Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 12 108


A less dramatic day, but marked by a brazen and persistent display of this US Government’s insistence that it has the right to prosecute any journalist and publication, anywhere in the world, for publication of US classified information. This explicitly underlay the entire line of questioning in the afternoon session.

The morning opened with Professor John Sloboda of Iraq Body Count. He is a Professor of Psychology and musicologist who founded Iraq Body Count together with Damit Hardagan, and was speaking to a joint statement by both of them.

Professor Sloboda stated that Iraq Body Count attempted to build a database of civilian deaths in Iraq based on compilation of credible published material. Their work had been recognised by the UN, EU and the Chilcot Inquiry. He stated that protection of the civilian population was the duty of parties at war or in occupation, and targeting of civilians was a war crime.

Wikileaks’ publication of the Iraqi War Logs had been the biggest single accession of material to the Iraq Body Count and added 15,000 more civilian deaths, plus provided extra detail on many deaths which were already recorded. The logs or Significant Activity Reports were daily patrol records, which recorded not only actions and consequent deaths the patrols were involved in, but also deaths which they came across.

After the publication of the Afghan war Logs, Iraq Body Count (IBC) had approached Wikileaks to be involved in the publication of the Iraq equivalent material. They thought they had accumulated a particular expertise which would be helpful. Julian Assange had been enthusiastic and had invited them to join the media consortium involved in handling the material.

There were 400,000 documents in the Iraq war logs. Assange had made very plain that great weight must be placed on document security and with careful redaction to prevent, in particular, names from being revealed which could identify individuals who might come to harm. It was however impossible to redact that volume of documents by hand. So Wikileaks had sought help in developing software that would help. IBC’s Hamit Dardagan had devised the software which solved the problem.

Essentially, this stripped the documents of any word not in the English dictionary. Thus arabic names were removed, for example. In addition other potential identifiers such as occupations were removed. A few things like key acronyms were added to the dictionary. The software was developed and tested on sample batches of telegrams until it worked well. Julian Assange was determined redaction should be effective and resisted pressure from media partners to speed up the process. Assange always meticulously insisted on redaction. On balance, they over-redacted for caution. Sloboda could only speak on the Iraq War Logs, but these were published by Wikileaks in a highly redacted form which was wholly appropriate.

Joel Smith then stood up to cross-examine for the US Government. I am sure Mr Smith is a lovely man. But sadly his looks are against him. You would certainly not enter an alleyway if he were anywhere nearby. The first time I saw him I presumed he was heading for the dock in court 11.

As is the standard prosecution methodology in this hearing, Mr Smith set out to trash the reputation of the witness. [I found this rather ironic, as Iraq Body Count has been rather good for the US Government. The idea that in the chaos of war every civilian death is reported somewhere in local media is obviously nonsense. Each time the Americans flattened Fallujah and everyone in it, there was not some little journalist writing up the names of the thousands of dead on a miraculously surviving broadband connection. Iraq Body Count is a good verifiable minimum number of civilian deaths, but no more, and its grandiose claims have led it to be used as propaganda for the “war wasn’t that bad” brigade. My own view is that you can usefully add a zero to their figures. But I digress.]

Smith established that Sloboda’s qualifications are in psychology and musicology, that he had no expertise in military intelligence, classification and declassification of documents or protection of intelligence sources. Smith also established that Sloboda did not hold a US security clearance (and thus was in illegal possession of the information from the viewpoint of the US government). Sloboda had been given full access to all 400,000 Iraq War Logs shortly after his initial meeting with Assange. They had signed a non-disclosure agreement with the International Committee of Investigative Journalists. Four people at IBC had access. There was no formal vetting process.

To give you an idea of this cross-examination:

Smith Are you aware of jigsaw identification?
Sloboda It is the process of providing pieces of information which can be added together to discover an identity.
Smith Were you aware of this risk in publishing?
Sloboda We were. As I have said, we redacted not just non-English words but occupations and other such words that might serve as a clue.
Smith When did you first speak to Julian Assange?
Sloboda About July 2010.
Smith The Afghan War logs were published in July 2010. How long after that did you meet Assange?
Sloboda Weeks.
…..

Smith You talk of a responsible way of publishing. That would include not naming US informants?
Sloboda Yes.
Smith Your website attributes killings to different groups and factions within the state as well as some outside influences. That would indicate varied and multiple sources of danger to any US collaborators named in the documents.
Sloboda Yes.
Smith Your statement spoke of a steep learning curve from the Afghan war logs that had to be applied to the Iraq war logs. What does that mean?
Sloboda It means Wikileaks felt that mistakes were made in publishing the Afghan war logs that should not be repeated with the Iraq war logs.
Smith Those mistakes involved publication of names of sources, didn’t they?
Sloboda Possibly, yes. Or no. I don’t know. I had no involvement with the Afghan War logs.
Smith You were told there was time pressure to publish?
Sloboda Yes, I was told by Julian he was put under time pressure and I picked it up from other media partners.
Smith And it was IBC who came up with the software solution, not Assange?
Sloboda Yes.
Smith How long did it take to develop the software?
Sloboda A matter of weeks. It was designed and tested then refined and tested again and again. It was not ready by the original proposed publication date of the Iraq war logs, which is why the date was put back.
Smith Redaction then would remove all non-English words. But it would still leave vital clues to identities, like professions? They had to be edited by hand?
Sloboda No. I already said that professions were taken out. The software was written to do that.
Smith It would leave in buildings?
Sloboda No, other words like mosque were specifically removed by the software.
Smith But names which are also English words would be left in. Like Summers, for example.
Sloboda I don’t think there are any Iraqi names which are also English words.
Smith Dates, times, places?
Sloboda I don’t know.
Smith Street names?
Sloboda I don’t know.
[Sloboda was obviously disconcerted by Smith’s quickfire technique and had been rattled into firing back equally speedy and short answers. If you think about it a moment, Iraqi street names are generally not English words.]
Smith Vehicles?
Sloboda I don’t know.
Smith You said at a press conference that you had “merely scratched the surface” in looking at the 400,000 documents.
Sloboda Yes.
Smith You testified that Julian Assange shared your view that the Iraqi war logs should be published responsibly. But in a 2010 recorded interview at the Frontline Club, Mr Assange called it regrettable that informants were at risk, but said Wikileaks only had to avoid potential for unjust retribution; and those that had engaged in traitorous behaviour or had sold information ran their own risk. Can you comment?
Sloboda No. He never said anything like this to me.
Smith He never said he found the process of redaction disturbing?
Sloboda No, on the contrary. He said nothing at all like that to me. We had a complete meeting of minds on the importance of protection of individuals.
Smith Not all the logs related to civilian deaths?
Sloboda No. The logs put deaths in four categories. Civilian, host nation (Iraqi forces and police), friendly nation (coalition forces) and enemy. The logs did not always detail the actions in which deaths occurred. Sometimes the patrols were the cause, sometimes they detailed what they came across. We moved police deaths from the host nation to the civilian category.

[One of the problems I personally have with IBC’s approach is that they accepted US forces’ massive over-description of the dead as “hostile”. Obviously when US forces killed someone they had an incentive to list them as “hostile” and not “civilian”.]

Smith Are you aware that when the Iraq Significant Activity Reports (war logs) were released online in October 2010, they did in fact contain unredacted names of co-operating individuals?
Sloboda No, I am not aware of that.
Smith now read an affidavit from a new player [Dwyer?] which stated that the publication of the SAR’s put co-operating individuals in grave danger. Dwyer purported to reference two documents which contained names. Dwyer also stated that “military and diplomatic experts” confirmed individuals had been put in grave danger.
Smith How do you explain that?
Sloboda I have no knowledge. It’s just an assertion. I haven’t seen the documents referred to.
Smith Might this all be because Mr Assange “took a cavalier attitude to redaction”?
Sloboda No, definitely not. I saw the opposite.
Smith So why did it happen?
Sloboda I don’t know if it did happen. I haven’t seen the documents referred.

That ended Professor Sloboda’s evidence. He was not re-examined by the defence.

I have no idea who “Dwyer” – name as heard – is or what evidential value his affidavit might hold. It is a constant tactic of the prosecution to enter highly dubious information into the record by putting it to witnesses who have not heard of it. The context would suggest that “Dwyer” is a US government official. Given that he claimed to be quoting two documents he was alleging Wikileaks had published online, it is also not clear to me why those published documents were not produced to the court and to Professor Sloboda.

We now come to the afternoon session. I have a difficulty here. The next witness was Carey Shenkman, an academic lawyer in New York who has written a book on the history of the Espionage Act of 1917 and its use against journalists. Now, partly because Shenkman was a lawyer being examined by lawyers, at times his evidence included lots of case names being thrown around, the significance of which was not entirely clear to the layman. I often could not catch the names of the cases. Even if I produced a full transcript, large chunks of it would be impenetrable to those from a non-legal background – including me – without a week to research it. So if this next reporting is briefer and less satisfactory than usual, it is not the fault of Carey Shenkman.

This evidence was nonetheless extremely important because of the clear intent shown by the US government in cross examination to now interpret the Espionage Act in a manner that will enable them to prosecute journalists wholesale.

Shenkman began his evidence by explaining that the 1917 Espionage Act under which Assange was charged dates from the most repressive period in US history, when Woodrow Wilson had taken the US into the First World War against massive public opposition. It had been used to imprison those who campaigned against the war, particularly labour leaders. Wilson himself had characterised it as “the firm hand of stern repression”. Its drafting was extraordinarily broad and it was on its surface a weapon of political persecution.

The Pentagon Papers case had prompted Edgar and Schmidt to write a famous analysis of the Espionage Act published in the Colombia Law Review in 1973. It concluded that there was incredible confusion about the meaning and scope of the law and capacity of the government to use it. It gave enormous prosecutorial discretion on who to prosecute and depended on prosecutors behaving wisely and with restraint. There was no limit on strict liability. The third or fifth receiver in the chain of publication of classified information could be prosecuted, not just the journalist or publisher but the person who sells or even buys or reads the newspaper.

Shenkman went through three historic cases of potential criminal prosecution of media under the Espionage Act. All had involved direct Presidential interference and the active instigation of the Attorney General. All had been abandoned before the Grand Jury stage because the Justice Department had opposed proceeding. Their primary concern had always been how to distinguish media outlets. If you prosecuted one, you had to prosecute them all.

[An aside for my regular readers – that is a notion of fairness entirely absent from James Wolffe, Alex Prentice and the Crown Office in Scotland.]

The default position had become that the Espionage Act was used against the whistleblower but not against the publisher or journalist, even when the whistleblower had worked closely with the journalist. Obama had launched the largest ever campaign of prosecution of whistleblowers under the Espionage Act. He had not prosecuted any journalist for publishing the information they leaked.

Claire Dobbin then rose to cross-examine on behalf of the US Government, which evidently is not short of a penny or two to spend on multiple counsel. Mrs Dobbin looks a pleasant and unthreatening individual. It was therefore surprising that when she spoke, out boomed a voice that you would imagine as emanating from the offspring of Ian Paisley and Arlene Foster. This impression was of course reinforced by her going on to advocate for harsh measures of repression.

Ms Dobbin started by stating that Mr Shenkman had worked for Julian Assange. Shenkman clarified that he had worked in the firm of the great lawyer Michael Ratner, who represented Mr Assange. But that firm had been dissolved on Mr Ratner’s death in 2016 and Shenkman now worked on his own behalf. This all had no bearing on the history and use of the Espionage Act, on which he had been researching in collaboration with a well-established academic expert.

Dobbin than asked whether Shenkman was on Assange’s legal team. He replied no. Dobbin pointed to an article he had written with two others, of which the byline stated that Shenkman was a member of Julian Assange’s legal team. Shenkman replied he was not responsible for the byline. He was a part of the team only in the sense that he had done a limited amount of work in a very junior capacity for Michael Ratner, who represented Assange, that related to Assange. He was “plankton” in Ratner’s firm.

Dobbin said that the article had claimed that the UK was illegally detaining Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy. Shenkman replied that was the view of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, with which he concurred. Dobbin asked if he stood by that opinion. Shenkman stated that he did, but it bore no relationship to his research on the history of the Espionage Act on which he was giving evidence.

Dobbin asked whether, having written that article, he really believed he could give objective evidence as an expert witness. Shenkman said yes he could, on the history of use of the Espionage Act. It was five years since he had left the Ratner firm. Lawyers had all kinds of clients that very loosely related in one way or another to other work they did. They had to learn to put aside and be objective.

Dobbin said that the 2013 article stated that Assange’s extradition to the United States was almost certain. What was the basis of this claim? Shenkman replied that he had not been the main author of that article, with which three people were credited. He simply could not recall that phrase at this time or the thought behind it. He wished to testify on the history of the Espionage Act, of which he had just written the first historical study.

Dobbin asked Shenkman if he was giving evidence pro bono? He replied no, he was appearing as a paid expert witness to speak about the Espionage Act.

Dobbin said that the defence claimed that the Obama administration had taken the decision not to prosecute Assange. But successive court statements showed that an investigation was still ongoing (Dobbin took him through several of these, very slowly). If Assange had really believed the Obama administration had dropped the idea of prosecution, then why would he have stayed in the Embassy?

Shenkman replied that he was very confused why Dobbin would think he had any idea what Assange knew or thought at any moment in time. Why did she keep asking him questions about matters with which he had no connection at all and was not giving evidence?

But if she wanted his personal view, there had of course been ongoing investigations since 2010. It was standard Justice Department practice not to close off the possibility of future charges. But if Holder and Obama had wanted to prosecute, wouldn’t they have brought charges before they left office and got the kudos, rather than leave it for Trump?

Dobbin then asked a three part question that rather sapped my will to live. Shenkman sensibly ignored it and asked his own question instead. “Did I anticipate this indictment? No, I never thought we would see something as political as this. It is quite extraordinary. A lot of scholars are shocked.”

Dobbin now shifted ground to the meat of the government position. She invited Shenkman to agree with a variety of sentences cherry-picked from US court judgements over the years, all of which she purported to show an untrammelled right to put journalists in jail under the Espionage Act. She started with the Morison Case in the fourth appellate circuit and a quote to the effect that “a government employee who steals information is not entitled to use the First Amendment as a shield”. She invited Shenkman to agree. He declined to do so, stating that particular circumstances of each case must be taken into consideration and whistleblowing could not simply be characterised as stealing. Contrary opinions exist, including a recent 9th appellate circuit judgement over Snowden. So no, he did not agree. Besides Morison was not about a publisher. The Obama prosecutions showed the historic pattern of prosecuting the leaker not the publisher.

Dobbin then quoted a Supreme Court decision with a name I did not catch, and a quote to the effect that “the First Amendment cannot cover criminal conduct”. She then fired another case at him and another quote. She challenged him to disagree with the Supreme Court. Shenkman said the exercise she was engaged in was not valid. She was picking individual sentences from judgements in complex cases, which involved very different allegations. This present case was not about illegal wiretapping by the media like one she quoted, for example.

Dobbin then asked Shenkman whether unauthorised access to government databases is protected under the First Amendment. He replied that this was a highly contentious issue. There were, for example, a number of conflicting judgements in different appellate circuits about what constituted unauthorised access.
Dobbin asked if hacking a password hash would be unauthorised access. Shenkman replied this was not a simple question. In the present case, the evidence was the password was not needed to obtain documents. And could she define “hacking” in law? Dobbin said she was speaking in layman’s terms. Shenkman replied that she should not do that. We were in a court of law and he was expected to show extreme precision in his answers. She should meet the same standard in her questions.

Finally Dobbin unveiled her key point. Surely all these contentious points were therefore matters to be decided in the US courts after extradition? No, replied Shenkman. Political offences were a bar to extradition from the UK under UK law, and his evidence went to show that the decision to prosecute Assange under the Espionage Act was entirely political.

Mrs Dobbin will resume her cross examination of Mr Shenkman tomorrow.

COMMENT

I have two main points to make. The first is that Shenkman was sent a 180 page evidence bundle from the prosecution on the morning of his testimony, at 3am his time, before giving evidence at 9am. A proportion of this was entirely new material to him. He is then questioned on it. This keeps happening to every witness. On top of which, like almost every witness, his submitted statement addressed the first superseding indictment not the last minute second superseding indictment which introduces some entirely new offences. This is a ridiculous procedure.

My second is that, having been very critical of Judge Baraitser, it would be churlish of me not to note that there seems to be some definite change in her attitude to the case as the prosecution makes a complete horlicks of it. Whether this makes any long term difference I doubt. But it is pleasant to witness.

It is also fair to note that Baraitser has so far resisted strong US pressure to prevent the defence witnesses being heard at all. She has decided to hear all the evidence before deciding what is and is not admissible, against the prosecution desire that almost all the defence witnesses are excluded as irrelevant or unqualified. As she will make that decision when considering her judgement, that is why the prosecution spend so much time attacking the witnesses ad hominem rather than addressing their actual evidence. That may well be a mistake.
 
 
Forgive me for pointing out that my ability to provide this coverage is entirely dependent on your kind voluntary subscriptions which keep this blog going. This post is free for anybody to reproduce or republish, including in translation. You are still very welcome to read without subscribing.

Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, this blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.

Subscriptions to keep this blog going are gratefully received.

Choose subscription amount from dropdown box:

Recurring Donations



 

Paypal address for one-off donations: [email protected]

Alternatively by bank transfer or standing order:

Account name
MURRAY CJ
Account number 3 2 1 5 0 9 6 2
Sort code 6 0 – 4 0 – 0 5
IBAN GB98NWBK60400532150962
BIC NWBKGB2L
Bank address Natwest, PO Box 414, 38 Strand, London, WC2H 5JB

Bitcoin: bc1q3sdm60rshynxtvfnkhhqjn83vk3e3nyw78cjx9

Subscriptions are still preferred to donations as I can’t run the blog without some certainty of future income, but I understand why some people prefer not to commit to that.


108 thoughts on “Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 12

1 2
  • vin_ot

    I understand this judge has approved virtually every extradition case she has heard. So it is unreasonable to expect her to suddenly do the right thing here. She knows that if she fails to deliver her name will be mud. Not only in Washington and with her security state pals the Arbuthnots, who specifically selected her. But also with the entire British political and media establishment which has colluded for so long to destroy Assange and Wikileaks. It is a great thing though that you are meticulously recording events in court because there is not a single state or corporate journalist doing so.

    • JulesM

      I would not raise an eyebrow if the true reason for the slight thawing in Baraitser’s attitude is simply that she has one eye on the appeal. And her egregious behaviour could be part of that. I’ve also no doubt also that someone above her pay grade might have had a stern word in her shell-like telling her much the same – don’t over-emphasise the nature of this kangaroo court.

    • Ethan Allen

      Re: vin_ot & Craig Murray
      While I also continue to regard, with earned critical scepticism, the serious absence of ethical professional behavior, both on the part of the prosecutors and the judge,s apparent bias and prudential conflicts, it does not appear to me that Craig Murray should be branded “unreasonable” for merely mentioning his observations saying:

      My second is that, having been very critical of Judge Baraitser, it would be churlish of me not to note that there seems to be some definite change in her attitude to the case as the prosecution makes a complete horlicks of it. Whether this makes any long term difference I doubt. But it is pleasant to witness.

      Indeed it would be “unreasonable to expect her to suddenly do the right thing here”; that is probably why Mr. Murray clearly stated no such expectation when concluding his observation.

  • Graham

    Sir, I hope and believe this courageous reporting will rightly go down in history. Sorry to go all ‘Lord of the Rings’ but your work seems like a beacon of light in what seems a depressingly dark world. I believe that one day, the world will remember you as a man who took a stand for the good, man to be admired, and a hero.

      • Mary

        Just this in the Guardian today.

        ‘Trump ‘associates’ offered Assange pardon in return for emails source, court hears WikiLeaks founder was asked to reveal source of leak damaging to Hillary Clinton, hearing told Julian Assange outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2017. Photo.
        Peter Beaumont in London
        Fri 18 Sep 2020 15.59 BST

        Two political figures claiming to represent Donald Trump offered Julian Assange a “win-win” deal to avoid extradition to the US and indictment, a London court has heard.

        Under the proposed deal, outlined by Assange’s barrister Jennifer Robinson, the WikiLeaks founder would be offered a pardon if he disclosed who leaked Democratic party emails to his site, in order to help clear up allegations …..

        https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/sep/18/trump-offered-julian-assange-pardon-in-return-for-democrat-hacking-source-court-told. (paywall)

          • nevermind

            Maybe the answer is a really good book on the way to work, Mary, rather than succombe to the urge to frequent the local newsagent, again, or pass by the vendour at the station, just to read fake news by some nudge nudge winkers, hang on, did I write this wrong?…..

        • Piotr Berman

          Hard to believe. Prosecution is not political in USA, as we were told in the court, so the president would not command prosecutors to proceed with a case or to drop it. Otherwise, we may conclude that the prosecution is political.

  • Dungroanin

    First. There is zero chance of the Magistrate changing her MO.
    She will read out the preprepared judgement as she has done every single time so far. In my opinion.

    Second. I see that pinup of the Human Rights Lawyers and supported of the White Helmets loving Hollywood DS stooge husband has resigned at the greatest judicial political show trial of this century – NOT.
    “… the high-profile human rights lawyer, has resigned from her position as the UK’s special envoy on media freedom in protest at the government’s intention to breach international law …” because of the – BrexShit bill! Lol.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/18/amal-clooney-quits-uk-envoy-role-over-lamentable-brexit-bill

    Third, can’t this be booted to the Supreme Court immediately? Or to Lord Leveson? Surely the most experienced judge of media matters and legality?

    Fourth. Am I alone in seeing the tragicomedy farce of the U.K. MSM caught between the rock and a hard place in going all out agains a Trump re-election – where absolutely every story is about how bad he is and how great Biden is – and failing to criticise the potus for the escalation of charges against JA and attack on media freedom!
    The angle of the Wilson Law which was used to enter the US into the war in 1917, as soon as the Balfour Declaration was signed and published, is another, fruity story.

    For the Assange extraction they are like the classic farces of the west end stripped and in their Y-fonts! Calling Mr Rix;-)

    Finally and most importantly. Thank you Mr Murray, another pony on the way this week when I get paid, to keep you in a decent hotel and well fed and sustained delivery in these dark days of the coup state we live in. You are living history and recording it too. What a great, great man. Please do take care to remain healthy and hearty.

  • Yalt

    Is it possible?–it’s been my sense reading these reports–that this was the moment Baraitser’s attitude changed? From Day 6:

    “Baraitser adjourned the court “for ten minutes” while she went out to consider her judgement. In fact she took much longer. When she returned she looked peculiarly strained.”

    She issues a reasoned judgment, in a good-faith effort to co-operate with the US Government, that if the defense believes it has not had time to properly prepare a response to the most recent superseding indictment, the remedy to lack of time is more time. They ask for more time. She isn’t prepared to immediately respond to this, it takes much longer than she expects to decide how to respond, and when she finally does turn down the defense’s request she seems quite disturbed. Why?

    I’d suggest this is the moment when her position shifted from willing collaborator to stooge. If she truly held the position she claims in the second decision, she would never have issued the first. There’s simply no way to present both as rational, independent judgments by the same person at the same time and based on the same information. She’s been exposed, and by the very people she’s trying to help.

    It’s one thing to follow orders issued by a higher power; it’s quite another to have that higher power order you to perform a public about-face later the same day. I’ll do your dirty work for you but do NOT humiliate me in the process.

    The very next day she’s refusing QC Lewis’s claim that something was “beyond dispute,” telling him it was clearly disputed and would be argued in due course. To my recollection it was the first moment of spine displayed in any of these reports. Maybe she’d had enough?

    • Mazza

      Very good point. I imagine that particular moment will one day make a telling scene in the movie of this debacle as will her nifty pre-written judgements. She’ll be a star, just not the sort she wants.

  • bj

    “Host nation”.
    That is what you get to be called, when being criminally invaded, and occupied, your population murdered and scattered across the continent.

  • Mark Golding

    HARD FACTS:

    Baraitser is pressed having been advised that Sec.of State Pompeo will continue to stretch the law, and shrink constraints, in order to reach domestic journalists who piss them off. Thereapon she will find for extradition knowing that the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom will parallel her judgement. Intelligence reveals Britain is at risk of losing an advantageous post Brexit U.S. trade deal if the Assange extradition fails.

    Assange will face10 years in prison on each of 17 counts of the indictment, and five years on the eighteenth. That will constitute the effective end of the publisher’s hopes of freedom. It will also be a bare-fisted threat to all journalists who scrutinise government conduct.

    • giyane

      Mark Golding

      The trade deal is already dead on account of Boris’s blowing up the Good Friday Agreement.

    • fitzroy

      Your reasoning seems extremely sound, Mark. And profoundly depressing. Quite to whose advantage any US-UK trade deal might be is of course an entirely different point altogether. But the pressure being put on just about every department of the UK government and the intelligence services must indeed be intense and remorseless. Perhaps the Supreme Court will take the view, as you say, that it is hardly reasonable to sacrifice the futures of the economy, security and international alliances of the UK and all its people for the release of an Australian pest and some airy-fairy concept of ‘media freedom’. Thus they will indeed uphold the decision but in reality sacrifice all those very futures they are being persuaded into believing they are safeguarding. O tempora O mores!
      For all the splendid truth of his speech, Calgacus died. While Caractacus died peacefully, in comfortable retirement, in Rome.

    • Andrew Mcguiness

      “Intelligence reveals Britain is at risk of losing an advantageous post Brexit U.S. trade deal if the Assange extradition fails.”

      This wouldn’t surprise me at all, but do you have actual evidence of it?

  • U Watt

    “Human rights lawyer” Amal Clooney resigns from role as UK’s special envoy on MEDIA freedom in protest at Britain’s persecution of journalist Julian Assange, the world’s most famous political prisoner.

    Oh sorry no, seems that isn’t the reason why she resigned..That would have seriously jeopardized her liberal credentials.

    • JohninMK

      Quote from the links

      The concept of “History in the making” has been pushed to extremes when it comes to the extraordinary public service being performed by historian, former UK diplomat and human rights activist Craig Murray.

      Murray – literally, and on a global level – is now positioned as our man in the public gallery, as he painstakingly documents in vivid detail what could be defined as the trial of the century as far as the practice of journalism is concerned: the kangaroo court judging Julian Assange in Old Bailey, London.

      Let’s focus on three of Murray’s reports this week – with an emphasis on two intertwined themes: what the US is really prosecuting, and how Western corporate media is ignoring the court proceedings.

  • gyges

    I heard John Sloboda speak at the Hexham Debates once … he came across as a very decent person. He explained to us what his organisation did, the difficulties of accounting for deaths in a war zone, and the reasons why it was so important. He finished by telling us about his personal family history. He had an uncle who was an officer in the Polish army during the period of the Katyn massacre, and very likely was murdered during this event. However, the family don’t know for certain that this was the case, and for years (20 +) later, if there was an unexpected visitor to the house, the gate latch would rattle, there’d be a knock at the door and everyone would, for a fleeting moment of hope, wonder whether the missing uncle was going to walk through the door.

    It was extremely emotional to hear …

  • John Hawkins

    Just wondering if I missed something – is there a chance for an appeal on the decision of Baraitser? I thought someone said there wasn’t in this case, but I am not clear….

  • Brian A Lynch

    Craig very interesting report seems there is an awful lot of dirty linen to be washed still.
    On another matter while working in Tashkent you rang me up to play cricket for a nomads team to play against a team from an Indian project , at which team photos were taken. Would you by any chance have a copy you could e-mail on to me so I can send a copy to my Anglo Irish grandson in Middlesex .
    Good to see your in fine form still , good luck and keep safe in these uncertain times

    Brian A Lynch

  • Rhys Jaggar

    ‘Mr Smith, you are a fat ugly c**t employed by the US Government to waste the taxpayers’ money bullying witnesses in a racist, self-righteous, unprincipled manner, is that correct?’

    ‘Objection Your Honour, Counsel is using intemperate language toward a respected Legal Professional!’

    ‘Your Honour, Counsel is more than prepared to admit to this court that the so-called ‘Legal Professional’ will defend international genocide of iraqis in cities from Fallujah to Basra, from Baghdad to Mosul, which makes him a c**t of the first order. The terms fat and ugly are entirely descriptive, but will be withdrawn if Her Honour deems its appropriate.’

    ‘Mr Smith, further to the fact that you accept with alacrity the greenbacks of a Government which has committed international genocides in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and sponsored them in Ukraine, Syria and other places, just in the 21st century; would you agree that you are a racist of the first order, in that you would put in jail for ever those that purportedly threaten ‘American lives’, but you would murder with impunity those that do not, yet consider such innocent human beings to be utterly disposable flotsam??’

    ‘Objection your Honour: the witness is a highly respected legal professional who seeks to uphold the Law, Justice and the US Constitution against a barrage of unfavourable headwinds!’

    ‘Your Honour, anyone who defends the genocide of Fallujah yet expects to imprison Julian Assange cannot be respected by anyone with any moral probity whatsoever…’

    A good idea to make the odious legal professionals the story, that is usually the way to send their careers catapulting southward…..

  • George Sands

    I think people are missing the insanity of the the USA 1917 Espionage Act, which is why section 973 e must be struck down. It makes illegal the possession of certain classified information which is published by many publications every day.

    Two institutions preserve, hold, and retain that information: the newspapers themselves, and libraries.

    Prosecute the libraries!

1 2

Comments are closed.