Julian Assange's current living conditions in the Embassy of Ecuador in London are more akin to those of a political dissident in China or Stasi-era Germany — not a journalist claiming political asylum from a country that once promised to protect his right to publish information.
I last visited Assange in March, days before the Ecuadorians placed the award-winning journalist in isolation for allegedly violating a draconian ban on all public political comments.
That isolation has since been — mostly — lifted, but I felt a sense of trepidation as I approached the embassy last Monday — the Ecuadorians, pressured by the U.S., are widely believed to have grown hostile to Assange, so I didn't expect a warm welcome.
I wasn't wrong. Things have changed a great deal since I last saw him. The surreal conditions are more invasive than visiting someone in a federal penitentiary — which I've done, by the way — where at least you can speak privately, provided you aren't shouting and causing a scene.