On Monday, Motherboard reported that Julian Assange's internet connection had been severed in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. WikiLeaks had initially blamed a "state actor," but didn't mention any such actor specifically.
But last night the accusations started, and it seems the problem was far closer to home than any earlier reports suggested. WikiLeaks has laid the blame for the disconnection on the Ecuadorian Embassy itself.
"We can confirm Ecuador cut off Assange's internet access Saturday, 5pm GMT, shortly after publication of Clinton's Goldman Sachs speechs [sic]," tweeted WikiLeaks on Monday night.
We can confirm Ecuador cut off Assange's internet access Saturday, 5pm GMT, shortly after publication of Clinton's Goldman Sachs speechs.
WikiLeaksOctober 17, 2016
In a statement that glossed over the internet disconnection, Ecuador's Foreign Ministry said on Monday, "Faced with the speculation of the last few hours, the Government of Ecuador ratifies the validity of the asylum granted to Julian Assange four years ago," the Foreign Ministry said. "We reaffirm that his protection by the Ecuadorean state will continue while the circumstances that led to the granting of asylum remain."
While a "state actor", namely the US, cutting Assange's internet may have had gloomy political consequences, not to mention the legalities of interfering with another country's internet connections, the Ecuadorian Embassy deciding to shut down its own internet would be perfectly legal. But if Ecuador really is to blame, the move speaks volumes about the pressure the country's government may be under from the US amid WikiLeaks' continuing publication of hack emails of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
The Ecuadorian Embassy in London declined to comment. Motherboard was also unable to speak with Wikileaks. This story will be updated if we hear back.
Almost 12 hours after this article was published, Ecuador claimed official responsibility for cutting off Assange's internet connection, saying the move is a response to WikiLeaks publishing a wealth of documents impacting the US election campaign.
"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 favour any particular candidate," the Ecuadorian government said. "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."
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