CRAIG MURRAY: We should not forget what this is about. This is about the persecution of an individual who has made life much more simple and more productive for whistleblowers in the Information Age and in an age when, as Western governments become increasingly authoritarian and civil liberties are diminished, we need whistleblowers more than ever to protect the rights of all of us.
We have heard of areas where WikiLeaks has been active, not only the prosecution of illegal war in Iraq, but the revealing of individual war crimes carried out within that war, the targeting of people for assassination throughout the world and the collusion of governments of different stripes in that targeting for torture and rendition of individuals.
Now consider this. I blew the whistle on torture and extraordinary rendition and the collusion of the CIA and MI6. I was in consequence immediately charged with extortion for sexual purposes and blackmailing people into sex in exchange for British visas. It took me one and a half years to clear my name of those charges because they routinely charge and try to defame and beat up whistleblowers, and that is what is happening to Julian Assange just as it happened to me.
I shared a platform across the United States with a very brave lady, Brigadier Janis Karpinski, who was the senior woman in the United States Army. She blew the whistle on the fact that she had seen documents signed personally by Donald Rumsfeld authorizing the torture at Abu Ghraib. The very next day she was charged with shoplifting.
I could name five or six examples straight away of individual whistleblowers who are always immediately charged with offenses which don’t relate to whistleblowing at all. Because in the United States and the United Kingdom and apparently Sweden today, just as it used to always happen in authoritarian and totalitarian countries, dissidents are not charged with political offenses, they are fitted up with criminal offenses. That is the state our society has come to.
How likely is it, how likely is it that when I was engaged in a bitter struggle, an internal struggle with my own government who were trying to sack me over the use of torture and I was trying to prevent the use of torture, did I then think, “Oh, that’s a good idea. I’ll go and bed someone tomorrow while I am in the middle of this.” Was Julian Assange, while conducting the campaign of WikiLeaks, so distracted he decided to get into incidental and coincidental criminal activity? Did Donald Rumsfeld get outed as the man who authorized torture by Janis Karpinski just for her to think the very next day she would pop out and do a bit of shoplifting?
NO. Only our disgustingly complacent and spoon-fed mainstream media would accept such a narrative for one single moment. It is obviously nonsense to anybody with half a brain.
Now then, let me come to William Hague. William Hague told us that when he was a student he used to drink 14 pints of beer a day. I tell you something, he must have drunk 28 pints the day he decided to threaten to illegally invade the embassy of Ecuador and violate Ecuadorean national territory.
The Vienna Convention is absolutely plain. The Vienna Convention of 1961 is the single most subscribed international treaty in existence, and it states in Article 22, Section 1, that the diplomatic premises of an embassy are inviolable. Full stop. Are inviolable. You cannot invade the embassy of another country. As Tariq rightly said, there were times when I sheltered Uzbek citizens from their government within the confines of the British embassy in Uzbekistan. Even during the height of the tensions of the Cold War, the opposing parties never entered each other’s embassies to abduct a dissident. The fact that William Hague now openly threatens the Ecuadoreans with the invasion of their sovereign premises is one further example of the total abandonment of the very concept of international law by the neoconservative juntas that are currently ruling the former Western democracies.
I pointed the Vienna Convention to you. The law that applies within the embassy of Ecuador is the law of Ecuador. When I served for over 20 years as a British diplomat, if I’d ever murdered my ambassador in the embassy, and there were times I was tempted, that would have been prosecuted under UK law and it would have been these gentlemen from the Metropolitan Police who would have come out to the British embassy to investigate the crime that had taken place on British soil. And I tell you this, in international law and in Ecuadorean law, whatever British domestic legislation may say, if the Metropolitan Police enter the premises of the Ecuadorean embassy, they are subject to Ecuadorean law, and they are committing a crime under Ecuadorean law for which those individual policemen are quite likely liable to prosecution.
And I can tell you something else for certain, the position I’ve just outlined for the invasion of a diplomatic premises is a crime in international law and a crime in the state whose premises are invaded. That is the position which is taken by virtually every country in the world, and it is a crime which is eminently extraditable. So any policeman who forcibly enters the premises of the embassy of Ecuador will find himself liable for extradition to Ecuador as soon as he leaves the United Kingdom.
Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you all for coming here to listen. I thank deeply from my heart those of you who have come to support Julian Assange and support his continuing struggle for freedom and to support the continuing cause of whistleblowing and revealing that which government does not want you to know. We are here today for freedom. Here we stand. We thank the Ecuadorean government for their support, and we stand with Julian Assange. Thank you very much.