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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FAIL

4 Options

A distinctly un-British affair this, who historically make it other people's problems.

Option 1: UK politefully requests that Sweden promises not to re-extradite Assange to US. Assange goes to Sweden for trial, problem diverted to Sweden (who want that problem), and we move on. Yes it'd be an extraordinary request, but isn't that exactly what diplomatic negotiations are about?

Option 2: Ecuador gives Assange diplomatic status, putting UK into legal quagmire as they have Vienna Treaty obligations and the Yvonne Fletcher act at odds (that 1987 act though is actually illegal and should be repealed). If Assange is arrested with diplomatic immunity, UK is in contravention of International law. If UK doesn't arrest Assange, problem diverted to Sweden, and we move on.

Option 3: Hague comes and out and say exactly why he is on a personal crusade against Assange. Details spill out that the US is indeed on a witch hunt, and is in fact paying for the Police overtime. Problem diverted to US, and we move on.

Option 4: Hague storms the embassy, and loses diplomatic status of all British diplomats the world over. We move on, but problem is brought squarely on Hague's shoulders with a newly impotent FCO (which I still call Foreign and Colonial Office).

Regardless of which option, we as the British have to ask this stooge at the head of the FCO: What the hell are you fighting for with all this bluster? IT IS NOT BRITAIN'S PROBLEM!

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Re: 4 Options

You do realise that option 1 already exists. Both the UK and Sweden cannot allow him to be extradited to a country where he may stand trial for capital offences.

Option 2 is impossible; Ecuador cannot 'give' people diplomatic status in this country; they can request to the Foreign Office to give Assange diplomatic status, highly unlikely to be granted.

Option 3 is you following Assange on his paranoia trips - Hague is constrained by the actions of the court to pursue this.

Option 4 is you having a little lefty daydream.

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JC_

@Tom 38

Nice post, but as a lefty I have to politely disagree with your Option 4! According to that other wiki-something site, Assange has said:

"It’s not correct to put me in any one philosophical or economic camp, because I’ve learned from many. But one is American libertarianism, market libertarianism."

It's the slashdot-demographic that's sees Assange as their personal Jesus; y'know, the same kind of people who want all information to be free and also don't know how to treat females...

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Re: 4 Options

MrHorizontal,

There's a bit of a problem.

Your Option 1 is illegal. We could offer those assurances, certainly. But it would be a lie. The UK and Swedish governments can't tell the UK courts how to rule on a future case. So we could make the promise while crossing our fingers behind our backs. But it wouldn't be worth the paper it's written on.

As for your Option 2 - you don't understand how diplomacy works. You only get the immunity after you ask for it, and the receiving country accepts it. We wouldn't. So no dice.

Your options 3 and 4 are just silly. It's our problem. He's in our country, having flouted the rules of our courts. He, and the Ecuadorian government, have stuck 2 fingers up at our legals system, and this sets a bad precedent that we don't want. As bad a precedent as storming the embassy would make. Because this sort of case buggers up the job of embassies, which is to maintain quiet communications channels between governments. Which is why we do our best not to get fugitives inside our embassies abroad. Because it pisses off the local government, and damages the diplomatic channels that make the world a safer place.

We therefore don't want to be seen to accept the situation, because our criminals might try the same trick here, or foreign criminals and genuine asylum seekers might use our embassies in the same way.

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Thumb Up

Two birds with one stone

We offer the EU Courts and Sweden a deal, lets us extradite that no good preacher hasmsa whatever his name is and stop blocking any of our future extraditions, once that's done we'll hand over Assange.

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Libyan Embassy

There's a slight difference, in that someone from within the embassy was firing outside the embassy.

That is, it was a cross-border attack, and so an act of war.

Assange is basically abroad already, he's now Ecuador's problem and it's best to let them suffer the grubby little pervert.

He should be put on a plane to Ecuador and told not to come back.

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Re: Libyan Embassy

Except that the Ecuadorian Embassy is, legally, still British soil. There is no transfer of sovereignty involved in the establishment of embassies. The Libyan incident involved Libyan nationals killing a British officer of the law (which can be considered an attack on British authority and maybe even the Crown) and harboring said killer. This gave the government the moral justification to storm the Libyan embassy. They were still storming British soil, but they suspended an agreement that at the point was being turned against the Crown.

In this current scenario, the only thing that's keeping the British from going after Assange is the agreement that what goes on in the Ecuadorian Embassy is not their affair. Thing is, by doing this, they've come between themselves and the EU (probably intentionally, if you hear Ecuador's president put it). Thing is, everything outside that embassy is within London and British jurisdiction. There are few ways in and out, all of which are being monitored. Aircraft can't approach because it's British airspace, and they're not close enough to the Thames IIRC to attempt a water escape. As for smuggling, that note already makes clear they're ready for that angle as well. About the only angle that would be difficult to cover would be attempting a multi-doppleganger ploy in the middle of the night.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Libyan Embassy

I think the combined efforts of Arsene Lupin and Hugh (Bulldog) Drummond might be hard pressed to get him outside and on the way to Ecuador.

(Note to self - reading too many free epubs off Gutenberg)

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Stop

Re: Libyan Embassy

Assange isn't abroad.

The Embassy is UK soil. That's the law. That always has been the law.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Libyan Embassy

But if they do that he'ļl get banged senseless by South American political groupies this time. Still, nice way to go :P

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Anonymous Coward

As bad as Assclowne's actions may or may not have been

it's good fun seeing the size of Ecuador's trollface.

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Anonymous Coward

What an intelligent remark!

NOT

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Facepalm

Re: What an intelligent remark!

Sorry, but there are so many unintelligent remarks on this thread, could you please be more specific as to which bit of silliness you refer?

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Trollface

Re: What an intelligent remark!

"As bad as Assclowne's actions may or may not have been

it's good fun seeing the size of Ecuador's trollface."

It didn't seem too swift when I first read it, but after a couple of days, it's not so bad.

Myself, I have fun looking at the size of Holland's dykes. You?

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This post has been deleted by its author

With apologies to Freddy Mercury

Wikileaker! (Wikileaker) Wikileaker let him go!

Assage-assage NO! We will not let him go!

Let him go!

Assage-assage NO! We will not let him go!

Let him go!

Assage-assage NO! We will not let him go!

Let him go! will not let him go!

Let him go! will not let him go!

Let him go! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!

Oh extradition, extradition, extradition let me go.

Beelzebub has a snow-plough put aside for me, for me, for MEEEEEEEE!

(Sound of SAS storming the building)

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Pint

Re: With apologies to Freddy Mercury

This just made me laugh so much. Have some internets. And a pint on me.

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ANSTAAFL

He's gonna have to pay the pied piper.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ANSTAAFL

With rats or small children?

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Re: Sweden can offer assurances

Yep but that wont stop a CIA rendition

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Re: Sweden can offer assurances

It's just as well Wikileaks didn't have anything on little green men, otherwise he'd also be fearful of alien abduction.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sweden can offer assurances

Yeah maybe if they weren't "playing dead" now ;)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sweden can offer assurances

"So, it's perfectly legal and possible for Swedish regime to guarantee that Assange does not get sent to US."

No, no it is not. Ministerstyre states that it is unconstitutional for a Swedish government minister to give such an assurance, or to intervene in the case before an extradition request has been made (it hasn't), and the extradition has been approved by the court (ditto), bearing in mind that espionage and similar crimes are classed as political crimes in Sweden, which one can't be legally extradited for in the first place.

If you're worried about black helicopters breaching sovereignty and the rule of law, what makes an embassy so secure in the first place, eh?

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Facepalm

D'oh!

"it is unconstitutional for a Swedish government minister to give such an assurance, or to intervene in the case before an extradition request has been made."

That's why the US hasn't charged Assange for 2 years, isn't it? To manipulate the system. To keep foreign governments from knowing what they intend to charge Assange with. And thereby keep foreign governments from knowing what the sentences can be. And keep it from the public at large.

Very noble. Very Honorable. Very 'Home of the Brave.'

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sweden can offer assurances

'It's just as well Wikileaks didn't have anything on little green men, otherwise he'd also be fearful of alien abduction.'

That and being anally probed. Oh, but wait, would he worry about such a thing? ;)

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WTF?

Re: D'oh!

"That's why the US hasn't charged Assange for 2 years, isn't it? To manipulate the system. To keep foreign governments from knowing what they intend to charge Assange with. And thereby keep foreign governments from knowing what the sentences can be. And keep it from the public at large.

"

Please try again, but this time use the facts in front of you...

The US is still investigating and compiling all of the evidence.

Will the US charge Assange? Eventually, when they have concluded their investigation, and have lined up all their ducks in a row.

And the Death penalty is already a non-issue. Manning doesn't face the death penalty, so FFS,why would Assange.

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Happy

Re: Sing a Song of Sexpence

A pocket full of lies

Quarter million cables

Baked into a pie.

When the pie was opened,

The cables began to sing;

Wasn't that a revolting dish,

To set before the king?

The king was in his counting house,

Charging his accusal,

He was only stalling,

Faking a full perusal.

.

We will have to agree to disagree about this matter.

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WTF?

Re: D'oh!

IMG,

the more you try to invoke "your facts" the more pathetic you sound - a classic shill, perhaps?

Manning MAY or MAY NOT face the death penalty, depending on future actions of the prosecution. All we know is there last comment where they said they will not seek death penalty - which could change any day especially if Mitt the Twit and his ilks will take over all branches...

...all of which, BTW, have nothing to do with Assange possibly facing a death sentence should he be extradited by the suspiciously weirdly acting Swedish authorities, mind you.

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Re: D'oh!

"The idea behind the right to a speedy trial is to ensure that a federal prosecutorial hammer is not held over someone’s head for an indefinite period of time and to prevent indefinite detentions of people accused of crimes."

Do the legal protections of the US Constitution apply to foreigners like Assange or do they just have the right to be apprehended, tried and punished?

Does two years or more to hear the charges against you constitute what the founders had in mind when they wrote this amendment?

The Sixth Amendment reads as follows:

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Oh, let me repeat this again in case you didn't grok it the first time.

The idea behind the right to a speedy trial is to ensure that a federal prosecutorial hammer is not held over someone’s head for an indefinite period of time and to prevent indefinite detentions of people accused of crimes.

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FAIL

Re: D'oh!

".....The idea behind the right to a speedy trial...." Oh dear, massive fail! You can't have a trial until after someone is arrested and charged, and you can't do that until you complete the investigation. The right to speedy trial covers the bit between arrest and trial and were not there yet because the US has not pressed charges - yet. The US can spin out the investigation for as long as it likes (no statute of limitations for espionage) until they are ready and A$$nut is in a place where he can be extradited to face charges. D'uh!

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"'No, no!' said the Queen. 'Sentence first - verdict afterwards.'"

Confinement in a Swedish prison or a Ecuadorian Embassy until trial and punishment in the US.

When I pointed out the similarity between the right to a speedy trial and the right to a quicker indictment than Assange is getting, you replied with the letter, but not the spirit of the 6th Amendment. Are you are more concerned with the literal words of the Authors, than you are with their intent? Tell us how you feel about the difference between the spirit and the letter of the law.

You don't like Assange very much and now you're beginning to look like Javert around the edges.

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FAIL

Re: "'No, no!' said the Queen. 'Sentence first - verdict afterwards.'"

"When I pointed out the similarity between the right to a speedy trial and the right to a quicker indictment than Assange is getting, you replied with the letter, but not the spirit of the 6th Amendment...." So you can't dispute that I'm correct and you were wrong, so instead you're going to flail and froth wildly? So kindergarten!

Is "Local G" a new account for the old "Local Group" dupe?

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Unhappy

Re: "The US is still investigating and compiling all of the evidence."

And you know this because you read it somewhere? Or heard it on Rush Limbaugh?

"Manning doesn't face the death penalty, so FFS,why would Assange."

What a relief it must be for Assange to know that he's only looking at 50 years in Pelican Bay.

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Mushroom

Quid pro quo

Setting aside the legal arguments, if the UK is going to act like America's poodle in this whole affair can the USA administration at least say something a little supportive of the UK's position in the on going spat with Cristina Kirchner?

The UK relationship with the current US administration is a case of we scratch their back....we scratch their back....we scratch their back....we scratch their back........ you get the picture.

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Anonymous Coward

erm

Its all a bit odd if you ask me, which you didnt,

I mean they let him leave the country (Sweden) did they not? I think we would have rather bigger issues if we stormed the soon to be ex embassy. I havent been paying an awful lot of attention, but isnt pretty much the whole of South America supporting the Ecuadorians on this? I wouldnt be surprised if Argentina didnt use it as means to galvanise the whole of south American behind them over the Falklands, and then arrange a little south Atlantic jolly for their special forces.

We (and the Swedish) should accept the offer of a local interview, as while this might not be Swedish law I am sure it falls within our law, and probably Ecuadorian law, you know technically the place this is happening, all we are doing is giving him free publicity. The Swedish can then decided to arrest him, or not and we have to deal with the consequences of his change in status, he becomes a wanted man with all that entails. I dont think the Ecuadorians will try to smuggle him out, it will do their reputation within Europe more harm than good.

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Mushroom

Re: erm

First they didn't let Assange walk out of the country. His lawyer attempted to dodge contact w the prosecutor's office as Assange left. Once Assange obtained counsel, all communication goes through counsel. Note that his counsel faced an investigation over his actions after he admitted in British court that he received text messages and that he misrepresented the facts that the Prosector had been trying to contact him to bring Assange in.

Since you admittedly don't know the facts, Ny under oath told the British courts that the purpose of the EAW is so that the can charge him.

So your idea of just coming to the UK to investigate is not well thought out.

You also don't seem to know your law either...

You have a right to express an opinion, however it would be a reasonable assumption that you also take the time to get the facts before forming an opinion...

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Re: erm

"First they didn't let Assange walk out of the country. His lawyer attempted to dodge contact w the prosecutor's office as Assange left. Once Assange obtained counsel, all communication goes through counsel. Note that his counsel faced an investigation over his actions after he admitted in British court that he received text messages and that he misrepresented the facts that the Prosector had been trying to contact him to bring Assange in."

First, please stop the BS - you obviously either have no clue about the facts and just parroting the BS or you are indeed full of shite, Sir.

In short here is your answer, starting from the relevant part of the Australian ABC documentary on the story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2EaE80TiiQ&hd=1&t=18m4s

The transcript of the important part, in detail:

"Sitting outdoors with the world's coolest, smartest people! It's amazing!", Anna Ardin tweeted, as she sat at a barbecue she had arranged for Assange. Yet according to the allegations she would later bring against him he had recently sexually abused her. "You wouldn't send such messages if you had been raped by someone the night before", argues Assange's lawyer. Both Assange and his supporters believe the attempt to force his return to Sweden is simply the first step in a plan to see him extradited to the United States and that the case against him is a set up.

It's clear that when Assange arrived in Sweden Anna Ardin & Sofia Wilen were both enthralled by the Wikileaks phenomena and he slept with both women over a period of weeks. The charges originated with a misunderstanding in a Stockholm police station that "some sort of sex crime had been committed". Wilen refused to sign what had been taken down. Assange was interviewed but not charged with any offence. But 12 days after being given permission to leave the country, the case was re-opened and the Swedes issued a warrant for his arrest.

At this point Assange was at the height of his powers and three weeks later he delivered a massive hit against America: the Iraq War Logs. An outraged US labelled him a "traitor" and were overcome with calls to "shoot the son-of-a-bitch". Shortly afterwards Sweden issued an Interpol Red Notice for his arrest; a highly unusual move. "Red Notices are normally the preserve of terrorists and dictators. Even Gaddafi was not subject to a Red Notice."

After 500 days of fighting extradition from the UK to Sweden, Assange made his dramatic dash to the Ecuadorian embassy. In an interview from inside, Assange claims he had sensed the net tightening around him when, "the Swedish government publicly announced that it would detain me without charge in severe conditions. On the same evening security contractors turned up unannounced at 10:30pm and insisted on fitting another manacle to my leg".

So let me repeat it, IMG: he DID appear, the Swedish police DID interview him, they had asked him to stay then they DID drop the case and Swedish authorities DID ALLOW him to leave Sweden - only to *suddenly* reopen the case and immediately issue an unprecedented Interpol Red Notice two weeks later.

Ahh and you are full of it, as I said.

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Coat

i agree,..

forget the crimes and atrocities Mr Assange has helped make public (oh, i see you have already), it's not really a crime when your government lie to you, mis-spend your taxes without telling you, or murder innocent men, women, and children whilst laughing about it. These things are secret because the gov don't want you to know and so it's none of your business. Stop complaining, stop having fanciful ideas about truth and justice, and STFU. Instead, look at the shiny Assange shaped object and hear our voice. This good man is bad. The truth he tells embarrasses us so it must be lies. Go back to work and be quiet !

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Re: i agree,..

First, what crimes did Julian make public? Seriously. The truth is none.

What Julian did do was make his informants criminals.

The guy who gave Wikileaks a dump of Swiss banking data sits in Jail.

Manning also sits in jail.

Both broke the respective laws of their countries in order to provide data to Wikileaks. Yet that's the only crimes uncovered by Wikileaks.

But that's not the point.

Little boy Julian allegedly broke the laws in Sweden and before he could be brought in to be charged he fled.

Now he's making a big scene because he doesn't want to face his accusers.

Seems to me you don't know anything about truth or justice.

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Nev
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Happy

If I ws the Ecuadorian ambassador to London...

... I'd start randomly shipping man-sized/weighted boxes all over the world from my London Embassy.

Just to play around with the guys on the police cordon.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If I ws the Ecuadorian ambassador to London...

Couldn't they 3d-scan him and make a Han Solo-style carbonite block to ship out, just for giggles? ;)

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Anonymous Coward

Idea!

Why not slice Assange into rectangular wafers and print all over him, then export him as diplomatic papers?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Idea!

Interesting idea! They could also just take out the trash and leave ASSange by the curb for the U.K. authorities or trash collectors.

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Anonymous Coward

Oh dear

For all the Julianleftyluvies.

When your suspected of a crime you do not get to place conditions on how Authorities deal with you. No matter how much of a red face you left Uncle Sam with. It also does not give him a free pass on serious allegations of a sexual nature on the basis that there is a chance he will be scooped up by the Americans for what they see as a breach of their security regardless of the merits of it all.

Julian is not special, not above the Law here in the UK or Sweden and dare I say the US. He painted a very big target on himself going at them like that then whoring it up hard in the media. Did he really expect them to just walk away without any response?

Where are your principles now Julian? Shacked up with a tinpot South-American president. Who oppresses everything you expound to hold dear. What about Brad Manning Julian? He's the one truly paying for your 15 minutes of fame. .....Beware false prophets!

Assange and supporters are dreaming if you think this is going to end well for Julian.

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FAIL

"Have you no sense of decency, Sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

... - what a lowlife this little twat is (Hague), along with the entire, utterly incompetent UK government, of course.

Allow me to repeat myself from a few days ago...

...is it the same UK that protected Augusto Pinochet from extradition to face charges for torture and murder that is going so out of the way now to extradite Assange for "coercion" (not rape, not torture, not murder nor anything similar*) they are REGULARLY threaten to ignore the embassy status and raid the building with force?

And I just recently read the article how a Brit was sent to prison by Hollywood's parasites *in the UK*, by a UK court, see details here: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/08/private-justice-how-hollywood-money-put-a-brit-behind-bars/

Dear Jesus, government, laws, police, courts sentence - is there anything left you cannot *BUY* in the UK?

FWIW I'm still undecided about Assange or his actions but boy, what an incompetent, disgusting, lowlife government you Brits have, it's just breathtaking... I feel for you. From the other side of the pond it really seems like the worst in the past 30 years (yes, I really said that, Major included.)

* keep in mind that while Assange's coercion is still in question, the forceful coercion committed by the Swedish Police definitely *DID* happen when the second girl wanted to leave and revoke her statement/deposition/whatever it's called - and this is just beside the more than eyebrow-raising fact that the first, supposedly "coerced" woman was living and partying with Assange for *SEVERAL* *MORE* *DAYS* *AFTER* her supposed coercion took place, see the details in the unparalleled documentary of the Australian ABC about Assange's story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2EaE80TiiQ&feature=watch-now-button&wide=1

Pathetic Swedish police, that is.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Have you no sense of decency, Sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

Downvote for dissing Sir John, greatest British politician since Harold Wilson.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Have you no sense of decency, Sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

And who also couldn''t keep it in his trousers, surprisingly enough, like all the participants in the Swedish case.

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