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Why is the US Ambassador to Ecuador, Adam Namm doing an about face on freedom of the press in Ecuador: The Freedom Foundation and the CIA

 

In 2012 the US Ambassador to Ecuador, Adam Namm felt strongly that there was freedom of expression in the country.  In an interview with Ecuadorian paper, The Telegraph on June 23, 2012, the U.S. Ambassador in Ecuador found that there was not just freedom of expression in the small country, but “a lot of freedom of expression.”

It was nearly a month after starting his duties as U.S. Ambassador in Ecuador, when Adam Namm gave his now famous interview to The Telegraph.

In the interview he was asked about several issues, including freedom of expression in the country.  The interview took place only a few days after some controversial statements by US president, Barack Obama where he expressed his concern for freedom of expression in Ecuador.

Given Obama’s statements, which were backed by nothing but his military budget, the diplomat, Namm, was asked if freedom of expression was really in force in Ecuador. He stated in the dialogue published July 23, 2012 in El Telegrafo, the Ecuadorian newspaper:

“I think there is a lot of freedom of expression in Ecuador” (http://www.telegrafo.com.ec/actualidad/item/en-2012-namm-opinaba-que-si-habia-libertad-de-expresion.html).

In the same interview when asked about the relevance of Obama’s remarks, Namm responded:

“That does not mean there is not much freedom of expression in Ecuador, however we, as government, are concerned about a number of cases, for example the case of the paper, El Universo, because for us the freedom of the press is one of the key links and this lawsuit against the paper, El Universo gave us a bit of concern” (ibid).

Namm was referring to a lawsuit filed by president Correa against the paper, El Universo where it was affirmed that the papers opinion editor, Emilio Palacio, falsely proclaimed that “Correa shot with discretion at a hospital full of civilians without notice. What will the directors of the newspaper say? Well, that was the opinion of this writer” (http://www.ecuadortimes.net/2011/03/30/correa-sues-el-universo-by-80-million/).

In 2011 a libel suit was brought by President Correa, personally, over these false and incendiary statements immediately  after a column in the opposition publication questioned the events of a 2010 police protest that turned deadly.  Attempting to address a handful (100) of  police protests regarding pay issues, Correa was forced to take refuge in a hospital and was finally rescued by the army, before almost losing his life.

The newspaper, El Universo, however, questioned the events of the army rescue, saying the president ordered authorities to fire on the hospital where there were civilians.  Correa has called these events a coup attempt and the statements false (http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/Latin-America-Monitor/2012/0124/Ecuador-s-President-Correa-sues-newspaper-and-is-blamed-for-killing-free-speech).

The newspaper, El Universo lost the libel suit brought by President Correa (ibid) and was fined $40 million dollars.  Correa pardoned the journalists involved in the paper’s outright propaganda and lies.

Eleven months later, Namm has now back peddled on his earlier statements lauding the press in Ecuador and he even recently participated in an event by the UNP and joined opponents of the Government in decrying “freedom of the press” in Ecuador.

Interesting.  Could this all be in the wake of John Kerry’s insidious remark in April that “Latin America is the US’s backyard?”  Or was his turnaround due to the cables released by Wikileaks about Ecuador’s history and the mysterious death of Hugo Chavez along with recent election gain by Nicolas Maduro, Chavez’s successor?

Freedom House: Propaganda Arm of the CIA

Anyway, the issue of Ecuadorian freedom of press did not come up again until just last week, as I noted at Dailycensored.com (http://www.dailycensored.com/is-the-cia-behind-attacks-on-ecuadors-press-correa-warns-us-ambassador-namm-dont-be-a-meddler/)  when the US State Department spokesman, Patrick Ventrell, said Martin Pallares, Janeth Hinojosa and Miguel Rivadeneira, all Ecuadorian journalists for El Universo stated they have all been the subject of attempts to discredit them with  personal attacks.

The next day, on May 2, 2013 the “think tank” Freedom House issued a report that ranks Ecuador as a country without freedom of expression.  And just who is Freedom House?  At its website, Freedom House states:

“We advocate for U.S. leadership and collaboration with like-minded governments to vigorously oppose dictators and oppression.  We amplify the voices of those struggling for freedom in repressive societies and counter authoritarian efforts to weaken international scrutiny of their regimes” (http://www.freedomhouse.org/about-us).

So does this mean that ‘Freedom House’ supports Wikileaks and the granting of asylum to journalist, Julian Assange?  Doubtful; there is no record of it.

There Freedom House website also adds that:

“Primary funding for Freedom House’s programs comes in the form of grants from USAID and U.S. State Department, as well as from other democratic governments—U.K., Ireland, Sweden, and the Netherlands—and from private foundations, including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, and the National Endowment for Democracy” (http://www.freedomhouse.org/programs).

That’s ‘primary funding’, though — hardly all of the group’s funding.

As Sourcewatch has noted, Freedom House is really a “conservative research, publishing, networking, and selective human rights organization” and its funding comes from a host of right-wing organizations and governmental entities, including the reactionary Sarah Scaife Foundation, to name just a few.

Below you can see the list of ‘funders”, mostly rich families, corporations and governmental agencies like the US Information Agency and USAID, all notorious fronts for the CIA:

Between 2001 and 2010, Freedom House received more than $3 million from the conservative Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.  They also picked up some significant swag from some of the leading conservative think tanks and CIA front groups in the US:

(http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Freedom_House).

So, not only is the work of Freedom House far from partial; they actually are the propaganda arm for the US military in an attempt to promote dissension in countries on the US military hit-list regarding “freedom of the press”, which they say they nourish and cherish, but in all actuality they burnish and perish (Sklar, “Washington Wants to Buy Nicaragua’s Elections Again: A Guide to US Operatives and Nicaraguan Parties,” Z Magazine, December 1989).

Now we begin to see clearly the reason for the full blown attack on Ecuador’s supposed “lack of freedom of the press” by Namm and friends.

Freedom House’s work is also linked to the “democracy promotion” (read ‘freedom for multinational pilfering and propaganda) efforts of the National Endowment for Democracy which also funds the bulk of Freedom House projects.  As earlier stated, it also receives money from the CIA and US military and thus is far from the partial press watchdog it likes to claim itself to be (Bill Berkowitz, “Freedom House Receiving US Government Money “for Clandestine Activities inside Iran”“, Media Transparency, 4 April 2006.).

Some History of Freedom House

Oh, but there are more interesting facts and history regarding ‘Freedom House’ and its past connections with the CIA and US military.

According to Yasha Levine, writing for The Exiledonline about the role of Freedom House in Tajikistan in 2011:

“For those not familiar with the organization, let’s just say Freedom House isn’t what you’d call a typical NGO. It’s not big on charity, feeding starving third-world kids or even educating them—and is about as far from libertarianism and libertarian ideals as you can possibly get.

Initially founded by Eleanor Roosevelt as part of FDR’s domestic propaganda effort to get Americans excited about WWII and fighting the Nazis, the NGO eventually evolved into a semi-covert operations arm of the CIA/State Department. It is staffed and run by spooks, and funded almost exclusively by the federal government. Its mission is “to challenge regimes hostile to U.S. interests and values” while “promoting the cause of political and economic freedom outside the U.S.” Over the years it provided covert support to the mujahedeen in Afghanistan, the Contras in Nicaragua and has had a huge presence in Cuba, serving as a base for all sorts of harebrained ploys to destabilize and fuck with Fidel’s rule. A Cuba UN rep described it as “a machinery of subversion, closer to an intelligence service than an NGO.”

During the Bush years, Freedom House was a natural hangout for hardcore neo-cons. In the early 2000s, headed by James Woolsey, former head of the CIA and a grade-A neo-con (who now lobbies on behalf of an Iranian terrorist organization), Freedom House’s primary mission became regime change and propaganda warfare in support of Bush’s insane plan to take over the world. [Read Mark Ames’ 2005 “Freedom’s Just Another Word For Fascism.“] Freedom House was also involved in the brief coup against President Hugo Chavez in 2002, but its main focus during the Bush years was Russia and the former Soviet Union. That’s where it really shined.

From 2000 to 2004, Freedom House, along with Soros’ Open Society Institute and the National Endowment for Democracy, engineered political opposition movements that toppled old Soviet-era leadership in Serbia, Georgia and Ukraine and installed “reformers” handpicked by U.S. business interests. It funded and set up political groups, NGOs and media organizations that rallied behind free-market ideas and Western-friendly politicians. They trained organizers and activists and had PR experts cook up catchy slogans and logos. The plan was to tap into people’s genuine desire for reform and channel their naive trust in the West into votes for politicians who took their marching orders directly from the IMF.

In Georgia, the organization helped elect Mikheil Saakashvili, a man groomed by the State Department to play the role of a Western stooge. Meanwhile, Ukraine got Viktor Yushchenko, head of the Ukrainian Central Bank who had married a State Department spook and former member of the Reagan administration. Freedom House called it “democracy building,” and that is exactly what it was hoping to do in Tajikistan when the Tajiks got wise and booted them out of the country” (http://exiledonline.com/wikileaks-expose-kochs-neocons-and-covert-regime-change-ops/).
 

Ambassador Adam Namm is little more than a puppet for the US military and CIA efforts to sneak back into what America calls its “backyard”

As El Telegrafo reported and as I commented on May 3, 2013, Adam Namm Ambassador to Ecuador attended an event organized by the National Union of Journalists (UNP) to mark the International Day of Press Freedom.

The diplomat wrote the following phrase on an outdoor mural which was set-up for the propagandized occasion by UNP:

“The only security of all is the free press” (http://www.telegrafo.com.ec/actualidad/item/en-2012-namm-opinaba-que-si-habia-libertad-de-expresion.html).

This was actually penned by Thomas Jefferson centuries ago when he was the leader of the independence of the United States.  Jefferson would be sickened by the corporate ownership of American press.  six multinational corporations own all the media, publishing houses, print and radio.  Nice try, Namm.  No one believes you except perhaps ignorant Americans.

It is interesting to note that currently the UNP is led by Vicente Ordonez, who is a reporter for The Universe, the periodical out of Quito that was sued by Correa.  Ordonez represents the owners of corporate media and is an arduous supporter of multinational propaganda (http://www.elciudadano.gob.ec/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=28744:vicente-ordonez-esta-representando-a-los-duenos-de-los-mediosq&catid=40:actualidad&Itemid=63).

Look for more meddling in Ecuador as the US ramps up its claims under the Monroe Doctrine to interfere in the entire hemisphere and make it cry ‘Uncle Sam’.  However, this time they will find a more astute population and a more radical opposition.  John Kerry, the CIA and US multinationals, take heed.

 

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About the author

Dr. Danny Weil is an investigative journalist, author and public interest attorney who practiced public interest law for more than twenty years and has been published in a case of first impression in California. He received the Project Censored “Most Censored” News Stories of 2009-10 award for his article: “Neoliberalism, Charter Schools and the Chicago Model / Obama and Duncan’s Education Policy: Like Bush’s, Only Worse,” published by Counterpunch, August 24, 2009 and again in 2013 for his 2012 article, “HR 347 Would Make Many Forms of Nonviolent Protest Illegal” (http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/10-hr-347-would-make-many-forms-of-nonviolent-protest-illegal/). He writes profusely on education and for-profit predatory colleges.