Celebrating Correa’s Re-election

by craig on February 15, 2013 5:39 pm in Uncategorized

I am going to an election party in the Ecuador Embassy on Sunday. I shall do so with no sense of guilt. Since Correa gave political asylum to Assange, many with no record of concern for human rights in Ecuador – and who still show absolutely no concern for human rights in Bahrain or Uzbekistan – are suddenly immensely critical of Correa’s human rights record. Many of the same people are suddenly concerned for the appalling plight of rape victims, despite no track record whatsoever of concern for women’s rights.

No country in the world has a perfect human rights record. I am sitting in a country which recently incarcerated people in Belmarsh jail in solitary confinement for six years without informing them what the accusations were against them. Which shot dead a Brazilian electrician on the tube for looking a bit like an Arab. Where police beat one of Babar Ahmad’s eyes to blindness. Where a woman was jailed for reading out the names of Iraqi war dead at the cenotaph.

Ecuador is not perfect either, and the use of (pre-existing) criminal defamation laws against journalists is unequivocally wrong. But some of the criticisms are a bit rich, for example that the government appoints judges. Who on earth do you think appoints them in the UK? And the study of the political complexion of the Supremem Court as vacancies occur under different Presidents is an industry itself in the United States. If Assange goes to Sweden, he will be tried without a jury by a panel of three, two of whom are straight and unqualified appointees by political parties.

Of course all human rights abuse, and particularly in Ecuador free speech restraint, should be, must be, eliminated. But I am very impressed indeed by Correa’s achievement in forcing the multinationals to pay up a fair share to the nation for their exploitation of mineral resources, and then in applying that money to the benefit of ordinary Ecuadoreans.

I see the opposite in Ghana, and its devastating effect on ordinary people. Ghana is the fastest growing economy in the world, at an annual rate of over 20%. But tragically little of that benefits ordinary Ghanaians. Newmont Mining of the USA make income of over 1.5 billion dollars a year from gold mining in Ghana, wreaking huge environmental destruction, and pay not one cent in corporation tax, and indeed very little tax of any kind. The total amount of the income from the huge Jubilee Field oil discovery which in any way will actually benefit Ghanaians will be a maximum of 15% – the rest is entirely offshore.

I hope that, throughout the developing world, peoples will force their governments to follow the Ecuadorean path. It has the potential fundamentally to change the world for billions of people. I shall be at the Ecuadorean Embassy on Sunday.

Without shame.

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94 Comments

  1. That’s another pretty penny of taxpayers’ dollars the US has just wasted, trying unsuccessfully to meddle in the elections of yet another country.

  2. what happened to the western plot to throw the election to make sure correa didn’t get in and implant a government that would withdraw assange’s asylum that you wrote about?

  3. It didn’t work! :-)

  4. Raise a glass* on our behalf to Ecuador, President Correa, Ana Albán Mora their Ambassador in Hans Crescent and to Julian.

    Saw this earlier linked on Medialens by Joe Emersberger.
    http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/the-americas-blog/cepr-paper-on-ecuadors-financial-reforms-helps-explain-why-voters-likely-to-re-elect-correa

    *
    Aguardiente, a kind of herbal vodka/gin made from sugar, consumed straight, or in a mixed drink

    Cachaça, a sugar rum, most popular drink from this is very similar to a mojito

    Pisco, a kind of brandy, very yummy in a pisco sour cocktail

    :)

  5. doug scorgie

    15 Feb, 2013 - 6:22 pm

    Craig

    Don’t count your chickens…

  6. How refreshing to see again that rare creature at The Guardian, a writer who does detail, knows what he’s talking about and more importantly doesn’t claim to be bored by his material. Perhaps he could spare some time to give Marina, Amelia and the other flippertygibbets a few lessons.

    Why Ecuador loves Rafael Correa

    “It’s not luck but good financial judgment that has set the president on the path to victory in forthcoming elections”

    “Correa has had some bad press for going against the conventional wisdom and – perhaps worse in the eyes of the business press – succeeding. The worst media assault came when Ecuador offered asylum to WikiLeaks journalist Julian Assange. But here, as with economic policy and financial reform, Correa was right. It was obvious, especially after the UK government made an unprecedented threat to invade Ecuador’s embassy, that this was a case of political persecution. How rare, and refreshing, for a politician to stand firm against such powerful forces – the US and its allies in Europe, and in the international media – for the sake of principle. But Correa’s tenacity and courage has served his country well.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/15/rafael-correa-ecuador-elections

  7. “I hope that, throughout the developing world, peoples will force their governments to follow the Ecuadorean path. It has the potential fundamentally to change the world for billions of people.”

    Ecuador and Correa are a good, fortunate combination for each other, rare in the developing world.

    He is young, well-educated, charismatic with a depth of personality, with an apparently good grasp of economics incorporating a genuine concern for improving the lot of his people. And he is courageous.

    Ecuador, with its 15 million people is a relatively small and manageable population for a developing country, with a fair literacy rate to boot, reasonably blessed with natural resources. Its literacy rate is way higher than countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and probably most of the Middle East and Africa.

    Good matches are hard to find, but i agree with your sentiments. Don’t people usually deserve better than they are able to find or get?

  8. Craig linked to a HRW piece by Tom Malinowski,

    With a CV like this, is his opinion worth anything? Tainted by association I would say.

    Tom Malinowski Washington Director

    Tom Malinowski, Washington Director for Human Rights Watch and an expert in United States foreign policy, is responsible for the organization’s overall advocacy efforts with the US government. He frequently appears as a radio, television, and op-ed commentator on US human rights policy. Before joining Human Rights Watch, Malinowski was special assistant to President Bill Clinton and senior director for foreign policy speechwriting at the National Security Council. Before working in the White House, he was a speechwriter for Secretaries of State Christopher and Albright and a member of the State Department’s policy planning staff. Malinowski holds degrees in political science from the University of California, Berkeley and Oxford University.

    ~~~~
    What the contributors to Medialens think of Malinowski, Roth and Galasco.
    http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/thread/1356890451.html

  9. I wonder if the voters giving Correa a 50% lead in the polls miss not having a “free press” like we have here in the UK…?

    Party down, Craig!

  10. Ditto Mary’s toast – I’m so happy that Correa won :)

    Now, justice for Julian!

  11. Hold on Adriana. They haven’t voted yet! The election is on Sunday.

  12. Oh dear, thanks Mary – the perils of skim reading when travelling :(

  13. Nice one, Arbed! :-)

    Yes this superiority and inferiority amongst nations has to stop, just like amongst some peoples in conflict…

    But i’m afraid, its people that are going to have to change (an internal human revolution), before we can expect our leaders to change. Personally i don’t have much faith in the collective if the ground they stand on is not fertile. The web can of course be a great facilitator.

    Here’s an interesting and unusual presentation at the UN from 1985. Unsurprisingly, not much has changed:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fzV8QH1JeE

    (Forgive me if you’ve seen this before as i have linked it earlier, but it fits fit the aspirations that Craig refers to.)

  14. Villager,

    Oh, I’m all for Human Revolution of the inner kind. A change of heart in a single individual can change the world – just ask Mr Mandela, Mr Gandhi, Mr Luther-King – because a change of heart ripples out, inspires others, is contagious…

  15. Thank you, Arbed and yes statesmen, as opposed to your regular politician can make a difference. And yes there aren’t enough real statesmen in the whole big bad world today to count on the fingers of one-hand….this is an open challenge to all to counter-propose.

    What i’m referring to, in the context of Craig’s ‘hope’ (personally i don’t believe in hope) is that each one of us needs to be a light unto oneself and yes it can be contagious in the sense that it could begin to change the content of human consciousness. One may then reach a critical mass of a tipping-point where we can live in a truly humane way. I can’t remember where i read today….Earth is probably some other planet’s hell!

    If you’re interested, you may want to watch this interview with the accomplished journalist Bernard Levin:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1AvljMbU8c

    if you do, suggest you do watch the whole half hour.

    I’m afraid one can’t rely on statesmen any more than one can on the New Statesman (what a superficially supercilious title!). As much as we need them in politics. But then life is not divorced from politics–its a lot larger.

  16. Arbed at 9.09 – nice post – totally concur – it starts with me and then a groundswell.

  17. Slightly o/t as Craig refers to incarceration in the UK. This video clip on prisons in the US is strongly recommended. Thank Macky for bringing it to our attention:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t12LcsshpAE&feature=player_embedded

    (Thats equivalent to half of Ecuador’s population in prison.)

  18. No, no Villager – you have completely misunderstood me. Before any of those three names I tossed in there came to be considered a Statesman, they were each just an ordinary human being – no different to you or I – and it’s at that stage that they experienced their ‘change of heart’, the inner Human Revolution as I like to call it, which led them to fight for the values they believed in, and to ultimately win over the world to those values.

    That’s what I meant. I am referring to exactly the same thing as you are in your second paragraph – I just used those names to show how spectacularly successful it can be. You or I could do the same. Mandela, Gandhi, King – they weren’t Gods or Statesmen to start with, they were ordinary human beings – just ones who listened to their hearts, and fought accordingly.

  19. I will always adore Correa for that wonderful statement that the USA can have an air base in Ecuador if Ecuador can have one in the USA.

    It’s so obviously absurd that you have to laugh. Then you wonder why it’s absurd, Then you start to think a lot.

  20. “But I am very impressed indeed by Correa’s achievement in forcing the multinationals to pay up a fair share to the nation for their exploitation of mineral resources, and then in applying that money to the benefit of ordinary Ecuadoreans”.

    And long may he succeed.

    Multinationals in ex-colonial companies have tried not to pay tax ever since the end of Empire and it’s only now that some countries try to stand up for their rights (Sorry Bob).

    Having been a resident of Jamaica when Michael Manley did his level best to make Reynolds, Kaiser, Alcan et al actually pay some and seen where that led him I don’t, sadly, have much hope. But perhaps Manley was before his time and leaders in these countries today will, like Correa, happily surprise us all.

  21. What’s going on? Mods – that post under my name at 11.08pm isn’t me.

  22. Smile Jamaica: even musicians who supported Michael Manley, were targetted for assassination.

  23. Arbed

    Its just a troll posting under other people’s names. Deleted them for that reason, though some of the questions would have been perfectly valid and allowed had he not wanted to pretend to be other commenters.

  24. MODS!!!!!!

    Somebody has hacked the thread. Comment under my name at 11.20pm isn’t me either.

    Ok, signing off now. Jon, please remove all posts with my name after 11 o’clock except for the one at 11.17 (and remove that one too if you think that riposte is in poor taste.)

  25. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    15 Feb, 2013 - 11:29 pm

    Note to the Eminences : instead of obsessing about me, you’d do better to worry about the people posting (falsely) as Craig and Arbed (see various posts, above).

    ********

    La vita è bella, life is good! (and will be even better once the false posters are dealt with)

  26. Hi Craig – one of them was me!! Oh, haha, never mind. Enjoy your party on Sunday.

  27. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    15 Feb, 2013 - 11:34 pm

    OK, problem apparently dealt with; you can delete mine (23h29) too as redundant if you wish.

    Good night all.

  28. resident dissident

    15 Feb, 2013 - 11:36 pm

    I would be a little cautious of placing all your eggs in the Correa basket. As Craig quite rightly points out his use of defamation laws against journalists leaves a lot to be desired – and as the referenced article in Guardian points out there are some to the left of Correa who have identified dictatorial tendencies in Correa, not just those on the political right. I genuinely hope that does not come to pass – but shining a light on Correa’s less acceptable behaviours (as I thought used to be the original objective of Wikileaks with regards to all politicians whatever their political postion) is no bad thing whatsoever.

    If I were in Team Assange I might also want to read and think about this attached article
    http://www.realinstitutoelcano.org/wps/portal/rielcano_eng/Content?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/elcano/elcano_in/zonas_in/garcia-encina_malamud_correa_assange_rusi

    It demonstrates that Correa is at times prepared to work with the US when he sees it as being in Ecuador’s interest and that he hasn’t always been as keen on Wikileaks and Assange as might be imagined. I somehow doubt that the usual treatment doled out by Team Assange to those who become apostates will carry out much weight with Correa should he see Ecuador’s interests as laying elsewhere.

    I should also add that the Gambier solution mentioned in the article might also be a way out of the Assange impasse – although I suspect that progress in that direction will only be possible by quiet diplomacy rather than the usual techniques of Team Assange.

    Indigo – again be a little wary, perhaps Correa is swapping one set of multinationals for another. The Chinese may have a different approach and business model to western corporates but it is not always as beneficial for the local population as you might think.

    BTW I have a long interest in human rights having been a member of Amnesty for over 20 years and was even a member of the United Nations Association as a schoolboy. I have also worked in Uzbekistan but stopped doing so when Karimov’s human rights abuses came to light which was well before Craig accepted his position as Ambassador there.

  29. Some comments in the Daniel Bethlehem thread are a bit off too, but they’re also quite funny.

  30. I started thinking after US/UK invasion of Iraq that there was one silver lining in that cloud. The US became so over-extended that it lacked the resources to combat populous and left wing movements in Latin America. The Chavas government looked very precarious in 2002 and I didn’t think it could survive. Not only did it survive but its very survival inspired progressive movements throughout the continent. Correa’s success was another example of US’s waning influence and lack of resources to engage in gunboat diplomacy and subversion. Argentina, Brazil and Chile in their own ways are moving away from dependence on US imperial goals.

    Even after the withdrawal of forces from Iraq the US is becoming bogged down in even more ME wars. To the extent that we have freed any resources in the ME, the pivot to Asia is requiring even more attention. Latin America should have a free hand to follow their own path in the foreseeable future.

    The US’s inability to control events in that part of the world over the last decade is major change that is rarely mentioned. Since the invasion of Panama in 1990 there has not been a single successful US intervention. Twenty years without a US sponsored coup or outright invasion! Between 1920 and 1990 there must have been at least one every 2 or 3 years. Someone should graph this information with a timeline over the last century. Has the Monroe doctrine finally died?

  31. First Images Released of Venezuela’s Chavez since His Operation

    The images show a smiling Chavez lying down in his hospital bed, flanked by his two daughters, and reading yesterday’s copy of Cuba’s official newspaper Granma.

    The images were taken for Valentine’s Day, or “the day of love and friendship” as it is commonly referred to in Venezuela.

    http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/7768

  32. So we can excuse or brush aside country A’s human rights transgressions because country B is worse? I’ve a feeling if this were Israel and not Ecuador there would be no limit to the odium.

    District Courts in Sweden employ four judges, one professional and three lay judges. It’s an ancient system but as trial by jury has also been criticised on these pages as being open to abuse what would be a fair way of resolving the case?

  33. And Democracy is still coming to the U.S.A. Did Cohen get it right? Debatable…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdePVqDPa6I

    I think i’d rather be on the Ecuadorian Ship of State.

    The Correa-Assange partnership may turn out to be a very interesting alliance. For now, every reason to party. Craig just watch out for those bobbies outside the loo windows at the embassy.

  34. Arbed, you might want to get a “globally recognised avatar”. It will only appear when the e-mail address you use here matches the one you registered at Gravatar.com. Since those who fake screen-names can’t see your e-mail address, it makes matters more difficult for them.

    http://en.gravatar.com/

  35. I wonder just where exactly Ecuador human rights are on a global table, we certainly Know who has the worst record ( usa ) followed By isreal…If there were even the whiff of genocide in Ecuador…rest assured..the msn would be screaming at top of their cancerous lungs…when all the while – we do have a SILENT ( from Msn, point of view ) genocide in Palestine.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/americas-deplorable-human-rights-record/5310556

  36. Resident Dissident

    I was going to say that I wasn’t naive, just hopeful … but the more I think about it the more I have to admit that that’s … naive.

    However, that doesn’t mean that I am blind to certain realities. Colonialism is colonialism no matter whether old Empire, new occidental multinationals or the Chinese business model! Any look at present Chinese business activities in Zambia, for instance, leaves one in no doubt. The model may differ but the aim remains the same.

  37. That should Be Of course msm, or Cm

  38. “:….some of the criticisms are a bit rich, for example that the government appoints judges. Who on earth do you think appoints them in the UK?”
    As has been the case in the colony too…
    TCI..
    Mary – I know that you are a regular far more than I am…so permit me to answer this here:-
    “I read your posts with interest Courtenay. The contents of your biographical notes shocked me. I didn’t know you had been arrested and had received a death threat. The influence and the tentacles of our ghastly empire extend a long way obviously.
    Could you briefly tell us what life is like for the average person there, is is a struggle to make a living, is the system completely corrupt and feudal and how are we in the UK viewed, if at all? Is the monarchy supported? As the government was suspended in 2009 who is running the show? Thank you in anticipation.
    I have been looking through the long Wikipedia page. I see you have invasions of American and Canadian tourists who outnumber your population.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turks_and_Caicos_Islands”
    The answers are these:-
    A. The Turks and Caicos Islands are actually a pretty nice place to live.
    B. HMG has done its shenanigans and Lord Ashcroft is central but cannot at all be touched.
    C. There is a lot of legal and political shit unfolding at present.
    Yes, North American do invest heavily here. But – is it not designed that way when Article 73 of the UN Charter is ignored by HMG – or – is it all about the “special relationship” and derogation of duty?
    Still – TCI is not a bad place to be.

  39. @ Resident Dissident,

    ” If I were in Team Assange I might also want to read and think about this attached article
    http://www.realinstitutoelcano.org/wps/portal/rielcano_eng/Content?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/elcano/elcano_in/zonas_in/garcia-encina_malamud_correa_assange_rusi

    It demonstrates that Correa is at times prepared to work with the US when he sees it as being in Ecuador’s interest and that he hasn’t always been as keen on Wikileaks and Assange as might be imagined. I somehow doubt that the usual treatment doled out by Team Assange to those who become apostates will carry out much weight with Correa should he see Ecuador’s interests as laying elsewhere”

    Are you in fact saying this:-

    A. The world is not a perfect place.
    B. Those who hold power tend also to hold pieces of compromises to remain in power.
    C. The issue is not whether or not political compromises do take place – but – the degree and extent.

    Come back at me on this one – ” Resident dissident”.

    Cheers!

  40. @ Mary,
    I have written extensively on what you have asked:-
    “Could you briefly tell us what life is like for the average person there, is is a struggle to make a living, is the system completely corrupt and feudal and how are we in the UK viewed, if at all”
    There is a 2009 prison study that I did. It will answer all your questions.

  41. This article, see link below, explains one of Correa’s real problems. My own view is that his big achievement, and the one that will have most long term consequences, was the auditing of Ecuador’s debt and the consequent repudiation of a, clearly odious, third. He also deserves the gratitude of all decent people for protecting the Wikileaks founder from the gangster government of the US.
    On the other hand:

    http://upsidedownworld.org/main/ecuador-archives-49/4123-correa-and-ecuadors-left-an-interview-with-marc-becker

  42. @Clark re Gravatar, a security vulnerability?

    I’m suspicious of any online service that appears to be free and without any obvious source of income. Do they sell data? Do their clients include intel services, agencies or contractors?

    I’m particularly concerned about providing a website with my email address which links with other websites on which I comment. Presumably, Craig’s blog calls the gravatar website each time I visit, giving my email address to pull up my latest avatar image. So Gravatar can compile a list of websites (that use this service) that I regularly visit and sell that information to clients that include intelligence services. With a little more effort, these intel services can check those websites to see what activities I engage in by identifying my avatar image and date/time stamps. They already know my real identity from information provided by email service providers and other cross checking sources. Even if I don’t subscribe to Gravatar, this blog is still giving out my email address to query what my avatar image might be and will know at what date and time I visited, thereby allowing them to identify my comments with matching date/time.

    As you will appreciate, some commentators engage in robust debate in defence of issues and principles that are at odds with the ‘establishment’. We are even encouraged to do so. What assurances do we have that our comments cannot be traced back to us? Some comments might even include whistleblowing revelations that could result in serious repercussions.

    Can you please look into this and reassure me/us that there are measures in place that prevent this possibility? Thanks.

  43. Jemand

    This blog is monitored by the security services. They can trace you if they want, whether you use gravatar or not. They spend billions of pounds and employ thousands of people to ensure that they can. To believe anyone can be safe from the surveillance state is naive.

  44. @resident dissidents

    Any examples of defamation in the media.

    Press standards in the Uk have much to be desired.

    War propoganda to top the list.

    Maybe as I believe with the Soviet media they are trying to keep up cultural and moral standards to the masses.

    As most of us here would agree the red tops here seem to be limited here with there attitudes to anything diverse and dysfunctional.
    As with some media soon we will be marrying our pets!

  45. Thanks Craig. I’ll just toss my job application to ASIO in the bin then.

  46. One of the main news items on BBC Radio 4 this morning is the cost of guarding the Ecuadorian Embassy, said to be £3m.

    Mrs May and the ConDems know the answer. Stand up against Amerika and set Julian Assange free.

  47. It looks very probable Correra will win reelection at the first ballot.

    Sure – there are issues with press freedom etc. but frankly they are taking the proverbial compared to the horrific abuses by the US and its allies/stooges.

    Compare Ecuador with Bahrain for example.

    I wonder what the next move will be in the Assange saga. It had all gone eerily quiet while they waited to roll the dice in this election. Now they’ve rolled craps what next?

  48. OOPS – can’t spell Correa!

  49. O/T We have not given our Louise a menschn for a long time.

    What a shame.

    Ex-Tory MP Louise Mensch’s rival to Twitter shuts down Louise Mensch insisted the site’s name was not a pun on her surname Continue reading the main story

    Tory MP Mensch to quit Commons
    Mensch berates ‘immoral’ tweets
    MP sorry for Morgan hacking slur

    Microblogging website Menshn, launched seven months ago by former Conservative MP Louise Mensch, has closed.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21356564

    Wonder what life is like for her and brood in New York, New York. Hope Mr Mensch is surviving.

  50. This is the BBC website report on the cost of guarding the embassy.

    Julian Assange police guard cost nears £3m
    Mr Assange has been granted political asylum by Ecuador Continue reading the main story

    Profile: Julian Assange
    Q&A: Julian Assange and the law
    Assange backers ordered to pay

    The cost of a round-the-clock guard outside the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where Julian Assange took refuge last June, has reached almost £3m, the Metropolitan Police have said.
    /..
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21480648

  51. Thanks very much for your response Courtenay and for the link.

  52. @ Tom Welsh 15 Feb, 2013 – 10:33 pm
    Your comment: Brilliant! every word of it! :D

  53. To think that this hypocritical and shameless woman once represented the 62,000 residents in Corby in ‘parliament’. Some there were quoted as ‘feeling duped’ by her and said that Corby was a stepping stone for her. http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2012/11/louise-mensch-corby-was-nothing-more-stepping-stone

    http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/london-life/manhattan-transfer-former-mp-louise-mensch-turns-fashion-blogger-in-new-york-8496731.html

    I note:

    Unfashionista has launched just after the closure of Menschn, her attempt to build a rival to Twitter. The latter was created with Luke Bozier, who once worked at Labour Party HQ. The pair’s working relationship broke down after Bozier was arrested on suspicion of viewing or possessing indecent images of children.

    and

    Having made her fortune penning chick- lit novels — her publisher is waiting for the next one — she also has a weekly column in The Sun. Does she have any qualms, having questioned the Murdochs over the phone-hacking scandal, about being on their payroll? “I always said I would have no trouble working for Rupert Murdoch who I have always admired. I saw no impropriety at the senior corporate level over the phone-hacking scandal.”

    Pure chutzpah.

  54. Good piece on Counterpunch by Nozomi Hayase

    [..]
    In a way, Assange has become a symbol of the tilted scale of justice, triggering vitriol and vilification by the controllers of the levers of power. The full force of corporate media outlets, governments and individuals worldwide have carried out unprecedented and prolonged attacks on Assange using all the classic tools of character assassination. As of mid February, he has been detained without charge for 802 days, 240 days at the Ecuadorian Embassy, due to England’s unwillingness to offer safe passage. Kevin McCabe in the conversation with his actor friend John Cusack and law school professor Jonathan Turley noted: “… what happens to [Assange] happens to the First Amendment.” Assange’s destiny is tied to the oppression of the world in the sense of him being a kind of canary in a coal mine.

    Attacks on Assange and journalists and activists like him are best understood within the social and political reality from which they emerge. In his case, Assange happens to be a founder of an organization that has become extremely influential in the world. Wikileaks’s allegiance, not to a particular country or private institution, but to global justice as a primary principle, exposes systematic oppression around the world that has been covered up and normalized.
    [..]

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/02/15/julian-assange-and-the-tilted-scales-of-justice/

  55. “Scotland Yard estimated costs of £2.3m in pay that would have covered normal duties, and £600,000 on overtime.”

    So the actual additional cost is £600,000. Maybe Julian and Correa could split it between them.

    “As of mid February, he has been detained without charge for 802 days, 240 days at the Ecuadorian Embassy, ”

    No he’s been out on bail for most of that time and his incarceration inside Ecuador’s embassy is entirely his own doing. He could leave at any time.

  56. Jemand, don’t abandon your job application. Some of Craig’s posts have revealed widespread dissent from the “establishment” agenda within the FCO and NATO; most people are decent, and I expect that there is dissent within pretty much every department, organisation and corporation. Most employees are “just doing their jobs”, but that doesn’t mean that they all slavishly follow the recent neocon agenda. Maybe your political leanings will be indicated by some software, but a dissenting employee will just accidentally-on-purpose fail to notice. Maybe some people would like another like-minded person in their department. But if you don’t apply, then all possibility of that disappears.

    You might want to look into the revenue trail of Gravatar; I have no knowledge about it, but at a guess, it’s probably used to track your web behaviour so that advertising can be targeted at you; that seems to be a common source of income.

    The solution to the surveillance state is transparency, accountability and legislation, achieved through democracy. On the Internet, it’s an international matter. Much traffic, including this site’s DNS requests, is routed through the US, where 21st century laws make all such data available to the government.

    Craig, thanks for your openness and honesty.

  57. Jemand, Craig is right; you can’t really hide on the Internet. When I was moderating here, I could see the operating system type and version, the browser type and version, and the screen resolution of every contributor, except one.

    That one had JavaScript disabled, so those details didn’t show up, but he stood out like a sore thumb for precisely that reason.

    I say “he”, because I knew exactly who it was. Myself.

    https://panopticlick.eff.org/

  58. Correction:

    “When I was moderating here, I could see the operating system type and version, the browser type and version, and the screen resolution of every visitor (ie readers, not just people who post comments), except one.”

    And it’s the same for all other sites; there’s nothing special about this site in this respect.

  59. Kempe, thanks, I wondered how much discrediting Assange was costing. You surely don’t believe they’d spend that much to enforce the use of condoms, do you? They don’t even like supplying the things for free.

    Ever seen the film THX1138?

    “The police pursue THX up an escape ladder, but are ordered by central command to cease pursuit, mere steps away from capturing him, as the expense of his capture exceeds their pre-determined budget.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/THX1138#Plot

  60. Monitored by the security services ?? Hell, that’s why I never got that job at MI 6 last year !

  61. Ok Clark, I’ll brush off my crumpled application and send it in, fingers crossed. I’m sure you’re right regarding the income sourcing of Gravatar. It looks like the net has closed so tight now that there is little chance of completely avoiding surveillance. Even if they don’t have specific information, they can draw a line between two data points and extrapolate a reasonable probability for another.

  62. “I wondered how much discrediting Assange was costing. ”

    I don’t think that’s costing the taxpayer anything; he’s doing it himself for free.

  63. Mary, 9.38 am

    Thanks for that link. I think I’m falling a tiny bit in love with Nozomi Hayase. Here’s another superb analysis she’s written recently. It references Julian Assange’s Conspiracy as Governance essay, among much other good stuff:

    The Inner Ring and the Moral Question of Our Time:
    http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/01/the-inner-ring-and-the-moral-question-of-our-time/

    Clark – you’ll like this one too, I think, for what it has to say on corporatism.

    Jemand – Nah, you were right first time. Toss the application. As Groucho Marx might point out, do you really what to belong to a club like that? Viva Outsiders, I say. A friend of mine was involved in setting up the original Outsiders Club (Google it, but don’t be fooled by its website’s rather bland front page – you’ll notice Tuppy Owen’s name at the bottom, who went on to found the annual Sex Maniac’s Ball.)

  64. While Craig is busy partying over Correa’s likely election success tomorrow, others are less than thrilled. Here’s Reuters’ efforts to put the worst possible slant they could on the facts of Correa’s achievements to date:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/14/us-ecuador-election-idUSBRE91D0NR20130214

    And here’s the New York Times’ attempt to do the same, lapdog style:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/16/world/americas/ecuadoreans-are-apprehensive-over-likely-re-election-of-president-correa.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

  65. “Of course all human rights abuse, and particularly in Ecuador free speech restraint, should be, must be, eliminated. But I am very impressed indeed by Correa’s achievement in forcing the multinationals to pay up a fair share to the nation for their exploitation of mineral resources, and then in applying that money to the benefit of ordinary Ecuadoreans.”

    Like you, Craig Murray, I am a supporter, in general, of the reforms Correa has introduced in Ecuador. He is the best president in my lifetime. And he has offered more support to Julian Assange than the Australian government. However economic development should not be exploited at the expense of ecological preservation.

    https://dub002.mail.live.com/default.aspx?id=64855#n=131914307&fid=&st=ecuador&mid=b4354179-595d-11e2-996f-00215ad7ab6a&fv=1

  66. Hopefully the above link does not work. This is the link I should have sent.

  67. And again. Hopefully the above link does not work. This is the link I should have sent.

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/178/733/131/ecuador-dont-auction-the-amazon-for-oil/?z00m=20477106

  68. Troops at the ready – Goran Rudling’s back!

    Is former Ambassador Craig Murray a media seeking liar or just a pathetic researcher?
    http://samtycke.nu/eng/2013/02/is-former-ambassador-craig-murray-a-media-seeking-liar-or-just-a-pathetic-researcher/#more-1661

    Most, if not all, of Goran Rudling’s 14 supposed ‘mistakes’ in Craig’s research can be knocked out of the skies. And they deserve to be, given the sheer nastiness of the personal smears against Craig which Rudling prints here. Goran’s comment moderation policy seems to be that he holds the first comment of each new poster for moderation but thereafter lets everything through. So, ammunition:

    Most of the correct facts can be found somewhere on here:

    Extraditing Assange: Why David Allen Green is Wrong:
    http://justice4assange.com/extraditing-assange.html#CONTENTS

    And I believe these were a tempering influence on Goran Rudling’s libellous misbehaviour for quite a while…

    Brain Garbage’s leak of the infamous Penisemails:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/112662612/Samtycke-Leaks

  69. John Goss, 12.22pm

    Thanks for that link. Yes, an important issue and surprising, if true, that Correa is running roughshod over environmental concerns in his bid to open up new oil and mining contracts. In the new Constitution written after Correa’s government came to power and instituted after a referendum on it (as all new major laws are in Ecuador now), Ecuador became the first country in the world to formally recognise Nature itself as having ‘rights’ and incorporate such in all its laws. Surely whatever he’s proposing has to take the effects on the Amazon environment into account to fall within those laws?

  70. Arbed, Rudling seems to be trotting out the same old stuff. I once tried to respond on his blog but the Captcha code did not work. I’ve never tried since. He is better ignored, or sued. Professor Marcello Ferrada de Noli, when Rudling made similar defamatory comments about de Noli’s “The Professor” blog, threatened to take him to court. Rudling soon shut up.

  71. Sorry Arbed, cross posting. At 12.58 yes agreed. The environment especially in South America is of major concern not just to South America but to the whole world. The forests as well as being a habitat for so many rare and endangered species are a primary mainland producer of oxygen, and it is said act as wind-breaks. Deforestation, some claim, is a major cause of hurricanes.

  72. I always like to see the face behind the name. This is the cold hearted stooge Goran Rudling.
    http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/0f0Cf6s1qL9IT/x350.jpg

    Nasty stuff on his latest inc a photoshopped picture of Craig as Pinocchio.

    Ben has got in a riposte.

    Ben on February 15, 2013 at 11:09 am said:

    ‘This article is simply horrible because it descends into the most childish form of personal insults. You don’t have to look beyond doctored pictures to see that; and it is a shame because some of your points are (probably, because I don’t know) factual corrections of oft-repeated details of the case.

    Getting facts right is important. But everybody also makes inferences based on facts, and providing that process is made explicit, it is perfectly justified and necessary. Thus Murray is quite correct to write: “Wilén had had long term relationships with men. It is improbable she found semen on the bedsheets unusual, yet alone disgusting.”

    Finally, I don’t think even Craig Murray’s political opponents in Britain regard him as dishonest. His unusual honesty about his sexual feelings should be to his credit, and not trigger a string of abuse.

    You would be better off arguing your points, rather than penning poisoned diatribes against those who get things wrong or with whom you disagree.’

  73. @ Mary,

    ” Thanks very much for your response Courtenay and for the link.”

    You are welcome.

    Big problem in these small islands:-

    1. Former Premier Michael Misick arrested in Brazil and imprisoned for 2 months, now on bail from an Interpol International Warrant.
    2. If returned to Turks and Caicos Islands to face trial on corruption charges, big names will be called and some explanations will have to be given relative to dealings with Lord Michael Ashcroft ( main doner and former Treasurer of the Tory party).

    We will see if Helen Garlick ( same prosecutor in the BAE scandal case – that was stopped) – will in TCI end up with a replay in this intended trial. Sometimes things do go too high to the top and have to stopped from court hearing and public exposure “in the national interest” – or – should that have been “contrary to the national interest”?

  74. Jemand, 2.37pm (but not here)

    Bravo! Excellent shot.

    ;)

  75. I laughed when I read this about one of the no hope presidential candidates in the Ecuador elections:

    Former President Lucio Gutierrez; Alberto Acosta, an ex-Correa ally; and Alvaro Noboa, a banana magnate who is running for the presidency for the fifth time and who has come under fire for giving away food, mattresses and even a motor-bike to woo potential voters, are among the other opposition candidates.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/08/us-ecuador-election-idUSBRE91700Q20130208

  76. “Banana magnate”

    Love it!

    It’s worth considering how we got from subsistence upon the bounty around us, to someone owning it and selling it to us. And it was only ever small numbers of people owning what was once “held in common”, against the great great many who had to work for the owners to pay them for what previously they had harvested themselves. Many of them even came to work for the owners, in the further suppression of the many, indeed that’s the primary mechanism that the owners use to control the many.

    How else would they do it, so few against so many.

    So I suppose you could say that the few use the many against themselves, and the funny thing is that it always seems to work.

    The rationalist thinks this shouldn’t work. The conservative just sees that it does work and runs with it.

  77. Herbie, keep those lateral thoughts coming….

  78. Noboa reminds me of Straw treating his Blackburn voters.

    Jack Straw Plans More Criminal Treating
    by craig on May 3, 2010 11:55 am in The Election

    Having been caught red-handed indulging in the crime of treating – supplying free food and drink to voters to influence their vote – Jack Straw is planning to do it again this evening.

    Treating is a criminal offence for which the maximum sentence is a year in prison. As a corrupt electoral practice, it also carries disbarment for life from both the House of Commons and House of Lords.

    Straw has already flagrantly broken this law in an election rally at Jan’s Conference Centre on 25 April. Several hundred Blackburn Muslims were given free meals at a vote Jack Straw rally.

    http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2010/04/jack_straw_face.html#comments

    Blackburn police have told me this morning that they now have dealt with this by merely issuing a formal warning to Jack Straw’s election agent not to do it again. That is completely insufficient when Straw did exactly the same thing, at the same venue, with the same main speakers and the same food, five years ago, and was then given an official warning not to do it again.

    /..
    http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2010/05/jack_straw_plan/

  79. Great talk here about the human transition from living as part of an ecosystem to dominating it.

    Science, history, antropology, the works…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=H6b7zJ-hx_c

  80. @Arbed, 7.43p (here)

    Now i get it. Yeah, thanks. More visceral than cerebral, but meh! Ya gotta have a little fun.

  81. I have been looking at BBC News just now. Sue Thearle, a relief presenter, has just been acting as Theresa May’s mouthpiece in the ‘deport criminal immigrants’ row which has been created to time nicely with the Eastleigh by election. There the female Con and the UKIP candidates are resorting to the same tactics that May is using.

    Thearle was interviewing Geoffrey Robertson QC and was getting quite cross when he would not say what she wanted to hear.

    She has finished her stint by replaying another piece where Carole Walker was doing much the same thing earlier with Helena Kennedy QC.

    ~~~
    Should have stuck to the sports reporting!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sue_Thearle

  82. resident dissident

    17 Feb, 2013 - 3:22 pm

    Courtenay

    I don’t disagree with your A, B and C – I think I would also add that as well as the world not being a perfect place there are very few politicians, or individuals or political systems, for that matter who are wholly perfect or imperfect for that matter. So it is important that their weaknesses and foibles are subject to challenge.

  83. Who produced this nuanced report on the elections in Ecuador?

    ‘Voters in Ecuador are going to the polls in an election that is expected to see incumbent President Rafael Correa returned to office.

    Opinion polls suggest Mr Correa has a comfortable lead ahead of his nearest rival, banker Guillermo Lasso.

    First elected in 2007, the socialist leader is widely credited with bringing political stability to a nation that suffered decades of protests and coups.

    But critics accuse him of being a dictator in the making.

    The 49-year-old US-trained economist has been accused of implementing policies that have served to strengthen his hold on power and erode the influence of political opponents and private media.

    Ecuador’s Correa eyes re-election

    But his so-called “citizens’ revolution” has made him popular with many ordinary Ecuadoreans and has won him friends with other Latin American left-wing leaders.’

    /….

    Why, the BBC of course.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-21492470

  84. That’s very poor propaganda, Mary, from the BBC. It’s almost as if their hearts are no longer in it.

    Look at this:

    “But critics accuse him of being a dictator in the making.”

    “citizens’ revolution” has made him popular with many ordinary Ecuadoreans

    That just reinforces in the reader’s mind that these unnamed “critics” are not ordinary Ecuadoreans. You don’t do that. I mean that’s a major blooper in even GCSE Propaganda Studies!!

    Unnamed critics don’t exist as individuals. This is just corpohack speak for whatever position the powers that be are taking at the time.

    It just gets worse and worse.

    I mean, even our trolls do better than that!

    Maybe we could lease them to the BBC and make a few bob to fund Craig’s blog.

  85. @ Resident dissident,

    “Courtenay

    I don’t disagree with your A, B and C – I think I would also add that as well as the world not being a perfect place there are very few politicians, or individuals or political systems, for that matter who are wholly perfect or imperfect for that matter. So it is important that their weaknesses and foibles are subject to challenge.”

    Yes – we have the ECHR – Article 10 provision – “Freedom of Expression”. Yet – a man like myself. I think – yes – my studies – my professional work – let me use my skills. But -wait – death threats – threat of arson on my home? What is going on here?

    I know who was behind it. But – better yet, I don’t want to be dead like Diana or Dr. Kelly -so just fuck off with your corruption and threats. Thank you very much!

  86. Where a woman was jailed for reading out the names of Iraqi war dead at the cenotaph.

    You may mean Maya Evans, who was grabbed by more than a dozen policemen and convicted under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act for reading aloud the names of 97 British soldiers killed in Iraq, for which ‘crime’ she was fined. She has also acted against acts such as torture and the murder of civilians by British forces in Afghanistan.

    John Catt, an 80-year-old WW2 RAF veteran, was arrested in 2005 under the Terrorism Act for wearing a T-shirt calling for Bush and Blair to be tried for war crimes.

  87. Congratulations to RC on his landslide victory.

  88. Herbie Although it is not in their report below, I heard the Sky News presenter repeat the BBC phrase ‘dictator in the making’ this morning.

    http://news.sky.com/story/1053598/ecuadors-president-rafael-
    Icorrea-re-elected

    I mentioned it on the Bolton thread earlier today.
    http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2013/02/john-boltons-fake-applause/#comment-394586

  89. But some of the criticisms are a bit rich, for example that the government appoints judges. Who on earth do you think appoints them in the UK?

    BTW, the Ecuadorian government no longer appoints judges. They are selected after a contest of merits (tests, interviews, etc.) This is a major leap forward, in my view. Of course, critics say that judges who favor Correa are usually the ones that do better in subjective evaluations, etc. The system is not perfect by any means, but it’s a bit rich to suggest we’re doing worse in this area than when the political parties appointed judges at will.

    The government also contracted an international audit of the judicial overhaul. The results of the audit were largely positive and congratulatory of government initiatives, but as usual the private media focused on certain areas of concern to make it seem that the justice system is hijacked, etc.

  90. @Venceremos,

    I laughed when I read this about one of the no hope presidential candidates in the Ecuador elections:

    Former President Lucio Gutierrez; Alberto Acosta, an ex-Correa ally; and Alvaro Noboa, a banana magnate who is running for the presidency for the fifth time and who has come under fire for giving away food, mattresses and even a motor-bike to woo potential voters, are among the other opposition candidates.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/08/us-ecuador-election-idUSBRE91700Q20130208

    That doesn’t even mention the runner-up, Guillermo Lasso, a former banker (and get this) Finance Minister shortly before the worst economic collapse Ecuador has ever seen, back in 1999.

    Alvaro Noboa, BTW, probably thinks Ecuadorians are stupid. He offered to raise the monthly stipend for the poor from $50 to $100. He was handing out gifts left and right. He got about 3% of the vote. Populism and those who call themselves the “true left” were soundly defeated by what appears to be an increasingly mature electorate.

  91. Correa wins re-election and says banks and mass media don’t rule anymore

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=9717

    Bravo! If only we could say the same here.

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