In a last bid attempt toÂ preventÂ Ecuador giving political asylum to Julian Assange Mr Hague threatened to storm theÂ Ecuadorian embassy in London. Â The text of a letter sent by Mr Hague to the Ecuadorians read:
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.
This sounds like storming, though Hague after being exposed (no doubt the letter was not intended for public consumption) is now back-tracking. Honestly; this is more ineptness inÂ internationalÂ affairs. You don’t threaten to invade the embassy of another country because you disagree with an asylum decision. Â How backward. As theÂ EcuadoriansÂ said how uncivilised, how undemocratic. Â The sacking plan would involve using powers under the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987 for the government to de-classify a premises as an embassy.
That seems a little bit of overkill over someone who is wanted under a European Arrest warrant for questioning in connection with a charge in Sweden of ‘minor rape’ which, if he is charged, would carry aÂ maximumÂ sentenceÂ of 4 years. As Hague was at pains to assure us today that is all this is about, nothing to do with America orÂ Wiki Leaks. Whether or not we would normally threaten to sack the Embassy of another nation over a single petty offender is of course doubtful.
Your reporter visited the Embassy today and saw an intense policeÂ presence, far more than was necessary to contain the 20 or so demonstrators. He saw about 10 go into the building in which the Embassy has its offices and was informed by an eye-witness that perhaps another 20 had gone inÂ earlierÂ in the day. While he was there a chopper buzzed the building about 8 times. Clearly a message is being sent to Mr Assange. Clearly this is not just about a European ArrestÂ warrantÂ in connection withÂ relativelyÂ minor (4 years) sexual offences.