Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 17 202

During the hearing of medical evidence the last three days, the British government has been caught twice directly telling important lies about events in Belmarsh prison, each lie proven by documentary evidence. The common factor has been the medical records kept by Dr Daly, head of the jail’s medical services. There has also been, to put it at its very lightest, one apparent misrepresentation by Dr Daly. Personally, I am wary of the kind of person who impresses Ross Kemp.

Here is a still of Dr Daly from Ross Kemp’s documentary on Belmarsh prison.

This is Mr Kemp’s description of the medical wing at Belmarsh: “Security is on another level here with six times more staff per inmate than the rest of the jail.”

While in the medical wing or “healthcare”, Julian Assange was in effect in solitary confinement, and three psychiatrists and a physician with extensive experience of treating trauma have all testified in court that Assange’s mental and physical condition deteriorated while he was in “healthcare” for several months. They also said he improved after he left “healthcare”. That says something profound about the “healthcare” being provided. The same doctors testified that Assange has a poor relationship with Dr Daly and will not confide his symptoms or feelings to her, and this has also been asserted by defence council.

That is all essential background to the lies. Now let me come to the lies. Unfortunately to do so I must reveal details of Julian’s medical condition which I had withheld, but I think the situation is so serious I must now do that.

I did not report that Professor Michael Kopelman gave evidence that, among other preparations for suicide, Julian Assange had hidden a razor blade in his folded underwear, but this had been discovered in a search of his cell. As I did report, Kopelman was subjected to an extremely aggressive cross-examination by James Lewis, which in the morning had focused on the notion that Julian Assange’s mental illness was simply malingering, and that Kopelman had failed to detect this. The razor blade was a key factor in Lewis’s browbeating of Kopelman, and he attacked him on it again and again and again.

Lewis stated that Kopelman “relied on” the razor blade story for his diagnosis. He then proceeded to portray it as a fantasy concocted by Assange to support his malingering. Lewis asked Kopelman repeatedly why, if the story were true, it was not in Dr Daly’s clinical notes? Surely if a prisoner, known to be depressive, had a razor blade found in his cell, it would be in the prison medical records? Why had Prof Kopelman failed to note in his report that there was no evidence for the razor blade in Dr Daly’s medical records? Was he hiding that information? Was it not very strange that this incident would not be in the medical notes?

In an attempt to humiliate Kopelman, Lewis said
“You say you do not rely on the razor blade for your diagnosis. But you do rely on it. Let us then look at your report. You rely on the razor blade at paragraph 8. You mention it again at paragraph 11a. Then 11c. Then paragraph 14, paragraph 16, 17b, 18a. Then we come to the next section and the razor blade is there at paragraph 27 and 28. Then again in the summary it is at paragraphs 36 and again at paragraph 38. So tell me Professor, how can you say that you do not rely on the razor blade?”
[I do not give the actual paragraph numbers; these are illustrative].

Lewis then went on to invite Kopelman to change his diagnosis. He asked him more than once if his diagnosis would be different if there was no razor blade and it were an invention by Assange. Kopelman was plainly unnerved by this attack. He agreed it was “very odd indeed” it was not mentioned in the medical notes if it were true. The plain attack that he had naively believed an obvious lie disconcerted Kopelman.

Except it was Lewis who was not telling the truth. There really was a concealed razor blade, and what Assange had told Kopelman, and what Kopelman had believed, was true in every single detail. In a scene straight out of a TV legal drama, during Kopelman’s testimony, the defence had managed to obtain the charge sheet from Belmarsh Prison – Assange had been charged with the offence of the razor blade. The charge sheet is dated 09.00 on 7 May 2019, and this is what it reads:


On the 05/05/19 at approximately 15.30, myself and Officer Carroll were conducting a routine matrix search in 2-1-37 solely occupied by Mr Assange A9379AY. He was asked before we began the search if everything in the cell belonged to him, to which he replied “To my knowledge yes”. During the process of this search I lifted a pair of his personal underwear up whilst searching the cupboard. When I lifted them I heard a metal object drop inside the cupboard. When I investigated what it was I saw half of a razor blade which had been concealed in his personal underwear. This had now been placed in evidence bag number M0001094.

This concludes my report

Off Locke

I was later shown a copy and got a quick shot:

When on Tuesday Edward Fitzgerald QC produced this charge sheet in court, it did not appear to be news to the prosecution. James Lewis QC panicked. Rather too quickly, Lewis leapt to his feet and asked the judge that it should be noted that he had never said that there was no razor blade. Fitzgerald responded that was not the impression that had been given. From the witness box and under oath, Kopelman stated that was not the impression he had been given either.

And it was most certainly not the impression I had been given in the public gallery. In repeatedly asserting that, if the razor blade existed, it would be in the medical notes, Lewis had, at the very least, misled the witness on a material question of fact, that had actually affected his evidence. And Lewis had done so precisely in order to affect the evidence.

Panicking, Lewis then gave the game away further by making the desperate assertion that the charge against Mr Assange had been dismissed by the Governor. So the prosecution definitely knew rather more about the events around the razor blade than the defence.

Baraitser, who was aware that this was a major car crash, grasped at the same straw Lewis was clinging to in desperation, and said that if the charge had been dismissed, then there was no proof the razor blade existed. Fitzgerald pointed out this was absurd. The charge may have been dismissed for numerous reasons. The existence of the blade was not in doubt. Julian Assange had attested to it and two prison warders had attested to it. Baraitser said that she could only base her view on the decision of the Prison Governor.

However Baraitser may try to hide it, Lewis attacked Prof Kopelman over the existence of the blade when Lewis gave every appearance afterwards of a man who knew full well all along that there was compelling evidence the blade did exist. For Baraitser to try to protect both Lewis and the prosecution by pretending the existence of the blade is dependent on the outcome of the subsequent charge, when all three people in the cell at the time of the search agreed to its existence, including Assange, is perhaps Baraitser’s most remarkable abuse of legal procedure yet.

After his evidence, I went for a gin and tonic with Professor Kopelman, who is an old friend. We had no contact at all for two years, precisely because of his involvement in the Assange case as a medical expert. Michael was very worried he had not performed strongly in his evidence session in the morning, though he had been able to answer more clearly in the afternoon. And his concern about the morning was because he had been put off by the razor blade question. He had firmly understood Lewis to be saying that there was no razor blade in prison records and Michael had therefore been deceived by Julian. If he had been deceived, it of course would have been a professional failing and Lewis had successfully caused him anxiety while in the witness box.

I should make plain I do not believe for one moment the government side were not aware all along the razor blade was real. Lewis cross-examined using detailed prepared notes on the razor blade and with all the references to it tabulated in Kopelman’s report. That this was undertaken by the prosecution without asking the prison if the incident were true, defies common sense.

On Thursday Edward Fitzgerald handed the record of the prison hearing where the charge was discussed to Baraitser. It was a long document. The Governor’s decision was at paragraph 19. Baraitser told Fitzgerald she could not accept the document as it was new evidence. Fitzgerald told her she had herself asked for the outcome of the charge. He said the document contained very interesting information. Baraitser said that the Governor’s decision was at paragraph 19, that was all she had asked for, and she would refuse to take the rest of the document into consideration. Fitzgerald said the defence may wish to make a formal submission on that.

I have not seen this document. Based on Baraitser’s earlier pronouncements, I am fairly certain she is protecting Lewis in this way. At para 19 the Governor’s decision probably dismisses the charges as Lewis said. But the earlier paras, which Baraitser refuses to consider, almost certainly make plain that Assange’s possession of the razor blade was undisputed, and very probably explains his intention to use it for suicide.

So, to quote Lewis himself, why would this not be in Dr Daly’s medical notes?

Even that startling story I did not consider sufficiently powerful to justify publishing the alarming personal details about Julian. But then it happened again.

On Thursday morning, Dr Nigel Blackwood, Reader in Forensic Psychiatry at Kings College London, gave evidence for the prosecution. He essentially downplayed all of Julian’s diagnoses of mental illness, and disputed he had Asperger’s. In the course of this downplaying, he stated that when Julian had been admitted to the healthcare wing on 18 April 2019, it had not been for any medical reason. It had been purely to isolate him from other prisoners because of the video footage of him that had been taken and released by a prisoner.

Fitzgerald asked Blackwood how he knew this, and Blackwood said Dr Daly had told him for his report. The defence now produced another document from the prison that showed the government was lying. It was a report from prison staff dated 2.30pm on 18 April 2019 and specifically said that Julian was “very low” and having uncontrollable suicidal urges. It suggested moving him to the medical wing and mentioned a meeting with Dr Daly. Julian was in fact then moved that very same day.

Fitzgerald put it to Blackwood that plainly Assange was moved to the medical wing for medical reasons. His evidence was wrong. Blackwood continued to assert Assange was moved only because of the video. Dr Daly’s medical notes did not say he was moved for medical reasons. The judge pulled up Fitzgerald for saying “nonsense”, although she had allowed Lewis to be much harder than that on defence witnesses. Fitzgerald asked Blackwood why Assange would be moved to the medical wing because of a video taken by another prisoner? Blackwood said the Governor had found the video “embarrassing” and was concerned about “reputational damage” to the prison.

So let us look at this. Dr Daly did not put in the medical notes that Assange had concealed a razor for suicide in his cell. Dr Daly did not put in the medical notes that, on the very day Assange was moved to the medical wing, a staff meeting had said he should be moved to the medical wing for uncontrollable suicidal urges. Then Daly gives Blackwood a cock and bull story on reasons for Assange’s removal to the medical wing, to assist him in his downplaying of Assange’s medical condition.

Or let us look at the alternative story. The official story is that Healthcare – to quote Ross Kemp where “security is on another level” – is used for solitary confinement, to hold prisoners in isolation for entirely non-medical reasons. Indeed, to avoid “embarrassment”, to avoid “reputational damage”, Assange was kept in isolation in “healthcare” for months while, according to four doctors including on this point even Blackwood, his health deteriorated because of the isolation. While under Dr Daly’s “care”. And that one is the official story. The best they can come up with is “he was not sick, we put him in “Healthcare” for entirely illegitimate reasons as a punishment.” To avoid “embarrassment” if prisoners took his photo.

I am going to write to Judge Baraitser applying for a copy of the transcript of Lewis cross-examining Professor Kopelman on the razor blade, with a view to reporting Lewis to the Bar Council. I do wonder whether the General Medical Council might not have reason to consider the practice of Dr Daly in this case.

The final witness was Dr Sondra Crosby, as the doctor who had been treating Julian since his time in the Ecuadorean Embassy. Dr Crosby seemed a wonderful person and while her evidence was very compelling, again I see no strong reason to reveal it.

At the end of Thursday’s proceedings, there were two witness statements read very quickly into the record. This was actually very important but passed almost unnoticed. John Young of gave evidence that Cryptome had published the unredacted cables on 1 September 2011, crucially the day before Wikileaks published them. Cryptome is US based but they had never been approached by law enforcement about these unredacted cables in any way nor asked to take them down. The cables remained online on Cryptome.

Similarly Chris Butler, Manager for Internet Archive, gave evidence of the unredacted cables and other classified documents being available on the Wayback machine. They had never been asked to take down nor been threatened with prosecution.
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202 thoughts on “Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 17

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  • CasualObserver

    The Razor Blade evidence would seem to have cooked the Goose of this part of the process ? Presumably ensuring that whatever judgement it reaches, will be subject to review by jurists of greater stature and reputation.

      • Piotr+Berman

        Indeed. How bad the government wants to look to avoid looking bad?

        Clearly, this show trial has no justice as its aim, but an intimidating display of torture, lightly publicized but enough to reach all wannabe leakers who tend to be (a) well informed (b) less mentally sound than the average.

        After all, knowing how vicious and vile are the people who “protect you” and rule over you is quite depressing if you care about those things.

      • porkpie

        He doesn’t deny racism exists per se. but it is certainly troubling (and badly written):

        “nonexistent “systemic white racism” and the falsely alleged murder by police officers doing their duty of a felon, George Floyd, who killed himself with an overdose of fentanyl.”

        While it could be argued that there is no evidence that the behaviour of those cops was motivated by racism, as opposed to just being terrible policemen, to dismiss the eight-minutes-kneeling-on-the-neck and to blame Floyd certainly detracts from his credibility.

      • Baalbek

        While many of his observations still make sense PCR has unfortunately thrown his lot in with, er, white nationalists of the type who congregate at the virulently racist Unz Review website. There is a case to be made that race has been weaponized by some sections of the establishment, particularly in the US, and is being used as a form of social control to limit public debate on certain issues, but to claim that racist attitudes towards black people and other “minorities” is a hoax or a thing of the past is nonsense on stilts.

  • Simon Prichard

    I aways share Craig’s reports twice. Once directly from here. And once from Facebook. Hope it helps overcoming the censorship of shadowbanning.

  • Annemarie Kappus

    Dear Craig Murray,your work and support for Julian Assange is absolutely wonderful and priceless,thank you so much!

  • Stephen C

    Thank you for your continued reporting on this important case.
    It continues to show the governments twisting what happened to suit their cause of putting Assange away.
    The fact that after all this effort, it will ostensibly be the decision of one person/judge as to the outcome is a travesty.

  • Friday

    Craig, you will want to report Lewis to the Bar Standards Board rather than the Bar Council. The former is charged with regulatory oversight of all barristers and has the power to rule on alleged misconduct.

    I suggest the following. Download a copy of the BSB handbook, which can be found here.

    This is a statement on the ethical rules governing the practice of barristers.

    See rC3 for a statement on the barrister’s duty to the court, in particular rC3.1 which states that “you must not knowingly or recklessly mislead or attempt to mislead the court”. Then see rC6.1.b which states “you must not … ask questions which suggest facts to witnesses which you know, or are instructed, are untrue or misleading”.

    You need to balance the above against the guidance in gC6 and gC7, which, in brief, states that it is not misleading the court to state a client’s case as per your instructions.

    Normally, when you have a client who is probably lying you do have to put their probable lies to a witness. But there is a line that cannot be crossed. It is one thing to suggest that a certain fact is the actual truth and invite the witness to agree. No barrister can be criticised for that, it is simply the job. But Lewis may well have crossed a line by choosing not to refer to the evidence that you summarise above.

    If I can be of any further help I would be very happy. I used a fake email to comment here though, just so you don’t try to use it to get in touch. I hope that’s not breaking any rules.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      Are there any similar regulations concerning judges, in particular whether they are required to rebuke counsel in a contemporaneous manner for wilfully transgressing the rules you describe above?

      The real question with Baraitser is whether her career is cooked whichever way she rules or not: she rules against the US Government, the cowardly UK Establishment throw her to the lions, she rules for the US Government, her fitness to practice is invoked due to consistent perversion of the course of justice via practices incompatible with legal due process?

      • giyane

        Rhys Jagger

        Is ms Baraitser not a friend of Mrs Blair? When did he ever get cooked?
        Charred with brimstone or smoked a little like someone who has jusr poured petrol onto a barbecue. Just to demonstrate how not to be a politician as a warming to future generations.
        Otherwise unhinged but unharmed.

      • Friday

        That’s a very good question. I am not aware of any requirement of a judge to do so, though most judges generally would do so if it were made known to them. However, most would need to be absolutely certain that professional misconduct had occurred before making substantive criticisms in open court. In the case that we are dealing with, the devil is in the detail. What were Mr Lewis’ instructions? Exactly what does the transcript have him asking?

        There is a definite line between misleading the court and stating the case that your client has instructed you to state. If they tell you something is true, it is not for you to disbelieve them. That being said, there is something very pernicious about the questions he apparently asked and the impression that they gave to the witness. I’m unsure whether this tips over into being misleading or not as I just don’t have the experience yet at this stage in my career.

        As for Baraitser, she is accountable to the Lord Chief Justice whose disciplinary powers are exercised through the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office. To be clear, their role is to investigate allegations of misconduct, which basically means inappropriate behaviour. They are not responsible for looking at decisions or judgments. That is what the appeals process is for. A judge’s conduct should be in accordance with the principles of judicial independence, impartiality and integrity. In reality, a lot of leeway is given to judges to be cranky, difficult, to hate your case for no obvious reason, to consistently rule in favour of certain parties or arguments over others (some judges are known to rule in certain directions more often than others) and none of this seems to present any issues of misconduct as far as I can glean.

        • Matthew

          You are correct. The JCIO mostly concerns itself with judges who swear, fall asleep, and so on. They don’t really get involved in matters described in the blog post.

      • Baalbek

        Does the UK establishment still care about fair play and striving towards an uncorrupted justice system that universally respects legal due process? Not when it comes to a principled whistleblower threatened with (even more) torture and inhuman punishment for doing journalism that exposed the crimes of state and empire. Ditto for the family seeking justice after their son was killed in a road accident caused by a reckless driving CIA asset who quickly fled the country rather than honourably facing justice in the UK. And these are just two examples of many where the course of justice was or is being perverted.

        So long as Baraitser maintains the right establishment connections and moves in the right social circles she will probably be fine. If the odious reptilian sociopath Tony Blair’s slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and the destruction of a nation can be “overlooked” why would Baraitser’s throwing under the bus a ‘misogynistic narcissist rapist’, according to the truth tellers at the Guardian, cause the establishment any grief?

        I think we already live in a post-democratic society and that there is a lot of denial about this in liberal and leftist circles. People understandably aren’t eager to accept that the entire system that underwrites the west’s liberal democracies is hopelessly corrupt and rotting from the inside out.

        It is of course possible that the situation isn’t yet as dire as I suspect it is. I hope so. If Julian Assange wins his unconditional freedom I will be overjoyed and more than happy to admit that I called it wrong.

  • giyane

    IMHO a psychiatrist will probe with many different lines of attack to get clues about s person they are studying.

    It’s neither surprising nor just that this experimental methodology is brought into a court of law because it is a methodology of insinuation not fact.

    This allows the court to stray into fantasy where it gets stuck.

  • Tom Welsh

    “The official story is that Healthcare, to quote Ross Kemp where “security is on another level”, is used for solitary confinement, to hold prisoners in isolation for entirely non-medical reasons”.

    A curious microcosm of what the UK government has been doing to the entire citizen body of the UK since march.

  • mr.lobaloba

    Assange may or may not be suicidal, I don’t think we should worry about that. The important thing for the defense is to show he is suicidal to set him free.

  • Olly Perry

    Craig, I’ve now managed to share this on Facebook and so far I’ve had at least 4 shares from my post and it hasn’t been taken down although you can never be sure of what is happening behind the scenes at Fb itself. I was wondering whether a petition to the government would help. You know one of those ones that forces parliament to respond or debate it. The more I’ve read your accounts, the more incensed I’ve become about this and the lack of coverage by our spineless media. Your last two posts have been quite distressing in terms of the fact that you are probably right and the whole extradition hearing is just a farce and a foregone conclusion. Thank you as always for bringing this out into the light.

    • Goose

      The Guardian states in its own defence:

      “The book contained a password which the authors had been told by Julian Assange was temporary and would expire and be deleted in a matter of hours. The book also contained no details about the whereabouts of the files…”

      Shouldn’t they have ascertained that before publication?

      • Susan

        There’s something fishy about this. Why would they publish a ‘specific’ password, if they believed it had already expired? Would an expired password be of literary value? In those circumstances, I would have thought a general reference to “password protected” would have made more sense.

        In fact, maybe Leigh and Harding had “ascertained this before publication”, and it was a deliberate act of sabotage.

        • Goose

          Anyone else’s book and you’d dismiss that idea. But many don’t view Luke Harding as a neutral journalist.

          As to why the UK US would be determined to destroy Assange and be going to all this effort now? There’s clearly more at stake here. As the excellent Jonathan Cook has alluded to : In both the UK and US, despite near total control of the mainstream media, the dominant neoliberal economic model and neoconservative foreign policy orthodoxy is so fragile any critic is viewed almost as a deadly foe.

    • mr.lobaloba

      After that:

      “The book contained a password which the authors had been told by Julian Assange was temporary and would expire and be deleted in a matter of hours. The book also contained no details about the whereabouts of the files. No concerns were expressed by Assange or WikiLeaks about security being compromised when the book was published in February 2011.”

      So the Guardian accepts they released the password in the book but Assange told them the password was set to expire. I think they still should’ve checked it before releasing.

      • OnlyHalfALooney

        It wasn’t a password. It was the key to decrypt the file. A decryption key does not expire. How could it? This is just more lies from the “the voice of MI6” (aka “The Guardian”).

        • S

          I found a BBC article with the same statement from a long time ago. Possibly this is a confused way of saying that they thought they were the only ones with that encrypted data on a disconnected disk. Whatever, it’s still utterly utterly stupid to publish the real encryption key and incomprehensible that they still have their jobs.

    • Feliks

      That article also contains The Guardian’s defence to the allegation that Leigh and Harding published the password.

      “The book contained a password which the authors had been told by Julian Assange was temporary and would expire and be deleted in a matter of hours. The book also contained no details about the whereabouts of the files.”

      Not an adequate or plausible denial for anyone who has been following the trial here but will do for those who rely on that organ.

      As an aside I wonder if Judge Baraitser has heard of jigsaw identification?

    • Mighty Drunken

      I was semi surprised to see the article in the Guardian and their involvement. However the last few paragraphs made me very angry,

      Encryption key of files do not expire, this is an obvious lie.

      The Guardian said,

      – “No concerns were expressed by Assange or WikiLeaks about security being compromised when the book was published in February 2011”
      Did they tell Assange? I bet the answer is no.

      – “WikiLeaks published the unredacted files in September 2011.”
      Yes it had already spread across the web, Wikileaks published it so those who were concerned their names were in it could check and make arrangements if they thought they were in danger.

  • Tom Welsh

    It seems to me that entire discussion of suicide and rzor blades completely misses the point. The defence tries to argue that Mr Assange’s mental health is fragile because otherwise he would not be contemplating suicide, and the prosecution tries to pooh-pooh such claims.

    In a situation such as Mr Assange’s, is suicide not sometimes a perfectly rational course? A human being can be subjected to conditions that are, quite literally, “a fate worse than death”. If so, a resolute and intelligent person may quite reasonably choose death – especially if it gives him, for the first time in years, an opportunity to take back control of his own destiny.

    • John Piliger

      A rational person would be motivated by the idea of NOT being extradited and hence being free to spend the rest of his life with his partner and children.
      Even a desperate person would cling to hope.
      An irrational suicidal person has given up all hope.
      Someone who keeps and hides a razor blade has given up all hope. :0(

      • mr.lobaloba

        Put yourself in Assange’s shoes. You could choose to die after long years of surveillance and imprisonment. I don’t think he lost all hope as he is still suffering through this charade of a court. I pray for him to be free and be happy with his family.

      • Piotr+Berman

        It begs the question about rational suicidal people. You know how much pain, isolation, humiliation etc. you can tolerate. You know the chances of the ordeal to end before you become a husk of a human being.

  • Klaus Milewski

    Craig, thanks a lot as ever.
    How can the date of the charge sheet be the same as “your case will not be heard before”? Or will the case be heard immediately?
    Cheers, Klaus

    • Matthew

      I believe the two are erroneously referred to as the same. The correct date of the charge would be the date it was written up (in the details box it appears to be 5th May 2019) while the case itself won’t be heard before 9am on 7th May 2019.

  • Squeeth

    “I am going to write to Judge Baraitser applying for a copy of the transcript of Lewis cross-examining Professor Kopelman on the razor blade, with a view to reporting Lewis to the Bar Council. I do wonder whether the General Medical Council might not have reason to consider the practice of Dr Daly in this case.”

    Good for you; they should be made openly to whitewash their union members. Obviously after the Stefan Kiszko scandal, it’s doubtful if professional bodies will do more than protect their members from justice.

    • Squeeth

      Apropos, has anyone been disciplined or sacked for refusing to tamper with records, bear false witness or keep quiet?

  • M.J.

    By all means report Daly to the GMC, if there’s any evidence of professional misconduct. They will give preliminary advice on 0161 923 6602 or [email protected]
    Their confidential helpline is 0161 923 6399, which is open 9 am–5 pm, Monday to Friday.

    • The Beast from the Yeast

      The practice of Dr Daly clearly falls short of the standards on record-keeping stated in the Good Medical Practice, so there is a basis for referring her to fitness to practice panel of GMC.

      Anyone can refer a doctor to GMC, but it is probably best that the person with the first hand knowledge of the misconduct does that. I guess we can’t expect Dr Daly to self-refer?

      GMC can be rather heavy-handed with doctors, particularly if born and/or educated abroad (e.g. well-publicised Dr Bawa-Garba case). However, I do expect that this case will be swept under the carpet for obvious reasons.

    • deaghlan

      I heard RT stated that the setting was wrong on the time frame showing 2017 as this video was taken later than 2017 but I was under the impression that he was completely isolated.

      • Annie McStravick

        Obviously the 2017 date is false as Julian was incarcerated in April 2019. And obviously he was not isolated during the first few days.

        The reports of last year that he had been moved to a section variously described as “the medical wing”, “the healthcare wing”, or even as “the hospital wing”, seemed designed to conjure up an image of Julian lying in a soft bed between crisp white sheets, with kindly nurses attending to his every need. As the months went by, it was most disturbing to read that his health was steadily deteriorating while under the alleged medical care. No doubt because in reality he was in a cell in solitary confinement. Diabolical.

  • Crispa

    That a doctor agreed to admit Julian to the health unit on other than clinical grounds (to avoid reputational damage to the prison), is highly questionable in itself, but then to proceed to give evidence on the clinical treatment provided given that he had been admitted on non-clinical grounds is even more dubious practice. Someone is certainly lying somewhere along the line.

    The judge’s “if the charge had been dismissed, then there was no proof the razor blade existed” just staggers belief. That is just wonky reasoning.

    • Natasha

      The prosecution are “gaslighting” the witnesses with respect to the razor blade incident: i.e. a form of psychological manipulation often observed in sociopaths, narcissists, psychopaths & prosecution lawyers in the present case, in which a person or a group lies covertly to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group. This makes them question their own memory, perception, or judgment. It often evokes cognitive dissonance and low self-esteem. Using denial, misdirection, contradiction, and misinformation, gaslighting involves attempts to destabilize the victim and delegitimize the victim’s beliefs.

    • John Piliger

      Share Craig’s articles on Social Media in every corner of the Internet and chip in to his funds..

  • deaghlan

    Say the worst does happen and that the Freedom of the press to report on what criminal acts and behavior the American government does makes it liable to be prosecuted for telling the truth. What sort of future is we looking at? What happens when media outlets are now avoiding looking at wrongdoings by government? And I don’t mean MSM but rather truthful journalism. Is it the death of it. No more Consortium news, John Pilger, informationclearinghouse etc?

    • Ian

      It will set a precedent, an ugly, chilling one. I think the point is that the iron fist is held in reserve, but is there as a constant threat and reminder. I think those outlets will continue – they haven’t been swept up in this. Governments can by and large ignore them, because they are not mainstream in the way that Wikileaks revelations became – plastered over the MSM worldwide.
      A much easier method for them is what we now know is the repression of their circulation through social media, which has become the default way people access news and information. At the same time using the tech firms to disseminate countervailing, false, planted stories and slurs – see the FB scandal on Breonna Harris right now.
      And on top of that, they can close down democratic scrutiny and accountability of their actions as the US and UK governments are doing now, removing checks and balances as well as institutions who monitor them.
      Put it all together, and keep the heavy fist for those actions and individuals who break the mould and make big stories worldwide. Defang the rest, consign them to niches, and diminish their circulation. It is Big Brother time.

    • Piotr+Berman

      “What happens when media outlets are now avoiding looking at wrongdoings by government?” The proper response hinges on the actions actually being wrongdoings.

      If this is a hostile government, do everything to disclose it and rely on the Western pressure to remain in a good shape. Usually it works, although there are minority cases too.

      If this is your government or an allied government, these actions were performed for your good, even if in your feeblemindedness you cannot figure out how the heck they could be good. Hence, keep your mouth shut and freeze your typing fingers.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    So the depths of the conspiracy now includes:

    1. A medical officer in Belmarsh Prison – behaviour arguably incompatible with the Hippocratic Oath.
    2. A leading QC lying in court in a way which would see a witness warned as the consequences of perjury.
    3. A judge receiving rulings from the US Government and simply reading them out verbatim in court.
    4. Removal of juries to prevent ordinary people calling this out for what it is.
    5. Gagging of the MSM to ensure almost no-one knows what is going on.

    Are any of these people operating in any way other than that of a lowly Belsen orderly doing what they were told to stop themselves being shot?

    In my experience, people who behave like cowards do not respond to reason in any way whatever, because the reason they behaved like a coward was that they rejected the reasoning at the point of becoming a coward. None of these parties are naive 23 year olds in over their heads. All of them are over 40 and highly experienced in the dark arts of rising up the greasy pole.

    The problem we have in this country is that there are no Nuremberg Trials to put greasy members of the Establishment in the dock….

    Baraitser needs defrocking; Lewis needs his license to practice law rescinded; Dr Daly needs the GMC to deliver punitive sanctions; every editor in the MSM needs the sack for not covering this trial; trials by jury need restoring immediately; and the UK Government needs to tell the USA in the strongest possible terms that if they think they are above the law, then the Special Relationship is finito, basta, kaputt….

    • James Cook

      Clearly all of the people involved in this are doing what they have been told to do without objection or concern over censure – that they do this willing is precisely why they hold the positions that they do.

      The government has committed significant resources to this show trial – likely because it hopes to extract this investment of resources. corruption and potential loss of public credibility many time over from the USA.

      The question I have and still cannot answer remains; Why go thru the public show trial with all of risks for embarrassment and intentional or unintentional human screw-ups when a simple rendition would allow the politicians to say – wow, he just seemed to disappear and those Yanks just snookered us – we will ensure we do better next time!

      The only plausible answer to the above I can come up with that that the UK is GREATLY increasing JA’s value thru the “rule of law” in the exchange process – they must be trying to extract something from the US cousins that the US cousins really do not want to hand over? Post Bexit trade agreement perhaps?

    • Baalbek

      The problem is when the system itself is broken, replacing a few arseholes or ‘bad apples’ with honest, principled people isn’t enough. Obviously I have no objection to ejecting the Baraitser’s and Lewis’s from the legal system but a system that no longer values fairness or impartial justice for all is fucked at the core.

      Purging ‘bad apples’ and expecting a broken government or legal system to fundamentally change is a bit like swapping out the most egregious bigots in an apartheid regime like South Africa had, and Israel has, and expecting that to fix it. Not going to happen.

  • Dario

    Paul Craig Roberts’ article on the Assange trial.

    “… a journalist who told the truth has been under restraint for years and tortured. Now he is being subjected to a show trial under the guise of an extradition hearing. It is obvious to everyone that the British “court” is acting for Washington and that Assange’s exradiction will be regarded as a sign that he is guilty as charged. No American jury would dare find him innocent.

    No one in the US or British or Australian government and media other than a few of the caliber of John Pilger and Craig Murray has the integrity and decency to denounce the trial of Assange as a murderous assault on the First Amendment. The presstitute media donned their CIA cleats and jumped on Assange with both feet, serving as amplifiers for the false charges of Russian spy alleged against an honest journalist. In other words, dumbshit ”prestige” journalists are helping government criminalize journalism.

    There is no democracy and no accountable government without an honest media. The absence of an honest media in the West means that democracy and justice also are absent.”

  • Geoff Reynolds

    I find it quite chilling to read what you are reporting, Craig………………

    A bent judge, bent doctors, bent prosecution……..

    Documents withheld, evidence filed at the last minute, doctoring of official medical records and a judicial bias about as totally blatant as you could ever get.

    You hit the nail on the head when you questioned the very motive for Julian to be placed in a medical lock down facility.

    Was it the intention of the UK government to try and drive him to the point of suicide using draconian isolation policies to break his will to live?

    Julian’s treatment within Belmarsh Prison are akin to what we would expect in GUANTANAMO BAY.

    Here is a breakdown of what a prison officer would expect

    Job description

    Prison Officer – HMP Belmarsh

    HMP Belmarsh, Western Way, Thamesmead, London, SE28 0NZ

    Salary: £29,981 (based on 39 hours and including any additional allowance), with potential to earn more depending on contract hours and overtime. Minimum contract hours for prison officers are 37 hours. The standard working week for a prison officer is based on a 39 hours shift pattern. Working 39 hours is dependent on completing training and opting in to a 39 hour week for the higher salary.

    Working in a prison is no ordinary job. But if you have the communications skills, the resilience, and the dedication, it could be a very rewarding career. Day to day, you’ll help to create a safe, secure environment where rehabilitation is supported and encouraged. In return, you’ll receive a secure job and rewarding career, as well as great training, excellent benefits and the chance to change lives for the better.

    Strangely, it omits that you must be willing to aid and abet in the torture of political prisoners……………

    Trying to hide the fact that a prisoner has suicidal tendencies must also be a prerequisite of a fulfilling career at the Hellhole responsible for hiding America’s war criminals.

  • Ian

    Isn’t is always the painstaking attention to detail which Craig provides that exposes the facade of ‘justice’ and the lies at the heart of totalitarianism? For it to function, it requires an extensive bureaucracy of willing and self-deceiving accomplices in the major institutions of state. And of course, justice and the legal system is at the heart of a state’s power over its citizens, but more importantly, over any challenges to that power. We have seen it time and again across the world, in China, the old Soviet regimes, the Middle East etc and at one time we were accustomed to denigrating and denouncing it.
    Craig’s perceptive observations lift the veil, not just because of the lying of Lewis about the razor blade. But more importantly the collusion between the key players – Baraitser, the governor of Belmarsh ( Dickensian name if ever I heard one) and this Daley. They were all obviously reading from the same prepared script – the admission Baraitser makes that she won’t consider important evidence because it conflicts with her predetermined view is quite astonishingly revealing of her approach – in order to deny the real evidence of suicide risk.
    That of course is very important , perhaps a crucial point, because we know that the rare instances of extradition denial have resulted from the perceived real risks of suicide and vulnerability if extradited. So it is not surprising that there is an apparent joint, premeditated plan to discount this evidence as fantasy, undermining expert witnesses and their credentials.
    It cannot possibly be a coincidence that Belmarsh, the judge and the prosecutor have delivered the same story on the point which might sway the decision. One can only surmise that they are under instruction from the US administration who are trying to make their flimsy case watertight by directing the very restricted hearing in their favour. I have no idea what the defence can do, but you would hope that there is some avenue they can pursue to point out the egregious mistrial that this is. It also bears out exactly why they have sought to close down all access and coverage of this trial. Indeed, aren’t secret trials the hallmark of the aforementioned totalitarian states? This is as close as you can get to that, while giving the pretence of a routine justicial hearing.
    In that sense, Craig is performing a heroic role as the inquisitor and recorder of a Kafke-esque situation, a huis clos from which there is no escape.

    On a related note, I see Baraitser has said today that there will be no verdict until January. I would like to know from those more knowledgeable if this affects any appeal to the ECHR, as we will have then broken all our ties to Europe. One can only suspect that there are ulterior motives for this apparent long delay with little justification.

    • OnlyHalfALooney

      The ECHR is separate from the EU. The Tories might well withdraw from the ECHR (and thus also the Council of Europe). Optically it will look bad if “evil Putin” is bound by the ECHR, while the UK is not. But the Tories will, no doubt, dress it up as an improvement that “better fits the needs of the country”.

      • Ian

        Thanks. So an appeal to them is in theory possible? There have been rumblings about the Tories pulling us out of that, so nothing would surprise me.

      • JohninMK

        A delay until January takes us to potentially a new US President, a new AG and potentially a new view on Assange that might need a different decision in this case.

        Perhaps gives another indication as to just how political this case is.

        • mr.lobaloba

          It’s as political as it gets. The trouble is, whoever wins the election will want to throw Assange to the wolves.

          • Paul Mc

            Tulsi Gabbard was the only Democratic presidential candidate who promised to stop the extradition if elected. I can’t see Biden or Harris doing anything to stop it, assuming they are elected. Harris, after all, opposed the release of low level California prison inmates because they were needed to fight forest fires.

      • fitzroy

        The Overseas Operations Bill had its second reading in Parliament this week and was passed 332 to 77 – with Labour abstaining (those that voted against in the first reading were thrown out of their jobs). The Law Society’s assessment is that this bill is insidious – it will NOT protect servicemen and women, in fact will achieve the opposite. But just as importantly, the LS assert that it is a precursor to the UK withdrawing from the ECHR. This bill is immoral and dangerous and being rushed through – either largely ignored by the MSM, or wrongly interpreted to support that Government’s claims about it, which the Law Society refute.

        • Ian

          Indeed, it allows the UK government to escape torture charges by simply stringing out allegations beyond five years (not unusual). And on top of that the Internal Market Bill allows ministers to override international and domestic laws without any discussion or scrutiny.
          Put this together with today’s news of Cummings’ (who is at the heart of much of this) move to change the data laws, to make them closer to the US, which he describes as a ‘poor protection of privacy’. This is what Vote Leave used as a model and they want a lot more of it. We move further towards a secretive, unaccountable surveillance state, where information is manipulated, and colossal databases on citizens are built and traded/exchanged between US tech companies and the two governments. This is why they view hackers like Assange, and their activities, as serious threats. The direction of travel, using brexit and covid as camouflage, is dystopian and Orwellian. These three examples are just bricks in the wall.

    • Crispa

      If the trial is apolitical as the prosecution alleges to get round the extradition law, what has the result of the presidential election to do with the timing of the outcome of the hearing?

  • Goose

    If Luke Harding is closely linked to the intel agencies(?) as has been widely alleged here and elsewhere, why isn’t this central to Assange’s defence? The motivations for everything that’s been done(book password reveal) and recalled ‘callous disregard for informant safety’ in the alleged recalled conversation – made central to the case by the prosecution, is immediately highly suspect.

    • Matthew

      I imagine there is a dearth of proof that can be held to the legal standard. It is easier to prove Mr Assange’s mental state and other matters.

    • Clark

      “why isn’t this central to Assange’s defence?”

      Plausible deniability.

      Harding isn’t remotely an officer, and he almost certainly didn’t even get the wodges of cash that are customary for agents. He’s just a useful idiot, seduced by the glamour he perceives in being “confided in” by spooks, weak minded enough to accept these carefully crafted suggestions without critical scrutiny, egotistical enough to believe his own excuses that deflect any blame, and encouraged in all this by the indulgence lavished upon him by his editor, who is also trying to dodge the blame.

      You only have to listen to Harding to realise he’s not even a shrimp; he imbues mundane events with almost supernatural significance. One full page Guardian article boiled down to “I went to Russia where my fearless reporting was such a threat to that sinister regime that they sent their spies to try to intimidate me by making the telephone faulty and sneaking into my hotel room while I was out and opening the window, and this proves how evil they are”.

  • N_

    Baraitser, who was aware that this was a major car crash, grasped at the same straw Lewis was clinging to in desperation, and said that if the charge had been dismissed, then there was no proof the razor blade existed. Fitzgerald pointed out this was absurd. The charge may have been dismissed for numerous reasons. The existence of the blade was not in doubt. Julian Assange had attested to it and two prison warders had attested to it. Baraitser said that she could only base her view on the decision of the Prison Governor.

    F*ck the medics. F*ck the governor.
    Get the two screws who conducted the search and found the razor blade to give evidence from the witness box. That’s the way you test evidence.

    • N_

      And best to send a car and drive the two screws to court this afternoon, because otherwise someone might get to them over the weekend and put the sh*ts up them. One of them has the surname “Carroll” – dunno about the other one.

      The dismissal of the charge is totally irrelevant to whether the razor blade was there – unless of course the governor’s reason was “You’re saying this bag contains a razor blade, but it doesn’t”, or perhaps “You pair of screws are telling lies. You got this razor blade from somewhere else”.

      So yeah, get the governor into the witness box too. Why did he dismiss the charge? Did MI5 tell him to, or was it the Foreign Office after they’d “liaised” with the US embassy or the London CIA station? Get the governor’s phone records.

  • Sean_Lamb

    The insanity of using a former US soldier as the defence’s forensic expert is rapidly becoming apparent

    Lewis: How do you know the hash code was never cracked?
    PH: Based on the chat
    Lewis: But you are not certain
    PH: No

    Evidence was given at Manning trial by the prosecution’s expert witness was that it was literally impossible to crack There is simply no need for the defence to leave the magistrate in any doubt on this point

    At the Manning trial the prosecution claimed that it was not a hash that was passed, but an encrypted hash. That means it is a random series of hexadecimal without the Syskey. (in reality it is impossible to extract an encrypted hash and the Pentagon had been fudging the evidence.)

    The expert witness as the Assange trial is only trying to protect the Pentagon in his testimony here, not Assange

    For all Craig Murray tries to inflame readers against Magistrate Baraitser, if Assange loses it will be entirely the fault of his defence team, not the magistrate

    • Sean_Lamb

      “Lewis: use of Manning’s profile was used to prove what she had done?


      If you use the same computer with a ftpuser account, you could hide all that activity from your domain user account?

      That is correct”

      No, that is incorrect. An ftpuser would have access to the ftp server on Bradley Manning’s own machine.

      Again, why would ANYONE with Assange’s best interests use an ex US DOD employee as their expert witness

    • Annie McStravick

      I object to your snide comment regarding Craig. Plenty of other observers writing about the hearings have been equally appalled by Baraitser’s outrageous conduct, which is too blatant to be ignored.

      • Sean_Lamb

        I’ve seen a number of wrongful conviction/innocence campaigns and the common factor in many (although not all of them) is the defence does an extremely bad job and I suspect frequently deliberately so. Although there are some cases when I think the level of police corruption the defence team faced genuinely did overwhelm them (Buting and Strang for instance).

        However, the supporters of the innocence campaign can never bring them to understand that the reason the person they support is in prison because of the unethical behaviour of their lawyers. And they invariably cheer anything the defence team does and boo everything the court does.

        There is an old legal cliche: if the facts are on your side, pound the facts, if the law is on your side, pound the law. If neither is on your side, pound the table. When a judge sees a defence team pounding the table, they will invariably assume that neither the law nor the facts are on the defendant’s side. Not that the defence team is not looking after the interests of their client.

        That is why I find making the magistrate an object of contempt dangerous, because it is giving the defence team a free pass if they lose.

      • Ian

        Indeed. Better to wait for the whole case to be made on Eller’s evidence. It may be that he was called because of his familiarity with the Manning case. This afternoon he is explaining that Manning’s downloads largely took place before the speculated (and never proven) exchange between her and Assange on passwords and hacking. Further she had authorised access and anonymity would not have been gained by any potential hacking.
        It may be that using a US official like this, who may be expected to support the US government, demonstrated the falsity of the prosecutions’s claims. As Gosztola adumbrates:
        “The US government is contradicting their own computer forensic expert who testified in Manning’s trial in order to advance this computer crime charge against Assange.”

        This is the level of through the looking glass logic that Lewis is attempting to enforce upon the witness and the charges. In order to accept Lewis’ convoluted and deliberately misleading case, you would have to believe two contradictory things at the same time regarding Manning and Assange. The nub of it is that the whole password hacking scenario is artificial, since it wasn’t used and never needed. It is another completely got up charge, in order, like the espionage charge, to avoid the first amendment and reduce the accusations to criminal matters.
        Sean Lamb seems to be similarly misleading in using seletive quotes from early on.

  • giyane

    This trial is based on the lilliputian concept of government that the concerns of the little folk of Iraq Syria Libya etc are so unimportant to the considerations of USUKIS that they are. Irrelevant and that Julian Assange”s mental health in worrying about Iraqis is equally uninteresting to their giant stupidity.

    Usukis can only make their brutal hegemonising look like a big idea by belittling their opponents by all the dirty tricks Craig has outlined in his amazing daily reports.

    It is Trump and his pusillanimous justice system that are shown to be the narcissists by this court, not the massive intellectual breadth of Assanges idea that Other People Count. Black Lives Matter. Not in lilliputian skulls if the tiny idea of make everybody everywhere the same as us.

    How would this monkey court look in the houghynimn world where humans are savages and horses have souls?

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