Police stand outside Ecuadorian embassy in London
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.”
International Law, Diplomatic Immunity Mean Nothing to the US Empire
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.
London’s Threats are a Repeat of Washington’s Actions: A Look Back at 2007
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.