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 With Correa replaced by a pro-USA President, Assange’s asylum will be withdrawn, the Metropolitan Police invited in to the Embassy of Ecuador to remove him, and Assange sent immediately to Sweden from where he could be extradited to the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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  • Snap

    Paul David Pope discovered his grandfather and father had mafia and CIA connections, and ran or buried stories for the CIA in their New York newspaper which eventually became The National Enquirer. He wrote a book about it, and gave many interviews in 2010.

    “The Deeds of My Fathers: How My Grandfather and Father Built New York and Created the Tabloid World of Today.” Paul David Pope.

    (also search Generoso Pope, Jr)

  • Viva Ecuador

    To Daniel:

    It is tempting to believe that those of us who support Rafael Correa are paid agents of Hugo Chavez or the Castro regime. In my case, the truth is rather boring. I cannot stand the hypocrisy of the US War on Drugs nor the impact of the undeclared War on Culture against Latin America. Latin America does not need to adopt “the values” of the US. Contrary to what we are told, rampant obesity, ignorance and gun ownership are not the be-all-and-end-all of life.

    If Venezuela wants to have good relations with Iran, that is none of the US’ business. If Brazil and Turkey want to get together to promote a solution to the nuclear stand-off in Iran, again – that is their right. If Evo Morales and Hugo Chavez decide to cut diplomatic relations with Israel, then too damn bad for the AIPAC lobby and it zombies in the US Congress. And if Cristina Kirchner chooses to meet with Iranian officials at the UN, then tough. Get used to it.

    The US does not control the world. The US has no mandate to control the world.

    It’s called reality. Deal with it.

  • Snap

    Alternative endgames to the standoff could be based on changes to the case in Sweden, such as ousting the prosecutor on misconduct charges or by pressure to take early retirement, or through uncovering the political interference behind the changing narratives of the accusers in the initial weeks. You will find some discussions on page 4 and 5 of an earlier thread.

    Are any Swedish readers interested in helping to bridge the language barrier on various new documents and discussions to help these progress?

    An article in The Observer on the weekend about another judicial scandal in Sweden highlights how bad it is. For an elaboration of the common player with the Assange case, see this posting in the earlier thread:

    On the matter of “bringing the Swedish judicial process into widespread disrepute or ridicule”, this has taken a step forward in the international arena this weekend with the publication by award winning journalist Elizabeth Day in The Observer on the Thomas Quick scandal slowly unravelling in Sweden.

  • Raúl Vásquez

    Agradezco al autor de esta noticia, ha dado la vuelta al mundo al menos esa es mi percepción, confío en la unidad latinoamericana y ya es un hecho: Bolivia, Venezuela y Ecuador mi país.

    Espero y estoy seguro del triunfo de nuestro presidente Rafael Correa en las próximas elecciones en 2013. Me animé a dejar este comentario ya que algunos que hablamos español, y coincido por ejemplo con “Marian” y “Viva Ecaudor”

    Espero se vele por la vida y la salud de quienes hicieron posible que esta noticia llegue hasta nosotros y por los mandatarios Evo Morales, Hugo Chávez y Ec. Rafael Correa.

    Apoyo incondicional a la Revolución Ciudadana y al presidente Correa.

    ¡Hasta la Victoria Siempre!

  • evil monkey

    Nice to see democracy alive and well and the Ecuadorian people getting a fair election. The hypocrisy of the USA gets worse on a daily basis.

    Oh and CIA supporters in the UK? Good luck finding any round my way

  • Sock Puppet

    “the policy was simply to wait for the Presidential election in Ecuador in February.”

    I see, so the upcoming US election in Novemeber are irrelevant? How about I bet you £10,000 of your English pounds that if Rmoney (sic) is elected the Assange ‘issue’ will simply move to the back pages before disappearing for good?

    Assange is an agent of Zionism.

  • James Chater

    “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.”
    Craig, don’t “ad personam” your own supporters! I was one of the people who posed the question, and it was a genuine request for information and perspective, not a pro-CIA or partisan attempt to score points. I too am upset about the whole wikileaks and Assange affair, and would hate to see a pro-CIA president installed in Ecuador.
    Please try to be patient with those of us who don’t have your political or diplomatic insider knowledge!

  • Inside Mann

    Seriously guys.

    1.) I am not Scouse Billy

    2.) I am concerned that the TOR network, which claims to have around 1,000 exit nodes in operation at any time, seems to allocate the same exist node for both my posts and Scouse Billy’s.

    3.) TOR is not inherently insecure. Connections are routed through multiple nodes so it shouldn’t in theory matter if any single node is compromised, or even a collection of nodes. However the more nodes owned by the intel community the higher the risk of a complete path being uncovered

    4.) TOR should really only be used to connect to secure endpoints. Craig, given the content of your site and the likelihood that people may want to get messages to you under the radar you should really move to secure HTTP.

    5.) I did not intend to be antagonistic, nor think my position is over-stated. The simple fact is that extradition from Sweden on political, intelligence-related or military charges – TO ANY COUNTRY – is in theory impossible and has antagonised the US before, during the cold war years.

    6.) Given (5) it is reasonable to deduce that there was no “plot” to extradite Assagne via Sweden – that’s not to say there was no plot, period. And my original post should not be taken as views for or against Wikileaks or the CIA.

    7.) It is a statement of fact that Assange’s position has already been damaged, perhaps irreparably. Other commentators above note how.

    8.) There are sections of the public who will accept the prosecution of Manning but not Assange. People who support free speech and a free press do not necessarily disagree with servicemen and agents being bound to protect national secrets. In effect it’s a game with rules, with Assange on one side of the fence and Manning on the other.

    9.) It is absurd to get entrenched on this issue, Craig, despite trusting your A1 sources. I’m under no doubt people will be blowing significant smoke in your direction. Besides, I’m not questioning the bulk of your assertions, merely some of your conclusions.

    10.) “There is no endgame” is the most credible comment above. I’m absolutely convinced any attempt to extradite Assange to America is either smoke and mirrors, opportunist or at the very least unrelated to a sex sting. Which may or may not be a sting, but it has backed Assange into a corner and alienate himself from half of his supporters.

    11.) Another valid comment above relates to the absurdity of Wikileaks becoming about Assange rather than leaking. One unintended consequence of any US/UK plot to discredit Assange could be what rises from the ashes. A Reddit-style website with completely decentralised architecture and moderation would be a game-changer. It would link directly the public to the whistle-blower, whilst stories are “voted” up or down by the masses to ensure anything interesting rises to the top of the pile. This I imagine must scare section heads, absolutely no opportunity for redacting to protect sources.

    12.) Because of the threat from (11) one would think Western governments would move to widen Freedom of Information laws, thereby learning to work in a way that is more open in order to protect the small amount of information which truly deserves protecting. But alas no, which is why I have decided to contribute to the debate.

  • N_

    @Chris2 – interesting info on the audit of Ecuador’s national debt, which if Venezuela is anything to go by, presumably brought to light huge financial robbery, with the spoils going in the direction of the US. Do you know who conducted the audit?

    The reason I ask is that if it were Greece, Ireland, or Spain, the audit would probably be done by one of the Big Four accountancy firms (Price Waterhouse Cooper, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, and KPMG), who are among the biggest crooks out.

    These firms (or ‘networks’) don’t just assist others to build secretive structures; they also have their own secretive structures. It’s interesting that 3 of them are coordinated from the little ol’ UK. Nicholas Shaxson writes about that angle in his excellent ‘Treasure Islands’ (which explains e.g. how in the 1980s it was the US that adopted the tax-haven-based UK banking model).

  • Leonidas Moreno Ordóñez

    Vamos a defender la Soberanía ecuatoriana, los problemas políticos son nuestros y nosotros los vamos a resolver. El imperialismo y su brazo ejecutor del mal la CIA acompañada de organizaciones somo la AID y USAID son los brazos económicos y de pantalla para penetrar de forma hipócrita en nuestra sociedad, tienen algunos agentes dentro de nuestro país, que reciben dinero a cambio de la traición a su patria y eso los tenemos identificados, sabemos que tienen rostro de periodistas y además tienen ONGS, tienen rostros de políticos que están dentro de las organizaciones otrora de izquierda pero en la actualidad al servicio del imperialismo, tienen rostro de emisarios de paz pero tras su mascara esta la muerte, se presentan con rostro de ayuda humanitaria pero lo que hacen es tratar de dividir a nuestra sociedad y por último tienen rostro de empresarios prósperos que lo único que son es testaferros de imperio en nuestro país.
    Nuestro Patria, está lista para emprender una jornada nacionalista y soberana. Siempre tuvimos claro que el enemigo interno tiene financiamiento y orientación norteamericana y no es nuevo para nosotros saber que en cada triunfo que hemos obtenido en esta Revolución Ciudadana a sido una puñalada para el imperialismo, que mientras gozabamos nuestro 8 triunfos ciudadanos, el águila del norte se daba contra el piso llorando su derrota.
    La patria de Alfaro, de Daquilema, de Cumbicos, de Miltón Reyes, de Tránsito Amaguaña, la patria Grande de Bolivar y del Che Guevara, estamos más unidos que nunca para continuar en nuestro camino al Socialismo del Buen Vivir.
    La tarea a cumplir por el pueblo ecuatoriano es la reelección de Rafael Correa en febrero del 2013 y alcanzar una mayoria en la Asamblea Nacional (Camara de Diputados)

  • Michael Stephenson

    Regarding Inside Mann suggestion that the site should be using https.
    Free SSL certs are available here: they aren’t business grade obviously and won’t have a green bar are the top of your browser, but the browser won’t throw a massive hissy fit like they do when they see a self signed cert.
    And they will allow your users to send and receive only encrypted traffic to and from your webserver.

  • Oliver Crow

    Inside mann
    The simple fact is that extradition from Sweden on political, intelligence-related or military charges – TO ANY COUNTRY – is in theory impossible

    Not sure what you mean. The Swedes have form for simply stuffing people on planes and shipping them off without regard to any sort of law. The Americans have form for kidnapping people from supposedly friendly nations, stuffing them on planes and shipping them off.

    If extradition of Assange from Sweden is impossible, why don’t the Swedes give him an assurance to that effect?

  • thatcrab

    @Inside-Mann – my “over-stated” claim was unfair, I just appreciate much of your position but not the final conclusion.

    I wouldnt worry about the coinciding tor nodes, tor optimises for performance and final nodes will tend to be used which are closer in network space to the destination server. This blog will have thousands of tor routed comments in its logs and many of these will share te same tor exits.

  • Jose


    What is the TV and radio landscape like, and is it cross-owned with press?

    There are no channels that are primarily news & opinion. Teleamazonas and Ecuavisa are the main private channels. Their pundits do political opposition, much like columnists in private print media. There’s Ecuador TV, a public or state-run channel. There’s also Gama and TC, which are state-owned but self-funded. Gama and TC used to be private outlets but they were seized by the state because they were owned by two bankers who are fugitives of Ecuadorian justice following the 1999 banking collapse.

    In Ecuador we have the following problem: Private media almost never has anything positive to say about the government, and public media almost never has anything negative to say. It’s 100% polarized. This shows that it’s easy to control the message without the need for explicit conspiracies. Hiring decisions and self-censorship work well enough.

    It’s better to have access to the 2 perspectives, though. And in some sense we still have something that looks like a watchdog press.

  • Shona Duncan

    Thank goodness the President of Ecuador got the south America leaders on his side. If any ill were to befall the President I’m sure another South American country would step in and save the day by offering Julian Assange asylum.

  • Ben Franklin (Anti-intellectual Colonial American Savage version)


    Many of us don’t speak Spanish. Would you translate the piece?

  • Jon

    Jose, thanks very much. Exciting stuff.

    Ben, that was four links from Jose, not just one 😉

    A Node, heh! 😀

  • Ben Franklin (Anti-intellectual Colonial American Savage version)


    Yeah i was being polite. Not sure why some of our Castilian friends post in their native tongue, when at least two, by my count, speak English

  • Marco

    Cuando los intereses personales o corporativos se ven amenazados por la razón la lógica y la honradez, surgen los adjetivos peyorativos, rápidamente tratan de ignorantes a los que opinan en contrario, por eso reitero, Que pena me da las _Abandonadas,… están tan llenos de sus orgullos, egoísmos y encerrados en su burbuja celestial, que los seres comunes y corrientes somos simples cortesanos ignorantes que no merecemos el beneficio de vivir como seres humanos racionales.
    Esto gracias a un hombre que se faja los pantalones como Correa, esta siendo posible en Ecuador, y no pueden hacerse los ciegos, con sus logros como la baja del desempleo, la nueva estructura educativa que se va construyendo donde todos tenemos las mimas oportunidades, la gran infraestructura vial que sirve para desarrollar toda actividad económica, incluso para que se movilicen los detractores, la acogida internacional de los presidentes de la región, el apoyo de parte de la mayoría del pueblo ecuatoriano, son cosas irrefutables, que no se pueden borrar o ocultar con insultos e insinuaciones maliciosas.
    El Ecuador seguirá apoyando este campo de época, para bien de la gran mayoría eso se llama si no entienden democracia.
    Nunca mas nos arrodillaremos al Imperio, que ha sido desenmascarado y como decimos aquí en mi país, a otro gallo con ese cuento”

    Daniel antes de insultar a los demás, debes empaparte de la realidad nacional Ecuatoriana y luego pronunciarte, el echo de no estar de acuerdo con algo, no es razón suficiente para juzgar a mi lindo Ecuador.

  • Arbed

    Ooh look, I think that Real Treat Craig promised us has turned up, as linked by the delightful Anonymouse above:

    A blog created especially for this particular post! (Check the previous posts sidebar). And what a very, very long (and very, very nasty to Craig) post it is. Ooh look, and it repeats verbatim some of Goran Rudling’s “gems”!

    Mostly though, it spends a great deal of time explaining how Anne Ardin never, ever meant to accuse Julian Assange of rape. My favourite bit:

    “To reiterate: Every last piece of testimony in the document is suggestive of AA only wanting to go along to support SW”

    – except, of course, for that teeny detail of Ardin handing in as evidence a “used” condom which she said Assange “tore deliberately” but which has no DNA on it. No, no, definitely not – no desire there at all to do anything other than support SW…

    Ah, but Anonymouse does attempt deal with the condom “issue”. Well, sort of. She is very keen to tell us that the forensics lab did find “something” on it – a small speck of mitochondrial DNA, so how can we possibly say that the forensics lab found that the condom hadn’t been used? Quite easily, Anonymouse dearest. We can say that because a used condom would have DNA from TWO people on it – and proper chromosonal DNA at that – and this one has a tiny speck of mDNA from only ONE person.

    I’ll not clutter up the thread taking apart the rest of Anonymouse’s claims (anyone so inclined can do so on the blog post itself – there’s a comments facility, but good luck in getting anything past moderation), with one exception. Anonymouse’s blog is very careful to avoid two things:

    1) the page from the forensic report where policeman Mats Gehlin’s notes indicate that Sophie Wilen’s FIRST story to Linda Wassgren included mention of “popping balloon sounds” and retrieving a damaged condom from under her bed. Which obviously throws a good deal of light on Ardin’s interjection in that same Wassgren interview – “I believe Sophie is telling the truth because the same thing happened to me” – which resulted in BOTH women’s stories initially being treated as rape. (Sophie told a radically different story in her later formal interview with Irmeli Krans to avoid any potential prosecution for making false allegations. This then forced Anna – who had originally planned that SW be the one to make the allegations, while she just “supported” – to go into full damage control mode – in press interviews, via the #talkaboutit twitter campaign, etc, etc)

    2) all the text messages between the two women before they went to the police station in which they cooked all this up.

    George Galloway has stated he has some of those text messages in his possession, which is doubtless why he confidently told Oxford students protesting that he is a “rape apologist” last week: “One day you will apologise to me for that remark, when you know what I already know”, owtte. Craig is now getting the same treatment as Galloway (from much the same quarters), with added bonus nastiness in his case. I hope he too one day gets the apologies he deserves.

    The Flashback forum are already onto both 1) and 2) here, if anyone wants to follow the discussion there. Flashback is very good at ferreting out the truth.

    Oh, one last point I should mention. I have encountered Anonymouse before in other forums. She is a close personal friend of Anna Ardin, or at least moves in the same social circles. I reach this conclusion because I’ve seen Anonymouse refer to Ardin in comments as “the cute Anna Ardin”.

  • thatcrab

    I dont think we can protest Ben since they are the focus.

    Marco auto-Translates:

    When personal or corporate interests are threatened by the logic of reason and honesty, derogatory adjectives arise, quickly try saying ignorant to the contrary, so I reiterate, that gives me the _Abandonadas penalty, … are so full of their pride, selfishness and locked in their bubble heavenly beings are mere ordinary ignorant courtiers do not deserve the benefit of living as rational human beings.
    This thanks to a man’s pants and belt strap, this being possible in Ecuador, and can not turn a blind eye, with his achievements as the fall in unemployment, the new educational structure that is built where all have the opportunity Mimas, the great road infrastructure used to develop all economic activity to mobilize even the detractors, the international reception of the presidents of the region, supported by the majority of the Ecuadorian people are irrefutable things that can not be erased or hide malicious insults and insinuations.
    The Ecuador will continue to support this field of time, for the good of the majority that is called if they do not understand democracy.
    We will never kneel to the Empire, has been unmasked and as we say here in my country, a different story with the story ”

    Daniel before insulting others, you should soak the Ecuadorian national reality and then pronunciarte, echo not agree with something, it is not sufficient reason to judge my cute Ecuador.

  • Luis

    Utter nonsense. As an anti-Correa Ecuadorian, I can assure you that Correa will win re-election on the first round (he only needs 40 % and 10 % difference). Why would anyone (much less an “intelligence” agency) want to waste their good money on this? Furthermore, some of the main oil companies and companies in other sectors are U.S.-based. Correa’s mother and siblings have U.S. permanent residency. His cousin (Pedro Delgado, of COFIEC-Iran scandal fame) has a house in Miami and a green card as well. Correa has had the good sense of using the oil exports windfall on social programs and infrastructure, that will ensure his re-election for as long as he wants to remain in office (hopefully, only until 2017).

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