WikiLeaks said on Monday (17th Oct) that the Internet connection of its founder, Julian Assange, had been “severed by a state party.”
During the past few months, WikiLeaks has collaborated with Russian government agencies to publish tens of thousands of private e-mails stolen by Russian government hackers from the computer systems of the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign s in an effort to help Donald Trump win the 8 November elections.
“We can confirm Ecuador cut off Assange’s internet access Saturday, 5pm GMT, shortly after publication of Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speechs (sic),” the statement from WikiLeaks said.
“We have activated the appropriate contingency plans,” WikiLeaks the organization said in a Twitter post.
The BBC reports that twelve hours later, WikiLeaks posted another Tweet, saying that the “state party” which had cut off Assange’s Internet connection was Ecuador.
Assange has lived on the grounds of the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, escaping a British court order to have him extradited to Sweden, where there is a pending rape case against him. Assange, an Australian, has been accused of raping a Swedish woman in 2010, while on a visit to Sweden.
Responding to a journalist’s inquiry, the Ecuadorean embassy in Washington, D.C., said it has “no information regarding your question” about WikiLeaks’s allegation that Ecuador severed Assange’s Internet connection.
The disruption of the Internet connection appears to have affected WikiLeaks conduct. On Monday, for the first time in nine days, the group did not release a new Russian government-stolen batch of e-mails sent or received by John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman. The BBC notes that during this hiatus, some of Podesta’s e-mails were published by RT, a news organization closely aligned with Putin’s government.
The Russian government has been trying to weaken Hillary Clinton and her candidacy in order to make Trump win the elections. On the eve of the Democratic Convention, Russian hackers working for the FSB and the GRU – the Russian domestic security service and the Russian military’s main intelligence unit, respectively – have coordinated with WikiLeaks to publish e-mails and internal memos from the computer systems of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which showed the displeasure of some high DNC officials with the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders, Clintons rival in the primaries. The purpose of the release was to increase tensions between the Clinton and Sanders camps.