Extradition September hearing Day 3 Morning.
Waiting to join the courtroom.
Lewis, Summers, Fitzgerald, Stella, Joseph
Btw Stella & Joseph sitting along the side of the courtroom. We have a view to that side, lawyers in the middle and the judge. The camera angle cuts out the back wall where the glass enclosure is. And I assume there is more seating on the opposite side, where CraigMurray must be.
I think it is @suigenerisjen now sitting next to Stella
No one has confirmed Julian is there but they have started discussing bundles so he must be. Fitzgerald waved to the back earlier. To Julian..?
Next up Professor Paul Rogers, on videolink.
Glimpse of Julian
Rogers is Emeritus Prof of Peace Studies & author of 9 books on war on terror - political scientist specializing in security.
Rogers: JA has strong political views & regarded as a political opponent of the current administration.
Rogers: Afghanistan & Iraq @wikileaks revelations exposed the fiction of success
And in detail that was not otherwise available
Rogers: we know additional 15,000 civilians were killed only because of @wikileaks
From 2011 there is more caution about going to war, & that’s significantly due to WikiLeaks
Rogers: Assange speech showed he criticised the US govt, not the US.
Reference to honours & awards bestowed on Julian - at the root of his thinking are Human rights, transparency & accountability. Not just directed at governments, but corporations & other orgs.
Rogers again: Transparency and accountability would lead to improved human rights. Difficulty is he doesn’t conform to a political ideology (more & more people thinking similarly).
At cross hairs of dispute with senior people in the Trump administration.
Genuine criminal concerns? No, a political trial. Current administration atypical of any western govt. Obama took a decision on Assange & this would be another reason Trump is pursuing him.
Rogers adds J believes transparency & accountability would lead to a better democracy.
Rogers: No question that J is motivated by his political opinions that clash with the American way of life as interpreted by this administration.
Rogers: this case reveals more about politics & the change in politics in the US - Trump believes the press is the enemy - a danger to him & to the US.
Lewis: What is a political opinion? Directing witness to be concise.
Political - relating to govt power & the way it is used in a country. Witness agrees.
But you said it also refers to corporations.
The new definition is much wider says Rogers.
Lewis: is being a journalist simply a person who expresses political opinions?
Rogers: not necessarily.
Lewis: just being owner or publisher doesn’t necessarily mean you hold a political opinion.
Rogers: not necessarily but usually
Rogers: you can choose what news to publish
Lewis: Political opinion is transparency at any cost? Can govt withhold any information?
They are going too fast but Rogers is batting off Lewis superbly.
This is a brilliant clash.
Rogers: he has also received a bundle yesterday of over 300 pages from the Prosecution.
Lewis: referring to a statement by Julian that WW11 & German invasion of Poland was as a result of lies. What is the evidence?
Rogers: it is his political opinion
Lewis: quotes an award as being based on “need” because he has been found to be arbitrarily detained.
Rogers: what’s this got to do with your point? (Me- The point was this is “a very different reason he has support”- so what?)
Rogers: J believes if you have a state heading towards autocracy, it may have the seeds of its own downfall within (leaks). Sorry I can’t type quickly enough to convey how articulate and brilliant Rogers is.
Lewis: do you understand you have a duty to be unbiased & consider all the evidence.
Refers to 5 declarations by Gordon Cromberg - that this is not political but a matter of serious crime.
Lewis : why don’t you mention it.
Rogers: there is no doubt this is motivated by political change in the US.
I was asked to speak from my area of expertise - political scientist, War, instability. I’m not a lawyer.
Lewis: you’ve adopted Chomsky et al Why not contrary opinion?
Rogers: well yes I’d like to discuss that.
Lewis: charges based on evidence & rule of law - an independent grand jury came to this conclusion. Why didn’t you mention this?
Rogers: why are these assertions being made now & not 8 years ago?
Lewis: punishing for a crime or for political opinion - why didn’t you explain the other side of the coin? Have you seen the evidence?
Rogers: yes but I remind you I’m not a lawyer.
Lewis: that’s not true. That evidence is under seal.
Rogers: you were talking about the Cromberg statement.
I’ve seen the indictment.
Lewis: so you don’t know how strong it is.
Rogers : Who does?
Lewis: coughs. How do you draw your conclusion then.
Rogers: repeats earlier answer. He is not to be intimidated.
Lewis: let’s see if you can revise your opinion.
Lewis: quotes Kromberg on impartiality.
Rogers: the person who directs the Dept of Justice is a political appointee
Lewis coughs. Do you say the prosecutors are not following their code?
Rogers: what is the motivation of the people above them is the issue.
Lewis: why didn’t you put this advice from Kromberg in your report.
Lewis: Banging on again about prosecutor being forbidden from being biased.
Rogers: happy to accept the duty of people in that department but that’s not the issue
Lewis: you are saying Kromberg is acting bad faith.
Rogers: no I am not. Has the evidence changed? No, it’s a question of timing.
Lewis refers to a case of soldiers being prosecuted when they had been given an undertaking they would not. Rogers deals with it extremely competently.
Lewis: what does it the indictment accuse JA for?
Does it include the Collateral Murder video?
Rogers: not specifically for that.
Lewis: if this was a political prosecution wouldn’t he be charged for that video?
Me: as far as I know that video could not be included because it wasn’t classified.
Rogers: this isn’t the point.
Lewis asks him now if he understands the only publications he is being charged with are those that contain names.
Me: I am astonished at Rogers response. He has demolished Lewis at every turn. Lewis asks for a break.
I wish I could convey to you how articulate this witness is. His clarity and infallible logic. He is in a different league to Lewis. Probably to most people.
Rogers just won’t be pushed around.
Fearless. Much like Julian actually.
He’d be in his seventies I guess
Lewis questioning Rogers again about motivation of prosecution & evidence.
Rogers says it would be helpful to explain why major changes occurred in the US, in fact between 2007 & 2011.
Lewis: quotes media reports that the grand jury was not wound up & that Wikileaks insiders said there was still a risk.
Rogers: we don’t know the intensity of the grand jury work, whether the investigation was hot, medium or cold,
Rogers: we simply don’t know but there was n9 decision to prosecute.
Lewis: how do you know that?
Rogers: Is it necessary to be in a position to arrest in order to indict?
Sorry left out answer to “how do you know that” - “”well I don’t!” Lewis: but he was already in the Embassy.
Rogers then said “is it necessary etc”
It’s rattling along at speed
Rogers conceded in rephrasing an assertion about Obama - that not prosecuting was not a decision not to, but not to go ahead with it. Slight difference in that it is more passive than active.
Lewis questioning Rogers about 2016 election & now - a major trial of someone considered as a public enemy in the US may be one motive for Trump. Tells Lewis not to put words in his mouth.
Fitzgerald: Clarifies that J meant Nazi lies about Poland being a threat. Rogers agrees that was Julian’s point.
Rogers: J believes wars are started by lies, whether you agree with that is irrelevant but those are his political views.
Rogers: there was a sea change when Trump was elected esp about the nature of the fourth estate.
Fitzgerald quotes a Washington Post article where an administration insider says the Justice Dept department had all but concluded there would be no prosecution.
Rogers: there was disagreement at a senior level within the DOJ & that may also explain the difference under the Obama & Trump administrations.
Rogers: the public mood was encouraged towards prosecution; extra indictments came when Barr replaces Sessions, with longer sentences.
Rogers finished.
Back at 2pm with Mr Tim (sp?) on video from USA.
Btw Rogers is British.
Trevor Timm
Court is back but I have no sound. Others on the videolink also have no sound
Phew, now we can hear but the witness is saying he can’t hear
My sound is cutting in & out
Witness saying he can’t hear a thing.
Judge has left the room while they try to fix the technical problem..
He can hear
Waiting for judge now...
Summers takes him through his statement:
Co-founder of Freedom of the Press Foundation.
Explain what it exists to do
Protect & defend public interest journalism
You understand how investigative reporting interacts with US law
Am familiar with obtaining/receiving information govt considers classified. Eg Pentagon Papers
Every important story published contains classified info
Timms: without it there can be no mature connection between govt & citizens
Previously prosecution of journalists were considered but not acted on due to implications for press freedom
Giving examples where NYT reporters have been threatened with the Espionage Act (eg under Bush admin) but they’d come up against first amendment
On Criminality & news gathering : nothing out of the ordinary in Assange/Manning - journalists engage in this interaction all the time. Consensus opinion among first amendment lawyers & journalists in US - a clear & present danger to press freedom
First time Esp Act used against someone who is not a govt employee.
Mentions a case that collapsed showing theory that it is criminal is untenable
Timms says many most loved & respected reporters would have been found to have committed a crime (citing a paper)
Summers- Criminal complicity in act of whistleblowing: the drop box
Timms: on having an anonymous drop box is a “malicious anomaly” & soliciting material is criminal.. gives examples of other media doing this. Explicitly say, “leak documents to us”
Summers: others have copied the secure drop platform, including your organisation.
Timms: yes, used in over 80 major outlets worldwide. The Washington post now publish links within a story to their secure drop box.
Timms: they advertise their drop boxes eg NYT on their Twitter page, & online ads asking for leaks.
Timms we explain to media orgs how to do it safely to protect the source
Summers: would I be at risk of prosecution?
Timms: No, it is protected speech under first amendment
The @wikileaks document soliciting was a collaborative doc - others sought material & added information to the “Most Wanted List”.
This activity is firmly entrenched in free speech rights
CIA violated international & domestic law. Senate investigated the CIA but though there was criminality, the classification prevented it from being made public. My view was a whistleblower would come forward
Summers: you invited someone to leak?
Timms: yes, initially Senators.
I wrote in the Guardian asking as dozens of other journos did.
No one suggested this was criminal activity.
Timms: this indictment is unconstitutional. @wikileaks has first amendment rights as does every newspaper in the US.
Lewis: what do rules say about expert witness?
Going thru the usual, objective, unbiased, truthful..
Lewis asking about his org contributing to Assange legal costs - $100,000.
Lewis asks if there’s an agreement to be reimbursed.
Timms : No
Lewis asks if Timms hi self feels under threat by this prosecution
No my fear is on behalf of the journalists who do investigative work . Consequences could affect thousands of journalists & potentially readers as well
I often ask potential whistleblowers to leak to other journos.
Lewis: you are meant to be impartial but you have an interest
I support press freedom
Lewis : you say this will be the thin edge of the wedge
You understand the prosecution is saying Assange is not a journalist.
Timms: it’s irrelevant. In the US he is considered to be engaging as a journalist & publisher
We are on to Kromberg again. Timms says he got the 350 page bundle yesterday as well, he cant have read it. Lewis blames Defence but Timms says the Prosecution only just sent it to the Defence. The point Lewis is making is all the witnesses should have read & included the
Kromberg assertions.
Timms saying there should have been more lead time.
Lewis: why did you exclude the information.
Timms: replies much as the previous witness regarding what his expertise is.
Lewis : why do you take the view it is the thin end of the wedge? The govt is
Publicly saying they are not going after journalists & only for the docs Assange published that name people. Judge asks him what is the question.
Timms: I base my opinions not by reading a govt press release but buy reading the indictment. Possession is a crime, communicating
with a source is a crime, criminalising common journalistic practices a grave concern
Lewis: you’ve forgotten the hacking charge
Lewis now jumping around, hasn’t asked a question about hacking yet after all
Lewis reading about Unlawfully acquired Information & how it relates to the first amendment.
Summers interrupts.
Lewis: journalists have been prosecuted when they commit a crime in order to obtain info.
Is hacking a password a criminal act?
“To allow an employee to break into a computer”
Timms corrects him - the only motive was to keep her anonymous
Asks Timms whether there is a line.
And someone has to draw it.
Have you seen the evidence?
Yes have seen the chat logs.
But the evidence is secret.
Well no I haven’t seen That.
Do you accept the grand jury found there was probably cause?
Well yes.
Lewis moves on to redactions . Timms says there is a difference between whether it is responsible journalism & whether it is illegal. My view is it is protected by the first amendment
Lewis reading very damning comments by the NYT & Guardian about publishing unredacted docs.
Timms makes the point that those papers have also done things with which he may disagree. That is a different matter to saying it is criminal behavior. And all those papers have condemned
.. this prosecution.
Lewis: all will be decided by a jury.
Timms: no ultimately a judge will decide whether it is unconstitutional.
Lewis: a jury may prove it has done harm.
Timms: maybe
Lewis: you think it’s perfectly legal to publish names although it could result in deaths
Timms: Manning case showed there was no harm.
In the US we have accepted wide protections for free speech, even for that which some of us find uncomfortable
Lewis tells him Feldstein disagrees with him - he thought it was wrong.
Timms -you are twisting my words, I said it was not illegal & the prosecution would be unconstitutional.
Lewis- how would you know about legal matters?
Timms- I’m a barrister.
Timms: we keep tabs on Trumps insults & threats to the press. He has sued reporters half a dozen times, has had the most hostile relationship with the press since Nixon.
Oh fuck. I’ve gone to black. Am asking to be let back in.
I’m back, sorry.
Oh dear, we are talking about Kromberg.
Timms says Count 7 talks about receiving & obtaining. And other cCounts just refer to communicating with a source
Refers to journos asking Deep Throat asking for more info - is glad that wasn’t criminalised.
Lewis asking why he didn’t include Kromberg in his report.
Timms: My testimony is about journalistic practices
Lewis: you say it is a war on journalism, why not say prosecutors are not allowed to do this. Are you saying they are acting contrary to their obligations & in bad faith
Timms: there was disagreement among lawyers within the DOJ
I’m not saying they acted in bad faith but if t(eye have they should face the consequences.
Lewis arguing with the judge because he wants to go over time. He has had an hour.
Summers: Kromberg says JA is not a journalist.
Timms: I didn’t read the govt press release.
Summers: is soliciting criminal?
Timms: No, & dangerous to criminalise this
Timms: it’s the role of a journalist not to just publish but to gather news. Journalists routinely talk to people who have violated their agreement with their employers. Protected by 1st Amendment. Agree stealing is criminal but none of the Counts allege that.
Summers clarifying Timms view of the “hacking” count.
Timms: the govt is not saying JA’s action furthered Manning’s ability to access documents. It involved staying anonymous but th ego takes is using it as a fig leaf.
Timms explaining the exchange between Manning & JA regarding the hash. Lewis interrupts saying Summers is misleading the witness, quotes Kromberg saying “the purpose was to facilitate the acquisition”
Judge says if Summers phrases his questions this way she won’t be able to give
.. a lot of weight to the answers.
Summers rephrases question as to how Timms categorises the hash issue. Timms: it was about remaining anonymous.
Summers: Is that protected under 1st amendment?
Timms: journalists would argue they have 1st Amnemt protection not to reveal their sources
Summers: on Kromberg ..re publishing names.
Timms : it would be a radical rewrite of the 1st Amendment. He quotes a report in his statement that he draws to the courts attention on this issue.
Timms: the vast majority of the Counts refer to all the cables, not just the ones that name names. The claims the US has made in press releases are not true that it doesn’t apply to all the cables
Timms makes another analogy with the Pentagon Papers.
He is released by the judge.
Me: Timms was a another very strong witness.
Lewis & Summers discussing with the judge the limits on time.
Summers makes the point she has truncated the Defence summary & it would not be fair if
..if prosecution go over time.
More haggling over time. Lewis now realises having your time curtailed (he wants to go over) is not great... should be reconsidered.
Judge: the Defence have maintained, stuck to the half hour. She instructs the two to discuss the amount of time to be taken for cross examinatio & let her know; also the Defence then need time according to what questions their witness has been asked.
Lewis disagrees, interrupts
She says they will agree or she will make a ruling.
Lewis says he can never agree, he can’t tell in advance.
Dummy spit.
Lewis dummy spit.
Judge will decide in the morning.
She wants to start at 10 not 10.30 so asked Defence to see if prison will let him see his client at 9.30.

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I’ll be following the UK High Court Appeal by the US

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