back to article UK: 'We're legally bound to arrest Mr Assange'

The UK's Foreign Secretary has refused to rule out storming the Ecuadorian embassy to arrest Julian Assange and pack him off to Sweden. On Tuesday, The Right Honourable William Jefferson Hague met with the vice president of Ecuador over the Assange issue. When questioned about it by the BBC on Wednesday, Hague described the …

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Vic
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> But the British government is subject to our laws.

Is it aware of this?

Vic.

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Yes. Every time it loses a court case, whines about it a bit, but then complies anyway.

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Happy

"If things go on too long, a climb-down will look even sillier."

And this is bad because?

.

<"If they do sneak Assange out, it'll be them in the wrong diplomatically."

If they do sneak Assange out, why would they tell anyone for a couple of years? They'd build a replication of Assange's Knightsbridge bedroom/office, in Quito where JA could harangue TPTB while washing down some bubble and squeak a couple bottles of Old Hooky. Everyone would think he was still near the Prime Meridian. If he got out of the Embassy without being seen, no one's going to know he's flown the coop until they're told.

<"In the end everyone will probably come to a quiet arrangement."

A 'quiet arrangement'. When you think of one be sure and let us know what it is.

Assange's lawyer is working overtime to discredit the accusations of the two victims and the press outside of Sweden is ignoring it. When he's successful he goes back to court where they quash the extradition order. Because England's case was based on an invalid extradition order, his bail skip and bail forfeit are now reopened by the English lawyers.

Hague blames the whole mess on Stockholm and England gets off the hooky.

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FAIL

Re: "If things go on too long, a climb-down will look even sillier."

"....Because England's case was based on an invalid extradition order, his bail skip and bail forfeit are now reopened by the English lawyers....." Wrong! The skipping of bail is an independent offence now, regardless of what happens in Sweden. The judge can also throw a contempt charge at him if so desired. Even if A$$nut manages to slip out of the embassy and makes it to Ecuador, he is now a fugitive in all parts of Europe that enact EAWs.

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Childcatcher

Re: "If things go on too long, a climb-down will look even sillier."

"In law, a motion to set aside judgment is an application to overturn or set aside a court's judgment, verdict or other final ruling in a case. Such a motion is proposed by a party who is dissatisfied with the end result of a case. Motions may be made at any time after entry of judgment, and in some circumstances years after the case has been closed by the courts. Generally the motion cannot be based on grounds which were previously considered when deciding a motion for new trial or on an appeal of the judgment, thus the motion can only be granted in unusual circumstances, such as when the judgment was procured by fraud which could not have been discovered at the time of the trial, or if the court entering the judgment lacked the jurisdiction to do so."

So it goes from district court, to circuit (appeals), to supreme court (highest). The supreme court may be overruled by a change of the law by the legislature, but any dismissal granted Assage would be grandfathered in. The courts, btw, will make their decisions with an eye as to what's best for England. And why would England want to appear vindictive about his bail jump, if Assange's lawyer found fraud on the part the victims/complainants (my hypothetical)?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "If things go on too long, a climb-down will look even sillier."

>England's case was based on an invalid extradition order

That would be "Sweden's case" asshat, but thx for playing.

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Happy

Re: Okay, I erred. (BFD)

But now Assange, granted asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy, is relaxing while you are forced to take several sitz baths a day after your uncontrollable anger at him reached critical mass, and your hemorrhoids melted down into a Chernobyl of painful itching.

Stop posting as Cowardly Liar and let us see your mistakes.

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Mushroom

Re: "If things go on too long, a climb-down will look even sillier."

You wrote:

Assange's lawyer is working overtime to discredit the accusations of the two victims and the press outside of Sweden is ignoring it. When he's successful he goes back to court where they quash the extradition order. Because England's case was based on an invalid extradition order, his bail skip and bail forfeit are now reopened by the English lawyers.

-=-

I guess you don't know much about the law.

Let me spell it out to you...

1) The appeals made by Assange failed an the EAW was judged valid.

2) As far as the UK is concerned the facts as presented by the Swedish prosecutor are taken at face value to be true.

3) As far as the UK court is concerned, assuming the facts as true, do they support the charges made in the EAW? And in the appeals hearing, it was judged that they did.

4) The EAW, now judged to be valid means that Assange can go back to Sweden to face his accusers. There, the Swedish Prosecutor will have to make her case.

There is no reopening anything in the UK. Assange lost the appeals and then ran away to hide.

The whole US thing is a smoke screen. The US has years to charge him as they continue to investigate the theft.

Assuming that Assange goes to Sweden, is found guilty, does jail time, the US could charge him and make an extradition request. Even if the Swedes don't extradite him, the US will eventually get him. After all, he will leave Sweden and head back to Australia...

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Re: "If things go on too long, a climb-down will look even sillier."

1) The appeals made by Assange failed an the EAW was judged valid. That is true.

2) As far as the UK is concerned the facts as presented by the Swedish prosecutor are taken at face value to be true. That is true.

3) As far as the UK court is concerned, assuming the facts as true, do they support the charges made in the EAW? And in the appeals hearing, it was judged that they did. True.

4) The EAW, now judged to be valid means that Assange can go back to Sweden to face his accusers. There, the Swedish Prosecutor will have to make her case. True.

However, you neglected my hypothetical:

Assange's Swedish lawyer uncovers enough evidence of 'false accusation' to deny the probable cause the prosecutor argued in the Swedish Court. Thereby the Swedish Court withdraws its order of extradition and the EAW, which were issued based on a warrant of the Swedish Court.

When England gets notification from Sweden that the Swedish extradition order has been stayed, it ceases to persue Assange for anything except jumping bail in England on an order to be extradited to Sweden which order has just been stayed.

Assange's English lawyers go back to the English Court and asks that court to either dismiss the charge of bail jumping or reduce the penalty to forfeiting the bail money, with or without an additional fine. The Justices there, remembering something in public school about "a pound of flesh," dismiss the charges for Julian Assange.

"He who leaks and runs away, lives to leak another day."

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FAIL

Re: Re: "If things go on too long, a climb-down will look even sillier."

"....However, you neglected my hypothetical:...." Well, probably because - unlike you - he was keeping at least one foot in reality.

"....Assange's Swedish lawyer uncovers enough evidence of 'false accusation'...." Like what evidence? At the moment it is St Jules' version versus two ladies with similar stories. Trying to smear them in court would not be a good idea as it opens up the ability for the prosecutor to delve into A$$nut's past. I wonder how many other groupies are out there thinking "Hey, he did that to me too!" Let alone his previous criminal record, his bizarre upbringing, and his financial shenanigans and falling out with the media. And then you completely ignore the fact that A$$nut's lawyers have to persuade Ny to drop the case, and she is not some love-struck A$$nut groupie. Dream on!

A$$nut will stay at the Ecuadorean embassy for now, appearing regularly on the balcony to spout more male bovine manure for what will rapidly dwindle down to a crowd of hard-core faithful. What has made that almost a certainty was the US giving political asylum to Emilio Palacio (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-19431682). When A$$nut finally gets bored or Correa gets the boot and the replacing Ecuadorean government decide A$$nut has overstayed his welcome, then A$$nut will got o Sweden, stand trial and probably go to prison. When he gets out, the US will be waiting and will extradite him to stand trial for espionage, and he will probably end up spending an awful lot more time in prison.

He who leaks illegally for personal gain will go to prison.

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Re: Not so fast, pal.

"Like what evidence?" . Maybe a prior conviction for 'felony impersonation of a volunteer,'

"I wonder how many other groupies are out there thinking 'Hey, he did that to me too!'" . What would that be? Breach of Condom? You have your feet in Never Never Land when you dream up hypotheticals like that. I knew I'd seen you someplace before.

"A$$nut's lawyers have to persuade Ny to drop the case," . There are wheels within wheels. Guess which one approves dropping it: Marianne Ny, Beatrice Ask, or Fredrik Reinfeldt? (Hint: the decision is above Ny's pay grade.)

"When A$$nut finally gets bored" . 'Oh, I'm so bored I think I'll go to Camp Torquemada in the States, have a couple of years getting water boarded, a couple of years in solitary confinement and then go to maximum security prison where my job will be picking up soap in the shower.' NOT

"Correa gets the boot" . His current term ends 10 August 2013, which could be extended by reelection until 2017. Hey, that's about the same time the anti-missile defense shield becomes operational and the US and it's midget allies RULE THE WORLD. Yeah!

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Thumb Down

I say we tell the Ecuadorans they can take him, get the SAS to sneak in replace him with WIlliam Hague after plastic surgery to look like assange, send the real assange back to sweden with instructions if they don't want him at all to send him to Ecuador claiming a mix up and baggage handling and then bundle hague to the US to do what they want with him, preferably Guatemala Bay.

Fingers crossed we'll never hear anything from either of them ever again.

Seriously, "refused to rule out storming the Ecuadorian embassy", to paraphrase Judge Koh, has William Hague been smoking crack? Fair enough keep an officer outside and put him on a no fly list, but storm an embassy for him, get a grip on reality and put things into perspective. What about all the obligations the police have to appending your average criminal or the obligations the government has to running country rather than ruining it.

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Facepalm

A No-Fly List?

put him on a no fly list

I'm not sure but I don't think that'd work. The last time I came through Customs, some guy looked at my passport & waved me through. No scanning, fingerprinting or anything. If Julian dyes his hair & takes off his glasses, he's got a good chance of making it through an airport if he times it so the Customs guy is about 3/4's of the way through his shift.

Remember, Kim Philby's name was supposed to be on a piece of paper in Customs so he could be arrested if he ever returned to the country. Like that would have worked...

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Could we suck him out of the embassy window, using a giant vacuum cleaner, without breaching diplomatic immunity?

Or is that a bit too Wallace & Gromit?

Talking of which, that William Hague? Yorkshire accent, bald, never seen him and Wallace in the same room have you? The people should be told!

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Oy!

As an enginneer i resent that. Wallace is a hero among engineering Geeks, whereas, William Hague is an annoying public school tosser who probably couldnt throw together a simple Oscilator if his life depended on it!

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Trollface

we're looking for an amicable solution

England === hand him over

Ecuador === let him go

amicable solution == penalty shootout

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Anonymous Coward

Re: we're looking for an amicable solution

rock-paper-scissors!

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Stop

Embassy invasion

If the Mekon wants so badly to kiss american hindquarters he should go and settle there permanently, instead of following them in destroying international Conventions which have lasted a hell of a lot longer than he has been around. British embassies worldwide will be the losers here, along with any shreds of respect we still get from the rest of the world. All so a bunch of spiteful hippos can throw Assange in a federal supermax for the rest of his life, assuming he lives long enough to stand trial.

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Amazing how stupid governments are

First off, let's try a thought experiment.

Imagine that Wikileaks had disclosed information that embarrassed Ecuador, and they wanted to get their mits on JA for "evil-doing". JA visits a country with a solid past history of "renditioning" people that Ecuador wants to lay hands on, and a legal complaint emerges that would involve a moderate fine and a mandatory STD test should he be found guilty -- let's assume that Sweden is a stooge of Ecuador. The rest plays out pretty much as before, right up until JA takes refuge in the US embassy. The UK government are still obligated to arrest JA even if it means violating the US embassy, right?

The really mind-boggling fact about this fiasco is the self-harm all of these governments are performing. Wikileaks publishes an embarrassing look behind the curtain at the type of nonsense that we all know goes on. Well, that's hardly crippling as very few of the public are unaware of the true nature of our beloved governments. But wait: now the US government decides that a crusade of vengeance against one individual is not only lawful and appropriate, but also decides that pursuing this course in the most damaging way possible is a smart move -- and the UK, Sweden and Australia are all equally happy to play this game. Wikileaks gives the public a glimpse behind the curtain, so the embarrassed parties lose it and tear some gaping holes in that curtain in a fit of pique.

I guess my real question is: how could such geniuses have ever lost control of those cables in the first place?

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Boffin

Re: Amazing how stupid governments are

"I guess my real question is: how could such geniuses have ever lost control of those cables in the first place?"

Simple, Assange found a patsy in Manning who had enough security clearance to be able to break in.

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Anonymous Coward

Assange will be returned to Sweden for trial

It's just a matter of time. Ecuador has everything to lose and nothing to gain by sheltering an international fugitive, so they made a huge mistake.

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FAIL

Re: Assange will be returned to Sweden for trial

The moment the UK threatened to storm the embassy, they couldn't hand him over without appearing weak and no government wants to appear weak to their own people and the world as a whole.

The UK was stupid to make the threat because it guarenteed Assange's asylum. In fact the UK was stupid all the way along. Once he fled to the embassy I'd of told Sweden "Sorry take it up with Eucador" and left it at that. It's not the UK's fight so let him be someone else's problem. The hundred of police wasted guarding the embassy plus the UK government now appearing weak and stupid all for one man who couldn't keep it in his pants.

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Anonymous Coward

"Ecuador has everything to lose"

Please elaborate

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Assange will be returned to Sweden for trial

But.. he's not an international fugitive. He is wanted for breaching his bail in the UK.

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Re: Assange will be returned to Sweden for trial

"The moment the UK threatened to storm the embassy, they couldn't hand him over without appearing weak and no government wants to appear weak to their own people and the world as a whole."

Erm, you do realise that's total bollocks don't you?

Firstly the UK government had carefully made no public statements about the matter. Secondly they were trying to resolve it by negotiation, with face-saving statements made for public consumption in Ecuador. Thirdly if they did make a threat to enter the embassy, it was private, so there was nothing to make Ecuador look weak - had they not chosen to go public themselves.

Try this interesting article on what might have gone wrong, from an ex-ambassador in the Telegraph: Torygraph link

The same chap has an interesting article on the situation here: linky

Note: If you're pro-Assange, please ignore the fact that he's very sniffy about him (what do you expect from an ex-professional diplomat?), and have a look at his comments on the diplomatic situation itself, which are interesting.

This is a self-created problem for Ecuador. They let Assange in, and they went public. Charles Crawford makes an argument from negotiation theory that it's to force us to give something even juicier to them to get the whole thing to go away. Because they've deliberately narrowed their own options, making it harder for themselves to back down, and therefore worthy of a higher price from us. Or it could just be everyone over-played their hands, and now we're in a diplomatic mess...

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Stop

Re: Assange will be returned to Sweden for trial

"The moment the UK threatened to storm the embassy,"

They didn't though. That's just the way Ecuador and Assange spun it.

That's probably half the reason why HM Gov are so pissed off about it. I know I would be.

Take a look what was *actually* written.

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Anonymous Coward

We're legally bound to arrest Mr Assange

No doubt they are but they are also legally bound to arrest a hell of a lot of others who they probably know the whereabouts of yet they don't seem to be worried about them let alone spending a reported 50,000GBP each a week in an attempt to do anything about them.

In a country where some health care treatment is denied because it is considered the cost outweighs the benefits or just that the health authority has run out of money after refurbishing the doctor's offices it is criminal that so much is being spent on one case where numerous others could be closed for less.

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Anonymous Coward

Send a few New Zealand Police over, they're at a bit of a loose end since rounding up Fat Bastard on behalf of the 'mirkins, and are just itching to use the (1) black helicopter again.

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Bored with this now

Will somebody please explain to me how it would be easier for the US to extradite him from Sweden than from the UK? We routinely black bag and ship our own citizens off to "The land of the free (TM)" - pretty much all they have to do it ask.

As I understand things, if we have extradited him to Sweden to face these charges and the US subsequently wanted to arrest him they would have to get approval from both Sweden and the UK, meaning he is actually safer from US prosecution if he goes.

That leads me to believe that there are actually two genuine reasons for him not to want to go:

1) He genuinely believes he may be convicted.

2) He doesnt want to stop being the centre of attention.

I was somewhat sympathetic initially, but the guy is just a dick and while I don't think he should be shipped off to gitmo, I'm also sick of seeing him on my TV and I am increasingly of the opinion that he is just an attention whore.

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Re: Bored with this now

"the US subsequently wanted to arrest him they would have to get approval from both Sweden and the UK, "

As the most recent probe into the CIA has found they just arrest people anyway without charge and interrogate them when they feel like it, they also have a proven track record on grabbing people, flying them all over the world and then finally getting them to the US claiming not to know where the plane actually picked them up.

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Re: Bored with this now

IOW, Asaange is claiming that Sweden would increase his risk of Extraordinary Rendition. But hasn't anyone thought that the country from which they occur would object most egregiously to this breach of their sovereignty? This isn't a tinpot dictator's domain we're talking about here.

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Re: Bored with this now

Not so far, its been shown that france, spain, germany, turkey, arab nations and the list goes on have all cooperated with the renditions whether directly by actually dumping someone on the Americans door step or allowing their somewhat unusual flights to use their territories.

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Re: Bored with this now

If what you're saying is true, that there is no more prospect of him being extradited to the US from Sweden than from the UK.... then all Sweden needs to do is give an assurance that he won't be.

Assange then has no conspiracy excuse to hide behind, the Ecuadorians have a face-saving reason to boot him out, the Swedes get to put him on trial for having two one night stands without telling each about the other one, and the UK can reassign a few dozen plod to catching criminals.

The only flaw in this nice theory is that for some reason, Sweden seems unwilling to give such assurances.

Why not?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bored with this now

Wait, so your argument is that alleged criminals should be able to place arbitrary, illegal and unenforceable demands on the jurisdiction that wants to try them for a crime, and you're fine with this?

Do everyone a favour, and read into ministerstyre (and Swedish criminal law in general) before piping up again, will you?

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Anonymous Coward

This is the most out-of-control cockblocking incident I've ever heard of :P

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Anonymous Coward

So if some tinpot country decided

So if some tinpit country [1] decided that there was a case to answer for putting Blair before the courts for war crimes, Her Majesty's government would support extraditing Blair, just as HMG support extraditing Assange?

[1] Not suggesting that Ecuador is tinpot, quite the reverse. But the law is the law, and applies equally to all countries, and to all individuals. We are all equal before the law, right?

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Re: So if some tinpot country decided

Assange supporters just wilfully ignore the facts. The government is constrained to extradite him based upon the court rulings. What the government wants is neither here nor there; the highest courts in the land (and Europe) have ruled that he must be extradited, and in this country we follow the rule of law.

If the courts ruled that Blair must be extradited to your hypothetical country, the government would be similarly obliged.

Assange is a low life who enjoyed all the protections and benefits of our legal system, and then pissed all over it. Once he's done with in Sweden, we should get him back so he can do some porridge here too.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So if some tinpot country decided

> Once he's done with in Sweden, we should get him back so he can do some porridge here too.

Bubba's porridge?

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Re: So if some tinpot country decided

"Bubba's porridge?"

Now who's playing rape apologist?

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Re: So if some tinpot country decided

"So if some tinpit country [1] decided that there was a case to answer for putting Blair before the courts for war crimes, Her Majesty's government would support extraditing Blair, just as HMG support extraditing Assange?"

There's a technical difference. In a standard extradition treaty, there's a political element. In our case the Home Secretary has to sign off on the extradition, and can therefore refuse to do so for whatever reasons of public policy, justice, mercy or political convenience.

This isn't true for that shitty US extradition treaty that Blair stupidly signed, idiotically thinking the US would reciprocate. In that case there's no political block.

However the European Arrest Warrant isn't really a normal extradition treaty. It uses some of the same rules, and statutory underpinnings, but it was designed to be as much like a national arrest warrant as possible. So there is no leeway written in for political or judicial control. As the courts have proved, they can stick their oar in anyway, but now they've ruled it's legal, so the precedent is now set. The idea is supposed to be that an EU prosecutor/magistrate or court can serve an arrest warrant, for a limited range of offences, on anyone in any EU country. That arrest warrant should then be dealt with as if it was issued nationally, with certain safeguards.

It's a rubbish idea, in my opinion. As it assumes all EU legal systems are equal, and takes away our government's power to protect it's own citizens (one of a government's primary jobs). But that's the hubris of the EU system for you, dreaming of being a viable state, and we signed up to it, so we're stuck with it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Assange supporters just wilfully ignore the facts." (Tom 38)

On what factual evidence do you conclude that AC 08:36 is an Assange supporter? I hope the Swedes have got a better class of evidence for their allegations than you have for yours.

"If the courts ruled that Blair must be extradited to your hypothetical country, the government would be similarly obliged"

Ha ha ha. Pull the other one, it's got bells on it. But just in case reality shows you are right (which seems almost infinitely improbable), Blair's already lined up plenty of alternative residences in safe states and plenty of friends in high places too. Who needs the law when you've got friends in high places?

"Once Assange is done with in Sweden, we should get him back so he can do some porridge here too."

OK, your position is perfectly clear now.

Never mind due process, Assange is a very naughty boy (says you) and he must be punished for something, who cares what the crime was, or what the punishment is to be.

Well actually lots of folk feel the same way about Blair, and with rather more reason for doing so.

But we are all equal before the law, and due process must be followed, mustn't it.

[NB justice .ne. law]

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Re: "Assange supporters just wilfully ignore the facts." (Tom 38)

"Once Assange is done with in Sweden, we should get him back so he can do some porridge here too."

OK, your position is perfectly clear now.

Never mind due process, Assange is a very naughty boy (says you) and he must be punished for something, who cares what the crime was, or what the punishment is to be.

I'm sorry, are you arguing that Assange has not breached his bail? He's legally fought this case as far as he can, and then absconded from bail. That is a criminal offence in the UK, is anyone doubting that he is guilty of that?

I have no clue to the veracity of the Swedish complaints against him, which is why I said "Once Assange is done in Sweden" - charged, not charged, guilty, not guilty - he should come back here to serve a sentence for absconding from bail. Better still would be deporting him to Australia to serve any sentence, I believe we've got form for that.

Well actually lots of folk feel the same way about Blair, and with rather more reason for doing so.

Yes, I'm one of them. I was before I'd even heard of Assange, or been illuminated by the light of his revelation. Believing Blair to be a war criminal and Assange to be a paranoid nut job who shouldn't remain in this country are not mutually opposing viewpoints.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Blair .. Assange .. nut job " (Tom 38)

Breaching bail, and war crimes, are criminal offences. Being a nut job isn't necessarily a criminal offence in the UK (not yet, anyway). Try not to confuse the two (I realise many people are finding it difficult).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Blair .. Assange .. nut job " (Tom 38)

Breaching bail is a criminal offence, we have enough criminals here without re-importing them from Australia (which I thought was the point of creating Australia).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Assange supporters just wilfully ignore the facts." (Tom 38)

'Believing Blair to be a war criminal and Assange to be a paranoid nut job who shouldn't remain in this country are not mutually opposing viewpoints.'

In my dreams I arrest Blair, but I wake up realising I'd probably kill the bastard rather than take him to the Hague. Really I would.

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FAIL

Re: So if some tinpot country decided

No, we are the ones who are invoking THE FACT THAT the UK was PROTECTING AUGUSTO PINOCHET, a documented DICTATOR, wanted for TRIAL for EN MASSE MURDER, TORTURE et cetera...

...y'know, a lot more serious offenses than supposed "coercion".

Your turn, shill.

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FAIL

Re: So if some tinpot country decided

"No, we are the ones who are invoking THE FACT THAT the UK was PROTECTING AUGUSTO PINOCHET...." Usual frothing failure. Pinochet was in the UK for surgery when he was arrested by the British Police on the Spanish warrant. The case was appealed over sixteen months and went right to the House of Lords (which was then the highest court). In that court, Pinochet's appeal of diplomatic immunity was rejected, but the Law Lords had to admit their remit only extended back to 1988 under the Criminal Justice Act 1988, which invalidated the majority of the charges against Pinochet stated in the Spanish warrant. BUT, the remaining charges were upheld, meaning the extradition to Spain could go ahead. Then Pinochet's bad health led to Home Secretary Jack Straw (Labour, not a Conservative) to release Pinochet to return to Chile. In short, Pinochet went through the same legal wrangling that St Jules did, only he "got off" due to his ill health. In fact, A$$nut has had more legal options and has lost at every stage, and can't use the excuse of ill health.

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Re: I didn't know that Jack Straw was an MD.

I wonder if he gave Pinochet a digital rectal examination before he released him.

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FAIL

Re: Re: I didn't know that Jack Straw was an MD.

Don't be silly, Straw had Pinochet undergo tests by medical experts and then acted on teh results of those tests.

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Facepalm

Re: I didn't know that Jack Straw was an MD.

Now you're absolutely sure that FOP (friends of Pinochet) didn't, ahem, pay agreeable doctors (wink wink) for certain "test results" and a helpful prognosis? It happens here in America a lot.

Naturally, I defer to your greater knowledge of English corruption.

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