Ecuador Tells US To Take Its Trade Agreement And Shove It, After Threats Relayed Over Snowden

from the wow dept

One of the points that many people have made concerning most countries in the world is that they're loathe to challenge the US on many things, even when they're in the right, because they're so reliant on the US for trade. The US regularly lords this fact over countries in seeking to get its way. In fact, US officials had been very strongly suggesting to Ecuador that if it decides to take in Ed Snowden and grant him asylum, that there could be consequences for trade under the Andean Trade Preference Act that both countries are signed to, but which needs to be renewed next month. Specifically, US politicians suggested that they might not allow the renewal if Ecuador granted asylum.

In response, Ecuador has taken a stand: saying that it's breaking the trade agreement upfront as it doesn't appreciate the attempt by the US to blackmail it in this matter.
President Rafael Correa's government said on Thursday it was renouncing the Andean Trade Preference Act to thwart US "blackmail" of Ecuador in the former NSA contractor's asylum request.

Officials, speaking at an early morning press conference, also offered a $23m donation for human rights training in the US, a brash riposte to recent US criticism of Ecuador's own human rights record.
Furthermore, they made it quite clear that this is entirely about the US' actions in trying to pressure them about Snowden:
"Ecuador does not accept pressure or threats from anyone, nor does it trade with principles or submit them to mercantile interests, however important those may be," said Fernando Alvarado, the communications secretary.

"Ecuador gives up, unilaterally and irrevocably, the said customs benefits."
As the article notes, some of this is surely political. It is a bit of a populist move by the government, and many suspected that the trade agreement was unlikely to be renewed anyway by the US, so in some ways this is an attempt to get out in front of that story and pull something of a "you can't fire me, I quit!" move. Still, it highlights, once again, the way the US bullies smaller countries, and how that can backfire.


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    Richard Ahlquist, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 1:23pm

    Obama is a crybaby

    Remember the pouty face when his gun control failed, yeah well this is the same thing. He is having a tantrum because this young man showed how much of a deceitful person he is and he will stop at nothing to get his hands on him.

     

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      jupiterkansas (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 1:50pm

      Re: Obama is a crybaby

      Was Obama mentioned in that article?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 1:51pm

      Re: Obama is a crybaby

      Not to be hostile or anything but try not to be an idiot. The deceit is by no means rooted in Obama. There are now balls that are demanding to be cut off and if we don't cut them off soon we're all, all of us, going to be licking them instead. Obama's is just one set.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2013 @ 6:01am

        Re: Re: Obama is a crybaby

        Not to be hostile or anything but try not to be such a predictable, revolting stereotype.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 1:26pm

    Faaantastic. The US will no doubt have a mega tantrum now and try to threaten something else. Seriously the US gov is acting like a 3 year old not getting its way.

     

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    Andrew D. Todd, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 1:29pm

    The Economic Grievance.

    Ecuador and Venezuela, and other countries of South America, are eager to welcome dissidents such as Julian Assange and Edward Snowden because they already have longstanding economic grievances against the United States. They were willing to forgive a dictator like Hugo Chavez a number of sins because he articulated their economic grievances.

    One thing which emerges is that the United States is increasingly "needy" in its economic relationships with large parts of the world. The United States is not the world's manufacturing floor anymore. That is China. One might add that India has become the world's "back office."

    As a general rule, a country with a population density of two hundred people per square mile or less can produce enough food and raw materials to supply itself, and to export something besides. Failure to do so is usually a sign of poor management. The United States imports oil because, for essentially political reasons, we have failed to switch our transportation over to electricity. Most of the countries of South America are not natural trading partners with the United States. When an Ecuadorian wants beef, he does not have to buy American grain, still less American frozen beef. He sends cattle down into the jungle, to eat the bark off the trees, deer-fashion, and to gradually transform the land into savanna (tropical prairie), which they can graze in the usual manner. The vaquero takes along a chain saw, and cuts down trees to bring their leafy tops within the cattle's reach, helping the process along. It's basically a case of learning to make what you want out of what you have.

    As for intellectual property, foreigners in general are profoundly unresponsive to the idea that they should pay large sums for off-the-shelf items which can easily be copied for pennies, when the United States shows little or no interest in purchasing such intellectual property as these countries might produce.

    These countries tend to develop pervasive senses of economic grievance. The United States wants to wage war on their soil against the production of drugs; the United States wants them to pay sizable royalties on intellectual property, and again it wants to wage war on their soil to that end; the United States wants them to give favored treatment to American companies like McDonalds and Wal-Mart, rather than encouraging native businesses; and, in order not to offend the American farm vote, the only agricultural goods the United States will accept are those for which it lacks a suitable climate, or which require overwhelming quantities of hand-labor.

    Ecuador, like Venezuela, gets most of its foreign-exchange from oil. It doesn't have very much oil, but it doesn't have very many automobiles, either, and there is an exportable surplus. Oil is famously fungible-- it can easily be sold to China or Brazil if the United States will not buy it.

     

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      MondoGordo (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 2:35pm

      The United States imports oil because...

      for essentially political reasons, the US government chose to sit on the bulk of it's oil reserves, choosing instead to exploit the oil reserves of others that had no other exportable resources.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 4:16pm

      Re: The Economic Grievance.

      The dictator Hugo Chavez?
      That guy was more democratically elected and more often elected than the US president before this. The opposition didn't like him, but that is not the definition of a dictator.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 4:40pm

        Re: Re: The Economic Grievance.

        Chavito there was very keen on shutting up the opposition by any means necessary did you forget that part?

        He was PS like just about nay politician in this world and you are defending those?

        Are you slow?

         

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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 1:29pm

    The US is used to playing Goliath to every other country's David, but since the leak came out, the David's seem to smell blood in the water.

     

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      btr1701 (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 3:48pm

      Re:

      > The US is used to playing Goliath to every
      > other country's David

      Metaphors aren't your strong point are they?

      If they U.S. was playing Goliath to every other country's David, every other country would be killing the U.S., since that's what David did to Goliath.

      You're essentially saying, the U.S. government is used to losing every confrontation.

       

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    Rich Fiscus (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 1:35pm

    This is a perfect example of something I've been telling people for years now. It applies to everything from IP and trade to faux national security issues like this.

    The power elite in the US are used to getting whatever they want by just twisting arms because they come from the post-WWII era when other countries really did need the US. That hasn't been true for quite some time now but because their counterparts in other countries didn't understand that for many years it has continued to work. The citizens, on the other hand, have been much quicker to grasp the changing reality and they're doing their own arm twisting.

    Actual policy change has been slow but political disruption is fundamentally no different than economic disruption. It starts small and appears to be inconsequential to the players at the top but once it gathers steam a handful of pebbles quickly turns into an unavoidable landslide. This is simply a glimpse of the landslide that's been growing for at least 25 years.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 1:39pm

    bloody good job Ecuador! the USA are very fond of trying to pull this type of bullying stunt. and it's about time that they were told what to do and where to go! what the hell does the USA think it is? it's a country, just like any other! it pulls all sorts of shit on any and every country it feels like and expects those countries to always buckle under. i hope there are a lot more do the same and damn quick! no good ever comes from an enforced 'agreement'. sooner or later, the oppressed gets pissed off enough to fight back and it's not before time here! just waiting now to see if the EU stands up, grows a pair and tells the USA to fuck off as well!! trade is good for countries that can do so openly. when that trade is one way and better for one country or one industry within one country, that isn't trade by any stretch of the imagination!!

     

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    Lord Binky, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 1:46pm

    HA,that was an obvious reaction. If your going to bully smaller countries, they have to at least be scared of you.

     

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    Rich, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 1:52pm

    This reminds me of "The Mouse That Roared" for some reason.

     

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      The Real Michael, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 2:10pm

      Re:

      The only way for the US to back a country like Ecuador into a corner is through economic means, but if the latter rescinds its trade agreement, the former loses its leverage. So, what has this blatant attempt at blackmail accomplished besides making us look like bullies on the world stage? Not only does Snowden walk free (he shouldn't have been pursued anyway) but we've just lost a trading partner -- that's two birds with one stone. Washington is left with egg on its face.

      Great foreign policy. /sarc

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 2:29pm

        Re: Re:

        Look like bullies? Lets face it they are bullies.

         

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          The Real Michael, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 2:51pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          They're not just bullies to other sovereign nations but to American citizens as well. Things are going to boil over unless there are drastic changes and soon, because none of this is doing anything positive for our country.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 4:07pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            This just reminds me of the original reason for the Second Amendment.

             

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              The Real Michael, Jun 28th, 2013 @ 4:15am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I hope it doesn't come to that. That's why the people must resolve these issues BEFORE things get way too out of control.

               

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    Aztecian (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 1:59pm

    I know.

    Yeah, this is pretty obvious populism whether or not it is sincere.

    But I like it. Maybe it's shallow and simple of me, but it looks and sounds exactly like a leader standing on principle... so I'll just do the "if it quacks like a duck..." think and pretend it is.

    I'll also wait patiently and confidently for the inevitable news flashes about how evil Ecuador is.

    Here lately, that's The American Way.

     

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    Christopher Tate, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 1:59pm

    One sided story

    This story quotes and provides links to the responses to the US threat, but simply mentions threats and politicians on the US side. Any references, such as who made the threats, and the language contained in them?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 2:06pm

    Epic slapdown! XD Epic! I love Ecuador.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 2:19pm

    Thank you, Ecuador

    Now, here's hoping that other nations will follow the lead.

     

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    Someantimalwareguy (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 2:25pm

    Ham fist meets...

    ...ham acting. time to go get more popcorn...

     

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    Scott, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 2:32pm

    Stop and think

    This may be amusing and we can stand around chest bumping and high fiving but this is "our" power base that is being neutered. We can feel smug and righteous that the little guy smacked down the big bully but to a degree we all got smacked down.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 2:34pm

      Re: Stop and think

      We can feel smug and righteous that the little guy smacked down the big bully but to a degree we all got smacked down.


      That's right, and it's well deserved.

       

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      DSchneider (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 3:00pm

      Re: Stop and think

      I didn't get smacked down, my overbearing, out of control government did. It was warranted. It was deserved. And my only regret is that it wasn't the greater US population that did it.

       

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      That One Guy (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 3:21pm

      Re: Stop and think

      Not quite. For 'USG being smacked down' to equal 'US as a whole smacked down', it would require the government to actually be a representative of the people. As this hasn't been true for a good number of years now, it is indeed the USG that got the backhand, not the citizens.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 4:19pm

        Re: Re: Stop and think

        Nice try, but you're in a democracy, you the people are completely responsible for the actions of your elected government.

         

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          Who Cares (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 4:32pm

          Re: Re: Re: Stop and think

          Were it not that, in the majority of the cases, the only people you can choose to represent you in the US are the ones who manage to get enough money to campaign. And that money expects payback.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 5:46pm

          Re: Re: Re: Stop and think

          Yes, quite, but now they have guns and corporate power brokers and secret law.

          So much for your democracy argument.

           

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          The Groove Tiger (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 9:23pm

          Re: Re: Re: Stop and think

          If democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch, then American democracy is 3 wolves and 4 lambs voting, except the wolves count as 3 votes because they live in the countryside across three different states, and all 4 lambs live clumped together in a city so their vote only counts as one.

          Or something like that.

           

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          That One Guy (profile), Jun 28th, 2013 @ 12:09am

          Re: Re: Re: Stop and think

          Again, that only works if the government feels that they are answerable to those that elected them, as that means that they will do what the people want, and not do what they people don't want them to, but as they have more than proven, that is very much not the case.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2013 @ 5:16am

      Re: Stop and think

      It isn't /my/ power base even though I'm a citizen. It is the crooks perverting the course of mutual interests. Hard as it may be for the sociopaths to get pillaging and tribute taking isn't the best option, cooperation is. The sooner they aren't bullies making the world worse the better for all of us. The more destroyed they are the harder it is to justify the unjustifiable. I don't give a damn if it would help me, I don't stand by evil.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 2:47pm

    Ecuador may be my next major vacation site

    Galapagos islands, the worlds highest active volcano, tropical rainforests - and now - a people who put principle before commerce. Sounds like a place that I'd be willing to support with my tourist money.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 2:47pm

    America lost Latin America and Africa to China.

     

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    Joe, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 4:23pm

    I think it's getting less likely Snowdon will make it to Ecuador. He's sitting in Moscow with several laptops full of NSA secrets. What are the odds Putin will let him go without a full 'interview'. i hope he had the sense to encrypt the data and give the key to a 3rd party.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 5:22pm

    Ecuadorian pissing contest

    Who do you think is going to win a pissing competition between the US and Ecuador ?

    Ecuador has a MASSIVE export market into the US, mainly farm produce, so the people who are going to lose out here are the small produce farmers, NOT the politicians, and yes American consumers (again not politicians).

    $10 Billion per year PLUS, Ecuador exports to the US, and again, it's the poor farmers who can NOT afford it's Government playing pissing contests with America, they just want to sell their produce.

    So the puppet game has already started for Snowden, he now has the knowledge that his actions have made the life of many Ecuadorian farmers much harder, but of course not hurting the politicians one bit..

    Way to go Ecuador, fuck over your workers so you can poke Snowden's dick in the eye of the US..

    Sure, the ONLY thing the US really sends to Ecuador is MONEY, it's not like that is an important commodity for Ecuadorian lower classes.

    So the ONLY people to be hurt by this is Ecuadorian citizens (not politicians), and you think this is a good thing ?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

      Re: Ecuadorian pissing contest

      It really kind of looks like Equador's choice here, mister. I'm not sure why you're all aggro about what they've chosen to date and playing like the US had no hand in this. It's, well, it's almost as if you think they should hand over something that they haven't even got and pretend it's not their choice to make. Unless, of course, you'd like to go down there and run for president and fix this all up all nice and tidy like and have Equador become the bitch you clearly think that they should be, yes?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 6:40pm

      Re: Ecuadorian pissing contest

      Who's going to win a pissing competition? Not YOU, darryl!

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2013 @ 1:11am

        Re: Re: Ecuadorian pissing contest

        "Who's going to win a pissing competition? Not YOU, darryl!"

        Good, I'm not interested in a pissing competition between Ecuador's present and the US Government, especially neither of those 2 groups will be hurt of benefit for it.

        Sure, the population of Ecuador will lose out, regardless, Snowden will lose out, American consumers will lose out, but the POLITICIANS will win, (in some circles).

        At lease Ecuador learnt some kind of lesson by taking on Assange, I feel they are regretting that decision now, it is CERTAINLY a major factor being considered in granting Snowden asylum quite simple, if the refuse it, it will be due to Assange's actions.

        And NO, Ecuador will NOT 'just smuggle' those goods into the US.

         

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      techflaws (profile), Jun 27th, 2013 @ 10:21pm

      Re: Ecuadorian pissing contest

      Suddenly dicks are involved?

       

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    Androgynous Cowherd, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 5:44pm

    Impossible!

    President Rafael Correa's government said on Thursday it was renouncing the Andean Trade Preference Act to thwart US "blackmail" of Ecuador in the former NSA contractor's asylum request.


    Holy shit! A politician with a backbone? Where'd Ecuador dig that up???

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 6:15pm

    Correa

    "He appears to be weighing the political and public relations benefits against the real consequences for Ecuador's economy, should he grant the asylum request."

    So who is saying now that Snowden is not a PAWN, a plaything for politicians to gain political points. If you think it about some righteous 'freedom' thing, you are an idiot, it's NOT about that at all.

    It's about who can gain the MOST FOR HIMSELF, at the (great) expense to Snowden.

    "The Ecuadorans got word that renewal of ATPDEA was a long shot in any case, so instead of waiting for rejection, they took the initiative and the high road," said Michael Shifter, of the Inter-American Dialogue.

    oh I see, they expected to lose that agreement anyway, so why not try to make some political gains out of it.

    Even before the Snowden affair the president tried to soothe Ecuadoreans that losing the trade preferences, which exclude thousands of products such as roses, tuna and broccoli from export duty, would have a small impact.

    "This will have serious consequence for Ecuadorean producers," said Ramiro Crespo, director general of Analytica Investments, a Quito-based consultancy.

    "These products which are exported to the United States have become major industries in Ecuador. If commerce is restricted there's going to be unemployment This does not penalise the government, it penalises the people."


    Some in the government are believed to be annoyed that Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who has sheltered at Ecuador's London embassy to avoid extradition, has seized the limelight in the Snowden saga. Assange caught Quito by surprise last week when he announced Snowden had been given a safe conduct pass. Quito replaced its ambassador to London earlier this month in hope of better managing its famous guest.

    Now Assange is giving them the shits, how long do you think that will last for ?

     

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      CK20XX, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 6:49pm

      Re: Correa

      The complexity of the situation doesn't mean we shouldn't be thankful that Ecuador is doing something right, even if it's sort of by accident.

      Companies and governments should be treated like pets. Praise them when they are good and punish them when they are bad.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 8:32pm

      Re: Correa

      Not to make light of it or anything but the Americans people are purchasing their products because they want them. We can smuggle broccoli and roses just as well as we can smuggle coke and weed and the tuna can go to the highest bidder.

      I think it will last as long as America punishes for profit. Stacked decks don't loose.

       

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    Greg, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 8:34pm

    Thanks Ecuador

    Ecuador is now one of my most favorite countries in the world.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2013 @ 1:17am

      Re: Thanks Ecuador

      "Ecuador is now one of my most favourite countries in the world."

      I expect you would not hold the same belief if you actually LIVED there, particularly if you are part of the deep poverty there, or a farmer about to lose his small income, because their left-wing prime minister wants to gain political points for himself.

      Notice HOW LITTLE this has to do with Snowden, or Assange, they are just pawns in a much large game they neither understand or endorse.

      All this righteous bullshit is out the window, no mention of the actual message, lets make the news about the messengers, and the politicians who wish to make political gains from this.
      And you think that is great !!

      I wonder if you think Ecuador is still the best country in the world when they eject Assange, when the political climate to do that is to their advantage ?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2013 @ 4:09am

        Re: Re: Thanks Ecuador

        "I expect you would not hold the same belief if you actually LIVED there, particularly if you are part of the deep poverty there..."

        I've witnessed some of the happiest people on the planet living in absolute poverty.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2013 @ 4:24am

          Re: Re: Re: Thanks Ecuador

          witnessed and actually experienced is not the same thing, and if you feel it's ok to be in poverty as long as you are happy, I feel sorry for your empathy.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2013 @ 12:50pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Thanks Ecuador

            I'm sorry, are you trying to say its better to be filthy rich and absolutely miserable?

             

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    Steve, Jun 27th, 2013 @ 11:29pm

    Three cheers!

    Bravo to Ecuador for standing up to the school-yard bully!

    The Obama administration is a spoilt brat that needs to be put in their place by a bigger bully than them.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 28th, 2013 @ 1:26am

      Re: Three cheers!

      Bravo to Ecuador for turning it into a political points gaining game, that is ONLY for THEIR advantage, that has NOTHING to do with righteous, freedom fighting, publicity hungry 'leakers'.

      Thankyou Ecuador for deflecting from the message that was supposed to be the real issue and making it about using Assange and Snowden for career advancement and political play things.

      Bravo to Ecuador for ejecting Assange, and throwing him to the hounds with it is in their political advantage to do so.

      Does anyone actually remember what was leaked ?? Didn't think so.

       

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    toboldlygo, Jun 28th, 2013 @ 3:44am

    fuck the terrorist USA
    after it falls i will look forward to hunting down american and jew terrorist scum (what you gonna due when we come for you)

     

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    toboldlygo, Jun 28th, 2013 @ 3:44am

    fuck the terrorist USA
    after it falls i will look forward to hunting down american and jew terrorist scum (what you gonna due when we come for you)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    toboldlygo, Jun 28th, 2013 @ 3:44am

    fuck the terrorist USA
    after it falls i will look forward to hunting down american and jew terrorist scum (what you gonna due when we come for you)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    toboldlygo, Jun 28th, 2013 @ 3:44am

    fuck the terrorist USA
    after it falls i will look forward to hunting down american and jew terrorist scum (what you gonna due when we come for you)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jun 28th, 2013 @ 3:44am

    Was it shoved with or without lube? ;)

    Regardless of the problems Ecuador faces and the obvious political move it's refreshing to see the US Govt taking it up their arses.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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