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Come Saturday Morning: US Rep Engel Accidentally Undermines US Talking Points on Julian Assange

US Representative Eliot Engel

If you’re a regular FDL reader, you probably have seen Kevin Gosztola’s post on the Australian newspaper The Saturday Age‘s stating that cables show the US is gunning for Julian Assange and is the prime mover behind UK and Swedish efforts to get him extradited to Sweden. Thanks to Kevin’s sharp eye, we have another clear tell that the effort to get Assange into Swedish custody is being driven by the US, not Sweden or the UK (emphases mine):

10:08 PM EST AP report on the notion that the Ecuador government granted asylum to show it is “morally superior.” Includes a quote from a US congressman, who is most likely one of many elected keepers of the Washington Consensus that Latin American countries now increasingly challenge:

U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel, a ranking member of the U.S. House’s Western Hemisphere subcommittee, has met Correa several times and believes he understand the wager.

“He’s a very smart guy and this wasn’t done in a vacuum,” Engel, a New York Democrat, said. “The reason is to kind of be the head of the poke-the-United States-in-the-eye group.”

He was referring to the alliance that includes Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Argentina and President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, whose longevity is in question after a bout with cancer.

Notice that Engel didn’t say “poke-Sweden-in-the-eye” or “poke-the-UK-in-the-eye”. He said “poke-the-United-States-in-the-eye”.

Now why would Ecuador want to poke the US in the eye over Swedish sexual misconduct accusations if all this is about are those accusations and nothing more? The answer, of course, is that this isn’t just about the accusations, as the only reason Ecuador would want to defy the US over them would be if these Swedish accusations are part of a larger game, one being controlled by the US, to get Julian Assange within US borders.

So much for the pretense that this is just about trying to get Assange to answer questions about the accusations leveled at him. If that’s what this was all about, the Swedes would have done what they do routinely in similar cases involving persons not named Julian Assange: Interview him via videoconferencing or by sending investigators to talk with him in person.

We are talking about behavior on the Swedes’ part that even Sven-Erik Alhem, former Stockholm chief prosecutor and not a man noted for his bleeding-heart sensibilities, has condemned. Alhem showed that the Swedish government had no legitimate reason to seek Assange’s extradition when he testified that the decision of the Swedish government to extradite Assange is “unreasonable and unprofessional, as well as unfair and disproportionate“, because he could be easily questioned in the UK.

And I’ll bet you’re wondering why you’re not hearing about any of this from CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, or even NPR — or reading about it in the NYT, which, as Kevin Goszola has noted, instead chooses to print tasteless poo-poo anecdotes from Assange enemy and OpenLeaks vaporsite proprietor Daniel Domscheit-Berg.

So am I, friends. So am I.

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