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Sep 15, 2020 50 tweets 13 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
The sixth day of proceedings in the trial portion of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition hearing will begin shortly. I'll have live updates at this thread.
Yesterday, Assange extradition hearing resumed with testimony from US lawyer Eric Lewis. I paid particular attention to European Court of Human Rights decision that prosecutor seized upon to argue abusive prison conditions shouldn't prevent extradition.…
Eric Lewis suggested in his testimony that Assange would be held at Alexandria Detention Center before trial if he were brought to the United States. He'd be in conditions that were "tantamount to solitary confinement," like alleged Russian spy Maria Butina.
Chelsea Manning was confined at the Alexandria Detention Center while she was held in contempt by a federal court because she refused to testify before a grand jury empaneled to destroy WikiLeaks. #Assange
Court is in session. Eric Lewis takes responsibility for the Fox News video that played yesterday during proceedings. And James Lewis is resuming his cross-exam from yesterday that was abruptly ended by tech problems. #Assange
James Lewis is walking Eric Lewis through the ECHR decision in the Ahmad (and others) case. He especially notes the sections on solitary confinement that show the court considered the issue, though they rejected appeals against extradition in 2012. #Assange
James Lewis accuses Eric Lewis of "fishing" for material to help him ignore Ahmad case.

Eric Lewis replies, "If I were fishing, there are some large fish in there that convinces me that there is greater and greater data," that appreciates impact of solitary. #Assange
Eric Lewis makes clear that he agrees with Assange's legal team. It is likely government would incarcerate Assange at ADX Florence, a supermax prison, after trial.
James Lewis refers to Cunningham v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, which was a class action lawsuit that ended in settlement and challenged the cruel and inhuman treatment of prisoners with mental illness at ADX Florence #Assange
James Lewis asks Eric Lewis to concede treatment has gotten better for prisoners with mental illness at ADX Florence after the settlement.

Eric Lewis replies it's improved in certain ways and in certain ways it has gotten worse. #Assange
James Lewis asks Eric Lewis about the COVID-19 pandemic. He doubts it would pose any threat to Assange if brought to the Alexandria Detention Center, highlights few number of cases at the facility.
Eric Lewis, who believes Assange would likely be confined at the Alexendria Detention Center before trial, says 12 percent of federal population has COVID-19. "If he is convicted and sent elsewhere," virus would be more of threat #Assange
Eric Lewis' position: "If Mr. Assange received the full sentence [175 years], and received a credit for good behavior for each year, his sentence would still be far more than 100 years in federal prison."
James Lewis mentioned federal prison sentence against CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling, who was convicted of Espionage Act offenses. Said Sterling was charged with handing over classified letters/plans from CIA program targeting Iran to journo, which was never proven. #Assange
James Lewis refers to the sentencing of FBI whistleblower Terry Albury. He then moves on to the sentence that was issued against NSA whistleblower Reality Winner. Both pled guilty to violating the Espionage Act. He notes Winner faced longest sentence - 63 months. #Assange
Re: Albury and Winner

James Lewis emphasizes federal judges have discretion and will use rigorous procedure to issue fair and independent sentence. But Eric Lewis appears to believe Assange faces a case that is far more complex.
Comment: Much of US prosecution's case against Julian Assange depends on deluding courts into believing this is not unprecedented, and judges in US have reviewed cases like this before and handled them fairly. (1/2)
Comment: Directly comparing indictment against Assange to how Espionage Act cases against Albury, Sterling, or Winner unfolded creates the false perception that they are comparable. I think case against Assange represents a new kind of case for Justice Dept prosecutions. (2/2)
In regard to First Amendment, James Lewis says it's your position that the US Constitution precludes prosecution.

Eric Lewis: Yes, no such thing as a successful prosecution of publisher [in US history] #Assange
James Lewis, lead prosecutor: to Eric Lewis: "I challenge you to provide to this court one single precedent that says publishers cannot be prosecuted." #Assange
It is very difficult to understand Eric Lewis and the court has not paused to help him fix his settings so we can understand the testimony he is giving over a video link. So, bear with me. I'll go back and share quotes from this section at next break. #Assange
James Lewis: "Is it correct the US Supreme Court has never held that the First Amendment precludes the government from prosecuting third parties, including journalists, for publishing national defense information?" #Assange
Eric Lewis says when Jeff Sessions was Attorney General he pressured the EDVA to indict Assange.

"I am only saying that the Justice Department has been highly politicized, and I think very few Americans would question that presumption."
Eric Lewis' testimony spotlights Trump's shifting view toward WikiLeaks depending on politics. In 2010, favored death penalty for Assange. In 2016, he loved WikiLeaks, as Clinton campaign emails were published. In 2019, as Assange was indicted, "I know nothing about WikiLeaks."
James Lewis wraps. He was well into the fourth hour of cross-examining Eric Lewis. Ed Fitzgerald is now re-examining for Assange's legal team.
Eric Lewis highlights 2018 Barr memo outlining Attorney General's view that "full measure of law enforcement authority is placed in President's hands, and no limit is placed on the kinds of cases subject to his control and supervision." AG and DOJ lawyers are "his hand." #Assange
This comes up again in Eric Lewis' testimony #Assange
We're on lunch break until 2 pm. Plan is to wrap with Eric Lewis, and then US defense attorney Tom Durkin will testify. #Assange
Edward Fitzgerald goes over issue of sentencing with Eric Lewis meticulously. They use sentencing table to show how prosecutors could add enhancement to sentence, which would result in possible 175-year sentence. #Assange
Eric Lewis: "If defendant was organizer or leader of criminal activity that involved 5 or more participants that was otherwise expensive," can add adjustment.

Would take to over 12 years.
Eric Lewis: "With respect to 'Teenager,' [or Siggi], whose age seems relevant in that, you add two levels if minor under age of 18 is involved in the offense."

Would take to over 15 years. #Assange
Eric Lewis says is adjustment for people with "special abilities that help them commit the crime."

"I would think that Mr Assange’s technical proficiency would be

Would take to over 19 years.
Eric Lewis further suggested enhancement could be added for obstruction, or eluding investigators of the alleged crimes. They could also add enhancement for alleged victims of disclosures of information who were government employees. #Assange
Tom Durkin, a US defense attorney who has practiced law for 47 years, takes the proverbial witness stand in Assange extradition hearing #AssangeTrial
Fitzgerald begins by asking about the difficulties Assange would have preparing or engaging in his defense.

Durkin agreed Assange would not know what his lawyers learn on discovery from classified evidence.
Fitzgerald goes over the scale of sentence Assange might face (somewhat similar to what he did with Eric Lewis).

If convicted on all counts, Durkin said he'd be looking at possibly a 30 or 40-year sentence.
Durkin said conduct alleged against Assange, which he was acquitted of committing, could still be raised in aggravation to increase his sentence.
Durkin describes the "trial tax," which is the built-in incentive to plead guilty in the sentencing guidelines. "You get penalized for going to trial."

And a defendant may also plea to reduce their exposure to lengthy sentence. #Assange
Like multiple other witnesses, Durkin agrees that "political considerations" influenced the Trump administration's decision to indict Assange
There is a problem with Durkin's connection. It would be constructive if the court would help him troubleshoot, but this is the second time his internet has had a problem and all Baraitser seems to care about is that it isn't court that is having malfunctions #Assange
Durkin has switched to a different computer and hopes it will help #Assange
James Lewis, prosecutor, starts cross-exam with Durkin, and Durkin says, "I don’t believe he would be able to get what I would consider to be a fair trial in the United States." #Assange
James Lewis insisted Durkin could not possibly know for certain that Assange case would have unprecedented amount of discovery materials.

[I'll add Chelsea Manning's discovery evidence was massive.]
Asked about the assertion that Obama admin declined to prosecute Assange, Durkin said he doesn't "lend a lot of credence" to Kromberg saying there was still ongoing grand jury. In fact, what we know suggests case was probably declined at some point.
James Lewis asked Durkin if he could share how much the defense paid him.

Durkin: "Only if the judge will redact it so my other clients can't see what I accepted."

Laughter ensued #Assange
We've spent lot of time going over whether reporting on Obama admin and potential prosecution of Assange was credible or not.

Durkin said, "Not uncommon for Justice Dept to want to get certain positions out into press that they might otherwise not want to have to disclose."
Durkin continued — and this was during redirect with Fitzgerald:

"Not uncommon for leaks to occur, and if government doesn’t like the way reports are coming out, they will see to it that other leaks get made that can correct that." #Assange
Tomorrow we expect to hear from John Goetz, investigative journalist who was with Der Spiegel and worked on publications. We should also get to Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg's testimony. #Assange
Here's video report for Day 6 of Assange's extradition hearing #AssangeTrial
Two US defense attorneys testified at Julian Assange's extradition trial and detailed how he could effectively spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted of all offenses… #AssangeCase

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More from @kgosztola

Jun 22
The media delusion that Daniel Ellsberg blew the whistle 'the right way'…
Video version that includes the clip of David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart erroneously arguing that what Ellsberg did was somehow different from Snowden's whistleblowing. Or that Ellsberg did it the "right way."
Incredibly, while contending that Snowden was an egomaniac, Brooks and Capehart spend the part of the show that is supposed to be a tribute to Daniel Ellsberg focusing on themselves. They make it about their views on Snowden—views they know Ellsberg absolutely didn't share.
Read 6 tweets
Dec 31, 2022
Not only was 2022 yet another year with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in prison, but it also was another year in which Committee to Protect Journalists (@pressfreedom) refused to include Assange in their annual jailed journalists index
The United Kingdom, which has kept Assange in Belmarsh prison for over 3.5 years at the behest of the US government, should be light red on this map - just like Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Philippines, Turkmenistan, etc. But CPJ’s leadership can’t bring their organization to do that
The Committee to Protect Journalists’ own methodology suggests Assange qualifies, and should have qualified long ago.

Assange frequently commented on “public affairs” for print, radio, TV, and online.

So why doesn’t CPJ include Assange in their index?
Read 7 tweets
Dec 25, 2022
Bah humbug from @SouthwestAir to far too many passengers flying their airline.

This is Midway airport in Chicago, where families with crying children had to deal with the fact that they were lied to by this airline. Because their flights were never going to leave Chicago. ImageImageImage
I was booked on an 8:10 PM flight to Denver to visit family for Christmas. The plane was there at the gate, but @SouthwestAir had no pilot. They must’ve known, yet they waited til 15 min before boarding time to cancel the flight.
Apparently, @SouthwestAir is in the middle of major crisis in Denver. They are dealing with a staff shortage that’s so bad that at least one flight from Tampa was turned around and sent back to where it took off.

How many flights to Denver were canceled today due to this crisis? Image
Read 17 tweets
Nov 16, 2022
US Senate investigation confirmed that dozens of women at the Irwin County Detention Center were medically abused by a single ICE doctor, who was hired even though the Justice Department and state of Georgia had sued him…
Here is Karina Cisneros Preciado at the Senate permanent subcommittee hearing on ICE's medical mistreatment of women. She courageously shared her incarceration story, including when OB-GYN contracted by ICE subjected her to treatment without her consent.
Sen. Ossoff grilled the ICE official who is in charge of oversight for doctors contracted by the agency. His negligence allowed Dr. Mahendra Amin to treat and abuse dozens if not hundreds of women who were in ICE custody at Irwin County Detention Center between 2017-2020.
Read 6 tweets
Oct 8, 2022
Rallies in Denver, Minneapolis, Seattle, Tulsa, San Francisco Bay Area, & Washington DC, to support Stella Assange & supporters who formed human chain around UK Parliament to free Assange.

All part of global day of action that has been underway. I'm speaking at the DC rally.
LIVE: Hands Off Assange rally in DC at 12pm ET…
DC Free Assange rally at DOJ about to begin
Read 10 tweets
Oct 6, 2022
Why might @HillTVLive allow @briebriejoy to cover Israeli apartheid but not @kthalps?

Brie says The Hill told her their decision to fire her had to do with her "style," not the substance of her commentary.

Seems like identity may be playing a large role here. (1/4)
Katie Halper said this in her monologue: "I’m not a Jewish colleague of Tlaib, but I am a Jew and I am outraged."

Jewish Americans who use their identity to challenge Israeli apartheid are far more of a threat than someone like Briahna.

Briahna is not Jewish. (2/4)
I don't know how much The Hill has considered a scenario where Briahna does a monologue on Israeli apartheid. But to me, someone like Briahna, a Black woman, is more vulnerable to (baseless) AIPAC-funded smears accusing her of antisemitism. (3/4)
Read 4 tweets

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