WIKILEAKS

Spanish firm that spied on Julian Assange tried to find out if he fathered a child at Ecuadorian embassy

Owner of security company watching diplomatic building ordered a baby diaper stolen in a bid to find DNA

Julian Assange's friend Stephen Hoo walking into the Ecuadorian embassy in London with one of the cyberactivist's babies in 2017.
Julian Assange's friend Stephen Hoo walking into the Ecuadorian embassy in London with one of the cyberactivist's babies in 2017.

The spying that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was subjected to during the seven years that he lived at the Ecuadorian embassy in London extended to his most intimate relations.

The Spanish security firm Undercover Global SL, which had been tasked with protecting the embassy, monitored every visit that Assange received, and even investigated whether he might have fathered a child during this period.

A few days ago, a 37-year-old lawyer named Stella Morris, who is a member of Assange’s legal team, told The Mail on Sunday that Assange, 48, is the father of her two children, aged one and two. Morris said they were conceived while the WikiLeaks founder was staying at the embassy to avoid extradition to the United States on charges of leaking thousands of classified intelligence documents.

David Morales, a former military official who owns the security firm Undercover Global SL, is under investigation by Spain’s High Court, the Audiencia Nacional, for spying on Assange’s meetings with his lawyers and allegedly handing information to the CIA.

Morales suspected that a baby who was repeatedly brought into the embassy by Stephen Hoo, an actor friend of Assange’s who paid him regular visits, might really be the cyberactivist’s own child, and these visits were recorded.

Morales even issued orders to steal the baby’s diapers to analyze the contents for DNA, although the task was never carried out. Reports were drawn up about Stella Morris and about Stephen Hoo, according to video and documentary material to which EL PAÍS has had access.

It was an employee of the Spanish security firm who alerted Assange’s partner about the plans: “They wanted to prove that it was his child in a bid to harm him. There were talks with three Madrid labs to see how the parental connection could be proved. One of them said that DNA cannot be extracted from feces. There was an attempt to take the baby’s pacifier,” said a former employee of Undercover Gobal SL.

A company report dated October 27, 2017 details Hoo’s visits to the Ecuadorian embassy and sheds light on Morales’ obsession with getting to the bottom of Assange’s best-kept secret during his life as a recluse.

The report noted that Hoo always showed up for his visits in the company of a minor “that he tells the security team is his own child.” The author of the report also wrote that attempts at seeing identification for the child were fruitless, and that Stella Morris always “arrives a few minutes before Stephen Hoo, and departs a few minutes after the latter leaves, although normally she stays for entire days with the host [codename for Assange] and even spends entire nights with him.”

After the unnamed employee alerted Morris, the baby’s visits to the embassy ended.

“Stella Morris arrives at the Hotel [the embassy] at 1.49pm and leaves at 4.11pm while Stephen Hoo arrives at 2.06pm and leaves at 3.56pm on November 25,” reads the report, which includes two photographs of Hoo walking into the embassy’s entrance hall and carrying one of Assange’s children in a baby carrier.

The report provides details about the actor obtained from the British press, and speculates that Hoo might not really be the baby’s father. “Based on information regarding the possibility that the host [Assange] may have fathered a child during his confinement at the embassy, and given the recent visits by this baby, always in the company of Stella Morris, we posit that, due to the ties of affection between the latter and the host, it cannot be ruled out that the baby could have some kind of relationship between both. The data obtained so far does not allow us to make this assertion, and we continue to work on collecting evidence that might lead to a more accurate result.”

Morris, who said she and Assange are planning to get married, made her revelations to The Mail on Sunday after first telling a judge in the hopes that the cyberactivist will be granted bail. Assange has been in Belmarsh Prison ever since he was forcibly evicted from the embassy a year ago. If he were extradited to the US, he would be facing up to 178 years in prison.

Morales was arrested in October and released while the courts investigate him for alleged violations of privacy and client-attorney privilege, besides misappropriation, bribery and money laundering. The criminal investigation was launched a few weeks after EL PAÍS revealed video, audio and documentary material showing that the Spanish company had spied on Assange’s meetings with his lawyers and aides.

English version by Susana Urra.

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