Assange Legal Farce Continues 165

There has simply never been a broadcast report in the UK on Assange as fair as this one from Sky News Australia.

nor is it conceivable that there ever could be.

I have reported already on the US changing the indictment after the defence’s opening statement had been heard and defence written evidence submitted. The latest legal twist in this Kafkaesque saga is that Julian may be released and instantly re-arrested under the new indictment.

The USA and the Crown continue to argue that the charges remain the same, even if the indictment has changed. This is like being halfway through a trial for the murder of Stephanie, the defence having demolished the prosecution case, and they suddenly change the allegation from murdering Stephanie to murdering Peter, but say it makes no difference as it is still the same charge of murder. As I have catalogued the relentless cruelty and the contortions of reason in this case, a little bit of me keeps saying “they cannot get away with this”. But so far, they always do.

If anyone can figure a way to embed the Sky News video…


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165 thoughts on “Assange Legal Farce Continues

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  • Mary

    Geoffrey Robertson QC with Afshin Rattansi on Going Underground. First half.

    Geoffrey Robertson QC: The US is trying to CRUSH Julian Assange to deter future whistleblowers (E911)
    We speak to Julian Assange’s former lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC. He discusses the new indictments being brought by the US against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and why they have been brought at such a late stage, why the US is pushing so hard for his extradition, his belief that Julian Assange would get 50 years in prison if he is extradited to the US, alleged bugging of Ecuador’s embassy in London by the US to spy on Assange, his limited access to lawyers inside Belmarsh Prison and much more!

    I think that the persecution of Julian Assange by the UK and the US is much more than just a deterrent.

    • Cascadian

      Is there any mileage in the thought that if they relax the restrictions they have on him he will be able to activate his deadman’s switch?

  • Peter Mo

    There are many governments around the globe who follow the English legal system. The whole process with Assange contradicts so many facets of these principles. Just from sake of English pride and England’s standing in the world these proceedings should not make a mockery of this history.

    • Wikikettle

      Peter Mo, indeed, the establishment and swamp as it should be called is the real un patriotic lot.

  • Frognoch Gilhooly


    Thanks for the link to Geoffrey Robertson QC with Afshin Rattansi on Going Underground. Very interesting – and timely.

    I was chatting with a very experienced Scottish criminal lawyer about Craig’s own case the other week. I asked them who he thinks would do the best job for Craig in the upcoming travesty of a trial.

    To my great surprise, he suggested none other than…. Geoffrey Robertson. He says that would “put the shits right up the Scottish judicial establishment” who he says “get off with huge abuse of process” in front of members of the (Scottish) Faculty of Advocates who do not “want their jotters marked” by the be-wigged dictators on the Scottish bench.

    As an English barrister, apparently Robertson does have a right of audience in the High Court, and unlike his Scottish counterparts, would not have to give a shit about upsetting their Lordships (and Ladyships) who do not take well to being bested by upstart Scottish Advocates, and would forever take revenge on any such person in future cases (not to mention block any ambition they might have).

    And the problem in Craig’s case, is that it is only the judges who will decide – there being no jury to persuade and seek any semblance of justice from.

    Robertson on the other hand, as an accomplished advocate, brilliant lawyer, and with a huge international standing, would sweep aside any consideration of judicial ire and revenged and demolish the absurdity that is this vexatious prosecution.

    “He would scare the shit out of them – and the little worm from the Crown Office”

    That at least is this person’s opinion.

  • Antonym

    French government and justice lowered their image for decades through its Dreyfus trial, l’Affaire. Their 1900 Parliament finally got their state back in the 20th century. The 2020 UK House of commons is basically invisible in the Assange charade and returns England back to Henry VIII style of “government”.

    • N_

      “Returns”? What previous court cases was the House of Commons “visible” in? The most recent that I’d give them credit for is when they established the court that tried and convicted “Charles I” in 1649. Credit where it’s due. Those guys had guts.

      In 1953, when the judges, cops, and defenders of hierarchical order generally were salivating at the thought of murdering Derek Bentley in Wandsworth Prison, the House of Commons was banned from considering the murder until after it had been carried out. (So much for “sovereignty”!) However, around 200 MPs did a petition against it before it was. In 2020 I don’t know whether a single one of them has said anything about the Assange case. What about somebody like Diane Abbott or, in the “other place”, Jenny Tonge?

      • N_

        MPs find themselves (and have willingly put themselves) in a position similar to the one that Frognoch Gilhooly describes in respect of Scottish advocates.

    • Antonym

      MoA and even Off-Guardian come to a different conclusion reg. the Beirut blast, one based on video evidence and Lebanese army info: a container with fireworks burned next to a huge, 6 years old stock of ammonium nitrate.
      Colored glasses fool only the wearer….

  • Goose

    Surely the key question is : Will the US change its stance under a Biden administration?

    Trump being Trump, he’s numb to ‘press freedom’ arguments – he hates the press and they hate him. But a Biden administration might not want to be seen eroding basic freedoms? As the intercept reported , ‘Obama’s DOJ concluded, prosecution of Julian Assange for publishing documents posed a grave threats to press freedom’ – they understood the chilling precedent it would set and how it would stymie investigative journalism, which it almost certainly would/will.

    • SA

      This is the US. You really think there would be a change of direction in this issue? Think again. Even the current Labour Party wouldn’t lift a finger for Assange so get real please.

      • Goose

        Depends… with Trump gone the press might start taking their responsibilities seriously again? Their hatred for Trump and erroneous linkage of his presidency to Assange/WikiLeaks/Russia blinds them to the issues here, no doubt.

        Arriving at a situation where investigative journalists can’t handle classified documents they’re handed, surely must trigger an alarm at some point among even our most docile press?

        • bevin

          I’m afraid not. The die is cast: to preserve neo-liberalism all traces of legal, social and economic liberalism are being effaced.
          The system is in crisis and the subtleties involved in preserving the credibility of legislatures and judicial offices are being eroded. And nowhere quicker than in the United States.
          As to the UK, the ruling class has completely lost its self-confidence and wallows in its status as a second (third? fourth) banana in the American imperial system. That is why it takes the lead in promoting russiaphobia, just as it did the heavy lifting in the Clinton inspired conspiracy to defang Trump.
          It looks as if the Scots ruling caste is desperately trying to impress the US as being even more reliable than Westminster ever was. Farcically this undignified and sordid ditching of the last shreds of sovereignty is taking place long after the shades of night have fallen on American hegemony: if ever there were a time for states to strike up new alliances and take bold moves in new directions it is now, but, as the edifice collapses the little people in Westminster. Edinburgh and Dublin rush towards it for shelter.

      • N_

        @SA – What is your reasoning? I could easily imagine massive game-playing and lots of lawyering after a Democratic victory regarding Trump-Manafort-Russia-Stone and Assange featuring in that and being offered immunity or otherwise having the charges dropped. After all, Bradley Manning is already out.

        I’m not saying it’s likely, but it’s not a path of extreme improbability.

        What forces have already been in play in the US that have caused the US government to handle its legal effort in such a ludicrously crap way in this case? We don’t know, but among the facts we do know is that Trump can’t even control Kellyanne Conway’s husband George, let alone the troops he wanted to bring in to protect the presidential palace.

        Some stuff will fall apart and other stuff, probably causing great surprise to many, will come to the fore in what remains of 2020, year of the “Metal Rat”. No way will Trump defeat Big Pharma. If he really takes them on, they’ll eat him alive. Personally I think Trump will drop out of the race before 3 November. Which sadly doesn’t necessarily mean a Democrat in the palace.

    • lysias

      Hillary hates Assange. Biden would never defy her over that.

      Believers in Russiagate and feminists also hate Assange. Biden won’t defy them either.

      • bevin

        It strikes me that just as the UK government is ready to break every rule in the book in its eagerness to render Assange to the Caesars on the Potomac, so, in its small way, is the Edinburgh gang quite prepared to do what it is required to do by Assanging our host Craig.
        Once he is in gaol, perhaps, and smeared as an offender against the MeToo culture, the depth of his links with wikileaks and other subversive associates might be explored and developed into a case for one of those tame grand juries.
        As to Biden let us not forget that his biggest supporter, Obama, prosecuted more whistleblowers and truthtellers than any of his predecessors. It is touching that the generous and optimistic Goose holds out any hope in that direction.

        • N_

          CIA ones like Anna Ardin?
          BTW when did she start calling herself a Christian? Is she getting evangelical money?

    • pretzelattack

      doubt it, obama wasn’t exactly a defender of civil liberties, and biden is even more right wing. or used to be, now it’s whoever controls the husk of biden.

  • Josh

    blinkin’ Nora!

    Did someone just hack a mainstream broadcaster?


    Very good Sky (Aus) segment + well done John Shipton, cool as a cucumber + told it well,

    but?…..Sky News?…….how?………?!?

  • Goose

    Terrible news, doesn’t Robert Fisk live on Beirut’s waterfront?

    Hope he’s ok.

    • Laguerre

      There is East Beirut (where the docks and poorer people are), and West Beirut, where the wealthy Christians hang out, the people with whom Fisk associates. Windows blown out is the likely answer.

  • N_

    The Beirut event looks to have had an explosive power of between 0.1 and 1 kT.
    The two explosions were around 30-40 seconds apart.

    • N_

      Is there a website that lets you look at past movements of the sea vessels in a region, for free, and actually identifies them? Might be interesting to take a look at which ones were docked in Beirut recently or at sea nearby. The free service at identifies vessels on its “live” map (as does but for times in the past it only shows them and doesn’t identify them.

      • Laguerre

        It was a Moldovan ship that was detained in 2013, I believe, with the cargo of 2500 tons of ammonium nitrate. The cargo was transferred to a warehouse, because too dangerous in the ship, and then forgotten, or more likely the subject of interminable legal disputes over ownership.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Mike Pompeo’s statements are rather like a recently freed Barrabas condemning Jesus Christ as a cowardly fraud who committed crimes of exposing the rich elite in Palestine as conniving, corrupt thieves, gangsters and murderers.

    To say that the US’ former Chief Torturer in SE Asia, Michael Pompeo, is fit to hold public office, is fit to comment on what is or is not acceptable behaviour, is rather like saying that hiring Ronnie Kray to run a charity for sexually abused children is best practice public sector administration. It is Mr Pompeo who should be a defendant in a court of law, that court should not be in the USA, it should preferably be in a hostile SE Asian jurisdiction,alternatively perhaps in Tripoli, perhaps in Kabul.

    He should be treated with the contempt that he treated those he tortured, the contempt he holds for human dignity, human rights, human freedoms and ethical behaviour.

    And whilst he is imprisoned, he should be subjected to a rigorous exercise programme under one of the most coercive physical training instructors world military organisations can rustle up. It might make the grossly obese murderer appear in court looking slightly less like a donut-stuffing, rotund, coronary-heart-disease-in-waiting windbag.

    • Laguerre

      It’s a problem that the US version of ministers have little democratic legitimation, being the direct equivalent of what Brexiters call the “unelected bureaucracy” of Brussels, never being elected themselves by the people, only secondarily approved by Congress. Any nutter can be appointed if it suits the political machinations of the day. It’s a systemic problem.

      • Laguerre

        They are now though. But in the US no move towards democracy ever takes place.

        Nothing wrong with being a Hamas supporter (and Hizbullah!). Only in your mind is it wrong to resist the tyranny of Israel. Ghettoisation like in Warsaw is just fine by you.

      • N_

        French ministers including the prime minister still don’t need to have been elected as national assembly members. I can’t think of a single one who was. But the national assembly can sack both the PM and the “government” as a whole (although not the President.)

        Parliamentary democracy is basically horsesh*t – the dirty secret that even liberal-left members of the political class won’t mention in front of the “children”.

    • Sarge

      Hopefully Pompeo remains America’s chief diplomat tor years to come. Every time he opens his mouth he trashes America’s image, even in the eyes of those who still worship the US.

      • Goose

        Chicago Outfit feel… ‘Big Mikey’?

        All that’s needed is a pinstriped suit, trilby and holding a Tommy gun. He’d blend right into those old black & white photos from Prohibition era America.

      • pretzelattack

        he might get the u.s. into a nuclear war with russia. he’s a batshit warmonger. of course, anybody who gets put in his position would be.

    • Deepgreenpuddock

      I get the impression you don’t like M.Pomp.but take solace in his cardiac condition and probable type 2 diabetes.The only snag being that if he self destructs there are plenty of replacements in a similar mold, or is that a mouldy similarity.

      • Goose

        US progressives are understandably appalled at the prospect of the ultra-hawkish Susan Rice becoming Biden’s pick for VP. It’s apparently between her and Kamala Harris – a centrist Blairite type.

        Americans get to pick their favourite warmonger every four years. Why do people vote?

        • Goose

          Serious miscalculation imho.

          Many who supported Bernie Sanders were hoping Biden’s people would be sympathetic to the arguments for a ‘balanced ticket’ ;reflecting the younger leftish wing of the party, attracted to AOC and Sanders’ politics.

          Harris vs Rice is a real slap in the face to that wing of the party; one that may have serious consequences in terms of enthusiasm and electoral appeal, a low turnout was always his biggestl enemy.

          • pretzelattack

            the only things that would motivate me to vote for biden is trump’s total incompetence on handling the virus and his fascist response to protests. but then i think would biden’s subservience to the hate russia crowd be more dangerous that trump’s idiocies like “it’s fake news”, and i just don’t know. i’m probably just going to vote green or sit it out, because we all know one of the two sh..bags will win.

          • Goose


            You feel like a lot of us feel in the UK now Labour is back in the hands of neoliberals and neocons.

            Here, people shout, ‘ Well, set up a new political party then’ . If that happened and if it became popular, military intelligence would undermine it. Just read about Operation Shadower — illegal MI5 bugging of left-wing UK journalist, by Annie Machon. This is what any new political party would be up against.


          • Goose

            Craig’s labelled a ‘crank’ by some in our MSM for suggesting such interference in recent events in Scotland. But you read Annie’s account and especially how Tory ministers behaved, and you realise, even the more outlandish stuff is likely happening under some spurious justification or other.

          • Goose

            The most atrocious thing is how family members are viewed as fair game. Were a charismatic, young left-wing leader to emerge, one who looked like sweeping all before them electorally, what do you think would happen?

            We’ve had four whistleblowers emerging from the OPCW claiming they’ve been subjected to recent threats, while our MSM looks the other way.

            We bash the Chinese and Russians , but apart from the enshrined (thus difficult to remove) protection of free speech, are we any better?

  • nevermind

    the fireworks set off a store of 25 tons of ammonium nitrate stored inappropriately in a warehouse since 2014.
    It does not take much to set this fertiliser bomb off. if you can generate 2000C in a flash of a firework, you can set it off.
    I have yet to hear from named/linked sources or eyewitness reports that a fighterjet flew over the port area at low level.
    Although it is not unusual for some nation to add calamity to misfortune. Beirut has seen anti government demonstration for days and it was getting more pronounced.
    Should Lebanon be prepared for another invasion by sowing even more confusion? Are we looking at another prep for a war which would give fraudster Bibi another chunk of time in power?

    • Manjushri

      Yesterday lunchtime, the BBC radio news played an audio report from a France24 reporter who was in Beirut at the time of the explosion. She claimed that shortly prior to the exploion a low flying military jet flew overhead. This was never mentioned again on subsequent BBC reports.

      • Godolphin

        I understand that low level daily sorties overfly Lebanon and Palestine.

    • Spencer Eagle

      Nope, there’s something very wrong about the whole story. Ammonium nitrate isn’t an explosive, it’s a fertiliser , you can set fire to as much as you like and it won’t explode – it burns at best. It can be made into an explosive known as ANFO by mixing it with precise quantity of fuel such as diesel and is typically used by quarries and terrorists alike. However, even when mixed as an ‘explosive’ it is very difficult to detonate – you can set fire to it and it won’t go off. Crucially, any ammonium nitrate based explosive can only be initiated by a high order commercial or military grade explosive, even then the correct amount of high explosive to ANFO is very much a science, too little and it won’t go off and too much you just scatter it around. Was a nearby state concerned that those 2500 tons of precursor might end up in the wrong hands?

      • Spencer Eagle

        Just to be clear about that, no amount of fireworks can set off mixed ANFO let alone ammonium nitrate , they simply aren’t ‘energetic’ enough to initiate detonation.

        • Goose

          Reading the devastating (in terms of 168 lives and destruction) 1995 Oklahoma city federal building attack, involved a truck carrying (2,300 kg) [2.3 tonnes] of ammonium nitrate and nitromethane.

          Puts 2,750 tonnes into some perspective.

  • Mary

    I saw a video yesterday which showed fireworks going off before the explosion.

    ‘Online videos of the disaster’s initial moments show sparks and lights inside the smoke rising from the blaze, just prior to the massive blast. That likely indicates that fireworks were involved, said Boaz Hayoun, owner of the Tamar Group, an Israeli firm that works closely with the Israeli government on safety and certification issues involving explosives.

    “Before the big explosion, you can see in the center of the fire, you can see sparks, you can hear sounds like popcorn and you can hear whistles,” Hayoun told The Associated Press. “This is very specific behavior of fireworks, the visuals, the sounds and the transformation from a slow burn to a massive explosion.”

    Fireworks, ammonium nitrate likely fueled Beirut explosion

    • N_

      @Mary – The Israelis are taking the piss. Seriously, who would trust their public assessment of what happened? Absolutely nobody in the Middle East, that’s for sure.

      As for the Lebanese official story as described by @RoS, I can’t see how a conclusion of probable accident can sensibly be reached at this time, especially without indication as to what kind of accident. That’s even if it is accepted that a store of fireworks went up first. All I can say is that in the footage I’ve seen that shows both blasts, I didn’t see or hear any crackly firework trails in the smoke of the first one, as are visible and audible in known explosions involving fireworks. But maybe Hayoun had some guys watching from a safe distance, high-fiving each other, doing a removals job, taking a rest from touting art works or something.

      • Goose

        This is once instance where ‘Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.’ seems the more sensible explanatory path to take. Even if deliberately set off it was an accident waiting to happen.

        Consider the Oklahoma City bombing involving Timothy McVeigh and accomplices; their truck bomb consisted of about 5,000 pounds (2,300 kg) [or 2.3 tonnes] of ammonium nitrate and nitromethane. It quote : ‘destroyed the north half of the building. It killed 168 people, including nineteen children in the day care center on the second floor, and injured 684 others.’

        2750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate were stored in the Beirut port warehouse!

  • Goose

    They’re now speaking of the risk of ‘neverendums’ i.e., a referendum on independence being held every 5 -10 years. But what’s wrong with that if mandated via Scottish electorate voting for parties promising it? It may be less than ideal, in terms of bringing uncertainty, but ultimately, that’s the electorate decision and you either believe in democracy or you don’t.

    Referendum opponents can’t but help reveal their deeply anti-democratic, authoritarian instincts.

  • glenn_uk

    Dang, having autoplay on that video is a bit of a surprise! Not a welcome one either, I should add… it restarts every time a post is made or the page otherwise reloaded.

  • Shatnersrug

    Mainstream media finally catches up with Craig a month later and then does a lap of honour and pats itself on the back

    Billy Kember @billykember
    New: The government has wasted at least £150 million on face masks which can’t be used by the NHS. The masks were bought from a family investment fund, Ayanda Capital, in a deal brokered by a government adviser. Thread follows ?

    • Xavi

      I think Murdoch and much of the establishment view Johnson and Cummings as loose cannons who cannot be adequately controlled. They can safely criticise them now because the opposition is under the control of an establishment man par excellence.

  • gyges

    Do you think Assange is part of Trump’s re-election strategy?

    Trump wants to drain the swamp … when Assange is on trial spilling the beans re the rigged Democrat election to oust Bernie, re the Mueller incompetence … isn’t this going to expose more of the festering swamp. Remember, when Trump tried to drain the swamp (sticking with his rhetoric and thesis), the swamp tried to drain him, egged on by people who are contemptuous of democracy.

  • Johny Conspiranoid

    Perhaps a suitable defence lawyer would be Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC. He is part of a group called which the fundraising campaign for Jeremy Corbyns legal defence has been talking too.
    I wonder if Julian Assange’s lawyers would be suitable.
    By the way, Press Gang is also being sued by the same man who is suing Jeremy Corbyn, again over the Panorama doc. about JC.

    • nevermind

      our perpetually prepared boys in blue are flying attack loops over Norfolk. not sure whether its the yanks or the usual Yorkshire contingent flying their triangle and putting a few loops in.
      What are they training for? global warming?

  • TJ

    It’s quite amusing to see Craig posting a Sky News Australia video. What’s next? Pepe memes?

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