Mark Weisbrot writes: If Edward Snowden can make it to Ecuador, it will be a good choice for him and the world. The government, including the president, Rafael Correa, and the foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño, proved their steadfastness in the face of threats and abuse last year when they granted asylum to WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange.
The media took advantage of the fact that most of the world knows very little about Ecuador to misinform their audience that this government “represses the media”. The same efforts are already under way in the Snowden case. Without defending everything that exists in Ecuador, including criminal libel laws and some vague language in a new communications law, anyone who has been to the country knows that the international media has presented a gross caricature of the state of press freedom there. The Ecuadorian private media is more oppositional than that of the US, trashing the government every day.
Unfortunately, groups like Americas Watch (of Human Rights Watch) and the Committee to Protect Journalists, which do good work in some countries, have joined Washington’s campaign against Ecuador, publishing gross exaggerations. These groups should be a bit more worried about the chilling effect that the Obama administration’s unprecedented prosecution of whistleblowers has had on investigative journalism in the United States. [Continue reading…]
Matthew Aid adds: Something strange is going on here. According to WikiLeaks, it thought it had an agreement with the Ecuadorian government to immediately give Edward Snowden asylum upon his arrival. The Ecuadorians now appear to be retreating from their previous promises, perhaps because of pressure from the US government, or even perhaps because Quito is trying to extract concessions from Washington.
Whatever the case may be, there is, according to a confidential source inside WikiLeaks, a lot of anger about the Ecuadorian government’s behavior in this matter. In the meantime, Edward Snowden remains trapped in a Catch-22 legal limbo inside the transit lounge at Moscow’s Sheremetevo International Airport waiting for news.
USA Today now reports: Ecuador said Thursday it is renouncing a trade pact up for renewal by the U.S. Congress because it had become a “new instrument of blackmail” involving the fate of an NSA leaker who has asked for political asylum from the South American country.