Ecuador delays restoration of Assange’s internet access, lays out strict communication rules

Oct 16, 2018

By Cassandra Fairbanks

Despite reports that Julian Assange’s internet privileges has been restored in Ecuador’s British embassy, the WikiLeaks founder remained unconnected Monday night. Embassy officials said that the delay is the result of making certain that Assange understands the consequences of violating the rules of communicating with the outside world.

Julian Assange

Assange was presented with a nine-page document that includes outlining limitations and restrictions on what he will be able to do and say online. The document demands that he avoids any activities that could be political or would interfere in interior matters of other states.

It also provides new rules for visitors.

The document begins by outlining the new rules for visitors. It says that any person outside the Embassy or the Ecuadorian Government, without exception, that wishes to visit Assange will need to request prior authorization in writing addressed to the Chief of the Embassy of Ecuador. They will need to include their full names, nationality, copies of identification, reason for the visit, their profession and workplace, email accounts and links to their social media, and serial numbers for any phones or tablets they wish to keep with them during the visit.

Additionally, the IMEI of visitor’s cell phone chips is also required for their intelligence collection operation. This must be sent through email, a return email obtained, and that must be printed and brought to the appointment. For frequent visitors, Ecuador is willing to make exceptions and give them a letter of identification which they will only have to renew every three months.

Should the embassy refuse to allow someone access, they will not provide a reason why. The document says that embassy staff reserve the right to decline or cancel any authorization at any time, even for those who have been previously authorized as a frequent visitor.

When this reporter visited Assange in the days prior to his isolation, all details were worked out with staff working for Assange. The embassy simply checked my passport and held my phone at the front desk.

The new protocol also asserts that the embassy will keep a record of all visits made to Assange and the data that they provide. This information will be sent to the Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other unnamed agencies. Assange will also only be allowed to have up to three visitors at once, unless cleared by the head of the embassy.

Ecuador also wrote that people who violate the rules of their visits or display a lack of “appropriate behavior” during the visit will be reported to British authorities.

The section of the rules document regarding Assange’s communications begins by saying that when his internet is restored he will be liable for any costs for WiFi. It says that he may only use his own tablets, phones or computers except in exceptional cases and only with written permission from Ecuador. Assange must also provide the brand name, model number, and serial number for any devices he has in the embassy.

While the document asserts that Ecuador shall not be liable for the contents of his communications, statements, documents or messages on social media — it goes on to place severe limits on his freedom of speech.

It says that Assange, while “exercising his right of communication and of freedom of expression,” is prohibited from activities that could be considered political or interfering in the affairs of other nations or that may damage the relationship between Ecuador and other states.

Ecuador says that disobeying this rule can lead to termination of asylum or placing him back into isolation.

Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno has previously stated that speech restrictions include opinions critical of US or Spanish policies — such as criticism of Spanish police brutalizing peaceful voters.

The document says that Assange must submit to the quarterly evaluations with medical specialists at his own expense.

The results of any examinations will be kept private.

“In case of a medical emergency or at the express request of mr. Assange, the head of the mission will authorize your transfer, as soon as possible, to receive care from physicians outside the Embassy,” the document says.

The UK has repeatedly denied Assange safe passage to a hospital after doctors who examined him called for him to be allowed to go and be treated for his deteriorating health. If he was to be transported to a hospital, it is extremely likely he would be arrested.

Credit: Gateway Pundit,

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