Assange Conundrum 78


Dianne Feinstein, Chairman of the US Senate Intelligence Committee, has just renewed her call for Julian Assange to be prosecuted for espionage. This a week after US puppet and Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr claimed there was “not the remotest evidence” that Assange might be prosecuted in the US. As a grand jury has already been convened in the US, Carr’s statement, justifying the Australian government’s refusal to intervene to help its citizen, is a transparent lie.

Feinstein herself has made plain where her loyalties lie. As she said during Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli attack on Gaza that killed over 500 children:

“…we stand in support and solidarity with the state of Israel. The United States and Israel have been staunch allies now for over 50 years. We share common values: freedom, democracy, massacre of innocent civilians from the air, the rule of law. And time after time we have rallied to each other’s side in defense of our values. “

I interpolated a phrase there to make her meaning more specific. Can you spot it?

If Assange is extradited to Sweden he faces a rape trial in which all evidence is heard in secret. There is no jury, and the case is decided by a judge and two lay assessors. The lay assessors normally get the job as members of the major political parties by whom they are nominated. (See page 255 of this New Zealand law commission report).

It is therefore entirely understandable, given the long history of sexual slurs by western governments against dissidents and whistleblowers of which I was myself so spectacularly a victim, that Assange has felt pressured into fleeing to the Embassy of Ecuador to escape the tentacles of what looks like a conspiracy of neo-con politicians in international power against him.

However understandable, I fear it is a mistaken move.

However well-disposed, the Ecuadorean government had plenty of problems of its own without handling this one. While it does have a very good record of accepting refugees, its own internal liberties are less than well established. And there are – and I say this from certain knowledge – those within the CIA who are quite keen on having Assange in Ecuador where certain types of operation are easier than they are in Sweden.

There have been a number of joyous articles in the right wing media pointing out that Assange is now in effect stuck in the Ecuadorean Embassy. I am sorry to say they are right. I have direct personal experience as an Ambassador of trying to protect people’s human rights by having them on Embassy premises or in my flag car with me (see Murder in Samarkand). It is a very difficult area indeed.

There is no agreement in international law that being offered asylum in one country protects you from criminal prosecution in another country, and such law would in fact be highly undesirable. Otherwise tax havens could start offering political asylum and immunity from prosecution to the Bob Diamonds and Bernie Madoffs of this world – and believe me they would, like a shot.

The Ecuadorean Embassy is a flat. It is nonetheless Ecuadorean sovereign territory, which can only in logic extend to the floorplan of the flat itself. The other businesses or residences in the block are not operating under Ecuadorean jurisdiction. I am afraid it seems to me Assange is subject to arrest the minute he leaves the door of the flat and enters a shared corridor.

I would argue that once in the flag car of the Ambassador, if the Ambassador is also in the car, it would violate the Vienna Convention for the British authorities to detain the ambassador and open her vehicle to remove Assange. I succesfully took that line as British Ambassador in Uzbekistan, which would make it hard for the British government to argue otherwise. But the Ecuadorean Embassy is not a compound and I don’t see how you get Assange to the vehicle.

I might state that I would have played the whole affair differently. I would have voluntarily returned to Sweden and faced down the charges, insisting on making all the risible details of these plainly mocked up allegations fully public, publishing all the evidence on Wikileaks, even if it meant jail for contempt. The political motivation of the whole episode would have been immediately apparent and made extradition to the US very difficult when the whole Swedish pretext is so obviously fake.

But my analysis of the hidden motives and machinations of governments against Assange is no different to his and that of his close supporters. I would merely have adopted different tactics to combat the threats. There can be no higher principle of justice involved when a politically controlled justice system is trying to set you up on false charges. I accept his choice to avoid the snares rather than try to slash through them.

Flight was a legitimate choice for Assange in these circumstances. But I am afraid the direction of flight was mistaken.

———————————————————————–

For a stunning portrayal of the real evils of government, an exploration of the absolute depths of human behaviour, and of the extraordinary pressures on dissidents from western governments of exactly the kind which bear down now on Assange, book now, immediately, to see One Turbulent Ambassador on NOW at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith.

All tickets are absolutely free.

Robin Soans’ (The Arab-Israeli Cookbook; Talking to Terrorists) new play is the most profoundly moving experience on the London stage this year, and the best free theatrical experience you will have in your life. The play is not by me or about me, but is about the things that I witnessed and things that were done to me. Be warned, the play is very emotionally wrenching and contains vivid scenes of rape and torture. It is squarely based on actual events.

A reader of this blog named Ken saw the opening last night and posted this comment:

This evening I went to see:
One Turbulent Ambassador.
Go and See It!
Astounding.
Magnificent.
Funny.
Powerful images from strong dialogues. A few surprises along the way.
.
On the train home I chatted to an Australian – he’d been to Wimbledon. He asked where I’d been. I explained the play and that part of your life. He seemed hooked, wrote the details down, said he would see it.
.
It’s so good I think I’ll go again too.

You have just one week left to go and see it. Did I mention that it’s free?


78 thoughts on “Assange Conundrum

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  • Mary

    William Blum writes
    .
    http://killinghope.org/bblum6/aer106.html
    .
    Julian Assange
    I’m sure most Americans are mighty proud of the fact that Julian Assange is so frightened of falling into the custody of the United States that he had to seek sanctuary in the embassy of Ecuador, a tiny and poor Third World country, without any way of knowing how it would turn out. He might be forced to be there for years. “That’ll teach him to mess with the most powerful country in the world! All you other terrorists and anti-Americans out there — Take Note! When you #### around with God’s country you pay a price!”
    .
    How true. You do pay a price. Ask the people of Cuba, Vietnam, Chile, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Iran, Haiti, etc., etc., etc. And ask the people of Guantánamo, Diego Garcia, Bagram, and a dozen other torture centers to which God’s country offers free transportation.
    .
    You think with the whole world watching, the United States would not be so obvious as to torture Assange if they got hold of him? Ask Bradley Manning. At a bare minimum, prolonged solitary confinement is torture. Before too long the world may ban it. Not that that would keep God’s country and other police states from using it.
    .
    You think with the whole world watching, the United States would not be so obvious as to target Assange with a drone? They’ve done it with American citizens. Assange is a mere Aussie.

  • Komodo

    Herbie – he can’t be appointed to the Lords (assuming the obvious, that no reform takes place in his lifetime or his spawn’s) That would require that he declared his income…he would no doubt hesitate to admit to his utter penury.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq Association

    Who is behind the Syrian opposition?
    .
    Abdelbasset Sida is the Syrian National Council political front-man, a kurd sympathetic to Israel with links to the PKK his lieutenant and military commander was Mossad trained in Iraq’s mountainous Choman area near the Northern Iraq border with Iran.
    .
    Israeli weapons are plentiful here and leave along the Turkish border picking up advanced CIA enabled weaponry at Idlib then on to the coastal Latakia area where British security trained forces from Cyprus are known to operate training camps for terrorists rebels…
    .
    Interestingly Assad’s support to the PKK has dimmed the intensity of violent clashes and PKK assassinations of anti-Assad Kurdish opposition figures have mudded the waters enabling some Kurds trained by Israeli special forces to operate with impunity in a Syrian proxy war engineered by Israel.

  • Jay

    Mary

    If you have slow connection you should keep your computer defragged in the disk clean up and maintenance.

    Connect direct to the master phone socket if possible not a secondary socket or hub. If you dont have broadband maybe the dongle is the answer.
    Seek help 7 minute load time sorry.

    Keep up the good work.

  • guest

    “If you have slow connection you should keep your computer defragged in the disk clean up and maintenance.”
    .
    As I go around the blogs I see many people are having the same problem, it seems to be affecting only some sites!!!.

  • Herbie

    Some interesting discussion on the Barclays affair on Markets Live this morning. Much, much, more in the comments section below.
    .
    They’re talking about rumours that someone isn’t a happy bunny and may have threatened to dish the dirt on others if they were made a fall guy.
    .
    Bob Diamond will appear before a commons select committee tomorrow morning. Well worth a watch
    .
    http://ftalphaville.ft.com/blog/2012/07/03/1069241/markets-live-250/

  • Komodo

    Excellent, Herbie. BTW I bet Man Group are regretting hiring our recurrent friend Jack Straw as a consultant –
    .
    ‘You remember Friday’s massive world market rally?
    On the back of the Fudgestock agreement?
    Guess how much Man’s AHL fund lost on that day.That day only.
    Lost?
    Yup – it was down on the Friday. Equities rallied 1.5% or thereabouts.
    Okay — ill go for 1.5%
    Down
    Pah!
    Not even close.
    dot dot dot
    I’m told it was 3.6% on the day.
    ouch
    Amazing, isn’t it.Caught in the wrong trend again, it seems, and destroyed.
    It really is a broken box
    And remember, these are the smartest wonks on the planet, according to their promo video.
    Perhaps they should try sugar trading’

  • nevermind

    Mark, I once had a lot of time for the Kurds when the Halabja attack happened and before, they have been the whipping boy for more than one nation. Whether its the Turks, Syrians or Iranians, not to speak of the Syrians and Iraqis.
    .
    So, now that they can have a proxy power base, under US auspice, in Northern Iraq, their attitudes have changed and their cooperation with Israel is disturbing.

    The scenario that could develop from hostilities to come, has been discussed in 2002? at a clandestine conference/meeting so I believe between the UK’s Bliar /US Colin Powell and/Israel, can’t remember whether it was Bibi.
    .
    The discussions were about the no fly zone, land issues after the Iraq war, and readying for an all out attack. They were not about food and medicine and hospital water and or electricity contingents after the war, or safeguarding the vaults of Iraq’s museums housing ancient cultural/global assets,or any other important sites, but chaos, sectarianism and revenge against the Baa-th party and the Guards.

    What are Russian divisions doing I ask myself, are they moving south?

  • Mary

    A gem on Radio 4 Today this morning. There was a short interview with Tony Harrison, poet, now aged 75. He was asked how he found inspiration. This one came instantly he said when he heard Hoon saying that ‘cluster bombs were perfectly legal’. Hoon’s words were replayed and those of John Humpheys challenging Hoon on a mother’s feelings when a child of hers was killed or maimed.. This is the poem – Baghdad Lullaby – written at the time of the great horror of Shock and Awe.

    .

    Baghdad Lullaby
    A poem by Tony Harrison

    .
    The Guardian, Wednesday 9 April 2003
    .
    Ssshhh! Ssshhhh! though now shrapnel makes you shriek
    and deformities in future may brand you as a freak,

    you’ll see, one day, disablement ‘s a blessing and a boon

    sent in baby-seeking bomblets by benefactor Hoon.

    .

    In response to Hoon saying on Radio 4’s Today programme last week that Iraqi mothers would thank him for using cluster bombs.)

  • Mary

    Herbie Diamond geezer will appear at the Treasury Select Committee at 2pm.
    .
    He has released the details of the phone conversation with Tucker deputy governor of the BoE.
    .
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-18695181
    .

    Member

    .

    Mr Andrew Tyrie (Chairman) C
    Michael Fallon C
    Mark Garnier C
    Stewart Hosie SNP
    Andrea Leadsom C
    Rt Hon Pat McFadden L
    Mr Andy Love L CoOp
    John Mann L
    Mr George Mudie L
    Jesse Norman C
    Teresa Pearce L
    Mr David Ruffley C
    John Thurso LD

  • Mary

    I was looking at Leadsom’s Register of Interests the other day.
    .
    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/andrea_leadsom/south_northamptonshire#register
    .
    She declares several substantial private donations and also over £50,000 being the value of members of staff seconded to her by ‘Gloucester Research Ltd’. That turns out to be GR Software and Research Ltd of which her husband Benjamin is a director, +++ net current assets over £7m +++. He has directorships of 6 other companies.
    {http://company-director-check.co.uk/director/913222905}
    .
    One of those is Tyrolese 636 Ltd, assets etc zero. One of those shell companies. I would swear that once, when I was looking up Bliar, the same name of Tyrolese cropped up.

  • Mary

    Finally, Caroline Spelman has graciously announced that she is leaving OUR forests alone and that they will not be sold. The hell they will not. One of 38Degrees successful campaigns to thank for that.
    .
    Reminder – Tory cabinet minister Caroline Spelman lobbied her own department
    http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=21299
    .
    and there was Nannygate too. {http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1158926/Nannygate-Tory-MP-Caroline-Spelman-apologises-using-taxpayers-money-inadvertently.html}
    .
    Odious holier than thou deceitful woman.

  • Komodo

    The postulated state of Kurdistan (which has never been an entity, rather an area in which Kurdish tribes live) just happens to sit on top of some major oil reserves, some of them currently Turkey’s, others Syrian and Iraqi. Obviously a wonderful incentive to get the Kurds onside, with the bonus that they can destabilise Western Iran for us too. All the more attractive since Turkey got a less secular government and detached itself from Israel’s game plan. And still more attractive, should (heaven forfend!) the Russians retain their interest in Syria.
    .
    It’s nice to see the change in attitudes. Formerly the Kurds were a pain in the ass and both the UK and Saddam have at various times dropped poison gas on them. In Roman times, their principal income was derived from robbing travellers. Their activities more recently vis-a-vis Turkey (and vice versa) have been reminiscent of the IRA/UK picture, except on a very much larger scale.
    .
    The healing power of oil….

  • Mary

    Jay Mary If you have slow connection you should keep your computer defragged in the disk clean up and maintenance.
    .
    Thanks but that wasn’t me with computer problems.

  • guest

    “Derivatives and interest rate swaps governed by Libor are valued at $350 trillion and eurodollar futures at $564 trillion. Barclays, having been granted immunity in return for cooperation, will no doubt consider their fine a very small price to pay indeed—as will all those concerned who have a great deal to hide.”
    .
    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/jul2012/libo-j04.shtml

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq Association

    Russia is unpredictable ‘Nevermind’ – but that reflects Putin’s nature and his determination to counter Western violence and aggression by peaceful albeit adroit methods. He appears to be playing the Western game of dividing Syrian opposition groups. Infusion of al-Qaeda database fighters into opposition groups has caused chaos and embarrassment to Britain and America; the deranged opposition gathering at talks hosted by the Arab League in Cairo proves the point.

  • Guest

    “Russia is unpredictable”
    .
    I wouldn’t bet on that Mark!, I think there is more to this then meets the eye. Too many very rich Russian oligarchs with more then a close relationship with their equivalent conterparts in the west!. They did nothing to help Libya!!!, I think there is somekind of a(shall we say) understanding between the USA and Russia we just don’t know about it, it maybe a tenuous relationship though ?.

  • Herbie

    Komodo
    .
    There’s this outfit, who are apparently operating in Greece at the moment.
    .
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Gendarmerie_Force
    .
    Greece isn’t a member of the group but any EU nation can call on their “services”.
    .
    They clearly perform only a military function, since policing in its more usual sense would quite clearly be beyond them.
    .
    But obviously the criminals in charge have been planning ahead.

  • Komodo

    “I think there is somekind of a(shall we say) understanding between the USA and Russia we just don’t know about it… ”
    Follow the money, and I am sure all will be revealed.

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