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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  • joel

    I will keep saying it. The past half decade or so has revealed the true nature of liberals (politicians, journalists, pundits, public figures) as never before. Even in the bracing, pitiless golden age of English liberalism, c.1820, a figure like Assange would have been a cause celebre. This unreported show trial signals a dark epoch ahead.
    Thanks for your courage, Craig Murray.

    • terence callachan

      I agree , the internet has shown us how governments politicians journalists etc etc are involved in illegal activities ,it’s clear that many of these people do not actually know how to use the internet safely ,they find it handy because it’s quick but they can’t just shred their dirty dealings as they have done in the past, the internet keeps a record of everything , somewhere , forever , what we are seeing now is the courts behaving in an openly arrogant and uncaring manner ,the courts will be caught out too and then we will see governments trying to shut down broad internet access and communication.

  • N_

    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’s enough. He can only be extradited under the Treaty. Here is an authority for that. It’s a statement by Theresa May when she was prime minister. On one of the occasions when Brexit was adjourned at the last minute (so it must have been a few days before either 29 March or 12 April last year), the government agreed the adjournment with EU27 but it had not yet been passed as an Act by Parliament. A journalist asked the prime minister what happened if Parliament did not pass such an Act. Theresa May replied that IT DID NOT MATTER, BECAUSE INTERNATIONAL TREATIES TRUMP DOMESTIC LAW.

      • andyoldlabour

        N_

        Thanks for that, however I fear that the majority of people are totally unaware, or do not care about what is happening to Julian Assange.
        The truth is being hidden by the MSM and the sheeple worship at the alter of the MSM.

          • Clark

            Lead people to the details. Many won’t understand, but some will and they will talk to others. If they know the facts their knowledge will become apparent, and others will want it. Help it proliferate.

          • Carl

            If you try posting a comment including the word ‘Assange’ in the Guardian you will see it disappeared in front of your eyes.

          • Doctor K

            Use the Indy.
            I put a comment about this blog up this morning and it got a few supporters but it is buried way down the page now.
            It didn’t get removed.
            Do a news search on “Assange” and you will be surprised at the hits. Even the, Sun taking a poke at the Guardian.

            Regarding contributions, I don’t do Paypal either. I offered to send a cheque to a PO box but did not get a reply.

          • Crispa

            Yes I had Carl’s experience too yesterday with the Guardian. My post did just disappear as if in a cloud of smoke.

          • andyoldlabour

            Clark

            Been there, got that T shirt and promptly got banned from, wait for it – COMMENT IS FREE.
            The Guardian hardly allows any comments nowadays.

          • Gerald Fords Dog

            Just to concur with others there is nary a whisper from the Guardian and in the small articles it writes (one today) no comments allowed. Like others I try to put links in other threads, usually the ‘live’ rolling coverage of the day but any mention of Assange and comments don’t so much get modded after the fact but simply do not appear at all, their algorithm is obviously set up to stop any post with the name in it. The only way is to see if any other posts have got through and then reply mentioning that Craigs blog is providing daily coverage without putting a link in (which seem to get modded out) people can then search ‘craig murray’ and access it that way. As per others, yes try the Indy where you can pretty much write what you want but the community isn’t as big. The alternative press and blogsphere are doing their best with intermittent coverage but then I always feel like I’m preaching to the converted. Good luck everyone.

          • Bayard

            “Been there, got that T shirt and promptly got banned from, wait for it – COMMENT IS FREE.”

            Er, I think that just means you don’t have to pay to comment.

          • Clark

            Well done and thanks to all.

            Keep posting despite the deletions; the moderators sign up to enforce community guidelines, not to be political censors, and word will leak.

            Try avoiding words and names that might be flagged up by software; allude to them instead. Try using a URL shortening service to avoid keywords in links.

    • gpcus

      I don’t get this part:
      “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.”
      Reading it, the UK Extradition Act 2003 seems to have that exemption, for category 2 countries, that, attending to gov.uk, include USA:
      [81] Extraneous 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.
      So am I reading it wrong? Have I got an old copy, [81] has been repelled at some point or what?

      • N_

        @gpcus

        That section of the domestic Act says Britain won’t extradite when the foreign authorities want to prosecute or punish a person for their politicial opinions.

        The Treaty says Britain will not extradite a person to the US for an alleged political OFFENCE.

        • gpcus

          Thanks N_,
          I think I get it now… it subtle to say the less… But couldn’t be argued that JA extradition request has been put forward to punish him for his political opinions, then? Maybe [81] clause was articulated in this specific way for the government to take advantage of it, in case it didn’t want to extradite, but never to be used by a defender against extradition…

    • Node

      Thanks, N_. On the face of it this is a very important observation, but can Baraitser have made such a blunder? Surely she is being guided by top legal council. Is there anyone here with the legal expertise to confirm this point of international law? Where is Martinned when you need him?

      MODS:
      If this is point confirmed I suggest Craig be made aware of it.

    • Matthew

      No. Treaties only have effect through domestic legislation, so the Extradition Act 2003 applies, not the Treaty itself. The statement of the Prime Minister has no legal authority. I imagine she meant existing treaty obligations incorporated by way of domestic legislation trump any domestic legislation to the contrary — that is correct, unless the Government seeks to revoke the associated obligations.

  • Sean_Lamb

    “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.”

    The treaty has this:
    “1. Extradition shall not be granted if the offense for which extradition is
    requested is a political offense. ”

    The legislation is arguably stronger in its protections:

    “13 Extraneous considerations
    A person’s extradition to a category 1 territory is barred by reason of extraneous
    considerations if (and only if) it appears that—
    (a) the Part 1 warrant issued in respect of him (though purporting to be issued
    on account of the extradition offence) is in fact issued 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.”

    In otherwords the judge only has to conclude that it appears that Assange has been charged for his political opinions regardless of the nature of the offence and extradition should be blocked.

    • N_

      She’s out of her depth. A person can only be extradited from Britain to the US in accordance with the treaty. Otherwise it’s a deportation or a kidnapping but it’s not an extradition, and extradition is what the war criminal US government has applied for. She should chuck the case out.

    • Giyane

      In other words, like Pritti Patel, Vanessa Baraitser is hopelessly out of her depth, only because in both cases anybody who was in their depth in the air appointed role would know that what they were proposing is completely illegal.
      To which I would add the name of the PM over Brexit because he is only finding out now about the special place in hell allocated to those who know nothing , but promise everything.

      Baraitser knows nothing about court procedure or the Laws of extradition.

    • RR

      “In otherwords the judge only has to conclude that it appears that Assange has been charged for his political opinions regardless of the nature of the offence and extradition should be blocked.”
      The Queen herself asserted that she did not get involved in political matters, this justifying her refusal to help in Assange’s case. It was in black and white in her letter.

      • Carl

        Have there been suggestions that her majesty is privately at odds with the rest of the establishment over the treatment of Julian Assange?

        • Tom Welsh

          Her Majesty cannot, constitutionally, be “at odds” with her own government. The fundamental legal fiction is that the government of the time always represents the monarch’s policies. The underlying truth is that the monarch is forbidden to have any policies, but must always endorse and accept those of “her” government.

          That deal was concluded 350 years ago, in return for the monarch keeping his or her head on his or her shoulders.

  • Tom74

    Brilliant work, Craig, and I love the colour you add about the personalities involved.
    Just one thought – I expect you have someone advising you on legal matters but just be careful you’re not caught out by the often rather arcane legalities of court reporting, like ‘contempt of court’. They would probably pounce on anything if you’re being seen to rock the boat.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    So, it appears Luke Harding should be the person occupying the dock on charges that he, 3) …. knowingly put lives at risk.
    Speaking of the Guardian, ner a yap from it about the trial since it became an out-station of Vauxhall Cross.

    • Giyane

      George
      I agree 100%. The Victorians and their predecessors made drawings and written sketches, observing their material and analysing it, interpreting what they heard or saw.
      This is what Craig is doing as a first hand witness in court.
      Thank you Craig both for your tireless service to justice and truth, and also for the Dickensian entertainment

  • Mr Obvious

    It makes perfect sense if you’re brain damaged. The US gov accepts facts from Mannings court marshal but rejects these same facts when prosecuting Assange. I bet anti terrorism and hacking cases (these cases always involve spooks) are riddled with this kind of brain dead reasoning. Intelligence [sic] agencies have obviously suffered brain drain since they cooked up the war on terror (no one with a conscience wants anything to do with them).

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Good grief – I am a trial lawyer with over 30 years experience in the Courts – and even I – with my limited experience – am appalled.

  • writeon

    As with the Hutton inquiry in the perculiar circumstances around the death of Dr. David Kelly, what matters is picking the ‘right’ Judge for the job to get the ‘right’ result at the end of it. That way, the outcome is more or less cetain regardless of what the law may say, fairness or natural justice.

    This has always been the British legal way, making sure, as far as possible, that the ‘right’ Judge was chosen for the specific job that needed doing. The Judge doesn’t have to be an outstanding legal intellect, competent or, heaven help us, independent; what matters is that the Judge knows what’s expected of him/her and provides the ‘legal cover’ required by the state. This Judge does seem to be making a right old mess of this whole thing, which, pardoxically is a gift the defence when it comes to an appeal.

    One wonders though, could there already be grounds for the defence arguing that Baraister has tainted the proceedings, specifically by her bizarre intervention relating to the validity of the extradition ‘treaty’ vs the ‘act’ and therefore it’s a mistrial.

    • Peter

      @ writeon “… This Judge does seem to be making a right old mess of this whole thing, which, paradoxically is a gift the defence when it comes to an appeal.

      One wonders though, could there already be grounds for the defence arguing that Baraitser has tainted the proceedings, specifically by her bizarre intervention relating to the validity of the extradition ‘treaty’ vs the ‘act’ and therefore it’s a mistrial.”

      I very much agree.

      From what we read here the defence seem to be doing a very good job of smashing the extradition case.

      I can’t shake the thought that this appalling, stomach-turning show of draconian, totalitarian power by the judge, the court, the prison system and the mainstream media may be primarily for American consumption and I share Craig’s confidence (Youtube link above) that though the case may be lost here it will succeed either on appeal or at the High or Supreme Court.

      If, as seems likely, this judge does grant the extradition request then there must then be the most professional, efficient, competent and, above all, effective public consciousness raising campaign on behalf of Julian, and of the public, to prevent this outrageous, disgraceful travesty of ‘justice’.

      • Tom Welsh

        “…though the case may be lost here it will succeed either on appeal or at the High or Supreme Court”.

        Oh God. I had completely forgotten the “Supreme Court”. As it decides cases based wholly on its members’ prejudices, and takes no intrest whatsoever in law of any kind, it is all too obviously the “hangman’s drop” at the end of the corridor.

    • doghouse

      Writeon – control the man at the top and you control the direction, its not limited to legal matters, its the tried and tested method full stop. From police investigations to seemingly independent bodies, NGOs to charities, think tanks, kwangos, watchdogs, publications purportedly representing interest groups, the list is endless really, factual and not the least conspiratorial.

      Probably the best example of this was the very arrest of Assange. Once the man at the helm came under the reins of control, the arrest and extradition was nailed on. What we are seeing here is the brutal execution of a callous psychotic will, wills. What is so very difficult to accept that this horrific treatment of a good man, this overt disregard for both morality and law, this unequalled demonstration of a complete void of conscience is happening today, in 21st century Britain.

      I am truly appalled, truly ashamed. We see before our very eyes the door to the maw of darkness being opened. He doesn’t stand a chance poor man. There is never any shortage of demons to carry out the dirty work, never, they queue up to take part, always have, always will.

      It isn’t difficult to recognise when something is very, very wrong, that ability is inbuilt in a great many, which is why we would never participate in what can only be honestly described as an evil charade, a wicked exemplar of deterrence..

  • Mary

    Worthy of a parish council with bluff and bluster from Johnson. He had Patel and Sunak on either side.

    There was not one mention of Julian Assange.

    Javid is now making a personal statement about his resignation as chancellor.

  • Marie-Lou

    I don’t know why I think of Robert Fisk when I read you.
    “When you’re trying to tell the truth. In some cases, the torture stops, the detainee’s cell opens, maybe we’ve been helpful, but more often than not I’m afraid, what we write doesn’t change a thing. Despite our anger, we never win, but if we stop the fight, we lose. We must continue to make engaged reports, fight and defy authority.”

  • Mr Sting

    Regarding the appalling treatment of Julian prior to the hearing, Baraitser made a blunder that the defence should have taken advantage of. She invited the defence to bring a motion to have the charges dismissed if Julians treatment was so bad as to make a fair hearing impossible.

    So bad? How much worse can it get? As someone has already pointed out, strip searching without consent is sexual assault. So he’s been sexually assaulted twice, (on who’s orders?),repeatedly handcuffed, disorientated by moving from cell to cell and then has his case papers confiscated. All this on top of months of solitary confinement. As such, it would be impossible for anyone to defend themselves, or instruct their defence in court.
    Baraitser gave the defence an open goal here, and they should go for it and bring the motion to dismiss charges.

    Maybe they should bring another motion to have her replaced (recused) due to her blatant bias. Even if the motions were rejected it would help at the appeal stage.

    After her appalling performance in the first hearing, a few months back, why were no complaints made to the JCIO Judicial Conduct Investigations Office? They could have documented her bias conduct and requested her removal from the case.

    .

  • Fredi

    Well done Craig, excellent work. You have done much to defend Assange for years. The culmination of your courage and hard work will become apparent eventually. Perhaps not immediately during this sham trial in a lower court, but they can’t keep up their pretense further down the line in a high court, if it comes to it.

  • jennifer james

    Great court reporting from the Julian Assange show trial and great writing. Important work – well done Mr Murray… truth will out!
    Best wishes
    Jennifer James,
    Liverpool

  • Walther Leisler Kiep

    Thanks for reporting.
    There is a tradition in Germany connected to propaganda trials. Just remember Roland Freisler or Hilde Benjamin. Didn’t know that the british have to catch up.
    All the best to Julian, the new Georgi Dimitrov of 1933 for us all.
    Remember: killing journalists like in a video game seems not to be a crime, but talking about.

  • writeon

    I’m increasingly optimistic that the attempt to extradite Assange to the US, will fail, in the end. Only ‘the end’ could be years away and he’ll be left to rot in Belmarsh. This could be the strategy. They hope he’ll be crushed and collapse totally, mentally or physically. He might even have a heart attack and die. He’s been under incredible stress for years and years already. It’s a wonder he’s still alive.

    So, when this case reaches the Supreme Court, he’ll have been subjected to vicious persecution and psychological abuse, a kind of torture where one doesn’t need the rack to inflict the permanent damage, and he will have be foced to pay an incredibly high price for his work as a journalist and publisher.

    In this sense his persecution has already had a negative effect on the rest of the mainstream media, for example the Guardian, which has been cowed and castrated beyond what I imagined was possible in a free and democratic western democracy. The example of Assange has worked on mainstream journalists. They have gotten the message as they are all incredibly sensitive to such things, what or what won’t advance their careers. No one wants to follow in Assange’s footsteps and the mainstream media seems completely under control once more and the gap in the marketplace of ideas identified by Wikileaks has been plugged very effectively indeed. This is proven by the disgraceful smear campaign aimed at destroying Assange’s status and character, typified by the ghastly Guardian, and the lack of any serious coverage of the extradition hearing in the mass, mainstream, media.

    Dragging him off to life imprisonment in the US seems like vindictive and unecessary overkill in my opinion and may even be counterproductive, creating another leftwing martyr for no obvious gain. The rest of the journalists have learned the lessons of the Assange Affair and are fully awar of how far they can go in telling the truth and what the consequences are if one dares to defy the power of the United States. The persecution of Assange has served its purpose. That’s if one is a rational actor. I fear the people who run the world, aren’t.

    • Bayard

      “They hope he’ll be crushed and collapse totally, mentally or physically. He might even have a heart attack and die. He’s been under incredible stress for years and years already. It’s a wonder he’s still alive.”

      That, AFAIR, was the French government’s strategy with Dreyfus, whom Assange is more and more starting to resemble.

  • Nemo Halperin

    I deeply value what you’re doing in this blog. Without legal and political context and scrutiny most people would not understand what is taking place. I’ve just subscribed to your blog. Thank you for doing what you do.

  • Fi

    If this was a film , people would be saying “nah, that’s just too ridiculous for words” but it’s not a film and it is utterly terrifying that this sham is continuing. Thank you so much for your concise reporting.

  • Rod

    I normally bank in Shrewsbury twenty-five miles from where I live. Shrewsbury is currently inundated by floodwater and visitors to the area are being discouraged. My next alternative should have been in Hoole on the outskirts of Chester so I made the twenty miles trip to Hoole only to find that branch had recently closed without notifying the website so my last option was to travel to Wrexham from Chester to the branch there. After I had conducted my normal transactions I asked the teller to inaugurate a monthly standing order to this website and during its set-up I became engaged in conversation about Mr Assange’s predicament and how he is being illegally held against his will and is facing a real prospect of being extradited to the USA on trumped up charges. Not entirely to my astonishment did the bank clerk not know of what is currently going on, but he also thought Mr Assange was some south American associated with Wikileaks. The bank clerk was more interested in getting me to use telephone banking dismissing with a smile my point that I was trying to keep him in a job. I do not know how to bring these proceedings to the nation’s attention when newspapers, the BBC, Channel 4 News, ITV News and the like won’t publish what is going on; where in Hell’s name are his journalistic colleagues ? It could be them next. By and large the people of this country are either asleep or brain-dead.

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