Julian Assange’s lawyer says that a book written by Guardian journalists enabled people to view un leaked leaked classified documents, rather than the WikiLeaks website.
Assange, 48, fights extradition to the US and is facing 18 charges of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents in 2010 and 2011.
Prosecutors claim that he knowingly endangered hundreds of sources around the world from torture and death by publishing unregistered documents with names or other identifying details – and some agents in Iraq and Afghanistan “disappeared” afterwards.
They claim that the publication of the raw documents by WikiLeaks endangers the American intelligence sources mentioned in them from the death penalty.
Mark Summers QC, for Assange, said that WikiLeaks collaborated with international news organizations in 2010 to publish the collection of files in edited form.
Mr Summers blamed the publication of the unregistered database of documents from a 2011 book by the Guardian newspaper on WikiLeaks, which contained a password with 58 keys.
He said: “Far from being a reckless, uncorrected version, the world knows, every reporter in this room knows, the US government knows that what really happened was that one of the media partners published a book in February 2011 and published the password to the non-encrypted materials, allowing the entire world to publish non-coded materials in a book and circulate them on the internet, not on the WikiLeaks site, but on other sites.
Julian Assange, outlined yesterday at the Woolwich dock, says the case against him is “lies, lies and more lies” and he tried to call Hillary Clinton (shown today in Berlin) to warn her of unregistered documents that are online be dumped after a password fool
WikiLeaks lawyers, founder Julian Assange, Barry Pollack, Jennifer Robinson and Baltasar Garzon (pictured today) are fighting to prevent his extradition to the US on human rights grounds and claiming that their client was repeatedly searched for stripping and handcuffed in the yesterday. Belmarsh prison.
“None of them have been prosecuted, some are based in the US, all published first, some are still there.”
Mr. Summers said it was only months later that it was discovered that the password could be used together with a mirrored site to access the unregistered database, which was revealed on August 25, 2011 by German news channel Der Freitag.
He said Assange called the White House to warn that a password published in a book about WikiLeaks by journalists from The Guardian newspaper – one of the then media partners of WikiLeaks – could enable people to use the full, unregistered cache view of documents.
Mr. Summers said on August 25, 2011 that the founder of WikiLeaks had a telephone conversation with the White House and asked to speak to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as “a matter of urgency” in connection with fears that the information was about to be be dumped completely unnoticed online.
The QC said Assange had warned Mrs. Clinton’s office: “I don’t understand why you don’t see the urgency of this. Unless we do something, people’s lives are endangered “- but we were told to call back in two hours.
WikiLeaks’ relationship with its media partners, including The Guardian and The New York Times, soon became sour and in 2011, WikiLeaks began releasing large numbers of uncensored documents.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s father John Shipton talks to the media when he arrives today at Woolwich Crown Court where his son is back at the dock
British QC James Lewis (photo in the middle), who has opened his extradition case to the US government, said that Julian Assange (seen as vigilant) is guilty of “ordinary crime” by stealing and hacking into US government computers – and must be tried in the US
The Guardian said it was “completely wrong to say that the 2011 WikiLeaks book led to the publication of non-certified US government records.”
“The book contained a password that Julian Assange had told the authors that it was temporary and would expire in a matter of hours,” the newspaper said in a statement.
“The book also contained no details about the location of the files.”
The extradition case heard that Assange called the White House to warn that American lives would be endangered because secret cables were about to be dumped online – but Hillary Clinton’s office told him to call back later, his extradition case heard today.
Summers argued today at Woolwich Crown Court that the Trump government’s extradition request “boldly and brutally” misrepresents the facts and calls it “lies, lies and more lies.”
He said that on August 25, 2011, the founder of WikiLeaks had a telephone conversation with the White House and asked to speak with the then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as “a matter of urgency” regarding the fear that the information would be dumped completely unnoticed online .
Assange is also accused of encouraging Chelsea Manning to steal classified documents, which allegedly include an attempt to crack a hash (a encrypted password) password at the US Department of Defense Computers to gain anonymous access to a classified network called the Secret Internet Protocol Network.
But his lawyers point to evidence that Manning has given during her own court martial in 2013, which they claim to refute.
Assange also claims that he is mistreated in the Belmarsh prison after being searched twice for a strip, handcuffed 11 times, and moved from cell to cell on the first day of his extradition case yesterday.
Assange’s principal attorney, Edward Fitzgerald, QC, complained yesterday about the treatment of his client in Belmarsh’s high-security prison today at the start of the second day of the hearing.
He said: ‘Yesterday Mr. Assange was handcuffed 11 times and stripped naked twice at Belmarsh and placed in five separate cells.
What is Julian Assange responsible for in the US?
The US Department of Justice has sued Wikileaks founder Julian Assange 18 crimes – 17 under the Espionage Act and a under computer hacking legislation.
Officials say that Assange, as founder of WikiLeaks, put American informants in Iran, Syria, China, Iraq and Afghanistan at risk by publishing unregistered documents that identified them.
The 18 charges against Assange, filed in Virginia last year, are:
Quantity 1: Conspiracy to receive national defense information
Counts 2-4: Obtain information about national defense
Counts 5-8: Obtain information about national defense
Counts 9-11: Publication of national defense information
Counts 12-14: Publication of national defense information
Counts 15-17: Publication of national defense information
Number 18: Conspiracy to commit computer hacking (hacking)
“What I think the court can do is give an indication to the prison authorities if there is a risk that such treatment will affect its ability to participate in this procedure.”
The lawyer said that papers handed over to Assange in court were taken from him in Belmarsh after he left the neighboring Woolwich Crown Court, which sits like a magistrate’s court.
Fitzgerald said the treatment of his client “could be a disdain for this court.”
But Vanessa Baraitser district judge said she has no powers to give directions to the prison service and can only act if there is evidence that Assange is unable to participate in the case.
“Please let me know. Unless and until this is the case, unless I ask this court for conviction, I am afraid that my powers in this regard are very limited. ”
American spies came up with a conspiracy to kidnap or even poison Julian Assange with the help of shady Spanish private detectives after he leaked 250,000 top secret documents online, his extradition hearing was told yesterday.
The human rights lawyer of the founder of WikiLeaks, Edward Fitzgerald, who previously represented Moors Murderer Myra Hindley and hate preacher Abu Hamza, said an attack in the Ecuadorian embassy in London would have looked like an “accident.”
The QC said that the private security of a Spanish company, acting on behalf of the US authorities, was involved in “intrusive and sophisticated” supervision of its client, but was surpassed by a mysterious Iberian whistleblower known only as “witness two.”
The secret monitoring would have started after David Morales of UC Global returned from a security fair in Las Vegas around July 2016 with a contract allegedly a yacht by Sheldon Adelson, a financial support from Donald Trump.
“But, in fact, Mr. Morales had indeed concluded an ancillary agreement to provide the information gathered about Mr. Assange on the dark side – in other words, American intelligence services,” said Mr. Fitzgerald.
Visitors, including 48-year-old lawyers who are facing extradition to America, would have been the target of live stream audio and video equipment placed in the embassy and laser microphones from outside.
Spanish private eyes would be involved in the planning to attack Assange at the London Embassy in Ecuador, which was also supervised with laser microphones inside and outside
Referring to the evidence of witness two, Mr. Fitzgerald said, “There were discussions about whether more extreme measures should be considered, such as kidnapping or poisoning Julian Assange in the embassy.”
“It’s just not true” that Julian Assange endangered the life of American sources, his father says
Julian Assange’s father said it was “just not true” that his son’s Wikileaks revelations endangered the life of sources – because his American extradition fight was told yesterday that he would have a “high risk” of suicide if he was sent to an American prison.
James Lewis QC opened the case against the 48-year-old on Monday and said some sources “disappeared” after giving them the risk of “serious damage, torture, or even death.”
He told District Judge Vanessa Baraitser that information published by WikiLeaks was “useful for a US enemy” – with material found in the compound of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan when he was assassinated in a 2011 raid.
Responding to the hearing, Assange’s father John Shipton said “damage has been done.”
He said: “The essential element of the persecution was that the sources were in danger, that their sources were in danger, this is simply not true.
“In the Chelsea Manning trial, the Pentagon spokesman said on oath that no one was injured. Robert Gates testimony before congress, Robert Gates is former Secretary of Defense, he said that yes it is shameful, yes it is tricky, but that no damage has been done. “
Mr Fitzgerald continued reading a testimony: “David (Morales) said the Americans were desperate and even suggested that more extreme measures could be taken against the guest to put an end to the situation.”
He said there was a suggestion that the embassy door could stay open to make a kidnapping look like it could have been “an accident,” and added “even the possibility of poisoning had been discussed.”
Assange has been held in pre-trial detention in Belmarsh prison since September last year after he was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for violating his bail conditions while in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
He entered the building in 2012 to prevent extradition to Sweden for allegations of sexual offenses, which he has always refused and subsequently dropped.
James Lewis QC, US government representative, said Assange had collaborated with former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to hack into Department of Defense computers and share his secrets.
Lewis said that documents that could only have been extracted from WikiLeaks had been found in the Pakistani compound of Osama Bin Laden after the US Navy attacked SEALs and shot him in 2011. This, Mr. Lewis argued, is clear evidence that the information from the leaks was “helpful to the enemies of the United States of America.”
The British QC added: “The US is aware of sources, whose edited names and other identifying information were contained in classified documents published by WikiLeaks, which then disappeared.”
Fitzgerald outlined the defense of the 48-year-old claim that he is an innocent man whose rendition is “politically motivated” by the Trump government who wants his “head on a pike” to scare off potential leakers and whistleblowers.
Julian Assange (photographed in a prison van in April last year) has started his legal battle to prevent extradition to the United States, where he is confronted with 17 espionage costs and one computer hacking with which he can get a prison sentence of 175 years
British fashion designer and activist Vivienne Westwood arrives yesterday at the hundreds of supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange outside Woolwich Crown Court
He said: “Persecution is not motivated by genuine concern for criminal law, but by politics. This extradition must be banned because the prosecution is being prosecuted for political reasons and not in good faith.
Julian Assange is said to be “at risk of suicide” in an “inhuman and degrading” American prison, says his QC
Julian Assange is said to be a suicide risk for extradition to the US, his legal team said.
Edward Fitzgerald QC, who represents Assange (together right), outlined the 48-year-old’s defense and called Trump’s pursuit of his client “political.”
Fitzgerald said: “Persecution is not motivated by genuine care for criminal law, but by politics.
“This extradition must be banned because the persecution is being pursued for political reasons and not in good faith.”
Fitzgerald continued that Assange runs the risk of inhuman and degrading conditions in an American prison and runs the risk of suicide.
He added that the extradition attempt was addressed to Assange “because of the political views he has” and said he would be denied a fair trial in the United States.
Fitzgerald continued: “It would be a fundamental denial of his right to a fair trial. It would expose him to inhuman and degrading treatments. “
He added that Assange whistleblower had not helped Chelsea Manning in accessing the documents, as has been claimed.
Fitzgerald also said that the delay in submitting the extradition request demonstrated the political nature of the case.
He continued: “President Trump came to power with a new approach to press freedom … which effectively amounted to declaring war on investigative journalists.
‘Against that background, Julian Assange has been made an example.
“It is against that background that the Trump government decided to make an example of Julian Assange, he was the clear sign of everything that Trump condemned.”
He added that the extradition attempt was addressed to Assange “because of the political views he has” and said he would be denied a fair trial in the United States.
Up to 500 supporters, including fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, camped outside and district judge Vanessa Baraitser was forced to send a message to the crowd requesting to reduce the volume of their “Free Julian Assange” song because it disrupted the proceedings.
Assange later got up at the dock and said, “I really appreciate public support and understand that they must be disgusting.”
But the judge stopped him from speaking, instead he asked his lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald, QC, to address her.
He said: “What Mr Assange says is that he cannot hear and cannot concentrate because of the noise outside.”
The Assange legal team claims that his case could lead to criminalization of activities that are crucial for investigative journalists – but Mr. Lewis said that journalist “is not an excuse for crime” and “it is unthinkable that any responsible publication would consciously publish information that would endangers people’s lives’.
He added: “The defense wishes to paint Mr. Assange as a defender of freedom, but this is not for the court to decide.”
Lewis said that most of the charges are related to “straight line criminal” activity, which he described as a “conspiracy to steal and hack” in the defense computer system alongside former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.
“These are common charges and any person, journalist or resource who hacks or tries to gain unauthorized access to a secure system or helps others to do so is guilty of computer abuse,” said Lewis.
“Reporting or journalism is not an excuse for criminal activities or a license to violate ordinary criminal laws.
“This is true in the UK, just like in the US, and indeed in every civilized country in the world.”
He added the defense that Assange might have been imprisoned for 170 years as a hyperbole.
But Mr. Lewis said that according to the UK Official Secrets Act, any person who “has obtained or communicated” that is useful to a state enemy commits a crime.
“[The allegation says] that Chelsea Manning was an American citizen and served more solidly who had obtained and communicated to Assange information that might be of use to an enemy, “he said.
The court heard that by leaking documents that he knew would be useful to US enemies, Assange caused “serious damage to national security.”
The fact that he requested the classified material himself is enough to prove that Assange “cooperated,” according to US law, Lewis said.
Edward Fitzerald QC, for Assange, told the court that journalistic work is protected as “freedom of expression” under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act.
But Mr. Lewis said the 1989 Official Secrets Act removed the defense of the “public interest” when it came to revealing security issues.
Assange says he acted as a journalist who was entitled to protection from the First Amendment. His lawyers claim that the American charges – which carry a maximum prison sentence of 175 years – are a politically motivated abuse of power.
Defense lawyers deny that Assange endangers lives.
Assange has been in prison in England since April 2019, when he was deported from the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
He resorted to the embassy seven years earlier to prevent him from being sent to Sweden for allegations of rape and sexual abuse.
A British court handed him a 50-week prison sentence for a bail in 2012.
The extradition hearing is expected to continue for the rest of the week and then take a break before resuming in May.