An exclusive investigation by The Grayzone reveals new details on the critical role Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands played in an apparent CIA spying operation targeting Julian Assange, and exposes the Sands security staff who helped coordinate the malicious campaign.
by Max Blumenthal
“I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole.”
–Mike Pompeo, College Station, TX, April 15, 2019
Part 10 - Sabotaging Assange’s exit strategy, robbery and assassination plots
Throughout December 2017, Assange and his lawyers were formulating a plan to exit the embassy under the protections granted to diplomats under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. One proposal called for appointing Assange as a diplomat for a friendly government like Bolivia or Serbia, thus guaranteeing him diplomatic immunity. The final component of the plan relied on cooperation from the head of Ecuador’s SENAIN, Rommy Vallejo, who was technically the boss of Morales. Vallejo arrived at the embassy on December 20, 2017 – just five days before Assange planned to leave the embassy.
“It was the last step,” said Martinez of the visit by the SENAIN chief. “[Vallejo] was going to speak with Julian [Assange] about final details to leave the embassy and arrange a diplomatic vehicle. Now, after checking all the records and emails, we found that when he visited Julian, Morales told [his spy team] to record everything, open all the cameras, and take all data of all telephone mobiles.”
Indeed, as soon as the meeting was finished, Morales asked his employees to send the full surveillance records to him by Dropbox. The UC Global team proceeded to open Vallejo’s phones and take his mobile codes.
On December 21, the day after Assange’s meeting with the SENAIN chief, US prosecutors secretly filed charges against Assange in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia.
According to a source involved in the plan to grant Assange diplomatic immunity, the US ambassador to Ecuador, Todd Chapman, informed Ecuadorian authorities that he had learned of the initiative, and warned them against executing it.
The source also told The Grayzone that when one of the Ecuadorian officials involved in conceiving the strategy to free Assange from the embassy returned to Quito, his official government vehicle was stopped on a road by masked gunmen on a motorcycle who robbed him of his laptop. The computer contained detailed information about the plan to legally allow Assange to leave the embassy.
Guillaume Long, the foreign minister of Ecuador under Correa, told The Grayzone that the US-coordinated spying operation targeting Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy was “a major breach of sovereignty, of international law and the rules by which international diplomacy is regulated. And it’s completely illegal and, I would argue, really undermines the US case for the extradition of Julian Assange.”
The alleged robbery of an Ecuadorian official in Quito was consistent with another violent plan divulged by a former UC Global employee in the Spanish court.
The ex-staffer recalled Morales mentioning that “the Americans were desperate” to end Assange’s presence in the embassy. Thus they were “proposing to activate more extreme measures against him,” including “the possibility of leaving one diplomatic mission door open, arguing that it was an accidental mistake, to allow the entrance and kidnapping of the asylum seeker; or even the possibility of poisoning Mr. Assange.”
The staffers were shocked when they learned of the proposal and protested to Morales that the direction he was taking “was starting to get dangerous.”