How Assange made a fatal mistake
The world's most infamous rent dodger, WikiLeaks hi-tech bootlegger Julian Assange, made a big mistake in getting on the wrong side of the man who gave him a place to crash, Ecuadorean president Lenín Moreno.
Mr Moreno, to no one's surprise, has withdrawn Assange's asylum status and put him in the arms of UK police.
Mr Moreno, a nominal socialist who became president in 2017, is - unlike his predecessor - regarded favourably in Washington, where the US Justice Department has an ominous sealed indictment waiting for Assange should it ever succeed in extraditing him.
Last year, the US State Department congratulated Moreno's pro-business administration for taking "concrete steps to fight corruption, bolster security, remove restrictions on civil society, encourage free press, and strengthen democratic governance."
The only thing standing between full diplomatic embrace of the US and the new Ecuador has been the Aussie pest hogging space in its tiny Knightsbridge embassy bolthole.
Mr Moreno made it clear he wanted Assange out, accusing him of distributing personal photos of his family and blaming WikiLeaks for the release of documents (denied by WikiLeaks) that puts Moreno at the centre of a personal-enrichment scandal.
Assange, being Assange, took Ecuador to court last year for violating his rights of asylum by making him pay for his own internet and medical bills and forcing him to clean up after his cat (which has its own twitter account @embassycat). He lost.
The action further confirmed the self-righteousness of Assange but by then he knew he had lost the support of Moreno, his most important patron.
Assange took shelter in the embassy in 2012, at the time ducking rape complaints (later withdrawn) from Sweden, and then absconded while on bail during extradition hearings between the UK and Sweden.
Assange's fear was that if he was sent to Sweden, he would be extradited onwards to the US to face charges for publishing documents leaked to him by US intelligence officer Chelsea Manning.
Manning only served seven of 35 years after then president Barack Obama commuted her sentence. In May, she was rearrested for refusing to testify at grand jury proceedings into WikiLeaks.
It will not be lost on Assange that he spent the same amount of time as Manning, in self-inflicted confinement in the embassy.
Politicians from both sides in Australia have shown no interest in advocating for the Townsville-born lad, who holds a recently renewed Australian passport-to-nowhere.
The question is what happens now. Assange has a minor bail-dodging matter to face in London but it remains to be seen whether the UK government will hand him on a plate to Washington.