back to article Ecuador tried to make Julian Assange a diplomat

Ecuador granted citizenship to Julian Assange and tried to register him as a diplomat in order to secure his release from the nation’s London embassy. The first part of Ecuador’s plan worked: Assange won his citizenship and donned the Ecuadorian national football team’s shirt to prove it. pic.twitter.com/LB5jzQmJLb — Julian …

  1. Mayday Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Hopefully this means he has renounced his Aussie citizenship and we* can be rid of him.

    Either way, this would also mean that he is excluded under Section 44 of the Constitution from being eligible for Parliament, which has been a topic of Aussie politics of late.

    *we meaning Aussies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ppfffttt

      looking at our politicians, all it means is he needs to renounce his Ecuador citizenship and he's back to being Australian and can enter parliament.

  2. KeepCalm

    Virtual insanity

    I'd like to be the first to virtue signal, and show my peers how decent a human being I am by saying that Julian Assange is a <insert generic baseless insult>, and therefore I am a nice guy and support <insert trending sjw causes> and/or <rampant patriotism>.

    Thanks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Virtual insanity

      Careful, your red-pill signalling is showing.

    2. phuzz Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Virtual insanity

      You can call practically any behaviour which isn't directly survival based 'virtue signalling'.

      When nazis start doing their nazi salutes, or waving tiki torches around or whatever it is they do now, that's them trying to signal their virtue to all the other nazis.

      I suppose if you're a WWII sniper then they're also signalling their virtue as targets, how considerate!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Virtual insanity

        The term overwhelmingly gets used for putting someone down to make yourself look good. It's gone from insulting someone's taste in boybands to imply that your taste is better into grown up politics and hasn't become more mature. "You suck therefore I don't" is one of the highest profile and most tiresome logical fallacies in the 21st century.

        And you're right, it's not restricted to one side.

  3. Fazal Majid

    Usually you get the option to change your name when you get naturalized. They should have named him Jose Garcia and asked for diplomatic papers under that name, and pulled a fast one that way.

    The only real victims in this farce are the long-suffering Ecuadorian diplomats in London.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Other victims

      His bail sureties had to pay £93,500. The police bill for the first three years was £12.6M. If I put on my tin foil hat then when the UK ceased paying for 24x7 surveillance I suspect the US took over.

      1. jmch Silver badge

        Re: Other victims

        12,6 million for 3 years??

        4.2 mln / yr

        3 X 8-hr shifts to get 24-hr coverage = 1.4mln per shift per year

        or 4X 6-hr shifts, 1.05 mln per shift per year

        Exactly how many policemen are required to cover 2 or 3 exits?

        And what level of expertise (and therefore, pay) is required to look at a door for 6 hours a day and make sure a particular person does not come out?

        In this case the victims are the UK taxpayers, the police seem to have done rather well out of it!

      2. Tikimon Silver badge
        Facepalm

        WOT? CCTV not sufficient???

        I would expect the millions of cameras monitoring your police state to be sufficient to watch the exits of an embassy without requiring expensive meatsacks to do the job. Britain is obviously not reluctant to put up cameras on every pub and corner. Why didn't they simply add twenty more on the embassy?

        I can answer my own question. The Pale One has defied the Stasi of the UK and US, they will stop at NOTHING to make him pay for it, and want everyone to know it. Cops are the same everywhere, they will never admit error, and they will never give up. The Sun will expand to a red giant and they will still be trying to extradite his decomposed remains to face trial.

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: WOT? CCTV not sufficient???

          There's not much point in a CCTV camera pointed at a door, if there's no one there to arrest him when he actually comes out is there?

        2. notowenwilson

          Re: WOT? CCTV not sufficient???

          "WOT? CCTV not sufficient???"

          The issue is not seeing him leave, the issue is getting hold of him before he can go hide somewhere else or leave the country. CCTV has never been particularly good at arresting people.

    2. Prosthetic Conscience
      Joke

      Jose

      Hm yeah Jose might be better Julian's 'Jesus' suggestion.

    3. Bob Wheeler

      I'm making a guess here, but would they need to provide a photograph of the newly proposed diplomat?

  4. Scorchio!!

    At least one thing has been demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt; those who suggested it would be easy for the Ecuadorian government to make him a diplomat, thus making his escape easy, have been proven wrong; it requires the approval the Court of St James, and this will not be forthcoming. They must let him go or put up with him until he leaves the building in a box.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations . . .?

      @ scorchio: beyond a doubt = with doubt according to Ambassador Murray

      https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/01/ecuador-and-assange/

      Ambassador Murray reminds us that the Host country is only required/able to accept/refuse diplomat status for the Head of Mission - other even annoying minions are simply 'ordained' by their own foreign service - debate will continue I'm sure!

      1. collinsl

        Re: under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations . . .?

        In which case we* are perfectly free to revoke the status of the diplomat-in-chief who made Assange a diplomat. I don't think that's a route Ecuador want to go down at this point.

        *The UK

      2. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations . . .?

        And aren't those positions subject to host acceptance the ONLY positions where diplomatic immunity can seriously apply?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a weird world...

    where the government of a liberal democracy (US or UK) holds a grunge against an individual citizen of another liberal democracy because he published unpleasant material many years ago. With all the lip service to a free press, I guess said democracies find it preferable to have a tightly regulated press that stick to the script.

    You may not like what he published, but the idea of free speech is that people can say what they want even if you don't like it or if it makes you look bad. I was not aware, that Assange ever signed a nondisclosure agreement with the US military that would make him criminally liable for anything. But I forget, it's all about the Swedish thing (that the Swedes are no longer interested in)... right.

    By now, most Brits should understand how they were played when their country went to fight the good fight in Iraq. Why then don't they r̶e̶w̶a̶r̶d̶ ̶ cease to punish the whistle-blowers who brought up the documents necessary to see through the smoke and mirrors?

    1. Stork Silver badge

      Re: It's a weird world...

      If you bother checking the facts, you don't have to go there.

      A was wanted by Sweden on an EU warrant, was arrested in the UK and released on bail. He jumped bail, which has not changed even if Sweden have given up on him.

      If I was A and paranoid I would rather have gone to Sweden and taken my chances there against extradition to the US than trying it in the UK. And that is in any case speculation so far, right?

      1. jmch Silver badge

        Re: It's a weird world...

        Yes, he's now wanted for bail jumping in UK, but AC's core point stands - If the US just let it go, he could exit the embassy, have a quick trial in UK for bail-jumping, spend a few months in jail and then be done with it.

        1. Jonathan Schwatrz
          Facepalm

          Re: jmch Re: It's a weird world...

          "....he could exit the embassy, have a quick trial in UK for bail-jumping, spend a few months in jail and then be done with it." Actually probably not. Her Maj's Government are probably quite happy to hand Assange over to the US in the case of an extradition request as it means the Yanks get to handle all the subsequent shrieking and misbehaving of the Resistance/Occupy/Anonymous crowd. However, if the US doesn't issue an extradition request, the UK has it's own axe to grind. You may have missed the David Miranda affair, where it was admitted in court that Miranda had 58,000 highly-classified UK Government documents in his possession that are claimed to have been part of the WikiLeaks trove. WikiLeaks just having those docs without authority, let alone distributing them, puts them in breach of section 6 of the UK's Official Secrets Act, and as Assange has already admitted his part in that leak he will probably be slapped with a charge by the UK if the Americans take a rain check. So, no, it is highly unlikely that Assange will just be getting a slap on the wrist if he leaves the Ecuadorean Embassy, he's probably doing hard time in the US or the UK.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: jmch It's a weird world...

            However, if the US doesn't issue an extradition request, the UK has it's own axe to grind. You may have missed the David Miranda affair, where it was admitted in court that Miranda had 58,000 highly-classified UK Government documents in his possession that are claimed to have been part of the WikiLeaks trove. WikiLeaks just having those docs without authority, let alone distributing them, puts them in breach of section 6 of the UK's Official Secrets Act, and as Assange has already admitted his part in that leak he will probably be slapped with a charge by the UK if the Americans take a rain check.

            Actually, *I* missed that one. Thanks for the reminder. It appears St Jules is f*cked either way, pretty much the position he manoeuvred those Swedish girls in. If they had kept quiet they would have to live with the problem (given St Jules' rumoured aversion to cleanliness he could have been sharing a bit too much, which was IMHO the motive for the girls to ask via the police if he would be so kind to have himself checked - a request, I note, he has as yet to act upon which carries a hint that he may already know what the outcome would be), and acting got them accused by especially the mindless ST Jules supporters of being stooges of whoever is currently pursuing his unwashed grace.

            I'd switch back a few steps here to address Wikileaks itself. Given how he behaves and how WL has been acting I find the conclusion pretty much inevitable that the alleged motive of creating "openness" is a load of hogwash - as far as I can tell, WL was merely created to put some "benefit to society" varnish over Assange's hacking activities and so give it an air of legitimacy that it has proven not to deserve in the slightest due to its clear political bias, which moves those hacking activities back on the criminal dossier too. No public benefit, ergo no excuses.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: It's a weird world...

      Don't actually see that the UK is anything but a middle man.

      "Please arrest him, here's all the paperwork"

      "That paperwork isn't right."

      "Oh, sorry, here."

      "Nope, still not right."

      "Oh, for feck's sake... HERE"

      "Okay, we'll do that now that you've done it properly. Mr Assange... Hold on, he's skipped bail."

      "Oh, well, forget it."

      "Er... no... we're having him for skipping bail because we can't just have everyone do that. What comes after may be a matter of protocol, but we can't have people just think they can skip UK bail by running to an embassy and that's that."

      I honestly think it will at this point be a million times more likely and a thousand times more embarrassing for him to come out, be arrested, sent to jail for skipping bail, six months without press, gets out of that and... literally nothing happens. Nobody cares enough to bother to chase him any more. A couple of press conferences and then fades into obscurity.

      Pretty much the only reason we're still talking about him is that he's an outlaw. As it is, he's spent years in a self-imposed prison, will spend more in a proper prison, and then... well... pretty much whatever was going to happen will happen anyway - prosecution, extradition or nothing at all.

      1. Lars Johansson

        Re: It's a weird world...

        The problem with this scenario is, that if he does so within the statutory limitations of the Swedish sex offence charges, Swedish prosecutors will reopen the investigations and refile the extradition papers the same instant he is in UK custody.

        Maybe Brexit can save him, though..?

      2. Bernard M. Orwell

        Re: It's a weird world...

        "Nobody cares enough to bother to chase him any more. A couple of press conferences and then fades into obscurity."

        Which bit of this, and other such statements from the US, did you miss...?

        "Jeff Sessions, the USA’s attorney-general, has made it abundantly clear that the book will be hurled, with extreme prejudice, directly at the leaker-in-chief."

        It would appear that Assange may have had cause for his paranoia, at the least. The US has become...how shall we say... blunter under the Trump regime and less prone to dance around the point. Obama refused to comment on Assange, Clinton wanted to "drone him to death" and Trump wants the book chucked at him. It would appear that that champion of openness and free speech, the US of A, are determined to grab a non-citizen and take revenge for the embarrassment he heaped on them. I'm not sure we can deny that any longer.

        1. Jonathan Schwatrz
          Facepalm

          Re: Bernard M. Orwell Re: It's a weird world...

          Up-vote for making the calm and rational point that the US is definitely out to get him (possibly more so because Assange is likely to leak plenty more to embarrass the previous Democrat administration rather than Trump's). Unfortunately you negated to mention that it was Assange and his behavior that put him in a mess in the first place, and then made it worse for himself with this silly hiding in the Embassy stunt. If he had gone to Sweden he would not have been extradited to the US as Swedish law prohibits the extradition of political cases, and also because Assange's time "writing" for Aftonblavet (sorry, not sure on the spelling, too lazy to check) gives him added protection under Swedish law for protecting journalists (it's the reason he went to Sweden in the first place). As long as the European Arrest Warrant was in-place it took priority over any English legal matters. Now, however, neither of the Swedish get-outs apply in the UK, and he has royally screwed himself by making himself a fugitive from the law in England by bail-jumping a there would be very little case not to extradite him to the US from the UK! Kind of hard for him to do a Love and claim he's suicidal at the thought of being locked up after he's willingly imprisoned himself for several years already!

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: It's a weird world...

        "I honestly think it will at this point be a million times more likely and a thousand times more embarrassing for him to come out, be arrested, sent to jail for skipping bail, six months without press, gets out of that and... literally nothing happens. Nobody cares enough to bother to chase him any more. A couple of press conferences and then fades into obscurity."

        That would certainly have been the smart thing to have done and could have been the situation a year a so back. However he's now met his match in the White House.

      4. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: It's a weird world...

        "Er... no... we're having him for skipping bail because we can't just have everyone do that."

        The standard punishment for a first time bail offender is a smack in the wrist and being told not to do it again.

        If Asshat was to get bird or other punishments, then he'd have ground for appeal due to political interference.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Alan Brown - jumping bail

          Actually the sentencing guidelines are a lot richer than "has he done it before?". Have a look at https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/web_Fail_to_Surrender_to_Bail.pdf - a case is assessed as causing the highest pre-trial harm when it grossly interferes with the course of justice, e.g. by delaying a trial so much that witness memories become unreliable. Since Assange shows every sign of running all charges beyond the Swedish statute of limitations he surely satisfies this criterion.

        2. Jonathan Schwatrz

          Re: Alan Brown Re: It's a weird world...

          "....The standard punishment for a first time bail offender is a smack in the wrist and being told not to do it again....." True, but the bail-jumping punishment is not the problem for Assange, the problem is when he is under arrest the UK can bring any other charges they wish, including holding him almost indefinitely (no bail for previous bail-jumpers!) whilst an extradition request from the US is considered. And that is ignoring the fact the UK can now press their own prosecution under the Official Secrets Act without having to hand him off to Sweden first if the US takes a pass. If the US did make an extradition request, Lauri Love's extradition took three years and Assange's would take at least that long given his idiotic ability to shoot himself in the feet. That would be three years in a maximum security UK prison, followed by "life" (say 25 years) in maximum security in the US. Or, if the US passes, probably fourteen years of UK maximum security prison if sentenced for breach of the OSA. Not the 26 months average rape sentence in a cushy Swedish minimum security prison Assange was facing at the start of this affair. Julian Assange truly is the Bechtel of people that started digging a hole and just kept on digging themselves deeper!

    3. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: It's a weird world...

      I hold a grudge against him because he is a rapist on the run. Nothing to do with his wikileaking.

      1. FlamingDeath Bronze badge

        Re: It's a weird world...

        Sadly, history has shown that the human female sometimes lie about these things.

        So I will correct your sentence, what you should have typed is:

        "I hold a grudge against him because he is an alleged rapist on the run"

        I would add also he is on the run from that beacon of light, the land of the *cough* free, Murica™© - I'm trying to run from them too so I dont blame him!

        Let's get straight to the facts, Julian Assanges' Wikileaks published damaging material about abuses and war crimes, of a suspect war, that was instigated because of a blatant false flag attack, with the MSM doing as they're told, to help maintain the PR status quo for the masses, AKA propaganda

        I remember the 1991 gulf war, the reasons for that, the propaganda put out, the 911 event and lies, the 77 event and that good ol' Peter Powers, of Visor Consultants

        You'll excuse me if I tell you to STFU, because you have no clue what you're on about, or the history of all of this, this clusterfuck of humanity

        1. JC_

          Re: It's a weird world...

          "Sadly, history has shown that the human female sometimes lie about these things."

          Rather a creepy thing to say about women. And yet you're an Assange supporter? Inconceivable!

          1. FlamingDeath Bronze badge

            Re: It's a weird world...

            "Rather a creepy thing to say about women. And yet you're an Assange supporter? Inconceivable!"

            It's not that strange when you consider, that I dont consider myself a part of this stupid species YOU call humans, there is no fucking way I am a member of this species, if I was I would have topped myself ages ago. It's a disgusting species, Agent Smith said it best when reclassifying our species in the film The Matrix

            PS. You dont have to like what I am saying either, I don't care (y) ;)

            1. Jonathan Schwatrz
              FAIL

              Re: FlamingDeath Re: It's a weird world...

              ".... there is no fucking way I am a member of this species, if I was I would have topped myself ages ago...." Ooh, bad news - considering you are using some form of computer to post on an Internet forum you are most definitely human, though probably not exactly the smartest homo sapiens in the room. Probably time to warm up the "phone" booth. Maybe you're a hominid - do you enjoy throwing your faeces at the wall of your pen?

            2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Re: It's a weird world...

              that I dont consider myself a part of this stupid species

              Whether you consider yourself a human is irrelevent. The fact is that you are one - and all the wishing in the world isn't going to change that.

              Reality - it sucks but it's all we have.

        2. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: It's a weird world...

          "Sadly, history has shown that the human female sometimes lie about these things."

          Yes, but it is less likely than in relation to any other offence.

          Also, based on his own description of what he did, he is a rapist.

          Yes, the previous session that happened a couple of hours before the rape probably was consensual, but that does not allow him to rape her while she's sleeping with him.

        3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: It's a weird world...

          Let's get straight to the facts, Julian Assanges' Wikileaks published damaging material about abuses and war crimes, of a suspect war, that was instigated because of a blatant false flag attack, with the MSM doing as they're told, to help maintain the PR status quo for the masses, AKA propaganda

          That's where I think Assange/Wikileaks made a huge mistake. Facts, and their b'stard stepchild, fact 'checkers' aren't always reliable, and then become PR or propaganda tools themselves. So some years ago, Assange published his 'Collateral Murder' video showing a US attack that killed Reuters staff. But, his video edited out some crucial elements, like armed insurgents with the Reuters people. And from that point on, I lost trust in Wikileaks because it became political rather than neutral. And by becoming political, Assange has also made himself more enemies. It also meant Wikileaks lost staff, and probably sources who didn't want Assange editorialising to suit his own agenda.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's a weird world...

            "But, his video edited out some crucial elements, like armed insurgents with the Reuters people."

            Hmm, that sentence sounds like they were airbrushed out of the video. AFAIK the video had a commentary that misrepresented the presence of the armed personnel but the video wasn't specifically edited to remove digital content (it selectively slowed down some parts to add commentary).

            I would agree there was commentary that was probably unneeded which politicised it, but the video itself did represent the reality of what happened, you just need to hear several commentaries describing what you are seeing to get a balanced picture.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: It's a weird world...

              Yep, it slowed down the identification of the journalists. But not the rest of the group. The 17min version is the edit, the longer was presented without (or less) comment. Then per Wiki-

              Assange later acknowledged "Based upon visual evidence, I suspect there probably were AKs and an RPG, but I'm not sure that means anything"

              It means there were threats, the helicopter requested permission to engage, was authorised.. and then one of the Reuter's guys sadly poked around cover with something that could have been an RPG. And the rest is several versions of history. By editing and adding the commentary, it selectively represented a perceived reality.. And again that's Assange's problem. Start doing that, and people stop trusting you.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's a weird world...

          "would add also he is on the run from that beacon of light, the land of the *cough* free, Murica"

          And he thought the best place to do that would be to come the UK?

          Running Wikileaks surely he must've been aware of the UK's "special relationship" with USA, the generous extradition treaty we have with the USA and how many CIA and NSA substations are actually situated here in the UK.

          1. FlamingDeath Bronze badge

            Re: It's a weird world...

            "Running Wikileaks surely he must've been aware of the UK's "special relationship" with USA"

            You do realise the UK is/was a vassal of the USA?

            The Special Relationship © is meant to be said with threatening undertones ;)

            I'm not sure how that co-dependency 'relationship' is working out, now that Trump is in the whitehouse

      2. nethack47

        Re: It's a weird world...

        It's been a few years but I read Swedish case that's been handed over to the courts (Sweden makes a lot public on principle) and it was a bit iffy on the whole raping bit.

        He's a slob and two-timing bastard of the first degree but the case would not go to court in almost any other country.

        He supposedly wanted to be without a condom but put one on anyway but caused the end of it to break.

        Then they had another go the next morning which she felt uncomfortable with afterwards making it a problem after the fact.

        The other girl talked to the first because he was a bit of a creep and they both decided to go to the police.

        When it happened I remember there was also a private familiarity between the girls and the prosecutor who decided it was rape and not mere molestation. There was a lot of conspiracy accusations initially as the whole lot in Sweden was either active Social democrats (the Labour party there) or closely linked since it's hard to see how unprotected sex and after the fact regrets amounts to rape.

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: It's a weird world...

          @nethack47

          since it's hard to see how unprotected sex and after the fact regrets amounts to rape.

          Well, lets just look at that objectively shall we? Forget about who the suspect is for a moment.

          A girl consents to sex with protection and instead you have sex without protection, for which there was no consent. Sex without consent is rape. There's no excuse. Yes, some small percentage of rape allegations will be mailicious or made up, but that is why we have these things called trials; to work out who is telling the truth and who isn't.

          Now, back to Assange. In all the time he was in Sweden after the leaks, he made zero noise about being extradited. He simply didn't consider it a threat. Then, after his lawyer illegally warned him he was going to be arrested for rape, he fled the country to the UK. The only country in the whole world it makes less sense to flee to in order to escape prosecution in America, is America.

          I'm not sure there are any after the fact regrets in this case - I've not heard form him any denial that he was told to bag up and didn't. That the woman didn't flee on the evening and report immediately does not an after the fact regret make. He strayed from the parameters of consent and acted in a manner he had allegedly specifically been told he did not have consent for.

          In the time between entering the UK and fleeing to the embassy, he was seemingly totally unconcerned about extradition to America from the UK. He belatedly raised that as a 'fact' after the Swedes got their paperwork straight, and fled to the embassy.

          The situation he's created for himself is undoubtedly uncomfortable, but I have no sympathy for that because he's hiding in order to deny a couple of women their day in court. What if those women are telling the truth? He's simply aggravating their suffering by denying them their day in court, and subjecting them to his media presence every few weeks. The impact on his wife and children must be devastating. "Mammy, why does Billy at school call daddy a rapist? And why won't he come out of that little room." If the statute of limitations in Sweden has expired, then he will be referred to as an alleged rapist for the rest of his life...... if he actually is innocent, that must hurt beyond belief.

          If he had any sense at all, he'd have left the in time to serve his time in Sweden, get sent to jail under Obama, then pardoned right along with Manning. Waiting until Trump is in charge seems like a strategic error, especially after the fury Mannings release caused among Trump supporters.

          Unless there is a statute of limitations in regard to the offences he's wanted for in America, and I suspect there isn't, then he will forever be at risk of detention under any future Presidency. His only play is to come out, serve time for the bail jumping, and see what happens next. That aside he's on the couch until he dies.

          We're clearly never going to waive the bail jumping, and as much as Ecquador may want to get him out of their embassy, it'd difficult to see a means by which that could ever happen, short of some James Bond style escape sequence.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: It's a weird world...

            "We're clearly never going to waive the bail jumping, and as much as Ecquador may want to get him out of their embassy, it'd difficult to see a means by which that could ever happen, short of some James Bond style escape sequence."

            And now Ecuador have made him a citizen, it's a lot more difficult for them to just give up and kick him out the door to face the music. That means losing even more face than if they'd left his citizenship alone.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: It's a weird world...

              And now Ecuador have made him a citizen, it's a lot more difficult for them to just give up and kick him out the door to face the music. That means losing even more face than if they'd left his citizenship alone.

              That said, the Ozzies must be besides themselves with glee because he's now no longer a stain (pardon the pun) on their reputation, and the weird but allegedly potential of him applying for a political job there has now been eradicated too. I may not have that last bit 100% right because I've lost so much interest in this w*nker(*) that I don't even bother to remember most of his antics, though.

              As far as I can tell from the Australian perspective, Ecuador appears to have done them a massive favour...

              (*) Yes, yes, I know, if he really had been a w*nker he would probably not be in this mess, but I meant it figuratively, not literally. Go with me on this.

        2. Jonathan Schwatrz
          Stop

          Re: nethack47 Re: It's a weird world...

          "....but the case would not go to court in almost any other country....." Not true! Assange's lawyer tried that argument in the UK twice and both times the court replied it would also be rape under English law. Seriously, how many times does that zombie argument need to be slain before the Assange apologists admit it's simply not true?!?!

    4. Jonathan Schwatrz
      FAIL

      Re: AC Re: It's a weird world...

      "It's a weird world... where the government of a liberal democracy (US or UK) holds a grunge (sic) against an individual citizen of another liberal democracy because he published unpleasant material many years ago....." Nice try at revisionism, but that has nothing to do with the bail jumping charge Assange is hiding from. That is simply a common charge of your average petty criminal. Your "hero" has feet of clay, even before we get round to discussing the accusations of sexual harassment in Sweden that started the whole jaunt.

    5. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: It's a weird world...

      because he published unpleasant material

      He's free to publish whatever he wants just as we are free to form an opinion about him based on that.

      Free speech can have consequences.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If they were serious about him being a diplomat they would have given him a briefcase in his photo opportunity, you can't deny someone from being a diplomat if they have a briefcase. It's the law.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      If it really IS the law, cite it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

        Article 27. The host country must permit and protect free communication between the diplomats of the mission and their home country. A diplomatic bag must never be opened even on suspicion of abuse. A diplomatic courier must never be arrested or detained.

        I posted it for a joke but it seems it's actually true. Who knew?

        So does that technically mean if he's given a bag he can't be arrested?

        1. Kane Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          "A diplomatic courier must never be arrested or detained."

          Diplomatic Immunity!

          1. Lee D Silver badge

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diplomatic_bag

            Read the Noteworthy Shipments.

            Basically, if you're taking the mick, no it's not covered. And sending a human inside it has been done before (as has drugs, bombs and just about everything else), but is still taking the mick.

            Thus still liable to seizure, arrest, etc.

            "The packages constituting the diplomatic bag must bear visible external marks of their character

            and may contain only diplomatic documents or articles intended for official use"

            Given that the purpose of the bag is to move "The official correspondence of the mission", unless they'd tattooed their visa lists on him, I don't think you could class him as correspondence, hence you wouldn't be able to get away with just stuffing him in the bag.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Yes but it doesn't state the diplomatic courier has to be a diplomat if you take it at it's word. Though they would just arrest him anyway for taking the mick.

            2. Jonathan Schwatrz

              Re: Lee D

              ".....unless they'd tattooed their visa lists on him...." We could always surgically remove the bits of tattooed skin and send those on to Ecuador whilst detaining the rest. I'm sure we could find some Afghanis that would be quite happy to help with any impromptu surgery. Apparently it's not that uncommon over there.

        2. jmch Silver badge

          "So does that technically mean if he's given a bag he can't be arrested?"

          "A diplomatic courier must never be arrested or detained."

          I take the last line of the convention article to mean that the courier has to themselves be a diplomat. You can't just give anyone a diplomatic bag and claim that they are a diplomat. Or to put it more clearly, the diplomatic status is conferred on the bag by the courier, it doesn't work the other way

  7. ukgnome

    This joke has run on for far too long.

    Just pop in the embassy (which they can do)

    March his arse out and arrest the bail skipper.

    Fine and imprison him and then put him on a plane to Ecuador.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Why... we're not paying for him, Ecuador are.

      Let them get bored of it, maybe they'll learn not to jump on political bandwagons next time (I bet it's hurt their political negotiating power with the UK since day one).

      When they're bored of it, we have to start paying the same amount anyway to imprison him. Let them fund their own stupidity, and take out the difference (e.g. policing) from their next trade agreement with us.

      They were hoping to use him as leverage but that obviously doesn't work out unless we actually want to deal with him.

      1. ukgnome

        But we are paying for it. In 2015 the policing had already ran into ten million quid.

        While the little twerp is in the embassy building he is still actively involved in his grubby little leaking. Kick the bond baddy wannabe out.

        1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

          Which is what gives the lie to the whole government position.

          Did you ever hear of anyone else that they spent 12 million quid guarding against skipping bail ?

          Thought not.

  8. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Forget everything else - it's just the bail jumping.

    Assange broke the terms of his bail which were issued under UK law, and that's what he will stand trial for when (and if) he finally leaves the embassy.

    Anything else is a sideshow.

    A pragmatic person might ask why the UK didn't get a formal undertaking from the US that they would not seek to extradite Assange once he was in UK custody (possibly being then passed on to Sweden) as that would have removed the excuse which Assange is hiding behind.

    However:

    1) WTF should they ? Assange is wanted on suspicion of a criminal act. Generally the UK doesn't treat with such people (unless they run a country)

    2) How ? The US could quite rightly say that they have never sought to extradite Assange (which is embarrassingly the truth); or they could correctly say that they do not issue statements about ongoing investigations.

    3) The fact that Assange could not be legally extradited on from Sweden without the UKs agreement. Which would not be granted as he has to stand trial here first.

    His most serious error of judgement was to do something which makes the courts look stupid. Offences about justice are (rightly) considered very serious, and always attract the severest penalty. Otherwise any Tom Dick or Harry would just jump bail and cock a snook at the beak. And that would never do.

    The way things are going, it'll be President Winfrey issuing a free pass to Assange. I wonder what excuses he will have then ? That the entire US election of a sympathetic president is really a CIA plot to "get him" ?

    Assange and Farage. Two people who seem to need the limelight.

    1. Wilseus

      Re: Forget everything else - it's just the bail jumping.

      OK, I agree with all that, but what on Earth has Farage got to do with it?

      1. Stork Silver badge

        Farage

        He visited Assange in the embassy, didn't he?

        1. Bob Wheeler

          Re: Farage

          So did Lady Gaga, and your point is?

          1. Stork Silver badge

            Re: Farage

            Wilseus asked what Farage had to do with it

  9. kars1997

    Smuggle him out in the Diplomatic Bag

    I don't understand why the embassy doesn't just smuggle him out in the diplomatic bag and put the bag on a plane to Ecuador. The diplomatic bag can be as big as you like; they could fashion a big crate with enough air and food for a few days, and just ship him out as cargo. Under the Vienna Convention, the UK couldn't do anything to stop them, even if they gave it loads of publicity.

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Smuggle him out in the Diplomatic Bag

      Because once it emerged what had happened, the UK would be forced to cut diplomatic ties with Ecuador ?

      1. kars1997

        Re: Smuggle him out in the Diplomatic Bag

        I don't see why. Legally, it doesn't seem any different from the current situation. Assange is already on Ecuadorian territory, and Ecuador is already ignoring the UK wish to hand him over. They'd just be shipping him to a different part of Ecuador, and it would all be legal.

        1. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: Smuggle him out in the Diplomatic Bag

          'Assange is already on Ecuadorian territory'

          No he really isn't.

          http://olbrychtpalmer.net/2016/04/07/are-embassies-foreign-soil.html

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Smuggle him out in the Diplomatic Bag

            It's not foreign territory as much as an easement with special rules set aside for it. Thing is, the host country can still withdraw or revoke those rules if the conditions are extreme enough.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Smuggle him out in the Diplomatic Bag

      It has to contain articles for official use, specifically documentation written for the purpose of the diplomatic mission. I don't think he comes under that.

      Though it's a "nice idea", in that you could in theory use a shipping container as a diplomatic bag and hope they recognise it as such, it doesn't give you rights to just put anything you like in there - and it's been tried (and failed) in the past. Everything from space shuttle components to heroine to bombs.

      And the knock-on diplomatic effects even if successful could cost them billions in trade, just for a prat they don't want any more.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Jonathan Schwatrz
          Alert

          Re: Mozzie Re: Smuggle him out in the Diplomatic Bag

          "....I'm pretty sure the Ecuadorian embassy is quite sick of him being there...." By the sounds of it, they are getting very sick of Assange's personal hygiene issues!

          Good luck on the passport lark!

  10. msknight Silver badge

    What if....

    ...he legally changed his name as an Equidorian citizen, got a new passport, etc. and then applied for being a diplomat in his new name? That might sneak under the radar... and stand a chance of working.

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: What if....

      I would hope the UKs process for vetting people proposed as diplomats would winkle him out.

    2. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: What if....

      @msknight

      ...he legally changed his name as an Equidorian citizen, got a new passport, etc. and then applied for being a diplomat in his new name? That might sneak under the radar... and stand a chance of working.

      I suspect that literally anyone Ecquador proposes diplmatic protection for will be invited to attend an interview at the FCO or similar prior to approval, or required to submit fingerprints and photographs. At least up until the point that the case concludes.

  11. DougS Silver badge

    Guess he should have colluded with the Trump campaign

    Like Russia did. Then along with how Trump's people tried to act to drop Russian sanctions the moment they landed in the White House (which congress had to act to prevent happening) they would have act to drop the sealed indictment against Assange filed back in 2012.

  12. lafnlab
    Holmes

    I think the position he plays is obvious; he's an own-goalkeeper.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why are the British authorities not accountable

    For the vast misuse of tax payers money.

    Authorising the wasting millions of pounds to potentially catch a bail jumper should be a criminal offence in its own right.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why are the British authorities not accountable

      Maybe they're just paranoid he'll make a mockery of their security theater and pop up in another country.

  14. Drunken

    Obvious ploy but...

    The UK has no right* to deny Assange or any other person from being a diplomat of another country. It is up to the other country to decide who are their diplomats. The UK has the right to reject the chosen Ambassador to the UK, but not the diplomatic staff.

    A diplomat is entitled to their privileges as soon as they correct ministry is notified.

    1 .Every person entitled to privileges and immunities shall enjoy them from the moment he enters the territory of the receiving State on proceeding to take up his post or, if already in its territory, from the moment when his appointment is notified to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs or such other ministry as may be agreed.

    However the UK can deny him a visa so he would presumably be ejected from the country if he left the embassy.

    *According to The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Obvious ploy but...

      Strange, then, that they haven't done that for 5 years when it would solve the problem overnight, isn't it?

      Article 9 of exactly the convention you state, look at my highlights:

      1.The receiving State may at any time and without having to explain its decision, notify the sending State that the head of the mission or any member of the diplomatic staff of the mission is persona non grata or that any other member of the staff of the mission is not acceptable. In any such case, the sending State shall, as appropriate, either recall the person concerned or terminate his functions with the mission. ****A person may be declared non grata or not acceptable before arriving in the territory of the receiving State****.

      2.****If the sending State refuses or fails within a reasonable period to carry out its obligations under paragraph 1 of this article, the receiving State may refuse to recognize the person concerned as a member of the mission.****

      So long as we declared him persona non grata at some point between then and now he is not, cannot and never will be able to be classed as a diplomatic member who enjoys those rights. No matter what Ecuador says.

  15. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

    Which position does Assange play? Which indeed.

    Well, he's certainly gone from left wing to defence, and after a number of spectacular own goals he's risking being permanently sidelined. From there who knows? There's always orange boy, although to date Trump hasn't shown much interest.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    should have gone the extra mile and changed his name and appearance

  17. Paul D Smyth

    If Ecuador say he's a diplomat then he's a diplomat. The UK Govt have no say in the matter. They can declare him persona non grata but they can't take away his diplomatic status or immunity.

    As Craig Murray posted on his blog:

    "The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations – to which the UK and Ecuador are both party – is the governing international law and determines the obligations to respect diplomatic immunity. It is crystal clear (Article 4,1) that the need to obtain agreement in advance of the receiving state only applies to the Head of Mission – ie the Ecuadorian Ambassador. For other staff of the mission the sending state (in this case, Ecuador) “may freely appoint” the other members of the mission, (Article 7), subject to provisos in Articles 5,8,9 and 11. Plainly the only one of these which applies in the Assange case is Article 9. Julian Assange is persona non grata – unwelcome -to the UK government. That is a legitimate reply to notification, but comes following the appointment; it does not pre-empt the appointment."

  18. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    IT Angle

    The bitter

    irony is that if he'd stayed in Sweden in the first place , he'd be free now even if he had been convicted and sent to jail for 4 yrs...

    Oh well, there are some folks who like digging themselves into a hole.......... then dig it deeper all by themselves....

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: The bitter

      Not exactly. Going to sweden, even serving a sentence there, wouldn't have any effect on the political establishment's determination to punish him for letting their secrets out.

      The rape thing may or may not be real. But don't let it distract you from the actual issue.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Educational for Sweden?

    The apparent requirement of the Swedish system for an interview before a suspect can be charged does have the weakness that Assange has exploited: just hide from the interview until the statute of limitations kicks the case out. In the UK the limitation is simply to begin prosecution, not to have the suspect in custody.

  20. JaitcH
    FAIL

    I Used to Support Wikileaks Until . . .

    it's stupidity with US election meddling.

    One thing more stupid is the money squandered by the UK Government on 'guarding' the Embassy of Ecuador.

    But that's Tories for you.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's face it. There's not going to be a satisfactory solution because Assange doesn't want one. He wants a spectacle and it's clear he won't be satisfied until he gets one. As far as he's concerned, the moment he leaves the embassy, he'll be subject to Extraordinary Rendition and will likely be subject to an "unfortunate accident".

  22. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Part of the master plan

    Soon:

    10,000 Assange supporters, dressed in Ecuadorian national football team shirts and sporting grey wigs, will descend on the Embassy.

    With bonus Yakety Sax music during the chase!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Part of the master plan

      First, you think they can get 10,000 lookalikes? Second, you don't think something that ostentatious wouldn't attract the riot police?

  23. Gary Bickford

    Fly me away ...

    It would be interesting if Ecuador were to engage a helicopter and a ship (do they have a navy?) - fly Assange off the roof of the building to a waiting ship offshore. Then the Brits would be faced with the prospect of a military confrontation to prevent the ship from leaving territorial waters (actually if they're 12 miles out, even that prospect goes away once he lands on the ship).

    This could certainly be done. Even if the building is not set up for helo landings, they could use the rescue basket method. Of course there are certain issues with the UK air force as well. But would UK actually shoot down an Ecuadorian helo, just to catch this meatball?

    As a bonus, the movie rights to the rescue would probably fund Wikileaks (or Assange's new Ecuador hideaway mansion) for decades.

    1. Jonathan Schwatrz
      Pirate

      Re: Gary Bickford Re: Fly me away ...

      "....fly Assange off the roof of the building to a waiting ship offshore..." There are several problems with that scenario. Firstly, Greater London is controlled and restricted airspace, so the minute the helicopter deviated from its filed flight plan it would attract attention. The Police have their own helicopters that can follow the Ecuadorean one, and arrest Assange (and the chopper crew) the minute it landed on land if it is inside the UK territorial limits. Should the helicopter try crossing to another European nation instead of landing on the ship then it gets Assange in more trouble as he then can be charged with illegally entering the new country and illegally exiting the UK - more jail time before extradition back to the UK, more jail time in the UK, and still probable extradition to the US. Secondly, any ship can still be boarded by the RN outside the UK's territorial limits if the ship is thought to be engaged in a criminal act such as people smuggling - Assange leaving the UK without passing through proper immigration checks would count as people smuggling. So more jail time in the UK, and still probable extradition to the US. The right to lodge a complaint against the RN boarding would lie with the country the ship is registered with, in this case Ecuador, which would not have a leg to stand on if it was shown they co-operated in Assange illegally leaving the country. Ecuador would have to balance the value of getting Assange out against the loss of political goodwill and possible retaliatory sanctions against Ecuadorean vessels. The fact they haven't tried it probably says most about the lack of real value they assign to Assange. This is exactly why Putin didn't simply put Snowden on a Russian plane to Ecuador - his presence in the NewSSR has value in how it annoys the West, but not enough value that Putin would risk the fallout from directly helping Snowden escape.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Gary Bickford Fly me away ...

        In Snowden's case, he's already escaped. He doesn't need to escape further. Otherwise, they'd have put in in some country that doesn't permit extradition to the US since Russia doesn't really care about tweaking the US's nose (given they've done it already).

        But as for Assange, why don't they simply pick a ship or country that won't honor an extradition to the UK and would reply to the RN with force (like say a Russian ship)?

        1. Jonathan Schwatrz
          Coat

          Re: AC Re: Gary Bickford Fly me away ...

          "In Snowden's case, he's already escaped...." Er, no. Snowden's goal was to get to Ecuador and full political asylum and citizenship, like Assange. Snowden was only passing through Russia when his passport got cancelled, leaving him stranded. He's only surviving in Moscow, not living the life of the Great CIA Tormentor he would have been accorded in Quito. It's not daiquiris on the beach, anyone in the US grumbling about the current cold should remember that's Moscow every year! Kim Philby, possibly the most notorious Russian spy, spent his exile in Moscow trying to get back to the UK.

          "....He doesn't need to escape further...." Debatable. In Ecuador he is probably safe for his lifetime from extradition to the US. In the NewSSR he only has "temporary asylum" for three years, which really means he's there as long as it suits Putin. Now, should the US offer something Pootie wants, like extradition of Chechen terrorist/freedom-fighter/politician Ilyas Akhmadov..... So, no, Snowden's position is not totally secure.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Correct question: why *would* they?

    Hosting Assange in the embassy let the then President of Ecuador demonstrate his deep commitment to noble goals for rather little trouble or expense and no serious diplomatic or economic consequences. The movie script you propose guarantees to reverse all that: what could motivate a country with per capita GDP below that of Albania to embark on such an adventure?

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