Julian Assange Ecuador Asylum: Journalist Dominates State Department Spokesperson on US Hypocrisy

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?”


How much do you trust the information in this article?

Michael Youhana

Writer interested in US foreign policy whose articles have been featured in various outlets including The Nation and The Jerusalem Report magazines, and, of course, on PolicyMic

MORE FROM

Warrant suggests Justine Damond may have slapped police cruiser before she was fatally shot

The officers involved in the shooting remain on paid administrative leave.

House passes new sanctions against Russia by an enormous margin

The bill also places limits on Trump’s power to ease or end penalties against Russia.

Paul Manafort is meeting with Senate investigators. Here’s what we know about his Russia ties.

Paul Manafort has Russia links dating back more than 10 years.

Yes, Donald Trump can fire Robert Mueller. Here’s how he can do it.

It's a complicated process, and it could get messy, but he can do it.

Charlie Gard’s parents say they want to take their son home to die

The parents are returning to court to fight for their right to take their son home.

Vatican shuts off historic fountains in the midst of devastating drought

Officials say it's the first time they can recall ever shutting off the Vatican's fountains.

Warrant suggests Justine Damond may have slapped police cruiser before she was fatally shot

The officers involved in the shooting remain on paid administrative leave.

House passes new sanctions against Russia by an enormous margin

The bill also places limits on Trump’s power to ease or end penalties against Russia.

Paul Manafort is meeting with Senate investigators. Here’s what we know about his Russia ties.

Paul Manafort has Russia links dating back more than 10 years.

Yes, Donald Trump can fire Robert Mueller. Here’s how he can do it.

It's a complicated process, and it could get messy, but he can do it.

Charlie Gard’s parents say they want to take their son home to die

The parents are returning to court to fight for their right to take their son home.

Vatican shuts off historic fountains in the midst of devastating drought

Officials say it's the first time they can recall ever shutting off the Vatican's fountains.