back to article Ecuador's Prez talking to UK about Assange's six-year London Embassy stay – reports

It would appear that the president of Ecuador is not a fan of Julian Assange. Lenin Moreno, the head of the South American state since 2017, reportedly said today that he had spoken to the British government about the evidently unwanted Australian-born squatter, who has been hiding in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since …

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  1. Oh Homer Silver badge
    Meh

    So much hostility

    Yes, Assange is a bit of a cock, but let's not forget that all he did was expose some pretty blatant atrocities. Save your hostility for that.

    1. Richard Jukes

      Re: So much hostility

      Yes, that an allegedly rape a few women or two. Oh and skip bail, causing his friends to lose a 100k or so and also showing sweet FA respect for the British legal system at the same time.

      Minor things really, let him out and give him a knighthood....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So much hostility

        "let him out and give him a knighthood....

        A much devalued award often given to those who have contributed to party funds - or whose past illegal behaviour has apparently been covered up by the establishment.

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: So much hostility

          @AC

          A much devalued award often given to...

          This episode of "Believe It" was on the radio earlier today - "Knight Fever"

          Jon Canter's not quite true autobiography of Richard Wilson.

          https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08lhg9p

          It happened to cover the subject of "Knighthoods". Very amusing. Literally a "brill" production!

          As for Assange - he's probably muttering "I don't believe it!" and today's news

      2. The Original Steve

        Re: So much hostility

        That'll be the rape accusations that he was interviewed about in Sweden at the time, case was closed and they said he could leave the country. Then once in the UK it got reopened, he said he was happy to be interviewed by the Swedish police in the UK, and which the authorities dropped the investigation on back in May 2017.

        He's a prize bell-end, and he shouldn't have skipped bail, but the now dropped rape charges sound like bollock.

        1. Oh Homer Silver badge

          Re: "rape charges sound like bollock"

          They certainly are, given that Sweden's definition of "rape" in this case is a broken condom, a fact that the Assange haters conveniently gloss over.

          Oh, and the fact that the two women involved were laughing and talking (and texting) about him like a piece of meat to be passed around the butcher shop, and continued to see him, after supposedly being "raped" (by the evil burst condom).

          Everything else on the Assange haters' shortlist is simply the consequence of that bullshit, although presumably their real motive is sympathy for American war crimes (or certainly a total lack of condemnation of them, whilst apparently being more outraged by condom misdemeanours).

          1. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: "rape charges sound like bollock"

            Much of the "hate" is because the guy is a paranoid, self-indulgent jackass and attention seeker. If he believed his cause was just, he'd stand up for it instead of hiding. He's tossed supporters and those who have given info to Wikileaks to the wolves without remorse or regret.

            Wikileaks is, overall, a good thing and needed and they aren't the issue or the problem here and I fully support their efforts.

            It's the idiot in the embassy who is the problem and that is on him. A rational person would have stepped up and let the courts and law run their course.

            1. macjules Silver badge

              Re: "rape charges sound like bollock"

              Wikileaks is, overall, a good thing and needed and they aren't the issue or the problem here and I fully support their efforts.

              Quite so, and I do wish more people would realise that Wikileaks is not all about Julian Assange and Julian Assange is not WikiLeaks. Unless, spare the thought, you happen to actually be Julian Assange.

            2. scarletherring

              Re: "rape charges sound like bollock"

              > the guy is a paranoid

              Technically no, he's not. They're really out to get him, you see.

              1. Paul Cooper

                Re: "rape charges sound like bollock"

                "Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get me!" Heller, Catch 22!

            3. Tom Paine Silver badge
              Stop

              Re: "rape charges sound like bollock"

              Wikileaks is, overall, a good thing and needed and they aren't the issue or the problem here and I fully support their efforts.

              Er, Wikileaks is well established as a Russian cut-out. There's no controversy about that outside of a few alt.media nutjobs. Alex Jones doesn't believe it, and that's good enough for me.

          2. JimC Silver badge

            Re: "rape charges sound like bollock"

            So a #Idon'tbelieveher from Mr Homer then...

            Must be a bit of a bugger when right-on politically correct causes clash...

          3. Brangdon

            Re: definition of "rape" in this case is a broken condom

            He's accused of having sex with a woman while she was unconscious, knowing she wouldn't have consented had she been awake. That is rape according to British law. A fact that Assange lovers gloss over.

            1. stephanh Silver badge

              Re: definition of "rape" in this case is a broken condom

              "That is rape according to British law."

              Indeed, and note that the UK will only allow extradition if the accusation is also a crime under UK law, and that the receiving country (Sweden) is not allowed to bring additional charges unless approved by the UK.

              There wouldn't be a case if the accusation was not considered a crime under UK law.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: definition of "rape" in this case is a broken condom

              Assange is a C**K and unforgivably through his friends and supporters under the bus by skipping bail and costing them a lot of money while losing any credibility he had.

              The rape charges were however deeply concerning and ridiculous.

              One related to a condom either broken or deliberately damaged depending in what you believe. The suggestion is that because consent was given on teh basis of a condom being used then when it was damaged consent was withdrawn but this is clealry not how sex works. It is not what is agreed at the beginning holds all the way through but either party can at any time withdraw consent. In this case she didn't and says she didn't. If this was rape then every women who has sex claiming to be on boirth control while not has committed sexual assault and that is a Pandora's box that no one wants to open.

              The second relates ot having sex with a women who was asleep but the women concerned had consented to have sex with him earlier that night and they had slept together following that. It is reasonable unde rthese circumstances to regard it as one sexual encounter and that consent continued. As mentioned above either party can withdraw consent at any time and she didn't.

              Assange was unprincipled and dishonest and stupid in skipping bail. He lost all credibility and was revealed as untrustworthy. He will at some point be jailed for that never mind whatever else happens and rightly so.

              1. kyndair

                Re: definition of "rape" in this case is a broken condom

                Gving consent for sex once does not give consent in perpetuity. The fuckwitted arse is alleged to have sex with someone who was in no condition to give permission that is defined as rape in any civilised place. As for the other case that needs to be tried before anyone can say if he was innocent.

                1. Red Bren

                  Re: definition of "rape" in this case is a broken condom

                  @ kyndair

                  "As for the other case that needs to be tried before anyone can say if he was innocent."

                  No, he is innocent. He is accused of crimes, but unless he is convicted of them, he is innocent. Doesn't mean he isn't a cock though...

          4. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: "rape charges sound like bollock"

            given that Sweden's definition of "rape" in this case is a broken condom,

            No, Sweden's definition of rape is just like other countries', sex without consent. The girl consented if Assange used a condom. He didn't, so there was no consent, so it was rape.

            Clearer now?

        2. Alister Silver badge

          Re: So much hostility

          That'll be the rape accusations that he was interviewed about in Sweden at the time, case was closed and they said he could leave the country.

          It's amazing how people can rewrite the facts to suite themselves. Assange was interviewed by the Swedes, and then, whilst their due process was taking place, and after giving assurances that he wouldn't attempt to leave the country, he skipped to the UK, at which point the European Arrest Warrant was issued. At no point did the Swedes say he was free to leave.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: So much hostility

            "he skipped to the UK"

            Which was a pretty daft course of action if he was worried about extradition to the US.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: So much hostility

            "At no point did the Swedes say he was free to leave".

            At no point did they detain him or confiscate his passport either.

            Horse, stable door, bolted.

        3. Snorlax Silver badge

          Re: So much hostility

          @The Original Steve: "That'll be the rape accusations that he was interviewed about in Sweden at the time, case was closed and they said he could leave the country.

          Nope, he ran out the clock on the statute of limitations for the "minor" offences he was accused of.

          The statute of limitations on the rape charge doesn't run out until 2020.

          The Swedish prosecutor cancelled the European Arrest Warrant on the basis that Assange wouldn't become available in the near future, but has stated previously that another will be issued post haste should Jules become available.

          Which could happen sooner rather than later...

        4. BillG Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: So much hostility

          What would happen if Assange® left the embassy and found that Sweden, the U.K., and the U.S.A. don't want him? Could his ego handle it? Would his head explode? Would he prance around Piccadilly Square with a sign saying "Please Arrest Me, I'm Important"?

          1. Tom Paine Silver badge

            Re: So much hostility

            No, of course not. He'd disappear for a while and then pop up in Russia, with a new career as talking head n Sputnik, RT etc.

      3. JMiles

        Re: So much hostility

        Does the British legal system deserve much respect between one-sided extradition treaties, 90% of typical crimes going uncharged and parliament passing draconian legislation around use of encryption, mass surveillance and retrospective legislation (i.e. on tax)?

        We're in a banana state now anyway. The only things TPB care about are average speed fines, parking fines, extradition of anyone the US wants and, oh, going after 'tax avoiders' who haven't made significant donations to their political parties.

        If you're up to anything else, go ahead and break the 'law' with impunity.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: So much hostility

      Please note - the public uproar over everything they discovered has been minimal.

      Disgusting as it is, people don't care and thus tolerate such things. Guantanamo is STILL OPEN how many years later, and our "closest ally" is holding people without trial in a foreign country still, despite two presedential terms of promising to close the place (which doesnt' fix the problem, merely stops it propogating).

      Pretty much, nobody cares about anything he released - Snowden, Manning or Assange. But it got them into jail or exile for talking about it, despite Wikileaks calling itself "anonymous", "secure", "protecting its sources", etc.

    3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: So much hostility

      Yes, Assange is a bit of a cock, but let's not forget that all he did was expose some pretty blatant atrocities. Save your hostility for that.

      Sadly, you link the example where Asssange went from being a simple leaker of inconvenient truths to a propaganda outlet, and in doing so lost my sympathy. If Assange had simply leaked the guncam footage, that would've allowed people to discuss it and draw their own conclusions. Instead, it was edited into the 'Collateral Murder' video rather than simply showing what can happen in the fog of war.

      Hindsight and an editorial stance allowed the camera crew to be helpfully highlighted, and perhaps draw attention away from the other men carrying AKs and RPGs walking in the same direction. Then when a person crouched and peered around a corner with something round on their shoulder pointing at the helicopter, the rest became history. Or one version of it. The weapons seen earlier in the video were nowhere to be found.

      1. Tom Paine Silver badge

        Re: So much hostility

        Exactly this.

        A lot of idiots seem to think that if anyone dies in a war and they're not a combatant, that's murder. Well, OK, the Society of Friends (Quakers) think so, and they at least have a coherent, consistent, principled religious and philosophical position worked out, which they have stuck to consistently; and also some idiots.

        (Other legitimate pacifist relgious and philosophical groups are available. Stop the War are not one of them.)

    4. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: So much hostility

      @Oh Homer

      Yes, Assange is a bit of a cock,

      Given that Cressida Dick is in charge of the Met Police...

      "Set a Dick to catch a Dick"

      1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        Re: So much hostility

        @Fruit and Nut Case:"Given that Cressida Dick is in charge of the Met Police..."

        Assange is lucky he's not taking a long nap, like Jean Charles de Menezes, given Dick's history.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So much hostility

        Sadly, there is nothing even remotely funny about Cressida Dick's running of the MET.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So much hostility

      What about the allegations of sexual assault. Don't forget about them and how he has done his utmost to dodge them.

      The Law is an ass but its that or judgement by Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp etc. He should have faced up to the allegations or kept it in his trousers and played some pocket billiards (if he was that randy!!)

    6. Jove Bronze badge

      Re: So much hostility

      No. He took it upon himself to put others lives at risk.

  2. K Silver badge
    Devil

    Whilst Wikileaks has spilled the beans on some interesting facts...

    Yet, I'm still waiting for proof I know exists, including faking on the moon landings, ET was based upon a true story, the US suppressed releasing of proper Hover-boards (which we all know, were due in 2015!)

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

      The hoverboard release got screwed up when the Chicago Cubs couldn't keep their part of the bargain and win the World Series until 2016. Both sides have been haggling over a new coordinated release date since then.

  3. Mage Silver badge

    Makes no sense

    "real reason for the extradition request was to get him into a country with few legal protections against onward extradition to America."

    Sweden is LESS likely to extradite to USA than UK is.

    The UK could have extradited him, but let him be on bail instead.

    The real issue is that he didn't want to be questioned in Sweden. There was ZERO risk of Swedish extradition to USA.

    He's abused his position in Wikileaks and brought it into disrepute.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Makes no sense

      I thought cooperating with Trump and/or Russia by timing the release of stolen emails to hurt Clinton's campaign is what brought it into disrepute, except amongst Trump and his supporters.

      Not saying it shouldn't have leaked those emails once it had them - Wikileaks wasn't responsible for the hacking. But in the past they leaked what they had without regard to political effect - they'd just dump what they had and the political chips would fall where they may. That went away in 2016, it was repeatedly timed to damage Hillary and distract from bad news about Trump.

      Either they hated Hillary that much (which is understandable given that she wanted to prosecute them for the state department cables leak, but still no excuse for them to go political) or they have been effectively taken over by Russians or right wingers.

    2. NerryTutkins

      Re: Makes no sense

      Never understood why sweden wouldn't just give an assurance not to extradite him to the US? Other countries give assurances all the time - the US even has to give assurances not to execute people to get extraditions from Europe. That and the way the charges were laid, withdrawn then laid again by a different prosecutor in a different city looks off.

      Assange is undoubtedly a slimy shit with clear political motives outside of his stated goal of openness and transparency. But this case has never looked very solid. If there really was no prospect of extradition, why did sweden give the rascal an excuse to say it was all about getting him to the US?

      Not sure anyone comes out of this with clean hands.

      1. Vincent Ballard
        Coat

        Re: Makes no sense

        It would be an insult to Sweden to ask it for such assurances, because if Assange is extradited under a European Arrest Warrant then the receiving country cannot extradite him without approval by the sending country. Or if you prefer a different perspective, Sweden already gave such assurances way back in 2004 when it implemented the framework directive which established the EAW. See http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CONSLEG:2002F0584:20090328:EN:PDF Article 28, paragraph 4.

        1. NerryTutkins

          Re: Makes no sense

          "It would be an insult to Sweden to ask it for such assurances, because if Assange is extradited under a European Arrest Warrant then the receiving country cannot extradite him without approval by the sending country. "

          Firstly, I don't think the issue of Sweden taking offence is really important. They might say it's not required, but if they have no intention of doing it, and it gets the extradition done, what's the problem? I'd happily give an undertaking not to do something I had no intention (or believed could not do) if it gets a stalled situation moving. And as I pointed out, many other countries, including the US, give assurances - that they won't consider the death penalty, or evidence obtained by torture, when those may usually be permitted in the country. So they are essentially prejudicing the case, in order to obtain the suspect.

          Regarding the European arrest warrant, indeed the UK would have to give permission. But who would be required to give such approval? The UK government? Or the courts? That's important, because there have been high profile cases where people have been prevented from being extradited from the UK by the UK courts (Abu Hamza springs to mind, but also some hacker cases) against the wishes of the UK government. So in the case of Assange, that probably needs to be settled.

          If it could be confirmed that the UK courts would get the final say on whether to give permission to Sweden to extradite Assange to the US, or have jurisdiction to hold the UK government to account and prevent them from giving such a decision, then Assange would clearly be no worse off in Sweden than in the UK. But if it is purely down to the UK government, and the UK courts have less jurisdiction over that than they would if the extradition was from the UK to the US, then it's reasonable to say that Assange would be at more risk of extradition from Sweden to the US than he would from UK to the US, taking account of recent decisions by the UK courts over extraditions to the US.

          Sweden giving an undertaking would of course nullify any such arguments.

        2. NerryTutkins

          Re: Makes no sense

          "It would be an insult to Sweden to ask it for such assurances, because if Assange is extradited under a European Arrest Warrant then the receiving country cannot extradite him without approval by the sending country. "

          Firstly, I don't think the issue of Sweden taking offence is really important. They might say it's not required, but if they have no intention of doing it, and it avoids confusion, just do it. As I pointed out, many other countries, including the US, give assurances - that they won't consider the death penalty, or evidence obtained by torture - when those may usually be permitted in the country. So they are essentially prejudicing the case, in order to obtain the suspect. In the case of Sweden, if they have no intention of extraditing Assange, then it really makes no difference to the case they claim to wish to pursue against him - the UK is not asking for assurances regarding that at all. Which makes the refusal for the UK to ask for assurances or the Swedish to give them hard to explain. Maybe they're happy with the status quo, since Assange is effectively now in prison indefinitely without internet access?

          Regarding the European arrest warrant, indeed the UK would have to give permission. But who would be required to give such approval? The UK government? Or the courts? That's important, because there have been high profile cases where people have been prevented from being extradited from the UK by the UK courts (Abu Hamza springs to mind, but also some hacker cases) against the wishes of the UK government. So in the case of Assange, that probably needs to be settled. Would the UK courts be entitled to give it the same scrutiny they would if it was a direct extradition to the US?

          If it could be confirmed that the UK courts would get the final say on whether to give permission to Sweden to extradite Assange to the US, or have jurisdiction to hold the UK government to account and prevent them from giving such a decision, then Assange would clearly be no worse off in Sweden than in the UK, so his arguments would be baseless. But if it is purely down to the UK government, and the UK courts have less jurisdiction over that than they would if the extradition was from the UK to the US, then it's reasonable to say that Assange would be at more risk of extradition from Sweden to the US than he would from UK to the US, taking account of recent decisions by the UK courts over extraditions to the US.

          Sweden giving an undertaking would of course nullify any such arguments. As would the UK making clear that any permission to Sweden to extradite Assange to the US would be subject to the UK courts on exactly the same basis as if Assange were being extradited from the UK to the US directly. I.e. that he would be at no more risk of extradition to the US from Sweden, than he would from the UK. In which case, if those are the intentions, why not just make them clear by giving undertakings, and get the process moving?

      2. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Makes no sense

        "Never understood why sweden wouldn't just give an assurance not to extradite him to the US?"

        Why the fuck should they? He's the suspect. You don't bargain with the suspect, you arrest them, and if there is sufficient evidence, put them on trial, and if there is sufficient evidence again, they will be convicted. As a suspect in a rape inquiry, you don't get to set conditions on whether you would like to be arrested.

        This is where the whole 'Assange thinks he's above the law' thing comes from. Because he clearly does.

      3. sprograms

        Re: Makes no sense

        It was alleged, and may be true, that the re-filing was due to Assange refusing to take AIDS/STD tests in Sweden. After the use of a broken condom, that refusal would be a serious matter.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Makes no sense

          It was alleged, and may be true, that the re-filing was due to Assange refusing to take AIDS/STD tests in Sweden. After the use of a broken condom, that refusal would be a serious matter.

          Worth noting that Assange would still have been able to stop this escalation by taking an STD test in the UK as requested (and, I may add, as any decent man would), but he did not. If you add all of this up, there is potential that the whole ting restarted because one (or both) of the girls had themselves tested and had less than pleasant results.

          Buy hey, nobody cares about the girls, right? They're just evil for asking St Jules™ to do the right thing, OK? It's not like THEY have any Human Rights, gosh no, that would draw away all the attention from Assange, can't have that..

      4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Makes no sense

        sweden wouldn't just give an assurance not to extradite him to the US

        Because the Rule of Law doesn't work that way. Compare with Tory Blur giving ex-IRA people assurance that they wouldn't be prosecuted - politicians cannot and should not pre-empt the Judicial branch.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Makes no sense

          Also any assurances that Sweden might give, or legal constraints they might be under, became rather discredited in 2001 when they colluded with the CIA over the illegal rendition of a couple of Egyptians from Sweden.

        2. Snorlax Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Makes no sense

          @CrazyOldCatMan:"Compare with Tory Blur giving ex-IRA people assurance that they wouldn't be prosecuted - politicians cannot and should not pre-empt the Judicial branch."

          A lot of people on both sides got off the hook as the result of an agreement to bring about peace in Northern Ireland - you may have heard of it: the Good Friday Agreement?

          The Protestant community in NI has plenty of blood on its hands too...

      5. Andydaws

        Re: Makes no sense

        Because it's not the job of a government to pre-empt the judiciary in determining if Assange has a case to answer under Swedish extradition law.

        You know, saying "we've got an extradition treaty with another country, but we'll ignore that for the moment". Its the court's job to work out if there's a prima facie case, and if the offence alleged is covered by the treaty (usually it has to be an offence in both countries).

        What they are entitled to do is, once an extradition request is issued is to require an assurance that the death penalty won't be demanded, or Assange be kept in inhumane conditions.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There was ZERO risk of Swedish extradition to USA

      I'm not at all sure about the ZERO. In fact, given what happened when Snowden was desperately trying to find ONE place on this planet to offer him safe haven, and all the advanced European democracies sent a polite "FUCK YOU!" in response (remember that South American plane with an ambassador that was forced to land and was searched in Austria, I think?). No, I don't think the Swedes would have stood by their principles when bullied by the Ueberbully. And then, afterwards, they would have issued some legal bullshit about how it was all legit, and we would have never long forgotten Assange.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: There was ZERO risk of Swedish extradition to USA

        In fact, given what happened when Snowden was desperately trying to find ONE place on this planet to offer him safe haven, and all the advanced European democracies sent a polite "FUCK YOU!"

        There's a subtle difference between extradition and immigration. In the case of Snowden, he was a hot potato in transit and no one wanted to hold there hands out and catch. Assange, when he arrived in the UK wasn't even warm at that point in time as far as the UK knew.

        It was very unlikely that any US ally would take him because of the political shitstorm it would cause and most of said allies were implicated in the contents of the Snowden leaks anyway so were just as embarrassed and pissed off at him.

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