Thursday, 16 August 2012

extra-territoriality or diplomatic cul-de-sac

Despite the fact that they risk contravening the Vienna Conventions, and duly arbitrated international treaties always trump the local laws and policies of their signatories, authorities in the UK stand poised to forcibly take Wikileaks founder Julian Assange into custody and won’t allow him to simply leave the Ecuadorian mission, despite the country’s decision to extend him sanctuary and safe passage.

Ostensibly, the police want to enforce an international warrant calling for Assange’s extradition on behalf of the Swedish court to answer for charges—though the case is seemingly becoming not such a foregone conclusion, the plaintiffs having changed their stories several times. Rather than motivated to uphold relations (especially since Britain is threatening to infringe on Ecuador’s diplomatic license), it seems that the Foreign Office is either acting out of revenge or in thrall to American designs on the gad-fly. The US is not beyond courting an ambassadorial incident, especially if it can be affected by proxy. Assange fled because he feared that there was the very real possibility that he would be delivered up to the Americans, and apparently the Ecuadorian government agreed with that assessment.
This situation is tense and makes for a complicated Venn diagram of exclaves and enclaves, whose respect is dabbled with at everyone’s peril, and a complex triangulation, wherein all the factors are not known: Assange merited the wrath of the State Department by releasing caches (with the help of others) of dirty-laundry indiscriminately but specifically the gossip committed to paper of the embassy-set, having since disclosed that there would be more damning revelations to come, distributed freely but under the lock and key of his life-lines, insurance policy and the UK has already, I believe, shown its hand and revealed outside pressures by threatening and overstepping what is accorded to Ecuador and the aim is extraordinary rendition to the US. The exposure of Wikileaks purposed to help put an end to such opaque and secret negotiations, and Quito’s stand with transparency ought to be defended and praised.