Assange’s Eleventh Day at the Old Bailey: Suicide, Hallucinations and Psychological Torture – Global Research


23-09-20 09:13:00,

Today, the prosecutors in the Julian Assange case did their show trial predecessors from other legal traditions proud.  The ghosts of such figures as Soviet state prosecutor Andrey Vyshinsky, would have approved of the line of questioning taken by James Lewis QC: suggest that Assange, accused of 17 counts of violating the US Espionage Act and one count of conspiracy to commit a computer crime, reads medical literature to exaggerate his condition.

Additionally to the political hook the defence is hanging its case on – political offences being a bar to extradition in the United Kingdom’s 2003 Extradition Act) – a medical one has been fashioned.  Section 91 makes it clear that the judge in the extradition hearing must order the discharge of a person or adjourn the extradition hearing if “the physical or mental condition of the person is such that it would be unjust or oppressive to extradite him.”  This can be read alongside the application of the European Convention of Human Rights, which stipulates under Article 3 that, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Dr. Michael Kopelman, Emeritus Professor of Neuropsychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, took the stand at the Old Bailey to delve into Assange’s medical condition.  His visits to Assange had yielded a man deprived of sleep, suffering “loss of weight, a sense of pre-occupation and helplessness as a result of threats to his life, the concealment of a razor blade as a means to self-harm and obsessive ruminations of ways of killing himself.”  Kopelman was, he stated in submissions to the court, “as certain as a psychiatrist ever can be that, in the event of imminent extradition, Mr Assange would indeed find a way to commit suicide.”

The cross-examination by Lewis was in the worst traditions of the law.  Non sequiturs were aplenty; baseless assessments on expertise generously made.  Kopelman was, claimed the prosecutor, an expert in brain disease and its link with mental health, making him ill-suited to comment on Assange’s health.  Kopelman, rather put out at this, reminded Lewis that he had previously called upon his services in a difference case.  It was “a bit rich” for the prosecutor to now be challenging his qualifications. 

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They Call for Assange’s Immediate Release: Lula, Rousseff, Morales, Zapatero, Corbyn, Correa, Paul, Galloway, Gravel, Varoufakis… – Global Research


21-09-20 05:27:00,

Check here for the latest update to this list. 

As Julian Assange fights U.S. extradition at the Old Bailey in London, over one hundred eminent political figures, including 13 past and present heads of state, numerous ministers, members of parliament and diplomats, have today denounced the illegality of the proceedings and appealed for Assange’s immediate release.

The politicians from 27 different countries and from across the political spectrum have joined 189 independent international lawyers, judges, legal academics and lawyers’ associations by endorsing their open letter to the UK Government warning that the U.S. extradition request and extradition proceedings violate national and international law, breach fair trial rights and other human rights, and threaten press freedom and democracy.

Politicians endorsing the call to free Julian Assange include Jeremy Corbyn, former Prime Minister of Spain, Luis Zapatero, several members of the European Parliament, former presidents of Brazil, Lula da Silva and Dilma Roussef, and Australian parliamentarians from the cross-party parliamentary group to free Assange.

Kenneth MacAskill, Member of UK Parliament, former Justice Secretary of Scotland, and lawyer, commented, “This is a political crucifixion not legal process and is about seeking to bury truth and those exposing it.”

The unprecedented appeal to the UK government by the international political community follows concerns raised by Amnesty International, the Council of Europe, The American Civil Liberties Union, Reporters Without Borders, Human Rights Watch, and numerous other rights organisations regarding the chilling effect Assange’s prosecution will have on press freedom. Amnesty International’s petition calling for the U.S. Government to drop its charges against Assange has garnered over 400,000 signatures.

Today marks the beginning of the third week of the extradition hearings, which have drawn wide criticism for failing to uphold the principle of open justice by preventing independent observers including from Amnesty International, PEN Norway and others from monitoring the trial.

The Trump administration is seeking Mr Assange’s extradition from the UK to prosecute him under the Espionage Act for his work as a journalist and publisher. The 2010 publications, on which the U.S. government’s attempted prosecution is based, brought to light a range of public interest information, including evidence of U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Last week during the hearing the court heard that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks undertook careful redaction processes to protect informants,

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The War on Assange is a War on Truth


21-09-20 05:06:00,

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The War on Assange Is a War on Truth

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    It is dangerous to reveal the truth about the illegal and immoral things our government does with our money and in our name, and the war on journalists who dare reveal such truths is very much a bipartisan affair. Just ask Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who was relentlessly pursued first by the Obama Administration and now by the Trump Administration for the “crime” of reporting on the crimes perpetrated by the United States government.

    Assange is now literally fighting for his life, as he tries to avoid being extradited to the United States where he faces 175 years in prison for violating the “Espionage Act.” While it makes no sense to be prosecuted as a traitor to a country of which you are not a citizen, the idea that journalists who do their job and expose criminality in high places are treated like traitors is deeply dangerous in a free society.

    To get around the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of the press, Assange’s tormentors simply claim that he is not a journalist. Then-CIA director Mike Pompeo declared that Wikileaks was a “hostile intelligence service” aided by Russia. Ironically, that’s pretty much what the Democrats say about Assange.

    Earlier this month, a US Federal appeals court judge ruled that the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records was illegal. That bulk collection program, born out of the anti-American PATRIOT Act, was first revealed to us by whistleblower Edward Snowden just over seven years ago.

    That is why whistleblowers and those who publish their information are so important. Were it not for Snowden and Assange, we would never know about this government criminality. And if we never know about government malfeasance it can neve be found to be criminal in the first place. That is convenient for governments, but it is also a recipe for tyranny.

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    Assange’s Ninth Day at the Old Bailey: Torture Testimonies, Offers of Pardon and Truth Telling – Global Research


    20-09-20 06:44:00,

    The extradition trial of Julian Assange at the Old Bailey moved into a higher gear today.  Testimonies spanned the importance of classified information in war journalism, the teasing offer of a pardon for Assange by US President Donald Trump, torture inflicted by the US Central Intelligence Agency, the chilling effect of indictments under the Extradition Act and the legacy of the Collateral Murder video.

    Hager, war and journalism 

    Investigative journalist Nicky Hager did some dusting and sprucing of the image of Assange via testimony given on videolink: not the “difficult, awful” individual discussed in standard media outlets, he asserted, but a figure “devoted” to “trying to make the world a better place in an era when there is declining freedom of information in most of the world.”  Hager found Assange “thoughtful, humorous and energetic.”    

    In his written testimony, Hager speaks to the role of journalism – the sort that matters, in any case – and war.  “It is in general impossible to research and write about war to a useful standard without access to sources that the authorities concerned regard as sensitive and out of bounds – and all the more so with the subject of war crimes.”  Classified information, notably in war, “is essential to allow journalism to perform its roles of informing the public, enabling democratic decision making and deterring wrongdoing.”

    Hager managed to crowbar in a contemporary parallel on the importance of releasing the Collateral Murder, depicting the criminal slayings of civilians and journalists in New Baghdad.  The exposure of the incident, and the language used by the helicopter crew (“Look at those dead bastards”) contributed to “world opinion about the misuse of state power” in much the same way the video of George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police did to current debate.  

    The prosecution was in no mood for this more nuanced Assange, sensitive to caution and discretion.  For them, he remains a cold, calculating figure of dangerous idiosyncrasies, who endangered the lives of individuals by publishing unredacted documents.  Hager had understood that WikiLeaks only released the documents once the cables had already found their way onto platforms such as Cryptome, courtesy of the publication of the password to an unencrypted file in a book by Guardian journalists David Leigh an Luke Harding. 

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    Assange extradition hearing adjourned after videolink failure, court fails to explain cause of problems


    15-09-20 08:42:00,

    Hot on the heels of a coronavirus scare, Julian Assange’s extradition hearing was postponed on Monday following a farcical videolink failure which meant the court could not hear the testimony of a prominent witness.

    The court was hearing from witness Eric Lewis, an experienced US lawyer, when out of the blue it was interrupted by a Fox News video about WikiLeaks. The source of the unexpected interruption was never revealed and the court went into recess in a bid to resolve the technical difficulties.

    Lewis was expected to give evidence that Assange would face a “flagrant denial of justice” if put on trial in the US. The court was only on the first of five statements he submitted when the issues arose.

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    The videolink problems persisted when the sitting resumed as those in the courtroom were unable to hear what Lewis was saying. Despite problems in the courtroom, the lawyer’s comments were audible to those watching a livestream of the proceedings. Lewis could be heard repeatedly saying “can you hear me?” while frantically waving his arms to catch the attention of the court.

    The technical difficulties failed to be resolved and after a lengthy delay the court was adjourned without hearing Lewis’ full testimony. During the portion that could be heard, the lawyer gave evidence that the WikiLeaks founder would face a possible 175-year sentence if convicted on all 18 charges he faces, pointing out that in the US “sentences are longer than are found elsewhere in the world.” 

    Assange is wanted in the United States over allegations that he conspired to hack government computers and violated an espionage law over the release of confidential cables in 2010-2011.

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