It took a while, but, as predicted ...
it's the Ecuadorans that are keen to get rid of Assange.
Shame Hague made such a total tit of himself to start with. He only had to wait.
Blighty's Foreign Secretary William Hague is considering an invitation to sit down with his Ecuadorian counterpart - and discuss what to do about their little Julian Assange problem. The Ecuadorian foreign minister Ricardo Patino - due to arrive in London this month - has asked the UK Foreign Office for a chat about Assange, …
Its diplomacy - the Foreign secretary says one thing to their ambassador in private, another thing to the media in private, another to the House of Commons. Meanwhile the British ambassador says something else to their PM or FM in private and yet another thing to their media. Meanwhile a whole bunch of other things are said in the cabinet.
The Swedish prosecutor is waiting for JA. There is a valid European arrest warrant for JA. The UK Foreign Secretary might 'listen' to the Ecuadorian consulate, that is what diplomats do.
JA is going to Sweden, though. That isn't going to change. He can delay it, but that fact still looms before him. The Swedes are determined on that.
AFAIK, he needs to answer for breaking UK law first, but I may be wrong. Not sure what takes priority.
What I do know is that if he walks away from this one they better install revolving doors in embassies as everyone who has broken laws will want to try this. That is why I don't think he'll walk. Neither Sweden or the UK can afford that sort of flagrant ignoring of the law.
I also don't have a problem with him being shipped to the US. If the US really is stupid enough to turn this idiot into a martyr I think they deserve the problems that will no doubt cause. Ignoring him would be the wiser approach.
Worts case scenario for Assange is a sequence of immediate extradition to Sweden, followed by a 30 minute hearing after which he is released without charge, maybe with a fresh pack of extra small condoms. That would put the lie to the whole US paranoia, and reduce his further significance for the media to about zero. Hence the bleating - it's a very real possibility that this actually happens.
Well, it's like the street value of drugs seized by police. The street value of a police officer is much higher than their cost if you get them wholesale...
Or, as you suggest, they could just be eating a lot of Doughnuts. Say there's a nearby Krispy Kreme outlet, then that £14k could buy them as many as 5 or 6 doughnuts per day...
I wonder if old Julian showers regularly while he's in there? Or is he whiffing up their embassy something awful? I know the Guardian guys who worked with him on the US diplomatic cables complained that they were stuck in small windowless rooms with him, and he he hadn't bothered to wash or change clothes in several days.
Maybe that's the answer. The police have all been equipped with gas masks, just in case...
There's a Krispy Kreme in Harrods.
That must be the mathematical Holy Grail that is: Expensive squared. They probably do a special one that's diamond encrusted, and filled with the tears of orphans. For £20,000. Probably with a free orphan thrown in for refills.
I was very disappointed when Fayed sold Harrods. He said he was going to have himself mummified and be interred in a pyramid on the ceiling. I wonder why no-one ever checked his blood for drugs...
However, if he'd not sold, the combined weight of the 2 egomaniac paranoid nutjobs in such a small area would probably have distorted the space-time continuum and led to a tin-foil hole forming in the area...
@ Jim 59:
You're oversimplifying the maths. If an average rozzer on 30K per annum is scheduled to do an 8 hour shift then you need 3 of them to maintain a one-plod presence in a 24 hour period so we're down to 57 on-site assuming they all work 365 days a year. They don't, so let's say our single copper works a similar number of days a year to me, he's working for .62 of the year so multiplying our 57 by .38 means we're down to 21 on-site.
That's assuming the 3 million is only going on staff pay and not equipment costs and that night shifts don't pay more etc...
Take your point re shifts and holidays. But every copper working a third of 24 hours and 0.62 of a year still gives over 35 cops on site 24 x 7 x 365. (170*0.33*0.62)
Could it be that the nice policeman are getting some rather shift payments ? Assuming 5 cops on site 24x7x365 corresponds to 25 different full time bobbies including hols and shifts. Sharing 3 million, each one has trousered circa £120,000 in 7 months, back of a fag packet...
You guys all seem to be forgetting that its not as simple maths as that. I earn X from my company per hour for doing the work, but my time is sold to the customer at 3X minimum, because you have to include backroom staff and equipment, the front line equipment (in this case, the fully stocked cop car for the plod to sit around in, the gun, night stick, radios, dashboard computer, etc.), and a host of other overheads.
I would imagine that the 3million figure comes from how much the forces that have been deployed for this could have earned if they were deployed for the same amount of time protecting a football game or the like.
So going by the base figure for salaries is just being silly...
Whether its 170, 21, or 13 its still far too expensive! At most you are requiring 4 persons onsite (its a small building!) and one situational commander. 3x 8hr shifts +cover = 20 persons, at a generous 60k per plod and 100k per command person that's 16x60+4x100 = 1.3 million. No helicopters, No fast-pursuit cars.
I suspect that what we are seeing is also a bill for a certain amount of espionage/intelligence.
You fail to take in to consideration that this "post" is not a normal assignment for the plods and therefore not in the staffing plan, so most if not all of these plod are on overtime. its not like they have a closet full of spare plods at the station where they can pull out of few extra for an assignment here or there and throw them back when they're done.
On a side note, this whole situation has an air of bullshit about it. The math just doesnt add up.
The math problem goes like this:
A: Sweden says they just want to talk to him about some allegations of (non-violent) sexual abuse. they haven't even charged him with a crime yet.
B: The US is saying heh we dont give a fuck about him, we have no interest in him what-so-ever, nothing to see here, move along. (which we all know is bullshit)
C: The (Cash strapped) UK is spending what works out to be £5.1m a year keeping a post of plods outside the embassy where JA is holed up 24/7/365.
In the equation, how the fuck does A + B justify C.
The allegations against him in Sweden, though somewhat serious in nature, definitely do not warrant a multi-million pound and years long operation to apprehend him, especially considering this bill is being footed by a third party who has no dog in this fight, and no interest in this situation outside of the fact that he's within their borders (I would have said he is on their soil, but he's actually on Ecuadorian soil).
All parties involved need to switch off the bullshit emitters and come clean. Sweden needs to just step out of the picture and the US to stop their bullshit and just unseal the indictment that we all know damn good and well has already been filed and is being kept sealed, outline the charges against him and issue an international warrant for his arrest.
This whole smoke and mirrors charade is disheartening and disgusting. The whole reason the US wont lay their cards on the table is because they plan to lay some seriously bullshit, trumped up and over-zealously harsh charges on him, similar to the "Aiding the Enemy" charges against Bradly Manning, and because most, if not all of the extradition treaties the US has in place with other nations have a dual criminality clause, and with the scope of charges they plan to bring, most other nations would refuse extradition based on the fact that the charges / punishment do not fit the crime (if there even was one on Julian Assange's or wikileaks part)
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I think you need to take the tin-foil hat off there.
Firstly he wasn't accused of a totally non-violent crime. One of the allegations is that he tried to force himself on one of the women, who was saying no dice until you put on a condom. It wasn't full-on violence in that she says she was holding her legs together and he was using his bulk to stop her getting away and trying to get them apart. So there's no accusation that he was trying to hurt her physically, but that would still be rape. Just less aggravated than if he was using a knife, or smacking her round the head or something. Not some sort of 'weird sexual offence that only counts in Sweden' but proper rape. As was confirmed by the UK Supreme Court judgement, where they upheld that the European Arrest Warrant was legal, but also said that the case would have met the criteria for extradition anyway, even without the EAW system.
So that's the first bit of your post that doesn't add up. As for the rest of it, justice isn't convenient, but we have a system that's supposed to pretty much ignore the costs and just get on with criminal cases. We have a valid warrant for his arrest, and the police are duty bound to carry that out. As approved by our courts, in exhaustive process, where Assange got to put his case at 4 different levels of courts. He had his day in court, he lost, now he has to go to Sweden and have his day in court there. If it even gets to court. But I'm inclined to suspect his motives for avoiding facing justice in Sweden might be down to a guilty conscience, given the amount of time, effort and money he's gone to in order to avoid facing them. Admittedly most of that money has been other people's, but still...
As for the US charging him, we'll know more when the Manning trial is over. I don't think they'd be able to accuse him of much for publishing the leaked stuff. Only if they can prove he was controlling Manning and helping with the hacking, then they can go for espionage or conspiracy. But if he did do all that, then he is guilty of either conspiracy to hack or espionage. Even if you think what he did was in a good cause. Although with the way Manning was treated, I'd be amazed if half the evidence from the military tribunal would be admissible, which leads me to suspect that even if the US could get enough evidence to try him, they wouldn't be able to get enough untainted evidence to get a foreign court to extradite him.
"The Metropolitan Police has been forced to maintain a 24-hour watch on the building, which they said in February had cost Brits nearly £3m by that point."
And exactly who has forced them to spend that money ?
Choosing what resources to allocate is a discretionary process - in what way is this a priority with scarce resources , rioting in the streets and people getting hacked to death ?
Perhaps if Winston Smith had obtained and released a mass of secret and embarrassing documents, thus revealing the reality of Big Brother ... convenient charges could have been found to discredit Smith? From a cooperating ally?
Let the juggernaughts of self-perpetuating power rush headlong into history ... the populace will believe what it will.
The true mystery is the simple fact that the Ecuadorian embassy has not yet suffered a massive gas main fault.
Just goes to show how much money the MET piss up the wall if they claim its cost 3 million, why do we even need to watch the building 24/7, they allowed Dale Cregan out on bail when he was arrested for murder which let him go off and kill 2 police officers yet we have to spend 3 million of tax payers money watching just in case Assange gets away?
At what point do the MET decide it no longer in the public interest to keep a 24/7 watch on the embassy or is this going to be costing us money indefinitely?
rotfl, this is pretty sophisticated for the US diplomacy. Should it read "no plans, but we're going to"? "No plans as of the time this statement was issued"? "No plans, but a strong intention to"? "No plans for the gov, but we ain't say nothin' about the plans for the gov sponsored agencies"?
that said, he deserves to be extradited and put on that one-way trip to Mars for being such an megalomaniac and screwing up a decent wikileaks cause.
"The American government has said it has no plans to charge Australian-born Assange nor has it made attempts to extradite him."
Complete and utter bullshit. If somebody nabs Assange outside the embassy, plans and attempts will be "devised and made" five minutes after the US hears about it.
To feed those who think less than wholesome thoughts about the various governments concerning this issue, please note that having someone shot on the spot (or disappeared or whatever horrible fate that might eventually be inflicted upon the hapless JA), requires neither that he be charged or extradited for this to come to pass.
On the other hand, letting the (alleged) victims have a go at him before taking action would be a good bit of diplomacy.
So the UK has pretty much proven to be a "if you ask for him we'll send him over" country when it comes to Extradition requests from the USA, with a few minor exceptions that took years to sort out. Assange was in the UK at the time of the allegations from Sweden. Why on earth would the USA come up with a scheme to send him to a different country that, more than likely, has a different extradition agreement that is more difficult for them to extract Assange?
Whatever happens, he needs to answer the charges of alleged rape in Sweden. Whatever else he may have done, he is not above or outside the law, and he needs to learn that.
imo British gov decided they won't risk "worldwide humiliation" which they believe they would get, should this smelly man holed in the embassy give them the slip. They will throw any resources and money not to let him do it. Quite different to the case of that bloke who was let loose by the system, and killed when out there. That was just the "regular" system involved, and no politician gave a toss. Now they do, because they feel they'd be a laughing stock of the world, and they'll do anything, at any cost, to not let it happen. And "the system" will duly follow the orders.
We too are sick of the little Ponce, he never does his share of the shopping, he wraps all our computers in tinfoil, please, please take him back before he has a nasty accident!
OK, we'll sweeten the deal with enough cash to pay off the Met's bills, plus a home-cooked meal using what's left in the fridge after you-know-who has helped himself...
albeit an old one, tried before, would be to ask the Nigerian embassy if they have any spare crates, and take JA to Ecuador?
(if giving their valued guest a diplomatic passport is too embarrassing that is - but if Ecuador wanted to avoid embarrassment, they shouldn't have granted the self-obsessed JA entry to the embassy in the first place, and should put him on the first plane to Sweden)
Maybe the Foreign Secretary just wants to tell Ecuador something on the order: "We really don't care that you have him, but he stays there (in the embassy). Tell us when he goes outside."
It might cure lots of things. No need for police outside until things start to happen. Jail in any form works for me! I wouldn't want to be holed up in an embassy for over a year and keep going strong. Much less in a country like Ecuador!
If swarms of people turned up looking like him, or he and everyone else wears the exact same mask and style of clothes, the police would have a tough time keeping track of who's who hopefully giving him the chance to escape and save millions more of taxpayers money keeping an eye on the place.
£3m for a year of 24/7 police watch, fucking ludicrus...
Why do you assume that the US does want him? To try him and send him to jail here? Why would we want the cost of trial, imprisonment, etc. We wouldn't be getting any information out of him that we don't already have on Manning, and it's not like the Government can hold him in Military prison like Manning.
He'd likely need to be tried in public court, with backing from the ACLU and other various group which would likely be costly, and with the dissent now from "big government" and "attacks on media" it would be a a hell of a shit show to push war crimes on something as mundane as those cables.
With him hold up in the Embassy, and the UK wasting there time on him, and the Swiss looking to ding him, quite frankly we have no vested interest in dealing with him anymore, imo.
> Why do you assume that the US does want him?
Maybe on the basis of the evidence?
It seems strange to me that so many commenters here are talking about this as mere speculation.
"> Why do you assume that the US does want him?
Maybe on the basis of the evidence?
"It seems strange to me that so many commenters here are talking about this as mere speculation."
That's because you have not acquainted yourself with the facts; under the EAW he cannot be extradited from Sweden (whence he fled prior to the obligatory interview that in Sweden precedes being charged and arrested) to the US without prior permission from the UK; neither the UK nor Sweden will allow extradition to a country likely to inflict capital punishment on a suspect if found guilty of a capital offence in the would-be extraditing state and, besides all of the fantasy island crap that is peddled here, the UK is a far easier avenue for extradition to the US than Sweden, precisely because the Labour government agreed a treaty with the US that makes it difficult to resist their demands. Moreover, the Swedes have said that they will forego the EAW and their right to charge him if the US wants first fuck.
Thus, and putting it shortly, no the US cannot extradite him from Sweden if their EAW is successfully applied, and Jules is an easy lay from the UK.
Finally, the US do not yet have sufficient evidence to deal with Assange. Rest assured, you will know about it when they think they have; either because they'll trumpet it, or because someone will 'leak' it. Otherwise, there is a difference between informed and uninformed speculation. The latter tends to predominate where Assange is concerned.
Cost of keeping JA in gitmo, $900k a year.
Cost to the US of him being holed up in the embassy. 0.
Cost to the US of him being in a Swedish prison. 0.
I think they are probably quite happy with the status quo. Cut down the cost of monitoring somewhat and watch the little bugger sweat it out until his new friends as sick of him. Maybe sell a feed of the security cameras as a reality tv show bb style.
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But we have started flying drone missions over Ecuador, and the U.S. State Department has asked what make and color of car will pick up Assange at the airport when he arrives. Why? "Dunno, we're just curious I guess..."
Yes the Swedes could interviewed Assange in England. They could have changed their laws for his convenience. But they decided not to. Shame that...
On the other hand, he could have complied with the law of the country he said he wanted to become a citizen of. He could have avoided fleeing the country, but didn't. He could have complied with the European arrest warrant, but didn't. He could have complied with the court order, after he'd lost his appeal over the EAW. But didn't. He can come out of the embassy any time he likes and comply with the law, or he can sit in there and rot for the next umpteen years. Or as long as the Ecuadorian Ambassador wishes to put up with him anyway. It's his choice.
Ah yes, the Julian Assange we don't need meat space, do it online argument; first, Assange fled Sweden after his counsel informed him that the Swedish police wanted to interview Assange and charge him (that is to say, Assange has already fled a jurisdiction where his flesh is required), subject to the answers he gave; secondly, interviewing is always done on the territory of the body whose laws have allegedly been flouted, finally, non verbal behaviour is extremely important in interviews, which are a dynamic and flexible affair, and much of it is lost in video links, partly due to the resolution, partly due to the lag, and partly due to the size of the window; indeed, when people are interviewed the exude stress hormones that give them away.
For more on the interview process and the subtleties involved I recommend you read PACE.
Digital interviewing may be alright for geeks, but not for the legal process.
Downvoted because (as has been pointed out many times - including El Reg) Swedish law doesn't allow for extra-territorial questioning.
Dunno if anyone remembers, but a few years ago a US guy killed a girl here, and left her body in a car boot before flying off to the US. He was identified, we issued a warrant for his arrest, which translated into a request for extradition which a US court happily compiled with (he's now serving life in the UK).
Would you have been happy if instead of that, the US said "no, we won't extradite him, but feel free to pop over and ask a few questions" ?
is really a bit thin now. The US have made absolutely no legal moves to try and get Assange into the US. (Hot air doesn't count, btw).
*Even* if they should whip up an extradition request (which would require charges be laid, which they haven't), under the EAW, the *UK* would need to OK a further extradition from Sweden to the US.
That decision would be subject to the UK Supreme Court, under the HRA. Currently, the UK supreme court has bigger balls than Teresa May (passim). In fact, I suspect the last thing the UK *government* wants is for the US to request JAs extradition, and have the supreme court veto it.
JA knows all of this, and is supposedly an intelligent man. Therefore his motives for dodging the warrant are questionable, and appear to have a lot more to do with self aggrandisement, and fear of jail, than any possible "threat" from the US.
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