Category Archives: Ecuador

Has Julian Assange Been Appointed A Member of the Diplomatic Corps of Ecuador?

It appears that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has finally found a way to escape from his imprisonment at the Ecuadorean embassy in London: he has apparently been made a member of Ecuador’s diplomatic corps, which, if true, will provide him with legally unassailable diplomatic immunity.  If this is the case he will soon be free to leave the Ecuadorean embassy in London and leave England, free to travel to and live in any country where Ecuador maintains an embassy – or to simply establish a new home in Ecuador!

The revelation seems to have been completely missed by all of the world’s press.  We have been following developments in the case via the @wikileaks and @JulianAssange Twitter accounts and we missed the story ourselves.  This past week, as Assange was observing a strange period of Twitter silence, he sent out a series of cryptic messages that had us guessing along with most of the other WikiLeaks supporters as to what was going on.  We found out that Assange had been granted Ecuadorean citizenship on the 10th, but we had no idea what was actually going on until 13 January, when we saw a Twitter reference to  an article published in the British newspaper “The Guardian”: “Julian Assange’s Bid for Diplomatic Status Rejected by UK Government

The article revealed that “The [British – IWPCHI] Foreign Office has turned down a request from the Ecuadorian government to grant the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, diplomatic status as a means of breaking the stalemate over his continued presence in the UK […] An FCO spokesperson, confirming the latest attempt to resolve the impasse, said on Wednesday night: ‘The government of Ecuador recently requested diplomatic status for Mr Assange here in the UK. The UK did not grant that request, nor are we in talks with Ecuador on this matter. Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice.'”

It is not clear if the Guardian’s reporter or editors even understood the meaning hidden in plain sight in their own article; the only reason the Ecuadoreans would have made this approach to the British Foreign Office in the first place would have been if they had, in fact, already made Assange a member of their diplomatic corps.  This is because, under international law, there is no requirement for any nation to request permission from any host country’s government  in order to be allowed to make any person whom they choose to be made a member of their diplomatic corps!  The Foreign Office was asserting – falsely – that it alone had the right to grant, or not to grant Ecuador “permission” to make Julian Assange a member of their diplomatic corps.

Former British Ambassador Craig Murray pointed this out in commentary on his own website:

“It is for the government of Ecuador, not the UK, to determine who is an Ecuadorian citizen. It is for the government of Ecuador, not the UK, to determine who is an Ecuadorian diplomat […] [t]he Foreign and Commonwealth Office appears to be putting out a story that it has refused to accredit Assange as an Ecuadorian diplomat […] [b]ut [Ecuador] has every right to appoint Assange, now an Ecuadorian citizen, as an Ecuadorian diplomat if it so chooses. Ecuador cannot tell the UK who may or may not be a British diplomat, and the converse applies. ”  [Source: craigmurray.org.uk “Ecuador and Assange”, 12 January 2018]

Murray goes on to explain:

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations – to which the UK and Ecuador are both party – is the governing international law and determines the obligations to respect diplomatic immunity. It is crystal clear (Article 4,1) that the need to obtain agreement in advance of the receiving state only applies to the Head of Mission – ie the Ecuadorian Ambassador. For other staff of the mission the sending state (in this case, Ecuador) “may freely appoint” the other members of the mission, (Article 7), subject to provisos in Articles 5,8,9 and 11. Plainly the only one of these which applies in the Assange case is Article 9. Julian Assange is persona non grata – unwelcome -to the UK government. That is a legitimate reply to notification, but comes following the appointment; it does not pre-empt the appointment.

“Here is the key point. A member of staff below head of mission can already have entered the country before appointment, and their diplomatic immunity starts from the moment their appointment is notified, and NOT from the moment it is accepted. Article 39 (i) could not be plainer:

1.Every person entitled to privileges and immunities shall enjoy them from the moment he enters
the territory of the receiving State on proceeding to take up his post or, if already in its territory, from
the moment when his appointment is notified to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs or such other ministry
as may be agreed.”

[Source: ibid]

If all of this is true, and if Ecuador has indeed already appointed Assange to its diplomatic corps, then he enjoys full immunity from prosecution as a member of the diplomatic corps and all the UK can do if he leaves the embassy is to declare him “persona non grata” and order him to leave the country!

Of course, as socialists we know full well that when the vital interests of the capitalist classes of imperialist nations are at stake, the capitalists will trample all over the laws of their own nation-states as well as international law.  The United States Government has quite pointedly declared its own personnel to be above international law and not subject to any sanctions under it.  So will the US – or their imperialist pet poodles in the UK government – respect international law in this instance?  We have no idea; we think it is unlikely that they will.  If they were to trample on Ecuador’s rights under the Vienna Convention – ratified by all three countries – they would be creating a major international diplomatic incident quite possibly unparalleled in modern times.

It is clear to us that the Assange case is about to take a very interesting turn, and  sooner than most people seem to think.  We say: US/UK hands off Julian Assange and WikiLeaks!

We have not been able to obtain a clarification from Julian Assange as to his apparent newly granted status as a member of the Ecuadorean diplomatic corps as of the time of publication of this article.

— IWPCHI

 

US, UK Governments: Hands Off Julian Assange and WikiLeaks!

There have been new developments today in the case of Julian Assange, founder of the whistle-blower group WikiLeaks.

The government of Ecuador has granted Assange – who is now living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London – asylum and permission to move to Ecuador, where he will be free to continue to fight extradition charges to Sweden that might end up placing him in the hands of the US government.   Members of the US Government – Republicans and Democrats – have branded Assange and his supporters everything from “terrorists” to “a clear and present danger to America” who should be prosecuted under the draconian Espionage Act of 1917 , which has been used to imprison US activists and politicians who opposed the military draft during wartime.  One of the act’s first victims was Eugene Debs, one of the founders of the International Workers of the World (IWW) , who had broken the law by making a speech in Canton, Ohio in 1918 in which he “urg[ed] resistance to the military draft.  This was not a crime, but an act of heroic defense of the interests of the working class internationally; nevertheless, the US government obtained a conviction and sentenced him to 10 years in prison, 5 of which he served.   So much for the US’ vaunted Bill of Rights and “Freedom of Speech”!  When push comes to shove, the Bill of Rights isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, especially when the US capitalist class has war profiteering on its mind!  In wartime especially – and remember, the “War on Terror” is a war that will never end – the “Bill of Rights” gets run through a shredder and wall-to-wall censorship becomes the order of the day.

The Obama administration has unleashed the Justice Dept. bloodhounds to track down whistleblowers at all costs in order to keep the worlds largest closet full of skeletons locked up tight. The Democrats – who like to call themselves the “friends of labor” – thus expose themselves once again to the entire world as being actually among the greatest enemies of labor, not just in the US but internationally!

Assange is in an extremely difficult position, as he has been facetiously indicted by Swedish authorities with various sex crimes under circumstances that clearly indicate that the charges are being made as part of a concerted effort to crush Wikileaks by imprisoning its founder on false charges.    He was in the UK fighting his extradition to Sweden on multiple grounds and due to the strong belief  – shared by many human rights lawyers – that the Swedish charges are simply a pretext to bring Assange to Sweden, at which time Sweden will turn him over to US authorities, who wish to prosecute Assange – an Australian national – under US espionage laws.  The US government has been howling for Assange’s blood for years, furious at him and his organization for repeatedly exposing US corporate crimes as well as US military war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.   Wikileaks’ release of over 250,000 secret emails from the US State Department as well as their publication of the leaked Afghan and Iraq War Logs, the distribution via Internet of a US Defense Department video of a US helicopter crew slaughtering civilians in Iraq, all aroused US government hatred and the allegation that the documents and video were “stolen” by former US Army intelligence operative Bradley Manning (who is now being held by the US military under conditions that amount to torture) and handed over to Wikileaks, in violation of US law.

As representatives of the working class of the world, we see these cases differently: “stealing” secret US government documents – which are kept secret only in order to hide the true nature of the hypocrisy and savagery of the US government from the working class of the United States – and publicly exposing them to the light of day is a tremendous service to the working class internationally and especially in the US.  We do not see this as a crime, we see it as a heroic act of solidarity with the working class against the bloodthirsty US capitalist class and their bought-and-paid-for government.  The phoniness of the US’ sham “democracy” is nowhere better illustrated than in the texts of the State Department cables, where candid “secret” US government assessments of the US governments “allies” around the globe are exposed as showing the vast gulf that exists between the US’ government’s public statements and what the denizens of “Foggy Bottom” really think.  Exposing the duplicity of US “diplomats” who hide the bloody designs of the US ruling capitalist class behind velvety phrases created to blind the workers of the world to the true nature of US imperialism is a revolutionary act of heroism that might save the lives of millions of workers caught in the cross-hairs of – or economically drafted directly into the service of – the US war machine!

Likewise, WikiLeaks’ acquisition and public display of the US war crimes video dubbed “Collateral Murder” tears the mask off the State Department’s obscene claim that the United States’ military invasion and occupation of Iraq is intended to bring “democracy” to the people of Iraq.  This video clearly shows the typical depravity of US soldiers after years of brainwashing by the US Military into believing that all Iraqis are “the enemy” and can be slaughtered with impunity.  It shows how just a few years in the US military can turn a nice 18 year old youth into a murderous thug who kills men, women and children as if they were just animated figures in a video game.

The Independent Workers Party calls on the workers of the world to defend WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and all the brave people who seek to expose the vast and sordid history of US War Crimes and the US capitalist class’ systematic robbery and mass murder of workers all over the world.  Protests should immediately be called to march to the UK’s embassies wherever they exist and to make clear the outrage the workers of the world feel at seeing the UK government’s brutal attacks on Mr. Assange and their flagrant flouting of international law by outrageously stating their intent to storm the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in order to seize Mr. Assange and deport him to Sweden.

This entire case shows how far the supposedly hallowed “rights” of “freedom of speech” actually protect a citizen of a capitalist country like England or the US.   Human rights in bourgeois democracies like these only exist so long as the people exercising their rights do not come into direct conflict with the basic functioning of the capitalist system.  The moment a worker goes out on strike or starts to oppose military recruitment – or even tries to tell the truth about what is being done secretly by a capitalist government in the name of the citizens of that nation – it’s “goodbye “Bill of Rights”, hello jail!” – or worse.

This is why we must organize a working class party here in the US to create a coherent movement that fights against every attempt by the capitalist class to revoke even the smallest shred of the Bill of Rights.  The attempt by successive US governments – led by Republicans and Democrats – to gag whistleblowers who heroically fight to get the truth out to the world about what horrible crimes are being committed by US corporations and the US government must be fought by the working class of the US with all our might.  Today they attack Julian Assange and Bradley Manning and their supporters – tomorrow they will come after you, and your friends and your supporters!  Your unions!  Your political organizations!  This might look to you, today, to be “someone else’s fight”; but if you allow yourselves to be fooled into believing that, you can be assured that tomorrow, it will be YOUR ASS that will be in the sling!

Workers of the World, Unite!  UK, US Government hands off Julian Assange and WikiLeaks!  Free Bradley Manning!

IWPCHI