Home > economy, media, politics > President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, to Julian Assange, “welcome to the club of the persecuted”

President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, to Julian Assange, “welcome to the club of the persecuted”

Following is an interesting interview of Ecuadorian President, Rafael Correa, by Julian Assange. There are many criticisms of U.S. foreign policy, but what I find most interesting is Correa lamenting the fact he has to fight against moneyed interests within his own country who control the mass media. Assange asked about China being a replacement devil as source of capital. With Brazil and China as alternative sources of capital for Latin America, the political landscape is slowly changing. Another thought that struck me was the idea of transparency. U.S. media and politician often criticize China of being ‘opaque.’ Isn’t suppression of Wikileaks hypocrisy?

  1. pug_ster
    May 23rd, 2012 at 10:45 | #1

    Another example of American hypocrisy, saying that they are for democracy, human rights, and freedom BS while advocating for hegemony. Talking about the latest hypocrisy, the latest NATO protests in Chicago there were numerous cases of suppression of journalists, beaten, arrested video cameras destroyed or videos erased.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/21/nato-summit-journalists-arrested-injured-protests_n_1533618.html

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/22/chicago-police-accused-targeting-journalists?amp&amp

    Boy, if it happens in China, the Western propaganda would have a field day.

  2. colin
    May 23rd, 2012 at 11:31 | #2

    Excellent interview. Loved Correa’s contrasting view of the media, that it can be more corrupt and powerful than actual governments. When the media is owned by private parties, that media has the same agenda as those parties pulling the strings. It’s amazing nobody in the west complains about this as a fatal problem.

    Same kinds of things happened in other countries like Thailand, where the private “media” directed by a less than scrupulous owner deposed a capable leader in a coup, leading to a decade of strife.

    Don’t know much about Correa, but he came off as intelligent and well intentioned. Hope he’s able to push through this goals.

  3. May 23rd, 2012 at 21:59 | #3

    500 days under house arrest with no charge…

    Shouldn’t some diplomatic vehicles go rescue him?

  4. Hong Konger
    May 25th, 2012 at 11:55 | #4

    Sorry, yinyang, but what suppression of Wikileaks in the West?

    Assange first went to the The Guardian, The NYT and Der Spiegel, and they all published his leaks, despite their governments not wanting them to. He then added El Pais and Le Monde. By then, WikiLeaks was reported in every paper and TV station in America. Anyone with an Internet connection could read the full texts on the Afghan War, Iraq War, etc. Living in America, you know that.

    All the newspapers he chose were from the West — Britain, America, Germany, Spain and France — because he knew they would not block the information. Everyone who wanted to read about Wikileaks did it through Western media, at least initially. It was countries like China that blocked access to the Wikileaks files on its own affairs.

    @ Allen. I found so many of the Chen Guangcheng comments below so heartless that I decided not to enter the fray of that post. There is no similarity between Chen and Assange. I can’t imagine why you’d even joke about something like that.

    Assange has passed from English mansion to English manor, while signing lucrative book deals and appearing openly in the media. Last night, he was at a London film premiere and party where journalists interviewed him about his outfit. If he has to face court charges that is only fair. But he’s hardly suffering in detention.

    That’s a far cry from being held in a farmhouse in illegal detention, while “security” beat your family, terrorize your elderly relatives, tie up your wife for days on end, and prevent your innocent children from going outside normally for more than a year. Chen has spoken about torture, as well as his family being denied chances to go out for food or medical care. His relatives back in China are still being beaten and harassed.

    I like the premise of this blog — to offer an alternative view of China than what the Western media provides. But sometimes it just turns to bitterness — hate piled on anyone who the Chinese government happens not to like, or anyone who gets good press internationally.

    You can support China, and still feel something in your heart for Chen. Even defenders of China have to admit when the government screws up and looks bad in front of the world.

    I just wish China didn’t screw up so badly that they left a hole for the U.S. to fill. I hope we will see a China someday that is open, has a fair functioning court system, and doesn’t let violent rural authorities run amok. I hope the Chinese will have enough confidence in their country that they will turn to local police and courts someday, instead of running to foreign consulates for help.

  5. colin
    May 25th, 2012 at 12:36 | #5

    @Hong Konger

    1) Just search “suppression of Wikileaks”. Google reports “About 1,390,000 results ”

    2) Most of the comments critical of CGC were about him being used as a tool and questions as to why he was singled out and paraded around as an example of injustice by the west when there are so many others (who don’t treasonously turn to foreign support like NED funded groups).

    Heartless? I certianly would prefer discussions based on facts rather than emotions.

    3) I would imagine most people here would agree that China has lots of problems worthy of criticism and discussion. The problem is you can’t have fair discussion when the whole of western media/physche views China and anything chinese through insanely skewed lens. On a practical level, providing a fairer view of Chines ultimately comes down to tearing down the bias and outright lies of the western media. If some comments come off as blunt and less “politically correct” according to western standards, we’ll it just shows commenters being frank and honest.

    4) Believe me, I could write several books about gripes I have about China, but what would be the point? The whole of the western media is determined to show all the bad things about China, whether through honest criticism, or even more so, through dishonest demonization. Far from being “suppressed” and “brainwashed” as the west believes, the Chinese know to a large part the issues affecting them and are not so powerless when things really get out of wack (like the milk poisonings). The fact that they don’t “rise up”, as the west salivates for, gives me confidence that they understand the issues and the greater good, and thankfully, are not so stupid as to take arrogant and often malicioous/duplicitous advice from the western interests.

  6. May 25th, 2012 at 13:34 | #6

    @Hong Konger
    By suppression of Wikileaks, I was referring to:

    1. Amazon and like services refusing to host Wikileaks mirror sites. This denies access to contents Wikileaks trying to publish.

    2. Visa, MasterCard and other refusing to process donations to Wikileaks, and thus denying popular support for their efforts.

    3. NYT, The Guardian, and other Western media have largely boycotted the meat of what Wikileaks is trying to reveal:

    Backed by supposed pursuit of “human rights,” “democracy,” and “freedom,” American foreign policy abroad in fact does the opposite of those ideals.

    In response to your comment:

    I like the premise of this blog — to offer an alternative view of China than what the Western media provides. But sometimes it just turns to bitterness — hate piled on anyone who the Chinese government happens not to like, or anyone who gets good press internationally.

    One thing we yearn for is for the incredibly powerful and rich U.S.-led West to live up to those ideals she preaches.

    As Ecuadorian Preside Correa has pointed out in the video, Wikileaks is in fact doing that very important work the press is not doing – to shine light into those dark places. That’s how you get the powerful to clean up their act and try to be more just around the world. Don’t you want that?

  7. May 25th, 2012 at 13:43 | #7

    @Hong Konger
    Anyways, your thoughts are always appreciated. I should spend more efforts looking at things the U.S. is doing that’s helpful.

  8. pug_ster
    May 25th, 2012 at 16:32 | #8

    @Hong Konger

    The way I think about Chen GuangCheng is like the American defectors in the Korean War. The American Defectors were treated like rock stars in North Korea, given ample food, while other North Koreans starve while treated like traitors and will be jailed if they go back home. Of course the North Korean government treated them as propaganda tools and these defectors are fine with that. The same way I think of Chen GuangCheng, in China he is treated like a traitor and a criminal but if he goes to the US he is treated very well and like rock stars. The US government uses Chen GuangCheng as propaganda tool as a thorn against the Chinese government. Heck, if I were him, many would probably contemplate to go to the US very much like the American Defectors would want to remain in North Korea.

    I don’t think the Chinese government have screwed up at all in terms of Chen GuangCheng and unlike what the Western propaganda says, this incident has little effect to the stability of the Chinese government

  9. lolz
    May 28th, 2012 at 20:15 | #9

    Hong Konger
    All the newspapers he chose were from the West — Britain, America, Germany, Spain and France — because he knew they would not block the information. Everyone who wanted to read about Wikileaks did it through Western media, at least initially. It was countries like China that blocked access to the Wikileaks files on its own affairs.

    I don’t think China blocked all of the stuff from Wikileaks. For example, Chinese media happily published the US diplomat’s account which refuted the actual “massacre” at the “TAM”. The thing is that the Western media selectively publishes articles which aligns with their own nation’s agendas.

    Also, to say that Assange is not persecuted for his politics is BS. I would say though, that CGC is more similar to Bradly Manning; both men did what they (and many other) thought was the right thing to do. They exposed aspects of their nation which put the politicians in a bad light and doubts on the policies. The difference CGC was “rescued” and made into a hero by the Western media, while Manning is still lingering in prison and ignored by the same Western media.

  10. beijingboy
    May 29th, 2012 at 03:17 | #10

    @lolz
    Hi lolz, there are loads of documentarys in the West on the TAM and loads of the internet blogs Ive seen go on about the ‘suppression’ of anything to do with the it but you’ve actually found discussion of it in the Chinese media (Chinese media happily published the US diplomats acount which refuted the actual 「massacre」 at the 「TAM」). Could you post a link to those articles please so I can tell others about this.

  11. lolz
    May 29th, 2012 at 04:47 | #11

    beijingboy :
    @lolz
    Hi lolz, there are loads of documentarys in the West on the TAM and loads of the internet blogs Ive seen go on about the ‘suppression’ of anything to do with the it but you’ve actually found discussion of it in the Chinese media (Chinese media happily published the US diplomats acount which refuted the actual 「massacre」 at the 「TAM」). Could you post a link to those articles please so I can tell others about this.

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2011-07/14/content_12898720.htm

    Most of the articles by Western media on China and Wikileaks didn’t talk about this at all, as if the fact that the TAM didn’t happen in TAM (or the exaggeration of the event) doesn’t matter. I did found two articles from major western media outlets which talked about Wikileaks and TAM.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/8555142/Wikileaks-no-bloodshed-inside-Tiananmen-Square-cables-claim.html

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/chinese-newspaper-cites-wikileaks-tiananmen-massacre-a-myth/2011/07/14/gIQAhF1MEI_blog.html

  12. beijingboy
    May 29th, 2012 at 05:16 | #12

    @lolz
    I got the wrong end of the stick, I thought you were talking about Chinese language media. Thanks for the links. There is a theory that the Americans never went to the moon aswell. There is not much about that in the mainstream press either.

  13. lolz
    May 29th, 2012 at 08:46 | #13

    beijingboy :
    @lolz
    I got the wrong end of the stick, I thought you were talking about Chinese language media. Thanks for the links. There is a theory that the Americans never went to the moon aswell. There is not much about that in the mainstream press either.

    Well Chinadaily is the most read English paper in China, with many Chinese who are trying to learn English (just about every high school/college student nowadays) reading it on a daily basis. Also, I think comparing this with conspiracy theories of the US moon landing is a bit disingenuous. There are plenty of hard evidence of US astronaut walked on the moon and just about everyone agrees on the facts. TAM reporting on the other hand has been always filled with contradictions which both foreign and chinese media simply didn’t want to explore.

    For example, the Telegraph article mentioned that:

    “Leaders of the protest, including Liu Xiaobo, the winner of last year’s Nobel Peace prize, urged the students to depart the square, and the Chilean diplomat relayed that “once agreement was reached for the students to withdraw, linking hands to form a column, the students left the square through the south east corner.” The testimony contradicts the reports of several journalists who were in Beijing at the time, who described soldiers “charging” into unarmed civilians and suggests the death toll on the night may be far lower than the thousands previously thought. In 2009, James Miles, who was the BBC correspondent in Beijing at the time, admitted that he had “conveyed the wrong impression” and that “there was no massacre on Tiananmen Square. Protesters who were still in the square when the army reached it were allowed to leave after negotiations with martial law troops”.

    I think people took for granted that the Western reporters were telling the truth about what they saw at TAM. At least the BBC guy admitted that he was lying.

  14. beijingboy
    May 29th, 2012 at 09:26 | #14

    @lolz
    I read that article, and I watched a Youtube video that was linked in one of the comments below it. Are you saying that all the stuff in that video is faked?

  15. lolz
    May 29th, 2012 at 10:49 | #15

    @beijingboy

    beijingboy :
    @lolz
    I read that article, and I watched a Youtube video that was linked in one of the comments below it. Are you saying that all the stuff in that video is faked?

    I looked through the video tried to find anything meaningful in there which would give clue to a mass massacre. Unfortunately I find the video to be a bad exercise in propaganda. I don’t think all of the stuff in the video are fake but clearly some of the stuff in the video could be disputed. For example, the video showed a few pictures of wounded people, but didn’t show any real mass carnage. A text in the video claimed that “an estimated 5,000 people died”, which IMO is an exaggeration. This is because when thousands of people die, their bodies must be taken care of. China being a populous city is almost impossible for the army to secretly dig up mass graves without someone noticing. The victim’s parents will also try to look for the missing. Now, if the numbers are as high into the mid thousands as reported by the video, it would at least get into the ball park of the hospital notes on deaths and/or missing person’s list. N.Kristof of the NYTimes estimated the dead to be between 400-800 by asking around hospitals and looking at the missing people’s list. I personally believe this figure is probably a lot closer to the truth.

    But let’s first discuss the facts which we could easily agree on:

    Do you agree or disagree that Chinese media talked about Wikileaks in relations to TAM?
    Do you agree or disagree that the BBC reporter lied when reporting on TAM?
    Do you agree or disagree that most number of deaths in this event happened OUTSIDE of TAM?
    Do you agree or disagree that some in the Western media have exaggerated the number of deaths?

  16. beijingboy
    May 29th, 2012 at 11:21 | #16

    @lolz

    About TAM in the Chinese press. Yes your link shows an English article in the Chinese press on it. But I take it that you can’t find one in Chinese. I went on Baidu and couldn’t find anything about it at all. Why?

    As for the other points, I’m not sure how you can link to an article saying the whole thing is propaganda then you yourself say that hundres of people died.

    All figures are estimates. Why? Would you suggest the Western media refer to official figures published by the Chinese government?

  17. beijingboy
    May 29th, 2012 at 11:27 | #17

    @lolz
    You know I checked that James Miles reference, you gave only half of it. Here it is in full:

    ‘There was no Tiananmen Square massacre, but there was a Beijing massacre’

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/8555142/Wikileaks-no-bloodshed-inside-Tiananmen-Square-cables-claim.html

    Now who’s trying to mislead?

  18. lolz
    May 29th, 2012 at 11:43 | #18

    beijingboy :
    @lolz
    About TAM in the Chinese press. Yes your link shows an English article in the Chinese press on it. But I take it that you can’t find one in Chinese. I went on Baidu and couldn’t find anything about it at all. Why?
    As for the other points, I’m not sure how you can link to an article saying the whole thing is propaganda then you yourself say that hundres of people died.
    All figures are estimates. Why? Would you suggest the Western media refer to official figures published by the Chinese government?

    Again beijingboy, do you agree or disagree with the points which I posted? I think you are confusing facts with opinions. Is it a fact that according to Wikileaks there were little or no death in TAM grounds itself? Is it a fact that BBC reporter admitted he lied? You are clearly trying to avoid admitting the obvious truth and I am curious as to why do you do this.

    I linked the article in Chinadaily because someone else wrote that “China blocked access to the Wikileaks files on its own affairs”, which is clearly not factually true.

    Once we get beyond the obvious facts we can talk about opinions. My my post should be clear enough to show that I prefer the 400-800 figure for deaths at the event because it was backed by hospital records through an independent investigation by someone from the NYT. I would like to note that this figure is alot closer to the official Chinese government figure of 241. My personal view is that the Western media for the most part has exaggerated the death count in order to sensationalize. The wikileaks’ take on this event also contradicted some of the stuff the western journalist had said. If you think the 5,000 figure is a more suitable number can you give reasons why you believe so?

  19. lolz
    May 29th, 2012 at 11:51 | #19

    @beijingboy

    beijingboy :
    @lolz
    You know I checked that James Miles reference, you gave only half of it. Here it is in full:
    ‘There was no Tiananmen Square massacre, but there was a Beijing massacre’
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/8555142/Wikileaks-no-bloodshed-inside-Tiananmen-Square-cables-claim.html
    Now who’s trying to mislead?

    Beijingboy, I am very happy that you finally read the full article. However I wonder when and where did I try to mislead? Is it not a fact that that the BBC reporter said he knowingly “conveyed the wrong impression that people had died in TAM”? If this is not an admission of lying I don’t know what it is. I don’t believe I have argued that students didn’t die. In fact, I wrote clearly that I think 400-800 people have died in total at this event.

    You on the other hand, have continued to dodge the obvious facts. Can you tell me why?

  20. beijingboy
    May 29th, 2012 at 12:05 | #20

    @lolz
    One point at a time. This is where I think you were trying to mislead. You quoted the article:

    ‘In 2009, James Miles, who was the BBC correspondent in Beijing at the time, admitted that he had 「conveyed the wrong impression」 and that 「there was no massacre on Tiananmen Square. Protesters who were still in the square when the army reached it were allowed to leave after negotiations with martial law troops」.’

    You quoted the whole of this paragraph except the last line:

    ‘There was no Tiananmen Square massacre, but there was a Beijing massacre”.’

    Why did you do that?

  21. lolz
    May 29th, 2012 at 12:26 | #21

    beijingboy :
    @lolz
    One point at a time. This is where I think you were trying to mislead. You quoted the article:
    ‘In 2009, James Miles, who was the BBC correspondent in Beijing at the time, admitted that he had 「conveyed the wrong impression」 and that 「there was no massacre on Tiananmen Square. Protesters who were still in the square when the army reached it were allowed to leave after negotiations with martial law troops」.’
    You quoted the whole of this paragraph except the last line:
    ‘There was no Tiananmen Square massacre, but there was a Beijing massacre”.’
    Why did you do that?

    Because I wanted to separate facts from opinions? I quoted Miles on the portion which I think would prove that he willingly lied by saying that there was a massacre in TAM. Whether there was a Beijing massacre is his opinion in order to justify his lying to the public.

    Again beijingboy, do you agree that:

    1) Miles admitted that there were no massacre on TAM which contradicted what he tried to convey?
    2) Chinese media published data on Wikileaks in relation to TAM?

    I have answered all of your questions, but you continue to dodge mine. Why?

  22. beijingboy
    May 29th, 2012 at 12:43 | #22

    @lolz

    1) I quoted Miles saying just that. I can only remind you of how he, himself, admits that he ‘conveyed the wrong impression.’

    2) Have the Chinese media published that article in Chinese?

    You wrote ‘Chinese media happily published the US diplomat’s account which refuted the actual 「massacre」 at the 「TAM」.’ You didn’t mention this article was only in English. This is misleading. Just like how you gave half of the quote.

    Commentators on this site are always going on about bias, but when you, Lolz, are reporting on something, you do exactly the same thing; you report selectively and present a biassed slant on things to suit your agenda.

  23. Sleeper
    May 29th, 2012 at 15:05 | #23

    Well, I think beijingboy wants to present the idea that there’s a “massacre” in Beijing. Reasons as follow:

    1. lolz “ignored” another piece of statement that ” but there was a Beijing massacre”.

    2. Chinese media did not post this article in Chinese, which could imply that Chinese government may have a guilty conscience for killing innocent people.

    While lolz just wants to present:

    1. No TAM
    2. James Miles lied there’s a TAM.

    following the title of article. Do notice, the whole article gave no evidence about “Beijing massacre”.

    If beijingboy would like to talk about the existence of “Beijing massacre” then should be making another discussion.

  24. lolz
    May 30th, 2012 at 00:38 | #24

    @beijingboy

    beijingboy :
    @lolz
    1) I quoted Miles saying just that. I can only remind you of how he, himself, admits that he ‘conveyed the wrong impression.’
    2) Have the Chinese media published that article in Chinese?
    You wrote ‘Chinese media happily published the US diplomat’s account which refuted the actual 「massacre」 at the 「TAM」.’ You didn’t mention this article was only in English. This is misleading. Just like how you gave half of the quote.
    Commentators on this site are always going on about bias, but when you, Lolz, are reporting on something, you do exactly the same thing; you report selectively and present a biassed slant on things to suit your agenda.

    Beijingboy, you are projecting. Can you tell me what exactly I am trying to “mislead” here and what my “agenda” is? Am I trying to convey the idea that no one/few died at the TAM event? Am I trying to convey that idea that everyone in China has heard of Wikileaks? It’s clear I have not done any of this.

    Clearly I am biased as I prefer facts over opinions. I have only presented facts to you. That you don’t like certain facts do not make them untrue. It says more about your own bias. I don’t think it’s healthy at all to live in denial as you are doing now. If I were you I would first admit to the facts and then figure out what you are trying to argue here. If you think hard enough you will find that we are actually in agreement on a lot things.

  25. lolz
    May 30th, 2012 at 00:43 | #25

    Sleeper :
    Well, I think beijingboy wants to present the idea that there’s a “massacre” in Beijing. Reasons as follow:
    1. lolz “ignored” another piece of statement that ” but there was a Beijing massacre”.
    2. Chinese media did not post this article in Chinese, which could imply that Chinese government may have a guilty conscience for killing innocent people.
    While lolz just wants to present:
    1. No TAM
    2. James Miles lied there’s a TAM.
    following the title of article. Do notice, the whole article gave no evidence about “Beijing massacre”.
    If beijingboy would like to talk about the existence of “Beijing massacre” then should be making another discussion.

    Beijingboy is upset because I have presented to him things which he doesn’t like to hear but cannot argue against. Some people are simply challenged by reality 🙂

    I don’t think anyone is denying that of a lot of people dying as the result of the TAM event (even Chinese government gave a count of 200+ people who died). So BJboy is not going to find a person to argue with on this point. He is just pretending that we think this way so that he can continue his strawman arguments further.

  26. Sleeper
    May 30th, 2012 at 02:01 | #26

    @lolz

    Wait a minute, did I misunderstand the meaning of TAM?

    Look at this quotation:

    “1. No TAM
    2. James Miles lied there’s a TAM.”

    I think TAM is the abbreviation of TianAnmen sqare Massacre. Is TAM just considered as “TianAnMen sqare”? I don’t want my misunderstanding to be used by anyone who tries to claim that “sleeper and lolz reject death and even the existence of TianAnMen sqare incident”.

  27. lolz
    May 30th, 2012 at 04:50 | #27

    Sleeper :
    I don’t want my misunderstanding to be used by anyone who tries to claim that “sleeper and lolz reject death and even the existence of TianAnMen sqare incident”.

    I think that is the strawman argument which which BJBoy is trying to build. I don’t think anyone is trying to argue that no one or even a few people died that night in Beijing. In fact the Chinese government even published the death tally at over 200. I thus do not understand why BJBoy keeps on arguing this point as if it would somehow negative the points which I have presented to him earlier.

  28. lolz
    May 30th, 2012 at 04:50 | #28

    Sleeper :
    I don’t want my misunderstanding to be used by anyone who tries to claim that “sleeper and lolz reject death and even the existence of TianAnMen sqare incident”.

    I think that is the strawman argument which which BJBoy is trying to build. I don’t think anyone is trying to argue that no one or even a few people died that night in Beijing. In fact the Chinese government even published the death tally at over 200. I thus do not understand why BJBoy keeps on arguing this point as if it would somehow negate the points which I have presented to him earlier.

  29. pug_ster
    June 19th, 2012 at 13:52 | #29

    http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/19/12302374-wikileaks-founder-julian-assange-seeks-asylum-in-ecuador?lite

    Looks like Assange is seeking Asylum in Ecuador… I hope that this is not a coincidence.

  30. Zack
    June 19th, 2012 at 14:59 | #30

    why Ecuador of all places?

    and pug_ster, this is no coincidence, especially considering the new laws Obama has signed which would make wikileaks and all that Assange stands for liable to imprisonment without trial or recourse

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