• Craig Murray (Former Ambassador, Human Rights Activist): America’s Vassal Acts Decisively and Illegally

    posted by Keito
    2012-08-16 12:38:49
    '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.'
  • Assange will be refused safe passage even if Ecuador grants asylum - Foreign Office

    posted by Keito
    2012-08-16 12:29:23
    'The UK will do everything in its power to block Assange’s passage to Ecuador even if he is granted asylum by the nation’s government, officials said, claiming a legal obligation to extradite the WikiLeaks founder to Sweden.

    UK authorities sparked a scandal when they announced they were prepared to raid the Ecuadorian embassy in London in order to apprehend Assange, effectively revoking the embassy’s diplomatic immunity.

    In response, the Ecuadorian National Assembly President Fernando Cordero called an emergency meeting to assess "unusual and arrogant threat to pave our embassy in London."

    "Giving asylum doesn't fundamentally change anything," said a spokesperson from the UK Foreign Office.

    "We must be absolutely clear this means that should we receive a request for safe passage for Mr Assange, after granting asylum, this would be refused."

    The Ecuadorian foreign minister said that such an act would be interpreted as “hostile and intolerable,” and an attack on Ecuador’s sovereignty that would provoke a dramatic diplomatic response.'
  • BREAKING: Ecuador decides on Assange’s fate: LIVE UPDATES via RT...

    posted by Keito
    2012-08-16 10:53:37
    Click the link to follow this story as it happens -->
  • Secrets and lies... I despise.

    posted by Keito
    2012-08-16 11:01:03
    These police officers should be ashamed of themselves. They should be questioning their actions. What a massive waste of taxpayers money we're seeing right now outside the Ecuadorian Embassy.

    I don't mind paying taxes IF...

    ...those taxes don't go towards killing people (unless it was voluntary euthanasia).

    ...their main use is to go towards improving the community and society as a whole. Education, healthcare, welfare, public services.

    ...our political and judicial system was fair and just.

    Unfortunately, none of the above appears to the reality of the situation.

    I know I sound like a tape on loop sometimes, but I truly believe we need to put those who are in power, in check.

    Storming an embassy equates to an act of war.

    If Iran were to carry out such an act, there would be WWIII.

    When did we become the bad guys?!... I fear it was long before we took part in this sorry charade to bring Assange to 'justice'... Not for some 'crime' of failing to wear a condom, the result of which is usually a fine. No, this is all about Assange pulling back the curtain, and showing the world that our dear beloved leaders are war criminals who are hellbent on keeping their blood for oil agenda and corruption quiet.

    Secrets and lies... I despise.
  • UK threatens to “assault” Ecuadorian Embassy to arrest Assange

    posted by Keito
    2012-08-16 01:04:28
    'British authorities have “warned” Ecuador that they could raid its embassy and arrest Julian Assange if he is not handed over. The Ecuadorian Foreign Minister responded by saying such a move would be a “flagrant violation” of international law.

    Ecuador received a "direct" threat from the authorities in London that they are prepared to storm the Ecuadorian Embassy and arrest Assange if he is not delivered to their custody. Ricardo Patino, Ecuador's Foreign Minister, said the "written threat," an aide memoire, was delivered to Ecuador's Foreign Ministry and ambassador in London.

    The letter received by the Ecuadorian Embassy stated that British authorities have a legal basis, founded in the Diplomatic and Consular Act of 1987, to arrest Assange on the Embassy’s premises.

    "You need to be aware that there is a legal base in the UK, the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987, that would allow us to take actions in order to arrest Mr Assange in the current premises of the Embassy,” read the letter. "We sincerely hope that we do not reach that point, but if you are not capable of resolving this matter of Mr Assange's presence in your premises, this is an open option for us."

    The Ecuadorian Foreign Minister noted that any entry by British authorities onto its ambassadorial premises in London would constitute a “flagrant violation” of Article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Ecuador considers such a measure to be an “unacceptable act of hostility” against its sovereignty, the minister said, adding that if implemented it would force Ecuador to “respond.”

    Patino said his country will call for an urgent summit of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Organization of American States (OAS) to discuss the “threat” to a sovereign country in the region.

    No threat, however, would force the country to give up the universal principles under which it continues to offer Assange protection, the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry stated.

    "We are not a British colony," Patino said. "The days of the colony are over."

    The Ecuadorian government's final decision on whether to grant Assange asylum has already been made, but will only be announced at 7 am local time (12 pm GMT) Thursday, the foreign minister stated.

    Meanwhile, the British Foreign Office stated that London was still “determined” to arrest and extradite Assange to Sweden.

    “The UK has a legal obligation to extradite Mr. Assange to Sweden to face questioning over allegations of sexual offenses, and we remain determined to fulfill this obligation,” a Foreign Office spokesperson said.
    Asylum or not, Assange may not leave UK

    As Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa decides on whether to grant Julian Assange political asylum, his long-awaited decision may ultimately be in vain. Lawyers claim that whatever the decision, the WikiLeaks founder will not likely make it out of the UK.

    Assange has been holed up at Ecuadorian Embassy in London since June 19, after claiming asylum following a failed 18-month legal battle to prevent his extradition to Sweden.

    The WikiLeak founder’s decision to seek asylum in Ecuador was motivated by fears that he could be extradited to the United States on charges of espionage upon being handed over to Swedish authorities. Assange believes he could face life imprisonment or even execution upon being shipped stateside.

    However, the battle for asylum might only be the first hurdle Assange has to clear if he is to avoid extradition to Sweden.
    Former British government lawyer Carl Gardner told Reuters “the question of asylum is arguably a red herring" as no safe passage to Ecuador can probably be secured.

    The Ecuadorian Embassy, which is patrolled day and night by police instructed to arrest Assange for violating his bail conditions, is laid out in such a way that there is realistically only one way out.

    "There is no other exit [other than the main one]”, an anonymous security manager at the building where the embassy is housed told Reuters. “He is going to have to come out of the main entrance," he continued.

    "There is no way to bring a vehicle in because the car park is private and it is not connected in any way to their premises. He can climb out of a window, of course, but there are CCTV cameras everywhere," he concluded.

    Some have suggested that Assange be appointed as an Ecuadorian diplomat to receive immunity. Others have claimed he could illegally be smuggled out in a diplomatic bag. Barring these two unlikely scenarios, Assange’s fate ultimately lies in the hands of UK authorities, a reality which does not bode well for him.

    "I can't see the UK backing down and just allowing him safe passage out of the country," Rebecca Niblock, an extradition specialist at London law firm Kingsley Napley, said.

    "I think the UK will see their obligations under the European extradition system as overriding any diplomatic relations with Ecuador, who haven't really been considering their diplomatic relations with the UK, apparently," she continued.

    But with neither option politically viable for the government of Ecuador, Assange might soon receive political asylum but remain a prisoner in Great Britain all the same.

    On Wednesday, rumors began circulating that Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa had in fact granted Assange political asylum.

    The reports forced Correa to take to Twitter, where he wrote the “Assange asylum rumor is false.” Correa, who added the world’s most infamous whistleblower to the “club of the persecuted” while appearing on Assange’s show on RT in May, said he is awaiting a Foreign Ministry report on the matter before making a final decision.

    On Monday, Correa told state-Run ECTV that his decision on the asylum bid would be forthcoming by week’s end.

    Ecuador's foreign minister had previously indicated that the president would reveal his answer once the Olympic Games had concluded.'