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.It is immaterial whether or not the U.S. actually pushed WaPo to publish the potential "consequences" of Ecuador's granting asylum - something Ecuador has the right to do under the International Declaration of Human Rights. WaPo's implied threat demonstrates the all too cozy relationship between the supposedly-independent main stream media and the U.S. government, which the media depends upon for reporting, even to the point of giving the government veto power on certain stories and quotes.
WaPo's threat of "consequences" for Ecuador show that not only are whistleblowers faced with severe retaliation in the form of criminal prosecution under the Espionage Act, but those who protect them are facing retaliation.
WaPo is completely disingenuous in painting Assange as some run-of-the-mill sexual assault suspect. Emphasis on SUSPECT as Assange has not been charged and is simply wanted for questioning.
Since when do run-of-the-mill sexual assault suspects cause the U.K to threaten to storm the Ecuadorian Embassy, and Scotland Yard to spend $80,000 a day guarding the Ecuadorian Embassy? If that's the case, the U.S should spend a little more money hunting down Roman Polanski, who actually pleaded guilty to sexual assault and then fled the country.
Ecuador granted Assange asylum not to shield him from questioning about the sexual assault allegations, but because of the Espionage Act charges (or worse) Assange is likely to face in the U.S. (Sweden refused offers to question Assange in the U.K and refused to promise that it would not turn Assange over to the U.S.)
It is willful ignorance to pretend that the only reason Assange is being pursued is to answer sexual assault allegations. WaPo says Assange has "imagined" an "international political conspiracy," but completely ignores the nearly overwhelming evidence that the U.S. has empaneled a grand jury and is seeking to indict Assange on Espionage Act charges or worse.
WaPo's circular logic contradicts itself. If Assange is a sexual assault suspect wanted by Sweden for an incident that occurred in Sweden (as WaPo implies), why would the U.S. Congress even consider "diminish[ing Ecuador's] privileged commercial access" over Assange?
It a complete circle of F***ed-upedness, Ecuador is being threatened by the U.S. media with punishment for protecting Assange from the U.S. government.
UPDATE: (Particularly for those who do not believe the U.S. is interested in prosecuting Assange). Today's New York Times published an op-ed from Oscar-winning directors Oliver Stone and Michael Moore, which eloquently summarizes how the U.S.'s pursuit of Assange is both very real and a significant threat to the freedoms of speech and the press.
Taken together, the British and Swedish governments’ actions suggest to us that their real agenda is to get Mr. Assange to Sweden. Because of treaty and other considerations, he probably could be more easily extradited from there to the United States to face charges. Mr. Assange has every reason to fear such an outcome.The Justice Department recently confirmed that it was continuing to investigate WikiLeaks, and just-disclosed Australian government documents from this past February state that “the U.S. investigation into possible criminal conduct by Mr. Assange has been ongoing for more than a year.” WikiLeaks itself has published e-mails from Stratfor, a private intelligence corporation, which state that a grand jury has already returned a sealed indictment of Mr. Assange. . . .
If Mr. Assange is extradited to the United States, the consequences will reverberate for years around the world. Mr. Assange is not an American citizen, and none of his actions have taken place on American soil. If the United States can prosecute a journalist in these circumstances, the governments of Russia or China could, by the same logic, demand that foreign reporters anywhere on earth be extradited for violating their laws. The setting of such a precedent should deeply concern everyone, admirers of WikiLeaks or not.