Why Assange needs Ecuador and Ecuador needs Assange

(…..) President Rafael Correa recently appeared on Assange’s new television show, “The World Tomorrow,” which began broadcasting in April on R-TV, Russia’s state-funded English language channel. Assange introduced his guest by calling Correa “a transformative leader,” and pointed out that Correa expelled the U.S. ambassador after reports that a WikiLeaks State Department cable showed American ambassador was concerned about an allegedly corrupt high ranking police official. The cable, published by Spanish newspaper El Pais, said Rafael Correa was aware of corruption by police high command. The website of Assange’s TV show described it differently, saying the cable showed the U.S. “embassy exercising influence over members of the Ecuadorian police force.” “Your WikiLeaks has made us stronger!” Correa told Assange. Assange and Correa seemed to have a rapport, praising each other and at times laughing like old friends who shared inside jokes. Assange began the interview by asking Correa what he thinks of United States. Correa answered by accusing the U.S. of meddling in Ecuador’s police force, yet then said the countries have a relationship based on “affection and friendship.” Correa went on to say he lived in the U.S. for four years and got two academic degrees in the U.S. “I love and admire the American people a great deal,” he said. “The last thing I’d be is anti-American, but I will always call a spade a spade.” Later in the interview, Correa laughs about his decision not to renew the U.S. Southern Command’s lease of Eloy Alfaro Air Base in Manta, which ended U.S. occupancy of the base in 2009. Correa sarcastically suggested that he should be able to keep a base in Miami. “I’m enjoying your jokes a great deal,” Assange told the Ecuadorian president. “That interview was just Assange asking Correa a bunch of softball questions,” said Adam Isacson of the Regional Security Policy Program of human rights group Washington Office on Latin America. Isacson and other experts point out that Correa loves disclosures when it suits him, but he has one of the worst reputations in Latin America for cracking down on journalists. Rafael Correa has filed defamation complaints against journalists who criticized him, forced independent radio and television stations to air lengthy rebuttals of critical reports, pre-empted programming and temporarily shut some stations down, according to Committee to Protect Journalists. In a June 9 radio address, Correa asked government ministers to stop granting interviews to the private media because those outlets are “corrupt.” Wouldn’t that bother Assange, a self-professed pillar of the free press? Well, experts say, Assange’s show is broadcast by a network financed by the Kremlin and Russia isn’t known for its press freedoms. Standing up for freedom of the press may seem less important to Assange than saving himself right now, said Amsterdam. “If he winds up getting extradited to the U.S. many people believe he’d never see the light of day again,” the attorney said. “Assange is in a very dangerous place,” Amsterdam said. But he said he feels the information disclosed by WikiLeaks releases has “been incredible. It’s so important” (…..)

Link: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/06/20/world/assange-why-ecuador/index.html


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Consultor Internacional

4 Responses to Why Assange needs Ecuador and Ecuador needs Assange

  1. Ecuador was this past weekend seeking support from its Latin American partners to confront what officials described as threats by Britain over Quito’s decision to grant asylum to Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder. The government of President Rafael Correa has played the role of the mouse that roared at the British bulldog in the standoff over Mr. Assange, who has been holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London since seeking refuge there on June 19. Ricardo Patiño, Ecuador’s foreign minister, this week accused the British authorities of planning to storm the embassy to enforce an extradition warrant against Mr. Assange and declared: “We are not a British colony.” President Correa will not have to push very hard to win a ringing declaration of solidarity from his closest regional allies, including Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Bolivia, which are always on the alert for any manifestation of neo-colonialist bullying. The radical Alianza Bolivariana, which includes those countries, issued a statement firmly rejecting British threats, even before its officials met in Ecuador on Saturday to discuss the situation. The larger Union of South American Nations (Unasur), which includes most states in the continent, was meeting on Sunday, also in the Ecuadorian city of Guayaquil. Despite the tone of righteous indignation that is likely to dominate both meetings, the Assange case has thrown up some odd contradictions and accusations that, when it comes to the sanctity of political asylum, the Latin Americans do not always practice what they preach. In Bolivia, one of Ecuador’s closest allies, opposition politicians have highlighted the case of Roger Pinto, a right-wing senator who has been sheltered in the Brazilian Embassy in La Paz for almost three months (…..)


  2. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: May 1st, 2012. Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng seeks asylum at the US embassy in Beijing. After intensive diplomatic negotiations, China allows Mr. Guangcheng to travel to the US and attend school in New York. Case closed diplomatically in two days between the two superpowers. June 20th, 2012. Julian Assange walks into the Ecuadorean embassy in London and asks for asylum. Three days later, the foreign office threatens TO STORM Ecuador’s embassy to arrest Mr. Assange after issuing a STERN warning to the South American nation. Ecuador does not yield and gives asylum to the WikiLeaks founder. Will the London police invade the Ecuadorean embassy and arrest Mr. Assange? Superpowers use diplomacy to settle differences among themselves. Take the case of Russia and Great Britain regarding the death of Alexander Litvinenko. Russia sends a hit squad to London in 2006 to poison and kill – using a exotic radioactive material – Mr. Litvinenko, an enemy of President Putin. The foreign office issues a STERN diplomatic protest for the violation of its territory and Moscow acknowledges the protest. What a difference between Litvinenko and Assange cases! In the former respect with Russia, in the latter threat of force against a poor South America country. What if Ecuador did possess nuclear weapons?


  3. (…..) If Mr. Assange is extradited to the United States, the consequences will reverberate for years around the world. Mr. Assange is not an American citizen, and none of his actions have taken place on American soil. If the United States can prosecute a journalist in these circumstances, the governments of Russia or China could, by the same logic, demand that foreign reporters anywhere on earth be extradited for violating their laws. The setting of such a precedent should deeply concern everyone, admirers of WikiLeaks or not. We urge the people of Britain and Sweden to demand that their governments answer some basic questions: Why do the Swedish authorities refuse to question Mr. Assange in London? And why can neither government promise that Mr. Assange will not be extradited to the United States? The citizens of Britain and Sweden have a rare opportunity to make a stand for free speech on behalf of the entire globe.


  4. Whenever the Julian Assange extradition comes up in the news, many of his supporters make various confident assertions about legal aspects of the case. Some Assange supporters will maintain these contentions regardless of the law and the evidence – they are like “zombie facts” which stagger on even when shot down; but for anyone genuinely interested in getting at the truth, this quick post sets out five common misconceptions and some links to the relevant commentary and material. It complements a similar post on the leading Blog That Peter Wrote (…..)



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