The Julian Assange thing

So I slept badly one day, woke up early, decided to catch up on the news before going to work, and found my Twitter feed was wall-to-wall with Julian Assange talk.

This is not the best way to start a workday, in case you were wondering.


British police on Thursday hauled a bearded and shouting Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian Embassy where he was holed up for nearly seven years, and the U.S. charged the WikiLeaks founder with conspiring with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to get their hands on government secrets.

Police arrested Assange after the South American nation revoked the political asylum that had protected him in the embassy, and he was brought before a British court — the first step in an extradition battle that he has vowed to fight.

Why revoke his asylum now, though?

Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno said he decided to evict Assange from the embassy after “repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols,” and he later lashed out at him during a speech in Quito, calling the Australian native a “spoiled brat” who treated his hosts with disrespect.

Well, he’s been going stir-crazy for years now, and he was a bit of an ass to start with. But why now?


Ecuador has reached a $4.2 billion staff-level financing deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), President Lenin Moreno said on Wednesday, as the Andean country grapples with a large fiscal deficit and heavy external debt.


Staff-level agreements between the IMF and member countries are subject to approval by the Washington-based lender’s executive board.



P.S. The silver lining, at least for me, is that the breadth of reactions in my Twitter timeline proves that I’m not yet caught in an echo chamber. I saw everything from “Assange is a Traitor and a Spy and face Justice ™” through “Assange is an ass, but his arrest could set a bad precedent” and “Assange exposed the wrongdoing of people even assier than himself and should be applauded for it” and all the way to “any criticism of Assange is a de facto endorsement of the bloodthirsty American Empire.” This is good, because I already follow 800-odd accounts on Twitter and don’t want to make keeping up with my newsfeed a full-time job.


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