CIA Look to Swamp Correa 311


About a month ago I asked a former colleague in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office what Hague saw as the endgame in the Julian Assange asylum standoff, and where the room for negotiation lay. My friend was dismissive – the policy was simply to wait for the Presidential election in Ecuador in February. The United States and allies were confident that Correa will lose, and my friend and I having both been senior diplomats for many years we understood what the United States would be doing to ensure that result. With Correa replaced by a pro-USA President, Assange’s asylum will be withdrawn, the Metropolitan Police invited in to the Embassy of Ecuador to remove him, and Assange sent immediately to Sweden from where he could be extradited to the United States to face charges of espionage and aiding terrorism.

I have been struck by the naivety of those who ask why the United States could not simply request Assange’s extradition from the United Kingdom. The answer is simple – the coalition government. Extradition agreements are government to government international treaties, and the decision on their implementation is ultimately political and governmental – that is why it was Teresa May and not a judge who took the final and very different political decisions on Babar Ahmad and Gary Mackinnon.

CIA supporters in the UK have argued vociferously that it would be impossible for Sweden to give Assange the assurance he would not be extradited to the United States, with which he would be prepared to return to Sweden to see off the rather pathetic attempted fit-up there. In fact, as extradition agreements are governmental not judicial instruments, it would be perfectly possible for the Swedish government to give that assurance. Those who argue otherwise, like Gavin Essler and Joan Smith here, are not being truthful – I suspect their very vehemence indicates that they know that.

Most Liberal Democrat MPs are happy to endorse the notion that Assange should be returned to Sweden to face sexual accusations. However even the repeatedly humiliated Lib Dem MPs would revolt at the idea that Assange should be sent to face life imprisonment in solitary confinement in the United States for the work of Wikileaks. That is why the United States has held off requesting extradition from the United Kingdom, to avoid the trouble this would cause Cameron. I am not speculating, there have been direct very senior diplomatic exchanges on this point between Washington and London.

There was confidence that the Correa problem would soon pass, but the State Department has since been shocked by the return of Hugo Chavez. Like Correa, senior US diplomats had convinced themselves – and convinced La Clinton – that Chavez was going to lose. The fury at Chavez’s return has led to a diktat that the same mistake must not be made in Ecuador.

CIA operations inside Ecuador are in any case much less disrupted than in Venezuela. I learn that the US budget, using mostly Pentagon funds, devoted to influencing the Ecuadorean election has, since the Venezuelan result, been almost tripled to US $87 million. This will find its way into opposition campaign coffers and be used to fund, bribe or blackmail media and officials. Expect a number of media scandals and corruption stings against Correa’s government in the next few weeks.

I do not have much background on Ecuadorean politics and I really do not know what Correa’s chances of re-election are. Neither do I know if any of the opposition parties are decent and not in the hands of the USA. But I do know that the USA very much want Correa to lose, were very confident that he was going to lose, and now are not. From their point of view, the danger is that in upping the ante, their efforts will become so obvious they will backfire in a nationalist reaction. My US source however is adamant that the Obama adminstration will not actually use the funds to incite another military coup attempt against Correa. That has apparently been ruled out. Assange being expelled into the arms of the CIA by a newly installed military dictatorship might be a difficult sell even for our appalling mainstream media.


311 thoughts on “CIA Look to Swamp Correa

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  • N_

    @Craig

    On Ecuador: although Correa has the support of a large part of the Ecuadorean population, unfortunately it would be more difficult for his administration to throw the US out of the country than it would be for Morales or Chavez.

    As you probably know, Morales did chuck the US ambassador out of Bolivia when the US was attempting not to back a coup, in which probably only up to several hundred people would have been killed, but to start a civil war, which would have gone on for some time, and in which thousands or tens of thousands of people would have perished.

    The Bolivian action was admirable. Bolivia also became a beacon not just in Latin America but in the whole world when they threw out the Israeli ambassador in response to the Gaza massacre.

    One just has to note how hard it would be to imagine some creep heading up a government in the UK, France, or Germany, doing the same thing.

    Throwing the US out of Ecuador would be more difficult because

    1) the currency of Ecuador is the US dollar (sic) and

    2) the policy of ‘universal citizenship’, which is thoroughly laudable in itself, has let a lot of rich US nationals buy second (or third etc.) homes in the country and stay there as long as they want, which means the CIA can count on the support of a large number of helpers in the country, even before we start talking about the compradores.

    Cf. how MI6 can call on an enormous amount of support among the Anglos in Argentina.

    I should add that I mean no disrespect to those US nationals who have bought houses in Ecuador who wouldn’t dream of helping the US government or the CIA.

    On the positive side, just because it’s more difficult, that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t happen.

    Correa could of course count on support from Chavez, Morales, and ALBA, including economic support from Chavez to support a Correa administration during the major economic hassle which the US could cause, using the US dollar lever. Rapid currency reform would be required, but there are already moves towards that on a regional level.

    Let us hope Correa throws the US assets out sooner rather than later, and integrates more closely with ALBA.

    Meanwhile in the UK…I think your idea that LibDem MPs would ‘revolt’ over an extradition of Assange to the US is just wishful thinking.

    “That is why the United States has held off requesting extradition from the United Kingdom, to avoid the trouble this would cause Cameron. I am not speculating, there have been direct very senior diplomatic exchanges on this point between Washington and London.”

    Craig, old mate, do you actually believe every piece of information you are given by contacts in ‘the Foreign Office’? You don’t look that naive.

    When they use you as a conduit for unattributable material, all of the material they pass to you is always straight-down-the-line, is it? 🙂

    “The State Department has since been shocked by the return of Hugo Chavez.”

    If so, that just shows what a bunch of fucking idiots they are.

    “I do not have much background on Ecuadorean politics and I really do not know what Correa’s chances of re-election are. Neither do I know if any of the opposition parties are decent and not in the hands of the USA. But I do know that the USA very much want Correa to lose, were very confident that he was going to lose, and now are not. From their point of view, the danger is that in upping the ante, their efforts will become so obvious they will backfire in a nationalist reaction.”

    Correa is not particularly nationalist. What you have to understand is that major social reforms benefiting most of the lower orders are underway in Ecuador. The ‘oligarchy’ are itching for a Pinochet solution, and much of the inherited-wealth ‘traditional’ part of the middle class are already heavily Americanised, sending their brats to US universities, etc. The right wing also controls much of the media.

    A drum roll is required at that point.

    The question is why does the left-wing government have so much support, when the right wing controls much of the media?

    The answer is, of course, the social reforms. The first three countries in Latin America to achieve near-full literacy were Cuba, after Castro came to power, and then Venezuela and Bolivia after Chavez and Morales come to power.

    In Cuba, the old regime, owned by New York Jewish mafia boss Meyer Lansky and his pals, got out on a plane and gave a resounding ‘Fuck you, we’ve got the gold’. (They had the gold on the plane with them.)

    Venezuela, not Cuba, is the modern canonical example. The reformist forces in Venezuela have BYPASSED the positions of the right wing. This is a very new pattern in the history of the world. The right would love a civil war in the literal sense, culminating in a fascist victory, but the reformist forces have refused to give them the civil war they crave. Instead the left wing forces are making progress where they can – and that means in a lot of areas.

    Therefore I am optimistic that Correa will remain in power, and that efforts by the US will be squelched.

    My US source however is adamant that the Obama adminstration will not actually use the funds to incite another military coup attempt against Correa. That has apparently been ruled out. Assange being expelled into the arms of the CIA by a newly installed military dictatorship might be a difficult sell even for our appalling mainstream media.

    People in the UK would forget about it in 2 minutes. It might not even be on the front pages.

    And you are forgetting something. If a pro-US administration in Ecuador chuck him out of the embassy door in London, he’d be taken to Sweden first. Only then would he be taken to the US, at whatever time the US thugs think is convenient.

    Do you really think legal points about how Sweden shouldn’t extradite him without UK say-so, or about how extradition is ultimately a matter for the executive rather than the judiciary, would find much traction among LibDem MPs or among British voters? Maybe a trip back down to earth is called for?

  • Herbie

    The US has been interfering in UK and European politics for ages. It’s just that since 911 it’s become much more open.

    They’re basically writing UK and European law on “security” matters.

    That borders one which Mark referred to recently is a real twisted piece of fascist work. Most people don’t realise that you’ve bugger all in the way of rights or redress when you cross through a UK border. That’s planes, trains, automobiles and ferries. No warrants or even suspicion required. You must submit to whatever investigation or questions they impose under pain of criminal penalty.

  • Clark

    Xander Taylor at 22 Oct, 12:42 pm, the current UK government is a coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. The Conservatives don’t have an overall majority without the support of the Lib Dems. The Lib Dems are somewhat more progressive than the Conservatives.

    If the Conservative Cameron tried to extradite Assange, the Lib Dems would probably withdraw their support, and the Cameron-led Con-Dem coalition could fall.

    Incidentally, the UK’s internal political processes are frequently interfered with by the US.

  • Herbie

    N_

    Correa expelled a US amabassador, for terrorist activities.

    He also got rid of the US base in his country.

  • N_

    @Skipjack – Are you aware that the head of the CIA Station in London attends the weekly meetings of the top UK intelligence and security body, called the Joint Intelligence Committee? The CIA has many journalists and others in the UK on its payroll, and has done for generations.

    @Clark – “If the Conservative Cameron tried to extradite Assange, the Lib Dems would probably withdraw their support, and the Cameron-led Con-Dem coalition could fall.

    Nonsense. It wouldn’t even be billed as ‘conservative Cameron’. It would be billed as the oh-so-independent judiciary allowing due process to occur. (I know that’s not accurate, but that’s not the point.) And he would first be flown to Sweden.

    Why on earth do you have such faith in the integrity of the those LibDem creeps? Their party is just as friendly with the US as the Tory party or Labour party are.

  • N_

    @Herbie – thanks for the correction. I’d forgotten that. All the more reason for optimism, then!

  • Tom Welsh

    Correa won my eternal devotion when I read that he offered to allow the USA to maintain an air base in Ecuador, provided Ecuador was allowed to set up its own air base in Florida.

    You have got to love a man like that. Almost as good as Chavez’ “smell of sulphur”.

  • MJ

    Is it totally out of the question for the Ecuadorians to sneak Assange out of the embassy and back to Ecuador by using a bit of subterfuge? Similar things have happened in the past with great success. If the Ecuadorean secret services want to get in touch, I have a cunning plan…

  • nuid

    “You have got to love a man like that. Almost as good as Chavez’ “smell of sulphur”.”

    Yup, or “You are a donkey, Mr. Bush.”

    cheered me up no end, that one did.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Conflict

    The ‘miracle’ is when ‘hope’ is displaced by ‘intention’ Xander – that power will be invoked I believe when American ‘fear’ is replaced by the anger simmering below the surface of American politics.

    Not really a broad-brush statement – the siege of Sarah D. Roosevelt park and Union Square is not forgotten in a cramped American cognizance; a nine million person march is where we are heading. That wish must indeed mobilize the American psyche into a non-virtual release from the pain of incarceration in virtual concentration camps.

  • N_

    The winds of change are blowing against the US in Latin America, and on a few recent occasions when they have tried to back coups, they’ve been stopped. How their faces must have looked in the Pentagon and at Langley! The popular upsurge that put Chavez back in power after he’d been overthrown by military coup was extraordinary. I don’t know of any parallel.

  • N_

    Another small point – if the Brits at the Foreign Office think there’s a big chance Correa won’t win the election, they’re as stupid as their counterparts at the US State Department.

    They’re just as arrogant, only in a superficially different flavour.

  • evgueni

    N_, 22 Oct, 2012 – 1:12 pm:
    “Venezuela, not Cuba, is the modern canonical example. The reformist forces in Venezuela have BYPASSED the positions of the right wing. This is a very new pattern in the history of the world. The right would love a civil war in the literal sense, culminating in a fascist victory, but the reformist forces have refused to give them the civil war they crave. Instead the left wing forces are making progress where they can – and that means in a lot of areas.”

    This is spot-on. Chavez is a true democrat first, socialist second. He introduced direct democracy elements into Venenezuelan constitution – powerful means of diffusing potential for violent conflict. If Cuba does not follow suit, the fate of Eastern Europe awaits it – regression to shamocracy in most cases.

  • nevermind

    @Komodo, the stench of the PCC elections is peeling the bark of the trees and that website should have been informed that the only Independent candidate there was, Mervyn Lambert, has stepped down on the 6.Oct.
    which leaves nobody to vote for except party politicians and some UKIP school boy.

    Sad to see that some feel the need to morph from one moniker to the other, or is it that I have yet to discover my female inner self and return as the ‘wicket Ingrid’…..

  • Mary

    Komodo ref police commissioners.

    I am taking Blair’s (the other one} advice.

    ‘Former Metropolitan Police chief Ian Blair yesterday urged the public to undermine the new positions by boycotting the commissioner votes, as lack of interest threatens to keep turnout below 20 per cent.’

    This one has pulled out as have several others.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/is-police-candidate-a-trojan-horse-for-rightwing-american-thinktank-8219877.html

    It is a ConDem trick to make us think that the inauguration of these so called police commissioners is more democratic than the current system of police authorities, ie elected county councillors and others, as pathetic as they are.

  • Scouse Billy

    ““Inside Mann” above appears to be “Scouse Billy”, sock puppeting.

    Scouse Billy spreads disinformation, climate change denial, and advocates medical quackery.”

    Certainly not me.

    Clark, on what basis have you decided to accuse me?

    You may not like me but I post as myself, thank you very much.

    Craig, I strongly object to this false accusation.

  • Komodo

    Sorry to miss Lambert’s departure, Nevermind. Remiss of me. The PCC idea was part of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, a pot-pourri of Tory ideology whose third reading was shoved through on a Thursday afternoon, as you do when you want to restrict the time for debate. Half the trough-snufflers are on their planes or in their first-class rail carriages, heading for their constituencies, and many of the rest are impatient to be off.

    As yet, no-one has any clear idea of how this is actually intended to work, except that the commissioner can appoint a finance chief and chief executive (and their staff) to help him. You’ve guessed who will be paying the non-minimum wages involved.

    I assume that there will be some electioneering, that the parties will fund their candidates’ campaigns, and that it will be seen as an attractive alternative to working as an unpaid Westminster intern if you are a young suit and have an Oxford PPE degree and a lust for power. No qualifications are required, naturally. A background in media (like our Minister for Justice – or minijust – will be more than adequate.

  • Komodo

    Blair (the police one) telling the public to stay away is the one thing that might make me vote. If he’s afraid of even this much sham democracy, I’d rather it happened. I’m conflicted.

  • thatcrab

    America this is just not fair, it is too dirty, too much harm. America you are in a position to stop disrupting the world, to help it blossom instead of wither. You talked the talk, I got my dreams of peace and freedom from your vision. Stop making nightmare. Turn on the lights.

  • Komodo

    Scouse Billy – we’ve had our differences, but I’m inclined to believe you. However, if Clark is going by the IP address he sees on his board, there are a couple of other reasons you might share an IP with Inside Mann. One is that IM is posting from the same institution or business network as you. The other is that he has spoofed his IP (or you have!), coincidentally using yours, or, yes, possibly by design. If the latter there are some implications for site security.

  • Herbie

    Got this on medialens. It’s a BBC interview with staff at the Ecuador embassy. This is the best bit. Here the ambassador explains how bully boy Hague tried to threaten the country. The bit about cops at every window, including the bog when she wanted to go for a pee, adds a nice human touch, which mirrors aptly the menacing cops outside. Really does give the lie to Hague and indeed Chuck Crawford’s efforts to downplay what the lunatics were up to:

    “In mid-August, a couple of months after Mr Assange’s arrival, the Ecuadorean government received a letter from the UK foreign office. In this letter, she says, the UK government threatened to storm her embassy.

    But it wasn’t only the letter, she says.

    “That letter came with a gift, the gift was numbers and numbers of policemen outside the embassy. It was a crazy night.”

    She tells me that late that evening the road was closed. More police turned up. They were outside every window, she remembers.

    But she says her biggest shock came when she went to the embassy toilet.

    “I turned on the light on and was about to go to the loo, see, and out of the window were police officers.” She bursts again into laughter.

    I ask her what she made of the action.

    “It was the biggest mistake that I have seen since I arrived.”

    “Why?”

    “I am not Mr Hague’s brain, so you had better ask him. But I think in the beginning they were trying to show this little country that Britain is still an empire and we should learn how to be good boys during our stay here.””

    The rest is worth a read too. These guys really do come across as human beings, first and foremost.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20026480

  • Scouse Billy

    Thanks, Komodo – I was thinking the same but I’d like to see some evidence of this IP match.

    Anyway, I am very much pro-wikileaks and certainly not pro-CIA.

    I “left” an organisation that was closely linked to the CIA/NSA because, in their words, I was “dangerously intelligent” – that’s code for I see through manufactured reality and prefer truth…!

  • Mary

    O/T Agent Cameron is back to Laura Norder, again.

    I heard the other day about a charity which has a narrow workboat on the river here and whose volunteers take Community Service offenders, mostly young men, along the river to do outside work under their close supervision. No smoking or drinking is allowed. The candidates are given their fares to get to the boat.

    Previously, the charity’s weekly report on attendance, work output, behaviour was closely monitored by the Probation Service and action taken on any slacking, non attendance, late arrival etc. The probation service has now been disbanded and the work has been handed over to a ‘trust’ based in another country. Six months have gone by and absolutely no notice is being taken of the reports or input. Therefore, the volunteers will lose interest and the young offenders will miss the chance to learn new skills and to take responsibility for themselves and hopefully reform.

    So much for Cameron’s B I G S O C I E T Y!

  • CAT Article 3

    If the AP wanted to lessen CIA’s interest in foreign interference, it could pass an act affirming the principal of non-refoulement. Then extradition proceedings would ensure an awkward airing of US official impunity for torture and Swedish acquiescence in that crime.

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