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Assange steps down as editor of WikiLeaks

For an organization that only produces output through online and digital means the lack of Internet access makes heading the libertarian organization somewhat difficult. For this reason, the founder, Julian Assange, has declared he will step aside, leading to former WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson taking charge. WikiLeaks says, via Twitter, this is happening due to “extraordinary circumstances” due to Assange being “held incommunicado.”

The loss of Internet access apparently comes on the instruction of the new president of Ecuador Lenín Moreno, who is showing a degree of frustration with Assange’s continuing presence, according to The Washington Post. As well as loss of Internet access, the embassy has also clamped down on other privileges that Assange enjoyed under the protection of former president Rafael Correa.

The apparent change in heart by Moreno reflects shifts in geopolitics, especially how Ecuador now wishes to be regarded on the world stage. While Sweden has dropped its arrest warrant for Assange on allegations of sexual assault, the British police are still keen to arrest Assange and the Wikileads founder also faces the possibility of extradition to the U.S. in relation to the passing on of sensitive information and, more recently, as a potential player in the allegation that Russia was a significant force in the election of Donald Trump (as noted in The Guardian).

The lack of Internet access could possibly signal that eviction from the embassy is creeping closer for Assange. The Wikileaks head has been holed up in the embassy since August 2012. According to TechCrunch, Moreno has indicated that his country will maintain Assange’s status “as long as we assume his life may be in danger”, which might mean a change to the long-running situation is about to happen.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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