Your party guest has picked up the puppy to try and protect it from a process likely to lead the puppy ending up at the neighbour's house.

        The only thing that 'makes you look bad in front of your other guests" is the fact that you are so scared of the neighbour that you agreed to hand the puppy back in the first place. Especially as we are talking about something as minor as a carpet shit.

        The Players:

        You: played by the UK government

        The Puppy: played by Julian Assange

        The puppy's owner: played by the Swedish govenment

        The neighbour: played by the US government

        Your party guest: played by the Ecuador government

        1. Psyx
          WTF?

          Re: To modify your analogy slightly

          "The puppy is not yours, it belongs to somebody else, and you let it into your house."

          Which part of "It's not about the puppy any more" wasn't clear? You can just change the names and make the 'case' the same as the real world, but that utterly defeats to point of NOT MAKING IT ABOUT ASSANGE. You've also erected an enormous argument based on the false premise that the US government WILL extradite him from Sweden. That's just guesswork, and nothing to do with a puppy.

          It's about the relationship between the two non-puppies. And that is far more important than the puppy itself, just as the diplomatic conflict at the start of WWI stopped being about an actual assassin.

          If this was about Assange, him pissing off to Ecuador is the BEST result for everyone who is involved with him:

          The US get to quietly murder him.

          The people who think he's great get to think he's free.

          The people who think he's a rapist know that he's got to spend his life in Ecuador and can't come back to Europe.

          Ecuador get to look like liberal pro-free speech people, despite the fact they aren't.

          But it's not, is it? It's now about Ecuador saying "Fuck you and your laws, we'll do what the hell we like in your home" to the UK in a very public manner.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: To modify your analogy slightly

            > It's now about Ecuador saying "Fuck you and your laws, we'll do what the hell we like in your home" to the UK in a very public manner.

            One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

            In some ways, this is less about the law and more about the way in which this guys is being pursued. Another case in point is Kim Dotcom. He is almost certainly allegedly guilty of some wrongdoing, he has even done some time from what I gather, but the way in which he was treated in terms of what he is alleged to have done is pretty extreme.

          2. Scorchio!!
            Thumb Up

            Re: To modify your analogy slightly

            "If this was about Assange, him pissing off to Ecuador is the BEST result for everyone who is involved with him:

            The US get to quietly murder him."

            Indeed, but I don't think it will be a bullet or poison. They'll inject him with an incurable disease, plus preferably a STD. He'll waste away, people will say he got what he deserved.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: To modify your analogy slightly

            Lol. I bet if you did a google search for the phrase "relationship between two non-puppies" you won't get many hits.

            Anyway, the statement 'it's not about the puppy anymore' is only from your (as the host) point of view - as far as the guest is concerned it IS still about the puppy (unless you think they are pretending to protect the puppy to piss you off or embarrass you), it only from your (and your appearance to you guests) that the puppy is no longer the issue.

            Also, from the PUPPY's perspective, I'm pretty sure it's still very much about the life of the puppy.

            Puppy's have feelings too you know.

            :-)

  8. nuked
    Pint

    Is it too late for Assange to just say sorry?

    In all seriousness though, I feel as if this story is (a) not even starting yet; and (b) will be looked back on for decades.

    1. Psyx
      Pint

      I feel that it deserves the anti-climax it's due.

      Assange goes to Sweden, is questioned. Either charges aren't levied, or they are and he's found guilty, pays the penalty and is released without any intervention from the US, thus showing the world that it was all a big smokescreen of his to leverage his media position to avoid prosecution.

      I'm drinking to that.

      I used to really respect the work he did before all of this snivelling and hiding behind his celebrity friends. None of us would ever be able to evade the law to the extent he has, nor claim that they shouldn't answer questions because it's part of a massive conspiracy.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby
        Boffin

        @Psyx Correction...

        If/When Assange is extradited to Sweden, charges will be filed. He will go straight to jail to await trial. He will not be give bail.

        This much is certain. (Lets be honest, no judge is going to be foolish enough to grant bail in this specific case.

        He will get assistance from the Australian consulate if he so desires since he is still an Aussie.

        Beyond that... its all speculation. Regardless of the outcome, after the trial, he will be expelled from the country. My guess is that as an Australian citizen, he will be sent back to Australia.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It seems Ecuador has a problem...

    Laws and rules only seem to apply when the officials agree with it. If it would come to this then I think we have a real scandal at our hands. "The laws don't apply if anyone knows he's guilty"... That would really set the clock back hundreds of years ago. Either that or maybe you could argue that it would reveal the real ugly truth; in true "wikileaks" style.

    However, I think Ecuador might not stand as robust as they think. I'm referring to an article on NPR (link to npr.com) which was mentioned in the El Reg article, this quote:

    "Patiño said Britain made the threat in writing and while diplomatic talks were ongoing. He added that if an assault does happen Ecuador would take appropriate action and look to the Organization of American States for help.

    I see a problem here. Obviously; if you believe in a plot by the US (I consider it very possible) then it should be obvious; the US wouldn't help no matter what because this actually plays into their hand.

    But if you ignore this theory there is another problem: the alliance between the US and the UK. I think the US has different thoughts about the UK than Ecuador does. And I don't consider it likely that the US would actually participate in any (diplomatic) actions against the UK.

    So where does that leave Ecuador?

    1. SuperTim

      Maybe not the US,

      But I am sure that Argentina are positively dancing on the spot for the UK to invade a south american embassy so that they can calmly sail a flotilla to Las Malvinas.

      Personally, I don't think it is our problem and if JA wants to avoid justice in Sweden/US and does so legally, then I say it is his choice. He will be hamstrung from going anywhere for the rest of his life, but Ecuador sounds lovely...

      1. Scorchio!!

        Re: Maybe not the US,

        "He will be hamstrung from going anywhere for the rest of his life, but Ecuador sounds lovely..."

        "Brave Sir Julian ran away Bravely ran away, away When danger reared its ugly head He bravely turned his tail and fled Yes, brave Sir Julian turned about And gallantly he chickened out Bravely taking to his feet He beat a very brave retreat Bravest of the brave, Sir Julian!"

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/14/julian-assange-asylum-ecuador-wikileaks?CMP=twt_gu

        As an observation, I am sure that Julie is trying to construct a way of 'working' out of Ecuador. However, his main problem will be with the harsh and repressive treatment of persons working as journalists in that country. Not that Julie is a journalist.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Maybe not the US,

        "...if JA wants to avoid justice in Sweden/US "

        Well I definitely think he should face trial in Sweden for the sex offences and see if there is any case to answer. However, I think the problem will be the Justice part in the US. If he ever was extradited to the US the chance of him ever seeing freedom again is most likely zero. I can't see and outcome in a US trial where Julian Assange is allowed to walk away with a slap on the wrist.

        However, I would hope that he isn't using his worry about being extradited to the US as a ploy to avoid having to face the charges of sexual assault in Sweden.

        1. Psyx

          Re: Maybe not the US,

          "However, I would hope that he isn't using his worry about being extradited to the US as a ploy to avoid having to face the charges of sexual assault in Sweden."

          You hope in vain, I fear.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Maybe not the US,

        Personally I think we need to ensure the safety of the Falklands for the inhabitants... I don't trust Argentina to leave them alone!

      4. Blane Bramble

        Re: Maybe not the US,

        Argentina already tried that, it didn't work out well for the ruling Junta.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It seems Ecuador has a problem...

      The last time I looked out the window the world was engulfed in the worst economy since the Marshalsea opened for business.

      How does the contraction of diplomatic relations between countries improve that?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It seems Ecuador has a problem...

      >Obviously; if you believe in a plot by the US (I consider it very possible) then it should be obvious

      Ecuador's government is utterly dependent on Texaco/Chevron [worth Googling their activities there or browsing Amnesty International for a quick summary] and the US - this is definitely a case of any port in a storm after most embassies refused him.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not so much The War of Jenkins Ear...

    But rather the The War of Cameron's Bottom.

    Taking it like a man from our Overlords as usual.

    Also looks like someone's trying to start another war between a Tin Pot Dictatorship and a South American country for political advantage again...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not so much The War of Jenkins Ear...

      Surely it's Julian's Bottom that they are after?

    2. Scorchio!!
      Devil

      Re: Not so much The War of Jenkins Ear...

      "Taking it like a man from our Overlords as usual."

      Swedish overlords? Under the terms of the EAW he cannot go to the US without first Sweden asking the UK for permission; it would be easier for the US to extradite him from here than from Sweden, but don't let this trouble your conspiracy laden brain.

      For you this link: http://zapatopi.net/afdb/

      For Julie these links: http://www.masturbateforpeace.com/ http://www.dogcondoms.com/

      If only you had worn a condom, Julie.

  11. Local Group
    Unhappy

    "When the Soviet Union invaded Hungary on November 4, 1956, to restore the overthrown communist government, Cardinal Mindszenty sought Imre Nagy's advice, and was granted political asylum at the United States embassy in Budapest. Mindszenty lived there for the next 15 years, unable to leave the grounds." (Wikipedia)

    While Mindszenty lived in the US Embassy for 15 years in communist Hungary, under the aegis of the Soviets, there were no threats, lisping or foot stomping to extract Mindszenty from the embassy.

    On the other hand, the Humpty Dumpty of Downing Street is having palpitations because Assange has been in the Ecuadorian Embassy for 5 weeks.

    The only explanation is that 'She Who Must Be Obeyed' (Hillary der Grosse) has the English PM by his cod piece and is threatening to expose the shrivel therein.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hmm...

      Pleading political asylum as someone who will be prosecuted and imprisoned, probably tortured or murdered because of their religious beliefs/political activity is hardly the same as seeking to avoid a rape trial by spouting delusions about the Americans being after me and want to put me in gitmo.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Popcorn

    Wonder how long it will be before the movie is out about this farce.

  13. Dave Bell

    This does seem to be a great way to ensure Assange does get granted asylum by Ecuador. Getting him out of the Embassy to Ecuador might be difficult, but "mistakes" happen. A bunch of the Met's finest dash for Heathrow, while Assange and diplomat escort arrive at Gatwick, for instance.

  14. Bunglebear
    Stop

    Evidence?

    Hang on, so far I have seen no evidence that a storming of the Ecuadorian embassy is imminent. Apparently the Ecuadorian's have this in writing, but no one has seen it. Sounds rather far fetched, Assange isn't worth an international incident of this scale, no matter how much the Americans want him.

    1. Local Group
      Facepalm

      Re: Evidence?

      Of course it's not imminent. Correa diddled around for 2 months and this was Cameron's unbelievably stupid way of saying you can't keep a fugitive in your embassy without asylum. So tomorrow Ecuador will give him asylum and remove England's reason for ye olde battering ram.

      The beauty part is that England shot itself in the foot with that intemperate language

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Evidence?

        What intemperate language? I read the reported letter at the Graun and it's just a "here is the law" type of clarification.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Evidence?

          Clearly you have never heard of the phrase "reading between the lines".

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Down

          Re: Evidence?

          > What intemperate language?

          Clearly you are not savvy to what countries usually say to each other in diplomatic terms even when relationships are strained.

          As I said above, "clarifying the law" with respect to the UK's right to forcibly enter their premises is a very aggressive stance, far more aggressive than is merited in this situation.

          Clearly Cameron was badly advised in this case.

  15. night troll
    Pirate

    Getting him out

    IANAL

    "If the South American nation does offer Assange the chance to settle there, the Leaker-in-Chief has the problem of emerging from its London embassy and travelling to an airport without being arrested for breaching his bail conditions. Just how Assange, or his Ecuadorian hosts, propose to pull off that trick remains to be seen."

    Would it not be possible for the embassy to give him Ecuadorian nationality and then temporary diplomatic status to get him out of the embassy and to Ecuador?

    If he was to stay on Ecuadorian soil (embassy, car and flight) surly no other government could touch him without risking a serious international incident?

    1. Jonathan Walsh

      Re: Getting him out

      Granting diplomatic status has to be approved by the British Government.

    2. localzuk

      Re: Getting him out

      Stick him in a giant diplomatic bag?

      1. Scorchio!!
        Happy

        Re: Getting him out

        "Stick him in a giant diplomatic bag?"

        Oh yes, indeed. I can just see the COBRA plan for such an eventuality; the area including Knightsbridge and adjacent parts is shut down to major terrorist/fire/criminal incident. Naturally the 'diplomatic bag' has been shadowed and discreetly guarded by some 30 Met police and SAS, who of course realise that it is their duty to ensure that the 'diplomatic bag' is not assassinated. When the 'incident' occurs the area is locked down. No one moves and, after a few hours, the 'diplomatic bag' runs out of oxygen, causing its contents to break loose (to breathe necessary air).... ....into the waiting arms of Det. Insp. Snidely Smythe of the diplomatic protection squad.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Getting him out

          He wouldn't fit in a Diplomatic Bag; however He would fit in a number of them, with a little (rather messy) help...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Getting him out

            "He wouldn't fit in a Diplomatic Bag; however He would fit in a number of them, with a little (rather messy) help..."

            That turns out not to be the case. "Diplomatic bag" is a technical term, and can mean any container. See, for example, http://tinyurl.com/9e8zbve:

            "Any container can be a diplomatic bag--there are no limitations on size or shape. The Soviet Union tested the limits of this rule in 1984 when it claimed that a nine-ton tractor trailer was a diplomatic bag".

            In that case the Swiss disagreed, but it's not clear that they had any legal grounds for doing so.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: diplomatic bag

          after a few hours, the 'diplomatic bag' runs out of oxygen, causing its contents to break loose (to breathe necessary air)

          I think that's not going to be hours, but it struck me that the contents may also simply asphyxiate. So, either way a win as far as I'm concerned, I'm fed up with some winging sex crazed idiot who craves attention getting headlines while there is so much more going on.

    3. Wizardofaus

      Re: Getting him out

      Equadorian soil? He is in London, not Equador, and as far as I am aware the only foreign soil in the UK is about 12 square metres of the USA at Runnymeade.

      Good to see the self procaliamed "champion of free speach" taking shelter from a dictator who allows no free speech and who is controlled by oil companies. US based oil companies.

      Maybe Assange isn't quite as clever as he would have people believe...

      1. Lee Dowling Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Getting him out

        Someone watches QI. :-)

        1. Scorchio!!

          Re: Getting him out

          "Someone watches QI. :-)"

          This is going to sound bad, but what is QI; I don't receive television where I live.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Getting him out

        If you mean the JFK memorial, the memorial belongs to the US, the ground it is on is still sovereign UK territory.

    4. Scorchio!!
      FAIL

      Re: Getting him out

      "Would it not be possible for the embassy to give him Ecuadorian nationality and then temporary diplomatic status to get him out of the embassy and to Ecuador?"

      This has been discussed a lot in the press and political circles; these things cannot be back dated to before when the alleged offences were committed and thus, in national and international law, cannot be granted. Similarly, there is no precedence of asylum over a pre-existing criminal case for, e.g., rape. Indeed it is precisely these sorts of alleged crimes that cause people to seek asylum in order to escape from such offenders.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I lost all sympathy when he jumped bail.

    The guy needs to go to Sweden and face the music for what he did there. It's not an inhumane third world dictatorship it is a first world developed nation with a very good justice system. I can understand why he does not want to go to the states, but does he really think that what the Swedes will do? I don't, and as a result I can only see his actions as running from justice. like any guilty felon. If he's innocent of the charges against him he really should show that in court under the scrutiny of the worlds media who will ensure the trial is fair.

    but the longer he runs, he more guilty he seems. not to mention the millions of pounds he robbed from his 'friends' by jumping bail.

    1. GrumpyJoe
      FAIL

      Re: I lost all sympathy when he jumped bail.

      Given that if he's wrong, he gets a fair trial, and if he's right, he could get life imprisonment or death - I'd be nervous too.

      Are YOU willing to take the gamble on the extradition not happening in Sweden? Really? It all depends on the odds, and Julian has decided (and I KNOW due to his upbringing he's paranoid, but still) that the odds are against him - he sees life imprisonment/death as a very possible outcome of going back to Sweden - so, honestly, I understand.

      YOUR understanding off the odds there may be different but YOU are not facing them, so...

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        @Grumpyjoe

        One word: bollocks.

        He isn't facing life imprisonment or death, he's facing a possible charge of statutory rape. Add to that the charge of jumping bail in the UK. He is responsible for his own image in the eyes of the world's media going from one of a possibly falsely accused innocent man to one of a bail-jumping fugitive deliberately trying to cause diplomatic tensions between the UK and Ecuador to suit his own personal goals of escaping justice.

        1. GrumpyJoe
          Thumb Down

          Re: @Grumpyjoe

          Statutory rape, yes - THEN imprisonment/death. Extraordinary rendition - heard of it?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @GrumpyJoe

        He can't face a death penalty, Sweden does not have it.

        It also turns out that he cannot be extradited from Sweden if the death penalty is a possible outcome (that's 'possible' not 'likely').

    2. Chad H.

      Re: I lost all sympathy when he jumped bail.

      What Gamble? The European Arrest warrant prevents his extradition without the UK's approval. Both Sweden and the UK oppose extradition for crimes carrying the death penalty, and Australia could be expected to make reperesentations in that case as well.

      Fact are, if the US had wanted him, he'd be dead or in the US already.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    Stop pussyfooting around Dave!

    To paraphrase Boris....

    Come Ecuador, we're a nuclear armed country. Give him back now. What you gonna do, throw coffee beans at us? Stop this silliness now or we'll give you a good old slap on the botty.

  18. auburnman
    Flame

    Oh FFS...

    I don't know or care if he's innocent or guilty, but the waste of public resources is starting to get on my tits at this point. Have security cameras covering the Embassy exits, then withdraw all the police outside and return them to their normal duties. Let him stew in the Embassy grounds and scramble the blue lights if he's caught leaving. Put him on a no-fly list and in the unlikely event the Ecuadorians successfully smuggle him out of the country, punt their ambassadors back home.

  19. Ignorance is bliss

    Ecuador could go through the procedures of making Assange an accredited diplomat. Then he would be protected, according to international law. But, the U.K. could choose to disregard international law (see, invasion of Iraq, illegal actions in Libya, etc. for more recent examples) . . .

    1. Scorchio!!
      FAIL

      "Ecuador could go through the procedures of making Assange an accredited diplomat. Then he would be protected, according to international law. But, the U.K. could choose to disregard international law (see, invasion of Iraq, illegal actions in Libya, etc. for more recent examples) . . ."

      WRONG; not in your wildest dreams. Aside from the fact that such appointments have to be approved by the host country (that would be the UK) it is the case that such appointments cannot be made to facilitate the escape of people under criminal investigation. If it's good for former members of repressive governments, it's good for Julie.

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Although...

        I am amused at the image of Monsieur Assange standing alone in the corner at cocktail parties, eating his Ferrero Rocher and being studiously avoided by all the real ambassadors... "So, what's new in Bolivia these days?" "Fuck Off Julian, you nosy c***"

        Incidentally, on the subject of J. Asshat and South America, this is an amusing read from well before all this blew up. He's been a dickhead for a long, long time.

        http://www.borev.net/2008/09/great_moments_in_transparency_1.html

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not likely

      Diplomats have to be approved by the host country, I seriously think the UK government has reason to not approve Assange as a diplomat.

    3. That Steve Guy

      Assange made a diplomat

      "Ecuador could go through the procedures of making Assange an accredited diplomat."

      I remember reading an article discussing methods Assange could get out, it mentioned that Assange being made a diplomat must be approved by the host country (the UK) which will not happen in this case.

      They did say that one method he could get out of the country was that he could be made an Ecuadorian representative to the UN and thus be granted immunity. However they did point out that to get out of the country to Ecuador he would have to fly to the UN headquarters in New York first, before going to Ecuador, which to Assange would quite literally be going into the mouth of the beast.

    4. Psyx
      FAIL

      "Ecuador could go through the procedures of making Assange an accredited diplomat. Then he would be protected, according to international law. But, the U.K. could choose to disregard international law (see, invasion of Iraq, illegal actions in Libya, etc. for more recent examples) . . ."

      No they couldn't.

      No he wouldn't.

      And that's not how international law and the Vienna Convention works; except in your head.

    5. Chad H.

      Accreditation

      To get Assange accredited so you're going to have to sneak him to wherever the Queen is and convince her to accept the accreditation - all whilst dodging every cop and spook in the country.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alternative

    Could we not just let him go, assign a civil servant to carry his bag for him and wave him off as he boards the plane? And then shoot the plane down over the Atlantic, and cite mechanical failure?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Alternative

      No, you'd still hurt the pilot.

      Although, that could be solved by letting it be flown by Tony Blair..

      Ah, one can but dream..

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Alternative

      "Could we not just let him go, assign a civil servant to carry his bag for him and wave him off as he boards the plane? And then shoot the plane down over the Atlantic, and cite mechanical failure?"

      Interesting. I had no idea that some readers of The Register were closet terrorists.

      1. Psyx
        Joke

        Re: Alternative

        "Interesting. I had no idea that some readers of The Register were closet terrorists."

        Obviously you work for the CPS: What with confusing a jokey internet post with a terrorist threat, and all...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Alternative

          "Obviously you work for the CPS: What with confusing a jokey internet post with a terrorist threat, and all..."

          Ah, that was meant to be a joke, was it? This must be your famous British sense of humour.

          The thing is, even as a joke it strikes me as ghastly. And not funny.

  21. Nigel R Silver badge

    What does Assange know that we do not about Sweden?

    Surely easier for USA to claim his butt in the UK than in Sweden?

    Anyway, Swedish prisons are better than UK affordable housing.

    1. mhoulden

      Re: What does Assange know that we do not about Sweden?

      There is a certain irony that Assange is confined to a small room just so he can avoid being, er, confined to a small room. The US isn't exactly slow to issue extradition proceedings when it wants to, as in the cases of the Natwest 3, Gary McKinnon or Richard O'Dwyer, so there's no reason why they have to wait for the sexual assault case in Sweden to go through before they can extradite Assange, if they're planning on doing so at all.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby
        Boffin

        Re: What does Assange know that we do not about Sweden?

        That's actually a good question.

        Occam's Razor would dictate that the simplest answer is usually the right answer...

        Considering that during Manning's Article 32 hearing, the US Govt. presented evidence that Manning was allegedly receiving assistance from Assange during the commission of the crime. If true, any potential shield from the US Supreme court's '70s decision goes away. It would be the act of the theft and not the act of publishing the data which would be the crime...

        So if the US has this information... why don't they extradite him?

        Simple. They have time... let him face the music in Sweden. Then when its over, he's fair game. it also means that any entanglement of the EAW mess would be over.

        Yes, its that simple. After Manning's Court Martial concludes, assuming that the alleged evidence is true, then Manning could flip on Assange in the hopes of reducing his sentence. (Or he could flip pending sentence. )

        The evidence plus Manning's testimony would be enough that the US could legally extradite Assange from any Western country.

        So why do something dumb when they can get what they want in due time?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm,

    he could always walk out of the door, wave his hand and proclaim "I am not the Assange you are looking for".

    Like flapping your arms when falling to your death, ANYTHING is worth a try...

    Face it, he's busted, he's going to Sweden, them America....Sure as eggs is eggs.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's simple for him to get to Ecuador.

    a) Be made a Ecuadorian Citizen.

    b) Be legally re-assigned as a female by Ecuadorian law.

    c) Change his name to Julie.

    d) Marry a Ecuadorian diplomat, thus gaining Diplomatic immunity.

    e) Travel back to Ecuador with his husband.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      f) find out that when a girl says "no" she really does mean "no".

      1. Rameses Niblick the Third (KKWWMT)

        @ f)

        Funny. As. Hell!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Dirt really does stick, doesn't it - even when there is not a shred of truth in it

        'f) find out that when a girl says "no" she really does mean "no".'

        g) read the following detailed factual account of the relevant events, and discover that neither of the two girls said anything even remotely like "no" until long after the sexual encounter. On the contrary, they were quite gung-ho about it. (Of course, neither of them was particularly happy to find out that Assange had consorted with the other one - but where in the world is sexual fidelity between unmarried adults enforced by law?)

        http://www.daddys-sverige.com/3/post/2010/12/assange-the-inside-story-about-the-rape-charges.html

        1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

          @ Tom Welsh

          Oh please do fuck off with the media speculation. Until this whole grubby process appeared under the spotlight I had trouble believing the "only 5% of rapes are successfully prosecuted" figures, but now I'm surprised it's that high.

          * What he's accused of would absolutely be classified as rape under english law (blog, ironically, but by someone eminently qualified to speak on the topic)

          * Consequently This deserved to be tried in court, not in not in the fucking media and certainly not in a million ill-informed blog articles.

          * The fact the wikileaks has done good does not preclude Assange from being guilty, or indeed of being a shit in general.

          Frankly I'm astounded by irony of those trumpeting on about "justice" while idly musing that the women were probably up for it all along, the dirty sluts. In fact I imagine the women would be feeling pretty fucking dismayed at large segments of the human race right now.

          1. John H Woods Silver badge

            Re: @ Tom Welsh

            Bollocks to 5%. 60% of UK rape cases result in a conviction. 5% is the ratio of complaints to convictions. If theft clear-up was reported the same way it would be under 1%

            1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

              Re: @ Tom Welsh

              No doubt the alleged victims will be comforted that they're in there with the other 95%.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @ Tom Welsh

              @John H Woods: But theft and rape are really rather different, aren't they? If your phone gets nicked, you go to the Police and they give you a crime number, the only reason you do this is to claim on insurance. If you get raped it's a serious physical and psychological trauma, if you know they person who's done it to you and you can face re-living it in court, where your personal character will be torn apart in public, you stand a slightly over odds chance of getting a conviction. The chances are that when in court you'll be told by the prosecution that you "wanted it" that "no means yes" and if you got roughed up, that you were up for that sort of thing. This is why there is such a low takeup of rape prosecutions and it's only the really nasty ones that go to court.

      3. Scorchio!!
        Devil

        "f) find out that when a girl says "no" she really does mean "no"."

        Hmm. "Hey, bubba, are you wearing anything?" "Yes Julie, you".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Funny but the ambassador is female - Anna Alban, no need for a sex change. Can you get married in an embassy???

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Funny but the ambassador is female - Anna Alban, no need for a sex change. Can you get married in an embassy???"

        She's quite pretty as well.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OMG it would be sooooo funny...

    ... if he's not actually in there but got shipped out weeks ago.

    1. Valerion

      Re: OMG it would be sooooo funny...

      This is EXACTLY what I was thinking.

      I wouldn't be surprised if the announcement comes, and we then find out he sneaked off a few days ago and is currently sipping coffee in Ecuador.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shame the UK doesn't take such extreme measures to get rid of people that are actually a threat to the the lives of the British population. But I guess they need to put on a good show for the USA.

    1. Anonymous Coward 101

      "Shame the UK doesn't take such extreme measures to get rid of people that are actually a threat to the the lives of the British population."

      Like who?

      1. Mark Allread

        Jedward.

        1. Scorchio!!
          Thumb Up

          "Jedward."

          ToniBliar.

    2. Ian Michael Gumby
      Boffin

      @AC

      "Shame the UK doesn't take such extreme measures to get rid of people that are actually a threat to the the lives of the British population. But I guess they need to put on a good show for the USA."

      I hate to bring a dash of reality to this but this has nothing to do with the US.

      The truth is that when Assange fled to the UK and Sweden issued the EAW, The UK was obligated to provide due process for Sweden by complying with the EAW, and then provide Assange due process when he filed for an appeal, 3 actually in staying the EAW.

      When Assange violated the terms of his bail, the UK is further obligated to enforce the law and seek his arrest. This has nothing to do with the US, but with the EU and Sweden. If the UK isn't willing to honor the treaties that it signs, then why should other countries honor their agreements with the UK.

      The show is all Assange's doing, but its being played out for the sake of the EU and Sweden not the US.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ecuador should...

    ... issue a statement saying they weren't going to grant Assange asylum, until uk.gov threatened them.

    But now they will.

    Showing up the uk government for the bunch of clowns and arse-monkeys that they really are.

    1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      Re: Ecuador should...

      Please cite said "threat" to do anything other than comply with UK law, worded quite politely if sternly?

      Ecuador should have just washed their hands of the situation. It has no meaning or positive result for them even in their wildest fantasies. They're not about to swap him for a few billion in exports, for instance. But what they might end up doing is losing any UK trade. That's not a big deal for them, given their size, but it might be if the US puts its oar in (as Assange fantasises) - 25% of their import/export is with the US, the largest of any country. They might think they can hold the US to ransom for him, but it's unlikely, and will likely come at a bigger costs than benefit.

      Ecuador should really stop harbouring criminals. Assange is one for breaching his bail conditions even if EVERYTHING else against him is false, and he had more than enough time for a fair hearing on his bail and extradition.

      It's likely to be resolved by just walking in and grabbing him, to be honest. There's little Ecuador can really do to stop it. But placing yourself in the middle of an international incident that has *nothing* to do with you, for no benefit, is really quite a stupid thing to do in terms of trade.

  27. Penguin

    This is probably just embarrassing.

    I should imagine that none of the involved parties want this to go on anymore, I would wager that Ecuador have taken so long because they realise that Assange has dumped them into a political and diplomatic quagmire that really doesn’t have a happy ending for them. Maybe they are hoping that CO19 will storm the embassy after which they can throw their hands up, pretend to be disgusted and then wipe there brow and be glad it’s all been dealt with for them. Either that or maybe they are kicking their heals over it and hoping he eventually dies of old age. Realistically there is no answer that doesn’t have a counter by any party. If the Yanks really want him (which I highly doubt) then I guess a CIA snatch team would have no trouble what-so-ever operating in Ecuador. If the Swedish really want him (which, beyond legal proceedings, I doubt too) then the KSI (literally translated as “The Office for Special Collection", I kid you not) could do the doing just as easily. It just seems that it is a big old mess for everyone and that every government involved are just trying, and failing, to not look stupid.

    Long and short of it – even if the charges are a bit hoaky and it’s all a bit weird, if you get accused of sexually assaulting a woman, which is truly a most heinous of crimes, then you lawyer up and go to court. If you are guilty of this then Gitmo, the CIA, SIS or miscellaneous black ops death squads should be the least of your worries because you deserve everything you get.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Abducting a UKUSA Citizen

      ..could threaten Amerkina's listening posts in Australia. The US did abduct a former NSA employee, who had defected to the GDR and had gotten a German passport from the then Federal Republic of Germany after re-unification.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Carney

      So they abducted one of their own former citizens, who *actually* was a spy. Assange cannot be made a spy without "Spanish Inquisition". So that is why they want a modicum of legality, but behind the scenes they will tighten the screws on Sweden as soon he is there. Sweden needs American Radars and jet engines or their fighters are expensive scrap metal. Surely they have some "special" court for that purpose.

      America now also has "secret courts" and can gag basically everybody by using the term "national security".

      1. Ian Michael Gumby
        Devil

        Re: Abducting a UKUSA Citizen

        First, a bit of reality...

        The US hasn't done anything yet. There are things in motion that have to come to a conclusion prior to the US doing anything.

        To your point, yes the US does have the capability to go 'yellow pages' anywhere in the world if they so wanted. Granted, the US has a spotty history in terms of 'wet work' where the Mossad and KGB are much better at it.

        With respect to the Aussies, Assange hasn't contacted them for assistance, so they aren't going to do anything.

        The US won't tighten any screws on Sweden. They don't have to do it. Sweden will do what it needs to do and when they are done with him, then the US can act if they so choose.

        You are forgetting that while the US has a shoddy record with 'wet work' and clandestine operations... they do have an army of lawyers who are well versed in international law... To Assange, that's a much scarier proposition...

        1. Local Group
          Childcatcher

          "US has a spotty history in terms of 'wet work' where the Mossad and KGB are much better".

          Yep. The US is just like 'Mr Bumble' when it comes to extraordinary rendition. (For years they assumed it was the same as extrordinary desserts, like Spotted Dick and Sacher Torte.)

          "the US has a shoddy record with 'wet work' and clandestine operations... they do have an army of lawyers who are well versed in international law... "

          The US are bad at the bad stuff and good at the good stuff. Nice.

          The very definition of honorable.

        2. Thorne

          Re: Abducting a UKUSA Citizen

          "With respect to the Aussies, Assange hasn't contacted them for assistance, so they aren't going to do anything."

          Australia is Obama's bitch.

          Australia has a history of selling out it's citizens to the US.

          Assange would be better off booking a flight straight to the US. He'll still end up in the same location but he'll save 20 hours of flying.

    2. Thorne
      Black Helicopters

      Re: This is probably just embarrassing.

      "Long and short of it – even if the charges are a bit hoaky and it’s all a bit weird, if you get accused of sexually assaulting a woman, which is truly a most heinous of crimes, then you lawyer up and go to court."

      Umm maybe you should read up some more. He's wanted for questioning about not wearing a condom during consentual sex. It's idiots like you who try to make out he is some kind of rapist.

      Considered he's only wanted for questioning, he offered to do it at Scotland Yard or the embassy but the Swedes said no he had to come to Sweden. He said that he's happy to go if the Swedes guarenteed that he wouldn't be handed over to the US after the matter was finalized of which they refused to guarentee. Now the UK are threatening to storm the embassy and take him by force to send him to Sweden.

      Personally I find this whole thing rather dodgy. Someone is going to a lot of effort for a misomeaner which of all likelyhood has a maximum punishment of a small fine.

      At the end of the day, no amount of "Lawyering Up" is going to save you when you end up in GitMo

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    JA already left during the games

    My theory is he already left with the Ecuador olympic team along with the mass exodus of people leaving after the olympics

  29. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
    Facepalm

    The police should just sit outside the Embassy playing the Sash track 'Ecuador' loudly and repeatedly until they give him up. I reckon it wouldn't take long...

    Any sympathy I might have ad for Assange has long since evaporated. The claim that he might not get a fair trial in Sweden, in full view of the world's media is laughable, as is the claim that he might be extradited from there to the US, as indeed is the claim that he might be subject to the death penalty in the US. It's a whole string of ridiculous bollocks. Which, in itself, conjures an image...

  30. Rameses Niblick the Third (KKWWMT)

    They've given him asylum

    As title

    1. kempsy
      Facepalm

      Re: They've given him asylum

      Not only that, from what I'm following on the BBC live feed, they are going to treat him as a diplomat and seek his accreditation as such with the UK. Seems the UK Government has managed to provoke the Ecuadorians into taking this action with that letter.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please, US, just come and get him *now*

    I am sick and tired of a malicious, workshy tw*t like Assange using media and politics to avoid what is quite simply an interview to establish if he is guilty of rape.

    Assange arguments are rubbish (to put it politely), yet everyone treats it like it's God's gospel. Why would the US grab him in an action that would cause all sorts of diplomatic upsets? Why would the Swedes do it?

    On the other hand, if Assange wants so desperately to play the martyr I think he should get a chance if this sorts out the endless bleating. Please, US, come and get the sod. As far as I can see from recent US activities, the US is desperate to be seen as a nation that cannot be trusted in any way, shape or form. What better way to prove it by grabbing Assange?

    You'd do me a favour.

    1. Volvic

      Re: Please, US, just come and get him *now*

      Yeah, why would a European country extradite someone to the US just because they tell them to? That's inconceivable.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You have got to like them

    "[President Rafael] Correa declined to renew a 10-year rent-free lease on a U.S. base in Manta, Ecuador, which was set to expire in 2009. “We’ll renew the base on one condition: that they let us put a base in Miami—an Ecuadorian base,” said Correa... in 2007". http://tinyurl.com/8edux44

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know what Assange can do

    All Assange needs to do is change his name to Abdul Hamza. At that point he will immediately be invited by Ken Livingstone..

  34. Cliff

    Calls for Hague to resign?

    Oh FFS, talk about an over-inflated sense of self.

    I had some sympathy for Assange but actively trying to piss people off is just silly. His personal statements on TV didn't make him an appealing character, and this kind of statement just exacerbates things. He has cost us money and provided grief in exchange. Wikileaks does some interesting work and has value, Assange less so it seems.

    I suspect the government no longer care if he goes to Ecuador or Sweden, as long as he just fucks off and doesn't come back. I know I don't.

  35. Jediben
    Terminator

    Brass Eye

    The more this escalates, the more I feel Chris Morris is some sort of warning from the future!

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3BO6GP9NMY

  36. Mark Allread
    Meh

    Can't we just...

    ...shoot this odious twerp?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why is the UK govt going to these lengths?

    The charges the guy faces in Sweden don't have an equivalent anywhere else in the EU. They are staggeringly weak by any standards. They're not something to cause a diplomatic incident over.

    Like a lot of you I'd initially assumed if the US wanted him then extradite from the UK. Then I thought "we've been trying to get rid of Abu Qatada for 15 years and that's going nowhere".

    The problem is that after the way Bradley Manning was treated then Assange would have no problems at all getting extradition refused on human rights grounds - after all the UN's special rapporteur on torture labelled his treatment as "cruel, inhuman and degrading", along with 300 or so US legal academics.

    Now it doesn't matter whether you think Bradley Mannings treatment did amount to torture/break the 8th amendment or not, there's enough evidence that it was excessive to have extradition held up for years, if not decades. The reason would be the same as the Abu Qatada case - evidence which may have been obtained via torture/inhuman treatment etc.

    One thing the UK does more than any other EU nation is respect the ECHR's decisions (Abu Qatada being the poster child of that). Other nations simply ignore it when inconvenient.

    I'm not sure where Sweden stands but I'm sure it'd be harder to extradite him from the UK to the USA at this stage of proceedings.

    Someone however is putting serious pressure on the UK govt and it ISN'T Sweden.

    PM is on holiday, as is deputy PM, Olympics over and why did Hague get left in charge instead of Osborne? Kind of convenient that, don't you think?

    1. Ian Michael Gumby
      Boffin

      Re: Why is the UK govt going to these lengths?

      "The charges the guy faces in Sweden don't have an equivalent anywhere else in the EU. They are staggeringly weak by any standards. They're not something to cause a diplomatic incident over."

      Tell that to Ecuador. They are the ones who volunteered to enter this fray. Which poses an interesting set of questions on its own.

      "The problem is that after the way Bradley Manning was treated then Assange would have no problems at all getting extradition refused on human rights grounds - after all the UN's special rapporteur on torture labelled his treatment as "cruel, inhuman and degrading", along with 300 or so US legal academics."

      Oh FFS, this is utter nonsense. First Manning isn't a civilian and was kept in the brig. While you may not like how Manning was treated, tough. It was all within the limits of the Regs. It would have no bearing on any extradition except for the fact that Manning doesn't face the death penalty so if the alleged evidence of Assange's involvement are proven true, Assange, the prat that he is, wont face the death penalty either.

      The US will do nothing until the following two conditions have been met... 1) Manning's Court Martial concludes. (its not even mentioned in the press these days.) 2) Assange goes to Sweden, faces the music and they are done with him.

      Then the US can do what they want without much trouble because the law is on their side.

  38. Lockwood
    Black Helicopters

    <- The solution

    Ecuadorian chopper. Drop a line.

    JA exits embassy through window, without setting foot on British soil.

    1. Jediben
      Devil

      Re: <- The solution

      Olympic Games Anti-Air defenses which are still in place destroy Ecuadorian chopper long before it encroaches on London airspace. Real reason for their deployment is revealed!

      1. Lockwood

        Re: <- The solution

        Touché

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    "Rule Of Law", "Mother of Democracies"

    ...and all that: Bullshit when it comes to someone classified by the powerful as "Enemy of State". Look up how they managed to hang Maria Stuart after they had her in the Tower of London.

    As Mr Churchill put it "many people have been killed for Reasons Of State" (I don't know the exact words, but you can look it up in "History of English speaking peoples").

    Mr Assange threw a few wooly balls into the gears of the Anglosaxon empire and they will now use all the tricks they have at their disposal. If you think this is "OK", then you are a sorry idiot. One day YOU will be at the receiving end of this lawless behavviour. Your reputation will be smeared, you will be intimidated and if you are not an exceptionally strong person, YOU will just jump down a bridge.

    Indeed a "Marvellous Civilization". Not.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Correction

      I think they beheaded Maria Stuart after "discovering a plot against the Queen while being incarcerated in the Tower".

    2. Psyx
      FAIL

      Re: "Rule Of Law", "Mother of Democracies"

      "Your reputation will be smeared, you will be intimidated and if you are not an exceptionally strong person, YOU will just jump down a bridge."

      So he's a hero, is he?

      So why not go to Sweden, become a martyr for the certainty of US extradition, and prove to the world that he is right, and indeed a figure for freedom and justice in the world?

      If he's that 'strong', then he'd be doing just that.

      If you want a hero, then make one of Manning, not Assange.

      And if they wanted him dead, he'd be dead already.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Missing one star on the US flag.

    It just makes it plain once more that the UK political class prefers to jeopardise their diplomatic relationships and hard won democratic image rather than displease the US ruling class.

    How vocal would Cameron or Hague be if the UK embassy had granted political asylum to an Iranian or Chinese personality framed in some bogus rape set up and the host country would threaten to storm the British embassy?

    When are they going to add this 51st star on the American Flag?

  41. O RLY
    Trollface

    I know we're not supposed to post corrections, but where did the TM at the end of Assange go? Did he lose his trademark when he got asylum?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Langley Ordered

      ..El Register to use a different Character-Assassination strategy.

    2. Psyx

      Apparently Apple purchased it and threatened to sue El Reg.

  42. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    We seem to be ramping up for war with Ecuador...

    (where the Balsa Wood comes from. Buy any model aeroplanes you need NOW!)

    ... and yet this is all over a very minor legal issue? Does anyone else think this is going a bit far?

    Or just perhaps it's NOT just about the minor issue of someone being called for questioning about a crime where there is almost no independent evidence, and no realistic possibility of conviction?

    Wouldn't we be lucky if we could get our local plod to do 100th as much when we had a real complaint..?

    1. Thorne

      Re: We seem to be ramping up for war with Ecuador...

      "Wouldn't we be lucky if we could get our local plod to do 100th as much when we had a real complaint..?"

      Couldn't get the local police interested when my house was broken into which in my eyes, is a worse crime than not wearing a condom.

  43. Local Group
    Trollface

    Bully for England

    Where it just isn't cricket for policemen (or women) to entrap citizens or strangers for the state's nefarious purposes. (Or so some of your dimmer Englishmen think. Some of them actually posting here.)

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let me describe my fantasy...

    Let me describe my fantasy for how I'd like this to play out:

    Time: the near future (like, tomorrow).

    Location: The Ecuadoran embassy, London.

    Suddenly, a pair of Blackhawks appear, swooping down. Out of their open doors drop several sets of ropes, followed by Seal Team 6 dropping down.

    "GO GO GO!"

    They rapidly storm the embassy. What little resistance is met with beanbag rounds.

    "TALLYHO!" The Seals descend upon Assange, who is rapidly subdued, and dragged from the embassy. The Blackhawks withdraw from British airspace before the Crown can begin to react - there will be repercussions, oh yes, but not at this moment.

    A short distance from the shores, the Blackhawks land on a carrier. Assange is quickly transferred to an unmarked Learjet, still guarded by Seals.

    The stench of fear and feces permeates the aircraft.

    Many hours later, the aircraft lands. Seals lift Assange and escort him to the door. The hours in the relative darkness of the aircraft have left his eyes unready for the bright sunlight outside, and he is momentarily blinded. Guided by the Seals, he stumbles down the jetway toward a man in a suit, his watering eyes unable to make out the details at first - "Who is this man? What will he do to me?"

    Then the Seal leader speaks: "President Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado, may I introduce Julian Assange. He's all yours, we don't want him!"

    And with that, the Seals board their aircraft and fly away.

  45. toadwarrior

    Seems to me if sweden can't guarantee he won't be shipped off to the US then he shouldn't go there. The US happily kills its own citizens for no reason other than they *might* be a terrorist and it locks up people forever for no good reason and has no qualms with torturing people.

    In regards to human rights the US is about as bad as Hitler. So the UK should let him go and quit wasting our money.

  46. laird cummings
    FAIL

    Whee!

    I see some people still have fantasies that the US really gives a rats a$$ about Assange and is willing to waste time and effort on him - because CLEARLY hes' the biggest threat on the US' radar!

    Not.

    If the US really wanted him as badly as the various fantasists (who problaly wank off on the thought that Assange still matters), he'd have been snatched long ago.

    Give it up. Go find a less-impluaible over which to pleasure yourselves.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whee!

      Because of your obsequious and pandering remarks, Big Brother has canceled your appointment in Room 101 at noon tomorrow.

      You may resume placing the truth about the US in your memory hole. Carry on.

  47. Local Group
    Big Brother

    World War II began with the Nazi Invasion of Poland

    World War III will begin with England's Invasion of the Ecuadorian Embassy. Followed by a debilitating trade war; the end of diplomacy; and the nations of the world resolving themselves into their three constituent parts: Oceana, Eurasia, and Eastasia. Ration books for cheap gin will be offered to those who approve this message the most. ;o)

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yup...

    Ecuador basically sealed his fate. He's either going to prison in several countries over the next few decades or he'll unwillingly die soon. Hopefully it's a slow and painful death. He needs time to reflect on his actions.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      I Hope

      ..you will die in the civil war that will develop in your evil empire, due to an uncontrolled financial "system".

  49. SwedishCodeMaffia
    Thumb Down

    Storming another country's embassy

    To apprehend a dude for breaking bail, and all over a sexual harassment charge in another country? I mean, really? Would you guys do it had the dude not been Assange?

    Good JA is so dead. Sweden would never hand him over to the yanks. You brits will. I see a gas chamber, needles or an electric chair in his future. Well done, you!!

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Assange's fate was decided long ago...

    ...when he decided to violate law. Now it's just a matter of which contry prosecutes him first, second, third, etc. Maybe he should change the site name to WikiLoser or WikiEgoManiacDead?

  51. Local Group
    FAIL

    Ecuador 1 England 0

    William Hague had English law on his side when he sent that roughly worded note to the Ecuadorian Ambassador. Julian Assange, a fugitive from English justice, had been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy for 5 weeks, waiting to be granted asylum by President Correa. And Hague was tired of waiting for Correa's answer.

    According to a 1987 English law, the Ecuadorian Embassy was being used, not as an embassy, but as a hide out for someone on the run. What should Hague do? If he burst in without first sending a letter, he'd be hailed as Cromwell and Assange as King Charles, but England would become a pariah. If he sends the letter, Assange is given asylum by return email.

    The next day Assange is given asylum, the embassy is no longer afoul of English law, and Hague's cause of action is moot.

    The Ecuadorians read the juicy wording of England's communique to the media. It's not the Gettysburg Address.

    Hague threatened the sanctity of every diplomatic precinct in London, foreseeing the end of 500 years of diplomatic relations between nations. He probably is going to spend the rest of his tenure making up for it.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Assange just pissin' in the wind

    Asking for Manning to be freed when charged with treason and many other counts is laughable as is Assange's hopes of ever escaping accountability for his various violations of law in multiple countries. Ecuador will see that there is a price for harboring criminals. There are lessons for all to learn from this circus act - especially Assange who seeks media attention at any price.

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