Julian Assange's lawyer Jennifer Robinson and partner Stella Morris queue up outside the Old Bailey.

Day 2 of #Assange hearing begins shortly with several witnesses expected to testify incl. Pentagon Papers whistle blower @DanielEllsberg and investigative reporter Nick Hager. Image
-Human rights lawyers, Stafford Smith of @Reprieve is first witness to take the stand.

-He asserts the diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks on US drone strikes in Pakistan were essential in helping curtail the killings and in conducting human rights investigations.
-Leaks were essential in exposing US targeted assassination and torture programs

-US was killing journalists, drug traffickers with no proof/questionable ties to any terrorist activity

-Smith: "drone program was unlawful, morally & ethically reprehensible"
-Asked about his work at Guantanamo Bay, Smith affirms WikiLeaks helped him prove numerous defendants innocent in court

-Smith details how appalled he was by all the US government's tortures and murders

-Says Gitmo would be closed if public actually knew what it was
-Smith says the torture methods used by US gov were so brutal they were akin to those of the Spanish Inquisition.

-All in all, WikiLeaks helped him to free innocents, take cases to ICC and were essential for his work.
-Prosecution is now cross examining Stafford Smith of @Reprieve

-Lewis QC (Prosecution) claims #AssangeCase isn't being prosecuted for things the NYT and WaPo also published, but instead for leaks marked classified which allegedly put people's lives at risk
-Rather amusingly, Smith is schooling Lewis on how the counts will be interpreted in the US, having worked many national security cases.

-#Assange interrupts Lewis to say "this is nonsense" (lmao). Judge stops hearing for 10 mins, urges Julian to speak to his counsel
-Judge threatens Julian that if he continues to interrupt, the court can continue without him (essentially threatening to try him in absentia). Preposterous. As if this could be anymore of a sham trial.
-Prosecution is trying very hard to get Smith to concede that @wikileaks documents were a threat to national security by attacking his credibility with things like: have you ever classified docs? Had security clearance? Are you an authority on such matters?
-Smith says covering up torture does not pertain to "national security". Has seen countless pages of abuse/torture marked "classified".

-Prosecution reasserts they're not prosecuting Julian for leaks but for allegeldy putting informants at risk w/ names in cables.

#AssangeCase
As I said in yesterday's live: people forget that Abu Qatada, a Jordanian cleric connected to Al Qaeda, was not only let out of Belmarsh (where Julian is) on house arrest, but an entire extradition treaty drawn up to protect him. He's now free in Jordan.
-Prof. of Journalism Feldstein resumes his testimony after tech issues yesterday.

-Says indictment vilifies journalism and Trump ramped up prosecution of journalists

-Feldstein: even Obama dropped the case because it violated 1st amendment and couldn’t go ahead
-Prosecution viciously attacking Feldstein’s credibility, essentially accusing him of purposely leaving out that prosecution was continued by Trump admin (implying case has merit)

-Lewis says tweet by @wikileaks also indicates admission of guilt

#Assange Image
-Prosecution makes ridiculous argument that the New York Times publishing same info is not a crime because they received leaks “passively”

-Lewis presses Feldstein whether journalists are above the law, cornering him into saying no
-Lewis continues grilling Feldstein. Asks him: “are journalists above the law, do they have a first amendment right to steal information?”.

Feldstein answers: no.
Lewis: are you aware of any case of the NYT conspiring with Manning [to steal info]

Feldstein: no

Lewis: so there is a difference between #Assange and the NYT?

Feldstein: yes
Lewis once again goes back to argument that #Assange is being charged for unredacted cables (attempting to contrast him with NYT)

Odd. Since not one person’s life has been put at risk by @wikileaks
Yes/no questioning of Feldstein by prosecution really doesn’t inspire any confidence tbh.

Lewis attempting to create a stark contrast between NYT and #Assange and keeps cornering Feldstein
Lewis quotes David Leigh, citing discomfort at Guardian about publishing unredacted names.

Asks Feldstein if there’s any fundamental difference between NYT and Assange to which Feldstein answers: yes.
Lewis: should journos disclose names of other parties endangering them when avoidable?

Feldstein: no

Lewis: are there legitimate things nations should keep secret?

Feldstein: yes
-In regards to the espionage act, Lewis says proof of damage to US must be provided to convict. Feldstein says he's no legal expert, but upon reading the counts doesn't think that's true (implying #Assange could still be extradited even if no damage is proven).
-Lewis tries to build on allegations of ties between Trump and WikiLeaks, in order to dismantle the idea that the hearing is politically motivated (as Feldstein suggested). Prosecution essentially delving into Russiagate territory now. #AssangeCase #Assange
-It's now #Assange's defense team's turn to question Feldstein.

Feldstein replies it's perfectly normal for journalists to ask gov officials for info. @nytimes actively helped @DanielEllsberg in obtaining Pentagon Papers.

Feldstein: journalists not passive stenographers
Feldstein asserts that the scope of the indictment is so large it's beyond just going after unredacted names/endangering lives – it's about going after journalists.
Feldstein: "proof is in the pudding". Obama admin only went after Manning, and then commuted sentence. If there was any legal basis to go after #Assange and @wikileaks they would've done so. #AssangeCase
Prof. Feldstein's testimony has ended. Court is adjourned. #AssangeCase
Fuck me this is grueling. Can't imagine what Julian, his family and team are going through.

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More from @richimedhurst

20 Oct
BREAKING: The illegal US military base in al Tanf, Syria has been hit by a drone attack.
It was reported that the two israeli air strikes that bombed Syria last week, south of Palmyra, came from the direction of the base.
Moreover, 14 Syrian military personnel were killed this morning in Damascus by bombs planted on a bus.
Sky News Arabic says that according to a US military official from CENTCOM there were no casualties.
Reports that multiple drones hit the base, not just one.
Read 7 tweets
20 Oct
Today marks ten years since Gaddafi was murdered by NATO-backed rebels. The objective: to steal Libya's resources, and prevent African nations from adopting their own single currency, thereby threatening Western hegemony. My latest:

rt.com/op-ed/537905-g…
"Gaddafi transformed Libya from one of the poorest countries on Earth into a rich, self-sufficient state, all while managing a tribal society in a country home to the largest oil reserves in Africa."
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Read 10 tweets
20 Oct
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Not clear if this is related, but a few hours after the blast there was shelling in Idlib province— the last terrorist stronghold in the country.
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🔴 Nasrallah: "After WW2, the French resistance went after thousands of French collaborators for working with the Nazi occupation. When the israelis left south Lebanon, we did not hurt a single person, even though they collaborated with the israelis."
"The biggest threat to Christians in Lebanon is the Lebanese Forces party and its leader.”
Nasrallah straight up telling LF to sit tf down and behave 😂. I'll add more translations and bits of the speech shortly.

Read 8 tweets
18 Oct
Mass murderer and war criminal Colin Powell, who lied to the United Nations and the world about WMDs in Iraq, leading to the death and displacement of millions of Iraqis; who helped destroy the Middle East under George Bush’s neocon administration, has just died. Image
In 1968, US troops massacred around 500 Vietnamese civilians. Some were mutilated and gang raped.
Tasked with investigating claims of mistreatment by US soldiers, Colin Powell wrote back then “relations between Americal Division soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent.” ImageImage
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"Heavy clashes in Beirut" is a weird way of saying that Hezbollah and Amal protestors were shot at by snipers.
People went out today to protest peacefully against a judge involved in the investigation of the Beirut port explosion. Snipers began firing at the protestors with clear intent to kill, not disperse, as the casualties have head wounds. 3 dead, 20 wounded as of now.
Amal movement + Hezbollah have released an official statement condemning the attack, asking people not to retaliate, in order to avoid escalation. For there are some who would surely favor that and like to plunge Lebanon into chaos...
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