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WASHINGTON MOVES TO SILENCE WIKILEAKS

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[10/19/16]  The cutting off of Internet access for Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, is one more ugly episode in a US presidential election campaign that has plumbed the depths of political degradation.

Effectively imprisoned in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for over four years, Assange now is faced with a further limitation on his contact with the outside world.

On Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry of Ecuador confirmed WikiLeaks’ charge that Ecuador itself had ordered the severing of Assange’s Internet connection under pressure from the US government. In a statement, the ministry said that WikiLeaks had “published a wealth of documents impacting on the US election campaign,” adding that the government of Ecuador “respects the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states” and “does not interfere in external electoral processes.” On that grounds, the statement claimed, the Ecuadorian government decided to “restrict access” to the communications network at its London embassy.

This statement from the bourgeois government of Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa is a study in hypocrisy and cowardice. By abetting the US government’s suppression of WikiLeaks, Quito has intervened in the US elections on the side of the ruling establishment and against the rights of the American people. If Correa expects that his professed sensitivity toward the “principle of non-intervention” will be reciprocated, he should recall the fate of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, who was toppled in a coup orchestrated by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009.

WikiLeaks cited reports that Secretary of State John Kerry had demanded that the government of Ecuador carry out the action “on the sidelines of the negotiations” surrounding the abortive Colombian peace accord last month in Bogota. The US government intervened to prevent any further exposures that could damage the campaign of Clinton, who has emerged as the clear favorite of the US military and intelligence complex as well as the Wall Street banks.

Whether the State Department was the only entity placing pressure on Ecuador on behalf of the Clinton campaign, or whether Wall Street also intervened directly, is unclear. The timing of the Internet cutoff, in the immediate aftermath of the release of Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches, may be more than coincidental.

In the spring of 2014, the government of Ecuador agreed to transfer more than half of its gold reserves to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. for three years, in an attempt to raise cash to cover a growing deficit brought on by the collapse in oil prices. It reportedly sent 466,000 ounces of gold to Goldman Sachs, worth about $580 million at the time, in return for “high security” financial instruments and an anticipated profit on its investment. It is hardly a stretch of the imagination to believe that such a relationship would give Goldman Sachs considerable leverage in relation to the Ecuadorian government.

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