Assange was granted asylum by Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa, who is known for launching lawsuits and verbal assaults against his country’s own media. So this is not exactly a freedom-of-press champion.
Julian could now, in theory, go to sunny Ecuador to avoid extradition, but nobody really knows how exactly he intends to do so since he would be arrested the moment he stepped out of the embassy’s door.
Maybe he could do like someone in one of those old Errol Flynn movies and hide himself under a hay carriage headed towards Heathrow airport?
It’s a hairy situation and the British government now treads on thin ice.
If they let Assange stay indefinitely in the embassy he, with his constant Twitter messages, online posts, interviews and delusional press conferences, would be a constant source of embarrassment. Could they handle one year or more of that? I know I couldn’t.
The message this would send to other alleged criminals awaiting interrogation would be awkward. Could they just stumble into the Cuban embassy asking for political refuge? Maybe we’ll see Rebekah Brooks climbing the fence to enter the Zimbabwean embassy.
They could storm the embassy as threatened but that would be even worse. The UK would face a major political embarrassment and would lose face in front of the world. Not forgetting that they would seem like the tyrannical oppressors Assange normally blabs about.
So while everyone figures out what to do, we have a stand-off and while this stand-off continues, it’s worth thinking about what kind of a man we have in Julian Assange. Depending on which side of the political spectrum or country you come from, he comes over very differently.
You can see him as a womanising political freedom fighter standing against the oppression of the mighty American Empire. You could see him as a well-groomed thorn in the lion’s paw, shaking his fist at the powers that stand on the curb who are waiting for one small foot to come out the door to arrest Assange and send him to Sweden to face the (as everybody knows) tyrannical and corrupt Scandinavian legal system and sent to rot in a decaying Swedish prison. Or maybe he could be intercepted illegally by the US military and taken to America where he will most certainly face a death penalty under The Espionage Act.
You could see him as a freedom-of-expression martyr, who dared to open the wizard’s curtain to show the rotten core of the American Empire and the hypocrisy of international politics.
Then you could see him as an egocentric attention-seeking sexual predator and snitch. A Breivik-like pompous jerk who, by revealing secrets that the public didn’t need to hear, put countless lives in danger.
He ridiculed America in front of the world and his biggest ally in the process, good old Britain. He deserves to face justice and has to be smoked out from his ridiculous Ecuadorian shelter by the Metropolitan Police and thrown into the darkest corner of Siberia – or Inverness, if there’s no other option.
What kind of man do you think Julian Assange is?
Image by texas_mustang courtesy of Flickr