Your Man in the Public Gallery – Assange Hearing Day 1 233


Woolwich Crown Court is designed to impose the power of the state. Normal courts in this country are public buildings, deliberately placed by our ancestors right in the centre of towns, almost always just up a few steps from a main street. The major purpose of their positioning and of their architecture was to facilitate public access in the belief that it is vital that justice can be seen by the public.

Woolwich Crown Court, which hosts Belmarsh Magistrates Court, is built on totally the opposite principle. It is designed with no other purpose than to exclude the public. Attached to a prison on a windswept marsh far from any normal social centre, an island accessible only through navigating a maze of dual carriageways, the entire location and architecture of the building is predicated on preventing public access. It is surrounded by a continuation of the same extremely heavy duty steel paling barrier that surrounds the prison. It is the most extraordinary thing, a courthouse which is a part of the prison system itself, a place where you are already considered guilty and in jail on arrival. Woolwich Crown Court is nothing but the physical negation of the presumption of innocence, the very incarnation of injustice in unyielding steel, concrete and armoured glass. It has precisely the same relationship to the administration of justice as Guantanamo Bay or the Lubyanka. It is in truth just the sentencing wing of Belmarsh prison.

When enquiring about facilities for the public to attend the hearing, an Assange activist was told by a member of court staff that we should realise that Woolwich is a “counter-terrorism court”. That is true de facto, but in truth a “counter-terrorism court” is an institution unknown to the UK constitution. Indeed, if a single day at Woolwich Crown Court does not convince you the existence of liberal democracy is now a lie, then your mind must be very closed indeed.

Extradition hearings are not held at Belmarsh Magistrates Court inside Woolwich Crown Court. They are always held at Westminster Magistrates Court as the application is deemed to be delivered to the government at Westminster. Now get your head around this. This hearing is at Westminster Magistrates Court. It is being held by the Westminster magistrates and Westminster court staff, but located at Belmarsh Magistrates Court inside Woolwich Crown Court. All of which weird convolution is precisely so they can use the “counter-terrorist court” to limit public access and to impose the fear of the power of the state.

One consequence is that, in the courtroom itself, Julian Assange is confined at the back of the court behind a bulletproof glass screen. He made the point several times during proceedings that this makes it very difficult for him to see and hear the proceedings. The magistrate, Vanessa Baraitser, chose to interpret this with studied dishonesty as a problem caused by the very faint noise of demonstrators outside, as opposed to a problem caused by Assange being locked away from the court in a massive bulletproof glass box.

Now there is no reason at all for Assange to be in that box, designed to restrain extremely physically violent terrorists. He could sit, as a defendant at a hearing normally would, in the body of the court with his lawyers. But the cowardly and vicious Baraitser has refused repeated and persistent requests from the defence for Assange to be allowed to sit with his lawyers. Baraitser of course is but a puppet, being supervised by Chief Magistrate Lady Arbuthnot, a woman so enmeshed in the defence and security service establishment I can conceive of no way in which her involvement in this case could be more corrupt.

It does not matter to Baraitser or Arbuthnot if there is any genuine need for Assange to be incarcerated in a bulletproof box, or whether it stops him from following proceedings in court. Baraitser’s intention is to humiliate Assange, and to instill in the rest of us horror at the vast crushing power of the state. The inexorable strength of the sentencing wing of the nightmarish Belmarsh Prison must be maintained. If you are here, you are guilty.

It’s the Lubyanka. You may only be a remand prisoner. This may only be a hearing not a trial. You may have no history of violence and not be accused of any violence. You may have three of the country’s most eminent psychiatrists submitting reports of your history of severe clinical depression and warning of suicide. But I, Vanessa Baraitser, am still going to lock you up in a box designed for the most violent of terrorists. To show what we can do to dissidents. And if you can’t then follow court proceedings, all the better.

You will perhaps better accept what I say about the Court when I tell you that, for a hearing being followed all round the world, they have brought it to a courtroom which had a total number of sixteen seats available to members of the public. 16. To make sure I got one of those 16 and could be your man in the gallery, I was outside that great locked iron fence queuing in the cold, wet and wind from 6am. At 8am the gate was unlocked, and I was able to walk inside the fence to another queue before the doors of the courtroom, where despite the fact notices clearly state the court opens to the public at 8am, I had to queue outside the building again for another hour and forty minutes. Then I was processed through armoured airlock doors, through airport type security, and had to queue behind two further locked doors, before finally getting to my seat just as the court started at 10am. By which stage the intention was we should have been thoroughly cowed and intimidated, not to mention drenched and potentially hypothermic.

There was a separate media entrance and a media room with live transmission from the courtroom, and there were so many scores of media I thought I could relax and not worry as the basic facts would be widely reported. In fact, I could not have been more wrong. I followed the arguments very clearly every minute of the day, and not a single one of the most important facts and arguments today has been reported anywhere in the mainstream media. That is a bold claim, but I fear it is perfectly true. So I have much work to do to let the world know what actually happened. The mere act of being an honest witness is suddenly extremely important, when the entire media has abandoned that role.

James Lewis QC made the opening statement for the prosecution. It consisted of two parts, both equally extraordinary. The first and longest part was truly remarkable for containing no legal argument, and for being addressed not to the magistrate but to the media. It is not just that it was obvious that is where his remarks were aimed, he actually stated on two occasions during his opening statement that he was addressing the media, once repeating a sentence and saying specifically that he was repeating it again because it was important that the media got it.

I am frankly astonished that Baraitser allowed this. It is completely out of order for a counsel to address remarks not to the court but to the media, and there simply could not be any clearer evidence that this is a political show trial and that Baraitser is complicit in that. I have not the slightest doubt that the defence would have been pulled up extremely quickly had they started addressing remarks to the media. Baraitser makes zero pretence of being anything other than in thrall to the Crown, and by extension to the US Government.

The points which Lewis wished the media to know were these: it is not true that mainstream outlets like the Guardian and New York Times are also threatened by the charges against Assange, because Assange was not charged with publishing the cables but only with publishing the names of informants, and with cultivating Manning and assisting him to attempt computer hacking. Only Assange had done these things, not mainstream outlets.

Lewis then proceeded to read out a series of articles from the mainstream media attacking Assange, as evidence that the media and Assange were not in the same boat. The entire opening hour consisted of the prosecution addressing the media, attempting to drive a clear wedge between the media and Wikileaks and thus aimed at reducing media support for Assange. It was a political address, not remotely a legal submission. At the same time, the prosecution had prepared reams of copies of this section of Lewis’ address, which were handed out to the media and given them electronically so they could cut and paste.

Following an adjournment, magistrate Baraitser questioned the prosecution on the veracity of some of these claims. In particular, the claim that newspapers were not in the same position because Assange was charged not with publication, but with “aiding and abetting” Chelsea Manning in getting the material, did not seem consistent with Lewis’ reading of the 1989 Official Secrets Act, which said that merely obtaining and publishing any government secret was an offence. Surely, Baraitser suggested, that meant that newspapers just publishing the Manning leaks would be guilty of an offence?

This appeared to catch Lewis entirely off guard. The last thing he had expected was any perspicacity from Baraitser, whose job was just to do what he said. Lewis hummed and hawed, put his glasses on and off several times, adjusted his microphone repeatedly and picked up a succession of pieces of paper from his brief, each of which appeared to surprise him by its contents, as he waved them haplessly in the air and said he really should have cited the Shayler case but couldn’t find it. It was liking watching Columbo with none of the charm and without the killer question at the end of the process.

Suddenly Lewis appeared to come to a decision. Yes, he said much more firmly. The 1989 Official Secrets Act had been introduced by the Thatcher Government after the Ponting Case, specifically to remove the public interest defence and to make unauthorised possession of an official secret a crime of strict liability – meaning no matter how you got it, publishing and even possessing made you guilty. Therefore, under the principle of dual criminality, Assange was liable for extradition whether or not he had aided and abetted Manning. Lewis then went on to add that any journalist and any publication that printed the official secret would therefore also be committing an offence, no matter how they had obtained it, and no matter if it did or did not name informants.

Lewis had thus just flat out contradicted his entire opening statement to the media stating that they need not worry as the Assange charges could never be applied to them. And he did so straight after the adjournment, immediately after his team had handed out copies of the argument he had now just completely contradicted. I cannot think it has often happened in court that a senior lawyer has proven himself so absolutely and so immediately to be an unmitigated and ill-motivated liar. This was undoubtedly the most breathtaking moment in today’s court hearing.

Yet remarkably I cannot find any mention anywhere in the mainstream media that this happened at all. What I can find, everywhere, is the mainstream media reporting, via cut and paste, Lewis’s first part of his statement on why the prosecution of Assange is not a threat to press freedom; but nobody seems to have reported that he totally abandoned his own argument five minutes later. Were the journalists too stupid to understand the exchanges?

The explanation is very simple. The clarification coming from a question Baraitser asked Lewis, there is no printed or electronic record of Lewis’ reply. His original statement was provided in cut and paste format to the media. His contradiction of it would require a journalist to listen to what was said in court, understand it and write it down. There is no significant percentage of mainstream media journalists who command that elementary ability nowadays. “Journalism” consists of cut and paste of approved sources only. Lewis could have stabbed Assange to death in the courtroom, and it would not be reported unless contained in a government press release.

I was left uncertain of Baraitser’s purpose in this. Plainly she discomfited Lewis very badly on this point, and appeared rather to enjoy doing so. On the other hand the point she made is not necessarily helpful to the defence. What she was saying was essentially that Julian could be extradited under dual criminality, from the UK point of view, just for publishing, whether or not he conspired with Chelsea Manning, and that all the journalists who published could be charged too. But surely this is a point so extreme that it would be bound to be invalid under the Human Rights Act? Was she pushing Lewis to articulate a position so extreme as to be untenable – giving him enough rope to hang himself – or was she slavering at the prospect of not just extraditing Assange, but of mass prosecutions of journalists?

The reaction of one group was very interesting. The four US government lawyers seated immediately behind Lewis had the grace to look very uncomfortable indeed as Lewis baldly declared that any journalist and any newspaper or broadcast media publishing or even possessing any government secret was committing a serious offence. Their entire strategy had been to pretend not to be saying that.

Lewis then moved on to conclude the prosecution’s arguments. The court had no decision to make, he stated. Assange must be extradited. The offence met the test of dual criminality as it was an offence both in the USA and UK. UK extradition law specifically barred the court from testing whether there was any evidence to back up the charges. If there had been, as the defence argued, abuse of process, the court must still extradite and then the court must pursue the abuse of process as a separate matter against the abusers. (This is a particularly specious argument as it is not possible for the court to take action against the US government due to sovereign immunity, as Lewis well knows). Finally, Lewis stated that the Human Rights Act and freedom of speech were completely irrelevant in extradition proceedings.

Edward Fitzgerald then arose to make the opening statement for the defence. He started by stating that the motive for the prosecution was entirely political, and that political offences were specifically excluded under article 4.1 of the UK/US extradition treaty. He pointed out that at the time of the Chelsea Manning Trial and again in 2013 the Obama administration had taken specific decisions not to prosecute Assange for the Manning leaks. This had been reversed by the Trump administration for reasons that were entirely political.

On abuse of process, Fitzgerald referred to evidence presented to the Spanish criminal courts that the CIA had commissioned a Spanish security company to spy on Julian Assange in the Embassy, and that this spying specifically included surveillance of Assange’s privileged meetings with his lawyers to discuss extradition. For the state trying to extradite to spy on the defendant’s client-lawyer consultations is in itself grounds to dismiss the case. (This point is undoubtedly true. Any decent judge would throw the case out summarily for the outrageous spying on the defence lawyers).

Fitzgerald went on to say the defence would produce evidence the CIA not only spied on Assange and his lawyers, but actively considered kidnapping or poisoning him, and that this showed there was no commitment to proper rule of law in this case.

Fitzgerald said that the prosecution’s framing of the case contained deliberate misrepresentation of the facts that also amounted to abuse of process. It was not true that there was any evidence of harm to informants, and the US government had confirmed this in other fora, eg in Chelsea Manning’s trial. There had been no conspiracy to hack computers, and Chelsea Manning had been acquitted on that charge at court martial. Lastly it was untrue that Wikileaks had initiated publication of unredacted names of informants, as other media organisations had been responsible for this first.

Again, so far as I can see, while the US allegation of harm to informants is widely reported, the defence’s total refutation on the facts and claim that the fabrication of facts amounts to abuse of process is not much reported at all. Fitzgerald finally referred to US prison conditions, the impossibility of a fair trial in the US, and the fact the Trump Administration has stated foreign nationals will not receive First Amendment protections, as reasons that extradition must be barred. You can read the whole defence statement, but in my view the strongest passage was on why this is a political prosecution, and thus precluded from extradition.

For the purposes of section 81(a), I next have to deal with the question of how
this politically motivated prosecution satisfies the test of being directed against
Julian Assange because of his political opinions. The essence of his political
opinions which have provoked this prosecution are summarised in the reports
of Professor Feldstein [tab 18], Professor Rogers [tab 40], Professor Noam
Chomsky [tab 39] and Professor Kopelman:-
i. He is a leading proponent of an open society and of freedom of expression.
ii. He is anti-war and anti-imperialism.
iii. He is a world-renowned champion of political transparency and of the
public’s right to access information on issues of importance – issues such
as political corruption, war crimes, torture and the mistreatment of
Guantanamo detainees.
5.4.Those beliefs and those actions inevitably bring him into conflict with powerful
states including the current US administration, for political reasons. Which
explains why he has been denounced as a terrorist and why President Trump
has in the past called for the death penalty.
5.5.But I should add his revelations are far from confined to the wrongdoings of
the US. He has exposed surveillance by Russia; and published exposes of Mr
Assad in Syria; and it is said that WikiLeaks revelations about corruption in
Tunisia and torture in Egypt were the catalyst for the Arab Spring itself.
5.6.The US say he is no journalist. But you will see a full record of his work in
Bundle M. He has been a member of the Australian journalists union since
2009, he is a member of the NUJ and the European Federation of Journalists.
He has won numerous media awards including being honoured with the
highest award for Australian journalists. His work has been recognised by the
Economist, Amnesty International and the Council of Europe. He is the winner
of the Martha Gelhorn prize and has been repeatedly nominated for the Nobel
Peace Prize, including both last year and this year. You can see from the
materials that he has written books, articles and documentaries. He has had
articles published in the Guardian, the New York Times, the Washington Post
and the New Statesman, just to name a few. Some of the very publications for
which his extradition is being sought have been refereed to and relied upon in
Courts throughout the world, including the UK Supreme Court and the
European Court of Human Rights. In short, he has championed the cause of
transparency and freedom of information throughout the world.
5.7.Professor Noam Chomsky puts it like this: – ‘in courageously upholding
political beliefs that most of profess to share he has performed an
enormous service to all those in the world who treasure the values of
freedom and democracy and who therefore demand the right to know
what their elected representatives are doing’ [see tab 39, paragraph 14].
So Julian Assange’s positive impact on the world is undeniable. The hostility
it has provoked from the Trump administration is equally undeniable.
The legal test for ‘political opinions’
5.8.I am sure you are aware of the legal authorities on this issue: namely whether
a request is made because of the defendant’s political opinions. A broad
approach has to be adopted when applying the test. In support of this we rely
on the case of Re Asliturk [2002] EWHC 2326 (abuse authorities, tab 11, at
paras 25 – 26) which clearly establishes that such a wide approach should be
adopted to the concept of political opinions. And that will clearly cover Julian
Assange’s ideological positions. Moreover, we also rely on cases such as
Emilia Gomez v SSHD [2000] INLR 549 at tab 43 of the political offence
authorities bundle. These show that the concept of “political opinions” extends
to the political opinions imputed to the individual citizen by the state which
prosecutes him. For that reason the characterisation of Julian Assange and
WikiLeaks as a “non-state hostile intelligence agency” by Mr Pompeo makes
clear that he has been targeted for his imputed political opinions. All the
experts whose reports you have show that Julian Assange has been targeted
because of the political position imputed to him by the Trump administration –
as an enemy of America who must be brought down.

Tomorrow the defence continue. I am genuinely uncertain what will happen as I feel at the moment far too exhausted to be there at 6am to queue to get in. But I hope somehow I will contrive another report tomorrow evening.

With grateful thanks to those who donated or subscribed to make this reporting possible.

This article is entirely free to reproduce and publish, including in translation, and I very much hope people will do so actively. Truth shall set us free.

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233 thoughts on “Your Man in the Public Gallery – Assange Hearing Day 1

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  • Deb O'Nair

    The British media seem to think the most important story of the day is that of a US film producer being found guilty of sexual offenses. The producer and the allegations have received more coverage in one hour of the British TV media than the entire case of JA. It is now impossible to have any hope in this country, on any level.

    • Bramble

      I noticed the commentary (eg: “The important thing here is that these women have been believed – that is a hugely positive message to send to anyone who has been a victim of sexual assault”) could be applied to Mr Assange too. Mr Assange has been falsely accused of sexual misconduct in a calculated attempt to discredit him with the public. Never mind that those charges were specious and no longer hang over his head. In the minds of the public, this is what he is guilty of and for which he will be punished. It alienates him from them, and is intended to. The Guardian, which led the backstabbers, knows exactly what it is doing when it comes to spreading muck, which it has done copiously.

    • Tom Welsh

      “The British media seem to think the most important story of the day is that of a US film producer being found guilty of sexual offenses”.

      Is that the best they can do? A classic “dog bites man” story. In other news, hamburgers and milk shakes were sold in LA.

  • Node

    I followed the arguments very clearly every minute of the day, and not a single one of the most important facts and arguments today has been reported anywhere in the mainstream media.

    I have just counted 67 (links to) articles on the BBC News website home page and none of them even mention Julian’s court case. Amongst stories that BBC journalists consider more important than a trial deciding the future of journalism are “World’s most expensive sheepdog sells for £18k”, “Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra conducted by centenarian”, and “I hated my homophobic stepdad, then he came out”. Of course the story isn’t included in their “10 most read articles” feature because it can’t be read, it isn’t there.

    Seriously, the BBC have given up any pretense of being an objective news source. You put them to shame, Craig.

    • grafter

      The BBC have been churning out this shit for years and they know it. They have no moral principles and are just another branch of the corrupt political elite who run this country.

      • Tom Welsh

        “The BBC have been churning out this shit for years and they know it”.

        An accurate characterisation. Listening to BBC news and current affairs is like deliberately eating shit.

  • cris

    Most grateful to you for the only genuine reporting and insight so far on today’s events. Thank you for getting this out today in spite the exhausting ordeal you went through. It’s all such a bloody heartbreaking tragedy on so many levels.

  • lysias

    Craig, your writing on this case will long be remembered. I was glad to learn yesterday that the first production of the Washington National Opera’s next season will be Beethoven’s Fidelio, which deals powerfully with the suffering of political prisoners. But your writing is as powerful.

  • David Otness

    A masterful presentation and summation.
    So very profoundly moving and impactful. So many very sincere thanks to you for all of your efforts!
    I cannot think of anything else so powerfully written. I am so appreciative of you and Julian, and all of the legal team and supporters all over this benighted world.

  • Jules Moules

    Dear Craig, I have to say that your report of Day 1 of the trial is of the highest quality and is written with such clarity of thought so as to put our so-called MSM journalists to shame. It may be your best work to date. It certainly is, in my opinion, your most important work. We need you to be in court on Day 2: there is nowhere else to turn.

  • John-Albert Eadie

    The only thing that would be of interest in this matter, is if one or another of your justice officials or the PM, or the Queen intervened. I guess. Plainly it’s not going to happen so it is only boring. Assuming I am right, it is highly objectionable. Somehow you intend, with BOJO, as an Entity, to be some kind of disabled Grandfather to the vague, disabled offspring so-called ‘USA’, and yet, a continuing joke in the world. One guesses. The UK in Government practice has, it would seem, only the Elected as vs. the Educated, and, the Unelected and Unelectable. More Parties please, and Proportional Representation if you can figure it out.

      • Robyn

        In response to a request to the Queen to intervene on behalf of Julian, the Palace replied that HM does not get involved in ‘political’ matters.

        • Tom Welsh

          Which of course is in itself a broadside to the feet. Legally, if this extradition proceeding is a political matter, the request MUST be rejected.

          So either the Queen is free to intervene, or the extradition must be refused.

          Or both, of course.

      • Jon Adams

        It appears that the UK has been reduced to a client state of the American empire. And it is an empire.

        The proceedings are a joke, as the writer points out.

        The US “authorities” claim that the First Amendment right (freedom of speeh and of association), under the US Constitution, does not apply to Julian Assange. It is like a trick question. The only reason the First Amendment does not apply to Julian Assange is that the US lacks jurisdiction over Julian Assange.

        What we are seeing here is the application of pure brute force.

        • Peter Benton

          Irs not an American Empire. It’s an Israeli empire. Americans are nothing but wage serfs and common fodder.

  • Sean_Lamb

    The Official Secrets Act is so sweeping that it creates a big problem for Assange, he would be on much safer ground arguing he hadn’t committed a crime under US law for the dual criminality aspect – but the Judge may not feel able to rule on US law.

    If only there had been some way to remove Julian Assange to a jurisdiction which had a strong tradition of refusing to extradite real spies, let alone journalists.
    https://www.nytimes.com/1992/08/26/world/sweden-releases-ex-cia-operative.html

    Remind me again, why did that fall through?

    • michael norton

      The most profound article of yours I have yet read.
      Very well written, you have given us the full horror of Julian’s situation.

  • Kay McLeod

    Dear Craig
    I have been wanting to subscribe in support of your wonderful journalism for some time. I view it as an essential resource fo rall people of good will.
    I write now to suggest that there may be many others like myself who find the METHOD of subscription very difficult and that this perhaps is leading to funds not reaching you despite the wish of so many of us. In essence, one is not able to subscribe other than through PAYPAL and Paypal requires one to disclose one’s email password. This really is not OK.
    Having said that, my support for you is so great that I am now in the position of needing to submit to PAYPAL’s demands as I would find it a greater burden to let you (and, of course, Julian) down at this time.
    I write in the hope that you may find a way around tis issue which will help to bring much more financial support to your site.
    In appreciation and admiration, thank you for all that you do
    Kay

    • Mary

      PayPal would not allow funds to be sent to Palestine at the time of Cast Lead in 2008/9.

      I have nothing to do with them. It was originally part of Pierre Omidyar’s eBay set up but was spun off into an autonomous organisation in 2014.

    • Neil

      Kay,

      I too dislike Paypal.

      But if you have a UK bank account with online banking, it really isn’t that difficult to set up a Standing Order (for regular payments) using the bank info that Craig provides at the end of all his posts. You can also use the same info to set up the ability to make one-off payments.

      Sorry I can’t offer any advice on what to do if you are overseas.

    • Damian

      Paypal does not require your email password. If you are reusing one password for every site you sign up to that is your problem and a habit to change asap 🙂

      If you want to avoid any third parties to send regular support then you can use the bank details at the bottom of each post to set up a standing order with your own bank.

    • John Wilson

      I don’t understand this problem you have. Craig has given his bank, his account number and his sort code. I made a bank transfer to him using this information – I did not use PayPal or give a password.

    • Runner77

      Donating via a bank transfer is extremely straightforward. Took me about 2 minutes, using the details Craig gives, from my Lloyds a/c . . .

    • pete

      Re Kay McLeod at 6.47
      You absolutely do not need to disclose your email password, do not do that. When pay pal asks for a password it is for the pay pal login, this should be a secure password, known only to you, You can use numbers, letters and special characters (*&^ etc) They want your email address only to be able to contact you to verify your account. Never reuse a password.

  • Xavi

    Brilliant report to have written in such a short time. So glad you were there to detail this farce.

  • Mary

    So now we know.

    Assange fight draws in Trump’s new intel chief
    Lawyers for the WikiLeaks founder plan to use newly obtained recordings and screenshots to argue that Assange’s prosecution is political in nature.
    02/24/2020
    Attorneys for Julian Assange, who is fighting a U.S. extradition request on espionage and computer hacking charges, plan to introduce evidence in the WikiLeaks founder’s extradition hearing involving President Donald Trump’s new intel chief Richard Grenell.

    /..
    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/02/24/assange-grenell-intelligence-117244

  • Sim

    Ian dumbfounded at what is happening. I don’t know what to say except to offer my thanks and support to Assange, yourself, and all those actively working against what is happening.

  • Dr Lilliana Corredor

    A huge THANK YOU, Craig Murray for a beautifully written, comprehensive article, if extremely alarming!

    I pray you will get in for today’s (Day 2) Hearing. We NEED YOU there to transmit to us the TRUTH and clarify the legal garble for us. PLEASE!
    However, it wouldn’t be surprising if they don’t let you in after the UK & US Intel read this very incriminating information…

    God/dess bless you and give you the strength, courage and financial support to continue your awesome work.

  • Antonym

    A Stirling job Craig Murray!
    Good to have a non MSM observer at UK’s semi Guantanamo Bay. The big lines of deceit are clear to most wake people on this planet, but not the mess ups the surrounding players make in their apparently uncoordinated theater. Or did magistrate Baraitser go off script in an attempt to polish up UK just ice?

  • SA

    This is an incredible feat. Hats off to Craig Murray enduring all the hardships in order to report first hand something that is deliberately concealed from us by the state propagandist and others. From the description it is obvious that physical barriers of all sorts have been placed so that this receives little cover, Shame on the justice system.
    In Today so far, there is not a mention of this show trial by Radio 4. There was even space to mention how amazing it was that someone found a wedding ring lost 15 years ago, and a lot of coverage of Weinstein but not for the defining trial of the age.

    • On the train

      Yes I have noticed the same absence in the radio 4 Today coverage this morning. What can we do about this do you think? Can we complain ? if so could they defend themselves by referring to legal restrictions on the reporting of trials while the trial is going on? I don’t know if there are such restrictions. If we can complain how do we do this?

      • Tom Welsh

        Don’t even bother complaining to the BBC. I have done it a number of times, and gave up a few years back.

        Typically you have to complete an impertinent form with masses of completely unnecessary and irrelevant personal details. Then you send in the complaint, you receive an automatic acknowledgement, and that’s the end of the matter.

        You may or may not receive, weeks or even months later, a piece of boilerplate from the BBC’s own policies explaining why they were right to do what they did.

        Rather like writing to your MP, in fact.

        • On the train

          We stopped paying our license fee a couple of years ago because the spiteful coverage of Jeremy Corbyn made it feel that we were paying for an institution that worked against our interests. There are many things since then that have confirmed this decision,… and their shameful cowardly coverage of Julian Assange has been a nail in the coffin.

  • Christine Smith

    Thank you so much for this. Rest well and continue showing these so called journalists how it’s done.

  • Eugene Egan

    Thank you for sharing this Craig and bringing it to the public’s attention. It’s dystopian and Orwellian. Certainly a sham trial.

  • Tommy

    Thank you very much Craig for your invaluable work on this, although the frustration from reading it is almost too much to handle.

    As others have already pointed out your work will be remembered and revered, whereas the stenographers posing as journalists are doomed to obscurity or infamy in the long run.

    Please keep it up, as you are literally the only source of reliable information regarding the hearing and the Assange case in general.

    • Tom Welsh

      “…whereas the stenographers posing as journalists are doomed to obscurity or infamy in the long run”.

      I think they are well content with money, promotion and honours.

  • N_

    The description of Woolwich Crown Court reminds me of Stammheim in Germany, where the Federal Republic regime murdered the leaders of the Red Army Fraction.

  • Belinda S Clark

    Thankyou, Craig Murray! Best wishes to you and all brave journalists who tell the truth which power holders are desperate to hide.

    • Alan Dow

      Taylor’s sentencing remarks record that: “… your continued residence in the Embassy has necessitated […] expenditure of £16 million of taxpayers’ money in ensuring that when you did leave, you were brought to justice.”
      An entirely proportionate response to the (disputable) offence of skipping bail.

      • Tom Welsh

        “An entirely proportionate response to the (disputable) offence of skipping bail”.

        Skipping bail, moreover, on a false and deliberately trumped-up charge whose only purpose was to get him locked up.

        As everyone now admits and understands.

        • Alan Dow

          Seems to me a Freedom of Information request may be appropriate, as to how expenditure of £16m came to be authorised to apprehend someone who skipped bail, allegedly without good reason.

  • Pru Cotton

    Thank you so much for your reporting. Prof Chomsky’s words are spine tingling accurate.

    Please find the strength to keep going we are relying on you.

  • Anne Yan-Yan Teoh

    Thank you for being there and going through the cold and long wait and for taking so much time and work to write up this account. May the kinder UK return to us in this very distressing time and I pray and hope Assange and his supporters will be comforted in the end. This is about love, commitment to truth and justice and righteousness. May we meet in the middle path. You’re a great soul, Craig Murray and blessings and good vibes to you for your selflessness every minute.

    • Cubby

      Anne Yan-Yan Trojan

      “May the kinder UK return to us”

      Nit aware of this KINDER UK having ever existed.

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