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Ecuador embraces Assange, but can he escape?

The fallout from Ecuador’s decision to grant WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange political asylum has already begun, mere hours after the decision was announced by Ecuadorian foreign minister Ricardo Patino, at a press conference in Quito.

In granting Assange political asylum to Ecuador, Patino noted that: “The government of Ecuador, after a fair and objective assessment of the situation described by Mr Assange, according to their own words and arguments, endorsed the fears of the appellant, and assumes that there are indications that it may be presumed that there may be political persecution, or could occur such persecution if measures are not taken timely and necessary to avoid it.”

His detailed announcement also had stern words for Australia, which he said had failed to do what it could to protect a citizen from the very real threats against his life, while working as an activist in “communications”. This finding was essential to a formal case for asylum, but given the Gillard government’s unwillingness to talk back against threats of assassination, is hard to gainsay.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr responded by saying that Assange had received more consular help than any Australian — which may or may not be true, but is irrelevant to the case of where the government stands on assassination threats against its nationals. Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said it was out of Australia’s hands, conveniently ignoring the explicit barbs directed by Patino against our conduct.

Meanwhile in the UK, Foreign Secretary William Hague criticised the decision strongly in a statement made some hours after Ecuador’s announcement, rejecting the concept of diplomatic asylum out of hand, and rejecting Ecuador’s request that Assange be given “safe passage” by which to leave the embassy and leave the UK.

However, Hague also withdrew any suggestion that the UK would use a 1987 act to rescind Ecuador’s embassy status, allowing police to enter the premises and arrest Assange. Later, he specifically stated that there would be no attempt to do this.

The proposal to rescind embassy status had been contained in an “aide-memoire” documenting the negotiations between the two countries over the past months. Intended as confidential — by the UK at least — it was released by the Ecuadorian foreign ministry, with Patino then reminding the UK that Ecuador was not a colony.

The stunningly undiplomatic threat was greeted with universal condemnation in the UK press — even though Assange has few remaining allies there (though most papers continue to use WikiLeaks material) — and was explained by Assange’s lawyer Geoffrey Robertson as due to the fact that “all the good foreign office lawyers were on holiday”.

However, even though the threat has been walked back, it has become an international incident of sorts, with the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) meeting next week to consider the issue. Lacking the right-wing governments of North America, UNASUR may well produce a more unified response to the issue, supporting Ecuador.

The granting of asylum, with the absence of safe passage, means that Assange has to remain in the eight-room apartment embassy for at least the immediate future. His current lawyer, the Spanish jurist Baltasar Garzon, has indicated that the matter will be taken up with the International Court of Justice.

In the interim, UK police moved quickly to seal the embassy tightly, stationing officers in the foyer of the building (not part of the embassy proper, and at external windows, to prevent Assange being spirited into a diplomatic vehicle. Armed with heat-seeking equipment to ensure that Assange can not be concealed within a crate labelled as a diplomatic bag, or similar, the operation is rumoured to be costing up to £50,000 a day.

The question as to how the Ecuadorians could get Assange out is being keenly debated in the press, and in WikiLeaks’ supporters circles, with the legalities of assigning him citizenship and a diplomatic role becoming a topic of discussion, a mere 48 hours after your correspondent raised it here.

The problem with credentialling Assange as a high-ranking Ecuadorian diplomat is that he would need to be accepted by the UK, which is unlikely on the face of it. Ordinarily, a diplomat made persona non grata is guaranteed safe passage, per the Vienna Convention, but what is the rule if they were never a diplomat in the first place? What if Assange were made an Ecuadorian diplomatic representative to a third country — Brazil — say, and was accepted by them? The Vienna Convention should then oblige the UK to give safe passage, per the convention, as far as I read it.

Thirdly, there is the option of making Assange an ambassador to the UN, or one of its numerous sub-bodies. Unconfirmed reports from sources close to WikiLeaks say that this plan has always been on the table, and was discussed with the Ecuadorian government long before Assange entered the embassy and request asylum on June 20.

Not least among the ramifications of this extraordinary event, has been the revelation that the UK makes no official recognition of “diplomatic asylum”, something unknown to many. Indeed, “diplomatic asylum” is only supported by the laws of a minority of countries in the world (including most American states), and does not form a part of the Vienna Convention.

The reason that is surprising to many is obvious — the UK likes to support the diplomatic asylum bids of dissidents in other countries, and give the impression that it is willing to speak truth to power (as long as they queue at the US embassy and not the UK).For example, here’s William Hague, after blind dissident Chen Guangcheng evaded house arrest under Chinese law, and escaped to US protection in 2011:

British Foreign Secretary William Hague voiced concern about Chen’s case, which he said had exposed “abuse of power”, and urged Beijing to guarantee the safety of Chen’s family. “We will now monitor the status of Chen’s family and associates and we look to the Chinese government to guarantee their rights, freedoms and personal safety,” he said at a news conference in London to release the British foreign ministry’s annual human rights report, which mentions Chen’s case. “We remain concerned about the health of Chen’s wife and daughter and we will continue to work with other European Union countries to raise our concerns on this with the Chinese government,” Hague said.”

Not exactly “run, run Dith Pran”, but an implicit acceptance of diplomatic asylum. Had it not been the case, Hague’s statement would have been limited to urging Guangcheng to comply with the national law of a country with which the UK had diplomatic relations.

The UK and the Swedes will claim that Assange is using political asylum to evade criminal proceedings, and point to the latter’s clean record as a law-abiding state. But such assessments assume a neutral view of global power, something that neither left-wing governments, nor many people in South America are likely to have.

Furthermore, though the Swedish government has called in the Ecuadorian ambassador to express its displeasure with the granting of asylum, it is a country that set the bar for assertive diplomatic morality. Indeed one of the most revered figures in South America is a Swede, Harald Edelstam , “the black pimpernel”, who was Stockholm’s ambassador to Chile during the Pinochet coup.

During that period, Edelstam risked his life — and violated any principle of diplomatic neutrality —  and saved thousands of Chileans, and others from Pinochet’s thugs. Eventually, the whole Swedish embassy staff was enagaged in a running fist-fight with Chilean paramilitary, before being booted out of the country.

The Swedes may well argue that Assange’s situation is nothing like those of the Chileans, but they can hardly object to a tradition of moral diplomatic action that they have done so much to foster. Indeed, Assange’s lawyer, Baltasar Garzon, is on the nominating committee for the annual prize given by the Edelstam Institute, for those who use “creativity and courage” to improve human rights.

Finally, late Thursday afternoon, WikiLeaks announced that Assange would make a public address from “outside” the Ecuadorian embassy at 2pm Sunday (11pm AEST) — which everyone got hot and sweaty about, assuming he would come down to the front steps and risk arrest.

Most likely it will be from the embassy’s chi-chi Italianate first floor balcony, overlooking Knightsbridge, which will make the whole Latin American theme of the recent months pretty much complete.

Unless of course, it is a video appearance … from Quito …

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  • 1
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    It is totally bizarre that the UK says it does not recognise the principle of diplomatic asylum, yet the United States did when it accepted a Chinese dissident into its protection earlier this year - and so must China - yes CHINA - implicitly, as they did not threaten to close down the US embassy and permitted the dissident’s escape to the US.

    But what is invading an embassy to the US & UK given they invaded Iraq in contravention of international law…

  • 2
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    The Cuban activist Yoani Sanchez just tweeted that (17/8, 9am, rough translation) it seems like Assange being in the Ecuador embassy is like Robin Hood seeking refuge in the castle of the Sheriff of Nottingham.

  • 3
    Jimmy
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    I wonder whether the Dad from Hey Dad! will now seek asylum in Ecuador?

  • 4
    serpentjoe
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Nice to see young David stand up to 2.5 Goliaths.

  • 5
    Monash.Edu
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Ah, there’s a second story, you say? And a balcony? Where’s a helicopter when you need one? And who’s got the Mission Impossible theme on a boombox?

    David Heslin

  • 6
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Look like Assange is in for a stint in the Embassy for years.

    There is a solution:

    1. He gets the Swedish Authorities in and lets them interview him, so they clear up the issues and drop the charges, so he walks free.

    or

    2. He picks a good time to leave the embassy in a garbage truck, when the Police outside are distracted by the soccer, Paralympics fireworks or something else.
    Then goes to a country without extradition, aka Patriot Games

  • 7
    DingoBabyEat
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    I feel some options have been overlooked here

    1) a tunnel

    2) a costume party

  • 8
    cairns50
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    at last a country with principles prepared to stand up to the stand over bullies from the west

    i have an idea , the austrlian government could handball him nauru or manus island, at least then the australian government will be forced in some way to look after him

    or at least our governments third will lackeys will, for money of course

    something up until now they have not been prepared to do

    congraulations mr president of equador

    once again shame on julia gillard bob carr and the australian government

    equador 10

    sweden, uk, usa @ australia 0

  • 9
    Bohemian
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I’D GUESS HE WENT A WEEK AGO.

    IF THEY STORM THE EMBASSY THEY WONT FIND HIM!

    I wouldn’t mind betting the FSB (former KGB) were have to have been involved.

  • 10
    Jimmy
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Bohemian - Was the Scarlet Pimpinel involved too?

    This saga just gets more ridiculous.

  • 11
    Harley
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    @Suzanne

    They already tried #1. Unfortunately the Swedes declined the offer :(

  • 12
    dnburgess
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Suzanne - he has repeatedly offered to be interviewed by Swedish authorities while in Britain. These offers have been refused in favour of being interviewed on Swedish soil, which is in part what has created the current mess. i.e. He is being extradited without having been charged, merely “to help authorities with their enquiries”. If the Swedes charged him with rape, extradition would have been straightforward - but then he would have been under the “protection” of the Swedish legal system until the rape case was heard and he would not have been able to be extradited by a third country (say, the US).

  • 13
    Jimmy
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Cairns50 - What exactly do you want the Australian govt to do? Exert undue influence on the Swedish & UK legal process? Isn’t that everyone problem is supposed to be with the US?

  • 14
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    @ Harley

    Now the Swedes see that they are snookered, it may open up again

  • 15
    cairns50
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    its simple what the aust govt should do jimmy

    they should seek assurances that if julian assange is taken to sweden for further questions re the alleged sexual cases that sweden will not hand him over to the usa for extradition, irespective of wheter he is found to be guilty or not guilty of those charges

    if he is found guilty of those charges in sweden then he should be dealt with under swedish law and when whether a jail sentence, suspended sentence find both whatever is imposed then that should be the end of the matter

    he should then be a freeman

    the australian government should also ask and demand this of the usa government as well

    blind freddie can see that this is not the case

  • 16
    mattsui
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    He could die his hair a natural colour and just walk out.

  • 17
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    It’s weird how many articles about Julian Assange omit the r-word, despite Assange admitting to it.

  • 18
    AsGrayAs
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    @Bohemian - I hope you’re right. With heat-seekers scanning for his body-heat (!), the garbage and laundry services will probably not offer much in the way of cover.

    If the UK wants to get out of this with a clean nose (unlikely), they need to demand that the Swedes actually lay charges against Assange, or demand that the extradition request be dropped. If neither of those things happen, then Ecuador is correct to claim that extra-legal persecution is on the cards, despite the lack of hard ‘evidence’ that Assange is threatened with persecution… Evidence is so over-rated.

    Time to head over to Sp-rtsB*t to check the odds. Or maybe Crikey should hold an Assange Sweep, with b-ts available for ‘Already Escaped through a Tunnel’, ‘Escaped by disguising himself as the maid’, ‘A chopper is en route from Geneva’, ‘SAS Raids Embassy’, etc., etc.

  • 19
    Simon Mansfield
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Jimmy - you are such a toady for Dillard. And I’m a card carrying member of the party. You know very well there is plenty more the government can do. You just don’t think they should. So at least be honest and say such - instead of sounding like an understudy for Carr with endless weasel words. I rarely agree with BK on much at all - but at least on this occasion he let’s the facts speak volumes for what’s really going on.

  • 20
    zut alors
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    A good analysis, Guy.

    All the Oz govt needs to do is ask our Very Best Friend the USA to guarantee they will not extradite Assange from Sweden - or anywhere else.

    Surely friends can ask each other direct questions and expect honest responses and undertakings?

    After all, according to Barry Obam@, “the USA has no better friend than Australia”…pardon me whilst I contain a belly laugh.

  • 21
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    @ Simon Mansfield

    If Dillard goes, Jimmy has to try and get a job with the new PM, so easier to support Dillard to the hilt

    Same for the entire Front Bench, there are so supportive of Dillard, cause they may be on back bench with the new PM.

    Watch Swan, something is happening, probably after the next polls strike

  • 22
    Oscar Jones
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Wow: Suzanne Blake is correct !!

    Sweden could and should solve this problem by sending a prosecutor to the Ecuador Embassy to interview Assange. Then Ecuador can judge the validity of the claims.

    To not do so risks diplomatic calamity.

    Clearly Assange is buying time for more legal moves. I reckon he has powerful UK QCs working on his behalf.

  • 23
    John Newton
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Ricardo Patiño

  • 24
    Oscar Jones
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    The appointment of Bob Carr is also showing up what a flake and lightweight he is.

    To ask a man who made a habit of denigrating charged persons via the Daily Terror before they appeared before court, for a legal opinion on anything is a joke.

    Contrary to popular opinion, it is often an advantage to have lawyers become politicians instead of smooth former journalists.

  • 25
    Oscar Jones
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    He could leave in drag.

    Alternatively Ecuador could invite hundreds inside wearing those Anonymous masks and have him exit it with them. Make a good scene for the inevitable movie.

  • 26
    Steve Fleay
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    CairnS50 is right.
    The issue is not the Swedish investigation which Julian Assange should face (although the circumstances in which they were brought seem very murky). The possibility that he could end up in the USA is not acceptable and there should be pressure (in public) from the Australian Goverment to draw out assurances from the US that they have no investigations or intention to apply for his extradition.
    If there are no assurances from the US it would leave an underlying question over their intentions.
    I have been dissappointed to have seen no journalistic pressure on the goverment to do so.

  • 27
    Jimmy
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Cairns 50 -“They should seek assurances that if julian assange is taken to sweden for further questions re the alleged sexual cases that sweden will not hand him over to the usa for extradition” Really, but if the US manages to find evidence that he has broken a law (as yet no one can tell me what they apparently will charge him with) they have every right to seek extradition, how can Australia force the Swedes to deny extradition when the charge isn’t even known?. What makes you think the Australian govt has the right to tell the Swede’s what they can and can’t do?

    Simon Mansfield - What more could they do? And it’s not that I don’t think they should do whatever it is you think they should, I just think that the whole conspiracy thing is completely thing is completely overblown and Assange has had a fair hearing in the UK, will have access to a defence in Sweden against both the charges and any possibly extradition application and if he is extradited he will have access to a defence in the USA.

  • 28
    Tom Jones
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    The amount of money that the UK is spending on trying to catch Assange suggests that he is indeed absolutely correct in his assessment that it is the USA that wants him; after all he hadn’t even been charged with a crime; if he were charged with a crime it would be on a technicality. The Swedish prosecutors are keen to get him behind bars for a flow on to the Americans.

    The Ecuadorians seem to have a better idea of world reality than any of the politicians in Australia. Julian Assange is like the miners at Eureka in taking on forces which are neither moral or interested in fairness. What a shame that Nicola Roxon who should be celebrating her historic win should tarnish her reputation by putting more effort into helping Schapelle Corby than Julian Assange because he has shown up Big Brother.

  • 29
    Bohemian
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    @ BK
    “This finding was essential to a formal case for asylum, but given the Gillard government’s unwillingness to talk back against threats of assassination, is hard to gainsay.”

    Bernard does this imply that the Gillard Govt were under threats of assassination if they spoke out?

    Given that the US and the UK have been behind almost everything that resulted in the bleeding of foreign nationals in the last 200 years, I guess they would be pretty scared down her in li’l ol’ Oz.

  • 30
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    @ Oscar Jones

    In fact if Sweden dont interview his, they are acknowleding they this is a trumped up scam

  • 31
    Bohemian
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Oops I mean Guy Rundle not BK!

  • 32
    Jimmy
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    TOm Jones - “The amount of money that the UK is spending on trying to catch Assange suggests that he is indeed absolutely correct in his assessment that it is the USA that wants him” Yeah it is so obviously that, it wouldn’t be that they are more than a bit miffed at having their legal system flouted by a high profile twerp that they are pulling out all the stops to ensure that their judicial process has it’s authority upheld.
    And “tarnish her reputation by putting more effort into helping Schapelle Corby than Julian Assange” well when Assange actually is charged he may get the same level of help but I think it is only proper that someone facing the death penalty get’s more assistance than someone who is wanted for questioning.

  • 33
    Jimmy
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Tom Jones - I should really have said “Well when Assange actually is charged he may get the same level of help but I think it is only proper that someone facing the death penalty WITH VERY LITTLE RESOURCES get’s more assistance than someone who is wanted for questioning WITH A LITTANY OF CELEBRITIES AND HIGH PRICED LAWYERS.”

  • 34
    DF
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    @ Jimmy - I’d withdraw quietly from this one if I were you. Your hole is getting too deep.

    The question which has never been answered is why the Swedes refused to send an investigator to the UK to question Assange when they have done it for others. Some may argue that the alleged crimes are too serious but, fair dinkum, given that one alleged victim was tweeting how good it was to be in his company the night after the alleged r@pe and the other alleged victim didn’t complain until she discovered Assange had slept with alleged victim #1, it is hard to reconcile the common law view of non-consensual sex with the behaviour of Assange and the two women.

    It is Sweden’s refusal to send an investigator to the UK and insistence Assange go to Stockholm which has caused so much suspicion about Sweden’s motives and the genuinely held fears for Assange’s ultimate fate in the US. If the Swedes really wanted to demonstrate he had a case to answer, you’d think they’d be pulling out all stops - for the sake of the alleged victims and to facilitate the course of justice.

    There is a stench about Stockholm’s actions which leads one to deduce that (with apologies to Shakespeare) there is something not quite right in the state of Sweden.

  • 35
    Jimmy
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Steve Felay - “The possibility that he could end up in the USA is not acceptable” Why? If they believe he has committed a crime they have the right to charge him and seek his extradition, Assange can appeal that extradition but his legal case fails why would it be unacceptable for him to go to the US?

    And as for their being no assurances as late as yesterday the US said they had no plans to seek extradition.

  • 36
    Jimmy
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    DF - The question as to why the Swede’s didn’t send an investigator to the UK is an interesting one but largely irrelevant. Assange had the capacity to challenge his extradition form the UK, he used that capacity and lost, this indicates that the Swedes are within their rights to request he return for questioning.
    It is a massive stretch to argue that this oddity is proof positive that the US have strong armed the Swede’s into seeking extradition so they can extradie him from Sweden to the US when he hasn’t been charged in the US, no can tell me what charges they could possibly lay and if they wanted to extradite him they could of from the UK.

    Even Jon Faine on the ABC radio this morning made the point that the conspiracy theorist of the left were making no sense on this one.

  • 37
    DF
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Jimmy - Are you really so naive as to believe the US when they say they have no plans to seek extradition? They will say whatever they believe is necessary to achieve their ends and there have been enough statements by leading and influential people in the US about how Assange should be dealt with to warrant genuine concern if they get custody of him.

    I admire your faith that justice will always prevail but I’m afraid there are enough examples around the world, including in the Anglostans, to suggest it is misplaced.

  • 38
    puddleduck
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    @Daniel - when did Julian Assange “admit” rape?

    Assange offered to be interviewed IN Sweden, and remained there for up to a month, then was told he could leave. So he left and returned to Britain. He has since offered twice as part of the British extradition proceedings, to be interviewed - on both occasions, Sweden declined without giving a reason.

    If Sweden only wants Assange to answer questions about allegations, and doesn’t want to pass him on to the US, why not just interview him in Britain? Sweden could put all this to rest by doing so. Their unwillingness to do this puts the onus on them to explain why it is insufficient.

    Blind Freddy could tell you he’s got a genuine fear of persecution. In his shoes, I’d have done xactly the same, except I’d have swum the Channel by now… or swum to a waiting sub off the
    west coast.

    God help him - he’s going to need it.

    I just hope all you naysayers never need your government’s help when overseas, never put a foot wrong in your relationships (romantic or otherwise). Seems pretty clear you’d never do anything to speak truth to power - coz it would cost you too much.

  • 39
    Frank Campbell
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Amid the comical twists and turns of this Mayfair farce, remember that Kafka is the final act:

    The craven obeisance of client states to the United States
    The US prison gulag awaits Assange.
    The secret global state run by the CIA - with the connivance of satellites like Australia- dates from at least 1945. Insitutionalised torture, abduction (“extaordinary rendition”), impunity and immunity: they’re all familiar policies and practices, repeatedly exposed since before the Bay of Pigs.
    The instant enlistment of US and foreign corporations in the war against Wikileaks shows how the Empire strikes back today: Visa, Paypal, Citibank…they all complied without demur in banning Wikileaks.
    Banal Gillard condemned Assange immediately. Convicted drug dealer Corby gets rapt attention from Australian diplomats, her every tantrum amplified by the tabloid media. David Hicks rotted for years in the gringo gulag, ignored by the Australian government. ASIO incarcerates asylum seekers indefinitely- no charge or reason given.

  • 40
    DF
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Jimmy
    So you’re saying that process is more important than outcome? That the Swedes, having been thwarted by Assange’s sequestration in Ecuador’s mission in London, are not prepared to put principle aside and send an investigator in the interests of moving the case along and according justice to the two alleged victims? Why do you reckon that might be?

  • 41
    puddleduck
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    @Jimmy - what planet have you been on lately? It’s hardly worth repeating all that points to Assange having a snowflake in hell’s chance of any kind of decent treatment in the US. Politicians saying he should be assasinated. A secret grand jury indictment. The list goes on.

    Do send us a postcard from the next US-America Friendship tea party.

  • 42
    mattsui
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Assange cannot and would not possibly get a fair trial in the U.S..
    Their quiet desperation in confecting a case against him is testament to that.
    ergo “the possibility that he could end up in the USA is not acceptable” to any but the governments who toady up to U.S. imperialism.

  • 43
    Jimmy
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    DF - “Are you really so naive as to believe the US when they say they have no plans to seek extradition? ” My belief is irrelevant, people on this thread have been calling for the govt to seek assurances from the US they won’t seek extradition and from the Swede’s they won’t extradite but it is apparent that even if/when those assurances are given people simply don’t believe them, so what is the point in the govt pushing so hard for them if they don’t mean anything?

    And I am not saying that the process is more important than the outcome just that the process has been fair and legal to this point and shows no signs of not being so in the future.

    And who knows why they don’t want to go to the UK, I don’t and you don’t either but I don’t fill that lack of knowledge with conspiracy theories.

    Puddleduck - “Assange having a snowflake in hell’s chance of any kind of decent treatment in the US.” Really has the US charged him? Do you know what charges he could possibly face? Does the US govt have control over the legal system? The answer to all these things is no but yet you assume he will be found guilty of something by a corrupted court.

    I am no fan of the US and definitely not a Tea Party supporter, just not into wild theories.

  • 44
    Oscar Jones
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Hurrah for S.Blake!

    Unfortunately many are jumping on the ‘what about the victims?” bandwagon.

    Sweden by not taking any opportunity to solve this dilemna is increasing their anguish if genuine.
    Any policeman involved in investigating alleged sex offenses would demonstrate far more sensibility that this Swedish prosecutor.

  • 45
    Jimmy
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Mattsui - “Assange cannot and would not possibly get a fair trial in the U.S..” Again what charge would he face? And what country would you prefer to face allegtions where freedom of speech is your defence?

  • 46
    Owen Gary
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Everybody knows this is a whichhunt, most have already seen 4 corners, the NWO puppeted governments are very scared that he still has much deeper & damning info than that already released.

    These Governments are already in damage control over info that is and always has been held back from Joe public & our “free & democratic principles” (yeah right)

    I hope riots are instigated against this corrupt establishment for his release, the Australian government (both parties) are a disgraceful lapdog to a hegemon that will be forcing more facist regimes on a sleeping population.
    I just ponder how much worse it actually has to get before the population at large start “Lawful Rebellion” under the statutes in the Magna Carta.

  • 47
    mattsui
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    The man has been labelled a terrorist by senior members of the U.S. government.
    How secure would you feel?

  • 48
    Jimmy
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Mattsui - If Barnaby Joyce labelled you a terrorist would you flee to Ecuador? Is the US legal system separate from the US govt?

  • 49
    DF
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Jimmy

    I’m with Mr Keane, elsewhere in Crikey today, on this one:

    http://www.crikey.com.au/2012/08/17/preconcert-and-the-strange-coincidences-around-julian-assange/

    Re your comment: “who knows why they don’t want to go to the UK, I don’t and you don’t either but I don’t fill that lack of knowledge with conspiracy theories.” Nor with suspicion about motive either, apparently. If the Swedes can send an investigator to Serbia on a murder case, why can’t they send one to the UK to question Assange, whose alleged victims are not only alive but, the day following the alleged r@pes, were happy to be in his company?

  • 50
    DF
    Posted Friday, 17 August 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Jimmy
    Re your comment to Mattsui where you asked “is the US legal system separate from the US Govt?”, I judge the US govt’s ability to manipulate its legal system by Guantanamo and the trials of the prisoners being held there.
    You may expect the best but I would rather prepare for the worst.

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