NEWS

Ecuador Admits To Cutting Off Julian Assange’s Internet

The government of Ecuador has admitted that the rumors about Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s Internet connection are true. Ecuador says that Assange’s Internet has been ‘temporarily restricted’ at their embassy in London because of his involvement in releasing emails that directly affect the US presidential elections.

In particular, Assange’s organization has released a number of emails that demonstrate institutionalized favoritism within the Democratic National Committee. The emails released via Wikileaks shed light on inappropriate behavior within the DNC (to influence the primaries race in favor of Hillary Clinton).

In addition, some of the emails that have been released on Wikileaks demonstrate that staff at the Clinton Foundation had been working to help Clinton’s presidential campaign. Most recently, an archive of emails relating to conversations made by Hillary Clinton campaign adviser John Podesta were leaked by Assange’s organization. Those emails allegedly reveal a direct relationship between Clinton’s campaign and members of the press, whose aim has allegedly been to unduly influence the election process.

Ecuador: It was us

Assange embassy ecuador

On Tuesday, Ecuador’s government released a statement confirming that Assange (who has been cooped up in the Ecuadorian embassy since June of 2012) is indeed now without an active Internet connection. The statement said that the government of Ecuador,

‘Respects the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states.’

In addition the statement said that the decision to cut off Assange’s Internet within the embassy had occurred because,

‘in recent weeks, WikiLeaks has published a wealth of documents, impacting on the US election campaign.’

Ecuadorian Asylum

Up to now, the government of Ecuador had been happy to offer Assange asylum (including a web connection). Unfortunately for Assange, despite Ecuador’s offer of asylum he has never been able to make his way over to Ecuador itself. The reason? If he steps foot outside of the embassy in Knightsbridge, London, he will be arrested and extradited to Sweden: Where he is wanted on sexual assault charges.

The truth behind those allegations is uncertain, though evidence has emerged in the past that seems to cast doubt on the veracity of those charges. Assange himself says they are baseless accusations. The concern of Assange’s lawyers is that if he is extradited to Sweden to face those charges – even if he is found innocent – he could then be extradited to the US to face other charges.

If the Ecuadorian embassy decided to withdraw its support of asylum, Julian Assange could face some pretty serious charges. Luckily for him, however, in the recent statement Ecuador reiterated its intent to keep safe harboring the fugitive within its embassy (at least for the time being) – ‘to safeguard his life and physical integrity until he reaches a safe place’.

ecuador-communique

Assange cut-off

Assange’s Internet connection was cut off on Monday morning. At that time, it was unclear who exactly had cut off his Internet, though a statement on Wikileaks claimed that it had been deliberately cut off ‘by state actors’. At that point, no one was exactly sure if it was Britain that had cut off the embassy’s Internet or the embassy that had cut off Assange itself.

Today’s statement has shed some light on the mystery surrounding the event, though the likelihood of Britain cutting off the Ecuadorian embassy’s Internet was considered highly unlikely.

The Wikileaks whistleblower?

Since Wikileaks started releasing emails that could have a direct impact on the presidential race back in August, the editor of the website has come under fire for attempting to undermine the Clinton campaign. Those claims are strongly denied by Assange.

So far, no one knows exactly who Wikileaks’ whistleblower is. Cyber security experts working for the US government, however, have claimed that the DNC hacks were perpetrated by Russian hackers working for Putin. A claim that Putin has once more denied last week.

Despite claims from US intelligence that the Russians are behind the cyber-attacks, no evidence has been released. In addition, although some evidence has emerged from the private sector – which claims to have uncovered evidence of Russian hackers ‘Fancy Bear’ – it is worth noting that for the time being it is impossible to tell who those hackers were working for (or even whether they were truly Russian at all). What we do know, is that so far leaks have come from three sources – Wikileaks, Guccifer 2.0 and DC Leaks.

No outside influence

For now, Ecuador is claiming that it acted without pressure from America itself. It says that it closed down Assange’s Internet of its own volition and that it ‘does not yield to pressure from other states.’

Wikileaks itself, however, has said it has evidence that suggests Assange’s Internet was cut off at the request of US Secretary of State John Kerry.

ecuador-2Interestingly, last month Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa told the Russian news outlet RT that a win for Clinton would favor the US overall, but that a Trump win might have benefits for left-wing parties within South America. Obviously, for the U.S., it would be better if Hillary won. I know her personally and have a great deal of respect for her,’ Correa said. Before continuing,

‘But, seriously, Trump would be better for Latin America. When did progressive governments come to power in Latin America? With Obama or with Bush? Bush’s primitive policies were rejected so much that it caused reaction in Latin America. Trump would do the same: maximize the contradictions.’


Ray Walsh I am a freelance journalist and blogger from England. I am highly interested in politics and in particular the subject of IR and I am an advocate for freedom of speech, equality and personal privacy. On a more personal level I like to stay active, love snowboarding, swimming and cycling, enjoy seafood and love to listen to trap music.

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7 responses to “Ecuador Admits To Cutting Off Julian Assange’s Internet

  1. “Assange should be sent to a country where they have capital punishment, so he gets a little of his own medicine. he is trying to elect a fascist in the US, where they will expand this, so he needs to be on the verge to see how it feels.”

    What a strange comment. As if the commentator has no idea what Wikileaks is and does. Where and when in the world has Assange agitated for capital punishment? And who is this fascist mentioned?

    Furthermore the ‘revelations’ seem to be of very minor importance. Who can be surprised or offended ‘that staff at the Clinton Foundation had been working to help Clinton’s presidential campaign.’? Storm in a teacup.

  2. I can’t really abide by Equador’s stance.
    Shouldn’t it be encouraged that everybody know as much about the election candidates as possible BEFORE they make a decision on who to vote for ?

    By taking this stance they are effectively intervening in another states internal affairs and favouring Mrs Clinton in the election by gagging Mr Assange from potentially releasing more damning evidence.

    More power to Mr Assange for exposing Mrs Clinton for the corrupt person that she is and if people still vote for her at least they do so armed with the knowledge of her criminal activities and her coniving nature.

  3. Assange should be sent to a country where they have capital punishment, so he gets a little of his own medicine. he is trying to elect a fascist in the US, where they will expand this, so he needs to be on the verge to see how it feels.

  4. is assange mislabeled as spammer or censored ?
    does your article mean that assange will be extradited or judged as ‘presumed assault’ in sweden ?
    does your article mean that assange has not anymore the confidence or the protection from Ecuador government/embassy ?

    1. Hi mia,

      I’m sorry – I misunderstood Eq’s question. As Ray notes in the article,

      “Luckily for him, however, in the recent statement Ecuador reiterated its intent to keep safe harboring the fugitive within its embassy (at least for the time being) – ‘to safeguard his life and physical integrity until he reaches a safe place’.”

      This means that there are no plans to extradite Assange to Sweden.

    1. Hi Eq,

      I have searched through all past posts, and cannot find one from you. Do please note, though, that all comments on these forums are hand-moderated. This means that there can be a delay in authorizing and responding to them. I do not censor any posts except those that are extremely offensive.

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