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Archive for Ecuador

Newsline: Ecuador Counts Cost to Spin Assange’s Asylum at Its U.K. Embassy

Ecuador’s London embassy spent $144,000 on public relations associated with the asylum it gave to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the country’s Comptroller General’s Office found in an audit. The embassy also spent $332,000 on legal advice during the same 2012-2013 period, and $105,000 on food for Assange during his seven-year stay, according to the audit, which was signed by auditor Sonia Sierra. (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-12/ecuador-counts-cost-to-spin-assange-s-asylum-at-its-u-k-embassy) The government of President Lenin Moreno had Assange expelled from the embassy in April. He is currently in jail in the U.K., and is facing an extradition request from the U.S., which has charged him with 18 counts related to endangering national security by conspiring to obtain and disclose classified information. Some of the embassy’s public relations spending went to MCSquared, which represented the government of Rafael Correa, the country’s president from 2007 to 2017, in a campaign against U.S. oil company Chevron Corp, the audit found.


Newsline: Protests at Ecuador embassy amid claim US will seize Assange belongings

Protesters have gathered outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London amid claims US officials will seize Julian Assange’s belongings. A small crowd chanted in support of the WikiLeaks founder, 47, and one former diplomat described Ecuador’s treatment of Assange as “shameful”. (https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/world/protests-at-ecuador-embassy-amid-claim-us-will-seize-assange-belongings-925481.html) The whistleblower was dramatically dragged from the embassy, in Knightsbridge, in April and sentenced to 50 weeks in Belmarsh Prison for a bail breach. WikiLeaks claims his belongings, including legal papers, medical records and electronic equipment, will be handed to US prosecutors, who are seeking his extradition, on May 20.

Newsline: Ecuador will give Julian Assange’s embassy computers and files to the US

The government of Ecuador has taken one more step in its offensive against cyberactivist Julian Assange. The Ecuadorian attorney general has greenlighted an operation to search one of the rooms that the WikiLeaks founder used during his prolonged stay at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and agreed to turn over to US authorities any documents, cellphones, digital files, computers, memory drives, CDs and any other devices that may turn up during the search, according to an official notice that EL PAÍS has seen on May 13. (https://elpais.com/elpais/2019/05/13/inenglish/1557735550_398996.html) The US government wants Assange to be extradited from the United Kingdom so he can be tried for the release of classified military material in 2010. He is being charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion in the US, and faces up to five years in prison if found guilty of leaking 450,000 internal documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to the media.

Newsline: Spanish journalist arrested for trying to sell Assange embassy videos for $3.4M

A Spanish journalist and an unnamed computer programmer were arrested Wednesday for allegedly trying to make more $3.4 million by selling videos of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange during his time the Ecuador Embassy in London. Jose Martin Santos, who was previously convicted for fraud in a separate case, was taken into custody in Alicante for allegedly being part of a network trying to bribe Wikileaks for millions in exchange for the private videos, Spanish newspaper El Pais reported. (https://www.foxnews.com/world/julian-assange-spain-journalist-embassy-videos) The unnamed computer programmer was also arrested in Alicante, a port city about 260 miles southeast of Madrid. According to the report, the two men plus one more unidentified person met with Wikileaks representative Kristinn Hrafnsson on April 2 and showed her 103 files containing private correspondence and audiovisual material obtained at the embassy. They said the documents would make it to the press unless they were paid $3.4 million. The meeting triggered a complaint filed by Assange at a Madrid court, accused Martin Santos of trying to blackmail Wikileaks as well as embassy personnel, El Pais reported. Assange, 47, was forcibly removed last month from the Ecuadorian embassy in London after Ecuador revoked his political asylum, accusing him of everything from meddling in the nation’s foreign affairs to poor hygiene. Days after his arrest, El Pais published footage showing Assange’s bizarre behavior inside the embassy, including attempting to skateboard around the room to pass the time, and also shows him getting into an argument with a security guard who objected to a meeting he was trying to hold there. It’s unclear if the footage in question overlapped.

Newsline: Ecuador’s president says Assange tried to use its embassy to spy

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange repeatedly violated his asylum conditions and tried to use the Ecuadorian embassy in London as a center for spying, Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno told Britain’s Guardian newspaper. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ecuador-assange-moreno/ecuadors-president-says-assange-tried-to-use-its-embassy-to-spy-idUSKCN1RR0J7) London police dragged Assange out of the embassy on Apr. 11 after his seven-year asylum was revoked, paving the way for his extradition to the United States for one of the biggest ever leaks of classified information. Assange’s relationship with his hosts collapsed after Ecuador accused him of leaking information about Moreno’s personal life.

Newsline: Assange’s eviction from Ecuadorian Embassy in London condemned

National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden condemned Thursday’s arrest of WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange as a “dark day for press freedom.” The Metropolitan Police Service arrested Assange, 47, Thursday morning at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, on a warrant issued by the Westminster Magistrates’ Court on June 29, 2012, for failing to surrender to the court. It has since been confirmed that the arrest came in response to a U.S. extradition request. Snowden was far from alone in condemning Assange’s arrest, with former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa slamming the country’s current leader, Lenín Moreno, on Twitter, branding him “the greatest traitor in Ecuador and Latin American history” for having “allowed the British police to enter our embassy in London to arrest Assange. “Moreno is a corrupt man,” Correa tweeted. “But what he has done is a crime that humanity will never forget.” (https://www.newsweek.com/edward-snowden-rafael-correa-condemn-julian-assange-arrest-dark-moment-press-1393030) In a video statement posted to Twitter, Moreno explained that his decision to withdraw asylum for Assange came in response to “the discourteous and aggressive behavior of Mr. Julian Assange. “The hostile and threatening declarations of its allied organization, against Ecuador, and especially the transgression of international treaties, have led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr. Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable,” Moreno said. In a statement posted to Twitter, Britain’s Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, said Assange was “rightly facing justice” after the arrest, thanking the Metropolitan Police and Ecuador for their roles. “No one is above the law,” he said. In addition to Snowden and Correa, voices from around the world have weighed in on Assange’s arrest. Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said he was “deeply shocked” by the arrest, asserting that “human rights, and especially freedom of expression, are under attack once again in Europe,” with the hashtag #FreeJulianAssange.

Newsline: Julian Assange arrested after Ecuadorian ambassador invited British police into the embassy

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by British police on Apr. 11 moments after Ecuador announced it withdrew his asylum for “repeatedly violating international conventions and protocol.” Assange, an Australian native, was arrested on a Westminster Magistrates’ Court warrant which was issued on June 29, 2012, for failing to surrender to court, Metropolitan Police said in a statement. In a sovereign decision Ecuador withdrew the asylum status to Julian Assange after his repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols, the Ecuadoran authorities said. WikiLeaks said that Assange did not “walk out of the embassy” and the Ecuadorian ambassador invited British police into the embassy and he was immediately arrested. Ecuadoran Foreign Minister Jose Valencia told Teleamazonas this week that living in the embassy indefinitely is bad for Assange’s “state of mind, his health,” but that Assange has a right to a fair trial and right to a defense. (https://www.foxnews.com/world/ecuador-withdraws-asylum-from-julian-assange-arrested-by-uk-police) London’s Metropolitan Police vowed earlier this month to arrest Assange if he were freed. Assange, who has lived in the embassy for more than six years, faces possible extradition to the U.S. for publishing thousands of classified military and diplomatic cables through WikiLeaks. Assange, 47, has been in the embassy since 2012 when British courts ordered him extradited to Sweden to face questioning in a sexual assault case. That matter has since been dropped, but Wikileaks is facing a federal grand jury investigation over its publication of American diplomatic and military secrets during the Iraq War.