Bug found in Ecuador embassy in London. Source: Wikileaks by Corp Watch
by Pratap Chatterjee , CorpWatch Blog -
July 3rd, 2013
equipment from the Surveillance Group Limited, a British private
detective agency based in Worcester, England, has been found in the
Ecuadorean embassy in London where Julian Assange, editor of Wikileaks,
has taken refuge.
the company appears to have completely failed to foil the plans of
Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, which were likely hatched in the very
building that was being bugged and most certainly did not dissuade them
from launching a daring international escape for the former spy, that
was worthy of Hollywood.
At a press conference in Quito this afternoon, Ricardo PatiÃ±o, the foreign minister of Ecuador, held up a photo of a "spy microphone" that was found on June 14 inside a small white box that was placed in an electrical outlet behind a bookshelf. The device contained a telephone SIM card allowing it to broadcast any conversations that it picked up.
are requesting backing from the British government to continue with the
investigation of the device found," PatiÃ±o told reporters.
device was discovered by embassy security staff just two days before
PatiÃ±o met with Assange to discuss his predicament. It coincided with
revelations from Edward Snowden, a former U.S. Central Intelligence
Agency (CIA) staffer, of the extent of U.S. National Security Agency global surveillance on ordinary citizens.
has yet come forward to claim the device but a casual web search
reveals that the Surveillance Group boasts of its ability to install
tracking devices anywhere.
"We can justifiably claim to be the
only company in the world to offer an internationally accredited, covert
camera construction, concealment and deployment course," a company
website claims. "We can provide
a range of bespoke, unmanned, covert camera options to gather vital
video evidence in the most challenging environment or scenarios. The cameras can further be supported by the use of micro tracking devices for deployment with customer property or vehicles."
Bugging places is just one of the services that the Surveillance Group provides to corporations and police forces.
"We are the acknowledged experts in providing Professional Witness surveillance to the police and local authorities
in relation to drugs, prostitution, gang violence, hate crime and
antisocial behavior," the company says on another page on its website.
work in this arena includes the detection of malpractice by employees
relative to the passing of confidential company information or the
infringement of restrictive covenants and breaches of contract."
web pages show pictures of hooded youth smashing store windows as well
as testimonials from companies like Nike who congratulated them on
helping find addresses of vendors selling counterfeit goods: "I am
extremely impressed with the service provided by the team at The
Surveillance Group and would definitely recommend them for brand
protection work," Chloe Young, a Nike official was quoted as saying.
The Surveillance Group also offers "professional diplomas" in "tactical counter surveillance" for -5190 ($8,000)
On June 23 Wikileaks staffer Sarah Harrison spirited Snowden out of Hong Kong - where he had been staying - to Moscow, taking the intelligence agencies by surprise.
The listening device is not the only way that Ecuador suspects that it is being monitored. An article in the Wall Street Journal last week quoted extensively from email correspondence between aides of President Rafael Correa, revealing that someone was hacking internal government communications.
suggest talking to Assange to better control the communications," the
newspaper quoted Nathalie Cely, Ecuador's ambassador to the U.S. in a
message to presidential spokesman Fernando Alvarado. "From
outside"[Assange] appears to be 'running the show.'"
The Journal said it has obtained the emails from Univision Networks, a U.S. based Spanish TV network, but Wikileaks says that the U.S. government could well have provided them with the raw material.
It should be noted that a number of private vendors around the world provide technology to hack email communications for "lawful interception" purposes.
These incidents have stirred deep anger among government officials in Quito.
The Ecuadorian government is being "infiltrated from all sides,"
said Patino. "This is a testament to the loss of ethics at an
international level in the relations that we have with other
However, the interception of emails from South
American governments appears to have been just as useless as the bugging
at foiling Snowden's plans. On July 2, the U.S. government sparked a
diplomatic crisis by attempting to block a flight by President Evo Morales of Bolivia,
under the suspicion that he was transporting Snowden. Morales was
detained at Vienna airport for 14 hours but eventually completed his
of Ecuador's London embassy and the blockading of Morales jet shows
that imperial arrogance is the gift that keeps on giving," tweeted Wikileaks.
- Advertisement -
CorpWatch: Non-profit investigative research and journalism to expose
corporate malfeasance and to advocate for multinational corporate
accountability and transparency. We work to foster global justice,
independent media activism and democratic control over corporations.
We seek to expose multinational corporations that profit from war,
fraud, environmental, human rights and other abuses, and to provide
critical information to foster a more informed public and an effective
Our guiding vision is to promote human, environmental, social and worker rights at the
local, national and global levels by making corporate practices more
transparent and holding corporations accountable for their actions.
independent investigative researchers and journalists, we provide critical information
to foster a more informed public and an effective democracy.
We believe the actions, decisions, and policies undertaken and
pursued by private corporations have very real impact on public life --
from individuals to communities around the world. Yet few mechanisms
currently exist to hold them accountable for those actions. As a result,
it falls to the public sphere to protect the public interest.
In many cases, corporate power and influence eclipses even the democratic
process itself as they exert disproportional influence on public policy
they deem detrimental to their narrow self-interests. In less developed
nations, they usurp authority altogether, often purchasing government
complicity for unfair practices at the expense of economic,
environmental, human, labor and social rights.
Yet despite the
very public impact of their actions and decisions, corporations remain
bound to be accountable solely to their own private financial
considerations and the interests of their shareholders. They have little
incentive, nor requirement, for public transparency regarding their
decisions and practices, let alone concrete accountability for their
| /* The Petition Site */
|The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author
and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.