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UK Authorities Threaten To Storm Ecuadorian Embassy To Arrest Julian Assange 1065

Posted by samzenpus
from the long-arm-of-the-law dept.
paulmac84 writes "According to the BBC, the UK have issued a threat to storm the Ecuadorian Embassy to arrest Julian Assange. Under the terms of the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987 the UK has the right to revoke the diplomatic immunity of any embassy on UK soil. Ecuador are due to announce their decision on Assange's asylum request on Thursday morning."
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UK Authorities Threaten To Storm Ecuadorian Embassy To Arrest Julian Assange

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  • Yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @07:29PM (#41004099)

    Because they are really bothered about that possible rape charge against him.

    • Re:Yeah (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @07:41PM (#41004233) Journal
      It's not even really rape; note that his so called crime only carries a crappy fine as punishment. Oh, and he isn't being charged either. The police just want to ask him some questions; something they normally do over the phone in cases like this, or perhaps send over some officers to the UK for an interview. Nothing that warrants the Interpol warrant (which was issued against the rules), and certainly nothing worth storming an embassy for.
      • Re:Yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sgt_doom (655561) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @07:52PM (#41004357)
        And they want him back in Gothenburg (Goteborg), not Stockholm, very, very odd --- oh yeah, that's where "Extreme Rendition Airlines" a k a, Jeppesen Systems AB is located!
      • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @07:59PM (#41004427) Journal

        No matter if the guy has raped that Swedish girl or not, - that's not the main point, for that "rape story" has become an excuse for UK to take action on behalf of Uncle Sam/

        By doing so, UK no longer honors its own sovereignty.

        A sovereign nation is like a free, dignified person, an entity that takes up action to protect it/him/herself, and has the freedom to do whatever it/he/she wants to do.

        United Kingdom, by threatening to storm the embassy of another nation, over a person whom we all know Uncle Sam wants, is no longer a nation which I respect - and I suspect I am not alone in not regarding UK as a dignified country no more.
         

        • by second_coming (2014346) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:12PM (#41004569)
          The British government are not the country, I doubt there are many people in the UK who would support this action and even fewer who are happy with the way the government sucks up to the US.
          • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:46PM (#41004945) Journal

            The British government are not the country, I doubt there are many people in the UK who would support this action and even fewer who are happy with the way the government sucks up to the US.

             
            If THAT's the case, then CHANGE YOUR GOVERNMENT, for crying out loud !!
             
            You guys in UK are still calling yourself a "democratic country", right?
             
            You still have the right to change your government, right?
             
              RIGHT ??
             

            • Yeah right. You might as well suggest Americans change their government, but average Joes are in the same position the world over: bent over at the waist clutching their ankles saying "do it again please."

            • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:49PM (#41005543)

              oh, CHILL THE FARK OUT.

              they can't change their country any more than we can.

              we're both fucked.

              the brits are basically good people but they have totally lost control over their gov.

              same with us in the US.

              if you think its so easy to change, you, maybe, can show us ignorant peasants how its done??

              • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @10:15PM (#41005797)

                > if you think its so easy to change, you, maybe, can show us ignorant peasants how its done??

                Well, the French did it, ask them. But it wasn't pretty, I tell you.

                Also, a piece of advice to US and Brit governments: don't try to please the people with little cakes... last time it didn't work.

                Now, seriously, it's not just the USA and the Brits, other countries have problematic governments doing foolhardy follies -- e.g. Russia.

                If those who can intervene do nothing, that might mean a much bloodier process down the river (see Libya and Syria, for example).

                We live in a globalized world now. That means we must pay attention to the big picture, it's not just the US (or UK) way anymore; everybody is looking... even if you get Assange, that will not be seen with good eyes by other in the world (given the reasons to get him -- and don't come up with that "rape" bullshit, again). The UK is already looking like some Banana Republic if the law is "flexible" so that embassies can be made inexistent overnight.

                What good is having any embassy in UK if things are that way? And if our embassy isn't worth a penny, why would we harbour a British embassy over here? To drink tea at 5? Duh!

                • by Grishnakh (216268) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @12:16AM (#41006619)

                  We Americans did it too, long long ago, and it certainly wasn't pretty then either. But yes, the French revolution was pretty nasty too, with all the guillotining and all. Good point about Libya too; they changed their government recently, and look how the losers were treated (Gadafi was hunted down like a dog and shot).

                  If the Brits storm the Ecuadorian embassy, it'd be funny if Ecuador stormed the British embassy in Quito in return. And maybe a bunch of other governments will storm the British embassies in their countries too.

              • the brits are basically good people but they have totally lost control over their gov.

                same with us in the US.

                if you think its so easy to change, you, maybe, can show us ignorant peasants how its done??

                This seems to be a common issue permeating across most developed countries. Decent people just wanting to live in peace, raise their kids, and have some fun - and rabidly mad governments out of control brutalizing their citizens on behalf of the multinational corporations and a couple of hegemonial superpowers without any accountability. The lame excuse for "democracy" in those countries is a mere detractor from the fact that they have long become entrenched oligarchies who will destroy any real competition prior to election time.

                Last time the establishment was changed in living history was ... when?

              • by rapiddescent (572442) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @04:51AM (#41008087)

                oh, CHILL THE FARK OUT.

                they can't change their country any more than we can.

                we're both fucked.

                the brits are basically good people but they have totally lost control over their gov.

                well, this has not gone unnoticed within the UK. The very fabric of the UK is at risk because the "Kingdom of Scotland" [wikipedia.org] (one of the united kingdoms) has a growing independence movement; in fact, it has grown so much that Scotland's devolved parliament currently has a majority pro-independence government - something that the UK government had tried to avoid ever happening. The cracks are appearing and the approach that the UK government is taking does not sit well with some cultures within the UK. The Scottish Governament very quite pissed off when it was found that the UK Government allowed redention flights to refuel at Prestwick without telling anyone.

                I just wish Wikileaks had more information about the oppresive anti-independence movement that the UK, it's broadcaster and other quasi-governmental organisations are inflicting on Scotland. e.g. the BBC in Scotland shows endless documentaries about why being British is good etc that are not shown anywhere else in the union. See this A to Z [newsnetscotland.com] of the propaganda that is inflicted on the Scots...

            • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @10:06PM (#41005711)

              hahahaha, you think your measly vote is going to change anything when you have a choice between dick head 1 and dick head 2.

      • Re:Yeah (Score:5, Informative)

        by Rei (128717) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:29PM (#41004783) Homepage

        It's not even really rape; note that his so called crime only carries a crappy fine as punishment. Oh, and he isn't being charged either.

        Are you going for a new record in "how dense can I pack errors about the assange case"?

        1) The checkbox on the arrest warrant for "rape" was marked, and the UK courts found that the charges would be rape even under UK law (most notably, having sex with a person who's asleep, even ignoring that he did so without a condom which had been made clear was a precondition of sex with her - it's *always* illegal)
        2) The charges are with penalties of up to four years in prison [nytimes.com].
        3) He cannot be charged in absentia under Swedish law. There is a series of steps which must be taken in order to lead to formal charges, and not all of them have been taken yet. Hence the warrant to continue the process. The European Arrest Warrant makes it clear that he is to be returned with intent to charge. Which also means it makes no sense to send over Swedish interrogators to the UK - not like anyone should have to give famous people special treatment anyway just because they say to.

        • Re:Yeah (Score:5, Informative)

          by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:01PM (#41005097) Journal
          Ah yes, re point 1, one of the "rape victims" alledgedly made Assange a nice breakfast after this so called rape took place, rather odd behavior after having been violated. As it turned out, both victims pressed charges only after finding out that Assange had been double dipping, after conferring with each other and then seeking legal council about their options. At the risk of sounding sexist and dismissing more sinister tin foil theories, I say the most palatable theory about this matter is that it is all about "a woman scorned", or two in this case.

          But let's suppose that something unconsentual has taken place here. If Assange is extradited to Sweden, charged and convicted for rape or whatever, and if it ends there, then I will publicly come out here and eat my words. But if he is extradited, fined or sentenced to do a little time, and then released to the custody of the US, by secret rendition or simple and legal extradition, then all you'll get is a fat "told you so"
          • Re:Yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Rei (128717) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:29PM (#41005301) Homepage

            And I let my rapist walk me back to my f***ing car and waited for him while he peed on the street. Have you never heard of "shock" before? Do you have any clue how hard it is to get yourslf to accept the fact that you've been raped? As soon as he left she immediately cleaned up and washed everything in her apartment, especially the semen spot on her bed, after washing herself, and then called her friends, distraught (matching their testimony).

            Like most people, I couldn't get myself to file charges. I just wanted to forget about it. I couldn't imagine going through a trial, having to face him more, and all of the smears that I know would have been directed against me for being some "slut trying to ruin an innocent man's life". And he was a nobody, not someone with a legion of millions of global fans. I mean, my god, I've seen websites about these women that are basically stalker sites.

            I did nothing. But if I had found out shortly after that he had done the *same sort of thing thing* to another girl right around the same time as what he did to me? I still don't know if I would have filed charges, but it definitely would have changed the picture.

            But let's suppose that something unconsentual has taken place here.

            During sleep it's *always* non-consentual. A sleeping person *cannot consent*, period.

            then I will publicly come out here and eat my words.

            You'll need to do more than eat your words. What is the proper way to apologize for smearing rape victims?

        • Re:Yeah (Score:4, Informative)

          by Vaphell (1489021) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:15PM (#41005193)

          somehow UK didn't do shit in when someone liberally sprayed bullets with submachine gun from the 1st floor of Libyan embassy at anti-libyan protesters in 1984.
          1 killed policewoman, 10 wounded
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yvonne_Fletcher [wikipedia.org]

          murder vs no-rape rape - that does not compute.

  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @07:30PM (#41004105)

    Impressive. I think this is the first time I've heard anyone threaten to storm an embassy. I haven't even seen the Chinese do this. Note to everyone: this is what happens if you threaten to thoroughly upend the balance of power, expose secrets everywhere, and generally fuck with people in power. If you do this, you better make sure you have an equally strong power backing you. Otherwise, you will spend the rest of your life in jail, regardless of whether you actually broke any laws.

    On the upside, props to Assange. I don't think he saw this coming, but I do think that what he did was a service to the world.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @07:32PM (#41004135)
      If the UK does this, I'm pretty sure you'll see a lot of countries pulling their embassies from the there. This isn't a fucking James Bond movie - this is real life. What good is an embassy if it's not sovereign ground?
      • by ThatsMyNick (2004126) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @07:43PM (#41004255)

        The point is they never have to do it. They only have to threaten to do it and Ecuador has no other choice but to cave in. They cannot afford to go to war with UK or even spoil relations with the UK through a diplomatic spat. Even though they know that the UK wouldnt never do it, the slight chance of that happening would be too much for them.
         
        A very clever move. I am pretty sure Ecuador will cave.

        • Say Ecuador calls their bluff. Can the UK storm in and show the world what a real US lapdog looks like? The fact that they would even threaten this shit shows just how FUCKED the world is right now.

          He's ONE MAN. He's not breaking into your secure places and leaking your dirty fucking secrets. No, IT'S YOUR OWN PEOPLE who see the corruption and go to him to help them right the wrongs they see. Get rid of Assagnge. "Just do it"(tm). It won't change the fact YOUR OWN PEOPLE have moral problems with the wrongs going down. The right thing to do is STOP DOING EVIL. If you don't think that "making an example" of Assange will just embolden EVERYONE who is privy to questionable government bullshit to find another spokesperson and get the word out, then you really have no idea how Brits and Americans think.

          You think "The Streisand Effect" is bad? Just wait till we have an excuse to coin the term "The Assange Effect".

        • by lister king of smeg (2481612) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:15PM (#41004611)

          If i were Ecuador i would sneak him out a week or so before they announce that he is going to be leaving. that way when the storm the embassy looking for him they will come of as fools and in the process and causing a international incident of epic proportion gaining huge amounts of distrust of england internationally.

        • by The Rizz (1319) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:15PM (#41004613)

          Ecuador has no other choice but to cave in. They cannot afford to go to war with UK

          Are you sure you don't have that backwards? If the UK initiates an act of war against another foreign power, especially over something as controversial as this, they'll have a lot of foreign powers extremely pissed at them. They will be seen as the aggressor, and Ecuador as the underdog. This is going to cause massive problems both with foreign relations, and within their own country ("we went to war over what now!?").

          • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:58PM (#41005071) Journal

            I get the impression that the Vienna Convention is one of those things that diplomat types take fairly seriously.

            I'd certainly be hiring some extra rentacops if I were a british diplomat posted overseas right about now...

          • No shit (Score:5, Interesting)

            by A nonymous Coward (7548) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:49PM (#41005547)

            None of the Latin America countries enjoy being reminded of their past colonial status, or the continuing attitude of the US and European imperialists, whether former or not. I imagine if Britain really were so stupid as to storm the Ecuadoran embassy, every single one of their Latin American embassies would be stormed by the people, with the police stepping aside.

            There aren't many people anywhere in the world that see this as anything but the UK sucking up to the US. No civilized country has ever stormed an embassy that I can think of, other than the Iranian revolutionaries storming the US embassy, and that was in response to 25 years of living under the Shah who had been forced on them by the US. Does Britain really want to be the first modern civilized country to do something so outrageous, for a somewhat dubious rape charge, as the US's lapdog? I wouldn't be surprised to see the Conservative government fall to a vote of no confidence. I can't imagine too many UK citizens would think this a proper demonstration of national pride.

        • by sjames (1099) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:28PM (#41004761) Homepage

          Why not, there could be no question who the aggressor is. Ecuador produces oil and if Syria flakes, the U.K. will really need a new supplier. They don't depend on the U.K. for much of anything and while smaller, their economy is stronger than the U.K.

          They could pare the staff down to Assange and a couple military police (to have token Ecuadorians there) and just let the invasion happen.

          Does anyone out there still believe all of this is related to what amounts to a charge of turning out to be a douche (which has yet to even be formally charged)?

        • by Chuck Chunder (21021) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:38PM (#41004871) Homepage Journal

          A very clever move. I am pretty sure Ecuador will cave.

          I'm not sure it's that clever. The UK probably has more at stake than Ecuador does, ie all the UK embassies and diplomats around the world that depend on the conventions surrounding diplomatic status. If the UK is seen to weaken that convention it will be politically harder for them to demand others respect it making UK embassies more vulnerable.

          I thought this would be "worked out" and Assange will be coughed up. Probably because money would change hands behind the scenes (either to individuals or "aid" to Ecuador).

          Now I am not so sure, it may be politically impossible (internally) for the Ecuador politicians to back down.

          Many critics of Assange claim Wikileaks damaged diplomacy by exposing it's inner workings. Even if that is true it is nothing compared to the damage that would be done by revoking the status of an embassy over an asylum seeker.

        • by Hadlock (143607) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:33PM (#41005337) Homepage Journal

          Central america and the northern portion of south america have been on a bit of an independent streak lately. They're much further in bed with the Chinese and Japanese than they are with the UK, who never had any formal colonies there. Most of central america and a good portion of south america have started decriminalizing drugs in the leadup to the election 2012, risking US foreign aid in the process in trade for the safety of their citizens. Unlike Africa and Eastern Europe, south america is mostly independent of the rest of the world - they fed europe during both world wars - and their standard of living, in the big cities at least, is on par with most of the rest of the world. Cutting ties with the UK is much lower on their list of "risky behavior" compared to a superpower like China who is dumping billions of dollars in to their economies each year with no strings attached.
           
          TL;DR the natives are educated and not dependent on western europe anymore, and have little need for their political shenanigans.

        • by NewtonsLaw (409638) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:38PM (#41005389)

          When will countries like the USA and UK realize that they really don't need any more enemies than they already have.

          Invading a sovereign nation's embassy with armed force is effectively a declaration of war.

          Now Ecuador isn't going to send an armada of naval vessels or a wave of bombers to strike back at the UK -- but you can bet that a good number of terrorists will use this as justification for making more strikes against both the UK and the USA.

          Is this what the UK and USA really want?

          Well I'm sorry to say but it probably is.

          If the UK seize Assange from the Ecuadorian Embassy, he's extradited to Sweden and from there back to the USA, I have absolutely *no* doubt at all that there will be a new wave of terror attacks against both nations -- as retribution.

          This will give the UK and USA governments just what they want -- an ability to say "see, Assange was evil and probably working with these terrorists to destabilize the West -- the proof is here in these new attacks".

          Of course, like typical politicians, they won't care that hundreds or possibly thousands of innocent souls may lose their lives to attacks that could make 9/11 look like a childrens' tea-party.

          I'm starting to think that this world is going to hell in a handbasket. I just hope that the great-unwashed public wise-up to the way they're being used and abused by politicians right across the globe.

          Rob the public blind to the tune of billions (like the bankers have) and you get away with it -- in fact, governments will even pay your debts for you.

          Steal a can of beans from a supermarket because you are hungry can't afford a meal and they'll lock you up.

          This crap has to end soon -- doesn't it?

      • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @07:44PM (#41004263)

        It's a calculated trade-off: how many countries support getting Assange behind bars, versus how many object to these types of tactics? What are the odds that Ecuador calls their bluff, versus how important is it to have Assange behind bars? How many countries will actually pull their embassies if the UK does storm the Ecuadorian embassy?

        All I can say is: this shows just how much trouble he is for the powers that be. Bin Laden is the only other person to qualify for this type of treatment, and he had the good wits to disappear in the mountains of Afghanistan. Actually, I say that in the later years of the Bush administration, bin Laden was seen as less trouble than Assange.

        • by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya@gmail.LAPLACEcom minus math_god> on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:01PM (#41004449)

          this shows just how much trouble he is for the powers that be.

          I don't understand this part - it isn't like Wikileaks will immediately power down just because Assange is in jail.
          Is this simply about making an example out of him?

        • by wierd_w (1375923) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:04PM (#41004489)

          It depends on how equador wants to play.

          Situation 1)
          The cave to the UK, and hand over Assange. They do this because of international pressures and the desire to play with the big boys.

          Situation 2)
          They staunchly refuse to hand over Assange, ad either keep him in the embassy indefinately, or concoct a wild plan to get him out of the UK. They do this because they are tired of being bullied, and want to flip the dirty dealers the bird.

          Situation 3)
          They refuse to give up assage, and the UK jumps the shark and makes good on its threat to smash the embassy. Equador retaliates on the world stage with a major smear campaign.

          Situation 4)
          Equador expects the UK to make good on the threat, hides or sneaks assange out of the country, and the UK invades the embassy. Equador shows that assange is not in the country, (Either using false footage, or real footage.) And has not been for some time, and declares the UK's actions unwarranted, and decries their intelligence agencies, and their legitimacy as a peaceful and law abiding nation.

          Personally though, if I were an equadorian diplomat, here is what I would do:

          Situation 5)
          Fabricate a story of helping assange leave the country, and arrange the expected limo trip to an international airport. Place a costumed mannequin in the back seat with darkened windows on the limo. The UK bobbies will attempt to stop the driver. The driver avoids capture, and causes a scene, with the police escallating response. (Think "OJ simpson car chase"). The embassy plays along with the charade, deploring the UK's behavior in the matter. Once a significant portion of the local police force is engaged in the farce, load assange into the back of a delivery lorry, and discretely drive him nonchalantly to france via the chunnel, and evacuate him via plane that way. When the UK storms the embassy, they will not find him.

          • by Dunbal (464142) * on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:21PM (#41004677)

            You're missing the fact that China has been investing heavily in Latin America over the past decade or so. A lot of countries down here see that the future is China, who is their new powerful friend. So while the West threatens and adopts a dictatorial tone when offering "trade agreements" that are a great deal - for the US oh and by the way you need to change your laws to match ours if you want in on this agreement - China has been building bridges, roads, stadiums, hospitals... with no strings attached.

            This is not the 1980's and if the people paid to make the decisions are using that playbook they are in for a shock, in my opinion. The desire to "play with the big boys" no longer means kissing American ass.

          • by starcraftsicko (647070) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:37PM (#41005383)

            All of these 'situations' assume embassies that look a lot like the embassies that the US or Britain might normally have in foreign capitals.... Big mansion-like buildings surrounded by a fence... certainly something with a nice private place for a limo to pull up and still be on embassy grounds. Equador doesn't have one of those.

            Equador has a bit of office space in the middle of a building that has other office space. There is no private helipad or carport or other place to try any of the 'situations' that anyone has suggested. You can safely assume that he elevators/doors/stairs/windows are under surveillance. There'll be no sneaking.

          • Situation 6) Ecuador grants Assange asylum, the UK don't carry through their threat of storming the embassy and the situation remains as a stand-off with Assange holed up in the embassy ... until 2013 when an Australian election is due. Assange has already publicly stated that he is considering running for election to the senate next year. He does and is elected easily (as he would need only 14.3% of the population of whatever state he stands in to vote for him - probably Victoria). This escalates the situation to a much higher level - the UK/US/Sweden would now be looking at arresting an elected Australian politician.

      • by rrohbeck (944847) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @07:47PM (#41004299)

        Exactly. A major international incident about this?
        Yeah right. This is either a rumor, posturing or somebody in London ready to do some unprecedented US ass kissing.

    • by pegasustonans (589396) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @07:33PM (#41004145)

      Impressive. I think this is the first time I've heard anyone threaten to storm an embassy. I haven't even seen the Chinese do this. Note to everyone: this is what happens if you threaten to thoroughly upend the balance of power, expose secrets everywhere, and generally fuck with people in power. If you do this, you better make sure you have an equally strong power backing you. Otherwise, you will spend the rest of your life in jail, regardless of whether you actually broke any laws.

      On the upside, props to Assange. I don't think he saw this coming, but I do think that what he did was a service to the world.

      While storming the embassy would be an immediate defeat for Assange, I can't help but think it would prove a massive victory for Wikileaks in the battle over public opinion.

      • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @07:37PM (#41004197)

        Except.... how many people actually think that what Assange is doing is right? How many would be ok with strong-arming Ecuador into giving him up? Compare that with how many people are ok to just throw him in the slammer for creating, hosting and advocating Wikileaks. This won't even register on the PR-meter.

        • by Xiroth (917768) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:28PM (#41004769)

          This isn't just about their own population. Violating the sovereignty of a friendly nation's embassy contravenes centuries of international law. This is the kind of action one would only expect from a rogue state.

          Among other things, if they do this, you can expect the European Parliament to come down *hard* on one of their member states for violating international law, and therefore damaging the standing of the European Union in international negotiations.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @07:35PM (#41004167)

      Storming an embassy is not new. I guess you never heard about the storming of the American embassy in Tehran. [wikipedia.org]

    • by subreality (157447) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @07:42PM (#41004239)

      Also note that they're threatening to raid the embassy for someone who's alleged crime isn't even treason - this is still over the dubious sex crime charges. It's amazing that that the UK is even considering setting this kind of precedent over a moderate criminal charge, just because he kind of embarrassed them.

      • by flimflammer (956759) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:10PM (#41005153)

        They're not even sex charges! Since he's only wanted for questioning, this could have, should have, and would have in any other situation been done over the phone or in person outside of Sweden. No charges have actually been filed. However they don't want to do that. They want him in Sweden over mere questioning and are trying to get him extradited for it, to the point they're willing to invade an embassy which has all sorts of political implications to accomplish the goal? Over questioning? The whole thing makes you want to facepalm. Even if you don't believe all the conspiracy theories, it's hard to just shrug all this off.

    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @07:43PM (#41004249)
      Oh, us Americans do it all the time; that whole "we have more guns than you" -- It has made us many friends overseas. I understand we were thanked by the citizens of Afghanistan in New York a few years back, in September, for a similar action. It was such a powerful gesture by the international community that we erected monuments and printed millions of bumper stickers to commemorate the occasion. Ever since, we've tried very hard to repeat that successful policy by sending peace envoys all over the world -- 150 countries and counting currently host them! We highly recommend storming embassies to any country who wants to bolster their international reputation.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @07:48PM (#41004311)

      They didn't even storm the Libyan Embassy when a Police officer was murdered from the Embassy itself back in (you guessed it) 1984.

      The British surrounded the Embassy for 11 days, after which the Libyans reciprocated - and that is the appropriate response. Perhaps with other LatAm countries in solidarity.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Yvonne_Fletcher

    • by sgt_doom (655561) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @07:49PM (#41004325)
      And this is why VP Joey bin Biden of the USA claims Julian Assange is an international terrorist, while also proclaiming that Egypt's Mubarak wasn't a dictator.

      Just a heartbeat from the presidency, huh??

      Now, if Julian Assange is an international terrorist, what does that make the bloodiest of Americans, John Negroponte of Yale's Jackson Institute?

      http://www.redrat.net/BUSH_WAR/negroponte2.htm [redrat.net]
      http://warcriminalswatch.org/index.php/the-culpable/36-the-culprits/78-john-negroponte [warcriminalswatch.org]
      http://www.ww4report.com/negropontedeathsquad [ww4report.com]
      http://www.apfn.org/apfn/negroponte.htm [apfn.org]

    • by symbolset (646467) * on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:59PM (#41005085) Journal
      The technical term for the offense is "Speaking Truth to Power". It's the closest thing to a universal capital offense. I am quite sure he saw this coming. So brave.
  • This is hideous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by richardcavell (694686) <richardcavell@mail.com> on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @07:31PM (#41004121) Journal
    The inviolability of an embassy is critically important to diplomatic relations. If British police set a precedent here, it will cause embassies around the world to militarize, causing tension. I hope it's just a hollow threat made by some idiot who doesn't understand the situation properly.
  • by camperslo (704715) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @07:32PM (#41004123)

    What would Aldous Huxley say about all this? It's interesting to look at what some said over half a century ago.

    On 21 October 1949, Huxley wrote to George Orwell, author of Nineteen Eighty-Four, congratulating him on "how fine and how profoundly important the book is". In his letter to Orwell, he predicted:

     

    Within the next generation I believe that the world's leaders will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging them and kicking them into obedience.

    • by Penurious Penguin (2687307) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @07:53PM (#41004367) Homepage Journal
      I think you put half the world into a nutshell with that last paragraph. How dare we ask for information, and after being denied, deceived and abused, actually take it. And yet so many people think these leaks are somehow more unpatriotic than waging illegal wars that produce millions of casualties, lying and spying, parasiting the economy with Haliburtons, Blackwaters and endless dead-end military contracts while we watch the collective IQ of the US dissipate as quickly as the smoke on the 4th of July.
  • Rights (Score:4, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @07:32PM (#41004131)
    Yes, how very civilized of you, Britain. The "I'm right because I have more guns" position has made us Americans so many friends internationally. I'm sure diplomats and foreign dignitaries will be thrilled to hear that you're going to storm their embassies.
  • The UK government has already stated that they will not let Assange leave the country, so he's stuck in that embassy anyway. There have been rumors of smuggling him to the airport in a diplomatic limo, or hiring him as a diplomat, but those are not practical and the UK could detain him once he left the embassy grounds. So why bother storming the embassy?

    If by chance they do storm the embassy then it will be obvious that the US government stepped up the pressure and got impatient. Get the popcorn out, this could get interesting.

    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @07:53PM (#41004365)

      There have been rumors of smuggling him to the airport in a diplomatic limo, or hiring him as a diplomat, but those are not practical and the UK could detain him once he left the embassy grounds. So why bother storming the embassy?

      A diplomat's vehicle is considered sovereign land because it can contain diplomatic wires. Most countries would consider removing anything, or any person, from a diplomat's vehicle an act of war, the same as if they'd broken into the embassy. Now they might not exchange bullets over the matter, but you can be assured that diplomatic relations between Britain and many other countries will be harmed considerably. If they do this, nobody will trust them with their embassies again... I mean, if they're willing to storm an embassy and in the process compromising the national security and highly classified diplomatic wires of another government, violating the treaties signed between the two governments, all to to capture a guy for revealing low-level intelligence of a wholly separate government... Well, Britain simply won't be trusted after that for a long time.

      • by ACS Solver (1068112) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:19PM (#41004661)

        There are a few misconceptions that crop up repeatedly. Keep mind though that IANAL.

        The diplomat's vehicle isn't sovereign land of the sending country. In fact, neither is the embassy. The Ecuadorian embassy in the UK is still sovereign land of the UK, however, it is inviolable (Article 22 of the Vienna convention). Same article specifies that the vehicles can not be searched. But it's precisely this status of embassies - as opposed to them being sovereign land of the sending state as it's often believed - is, in my reading, what the UK uses to give itself the right to revoke unilaterally that status, under the act cited in the summary.

        If the embassy has diplomatic vehicles parked within the premises and not across the street or elsewhere, Assange can get into one of those vehicles, with a diplomat, and drive somewhere, with the police not having the right to detain him. Problem for him is he'd have to get out at the airport or somewhere.

        Another comment I saw repeated several times elsewhere is that Ecuador could grant Assange citizenship and diplomat status, making him immune. This is not so - the receiving nation must explicitly agree to acknowledge each member of the mission. Obviously Assange would never be acknowledged as a diplomat by the UK. From my understanding of international law, even if Assange was to become the President of Ecuador, he would still not be enjoying immunity as that applies on official visits of the head of state.

        Anyway, his is getting interesting and rapidly heading somewhere. Ecuador is set to announce its decision on asylum in about 12 hours, the UK might be determined to act before then. If they do not, there might be drama around Assange trying to leave the UK. Unless, of course, he just stays holed up there indefinitely.

  • A Joke? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by charlesr44403 (1504587) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @07:37PM (#41004185)
    Is this a joke? Can the most civilized nation on earth sink to the level of the state criminals who stormed the American embassy in Iran?
  • Oh, Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @07:37PM (#41004195) Homepage Journal
    I wouldn't say his crimes warrant a major diplomatic incident. Unless there's actually something to what he's been saying all along...
  • An Ugly Precedent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by camionbleu (1633937) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @07:44PM (#41004265)

    Here is the message that I've sent to David Cameron this evening,. If anyone else feels strongly about this and wishes to use my text, please feel free. You can reach him here [number10.gov.uk].

    Dear Mr Cameron,

    I have read reports in the international press this evening, citing Ecuador's Foreign Minister, that the UK is considering entering the London Embassy of Ecuador without Ecuador's permission in order to arrest Mr Julian Assange, who is seeking refuge there.

    I strongly urge the UK not to take this action, which would be a violation of Article 22 of the Vienna Convention. It would set an ugly precedent that would not be lost on other countries. Historically, the UK has valued the rule of law. When the UK contravenes international law, it sends a very unfortunate message to other countries who do not value the rule of law. That message is: "you, too, can ride roughshod over international law".

    If the UK enters the Embassy of Ecuador without permission I predict that other countries will use this chilling precedent to do likewise, perhaps against a UK embassy.

    Please seek a peaceful agreement with Ecuador.

  • by subreality (157447) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:05PM (#41004499)

    ... then hand them over to Argentina. Then send the Brits a diplomatic cable: "Fuck me? Well fuck you too."

  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:13PM (#41004591)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-19259623 [bbc.co.uk]

    They say they are not about to raid the embassy.

    Much like anything else involving Assange, it appears Assange's side is amping up the hype.

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