*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Thursday 16 August 2012

UK would storm Ecuadorian embassy to get Assange?

Outrageous.  Even the Nazis respected some extra-territoriality during hostilities.  Whether Assange is guilty, or prey to Neo-Cons in the 'Special Relationship'*, this is not how it is done.  Heads should roll in the Foreign Office and wherever the orders came from in government.  You don't whisper this as a negotiating point, much less put it in writing.  Try threatening to expel an ambassador, then expelling him, before this lunacy.

So this is what has become of 'Western' 'democracy'?  With the involvement of a S.American government and "Baltasar Garzón, the former Spanish judge who ordered the London arrest of Chile's General Pinochet."  This is looking like a Hispanic 'fuck-you!' to America, to join Venezuela's and Cuba's.  Long overdue.

*Id est, Britain is America's bitch.

'kamo' and I continue this debate on his blog-post, and in the comments here.


Glen Greenwald, as ever, covers all the bases:
It is vital that both sets of rights be safeguarded [Asannge's against political persecution, and the women's for a judicial examination of their claims], not just one. The only just solution is one that protects both. Assange's lawyers and the Ecuadorians have repeatedly pursued arrangements to vindicate all substantial rights at stake so that he can travel to Sweden – today – to face those allegations while being protected against unjust extradition to the US. It is the refusal of the British and Swedish authorities even to consider any such proposals that have brought this situation to the unfortunate standstill it is in.
The Guardian's Seumas Milne lays out an argument very close to mine:
Can anyone seriously believe the dispute would have gone global, or that the British government would have made its asinine threat to suspend the Ecuadorean embassy's diplomatic status and enter it by force, or that scores of police would have surrounded the building, swarming up and down the fire escape and guarding every window, if it was all about one man wanted for questioning over sex crime allegations in Stockholm?
None of that should detract from the seriousness of the rape allegations made against Assange, for which he should clearly answer and, if charges are brought, stand trial. The question is how to achieve justice for the women involved while protecting Assange (and other whistleblowers) from punitive extradition to a legal system that could potentially land him in a US prison cell for decades.
  He adds a crucial point I never got to:
WikiLeaks provided fuel for the Arab uprisings. It didn't just deliver information for citizens to hold governments everywhere to account, but crucially opened up the exercise of US global power to democratic scrutiny. Not surprisingly, the US government made clear it regarded WikiLeaks as a serious threat to its interests from the start, denouncing the release of confidential US cables as a "criminal act".
A criminal act; however, it was not: in the strictest and most metaphorical senses of the word, 'criminal'.


  1. I couldn't agree more. Storming the Peruvian embassy would be a humiliating diplomatic cock-up of the highest order which would sound the death knell for the UK's remaining creditability on the world stage.

    Not least because Assange is currently holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy.

  2. kamo, as usual well done. Making the edits now. Good thing I'm one of those 'who can't, teach': not in diplomacy, or geography...

  3. I don't agree to storming an embassy since technically you are invading another country when you do that, but is there anything that points to sweden actually extraditing him to the US?

    Another thing I think about is why did he release all of that information if he didn't have a strong support group backing him up? These types of situations are of the you reap what you sow variety. He threw that info out there of his own accord. he should stand up to the consequences instead of just letting that dude manning take the complete fall for this. Spineless imo.

  4. I will respectfully, but vehemently, disagree with you there. I'll spare you the details of my argument, but I think that Murakami Haruki hits most of the points here, more eloquently than I could, even though this is on a separate issue.

    Here's the précis:
    "I do not approve of any war, and I do not support any nation... 'Between a high, solid wall and an egg that breaks against it, I will always stand on the side of the egg'... We must not allow The System to exploit us. We must not allow The System to take on a life of its own. The System did not make us: We made The System."

  5. Assange is a hero in my opinion and did something very necessary. These people roam the world instilling their democracy upon others which is essentially doublespeak and then call those who try to expose this terrorists. I wouldn't trust Sweden as far as I could throw them and once Assange is sucked into the system he is essentially fucked.

    I also wonder what would happen if the Ecuadorians ever tried to impinge upon Britain's sovereignty by storming their embassy. They would likely be punished through trade sanctions and so forth and the diplomatic shit would hit the fan.

    Good on you Assange mate, give it to the bastards I say.

  6. I expect, shoe on the other foot, the UK response would involve the SAS. Quite apart from Assange, ANY government should issue discretionary shoot-to-kill orders to its embassy guards if a government threatened to invade embassy grounds. The idea being to make these orders public. The point being to specify to the invader the cost, and to explain to the world it is a defensive action.

    Considering Assange now, I'll play the 'advocatus diaboli' (just Google it - the Latin is cooler):
    - presume Assange is guilty of two sexual assaults
    - presume he put 'innocents' in danger
    - presume the US has not pressured the UK and Swedish governments
    - presume the Swedes would not hand him to the CIA (or Pentagon)
    - presume he would get a 'fair trial', in Sweden (or Guantanamo)
    - presume his incarceration would be nothing like Bradley Manning's
    Though I do not presume this much in a week, even then what a cannot do is:
    - presume, against evidence, that Sweden pursues all accused 'date-rapers' so vigorously
    - presume, against evidence, that the US follows international law
    - presume, against evidence, that the CIA, Pentagon, Supreme Court or the Presidency follows the American Constitution

    In short, the 'smell factor' is overwhelming.

    1. - presume that the convenient timing of the accusations from the two women are not motivated by anyone but themselves

  7. So I figured I owed you a bit more than a slightly sarcastic fact-check and started to write something more thoughtful. It grew in the telling (as is so often the way) so eventually I decided to cut to the chase and give it its own post over at my place. All of which was written before Assange did his Evita impression last night. I'll never win prizes for topicality.


    You'll probably find it yourself in the normal course of things, I realise, but thought you deserved the courtesy of being told in person. So to speak. Feel free to mod this comment out and just take it as a heads up.