British Authorities Threaten to Break International Law to Extradite Assange
Over the last two years Julian Assange has been called many things: Revolutionary, Whistleblower, International Person of Interest, Hacktivist, Terrorist, or Rapist. Having stayed in the British-Ecuadorian Embassy for over two months thus far, Julian Assange is seeking political asylum under a 50 year old United Nations convention that protects embassies as sovereign land of the country they represent, an international law that also protects countries who grant asylum to persons they consider persecuted for political or religious reasons. Ecuadorian officials have commented on the unprecedented threat of violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963. If the British government were to storm the embassy, it could put embassies, and diplomatic relations all over the world at risk.
“Today we received from the United Kingdom an express threat, in writing, that they might storm our Embassy in London if we don’t hand over Julian Assange…We want to be very clear, we’re not a British colony. The colonial times are over,” -Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino
Ecuador has made a few statements on this matter, and is treating the written threat to invade their embassy to take Assange as a hostile imperialist threat to their sovereignty. Ecuador has called for a meeting of the left-leaning South American states to band together against the threat posed by British Imperialism.
Julian Assange has not as of yet been officially granted asylum, however the developments of August 16th, including threats from the British government to suspend the laws currently protecting Assange from extradition, presumably have further politicized the situation; The U.K. is essentially threatening to break a convention that protects people like the Dalai Lama and other outspoken individuals from corrupt governments in situations just like this one. A press release from the Ecuadorian Embassy states:
“Instead of threatening violence against the Ecuadorian Embassy, the British Government should use its energy to find a peaceful resolution to this situation which we are aiming to achieve.”
Julian Assange has become an icon of the dangers of telling the truth. For the last two years he has fought allegations of the rape of two women in Sweden in 2010. These charges have at one time been dropped, but have been taken up once again by a different prosecutor. Both events allegedly occurred shortly after gaining fame for releasing over 250,000 secret documents revealing war crimes of the U.S. military, as well as other confidential documents that imply corruption, and in some cases, murder, by many powerful figures, diplomats and organizations, from Australia to Zimbabwe and many NGOs like the Vatican. Many have called the timing of the rape allegations extremely suspect, and the charges themselves are not considered crimes in the U.K., as both women admittedly entered into consensual sex which according to the charges became non-consensual when, with one case Assange allegedly lay on top of one woman with too much pressure, and did not use a condom with the other. Neither of the charges that are being sensationalized as ‘rape’ are currently considered a crime in the U.K., despite the British response to surround the Ecuadorian Embassy following Assange’s more than 50 day retreat into the sovereign nation’s embassy. Ecuador is expected to make a decision today, as to whether or not Julian can stay. Wikileaks states that Assange has not officially been charged with any crime.
There has been civilian journalist coverage of the events so far on occupynewstv‘s Ustream channel, as well London’s mainstream media is beginning to mass at the embassy. There are reports of more than a dozen police vans, and the Harrods department store next to the embassy has been told they will not be able to get their deliveries today. The British police are preparing for a large public outcry, while the few supporters physically outside the embassy are calling for more to come out to help. Here are a few images on our photostream from outside the embassy, as tensions mount. The Anonymous collective of hackers and ‘hacktivists’ have also been following the events, as some of Assange’s key and most constant supporters. They have recently launched #OpProtectAssange. The numbers at the embassy have already greatly swelled since the alert first went out, and even high profile protesters such as Charlie Veitch have come to show support for Assange and what he has become a symbol for: Freedom of speech.
As usual, Toronto’s Mainstream Media won’t touch this one with a ten foot pole. Our local Breakfast Television’s international news covered Kim Kardashian’s divorce instead, giving Assange’s story about ten seconds of air time. So far a few citizens have been arrested. Police intimidation of this sort has already defied the UN Vienna Convention that has stood for almost 50 years now.
Assange’s Lawyer speaks about the case (5th Dec. 2010) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIgcKC-b_FA
Ecuadorian Embassy in UK’s statement http://www.ecuadorembassyuk.org.uk/announcements/ecuador-shock-at-threats-from-british-government
Timeline of Assange’s charges (updated today) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11949341
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