Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog
Here are the most informative excerpts that I have noted from the best news-reporting from journalists who have been attending at the trial:
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. …
This comprehensive account took some four hours and I shall not attempt to capture it here. I will rather give highlights. …
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. …
After a brief break, Baraitser [the judge] 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. …
The bulk of Summers’ argument went to refuting behaviour 3), putting lives at risk. … 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. …
Summers read from the transcripts of telephone conversations as Assange and Harrison [both of Wikileaks] had 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.
Julian Assange tried to warn the US government that sensitive documents were to be leaked “imminently,” but was told to call back in a few hours, according to his lawyers during the second day of the WikiLeaks founder’s extradition hearing in London.
Assange personally warned the State Department that an encrypted database of 250,000 unredacted US diplomatic cables was about to be leaked in 2011, his lawyer Mark Summers told Woolwich Crown Court on Tuesday.
The cables included the identities of people — some deemed high risk — who had been in communication with the US.
Assange contacted officials after it became known that German newspaper Der Freitag had discovered the password to a database containing the unredacted files, Summers said.
The 48-year-old Australian, along with WikiLeaks editor Sarah Harrison, telephoned then-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s emergency line to sound the alarm about the unredacted material, the court heard.
Assange personally warned: “I don’t understand why you’re not seeing the urgency in this… people’s lives are at risk,” according to Summers.
But he was told to call back in a few hours, said the lawyer.
CNN reached out to the State Department for a response, but had not received one at time of publishing.
Mark Summers QC, representing Mr Assange, told the hearing in London that Wikileaks had begun redacting a tranche of 250,000 leaked cables in November 2010, working with media partners around the world as well as the US government.
He said that in February 2011 the Guardian published a book about Wikileaks which contained a password to the unredacted documents.
He said it wasn’t until months later that it was discovered the password could be used to access the unredacted database, which was revealed by German news outlet Der Freitag on 25 August 2011.
On that day, Mr Assange called the White House and asked to speak to then secretary of state Hillary Clinton “as a matter of urgency” over fears the documents were about to be dumped online by third parties who had gained access, Mr Summers told the court. He was told to ring back in a few hours.
Mr Summers said Mr Assange had warned: “I don’t understand why you’re not seeing the urgency of this.
“Unless we do something, then people’s lives are put at risk.” …
Prosecutors argued on Monday that Mr Assange knowingly put hundreds of sources around the world at risk of torture and death by publishing the unredacted documents containing names or other identifying details.
But Mr Summers told the court that the US extradition request “boldly and brazenly” misrepresented the facts.
He said the US government, which was involved in the redaction process, knows “what actually occurred” which was “far from being a reckless, unredacted release”.
In response, James Lewis QC, representing the US government, told the court that Mr Assange “didn’t have to publish the unredacted cables”.
“He decided to do so on a widely followed and easily searchable website, knowing that it was dangerous to do so,” he added.
MY CLOSING NOTE:
I hope that subsequently will be revealed whether or not the U.S. Government’s statement that Wikileaks “didn’t have to publish the unredacted cables” is true. After Wikileaks gave the files to the media in the U.S. Government-accepted redacted version, a sequence of events occurred in which, it appears according to the Wilileaks allegations, the Guardian’s Luke Harding (who is a prominent neoconservative journalist) caused “security being compromised when the book was published in February 2011” as the Guardian’s book about Wikileaks was being published. Then Der Freitag took the next step, and used that key to open the lock, and obtain access to the unredacted file. Is the U.S. Government ignoring Assange’s intensive efforts to prohibit such a thing from happening? Is the U.S. Government ignoring Hillary Clinton’s role in this? Is Donald Trump protecting Ms. Clinton? Why would he be protecting her and trying to frame and destroy Assange? Why is the Government of UK, throughout this nearly ten-year-long matter, serving as the U.S. Government’s errand-boy? Is UK a democracy? Is U.S. a democracy?
Craig Murray’s report on the trial’s first day provides shocking evidence that Judge Baraitser is extremely prejudiced against Assange and for the Trump Administration. I strongly recommend his blog, as the best site covering this trial (and as one of the really great one-person blogs on international matters, along with the “Moon of Alabama”).
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
Is there a single casino or bookie or betting agency in the world that would take a bet that Assange beats extradition?
I didn’t think so.
I think they bet everything in Vegas.
I don’t think that they would give odds on this.
Think about it. What odds would you give?
I would think that the odds would be around 1000 to 1.
But Vegas can’t give those odds. It makes it too easy for too many people to lay down a dollar on the off chance of a big return. What does Vegas get out of it? If they win the bet, maybe 1000 dollars from 1000 bettors.
And what is their risk? if they lose the bet, they risk a million dollar payout.
When Vegas sees that type of win/loss ratio, they often declare, “no line.”
Not that I want to find out, but I do have a road trip planned, just not to vegas.
It is not a good time for a road trip. At least, until we know how this coronavirus is going to play out.
I actually convinced myself I am immune to most, if not all critters like that. I have oil coated lungs that would be a barrier to anything attempting to lodge its self in that environment. My sinus’s are clear as a whistle, no bacteria to get friendly with in that environment.
I could actually be the most healthy person alive today, but no one would listen (or probably even care), so I just go forward with no fear, regrets, or regards as to my safety knowing I have done all the right things physically, mentally, and socially that a person could be asked to do.
Thanks for the advice though, b/c you are one of the few I trust around here.
Mike from Jersey
Well, it’s not impossible. What we have here is a show extradition process, and no doubt both the UK and US governments are analyzing the consequences of the current hearings. This case is quite sensitive. Both the UK and US are supposed to be ‘democracies’ with a ‘free press’, and yet Assange is in jail, which is a ‘slight’ contradiction in a ‘democracy’. The aim, of course, is to terrorize any future whistle blowers, journalists being expected to follow written and unwritten guidelines regarding news presentation, which cannot be contrary to the attitudes of the elites in the UK and US.
I believe you are right. It is just a show.
But I disagree that our rulers are analyzing the costs involved. As you point out, they want to terrorize future whistleblowers. They will do that in this case and beyond.
More and more the whole pretense of “democracy” and “western freedoms” are being dropped. They are arrogant in their power and they don’t really care if more and more people see the truth behind so-called “western democracy.”
I agree with both of you: “the UK and US governments are analyzing the consequences of the current hearings” and “They are arrogant in their power and they don’t really care if more and more people see the truth behind so-called ‘western democracy’,” because things have already gone beyond the point of no return, and therefore the Establishment are confident that they will be able to continue and to consolidate their dictatorship, no matter what.
I’m not sure if they’re exactly analyzing the costs. The whole setup is all a bit more informal than that–clubby congenial rich influential people hanging out together and agreeing how things ought to be done, billionaires vetting the top dogs they pick to run their media empires and PR “think tanks”, who vet the top editors, who vet the people who write the content. And they all half-knowingly are bathing in the stew of each other’s propaganda, sort of aware that it’s lies and half-truths some chum of theirs is paying for, but still affected, so they end up emotionally believing their own lies as recycled third hand. You end up with a collective ideology
But I do think elites prefer the control to be less visible. Getting to the point where they make examples and show the iron fist under the velvet facade of democracy and rule of law is something they do when they feel they have to, when subtler control isn’t working properly; when it starts happening it’s because there are cracks showing up in the system. Doesn’t mean the system is about to fall or anything. And it’s not like the overt approach can’t work–there’s a reason they fall back on it when they need to. But it’s not a sign of strength; quite the opposite.
“Is Donald Trump protecting Ms. Clinton? Why would he be protecting her and trying to frame and destroy Assange? Why is the Government of UK, throughout this nearly ten-year-long matter, serving as the U.S. Government’s errand-boy? Is UK a democracy? Is U.S. a democracy?”
First, Hillary Clinton is the darling of Wall Street and especially the Rothschild family. Secondly, the 5 eyes (or should we say 10 eyes?) get their marching orders from the City of London and Tel Aviv. For the theatre of ‘democracy’ I would suggest to listen to the late George Carlin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nyvxt1svxso (though ‘the Club’ might not be that big imho).
(Sidenote: It could be funny as Russia would make it clear that these cities will be the first targets when attacked. Also, wouldn’t it crumble along with the petrodollar with the fall of the House of Saud that I expect in the near future? They are slowly running out of oil, water and money – the corona stuff outbreak might catalyze that).
Truth doesn’t matter. Lately, Pompeo tweeted furiously about the expellation of WSJ journalists from China, and blasted about the importance of an ‘independant and free press’. Talking about the amass of sheeple, does anyone even care or think about that farted opinion?
I fear the worst for Assange.
Rob, I would be shocked if this was anything but a show trial whose results are preordained.
I think that, all along, Assange knew that this day would come. And I think he knows that the result is preordained. He is like Winston and Julia in 1984, when they acknowledged, “we are the dead.”
And I think that he accepts his fate, knowing that his fight was just and honorable.
He is truly a heroic figure.
I believe that fifty years from now (if there is still a world to remember) the American empire will have passed into history. Assange will be seen as a great man.
His persecutors will be seen as the craven cowards that they are.
Good points Mike, but something still itches.
We can predict a wanted future of which we may not be a part of anymore, but now we live in the present – frankly, without getting too personal, I often ask myself how I’m going to explain it to my children.
I’d like to invent all Australian readers (or around) here to vent their opinions, while Julian Assange is an Australian (and not Austrian ;-)) citizen last time I checked. What the hell are they busy about? The whole profession scope of journalism and history writing is at stake here. Does anybody care?
Sorry that I’m somewhat emotional, but I have the idea that so less people understand what’s up for the gutters here.
I often wonder the same thing.
Why don’t people care?
And it is not just about journalism. It is about militarism, torture, suppression of freedom, Orwellian surveillance economic exploitation.
Why don’t people care?
I just don’t get it.
Even journalists (many of them) don’t care.
As I have written before, I was shocked that high-profile journalists and also a judge in my late-sixties college class stated that htey didn’t care about Assange, he got what was coming to him . . . I haven’t mentioned their names so far.
I might ask them if they mind if I quote them publicly on Assange.
Not sure whether that would accomplish anything . . .
This could a lot simpler, and elementary, than we are leading ourselves to believe. It also seems that anyone with a name that has the word ass incorporated into it, has become a target of the gvt.
Now this may well bloody be nothing, or gvt could be a source of creating a cancer and thus is attacking names, they has a deep history of targeting people for political and economic destruction based on names alone, I have proved this. So why not make an extension of names for those who the gvt believes are targeting them for destruction.
Gvt thinks in strange ways and I would not put this past them. Just a thought.
Thank you Eric, for this update.
There are 2 sources that are up to date to the minute. The first is the wikileaks twitter itself.
And the second is the twitter of couragefound, which gives a point by point update of the court proceedings as it happens.
Between these two, the updates from the lawyers after each day are posted. There is also Kevin Gosztola, from Shadowproof. I was impressed with his factual updates of the last three days. You can find his videos here:
There is a bunch of new information coming out. But it is so that one has to follow it in depth to follow. Even RT has bits here and there, what sounds the most scandalous I’m afraid, but they do not give a full and real overview.
“Prosecutors argued on Monday that Mr Assange knowingly put hundreds of sources around the world at risk of torture and death by publishing the unredacted documents containing names or other identifying details.”
What an extraordinary claim by the prosecution. Have they actually named any names of people who have been killed or tortured due to information in Wikileaks?
Take for example, Srdja Popovic. He is still alive, hasn’t been tortured, after the revelation in Wikileak that he was in fact a CIA/ Stratfor operative who was given resources to create OTPOR (rebranded Canvas) to instigate the colour revolution in Serbia (and elsewhere such as Venezuela where he failed miserably).
Of course it embarrassing for people like Popovic to be exposed as an asset of the US government, and their reputations are definitely and deservedly ruined! But to claim that they risk torture or death is an exaggeration.
Those seeking extradition claim that Assange put lives at risk.
There is a flip side to that argument.
The “flip side” is, how many people might be saved from bombing, torture and murder by exposing the true face of empire. Consider this. Over 200,000 children have died in the “war on terror” in the past 20 years – a war based upon lies and deceit.
Are the lives of such children not important, also?
Of course they are.
And who is protecting them? Certainly not the “pressitutes” of the main stream media who shamelessly shill for for the Empire’s wars. It is people like Julian Assange who are often the only hope such people have. That, in fact, is the very raison d’être of real journalism in the first place.
So, good, let’s talk about saving lives from murder and torture. That is exactly what Julian Assange was trying to do.
Exactly Mike, Great argument!
I do hope the defence is able to nix this claim.
Actually, I think the claim that lives were placed at risk was buried a long time ago, when the intelligence PTB stated that no specific names were available—they were unable to provide any evidence to support this claim and I believe have already admitted that it is untrue.
Not to mention of course that Julian Assange did appear to go to great lengths to give advance warning regarding individuals that he might expose. Which is probably more than most of them ever deserved, since they were all collaborators of the US government.
Hillary was at risk of being put in jail. Isn’t that enough for the U.S. to prosecute? (sic)
Good point Robert. Assange isn’t on trial for putting in danger US operatives “around the world”, for which they couldn’t care less, but because he committed the lèse-majesté of exposing Hillary. This is a personal vendetta by Hillary and her deep state cronies.
Craig Murray has in his blog in the past described Luke Harding as a conduit for MI6 propaganda. Along with the editor of The Guardian (where he works) he is responsible for a wholly ficticious story about a visit to Assange while th latter was still in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He was previously effectively forced to leave Russia where he had worked as The Guardian’s correspondent and inter alia has written feeble articles about the Skripal, affair.
For the life of me I don’t understand why Russia and China have not intervened on behalf of this true hero. Why haven’t they placed sanctions on these idiots or least provide moral support. All of us here look toward Russia and China in making this world a better place. A small but impactful step would be to help Assange through whatever means possible. Of course, it will hardly dent his expected outcome but will show the world that they truly stand for righteousness and humanity.
Julian Assange has already been accused of being a Russian / foreign/ agent, so if Russia or China defend him too vigorously in public, it could backfire…
In any case, Russia and China can’t even get their own citizens out of the US clutches (CFO of Huawei, Viktor Bout etc) so how can they save Assange?
It is important that the public stands up for him. It would neutralise the vicious smear campaign that he has been subjected to in the media. The only reason the judge and prosecution are getting away with this sham trial is because the media gives them cover.
Definitely understand your response Serbian girl but it’s time Russia and China just stand up and be more vocal so the public in all parts of the world can be aware. Yes, you are right that they can’t even get their own citizens out but they have a moral and spiritual duty to shout out the wrongs even if it falls on deaf ears because many will hear as well.
Serbian Girl…. And nowhere near enough people are in the streets protesting this, or demanding their MPs do something or doing something tangible themselves to raise awareness of this outrage being committed against Julian Assange.
Given my own experiences with the public, the large majority are either fully brainwashed and believe the garbage in the presstitute media, or else they couldn’t care less.
Especially here in Australia.
The media in Oz care nothing for the plight of Julian Assange.
The prosecution made perfectly clear that the mere possession by a newspaper or a broadcaster of the foreign state secrets published by Assange would itself be a crime under the US Espionage Act, and thus they themselves open to an extradition request from a foreign state.
Though this statement was made in “open court,” virtually no msm journalist even reported it, never mind condemned it.
Out of curiosity I scanned the Australian (Murdoch) newspaper today – Thursday – after 3 days kangaroo court hearings and there was absolutely nothing, zilch, zero about Julian Assange.
Yet a full page on the NZ PM who should get off the world stage and tend to business at home; several stories on Trump; half page on Bernie Sanders; cover story we have lost million of tourist dollars due to bushfires and Corona virus..etc etc.
Not one word, not even a little paragraph on Assange.
Hang your head in shame Mr Murdoch – you fake Aussie. Your newspaper belongs in the out house dunny, torn into squares and nailed to the wall.
“… Judge Baraitser is extremely prejudiced …”
Evokes the memory of the abominable Roland Freisler, the presiding judge of Hitler’s “Peoples Court”, “immortalised” by the documentary footage of the 1944 sham trial of conspirators in the failed attempt to assassinate Hitler.
A brief excerpt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKiqHpbFz68 (much more footage can be found on YouTube).
Sadly correct. It’s the White Rose Trial all over again. I have a brooch made of white cloth which looks like a rose. I will now get it out and wear it for Julian. I pray for him.
I tried to subscribe to Craig’s blog, but Paypal would not recognize my email address. You should get rid of that dog, you don’t need it. Paypal is an unnecessary tool, a has been.
Why do you need Paypal to subscribe to Craig Murray’s blog/website?
Are these two different things?
See Murray’s latest update.
This whole grotesque travesty of ‘justice’ shows up to the entire Planet the truth about the so called civilised West.
I’ve been on numerous protests here in Australia in support of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, and recently have also taken part in street campaigns trying to drum up support for Julian Assange, and to publicise upcoming protests.
The large majority of passersby didn’t want to know at all. The hipster and yuppie types were the most contemptuous – whenever I said ‘support Julian Assange, oppose extradition’ or ‘protest to support Julian Assange next Sunday’.
Out of exasperation, I started saying ‘this is about All of us, this is about freedom of speech’.
The Save Gay Whales – Correct Pronouns Brigade, aka the hipsters and yuppies didn’t even blink. They refused to take a leaflet, and just stared straight ahead.
Some glared at me, a few made comments about “defending a rapist” or “he deserves everything he gets”.
In their extreme selfishness, they couldn’t give a flying fig about Julian Assange and this gross injustice. Such is the lobotomised, narcissistic, hedonistic zombieland that is much of Australia.
Yes, a small number took leaflets, and they connected the dots to the bigger picture. They got what this means for all of us, and what’s coming down the pipeline.
About 200 attended the protest and march in Melbourne last Sunday organised by the Socialist Equality Party. There’ll be ongoing actions.
How can so many people just look the other way and do nothing?
The Save Gay Whales – Correct Pronouns Brigade, aka the hipsters and yuppies didn’t even blink. They refused to take a leaflet, and just stared straight ahead.
Wow. That says it all.
It is the same in the United States. People tear down statutes of confederate soldiers due to things that happened 150 years ago. But they could care less about all the children being murdered by the war machine in the Middle East.
A bunch of hollow, virtue-signaling hypocrites.
Mike from Jersey… your last sentence is completely spot on. A ‘bunch of hollow, virtue signaling hypocrites’… all claiming to be ‘socialist’ or ‘left wing’ while doing absolutely nothing to challenge the system that is oppressing all of us.
As long as they have their creature comforts and consumerist ‘lifestyle’ they couldn’t give a toss about Syria or Iraq or Palestine or Julian Assange.
Why is there no coverage on any UK news channel. Type a search for latest trial news for the Assange case and way way down the page it’s covered by UK outlet. Very poor! I do not watch only UK news as it shows nothing of the worlds news. Why have the UK news been gagged by the US? Warhead manufacturing leaks may have something to do with it. Or is it simply that the UK is now so lost in football and reality shows?
George Galloway in full voice and poetic indignation – also explaining the actual treaty that is in question on the political sphere of extradition – where he was present when the treaty was made.
I don’t have a Facebook but managed to get to this without logging in. It should be somewhere on RT.
Court is over until case management hearing in April and next extradition hearing is 3 weeks in May-June.
If you want a taste of what a kangaroo court this is, go through Kevin Gozstola’s point by point tweets for this day.
They will extradite.
And remember that this is the same country that refused to extradite Augusto Pinochet.
Whistleblowers get extradited. War criminals don’t.
He is very good…as attentive and articulate as Craig Murray. On offguardian was a post why us not mandamus sort to improve Assanges
conditions..rights of consultation and participation in this process….is anyone legally checking out the judge to show they may not be following the rights of a defendant and whether there is a perversion of justice and habeus corpus. Meanwhile the torture goes on for Assange and his very hardworking lawyers.
A very sad and terryfing state of UK justice one feels. That it has been so manipulated to reach this kind of behaviours.
Q: Is the U.S. Government ignoring Assange’s intensive efforts to prohibit such a thing from happening?
A: Hardly, it is lying about and distorting it.
Q: Is the U.S. Government ignoring Hillary Clinton’s role in this?
A: If she had any direct role in “this” the U.S. would lie and distort it.
Q: Is Donald Trump protecting Ms. Clinton?
A: Other than self-serving public fulminations, Donald Trump likely has no direct hands-on role in this matter.
Q: Why would he be protecting her and trying to frame and destroy Assange?
A: The impetus from Assange’s destruction is from the Deep State, e.g., Pompeo, not Trump.
Q: Why is the Government of UK, throughout this nearly ten-year-long matter, serving as the U.S. Government’s errand-boy?
A: Is this a serious question? An attempt at irony? An effort to induce a moment of insight? A call to storm the Bastille?
Q: Is UK a democracy?
Q: Is U.S. a democracy?
Seriously: both the UK and the U.S. are Western democracies. This means that feckless political opposition and speech are usually permitted while effective political opposition and speech are quashed or squashed. Particularly effective political opposition and speech are handled by destroying the character and reputation of the actor for the masses and putting his or her head on a pike for the cognoscenti among the opposition to contemplate: given the idiocy of the masses; given their determined embrace of blatantly stupid and false propaganda–including horribile dictu! such embrace of said blatantly stupid and false propaganda from the intelligentsia not in the employ of our masters–is it worth devoting my time and life to such fierce and determined opposition in the hopes of becoming effective, really effective, like Julian Assange? That is the political drama taking place at Woolwich Crown Court.
Assange’s fate is indeed proof positive of the Empire’s terminal prolapse and the mental sickness it brings to the whole fabric of Western society. I am absolutely not belittling Assange’s contributions, but the fact is that the furious reactions to them tell us more about the Zionazis than about Assange’s discoveries, however incriminating the latter. I mean, the barbarous reality of Western imperialism can only escape the wilfully blind. The more concise details are not key to grasp the rotten, criminal insanity of the whole system and who the perpetrators are.
Murray, Day 3:
Thanks for this. Sounds really bad. What has the UK legal system come to?
Interesting that there is no photo or wikipedia entry of the Judge, Vanessa Baraitser. She’s obviously been scrubbed from the internet. Indicates to me that her job is a dirty one and they are protecting her from public outrage.
Regarding the Judge, Magistrate Vanessa Baraitser, I found this in the comments under the Craig Murray’s link
A commentator named John Goss had had found two cases where this judge presiding. As he tried to access the second case this is what he described happened:
“…there was an awful crunching noise (which happens when something is being downloaded without your approval in Windows 10). When I restarted the computer, which is only two months old and has already had to re-loaded once) the files I had accessed were no longer there. They were not there in Recent websites accessed either. And the word file I was working on was missing.
I suspect now they may have been removed from the web. I further suspect she has some history but I have checked Wayback Machine and it produced nothing – absolutely zilch.”
IMHO, the Judge is a deep state asset. I fear that Assange doesn’t have a chance. His lawyers are basically performing for the history books…