Leaks Put Assange at Odds with Ecuador’s Warming Up to U.S.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is finding himself in open conflict with his Ecuadorean protectors as the group's latest dump targeting Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign runs afoul of the South American government's goal of warming up to Washington.

Ecuador's move to cut off his internet access at its embassy in London was a stinging rebuke from leftist President Rafael Correa, who in 2012 heralded Assange as a digital-age Robin Hood and granted him asylum over protests from the United States, the United Kingdom and Sweden, where he faces allegations of rape.

Correa's government said Tuesday that WikiLeaks' publication of a trove of damaging emails from Clinton's campaign had impacted the U.S. election in violation of Ecuador's traditional respect for other nations' sovereignty.

Analysts say Correa is unlikely to now kick Assange out into the streets of London where he faces certain arrest. But allowing him to keep leaking secrets from the embassy risks putting the small Andean nation unwittingly on Russia's side of a brewing cyber-battle with the United States, Ecuador's top trade partner, at a time of deep economic stress.

"Before, the costs for Ecuador of hosting Assange were minor," said Santiago Basabe, a political analyst at the Latin American School of Social Sciences in Quito. "But they are growing bigger now because they involve questions of U.S. national security, its tense relations with Russia and the presidential elections."

The cascade of disclosures of Democratic operatives' hacked emails, including this week's publication of Clinton's speeches to Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs, has been hailed by Republican candidate Donald Trump as evidence of his rival's dishonesty. However, U.S. intelligence agents say the hack is the work of the Kremlin, although it's not clear how the files ended up with WikiLeaks.

Regardless, Ecuador has plenty of reasons to try to curry favor with Washington.

The oil-dependent, dollarized economy...

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Leaks Put Assange at Odds with Ecuador’s Warming Up to U.S.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is finding himself in open conflict with his Ecuadorean protectors as the group's latest dump targeting Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign runs afoul of the South American government's goal of warming up to Washington.

Ecuador's move to cut off his internet access at its embassy in London was a stinging rebuke from leftist President Rafael Correa, who in 2012 heralded Assange as a digital-age Robin Hood and granted him asylum over protests from the United States, the United Kingdom and Sweden, where he faces allegations of rape.

Correa's government said Tuesday that WikiLeaks' publication of a trove of damaging emails from Clinton's campaign had impacted the U.S. election in violation of Ecuador's traditional respect for other nations' sovereignty.

Analysts say Correa is unlikely to now kick Assange out into the streets of London where he faces certain arrest. But allowing him to keep leaking secrets from the embassy risks putting the small Andean nation unwittingly on Russia's side of a brewing cyber-battle with the United States, Ecuador's top trade partner, at a time of deep economic stress.

"Before, the costs for Ecuador of hosting Assange were minor," said Santiago Basabe, a political analyst at the Latin American School of Social Sciences in Quito. "But they are growing bigger now because they involve questions of U.S. national security, its tense relations with Russia and the presidential elections."

The cascade of disclosures of Democratic operatives' hacked emails, including this week's publication of Clinton's speeches to Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs, has been hailed by Republican candidate Donald Trump as evidence of his rival's dishonesty. However, U.S. intelligence agents say the hack is the work of the Kremlin, although it's not clear how the files ended up with WikiLeaks.

Regardless, Ecuador has plenty of reasons to try to curry favor with Washington.

The oil-dependent, dollarized economy...

Comments are closed.