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On Wednesday night, Julian Assange, the creator of Wikileaks, addressed the United Nations General Assembly in an event called “Strengthening Human Rights” from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where he has been trapped for several months. The event that was hosted by the Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino and gave Assange a platform to draw attention to his case and he emphasized the importance of revealing the truth. Here is that speech.
OPINION ~ The British government’s threat to invade the Ecuadorean embassy in London and seize Julian Assange is of historic significance. David Cameron, the former PR man to a television industry huckster and arms salesman to sheikdoms, is well placed to dishonor international conventions that have protected Britons in places of upheaval. Just as Tony Blair’s invasion of Iraq led directly to the acts of terrorism in London on July 7, 2005, so Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague have compromised the safety of British representatives across the world.
Threatening to abuse a law designed to expel murderers from foreign embassies, while defaming an innocent man as an “alleged criminal,” Hague has made a laughing stock of Britain across the world, though this view is mostly suppressed in Britain. The same brave newspapers and broadcasters that have supported Britain’s part in epic bloody crimes, from the genocide in Indonesia to the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, now attack the “human rights record” of Ecuador, whose real crime is to stand up to the bullies in London and Washington.
It is as if the Olympics happy-clappery has been subverted overnight by a revealing display of colonial thuggery. Witness the British army officer-cum-BBC reporter Mark Urban “interviewing” a braying Sir Christopher Meyer, Blair’s former apologist in Washington, outside the Ecuadorean embassy, the pair of them erupting with Blimpish indignation that the unclubbable Assange and the uncowed Rafael Correa should expose the western system of rapacious power. Similar affront is vivid in the pages of the Guardian, which has counseled Hague to be “patient” and that storming the embassy would be “more trouble than it is worth.” Assange was not a political refugee, the Guardian declared, because “neither Sweden nor the U.K. would in any case deport someone who might face torture or the death penalty.”
When Iranian student activists occupied the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979 as a result of the Iranian Revolution, the US and Britain condemned the Iranian provisional government of Prime Minister Bazargan even though it was not responsible. The US, UK, and their allies ranted and raved about the sanctity of foreign diplomatic missions, calling the activists “terrorists” and “anarchists.” Today, however, they endorse the storming of embassies and consulates themselves. It is also important to note that Anglo-American disregard for diplomatic sanctity is conducted at the official level while the taking of the US Embassy in Tehran was not an official act executed or sanctioned by the Iranian government.
In regard to British threats to storm the Ecuadorian Embassy to the United Kingdom in London, the focus should not be on Julian Assange, the controversial founder of WikiLeaks. The real focus of the British government’s threats should be on something much bigger and more important than one man. The real issue at hand is the total disregard for international law that has clearly emerged in the world after the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War.
The United States and Soviet Union never violated the diplomatic sanctity and extraterritoriality of one another’s diplomatic missions by storming them with their state security forces, even during the tensest periods of the Cold War. Embassies were consistently and securely used to relocate spies, defectors, and dissidents around the world. Many ruthless regimes and dictators during the Cold War even observed the international laws that protected the diplomatic sanctity of the diplomatic missions of other countries, even if their own dissidents sought refuge in the embassies and consulates of other countries.
The world is divided into two: those that are part of a system of empire and those that are not. The warning that British Prime Minister David Cameron’s coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats has issued to the government of Ecuador that it will assault Quito’s diplomatic mission in London if Assange is not turned over to the British government is in total disregard for international law and signifies a feeling of impunity felt within the system of empire that includes the UK. Cameron’s government is making threats to ignore and breach international law at the behest of Washington, DC. The Ecuadorian government, with the support of all Latin America, has responded by telling Britain that it is not a “British colony.” Quito should have re-worded its comments and said it is not an “American colony or dependency like the UK.”
It should be clear to all by now that international law is only selectively applied and that double-standards are in exercise. There are two standards in the world too. One set of standards is for those that have to follow the law and the other is for those that are above the law. Some countries see international laws as tools to be manipulated in their favour and cited only when it suits them. The governments of these countries pick and choose when to follow international law and when to apply it. These countries include the United Kingdom, France, Israel, and, first and foremost, the United States of America. These nations act as if it is acceptable and natural for them to have weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), illegally invade other countries, commit crimes against international peace, kill foreign nationals with impunity, and interfere in the affairs of other countries.
Diplomatic immunity and international law means nothing to the individual’s controlling the American Empire. When Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng sought political asylum in the US Embassy to China, the Chinese government did not threaten to violate Washington’s diplomatic immunity. The behaviour of the Chinese government has been in stark contrast to that of the British government’s threats to storm the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
No one should be surprised about the US role in the threats to violate the diplomatic immunity of the Ecuadorian Embassy to the United Kingdom. The UK is merely following in the footsteps of the US in violating the extraterritoriality of diplomatic missions. In fact, the US raided an Iranian Consulate in Iraq on January 11, 2007.
Ecuador is standing by its decision to grant asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who’s resisting Britain’s efforts to extradite him to Sweden to face sex crime claims. In an exclusive interview with RT’s Spanish channel, Ecuador’s president explains the choice he made, and says what he thinks Britain’s motives really are.
The once proud British government, now reduced to Washington’s servile whore, put on its Gestapo Jackboots and declared that if the Ecuadorean Embassy in London did not hand over WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, British storm troopers would invade the embassy with military force and drag Assange out. Ecuador stood its ground. “We want to be very clear, we are not a British colony,” declared Ecuador’s Foreign Minister. Far from being intimidated the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, replied to the threat by granting Assange political asylum.http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/17/world/americas/ecuador-to-let-assange-stay-in-its-embassy.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&emc=na
The once law-abiding British government had no shame in announcing that it would violate the Vienna Convention and assault the Ecuadorean Embassy, just as the Islamic students in the 1979 Khomeini Revolution in Iran took over the US Embassy and held the diplomatic staff captive. Pushed by their Washington overlords, the Brits have resorted to the tactics of a pariah state. Maybe we should be worried about British nuclear weapons.
Let’s be clear, Assange is not a fugitive from justice. He has not been charged with any crime in any country. He has not raped any women. There are no indictments pending in any court, and as no charges have been brought against him, there is no validity to the Swedish extradition request. It is not normal for people to be extradited for questioning, especially when, as in Assange’s case, he expressed his complete cooperation with being questioned a second time by Swedish officials in London.
What is this all about? First, according to news reports, Assange was picked up by two celebrity-hunting Swedish women who took him home to their beds. Later for reasons unknown, one complained that he had not used a condom, and the other complained that she had offered one helping, but he had taken two. A Swedish prosecutor looked into the case, found that there was nothing to it, and dismissed the case.
Assange left for England. Then another Swedish prosecutor, a woman, claiming what authority I do not know, reopened the case and issued an extradition order for Assange. This is such an unusual procedure that it worked its way through the entire British court system to the Supreme Court and then back to the Supreme Court on appeal. In the end British “justice” did what the Washington overlord ordered and came down on the side of the strange extradition request.
Assange, realizing that the Swedish government was going to turn him over to Washington to be held in indefinite detention, tortured, and framed as a spy, sought protection from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. As corrupt as the British are, the UK government was unwilling to release Assange directly to Washington. By turning him over to Sweden, the British could feel that their hands were clean.
“We have decided to grant political asylum to Mr. Assange,” said Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino. “We believe that his fears are legitimate and there are the threats that he could face political persecution.”
The announcement was met with celebrations outside the Ecuadorian embassy as the WikiLeaks founder’s supporters began chanting “Hands off Ecuador” and “Assange freedom fighter.”