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Ecuador Grants Asylum To Julian Assange 923

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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  • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @09:29AM (#41009647) Homepage

    The UK has stated it will storm the embassy by force, violating the Vienna Conventions.

    1) Where did the UK state that? (i.e. you HAVEN'T read the letter, which was published in the same newspaper linked to above - there is no mention of storming or even entering ANYTHING, ANYWHERE in the entire letter).

    2) It doesn't violate the Vienna convention to dissolve the embassy or even expel all the diplomatic staff. Go read it. It's quite clear that the UK can do that "at any time, and for any reason". Assange isn't covered by that, no matter what.

    Rather than take Assange out of the embassy, they have threatened (indirectly and politely) to take the embassy away from Assange. Which is perfectly legitimate. Not one person subject to diplomatic special treatment will have any rule of their violated or come to any harm. No breach of the Vienna Convention will occur whatsoever. But equally, at the same time, Assange finds himself sitting in an office, not an embassy, and the police can walk in and arrest him without *anyone's* permission being necessary.

    It's just a bit messier than normal, but it's totally, 100% legitimate and any country, at any time, anywhere could do exactly the same too. The Ecuadorian ambassador would not be affected in any way whatsoever, merely expelled as per the law for "persona non grata" in diplomatic positions. But he could have avoided it at any point by saying "Nothing to do with me, come in, officer, and arrest this man if you need to".

  • What Ecuador FM said (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 16, 2012 @09:31AM (#41009675)

    Ecuador FM : We tried to get Sweden to agree to no extradition to US in exchange for Assange going to Sweden - they said NO

  • by joelsanda ( 619660 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @09:39AM (#41009785) Homepage

    While you are correct in citing the examples you did about Ecuador, many of those same organizations have slammed the UK and US for their abuses of power against journalists, protestors and dissidents. If you were an Ecuadoran citizen and read this [amnesty.org] about the United States or this [amnesty.org] about the UK you'd probably feel safer staying put.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 16, 2012 @09:42AM (#41009835)

    Re entering the embassy:

    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.
    We very much hope not to get this point, but if you cannot resolve the issue of Mr. Assange's presence on your premises, this route is open to us.

    So yes, they are saying as openly as diplomatic-speak goes, that they are prepared to enter Ecuador embassy even by force and take Assange.

  • by Ly4 ( 2353328 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @09:47AM (#41009923)

    There was an English translation of the press conference available.

    It's now in this NYTimes article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/17/world/americas/ecuador-to-let-assange-stay-in-its-embassy.html?pagewanted=all [nytimes.com]

  • by Lehk228 ( 705449 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @09:48AM (#41009961) Journal
    Retrieved 20120816 9:45AM from http://das.doit.wisc.edu/ [wisc.edu]

    Dave Schroeder
    About Me

    I am located at the University of Wisconsinâ"Madison in Madison, Wisconsin. I work in the University's Division of Information Technology (DoIT) in Systems Engineering and Operations as a senior systems engineer. My work involves assessing services in enterprise IT environments at the University.

    I am the Continuity of Operations (COOP) Architect, which is responsible for the technical efforts that drive business continuity, disaster recovery, and continuity of operations analysis and planning for critical IT infrastructure at the University of Wisconsinâ"Madison, a major state government agency.

    I also serve as an Information Warfare Officer in the United States Navy Fleet Cyber Command/US Tenth Fleet. I have a master's degree in Information Warfare, and am currently in the graduate Space Systems program at the Naval Postgraduate School. For contact information, see the left sidebar.

    technically not a shill, but he is a US operative that is unquestionable.

  • by jkflying ( 2190798 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @09:53AM (#41010071)

    Check out his homepage. On it he says:

    "... I also serve as an Information Warfare Officer in the United States Navy Fleet Cyber Command/US Tenth Fleet. I have a master's degree in Information Warfare...."
    http://das.doit.wisc.edu/ [wisc.edu]

    If you think he isn't biased, and possibly being paid for his post, you are crazy.
    Now, please, get off my lawn!

  • by Alkonaut ( 604183 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @09:54AM (#41010097)

    Stripping the embassy privileges would mean they could go in and fetch him. This would be in accordance with conventions, but would cause serious diplomatic fallout.

    The next option is to claim that the embassy is already in violation of the conventions, since it harbors criminals. You just can't do that forever and still follow the conventions. What the UK would do here is then to throw out an ambassador or like the above, strip the diplomatic privileges alltogether from the embassy. This too would cause serious diplomatic fallout.

    The simplest option is to simply wait until he leaves the embassy, and just stop the car. The Vienna convention is quite clear on the fact that you can stop/search a diplomatic vehicle if there is a suspected crime. So the whole "sneak assange out to the airport in an embassy car" does not seem like a watertight plan. Even simpler, you could just block any way a car could leave the embassy, forcing people to walk from the embassy thereby letting him be arrested without having to search a car. In any case, I bet he will be extradited to sweden sooner or later. I'm also quite sure that once there, he will be questioned and released quickly (so quickly that the swedish authorities can claim not to know his whereabouts when the US asks, thereby avoiding a diplomatic problem between sweden and the US). There was a political scandal with the CIA smuggling suspected terrorists from Sweden to an egyptian CIA run prison where they were tortured, and no politician in Sweden will want to be involved in anything related to extradictions and the US again. At this point it is merely a question of prestige for the swedish legal authorities.

  • by jkflying ( 2190798 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @09:55AM (#41010117)

    It's easy to tell:
    http://das.doit.wisc.edu/ [wisc.edu]

    He has a post in Information Warfare in the US Navy. He prepared a large document smearing a country and managed to get first post. The evidence really is rather damning.

  • by sed quid in infernos ( 1167989 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @09:56AM (#41010119)

    Can people PLEASE stop spreading this ridiculous lie. The U.K. High Court properly held that what he is charged with qualifies as rape under U.K. law, and that it carries a maximum penalty of 4 years in Sweden. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/02_11_11_assange.pdf [bbc.co.uk]

    The description of the alleged unlawful conduct includes sex with a woman who was asleep, thus unable to consent, which was aggravated by his knowledge that she didn't want to have sex without a condom. The other conduct described might be considered trivial by some, but this act qualifies as rape in most civilized countries.

    Of course, it's possible none of that conduct occurred. Under the EU extradition system, it's not the U.K.'s job - either the government's or the courts' - to decide whether he's guilty.

  • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @09:56AM (#41010127) Homepage Journal

    You're correct, the letter spelt out, instead, the legal steps it may take that would allow it to go in and take Assange, rather than using the term "storm".

    Also, while I'm pointing out that a fairly easy to deduce set of consequences is implied by the Foreign Office's letter and subsequent statements, I am in no way calling you a fastidious idiot. I am merely pointing out that the letter's and statements meaning is trivially easy to deduce, probably so for most people with an IQ over 50, and that your comment seems to be implying that the lack of a presence of a specific term means it doesn't actually mean what it actually means, and what people are saying it means.

  • by dark-br ( 473115 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @09:59AM (#41010195) Homepage

    ... to work out that there is definetely something fishy going on with the whole extradition story.

    To begin with when both woman when to the police station to "report" Assange what they stated was NOT that they were raped but instead that he REFUSED to use a condom and they wanted to confirm with the police if they had the power to force him to take a STD test. Pure and simple! Now the police officer that took their statements called the prosecutor and, given the nature of the inquire, it already starts to sound a bit fishy. When the woman were told that they will issue an arrest warrant for Assange one of them REFUSED to continue with the statements and also even REFUSED to sign what had already been said. It sounds to me that it's pretty obvious that the public prosecutor that was called from that police station informed "someone" that they might had something on Assange.

    There is so much to this it's hard to consolidate in a short coment but I would suggest watching this documentary on the subject:

    http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2012/07/19/3549280.htm [abc.net.au]

    I don't buy for a second that the woman were raped. And given all the evidence already presented in Sweden I don't think anyone does. The question has got to be related to something else, not even Kadafi had a RED Notice put on him, not even the Syrian president, it's an orange notice, but hey, he refused to use a condom, that's seems justified!

  • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @10:12AM (#41010409)

    "Why would the UK or Sweden "guarantee" that he won't be extradited? If the US has not requested it, and a court has not ruled, then no guarantee could be made."

    The UK specifically because it was extraditing him for the claimed rape and has claimed Sweden couldn't then pass him on to a 3rd country without the UK's agreement. It was a bit more explicit than the way I simply worded it, such that the UK wouldn't give a guarantee that Sweden couldn't then just pass him on to the US, which is contrary to what UK officials have claimed in the past about the case.

    In the case of Sweden, the guarantee sought was that Sweden wouldn't just pass him on to the US without a separate extradition agreement from the UK. Again, Sweden wouldn't do this, and again, despite the fact Swedish officials have claimed they would need to do this to pass him onto the UK.

    Effectively all Ecuador was after is a solid guarantee that the standards of justice in protecting Assange from extradition to the US that both British and Swedish officials had claimed would protect Assange, really would protect him. Neither country was willing to put their money where their mouth is and actually back up their previous claims with a solid guarantee.

    So it ties in with your last sentence basically, that it's not so much that both countries wouldn't give some arbitrary guarantee that Assange was safe from US extradition, but instead that both countries wouldn't give a guarantee that Assange would in fact be protected by the proper legal mechanisms both countries previously claimed would protect him. In other words, what was said by officials about protection for Assange from further extradition to the US was in fact likely just a facade.

  • by Zironic ( 1112127 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @10:18AM (#41010539)

    Sweden didn't so much refuse, as explain why they can't. See just like most civilised countries Sweden has separate branches of government and extradition is handled by the Judicial one. While the Parliament has the last say in whether to extradite or not, giving a guarantee would violate the process.

  • by joe545 ( 871599 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @10:18AM (#41010547)
    Over and over it has been said that Sweden wants to question him as they need to do this formally before charging him and that needs to take place in Sweden legally. So to drop by or phone is of no interest to Sweden and in any case, why should he be treated differently from every body else?
  • by Zironic ( 1112127 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @10:20AM (#41010579)

    No, they only have to allow the Ecuadorian diplomats leave, they have no obligation to let Assange leave.

  • by chrb ( 1083577 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @10:51AM (#41011105)

    I don't get why we are so quick to defend people we support otherwise when accused of criminal activities, and be so sure about their innocence. Even nerds can be douchebags.

    You're right - we don't really know what happened. Maybe he did it. Maybe he didn't. But the situation that led up to this point is complicated by the fact that the original prosecutor said that whatever Assange is alleged to have done wasn't a crime and he was free to leave Sweden. Also there is the issue of his alleged victim apparently no longer cooperating with the prosecution. There is the issue that she gave consent for him to continue after she asked and he confirmed that he wasn't using a condom. There is the whole issue of Interpol getting involved in what would usually be a non-Interpol matter. There is the issue that, once in Sweden, Assange could be extradited or otherwise renditioned into the hands of the U.S. government - the Swedish government has never denied that it would extradite Assange once he is back in Sweden - isn't that kind of weird? They could've ended this whole thing at any time by announcing that there would be no subsequent extradition to the US government. And yet they haven't done it.

    - and if the consent is clearly dependent on condom, you don't have consent if you drop it.

    Actually the issue of predicated consent in sexual activity is tricky and controversial - for example, in Israel it is considered rape if a woman thinks a man is Jewish and has sex with the man, but later finds out that he is a non-Jew (eg Sabbar Kashur [haaretz.com] and an unknown Israeli Air Force officer [haaretz.com]). A similar issue is prosecutions against HIV carriers who have unprotected sex but don't inform their sexual partner - is this actually rape? Most times the man will be charged with assault, but under some legal systems, yes, that would be considered rape. Is it rape if a man has sex with a woman, then she falls asleep, and he begins to have sex with her again? Technically it may be, as she is unconscious and has not affirmed her consent to sex again, and yet this happens often, even in relationships. Can a man rape his wife? Yes, obviously (though some legal systems would disagree). What about a man who has sex with his sleeping wife? Maybe.

  • by biglig2 ( 89374 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @10:58AM (#41011211) Homepage Journal

    They don't need to stop the car: the embassy is just a small apartment on the third floor. He'd be arrested before he even left the building.

  • by Yaruar ( 125933 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @10:59AM (#41011231)

    Actually if you read it more carefully

    Article 1

    A “diplomatic agent” is the head of the mission or a member of the diplomatic staff of the mission;

    Assange isn't a diplomat and if Equador tried to make him one Britain can just refuse to accept him

    Article 9

    1.The receiving State may at any time and without having to explain its decision, notify the
    sending State that the head of the mission or any member of the diplomatic staff of the mission is
    persona non grata or that any other member of the staff of the mission is not acceptable. In any such
    case, the sending State shall, as appropriate, either recall the person concerned or terminate his functions
    with the mission. A person may be declared non grata or not acceptable before arriving in the territory of
    the receiving State.
    2. If the sending State refuses or fails within a reasonable period to carry out its obligations under
    paragraph 1 of this article, the receiving State may refuse to recognize the person concerned as a
    member of the mission.

    Either way, Assange is at best going to be stuck in the embassy forever, at worst will need to go to sweden.

  • by chill ( 34294 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @11:05AM (#41011333) Journal

    Theatrical hype by the Foreign Minister of Ecuador, matched by your own theatrical ranting.

    How about stating what the aide-memoire contained reflecting the UK position?

    However the note did point out that the foreign secretary had the power to go to court to seek the right for UK police to enter the Ecuadorean embassy to arrest Assange. He would have to prove that international law had been broken and that Ecuador was in contravention of its Vienna Convention obligations in harbouring Assange.

    The foreign office is confident these conditions would be met. It says the embassy would have a week's notice of the action and the police would not look at or remove any embassy documents and the diplomatic immunity of Ecuadorean diplomats would not be affected.

    That really doesn't sound like "storming" to me. All from the Guardian live blog.

    Calm down and discuss this rationally. It is a horrible step for the UK to even consider, but applying the partisan frothing-at-the-mouth ranting currently in vogue in American politics isn't helping.

  • by jkflying ( 2190798 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @11:23AM (#41011559)

    It doesn't free him from the bias that he is exposed to by working for US military organisations. Not only that, but he is completely over-stating the human rights violations in Ecuador. Part of what he's referring to is two times that a TV station was shut down for broadcasting material which met the following criteria:

    1) Was blatantly false
    2) Was likely to cause social unrest

    One of these was the station claiming that there was a secret government HQ that was used to manipulate votes. The other was claiming that all fishing rights would be removed for a period of 9 months due to oil exploration, which caused riots in all of the fishing villages. Both claims were false.

    Other stuff he's referring to makes it illegal to write partisan news articles, and a criminal libel case which is shutting down a newspaper and sending the editor and directors to jail for incorrectly claiming that the president ordered the army to open fire on a hospital during a protest by the police.

    So the general gist of things that I'm getting here is that Ecuador don't mind it if you say stuff, but keep it true, and try not to let your personal opinions sway the facts in what you write.

    Yeah, it would have been nice if he'd made his affiliations clear in his post and been a bit less inflammatory in the sections he chose to quote.

  • by jkflying ( 2190798 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @11:34AM (#41011763)

    If Sweden was willing to guarantee that Assange wouldn't be extradited afterwards to the US there never would have been an issue. However, they refused this guarantee, so the only option Assange has left is to take up an offer of asylum which was offered to him by the president of Ecuador during a TV interview.

  • by gsnedders ( 928327 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @11:40AM (#41011869) Homepage

    I can't find data for the whole EU, but http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/EAWreport%202010.pdf/Files/EAWreport%202010.pdf [justice.ie] covers EAWs received in 2010 by Ireland. Appendix 3 gives classification by the principle offence, showing 22 out of 373 being sexual offences (the most common is robbery/assault/theft with 138).

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday August 16, 2012 @12:19PM (#41012449) Journal
    Sleep deprivation, tied in a straight jacket, pumped full of drugs...naaah, that's not tortue. Waterboarding is torture, of course only third world banana republics do something like that, right? And why would Assange be afraid of just getting on a plane [amazon.com] right? surely that means he's up to something. Welcome to the USSA, where the only free men are the rich men.
  • by scot4875 ( 542869 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:27PM (#41013387) Homepage

    The next option is to claim that the embassy is already in violation of the conventions, since it harbors criminals.

    Actually, they can't make that claim, because Assange has not been charged with any crime.


  • by Some Bitch ( 645438 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:47PM (#41013679)

    It crops up several times in his work but I suspect you're thinking of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

    “Under what circumstance is it moral for a group to do that which is not moral for a member of that group to do alone?”

    “That’s a trick question.”

    “It is the key question, a radical question that strikes at the root of the whole dilemma of government. Anyone who answers honestly and abides by all consequences knows where he stands–and what he will die for

    “A rational anarchist believes that concepts such as ‘state’ and ‘society’ and ‘government’ have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals. He believes that it is impossible to shift blame, share blame, distribute blameas blame, guilt, responsibility are matters taking place inside humans beings singly and nowhere else. But, being rational, he knows that not all individuals hold his evaluations, so he tries to live perfectly in an imperfect worldaware that his efforts will be less than perfect yet undismayed by self-knowledge of self-failure.”

  • by luis_a_espinal ( 1810296 ) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:54PM (#41013775) 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.

    His family? You mean the deceased mother's 2nd and 3rd relatives and a bunch of right-wing Cuban-American celebrities and politicians? His family was his father (his living and breathing father) to whom the swat team delivered the boy.

    His family was his father, who was asking Elian Gonzales (the boy) to be returned to his care. His mother and husband at the time took him out of Cuba in a raft in complete violation of the father's shared custody rights. His family was not the people who held Elian Gonzales (the boy in question) refusing to deliver him to his father just because he didn't want to leave Cuba. It was all political, a disgraceful spectacle that we in Miami had to endure at the hand of those nutjobs.

    The swat team had to intervene because the people holding Elian were treating to retaliate with violence. Get your facts straight buddy.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.