By John Millington
So that’s that.
Ecuador grants political asylum claim by Julian Assange.
“Asylum a fundamental right to all; no local government or law can be used to deny the right to asylum,” Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino says.
“We are confident that the British government will know how to answer this request.”
“We trust that the United Kingdom will offer, as soon as possible the guarantee of safe passage and Asylum of Mr Assange.”
Fat chance according to the British government who have not guaranteed safe passage for Assange.
Instead they have insisted they will still carry out their extradition of him.
Arguments rage in the legal world over who is right in this stalemate.
However, regardless of the legal rights and wrongs, the foreign office throughout this whole affair has shown that it is being run by the equivalent of Malcolm Tucker.
On hanging up the phone with Ecuadorian diplomats you can well imagine Foreign Secretary William Hague shouting “Yeah okay – fucketty bye.”
More seriously, the arrogance displayed by the Foreign Office has been breathtaking.
The only thing diplomatic about the statements is that you can fit it in “undiplomatic.”
Originally it was veiled threats.
“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 sincerely hope that we do not reach that point, but if you are not capable of resolving this matter of Mr Assange’s presence in your premises, this is an open option for us,” the statement read.
On offering Assange asylum, Hague insisted the original extradition order to Sweden would be carried out. “We shall carry out that obligation. The Ecuadorian government’s decision this afternoon does not change that,” he says.
These sinister insinuations along with the fact that Britain doesn’t recognise “diplomatic asylum” fly in the face of evidence presented by Ecuador that Assange would not receive fair trial in the US and the fact Britain or Sweden refused to give assurances he would not be extradited there.
Simply saying that there are “safeguards” in our law does not mean anything once Assange is on his way to Stockholm.
And the elephant in the room, which Hague ignores, is Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.”
Tainted by controversial wars launched against defenseless nations such as Iraq and Libya in recent years, this latest episode shows that Britain is out of practice in utilising the pen because it prefers the sword.
You can imagine the scene in the Foreign Office on hearing Assange had been granted asylum. “What next?” asks Hague.
“Arrest Ecuadorian diplomats? Are we gonna bomb Ecuador?” says the staff intern jokingly.
“That’s options one and two.” answers Hague.