Assange Extradition Hearing: Day One


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‘Julian Assange hearing: ‘journalism is no excuse for breaking law’; Lawyers for US government deliver opening arguments as extradition case begins’, Ben Quinn, the Guardian, Feb. 24, 2020  (Title an hour changed to: ‘Informants named in WikiLeaks files disappeared, Assange hearing told’ with many additions including this at the top)

“Secret sources who had supplied information to the US government “disappeared” after they were put at risk of death or torture by WikiLeaks’s release of classified documents, the first day of Julian Assange’s extradition hearing has been told.”

Quinn quotes UK prosecutor James Lewis QC as adding ‘range of sources in states including Iraq, Afghanistan and China.’

He quotes Lewis:

“The US is aware of sources, whose unredacted names and other identifying information was contained in classified documents published by WikiLeaks, who subsequently disappeared, although the US can’t prove at this point that their disappearance was the result of being outed by WikiLeaks.”

By disseminating material in an unredacted form, Assange knowingly put human rights activists, dissidents, journalists and their families at risk of serious harm in states run by oppressive regimes.”

“Journalism is no excuse for breaking the law.  The defence seek to suggest that the risk to these individuals who, by having the individuals revealed as informants, is somehow overstated. I would remind the court that these were individuals who were passing on information on regimes such as Iran and organisations such as al-Qaida.”

“(I) want to emphasize that the indictment essentially referred to two areas of Assange’s conduct: theft and computer hacking of the information published and identifying informants in Iraq and Afghanistan knowing that they would be at risk of harm.

“He is not charged with disclosure of embarrassing or awkward information that the government would rather not have have disclosed.” “The disclosures charges are solely where there was a risk of risk.”

He then named a few examples.  Quinn had noted that Assange sad passively watching, but stood before the lunch break and said he was having trouble hearing the proceedings.  Julian’s attorneys will open tomorrow.

The rest will be by Tweet:

@kgosztola ‘James Lewis QC is essentially reciting summary of Chelsea Manning’s trial, which I’m not going to bother to share details from unless he says something we didn’t hear in 2013 during her trial. But all her conduct is being recited because US is prosecuting as conspiracy case’

@kgosztola 45m45 minutes ago
‘Edward Fitzgerald highlights the isolation Assange would likely be kept in if brought to the United States and convicted. May be put in “Communications Management Unit. That has an Orwellian ring to it.”

you can read more on Kevin’s threadreader app here.
https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1231889705496666113.html

#AfghanWarLogs: we know from the @xychelsea’s trial NO ONE died/ was injured as a result. Today we learn that CIVILIAN victims due to US war in Afghanistan exceeds 10,000. Remember the Wolf and the Lamb fable?’@SMaurizi ‘The US wants put in prison for life Julian #Assange for publishing'

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earthling1's picture

I look forward to you keeping us updated. I appreciate all your time and effort spent.

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After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

@earthling1

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wendy davis's picture

keep you updated; this phase ends friday, next opens may 18, iirc and will likely last three weeks, according to judge cruella baraitser. but OMG! on UK prosecutor lewis's quotes.

no news as to whether or not craig murray was allowed into the wee courtroom on his twit account, but he did indeed travel there.

cross-posting via easy copy html with tweets between here and the café is a pip; i should likely go back there and provide some of these once i finish a few home chores.

anyhoo, thanks for reading and caring, earthling.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@wendy davis

--if I respond less than I might, it's because this issue really makes me see red. And I don't mean I'm singing the Internationale.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

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Only a fool lets someone else tell him who his enemy is. Assata Shakur

wendy davis's picture

@wikileaks
Hearing will resume Tuesday morning where we are promised some bomshell revelations from the defense
9:24 AM • Feb 24, 2020

WTF? did they in fact poison him as some of thought?

@kgosztola 'Going over the “New York Times problem” that led Obama admin not to indict Assange, defense quotes @matthewamiller, who was spokesperson for Obama DOJ: “If you are not going prosecute journalists for publishing classified information, then there is no way to prosecute Assange.”

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Bisbonian's picture

“The disclosures charges are solely where there was a risk of risk.”

Is that like a chance of a chance of rain?

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"I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.” —Malcolm X

wendy davis's picture

@Bisbonian

war might have been peace, too. and prosecutor denise lind had already admitted during chelsea's tribunal that no one died, no one was wounded. a re-tread accusation with NO foundation, QC Lewis!

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snoopydawg's picture

A judge ruled in favor of Wikileaks reporting on info that the government wished remained hidden. I have been looking for this case but alas can't find it. But if that were true then how would that not have set a case going forward? And when the democrats tried suing Assange and Wikileaks for telling the world that the 2016 primary was rigged the judge laughed and threw it out.

But then that would rely on him getting a fair trial which we know is not in the works. What we are seeing is kabuki theater just going through the motions of a trial. This also shows that the UN is a toothless organization that country's leaders don't even bother to listen to.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

@snoopydawg The DNC May Have Paved The Way For Julian Assange’s Acquittal

"....John Koetl, a federal judge, dismissed the lawsuit in July 2019. Whether or not WikiLeaks knew the materials were obtained illegally, they were protected by the First Amendment.

“The First Amendment prevents such liability in the same way it would preclude liability for press outlets that publish materials of public interest despite defects in the way the materials were obtained so long as the disseminator did not participate in any wrongdoing in obtaining the materials in the first place,” Koeltl asserted.

Koeltl reference the Pentagon Papers case, acknowledging the Supreme Court held there was a “heavy presumption” against the “constitutional validity of prior restraints” (suppressing) the publication of information.

The DNC alleged that WikiLeaks sent Russian intelligence operatives “using the name Guccifer 2.0 a private message, asking the operatives to ‘send any material [stolen from the DNC] here for us to review.’”

“This was not a solicitation to steal documents but a request for material that had been stolen. Journalists are allowed to request documents that have been stolen and to publish those documents,” Koeltl unequivocally stated...."
https://shadowproof.com/2020/02/23/the-dnc-may-have-paved-the-way-for-ju...

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snoopydawg's picture

@aliasalias

There was one way back when Wikileaks was just getting started and a judge ruled in their favor. He said that they have the right to report on what they know. I wasn't paying much attention to them back then, but that's what I recall.

But Trump is saying that Assange hacked the information not that it was given to them. Chelsea's court martial set up a lot of cases going forward too and that is why they want her to testify again. They want her to change her testimony. She will not.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

earthling1's picture

@aliasalias
"The DNC alleged that WikiLeaks sent Russian intelligence operatives “using the name Guccifer 2.0 a private message, asking the operatives to ‘send any material [stolen from the DNC] here for us to review.’”

This is what Trump did when he asked Russia to find the 30,000 Clinton emails.
I see no difference.

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After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

are put into when they are fired upon by the U.S. military? What about the danger a soldier is in when she brings knowledge of that crime to the public eye?

Let's not have any more insinuations that the U.S. government cares whether or not it puts people in danger.

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5 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal when Chelsea Manning was prosecuted and when Obama was continuing to keep a Grand Jury investigating wikileaks and Assange empaneled.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@aliasalias

Morally, the idea of these people accusing someone ELSE of putting people in harm's way is ludicrous.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

I hope this does not turn into some Soviet show trial.

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snoopydawg's picture

And I’m sitting there listening to these claims, these subjective claims, and thinking: Why aren’t we discussing the harm that was revealed by WikiLeaks in 2010 and 2011? Why aren’t we talking in court about war crimes, the assassination of innocent civilians by the military, the slaughtering of Reuters journalists?

At any rate, the very existence of the extradition trial is a disgrace, Hrafnsson pointed out: “It is a shameful thing that we have to defend journalism in a court of law in this country.”

Yes it is shameful that journalism is on trial, but war crimes and crimes against humanity are not!!

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

thank you!

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wendy davis's picture

and i'm so glad you're digging up more and talking to one another. i've been awake since 3:30 and my head is more cotton-wooly than usual.

i will say i'd missed that julian' attorneys had made some of their opening arguments, but it was confusing on the twit machine. i'd missed some of QC Lewis Woodpecker's agitprop, too, and we'd heard that Baraitser would be allowing it in:

but hell's kotula! i went to all this bother and RT.com just put up: ‘Day 1 of Assange’s US extradition hearing: What you need to know’, 24 Feb, 2020

However, Lewis also said Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher visited Assange in 2017 and offered him a pardon in exchange for "personal services" to Trump.

Rohrabacher raised the possibility of prosecution, but offered a pardon if Assange would identify the source of the 2016 DNC leaks, which Assange refused to do. This bolsters the defense’s argument that the Trump administration’s prosecution was politically motivated. Trump denies that this offer of a pardon to Assange came from him.

It has previously been reported that Assange offered Rohrabacher "definitive proof" during that meeting that Russia was not WikiLeaks' source for the DNC email leaks. The emails damaged Hillary Clinton in 2016, revealing that her campaign had colluded with the supposedly impartial DNC against fellow Democratic contender Bernie Sanders.'

Lewis also made the case that Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, guaranteeing freedom of expression, did not apply in Assange’s case.

Defending Assange, Fitzgerald argued that the request for his extradition was politically motivated and therefore constituted a breach of Article 41 of the 2003 UK-US extradition treaty, which offers exceptions in the case of political offenses.

Fitzgerald argued that Assange would be at high risk of suicide if extradited and would be subjected to "inhuman and degrading treatment" in a US prison. The consequences of extradition could be "fatal," he said.

To bolster the argument against extradition (which could result in a life sentence for Assange), Fitzgerald referred to former US President Barack Obama's decision to commute the sentence of fellow whistleblower Chelsea Manning and a 2013 decision not to prosecute Assange, made on the grounds that the US would also need to prosecute every newspaper that reported his revelations.

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Alligator Ed's picture

@wendy davis to Julian Assange. Yes, he did meet Assange at the Equadorian embassy in the good old days when Julian still had much of his health and a cat. Rohrabacker said he was on a fact-finding mission while he was still in Congress. Maybe QC Woodpecker can offer proof of such an offer. But, more likely, we will have to rely upon the usual anonymous sources.

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wendy davis's picture

@Alligator Ed

too, but with all the weird coverage, including the daily beastly, few had ever noted the wheres and whens sufficiently. i'd even gone back that illustrious rag to copy paste their claim that judge snidely braitster would allow it, and show they'd never said when that was.

#YellowJournalism.

but these ancient copies of firefox i require to cross-post here had the page slammed with ads and it jumped around like a pot of popcorn.

#YellowJournalism.

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wendy davis's picture

will be able to help me out, but the mind-boggling spying and recording that julian, his guests, and attorneys had been subjected to...is relevant in US case law re: the pentagon papers, and why the presiding judge threw out the espionage charges against daniel ellsberg. as in: watergate burglars, and pawing thru his psychiatric records.

on edit: this is from jen robinson's twitter feed, the whole lengthy sordid story w/ photos and a video on the UC globl (sheldon adelson's homies) spying, but she, nor the exposé never mentions the ellsberg precedent. i'd though one of julian's attorneys had; maybe it's in that long pdf that causes one's eyes to cross.

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wendy davis's picture

gotten into the courtroom, as did randy credico.

@CredicoRandy 11h 'I'm sitting in the courtroom with Craig Murray and several others..prosecutors spent 2 hour repeating the same nonsense Julian looks better..be back soon'

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wendy davis's picture

tonight's closing song is not by roger waters who vocalizes like goose farts in the rain (bless his ♥), but this far better song and vocalist (imo) instead. good night.

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Alligator Ed's picture

“Journalism is no excuse for breaking the law. The defence seek to suggest that the risk to these individuals who, by having the individuals revealed as informants, is somehow overstated. I would remind the court that these were individuals who were passing on information on regimes such as Iran and organisations such as al-Qaida.”

“(I) want to emphasize that the indictment essentially referred to two areas of Assange’s conduct: theft and computer hacking of the information published and identifying informants in Iraq and Afghanistan knowing that they would be at risk of harm.

He is not charged with disclosure of embarrassing or awkward information that the government would rather not have have disclosed.” “The disclosures charges are solely where there was a risk of risk.”

When I stopped the laughter, involuntary as it was, the cases aforementioned by snoopydawg et. al. such as the Pentagon Papers provides a precedent. But being in the U.K., the Assange tribunal need not consider American precedent, although they prove assiduous in following American extradition requests.

We have Donald Drumpf impeached for non-crimes. But that does not deter Commando Cheeto from pursuing evidence-free imprisonment against a journalist. You know, all journos are the same. All are enemies of the people--well, at least the people that matter. No one has proven Assange stole anything, even someone else's sandwich in the Equadorian snack room. Herr Müller couldn't get the job done.

Judge rebukes key Mueller report "Russian Interference" claim

Judge Rebukes Key Mueller Report ‘Russian Interference’ Claim – Questions Emerge As To Whether Russia Actually ‘Meddled’ At All By Susan Duclos – All News PipeLine

The claim is that “Russia meddled” in the 2016 presidential election in two distinct ways: 1) By hacking Clinton campaign and DNC emails and releasing them to Wikileaks, who then published them, and; 2) That “Russia” bought social media ads, many of which had nothing to do with the elections, in order to “sow discord” among Americans and get candidate Trump elected....

Despite dozens of reports to the contrary, which were updated and “corrected” at a much later date, all 17 intelligence agencies were not represented in the report, only information from the three named above, and the report produced by the of of the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

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wendy davis's picture

@Alligator Ed

'judge rebukes' reminder. today on the MSN rolling thunder was this title: 'Intelligence agency pushes back on reports Russia is aiding Trump', cbs news

but 'impeached for non-crimes' v. facing 175 in solitary for publishing the crimes...of, fook me. good on ya. i have some sick humor from the judge cruella baraitser and belmarsh gitmo prison guards i'll stick in at the bottom.

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wendy davis's picture

Julian Assange was 'handcuffed 11 times and stripped naked'; WikiLeaks founder’s lawyers complain of interference after first day of extradition hearing’, the guardian, Feb. 25, 2020

“Julian Assange was handcuffed 11 times, stripped naked twice and had his case files confiscated after the first day of his extradition hearing, according to his lawyers, who complained of interference in his ability to take part.

Their appeal to the judge overseeing the trial at Woolrich crown court in south-east London was also supported by legal counsel for the US government, who said it was essential that the WikiLeaks founder be given a fair trial.

Edward Fitzgerald QC, acting for Assange, said the case files, which the prisoner was reading in court on Monday, were confiscated by guards when he returned to prison later that night and that he was put in five cells. [whatever that might mean]

He appealed to the judge to consider the treatment as it was harming Assange’s “right to a fair trial and his ability to participate in the proceedings”.

The judge, Vanessa Baraitser, replied that she did not have the legal power to comment or rule on Assange’s conditions but encouraged the defence team to formally raise the matter with the prison."

she'd always maintained that she had nothing to do with prison officials cancelling visits with his attorneys and visitors at the last moment, etc. what.an.asshole.

i'm with bruce ccockburn on this one:

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wendy davis's picture

Your Man in the Public Gallery – Assange Hearing Day 1’, 25 Feb, 2020

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Alligator Ed's picture

@wendy davis

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?

Wow, bring this bit home to the U.S. and the U.S. DOJ will have to perform some fancy footwork to avoid obvious trampling on the First Amendment, something which the Official Secrets Act does quite nicely.

Cruella Baraitser indeed. Talk about a show trial in which the defendant is glassed off from the show. More British humour, I suppose.

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