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Ecuador Grants Asylum To Julian Assange 923

Posted by timothy
from the must-be-nice-this-time-of-year dept.
Several readers have submitted news that as expected, Ecuador is formally accepting Julian Assange's request for political asylum. paulmac84 writes "The Guardian are live blogging the Ecuadorian Foreign Minister's announcement that Ecuador is to grant asylum to Julian Assange. In the announcement Minister Patino said, 'We can state that there is a risk that he will be persecuted politically... We trust the UK will offer the necessary guarantees so that both governments can act adequately and properly respect international rights and the right of asylum. We also trust the excellent relationship the two countries have will continue.' The Guardian also carries a translated copy of the letter the UK sent to Ecuador regarding the threat to 'storm' the Ecuadorian embassy." Also at Reuters.
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Ecuador Grants Asylum To Julian Assange

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  • Extradition to US (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ly4 (2353328) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @09:28AM (#41009631)

    Something that was in the press release, but that is not being widely reported:

    Ecuador offered for Assange to go to Stockholm tomorrow if there was no extradition to the US.

    Sweden refused.

  • by pointyhat (2649443) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @09:41AM (#41009817)

    He stated that he would go to Stockholm to face his allegations, but only if they guaranteed that they would not extradite him to the US. The Swedish government confirmed that they couldn't promise that.

    That is the human rights violation - it's effectively a one stop trip to Guantanamo for him without a rape trial.

    Assange is being very reasonable, but only if International Treaties such as the Vienna Convention are adhered to.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 16, 2012 @09:41AM (#41009819)

    Also, to preempt this ridiculousness:

    The UK didn't say it was going to "storm" Ecuador's embassy. (The origin of that claim? None other than Ecuador.) What the UK said is that Ecuador's embassy may be stripped of its diplomatic status [guardian.co.uk] (a move which would have serious diplomatic fallout), and police may arrest Assange.

    Here it is:

    "You should be aware that there is a legal basis in the U.K. the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act which would allow us to take action to arrest Mr. Assange in the current premises of the Embassy."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 16, 2012 @09:42AM (#41009837)

    The thing about this case is that the arguments are not particularly complicated or convoluted. The US wants to punish Assange like they have been Manning. The difference is that Assange isn't part of our military so he isn't subject to military discipline like Manning. He's now found a country that will take him in and protect him from that revenge.

    Assange and Wikileaks played the role of the traditional newspaper in this case, except online. Are you mad at the newspapers that published some of these cables? Do you think the owners or editors or journalists of The Guardian should be extradited to the US and put on trial? Then why Assange?

    We don't like to see our government becoming like we used to view the USSR by manipulating other countries to exact revenge on someone who offended us. This is not playing out in a "Justice Must Be Served" way it's playing out in a "Nail The Bastard To The Wall" way. Everything about it screams Malicious Prosecution.

  • by Xest (935314) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @09:43AM (#41009845)

    Oh dear, Dave Schroeder the self-confessed "Information Warfare Officer in the United States Navy Fleet Cyber Command/US Tenth Fleet." from his own homepage was just waiting to pounce on first post for this one.

    Well, anyway, I actually listened to the statement by Ecuador's spokesman live today and it was pretty interesting. The reason Ecuador took so long over this decision is that they have been trying to avoid it. What this involved was trying to find out whether Assange really was under some kind of threat. As such they:

    - Asked Britain to guarantee that there was no possibility of Assange being extradited to the US. Britain refused to give this guarantee.

    - Asked Sweden to guarantee that Assange would not be further extradited to the US after the rape case was dealt with. Sweden refused to give this guarantee.

    - Asked Sweden if they would be willing to interview Assange in the Ecuardorian embassy over the accusations, noting that contrary to much FUD posted on Slashdot, this is in fact something Sweden can do, and has done in the past hence debunking the argument that Sweden's legal system does not allow this.

    - Asked the US whether there was any existing or planned legal proceedings ongoing against Assange, and any current or potential future plans to extradite him over Wikileaks. The US refused to respond to this.

    Given these 3 points, Ecuador decided that on the balance of probabilities, Assange was indeed at risk because they could not get any kind of guarantee from any of the parties involved that this was nothing to do with Wikileaks. As such they granted him asylum.

    Or if you cut away the bullshit, the responses, or lack of, from Britain, Sweden, and America when Ecuador tried to resolve this without having to give Assange asylum and hence now deal with the tricky situation of how to get him the hell out of the UK all but confirm that this whole thing is indeed about Wikileaks.

    Still, keep on trying to just slag off Ecuador as a bit of misdirection from the actual story here Dave if that's what makes you a happy guy.

  • by Xest (935314) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @09:48AM (#41009935)

    That was only part of it, they also tried to get the UK to do the same and guarantee there was no potential for Assange to then be moved onto the US after Sweden too but they wouldn't.

    They also made it clear Sweden can and has in the past interviewed people in foreign embassies and so Sweden does have the legal capability to do this.

    They asked the US to also confirm whether there were any plans to try and get Assange over Wikileaks and the US wouldn't comment on that either.

    It was all in all really interesting, because the statement basically drove a bulldozer through all the anti-Assange arguments that have been made here on Slashdot over the last year or so. All the stuff about how there were protections against Assange being moved on from Sweden to the US preventing that being possible, and all the crap about how Sweden supposedly doesn't allow in it's law for questioning via video link or in foreign countries hence the need for extradition turns out to be complete and utter crap.

  • by SYSS Mouse (694626) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @10:07AM (#41010323) Homepage

    This is worthy a slashdot story and scandal itself.

  • Re:I don't think so (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 16, 2012 @10:12AM (#41010411)

    Well actually no. It proves that we will break international extradition and asylum treaties on a political whim...

    Assange said he'd willingly go to Sweden to face charges if they guaranteed it wasn't a ploy to extradite him to the US. They could not guarantee that which is why he's seeking asylum. He's not trying to escape the allegations.

    I think the guy is an asshat generally, but he's right on this one.

    To be more precise: No international treaties have been broken so far (except Ecuadore embassy taking him in under the circumstances actually do seem to break the Geneva Convention, there are interesting discussions on this on more relevant fora), but we fear they might be. I understant Assange fear extradiction, but most countries would on principal not allow accused criminals for dictating conditions like that. So it is sort of a stalemate.

  • by PortHaven (242123) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @10:15AM (#41010467) Homepage

    Reminds me of that little Cuban boy who was "NOT" seized from his family at gun point by SWAT police...until the photo was released that showed just that.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @10:32AM (#41010767) Journal

    Over and over it has been said

    Repetition doesn't make it true.

    Sweden wants to question him...and that needs to take place in Sweden legally.

    Citation please. Preferably from the actual section of the Swedish legal code that compels this.

    There is no practical reason for such a requirement, and I doubt very much that such a requirement actually exists. Questions are questions, no matter where they are asked or answered.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @10:45AM (#41010987) Journal

    If he were here as part of his job, he wouldn't make it so obvious. Slashdot is probably more of a disinfo hobby for him than a job. What's unclear to me is if he honestly believes what he's saying. The hamfisted propaganda techniques* make him seem disingenuous, but it's entirely possible he believes this crap.

    Also, you should have used the second person pronoun in your post. Always check who you are replying to.

    *e.g. in the first post of this thread. Ecuador's free speech record is irrelevant to Assange escaping active persecution by Western governments. But if you can smear Ecuador, you smear Assange by association. This is not how honest people debate.

  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @10:55AM (#41011177)

    I'm pretty sure you're not a shill. You have too long of a history on Slashdot defending government actions to qualify as one. Instead, you qualify as a basic autocrat: the power and sanctity of the state and the nation trumps all. Personally, I prefer to keep company with shills. At least, I can buy them off if I disagree with their positions.

  • by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @11:02AM (#41011289)

    "That is the human rights violation"

    No it isn't. No country should make deals with a criminal to get him to face justice.

    "Assange is being very reasonable,"

    Funny how only a 3rd world dictatorship sees it that way.

    Ah, an Edwin Meese Guantanamoid: "If the police arrest you, then you're (almost) certainly guilty". Said shortly before they investigated him. Right up there with "Innocent people have nothing to hide" when it comes to excusing abuse of authority.

    It is quite possible that Assange is a total jerk, guilty of "rape", as defined by Sweden, which has a different definition than most countries do to begin with. Just because you're controversial doesn't make you a saint. However, back before Meese and his buddies were in business, America used to have this concept of "innocent until PROVEN guilty". I realize Reagan took a match to this concept with his pre-employment drug testing and proof-of-citizenship requirements, and its been going downhill ever since, but at one time, at least, the USA - and officially, at least - most of its citizens would demand a fair trial before it hanged him.

    One thing no one has mentioned. WikiLeaks revealed a lot of dirt on a lot of countries. What did they say about Ecuador?

    Not that it matters. It really is true that politics makes strange bedfellows.

  • by Alkonaut (604183) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @11:03AM (#41011303)

    No one in Sweden can offer any such "guarantees" about future extradiction. So the claim that they asked for guarantees and were refused is a cheap trick. It wasn't possible in the first place, and it is very possible that whoever asked already knew this.

    Why the swedes continue to refuse to question assange in the UK is a mystery, and at this point that is the whole reason for this debacle. I think now they will go to the UK and question assange, after which the charges will be dropped (there isn't much of a case here). Once the charges are dropped I think everyone will see how ridiculous this whole thing really was. There was no case, everything that was needed was a simple questioning, but it somehow grew to ridiculous proportions.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @11:10AM (#41011391) Homepage

    Actually, when the UN went to officially define "terrorism", they had to change the wording because of this exact problem. It now officially states that it's "the use of violence and threats by non-state actors to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes".

    Got that? It's officially not terrorism if a government does exactly the same things as, say, Hamas does.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @11:13AM (#41011433)

    Now he's forced them into a legal corner where they can either BREACH the EU laws on extradition or not.

    That doesn't explain them threatening to break into another embassy, violating their sovereignty and the Vienna convention in the process. EU laws don't pre-empt a country's treaty obligations, even the EU recognizes that. So if they had pursued all legal options and then said "Well, we have to extradite you" and stopped there, no problem. Except they didn't: When another country stepped in and said "We'll take over from here," relieving them of any obligations they might have had, they balked and then threatened to use military force.

    They lost the moral high ground when they did that, and the legal one.

    (Assange is NOT covered by any of the laws involving diplomats or embassies personally).

    Except that he is; Article 19 of the Vienna convention, which states that anyone under the protection of the diplomatic envoy cannot be arrested. They'd be violating the treaty if they interfered with his free movement within the embassy, or his travel from it in order to transport him to Equador. It is an act of war to put boots on sovereign soil, and legally, that's what the embassy is. Their only legal recourse now is to expel Equador's diplomatic envoy -- but that doesn't get them Assange either. He's still protected under the Vienna convention, even if the UK decides to expel all of them. It's a package deal.

  • by Zironic (1112127) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @12:16PM (#41012409)

    Generally, international custom considers it ok for Embassies to hold POLITICAL criminals in safety.

    Generally, international custom DOES NOT CONSIDER IT OK for Embassies to hold COMMON criminals in safety.

    It's actually a lot easier to justify raiding the embassy for a random douche-bag then a political dissident.

  • by jkflying (2190798) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @12:50PM (#41012887)

    Your accusations that those assumptions are an insult to anybody who has read up on the matter are incorrect, because I have, and I am not insulted.

    The original person who laid the charges has now dropped them and will not co-operate with the prosecution. She laid the charges in the first place after discovering that Assange was sleeping with another woman. She had previously written a lengthy blog on "How to get back at your ex-boyfriend". Interpol placed Assange as #2 most wanted IN THE WORLD for these accusations.

    Your implications that you know anything on the matter offend those who do.

  • by RanCossack (1138431) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:17PM (#41013289)
    The UK couldn't raid the Libyan embassy when they literally shot a policewoman dead [youtube.com] (and at protestors, too), but they can go in for Assange?
  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @08:23PM (#41018767) Journal

    If he were here as part of his job, he wouldn't make it so obvious.

     
    You can't be more wrong !
     
    The guy has already clearly stated, on his own page @http://das.doit.wisc.edu/ that he is an "Information Warfare Office of the United States Navy", and the comments that he posted on Slashdot were from the account of http://slashdot.org/~daveschroeder [slashdot.org] - which carries a link to http://das.doit.wisc.edu/ [wisc.edu]
     
    If he is not here on official duty, he do not need to use this account to post
     
    The fact that he uses this account tells us that he is posting here in the capacity of an "Information Warfare Officer of the United States Navy"
     
    In conclusion: This "Mr. Dave Schroeder" commented here because he is getting paid by Uncle Sam
     
    Or ... in other words, he is a PAID SHRILL and he is astroturfing Slashdot with "warfare information from Uncle Sam"
     

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