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Is WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange’s London Embassy Asylum Nearing its End? Ecuador decides to temporarily cut his Internet Access

WikiLeaks accused Clinton's successor at the State Department, John Kerry, of personally petitioning Ecuador to cut Assange's internet access

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The Ecuadoran national emblem is attached to railings outside the country's embassy in London, Oct. 18, 2016. British officials have long expressed frustration at Ecuador's decision to let WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange take refuge in the embassy. VOA
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Ecuador’s decision to temporarily cut Julian Assange’s internet access is a sign that the WikiLeaks founder could be overstaying his welcome at the country’s London embassy — or so some in Britain hope.

British officials have long expressed frustration at Ecuador’s decision four years ago to let Assange take refuge in the embassy to escape arrest on sexual assault charges he faces in Sweden.

“I do hope that this is the precursor to them coming to their senses and finally forcing this man to face justice in the way that he should,” said Davis Lewin, a political analyst at London’s Henry Jackson Society think tank.

The Quito government confirmed it cut Assange’s internet access Tuesday to prevent him from meddling in the U.S. election, after WikiLeaks published documents and messages hacked from the presidential campaign of former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

FILE - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange participates via video link in a news conference marking the 10th anniversary of the anti-secrecy group in Berlin, Germany, Oct. 4, 2016. VOA
FILE – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange participates via video link in a news conference marking the 10th anniversary of the anti-secrecy group in Berlin, Germany, Oct. 4, 2016. VOA

Matter of principle

“The government of Ecuador respects the principle of nonintervention in the affairs of other countries does not interfere in current elections, nor does it support any candidate in particular,” said a statement by the Ecuadoran Foreign Ministry.

The emails that WikiLeaks disclosed suggest that Clinton’s campaign worked to discredit a woman who accused her husband, former President Bill Clinton, of rape.

WikiLeaks accused Clinton’s successor at the State Department, John Kerry, of personally petitioning Ecuador to cut Assange’s internet access. Officials in Washington have rejected the charge and strenuously denied that Kerry was involved in any way.

How Ecuador reached its decision to sever Assange’s internet connections is unclear, nor has there been any indication of how long the “temporary” change in his status will remain in effect. However, analysts say it is a sign that Ecuadoran officials do not regard their longtime guest as positively as they did in 2012, when he first arrived at their embassy in London’s upscale Knightsbridge district.

Honored guest

At the time, Ecuador’s left-leaning president, Rafael Correa, treated Assange as an honored guest. Correa joined with the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez in lambasting the U.S. and Western policies and presenting Assange as a champion of democracy and free speech.

FILE - Ecuador's President Rafael Correa waves prior to a governmental ceremony in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dec. 10, 2015. Correa recently expressed admiration for Hillary Clinton and said he hoped she wins the U.S. presidential election. VOA
FILE – Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa waves prior to a governmental ceremony in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dec. 10, 2015. Correa recently expressed admiration for Hillary Clinton and said he hoped she wins the U.S. presidential election. VOA

Recently, however, Correa told an interviewer that if he were American, he would vote for Clinton. “I know her personally and I have great appreciation for her,” he said. “For the good of the United States and the good of the world, I’d want Hillary to win.”

WikiLeaks’ supporters, including some high-profile figures, are occasionally seen outside the embassy. Canadian-American actress and model Pamela Anderson expressed concern for Assange’s health and was seen this week delivering a vegan meal to him.

But analysts say Assange’s fortunes appear to be changing as the political climate in Latin America and much of the rest of the world shifts.

Leftists disillusioned

Correa’s term is about to end and Venezuela’s economic failures have disillusioned many Latin American leftists.

In Britain, critics dispute any notion that Assange’s practice of leaking confidential or secret documents reflects a true commitment to democratic values.

Some, like Davis Lewin, see a troubling double standard in Assange’s crusade.

“One has to ask: Why is it only anti-American? Why is it only disclosures that hurt Western institutions, Western political leaders?” Lewin asked. “One has to wonder why it is that Assange has never done anything to hurt Russian interests. And I think the answer is, people will have to make up their own minds about that.” (VOA)

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  • Kenneth Dreger

    And if you really think that the US had NOTHING to do with this happening I have some really good swamp land here that is for sale at a really great price! Wow…….just amazing that the media wants us all to think that the US had nothing to do with this! Wow….

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Alyssa Milano’s Hashtag ‘Me Too’ Goes Viral on Twitter and Facebook

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Alyssa Milano
Alyssa Milano during a concert. Wikimedia

American actress Alyssa Milano’s request from the social media has resulted in millions of tweets as she asked women to share their personal experience with harassment and sexual assault with ‘me too’ hashtag, which culminated into more than 6 million users talking about it on Twitter and Facebook.

Alyssa Milano's 'me too' hashtag goes viral
Milano’s hashtag “me too” goes viral.

All of this comes in the backdrop of new allegations against popular Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein has been accused by a dozen women of sexually harassing them, even raping them.  Since these allegations have come to the fore, people all across the world are sharing their own personal experience with harassment on Twitter and Facebook. Some of the tweets are shared even by men who have been on the receiving end of indecent behavior.

‘Me too’ hashtag is exposing a very common yet abhorrent happening in the world. Alyssa stated that her friend suggested her the idea of ‘me too’ social media campaign. She tweeted that if women use the ‘me too’ hashtag for sharing their own experiences with sexual assault, it would help the world to figure out how grave the situation is. Famous female celebrities like Anna Paquin, Debra Messing, Sophia Bush, Brooke Smith, etc. have used the hashtag ‘me too’.