“Mobsters” are whatever the law says they are, but in some countries they are, in fact, simply the nation’s wealthiest people, who can and do pay whomever they have to pay (“consigliere”) in order to get the law to mean what they want it to mean. In other words: sometimes a mobster is anyone who no matter how harmful to society, can become and remain enormously wealthy and never go to prison for it, nor be executed for it. They are above the law, and are therefore the real rulers in the dictatorship where they happen to live. They engage in the most-premeditated of crimes, from which the largest numbers of people become (basically) murdered and injured, but can and do buy impunity, so that prisons contain only the relatively low-level (and usually poor) crooks, and also innocent people who simply couldn’t afford a decent lawyer. This is ‘justice’, in ‘democracies’. It’s not justice in any democracy.
The actual laws in any country are whatever the nation’s judicial branch says they are. The judicial branch is constantly making the decisions as to what the written laws mean, and those decisions are always what the nation’s actual laws are (the “law” as it is enforced), regardless of what that nation’s legislative branch wants and of what its executive branch (President or Prime Minister) wants. Whereas in a democracy, the law comes from a Constitution that was written by representatives of the nation’s residents at the time of its creation, and contains a provision for itself to be amended by current representatives of that nation’s current residents, and the judges always honestly interpret that or else are executed for treason if they don’t, the laws in U.S., UK, and Netherlands mean whatever the courts in those countries say that the Constitution, and the laws that the legislature has passed in accord with the Constitution, say that they mean, and there is no accountability for treasonous judges — judges who dishonestly interpret that Constitution and those laws. In a democracy, dishonest interpretation of the Constitution, and of those laws, is publicly recognized to be warfare against the will of that nation’s residents, and therefore to be treason. Any land where there exists no such accountability for judges is a dictatorship by judges, and the Government there represents only whomever its judges represent — enemies of the people. Traitors actually do rule there.
Cases will be described here which show how such dictatorships function, in U.S., UK, and Netherlands. All of these are typical cases, cases that are fairly representative of their respective nations, but differing only in that they have been exhaustively reported on, even if not reported in mainstream media (which usually are owned or controlled by such gangsters). Each case will be summarized (mainly by quoting accurate summaries, or entire news-reports, that have already been published), and the links will be to online sites, and to books, in which the details are discussed.
THE SACKLER CASE
Two reviews at Amazon, regarding Patrick Radden Keefe’s 13 April 2021 Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty:
5.0 out of 5 stars Devastating
Reviewed in the United States on April 15, 2021
This is the story of 4 generations of one American family, the Sackler. It’s not meant to document the Opiod Epidemic that has cost our country 500 thousand lives and 2 trillion dollars. As such, it reads like a novel in some places, especially the opening chapter, and a morality play throughout.
Though I am grateful to Keefe for writing this book and attempting to hold this “pure evil” family to account I am devastated that they clearly seem to have gotten away with it all. Sackler Family sold 40 billion dollars worth of highly addictive poison, cleared about 12 billion of that in cash, funneled billions offshore stripping Purdue Pharma of most of its meaningful assets, then declared bankruptcy leaving less than a billion or so to cover damages from Maine to California.
I share the author’s hope that this book will inspire others to read the archive and tell this story someday. We can’t bring back the lives of so many who were so cruelly taken. We can’t hold those to account who profited so cruelly from the lies they told us so expertly. But we can still tell this story in the hope that the next Sackler family won’t be able to get away with all of it – next time. And we need to tell this story for the half a million Americans who seemed to have paid for the Sackler Family Trust Funds with their lives.
2.0 out of 5 stars Where was the editor?
Reviewed in the United States on May 6, 2021
The tale of the Sacklers and the opioid crisis is amazing, but this book is a mess. Where was the editor? The entire first part of the book is entirely unnecessary to the story of Oxycontin and the genesis of the opioid crisis. The author probably wanted to include it because he spent so much time researching the Sackler family, but any good editor would have cut most of it out. And the rest of the book is filled with minor characters that serve only to show the author’s bias. Like why are we told all about an artist who is a recovered heroin addict, who unwisely takes a prescription opioid, gets re-addicted, and then spends years protesting the Sacklers at museums and art galleries? The author also naively criticizes the techniques that Purdue Pharma used to extend the life of their patent, not realizing that such “evergreening” is standard practice in the industry. The Sacklers were a part of this crisis, but they didn’t cause it alone, and much more time should have been spent on the FDA, AMA, physicians, and pharmacists who also participated. Worst of all is that the book was published before the story was finished, without any resolution to the Purdue Pharma bankruptcy or lawsuits.
In March 2021, Purdue Pharma filed a restructuring plan to dissolve itself and establish a new company dedicated to programs designed to combat the opioid crisis, according to court documents filed on 15 March 2021. As part of the proposed plan, the Sackler family would agree to pay an additional US$4.2 billion over the next nine years to resolve various civil claims. However, this would amount to a “legal firewall” that would protect the Sackler family, such as making them immune from criminal prosecutions. It was thus opposed by 24 state attorneys general as well as the attorney general for Washington, D.C. “If the Sacklers are allowed to use bankruptcy to escape the consequences of their actions,” said the state AGs who called the proposal legally unprecedented, “it would be a roadmap for other powerful bad actors.”
The Moon of Alabama blogger published, on 14 June 2021, a news report which proved that there has been zero basic change after the Sacklers got away with mass-murder in the Purdue Pharma and Oxycontin narcotics scandal. Headlining “Corruption Is Profitable. But Does It Have To Be This Profitable?”, he opened:
Aduhlem, a drug that is supposed to slow Alzheimer’s effects, had failed to show efficacy in two trials. It showed some reduction of plaques in the brain which may or may not be significant.
Ten of the eleven advisors of the Federal Drug Administration voted “no” when asked if there was enough evidence that the drug is useful. One voted “uncertain”. Last week the FDA approved the drug and claimed that the plaques reduction effect is somewhat meaningful.
Three of the advisors resigned.
The cost per patient per year for the drug will be some $56,000. There are some 6 million people in the U.S. with Alzheimer’s. Medicare and Medicaid, which will have to pay for the drug because it is FDA approved, will have to bear the costs. The company which makes the drug, Biogen, will gain ginormous profits from it. As will physicians who prescribe the drug, administer the infusions and bill 6% of the drug’s price for it.
The above is a portrait of a deeply corrupt system in which all incentives are set in the wrong direction.
Now, corruption in national medical systems is not unusual and can be found all over the world. But what I find astonishing with the U.S. system is how little money companies like Biogen actually have to pay to get deals done that will make them billions.
The man who pushed for the FDA approval was no other than President Joe Biden, … the largest recipient of campaign funds by a large margin from Biogen and affiliated parties … $76,241. …
As I had headlined, on 26 January 2020 (at the start of Biden’s Presidency), “Joe Biden Is as Corrupt as They Come”.
THE DONZIGER CASE
“The Ongoing Persecution of Steven Donziger: The environmentalist lawyer marks 600 days under house arrest — with no end in sight.”
The Nation, 30 March 2021, by James North
On March 28, the environmentalist lawyer Steven Donziger (above) spent his 600th day under house arrest in his New York City apartment – and Martin Garbus, the legendary attorney who is part of his defense team, warns that he could end up being confined for an astonishing five years. Donziger says that Chevron, with the help of two federal judges, is persecuting him, because in 2013 he helped win a $9.5 billion case in Ecuador against the oil giant for contaminating a stretch of the Amazon rain forest.
On March 29, the US Appeals Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit turned down Donziger’s motion to be released on bail while awaiting trial for contempt. Donziger’s attorneys argued before the court earlier in the month that he was not a flight risk, but the three-judge panel rejected their plea, keeping Donziger at home, monitored by an ankle bracelet. Donziger’s contempt trial before federal judge Loretta Preska is due to start on May 10. …
Donziger’s contempt case is an irregular proceeding in which a private law firm with ties to Chevron is prosecuting him after the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York refused to take up the case. There is no jury. Judge Preska alone will decide his fate – continuing the unjust, decade-long pattern in which Donziger has never gotten the chance to face a jury of his peers.
In 2011, the Ecuadorean courts awarded 30,000 plaintiffs, mostly farmers and Indigenous people, billions of dollars to clean up the polluted soil and to improve the region’s rudimentary health facilities. But Chevron has refused to pay, claiming that Donziger committed fraud to win the case. Meanwhile, his clients in eastern Ecuador live on poisoned land and struggle to find safe water. Five peer-reviewed scientific studies show an increased risk of cancer and other threats to health in the area. (Chevron funded its own peer-reviewed study, which claims there is no such increased risk.)…
The mainstream US press inexplicably continues to ignore Chevron’s campaign against Donziger. The news blackout by the New York Times and others contrasts with their detailed reports back from 2011 to 2014, when the oil giant prosecuted Donziger and a few of his Ecuadorean allies for racketeering, using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, originally designed to pursue the mafia. Chevron, which had participated in every phase of the legal process in Ecuador up to and including an appeal to that nation’s highest court, brought an entirely new case in a New York federal district court to try to discredit Donziger and his clients. Chevron’s star witness was an ex-judge from Ecuador, Alberto Guerra, who testified that Donziger and others had bribed him to ghostwrite the decision. Guerra’s evidence was highly questionable: Chevron admitted in court that it had paid to move him and his family to the United States and rehearsed his testimony before the trial 53 times.
A Chevron legal maneuver had deprived Donziger of the right to a jury, so it was Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, a corporate lawyer-turned-federal judge, who in 2014 decided to accept Guerra’s testimony, disregard contrary statements from other witnesses, and find Donziger and his Ecuadorean codefendants guilty. …
Hundreds of students from more than 50 US law schools say they will boycott recruitment visits from Seward & Kissel, the law firm that is prosecuting Donziger for contempt.
On 26 April 2021, the appeals court, the Second Circuit, upheld the trial judge’s conviction of Donziger. On that same day, Donziger’s lawyer submitted to the trial judge the “Defendant’s Motion for a Jury Trial”, arguing that “Absent voluntary waiver of the jury right, the Constitution does not trust judges to make determinations of criminal guilt. … Mr. Donziger is entitled to a jury in his upcoming criminal contempt trial by statute and under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution.” The judge declined that motion; and the ‘trial’, on the case “U.S. v. Donziger, 19-cr-00561”, started on 10 May 2021, which is the latest available news on this case. Perhaps the winner in the case will be whichever side can continue the longest to pay lawyers — which, of course, would mean that Chevron will win, and it also means that Ecuador won’t receive from Chevron what Ecuador had won in trial case against Chevron.
On 2 May 2021, the Wall Street Journal headlined “Litigation Without End: Chevron Battles On in 28-year-old Ecuador Lawsuit”, and reported that
A decade earlier, an Ecuadorean court had blamed Chevron for oil pollution and told it to pay $9.5 billion in damages, one of the largest-ever penalties of its kind.
Chevron had since proved the verdict fraudulent, it told the U.S. Trade Representative. But Ecuador refused to render it unenforceable despite an order to do that from an international arbitration tribunal. … Chevron … still hasn’t paid a cent of the Ecuadorean judgment, and says it won’t stop legally battling until it can ensure that it never has to.
“We’re going to fight this until hell freezes over, and then we’ll fight it on the ice,” a former Chevron general counsel, Charles James, said before his retirement in 2010, a remark that became a watchword at the company.
THE ASSANGE CASE
This afternoon Julian’s Spanish lawyer, Baltasar Garzon, left the court to return to Madrid. On the way out he naturally stopped to shake hands with his client, proffering his fingers through the narrow slit in the bulletproof glass cage. Assange half stood to take his lawyer’s hand. The two security guards in the cage with Assange immediately sprang up, putting hands on Julian and forcing him to sit down, preventing the handshake. That was not by any means the worst thing today, but it is a striking image of the senseless brute force continually used against a man accused of publishing documents. That a man cannot even shake his lawyer’s hand goodbye is against the entire spirit in which the members of the legal system like to pretend the law is practised. I offer that startling moment as encapsulating yesterday’s events in court.Day 2 proceedings had started with a statement from Edward Fitzgerald, Assange’s QC, that shook us rudely into life. He stated that yesterday, on the first day of trial, Julian had twice been stripped naked and searched, eleven times been handcuffed, and five times been locked up in different holding cells. On top of this, all of his court documents had been taken from him by the prison authorities, including privileged communications between his lawyers and himself, and he had been left with no ability to prepare to participate in today’s proceedings.
Magistrate Baraitser looked at Fitzgerald and stated, in a voice laced with disdain, that he had raised such matters before and she had always replied that she had no jurisdiction over the prison estate. He should take it up with the prison authorities. Fitzgerald remained on his feet, which drew a very definite scowl from Baraitser, and replied that of course they would do that again, but this repeated behaviour by the prison authorities threatened the ability of the defence to prepare. He added that regardless of jurisdiction, in his experience it was common practice for magistrates and judges to pass on comments and requests to the prison service where the conduct of the trial was affected, and that jails normally listened to magistrates sympathetically.
Baraitser flat-out denied any knowledge of such a practice, and stated that Fitzgerald should present her with written arguments setting out the case law on jurisdiction over prison conditions. This was too much even for prosecution counsel James Lewis, who stood up to say the prosecution would also want Assange to have a fair hearing, and that he could confirm that what the defence were suggesting was normal practice. Even then, Baraitser still refused to intervene with the prison. She stated that if the prison conditions were so bad as to reach the very high bar of making a fair hearing impossible, the defence should bring a motion to dismiss the charges on those grounds. Otherwise they should drop it.
Both prosecution and defence seemed surprised by Baraitser’s claim that she had not heard of what they both referred to as common practice. Lewis may have been genuinely concerned at the shocking description of Assange’s prison treatment yesterday; or he may have just had warning klaxons going off in his head screaming “mistrial”. But the net result is Baraitser will attempt to do nothing to prevent Julian’s physical and mental abuse in jail nor to try to give him the ability to participate in his defence. The only realistic explanation that occurs to me is that Baraitser has been warned off, because this continual mistreatment and confiscation of documents is on senior government authority.
A last small incident for me to recount: having queued again from the early hours, I was at the final queue before the entrance to the public gallery, when the name was called out of Kristin Hrnafsson, editor of Wikileaks, with whom I was talking at the time. Kristin identified himself, and was told by the court official he was barred from the public gallery.
Now I was with Kristin throughout the entire proceedings the previous day, and he had done absolutely nothing amiss – he is rather a quiet gentleman. When he was called for, it was by name and by job description – they were specifically banning the editor of Wikileaks from the trial. Kristin asked why and was told it was a decision of the Court.
At this stage John Shipton, Julian’s father, announced that in this case the family members would all leave too, and they did so, walking out of the building. They and others then started tweeting the news of the family walkout. This appeared to cause some consternation among court officials, and fifteen minutes later Kristin was re-admitted. We still have no idea what lay behind this. Later in the day journalists were being briefed by officials it was simply over queue-jumping, but that seems improbable as he was removed by staff who called him by name and title, rather than had spotted him as a queue-jumper.
None of the above goes to the official matter of the case. All of the above tells you more about the draconian nature of the political show-trial which is taking place than does the charade being enacted in the body of the court. There were moments today when I got drawn in to the court process and achieved the suspension of disbelief you might do in theatre, and began thinking “Wow, this case is going well for Assange”. Then an event such as those recounted above kicks in, a coldness grips your heart, and you recall there is no jury here to be convinced. I simply do not believe that anything said or proved in the courtroom can have an impact on the final verdict of this court.
So to the actual proceedings in the case.
For the defence, Mark Summers [actually, Mark Sommers] QC stated that the USA charges were entirely dependent on three factual accusations of Assange behaviour:
1) Assange helped Manning to decode a hash key to access classified material.
Summers stated this was a provably false allegation from the evidence of the Manning court-martial.
2) Assange solicited the material from Manning
Summers stated this was provably wrong from information available to the public
3) Assange knowingly put lives at risk
Summers stated this was provably wrong both from publicly available information and from specific involvement of the US government.
In summary, Summers stated the US government knew that the allegations being made were false as to fact, and they were demonstrably made in bad faith. This was therefore an abuse of process which should lead to dismissal of the extradition request. He described the above three counts as “rubbish, rubbish and rubbish”.
Summers then walked through the facts of the case. He said the charges from the USA divide the materials leaked by Manning to Wikileaks into three categories:
a) Diplomatic Cables
b) Guantanamo detainee assessment briefs
c) Iraq War rules of engagement
d) Afghan and Iraqi war logs
Summers then methodically went through a), b), c) and d) relating each in turn to alleged behaviours 1), 2) and 3), making twelve counts of explanation and exposition in all. This comprehensive account took some four hours and I shall not attempt to capture it here. I will rather give highlights, but will relate occasionally to the alleged behaviour number and/or the alleged materials letter. I hope you follow that – it took me some time to do so!
On 1) Summers at great length demonstrated conclusively that Manning had access to each material a) b) c) d) provided to Wikileaks without needing any code from Assange, and had that access before ever contacting Assange. Nor had Manning needed a code to conceal her identity as the prosecution alleged – the database for intelligence analysts Manning could access – as could thousands of others – did not require a username or password to access it from a work military computer. Summers quoted testimony of several officers from Manning’s court-martial to confirm this. Nor would breaking the systems admin code on the system give Manning access to any additional classified databases. Summers quoted evidence from the Manning court-martial, where this had been accepted, that the reason Manning wanted to get in to systems admin was to allow soldiers to put their video-games and movies on their government laptops, which in fact happened frequently.
Magistrate Baraitser twice made major interruptions. She observed that if Chelsea Manning did not know she could not be traced as the user who downloaded the databases, she might have sought Assange’s assistance to crack a code to conceal her identity from ignorance she did not need to do that, and to assist would still be an offence by Assange.
Summers pointed out that Manning knew that she did not need a username and password, because she actually accessed all the materials without one. Baraitser replied that this did not constitute proof she knew she could not be traced. Summers said in logic it made no sense to argue that she was seeking a code to conceal her user ID and password, where there was no user ID and password. Baraitser replied again he could not prove that. At this point Summers became somewhat testy and short with Baraitser, and took her through the court martial evidence again. Of which more…
Baraitser also made the point that even if Assange were helping Manning to crack an admin code, even if it did not enable Manning to access any more databases, that still was unauthorised use and would constitute the crime of aiding and abetting computer misuse, even if for an innocent purpose.
After a brief break, Baraitser came back with a real zinger. She told Summers that he had presented the findings of the US court martial of Chelsea Manning as fact. But she did not agree that her court had to treat evidence at a US court martial, even agreed or uncontested evidence or prosecution evidence, as fact. Summers replied that agreed evidence or prosecution evidence at the US court martial clearly was agreed by the US government as fact, and what was at issue at the moment was whether the US government was charging contrary to the facts it knew. Baraitser said she would return to her point once witnesses were heard.
Baraitser was making no attempt to conceal a hostility to the defence argument, and seemed irritated they had the temerity to make it. This burst out when discussing c), the Iraq war rules of engagement. Summers argued that these had not been solicited from Manning, but had rather been provided by Manning in an accompanying file along with the Collateral Murder video that showed the murder of Reuters journalists and children. Manning’s purpose, as she stated at her court martial, was to show that the Collateral Murder actions breached the rules of engagement, even though the Department of Defense claimed otherwise. Summers stated that by not including this context, the US extradition request was deliberately misleading as it did not even mention the Collateral Murder video at all.
At this point Baraitser could not conceal her contempt. Try to imagine Lady Bracknell saying “A Handbag” or “the Brighton line”, or if your education didn’t run that way try to imagine Pritti Patel spotting a disabled immigrant. This is a literal quote:
“Are you suggesting, Mr Summers, that the authorities, the Government, should have to provide context for its charges?”
An unfazed Summers replied in the affirmative and then went on to show where the Supreme Court had said so in other extradition cases. Baraitser was showing utter confusion that anybody could claim a significant distinction between the Government and God.
The bulk of Summers’ argument went to refuting behaviour 3), putting lives at risk. This was only claimed in relation to materials a) and d). Summers described at great length the efforts of Wikileaks with media partners over more than a year to set up a massive redaction campaign on the cables. He explained that the unredacted cables only became available after Luke Harding and David Leigh of the Guardian published the password to the cache as the heading to Chapter XI of their book Wikileaks, published in February 2011.
Nobody had put 2 and 2 together on this password until the German publication Die Freitag had done so and announced it had the unredacted cables in August 2011. Summers then gave the most powerful arguments of the day.
The US government had been actively participating in the redaction exercise on the cables. They therefore knew the allegations of reckless publication to be untrue.
Once Die Freitag announced they had the unredacted materials, Julian Assange and Sara Harrison instantly telephoned the White House, State Department and US Embassy to warn them named sources may be put at risk. Summers read from the transcripts of telephone conversations as Assange and Harrison attempted to convince US officials of the urgency of enabling source protection procedures – and expressed their bafflement as officials stonewalled them. This evidence utterly undermined the US government’s case and proved bad faith in omitting extremely relevant fact. It was a very striking moment.
With relation to the same behaviour 3) on materials d), Summers showed that the Manning court martial had accepted these materials contained no endangered source names, but showed that Wikileaks had activated a redaction exercise anyway as a “belt and braces” approach.
There was much more from the defence. For the prosecution, James Lewis indicated he would reply in depth later in proceedings, but wished to state that the prosecution does not accept the court martial evidence as fact, and particularly does not accept any of the “self-serving” testimony of Chelsea Manning, whom he portrayed as a convicted criminal falsely claiming noble motives. The prosecution generally rejected any notion that this court should consider the truth or otherwise of any of the facts; those could only be decided at trial in the USA.
Then, to wrap up proceedings, Baraitser dropped a massive bombshell. She stated that although Article 4.1 of the US/UK Extradition Treaty forbade political extraditions, this was only in the Treaty. That exemption does not appear in the UK Extradition Act. On the face of it therefore political extradition is not illegal in the UK, as the Treaty has no legal force on the Court. She invited the defence to address this argument in the morning.
It is now 06.35am and I am late to start queuing…
With grateful thanks to those who donated or subscribed to make this reporting possible.
This article is entirely free to reproduce and publish, including in translation, and I very much hope people will do so actively. Truth shall set us free.
In yesterday’s proceedings in court, the prosecution adopted arguments so stark and apparently unreasonable I have been fretting on how to write them up in a way that does not seem like caricature or unfair exaggeration on my part. What has been happening in this court has long moved beyond caricature. All I can do is give you my personal assurance that what I recount actually is what happened.
As usual, I shall deal with procedural matters and Julian’s treatment first, before getting in to a clear account of the legal arguments made.
Vanessa Baraitser is under a clear instruction to mimic concern by asking, near the end of every session just before we break anyway, if Julian is feeling well and whether he would like a break. She then routinely ignores his response. Yesterday he replied at some length he could not hear properly in his glass box and could not communicate with his lawyers (at some point yesterday they had started preventing him passing notes to his counsel, which I learn was the background to the aggressive prevention of his shaking Garzon’s hand goodbye).
Baraitser insisted he might only be heard through his counsel, which given he was prevented from instructing them was a bit rich. This being pointed out, we had a ten minute adjournment while Julian and his counsel were allowed to talk down in the cells – presumably where they could be more conveniently bugged yet again.
On return, Edward Fitzgerald made a formal application for Julian to be allowed to sit beside his lawyers in the court. Julian was “a gentle, intellectual man” and not a terrorist. Baraitser replied that releasing Assange from the dock into the body of the court would mean he was released from custody. To achieve that would require an application for bail.
Again, the prosecution counsel James Lewis intervened on the side of the defence to try to make Julian’s treatment less extreme. He was not, he suggested diffidently, quite sure that it was correct that it required bail for Julian to be in the body of the court, or that being in the body of the court accompanied by security officers meant that a prisoner was no longer in custody. Prisoners, even the most dangerous of terrorists, gave evidence from the witness box in the body of the court nest to the lawyers and magistrate. In the High Court prisoners frequently sat with their lawyers in extradition hearings, in extreme cases of violent criminals handcuffed to a security officer.
Baraitser replied that Assange might pose a danger to the public. It was a question of health and safety. How did Fitzgerald and Lewis think that she had the ability to carry out the necessary risk assessment? It would have to be up to Group 4 to decide if this was possible.
Yes, she really did say that. Group 4 would have to decide.
Baraitser started to throw out jargon like a Dalek when it spins out of control. “Risk assessment” and “health and safety” featured a lot. She started to resemble something worse than a Dalek, a particularly stupid local government officer of a very low grade. “No jurisdiction” – “Up to Group 4”. Recovering slightly, she stated firmly that delivery to custody can only mean delivery to the dock of the court, nowhere else in the room. If the defence wanted him in the courtroom where he could hear proceedings better, they could only apply for bail and his release from custody in general. She then peered at both barristers in the hope this would have sat them down, but both were still on their feet.
In his diffident manner (which I confess is growing on me) Lewis said “the prosecution is neutral on this request, of course but, err, I really don’t think that’s right”. He looked at her like a kindly uncle whose favourite niece has just started drinking tequila from the bottle at a family party.
Baraitser concluded the matter by stating that the Defence should submit written arguments by 10am tomorrow on this point, and she would then hold a separate hearing into the question of Julian’s position in the court.
The day had begun with a very angry Magistrate Baraitser addressing the public gallery. Yesterday, she said, a photo had been taken inside the courtroom. It was a criminal offence to take or attempt to take photographs inside the courtroom. Vanessa Baraitser looked at this point very keen to lock someone up. She also seemed in her anger to be making the unfounded assumption that whoever took the photo from the public gallery on Tuesday was still there on Wednesday; I suspect not. Being angry at the public at random must be very stressful for her. I suspect she shouts a lot on trains.
Ms Baraitser is not fond of photography – she appears to be the only public figure in Western Europe with no photo on the internet. Indeed the average proprietor of a rural car wash has left more evidence of their existence and life history on the internet than Vanessa Baraitser. Which is no crime on her part, but I suspect the expunging is not achieved without considerable effort. Somebody suggested to me she might be a hologram, but I think not. Holograms have more empathy.
I was amused by the criminal offence of attempting to take photos in the courtroom. How incompetent would you need to be to attempt to take a photo and fail to do so? And if no photo was taken, how do they prove you were attempting to take one, as opposed to texting your mum? I suppose “attempting to take a photo” is a crime that could catch somebody arriving with a large SLR, tripod and several mounted lighting boxes, but none of those appeared to have made it into the public gallery.
Baraitser did not state whether it was a criminal offence to publish a photograph taken in a courtroom (or indeed to attempt to publish a photograph taken in a courtroom). I suspect it is. Anyway Le Grand Soir has published a translation of my report yesterday, and there you can see a photo of Julian in his bulletproof glass anti-terrorist cage. Not, I hasten to add, taken by me.
We now come to the consideration of yesterday’s legal arguments on the extradition request itself. Fortunately, these are basically fairly simple to summarise, because although we had five hours of legal disquisition, it largely consisted of both sides competing in citing scores of “authorities”, e.g. dead judges, to endorse their point of view, and thus repeating the same points continually with little value from exegesis of the innumerable quotes.
As prefigured yesterday by magistrate Baraitser, the prosecution is arguing that Article 4.1 of the UK/US extradition treaty has no force in law.
The UK and US Governments say that the court enforces domestic law, not international law, and therefore the treaty has no standing. This argument has been made to the court in written form to which I do not have access. But from discussion in court it was plain that the prosecution argue that the Extradition Act of 2003, under which the court is operating, makes no exception for political offences. All previous Extradition Acts had excluded extradition for political offences, so it must be the intention of the sovereign parliament that political offenders can now be extradited.
Opening his argument, Edward Fitzgerald QC argued that the Extradition Act of 2003 alone is not enough to make an actual extradition. The extradition requires two things in place; the general Extradition Act and the Extradition Treaty with the country or countries concerned. “No Treaty, No Extradition” was an unbreakable rule. The Treaty was the very basis of the request. So to say that the extradition was not governed by the terms of the very treaty under which it was made, was to create a legal absurdity and thus an abuse of process. He cited examples of judgements made by the House of Lords and Privy Council where treaty rights were deemed enforceable despite the lack of incorporation into domestic legislation, particularly in order to stop people being extradited to potential execution from British colonies.
Fitzgerald pointed out that while the Extradition Act of 2003 did not contain a bar on extraditions for political offences, it did not state there could not be such a bar in extradition treaties. And the extradition treaty of 2007 was ratified after the 2003 extradition act.
At this stage Baraitser interrupted that it was plain the intention of parliament was that there could be extradition for political offences. Otherwise they would not have removed the bar in previous legislation. Fitzgerald declined to agree, saying the Act did not say extradition for political offences could not be banned by the treaty enabling extradition.
Fitzgerald then continued to say that international jurisprudence had accepted for a century or more that you did not extradite political offenders. No political extradition was in the European Convention on Extradition, the Model United Nations Extradition Treaty and the Interpol Convention on Extradition. It was in every single one of the United States’ extradition treaties with other countries, and had been for over a century, at the insistence of the United States. For both the UK and US Governments to say it did not apply was astonishing and would set a terrible precedent that would endanger dissidents and potential political prisoners from China, Russia and regimes all over the world who had escaped to third countries.
Fitzgerald stated that all major authorities agreed there were two types of political offence. The pure political offence and the relative political offence. A “pure” political offence was defined as treason, espionage or sedition. A “relative” political offence was an act which was normally criminal, like assault or vandalism, conducted with a political motive. Every one of the charges against Assange was a “pure” political offence. All but one were espionage charges, and the computer misuse charge had been compared by the prosecution to breach of the official secrets act to meet the dual criminality test. The overriding accusation that Assange was seeking to harm the political and military interests of the United States was in the very definition of a political offence in all the authorities.
In reply Lewis stated that a treaty could not be binding in English law unless specifically incorporated in English law by Parliament. This was a necessary democratic defence. Treaties were made by the executive which could not make law. This went to the sovereignty of Parliament. Lewis quoted many judgements stating that international treaties signed and ratified by the UK could not be enforced in British courts. “It may come as a surprise to other countries that their treaties with the British government can have no legal force” he joked.
Lewis said there was no abuse of process here and thus no rights were invoked under the European Convention. It was just the normal operation of the law that the treaty provision on no extradition for political offences had no legal standing.
Lewis said that the US government disputes that Assange’s offences are political. In the UK/Australia/US there was a different definition of political offence to the rest of the world. We viewed the “pure” political offences of treason, espionage and sedition as not political offences. Only “relative” political offences – ordinary crimes committed with a political motive – were viewed as political offences in our tradition. In this tradition, the definition of “political” was also limited to supporting a contending political party in a state. Lewis will continue with this argument tomorrow.
That concludes my account of proceedings. I have some important commentary to make on this and will try to do another posting later today. Now rushing to court.
With grateful thanks to those who donated or subscribed to make this reporting possible.
This article is entirely free to reproduce and publish, including in translation, and I very much hope people will do so actively. Truth shall set us free.
8 April 2020
Assange Extradition: The Deadly Magistrate
by Craig Murray Posted on April 11, 2020
Mark Sommers QC, the extremely erudite and bookish second counsel for Julian Assange in his extradition hearing, trembled with anger in court. Magistrate Vanessa Baraitser had just made a ruling that the names of Julian Assange’s partner and young children could be published, which she stated was in the interests of “open justice”. His partner had submitted a letter in support of his Covid-19 related bail application (which Baraitser had summarily dismissed) to state he had a family to live with in London. Baraitser said that it was therefore in the interests of open justice that the family’s names be made public, and said that the defense had not convincingly shown this would cause any threat to their security or well-being. It was at this point Sommers barely kept control. He leapt to his feet and gave notice of an appeal to the High Court, asking for a 14 day stay. Baraitser granted four days, until 4 pm on Friday.
I am in lockdown in Edinburgh, but received three separate eye witness reports. They are unanimous that yet again Baraitser entered the court carrying pre-written judgments before hearing oral argument; pre-written judgments she gave no appearance of amending.
There have been two Covid-19 deaths in Belmarsh prison so far. For obvious reasons the disease is ripping through the jail like wildfire. The Department of Justice is admitting to one death, and refuses to give statistics for the number of cases. As even very sick prisoners are not being tested, the figures would arguably not mean much anyway. As the court heard at the bail application, over 150 Belmarsh prison staff are off work self-isolating and the prison is scarcely functioning. It is the most complete definition of lockdown.
The Prison Governors’ Association submitted to the House of Commons Justice Committee (which yesterday morning considered prisoner releases in closed session) that 15,000 nonviolent prisoners need to be released to give the jails any chance of managing Covid-19. The Department of Justice has suggested releasing 4,000 of whom just 2,000 have been identified. As of a couple of days ago, only about 100 had actually been released.
The prisons are now practicing “cohorting” across the estate, although decisions currently lie with individual governors. Prisoners who have a cough – any cough – are being put together in segregated blocks. The consequences of this are of course potentially unthinkable. Julian has a cough and chronic lung condition for which he has been treated for years – a fact which is not in dispute.
Yesterday Baraitser again followed her usual path of refusing every single defence motion, following pre-written rulings (whether written or merely copied out by herself I know not), even when the prosecution did not object. You will recall that at the first week of extradition hearing proper, she insisted that Julian be kept in a glass cage, although counsel for the US government made no objection to his sitting in the body of the court, and she refused to intervene to stop his strip searching, handcuffing and the removal of his court papers, even though the US government joined the defence in querying her claim she had no power to do this (for which she was later roundly rebuked by the International Bar Association).
Yesterday the US government did not object to a defense motion to postpone the resumption of the extradition hearing. The defense put forward four grounds:
1) Julian is currently too ill to prepare his defense
2) Due to Covid-19 lockdown, access to his lawyers is virtually impossible
3) Vital defense witnesses, including from abroad, would not be able to be present to testify
4) Treatment for Julian’s mental health conditions had been stopped due to the Covid-19 situation.
Baraitser airily dismissed all these grounds – despite James Lewis QC saying the prosecution was neutral on the postponement – and insisted that the May 18 date remains. She stated that he could be brought to the cells in Westminster Magistrates Court for consultations with his lawyers. (Firstly, in practice that is not the case, and secondly these holding cells have a constant throughput of prisoners which is very obviously undesirable with Covid-19).
It is worth noting that the prosecution stated that the US government’s own psychiatrist, appointed to do an assessment of Julian, had been unable to access him in Belmarsh due to Covid-19 restrictions.
This is getting beyond me as it is getting beyond Mark Sommers and the defense team. Even before Covid-19 became such a threat, I stated that I had been forced to the conclusion the British Government is seeking Assange’s death in jail. The evidence for that is now overwhelming.
Here are three measures of hypocrisy.
Firstly, the UK insists on keeping this political prisoner – accused of nothing but publishing – in a Covid-19 infested maximum security jail while the much-derided Iranian government lets Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe out and hopefully will release her altogether.
Which is the inhumane regime?
Secondly, “open justice” allegedly justifies the release of the identities of Julian’s partner and kids, while the state enforces the secrecy of Alex Salmond’s busted accusers, even though the court heard evidence that they specifically colluded to destroy him using, as a deliberate tool, the anonymity afforded to people making sexual accusations.
Thirdly, nobody cultivates her own anonymity more than Vanessa Baraitser who has her existence carefully removed from the internet almost entirely. Yet she seeks to destroy the peace and young lives of Julian’s family.
Keep fighting for Julian’s life and for freedom.
25 June 2020, Kevin Gosztola. (I requested permission to republish here his entire article, and received no reply; so, since all of it is good, I republish all of it here.)
The United States government expanded their indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to criminalize the assistance WikiLeaks provided to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden when staff helped him leave Hong Kong.
Sarah Harrison, who was a section editor for WikiLeaks, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a former spokesperson, and Jacob Appelbaum, a digital activist who represented WikiLeaks at conferences, are targeted as “co-conspirators” in the [24 June 2020] indictment [PDF], though neither have been charged with offenses.
No charges were added, however, it significantly expands the conspiracy to commit computer intrusion charge and accuses Assange of conspiring with “hackers” affiliated with “Anonymous,” “LulzSec,” “AntiSec,” and “Gnosis.”
The computer crime charge is not limited to March 2010 anymore. It covers conduct that allegedly occurred between 2009 and 2015.
Prosecutors rely heavily on statements and chat logs from Sigurdur “Siggi” Thordarson and Hector Xavier Monsegur (“Sabu”), who were both FBI informants, in order to expand the scope of the prosecution.
In March, Judge Anthony Trenga dismissed the grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, that was investigating WikiLeaks. U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who refused to testify before the grand jury, was released from jail after spending about a year in confinement for “civil contempt.” She was still ordered to pay $256,000 in fines.
Activist Jeremy Hammond, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his involvement in the hack against the intelligence consulting firm Stratfor, refused to testify as well. Trenga ordered his release, and he was transferred back into the custody of the Bureau of Prisons.
Prosecutors accuse Assange and other WikiLeaks staffers of engaging in “efforts to recruit system administrators” to leak information to their media organization.
WikiLeaks Openly Displayed ‘Attempts To Assist Snowden In Evading Arrest’
“To encourage leakers and hackers to provide stolen materials to WikiLeaks in the future, Assange and others at WikiLeaks openly displayed their attempts to assist Snowden in evading arrest,” the indictment declares.
It notes Harrison (“WLA-4”) traveled with Snowden to Moscow from Hong Kong, leaving out the part where the State Department revoked his passport and trapped him in Russia.
During an interview for “Democracy Now!” in September 2016, Sarah Harrison said WikiLeaks understood Snowden was in a “very complex legal and political situation” and needed “some people to assist with technical and operational security expertise.”
“I went over there, as the person on the ground in Hong Kong, to help him, not only for him, himself, because he had clearly done something so brave and deserved the protection, I felt, but also for the larger objective to try and show that despite [President Barack] Obama’s war on whistleblowers, that actually there was another option.”
Harrison added, “At the time, the Obama administration was intent upon putting alleged source Chelsea Manning into prison for decades — as she is now in prison for 35 years — and we really wanted to try and show the world that there are people that will stand up, there are people that will help. And The Guardian, for example, did not give any additional help to Edward Snowden as a source, as a person there, and we wanted to show there are publishers that will help in these scenarios.”
Prosecutors note WikiLeaks booked Snowden on “flights to India through Beijing” and Iceland as examples of how Assange engaged in an alleged conspiracy.
At the annual Chaos Computer Club conference in Germany on December 31, 2013, Assange, Appelbaum, and Harrison participated in a panel discussion called, “Sysadmins of the World, Unite! A Call to Resistance.” (Assange appeared via video.)
The indictment criminalizes Assange’s speech in support of Snowden and any future whistleblowers and twists his words into a prime example of WikiLeak “encouraging” the “theft of information” from the U.S. government.
Prosecutors even omit particular words to make the message Assange shared seem more nefarious than an endorsement of radical transparency.
From the indictment:
…Assange told the audience that “the famous leaks that WikiLeaks has done or the recent Edward Snowden revelations” showed that “it was possible now for even a single system administrator to…not merely wreck or disabl[e] [organizations]…but rather shift information from an information apartheid system…into the knowledge commons…
But here is the full quote:
…And we can see that in the cases of the famous leaks that WikiLeaks has done or the recent Edward Snowden revelations, that it’s possible now for even a single system administrator to have a very significant change to the—or rather, apply a very significant constraint, a constructive constraint, to the behavior of these organizations, not merely wrecking or disabling them, not merely going out on strikes to change policy, but rather shifting information from an information apartheid system, which we’re developing, from those with extraordinary power and extraordinary information, into the knowledge commons, where it can be used to—not only as a disciplining force, but it can be used to construct and understand the new world that we’re entering into.
Assange’s video message to Chaos Computer Club conference attendees in 2013.
(Screen shot from “Democracy Now!” broadcast.)
Assange encouraged young people to “join the CIA. Go in there. Go into the ballpark and get the ball and bring it out—with the understanding, with the paranoia, that all those organizations will be infiltrated by this generation, by an ideology that is spread across the Internet. And every young person is educated on the Internet.”
“There will be no person that has not been exposed to this ideology of transparency and understanding of wanting to keep the Internet, which we were born into, free. This is the last free generation,” Assange added.
The government presents this message as evidence that WikiLeaks solicits government employees to steal classified information. However, what Assange did was appeal to young people to help the public address a crisis of corruption in government by forcing transparency at a time when the government abuses the classified information system to conceal waste, fraud, abuse, and other illegal actions.
Appelbaum is singled out for saying Harrison “took actions” to protect Snowden, and “if we can succeed in saving Edward Snowden’s life and to keep him free, then the next Edward Snowden will have that to look forward to. And if we look also to what has happened to Chelsea Manning, we see additionally that Snowden has clearly learned.”
This is a fairly innocuous observation numerous people in the news media, including this author, have shared. It means if whistleblowers do not believe they will be punished with decades of prison or forced to flee their home country then we will have more whistleblowers because they will not believe it so dangerous to come forward.
At no point does the Justice Department attempt to connect the alleged “recruitment” of “hackers” or “leakers” to an actual individual, who heard these words and acted upon them.
Of course, the Justice Department refuses to accept the public benefit that came from Snowden’s disclosures. He still faces an indictment for allegedly violating the Espionage Act, which is why he remains in Russia, where he obtained asylum in 2013.
On May 6, 2014, the indictment alleges Harrison “sought to recruit those who had or could obtain authorized access to classified information and hackers to search for and send the classified or otherwise stolen information to WikiLeaks by explaining, ‘from the beginning our mission has been to public classified, or in any other way, censored information that is of political, historical importance.’”
It is one of the clearest indications that the “conspiracy” charge is a not-so-subtle effort to criminalize the journalism of an adversarial media organization that the United States has spent the last decade working to destroy. At no point in this statement does Harrison ask any specific persons to steal information.
If what Harrison did — and by association, Assange supported — is a crime, then there are countless news media organizations which pride themselves on publishing documents they obtain from sensitive sources that must worry they are opening themselves up to prosecution if they boast about their work in a public setting.
Conspiracy Charge Depends On Statements From Paid FBI Informants
The section of the indictment on Assange’s alleged role in “conspiring” with “hackers” mentions a “Teenager,” who Assange met in Iceland. This individual is Sigurdur “Siggi” Thordarson.
As Wired Magazine reported, “When a staff revolt in September 2010 left the organization short-handed, Assange put Thordarson in charge of the WikiLeaks chat room, making Thordarson the first point of contact for new volunteers, journalists, potential sources, and outside groups clamoring to get in with WikiLeaks at the peak of its notoriety.”
Thordarson was fired from WikiLeaks in November 2011 after the media organizations discovered he embezzled about $50,000.
After the FBI asked to talk with him in person following his termination, Thordarson “begged the FBI for money.” Agents initially ignored his requests, but eventually they paid him $5,000 for “the work he missed while meeting with agents” in Alexandria, Virginia, where the grand jury investigation was empaneled.
In 2013, WikiLeaks stated, “Because of requests from people close to him and his young age [Thordarson] was offered the opportunity to repay the stolen funds, which amounted to about $50,000. When it became clear he would not honor the agreement the matter was reported to the Icelandic Police.”
Thordarson apparently embezzled funds from several other organizations in Iceland that were not related to WikiLeaks. The Icelandic authorities process charges of embezzlement.
“It has materialized that the individual has engaged in gross misrepresentations of different types to obtain benefit from a range of parties,” WikiLeaks added. “We will not identify him by name in light of information that he has recently received institutional medical treatment.”
“In light of the relentless ongoing persecution of U.S. authorities against WikiLeaks, it is not surprising that the FBI would try to abuse this troubled young man and involve him in some manner in the attempt to prosecute WikiLeaks staff. It is an indication of the great length these entities are willing to go that they will disrespect the sovereignty of other nations in their endeavor. There is strong indication that the FBI used a combination of coercion and payments to pressure the young man to cooperate,” WikiLeaks contended.
Hammond was the target of an FBI operation. As Dell Cameron previously reported for the Daily Dot, chat logs, surveillance photos, and government documents showed it was Monsegur who introduced Hammond to a hacker named Hyrriya, who “supplied download links to the full credit card database as well as the initial vulnerability access point to Stratfor’s systems.”
According to Hammond, he had not heard of Stratfor until Monsegur brought the firm to his attention. Monsegur transferred the details for at least two stolen credit cards.
In December 2011, Monsegur gave “AntiSec” or the group of hackers targeting Stratfor access to the private intelligence firm’s systems. He pushed Hammond and others to “unknowingly transfer ‘multiple gigabytes of confidential data’ to one of the FBI’s servers. That included roughly 60,000 credit card number and records for Stratfor customers that Hammond was ultimately charged with stealing,” according to Daily Dot.
Anthropologist Gabriella Coleman wrote in her book, Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous, that AntiSec went to the WikiLeaks internet relay chat server. Monsegur was largely unaware. A deal was made to provide files from Stratfor to WikiLeaks.
When talking to WikiLeaks,” Hammond recounted to me, “they first asked to authenticate the leak by pasting them some samples, which I did, [but] they didn’t ask who I was or even really how I got access to it, but I told them voluntarily that I was working with AntiSec and had hacked Stratfor.” Soon after, he arranged the handoff. When Sabu found out, he insisted on dealing with Assange, personally. After all, he told Hammond, he was already in contact with Assange’s trusted assistant “Q.”
Thordarson was “Q.”
According to Hammond, Monsegur attempted to entrap WikiLeaks by suggesting the organization pay him “cash for the leaks.” But WikiLeaks already had the documents they planned to publish.
The U.S. government had a deadline in June 2019 for submitting an extradition request. It seems improper to add these substantial details to the request, especially since a one-week hearing was already held.
While the conspiracy charge includes sensational claims of collaboration with hackers, it is no less of a political charge than the seventeen Espionage Act offenses Assange faces for publishing information.
The additional sections in the indictment represent an attempt to give the illegitimate prosecution a greater veneer of criminality. Unfortunately, it does not take much to scrape it off and expose the contempt for press freedom that still lies behind this vindictive prosecution.
11 June 2021
I was in the London courtroom when Julian was being tried by Judge Vanessa Baraitser, an updated version of the Queen of Hearts in Alice-in Wonderland demanding the sentence before pronouncing the verdict. It was judicial farce. There was no legal basis to hold Julian in prison. There was no legal basis to try him, an Australian citizen, under the U.S. Espionage Act. The CIA spied on Julian in the embassy through a Spanish company, UC Global, contracted to provide embassy security. This spying included recording the privileged conversations between Julian and his lawyers as they discussed his defense. This fact alone invalidated the trial. Julian is being held in a high security prison so the state can, as Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, has testified, continue the degrading abuse and torture it hopes will lead to his psychological if not physical disintegration.
The U.S. government directed, as Craig Murray so eloquently documented, the London prosecutor James Lewis. Lewis presented these directives to Baraitser. Baraitser adopted them as her legal decision. It was judicial pantomime. Lewis and the judge insisted they were not attempting to criminalize journalists and muzzle the press while they busily set up the legal framework to criminalize journalists and muzzle the press. And that is why the court worked so hard to mask the proceedings from the public, limiting access to the courtroom to a handful of observers and making it hard and at times impossible to access the trial online. It was a tawdry show trial…
By Kirsten MacDonald, 18 June 2021
Republished from Consortium News
[Murray was subsequently sentenced to prison by UK for a newly-invented-for-the-purpose ‘crime’ of “jigsaw identification” — providing hints that might be pieced together into a whole — of the identities of accusers in the UK’s frame-up, on which the jury ruled “not guilty,” against a leader of Scotland’s independence movement.]
This paragraph is from Lady Dorrian’s original judgement on Craig Murray. It oozes malice and prejudice in its very plain twist of both logic and fact. She seeks to make something obviously to Murray’s credit work to his detriment:
“ A notable feature of the affidavits is the repeated focus by the respondent on the absence of a court order prior to 10 March 2020 as meaning that had he wished to identify the complainers he could have done so prior to that date, “knowing there was no general law or court order in place preventing me simply from publishing”. This however “would not have been responsible journalism”. That it would have been a clear contravention of the IPSO Editor’s Code of Practice and of the local convention are not matters which appear to have engaged him, although it is clear from para 40 of his main affidavit that he was aware of the convention.”
In his affidavits Murray had stated that he could have simply published the names at any time before 10 March 2020 and that would have been legal. It was therefore, Murray argued, ridiculous to argue he was instead engaged in a sneak attempt to out the names by code.
Dorrian judges that Murray should be given no credit for not publishing the names, because he did so in the name of “responsible journalism” and not in the name of the IPSO Editor’s Code or of a “local convention”. The extraordinary thing here is that Murray was following both the code and convention. He just did not name them.
It is even weirder than that. He did in fact name the Editor’s Code, but did not do so in the same paragraph where he explained his determination to not out the accusers.
Lady Dorrian’s logic here is precisely the same as saying “You may have been under the 30mph speed limit, but you did not state specifically you were under the 30mph speed limit according to the Highway Code, so your good behaviour does not count.” Dorrian’s position is self-evidently ludicrous.
Dorrian’s twisting does not stop there. As a blogger, Murray had no obligation to follow the Editor’s Code. His point was he could have published the names prior to 10 March with no legal penalty, and the fact he did not shows that he had no wish to. That remains true – there would have been no penalties for Murray in breaking either the code or the local convention.
Dorrian dismissed this argument on grounds which are spurious in logic.
In her Opinion rejecting Murray’s application to appeal to the Supreme Court, Dorrian returns to this same point. She makes a distinction between bloggers and journalists, and argues that bloggers and new media should get harder sentences for contempt than legacy media journalists, because legacy media journalists are self-regulated.
“ The applicant describes himself as a “journalist in new media”. Whatever that may
involve, it is relevant to distinguish his position from that of the mainstream press, which is regulated, and subject to codes of practice and ethics in a way in which those writing as the applicant does are not. To the extent that the submissions for the applicant make
comparisons with other press contempts, and the role of mainstream journalists, this is a factor which should be recognised.”
Dorrian needed to answer two points raised by the defence.
The first was why Murray is prosecuted when objective opinion poll evidence shows the “respectable” media – especially the BBC and the Scotsman newspaper – were responsible for far more jigsaw ID than Murray.
The second was why Murray has been jailed for contempt when no legacy media journalist has been jailed for contempt for at least forty years. There have been some extremely serious findings of contempt in those four decades, including full and open revealing of protected identities, with both names and photos. They have been punished by fines and not imprisonment.
It was simply impossible for Dorrian to argue that Murray is not being treated more harshly than other relevant cases. So she argues that bloggers ought to be treated more harshly. Murray’s legal team are pinning their hopes that this will catch the eye of the Supreme Court.
Disdain for new media in general and for Murray in particular permeates everything written by Dorrian on the case. The evidential basis on which Murray was convicted is entirely obscure. Murray used the same code letters as all other journalists to report the accusers in the trial. He repeated again and again in his affidavits his intention to keep identities secret. He gives details of how he went about this.
Murray states, as discussed above, he did not reveal the identities when he legally could.
Murray states he conducted google searches to make sure details he published did not reveal identities.
Murray states that he omitted important details – like who was present at the 29 February 2019 meeting between Geoff Aberdein and Nicola Sturgeon – to guard against jigsaw identification, even when the entire legacy media published those details.
Both the first and last of those points are true as plain fact. That Murray also conducted google searches was not contested by the Crown.
Here is the most important point of all.
No evidence of any kind was produced in court to contradict Murray’s sworn testimony that he tried to conceal identities. Yet Lady Dorrian decided to treat Murray’s affidavit as lies despite hearing no evidence to contradict it, and despite no claim from the Crown that it was lies. She did so entirely on the basis that her own reading of Murray’s articles revealed to her a deliberate “campaign” to reveal the names by “clues”.
The astonishing thing is this. Murray’s articles on the case had totaled hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of page views before Lady Dorrian read them. Yet nobody before Lady Dorrian had ever alleged – including not on any social media platform – that Murray was conducting a campaign to out witnesses.
Like all Murray’s journalism, there was a very great deal of comment from those hostile to him. Including on Facebook, Twitter and his blog. That includes paid trolling by both Sturgeon related SNP staff and by British Government influence programmes. But not even any of these had ever claimed to have discerned or alleged a campaign by Murray to reveal identities. Nor had the prosecution ever alleged it. The notion arose entirely in the mind of Lady Dorrian.
Nothing that would meet the bar of evidence was produced to the court that anybody was in fact identified from Murray’s writing.
Murray further testified, with evidence, that he believed it was for the courts to decide on anonymity.
After the acquittal Murray had instructed, at his own expense, Craig Sandison QC to draft an application to court to lift the anonymity of specific accusers shown in court to give false testimony.
The key point being Murray was going the legal route to this, had paid a QC and was prepared to accept a court decision on it. That is not consistent with a secret campaign to reveal identities.
There is one further pertinent point.
Lady Dorrian’s evident dislike of the modern world of new media makes her oblivious to who Craig Murray is. As I know from editing his collected works, Murray has been at the forefront of internet freedom campaigns since 2005. Murray has himself released secret classified documents on the net, mirrored thousands of times worldwide. Murray has been involved in notable Streisand effect campaigns with subjects including oligarch Alisher Usmanov and mercenary commander Tim Spicer.
Murray is a friend of Wikileaks, and with many from hacker communities, where he is well-regarded.
There is a plain truth that should be stated. Had Murray wished to reveal the names, he had the capacity and contacts to have them mirrored all over the internet in places where Scottish jurisdiction does not run. Murray has the knowledge, resource and access to initiate this in ways that could never be traced back to him. Anyone with a basic understanding of web activism can see that Murray has never wanted these names released. Or they would have been.
In my last report I recounted that an experienced journalist told me that they had never seen a judge so “emotionally invested”, as Dorrian against Craig Murray.
We now know that one reason Murray was kept waiting an agonising ten weeks for the verdict after the main hearing was that Dorrian was busy writing a report for the Scottish government. This tackles sexual assault trials and how to increase conviction rates.
Dorrian’s recommendations in that report include the abolition of juries in sexual assault trials, and the end of the right of the defendant’s lawyers to cross-examine the accuser in court proceedings.
Dorrian was clearly parti pris in all of this. In the United States and other jurisdictions she would have had to recuse herself.
Dorrian’s extraordinary decision on Murray’s guilt lacks a basis in evidence. But that is not a point that can be contested at the Supreme Court.
The original trial judge remains the sole judge of fact, which is a potentially disastrous situation for Murray. The UK Supreme Court can only intervene on points of law where the judgement is inconsistent with the European Convention on Human Rights. Murray has only a narrow path to freedom.
THE MH17 CASE
Posted By Editor On June 22, 2020 @ 10:49 pm In MH17 | No Comments
The Dutch Government has devised an evidence-proof scheme for ensuring the trial of the Russian government for the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 will end in a conviction.
This scheme will work without evidence to prove that the four men accused of the crime of shooting down the aircraft, killing the 298 passengers and crew on board on July 17, 2014, intended to kill; or even intended to fire the missile which allegedly brought MH17 down.
The Dutch scheme is evidence-proof because no evidence will be needed, not from US satellite photographs which are missing; nor NATO airborne tracking which shows no missile; nor Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) evidence which has proved to have been fabricated, and in the case of Ukrainian witnesses for the prosecution, threatened, tortured or bribed.
The scheme is also evidence-proof because the Dutch Prime Minister has told the Dutch Minister of Justice to order the state prosecutors to tell the state-appointed judge that he must convict the Russians if he finds as proven that MH17 crashed to the ground in eastern Ukraine; that everyone on board was killed; and that the four soldiers accused – three Russians and one Ukrainian – were on the ground fighting.
International war crimes lawyers are calling this a legal travesty. It was presented in court near Amsterdam by Dutch state prosecutor Thijs Berger on June 10. It has gone unnoticed in the mainstream western media. Russian reporters following the trial have missed it. The scheme was first reported in English and Russian by a NATO propaganda unit on June 12.
As a prosecutor of the Dutch War Crimes Unit, a state entity, Berger has been employed in the past to prosecute the targets of wars fought by the Dutch, alongside NATO and the US, in Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. In Europe his group prosecuted war crimes alleged by the NATO alliance in its war on Serbia from March to June of 1999. A recent report  to which Berger contributed, entitled Universal Jurisdiction Annual Review 2019, identifies a case which Berger pursued of war crimes in Afghanistan; those alleged crimes were not of the US and allied forces in Afghanistan, but of the local Afghans defending themselves.
Prosecutor Thijs Berger announces  the evidence-proof scheme of Article 168. The legal loophole is spelled out over six minutes – Min 3:31:00 to 3:37:00.
For his presentation to presiding judge Hendrik Steenhuis, Berger read from a multi-page script authorized by his superiors in the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security. They and he repeatedly made the mistake of calling the charges in the prosecution’s indictment – Articles 168, 287 and 298 – provisions of the Dutch Code of Criminal Procedure. This is the procedure code; its provisions are called articles in the original Dutch, but sections in the English version. 
The charges of the indictment are from the Dutch Criminal Code. They are called articles in court; they are called articles in the Dutch statute  but sections in the official English translation.
Source: The Dutch Criminal Code  [See Sections 168, 287 & 289.]
For analysis of how the prosecution has manipulated both the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure in the MH17 trial preliminaries, read this .
“The scope of the indictment,” Berger began his legal argument, is that together, the four defendants — Igor Girkin (Strelkov), Sergei Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov, who are Russians, and Leonid Kharchenko, a Ukrainian – played “a steering, organizing, and supporting role in deploying the BUK-Telar [missile and radar unit]” to shoot down MH 17 (Min 3:25:22). They were members of an “armed group” engaged in “armed struggle, the purpose being to shoot down an aircraft” (Min 3:27:20-21). Note the indefinite article – an aircraft. The prosecution is charging the four with capital crimes for defending themselves from attack by the Ukrainian Air Force. This, however, is not mentioned by the prosecution.
“They are not being prosecuted,” Berger went on, “as the persons who actually carried out the firing process” (Min 3:38:22). “We do not need evidence as to the exact cause of events in order to be able to judge the accused” (Min 3:28:27). Homicide or murder, Berger conceded, is in Dutch law “death caused intentionally” (Min 3:29:15). But the crimes which must be judged by Steenhuis and his panel of The Hague District Court, he claims aren’t homicide in the usual legal sense. “The exact course of events need not be established” (Min 3:30:43), Berger told Steenhuis. So the prosecution does not need to prove what happened. “That the missile which hit the MH17 could possibly have been meant and intended for a military aircraft doesn’t change these facts” (Min 3:31:17).
“None of the charges in the indictment requires intention concerning the civilian nature of the aircraft or the occupants. The crimes in the indictment forbid the downing of any aircraft; this is Article 168 of the Code of Criminal Procedure [sic]; and also forbid causing the deaths of others under Articles 287 and 289 irrespective of whether the aircraft has a military or civilian status, and an error in the target doesn’t really make a difference for the evidence that these crimes have been committed. So no evidence is required that the accused should have had the intention to shoot down a civilian aircraft” (Min 3:32:00).
“It was their intention to down a military aircraft of the Ukrainian Air Force” (Min 3:32:28), Berger claims his evidence of the SBU telephone tapes and witnesses proves. “Those who intend to shoot down a military aircraft and subsequently, accidentally, hit a civilian aircraft are guilty of causing an aircraft to crash according to Article 168 of the Code of Criminal Procedure [sic]; but also guilty of murder of the occupants according to Article 289 of the Code of Criminal Procedure [sic]” (Min 3:33:04).
In a regular court of law in England, Australia, Canada or the US, a prosecutor’s legal argument is always presented with explicit references to the case law. That’s the accumulation of judgements by courts going back as far as the history of the crime and of the statute can be traced. These are the precedents which, in international law and in Dutch law too, must be followed by judges hearing cases to which these precedents apply. This reflects the accepted notion that law is cumulative, and that judges administer and interpret that law; they don’t issue personal opinions or preferences.
Berger didn’t identify any Dutch case law or provide the court with precedents in previous cases decided by the Dutch courts.
The reason is that there are none, explains a veteran Dutch judge who was asked this week to identify the case law on Article 168. The judge replied: “It’s sufficient to establish that the defendant had the intention to take down some aircraft and that he should have seriously taken into consideration the chance that he would hit an aircraft such as the MH-17. That’s called conditional intent — voorwaardelijk opzet in Dutch. … Answering this question [of precedents] took a bit more time. I couldn’t find any case law that would be relevant to the issue. Article 168 is not used very often.”
Conditional intent doesn’t exist in Anglo-American law. But in Dutch law, the concept has not (repeat never) been applied to cases of warfare, or in situations of military engagement where men are attacking and defending themselves. For a Dutch review of the court precedents for application of voorwaardelijk opzet to deaths caused by a drunk driver and a poisoning, read this  – Sect. 3.3.1. Fatal traffic offences committed by drunken drivers are the typical homicides in which Dutch prosecutors apply the doctrine of conditional intent; the case law and precedents are reviewed here . No Dutch lawyer, judge or court has ever applied this to warfare.
Berger knows this; so does Steenhuis. They also know there is voluminous case law in the international courts dealing with similar facts to those of the MH17 case and of the combat in which the four defendants were engaged; for a sample Dutch law review, read this .
Again, Berger ignored what no prosecutor outside The Netherlands would attempt in front of a judge. “We are aware,” Berger told Steenhuis, “of academic comments that imply that Article 168 would require intention in killing civilians [Min 3:33:04]. But this is incorrect. Article 168 does not require any intention for the death of the occupants” (Min 3:33:34).
The NATO propaganda unit Bellingcat repeated this claim in a publication two days after Berger’s presentation. The Article 168 argument, repeated from Berger’s script, will prove to be a “boomerang” for the Russian government, NATO officials are now claiming. “It is only a question of time, therefore, that the Dutch prosecution brings murder charges against Russian top military commanders. Unlike the case with the 4 defendants, they would easily have obtained combatant immunity, if only they – and their supreme commander – had admitted to being part of the war. But they – and he – continuously denied, and this alone makes immunity impossible. Also unlike the 4 defendants, the political price that Russia will pay such indictments will be much higher. It is one thing for 3 Russian ‘volunteers’, forgotten by most, to spend the rest of their life holed up at home and afraid to take any trip abroad. It’s an altogether different story when top Mod [Ministry of Defence] and FSB officials – and maybe even a minister – are charged with murder of 298 civilians and end up on the Interpol red-notice list.”
International lawyers already before the European Court of Human Rights are arguing that the “boomerang” strikes the government in Kiev first, because it was ordering combat in eastern Ukraine, including orders for bombing and strafing by the Ukrainian Air Force, and at the same time refusing to close the airspace to civilian aircraft. The case of Denise Kenke, on behalf of her father, MH17 victim Willem Grootscholten, explains .
Canadian war crimes attorney Christopher Black (right) says the Dutch prosecution is deliberately ignoring Dutch law, as well as international law. “What Berger is stating is a case of criminal negligence, not murder. The general principles of criminal law apply to this case as much as to any case. As for the burden of proof, the court has to be convinced on the basis of the lawful evidence presented that the accused has committed the crime he is accused of.” Black is pointing out that the prosecution’s evidence from the Ukrainian SBU is unlawful. For analysis of evidence tampering by the SBU, read more .
“’Any person who intentionally and unlawfully’— that’s the key phrase in the wording of Article 168. Its use there means specific intent. Specific intent. A general intent to use missiles on something is not good enough in this case. It is telling that [Berger] does not make the distinction between specific intent versus general intent. That indicates the prosecutors don’t think they can prove the necessary specific intent. And if the plane had been shot down by the accused thinking it was engaged in an attack on them or masking [a Ukrainian Air Force] attack on them, then the court cannot convict. That’s because the facts would show an accident or a justifiable act of self-defence.”
In Dutch courts, there are several of what are called “full defences” to indictments for murder. One is insanity; another  is duress. Self-defence is the third full defence; it is spelled out in Article 41 of the Criminal Code:
Source: http://www.ejtn.eu/  [See Article 42, Sections 1&2.]
European lawyers observing the MH17 trial have noted that Berger failed to mention that. They interpret this as an indication the prosecution already believes Judge Steenhuis has decided on conviction.
“The term ‘unlawfully’ is used in Article 168”, Black continues, “because there may be situations where at sea, for example, a vessel has to be grounded or sunk because it is a danger to other shipping or to the crew — or to save the crew. It’s harder to think of a plane that must be crashed for a comparable reason. But one can anticipate the scenario – for example, when men on the ground believe on reasonable grounds that an aircraft was about to bomb them – when attacking the plane would not be considered unlawful because it is self-defence.”
“So the Dutch prosecutors are trying to prove there was an intent [to fire at an aircraft] and therefore they did it, even if there is no evidence they did. I didn’t realise courts dealt in smoking guns. They ought to be dealing in hard evidence. The fact that someone fantasizes about a woman and she ends up getting pregnant and then she has a miscarriage can’t be turned into the accusation against the man of intent to make her pregnant, and then of causing her miscarriage, and so guilty of bodily harm.”
Eric Zuesse, 24 June 2020
1. The Dutch Government’s 279-page investigative findings on the “Crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17” were published in October 2015, and reported, on
page 84, (under 2.13.2 “Crew autopsy”) that “First Officer Team A … During the body scan of the First Officer’s body, over 120 objects (mostly metal fragments) were detected. The majority of the fragments were found in left side of the upper torso.” Then, it reported, on
page 85 (under 2.13.3) “the First Officer, from Team A, who was operating the aeroplane at the time of the crash.”
(Note that they buried this crucial information, instead of saying clearly that “The pilot’s upper left torso, immediately to the left of the area of the fuselage that had been shot out, had 120 objects that were mostly metal fragments.”) (Here is a closer picture of that side-panel on the left side of the fuselage, to the pilot’s immediate left, and here is that side-panel shown back on the airliner, so that one can see that this firing had to have been done from below, shooting upward into the pilot.)
This crucial physical finding, that the pilot’s corpse had been loaded with “over 120 objects (mostly metal fragments),” is entirely consistent with the side-panel’s having been shot through by bullets, which would have been coming from a Ukrainian military jet and aimed upward, directly at the pilot. That marksman had to have been highly proficient in order to hit the pilot so accurately with so many bullets.
Nothing else was found to be shot through with anything like such an intensity of “mostly metal fragments,” but only the pilot’s upper left torso. This, alone, is virtually conclusive proof that a Ukrainian military jet plane had fired directly at the pilot in order to bring down this civilian plane. (More will be cited here, in #2 below.)
All of this evidence was entirely buried and ignored by the Dutch Government, revealed deep in the report, and only in sub-clauses, instead of in any direct sentences.
Furthermore: “There have been two or three pieces of fuselage that have been really pockmarked with what almost looks like machine-gun fire, very very strong machine-gun fire.” This remarkable statement comes not from Haisenko, but from one of the first OSCE investigators who arrived at the scene of the disaster. Go to
and you will see it. [But, now, it has been removed. Here is the information on that video. That video was titled “OSCE monitor mentions bullet holes in MH17”.]
That evidence is consistent with the Dutch Government’s having found (but buried) that the pilot’s corpse had been riddled with “metal fragments.”
Instead, the Dutch Government is charging Russia as having fired a Buk missile at the airliner and thus brought it down.
2. As I reported on 8 March 2020, under the heading“Why do the U.S. and its allies hide these facts from the public?”:
The latest are document-dumps and accompanying detailed explanations and translations of the revealed documents, and are from Bonanza Media. That’s a Finland-based website. Their “Bonanza Leaks” on 24 February 2020 shows photos of the official transcriptions of the witnesses’ testimony to the official Joint Investigative Team (JIT) which the U.S-allied Dutch Government operates in order to convict Russia for the shoot-down of the MH17 Malaysian airliner on 17 July 2014 above the civil-war zone in Ukraine. It includes an accompanying video presentation of these documents, from a day earlier, on February 23rd, titled “Bonanza Media LeaksTalk”. That video includes this: “Australian police confirm that these are authentic documents” (in response to Bonanza Media’s having supplied Australian police with the photos), and “these are original documents,” which their video shows. Then, they showed their documents to the JIT’s own office in Netherlands, which refused to comment. One document, from the Director of the Military Intelligence and Security Service of the Netherlands, to the public prosecutor of the National Prosecutor’s Office on Counter Terrorism, P.O. Box 395, 3000 AJ Rotterdam, dated 21 September 2016, opens (this being the official Dutch translation, but the original Dutch being also shown), “Herewith, I am informing, pursuant to Section 38 of the Intelligence and Security Services Act 2002, of data that is possibly of importance for the criminal investigation into the crashing of flight MH17.” After stating the evidence they had accumulated from witnesses and from allied-Government intelligence agencies, this document closes: “On this basis MIVD [Dutch military intelligence agency] draws the conclusion that from these two Russian ground based air systems near Rostov na Dona [the only two Russian bases that possibly would have been associated with the shoot-down of the MH17] no missile launch took place on 17 July 2014.” More information about the Bonanza Leaks disclosures can be found from the investigative journalist John Helmer in Moscow, headlining on February 25th, “NATO Military Intelligence Agencies Repeatedly Reported in Secret There Was No Evidence of a Russian Buk Missile in Eastern Ukraine or Firing on MH17”.
As I have documented on many occasions, even the JIT’s [‘Joint Investigative Team’s’] own ‘case’ against Russia, regarding the MH17 shoot-down, is founded upon and cites ‘evidence’ which actually disproves Russia’s involvement, and proves that this downing was instead a Ukrainian Government operation. As I said at that link, “U.S. President Barack Obama had become desperate for something to happen that would persuade German Chancellor Angela Merkel to endorse added sanctions against Russia regarding Ukraine, but I had had no idea, until now, as to what direct involvement, if any, he had had in the actual setting-up of the MH17 shoot-down.” But he has hardly been alone in this effort. Not only Barack Obama but also now Donald Trump are implicated in it — Trump for his continuing Obama’s guilt in it and cover-ups about it.
The U.S. is a bipartisan dictatorship. Is that opinion? It is all documented, in the links. This (like the U.S. Government’s having been behind Ukraine’s downing of the MH17) is therefore still news instead of history; but it remains news only because it still remains hidden in the U.S. and its allied regimes; it is NOT “opinion.” It will remain news as long as the U.S.-and-allied blackout of the evidence remains in effect. And the U.S. dictatorship has long been not only domestic but international as well, a dictatorship over what it calls its ‘allies’ and even over some countries which claim to to be ‘neutral’.
Another example of this international dictatorship is that the supposedly U.N.-authorized and not U.S.-controlled OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons), which is really controlled by the U.S. Government, routinely lies when it needs to in order to protect the U.S. Government from being publicly revealed to have perpetrated an international war-crime.
Everything is consistent with the news-report that I initially published on the last day of 2018 and then updated on 9 January 2018, and which was titled “MH17 TURNABOUT: Ukraine’s Guilt Now PROVEN.” Among the proofs which were supplied there was that the evidence that the Dutch Government had supplied alleging to prove that a certain Buk missile and launcher, which they showed pictures of, was the specific system that had shot down the MH17, happened to display (though Ukraine seems not even to have noticed this) parts-numbers on them that happened to remain in Russia’s records ever since this equipment had been acquired by the Ukrainian state government in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) back in 1986 immediately after having been manufactured in the Russian state, and had remained consistently in Ukraine’s air force and maintained by the Russian manufacturer ever since, so that if this equipment had shot down the MH17, then Ukraine’s Air Force (now under the national Ukrainian Government) would have shot down the MH17; Russia’s Air Force wouldn’t. The Dutch Government simply ignored this evidence that Russia supplied to them after Holland had blamed that specific equipment-set for having done this shoot-down, but promptly then abandoned its allegation that this equipment had been the specific system that shot down the MH17. That article also included a “missing BBC report” in which the BBC’s reporter Olga Ivshina appeared to have been shocked when locals in the area of the shoot-down all told her of having seen no missile at the time, but instead two Ukrainian jets rising toward the airliner right before that airliner descended from the sky. I concluded my report by saying, “Now, which major news-media in The West will report these solidly documented facts? Isn’t it time, finally, that they should start doing that? Or, do they have no honor, at all?” It’s a damning case against not only the U.S.-allied governments but their ‘news’-media, which still hide all of this crucial evidence from their respective publics. All of them war against their own publics. My report linked to all of this evidence, so that readers can see it for themselves.
3. And, finally, there is now a new report, on June 22nd, from the great independent Australian and American (dual-citizen) investigative journalist John Helmer, who lives in Moscow, headlining “HOW THE DUTCH PROSECUTION AND THE JUDGE HAVE RIGGED THE OUTCOME OF THE MH17 TRIAL ON A CHARGE THAT REQUIRES NO PROOF”. It is the coup de grace, against the Dutch Government, and against the entire U.S.-allied team, which in the MH17 case consisted of not only Holland but also Australia and also Belgium and also (and most especially) Ukraine (which latter country’s Government had intentionally shot down the MH17 so as to blame against Russia (as they are doing) in order to supply to Barack Obama an argument that Angela Merkel could use in order to rally her own country in support of greatly hiked anti-Russian sanctions so that the IMF would follow through with the next multi-billion-dollar loan to Ukraine, in order for Ukraine to continue paying its soldiers in Ukraine’s ongoing war against its rebelling and now independent former region of Ukraine, Donbas, which area directly borders on Russia in Ukraine’s far east.
In February 2014, Obama had overthrown in a violent coup Ukraine’s democratically elected neutralist Government, which had been elected in 2010 and received around 90% of the vote in Donbas; so, Donbas declared its independence from Ukraine, and Obama and the IMF and the entire U.S. team were demanding Ukraine to conquer Donbas, which conquest needed money that Ukraine didn’t have but had to borrow. Obama’s plan had originally included to turn Russia’s largest naval base, which was located in Crimea, into a U.S. naval base. That part of his plan failed.
After Ukraine shot down the MH17, it demanded, and got (on 7 August 2014), from its then-three partners in the JIT, including Holland, absolute veto-power over any ‘findings’ that the team would publish. Initially, the team’s allegation was that Donbas separatists had shot down the plane, mistaking it for a Ukrainian military plane that was about to bomb them. Then it switched to blaming Russian soldiers. Then the ‘investigation’ just dragged on for years, trying to find evidence which might persuade enough of the public so as not to become an embarrassment. And, finally, as Helmer reports, the Dutch Government has prepared a criminal charge against Russia that reverts back again to blaming Russia for its having been supporting the separatists whose villages were being bombed by Ukraine, but which, in order to be able to impose penalties against Russia, is based upon no “case law that would be relevant to the issue.” This is a last-ditch effort, but it will be able to work if the Dutch judge is corrupt enough to accept it.
If you don’t already know these facts, then you’ve been getting your ‘news’ from lying media (such as the Washington Post), which aim to eliminate the media (such as this one) that have been reporting (instead of ignoring, or outright denying) these facts. This report is thus American samizdat. You are here reading forbidden news. (It’s actually forbidden history, but if it was never before reported to you, then it still is news, to you.)
On 7 June 2021, John Helmer headlined “THE MOMENT OF TRUTH IN THE MH17 TRIAL”, and reported that: “the then-head of the MIVD [“MIVD”= Netherlands Defence Intelligence and Security Service], Major-General Onno Eichelsheim, reported to the Dutch prosecutors that the US and NATO satellite data shown to his agency revealed no Russian BUK missile radar and launch units had crossed the border into Ukraine before or on July 17, 2014; no BUK missile radar targeting or firing on MH17 had been detected; and no identified Russian units on the Russian side of the border had launched missiles.”
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.