I wanted to point you to this, in case you haven't seen it yet. The estimable Michael Hastings has a major interview with Julian Assange in Rolling Stone, and it's a great read.
It's also long; abstracting and commenting on its twists and angles would make a very complicated post. So maybe it's best just to bring it to your attention and let you have at. I may come back to it later, picking at the bits.
Here's the start, a terrific piece of writing in its own right. Note the visuals, note the conclusion (sorry, my asterisk):
It's a few days before Christmas, and Julian Assange has just finished moving to a new hide-out deep in the English countryside. The two-bedroom house, on loan from a WikiLeaks supporter, is comfortable enough, with a big stone fireplace and a porch out back, but it's not as grand as the country estate where he spent the past 363 days under house arrest, waiting for a British court to decide whether he will be extradited to Sweden to face allegations that he sexually molested two women he was briefly involved with in August 2010.I've been calling Assange a classic case of "stain on the pavement" material. But maybe they've gotten more sophisticated — death-by-miserable-life, a fate Assange may well share with Bradley Manning. After all, it saves on all that "pressure-washing the concrete" money, and it's more fun for the torturer if the victim lingers, broken.
Assange sits on a tattered couch, wearing a wool sweater, dark pants and an electronic manacle around his right ankle, visible only when he crosses his legs. At 40, the WikiLeaks founder comes across more like an embattled rebel commander than a hacker or journalist. He's become better at handling the media – more willing to answer questions than he used to be, less likely to storm off during interviews – but the protracted legal battle has left him isolated, broke and vulnerable. Assange recently spoke to someone he calls a Western "intelligence source," and he asked the official about his fate. Will he ever be a free man again, allowed to return to his native Australia, to come and go as he pleases? "He told me I was f*cked," Assange says.
Anyway, please go read. It's engrossing and thought-provoking. This fight will not get less messy — it's widening as we speak.