The Organization of American States (OAS) will hold a meeting this Friday concerning “the inviolability of diplomatic missions of all members of [the] organisation.”
The meeting was called in response to Britain’s effective threat to storm the embassy of Ecuador in London last week in order to arrest Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder who has been granted asylum there while facing an extradition order to Sweden. A characteristically belligerent United States and Canada shamefully voted against meeting on Friday. However, the two North American countries -- along with Trinidad and Tobago -- were overwhelmingly defeated by the 23 OAS member states that voted in favor of the conference.State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, attempted to justify the U.S. decision to vote against holding the meeting in the video below, though not without struggling to answer a series of questions posed by a delightfully confrontational AP journalist named Matthew Lee. Lee's insistent probing reveals the shallow nature of the State Department’s defense, and his exchange with the State Department's spokeswoman is a reminder of the value of an assertive press.
The highlight of the back and forth undoubtedly follows Nuland’s assertion that Ecuador “is trying to gin up trouble” in the OAS over the Assange case.
Lee replies, “Well, in fact, what was going on in the OAS wasn’t really trying to ‘gin up trouble.’ It really didn’t have anything to do with the particulars of the Assange case.”
“It had to do with … the apparent threat that was made about revoking … the diplomatic status … of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London … and entering it.”
“You don’t think that the OAS … that a multilateral diplomatic body is an appropriate place to bring up, um, a question that deals … intrinsically with … diplomatic status and diplomatic immunity?”
Soon after Nuland responds, claiming that the U.S. doesn’t “see any role for the OAS in this” matter, Lee retorts, “I mean, I remember that you guys were all in favor of the OAS sticking up for you during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Why is it not the appropriate forum to say no it’s wrong for a country to threaten to remove – to raid a diplomatic property?”