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Sep 24, 2020 40 tweets 13 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
DAY 13 of the #JulianAssange extradition hearing will begin soon. Our live tweets will be on this thread.

Join us at 5pm BST for Joe Lauria @unjoe's live report on the day's proceedings.

Today's witnesses are expected to be be Dr Blackwood & Dr Sondra Crosby. Judge arrives.
Dr Blackwood his seen #Assange at Belmarsh & found him moderately depressed but he believes there has been improvement & Belmarsh has been managing this.
#Assange was engaged in activities in June and responding to letters. He had become thinking about suicide. In July he said he didn't want to take his own life but contemplating his circumstances he often thought about it.

Nurse reported him saying he felt like a living ghost
Blackwood talks abt #Assange's time isolated in health care. Having difficulty reading & sleeping.

After lockdown, #Assange's state improved. Dr Daly saw him in February. He was not suicidal. He was deemed fit to stand trial.

In further meetings w/ Blackwood JA seemed engaged.
Blackwood: #Assange spoke to me about the isolation of health care. Said it had turned him into "a hallucinating puppet on the floor". He was angry about that. Said it was an affront to his intelligence.
Blackwood is challenging Kopelman's diagnosis. He says the local records need to be looked at. He is giving an opposing diagnosis that would only admit to mild symptoms, if any, of autism. Talking about #Assange's warmth & wit.

Elevated but not substantial risk of suicide.
Lewis: Would #Assange receive the same meds in the US?
Blackwood: Something similar
Edward Fitzgerald: When JA moved to health care... on May 18 2019 at 2.30pm, Belmarsh staff raised concerns. "Low in mood. Hard to control thoughts of suicide. Assange wanted to go to health care." Did you see this?

B No, I thought it was about his exposure in the video footage.
EF: This is very different to what Dr Daly told you
B: Dr Daly looks after his long-term health
EF: She didn't mention this report

EF You agree on #Assange's long-term mental health record.
B Yes. I don't agree w/ Dr Kopelman

EF: Well let's find some common ground
Blackwood agrees that #Assange could have been severely depressed in December but moderate in March.

EF points out that Blackwood has not seen all the documents - namely a Belmarsh staff report that JA had been in a very bad way for days before transportation to health care unit
Blackwood: People are taken to healthcare in various states.

EF has B confirms a list of JA's medications while at Belmarsh. Notes a letter from Kopelman suggesting a particular drug for a symptom he describes [Kopelman has been denying this more extreme symptom of depression].
Blackwood: It was a low dose
EF: But then it was increased.
B: I agree there must have been a clinical condition for that drug to be prescribed.

EF: So it's the same condition you doctors see, but while you say it's mild, Kopelman says he has seen it severe.

B: Yes
Braidwood is arguing that #Assange is resilient. He suggests he might be able to handle the process of extradition.

EF reading to Blackwood that segregation exacerbates mental illness; that 50% of suicides are among segregated prisoners. Blackwood qualifying those stats
EF [Reads} "Assange will be confined to a small cell almost every minute of the day..."
B That is most severe and yes it would have an impact

EF [Reads Maureen Baird on SAMS in NY] "In cell almost 24 hrs/ day. Only contact via a slot on the door... JA would experience this"
B My understanding is that SAMS conditions can vary. I am relying on Mr Kromberg's affidavit

EF Kromberg says there is no solitary confinement, so you simply echo that in your report? Eric Lewis says there is. Maureen Baird says there is. You don't mention this?

B is stumbling
Why did you come to a conclusion about something the judge should decide, namely that it would be unjust or oppressive to send #Assange to a US prison.

B [somewhat rattled] I think #Assange's mood is manageable...

EF We'll take a break for now
Fitzgerald to Dr Blackwood: You were just addressing the question of whether #Assange would be able to resist the impulse to suicide, not whether it would be inhumane to subject someone in his condition to a US prison?

Blackwood : Yes to the former & the latter is for the judge
EF So your predictions would be depending on a knowledge of US prisons?
B Yes
EF But you don't know much about Federal prisons in the US?
B: No
FE: You read Eric Lewis's before making yours? Or the report by Eric Sickler?
B: No, I hadn't read them. I read Mr Kromberg's statement
EF: Do you accept that given the condition of Mr Assange, he would be negatively affected if subjected to inhumane conditions of detention? ie SAMS as described by Maureen Baird as a basic regime

Blackwood: I think in solitary with no contact w/ his support group & therapy, yes
EF: Do you now accept that #Assange was taken to the medical wing because of his deteriorating condition?

B: That seems to be the case from the Belmarsh staff report

EF: Would you agree that Dr Korson is the person #Assange has opened up to?
B: Yes

EF: Did you speak w/ her?
EF: Do you agree that isolation didn't agree w/ Assange?
B: Relative isolation. He was in a medical ward.

EF: Do you see that from July 21st 2020, there are many records of #Assange requesting Samaritan's phone. "Couldn't handle things"?

B: You have to be careful of context.
EF: You're not an expert in US prisons, but you were aware of @xychelsea's attempted suicide in the same prison where #Assange will go. Shouldn't you have acknowledged this?

B: I was aware. It is dealt with in my report.

EF: How can one get inside someone's head & predict?
B: I think the extent of Mr #Assange's disorder is such that he would be able to resist suicide. Some doctors, such as Dr Katharine Humphries have made definitive statements to the contrary...

EF: Her statement has been accepted by the prosecution.
EF: Are you an expert in Asperger's syndrome
B: No but I deal with inmates who suffer from this condition
EF: Are you familiar with these stats, that people with this condition more likely to succeed with suicide?
B: ?
EF: We have requested your notes. Will you pass them on?
EF: You do have notes regarding interviews with #Assange & Dr Daly?
B: Yes

James Lewis re-examines
Maureen Baird only deals with SAMS conditions in Colorado.

That's wrong. She says it would be the same in Alexandria Detention Centre (the pre-trial holding area)
Lewis asks Blackwood to confirm Dr Daly's seniority relative to other medical staff.

End of questions

Edward Fitzgerald has obtained evidence he wishes to submit. Baraitser grants permission to "take it under advisement".

Next witness is Dr Sondra Crosby
Dr Sondra Crosby has joined the hearing but her connection is poor. Bad echo and she can't hear the court well. Being swore in.
Dr Sondra Crosby stands by the contents of her statement to the court.

EF: You saw #Assange on a number of occasions from Oct 2017?

SC: Yes. The purpose of the first visit was to observe the effects of living in the embassy with what had then been 5.5 years.
EF: You've dealt w/ people suffering from PTSD?
SC: Yes
EF: You visited him in Belmarsh, in Oct 2019 & in 2020
SC: Yes
EF: You make observations act how his physical health has suffered due to long-term psychological trauma?
SC: Yes, when I 1st saw him in 2017, he showed signs of depression but he was coping. When I saw him in Feb 2018, he talked about his thoughts of suicide. He spoke of a man who had exposed war crimes suicide on TV. Assange analysed his suicide frame-by-frame.
SC: I was concerned about his mental condition & long-term tooth ache. His condition deteriorated over subsequent visits. He looked substantially different. He couldn't think straight. Couldn't remember names. Appeared severely depressed. Talked abt suicide. Pleaded for help
SC When I saw #Assange in Oct 209 he met all the DSM-5 criteria for severe depression. He is at high risk of completing a suicide if extradited to the US.

Assange also suffers from osteoporosis & has suffered multiple fractures. I believe this has never been treated.
James Lewis X-exam of Sondra Crosby
JL: Would it be fair to say you are sympathetic to Mr Assange's cause
SC No it would not be fair at all

JL Haven't all JA's medical problems been treated.
SC: No, further testing is needed. He certainly is receiving medication.
SC: My last contact was in Jan 2020
JL: Were members of the legal team present when you visited Assange?
SC: Yes
JL: You communicated your concerns to @NilsMelzer. Is his report fair & balanced?
SC: I only rely on the medical experts. I have no opinion on the political dimension
JL: Are you aware no one extradited from the UK has ever committed suicide?
SC: I'm not an expert on that.

End of X-exam
Re-exam Sondra Crosby
Just confirming that she can provide insight that no one else can.

End of testimony Dr Sondra Crosby

10 mins break

Julian and Stella on either side of the glass box, heads almost touching. Warden respectfully keeping his distance.
Statement by Christopher Butler from Wayback Machine.
Confirms has certain snapshots of @Wikileaks website

"My name is John Young, owner of I published the unreacted cables on Sept 1st 2010. Still there today. Legal in the US. Never asked to remove."
Correction: that's the unredacted cables that were first published in the US by John Young of - not by @Wikileaks.

He's also published a few interesting items of late...
Correction: The man #Assange saw commit suicide on TV was on trial for war crimes. Dr Crosby said Assange was studying the expression on the man's face frame-by-frame.

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