Awful prospects for Julian Assange
Cats, Wikileaks and biting the wrong hand
Julian Assange should have cleaned his room and taken better care of his cat, but what good are embassies now?
So Julian Assange is remanded at HMP Belmarsh, one of Britain’s toughest prisons, whose alumni (among the gangsters, rapists, terror suspects and child murderers) include Great Train robber Ronnie Biggs and author and former Tory MP Jeffrey Archer.
That Assange is being held, pending a court appearance on the charge of skipping bail back in 2012, in a prison that the BBC once called "Britain’s Guantanamo Bay", has a certain irony — one that might concentrate his mind as he contemplates his future.
And what a future that may be. Extradition to the US, to face the music for releasing reams of classified US military documents via WikiLeaks — a worse crime, apparently, than sexual assault — remains a distinct possibility, despite assurances from the UK that this will not happen.
If embassies aren’t sacrosanct spaces untouchable by host-nation security, what good is international law?
This is the same government that has been unable to honour the "will of the people" for Britain to depart the EU in an orderly fashion. The fate of a bearded, information-peddling narcissist seems like warm beer by comparison.
That Britain took the extraordinary step of letting its police invade another country’s embassy — whether that country asked them to or not — would suggest that whatever political fallout that may come from extraditing Assange to the US is mere chaff in the current climate where betrayal stalks the corridors and, to paraphrase Hunter S Thompson, every day good people die like dogs.
Extraditing Assange, once he has served 12 months for jumping bail, doesn’t look good. If embassies aren’t sacrosanct spaces untouchable by host-nation security, what good is international law? Then again, maybe Assange should have cleaned his room and taken better care of his cat, points apparently raised in a letter to him from his Ecuadorian embassy hosts for eight years.
Better still, he should have ensured WikiLeaks did not, in a roundabout way, accuse the new Ecuadorian president, Lenín Moreno, of corruption. That’s called biting the hand that feeds you.