He's obviously dangerous
Look at how many police officers wearing protective clothing are needed to deal with the situation.
Blighty has haemorrhaged A$19.6 million (£10 million, US$15.3 million) on the security detail guarding platinum-topped Wikileaks boss Julian Assange during his stay at the Ecuador embassy in London. The figures cover the cost of keeping 343 bobbies on the beat from the time of Assange's self-imposed exile to October 2014 and …
Did you ever think that they were also there for his protection too?
Seriously... do you know how many people would consider tossing a brick through the window?
(Or something else for those who are less evolved.)
Just add it to his tab.
After Sweden he still has to deal with the Jumping bail charge...
I don't know why he doesn't go to Sweden, get that over with, he comes back to the UK, faces the jumping bail, and this expense... he gets a cot, 3 square a day, plus a free health plan thanks to the NHS. He'll also get a chance to get out and stretch his legs around the prison yard.
>>"Did you ever think that they were also there for his protection too?"
Well, no, not really. The government doesn't spend £10 million to protect you or me when we're threatened by some vicious ex-partner or similar even when you can be pretty certain an attack is coming. So you think they'll spend it on protecting someone who is a major nuisance to them out of the goodness of their hearts? I mean just in case the Ecuadorian embassy gets stormed by attackers? Your argument is more based on the fact that you don't like him. If it's costing this much, just stop guarding him.
But oh wait, that would embarrass Britain in front of America when he gets away so lets carry on wasting millions. Can't have someone embarrass America publically and get away with it! And if anyone is daft enough to think that isn't the reason ask yourself if millions would have been spent on any regular person who was wanted just for questioning by another European country. If that were the real reason, they could have very easily had a couple of officers come over here and question him at a tiny fraction of the expense.
This has nothing to do with the US; the Swedes offered the US first go, they refused. He is now wanted under a EAW, and the conditions are that he can only go to the country who issued the EAW.
As to the nonsense about interviewing him here, he was wanted for arrest and, in Swedish law, he must first be interviewed in the appropriate jurisdiction. Everything else is just a silly red herring, dropped by Julie to confuse the issue. Julie is wanted for an alleged offence that a senior met officer said would merit a charge of rape in this jurisdiction.
However, feel free to define black as white and vice versa. You will as ever amuse those who know better. HAND.
".....If it's costing this much, just stop guarding him......" But that is not the cost just of guarding him. The Police have to provide policing and a protection detail for the Ecuadoreans anyway, just as they do for any foreign consulate or embassy, and so the figure quoted is a massive stretching of the truth. The cost of providing the current visible Police presence outside A$$nut's hideyhole is being covered by the same budget that provides for the normal visible and undercover embassy policing. It's just more propaganda and myth to add to the long line of untruths spouted by The Followers of St Jules.
When A$$nut finally does emerge, even if he doesn't get shipped straight to Sweden, he will be locked up in the UK for bail-jumping. That process - sending A$$nut to prison - will cost and comes on top of the already massive costs to the taxpayer from his court case and appeal where he tried to get the EAW rejected. Depending on his sentence it will cost a further £40,000 a year to keep him locked up in an UK prison (http://www.fpe.org.uk/the-cost-of-prisons/). Personally I'm quite happy for my taxes to have paid for him to be locked up in an HMG prison or one of his own making.
>>"But that is not the cost just of guarding him. The Police have to provide policing and a protection detail for the Ecuadoreans anyway, just as they do for any foreign consulate or embassy, and so the figure quoted is a massive stretching of the truth"
Is it a massive stretching of the truth? Please do tell us what the normal cost of guarding the embassy was before Assange took residence there. You presumably know seeing as you're dismissing the £10million figure as pretty much incorporated into the regular necessary operations.
>>"Personally I'm quite happy for my taxes to have paid for him to be locked up in an HMG prison or one of his own making."
Seriously? You prefer that £10m of police resources are spent on keeping this person locked up than on violent or otherwise dangerous criminals? Or even just investigating every day crime? The police are underfunded so you can't say it doesn't impact other police work. And if you genuinely despise him that much or regard punishment for embarrassing the US government by leaking true information as that much more important than normal police work, your priorities are badly messed up.
".....Is it a massive stretching of the truth?......" IMHO, certainly.
".....Please do tell us what the normal cost of guarding the embassy was before Assange took residence there. You presumably know......" Actually, even if I did know an exact figure I couldn't tell you as it would include the covert work done by the Diplomatic Protection Service in conjunction with the Spooks, SAS, etc., which would make it an offence under the OSA for me to tell you (that's if I did know). But we can do some back-of-an-envelope calculations that poke a few holes in the "£10m" figure.
If we use the figure of £77,000 supplied by The Guardian as the cost per London bobby on the street per year, and we also use the figure of "up to three coppers per day" as the de facto "Assange guard force" (also supplied by The Guardian and repeated by The Daily Mail) we get an annual cost of 3 x £77,000 = £231,000. As St Jules has been hiding behind the Ecuadoreans' skirts since June 2012 we can then multiply the annual figure by 2.5 to give us the total bill for "guarding Assange" (assuming there was never any officers detailed to ever guard the Ecuadorean consulate, an assumption that put us in breach of the Vienna Convention) of £577,500. Oh dear, we're a bit short of the mythical £10m! I know, let's be generous and assume those three coppers require a chunk of the annual £4.1bn budget for the Met on top of their "street cost". So, three officers from a force of 32,000 (rounded up), that's 0.009375%, so let's assign 0.009375% of the Met budget.... Oh, that's only £384,375 per year. Hmmmmm. I know! Let's assume each officer actually did an eight hour shift, so that would actually require nine officers over a twenty-four hour period, and then six of those officers got double-time as overtime! But, even then I can only stretch it to £1.9m. More than a few million short. Indeed, I could feed those nine officers caviar daily and stick them in the Waldorf Astoria and not get to the "£10m" figure.
In short, the figure for "guarding Assange" cannot be £10m, not even with the cost of the occasional dozen-odd coppers added for the infrequent demos. I can only assume it has been reached by lumping in court costs, diplomatic costs, the odd unicorn horn, a large dose of political opportunism and a dash of media sensationalism.
@Ian Michael Gumby; Indeed. For jumping bail he is again a criminal. If, that is, he can ever be said to have freed himself from the designer labelette, criminal that he earned himself when he was convicted on 17 accounts, by a misguided Australian judge who felt his tuff life had to be taken into account... ...for hacking an Australian police system, in particular the one investigating his illegal activities, and for hacking a Pentagon air force system, among many other targets. IMNSVHO this man needs not so much the book flung at him, but to have it dropped upon him. All the while it has to be remembered that early offending predicts later offending; Julie has not by a long chalk finished, and he like many other offenders will characterise himself as behaving completely legitimately. I've seen it so many times, in so many different kinds of offender.
Of course the children in here will disagree and downvote, these things being to me an accolade and so, in advance of the activities of zit faced children I bow and say once again I thank you
That's the queue to collect their overtime cheque from the heavily guarded paddy wagon just off picture. They each do an hour extra so they can claim a full shift. As a cost saving measure the paddy wagon doubles up as the tea van which is where most of them spend their extra hour before signing off and going home.
Re: He's obviously dangerous
>I see you are or were a cop at some point.
Me? No, though as a soldier I did work with a certain police force in the line of duty. After that I found myself drawn with what now seems inevitability to a professional forensic/legal perspective on life. It's safer you see!
BTW, it just occurred to me that Julie is indeed dangerous; the amount of bravo sierra dripping from his mouth constitutes a cholera threat.
"That certainly should be a crime."
Rubbish. What if the condom breaks (as per one case for Assange)? or comes off? Utterly unenforceable.
"However, I think you have slightly misremembered the details."
Nope - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1336291/Wikileaks-Julian-Assanges-2-night-stands-spark-worldwide-hunt.html
"What Assange was charged with in Sweden was not rape."
He has not been charged at all. An arrest warrant has been issued so he can be questioned in relation to alleged sexual offences. Like every other suspect there is due process to follow, and if it is as "trivial" as you claim, then he would either be free now, or would have finished any custodial sentence.
But neither of those would serve this publicity seeking vermin. Wikileaks as a concept is vital to open government and business. Assange is not helping their cause
He WOULD be free now, and yes the charges are that trivial. But once he's on Swedish soil, and he's free, they can do whatever they want to him. And that includes extraditing him to the United States, where he could conceivably receive the death penalty as a co-conspirator to a traitor.
"He WOULD be free now, and yes the charges are that trivial. But once he's on Swedish soil, and he's free, they can do whatever they want to him. And that includes extraditing him to the United States, where he could conceivably receive the death penalty as a co-conspirator to a traitor."
And this is patently false.
He goes to Sweden. Faces the music. They charge him and there's a trial, if found not guilty, he's sent back to the UK to face charges. Then he's put on a plane back to Australia. That's his future travel plans.
Unless of course the UK waives the right to try him for jumping bail, then Sweden sends him back to Australia.
In Australia... that's where you can bet the fun to begin.
As to the US. Sorry, the fantasy of facing a death penalty is not real. Manning faced far more serious charges in a military court and the death penalty was off the table. At worst, Assange faces a long time in prison if your fantasy holds true.
"He has not been charged at all. An arrest warrant has been issued so he can be questioned in relation to alleged sexual offences. "
And again... this is incorrect.
He was about to be called in for formal questioning and then to be charged. (That's their procedure) But with the help of his lawyer, he fled the country. So they need to bring him in for 'questioning' so that they can charge him. And that's actually on the record as part of his appeals hearing. They do intend to charge him but they need to bring him in for questioning.
Nope. Our St Julian is not accused of having sex without a condom. He's accused of having sex without permission. Having sex without someone's consent is generally known as rape. And that was what the High Court judged two of the charges to be.
The second was that he had sex with woman no. 2 without a condom, then when she was asleep had another go, without, even though he knew she'd said no sex no condom. Obviously less serious than using violence, but even under English law that apparently still meets the definition of rape.
The first accusation is more definitive though. Against wonman no. 1, when told no nookie without condom he's accused of trying to force himself on her. Not with violence, but by using his larger size - until she'd resisted for a bit, then he stopped and put on the condom. I think that's the one where he's alleged to have deliberately damaged it - but a quick Google seems to show the nasty courts have gone and move the links to their PDF judgements, and I couldn't be bothered to check further. Anyway forcing yourself on someone physically is definitely rape. By anyone's definition.
Whether he's guilty is a matter for the Swedish courts. Where he should fuck off to, and defend himself, if the allegations are as ludicrous as he claims.
Quote: "even under English law that apparently still meets the definition of rape."
I read somewhere recently, that as far as the courts are concerned, you now need to fill out a form in triplicate, get that witnessed by a 3rd party, file it with a lawyer, and only THEN can you safely assume she meant "yes".
Assange was alleged by the European Arrest Warrant to have committed four offences, one of which was rape. Assange contended (among other things) his High Court appeal that "the offence as described in the EAW was not "rape"; if it had been fairly or accurately described in the EAW, it still would not have disclosed the offence of "rape"." The High Court disagreed with him.
".....The charge was for not using a condom when the girls thought he was. That's some sort of crime there apparently!" Every thread on Assange and the same long-debunked rubbish gets rebleated by The Followers of St Jules! Twice it was ruled in an English court that what Assange is accused of would be rape under English law (http://www.newstatesman.com/david-allen-green/2012/08/legal-myths-about-assange-extradition).
"Twice it was ruled in an English court that what Assange is accused of would be rape under English law (http://www.newstatesman.com/david-allen-green/2012/08/legal-myths-about-assange-extradition)."
Indeed. Just as, inch by inch, this man's unsavoury character has been exposed in so many ways. For example, when I (accurately/correctly) called him a convicted criminal some twonk jumped up and down, performed the typographical equivalent to a rant. I produced the proof, but neither apology nor retraction resulted, though I don't mind; I'd rather these creatures expose themselves for the gullible fools they are, treating him as though he were some kind of messianic Neo, whilst being unable to back down when called out.
As to the rest of the truth, it is much like playing whack-a-mole. Deal with one untruth and another pops up and is treated as a truth. He placed the lives of Afghan informants at risk, right down to their GPS positions. His interesting behaviour towards women is on public record, starting with the way he ousted a journalist from his relationship, then throwing up his fists in mock pugilistic manner. If this reminds me of anyone, it has to be Max Clifford just prior to sentencing, behaving in a similarly eccentric manner. On a news report, no less.
I believe he's said that the things he did were not criminal. I may try to splice his words together in one long text. Just to help him on his way.
Anyhow, Assange is now a criminal again, for he has skipped bail. He fled Sweden almost as soon as his legal counsel discovered that he was to be arrested following interview at a police station, though some seem to think that the Swedish CJS should interview suspects they wish to arrest by video link, or in a British police station. Clueless.
In all Assange has developed a very interesting criminal profile. For skipping bail he should do bird. Then he can go to Sweden, where I am convinced he will do bird again. This man has already destroyed his public persona, and it would seem that he is teetering on the brink of going further down. The Ecuadorian government must be very ticked off with their last ambassador.
"What Assange was charged with in Sweden was not rape. The sex was consensual. The charge was for not using a condom when the girls thought he was. That's some sort of crime there apparently!"
While I doubt many will read this...
Assange is charged for non-consensual sex. And that is by definition RAPE.
She consented to sex, iff (if and only if) he wore a raincoat.
He didn't wear a raincoat. Thus it became rape.
This guy just needs to face up to the charges... If he is innocent then he will be fine and the Swedish police / courts will let him go free.
Of course he is now guilty or breaking his bail terms and will (or at least should) spend time in a uk prison. I also think he should be made to repay all of the costs we have incurred to date.
Except it's not a siege is it? It's a criminal (became criminal under British law when he skipped bail in contempt of court) trying to get attention and evade justice.
Let's say in the USA some Mexican (or other foreign national) guy in the international news and spotlight accused of any crime (whatever) decided to abuse American hospitality by slagging the country and it's laws off to the press before holing up in the Cuban embassy in the capital, and whining how it's unfair that he should be interviewed for crimes he said he didn't commit. Would local and federal police just say 'sorry dude you're free to hold our courts and democratic rule of law in contempt because you don't want to talk to the policeman'?
You may have heard of this Magna Carta pamphlet people get excited about. It's 800 years old. Amidst lots of curly script, handwritten and delivered by horse to the corners of the nation, it held establish the supremacy of the courts over even the king. It fails to exempt Australian egotists - probably being pre-Australia they didn't think ahead. Either way, he's not exempt from the rule of law.
While its a nice analogy... do I need to tell you that Cuba doesn't have an embassy in the US?
(Unless you talk about the UN ambassador.)
Had Assange not been granted bail, this wouldn't be an issue.
Had he been smart, he could have dyed his hair, use false papers to get out of the country to France, jump a ship leaving Europe and then hop a flight to Ecuador. He would have had plenty of time to get papers ready and in place.
That would have been the smart move.
@Gumby, deliberate, Cuba thing. Point was to show hypothetically that the US would react similarly in similar circumstances - hence picking other countries, other crimes.
Releasing him was an error, but he had a lot of people vouch that he wasn't a danger to others or a flight risk, and we're sensitive about imprisoning 'journalists' (giving then greater platform)
OK, couple of downvotes, whatever, but I'm not sure which bit you're disagreeing with, exactly, in this post? You think America would do it differently? That we're not squeamish about imprisoning 'journalists'? You think he was a dangerous flight risk? Shouldn't have been bailed? That I shouldn't use single quotes referring to him as a 'journalist'?
Just interested if you have a debatable point as opposed to a button-click.
@Cliff; it was at the time said that releasing him on bail would be an error, since he was an absconding risk, and Julie has proved this fulsomely. Just as he proved the judge who convicted him on 17 counts in Australia was naive and let him go with a smack on the wrist, whilst telling him a repeat offence would result in incarceration. Julie took this to heart, and that is why Manning is inside, e.g.. Mind you... ...much could be said about that situation, including the folly of those tits who put their passwords on post it notes, stuck to their monitors.
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"Costs? He didn't ask for the siege."
Uhm. He was out on bail and jumped bail.
The UK government which granted him bail is responsible for him and by law is required to do what they can to honor their end of the treaty.
In short. He jumped bail, UK is honor bound to do what it can to capture him.
(And to deter others from being this stupid.)
He also had a concern that justice would be served correctly.
And that, in a nutshell, is the problem. This guy has tried to rig the system in every way possible, and then complained loudly that it was unfair that he was not allowed to do what any of us would have had to face a court for. This would be over in a flash if he manned up, but I suspect that is the real problem: the unrolling of this could show his bleating about secret plots to extradite him were as groundless as most have already shown them to be.
The moment his resolves, Assange will sink into obscurity - that's why he is clinging on for all its worth. He's not a hero, he's just addicted to attention.
As for the charges in Sweden, that too only resolves when he gets shipped over there - we simply don't know for sure what happened there as we have only really heard one side of the story and many biased variants thereof. The one story yet officially untold is that of the girls themselves (as in: told in court under oath). If St Jules has left them with a little present in the form of an STD that needed treatment (which one could postulate as a real risk given his apparent aversion to protection), I suspect that St Assange would certainly lose both the "Saint" glow and his ™ in one go.
I do agree that the costs are stupidly high, but we have a legal system that imposes some obligations on the government. For them not to do what they are obliged to do under such an amount of press scrutiny would be silly. You could wonder if this was not a cost to be billed to Ecuador for allowing a fugitive to abuse the concept of asylum to avoid justice.
>You could wonder if this was not a cost to be billed to Ecuador for allowing a fugitive to abuse the concept of asylum to avoid justice.
Ok, so what is asylum for ? How does a state persecute somebody ? Right, by enforcing specific laws. Seriously, I think he has been trapped. The US want him and they will get him; the UK only has to honour the agreement with Sweden to extradite him. Sweden will investigate the allegations and the Swedish courts will most likely let him go free after he pays a ransom/pribe ... then the NSA/CIA/FBI/whatever will fly him to Guantanamo bay, for special waterboarding-style treatment.
@ Hans 1; the US could have lifted him more easily from here than from Sweden, EAW excepted; note also that the EAW cannot be used to place a suspect in a jurisdiction from which a hostile power can easily lift him, further down the road.
Julie fled Sweden just after his counsel had been advised by the police they intended to interview him prior to charging him, for which his bar association said they would be interviewing him. He came here, which was pretty much like putting his head in the lions' mouth - on your analysis - except that we not only followed the letter and the spirit of the law, but we against common sense gave this absconder bail. Naturally he again absconded, as his behavioural history indicates he would.
Since his conviction on 17 counts in Australia he has gone from criminal strength to criminal strength. That he would be easier to lift from the UK than he would from Sweden is worse than disingenuous; he actually wanted to gain Swedish citizenship prior to this imbroglio (inconsistent with the US/rendition argument), because he felt them to be safer and more liberal, and ISTR that Wikileaks still has a server in an under ground bunker in that country!
Now that he is wanted for rape he feels they have banana republic levels of justice. Soon if convicted he will complain bitterly that he was not given justice; historically this is true, because an Australian judge let him off lightly and fed him the idea that he could stay out of jail if he played his cards carefully.
This man's speech is both glib and full of contradictions. He repeatedly applies failed strategies in the same domain and across others. When I read of his callous attitude to the Afghan informants whose precise GPS data he'd released (they knew what they'd gotten themselves into) and, later, that he 'snatched' a journalist's woman friend from him, practically under his nose, stopping, turning and then adopting a pugilistic stance as he made his way down the road with her, I realised that all was probably not as it should be in this paragon of virtue, this self appointed guardian of peace and freedom, this over paid (by himself) empire builder, this man who pulled out of a contract with a publisher and refused to return the considerable advance they'd made him, later jumping bail at the expense of those people who put up his bail, some supposedly his friends.
Hah. I am still amazed that people cannot see this (IMNSVHO) insect for what it is.
>Costs? He didn't ask for the siege.
Oh but he did; he fled/broke bail (costing his friends a lot of money it should be observed) and then went to the Ecuadorian embassy, that bastion of freedom of the press which returned someone to Belarus, itself run by a Kleptocrat as vile and as dangerous as Putin.
" Re: idiot
Costs? He didn't ask for the siege."
Yes he did, that is why he is in the embassy; he thought/thinks he can outlast the expected siege. The siege and his thinking about it is predicated in his act of seeking shelter, he by definition a criminal on the run (he broke bail in order to reach the embassy). The act of seeking shelter - by a criminal with a conviction on 17 counts in his home country - makes no sense, unless he was evading arrest and thus the cordon that would be thrown around the embassy. This situation makes no sense otherwise. It is the latest act of a desperate man.
He absconded for the second time. He has again broken the law. As to cost, much of it is defrayed within the budget for the Ecuadoran embassy, itself contained within the diplomatic budget. This has already been explained as I'm sure you know. The poster used data cited by that paragon of political correctness, The Guardian. Impeccable, shorely.
However, Assange has broken UK law by jumping bail. He is a criminal with a high profile and a penchant for NATO secrets. Expecting anything less than the current situation is naive or disingenuous. To say the least.
Err... There is just no way in hell that the government would have spent that amount of money if Joe Average Cittizen broke bail on an offence of the type he has been accused of. In fact, the amount of spending goes to show that the intentions of the governments involved in the case do not match the declared ones.
You'd be surprised at how much effort the old bill will go to to pick up someone for breach of court bail, because that's the specific offence that he's committing.
Most people, however, don't hole up in an embassy. Everyone else gets picked up because their mum is fed up of coppers turning up at 4am asking if little Johnny has come home yet, and would she mind terribly asking him to pop along to his local nick next time she sees him?
Assange is going to get nicked, and the old bill are going to sit there until he comes out, because nobody, but nobody, gets to breach their bail in such a public manner and walk away with it. It's the authority of the courts (the Supreme Court, in this matter) that's being flouted and they don't like it.
"Everyone else gets picked up because their mum is fed up of coppers turning up at 4am asking if little Johnny has come home yet, and would she mind terribly asking him to pop along to his local nick next time she sees him?"
Yes, but in your hypothetical case, they didn't put hundreds of officers in a cordon around mum's apartment building, eh?
Seriously, not knowing the details, I'll assume two doors to the embassy office, plus a fire escape.
Two officers at each, three shifts, 18 officers needed. add a temp crew of two on each shift to relieve them in shifts for lunch, breaks, etc, total of twenty four.
Hundreds of officers surrounding the whole office complex is overkill.
".....they didn't put hundreds of officers in a cordon around mum's apartment building, eh?....." They don't on a daily basis for Assange either. The picture used is of the additional demonstration policing rolled out for when The Followers of St Jules turn out for one of his infrequent rants, not the daily policing. Gosh, a jer-nah-lest deliberately choosing a misleading picture, how unusual - not!
>>"Gosh, a jer-nah-lest deliberately choosing a misleading picture, how unusual - not!"
This is also a website that uses pictures of models to illustrate Google's latest privacy action - I don't think anyone regards the photos on El Reg. as authoritative. So let me instead ask you if you think the £10 million figure is misleading or made up? That's more to the point when discussing the disproportionate expense than a photo, isn't it?
"......So let me instead ask you if you think the £10 million figure is misleading or made up?......" Not made up, just carefully calculated and presented in a sensationalist and misleading way. There would always have been a cost to policing the Ecuadorean consulate whether Assange was hiding in there or not. The total bill for full-time uniformed Police pay (so not including admin staff, part-timers and before overtime) for 2014/2015 for Metropolitan London is £1.7bn from a total Met budget of £4.1bn (https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/DMPCD%202014%20121%20MOPAC%20Budget%20Monitoring%20and%20Budget%20%26%20Reserves%20Movements%20-%20Period%205_2.pdf), so the cost of "guarding Assange" is trivial even if you don't consider that most of that cost would have been spent by the Diplomatic Protection Group as guarding the Ecuadorean Consulate anyway. Depending on how you want to crunch the sums, the average London copper costs £77k per year to have on the street (http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/dec/22/police-warning-job-cuts-austerity-labour-officers), so the figure over several years of £10m isn't much of a surprise to those of us that actually did our homework. It's just another soundbites for The Followers to rebleat unquestioningly.
Actually, yes. That and contempt of court by jumping bail. He was free to live as a free man pending going to Sweden on rape charges, indeed he was talking self-aggrandising smack talk freely to the cameras right up until the time he abused British justice and hospitality.
He's perfectly at liberty to leave the embassy, to do time for the extremely serious crimes around contempt before being back in the position he was in many years before, talking bollocks to the cameras.
I used to have sympathy, but we've seen far braver, less weaselly whistleblowers (Manning, Snowden) making Assange apparent as the megalomaniac paranoid attention seeker he is. HE broke Wikileaks credibility with his silly games, not the British courts or police who are upholding the law
>>"Actually, yes. That and contempt of court by jumping bail"
Something thousands do without any such level of expenditure on them by the government. Ergo, there is a different reason at play here. You cannot be so set upon blaming Assange that you refuse to acknowledge this.
>>"I used to have sympathy, but we've seen far braver, less weaselly whistleblowers (Manning, Snowden) making Assange apparent as the megalomaniac paranoid attention seeker he is"
One spending the next thirty-five years of her life in prison and the other exiled to Russia and quite probably never able to leave. Yes, trying to avoid these fates makes someone a "megalomaniac paranoid attention seeker", of course! Heaven forbid we entertain the idea of someone embarrassing the US government and get away with it. Only Hollywood-level sacrifices are worth dignifying. If someone wants to do something without being willing to die for it, well what kind of lame excuse for an activist is that?!!??
"As I said and which you have now agreed with - it's not about right or wrong, but about government embarrassment."
No... It's that normally, when skipping bail, criminals (Assange is now a criminal for breaching bail conditions) tend not to advertise their location on the nightly news. If they did, I suspect plod would pop along to have a chat as well.
>>"No... It's that normally, when skipping bail, criminals (Assange is now a criminal for breaching bail conditions) tend not to advertise their location on the nightly news. If they did, I suspect plod would pop along to have a chat as well."
You can literally go to the station sometimes and in some places and tell them exactly where the person who threatened you is and they wont go round there. The police are simply too busy to chase everyone down. You can call the police and they have your exact location and it will still take them forever to get there half the time. But if someone is embarrassing them or the Americans on TV, then - as you continue to agree with me - it's suddenly worth £10m quid to follow them around. It is utterly absurd to continue trying to say that this level of resource would be applied to other people and that it's not because it's someone who has publically embarrassed governments.
>You can literally go to the station sometimes and in some places and tell them exactly where the person who threatened you is and they wont go round there.
This is both weak and disingenuous, to say nothing of the non sequitur nature of your argument . This man is wanted on an EAW by another government in the EU, and that makes him an important fugitive; the EAW was issued merely because Assange absconded, and we allowed him to replicate this behaviour (not very bright at all) thus the EAW has quite a priority attached to it, especially in view of the celebrity status of the wanted individual (who now plays to the gallery from a balcony in Knightsbridge, presumably looking for a Romeo to rescue him) which, it should be noted, would result in a considerable amount of public ire and press condemnation in the event that the police and appropriate ministers did not pay good attention to arresting someone who is already an international absconder and has now absconded within our own jurisdiction, a man it should be noted who has possession of the state secrets of many countries and it would seem NATO secrets.
If you really do believe this stuff and are not behaving disingenuously then you would seem to me to be exceptionally naive or not very bright. Unless of course you are taking the micturition, which I suspect you are. HTH.
 That is, it does not follow from your argumenta, which have no bearing on the current case. Indeed were the legal system to accept your playground reasoning then many other offenders would be left free to roam the streets, but your reasoning is not fashionable in legal circles and, whilst many offenders are indeed roaming the streets freely - e.g. terrorists back from lopping heads in Aleppo, no longer held by the FSA - many others bemoan their bad luck, as their warders tuck them up at night. Should you find this hard to take I suggest that you are probably in for a hard life, with many shocks.
"No... It's that normally, when skipping bail, criminals (Assange is now a criminal for breaching bail conditions) tend not to advertise their location on the nightly news. If they did, I suspect plod would pop along to have a chat as well."
Wow, spot on. Had truly never thought of it like that, but a tres bon argument.
@h4rm0ny Re: Budget Leaks
>>>"Have they done it on national television?"
>As I said and which you have now agreed with - it's not about right or wrong, but about government embarrassment.
Another non sequitur. It does not follow from the publicity attached to the case that the government is embarrassed. Indeed, they have nothing to feel embarrassed about; the man absconded from Sweden and then, later, a member of the judiciary - that is to say, a component of the executive in the face of good practise where giving bail to a known absconder (convicted on 17 counts in his own country) was considerably inadvisable did precisely that.
Do note at this point that it is an exemplary feature of western democratic government that the legislature (that's the gummint and the executive (they be people like the judiciary, the police, the fire brigade, social workers, probation and prison officers) are separated. This means that the gummint can't take exception to Julie and have him arrested and deported without due process. You see how this works? Even if they want to there is that little thing called the human rights act, and the ECHR - which, you should remember, enforces the EAW mechanism - and associated bureaucracies, national and EU wide, would take action against the Briddish gummint!
You see how that works? Sweden issues EAW to recover absconder, absconder who is now in the UK is given bail by an over liberal and forgiving judge, Julie absconds again! The mechanism that was invoked remains in action and this man, wanted for a serious offence in the country from which he formerly wanted citizenship so that he could escape the big bad Merkin Gummint,
OK, commit a crime or at least get yourself accused. Skip bail. When the police catch up with you, you get detained. They don't say 'oh well skipped, you're free because gosh you're right nobody would want to go to prison', you're detained. It's not about the crime you were accused of, it's the crime you committed by skipping bail. Try it for yourself by all means, skipping bail is contempt.
The police know where the criminal is, they have NO OPTION thanks to it being an embassy than to wait it out. They can't just say 'oh maybe your rape allegation is flawed, we'll let you go', they have a criminal contained and will take him into detention plus whatever the punishment is set at for his blatant contempt of due process.
" Try it for yourself by all means, skipping bail is contempt."
One local miscreant repeatedly broke his bail conditions.
The police would eventually show up and arrest him, then release him, at which point he'd do it again.
The judges involved simply issued fines (never paid) and said "don't do it again" - which was ignored.
There's definitely a double standard involved.
It's hard to find stats about bail jumping and I hate to use the Fail as a source, BUT
One must ask why his rather mundane bail jumping experience (relatively speaking) attracts so much official attention,
Media coverage, fear of embarrassament ? Surely not.
Fact is, Assange's case is a political football, just like Snowdren's. He will remain this way for a long, long time. The longer the bobbies stand outside, the longer he stays in the limelight and the longer we remember why.
Blighty has haemorrhaged A$19.6 million (£10 million, US$15.3 million) for its security detail to guard platinum-topped Wikileaks boss Julian Assange
Not only are they keeping him from leaving, they're also keeping him safe from terrorists. I suppose the government ought to sue him for half the cost. It would be a shame if something happened to his nice couch.
I feel sorry for the people in the embassy having to put up with what's probably a major PITA for all concerned.
Assange is behaving like a spoilt child, the government are behaving like gorillas, what a waste of time no matter how you look at it. There's nothing adult about any of this..
If the Ecuadorians were to all go on holiday for 2 days.........we must just be able to end this stupid affair. Send in the SAS, put the twit on a plane to Sweden and let the Swedes deal with him as they see fit. If the yanks get involved then that is his problem, it shouldn't be a British or Ecuadorian problem.
Won't be the SAS it will be the CIA's secret rendition team that grab him, They have been posing as UK police outside the embassy for some time waiting for their chance, this gives the advantage of the UK covering most manpower costs.
Almost ready to introduce a sleeping agent into the embassies water supply then they will make their move and Assange will wake up in the CIA's black site. Likely located in whichever middle east dictator is flavour of the month's back yard.
If the Ecuadorians were to all go on holiday for 2 days.........we must just be able to end this stupid affair. Send in the SAS, put the twit on a plane to Sweden and let the Swedes deal with him as they see fit. If the yanks get involved then that is his problem, it shouldn't be a British or Ecuadorian problem.
No - the government handled correctly here and they cannot act in any other way, even if that would be more convenient for a few parties. I agree that there is a question if they simply did that because of the press scrutiny, but it cannot be argued that this process has not been by the book from day 1 - it is Assange's actions that caused the mess (as usual, I may add), followed by an Ecuadorian decision they must be regretting every day since they made it. I kinda feel sorry for them, but only for a bit because (a) it was their own choice and (b) they can undo that decision any time given that the asylum process is not really for protecting criminals from the consequences of their actions - I'd call it an annual administrative review, find the conditions do not meet criteria and boot his ass out of the door.
What UK gov can NOT do is allow any cowboy operators to take the law into their own hands. The whole situation started because someone tried to pretend the law didn't apply to them, and when reality hit he then fled in panic into the arms of an embassy mate. Having said that, I estimate the chance of any US originated action pretty close to zero because the last thing they want is to somehow give Assange the chance to be a martyr. Leaving him alone was the smartest thing they have done IMHO.
> I estimate the chance of any US originated action pretty close to zero because the last thing they want is to somehow give Assange the chance to be a martyr. Leaving him alone was the smartest thing they have done IMHO.
Indeed. I would be enjoying the show, or at least watching the highlights. This will one way or another come to an end. Julie already has health problems, which he failed to turn to his advantage, and there will be more. If I can spare the time I intend to be around when he comes through the front door, to film him in HD and put the result online. That is, in the event that it is scheduled in any predictable manner.
"No - the government handled correctly here and they cannot act in any other way". You're new around aren't you? Have you ever heard of extraordinary rendition? ie some people are above the law.
"Leaving him alone was the smartest thing they have done." No, it was the only thing they could have done due to the media spotlight.
As the government ethics officer says, "it's only illegal if you get caught...[and even then it doesn't matter]."
... that if we could pull off a FOI request here in 'murka, that we'd find a budget line item hidden somewhere in our foreign aid disbursements paying for those London plods. And another budget item covering the squad of CIA agents at Heathrow in case Assange does make it to the airport.
The best possible outcome for both governments is that the Ecuadorian staff has Assange on a rich diet and he'll keel over from cardiac arrest (or it will appear that way).
If plod seriously have spent that much on him someone needs to be fired for negligence. Methinks they've probably got a few bobbies on the beat on round the clock with maybe some CCTV backup exclusively assigned to him, and there's a crack London Rapid Response Team that would be on standby anyway being charged to the Assange case in hopes the government can be swicked into footing the bill for it.
So what you're saying is that justice should only be served up to a specific cost level? if so GTA becomes real:
I can run someone over in my car and as long as it costs more than £xxx i am free to go? should beating someone up cost more or less £? what about breaking into someones house, cheap or expensive? i am sure it would be easy to make it cost "too much" and be forgotten...
I live in the UK and have had to deal with the police several times and agree that they don't do much when it is a "someone broke into my house" claim.
If however i said "someone broke into my house, his name is Julian, he lives at this address and here is the video evidence clearly showing him in the act" i am pretty sure it would be a different matter...
The ONLY reason this has dragged on is because he is in an embassy. If it was any other property the door would have been smashed to pieces in a dawn raid and he would have been arrested there and then.
The guy is just a coward who will not face up to the accusations against him.
i can only disrepair of the future my kids will grow-up with in this country if this is the attitude of the "people" - ohhh no, it's too expensive and too hard, lets get back to doing nothing
'cos then anyone with an inconvenient person in a British embassy on their territory would have justification (in their opinion) to do the same.
Screwing around with other countries' embassies sets a dangerous precedent, if they don't force entry when the occupants start taking pot shots at police officers (see Yvonne Fletcher), they're not going to do it to put a stop to Assange's couch surfing.
"Out of interest, do we have anyone in our embassies we shouldn't?"
Maybe not embassies but we did keep a dodgy South American bloke in his plane at Northolt for some time.
Mind you, that was more down to the public demanding to know why the little shit was here in the first place. Heavy demands for his arrest while the goverment did a Spike Milligan impresssion:
"What are we going to do now?, what are we going to do now?"
short answer: "Depends who you ask."
According to at least one source, Ecuador’s position is that Julian Assange is a victim of political persecution, and is being protected under the Caracas Convention on Diplomatic Asylum. This is not recognised under international law, so their position seems strange. (The Convention itself is somewhat limited in that it only seems to have South American countries as signatories. I'm sure no-one of note was hiding in South America in the 50s and 60s.). In addition he has to be under threat to life for it to apply in all ways, which cannot be seriously suggested for his extradition to Sweden.
If what he wants is a Swedish guarantee that he will not be extradited to the US, then that is between him and the Swedish government, not a matter for the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
The right of Sancturary in embassies seems to be pretty much generally recognised in South America. It's not in the Vienna Conventions, which everybody is signed up to, but I believe a few other countries also go along with it. We don't. UK embassy practise is apparently to try and shuffle people out the door again as fast as you can, before there's an international incident. Embassies are there to keep diplomatic relations between governments, and this sort of thing can seriously interfere with that important role.
However in South America there seems to be some tradition that if you get overthrown in a coup, you run out the back door of the Presidential Palace, and head straight for a friendly embassy. You then get besieged there for a few days/weeks, and when the new government is feeling confident they do a deal, and you get shipped off into exile.
Obviously it would be stupid to breach the Vienna Conventions by going in there, and putting all our embassies at increased risk of the same happening to them sometime.
There is an argument that Ecuador are also in breach of those conventions, but there's no world court to rule on this, so it all comes down to negotiation. I'd imagine their diplomats are sick of the situation, but they don't want to back down. The police cost doesn't come out of the Foreign Office's budget, so they can just sit there and ignore the problem. It would be a stupid precedent to set that we'll let people get away with it, just because they've run through an embassy's door, and so we all sit around until Ecuador or Assange get bored.
Although I do think we should cut off their Ferero Rocher rations...
How will you do it 24x365? You'd need at least 5 people (full-time equivalents).
Of course, the costs are inflated to suit someone's purposes by quoting gross figures (including NI, pensions, someone to manage them and other staff costs; probably at least double what anyone gets in their pay packet) - and however many coppers are employed on this activity, it's not as though they'd all be out of work if Assange came out with his hands up.
Believe it or not, but the going rate for an armed bodyguard in London is in the 700 GBP/day range. Note: that is "man licensed and knowledgeable on how to carry and use a gun", not "man with in depth counter surveillance and protective detail experttise", they're a lot more expensive but you wouldn't waste them standing on guard. Get 3 of those with a 4th in rotation, and you (a) save loads of money and (b) give some decent employ to former force members (who otherwise get treated rather shabbily when having to return to civilian life and re-integrate).
That's a quarter of the cost, same coverage. And they have better aim in case he tries to bail too.
Win, win, win..
Is it legal to be an armed bodyguard in London? How does one go about being legally allowed to go armed in London?
Yes it is, but you can't just walk into a police station and announce you want to have a license. I'm not sure what the actual demands are, but I do know for the bodyguard part you need either a form of certification or course, and a clear criminal record (for fairly obvious reasons). To carry weapons as well requires you to demonstrate competence in that area and evidence that you can do so safely, competently and sanely (not everything warrants the use of a weapon).
I must apologise for the vagueness of my answer, I do deal with these people but I use a trusted company that handles all the hiring and organises the required clearances so I never really had cause to dive into the specifics.
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Whatever the rights and wrongs and the details, the Met Commissioner should be sacked over this. We are constantly told that money is tight, policing is all a matter of priorities etc, which is why they never investigate burglaries unless the burglar was kind enough to live a business card with photo and address. If money is so tight, then pissing £10 million up the wall on this shows that the Met Commissioner is totally unable to prioritise - and if he gets this so badly wrong what else does he get wrong.
Pull the cops and shove a cctv camera on the door!
Have any additional staff been recruited because of this? Or is it simply that expenditure of £10M, which would have been spent anyway, has been directed into this exercise?
You may say I'm splitting hairs. But remember that the Government said that Thatcher's funeral did NOT cost millions - did not cost anything - because all the police and armed services personnel who were involved were already employed anyway, and would of course have been paid no matter what they were doing.
- enemy of the state: costs us a fortune
- enemy of the people: costs us nothing.
The reason for quoting this cost is that the officers can't do anything else while waiting for Assange to come out.
The coppers and equipment would have been employed and the money spent either way, but it could have been used in other, more useful ways.
- walking the beat, responding to calls etc.
Instead the officers are standing around watching a door, hoping he'll come out and they can arrest him, pass him on to the Swedes or the courts and get back to doing something else.
There's no choice though. As a country we simply cannot allow anyone to abscond bail.
The difference here is that he convinced another sovereign state to let him sleep on their couch.
They probably wouldn't do that for me, but apparently he's quite persuasive.
Eventually they'll decide he can't stay anymore and that will be that. He'll be taken to Sweden, face the police there, perhaps be tried, be convicted or cleared and when that's over, he'll be deported back to the UK to serve his sentence for absconding.
At that point it would be trivial for another interested country to request the dubious pleasure of his company.
If his claims of US involvement are true, then absconding was the stupidest thing he could have done, other than flying to the USA and knocking on the door of the Pentagon.
I reckon the Ecuadorian embassy staff got sick of him, and strangled him about 6 months ago. Now they have to keep the pretence up forever, lest they end up doing a stretch for murder. So they just put out the odd looney press statement, hold a mop and a blue shirt up near the windows occasionally, and keep ordering in extra pizza and the odd exercise machine.
Weekend at Bernie's style - wheeling him up to the window once in a while to make it look like he's still there??
If it's just watching then surely "SecurityRus" are cable of placing some cheap labour outside the door for a lot less. Give them a paygo mobile and tell them to ring 999 if he pops his head out of the door.
It seems like all this is based on the assumption that he's still there and hasn't been sneaked out in a diplomatic package (which the plod wouldn't be able to open - and they can be any size http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diplomatic_bag)
I'm waiting for the picture of him sunning himself in Ecuador to surface after 10 years of them keeping watch
"It seems like all this is based on the assumption that he's still there and hasn't been sneaked out in a diplomatic package (which the plod wouldn't be able to open - and they can be any size http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diplomatic_bag)"
If they tried that could cause a bit of a ruckus. For example, from that Wikipedia article:
"It may only contain articles intended for official use"
If there's a suspiciously human-sized diplomatic bag come out of the embassy, the UK government would have reasonable suspicion that Ecuador were violating the Vienna Convention by using diplomatic cover to break UK law, not a good thing to do. The government just says "no problem, we'll just seal this bag shut, nice and airtight, and wait a few days, then you can have it back. Unless you'd like to tell us that there's someone inside?"
<quote>"It seems like all this is based on the assumption that he's still there and hasn't been sneaked out in a diplomatic package (which the plod wouldn't be able to open - and they can be any size http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diplomatic_bag)"
If they tried that could cause a bit of a ruckus. For example, from that Wikipedia article:
"It may only contain articles intended for official use"
If there's a suspiciously human-sized diplomatic bag come out of the embassy, the UK government would have reasonable suspicion that Ecuador were violating the Vienna Convention by using diplomatic cover to break UK law, not a good thing to do. The government just says "no problem, we'll just seal this bag shut, nice and airtight, and wait a few days, then you can have it back. Unless you'd like to tell us that there's someone inside?"</quote>
Ego shipped separately.
The building does have four sides and an awful lot of balconies. Plus a lot of people coming and going at once, so you can see how it would impossible for one or two police officers to do it.
If he did what he did in Sweden, then, he deserves to face his accusers in court, but, he is right. Whether he is found guilty or not, he will eventually end up in Gitmo or some other shady place. Sweden, a country I once admired for what I assumed was its independent world views, will handover Assange to 'merica the first chance they get. What makes this more suspicious, from the info I have, is that the Swedes have never thought of atleast having a formal discussion in the Ecuador Embassy, and if they have no other secret agenda, they would have atleast created an EU Recognized working Treaty to stick to the charges and ensure that he only faces his rape charges and nothing more. This makes the Swedish government look like they are up to no good.