Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 16 143

On Wednesday the trap sprang shut, as Judge Baraitser insisted the witnesses must finish next week, and that no time would be permitted for preparation of closing arguments, which must be heard the immediate following Monday. This brought the closest the defence have come to a protest, with the defence pointing out they have still not addressed the new superseding indictment, and that the judge refused their request for an adjournment before witness hearings started, to give them time to do so.

Edward Fitzgerald QC for the defence also pointed out that there had been numerous witnesses whose evidence had to be taken into account, and the written closing submissions had to be physically prepared with reference to the transcripts and other supporting evidence from the trial. Baraitser countered that the defence had given her 200 pages of opening argument and she did not see that much more could be needed. Fitzgerald, who is an old fashioned gentleman in the very nicest sense of those words, struggled to express his puzzlement that all of the evidence since opening arguments could be dismissed as unnecessary and of no effect.

I fear that all over London a very hard rain is now falling on those who for a lifetime have worked within institutions of liberal democracy that at least broadly and usually used to operate within the governance of their own professed principles. It has been clear to me from Day 1 that I am watching a charade unfold. It is not in the least a shock to me that Baraitser does not think anything beyond the written opening arguments has any effect. I have again and again reported to you that, where rulings have to be made, she has brought them into court pre-written, before hearing the arguments before her.

I strongly expect the final decision was made in this case even before opening arguments were received.

The plan of the US Government throughout has been to limit the information available to the public and limit the effective access to a wider public of what information is available. Thus we have seen the extreme restrictions on both physical and video access. A complicit mainstream media has ensured those of us who know what is happening are very few in the wider population.

Even my blog has never been so systematically subject to shadowbanning from Twitter and Facebook as now. Normally about 50% of my blog readers arrive from Twitter and 40% from Facebook. During the trial it has been 3% from Twitter and 9% from Facebook. That is a fall from 90% to 12%. In the February hearings Facebook and Twitter were between them sending me over 200,000 readers a day. Now they are between them sending me 3,000 readers a day. To be plain that is very much less than my normal daily traffic from them just in ordinary times. It is the insidious nature of this censorship that is especially sinister – people believe they have successfully shared my articles on Twitter and Facebook, while those corporations hide from them that in fact it went into nobody’s timeline. My own family have not been getting their notifications of my posts on either platform.

The US Government responded to Baraitser’s pronouncement enthusiastically with the suggestion that closing arguments did not ought to be heard AT ALL. They ought merely to be submitted in writing, perhaps a week after final witnesses. Baraitser appeared eager to agree with this. A ruling is expected today. Let me add that two days ago I noticed the defence really had missed an important moment to stand up to her, when the direction of her railroading became evident. It appears that because of the ground the defence already conceded at that stage, Noam Chomsky is one of the witnesses from whom we now will not hear.

I am afraid I am not going to give you a substantive account of Wednesday’s witnesses. I have decided that the intimate details of Julian’s medical history and condition ought not to be subject to further public curiosity. I know I cannot call back what others have published – and the court is going to consider press requests for the entire medical records before it. But I have to do what I believe is right.

I will say that for the defence, Dr Quinton Deeley appeared. Dr Deeley is Senior Lecturer in Social Behaviour and Neurodevelopment at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience (IOPPN), King’s College London and Consultant Neuropsychiatrist in the National Autism Unit. He is co-author of the Royal College Report on the Management of Autism.

Dr Deeley after overseeing the standard test and extensive consultation with Julian Assange and tracing of history, had made a clear diagnosis which encompassed Asperger’s. He described Julian as high-functioning autistic. There followed the usual disgraceful display by James Lewis QC, attempting to pick apart the diagnosis trait by trait, and employing such tactics as “well, you are not looking me in the eye, so does that make you autistic?”. He really did. I am not making this up.

I should say more about Lewis, who is a strange character. Privately very affable, he adopts a tasteless and impolite aggression in cross-examination that looks very unusual indeed. He adopts peculiar postures. After asking aggressive questions, he strikes poses of theatrical pugilism. For example he puts arms akimbo, thrusts out his chin, and bounces himself up on his feet to the extent that his heels actually leave the floor, while looking round at the courtroom in apparent triumph, his gaze pausing to fix that of the judge occasionally. These gestures almost always involve throwing back one or both front panels of his jacket.

I think this is some kind of unconscious alpha male signalling in progress, and all these psychiatrists around might link it to his lack of height. It is display behaviour but not really very successful. Lewis has grown a full set during lockdown and he appears strikingly like a chorus matelot in a small town production of HMS Pinafore.

There is a large part of me that wants to give details of the cross-examination because Deeley handled Lewis superbly, giving calm and reasoned replies and not conceding anything to Lewis’s clumsy attempts to dismantle his diagnosis. Lewis effectively argued Julian’s achievements would be impossible with autism while Deeley differed. But there is no way to retell it without going into the discussion of medical detail I do not wish to give. I will however tell you that Julian’s father John told me that Julian has long known he has Asperger’s and will cheerfully say so.

The second psychiatrist on Wednesday, Dr Seena Fazel, Professor of Forensic Psychiatry at the University of Oxford, was the first prosecution witness we have heard from. He struck me as an honest and conscientious man and made reasonable points, well. There was a great deal of common ground between Prof Fazel and the defence psychiatrists, and I think it is fair to say that his major point was that Julian’s future medical state would depend greatly on the conditions he was held in with regard to isolation, and on hope or despair dependent on his future prospects.

Here Lewis was keen to paint an Elysian picture. As ever, he fell back on the affidavit of US Assistant attorney Gordon Kromberg, who described the holiday camp that is the ADX maximum security prison in Florence, Colorado, where the prosecution say Julian will probably be incarcerated on conviction.

You will recall this is the jail that was described as a “living hell” and a “fate worse than death” by its own warden. Lewis invited Prof Fazel to agree this regime would not cause medical problems for Julian, and to his credit Prof Fazel, despite being a prosecution witness, declined to be used in this way, saying that it would be necessary to find out how many of Kromberg’s claims were true in practice, and what was the quality of this provision. Fazel was unwilling to buy in to lies about this notorious facility.

Lewis was disingenuous because he knows, and the prosecution have conceded, that if convicted Julian would most likely be kept in H block at the ADX under “Special Administrative Measures.” If he had read on a few paragraphs in Kromberg’s affidavit he would have come to the regime Julian would actually be held under:

So let us be clear about this. William Barr decides who is subjected to this regime and when it may be ameliorated. For at least the first twelve months you are in solitary confinement locked in your cell, and allowed out only three times a week just to shower. You are permitted no visits and two phone calls a month. After twelve months this can be ameliorated – and we will hear evidence this is rare – to allow three phone calls a month, and brief release from the cell five times a week to exercise, still in absolute isolation. We have heard evidence this exercise period is usually around 3am. After an indeterminate number of years you may, or may not, be allowed to meet another human being.

Behind Baraitser’s chilly disdain, behind Lewis’s theatrical postures, this hell on Earth is what these people are planning to do to Julian. They are calmly discussing how definitely it will kill him, in full knowledge that it is death in life in any event. I sit in the public gallery, perched eight feet above them all, watching the interaction of the characters in this masque, as the lawyers pile up their bundles of papers or stare into their laptops, as Lewis and Fitzgerald exchange pleasantries, as the friendly clerks try to make the IT systems work, and my mind swims in horrified disbelief. They are discussing a fate for my friend as horrible as that of the thousands who over 500 years were dragged from this very spot and strung up outside. They are all chatting and working away as though we were a normal part of civilised society.

Then I go back to my hotel room, type it all up and post it. The governments who are destroying Julian have through their agencies pushed the huge corporations who now control the major internet traffic gateways, to ensure my pained and grieving account is seen by very few. My screams of pain and horror are deadened by thick padded walls. We are all locked in.

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143 thoughts on “Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 16

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  • Sean_Lamb

    “On Wednesday the trap sprang shut, as Judge Baraitser insisted the witnesses must finish next week, and that no time would be permitted for preparation of closing arguments, which must be heard the immediate following Monday”

    Baraitser has a point. The defence has been doing a lot of grandstanding. More like they are playing for the gallery, than playing for the magistrate – who after all is the person who is going to make the decision.

    The key witness is tomorrow, where will find out if the Defence team is really working for Assange or not. Patrick Eller – and from the look of his CV, it seems an odd choice.

    • Military Professional Development Education
    • Primary Leadership Development Course 2004
    • Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course 2008
    • Warrant Officer Candidate School 2009
    • Warrant Officer Basic Course 2009
    • Warrant Officer Advanced Course 2013

    Having someone with such heavy links to the US military seems like a bad idea. But I guess we’ll find out tomorrow.

    • Crispa

      From what I have read it is the other way round and it is the prosecution has done the grandstanding, the defence evidence has been eye-opening and should dispel any doubts held by the fence – sitters.

      • Sean_Lamb

        This isn’t a trial. It is an extradition hearing. The only questions of interest are:

        • is it a crime in the US?
        • is it a crime in the UK?
        • and is the motivation political?

        Lauri Love didn’t get extradited because of autism, but that is because he could have been tried in the UK – the argument was never people with autism are allowed to commit crimes. Assange can only be tried in the US for breaking the Espionage act. If he beats the Espionage charges, he could argue that his “hacking” charge could be heard in the UK.

        • bj

          To me (IANAL) the defence’s focus on Julian Assange’s mental or physical state is just a gross waste of time.
          Why not instead have insisted that Saint Kromberg be put on the virtual witness stand and have his Scriptures impugned?

  • Joseph Mellon

    Craig: in your outrage at the procedural conduct of the trial, the blatant discarding of legal norms and the vicious abuse of Julian are you maybe missing the point?
    It is exactly those abuses that are the prize and objective of the ‘oligarch’ state conducting the trial.
    If the MSM and journalists can be made to accept them (they can), if the legal profession will ‘wear’ it (they have), if the protests of ‘progressives’ (actually conservatives) come to nothing (looks that way), then really there are no limits: the rule of law has been successfully overturned.

    • bj

      And that’s exactly why CM should be on a border-crossing plane, train or automobile (or raft…) asap, after this mockery of a travesty of a sham (Woody Allen in ‘Bananas’) ends.

  • Pascale Gillet

    We’re there. We read you. Every day. Thank you.
    Take care of yourself.

    And if there’s a lawyer checking the comments, what are the possibilities of appeal? Please explain.

  • Baron

    GM: ” …. the final decision was made in this case even before opening arguments were received”.

    Exactly right, Mr. Murray, the proceedings are a charade, something akin to the show trials of the communist East, one can but pity this country.

  • Chris

    I’m guessing this week has been tougher for you than last week, Craig. I’ve just added a little something to the pot for your Friday night drink.

      • Chris

        I don’t know if you noticed, bj, but Craig reported that at the end of last week’s proceedings he was so badly shaken that he needed an evening in a pub with a friend to recuperate. I’m anticipating that he’ll be in need of the same this Friday, and contributing to it.

  • alexey

    Craig we are here and we see what is happening. Telling the truth is on trial and its now a crime. I am very grateful for your reports and its is distressing stuff indeed. I wish i could say something more than “Starship Troopers” but that is precisely what comes to mind.

    • Dungroanin

      Ahem – I’ll gently suggest your claim ‘it must have been crushing..’ can be construed as gas lighting.

      Also the limited hangout merchants at Grayzone are just as usual putting out the leaked hacks of integrity initiative/Institute of Statecraft – SCL /CA – Alexander Nix and his aristo chums of the DS ( his time goes punished by a slap on the wrist!, the information commissioners report is buried by MSM and its shadow Alt stream news sites – such as Grayzone and Off-G and UKC…

      The hacks were published by anonymous guerrilla site last week and Moon Of Alabama had pointed to it then – you kiss that?

  • Laura Roslin

    Is this report for Wednesday in Court? I want to share your articles on FB , they are highly popular but I can’t be sure what day they are for and need that info.

  • Peter Mo

    If closing arguments cannot be verbally presented then the defence should arrange a special screening for all forms of TV outlets. Also produce a summarized version for news operators.

    • Contrary

      That final quote in this paragraph:

      “To use Twitter or Facebook is to relinquish journalistic and political integrity. Audre Lorde still speaks to us from nearly 40 years ago: “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.””

      – though perhaps not wholly correct – should be something we bear in mind for many things (I’m thinking of independence, and SNP technique of ‘becoming the establishment’, isn’t going well…).

      I think that Craig Murray’s attitude is the correct one – not accepting that they are or should be like that – if you accept it, then you are allowing it to happen, when you don’t accept it you will always continue to highlight that it needn’t be like this, that it should not be like this. The naivety that you see, to me is a lack of acceptance. Different perspectives eh.

  • Dom

    The little man’s theatrical pugilism sounds grotesque. One more assault on your senses in this theatre of the absurd.

  • Contrary

    Aye, Craig, it’s dire, but at least we have you fighting our corner. You are a ray of sunshine out of the gloom; just that you make a stand, make the effort at all.

    You have done much more than most of us to protect everyone’s human rights already – if you feel dissatisfied right now with how much you are able to do, remember that, but also consider alternative methods of getting your messages out.

    You can always simplify things if it’s getting too much – feeling powerless to save a friend against injustices perpetuated in plain sight is a huge strain, but remember that you are not totally powerless – this trial isn’t passing in obscurity with no one aware, there is some tempering of their behaviour – don’t feel obliged to deliver the excellent level of detail you have so far.

    Listening to lawyers ‘just doing their job’ in trying to destroy psychiatric evidence is something you need to put behind you – it’s horrible that your friend’s private life has been laid bare at all, and this is the most private of all, and having anyone being dismissive after frailties have been admitted to – a huge step – is unbearable.

    I was considering collating all your posts on the trial and setting them up for printing, making a little (or slightly fat maybe) pamphlet for a friend to read – she doesn’t like reading online stuff – because your blogs read like a courtroom thriller and are worthy of being read in themselves. It seems amazing that it’s actually happening, that this behaviour is happening now, is a live case at this time and not fiction is almost unbelievable.

    Maybe all your readers could print out a couple of hard copies – maybe someone more tech savvy than me can collate your posts in handy sections for others to access for printing – and distribute. The good thing about hard copies is that they are easier to pass on to other people, they reach different sets people, and don’t disappear because of digital interference. (Though some will end up in the recycling I’m very sure!). Links and videos are not so easy to deal with though. Appendices needed I think…

    If you want to publish a series of pamphlets with your blog posts – a serialised set – I would be happy to contribute more money towards it (I’m getting a pile of overtime just now so should have more ‘spare’ cash soon) especially if the cover page has a 1800s style sensationalist layout, ‘Justice Denied!’ ‘Journalists Targeted by Government Powers!’ ‘Human Rights Abused!’ ‘Judge with No Conscience!’ Etc. Sorry if that’s a bit whimsical. I know print version would not reach such a large audience, but it’s more… permanent too. More accessible to everyone.

  • Ricky

    Hi, I’m trying to read through this all but can someone clarify for me

    1. If he loses this hearing does he have a right to appeal or can the judge deny it?
    2. If denied, other than the government, does he have other options at all? Is he able to have a quick hearing in the EU this year or that’s not an option anymore etc.
    3. I doubt Boris or Steimer would help but I hope a lot of people will come forward after a negative decision, ie they are awaiting the decision
    • OnlyHalfALooney
      1. I ask the same question. Are these fascists crass enough to just deny an appeal or simply rendition Assange? I don’t know – possibly. This case is already a travesty of justice.
      2. Assange could possibly appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, which is not strictly an EU body. It judges cases related to the European Convention of Human Rights which is a Council of Europe convention. Signatories to the European Convention of Human Rights include non-EU countries such as Russia, Turkey and Ukraine (and of course the UK). It is quite possible that the UK Tories might try to withdraw from the ECHR, but that hasn’t happened yet (possibly because it would also mean withdrawing from the Council of Europe.) In other words, the ECHR still applies after the end of the Withdrawal arrangement.
      3. Starmer actually told the Swedish not to drop the trumped-up “sexual assault” charges against Assange. I don’t think the fascist deep states in the US and UK are worried at all about public opinion related to Assange. They own public opinion through the MSM and Big Tech and they have already successfully painted him as a “rapist”.
  • Grace Green (nee Marshall)

    You are very brave to sit through, and read through all this stuff. Most people are preferring to turn away, it is so horrific. Who could bring themselves even to treat an animal the way the USA treats those prisoners?
    I and my two sons have several decades’ experience of such processes as these you describe, in Scottish courts, not at the same level of danger, yet, but we have known the corruption. The reason? I have discovered that I have Asperger’s syndrome, caused by vaccines. What is more, my father was a Pharmacologist (Senior Lecturer at Dundee University) who worked on vaccines for Borrough’s Wellcome during WW2. The hatred of us Aspies becomes ever more tangible, our symptoms are dismissed and then we are blamed for displaying those very symptoms. But I think there’s something more to it which will soon come to a head, in this new world of insanity. Please get in touch if you’re interested in my story.
    Thinking of you, and of course, Julian A. and his family.

  • leelaa

    Thank you for your compassionate and self evidently truthful reporting. Whilst we are all seemingly impotent against these destructive forces, each positive assertion of human dignity contributes to the groundswell against them. Julian Assange is already a shining beacon for many of us in this dark world.

    Watching can be even more distressing than those beaten; you are suffering for him, for his family and for yourself. I wish you continued inner strength for whatever lies ahead and that you can find resources to replenish you day to day.

    Again “Thanks” as otherwise we live in a void until someone knocks on our door …

  • Eddie Mulligan

    The treatment of Julian is similar to the way Republicans were treated in the Diplock courts in the north of Ireland. Why doesn’t Julian refuse to recognise the court on the grounds that it’s obvious that he cannot get a fair trial based on the process so far? His legal team appear to be colluding in the farce instead of demanding an end to the charade.

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