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Agile Computing: Article

Assange Gets Hand-Delivered Invitation to Extradition

The cops said the “surrender notice” was standard practice

London police dropped off a note at Ecuador's tiny apartment-sized London embassy Thursday addressed to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who's been holed up there for over a week, telling him to show up for his scheduled date with extradition on Friday.

The cops said the "surrender notice" was standard practice. Assange is reportedly supposed to turn up at a neighborhood police station at 11:30 Friday morning. According to the BBC a police spokesman said, "He remains in breach of his bail conditions and failure to surrender would be a further breach of those conditions and he is liable to arrest."

Presumably the notice will pressure Ecuador to take a position. Its ambassador to the Court of St James was recalled over the weekend to discuss the difficult position Assange has put the country's leftist regime in with other Ecuadorian officials.

Earlier this week, Assange, who's holding a weak hand and no chips, said he wants the United States to promise that it won't ever attempt to prosecute him for publishing a huge trove of classified State Department cables he had no business putting on the Internet.

"For example, if the US were to guarantee [that it would] drop the grand jury investigation and any further investigation of WikiLeaks publishing activity, that would be an important guarantee...diplomatic commitments do have some weight," he said.

He's somehow hoping Ecuador can broker such a deal though why the US would pick up the phone if it calls is unclear.

If it gives Assange the political asylum he's requested, he won't be able to leave the embassy without getting arrested by the London police for jumping bail. He would then be extradited to Sweden for questioning on two-year-old rape and sexual assault allegations.

The UK can't relent on the point without inviting copycat ploys and Sweden is equally unlikely to abjure its accustomed practice of jailing suspects ahead of trial, which scares the heck out of Assange who claims he will be extradited in turn to the US to face life imprisonment or the death penalty.

One might suspect he's equally scared on doing time in Sweden. He's looking at a possible one to four years if he's charged, tried and found guilty.

Otherwise imagine Ecuador having to feed and shelter him for the next 15 years like America did when Hungary's Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty sought refuge from the Communists in 1956 in the US embassy in Budapest. Even that larger facility got small after a while.

Ecuador's current president Rafael Correa, as narcissistic as Assange, is ironically notorious for suppressing the press.

Assange blames Australia, where he was born, for "abandoning" him and forcing him to appeal to Ecuador. Australia basically says there's nothing more that it can do, leaving him to stew in his own juices.

"I have been attacked by the US, from the vice president down, as a high-tech terrorist, and by the Swedish prime minister and foreign minister - assuredly that requires some direct response from the Gillard government," he said. Apparently not.

Australia's Attorney General Nicola Roxon recently wrote a letter to one of Assange's lawyers saying, "Australia would not expect to be a party to any extradition discussions that may take place between the United States and the United Kingdom or the United States and Sweden, as extradition is a matter of bilateral law enforcement cooperation."

By jumping bail Assange has put the people who trusted him and put up the money on the hook for $378,000.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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