The News
Wednesday 29 of May 2024

What to Do about Assange?


Julian Assange,photo: Wikipedia
Julian Assange,photo: Wikipedia
The Australian provocateur first took refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy after a drawn-out and ultimately unsuccessful legal battle to avoid extradition to Sweden

What’s that old adage?

Fish and houseguests begin to stink after three days?

So how do you deal with a houseguest who has been wearing out his welcome for the last four years?

That’s the dilemma that the Ecuadorian Embassy in London has been trying to resolve: What to do with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who not only plopped himself down and made himself comfy in their posh Hans Crescent chancellery in 2012, but has remained there ever since and recently caused a major diplomatic uproar for the little Latin American country by helping the Russians to try to discredit U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton through the leakage of hacked materials?

Mind you, the Ecuadorians have been gracious hosts, putting up with the alleged child molester despite his rather questionable credentials as a political asylum seeker.

But there comes a time when enough is enough, and Assange has definitely outstayed his “bienvenida.”

Finally, at the prodding of Washington, Quito cut off the WikiLeaker’s internet access late last month, which in Ecuadorian diplomatic parlance is roughly the equivalent of the bartender dimming the lights when he wants the hanger-on patrons to go home at 3:30 in the morning.

Unfortunately, the brutish Assange doesn’t seem to get the message.

The Australian provocateur first took refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy after a drawn-out and ultimately unsuccessful legal battle to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he remains wanted over an allegation of the rape of a minor.

British authorities have made it clear that they will arrest him if he tries to leave the Ecuadorian premises, and London’s Metropolitan Police used to maintain a constant visible presence outside the building.

Consequently, faced with a probable extradition and subsequent trial in Stockholm, Assange has opted for a long-haul campout inside the embassy.

For now, Assange is exploiting the hospitality and pushing the patience of his Latin American hosts, living the high life and global notoriety, as he somehow tries to paint himself as a victim of media suppression.

But like a bad gastrointestinal tract infection that you just can’t get rid of, Assange needs to be handled with an industrial-strength dose of colonic cleanser.

So far, the Ecuadorian government has said that Assange will be allowed to remain under its protection “as long as the circumstances that led to the granting of asylum remain.”

But even the most patient hosts must inevitably resort to more blatant means when their overstayed houseguests just don’t get the hint.

It is high time that Ecuador issue walking papers for Assange.

Thérèrse Margolis can be reached at [email protected].