Your Man in the Public Gallery – Assange Hearing Day 2 256


This afternoon Julian’s Spanish lawyer, Baltasar Garzon, left court to return to Madrid. On the way out he naturally stopped to shake hands with his client, proffering his fingers through the narrow slit in the bulletproof glass cage. Assange half stood to take his lawyer’s hand. The two security guards in the cage with Assange immediately sprang up, putting hands on Julian and forcing him to sit down, preventing the handshake.

That was not by any means the worst thing today, but it is a striking image of the senseless brute force continually used against a man accused of publishing documents. That a man cannot even shake his lawyer’s hand goodbye is against the entire spirit in which the members of the legal system like to pretend the law is practised. I offer that startling moment as encapsulating yesterday’s events in court.

Day 2 proceedings had started with a statement from Edward Fitzgerald, Assange’s QC, that shook us rudely into life. He stated that yesterday, on the first day of trial, Julian had twice been stripped naked and searched, eleven times been handcuffed, and five times been locked up in different holding cells. On top of this, all of his court documents had been taken from him by the prison authorities, including privileged communications between his lawyers and himself, and he had been left with no ability to prepare to participate in today’s proceedings.

Magistrate Baraitser looked at Fitzgerald and stated, in a voice laced with disdain, that he had raised such matters before and she had always replied that she had no jurisdiction over the prison estate. He should take it up with the prison authorities. Fitzgerald remained on his feet, which drew a very definite scowl from Baraitser, and replied that of course they would do that again, but this repeated behaviour by the prison authorities threatened the ability of the defence to prepare. He added that regardless of jurisdiction, in his experience it was common practice for magistrates and judges to pass on comments and requests to the prison service where the conduct of the trial was affected, and that jails normally listened to magistrates sympathetically.

Baraitser flat-out denied any knowledge of such a practice, and stated that Fitzgerald should present her with written arguments setting out the case law on jurisdiction over prison conditions. This was too much even for prosecution counsel James Lewis, who stood up to say the prosecution would also want Assange to have a fair hearing, and that he could confirm that what the defence were suggesting was normal practice. Even then, Baraitser still refused to intervene with the prison. She stated that if the prison conditions were so bad as to reach the very high bar of making a fair hearing impossible, the defence should bring a motion to dismiss the charges on those grounds. Otherwise they should drop it.

Both prosecution and defence seemed surprised by Baraitser’s claim that she had not heard of what they both referred to as common practice. Lewis may have been genuinely concerned at the shocking description of Assange’s prison treatment yesterday; or he may have just had warning klaxons going off in his head screaming “mistrial”. But the net result is Baraitser will attempt to do nothing to prevent Julian’s physical and mental abuse in jail nor to try to give him the ability to participate in his defence. The only realistic explanation that occurs to me is that Baraitser has been warned off, because this continual mistreatment and confiscation of documents is on senior government authority.

A last small incident for me to recount: having queued again from the early hours, I was at the final queue before the entrance to the public gallery, when the name was called out of Kristin Hrnafsson, editor of Wikileaks, with whom I was talking at the time. Kristin identified himself, and was told by the court official he was barred from the public gallery.

Now I was with Kristin throughout the entire proceedings the previous day, and he had done absolutely nothing amiss – he is rather a quiet gentleman. When he was called for, it was by name and by job description – they were specifically banning the editor of Wikileaks from the trial. Kristin asked why and was told it was a decision of the Court.

At this stage John Shipton, Julian’s father, announced that in this case the family members would all leave too, and they did so, walking out of the building. They and others then started tweeting the news of the family walkout. This appeared to cause some consternation among court officials, and fifteen minutes later Kristin was re-admitted. We still have no idea what lay behind this. Later in the day journalists were being briefed by officials it was simply over queue-jumping, but that seems improbable as he was removed by staff who called him by name and title, rather than had spotted him as a queue-jumper.

None of the above goes to the official matter of the case. All of the above tells you more about the draconian nature of the political show-trial which is taking place than does the charade being enacted in the body of the court. There were moments today when I got drawn in to the court process and achieved the suspension of disbelief you might do in theatre, and began thinking “Wow, this case is going well for Assange”. Then an event such as those recounted above kicks in, a coldness grips your heart, and you recall there is no jury here to be convinced. I simply do not believe that anything said or proved in the courtroom can have an impact on the final verdict of this court.

So to the actual proceedings in the case.

For the defence, Mark Summers QC stated that the USA charges were entirely dependent on three factual accusations of Assange behviour:

1) Assange helped Manning to decode a hash key to access classified material.
Summers stated this was a provably false allegation from the evidence of the Manning court-martial.

2) Assange solicited the material from Manning
Summers stated this was provably wrong from information available to the public

3) Assange knowingly put lives at risk
Summers stated this was provably wrong both from publicly available information and from specific involvement of the US government.

In summary, Summers stated the US government knew that the allegations being made were false as to fact, and they were demonstrably made in bad faith. This was therefore an abuse of process which should lead to dismissal of the extradition request. He described the above three counts as “rubbish, rubbish and rubbish”.

Summers then walked through the facts of the case. He said the charges from the USA divide the materials leaked by Manning to Wikileaks into three categories:

a) Diplomatic Cables
b) Guantanamo detainee assessment briefs
c) Iraq War rules of engagement
d) Afghan and Iraqi war logs

Summers then methodically went through a), b), c) and d) relating each in turn to alleged behaviours 1), 2) and 3), making twelve counts of explanation and exposition in all. This comprehensive account took some four hours and I shall not attempt to capture it here. I will rather give highlights, but will relate occasionally to the alleged behaviour number and/or the alleged materials letter. I hope you follow that – it took me some time to do so!

On 1) Summers at great length demonstrated conclusively that Manning had access to each material a) b) c) d) provided to Wikileaks without needing any code from Assange, and had that access before ever contacting Assange. Nor had Manning needed a code to conceal her identity as the prosecution alleged – the database for intelligence analysts Manning could access – as could thousands of others – did not require a username or password to access it from a work military computer. Summers quoted testimony of several officers from Manning’s court-martial to confirm this. Nor would breaking the systems admin code on the system give Manning access to any additional classified databases. Summers quoted evidence from the Manning court-martial, where this had been accepted, that the reason Manning wanted to get in to systems admin was to allow soldiers to put their video-games and movies on their government laptops, which in fact happened frequently.

Magistrate Baraitser twice made major interruptions. She observed that if Chelsea Manning did not know she could not be traced as the user who downloaded the databases, she might have sought Assange’s assistance to crack a code to conceal her identity from ignorance she did not need to do that, and to assist would still be an offence by Assange.

Summers pointed out that Manning knew that she did not need a username and password, because she actually accessed all the materials without one. Baraitser replied that this did not constitute proof she knew she could not be traced. Summers said in logic it made no sense to argue that she was seeking a code to conceal her user ID and password, where there was no user ID and password. Baraitser replied again he could not prove that. At this point Summers became somewhat testy and short with Baraitser, and took her through the court martial evidence again. Of which more…

Baraitser also made the point that even if Assange were helping Manning to crack an admin code, even if it did not enable Manning to access any more databases, that still was unauthorised use and would constitute the crime of aiding and abetting computer misuse, even if for an innocent purpose.

After a brief break, Baraitser came back with a real zinger. She told Summers that he had presented the findings of the US court martial of Chelsea Manning as fact. But she did not agree that her court had to treat evidence at a US court martial, even agreed or uncontested evidence or prosecution evidence, as fact. Summers replied that agreed evidence or prosecution evidence at the US court martial clearly was agreed by the US government as fact, and what was at issue at the moment was whether the US government was charging contrary to the facts it knew. Baraitser said she would return to her point once witnesses were heard.

Baraitser was now making no attempt to conceal a hostility to the defence argument, and seemed irritated they had the temerity to make it. This burst out when discussing c), the Iraq war rules of engagement. Summers argued that these had not been solicited from Manning, but had rather been provided by Manning in an accompanying file along with the Collateral Murder video that showed the murder of Reuters journalists and children. Manning’s purpose, as she stated at her court martial, was to show that the Collateral Murder actions breached the rules of engagement, even though the Department of Defense claimed otherwise. Summers stated that by not including this context, the US extradition request was deliberately misleading as it did not even mention the Collateral Murder video at all.

At this point Baraitser could not conceal her contempt. Try to imagine Lady Bracknell saying “A Handbag” or “the Brighton line”, or if your education didn’t run that way try to imagine Pritti Patel spotting a disabled immigrant. This is a literal quote:

“Are you suggesting, Mr Summers, that the authorities, the Government, should have to provide context for its charges?”

An unfazed Summers replied in the affirmative and then went on to show where the Supreme Court had said so in other extradition cases. Baraitser was showing utter confusion that anybody could claim a significant distinction between the Government and God.

The bulk of Summers’ argument went to refuting behaviour 3), putting lives at risk. This was only claimed in relation to materials a) and d). Summers described at great length the efforts of Wikileaks with media partners over more than a year to set up a massive redaction campaign on the cables. He explained that the unredacted cables only became available after Luke Harding and David Leigh of the Guardian published the password to the cache as the heading to Chapter XI of their book Wikileaks, published in February 2011.

Nobody had put 2 and 2 together on this password until the German publication Der Freitag had done so and announced it had the unredacted cables in August 2011. Summers then gave the most powerful arguments of the day.

The US government had been actively participating in the redaction exercise on the cables. They therefore knew the allegations of reckless publication to be untrue.

Once Der Freitag announced they had the unredacted materials, Julian Assange and Sara Harrison instantly telephoned the White House, State Department and US Embassy to warn them named sources may be put at risk. Summers read from the transcripts of telephone conversations as Assange and Harrison attempted to convince US officials of the urgency of enabling source protection procedures – and expressed their bafflement as officials stonewalled them. This evidence utterly undermined the US government’s case and proved bad faith in omitting extremely relevant fact. It was a very striking moment.

With relation to the same behaviour 3) on materials d), Summers showed that the Manning court martial had accepted these materials contained no endangered source names, but showed that Wikileaks had activated a redaction exercise anyway as a “belt and braces” approach.

There was much more from the defence. For the prosecution, James Lewis indicated he would reply in depth later in proceedings, but wished to state that the prosecution does not accept the court martial evidence as fact, and particularly does not accept any of the “self-serving” testimony of Chelsea Manning, whom he portrayed as a convicted criminal falsely claiming noble motives. The prosecution generally rejected any notion that this court should consider the truth or otherwise of any of the facts; those could only be decided at trial in the USA.

Then, to wrap up proceedings, Baraitser dropped a massive bombshell. She stated that although Article 4.1 of the US/UK Extradition Treaty forbade political extraditions, this was only in the Treaty. That exemption does not appear in the UK Extradition Act. On the face of it therefore political extradition is not illegal in the UK, as the Treaty has no legal force on the Court. She invited the defence to address this argument in the morning.

It is now 06.35am and I am late to start queuing…

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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256 thoughts on “Your Man in the Public Gallery – Assange Hearing Day 2

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  • Hasan

    Thank you Craig. The world is quite scary. Perhaps it always has been, but right now seems exceptional.

  • Sim

    Absolutely disgraceful. We are lost as a functioning democracy, Our futures look very dark.

    A small point, I always thought that treaty law superceded national law. Is that niot so.

    • Matthew

      In UK law, treaties only have effect by domestic legislation: an Act of Parliament. They, effectively, do not exist without the Act of Parliament. This is why we have the Human Rights Act 1998 which incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law. The Treaty alone would be of no use.

  • SA

    This is history in the making and being accurately documented by Craig against all odds. Excellent work.

  • Dungroanin

    I expect that the old lags of Belmarsh and maybe prisons across the Land may be a bit peeved by the treatment of JA – convicted of nothing in this country. The screws must be embarrassed by their ‘colleagues’ actions and should also be considering protesting. As for the treatment of the public atendees all court staff across the country and Lawyers associations should be rushing to object! As should the media.

    WHY are they NOT?

    Brexiteers where are you? Your sovereign Parliament is PANTS. Do we have to rely on the EU for justice?

    This farce must be ended today and the Judges senior colleagues ought to be immediately convened – oh but is she just a MAGISTRATE!! Does that make her immune from censure for making up the Law during a break?

    • N_

      She’s a district judge. She is what was once known as a “stipe” (stipendiary magistrate). Even if she’s acting like some po-faced Tory or LibDem b*stard magistrate who is as thick as two short planks and needs to be told exactly what words to say by the court clerk, she is actually, unlike many of them, legally qualified.

      A couple of things already have made me think the defence should be considering applying for an order of mandamus against her. Sneering that the only reason Julian couldn’t hear the proceedings properly was that demonstrators were making noise outside is outrageous and she could get knocked back for that.

    • Tom74

      Absolutely, Dungroanin. Brexit was never really about taking back control – just handing it over to the US.

  • Andrea

    Thank you for your invaluable testimony. Remember to sleep and rest. We need your perspective. Write a shorter piece and come back to it later if needs be but stay fresh!

  • Paul

    Many thanks Craig!

    I’m glad to have helped in some small way to facilitate your reports through my modest donation.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Antonym

    Baraitser dropped a massive bombshell. She stated that although Article 4.1 of the US/UK Extradition Treaty forbade political extraditions, this was only in the Treaty.

    Magistrate Bairaitser considers UK government Treaties rubbish in open court. The CIA must have some good “goods” on her to make her so arrogant. Remember, no spying on your own citizens, nothing about spying on your ally’s citizens – Five Eyes – courtesy Edward Snowden.

    Note to all other nations: UK Treaties are not worth the paper they were written on – from a solid source.

  • JeremyT

    Nuff respect, Craig.
    I imagine a foraging rodent gnawing his way into the bowels of power to let the juices of truth seep out, whilst the faeces of popular memes is autonomically spewed in mediated forms.
    Keep the teeth sharp, all honour to your endeavours.
    I am amazed at the complacent and received ignorance of friends and colleagues when I mention the issues.

    • Tom Welsh

      Your comment implies a massive compliment to Mr Murray, JeremyT.

      It echoes (mutatis mutandis) someone’s fine description of Voltaire as “a gigantic rat gnawing at the foundations of the Church”. (Unfortunately I cannot find the exact citation).

  • Carol

    STRIP SEARCH AND THE LAW:

    1) Nobody can be strip searched unless they agree to it.

    2) If the police are forciby removing his clothing, this is sexual assault.

    3) Also the law states that if the person agrees to a strip search, they are legally allowed to have a doctor present.

    4) If Julian has not been made aware of his legal rights regarding strip search he can bring charges of sexual assault against the Police.

  • Susan

    Craig, it is impossible to overstate the importance of your reporting at the Assange hearing (Our Man in the Public Gallery). I can’t help but think that when it became clear that an exceptional person was needed for this important role, you were sent to us, Craig. A person of supreme wisdom, fairness, and clarity of thought was required, and it was you.

    Your observations and insights about the court proceedings have been superb. You have not only enlightened the readers of this blog (and beyond), but I also truly think your account could be of help to Julian’s legal team. I pray it does not take too hard a toll on your physical health. As for your intellectual health, I have no concerns there:-)

    Thank you from all of us.

    • Tony Troughton-Smith

      Susan, I’m not given to fatuously agreeing with people, but cannot help adding a “hear hear!” to your thanks to Craig and your supporting comments. I add my thanks to Craig, and to you for expressing them better than I could have.

  • Sim

    Craig, I hope you have some contingency plans for when they bar you as they tried to bar the wikileaks editor

  • bob

    This case should have been thrown out already!
    There is no way Assange is going to be freed by the british – he will be extradited because the british are as guilty as the americans in their dysfunctionality.
    Thank you Craig

    • Shatnersrug

      You have to wonder why they’re bothering, why don’t they just send him off? Of course the answer is that no one in the MSM will print the truth so as far as the public are concerned Julian has been naughty the court are allowing him his defence and he will lose.

      The public are naive and mailable – the future is very bleak.

  • writeon

    I get the distinct impression that Baraitser isn’t, how should one put this? the sharpest legal knife in the drawer; but her upbringing and status, the ‘class arrogance’ make her completely unaware of this. Her self-image tells her the exact opposite. Looking at things from outside, one is always amazed that British Judges are allowed to pontificate and express their bias and prejudices so openly, their contempt for certain arguments that seem to question their own ‘personal values’ which are distinct from the law they are supposed to be serving. I know that foreign legal professionals find this all very odd indeed. Why, I am often asked, are these proceedings so much like a form of drama or theatre, like the ritualised battles in House of Commons? I have difficulty explaining the culture that’s behind it all and people shake their heads in wonder.

    Baraitser’s ‘bombshell’ is highly controversial and seems to be an attempt to intervene in the proceedings to the advantage of the prosecution undermining most of the defence strategy. This hardly seems… ‘fair.’ And then they are only given 24 hours to reply! How odd. So, she’s seems to be arguing that even if it’s proven that this is a political extradition and Assange did do it for political reasons, that all that doesn’t matter because he can be extradited anyway because, in reality, the ‘political’ defence and exemption doesn’t really exist, that’s all a ‘misunderstanding’ according to her!

    This interpretation by Judge Baraitser will be challenged by an appeal to a higher court, that’s certain as the sun rising. Then I imagine the Supreme Court will want to look at it again because fundamental legal and political principles are involved here and a humble Judge cannot be allowed to drive a coach and horses through the law and an international treaty. Anyway, aren’t international treaties ‘stronger’ or take precedent over UK Acts? What would be the value of signing internatiional treaties at all if UK Acts could nulify them so easily?

    • lysias

      I wonder if the idea was suggested by U.S. lawyers. In the U.S., treaties only have as much legal force as Acts of Congress. Where there is a conflict, the last-in-time rule decides. So a later Act of Congress can supersede a treaty.

      • J C Bennett

        Sorry, these assertions are incorrect. Here is the relevant section of the US Constitution, from Article VI:
        “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

    • Antonym

      Reminds one of Louis XIV’s “l’état, c’est moi”, except that his 17th century society considered him to have Divine Rights. Judge Baraitser is more of a half witted 21th century fall female for the hated Establishment.

    • Tom Welsh

      As Antonym has already pointed out, unless Ms Baraitser is quickly and sharply knocked back, the rest of the world will learn from this that the UK government’s word is worth nothing, as are any treaties that it signs.

  • michael norton

    This very shocking and terrible treatment of Julian Assange is a ghastly smear on all of us, for not going mental to our representatives, perhaps Jeremy Corbyn should be in court to listen and give the World his thoughts?

  • SO.

    It should be obvious by now Baraitser simply does not give one shit about the arguments or evidence.

    She’ll ignore the defence argument in it’s entirety, and direct the prosecution herself.

    She’s decided Assange is the enemy, possession of the documents is a “crime” no matter the reason and that’s the end of it.

    • Shatnersrug

      The only reason this hearing is happening is so the BBC can report that the law has been followed. Everyone from Baraitser to Peston and Kuensberg, are all from the same nexus of liars in defends of the American empire. They, just like this trial, only exist as pieces of propaganda. The only goal of this trial is to keep the public asleep.

      • SO.

        Barasiter’s being directed by someone higher up the food chain.

        Day 1 she *introduced* possession as a crime under dual criminality. It wasn’t part of the prosecutions argument. She introduced it so it was prepared before hand seemingly without the knowledge of the prosecution.

        Day 2 she introduced a technicality to undermine defence arguments 24 hours after it had been raised.. That the extradition treaty wording says nothing about political extraditions.

        Assange isn’t facing 1 prosecution team. He’s facing 2 and Barasiter is on the second.

          • SO.

            UK spooks probably.

            It’s always possible (very possible) that the US has it’s dick in more than one hole but they’re cautious about the UK’s judiciary cos they don’t know it directly and if they get it wrong it can bite them in the ass. (if you remember al-Megrahi they were about as subtle as a leith drunk and everyone knew it was bullshit)

            Barasiter’s introducing her own arguments in support of the prosecution relative to UK law with respective lateness. If she knew the problem at the time of argument she would raise it ~ but she’s not.. there’s a time delay.

          • lysias

            I ask because the idea that UK legislation can override a treaty would be a natural mistake for a U.S. lawyer to make, as that is the law in the U.S.

  • Stephen C

    Thanks for Another clear and detailed description of the day’s events. It shows that proof and evidences don’t bear as much weight as the desire to have him extradited. Appalling use of power to take papers away from Assange. Keep up the good work.

  • Alastair McP

    Crisp and clear and condign, Craig. Your drafting is pitch perfect¹: no mean feat against the backdrop of all the high jinks & horseshit. Your “Box One²” brilliance still shines through.

    You now really are indispensable: keep well. Bear in mind Barringer™ testing for physic contrary to the 1971 Act is often used agin visitors to HMP. Choose your stimulants – or sedatives – with discretion!

    ¹other than: ¶25 “Baraitser was no[w] making no attempt…”
    ²referring to your stellar CSC exam performance

    • Alastair McP

      I should add: Barringer testing is so sensitive, it can give a positive even if, eg, you have handled a tainted object. Banknotes and hotel key (cards) come to mind, but also any lanyards etc, especially those for personal belongings at prison lockers. (Surfaces, handles &c in and around HMP Belmarsh itself might be expected to yield positives, bearing in mind the proclivities of certain inmates.)

      Use the current coronavirus cobblers to your advantage as a rationale for preternatural fastidiousness. Remember: every screw has passed his physical….

  • Monster

    What a bent judge! Incompetent, biased and totally without moral (or legal) compass. Her boss, the Chief Magistrate, ‘Lady’ Arbuthnot and the wife a security services operative, has designated this case to be proven and extradition will go ahead. The hapless Baraitser is simply floundering around with a limited knowldge of extradition law and creating an embarassing spectacle to the watching world.

    • Rod

      Ms Baraitser’s days as a magistrate are numbered as she will not pull off the task given to her without it going to appeal. For if that becomes the case, the ramifications from this hearing will haunt her for the rest off her life as she will be held up as the person responsible for the greatest attempted deliverance of injustice since Dreyfus. I have no doubt she will be thrown to the wolves by the very people who are directing her at this moment. Where will she eventually turn for protection as she is offered up as the scapegoat conducting this kangaroo court ? Clearly, as ‘writeon’ above put it, she is not the sharpest legal knife in the drawer nor is she a competent or forward thinking political operator.

  • Tony

    A good day in court for the defence yesterday, and not a word about the trial in yesterday’s MSM. How strange!

  • Neil

    Fugginell, Craig, are you getting any sleep at all? This is brilliant work, and fully deserves a top journalism award. Not to mention the gratitude of the whole world for exposing this horror.

    But, please, make sure you get enough rest.

    P.S. Sorry to pick a very little nit – there’s a jarring gender error: “Die Freitag” should read “Der Freitag”.

  • grafter

    Incredible. Pure Dickensian theatre laced with Kafka overseen by a smug corrupt establishment toady.

    • Tom Welsh

      There is a very strong flavour of Kafka – laced, perhaps because of the powerful US presence, with Joseph Heller. The whole trial seems to have been organized by General Peckem and/or General Dreedle, under the administration of Milo Minderbinder.

  • N_

    Baraitser also made the point that even if Assange were helping Manning to crack an admin code, even if it did not enable Manning to access any more databases, that still was unauthorised use and would constitute the crime of aiding and abetting computer misuse, even if for an innocent purpose.

    What??

    1) Does aiding and abetting computer misuse carry a jail sentence of 1+ years that an offence must carry in order to be extraditable?
    2) Surely he can only be extradited for an alleged offence he has been indicted for?
    3) “For an innocent purpose”? Mens rea!

    • RogerDodger

      I’m not a lawyer, but as I understand the UK’s Computer Misuse Act 1990, a Section1 offence is committed if all these criteria are met:

      1) The user intends to gain access to a computer system
      2) The user is not authorised to gain that access
      3) The user is aware that they are not authorised to gain that access.

      Section 1 offences can carry a maximum sentence of one year in prison if tried without jury (‘summary conviction’) or two years in prison if convicted by jury (‘conviction on indictment’).

      A Section 2 offence is committed if the user makes use of unauthorised access to commit a further crime. A Section 3 offence pertains to the alteration of, or interference with, the contents or operation of a computer system. These are the more serious offences that carry higher maximum sentencing penalties. The most serious offences, Section 3ZA offences, relate to computer misuse crimes affecting human lives, national security, the environment or the economy.

      • Tom Welsh

        “I’m not a lawyer…”

        That’s good, because it will help you to empathize with the magistrate.

    • Crispa

      Yes I have been trying to get my head around this sentence since I first read it. The judge seemed to draw a conclusion from some “what ifs”, which, in the context is suspect reasoning in itself. But the “what ifs” are predicated on the totally unproven idea that Assange was involved in that process of cracking the code. Even on a “what if” basis the judge should not even be thinking in line with a presumption of guilt and she should not be acting as if for the prosecution by playing devil’s advocate. Surely any line of questioning should be only to clarify the points of law being raised by either party in the proceedings?

      • Tom Welsh

        Just as Donald Trump’s behaviour seems carefully designed to bring about the fastest possible dissolution of the US Empire, Ms Baraitser’s behaviour can only be interpreted as a desperate bid to force a mistrial – or to be reversed on appeal.

    • Matthew

      1. “An offense shall also be an extraditable offense if it consists of an attempt or a conspiracy to commit, participation in the commission of, aiding or abetting, counseling or procuring the commission of, or being an accessory before or after the fact to any offense described in paragraph 1 of this Article.” — in this case, computer misuse is the 1+ year sentence offence, and aiding or abetting that makes the aiding and abetting an extraditable offence too, even though the aiding and abetting itself wouldn’t carry a 1+ year prison sentence.

      This is set out in Section 2 of the UK-US Extradition Treaty 2003.

      2. No. The United States need only provide “reasonable suspicion” of the alleged offence, no prima facie evidence. So, they can assert facts and that is sufficient.

      3. The Extradition Act makes no mention of mens rea — it is an administrative process. Intent doesn’t factor into it.

  • Tony

    This interpretation of the legality of claiming that the ‘offence’ is political sounds like it came straight from the same FO clowns who claimed, in the Harry Dunn/Sacoolas debacle, that everyone working for the US authorities in the UK, even the cleaners, has diplomatic immunity. Can’t see Baraitser’s ruling standing up to serious legal scrutiny. But, as someone has already stated, they may well try to whisk Julian off to the Land Of Hegemony straight from the court, following Baraitser’s pre-ordained judgement, making any further legal argument moot.

    • Tom Welsh

      Actually, if Mr Assange were to be rendered to the US as a result of this mockery of justice, retribution should be all the more needful. A miscarriage of justice does not cease to be a miscarriage of justice just because the accused has been betrayed and wrongfully punished.

      On the contrary, if Mr Assange is rendered to the USA and any harm comes to him as a result, it will be upon the heads of those who conspired to send him to the USA. They may very possibly be responsible for his death.

  • Terence Fletcher

    It should sadden every fair minded person in the UK, that our country is so bent on the destruction of Assange for publishing documents that highlighted a War Crime.

    • Tom Welsh

      Exactly. If the US and UK governments had a shred of decency, it would be the war criminals who would be in court facing capital charges.

      But that can’t happen because the accused would be led by Tony Blair and George W Bush.

  • anthony

    With regard to the judge’s final bombshell
    extradition act 2003
    81Extraneous considerations
    A person’s extradition to a category 2 territory is barred by reason of extraneous considerations if (and only if) it appears that—
    (a)the request for his extradition (though purporting to be made on account of the extradition offence) is in fact made for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing him on account of his race, religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation or political opinions, or
    (b)if extradited he might be prejudiced at his trial or punished, detained or restricted in his personal liberty by reason of his race, religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation or political opinions.
    I may be wrong but surely political opinions is mentioned here

    • bob

      the thoroughly biased and inept magistrate is suggesting this case can only be judged on ‘english law’ – and that the notion of ‘political’ basis was removed from the act – ie english law now does not have the ‘political’ basis – however the extradition treaty between usa/uk still has that proviso in it which is what the defence are arguing – this is a show trial and the magistrate seems to be dong a good job of playing to the prosecution

    • Matthew

      That applies to a Category 2 territory. The United States is designated a Category 1 territory therefore this section doesn’t apply.

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