The ongoing campaign of disinformation surrounding the arrest of journalist Julian Assange has moved into second gear as the Ecuadorian government comes under increasing criticism for its role in the arrest.
Now proclaiming that Assange was using the embassy as a “centre of spying” the new claims come after accusations that Assange was a “bad house guest” failed to find any traction amongst supporters of the Wikileaks founder.
The latest claims move from a character assassination into more serious territory, the Lenin Moreno government accusing Assange of using the Ecuadorian embassy in London as a “centre for spying” and that the previous left-wing government under Rafael Correa had provided Assange with “facilities… to interfere in processes of other states.”
Previous claims that Assange had smeared faeces on the walls at the embassy, used a skateboard in the corridors, been generally unhygienic and even assaulted embassy staff were embarrassingly supported by a single picture of a dirty plate in a sink and a leaked video of Assange on a skateboard in his own room, seemingly entertaining a guest.
The claims by Ecuador were dismissed as “outrageous” by Assange’s attorney Jennifer Robinson.
“The first thing to say is Ecuador has been making some outrageous allegations. It’s a difficult situation. Ecuador has made these allegations to justify the unlawful and extraordinary act of letting police come inside an embassy. I’ve been visiting him for the last seven years. This man has been inside a room with no outside access. Inside the embassy it’s become more difficult. The politics changed when Ecuador’s political situation changed with a new leader. He stayed inside the embassy for so long because of a real and legitimate fear of U.S. extradition, which, as we saw on Thursday, proved to be justifiable fears.”Jennifer Robinson, Attorney to Julian Assange
The arrest and possible extradition of Assange has led to a wave of support across social media alongside protests from politicians and the public alike. The hacker collective Anonymous meanwhile is taking direct action against the Moreno government, naming the Ecuadorian President as an “enemy of the people” alongside others involved in the arrest.
Ecuadorian officials say they have so far been hit by 40 million cyber attacks since the arrest of Assange, jumping from 51st place to 31st place worldwide in terms of the volume of the attacks with the majority of attacks coming from the United States, Brazil, Holland, Germany, Romania, France, Austria, the United Kingdom and from within Ecuador itself.
Amongst the targets identified were the Foreign Ministry, the Central Bank of Ecuador and the office of Lenin Moreno.