Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and a vocal supporter of Julian Assange, thinks he knows why the U.S. has been uncharacteristically quiet regarding the standoff between Assange, Ecuador (which has granted him asylum) and all the governments he has drawn the ire of.
Murray made some interesting points in a recent blog post:
“The United States and allies were confident that Correa will lose, and my friend and I having both been senior diplomats for many years we understood what the United States would be doing to ensure that result. With Correa replaced by a pro-USA President, Assange’s asylum will be withdrawn, the Metropolitan Police invited in to the Embassy of Ecuador to remove him, and Assange sent immediately to Sweden from where he could be extradited to the United States to face charges of espionage and aiding terrorism.”
Murray claims that the CIA is planning to play its hand in the upcoming elections in Ecuador in order to maintain U.S. influence in the region. He added:
“I learn[ed] that the U.S. budget, using mostly Pentagon funds, devoted to influencing the Ecuadorean election has, since the Venezuelan result [in which the unabashedly anti-American Hugo Chavez was reelected], been almost tripled to US $87 million. This will find its way into opposition campaign coffers and be used to fund, bribe or blackmail media and officials. Expect a number of media scandals and corruption stings against Correa’s government in the next few weeks.”
While it’s not as bad as backing the Contras, this isn’t the Cold War.
But it would make sense for the United States to refrain from requesting Assange’s extradition until seeing if his most important political ally, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, is ousted in favour of a more pro-American candidate in the next election (set for February 2013) — one who might be open to the the possibility of revoking Correa’s asylum offer for Assange.
As of August, Correa has had a “commanding lead” over his challengers, according to The Guardian. The race for president officially began last Friday. Correa told Reuters that he would only seek reelection if he has the support of his family and his political party. He believes that there is a “high chance” that his party will nominate him again for president. Correa is quite popular among Ecuadorians, and his opposition has been described as “divided and lack[ing] a charismatic leader.”
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