back to article 'Incommunicado' Assange anoints new WikiLeaks editor in chief

Julian Assange has stepped down and named one of his former mouthpieces as WikiLeaks' new editor-in-chief. "Due to the extraordinary circumstances where Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has been held incommunicado (except for visits by his lawyers) for six months while arbitrarily detained in the Ecuadorian embassy," …

  1. Jay 2
    Megaphone

    Incommunicado!

    Maybe they should constantly play Marillion's nice tune at him until he decides that he doesn't want to be incommunicado any more and so exits his broom cupboard and embassy by choice to get some of that lovely wifi.

    Though it may be a brief flirtation as I don't think the Met or HMP offer wifi either....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Incommunicado!

      Incommunicado except for messages via his lawyer.... so not quite then.

      Strange that the article notes this and then wonders how he can pass messages to appoint his replacement?????

    2. Aqua Marina

      Re: Incommunicado!

      I’m thinking maybe they should just pay someone anonymous to start a fire at the rear entrance while the CCTV is conspicuously down, that forces all the building occupants to be evacuated.

      If assange still refuses to leave, then I’m sure that “firemen” are more than willing to administer a knockout gas mask, I mean an oxygen gas mask when they find his lifeless body inside, while they perform their fire fighting duties.

      Come on, surely someone else has already thought of this? MI5? MI6? Special Branch? My old dinner ladies maybe?

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Incommunicado!

        "Come on, surely someone else has already thought of this?"

        Yes, The CIA, at the Russian embassy in Washington DC about 40 years ago.

  2. DrXym Silver badge

    "Held"

    He can walk out any time.

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: "Held"

      More to the point, even if you accept that he's being arbitrarily detained by the UK (I don't), they'd be the ones holding him. But it's Ecuador who let him in, and would totally let him leave, that have cut off his comms.

      So even in his own distorted world he's being held AND kept incommunicado, not being held incommunicado. The "captors" in his tale aren't stopping his communication.

      But, then he's never been able to acknowledge his part in any of this - it's all about trying to twist the view to convince people he's some innocent being picked on. It's that constant spin that makes it increasingly clear what a heap of bullshit it is he's been shovelling the whole time.

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: "Held"

        Exactly. The only person imposing on Julian Assange is Julian Assange.

        What a complete tool his man is. Please, El Reg, stop giving him column inches.

    2. 2+2=5 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: "Held"

      > He can walk out any time.

      <conspiracy> Maybe the Ecuadorians are now preventing him from leaving and no one has realised? </conspiracy>

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: "Held"

        <conspiracy> Maybe the Ecuadorians are now preventing him from leaving and no one has realised? </conspiracy>

        Welcome to the Hotel Equadoria.

      2. Ben Tasker Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: "Held"

        <conspiracy> Maybe the Ecuadorians are now preventing him from leaving and no one has realised? </conspiracy>

        You're right. They have cut off his comms, so how's he supposed to book an Uber now?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dumb question maybe, but didn't see it mentioned yet...

    What's to stop his lawyers sneaking him in a privacy focused 3G/4G phone?

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: Dumb question maybe, but didn't see it mentioned yet...

      Presumably, the Ecuadorians

    2. Scorchio!!

      Re: Dumb question maybe, but didn't see it mentioned yet...

      "What's to stop his lawyers sneaking him in a privacy focused 3G/4G phone?"

      What's to stop him using a 4/5G phone to go on line? He could always step out of the refuge where he's been avoiding charges for skipping bail, he could do the honest thing. I won't hold my breath.

    3. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: Dumb question maybe, but didn't see it mentioned yet...

      What's to stop his lawyers sneaking him in a privacy focused 3G/4G phone?

      Its an embassy, so presumably they have equipment to detect microphones. Besides, it's likely they'd become aware minutes after his first inane proclaimation.

  4. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Stop

    installed a jamming device ????

    Er, isn't that illegal under UK law ? Or does it only jam *inside* the embassy ?

    1. User McUser

      Re: installed a jamming device ????

      Radio signal power follows the inverse square law. So, if the remote WiFi is reasonably distant then the jamming device need not be very strong in order to overpower the WiFi, as long as it is relatively close to Mr. Assange's devices.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: installed a jamming device ????

        I guess it depends on the rules around embassies. So if it's only interfering with comms inside Ecuadorian airspace, Ofcom probably can't do much. If it extends outside the embassy, then I guess it's a polite diplomatic note asking them to stop it. Which presumably also stops other embassies operating larger jammers or experimenting with EMP devices for lolz.

        (ISTR during the Cold War, the Russian embassy grew a shed on it's roof. After careful observation, it was spotted as housing an antenna that slurped comms from a microwave dish on the BT tower. Not exactly diplomatic, but that's the murky end of politics for you.)

    2. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: installed a jamming device ????

      Technically, having a jamming device is illegal in Britain. However by custom an embassy is considered to be the foreign soil of the country, which is why the twerp hasn't been arrested for skipping bail despite being present in the mainland UK.

      You can't just jam "inside" the embassy easily as radio waves typically go through walls unless you've redecorated with a layer of tinfoil behind your new wallpaper. That'd make an "effective enough" faraday cage which would screw with a laptop or phone enough without actually inconveniencing people inside the embassy too much by stopping the use of wireless totally.

      Mind you, if the pret is a fair distance away a low strength signal probably could jam that to the point of being unusable without causing too many problems for other people.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: installed a jamming device ????

        You can't just jam "inside" the embassy easily as radio waves typically go through walls unless you've redecorated with a layer of tinfoil behind your new wallpaper.

        I would expect that to be standard minimum procedure for any embassy nowadays.

      2. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Re: installed a jamming device ????

        You can't just jam "inside" the embassy easily as radio waves typically go through walls unless you've redecorated with a layer of tinfoil behind your new wallpaper. That'd make an "effective enough" faraday cage which would screw with a laptop or phone enough without actually inconveniencing people inside the embassy too much by stopping the use of wireless totally.

        Want my guess?

        I don't think they are jamming in the true sense of the word.

        If you want to keep him off Pret's wifi, there's a far easier route. Get some CISCO (less extortionate brands are available) wifi access points and configure them to send disassociate packets for any SSID which isn't yours. Then don't let him on your own wifi.

        Given large hotel chains used to do this at conferences, I don't see any reason why an Embassy wouldn't also consider it.

        It wouldn't help with 3G/4G, but then the patchy coverage we get from the mobile telcos might be sufficient enough for that. Though, I guess you could run a Femto to provide connectivity in the embassy (overpowering the main signal) and strictly control what devices can associate to that.

        1. Cuddles Silver badge

          Re: installed a jamming device ????

          "If you want to keep him off Pret's wifi, there's a far easier route. Get some CISCO (less extortionate brands are available) wifi access points and configure them to send disassociate packets for any SSID which isn't yours. Then don't let him on your own wifi."

          There's a much easier method than that which has the benefit of having absolutely no questions about legality (the reason hotels used to use your method is because they're not actually allowed to any more) and no possible way to get around it - simply employ someone to slap the phone out of his hand every time he tries connecting to the internet. No need to faff around coming up with clever techy/physicsy ways to block signals that could potentially be circumvented in equally clever ways, when you can trivially address the issue directly at the source.

          https://xkcd.com/538/

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: installed a jamming device ????

            There's a much easier method than that which has the benefit of having absolutely no questions about legality (the reason hotels used to use your method is because they're not actually allowed to any more)

            I think that's also part of the 'open' band issue. Just because we don't need individual licences to use WiFi kit, it's (AFAIK) still an offence to interfere with other people's use of that band. So hotels can't interfere or Ofcom can jump on them. Embassies probably could because Ofcom rules don't apply within their walls.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: installed a jamming device ????

          "Given large hotel chains used to do this at conferences"

          Until they got caught and had to pay up huge fines to the FCC. This fine website ran stories on those happenings some time back. I believe Ofcom has stepped in on a couple of occasions in the UK too.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: installed a jamming device ????

      2.4 GHz is an open band. Transmit what you want, up to 100mW I think. Jam away.

      5 GHz is another matter, you have play nicely with the weather radars.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: installed a jamming device ????

        "2.4 GHz is an open band."

        Read the T&C again. You're not allowed to interfere with anyone else's comms and the fines for doing so can be rather large if it's found to be deliberate.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: installed a jamming device ????

      Think about it from another angle...how often do you get wifi problems because of another wifi is overpowering the one you want.

      Maybe jamming is over doing it with the description.

    5. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: installed a jamming device ????

      Given that the device is reputedly in Pret, I would imagine said device is a knife (doubles as a buttering device too).

  5. Allonymous Coward

    arbitrarily detained in the Ecuadorian embassy

    That's one interpretation, sure.

  6. J27 Bronze badge

    The longer he stays there, the guiltier he looks. At this point I feel bad for Ecuador.

  7. Lee D Silver badge

    "arbitrarily detained"

    To detain:

    - keep (someone) from proceeding by holding them back or making claims on their attention.

    - keep (someone) in official custody, typically for questioning about a crime or in a politically sensitive situation.

    - officially seize and hold (goods).

    None of the above are applicable to Mr Assange. He is not being held back by the Ecuadorians, or in official custody, or being seized or held.

    In fact, being where he is is STOPPING him being in custody, which is kind of the problem.

    Sorry, Jules, it's really time to come out because even the Ecuadorians are sick of you now.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let this be a lesson. Never let an uncastrated stray dog in your house, it'll shit on the rug and never leave.

    1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Never let an uncastrated stray dog in your house...

      Ouch! The implied corollary to this is... ouch! But I suppose it would put an end to the other allegations in a post hoc fashion.

  9. cd

    There are a few faces I'd rather not see, Zuck and this one come to mind. We know who he is, put the laptop on the beach girl in the photo slot instead.

  10. WolfFan Silver badge

    How to leave an embassy

    I have a solution to the problem.

    1 the Ecuadorians tell St. Julie the Ass that they have a way of getting him out of the embassy without being arrested by HM Gov. It involves the co-operation of the Brazilians. Basically, the Brazilian navy, as part of the first shakedown cruise of their new fleet flagship, PHM Atlântico nee HMS Ocean, will send a helicopter to winch him up from the balcony and fly him to the assault ship. He will then have a nice sea cruise back to Brazil and will be turned loose in Rio, hopefully in time for Carnival next year. I'm sure that St. Julie would particularly like the thought of using an ex-British ship to evade getting his collar felt by PC Plod.

    2 at the appointed time a SH-70 Seahawk helo in Brazilian colours arrives over the embassy and St. Julie is winched up, to be greeted in Portuguese. The helo flies on out towards the Channel, where it sets down on a large amphibious assault ship flying the Brazilian naval jack.

    3 as soon as St. Julie sets foot on deck, he is arrested by some US Marines, the Brazilian jack goes down and the US Navy's jack goes up, and a large decal on the SH-70 is removed to reveal US Navy markings.

    4 St. Julie enjoys a nice sea cruise to the Caribbean. After a stay in south eastern Cuba, he is handed back to HM Gov, and after a stay in the finest gray-bar hotel in Britain, to the Swedes, who can now use him for his finest purpose: polar bear bait.

    Ecuador and Brazil get some nice presents for their trouble. The poor bears might get indigestion.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: How to leave an embassy

      to the Swedes, who can now use him for his finest purpose: polar bear bait.

      I would not wish this on any Polar[0] bear. Apart from that, Sweden does not, afaik, have territories where they roam freely. But being trampled[1] by moose is certainly possible.

      [0] Nor Cartesian.

      [1] bitten, too.

      1. Ben Bonsall

        Re: How to leave an embassy

        [1] bitten, too.

        A Møøse once bit my sister... No realli!

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: How to leave an embassy

      There's an easier solution, the Ecuadorian ambassador could just invite the Met in to arrest him. It's their embassy, they can invite the UK police in if they feel like it.

  11. Mookster
    Facepalm

    Next time he goes on the balcony, get a couple of big chaps to "send him off". Then he's back in the UK, after he lands on the pavement.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It seems like it is getting more like social media in here by the day - "I think Assange is a cunt so fuck him hard"

    1. Shades

      You seem to be implying that is not true?!

    2. JimC Silver badge

      Umm, wasn't the original problem in the opposite direction?

  13. Mookster
    Paris Hilton

    Paris accuses him of "changing lanes without signalling". He ends up in another Ecuadorian "prison"

  14. Paul Dx
    Thumb Up

    "Legal ways"

    "... though president Lenin Moreno has said he is still talking to the UK about legal ways of ousting the fugitive."

    1. Grab him by the scruff of the neck

    2, Drag him to the front door

    3. Open front door

    4. Push him onto the pavement

    1. Steve 114

      Re: "Legal ways"

      Joking apart, how about inviting the competent English Court to have a special sitting in the Embassy? Then the bail-jumping matter can be resolved. After penalties, subject can then make his own way to the country of his choice, with whatever extraneous risk (not our problem) that might entail.

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Re: "Legal ways"

        After penalties, subject can then make his own way to the country of his choice, with whatever extraneous risk (not our problem) that might entail.

        I think we tend to prefer to deport people in Assange's position after they've finished their porridge. Assuming there isn't a new EAW in the meantime, that means we'd ship him back to the country he's a citizen of - Australia.

        Of course, the egotist would probably take to Twitter and claim we've brought back transportation as a punishment, but what are you gonna do?

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: "Legal ways"

        "Then the bail-jumping matter can be resolved."

        Not answering bail is seen as a very serious offence by the courts so the "resolution" will very likely be a custodial sentence, which St Jules is unlikely to accede to. He will then stay in the embassy but will now have an actual conviction hanging over him and be even less likely to come out. In other words, a waste of time and money with potential legal issues of a UK court "sitting" inside a foreign embassy.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: "Legal ways"

          "Not answering bail is seen as a very serious offence by the courts"

          For which punixhment at the first offence is normally a slap on the write and "don't do it again".

          Habitual bail-breachers are seldom jailed (Observation from spending time watching court proceedings), and making an example out of St Jules of Asshattedness for his continued taunting would merely serve to increase his martyrdom complex.

          1. Peter2 Silver badge

            Re: "Legal ways"

            For which punixhment at the first offence is normally a slap on the write and "don't do it again".

            Yes, if somebody hasn't turned up, the court sends plod to collect them and drag them in, at which point they pull an apology such as saying they overslept, forgot the court date etc and beg the courts forgiveness at which point the court shrugs and says "don't do it again".

            In this particular case, the person involved deliberately put himself beyond the reach of the law and put two fingers up at the court. He's likely to get everything the court can throw at him, which is a maximum sentence of 6 months imprisonment of which he might actually serve 3 months before getting released for good behavior and being deported.

      3. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: "Legal ways"

        Joking apart, how about inviting the competent English Court to have a special sitting in the Embassy?

        Why? There's no good reason for the courts to bend to the will of this stupid little boy. He can stay on the couch until he dies, or until he's ready to face the music.

  15. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Boot the rapist out the door

      I'm no fan of Assange right now, but a statement like that has implications for El Reg as well as you.

      Evidence please and citations please...that's a serious allegation to make, can you back it up?

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Boot the rapist out the door

        He admitted to having sex with someone while they were asleep. Someone who is asleep cannot give consent, therefore it is automatically rape.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Boot the rapist out the door

          You can't use a statement like that as a defence in court without citations.

          1. CRConrad

            Re: "defence in court"

            Fortunately, this isn't a court, and colloquially referring to a self-confessed -- just not yet convicted -- committer of the act as what he is on an online forum isn't a crime. Unless and until you're convicted of slander or libel or whatever, which is... Not exceedinglly likely; ISTR Britain is one of those "it being the truth is a valid defense" jurisdictions.

            Hitler was never convicted of genocide either -- not by any court, he wasn't. You gonna be vewwy, vewwy careful what you say about him? Nope, you'll go "Are you crazy? He obviously was!" Yes, exactly.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Charge him with giving succour to the enemy*

    * D J Tump

  17. Jove Bronze badge

    Thy End is Nigh

    We can take this development as an indication that Assange is preparing himself for the inevitable.

    He can bring the matter to a close - either by voluntarily handing himself over to UK Authorities, or by doing himself in - the latter option is the most effective in protecting Wikileaks from discoveries by investigations once under lock and key.

    The other is the old fashioned method were an individual, long beyond their days of value and more an irritant, and disposed off in a suitably underhand way.

    Either way, all parties concerned will be glad to see the end of this sorry little individual.

  18. Bibbit

    Poor diddums

    He is there because he chose to jump bail and then scarper to the embassy and he can leave whenever he likes. He makes me sick, never mind how this must effect his alleged victims.

    I wonder if we can claw back the cash spent on police hours waiting for the little toad?

  19. Admiral Grace Hopper

    Incommunicado? Sorta, kinda, maybe.

    In a cupboard? Has been for some while, probably will be for some time yet. Poor Ecuadoran embassy staff.

  20. _LC_ Bronze badge
    Megaphone

    Yuck! This forum is full of poop.

    Apparently, some agencies don't like Assange too much... Well, nobody wants that mob. Keep pretending that you're 'many'. We'll do a census soon enough. :-P

  21. Velv Silver badge
    Headmaster

    while arbitrarily detained

    There is nothing arbitrary about his detention, he is entirely there through his own choice. Nobody is stopping him walking out of the Embassy whenever he wants.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think he also won the appeal launched by the UK government.

    https://news.un.org/en/story/2016/02/521632-wikileaks-founder-julian-assange-arbitrarily-detained-sweden-and-uk-un-panel

    Of course this was during the era of illegal mass surveillance.

    Anyone working for the UK government (that has already commented) care to follow up?

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Of course this was during the era of illegal mass surveillance.

      Now we have legal mass surveillance. Plus ca change and all that. AFAIK the UN thing is just an opinion and doesn't have any legal weight. I think Assange & lawyers tried arguing this in UK courts, and were basically told he's been free to leave the embassy at any time.

      But initially he'd have been deported to Sweden, now he's just got his bail jumping to sort out. So he can leave, do a few weeks in jail for that, and then get deported to Ecuador once he's released. And I guess HMG might PNG him so he can't enter the UK in the future.

      (I'm not HMG, and I guess they may skip the jail time and go straight to deportation. Given he's demanded to be free to depart to Ecuador, challenging deportation could get tricky.)

      1. Jove Bronze badge

        He will most likely be off to the US once he UK Authorities have him.

      2. CRConrad

        Re: "he'd have been deported to Sweden, now he's just got his bail jumping to sort out"

        Nope, he may still have to face Swedish justice.

        The statute of limitations has run out on the charges of sexual assault, but the rape charge(s?) can still be re-opened until some time in 2020. The Swedish Crown's Counsel (? "DA", in Yank) can still re-open that. They never closed the case; only put it on ice because with him holed up in the embassy they weren't likely to get anywhere with their investigation. Now they are.

  23. Brangdon

    passed the statute of limitations' deadline

    "Those charges have since passed the statute of limitations' deadline in Sweden and are no longer being pursued"

    The most serious accusation, of rape, hasn't passed the statute of limitations and is still outstanding. It isn't being actively pursued because the Swedes felt it was impossible to make progress while he was in the embassy, but if that situation changes it can be revived (and probably will be).

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: passed the statute of limitations' deadline

      "The most serious accusation, of rape, hasn't passed the statute of limitations and is still outstanding. It isn't being actively pursued because the Swedes felt it was impossible to make progress while he was in the embassy, but if that situation changes it can be revived (and probably will be)."

      And, IIRC, the statute of limitations (or whatever the Swedes call it in their legal system) is also on hold and so can't expire while the investigation is suspended. This effectively means St Jules has imposed a life sentence on himself.

      1. CRConrad

        Re: passed the statute of limitations' deadline

        No, I'm afraid that isn't how it works; it's ticking down.

        Kind of makes sense: If that were the way it worked, the prosecutor would always find some reason to put it on hold, and then you wouldn't, in practice, have any statute of limitations any more.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No WiFi, no problem.

    So he's an eccentric dude held captive* in a small space. He probably needs a hobby. Maybe he can raise pigeons (similar to Robert Stroud or Brooks Hatlen) and establish and RFC 1149 connection to the outside world.

    * For this post, by "captive" let's include everything from "imprisoned against his will by the Ecuadorians" through "Technically free to depart his current location but effectively barred from doing so due to the likely negative outcomes of leaving"

  25. _LC_ Bronze badge
    Pirate

    Mass report abuse?

    I could really report most of those posts as abusive. Those ‘allegations’ have already proven to be wrong, which doesn’t stop the 'three-letter-mobsters' from repeating them continuously. Then again, we all know where this 'manhunt propaganda' is coming from… (actual murderers there/protecting them) :-P

    1. CRConrad

      What utter fucking bullshit.

      NOTHING has been "proven to be wrong". He's a rapist under Swedish law, and in all probability guilty of inciting crime (i.e, urged Maninng to hack or leak), which is itself also a crime, under US law.

      The only thing that has been proven to be wrong is Julian Asshat; he's surely proven himself to be a wrong'un.

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