America’s Vassal Acts Decisively and Illegally 437


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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.


437 thoughts on “America’s Vassal Acts Decisively and Illegally

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  • Passerby

    Chen Guangcheng: China’s blind ‘barefoot’ lawyer (we call them busy bodies) was given Asylum with a song and a dance, along with his own respectful minders and handlers, and flown out of China.
    ,
    But still US envoy Carmen Lomellin said a meeting of foreign ministers the US did not “recognise the concept of diplomatic asylum as a matter of international law”.
    ,
    Does US the Christian zionist (God fearing devil worshipers) believes in not half doing onto others, but then when its her turn, well the rules are changed. I have maintained US will be remembered as the only whining empire in the history of the planet.

  • nuid

    Hmmmm …
    .
    Under a 1954 agreement, the Organization of American States agreed to allow asylum in diplomatic missions for “persons being sought for political reasons,” although not individuals indicted for “common offenses.”

    “The United States is not a party to the 1954 OAS Convention on Diplomatic Asylum and does not recognize the concept of diplomatic asylum as a matter of international law,” the State Department said in a statement.
    .
    http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021152052

  • Jon

    @kingfelix – I think you’ve got Greenwald completely wrong. I’ve read many of his pieces on drone technology, and I’ve never got the impression he’s steered clear of the summary executions of non-Americans. In fact I’ve never seen a don’t-go-there limit to his journalism of any kind, same as Pilger, which is precisely why GG’s move to an Establishment paper is so interesting.
    .
    There is a position (well illustrated by the holders of “alternative explanation” theories above) that nothing radical can get into the news. This is because, it is held, the process of information control and propaganda is so tight that only “what they want you to hear” gets through.
    .
    This of course is nonsense. Firstly, there is some overall tolerance to meaningful dissent in the press, since a society without any dissent at all – i.e. a total extinguishing of free thought – may be paradoxically more inclined towards revolution. Also, the advent of the internet has made information much harder to control, and we give the elite class way too much credit by thinking they “control everything”.
    .
    It is interesting to consider that where we’ve had good challenges to the status quo, such as the globalisation movement in Seattle, the brutal suppression of some of the anti-Bush protests before his second term, and the police violence against Occupy movements in the US, this is evidence that the 1% are well aware that their grip on power is not permanent at all. At each of these junctures, it is +possible+ that public opinion will coalesce around an organised radical group, and neoliberalism could find itself on the back foot. In fact, isn’t that what all these groups – and decent journalists – are fighting for? A change in public consciousness that the broad Left believes in?

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq Association

    Suhayl – I cannot remember referring to Andrea Davison, interestingly I found this:
    .
    “Now perhaps you can now see just how hypocritical and two faced our leaders are and believe me it goes much deeper than this when one puts together just how much Ms Andrea Davison knows and again I ask the question as to why the international media is not camped outside the Ecuador Embassy in London for one of the biggest scoops of all time??”
    .
    http://eyreinternational.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/what-do-julian-assange-and-andrea-davison-have-in-common-final-part-4/

  • Passerby

    This is guardian pimping for another war, by optimistically looking forward to a little bit of war!
    ,
    ,

    Israeli could attack Iran without causing a major war in the region

    While it is likely Israel will attack Iran in the near future, it is not in either party’s interest to allow retaliation to escalate

    ,
    The wanker writing this farticle is trying to ally fears of a war that will turn into a nightmare by considering the scenario of isreal attacking Iran, and Iran in return just taking a back seat and awaiting for the death of thousand cuts to ensue.
    ,
    The shitty strip of land that has been handing out gas masks, has not enough shelters to cope with the very real war that will follow soon after. Already Nasrallah of Lebanon is on record that he will join in the fight, so there is two, then there is Syrians that makes it three, and not forgetting the missiles that will be fired from Iran, in addition to the whole sale slaughter that will take place in the gulf.
    ,
    However, the wanker in Guardian is telling us all not to worry, it will be just an itsybitsy little war. The illiterate tosser then embarks on a naive navel gazing that Iran will not retaliate because “Islamic Revolution” will be in danger (the exact opposite of reality). Who the fuck taught this guy the shit that he has spewed in his farticle?
    ,
    This is yet another cake walk to Baghdad story, with as much credibility as before the Iraq war, and let us remind ourselves of the facts: Saddam had no means of defending himself. Iranians do have the means to defend themselves, and are in a position to kick major fucking butt.
    ,
    The crazed lunatics in tel aviv trying to muscle in the US elections and get another war out of the US before she is totally fucked up, and destroyed have not realized this war will be one too many wars, and a war too far.

  • Passerby

    However punters,
    ,
    ‘US military aid would delay Israeli strike’
    ,
    Arming Israel with extra military capabilities could allay its leaders’ impatience to strike Iran, thus buying time for diplomacy, Obama’s former national security adviser says

    ,
    ,
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4269893,00.html
    ,
    So if US hands over some more money and stuff, then the chaps in tel aviv will wait a bit longer before they start talking about attacking Iran again.
    ,
    The temerity of this puny little shitty strip of land, that is busy shaking down the very empire and hustling up money to pay the security guards/settlers and the rest of very productive gun wielding population who are lording it over Palestinians Wild West Style with their six shooters/tanks/helicopter/jets/nuclear war heads/hydrogen bombs.

  • Passerby

    Jon you lill genius how did you do that, anywhere that I can read up on?

    I was putting ‘ in my writings lately thanks m8

  • Jon

    Hi Passerby

    The WP theme in use here (see the footer) seems to set CSS that removes top and bottom margin from [p] elements, thus removing normal breaks. So I created a “child theme” (see the WP docs) to import the standard CSS, and then make some modifications to it. So if you go here and search for “This is a new fix for the paragraphing in comments” – it’s just a style rule (with a greater specificity than a usual [p] element) that overrides the standard margin-bottom.

    So in terms of reading up, any manual on CSS will do 🙂

  • Passerby

    Jon that is neat trick good on you, and it works.

    As always the least complex solutions are the most elegant.

  • Cryptonym

    Just a small snippet from Reed’s ‘Controversies of Zion”

    It could almost read like todays news, nothing has changed in more than fifty years.

    “On June 8, 1955 the U.N.M.A.C. censured Israel for another “flagrant armistice violation” when Israeli troops crossed into Gaza and killed some Egyptians. The only apparent effect of this censure was that the Israelis promptly arrested six United Nations military observers and three other members of the staff of the United Nations Truce Supervisor (Major General E.L.M. Burns, of Canada) before they again attacked into Gaza, killing 35 Egyptians (Time, September 1955). In this same month of September 1955 Mr. Ben-Gurion in an interview said that he would attack Egypt “within a year” (the attack came in October, 1956) if the blockade of the Israeli port of Elath on the Gulf of Aqaba were not lifted.

    The United Nations Security Council seemed nervous about “censuring” this new attack (the American presidential election campaign was beginning) and merely proposed that the Israelis and Egyptians withdraw 500 metres from each other, leaving a demilitarized zone, a proposal which the Egyptians had already vainly made. Then on October 23, 1955 General Burns “condemned Israel” for a “well planned attack” into Syria, when several Syrians were kidnapped and General Burns’s observers were again prevented by detention from observing what happened. On October 27, 1955 Mr. Moshe Sharett, the Israeli Foreign Minister, told newspaper correspondents at Geneva that Israel would wage a “preventive war” against the Arabs if necessary. On November 28, 1955 the Zionist Organization of America announced in leading newspapers (by paid advertisement) that “Britain, too, has joined the camp of Israel’s enemies”; Sir Anthony Eden, who within the year was to join in the Israeli attack, at that moment had some idea about minor frontier rectifications.

    On December 11, 1955 the Israelis attacked into Syria in strength and killed 56 persons. This produced the strongest United Nations “censure”, which is of some historic interest because the presidential-election year had opened and “censure” on any account at all soon became unfashionable. The Syrian delegate pointed out that repeated condemnations “have not deterred Israel from committing the criminal attack we are now considering”. The Security Council (Jan. 12, 1956) recalled four earlier resolutions of censure and condemned the attack as “a flagrant violation of. . . the terms of the general armistice agreement between Israel and Syria and of Israel’s obligations under the Charter” and undertook “to consider what further measures” it should take if Israel continued so to behave.

    The response to this was imperious Israeli demands for more arms. Mr. Ben-Gurion (at Tel Aviv, Mar. 18, 1956) said that only early delivery of arms could prevent “an Arab attack” and added that “the aggressors would be the Egyptian dictator, Nasser” (seven months earlier Mr. Ben-Gurion had undertaken to attack Egypt “within a year”) “together with his allies, Syria and Saudi Arabia”. On April 5, 1956, as the UN Security Council was about to send its Secretary General, Mr. Dag Hammarskjold, on a “peace mission” to the Middle East, Israeli artillery bombarded the Gaza area, killing 42 and wounding 103 Arab civilians, nearly half of them women and children.

    On July 24, 1956 two U.N. military observers and a Jordanian officer of the M.A.C. were blown up by mines on Mount Scopus which, the Zionists blandly explained, were part of “an old Israeli minefield”. Two Egyptian colonels, said by the Zionists to belong to the Egyptian intelligence service, were killed by “letter bombs” delivered to them through the post (this method was used a decade earlier against a British officer in England, Captain Roy Farran, who had served in intelligence in Palestine and incurred Zionist enmity; his brother, whose initial was also R., opened the package and was killed). On July 29, 1956 a U.N. truce observer, a Dane, was killed by a mine or bomb near the Gaza strip and two others were wounded by rifle fire. “Activism” was taking its toll by the method of assassination, as in earlier times.

    On August 28, 1956 Israel was again censured by the M.A.C. for “a serious breach of the armistice”. The censure was followed by another Israeli attack (Sept.12) when a strong military force drove into Jordan, killed some twenty Jordanians and blew up a police post at Rahaw. General Burns protested that such deeds “have been repeatedly condemned by the U.N. Security Council”, whereon another strong force at once (Sept.14) attacked Jordan, killing between twenty and thirty Jordanians at Gharandai. The British Foreign Office (Britain had an alliance with Jordan) expressed “strong disapproval”, whereon the Board of Deputies of British Jews attacked it for this “biased statement”. On September 19 the M.A.C. again “condemned” Israel for “hostile and warlike acts” (these two attacks apparently were made with symbolic intent, the moment chosen for them being during the Jewish New Year period), and on September 26 the Commission “censured” Israel specifically for the September 12 attack.

    The immediate answer to this particular censure was an official announcement in Jerusalem on the same day (Sept. 26) that the biggest attack up to that time had been made by the Israeli regular army, in strength, on a Jordanian post at Husan, when some 25 Jordanians were killed, among them a child of twelve. The M.A.C. responded (Oct. 4) with its severest “censure”, for “planned and unprovoked aggression”. The retort was another, larger attack (Oct. 10) with artillery, mortars, bazookas, Bangalore torpedoes and grenades. The U.N. observers afterwards found the bodies of 48 Arabs, including a woman and a child. An armoured battalion and ten jet aeroplanes appear to have taken part in this massacre, which produced a British statement that if Jordan, its ally, were attacked, Britain would fulfil its undertakings. The Israeli Government said it received this warning “with alarm and amazement”.*

    Immediately after Mr. Dulles’s report to the Senate Committee, and apparently in reply to it, Israeli troops made “a pre-arranged and planned” attack on the Egyptians in the Gaza area, killing thirty-eight persons (Feb. 27, 1956), and was condemned for “brutal aggression” by the U.N.M.A.C.”

  • Passerby

    Well Jon have a great weekend and I shall look forward to coming back on Monday to get on with my usual grumpy comments.

    Thanks again , really appreciated.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq Association

    Jon,

    Neoliberalism has never really been on the front foot of humanity apart from it’s use to condemn privatisation. The concept is flawed by cracks, giant crevices in it’s supporting pillars such as bank fraud, political deception and inequality before the law.

    Even if the concept existed State control of the environment is pitiful, small and sleazy allowing unchecked expansion and zero sustainability. Benefiting the power of corporations the idea is obviously popular with the elite although their myopic minds are hell bent on neocolonialism and it’s tools of death, coercion, destruction, brute force robbery of resources and black hat subversion of those willing to join terrorists groups in exchange for greenbacks.

  • Jon

    Charles, thanks. I was genuinely of the view, from the mass media, that the UK was about to break down the door – directly from the memo the Ecuadorians received and subsequently published. Was the memo overblown? I thought it was rather menacing, and thought that the best thing London could do, to save embarrassment, was to say their man in Ecuador cocked it up.

    What do you make of the parallel Craig draws with the Chinese dissident? Is this an invalid comparison?

    My view is that the EAW is invalid. The Swedish authorities refused to see Assange many times when he was actually in Sweden, and have refused to travel to London to talk with him. They have also refused to explain their refusal, which is highly suspicious. They have also refused to rule out extradition to the US as well (but sadly I suspect most of his detractors who want him to “defend himself in Sweden” would be quite happy for a US extradition to go ahead).

    For what it’s worth, I think Assange should co-operate with the Swedes – no-one should be above sexual misconduct allegations. But having that meeting in London is in the public interest, for the reasons above.

  • Jon

    Incidentally, regarding “thecommentator.com” – I found the balance of pro/anti comments to be hugely against Assange, which I think would be strange for a middle-of-the-road discussion forum. I had a quick look at their “Recommended Sites” on their home page, and found that it includes The Spectator, Melanie Philips, Conservative Home and Harry’s Place.

    Ah.

  • Mary

    Thanks Jon. Good work. Like Passerby I have been putting in a stop between paras in other writing!

  • W E Gladstone

    “there appears to be no “liberal” impact now in any question of coalition policy.”
    .
    LOL
    .
    Liberalism never did amount to more than a pile of sour owl shit — crap to gull the duller-witted plebs.

  • Clark

    Jon, thanks and congratulations on the site update. The moderators’ comment search and browse facility now works perfectly.

    And we have line breaks! Brilliant, Jon.

  • Mary

    You have been speaking of Glenn Greenwald. He is in conversation with Aaronovitch amongst others in the first link on this medialens thread.

    Greenwald exchange with Aaronovitch on never believing his government again
    http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/thread/1345303048.html

    Aa of course said in 2003 he would never believe his government again if WMD were not found in Iraq. What a twit. Dr Kelly’s death is not referred to in the exchange.

  • Mary

    Good to hear from you Clark. Hope you have a good little break and that you are enjoying the sunshine as I am although I have never had so many really itchy insect bites. Mosquitoes? midges? something lurking in the undergrowth?

  • nuid

    I have been considering disassociating myself from Amnesty International. This article regarding AmnestyUSA and its new executive director Suzanne Nossel, discusses much of what’s bothering me. AmnestyUSA appears to influence other branches around the world (as you’d expect, maybe) and I’ve fought with AmnestyIreland about Syria, and the attitude it took to Russia over its vetoes:

    Nossel was hired by AI in January 2012. In her early career, Nossel worked for Ambassador Richard Holbrooke under the Clinton Administration at the United Nations. Most recently, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organizations at the U.S. Department of State, where she was responsible for multilateral human rights, humanitarian affairs, women’s issues, public diplomacy, press and congressional relations.

    She also played a leading role in U.S. engagement at the U.N. Human Rights Council (where her views about the original Goldstone Report on behalf of Palestinian women did not quite rise to the same level of concerns for the women in countries that U.S.-NATO has attacked militarily).

    Nossel would have worked for and with Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Samantha Power and Susan Rice, and undoubtedly helped them successfully implement their “Right to Protect (R2P)” — otherwise known as “humanitarian intervention” — as well as the newly created “Atrocity Prevention Board …”

    Full text: http://consortiumnews.com/2012/06/18/amnestys-shilling-for-us-wars/

    and also this from Information Clearing House:

    informationclearinghouse.info/article32116.htm

    (I don’t remember Amnesty publishing before and after pictures of Fallujah, or Gaza vis a vis Cast Lead)

    Well done, Jon. And welcome back, Clark. 🙂

  • Clark

    Thanks, Mary. I’ve lost my enthusiasm for either commenting or moderating here. I found Technicolour’s approach to argument to be the emotional equivalent of CIA trained death squads. Be single-minded because you are virtuous. If someone is not cheering for you, just kill them and anyone who seems associated, because you fight for good, so if they don’t support you, they must be evil. And in any case, the carnage itself encourages compliance.

    I’ve been broadly and strongly criticised for deleting two personal emotional attacks. When I experienced such abuse myself, I found it to be a severe blow to my self confidence, so I felt that such attacks could silence the opinions of more vulnerable contributors. I suppose the strong can take it, and the strong consider their own opinions to be the only ones that should be heard.

    I guess I’m just not hard enough for political activism. I’m too hot, so it’s probably time I got out of the kitchen. Probably my hippy friend is right; politics is just for people who like to fight.

  • nuid

    “It could almost read like todays news, nothing has changed in more than fifty years”

    Very interesting, Cryptonym.

    If you allow a naughty headstrong child to do what it likes up to age 10, don’t expect to be able to rein it in at age 15. It will do what it likes, and even be alarmed and amazed at any brakes you try to put on it.

  • Jon

    Clark, no probs; thanks for the thorough testing. I’d be sorry to see you no longer comment here, but be aware you’re always welcome back – never say never, eh? I’ve taken extended breaks from one forum or another, and they’ve worked wonders.

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