WSWS journalist Thomas Scripp’s Oct. 2, 2020 overview of the proceedings: Assange’s extradition hearing concludes at London’s Old Bailey, with decision due January 4’
A few chilling passages:
“Julian Assange’s extradition hearing concluded yesterday as it began, with a denial of his legal right to a fair trial. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser refused to admit additional evidence on the US government’s flagrant abuse of due process.
When the evidentiary phase of the hearing opened four weeks ago, Baraitser refused the defence’s request that she excise additional allegations made against Assange at the eleventh hour by US prosecutors, in a superseding indictment. She refused a subsequent application made by the defence for an adjournment, to allow them to respond to the new indictment. Her ruling yesterday renders any challenge to this all but impossible.” […]
“Baraitser’s clear intention is to rubber-stamp the US extradition request under a veil of secrecy. Having expelled 40 trial monitors—including representatives of Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders and EU parliamentarians—on the opening day of the hearing, Baraitser has since been able to count on the virtual censorship of proceedings by the corporate media.”
Also from wsws.org on Oct. 2:
“Stella Moris, the partner of Julian Assange and mother of his two young children, delivered the following statement outside London’s Old Bailey yesterday, the final day of resumed British court hearings for the extradition of the WikiLeaks founder to the US. Moris powerfully summed up the issues of democratic rights and press freedom at stake in the US attempt to prosecute Assange for exposing American war crimes. She spoke movingly on the impact of his decade-long persecution on their family.”
‘Evidence of war crimes, torture, surveillance and assassination plots: Assange hearing nears final day’, Thomas Scripps and Laura Tiernan, 1 October 2020 (in part):
London’s Old Bailey heard evidence yesterday of astounding acts of criminality carried out by the US government against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. These included near total surveillance, grossly violating Assange’s privacy and legally privileged conversations; the theft of personal documents; and plans to kidnap or poison him.
The testimony was provided anonymously by two former employees of UC Global—a Spanish company which provided security for the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where Assange claimed asylum. Details of their accounts had previously emerged in the press and have now been formally submitted as evidence.
Summarizing their written statements, defence lawyer Mark Summers QC explained how the witnesses learned, in their words, that from 2016 UC Global boss David Morales “had entered into illegal arrangements with the US authorities to supply them with sensitive information about Mr Assange.”
Morales told one of the witnesses directly that they were working for “US intelligence”, who he otherwise variously referred to as “the dark side” and “our American friends.” Morales experienced a “noticeable increment in his [financial] assets” after these relations were established.
While UC Global was working for US intelligence, one witness was instructed by Morales to install new surveillance cameras in the embassy which could secretly record sound and told to deny that they could do so when installing them. They were also told the cameras should have streaming capabilities so the Americans could have access. Later, secret microphones were concealed in a fire extinguisher in an embassy meeting room and in a socket in the toilets where Assange tried to hold private meetings. Stickers were placed on external windows to counteract vibrations and allow the “American friends” to use laser microphones pointed at the windows from outside the embassy. [in order to neutralize Julian’s ‘White Noise Machine’]
This surveillance was targeted specifically against Assange’s communication with his legal representatives, considered “priority targets.” Morales, said one witness, showed “a real obsession in relation to monitoring and recording the lawyers… because ‘our American friends’ were requesting it.” Lawyer-client privilege is a basic principle of justice and any violation by the prosecution should result in a case being thrown out of court.
Morales also asked the team at the embassy to obtain Assange’s fingerprints, steal his documents, and “steal the nappy of a baby that regularly visited Mr Assange” to establish whether the child was his. Morales “expressly stated that the Americans were the ones who wanted to establish paternity.” He later recounted to the witness that his American handlers were considering “more extreme measures”, specifically his “kidnap” or “poisoning.” […]
“In the afternoon, the court heard defence evidence on WikiLeaks’ 2011 Guantanamo Bay Files publications, which investigative journalist Andy Worthington described as, “the anatomy of a crime of colossal proportions perpetrated by the US government on the majority of the 779 prisoners held in Guantanamo.”
Mark Summers QC for the defence cited key passages from Worthington’s two witness statements. The journalist had partnered with WikiLeaks to provide critical background and context for the files, which comprised thousands of pages of Detainee Assessment Briefs from the Joint Task Force at Guantánamo Bay (JTF-GTMO), to US Southern Command in Miami, Florida.
Worthington has published extensively on Guantanamo and was lead author of a 2009 UN report on secret detention.
In his written statement to the court, Worthington explained how the Guantanamo files “contained detailed explanations of the supposed intelligence used to justify the prisoners’ detentions”, with “evidence” extracted by CIA torture, “either in Guantanamo or in secret prisons run by the CIA.”
He cited the example of three detainees whose false testimony, “which evidenced the criminal use of torture”, was used to convict many fellow-prisoners.” […]
“Britain’s Telegraph newspaper partnered with WikiLeaks on the Guantanamo Files—Assange’s “media partners” at the Guardian and New York Times having already turned on him for “irresponsibly” disclosing war crimes. Worthington recalled that he and Assange met “regularly” at the Telegraph’s offices “for joint meetings and discussions”. The newspaper carried no report yesterday of Worthington’s testimony, despite having published the 2011 Guantanamo revelations ahead of WikiLeaks.”
Judge Baraitser has ruled that written closing remarks by the defense will be submitted to court in four weeks, and by the prosecution in six weeks, if I remember correctly.
The rest will be by Tweet.
(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)