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Thread: Current Wikileaks and Assange News & Releases

  1. Link to Post #141
    United States Avalon Member Dennis Leahy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Current Wikileaks and Assange News & Releases

    Snippet of article from: https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/worl...nge-bin-laden/
    Quote Barrister Edward Fitzgerald was asked by District Judge Vanessa Baraitser if Assange would testify during the month-long hearing.

    “Madam, it’s very unlikely that he would,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

    Arguing against extradition, he said the dividing line between US courts and the president has been “blurred” in the decade-long pursuit of his client.

    Mr Fitzgerald told the packed court a witness will confirm the US had even contemplated more “extreme measures” against the Australian.
    “Such as kidnapping or poisoning Julian Assange in the embassy,” he said, referring to Assange’s seven-year asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

    Mr Fitzgerald detailed how the Americans had spied on his meetings with lawyers in the embassy. He also maintained that US congressman Dana Rohrabacher had indeed offered Assange a pardon on orders of President Donald Trump, a claim both American men denied last week.

    “President Trump denies everything and we say ‘well, he would, wouldn’t he’,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

    Outside court, journalists and human rights group said the case could have wide-ranging impacts for media freedoms and whistleblowers.


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    Default Re: Current Wikileaks and Assange News & Releases

    Another fork in the road: You either support Julian Assange or Donald Trump.

    It is not possible to do both any longer. These two things are antithetical to each other.

    Trump, could, right now as CEO of the United States drop all the charges against Assange and see Julian free which is what should happen.

    Julian Assange does a public service that allows us to know things we wouldnt otherwise. Attacks on journalist and whistleblowers should not be tolerated, ESPECIALLY here at Avalon.

    I for one stand with Julian Assange and hope that others on this board too.

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    Default Re: Current Wikileaks and Assange News & Releases

    (From Craig Murray who has, thankfully for all of us, managed to obtain a seat in the hearing. NB: a correction to my post here - there are sixteen seats, not fourteen as I had originally posted.)

    "There was a separate media entrance and a media room with live transmission from the courtroom, and there were so many scores of media I thought I could relax and not worry as the basic facts would be widely reported. In fact, I could not have been more wrong. I followed the arguments very clearly every minute of the day, and not a single one of the most important facts and arguments today has been reported anywhere in the mainstream media. That is a bold claim, but I fear it is perfectly true. So I have much work to do to let the world know what actually happened. The mere act of being an honest witness is suddenly extremely important, when the entire media has abandoned that role."


    -----------------------------------

    Your Man in the Public Gallery – Assange Hearing Day 1 [February 24th 2020]

    Posted February 25th 2020

    Woolwich Crown Court is designed to impose the power of the state. Normal courts in this country are public buildings, deliberately placed by our ancestors right in the centre of towns, almost always just up a few steps from a main street. The major purpose of their positioning and of their architecture was to facilitate public access in the belief that it is vital that justice can be seen by the public.

    Woolwich Crown Court, which hosts Belmarsh Magistrates Court, is built on totally the opposite principle. It is designed with no other purpose than to exclude the public. Attached to a prison on a windswept marsh far from any normal social centre, an island accessible only through navigating a maze of dual carriageways, the entire location and architecture of the building is predicated on preventing public access. It is surrounded by a continuation of the same extremely heavy duty steel paling barrier that surrounds the prison. It is the most extraordinary thing, a courthouse which is a part of the prison system itself, a place where you are already considered guilty and in jail on arrival. Woolwich Crown Court is nothing but the physical negation of the presumption of innocence, the very incarnation of injustice in unyielding steel, concrete and armoured glass. It has precisely the same relationship to the administration of justice as Guantanamo Bay or the Lubyanka. It is in truth just the sentencing wing of Belmarsh prison.

    When enquiring about facilities for the public to attend the hearing, an Assange activist was told by a member of court staff that we should realise that Woolwich is a “counter-terrorism court”. That is true de facto, but in truth a “counter-terrorism court” is an institution unknown to the UK constitution. Indeed, if a single day at Woolwich Crown Court does not convince you the existence of liberal democracy is now a lie, then your mind must be very closed indeed.

    Extradition hearings are not held at Belmarsh Magistrates Court inside Woolwich Crown Court. They are always held at Westminster Magistrates Court as the application is deemed to be delivered to the government at Westminster. Now get your head around this. This hearing is at Westminster Magistrates Court. It is being held by the Westminster magistrates and Westminster court staff, but located at Belmarsh Magistrates Court inside Woolwich Crown Court. All of which weird convolution is precisely so they can use the “counter-terrorist court” to limit public access and to impose the fear of the power of the state.

    One consequence is that, in the courtroom itself, Julian Assange is confined at the back of the court behind a bulletproof glass screen. He made the point several times during proceedings that this makes it very difficult for him to see and hear the proceedings. The magistrate, Vanessa Baraitser, chose to interpret this with studied dishonesty as a problem caused by the very faint noise of demonstrators outside, as opposed to a problem caused by Assange being locked away from the court in a massive bulletproof glass box.

    Now there is no reason at all for Assange to be in that box, designed to restrain extremely physically violent terrorists. He could sit, as a defendant at a hearing normally would, in the body of the court with his lawyers. But the cowardly and vicious Baraitser has refused repeated and persistent requests from the defence for Assange to be allowed to sit with his lawyers. Baraitser of course is but a puppet, being supervised by Chief Magistrate Lady Arbuthnot, a woman so enmeshed in the defence and security service establishment I can conceive of no way in which her involvement in this case could be more corrupt.

    It does not matter to Baraitser or Arbuthnot if there is any genuine need for Assange to be incarcerated in a bulletproof box, or whether it stops him from following proceedings in court. Baraitser’s intention is to humiliate Assange, and to instill in the rest of us horror at the vast crushing power of the state. The inexorable strength of the sentencing wing of the nightmarish Belmarsh Prison must be maintained. If you are here, you are guilty.

    It’s the Lubyanka. You may only be a remand prisoner. This may only be a hearing not a trial. You may have no history of violence and not be accused of any violence. You may have three of the country’s most eminent psychiatrists submitting reports of your history of severe clinical depression and warning of suicide. But I, Vanessa Baraitser, am still going to lock you up in a box designed for the most violent of terrorists. To show what we can do to dissidents. And if you can’t then follow court proceedings, all the better.

    You will perhaps better accept what I say about the Court when I tell you that, for a hearing being followed all round the world, they have brought it to a courtroom which had a total number of sixteen seats available to members of the public. 16. To make sure I got one of those 16 and could be your man in the gallery, I was outside that great locked iron fence queuing in the cold, wet and wind from 6am. At 8am the gate was unlocked, and I was able to walk inside the fence to another queue before the doors of the courtroom, where despite the fact notices clearly state the court opens to the public at 8am, I had to queue outside the building again for another hour and forty minutes. Then I was processed through armoured airlock doors, through airport type security, and had to queue behind two further locked doors, before finally getting to my seat just as the court started at 10am. By which stage the intention was we should have been thoroughly cowed and intimidated, not to mention drenched and potentially hypothermic.

    There was a separate media entrance and a media room with live transmission from the courtroom, and there were so many scores of media I thought I could relax and not worry as the basic facts would be widely reported. In fact, I could not have been more wrong. I followed the arguments very clearly every minute of the day, and not a single one of the most important facts and arguments today has been reported anywhere in the mainstream media. That is a bold claim, but I fear it is perfectly true. So I have much work to do to let the world know what actually happened. The mere act of being an honest witness is suddenly extremely important, when the entire media has abandoned that role.

    James Lewis QC made the opening statement for the prosecution. It consisted of two parts, both equally extraordinary. The first and longest part was truly remarkable for containing no legal argument, and for being addressed not to the magistrate but to the media. It is not just that it was obvious that is where his remarks were aimed, he actually stated on two occasions during his opening statement that he was addressing the media, once repeating a sentence and saying specifically that he was repeating it again because it was important that the media got it.

    I am frankly astonished that Baraitser allowed this. It is completely out of order for a counsel to address remarks not to the court but to the media, and there simply could not be any clearer evidence that this is a political show trial and that Baraitser is complicit in that. I have not the slightest doubt that the defence would have been pulled up extremely quickly had they started addressing remarks to the media. Baraitser makes zero pretence of being anything other than in thrall to the Crown, and by extension to the US Government.

    The points which Lewis wished the media to know were these: it is not true that mainstream outlets like the Guardian and New York Times are also threatened by the charges against Assange, because Assange was not charged with publishing the cables but only with publishing the names of informants, and with cultivating Manning and assisting him to attempt computer hacking. Only Assange had done these things, not mainstream outlets.

    Lewis then proceeded to read out a series of articles from the mainstream media attacking Assange, as evidence that the media and Assange were not in the same boat. The entire opening hour consisted of the prosecution addressing the media, attempting to drive a clear wedge between the media and Wikileaks and thus aimed at reducing media support for Assange. It was a political address, not remotely a legal submission. At the same time, the prosecution had prepared reams of copies of this section of Lewis’ address, which were handed out to the media and given them electronically so they could cut and paste.

    Following an adjournment, magistrate Baraitser questioned the prosecution on the veracity of some of these claims. In particular, the claim that newspapers were not in the same position because Assange was charged not with publication, but with “aiding and abetting” Chelsea Manning in getting the material, did not seem consistent with Lewis’ reading of the 1989 Official Secrets Act, which said that merely obtaining and publishing any government secret was an offence. Surely, Baraitser suggested, that meant that newspapers just publishing the Manning leaks would be guilty of an offence?

    This appeared to catch Lewis entirely off guard. The last thing he had expected was any perspicacity from Baraitser, whose job was just to do what he said. Lewis hummed and hawed, put his glasses on and off several times, adjusted his microphone repeatedly and picked up a succession of pieces of paper from his brief, each of which appeared to surprise him by its contents, as he waved them haplessly in the air and said he really should have cited the Shayler case but couldn’t find it. It was liking watching Columbo with none of the charm and without the killer question at the end of the process.

    Suddenly Lewis appeared to come to a decision. Yes, he said much more firmly. The 1989 Official Secrets Act had been introduced by the Thatcher Government after the Ponting Case, specifically to remove the public interest defence and to make unauthorised possession of an official secret a crime of strict liability – meaning no matter how you got it, publishing and even possessing made you guilty. Therefore, under the principle of dual criminality, Assange was liable for extradition whether or not he had aided and abetted Manning. Lewis then went on to add that any journalist and any publication that printed the official secret would therefore also be committing an offence, no matter how they had obtained it, and no matter if it did or did not name informants.

    Lewis had thus just flat out contradicted his entire opening statement to the media stating that they need not worry as the Assange charges could never be applied to them. And he did so straight after the adjournment, immediately after his team had handed out copies of the argument he had now just completely contradicted. I cannot think it has often happened in court that a senior lawyer has proven himself so absolutely and so immediately to be an unmitigated and ill-motivated liar. This was undoubtedly the most breathtaking moment in today’s court hearing.

    Yet remarkably I cannot find any mention anywhere in the mainstream media that this happened at all. What I can find, everywhere, is the mainstream media reporting, via cut and paste, Lewis’s first part of his statement on why the prosecution of Assange is not a threat to press freedom; but nobody seems to have reported that he totally abandoned his own argument five minutes later. Were the journalists too stupid to understand the exchanges?

    The explanation is very simple. The clarification coming from a question Baraitser asked Lewis, there is no printed or electronic record of Lewis’ reply. His original statement was provided in cut and paste format to the media. His contradiction of it would require a journalist to listen to what was said in court, understand it and write it down. There is no significant percentage of mainstream media journalists who command that elementary ability nowadays. “Journalism” consists of cut and paste of approved sources only. Lewis could have stabbed Assange to death in the courtroom, and it would not be reported unless contained in a government press release.

    I was left uncertain of Baraitser’s purpose in this. Plainly she discomfited Lewis very badly on this point, and appeared rather to enjoy doing so. On the other hand the point she made is not necessarily helpful to the defence. What she was saying was essentially that Julian could be extradited under dual criminality, from the UK point of view, just for publishing, whether or not he conspired with Chelsea Manning, and that all the journalists who published could be charged too. But surely this is a point so extreme that it would be bound to be invalid under the Human Rights Act? Was she pushing Lewis to articulate a position so extreme as to be untenable – giving him enough rope to hang himself – or was she slavering at the prospect of not just extraditing Assange, but of mass prosecutions of journalists?

    The reaction of one group was very interesting. The four US government lawyers seated immediately behind Lewis had the grace to look very uncomfortable indeed as Lewis baldly declared that any journalist and any newspaper or broadcast media publishing or even possessing any government secret was committing a serious offence. Their entire strategy had been to pretend not to be saying that.

    Lewis then moved on to conclude the prosecution’s arguments. The court had no decision to make, he stated. Assange must be extradited. The offence met the test of dual criminality as it was an offence both in the USA and UK. UK extradition law specifically barred the court from testing whether there was any evidence to back up the charges. If there had been, as the defence argued, abuse of process, the court must still extradite and then the court must pursue the abuse of process as a separate matter against the abusers. (This is a particularly specious argument as it is not possible for the court to take action against the US government due to sovereign immunity, as Lewis well knows). Finally, Lewis stated that the Human Rights Act and freedom of speech were completely irrelevant in extradition proceedings.

    Edward Fitzgerald then arose to make the opening statement for the defence. He started by stating that the motive for the prosecution was entirely political, and that political offences were specifically excluded under article 4.1 of the UK/US extradition treaty. He pointed out that at the time of the Chelsea Manning Trial and again in 2013 the Obama administration had taken specific decisions not to prosecute Assange for the Manning leaks. This had been reversed by the Trump administration for reasons that were entirely political.

    On abuse of process, Fitzgerald referred to evidence presented to the Spanish criminal courts that the CIA had commissioned a Spanish security company to spy on Julian Assange in the Embassy, and that this spying specifically included surveillance of Assange’s privileged meetings with his lawyers to discuss extradition. For the state trying to extradite to spy on the defendant’s client-lawyer consultations is in itself grounds to dismiss the case. (This point is undoubtedly true. Any decent judge would throw the case out summarily for the outrageous spying on the defence lawyers).

    Fitzgerald went on to say the defence would produce evidence the CIA not only spied on Assange and his lawyers, but actively considered kidnapping or poisoning him, and that this showed there was no commitment to proper rule of law in this case.

    Fitzgerald said that the prosecution’s framing of the case contained deliberate misrepresentation of the facts that also amounted to abuse of process. It was not true that there was any evidence of harm to informants, and the US government had confirmed this in other fora, eg in Chelsea Manning’s trial. There had been no conspiracy to hack computers, and Chelsea Manning had been acquitted on that charge at court martial. Lastly it was untrue that Wikileaks had initiated publication of unredacted names of informants, as other media organisations had been responsible for this first.

    Again, so far as I can see, while the US allegation of harm to informants is widely reported, the defence’s total refutation on the facts and claim that the fabrication of facts amounts to abuse of process is not much reported at all. Fitzgerald finally referred to US prison conditions, the impossibility of a fair trial in the US, and the fact the Trump Administration has stated foreign nationals will not receive First Amendment protections, as reasons that extradition must be barred. You can read the whole defence statement, but in my view the strongest passage was on why this is a political prosecution, and thus precluded from extradition.

    For the purposes of section 81(a), I next have to deal with the question of how
    this politically motivated prosecution satisfies the test of being directed against
    Julian Assange because of his political opinions. The essence of his political
    opinions which have provoked this prosecution are summarised in the reports
    of Professor Feldstein [tab 18], Professor Rogers [tab 40], Professor Noam
    Chomsky [tab 39] and Professor Kopelman:-
    i. He is a leading proponent of an open society and of freedom of expression.
    ii. He is anti-war and anti-imperialism.
    iii. He is a world-renowned champion of political transparency and of the
    public’s right to access information on issues of importance – issues such
    as political corruption, war crimes, torture and the mistreatment of
    Guantanamo detainees.
    5.4.Those beliefs and those actions inevitably bring him into conflict with powerful
    states including the current US administration, for political reasons. Which
    explains why he has been denounced as a terrorist and why President Trump
    has in the past called for the death penalty.

    5.5.But I should add his revelations are far from confined to the wrongdoings of
    the US. He has exposed surveillance by Russia; and published exposes of Mr
    Assad in Syria; and it is said that WikiLeaks revelations about corruption in
    Tunisia and torture in Egypt were the catalyst for the Arab Spring itself.

    5.6.The US say he is no journalist. But you will see a full record of his work in
    Bundle M. He has been a member of the Australian journalists union since
    2009, he is a member of the NUJ and the European Federation of Journalists.
    He has won numerous media awards including being honoured with the
    highest award for Australian journalists.

    His work has been recognised by the Economist, Amnesty International and the Council of Europe. He is the winner of the Martha Gelhorn prize and has been repeatedly nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, including both last year and this year. You can see from the materials that he has written books, articles and documentaries. He has had articles published in the Guardian, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the New Statesman, just to name a few.

    Some of the very publications for which his extradition is being sought have been refereed to and relied upon in Courts throughout the world, including the UK Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights. In short, he has championed the cause of transparency and freedom of information throughout the world.

    5.7.Professor Noam Chomsky puts it like this: – ‘in courageously upholding
    political beliefs that most of profess to share he has performed an
    enormous service to all those in the world who treasure the values of
    freedom and democracy and who therefore demand the right to know
    what their elected representatives are doing
    ’ [see tab 39, paragraph 14].

    So Julian Assange’s positive impact on the world is undeniable.

    The hostility it has provoked from the Trump administration is equally undeniable.

    The legal test for ‘political opinions’ 5.8.I am sure you are aware of the legal authorities on this issue: namely whether a request is made because of the defendant’s political opinions.

    A broad approach has to be adopted when applying the test. In support of this we rely on the case of Re Asliturk [2002] EWHC 2326 (abuse authorities, tab 11, at
    paras 25 – 26) which clearly establishes that such a wide approach should be
    adopted to the concept of political opinions. And that will clearly cover Julian
    Assange’s ideological positions.

    Moreover, we also rely on cases such as Emilia Gomez v SSHD [2000] INLR 549 at tab 43 of the political offence authorities bundle. These show that the concept of “political opinions” extends to the political opinions imputed to the individual citizen by the state which prosecutes him. For that reason the characterisation of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks as a “non-state hostile intelligence agency” by Mr Pompeo makes clear that he has been targeted for his imputed political opinions.

    All the experts whose reports you have show that Julian Assange has been targeted
    because of the political position imputed to him by the Trump administration –
    as an enemy of America who must be brought down.


    Tomorrow the defence continue. I am genuinely uncertain what will happen as I feel at the moment far too exhausted to be there at 6am to queue to get in. But I hope somehow I will contrive another report tomorrow evening.

    With grateful thanks to those who donated or subscribed to make this reporting possible.

    This article is entirely free to reproduce and publish, including in translation, and I very much hope people will do so actively. Truth shall set us free.
    “If a man does not keep pace with [fall into line with] his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” - Thoreau

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    Australia Avalon Member Innocent Warrior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Current Wikileaks and Assange News & Releases





    The page dedicated to documenting the first part of the extradition hearing, day by day, with relevant links, images, and other useful information -
    https://challengepower.info/usa_vs_j...rt_1_24-28_feb

    *****



    Link to PDF HERE.

    *****







    *****





    Julian Assange’s lawyer claims US wanted to kill WikiLeaks founder and make it look like accident (New York Post, Feb 25)
    Never give up on your silly, silly dreams.

    You mustn't be afraid to dream a little BIGGER, darling.

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    Default Re: Current Wikileaks and Assange News & Releases

    WikiLeaks – public enemy Julian Assange | DW Documentary
    Feb 25, 2020
    DW Documentary
    1.28M subscribers

    "The Wikileaks revelations shocked the world, and co-founder Julian Assange shot to fame. WikiLeaks exposed U.S. army war crimes, the secret emails of top international politicians and controversial secret service surveillance methods.

    Assange’s relentless pursuit of total transparency has changed the face of journalism and given rise to much imitation, as well as fierce criticism.

    But it seems the spell has broken. After spending seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Julian Assange is now in a cell at Belmarsh, a maximum-security prison in London. In many ways, he is being treated as a terrorist. His health has suffered. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer has even referred to a "murderous system” designed to make an example of Assange.

    Assange took on a very powerful opponent. The U.S.A. is pressing charges for obtaining and disclosing classified information. Now, the extradition hearing is about to begin in London. If Assange is extradited from England to the U.S.A., he faces up to 175 years in jail for espionage. Experts are expecting one of the most significant trials of its kind to date.

    "WikiLeaks - Public Enemy Julian Assange” is a detailed depiction of the rise and fall of Julian Assange. The film reveals some personal glimpses into different aspects of the story: meetings with Assange’s worried father, talks with high-ranking U.S. officials, an exclusive interview with whistleblower Edward Snowden. And every time the key question re-emerges: Is Julian Assange a journalist or a spy?"

    Each breath a gift...
    _____________

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    Default Re: Current Wikileaks and Assange News & Releases

    "Day 2 proceedings had started with a statement from Edward Fitzgerald, Assange’s QC, that shook us rudely into life. He stated that yesterday, on the first day of trial, Julian had twice been stripped naked and searched, eleven times been handcuffed, and five times been locked up in different holding cells. On top of this, all of his court documents had been taken from him by the prison authorities, including privileged communications between his lawyers and himself, and he had been left with no ability to prepare to participate in today’s proceedings."
    Your Man in the Public Gallery – Assange Hearing Day 2
    By Craig Murray

    This afternoon Julian’s Spanish lawyer, Baltasar Garzon, left court to return to Madrid. On the way out he naturally stopped to shake hands with his client, proffering his fingers through the narrow slit in the bulletproof glass cage. Assange half stood to take his lawyer’s hand. The two security guards in the cage with Assange immediately sprang up, putting hands on Julian and forcing him to sit down, preventing the handshake.

    That was not by any means the worst thing today, but it is a striking image of the senseless brute force continually used against a man accused of publishing documents. That a man cannot even shake his lawyer’s hand goodbye is against the entire spirit in which the members of the legal system like to pretend the law is practised. I offer that startling moment as encapsulating yesterday’s events in court.

    Day 2 proceedings had started with a statement from Edward Fitzgerald, Assange’s QC, that shook us rudely into life. He stated that yesterday, on the first day of trial, Julian had twice been stripped naked and searched, eleven times been handcuffed, and five times been locked up in different holding cells. On top of this, all of his court documents had been taken from him by the prison authorities, including privileged communications between his lawyers and himself, and he had been left with no ability to prepare to participate in today’s proceedings.

    Magistrate Baraitser looked at Fitzgerald and stated, in a voice laced with disdain, that he had raised such matters before and she had always replied that she had no jurisdiction over the prison estate. He should take it up with the prison authorities. Fitzgerald remained on his feet, which drew a very definite scowl from Baraitser, and replied that of course they would do that again, but this repeated behaviour by the prison authorities threatened the ability of the defence to prepare. He added that regardless of jurisdiction, in his experience it was common practice for magistrates and judges to pass on comments and requests to the prison service where the conduct of the trial was affected, and that jails normally listened to magistrates sympathetically.

    Baraitser flat-out denied any knowledge of such a practice, and stated that Fitzgerald should present her with written arguments setting out the case law on jurisdiction over prison conditions. This was too much even for prosecution counsel James Lewis, who stood up to say the prosecution would also want Assange to have a fair hearing, and that he could confirm that what the defence were suggesting was normal practice. Even then, Baraitser still refused to intervene with the prison. She stated that if the prison conditions were so bad as to reach the very high bar of making a fair hearing impossible, the defence should bring a motion to dismiss the charges on those grounds. Otherwise they should drop it.

    Both prosecution and defence seemed surprised by Baraitser’s claim that she had not heard of what they both referred to as common practice. Lewis may have been genuinely concerned at the shocking description of Assange’s prison treatment yesterday; or he may have just had warning klaxons going off in his head screaming “mistrial”. But the net result is Baraitser will attempt to do nothing to prevent Julian’s physical and mental abuse in jail nor to try to give him the ability to participate in his defence. The only realistic explanation that occurs to me is that Baraitser has been warned off, because this continual mistreatment and confiscation of documents is on senior government authority.

    A last small incident for me to recount: having queued again from the early hours, I was at the final queue before the entrance to the public gallery, when the name was called out of Kristin Hrnafsson, editor of Wikileaks, with whom I was talking at the time. Kristin identified himself, and was told by the court official he was barred from the public gallery.

    Now I was with Kristin throughout the entire proceedings the previous day, and he had done absolutely nothing amiss – he is rather a quiet gentleman. When he was called for, it was by name and by job description – they were specifically banning the editor of Wikileaks from the trial. Kristin asked why and was told it was a decision of the Court.

    At this stage John Shipton, Julian’s father, announced that in this case the family members would all leave too, and they did so, walking out of the building. They and others then started tweeting the news of the family walkout. This appeared to cause some consternation among court officials, and fifteen minutes later Kristin was re-admitted. We still have no idea what lay behind this. Later in the day journalists were being briefed by officials it was simply over queue-jumping, but that seems improbable as he was removed by staff who called him by name and title, rather than had spotted him as a queue-jumper.

    None of the above goes to the official matter of the case. All of the above tells you more about the draconian nature of the political show-trial which is taking place than does the charade being enacted in the body of the court. There were moments today when I got drawn in to the court process and achieved the suspension of disbelief you might do in theatre, and began thinking “Wow, this case is going well for Assange”. Then an event such as those recounted above kicks in, a coldness grips your heart, and you recall there is no jury here to be convinced. I simply do not believe that anything said or proved in the courtroom can have an impact on the final verdict of this court.

    So to the actual proceedings in the case.

    For the defence, Mark Summers QC stated that the USA charges were entirely dependent on three factual accusations of Assange behviour:

    1) Assange helped Manning to decode a hash key to access classified material.
    Summers stated this was a provably false allegation from the evidence of the Manning court-martial.

    2) Assange solicited the material from Manning
    Summers stated this was provably wrong from information available to the public

    3) Assange knowingly put lives at risk
    Summers stated this was provably wrong both from publicly available information and from specific involvement of the US government.

    In summary, Summers stated the US government knew that the allegations being made were false as to fact, and they were demonstrably made in bad faith. This was therefore an abuse of process which should lead to dismissal of the extradition request. He described the above three counts as “rubbish, rubbish and rubbish”.

    Summers then walked through the facts of the case. He said the charges from the USA divide the materials leaked by Manning to Wikileaks into three categories:

    a) Diplomatic Cables
    b) Guantanamo detainee assessment briefs
    c) Iraq War rules of engagement
    d) Afghan and Iraqi war logs

    Summers then methodically went through a), b), c) and d) relating each in turn to alleged behaviours 1), 2) and 3), making twelve counts of explanation and exposition in all. This comprehensive account took some four hours and I shall not attempt to capture it here. I will rather give highlights, but will relate occasionally to the alleged behaviour number and/or the alleged materials letter. I hope you follow that – it took me some time to do so!

    On 1) Summers at great length demonstrated conclusively that Manning had access to each material a) b) c) d) provided to Wikileaks without needing any code from Assange, and had that access before ever contacting Assange. Nor had Manning needed a code to conceal her identity as the prosecution alleged – the database for intelligence analysts Manning could access – as could thousands of others – did not require a username or password to access it from a work military computer. Summers quoted testimony of several officers from Manning’s court-martial to confirm this. Nor would breaking the systems admin code on the system give Manning access to any additional classified databases.

    Summers quoted evidence from the Manning court-martial, where this had been accepted, that the reason Manning wanted to get in to systems admin was to allow soldiers to put their video-games and movies on their government laptops, which in fact happened frequently.

    Magistrate Baraitser twice made major interruptions. She observed that if Chelsea Manning did not know she could not be traced as the user who downloaded the databases, she might have sought Assange’s assistance to crack a code to conceal her identity from ignorance she did not need to do that, and to assist would still be an offence by Assange.

    Summers pointed out that Manning knew that she did not need a username and password, because she actually accessed all the materials without one. Baraitser replied that this did not constitute proof she knew she could not be traced. Summers said in logic it made no sense to argue that she was seeking a code to conceal her user ID and password, where there was no user ID and password. Baraitser replied again he could not prove that. At this point Summers became somewhat testy and short with Baraitser, and took her through the court martial evidence again. Of which more…

    Baraitser also made the point that even if Assange were helping Manning to crack an admin code, even if it did not enable Manning to access any more databases, that still was unauthorised use and would constitute the crime of aiding and abetting computer misuse, even if for an innocent purpose.

    After a brief break, Baraitser came back with a real zinger. She told Summers that he had presented the findings of the US court martial of Chelsea Manning as fact. But she did not agree that her court had to treat evidence at a US court martial, even agreed or uncontested evidence or prosecution evidence, as fact. Summers replied that agreed evidence or prosecution evidence at the US court martial clearly was agreed by the US government as fact, and what was at issue at the moment was whether the US government was charging contrary to the facts it knew. Baraitser said she would return to her point once witnesses were heard.

    Baraitser was no making no attempt to conceal a hostility to the defence argument, and seemed irritated they had the temerity to make it. This burst out when discussing c), the Iraq war rules of engagement. Summers argued that these had not been solicited from Manning, but had rather been provided by Manning in an accompanying file along with the Collateral Murder video that showed the murder of Reuters journalists and children. Manning’s purpose, as she stated at her court martial, was to show that the Collateral Murder actions breached the rules of engagement, even though the Department of Defense claimed otherwise. Summers stated that by not including this context, the US extradition request was deliberately misleading as it did not even mention the Collateral Murder video at all.

    At this point Baraitser could not conceal her contempt. Try to imagine Lady Bracknell saying “A Handbag” or “the Brighton line”, or if your education didn’t run that way try to imagine Pritti Patel spotting a disabled immigrant. This is a literal quote:
    “Are you suggesting, Mr Summers, that the authorities, the Government, should have to provide context for its charges?”
    An unfazed Summers replied in the affirmative and then went on to show where the Supreme Court had said so in other extradition cases. Baraitser was showing utter confusion that anybody could claim a significant distinction between the Government and God.

    The bulk of Summers’ argument went to refuting behaviour 3), putting lives at risk. This was only claimed in relation to materials a) and d). Summers described at great length the efforts of Wikileaks with media partners over more than a year to set up a massive redaction campaign on the cables. He explained that the unredacted cables only became available after Luke Harding and David Leigh of the Guardian published the password to the cache as the heading to Chapter XI of their book Wikileaks, published in February 2011.

    Nobody had put 2 and 2 together on this password until the German publication Die Freitag had done so and announced it had the unredacted cables in August 2011. Summers then gave the most powerful arguments of the day.

    The US government had been actively participating in the redaction exercise on the cables. They therefore knew the allegations of reckless publication to be untrue.

    Once Die Freitag announced they had the unredacted materials, Julian Assange and Sara Harrison instantly telephoned the White House, State Department and US Embassy to warn them named sources may be put at risk. Summers read from the transcripts of telephone conversations as Assange and Harrison attempted to convince US officials of the urgency of enabling source protection procedures – and expressed their bafflement as officials stonewalled them. This evidence utterly undermined the US government’s case and proved bad faith in omitting extremely relevant fact. It was a very striking moment.

    With relation to the same behaviour 3) on materials d), Summers showed that the Manning court martial had accepted these materials contained no endangered source names, but showed that Wikileaks had activated a redaction exercise anyway as a “belt and braces” approach.

    There was much more from the defence. For the prosecution, James Lewis indicated he would reply in depth later in proceedings, but wished to state that the prosecution does not accept the court martial evidence as fact, and particularly does not accept any of the “self-serving” testimony of Chelsea Manning, whom he portrayed as a convicted criminal falsely claiming noble motives. The prosecution generally rejected any notion that this court should consider the truth or otherwise of any of the facts; those could only be decided at trial in the USA.

    Then, to wrap up proceedings, Baraitser dropped a massive bombshell. She stated that although Article 4.1 of the US/UK Extradition Treaty forbade political extraditions, this was only in the Treaty. That exemption does not appear in the UK Extradition Act. On the face of it therefore political extradition is not illegal in the UK, as the Treaty has no legal force on the Court. She invited the defence to address this argument in the morning.

    It is now 06.35am and I am late to start queuing…

    With grateful thanks to those who donated or subscribed to make this reporting possible.

    This article is entirely free to reproduce and publish, including in translation, and I very much hope people will do so actively. Truth shall set us free.

    ---------------

    EDITED: Craig Murray comments from outside Belmarsh Prison, day 3 (February 26th).
    'Why would any country sign and ratify any treaty with the UK if the UK can simply say it doesn't apply even though we signed it.'
    Last edited by Tintin; Yesterday at 16:20.
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    Default Re: Current Wikileaks and Assange News & Releases

    [BRIEF LIBRARY UPDATE NOTE]

    Just a reminder for anybody who has been following Wikileaks over the years that there is a fairly comprehensive one-stop shop that contains a more or less complete history, in the library: it is pretty extensive.

    Periodic updates are being made as well relating to the historic developments concerning Julian and his recent travails, and Wikileaks in general.

    http://avalonlibrary.net/Julian_Assange_and_Wikileaks/
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    Default Re: Current Wikileaks and Assange News & Releases

    For context: David Leigh, former Guardian editor.

    From Kristinn Hrafnsson
    "David Leigh again dismisses his responsibility for the release of the unredacted cables. He posted a password for its encrypted file - in his book. Now claims Assange told him the password was temporary. Leigh himself writes in his book about a temporary WEBSITE. Not the same."
    Link: https://twitter.com/khrafnsson/statu...04629314572289



    And on Julian's treatment from day 2 of the hearing, even the legendary and highly respected BBC broadcaster and correspondent John Simpson appears aghast:

    John Simpson
    @JohnSimpsonNews
    ·
    21h
    "If it’s true, as Julian Assange’s lawyers say, that his prison wardens have handcuffed him 11 times, forced him to strip naked twice, & confiscated his case notes, this sounds like vindictiveness & is completely unacceptable."
    Link: https://twitter.com/JohnSimpsonNews/...28141273780230

    Last edited by Tintin; Yesterday at 16:17.
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    United States Avalon Member Dennis Leahy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Current Wikileaks and Assange News & Releases

    Bear in mind, as you read the account of this overtly kangaroo court and the physical abuse and legal abuse inflicted upon Julian Assange, that this is DIRECTLY from Donald Trump, hero of the thoroughly brainwashed "patriots", and pseudo-fighter of the Deep State that Julian Assange actually unmasked. Never lose sight of the actual facts, the truth.

    (Mods, not to worry, the people I'm blasting don't even read this thread nor care about Julian Assange, because they were told by "Republican Agent Q" not to care, and because "some Democrats are going to go down, just wait and see...", and they have abandoned any semblance of discernment and blocked the obvious reality in their political partisan fury.)

    MOD Note: No worry here at all Dennis, trust us. Keep up the splendid work out there (Tintin)
    Last edited by Tintin; Yesterday at 16:23.


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    Default Re: Current Wikileaks and Assange News & Releases

    Quote Posted by Praxis (here)
    Another fork in the road: You either support Julian Assange or Donald Trump.

    It is not possible to do both any longer. These two things are antithetical to each other.

    Trump, could, right now as CEO of the United States drop all the charges against Assange and see Julian free which is what should happen.

    Julian Assange does a public service that allows us to know things we wouldnt otherwise. Attacks on journalist and whistleblowers should not be tolerated, ESPECIALLY here at Avalon.

    I for one stand with Julian Assange and hope that others on this board too.
    It is hard not to suspect Trump of forging a deal with his military intelligence keepers-he professed to 'love Wikileaks' back in his campaign highlights of 2016, perhaps now his survival politically depends on his renouncing Assange. However this has not yet played out, Julian has not yet been totally betrayed by the U.K establishment, they are under a lot of public pressure. Plus there is an anti-Trump element amongst the U.K/City of London team who were complicit in the Steele Dossier rubbish, this is a complex chess board and Trump I sense is but a major piece being moved, I don;t think he holds much love personally for the intelligence communities dominated by the left side of politics (the climate change/carbon tax/U.N connection). I am seeing how this finally falls out, there is much to be revealed.
    Communication is what makes us Human, if you wish to communicate and effectively reach a specific audience I can help you. www.webstruct.xyz

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    Default Re: Current Wikileaks and Assange News & Releases

    Quote Posted by Mike Gorman (here)
    Quote Posted by Praxis (here)
    Another fork in the road: You either support Julian Assange or Donald Trump.

    It is not possible to do both any longer. These two things are antithetical to each other.

    Trump, could, right now as CEO of the United States drop all the charges against Assange and see Julian free which is what should happen.

    Julian Assange does a public service that allows us to know things we wouldnt otherwise. Attacks on journalist and whistleblowers should not be tolerated, ESPECIALLY here at Avalon.

    I for one stand with Julian Assange and hope that others on this board too.
    It is hard not to suspect Trump of forging a deal with his military intelligence keepers-he professed to 'love Wikileaks' back in his campaign highlights of 2016, perhaps now his survival politically depends on his renouncing Assange. However this has not yet played out, Julian has not yet been totally betrayed by the U.K establishment, they are under a lot of public pressure. Plus there is an anti-Trump element amongst the U.K/City of London team who were complicit in the Steele Dossier rubbish, this is a complex chess board and Trump I sense is but a major piece being moved, I don;t think he holds much love personally for the intelligence communities dominated by the left side of politics (the climate change/carbon tax/U.N connection). I am seeing how this finally falls out, there is much to be revealed.
    I am curious as to which ones you would put under this label?
    I would consider myself knowledgeable about the US IC and there is no part of it I would label as left side of politics. I can't point to an organization within the NSA, CIA, NRO, DIA, NGA, DSCA, FBI, etc. that I would classify as left leaning. Quite the contrary. This is also backed up with programs and directors with obvious agendas(allen dulles for example but also Bobby Ray Inman who is on the board of Acadmi Services(what was Blackwater).

    All I have to do to prove my point is link part one of the Church Committee report and it lays the perfect foundation. Then I introduce the phoenix program( thanks Douglas Valentine) and then round off with Iran Contra. Then there is 9-11 and all the subsequent nonsense.

    Where in this malaise of neo ideologies(neo con, neo liberal) do you find left leaning tendencies? Yes the CIA funded abstract art. No that does not count.
    Last edited by Praxis; Yesterday at 19:11.

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    Default Re: Current Wikileaks and Assange News & Releases

    While Trump dishes out pardons to others, Assange is left to twist in the wind

    Kurt Nimmo
    Another Day in the Empire
    Fri, 22 Jun 2018 00:00 UTC

    It was a fool's errand.

    On the day Donald Trump was elected his supporters asked him to pardon the founder and frontman of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange. They flooded social media demanding Assange be allowed to leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London without arrest and extradition to the United States.

    Stone silence from Trump and his administration.

    A few months before the election, WikiLeaks released a searchable archive of over 30,000 emails and attachments taken from Hillary Clinton's not-so private email server.

    Trump held no aversion to exploiting the emails. He called them the Crooked Hillary emails and said they endangered the national security of the United States.

    Democrats called foul, said Assange had colluded with Putin and the Russians.

    In April, they filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Russian government, the Trump campaign, and WikiLeaks. They argue there was a widespread conspiracy to swing the 2016 election.

    They have zero evidence of this. Evidence is no longer required. Accusations alone now serve to take down leaders and destroy careers.

    Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are no longer of use to Donald Trump.

    He dished out pardons to ex-Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio and neocon leaker Scooter Libby. Trump mulled other pardons, including a posthumous one for Muhammad Ali to wipe out his draft dodging conviction. It was reported in June Trump insiders are pushing to pardon the junk bond king Michael Milken and reverse his conviction on securities fraud. The Milken pardon is being pushed by Goldman Sachs alumnus and current Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

    Meanwhile, Julian Assange is left to twist in the wind.

    Both Trump's attorney general and his former CIA director, now secretary of state Mike Pompeo want Assange extradited to the United States where he will face trial and possible execution for espionage.

    AG Jeff Sessions said the arrest and prosecution of Assange is a priority for the United States government, while Pompeo denounced him as a "hostile intelligence service," never mind he had no problem using the Clinton emails to accuse the DNC of sabotaging the Bernie Sanders campaign.

    The US has leaned heavy on Ecuador.

    Following a meeting with General Joseph DiSalvo of the Southern Command-ostensibly to discuss "security cooperation"-Ecuadorian president Lenín Moreno rolled back security at the embassy and denied Assange access to family, friends, and doctors. They also shut down his internet connection.

    This week Ecuador's Foreign Minister Jose Valencia said his government working on an "exit" plan to remove Assange from the embassy where he has lived the past six years. Valencia told the Associated Press the plan would be "one that encourages an exit, that we do not want to be traumatic... we do not want it to be an exit that may cause dissonance with international law."

    Moreno said Assange interfered in Ecuador's relationship with other countries by tweeting on political events. He also lamented the "nuisance" of Assange's political asylum and said the Australian whistleblower is an "inherited problem" left over from the previous administration.

    Moreno's government granted Assange citizenship in a hope diplomatic immunity would be granted and he would leave the embassy. Assange knows better than to fall for this. Immunity or no, he will be arrested the minute he walks out of the embassy.

    Activist and filmmaker John Pilger took the Left to task for abandoning Assange. "There is a silence among many who call themselves left," he said in a statement. "The silence is Julian Assange. As every false accusation has fallen away, every bogus smear shown to be the work of political enemies, Julian stands vindicated as one who has exposed a system that threatens humanity."

    For the establishment, it's imperative Assange be arrested, extradited, and brought up on espionage charges in the United States. The message will be priceless, the chilling effect invaluable.

    The dirty secrets of war, political subterfuge, election fixing, and assorted other crimes and misdeeds are not for public consumption.

    The release of the Collateral Damage video and the war logs of Afghanistan and Iraq should have resulted in a larger and more active antiwar movement. This didn't happen.

    Liberal and leftist opposition to war only occurs when a Republican sits in the Oval Office. Obama effectively destroyed what remained of the Bush era antiwar movement. Eights year of Obama worked like a lobotomy on the Left.

    Democrats supported Hillary Clinton's war on the people of Libya. They didn't have a problem when she arranged weapons collected from the battlefields of Libya to be sent by the CIA to the "rebels" in Syria.

    Democrats call for overthrowing Bashar al-Assad in Syria. They believe Russia got Trump elected and Vladimir Putin spreads lies and false news to undermine and destroy our democracy. Large NGOs, foundations, and think tanks are pushing this nonsense.

    Due mostly to indoctrination as a result of public education and a herd mentality inculcated by leaders and media, it is a relatively easy task for the financial oligarchy and its corporate partners to brainwash the public. It now disguises war and conquest as humanitarianism.

    I'm old enough to remember when millions of Americans praised Daniel Ellsberg for releasing the Pentagon Papers. That was then, this is now. Now liberals and progressives want to string up whistleblowers, same as their conservative Republican and neocon counterparts.

    Gore Vidal said America suffers from amnesia.

    Americans are largely blind to the war and financial crimes perpetuated in their name. Part of this is the result of indoctrination through propaganda media, but to a large degree Americans are incurious and unbothered by the criminality of their leaders and institutions.

    Most don't care Julian Assange is a dead man walking.

    They are unable to see the criminal state for what it is-a global Mafia operation that shakes down entire continents and wages wars of conquest and pillage for profit.

    Quote The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.

    - George Orwell
    Full List of Presidential Pardons
    A million galaxies are a little foam on that shoreless sea. ~ Rumi

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