Thursday, 16 August 2012

Assange Trapped In Embassy

Not an altogether unexpected twist in the Julain Assange story with The Ecuadoreans granting him political asylum as he sits in there Embassy in London much to the annoyance of the British, the Swedes and a strangely quiet America.
The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, has insisted that the Government would not allow the WIkileaks founder safe passage out of the UK and have handed the Ecuadoreans a sniffy letter warning there was a legal basis to arrest Mr Assange at the embassy and if it continued to shield him there would be 'serious implications' for diplomatic relations.
So now we have a stand off with the British saying that if the Australian sets foot outside the front door of the Ecuador Embassy, they can legally arrest him and if they need to, they can just waltz in and nab him anyway.
The problem does not seem to be with Assange going to Sweden where the charge against him is flimsy at best with the charge being initially dismissed by a Swedish judge and then suddenly resurrected and centres around a ripped condom during consensual sex. The problem seems to be that once the British pack him off to Sweden, America will be his next port of call where there has already been calls for his execution from politicians including one time Presidential candidate Mick Huckabee who said 'anything less than execution is too kind a penalty' and one time Vice President Sarah Palin called for him to be treated as if he was 'an Al Quaeda or Taliban leader'.
Despite the grandstanding, it is highly unlikely that we will storm a foreign Embassy and equally unlikely is that Assange will remain in there until he dies so the most likely outcome is that the police will play a waiting game until Assange finally leave the embassy.
The other option is they manage to sneak him out and diplomatic vehicles are immune from searches from the receiving country, in this case the UK. But even if Assange managed to get into an embassy car without being arrested, he would at some stage have to get out to board a plane and will have lost the protection by not actually being technically on Ecuadorean soil, and therefore arrestable.
I'm hoping that behind the the walls of the Embassy they have a decent supply of A-Team episodes and are presently devising a cunning escape plan involving a length of rope, two Maltesers they found down the back of the sofa, an old photograph of Bruce Forsyth and a copy of the 1974 Mud Hit 'Tiger Feet'.


david g said...

Lucy, the British seem to be trying very hard to emulate the Americans. It is a steep downward spiral!

But I guess that when your Empire has gone, all that is left is trying to hitch a ride on another Empire and hope that some of its very questionable 'glory' reflects onto the minions.

That Britain, like Australia, is under the thrall of the U.S. is regrettable and detracts from what glory and prestige Britain once had.

Then I guess that when Israel nukes Iran in the next few months, Britain and Australia will become Jew-lovers too.

What a sick world we live in!

P.S. The word image becomes ever more obscure. I have no idea of what to type in the box! Cheers.

Nog said...

God save us all from the tyranny and oppression of the Swedes!

Cheezy said...

The obvious moral to this whole story: Piss the wrong people off, and bad things will happen to you.

david g said...

The moral to this story is: Don't get in the road of the American-NATO-British quest to dominate the world and control its resources using military force.

Even a blind fool can see that!

Lucy said...

The moral i take is the usual story of being fine about whistleblowers as long as it is not you they are blowing the whistle about.

Nog said...

The man isn't being charged with wistleblowing in the United States. He's being charged with sexual assault in Sweden. It isn't as though powerful men don't get greedy just because they are aligned with a preferred faction. All of this talk of treason and espionage is not only a red herring, it's justifying rape based on politics.

Lucy said...

The sexual assault/rape is also a red herring, it is all over a split condom during consensual sex and CNN are reporting that they have already got an arrest warrant for him and they are just waiting for the appropriate moment in the appropriate country to grab him. That country being Sweden we can assume although i'm not sure why they haven't tried to get him extradited from here, we would probably tie a pretty ribbon around him for you.

Nog said...

"it is all over a split condom during consensual sex"

That's flat wrong. You obviously haven't read any of the case documents. In 1950, Assange would have consent. In 2010, he didn't. And as the British court has pointed out, the correct element of rape in modern times is lack of consent not force.

The court correctly applies what seems to be, at the very least, the standard contemporary common law jurisdiction view on rape to the facts of the case in holding: "Our view is, as we have set out, that a jury would be entitled to find that consent to sexual intercourse with a condom is not consent to sexual intercourse without a condom which affords protection. As the conduct set out in the EAW alleges that Mr Assange knew SW would only have sex if a condom was used, the allegation that he had sexual intercourse with her without a condom would amount to an allegation of rape in England and Wales." ([2011] EWHC 2849)

I could take the argument that "it isn't really rape" more seriously if it wasn't coming from folks who have been so supportive of the massive expansion of what constitutes "rape" over the past half-century. How is it that when the rapist happens to be someone who doesn't like the United States government, "no" suddenly ceases to mean "no"?

It is also worth noting that the notion that the desire to try Assange for rape is coming from all ends of the political spectrum.

david g said...

This situation is all about the exposing of the brutality and duplicity of the U.S. and its insane desire to control the world.

Assange showed the world what an Evil Empire America is using its own leaked documents. He is a hero!

If two women invited me to their homes and beds and had consensual sex with me, how can they then claim rape? Clearly, it was a set-up!

Sweden and Britain are playing America's dirty games. Shame.

Lucy said...

Not sure where you got your information nog but you may want to check it again or else every newspaper and the talking heads on Channel 4 news who were discussing it earlier has got it very wrong.

Lucy said...

The case against him is shakey David and no prizes for who is actually steering the whole thing. Strange how Clinton made a visit to Sweden around about the same time that the case was looked at again after being dismissed initially.

Nog said...

"If two women invited me to their homes and beds and had consensual sex with me, how can they then claim rape? Clearly, it was a set-up!"

1. I'm surprised. I didn't figure you for the type to picket an abortion clinic or to support the old "hue and cry" rule. Under the modern, progressive, highly anti-conservative definition of rape it is well established that: you will have committed rape at 8 PM if a woman 1) invites you over, 2) has sex with you at 6 PM, 3) tells you "no" at 8 PM when you want to have sex again but otherwise offer no resistance and even "go with it" after you proceed over her one weakly asserted and possibly playing oral objection, 4) and consent you having sex with you again at 10 PM. Maybe you, Dick Cheney, and Michael Savage should start a club to bring back the old rule.

2. The government could not set any high-profile individual up for rape (or any other violent crime) in America. The only crime that a high-profile person could arguably get "set-up" with is perjury through a perjury trap.

Although I can't speak to European law or the European bar (maybe European law is sufficiently primitive that they don't have "discovery" or allow confrontation). You've been watching too many movies and reading too little law.

I'm not that up on criminal law but know how an analogous civil suit proceeding would play out, so I can tell you how I would get Julian Assange off in your fantasy fact scenario in a real world legal environment like a Texas district court.

You'd send the Government a request for production saying "produce any receipts reflecting payments to women to have sex with Julian Assange" or "produce all phone records of government officials X, Y, and Z which contain or may contain phone calls to women A & B." Then the government wouldn't produce anything or they'd try to come up with some argument (i.e. state secrets***) that an L1 (a first year law student) could torch in 8 seconds. When they didn't give you anything, you would scrape up some inference however attenuated to the actual existence of some government person talking to these women to get them to set Assange up, and hit the Government with a motion to compel. The Texas judge would, of course, grant your motion to compel. When the government didn't come up with the records, you'd file "death penalty sanctions" against the government's claims, which the Texas judge would, of course, grant. You would, of course, repeat this process indefinitely if, in your fantasy scenario, the government tried to doctor records (just do a request for production on records of their doctoring records).

***I expressly warrant and represent to you and all the world that, after I become a Texas attorney in a year or so: if you are set up for rape by the government in order to get back at you for whistle-blowing activities, and a corresponding battery or negligence per se charge is brought against you in a civil court, that not only will I obtain a summary judgement against any state secrets arguments used to avoid producing pertinent evidence of the set up, I will obtain sanctions awarding you any attorneys fees you incur paying me to obtain the evidence of the set up evidence for you. I further expressly warrant and represent that such evidence would completely exonerate you in the collateral criminal proceeding, and that I would be able to obtain a civil settlement or judgement of no less than $1,000,000 from the person or persons who orchestrated your set-up.

haveaniceday said...

From the Guardian

The main concern with an extradition to Sweden is that Assange will then be extradited to the United States. In another prominent document released by WikiLeaks, called the Global Intelligence Files, a portion of up to 5m emails were released from a private, global intelligence firm called Stratfor, based in Austin, Texas. The firm's vice president for intelligence, Fred Burton, wrote in a 26 January 2011 email:

"Not for Pub – We have a sealed indictment on Assange. Pls protect."

If an indictment has been issued in secret, then Assange could find himself in US custody shortly after landing in Sweden. He could be charged with espionage (the Obama administration has already invoked the law more than all previous US administrations combined), and could be imprisoned for life or executed.

This week, Hillary Clinton will be the first US official to visit Sweden in years. Why? What role is the US government playing in Assange's case? This week's developments bear crucially on the public's right to know,

It's a done deal and Assange is being set up.

cheezy said...

So many words and most of them fairly redundant... Here's the botttom line for me...

If Julian Assange was a panelbeater, or a shoe salesman, or a stockbroker... rather than the man behind WikiLeaks, do you think he'd be facing these charges?

Do you really?

If you want to believe this, fill your boots.

Nog said...

1. Governments simply do not pull off frames for high profile crimes. They do not attempt them and could not succeed if they tried. This is especially true in cases where the complainant is no dead.

2. Cases like this are prosecuted from time to time.

3. Legal professionals, for various reasons, sometimes pass documents around before they are filed. I can't say that it would even be out of the ordinary for the US government to see an indictment on Assange before it was filed.