Ecuador spied on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at London embassy

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The government of Ecuador has run up a $5 million tab accommodating Julian Assange in their United Kingdom embassy, according to a report in The Guardian.

The newspaper said Ecuador employed an worldwide security company and undercover agents to monitor his visitors, embassy staff and even the British police at the embassy in London's luxury Knightsbridge area.

According to a new Guardian report outlining the details of the spy operation created to protect Assange, the Wikileaks founder's hack allowed him to intercept professional and personal communications of the embassy staff and set up his own satellite internet.

The paper, which conducted its investigation with the Ecuadorian news outlet Focus Ecuador, reported the initiative had the direct approval of Ecuador's president until last May, Rafael Correa. The Ecuadorian embassy was warned of Assange's behavior in 2014 by a surveillance company that was hired to film Assange's interaction with visitors.

The newspaper cited documents that suggested Mr Assange managed to compromise the embassy's communications system and hack into staff emails as relations between country and guest deteriorated.

The government of Ecuador spent almost $5m to provide protected internet access to asylum-seeker Julian Assange and he responded by hacking their systems, an anonymously sourced report has claimed.

Assange in 2012 asked Ecuador's embassy in London for asylum in order to avoid extradition to Sweden, which had issued a warrant for his arrest on sexual harassment and rape charges.

Ecuador has moved to shut off internet access for Assange in recent months by installing a jammer to prevent him from accessing email and has restricted the number of visitors he can receive. He was granted citizenship by the country in January, and even though Sweden has abandoned its extradition request, he still can not leave the embassy because Britain says it would arrest him for jumping bail back in 2012.

Ecuador in December made Assange an Ecuadoran citizen and unsuccessfully tried to register him as a diplomat with immunity as part of its efforts to have him leave the embassy without risk of being detained.



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