1. Forever Yesterday´s Newspaper
On August 20, the Washington Post editorialized:
"Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s outspokenly anti-American president, has stoked fantasies like these, having welcomed Mr. Assange to the so-called “club of the persecuted.” In January, he welcomed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Quito. But he’s also certainly aware that the United States has neither charged the WikiLeaks founder with any crime nor demanded his extradition. Why then offer asylum?
Mr. Correa — who has cracked down on press freedoms in his own country — has begun to show signs of establishing the same sort of autocracy that Hugo Chavez has brought to Venezuela. He may imagine that protecting Mr. Assange will give a much-needed boost to his international reputation. But it also could have disastrous economic consequences for his country. As we’ve said before, the United States that Mr. Correa so despises allows Ecuador to export many goods duty-free, supports roughly 400,000 jobs in a country of 14 million people and accounts for one-third of Ecuador’s foreign sales. Congress could easily decide to diminish that privileged commercial access early next year.
Is Mr. Assange really worth the risk? "
Many years ago, I worked for the Washington Post. All I can say is, here we go again ...
Our post of March 19, 2012 ("Intellectual Cowardice" -- George Orwell) observed:
´The Washington Post is a tool of the American government. Obama, Bush, JFK, Pol Pot, Hitler, Hoover, Lenin, Reagan, Elvis: it makes no difference who is in power, the Post does his bidding in exchange for…well, what, exactly? Money? Hot tips? Free Redskins tickets? Gotcha’ sex rumors and phony confidences? Dinner with 200 other attendees? A Rose Garden interview with softball questions? An invitation to the White House Christmas party?´ (Note: also see our post of February 12, 2012).
A month later, we got an answer: hot tips.
Post columnist David Ignatius wrote on March 16 that bin Laden wanted to kill Obama and General Petraeus:
´The scheme is described in one of the documents taken from bin Laden’s compound by U.S. forces on May 2, the night he was killed. I was given an exclusive look at some of these remarkable documents by a senior administration official.´
Exclusive look. Senior administration official: Boy, are we impressed! Let´s see now: U.S. forces break into bin Laden´s compound, kill him and take papers. Question: those papers are now in the hands of what government agency? If you have trouble with this one, ask the nearest seventh grader...
In case a teenager isn`t handy, we´ll go ahead and phrase the matter this way: don´t look now, Ignatius and Post, but your C.I.A. minders are showing."
You doubt the Washington Post is a mouthpiece of the American government? A D.C.-style* Pravda re-boot? See our post of March 2, 2012 ("Alchemy of The Word"). It provides a spectacular case of subservience, surveillance and censorship which I personally witnessed while employed by the Post.
The Post threatens/questions Ecuador (hence implicitly all countries that do something the Washington establishment dislikes): "Is it worth the risk?" Intriguing word choice. As always, American newspapermen just can´t stop talking about themselves when they talk about others. Stoking fantasies; cracked down; autocracy; despises...
To answer the real underlying question:
Oh mighty Washington Post editors and reporters -- you heroic, fire-breathing, give-me-liberty-or-give-me-death fighters for freedom, justice, truth, beauty: to be free of White House control definitely is worth the risk. Unfortunately, you never fail to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. The reason: to be free of your C.I.A. minders would require you to be free of the oligarchy that owns you, which is impossible.
At bottom of it all, as the Ignatius case showed, gentlemen, you don´t know how to deal. In return for your scurrilous agit-prop, the C.I.A. et al leave you with what the bird left on the limb.
The term agit-prop is not used vicariously.
Two days after the Post`s editorial appeared, El Universo, Ecuadorian opposition newspaper, carried this front page headline: "Riesgo para la economía entra al debate por el asilo a Assange" ("Risk to the Ecuadorian economy enters the debate for asylum for Assange.") In case you think the journalists´ viewpoint is independent of that of American businesses, click here. Talk about an independent press, it is simply incredible how they all come to the same conclusion, even use the same words. (See our post of February 2, 2012 "One-Eyed Jacks Versus Rafael Correa") For insight into that amazing, paranormal phenomenon, see C.G. Jung on simultaneity.
O.K., Washington Post, it´s Reality Therapy Time: if you had anybody on your staff who knew something about Latin America you would know that in July, before Assange was granted asylum, Ecuador´s President Rafael Correa wrote off the tariff preferences his country is receiving from the U.S. under the Andian Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA). No stick, then; no carrot either; no nothing.
Disastrous economic consequences, indeed. A day late and millions of dollars short, the Washington Post`s threat/question/hint is, like the Post itself, left to dangle, twist in the wind.
Forever yesterday´s newspaper.
* * *
Say what you will, the C.I.A.´s strategy to get rid of President Correa is an astonishing exception to the rule in D.C: it is utterly transparent. The core consists of a phenomenon that is well known in political circles:
Friends Will Come And Go. Enemies Accumulate
(!) Threaten/question/hint an end/reduction of U.S. trade preferences for Ecuador in July 2013.
(2) Ecuador subsidizes many goods and services such as gasoline, healthcare, scholarships and housing. With the ending of tariff preferences, Ecuador will not have enough money to continue subsidies at their present levels. Thus,
(3) Ecuadorian voters suddenly find themselves face to face with the specter of paying more at the gas station, grocery store, health care providers. Our homes, families and jobs are in danger! Help! (Note: this part of the strategy has already begun. See the Washington Post editorial and Universo headline above).
(4) The voters start to have doubts about President Correa who runs for another term.
(5) Correa sees his incredibly high popularity rating (see our post of Feburary 2, 2012) take a hit. He now has a momentum problem.
(6) Correa receives less than 50% of the vote in the upcoming presidential election of February 17, 2013. He is forced into a April 7, 2013-runoff election with the United States-backed candidate, conservative banker Guillermo Lasso. Lasso has highly competent consultants; his campaign is being conducted extremely well (but not perfectly) given the context of Correa´s popularity. To wit:
Lasso`s media timing, style, and message closely resemble those of Jeff Bingaman`s senatorial campaign of 1982 in New Mexico. Bingaman did what everybody said was impossible: he defeated the internationally known and highly popular Harrison Jack Schmitt, incumbent senator and former astronaut. Diogenes in search of one good man is the powerful, unconscious archetype that Bingaman and Lasso activated. The ATPDEA tactic, incidentally, is fully in keeping with that archetype; Diogenes declared, "I have come to debase the coinage."
It will be interesting to see if Correa and his campaign team know how to counter the unconscious forces set in motion.
(7) Finally, nonstop megabucks stop Correa in the Äpril Correa-Lasso election.
There is a fatal flaw in the Washington strategy. Do you see it?
2. Disorganization of The American States
"Britain Threatens to Invade The United States."
How´s that for a banner headline in newspapers across America? What is even more astounding: the headline would tell the truth.
Four days after the Washington Post editorial appeared, the Organization of American states issued a resolution on the Julian Assange affair.
First, though, in my opinion, Assange´s Spanish lawyer, Baltasar Garzón, stepped on cultural toes in asserting that England had to grant safe passage to Assange out of England. While living in London in 1992, I watched Labor leader Neil Kinnock blow his lead over John Major at the infamous Sheffield Rally that anointed Kinnock as the "next Prime Minister," shouting 3 times, "We´re alright!" Others dispute the charge that overconfidence upended Kinnock. In either case, the fact remains that in politics the British are -- totally unlike Americans -- contrarians and don`t like being taken for granted or told what they can do.
I believe Britain responded to Baltazár´s assertion by threatening to invade the Ecuadorian Embassy and seize Assange. The British claimed the right to enter the embassy under a British law.
A few days later, however, Britain backtracked and said it never threatened to enter the embassy. If that is true, gentlemen, then why did you mention the British law? In truth, you were waiting to see if anybody was watching. They were, so you reacted with a Gilda Radner-style "Never mind."
Once upon a time, the British were wonderful story tellers. For books, see Alice in Wonderland and 1984. For movies, see any Ealing comedy starring Alec Guinness. My, how times have changed.
O.K., Britain, for your national law there exists a more-than-equal and opposite international charter:
Embassies are internationally recognized as part of the territory they represent. That´s right: if you walk into the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City, legally you are in Cuba. (While there, you might want to behave).
Ergo, if Britain sends troops into the Ecuadorian Embassy without Ecuador´s permission, Britain invades Ecuador. So what? you ask. Well, the OAS Charter stipulates:
Every act of aggression by a State against the territorial integrity or the inviolability of the territory or against the sovereignty or political independence of an American State shall be considered an act of aggression against the other American States."
(Note: see also Article 3 (h): "An act of aggression against one American State is an act of aggression against all the other American States...")
If an armed invasion is not aggression, what is?
Either the OAS Charter (a) means something or (b) it does not.
Let´s find out.
If (a) it means something, in the event that Britain invades the Ecuadorian Embassy, the United States and Canada, too, are invaded. Would those two nations live up to their obligations imposed by the OAS Charter and repel -- if need be, declare war -- on Britain?
Perish the thought. For North America´s perfumed response to the tepid OAS resolution, click here.
The OAS had the opportunity to come down hard, with both feet, on a clear cut issue. As with the Washington Post, however, the OAS never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity; after all, both organizations are under the same management. ATPDEA, for your information, is a creature of the Bush Senior Administration; guess which socioeconomic group he belongs to. The OAS opted instead for a powder-puff call for Britain, Sweden and Ecuador to negotiate.
Option (b) it is, then. The heart of the OAS, its mutual defense pledge, is deader than the Monroe Doctrine. China, among others, did not fail to notice.
Post Script. The United States continues to say it has not charged Assange with any crime, hence it has no intention to extradite him. Reader beware: the United States system is no longer a polity, the oligarchy/democracy hybrid created by the Founding Fathers. Today, that country has, as Thomas Jefferson predicted, "the despotism of an oligarchy" (see The Big Movida, chapter 1).
With that despotism as a background, let`s see if I got this right:
(1) Two men, e.g., Bradley Manning and Julian Assange, collaborate.
(2) The U.S. government arrests one of them, charges him with numerous crimes (e.g., aiding the enemy, a capital offense), and holds him without trial under deplorable conditions.
(3) The government claims it has no interest whatsoever in the other man.
Conclusion: as with the English, Americans no longer know how to tell a good story. You see it in their movies, their novels, their songs -- everywhere. Government and nongovernment agit prop included.
Montesquieu observed that in a despotism the "momentary will of the prince is law." (see our post of July 16, 2012) As President Obama´s angry decision to kill without due process the American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki showed, in the United States the prince´s momentary will also is top secret. Unconstitutional, too.
*We are not saying that the American Government dictates to the Washington Post every word, every day what it will publish. D.C.-style means that whenever the government wants a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed spokesman, the Post is it.