We might waffle back on forth on our opinions about Julian Assange (whistleblower or spy? journalist or national security threat?), but we definitely have strong opinions about the U.S. elections. And one of those opinions is that there has been far too much hacking influencing the election from foreign governments and security organizations.
Barely a week after the United States denounced the Russian government for hacking into the Democratic National Committee, Julian Assange of WikiLeaks fame released more documents–this time regarding the election. These documents included over 10,000 emails from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, but surprisingly didn’t make that big of a wave in U.S. news (especially not when compared with #TrumpTapes and #RepealThe19th).
However, WikiLeaks’ continued interest in the U.S. elections, alongside fears of Russian and other external hacks, has worried many. Including government’s beyond the United States. The lastest? Ecuador.
On October 17, WikiLeaks announced over Twitter that Julian Assange, who has been living in Ecuador’s London embassy to avoid persecution and punishment from the U.S., had his Internet access cut off by the Ecuadorian government.
Though Ecuador has provided Assange with asylum since 2012, it drew a line in its support this week out of concern that his actions might negatively influence the U.S. elections.
— Foreign Affairs Ec (@MFAEcuador) October 18, 2016
In an official statement, the Ecuadorian government reaffirms its commitment to Assange and his asylum, but explains:
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.
Amongst “fears” of a “rigged election” and foreign hacking, it’s nice to know there are a few countries out there rooting for the U.S.
Though WikiLeaks activists have argued that Ecuador only responded after pressure from the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Ecuador has denied any external influence in their decision.
— Bobby Mair (@BobbyMair) October 19, 2016
Lightning the mood after weeks of intense debates, Canadian comedian Bobby Mair took to the streets outside the London embassy this week as “Julian Assange’s Personal Internet Service.” Since the WikiLeaks leader has no Internet access, Mair has been shouting headlines through a bullhorn to keep Assange up-to-date.
We can only hope that the news Mair announces to Assange is more light-hearted than recent headlines, especially as we head into the final weeks of the U.S. election.