Archive for UK
The United Nations has ruled that Assange is being “illegally detained” by British and Swedish authorities. But the Trump administration took action against Assange this week, that go far beyond anything done by the Obama administration. As reported by Australian news outlet SBS, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made the arrest of Assange “a top priority.” In response to a question about Assange, Sessions said that every effort will be made to ensure that Assange ends up in jail. Jeff Sessions comments come in the wake of WikiLeaks publication of material from a leak of CIA intelligence files. Given the damage that the WikiLeaks revelations can do to the reputation of the U.S. establishment and to the CIA, it is no surprise to see that CIA director Mike Pompeo has lashed out at WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange. According to CBS News, Pompeo has called WikiLeaks a “hostile intelligence service.” Jeff Sessions and Mike Pompeo, have made it clear that Assange is one of their top priorities. They have also made it clear that it will not be safe for Assange to leave London’s Ecuadorian Embassy. Given that the UN have already declared that Assange is illegally detained, it could be argued that Sessions and the CIA have imposed a sentence of life imprisonment within the Ecuadorian Embassy.
A 3-month-old was ‘questioned’ by officials at the American embassy in London after his grandfather accidentally described him as a terrorist in a US visa form. Harvey Kenyon-Cairns was all set to fly to Florida for his first holiday with his family when he was summoned to the United States embassy. According to The Guardian, the baby’s grandfather, Paul Kenyon, quickly realised he had made a mistake while filling out a visa form on his behalf that led to the bizarre situation. The Daily Mail reports that when filling out the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) immigration forms needed to enter the US, Mr Kenyon accidentally ticked ‘Yes’ instead of ‘No’ in response to the following question: “Do you seek to engage in or have you ever engaged in terrorist activities, espionage, sabotage, or genocide?” The family was forced to make a 10-hour round-trip journey from their home in Poynton, Cheshire, to the US embassy in London so officials could interview young Harvey. “I couldn’t believe that they couldn’t see it was a genuine mistake and that a three-month-old baby would be no harm to anyone,” his grandfather told The Guardian. “I went down with him and his mum and took him in for the interview, but he can’t even speak as he’s so young,” the Daily Mail quoted Mr Kenyon saying. “Baby Harvey was good as gold for the interview and never cried once. I thought about taking him along in an orange jumpsuit, but thought better of it,” said Mr Kenyon. “They didn’t appear to have a sense of humour over it at all and couldn’t see the funny side. The mix-up led to baby Harvey, his mother and her partner missing their flights to the US. Mr Kenyon said they paid an additional 3,000 pounds to re-book the airline tickets. The 62-year-old described the incident as a “very expensive mistake.” The US embassy in London is yet to comment on the incident.
Britain’s relationship with Russia is the worst it has ever been, Moscow’s top diplomat in the UK has warned. Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko last night attacked No 10 for ‘raising tensions in Europe’ by deploying 800 troops to Estonia – part of Nato’s eastern flank. The Kremlin’s man in London said ministers were guilty of hostility, and that ties between the two countries had plummeted to an all-time low. In an escalation of Moscow’s rhetoric, he said there was no longer any ‘bilateral relationship of substance’. He added that the UK’s actions recently had been ‘provocative’ and even ‘outright ridiculous’. Mr Yakovenko’s remarks, which strike a more pessimistic tone than he has before, will deeply concern British officials.
A video of Russia’s Deputy Ambassador to the UN Vladimir Safronkov furiously reprimanding a British diplomat on Wednesday is making headlines. During a discussion on Syria at the UN Security Council, Deputy Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov snapped at British envoy Matthew Rycroft, saying: “Look at me while I’m talking to you.” The outburst came ahead of a vote on a Syria resolution which Russia vetoed. “Don’t turn away your eyes! Look at me! Why are you averting your eyes?” added the Russian diplomat. News website RT reported that the Russian diplomat used the familiar form of the word “you,” usually reserved for talking to friends and children not for addressing senior international public servants.
If you want evidence of how technology has made diplomacy less diplomatic and information warfare less subtle, take a look at @RussianEmbassy, the Twitter account of the Russian Embassy in London. In recent years, the account has gained global fame for its sardonic tweets. Generally, these messages seemed less about projecting Moscow’s policies abroad and more about criticizing the apparent hypocrisy of the United States and Europe. And despite a relatively modest 51,000 followers, tweets from the account often go viral. The account borrows its tactics from Twitter trolls — repurposing crude memes from Reddit, 4chan and other dark corners of the Internet to make a point and tagging Western journalists to ensure the message is spread. It seems like a new strand of public diplomacy but not necessarily one run by young diplomats. The Guardian reported this week that the author of some of the more controversial messages is suspected to be Deputy Ambassador Alexander Kramarenko, a 65-year-old who posts erudite discussions of Gogol on his personal Facebook page. The Russian Embassy declined to comment on the accusation, suggesting instead that the account was a “collaborative effort.”
A fire broke out in a residential building in Dubai’s Bur Dubai area near the British embassy on Thursday afternoon. The operations room of the Dubai Civil Defence received information of the incident around 3.21 pm, after which emergency vehicles were pressed into action. Dozens of residents, many of them women and children, were evacuated, even as firefighters battled to extinguish the fire. The fire started on the first floor of the building and one flat was gutted.
Terror group Boko Haram had aimed to attack the UK ans US embassies in Nigeria’s capital city Abuja. Nigerian security forces revealed the prevented the ISIS-linked militants from carrying out deadly assaults on the foreign offices. The Department of State Services said five suspects have now been arrested over the plot. DSS official Tony Opuiyo said the alleged Boko Haram members were based in Benue State and the Federal Capital Territory between March 25 and 26. He said in a statement: “The group had perfected plans to attack the UK and American Embassies and other western interests in Abuja.”