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posted by janrinok on Wednesday May 16 2018, @08:41PM   Printer-friendly
from the payback dept.

The Ecuadorean government spent around $5 million to protect and spy on Julian Assange and his visitors, according to The Guardian. The operation evolved over time as the embassy's guest became less welcome:

Over more than five years, Ecuador put at least $5m (£3.7m) into a secret intelligence budget that protected the WikiLeaks founder while he had visits from Nigel Farage, members of European nationalist groups and individuals linked to the Kremlin. [...] Documents show the intelligence programme, called "Operation Guest", which later became known as "Operation Hotel" – coupled with parallel covert actions – ran up an average cost of at least $66,000 a month for security, intelligence gathering and counter-intelligence to "protect" one of the world's most high-profile fugitives. [...] The security personnel recorded in minute detail Assange's daily activities, and his interactions with embassy staff, his legal team and other visitors. They also documented his changing moods.

[...] Worried that British authorities could use force to enter the embassy and seize Assange, Ecuadorian officials came up with plans to help him escape. They included smuggling Assange out in a diplomatic vehicle or appointing him as Ecuador's United Nations representative so he could have diplomatic immunity in order to attend UN meetings, according to documents seen by the Guardian dated August 2012. In addition to giving Assange asylum, Correa's government was apparently prepared to spend money on improving his image. A lawyer was asked to devise a "media strategy" to mark the "second anniversary of his diplomatic asylum", in a leaked 2014 email exchange seen by the Guardian.

The money being spent was unknown to some members of the government, including the Ecuadorian ambassador to the UK, who learned of the operation in 2015. Ecuador's financial controller's office also investigated payments related to the operation.

Additionally, The Guardian alleges that Assange hacked the embassy's security system to spy on staff, and was able to procure his own satellite Internet connection:

In an extraordinary breach of diplomatic protocol, Assange managed to compromise the communications system within the embassy and had his own satellite internet access, according to documents and a source who wished to remain anonymous. By penetrating the embassy's firewall, Assange was able to access and intercept the official and personal communications of staff, the source claimed.

Another detail is that Ecuador's intelligence agency made payments to Hacking Team for surveillance software (not necessarily related to the Assange operation). Hacking Team is a cybersecurity company that was hacked in 2015. Wikileaks began hosting a million emails leaked from the company on July 8, 2015.

Wikileaks has vowed to sue over the reporting.

Related: Julian Assange's Internet Access "Cut" by Ecuador


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  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16 2018, @08:56PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16 2018, @08:56PM (#680510)

    "Wow..." the man muttered, as he gazed longingly at the violated child's corpse. He continued, "Children are just too good..." The man, still in a daze, looked around and spotted a cute child. The man moved.

    Yes, children are just too good...

  • (Score: 2) by frojack on Wednesday May 16 2018, @09:00PM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 16 2018, @09:00PM (#680511) Journal

    No surprise here, other than the amount of money a poor country like Ecuador was willing to spend.

    That they watched him closely seems the only logical thing to do. They would have to make sure he did not do anything that might be twisted by the British into an act of war.

    --
    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 0, Troll) by realDonaldTrump on Wednesday May 16 2018, @09:07PM

    by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Wednesday May 16 2018, @09:07PM (#680512) Homepage Journal

    Rafael says he's a Crooked Hillary fan. But he did something very special for me, he kept Julian safe. While Julian did those amazing WikiLeaks for me. RIP Seth Rich (Guccifer 2.0)!! A true American patriot, beautiful guy, murdered by the Dems!!

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16 2018, @11:28PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16 2018, @11:28PM (#680552)

    Your people are starving and you spend $5 million defending a transsexual?

  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16 2018, @11:28PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16 2018, @11:28PM (#680553)

    5 Million is still much less than the fiat money spent by israel and its bitch usa to track him, listen to his conversations, attack him with directed energy weapons (local and from satellites), plotting to destroy his reputation, send infiltrators posing as cleaners to poison him and so on.

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17 2018, @12:42PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17 2018, @12:42PM (#680694)

      The UK probably spent 10x that much trying to be the USA's bitch. So we're the bitch of somebody's bitch. I mean, we're taking our country back.

  • (Score: 2) by jelizondo on Thursday May 17 2018, @12:16AM

    by jelizondo (653) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 17 2018, @12:16AM (#680567) Journal

    No, we are not spying on you. We are only tryng to protect you.

    Yep, it can be said to any citizen of any country.

  • (Score: 2) by shortscreen on Thursday May 17 2018, @05:11AM (1 child)

    by shortscreen (2252) on Thursday May 17 2018, @05:11AM (#680631) Journal

    In an extraordinary breach of diplomatic protocol

    It's bad manners to compromise the firewall in the embassy when one is holed up there as a fugitive, Julian. Everybody knows that.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17 2018, @04:41PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17 2018, @04:41PM (#680768)

      Yes. Read his bio.

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