Originally published July 9 2013
Ecuador finds hidden bug at UK embassy - is the U.S. spying on Julian Assange?
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) The massive U.S. surveillance state is very powerful and has tentacles everywhere, as evidenced by the fact that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden can't find a country which will grant him asylum from an American government incensed with him over his disclosure that Washington spies on us 24/7/365.
Now, according to reports, that surveillance apparatus may have been employed against a tiny South American country which is harboring WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who first drew the ire of the U.S. and other Western countries when he disclosed loads of top-secret military intelligence provided him by Army PFC Bradley Manning.
From Reuters Canada:
Ecuador has found a hidden microphone inside its London embassy, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is living, and will disclose on Wednesday who controls the device, its foreign minister said. Ricardo Patino said the microphone was found inside the office of the Ecuadorean ambassador to the United Kingdom, Ana Alban, at the time of a visit to the embassy by Patino to meet with Assange on June 16. Assange lives and works in a different room within the embassy.
Is the U.S. responsible again? Or did the British place the microphone? It's possible it was a joint operation.
'We have found a hidden microphone'
Assange has made the embassy his home since Ecuador granted him asylum in June 2012. He is facing charges in Sweden of rape and sexual assault leveled by two women, which he says is politically motivated and which he has called false. British authorities have said they will arrest Assange if he leaves the embassy.
Assange says he believes if he is sent to Sweden he will eventually be extradited to the United States, where he would face charges of the release of thousands of confidential documents via WikiLeaks.
"We regret to inform you that in our embassy in London we have found a hidden microphone," Patino told a news conference in Quito July 2.
"I didn't denounce this at the time because we didn't want the theme of our visit to London to be confused with this matter," Patino, who met with British Foreign Secretary William Hague to discuss Assange, said.
"Furthermore, we first wanted to ascertain with precision what could be the origin of this interception device in the office of our ambassador," said Patino. "We are sorry to say so, but this is another instance of a loss of ethics at the international level in relations between governments."
By protecting Assange Ecuador has damaged its relations with Great Britain and the U.S. as well. After meeting with Patino, the Foreign Office said nothing much had been accomplished between the two countries, in a bid to break the diplomatic rift.
"Sieging/bugging of Ecuador's London embassy and the blockading of Morales jet shows that imperial arrogance is the gift that keeps on giving," WikiLeaks said via its Twitter account.
'My work will not be cowed'
In December, Assange said WikiLeaks was preparing to release more than 1 million documents in 2013. Speaking from the balcony of the Ecuadorean embassy in London, Assange did not provide many details about the impending release but said the documents "affect every country in the world."
"This building ... has become my home, my office and my refuge," he said. "Thanks to the principled stance of the Ecuadorian government and the support of its people, I am safe in this embassy to speak from this embassy."
Continuing, he said, "My work will not be cowed. But while this immoral investigation continues, and while the Australian government will not defend the journalism and publishing of WikiLeaks, I must remain here."
More recently, Assange said there was nothing that could prevent further releases of documents from Snowden.
"There is no stopping the publishing process at this stage," Assange told ABC News. "Great care has been taken to make sure that Mr. Snowden can't be pressured by any state to stop the publication process."
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