- Instagram revokes Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s verified status Wednesday 5:23 PM
- Transgender people suffer when debates over their rights are framed as ‘distractions’ Wednesday 4:57 PM
- Hulu with Live TV just hiked its prices Wednesday 4:05 PM
- Hacker infiltrates Nest cameras to gain PewDiePie subscribers Wednesday 2:37 PM
- YouTube time traveler claims MLK’s granddaughter will be the last U.S. president Wednesday 2:30 PM
- Media coverage of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitch cameo erases Chelsea Manning Wednesday 1:39 PM
- New Alexa skill lets you sing with Queen’s Freddie Mercury Wednesday 1:13 PM
- Netflix is the first streaming platform to join MPAA Wednesday 12:59 PM
- Can you spot an email from a hacker? Wednesday 12:46 PM
- Gina Rodriguez cries over being called anti-Black, gets dragged for ‘fake tears’ Wednesday 12:21 PM
- Boots Riley explains why he got snubbed by the Oscars Wednesday 12:20 PM
- Review: ‘Buffy’ returns with a modern comic book reboot Wednesday 11:47 AM
- You’re about to see a lot more Netflix on your Instagram Wednesday 11:32 AM
- Covington students defend blackface video as ‘school spirit’ Wednesday 11:30 AM
- This YouTuber reportedly filmed himself abusing his cat—and his channel is still active Wednesday 11:18 AM
Ecuador says it cut Julian Assange’s internet for trying to influence U.S. election
The Wikileaks founder goes dark.
In an official statement, the government of Ecuador said it cut off Julian Assange‘s internet access in retaliation for what it views as a deliberate effort by the Wikileaks founder to directly affect the outcome of the upcoming U.S. presidential election.
“The Government of Ecuador respects the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states. It does not interfere in external electoral processes, nor does it favor any particular candidate,” the statement reads. “Accordingly, Ecuador has exercised its sovereign right to temporarily restrict access to some of its private communications network within its Embassy in the United Kingdom. This temporary restriction does not prevent the Wikileaks organization from carrying out its journalistic activities.”
The Ecuadorian government has granted Assange asylum inside of its London embassy since 2012. Assange is avoiding participation in an investigation of sexual assault allegations against him in Sweden because, he believes, his arrest there will lead to his extradition to the United States for the radical transparency group’s publication of thousands of diplomatic cables leaked by former U.S. Army soldier Chelsea Manning.
Inside the embassy, Assange has led the organization on a crusade against the 2016 presidential campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—hosting databases of documents stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign adviser John Podesta, cyberattacks U.S. officials have formally blamed on the Russian government. Assange has insisted he does not know who stole the material from the Clinton campaign and its Democratic allies, but has ruffled at assertions about Russia’s involvement.
Earlier this week, Wikileaks’ official Twitter account tweeted that Assange’s “internet link has been intentionally severed by a state party.”
While Assange has personally lost his broadband access, that hasn’t stopped Wikileaks from continued to drop new batches of emails stolen from Podesta’s personal account on a daily basis.
Despite Ecuador’s displeasure with Assange’s targeted efforts to hamper the Clinton campaign and usher former reality TV star Donald Trump into the White House, it has no plans to deny the international fugitive ongoing sanctuary.
“Ecuador, in accordance with its tradition of defending human rights and protecting the victims of political persecution, reaffirms the asylum granted to Julian Assange and reiterates its intention to safeguard his lift and physical integrity until he reaches a safe place,” the statement read.
Since reports about Assange’s disconnection first circulated, there has been rampant speculation that the White House was responsible for the decision. However, Ecuador’s statement pushed back against those assertions. “Ecuador’s foreign policy responds to sovereign decisions alone and does not yield to pressure from other states,” the statement noted.
In an email to the Daily Dot on Tuesday, the State Department insisted U.S. officials had nothing to do with the move. “While our concerns about Wikileaks are longstanding, any suggestion that Secretary Kerry or the State Department were involved in shutting down Wikileaks is false,” a department spokesperson charged. “Reports that Secretary Kerry had conversations with Ecuadorian officials about this are simply untrue. Period.”
Aaron Sankin is a former Senior Staff Writer at the Daily Dot who covered the intersection of politics, technology, online privacy, Twitter bots, and the role of dank memes in popular culture. He lives in Seattle, Washington. He joined the Center for Investigative Reporting in 2016.