back to article Ecuador denies granting asylum, safe passage to Snowden

The government of Ecuador has stepped back from its support of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, saying it has not granted him asylum and that a travel document purportedly allowing him safe passage to the country is invalid. For days, Ecuador's leftist government has been blasting the US over what it describes as "pressure and …

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Big Brother

Gotta hand it to the yankees, though

The nerve they have, to call other countries on "abiding by international law" and that "they are a part of an international community", when it's crystal clear they themselves haven't been doing it, if ever.

It raises hypocrisy to a whole new level...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Gotta hand it to the yankees, though

Hand it to who. the government or the people, the ones to reveal the truth or the ones trying to hide it.

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Bully Boy tactics

I bet what is being reported in the press is nothing compared to the bully boy tactics the US administration is using behind the scenes.

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Re: Gotta hand it to the yankees, though

I propose that the use of the term 'Yanks' should generally apply to the people and 'yankees' or equally 'yank-mees' to apply to the government. Alternatively the citizenry should carry the capital 'Y' to differentiate from the lesser form which is the government which should get the respect it deserves with a lower case 'y'.

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Re: Gotta hand it to the yankees, though

INHO the US Gov has gone rogue. It's not in the control of the people and it lies to the people inside and outside the US both while being abusive to both now. The people in the US are struggling with it while the Gov's in a fast run to complete measures stop and control them.

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Trollface

Re: Gotta hand it to the yankees, though - not really, long tradition we inherited

Let's see, who was it that coined the term "Great Game?" I'm sure it wasn't an American. You also have to admit that nearly everything we know about espionage - and well just about everything we know - came from Britain don'tchaknow. Pretty sure the US wasn't involved in the shenanigans that lead up to WWI, that was all over there in Europe. I suspect that only way to "take hypocrisy to a whole new level" would be to push historical ignorance in the same direction. Then there is GCHQ which, as my history books say, was founded for signals "intelligence" after WWI and became GCHQ in 1946. Did a whole raft of useful work in WWII as well out of Bletchley Park. I rather suspect that the idea of Echelon came from that inspiration, and from that ultimately PRISM. The only thing special about this situation is that the maroons that run things here in the US0fA were too cost conscious to demand funding to do work in house. Besides, weren't the Germans kvetching about GCHQ snooping just a few days ago?

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Coat

Re: Gotta hand it to the yankees, though

Won't work. Yankees is a baseball team.

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Re: Marshalltown

It is fitting that you take WWII as a reference for US history, because that is indeed when the US discovered that it was a World Power, and started flexing its muscles as such.

And, just like a bodybuilder, it started taking steroids to flex better and further, thus leading it to its current condition which is that of a geriatric bodybuilder that used to be sculpted and fit but has become used and paranoid even towards its own children.

But do not take my post as a rebuttal. Instead, please direct your attention to this : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWiIYW_fBfY.

I am aware that this speech was pronounced in 1961, but that may serve to "push historical ignorance" in a different direction this time.

Personally, I find frightful just how visionary that man was.

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@Marshalltown

Nit:

Yes, GB is the prime example for successful 20th Century espionage. And for a a just and noble cause at that.

But espionage itself is much, much older. It's part of the problem I have with the whiners who want it all shut down because it makes them uncomfortable. International law is mostly a joke. It's something we invented so we wouldn't feel bad about summarily shooting German Socialists who needed to be shot. It was, not surprisingly, corrupted by Soviet agents and has been pretty much worthless ever since.

That being said, at the level we believe to be ongoing, this kind of surveillance is troubling and frequently the mark of totalitarian regimes. We need reliable assurances that the targets of such investigations truly are the bad guys and not partisans within our own countries.

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Facepalm

Re: Gotta hand it to the yankees, though - not really, long tradition we inherited

I suspect that only way to "take hypocrisy to a whole new level" would be to push historical ignorance in the same direction.

So the US government turns to their country's citizens and say:

"Oh, don't worry about that PRISM thing, we only use it to scoop on foreigners"

And then turn to other countries' governments (home of those very foreigners they seem to think it's alright to scoop on) and say:

"You know, if only you were good members of the international community, you would turn over this chap that revealed to the world at large our wholesale scoop tactics"

But according to you that's not hypocritical in the least, because other countries have done (something like) it before.

And of course, as we all know, two wrongs are damned sure to make a right...

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Mushroom

Pay Attention Obama

Those in Prism shaped glass houses shouldnt be telling anyone else what they can & cant do, just on the off chance those you are telling turn around and throw a cruise missile or two in the direction of your glass house.

'international community' - I'm sure once upon a time this term was quite honouralbe & had throughout the trials of its youth managed to keep its virginity intact, saving itself for marriage to another appropiate term, however hearing it used by the US in this manner reveals this term to be the disease riddled whore it really is :S

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Anonymous Coward

It would be wonderful

...if the U.S. stopped sending financial aid to all countries and made them stand on their own. It would also be great if Russia and Ecuador grew some scrupples and turned Snowden over to U.S. authorities. Nothing good will come to a country who harbors international criminals. I guarantee it.

BTW, Ecuador and every other country that gets financial aid from the U.S. should be damned thankful. If they don't like the U.S. judicial system prosecutiong criminals then these countries should re-pay every dime the U.S. has sent them in the past 100 years, with interest.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It would be wonderful

Those countries that would get cut from U.S. financial aid could kindly return the favor: they would simply stop paying U.S. debts and tell them to sod off. Some countries owe money to the U.S. but the loans were made by previous governments, which may have been toppled by revolutions or simply superseded with less US-friendly governments.

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Mushroom

Re: It would be wonderful

I am sure the Israelis would welcome your proposition!

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Joke

Re: It would be wonderful

Nah, you don't want to grow any scrupples, they don't sell for much and they taste a bit manly.

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Tell me

What is the guarantee of an AC worth in the open market?

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Anonymous Coward

What Snowden did was illegal

I think he deserves a full month in jail.

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Anonymous Coward

NSA billions vs. how much for crime? Chasing ghosts & letting your own people rot.

Why is the US Govt so damn convinced that terrorists pose a greater threat than crime to our great nation? So lets see every year there's tens of thousands of deaths due to gun crime versus how many deaths exactly from terror attacks? Just asking. When most congressmen and senators are rich enough to have private security, armoured limos + live in fortresses, then maybe, just maybe, its about Money!

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Re: NSA billions vs. how much for crime? Chasing ghosts & letting your own people rot.

That's an awful lot of upvotes for a post that had no actual quantitative information in it, so I went looking.

Best I could find from various sources on teh intarwebs was that on average about 11.5 thousand people are actually killed by firearms in the domestic US per year. So that would be "Ten of thousand". It is generally thought that many of those are suicides. The exact number is disputed but never lower than a third.

Discussion point: do suicides count as "gun crime"? On paper, yes. Morally? My view is that the most precious thing you own is your life, but it is yours to switch off if you want so long as you don't kill or harm anyone else. Of course, the maid that comes to clean up your hotel room* will need therapy that she won't get because she's poor as a churchmouse, but there you go. It's often said that suicide is a selfish crime.

Deaths from terror attacks amount to less than ten thousand in the Domestic US per year if you don't count those still dying from the toxic fallout of the collapse of the Twin Towers. But we can agree it is less per year than gun violence. Not sure why this is important. Terrorism is something The People feel Should Not Be, while guns are regarded as A Fundamental Right Woven Into The Country's History. Were I a politician, no matter what my personal views I know what my publicly avowed stance would be.

But your comment about it being about money is both *on* the money and naive. The way the Federal and State government does business makes *everything* about money. You want to know where the money that "government wastes" is spent? Look no further than the local contractors that government is all-too often forced by law to offer the jobs to, and who - inspired by the "low bid" system that encourages bad behaviour - gouge and overbill and lie until everything collapses under the weight of yet another "public inquiry". It is, when you get down to it, the American Way.

* I once did some research and discovered that upscale hotels are a very popular venue for people wishing to go out "with the minimum of fuss". I guess it does save the family the distress of discovering your body, and who care about strangers anyway?

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Black Helicopters

Central and South American countries have some bad memories about not abiding by the USA's wishes.

And now I can't get this tune out of my head: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHhZF66C1Dc

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Black Helicopters

Indeed

... and that's why there has been a recent trend in Central and South American countries with USA-unfriendly peeps being voted into power. Venezuela's Chavez, Ecuador's Correa, Bolivia's Evo, even the dude who was in Honduras until a coup overthrowed him.

And most of Latin America still remembers that other September 11 ... the one when a CIA-backed coup murdered Salvador Allende and put Pinochet into power.

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Anonymous Coward

With any luck ...

... he will end up sharing a cell with Assange.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: With any luck ...

With any luck he will end up sharing a cell with Assange.

Or a sofa, making the Ecuadorian embassy the latest outsourced prison setup.

The Ecuadorians are in a difficult position. That extreme posturing means it will always have political consequences if they aid two people who are per definition criminals. One because he broke bail and is seriously desperate to escape questioning by the Swedish police (I still wonder why that fear exists), and one because he broke the law by stealing and exposing secrets. The latter could possibly avail himself of the whistleblower defence and lessen the resulting sentence, but the baseline remains that he broke the law to start with, and the volume of leaks indicates it wasn't exactly a spontaneous event either, it was a plan. This makes it harder to keep the whistleblower defence standing.

It will help Snowden's defence immensely if he focuses on the issues where the NSA may have broken US law, or at least bent it beyond recognition. Anything else falls outside the fairly narrow parameters of whistleblowing and this connection with Wikileaks is IMHO not exactly helping because that's becoming more propaganda in its own right. I don't see any kind of happy end for Snowden, other than maybe an NSA security consultant so they can plug that shambles (honestly, one man only 6 months in the job having access to so much damaging material? Hello?).

I can't see a way out for both the two causing mischief and Ecuador. The best Ecuador's president can do is negotiate decent holding conditions for Snowden so it appears they have at least done *something*, but I really have no idea how the Assange story is going to end. Ecuador cannot hold him there indefinitely, but Assange has nicely played them so handing him to the rule of law now means someone will have to take the hit politically. Assange pretends he has been criminalised, but the reality is that he acted unprompted like a criminal, and has to face the consequences like the rest of us. There too is no happy end in sight, or it would make a mockery of the criminal justice system.

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Re: Assange pretends he has been criminalised

Actually, I would say that he has been criminalized, just that it came from people of the same progressive bent he is. Based on what I've read in the papers, I don't consider what is alleged to have done to be worthy of criminal charges. Someone changing their mind after engaging in consensual sex is just that, not rape.

But I do concur that his running has made him look either very very guilty of something, or (more likely in my estimation) the kind of publicity hound who prefers being in the headlines for doing bad things to not being in the headlines at all.

Snowden on the other hand is pretty much toast. He might have been able to use the whistle blower defense right up until the time he showed up in Russia. Now it is way too late.

It does strike me that Ecuador is getting tired of Wikileaks treating their government like at best a doorman and more likely a doormat. It's one thing to bait the bear and be touted a hero. Quite another to be expected to do it just because you done it before.

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Optional

On Thursday, President Obama cautioned Russia and any other country considering granting asylum​ to Snowden to "recognize that they are a part of an international community not as tough as us and they should be abiding by international law doing what we tell them."

There. Fixed it for you.

Interesting and relevant YouTube video rant type thing.

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Boffin

The London connection again.

This looks like more power struggles in the Ecuadorean government. Assange was originally granted asylum after scheming for months with Fidel Narvaez, Ecuador's consul to London, and announced by deputy Foreign Minister Kintto Lucas, who has since been moved on. The Ecuadoream ambassador to London, Ana Alban, was the one that got lumped with the Assange problem, with the Ecuadroean government originally backtracking as Assange and Wikileaks had been working with two opposition newspapers Correa didn't like (El Comercio and El Universo). It took the Ecuadorean's two months to grant Assange political asylum, and no doubt entailed Assange throwing his Ecuadorean newspaper buddies under the bus. Now it looks like Assange and Narvaez have landed Ecuador with a new diplomatic mess, one Quito was again not expecting or fully briefed on, which probably explains why Snowden is now stuck in transit whilst Correa decides whether he wants to give political opponents in his party a possible boost. One of the problems with popularist political parties based on personality is that the leaders are always looking over their shoulders for those in their own ranks that seek to unseat them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The London connection again.

"One of the problems with popularist political parties based on personality is that the leaders are always looking over their shoulders for those in their own ranks that seek to unseat them."

Hasn't that always been the case - from Hitler, to Stalin, to Mugabe, to Mao, to etc etc etc etc? What's new - maybe - is the mix of populist government, diplomacy, criminal behaviour, and the occasional nutty journalist claiming that criminal acts don't matter. (Let's not forget Mr Assange still should be required to answer to the Swedish justice system, and Ecuador is shielding him from that, yet some of the Grauniad coverage of Wikileaks makes him sound almost saintly.)

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Terminator

Re: The London connection again.

You may benefit from a slightly more expansive reading of history.

BTW, the term you want is `populist' not `popularist', and it doesn't apply to even one of the historical villains you name.

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The lack of valid travel documents ...

... is an assumption based purely on the invalidity of the published document - this could be a deliberate distraction, or just irrelevant, as Snowden has apparently disappeared and could be pretty much anywhere by now, including Guantanamo.

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Snowden is a hero

Snowden is a hero. We should give him a medal of honor, and seek to throw Obama in jail.

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Re: seek to throw Obama in jail.

Nah, that would just give him the opportunity to become yet another martyr. To dispose of him properly we need him to die of natural causes in bed between a dead girl and a live boy, which isn't likely to happen.

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Anonymous Coward

Subterfuge, disinformation, and ...

... Cleverly worded answers providing no useful information for the actual question(s) asked - no longer tools of just the US.GOV propoganda machine...

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Anonymous Coward

Predictably all countries are losing balls

What a surprise that Ecuador is suddenly not so keen to give asylum to Snowdon. US dollar influence maybe?! Whatever the case, Snowdon was surprisingly foolish to think for a moment that he would gain any real support.

Watch now as the predictable happens and Edward Snowdon ends up incarcerated for the rest of his life.

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Unhappy

Hmmmm

Am I the only one that thinks we'll never actually see Snowden again, that sometime in the last few days he was carted (or crated) out of Sheremetyevo to some underground facility a few hours away, where Putin's people could extract everything they want out of him (notably, a few encryption keys) rather than waiting till he decided to leak some more? Snowden's defenses would be set up to deal with US thug tactics, not Russian thug tactics, and let's face it - Putin is much more experienced in that arena than Obama.

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WTF?

Re: Hmmmm

IS THERE really ANY difference between US tactics and those of Russia - other than language?

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Re: IS THERE really ANY difference

Well, the first one I can think of is that the Russians are competent at it...

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Anonymous Coward

'The US would be better off monitoring its secret services rather than its allies'

Title says it all:-

http://lite.rte.ie/news/lite/2013/0630/459696-claims-us-spied-on-eu-offices-computer-systems/

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Meh

Re: 'The US would be better off monitoring its secret services rather than its allies'

Suggest you read ...

< http://www.privacysurgeon.org/blog/incision/former-nsa-contractor-warns-of-murky-interception-arrangements/ >

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Boffin

Re: AC Re: 'The US would be better off monitoring its secret services rather than its allies'

Are you surprised the US feels the need to spy on the EU? I'm not, especially when the EU sees fit to lie to its own population. Do you really want to pretend the EU hierarchy had no idea Greece was cooking the books when it was allowed to join the Euro? And then we have all the other lovely political infighting in Europe, where it seems the last thing any EU politician or commissar does it tell the truth to their own people, let alone to "friendly" nations, and half the EU constantly treats the US as an "enemy". So if you are surprised the US spies on the EU I'd suggest you are simply naive, as I suspect the EU members spend plenty of time spying on each other! I would also so suspect that there is plenty of intelligence gathering going on by EU member states from their consulates and embassies in the States, I just suspect it is not to as high a technological degree as that done by the US.

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Black Helicopters

Re: AC 'The US would be better off monitoring its secret services rather than its allies'

Matt,

I enjoy a lot of your posts, disagree with some but love free speech.

Said, are you not aware that the main facilator (and encourager) of the Greek govt's profligacy and money shuffling is a major New York City `investment bank' with a large degree of responsibiliy for the GFC *and* a big-time Obama campaign donor?

How odd that they've not, and never will be, called to account for any of it.

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FAIL

Re: AC 'The US would be better off monitoring its secret services rather than its allies'

"....the main facilator (and encourager) of the Greek govt's profligacy...." Typical bollocks sprouted by lefties trying to shift the blame from socialist overspending to The Evil Bankers. Did the bankers put guns to the heads of the Greek cabinet and make them go on their reckless pending sprees? No. So forget trying to blame it on the bankers, that has been repeatedly shot down so many times, even the Guardian has long since stopped heaping all the blame on The Evil Bankers (http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/economics-blog/2012/may/18/who-blame-greece-crisis). They do try and shrug off some of the blame onto the EU itself, but the reality is the Greeks spent the money and ran up the debts. Take off the socio-political blinkers and actually read some facts next time.

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Anonymous Coward

The Prez says...

« President Obama cautioned Russia and any other country considering granting asylum​ to Snowden to "recognize that they are a part of an international community and they should be abiding by international law." »

Well, coming from the U.S. president that's not a bit rich at all now, is it?

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Unhappy

Me thinks ...

Assange should keep his mouth shut or he may find himself out on the street and then in Sweden en route to the US of A.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It doesn't matter what Ecuador says...

The U.S. should put a contract out on both of them

Seriously? Why on earth would the US want to turn a problem into a complete disaster? In Snowden's case they have the law on their side (find me a government that doesn't take a dim view of someone throwing national secrets on the street), in Assange's case leaving him well alone was the best thing they ever did.

Why would the US want to turn those two into martyrs? All they need to do is wait. Ecuador's president has already realised Assange is trying to use his presence in the Ecuadorian embassy for his own goals (that travel document must have ruffled some serious political feathers), and Snowden no longer has valid travel documents so a commercial flight is out. Tick .. tock .. tick .. tock.

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Go Snowden!

Our secret service guys are the best! See, nobody else's secret service gives a shit, but ours does! Snowden! Snowden! Snowden!

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