America’s Vassal Acts Decisively and Illegally

by craig on August 16, 2012 11:30 am in Uncategorized

UPDATE

100,000 HITS IN 100 MINUTES CRASHED THE SITE. WE DON’T KNOW YET IF GENUINE INTEREST OR DENIAL OF SERVICE ATTACK. OUR BRILLIANT WEBHOSTS HAVE QUADRUPLED THE RESOURCE, BUT IF YOU CAN HELP TAKE THE STRAIN BY REPOSTING I WOULD BE VERY GRATEFUL.

I returned to the UK today to be astonished by private confirmation from within the FCO that the UK government has indeed decided – after immense pressure from the Obama administration – to enter the Ecuadorean Embassy and seize Julian Assange.

This will be, beyond any argument, a blatant breach of the Vienna Convention of 1961, to which the UK is one of the original parties and which encodes the centuries – arguably millennia – of practice which have enabled diplomatic relations to function. The Vienna Convention is the most subscribed single international treaty in the world.

The provisions of the Vienna Convention on the status of diplomatic premises are expressed in deliberately absolute terms. There is no modification or qualification elsewhere in the treaty.

Article 22

1.The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter
them, except with the consent of the head of the mission.
2.The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises
of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the
mission or impairment of its dignity.
3.The premises of the mission, their furnishings and other property thereon and the means of
transport of the mission shall be immune from search, requisition, attachment or execution.

Not even the Chinese government tried to enter the US Embassy to arrest the Chinese dissident Chen Guangchen. Even during the decades of the Cold War, defectors or dissidents were never seized from each other’s embassies. Murder in Samarkand relates in detail my attempts in the British Embassy to help Uzbek dissidents. This terrible breach of international law will result in British Embassies being subject to raids and harassment worldwide.

The government’s calculation is that, unlike Ecuador, Britain is a strong enough power to deter such intrusions. This is yet another symptom of the “might is right” principle in international relations, in the era of the neo-conservative abandonment of the idea of the rule of international law.

The British Government bases its argument on domestic British legislation. But the domestic legislation of a country cannot counter its obligations in international law, unless it chooses to withdraw from them. If the government does not wish to follow the obligations imposed on it by the Vienna Convention, it has the right to resile from it – which would leave British diplomats with no protection worldwide.

I hope to have more information soon on the threats used by the US administration. William Hague had been supporting the move against the concerted advice of his own officials; Ken Clarke has been opposing the move against the advice of his. I gather the decision to act has been taken in Number 10.

There appears to have been no input of any kind from the Liberal Democrats. That opens a wider question – there appears to be no “liberal” impact now in any question of coalition policy. It is amazing how government salaries and privileges and ministerial limousines are worth far more than any belief to these people. I cannot now conceive how I was a member of that party for over thirty years, deluded into a genuine belief that they had principles.

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437 Comments

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  1. Ah but Craig, just as the US government stands above all forms of international law (and morality and decency), so its duly constituted vassals are also empowered to ignore any laws they don’t happen to like.

    And so… Britain will become a pariah state.

  2. “William Hague had been supporting the move against the concerted advice of his own officials; Ken Clarke has been opposing the move against the advice of his”.

    Any sane PM would realise that this, in itself, means the course that Hague supports is wrong.

  3. UK diplomatic staff abroad must be thrilled to hear about this. After all, if such behaviour is acceptable enough for the British, nobody can complain if weak governments in far more volatile countries do the same.
    .
    Likewise when it comes to torture, detention without trial, even extra-judicial state killings for that matter – we do it, so anyone else can refer to our shining example of how things are supposed to be done.
    .
    It also shows how much pressure the US is obviously putting on us, and makes it absolutely obvious what would happen five minutes after the Swedes got hold of Assange.

  4. Richard Nolan

    16 Aug, 2012 - 12:01 pm

    A truly sad state of affairs and confirmation that there really isn’t any political choice left in this country. Lots of noise on Twitter so hopefully the Ecuadorian Embassy will be inundated with protesters and our man will be able to make his escape, but I think the writing’s on the wall.

  5. Pressure from the Obama administration, huh? Why has no one in the White House press corps questioned him on this issue lately? When is the US president’s next press conference?

  6. Apparently the UK secretary of state can remove the diplomatic status of any embassy if it is considered to be misusing its premises. This came about after the 1984 Libyan shooting.

    If the government considers that protecting Assange from arrest is a misuse of their embassy premises, they can remove inviolability status and argue that they can enter and arrest Assange. That’s how they will justify their actions.

  7. Doug,

    That’s the domestic legislation. But nothing in the Vienna Convention authorises that, and of course any country can follow suit against our Embassies abroad.

  8. The US is above any law, even their own these days. So we must obey their instructions to capture julian so they can execute him for their 1st amendment violation!!! Ridiculous!!

    Embarressing situation, why can’t we and many other countries just say NO! And suffer their consequences, they cannot punish every country without isolating themselves.

  9. I actually view the possibility that the suggested action by the UK is being considered as at the least unwise and at the worst dangerous. As for legality, I leave that to lawyers.

    However, am I the only person to question the contradiction here? Assange is accused of crimes of a sexual nature in a sovereign country. He and his supporters have bleated about his other activities (which are of questionable probity in my opinion) and a different sovereign country appears to have offered him asylum as a result.

    In his header the author claims that he is a Human Rights Activist. The tone of this article suggests that he is a supporter of Assange whose human rights, on any evidence I have seen, do not appear to be under immediate threat. However, his accusers’ rights are, if things go the way that Assange and his flock wish, to be denied.

    On another tack. I would like to see proof that any pressure has been brought by the US administration on the British government. Likewise I would like to see the proof that the Swedish Administration would extradite Assange to the USA. Why hasn’t the UK administration done so?

  10. Call me naive but I can’t believe this is really happening. What is the piece of domestic legislation this would be based on ?

  11. We’re getting a lot of traffic at the moment, so if you want to promote this post (say on Twitter) then it’s been reposted here too:
    .
    http://indymedia.org.uk/en/2012/08/499040.html

  12. It would be nice if they actually read their own laws. The Act they’re referring to actually specifically says that it’s only legal if it’s legal under international law.

    There seem to be two reasons in the Act – one is for planning law, for instance if the building is in the way of a new road or railway line and the sending country is being awkward, they can remove diplomatic status, CPO the building and then allow the country to establish a new embassy elsewhere. I could see that being used for Crossrail, for example.

    The other is if the embassy is being used for purposes that are neither part of the mission nor consular. Granting asylum is specifically part of the mission of an embassy, so the law just doesn’t do what they want it to do.

  13. Kevin: There is no chance any of the Whitehouse elite press corps will ask questions as awkward as that. Not if they want to keep their extremely well paid jobs, because then they’d never get “access” ever again.

  14. Being pessimistic, it doesn’t matter that this domestic law doesn’t actually allow them to do this — they’ll do it anyway, and then afterwards the courts will tell them they were wrong, there’ll be some slaps on the wrists and apologies, but Assange will already be hanging.

  15. On the day the media’s focus was about to shine a light on to A. Coulson’s criminal acts whilst Cameron’s press secretary, the opportunity arises to lick spittle to Obama, whilst diverting the eyes of the public on to Julian Assange and Ecuador’s diplomatic plight, how convenient. I fear that the moment Ecuadors ambassador announces that they will grant him asylum, the police will attack their diplomatic inviolable status and arrest him. Who knows he might not go to Sweden at all, knowing Rove, he has the paperwork sewn up, making the extradition one way.
    .
    What news management, anything to stop Cameron being connected to Andy Coulson or any of the other skeletons rattling in his wardrobe.
    Obama must been assured of his presidency after Romney’s last visit to Israel, why else speculate attacking Iran before the election.

    Don’t forget Nov. elections for PPC’s, clearly a post that should not be inhabited by party politicians. If any job scream independence its this one.

  16. Out of interest, after posting this article on Indymedia, the following appeared as a comment within 10 minutes (!), defending the possible decision to invade the embassy. That someone sympathetic to the Establishment position just happened to be on Indymedia (an anarchist/protest site) is very odd indeed. Furthermore, the comment appears now to have been deleted (probably by Indymedia staff – I don’t think ordinary users can delete comments). This is a copy:

    Surprised Craig didn’t know this (16.08.2012 12:11)
    .
    Considering what Craig did in the past I am surprised at some of the things he has said here.
    .
    “This will be, beyond any argument, a blatant breach of the Vienna Convention of 1961”
    .
    No it will not – the Convention allows for exactly these circumstances under section V, sub section 3 where an individual from a country may be arrested in another countries embassy if a serious offence has taken place. The only individuals protected under the Convention are consular officials. There are many precedents for arrests of these kinds:
    .
    March 1953 – French police arrest bank robber who was hiding in Mexican embassy
    August 1974 – Columbian police arrest drug dealer in German embassy
    December 1976 – US police arrest child murderer in Australian embassy
    October 1984 – British police arrest Algerian terrorist in French embassy.
    .
    .
    I have other examples
    .
    Ian Sharp – lawyer

    Any legal eagles here who could take a view on this opinion?

  17. Terry Groves

    16 Aug, 2012 - 1:37 pm

    I would as a British citizen be horrified to see such an action to take place, I don’t believe for one moment that they would implement such a plan, this would destroy all the beliefs of freedom and fair play I hold for this country….

  18. Jon,

    What is even stranger is that the Vienna Convention doesn’t have sections, and there is nothing like the reference given by “Ian Sharp” in the text. My link above gives the full text on the UN site. Pretty strange disinformation technique.

  19. *IF* they storm the Ecuadorian embassy to grab Assange, they’ll accuse Ecuador of “harbouring a terrorist”. Joe Biden and others have already labelled him a “cyber-terrorist”. And with pushing from the USA, the UK will take that line, and to hell with international OR domestic law.
    .
    Sky News cut off the Ecuadorian minister’s press conference and went to ads, on the basis that “he was taking too long to get to the point”. F them.
    .
    Craig’s article was re-tweeted lavishly on Twitter and this site went down. Probably because too many people were seeking to access it at the same time. I doubt if it was anything more sinister.
    .
    Apparently also the UK has told Ecuador that “it might still revoke the diplomatic status of Quito’s embassy in London to allow the extradition of the WikiLeaks founder.”
    http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/08/16/wikileaks-assange-britain-idINL6E8JG5PY20120816

  20. The liberal impact on Government policy is, of course, the same as Reverend Blair’s impact on American policy, namely that things would have been even worse without it. Whatever may happen to British diplomats, be they hindered, harassed, kidnapped or strung up by the thumbs, no doubt Nick Clegg will be there to remind us that respect is a two-way street, and that much greater evils would have occurred had international law been allowed to prevail in its fiendish course.

  21. Thank you so much, Craig… and also those who have commented… for publishing such a clear and informative account of just why storming the Ecuadorian embassy to arrest and remove Julian Assange would be such a terrible, terrible mistake.

    I am shocked that a democratically elected British government would ever even contemplate, let alone plan and carry out, such an action. It Assange’s arrest and removal goes ahead, it will put at risk the life of every diplomat (along with every embassy staff member…) in every embassy, consulate and mission in the world… as well as massively damaging the long and noble tradition of one nation being able to speak and hear the truth directly –and fearlessly – to and from any other.

  22. AlexT,
    The legislation Billy fourteen pints is relying on is:
    diplomatic and consular premises act 1987
    ,
    This is bit of slight of hand, and is akin to getting into a contract (Vienna Convention) and then go back and prevaricate about the fact that you meant only to uphold the contract on every other Mourn day Thursday at half past six precisely, and the rest of the time you will consider the contract non binding.
    ,
    ,
    ,
    ,
    ,
    ,
    David Mills,
    ,
    It is not a question of Assange, this now has turned into a manifest dick swinging contest, during which Ecuadorans endowed with minuscule dicks are bing slapped around with the well endowed Billy fourteen pints. I trust you discern that the physical sizes referred to are in fact the caliber of the Howitzers, and the population of bombs and their delivery vehicles at the disposal of each party, and not necessarily their genitalia, nonetheless this is as crude a contest as Billy fourteen pints pulling out his tackle and banging it on the Ecuadoran Ambassadors desk, who is representing the head of the Ecuadoran nation here in UK.
    ,
    You let your dislike of Assange get in the way of seeing the trees, woods etc.

    Also remember that Al Capone never got charged for any of his crimes, he was picked up for spitting on the side walk, and tried for tax evasion.

  23. Thanks for this post Craig. You sum it up very well.

    The media reporting of this is infuriating. Discussion about whether the ‘storming’ of the embassy would be legal or not is completely caught up in what British law says, taking little account of the UK’s obligations under international law. So if somewhere down the line some country decides that its domestic law permits it to invade the British embassy on its soil, that will be just fine, will it?

    I only wish Ecuador could get a UN Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on Britain for what will effectively be an act of war, but of course the unjust veto power makes such a thing impossible. Perhaps their only recourse is to let whoever wants to have a crack at the British embassy in Quito in to torch the place.

  24. Nick in Toronto

    16 Aug, 2012 - 2:05 pm

    “(A rose) Fascism by any other name would smell as sweet”

  25. On a potential for DDoS attack of this blog’s server, I suspect not; the link from the official Wikileaks Twitter account would be enough to flatten most modest server accounts!

  26. Day by day the mask of democracy our leaders wear slips one more inch to reveal the fascist face beneath, how long until they take the mask completely off, only a matter of time now.

  27. “That’s the domestic legislation. But nothing in the Vienna Convention authorises that, and of course any country can follow suit against our Embassies abroad.”

    Nothing in it denies it either. Unless you explicitly give up a power it remains sovereign to the nation. If the Vienna Convention doesn’t define what is and isn’t a mission and under what conditions a mission can be dissolve then that power lies with the sovereign nation. Nations can expel diplomats. They obviously have this power and the silence of the Vienna Convention on this issue supports the case of the UK government rather than weakens it.

    This is obviously a completely distinct issue as to whether this is a sensible real politik move or an ethical move. It also raises the issue as to whether the Vienna Convention is complete and appropriate. Though I don’t think any nation will agree to surrendering the very power the UK is using.

  28. Gareth

    But the Vienna Convention does very very specifically define the things you say it would need to define. And it does define in which conditions immunity can be violated; none. The meaning of inviolable, in fact the meaning of the whole Convention, is extremely clear. I doubt you have read it; it is linked in the post above.

  29. Gareth, what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. I think you have to ask yourself whether it would be acceptable for a country to pull the rug out from under a British diplomatic mission’s feet by stripping it of its status, invade it and kidnap someone from inside, and then go round saying “well this building you see isn’t technically diplomatic premises any more, so the Vienna Convention offers no protection”. If this is all fine by you then you might as well just rip the treaty up. Setting the precedent that this kind of thing is acceptably completely defeats the spirit of the Vienna Convention.

  30. The UK government must be on crack, or merely deluded. I shall have to help protect UK citzens & Julian Assange from them. A freedom fighter is born.

  31. Good to see Ecuador isn’t taking the easy option, anyway:
    .
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/9480060/WikiLeaks-Ecuador-grants-Julian-Assange-asylum-despite-UK-threats.html

    We seem to be writing the guidelines for the evil regime of [insert bogeyman here] tojustify removing any asylum-seeking dissidents from our embassy in Evilia City…bad move, Billy Nomates. Compounded by the dodgy validity of approving an extradition warrant for questioning (not prosecution) for an offence likely to pull a term of less than 12 months.

  32. @Jon said,
    “No it will not – the Convention allows for exactly these circumstances under section V, sub section 3 where an individual from a country may be arrested in another countries embassy if a serious offence has taken place.”

    …er there’s been an offence, of sorts, well after the supposed events, after the two ladies involved were pressured by who knows who but we can guess.

    However, Assange has not been charged with anything OR tried with a crime in his absence, both of which occurrences could and have happened in the past.

    So are we to read this that anyone can be dragged out of an embassy “for questioning”? Because that’s where it is right now.

    This really is an abomination and the so-called defenders of freedom and justice following WW2, are now to be called the international extra-judiciary torture & execution squad of the USA and UK.

    We who live there should be ashamed and shout NO! NO! NO!

  33. David Mills,
    .
    Your comment is of course empirical but undeniably serious concerns regarding the lack of safeguards and transparency with which actions are being taken against Julian Assange, and the harassment he is being subjected to which has irreparable effects on his physical and mental wellbeing. The threats against his person are further aggravated by the complicit behaviour of the Swedish and U.K. governments, who are wrongfully abrogating his rights.
    .
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/81244158/FOIA-UK-CPS

  34. @Strangely: for clarification, the words you’ve quoted weren’t mine – I reposted them from elsewhere, as I thought they were suspicious.
    .
    There’s been a report of a crime certainly, but from a legal/technical perspective, I should think there is no offence as such, since Assange has not formally been charged with anything. (That cannot be stated often enough, since the media keep reverting to the phrase “charges in Sweden”, which is incorrect – Sweden just wishes to have a meeting with him).

  35. Airdrieonian

    16 Aug, 2012 - 2:27 pm

    Maybe Wee Willy Wankey will get Jack Bauer to do it?

  36. ‘I hope to have more information soon on the threats used by the US administration.’

    ‘more’ ? You have yet to provide us with any. If you are going to engage in conspiracy theories – that could indeed be credible – then provide some evidence.

    You do yourself, and your venerable past a disservice by this type of witless thinking. Same applies to the ruminations that lead the article about a DOS attack.

  37. numberstation

    16 Aug, 2012 - 2:28 pm

    Hi Craig,

    I reposted your comment (attributed of course) on the Metafilter thread running on this issue.

    http://www.metafilter.com/118961/a-clear-and-written-threat-that-they-could-storm-our-embassy#4513418

    Regards,
    numberstation

  38. Great piece, it is inexplicable that those Democrats in power have zero to say on this. It is just as disheartening that my former party’s enablers have very little to say on this subject as well, and many of the ones I talk to agree with the strongarm tactics to get Assange.

    I wouldn’t count on the press asking the Obama administration about “pressuring the UK”, I think they are more concerned with Joe Biden gaffes, today.

  39. Welcome back Craig. I’ve just lost a comment. When I tried to post it came up with the message:
    .
    Error establishing a database connection
    .
    I then tried to refresh the screen and the message came up:
    .
    No data received
    .
    So I guess it’s lost.

  40. Welcome back Craig. As you can see there has been no improvement here while you were away. What it proves all along is that the trumped-up charges against Assange by a Swedish prosecutor were a guise to get Assange extradited to the US where, as he suspects, he would face a long time in harsh conditions, just for revealing the truth. The US is looked upon now like some of the countries it used to criticise, those that have no real laws to protect their citizens, just prisons and gulags to keep dissidents out of the way.
    .
    I fear for the future.

  41. Thank you. What is to stop Ecuador making Mr Assange an Ecuadorian diplomat? Even Britain would not touch him then!

  42. Well I’ve done a bit of checking and am agreement with Craig on the “Ian Sharp – lawyer” disinformation. Very sharp practice!
    .
    I can find no reference to Sharps reference in either the Vienna convention here:
    http://untreaty.un.org/ilc/texts/instruments/english/conventions/9_1_1961.pdf
    …or the dubious bit of Uk legislation from 1987 in either its revised or originally enacted forms here:
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1987/46

    Definite bit of skullduggery going on.

  43. Why did this same government let Yvonne Fletcher’s killers travel from their embassy to the airport, while it will not do the same for Assange who has not been proved to have committed any crime at all, let alone murder?

  44. David Mills has clearly not familiarised himself with the Assange affaire other than through the filters of the UK MSM.

    Assange has not been charged with any offense in any jurisdiction. He has consistently offered to submit himself to questioning by the Swedish police and that offer remains open. He even remained in Sweden for two weeks following the original complaints against him for that purpose. But the original Swedish presecutor considered the complaints too trivial to warrant further action and he left.

    So what caused the Swedish about face and the drastic step of issuing a European Arrest Warrant against someone with no charges pending?

    Here’s a clue – Towards the end of Assange’s two week wait in Sweden, Carl Rove arrived in Stockholm, ostensibly in his role as a paid advisor to the Swedish PM. There are plenty more if you care to look. Put all that together with what we know of the US Grand Jury on Wikileaks and it becomes crystal clear that the official UK narrative is pure Machiavellian deception.

    Can’t say I’m surprised though, since ‘Machiavellian deception’ is a constant in matters of sensitive foreign policy. I confess I AM surprised at Craig’s allegation though. There was I thinking I was beyond surprise at the depths to which the UK FCO its government and SIS’s will plumb in the service of their US masters.

  45. doug scorgie

    16 Aug, 2012 - 2:39 pm

    I note that Cameron and Clegg are on holiday at the moment leaving the Foreign Secretary, William Haig, in charge and he is the one to make the decision on removal of invoiability of the embassy.

  46. @Dave: What’s to stop them? International power politics. Ecuador is a relative minnow on the world stage, and it lacks powerful friends (the USA). It won’t have any luck at the UN getting condemnation for Britain because of the way the Security Council is rigged. Any move it makes to protect Assange risks serious consequences. Britain meanwhile can swagger around like a bully who knows his big brother will sort out anyone who tries to mess with him.

  47. Having posted a link to this blog post I have just got a message from Norway that it cannot be accessed there.

  48. Could you provide more evidence that the US government is behind this?
    I think nobody would be surprised if that was the case because of their track record in the past.

    But I believe it would shed a totally different light on the legality and morality of invading the territory of the embassy.

    After all, thus far all they have is the testimony of a woman and no way of proving any solid proof for anything. I doubt that the unverified and unverifyable testimony of one single witness is sufficient to claim a “serious offense” justifying invading an embassy.

    Otherwise China would only have to “find” a witness claiming that Chen Guangchen has raped her – and invade the US embassy. Does anyone really believe that the western world would grant China the same room for justification? I doubt that.

  49. Re DDOS: it’s rather inexplicable that all those hits haven’t thrown up a lot of comments, if the hits were genuine. And I’ve never lost the server for minutes on end before. Looks like an anomaly to me, and DDOS is very definitely a possible cause.
    Re. US involvement: this question is rather crucial to the affair. It’s likely, it’s “common knowledge” on the interweb (ie universally cut and pasted) but it’s rather like Israeli nukes; no-one’s admitting to it. Reluctantly agree with your critic here, Craig. If you have something hard, the world needs to know.

  50. technicolour

    16 Aug, 2012 - 2:44 pm

    The Ecuadorian government will announce its decision on Assange’s future at 10pm today (AEST).

    A government official in Ecuador’s capital, Quito, said that the British government had made it clear it would not allow Assange to leave the country to travel to Ecuador, so even with a grant of asylum or similar protection, he would probably remain stuck in the embassy.

    Despite a growing police presence at the building that houses the embassy, and social media speculation, police have not entered the embassy. However, the Metropolitan Police may be preparing to deal with angry supporters if Assange emerges and is arrested.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/uk-police-descend-on-assanges-embassy-refuge-20120816-249pe.html#ixzz23iU4WXdI

  51. Bravo Craig, thank you. And Viva Ecuador!

    No doubt you’ll be flooded with misinformation and thread hijacking by US State Dept employees, who are simply “going along to get along.”

    Ecuador has made a difficult but principled decision. I am gobsmacked by their courage, and dismayed by the British Govt’s cowardice and lack of spine.

  52. I think it should now be clear to all, the USA is in charge at Number 10, it has been for many decades.

  53. @Grassy Noel: Libya under Gaddafi had shown its willingness to commit acts of international terrorism. The risks of pissing them off were judged to be too great. Ecuador is a peaceful nation that can safely be trodden on.
    .
    There is a clear analogy with the incentives created by the invasion of Iraq here. Don’t want to get invaded by the likes of the USA and UK? Don’t get caught napping like relatively unarmed Iraq! Get yourself some real weapons of mass destruction so the imperial powers won’t risk attacking you.
    .
    If a bully is allowed to stroll around the playground beating up the weak kids, everyone will come to school carrying a knife.

  54. Esfandiah
    .

    ‘I hope to have more information soon on the threats used by the US administration.’
    ‘more’ ? You have yet to provide us with any. If you are going to engage in conspiracy theories – that could indeed be credible – then provide some evidence.
    .
    It’s you who’s being witless Esfandiah.Read again what Craig wrote.”More information” is simply that:relating to the threats mentioned without necessarily defining them one can still employ the term “more” in a general sense.You’re simply selectively mis-interpreting the semantics to suit your own skewed interpretation.

  55. Dear Sir,
    The British government has chosen a psychotic cowboy government as its friend. Keep in mind, it was the British colonists in America kicking Britain out of Northern America.
    A dangerous way Britain is going in order to fulfill the lawbreaking wishes of the psycho government to the West beyond Ireland.
    Britain must not let itself get blackmailed into breaking valid international treaties and laws.
    Even if the U.S. threaten to publish nasty information about the British government if they don’t bow to their wishes, Britain must stand strong and tall. Everything is better than to become the vassal of a rogue state and get isolated from the other European countries. Old Europe, and Britain is part of it, does not need America.
    And now it is about time the Swedish authorities clear up their act and review their “reasons” for an extradition. Therer is not much proof of anything left on their side.

  56. ‘Why did this same government let Yvonne Fletcher’s killers travel from their embassy to the airport, while it will not do the same for Assange who has not been proved to have committed any crime at all, let alone murder?’

    GrassyNoel- the legislation which allows Willie Hague to rattle his sabre at the Ecuadoreans (I hope in vain)was passed in 1987 in the wake of the Yvonne Fletcher shooting- a classic example of knee jerk law making. In 1984 when wpc Fletcher was fatally shot the Government had no handy domestic legislation available to justify the storming of the Libyan diplomatic compound & the arrest of her killers.

  57. Marcel Oerlemans

    16 Aug, 2012 - 2:52 pm

    100,000 HITS IN 100 MINUTES, that is not a ddos, that’s great succes :)
    If you need help with hosting, send me a mail.

  58. @John Goss – the server is under heavy load, having been directly linked from Wikileaks’ Twitter, and from Russia Today. Just post again, should be all good.
    .
    New visitors – if you make a comment but it doesn’t appear, it is probably caught in the spam filter, rather than foul play. I’ll check often today, to ensure things are published reasonably speedily.

  59. Brendan O'Malley

    16 Aug, 2012 - 2:53 pm

  60. Technicolour – the announcement that Assange is granted asylum has already been made (the timezone you quote is Australian).
    Re Hague:
    http://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2012/01/20/william-hague-s-latin-aerica-speech-in-fullm
    .
    I’d say he’s between a rock and a hard place…licking Yank ass on the one hand and desperately trying to drum up business in S. America.
    Still, he’ll do the stupid thing, as neither Cameron or Osborne will be with us much longer. And he’ll see it as an opportunity.

  61. The huge surge in traffic is most likely down to being linked on Reddit.com

    http://www.reddit.com/r/news/comments/ybczz/craig_murray_i_returned_to_uk_to_be_astonished_by/

  62. technicolour

    16 Aug, 2012 - 2:57 pm

    Thanks for post; have distributed. Also this in the Independent, published for some reason in the ‘crime’ section:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/ecuador-grants-asylum-to-assange-and-condemns-britains-threatening-and-intimidating-language-8052991.html

  63. Dienye Hez. Diri

    16 Aug, 2012 - 2:57 pm

    It is ridiculous that even Britain will allow the United States to ‘use her head’. I used to hold this country in high esteem until now. I used to think Britain have people in politics who can think independently. But now I know – they’re just robots waiting to receive the next command to act on. The United States is only a bunch of stupid politicians manipulating world affairs in order to reach their selfish goals without recourse to the law. They preach democracy everywhere they go, yet they are a dictatorship! Wolves in sheep clothing! That’s what they are. I’ve lost every single respect and love I have for Great Britain for even coming out to make this threat.

  64. People have commented on what precedent this would set for British embassies abroad, but also, where would foreign embassies based in London feel they stood? Will we see embassies being closed in protest? No idea how closely other South American countries may or may not choose to stand with Ecuador on this.

    Out of curiousity, laugh at my naive observation if you will, but my understanding is that any kind of container may be labelled as a diplomatic bag. Surely the ambassador would be able to accompany a large and heavy bag carried by two or three staff out of the embassy and through the airport?

  65. It would not be an unusual pattern for a DOS attack to fire one short attack and then disappear completely. They would probably persist to be seen as exerting themselves.

    Whereas 100,000 genuine hits could easily be generated by a few tweets from accounts as followed as wikileaks. So I suggest you were probably subjected to a large spike of normal traffic. Be happy about it! Your web host should be able to tell from a quick analysis of the web logs.

  66. Diplomatic bag? Or sports bag? Difficult choice…
    https://i.thestar.com/images/3c/07/b2e3caf8411597eae685905cd119.jpg

  67. Sorry my above post should have started:

    It would be an unusual pattern for a DOS attack to fire one short attack and then disappear completely.

  68. Keef, thanks. The story is doing well on Slashdot also, though no direct links from there to here as far as I can see. That’d slow things down a bit too 😉

  69. Thanks Jon. It came through after my next comment questioning where it had gone. I’m glad it is under such a heavy load. This is of the utmost importance. The very fabric of everything I hold dear about my country is under threat.

  70. technicolour

    16 Aug, 2012 - 3:08 pm

    Strangely: thanks for finding legislation, if that’s the 1987 act being referred to, it also contains this;

    “ARTICLE 45

    If diplomatic relations are broken off between two States, or if a mission is permanently or temporarily recalled:

    (a)the receiving State must, even in case of armed conflict, respect and protect the premises of the mission, together with its property and archives;

    Is ‘storming it’ ‘respecting and protecting’?

  71. Mark El-Kadhi

    16 Aug, 2012 - 3:09 pm

    ‘Somebody’ Mills above asked “what about the rights of the accusers? The women claiming rape”. Agreed, but look more losely please before reiterating establishment lines of argument.

    If there was any possibility that this was not politically motivated to get JA into US custody, in a hell-hole lile Bradley Manning and likely heading for a death sentence, investigators could have agreed to come to the uk, but they refused.

    Moreover, have a look at the http://www.womenagainstrape.net site :
    “Not one suspect was NOT granted bail for rape in Sweden; even those with previous convictions for attempted murder of their partners are givwn bail; there is a long history of using rape allegations dor political purposes as is clearly happening in the Asaange case.” (paraphrasing as honestly as possible, cant figure cut and paste on new phone!)

    Anyone who believes the UK govt’s commitment to justice is what is driving this, rather than it being a poodle part of the US empire following orders to round up and makw an example of an embarrassing whistleblower, will most likely also appear in the same category as those believing in the story of “humanitarian intervention” in Iraq, Libya and now Syria: all actions to extend US/uk/nato domination of resources and strategic positions

    Cant blame you personally for swallowing the establishment line that permeates the media, but perhaps time to explore other possibilities?

    Try dipping into debates on medialens.org message board, say

  72. Jennie DeKlerk

    16 Aug, 2012 - 3:14 pm

  73. Esfandiah,
    Which planet from are you getting in touch with Earth?
    US the whining fucking empire that has been committing every sin under the Sun, is now the paragon of virtue that needs to be defended? Now that is really fucking funny, on Earth, but I suppose on your planet it should be a conspiracy.
    ,
    So far Standard Charter has been pushed onto the coals, and that was the opening aperitif, lets see what is for the next course?

  74. We’re seeing the continuing breakdown of international law that began with Iraq. This will lead to the collapse of everything that liberal Weaterners hold dear.

  75. technicolour

    16 Aug, 2012 - 3:21 pm

    Geoff: Article 27: “3. The diplomatic bag shall not be opened or detained.”

    It can refer to crates. Apparently there was an attempt made to kidnap a Nigerian minister in this way, but the crate was not labelled properly and the attempt was foiled.

    But that slightly detracts from the main point – how and why did we get here?

  76. Time to flood the streets with supporters and whisk Julian to safety, People power could win this yet.
    As you say Craig, the Libdems have shown themselves to be self serving scum.
    No limit to the affrontery they are prepared to accept.
    The only covenant they stick to is the one they made to keep cameron in power until 2015.

  77. In the long term, this could destroy Hague utterly. For which God be praised. The FO responds to Ecuador’s decision to grant asylum:
    .
    http://www.channel4.com/news/foreign-office-disappointed-at-assange-decision
    .
    US authorities were specifically asked if they had any intention to seek Mr Assange’s extradition so they could start legal proceedings against him and what maximum penalty he could face.

    “The response from the United States has been that it cannot offer any guarantees.
    .
    I was a sceptic, but now I believe.

  78. Thanks for this post, Craig. I wrote a blog post along the same lines:

    http://99998271.blogspot.jp/2012/08/uk-police-surround-ecuadorian-embassy.html

    As you say, domestic law cannot trump international law in a nation party to a binding treaty. Any raid on the embassy would be a travesty.

    The single defining feature of the Assange case is the misinformation and ignorance surrounding it. Any Assange article attracts more comments than most in the mainstream media, but a large number of those comments betray ignorance of the facts and blind acceptance of some lazy crap they read elsewhere in the MSM. If people actually knew all the facts, the swing towards supporting Assange would be enormous.

    Thanks again.

  79. Welcome back Craig. We have missed you greatly.
    .
    This on the rendition and torture that the CIA organized in Poland. Well done to Roy Gutman and the Miami Herald.
    .
    Mini-Guantanamos : Poland peels back layers on CIA detention center
    The Miami Herald
    By ROY GUTMAN
    McClatchy Newspapers
    http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/08/13/2950447/poland-peels-back-layers-on-secret.html
    .
    ‘Where the law ends, Tyranny begins’ John Locke – 1632-1704

  80. Just one further point that eludes me – why would JA be more in danger of extradition to the US in Sweden than in the UK ? Is there anything specific to the legal system there that would make his extradition more likely ? I can’t fathom the the Swedes are even more corrupt than the Brits !

  81. So Pathetic GB. You will not be forgotten.

  82. Have reposted the message here as well
    http://www.holobyte.com.au

    Cheers

    Phil

  83. Sebastian Borner

    16 Aug, 2012 - 3:42 pm

    Thank you Craig,
    A question: Why was your website offline this morning / early afternoon?
    I saw something sinister in it, maybe I am just a little paranoid?
    I’d be glad for a brief response.
    I sincerely hope this will be resolved soon and in a good way. Sad that we have to rely on Ecuador to defend our democratic principles.

    Louise Mensch on twitter: Expel Ecuadorean Ambassador, break off relations, enter former embassy, arrest fugitive, extradite.

    That’s a sad statement.

    Kind regards,
    Sebastian

  84. And there we all were hoping we wouldn’t need to hear any more nonsense from Louise Mensch.

  85. Alext – Sweden has granted extradition in the TOTAL OF CASES in which the prisoner was in Swedish territory. They have yet to refuse a single case, save where the requestee was not in Swedish territory.
    Also, I believe Sweden can make the decision to extradite at a political level, less hampered by the courts than is the case in the UK

  86. @Sebastian Borner: a DDoS attack is tempting to believe, given that Craig’s access to information. But I think it was just the huge amount of interest – we’ve had incoming links from several very high profile sites (see above) and this just overwhelmed the web server. Once the host rebooted it with more RAM/CPU resources, it was fine.
    .
    A competent DDoS would overwhelm the new configuration, which is why I am not of the view that it is malicious.
    .
    Craig – hopefully you can do a piece on this for the MSM. The Guardian put up a good one at 2pm today: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/16/julian-assange-asylum-ecuador

  87. In this video Julian Assange interviews President Rafael Correa. It is a must watch if you have not seen it.
    .
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvUwC5JTAJY
    .
    When asked about kicking out the US from a base in Ecuador Correa tells Assange it is all right for the US to have a base in Ecuador if the Ecuadorians can have a base in Miami. Correa also says there is more difference in my thoughts in the morning and afternoon than there is between Democrats and Republicans in the United States government.

  88. technicolour

    16 Aug, 2012 - 3:50 pm

    Alext; both Sweden & UK US allies – less fuss from UK people (where despite the media there is large sympathy for Assange on the ground and high profile supporters) than if Assange is extradited from Sweden: also this from ‘Justice for Assange’ site:

    “Sweden has in the recent past violated international treaties in relation to surrendering foreign nationals into US custody to be interrogated and tortured (case of extraordinary rendition, Agiza v. Sweden at the European Court of Human Rights). Furthermore, Amnesty International and the UN Committee against Torture criticised Sweden because it rendered two refugees to the CIA who were then tortured under the Egyptian regime of Hosni Mubarak. (A documentary with the testimony of tortured refugees who had been granted asylum and then rendered to the CIA by Sweden was aired on Swedish television on 5 October 2011.”

    http://justice4assange.com/US-Extradition.html#WSJA

  89. AlexT,
    Think about it, there is more than one way of skinning a cat.
    ,
    Assange is taken to Sweden and put to trial, and presto the trial continues based on the Swedish laws that makes thinking about doing something that a woman may not like a rape, it is an easy charge to shove him into a jail and throw the key away.
    ,
    Then it is time for Assange to get worked on by the friendly tortures who would be priming him to jump; one or the other way, and presto either he is back doing what he is suppose to be doing, or hie is somehow shanked to death in a Swedish Jail, or best yet, he is extradited to US ie Gitmo for more treatment of the same.
    ,
    The options are many and the wishful thinking as yet the order of the day, there has been no decision as to deal with his with extreme prejudice ie bump him off, as in the case of many other poor bastards whom have been bumped off, included the most public bumping off of a Mr. Prezident!
    ,
    But don’t forget this is not about Assange alone, it is about rule of law, and respect for contractual obligations. ie Vienna Conventions.

  90. Who like me is ashamed to be British?

  91. @Jon, thank you, that makes good sense and is also reassuring.

  92. I am not ashamed to be British. I am incensed and enraged at being associated in any way with the British Government, though.

  93. I am sure Ecuador is considering reciprocal steps (entering the British embassy), and I will not be surprised if another country – Venezuela? – would come to its support and also issue some sort of warning to the local British embassy.

    As to your last paragraph, it just confirms my belief that the best thing in life is not to get trapped in membership in any organised ideology (political party, religion, etc.).

  94. There is no doubt in my mind Assange will somehow end up in the US where he will be tortured for years on end.
    .
    It’s truly disgusting but,tragically,not surprising.

  95. I wonder what this person thinks of his country. Is he embarrassed? Probably not.
    .
    On his appointment as Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Republic of Ecuador, Mr Mullee said:
    .
    “It is an honour to be appointed Ambassador to Ecuador. The Secretary of State has emphasised the importance of strengthening Britain’s ties with Latin America. I look forward to returning to Quito and leading the Embassy’s work at such an important time in our relations with Ecuador and Latin America. I believe there is scope to deepen our engagement with Ecuador, particularly to promote the UK’s prosperity through more trade and economic ties.” LOL
    .
    http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=PressR&id=742084282

  96. One does not need to be a paranoid conspiracy theorist to imagine the United States bumping Julian Assange off somehow. The Obama administration has quite openly carried out targeted assassinations of US citizens, in part as a PR exercise to make Obama come across as a warrior president. Senior congressmen have openly called for Assange’s extrajudicial execution. Assange is an Australian whose country has washed its hands of him. He is absolutely justified in fearing what might happen to him if he finds himself in the custody of a US ally. He doesn’t want to end up like the forgotten Pembrokeshire lad Bradley Manning.

  97. I am assuming the Ecudorian Embassy has a security unit, whom are armed…are we about to see the SAS storming through the front door ???
    Nope…I would think the FO is quietly threatining the Ecuador Govt behind the scenes with trade sanctions and the like to kick him out of the Embassy…

  98. I think the outage is also due to success and no ddos: you’ve been feaured on blog.fefe.de (also known to bring down non-static sites in an instant).

  99. Hi Craig, Have given full reference to you in chapter 494 of the TVOTW ‘Main Chapter Index’. Please get everyone to go to #unspeakableevil@TheGlobalFund – view – and spread the word worldwide. Keypoint – Osama Bin Laden had nothing whatsoever to do with 911. The world needs to speak with ONE VOICE on these matters. http://www.tvotw.com. TVOTW and The Global Fund For Peace, Justice And Development are the ONLY way any of us will get justice for Julian and Wikileaks, and ALL of those people affected by 911, Afghanistan & Iraq. Cheers. Clayton.

  100. sick of the UK

    16 Aug, 2012 - 4:08 pm

    F the UK

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