Having already become a pariah internationally through its disastrous interference in other countries, America has now become a laughing-stock at home in the eyes of the world. On 31 August 2017 the FBI turned its campaign to softer domestic targets – the Russian diplomatic compounds in Washington and the US Consulate in San Francisco – in order to conduct ‘searches’ there. When they find nothing, as with their ‘investigations’ of alleged Russian ‘hacking’ and ‘invasions’, they will no doubt plant some fake ‘evidence’. One video posted on RT showed a man climbing a ladder to check whether there was anything hidden inside a ventilation system! It is farcical.
Washington is now operating in full Soviet-style dictatorship mode under the auspices of the US State Department, revealing its modus operandi as a flagrant violation of the basic norms and principles of international law by closing the Russian Consulate and Trade Mission in San Francisco and its two annexes in Washington and New York on 31 August 2017, and by even invading and searching the private homes of diplomatic staff.
These actions are a blatant violation of Articles 22 and 24 of the Vienna Convention (1) on Diplomatic Relations, which is incorporated in the United Nations Treaty Series, Vol. 500. (2) This agreement, formally signed by the US, is fundamental to the conduct of foreign relations and ensures that diplomats can conduct their duties without threat of influence or interference. It is universally called the principle of ‘diplomatic immunity’. Former MI5 intelligence officer Annie Machon put it precisely: “The international law lays it down really clearly. The 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations says that any diplomatic and affiliated premises in a foreign country are inviolable (3); and any incursion on that territory is therefore seen as an attack on the country that is hosting that diplomatic mission.” She describes it as a parade of power to reassert America’s global dominion. Russia’s RT website called it “illegal, meaningless clownery” (4).
Whatever became of Trump’s promise to improve relations with Russia? Instead, America has now begun to treat Russians and Russian property in the US in a manner reminiscent of Nazi Germany’s treatment of the Jews. In an overseas context too, America used neo-Nazis to overthrow the democratically elected government of Ukraine, and is still training them, and refused (with Ukraine and Canada) to sign the UN anti-Nazism declaration of November 2014 (5). Hillary Clinton bizarrely attempted to compare President Putin with Hitler, while Russia did more than any other country to eliminate Hitler and Nazism in the Great Patriotic War and still celebrates that triumph on 9 May every year as its most important secular holiday – the Day of Victory (День Побе́ды).
Arthur Noble is Emeritus Professor of German at two European universities. He has published books in German, English and French and contributed numerous articles to academic periodicals. He writes regularly for the British Church Newspaper on current affairs and is an active musician.
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