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Assange Hearing Day 9 (craigmurray.org.uk)
97 points by k1m 11 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 64 comments

The witness quotes a couple of statements by a former warden of ADX Colorado. In case anyone's interested in finding a source for at least one of those, it appears in a New York Times article:


(caution: contains some fairly unpleasant reading)

Edit / clarification: only one of the two quotes appears in the NYT article.

Is there anyone who has changed their mind in either direction on Julian Assange's actions, guilt, or how different governments are acting, after reading, over the last few years, any of these posts or comments therein?

Well, he was obviously right. UK _was_ holding him for an US extradition, and in all likelyhood this is what would have happened in Sweden as well.

There was a time when the official narrative was "he can leave at any time, we don't want him, he's just hiding because of potential rape charges". That at least is clearly falsified.

> Once the British authorities enforce the UK Supreme Court's decision to extradite Julian Assange to Sweden, Sweden is bound by the so-called "Doctrine of Speciality" which means that Sweden cannot extradite him further to a third country, for example the USA, without permission from the UK. This means that Julian Assange would be in the same position in Sweden as he would be in the UK with regard to further extradition to a third country.


It certainly could. Countries do not have to abide by any laws, only the weak do. Sweden specifically is known to illegally extradite people.



My understanding is that that narrative was true at the beginning. He only skipped bail when his legal challenge against extradition to Sweden failed.

Some years later, the US secretly submitted an extradition request. At that point he was also avoiding extradition to the USA and at that point, people were wrong to say he was only avoiding extradition to Sweden.

If anyone has evidence that the US was seeking his extradition in early 2011, I would be very interested in seeing it.

Would USA have had to request extradition before he reached Sweden? I would guess not. Makes sense they would not reveal that intention before, if possible. You say they secretly submitted such request, and I don't know what that fully means, but how would there be evidence if it is secret?

I mean, can we know there wasn't a secret request in play, or one intended to be issued? Their later actual (even secret? Leaked?) request certainly validates the concern, no?

In the linked article, Assange's own witness says that the Obama DoJ decided against prosecuting him.

> "He said that credible sources had stated the Obama administration had decided not to prosecute Assange, notably Matthew Miller, a highly respected Justice Department figure who had been close to Attorney General Holder and would have been unlikely to brief the media without Holder’s knowledge and approval."

I have never seen any evidence contradicting this, despite lots of people on the internet saying the Sweden EAW was part of a US conspiracy.

That's a very weak argument. It's basically based on if there was a secret extradition request, or the intention of having one filed when the opportunity presented itself. Neither is even remotely provable.

What we have right now is clear revealed preference. Opportunity arose (leverage with Ecuador), US pushed, UK opened procedures. This is a very clear falsification of "what extradition? it's all about rape charges".

His own witness said at court that at the time of the rape accusation, there was no US extradition - so at this point it seems like it very much was "what extradition? it's all about rape charges"

I went from "he should face rape charges" to "probably not guilty of an actual crime" to "it's all obviously a bullshit political persecution".

I honestly think of him as a political actor, in the "chess player" sense of the word politics, rather than in the idealistic sense; so I wasn't particularly sympathetic. You know the game you're playing, and all.

After reading he's headed for ADX, however, I'm sympathetic. No prisoner of any kind should be exposed for anything remotely resembling that, in my opinion. It's a horror movie come true.

I honestly think of him as a political actor

Is there any proof/indication of him being a political actor?

You know the game you're playing, and all.

This could be applied to any journalist who exposes powerful institutions.

Do you consider journalists (that publish info that related to political decisions) as political actors?

it is a complex question.

I do think that both journalists and whistleblowers should have certain protections in a free society.

However, I can't shake the feeling that wikileaks exploits the hunger for justice of honest-minded whistleblowers as a front for information gathering, and then choose to use said information however fits their own selfish interests. So I don't like them at all as martyrs of free speech. Assange is no Snowden.

Then again, as I said, I am 100% against certain punishments that I think go against basic human rights. Just the possibility of ending up in ADX should be enough to deny extradition, regardless of who's the alleged criminal.

>and then choose to use said information however fits their own selfish interests

It's hard to wrap my head around the argument that since the information was used to forward an agenda or was released selectively it's somehow "bad"

Who cares, if the content is valid and incendiary? Leaks or whistleblowers don't have to be "balanced".

Let's review (from wikipedia)

Apparent Somali assassination order

Guantanamo Bay procedures

Daniel arap Moi

Tibetan Unrest videos

Scientology materials

Sarah Palin Emails

Killings by the Kenyan police

BNP membership

Congressional Research Service reports

Norm Coleman

Climategate 1 and 2 (the forgotten one that outright stated what the first implied)

Barclays Bank tax avoidance

Internet censorship lists

Bilderberg Group meeting reports

2008 Peru oil scandal

Nuclear accident in Iran

Toxic dumping in Africa: The Minton report

Kaupthing Bank

Joint Services Protocol 440

9/11 pager messages

U.S. Intelligence report on WikiLeaks

Baghdad airstrike video

Afghan War Diary

Love Parade documents

Iraq War logs

State Department diplomatic cables release

Guantanamo Bay files

The Spy Files

Stratfor email leak

Syria Files

Prosecution and prison documents for Anakata (the pirate bay guy)

Draft Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement IP Charter and later TPP Investment Chapter

Trade in Services Agreement chapter draft

Australian bribery case suppression order

Sony archives

Trident Nuclear Weapons System

The Saudi Cables

DNC email leak

Podesta emails (DNC and this show bias against Bernie Sanders rather than dealing with trump vs hillary)

Yemen files (US secret involvement in Yemen conflict)

German BND-NSA Inquiry (US spying on Germany)

Turkish AK Party emails

CIA espionage orders

Vault 7 (CIA hacking software info)

Spy Files Russia (Russia spies on it's citizens too)

ICE Patrol (ICE employee LinkedIn profiles)

corrupted broker in France-UAE arms deal (French and German governments selling weapons)

Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (Syria/Russia interfering with chemical weapon investigation)

I see no evidence that the releases favor particular countries or ideologies aside from the general anti-war stance. Most are about corruption and spying across a wide set of countries. It also makes sense that the US has the most leaks. The US probably has more continuing wars and "police actions" than any other 10 countries combined. In addition, the culture of the US tends to be more open making leaks a bit easier.

What exactly on this list do you take issue with?

Why would you consider they aren’t? Journalists have by far the strongest leverage on public opinion than any other workers, and historically newspapers were indeed positioned politically (and still are, to a little extent).

I don't know why this was downvoted, journalism leads public opinion to a huge extent. The primary motivation for billionaires to own media empires is to have an influence on politics.

Newspapers in the UK are generally fairly strongly politically aligned and our TV channels are supposed to be unbiased - I believe it is the other way round in the US?

I've certainly felt that he has been unfairly attacked, maligned and smeared over time and thus I've become a lot more sympathetic to his case.

Not really, if I’m being honest.

I think it’s gone on too long now, and needs resolution - which I believe is one of the important aspects of judicial systems beyond “justice” - simply drawing a line under things so society can move on.

Julian poked a sharp stick into the US military, intelligence and political system - I expect a few years in a US prison will be the result - something to be anticipated if you had a normal amount of ego and wisdom.

The fact that we now "expect" journalists and whistle blowers (to war crimes) to be prosecuted and imprisoned is very upsetting and unjust.

He’s being prosecuted for computer misuse, though.

You’re argument is that journalists and whistle blowers are above the law - but they aren’t. And that’s before you take an objective stance about JA’s good faith and personal motivations.

If you set up a “leaking” organisation, and use it to selectively embarrass certain governments and politicians while coincidentally building your brand and obtaining a measure of power, influence and money ... you better make sure you fully obey the law.

He didn’t misuse any computers though. He claimed to have rainbow tables for NTLM hashes (when asked by his source) and then was sent an NTLM hash to crack by his source. He never cracked any hashes or sent anything back. Manning gained no additional access to any computers by the action of Assange.

They’re charging him with conspiracy to crack hashes. This is a technically literate forum and we should talk about things as they really are, not hand waving nonsense like “misuse of computers.” In some sense he’s being persecuted for knowing that Hashcat exists.

Edit: read for yourself: https://blog.erratasec.com/2019/04/assange-indicted-for-brea...

I do think there's a strong case that committing an administrative crime of leaking information in order to expose a far more serious crime is a moral act. In general.

This is why whistle blowers need protection.

Govt should abide by law, if not, blowing the whistle should be rewarded not punished.

Sympathy I may have had for him evaporated over the years with the response to the rape allegations and the way Wikileaks ended up on the pro-Trump side of the floor.

It's Chelsea Manning who I have far more sympathy for. Somehow she's not promoted so much by Assange supporters, despite being the insider responsible for the leak and already having served in prison for it.

The Iraq war remains a moral disaster, and things have not improved on that front.

I do believe rape is a serious issue, especially because it is a systemic problem that everybody blame but hardly anybody is willing to address as such. However, accusing opponents of immoral behavior to make em look dirty is such a classic trick from the people in power to delegitimize dissent that it should be regarded as highly suspicious. Still worth checking though, but last time I checked, the allegations seemed very dubious. Were they true, I still think JA should be granted immunity as a political figure after which a government is rabidly after I do think that making public the bombing of children and the assassination of journalists by the US is more important to the world's fate than the condemnation of a rape. I have read many times that nobody is above the law but it is not true, many people have legal immunity for being part of governments or other positions. You should not let your sympathy guide in this case but your opinions on what gvts are allowed to get away with and in what kind of a society you would like to live.

My sympathy definitely disappeared for the same reasons, but lately I have realized that it's still important to make sure he gets a just trial and is not prosecuted for publishing leaks.

It feels like I am reading a bunch of mostly unrelated value statements put together.

Chelsea Manning still needed Wikileaks to help bring out the truth, the rape allegations were just that, a total smear it seems, and not rooted in fact.

Regardless of his political leanings, he's an important journalist who ought to be celebrated for revealing some very uncomfortable facts.

The rape allegations have never seen a court and should not be dismissed as a smear. Given how these things usually pan out, Cosby and Weinstein passim, I believe they are more likely true than not.

Weinstein was accused of 98 events and condemned for 2 of them. So you could say that even for Weinstein, 96% were more false or unsustained.

There is a debate on whether going to a « coke and prostitutes party in exchange for a role in a movie » is an act of consent or such naivety that it is unbelievable, but the immense majority were consenting adults who did take the role in the movie in exchange. But blaming it entirely on men shifts the focus of the major problem here: the number of women who want to become actresses and who are willing to compete on sexuality because they believe it’s their only asset. In other words: We haven’t succeeded as a civilization in giving women self-confidence in doing a job of science or talent, and they keep falling back on offering what they are, not what they do.

That would solve the problem in a much wider way than giving the power to women to crucify any man around them, because that makes a large percentage of men weary of working with women, and multiplies the problem of female employment. Just saying.

> giving the power to women to crucify any man around them

This is a gross mischaracterisation of how difficult it is to get rape convictions.

> We haven’t succeeded as a civilization in giving women self-confidence in doing a job of science or talent, and they keep falling back on offering what they are, not what they do.

This is a gross mischaracterisation of the pressure is applied to women to do these things.

> This is a gross mischaracterisation of how difficult it is to get rape convictions.

A conviction is not necessary to severely negatively affect someone's life.

He had been questioned by the first judge on the case, the case was dropped and reopened by a different judge and he fled to the UK.

I agree with you- we should not dismiss this as a smear nor as a fact, however the original complaintants have withdrawn their cases and it is being pursued by the Swedish government.

Of course the Swedish government are saying that it’s standard procedure to prosecute or chase prosecution if charges are brought and withdrawn. But, it doesn’t look good.

As usual, men are guilty until proven innocent when it comes to rape.

I’m not being facetious but isn’t that the whole point in the “believe women” slogan.

That casting a critical/dismissive eye is dangerous as it means we no longer try to confirm the claim?

It’s a think grey line here: but I think charges being filed should lead to him being questioned.

We should not say though that he “definitely did it”, (or that he definitely didn’t) just that he needs to answer the claim.

In this particular case it’s “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”.

Answer the charge and be extradited.

Don’t answer the charge and be thought of by the public as guilty.

If I had the power (and, nobody does here, don’t kid yourself) I’d like to see him sent to Sweden but with a protection about being sent to the US.

Nothing short of war will stop the US though, they are used to getting their way in ways we’re not comfortable admitting to.

> I’m not being facetious but isn’t that the whole point in the “believe women” slogan.

Yes, it is. And we must fight such idiocy.

In terms of Sympathy, I agree. But being unsympathetic is not a crime and we shouldn't be locking people up for ending up on the pro trump side of the floor. Or if we are, we will need to build a lot more prisons.

> Sympathy...evaporated over the years

Are you noticing anything coming back over this last couple of weeks?

I do not understand. Why would him being pro-trump affect your sympathy regarding his prosecution due to revealing the Iraq war crimes? Surely it is possible to stand against unfair prosecution of people while also disagreeing with their personal opinions and beliefs. It is not like this court is trying to decide whether he is guilty of rape or not.

(note: I do not know whether Assange is pro-trump or not so I will take pjc50's word for it - seems weird though as Trump has been holding an anti-whistleblower position)

(note2: The allegations were not regarding rape but rather of intentionally breaking the condom while having an otherwise consensual sexual encounter - fun fact, this is legal in California although I personally think that it should not be)

I have. So, at least one person.

Definitely more sympathetic to his case. I always thought he was a bit of a showy cunt (technical Aussie term).

But there's no doubt this is a political prosecution, which UK law is extremely clear about: extradition is not applicable for political charges. There's no doubt that he should not be extradited, and that extraditing him is an act of political cowardice by both the UK and Australian governments.

I don't believe this blog post paints an unbiased picture.

Unfortunately it is the only source of information on what is going on at this hearing. As Murray writes:

> The mainstream media are turning a blind eye. There were three reporters in the press gallery, one of them an intern and one representing the NUJ. Public access continues to be restricted and major NGOs, including Amnesty, PEN and Reporters Without Borders, continue to be excluded both physically and from watching online. It has taken me literally all night to write this up – it is now 8.54am – and I have to finish off and get back into court. The six of us allowed in the public gallery, incidentally, have to climb 132 steps to get there, several times a day. As you know, I have a very dodgy ticker; I am with Julian’s dad John who is 78; and another of us has a pacemaker.

> I do not in the least discount the gallant efforts of others when I explain that I feel obliged to write this up, and in this detail, because otherwise the vital basic facts of the most important trial this century, and how it is being conducted, would pass almost completely unknown to the public. If it were a genuine process, they would want people to see it, not completely minimise attendance both physically and online.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24478259 was flagged, which was by a respected journalist with an interest in the case. The Wikipedia article keeps getting reverted. It's really extremely hard to find or curate decent information on politically partisan subjects these days. Maybe a good area for a (positive) OSINT startup.

OSINT is a contradictio in adiecto. Like a round square.

If INT is taken as per military tradition. If INT is taken as "obtaining actionable knowledge from a mass of otherwise unorganized information" then it makes sense.

What do you think of reading biased texts or texts with a slant; do you need to be aware of it and compensate, is it fine to read it and just reflect over what the text says (without a priori guessing which way the story is leaning)?

It definitely doesn't. Seems like it is trying to compensate for all the bias in the system.

No source is unbiased, but rather than making an ad hominem attack, could you instead address the facts, describe in what way you think it unbiased and your evidence for that.

How in the heck are we meant to know what the facts are from a report written by someone who's claiming that the Salisbury poisonings were a false-flag by British Intelligence?

I get how reading his attitude to the Salisbury poisonings could then cause some scepticism of his reporting of the Assange trial.

I'm leaning the other way, though. His reporting of the Assange trial, plus his coverage of the Alex Salmond trial, and the various other things on his blog, have caused me to reconsider the Salisbury poisonings (and the UK's Russophobia in general).

He's also being taken to court by the government on a ridiculous charge - always a sign that someone in power wants to shut him up.

It's very good when a source doesn't make any attempt to conceal its bias. Most sources pose as the voices of omniscient robot narrators while obviously also being mouthpieces for their owners.

Though why are this hearing public so we can judge for ourselves.

A couple observations (as someone who who doesn't really follow Assange but stumbled upon this article):

- In the UK, publishing the transcript of a public hearing is a crime - "NB this is not a precise transcript. It would be illegal for me to publish a transcript (of a “public” court hearing; fascinating but true)." - IMO something is deeply broken with this, needs to be changed and potentially people who created this system need to be punished (for taking steps to undermine democracy).

- Publishing evidence of (war) crimes (this is what Assange did, right?) somehow appears to be a crime. What happened to failure to report a crime? Shouldn't instead people not publishing this be punished?

- A video call is too high tech for the UK government; also moving to a different courtroom where it would work is impossible because they'd have to carry over too much paper. They do everything on paper - linking to some other piece of paper means making a physical copy - "Are you saying that I should have repeated his affidavits and all the other evidence in my statements? My statements would have been thousands of pages long." - Hello, we have the internet and hyperlinks, can we pls use them? To me this feels like the courts are designed as a DoS attack on people's attention.

- Some US prisons are designed as death penalty without having to go through the legal trouble of saying it out loud - "Suicides in jail are increasing by 18% a year."

- Assange seems like a political prisoner - "Eric Lewis than gave testimony on the change of policy towards prosecuting Assange from the Trump administration." - Why does a president have this power? What happened to the 3 branches of government? Maybe this is a US thing, seems very broken.

- It's not even a public process, except in name - "Public access continues to be restricted and major NGOs, including Amnesty, PEN and Reporters Without Borders, continue to be excluded both physically and from watching online." - Why is everything not recorded and at least transcript posted online by default?

> - Publishing evidence of (war) crimes (this is what Assange did, right?) somehow appears to be a crime. What happened to failure to report a crime? Shouldn't instead people not publishing this be punished?

His "crime" was that he conspired to use a computer without permission. The fact he used it for a noble purpose doesn't get him out of extradition apparently. The fact that no one has been prosecuted for the much bigger crime that he exposed just adds perversity.

There are afaik 18 charges in the indictment. The above is just one of them.

You are correct! I thought they'd dropped those charges and just have 18 counts of Computers.

It's disappointing that publishing about war-crimes is a bigger deal than doing it for governments. Why even governments have this right in first place? It's fundamentally wrong.

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