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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



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.


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.


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.


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).


Additonal photo of room:


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”.


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.



“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.


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.

police-surveillance-truck-1 police-surveillance-truck-2

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.


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’.”


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.


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.


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.



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.


Video Shows Moment El Chapo Escapes Mexico “Maximum Security” Prison Cell (+ Tunnel Footage)

In Archive, Drugs, El Chapo, Mexico on July 15, 2015 at 2:05 PM



As the government’s story goes, on Jan 19, 2001, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman snuck out of a maximum-security prison in Mexico the first time around by hiding in a laundry cart. It was a cartoonishly sounding escape for a drug cartel leader considered one of the most dangerous men in the world.

But what most likely happened, experts on the subject say, is that Guzman’s first major prison break occurred through the front, dressed as a police officer. It happened with the total backing of the prison itself, from the warden on down.

On Tuesday night, Mexico released video footage of the moment that Chapo made his second implausible escape. In it, a man dressed in sweatpants and a sweatshirt is seen pacing in a cell, then putting on shoes, then ducking below a waist-high barrier of the shower stall in his cell. The time stamp on the video reads 8:52. After that, the man is not seen again.

Although Guzman is well-know for his cartel’s use tunnels to traffic drugs across the US-Mexico border, questions and doubts about the tunnel escape have bubbled up since almost the moment the jailbreak became news.

Some people are still saying they don’t entirely believe the government’s story: “El Chapo” had workers build a secret tunnel more than 30 feet deep and rode a motorcycle on a one-mile track while smashing lightbulbs in his wake to blind any chasers.

The tunnel may have been under construction from the time that Chapo was jailed at Altiplano, but it would have been impossible not to notice the approximately 3.2 tons of dirt and rock required to dig out without being noticed, engineers who made the calculation told newspapers here.

Plus, the escape house sits between the Altiplano prison and a Mexican army base — both of which have security towers — and near a State of Mexico police academy. At the time, a constant additional security perimeter composed of federal police and soldiers should have also noticed Guzman fleeing.

Still others noted that Chapo is shown with his head shaved in an undated headshot the government released of him, while the closed-circuit footage shows  the man escaping with a full head of hair.


Three days since the jailbreak, authorities have admitted that Chapo and his allies probably bought off guards and prison officials at Altiplano. But Mexicans swapping rumors and theories on social media say they believe the corruption rooted in Guzman’s vast drug empire of influence must have reached higher levels in Mexico’s government.

In that sense, “El Chapo” — although he was captured again in February 2014, taken in handcuffs, and put behind bars — “was never in really in custody,” investigative reporter Anabel Hernandez declared on Radio Formula in Mexico on Tuesday.

Given how it really went down in 2001, others argue, the Guzman tunnel story could be all just a charade.

According to Hernandez’s book Narcoland, Guzman’s body inside a laundry cart would have triggered heat sensors at the security checkpoints inside the Puente Grande prison in Jalisco. He escaped through the gates dressed as a police agent, she writes, after gathering testimony and examining Guzman’s case file.

“This prison has sensors everywhere, and automatic doors. It wasn’t possible,” Hernandez told VICE in a 2013 interview.

This time, the public shouldn’t discount the possibility that Guzman escaped “through the front” and that “one person or more helped him,” journalist and author Jesus Lemus told VICE News.

Lemus is a reporter who served time in Puente Grande between 2008 and 2011 on false charges of criminal association, but got released after authorities realized they had the wrong suspect. During his time behind bars, Lemus interviewed prisoners and guards about Chapo’s first escape, years earlier.

“He escaped through the front door, he left disguised as a federal policeman. The prisoners that stayed behind identified him for his eyes and height, and also because he had paid them some favors,” Lemus told VICE News.

“El Chapo is a person that bought loyalties and who knows how to create them. I don’t believe that he escaped through a tunnel. It would be like disregarding his criminal capacity, and he likes to innovate,” the author said. “I’ve been in those prisons and they have at least two meters of reinforced concrete underneath.”

Authorities on Tuesday permitted news photographers to enter the house where the prison tunnel ended and film just above the opening to a deep shaft where authorities say Guzman used a motorcycle to ride the one mile from the Altiplano prison.

News cameras also filmed inside cell 20. Along with the release of the footage inside Guzman’s cell, Mexican authorities are attempting to silence any further uproar over Chapo’s escape.

Interior Minister Miguel Osorio Chong defended the government’s handling of the case so far on Monday night, saying that Mexico’s federal penitentiaries have equal security standards to those of the United States.

“The prison has perimeter barriers, pedestrian and vehicle checkpoints, internal and external security towers, in addition to 26 security filters,” Osorio Chong said. “For more than a year a half, there has been an additional surveillance operation by the federal police and the army at the exterior of this prison.”

Three prison officials including the warden have been fired. At least 53 others have been questioned in connection to the Chapo jailbreak, including prison employees, inmates, and two of Guzman’s lawyers.

Osorio Chong said any government employees who are proven to have aided Chapo’s escape were “disloyal” and committed “betrayal” against the security forces that captured Guzman in Mazatlan last year, “risking their lives.”

But Mexico got a warning. United States anti-drug agents reportedly told Mexican officials that they had gathered murmurs of Chapo seeking an escape from Altiplano as soon as one month after his arrest. Drug Enforcement Administration agents in Los Angeles and Houston said a prison break was probably in the works, an AP report said. Osorio Chong denied the Mexican government had any such knowledge.

“My colleagues at the DEA received a report in which various plans for an escape were detailed, but that was months ago, and we thought that they were doing something about it,” an ex-DEA agent, Gilberto Gonzalez, told VICE News in an interview this week. “But now we see they didn’t.”

“It’s very disappointing for my colleagues who participated in his arrest, because they feel they risked their lives for nothing,” Gonzalez added.

Jose Luis Montenegro, author of a recent book on Chapo’s sons called “Narcojuniors,” pointed out that attorneys have filed appeals to prevent any extradition of Chapo to the US from going forward. While on the inside, Guzman and other inmates complained of prison conditions to the national human rights commission, sparking an investigation that turned up nothing.

All of this may have worked to stall for time so that Chapo’s tunnel could be built — for actual use or not, Montenegro told VICE News.

“This looks more like complicity than a government omission,” he said. “Just like in 2001, you co-opt the authorities, through bribes and threats, and then use your own people, like now.”

Montenegro monitors social-media accounts linked to several of Chapo’s sons and associates. Those accounts are not unverified. They’ve also remained largely silent since Chapo escaped.

The author said geo-localization and links between the accounts themselves give him confidence it was Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar, one of three sons from Chapo’s first marriage, who tweeted on July 6: “Everything comes to those who know how to wait.”

Five days later, his father broke free from prison.

Leaked Video Shows Making of Islamic State “Execution” in Studio — via CyberBerkut Hack of Sen. McCain Staffer

In Archive, CIA, Islamic State, Jihadi John, Military, Politics, Terrorism on July 12, 2015 at 2:56 PM



CyberBerkut (Google Translation):

We CyberBerkut received at the disposal of the file whose value can not be overstated!

Dear Senator McCain! We recommend you next time in foreign travel, and especially on the territory of Ukraine, not to take confidential documents.

On one of the devices of your colleagues, we found a lot of interesting things. Something we decided to put: this video should become the property of the international community!


The 3 ½ minute silent video appears to show infamous Islamic State executioner Jihadi John (aka Mohammed Emwazi) in front of a giant green screen, standing beside a kneeling hostage wearing an orange jumpsuit and a green screen hood. They are inside a lit studio with a production crew and can be seen rehearsing an “execution”. The desert scene of the set, complete with wind machine, are similar to that shown in the beheading videos of James Foley, Steven Sotloff, David Haines, and Alan Henning.


Here is an example someone put together showing the similarities between the leaked studio video and the Foley beheading video. This is not implying the person in the leaked video is Foley, it may be anyone. Though they are not identical, it gives a good comparison:



British forensic experts concluded that the James Foley video was likely staged using “camera trickery and slick post-production techniques.”

Terrorism research expert Veryan Khan said the video of Japanese hostages Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa looks like it was completed in an indoor studio with a false backdrop, pointing to the light source on the men that appears to be coming from two different directions — as opposed to one bright sun.

Hollywood horror film director Mary Lambert said of the Islamic State video showing the killing of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians on a Libyan beach, that “in the opening shot all the figures might be animated. They never had more than six men on the beach … The close-ups of jihadists on the beach are most likely green screen … The sea turning red is obviously FX.”

Journalist Thomas Wictor has claimed that the Islamic State video showing Jordanian pilot Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh burned alive was actually fake, pointing to evidence of CGI flames and video glitches.


LeakSource cannot confirm the video’s authenticity. If it’s a hoax, it’s a pretty elaborate and expensive one. Is it legit? If so, was it done by an Islamic State production crew (unlikely with a female PA on set) , or someone else (ie. intelligence agency). And why was it found on a device of Senator John McCain’s staffer?


Steve Watson/PrisonPlanet (05/25/2010) & Mikael Thalen/Infowars (09/03/2014):

A 2010 Washington Post article authored by former Army Intelligence Officer Jeff Stein features a detailed account of how the CIA admittedly filmed a fake Bin Laden video during the run up to the 2003 Iraq war.

The article, which includes comments from multiple sources within the CIA’s Iraq Operations Group, explains how the agency had planned to “flood Iraq with the videos” depicting several controversial scenarios.

“The agency actually did make a video purporting to show Osama bin Laden and his cronies sitting around a campfire swigging bottles of liquor and savoring their conquests with boys, one of the former CIA officers recalled, chuckling at the memory,” the article states. “The actors were drawn from ‘some of us darker-skinned employees.’”

Other CIA officials admitted to planning several fake videos featuring former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, one of which would depict the leader engaged in sexual acts with a teenage boy.

“It would look like it was taken by a hidden camera,” said one of the former officials. “Very grainy, like it was a secret videotaping of a sex session.”

Another idea was to interrupt Iraqi television programming with a fake special news bulletin. An actor playing Hussein would announce that he was stepping down in favor of his (much-reviled) son Uday.

“I’m sure you will throw your support behind His Excellency Uday,” the fake Hussein would intone.

According to one official, the video ideas were eventually scrapped due to the CIA officers, who spent their careers in Latin America and East Asia, not understanding “the cultural nuances of the region.”

The former officials told Stein that the project was taken over by the military after it ground to a halt:

The reality, the former officials said, was that the agency really didn’t have enough money and expertise to carry out the projects.

“The military took them over,” said one. “They had assets in psy-war down at Ft. Bragg,” at the army’s special warfare center.

This latest revelation bolsters evidence that the intelligence agencies, and perhaps more significantly, the military have been engaged in creating fake Bin Laden videos in the past.

As we have exhaustively documented, Intelcenter, the U.S. monitoring group that routinely releases Bin Laden video and audio, much of which have been proven to be either rehashed old footage or outright fakes, is an offshoot of IDEFENSE, a web security company that monitors intelligence from the middle east.

IDEFENSE is heavily populated by long serving ex military intelligence officials, such as senior military psy-op intelligence officer Jim Melnick, who served 16 years in the US army and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in psychological operations. Melnick has also worked directly for former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Intelcenter notoriously released the “laughing hijackers” tape and claimed it was an Al-Qaeda video, despite the fact that the footage was obtained by a “security agency” at a 2000 Bin Laden speech.

IntelCenter was also caught adding its logo to a tape at the same time as Al-Qaeda’s so-called media arm As-Sahab added its logo, proving the two organizations were one and the same.

Could the CIA group of “dark skinned actors” have been behind the infamous December 2001 “Fat nosed” Bin Laden video, that was magically found in a house in Jalalabad after anti-Taliban forces moved in?

The tape featured a fat Osama laughing and joking about how he’d carried out 9/11. The video was also mistranslated in order to manipulate viewer opinion and featured “Bin Laden” praising two of the hijackers, only he got their names wrong. This Osama also used the wrong hand to write with and wore gold rings, a practice totally in opposition to the Muslim faith.

Despite the fact that the man in the video looks nothing like Bin Laden, the CIA stood by it and declared it to be the official “9/11 confession video”.

The latest revelations also shed light on another past Bin Laden release – a tape in which he ludicrously declared himself in league with Saddam Hussein in the weeks before the invasion of Iraq.

The notion that the CIA project was taken over and drastically improved by the Pentagon at some point after 2003 jives with the improvement in quality of Bin Laden videos in later years. Most notably the video that was released immediately ahead of the 2004 election, and it’s digitally manipulated duplicate from 2007, in which Bin Laden appeared to have a dyed beard.


John McCain’s last visit to Ukraine was June 19th, 2015. If this is when the hack occurred is unclear. He was also accompanied by Senators Tom Cotton and John Barrasso. They were welcomed by U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, and met with senior Ukrainian officials, including President Petro Poroshenko, after visiting troops and volunteers working on the front line. Since McCain is referenced by CyberBerkut, it is most likely that one of his staffers was hacked and not the other senators. Someone needs to FOIA which staffers accompanied McCain on his trip and if any have lost their jobs unceremoniously.



*LeakSource has requested a comment directly from CyberBerkut to confirm the hack and provide more information. This post will be updated with their response when it becomes available along with any other details as they emerge.

Hacking Team Hacked: 400GB Data Dump of Internal Documents/Emails/Source Code from Notorious Spyware Dealer

In Archive, Hacking, Hacking Team, Malware, Surveillance, WikiLeaks on July 7, 2015 at 9:07 AM



The controversial Italian surveillance company Hacking Team, which sells spyware to governments all around the world, including agencies in Ethiopia, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, as well as the US Drug Enforcement Administration, has been seriously hacked.

Hackers have made 400GB of client files, contracts, financial documents, and internal emails, some as recent as 2015, publicly available for download.

What’s more, the unknown hackers announced their feat through Hacking Team’s own Twitter account.


Torrent Links:!Xx1lhChT!rbB-LQQyRypxd5bcQnqu-IMZN20ygW_lWfdHdqpKH3E
Source Codes:

Last year, a hacker who only went by the name “PhineasFisher” hacked the controversial surveillance tech company Gamma International, a British-German surveillance company that sells the spyware software FinFisher. He then went on to leak more than 40GB of internal data from the company, which has been long criticized for selling to repressive governments.


That same hacker has now claimed responsibility for the breach of Hacking Team, that sells a similar product called Remote Control System Galileo.

Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai/Motherboard:

On Sunday night, I reached out to the hacker while he was in control of Hacking Team’s Twitter account via a direct message to @hackingteam. Initially, PhineasFisher responded with sarcasm, saying he was willing to chat because “we got such good publicity from your last story!” referring to a recent story I wrote about the company’s CEO claiming to be able to crack the dark web.

Afterwards, however, he also claimed that he was PhineasFisher. To prove it, he told me he would use the parody account he used last year to promote the FinFisher hack to claim responsibility.

“I am the same person behind that hack,” he told me before coming out publicly.

The hacker, however, declined to answer to any further questions.

The leak of 400GB of internal files contains “everything,” according to a person close to the company, who only spoke on condition of anonymity. The files contain internal emails between employees; a list of customers, including some, such as the FBI, that were previously unknown; and allegedly even the source code of Hacking Team’s software, its crown jewels.




Download Spreadsheet

Download Spreadsheet


Download Spreadsheet


Screenshot shows an email dated 2014 from Hacking Team’s founder and CEO David Vincenzetti to another employee. In the email, titled “Yet another Citizen Lab attack,” Vincenzetti links to a report from the online digital rights research center Citizen Lab, at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, which has exposed numerous cases of abuse from Hacking Team’s clients.


Hacking Team has never revealed a list of its clients, and has always and repeatedly denied selling to sketchy governments, arguing that it has an internal procedure to address human rights concerns about prospective customers.

The email about Citizen Lab is filed in a folder called “Anti HT activists.”






via Thomas Fox-Brewster/Forbes:

In-depth notes on the level of exploitation across a number of Android devices, from the likes of Samsung, HTC and Huawei. It appears the exploits weren’t always successful in accessing voice or texts on phones.

Hacking Team operations manager Daniele Milan’s email from January indicated some imminent features in Hacking Team’s tools included “physical infection of BitLocker protected disks”, thereby bypassing the much-used Microsoft disk encryption technology, as well as “extraction of information from pictures posted on Facebook and Twitter”. It will also soon be able to “capture of documents edited using Google Docs or Office 365”, the roadmap suggested.

Another email from Milan, dated 15 May, indicated the security-focused messaging application Wickr was on the target list too, thanks to a request from the US government. “I had a call this morning with an agent from Homeland Security Investigations [a body within the Department of Homeland Security], and he told me he got some requests to intercept suspects using this application, Wickr… we may want to keep an eye on it and eventually evaluate to add support.”

via Dan Goodin/ArsTechnica:

Another document boasts of Hacking Team’s ability to bypass certificate pinning and the HTTP strict transport security mechanisms that are designed to make HTTPS website encryption more reliable and secure. “Our solution is the only way to intercept TOR traffic at the moment,” the undated PowerPoint presentation went on to say.

Elsewhere, the document stated: “HTTPS Everywhere enforces https and could send rogue certificates to the EFF SSL Observatory.” HTTPS Everywhere is a browser extension developed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation that ensures end users use HTTPS when connecting to a preset list of websites. The statement appears to be a warning that any fraudulent certificates Galileo relies on could become public if used against HTTPS Everywhere users when they have selected an option to send anonymous copies of HTTPS certificates to EFF’s SSL Observatory database.


Renowned cryptographer Bruce Schneier: “The Hacking Team CEO, David Vincenzetti, doesn’t like me:”

In another [e-mail], the Hacking Team CEO on 15 May claimed renowned cryptographer Bruce Schneier was “exploiting the Big Brother is Watching You FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) phenomenon in order to sell his books, write quite self-promoting essays, give interviews, do consulting etc. and earn his hefty money.”









Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai/Motherboard:

After suffering a massive hack, the controversial surveillance tech company Hacking Team is scrambling to limit the damage as well as trying to figure out exactly how the attackers hacked their systems.

But the hack hasn’t just ruined the day for Hacking Team’s employees. The company has told all its customers to shut down all operations and suspend all use of the company’s spyware, Motherboard has learned.

“They’re in full on emergency mode,” a source who has inside knowledge of Hacking Team’s operations told Motherboard.

Hacking Team notified all its customers on Monday morning with a “blast email,” requesting them to shut down all deployments of its Remote Control System software, also known as Galileo, according to multiple sources. The company also doesn’t have access to its email system as of Monday afternoon, a source said.

A source told Motherboard that the hackers appears to have gotten “everything,” likely more than what the hacker has posted online, perhaps more than one terabyte of data.

It’s unclear how the hackers got their hands on the stash, but judging from the leaked files, they broke into the computers of Hacking Team’s two systems administrators, Christian Pozzi and Mauro Romeo, who had access to all the company’s files, according to the source.

In a series of tweets on Monday morning, which have been since deleted, Pozzi said that Hacking Team was working closely with the police, and warned everyone who was downloading the files and commenting on them.

“Be warned that the torrent file the attackers claim is clean has a virus,” he wrote. “Stop seeding and spreading false info.”

The future of the company, at this point, it’s uncertain.

Employees fear this might be the beginning of the end, according to sources. One current employee, for example, started working on his resume, a source told Motherboard.

It’s also unclear how customers will react to this, but a source said that it’s likely that customers from countries such as the US will pull the plug on their contracts.

Hacking Team asked its customers to shut down operations, but according to one of the leaked files, as part of Hacking Team’s “crisis procedure,” it could have killed their operations remotely.

The company, in fact, has “a backdoor” into every customer’s software, giving it ability to suspend it or shut it down—something that even customers aren’t told about.

To make matters worse, every copy of Hacking Team’s Galileo software is watermarked, according to the source, which means Hacking Team, and now everyone with access to this data dump, can find out who operates it and who they’re targeting with it.

Hacking Team did not answer to repeated requests for comment, both to its US spokesperson Eric Rabe as well as directly to its office in Milan, Italy.


When asked about the identity of the person or group who carried out the attack, Rabe indicated that he believed the attack was the work of a nation state or a criminal gang, and not the work of an activist as many have speculated:

“Doing our own forensics here, we think this was a very sophisticated attack, and certainly not the work of an amateur. The press seems to take the view that this was some sort of human rights activist but I think that is far from certain and it could easily have been criminal activity or some government activity,” adding that “this is almost certainly an international crime”.

When it was pointed out that if a government or criminal group was behind the attack then posting all the information online seems a strange move, Rabe said: “I am not sure why anybody would do that, but part of the effort here was to disrupt our operations as much as possible so I think that would be a motive for many different people.”

When asked if this could be the work of one of Hacking Team’s competitors such as UK-based Gamma International or Israeli NSO Group, Rabe said: “I think that is unlikely” though he admitted that just like everyone else he was speculating.

While some media reports have suggested the company is working with the Italian police to investigate the attack, Rabe says that all he will say is that the company is “working with law enforcement” reiterating that this was an international attack.









*This post will be continuously updated as there is much more new information emerging. Post anything you find in the comments below and I will add them to the article. LAST UPDATE: 07/13/2015 @ 8PM EST


Related Links:

WikiLeaks SpyFiles on HackingTeam

To Protect and Infect: The Militarization of the Internet – Claudio Guarnieri, Morgan Marquis-Boire, Jacob Appelbaum @ 30c3

Secret Manuals Show the Spyware Sold to Despots and Cops Worldwide

Leaked Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) Documents; Largest “Trade Deal” in History – WikiLeaks

In Archive, Economy, Politics, TiSA, WikiLeaks on July 5, 2015 at 11:35 AM


UPDATED 07/02/2015 (44 PDFs & 1 PNG/RAR/16MB)


WikiLeaks Press Releases:


Today, WikiLeaks released the secret draft text for the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) Financial Services Annex, which covers 50 countries and 68.2%1 of world trade in services. The US and the EU are the main proponents of the agreement, and the authors of most joint changes, which also covers cross-border data flow. In a significant anti-transparency manoeuvre by the parties, the draft has been classified to keep it secret not just during the negotiations but for five years after the TiSA enters into force.

Despite the failures in financial regulation evident during the 2007-2008 Global Financial Crisis and calls for improvement of relevant regulatory structures2, proponents of TiSA aim to further deregulate global financial services markets. The draft Financial Services Annex sets rules which would assist the expansion of financial multi-nationals – mainly headquartered in New York, London, Paris and Frankfurt – into other nations by preventing regulatory barriers. The leaked draft also shows that the US is particularly keen on boosting cross-border data flow, which would allow uninhibited exchange of personal and financial data.

TiSA negotiations are currently taking place outside of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) framework. However, the Agreement is being crafted to be compatible with GATS so that a critical mass of participants will be able to pressure remaining WTO members to sign on in the future. Conspicuously absent from the 50 countries covered by the negotiations are the BRICS countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China. The exclusive nature of TiSA will weaken their position in future services negotiations.

The draft text comes from the April 2014 negotiation round – the sixth round since the first held in April 2013. The next round of negotiations will take place on 23-27 June in Geneva, Switzerland.

Current WTO parties negotiating TISA are: Australia, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, the United States, and the European Union, which includes its 28 member states Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

China and Uruguay have expressed interest in joining the negotiations but so far are not included.

[1] Swiss National Center for Competence in Research: A Plurilateral Agenda for Services?: Assessing the Case for a Trade in Services Agreement, Working Paper No. 2013/29, May 2013, p. 10.

[2] For example, in June 2012 Ecuador tabled a discussion on re-thinking regulation and GATS rules; in September 2009 the Commission of Experts on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System, convened by the President of the United Nations and chaired by Joseph Stiglitz, released its final report, stating that “All trade agreements need to be reviewed to ensure that they are consistent with the need for an inclusive and comprehensive international regulatory framework which is conducive to crisis prevention and management, counter-cyclical and prudential safeguards, development, and inclusive finance.”

Read the Secret Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) – Financial Services Annex

Read the Analysis Article – Secret Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) – Financial Services Annex

Recommended reading:



WikiLeaks releases today 17 secret documents from the ongoing TiSA (Trade In Services Agreement) negotiations which cover the United States, the European Union and 23 other countries including Turkey, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, Taiwan & Israel — which together comprise two-thirds of global GDP. “Services” now account for nearly 80 per cent of the US and EU economies and even in developing countries like Pakistan account for 53 per cent of the economy. While the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has become well known in recent months in the United States, the TiSA is the larger component of the strategic TPP-TISA-TTIP ‘T-treaty trinity’. All parts of the trinity notably exclude the ‘BRICS’ countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The release coincides with TiSA meetings at the ministerial level at the OECD in Paris today (3–5 June). The ‘T-treaty trinity’ of TPP-TISA-TTIP is also under consideration for collective ‘Fast-Track’ authority in Congress this month. (UPDATE 06/29/2015 Obama Signs Bill Giving Himself Fast-Track Powers for Trade Deals)

The TiSA release today follows the WikiLeaks publication of the secret draft financial services annex of the TISA negotiations on 19 June 2014 showing the aim to further deregulate the financial sector, despite widespread consensus that lack of oversight and regulation was the main cause of the last global financial crisis of 2008. Today’s release confirms the ongoing determination to deregulate. Furthermore, standstill clauses will tie the hands of future governments to implement changes in response to changing environment.

Today’s release is the largest on secret TiSA documents and covers numerous previously undisclosed areas. It contains drafts and annexes on issues such as air traffic, maritime, professional services, e-commerce, delivery services, transparency, domestic regulation, as well as several document on the positions of negotiating parties. WikiLeaks has also published detailed expert analysis of the topics covered in today’s release.

Browse the TiSA documents published by WikiLeaks here.

Read more:



Today, 1500 CEST Wednesday, 1 July 2015, WikiLeaks releases a modern journalistic holy grail: the secret Core Text for the largest ‘trade deal’ in history, the TiSA (Trade In Services Agreement), whose 52 nations together comprise two-thirds of global GDP. The negotiating parties are the United States, the 28 members of the European Union and 23 other countries, including Turkey, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, Taiwan and Israel.

Today’s publication happens the week before the next TiSA negotiating round that begins on Monday, 6 July. WikiLeaks is also today publishing the full agenda for next week’s negotiations, which shows that discussions will focus on Financial Services, Telecommunications and the Movement of Natural Persons.

WikiLeaks is also publishing a previously unpublished Annex text – the secret TiSA Annex on Government Procurement. The draft Annex aims to reduce procurement regulation to ensure that TiSA governments will not favour local services over services supplied by foreign multinationals.

WikiLeaks is also publishing the new negotiating texts for three highly controversial TiSA annexes: the annexes on the Movement of Natural Persons, the Domestic Regulation Annex and the Transparency Annex. All three texts include negotiating positions of each of the participant countries in the TiSA negotiations, and illustrate developments from previous versions of the TiSA annexes, also published by WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks has also released 36 pages of our own expert analysis.

While the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP) have become well known in recent months, the TiSA is the largest component of the United States’ strategic neoliberal ‘trade’ treaty triumvirate. Together, the three treaties form not only a new legal order shaped for transnational corporations, but a new economic “grand enclosure”, which excludes China and all other BRICS countries.

According to statements made in April by US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, parts of the triumvirate are “as important” to the US engagement with Asia as “another aircraft carrier”. All three treaties have been subject to stringent criticism for the lack of transparency and public consultation in their negotiation processes. TiSA drafts are classified for a period of five years after the completion of the treaty.

According to NSA interceptions of French treasurer Jean-Francois Boittin published by WikiLeaks on Tuesday “Washington is negotiating with every nation that borders China… so as to ‘confront Beijing’.”

The TiSA Core Text shows how this negotiation aims at going beyond the GATS agreement, substantially further restricting what governments can do in services. There are far more extensive criteria for commercial firms, including foreign ones, to force governments to protect their corporate interests. Changes to scheduling bring more services than GATS under two main rules regarding commercial businesses working in foreign jurisdictions: non-discrimination in favour of local companies and market access abilities to not limit the size and shape of foreign companies in the market.

The text also shows TiSA expanding the GATS agreement to include new “disciplines” such as those on domestic regulation, transparency and eCommerce. TiSA is also of great worry to developing countries, a number of whom will be bound by this agreement, as it does not give any of the GATS provisions for them, but instead gives greater protections for foreign growth into the countries, with protections for national services far lesser than GATS’.

Today’s publication of the TiSA Core Text adds to WikiLeaks’ prior publications of numerous secret TiSA annexes. The text reveals the ideological and legal underpinnings of the TiSA, and provides the overarching context for each of the TiSA annexes.

According to World Bank figures, “services” comprise 75% of the EU economy and 80% of the US economy. For a typical developing country like Pakistan, services comprise 53% of its economy. The TiSA covers the majority of the global economy.

Julian Assange



Today, Wednesday July 2, 2015 at 1500 CEST, WikiLeaks continues publishing documents from the secret ongoing TiSA (Trade in Services Agremeent) negotiations, with four Chapters in key areas ahead of the next negotiating round on Monday: Electronic Commerce, Telecommunications Services, Financial Services and Maritime Transport Services. All four texts include the confidential negotiating positions for each of the TiSA participating countries. Today WikiLeaks is also publishing detailed analyses on each of these Chapters, totalling 26 pages, explaining how they have changed since previous rounds, also published by WikiLeaks.

The Annexes show a concerted attempt to place restrictions on the ability of participating governments to regulate services sectors, even where regulations are necessary to protect the privacy of domestic populations, the natural environment or the integrity of public services. Today’s TiSA documents follow WikiLeaks publication yesterday of five TiSA negotiating texts including the Core Text, and brings WikiLeaks’ overall total of published secret TiSA texts to 28.


Related Links:

Leaked Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Documents; WikiLeaks Raising $100,000 Reward for Missing Chapters

EU/US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) Draft Leaked

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