El Conquistqdor Francisco de Orellana

El Conquistqdor Francisco de Orellana
The Conquistador who put the Amazaon baisn "on the map"....Francisco Orellana

Friday, June 28, 2013

What a shame....the US can no longer buy our fruit, coffee, and cacao......

Ecuador Breaks Trade Agreement with US – Refuses to be “blackmailed”


Quito – US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden’s search for asylum is escalating tension between Ecuador and the United States, as Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa makes his disdain for US authority clear. At a press conference held by the Ecuadorian government on Thursday officials renounced the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) following threats from the US administration.

“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 Ecuadorian communications secretary, Fernando Alvarado.
According to the officials the ATPA is due for renewal in July, and US officials had threatened to cancel the trade agreement if Ecuador did go ahead and offer Snowden asylum.

Speaking at the press conference Ecuadorian officials also offered a donation of $23 million for human rights training in the United States.

Founder of the anti-censorship group, Wiki-leaks is presently living in the Ecuadorian embassy in the United Kingdom to avoid capture and extradition. Wiki-leaks has stepped into the international fray created by Snowden’s revelations of the US intelligence surveillance programmes. Wiki-leaks is supporting Snowden financially and acting as a go-between in his negotiation for asylum from the US government.

Snowden is currently believed to be camping out in the transit lounge in a Moscow airport after the US invalidated his passport.

Minister of Political Co-ordination in Ecuador said no asylum request for Snowden had been processed as Snowden was not at an Ecuadorean embassy or consulate. The law requires an asylum seeker to be on Ecuadorean territory when making the request.

There is said to be some conflict within the Ecuadorean government over whether to grant asylum to Snowden. According to The Guardian while leftists have embraced Snowden as a symbol of anti-imperialism there are a number of centrists in the government who fear the diplomatic and economic consequences of defying the US on this matter.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ex Pats living in Ecuador can now get an Ecuadorian Passporte.....

Edward Snowden Should
Have Done This…

By Bob Bauman JD, Offshore and Asset Protection Edit

 Remember the name Edward Snowden.

If you haven’t heard of him yet, you have either been in a cave or a coma.

The courageous Mr. Snowden is now internationally known as the National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who blew the whistle on the U.S government’s insidious and massive domestic spying operation.

As soon as the U.S. government filed espionage charges against Snowden this week, the State Department revoked his U.S. passport.

But your actions don’t have to be as bold as Mr. Snowden’s to have your passport annulled.

Where will you be if yours is revoked? 


In my best-selling tome, The Passport Book, I argue that having a second passport is an imperative for any American who cherishes true liberty.

While the actions against Snowden are certainly political — he dared to expose the unconstitutional surveillance imposed by our so-called “leaders” in the specious name of “national security”— you must realize that your U.S. passport can be revoked for a number of additional reasons. A request for extradition from another country, a federal or state court order detaining a person and issues concerning place of birth or naturalization are all reasons for passport withdrawal.

Luckily, Snowden’s passport revocation did not catch up with him until he had flown from Hong Kong to Moscow, where he appears, as of this writing, to be under the protection of President Putin. It has been reported that the government of Ecuador has given Snowden temporary travel papers that can serve in the absence of his U.S. passport. If he had followed my advice, Snowden would not have had to rely on the good faith efforts of sympathetic authorities in Ecuador, where he is rumored to be planning to live in exile.

It Gets Even Worse…

Like the NSA, the IRS has also been in the news of late for its own scandal: the improper and unlawful targeting of conservative groups.

Well, since 1986, the U.S. State Department has been informing the IRS of all persons who renew their U.S. passports using a foreign address. Since passport renewals require an applicant’s Social Security number, this information is also used by the IRS to see if applicants have filed income tax returns. An IRS official speaking in Zurich said a special effort was being made by the agency to track all U.S. citizens who’ve renewed U.S. passports while living in Switzerland, for reasons related to tracking people with Swiss bank accounts.

So, now we have two out of control U.S. government agencies that have the ability to track your private financial activity and revoke your ability to travel freely through your U.S. passport. There has never been a better time to take action to protect yourself from these tyrannical intrusions.

Don’t Complain, Do Something

Second passports can be obtained as a matter of right, based on your ancestors born in nations such as Ireland, Italy, Poland, Hungary or even the United Kingdom or by marriage to a foreign spouse. If you can afford it, economic citizenship can be obtained at a price from the two countries that still sell these: Dominica and St. Kitts, and Nevis. Austria is a third possibility.

I have been advocating for years that Americans acquire a second passport from a government that does not treat its citizens like so many sheep. As Edward Snowden can now attest, in an unsettled world, acquiring a second citizenship is also a wise decision. You should see both as insurance against a tyrannical government and an investment in your freedom and your future.

And, similar to what the old American Express Travelers Cheques commercial used to advocate: Don’t leave home without them!

Faithfully yours,

Bob Bauman, J.D.
Chairman, Freedom Alliance

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Courageous Edward Snowden

By Bob Bauman, Offshore and Asset Protection Editor


 Have you ever met a hoarder?

When I was 8 years old, a hoarder was my friend. Her name was Elizabeth Hatcher Sadler.

In 1945, my mother died and my father sent me to the Fork Union Military Academy, where I was befriended by the sweet, elderly Ms. Sadler.

She sensed my homesickness and invited me to visit her at her ancestral home in the nearby village of Fork Union. Her huge, ramshackle, 1898 Victorian mansion had piles of old newspapers, magazines, hundreds of books and a half century of accumulated dirt inside.

Poor Ms. Sadler lived alone in the one room that had electricity, eating off a hot plate with a sink piled with dishes.

I grew close to Ms. Sadler but never had the nerve to ask her: “Why do you collect and keep all of this junk?”

And it’s my memories of Ms. Sadler that have me now thinking about the National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden. 

 The question that I never posed to Ms. Sadler is the very same question that needs to be asked of and answered by the NSA today. But this time, the stakes are far more serious. The constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of 316 million Americans are in the balance.

Thanks to the courageous Edward Snowden, America now knows the NSA has, for seven years, collected data on many millions of our phone calls, emails and other communications, even when its top officials have testified that it had not.

It is now abundantly clear that privacy in the United States is dead and gone, thanks to pandering politicians and the constitutionally questionable PATRIOT Act.

And things look like they are going to get even worse.

It’s Not Just the NSA After You

Hot on the heels of the NSA revelations, now the habitually anti-tax haven and pro-tax Organization for Economic and Community Development (OECD) wants in on the action, by forcing all countries into useless data-hoarding of private information in a very big way.

The Paris-based OECD is financed by the high-tax, deficit-spending, welfare-state governments such as France and Germany, with the U.S. taxpayer footing a large part of its budget. The OECD provides a dignified veneer to the desperate struggle of its debt-ridden sponsors for ever more tax revenues.

As a deceitful public relations tactic, the OECD purposely conflates illegal tax evasion with legal tax avoidance. The OECD view is that all financial privacy and bank secrecy laws are a cover for tax evasion, so they demand abolition of all privacy.

The OECD goes well beyond its achieved demand for the automatic exchange of tax information. They also want to end privacy for “beneficial owners” of corporations, trusts and financial accounts. Erika Nolan has eloquently described the real physical harm such a policy would inflict.

In a well thought out article, Paul Byles, the director of First Regents Bank & Trust, on behalf of Cayman Finance, exposes the fallacy of forcing governments to create huge public mega-data systems listing all owners of every legal entity.

Such costly systems, he suggests, are unlikely to produce “any material benefit to anyone other than those who are in the business of creating new systems and procedures and serving as tax compliance officials.” What such information dumps do is cause worldwide suffering, especially to Americans, as evidenced by the damage done by the imperial IRS and its odious Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

The irony is that such information is available now through executive and judicial procedures in all offshore financial centers and in other countries, but only when due cause is shown by requesting governments.

All is not lost, however, because there are still countries where statutory law protects the financial privacy of law abiding persons, where only after notice and hearings is a court order issued to waive that valuable privacy.

In spite of some recent law changes, Switzerland, Austria, Lichtenstein and Luxembourg all still offer strong privacy protection, as do the Cayman Islands, Uruguay, Singapore and Panama. The Sovereign Society assists its members in opening bank and financial accounts in these reliable venues. As Chairman of the Freedom Alliance, I regularly keep my members informed about privacy matters and where and how to find the best protection.

A Dangerous Obsession

Last week, the Northern Ireland two-day talkfest of leaders of the G-8 countries was followed by the issuance of an inane statement that demanded that tax authorities automatically share information (already being done), and that multinational companies tell tax authorities what tax they pay and where they pay it (also being done).

President Obama and U.K. Prime Minister Cameron know this, but they, like the OECD and the NSA, continue their intentional destruction of our privacy, cloaked in hollow slogans about fighting terrorism and tax evasion.

The compulsive need of Big Brother government to collect mega-mountains of data is approaching nothing less than an official obsession that endangers all of our freedoms.

I’m sure old Ms. Sadler had her own benign reasons for hoarding her stuff. I wish our government’s hoarding of our private information was as innocent.

Faithfully yours,

Bob Bauman, J.D.
Chairman, Freedom Alliance

The list of refugees just keeps on growing......

A Whistleblower in Ecuador: The Belarussian Dissident Who Found Asylum in Quito


Alexander Barankov’s story has echoes of a Cold War spy thriller.  “When I saw so many secret service cars coming for me,” the softly-spoken 31-year-old says as he sits in a Quito shopping mall, “I realized they would stop me at the traffic lights so I sped off. I ran five red lights.” Barankov, who is from Belarus, is talking about the day in July 2009 that he fled his home city of Minsk and Europe’s so-called last dictator, the country’s President Alexander Lukashenko. Barankov fled to Russia though believed he should not stay there too long as “the [Belarusian] KGB could find me. They’d put me in a car and take me back to Minsk.” He finally found his way to Ecuador, through Egypt, and has lived there since August 2009. He was detained twice by authorities but was finally granted refugee status last year, shielding him from extradition.

Ecuador, of course, is the rumored future sanctuary of a new fugitive dissident. Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor turned whistleblower, is seeking asylum in the Andean nation. He follows in the footsteps of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange who has been granted asylum though is unable to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London lest he be seized by British authorities.

There are parallels between the experience of Barankov and Snowden, as well as Assange. Barankov, who worked in a financial crimes unit in Minsk’s police force, says he uncovered an illegal oil-smuggling network connected to Lukashenko and close associates. On arriving in Ecuador, he set up a blog to make his allegations public. Barankov faces charges of bribery and fraud back home, and is accused of extorting bribes from people he supposedly told were being investigated by his unit—charges that Barankov dismisses as politically-motivated. The government in Belarus has not responded directly to his allegations regarding the oil-smuggling network.

Snowden leaked extremely sensitive information that revealed a vast US government surveillance apparatus that roped in the world’s largest communications companies. Assange released, through WikiLeaks, hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables that made US government secrets public. All three remain wanted men.

Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa, a left-leaning ally of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, has used the asylum requests to buoy his political reputation as a thorn in the West’s side. When London hastily threatened to storm the Ecuadorian Embassy to arrest Assange in August, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño had a field day. “We are not a British colony,” he said angrily. “The colonial times are over.” Correa described the threat as a “grave diplomatic error.”

Apart from tweaking the great powers, the 50-year-old president has used political refugees as a pawn to also make friends. In June 2012, just three weeks before Lukashenko visited Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador — coincidentally Snowden’s reported route to Ecuador —Barankov was arrested in Quito and held in prison for 84 days.

Correa’s own human rights record is far from unblemished. A new media law enacted this month allows for an Orwellian-sounding Council of Content Regulation to punish news outlets that do not report topics the body considers “news.” The Council can also fine outlets for criticizing officials; it would determine what is untrue or unfair. Local columnist Emilio Palacio last year won asylum in Miami having fled Ecuador after he and three owners of his newspaper, El Universo, were sentenced to prison time and ordered to pay $40 million in damages after publishing an opinion piece which called Correa a “dictator.”

Barankov was initially attracted to Ecuador by some of the world’s most lenient visa policies. “This was the one place I thought I could be safe,” he says. “I didn’t have visas for anywhere else.” Nationals of only a small handful of countries require visas to stay here. Ecuador is also one of only seven countries in the world to accept the World Passport, a private initiative set up in the 1950s citing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The other accepting countries are Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Tanzania, Togo, the Vatican and Zambia, according to the initiative’s website. The small equatorial country boasts the highest refugee population in the region, primarily due to longstanding conflicts in neighboring Colombia, according to UNHCR.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has confirmed that Snowden is currently sheltering in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, adding that he would not be extradited to the US. The transit area is Russian territory though the 30-year-old has not formally entered the country. “The sooner he chooses his final destination, the better it would be for us and for himself,” said Putin. According to Assange, Snowden is travelling on a refugee document of passage provided by Ecuador though the silver-haired 31-year-old, in a conference call with reporters earlier this week, cryptically added that asylum had been sought “possibly [from] other countries” as well as Ecuador.

Patiño said that no decision has yet been made on Snowden’s asylum request. Ecuador has sought to boost relations with the US in recent years, reinstating Ambassadorial level links last May after Correa kicked out the US Ambassador in 2011 over the contents of a WikiLeaks cable. The US is Ecuador’s top trading partner, with some 45 percent of exports heading to it. There is little doubt that Patiño, Correa and their advisors are weighing up whether they want to become embroiled in another major international diplomatic incident. Denying asylum to Snowden may improve ties with the US. However, Patiño’s language so far has hinted an alternate outcome. The 58-year-old politician said in Hanoi earlier this week that Snowden was being persecuted.

Barankov was initially scared of Belarusian authorities tracking him down here, a worry that Snowden may have should he arrive. “My country doesn’t stop,” he told me when we first met a day after he was given refugee status here in August, worried that “one of Lukashenko’s dogs will come to Quito,” after having seen men here he suspected to be Belarusian agents. He still worries for his parents’ safety; they remain in Belarus. However, the last year has been quiet for Barankov who is settling into life here, learning Spanish, with a local girlfriend and doing a few part-time jobs. “I don’t know about [Assange and Snowden], but as for me, I can say that I’ve been fine and had no trouble in Ecuador.”

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

In Ecuador, fears of US retaliation over Snowden case

Fear???? We do not believe President Correa is aftaid of much and if Snowden comes into Cafe Dios no Muere in Quito....he gets a compliementary Micro Brew Beer on tap.

Ecuador's decision to study the asylum petition of US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has angered the opposition and sparked fears that the United States could retaliate by hitting Ecuadoran exports.

The small South American nation has been at the center of the international drama involving the former National Security Agency contractor, whose global flight from American justice has shaken US ties with a clutch of nations including Russia and China.

Business leaders fear that giving Snowden asylum could prompt the United States to take retaliatory measures, with a preferential trade deal set to expire at the end of July unless Washington renews it.
"We don't have the luxury of taking the wrong steps," the head of the Ecuadoran Business Committee, Roberto Aspiazu, told AFP.

"What would we gain from giving political asylum to Snowden -- confirming Ecuador's international image as an anti-imperialist country? I don't think we need that."

The United States is Ecuador's main trade partner, buying 40 percent of the Andean nation's exports, or the equivalent of $9 billion per year.

Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said Tuesday that the US State Department had contacted his ministry about the case.

"Since this message is only verbal for now, I have asked that they send it to us in writing so that we can take it into consideration when we analyze the asylum request of Mr. Snowden," Patino said during a trip to Vietnam without providing more details.

Snowden was believed to be on his way to Ecuador when he left Hong Kong and landed in Moscow on Sunday, but Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was still in the transit area of the Russian airport on Tuesday, though free to leave.

Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa said he would take a decision on Snowden's application "fully respecting our sovereignty" and his allies in the Congress vowed to back the leftist leader, who has often tussled with the United States in his six years in power.

But the opposition lashed out at the government's involvement in the Snowden affair, accusing Correa of double standards by defending the fugitive who revealed a broad US surveillance program while undermining freedom of the press at home.

"While they want to send Ecuadorans to prison for expressing their opinion, foreigners are given asylum, which confirms the government's double standards," lawmaker Dalo Bucaram told reporters.
Correa granted asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in August last year, allowing the Australian buster of US government secrets to take refuge in Ecuador's embassy to London and avoid extradition to Sweden where he faces sex assault claims.

Putin says Snowden at Moscow airport, rejects extradition

A picture taken in Moscow Sheremetyevo airport aboard a plane of Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Havana on June 24, 2013, shows the empty window seat 17A, which fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden was scheduled to occupy. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday revealed that Snowden was still in a Moscow airport transit zone, rejecting calls for his extradition to the United States

 Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed that the US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden was still in a Moscow airport transit zone, rejecting calls for his extradition to the United States.

In his first comments about the chase for Snowden that has captivated world attention, Putin described the ex-intelligence contractor as a "free man" whose arrival in Russia was "completely unexpected" by the Russian authorities.

The dramatic announcement ended two days of guessing over the whereabouts of the fugitive Snowden, who leaked revelations of US massive surveillance programmes to the media and is now wanted by the US authorities.

"It is true that Mr. Snowden came to Moscow," Putin said at a news conference while on a visit to Finland. "For us, this was completely unexpected."

"He arrived as a transit passenger and he does not need a visa or other documents. He can buy a ticket and go wherever he pleases. He did not cross the state border, as a transit passenger he is still in the transit hall," Putin added.

Snowden had been expected to board a flight for Cuba on Monday, reportedly on his way to seek asylum in Ecuador. But he never did and Putin appeared to confirm that the fugitive was still uncertain over his onward travel plans.

"Mr. Snowden is a free man, the sooner he selects his final destination point, the better for us and for himself," said Putin.
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro said Tuesday he would consider an asylum request from Snowden if the country receives one.

"We have not received an official request. But in the event we were to receive one, we would evaluate it as we understand Ecuador is doing," Maduro said on state television from Haiti, where he was on an official visit.

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa, a Venezuela ally and fellow leftist, has said he will take a decision on Snowden's application "fully respecting our sovereignty."

The United States had earlier urged Russia to use all means to expel Snowden, who reportedly arrived at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on a flight from Hong Kong on Sunday.

However Putin insisted that Russia only extradites foreign nationals to countries with which it has a formal extradition treaty.

"We have no such agreement with the United States," he said, calling US allegations that Russia is breaking the law "nonsense and rubbish."

The White House National Security spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden later told AFP that: "While we do not have an extradition treaty with Russia, there is nonetheless a clear legal basis to expel Mr. Snowden."
Putin said he would personally prefer not to deal with cases such as those of Snowden and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London to avoid charges of sexual assault in Sweden.

"It's the same as shearing a piglet: there's a lot of squealing and not much wool," he said.
WikiLeaks responded by thanking Putin on its Twitter account: "We appreciate President Putin's supportive comments on Assange and Snowden," it said.

The group also suggested that the US by "cancelling Snowden's passport and bullying intermediary countries may keep Snowden permanently in Russia."

Speaking in Jeddah, US Secretary of State John Kerry called for Russia to be "calm" and hand over Snowden, saying Washington was not looking for "confrontation."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denied earlier Tuesday that Moscow was in any way "involved" with the travel plans of the 30-year-old former National Security Agency (NSA) technician.

The dispute risks sharpening tensions between Washington and Moscow as well as Beijing at the very moment they are struggling to overcome differences to end the conflict in Syria.

Transit rules on the website of Sheremetyevo airport stipulate that "foreign citizens can remain in the airport up to 24 hours without a Russian visa" and must have a ticket to their next destination. No Russian official has commented on this issue in Snowden's case.

--- 'Groundless and unacceptable' ---
Snowden had been expected to travel on with the state carrier Aeroflot on Monday to Havana, but never appeared on the flight, sending dozens of journalists on a 10-hour plane ride.

There have been no sightings of Snowden in the airport, located north-west of Moscow, despite many film crews stationed there.

The leftist Latin American state of Ecuador has said it was considering a request he made for asylum and Assange said Snowden was "safe" after leaving Hong Kong with a refugee document supplied by Ecuador.
The White Hous e earlier called on Moscow to look at all the options available to expel Snowden back to the United States, with spokesman Jay Carney saying Washington assumed that Snowden was still in Moscow.

Lavrov had slammed Washington and rubbished suggestions that Moscow was complicit in Snowden's disappearance.

"We think the attempts to blame Russia of breaking US laws and even complicity are absolutely groundless and unacceptable," he said.

Hong Kong, a special administrative region under Chinese rule that has maintained its own British-derived legal system, said the US government request to arrest him did not fully comply with Hong Kong legal requirements.

But Carney lashed out at Beijing over its purported role in the affair, saying China's failure to "honour extradition obligations" had dealt a "serious setback" to efforts to build trust with new President Xi Jinping.
Meanwhile Snowden told the South China Morning Post in a story published Tuesday that he joined contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, from which he stole secrets on NSA surveillance programs, specially to gain access to sensitive information and spill it to the press.

Snowden abandoned his high-paying intelligence contractor job in Hawaii and went to Hong Kong on May 20 to begin issuing a series of leaks on the NSA gathering of phone call logs and Internet data, triggering concern from governments around the world.

Ecuador defies US again in Snowden case

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa, who has given the United States headaches throughout his tenure, risks more trouble if he grants political asylum to US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.

Much greater powers -- China and Russia -- have vexed the United States during Snowden's global cat-and-mouse game, but this Andean nation has defied its giant neighbor to the north since Correa took office in 2007.

The leftist leader already needled Washington last year by giving shelter to a Snowden ally, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, at Ecuador's embassy in London, protecting him from sexual assault claims in Sweden.

<p>Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid on March 17, 2012. Correa, who has given the United States headaches throughout his tenure, risks more trouble if he grants political asylum to US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.</p>
Now Correa, who was re-elected in February, is weighing Snowden's asylum request and said on Twitter on Monday that he would make the decision "that we deem to be the most appropriate, and fully respecting our sovereignty."

"This is an anti-imperialist posture that seeks to defend the capacity of small nations to take action in the international arena," said Michel Levi, a foreign policy expert at the Andina University of Quito.

Relations between the United States and Ecuador reached a low in April 2011, when Quito expelled US ambassador Heather Hodges after WikiLeaks released a diplomatic cable in which she suggested that Correa appointed a new police chief despite knowing he was corrupt.

A new US ambassador was installed last year.

In 2009, Correa ended an arrangement that allowed the United States to operate an anti-drug base on the Pacific coast.

The Snowden case could end any hope of the United States reviving trade benefits under a program that compensates Andean nations that help combat drug production, said Francisco Carrion, professor at the Latin American Social Sciences Faculty.

"There could be other repercussions in trade and investments, with requests for credit from the Inter-American Development Bank rejected by the United States, and a reduction in cooperation," Carrion said.
Snowden, who revealed a massive US surveillance program, was believed to be heading to Quito when he landed in Moscow, but he was not seen on a flight to Cuba on which he was booked on Monday and his whereabouts are a mystery.

Ecuadoran Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, speaking during a visit to Vietnam, praised Snowden's actions, saying the 30-year-old fugitive was trying to "shed light and transparency" on US practices.

But Correa has himself been under fire from international rights groups over a new media law that critics say curtails press freedoms by cutting the private sector's share of radio and TV frequencies.

Marco Romero, director of global studies at Andina University, said the Snowden case puts Ecuador at the center of global debate on the limits of civil liberties when it comes to national security.

But he said Correa's position also serves "internal (political) consumption" because it contradicts of the criticism of his strained relations with the press.

Correa, who signed the controversial media law on Monday, accuses some news organizations of conspiring against him.

One day after Assange was given asylum last year, Ecuadoran journalist Emilio Palacio was granted asylum by the United States.

Palacio was sentenced to three years in prison and a huge fine for insulting Correa. But at the president's request, the court annulled the conviction, which also affected three directors of El Universo newspaper.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Ben Stein' confession

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession: 

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat... 

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to. 

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking. 
In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc.. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school... The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about.. And we said okay..

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.' 

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace. 

Are you laughing yet? 

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it. 

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us. 

Pass it on if you think it has merit. 

If not, then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in. 

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully, 

Ben Stein

Friday, June 21, 2013

New crop of chic Quito hotels

Photo: Casa Gangotena)

 Ecuador tourism is on the rise, and Quito, its UNESCO World Heritage Site capital city (a gateway to the Amazon, Andes and Galapagos) is in the midst of major developments. Those range from a new airport that opened in February to a slate of newish — or newly renovated — high-end hotels set to respond the growing demand of discerning travelers. Here is a rundown of some of this history-rich city’s hottest hotel havens.

New jewel-box boutiques have cropped up in brilliantly reinvented colonial buildings throughout Quito’s Old Town. Leading the pack is the opulent Casa Gangotena (from $458/night), which opened in October 2011 following an extensive $10 million, four-year renovation. In a 1920s-era mansion on the atmospheric Plaza San Francisco, the polished contemporary décor here mixes Art Nouveau touches with neoclassical architecture.

Expect painstakingly restored painted tin ceilings, wood paneling and stucco beams, along with 31 well-appointed rooms with high ceilings, tall windows and marble baths (most with tubs). Perks include a guests-only third-floor terrace with a picture-postcard view over Quito and a generous Ecuadorian afternoon tea served in an airy glass-enclosed patio.

Noteworthy newcomers offering a more value-friendly slant include the three-year old Mansión del Angel (from $150/night) set in a manse dating to 1908. This intimate 14-room affair is an Italian Renaissance-inspired stunner, with a décor scheme rich in plush fabrics, antiques and artworks; don’t miss the small garden spa with an unforgettable “death-by-chocolate” spa ritual.

Also in the Old Town, La Casona de la Ronda (from $180/night) opened a year and a half ago after a three-year restoration. Set on La Ronda, one of Quito’s oldest streets and a bustling nightlife haven, the 22 antique-strewn rooms in this former brothel surround a central colonial-style courtyard. Nearby, culture vultures will want to swoop in on the intimate six-room Casa San Marcos (from $128/night). Set in an unassuming early-18th-century manse, it’s a treasure trove of antiques, artworks and soaring colonial-inspired rooms. An on-site art gallery, antique boutique and terrace café round out the bohemian-inspired offerings.

Meanwhile, the city’s longstanding luxury mainstays, set in more modernized parts of town, have been keeping a keen eye on the budding competition. Swissôtel Quito (from $185/night) is in the midst of a massive spruce-up as the hotel remodels its spa, lobby and 275 rooms for a more refreshed contemporary look. Most of the work will be complete by year’s end. Nearby, the 30-unit all-suite Le Parc Hotel (from $260/night) is readying for the addition of two more hotel towers over the next two years; its rooftop bar will emerge from a revamp come July.

“Stalin Would Love This…”

By Erika Nolan, Executive Publisher of The Sovereign Society

 Sun. Sand. Snorkeling. Scuba diving. All of those come to mind when one mentions the Cayman Islands – one of world’s most popular tourist destinations.

But I didn’t enjoy any of those things during my recent trip to that idyllic locale in the heart of the Caribbean Ocean.

Instead, mine was a research trip focused on meeting with the locals … where the talk eventually turned to kidnapping, ransom and spies… 

“Stalin would love this,” Michael Algebra, one of the top lawyers in the Caymans, said as I nodded in agreement.

The topic at hand was the recently revealed, domestic spying and data gathering operations of the U.S. government … which now includes domestic drone use, as confirmed Wednesday by FBI Director Robert Mueller.

“The West has taken civil liberties and freedoms away from its citizens…all without a single gun, revolt or a war,” Michael added.

Freedom Alliance Chairman Bob Bauman and I visited Michael in the Cayman Islands last week, during our offshore investing research mission. We talked at length about the latest moves by the U.S. and the EU to destroy personal privacy and to implement financial tracking on nearly every transaction. And we came to an obvious and unsettling conclusion:

If you have any type of wealth, data gathering is especially dangerous for you and your family.

The Threat is Real

Look at the heart of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and all the international financial compliance rules as of late. Where will all that data end up? It will be in a database, delivered to the IRS. It will gather all the financial data on anyone born in America – regardless of whether you have actively lived in the country or you just happen to be born on U.S. shores. And many of those in that database will be wealthy – very wealthy.

Think this through with me for a moment. We know that every database in the world can be easily compromised – either legally or via hackers and the corrupt employees who sell the info for serious cash. What would a criminal pay to get a list of world’s wealthiest families? What would they pay to know the names of the people who set up the accounts, the names of all their beneficiaries –most likely the children or grandchildren – and the address information for these people? And once they pay for the information…what will they do with it? They will target these people for kidnappings and demand huge ransoms.

I know… it sounds dramatic. But today, it’s a very real possibility.

And as Michael pointed out during our meeting in George Town, many wealthy people are now including kidnapping clauses in their trust documents. While kidnappings are rare in the U.S., they are all too normal in Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela and parts of the Middle East. Those who fear being targeted can set a limit on the ransom amount the trustee can pay to secure your return.

Setting the price of your own life – it’s something I wouldn’t wish on an enemy. But, it’s becoming more common every day as more and more data gathering occurs.

Ominous Implications

There are dark, unspoken consequences of lists and information gathering. We’ve seen this before. In Germany prior to and during World War II, behind the Iron Curtain, in parts of Africa, in the Middle East, and now the U.S.

While President Obama dismissed concerns about his administration’s domestic spying operations as “minor intrusions” on our liberties, the truth is quite different if one actually takes the time to think about the potential implications of such massive data gathering.

And can we really be accused of overreacting with the IRS abuse of targeted groups and the government leaks of late? No one but the self-deluded thinks that our data is unfailingly safe and in the hands of the most competent and trustworthy among us.

As we left Michael’s office, he asked us: “When will the American people stand up, tell the government to get out of their lives?”

Soon. I hope it is very soon.
In Wealth & Prosperity,

Erika Nolan
Executive Publisher, The Sovereign Society

Friday, June 14, 2013

The new airport in Quito......people are complaining. Our advise...go through Guayaquil.....or arrive into Quito on the TRAIN.

Note: We are seeing more tourists arrive recently into Quito on the TRAIN from other parts in  Ecuador.  Ecuador has recently innaugurated a new train system (not from the airport)  so we will update you further on this as information develops. Meanwhile....read below.....

This from Gary Scott at www.garyscott.com.

Will Cuenca airport become an international airport?
Stephen Milden head of Ateam Ecuador in Cuenca sent this report.
International Flights direct to Cuenca?
Since the new airport opened in Quito on February 20th, a great deal of controversy has ensued largely due to its location in the Tababela parish approximately one to one and half hours driving time outside of Quito. The old airport was only minutes from downtown and as such allowed people from Cuenca needing to do business in Quito the easy option of flying up for the day. Now they face travel time of as much as an hour and a half to get from the airport to the city center. Additionally domestic flights are parked on the tarmac requiring passengers to be shuttled from the terminal which has taken as long as 45 minutes according to reports.

 Something that has not changed is that international flights arrive after domestic flights have ended for the day necessitating an overnight. A few entrepreneurs managed to get a some rooms available  close to the new airport, but nowhere near enough to meet the demand without traveling a good  distance. The simple solution would be to have domestic carriers operate at least one flight to connect with international arrivals. Why that hasn’t happened is anybody’s guess.  If I were a betting man I’d wager that the transportation companies who have a strong lobby and stand to make a good bit of money shuttling passengers back and forth to the city might have something to do with why.

So what does this mean for people traveling to Cuenca? Given that about 80% of the traffic in and out of Cuenca flies between Quito and Cuenca, the conversation is that Cuenca should become the next international airport. According to Quito airport consultant Carlos Moreno, “Cuenca would be the next logical candidate because of the large number of immigrants from Azuay and Loja provinces who live in the U.S., and because it is the third busiest airport in the country.” So will Cuenca become the next international airport in Ecuador, stay tuned.
Stephen Milden stephen@cuencaliving.com

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Germany needs moral guidance of a monarchy

Germans might not know it, but they desperately need the moral guidance of a re-instated royal family, the great-great grandson of the last Kaiser, Prince Philip Kiril of Prussia, told The Local's Jessica Ware in an exclusive interview.

 Subconsciously, I think young Germans wants something they can orientate towards,” said Prince Philip. The 45-year-old father of six may work as a Protestant vicar, but he has become one of the loudest voices out of those who want to see Germany revive its monarchy.

Since Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated in 1918, the country has been without a monarchy. But Prince Philip believes that a royal family with divine right conferred by God could offer Germany what it is missing.

“When a leader answers to himself, and not God, an atheist-led country ends in disaster. Look at Hitler, Pol Pot and Stalin,” he told The Local. Religion, “tames the selfishness naturally present in all of us.”

For the prince, a country guided by politicians and a ceremonial president means not only is there no strong family to look up to, nor is there anyone to rally up enthusiasm for family life. “A presidential head of state is not enough...what Germany needs is moral guidance and a friendlier face,” which, he added, “people do not get, and shouldn't expect, from politicians.”

Indeed, this appears to be what increasing amount of young Germans want, after a survey for news agency DPA revealed last month that as many as one in three 18-24-year-olds would like the Kaiser back on the throne. Jump to the over-50s, and this figure dropped to one in six.

“Looking up to a king or queen would be much better for Germany's young people than to pop stars or football players,” Prince Philip said. He lamented that people were putting too much value on consumerism and material goods instead of having children – something desperately needed as Germany faces a demographic implosion.

“I am astonished that so many young people said they would be in favour,” he admitted, acknowledging that general public opinion towards the monarchy in Germany was not that positive.

He cited the increasingly popular face of European royalty as being partially responsible for boosting interest among younger Germans. Though on the surface, young people may be drawn to the glamorous lifestyle of princes and princesses, the traditional of family is what they are yearning for deep down, he said.

“A crown prince would be the role model from which the country could seek inspiration, as it would be expected from him to get married, have children and stay faithful.”

For the prince, a presidential head of state simply does not cut it.

Being voted in “doesn't deign them the same respect” as a king, who is chosen by God. This is why he thinks his career as a protestant vicar would mix well with being royal. “All people are born equal but some are born to lead, and others to follow. This is not a human made concept, but a God-made one.”

Germany's disgraced previous president, Christian Wulff, was Prince Philip said, a perfect example of why appointing a politician as head of state was detrimental to the country. “Wulff was lauded by the country's tabloids as a modern family man, with his second marriage,” he said. “But in reality think about the effect growing up in a patchwork family has on a child, it isn't a good one.”

Yet being blue-blooded still seems to hold sway with the German public, thinks the prince. Take, for example, former Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, who plagiarised his doctorate dissertation. The case was covered exhaustively in the national press and eventually forced the Bavarian baron's resignation.

“This is because he is aristocratic,” said Prince Philip. But he said that the scandal didn't detract from his blue-blooded charisma. “It gives him a certain kind of aura that impresses people and attracts their attention.” We all have a tendency to orientate towards what came before us, he said. And with a monarchy, that lineage is clear.

Eventually, the country will need more than its finances and infrastructure being taken care of. It needs spirituality and religion and without God, Prince Philip added, saying Germany was running the risk of putting too much importance on money.

Of course, for many Germans money and monarchy are closely linked, with 50 percent telling DPA that they feared it would be far too expensive. But Prince Philip dismissed such concerns: “think how much more tourism, and in turn money, it would bring in,” he said. “One can't offset everything in terms of money though,” he added.

So, could Germany soon become a monarchy again?

“I haven't set my heart on it,” said Prince Philip. “Our country's broken history is too deeply ingrained.”

Jessica Ware