WASHINGTON — Julian Assange is the star of an eight-minute-long video released on Tuesday by Ecuador's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to mark the one-year-anniversary of the WikiLeaks founder's stay at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
Titled "Thuth [sic] Has No Borders," the curious video at points resembles a tourism ad for Ecuador, with shots of smiling Ecuadorians on the beach and of the rainforest. At one point, the Ministry of Tourism's logo ("Ecuador: Ama La Vida") appears. A voiceover gives the narrative of Assange's path to the Embassy, describing him as a "nomad" multiple times. The narrator describes the allegations of sexual assault in Sweden as merely a ploy to get Assange to a country that would extradite him to the U.S. Meanwhile, b-roll plays of Assange speaking from the balcony of the embassy last year and meeting with Ricardo Patino, the foreign minister.
The Latin American country, which gave political asylum to Assange nearly a year ago, has been in the spotlight recently for considering an asylum request from Edward Snowden and for leaked documents that detailed some of its own intelligence agency's spying practices. Ecuador has also recently boosted its lobbying efforts in D.C., hiring a firm called Development Counsellors International to lobby for its Ministry of Tourism according to filings with the Department of Justice this month.
A spokesman for the Ecuadorian Embassy in Washington didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnnson sent the following: "Having just spent two weeks in the U.S. my biggest discomfort now is the lack of journalism in the country and my personal experience in dealing with folks who have a very unhealthy notion of the profession. I am reminded of the proverb 'when a vice [sic] man points at the moon the idiot looks at the finger.'"
Rosie Gray is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C. Gray reports on politics and foreign policy.
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