Extradition September hearing Day 12 (or 14 incl Covid)

Joined the video link to cross to the court for a midday start to proceedings today.

Expect to hear from at least 2 medical experts, Dr Sondra Crosby for the Defence and Dr Nigel Blackwood for the Prosecution, and
possibly Prof Paul Mullen for the Defence.
Julian is seated judge enters
First witness, Dr Nigel Blackwood
Reader in Forensic Psychiatry at King’s College London. Medical expert commissioned by the prosecution to conduct a second psychiatric assessment of Julian Assange. This was completed by phone in July 2020.
Lewis: summarising his finding that JA has a depressive disorder.
Blackwood: some suicide risk, modifiable, but retains the capacity to resist.
Judge interrupts to ask Joseph to sit down
B: polite, good eye contact, engaging, articulate but became very concerned about his case
but engaged in activities & read. In July he said he didn’t want to take his own life but had thoughts about it. Was unhappy about being placed on “health care” as it had nothing to do with his health but was for admin reasons (that film footage)
The above is of course still Blackwood speaking
Blackwood is giving a month by month account, describing JA as well, having coffee with other prisoners etc but it’s unclear how he has gathered all this information - when it is an account of his own observations or reports he read. He says JA wanted to edit his report.
Blackwood is young and has a strong Scottish accent.

His opinion: has a recurrent depressive disorder which he has managed apart from an episode of self harm as a young man.
He is puzzled why Prof Kopelman says he is severely depressed. If this were the case Dr Daly should .....
... have referred him for appropriate care externally, that is the normal course of action & care, contrary to what Dr Kopelman said (that that is not available) which is just not correct.
He continues to say he is concerned that a 49 year old is diagnosed for the first time ..
as having Aspergers. Blackwood continues to list the characteristics & achievements he says are inconsistent with Asp.

Says JA has elevated risk of suicide, but only 1 in 1000 in prisons in England & Wales carry it out, though he is worried about extradition, the risk is ..
Modifiable & manageable.
Fitzgerald is now quoting from a prison report that states staff said they were so concerned about his suicide risk they had him transferred to health care. Blackwood says he hasn’t seen the report, nor did Dr Daly mention this to him. He says she is not denying he has suicidal
..ideas but it has been managed well.
Blackwood reiterating he disagrees with Kopelman about the severity of the depression.
Fitzgerald going thru a specific period when JA was particularly bad. B says Daly would have been duty bound to refer him for appropriate care. Fitzgerald makes the point he hasn’t read all the report and B agrees there are lots of documents he has not read.
Fitzgerald asks about the night checks 5 times a night in health care and Blackwood says yes that shows how well the suicide risk was managed.
Discussion of JA’s medication, one in particular that Kopelman suggested for depression, Blackwood says it was to help him sleep as Dr Daly indicated in her prison notes.
Fitzgerald now asks whether it would be inappropriate to keep someone who is depressed in isolation. Blackwood ultimately agrees but says JA is resilient & resourceful & is obviously capable to engaging in this case.
Fitzgerald asks if solitary exacerbates depression. Blackwood Agrees but says it can be mitigated by other factors.
Blackwood says the suicide rate in the US is lower that the UK.
Fitzgerald asks if he thinks keeping JA in solitary for 22-23 hours would be a good idea. Blackwood basically says it is workable depending on the context & other factors.
Fitzgerald asks about SAMs conditions & asks him again whether it would affect JA. Blackwood agrees, it may.
Fitzgerald reading a horrific description of conditions by a former warden of the bureau of prisons in the US & asks Blackwood again who agrees it may affect JA but
.... repeats the mantra.
Fitzgerald asks why he claims there is no solitary in the ADC in his report.
Blackwood says that is what Mr Kromberg said. Fitzgerald says you just accepted that was true.
Asks if he thinks Maureen Baird, the warden wouldn’t know whether there was or not
... which then elicited the mantra about what else might be available. Nothing else, says Fitzgerald, that’s it.

Lunch
Fitzgerald continues cross examining Blackwood.
Asks him about whether it would be inhuman to expose someone in JA’s condition to the conditions in the prison he would be held.
B: that’s not for me to say.. for the court to decide
Fitzgerald pointing out reports that were
..available to him about conditions in the US JA would be held before he wrote his report, rather than just reading what the Prosecutor said.
.. Agrees, but says he has read academic articles that say conditions in UK & US prisons are similar.
Fitzgerald asking him to compare what has been available to JA here - phone calls to the Samaritans for example, and what Maureen Baird says the conditions in the US would be, does he consider them the same.
Blackwood says something nonsensical (to me) in reply.. he says, it
.. “depends on other factors at the time”

Fitzgerald pushes him and he finally says, in those conditions, with no outlet for his intelligence etc etc yes it would have a deleterious effect.
In other words, if the former prison warden’s description of conditions is correct rather the Prosecutor’s, then it’s very likely it would be a bad place for JA to be, Prosecution witness agrees.
Fitzgerald asks Blackwood why he spoke to Daly & not another prison doctor with whom JA had a better relationship.
Blackwood says there are numerous doctors there.
Witness agrees JA told him he felt better after being moved out of health care, indicating he doesn’t cope well with isolation.
Fitzgerald going thru the notes where there are constant references to asking for the Samaritans on the phone. Blackwood says yes but also during that period he was reported to be better. Fitzgerald asks whether this might be exactly because of access to the Samaritans for exampl
.. e. (Have to say, Dr Blackwood is being given a going over & showing signs of stress)
Fitzgerald asking about Chelsea & Epstein. Asks if he would say Epstein could have resisted the impulse but didn’t.
Blackwood keeps referring to predictions that JA would not be able to participate in this legal process have not come to pass.
Fitzgerald quotes Deeley & contrasts with Blackwood’s descriptions based on another prison health care worker’s notes that include comments like that he has had successful relationships with numerous women.
Blackwood says he is concerned JA had never been diagnosed with Aspergers previously despite having had psychiatric care.
Fitzgerald asks for his notes of his consultations with JA & Daly.
Short break to consult JA
A final question from Fitzgerald: you said you have got notes of both interviews & there may be notes of interviews with Dr Daly.. anyone else? No one else.
Lewis points out Maureen Baird was talking about another prison, Fitzgerald points out she says the SAMs conditions
.. are exactly the same.
Lewis: Dod you understand it related to the ADC prison?
Blackwood: yes I did.
Lewis: you say given his mental condition it would not be unjust.
Blackwood: yes.
Lewis asks about the other prison doctor who Blackwood did not speak to, asking about her
.. status.. she is at the beginning of her career

Witness finished
Dr Sondra Crosby is next.
She is Professor of Medicine at Boston University, where she specialises in internal medicine. Dr Crosby was one of a group of three doctors who assessed Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in January 2018.
She is on video but doesn’t appear to be able to hear the court
Fitzgerald: you saw JA on a number of occasions starting in Oct 2017
Cosby: I was invited to do this by an American doctor due to the effects of JA’s confinement in the Ecuadorian Embassy & visited him in Belmarsh twice
Fitzgerald: the conditions of confinement & the consequences, how his physical health has been affected by prolonged psychological torture.
Crosby: he described symptoms of depression & PTSD, I observed over time his mental state was declining & started discussing suicide
& described an Bosnian charged with war crimes who swallowed cyanide in court
... He was suffering with an infection that he could not have treated outside the Embassy, he increasingly became very depressed & agitated. He told me he was not revealing the full extent of his suicide ideation he would be put into isolation, she said.
She said he was severely depressed & that accessing the Samaritans had helped him. She deals with depression & PTSD in her clinical practice. Lewis objects.
Fitzgerald: did you form a view on his medical condition?
Crosby: in Oct 2019 - severely depressed, met DSM5 major criteria
... & his suicide risk was high. He said the trigger would be extradition to the US where his life would be intolerable. She adds she believes he would be at high risk of suicide if extradited.
She was concerned about his physical condition - chest pain, dizziness, shortness ..
.. of breath, the long term dental infection, osteoporosis which is unusual in young men so I looked at his Oz records & spoke to his endocrinologist in OZ - it has never been treated.. he broke his ribs bending down to tie his shoe laces. He would be at increased risk for..
..fractures if he were incarcerated in the US.
Lewis: would it be fair to say you are sympathetic JA’s cause
Crosby: no that would not be fair.
Lewis: what was the purpose of your trip & who paid for it?
Crosby: I paid, multiple reasons but mainly to see him.
Lewis: all his..
.. probs are being addressed in prison
Crosby: no. Not the osteoporosis oppression the symptoms that could be heart related
Lewis: are you qualified under section 12 of the mental health act?
Fitzgerald: that’s ridiculous no foreigner is
Crosby: I’m qualified to give expert evidence on mental health.
Lewis: a number of experienced psychiatrists have given evidence who have had more recent contact with him. Are you saying you know better?
C: No
L: Did you visit him on your own or with his lawyers?
C: on one occasion his lawyer was there.
Lewis: you’ve relied on Nils Melzer’s report.
C: I relied on his medical experts reports also.
Lewis: do you think Melzer’s report I’d fair & balanced
C: I have no opinion on his political comments, rather on comments about his health
C: I agreed with the doctors’ assessment that his mental state brought about by trauma from the stress of his situation.

Witness finished
Judge asks to be told what statements have been agreed that she can receive. Short break. Well either hear another witness statement or the will discuss the “adjudication sheet” which Defence obtained because the Prosecution questioned the veracity of the razor incident.
Whoa, spelling. We will either hear.. or they will..
Long close up shot of Stella talking to Julian who is crouching low to speak to her privately . This is probably the closest she has been to him in many months. All that separates them is the glass.
Her ear is as close to the glass as can be.
Fitzgerald reading the statement of Christopher Butler, San Fransisco, Internet Archive
1. Archive.org has archived shots of WikiLeaks publications
2. No request from US govt to take these down
Next, statement of John Young of New York, Cryptome.org
Published the encrypted file of unredacted cables (dated) and have had no request to take it down nor has any legal action been taken. (I hope this is correct, he rattled through it and it’s 1am in Sydney.
Court over for today.

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More from @MaryKostakidis

1 Oct
Extradition September hearing Day 17 (19 incl 2 Covid),
expected to be the final day.

Joined the video link waiting to cross to the court room.
Today we expect to hear an update on the Spanish surveillance case and summaries of the remaining witness statements.

I’ll provide as much information as I can on this thread.
Looking forward to providing a wrap of the hearings to @PhillipAdams_1 during the court lunch break

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30 Sep
Extradition September hearing Day 16 (18 incl 2 Covid)

Joined the video link waiting to cross to the Old Bailey.

In a significant development yesterday, the judge agreed to accept the statements of 2 former UCGlobal employees without requiring them to reveal their identities..
.. This was a critical decision as the only protection they have (besides armed guards) is the fact that their former boss would be the suspect should anything happen to them given he alone would know their identities, Defence argued.

In accepting the Spanish court’s ruling on..
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29 Sep
Extradition September hearing Day 15 (17 incl 2 Covid)

Joined the video link waiting to cross to court.
There are 12 of us on this videolink today. Perhaps @kgosztola can tell us how many journalists are on the link at the Old Bailey
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Read 113 tweets
28 Sep
Extradition September hearing Day 14 (16 inl 2 Covid)

On the video link waiting to cross to court.

Expect to be back to US prison conditions today.
Yancey Ellis is an EDVA lawyer who will focus on pre-trial conditions, another US lawyer Joel Sickler on post-conviction work.
Hard to believe there are a mere 13 of us on the video link around the world, other than the few journalists in the adjacent court room at the Old Bailey
Lewis catches himself on the screen & takes the opportunity to pat down his hair. In these moments each day we see the lawyers & court officials put on their ties.
Read 32 tweets
25 Sep
Extradition September hearing day Day 13 (15 with 2 lost Covid days)

Joined the video link.

I believe the only remains medical witness is Paul Mullen, Emeritus Professor at Melbourne’s Monash University. He was JA’s consulting psychiatrist in Australia & diagnosed..
... him with clinical depression in 1995.

The other witness scheduled for today is computer forensics expert, Patrick Eller.

His report reviews evidence from Chelsea Manning’s court martial.
Summers is back after being unwell yesterday. JA entering. Split screen as the next witness will be on video.
Read 85 tweets
23 Sep
Extradition September hearing Day 11 (or 13 with Covid days)

Joined video link & waiting to cross to court.

Yesterday we heard from the main Defence medical witness Prof M. Kopelman whose testimony that JA suffers from clinical depression and is likely to kill himself if
.. extradited, was contested by the Prosecution who attempted to discredit his opinion by alleging bias, an error in judgement thru omission, & a mistaken premise regarding conditions in US prisons as well as the likely severity of his sentence.
Kopelman informed Lewis’ that given he is aware Lewis had intended to secure K as a witness for the Prosecution, his attempts to discredit the reliability of K’s opinion rang somewhat hollow, that a lawyer cannot use psychiatric diagnostic guidelines like a cookbook,
Read 91 tweets

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