TED Conversations

peter lindsay

Physics Teacher,


This conversation is closed.

Are there any circumstances where its OK for local police to enter another countries Embassy?

Julian Assange again. The latest news is that the UK have threatened to enter the Equadorean embassy to secure Assange. To me this suggests that all the surmising about US involvement might actually be true as I find it very hard to believe that a country would breech diplomatic immunity agreements over a sexual assault. If that is normal why doesn't it happen all the time?


Closing Statement from peter lindsay

Closing statement. I think the majority of us are greatly concerned about any threat to diplomatic immunity and the ability to seek asylum. As an update as requeated by Debra since the UK gave assurances that they had no intention of invading Equador's embassy the silence in both the Australian and UK press has been defening. We get daily BBC news here and even they haven't mentioned it for over a week. Perhaps they are preparing a large box with confidential stamped all over it to go in the express post to Equador. As long as the box doesn't say "ouch" every time they drop it the story could end here.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Aug 18 2012: Jeff: "I am not asking Assange to turn himself in. I am asking that he make suitable arrangements for answering the questions that the Swedish justice system are entitled to ask him."

    I can agree with this. Since Assange is claiming to be completely innocent, he should have no objection to answering questions while sitting in Ecuador's embassy in the UK. I can understand why both parties would insist on keeping this exchange private, but Ecuador should at least be given a transcript of this interview.

    The one drawback I can imagine is that Assange would not be subject to Swedish law while the interview is taking place, and any laws regarding his truthfulness or lack of cooperation would not apply.

    There is the very practical matter that Assange had better be able to persuade the representatives of Ecuador that he is not using them to cover up a rape.
    • Aug 19 2012: Barry, the Ecuadorian dimension, while an unexpected complication, should not preclude Assange from talking directly with the Swedish authorities. Telephone, computer and satellite technology is sufficiently reliable for an uninterrupted conversation to take place.

      Even though Swedish sovereign laws would not apply on Ecuador's soil, it would be the general case that criminal investigations require truthfulness. If Assange used the wriggle-room provided by not actually being subject to Swedish law (while being questioned) to tell lies, it would clearly not be in the spirit of the investigation which seeks to determine the facts of the case and would demonstrate that Assange was unwilling to deal honestly with his accusers.

      It is possible that inaction and dishonesty by Assange would lead to a Swedish request to Interpol to arrest him and his hiding in an embassy would not afford him any protection. The situation would be that Assange would become a wanted man internationally and that would give some vestige of legal jurisdiction to any internationally recognised law enforcement body (the FBI for example) and Assange could find himself the subject of an international manhunt.

      Were Ecuador to be provided with clear evidence of a rape by the Swedish authorities, then the Ecuadorians would be in a very difficult position. In that circumstance their adopted position is likely to become completely untenable and they would have little choice but to expel Assange from their country.
      • thumb
        Aug 19 2012: In fact there is excellent precident for faxes working as legal documents from the field of Real Estate Law.
    • thumb
      Aug 19 2012: we all know it does not work that way with the state. they insist to follow the protocol, which is: they lock you up first, and then they ask questions. based on the answers, they decide to let you leave or not. it is not an option that swedish authorities hand out a list of questions, or arrange a skype interview, or even walk in the embassy for the questioning. there is no such offer for assange to refuse.
      • Aug 19 2012: Krisztián, let's accept it as a given... that the situation is exactly as you describe, then Assange has nothing to fear if he is innocent.

        I have not experienced any difficulties with the authorities in any of the scandinavian countries in which I have worked. I don't believe that if a sworn affidavit was submitted by Assange that it would be ignored. Speaking as a European, Sweden has (in my memory) always been considered to be the most socially liberal of the Nordic countries whereas countries which were behind the iron curtain were not considered to be socially liberal.

        You will know that in 1981 the Hungarian Samizdat journal, Beszélő was born with the following words: “We wish to assist the quietly clamoring masses in painting a better picture of themselves in a period when two tiny minorities – the country’s leadership and the opposition – are loudly arguing with each other.” It called for János Kádár to resign as General Secretary of the Communist party and discussed freedom of speech, constitutionalism, social security, civil rights and the protection of the interests of employees.

        Against such a background, Krisztián, I can see why "THE STATE" may present you with a problem when it comes to the authorities and whether they should be believed. Protocols are very much a feature of totalitarian states and it is worth pointing out that Sweden does not deserve the appellation, 'totalitarian state'.

        In my view, it is far better to deal with the situation that exists... rather than wish for one that does not exist or deal with a problem that only exists within the mind of the person observing the situation (perhaps wrongly). In other words, I don't think it right to impute the Swedish authorities with your own insecurities because it does not permit the Swedish justice system to work as it should... that is without the fetters of the additional baggage you would bring to it if you are suspicious of every request that they make.
        • thumb
          Aug 19 2012: i AM innocent and man am I paying!
        • thumb
          Aug 19 2012: you didn't experience any difficulties because you live according to the rules set by authorities, and you accept their methods. should you walk on the edge, and had skirmish with the state, you would be just as cautious as assange is. especially after the case of the pirate bay. if you plan to upset americans, you better do it outside of sweden, it seems.

          what i have said about the workings of the state is fact. there is a procedure to follow, the state never negotiates this protocol. there is no such thing as discussion on some neutral territory. they require that the discussion takes place in a police station. you disagree to that?

          just for the record, swedish law is somehow scary and ridiculous at the same time. the assange case is "sexual assault", but it is only the tag attached to the law, its content is something else. the actual charge is something like he had sex with his sleeping girlfriend. i mean come on now.
      • thumb
        Aug 19 2012: Krisztian, this is the fundamental nexus of our disagreement on life in a society and we both realize that.
        I feel that government and authorities are us and you appear to think that they take on a life of their own. I see some of what you contend from my own experience however, I still feel strongly that as this is our own creation and as we pay for it, we are still responsible to change it for the better.
        We can demand that they change their way of doing things as Jeff is insisting. I am closer to his point of view than yours and I have lived these horrifying experiences that you may have not and I STILL believe that they represent our best hope.
        If I do not like the Assange situation= and I do NOT, I am requesting and reasoning for this set of societal contructs to be altered so that it does not kill the human beings inside of it simply because it is rolling. It is like saying that a tow motor cannot be steered and I am not willing to let it crush people but rather I want to find a new way to steer that machine that we all built.

        BTW I am not certain that your reporting of the situation is accurate because I read that 2 women were involved and it had something to do with Swedish law which requires a condom. I am not in anyway certain of my facts either.
        • thumb
          Aug 19 2012: the authorities are certainly not me. for one, i would never ever hurt or threaten a guy that smokes pot. the government here does, in no small degree. i don't care who authorized them to do that, but i didn't.

          yeah, a girl said to him: condom! and he ignored. what does that make him? in my book, a total douchebag. surely not a criminal.
    • thumb
      Aug 20 2012: Assange has repeatedly over and over agreed to do exactly this.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.