Ecuador has cut off internet access for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange according to WikiLeaks. Assange, who has been living in Ecuador’s London Embassy since 2012, is under the protection of the small South American country which has granted him diplomatic asylum.
Ecuador under pressure
According to former Ecuadorian Ambassador Mauricio Gandara, the government of Educator is under growing pressure from the U.S. government to stop allowing Assange to use its embassy to distribute hacked material that may interfere with the U.S. election.
Julian Assange's internet link has been intentionally severed by a state party. We have activated the appropriate contingency plans. — WikiLeaks
Over the past ten days, the group has been steadily releasing emails belonging to high-ranking staffers in the Clinton campaign. Both the Clinton campaign and the Obama administration have claimed that Russian hackers are behind the leaked emails, but so far there has been no definitive proof of Russian involvement made public.
Assange wanted for questioning in Sweden
Mr. Assange is wanted for questioning in Sweden over a sex allegation charge, which he has denied, and sought asylum in Ecuador's London embassy. Assange is also said to be concerned that the U.S. might attempt to extradite him over the activities of WikiLeaks if he leaves the protection of the embassy.
Rumors that Assange had died
According to Fox News, rumors ran rampant in recent days that Assange had died after WikiLeaks published three cryptic tweets each containing a 64-character code. Some felt that this was a hidden “dead man’s switch” that would be triggered if something happened to Assange and would cause a massive release of WikiLeaks files. Others believe that the cryptic tweets were a warning to various governments that WikiLeaks is ready to respond to attempts to shut it down.
According to a tweet from WikiLeaks in early October, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had inquired if Mr. Assange could be killed in a drone strike. There has been no independent proof that Mrs. Clinton made such an inquiry.
The controversial anti-secrecy website has been busy in October, methodically releasing a trove of emails allegedly stolen from the gmail account of Clinton presidential campaign chair John Podesta. WikiLeaks had released just more than 12,000 emails of a purported 50,000 they have access to as of Monday morning. — Fox News
Front for Russian government?
Many believe that WikiLeaks is a front for the Russian government, which is behind the hacking of the emails. According to NBC News, “the Obama administration is contemplating an unprecedented cyber covert action against Russia in retaliation for alleged Russian interference in the American presidential election, U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.”
We’re sending a message. We have the capacity to do it. It will be at the time of our choosing, and under the circumstances that will have the greatest impact.’ — Vice President Joe Biden, NBC News
Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied any Russian involvement and stated, “I would like to reassure everyone, including our US partners and friends – we do not intend to influence the US election campaign.”
In the meantime, Julian Assange appears to be alive and well and WikiLeaks continues to release emails.