Congress Members Take Firm Stance Against Press Freedom, Pen Letter to Ecuador Demanding Julian Assange Be Turned Over to Authorities
Representatives Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chair Emeritus of the Committee, have sent a letter to Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno demanding that Julian Assange be handed over to authorities.
The firm stance against press freedom comes as Ecuador is preparing to restore Assange’s communications — with strict limitations that will not allow him to properly continue his work as a publisher.
The letter threatens that the United States will be unwilling to provide economic cooperation with Ecuador unless the WikiLeaks founder and political refugee is handed over.
“Many of us in the United States Congress are eager to move forward in collaborating with your government on a wide array of issues, from economic cooperation to counternarcotics assistance to the possible return of a United States Agency for International Development mission to Ecuador. However, in order to advance on these crucial matters, we must first resolve a significant challenge created by your predecessor, Rafael Correa – the status of Julian Assange,” the members wrote in their letter.
The threatening letter continues on to say that Engel and Ros-Lehtinen are “very concerned” with Assange’s continued asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy, which he entered in 2012.
“Most recently, we were particularly disturbed to learn that your government restored Mr. Assange’s access to the Internet. On numerous occasions, Mr. Assange has compromised the national security of the United States. He has done so by publicly releasing classified government documents along with confidential materials from individuals connected to our country’s 2016 presidential election. As you yourself have noted, he has repeatedly used his standing in the international media to meddle in the affairs of foreign governments such as Spain and the United Kingdom. This has frayed Ecuador’s relations with like-minded governments. Mr. Assange also remains wanted by British authorities for a bail violation. It is clear that Mr. Assange remains a dangerous criminal and a threat to global security, and he should be brought to justice,” the letter states.
The tone remains stern as the letter goes on to say that they want to develop “warmer relations” with Ecuador, but will not do so until they violate the aslyum granted to Assange by the previous administration.
“We fully recognize that this is a problem that your administration did not create. We are hopeful about developing warmer relations with your government, but feel that it will be very difficult for the United States to advance our bilateral relationship until Mr. Assange is handed over to the proper authorities,” the letter concludes.
Meanwhile, not all politicians disagree with our nation’s deep belief in the freedom to publish. In a previous Gateway Pundit exclusive, Senator Rand Paul asserted that Assange likely has important information about the hack of the Democratic National Committee and that he should be granted immunity in exchange for his testimony.
“I think that he should be given immunity from prosecution in exchange for coming to the United States and testifying,” Senator Paul told the Gateway Pundit. “I think he’s been someone who has released a lot of information, and you can debate whether or not any of that has caused harm, but I think really he has information that is probably pertinent to the hacking of the Democratic emails that would be nice to hear.”
“It’s probably unlikely to happen unless he is given some type of immunity from prosecution,” Senator Paul added.
Both Senator Paul’s father Ron Paul and the senator’s Chief Strategist Doug Stafford have also signed an open letter published by the Gateway Pundit in April calling for Assange’s communications to be restored, for the United States to end the Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks, and for any charges against the publisher and all other staff members to be dropped.
On March 28, Ecuador caved to pressure from the United States and Spanish governments to isolate Assange by revoking his right to have visitors, make phone calls or use the internet.
The team at WikiLeaks was informed on Friday that his communications would be restored on Monday, October 15, but so far there has not been any change. In a grave violation of free speech, Assange was also presented with a nine page document that includes outlining limitations and restrictions on what he will be able to do and say online.
The UK has long refused to acknowledge the findings of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD), which found that Assange is being arbitrarily and unlawfully detained and must be immediately released and compensated.