back to article Julian Assange said to have racked up $5m security bill for Ecuador

The government of Ecuador spent nearly $5m to provide protected internet access to asylum-seeker Julian Assange and he responded by hacking their systems, an anonymously sourced report has claimed. According to a report from The Guardian, internal documents show that the the Wikileaks boss required surveillance and security …

Wikileaks sues for libel after anonymous leak...

Is it now a parody of itself?

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Re: Wikileaks sues for libel after anonymous leak...

The defence could call Assange as a witness. And if he does not show, the Judge could just throw the case out

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Re: Wikileaks sues for libel after anonymous leak...

By penetrating the embassy’s firewall, Assange was able to access and intercept the official and personal communications of staff, the source claimed.

Talk about biting the hand that feeds and houses you.

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What's in it for Ecuador?

I really don't get what's in this whole episode for Ecuador. They're spending a large amount of money harbouring Assange and having him around must be interferring with day to day operations of the embassy. To top it all he's now allegedly hacked into their computers. I understand they're not on the best of terms with the US but damaging your relationships with the UK, Sweden and most of the developed western world seems pretty extreme just to spite America.

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Headmaster

Heroes

There once was a time when Wikileaks/Assange were heroic figures. Now we see Assange is just an expensive dick. The moral is, value the work people do, but don't be too quick to bestow laurels upon the people themselves.

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Re: Heroes

There once was a time when Wikileaks/Assange were heroic figures.

See: Milkshake Duck

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Anonymous Coward

'There once was a time when [INSERT NAME HERE] were heroic figures'

Reminds me a lot of this... Talk about high hopes:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34277960

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Re: 'There once was a time when [INSERT NAME HERE] were heroic figures'

Reminds me a lot of this

I guess it does if you squint just right: misuse of a thing in the service of a goal. Only in one case the goal was an odd stab at getting the United States to promote peace, the other's goal was stabbing the United States to promote Julian Assange.

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Re: 'There once was a time when [INSERT NAME HERE] were heroic figures'

@AC

Reminds me a lot of this... Talk about high hopes:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34277960

Once the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Dr. Strangelove Kissinger, it lost all meaning, IMO.

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Re: Heroes

Now? NOW? No no... many of us considered him an expensive dick the day he jumped bail and screwed god knows how many liberal luvvies out of the money they stumped up for his bail. The man is a liability.

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@Florida

Yeah, not just expensive but pretty arrogant too. I'm still quite disappointed when I learned about this to be honest but at one point Assange even started calling out the Ecuadorian president because he was all in favor of Catelonia going independent and Ecuador was not. Whatever happened to respect thy host?

He's eating their food, he's using their Internet connection and apparently he has no problems at all just pissing over their political statements "because". Some guest...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Heroes

There once was a time when Wikileaks/Assange were heroic figures.

Wikileaks would earn at best a "maybe" on that score, but Assange? Never. As far as I can tell, WikiLeaks was only really created to retrospectively establish some sort of justification for Assange's hacking. The problem: subsequent actions by Assange himself even damaged that idea.

The man's a dick and whoever follows him is as prone to deception as Trump followers.

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Devil

Re: Heroes

well, if they ARE heroes, maybe people would fund them with a 'go fund me' kind of campaign? At least they could pay back the Ecuadorians for the extra security costs...

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Re: Heroes

Almost as if there had been a sustained campaign to discredit him by those his organisation exposed isn't it?

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Re: screwed god knows how many liberal luvvies out of the money they stumped up for his bail

Just goes to show, there's a bright side to almost everything...

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Re: 'There once was a time when [INSERT NAME HERE] were heroic figures'

Once the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Dr. Strangelove Kissinger, it lost all meaning, IMO.

If not then, then when it was awarded to Obama, who at the time had done literally nothing as President other than not be George Bush (either of them). Now, whether or not he deserved one for later works is a seperate debate, but at the point of its award, he literally hadn't done anything.

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Re: Heroes

What about the day he removed the condom without her consent?

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Obama's Nobel

As best I can tell, he was awarded it for good intentions - what he said he wanted to do, rather than what he had already done. It isn't quite as meaningless as Time Magazine's "Man of the Year", but its getting there. If Trump ever gets one, then it will truly have jumped the shark.

The Nobel committee should declare that US presidents are ineligible for the prize until the US stops spending more on defense than the next ten countries combined, fighting in multiple simultaneous undeclared wars all over the globe, trying to destabilize governments we don't like (i.e. won't give our corporations access to exploit their natural resources) and so forth.

Heck, North Korea's "Dear Leader" deserves it more than any US president in the past 50 years does - they may have built nukes but they're hardly the only country to have done so and their military hasn't set foot outside their border in 65 years. How many countries other than Switzerland can say that?

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Re: Heroes

@felonmarmer

Almost as if there had been a sustained campaign to discredit him by those his organisation exposed isn't it?

Frankly, there doesn't need to be any sort of organised campaign to discredit him, he's doing very well by himself.

I don't recall that he's paid back the poor shmucks who stood bail for him, for instance?

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Re: Heroes

The man's a twat, I'll give you that, but the fact that he's a bit of a twat doesn't invalidate my point.

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Re: 'There once was a time when [INSERT NAME HERE] were heroic figures'

If not then, then when it was awarded to Obama, who at the time had done literally nothing as President other than not be George Bush (either of them).

I think Obama not being Dubya was the reason he got the prize. Not so much Obama getting a peace prize as Dubya getting a (virtual) negative peace prize.

But Obama soon showed he didn't deserve it, by refusing to put Dubya, Cheney, Rummy et alia on trial for war crimes. I'll never forgive him for that. Had he done that, the UK might have done the same for Tony Bliar.

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Re: Heroes

"There once was a time when Wikileaks/Assange were heroic figures. Now we see Assange is just an expensive dick."

Trouble is, you have to ask where the information that lead to that change of opinion/view came from - how much of it was propaganda from organisations that regarded wikileaks as a threat and who realised that an ad hominem attack on Assange was more likely to succeed than an attack on wikileaks itself?

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Re: Obama's Nobel and his intentions

I've got an intention to save the world too. What, no Nobel for Mr Nobody?! So SAD!

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Re: Obama's Nobel

Heck, you're just mad cause he killed your buddy Osama Bin laden

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Angel

Re: Heroes

"... screwed god knows how many liberal luvvies out of the money they stumped up for his bail ..."

So, he's not all bad then.

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Joke

Re: @Florida

"He's eating their food, he's using their Internet connection and apparently he has no problems at all just pissing over..."

Perhaps he should learn to use their toilet as well ...

Oh, sorry, tldr.

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"****We're****" suing?

Who's we?

Anyone else except Assange would lack standing to bring such a case.

However, apart from pissing away everyone's money, listening to a lawyer is about the only thing he HASN'T bothered to do. If he had, he wouldn't be where he is.

But, of course, that doesn't make much of a story and it must have been nearly a week since you were last on the front pages, mustn't it?

Seriously, stop giving the twat air-time.

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Yep, He's suing. I think he just went out and hired a new lawyer.

He talked to his "friend" and hired Michael D. Cohen who gave him great reviews...

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Seriously, stop giving the twat air-time.

Actually the reverse is probably a better idea. The more he's exposed to the public eye, the less important he'll become. Pretty soon, he'll just be a vague memory.

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Trollface

"Seriously, stop giving the twat air...

There fixed that for you...

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The question is why are they still putting up with him.

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Anonymous Coward

That's politics for you. Booting him out as he deserves would be admitting they got it wrong when this all started. That said, it appears the mounting costs and hassle appear to be changing that equation.

Better late than never, I guess..

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The question is why are they still putting up with him.

Presumably protocol and future proofing.

Its generally frowned upon to grant someone asylum and then hand them over to their persuers. Assange is, if the reports are true, a horrific guest, but handing him over to the UK, then Sweden, then possibly the USA would diminish the likelihood of anyone ever claiming asylum in Ecuador again.

There's no question of the UK not arresting him and sending him to jail for bail jumping. So either he comes out and faces the music, or he dies on that couch. I just wish he'd do it without all the fuss.

Gradually, Ecuador might choose to make his stay progressively less comfortable in the hope that he eventually decides to man up and face the consequences of what are indisputably his own actions.

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Its generally frowned upon to grant someone asylum and then hand them over to their persuers. Assange is, if the reports are true, a horrific guest, but handing him over to the UK, then Sweden, then possibly the USA would diminish the likelihood of anyone ever claiming asylum in Ecuador again.

I think following this experience, they might see this as a Good Thing™

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They cant chuck him out, he's a citizen now.

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Doesn't matter if he's a citizen. They can still chuck him out. The British government won't hide you in the embassy if you're a citizen and are accused of some crime abroad. They'll help you with consular services, but they'll kick you out of the embassy if the rozzers are after you.

They don't even want to protect genuine asylum seekers if they can avoid it. The Foreign Office attitude is that embassies are there for dealing with foreign governments, and pissing them off by publicly embarrassing them is not good for diplomacy. So they only do it when they've got no choice.

Also diplomatic asylum is not internationally recognised in the Vienna Conventions. It's mostly practised in South America. So very normal there. Deals are usually done to sort things out after a few more months of awkwardness. But the UK government are far more legalistic than that. The government don't have the legal power to stop the police arresting Assange. And don't have the motive to "have a quiet word on the old-boys network".

Hence Ecuador are stuck with the last government's bad decision. The Guardian article claims that a poll in Ecuador says 75% of people want Assange kicked out. So I'm surprised they haven't done it already.

Though as he's hacked their communications, maybe he's got embarrassing materials on them? Like that wasn't a predictable consequence of letting him into their embassy with a computer and time on his hands... Oops!

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If Ecuador are footing the bill, he can gamble Bitcoin on the outcome of flipping a coin, as far as I'm concerned. I wonder how much it's cost them total, in trade negotiations, lawyer fees, etc.

P.S. Newsweek doesn't work in Chrome for me:

ERR_SPDY_PROTOCOL_ERROR

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the 5m Ecuador have spent on wifi , is peanuts compared to the money it apparently costs us to have a bobby stand outside the place for the last few years.

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I imagine we've subtracted that amount from any and all renegotiated trade deals with Ecuador in the intervening time.

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How ironic, though I'm sure it's escaped him; a man evading the British criminal justice system intends to use the civil part of our laws. It's one rule for him....

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"Certainly Mr Assange.... please present your case to court at this address and time..."

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This story originates with yet another 'anonymous source' coupled with the usual diligent investigative journalism of the Guardian?

Give me a break!

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Headmaster

The Guardian's article doesn't say he "hacked into embassy satellites"- it says "Assange hacked into the communications system within the embassy".

Slight difference.

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>"Assange hacked into the communications system within the embassy".

Ten quid says the "hacking" was the highly-skilled vulnerability exploit of plugging his laptop into the wall's LAN socket.

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He probably stole somebody's Avaya One-X password. I doubt he has the where with all and the equipment to hijack their satcom. Still, giving this little shit airtime in the media is exactly what he wants and what he deserves the least.

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Under the Computer Misuse Act, such an action would be illegal without authorisation.

Whether it's "hacking" or not is merely subjective based on the difficulty of doing so.

Whether it's putting two fingers up to your host or not is quite clear.

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"Under the Computer Misuse Act, such an action would be illegal without authorisation."

It doesn't apply within the Ecuadoran embassy although they may have their own legislation about that. If they were to charge him they'd probably have to take him to Ecuador to stand trial. The trip might go via a British court and possibly jail here. Sweden might get involved as well.

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Ten quid says the "hacking" was the highly-skilled vulnerability exploit of plugging his laptop into the wall's LAN socket.

No, it includes intercepting communications, so it's going to be slightly more complex than that.

Remember that he ended up with having his internet connection pulled after Spain gave Ecuador a very severe bollocking over his comments about the Catalan independence thing. (https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/03/28/assange_goes_404/)

So, there's a good motive.

The method was probably to unplug his (useless) wireless access point with integrated switch and plug it in at a desk between the wall socket and the computer.

Being generous, if the embassy was using network access control then he might have also done a man in the middle via wireshark to get the details of the user of that computer to be able to access the network.

The opportunity was probably in the early hours of the morning when there was (practically) nobody else present in the embassy.

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WRONG.

UK law applies in all foreign embassies in the nation.

It's only amabassadors who are immune to prosecution (and only under certain caveats).

Otherwise, you could literally sneak people into a foreign embassy, torture them in front of an open window, and nobody would be able to stop you.

The "foreign soil" thing is NOT TRUE. Stop perpetuating it. The premises are subject to UK law at all times.

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