• 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.
  • Israel 'prepared for 30-day war with Iran'

    posted by Keito
    2012-08-16 01:09:22
    'Israel's outgoing home front defence minister says an attack on Iran would likely trigger a month-long conflict that would leave 500 Israelis dead.

    Matan Vilnai told the Maariv newspaper that the fighting would be "on several fronts", with hundreds of missiles fired at Israeli towns and cities.

    Israel was prepared, he said, though strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities had to be co-ordinated with the US.

    Meanwhile, a US blogger has published what he says are Israel's attack plans.

    Richard Silverstein told the BBC he had been given an internal briefing memo for Israel's eight-member security cabinet, which outlined what the Israeli military would do to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons.

    Tehran insists its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful.

    'Israel prepared'

    The purported leaked Israeli memo suggests that the military operation would begin with a massive cyber-attack against Iran's infrastructure, followed by a barrage of ballistic missiles launched at its nuclear facilities.

    Military command-and-control systems, research and development facilities, and the homes of senior figures in nuclear and missile development would also be targeted.

    Only then would manned aircraft be sent in to attack "a short-list of those targets which require further assault".

    BBC diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus says it is not possible to verify the authenticity of the document, but the proposed mission would be huge and have potentially far-reaching consequences.

    Iran's government and military have made it clear that if it is attacked either by Israel or the US, it will respond in kind, either directly or through proxies.

    In his interview with Maariv, Mr Vilnai said Israel had "prepared as never before".

    "There is no room for hysteria," said the former general, who is stepping down at the end of August to become Israel's ambassador to China.

    He echoed an assessment by Defence Minister Ehud Barak, who said that it was believed that some 500 people in Israel might be killed.

    "There might be fewer dead, or more, perhaps... but this is the scenario for which we are preparing, in accordance with the best expert advice."

    "The assessments are for a war that will last 30 days on several fronts," he added, alluding to the possibility of attacks by the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shia Islamist movement, Hezbollah, and Palestinian Islamist militants in the Gaza Strip.

    Mr Vilnai also declined to comment on US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta's assertion on Tuesday that Washington did not believe Israel had yet made a decision on whether or not to launch a strike on Iran.

    "I don't want to be dragged into the debate," he added. "But the United States is our greatest friend and we will always have to co-ordinate such moves with it."

    On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Mr Vilnai would be succeeded by Avi Dichter, a former head of Israel's internal security agency, Shin Bet.'
  • 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.'