Julian Assange ordered by Ecuador to curb speech, clean …

Updated October 16, 2018 19:43:27

Ecuador has ordered Julian Assange to stick to a new set of house rules, including avoiding contentious political issues, cleaning his bathroom and looking after his cat if he wants the internet reconnected.

In a nine-page memo, published by Ecuadorean website Codigo Vidrio, the WikiLeaks founder is prohibited from “interfering in the internal affairs of other states” or from activities “that could prejudice Ecuador’s good relations with other states”.

Mr Assange, who was granted asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in London in 2012, was also told in the memo his pet cat would be confiscated and taken to an animal shelter if he did not look after it.

On Sunday, WikiLeaks said Mr Assange would be reconnected to the internet, but it was not clear whether the move was contingent on him agreeing to Ecuador’s conditions.

The memo mostly governs security and communication issues, but offers hints of other Assange issues at the embassy, such as the need for him to clean his bathroom.

Tension has long been building between Mr Assange and his hosts, particularly after the Australian ex-hacker began cheering on Catalonian secessionists in Spain last year.

In March, Ecuador announced it was restricting Mr Assange’s access to the internet.

Mr Assange took refuge at the Ecuadorean Embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced sex crimes allegations.

AP

Topics:world-politics,information-technology,internet-technology,law-crime-and-justice,hacking,united-kingdom,ecuador

First posted October 16, 2018 16:37:01

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Julian Assange ordered by Ecuador to curb speech, clean …

Julian Assange needs to take care of his cat, or itll be …

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who has been hiding out in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for the past six years, has been given a new set of house rules if he wants to continue his stay. In a memo first published on Ecuadorian website Cdigo Vidrio and obtained by The Guardian, conditions for his stay were contingent on his ability to stay out of activity considered as political or interfering with the internal affairs of other states. It also outlines basic housekeeping rules, like cleaning his own bathroom and taking care of his pet cat.

Not much is known about where this cat came from; it was reported in his New Yorker profile that the story about the cat being a gift from his children was a lie. All we know is that Assange likes to dress the cat up in neckties and he has given the cat its own Twitter and Instagram accounts. However, in a tragic twist, he hasnt been able to update them since his internet was taken away in March for violating his agreement with Ecuador not to meddle in other countries affairs.

The document also states that the Ecuadorian Embassy would not pay for his food, laundry, or any part of his stay starting in December. If he fails to take care of the cats well-being, food and hygiene, itll be taken away and given to someone else. The memo states that Assanges internet ban is being lifted partially now, and hell be able to start using his own phone and computer with access to the embassys Wi-Fi. But if this brings about any more political interference and he pisses off the Ecuadorian government again, it could lead to the termination of the diplomatic asylum.

The cats name is Michi (Ecuadorian for cat), but it usually just goes by the nickname EmbassyCat. The cat is a central part of PR for Assange, who uses it for everything from garnering sympathy to slapping its face across WikiLeaks merch. Below is an EmbassyCat-branded mousepad sold on the WikiLeaks shop that reads, I live in the Ecuadorian embassy with Julian Assange : Interested in counter-purrveilance.

Assange has not been able to read the memo as of Monday, as it hadnt been translated from Spanish, and he did not yet have access to the internet. However, well probably know when hes back online when he decides to update the petstagrams.

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Julian Assange needs to take care of his cat, or itll be …

Ecuador restores internet access to Julian Assange in embassy base …

Ecuador has partly restored Julian Assanges communications with the outside world from its London embassy where the WikiLeaks founder has been living for over six years, according to reports.

The Ecuadorian government suspended access in March because it said Assange had breached a written commitment made to the government at the end of 2017 not to issue messages that might interfere with other states.

On Sunday, the Press Association reported that Ecuador had partly restored Assanges access to the internet, mobile phones and visits at the embassy, which had been restricted to members of his legal team.

The WikiLeaks founder has lived in the Ecuadorian embassy since June 2012 when he took refuge there to avoid extradition to Sweden over allegations of sex crimes, which he denies, and was granted political asylum.

Sweden dropped the case against Assange last year but he remains subject to arrest in the UK for jumping bail. He has said he fears he could be extradited to the US for questioning about the activities of WikiLeaks if he leaves the building.

WikiLeaks said in a statement: Ecuador has told WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange that it will remove the isolation regime imposed on him following meetings between two senior UN officials and Ecuadors president, Lenin Moreno, on Friday.

Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief, added: It is positive that through UN intervention Ecuador has partly ended the isolation of Mr Assange although it is of grave concern that his freedom to express his opinions is still limited.

The UN has already declared Mr Assange a victim of arbitrary detention. This unacceptable situation must end. The UK government must abide by the UNs ruling and guarantee that he can leave the Ecuadorian embassy without the threat of extradition to the United States.

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Ecuador restores internet access to Julian Assange in embassy base …

The image of Julian Assange grows darker by the day – The Washington Post

Julian Assange faces deepening isolation as his asylum at Ecuadorian Embassy in London is well into its seventh year. The new president of Ecuador is showing exasperation with Assanges presence, and the embassy has restricted his Internet access and other privileges. Though Sweden has long since dropped its original arrest warrant for Assange on rape and sexual assault allegations, the British police are still keen to take him into custody for evading a warrant of their own. Assanges supporters must face the possibility that their idol could soon find himself in jail.

The architect of WikiLeaks continues to depict himself as a heroic fighter for the cause of transparency, but that image is increasingly hard to take at face value. A series of revelations over the past two years from U.S. intelligence agencies, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and the international media have dramatically altered Assanges place in the scheme of things.

Assange, we now know, was a key player in the Russian operation to undermine the 2016 U.S. presidential election by actively helping Donald Trump to become president and undercutting Americans trust in their democracy, the twin goals of Russian President Vladimir Putins interference campaign.

Assange behaved as an instrument of the Kremlin operation which, in an excruciatingly close election, may have made just enough of a difference to secure Trumps victory.

Once, Assange was celebrated as the apostle of openness. But now, it seems, history will more likely remember him as an accessory to one of the worlds most secretive and cynical autocracies.

Muellers investigators have recently questioned at least five witnesses about Assanges role in the 2016 campaign. The WikiLeaks founders ties to Trump confidant Roger Stone appear to be a focus of that line of inquiry, as ABC News reported last week.

More revelations are likely to come. But we already know Assange looks less like a crusader of the online counterculture than the power-mad intriguer who once referred to Hillary Clinton as a sadistic sociopath and who was happy to openly accept Russian support. (The Kremlins RT propaganda network gave a show to Assange for a time, and the Guardian newspaper recently reported on an apparent Russian plan to help Assange escape Britain, though it was ultimately scrapped.) In July, the Mueller investigation indicted a dozen Russian military-intelligence operatives for stealing information from Democratic Party computers information, the indictment said, that was then passed on to WikiLeaks.

That has prompted some observers to recall a remarkable appearance by Assange on Dutch television in August 2016. At the time, Trumps campaign was foundering, even after Russian intelligence agencies had mounted a campaign to help him by stoking U.S. divisions on social media, promoting fake stories and hacking into the servers of the Democratic National Committee.

Assange was asked whether WikiLeaks had material that could help Trump. He responded by detonating a conspiracy theory, despite knowing it to be untrue. Theres a 27-year-old who works for the DNC who was shot in the back, murdered for unknown reasons, Assange said. He was referring to Seth Rich, killed in a robbery, whose death has since been weaponized by anti-Clinton activists.

Assange was in a unique position to energize the notion of a politically-motivated assassination. What are you suggesting? the Dutch interviewer asked. Assange coolly replied: Im suggesting that our sources take risks. Though declining to confirm Rich was a source, he did manage to imply that Rich had handed WikiLeaks the documents. Assanges remarks fueled countless far-right conspiracy theories used by Trump and his defenders to divert public attention from the compromising findings of Muellers investigators and the U.S. intelligence community.

The GRU (Russian military intelligence) created a character it called Guccifer 2.0, an alleged Romanian hacker, to divert attention away from the Kremlin after the DNC and U.S. intelligence officials discovered Russian fingerprints on the cyberintrusions. Four days after the DNC hack, WikiLeaks became the beneficiary of Guccifer 2.0s work. Assangetold Britains ITN that WikiLeaks has a very big year ahead, acknowledging it had emails related to Hillary Clinton which are pending publication.

Guccifer 2.0confirmed he was working with Assange, and Wikileaks became an important tool in the Russian operation. Oddly enough, Assanges quest for documents never extended to the Trump campaign, which was more secretive than any in recent U.S. political history. WikiLeaks didnt appear to have much interest in Trumps tax returns, or in any of the communications between top campaign officials and Russian figures. Nor has WikiLeaks ever provided any sensational revelations from the databases of the Kremlin.

WikiLeaks became fully engaged in helping Trump and Russia. In July 2016, just before the Democratic Convention the launch of the final stage of the Clinton campaign WikiLeaks released DNC emails that suggested the party had favored Clinton over Sen. Bernie Sanders. The timing roiled the convention, forced resignations among top Democratic officials, and unquestionably hurt Clintons efforts to gain the support of Sanderss supporters.

And, of course, in October 2016, when Trumps campaign seemed on the verge of collapse with near-simultaneous releases of the Access Hollywood recording (in which Trump boasts of committing sexual assault), and a U.S. intelligence report confirming Kremlin interference Wikileaks rushed to the rescue.

Exactly 29 minutes after Americans heard the would-be president declare that when youre famous, you can grab them by the py, WikiLeaks posted emails hacked from the computer of Clintons campaign chairman, John Podesta. Headline writers could hardly keep up. Trumps troubles eased.

Soon after, at a frenzied campaign rally, Trumpgushed, I love WikiLeaks!

Trump had every reason to say that. In 2010, when Assange first assured the world he would remain strictly impartial in his search for the truth, many of his admirers still believed him. One wonders how many of them still do.

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The image of Julian Assange grows darker by the day – The Washington Post

Julian Assange appoints new WikiLeaks editor-in-chief …

By Patrick OConnor 1 October 2018

WikiLeaks announced last Wednesday that Julian Assange has appointed Icelandic investigative journalist Kristinn Hrafnsson as editor-in-chief, taking over one of his roles within the whistle-blowing media organisation.

Assange remains the sites publisher. WikiLeaks explained in a brief statement: Due to the extraordinary circumstances where Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has been held incommunicado (except for visits by his lawyers) for six months while arbitrarily detained in the Ecuadorian embassy, Mr. Assange has appointed Kristinn Hrafnsson Editor in Chief of WikiLeaks.

Since founding WikiLeaks in 2006, Assange has played a courageous and principled role in disseminating censored and suppressed information that has uncovered numerous crimes of governments and corporations around the world. For his exposures of the crimes of US imperialismmost notably the collateral murder Apache helicopter massacre in Iraq, the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, and the cablegate release that documented Washingtons global diplomatic intriguesthe journalist has been subjected to a vicious witchhunt.

Following baseless allegations of sexual assault in Sweden, Assange was threatened with a series of bogus criminal charges in the US. He claimed political asylum in 2012, when he entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He has since been illegally subjected to arbitrary detention by British authorities, who have threatened his arrest, and, therefore, certain extradition to the US, if he sets foot outside the embassy. The siege was escalated in March, when the Ecuadorian government, capitulating to enormous pressure from Washington, cut off Assanges communication with the outside world and indicated it was preparing to evict him. This threat could still be enforced at any time.

Kristinn Hrafnssons appointment is testament to WikiLeaks invaluable contribution to genuine journalism. It also points to the base of support that Assange still retains among a group of principled journalists, who have refused to either denounce the embattled journalist or remain silent as US government pressure mounts, as the majority of their colleagues within the global media establishment have done.

Hrafnsson is an acclaimed investigative journalist in Iceland, having worked for several newspapers as well as television news. He has led numerous exposs of high level corruption, including in the Icelandic banking sector, and was awarded the countrys journalist of the year award in 2004, 2007 and 2010. Hrafnsson began working with WikiLeaks after Assange published documents detailing unscrupulous lending practices by Icelands largest bank, amid the collapse of the Scandinavian countrys financial system.

Hrafnsson travelled to Iraq in April 2010 to speak with the children of the civilians killed by American troops, captured in the leaked collateral murder video. He then served as WikiLeaks spokesperson for several years, and was the only individual other than Assange authorised to receive sensitive information on behalf of WikiLeaks.

In 2014, he explained his perspective on the growth of state surveillance: It is very strange that we live in times where the privacy of individuals is becoming practically non-existent, but the secrecy of those in power is increasing day by day. That is something that is totally against every principle and value of society, and of course it should be reversed. We need more transparency for those in power. We need more privacy for the powerlessthe individual.

On accepting the editor-in-chief position last week, Hrafnsson said, I condemn the treatment of Julian Assange that leads me to my new role, but I welcome the responsibility to secure the continuation of the important work based on WikiLeaks ideals.

Despite the extraordinary campaign against Assange that has been waged by the US governmentfirst under President Barack Obama and now Donald Trumpand its allies, WikiLeaks continues to publish important material that would otherwise have remained hidden from public view.

Last Friday, two days after Hrafnssons appointment, WikiLeaks published a secret document from the International Chamber of Commerces International Court of Arbitration that related to a disputed commission payment for a $3.6 billion arms deal between a state-owned French tank and weapons manufacturer and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The multi-billion-dollar deal involved the sale of 436 French tanks and other armoured vehicles (with German-manufactured motors) that were deployed to Yemen from 2015, and used to back the brutal government offensive against Houthi rebel forces. The ongoing US-backed Saudi-UAE assault on Yemen has led to tens of thousands of deaths and now threatens mass famine. WikiLeaks partnered the story with three European media outlets, Der Spiegel in Germany, Italys La Repubblica, and the French Mediapart.

Der Spiegel explained: Its unclear how many of those deaths were because of the tanks the Emiratis sent, but it is possible to reconstruct just how the machines found their way to the Arabian Peninsula. The whistleblowing platform WikiLeaks has published a rare document that pulls the curtain back on the international arms trade.

The expos again underscores the slanderous character of the denunciations of WikiLeaks as an accomplice of the Russian government, or, as former CIA chief and current US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo put it, a non-state hostile intelligence service. Pompeos rantwhich he explicitly tied to a rejection of the First Amendments protection of freedom of speechcontinues to be echoed in the establishment press, by various contemptible figures, aptly characterised by independent journalist John Pilger as Vichy journalists.

The latest is Frida Ghitis, a former CNN correspondent and producer, who last week published an opinion piece in the Washington Post titled, The image of Julian Assange grows darker by the day.

Ghitis recycles all the foul slanders against Assange that have been promoted by the Democratic Party-aligned political establishment in the US ever since Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election in November 2016. Ghitis declares: Assange, we now know, was a key player in the Russian operation to undermine the 2016 U.S. presidential electionby actively helping Donald Trump to become president and undercutting Americans trust in their democracy, the twin goals of Russian President Vladimir Putins interference campaign.

How, precisely, does Ghitis know this? The op-ed piece presents not a shred of evidence. For Ghitis and her ilk, the say-so of the CIA and other state agencies is sufficient grounds for weighing in against a journalist who has been subjected to virtual house arrest for more than six years.

Assange, Ghitis gleefully tells her readers, is a power-mad intriguer. Towards the end of her piece, the columnist lets slip what constitutes Assanges real crime in her eyes, namely, allowing the American people to know the truth about the rigged Democratic Party nomination. In July 2016, just before the Democratic Conventionthe launch of the final stage of the Clinton campaignWikiLeaks released DNC emails that suggested the party had favored Clinton over Sen. Bernie Sanders, she notes. The timing roiled the convention, forced resignations among top Democratic officials, and unquestionably hurt Clintons efforts to gain the support of Sanderss supporters.

How dare Assange or anyone else hurt Clintons efforts! Ghitis has a long record of support for US imperialist operations, in the name of humanitarian interventionin the Balkans, Africa, and Syriaand support for feminist identity politics, including Hillary Clintons election campaign. (The tests of the campaign show Clinton has the toughness to face a relentless assault and psychological gamesmanship of her prospective foes, she wrote fawningly in October 2016. But theres more: Having a woman assume the presidency of the world’s most powerful country for the first time could prove educational for men and inspirational for women in the Middle East and, indeed, across the globe.)

Working people around the world must reject the slurs and slanders aimed at destroying Assange, and continue to support WikiLeaks. The demand must continue to be raised that Julian Assange be afforded his basic democratic rights, and allowed to leave the Ecuadorian embassy, unharmed and unimpeded, and with a guarantee against extradition to the US.

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Julian Assange appoints new WikiLeaks editor-in-chief …

Was there a plan to help Julian Assange escape to Russia?

The latest round in WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s intensifying drama during the six years he’s spent inside Ecuador’s embassy in London involves allegations the government in Quito tried to give him diplomatic status last year in a plan to help him flee to Russia.

Documents reviewed and authenticated by ABC News in Quito show that the Ecuadorian government gave Assange diplomatic credentials and diplomatic immunity in order to allow him to leave their London embassy without fear of arrest by British police and take up a post in Russia.

There was a ministerial agreement to make Assange a diplomat in Moscow, Paola Vintimilla, an opposition politician in Ecuador who first revealed the Quito files, told ABC News Thursday. It was days after he received the naturalization.

But like allegations by special counsel Robert Mueller that WikiLeaks helped the Kremlin’s fake internet persona “Guccifer 2.0” distribute embarrassing emails hacked from the Democratic Party in an effort to tilt the 2016 U.S. election in Donald Trump’s favor, the truth is difficult to pin down because of denials by Assange’s supporters that he planned to flee to Russia.

A Dec. 19, 2017, directive from the Foreign Ministry in Quito, which officials in Quito confirmed, stated that Assange would be posted as a counselor at the Ecuadorian embassy in Moscow. Because the British government would not accept his diplomatic credentials, however, Assange was not able to take up the post.

The documents do not indicate whether Assange knew of the Ecuadorian directive at the time.

As for the diplomatic post in Moscow directed by the ministry in Quito last year, Assanges lawyer Jennifer Robinson told ABC News Thursday, The location of a diplomatic posting is a matter for the state of Ecuador.

How far that alleged plan progressed, and whether it made it beyond a government proposal in Quito, is unclear.

In an exclusive and wide-ranging ABC News interview this week, Fidel Narvez, who became close to Assange over the past six years as Ecuador’s London Consul until last July, said he knows nothing of any plans by Quito for Assange to flee to Moscow. He also denied being any sort of middleman in arrangements with the Kremlin, as news reports have claimed.

I don’t have anything to do with anything related to a conversation between Ecuador and Russia regarding anything — not just Assange. I have never met with a Russian diplomat at all — at all, Narvez told ABC News in London this week.

In 2013, Narvez issued fugitive NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden a letter of safe conduct to Ecuador before he got stuck in Moscow — an effort he undertook with Assange’s input.

He described spending more time with Assange than anyone else has spent with the WikiLeaks founder since he was granted asylum there in 2012.

I can categorically tell you that in my knowledge — and I think I know what I’m talking about because I’ve been there for so long — Ecuador has never, ever considered any kind of smuggling Julian without the agreement of the U.K. That never was an option, Narvez said.

The U.K.’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office refused to accept Assange’s diplomatic credentials last December, Narvez said.

“Certainly, there was an attempt of Ecuador to appoint Julian us as an Ecuadorian diplomat. It’s for the Ecuadorian state — a sovereign state — to decide who is a diplomat and who will be entitled to a diplomatic passport under immunities that come with it,” he said. “The U.K. refused to register him.”

Whether or not he was bound for Russia at any point, as the Quito files seem to suggest, Assanges political asylum inside the embassy may end soon anyway because of a change last year in Ecuador’s leadership. Conservatives eager for better U.S. relations are now in charge.

The Ecuadorians took steps to silence Assange in March by abruptly denying his access to the internet, phones and outside visitors other than his lawyers. Ecuador said Assange had made public statements that violated the terms of his asylum, but Narvez said the move was really over WikiLeaks’ publishing files embarrassing to Spain and, separately, pressure from the U.S. government.

Narvez said he believes Ecuador was also behind media leaks this month about the alleged plot to get Assange to Moscow, which WikiLeaks and Assange’s advisers have denied was ever in the works. The former diplomat said in the ABC News interview that the government of current Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno is leaking sensational allegations like that in order to build political cover for throwing Assange out of its embassy.

The Moreno government’s next move may soon be stripping Assange of Ecuadorian citizenship, granted discreetly last December. That could lead to a final move — rescinding its diplomatic protection in London, Narvez explained, saying he based such speculation on his own experience and insider sources.

I’m afraid Ecuador is looking for ways to take the asylum from Julian Assange, Narvez told ABC News.

My feeling is that Ecuador is building the case in order to take the nationality away from him as a first step, which will lower the political cost … if Ecuador surrenders and gives Julian to the British authorities. And Julian will have to face a U.K. judge that’s going to put him in custody — which is to say, given the ‘special relationship’ that the U.K. has with the U.S., [it will result in] giving Julian to the United States in order to be extradited, he said.

Ecuadorian government officials did not respond to requests for comment by ABC News on Wednesday and Thursday.

At the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, Moreno wouldn’t confirm either the alleged escape to Russia plan or whether asylum for Assange will be revoked but described Assange’s presence in the London embassy as “a problem,” without explaining if he meant solely political or otherwise.

There are no known criminal charges against Assange. But Assange’s lawyer has said the risk that the U.S. would attempt to prosecute him over publishing military combat reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as worldwide U.S. diplomatic cables, led him to duck into the Ecuadorian embassy more than six years ago.

At the time, he was out on bail related to a warrant in Sweden stemming from a rape investigation. Assange and his supporters believed American authorities would seek his extradition if he was in British custody. The Swedish inquiry was dropped last year but Assange has remained inside the embassy while his lawyers have renewed their public comments about fears hell face extradition to America.

Hanging over Assange, who once hosted a program on Russian state TV network RT, is Muellers investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. In July, the special counsel secured a federal grand jury indictment of three Russian companies and a dozen Russian individuals for allegedly hacking Democratic Party emails and discussing the timing of the leaks with an outside group. Mueller referred to this group as “Organization-1,” which has been identified by sources as WikiLeaks.

Assange and his lawyers have denied having any involvement with Russian state actors. But his animosity toward former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whom he once publicly called a “sadistic sociopath,” is well-known. Trump, in turn, publicly praised WikiLeaks five times on the campaign trail.

Also on Wednesday, WikiLeaks’ official Twitter account — to the chagrin of some Assange supporters — posted a Russian-language tweet about last spring’s nerve agent attack in Salisbury, U.K., which Prime Minister Theresa May has blamed on Russian military intelligence.

Narvez blasted Ecuadors efforts to silence Assange’s public voice, and called Ecuador’s claim that Assange had violated the terms of his asylum “rubbish.”

Robinson, Assange’s lawyer, recently told ABC News that the conditions have affected her client’s health, calling it akin to “solitary confinement.”

Narvez said the embassy’s security on March 28 had shut off Assange’s Internet access and installed spot jammers in the walls to block his cell phone signal, which he maintains has caused health problems for both Assange and embassy staffers.

But a former U.S. intelligence officer who operated similar equipment for decades told ABC News the Ecuadorians are likely not using military-grade jammers powerful enough to cause ill health.

“Even the Ecuadorian diplomats and people working at the embassy, they cannot communicate by phone with [anyone] outside the embassy,” Narvez said.

The situation is deplorable for Assange, his Ecuadorian friend insisted.

“The current situation of Julian is outrageous,” Narvez said. “It is in detriment of his basic human rights under any standard.”

Sean Langan is a British filmmaker and ABC News contributor in London. ABC News digital journalists Ali Dukakis and Ali Pecorin in Washington and Aicha Hammar in Quito contributed to this report.

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Was there a plan to help Julian Assange escape to Russia?

Wikileaks Julian Assange Steps Down. Heres Its New Editor | Fortune

Julian Assange founded WikiLeaks in 2006 and has served as its editor in chief ever sinceuntil now. On Thursday, WikiLeaks said on Twitter it has a new top editor, Kristinn Hrafnsson.

Wikileaks came to attention in 2010 when the site published a series of leaked documents concerning the U.S. militarys actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. That same year, Assange faced an international arrest warrant concerning allegations of rape and sexual assault in Sweden.

Two years later, Ecuador granted Assange asylum in its London embassy. But it seems the embassy has cut Assange off from any online communications since March. To cope, Assange has handed off editorial responsibilities of WikiLeaks to Hrafnsson.

WikiLeaks tweeted the change that lamented Assanges detention in the Ecuadorian embassy, while praising Hrafnsson as an Icelandic investigative journalist selected in 2010 as Icelandic journalist of the year (his third award). Hrafnsson has served as a WikiLeaks spokesperson from 2010 to 2016, when he began to oversee certain, unspecified projects for Wikileaks.

In 2009, Hrafnsson was reportedly dismissed from RV, Icelands national broadcasting service, following his reporting on an Icelandic banks lending record that was leaked to WikiLeaks.

In April, a presidential election in Ecuador threatened to jeopardize Assanges immunity in the London embassy as a conservative candidate vowed to extradite him to the U.S. Instead, the vote went to a candidate friendly to Assanges plight, although the restrictions on internet access have kept him from overseeing WikiLeaks on a daily basis.

During the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Assange fell under growing suspicion that he has been acting as an agent of the Russian government, including by releasing emails damaging to the Hillary Clinton campaign during the election.

In 2017, in the wake of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Hrafnsson told reporters he wasnt WikiLeaks spokesperson anymore. Being on the road for six years gets pretty tiring, he told the AP.

In an interview Thursday with the AP, Hranfnsson said it remains to be seen whether his posting as WikiLeaks editor in chief will be temporary or permanent. Assange has fashioned himself as the sites editor, publisher and spokesperson. Whether Hrafnsson will assume other roles beyond editor is also unclear.

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Wikileaks Julian Assange Steps Down. Heres Its New Editor | Fortune

WikiLeaks names new editor-in-chief, replacing Julian Assange | Fox News

WikiLeaks on Wednesday named one-time spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson as its new editor-in-chief, replacing Julian Assange. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP, file)

WikiLeaks on Wednesday replaced Julian Assange as editor-in-chief with onetime spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson.

The ramifications of the move are unclear.

I condemn the treatment of Julian Assange that leads to my new role, Hrafnsson said, asThe Daily Dotreported, but I welcome the opportunity to secure the continuation of the important work based on WikiLeaks ideals.

The organization was founded and has been led for more than a decade by Assange, but the silver-haired Australian has been isolated in legal limbo at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012.

WikiLeakstweetedthat Assange will stay on as the groups publisher.

Assange had his communications cut in March by Ecuadors new president, Lenn Moreno, and Wednesdays statement said the 47-year-old ex-hacker remained incommunicado.

WikiLeaks job titles have proven fluid over the years.

Assange has described himself variously as the groups spokesman, publisher and editor.

Hrafnsson, a longtime friend of Assange, said that it remains to be seen whether his change in responsibility will be permanent.

The Dot reported that Hrafnsson is an Icelandic journalist with multiple awards for his work.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Frank Miles is a reporter and editor covering geopolitics, military, crime, technology and sports for FoxNews.com. His email is Frank.Miles@foxnews.com.

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WikiLeaks names new editor-in-chief, replacing Julian Assange | Fox News

WikiLeaks replaces Julian Assange as its editor-in-chief …

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addresses the media from the balcony of the Embassy of Ecuador in London in 2017.

Julian Assange, who has served as WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief since he founded the document-leaking site in 2006, has been replaced as the site’s top editor.

WikiLeaks, in a tweet announcing the appointment of a new editor, cited the organization’s inability to communicate with Assange for the past six months as the reason behind the move. Kristinn Hrafnsson, a journalist from Iceland, will become the site’s new top editor, but Assange will remain its publisher, WikiLeaks said Wednesday.

Assange has been holed up in a small room in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for more than six years, initially entering it to avoid extradition for a rape charge in Sweden. The country dropped that charge but he’s still facing a UK charge of skipping bail.

The UK maintains that Assange’s exile is self-imposed, and in February a judge upheld a warrant for his arrest. But Ecuadorian officials have apparently grown weary of Assange’s presence in the embassy, saying in January that his situation is “not sustainable.”

Assange — a frequent Twitter user — lost his internet privileges in March when the Ecuadorian government said he violated an agreement with the country not to interfere in its relations with other countries.

Assange is concerned that if he leaves the embassy the US may also seek to extradite him on espionage charges. Last year, the US Justice Department was reportedly considering filing criminal charges against WikiLeaks and Assange in connection with the 2010 leak of diplomatic cables and military documents.

Over the past 12 years, WikiLeaks says it’s released more than 10 million secret government documents through its website. The leaks range from a video showing an American Apache helicopter in the Iraq War shooting and killing two journalists, to emails from the Democratic National Committee exposing alleged misconduct during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The Justice Department under former President Barack Obama declined to press charges for revealing the sensitive secrets, concluding that WikiLeaks was working in a capacity akin to journalism. But the case was never formally closed, and the Justice Department under President Donald Trump has signaled a willingness to take another look at the case.

In June, an international group of lawyers appealed to the UN’s Human Rights Council regarding concerns that Assange’s protracted confinement is having a severe impact on his physical and mental health.

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WikiLeaks replaces Julian Assange as its editor-in-chief …

Julian Assange is no longer editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks

Julian Assange speaks to the media from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in May, 2017.

Image: Jack Taylor / Stringer / Gettyimages

WikiLeaks has replaced Julian Assange as editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, the organization announced Wednesday. Assange, who will remain on board as publisher, has appointed Kristinn Hrafnsson as the new editor in chief.

The decision comes six months after Assange’s internet privileges at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London have been revoked.

“Due to the extraordinary circumstances where Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has been held incommunicado (…) for six months while arbitrarily detained in the Ecuadorian embassy, Mr. Assange has appointed Kristinn Hrafnsson Editor in Chief of WikiLeaks,” the organization wrote in a statement.

Hrafnsson, an Icelandic journalist, served as WikiLeaks spokesperson until 2016, and has “overseen certain legal projects” for the organization since then.

Assange has spent the last six years in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he sought asylum from Swedish government’s attempt to extradite him on charges of rape. While those charges have been dropped in 2017, Assange still may be arrested by the UK for violating bail, as well as extradited to the U.S. for publishing state secrets.

But Ecuador appears to have been less willing to continue giving Assange asylum in recent years. The strife between the WikiLeaks founder and Ecuador culminated in March 2018, when Assange’s communications with anyone outside the embassy were cut for breaching his commitment to the Ecuadorian government he would not interfere with other states.

Originally posted here:
Julian Assange is no longer editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks