Ball on Assange:
'Convincing yourself, and the world, that you’re a major political player on the global stage is a tough ask when you’re confined to a back bedroom. It’s an act that Julian Assange has been trying for years – and one which is increasingly starting to have consequences on the WikiLeaks founder. [...] The man who would like to portray himself as a stateless challenger of power has found himself in the same position as a grounded teenager: Ecuador decides who he sees, what can be in his room, even when he washes and tidies up (a regular source of friction).'
'According to Debrett’s, the arbiters of etiquette since 1769: “Visitors, like fish, stink in three days.” Given this, it’s difficult to imagine what Ecuador’s London embassy smells like, more than five-and-a-half years after Julian Assange moved himself into the confines of the small flat in Knightsbridge, just across the road from Harrods.'
'Internal documents revealed that relations between embassy staff and Ecuador’s most famous asylee were fraught. Security staff were filing minute by minute reports of Assange’s movements to Ecuador’s intelligence agency. Last year, these tensions came to the fore as Assange was publicly reprimanded by Ecuadorian officials for interfering in the US election process – by publishing hacked emails from the DNC and Clinton campaign – while claiming asylum. Assange’s internet connection was eventually cut off by Ecuador, to his visible public rage.
When Ecuador first gave asylum to Assange, he was still a hero to many on the liberal left, and to many opponents of “US imperialism”. Today, most of those who still support Assange are hard-right nationalists – with many seeing him as a supporter of the style of politics of both Trump and Vladimir Putin. Assange is not the political icon he used to be. [...]
The problem for both sides is that neither wants to lose face: Assange wants to be a symbol of resistance against an overreaching US state, and does not want to admit his asylum was about his personal actions and not those of WikiLeaks. Ecuador does not want to suggest it made a mistake in granting Assange asylum.'
Reeks of opportunism. "Hey The Guardian, I worked with WikiLeaks a bit and have got some dirt to dish on them, you interested? How about a regular column where I shit on dissident journalists too honest to work for your filthy, deceitful rag?"