Ecuadorean Embassy Speech 74


I spent today inside the Ecuadorian Embassy with Julian Assange, who I am happy to say is both physically and mentally on very good form. I was sitting in the room behind him in a very comfortable leather armchair whilst he made his balcony speech, and I must say I thought the text of it was excellent.

I spoke immediately before Julian, from outside the Embassy. This was my own effort, which I hope provided some valuable context to the persecution of Assange.

I could not help but be struck by the ridiculously excessive police presence – hundreds and hundreds of policemen everywhere. I don’t think that the concept of freedom of information can be killed off by the extreme intimidation of a single man, but by Heavens, Hague and Cameron are going to try.


74 thoughts on “Ecuadorean Embassy Speech

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  • John Goss

    Thanks Hatari and Mark Golding on the previous blog for posting two great videos of Craig supporting Julian Assange. We need more people like the two of them who have both suffered for genuine integrity.

    Meanwhile I’ve gone into movie production. ‘The ghost of Dr David Kelly’. A bit naiive, especially to think it will be big box-office, but well meant. It’s only two minutes long. Feel free to distribute.

    http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/13618845/the-ghost-of-dr-david-kelly

  • Ex Pat

    UK – US EMPIRE POODLE – COCK-UP LATEST

    BIG FISH. LITTLE FISH

    ECUADOR

    In the blue corner, the OAS states supporting Ecuador – 500 million people and 32 members. Plus 63 million British people telling the UK US Empire poodles – Tories, Lib Dems and New Labor – to “Sod off mate”.

    In the fascist USUK Empire corner – a few dozen die-hard bought-and-paid-for UK US Empire poodles.

    REALITY SPOTLIGHT

    The Financial Times, the voice of the UK elite – those who own the UK – says that the UK has scored a diplomatic own-goal and that the diplomatic damage is not worth it.

    What damage? Perhaps this.

    Those with the money want no part of US puppet William Hague’s puerile posturing. Especially if it costs them money. And it could cost them a very great deal of money, if confidence in the City, or Sterling, is destroyed by people waking up to the fact that the game is fixed – run by criminals – proved by the LIBOR scandal – _and_ that the City is bankrupt, held aloft only by misplaced confidence and the USUK Elites’s money laundered funds (variously $31 T (T as in Trillion)).

    Just as UK people have woken up to reality and to their leaders’s status as puppets of the US Empire, via their servile acquiescence to US Empire illegality in the Assange extradition case.

    A RUN ON UK BANKS / THE CITY?

    If there is no rule of law in the UK whenever the US Empire says so, or whenever the UK’s US Empire Poodle leaders feel like it, perhaps the world does not want its funds in the UK’s jurisdiction?

    How do you say ‘A run on UK Banks / the City,” in Spanish ???

    No wonder the FT does not want the UK US Empire Poodles to risk the wealth of the UK’s owners by drawing an ever bigger spotlight to the very ugly truths underlying the US Empire and its foreign puppets, by bandying words with what is a large bloc of 500 m people.

    Too big a spotlight on reality, for too long, could seriously damage their wealth. Which is probably the only thing they care about. Because they certainly don’t care about illegal war, torture-to-death, murder or ‘disappearing’ 27,000 muslims, or the pre-eminent war crime, the crime of Aggression.

    The OAS – 910 m people, less the US Empire and its few remaining servile puppets – Canada, Colombia and, apparently, Trinidad and Tobago and the fascists who organized the US Empire’s coup in Paraguay. Or over 500 m people backing Ecuador in opposing the UK government’s threat to invade a sovereign country’s embassy.

    Because when push comes to shove, the US Empire won’t lift a finger for its bought and paid for Imperial poodles. The US Empire’s motto – ‘Take’. Not ‘give’.

    And it couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of UK US Empire Poodles. Hard luck pal … let the door hit you on the way out! –

    – Big fish. Little fish. –

    http://www.bioteams.com/images/big_fish_little_fish.gif

    Organization of American States – 910m people, 35 member countries. Minus the US Empire and its only two lapdogs in the western hemisphere, Canada governed by uber-Neo-Con Nazi Harper and death-squad ruled Colombia. Plus, apparently, Trinidad and Tobago – hang your heads in shame!

    OAS states supporting Ecuador – 500 million people and 32 members?

    ‘Americas bloc takes UK threats to Ecuador for international discussion’ – 18th August, 2012 – RT –

    http://rt.com/news/oas-ecuador-uk-theats-asylum-984/

    PERFIDIOUS ALBION

    Were the UK Poodles today as duplicitous as during the last eight centuries they might themselves have ensured Julian Assange’s safe delivery to Ecuador … and then said “Oh, Sorry” to the US Empire and let the (Neo-Con Nazi wide-stance) US Empire Buggers lump it.

    Maybe they need a reminder of how its done. Perfidious Albion – enter Alan B’Stard MP! –

    OTHER B’STARDS

    The New Statesman – ‘A Good Start’ (*2) (ER, ‘Special’!) – Superb, but only in Spanish

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rywoDqqHfBI#t=00m44s

    Comic Relief Special – English –

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5p_0cayp5s0#t=00m37s

    (*1) FT editorial under Reply.

    (*2) After What do you call a thousand US Empire Neo-Con Nazis at the bottom of the ocean? ; )

  • Ex Pat

    FT EDITORIAL

    Even that bastion of UK liberal and progressive thought (Not!) – the (Reich-wing) Financial Times – suggests that he has badly cocked it up. No change there, then!

    But judge for yourself – see link below. ; ) (*1)

    USUK ELITE OPINION – ‘HAGUE COCKS IT UP’

    ‘An Inglorious Embassy Siege’ – FT editorial

    “In threatening to revoke the status of Ecuador’s embassy in order to arrest Julian Assange on the premises, Britain has scored a diplomatic own goal. For two months, the WikiLeaks founder has been holed up in the ground-floor flat in Knightsbridge, while police wait outside to enforce an order for his extradition to Sweden. Ecuador’s decision yesterday to grant him asylum has done nothing to change his state of limbo.

    “Mr Assange may not deserve such protection, given that he faces criminal allegations of sexual assault that would not usually qualify him for refugee status. Yet Ecuador’s populist president Rafael Correa, ever ready to rail at American imperialism, is able to argue that Mr Assange could later face an extradition request from the US and charges of spying.

    “In heavy-handedly threatening the embassy’s status, Britain risks fuelling perceptions that it is abetting a US-led conspiracy against Mr Assange. The Foreign Office yesterday denied any such link to the US but said it was determined to carry out its legal obligation to enforce a European arrest warrant. However, the 1987 legislation on which its earlier threat was based, passed not long after a gun fired from within the Libyan embassy killed the policewoman Yvonne Fletcher, was clearly designed to deal with more serious threats to public safety. Invoking it now would invite legal challenge.

    “More important, it would also set a precedent that could be used against UK embassies abroad. International law stipulates that diplomatic missions are inviolate, and to break this, on whatever legal grounds, invites retaliation.

    “Moreover, the attempt to put pressure on Quito has backfired badly on Britain’s image in Latin America. Mr Correa’s retort that “we are not a British colony” is already being echoed by protesters and will resonate in Argentina – as well as with Ecuador’s leftist allies, Venezuela and Cuba.

    “Britain’s inability to extradite Mr Assange is awkward, but it is not worth sustaining this degree of diplomatic damage. Both Quito and London have now backed themselves into a corner: Ecuador by offering asylum it cannot in practice provide, Britain by threatening legal action it might not be able to make stick. A far simpler strategy would be to sit it out. József Mindszenty, a Hungarian cardinal who opposed communism, lived in the US embassy in Budapest for 15 years. Mr Assange is by all accounts a prickly character. Surely he would try his hosts’ patience before then?

    – FT editorial, 16th August, 2012

    http://www.ft.com

    (*1) Peter Cook – ‘Biased Judge’ – Youtube –

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kyos-M48B8U

  • Cousin K

    Interesting that there’s so much police presence at the Ecuador Embassy, and they seem very ready to arrest people for nothing much. Meanwhile the Russian Embassy has ben subject to violent attacks by stone-throwing mobs, while the police stood by and did nothing.
    .
    Evidently the Met has been politicised and now considers its role to be intimidation, direct or indirect, of the diplomats of whichever countries the British government feels inconvenienced by.
    .
    http://www.rusemb.org.uk/press/834
    .
    replace 834 in the URL with 92 for pictures; 835 for another incident; 298 for the Russians complaining about it.

  • Michael

    Craig and everyone:

    I just tend to wonder, with everyone being so fearful about Sweden sending Assange straight to Washington DC: why do/did people think he was more protected in the UK? Have recent cases not shown that the UK is rather quick in extraditing people to the US and that the UK is not incredibly committed to compliance with the ECHR?

    Secondly, I feel that all those people who come very close to claiming that Sweden is not a respectable liberal democracy with a high regard for human rights and the rule of law should be a bit more careful for what they say. For example, attacking Sweden because it doesn’t have trial by peers is ridiculously Anglo-centric. Jury trial is NOT a human right and many Western European legal systems work without it – e.g. my own (Switzerland), and I think generally criminal trials can be considered fair here. Also, yes, as a foreigner Assange would be less likely to get bail in Sweden for fear of him absconding. But again, as long as there isn’t a unproportionate delay in the investigation and eventual trial, that is completely compliant with ECHR etc. and all those shouting now never criticised Sweden about this before.

    Seriously, sometimes people pretend that he is about to be extradited to an Algerian torture cell, that’s just plain wrong. If Sweden purports to extradite him to the US and there is a credible death penalty threat, he has good chances in Strasbourg. Where is the fundamental rights violation everyone speaks of? Why should Assange have a ‘get out of jail free’ card for any of his NON-POLITICAL crimes as well, no matter what he does? Everyone else accused of sex crimes would have been extradited ages ago.

  • Mary

    Take no notice of the You Tube counter. I watched Craig’s video twice, once signed into You Tube (Google) and once signed out. In neither case did the counter change even after refreshing the page.

  • Jives

    Is it possible Hague deliberately cocked-up to make the USA look stupid in the eyes of the world and also as revenge for whatever blackmailing the Yanks were attempting? Just a thought..

    Btw..Well done Craig.Excellent speech.Thank you.

  • Ana Tomazini

    I’m sure you and all the other people who spoke before Mr. Assange made a great contribution for his case … UK is so wrong and all over the World people are starting to realise what is behind so many things that happens in this World ! Thanks again ! Great speech ! And we will keeping watching !!! Ana from Brazil !

  • Chris

    Re. Michael
    Exactly my point. Why didn’t the US present an extradition request directly to the UK?

  • Dick the Prick

    How come we don’t give a toss about Rwandan mass murderers but Assange gets the full royal treatment? Billy Hague looks like an a nieve bellend with his reputation in tatters.

  • Jives

    @ Michael,

    Bradley Manning:

    Over 800 days incarceration.

    U.S.constitutional limit=120 days.

    Solitary confinement,constant surveillance.No bed sheets or clothes.No exercise except 1 hour per day outside cell.After what the world knows of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib it’s likely Manning will be revieving other ahem,”advanced interrogation techniques”.

    No trial or evidence presented against him,so far.

    And you think Assange doesn’t have valid reasons to be afraid and suspicious?

    Where is the law there Michael?

  • Jim Larkin

    Great speech Craig. Hope you have seen this page on the justice4assange site. http://justice4assange.com/Sexual-Offences.html

    The rape laws in Sweden apparently mean that the accused is guilty until proved innocent.

    See also this page: http://markcrispinmiller.com/2011/02/eight-big-problems-with-the-case-against-assange-must-read-by-naomi-wolf/

    Apparently Karl Rove (no less) is advising the Swedish Moderate government. And the lawyer for Assange’s accusers works as a partner in a high powered corporate law firm. The other partner, a former Swedish Minister of Justice, was the person who OKed the CIA extradition of asylum seekers…

  • Michael

    Jives,

    oh yes, I agree that Manning has been treated despicably, just as other prisoners as well
    I also have very little faith in the US justice system
    as a whole, given its history of dubious executions, not to speak
    of Guantanamo et al.

    I would never advocate or agree to Assange being extradited to the US from anywhere for what is clearly a political charge.

    However, my entire points about Sweden
    I do not believe that the US background should serve to allow Assange to escape an ordinary trial in Sweden for the offences he is accused of. Yes, the presumption of innocence applies, but that’s what we have trials for, right?

    If the US demands his extradition, he can fight that in Sweden just as in the UK and with no lesser chances of success.

  • Clark

    Chris and Michael, I do not know why the US doesn’t extradite Assange directly from the UK, but these are my speculations; anyone with better knowledge of the legal situation, please correct me.

    1) To extradite Assange, the US would need to charge him. Maybe the charge itself could be fought as unconstitutional, or maybe the US consensus is that it would just look bad.

    2) There is an extensive prosecution file that has already been built against Assange in the US, but from what I’ve read, they don’t intend to charge Assange until the Swedish legal action is complete. I don’t know why, but:

    3) Maybe it’s “news management”, in that a prosecution that contradicts the US Constitution won’t generate as much disapproval if the accused is “a convicted rapist”.

    Warning – paranoid conspiracy theories follow:

    4) According to Swedish law, Assange would be held incommunicado and the trial would not be public, and this could be abused.

    5) Maybe it has something to do with Wikileaks’ original servers being located in Sweden.

    Most of these seem like fairly weak theories to me; the “news management” aspect seems the most likely. However, it is abundantly clear that Assange is being set up such that the US can do something to him. There is the file against him (over 1000 pages), the very odd origins and progression of the allegations against him, the refusal by the Swedish authorities to question him in the UK, and Craig’s testimony on the previous thread that the US is pressuring the UK.

  • Charles Crawford

    Assange is alas a crushing embarrassment to the general cause of freedom of information, as even the Guardian seems to recognise. To see him burbling on in his self-indulgent way from the balcony of an Embassy representing a country with as puny a human and media rights record as Ecuador takes post-modern irony literally to new heights.

    If anyone is interested in some of the finer points of diplomatic immunity – and what rights HMG might or might not have to withdraw acceptance of an Embassy building’s diplomatic status in ways fully compatible with the Vienna Convention – here is an expert exchange between two other former British Ambassadors: http://charlescrawford.biz/blog/more-on-assange-and-diplomatic-immunity-1

  • N_

    Just a quick point about Sweden which all Swedes know but which most people who aren’t Swedes don’t: Sweden is dominated by one family: the Wallenbergs Their power is sometimes referred to as the “Wallenberg grip”. They basically take a cut from everything, as ‘rent’ for owning the country. I’ve lived in Sweden, and in my experience this is something that almost all Swedes will readily acknowledge, even if they’re not usually the ones to mention it first.

  • Ex Pat

    UK – RULED BY US EMPIRE PUPPETS – WHO KNEW?! – 1

    UK SUBSERVIENCE TO THE US EMPIRE

    Robin Ramsay of UK Lobster points out that as the UK is now utterly subservient to the US, it has become absolutely taboo to mention this reality. But there is _no_ independent British government, there are _no_ independent government ministers and there will be no independent British government, or independent government ministers.

    The UK is as absolutely and completely occupied by the US Empire – whether by the Neo-Con Nazis of Obama or by the Neo-Con Nazis of Cheney – as France was in WW2, with almost no troops required!

    “Tell them we’re ‘Allies’ and they, apparently, just roll over!”

    – On Craig Murray interfering with the US War of Terror in Uzbekistan by pointing out that relying on the confessions of muslims being boiled to death on Tony Blair’s say so might not provide sound intelligence. And/or be illegal under British law …

    – On Lockerbie and the release of Libyan patsy al-Megrahi, rather than confim English and Scottish judicial integrity to be the utter farce that it is under the US Neo-Con Nazi Empire. Which fact was about to shouted from the rooftops to the world via al-Megrahi’s appeal.

    See Lobster #58, ‘The meaning of subservience to America’ – Page 87, Issue #58 –

    http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/issue58.php

    The elites of Europe sold out their own peoples at the end of World War 2. With the end of the US Empire they are starting to ignore the US Empire, says Johan Galtung. But many who owe their careers to the US Empire’s patronage continue to serve their imperial master. In the UK and in Sweden for two. Hence Bliar, Brown, Cameron and Clegg.

    – Robin Ramsay at UK Lobster provides chapter and verse that the UK has been in the US’s pocket since Suez. See ‘Who were they traveling with?’ by Tom Easton, from Lobster #31 –

    http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/articles/l31whowh.htm

    Ramsay further reports that these Atlantic Bridge false-front foundations are US trolling bait for UK traitors. Oops, our bad, ‘Up and coming UK politicians.’ –

    – ‘Unperson – A life destroyed’ – Denis Lehane – page 209, issue 59 –

    “This is not Dennis Lehane the American crime writer of that name. This is Denis (one ‘n’) Lehane, the co-author with Martin Dillon of of the 1973 Penguin Special Political Murder in Northern Ireland. Lehane was a journalist and this book is his account of what befell him when he declined to be recruited by the CIA. Although mostly an account of how a life can turn to shit if the spooks start playing with it, this is of significance because of the names that Lehane names.

    “Lehane was awarded a Harkness Fellowship to go and study in the USA and discovered that the Harkness scheme is a front for an intelligence recruitment operation. Bright young things (though not so young in Lehane’s case) go the States where the CIA can give them a look over and recruit the best. When Lehane declined to be recruited he became a man – worse, a journalist – who knew something he shouldn’t and the Agency and its various allies in the US and here set about discrediting him. Lehane attempted for almost 20 years to get his version of reality taken seriously by a thick slice of the great and the good in UK public life, without success. When it comes to it most people put career and reputation ahead of something as relatively trifling as the truth.”

    “This is an important addition to the collection of stories of innocent individuals who are trashed by the state simply to save it from embarrassment. (CF Malcolm Kennedy’s story in this issue.)” – Robin Ramsay.

    – ‘Unperson – A life destroyed’ – Denis Lehane – page 209, issue 59 –

    http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/free/lobster59/lobster59.pdf

    Blair, Brown, Mandelson (cited in another issue) and others all took the freebie trips, but did they also take the US shilling? – Issue #60, page 90 –

    http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/issue60.php

  • Ex Pat

    UK – RULED BY US EMPIRE PUPPETS – WHO KNEW?! – 2

    THATCHER SOLD OUT BRITAIN

    “YOU SAY I’M A US EMPIRE NEO-CON NAZI @@#$HO LIKE IT’S A BAD THING !”

    Margaret Thatcher too was of that Anglo-American foundation gravy-train ilk, says UK Lobster.

    Tony Benn points out that he opposed allowing the US Empire to take ownership of Britain’s North Sea oil. He fought for a national oil company that would preserve that wealth for future British generations. But Thatcher ‘fixed’ it for her Anglo-American chums. Today Britain’s oil is nearly gone and the City is kaput since 2008, says investor Jim Rogers.

    Jim Rogers – UK Bankrupt! – December 10, 2010 – RT –

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fflOhutJXYY

    NORWAY’S OIL WEALTH

    Norway, on the other hand, kept its oil wealth for future generations. Now $450 B (B as in Billion). For which, and opposing Israel’s Jewish Nazis, it apparently received a taste of the US Empire’s ‘Strategy of Tension’ via USUK-Neo-Con-Nazi-Quisling ‘Bonkers’ Breivik.

    – Where then is sane? Europe – A progressive land of milk and honey, where the crazy right wing is ‘Norwegian conservative guy’ @ 1.20. Excepting, naturally, USUK-Neo-Con-Nazi-Quisling ‘Bonkers’ Breivik. –

    – Norway’s oIl wealth @ 1.50 –

    – From Michael Moore’s Sicko –

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svSUCbClg8E

    REAGAN AND THATCHER – ‘GONE WITH THE WIND’ – 80s AGITPROP POSTER

    Thatcher, Reagan and Reich-wing Fascists, using the methods of the Nazis. No change there, then! –

    – The ’80s agitprop ‘film poster’ of Margaret Thatcher in the arms of Ronnie Raygun, with a mushroom cloud in the background. (“She promised to follow him to the end of the earth. He promised to organise it!” “The most EXPLOSIVE love story ever.” “Directed by Hank Kissinger,” etc. etc. Back when Britain had a left wing. With teeth!) –

    http://www.vinmag.com/online/media/gbu0/prodxl/AP1063-gone-with-the-wind-anti-nuclear-poster-1983.jpg

    Or – http://tinyurl.com/83hvctt

  • Ex Pat

    UK – RULED BY US EMPIRE PUPPETS – WHO KNEW?! – 3

    ROBIN RAMSAY – UK LOBSTER

    THE CITY

    ‘WELL HOW DID WE GET HERE?”

    There is an important essay for economic neophytes (ER, ‘Us’?) on the UK’s economy and the City by Robin Ramsay in UK Lobster, Winter 2010.

    Pages 64 – 105. A lot of work? “If you think education is expensive (or hard work), try ignorance!” See the Neo-Con Nazis and the last eleven years for details! ; )

    So you should probably add reading as much else of Lobster’s _free_ information as you can to your To Do list. ; )

    William Blum, author of ‘Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions since World War 2’ recommends UK Lobster. ‘The British journal, Lobster — which, despite its incongruous name, is a venerable international publication on intelligence matters’ – July 2012 Anti Empire Report.

    His monthly ‘Anti-Empire Reports’ are always useful.

    http://killinghope.org/

    OIL – Page 83

    “Reducing inflation and deciding what to do with the coming oil money were two big items on the economic agendum in late 1970s Britain. Let’s take oil first. In the Labour Cabinet Tony Benn wanted to create an oil fund – what would now be called a sovereign wealth fund – to be used for industrial investment. (This is what Norway did with its oil money; their oil fund is now worth roughly $450 billion.) But after a debate in Cabinet, the fund idea was rejected. Benn noted in his diary:

    ‘So that is the end of the saga of oil revenues. They are now a part of general public expenditure…..we are going to give it away in tax cuts.’ 50

    – 50 Tony Benn, Conflicts of Interest: Diaries 1977-80 (London: Hutchinson, 1990) pp. 280/1.

    MANUFACTURING VS THE CITY – Pages 93, 94

    13% vs 7% OF UK GDP

    “It was the same old story: give the bankers freedom and they will lend too much (enriching themselves and their shareholders) and screw things up. The new factor this time was the enormous power of modern computers which enabled them to screw things up on a truly epic scale.”

    “As the British economic commentators surveyed the wreckage of the world economy in 2009, those who had formerly seen financial services as the future of the British economy discovered this was the delusion the likes of Dan Atkinson, Larry Elliott and Will Hutton always said it was. They also discovered that even after 30 years of economic policies hostile to it, manufacturing was still a bigger section of the British economy than the financial sector: roughly, manufacturing is 13% and financial services 7% of the UK’s GDP.”

    “Telegraph economics editor Edmund Conway:

    ‘One dangerous misconception perpetuated by financial lobbyists is that without the City, we are nothing. Financial engineering [sic], they argued, was something Britain was well placed to do, while mechanical engineering could be carried out far more cheaply by the Chinese, or with far greater quality by the Germans. While it is a compelling narrative, and fits nicely with the British propensity for defeatism, it is balderdash.’ 68”

    From “Well How Did We Get Here?” by Robin Ramsay, Winter 2010 – UK Lobster –

    http://tinyurl.com/9zvaosh

    Pages 64 – 105 – pdf direct –

    http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/free/lobster60/lobster60.pdf

    OR search yourself –

    http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/

  • Tris

    Bravo Craig. Passionate and knowledgeable.

    Thank god for someone with some profile who is prepared to talk out about the corruption of this and previous UK governments.

  • technicolour

    “Assange is alas a crushing embarrassment to the general cause of freedom of information”

    Stories broken by wikileaks:
    http://www.opendemocracy.net/ryan-gallagher/what-has-wikileaks-ever-taught-us-read-on

    “as even the Guardian seems to recognise”.
    Common knowledge: how the Guardian fell out with Assange http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/press/from-allies-to-enemies-how-the-guardian-fell-out-with-assange-2179166.html

    “To see him burbling on in his self-indulgent way”
    Your point of view. Not relevant.

    “representing a country with as puny a human and media rights record as Ecuador”
    Seems to show a degree of desperation, I agree. Has Ecuador conducted any illegal wars lately? Facilitated ‘extraordinary rendition’? Abetted the use of torture? Bradley Manning – you are aware of what has happened to Bradley Manning?

    “takes post-modern irony literally to new heights.”
    How high would that be, literally? Five feet? Six?

    “If anyone is interested in some of the finer points of diplomatic immunity”
    I am interested in how you would have reacted if the Polish government had threatened to send forces into the British embassy.

  • N_

    Sorry – I messed up the italicisation. Here goes again. Can a mod please delete the garbled version? Thanks!

    @Charles – you’re so full of snotty bile that I wouldn’t employ you as my diplomat, I can tell you! If you’d stayed on the other thread here after advertising your own blog, you would have learnt that diplomatic couriers can be appointed ad hoc and their persons are inviolable. Yes they have a duty to respect the laws of the receiving state, but that is “without prejudice” to their immunity. End of story. Some things just aren’t for Britain to enforce – not only in other countries’ embassies in London but also on the streets outside or on the road to the Channel Tunnel. To spell it out: Ecuador could appoint Julian Assange a diplomatic courier (no OK is needed from HMG), give him papers to prove his appointment, give him some diplomatic mail, walk him to the ambassador’s car, and then drive him out of the country.

    You may use the word “expert”, but you missed the very simple fact that Britain isn’t allowed to enforce its own legislation if by doing so it would be in breach of the Vienna Convention – unless it resiled from the Convention first, which would probably mean it had to close half its embassies. Several people have made this point. It’s about time you showed us how unpuny, un-self-indulgent, unburbly and “civilised” an expert connoisseur of “finer points” you are, and acknowledged it!

    I don’t think you are as “expert” as you think. On your blog, you say

    “Probably no row at all would ensue if eg the Ecuadorean Embasy or even J Assange starting shooting out of the window without provocation at passers-by and/or the police, gravely abusing the Convention. It would be absurd to say that in such a dramatic situation HMG could enter the Embassy only with the Ambassador’s permission to stop the mayhem: action to strip the Embassy’s diplomatic status would be right in principle, and overwhelmingly popular in this country and probably applauded by any country that takes diplomatic privilege seriously. Thereafter the lawyers could bicker expensively for years. Conclusion? The Vienna Convention sensibly does not make diplomatic immunity a blank cheque. The whole core idea is reciprocity, based upon respecting civilised behaviour.”

    No it isn’t. And it’s silly to argue this in terms of hypothetical shooting incidents and metaphors involving cheques. You really do write as if HMG has given Johnny Foreigner an indulgence by allowing him to have some embassies in London, and it’s up to “civilised” Britain to interpret what to do if Johnny Foreigner does something HMG doesn’t like. Well, it may well be up to Britain to decide what to do, but only within international law, I’m afraid.

    You even call Ecuador “the enemy”. And I thought you once had a job as a diplomat!!!

    My view is that HMG have completely underestimated Ecuador. And I doubt they can get away with blaming translators or the electronics boys who maintain the bugs. The HMG threat sounded as though it had been written by a bully boy from the local council. It was pathetic, written and sent by people who just didn’t get it. They probably think they’re so strong at diplo-chess, but did they even plan for possible consequences? There are supporters of HMG who have jumped at the chance to call those Ecuadoreans excitable (when they’re having a break from imagining Australians shouting “streeewth”), but I wonder whether HMG even considered the possibility that Ecuador might publish the threat that HMG sent them?

  • Fedup

    Craig Murray, you are a STAR.

    Fantastic.

    A declaration of independence of the alternative.

  • me in us

    I don’t see one elsewhere, so if I may offer it, here’s a transcript of Craig’s speech, hope it helps. Greatly appreciate what you are doing, and standing with you from Southern California USA.

    http://youtu.be/dlt_IiQvjNo

    CRAIG MURRAY: We should not forget what this is about. This is about the persecution of an individual who has made life much more simple and more productive for whistleblowers in the Information Age and in an age when, as Western governments become increasingly authoritarian and civil liberties are diminished, we need whistleblowers more than ever to protect the rights of all of us.

    We have heard of areas where WikiLeaks has been active, not only the prosecution of illegal war in Iraq, but the revealing of individual war crimes carried out within that war, the targeting of people for assassination throughout the world and the collusion of governments of different stripes in that targeting for torture and rendition of individuals.

    Now consider this. I blew the whistle on torture and extraordinary rendition and the collusion of the CIA and MI6. I was in consequence immediately charged with extortion for sexual purposes and blackmailing people into sex in exchange for British visas. It took me one and a half years to clear my name of those charges because they routinely charge and try to defame and beat up whistleblowers, and that is what is happening to Julian Assange just as it happened to me.

    I shared a platform across the United States with a very brave lady, Brigadier Janis Karpinski, who was the senior woman in the United States Army. She blew the whistle on the fact that she had seen documents signed personally by Donald Rumsfeld authorizing the torture at Abu Ghraib. The very next day she was charged with shoplifting.

    I could name five or six examples straight away of individual whistleblowers who are always immediately charged with offenses which don’t relate to whistleblowing at all. Because in the United States and the United Kingdom and apparently Sweden today, just as it used to always happen in authoritarian and totalitarian countries, dissidents are not charged with political offenses, they are fitted up with criminal offenses. That is the state our society has come to.

    How likely is it, how likely is it that when I was engaged in a bitter struggle, an internal struggle with my own government who were trying to sack me over the use of torture and I was trying to prevent the use of torture, did I then think, “Oh, that’s a good idea. I’ll go and bed someone tomorrow while I am in the middle of this.” Was Julian Assange, while conducting the campaign of WikiLeaks, so distracted he decided to get into incidental and coincidental criminal activity? Did Donald Rumsfeld get outed as the man who authorized torture by Janis Karpinski just for her to think the very next day she would pop out and do a bit of shoplifting?

    NO. Only our disgustingly complacent and spoon-fed mainstream media would accept such a narrative for one single moment. It is obviously nonsense to anybody with half a brain.

    Now then, let me come to William Hague. William Hague told us that when he was a student he used to drink 14 pints of beer a day. I tell you something, he must have drunk 28 pints the day he decided to threaten to illegally invade the embassy of Ecuador and violate Ecuadorean national territory.

    The Vienna Convention is absolutely plain. The Vienna Convention of 1961 is the single most subscribed international treaty in existence, and it states in Article 22, Section 1, that the diplomatic premises of an embassy are inviolable. Full stop. Are inviolable. You cannot invade the embassy of another country. As Tariq rightly said, there were times when I sheltered Uzbek citizens from their government within the confines of the British embassy in Uzbekistan. Even during the height of the tensions of the Cold War, the opposing parties never entered each other’s embassies to abduct a dissident. The fact that William Hague now openly threatens the Ecuadoreans with the invasion of their sovereign premises is one further example of the total abandonment of the very concept of international law by the neoconservative juntas that are currently ruling the former Western democracies.

    I pointed the Vienna Convention to you. The law that applies within the embassy of Ecuador is the law of Ecuador. When I served for over 20 years as a British diplomat, if I’d ever murdered my ambassador in the embassy, and there were times I was tempted, that would have been prosecuted under UK law and it would have been these gentlemen from the Metropolitan Police who would have come out to the British embassy to investigate the crime that had taken place on British soil. And I tell you this, in international law and in Ecuadorean law, whatever British domestic legislation may say, if the Metropolitan Police enter the premises of the Ecuadorean embassy, they are subject to Ecuadorean law, and they are committing a crime under Ecuadorean law for which those individual policemen are quite likely liable to prosecution.

    And I can tell you something else for certain, the position I’ve just outlined for the invasion of a diplomatic premises is a crime in international law and a crime in the state whose premises are invaded. That is the position which is taken by virtually every country in the world, and it is a crime which is eminently extraditable. So any policeman who forcibly enters the premises of the embassy of Ecuador will find himself liable for extradition to Ecuador as soon as he leaves the United Kingdom.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you all for coming here to listen. I thank deeply from my heart those of you who have come to support Julian Assange and support his continuing struggle for freedom and to support the continuing cause of whistleblowing and revealing that which government does not want you to know. We are here today for freedom. Here we stand. We thank the Ecuadorean government for their support, and we stand with Julian Assange. Thank you very much.

  • technicolour

    N – “I wonder whether HMG even considered the possibility that Ecuador might publish the threat that HMG sent them?” – was wondering that too. Grand post, thank you. Look forward to a response.

    Meanwhile, thought Brian Barder (dismissed by Charles Crawford as a ‘contrarian’ was germane:

    “The embassy’s premises are unequivocally immune from entry without the agreement of the ambassador, under international law as laid down in the Vienna Convention. Britain can’t lawfully withdraw the embassy’s immunity by gaily passing a law purporting to say it can (quite apart from the fact that the law explicitly rules out any action under it that would be contrary to international law, as your quotation from it makes clear — didn’t you notice that?). The aide memoire given to the Ecuadoreans explicitly threatens them with action that would be blatantly illegal, would prompt action against us in domestic and national courts, cause a storm of international obloquy, and would unquestionably encourage similar retaliation against our own embassies and diplomats (all right for the likes of us — we’re retired). Even the publication of the threat is already causing a storm, giving the im pression that if Britain is so obviously in the wrong, Ecuador and Assange must have right on their side (which they don’t).

    If we disapprove of what’s going on in the Ecuadorean embassy, such as harbouring Mr Assange (although we have given refuge in our own embassies and indeed in Britain to many dissidents and other fugitives from local ‘justice’ over the years), we have a range of remedies open to us: formal protests, recall our ambo for consultation, expel the Ecuador ambassador, break off diplomatic relations and make them close down the embassy. What we can’t do is flout international law by claiming the non-existent right to strip it of its immunity, enter it illegally, and arrest someone taking refuge there. How clever to threaten the Ecuadoreans with the one form of counter-action that is simply not open to us!”

  • Jon

    @Me In Us, many thanks for that.

    @N_, I suspect if you call Charles names, he won’t respond to you. May I request, in a personal capacity, that you keep it civil?

    @Ex Pat, your posts were so long they were caught in the spam filter. I’ve approved them, but they are not entirely on topic. Please put longer contributions – especially if not directly related – on your blog, and synopsise/link from here. Thanks.

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