Day 2 of Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing

Day One is here
: Café version, caucus99% versionFirst, let’s start with the end of Day One’s session in court:

‘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 Woolwich 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.

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.’

 The Guardian doesn’t have anything from Day 2 yet, but the Twittersphere sure does.

From Defend.WikiLeaks and the Courage Foundation, ‘USA v Julian Assange: Extradition Day 2:

Defense debunks US claims of reckless dump and Assange-Manning conspiracy

Mark Summers QC, arguing for Julian Assange’s legal defense, spent the second day of Assange’s extradition hearing at Woolwich Crown Court thoroughly debunking two key allegations the US government makes against Assange in its extradition request. The US has alleged that Assange attempted to help Manning conceal her identity, and it has alleged that Assange and WikiLeaks released the full unredacted State Department cables in 2011 with a reckless disregard for the harm it could cause.

Guardian journalists to blame for unredacted cables’ release

A day after the CPS’ lawyer James Lewis QC, acting for the US, made dramatic claims of harm caused by WikiLeaks’ September 2011 publication of the unredacted State Department cables, the defense explained what really happened: The Guardian journalists Luke Harding and David Leigh published a password that irreversibly released the unredacted cables into the world.

Before detailing this disclosure, Mark Summers reminded the court that WikiLeaks entered into a partnership with several mainstream media outlets to responsibly handle and redact the material. WikiLeaks and these media partners engaged in a harm minimization process in which WikiLeaks, on some occasions, redacted even more than other outlets. Beginning to release the documents in November 2010, WikiLeaks and its partners continued to redact names and prepare cables for publication over the next several months.

Then in February 2011, Harding and Leigh published “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy,” in which they disclosed a password to an encrypted file containing the full unredacted cables. Harding and Leigh did not off-handedly or subtly reveal the password; the password was the title of a chapter in the book.

If there was any doubt about whether the chapter title was the password, the index at p 322 tells you that that is in fact the password. In court, the defense had to point this out to the prosecution’s James Lewis, who laughed incredulously.

The password disclosure went unnoticed for several months, until August 2011. On 25 August 2011, the German publication Der Freitag started reporting that the password was public and it had access to the encrypted file because it had been mirrored.

That day, Assange and WikiLeaks colleague Sarah Harrison telephoned the US State Department, warning them about what was about to happen. There is a transcript of the call, in which Assange and Harrison talk in terms of an emergency about to happen; they have intelligence they are about to be put on the web unredacted, not by WikiLeaks. Though told that they had the “emergency phone line”, the two were told to call back in a few hours.

Assange and Harrison also tried to get hold of the US ambassador in the UK, trying to explain that the “cables were about to be dumped online by someone else” and asking about the harm minimization process, whether it is complete or whether it can be escalated.

Assange said told the US (sic),

“We don’t understand why you don’t see the urgency of this. Unless we do something about it, people’s lives are being put at risk.”

Wikileaks sprang into action and released a statement within 20 minutes; however, within an hour, the cables were already on other websites, including Cryptome.

Manning couldn’t have anonymized even if she cracked password

The 18th count against Julian Assange, underpinning the government’s theory of Assange “aiding and abetting” Chelsea Manning’s 2010 disclosures, is “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.” The essence of the charge is the allegation that Assange agreed to help Manning attempt to crack a US military computer password so that Manning could log in under an anonymous account, allowing her to continue to obtain and disseminate classified information without exposing her identity.

But as Mark Summers argued for the defense today, this interpretation fundamentally understands the facts about how Manning’s computer usage would have been tracked. Rather than using login details, the military tracks users by IP address — so using an administrative username would not have concealed her identity at all. Manning, whom fellow soldiers considered to be a technical expert, with some of them even asking her to install software on their computers for them

The government has made an assumption about Chelsea Manning’s motives, eliding this basic fact, to baselessly impugn those of Julian Assange.

Manning’s conscience, not Assange, compelled her to blow the whistle

The anonymizing-password allegation is a key part of the government’s wider theory of an ongoing conspiracy between source and publisher, which alleges that Assange coached and encouraged Manning to leak over a period of several months. The defense explained today, however, that Manning’s own words in her 2013 court martial flatly contradict this claim.

Although I stopped sending documents to WLO [WikiLeaks], no one associated with the WLO pressured me into giving more information. The decisions that I made to send documents and information to the WLO and the website were my own decisions, and I take full responsibility for my actions.”

Furthermore, Manning decision to disclose the US Army’s 2007 Rules of Engagement specifically alongside the Collateral Murder video underline these motives. Rather than disclosing them because Rules of Engagement were mentioned on WikiLeaks’ Most Wanted List, Manning explicitly wanted those who viewed Collateral Murder to be able to read the Rules of Engagement that the Apache gunners would have been operating under alongside the video of their slaying of Reuters journalists and innocent civilians.

Manning herself said that she considered the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs to be “among the more significant documents of our time, revealing the true costs of war.

Defence is now addressing Guantanamo Files. Manning came across these while looking into another Iraqi investigation about individuals she was worried who might also end up in Guantanamo... and says that she found the files “disturbing” and went on to download them and sent them to Wikileaks. Defence points out they were not on the Most Wanted List.

Defence explains that we know that Manning had existing access to the Guantanamo detainee reports and did not require a username, user account or password for Manning to be able to access this material.

The US simply makes a bare allegation that the decryption conversation was to gain access to these materials. “Wrong, wrong, wrong”.

Defence now turns to the Rules of Engagement, which were copied by her on 15 February and uploaded to WikiLeaks on 21 February – all long before the hashcode conversation in March and you know that she already had access to the material so didn't need help accessing it.
Defence clarifies for the court that Manning using a hashcode may well constitute unauthorised access but that it doesn’t relate to any of the materials to which this case and the indictment.

Manning already had access to this material, nor was it to anonymise her access to the material published by WikiLeaks. Manning was obviously trying to gain unauthorised access to something for some ends... but the evidence in the court martial showed that she was concerned about uploading software to play videogames and music. But the USG takes that and tries to transpose it to the access of the materials given to WikiLeaks.

It doesn’t work: and the USG is knowingly misrepresenting the hash value activity to the materials disclosed to WikiLeaks. “Is the US government request a fair and accurate and proper description of the known facts? The answer is clearly no.” - Mark Summers QC.

There are dozens more subTweets on that CF thread.

15 users have voted.


snoopydawg's picture


UK inexplicably bars WikiLeaks editor from extradition hearing

This is not a thing you should expect in a civilized country where human rights concerns are highlighted.

The world is watching this injustice.

12 users have voted.

Indifference to evil is more insidious than evil itself.
- Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

wendy davis's picture


sputnik yesterday saying that on day one kristiin hadn't been allowed in, and that a few of julian's supporters and famly (john shipton?) had left the court room to 'make room for him', and suddenly they were all permitted to go in.


again: Qui male agit odit lucem. (The one who commits evil shuns the light.)

3 users have voted.
Roy Blakeley's picture

If the court has any interest in justice, Assange will obviously go free. However, so far the courts in the UK have only delivered a hideous parody of justice.

10 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture

@Roy Blakeley

his persecution has been political from the get-go, hasn't it? it doesn't matter how many times nils melzer or jennifer robinson carefully explain the ludicrous rape charges in sweden, people who are pre-disposed to believe that he's a licentious pervert cannot be swayed...even now, for instance. and i'll include jeremy corbyn in that crap.

but once wikiLeaks published the cia vault 7, it all grew epically worse for him with the spying and recording by adelson's UC global inside the ecuadorian embassy, and so on. poison him or kidnap him?. and remember when he woke one day to find scaffolding around his balcony? he'd created his own sort of alarm system to waken him just in case...

and what did lenin moreno get for his alliance with trump? some moolah and a memo of milltary understanding. gawd's blood.

5 users have voted.

pretty much mirrors this essay and considering he covered Chelsea Manning's 'trial' he is very aware of the testimony given by Manning, so he adds a few more details.

3 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture


alexa o'brien had reported on chelsea's tribunal as well, and made her archives searchable, to boot. i just looked for her, and she does have her own site, and seems to have attended joshua shulte's trial in NY. she used to be carwinb on twitter, isn't any longer, but her twit feed seems to indicate that she's...under some mental duress or other.

she seems to have even quoted emptywheel on schulte, and makes indecipherable (to me) remarks concerning assange and schulte. i can't say she's lost her mind or anything, but her tweets are concerning.

2 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture

for keepin' on diggin', adding, and talking to one another.

i need some rest, esp. my crap eyes.

love kevin, but even an 18 min video might be a bridge 2 far for my lack of audio discrimination.

7 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture

of day 2, and most noteworthy is this:

"Lewis, prosecutor for the US, rose to respond at around 3:35pm. He accused Summers of employing the “kitchen sink method” in his defense.
He argued that since a US grand jury indicted Assange, there is a "clear unequivocal legal basis" for charging him and that Summers presented “straw man” arguments which were irrelevant.

He said WikiLeaks' general request for bulk classified documents from the public qualifies as the solicitation from Manning referred to in the extradition request. He argued that it was not the function of a British court to determine these "factual issues" anyway. He also referred to Manning's 2013 statement to court as the "self-serving statement" of a "co-conspirator" which cannot be relied upon.

As Lewis spoke, Judge Baraitser paused proceedings to ask if Assange was feeling well enough to continue. Through another one of his lawyers Assange said he was struggling and having trouble concentrating.

Court adjourned shortly before 4pm and will resume at 10am on Wednesday when the 2003 UK-US extradition treaty will be examined.


3 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture

Day One piece: 'The show trial of Julian Assange begins', 25 February 2020, Jammes Cogan

but some of the comments reflected rather 'Vendetta', 'psychological warfare', 'Reichstag fire', and so one. but this moved me to tears, from commenter good doctor:

'Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, the bravest of the brave, reminds me of how the artists of a generation or so before mine were brave and would have formed a phalanx of resistance as they had when Sacco and Vanzettu were alive: From Allen Ginsberg's "America" published in then immortal Howl and other poems (City Lights)

America how can I write a holy litany in your silly mood?
I will continue like Henry Ford my strophes are as individual as his automobiles more so they’re all different sexes.
America I will sell you strophes $2500 apiece $500 down on your old strophe
America free Tom Mooney
America save the Spanish Loyalists
America Sacco & Vanzetti must not die
America I am the Scottsboro boys.

America when I was seven momma took me to Communist Cell meetings they sold us garbanzos a handful per ticket a ticket costs a nickel and the speeches were free everybody was angelic and sentimental about the workers it was all so sincere you have no idea what a good thing the party was in 1835 Scott Nearing was a grand old man a real mensch Mother Bloor the Silk-strikers’ Ewig-Weibliche made me cry I once saw the Yiddish orator Israel Amter plain. Everybody must have been a spy.

America you don’t really want to go to war.
America its them bad Russians.
Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen. And them Russians.
The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia’s power mad. She wants to take our cars from out our garages.
Her wants to grab Chicago. Her needs a Red Reader’s Digest. Her wants our auto plants in Siberia. Him big bureaucracy running our fillingstations.
That no good. Ugh. Him make Indians learn read. Him need big black niggers. Hah. Her make us all work sixteen hours a day. Help.

America this is quite serious.
America this is the impression I get from looking in the television set.
America is this correct?
I’d better get right down to the job.
It’s true I don’t want to join the Army or turn lathes in precision parts factories, I’m nearsighted and psychopathic anyway.
America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.

` Berkeley, January 17, 1956

i may not blog day 3, as there seems to be a D debate either tonight or tomorrow, so this place may be busy parsing all of that tomorrow. perhaps day 4 and 5; we'll see. good night; the Ginsberg poem is my closing song.

2 users have voted.