Assange Hearing Day 10

(craigmurray.org.uk)

124 points | by k1m 4 days ago

6 comments

  • bainsfather 4 days ago

    Remarkable that the bbc website shows 1 article about the current hearings [0].

    Meanwhile there are about 20 on Johnny Depp's recent libel case [1].

    I'd love to see bbc reports on each day of Assange's hearings, in the sort of detail they did for Depp's case. But for some reason they are not reporting it. I wonder why?

    [0] https://www.bbc.com/news/topics/c82wm9yvv05t/julian-assange

    [1] https://www.bbc.com/news/topics/c6jx58xrrnmt/johnny-depp

    • cochne 4 days ago

      I think this is pretty well explained by Chomsky's Propaganda Model, and unfortunately not very surprising. It is not that the governments of the US and UK have conspired to conceal the truth, but that the media has chosen to censor itself. It does this in favor of the government support it receives, in the form of receiving official sources and avoiding flak.

      • jjeaff 3 days ago

        I think I would probably go with Occam's Razor here.

        Stories about Johnny Depp's case get orders of magnitude more clicks than stories about Julian Assange.

        • candiodari 3 days ago

          ... and orders of magnitude less complaints. I bet Julien Assange has tons of enemies, even loads of people who just feel he has "betrayed" US/UK army/police force/...

          The big lesson is that it's very much exactly on display what fairness is on offer at courts in the UK: the BBC is very big on criticizing governments worldwide the UK has beefs with, not so big on criticizing the UK government or it's main ally.

      • Synaesthesia 4 days ago

        They are not reporting on anything embarrassing for the west: The Assange Hearings, The attacks on Yemen, Gaza

        • qz2 4 days ago

          This is a worrying trend recently. And lets not forget the conduct from Laura Kuenssberg over the last few years.

          • bennyelv 4 days ago

            Can you explain for those not familiar with this? Specifically the comment about Kuenssberg.

            • qz2 4 days ago

              The criticism section on her Wikipedia page probably gives a fair appraisal of the situation. Fairer than I can give anyway.

          • mpfundstein 3 days ago

            especially since covid.

            • hnlmorg 4 days ago

              They are constantly reporting on embarrassing stories for the west. They might not report every international story happening but even the BBC only have finite resources. However do a search for Yemen or Gaza and you'll see dozens of stories come up.

              The ironic thing about the BBC is people moan about it from all sides of the debate: it's too left wing or too right wing. There's too many international stories or too many UK-based stories. It seems to me that if everyone thinks the BBC panders to the opposing audience then maybe the BBC are actually serving their impartiality mission correctly.

              edit: I'm getting downvoted for this but I do regularly compare articles written from different news outlets, the language they used and topics they cover. While the BBC might not be my preferred outlet (eg their stories are a little too dumbed down for my liking), their impartiality is the one thing that should be commended. It always strikes me as ironic that people complain about the BBC having bias when in fact that bias is usually the product of the reader (yes, us consumers will inflect our own biases onto the articles we read just as much as journalists can add their biases into the articles they write).

              • ralusek 4 days ago

                Western media is almost exclusively critical of the west, to the point that one of the most common ways your average western person is misinformed is by thinking that the west is uniquely evil, with few redeeming qualities.

              • the-dude 4 days ago

                I don't have the English canonical way at hand, in Dutch naar de bekende weg vragen. Are you asking what you already know?

                The idea the European public broadcasters are really independent, is false. I am Dutch and it is the same in NL.

                • bainsfather 4 days ago

                  Well, it is something that I didn't know until a few years ago - ok, I would often disagree with bbc articles, or think them a little biased. But this is something much worse.

                  And I am still shocked that the bbc does this.

                  Also, I am interested quite how the process works - who makes the decisions, how many are involved etc, what do the other bbc staff think, etc.

                  • the-dude 4 days ago

                    I can't speak of the BBC, I know too little about the English context.

                    Dutch : follow the money, political alignment and if they for example would air something over-the-line regarding our royals, they will get a call from someone from our deep-state and they will pull it.

                    But for the most part, I think they are very well in-tune in what they should and shouldn't do. They need very litte instructions.

                    • jjgreen 4 days ago

                      You cannot hope to bribe or twist (thank God!) the British journalist. But, seeing what the man will do unbribed, there’s no occasion to.

                      Humbert Wolfe, "Over the Fire", in The Uncelestial City (1930).

                    • hnlmorg 4 days ago

                      The BBC are one of the very few impartial news services out there. If you look at how people complain about the BBC, you get people from all sides of the political spectrum moaning that the BBC is biased to the other side. But what's really happening here is that it's the readers who are biased and feel their view point is unfairly represented.

                      • harry8 4 days ago

                        Forget party politics for a moment.

                        The BBC buried the story they had about their former 'star' and Prince Charles' friend Jimmy Saville being a mass-pedarest.

                        It's a big place with many competing interests, styles of journalist, editor and so on. There is no /one/ bbc. They levy their own taxes(!) so are independent for funding.

                        I am trying to recall the last time the BBC was critical of British foreign policy or their secret service. Be it in Ireland, Iraq or elsewhere. Regardless of which party had a leader who was Prime Minister at the time. I'm not coming up with much.

                        Burying this story is exactly in keeping with my recollection of how the BBC does it. It is a /huge/ story, why is it not being run? The contrast with the amount of coverage of some ridiculous hollywood divorce which is literally of no importance to anyone whatsoever is utterly stunning, is it not? Do we put that down to incompetence? My Occam's razor is struggling with that but I guess it's at least possible "Assange isn't getting enough clicks, drop it." They don't do advertising though, do they?

                        • hnlmorg 3 days ago

                          > Forget party politics for a moment.

                          Why? That's a pretty significant chunk of reporting where bias is introduced.

                          > The BBC buried the story they had about their former 'star' and Prince Charles' friend Jimmy Saville being a mass-pedarest.

                          Everyone did though. Not just the BBC. Is it right that it was buried; no of course it isn't. But this is an exception rather than the trend and it wasn't even something that was unique to the BBC.

                          > It's a big place with many competing interests, styles of journalist, editor and so on. There is no /one/ bbc.

                          There's still guidelines journalists have to follow, editors that review pieces and editors themselves get reviewed. Then you have the effect where people who apply for the Beeb will be tend to be people who also believe in BBC's mission statement of impartiality, much like how Fox News attracts news casters who support the Republicans.

                          > I am trying to recall the last time the BBC was critical of British foreign policy or their secret service. Be it in Ireland, Iraq or elsewhere. Regardless of which party had a leader who was Prime Minister at the time. I'm not coming up with much.

                          Of course they're not going to be directly critical -- if they were then they wouldn't be impartial. Impartiality literally means they can't be critical. But what they can do is run stories about mistakes and discuss them "matter of fact" and have guests on the Radio / TV broadcasts who are critical -- all of which the BBC have done on many occasions.

                          > Burying this story is exactly in keeping with my recollection of how the BBC does it.

                          BBC haven't buried it though. They just haven't run as many articles as the OP would have liked. But they have still reported on it.

                          > The contrast with the amount of coverage of some ridiculous hollywood divorce which is literally of no importance to anyone whatsoever is utterly stunning, is it not?

                          Not really. That's just the modern state of news broadcasters these days. Sure, you wouldn't get that from broadsheets but BBC news isn't intended to be a broadsheet. It's intended to be more accessible to the masses and thus that does mean they do have a lot of entertainment content. You might prefer broadsheet style of reporting over the dumbed down and often entertainment-focused articles published by the BBC (like I do too) but that doesn't mean that the BBC is burring articles nor that it isn't impartial.

                          As an aside, if you are after something more like a broadsheet then I highly recommend the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 (weekday mornings). On that show they do cover many of the topics you claimed the BBC normally do not.

                          > They don't do advertising though, do they?

                          Outside of the UK they do. They're also in the tough position that many license fee payers think the BBC should compete with popular programming (I disagree, I think the point of having a license fee is so that you can have unpopular programming that normal TV and Radio networks wouldn't fund).

                    • vidarh 4 days ago

                      The BBC used to be a lot more independent than it is now. It was never actually independent, but over the last ten years they've been fully brought to heel.

                      • sleavey 4 days ago

                        I think that would be "are you asking a rhetorical question?".

                        • the-dude 4 days ago

                          I guess you are right, but we have that phrasing too.

                      • johnnyfaehell 4 days ago

                        > I'd love to see bbc reports on each day of Assange's hearings, in the sort of detail they did for Depp's case. But for some reason they are not reporting it. I wonder why?

                        Because no one cares? The BBC is there to provide a service to the public, if the public doesn't care about a court case why would there be lots of articles? There was lots of interest in the Johnny Depp case, not because people cared who was right and who was wrong but it was scandal and scandal is so popular there are lots of trashy news outlets that just handle scandal. While the Assange case is largely boring, we know he did X,Y,Z because he publically boasted about it, legally he is to be treated as he is innocent until found guilty but we know he did it because he said he did it repeatedy. We know these are crimes in the US. Now it's the boring details of can he be sent to the US which doesn't really affect people and rather hard to understand without putting a bit of effort into it. It's not light reading.

                        • confounded 4 days ago

                          > Because no one cares? The BBC is there to provide a service to the public, if the public doesn't care about...

                          Unfortunately in Britain, the BBC largely decides what people care about, or are even aware of.

                          • johnnyfaehell 4 days ago

                            > Unfortunately in Britain, the BBC largely decides what people care about, or are even aware of.

                            I would disagree with that. There are multiple massive news outlets, majority of which have a larger user base for their online offering than the BBC. For Televised news it is very popular but again not a monolopy. This is getting the same level of coverage on all outlets because the interest from the public on what seems to be a very legally techincal trial is not high. There will be lots of coverage once there is an outcome but for the most part of on-going cases unless it's a scandal involed the average person only cares about the outcome.

                          • wonderwonder 4 days ago

                            "We know these are crimes in the US". Except if he is a journalist they are not. He is being politically prosecuted by the current US administration to force him to be silent on Russia's role in the 2016 election.

                            I think Assange is very much not a good person, and feel that he absolutely attempted to influence the election in Trump's favor, something I am very against. With that said, the man is being prosecuted for political, not legal cause. Snowden should be pardoned and charges dropped against Assange.

                            "sent to the US which doesn't really affect people" the exact opposite is true, this case can have a very real effect on US whistle blowers, a group of people who play a vital role in keeping the government and corporations honest.

                            • johnnyfaehell 4 days ago

                              > "sent to the US which doesn't really affect people" the exact opposite is true, this case can have a very real effect on US whistle blowers, a group of people who play a vital role in keeping the government and corporations honest.

                              These are not people of the UK who are paying for the BBC. The BBC is providing a service to the people of the UK. While it is useful worldwide, it's utmost service is to the people of the UK who are by in large forced to pay for it. Hence, why a large precentage of the population of the UK don't care. There will be people who care but mostly people don't.

                              • The computer crimes he is charged with don’t depend on whether the suspect is a journalist or not. And really freedom of the speech and press also apply to everybody, not just journalists.

                                Edit: where am I wrong here?

                          • Synaesthesia 4 days ago

                            "US Government explicitly argued that all journalists are liable to prosecution under the Espionage Act (1917) for publishing classified information, citing the Rosen case."

                            ...

                            The US government is now saying, completely explicitly, in court, those reporters (Daniel Ellsberg and other whistleblowers) could and should have gone to jail and that is how we will act in future. The Washington Post, the New York Times, and all the “great liberal media” of the USA are not in court to hear it and do not report it .. !

                            • martin_a 4 days ago

                              I think this is what the whole Assange thing is about.

                              "The US will get you. No matter where you are, doesn't matter if you are a journalist. If we want you muted, we will make you."

                              • evgen 4 days ago

                                They (the government) have _always_ said this and the courts have backed them up on it. Always. Ellsberg should have gone to jail and were it not for incompetent prosecutors and Liddy, Hunt, and the rest of the plumbers along with some FBI wiretapping Ellsberg would have been in prison until at least the Ford administration and possibly until Carter took office.

                                • voxic11 4 days ago

                                  Why was no one prosecuted for publishing or receiving the Snowden leaks then? I remember the Guardian and the NYT both receiving leaked information from Snowden. Can you give a single example where the courts backed them up? Even the prosecution in this Assange case seems to be agreeing that there has never been a successful prosecution.

                                  • evgen 3 days ago

                                    Receiving and publishing are not specifically crimes and that is why the New York Times and Washington Post won in the Pentagon Papers case. Gathering the info or soliciting it are crimes. The latter is what Assange is being charged with the in US and the former is what Snowden would be charged with if he ever left Russia. The Espionage Act charges made against Assange are fairly weak and I expect them to eventually get dropped or any conviction to be overturned on appeal, but the conspiracy to commit computer intrusion charge is both an overt act and one that is not protected by any claim of being a 'journalist'.

                                    • voxic11 3 days ago

                                      That is what most people understand the law to be. What is surprising in this case is that the US prosecutor is arguing that it is an incorrect understanding and that merely publishing or receiving classified information is a prosecutable crime under the espionage act.

                                      > James Lewis QC: Do you accept that the Pentagon Papers judgement is the most relevant one?

                                      Eric Lewis: Yes, but there are others.

                                      James Lewis QC: A close reading of the Pentagon Papers judgement shows that the New York Times might have been successfully prosecuted. Three of the Supreme Court judges specifically stated that an Espionage Act prosecution could be pursued for publication.

                                      Eric Lewis: They recognised the possibility of a prosecution. They did not say that it would succeed.

                                      James Lewis QC: So your analysis that there cannot be a prosecution of a publisher on First Amendment grounds is incorrect.

                                      ...

                                      James Lewis QC: The United States Supreme Court has never held that a journalist cannot be prosecuted for publishing national defence information.

                                      Eric Lewis: The Supreme Court has never been faced with that exact question. Because a case has never been brought. But there are closely related cases which indicate the answer.

                                      The case they are mentioning is this one (or more specifically the dropped related case against Rosen) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Franklin

                                      Read the legal principles by which the judge was planning on allowing it to proceed with.

                                      • evgen 3 days ago

                                        The prosecutor can make whatever claims he wants in an extradition hearing, but until the case actually sees the inside of a US courtroom I do not think anyone really knows how these are going to hold up. In this case you are running into a situation where the US prosecutor may be (significantly) over-playing his hand, but I am not sure how much latitude this court has to call bullshit on the claims being made by the US prosecutor.

                              • The jittery audio on the gallery link can hardly be considered public access to the proceeding. Whatever makes it on to the court transcript is not witnessed by anyone in the public, and while that's not a necessary condition for the transcript, in a case like this where the entire intelligence establishment has a huge interest in the outcome, since this is litigating the legitimacy of state secrets by proxy, it risks the credibility of the court.

                                How much exculpatory evidence is marked <unintelligible>?

                                • jjgreen 4 days ago

                                  "Counsel for the US government also argued that the famous Pentagon Papers supreme court judgement on the New York Times only referred to pre-publication injunction and specifically did not preclude prosecution under the Espionage Act."

                                  Wow

                                  • tssva 4 days ago

                                    The Supreme Court's ruling in the case said exactly this and the opinions of some justices implied the government should pursue such charges post publication.

                                    • evgen 4 days ago

                                      The shock and pearl clutching by people who obviously have never read the relevant opinions and have nothing but second or third-hand understanding of the major points of the majority and concurring opinions. Ellsberg _should have gone to jail_ for what he did, he knew it, he was prepared for that outcome, and he would have spent years in prison if not for a completely bungled and borderline incompetent prosecution aided by criminal breakins by Liddy, Hunt, and the Whitehouse plumbers.

                                      • danarmak 4 days ago

                                        While the law hasn't changed, the prosecution policy has. USG had not charged the NYT, WP etc. with criminal publication of the Pentagon Papers, and of the many leaked classified data published before and since. A consistent change in the policy (prosecuting the NYT and its individual journalists and editors, and not just Assange) would have a huge impact on politics. An inconsistent change, successfully prosecuting but only charging the journalists that the current government finds inconvenient, would have a different but also huge impact.

                                        • tssva 3 days ago

                                          The USG has threatened to prosecute both the NYT, WP and others in the past under both Democrat and Republican administrations. What has prevented it in the past has been the potential political fallout.

                                          I imagine that Assange taking active steps to help gather the classified information instead of just publishing material gathered independently and leaked is what changed the math in this case.

                                          • evgen 3 days ago

                                            This argument does not address the conspiracy to commit computer intrusion charge. Please provide examples of the NYT, WP et al sending reporters out to do this and not being charged.

                                            • danarmak 3 days ago

                                              That's a separate matter, which shouldn't affect what I wrote.

                                    • kace91 4 days ago

                                      I wonder if this turn of strategy could convince at least a part of the mainstream media to push the story.

                                      the "Assange is not a journalist" take was something they liked. The "any journalist can be punished anyway" take should raise some alarms.

                                      • k1m 4 days ago

                                        Yes, will be interesting to see if it changes anything, but I doubt it will. As Murray suggests, it's probably becuase prosecution has seen so little media interest in the court case that they've now changed tack:

                                        > The purpose of the earlier approach was plainly to reduce media support for Assange by differentiating him from other journalists. It had become obvious such an approach ran a real risk of failure, if it could be proved that Assange is a journalist, which line was going well for the defence. So now we have “any journalist can be prosecuted for publishing classified information” as the US government line. I strongly suspect that they have decided they do not have to mitigate against media reaction, as the media is paying no attention to this hearing anyway.

                                        • specialist 4 days ago

                                          Quoting Craig Murray TFA:

                                          "The Washington Post, the New York Times, and all the “great liberal media” of the USA are not in court to hear it and do not report it... Are they really so stupid as not to understand that they are next?

                                          Err, yes."

                                          NYT editorial defends the establishment. They are neither left nor right, liberal nor conservative. NYT is the status quo. Exactly and precisely, nothing more and nothing less.

                                          As Murray notes, you'd think their own instinct for self preservation would motivate them to care about US Govt applying the Espionage Act towards the journalists.

                                          But that's not what the NYT does.

                                          I don't know anything about WP, so can't comment.

                                          I'm totally fine with there being a "paper of record". I just wish people who should know better understood the role NYT plays.

                                          • cskinner 4 days ago

                                            IANAL, but I expect this is part of the prosecution's strategy from the start rather than a change.

                                            My understanding is that lawyers like to use a multiple lines of attack/defense approach. So in the context of this case, they would first argue that object A is not of type B (and hence not afforded any protection that type B might confer), and next argue that even if A is of type B, that all type Bs are subject to prosecution anyway.

                                            My guess is the next step of the prosecution's argument will be, even if A is of type B and type Bs are generally afforded protection from this type of prosecution, this case is an exemption because of "national security."

                                          • jacknews 4 days ago

                                            I suspect we would be hearing almost nothing about this case except for the "Assange warned by judge over outburst" type soundbytes if it weren't for Craig Murray.

                                            Well done. IMHO he deserves support.