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

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 @08:29PM (#41004099)

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

  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:30PM (#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.

  • This is hideous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by richardcavell ( 694686 ) <richardcavell@mail.com> on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:31PM (#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.
  • Rights (Score:4, Insightful)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:32PM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:32PM (#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 pegasustonans ( 589396 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:33PM (#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.

  • Oh, Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:37PM (#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...
  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:37PM (#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 ThatsMyNick ( 2004126 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:43PM (#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.

  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:44PM (#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.

  • An Ugly Precedent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by camionbleu ( 1633937 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:44PM (#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 rrohbeck ( 944847 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:47PM (#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 Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:48PM (#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.


  • Re:Yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sgt_doom ( 655561 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:52PM (#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 girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:53PM (#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 Penurious Penguin ( 2687307 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:53PM (#41004367) 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.
  • by Macgrrl ( 762836 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:54PM (#41004375)

    Possibly the question isn't will Ecuador stand and call the UK's bluff, but would the UK follow through if forced?

    If the UK did in fact storm an embassy and as a consequence violate sovereign state, they are basically saying to anyone who may consider them an 'enemy' that they don't recognise consulates as sovereign territory so their own embassies in foreign countries are then at risk of incursion. Do they really want to do that in China or the Middle East or Africa or anywhere else they may have sensitive relationships?

  • Sure (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Murdoch5 ( 1563847 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:55PM (#41004379)
    He didn't even do anything!! He owned a site which released documents that everyone had a RIGHT to see. Just because a document is classified doesn't mean the public shouldn't be aware. He shouldn't be arrested or in trouble, he should be thanked for releasing information that frankly is everyone's business.
  • by Macgrrl ( 762836 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:57PM (#41004405)

    I'm sure the current UK government longs to be thought of in the same context as Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's Iranian Revolutionary government.

  • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @08:59PM (#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 Mitreya ( 579078 ) <mitreya&gmail,com> on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:01PM (#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?

  • Re:Yeah (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:10PM (#41004557)

    It has nothing to do with any rape allegations. It has everything to do with the fact the US plans to send him to Syria for a few years of torture before murdering him. These are the stated goals of the US, and the US has done this many many times before.

    Bringing up rape charges is about as irrelevant as claiming the police only want to arrest James Holmes [wikipedia.org] due to a parking ticket.

  • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:11PM (#41004565) Homepage Journal

    It's one thing when it happens in the context of a revolution or civil war. It's quite another when it happens between two established, stable countries which normally have peaceful relations.

  • by second_coming ( 2014346 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:12PM (#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 Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:12PM (#41004573)

    But you were cool with them

    A little reminder: neither you nor I were alive when that happened. This kind of dipshit thinking is what keeps places like the middle east at war for 5000 years.

  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:16PM (#41004617)
    And I am pretty sure that the UK will cave when China and Russia decide not to have embassies in a country barbaric enough not to honor the diplomatic system. The world has had it up to HERE with the US, and US-inspired cowboy grandstanding.
  • Re:Yeah (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hobarrera ( 2008506 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:18PM (#41004649) Homepage

    They're not circumventing the law; the Ecuadorian embassy is subject to Ecuadorian law, not UK law.

  • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:21PM (#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 cheater512 ( 783349 ) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:21PM (#41004683) Homepage

    Same net international effect. They might be able to do it, but the instant they do every single embassy in the UK will not be happy.

  • by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:25PM (#41004723)

    Do you really think people in this league of politics are impressed by technicalities? Yes, they could, and it would be legal. But even if they give it back after they've gained forced entry and made an arrest, the damage is done. The moment they do, every other country will have the option of exercising that same perfectly legal right against all of Britain's embassies. At the very least, I'd expect the British to be packed off home from Ecuador, and any other country that's pissed at Britmerica has a golden opportunity to expose their hypocritical concepts of "democracy" on the world stage.

    They would be provoking a major international diplomatic incident, quite probably with multiple, powerful countries involved, over (allegedly) whether Assange spends a week picking up trash in Stockholme.

  • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:32PM (#41004807) Homepage Journal

    Under Swedish law, it's not their charges to press. It's the public "Ã¥klagare" (prosecutor) who decides whether to press charges in case of sexual assault. The victims are witnesses, not parts.

    As for the speculations that Sweden, its police force and prosecutor are somehow involved in a conspiracy to do all this just to hand him over to the US, that's tin foil hat talk. For one thing, this is Sweden, which is not even a NATO country. The ties to the US are not especially strong. And, if the US had wanted him that badly, they would have just picked him up, and not relied on a country that's known for high integrity and isn't even an ally.. It's not like the US hasn't abducted people before.
    But more tot he point, both Occam and Freud agrees that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. The simplest explanation is that Sweden wants him extradited so they can, in accordance with their laws, question him. They are not permitted by their own laws to do that outside Sweden, so they need him on Swedish ground.
    The UK courts agree with the extradition.

    Please, people, take off your tin foil hats and see this for what it is.

  • Re:Yeah (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Rei ( 128717 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:33PM (#41004819) Homepage

    First off, the parent was talking about any two-bit thug who decides that he wants to evade arrest and so goes into the nearest third-world embassy with a bribe for protection to the ambassador. People seeking asylum in embassies is rare, and governments want to keep it that way. These cases generally also resolve themselves shortly; they are almost never allowed to fester for long periods of time, for precisely the reason that people charged with crimes having a "can't touch me" zone is generally something that states don't like to have.

    Secondly, embassies are hosted at the will of the host country. Britain is fully within their rights to close the Ecuadorian embassy. They even have added legal clout, as part of the charter for embassies is that they are to exist only to conduct diplomatic work and not interfere in the legal system of their host countries.

    This will all be over soon. At least the "running" part.

  • by Chuck Chunder ( 21021 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:38PM (#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 Gryle ( 933382 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:41PM (#41004901)
    Somewhat off-topic: Don't be fooled. China's strings simply aren't as obvious.
  • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:46PM (#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 ??

  • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:55PM (#41005027) Homepage

    It really has nothing to do with Assange at this point. It has to do with whether a person can escape the UK justice system. He could be a guy accused of stealing a frozen chicken dinner from the local Iceland, but if he was escaping charges confirmed by their high court and jumping bail and creating an international incident, the *last* thing they want is him to have some sort of successful resolution out of it that will encourage others to likewise try to evade the UK justice system

    And, FYI, two courts in the UK found the charges against him credible and that they'd be a violation of UK law if they occurred there.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:58PM (#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...

  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @09:59PM (#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.
  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @10:03PM (#41005115) Journal
    There is a point at which sovereign nations pushed beyond the realm of reason do things they cannot afford to do. We may be getting there for Ecuador.
  • by flimflammer ( 956759 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @10:10PM (#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.

  • Re:Yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @10:15PM (#41005185) Journal

    First off, the parent was talking about any two-bit thug who decides that he wants to evade arre

    Oh, fuck you.

    If Dick Cheney was in London, you think the government of the UK would storm the US embassy to arrest him? And yes, there are formal charges of war crimes pending against Cheney. So, a bullshit rape charge vs war crimes... Are the guys from Barclays that manipulated LIBOR causing theft that could go into the trillions of dollars in custody? But, oh, no, they need to cause an act of war to get Julian Assange who is accused of "pressing his penis against a sleeping woman whom he happened to be sleeping with. I guess you can expect this from a country that let a bunch of Nazis take their fortune to South America with little more than a tally-ho, but for Assange, dammit, "the law is the law". And you're going on about "Britain is fully with their rights.." What is wrong with you?

    There are some powerful swells that are pissed at Assange for making them look foolish. That's the alpha and the omega of this thing.

    Assange may be a total jerk and someone who would have consensual sex with a woman without a condom when the woman said she wanted him to wear a condom, or the charges against him could be completely bogus. But these supposed charges do not rise to the level requiring the attack of a foreign embassy.

    "Storm the Ecuadorian embassy" my ass. All because Assange provided confirmation to the people of Britain that people in their government are asshats, as they have long believed.

  • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @10:16PM (#41005199) Homepage

    People have tried to move people via diplomatic bags before. It's never worked, at least as far as is known (there's one suspected case from Egypt long ago, but it's not really certain). It failed with Mordechai Ben Masoud Louk, it failed with Umaru Dikko, etc. And it especially wouldn't work if you tried it on something as obviously in violation of the Vienna Convention as a car. The British have already made it quite clear that they plan to stop any vehicles leaving the embassy.

    Embassies are not magic. Their immunity basically only extends as far as the host state is willing to tolerate them, because ultimately, the host state has all the cards, including the right to expel diplomats and close embassies altogether. The more the embassy tries to f*** with the laws of the host state and cheat the Vienna Convention, the less they tend to be tolerated. And Ecuador already has a less than stellar record with their diplomatic pouches (they got caught using them to smuggle cocaine to Italy once)

  • Re:Yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rei ( 128717 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @10:29PM (#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?

  • by NewtonsLaw ( 409638 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @10:38PM (#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?

  • Re:Yeah (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @10:39PM (#41005409)

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

    You might be right about Assange, but you undermine your position on his guilt when you take a criticism of this case and generalize it like that. It makes it look like you are transferring your personal circumstances onto this case. That's no better than people knee-jerk defending Assange simply because of the laudable goals of the wikileaks organization.

  • by Goaway ( 82658 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @10:45PM (#41005493) Homepage

    Yes, the UK is doing the US's bidding by... sending Assange to Sweden.

    That makes so much more sense than something silly like sending him to the US.

  • 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 subreality ( 157447 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @10:49PM (#41005539)

    No, the sex crime being "pressuring to continue when she wanted a condom, despite an implicit, but not explicit, 'no'". It's a lesser thing than what most of the world calls rape, but it's more than you suggest.

    It's still certainly not an excuse to invade foreign soil.

  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @10:49PM (#41005543)


    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 A nonymous Coward ( 7548 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @10:53PM (#41005593)

    Sure Assange is an asshole. Maybe he really did rape those women. But this is not the kind of charge you use as an excuse to become the first modern country to storm an embassy. Even the worst enemies in WW II didn't do that. Iran did, but their provocation was far worse than extradition for a dubious rape charge, and the world condemned them for it.

  • by A nonymous Coward ( 7548 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @11:08PM (#41005727)

    No. Embassies are foreign soil. The British would be wrong under international law to enter without permission, under every possible circumstance.

  • Re:Yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by donaggie03 ( 769758 ) <d_osmeyer.hotmail@com> on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @11:14PM (#41005777)
    It doesn't matter what the arrest warrant says. All that matters is whether Ecuadorian officials believe Mr. Assange is being politically prosecuted. Hell, even that doesn't matter. All that matters is that the Ecuadorian officials, with a semi-straight face, say they believe Mr. Assange is being politically prosecuted. And that's all it takes because the official excuse for prosecution does not always equal the true reason for prosecution, and everyone knows this.
  • by A nonymous Coward ( 7548 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @11:14PM (#41005785)

    Says wikipedia about the Saigon embassy: "The Americans and the refugees they flew out were generally allowed to leave without intervention from either the North or South Vietnamese. Pilots of helicopters heading to Tan Son Nhat were aware that PAVN anti-aircraft guns were tracking them, but they refrained from firing. The Hanoi leadership, reckoning that completion of the evacuation would lessen the risk of American intervention, had instructed Dng not to target the airlift itself."

    The US abandoned the embassy, and only then did the North Vietnamese invade it. Their actions showed an acute awareness of it being off-limits. Whether they would have invaded it if it had not been abandoned is an alternate universe question.

    There's one hell of a lot of tradition behind leaving embassies and ambassadors alone, stretching way back to the middle ages at least.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @11:15PM (#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!

  • Re:Yeah (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MechaStreisand ( 585905 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @11:30PM (#41005921)
    Fine, then. But if you do that, you can't go back later and then claim rape. Because then there's zero evidence that that's what it was, some evidence to the contrary, and if we allow people to act as though they are happy with someone and nothing bad happened and then later on claim that a rape occurred, and we take that claim as all the evidence that we need, then we have a fucking tyranny. There needs to be EVIDENCE. You can't go ahead and create evidence that directly contradicts the idea that a rape occurred and then charge someone without anything else to back up the claim.
  • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @11:30PM (#41005923) Homepage 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

    Stop drinking the Kool-Aid. If the US wanted him extradited, it would be much easier to get him extradited from the UK to the US than from Sweden.
    This is Sweden that wants him for questioning, and the UK has agreed to extradite him. It's that simple. Don't try to complicate it with conspiracy theories.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @11:32PM (#41005937)

    The United States is worse... attacking free speech, while violating the Constitution in a manner that is treasonous.

    Go figure - the good guy is counted as a terrorist while the government actually becomes the terrorist organization.

    That is not what I signed up for when I served. Perhaps our Armed Services who are sworn to uphold the constitution should do something about the flagrant violations being perpetrated by the FBI/CIA/DHS/Pentagon/RIAA/MPAA and put an end to these rampant terrorist acts being perpetrated by them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @11:34PM (#41005949)

    But you were cool with them taking about half the countries on the damn planet as colonies, and dividing a bunch of them up at random paying no attention to existing tribal lines causing centuries of bloodshed? That part was alright, but the threat of storming an embassy was just one straw too many?

    AC because I'm moderating- Not that that matters one little bit, but on principal, If I could mod you:

    (Score: -15, Utter Fucking Idiot That Should Never Use a Computer Again Because He's in Danger of Hurting Himself)

    then reach through your monitor and slap the living shit out of you, I would. Remember, ass-blossom, don't pop the keys off the keyboard and put them in your mouth, you might choke. For damn sure you don't know what else to do with them. Goddamn it, do you even try to use your fucking brain before you say something that utterly inane and poorly thought out, or does it just feel good to make a smug, self-righteous, half-witted, poke-yourself-in-the-eye comment? You are the punch line to each and every one of George Carlin's Jokes.

  • by Jeremy Allison - Sam ( 8157 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2012 @11:55PM (#41006061) Homepage

    Damn, and you were doing so well there for a minute....

    But then you criticised the NHS (National Health Service, for non-Brits).

    Now most other things about the UK can be considered shitty (as with the US), but the one thing that *DOES* work in the UK is the NHS.

    Don't fuck with it. No one wants a US-style (aka built by and for private insurance companies) healthcare "system" (in quotes because it really doesn't work over here) in the UK.

  • by rgbrenner ( 317308 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @12:03AM (#41006117)

    Hold on for a second. You're saying the AC was not alive in 1945? How the hell do you know that.

    The british empire began to fall apart after WWII... there are hundreds of millions of people still alive who remember British rule around the world. There are millions right here in the US.

    It may not be relevant to this discussion.. but you don't get to pretend history from 65 years ago is ancient history.

  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @12:30AM (#41006277)

    If it would not have been for the brave Americans, I would be speaking German by now. If it would not have been for the brave Americans, half of APAC would be speaking Japanese by now. If it would not have been for the brave Americans, whole Iraq would still be terrorized by Saddam and his family. If it would not have been for the brave Americans, Kuwait would still be a province of Iraq. If it would not have been for the brave Americans, every schoolgirl in Afghanistan would be shot by the Taliban. If it would not have been for the brave Americans, we would not have a rover on Mars today.

    I can also come up with a list. It's not as flattering as yours, but it's just as patriotic:
    If it would not have been for the brave Americans, a hundred thousand japanese would not have been turned into carbon scorch marks.
    If it would not have been for the brave Americans, many thousands of their citizens of japanese descent wouldn't have been held in concentration camps.
    If it would not have been for the brave Americans, millions of blacks wouldn't have been imported here and then enslaved.
    If it would not have been for the brave Americans, the native americans who lived here before would still be alive, before we wiped them out by giving them blankets laced with small pox -- an act of genocide using a weapon of mass destruction.
    If it would not have been for the brave Americans... ah, well, the list goes on.

    That's the problem I have with patriotism: It only acknowledges what we do right, and minimizes, rationalizes, or dismisses what we did wrong. We have wronged a lot of people out there -- and I can't be proud of that, no matter how it's sugar coated or rationalized. If we're going to be world leaders, we need to learn to say we're sorry once in awhile, and put things right again. Right now, we're more thugs than leaders, enforcing our view of the world at the end of a gun, rather than a pen. For the country that created the internet, the most democratic form of communication ever created, it shouldn't be that way.

  • by Narcocide ( 102829 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @12:34AM (#41006315) Homepage

    I dunno... he kinda has a point. You have to change the mindsets of the people before you will ever change their behavior.

  • by Jeremy Allison - Sam ( 8157 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @12:44AM (#41006399) Homepage

    Sure, I can believe as an NHS nurse she had lots of horror stories about how broken the system is. I can tell you lots of horror stories about how broken every company I've ever worked for is :-).

    But (and I'm sorry to hear she passed away so you can't ask here) I very much doubt that she would have preferred to impose the US-style system on her patients, had she had experience of both systems.

    I live in the US, and I'd pay double my taxes just to get a working NHS over here. Having experience of both systems I know what I'm talking about. It's the peace of mind.

    If you've never had it, and only lived in the US system you won't really understand what I'm talking about. It's like trying to describe color (note the spelling there :-) to a blind person. But I'll try.

    Imagine just NOT HAVING TO WORRY about healthcare or costs. Seriously - NOT HAVING TO WORRY ABOUT IT AT ALL. Ever. That's what the NHS brings to people's lives.

    People over there complain about it, but that's because they also don't understand how truely disfunctional the US system is. They (people in the UK) have no concept of being made bankrupt and homeless by healthcare costs. They just can't imagine it.

  • by fredprado ( 2569351 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @12:54AM (#41006475)
    The basis of international diplomacy is reciprocity. If you screw up with my guys I will screw up with yours. If UK arbitrarily ignores diplomatic immunity within their soil, they will automatically make their diplomats vulnerable to the same fate throughout the world. It will be a high cost to pay just for Assange.
  • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:08AM (#41006555) Homepage Journal

    Tell us this: Why doesn't Sweden give Assange a guarantee that they will NOT extradite him to the USA. Assange's lawyers and even the Equadorians have requested such assurances and have been denied every time

    Because Sweden has a principle that everyone is equal to the law. Making exceptions is not equality. If any country asks for any person to be extradited, the Swedish courts will look at the extradition request that they get, and judge whether it's valid and doesn't contravene Swedish law (Sweden would not, for example, extradite a person to a country with exceedingly harsh punishments, like death penalty or whipping).
    In order for Sweden to give this assurance without even having received an extradition request, they would have to issue a carte blanc for Julian Assange versus any requests coming from USA, which other people won't get. That does not jive with everyone being equal, nor with Swedish law.

    What the lawyers do here is disingenuous - they know fully well that Sweden cannot give such a guarantee -- they're asking Sweden to break its own laws, and uses the refusal to do so as an argument for why he shouldn't be extradited to Sweden to answer to the hearing about possible sexual assault.
    That argumentation didn't fly in UK courts, and yes, you have been drinking the Kool-Aid if you think this kind of argumentation is more than a smoke screen. Of course the lawyers knew it would be denied, because Sweden could do nothing else.
    That doesn't mean that they will extradite him either.
    A != B does not imply that !A = B.

    It must depend on the request and possible punishment, in each and every case. Whether it's Olof Medelsvensson, Julian Assange or God Almighty himself. Equality. It's not just a good idea, in better countries, it's the law.

  • by fredprado ( 2569351 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:09AM (#41006561)
    Their diplomatic protection can't be legally lifted without granting them safe passage to Ecuador and that includes Assange if he is given Asylum.
  • by sqrt(2) ( 786011 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:14AM (#41006601) Journal

    Of course Assange parading around South America thumbing his nose at the US would also be widely celebrated by far the majority of South Americans.

    And many of us here in the USA as well.

  • What, are we going to threaten that if they don't cooperate, America will block imports of IKEA's new Trogdör bookshelf?

    That's "dörr", friend. :)

    More seriously: why would the US block Chinese imports in retaliation for something done by Sweden?

  • by newbie_fantod ( 514871 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:57AM (#41007199)

    The French and American revolutions were in a time when people had "the right to bear arms" in order to depose a corrupt government.

    Neither the French population nor the British Colonials had any right to bear arms at the time they made their revolutions, nor did the Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans and Yemenis.

    I'd say fear of inconvenience and mild discomfort are far more powerful disincentives to revolution than any supposed infringements on Second Amendment rights, at least for societies in which life is comfortable and convenient.

  • by rainmouse ( 1784278 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @03:02AM (#41007221)

    Damn, and you were doing so well there for a minute....But then you criticised the NHS (National Health Service, for non-Brits).

    Gotta agree on that one. The USA is the laughing stock of the west in regards to healthcare. The fact that they can brainwash their citizens into aggressively defending their morally bankrupt health care system that has many people crushed with anxiety over the mere cost of visiting a doctor and leaves the USA with some of the lowest life expectancy in the western world.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy [wikipedia.org]

  • by jeremyp ( 130771 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @03:43AM (#41007431) Homepage Journal

    You can pretty much guarantee that if the Daily Mail says it, it is a lie.

    I honestly don't understand the arguments in the USA regarding universal healthcare. This is something I would regard as a basic right. The people against it are effectively saying "poor people? Fuck 'em"

  • diplomacy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @03:57AM (#41007511) Homepage Journal

    Wow. Until now I was on the edge on whether Assange really faced extradiction to the USA and lots and lots of pain coming his way there. Now I am convinced that he was right all along. You don't storm embassies and revoke diplomatic immunity for two counts of non-consensual intercourse.

  • by Phrogman ( 80473 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @04:25AM (#41007687) Homepage

    Or you could say Napoleon took over the government because he could gain control of it when it was in absolute chaos. The French then attempted to spread their version of a society where "Liberty, Equality and Freedom" were the watchwords of the day and there was no room for a Noble Class and a Peasant Class who were dominated by them.
    All of the other countries in Europe (dominated by Nobility who still wielded very considerable power) immediately ganged up on the French to destroy this idea that having a Nobility rule over you was morally wrong. The French attempted to expand the territory they control and to introduce a new type of government.

    In the process they introduced a detailed and arguably fair legal code (although the English code is preferable IMHO), the metric system, high speed communications (for the time of course: news of a victory in Austria could be in Paris in about 18 hours), they revolutionized the warfare of the time and forcing every other army in Europe to reorganize and revamp their units in reaction.
    They attempted to spread a new way of thinking about government and society and to eliminate the class system that dominated all politics at the national level in Europe.

    History has been written by the supporters of those Nobles who defeated Napoleon. For 20+ years, he was the most brilliant commander of military forces in Europe, and only seldom was he bested. The rest of the time he often made his enemies look like inept buffoons. He overstepped his reach in Russia of course, but that seems to be a common fate for those who attempt to cross the steppes. Note that the French did better than the Germans in WWII although the results were the same in the end. Napoleon is too easy to caricature and dismiss, and of course since he is French, every American out there will dismiss him out of hand almost automatically - since everything French must be dismissed these days *simply* because the French were unwilling to participate in the Iraq war (which was of course based on lies anyways).

    Before anyone asks, no I am not French, don't live in France etc.

  • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @04:50AM (#41007833)

    I'm British and I'm accidently sickened by this news, and I actually think our country deserves international condemnation over this but your rant is just stupid and wrong.

    "Before exiting Heathrow Airport, you will be recorded on more CCTV camera's than while driving from San Francisco to New York."

    That doesn't even make any sense, the distance between a plane and the exit to Heathrow isn't large enough for this to be true, unless you believe for some reason they have multiple CCTV cameras covering exactly the same spots taking the exact same redundant images for absolutely no reason at all. Hint: they don't. The UK has a CCTV problem, but your example is 100% bullshit, if you'd really actually been to Heathrow you'd know this.

    "The UK prohibits MP's of other European countries access because of their political views."

    Sure, the UK has refused entry to Geert Wilders, the Dutch far right extremist politicians which is presumably who you're referring to, but that's because the UK was dealing with a resurgent BNP at the time and we frankly didn't want to strengthen the far right platform. You realise however that countries like the US ban even simple holiday makers for jokes they've made on Twitter which the US authorities finds offensive? many European countries also ban extremists and so forth too. Hell, even Canada threatened to refuse me entry once for no other reason than the customs officer was a jackass and "wasn't convinced" I was telling the truth about my life after he'd randomly interrogated me for 3 hours and I've not even got so much as a speeding fine on my record, work a respectable job, and have a decent education. Our country is still one of the more accomodating in this respect, whilst some high profile preaches have been dealt with here and there the UK still for example allows people in supporting groups like "Muslims against crusades" to join in protests with British muslims - something few other countries would tolerate. I don't think the UK really needs to improve much in this area, it's still one of the most tolerant even now, there are much more pressing problems. We do need to make sure we don't allow the downwards trajectory towards less tolerance to continue though and absolutely we should still work to reverse it.

    "The health system exceeds Mao's finest expectations when it comes to communist equality for all, especially the lack of quality."

    This is just stupid and wrong. The NHS works, it's one of the best systems in the world and used as a model for many other countries who want a progressive health system. If you think the NHS is somehow a communist issue, then presumably you think that the US having public police and fire services makes the US police and fire services communist too. In most civilised nations, healthcare is treated as an essential basic service just like policing, fire, and the military are. Sucks for you if you don't come from such a civilised society where people can focus on being productive, rather than having to worry as to whether they'll be made bankrupt for no other reason than they got ill.

    "The school systems is terribly broken."

    I somewhat agree with this, it is pretty shit, but relative to the rest of the world it's still in the top 15 or so, so whilst it could do with a lot of improvement, it could also be a fuckton worse.

    "The police have a license to kill (remember the poor Brazilian guy in London?)."

    Well yeah, the police kinda do have a license to kill. Have you ever heard of an armed police unit anywhere in the world that is told "Well, here are your guns, but don't actually shoot anyone". A few examples of malpractice like Menezes do not equal an endemic issue with police murdering people. The British police record on this sort of thing is orders of magnitude better than in most of the world partly due to the fact a small handful of units have firearms so the scope for it happening accidently, or intentionally, is low. Compare this to say, America, where the police shoot multiple people every

  • by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @04:52AM (#41007837)

    Not so much the "right to bear arms", but the fact that arms technology at that time was cheap enough and simple enough that individuals could own and use them. There is a far, far wider gap today between civilian and military grade equipment. Sure, Americans have the right to bear arms, but the US Government has right to bear carrier groups, remote drones, laser-guided missiles and tank divisions. Even if an individual had the "right" to own those things, there's no practical way they could, and no way they could ever serve as a counterveiling force against the governments own military.

    The only way you're winning that sort of fight is if the military itself splits, and some proportion of it backs the uprising.

  • by jeremyp ( 130771 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @04:58AM (#41007849) Homepage Journal

    I think the fact that you would rather lose a loved one instead of you life savings is really sad.

    The fact that, in the USA, you can be put in the position where you must choose one or the other is a fail of epic proportions.

  • by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @10:45AM (#41010989) Homepage

    The citizen soldiers didn't affect the American Revolution one way or another. Washington and his regular troops, horribly under-funded by the money-hoarding businessmen, did the heavy lifting and the heavy dying.

    But all that would have been for naught but for Ben Franklin in Paris, persuading the French to fund our insurgency under the table. And most importantly, we would have defeated but for the intervention of the French Navy, which engaged the British warships at the very end.

    Guys with muskets do not defeat trained armies. We were lucky that the French wanted the British to lose. Else those household guns would have been shoved up the traitors' collective bums before the British hanged them.

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