Monday, October 24, 2016

WIKILEAKS - Assange Denied Internet Access

YES!  Finally this anti-government kook gets somewhat isolated.  Next, he gets thrown out and we burn him at the stake (I'll bring the barbecue sauce).

"What's the motive behind Julian Assange's internet ban?" PBS NewsHour 10/19/2016


SUMMARY:  Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, has been living in exile in London's Ecuadorian embassy for four years.  Now Ecuador says it's shut off Assange's internet access, months after WikiLeaks began to release documents and emails stolen from the DNC and the Clinton campaign.  Hari Sreenivasan learns more from Raphael Satter of the Associated Press.

HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  For the last four years, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group, has been staying in self-imposed exile in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

He's taking refuge from a sexual assault investigation in Sweden that Assange claims is an American plot to have him extradited.  Over the summer, WikiLeaks began divulging thousands of pages of documents and e-mails stolen from the Democratic National Committee, and, most recently, Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, all in an effort, said Assange himself, to damage her presidential candidacy.

Now a new twist in this saga.  In a statement issued yesterday, Ecuador said it had cut off Assange's Internet access, saying in part:  “The government of Ecuador respects the principle of nonintervention in the internal affairs of other states.  It doesn't interfere in external electoral processes, nor does it favor any particular candidate.”

For more on this, I'm joined now from London by Raphael Satter of the Associated Press.  He's covered WikiLeaks extensively.

Is there anything more to it than that statement by the Ecuadorian government?

RAPHAEL SATTER, Associated Press:  You know, it's not much more — not much more official.

There is an enormous amount of speculation about what's going on behind the scenes.  WikiLeaks alleges that, despite what the Ecuadorian government has said, they are, in fact, bound to pressure from the U.S. State Department, and, in particular, John Kerry, the secretary of state.  Now, the State Department has denied all this.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  The batches of e-mails have been trickling out for months, Hillary Clinton's e-mails, John Podesta's e-mails for weeks now.  So, why now?  Why intervene now to try to cut off his Internet access?

RAPHAEL SATTER:  It's quite puzzling, actually.

The timing is a bit of a mystery.  And the best people to speak about this are the parties concerned themselves.  But neither WikiLeaks nor the Ecuadorian — nor various Ecuadorian officials that we have tried have returned our calls or even deigned to comment.  They have communicated via Twitter or through their Web sites in a series of terse statements, which leave a lot to the imagination, frankly.

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