Assange helicopter rescue

Here is an interesting question.  Suppose:

  • The news the Ecuador has granted Julian Assange political asylum is true, and
  • That enough money could be raised to rescue him by air.

Update 17/8/12: Ecuador has now granted asylum.  It says that Assange’s fears are justified.  They are plainly right: if this was all about the Swedes wanting to interview Assange about these absurd “retrospective rape” charges, they could have accepted Ecuador’s invitation to do the interview in the Embassy. They still could.

Update 22/8/12: According to Julian Assange, the UK police have been in the building the other night, swarming around the fire escape, presumably trying to nab him in the corridor.  It seems that the embassy is just the upper ground floor apartment of this building, and not the staircase or the rest of the building. So this might not work: it seems that the police would be able to grab him as he headed up the stairs towards the roof.  Pity.

Would a helicopter rescue from the Embassy roof be practical?

It seems clear that if Assange were to simply hail a cab for the airport, he would be arrested on the spot.  Even if he got to Heathrow, he would be arrested there.

The nearest place of safety would be somewhere like Jersey – outside the European Union but still within helicopter range of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where Assange is holed up.  From Jersey, Assange could get a flight to Ecuador.

Presumably it would be possible – from a technical point of view – for a rescue helicopter to winch him up from the roof of the building.  But the questions are:

  • Would the UK Government refuse permission for a helicopter to fly such a mission over London? Almost certainly, yes.
  • Would the UK government order the RAF to shoot the helicopter down if it disregarded such a ban?  Hard to see that it would.  If Wikileaks published precise details of the helicopter’s flight plan, and the helicopter stuck to that plan, it would hardly be credible for the government to claim that the flight was a security threat, particularly if the whole flight including any radio messages were streamed live on the internet (as it would be) by Wikileaks.  And anyway, shooting a helicopter down over London – or indeed anywhere on the heavily populated route between London and the south coast of England – would be unacceptably dangerous for the millions of civilians going about their business on the ground.
  • Would the USAAF or the US Navy shoot the helicopter down over the English Channel? That one is more tricky.  The Americans presumably have the capability to launch a heat-seeking missile from a fair distance, so that the aircraft or ship which launches the missile would be out of camera range from the helicopter. All the video would show – if anything – during the last few moments would be an unidentifiable missile screaming it at a very high rate of knots.  But it would not be a good look, even by somewhat dubious standards of the Americans (given their pretty appalling track record of “extraordinary renditions” of innocent people around the world in recent years).

The decent thing, of course, would be for Australia – as Assange’s home nation – to provide the helicopter.  But that is not very likely.  Private subscription? Maybe.  I guess that there might be a very large number of people around the world who would be willing to chip in the dollars needed for such a rescue operation. And a brave enough pilot?  Could probably be found.

The whole thing would make even better TV than the Olympics.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Assange helicopter rescue

  1. Adrian Palmer

    The usual approach would be to hire at least three helicopters, so that you didn’t know which one (if at all) he would be in.

  2. tzippy

    Just fly him to the closest Ship from Ecuador in the port. Ships are territory of whatever country is their country oforigin I think!

  3. Peace Warrior

    oh, he’s probably already aboard, asea & half way to quito. amazing how folks with big heart tend to have big brain too.

  4. LCB

    A 2013 perspective (June) given the upscaling of things due to the Snowden situation.

    The answer to Assange and the very tricky problem of unfortunate captivity in an Embassy lies in 2 main parts, the only answer, I’m guessing (but then, maybe I just need more faith).

    Part 1: KIDNAP.

    Part 2: A sympathetic anti-fascist organisation. Or an organisation against a reality of international conglomeration of nations pretending to enforce their national rules of law but which have been developing and entrenching a world defined by borderless jurisdictions / jurisdiction (the pursuit of the single, international jurisdiction for many, or rather, any bodies of law).

    The organisation I’m just imagining is disposed to deal with the problem: How can many countries’ jurisdictions extend to much or most of the globe, especially when the issue is proposed treason of a single nation, but many believe, including experts, really amounts to exposing human rights abuse? The organisation believes this is highly wrong.

    Take the situation this year with Snowden, one year after Assange moved into the Ecuadorean embassy in London. Even the USSR was not allowed to do what the USA now believes it can do with much of the world now – it’s federal, all world fascism.Then they go further when countries do not meet their extra-jurisdictional demands and threaten China, Russia and Ecuador with such things as future trade restrictions made upon the current trade situation. (Is that not something approaching the sordid worlds of blackmail or extortion, if this were personal? Could it be bribery, when Ecuador believes it will and has the right to make a personal decision of asylum over Snowden, always in removal from other concerns, such as extradition agreements? For the USA to suppose that their extradition agreements will override what can be constitutional or similar core values of a country, such as the right to award asylum, just reveals their ever increasing dumbness. In any event, extradition is decided by case in every country I think, and most countries have refused others their extradition requests in cases. So the USA’s threats upon Ecuador seem to amount to something else.)

    So, after the soap box, back to the simple two part plan to save Assange from his cabin fever and allow him to experience all of the delights of the equitorial rainforest as he matures.

    Here’s a proposed situation. When the guard seems at a low, our underground organisation (who have no connection with Julian Assange) have an old, working helicopter, approved and with approved registered pilots (false names or something, I don’t know, or maybe they all get asylum!). Assange takes delivery of a trunk in the Embassy by himself, which he opens to find a small, army trained man leap out and pin him down and tie him up. Within a couple of minutes, he has opened the mini balcony window / door, allowing someone in the helicopter which quickly flies there, to fire a bolt on a line into the room. This is unwrapped and contains securings for two bodies on the line, as in rescue helicopters. Assange and his kidnapper sit on the window edge and are winched up as the helicopter ascends, and within half a minute proceeds to outer London. At a disused field there are 30 cars waiting. All in the helicopter bail out by parachute to the field, setting the vehicle to crash in more disused land close by (it does, is blown up, no-one is injured).

    The kidnappers put Assange in one of the 30 cars. The cars are sent out in all directions, as police vehicles will just be getting the message to follow. The car with Assange heads for somewhere on the outskirts of London, somewhere quite built up. Assange is taken from the car in a trunk and put in a safe house.

    Assange is kidnapped, out of the embassy, but in danger of capture from the British authorities, but they’d never really find him. (His phone and any other way of identifying him through the airwaves have been removed.) The captors take a recording of Assange saying that he has been kidnapped, is being treated well, and doesn’t know where he is. At another location, the tape audio is then relayed to the British authorities, Ecuadoreans and the media.

    The next bit goes, of course, that the kidnappers of the underground organisation against global, borderless jurisdiction somehow get Mr Assange to Ecuador, as it happens, conveniently for Mr Assange, I suppose. There Mr Assange witnesses the beauty and difference of the equatorial rainforest, in many visits to primary forest over the years, I suppose (again).

    I don’t know how the getting him to Ecuador bit is achieved. If there are enough people in the organisation, maybe it’s not difficult. Do they just need to get the man to Jersey, (or, some say Switzerland) for Ecuador to take over? If not, then Morocco or Algeria may be an option (do they have extradition agreements with Sweden – or even UK, if wanted for breaching bail terms?)

    Morocco, perhaps is not too hard. A private boat to France. Stowed in a camper van driven through France, Spain, Portugal, though this is fraught due to the European Arrest Warrant. But the countries do not know Assange is passing through, and why would they be searching camper vans?

    There’s the answer. Convoluted? Yes. But the only answer? It’s hard to say – what other possibilities are there? So a possibility? All depends on if there happen to be some kind of underground organisation which could be hanging around somewhere with the aims I’ve been imagining. And the resources and kind of training or experience or aptitude with planning and carrying this out. I guess some secret services “defectors” or former specialist army personnel with some kind of experience would have to be involved, but really could be from any relevant countries. There are probably many of those.

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