For around two months, Julian
Assange has been holed up in Ecuador's London embassy after requesting
Sweden wants him extradited on spurious charges. They include unlawful
coercion, sexual molestation and rape.
Allegedly it's for having nonconsensual condomless sex. A honey trap
Sex charges are bogus. Sweden represents Washington's interests. Obama
officials wants him extradited to stand trial for whistleblowing. They
want him put away and silenced. Sweden's playing willing co-conspirator.
So is Britain.
On August 16, word came. Asylum was granted short of freedom to leave
Britain unarrested. Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said "Ecuador decided
to grant political asylum to Julian Assange following the request sent
to the President."
He faces likely extradition to a third country without proper guarantees.
If tried in America, it won't be fair. Patino called Ecuador's decision
"protected by international law."
Shortly before Patino's announcement, President Raphael Correa twittered
"No one is going to terrorize us." He signaled his likely decision.
Earlier, Patino released details of a letter from Britain's Quito embassy,
"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."
"We need to reiterate that we consider the continued use of the diplomatic
premises in this way incompatible with the Vienna convention and unsustainable
and we have made clear the serious implications that this has for our
In response, Patino expressed shock and outrage, saying:
"Ecuador, as a state that respects rights and justice and is a democratic
and peaceful nation state, rejects in the strongest possible terms the
explicit threat of the British official communication."
"This is unbecoming of a democratic, civilised and law-abiding state.
If this conduct persists, Ecuador will take appropriate responses in
accordance with international law."
"If the measures announced in the British official communication materialize
they will be interpreted by Ecuador as a hostile and intolerable act
and also as an attack on our sovereignty, which would require us to
respond with greater diplomatic force."
"Such actions would be a blatant disregard of the Vienna convention
on diplomatic relations and of the rules of international law of the
past four centuries."
"It would be a dangerous precedent because it would open the door to
the violation of embassies as a declared sovereign space."
UK officials softened their position. They said they're "committed to
reaching a mutually acceptable decision."
Britain knows but didn't say that embassies are sovereign territory.
Forced entry violates international law. Under Article 22(1) of the
1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations:
"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."
Article 22(3) states:
"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."
Article 29 adds:
"The person of a diplomatic agent shall be inviolable. He shall not
be liable to any form of arrest or detention. The receiving State shall
treat him with due respect and shall take all appropriate steps to prevent
any attack on his person, freedom or dignity."
Article 30 grants the same inviolability and protection to a diplomatic
agent's private residence, his or her papers, correspondence, and property.
At the same time, inviolability isn't extra-territoriality. In other
words, embassy (diplomatic mission) grounds remain the territory of
host nations. However, inviolability protects missions from forced entry.
Doing so constitutes a serious breach of international law.
If states want their diplomats given courtesy and respect, they're obligated
to afford similar treatment to foreign representatives on their soil.
They're also bound under international law provisions.
In 1987, Britain's Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act (DCPA) permits
revocation of diplomatic mission status if it "ceases to use land for
the purposes of its mission or exclusively for the purposes of a consular
post." It further states doing so must be "permissible under international
The law followed the Libyan London embassy's 1984 siege. Someone inside
the building fatally shot a UK police officer. An 11 day standoff ended
with Britain severing diplomatic relations with Libya and expelling
its diplomats. Forced entry didn't occur.
Using DCPA to seize Assange is problematic. Doing so would set a dangerous
precedent and place its own diplomats at risk.
DCPA addressed situations involving missions used for serious wrongdoing.
Sheltering Assange hardly qualifies. Legitimate courts won't sanction
forced entry. Britain claims it's duty bound to extradite. Obeying fundamental
law takes precedence. So does doing the right thing and not running
cover for Washington.
America wants Assange extradited for whistle blowing. Ecuador's President
Rafael Correa believes he'll be imprisoned and may face the death penalty.
He's wrongfully charged.
He published thousands of leaked classified military, intelligence and
political documents. Skeptics call him compromised. He collaborated
with Western media.
He allied with managed news manipulators. Journalists connected to Washington's
imperium are involved. At issue is whether released information represents
truths, half-truths, selected truths, disinformation masquerading as
real information, or a combination of all of the above.
Skeptics say material disseminated was out-of-date and of little use.
Major secrets remain safe.
Webster Tarpley, Wayne Madsen, Thierry Meyssan, and others call Assange
politically connected, a stealth CIA asset, and perhaps used by Mossad
the same way. Madsen said monied interests used him. He cited readily
Perhaps Assange was used. Perhaps he knew and cooperated. Now he's no
longer needed. Washington played this game before. Bin Laden is Exhibit
A. Enlisted against Soviet Russia in Afghanistan, he became "enemy number
What's ahead for Assange remains uncertain. He's far more hero than
villain. He deserves better than Washington plans. His leaks were important
whether fresh or dated.
He deserves full legal protections, freedom from lawless prosecution,
and virtually certain conviction and imprisonment.
What authorities did to Bradley Manning, they plan for Assange in spades.
Ecuador wants it prevented. Doing so is heroic and just.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized
Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
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