The Russians Say that #SpecialMilitaryOperations are Illegal Under International Law
And that Canada must stop them
Porn food? Who knew?
Don’t look now, but the Russian Federation has declared #SpecialMilitaryOperations are illegal under international law. Unfortunately, the genocidal motherfuckers aren’t talking about their own operation in Ukraine. They’re talking about my #SpecialMilitaryOperation—in Canada.
Yes, the Putinistas have publicly articulated their legal theory regarding why democratic governments should prevent peaceful protests against their embassies using lasers.
The occasion was the Ottawa police’s consideration of #SpecialMilitaryOperation: Return to Ottawa, about which Eve Gaumond and I wrote in some detail last night. The matter of the Ottawa police’s denial of a permit to a local protest group to host #LordLaser and me this weekend received a fair bit of attention in Canadian media this morning.
In particular, the estimable Alisdair Steele of CBC News penned this detailed story about the controversy, which included the following very interesting statement from the Russian embassy on the matter:
On Wednesday, the Russian embassy in Ottawa told CBC it had learned of the planned demonstration via Facebook, and had not received any warning from either the city or OPS.
The embassy said it had sent letters to both Global Affairs Canada and the diplomatic security division of the RCMP about the event.
"We have expressed a deep concern regarding a possible provocation and noted that laser light could cause harm to health of the Embassy employees, in particular, their eyesight," the embassy wrote.
"The Embassy expects that relevant Canadian authorities take necessary measures within Canada's international obligations under the articles 22 and 29 of 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations."
Global Affairs Canada did not respond Wednesday to questions from CBC about the protest.
This is, to my knowledge, the first time the Russian government has articulated publicly that it regards it as the obligation under international law of countries that host its embassies to prevent light—or at least laser—protests against them.
I have assumed that the Russians have filed diplomatic complaints about my activities in Washington—and, of course, Secret Service personnel have repeatedly been summoned to the embassy in D.C. in response to Russian complaints. And I’ve always assumed that the basis for these complaints was article 22 of the Vienna Convention—especially because law enforcement in both Sweden and Finland specifically cited article 22 as the basis for their unwillingness to let me project against embassy buldings.
But I was surprised to see article 29 in here—and actually had to look it up.
Article 22(2) reads:
The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity.
Article 29, in turn, protects the embassy personnel, as opposed to its buildings:
The person of a diplomatic agent shall be inviolable. He shall not be liable to any form of arrest or detention. The receiving State shall treat him with due respect and shall take all appropriate steps to prevent any attack on his person, freedom or dignity.
The Russian government’s position thus appears to be that while it conducts war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine and while it holds more than 20,000 Ukrainian children—having illegally deported many of them from their homeland—while it engages in an aggressive war, and while it illegally annexed territory acquired by force, Canada and the other countries in which I have conducted #SpecialMilitaryOperations are obliged to prevent the “impairment of [the] dignity” of its embassy by means of light projection and to protect against the grave threat to the eyesight and “dignity” of its “diplomatic agents” posed by lasers aimed at buildings.
I responded to this claim in this interview with the CBC this morning:
It being Thursday, it’s Bulwark Podcast day. Actually, that was yesterday, Thursday having taken place on Wednesday this week, but I forgot to post it on yesterday’s dog shirt because it was Wednesday, not Thursday.
It being Thursday, it’s also Trump Trials and Tribulations Day:
Also an interesting day on the Lawfare Podcast: Anna Bower and I sat down with Kenneth Chesebro’s defense team in advance of his coming trial in Fulton County. It’s a good conversation—well worth your time:
The #BeastMaster baton having been duly passed back to me, I want to begin today’s #BeastOfTheDay segment by expressing warm thanks to Paul Rosenzweig for a veritable beastly safari over the last couple of weeks.
Today’s #BeastOfTheDay, however, is the sea lions of La Jolla, California—with whom I have spent many hours on a beach that is now closed by the city because too many people spent too much time getting too close to too many sea lions.
A popular San Diego beach has long been the domain of sea lions, which for years tolerated their human onlookers — some more respectful than others.
But tensions escalated this summer, when two large males charged ashore, sending a crowd of beachgoers scrambling for their clothes and stumbling over rocks to escape. A lifeguard urged people to give the animals space. “They have bit people,” he warned, “and they are protected animals.”
Last week, the city made it official: Point La Jolla is not for the people.
The resolution, passed unanimously by the San Diego City Council, follows months of debate regarding the beloved beach just north of La Jolla Cove; the rocky stretch is popular with spear fishermen and body surfers and is home to a rookery of 100 to 200 sea lions. But in recent years, social media posts bragging about close encounters with the animals have drawn throngs of tourists, who have increasingly encroached on the animals’ space.
I like sea lions. I like watching them on this beach on which I took the video below back in 2019. But I have to say that it’s positively idiotic to approach a large male sea lion. They are big. They are really strong. They are not especially friendly.
And now they have the beach to themselves.
And they are the #BeastOfTheDay:
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