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Secret Ecuador Docs Reveal Assange’s Embassy Life: Fight w/ Security Guard, Health Concerns, Escape Plans & More

In Archive, Assange, Ecuador, WikiLeaks on September 3, 2015 at 3:00 AM

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09/01/2015

James Ball/Paul Hamilos/BuzzFeed:

Staff and security guards at the Ecuadorian embassy are keeping minute-by-minute records and filing daily official reports on the activities of their long-term guest Julian Assange. The documents, marked “secret”, reveal the occasionally fraught relationship between the WikiLeaks chief and his hosts, laying out details of clashes with embassy staff, concerns over Assange’s psychological health, and potential escape plans.

The details are contained in a series of internal documents of the Ecuadorian government seen by BuzzFeed News and initially reported on by the journalist Fernando Villavicencio. BuzzFeed News has independently corroborated several details from within the documents.

Assange has been unable to leave the embassy, a small flat in Kensington, since seeking asylum there in June 2012. The WikiLeaks editor-in-chief faced extradition to Sweden for questioning over allegations of rape and sexual assault, although he cited potential U.S. prosecution over the publication of leaked documents from Chelsea Manning as his reason for flight.

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The documents seen by BuzzFeed News detail two particular flare-ups in the embassy’s tight confines. The first (PDF) took place in September 2012, just three months after Assange first took up residency.

A security guard was on duty at around 8:30pm on 6 September, when Assange was in the embassy with two associates. Around this time, the guard discovered that Assange had made his way into the embassy’s secure control room – a room strictly off-limits to him – and started tampering with the security equipment. This led to a scuffle between Assange and the guard that caused damage to the embassy’s equipment.

The report then details conflicting accounts of what happened. According to the security guard’s account, Assange was asked to stop messing with the embassy’s systems and to leave the secure room, which he initially refused to do.

The guard alleges that Assange then punched over a computer monitor before grabbing him by the shirt. This led, according to the guard, to an altercation for a number of minutes that spilled out into the corridor.

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Assange’s account lays the blame on the security guard, who he claimed had accosted him.

A filmmaker who was present for the incident, the report notes, told embassy staff he did not see the beginning of the scuffle, but that Assange was “out of control” and very upset, and clearly wanted to be verbally offensive and to provoke a reaction.

Embassy staff, including the ambassador and two security officials described only as “Mr White” and “Mr Blue”, had a meeting to discuss the incident the following day. In sections of the report marked as analysis and recommendations, the author notes that Assange — described as “Mr Guest” — knows “what the limits of his movements are inside the embassy”.

The section continues by noting that “we cannot allow these incidents to be repeated, nor any further attacks against personnel who work for the embassy”. The report acknowledges the stress Assange was under, due to both his confinement and the presence of “more than 20 British agents posted outside the building”, and recommends further psychological support.

However, just a few months later a separate report (PDF) notes a similar incident of seemingly erratic behaviour from the WikiLeaks chief shortly before dawn on 4 January 2013.

The report painstakingly notes Assange’s movements from minute to minute – further evidence of how closely the Ecuadorians monitored “Mr Guest” – reporting that he seemed to wake at 6:05 that morning. Then, just five minutes later, the security guard heard a loud crash from Assange’s room.

Assange came to the door, assuring the on-duty guard that everything was fine, but (according to the guard’s account) seeming to try to block his view of the room’s interior. A few minutes later, Assange left the room carrying his laptop into a nearby room designated as his bathroom, where he remained for a period of hours.

During this time, the memo continues, the guard was able to see inside Assange’s bedroom, where a large, smashed bookshelf was strewn across the room. The guard took photographs of the room’s condition.

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The room visible in the photos from the secret Ecuadorian report clearly matches the one in an August 2013 Juice Rap News video featuring Assange during his bid to run for the Australian senate (Assange’s embassy room is visible in the video between 3:42 and 4:16).

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Additonal photo of room:

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Assange later told embassy staff that the bookshelf had fallen over of its own accord, according to the same memo, but this seemingly did little to assuage their concerns about the wellbeing of Assange or those around him. As before, the incident was passed up the embassy’s chain of command – reference is made to a daily report on his activities – including, once again, “Mr White” and “Mr Blue”.

The report notes with concern a regular comment in “internal daily reports” on Assange recording his tendency to “shout and talk incoherently” at night, attributed to night terrors.

It then goes on to note: “This episode is nothing more than the result of the stress that Mr Assange could be feeling as a result of his isolation.

“If it’s clear that his situation could result in psychological harm because of the circumstances in which he finds himself, it’s equally clear that there is no protocol that might help avoid or minimise this.”

The report continues in quite a critical manner as to Assange’s intrinsic “nature”, independent of his stressful situation, stating that his “evident anger” and “feelings of superiority” could cause stress to those around him — “especially the personnel who work in the embassy, mainly women”.

It adds that the stress on those personnel also stems from media pressure, police, and “most worryingly, the hard core of people who are either for or against Mr Assange’s cause”, risking the embassy’s capacity to function as usual.

The report contains multiple recommendations to improve the situation, including a proposal from “Mr Blue” for regular assessments of Assange’s physical and mental health, regular meetings with Assange’s confidantes to assess his demeanour and state of mind, and efforts to prevent Assange becoming isolated.

The report also notes a need to “control access to alcohol”.

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Other documents set out the external security challenges faced by the Ecuadorians through the activities of the Metropolitan police, who at one point had up to 50 officers in and around the building containing the embassy.

A 2012 presentation shows handwritten instructions to officers at the scene – embarrassingly caught by a photographer’s long lens and made public – instructing them on what to do if Assange emerged from the embassy.

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“Action required – Assange to be arrested under all circumstances,” it states. “He comes out with dip[lomatic] immunity, as dip bag, in dip bag (risk to life) in dip vehicle. ARRESTED.”

Asked whether the Metropolitan police would violate diplomatic immunity to arrest Assange, a Met spokesperson said: “Our objective is to arrest Julian Assange for breach of bail. Under no circumstances would an arrest be made in breach of diplomatic immunity.”

In the Ecuadorian slides, the police orders are translated into Spanish and given a short analysis before a later slide sets out a series of options of ways to get Assange out of the UK.

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The first option considered was to obtain diplomatic immunity for Assange by making him Ecuador’s representative to the UN. While there was a risk that the UN General Assembly could revoke this status, the report notes that this would take some time, which could be exploited to get Assange on to Ecuadorian territory.

A second consideration was to attempt to smuggle Assange out in an inviolable diplomatic car. However, the officials concluded that this would probably be impossible as Scotland Yard had even placed officers inside the embassy building, which was shared with other tenants.

“Police are located in the hall, on the stairs, and the exits of the lifts,” it states. “The British police can be found in all the routes that would allow Assange to take a diplomatic car.”

Elsewhere the document notes that officers had come still closer: “Last night (28/08/2012), security at the Ecuadorian embassy had to remove a policeman who entered without permission, in the department above the embassy.”

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan police declined to respond to a query on the incident.

Another option for exfiltrating Assange considered by embassy staff was to put him in a diplomatic bag, considered inviolable by treaty, but only if they solely contain documents relating to the normal practice of an embassy.

Officials dismissed this plan as they knew police outside the embassy had “advanced technology that can detect body heat”. Elsewhere, embassy staff had noted a police van across the road from the embassy was “bombarding” the building with microwaves, and was capable in the view of staff of collecting most if not all signals from within.

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Related: Ecuador Says London Embassy Bug Hidden in Socket

The final plan contemplated on the slide was that of a “discreet exit”.

“Assange could leave in fancy dress,” the document suggests, “or try to escape across the rooftops towards a nearby helipad, or get lost among the people in Harrods.”

In the event, it seems none of the plans were followed through. Three years later, Assange remains in the embassy.

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Operation Hotel & SENAIN

Fernando Villavicencio/FocusEcuador (Translation via WikiLeaksForum):

Operation Hotel (PDF) was designed in three phases by the Ecuadorian intelligence agency (SENAIN) with three specific objectives: to generate adequate living conditions for the “guest”, to resume full activities at the Embassy to avoid possible information leakage and to optimise the security processes in the diplomatic home quarters.

Phase I sought to guarantee the conditions under which Assange was staying at the Embassy and prepare a plan for a possible attack which could force the “guest” and his security team to evacuate in case of a deliberate fire and the ensuing smoke ; it even prepared for a situation in which the opposing force could use hidden chemical agents obliging the “guest” to go outside for lack of oxygen.

At this stage the technical adjustments to the site, such as installing a shower in the bathroom, carpentry and painting services in areas that would be available to Assange were also made. In addition, a meticulous record of all the people working in every area of the Embassy was kept, especially of those who were close to him.

“We understand that Mr. Guest is used to interact with the Embassy staff, especially those with whom he has a lot of contacts and a friendly relationship”, stated the SENAIN report. There was so much control around him that part of the Operation Hotel strategy was to limit the contacts he had with the embassy employees. It was even determined that it was very important that those who provided security inside the embassy should speak Spanish, to ensure they would be able to communicate without any problems and thus ensuring a basic communication only with the “guest.”

In some instances, the “guest” requested that he be able to chose his own Security Service inside the embassy, suggesting the use of Russians. For the SENAIN agents, such choice would have meant, among other problems, the loss of control of the Embassy itself leaving the “guest” free access to control and manage the flow of information. The report even asserts that it would have been the equivalent of “a coup in the embassy.”

During Phase II of this surveillance operation, the aim would be to strengthen measures, protocols and security systems designed to match the level of sensitivity of the situation in which the Embassy and its occupants found themselves, and also to visually and technically improve the safety measures as well as the screening of the staff and the detection of leaks.

The report stresses that “From a tactical point of view , the use of viewing and listening devices, as well as monitoring and surveillance tools created a containment situation with the opposing forces”

In Phase II, not only recording video and audio systems would be implemented but also the freedom of the guest’s movements would be restricted, especially the way he used to come in and out as well as his nocturnal activities in the offices and annexes, such as the ambassador’s and consul’s offices, because the risks meant a serious lack of security concerning the possibility of leaks of confidential or proprietary information to which Assange could have access to and which should be restricted.

These measures, which were as part of Operation Hotel, are an indication of the level of distrust that the regime of Rafael Correa had for Julian Assange. The following is an excerpt from the report: “Mr. Guest is a host at the Embassy, he is not a member of the staff and should not participate or interfere in the activities of the Embassy, so he must be kept away from activities that are the exclusive responsibility of the management of the diplomatic mission of Ecuador in London. ”

Some of the public activities around the presence of Assange in the Embassy of Ecuador in London were entrusted to the American/Venezuelan lawyer and journalist Eva Golinger, through a contract of service signed with the Ministry.

The Embassy staff had been really worried about the activities of the refugee, because in one of the paragraphs it is mentioned a need “to regain control and manage the necessary protocols to create the state of security needed to allow and redirect the actions in a positive and correct fashion. ”

Inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London there is an hostile environment and concern, together with the fact that the day to day activities are constantly interrupted. The report also reveals that the personality of Julian constantly clashes with the security agents who have to execute the orders and implement the processes.

The report shows that the monitoring levels applied to the “guest”‘s circle of people were very high, this was also the case for one of the painters who worked on the conversion of the apartments during Phase I of this operation. Rafael Paez had previously worked on the carpentry, masonry and other fixtures for Phase II of Operation Hotel.

The bizarre thing is that there was a second person with the same job. The following is an excerpt from the report that reveals the painstaking surveillance process concerning Assange. “The other person is an acquaintance of Silvia Almeida’s, the accountant, (they attend the same church, apparently he is quite religious. The Seguridad Diplomática guards believe he is a bit fanatical and spends all day singing religious songs and talking about God). The peculiar thing is that he said that he once belonged to the guerrillas in El Salvador and had lost three children to the war. It is worth finding out a bit more about Silvia Almeida’s religious connections. ”

Another person mentioned in this report is José María Guijarro (Txema), Under-Secretary for Africa, Asia and Oceania, who has commented that the “guest “had problems with his vision because his field of vision was limited to the dimensions of his room or his computer screen. It was recommended to let him go to the ambassador’s office at night so he could look out the window to alleviate his vision problem.

The report describes in detail that the cameras and systems used for the development of Phase II were exceptional first-generation equipment for the “control and supervision” of this diplomatic mission.

One of the paragraphs in the report directly refers to Julian Assange’s surveillance within the Ecuadorian Embassy. “If the Government of Ecuador finally decided the realization of such actions (obtaining information directly, espionage) they should be part of other operational parameters to avoid potential repercussions towards the Embassy once it was realised that such actions were taking place from inside the embassy itself. ”

Both the WikiLeaks team and the people trusted by Assange were subjected to the restriction of movements and controlled by the staff. According to this document, the intelligence inside the Embassy identified one Benjamin Griffin, British, former British Army soldier and a member of the SAS Special Forces as Assange’s personal trainer. The SENAIN assumed that “he is a potential threat in terms of the information he could have access to and/or provide to third parties because we do not have complete assurance that he does not have any more links to the British military establishment. ”

Given all these constraints, the “guest” had requested that the security installations be audited; the said auditor would have been part of Assange’s team, and at this stage, SENAIN voiced their disagreement on the grounds that such action would involve the transfer of all the keys as well as the systems’ configurations. “This would be another serious violation of the security protocol because neither Mr Guest nor his team can guarantee that the information obtained would not end up in the hands of third parties or used against the interests of Ecuador” says SENAIN.

“This audit requested by Mr Guest would represent a high operational risk, as well as a risk for the ambassador, since the agency in Salamanca would not be able to monitor and control the video surveillance and recording systems, in as much as it would enable the uncontrolled distribution of images which could potentially be counter-productive in regards of Ecuador’s political actions (although initially they could advance Mr. Guest’s cause) ” the report said.

As an example of the recommendations made by Assange, there is one which is particularly striking. He asked for his personal boxing trainer Ben Grifin to take part in supervising the installation of the security system.

It is estimated that at the beginning, Assange’s fame and the global impact of the asylum request itself created a special preferential context for the “guest”, a situation which changed when certain excesses were curtailed and a code of internal living standards was implemented. ”

“We understand that Mr. Guest is used to interact with the Embassy staff, especially those with whom he gets on well.

Understandably, he is also looking to establish similar relationships with the security agents, but this falls outside of the mission’s parameters which are set to maintain a strict protocol of interaction with all the people from outside the Embassy (mainly him and his guests), and up to then everybody enjoyed full freedom of movements inside (without any restrictions) but in some instances, non standard behaviour was witnessed in the building (consumption of alcoholic beverages in the lobby of the Embassy during working hours, walking barefoot through the Embassy during business hours, festive gatherings, inappropriate dress code, etc) and these actions could have had dire consequences in terms of the image of the Diplomatic Delegation and its mission in London and the same could be said of Mr Guest and his cause, ” it reads.

In August 2012, former ambassador Ana Alban implemented a special protocol to regulate the “Guest”‘s activities:

  • Visiting hours will be between 08H00 and 19H00.
  • Visitors need to show the diplomatic security agents some kind of photo ID.
  • The Red Permit visitors will have to go though all the Diplomatic Security electronic systems for the duration of their visit at the Embassy.
  • The “Guest”‘s visitors are his responsibility and his team’s and they must ensure that the visitors comply with the Embassy rules and regulations at all times.
  • The consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited inside the Embassy. It is allowed with moderation in the “Guest’s room” as long as no one leaves the room carrying a drink and as long as their behaviour is professional and suitable for an Embassy environment.
  • Recordings within the Embassy are prohibited without the Ambassador’s or the National Secretary of Communications’ prior permission.
  • Under no circumstances should anyone be allowed inside the control room of the Embassy apart from the Ambassador and the diplomatic security team, this room is where privileged information, the secret files of the Embassy and the security systems, are kept.
  • Visitors will have to stay inside the Guest’s quarters, they can only go out if they need the bathroom or leave the Embassy premises.

And obviously, there was also the distrust of the Ecuadorian government with respect to the specific interests of Assange and WikiLeaks; “We take note that Ecuador’s and Mr Guest’s agendas and interests maybe be aligned, but sometimes they may not converge and they may also be inconsistent with the policy of Ecuador,” said one of the documents.

There is very little information regarding Phase III apart from the fact that “it will be implemented taking into account other solutions, to strengthen the security of the site and its users’.”

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An anecdote in the reports dated early September 4th 2012, records the moment when the Scotland Yard guards were changing shifts, they were in the alley facing the guest’s window where two police vans used to transport the guards are parked.

During the change over, the officers were in a festive mood and joking amongst themselves about the “guest”‘s situation when suddenly one of them reached into his pocket, took a coin and threw it at the guest’s window, hitting one of the panes. According to the report, this incident upset the guest, who wanted to use the pictures and publish them on the net to illustrate Scotland Yard’s aggression. The lawyer recommended that the Embassy should not complain, as it could be used against the Embassy by highlighting the use of special cameras and video equipment to monitor the London police.

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The documents published here are part of a comprehensive report in the possession of Ecuadorian National Assembly member Cynthia Viteri, regarding surveillance activities carried out by SENAIN at the Embassy in London.

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The Ecuadorian embassy did not respond to requests for comment or clarification on any aspect of the documents, although the spokesperson for Scotland Yard said the embassy had been in contact with them about the enquiry. WikiLeaks did not respond to a request for comment.

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AAP:

Assange responded to the media reports in a brief one-line statement on Wednesday, saying: “Yet another predictably false attack in the media during the run-up to the launch next week of our new book on the US-UK relationship The WikiLeaks Files.”

Fernando Villavicencio, who initially reported on Assange’s embassy stay in Spanish for Ecuador Focus, has recently submitted allegations of persecution against him by Ecuador’s government to the UN.

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WikiLeaks NSA Docs: Surveillance of France Presidents & Economic Espionage; Investigation Underway for New Whistleblower

In Archive, Assange, France, NSA, NSA Files, Surveillance, WikiLeaks on June 30, 2015 at 3:17 AM

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06/23/2015

WikiLeaks:

Today, 23 June 2015, WikiLeaks began publishing “Espionnage Élysée“, a collection of TOP SECRET intelligence reports and technical documents from the US National Security Agency (NSA) concerning targeting and signals intelligence intercepts of the communications of high-level officials from successive French governments over the last ten years.

The top secret documents derive from directly targeted NSA surveillance of the communications of French Presidents Francois Hollande (2012–present), Nicolas Sarkozy (2007–2012), and Jacques Chirac (1995–2007), as well as French cabinet ministers and the French Ambassador to the United States. (Related: Snowden Document Reveals NSA Programs Used to Spy on France Embassies in US)

The documents also contain the “selectors” from the target list, detailing the cell phone numbers of numerous officials in the Elysee up to and including the direct cell phone of the President.

Prominent within the top secret cache of documents are intelligence summaries of conversations between French government officials concerning some of the most pressing issues facing France and the international community, including the global financial crisis, the Greek debt crisis, the leadership and future of the European Union, the relationship between the Hollande administration and the German government of Angela Merkel, French efforts to determine the make-up of the executive staff of the United Nations, French involvement in the conflict in Palestine and a dispute between the French and US governments over US spying on France.

A founding member state of the European Union and one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, France is formally a close ally of the United States, and plays a key role in a number of US-associated international institutions, including the Group of 7 (G7), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The revelation of the extent of US spying against French leaders and diplomats echoes a previous disclosure in the German press concerning US spying on the communications of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other German officials. That disclosure provoked a political scandal in Germany, eventuating in an official inquiry into German intelligence co-operation with the United States, which is still ongoing.

While the German disclosures focused on the isolated fact that senior officials were targeted by US intelligence, WikiLeaks’ publication today provides much greater insight into US spying on its allies, including the actual content of intelligence products deriving from the intercepts, showing how the US spies on the phone calls of French leaders and ministers for political, economic and diplomatic intelligence.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said: “The French people have a right to know that their elected government is subject to hostile surveillance from a supposed ally. We are proud of our work with leading French publishers Liberation and Mediapart to bring this story to light. French readers can expect more timely and important revelations in the near future.”

Documents Released 06/23/2015:

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06/24/2015

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06/24/2015

RT (1) (2):

French President Francois Hollande has described reports from WikiLeaks that Washington spied on three French presidents as “unacceptable.” The French Foreign Ministry is summoning the US ambassador to shed light on the allegations.

Hollande released the statement following an emergency meeting with key heads of intelligence and ministers at the Elysee Palace in the French capital.

“France will not tolerate actions that threaten its security and the protection of its interests,” the president’s office said, adding that allegations of spying on French interests had been made in the past.

“Commitments were made by the US authorities. They need to be recalled and strictly respected,” Reuters reported.

A French government spokesman said Paris will send a senior intelligence official to the US to discuss the spying reports.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has also summoned the US ambassador to France, Jane Hartley, to explain reports from WikiLeaks.

Before the hastily scheduled conference, Stephane Le Foll, a politician with the Socialist Party, lashed out at Washington.

“It is difficult to accept that between allies… there can be this kind of activity, particularly related to wiretapping linked to the president of the Republic,” Le Foll told iTele.

“When we are fighting terrorism, one has trouble imagining or understanding what would motivate an ally to spy on his allies,” he added. “There are enough dangerous crises in the world today.”

US President Barack Obama has assured his French counterpart Francois Hollande that Washington was not tapping his communications, the White House says.

In the phone call, Obama“reiterated that we have abided by the commitment we made to our French counterparts in late 2013 that we are not targeting and will not target the communications of the French president,” the White House said in a statement.

Nothing was said about the period beween 2006 and 2012, wwhich was mentioned by Wikileaks, though.

The statement released by Hollande’s office after the conversation, said in turn that “President Obama reiterated unequivocally his firm commitment … to end the practices that may have happened in the past and that are considered unacceptable among allies.”

Despite the surveillance scandal, the statement then said that French intelligence officials will soon go to Washington to “strengthen cooperation.”

US media cited a statement from the NSA saying it was not targeting and would not target Hollande’s communications. The statement did not deny spying had taken place in the past.

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06/24/2015

Mark Hosenball/Reuters:

U.S. and European security authorities are investigating whether a previously unknown leaker provided sensitive intelligence documents to WikiLeaks about alleged U.S. spying on French politicians, according to sources familiar with the matter.

U.S. and European security sources said the United States and allied governments were actively considering the possibility that someone other than former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided the latest documents to WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.

Two people familiar with documentation which Snowden acquired when he worked as an NSA contractor and later supplied to media outlets said that they do not recall seeing these kind of reports among those materials.

But some sources familiar with the investigations said it was still possible that these documents originated with Snowden.

The U.S. and European sources cautioned that they did not know for sure that Assange had developed a source other than Snowden inside U.S. intelligence. Assange has been in contact with associates of Snowden and helped arrange for him to flee from Hong Kong to Russia, where he was later granted asylum.

But until now, Assange, who three years ago took refuge in Ecuador’s Embassy in London, has published few if any documents directly attributed to either Snowden’s leaks or to the NSA.

Associates of Snowden have said that they believe he deliberately avoided giving sensitive U.S. documents to Assange.

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06/29/2015

WikiLeaks:

Today, 29 June 2015, WikiLeaks continues “Espionnage Élysée”, our ongoing publication of a collection of TOP SECRET documents from United States surveillance operations against France.

Today’s publication comprises seven top secret documents detailing how the US has had a decade- long policy of economic espionage against France, including the interception of all French corporate contracts and negotiations valued at more than $200 million. The documents demonstrate that the US National Security Agency, far from being a rogue organisation, is carrying out an economic espionage policy created by the US Director of National Intelligence. The documents detail the intelligence process, from the tasking of the NSA with collection of desired economic information to the production of developed intelligence reports, which are sent to “Supported Elements” of the US government, including the US Department of Commerce, the US Trade Represenative, the US Treasury and the Central Intelligence Agency.

Central within the cache of documents are two long-term spying orders (“collection requirements”) which define the kinds of intelligence the NSA is tasked with collecting in its surveillance operations against France.

The documents make clear that the NSA has been tasked with obtaining intelligence on all aspects of the French economy, from government policy, diplomacy, banking and participation in international bodies to infrastructural development, business practices and trade activities. The documents establish that the US economic intelligence operations against France have run for more than a decade and started as early as 2002.

Some of the documents are authorised for sharing with the “Five Eyes” partners – the group of Anglophone countries in close intelligence co-operation with the United States: Canada, New Zealand, Australia and France’s fellow member state of the European Union, the United Kingdom, strongly suggesting that the United Kingdom has also benefited from the United States’ economic espionage activities against France.

The cache also includes five TOP SECRET intelligence summaries from US spying on the conversations and communications of French officials. The documents show US spying on the French Finance Minister, a French Senator, officials within the Treasury and Economic Policy Directorate, the French ambassador to the United States, and officials with direct responsibility for EU trade policy. The intercepts reveal internal French deliberation and policy on the World Trade Organization, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, the G7 and the G20, the 2013 French budget, the decline of the automotive industry in France, and the involvement of French companies in the Oil for Food programme in Iraq during the 1990s.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said: “The United States has been conducting economic espionage against France for more than a decade. Not only has it spied on the French Finance Minister, it has ordered the interception of every French company contract or negotiation valued at more than $200 million. That covers not only all of France’s major companies, from BNP Paribas, AXA and Credit Agricole to Peugeot and Renault, Total and Orange, but it also affects the major French farming associations. $200 million is roughly 3,000 French jobs. Hundreds of such contracts are signed every year. The United States not only uses the results of this spying itself, but swaps these intercepts with the United Kingdom. Do French citizens deserve to know that their country is being taken to the cleaners by the spies of supposedly allied countries? Mais oui!”

Documents Released 06/29/2015:

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Related Links:

NSA Spying on France: 70.3 Million Phone Calls Intercepted in 30 Days; Average of 3 Million Data Intercepts Per Day

NSA Document: 2012 “Flame” Cyberattack on France Presidential Computer Network; US Denies Involvement, Israel May Be Culprit

Snowden’s Great Escape

In Archive, Assange, Bolivia, Harrison, Hong Kong, NSA, Russia, Snowden, Surveillance, WikiLeaks on January 24, 2015 at 12:04 AM

01/13/2015

“Snowden’s Great Escape” tells the story of how Edward Snowden managed to escape Hong Kong and U.S. prosecution with the assistance of WikiLeaks, after blowing the whistle on NSA’s secret mass surveillance programs. Featuring newly revealed details provided in exclusive interviews with Snowden, Julian Assange, and Sarah Harrison.


New Revelations Include:

Snowden Bought Ticket to India as Cover to Help Escape from Hong Kong

Assange: “This was the largest intelligence manhunt the world has ever seen, so the U.S. was throwing everything, all it’s resources at this thing. So we needed someway of splitting those resources, because we didn’t want them all focused on his flight out. [Snowden] bought a ticket to India as cover, was booked using his credit card for 2 days after the actual asylum flight.”

Russia’s FSB Approached Snowden in Sheremetyevo Airport

Harrison: “They asked once, they had approached. I mean, it’s kind of unimaginable to think that they wouldn’t. He didn’t give anything to the Russians at all, and he certainly didn’t cooperate with them or give them anything in anyway whatsoever.”

DR Interviewer: “How do you know?”

Harrison: “I was with him the whole time, so I would stake my entire life on the fact that he did not give anything to anybody.”

Assange/WikiLeaks Spread Rumor of Snowden Being on Morales Flight

Assange: “We consciously laid false trails in relation to the Morales flight. Sometimes there would be calls to ambassadors on open telephone lines for example, including from this [Ecuador] embassy. You know, we were trying to split-up the surveillance resources. Force the United States to consider the Morales flight.”

DR Interviewer: “Do you think that one could imagine disinformation?”

Hayden: “That’s an interesting question. I must admit I hadn’t considered it before, but it’s always a possibility, sure.”

Assange: “I didn’t know that diversion would end up in such an extraordinary outcome.”

DR Interview: “The Morales flight also kind of helped the Russians giving [Snowden] asylum?”

Hayden: “It did, and it reinforced the image of Snowden as victim, Snowden as the pursued, yeah.”

DR Interview: “So, if you were sitting on the other side of the fence, to trap the Americans, would that be a wise move?”

Hayden: “Again I hadn’t thought of it until you raised it, but it’s incredibly clever yeah, yeah.”

Google Informs WikiLeaks of U.S. Search Warrants; Staff’s Gmail/Metadata Seized by Government

In Archive, Assange, DOJ, Google, Harrison, Surveillance, USA, WikiLeaks on December 31, 2014 at 4:12 AM

us-google-search-warrant-wikileaks-sarah-harrison

12/29/2014

According to a statement by WikiLeaks on Twitter, on Christmas Eve Google informed the organization that the Gmail mailboxes and account metadata of a WikiLeaks employee had been turned over to law enforcement under a U.S. federal warrant.

WikiLeaks journalist and Courage Foundation acting director Sarah Harrison revealed a redacted copy of the warrant during her presentation on source protection at the Chaos Communications Congress. The warrant was dated for execution by April 5, 2012 by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, part of the continuing investigation by the Justice Department into criminal charges against WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.

Harrison said spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson, herself, and other people relating to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks were all subject to U.S. government search warrants served to Google, and that the organization would be covering this more in the new year.

This is at least the second time a U.S. warrant has been served to Google for data from someone connected to WikiLeaks. A sealed warrant was served to Google in 2011 for the email of a WikiLeaks volunteer in Iceland. And the Justice Department has also previously sought to get metadata from WikiLeaks-connected Twitter accounts, and won a court battle with Twitter three years ago to force the service to provide that metadata.

UPDATE #1 01/26/2015

WikiLeaks:

Today, WikiLeaks’ lawyers have written to Google and the US Department of Justice concerning a serious violation of the privacy and journalistic rights of WikiLeaks’ staff. Investigations editor Sarah Harrison, Section Editor Joseph Farrell and senior journalist and spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson have received notice that Google had handed over all their emails and metadata to the United States government on the back of alleged ‘conspiracy’ and ‘espionage’ warrants carrying up to 45 years in prison.

Importantly, the warrants reveal for the first time a clear list of the alleged offences the US government is trying to apply in its attempts to build a prosecution against Julian Assange and other WikiLeaks staff. The offences add up to a total of 45 years of imprisonment.

The US government is claiming universal jurisdiction to apply the Espionage Act, general Conspiracy statute and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to journalists and publishers – a horrifying precedent for press freedoms around the world. Once an offence is alleged in relation to a journalist or their source, the whole media organisation, by the nature of its work flow, can be targeted as alleged ‘conspiracy’. Julian Assange, WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief said: ‘WikiLeaks has out endured everything the Obama administration has thrown at us and we will out endure these latest “offences” too.’

The alleged offences are:

  • Espionage: 18 U.S.C. § 793(d) – imprisonment up to 10 years
  • Conspiracy to commit espionage: 18 U.S.C. § 793(g) – imprisonment up to 10 years
  • The theft or conversion of property belonging to the United States government: 18 U.S.C. § 641 – imprisonment up to 10 years
  • Violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act: 18 U.S.C. § 1030 – imprisonment up to 10 years
  • (general) Conspiracy: 18 U.S.C. § 371 – imprisonment up to 5 years

PDF

UPDATE #2 01/28/2015

Ellen Nakashima/Julie Tate/WaPo:

Google has fought all gag orders preventing it from telling customers that their e-mails and other data were sought by the U.S. government in a long-running investigation of the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, which published leaked diplomatic cables and military documents, an attorney representing the tech firm said this week.The tech firm’s challenges date to January 2011 and include an attempt to overturn gag orders accompanying search warrants issued in March 2012 for the e-mails of three WikiLeaks staff members, said the attorney, Albert Gidari, in an interview.Google’s long battle to inform its customers about the warrants and court orders has been fought largely in secret because of the court-imposed gags, hampering its effort to counter the impression that it has not stood up for users’ privacy, Gidari said.

In the latest instance, the three WikiLeaks staff members revealed this week that Google notified them on Dec. 23 that their e-mails were the subject of search warrants — almost three years after the broad warrants were issued by a magistrate judge in the Eastern District of Virginia.

“We are astonished and disturbed that Google waited over two and a half years to notify its subscribers,” Michael Ratner, an attorney for the staff members, wrote in a letter Monday to Google Chairman Eric Schmidt.

Google says it challenged the secrecy from the beginning and was able to alert the customers only after the gag orders on those warrants were partly lifted, said Gidari, a partner at the Perkins Coie law firm.

“From January 2011 to the present, Google has continued to fight to lift the gag orders on any legal process it has received on WikiLeaks,” he said, adding that the company’s policy is to challenge all gag orders that have indefinite time periods.

The affidavits and applications underlying the orders are still sealed. The company said it is seeking to unseal them.

Google’s belated disclosure contrasts with the way in which Twitter, the microblogging platform, was able to quickly inform several of its customers in 2011 that the federal government had demanded their subscriber data in the WikiLeaks inquiry.

According to Gidari, whose firm has represented both companies, Google’s delay was not the result of foot-dragging but of opposition from prosecutors who were upset by the backlash that followed the disclosure of their court orders to Twitter.

In December 2010, Twitter received a court order for subscriber information on five WikiLeaks staff members and supporters and promptly notified the Justice Department that it would inform them that their data was being sought. Rather than seek a court order to impose a gag on Twitter, prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia, apparently not foreseeing controversy, allowed the firm to notify its subscribers.

“usa government wants to know about all my tweets and more since november 1st 2009. do they realize i am a member of parliament in iceland?” tweeted Birgitta Jonsdottir, a WikiLeaks supporter.

The name of the assistant U.S. attorney, Tracy Doherty-McCormick, was included in the published material.

“The U.S. attorney’s office thought the notice and the resulting publicity was a disaster for them,” Gidari said. “They were very upset” about the prosecutor’s name and phone number being disclosed, he said. “They went through the roof.”

About the same time that the Twitter story broke, Google was served with a separate order for the data of Jacob Appelbaum, a WikiLeaks volunteer and security researcher. Google wanted to inform him, but prosecutors balked.

“There was a lot of pushback from the government because they also were getting pressure from the people who got served from Twitter,” Gidari said. “The U.S. attorney’s office is like, ‘Hell no — we’ll fight you forever.’ ”

For the next four years, “Google litigated up and down through the courts trying to get the orders modified so that notice could be given,” he said.

Joshua Stueve, a spokesman for the Eastern District of Virginia, declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation of WikiLeaks.

In the fall of 2011, Google was able to tell Appelbaum that the government had sought data such as the IP addresses of the people he e-mailed with, according to a 2011 report in the Wall Street Journal.

Google also successfully challenged the gag orders on another court order and search warrant issued in 2011 in the WikiLeaks case, said Ahmed Ghappour, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, citing court documents.

A dozen outstanding search warrants and court orders have been issued in the WikiLeaks inquiry, said Ghappour, who is representing independent journalist Alexa O’Brien in her effort to have the documents unsealed. That is on top of the three disclosed last month, the orders disclosed by Twitter and one more revealed by a small Internet provider, Sonic, for data about whom Appelbaum e-mailed.

“The additional surveillance orders uncovered here seem to be the tip of the iceberg of a wide-ranging investigation now in its fifth year,” Ghappour said. “That such a broad dragnet could remain secret for so long defies principles such as transparency, speech and privacy, all fundamental to our democracy.”

Ratner, who is president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights, said Google’s effort to challenge the gag order is “a positive development.”

But the case represents “an amazing Catch-22,” he said. Google does not “have the strongest right to challenge the scope or the reasonableness of the warrant. The only people who really have that are the targets of the warrant, and they don’t know about it. So essentially the government has carte blanche to get whatever they want.”

WikiLeaks: From Popular Culture to Political Economy (16 Essays)

In Archive, Assange, Chelsea Manning, WikiLeaks on December 17, 2014 at 11:27 PM

A special section of the International Journal of Communication on WikiLeaks, featuring a collection of essays by leading scholars on its relevance over time across a variety of academic areas.

PDF (3MB)

2014

Source: International Journal of Communication h/t Christian Christensen/Medium

Page 1 – WikiLeaks: From Popular Culture to Political Economy ~ Introduction – Christian Christensen (Stockholm University)

Page 6 – WikiLeaks, Transparency and Privacy: A Discussion with Birgitta Jónsdóttir – Christian Christensen (Stockholm University) & Birgitta Jónsdóttir (Icelandic Modern Media Initiative)

Page 15 – True Confessions: WikiLeaks, Contested Truths, and Narrative ContainmentWilliam Uricchio (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Page 22 – WikiLeaks, the State, and Middle-Aged MediaToby Miller (Cardiff University & Murdoch University)

Page 29 – Is WikiLeaks Challenging the Paradigm of Journalism? Boundary Work and BeyondKarin Wahl-Jorgensen (Cardiff University)

Page 41 – WikiLeaks and the Afterlife of Collateral Murder – Christian Christensen (Stockholm University)

Page 51 – We Are Bradley Manning: Information Policy, the Legal Subject, and the WikiLeaks ComplexSandra Braman (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

Page 67 – Wikileaks, Surveillance and TransparencyMark Andrejevic (University of Queensland)

Page 79 – WikiLeaks and the Shifting Terrain of Knowledge AuthorityLeah A. Lievrouw (University of California — Los Angeles)

Page 94 – WikiLeaks: The Napster of Secrets?Axel Bruns (Queensland University of Technology)

Page 100 – Liquid Information LeaksNathan Jurgenson (University of Maryland) & PJ Rey (University of Maryland)

Page 114 – Himalaya of DataPelle Snickars (Umeå University)

Page 127 – Oh, WikiLeaks, I would so love to RT you. WikiLeaks, Twitter, and Information ActivismLisa Lynch (Concordia University)

Page 141 – The Privatization of the Internet, WikiLeaks and Free ExpressionAngela Daly (European University Institute, Italy & Swinburne University of Technology)

Page 152 – Digital Prometheus: WikiLeaks, the State–Network Dichotomy, and the Antinomies of Academic ReasonAthina Karatzogianni (University of Leicester) & Andrew Robinson (Independent Researcher)

Page 166 – WikiLeaks and the Critique of the Political EconomyChristian Fuchs (University of Westminster)

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