America’s Vassal Acts Decisively and Illegally 437


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.


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

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  • Komodo

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

  • kashmiri

    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.).

  • Jives

    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.

  • Mary

    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

  • David

    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.

  • Frazer

    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…

  • Peter

    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).

  • Clayton W. Wentworth

    Hi Craig, Have given full reference to you in chapter 494 of the TVOTW ‘Main Chapter Index’. Please get everyone to go to #[email protected] – 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.

  • kashmiri

    NO, not a “vasal”.
    .
    Nothing comes free in politics.
    .
    British bank Standard & Chartered got out of deep sh*t in the US with only a relatively small fine – so Britain has to turn Assange in. Deal is deal, as simple as that.

  • doug scorgie

    Dienye Hez. Diri
    16 Aug, 2012 – 2:57 pm

    “I used to think Britain have people in politics who can think independently.”

    We do but they are not allowed to speak independently. All the parties have a whip system which means if an MP defies the whip he/she can be expelled from that party. If you want to advance yourself in politics you have to do as you are told.

    For example an MP will not be selected for a position on any Select Committee if he/she has defied the whip. Two people come to mind recently: George Galloway and Ken Livingstone.

  • Juan

    Unfortunately money talks and some US official will at some stage give a high ranking Equadorian diplomat a briefcase full of $100 bills. Suddenly Mr assange will be extradited to sweden and then to the States where he will be tortured.
    THis is how it works, unfortunately. But kudos to you Mr. Assange for exposing the USA’s terrorist and under-handed activities to the rest of the world. There is nothing they can do about it now!!! You are a REAL hero!!!

  • Komodo

    Another ex-ambassador speaks –
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/9479250/FCO-risks-breaching-international-law-over-Assange-embassy-crisis.html
    .
    Now, who said this, I wonder?
    In August 2010, ……. He said that “We cannot have a foreign policy without a conscience. Foreign policy is domestic policy written large. The values we live by at home do not stop at our shores. Human rights are not the only issue that informs the making of foreign policy, but they are indivisible from it, not least because the consequences of foreign policy failure are human”
    .
    Clues? You want clues? Ok.
    Beer.
    Yorkshire
    PPE Oxford…

  • Jives

    Fourteen Pints Wilhelmina will of course support the action.
    .
    If he didn’t he knows he’ll probably go the same way as Robin Cook.
    .
    Assume that if the Yanks have the “goods” on Cameron and his Chipping Norton set then they’ll also have them on room-sharing Billy.

  • Mary

    Gerard Batten a UKIP MEP and Vaughan Smith of the Frontline Club have been on the BBC News channel defending Assange, praising Ecuador and condemning the UK government.

  • Max

    If they chose to enter the Embassy to seize Julian Assange, maybe they could also start enforcing all these outstanding fines for traffic violations, e.g. the US Embassy alone owes £2m to the Greater London Authorities for CC and parking fines

  • lysias

    I wonder if there will be questions about this U.S. pressure at the next White House and State Department press briefings.

  • Jives

    I’d not be surprised if Vaughan Smith was a long time spook asset ordered to get close to Assange thereby to get the lowdown. His past is certainly of that stripe.

  • still angry

    Possible solution?
    (please pass to the Ecuadorean embassy if helpful)
    Grant Assange citizenship of Ecuador and then assign him as an Ecuadorean diplomatic staff member to London.

  • John K

    Picture this: the day after the UK Government enters the Ecuadorian Embassy, the Argentinians do the same in Buenos Aires in pursuit of their Falklands obsession.

  • Roderick Stirling

    @ David Mills

    And when would you like said proof- post facto?

    The United States has publically lied on this matter stating that they are not seeking Assange.

    It is common cause in the media today that Britian is bowing to immense pressure from the Obama administration in even contemplating this travesty. (Not sure I am buying the bowing part- it suits thier natures down to the ground from where I sit- these are the same people who were selling Gaddafi arms to kill his own people weeks before ‘humanitarian bombing him’).

    Furthermore no charges have been laid against Julian Assange- so how can we even be talking about extradition- he is not sought in terms of a criminal charge, but rather questioning- which he has made himself available for (while still in Sweden before the charges were dropped and then miraculously reinstated promptly on his leaving the counrty), and is willing to do on neutral ground still.

    Futhermore Sweden has most per capita applications to the European Human Rights Court under section article 6.1 (right to a fair trial) of any country in the EU, and the highest rate of upheld applications under article 6.1.

    If this country were in Africa or South America it would be called a Banana Republic.

    You might be willing to uncritically accept the word of a collection of patent liars, some of us are not.

    Wake up

  • John Goss

    Me Mary, I’m ashamed to be British, when we behave in a shameful way.
    .
    This is a video of what is currently happening outside the Ecuadorian Embassy from Occupynewsnet.
    .
    http://www.ustream.tv/channel/occupynewsnetwork
    .
    There are a lot of police hovering around. In fact the interviewer is interviewing a junior bobby now about sexism and racism within the police force.

  • kashmiri

    @StillAngry: That would not help much – diplomatic protection extends only to ACCREDITED diplomatic staff – no one imagines UK Govt granting diplomatic accreditation in UK to Assange.

  • Jon

    @kashmiri – that’s the question though, isn’t it? My understanding is that anyone in diplomatic premises and in diplomatic cars is also afforded the same protection under the Convention. The grey zone is whether he is protected when getting in and out of the car, at the embassy and at the airport. On this latter question, is he protected if he carries a diplomatic pouch?
    .
    How much would the UK respect this if the legal advice is “yes” (based on events today, I’d say chances are slim).

  • Phil

    @Jives said “I’d not be surprised if Vaughan Smith was a long time spook asset”.

    That made me smile. You don’t know much about Vaughan Smith my friend. Sure, he’s posh, ex army and ex jorno – but he is not their man. Well, probably not. But I have eaten a hat before. No really, he’s not.

  • Passerby

    However, let us also keep an eye on the proceedings on criminal conduct of a former pooh bah: Andrew Coulson in covering up the police corruption, establishment corruption, and any investigations into the said corrupt conducts, by hacking into dead girls phone.
    ,
    He has made his first of his appearances in the courts.

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