ACCORDING to William Hague, the Tory Foreign Minister and Acting Prime Minister, Britain has a ‘legal obligation’ to extradite Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to Sweden, from where he will be extradited to the US.
To fulfil this ‘legal obligation’, Hague and the government are prepared to storm the Ecuadorian embassy in London which has provided refuge for Assange since June.
They are prepared to rip up and trample all over the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations which lays down the inviolability of foreign embassies from interference by the host nations – a convention that is accepted by every country in the world.
The threat was contained in a letter delivered to Ecuador’s Foreign Minister, Ricardo Patino, over the weekend which threatened to ‘lift’ the embassy’s diplomatic status, which would open the way for the police to storm in and seize Assange and bundle him on a plane to Sweden where he faces allegations, not charges, of sexual misconduct.
Everyone knows that Sweden would just be a temporary stopover for the real destination, America.
Patino angrily denounced this threat to invade the embassy saying ‘we are not a colony of Britain’. Ecuador is not a colony of Britain, but Britain is definitely a vassal state of the US.
So desperate are they to satisfy US imperialism, Hague and Co are willing to take action that will put every British embassy into the firing line.
Assange’s ‘crime’ was the Wikileaks publication in 2010 of hundreds of thousands of top secret US diplomatic cables that exposed the brutality, the blood lust, the barbarity, hypocrisy and cynicism of US imperialism and its allies.
The alleged source of these documents, serving US soldier Bradley Manning, has been held in military prison since May 2010 under conditions described by his lawyer as being tantamount to torture – kept in solitary confinement in a small cell and when not sleeping not allowed to lie down or even rest against a wall.
Manning faces a possible death sentence or at least life imprisonment and this is the future for Assange if the US authorities get their hands on him.
The hounding of Assange is clearly designed to act as a deterrent to any future leakers of imperialism’s dirty secrets while wreaking vengeance on a man and his organisation who stood up and exposed the murderous and criminal activities of the US government.
To achieve this, Hague is prepared to break international conventions in a way that has never been done before.
All his claims that new laws introduced in the wake of the siege of the Libyan embassy give Britain the right to invade the Ecuadorian embassy are nonsense – the Vienna Convention takes precedence over this national law.
When the Chinese dissident, Chen Guangcheng, sought refuge in the US embassy to escape house arrest last April, it never occurred to the Chinese authorities to invade and seize him – if they had, the US government would have regarded it as an act of war.
But it is perfectly OK for Britain to invade Ecuador’s embassy to seize a man who faces no charges in this country and who was released without charge originally in Sweden by the public prosecutor who ruled he had no case to answer – that is until the US government leaned heavily on them.
Assange and Wikileaks are heroes for their exposure of imperialism’s crimes. Workers in Britain and throughout the world must demand that he be freed and the real criminals – the leaders of US and British imperialism – be put on trial for their crimes against the people of the world.