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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  • Deb O'Nair

    From what I’ve heard so far JA will lose this case but will win on appeal. I can not see high court appeal judges (or the supreme court judges if the high court judges do bottle it) putting up with the sort of crap that’s going on in the magistrates court, it’s an embarrassment of the highest order to the legal process. Another glimmer of hope for JA is that this could be a deliberate mistrial in order to enable his release on appeal while preserving the ‘special relationship’ status of kowtowing to the US; the fascist regime occupying Downing Street will be able to tell their counterparts in the US that they tried everything they could but those pesky judges got it wrong. However, the fascist press will have a field day if JA’s extradition is overturned by a higher court and it will give added impetus to the fascist regime occupying Downing Street to make supreme court judges political appointment.

    • Hans Adler

      Any appeal will be moot. Even a stay of execution ordered by the supreme court could not prevent them from extraditing Assange. (In Germany they really like to deport asylum seekers ignoring a stay of execution ordered by the supreme court. Unfortunately it did not reach those responsible in time, and now we can’t do anything…) But they will very likely make a surprise decision that the extradition can go on and there is no possibilty of appeal, and execute it within an hour or so. The supreme court can do precisely nothing in such a situation.

        • chris

          Do you seriously believe, all are equal before the law?
          1.Pinochet was not in Belmarsh Prison, he was on house arrest.

          2. ” Mr. Straw told the House of Commons that because of the failing health of General Pinochet, he was ending the complex legal and judicial case.

          Mr. Straw argued that the general’s declining health had produced a ”memory deficit” that would have compromised his ability to understand charges and direct his lawyers.”
          3. Former Prime Minister Thatcher visited him and declared “that far from holding him in custody, Britain instead owes him its gratitude for the support he gave the country in 1982 during the Falkland Islands war with Argentina. ”

          4. Last but not least: Pinochet was a dictator, responsible for thousands of deaths.
          Assange published the war crimes of the empire.

          Do you still believe in equality before the law?

          • Martinned

            My point was your 4: Pinochet actually deserved to be extradited.

            Also a version of your 3: The case was a massive embarrassment to the Labour (!) government, and they were trying to get rid of it/him asap by any means necessary.

            Add to that 5: The country that was asking for him was Spain, a fellow EU member state, rather than the US with its notoriously poor prison conditions. (Although I can’t vouch for how it is in Spain, at least it isn’t as famous for its crappy prisons.)

            So if they weren’t able to stick Pinochet on a plane to Spain in the dead of night, I’m not too worried about Assange. He might get extradited (contrary to my hope), but if he does he’ll get his day in court first. As he did when it was Sweden trying to extradite him.

      • Deb O'Nair

        Comparing completely different types of legal cases in a different legal jurisdiction seems rather pointless. If the ruling in this case goes against JA then the defence team have 7 days to appeal, no extradition can take place pending an appeal.

        • Bayard

          “no extradition can take place pending an appeal.”
          Sez who? Quis custodiet custodies ipses?

          • Deb O'Nair

            The law apparently. Now the UK has embarked on adhering to the legal process it will not be able to cop out if an appeal goes against them and then subject JA to extraordinary rendition. Do not confuse what is going on in Belmarsh with the judiciary. The magistrate is clearly not fit , nor is the case that the UK government is prosecuting on behalf of the US. This is why the appeals system exists and that is why everyone should be deeply concerned that the fascists in Downing Street want to have the final say over who becomes a supreme court judge.


          • Bayard

            OK, what happens in the following scenario: JA loses his fight against extradition, the court rises and by the end of that day, he is on a plane heading for the US?

        • pretzelattack

          he didnt get a day in court, he got a whole bunch of days as a political exile in the embassy till the ecuadoran government changed and the new guy sold him out.

      • Tom Welsh

        “Unfortunately it did not reach those responsible in time, and now we can’t do anything…”

        In such cases everyone responsible for malicious delays should be fired (at least), and if appropriate prosecuted and imprisoned.

        That’s just contempt of court.

        • Hans Adler

          Of course it’s contempt of court. There are two problems: (1) It’s hard to prove that they do it intentionally. They might just be extremely stupid and pedantic. I know of one case in which the lawyer actually spoke to the police at the airport, told them there is a stay of execution, and offered to fax it to them. They said that because they didn’t get it through official channels yet they can’t act on it. (2) A malicious state has countless ways in which it can manipulate judicial proceedings. E.g., (at least in Germany) the minister of justice can order any prosecutor to not prosecute a particular case. In emergencies he can promote an obstinate prosecutor to a boring office job with a grandiose title and no influence at all or effect on anything. Or reduce the budget of a department to just above zero.

          In the German state of Bavaria they have even set up an ingenious system for ensuring that they have the same kind of control over judges. As a matter of principle, they only promote prosecutors into positions as judges, and only promote judges into positions as prosecutors. In this way the dependence on the government that prosecutors already have everywhere in Germany is transferred even to the judges.

      • Matthew

        Fortunately, the High Court and the Supreme Court decide who may bring appeals — the district judge in this case has no power to block an appeal.

    • emersonreturn

      i don’t think it will ever make appeal. JA will be suicided on the plane to the united snakes before appeal is filed.

      • Deb O'Nair

        It will go to appeal whatever the magistrate rules. If JA’s extradition is approved by the magistrate then JA’s team will appeal. If it goes the other way then the UK government will appeal. Then whoever loses in the high court will appeal to the supreme court. Ultimately it will end up at the supreme court because that is how the legal system works (providing you can afford the expense)

        • emersonreturn

          you continue to believe the system will hold, in spite of what is going on, i applaud you for your continued faith & truly hope you are correct & right. i fear events have moved past all semblance of just & fair. long years of applied mind control & well tempered judicial parsing of facts have left the populace numbed to the point of stupidity. i fear no one other than a few pesky lawyers & miscreants will question the proceedings. russia, china, & iran may be the few nations left to care about the preservation of international law & detail the facts but they of course are suspect & well beyond ‘the pale’. again i hope you are correct. ‘everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.’

        • Bayard

          In the Dreyfus case the French government simply arranged to have someone shoot the head of Dreyfus’s defence team.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Craig Murray deserves the equivalent of a sainthood, for what he is doing this week.

    I have followed the history of Julian Assange, since before he was in Sweden, and almost live when he was in Sweden, from the girl’s own twitter messages, neither of who ever accused him of rape. In fact the first girl involved, bragged about it, cooked him breakfast, drove him back, and organised a party for him, where he met the second girl.

    It is entirely possible, in his earlier history he has had close relationships to “Intelligence Services”, though I have no direct proof of that, though he was certainly in close proximity in Egypt so far as I remember.

    Whilst, I understand the points made by some, re wikileaks releases of cables that support the Official US Government Story of 9/11, and that Assange did neither refute, nor censor, nor make any personal judgement on them, that does not mean that they are either true, nor that he agreed with them. He simply released them for publication. He never considered his role, as a censor. He was simply a journalist and a publisher.

    No one should assume, that all of the information released by wikileaks is true, especially if it comes from the US Government.

    A publisher publishes. He can hardly be expected to verify, especially considering the enormous volume, whether or not all of if it is true, just because it comes mainly from Government sources.

    I think he has been used and supported, and then thrown under the bus, as a massive warning to anyone else, who would dare even think about what he did.

    I think he is an honest man of integrity, who has committed no crime, and I am completely disgusted at how he is being treated in England. It makes me ashamed of my Country. At the end of the day, he moved to England because he trusted our laws, institutions and reputation of fairness and justice.

    The Court Case is an Embarrassment to 1,000 years of English History of Justice, and now makes us look even worse than The worst place you can think of in the Rest of The World.

    They are looking at us, in the UK and thinking – Blimey, even we wouldn’t do that, even if he was guilty.

    What’s next on the agenda – Boiling alive, for anyone who disagrees with The UK Government?


    • Tom Welsh

      “What’s next on the agenda – Boiling alive, for anyone who disagrees with The UK Government?”

      Well, since Mr Murray drew their attention to its use in Uzbekistan… their reaction might not be quite as healthy as he hoped.

  • Hans Adler

    This minor correction has been pointed out. Sorry for repeating it, but it really is so jarring that it would be a pity if it were missed:

    The name of the German weekly newspaper is “Der Freitag” = “[The] Friday”, not “Die, Freitag!” (“Die Freitag” would be correct if Freitag were a feminine word, but it is masculine.)

  • bj

    I think the defense would do well, in front of the press, to not have Hrnaffson go into the merits and matters of the case too much, and leave that to the lawyers.

    • Northern

      What distinction are you drawing between ‘the defense’ as you term them and ‘the lawyers’, and why?

      I fail to see how not drawing attention to the facts of the case can be an assistance to anyone but the state?

      • bj

        Can’t you read?
        I fail to see how not drawing attention to the facts of the case can be an assistance to anyone but the state?

        Am I talking about “not drawing attention to the facts of the case” anywhere? Am I not stating “leave that to the lawyers”?

        Mr. Rees should plan the presser at the end more carefully: Julian Assange’s lawyers, the rep. from Lawyers without Border, et al, should speak first. They, as I said, “can go into the merits and matters of the case”, the management and circumstances of it, etc..

        Then let Hrnaffson give his commentary and impressions at the end.

        Just now, 30 minutes ago, they started with Hrnaffson again; he stumbled for words, his emotions get the better of him (which I will not hold against him), what he said needed background which if the lawyers had spoken first might have been clearer.

        • Northern

          Thanks for clarifying. Wasn’t immeditely apparent to me that the subject of your initial post was Hrnaffson, must have been skimming at work. Apologies.

  • Antiwar7

    Unfortunately, assuming that the “judge” will follow the law or the evidence is unwarranted. All indications are that she is a pro-war, pro-establishment toady who would do anything, including lying and breaking the law, to further those aims.

    And look at the US itself, an utterly lawless regime. The US Constitution, the “supreme law of the land”, forbids the US President from making war without Congress, and yet it happens all the time.

    • Martinned

      That same Constitution also puts the President in sole charge of foreign policy and makes him commander in chief of the military, which suggests that part of the problem might be the drafting of the thing…

  • Jamien Bailey

    I sent this to my MP and suggest others do similar.
    [email protected]
    Subject: Torture of political prisoners.
    Dear Mr. Moore

    Why aren’t you speaking out about this?

    An extract from a report by Craig Murray, former British diplomat at the trial at Woolwich Crown court in Belmarsh prison of journalist Julian Assange, yesterday, 25th February 2020

    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.

    This is not Russia, Syria or China – this is England 2020, the people of which you represent.

    Yours faithfully

    • Jon

      I agree with your sentiment, but I fear that either the MP has not seen it – the lack of major outlet reporting on the case is shocking – or they are aware but need some polite requests to raise it in the Commons. Don’t give them an excuse to ignore you!

  • deschutes

    Judge Vanessa Baraitser is as corrupt as she is detestable. This is a show trial as bad as anything from Stalin’s show trials in the late 1930s, i.e. it’s a kangaroo court where the US/UK governments have already determined guilt. Assange will be extradited to USA by Baraitser. Not the slightest attempt is made by the UK court judge Baraitser to appear objective, fair or impartial: her disdain for Assange is there for everyone to see. To me it seems that this is how it is now: US/UK governments are military police states ruling via an iron fist. They want to destroy Assange in slow motion to ‘teach us all a lesson’. I think USA/UK have undergone a sort of silent coup from within, everything went to shit as if by prepared plan after the 9-11 attacks. That’s when they got rid of all the civil rights protections, e.g. Patriot Act, ‘War on Terror’, GITMO, Abu Grahib, etc. Assange exposed these horrible assholes in the military industrial complex of US/UK and now they want their revenge. It is all very horrible and very dangerous because Magna Carta is now gone, any pretense to democracy, human rights, is gone. It’s rule by a military police state with show trials.

    • Bramble

      I would feel more hopeful if the ordinary voter were as disgusted by and ashamed of all of this as you and I. Unfortunately the ordinary voter is patriotically proud to be English, hates immigrants, especially Muslims, wants to get Brexit done and doesn’t give a fig for those being slowly murdered by UC – his or her fellow citizens. Johnson knows he will get away with this because it will be “democratically” accepted by the electorate. It was in December.

      • Kim Sanders-Fisher

        Bramble – My comment is further down, but I had to reply to you. This was a totally corrupt Election that Boris Johnson did not win. Please visit the Discussion Forum; “Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged?

        I have written in my latter post that:
        “I must admit I have become seriously preoccupied with providing daily comments to keep the rigged Election issue alive. Oust the corrupt Tory Government to put an end to the corrupt trial of the innocent journalist and political prisoner Julian Assange. I am absolutely convinced that, among other conscientious decisions, a progressive government would have outright refused to grant Assange’s extradition to the US and freed him months ago as one component of restoring a fair justice system to this country.”

      • Tom Welsh

        Isn’t it an important aspect of defamation that it must tend to harm a person’s reputation? That would depend on whether they have a reputation in the first place, and if so what kind. Wouldn’t it?

          • SA

            At the risk of being labelled a pedant the quote is a nonesense. Only certain metals like copper, silver and tin are tarnished and this is a different chemical reaction than rust which occurs in ferrous metals. So of course you can’t tarnish a rusted blade because it would be chemically impossible to do so.

    • Robyn

      Kudos to Kevin Gosztola of Shadowproof who tweets from the court room all day and then produces a summary video (bob’s youtube link for Kevin’s third day report). Kevin and Craig are doing an outstanding job.

      • bob

        thanks Robyn for expanding my posting – I just wanted to get it on here quickly – there are posts for the first two days as well – this must be the new Boris era, where Britain can do anything and be successful at it – even acting illegally, corruptly and with disdain for justice and the people!

  • Monster

    The corrupt judge Vanessa Baraitse is an embrarrassment to the English legal system. As I underrstand it from the legal fraternity, she has no training in extradition cases and has been placed there by Chief Magistrate Lady Arbuthnot, who is married to an intelligence operative linked to Sir John Sawer, ex MI6 head, to get the result they wanr This could be her final public role if she f*cks up, so she’s blundering through the proceedings and making things up as she goes along. Shocking.

  • José Carollo

    Dear Craig

    Your help to Julian has been an example to everybody.
    For what it may be worth, I want to say that Baltazar Garzón is a deep state operative. Big time.

      • NoOneYouKnow

        Craig, “interesting things” that will work to JA’s benefit or otherwise?
        Thank you for witnessing JA’s trial for us.

    • jmg

      Jose, Baltasar Garzon fought crimes from all sides — governments, organized crime, powerful people… — on multiple occasions, not only in the case of the attempted UK extradition to Spain of mass murderer Augusto Pinochet. In spite of the controversies, all these years I haven’t stopped thinking that he is a great man.

  • Yossarian

    Thank you so much for this reporting – it is absolutely shocking. One small correction: it is “der Freitag”.

    • Carol

      The specific protection set out in Part 2 of the UK 2003 Act and in particular section 81 cannot reasonably be read to exclude any additional protection where such additional protection is contained in the particular treaty on which the application for extradition is founded. At the very least this additional protection can be invoked by reliance on the abuse jurisdiction. It becomes an abuse to disregard such a treaty protection because a state which seeks extradition in reliance on its bilateral treaty with the UK should be expected by the court to honour the fundamental protections guaranteed in the treaty by which it has bound itself.

  • dearieme

    It’s all too bloody shameful. Shameful that we have such a cringingly one-sided extradition treaty with the US. Shameful that Assange was arrested on spurious charges from Sweden. Shameful that his durance vile in the Ecuadorian Embassy isn’t treated a punishment enough. Shameful that he and his lawyers are impeded from making a case in his defence. Shame, shame, shame. It’s as if Toni bloody Blair is still in charge.

    • Robyn

      Even worse than ‘spurious charges from Sweden’, there were never any charges at all.

      Blair was just the public face, it’s the same mob running the same show.

    • Yalt

      As the magistrate has taken pains to point out, the treaty is irrelevant in any event, at least to the extent that it might serve to hinder extradition, because it has no legal force on the Court.

      Just as nothing said in the courtroom will have any bearing on the outcome of the case, neither does any detail of the US/UK extradition treaty.

  • Paul Wolf

    The prosecutor is right that the facts are proven at trial. At the extradition hearing they need only show probable cause.

        • Ken Kenn

          It looks to me like deiberate plagiarism in so far as that the original Wikileaks documents were redacted and Harding and his oppo were given the go ahead to pass the password onto a waiting world.

          Then Harding and his mate at the Guardian could say – Not me guv – it was the one’s who utilised the password we published.

          We didn’t dare have a look otherwise we’d be in the dock.

          My view is simple – Harding and his chum possibly had the permission of the US State to publish the password.

          The UK Extradition Treaty not the UK?US one is going to be interesting.

          Assange appears to have not broken the UK Official Secrets Act.

          His alleged crime is the breaking of the US Official Secrets Act?

          If he was in the US when he did that – what then?

          If he wasn’t then the alleged crime was not committed in the US.

          I await the interesting debate from our learned but biased friend.

  • TJ

    “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.”

    Baraitser just admitted that the US government is an unreliable witness, therefore all evidence and charges made by the US government should be immediately dropped, that is unless Baraitser is part of an on going criminal conspiracy to Pervert The Course of Justice.

    “The US government had been actively participating in the redaction exercise on the cables.”

    So the US government engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Wikileaks!

    “On the face of it therefore political extradition is not illegal in the UK, as the Treaty has no legal force on the Court. ”

    If the Law is not in alignment with the Treaty, then the Law needs to be changed to align with the Treaty.

  • Jon

    Evening all

    Tip of the hat to Craig for first-rate work. Hope everyone is re-publishing and linking it!

    Quick question regarding donations. I plan to send a sum via the bank account (and move my PayPal subscription to a standing order) but can someone confirm the account/sort codes are correct (i.e. is the account receiving donations)? I don’t want to transmit a bunch of cash and find that a digit has been fat-fingered!

    • Clark

      Hello Jon, I checked with site admin and those details have been in use for months, so we’re pretty sure any error would have been noticed by now. Sorry for the tardy reply!

      • Jon

        Hey Clark, good to see you here! Thank you. On the basis that Craig is tied up (and no doubt exhausted) with admirable cause, I will go ahead and send without further confirmation.

  • Kate Macintosh

    There are so many reasons mounting every day to feel ashamed of the corruption of British institutions and practices but this report strikes me with afresh wave of despair because I had retained some residual respect for our legal system and the presupposition of its independence from political pressure.

    • Mary

      The unnatural death of Dr David Kelly.

      An inquest was opened and was then immediately cancelled, being subsumed into the Hutton Inquiry set up by Goldsmith and Blair. A whitewash followed.

      A judicial review of the refusal to hold a rightful inquest followed. It failed. It took place in the High Court at great financial cost to the applicant.

      The ‘law’ did not come into any of it.

  • John Goss

    We, in the warmth and security of our dwellings, can only praise to high heaven the fact that we have such an intrepid reporter at the magistrates court, to show us the utter collusion of the Bench with US foreign interference in a hearing that appears to be nothing short of fixed it is hard to raise our hopes too high. My growing contempt for Ms. Baraitser is on a par with my growing contempt for her superior, chief magistrate, Emma Arbuthnot, who without compunction refused to extradite the wife of super-rich embezzler Jahangir Hajiyev who siphoned off some £76 million from the State Bank of Azerbaijan. A former chairman of the bank he was arrested and imprisoned for 15 years. Meanwhile his wife, went on a spending spree buying up everything from designer clothes to a Golf Club (£10,5 million near Ascot). The difference between a fair trial if you are rich, however that wealth was obtained, or poor and honest, is glaring.

  • Yalt

    -Your honor, I could not possibly have beaten my wife. I am single; I have no wife.
    -That does not constitute proof that you did not beat her.

  • fwl

    Thanks to Craig for reporting.

    My tuppence worth:

    Re political see S81 contains a bar to extraditions if (a) prosecution is to punish JA for his political views or (b) risk of prejudice at trial because of JA’s political views. This is not quite the same as looking at political motivation of prosecution although that would be relevant. Does JA have political views or is he a journalist? Is it possible to be such a radical journalist as JA without inherently having strong political views?

    S82 – passage of time – how long has to pass? If the facts from the Manning case are concluded facts then that might suggest that passage of time has not caused prejudice in respect of those facts, but if they are (as appears to be the case from Craig’s report) now said not to be concluded facts then doesn’t that indicate that they are going to have be re-examined after all this time? (Having said that I wasn’t sure if it was being said that they were not concluded facts for the purpose of this UK court (“court”) or for the purposes of the US proceedings.)

    On the forum issue: where was JA when the offence was said to have been committed? Was he is UK?

    • Alan Dow

      See Defence statement from Day 1 quoted by Craig, following passage in particular:
      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.

  • ManintheMoon

    Thank you so much, Craig, for reporting on this show trial, for otherwise many of us would not have a clue what is going on. As someone who originally trained as a barrister I am absolutely gobsmacked by the open bias of Barraitser who seems to not just blatantly to support the Prosecution but go well beyond anything they could argue. I am sure you’re right that the James Lewis’s intervention to contradict her assertion that prison conditions were no business of hers, was because he could see a clear case for a mistrial emerging. One does wonder what pressure/inducement has been placed on Barraitser to make her conduct a trial that would definitely not have been out of place in Stalin’s Soviet Union. I’d love to see her file at GCHQ. I will leave that to others who know her well to speculate about this. However, the real test of the British legal system will come in the Appeal Court. I wonder if the government actually want them to order a retrial rather than quashing the verdict and allowing Assange to go free, to play for time and hope they can kill off Assange in the interval? I am not confident about this, but I cannot believe that senior judges will allow this extradition to go ahead. As a side note, let none of us ever forget the names of Barraitser and Arbuthnot – may they live in infamy for the rest of their miserable lives. I just hope that one day I might come face to face with one of these vermin.

    • Alan Dow

      The aim of the US/UK may not ultimately be to convict Assange, as they would thereby create a martyr.
      Seems to me their main aim is to prolong the legal process, whatever the outcome.
      Wikileaks published Stratfor files containing the following opinion:

      “One other point is this. Ferreting out his confederates is also key.
      Find out what other disgruntled rogues inside the tent or outside. Pile
      on. Move him from country to country to face various charges for the
      next 25 years. But, seize everything he and his family own, to include
      every person linked to Wiki. ”

  • Harry Law

    Regarding the Magistrates claim that the extradition treaty differs from the UK Act, it should make no difference since the Primary legislation of the Act does not conflict with the treaty even if it is silent.
    The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT) is an international agreement regulating treaties between states.The VCLT is considered a codification of customary international law and state practice concerning treaties.
    The Hague regulations are not, however the customary international law of the Hague regulations will be interpreted as part of UK law provided that it is not in conflict with any law not already on the statute books.
    In Chung Chi Cheng V the King (1939) AC160 Lord Atkin stated that when faced with a customary rule “UK courts will treat it as incorporated into the domestic law, so far as it is not inconsistent with rules enacted by statutes or finally declared by their tribunals.” It has been said that when interpreting customary international law, something more than an opinion in a textbook would be required in order for a judgement to be made.
    That such a rule will not be applied in the face of conflicting primary legislation.
    There is no CONFLICTING primary legislation.

  • Kim Sanders-Fisher

    Craig I hope that you have surrounded yourself with a solid support team who can work alongside you to enable you to sustain this very gruelling schedule of queuing to make it into the court each day. I know how passionately you care about Julian Assange’s fate, but you cannot help him if you are not able to keep yourself fighting fit; you must consider your own health too. We all greatly appreciate your efforts to bring us the unbiased honest reporting that we should be receiving from the press if they were not beholden to the UK and US propaganda agenda.

    At last today I got round to sending a donation to bolster your Assange Court Case war chest. This donation was undoubtedly long overdue and the very least I could offer as I am really grateful to you for still allowing me to monopolize so much space on the Discussion Forum; “Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged?” On this forum I have imbedded a Link to the Free Assange Petition for readers to sign:

    I must admit I have become seriously preoccupied with providing daily comments to keep the rigged Election issue alive. Oust the corrupt Tory Government to put an end to the corrupt trial of the innocent journalist and political prisoner Julian Assange. I am absolutely convinced that, among other conscientious decisions, a progressive government would have outright refused to grant Assange’s extradition to the US and freed him months ago as one component of restoring a fair justice system to this country.

    As a former Whistleblower myself, I believe it is important to make sure that there is sufficient evidence and information available out there on the Internet so that any potential Whistleblower with pertinent evidence of Electoral fraud will feel confident that they are certainly not alone and they will be believed if they ever reach a point where they can summon the courage to come forward. Whistleblowers are universally humiliated, ostracized, demonized, and persecuted, treated as insanely vindictive former employees with an axe to grind or they are falsely accused of criminal acts to bully them into silence.

    Julian Assange has suffered all of this same victimization and targeting just for offering desperate Whistleblowers a safe place of refuge and a sympathetic ear when voicing the concerns they consciously raise on behalf of us all. Without WikiLeaks there would be no universally recognized credible space to publish their revelations and we would remain ignorant of some of the most heinous crimes committed by our governments in our name. Please thank Assange for his extreme courage as he faces the full might of the US government determined to punish and silence him. Julian will remain the hero of all truthful investigative journalists and outspoken Whistleblowers worldwide

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