Ecuador admitted Tuesday that it was responsible for cutting off internet access to Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.
According to a tweet from WikiLeaks, Ecuador cut off internet access to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where Assange is currently staying after being granted asylum, at 1 p.m. Eastern time Saturday.
Officials from Ecuador confirmed Tuesday that they had indeed suspended Assange’s internet access, exercising its right to do so.
“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,” a statement released by the government of Ecuador read. “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 its journalistic activities.”
“Ecuador’s foreign policy responds to sovereign decisions alone and does not yield to pressure from other states,” the statement added.
What is especially interesting is that in a further tweet, WikiLeaks stated that “Multiple US sources tell us John Kerry asked Ecuador to stop Assange from publishing Clinton docs during FARC peace negotiations.”
In a follow-up tweet, WikiLeaks said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made the arrangement with Ecuador in late September, while Ecuador was still negotiating a peace deal with FARC, a communist insurgency.
The Department of State has vigorously denied putting any pressure on Ecuador to cut off Assange’s internet access.
“While our concerns about Wikileaks are longstanding, any suggestion that Secretary Kerry or the State Department were involved in shutting down Wikileaks is false,” U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby told The Associated Press.
Despite Assange’s loss of internet access, WikiLeaks appears to be functioning normally.
Ecuador President Rafael Correa is a supporter of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and the recent email releases from her campaign manager, John Podesta, have damaged her election run, though it remains to be seen whether the damage is at all fatal.
“For the good of the United States and the world, and for my personal appreciation of her, I’d like to see Hillary win,” Correa told RT in September.
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