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back to article Assange: 'Ecuadorian embassy staff are like my family'

Julian Assange has said that the folks at the Ecuadorian embassy in London he currently calls home are like a family to him and he gets lots of visits from very silly people celebrity supporters. You know the old saying: you can choose your friends but clearly you can't choose which types your embassy will offer safe harbour to …

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Mushroom

The longer he stays a fugitive from Sweden the longer the US have time to trump up a case against him.

If he'd gone to Sweden a year ago he'd probably have cleared his name by now and we'd all have forgotten about him. But that's not what he wants. He wants to keep his name in the papers, he wants to become a Martyr and be remembered forever.

He doesn't really care about the leaks, they're just a means to and end in the publicity stakes.

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Devil

The longer he stays a fugitive from Sweden the longer the US have time to trump up a case against him.

Obama wants Assange's ass and he's going to get it and mount it on the wall of the Oval Office.

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Good, I hope its soon. Assange is nothing but a self serving, self promoting git

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Anonymous Coward

I lean the opposite direction: if Assange was willing to martyr himself he should have gone to sweden in the hope that the merkins would grab him. getting extradited to the US to face espionage changes would have given him the biggest possible soapbox to spread his message from (not to mention massive world-wide media attention). but by appearing to be avoiding rape charges at all possible costs he's damaged the reputation of wikileaks beyond repair (a situation his narcissism certainly isn't helping).

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Angel

Alongside bin Laden's arse! Indeed there are plenty of games to be played... ...oh, but wait, this is a family show.

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Family business

"Julian Assange has said that the folks at the Ecuadorian embassy in London he currently calls home are like a family to him"

'Julian, when are you going to get off your fat arse and get a proper job'

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Mushroom

Just for that statement....

"I assume the Swedish case will disappear of its own accord in due course"

You utter f$%kin prick. I hope the swedes when they do finally get you, string you up by the balls!

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Re: Just for that statement....

This always works. Remain a high profile fugitive from justice long enough, and everyone just gives up eventually. Genius.

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Pint

Well, the Sweedish case will lapse when he dies..

.. but I guess he's not thinking that far ahead

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Happy

Re: Just for that statement....

Really?

Does anyone remember Carlos the Jackal, aka Ilich Ramírez Sánchez? What about the now perhaps less spectacular Ronald Biggs. There are plenty more offenders who thought they could get away with it... ...but if Julie thinks that sitting in an embassy with a high profile will magic away his offences, well he may as well wait for Jesus to come and let him out.

I have a sack of popcorn standing by for the arrest, prosecution and conviction for jumping bail and thereafter return to Sweden... ...unless of course the British and Americans take the Swedes up on the offer to revoke the EAW, and thereby enable a simple extradition from the UK to the US. After all, we are perfectly aware that the treaty signed by Toni Bliar means that we bend over for Uncle Barack if he wants something.

Well Julie, I hope that you take a little time to read these words. Let them sink into that seemingly not very highly functioning pre-frontal grey. They are not going away Julie. Do you understand?

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Re: Just for that statement....

"I hope the swedes when they do finally get you, string you up by the balls!".

I believe the maximum penalty for 'Sex by Surprise' is a fine of around 5,000 kr, while being strung up by the balls is reserved for more heinous crimes, such as not liking herring.

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Happy

Re: Just for that statement....

Oh, but Julian does like herring, as do his chorus on these pages; red herring! ;->

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Stop

Even assuming the Swedish allegations are false and are dropped...

...there is the matter of breaching his bail conditions in the UK to be dealt with.

Note that I have no view on whether the Swedish allegations are true or false. If the case requires it I see no reason for him not to be sent back to Sweden to face their justice processes before or after the breach of bail conditions is dealt with in the UK.

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Re: Even assuming the Swedish allegations are false and are dropped...

Indeed. What he did, in fleeing to the embassy, will require him to be investigated by the British police (no doubt under caution). This will give the US ample opportunity to "suggest" that he needs to be handed over. I don't know if he is a rapist or not, but his self-imposed exile can only end two ways. Death or arrest.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Even assuming the Swedish allegations are false and are dropped...

This will give the US ample opportunity to "suggest" that he needs to be handed over

Wow. You conspiracy theorist are getting up earlier and earlier.

As far as I can tell, the powers that be in the US have long realised that an Assange™ left to his own devices doesn't need any help to knot his own rope so I cannot see anyone so stupid to confirm this increasingly desperate assertions.

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Re: Even assuming the Swedish allegations are false and are dropped...

"he gets lots of visits from very silly celebrity supporters."

such as the ones who posted his bail?

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Re: Even assuming the Swedish allegations are false and are dropped...

“It’s interesting to go through this experience and see who walks the walk and who just talks the talk."

Note to Ecuadorian embassy staff: don't lend the bugger any bail money.

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Re: Even assuming the Swedish allegations are false and are dropped...

explain how pointing out an opportunity means that the US are definitely going to take it. I was merely suggesting that the UK requirement for evidence is so flimsy that the US only has to ask and we would happily hand him over (unless he claims to have aspergers, in which case a 10 year fight will ensue).

I think that if they had wanted him, they would have got him long before he decided to imprison himself. I personally think he is unhappy at rape thing.

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Re: Even assuming the Swedish allegations are false and are dropped...

"..the US only has to ask and we would happily hand him over.."

It seems extremely unlikely that the Swedish authorities would agree to this and their claim has precedence.

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Happy

Re: Even assuming the Swedish allegations are false and are dropped...

""..the US only has to ask and we would happily hand him over.."

It seems extremely unlikely that the Swedish authorities would agree to this and their claim has precedence."

Not so; they offered to drop their business and allow the US to have first go, and extradite from here to there. It is much easier to do this than to negotiate the more complex Swedish and EAW arcana, believe me. By staying in the UK Julie is on top of a hornet's nest, never mind the bail jumping criminal offence.

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Re: Even assuming the Swedish allegations are false and are dropped...

@Scorchio!!: True. Also, the Swedish allegations have all the signs of a classical honey trap. Knowing where the women - and their counsellor(!) - are coming from, as well as what legal shenanigans took place _before Assange left Sweden, there is no doubt in my mind that Sweden would have gladly extradited Assange to the US. As they are wont to; cf. CIA 'renditions'. As it turned out, Assange outwitted them all. For now...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Even assuming the Swedish allegations are false and are dropped...

Knowing where the women - and their counsellor(!) - are coming from

Ah, yes, it's all the women's fault now. They were hoping St Jules used an uncovered pecker so they could accuse him of rape, which is why they told him to use a condom. And conveniently fell asleep. Yup, makes perfect sense.

/sarcasm

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Re: Even assuming the Swedish allegations are false and are dropped...

And believing the women just because they are women is just as bad.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Even assuming the Swedish allegations are false and are dropped...

And believing the women just because they are women is just as bad.

Given that they are the weaker party without wannabe celeb status and lawyers paid by 3rd parties I'd pay attention. But the true test comes in a trial, exactly the thing Assange seems frantically trying to avoid.

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I suspect for what he calls 'like family', the Ecuadorian embassy staff would have chosen a different wording. Can't be easy having an international toss pot hanging about while you're just trying to get on with your work. They probably had no idea what their government was getting them into.

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I believe it wasn't their government that got them into it, but the local ambassador, who granted asylum without checking with the higher-ups. While this was within his rights (and hence has to be honoured), if I remember the story right he was later given a dressing-down, and replaced by a new-comer. Who now has to cope with the celebrity hitch-hiker.

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Andy S,

No I think that was Snowden. Possibly at the suggestion of Assange, the London embassy said he could have asylum. Which Ecuador then went back on I think - or certainly told the ambassador off. He may have been dumped for that, or for failing to get a deal on Assange with the Foreign Office.

Assange was in the embassy for at least a month before Ecuador confirmed they'd give asylum. That was after our ambassador botched things out there, and gave them an excuse to play the injured party. Although it may be that the embassy staff should have kicked him out before it became public. But one suggestion was that Assange had already been to the top for his permission, when he interviewed the President for Russia Today.

All-in-all, not a great advert for diplomacy. Our ambassador shouldn't have left them his written "speaking notes" (often done for clarification), then they'd have had nothing to shout to the press about. But Ecuador took a loud and sanctimonious public position, from which it's very hard to back down. They were hoping we'd do a deal, to get the problem out of our hair, but the FCO don't pay the policing budget, and have no power to just let Assange go, so Ecuador will have to back down (very embarrassing), or put up with him. Maybe buy the next door flat, and extend the embassy?

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Thanks for the clarification, I'd forgotten how long Assange was in the embassy before he was granted asylum. All makes for very interesting reading, but with very sad and depressing sub-tones.

I'd wondered about extending the embassy too - presumably wouldn't be that hard to do, they could always move the real functions of the embassy into the new pad and leave Assange in a part of the old, if that proved easier for them. I've also wondered what scenarios would lead to him eventually leaving - fire? Medical emergency? Lack of funds? Shear boredom? I can't see that last one coming off.

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Happy

Well I suppose he's got the whole internet in there with him. So an infinity of cat videos and things to hack should keep him occupied. Perhaps we could break their broadband, and he'd be out like a shot. All MI5 have to do is to persuade the Ecuadorian ambassador to go to TalkTalk - no one would ever suspect...

I'm not sure they can extend the embassy. Property near Harrods ain't cheap. And they might need FCO permission to do so. Which I doubt they'd get.

I guess it all comes down to the psychology of Assange. Is he willing to stay there for ever? He is apparently paranoid, but does he really believe his own propaganda about being shipped off to the US? Or does he know he's guilty, so doesn't fancy doing time in Sweden? Or will he leave the moment he can no longer generate publicity? After all, leaving will get him loads!

Or Ecuador will just get pissed off, and chuck him out. Or the Met let their guard down, and he sneaks out.

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"All MI5 have to do is to persuade the Ecuadorian ambassador to go to TalkTalk"

Ha!

I am waiting for the large and inviolate without serious repercussions 'diplomatic bag' to be seen to leave the embassy, to be pursued by half the Met.

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Coffee/keyboard

Perhaps we could break their broadband, and he'd be out like a shot. All MI5 have to do is to persuade the Ecuadorian ambassador to go to TalkTalk - no one would ever suspect...

Hahaha, quality. That's another cleaning job..

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Anonymous Coward

You don't cite the data. Even so, you are wrong; the embassador was sent home because she let Julian in. He seems to have an effect on women that causes them to do things they later regret. Hur. Like 'letting Julian in'.

As to our embassador, why don't you give us a cite? I know for sure that Haig was supposed to have botched it by pointing out that we can, on our sovereign territory, enter and arrest a criminal on our soil - which the embassy is, though others will claim otherwise - in fact it was his department, rather than Haig, but there we go.

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Extending the embassy would require a number of things, not least of which is the permission of the host state and its local council, under planning laws. Secondly, do you know anything about property prices in the Knightsbridge area? I can assure you they are among the highest in London. It would cost millions to buy the neighbouring flat, even if permission for use were granted by a) the state b) the council under its planning laws.

It will not happen. Julian has chosen his place of confinement and there he will stay.

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Is it not mandatory to do a fire drill at all places of work...?

https://www.gov.uk/workplace-fire-safety-your-responsibilities/fire-safety-equipment-drills-and-training

The UK is a laughing stock for international fugitives, if Snowden doesn't come here for a holiday I'd be surprised.

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"Is it not mandatory to do a fire drill at all places of work...?"

except that an embassy is not the UK, or the police would have entered it and arrested him much earlier. UK Health and Safety rules don't apply here

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It is the UK, no territorial sovereignty is ceded to an embassy whatsoever, its confusing who owns the territory over who is permitted to control what goes on.

The vienna conventions, which the UK is signed up to, allow embassies and embassy staff to be temporarily excluded from certain laws and regulations.

Notably, the convention says that the host country cannot enter the embassy without the permission of the ambassador/ consul (can't remember which).

So, the UK retains ownership of the territory in all cases, but in some cases permits, through an act of parliament, the ambassador to control what goes on.

The law as it stands here is that any member of the embassy staff, the ambassador, and the embassy itself, can have its status revoked with notice can cause. This is what the home secretary threatened at the time, but backed down when they realised it would be far more productive to simply let him stew.

it does illuminate the sovereignty question though that this is possible.

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Except that little but of land isn't under UK rule, it's a little bit of Ecuador - might be worth checking their laws about such fire drills

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courtyard

There's a courtyard where Julian get aired as well. Quite possibly it's used for the drill or at least it's allowed to use it for staff.Or they could make Julian safety officer and let him decide :)

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Fireburn,

Nope. That little bit of land is still Blighty. It's just that we've done a deal. We don't walk into your embassy, and you don't walk into ours. It's called the Vienna Conventions. We could break it at any time, but only in exceptional circumstances, unless we want the same to happen to us.

So when terrorists stormed the Iranian embassy, Iran's government allowed us to send in the SAS. It's an interesting question as to what would have happened, had they refused. When a Libyan diplomat murdered a police woman from inside their embassy, we didn't go in, but chucked him out of the country.

However, after that incident, we did change the law to allow us to revoke diplomatic privilege under certain circumstances. So as I understand it, the threat to Ecuador was that we'd simply declare it 'no longer an embassy', then wander in at our leisure. Presumably having first given them notice. But the law was aimed at situations like the Iranian embassy, or idiot Libyan diplomats shooting out of windows - I doubt this interpretation would have got through the courts.

Also note that asylum in embassies isn't really recognised by us, or the Vienna Conventions. But is commonly accepted in South America.

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I still think this would make a good sitcom.

For extra creepiness, Ricky Gervais could play Julian Assange, hanging around the office, making paper planes, playing Solitaire and perving over the secretaries.

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What really pisses me off

is the continuing waste of millions of quid of public money supporting a 24/7 police cordon in case he sneaks out.

Okay, he seems to be a mildly unpleasant plonker, but he doesn't seem to present any particular danger to British residents, even if he did a runner.

Why are the Met willing to spend millions trying to get this one particular fugitive rather than tracking down other, rather more dangerous, criminals? I thought they had budget problems?

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Rob
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Re: What really pisses me off

Surely it would be better to remove the visible police cordon and lull them into a false sense of security, they might have more chance of getting him then.

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Re: What really pisses me off

The amount of drooling morons in police uniform making their mothers proud doing a fine days 'work' surrounding the embassy for a 'fugitive' who didn't wear a condom in Sweden once tells us it's a vendetta by the authorities.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What really pisses me off

it's a vendetta by the authorities

AFAIK, nobody asked Assange to break bail, and he was explicitly asked to wear a condom but didn't. So far, no authority involved other than to uphold the law. Even stronger, he still has to be tried so he could end all his problems by submitting to the legal system he's been so eager to clean up with his leaks.

Ah, sorry. I brought logic into this. My apologies.

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Re: What really pisses me off

@AC

Exactly - logic would say that when resources are scarce you have to prioritise on getting best value for money, and having 8 plods on duty 24/7 waiting to pounce on a bail-jumper is probably not the best value.

To provide that cordon the Met must be tying up at least 40 officers - and for comparison CEOP (which is arguably performing a rather more important function) only has about 120 staff.

The Met commissioner really should be very, very embarassed and ashamed about this.

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Re: What really pisses me off

Okay, he seems to be a mildly unpleasant plonker, but he doesn't seem to present any particular danger to British residents, even if he did a runner.

That's the propaganda anyway... However in reality he's not only accused of not wearing a condom, he's also accused of rape. All the Appeal Court documents are public, where they list the charges and explain how they differ (or don't) from UK offences.

He's accused of trying to physically force himself on one woman, not violently only by superior size and weight, because she said no sex without condom. Eventually he then stopped put one on, but it either split or he split it. So I guess that's an attempted rape plus something less serious. Then having a go when she was asleep, minus condom of course, when he'd only got permission for sex with. Which they said was also rape under UK law, although I'd have thought less serious than the one using force. I don't remember the details of the other woman now, it was a while ago.

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Re: What really pisses me off

"and he was explicitly asked to wear a condom but didn't."

Come on you dont know that -- it's pure hearsay. You've convicted him already.

this whole thing is obviously a setup.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What really pisses me off

Come on you dont know that -- it's pure hearsay

Not quite. This is known from records that were leaked, rather inconvenient for St Jules as it put a rather more salacious slant on the story than St Jules was playing the media for.

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Re: What really pisses me off

"he was explicitly asked to wear a condom but didn't."

How do you know?

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