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I can't imagine that anyone, on hearing that the British have threatened the Ecuadorian Embassy, will believe that Julian Assange is really on charges for sexual assault. As from the start, the Assange case has been much more about who he is in the public sphere, and what he has done in relation to it, rather than his personal life.

Britain was locked in a farcical diplomatic stand-off with Ecuador last night after the South American country granted asylum to WikiLeaks fugitive Julian Assange.

Assange, who is wanted in Sweden on rape and sexual assault charges, has spent nearly two months hiding from the law in the Ecuadorian embassy.

Yesterday more than 40 policemen surrounded the building in central London to ensure the Australian could not be smuggled out.

A further six officers were stationed in the communal areas of the building, guarding lifts and access to the roof, as part of an operation that will cost at least £50,000 a day.

The moment Mr Assange sets foot outside the confines of the embassy, which is just yards from Harrods, the 41-year-old will be arrested.

Police will be equipped with heat detection equipment to beat any attempt to use special diplomatic bags or furniture to aid his escape.

What is also terrible about this is the reaction that the Australian Government has had, which is to say nothing. Having broken no law in Australia, Assange has been politically and publicly left out to dry, a fact that bothers me greatly. Much in the way that the Australian Government left David Hicks in Guantanamo Bay to be mistreated and tortured, Australia is leaving Assange to be picked up and, most likely, brought to trial in the US. It's probably best for us all just to accept that fact right now, incidentally, since it seems like an almost forgone conclusion based of the simply amazing statements made by William Hague.

Like this one, where he says, No, We're Not Causing a Diplomatic Situation Because of the US and Not in Danger of Setting a Terrible New Precedent:

"No one, least of all the government of Ecuador, should be in any doubt that we are determined to carry out our legal obligation to see Mr Assange extradited to Sweden. This is not about Mr Assange’s activities at WikiLeaks or the attitude of the United States of America. He is wanted in Sweden to answer allegations of serious sexual offences."

Lovely, isn't it?

It's a terrible thing the UK and US are doing right now, but it is also a terrible thing the Australian Government is doing as well. This allowance of a farce displays aptly not just the worth of an Australian citizen globally, not just outside here, but also within, if they want to challenge the status quo in any shape or form.



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Aug. 17th, 2012 11:56 am (UTC)
Much as I distrust both the UK (especially with Tories in office) and the US...
Bob Carr seems to have a point: if the USA wanted Assange so much, why not just have him extradited from Britain? Can't imagine it'd be too difficult, after all:
1)the Wikileaks cables included stuff that embarrassed the UK too;
2) the US has managed to extradite others from the UK without too much fuss.

The UK's oddly aggressive behaviour towards Equador's embassy could be down to the UK hating Wikileaks (much as with Gillen's falsely calling Assange a criminal), so the UK's determined to 'win' in this matter. Sweden could be just being stubborn (why *should* they accord Assange special treatment by interviewing him abroad?) And Assange could be being understandably (and justifiably) paranoid, but wrong in this particular case.

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