Ecuador and Assange 409

It is for the government of Ecuador, not the UK, to determine who is an Ecuadorian citizen. It is for the government of Ecuador, not the UK, to determine who is an Ecuadorian diplomat.

It is not in the least unusual for Julian Assange to become an Ecuadorian citizen. Having been granted political asylum, and having lived for over five years under Ecuadorian jurisdiction, naturalisation is a perfectly normal step. There are a great many refugees in this country who are now naturalised UK citizens. Julian appears suitably proud of his new citizenship, and rightly so.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office appears to be putting out a story that it has refused to accredit Assange as an Ecuadorian diplomat. As the Guardian reports:
“Earlier this week the UK’s Foreign Office revealed that Ecuador had asked for Assange, who was born in Australia, to be accredited as a diplomat. The request was dismissed.”

I have no knowledge that the Ecuadorian government ever notified Assange as a member of diplomatic staff of its mission. But it has every right to appoint Assange, now an Ecuadorian citizen, as an Ecuadorian diplomat if it so chooses. Ecuador cannot tell the UK who may or may not be a British diplomat, and the converse applies.

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations – to which the UK and Ecuador are both party – is the governing international law and determines the obligations to respect diplomatic immunity. It is crystal clear (Article 4,1) that the need to obtain agreement in advance of the receiving state only applies to the Head of Mission – ie the Ecuadorian Ambassador. For other staff of the mission the sending state (in this case, Ecuador) “may freely appoint” the other members of the mission, (Article 7), subject to provisos in Articles 5,8,9 and 11. Plainly the only one of these which applies in the Assange case is Article 9. Julian Assange is persona non grata – unwelcome -to the UK government. That is a legitimate reply to notification, but comes following the appointment; it does not pre-empt the appointment.

Here is the key point. A member of staff below head of mission can already have entered the country before appointment, and their diplomatic immunity starts from the moment their appointment is notified, and NOT from the moment it is accepted. Article 39 (i) could not be plainer:

1.Every person entitled to privileges and immunities shall enjoy them from the moment he enters
the territory of the receiving State on proceeding to take up his post or, if already in its territory, from
the moment when his appointment is notified to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs or such other ministry
as may be agreed.

So to summarise.

There is no requirement for prior approval before arrival of staff below Ambassador, and it is just a notification regime (Article 10). If the FCO is telling the truth and Ecuador notified the UK of its appointment of Julian Assange as a member of diplomatic staff, the UK can only have refused by declaring Assange persona non grata. That does not remove his diplomatic immunity which started the moment he was notified. It continues until he has been given the chance to leave the country in “a reasonable time”. (Article 9.2, and 39.2).

The immunity of envoys has been universally regarded as essential to inter-state relations for thousands of years. The reasons why that immunity must start at notification are obvious if you think it through. The FCO bragging about refusing the alleged Ecuadorian request has been carried in virtually the entire neo-liberal media. Not one article, anywhere, has reflected anything approaching the applicable legal arguments. I am again left wondering whether mainstream media journalists are simply entirely incompetent, or deeply corrupt.

I suppose both.

409 thoughts on “Ecuador and Assange

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  • Blog

    Well done Ecuador.One of the few Latin American States that does not grovel to the criminal US imperialists. Their power is declining at a rapid rate, visible in the recent UN vote on Jerusalem ,the iran Nuclear agreement and the recent talks between N &S Korea.
    What has taken ECUADOR so long, a good lawyer could have sorted this much sooner. The Embassy is Ecuadorean territory and the residency required is much less than 5 years.

      • Loony

        Are you suggesting that Trump’s description of Haiti is inaccurate? What difference does the color of the speaker make? Either it is true or it is false.

        The United Nations estimates that approximately 58% of Haitians are living in poverty with 25% being in abject poverty. Do you not think it likely that these people may possibly agree with Trump?

        What exactly has Trump done to worsen the position of Haitians? How does Trump compare with Mr and Mrs Clinton in terms of robbing Haitians? Has Trump done anything comparable to this?

        What kind of person cares what Trump says but does not care about what the Clinton’s do.

        Trump is winning and is forcing people to stare in the abyss of reality. Trump is exceeding all expectations and is doing more than anyone could have credibly expected. Cometh the hour, cometh the man and Trump is here and he is a true hero of the people.

        • MightyDrunken

          Trump didn’t just say Haiti was a shithole, he said, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”. If we take the question literally he is asking why someone would want to move from a crap place to a nicer place, I suspect he was not asking that as the answer is obvious. He is instead wishing that “proper” skilled “nice” people would come to American not those nasty poor people.

        • John Goss

          “What kind of person cares what Trump says but does not care about what the Clinton’s do.”

          Nobody I should think. I listened to this podcast last night from Dr Dady Cherie who is herself Haitian on the struggle of Haitians explaining why “approximately 58% of Haitians are living in poverty with 25% being in abject poverty.”

          I asked the question: “Who knows which is the lesser of two evils for Haiti: the Clintons or Trump?” The answer I got was: “I would say equally evil & equally racists….”

          • Loony

            Well you seem to be promoting the view of those who care what Trump says but does not care what the Clinton’s do.

            There is ample evidence of Clinton family crimes in Haiti and zero evidence of Trump crimes in Haiti. Yet you are able to report that, with respect to Haiti, both are “equally evil and equally racist”

            By conflating distaste for Trump with the crimes of the Clinton’s you do nothing more than provide cover for people whose crimes are documented. If sufficient cover is provided then there will come a point where you are actually providing an incentive to commit further crimes against Haitians. This begs the question as to why you think the suffering of Haitians and the undermining of an entire legal system is a reasonable price to pay in order to further an irrational and hate filled agenda against President Trump.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    When you ask:-
    “I am again left wondering whether mainstream media journalists are simply entirely incompetent, or deeply corrupt.”
    I would answer without hesitation that the answer is – deeply corrupt.
    Someone the stature of a John Pilger comes readily to mind as an exception, but in general these ‘journalists’ are really lackeys for an officially sanctioned version of events on important issues such as this.
    No question on the law:-
    1. Sovereign state.
    2. Right to appoint relative to the provisions of the Vienna Convention.
    So – what next?
    Power rules – and – double standards abound in the Western Empire.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    To conflate Trump’s positon on immigration and the US/UK positon on the Ecuadorian position under international law – the FCO will be viewing this as a move implemented by a ‘shithole’ country ( as Trump has termed such places south of the border).
    I mean that literally as regards the endemic racist thinking in high places.

    • Tony_0pmoc

      So when is Julian going to walk in the sunshine?


      I believe the origin of the term shithole is Northern English urban working class, which over the last 20 years or so, has also quite appropriately been adopted by Americans in The USA to apply to where they live.

      Whilst quite obviously derogatory, it is normally used in a self deprecating way typically applying to one’s own home town, where appropriate (e.g Oldham). It is almost always used with humour, and has absolutely no racist connotations whatsoever.

      Apart from the brainwashed politically correct brigade, President Trump’s use of it, will both make people laugh, and enhance his reputation.


  • Hieroglyph

    Ha Ha, so basically Assange is legally free to go. Naturally if he tried it he would be arrested – illegally arrested – on the spot. Australia should formally complain, but won’t.

    I do like it when Craig channels his inner Sir Humphry. And this is clear cut. Assange can – and is indeed obligated to – leave the United Kingdom at his earliest convenience. So, basically right now. Too funny.

    Mind, followers of QAnon may think he’s already in Switzerland. That I do not know.

    • Courtenay Barnett

      The more serious points are:-
      A. There is well established international law.
      B. There is also precedent provided by the US and UK where political expediency Trumps international law.
      So – this really is a lesson for the world in both the rule of international law – and – the expediency of real politic.

      • SA

        But since when have any of the permanent 5 members of the UNSC adhered to international law when it suits them not to , and what is the comeback if they don’t?

    • Habbabkuk

      “Ha Ha, so basically Assange is legally free to go.”

      Mr Assange has always been free to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy.

      • Macky

        “Mr Assange has always been free to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy.”

        And face the very real risk of being handed to the country that tortured Manning and other whistle blowers; not a risk that any sane person would take,

        • Habbabkuk

          What is known as fact is that Mr Assange faces the charge of skipping his bail. All the rest – eg extradition to the US – is speculation on the part of Mr Assange himself and his supporters. Speculation should not be passed off as fact.

          • Macky

            “is speculation on the part of Mr Assange”

            Is that all it is ? Why then the unprecedented PC siege, including almost storming a foreign Embassy, just for somebody who has just skipped bail ?!

            Is this normal procedure for people who skip bail ? I think not.

    • Laguerre

      “Australia should formally complain, but won’t.”

      He is now an Ecuadorian citizen travelling on an Ecuadorian passport, so it would be for Ecuador to complain. Parhaps a dual citizen, but here it is the Ecuadorian passport in question.

  • kashmiri

    Correct, Craig, but you are missing one point I think: right to enter the UK. An Equatorian diplomat needs a valid diplomatic visa issued by the UK government in order to enter the British territory. Sure, Assange can remain within the premises of the Equadorian diplomatic mission without having a UK visa, but he will be unable to leave it or he will risk crossing the UK border illegally, for which he can be arrested despite his diplomatic status (diplomatic immunity is not absolute). Of course he can claim that he remains on the British soil as a EU citizen; but then he will no longer enjoy diplomatic immunity or protection from the Equadorian consulate.

    So, while your point is valid, I don’t see how this could materially change Assange’s situation.

    • Courtenay Barnett

      Question for you:-
      “Sure, Assange can remain within the premises of the Ecuadorian diplomatic mission without having a UK visa, but he will be unable to leave it or he will risk crossing the UK border illegally, for which he can be arrested despite his diplomatic status”
      Since Assange has Ecuadorian diplomatic status – why then:-
      “he will risk crossing the UK border illegally”?
      If he is persona non grata and is obliged to leave – surely he has a lawful right as an unwanted diplomat to cross the UK border to get out of the country. How else is he to comply lawfully with what is required of him under UK jurisdiction?
      An ordinary civilian deportee is escorted out of the UK and that is the end of his/her sojourn there.
      A. The stay at some point was declared “illegal”;
      B. There was no regularization of legal status; and
      C. In the hypothetical situation cited here – the person is lawfully deported.
      The diplomatic status appears to me to change the right to depart quite significantly – doesn’t it appear so to you as a legal issue as Murray has contended?

    • Habbabkuk


      I was tempted to raise a similar point myself.

      The most important bit is where you allude to ” he can claim that he remains on the British soil as a EU citizen”.

      Now, “EU citizen” here can only be meant “a UK citizen”. It is possible that Mr Assange is now a dual national (Ecuadorian and British). But an Ecuadorian citizen cannot avail himself of Ecuadorian protection when in the country of his second citizenship any more than a UK citizen can avail himself of British protection when in the country of HIS second citizenship. The above does not of course apply if Mr Assange has never taken out UK citizenship.

      • Tony_0pmoc

        Habbabkuk, Julian Assange is an Australian and Ecuadorian joint citizen. It seems highly unlikely that he has ever held a British passport or applied for UK citizenship.

    • nevermind

      Kashmiri, the fact that he is now an adopted Ecuadorian diplomat does not make his Australian/Commonwealth passport invalid, does it?

      • kashmiri

        The thing is, leaviong the ex-territorial premises of the Equadorian embassy is, de facto, crossing into the UK. And he needs a visa to cross into UK. So, even being an Equadorian diplomat wouldn’t help much if he wanted to leave the embassy.

      • Habbabkuk

        Ecuador is one of the countries which does not allow dual citizenship (except with Spain).

        Hence if he wanted to respect Ecuadorian law, Mr Julian Assange would have to renounce his Australian citizenship.

        I suspect he has not done so – it would be very inconvenient for him to do so. And, as we know, Mr Assange is perfectly willing to flout the law when it suits him.

        • kashmiri

          @Habbabkuk Get your facts right. Equador does not *recognise* dual citizenship. FYI, most European countries don’t do, either. But is does not *prohibit* one.

          • Habbabkuk


            With great respect, it is you who is wrong. Specfically :

            Most European countries recognise and accept the concept of dual citizenship (Spain is one of the few countries that, in general, doesn’t). An simple illustration of this may be found in the UK passport, which contains the following:

            “A British citizen who holds dual citizenship (also known as dual nationality) cannot get diplomatic help from the British government while…etc,,”

            And now to Ecuador. Ecuador does not recognise and accept the concept of dual citizenship (except with Spain). Of course, if someone like Mr Assange obtains Ecuadorian citizenship, it is not the Ecuadorian government which can concretely deprive him of hsi Australian citizenship, nor can it oblige the Australian government to deprive him of same. It is however expected of Mr Assange himself that he will renounce his Australian citizenship. Failure to do so means that Mr Assange is in breach of Ecuadorian citizenship law. A breach to accompany his breach of UK law when he skipped bail.

          • Clark

            Well this appears to be from the official website of the Ecuadorian embassy in Washington;


            Dual Citizenship

            – The term “Dual Citizenship” is applicable when a person has two or more citizenships, by birth or acquisition.

            – Ecuador, according to Articles 10 and 11 of the Political Constitution of 1998, accepts dual citizenship. Cited articles state:

            – “Art. 10.- Those who acquire ecuadorian citizenship following the principle of reciprocity of corresponding treaties and having expressed their manifest will of acquiring it, may keep their birth citizenship

            – The above case is applicable to aliens who acquire ecuadorian citizenship, by birth or […], or aliens who acquire ecuadorian citizenship by naturalization, as stated in Article 8 of the Ecuadorian Political Constitution

            – “Art. 11.- Whoever holds ecuadorian citizenship when this Constitution is issued, will continue to be considered ecuadorian. Ecuadorian citizens who have acquired an alien citizenship, may keep ecuadorian citizenship”

            – This allows ecuadorian to acquire any alien citizenship without losing ecuadorian citizenship.

            Maybe you could ask someone to update the CIA World Factbook? I don’t have a login.

  • lysias

    Assange is the person about whom Secretary of State Hillary said, “Can’t we just drone the guy?”

    • Hieroglyph

      It was generally assumed she was joking. Generally assumed by people who really don’t know her very well. I swear he’d be dead by now, if Hilary was POTUS.

      But she isn’t. Because she lost. i expect she also lost the popular vote such was the magnitude of the cheating going on, but either way: loser. Lucky all of us.

  • DCP

    Just a small question: How can Assange, now an ecuadorian citizen, be grsnted political assylum in his own Embassy?

    • Habbabkuk


      To be fair, Mr Assange was not an Ecuadorian citizen when he fled to the Ecuadorian Embassy. His political asylum status would have lapsed when he obtained Ecuadorian citizenship.

  • Steve Wangsness

    Not true. Yes, Ecuador can make Assange a diplomat. No, the UK is not required to accredit him. And no, the mere possession of a diplomatic passport does not give you diplomatic immunity anywhere, anytime. Every foreign service officer from every country (which I once was) knows this.

    • Steve Wangsness

      A person not accredited to the host nation has no diplomatic immunity at all. Zero. Zip. Nada. Nil. (As we used to say in the State Department, “A diplomatic passport and 50 cents will get you a cup of coffee and nothing more.”) UK authorities would be well within their rights and obligations under international law and the Vienna Convention to arrest Assange the minute he steps outside of the Ecuadorian embassy.

    • Courtenay Barnett

      Subject to correction – I was always under the impression that once diplomatic immunity exists ( e.g. in the instant situation there is an Ecuadorian diplomat in the Ecuadorian Embassy, which happens to be located in the UK – but – the Embassy is Ecuadorian territory).
      Outside the Embassy the diplomatic status as conferred by Ecuador extends to provide immunity – as is the standard practice in that in international law, the immunities are extended to foreign states or official representatives or to international organizations and their official representatives. Thus, such immunity renders such persons immune from the jurisdiction of the country in which they are present.
      Now – your point seems to relate to what the Ecuadorian passport actually does; however it is really the appointment by Ecuador which seems here to be operative.
      At least – that is how I see it – subject to correction.

      • Steve Wangsness

        Since the UK has not agreed to any diplomatic appointment for Assange, no immunity, which might have accrued at the time of notification, attaches.

        • Courtenay Barnett

          The legal point arises by reference to Article 39(i) of the Vienna Convention, which, I suggest, respectfully, you have read incorrectly for that it is:-
          ” from the moment when his appointment is notified to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs or such other ministry
          as may be agreed”
          Thus, thereafter if the UK wants to change the status quo, it cannot negate the fact of the diplomatic status – but – it can declare him persona non grata – at which point within a reasonable time he should leave.

          Check the law, the sequence and the consequences of diplomatic status in turn.

          I believe I am correct on this one.

          • Steve Wangsness

            I think you’re overlooking “…as agreed.”
            But a less textual argument: was the agreement about immunity in the Convention really intended to allow criminals to escape justice by permitting states after the fact to declare them members of a diplomatic mission willy-nilly? To compel signatories to allow wanted persons on their own soil to get off scot-free through phony naturalization and diplomatic appointments? Surely this can not have been the intent of the signatories. I gather the legal eagles among your former colleagues in the FCO agree with me on this point.

          • John Spencer-Davis

            The point is presumably not what the law intends, but what the law says. I don’t know if this is a unique case, without legal precedent – a citizen of one country granted naturalisation and diplomatic immunity by a second country in order to avoid arrest and prosecution by a third country, with the risk of extradition by a fourth – but there seem to be some examples of countries granting ex post facto diplomatic immunity to their citizens in criminal trouble in another country in order to extricate them from the country, and generally that has been accepted by the host country. If that is the case, then the only difference is the naturalisation.

            It could equally well be argued that the Vienna Convention was not intended to allow diplomats who commit very serious crimes in the host country to escape prosecution for those crimes. But it happens a good deal.

            Ecuador has the option of prosecuting Assange itself, which I am sure he would not object to. J

          • Jeff Kirk

            “…as agreed…” obviously refers to the preceding part of the sentence – i.e. …”notified to the the Ministry for Foreign Affairs or such other ministry…” That is “as agreed” simply refers to the agreed point of notification.

          • Macky

            “I think you’re overlooking “…as agreed.”

            That “agreed” stipulation obviously, as in plain English, refers to where the appointment notification is sent to, not as to whetever the appointment is subject to agreement or not.

          • harrylaw

            Steve Wangsness “was the agreement about immunity in the Convention really intended to allow criminals to escape justice by permitting states after the fact to declare them members of a diplomatic mission willy-nilly?” Assange is not a criminal, and is innocent until convicted in a criminal court.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Again Steve – it is not the gift of the UK to appoint the Ecuadorian diplomat – for that is within the purview of Ecuador.
    Think you have things the wrong way round.

    • BrianFujisan.

      Coutenay is Correct… All Leagal… Maybe that is why it took so long…..Fck Politic’s I Just Want To See The Sun… And Familiy n Friends…And….

      And Welcome Home to Scotland Craig

  • Baalbek

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The Americans are very keen to get their hands on Assange and the UK, being a loyal subject, is always eager to please the master. So they are refusing to grant Assange his freedom. But they can’t keep him in the embassy indefinitely. Or can they? What happens if they dig in and keep stalling? Does Ecuador have any recourse or can the UK government pull an Israel and ignore international conventions and laws? From Washington’s point of view Assange must pay for revealing to the world how the US Empire really does things when the cameras are shut off and the PR hacks silent. The American Empire hasn’t had an easy ride since WikiLeaks came on the scene and Assange is on their list of people who must be punished for humiliating them and offending their vanity. They will not let this go easily.

    I am again left wondering whether mainstream media journalists are simply entirely incompetent, or deeply corrupt.

    I don’t think they are incompetent. Well, some of them might be (Luke Harding?) but the vast majority know what is happening. They also know that reporting the facts will fast track them to the unemployment line. So they play mental games to ease the cognitive dissonance and carry on writing what their editors want them to write. Jonathan Cook, former Guardian corespondent in Israel, wrote about this in some detail several years ago. Nobody has to tell journalists that this topic is taboo or that topic must be covered in a certain way, these things are internalized and they are never discussed in the newsroom during the lunch hour. It is understood that a professional mainstream journalist adheres to the profession’s standards, and toeing the editorial line is part of that. If they want to continue drawing a pay cheque and working in the coveted media industry they know what they can and cannot say.

    The Guardian is currently running a story authored by NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg and actress Angelina Jolie entitled Why Nato must defend women’s rights. This is Pravda circa. 1964 level propaganda. It’s ludicrous. This is the paper that exploited WikiLeaks and Assange for all they are worth and then promptly threw them under the bus. The entire MSM is the establishment’s propaganda organ.

    • Salford Lad

      It is not possible for a Journalist to write the truth, when his employment, paycheck, mortgage and car loan are dependent on him supporting the Big Lie.
      The No1 unwritten Law of Journalism.

    • K. Crosby

      Quite so, Assange’s lese majeste must receive exemplary punishment. I wonder what Corbyn would do; has anyone asked?

      • Macky

        The fact that Corbyn doesn’t feel yet able to restore Galloway as the Party, nor call out the White Helmets, doesn’t bode too well for anything positive on Asssange, but I will be delighted to be proved wrong.

  • Hieroglyph

    Actually, as he’s required to leave the country, he is breaking the law by staying! Arrest him!

    We are in a kind of Catch 22 situation here. Technically, he can step outside, get arrested, then be thrown out of the country (not extradited). So, the UK authorities have to decide what to charge him with. Either it’s crossing the border illegally (throw him out), or skipping bail (lock him up). Can’t be both.

    As ever, it’s worth noting the remarkable amount of malice shown to Assange. A slap on the wrist and fine for skipping bail, then a ticket out just to be rid of him is the obvious solution. He can come back to Australia, or go to Ecuador, whatever. Instead, they plan to keep him there for a few more years yet. Bizarre.

    • Laguerre

      Craig’s point is that now Britain can only declare him persona non grata, if he is an Ecuadorian diplomat, and not arrest him..

  • Sharp Ears

    There are a few Job’s comforters on here already. Where is your humanity?

    Pity Julian. He hasn’t breathed fresh clean air or felt the sun on his back for over FIVE YEARS.

    • SA

      Sharp Ears
      We are all full of humanity and best wishes for Julian, but I am not sure that this particular method of trying to free him will wash.

  • SA

    The Vienna convention was designed to protect diplomats from actions resulting from performing their duty as diplomats. But this does not extend retrospectively to actions performed before they were diplomats.
    There have been cases where rich Saudis including princes, claiming diplomatic immunity after they committed crimes and in some cases got away with those crimes usually by being offered bail. Do we approve of those actions? Isn’t the principle the same?

    • BrianFujisan.

      That Aint the same As WAR Crimes Sa..Which Continue..Every Day… Thanks to us in the uk+

      • SA

        I am sorry to convey the idea that the U.K.s persecution of Assange is at all acceptable, just that trying to bypass this with arguments that are unlikely to work or that we disapprove of in other contexts is going to work.

  • Macky

    So if he’s now an Ecuadorian citizen, does that mean he’s still an Australian citizen ?

    If a person of any other nationality was wanted for breaking bail conditions in the UK, would the UK have be conducting the siege that it is still doing ?

    I think we all know the answer to that.

  • giyane

    Quite frequently diplomats are asked to leave countries, sometimes as part of a tit for tat objection rather than for anything they themselves have done. Courtenay is right in saying that Trump’s ‘shithole’ remark about South American countries is more relevant than anything Assange has done. Trump doesn’t care who he offends so long as he gets his man. This arrogant, childish offensiveness is the reason Trump has called off his state visit to the UK. A Britain First terrorist murdered an elected MP.

    Trump is just as stuck inside his own embassy as Assange. There’s the rub. If Trump appears in public in the UK he will have to put up with the hostility of our MSM and MPs. The US has already lost one ambassador trying to eat its own vomit in Libya. Trump would have to eat his own vomit if he came to the UK because he backed white supremacist terror. What comes around , goes around. If the UK molests a member of Ecuador’s diplomatic team, reprisals will be taken against all diplomats wherever they are in the world.

    • Tony_0pmoc


      President Trump called off his visit to the UK, because he didn’t approve of the American Embassy being moved from Grosvenor Square, Mayfair to a shithole next to Battersea Dog’s home and Cringle Dock Solid Waste Transfer Station.

      From zerohedge:

      “Trump inexplicably claimed that he was canceling his trip because he didn’t want to cut the ribbon at the new US embassy in southwest London because the Obama administration had made a “bad deal.” “Reason I canceled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for “peanuts,” only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars,” he wrote just before midnight local time. “Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!”

      I thought the location quite appropriate.


      • giyane

        New location easily tunnellable from MI5/6, one of their five tails fidos. Trump’s gone up in my estimation. What kind of postcode is SW8 for an embassy? You’d park up the limo in SW8 to get a sandwich and fill up. The man’s got style. I’ll give him that.

  • giyane

    One of the problems we have in the UK at the moment is the lack of moral and intellectual capacity of Mrs May. She’s like a 2-dimensional parrot in a 2-dimensional bird-cage. She thought she could make the Tories more electable by employing two left-wing hacks in her team to make her policies seem more left-wing. But when you ask for a £1 chicken burger and you get a flat , flabby thing made of fat and colouring, don’t you wish you’d asked for a real chicken burger with real chicken for £1.50?

    She just doesn’t seem to understand that the electorate need policies, not just spin.

  • joel

    Ecuador showing a courage in defying the hegemon that is unimaginable by Britain. Hopefully Corbyn will end this abject prostration.

  • John Macadam

    I remember the UK once respected the right of an Iranian diplomat, who had shot a police officer on duty, to leave the UK. So why is Assange worse?

    • Jeff Kirk

      Probably because he is an actual threat to them? Most governments couldn’t give a toss about police officers or anyone else who isn’t part of the 1%.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ John Macadam January 12, 2018 at 10:09
      Who was ‘accused’ of shooting PC Fletcher.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Geoffrey January 12, 2018 at 11:47
        Yes, it was done outside the Libyan Embassy, but not by the gentleman accused, just as Qaddafi’s agents were ‘accused’ of being responsible for Pan Am 103 and Lockerbie.
        And just as Julian Assange was ‘accused’ of rape (now dropped).
        Never trust the government or the MSM; remember the ‘Boche’ were ‘accused’ of throwing babies up in the air and catching them on their bayonets, to say nothing of the ‘Kuwaiti Incubator Babies LIE’.
        And the ‘Conservatives care about the NHS’ LIE. All they care about is dining off the most tasty parts of the corpse after they ‘Piratise’ it.

    • Steven J. Wangsness

      Because that diplomat had already been accredited as such by the UK government, not after the fact.

  • Habbabkuk

    Craig’s reposes on a misuse of the provisions of the Vienna Convention.

    Let us take the following hypothetical case. A Russian citizen, resident in the UK for a number of years, commits a criminal offence. He flees into the Russia Embassy to escape arrest. Russia then grants him citizenship and appoints him a Russian diplomat. According to Craig’s argument, he should then, on the basis of the immunity of diplomats, be allowed to leave the Russian Embassy and the UK.

    Cardinal Mindszenty was holed up in the US Embassy in Budapest for several years in the 1950s, having fled persecution by the Communist authorities. Even the US, at the height of the Cold War, did not attempt to grant him citizenship and diplomatic status.

    • Macky

      No need for hypotheticals, as the case of of shooting PC Fletcher shows; the Law is often an ass, but it is the Law as it stands.

  • Daniel Ionita

    Very sound argument. However, given the many “departures” from law and common sense going on, I doubt that anyone who should, will bay any attention.

  • Paul Barbara

    As Craig is ‘persona grata’ at the Ecuadorean Embassy, and a friend of Julian, I presume he will be putting his arguments to them.
    It is then up to the Ecuadorean Government whether they challenge Britain’s alleged breaking of international obligations in the appropriate court.
    The issue would have to be sorted before Julian steps out of the Embassy.
    The US has shown on a number of occasions what it thinks of ‘Diplomatic Immunity’, in their treatment of the Cuban Embassy staff in Grenada (when they totally illegally invaded the country) and when it ‘accidentally’ bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade.
    As for the American poodle, this comment appeared the other day on the Frome Stop the War Facebook page, by Sheila Coombes:
    it’s long, but worth quoting in full:

    Sheila Coombes is with Roy Hunter and 32 others.
    15 hrs ·
    US/UK ‘special relationship’: “The UK will… take on at times the role of a Trojan Horse … but its effectiveness in this role will depend on… not appearing to act as a US stooge.”
    (British Foreign Office, 1972.)

    United States Council on Foreign Relations 1940 sets the stage for 21st Century NeoCons’ desire for ‘full spectrum dominance’ – successive British governments have assisted them in this role. How can anyone be proud to be British when our governments act as Uriah Heep to the latest empire on the block, that of the US, with the hope of scavening crumbs from their imperialist table?
    “…to set forth the political, military, territorial and economic requirements of the United States in its potential leadership… including the United Kingdom itself as well as the Western hemisphere and the Far East. The first and foremost requirement of the United States in a world in which it proposes to hold unquestionable power in the rapid fulfilment of a programme of complete re-armament… to secure the limitation of any exercise of sovereignty by foreign nations that constitutes a threat to the minimum world area essential for the security and economic prosperity of the United States.”
    (Economic and Financial Group of the US Council of Foreign Relations, 1940.)
    “Gradually, very gradually, and very quietly, the mantle of leadership was slipping from British shoulders to American.”
    (Elliott Roosevelt, on the Atlantic Charter conference with his father US President Franklin Roosevelt and British PM Churchill in August 1941.)
    “Today Americans know that they are the dominant power in the world… and they expect the rest of us to respect their leadership.”
    (Tory Lord Woolton, Sunday Times, July 16 1950.)
    “We British must recognise that American policy must prevail, if there is an honest difference of opinion between us as to what to do next in the world struggle. He who pays the piper calls the tune.”
    (Labour MP Commander King-Hall, National Newsletter, June 28 1951.)
    “The UK will… take on at times the role of a Trojan Horse … but its effectiveness in this role will depend on… not appearing to act as a US stooge.”
    (British Foreign Office, 1972.)
    “Abominable. Loyal, blind, apparently subservient… I think that the almost undeviating support by Great Britain for the ill-advised policies of President Bush in Iraq have been a major tragedy for the world… has prolonged the war and increased the tragedy that has resulted.”
    (US President Carter, on British PM Tony Blair’s subservience to the US, on BBC Radio.)
    So now it’s ‘Official’! Bonios are on Trump!

    • nevermind

      Further to this. Any US soldier who is accused of a crime, including murder, will be whisked away from this country within 24hrs. as the US does not accept the jurisdiction over their servicemen in this country.

      Very glad that this mouthy gaping sh…..e will not come here to reiterate how much the diplomatic relations with this special relationship have deteriorated with acceleration.

      ‘I suppose both’. Could not agree more, the pundit politics and a..e creeping faux news amplifiers are particularly endangered by their incestuous relationship, what could possibly happen if they write the truth? black lists are ‘verboten’ and there are lots of other not so faux news outlets, like the big issue.

      • Laguerre

        I don’t know whether you’ve understood the point, but the insistance on the extraterritoriality of US soldiers is a marvelous way of defeating the US in war. Al-Maliki got the US out of Iraq that way in 2008-11. I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened again soon. All you have to do is round up a few, even one, US soldier, and put them on trial for some offence (which could even be true). The US media will go crazy, and soon enough Trump will be signing the withdrawal agreement.

  • reel guid

    The London based mainstream media are ignoring the legal arguments about Assange. But is the phrase ‘mainstream media’ so applicable anymore?

    Certainly not in Scotland. Newspaper sales keep spiralling down. BBC Scotland’s regular news viewers and listeners are now shown to be a tiny minority of the population.

    The mainstream media in Scotland are now the crowdfunded blogs. Citizen journalism is now the Caledonian mainstream. The Scotsman, Herald and BBC Scotland are the brackish media backwaters. And they smell really bad.

  • Kimpatsu

    On a tangent, would it therefore be possible to declare all UK passport holders “diplomats” immediately before they undergo the racists border fingerprinting in Japan and South Korea, or just the ludicrous theatre at the US border? After all, it would send two messages simultaneously: we reject your racism, AND we highlight your theatrical pretext.
    Are there any lawyers who an help?

    • Loony

      Ah yes the Japanese and Korean racists who have the temerity to enforce their own laws.

      Have you ever tried crossing national borders in Africa? – somewhat more time consuming than entering Japan or South Korea. Are Africans racist? and if so what should be done about it?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Article 31 of the Vienna Convention (apologies for lunatic formatting of source only partially cleaned up by text editor)

    1. A diplomatic agent sh all enjoy immunity from th e criminal jurisd iction of the receiv ing State. He shall als o enj oy im munity fro m its ci vil and ad min istrativ e juris diction, e xcept in the case of:

    (a) a r eal action r elatin g to p rivate immovable property situat ed in the te rritory of th e receivin g State, unless he holds it on behalf of the sendin g Stat e for the purposes of the mission;
    (b) an a ction relatin g to succe ssion in which the diplom atic agent is inv olve d as exe cuto r, adm inistrat or, heir or lega tee as a pr ivate person and not on beh alf of the sen ding State;
    (c) an a ction relating to any profe ssional or commercial act ivity exer cised by the diplomatic agent in the r ecei ving Stat e outsid e his off icial fun ctions.

    As Assange is still jumping bail over a matter unconnected with his new diplomatic status, I’d imagine that (c) applies in spades. Whether he’s accredited or not. In any case, we all know, though some of us will not admit, that Assange is simply trying it on.

    • Clark

      “(c) […] relating to any professional or commercial activity exercised by the diplomatic agent”

      If (c) is deemed by the British Government to apply, they’d essentially be admitting that they’re after him for his Wikileaks work.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        You might read that into it, but the fact is, he jumped bail. A prosecutable criminal offence in its own right, and one which has cost HM Taxpayer, never mind Assange’s adoring bail bonds, quite a lot of time and money. Which would be reflected in the sentence, probably:-

        Where it is not possible to dispose of the original offence, sentencing for a Bail Act
        offence should normally be undertaken separately and carried out as soon as
        appropriate in light of the circumstances of an individual case.
        When a Bail Act offence has been committed, the sentence must be commensurate
        with the seriousness of the offence and must take into account both the reason why
        the offender failed to surrender and the degree of harm intended or caused. F
        these purposes, ‘harm’ is not only that caused to individual victims and witnesses
        but includes the consequential effect on police and court resources and the wider
        negative impact on public confidence in the criminal justice system.

        • Clark

          “”…he jumped bail”

          But not in connection with any “professional or commercial activity”, unless it be publishing leaks… Unless at least one of the women now claim she was employing Assange as a sex worker, which might prove interesting…

          “”…he jumped bail”

          It looks a bit more complicated than that. The authorities didn’t get Assange into their custody, but neither did Assange escape it; the UN has concluded that Assange has been under arbitrary detention by the UK and Swedish authorities since December 2010. It looks like a grey area to me:

          “Assange is simply trying it on”

          Yeah? Five years in a tiny annex of a small but busy office? I can think of better ways to spend my time, unless the US was trying to kill me, of course. But we know how these things go. Blair destroyed a country and precipitated the killing of millions, so he gets a publicly funded police bodyguard; I wonder how its cost compares with the police operation to arrest Assange, ostensibly for inadequate condom vigilance.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            The UN decision has no legal force, and was arrived at by an unqualified panel. Incidentally, I never did hear what the UN thought about, say, Tzipi Livni’s, Mahmoud Hegazi’s or General Karenzi Karake’s immunity from process under international law.

            Yeah. Five years rent-free, in the public eye, and not having to face the unpleasant consequences of your actions. I agree wholeheartedly about Blair, obviously. In fact, I see the two as very similar personalities

          • Clark

            Personality shouldn’t come into it. Blair is as entitled as anyone to be an egotistical New Age hippy with self-serving delusions, but any decent government/media system would ensure that such idiots could never remotely approach becoming a Prime Minister. Assange may also be egotistical (though apparently with a more ethical ego), but that doesn’t mean we should resent his defence strategy regarding the US government, whether it be necessary or delusional. It’s up to Ecuador to throw him out if they think he’s imagining the danger; no one’s twisting their arm.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            I’m saying they should both get it in the neck. Not on the basis of their personalities, but on the basis of UK common law and their actions. No-one committing an offence in this country should be above the law, and opportunistically labelling a criminal as a foreign ambassador doesn’t change that. One out of two would be a move in the right direction. But it would be good to watch Blair go down for a longish stretch, too.

          • harrylaw

            Ba’al Zevul.. “and opportunistically labelling a criminal ” What criminal offence has Assange been convicted of? Jumping bail is an offence IF convicted in a criminal court, of course a good lawyer could convince the court that Assange had any number of good reasons to “jump bail”, and therefore be found not guity.

          • Clark

            Harrylaw, Assange has previous convictions in Australia for breaching computer security.

            Ba’al, Assange has already had it in the neck. A £12 million police operation involving SO10, the Metropolitan Police’s covert operations group, and S020, the counter-terrorism protective security command? This isn’t about alleged misuse of condoms overseas:


            Of course Blair should go down, but mainly to set an example. The real moral is to always keep chimps away from the machine guns. A Prime Minister who consults a crystal dowser about going to war is clearly way out of his depth, and has probably been driven insane by vast, inappropriate responsibility. Essentially he was used by the elite because he was photogenic and suggestible, and is now one of their useful facilitators.

        • Ba'al Zevul

          Apologies. 31.1 is slightly ambiguous, and I misinterpreted it. Immunity is absolute in the case of criminal charges. Hence, unless there is a civil aspect to his actions, he cannot be prosecuted on the grounds of (c), above. There would still have been an alternative to immediately declaring Assange persona non grata though, which would have been for the FCO to request from Ecuador a waiver of immunity. This is rarely granted, though, and the next step is as Craig describes it. However, Ecuador could then be requested to pursue the case on the UK’s behalf.

          Assange’s diplomatic status is not subject to FCO approval, so on the face of it, it looks as if Assange will be going in the diplomatic bag to Ecuador and we can wash our hands of him – perhaps necessarily. From there the Yanks can grab him or not as they choose. My guess is they won’t, at least until Trump departs; there are too many skeletons in Trump’s cupboard. My main sympathy in all this is with the Ecuadoran Embassy staff.

        • Stu

          “and one which has cost HM Taxpayer”

          It’s great to live in a country where every criminal offence is thoroughly investigated and the police stop at nothing to resolve the issue……

          The Met should possibly have spent the money wasted monitoring JA on combating robbery gangs which attack people with acid or trying to stop spice entering prisons.

          • K. Crosby

            You don’t really believe what the state and its claque of corp-0-rat media claim about the money spent paying people to lounge around outside the embassy do you?

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