Ecuador President Threatens to Decide Assange’s Fate Over Scandal

Ecuador’s president is threatening to soon decide on Julian Assange’s refuge after his government falsely accused WikiLeaks of publishing files about a scandal that threatens to bring the president down, as Elizabeth Vos reports.

By Elizabeth Vos
Special to Consortium News

Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said Tuesday he would decide “in the short term” the fate of Julian Assange after claiming that WikiLeaks had “repeatedly violated” the terms of Assange’s asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy by commenting on a scandal linking a Panamanian investment company with Moreno and his family.

Those conditions, or protocol, were imposed by Ecuador on Assange in March 2018 and bar him from commenting publicly on political matters in exchange for being allowed to remain a refugee in the embassy. Assange never agreed to the protocol, which contradicts international refugee law guaranteeing freedom of expression. In addition there is no protocol on WikiLeaks, which still has a working Twitter account.

Ecuador”s President Lenin Moreno stated today that Assange has ‘violated the ‘conditions’ of his asylum’ and that he will ‘take a decision’ ‘in the short term” after @WikiLeaks reported on the existence of the #INAPapers offshore corruption scandal wracking his government,” WikiLeaks tweeted Tuesday.

WikiLeaks had reported about the scandal allegedly involving Moreno and his family with INA Investments Corp, though WikiLeaks has not published any documents related to the case. Moreno’s spokesman, however, has implied that WikiLeaks has. A search of Wikileaks’ website shows no such files. 

According to Telesur English the scandal came to light in February when Ecuadorian legislator Ronny Aleaga told reporters he had “received a dossier anonymously filled with documents that will implicate Lenin Moreno and his family in alleged crimes of corruption, perjury and money laundering.” The dossier has come to be known as the INA Papers.

Moreno: Feeling the heat.

The story was first reported by the Ecuadorian news outlet La Fuente in an article titled: “The Offshore Labyrinth of the Presidential Circle.” Ecuadorian media reported that the attorney general’s office has initiated a preliminary investigation and that Aleaga would be summoned on Thursday to “give his version and acknowledge his complaint.”

The president of the National Assembly, Elizabeth Cabezas, has also come under investigation after allegedly trying to prevent an investigation into the scandal, the state-owned El Universo newspaper reported.

Blaming WikiLeaks

The embattled Moreno has lashed out at WikiLeaks and Assange.

“Ecuador’s Presidential spokesman claimed last night that Maduro, Assange and the country’s opposition leader, @MashiRafael are trying to bring down the government, after an embarrassing offshore and lavish spending scandal [@INAPapers / #INAPapers] arose,” WikiLeaks tweeted last week.

The Ecuadorian newspaper el Telegrafo reported:

“The Australian founded the WikiLeaks portal, which in the last days broadcast press releases and images of the private life of President Lenin Moreno. The leaks made by WikiLeaks on electronic communications of the president Lenin Moreno will motivate legal actions, on the international level, against the directors of said website, as announced by the Chancellor of Ecuador José Valencia.”

Moreno appears to have attempted to deflect from the growing scandal by using it as a pretext to blame WikiLeaks and expel Assange.

The former consul at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Fidel Narvaez, countered Moreno’s accusation by saying that WikiLeaks never published the INA Papers, but merely tweeted about the subject.

Narvaez wrote:

“It is absurd that the government of Lenin Moreno intends to link Assange with publications of pages totally unrelated to Wikileaks, or with contents of the New York Times, and it would be ridiculous for the prosecution to investigate a “leak” that does not exist, but only in the false news published by the newspaper that you [Lenin Moreno] direct.”

He added: “Exactly one year ago, the government of Lenin Moreno has isolated Julian Assange in a regime that is almost a prison, who since then has not issued a single tweet. The government is looking for a pretext to end Julian’s asylum and prepares the conditions to subject the country to historical humiliation.”

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In a separate article, translated electronically, Narvaez argued: “Despite being an outrageous accusation, the farce has gone so far that the Ecuadorian National Assembly has issued a resolution to investigate Julian and that it emboldens the government to take measures to ‘Protect national interests.’ In short, the government seeks a false pretext to end the asylum and protection of Julian Assange.”

Assange in better days,2017.

Attorney and author Eva Golinger, a Latin America analyst, also wrote via Twitter (translated electronically): “This [accusation] is completely false. Wikileaks did not leak any document about the corruption of Lenin Moreno. They only sent a tweet referring to the evidence about the illicit actions of Lenin that had been published by other media. Blaming Assange is irresponsible.”

Golinger added in a separate tweet: “These false accusations are part of @Lenin’s efforts to justify the illegal rendition of Julian Assange to the United States. Since there is no legal basis for doing so, they are making things up. Dangerous, irresponsible and an abuse of human rights.”

Moreno’s accusations were echoed by major Ecuadorian news outlets such as el Telegrafo, which reported that Ecuador’s secretary of communication had accused Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro of “financing the attacks of Julian Assange, to end the peace of Ecuador and the region, and even links the former Ecuadorian president in the plan.”

Last December, the The New York Times reported that in May 2017, Paul Manafort flew to Ecuador for negotiations with President Moreno, during which Moreno discussed handing over Assange in exchange for “concessions like debt relief from the United States.” The Times quoted “three people familiar with the talks, the details of which have not been previously reported.”

Assange sought and received asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in June 2012. He fears that if he leaves the embassy he will be arrested for skipping bail and extradited to the United States for publishing classified documents. Under the previous government of President Rafael Correa, the Ecuadorian government was largely supportive of Assange, an attitude that has shifted markedly under Moreno.

The INA Papers scandal has continued to weaken the already-unpopular Moreno government. Correa tweeted (translated electronically) on Sunday: “The end has arrived! There is despair in Carondelet [presidential palace]. In a matter of hours, Moreno will try to leave because of ‘health’ issues. The reality: he knows he is guilty. We have shown who the corrupt were always. I only apologize for trusting this rascal.”

Elizabeth Vos is a freelance journalist and contributor to Consortium News.   

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30 comments for “Ecuador President Threatens to Decide Assange’s Fate Over Scandal

  1. Alfonso Garcia
    April 5, 2019 at 11:55

    Another politician willing to sell out another human being of peace. The politicians name may change but their ideas of no PEACE for the people continue! He probably was educated in America, if not him the non humans who advise him where educated in USA. No PEACE in our time or are grandchildren. PRAY FOR PEACE, ACT FOR PEACE!!!

  2. April 5, 2019 at 07:46

    A classical mess, but let’s keep doing our damnedest for the forces of justice for Julian Assange – a beacon of free journalism that is the only hope we everyday folks have for getting at the truth through a fog of propaganda, quite a lot of it produced by our own “special interests” within the hallowed halls of secrecy.

  3. ethan allen
    April 5, 2019 at 03:02

    Re: Elizabeth Vos & ConsortiumNews
    Thanks for the informative update on the hard-times and troubles of Julian Assange, who, like Robert Parry before him, has demonstrated dedication to courageous and principled journalism.
    This is the most recent from Caitlin Johnstone, an independent journalist in Australia.
    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/04/05/be-ready-to-act-wikileaks-source-says-theyre-coming-for-assange/
    As Usual,
    EA

  4. April 4, 2019 at 17:48

    In their increasingly inept attempts to get their hands on legendary truth/peace warrior Julian Assange and silence him permanently, – immoral, corrupt degenerates Donald Trump, Theresa May, Lenin Moreno, Morrison of Australia and their bankster puppet-masters behind the scenes seem awfully desperate.

    Is that all the dirty tricks you’ve got, oh great world “leaders”? Or will humanity face more of your taking wrong action and stubbornly refusing to grant Julian Assange his immediate, total freedom? Oh, great world leaders! … Please recognize and acknowledge – finally – that the vast majority of people on Earth with regard to their hero Julian Assange see you being “on the wrong side of history”, then kindly accept and act upon the following wise advice:

    #FreeAssange.

    • CitizenOne
      April 4, 2019 at 22:54

      The “Great World Leaders” want a propaganda state always. They want total control of he message and inconvenient truth is to be silenced.

      Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister said the truth is the enemy of the state. What else should we expect from the post war leaders of the “free world” other than their conclusion that to gain control over the “free World” and bend the World to their view as the masters of the human race that independent organizations like Wikileaks with the ability to publish unapproved and unwanted news about their nefarious and secret plans and actions independently are the enemies of the “free World”

      This is the reason Assange is persecuted just like Trotsky was vilified by Stalin. Stalin was so consumed by the fact that Trotsky was still alive that he went to the ends of the World to have him assassinated. Stalin succeeded in the end and now the United States government is on the verge of a similar campaign to eliminate a threat in Julian Assange just like the paranoid Stalin who executed many of his own party members on the suspicion that they were capable of reaching an audience and delivering a message that was contrary to the state propaganda.

      We really need to juxtapose the similarities of the Russian obsession with Trotsky and the obsession of the United States with Julian Assange. Both governments went to the ends of the World to destroy a dissenter making their target of annihilation a permanent feature of government priorities lasting many years until the job was accomplished.

      The conclusion is we are living in a propaganda state like Stalinist Russia where the enemies of the state are to be hunted down no matter where they seek protection until they are silenced for good.

      Such a jealous and paranoid government possessive of its powers to such an extent that it will go to the end of the World to seek vengeance on a single person which it hates is the back story behind Nineteen Eighty Four a novel by George Orwell.

      We are living in that dystopian future today.

  5. J. Edward Tipre
    April 3, 2019 at 22:08

    A necessary piece of reportage concerning Julian Assange and his status quo in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Clearly, Ecuador’s current (apparently authentically corrupt) president in speaking with Paul Manafort, an equally corrupt individual, focuses attention on Ecuador’s current government to deliver Assange to the U.S. Mr. Trump cozying up to Britain.

  6. April 3, 2019 at 20:24

    If there was an international call to surround the embassy, or surround Assange as he leaves it, I’d go. Remember when we had numbers?

  7. robjira
    April 3, 2019 at 20:11

    Correa’s statement is excellent.

  8. CitizenOne
    April 3, 2019 at 19:46

    It’s classic. Dig up dirt on Moreno and threaten to release it under the “Wikileaks did it” lie while offering Moreno an easy way out. Just agree that Wikileaks betrayed their end of the bargain, give up Assange and all will be forgiven. The NY Post will never publish another word.

    Problem is if Moreno does that then Wikileaks goes public with all the real dirt on Moreno and he is in trouble anyway.

    In the end, Moreno will probably rather deal with Wikileaks rather than the USA turning on him like Maduro.

    My thinking is Moreno is going to go for the US deal.

  9. JOHN CHUCKMAN
    April 3, 2019 at 18:00

    Moreno has been under considerable pressure from good old Team USA.

    You know, the world’s best financed gang of terrorists?

    Since he appears to be a corrupt individual, one wouldn’t expect a high-principled defense of Assange’s refugee status, something the last president pretty well stuck to.

  10. April 3, 2019 at 17:02

    “Russia has stabbed us in the back and each day that Mr. Snowden is allowed to roam free is another twist of the knife,” Schumer said.

    A LARGE NATIONAL POLL released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University found most Americans believe former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is a “whistle-blower” rather than a “traitor.”

    The poll, which surveyed 2,014 respondents June 28-July 8, found 55 percent of Americans think of Snowden as a whistle-blower, and just 34 percent say he is a traitor.
    A LARGE NATIONAL POLL released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University found most Americans believe former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is a “whistle-blower” rather than a “traitor.”

    The poll, which surveyed 2,014 respondents June 28-July 8, found 55 percent of Americans think of Snowden as a whistle-blower, and just 34 percent say he is a traitor.

    The public’s choice of the “fairly benign” term whistle-blower stands in stark contrast to the bipartisan accusations of treason against Snowden, [polling director at Quinnipiac] said.

    ======

    And later some people wrack their brain why is it hard for a senator from the great state of NY to be elected as a president. How about following public opinion?

  11. April 3, 2019 at 14:04

    This false accusation by a corrupt president of Ecuador will help Assange. He should now volunteer to give himself up to the British because if he goes to trial in the US he will find he has great support and would be found innocent and could bring light to the false Russiagate/wikileaks fake news. Julian, if you are in Prison now, What do you have to lose but your chains?

    • April 3, 2019 at 16:21

      Never! Assange would spend decades in USA prison. His popular support is meaningless for the verdict. 13 million marched against the Iraq war in one day world wide, the 900,000 died.

    • KiwiAntz
      April 4, 2019 at 00:58

      Assange would never be sent to a US Prison? You can’t torture America’s enemies in the US? No, Assange would be “rendered “ to one of the many American Black sites, scattered around the World, quicker than you can say Guantanamo Bay, so he can be water boarded & tortured for the unforgivable crime of exposing the criminal actions of the evil, despotic & morally depraved, Empire of Chaos, called America!

    • Dis4
      April 5, 2019 at 15:00

      He’s already in a prison of his own making.
      Let him be accountable for once in his life and stand and face his accusers.
      Surely he can find support from his fans?
      And some legal advocacy??
      How long can a “man” run and hide??
      Julian created his mess and does nothing to free himself from it.
      I have zero sympathy for this thieving data dumper.

    • Charlene Richards
      April 3, 2019 at 16:29

      It would be an impossibility for Assange to EVER have a fair trial in the United States.

      He would be extradited straight to a jurisdiction just outside McLean, Virginia where after being placed in solitary for years and tortured with constant bright lights and every five minute “wellness checks” he might get a trial with a biased CIA community “Jury”.

      God help Assange if he ever has to come to the United States.

    • Ken
      April 4, 2019 at 14:20

      Yes, and given the NDAA, he likely wouldn´t ever go to trial, held in solitary “until the end of conflict” which of course is state generated to never end.

    • Villainesse
      April 4, 2019 at 14:09

      You must be living in Oz! Every American Stater knows how unfair our courts are and how bitterly punitive are our prisons.

      Incredibly brave Chelsea Manning, who wikileaked the tape of our soldiers shooting to death (from helicopters) obvious journalists in Baghdad and the family who attempted to help them (along with masses of documents of war criminality) is being re-punished after Obama finally relented after years and granted her a presidential pardon. So now, she refused to answer a new Grand Jury’s repeat questions in their attempt to get dirt on Assange, so they put her BACK in prison, keeping her solitary and like Assange, deprived of sunlight.

      The rest of the world calls that torture.

    • Petr
      April 5, 2019 at 20:29

      Trouble is it won’t be an open trial.

    • Skip Scott
      April 7, 2019 at 08:07

      ” …if he goes to trial in the US he will find he has great support and would be found innocent and could bring light to the false Russiagate/wikileaks fake news.”

      You are a babe in the woods if you truly believe that is what would happen. He is under a secret Grand Jury indictment in the district court of Eastern Virginia. That judge is a notorious protector of our so-called “Intelligence Community”. Do a bit of research on her case history to see what Assange would be up against.

  12. Rong Cao
    April 3, 2019 at 13:46

    Can the UN human right council exert pressure to Moreno to designate an independent investigative council to investigate whether Assange has violated his asylum terms by leaking the president’s scandal? Each and every electronic paper trials can be trailed to its origin, messages and calls can be collected with regard to this president’s scandal, so the special council will let the whole world know how many parties have participated in this leaks since when, and who has done what on behalf of whom.

  13. michael crockett
    April 3, 2019 at 12:38

    Moreno is a low life willing to do whatever the US wants. He is getting called out on corruption and is trying to scapegoat Assange. On top of that, there are allegations that Moreno would expel Assange if the US would give Ecuador debt relief. Add to this the fact that Manning has been locked up because she will not testify before the grand jury that is attempting to railroad Julian. IMO grand juries, which are secret and do not allow defense attorneys to participate, corrupt our legal process. It is just a tool for a witch hunt. Only the US and Liberia permit a grand jury to assemble and conspire within their legal systems. I want to thank Elizabeth Vos for this article. Protect journalist, publishers, and whistle blowers. Free Julian!

  14. Andrew Thomas
    April 3, 2019 at 11:53

    Former President Correa can be forgiven for trusting this rascal. However, I think it highly unlikely that the rascal had no contacts with authorities in the USA prior to the election. If there has ever been more circumstantial evidence of a “Manchurian Candidate “ in history, I am unaware of that instance. The immediate turning on Assange; the attempt to intervene in the Chevron litigation to the detriment of his own people; the reconnection to the IMF; the made-up visits of Manafort to Assange; the circumstances that gave rise to the self-deportation of the former President and mentor of Moreno- the possibility that all of this conduct, which could not have been better designed to please the US deep state, just sort of happened, is virtually nil. I look forward to a time when Julian Assange will be free, and when Wikileaks will be able to operate freely. Perhaps the documents that show how this fraudulent candidate became President will be leaked by some very brave person somewhere to Wikileaks, and we’ll get the whole story. We sure won’t get it anywhere else.

    • April 3, 2019 at 16:45

      Just a question: is the evidence on “Manchurianity” of Lenin Moreno circumstantial, or rather direct — total change of colors before and after elections. The question who bribed him, local elite, Americans or both may open to speculation, but it from the short news stories it seems that it is beyond dispute that he is a tool.

    • April 12, 2019 at 16:00

      You are so spot on with this post! I agree with every word! Moreno must surely have been in contact with his lord and masters long before he assumed the presidency!

  15. Vera Gottlieb
    April 3, 2019 at 11:44

    After President Correa…what a tremendous let-down. The hallmarks of the 21st century…greed, corruption, lies, deceptions…

  16. Maricata
    April 3, 2019 at 11:34

    As soon as I read of the scandal involving Moreno, heard Correa and saw the evidence it was obvious that Assange would suffer.

    Do not be surprised if the extreme right is behind this. They have used Moreno as a bridge to get the IMF, CIA base back and to assure the US that Ecuador can be a base.

    They will dump him as well and have Jaime Nebot of the Christian Socialist party stand as a candidate for an early election. Th Christian Socialist party is really Allianza Pais as well, and with Assange on the line the right can kill two birds with one stone: i.e. get rid of Moreno who has served his purpose, dump Assange, have early elections where Correa cannot run and hurry the time line so organizing is cut short.

  17. mike k
    April 3, 2019 at 07:32

    What can we expect from a criminal like Lenin Moreno -lies and brutality. What a scum. Just the kind of “leader’ the US loves.

    • Maricata
      April 3, 2019 at 11:36

      The US prefers a Pinochet but Moreno will do. However, do not be surprised if the right comes together asking Moreno to resign and then has early elections for a fascist government

  18. April 3, 2019 at 00:09

    Looney Tunes President.

Comments are closed.