WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is no longer able to access the internet in Ecuador’s London embassy, where he has been staying since 2012. The country is believed to have cut Assange’s access to the internet in response to WikiLeaks’ publication of documents related to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
According to the Telegraph, WikiLeaks confirmed that their founder’s internet had been cut on Saturday, saying “We can confirm Ecuador cut off Assange’s internet access Saturday, 5pm GMT, shortly after publication of Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches.” The group further confirmed that they have “activated the appropriate contingency plans,” now that Assange seemingly doesn’t have access to the internet. That being said, sources close to WikiLeaks claim that Assange was actively involved in the site’s running whilst in Ecuador’s London embassy.
Ecuador’s government is yet to officially comment on the question of internet access. However, the country’s foreign minister, Guillaume Long, has said that Ecuador remains committed to protecting Assange, saying, “The circumstances that led to the granting of asylum remain.” That being said, it remains unclear as to exactly why the country has taken the decision to prevent the WikiLeaks founder from accessing the internet.
Julian Assange has been living in Ecuador’s London embassy since June 2012. Following a British court’s decision to extradite Assange to Sweden to face questioning in a sexual molestation case, Ecuador granted Assange asylum in its London embassy. However, with Ecuador now seemingly cutting Assange’s access to the internet and outside world, tensions appear to be surfacing between the WikiLeaks founder and the country. It could also mean that the country’s government isn’t supporting of Assange and WikiLeaks’ recent leaks targeting Hillary Clinton.
According to the Guardian, WikiLeaks has recently been using its site to promote documents stolen from the Democratic party. Assange has consistently denied the information was obtained by Russian hackers, but WikiLeaks is yet to disclose the source for the information. Both Assange and WikiLeaks have received widespread condemnation for the leaks, with the Democratic party claiming it to be a clear breach of privacy.
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Despite founder Julian Assange now seemingly having no access to the internet, WikiLeaks is believed to be pushing ahead with a fresh batch of email leaks obtained from the Democratic party. That upcoming series of leaks is set to detail how the party would handle Hillary Clinton’s “flip-flopping” on gay marriage and campaign staff “galvanizing Latino support.” However, polling appears to show the leaks having little effect on Clinton’s campaign.
Exactly how long Assange will stay in Ecuador’s London embassy remains to be seen. In October, London’s Metropolitan Police force announced it would be ending its 24-hour guard of the embassy. The operation is said to have cost British taxpayers a total of £11 million. However, the British government is still believed to be monitoring the embassy closely in case Assange should surface. That’s because the British government isn’t able to arrest Julian Assange in the embassy, with the building protected by diplomatic immunity.
Assange announced in 2014 that he would be leaving the embassy “soon.” However, WikiLeaks currently appears to be focusing its attention on those aforementioned email leaks. With that in mind, it could be assumed that Assange won’t leave Ecuador’s London embassy until after the 2016 presidential election this November. That being said, his decision to leave the embassy could depend on relations with Ecuador’s government.
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