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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  • Clark

    Nuid, I’m posting this “blind”; I’m only posting at all because it was wrong of me to single you out. Technicolour’s “Death Squad” consisted of you, CheebaCow, Suhayl Saadi, and possibly others. Apart from a minor reconsideration by CheebaCow, you all followed Technicolour’s lead like unquestioning “Crack Troops”. I was one of your squad’s targets, my every idea treated as hostile action and attacked accordingly.

    It made it much worse that all of you were among my favourite contributors. I’m sad, because it proved that you all merely held allegiance to an ideology, rather than “dedication to reality at all costs” (M Scott Peck).

    Maybe I’ll feel strong enough to return some day, and maybe I’ll even think it could achieve something.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Amnesty International has always been a fundamentally compromised organisation. Not surprised, wrt the CV of its new US Director – very interesting, though.
    .
    “Death Squad”? Bleedin’ heck, Clark, get a grip, man! Does anyone else think this is OTT? I never attacked you at all, Clark. I’d never do that. Come one, let’s get over this. You and Tech appear to have had a quarrel. As I wrote on the long thread, I was very saddened by that. I’ve tried to be conciliatory b/w you both and with Komodo (despite the fact that he is a Rocker) as well, as some may have noticed. Cheebacow is a groovy guy, I don;t know how anyone could describe him as being part of a “death squad”. And Nuid is a valuable voice on this blog. I think Nextus is too, btw, even though I’ve had my disagreements and irritations with them. You’re a great guy, Clark. Please now stop this. Best wishes, Suhayl.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Sorry, Nuid, you were being friendly towards Clark and I, for one, recognise and welcome that. You’re an important voice here – please keep contributing.
    .
    Technicolour has been a superb contributor over a number of years. It’d be a real shame if they felt unwanted here – I’d certainly welcome their contributions.
    .
    Enough of this personal stuff – let’s get back to the Ecuadorean Embassy ‘siege’. There are things afoot far bigger than us.

  • Lee

    What is stunning is that someone as crassly stupid is Hague can ever get to hold public office. We already have had acres of evidence that Hague is intellectually challenged; and yet he is still there making massive gaffes. I am surprised he didnt say that there was no truth in the rumour that Obama is leaning on his head with a pointed elbow. What is amazing however, is that blatant as Hague’s stupidity is, Britain’s entire array of (once)liberal mainstream newspapers, Guardian, Independent, and Scottish Herald, rushed to be the first to agree with him. Man, these are low times for the UK, especially as Newlabour is the only alternative. Jack Straw would have had Assange in the White House dungeons as fast as a flash.

  • n_

    This is a response to Charles Crawford, who refers us to his article, which curiously contains exactly the same ‘pitchfork’ fantasy (maybe appropriate to a witch hunt?) as appears in an article bylined to that other still-pals-with-the-FCO former ambassador, Christopher Meyer. Meyer imagines Assange crying “ouch”; Crawford prefers “strewth”. One mentions his Australian accent; the other pokes fun at the dialect. Funny how bylines get put on propaganda articles, eh, boys? Are any foreigners other than US WASPs not wogs for you?
    .
    But that’s enough of that. You’re on the moral low ground and you know it.
    .
    I’m here to make a more important point: Charles, you, or the people who’ve fed you the talking point for your regurgitation, are missing something. Under the Vienna Convention (27(6)), a sending state can appoint a diplomatic courier ad hoc, and the persons of such couriers are inviolable by the receiving state (27(5)) when they’re carrying the diplomatic mail to its consignee. Such couriers shall not be liable to any form of arrest or detention. No buts. Doesn’t matter what any British law or government minister says. No buts.
    .
    Sure, it’s fine for you to draw attention to section 41, which says that everyone enjoying privileges and immunities under the Convention has a duty to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving state. But did you notice the clause that precedes this? Here’s how the section starts: Without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, it is the duty of such persons (…)”. (my emphasis)
    .
    That means it doesn’t matter a jot whether the British police under English law would otherwise want to arrest Assange. If he’s appointed a diplomatic courier, they aren’t bloody allowed to, and they must let him walk to the car unimpeded, which can then be driven out of the country on its way back to the territory of the sending state.
    .
    Tell me Charles, in such circumstances, would you advise the FCO to stick two fingers up at the Convention and arrest Assange anyway? Before you answer, think about the Queen’s Messenger service – the squad of Brit diplomatic couriers.
    .
    You would be quite right to observe that a person wanted for arrest in Britain would have failed to fulfil his duty under section 41 to observe the receiving state’s laws and regulations if he makes use of his diplomatic courier status to abscond from bail or extradition. But the Brits would have no legal authority to use that as a reason to arrest him. That’s a matter for the foreign authority, Charles.
    .
    In response, Britain could expel all Ecuadorean diplomats, of course. They could sanction Ecuador. They could do many things. But they could not arrest Assange or stop him from delivering the diplomatic mail. Not even if he uttered a few words in a non-Home Counties accent that would make him out of place at Henley. No, Charles, not even then! Wake up and smell the coffee.
    .
    Let’s see whether you have the intellectual honesty to admit that I’m right.

  • Fedup

    Clark,
    You echo the concerns regards the tag team that has been operating around here, singling out individuals and then getting into a dig and run fight.

    However, as a hippy you should return to early days of the movement, and recollect; you roll with the kicks, and punches dude. So stop being such a softy. (remember the hippies who used to burn banana skins and goad the fuck out of the cops, to raid certain groups, whilst cops were busy raiding the wrong place for grass the other hippies were left to get on with some heavy joint lifting).

    All the flower power guys, in return for their love got, was a good kicking in from the cops and the squares alike. Unless you have become a placa hippy (ie a plastic/fake hippy devoid of the original and real hippy essence; the tenacious peaceful guy).

    PS. Congrats on the new fancy look. I had to go back and delete all the commas on the empty lines.

  • n_

    I should add, for those who haven’t got the time to check this stuff, that Ecuador would get nowhere by trying to appoint Assange as a diplomat, because diplomats have to be accredited by the receiving state, and Britain would obviously refuse. Diplomatic couriers, however, do not. According to the Vienna Convention, they can be appointed ‘ad hoc’ by the sending state.

  • Jon

    @N_, interesting – thanks. Yes, although I found the piece about the person-in-bag being prodded with a pitchfork amusing, perhaps indeed there are some unconscious biases coming through. Oops!

    As I mentioned earlier, Charles is posting on a site with co-contributors known for their off-the-scale reactionary views. One of them, Spectator magazine, rather fancied Mr Anger Management himself, John McCain, for president at one point. Nevertheless, I am genuinely interested in his response – I don’t feel he is feeding us a ‘line’ from an Establishment contact.

    @all – I too am sorry to see the falling out over the last discussion. I think all the people named above, Clark included, all argued valiantly and with great purpose, and I hope no-one leaves over the issue. You are all valued! Let’s try to draw a line under it, and please keep contributions on that topic short on this thread.

  • guano

    N_ to Charles Crawford:
    ‘Let’s see whether you have the intellectual honesty to admit that I’m right.’

    You might have to wait long time.

  • technicolour

    I think that Charles Crawford would do well to put aside his personal feelings towards Julian Assange and imagine himself in a position where the British Embassy has decided to give someone like Assange (whistleblower, dissident, not charged with anything) asylum, and how, as ambassador, he would then respond to the threats issued, most undiplomatically, and presumably under some pressure, by the Warsaw equivalent of the FCO. That I would be interested in reading.
    .
    N- valuable point.

    NB “You echo the concerns regards the tag team that has been operating around here, singling out individuals and then getting into a dig and run fight” – anyone who is at all interested should read the previous thread and make up their own minds: think it shameful that it has made its way onto this one.

  • Mary

    A friend recommended the contributions made on Any Answers today about Julian Assange including the excellent Scottish gentleman from Edinburgh. Ignore the nitwit reactionary following him. A Swedish man then spoke.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/b01lz7w1 17’30” in

    The corresponding Any Questions panel comprised:
    Shaun Ley chairs a live discussion of news and politics from Bourne End, Buckinghamshire with panellists Simon Heffer of the Daily Mail; Professor Susan Greenfield CBE of Oxford University; Debbie Bannigan of the drug and alcohol recovery charity Swanswell; and Sir David Bell, vice chancellor of Reading University and former Chief Inspector of Schools.

    {http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/b01lv7yz} The opening question refers. Dreadful opinions from a load of right wing stooges. Annoying to hear the audience applauding them.

  • Chris Jones

    Nevermind the poster boy of applemac rebellion Assange – i believe there are slightly more important things to deal with. The great statesman William Hague’s ‘non-lethal’ support for al-Qaeda and other proxy armies in Syria means British tax-payers become incriminated in war crimes. In other words,you and I are paying for this criminal’ illegal acts, in cash and in complicitness.
    .
    Humanitarian intervention is imperialism through the back door – a modern Trojan horse: we all know how that ends unless the horse is stopped before it enters the city walls.
    .
    http://www.redicecreations.com/article.php?id=21203
    .
    Can anyone remind me why we are allowing this to happen again? Not one single national news item outlining the illegalities…Anyone?

  • Jives

    Anna Ardin seems an extremely unreliable and unbalanced woman.She is also suspiciously well connected to the police,prosecutors and politicians in this case.In fact all the parties involved at the Swedish end of the case seem suspiciouly well inter-connected.Ardin’s curious behaviour after the alleged rape is strange to say the least.

    I dont blame Julian Assange for fearing a stitch-up.

    The whole case against him stinks.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    To be honest, though he – Assange – ought to be have been wise to it. Someone in that position. But pandering to the ego is what they do and many fall for it. In the case of dissidents – eg. Martin Luther King – it then is used against them. Oldest trick in the book – as Craig once pointed out on this blog.

  • technicolour

    “off his trolley or what? The most recent item on the ‘blogoir’ is a link to something about pubic hair. Very much public schoolboy humour.”

    Ad hominem: please delete.

  • technicolour

    “Abusive ad hominem (also called personal abuse or personal attacks) usually involves insulting or belittling one’s opponents in order to attack their claims or invalidate their arguments, but can also involve pointing out true character flaws or actions that are irrelevant to the opponent’s argument. This is logically fallacious because it relates to the opponent’s personal character, which has nothing to do with the logical merit of the opponent’s argument,”

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq Association

    Fascinating link Suhayl and a subject close to your heart I know. A good book to read is “The Secret of Flight 149” by Stephen Davis; nine men on board BA149 were not serving members of the SAS, but a so-called “increment” team made up of former secret-service agents and special-forces troops recruited for missions for which the government needed complete deniability.

    My father was an explosive expert working in Gibraltar at the time of the assassination of three IRA members and identified to me their modus operandi in later years. The team had experience from agents of the British Government operating across the Irish border as assassins who would bring back photographs as proof of their operations. One member of the group later cracked under the strain and ended up in a mental institution – permanently!

    Such operations sadly and eventually lost the struggle for the hearts and minds of the Irish people.

    Back to your comment on Assange I quote these words from former Mossad chief Meir Amit who said, “Sex is a woman’s weapon. Pillow talk is not a problem for her. But it takes a special kind of courage to sleep with the enemy.”

    Mossad was a real problem to Britain at one time. Then and even recently (2008) in an email correspondence from the Israeli foreign office Israel has made it clear that it fears Britain has become a haven for extremist preachers. Yahalomin and katsas entered Britain and Blair *did nothing* – this after Margaret Thatcher ordered their operations to be shut down in 1986 after a “honeytrap” operation to kidnap Mordechai Vanunu, the whistleblower who revealed secrets about Israel’s nuclear arsenal.

    I personally will find out who planted military explosives underneath tube trains in 2005. This is a mission for me and heads will roll when the truth is known

  • Cryptonym

    TY Nuid, I wouldn’t normally post/paste such a large slab of copied text, but it just reads like the catalogue of unceasing unbroken aggressor acts, it actually is. I made no comment, the original text says it all, readers can form their own conclusions. I think there is a common factor in these events, a ‘pattern’ it might be called -that since the founding of this Chosen People’s exceptionalist state, it has not changed one bit, has not evolved from violence-first and is destined to a perpetual infantilism, using its neighbouring Arab Semite peoples as a punchbag and as a warped sacrifice to deviant mysticism.

    It underlines that this ‘state’, which was born of terrorism and anti-Gentilism, which practices murderous anti-semitism towards the indigenous Arabs and North Africans (the true semites, not Zionist imposter-semites), as an enshrined policy of state, has continued in the same vein ever since its brutal misconception, and ensured by its own serial barbarous actions that its future is bleak. Knowing that it has no way out, no alternative plan or wish than to end all in a destructive orgy and to take as many others, innocents, down with it in the process of its implosion. National suicide bomber strategy.

    The recently much hyped and long-feared nexus of (Israeli) terrorism and (Israeli) WMD, has already long happened and we are all paying for the consequences. Which people pose an existential threat to middle east and world peace and security?

    It is up to the people of the US to rein in their own government and the behaviour of most of its puppet, or rather muppet states, in the case of Hague’s Britain (cowardly Cameron and Clegg both reportedly on their hols) will take care of themselves, sinking or swimming based on whatever friends they have in their immediate neighbourhood and their ‘good’ record.

    Nothing much to say on Assange, don’t frequent Ambassador’s Balls, Ferrero-Rocher circles:

    Swedish situation is preposterous, a setup and the accusations contrived; courier idea sounds good; W. Hague in Parliament, W. Hague playing FS is surreal, some sort of sick joke.

    Independence can’t come soon enough, so long Toryland! Ed’ll-fix-it all for you, and you …

  • Jives

    Mark Golding,

    “I personally will find out who planted military explosives underneath tube trains in 2005. This is a mission for me and heads will roll when the truth is known.”

    Really Mark? Really? This doesn’t make sense at all.You think they wouldn’t assassinate you if you got that close to the truth?

    Unless,of course,you are someone else entirely Mark.

  • Jives

    @ Mark Golding,

    “Back to your comment on Assange I quote these words from former Mossad chief Meir Amit who said, “Sex is a woman’s weapon. Pillow talk is not a problem for her. But it takes a special kind of courage to sleep with the enemy.”

    Or,perhaps,a suitably young,naive,pliable starry-eyed”spook-“patriot” with sufficient emotional damage and ambition for promotion who’d whore herself for the cause-any cause- if it made her youthful naivety expedient enough to please her jaded jowled amoral masters?

  • Jives

    Techicolour,

    “Abusive ad hominem (also called personal abuse or personal attacks) usually involves insulting or belittling one’s opponents in order to attack their claims or invalidate their arguments, but can also involve pointing out true character flaws or actions that are irrelevant to the opponent’s argument. This is logically fallacious because it relates to the opponent’s personal character, which has nothing to do with the logical merit of the opponent’s argument,”

    Way too simplistic a definition.Whose definition is it anyway? Whose quote? Are you absolutely sure you cannot seperate the character from the argument? Evidence please?

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq Association

    I enjoyed your insight into the “Land of Canaan” as I like to call it. Maybe your ‘Zionist imposter-semites’ are ancestors of the intermarriage of certain canaanites with Egyptian royalty, an original deception that would ensure a powerful Egypt was secretly ruled by Hebrews. – just a thought.

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