Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

'Ecuador spied on Assange at London embassy'

'Ecuador spied on Assange at London embassy'

The report claims that the South American nation allocated around $66,000 per month to support "Operation Hotel", a covert project that covered both the security costs associated with Assange's asylum as well as the costs of monitoring the activist's various personal visits.

As Ecuador funded a multi-million dollar effort to protect Wikileaks founder Julian Assange during his stay in the country's London embassy, Assange returned the favor by hacking into the embassy's communications system, the Guardian reported Tuesday. That amount covered the cost of CCTV cameras that were installed in the embassy after his arrival, along with the hiring of an global security team who secretly filmed and recorded all activity, including Assange's daily routines and his interactions with visitors and staff. The report details attempt to improve Assange's public image and potentially smuggle him out of the embassy if he was threatened. In 2014, Assange allegedly hacked the embassy's network security, reading the confidential diplomatic material and setting up his own secret communications network.

Mr. Assange, 46, entered the embassy in June 2012 and subsequently sought asylum from Ecuador in lieu of being sent to Sweden and questioned over allegations of sexual assault. Swedish law enforcement eventually dropped the investigations, which Assange has called baseless - the statute of limitations expired in one case, and prosecutors couldn't reach Assange to proceed with the case in another.

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WikiLeaks has previously described Mr. Assange's current condition at the embassy as "effective solitary confinement".

Ecuador officially granted Assange citizenship in January 2018.

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