Julian Assange & Diplomatic Immunity


Julian Assange is a warrior for freedom of expression. But for the past two months, freedom of movement is something that has evaded him. The Wikileaks founder has been holed up---essentially imprisoned---- in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, England. Last week, Ecuador granted him full asylum. And now it's steeped in a diplomatic tussel with Britain. Today, we talk about the tricky maneuvering of diplomacy.

Today's guest host was Piya Chattopadhyay.

Part One of The Current


It's Wednesday, August 22nd.

The American government continues to lay the groundwork to charge Julian Assange and have him extradited to the U.S.

Currently, it's unknown whether Assange will retaliate by releasing Mitt Romney's tax records.

This is The Current.

Julian Assange & Diplomatic Immunity - Former British Diplomat

We started this segment with a clip from Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaking from the balcony of Ecuador's embassy in London, England -- the man largely responsible for state secrets seeing the light of day -- seeing a rare bit of daylight himself. As far as Ecuador's concerned, Assange is safe from extradition by virtue of being granted political asylum by the South American country.

As far as Sweden's concerned, he should be compelled to be sent there to face allegations of sexual assault. As for Britain, there's a lively debate underway over whether the British government has the legal right to remove Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy and extradite him to Sweden ... and over what Britain's next move will be. On Friday, the Organization of American States will meet to discuss the Assange matter.

Charles Crawford is a former British diplomat who served as British ambassador in Sarajevo, Belgrade and Warsaw. He is now a consultant on negotiations techniques. We reached him at his home in Bampton, England.

Julian Assange & Diplomatic Immunity - Legal Adviser to Assange

Well our next guest does think that politics, and not sexual misconduct, is driving the tussle over Julian Assange's fate. Michael Ratner is a legal adviser to Julian Assange. He is also president emeritus of the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights. We reached him at his home in New York City.

Julian Assange & Diplomatic Immunity - Former Ambassador to Ecuador

Well, David Adam has firsthand experience in navigating treacherous diplomatic waters. He was a Canadian diplomat posted to the Chilean capital of Santiago ... when General Augusto Pinochet overthrew the government of President Salvador Allende in 1973.

Despite orders from Ottawa to turn Chilean asylum seekers away, he and another young diplomat broke the rules and hatched a plan to hide almost 20 Chileans and arrange their safe passage to Canada.

David Adam also served as the Canadian ambassador to Ecuador from 1995-1998 and ambassador to Panama from 2002-2008. Today he was in Ottawa.

This segment was produced by The Current's Shannon Higgins and Pedro Sanchez.

Other segment from today's show:

The Ocean Ranger Disaster : Documentary Repeat

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