Will President Trump Free Julian Assange?

The former British ambassador to Cuba, Paul Webster Hare, wants the British police to invade the Ecuadorian embassy and ferret out Julian Assange – in the name of preserving diplomacy:

“The Ecuadorians have partially cut Assange’s access to the Internet – perhaps until after the election. But that will not solve the problem.

“Now the U.K. legal authorities have to decide whether the precedents Assange has set in handling “stolen” property while residing in a diplomatic mission is sufficient reason to rescind temporarily the inviolable status of Ecuador’s mission.”

In the Bizarro World we live in today, invading the inviolable territory of an embassy is “diplomacy pushing back,” as Ambassador Hare puts it. He goes on to burble: “It’s time for diplomacy to reassert itself in a world that seems increasingly willing to reject consensus-building in favor of stoking nationalist fervor.”

Whatever that means.

So what, exactly, is the rationale for invading what is legally Ecuadorian territory? According to Hare, WikiLeaks has been picking on the United States exclusively, and so it doesn’t really qualify as an advocate of transparency:

To have an impact, transparency must be applied to every state – not used to bludgeon just one. If it wants to be valued as a window into duplicitous diplomacy, then WikiLeaks should probe the communications of all states.”

Where has the Ambassador been since 2008? As The New Yorker pointed out:

“In December, 2006, WikiLeaks posted its first document: a ‘secret decision,’ signed by Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, a Somali rebel leader for the Islamic Courts Union, that had been culled from traffic passing through the Tor network to China. The document called for the execution of government officials by hiring ‘criminals’ as hit men.”

Assange followed that up by exposing how Kenyan leader Daniel arap Moi had looted his own country. That year, everything from illegal activities engaged in by Cayman Islands banks to the membership lists of the far-right British National Party found their way to the pages of WikiLeaks. The next year it released intercepted phone conversations that exposed the role played by Peruvian politicians who enriched themselves in the “Petrogate” scandal. The first news of a major nuclear accident at the Iranian nuclear facility at Natanz was revealed by WikiLeaks. That year also featured a number of other revelations involving governments other than that of the United States, but let’s move on to some of the major ones in subsequent years: in 2012, WikiLeaks published the Syria files, a compendium of millions of emails sent and received by Syrian government officials and state-owned companies: in 2015, WikiLeaks published the Saudi cables, consisting of thousands of emails, cables, and memoranda by Saudi government officials.

There’s plenty more, but you get the idea. The Ambassador has his head so far up his ass that he can’t think straight. That’s why he’s able to write the following:

Assange’s actions, if not challenged, threaten core elements of diplomatic practice – like the right of diplomats to secure and unfettered communications – and could negatively impact how diplomacy is practiced around the world.”

What could “negatively impact how diplomacy is practiced around the world” more than the invasion of a country’s embassy by the host nation? Not even the Soviet Union and its Eastern European satellites undertook such an action: when Cardinal Josef Mindszenty was given asylum in the US embassy in Budapest after the crushing of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, he stayed there for fifteen years, and the Communists didn’t dare touch him. That’s because even they recognized that to violate the sanctity of an embassy would have catastrophic consequences – but not Ambassador Hare. And he has the nerve to invoke the virtues of “diplomacy”!

Hare goes on to speculate that the Ecuadorian government, whose president, Rafael Correa, supports Hillary Clinton and despises Donald Trump, may soon tire of its troublesome guest: like the slimeball he is, Hare says this is “a delicious irony.” One can imagine him licking his lips as he wrote this.

And it’s true: President Correa may very well kick Assange out into the street, where the British police have been waiting for years to grab him. Correa is no doubt eager to suck up to Hillary, whom he probably – and perhaps mistakenly – thinks is slated to occupy the White House. The heroic founder of WikiLeaks has never been in greater danger. After all, it’s been reported that Hillary has said: “Can’t we just drone this guy?” And I wouldn’t put it past her, but that may not be necessary.

The great irony is that, if Donald Trump is elected President, Assange may be home free. It’s not hard to imagine a Trump administration putting pressure on the Brits to let him leave the embassy and seek another safe haven – perhaps even the United States. After all, didn’t Trump declare “I love WikiLeaks!”?

We’re living in Bizarro World, where up is down, right is left, a diplomat argues against the inviolability of embassies, and a Republican presidential candidate is praising the man who has exposed the depredations of US imperialism around the world. Yes, it’s weird, but you know what? I kind of like it this way.

NOTES IN THE MARGIN

You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.

I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).

You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.

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Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo is editor-at-large at Antiwar.com, and a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He is a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and writes a monthly column for Chronicles. He is the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].