Snowden seeks asylum in Ecuador

Ecuador's foreign ministry has confirmed that Edward Snowden has officially applied for asylum in Ecuador. He left Hong Kong this morning, landed in Moscow, and is said to be heading for Cuba next.

Ecuador's foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, earlier wrote on Twitter that Snowden had applied for asylum. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is currently sheltering in Ecuador's embassy in London as he fights extradition to Sweden on sex assault charges.

In a statement, WikiLeaks said: "Mr Snowden ... is bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisers from WikiLeaks.

Snowden applies for Ecuador asylum [Al Jazeera]


  1. Diplomats, fi.  The airliner could still be intercepted by F-16s and be diverted and escorted to Miami.

    1. That would be an incredible violation of international law. It would take DOJ attorneys at least 2 weeks to write up the rationale of why it was completely legal in their eyes (they’d need to get Jay Bybee and John Yoo together to write it).

      1.  ‘That would be an incredible violation of international law.’ – yeah america is getting pritty skilled at those.

    2. Darth Vader: [addressing the Tantive IV’s captain, whom he is interrogating] Where are those transmissions you intercepted? WHAT have you DONE with those plans?
      [holding Captain Antilles off the floor, the Captain’s feet are dangling at Vader’s knees]
      Captain Antilles: We intercepted no transmissions…
      Captain Antilles: … This is a consular ship… We’re on a –
      Captain Antilles: diplomatic mission…
      Darth Vader: [shouting] If this is a consular ship, WHERE is the ambassador?
      [Antilles dies before he can answer, and Vader throws the man’s body against the wall, narrowly missing 2 stormtroopers]
      Darth Vader: Commander, tear this ship apart until you find those plans! And bring me all passengers, I want them ALIVE!

      1.  Wait, so is that captain related to Wedge Antilles or is Antilles a common last name in the Star Wars universe?

  2. As we watch the full on media-where’s-waldo let’s please try to keep in mind that there has been (continues to be) massive government Patriot-act over-reach prior to Snowden.   The only reason that it’s being currently discussed at all in the media is because of Snowden.  that is, i thank Snowden for raising the attention level on these issues from zero to something.  It would certainly constructive of the media not to deflect the good result of his efforts on the sad result of his attempts to escape.  (we now return you to the slow car chase already in progress -sigh-)

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      Darth Vader: Commander, tear this ship apart until you find those plans! And bring me all passengers, I want them ALIVE!

    2. Not sure what you mean by “sad result of his attempts to escape”.  What sad results?  That he may actually NOT be subject to the American “justice” system of kangaroo courts and brainwashed citizen “jurors”?  The idea he could actually receive justice after our government has early and often referred to him as a “traitor” who has “committed treason” is preposterous.  Juries regularly believe lying police officers, prosecutors and snitches… do you think the ignorant Americans won’t roll over and submissively urinate for our most powerful government officials?

      I for one think his escape is a happy occurrence. And the fact that the world is not rolling over to American demands anymore is also an extremely positive event.

      1. i was just pessimistically extrapolating from the denouement of famous whistle-blowers past.  (and as such i suppose i’m not sure what i mean either)  i was just hoping that people wouldn’t get so lost in the details of the ‘penalty phase’ that they would forget the good that Snowden has already accomplished.

  3. Diverting the plane to Miami may be implausible. However, a great circle path from Moscow to Caracas passes close to Ascension Island, an island that’s officially British territory but under US military control and has a USAF base (the RAF obtained USAF permission to use it during the Falklands War). I presume that they could land a jumbo jet there (if it accommodates Hercules supply planes, it should accommodate a 747 or Airbus), so Snowden may end up in US custody there. It also means that they’d have the discretion of keeping him outside of US territory and thus not subject to constitutional rights.

    1. IANAL, but if he ends up in US custody, I think he’s subject to his constitutional rights as a US citizen. At least legally speaking. Practically speaking, it’s true that it’d be easier to ignore his rights outside of the country than inside.

    2.  So you want U.S. military aircraft to force a Russian government-run commercial airliner to land somewhere they don’t want to?  Besides the fact that it could be considered an act of war, how do you propose the fighter jets accomplish this?  Will they threaten to shoot the commercial airliner out of the sky?  And if the Russian pilot declines, will they do it?  Is that your land-of-the-free solution? 
      Remind us; how many political refugees has the U.S. returned to Moscow or Beijing?  I’m not saying they were as good as we were.  I’m saying we’ve become as bad as they are.

    1. Compared to a lifetime in the ADX Florence torture-prison or lethal injection for a political crime, just about anywhere looks like a “bastion of freedom”.

    2. If he gets there via Cuba, the entire roundabout trip will be a world tour of places-that-allow-Very-Serious-People-to-be-dismissive-of-him. China, Russia, Cuba, Ecuador … if only he had made a stop in France, it would’ve been perfect.

      1. Who the hell cares what the “Very Serious People” think anyway?  Playing on their turf is a huge mistake.

  4. Better Ecuador than China, Cuba, or Venezuela…  I’m still skeptical of his motives and actions, but not as much as I am of the NSA or this Administration.

    1. Skeptical how?  That he exposed himself to the wrath of the most powerful state on earth in order to inform the American people of how our government is violating the 4th amendment on a massive scale?  What possible motive would he have that would trump exposing himself to such danger?

      1. There are a lot of motives.  I don’t blindly trust my government, why would I blindly trust someone who tells me he is righteous? Running to China doesn’t help. Neither do trips to Russia and perhaps Venezuela, Cuba, etc.

        He has 4 laptops in tow.  All with information that is dangerous to our country and individuals around the world.  He made a solo decision based on his morals to put those lives in danger.  Maybe he’s right. Maybe he’s not. I reserve judgment until I see more information.  People do all sorts of dangerous and stupid shit for money, fame, notoriety, religious scruples, etc. Why are you not skeptical? is the better question.

        If anyone thinks he’s going to get out of this without that info getting into worse hands than our NSA (and if anyone thinks there aren’t worse gov’t forces than our NSA I pity you). 

        Again… not saying he’s a traitor, but I’m not saying he’s a savior either.  Manning has gotten folks killed and he deserves a long stretch in prison.  Snowden… we’ll see.

        1. No, Manning has NOT gotten anyone killed.  In fact, the Pentagon itself has acknowledged that very fact on more than one occasion.  And Snowden  has been very careful not to share any knowledge that will harm people.  This “4 computers” thing is highly questionable, as any documents he liberated would easily fit on one, and its likely he has them encrypted anyway.  I’m not sure where you get your information, but even Richard Clarke called the idea that the info he has shared will harm national security is “laughable”.

          And your xenophobia is showing:  I know we’ve been propagandized to think of China and Russia as the great satans and all, but even if it were true, the fact that Snowden is being protected by them gives me no feeling one way or the other.  I don’t care what Snowden’s motives are.  He has done more to protect our freedom than anyone I know.   I would think you would be grateful to know what is going on with mass surveillance in our nation and in our names.  The idea that “terrorism”, which is less of a threat to us than bathtub falls and shooting ourselves with our own guns, is reason to throw out the 4th amendment and turn the US into a police state is so laughable I’m crying.  We managed to keep the 4th amendment through WWII, the cold war, and now a bunch of crazed jihadis in mud huts are making us quake and squeal about “keeping us safe” like a bunch of pants-pissing weenies.  If you’re cool with the government collecting your emails and phone calls forever, why don’t we just let the police raid every house in the neighborhood randomly, whenever they want?  They would surely find some illegal shit going down… why not?  

        2. Bravo, sir, yours is the funniest post I’ve read on BoingBoing today. So full of comedy, wit and sarcasm. Oh wait, you were serious…

    2. I don’t like Correa’s laws concerning media, but he has not been like CHávez so far. He seems smart, and whether I agree with him or not, Ecuador seems to go well. 

      I wonder ig he might be a Latin American Lee Kwan Yew

    1. What?  So if he let himself be prosecuted in a US kangaroo court that would be “heroic”?  It would be foolish.  Just look what has happened to other NSA whistleblowers like William Binney and Thomas Drake, or CIA whistleblowers like John Kiriakou?  There lives were ruined and some of them imprisoned for doing what candidate Obama described thusly:  “Government  whistleblowers are part of a healthy democracy and must be protected from reprisal.”

      1. Whistleblowing shouldn’t protect one from punishment for other bad acts.  This is the same bullshit we’re asked of with Assange and the rapes.

        1. You seem very certain about Assange’s guilt in regards to the allegations of rape.  Was there a trial the rest of us missed or is the presumption of innocence concept too liberal for you?

          There have also been plenty of “whistle blowers who did it properly” who have still had their lives basically destroyed because this administration is prosecuting whistle blowers for espionage twice as often as all other administrations combined.  It’s strange that the behavior
          of the whistle blowers has you more frustrated than the behavior of the government that’s persecuting them.

          1. I’ve been frustrated with the government’s actions on this for a decade plus.  Now we have someone who was in a position to help do something about that and he basically pissed it all away with everything he’s done since the initial leak.  So yeah, that is doubly frustrating.

          2. But he hasn’t.  Sure, people are wondering where he’ll go and what he’ll do, but the fact is that more and more people are talking about this issue than ever.  


            Snowden’s only other option was to trust the due process of the U.S..  That would have been stupid, as Obama and his Justice Dept. have clearly demonstrated that they believe they can dispense with due process when it suits them.Like I said, there have been plenty of whistle blowers who have followed “the rules” and been severely punished for it by the man who promised to protect them. Ironically, it would have been safer for Snowden to stay in the U.S. during the Bush administration.

        2. Unlike Assange, I don’t think Snowden is accused of any “other acts” besides the leaks, though.

          1. Not yet. They’ll find something despicable to accuse him of. Probably not rape this time. Maybe some kind of animal or child abuse.

        3. Assange is accused of something utterly unrelated to leaking.  Snowden is accused ONLY of leaking.  The two have nothing in common, regardless of how you feel about Assange.

          It is pretty clear that Snowden broke the law.  Like most humans who break a law that is immoral, he wants to avoid life in prison and, in his case, torture.  

          Don’t get me wrong I have all the respect in the world for a whistleblower who is willing to be a martyr.  I don’t require it.  You can blow the lid off the greatest violation of the constitution in the US history, paint a target on your back for the NSA, and live in terror (the real kind) that the US is going to black bag you for the rest of your life, and that is noble enough for me.  That is certainly far more noble, heroic, and ballsy than anything you or I have ever done.  

          Who the bloody fuck are you to be judging the one guy with the conscience and balls to act?  There are tens (hundreds?) of thousands of Americans who saw this same shit, took the money, and kept quiet.  Each and everyone of those people are lesser folks than Snowden.

          How about you cast some stones when you have done something equally as heroic and dangerous.

      2.  Actually, if I recall correctly, the court vindicated Thomas Drake, and it was by attempting to subvert the courts that he was financially ruined. It’s similarly true about Binney- it wasn’t the courts that screwed him. The courts also came to the defense of Ellsberg.

        I point this out because one of the worst trends today is the absolute undermining of the rule of law, the lack of faith in the process, and the terrible consequences of that. And that’s not a single thing. The government is highly scornful of the courts, but the courts are perhaps our biggest hope. And actions like Snowden’s just further erodes them- further justifies the governments circumvention of them! I’ve lost a lot of respect for Snowden for this. Especially for going via Russia and Cuba and Venezuela, because eugh, that just makes him look like a tool. But if he’d turned himself in- perhaps demanding a more transparent trial – oh, I’d be so heartened.

        1. But if he’d turned himself in- perhaps demanding a more transparent trial – oh, I’d be so heartened.

          Sacrifice yourself instead of demanding that someone else do it.

          1. Ah yes, because that’s so easy. First, I need to go back in time and change my college major, be recruited to work for a national intelligence agency, gain access to classified and damning information, and leak it.

            SURE! No problem! That’s totally doable.

            Because being in the exact same situation is the only way you can possibly make an argument for a course of action or the implications of that course of action.

        2. Drake was ruined career-wise and financially defending himself in court.  His life was turned upside down for years.  Sure he was exonerated, but Kiriakou wasn’t. He’s sitting in prison right now.  And I call them kangaroo courts  not because they all are, but because much of the time they defer to the government on “national security” issues, allowing secret evidence and sealed proceedings.  You are too willing to sacrifice the liberty of someone you don’ t know who has already done you a huge service.  And none of it has anything to do with the information he has shared, which the government has not denied at all.  Stop worrying about his moves to save himself and start thinking about how you cannot trust your government to tell you the truth.

          1. I already knew the government was untrustworthy and was getting away with the kind of shit that Nixon could have only dreamed of.

            That’s what I’m actually worried about. 

            The ruination of Drake was due to the government dragging its feet in actually charging him IIRC, which left him in a legal limbo. That’s the problem, as I said: the circumvention of the courts. The administration has gotten big on pre-trial punishment (and where possible, avoiding trial altogether) because it distrusts the courts. It would have been a really powerful statement for Snowden to turn himself over to the law. It’s part of the recipe for civil disobedience that makes it so effective, and gives it the moral high ground. But by leaking stuff, and then going to a lot of countries that make even bigger mockeries of the principles that he’s claiming to be fighting for…well, it just makes him look like kind of a tool. Makes it easier to attack the messenger rather than the message. And, if we are going to talk about saving himself or whatever- which was never the issue for me – I think it’s probably put him in more danger. Being so much in the public eye, facing the courts here in the US would have necessarily had to be all above board. But now…who the hell knows. It seems like it’d be a lot easier for him to be disappeared.

            But you know what? I’m not one of those people who bashes Snowden and calls him a traitor and all that other bullshit. I’m not concern trolling, not trying to disguise a hatred of him in pseudo-supporting language. I am incredibly glad that he leaked this stuff. But I am allowed to respect him a little bit less than I do the other whistleblowers who did what they thought was right, and damn the consequences, and trusted in the courts to vindicate them.

            And ffs, don’t call them kangaroo courts if you don’t think they are. That’s again, part of the problem. The executive is too powerful, the courts are being constantly, constantly undermined. The solution to that is not to dismiss them entirely. That only takes us further down the road.

          2. My problem with the courts is that they are neutering themselves, esp. around national security issues: judges regularly deferring to the government in what is supposed to be an oppositional process with judges as independent, well… judges :).   The other problem I see is that juries tend to believe “guilty until proven innocent” because of the ceaseless “anti-crime” and “anti-terror” media coverage.

            And regarding Snowden fleeing the jurisdiction and all, I know what you’re saying, but I can’t help but think that if he can manage to stay out of the US government’s slimy tentacles that will be an even bigger win.

  5. Ecuador already has given asylum to Assange, the obvious move for Wikileaks was to seek aid here.

    I live in Ecuador, and I can tell you we have all of our freedoms.

      1. No journalist had been jailed for any criticism towards the goverment.

        The law that you mention did went through, and among others, gives a better distribution to communitary media, not goverment owned. Plus demands that musicians can get 50% of airplay in radios.

        Just a few of the many articles that this new law has. Of course, now there is an obligation to provide with verified information because many of the media outlets here are in campaign against the goverment.

        Ecuador is not the perfect place, nor has the perfect goverment, there is no such thing, but you cannot make up your mind reading just one side of the story, that’s big media’s job.

        1. Not true.  From

          In February, the National Court confirmed a sentence of three years’ imprisonment and US$40 million in damages against three owners of El Universo and a journalist working for the newspaper. They had been convicted of slander for an editorial in which they described the President as a “dictator” and accused him of giving the order to open fire on a hospital during the police protests of September 2010. The President later granted a pardon to all four men.

          1. Again, no journalist has been jailed, you said ir yourself, they were given pardon, and as a citizen, the president has the same right as any of us to seek justice for a clear lie.

            The case behind it, known as “30S” it’s to this day a sensitive issue for all ecuadorians.

            To accuse a president that he would order fire against a hospital it’ s a serious issue, and not a view or an oppinion.

            Again, for a full view you should read both sides of the story.

          2. “Again, no journalist has been jailed, you said ir yourself, they were given pardon”

            But that means the laws allow for persecution of journalists, and they depend on the whims of the President to avoid jail. Not a good situation for free speech–if some U.S. journalists were sentenced to jail for criticizing George W. Bush a few years ago, but Bush gave them a pardon, would you say this suggested no problems with U.S. freedom? One’s opinions of a country’s press freedom shouldn’t depend on whether one likes the President or his agenda.

            “the president has the same right as any of us to seek justice for a clear lie.”

            In the U.S. the laws for public figures are different than those for regular citizens, and I think the El Universo case shows there is good reason for such a policy.

            “To accuse a president that he would order fire against a hospital it’ s a serious issue, and not a view or an oppinion.”
            So you think conspiracy theorists should be jailed? For example, should 9/11 truthers who say the government was really behind the trade center attacks be arrested?

        2. Well, did you read the pages I linked to? If so, which of the specific claims there do you dispute? For example, you say “No journalist had been jailed for any criticism towards the goverment”, but the Washington Post article I linked to says:

          On Friday, after the Iranian’s departure, the National Court of Justice in Quito is due to hear a final appeal by three directors of one of Latin America’s most venerable newspapers, El Universo, which Mr. Correa is on the verge of destroying. In July, the paper’s three directors — brothers Carlos, Cesar and Nicolas Perez — and editorial editor Emilio Palacio were sentenced to three years in prison as a result of a defamation lawsuit brought by Mr. Correa. The editors and their newspaper were also fined a total of $40 million — enough to force its shutdown. The “crime” that prompted the president’s lawsuit was a column by Mr. Palacio, titled “No to the Lies,” that harshly criticized Mr. Correa’s provocative behavior during a police uprising. The handling of the case by the judiciary was, alas, worthy of a banana republic. After four changes of judge, a “temporary” magistrate took over the case, held one hearing, and — 33 hours after his appointment — issued the 156-page ruling. A subsequent independent investigation determined that he did not write it, and that the author was probably Mr. Correa’s attorney.

          As for the new laws, they may have the beneficial aspects you mention, but the Human Rights article I had linked to (the link was broken, but I just fixed it) mentions some aspects of it that are likely to be damaging to journalistic freedom:

          *It prohibits so called “media lynching” which is defined as “the dissemination of concerted and reiterative information, either directly or by third parties, through media outlets, with the purpose of undermining the prestige” of a person or legal entity or “reducing [their] credibility.”  The provision would allow the authorities to order the media outlet to issue a public apology and states that they are also subject to criminal and civil sanctions, imposed by the courts.

          *It requires media outlets to issue their own codes of conduct to “improve their internal practices and their communications work” based on a series of requirements such as to “respect people’s honor and reputation.” Although self-regulation of this nature is not in itself problematic, the law provides that any citizen or organization can report that a media outlet violated the requirements, and government authorities can issue a written warning, or impose sanctions.

          *It says that journalists must “assume the subsequent administrative consequences of disseminating content through the media that undermines constitutional rights, in particular the right to communication, and the public security of the State.” Journalists deemed to violate this responsibility could be subject to civil, criminal or other sanctions.

          1. The journalist were given pardon. In fact, one of them presented a video tape where, Rafael Correa, “said” to shoot traitors. Later a full video with the original audio showcased, that the video had been manipulated, so if that’s a journalist you would trust, maybe you should check your sources.

            On the lynching issue there was a clear example of how big media pools together to undermine people. One of goverment representatives was accused of having links to FARC. This news was first page of all of this media, and was a central topic for the remain of the year. Later, this representative was acquitted, yet no media printed an apology for such collective attack.

            Finally journalist are not above law they should be accountable for any information they present. As time and again, big media has been responsible for disseminating false information, borderline on gossip, seeking public outcry. And, time and again, government have been responsible to clear this false information.

            I stand by my stand, as so the 56% of people who voted for Rafael Correa, percentage that has been on the rise ever since he begin his term, 9 years ago. The first president to do so, as the previous years presidents were thrown from office for different acts of corruption.

            I urge to read another media outlet than just big media.

          2. “The journalist were given pardon. In fact, one of them presented a video tape where, Rafael Correa, “said” to shoot traitors. Later a full video with the original audio showcased, that the video had been manipulated, so if that’s a journalist you would trust, maybe you should check your sources.”

            I never said anything about “trusting” the journalists involved, just that they shouldn’t be prosecuted for what they say–the fact that they were shown to have manipulated the video is a good example of how there was no need to prosecute them to keep them from deceiving the public, combating misleading speech with good counterarguments worked just fine. See my above comment to you asking whether you think conspiracy theorists who put forward nasty accusations against the government without proof (I used the example of “9/11 truthers” who think the U.S. government engineered the trade center attacks, but there are plenty of other conspiracy theories out there) deserve to be jailed. I think they should be free to put forward whatever ideas they want, they won’t do much harm since the majority of people won’t take them seriously if they don’t have solid evidence. If you think that conspiracy theorists making dark unproven accusations should be prosecuted for slander, then I strongly disagree with your standards of what constitutes “free speech” (and if you think the journalists in the case above should have been prosecuted but 9/11 truthers should not be, please explain the apparent double standard).

          3. If someone accuses you of ordering to fire at people, without any proof, and you seek justice for such lie, it would be a “whim” according to your reasoning. On any nation you’re innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around. There were no proof of this accusations, yet publishers and editors let this editorial through.

            You are right, US has their law, Ecuador does not. So your laws apply on your country, not on every nation on the planet. Your laws are not a blueprint for the other nations to obey. They reflect your reality, not ours.

            I’ m not even going to respond the last part because you went from an accusatory editorial to conspiracy theorists. Again you cannot accuse without proof.

            It’s easy to judge form afar, trusting what big media tells you to believe. I cannot claim your government is either good or bad. I haven’t lived your reality.

            I invite you to visit our country and view for yourself if it’s as you say it is, or as the media tells it is.

          4. “If someone accuses you of ordering to fire at people, without any proof, and you seek justice for such lie, it would be a “whim” according to your reasoning.”

            The “whim” comment was in reference to the fact that these guys escaped jail only because of the personal decision (whim) of the president, rather than escaping it because they were found not guilty under a system of laws that applies equally to everyone. Anything that happens within such a system of laws–including seeking justice for a lie–is the opposite of a “whim”, by the way I was using the term. I didn’t say the President was acting on a whim for taking the journalists to court, the whim was only in reference to the pardon. Taking them to court was of course perfectly legal under Ecuadorian law, but that’s exactly why I was criticizing the law as it stands.

            “You are right, US has their law, Ecuador does not. So your laws apply on your country, not on every nation on the planet. Your laws are not a blueprint for the other nations to obey. They reflect your reality, not ours.”

            I’m not criticizing from the standpoint of U.S. law, but rather from the standpoint of my ethical belief that public discourse should be as free as possible, and authoritarian crackdowns on speech–including scurrilous speech and falsehoods–must be avoided. As I mentioned to another poster, I think the U.S. falls far short in that regard, and used the Barrett Brown case as an example of authoritarian prosecution of free speech in the U.S.

            “I’ m not even going to respond the last part because you went from an accusatory editorial to conspiracy theorists. Again you cannot accuse without proof.”

            What’s the relevant difference? Do you think people should be allowed to make accusations that the president murdered civilians on conspiracy theory websites, but not in newspaper editorials? Is there something sacrosanct about newspapers? Would Ecuadorian law prevent people from making such accusations on conspiracy websites, in private conversation, etc.?

            “I invite you to visit our country and view for yourself if it’s as you say it is, or as the media tells it is.”

            You talk as though the media is distorting something here, but can you point to any specific claims you think are inaccurate or misleading in the article I pointed to? I certainly have any sort of general trust in “the media”, but I think it’s unlikely that they could get away with making up the very specific claims in those articles, and you haven’t actually disputed any specific claim from them.

          5. Don’t waste your breath defending your country against someone who just wants to jam home his point despite your reasoned arguments to the contrary. On behalf of the rest of the world, for whatever its worth, I thank you and Ecuador for a truly civilized act.

          6. Those crazy and unproven theories have no major outlet, the person prosecuted for that lie, was the editor in chief of El Universo, a major newspaper known for continually being against this government, this just the last drop, however they continue their campaign to discredit Correa’s government. The fact that they continue printing these lies shows that they, and all the other big media have free speech.

            It’s one to be critical on something, it’s your right, it’s another to try to change public opinion to your unproven fact.

            Newspaper have been known as the Fourth power, in this country they have put presidents in office, and out of it. All according to what they need as a enterprise. They deal with news that sell, and truth doesn’t sell, at least here.

          7. This had been exhausting, and I don’t know why I bother, 14 millions of ecuadorians live here, in peace and in freedom, if you think yours is the only truth, then so be it.

            I retract from my invitation, you obviously believe everything you read, without even trying to contrast information, so inviting you to Ecuador would be doing you bad, and I don’t wish that upon you.

            Be happy, be free in your country, I sure do here in Ecuador.

          8. This had been exhausting, and I don’t know why I bother, 14 millions of ecuadorians live here, in peace and in freedom, if you think yours is the only truth, then so be it.

            What does the overall happiness of Ecuadorians have anything to do with the rightness of their policies on journalistic speech? As I said, I think the U.S. is guilty of some horrible authoritarian persecution of journalists, but that doesn’t mean that most Americans don’t live here in peace and (personal) freedom. I am not attacking your country as a whole so there is no need for this “circle the wagons” response to any criticism, I am only criticizing a specific policy. And please don’t make insulting personal accusations that I “believe everything I read” when nothing I have said suggests that I do that, only that I believed the specific claims that were made in those articles, none of which you were willing to dispute in specific terms. When discussing human rights, it’s better to talk in terms of the specifics of particular laws and incidents rather than vague generalities and rhetoric.

      2. I don’t know whether these are or are not accurate, but my time in other parts of the world have led me to believe that Western media (and some particular papers especially) basically makes shit up about South America all the time, as a general rule.

        This is unsurprising, as I’ve found that even covering local issues they tend to go for what sounds good over accuracy – not sure if you’ve ever been on the news for anything, but the disconnect between what they say and what happened can sometimes be hilariously bad. Just look at the coverage of Turkey and the inaccuracies on display!

        I do think many places in South America have significant problems, but in my experience they aren’t worse than the US in terms of freedoms (and are often better) in general, though they may be worse in particular ways.

      3. The usual Usian hypocrisy. US-Americans and/or US-Media berating others for their lack of civil rights and liberties? Sorry, pal but you guys are no longer in any position to criticize others. There are slander lawsuits in Ecuador against journalists but thats nothing compared to the situation in the US where the freedom of press is in jeopardy by surveillance (AP phone records seized) or journalists getting threatened with treason charges.

        Ecuador has no death penalty, no torture camps, no mass surveillance of their own citizens, no secret courts, doesn’t kill it’s own citizens with drone strikes …. –  it seems Ecuador has more civil rights and freedoms than the US. Get used to it.

        1. This is a tu quoue argument, and besides I never said anything about the U.S. having a good real-world record on journalistic freedom (the Barrett Brown case is a good example of the U.S. violating journalistic freedom in a quite flagrant way), though I think the laws on the books are better than in Ecuador (like the public-figure exemption to slander laws I mentioned above). The “you guys” comment is unwarranted since I am not arguing from the perspective of a U.S. citizen criticizing another country to make the U.S. look better–rather, in political discussions I always argue as a “citizen of the world” criticizing various countries relative to the ideal social-democratic-and-personal-freedom-preserving nation that I think could exist in an ideal world.

          1. It seems to boil down to the fact that in the US we don’t have criminal penalties for slander/libel.  We have civil, usually monetary,  awards/fines for what we see as non-criminal acts.  Fox news in the US is very adept at skirting the line between innuendo and lies, but its only because it doesn’t want to be fined.  One would imagine criminal penalties for libel/slander would diminish press freedom, but Fox news wouldn’t worry too much.  If this law isn’t used often, and is reserved for truly scandalous lies it really pales in comparison to  a government-servile press, death penalty, mass incarceration, torture camps, mass surveillance of its citizens, secret courts, and killing it’s own citizens with drone strikes.

  6. I wouldn’t trust anything reported about Ecuador or Venezuela reported in the NY Times.  I don’t really know much about Ecuador but the Times is a propaganda rag through and through.

    1. So they’re all “propaganda rag”s, aren’t they?  you can’t trust any reporting anywhere, can you? unless you witness it yourself you’re a fool to believe it.   hell, Snowden might be a double agent of the government.   any form of moderate opinion is a fatal weakness that they’ll take advantage of.   it’s us or them!  and i’m not at all sure about us.

      1. I didn’t say that.  You have to be careful what you read, and if you get your news primarily from the NY Times, especially on a subject like Venezuela, its pretty guaranteed you are being lied to.  A story should be analyzed and helpfully there are lots of sources on the internet with immense knowledge that can lend perspective and additional information to almost any story out there.  The NY Times, like the Washington Post and mostly all mainstream rags, toes the neoliberal economic line quite solidly.  There are some good reporters who report honestly, but they are the exception.  Most “liberal” or “leftish” media are only that on social issues.  On economics its the neoliberal, IMF agenda all the way.

  7. I had a good deal of trust in Human Rights Watch until I happened to read this earlier today: More Than 100 Latin America Experts Question Human Rights Watch’s Venezuela Report

    My sense is that Latin America has made a huge transition to independence in the past 25 years. The stereotypical story seems to have been: country run by tiny right wing oligarchy who own everything vs. dirt poor peasants; oligarchs get rich selling off country’s resources to large multi-national corporations. US gov, corporations and Latin oligarchy act as 1% partners guaranteeing the continent will never fall to the communists (as Cuba did). When revolt or democracy breaks out, there are death squads and torture like in Iraq. But somehow democracy *did* grow and the peasants found representation in much of Latin America from centre-left leaders like Chavez, Cornea et al. They freed themselves from the traditional oligarchy, the US, and the IMF. But they did it democratically, so they didn’t execute the oligarch’s who still own most everything, like a range of media that represents journalism like FOX represents fair and balanced. So you can expect a lot of lies, generally following the template that country X is like Cuba and Leader X is Castro. The traditional 1% partners cooperate so Rupert Murdoch’s media (for example) picks up and relays Latin American media lies. Sometimes the British press, ie. Rupert Murdoch’s media – also picks it up. Thus, I am most skeptical about reporting from this side of the struggle, and less skeptical of events and information which suggest Correa is a man of principle who represents the majority, and stands up to great powers for people who also represent the interests of the most citizens. My elected representatives don’t do that. 

    The companies who rigged the Florida elections have been working in many countries across Latin America.

    1. Palast rocks :).  Also, all MSM reporting on Venezuela (and never underestimate how co-opted ANY of our media are) has been atrociously negative.  Chavez was painted as a demon BECAUSE he raised a full third of the populace out of poverty.  There’s a lot of neoliberal garbage poisoning almost all our media.  And remember that many groups that are honest on certain topics/regions may be completely corrupted about others.  For example, the ACLU is great on certain civil liberties, but if you think its a civil right to join a union or have strong labor representation, they are nowhere to be found.  Just like NPR can be decent about social laws and neoliberal con-artists on economic issues.

      1. he raised a full third of the populace out of poverty.

        By looting the infrastructure. Wait five years and poverty levels will be higher than when he took office.

        1. If by “looting the infrastructure” you mean he took control of the Venezuelan oil fields and much of their profits back from Exxon, then yes, he “looted” them.  I’d like to see where you read this “looting” meme.  NYTimes? WaPo?  National Review?

          1. No money has been put back into the infrastructure because it all went to buy votes. There will be no oil industry soon.

          2. I’d love to see some links that support this assertion, it sounds just like the kind of propaganda the oil industry would promote.  What Chavez did manage was to wrest control of some assets from Koch Industries and take greater profits from their oil fields.  I’ve read that is one of the reasons the keystone xl is being pimped so heavy by them:  they don’t want to have to pay the higher prices these nationalizations have spurred, and since their refineries need heavy crude, the only other source is Canada’s tar sands.

          3. You don’t believe anything except your own chosen propaganda organs. That’s eminently clear.

          4. Because you’ve made it perfectly clear that you reject all media that isn’t Granma. This is old, but it’s a good basic overview. And you won’t believe it anyway, because it isn’t Granma.

            And by the way, I’ve been a communist since the 70s. Chavez was an opportunist who used pseudo-socialism and the cult of personality as means to grab and hold onto power. I generally respect Evo Morales and Rafael Correa, but Chavez was a totalitarian demagogue.

          5. I just read the Times piece you linked. Its premise: that private companies may do the job better, and raising royalties is the better way to go, is plausible, though not earth-shaking.  It takes numerous jabs at Chavez of course, some of them cheap, others not so.  I have never said there is nothing to criticize Chavez for.  And its likely he mismanaged the oil infrastructure.  But when you compare that to the ways he has reduced poverty (the article referred to it being cut in half!)  I find most of the criticism rather weak.  Its also likely that it took a bombast like Chavez to fight off the pernicious and deadly forces arrayed against his programs, but that now Venezuela needs a more modest, but more competent, steward to see it through the next phase of its socialist experiment.  The nations that are referred to that have better managed oil industries are not exactly models of happiness:  Russia?  Nigeria?  And taking on $12.5 billion debt is painted as some sort of insanity when its plainly not.  The piece takes Chavez down by a thousand small cuts, but there is another story here that is being given short shrift, even though it is mentioned.  The powers that controlled the Pdvsa were actively trying, with the help of the US government, to overthrow him.  Its understandable that he had to  fire lots of the skilled workers who ran the company in order to save the larger project.  You are ignoring the fact that the neoliberal machine has been actively trying to make a failure out of Chavez’s rule (or kill him) ever since he took power.  The piece also ignores that.  Greg Palast has a great piece on this:   The story is massively complex, and simply trying to paint Chavez as a useless and destructive demagogue does not do it justice.  Its similar to a recent convo here about the press freedom rules in Ecuador.  The press is largely controlled by the elites, and they make up lies to harm the socialist president.  So they passed a law making egregious lies published in the press punishable as crimes.  This law is rarely used (I think it was only used once) but it has been upheld as a draconian anti-freedom press-gagging rule by those who would try to derail the progress in that country.  The story is complicated by the fact that there are extremely powerful forces that are trying to undermine these amazing socialist experiments to our south.  You can’t believe everything you read from the corporate-servile US press on these nations, and that even includes groups like Human Rights Watch, that criticize Ecuador for this law without shedding any light on the complexity of facts on the ground.  That is the job of the corporate press: to sound reasonable and plausible while only telling part of the story.  But you know that.

          6. Anyone who tries to amend the Constitution of their country to stay in power is a traitor and should be executed immediately. No matter who. No matter where. No matter what their political affiliations. Head off now.

        1. Yes, pretending neoliberal power and policies don’t exist will surely make things better.


    1. Thanks but the last exchange was a handful, if people choose to believe what they read on newspaper without even experience for them selfs, it’s up to them. I for once won’t change living in here, despite all of the smearing campaign to discredit Ecuador, just check the news, specially now that asylum is been considered.

      In any case even if Ecuador is the type of country they portrait, Mr. Snowden it’s not a jornaulist, so he has nothing to worry, apparently only journalists are been targeted by the “dictatorial laws” on my country.

      Again, thank for your words, I have far exceeded my slim English vocabulary, I don’t have many chances to practice it in here, but boy did I get a handful!

        1. Hi wrybread, I can’t reply to your other comment so I’ll respond to this one–can you explain what you thought was unfair about the argument I was making? Again I was not attempting to attack Ecuador as a whole or prop up the U.S. as a whole (I don’t go in for that sort of us. vs. them, “your group bad, my group good” kind of thinking), just to say I think there are problems with their specific laws on journalistic freedom. Is there something wrong with considering the rightness of some laws in isolation, independent of one’s overall opinion of the country and its government? For example, would you see nothing problematic about laws allowing for slander prosecutions for public attacks on public authority figures, even if those authority figures were hard right-wingers as opposed to the current leftist government of Ecuador?

  8. Regarding his flight to wherever being intercepted by US
    F-16 jets: Good movie plot, but not very likely. It’s easy to avoid US airspace
    in getting from Moscow to Cuba, Ecuador, or Venezuela. And no US interceptor
    jets would threaten to shoot down a civilian plane over international airspace
    without evidence of imminent terrorist attack. Much more likely is a cadre of
    CIA agents and their Russian helpers running around with briefcases full of money
    to bribe their way to Snowden and render him to US Justice, with perhaps a
    stop-off at a black site for enhanced interrogation. That was the preferred
    method for high-value targets in the terror war.

    The problem is that Snowden and his WikiLeaks allies now
    have millionaire and even billionaire supporters with their own cash and
    lawyers to protect him. He has over a billion fans now worldwide, so they can’t
    just do anything to him without severe consequences. Every day he is free and
    still talking, along with others talking about him in the media, his fan base
    grows like a viral video. He has REALLY pissed off the establishment in the US,
    both the Republican and Democratic, caught them with their pants down, way
    down, and they want all this attention to just go away so they can keep on
    doing what they’ve been doing without people knowing much about it–and
    understanding even less. 

    They are afraid of a “movement of leakers,” because
    they are 500,000-800,000 people now with Snowden’s level of clearance, and
    simple their own databases will tell them that at least a thousand of these
    believe as Snowden does, and maybe a hundred will find the guts to do something

    Imagine that–leaks about secret databases coming every week
    or so, like photos of a Kardashian baby, reality shows about leakers, their own
    YouTube channel.

    Finally, there is a celebrity gossip hero for us geeks, sort
    of like a mix of THE BIG BANG THEORY meets the THE KARDASHIANS, with constant
    media attention and lots of tech terminology for the masses to digest.

    Snowden has created a new fairy tale, THE CYBER EMPEROR’S
    NEW CLOTHES, and we watch agape with mouths wide open, fascinated by all the

  9. Omnipresent surveillance network? Oh you mean the security cameras, the same ones present in every western country? 
    As for imprisoning journalists (leaving aside the fact that no Ecuadorean journalists have been imprisoned)  isn’t that what the U.S administration is threatening to do right now? For aiding the enemy? 

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