9 of the most important things that happened while Julian Assange was in the Ecuadorian embassy

Greg Evans
Thursday 11 April 2019 14:15
news
Picture:(Jack Taylor/SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP/Getty Images)

On June 19, 2012 WikiLeaks co-founder, Julian Assange, entered the Ecuadorian embassy in London. On April 11, 2019 he finally left after being arrested by British police.

The 47-year-old Australian had used the embassy as refuge for seven years in order to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced sexual assault allegations.

At the time, the Ecuadorian government granted Assange but according to Lenin Moreno, the president of Ecuador, Assange's asylum was revoked "after his repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols".

Despite the sexual assault claims against him being dropped, Assange was still wanted for failing to surrender to Westminster Magistrates' Court in June 2012.

Assange has also been arrested under a US extradition warrant for conspiracy to publish classified information about war crimes with Chelsea Manning.

Assange's saga in the embassy seems to have lasted a lifetime and looking at pictures of him this morning, being dragged from the building by police, it seems he has aged several life times too.

We shouldn't underplay the seriousness of his crimes but seven years is a long time in the modern world and, although he is unlikely to have missed any major events, here is a rundown of some significant moments that have come and gone in that time.

1. Brexit and the rise of Trump.

Picture: Amilcar Orfali/Getty Images(Amilcar Orfali/Getty Images)

We shall start with the two most obvious stories which have dominated the headlines for the last three years.

When Assange entered the White House, Donald Trump was still ranting on Twitter and presenting The Apprentice. Now he's still ranting on Twitter but is now the president of the United States, which is chilling when you actually think about it.

Elsewhere, Brexit, in 2012, was just a word that Tory backbenchers and unelected UKIP members murmured about before it crept up on everyone and became a terrifying reality that is threatening to rip Britain apart.

2. Sporting events.

Picture: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images(ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Not only has Assange missed two World Cups, where Australia was eliminated in the group stages of both tournaments, he also missed two European Championship tournaments, which were won by Spain and Portugal respectively.

Leicester City went from being a mid-table Championship team, to winning promotion to the Premier League, narrowly surviving relegation then winning the Premier League, playing in the Champions League before returning to the mid-table of the Premier League. Oh... and Harry Kane played for the Foxes in 2012.

Moving on to tennis, Andy Murray, the celebrated British star, won three grand slam titles, including two Wimbledon championships and then retired from the sport due to injury.

If you’re interested in all the sports, then there have been two Olympic games, held in London and Rio de Janeiro and two Winter Olympics, held in Sochi and PyeongChang respectively.

We aren’t sure whether Assange is a sports fan but at least he missed out on all the ‘it’s coming home’ nonsense.

3. Social movements.

Picture: JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images(JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

Thanks to the rise of social media, social movements have become more significant and impactful than when Assange first entered the Ecuadorian embassy.

Huge movements such as #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo and #TimesUp have all become part of the modern vocabulary.

Elsewhere, political movements both on the left and the right have rapidly grown in popularity as have movements for LGBT+, women's and abortion rights.

4. North Korea.

Picture: Vietnam News Agency/Handout/Getty Images(Vietnam News Agency/Handout/Getty Images)

In the last seven years, North Korea has gone from a secretive nation lead by Kim Jong-un, to a slightly more open nation that is still led by Kim Jong-un.

The Asian country, which people had always been suspicious of, began to significantly up their missile testing in 2017, much to the annoyance of Donald Trump.

However, in 2018, North Korea began talking to other nations. This began when Kim met the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in and then Donald Trump.

So, in seven years, North Korea have gone from dictatorship that threatens wars, to a dictatorship that is happy to talk to other countries but still has an arsenal of weapons that could start a major world war.

5. Toys 'R' Us.

Picture: Spencer Platt/Getty Images(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

In 2012, childhood dream makers and everyone's favourite shop Toys 'R' Us was still an active and relatively healthy retailer with around 1,600 locations worldwide.

Come 2018 and the chain had filed for bankruptcy and all of their stores close down, after 71 years of selling bicycles, dolls and video games to the children of the world.

We doubt he cares, but we're sure that Assange will be pretty miffed when he can't get his hands on brand new Tamagotchi anymore...

6. Royal weddings and babies.

Picture: Jack Taylor/Getty Images(Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Asssange was still walking around without a care in the world when William and Kate tied the knot on April 29 2011, which he was probably delighted about.

However, he's not been able to share the joy of their three children that have followed since their wedding day, which means that the couple have conceived three different children, given birth to them and raised them, which, once again is a better use of time,

He did miss out on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding but will be free of the Ecuadorians to see their child enter the world, which is reportedly imminent.

7. The changing face of UK and US politics.

Picture: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

When Assange entered the Ecuadorian embassy all those years ago, the prime minister of Britain was David Cameron and the US president was Barack Obama. Those positions are now held by Theresa May and Donald Trump, so you could argue that those respective countries have regressed.

However, beyond the leaders, there have been significant strides in politics in both countries. In the UK, we now have 209 female MPs, 45 LGBT+ MPs, 52 MPs from ethnic minorities and two MPs with disabilities.

Over in the US, women have become far more prominent in Congress than ever before. Following the 2018 midterm elections, more than half of the 40 newly elected Democrats were women, with different creeds, lifestyles and ethnicities represented across the board.

8. 15 Marvel movies have been released.

Loading....

Finally, this is the one that you've all been waiting for, we can reveal that Julian Assange has missed the release of 15 Marvel movies since entering the embassy.

When he would have last caught up with the universe (at least in a cinema, he's probably watched them all on Netflix) the first Avengers film had just been released.

Fast forward seven years later and there have been two more Avengers movies (and another on the way), two Captain America movies, two Thor movies, two Guardians of the Galaxy, two Ant-Man movies, a new Spider-Man, a Black Panther, a Doctor Strange and a Captain Marvel.

Other significant movie franchises that have kept going in this time include Star Wars, the DC movies, Fast and the Furious, Transformers and The Hobbit.

He also missed the release of The Fifth Estate, an otherwise terrible movie that was made about him, starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

More: Julian Assange tweeted about feminism and he is being relentlessly mocked

Trending