A wide-ranging UK government campaign was brought to bear on Ecuador to press it
to hand over WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, new information reveals.
* Prime minister Theresa May was told in March 2018 to 'butter up' Ecuador's
president in order to get Assange out of Ecuadorian embassy in London
* Later in the year, May's government spent £20,000 to bring Ecuadorian
officials and defence minister to UK
* British foreign minister arranged Daily Mail hit piece on WikiLeaks publisher
days after his eviction from the embassy
* Same minister gave Ecuador's president a plate from Buckingham Palace gift
shop to 'say thank you' for handing over Assange
* National security adviser Richard Moore, now head of MI6, was in Ecuador two
weeks before Assange was expelled from embassy
The UK government paid £8,330 in November 2018 to bring Ecuador's defence
minister Oswaldo Jarrín to Britain, two months before the planned seizure of
Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, it can be revealed.
It is unusual for foreign ministers to have their trips to the UK paid by the
British government, and the week-long visit came after prime minister Theresa
May had been told to "butter up" Ecuador's president, Lenín Moreno, in order to
get Assange expelled from the embassy.
The new information comes from UK Foreign Office documents released to
Declassified, as well as the recently published diaries of former foreign office
minister, Sir Alan Duncan, who was a key player in the Assange negotiations.
The documents note that "the main objective" of the November 2018 visit was
Jarrín's "participation" at an annual national counter-terrorism exercise that
rehearses the government's response to a major terrorist attack.
The exercise is organised by the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, a
part of the Home Office which "oversees the Security Service [MI5] and police
counter-terrorism operations in the UK".
It is unclear why Ecuador's defence minister was chosen to attend a
counter-terrorism exercise as the South American nation is not a target of
The documents note that "one of the main meetings" was with then armed forces
minister Mark Lancaster, after which the Ministry of Defence reported the two
countries were "strengthening our ties".
Jarrín also visited the Foreign Office's "crisis centre" and met with the head
of UK Export Finance, Louis Taylor.
-- Cont'd at https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2021-04-28-revealed-the-uk-government-campaign-to-force-julian-assange-from-the-ecuadorian-embassy/