Highlights from the Assange Trial Thus Far | The Vineyard of the Saker

26-02-20 09:41:00,

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,

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Highlights from President Bashar Al-Assad’s Interview 31 October 2019

01-11-19 09:04:00,

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad conducted an interview with two Syrian TV channels addressing a number of pressing topics especially with the latest developments on all levels including the military situation, the economy, and the political process in regards to presidential and parliamentary elections, and the Syrian constitution.

The interview will be aired this evening October 31, 2019, at 9 pm Damascus local time and will be broadcasted by a number of media outlets.

President Assad answered the pressing questions on the minds of each Syrian citizen, which as he repeatedly said is what essentially matters to him.

The following promo video is from the interview:

The video is also available on BitChute: https://www.bitchute.com/video/zt0G1Co2bCxc/

The following questions are among the questions Dr. Assad answered:

What role did Syria play in the killing of al-Baghdadi?

What is the problem with the Kurds and what is Syria’s position on the Russian-Turkish agreement?

How will the state deal with those who have been for years in areas outside the control of the Syrian state?

Are there previous or future Syrian-Turkish meetings at any level?

What did President Assad say about the date of the Idlib battle? And what message did he want from his visit to the Lines of Fire?

Is there international supervision of the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections? Will the Syrian constitution change?

What is President Assad’s opinion on the performance of the Syrian government regarding the living situation?

What are the procedures of the Syrian state regarding the rise of the dollar against the Syrian Lira?

Has the anti-corruption campaign started in Syria? What is the role of the media in it?

On these and other headlines, President Bashar al-Assad of the Syrian Arab Republic in a special dialogue with the Syrian Main TV channel and the Syrian Ikhbariya News channel you will follow it on Thursday at 9 pm Damascus time

There were a number of strategic developments in the past few weeks, especially in the past few days that will affect the future of Syria and will draw the conclusion of the 8.5 years War of Terror waged by the USA and its armies of terrorists in uniforms and proxies on all fronts.

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New U.N. Report Highlights US, UK, France War Crimes in Yemen Since 2014 – Global Research

06-09-19 06:13:00,

The second largest sovereign state in the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen, has been ravaged by war, deliberate starvation, and cholera for over four years. A 274 page U.N. report released on Tuesday, highlights the human rights situation including violations and abuses since September 2014.

According to the report, which took two years to complete, the United States, France, and Britain may be complicit in war crimes for their involvement in the war in Yemen by not only supplying the weapons being used by the Saudi and United Arab Emirate coalitions, but also providing them with intelligence and logistics support.

The report details the findings of the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen. It was submitted as a supplement to A/HR/42/17. U.N. investigators are recommending that all states impose a ban on arms transfers to the warring parties in order to prevent them from being used to commit serious violations and war crimes.

“It is clear that the continued supply of weapons to parties to the conflict is perpetuating the conflict and prolonging the suffering of the Yemeni people,” Melissa Parke, an expert on the independent U.N. panel, told a news conference. Parke continued, “That is why we are urging member states to no longer supply weapons to parties to the conflict.”

The report states,

“The Group of Experts reiterates that steps required to address the human rights and international law violations in Yemen have been continually discussed, and there can no longer be any excuses made for failure to take meaningful steps to address them. The best way to protect the Yemeni population is to stop the fighting by reaching a political settlement which includes measures for accountability.”

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are two of the largest purchasers of U.S. British and French weapons. These weapons are being used to fight against the homegrown Houthi movement which controls Yemen’s capital. The report states,

“The legality of arms transfers by France, the United Kingdom, the United States and other States remains questionable, and is the subject of various domestic court proceedings.”

According to the U.N. report, Saudi and UAE coalitions are killing civilians in air strikes, and deliberately denying them food.

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Thai Cave Rescue Highlights the Best/Worst in People | New Eastern Outlook

07-07-18 06:42:00,


When 12 young students and their football coach went missing in Thailand’s northern province of Chiang Rai amid the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system, many expected the worst. But the Thai government, its military, volunteers both in Thailand and from abroad spent 9 days until they were located alive in cave chamber isolated by rising waters.

The Good

The rescue efforts are still ongoing. Difficult decisions remain to be made. The trip to and from the location of the students and their coach requires scuba diving. To bring the stranded students out of the cave requires either to somehow drain the water trapping them, or train them to make the dive out of the cave.

Water being pumped out of the cave system has been distributed to the land of local farmers – many of whom eagerly volunteered to have water diverted to their property to aid in whatever way they could to the rescue efforts. The government is nonetheless compensating the farmers for the damage they incur.

The government has mobilized its resources as well as those offered by other nations. It is using newly acquired Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters to access sites around the cave. The US has offered technology in efforts to locate possible exits from the cave, and it was a team of private British divers who were with Thai Navy SEALs when the students were finally found 9 days after they went missing.  Other divers and cavers from all over Asia and beyond have also come to over their expertise.

The rescue efforts are not without danger. One Thai Navy SEAL has already died while making the trip to and from the trapped students.

This highlights the risks of at least one of the proposed rescue options – training the students and their coach to scuba dive out of the cave. Rescuers have urged patience, stating that it may be weeks or even months before the students can be brought to safety.

The Bad and the Ugly  

The media – both local and foreign – have expressed mostly positive support for the rescue efforts – playing a positive role in informing the public and soliciting volunteers and donations of various supplies and skill sets when needed.

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The G7 Summit Highlights Western Leaders’ Hypocrisy

13-06-18 06:11:00,

Authored by Daniel Lacalle via The Epoch Times,

Other countries pretend to be interested in free trade; in reality they only care about their own advantage…

The G7 failure to come to terms on trade highlights the problem of governments trying to macromanage trade. And no, the failure to even agree to disagree cannot be blamed on President Trump and his new-found economic nationalism.

The list of countries with the largest trade surplus with the United States is led by China, which exports $375 billion more than it imports. It is followed, very far away, by Mexico ($71 billion), Japan (69 billion), Germany (65 billion), Vietnam (38 billion), Ireland (38 billion) and Italy ($31 billion).

Not surprisingly, the markets with most protectionist measures against the United States are China, the European Union, Japan, Mexico, and India.

These facts explain much more about the failure of the G7 summit than any Manichean analysis on Trump, Trudeau, Macron, or any of the leaders gathered there.

During the last twenty years, the world has carried out a widespread practice in governments’ disastrous idea of “sustaining” GDP with demand-side policies. Build excess capacity, subsidize it, and hope to export that excess to the United States.

Especially China, Germany, and Japan have economies with high state interventionism and therefore very high excess capacity, in part due to a high personal savings rate.

Steel and aluminum, like the automobile industry, are examples of building unnecessary capacity and subsidizing it, country by country, hoping it will be somebody else who closes its inefficient factories to be able to export more to that country.

In Germany, the influence of the automobile industry over the government is legendary. What isn’t are the relatively high tariffs American manufacturers face when exporting to Europe and the low tariffs America itself imposes on automobile imports.

Have Your Cake and Eat It

What is also ironic is that modern-day protectionism didn’t start with Trump. Barriers against global trade increased between 2009 and 2016. The World Trade Organization warned, year after year, since 2010, about the increase in protectionism. The Obama administration, faced with the exponential increase in its trade deficit,

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