New Charges Against Assange Aim to Bring Down His Authority – Analyst
Amauri Chamorro, political analyst and adviser to former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, has argued that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is currently being painted as a “hacker rather than a journalist who worked hard to tell the world how the United States violated the sovereignty of many countries on our planet”.
Chamorro’s remarks come after CNN Tuesday quoted former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa as saying that his country was aware that Assange interfered in the 2016 US presidential elections during his stay at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
"We would not like anyone to interfere in our elections. We are not going to allow that to happen with a foreign country and friend like the US”, he added.
Earlier, CNN cited an array of “exclusive documents” as claiming that Assange had worked with alleged Russian hackers and other intelligence officials in order to tarnish Hillary Clinton’s reputation and ruin her presidential run during the 2016 US elections.
The alleged documents, in particular, claimed that Assange enjoyed the support of senior Ecuadorian officials, including then-Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino.
The documents also argued that Assange abused the powers granted to him by Patino and that the WikiLeaks founder could fire embassy staff, including the ambassador. The documents described the Ecuadorian Embassy as a beehive of operations against Hillary Clinton due to the WikiLeaks founder having had some 75 visits, including those with Russian nationals, there.
Chamorro also said that Assange’s alleged meetings with unnamed persons at the Ecuadorian Embassy was "something which is completely normal and which does not cause problems”.
“Obviously, Assange's contacts with any high-ranking employee of the Ecuadorian government were not uncommon, because he was a political prisoner and therefore he could speak to any person from the diplomatic corps”, Chamorro said.
He touted Assange as “an example to follow on a global scale in terms of protecting human rights and freedom of speech”.
According to Chamorro, the new charges against the WikiLeaks founder aim to “bring down the authority of Assange and his defence team as well as create a story that will pave the way for US prosecutors’ accusations”.
Journalist Says Charges Against Assange Lack Evidence
Ecuadorian journalist Luis Rosero, for his part, believes that there is not enough evidence in the new charges against Assange.
“CNN's materials are based on [US Special Counsel Robert] Mueller's report, according to which there is no evidence that Assange helped take out hard drives from the [Ecuadorian] Embassy”, Rosero said.
He added that although Assange held meetings inside the embassy and was in contact with "IT people", it is impossible to prove that these gatherings were arranged precisely for the purpose claimed by CNN.
Rosero suggested that the new charges against the WikiLeaks founder may add to a case related to “the US’ demands to extradite Assange, accused of disclosing confidential information about the crimes committed by American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan”.
British police arrested Assange, who had been in the Ecuadorian Embassy since 2012, in April 2019, in what he described as an “unlawful” move. He is now serving a 50-week sentence in a UK prison for skipping bail.
Assange also faces extradition to the US on 18 charges, including 17 counts of espionage and a single count of hacking into a Pentagon computer network, which carries a cumulative prison sentence of up to 175 years behind bars. He vehemently denies all the accusations, including those related to his cooperation with Russia.
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