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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Assange and Trapwire (Updates)

(Because we're following an ongoing event, this story may be updated and/or revised throughout the night.) 

The Wikileaks founder is being given asylum in London's Ecuadorean embassy. Here's the livestream coverage from Occupynewsnetwork.

Update: There are four police vans surrounding the embassy, each carrying twelve officers.

At this moment, the Brits have threatened to storm the embassy.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Patiño released details of a letter he said was delivered through a British embassy official in Quito, the capital of the South American country.

The letter said: "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."
Chances are remote that Assange will be given protection for long. Assange's mother believes that the real motive power behind this outrage is the United States:
“What the US wants, the US gets from its allies, regardless of if it’s legal or if it’s ethical or in breach of human or legal rights,” she told reporters in Australia.
Here is the official Wikileaks statement on the threat to storm the Embassy:
In a communication this morning to the government of Ecuador, the UK threatened to forcefully enter the Ecuadorian embassy in London and arrest Julian Assange.

The UK claims the power to do so under the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987.

This claim is without basis.

By midnight, two hours prior to the time of this announcement, the embassy had been surrounded by police, in a menacing show of force.

Any transgression against the sanctity of the embassy is a unilateral and shameful act, and a violation of the Vienna Convention, which protects embassies worldwide.

This threat is designed to preempt Ecuador’s imminent decision on whether it will grant Julian Assange political asylum, and to bully Ecuador into a decision that is agreeable to the United Kingdom and its allies.

WikiLeaks condemns in the strongest possible terms the UK’s resort to intimidation.

A threat of this nature is a hostile and extreme act, which is not proportionate to the circumstances, and an unprecedented assault on the rights of asylum seekers worldwide.

We draw attention to the fact that the United Nations General Assembly has unanimously declared in Resolution 2312 (1967) that

"the grant of asylum. . . is a peaceful and humanitarian act and that, as such, it cannot be regarded as unfriendly by any other State."

Pursuant to this resolution, a decision to grant asylum cannot be construed by another State as an unfriendly act. Neither can there be diplomatic consequences for granting asylum.

We remind the public that these extraordinary actions are being taken to detain a man who has not been charged with any crime in any country.

WikiLeaks joins the Government of Ecuador in urging the UK to resolve this situation according to peaceful norms of conduct.

We further urge the UK government to show restraint, and to consider the dire ramifications of any violation of the elementary norms of international law.

We ask that the UK respect Ecuador’s sovereign right to deliver a decision of its own making on Julian Assange’s asylum bid.

Noting that Ecuador has called for emergency summits of OAS and UNASUR in response to this development, WikiLeaks asks those bodies to support Ecuador’s rights in this matter, and to oppose any attempts to coerce a decision.

We note with interest that this development coincides with the UK Secretary of State William Hague’s assumption of executive responsibilities during the vacation of the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.

Mr Hague’s department, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has overseen the negotiations to date with Ecuador in the matter of Mr Assange’s asylum bid.

If Mr Hague has, as would be expected, approved this decision, WikiLeaks calls for his immediate resignation.
Obviously, the Brits can't seriously expect us to believe that they are going to this kind of trouble just to make sure that Assange faces "sexual coercion" charges in Sweden. Everyone knows that the Swedish law is, by British and American standards, inane. In Sweden, "sexual coercion" is a legal term broad enough to include using soft music to seduce a woman. (Despite this, our media continue to claim falsely that Assange has been accused of rape.)

Nevertheless, the Brits are saying they intend to storm the embassy, in violation of all international norms, to uphold that nonsense. Stockholm will, no doubt, immediately turn Assange over the U.S., which hopes to imprison or impose a death sentence on someone who is not a citizen and who has broken no law.

Just as obviously, the sexual coercion charges were entirely trumped up. In an earlier post, I quoted a Swedish blog which described the accuser, Anna Ardin, as a zealot who uses the argot of feminism to justify their personal psychopathology. That rhetoric, I now believe, is pure theater. I think she took a payoff from Uncle Sam. This alleged left-wing feminist gave the game away when she hired a spooked-up law firm.

So what are Uncle Sam and Her Majesty's government protecting? Here's one answer: Trapwire.

Wikileaks has revealed a plan to use spy cameras in public places and facial recognition software to keep tabs on everyone everywhere, 24/7. As always, terrorism and pedophilia provide the big excuses for transforming our society into the proverbial Orwellian nightmare.
Some have expressed doubts that Trapwire could really forecast terrorist acts based on data from cameras, but Rik Ferguson, security consultant at Trend Micro, said the software for such systems had existed for some time.

"There's a lot of crossover between CCTV and facial recognition," he said. "It's feasible to have a camera looking for suspicious behaviour – for example, in a computer server room it could recognise someone via facial recognition or your gait, then can identify them from the card they swipe to get in, and then know whether it's suspicious if they're meant to be a cleaner and they sit down at a computer terminal."
Let's not be naive. Trapwire has nothing to do with "terrorism." Trapwire is all about preventing a "1789" reaction when your new Libertarian overlords take away Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance and the minimum wage.
Not just the U.K., Obama has a hand in this.
Yes probably.

Thing is Trapwire wont work. But that doesnt mean they wont implement it. It just means that they will break down your front door, shoot you in the head, and then announce you were a terrorist.

Case closed.

(part 1)

1) There are so many surveillance cameras in the UK that it is IMPOSSIBLE that there isn't already extremely widespread use of face recognition software. Otherwise there would be major information overload. Massive use isn't a plan. It's already here. (How come anyone can buy a mobile phone without giving ID in the UK?) Wikileaks may be the media flavour of the year, but puh-lease! - fingers in the ears when privacy experts bullshit about 'feasibility'.

2) How on earth did that absolutely ridiculous threat get made by British officials? Everyone knows it’s unlawful for a host state to storm an embassy except with the consent of the guest state. It's also unlawful for British police etc. to interfere with a diplomatic vehicle. There aren't two ways about this. It's not like O J Simpson's nostril hairs. If the Ecuadorean government wants to grant Assange asylum and get him out of the UK, and acts in certain ways to do so, the Brits would be breaking the Vienna Convention if they arrested him. End of story. The Daily Torygraph talk crap when they say the Brits could arrest him on the pavement between the embassy and the car. All the Ecuadoreans need do is put him in a cardboard box and call it a diplomatic bag. Put the box in the back of van. Drive to the steps of the aircraft. Exciting TV.

I've read the short stupid British Act that is referred to. It doesn't give the Brits the right to storm anyone's fucking embassy. No British law could do that. Don't newspaper readers understand stuff? This is being put out for propaganda reasons.

The note sounds as though it was written by some bureaucrat at a local council. "We remain committed to working with you amicably to resolve this matter"! That's definitely local council bully talk. And "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." Thanks for telling us you're sincere, guys! What are they going to do next, apologise for any inconvenience caused?

You'd expect someone drafting something for the Attorney General to have better language skills, wouldn't you? There may be an arms-length thing going on. Those poor bastards at the Foreign Office who are supposed to cultivate friendly relations with Quito (and elsewhere in Latin America)! If that embassy gets stormed, not one but several British embassies will be shut on that continent within days.
(part 2 follows)
(part 2)

3) The short-term propaganda reasons are presumably to ensure that the Ecuadorean government does grant Assange asylum. I will be amazed if the Ecuadorean authorities publicly eat British shit and say it tastes like custard.

4) Most TV-watchers enjoy a siege, and urban sieges of this kind can't go on for more than a short time, so they play well with the TV-watcher's attention span. But here in non-TV-land, it looks as though those propaganda reasons may not all be so ultra-short.

For all the lawyerly crap that gets spewed out by government figures in the UK and US, there has been an obvious move for more than 10 years towards pushing the message that the government's violent forces can do whatever the fuck they like, and if you don't like it, you can eat shit. Think Abu Graibh, think the murder of Saddam Hussein's sons and the plastering of images of their mutilated bodies all over the western media, the open use of torture, deportation to Guantanamo, etc. - actions and policies which are obviously criminal. Ditto the invasions of Iraq and Libya.

We don't like it? Well we can always collect stupid statistics, like good media followers, of how many airports have been used for 'rendition', or whether Lord Muck is doing a good job enquiring about some '45 minutes' propaganda or other, blah blah. The message is one of contempt: "Eat Shit, Punks". Asymmetric warfare, shock and awe. Let's not dignify it, for goodness sake.

This is how I interpret the threat to say you can shove the Vienna Convention the same place the US government tells the world to stick the Geneva Convention on POWs.

This doesn't say whether or not the British nutters will actually storm the embassy or not. Thuggish in-your-face criminal behaviour by governments seems to be becoming more of a rule than an exception. But bearing in mind the extensive British influence in South America, I'd guess that no embassy storming will occur in this instance. Maybe a good chance for people to turn off their TV sets?

5) Eva Gollinger is already on the case :-)

6) Both governments are playing to the TV. According to Russia Today, "Ecuador's foreign minister had previously indicated that the president would reveal his answer once the Olympic Games had concluded."
What was the purpose of the threat? It seems to draw more attention to Assange. It pushed Quito to make their decision earlier than planned, and may have tipped things in Assange's favor.

Ah! They want him sequestered under house arrest.

Et Voila !!

Got a link on Ardin's spooked up law firm?
I was right - Ecuador have granted Assange asylum.

There's bound to be a lot of expert-sounding piffle in the Brit media. It's going to be interesting to watch how far the string-pullers go with this. I don't think the British media have yet wondered why Britain doesn't ask Sweden for a guarantee that he wouldn't be bundled off to the US from Sweden.

Any tax haven link here by any chance? Just a thought.

I don't watch many moving pictures, but has anyone watched all the Assange shows on Russia Today?

Trapwire sounds like "Person Of Interest." Ok and let's do "Where Eagles Dare" with Assange as Cpl. Cartwright.
lambert: Her lawyer is Thomas Bodstrom, whose CIA connections are clear and on the record.

There are lots of lawyers in Sweden. The fact that she picked THAT guy tells you all you need to know.
I think Ardin's lawyer is Claes Borgstrom, who runs the firm with Thomas Bodstrom. Main point completely sound though!

Gotta wonder what Assange was doing, breathing the same air as Ardin.

After Denial of Service attack Craig Murray weighs in.



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