Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
SHOCK AND AWE OVER GAZA — Jonathan Cook reports from the West Bank on How the Media and Human Rights Groups Cover for Israel’s War Crimes; Jeffrey St. Clair on Why Israel is Losing; Nick Alexandrov on Honduras Five Years After the Coup; Joshua Frank on California’s Water Crisis; Ismael Hossein-Zadeh on Finance Capital and Inequality; Kathy Deacon on The Center for the Whole Person; Kim Nicolini on the Aesthetics of Jim Jarmusch. PLUS: Mike Whitney on the Faltering Economic Recovery; Chris Floyd on Being Trapped in a Mad World; and Kristin Kolb on Cancer Without Melodrama.
The Ecuadorian Saga

Julian Assange and Extradition

by BINOY KAMPMARK

So far, the latest chapter in the Julian Assange chronicle within the Ecuadorian embassy in London is one of mixed, and ultimately doomed promise. He is ailing, though it was clear that a deficiency in Vitamin D for a period of two years was bound to have some effect. Added to this lung and heart problems, and we have a serious patient with serious needs. Not even conventional prisoners should be denied a certain mandatory level of sunlight a day. “I am leaving the embassy soon,” he claimed on Monday, “but perhaps not for the reasons [reported].”

In other words, reports about his medical condition taking a toll have been exaggerated, though this may be wishful thinking on his part. Attempts to allow Assange safe passage for hospital treatment have been rebuffed by threats of arrest. The consular assistance from his country, always a tormenting trickle, has totally dried out.

Live feeds on various networks began running the moment Assange suggested an imminent departure. Police – more than usual – gathered outside the embassy, anticipating their sickened quarry at any moment. A stream of individuals made their appearance at the door, going in with briefcases. But Assange did not appear.

The entire episode has become a source of crude mirth, and even the vengeful ones are not entirely sure of the difference anymore. “Julian Assange is a contributor to potential terrorism” was one statement tweeted with indifference, which is about as illuminating as the idea that reading Sophocles is bound to make your eyes bleed.

The Daily Mash pondered whether Assange’s isolation for such a length of time had induced masturbation to dangerous levels. Others ventured that, “The Bolivians must have lost patience and finally cut off the Vegemite supply”. The assumption here, unless the commentator got it entirely wrong in terms of nationality, was that those in the adjoining Bolivian embassy were somehow insuring the supply to begin with.

The persistent ill-delivered trash about “charges of rape” – none have been filed, with a prosecution that was dropped only to be resurrected with suspect enthusiasm; the reluctance to actually interview the man, and the usual tittle tattle about the prospects that he will be absolutely safe in waltzing into the arms of the interrogating police; got a boost with the announcement he would be coming out. When he failed to make an appearance, accusations of egomania were thrown at him. Surrender, and shut up.

Ecuador’s foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, recently observed that “two years of uncertainty and lack of justice for everyone” has characterised the case. Two years, the minister suggested, is enough. Many agree. Patino senses that the winds have changed. “We believe the recent reports (of the legal changes) indicate a better...

CounterPunch’s Top Stories
TASCHA SHAHRIARI-PARSA
While many articles have debunked the myth that Israel is acting out of “self-defense,” very few have attempted...
BRIAN CLOUGHLEY
“A civilian jet airliner shot down by US Navy surface to air missiles on 3 July 1988 as...
JEFFREY ST. CLAIR AND ALEXANDER COCKBURN
In my study hangs a hand-colored photograph of James Joyce ambling down the Rue Saint Jacques on the...
MIKE WHITNEY
“History shows that the United States has benefited politically and economically from wars in Europe. The huge outflow...
ANDRE VLTCHEK
The special train carrying refrigerated corpses from the MH17 catastrophe has left the station of Torez, just a...
DAN GLAZEBROOK
All colonial settler states are based on the violent dispossession of the native peoples – and as a...
KIM NICOLINI
Apparently even if you are the granddaughter of Frances Ford Coppola, you still are able to understand what...
SUNERA THOBANI
Israel may yet win its current battle in Gaza, but only by killing even more of the Palestinians...
PATRICK COCKBURN
Israeli spokesmen have their work cut out explaining how they have killed more than 1,000 Palestinians in Gaza,...
Visit our archives for even more interesting articles from past CounterPunch authors.