The Spanish company responsible for collecting information and forwarding it to US intelligence had been hired by the Ecuadorian government to take care of the security of the diplomatic headquarters.
The company hired by the intelligence service of Ecuador to guarantee the security of its Embassy in London when the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, was taking refuge there, carried out espionage for the CIA even in the most delicate moments for the cyberactivist.
The messages revealed by El Pais give a good account of the activities of this small Spanish company, from Jerez de la Frontera, and its efforts to capture all kinds of information, whether documents, audios or videos and to carry out an exhaustive control of the visits that the Australian journalist received and the content of all his communications.
They thwart his departure from the Embassy
A clear example of this is what happened on December 21, 2017, when Assange received a visit from Rommy Vallejo, then head of the Ecuadorian National Intelligence Secretariat (Senain), to transmit highly important confidential information.
The Ecuadorian government and the journalist’s lawyers had designed a plan that only six people knew about to get Assange out of the Embassy, grant him Ecuadorian nationality and a diplomatic passport.
During the meeting they revealed to him that the date of his departure would be only four days lateron December 25, and that the operation would be carried out in a diplomatic car of the ambassador to, through the Eurotunnel, transfer him to Switzerland or another European country.
The meeting, which was also attended by Assange’s lawyer, Stella Morris, and Consul Fidel Narvaez, was recorded on video and audio by the devices of the Spanish company UC Global.
A day before, the head of operations of that company, Michelle Wallemacq, had already warned two of her technicians about what had to be done and its importance: “Be attentive tomorrow to see what you can get… and that everything works”was the message he wrote.
Vallejo was precisely the one who had hired the services of this company without suspecting that its true work was espionage, through cameras and microphones in every corner of the diplomatic legation, and the sale of the information collected to US intelligence.
After the meeting, one of the technicians reported the results to the company founder, David Morales. “It’s too late… I’ve put it in a shared Dropbox because it weighs a lot”, he said about the way to send the information and about its size. “Someone with experience in the sound field can make it be heard to be understood… Al Ecu [Vallejo] he is understood quite well, but the others speak very loosely”, he wrote about the quality of his work.
the stuff was sent that morning to US intelligence and the consequences did not wait. On December 22, the US issued an arrest warrant against Assange to the United Kingdom and the plan to leave the country had to be aborted.
The Australian journalist would remain cloistered in the Embassy for two more years, until he was expelled from the diplomatic headquarters by the Government of Lenin Moreno and arrested by British police. In 2022 its order was extradition to USA, although to this day he still remains in a London jail pending the resolution of his lawyers’ appeals. Washington asks for him 178 years in prison for 18 alleged crimes.
Before the meeting with the head of the Senain, two events had taken place that are important when viewed in perspective. An adviser to the Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was assaulted by several hooded men at the Quito airport. He kept information about the possible departure of Assange and they only took his computer.
Thousands of kilometers away, in Madrid, on December 17, several hooded men also assaulted the office of lawyers Baltasar Garzon and Aitor Martinez in search of the computer server. Garzon and Martinez had just returned from London from visiting Assange.
From ex-military to mercenary
David Morales is a former Spanish soldier who created his company based on the model of the American group Blackwater, known for supplying mercenaries to conflicts such as the one in Iraq.
For years, through several North American clients, such as the billionaire Sheldon Adelson, he was weaving a network of contacts that led him to establish working relationships with American intelligence.
Already 11 months before the failed evacuation of Assange from the United Kingdom, there is knowledge of communications related to his espionage work in the Ecuadorian Embassy. “Do we have reports on the situation of the Embassy’s computer systems and networks? I need an inventory of systems and equipment, guest telephone numbers [Assange]number of networks,” he wrote to one of his technicians. “Those who control are the friends of the USA“, he indicated.
In June 2017, Morales requested that a server for an American client, called X, be activated remotely. In Jerez de la Frontera they had installed an FTP server and a web portal where all the information obtained from spying on the Embassy was accumulated. There it was possible to access the profiles of the visitors by nationality, as well as the IMEI (unique identifiers) of the mobile phones that were photographed.
There are also messages in which Morales told his employees that “had turned to the dark side” and that “he worked in the Champions League”.
Morales was arrested by the Spanish Police in September 2019 after Assange filed a complaint for crimes against privacy, violation of the confidentiality of attorney-client communications, misappropriation, bribery and money laundering.