Just moments ago, the Ecuadorian government confirmed that it intentionally cut Julian Assange's internet access due to his publication of a "wealth of documents impacting the U.S. election." Despite what seems to be the Ecuadorian government caving to political pressure from the Obama administration, the statement takes special caution to reassure everyone that the decision was in response to "sovereign decisions alone" and that Ecuador "does not yield to pressure from other states"....sure, though we do wonder how many drafts John Kerry's staffers went through at the State Department before finally approving these comments for dissemination.
Here are some key excerpts from the Ecuadorian statement:
"In recent weeks, WikiLeaks has published a wealth of documents, impacting on the U.S. election campaign. This decision was taken exclusively by that organization."
“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."
“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 it journalistic activities."
"Ecuador, in accordance with its tradition of defending human rights and protecting victims for political persecution, reaffirms the asylum granted to Julian Assange and reiterates its intention to safeguard his life and physical integrity until he reaches a safe place."
"Ecuador's foreign policy responds to sovereign decisions alone and does not yield to pressure from other states."
WikiLeaks also noted the admission on twitter.
BREAKING: Ecuador admits to 'restricting' Assange communications over US election.— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 18, 2016
Fund his defense costs here:https://t.co/Mb6gXlz7QS
As a reminder, these updates come after WikiLeaks suggested earlier today that Secretary of State John Kerry had applied political pressure on Ecuador to cut off Assange from publishing Clinton's emails.
BREAKING: Multiple US sources tell us John Kerry asked Ecuador to stop Assange from publishing Clinton docs during FARC peace negotiations.— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 18, 2016
Of course, as we've noted multiple times, shutting down Assange's wifi access is merely a superficial act as it has clearly done very little to stop the flow of Clinton's emails. In fact, since his internet access was shut down on Saturday afternoon, three new batches of Clinton emails have already been released at intervals that are similar to those experienced before his internet was restricted.
As we said this morning, as we draw nearer to November 8th, we suspect that the "political leverage" applied by the Obama administration against the Ecuadorian government will become ever more intense. Given that increasing level of political pressure that government officials in Quito will certainly face in the coming weeks, it will be interesting to see just how much President Correa truly stands behind his "intention to safeguard [Assange's] life and physical integrity until he reaches a safe place."