Contributed by Ben Wilson
According to a statement issued by the Ecuadorian embassy in London on Sunday, Julian Assange may have his internet connection restored in part.
According to WikiLeaks, this came about after a meeting in Ecuador between the country’s president Lenin Moreno and two senior United Nations officials, the Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye.
There is little doubt that the enormous international movement in support of Assange has been a major factor, which is making the matter quite awkward for the Moreno government.
The move against Assange was influenced by a combination of Moreno’s policy to get closer to Washington, and pressure applied by Spain over Julian Assange’s comments over the Catalan independence movement.
Restoration of internet access, even if it is with restrictions is a significant victory for Assange and WikiLeaks. He will also be allowed to have visitors. Personally, this restores connection with colleagues, parents and children.
The down side is that what might be considered political comments are not allowed. How this is going to pan out is not known yet.
Washington is showing no indication of giving up its eight-year effort to get Assange on what are widely regarded as fabricated charges of espionage.
Assange gained refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy, after the British government moved to have him extradited to Sweden for questioning over sexual assault allegations that have since been dropped. Assange and his advisors strongly believed that this was a mechanism to have him rendered over to the United States.
The Australian government, setting its working relationship with Washington as its first priority, refused and continues to refuse to act for Assange, who is an Australian citizen. Not good enough. It is a serious dereliction of duty. Every citizen would expect that our government would intervene to make sure that there is no violation of basic human rights and there is proper legal process. When this gives way to political expediency, something is terribly wrong.
It is no secret that Julian Assange is being sought for the exposure of inconvenient truths, like the scale of political corruption and the massive corporate global tax avoidance system. This should never be forgotten.