Menendez Foes Stumble in Smear Campaign
If you ever had any doubts that Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is the target of a smear campaign, the latest “anonymous” allegations against him should discard them.
Menendez’s foes got a local New York television station to misrepresent his efforts on behalf of William and Roberto Isaias, two Ecuadorian banking and media moguls targeted in a political witch-hunt by President Rafael Correa.
Of course, the local New York station is clueless about the political realities of Ecuador, including Correa’s inappropriate use of the judiciary to intimidate and persecute political foes.
Perhaps they should have read Human Rights Watch‘s 2014 World Report — just released last week — which states:
“The Correa government continues to subject members of the media to public recrimination. Prosecutors use overly broad counter-terrorism and sabotage offences against government critics who engage in public protests […] Corruption, inefficiency, and political influence have plagued Ecuador’s judiciary for years.”
Or, The New York Times and The Washington Post‘s recent editorials against Correa’s abuse of power, crackdown against political foes and overall “assault on democracy.”
Ironically, on the very same day they criticized Menendez’s support of the Isaias brothers, Correa was engaged in yet another witch-hunt against a political foe, whereby his “National Court of Justice” upheld a bogus prison sentence against a prominent opposition legislator and critic.
But that didn’t give the local New York station any pause.
Instead, they labeled the Isaias brothers as “fugitives,” portrayed Ecuador like Costa Rica and criticized Menendez — alleging an FBI investigation — for weighing-in on their behalf in 2012.
Except, the State and Justice Departments have already denied Correa’s extradition request of the Isaias brothers on six occasions starting in 2004.
The State and Justice Departments officially denied Correa’s extradition requests of the Isaias brothers in 2004, 2009, three times in 2010, and most recently in June 2013.
In each of these denials, the State and Justice Departments noted how Ecuador’s allegations against the Isaias brothers do not meet the minimum legally-required standard of “probable cause” to even merit consideration of extradition.
Moreover, that Ecuador has not provided any evidence whatsoever against the Isaias brothers for the accusations that the New York television station takes at face-value.
Finally, Menendez is not the only Member of Congress that has expressed concern about the fate of the Isaias brothers.
There have been nearly a dozen other Members of Congress who have similarly (and rightfully) expressed concern.
So why is Menendez being singled-out and targeted?
Isn’t it curious that all of these smears against Menendez began when it first appeared that he would take the helm of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee?
So who is afraid of Bob Menendez?
Perhaps that’s a question the media should begin asking.