User talk:NSH001

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E-mail is enabled on my account, but before using it to contact me please be aware that:

  • I think that, on principle, all wiki communication should be open for all to see
  • Therefore if you send me an e-mail, you should assume that I will publish it on an appropriate talk page, in order to reply to it there
  • If you think there is a good reason to contact me, in confidence, by e-mail, you should first ask for my agreement not to publish it.
  • I will only agree to this for a very good reason, for example copyrighted material which cannot be freely published.

In any case, I am likely to respond more quickly to a request on my talk page than one by e-mail.

Don't worry if you want to send me an e-mail that has nothing whatsoever to do with Wikipedia; if that is the case, then there is no reason why I should publish it here.

Oliver Kamm[edit]

I appreciate your comments on Oliver Kamm's talk page. Although I have other pressing tasks to attend at the moment, I'll eventually return to the discussion. Also, don't let TJive intimidate you. He's nothing but a bully. Sir Paul 06:24, 7 July 2006 (UTC)[reply]

It's ironic, though. I have long regarded Kamm as a pretentious fool who isn't worth a minute of anybody's time trying to read him -- which is why I've been reluctant to get drawn in. Yet I'm still wasting time on him...--NSH001 15:07, 7 July 2006 (UTC)[reply]
update: (after 12 years!) Kamm is so ludicrous I find it hard to take him seriously. The trouble with Kamm goes back a long, long way – long before I was on Wikipedia (can't remember when, exactly, but it was in the days of dial-up modems that blocked your phone line, and might give you download speeds of 5 Kbytes/sec if you were lucky). I still think it a waste of time dealing with him, but I suppose it was only a matter of time before Kamm's malign influence would blow up so spectacularly on Wikipedia and lead to an Arbcom case (June 2018).[i] Worth reading Brian Leiter's classic piece from November 2005. --NSH001 (talk) 10:47, 22 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]
more: There are many sources on Kamm's foolishness that can easily be found in a google search. I note the following two only because Philip Cross has been working hard to keep them out of Kamm's page:
--NSH001 (talk) 17:00, 22 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  1. ^ For the avoidance of doubt, I am clear that Kamm is not Philip Cross, although he has certainly influenced the latter.
A non-entity publicly, intellectually, and yet he has a wiki page. One can't edit it appropriately because he is under the radar that captures serious things.Nishidani (talk) 19:17, 22 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I decided to keep those few sentences from 2006 at the top (i.e., tell the bot not to archive them) partly because it's nice to have a record of when I started editing Wikipedia (well, not quite - it's the first ever message on my talk page, though) and partly because I quite like having a mildly derogatory remark about Kamm at the top of my talk page. He deserves a much more serious condemnation, but WP:BLP wouldn't allow it (rightly so, I think) and in any case posting negative stuff tends to be counterproductive. Plus he's really not worth the effort. --NSH001 (talk) 20:12, 22 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Citation and referencing style[edit]


Consensus at WPMED is to keep refs generally over one line. Please do not switch them to over many.[1] Best Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 13:13, 7 August 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Doc James, I am thinking very long term here. Most larger wiki articles are effectively rendered uneditable by the presence of numerous long, horizontally formatted templates (LHTs[a]); the only edits feasible on such pages are trivial changes such as spelling corrections, or automated edits where the script/bot doesn't care about the formatting.[b] Of course this is just my opinion, but I do know several other editors share my dislike of long, horizontally formatted citation template clutter (LHT clutter). As well as making the wikitext unreadable, such templates also make it very difficult to find and correct errors in the citation templates, or indeed in anything else.
It doesn't surprise me that the Wikimedia Foundation finds it necessary to spend large sums on things like Visual Editor, given that the mess resulting from long, horizontally formatted templates makes directly editing wikitext so user-hostile. I want to see a wiki that is clear of all this clutter, but that is going to take several years to achieve. In the meantime I am effectively banned (without having commited any offence) from many, perhaps most, articles because of citation clutter. Hence I am (slowly) developing a private script to help in this task. I call the script "ETVP" for "Easy To Visually Parse", because wikitext should be nice and easy to read. I aim eventually to make it easy, using the ETVP script, to switch to short-form referencing, or to LDR, or to some combination of the two, or indeed to anything else that will reduce or eliminate citation clutter. It was not originally my intention to leave ETVP templates in-line, but when I first tried it I was surprised at how much more readable the wikitext became, so my current thinking is to retain it as an option (the main disadvantage appears to be that it is too easy to turn it back into horizontal formatting, as you have demonstrated!).
I am relaxed about not edit-warring with you on this, although I do think making the wikitext harder to read is irrational. Partly this is because the ETVP script is still a long way from being finished, but the main reason is that my focus is on the long-term, and edit warring on individual articles is of no benefit in that aim. I have always anticipated there will be some resistance to in-line ETVP templates, simply because people don't like change, or just get upset by unexpected change, or by anything surprising. I note that most WPMED articles are of a scientific or academic nature, where short-form referencing is the natural style. Once I've got the ETVP script working for that style, then I believe it could be very useful for the WPMED project.
--NSH001 (talk) 21:18, 7 August 2016 (UTC)[reply]
The majority of the editors at WPMED like the references over one horizontal line rather than over dozens of lines.
Yes there is a minority who like it over dozens of lines. I find having it over one horizontal line is easier to edit not harder.
What we need is an option / gadget so that those who want it over one line when they hit edit get it over one line and those who want it over many lines get it over many lines. That means win-win for everyone as everyone gets the way they find makes it easiest for them to edit. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 22:27, 7 August 2016 (UTC)[reply]
Look more carefully. ETVP is not "dozens of lines" (per cite). I think you might be referring to the (not very wonderful) "vertical" format that you get in the template documentation; even then (provided you eliminate the blank parameters), it rarely amounts to "dozens" of lines. The ETVP script has been carefully thought through to give you what it says on the tin: it uses the minimum number of lines and white space while still maintaining clarity. Roughly, items that logically belong together go on the same line, important items go at the top (title, authors) and references (for example, identifiers) go at the end (a bit like wikipedia article layout). The aim is to take advantage of the human visual system, which works orders of magnitude faster than the rest of the brain. This makes it very easy to spot errors, often instantly; in addition, you'll often spot errors you weren't even looking for in the first place. This is impossible to do if the template is strung out over two or more lines (by lines, I mean lines on the edit window, not the single line you're referring to), buried in a mass of other wikitext. I think one reason why cite templates are so badly infested with errors is precisely this difficulty of spotting errors in the horizontal layout. But what makes the horizontal layout even more annoying is the difficulty of spotting the beginning and end of the same template, especially if there are large numbers of horizontal cites buried within the same paragraph. With the ETVP format, the eye can again spot the beginning and end of a template instantly. So not only does the horizontal format make it difficult or impossible to spot errors in the cite templates, it also makes it difficult or impossible to follow the "flow" of the article text itself. To see this, try an experiment: (a) open in edit mode the version of the article before my edit, and try to read out loud the article text from the wikitext, then (b) do the same with the wikitext after my edit. Notice how much easier (b) is!
Take a look, in edit mode, at Muhammad Najati Sidqi#References and Khazars#References. These are examples of the the work of the ETVP script on articles that were already using short-form referencing. Notice how easy and pleasant it is to read the citation templates there. Although I intend to implement LDR first, my aim (eventually) is to make it easy to switch articles to short-form referencing, with all templates in ETVP form. This is my preferred referencing style, and the most natural for scientific, technical and academic articles. But basically, the ETVP script will eventually let editors use any referencing style they like, as long as it doesn't involve long, horizontally formatted templates.
Note that ETVP is not the same as "vertical". Short templates are actually easier to visually parse if they are "scrunched up" (eliminating all unnecessary spaces) and kept on the same line. The ETVP script recognizes this, using a cut-off of 50 characters (this seems to work well so far, but it could be easily tweaked if necessary). Perhaps the fans of horizontal templates are aware of this, but then wrongly assume that it applies regardless of length. The general principle is that short templates are fine if they're kept on the same physical line, but the longer the template, the stronger the case for a vertical or ETVP format. For an extreme example, see this egregious edit, which I don't think anyone would want to defend.
One might also note the contrast with infoboxes, which are already, mostly, more-or-less in a vertical format, with one parameter per line. Editors don't have any problem editing infoboxes. So in my view, the difficulty some editors say they have with editing ETVP or vertical format is imaginary, not real. Probably they've just gotten used to the default that they get when they click the "cite" button on the edit window or from using most of the standard cite-generating tools. And why should they care? For most editors, adding cites is just a tedious but necessary chore, to be done with minimum effort; they care about the info they're adding, not the errors they're creating or the messy wikitext they're leaving behind.
--NSH001 (talk) 11:10, 8 August 2016 (UTC)[reply]
P.S. The idea of a gadget seems like a good one, except I'd want it to appear in an ETVP format, not the vertical one.
In the four years since this thread first started, it has become crystal clear that a gadget is never going to be a solution to this problem. There is, however, a partial solution, namely a change to the wikitext editor, which I outline at Update, August 2020 below, which will immediately (once implemented) meet some of the objections raised by fans of the turd format, as well as being a useful adjuct to the operation of the ETVP script. (updated 17:03, 13 August 2020 (UTC))

Notes on the Syntax highlighter gadget[edit]

Jonesey95 has suggested the syntax highlighter gadget as a possible solution to the near-impossibility of reading and editing pages full of LHTs.[b]

Initial thoughts:

  • The default setting is far too cluttered; in particular, there is no need to highlight wikilinks. However it is possible to customise it so that only templates are highlighted. This works, and is actually quite useful.
  • However, this is moot for those who, like me,use an external editor for most of their editing.
  • It doesn't distinguish nested templates, in contrast to the ETVP script, which indents templates to mark the depth of nesting.
  • In any case, this problem is so fundamental that we shouldn't need to depend on a gadget to fix it.

Conclusion: better than nothing, but not really a solution to the problem. By providing a makeshift patch that papers over the problem, it reduces the pressure to get the problem fixed properly. It does mark the beginning and end of templates clearly (very good!), but the ETVP script also does that. The ETVP format also makes it easy to spot errors instantly, and the highlighter is of no help in that regard. --NSH001 (talk) 21:51, 28 February 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Further thoughts:

  • The gadget doesn't work on diffs (and wasn't intended to), but templates in ETVP format are still easily distinguishable in diffs.
  • Not distinguishing nested templates is a major drawback, especially in Infoboxes where cite templates are common. Not a problem when using ETVP, as the script uses indentation to indicate nesting.
  • There is no need to highlight short templates (that's just unnecessary visual clutter). In my view only templates EITHER longer than about 100 characters OR which wrap around lines in the edit window need to be highlighted. Of course, the ETVP script takes account of template length, but it has no way of telling when a template is going to line-wrap. But note that templates in ETVP format are designed so that they usually won't line-wrap, except for long URLs or long quotes or exceptionally long article or chapter titles. Even then, the line-wrapping is restricted to the long piece of text, and does not affect the readability of the rest of the template.

I vaguely remember trying some sort of highlighter or edit-helper several years ago,[c] and rapidly rejecting it as too cluttered and too distracting; if my memory is correct it also suffered from a lot of bugs. In contrast, I can see that I might sometimes use this highlighter, even though most of the time I will have it turned off. The author of this highlighter, Remember the dot, deserves some thanks and credit for the thought and effort he or she has put into this script. It's obviously useful to many editors, but it's not a solution to the problem of LHT clutter. --NSH001 (talk) 09:44, 1 March 2017 (UTC) and NSH001 (talk) 10:32, 2 March 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Let's get the terminology right[edit]

I have seen other editors (not just Doc James), when talking about this infuriating problem, use the phrase "over one line" to refer to horizontal cite templates and "over many lines" to refer to other formats.

Yes, it is true that the annoying LHT format only occupies one physical line of the computer file. But to use "over one line" in the context of a discussion of the merits of the different formats is very misleading. On the actual edit window that real-life editors use, it also occupies many lines. The difference is that the LHT format will line-wrap at unpredictable positions, depending on where in the text it occurs, what font size is being used and the width of the edit window, among other factors. At least the line-breaks in the "vertical" format are predictable (making it more readable than the LHT format), while the ETVP format is specifically designed to make it as readable as possible.

Incidentally, this problem of line-wrapping is one reason why, generally, I don't mind manually formatted citations; as long as they don't contain long URLs, or other long items, they will usually fit into one line of an edit window, so they don't disrupt the readability of the wikitext in the same way that LHTs do. (I have mentioned elsewhere that there are compelling reasons for preferring templated citations, of course.) There is another reason why manual citations are generally acceptable in the body of an article: they are still in a narrative format, so (unless they contain a long URL) they fit in quite naturally with the rest of the article. Very different from cite templates, where the important task for the editor is to visually parse the argument-value pairs (updated December 2017).

--NSH001 (talk) 15:53, 14 March 2017 (UTC)[reply]

What's so bad about long horizontal template clutter (LHT clutter)?[edit]

  • It puts off new editors from joining Wikipedia. See self-selection below, and my responses to Doc James above.
  • It violates every principle of sound coding practice. Any professional computer programmer who wrote code like this would soon be out of a job, or more likely, would never be taken on in the first place.
  • It obfuscates everything. Similarly, at school I was taught how to write English properly. If I had written an essay in such an unstructured, amorphous form I would have received a big fat ZERO as my mark for such an essay. If you (generic) write English without any structure, the result is incomprehensible. The same applies to wikitext.
  • It causes errors because errors are so difficult to spot and to correct in LHTs.
  • It causes even more errors because LHT clutter makes it difficult (almost impossible) to follow the natural flow of the article text within the wikitext.[d]
  • It makes diffs hard to follow. It's bad enough trying to read wikitext cluttered with LHTs, but the problems are multiplied when you (generic) are trying to establish who has added or deleted what in a diff.
  • It sets a bad example. New editors will usually just copy the techniques they find already being used, so, not surprisingly, the result is a cancerous expansion of the usual steaming heap of unreadable and uneditable text.
  • Summary: it makes editing Wikipedia difficult, slow, error-prone and very, very unpleasant. The problem is so bad, so annoying and so infuriating that either LHT clutter has to be gotten rid of (preferably completely), or I will leave Wikipedia. The reason is obvious: how is it possible to edit anything cluttered up with LHTs, when this clutter, apart from the exceptions footnoted below,[b] makes editing impossible?
  • Conclusion: LHT clutter should be  E . X . T . E . R . M . I . N . A . T . E . D.[e]

The paradox: if LHT clutter is so bad, then why are most articles using this style?[edit]

Well, I really don't know. It baffles and perplexes me that anyone could possibly tolerate this mess. But any strategy for getting rid of LHTs needs to address this paradox. Some possible explanations:

  1. Self-selection. The WMF has been worrying for years about the long-term decline in the number of active editors. Not that surprising really, when someone new to Wikipedia opens up a page in edit mode and discovers an amorphous, unstructured, smushed-together, incomprehensible and almost unreadable heap of steaming LHT doo-doo. So the small minority that's left, and which heroically persists in trying to edit Wikipedia, has, for the most part (not all, and certainly not including me), self-selected as those who can somehow tolerate LHT clutter.
  2. False perception of authority. People assume that, simply because it is so common, LHT clutter must somehow be "right", or "officially approved", or the "standard" citation and referencing style, although per policy (WP:CITESTYLE), there is no one, single, standard citation style on Wikipedia. All this despite the fact that LHT clutter is the worst possible citation and referencing style.
  3. Lack of exposure to better citation styles. Some editors are simply unaware of better alternatives: they may dislike the clutter, but just assume it's something thay have to put up with. Or they may be aware of better alternatives, but then find it takes a lot of time and effort to change the citation style (plus they may then have additional battles based on WP:CITEVAR).
  4. Unfamiliarity with academic citation styles, especially among editors who haven't had a university-level education.
  5. Poor citation-generating tools. These have plenty of faults and shortcomings. Among their faults is that they offer only the LHT clutter style, or if they do offer a choice, it is between so-called "vertical" and LHT, with LHT clutter being the default. The "vertical" form, as given in the template documentation, isn't that great either, but it's still a huge improvement over LHT clutter. None of them offer an ETVP form as a choice, of course, since ETVP is a new concept. Since the default option is the easiest one to choose, the result is that the LHT dungheap just keeps on growing.
  6. Poor citation template documentation (in fact, most of the citation template documentation is quite good; I'm referring here to the distinction between "vertical" and "horizontal"). The "vertical" style offered as an alternative to the LHT clutter format in the template documentation is very poor (but still a huge improvement on LHT clutter). It obviously hasn't been properly and thoroughly thought through though.[f] I will discuss this in more detail in the ETVP documentation, but see my responses to Doc James above for a brief outline. This may partly explain why editors (bizarrely) choose the LHT clutter format instead.
  7. Syntax highlighters. My first reaction to Doc James' request above was simply bewilderment and perplexity, since trying to edit LHT clutter is a physical impossibility[b] (well it can be done, but only at the cost of a phenomenal amount of time and effort). Note that for serious editing, I use an external editor (but I do use the standard wikitext editor for small changes, and to preview edits made in the main, external, editor). So I pay little attention to developments in the standard editor or its gadgets. Well, syntax highlighters (if properly configured) do solve one of the most infuriating problems about LHT clutter, namely the extreme difficulty of spotting where an individual LHT begins and ends. I think it's clear that without syntax highlighters, LHT clutter would never survive as a citation style;[g] otherwise editing a page full of LHT clutter is physically impossible. But that still raises questions about what newbies do, since they won't be aware of syntax highlighters. And as I explained above, syntax highlighters still have some drawbacks, and in any case, the ETVP style renders them unnecessary.[h]
    Conclusion: syntax highlighters are like a medication that alleviates (some of) the symptoms, but doesn't cure the underlying disease.
  8. Inadequate wikitext editor. The wikitext editor needs to properly support separation of long citation templates from their inline antecedents, whether it be list-defined references (LDR), parenthetical referencing or short-form referencing. In one click[i] it should enable an {{sfn}} template, or any of its siblings, including any of the harvnb family, to be inserted in the article body and at the same time the corresponding long cite template added, if not already present, in correct alphabetical order, to the relevant bibliographic listing. Similarly for named references and their corresponding entry in LDR.
    As an alternative my ETVP script effectively does this already by transforming a whole article all at once (it still needs polishing, though). The wikitext editor should also allow a single click[i] on an {{sfn}}/{{harvnb}} or named reference to bring up the corresponding long template in a popup for easy editing.
    I guess the first suggestion is too difficult and impracticable to be worth the effort, especially if we already have a script to do the job. So I'd like to limit myself to just two small suggestions, that should be possible without too much effort:(updated, December 2017)
    • A popup to show the corresponding full citation when a short-form cite is "clicked"[i]
    • Toggle the size of the edit window (edit box) between the standard size and full screen, or full screen with only minimal menus and toolbar.[j]
  9. Perhaps the most obvious explanation. Amazingly, Wikipedia, through its HELP tools, actually teaches the LHT clutter style to beginners. So does the WMF through its volunteer editors who help newbies come to grips with how to edit Wikipedia (very useful work, apart from this one aspect). This needs to change, so that newcomers are made aware of the problems created by LHT clutter, and of the available alternatives. (added, June 2019)

--NSH001 (talk) 07:39, 16 June 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Update, August/September 2020[edit]

This section has been prompted by the this discussion on the talk page of Actuary (a featured article), and the simultaneous discussion at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Deprecate parenthetical citations (archived here). In addition, my private ETVP script has been under near-constant development since most of this thread was first written, so an update is needed anyway.

The ETVP script now allows the choice of four different ways of getting rid of LHT clutter:[k]

  1. Switch all citation templates from the LHT clutter format (also known as the "turd" format) to ETVP format, but leave them in place. This was the first option to be developed (because it was the easiest), and the one that Doc James complained about above. It might have been possible to have left it there, but I found that whenever I changed turd templates to nice, pleasant, in-line ETVP templates, I kept getting reverted; such a change also prompted the complaint from Doc James above. I note below a couple of proposed changes to the wikitext editor, which I hope should remove these objections. So I went ahead with providing all the remaining options.
  2. Switch to list-defined references, WP:LDR, so that the "turds" are all moved out of the article text, and are listed (having, on their way, been transformed into ETVP format) using the |refs= parameter of the {{reflist}} template. This was the second option that I developed. It succeeds in getting rid of the turds, but it also comes with some disadvantages, notably the difficulty in handling page numbers (which can still be done, but not very easily).
  3. Switch to short-form referencing, making use of {{sfn}} and {{harvnb}} and all their numerous siblings. This was the third option I developed, and is the one I use most frequently. The main advantage is that the citations are listed – of course, in the pleasant ETVP format – in a neat, alphabetically-ordered bibliographic listing at the end of the article.
  4. Switch to parenthetical referencing. This is the most recent option that I have developed, and is similar in many ways to short-form referencing, notably the use of a neatly formatted and sorted bibliographic listing at the end.
    It has the advantage over short-form of not requiring a separate section to hold the short cites, and of reducing the number of clicks to get to the full citation. Like Option 3, it offers the advantage over Option 2 of handling page numbers properly.
  5. The fifth option is independent of the others. It has been far and away the most difficult to write (but I like a challenge!), namely to automatically convert manual citations to templated ones. Options 3 and 4 rely heavily on the existence of CS1/CS2 citation templates, so this is an essential prerequisite in many cases. It will never be possible to reliably convert everything, but it is possible to do so for well-written manual citations, and to get quite close for many of the rest.
  6. The sixth option mostly doesn't exist yet. So far, the emphasis within this script has been to provide options to move from the dungheap citation style to one of the options listed above. There are, however, valid reasons why it may be desirable to move from one non-turd citation style to a different non-turd citation style. It can often happen that, for small articles, Option 2 (list-defined references) is the best way of getting rid of the turds. Then, once an article expands, Option 3 becomes the best solution; it's no accident that Option 3 is much more common at the Featured Article level.
    Thus, at the time of writing, the script provides some limited support for moving from Option 2 to Option 3. In future, it may offer support for other possible switches, but that is a low priority for now. Another, more likely possibility, is to offer a combination of citation styles. It should, of course, go without saying that switches of citation style remain subject to WP:CITEVAR and WP:CITESTYLE. (updated 08:43, 12 August 2020 (UTC))

In practice, I find that I use option 1 as an interim stage before using one of the other options. Option 1 is very helpful: firstly because it automatically corrects many of the errors that you find in citation templates, and, secondly, having the templates in ETVP format makes them much easier to edit. Any solution (and my script) has to take account of the vast amount of crap that editors type into citation templates. You won't believe the amount of crap that you find in citation templates. Not just editors, most of the citation-generating tools generate crap citations too, notably Visual Editor (VE), which was one of the worst, although it seems to be getting a bit better recently.[l] A huge amount of the effort that has gone into my script has been writing code to correct this mountainous pile of crap. One of the reasons that there is so much crap in citation templates is that the LHT clutter style makes it very difficult to find errors, and even if you do find one, the LHT format makes it hard and time-consuming to correct. So the epithet "turd" is indeed appropriate to describe this style.

Anyway, for now, option 1 is used only as an interim, preliminary stage. I save the result on my own computer (it would be easy to save it on Wikipedia, but that carries the risk of another editor coming along and messing up my work) and then examine it manually. Firstly, to correct the usual crap. Then to check the changes option 1 has offered; the most common of these is the | ref = {{harvid|...}} it generates if there are no authors or editors, or no date/year is specified.[m] Of course, this stage may not be needed if I'm already familiar with the page and its history; on the other hand it's essential if someone has been dumping LHTs ("turds") using VE or one of the citation-generating tools. Once I'm satisfied with the results, I run one of the other options to generate the final result.

I still believe using in-line ETVP formatting (option 1) is a valid and useful option (it keeps the citation next to the text it's supporting), but before that can win general acceptance, I think two changes are necessary to the wiki text editor (I refuse to go anywhere near the VE editor):

  1. The display of all instances of <ref>...........</ref> should be changed so that what you see in the edit window looks something like this:

    blah blah,[ref 23][ref 3][ref 24 name="Smith"] blah blah.[ref 11]

    where the coloured [ref]s are clickable, resulting in either a pop-up that can be edited, or expanded in-line for editing.
  2. Make it possible to toggle the edit box between its standard size and full-screen (or full-screen, less a little bit for menus/toolbars). One of the excuses made for the turd format is that "it keeps the refs from taking up so much screen space in a heavily referenced article", so this will help to remove this excuse. Of course the first change also does that, but in any case it's nice to have the option to edit full-screen.

I believe the first change will be welcomed by all editors (even those who are fans of the turd format), since it makes the wikitext much more readable.

The purpose of the ETVP script

Worth reiterating:

The purpose of the ETVP script is to get rid of LHT clutter. That was its original motivation, and will always remain its primary function. In doing this, it provides options to switch from the dungheap citation style to any of the citation formats mentioned above.

But its purpose remains to get rid of LHT clutter. Of course it can be used to switch citation style, and I hope to support every reasonable citation style, but it will never allow a turd-formatted citation to remain in place.

I am always open to reasonable requests for improving the ETVP script. But the one thing that is, and will always remain, non-negotiable, is its fundamental, basic purpose, which is to get rid of turd-formatted citations.

--NSH001 (talk) 14:13, 9 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

It's not just me[edit]

  1. From <>
    "So I just finished re-formatting Lead into the format that I think is clearly and objectively superior: {{cite book}}s etc in a separate section at the bottom of the page, {{sfn}} in body text. [I would go farther than that and use various {{harv}} formats in Notes, but that is irrelevant to this question.] Before that, it was all <ref>{{cite book | lotsa distracting/confusing text here }}</ref> all splashed like buckshot across body text. That is a common referencing method, and it is quite inferior. First, it's a maintenance nightmare for editors to search and find all those {{citation}}s everywhere in the body text. It is a confusing jumble of metatext mishmash blobs that break the actual displayed text up into near-incoherence when you look at the raw editing version; a n00b does not deserve to face that. Second, it jumbles all the displayed cite text into an unorganized blob of cite info in the References section, making spotting errors in them an exercise in serious eyestrain. Third, the absence of {{sfn}} (or something comparable) makes it prohibitively difficult to add specific page numbers."
    User:Lingzhi is talking here mainly about page numbers, but he also makes clear the problem with LHT clutter.
  2. From User_talk:Dsimic#Power_suppl unit (computer) (edited for clarity):
    Hello! Regarding my edit on the Power supply unit (computer) article, IMHO there's no reasonable excuse for favoring a much less readable format of the Wiki code under the unification umbrella. Consistency is good, of course, but it actually isn't that good when it makes things worse. Each "slice" of better Wiki code readability counts, and we should aim toward consistency-related changes that improve the overall Wiki code readability. Hope you'll agree. — Dsimic (talk | contribs) 08:52, 4 May 2016 (UTC)[reply]
    Quite frankly, there's no way that, for example, this Wiki code snippet:
    Although a power supply with a larger than needed power rating will have an extra margin of safety against overloading, such a unit is often less efficient and wastes more electricity at lower loads than a more appropriately sized unit. For example, a 900-watt power supply with the [[80 Plus Silver]] efficiency rating (which means that such a power supply is designed to be at least 85-percent efficient for loads above 180&nbsp;W) may only be 73% efficient when the load is lower than 100&nbsp;W, which is a typical idle power for a desktop computer. Thus, for a 100&nbsp;W load, losses for this supply would be 37&nbsp;W; if the same power supply was put under a 450&nbsp;W load, for which the supply's efficiency peaks at 89%, the loss would be only 56&nbsp;W despite supplying 4.5 times the useful power.<ref>{{cite web | url = | title = Debunking Power Supply Myths | date = 2008-09-22 | accessdate = 2014-10-07 | author = Christoph Katzer | publisher = [[AnandTech]] | page = 3}}</ref><ref>{{cite web | url = | title = Cooler Master UCP Product Sheet | year = 2008 | accessdate = 2014-10-11 | publisher = [[Cooler Master]] | format = PDF}}</ref> For a comparison, a 500-watt power supply carrying the [[80 Plus Bronze]] efficiency rating (which means that such a power supply is designed to be at least 82-percent efficient for loads above 100&nbsp;W) may provide an 84-percent efficiency for a 100&nbsp;W load, wasting only 19&nbsp;W.<ref>{{cite web | url = | title = SilverStone Strider Plus{{snd}} 500&nbsp;W Modular Power | date = 2011-10-10 | accessdate = 2014-10-11 | author = Martin Kaffei | publisher = [[AnandTech]] | page = 4}}</ref>
    is better or more readable than its nicely formatted equivalent:
    Although a power supply with a larger than needed power rating will have an extra margin of safety against overloading, such a unit is often less efficient and wastes more electricity at lower loads than a more appropriately sized unit. For example, a 900-watt power supply with the [[80 Plus Silver]] efficiency rating (which means that such a power supply is designed to be at least 85-percent efficient for loads above 180&nbsp;W) may only be 73% efficient when the load is lower than 100&nbsp;W, which is a typical idle power for a desktop computer. Thus, for a 100&nbsp;W load, losses for this supply would be 37&nbsp;W; if the same power supply was put under a 450&nbsp;W load, for which the supply's efficiency peaks at 89%, the loss would be only 56&nbsp;W despite supplying 4.5 times the useful power.<ref>{{cite web
     | url =
     | title = Debunking Power Supply Myths
     | date = 2008-09-22 | accessdate = 2014-10-07
     | author = Christoph Katzer | publisher = [[AnandTech]]
     | page = 3
    }}</ref><ref>{{cite web
     | url =
     | title = Cooler Master UCP Product Sheet
     | year = 2008 | accessdate = 2014-10-11
     | publisher = [[Cooler Master]] | format = PDF
    }}</ref> For a comparison, a 500-watt power supply carrying the [[80 Plus Bronze]] efficiency rating (which means that such a power supply is designed to be at least 82-percent efficient for loads above 100&nbsp;W) may provide an 84-percent efficiency for a 100&nbsp;W load, wasting only 19&nbsp;W.<ref>{{cite web
     | url =
     | title = SilverStone Strider Plus{{snd}} 500&nbsp;W Modular Power
     | date = 2011-10-10 | accessdate = 2014-10-11
     | author = Martin Kaffei | publisher = [[AnandTech]]
     | page = 4
    It's pretty much obvious to anyone who had spent at least some time editing Wiki code manually or doing some other source-level computer programming. — Dsimic (talk | contribs) 23:03, 7 May 2016 (UTC)[reply]
  3. From User:Monkbot/task_18: cosmetic cs1 template cleanup: "Editors commonly complain that inline references make it more difficult to read wikitext." [Note from NSH001: "references" in this context means LHT clutter.]
  4. From Wikipedia:Village_pump (technical)/Archive 186#My pet peeve: collapsing citations:
    The thing that irritates me the most, as a WP editor, is how nice, legible citations, such as (within braces that I'm omitting)
    cite book
    |editor-link=Robert W. Watson
    |editor-first=Robert W.
    |title=White House Studies Compendium
    |authorlink=Harold Holzer
    |chapter=New Glory for Old Glory: A Lincoln-Era Tradition Reborn
    |publisher=Nova Publishers
    |pages=315–318, at p. 316
    are collapsed into illegible goo, as in
    cite book|editor-link=Robert W. Watson|editor-first=Robert W.|editor-last=Watson|title=White House Studies Compendium|volume=2|first=Harold|last=Holzer|authorlink=Harold Holzer|isbn=9781600215339|chapter=New Glory for Old Glory: A Lincoln-Era Tradition Reborn|url= Publishers|pages=315–318, at p. 316
    -- complaint by User:Deisenbe
  5. (more quotes to be added)


I'm aware that I need to produce a full set of documentation about ETVP – the underlying principles, the ETVP script, and why it does what it does, and a full discussion/tutorial of the merits and demerits of each of the options it offers. I've been slow in doing this because for the foreseeable future the script will remain private, so that only I can use it. In the meantime, the long thread here provides a good description of the motivation for writing it, and you can find examples of its use at User:NSH001/ETVP/examples. --NSH001 (talk) 14:13, 9 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]


  1. ^ "LHTs" may also be read as "long horizontal turds", to reflect the revulsion they induce.
  2. ^ a b c d In my experience, there are three small but important exceptions where it is sometimes possible to edit such pages, despite the presence of LHTs:
    1. trivial changes, such as spelling corrections (but this can still be difficult, slow, and unpleasant)
    2. all automated and most semi-automated edits. This includes, for example, edits made via a script, or by pressing an "undo" or "rollback" button.
    3. if there are substantial parts of an article that are free of LHTs. For example, it is sometimes possible to edit the lead or Infobox, since these can be relatively or completely LHT-free. Similarly it is possible to edit categories and navboxes at the end of articles (a place where LHTs almost never occur).
  3. ^ From memory, this was wikEd, which I think was the only available tool at the time to offer syntax highlighting.
  4. ^ Syntax highlighters can alleviate this problem, but using ETVP formatting is a better approach.
  5. ^ I am old enough to remember the first broadcast episodes of Doctor Who. On a black & white 405-line TV set receiving analogue signals broadcast on Band I VHF, no less. Anyone remember those big H-shaped aerials that marked out the houses of those families who could afford to buy a television?
  6. ^ Sorry, I couldn't resist the alliteration!
  7. ^ For the avoidance of doubt, I am not interested, even with the availability of syntax highlighters, in the survival of LHT clutter as a citation style; I want it to disappear completely.
  8. ^ Editors may still, of course, have valid reasons for wanting to use a syntax highlighter. The point is that ETVP means that syntax highlighters are no longer needed to deal with long templates, but syntax highlighters may still be needed for other reasons.
  9. ^ a b c possibly a click or double-click together with a control key, or combination of control keys
  10. ^ This should reduce the incentive for editors to use the LHT clutter format, since the reason usually offered for preferring LHT clutter is that the "vertical" form takes up too much screen space. Well, the ETVP format uses less screen space anyway compared to the documented "vertical" form, but let's give editors more space when they need it.
  11. ^ LHT clutter is the unreadable and uneditable mess caused by the proliferation of long, horizontally formatted templates (LHTs). Please read the whole of this very long thread from the start, in order to better understand this problem.
  12. ^ The only citation-generating tool I've come across that does a reasonably good job is Citation bot, and even that isn't perfect. At least the authors of Citation bot have demonstrated that they understand the massive problem of crap in citation templates.
  13. ^ This process can be very time-consuming, as the turds dumped by the various citation-generating tools often omit, or get wrong, vital details, so I usually have to go back to the source to check. Editors using these tools are supposed to check the generated citations against the source, but in reality they don't.

What are "turd templates"?[edit]


A turd template is another name for a Long horizontally formatted template (LHT) as defined above. As explained above, LHTs make editing difficult or impossible (with some exceptions), in addition to being undesirable on general grounds.

Opening, in edit mode, an article full of LHTs is like entering a house where every previous visitor (editor) has left a "deposit" all over the floor. Hence the name.

--NSH001 (talk) 22:28, 3 May 2018 (UTC)[reply]

For a full understanding of why they are called "turds", follow the link to the long thread above. But if you just want a one-paragraph explanation, click here (updated 08:16, 2 September 2020 (UTC)).


The dungheap citation style is another name for the LHT clutter citation style. Note that I am being too kind to LHT clutter here: dungheaps can be composted into useful, sweet-smelling fertiliser that can be used by farmers to help produce healthy, nutritious organic food. By contrast, the stink of LHT clutter is permanent until the turds are flushed away, or otherwise disposed of.

--NSH001 (talk) 10:23, 11 November 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Assange, the kangaroo court, and worse[edit]

First, some remarks copied from above:

(Sorry to wander off the topic, but the whole thing is so outrageous I'm finding it difficult to think of anything else.) At this moment, I'm wondering what to do about this kangaroo court, reminiscent of stories coming out of the USSR when I was a boy growing up some 60 years ago. The (mis-)treatment of an innocent man, amounting to torture, breaks every fucking legal rule in the book, but our so-called "mainstream" media is remarkably silent on the massive human rights abuse of a good man, yet they are fully capable of pointing out human rights abuses in countries they don't like. It's crystal clear to me that the time has come to revise Wikipedia's rules on "reliable sources"; taking account of the propaganda function of the media would be a good place to start. Jeez, even RT is more reliable on this farce. --NSH001 (talk) 01:18, 25 October 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Sources on Assange (only a start; this is going to be a very long list):

  • Johnstone, Caitlin (20 April 2019). "Debunking All The Assange Smears". Medium. Also available at Lengthy (Medium says it will take you 73mins to read, not counting the 112mins of video embedded there) but it's far and away the best overall survey of the topic I've seen.
  • The excellent Caitlin Johnstone's work on Assange isn't restricted to her tour de force above, far from it. Here's some more:
    • Johnstone, Caitlin (23 January 2020). "Empire War on Oppositional Journalism Escalates". Consortium News. In exactly the same way we saw a coordination between the U.S., U.K., Sweden, Ecuador and Australia to immobilize, and then silence, and then imprison Julian Assange, we are seeing a uniform movement toward silencing oppositional journalism throughout the entire U.S.-centralized empire. {{cite news}}: External link in |quote= (help) On similarities between the US's nefarious activities in Brazil and the Assange case. Also available at
    • Johnstone, Caitlin (29 February 2020). "To Be Assanged: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix". Murderous governments who deceive their citizenry are not entitled to any degree of secrecy whatsoever. More quotes:
      • "Ever notice how there are no "Don't Free Assange" rallies? No "Extradite Assange" activist forums? That's because the only normal human beings interested in his case want him free. It's the Free Assange crowd versus the "Thinking about that will cause me cognitive dissonance" crowd. The only grassroots energy regarding Assange is on his side. The entire other side of the debate is (A) governments and their lackeys and (B) the propagandized masses who have been manipulated into staying silent and compliant as the empire works its will."
      • "Debunking smears is all well and good, but the actual Assange case isn't about smears, it's about a question: Should journalists be punished for exposing war crimes?"
      • "Per the Assange extradition argument the Saudis should be allowed to extradite and behead anyone who practices blasphemy."
    • Johnstone, Caitlin (28 February 2020). "This Assange "Trial" Is A Self-Contradictory Kafkaesque Nightmare". 'Kafka's work is characterized by nightmarish settings in which characters are crushed by nonsensical, blind authority,' says Merriam-Webster. 'Thus, the word Kafkaesque is often applied to bizarre and impersonal administrative situations where the individual feels powerless to understand or control what is happening.'
    • (sub-list to be continued)
  • Gabe Rottman, "Special Analysis of the May 2019 Superseding Indictment of Julian Assange". Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. 30 May 2019.
  • Imperialism on Trial - Free Julian Assange event (Part 1 of 2). Held on 11 June 2019 at "the Crypt on the Green", the crypt of St James's Church, Clerkenwell, London. A part-transcript of the two events, courtesy of Catherine Brown, can be read here. List of speakers follows; links go directly to the start of each speaker's contribution.
  • Imperialism on Trial - Free Julian Assange event (Part 2 of 2). Held on 12 June 2019 at St James's Church, Clerkenwell, this time in the main church, not the crypt where the 11 June event was held.
  • Murray, Craig (22 October 2019). "Assange in Court". Until yesterday I had always been quietly sceptical of those who claimed that Julian's treatment amounted to torture – even of Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture – and sceptical of those who suggested he may be subject to debilitating drug treatments. But having attended the trials in Uzbekistan of several victims of extreme torture, and having worked with survivors from Sierra Leone and elsewhere, I can tell you that yesterday changed my mind entirely and Julian exhibited exactly the symptoms of a torture victim brought blinking into the light, particularly in terms of disorientation, confusion, and the real struggle to assert free will through the fog of learned helplessness. - the case management hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court on Monday, 21 October 2019. My comments:
    • It is clear from Murray's description that Lenin Moreno's government, probably under instruction from the US government, has first of all been trying to persuade Assange to leave the embassy of his own volition, and the measures used in attempting to achieve this include the denial, or severe restriction, of food (hence Assange's rapid weight loss). Although these methods failed in that aim, they have still served the important function of applying psychological torture to Assange.
    • More worrying is that the British government is continuing to apply this torture. Even the worst murderers and terrorists being held in UK prisons are fed an adequate diet, but not Assange, since he has failed to regain the weight lost in the embassy.
    • Moreover, the British government have been using medication which, together with the other torture techniques, are destroying Assange's brain and mental capacity. As Murray writes: "But his physical appearance was not as shocking as his mental deterioration. When asked to give his name and date of birth, he struggled visibly over several seconds to recall both", adding later on: "To see my friend, the most articulate man, the fastest thinker, I have ever known, reduced to that shambling and incoherent wreck, was unbearable."
  • John Hilley, "Media persecution of Assange and BBC News at Ten's repeated reporting 'errors'", Zenpolitics, 23 October 2019.
  • John Pilger, "Did This Happen in the Home of the Magna Carta?", Consortium News. 25 October 2019.
  • "Assange Is The Only One To Abide By The Law", Raul Ilargi Meijer, Zero Hedge, 25 October 2019.
    • "The parading into a courtroom of Julian Assange in London was all the evidence one could need that the UK government breaks its own laws as well as numerous international laws, with impunity. But that is not how the media reported on it, if it did at all."
    • "He [Assange] doesn't fight the law, he fights the lawless [who are] posing as the law."
    • " And then Monday in court, a British court, it was a bunch of Americans who openly decided what should happen"
    • "If you live in Britain and you think Brexit is a more important issue than Assange, you're delusional. Nothing is more important to anyone in a society than a government torturing a man to death in broad daylight, a man who moreover has not broken a single law. We don't even torture mass murderers, terrorists or child rapists to death anymore, at least not at home. But Julian Assange IS treated that way. And whether the UK will be a part of Europe or not, that is the country it has become. A lawless medieval banana republic."
  • "UN expert on torture sounds alarm again that Julian Assange's life may be at risk". OHCHR. 1 November 2019. While the US Government prosecutes Mr. Assange for publishing information about serious human rights violations, including torture and murder, the officials responsible for these crimes continue to enjoy impunity.
  • Curtis, Mark; Kennard, Matt (14 November 2019). "Conflict of Interest: Julian Assange's Judge and Her Husband's Links to the British Military Establishment Exposed by WikiLeaks". Declassified UK. Daily Maverick.
  • Kennard, Matt; Curtis, Mark (15 November 2019). "The son of Julian Assange's judge is linked to an anti-data leak company created by the UK intelligence establishment". Declassified UK. Daily Maverick.
  • Maurizi, Stefania (18 November 2019). "A massive scandal: how Assange, his doctors, lawyers and visitors were all spied on for the U.S." la Repubblica.
    • Further comments from Maurizi: "2. As a journalist heavily targeted by #UCGlobal which spied on my convos, unscrewed my phones, spied on ALL my electronic devices, it's crucial to make UC Global and the #USintelligence accountable"
  • Craig Murray on Assange: "Swedes should be ashamed of the way they've been played by the CIA", 6:08mins. Interview, 19 November 2019.
  • "Abby Martin on Julian Assange, Coup in Bolivia, Bernie Sanders & Gaza" 50:55mins, AcTVism Munich. 21 November 2019.
  • Wight, John (25 November 2019). "The slow motion execution of Julian Assange". the founder and former editor of Wikileaks, the publishing organisation which since established in 2006 has removed the cloak of democracy from the face of an empire whose high crimes and war crimes would make Genghis Khan blush, has been placed on a metaphorical cross at in the name of nothing more ennobling than vengeance and retribution.
    • Some interesting literary allusions in this piece.
  • Doctors for Assange, "Concerns of medical doctors about the plight of Mr Julian Assange",, 25 November 2019.
  • "60+ doctors warn Assange 'could die in prison'. UK & Australia governments do nothing". The Duran, 26 November 2019.
  • Julian Assange Free the Truth event at St Pancras New Church, 28 November 2019. An excellent written report, from Catherine Brown, can be found here.
  • John Pilger, "Visiting Britain's Political Prisoner". Consortium News. Volume 25, Number 333. 29 November 2019.
  • "Two months before Assange's extradition hearing, RSF calls for his release on humanitarian grounds and for US Espionage Act charges to be dropped", Reporters without Borders, 24 December 2019. "Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is alarmed by reports that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's health has deteriorated in detention, and calls for his immediate release on humanitarian grounds. RSF condemns the continued targeting of Assange for his journalistic-like activities, which sets a dangerous precedent."
  • Nils Melzer, "[BBC] says #Assange 'evaded justice'…". Melzer debunking BBC's claim (incidentally, illustrating why the BBC is not a reliable source on this issue). 13 January 2020.
  • Julian Assange speech that was censored by the Oxford Union 21:03mins. 1 February 2013.
  • Prisoners' revolt and pressure from legal team and campaigners forces Belmarsh to move Assange out of solitary.
    • WikiLeaks statement: "In a dramatic climbdown, authorities at Belmarsh Prison have moved Julian Assange from solitary confinement in the medical wing and relocated him to an area with other inmates. The move is a huge victory for Assange's legal team and for campaigners who have been insisting for weeks that the prison authorities must end the punitive treatment of assange. But the decision to relocate Assange is also a massive victory of prisoners in Belmarsh. A group of inmates have petitioned the prison governor on three occasions, insisting that the treatment of Assange was unjust and unfair. After meetings between prisoners, lawyers and the Belmarsh authorities, Assange was moved to a different prison wing albeit one with only 40 inmates. But there remain serious concerns about Julian Assange's treatment in Belmarsh. He is still being denied adequate access to his lawyers as even the judge recognised at a case management hearing in Westminster Magistrates' Court. And campaigners continue to insist that Assange should not be in prison at all, least of all in Belmarsh high security prison. But all that notwithstanding this is an important victory for the campaigners outside and inside the prison walls." - Joseph Farrell, Wikileaks Ambassador. 24 January 2020.
      • still doesn't have proper access to lawyers, nor exercise, nor proper medical care, nor facilities to prepare his defence
      • I fear this will make it easier for him to be "Epstein"-ed, which may be the underlying reason for the apparent concession. I hope not, but it's impossible to overstate the malignant evil of the bastards responsible for this outrage.
  • A series of 5 articles by Lissa Johnson on "The Psychology Of Getting Julian Assange":
    • "Part 1: What's Torture Got To Do With It?",, 23 February 2019.
      "In the first part of a special New Matilda investigative series, clinical psychologist Dr Lissa Johnson exposes the 'science' behind the hunt for Julian Assange, and the tactics those in power use to keep you in the dark."
    • "Part 2: The Court Of Public Opinion And The Blood-Curdling Untold Story",, 25 February 2019.
      "In her ongoing special investigation into the detention of Julian Assange, Dr Lissa Johnson turns to the art of smear, and how to corrupt a judicial system."
    • "Part 3 – Wikileaks and Russiagate: Trust Us, We're The CIA",, 2 March 2019.
      "In the third of her special investigative series on Julian Assange, clinical psychologist Dr Lissa Johnson sheds a little more light on the ways the world's most consistently dishonest state has co-opted so many otherwise intelligent people into shooting the messenger."
    • "Part 4: Why Even Some Lefties Want To See Him Hang",, 15 March 2019.
      "Convinced Julian Assange handed Trump the election? Certain he raped two women in Sweden? Want to see him rot in jail? The fourth in a five-part series by clinical psychologist Dr Lissa Johnson explains the science behind smear and propaganda, and how and why it works."
    • "Part 5: War Propaganda 101",, 25 March 2019.
      "Ever wonder why left wing trolls hate Julian Assange so much? And why maybe you're more questioning? Ever tried to get to the bottom of a government-run propaganda campaign and found your synapses misfiring? The final in a five-part series by clinical psychologist Dr Lissa Johnson explains the science behind smear, and how and why it works."
  • Catherine Brown, "The Perversion of Good Impulses to Negative Ends", 5 December 2019. Some notes on how good people can be manipulated to evil ends. The smears against Assange show this process at work.
    • "Relatively unpopular dictatorships like the Greek colonels don't achieve half as much evil, because they fail to harness half as much good."
    • "Most dangerous of all is the manipulation of the good impulses of the many by the cynicism, or moral madness, of the few."
    • "The impulse to prevent human rights abuses, by states and/or men, is harnessed by political manipulators in support of economic and political imperialism, and wars intended primarily to acquire natural resources and extend military bases at whatever cost to human rights."
    • "The impulse to defend women from male oppression has been harnessed to drain support from Julian Assange on the basis of allegations and investigations which – on inspection – bear very many signs of having been politically motivated."
    • "Character assassination – against Jews, Marie Antoinette, Albert Dreyfus, Julian Assange – invariably appeals to idealism. To the ideals that condemn killing Christian children, committing incest, having multiple mistresses, or committing rape, as wrong. But it avoids appealing to the ideal that someone is innocent until proven guilty. Or that being guilty of one thing – having mistresses – does not prove anyone guilty of another – high treason. Or that weaponization of certain ideals to trample on others should be condemned."
  • Robert Scheer, "The Plot to Discredit and Destroy Julian Assange". Truthdig. 6 December 2019.
  • Oborne, Peter (2019). "He is a hero, not a villain". British Journalism Review. 30 (3): 43. ISSN 0956-4748. But I find myself wondering what exactly the difference is between his alleged crime of publishing leaked US diplomatic cables and the Mail on Sunday's offence of publishing leaked Foreign Office cables. Why is Assange treated by the bulk of the British media as a pariah? And the Mail on Sunday as a doughty defender of press freedom? After all, Julian Assange is responsible for breaking more stories than all the rest of us put together.
  • Melzer, Nils (31 January 2020). "A murderous system is being created before our very eyes". Republik (Interview). Interviewed by Daniel Ryser; Yves Bachmann. Translated by Charles Hawley. Interview with a high-quality Swiss online magazine. German-language original here.
    • If I had to recommend a single source to anyone unfamiliar with the reality of what has happened to Assange, I think this is the best of all the sources I've seen so far: high-quality, well argued, accurate and credible, by an expert in his field.
    • Melzer is fluent in Swedish and has read all the relevant police and legal records, so he is able to give an accurate account regarding the sex allegations in Sweden.
    • Some quotes:
      • Q: "Julian Assange, they say, fled the Swedish judiciary in order to avoid being held accountable." A: "That's what I always thought, until I started investigating. The opposite is true. Assange reported to the Swedish authorities on several occasions because he wanted to respond to the accusations. But the authorities stonewalled."
      • "The willful malevolence of the authorities only became apparent when they immediately disseminated the suspicion of rape via the tabloid press, and did so without questioning A. A. and in contradiction to the statement given by S. W. It also violated a clear ban in Swedish law against releasing the names of alleged victims or perpetrators in sexual offense cases."
      • Q: "Why were the British so eager to prevent the Swedes from closing the case?" A: "We have to stop believing that there was really an interest in leading an investigation into a sexual offense." [Read the source for the full explanation]
  • Melzer, Nils; Love, Lauri; Kiriakou, John (31 January 2020). "Exclusive Interviews with Nils Melzer, Lauri Love and John Kiriakou on Assange Countdown to Freedom". CovertAction Magazine (Interview). Interviewed by Randy Credico. 2 hour 8:20min podcast.
    • Starts with some good music and a one-hour interview with Melzer, which clarifies some points in the previous item. Quote starting at approx 1hr 7min (slightly edited): "Don't look for the light somewhere else, just switch it on in yourself and show the world that the light that you can shine on it you know, give an example in your own life, that's what I tell my students: don't look for the light elsewhere, just switch it on and there shall be a light, and the good thing, when everything becomes dark – it can be in the biggest, darkest, blackest room – if you light just one candle, the darkness is gone."
  • Nils Melzer, Formal letter to UK Govt (via UN Ambassador) re Assange case, 29 October 2019. Page 6: "While the practical implementation of procedural rights allows for, and requires, a reasonable margin of judicial interpretation, no objective observer can escape the conclusion that Mr. Assange's due process rights have been seriously, consistently and deliberately violated in every phase of each judicial proceeding conducted against him in all involved jurisdictions." (emphasis added) Note also the 4 months+ delay in the UK Govt's response to the UN Special Rapporteur's initial inquiry.
  • Another Julian Assange Free the Truth event at St Pancras New Church, this time on 3 February 2020.
  • Lauria, Joe (10 February 2020). "Julian Assange Wins 2020 Gary Webb Freedom of the Press Award". Consortium News.
  • Appeal by 130 prominent Germans:
  • Media Lens, "'Burned At The Stake' – The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Demolishes The Fake Claims Targeting Julian Assange", 13 February 2020.
  • The Prosecution of Julian Assange. CUNY School of Law and Courage Foundation. 15 February 2020 – via YouTube. A panel of experts will confront the dangerous consequences of the US government prosecuting Julian Assange under the Espionage Act of 1917.
  • Pilger, John (17 February 2020). "Julian Assange Must Be Freed, Not Betrayed". Consortium News. I am sometimes asked why I have championed Assange. For one thing, I like and I admire him. He is a friend with astonishing courage; and he has a finely honed, wicked sense of humour. He is the diametric opposite of the character invented and then assassinated by his enemies. Also available on
  • Frost, Stephen; Johnson, Lissa; Stein, Jill; Frost, William; et al. (17 February 2020). "End torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange". Letters. The Lancet. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(20)30383-4. ISSN 0140-6736.
  • Commissioner for Human Rights (20 February 2020). "Statement: Julian Assange should not be extradited due to potential impact on press freedom and concerns about ill-treatment". Strasbourg: Council of Europe. The indictment raises important questions about the protection of those that publish classified information in the public interest, including those that expose human rights violations. [...] Furthermore, any extradition to a situation in which the person involved would be at real risk of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment would be contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
  • Kennard, Matt; Curtis, Mark (21 February 2020a). "REVEALED: Chief magistrate in Assange case received financial benefits from secretive partner organisations of UK Foreign Office". Declassified UK. Daily Maverick.
  • Kennard, Matt; Curtis, Mark (22 February 2020b). "UK minister who approved Trump's request to extradite Assange spoke at secretive US conferences with people calling for him to be "neutralized"". Declassified UK. Daily Maverick.
  • Video of the "Don't Extradite Assange" (DEA) demo on Saturday 22 February 2020. 193mins. Speeches in Parliament Square:
  • Klarenberg, Kit (22 February 2020). "'They Should Be In Jail': How The Guardian and New York Times 'Set Up' Julian Assange". Leigh — who allegedly "fawned all over" Assange in the bunker — would go on to coauthor 2011's WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy with the notorious Luke Harding. Underlining Guardian journalists' negligent approach to operational security, in that book the pair decided — contrary to Assange's explicit warnings — to use the confidential encryption password for the entire, uncensored 'Cablegate' archive as a chapter heading, which resulted in the dumping of hundreds of thousands of State Department cables on the web without the selective redactions Assange and other WikiLeaks staffers prepared for them over a period of eight months.
    • Leigh's monumental stupidity in publishing the password has been known about for years, but obviously not well enough to prevent the usual warmongering liars from smearing Assange by falsely claiming that Assange recklessly endangered thousands of lives by publishing unredacted files. Klarenberg's article makes clear why Mark Davis is right to say that "The Guardian and New York Times betrayed Julian Assange in 2010, and have played a pivotal and consciously dishonest role in smearing him ever since."
      • There is some more info about what probably happened at Prabir Purkayastha, "Leigh vs. Assange: Goof Meets the Geek", NEWSClick, 26 September 2011.
      • "Guardian journalist negligently disclosed Cablegate passwords". Editorial. WikiLeaks. 1 September 2011. WikiLeaks severed future projects with the Guardian in December last year after it was discovered that the Guardian was engaged in a conspiracy to publish the cables without the knowledge of WikiLeaks, seriously compromising the security of our people in the United States and an alleged source who was in pre-trial detention. Leigh, without any basis, and in a flagrant violation of journalistic ethics, named Bradley Manning as the Cablegate source in his book. David Leigh secretly passed the entire archive to Bill Keller of the New York Times, in September 2011, or before, knowingly destroying WikiLeaks plans to publish instead with the Washington Post & McClatchy. David Leigh and the Guardian have subsequently and repeatedly violated WikiLeaks security conditions, including our requirements that the unpublished cables be kept safe from state intelligence services by keeping them only on computers not connected to the internet. Ian Katz, Deputy Editor of the Guardian admitted in December 2010 meeting that this condition was not being followed by the Guardian. [...] Two weeks ago, when it was discovered that information about the Leigh book had spread so much that it was about to be published in the German weekly Freitag, WikiLeaks took emergency action, asking the editor not allude to the Leigh book, and tasked its lawyers to demand those maliciously spreading its details about the Leigh book stop.
      • (more to be added to this sublist, dating from around 2011)
    • personal comment: I grew up to the constant refrain from my father (who was a scientist) complaining about the incompetence and stupidity of arts graduates trying to manage a science- and engineering-based company such as ICI, the largest industrial company in the UK at the time. Now I don't know whether Leigh is, or is not, an arts graduate: if he is, then that tends to confirm my father's low opinion of arts graduates; if not, then he should have known better. (FWIW, Leigh's co-author Luke Harding is indeed an arts graduate.) Klarenberg's article does confirm the lack of "clue" among Guardian journalists.
    • Note also this quote from Klarenberg: "Simultaneously, Assange himself was also growing increasingly anxious, in his case about the identities of informants and other individuals featured in the logs being revealed — no effort had been made by Guardian journalists to remove a single one, and despite repeated requests he wasn't provided with staff or technical support to redact them. As a result, the WikiLeaks chief took up the "moral responsibility" for the files — his requests for publication to be delayed in order to give him enough time to adequately "cleanse" the documents were ignored, so he was compelled to "literally work all night" to redact around 10,000 names, Davis said."
    • See also Murray 2020b for information revealed by the court case.
  • Caitlin Johnstone, "We're Asking One Question In Assange's Case: Should Journalists Be Punished For Exposing War Crimes?". 23 February 2020.

    And you know what? I think the power behind his [Melzer's] testimony comes from the fact that he realized that he had been duped, and if he, a very intelligent, well read, worldly, informed and educated person could be duped, then anyone can be. No one is immune. Human minds are hackable. We're all very busy with our lives. We're all kept busy by capitalism, and very few of us have the time to do what he did and sit down and take a look at the facts and assess them. And even if they did that, even fewer of them have had the courage of their convictions to put up with the social consequences of changing course. Being manipulated isn't immoral, being a manipulator is. People feel ashamed when they've been conned, but it's not their fault; it's always the fault of the con man. That's why fraud is the crime, and being defrauded is being a victim of that crime.

  • The following written legal submissions are all headed "In the Westminster Magistrates' Court: Government of USA v Julian Assange".
  • Morning and afternoon case reports (short summaries) by Bridges for Media Freedom:
  • Imperialism on Trial - Free Julian Assange event at St Pancras New Church, London. 25 February 2020. The opening few speakers are all worth watching, not so sure about the later panel discussion. A part transcript by Catherine Brown is available here.
  • "The Assange Story. WikiLeaks founder's journey from whistleblowing hero to exile". RT Documentary. 24 February 2020 – via YouTube.
    • with contributions from Renata Ávila, Suelette Dreyfus, Mary Kostakidis, Fidel Narváez, Angela Richter, John Pilger, Konstantin Rozhkov, John Shipton, Johannes Wahlström
    • some useful info on how the psychological torture of Assange began after the change of government in Ecuador; in addition to restricting visits and cutting off telephone and internet access, it also included denying food (hence his weight loss) and even "forgetting" toilet paper
  • Cross, Nina (25 February 2020). "The Health of Julian Assange: A Case of State-sponsored Neglect". 21st Century Wire. Dr. Gill: 'The reports from Nils Melzer are deeply concerning but come as no surprise. Deprivation of liberty, lack of due process, character assassination, threat of extradition and solitary confinement are grossly disproportionate consequences for the allegations made against Julian Assange. The effects of such treatment have devastating effects on mental health and functioning. Chronic stress, poor living conditions, lack of sunlight and human companionship have serious negative physical effects on the body ranging from accelerated cardiovascular disease and neurological deterioration. Given these obvious impacts on Julian Assange's health, it is remarkable that his authorised medical personnel have failed to identify the harms his continued detention are having. The prison regime have consciously decided to continue with Assange's torture by not supporting his immediate release from Belmarsh. The NHS and prison management should be held to account for their actions but there seems little chance of this given all normal processes have been ignored in the treatment of Assange for political reasons.'
    • A long article confirming how Julian Assange is being tortured. Also compares how he is being mistreated with the relatively mild, and respectful, treatment accorded – in contrast to Assange – to some real, genuine convicted criminals being held at Belmarsh, the worst and most violent offenders, including rapists, murderers and terrorists.
  • Hayase, Nozomi (25 February 2020). "Assange's Extradition Hearing Reveals Trump's War on Free Press Is Targeting WikiLeaks Publisher". Common Dreams. The defense for Assange provided a background that led to this prosecution of his client. He noted that 'President Trump came into power with a new approach to freedom of speech …. effectively declaring war on investigative journalists.' He said that 'President Trump met with FBI Director James Comey and agreed that they should be "putting a head on a pike" as a message to journalists over leaks, and "putting journalists in jail."' Edward Fitzgerald QC indicated Assange has become a target of Trump's 'war on leakers and journalists.' He stated that his client was 'the obvious symbol of all that Trump condemned. He had brought American war crimes to the attention of the world.'
  • Murray, Craig (25 February 2020a). "Your Man in the Public Gallery – Assange Hearing Day 1". (Day 1 = Monday 24 February 2020) More on the second iteration of the kangaroo court. Quotes:
    • "Extradition hearings are not held at Belmarsh Magistrates Court inside Woolwich Crown Court. They are always held at Westminster Magistrates Court as the application is deemed to be delivered to the government at Westminster. Now get your head around this. This hearing is at Westminster Magistrates Court. It is being held by the Westminster magistrates and Westminster court staff, but located at Belmarsh Magistrates Court inside Woolwich Crown Court. All of which weird convolution is precisely so they can use the "counter-terrorist court" to limit public access and to impose the fear of the power of the state."
    • "[District Judge Vanessa] Baraitser of course is but a puppet, being supervised by Chief Magistrate Lady Arbuthnot, a woman so enmeshed in the defence and security service establishment I can conceive of no way in which her involvement in this case could be more corrupt."
    • "There was a separate media entrance and a media room with live transmission from the courtroom, and there were so many scores of media I thought I could relax and not worry as the basic facts would be widely reported. In fact, I could not have been more wrong. I followed the arguments very clearly every minute of the day, and not a single one of the most important facts and arguments today has been reported anywhere in the mainstream media."
      • My comment: a good example of why some of Wikipedia's so-called "reliable sources" are, in certain circumstances, about as unreliable as you can possibly get.
    • "[prosecuting counsel] Lewis had thus just flat out contradicted his entire opening statement to the media stating that they need not worry as the Assange charges could never be applied to them. And he did so straight after the adjournment, immediately after his team had handed out copies of the argument he had now just completely contradicted. I cannot think it has often happened in court that a senior lawyer has proven himself so absolutely and so immediately to be an unmitigated and ill-motivated liar. Yet remarkably I cannot find any mention anywhere in the mainstream media that this happened at all."
      • My comment: need to read the preceding paragraphs in the source to understand this fully, but they are too long to quote here. Again, this illustrates how unreliable some so-called "reliable sources", in some circumstances, really are.
    • plus a lot more worth reading. Note particularly that the breach of lawyer-client confidentiality, on its own, would normally be sufficient grounds for the case to be summarily dismissed.
  • Murray, Craig (26 February 2020b). "Your Man in the Public Gallery – Assange Hearing Day 2". Day 2 (Tuesday 25 February) at the kangaroo court
    • On Day 2, Assange's lawyers made a statement that on the previous day (Day 1), (quoting Marray) "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."
      • my comment. This harassment is completely unnecessary, firstly because Assange is a peaceful person who has committed no crime, and secondly, in an environment as secure as Belmarsh there is no possibility of Assange hiding anything illegal. It is part of a deliberate torture programme, and has nothing to do with security.
    • When asked to intervene with the prison authorities, District Judge Baraitser refused to do so, claiming she had no jurisdiction. The defence QC, Edward Fitzgerald, replied that 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." After Fitzgerald had been flatly contradicted by Baraitser, the prosecuting counsel rose to confirm that this was normal practice. Murray comments: "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."
      • my comment. Read the source for the full details, especially the sneering and condescending attitude of the judge.
    • The defence then spend 4 hours demolishing the prosecution claims. Of these, the most significant is the claim that Assange knowingly put lives at risk. What actually happened is that two Guardian journalists (in an act of monumental stupidity) published the password to the unredacted files in their book about Wikileaks, published in February 2011. At first Wikileaks said nothing about this blunder, in order to avoid drawing attention to it. But in August 2011, the German weekly newspaper Der Freitag announced that it had the unredacted cables. Meanwhile the US government had been helping, along with others, in the redaction work on the cables; hence they knew that these allegations were untrue. See Murray's report for more details. The story is expanded in greater detail in Caitlin Johnstone's Debunking The Smear That Assange Recklessly Published Unredacted Documents.
      • More info also available at Klarenberg 2020.
  • Murray, Craig (27 February 2020c). "Your Man in the Public Gallery – The Assange Hearing Day 3". 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 given you my personal assurance that what I recount actually is what happened. Day 3 (Wednesday 26 February) at the kangaroo court
    • Seems to me that the "caricature" description applies to District Judge Vanessa Baraitser's behaviour, as much as it does to the prosecution arguments.
    • Baraitser:
      • "mimics concern" by asking, shortly before a break is due anyway, whether Assange would like a break, and then ignoring his response.
      • tells Assange he can only respond through his lawyers - when he's physically prevented, by the court layout, from doing so; moreover when she's ruled that he cannot even pass notes to his counsel.
      • says Assange is a "danger to the public" (WTF???)
    • In response to Baraitser's ludicrous arguments, even Lewis, the prosecution counsel, comes (partly) to Assange's defence, saying "I really don't think that's right". Murray describes Lewis looking at Baraitser "like a kindly uncle whose favourite niece has just started drinking tequila from the bottle at a family party."
    • Murray then factually outlines the lengthy legal arguments, but see Murray 2020d and Murray 2020e for his comments thereon.
  • Murray, Craig (28 February 2020d). "Your Man in the Public Gallery – Assange Hearing Day Four". Day 4 (Thursday 27 February) at the kangaroo court
    • Murray begins by pointing out how a written court transcript can be misleading. Tone of voice and body language is also important. Murray notes, 'All these and the other dozen interruptions were designed to appear to show the judge attempting to clarify the defence's argument in a spirit of intellectual testing. But if you heard the tone of Baraitser's voice, saw her body language and facial expressions, it was anything but. The false picture a transcript might give is exacerbated by the courtly Fitzgerald's continually replying to each obvious harassment with "Thank you Madam, that is very helpful", which again if you were there, plainly meant the opposite.'
    • Murray then examines the legal arguments, particularly the prosecution's contention that the treaty provision [Article 4.1] against extradition for political offences does not apply.
    • Murray writes: "It is intensely embarrassing for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) when an English court repudiates the application of a treaty the UK has ratified with one or more foreign states. For that reason, in the modern world, very serious procedures and precautions have been put into place to make certain that this cannot happen. Therefore the prosecution's argument that all the provisions of the UK/US Extradition Treaty of 2007 are not able to be implemented under the Extradition Act of 2003, ought to be impossible." He then explains, from his own experience, and at length, how the process of ratification works. The treaty is examined in detail by every relevant government department and their lawyers. If changes in UK law are needed to enable operation of the treaty, then these are made, but only after they have gone through the normal processes by which laws are made in the UK. Only then can the treaty be ratified. That's how conflict between domestic law and treaty obligations is avoided. He concludes, "It follows of necessity that the UK Government, in seeking to argue now that Article 4.1 is incompatible with the 2003 Act, is knowingly lying. There could not be a more gross abuse of process."
  • Murray, Craig (2 March 2020e). "The Armoured Glass Box is an Instrument of Torture". There is now absolutely no doubt whatsoever that this is a show trial, like the show trials in Eastern Europe or the Soviet Union under Stalin. It is a warning to dissidents not to tell the truth about the crimes and war crimes of powerful people.
    • But it is worse than that: they are deliberately continuing to worsen both his mental and physical health; in other words torture. We know from Melzer that he has already been tortured for years; the point is that the torture is getting worse, and the legal system is doing nothing to stop it.
    • They are hoping that Assange will kill himself before the case goes to appeal at the High Court or the Supreme Court, where it is certain to be thrown out. There are far too many breaches of the law for senior judges to do anything else. Or he might just die anyway: his health has been steadily deteriorating from the torture, and there is a limit to how much torture any one person can stand. Can he really last out until the case gets to the High Court?
      • When I first wrote this, I was unaware that Assange had two small children with Stella Moris (see Moris 2020). This makes it much less likely that Assange will kill himself, but who knows? Long-term torture (whether physical or psychological) can eventually get bad enough to make anyone want to end it.
  • Lauria, Joe (29 February 2020). "ON CONTACT: Julian Assange Extradition with Joe Lauria" (Interview). Interviewed by Chris Hedges. RT America – via YouTube.
    • Reporting on the first week of the kangaroo court; good summary of the main points at stake in this case.
  • "On trial: Julian Assange and journalism". The Listening Post. 1 March 2020. Al Jazeera English – via YouTube –{{cite episode}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link) with Stefania Maurizi, Investigative journalist; James Ball, global editor at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism; Rebecca Vincent, UK bureau director, Reporters Without Borders; Nils Melzer, UN special rapporteur on torture
  • Maurizi, Stefania (2 March 2020). "Julian Assange is the defendant, journalism is under trial". Il Fatto Quotidiano. Britain likes to cultivate the image of a country which plays by the rules, but as the WikiLeaks' founder's extradition proceeding enters a crucial phase, the UK authorities are treating a journalist who revealed war crimes and torture as if he were a dangerous criminal. And yet revealing war crimes is the quintessential role of journalism in a democratic society.
  • Mercouris, Alexander (2 March 2020). "Legal Expert Explains Assange Extradition Hearing Legal Arguments" (Interview). Interviewed by Taylor Hudak. Action 4 Assange – via YouTube. Mercouris is a lawyer who formerly practised at the High Court. Main points made by Mercouris:
    • The prosecution have already conceded that the offences are political offences. Mercouris was not not expecting them to concede this point so easily, and in his opinion, this is a "big win" for Assange.
    • On the question of the Extradition Treaty vs. the Extradition Act, Mercouris takes a traditional legal view rather than the pragmatic, administrative view taken by Craig Murray, set out with great clarity by the latter in Murray 2020d. Nevertheless, the end result is much the same, namely that the prosecution case is very weak.
    • There is a large and well established body of law that the layout of a court is important for a fair trial. Assange has very strong grounds for appeal on this point.
    • Contrary to the position taken by District Judge Baraitser, courts are able to intervene on prison conditions.
  • Richter, Angela (5 March 2020). "Im Herzen der Justizfarce". Der Freitag (in German).
  • Waters, Roger (6 March 2020). "Roger Waters explains Julian Assange to Tucker Carlson" (Interview). Interviewed by Tucker Carlson. Fox News – via YouTube.
  • "Doctors4Assange statement on Chelsea Manning". Doctors4Assange. 12 March 2020. Doctors4Assange further notes that the U.K.'s psychological torture of Julian Assange, also called out by Nils Melzer in letters to the U.K. last year, and by our letter to the Lancet in February of this year, continues unabated. We repeat our demand for the immediate release of Assange to an academic hospital for relief from the conditions causing his torture, and for treatment of its effects. In addition, we join leading legal and human rights authorities in calling for the denial of the U.S. extradition request, with its prospect of further psychological torture, including under so-called Special Administrative Measures. Crucially, we repeat that as an untreated victim of ongoing psychological torture Julian Assange is, by definition, unfit for trial.
  • Oliver, Sarah (12 April 2020). "WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange fathered two children inside the Ecuadorian embassy with lawyer, 37, who fell in love with him while helping his fight against extradition to the US". The Mail on Sunday.
    • my comment: Not an ideal source, but this could be helpful when people can see that Assange is a loving father. Worth watching the video where Stella Moris breaks down in tears as she realises that the British state [at the insistence of the United Sates], is now slowly killing her fiancé, having tried for years to break him down and destroy him. Compare and contrast the reaction to Assange's fatherhood to Boris Johnson's philanderings. See for example, this heartless – "excuse me while i [sic] vomit for the foreseeable future" – presstitute at the Guardian.
      • Full video here (11:46mins). "I don't think people understand Julian's extreme situation and pressure that we've been under ... anything can be used against him and has been used against him".
  • Moris, Stella (1 May 2020). "Why Julian Assange must urgently be freed: I want my children to believe that inequitable treatment is not tolerated in mature democracies". El País. It is not just our family who suffers from the infringement of Julian's rights. If our family and Julian's lawyers are not off-limits, then nothing is. The person responsible for allegedly ordering the theft of Gabriel's DNA is Mike Pompeo, who last month threatened the family members of lawyers working at the International Criminal Court. Why? Because the court had had the temerity to investigate alleged US war crimes in Afghanistan. The same crimes that Julian exposed through WikiLeaks, and which the US wants to imprison him over.
  • Oborne, Peter (5 May 2020). "Julian Assange's case exposes British hypocrisy on press freedom". Middle East Eye. If there was an ounce of sincerity in the foreign secretary's claim that he is a supporter of media freedom, he would be resisting the US attempt to get its hands on Assange with every bone in his body. There's not the slightest suggestion that he's doing that. As Human Rights Watch has pointed out, the British authorities have the power to prevent any US prosecution from eroding media freedom. Britain has so far - at least - shown no appetite to exercise that power. Unfortunately for Raab, Assange's real crime is doing journalism. I've never met Assange. Some people that I know and respect say that he is vain and difficult. I believe them. There's no denying, however, that Assange has done more than every other journalist in Britain put together to shed light on the way the world truly works. For example, thanks to Assange that we now know about many violations including: British vote-trading with Saudi Arabia to ensure that both states were elected onto the United Nations human rights council in 2013; the links between the fascist British National Party and members of the police and army; the horrifying details of civilians killed by the US army in Afghanistan. {{cite news}}: External link in |quote= (help)
    • "vain and difficult" - Just imagine, dear reader, that you had been confronted with the catastrophic idiocy of the publication, by Guardian journalists, of the password to the unredacted diplomatic cables. Or the lack of "clue" among said journalists (see Klarenberg 2020 for details). I'm not surprised that my late father (a scientist) would get so infuriated by arts-graduate managers at ICI, trying to manage something they didn't have a clue about. Imagine a professor of English literature at Oxford who had never heard of Shakespeare, as an illustration of their level of incompetence and ignorance. (For the avoidance of doubt, this illustration applies equally to said arts-graduate managers and arts-graduate Guardian journalists, when dealing with matters they're not qualified to handle; they may, of course, be perfectly fine when dealing with other matters.)
  • Broinowski, Alison (22 May 2020). "Man Without A Country: A decade ago, WikiLeaks shocked the world with revelations of US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. How Assange's popular following was reversed, his reputation trashed, and his health ruined is a saga which is still playing out". Australian Outlook. AIIA. Retrieved 24 May 2020. The extradition process in March 2020 prolonged this legal farce, with the British prosecutor briefing the media in advance of the hearing on what they should report for the evening deadline. US representatives bizarrely argued to Baraitser that Assange was subject to the US Espionage Act but was not entitled to the protection of the US Constitution, and that the UK Treaties Act applied to him but not the US/UK Extradition Treaty. Whatever produces the desired outcome is what the Americans and their British sycophants will predictably continue to say is legal.
  • Cockburn, Patrick (18 June 2020). "Julian Assange in Limbo". London Review of Books. Vol. 42, no. 12. In themselves they [Wikileaks' revelations] don't explain the degree of rage WikiLeaks provoked in the US government and its allies. This was a response to Assange's assault on their monopoly control of sensitive state information, which they saw as an essential prop to their authority. [...] if disclosures of this kind went unpunished and became the norm, it would radically shift the balance of power between government and society – and especially the media – in favour of the latter. It is the US government's determination to defend its ongoing monopoly, rather than the supposed damage done by the release of the secrets themselves, that has motivated it to pursue Assange and to seek to discredit both him and WikiLeaks. This campaign has been unrelenting and has had a fair measure of success, despite the fact that most of the charges made against Assange are demonstrably untrue.
    It was a sign of desperation on the part of the counterintelligence officers that in seeking evidence against WikiLeaks they were reduced to citing the Taliban as a source. And, as Carr admitted during the defence cross-examination, the Taliban turned out to be lying: 'The name of the individual killed was not in the [WikiLeaks] disclosures.' Despite all this, the lawyer representing the US government at Assange's extradition hearings in London earlier this year still argued that Assange had put the lives of US sources in Iraq and Afghanistan at risk.
    Given the gravity of the issues at stake, the silence of journalists about Assange's detention in Belmarsh following Ecuador's revoking of his asylum status is striking. Here was evidence of a radical shift in US security policy, towards the position taken by countries like Turkey and Egypt, which have sought to criminalise criticism of the state and to conflate the publication of news it doesn't want the public to hear with terrorism or espionage. The creeping suppression of press freedom in Hungary and India is frequently criticised by the Western commentariat. But, as Glenn Greenwald has pointed out in the Intercept, Western media have 'largely ignored what is, by far, the single greatest attack on press freedoms by the US government in the last decade at least: the prosecution and attempted extradition of Julian Assange for alleged crimes arising out of WikiLeaks's ... publication – in conjunction with the world's largest newspapers – of the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs and US diplomatic cables'. They couldn't jail the editor of the New York Times so they pursued Assange instead.
  • Hrafnsson, Kristinn; Robinson, Jen; Yates, Dale; Ramadami, Sami (21 June 2020). "The Assange case & collateral murder" (Interview). Interviewed by John Rees. Don't Extradite Assange & Consortium News – via YouTube. [Reuters' Baghdad bureau chief Dale] Yates, [...] held the Baghdad post in 2007 when an Apache helicopter airstrike killed two of his staff members, Saeed Chmagh and Noor-Eldeen. Yates wasn't allowed to report on what two U.S. Generals had shown Reuters at the time.
    What we learn now is what Reuters wasn't able to report, in particular how the death of one Reuters employee strongly appears to be a war crime. Yates reels at the deception and says Reuters was cheated by the U.S. brass.
    Sami Ramadani speaks of the Iraqi reaction to the 'Collateral Murder' release and the evidence WikiLeaks published of torture at Abu Ghraib prison. The second Guardian article points out that in Assange's indictment there is no mention of the Baghdad air strike footage, even though 40 of the 175 years in prison Assange faces relates to "Collateral Murder."
    Robinson explains that the charges are in fact about the publication of the Rules of Engagement, which Manning leaked to show that the Baghdad air strike had violated them.
    • Also available at
    • This video is especially valuable because of the contribution from Dale Yates, Reuters bureau chief in Baghdad at the time of the "Collateral Murder" atrocities.
    • Includes a lot more video footage besides the interview. More to be added here.
  • Hogan, William; Frost, Stephen; Johnson, Lissa; Schulze, Thomas G; Nelson, E Anthony S; Frost, William; et al. (25 June 2020). "The ongoing torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange". Correspondence. The Lancet. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(20)31444-6. ISSN 0140-6736. Mr Assange is at grave risk from contracting COVID-19. As he is non-violent, being held on remand, and arbitrarily detained according to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, he meets internationally recommended criteria for prisoner release during COVID-19. A bail application with a plan for monitored home detention was refused, however, and Mr Assange is held in solitary confinement for 23 hours each day. Isolation and under-stimulation are key psychological torture tactics, capable of inducing severe despair, disorientation, destabilisation, and disintegration of crucial mental functions. Given recent attacks against journalists, the psychological torture of a publisher and journalist sets a precedent of international concern.
    We reiterate our demand to end the torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange. IBAHRI states that, in view of Mr Assange being a victim of psychological torture, his extradition to the USA would be illegal under international human rights law. The World Psychiatric Association emphasises that withholding appropriate medical treatment can itself amount to torture, and under the Convention Against Torture, those acting in official capacities can be held complicit and accountable not only for perpetration of torture, but for their silent acquiescence and consent. As physicians, we have a professional and ethical duty to speak out against, report, and stop torture. Silence on Mr Assange's torture might well facilitate his death.
    • PDF version
    • Supplementary material, giving:
      • General background
      • Pattern of abuses contributing to torture
      • COVID-19 pandemic, and Vanessa Baraitser
      • Call to action
      • References
      • Signatories
      • Timeline

The main hearing at the Old Bailey[edit]

The kangaroo court resumed on 7 September 2020, this time at the Old Bailey.

Leading up to the hearing[edit]

The following sources were published in the period leading up to the main hearing at the Old Bailey.

  • Pollack, Barry (6 September 2020). "An Interview With Barry Pollack, Julian Assange's US Lawyer". Substack (Interview). Interviewed by Kevin Gosztola. The Dissenter. GOSZTOLA: That raises an important question in my mind, which is, how can someone who is not from the U.S. be expected to submit to these U.S. secrecy laws and regulations, especially when he never signed a non-disclosure agreement?
    A key part of these Espionage Act prosecutions are that they are brought forward as strict liability offenses, that he signed something. It seems that there is no evidence whatsoever in favor of the U.S. government that he signed anything to agree to not disclose information.
    POLLACK: That's correct. In the cases that have been brought to date, the charges have been against an employee of the government, a government contractor, a former employee of the government, all people who entered into an agreement with the government that they would not disclose classified information.
    Journalists don't enter into that type of agreement, and every day the New York Times and the Washington Post publish classified information. The Department of Justice has never charged a domestic reporter under the Espionage Act. Up until the current administration, I think it was widely understood that doing so would be inconsistent with the First Amendment.
    Publishers do not have those kinds of non-disclosure agreements. They report what is newsworthy, and that includes classified information that comes into their possession.
  • Lal, Niraj (7 September 2020). "Rubberhose cryptography and the idea behind Wikileaks: Julian Assange as a physics student". Medium. Retrieved 9 September 2020. Present-day analysis of Wikileaks often centres around political influence, Russia, Trump, Clinton and the 2016 US Presidential election. Articles about Julian typically centre around the Swedish allegations now cancelled, the geopolitics of his incarceration, the substance of the US Grand Jury indictments, or the legality of UK extradition.
    But seldom do they focus on Julian's idea behind Wikileaks — not just the leaks themselves and the changes they have swept before them, but the formidable concept of surveillance being applied to structural power. This article aims to help address this imbalance, providing some personal perspectives on Julian as a thinker, his motivation for harnessing the tools of cryptography for the strength of the fourth estate, and his profound achievements in shining light on structural influence in the 21st Century. If the analysis of the possible UK extradition is what you're after, the Open Letter from Lawyers for Assange is an excellent start:
    Julian argued that the greatest achievement of Wikileaks isn't the exposure of 15,000 unreported civilian deaths in Iraq. Nor the corruption in Kenya, India, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Yemen, and countless countries around the world. Nor the exposure of the Church of Scientology, or the British National Party, or Stephen Conroy's Internet filter, or the behaviour of Barclays, Kaupthing and the Julius Baer Bank. Nor the documentation of generations of global political fealty to the US State Department. Nor the exposure of vast privatised surveillance across continents.
    Instead, the greatest achievement of Wikileaks is to shine the spotlight of surveillance on those who wield structural power. To help make a world where people who do wrong in the public's name, get found out. To make governments of the future pause before they commit to the unethical, illegal or unconstitutional. To make those who would commit acts of atrocity consider the possibility of future exposure.
    {{cite web}}: External link in |quote= (help)

Witnesses' evidence statements (in alphabetical order)[edit]

  • El-Masri, Khaled (16 July 2020). "Statement of Witness: Khaled el-Masri" (PDF). Retrieved 24 September 2020 – via Bridges for Media Freedom. Khaled El-Masri is a German and Lebanese citizen who was mistakenly abducted by the Macedonian police in 2003, and handed over to the CIA. In 2012 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Macedonia had been complicit in El-Masri's torture at the hands of the US authorities. Mr El-Masri's written statement was entered into the court record on Friday 18 September 2020. {{cite web}}: Unknown parameter |lay-date= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |lay-source= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |lay-url= ignored (help)
  • Ellis, Yancy (17 December 2019). "Statement of Witness: J. E. Yancey Ellis" (PDF). Retrieved 28 September 2020 – via Bridges for Media Freedom. Yancey Ellis is a Washington DC-based defence attorney admitted to the Eastern District of Virginia, where he worked in the Public Defender's Office for several years. This evidence focuses on prison conditions in the city of Alexandria, where Assange would be likely to be held pre-trial if extradited. Mr Ellis testified in court on Monday 28 September 2020. {{cite web}}: Unknown parameter |lay-date= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |lay-source= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |lay-url= ignored (help)
  • Ellis, Yancy (14 July 2020). "Statement of Witness: J. E. Yancey Ellis" (PDF). Retrieved 28 September 2020 – via Bridges for Media Freedom. 1. This statement responds to the First Declaration of Gordon D. Kromberg, signed on January 17th, 2020, and also updates my first Declaration, signed on December 17th, 2019, in respect of conditions at the Alexandria Detention Centre (ADC) in Virginia.
  • Feldstein, Mark (12 January 2020). "Declaration of Mark Feldstein" (PDF). Don't Extradite Assange. Retrieved 10 September 2020 – via Don't Extradite Assange.
  • Feldstein, Mark (12 January 2020). "First Declaration of Mark Feldstein" (PDF). Retrieved 30 September 2020 – via Bridges for Media Freedom. Mark Feldstein is a Professor of Broadcast Journalism at the University of Maryland. He has twenty years' experience as an investigative journalist. Professor Feldstein's evidence sets out Julian Assange's place in the history of national security journalism in the United States and assesses the First Amendment ramifications of his prosecution. Professor Feldstein testified in the extradition proceedings on Monday 7 September 2020. {{cite web}}: Unknown parameter |lay-date= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |lay-source= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |lay-url= ignored (help)
  • Feldstein, Mark (5 July 2020). "Supplemental Declaration of Mark Feldstein" (PDF). Retrieved 30 September 2020 – via Bridges for Media Freedom. {{cite web}}: Unknown parameter |lay-date= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |lay-source= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |lay-url= ignored (help)
  • Feldstein, Mark (5 July 2020). "Supplemental Declaration of Mark Feldstein" (PDF). Retrieved 30 September 2020 – via
  • Rogers, Paul (11 February 2020). "Julian Assange – Opinion of Professor Paul Rogers" (PDF). Don't Extradite Assange. Retrieved 10 September 2020 – via Don't Extradite Assange.
  • Rogers, Paul (11 February 2020). "Julian Assange - Opinion of Professor Paul Rogers" (PDF). Retrieved 24 September 2020 – via Bridges for Media Freedom. Paul Rogers is Emeritus Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University. His evidence will speak to the politically motivated nature of the case. Professor Rogers testified in the extradition proceedings on Wednesday 9 September 2020. {{cite web}}: Unknown parameter |lay-date= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |lay-source= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |lay-url= ignored (help)
  • Shenkman, Carey (18 December 2019). "Report of Carey Shenkman re: US Espionage Act of 1917 and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act" (PDF). Retrieved 23 September 2020 – via Bridges for Media Freedom. Carey Shenkman is a New York based freedom of speech and civil rights attorney. His evidence provides a history of the legislation under which Assange has been charged, namely the Espionage Act and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Mr Yates testified in the extradition proceedings on Thursday 17 September and Friday 18 September 2020. {{cite web}}: Unknown parameter |lay-date= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |lay-source= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |lay-url= ignored (help)
  • Stafford Smith, Clive A. (14 July 2020). "Statement of Clive A. Stafford Smith" (PDF). Don't Extradite Assange. Retrieved 10 September 2020 – via Don't Extradite Assange.
  • Timm, Trevor (2020). "Statement of Trevor Timm, Freedom of the Press Foundation" (PDF). Don't Extradite Assange. Retrieved 10 September 2020 – via Don't Extradite Assange.
  • Yates, Dean (13 July 2020). "Statement of Dean Yates" (PDF). Retrieved 23 September 2020 – via Bridges for Media Freedom. Dean Yates is a former Reuters journalist who was the organisation's Baghdad Bureau Chief in 2007 and 2008. It was not until 2010 when WikiLeaks published the Collateral Murder video that the truth about the deaths of Yates' colleagues Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh became known. Mr Yates' written statement was read into the court record on Friday 18 September 2020. {{cite web}}: Unknown parameter |lay-date= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |lay-source= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |lay-url= ignored (help)
  • Young, John (n.d.). "Statement of Witness" (PDF). Cryptome. Retrieved 28 September 2020. 2. I published on unredacted diplomatic cables on September 1, 2011 under the URL and that publication remains available at the present
    6.Since my publication on of the unredacted diplomatic cables, no US law enforcement authority has notified me that this publication of the cables is illegal, consists or contributes to a crime in any way, nor have they asked for them to be removed.
    {{cite web}}: External link in |quote= (help) (This copy of the witness statement does not contain a signature, or date thereof.)
    • Comment – This statement is evidence that Cryptome published the unredacted cables before Wikileaks did.

On the main hearing[edit]

The following sources report, or comment on, the main hearing at the Old Bailey.

  • Craig Murray's daily court reports (the summaries here are not exhaustive, just the main points):
    • Murray, Craig (8 September 2020). "Your Man in the Public Gallery: the Assange Hearing Day 6". Retrieved 10 September 2020. If you asked me to sum up today in a word, that word would undoubtedly be "railroaded". it was all about pushing through the hearing as quickly as possible and with as little public exposure as possible to what is happening. Access denied, adjournment denied, exposition of defence evidence denied, removal of superseding indictment charges denied. The prosecution was plainly failing in that week back in Woolwich in February, which seems like an age ago. It has now been given a new boost.
      How the defence will deal with the new charges we shall see. It seems impossible that they can do this without calling new witnesses to address the new facts. But the witness lists had already been finalised on the basis of the old charges. That the defence should be forced to proceed with the wrong witnesses seems crazy, but frankly, I am well past being surprised by anything in this fake process.
      (Day 6 = Monday 7 Septermber 2020)
      • Unlike Belmarsh, Julian Assange was able to communicate freely with his lawyers, but is still behind a glass screen.
      • Only the 5 friends and family of the accused were allowed into the public gallery, which can hold about 40 people. Murray himself was given one of these places by the family.
      • Journalists and others, including John Pilger and Kristin Hrafnsson, editor in chief of Wikileaks were confined to an adjacent courtroom, which had only an inadequate video link. Representatives of Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders and members of the German Federal Parliament were excluded. The latter were eventually admitted following strong protests from the German embassy.
      • (another "WTF" moment from "Vicious Vanessa":) In trying to explain why she had cut off remote access from so many interested parties, Baraitser claimed it was because, unlike the public in the courtroom, she could not control their behaviour.
      • Tension rose in the courtroom when both Baraitser and the prosecution tried to block defence witnesses giving their evidence in open court, arguing that all the witnesses had previously submitted evidence in writing, so it was only necessary to hear the prosecution's cross-examination. The defence lawyers rightly refused to back down; eventually Baraitser compromised by imposing a guillotine of 30mins on each defence witness, when the original schedule was 1 hour 45mins for each witness. Murray commented, "What came over most strongly from this question was the desire of both judge and prosecution to railroad through the extradition with as little of the case against it getting a public airing as possible."
      • A long argument ensued about the US government's extraordinary tactic of replacing the previous indictment with a new superseding indictment (too long to be summarised here – see Murray's report), giving the defence only 6 weeks notice. Baraitser read out a pre-written judgement – taking no account of the lawyers' arguments – that the court should proceed on the basis of the superseding indictment. An "extremely distinguished and well-known lawyer" whom Murray spoke to later confirmed that this was "not normal practice, it was totally outrageous".
    • Murray, Craig (9 September 2020). "Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 7". Retrieved 10 September 2020. Today we had two expert witnesses, who had both submitted lengthy written testimony relating to one indictment, which was now being examined in relation to a new superseding indictment, exchanged at the last minute, and which neither of them had ever seen. Both specifically stated they had not seen the new indictment. Furthermore this new superseding indictment had been specifically prepared by the prosecution with the benefit of having heard the defence arguments and seen much of the defence evidence, in order to get round the fact that the indictment on which the hearing started was obviously failing.
      On top of which the defence had been refused an adjournment to prepare their defence against the new indictment, which would have enabled these and other witnesses to see the superseding indictment, adjust their evidence accordingly and be prepared to be cross-examined in relation to it.
      Clive Stafford Smith testified today that in 2001 he would not have believed the outrageous crimes that were to be perpetrated by the US government. I am obliged to say that I simply cannot believe the blatant abuse of process that is unfolding before my eyes in this courtroom.
      (Day 7 = Tuesday 8 Septermber 2020)
      • The day began with the evidence of Clive Stafford Smith – see his witness statement at Stafford Smith (2020, §86–87).
      • The afternoon dealt with the evidence of Professor Mark Feldstein – see his witness statement at Feldstein (DEA) (2020) – continued from the previous day.
    • Murray, Craig (10 September 2020). "Your Man in the Public Gallery – Assange Hearing Day 8". Retrieved 10 September 2020. The great question after yesterday's hearing was whether prosecution counsel James Lewis QC would continue to charge at defence witnesses like a deranged berserker (spoiler – he would), and more importantly, why?
      QC's representing governments usually seek to radiate calm control, and treat defence arguments as almost beneath their notice, certainly as no conceivable threat to the majestic thinking of the state. Lewis instead resembled a starving terrier kept away from a prime sausage by a steel fence whose manufacture and appearance was far beyond his comprehension.
      (Day 8 = Wednesday 9 Septermber 2020)
    • [no substantive hearings on Thursday 10th or Friday 11th because of a suspected possible COVID-19 infection in the prosecution team]
    • Murray, Craig (15 September 2020). "Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 9". Retrieved 21 September 2020. The mainstream media are turning a blind eye. There were three reporters in the press gallery, one of them an intern and one representing the NUJ. Public access continues to be restricted and major NGOs, including Amnesty, PEN and Reporters Without Borders, continue to be excluded both physically and from watching online. It has taken me literally all night to write this up – it is now 8.54am – and I have to finish off and get back into court. The six of us allowed in the public gallery, incidentally, have to climb 132 steps to get there, several times a day. As you know, I have a very dodgy ticker; I am with Julian's dad John who is 78; and another of us has a pacemaker.
      I do not in the least discount the gallant efforts of others when I explain that I feel obliged to write this up, and in this detail, because otherwise the vital basic facts of the most important trial this century, and how it is being conducted, would pass almost completely unknown to the public. If it were a genuine process, they would want people to see it, not completely minimise attendance both physically and online. [CORRECTED from the Day 10 (Tuesday) report: 'In conclusion I need to correct something I published yesterday, that there were only three journalists in the video gallery to cover the trial. James Doleman led me to another hidden nest of them and there are about ten in total. The main titles are inexcusably unrepresented, but press agencies are, even if their feed is being little used.']
      (Day 9 = Monday 14 Septermber 2020)
    • Murray, Craig (16 September 2020). "Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 10". Retrieved 21 September 2020. (Day 10 = Tuesday 15 Septermber 2020)
    • Murray, Craig (17 September 2020). "Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 11". Retrieved 21 September 2020. The court heard a great deal more truth than it could handle today, and great effort was put into excluding more truth. The US Government succeeded in preventing John Goetz eyewitness contradicting their promulgation of Luke Harding's lie about what Assange said at El Moro. The US Government also objected, successfully so far, to Khaled el-Masri's giving evidence on the grounds that he will allege he was tortured in the USA. Given that the European Court of Human Rights and the German courts had both found el-Masri's story to be true, only in the wacky world of Lewis and Baraitser could it be considered wrong for him to tell the truth in court. (Day 11 = Wednesday 16 Septermber 2020)
    • Murray, Craig (18 September 2020). "Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 12". Retrieved 21 September 2020. I have two main points to make. The first is that Shenkman was sent a 180 page evidence bundle from the prosecution on the morning of his testimony, at 3am his time, before giving evidence at 9am. A proportion of this was entirely new material to him. He is then questioned on it. This keeps happening to every witness. On top of which, like almost every witness, his submitted statement addressed the first superseding indictment not the last minute second superseding indictment which introduces some entirely new offences. This is a ridiculous procedure.
      My second is that, having been very critical of Judge Baraitser, it would be churlish of me not to note that there seems to be some definite change in her attitude to the case as the prosecution makes a complete horlicks of it. Whether this makes any long term difference I doubt. But it is pleasant to witness.
      (Day 12 = Thursday 17 Septermber 2020)
    • Murray, Craig (20 September 2020). "Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 13". Retrieved 21 September 2020. I should start by saying that the government of the United States had objected to almost all of the defence evidence. They want the defence witnesses ruled as either not expert (hence the sustained rudeness and attacks) or not relevant. Judge Baraitser had ruled that she will hear all the evidence, and decide only when she comes to judgement, what is and is not admissible.
      Against that we then have her decision that the witnesses can only have half an hour of going through their statements before cross-examination. That is against a US government request that witness statements should not be heard before cross-examination at all. Theoretically Baraitser agreed to this, but she let in half an hour to "orient the witness", which gets the basic facts out there. Baraitser rejected the defence arguments that statements should be read or explained at length by the witness in court, for the benefit of the public, on the basis that the statements are published. But they are not published. The Court does not publish them. It gives copies to journalists registered to cover the trial, but those journalists have no interest in publishing them.
      The fact is that the USA wants to avoid the political embarrassment and media publicity of el-Masri's torture and the events of the Collateral Murder video being detailed in court. Why an English court is complying in this censorship is beyond me.
      I am deeply suspicious of the "breakdown" of the videolink making el-Masri's evidence in person "technically impossible" after days in which the US government tried to block that evidence. I am also deeply suspicious of the strange fact that unlike other witnesses with video problems, there was no rescheduling. Video and sound quality has been deplorable for several defence witnesses. In a world where we have all got used to videocalls this last few months, the extraordinary failure of the court to operate everyday technology is a level of incompetence it is difficult quite to believe in.
      (Day 13 = Friday 18 Septermber 2020)
      • Note the date. Murray stays up all night writing his reports, publishes them on his blog at an hour when most people are rising from bed, then goes straight to court for the next day's session with little or no sleep, doing this consecutively for the first four days of the week. No surprise that he needs to take a rest over the weekend!
    • Murray, Craig (22 September 2020). "Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 14". Retrieved 22 September 2020. Monday was a frustrating day as the Assange Hearing drifted deep into a fantasy land where nobody knows or is allowed to say that people were tortured in Guantanamo Bay and under extraordinary rendition. The willingness of Judge Baraitser to accept American red lines on what witnesses can and cannot say has combined with a joint and openly stated desire by both judge and prosecution to close this case down quickly by limiting the number of witnesses, the length of their evidence, and the time allowed for closing arguments. For the first time, I am openly critical of the defence legal team who seem to be missing the moment to stop being railroaded and say no, this is wrong, forcing Baraitser to make rulings against them. Instead most of the day was lost to negotiations between prosecution and defence as to what defence evidence could be edited out or omitted. (Day 14 = Monday 21 Septermber 2020)
    • Murray, Craig (23 September 2020). "Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 15". Retrieved 23 September 2020. Julian is profoundly worried that his medical history will be used to discredit him and all that he has worked for, to paint the achievements of Wikileaks in promoting open government and citizen knowledge as the fantasy of a deranged mind. I have no doubt this will be tried, but fortunately there has been a real change in public understanding and acknowledgement of mental illness. I do not think Julian's periodic and infrequent episodes of very serious depression will be successfully portrayed in a bad light, despite the incredibly crass and insensitive attitude displayed today in court by the US Government, who have apparently been bypassed by the change in attitudes of the last few decades.
      I discuss this before coming to Tuesday's evidence because for once my account will be less detailed than others, because I have decided to censor much of what was said. I do this on the grounds that, when it comes to his medical history, Julian's right to privacy ought not to be abolished by these proceedings. I have discussed this in some detail with Stella Moris. I have of course weighed this against my duty as a journalist to you the reader, and have decided the right to medical privacy is greater, irrespective of what others are publishing. I have therefore given as full an account as I can while omitting all mention of behaviours, of symptoms, and of more personal detail.
      (Day 15 = Tuesday 22 Septermber 2020)
    • Murray, Craig (24 September 2020). "Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 16". Retrieved 24 September 2020. I fear that all over London a very hard rain is now falling on those who for a lifetime have worked within institutions of liberal democracy that at least broadly and usually used to operate within the governance of their own professed principles. It has been clear to me from Day 1 that I am watching a charade unfold. It is not in the least a shock to me that Baraitser does not think anything beyond the written opening arguments has any effect. I have again and again reported to you that, where rulings have to be made, she has brought them into court pre-written, before hearing the arguments before her.
      I strongly expect the final decision was made in this case even before opening arguments were received.
      The plan of the US Government throughout has been to limit the information available to the public and limit the effective access to a wider public of what information is available. Thus we have seen the extreme restrictions on both physical and video access. A complicit mainstream media has ensured those of us who know what is happening are very few in the wider population.
      Even my blog has never been so systematically subject to shadowbanning from Twitter and Facebook as now. Normally about 50% of my blog readers arrive from Twitter and 40% from Facebook. During the trial it has been 3% from Twitter and 9% from Facebook. That is a fall from 90% to 12%. In the February hearings Facebook and Twitter were between them sending me over 200,000 readers a day. Now they are between them sending me 3,000 readers a day. [...] It is the insidious nature of this censorship that is especially sinister – people believe they have successfully shared my articles on Twitter and Facebook, while those corporations hide from them that in fact it went into nobody's timeline. My own family have not been getting their notifications of my posts on either platform.
      (Day 16 = Wednesday 23 Septermber 2020)
    • Murray, Craig (25 September 2020). "Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 17". Retrieved 25 September 2020. During the hearing of medical evidence the last three days, the British government has been caught twice directly telling important lies about events in Belmarsh prison, each lie proven by documentary evidence. The common factor has been the medical records kept by Dr Daly, head of the jail's medical services. (Day 17 = Thursday 24 Septermber 2020)
    • Murray, Craig (27 September 2020). "Assange Countdown To Freedom #42: Craig Murray, Your Man In The Public Gallery". Live on the Fly (Interview). Interviewed by Randy Credico. Retrieved 28 September 2020 – via YouTube. There's a great deal of evil in that place [The Old Bailey].
      There are things the media have printed about him [Assange] which are simply completely untrue, for example that his personal hygiene is bad and that kind of thing, you know, ... in fact there is an article here from the Mail ... yesterday, which was attacking Julian Assange, and one of the things it said was 'it is a well known fact that his personal hygiene is bad', well that's just complete nonsense, just absolutely untrue, his personal hygiene is good, just like any other person ... it astonishes me that from the small things like that to the huge things like these ridiculous allegations he was facing in Sweden ... governments have done so much to vilify and calumnise him, and of course the media has joined in, and it's simply not true. When you know him, these things are simply untrue.
      • My comment: This 1-hour interview (+ music) gives some useful background on the court, its atmosphere, the lawyers and, above all, the witnesses. Also, how Murray is managing to keep up such a huge output of detailed, top-quality reporting (about 4,000 words each day).
      • Main points (times are approximate):
        • 6:30: Trial deliberately being held in the "most obscure corner of the building".
        • 9mins: Court officials had registered some 40 human rights groups to have internet access to the proceedings. On the day, Vanessa Baraitser ruled that "in the interests of justice" (WTF?) that these groups should not be allowed to observe.
        • 25mins: Julian is very bright [...] broadly libertarian in many of his values, quite left-wing on issues of social justice, wouldn't call himself a "socialist", his passion is for openness in government, far too much secrecy also in corporations [...] he's a very interesting man, he's good company, very friendly, very easy-going
        • 36mins: devastating ctritique of Gordon Kromberg, upon whose affidavits (all 5 of them!) the prosecution is heavily relying. Probably the best they could come up with, since most officials in the DOJ are against the Assange prosecution on First Amendment grounds.
        • 46mins: On Tom Durkin, a very experienced attorney of high seniority, who explained how things really work in the US legal system, how and why Assange will never get a fair trial in the US. Given a lot of respect by the prosecution, unlike most other witnesses.
        • 48mins: On Daniel Elsberg, who was brilliant, giving evidence starting at 5.30 am his time (California). Elsberg left in far more names than Assange, making clear the nonsense being talked by so-called "liberals" saying "Elsberg good, Assange bad".
        • 50mins: John Goetz, an impressive witness.
        • 53mins: Kerry Schenkman on the Espionage Act. US govt (note: not Schenkman) was claining it could prosecute any journalist under the Espionage Act, if he or she posseses any classified info.
    • Murray, Craig (28 September 2020). "Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 18". Retrieved 28 September 2020. But this entire hearing has been conducted in effective secrecy, a comprehensive secrecy that gives sharp insight into the politico-economic structures of current western society. Physical access to the courtroom has been extremely limited, with the public gallery cut to five people. Video link access has similarly been extremely limited, with 40 NGOs having their access cut by the judge from day 1 at the Old Bailey, including Amnesty International, PEN, Reporters without Borders and observers from the European Parliament, among many others. The state and corporate media have virtually blacked out this hearing, with a truly worrying unanimity, and despite the implications of the case for media freedom. Finally, the corporations that act as internet gatekeepers have heavily suppressed social media posts about Assange, and traffic to those few websites which are reporting. (Day 18 = Friday 25 Septermber 2020)
    • Murray, Craig (29 September 2020). "Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 19". Retrieved 29 September 2020. Today was the worst day for the defence since the start of the trial, as their expert witnesses failed to cope with the sheer aggression of cross-examination by the US Government and found themselves backing away from maintaining propositions they knew to be true. It was uncomfortable viewing.
      You will note that none of this has anything to do with the truth of the actual evidence, and to date almost all witnesses have easily, sometimes contemptuously, seen off this intellectually shallow method of attack. But today was another story. The irony was that, when it came to the real subject matter of the evidence, it was obvious to any reasonable person that the prosecution claims of the good conditions in the American Prison service for high profile national security prisoners are just nonsense. But it was a day when the divorce between truth and court process was still plainer than usual. Given the horrific reality this process was disguising, it was a hard day to sit through.
      [junior prosecuting barrister Clair] Dobbin is officious beyond the point of offensive; she comes over as properly obnoxious as a person.
      The unpleasant irony in all this is that both Sickler and Ellis [defence witnesses] were mocked and scorned for their lack of personal knowledge of ADX Colorado, when prosecution and judge had combined just on Friday to bar two witnesses who the defence both wished to testify, who had expert personal experience of ADX Florence. That is yet another striking example of the fact that this process is divorced from any genuine attempt to find truth or justice.
      (Day 19 = Monday 28 Septermber 2020)
    • Murray, Craig (30 September 2020). "Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 20". Retrieved 30 September 2020. The totality of defence witnesses and the sheer extent of mutual corroboration they provided could not simply be dismissed by the prosecution attempting to characterise all of them as uninformed on a particular detail, still less as all acting in bad faith. To portray one witness as weak may appear justified if they can be shaken, but to attack a succession of patently well-qualified witnesses, on no basis but aggression and unreasoning hostility, becomes quickly unconvincing.
      [...] The cross-examinations by the US government of the last four defence witnesses have all relied on precisely the same passages from [US Assistant Attorney Gordon] Kromberg and [Board of Prisons psychiatrist Dr Alison] Leukefeld, and every single one of the defence witnesses has said Leukefeld and Kromberg are wrong as to fact. Yet under US/UK extradition agreements the US government witnesses may not be called and cross-examined. When the defence witnesses are attacked so strongly in cross-examination on the points of disagreement with Kromberg and Leukefeld, it becomes glaringly wrong that Kromberg and Leukefeld may not be similarly cross-examined by the defence on the same points.
      (Day 20 = Tuesday 29 Septermber 2020)
      • comment: Lots of horrifying detail about how bad conditions are under SAMs (Special Administrative Measures) in US high-security jails. Important to note the point made by the afternoon witness, Lindsay Lewis. Murray reports that "the conditions of Hamza's incarceration directly breached undertakings made by the US government to the UK magistrates' court and High Court when they made the extradition request. The US had stated his medical needs would be fully assessed, his medical treatment would be adequate, and he was unlikely to be sent to the ADX. None of these had happened." In other words, The US government is lying, and its assurances cannot be trusted.
    • Murray, Craig (1 October 2020). "Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 21". Retrieved 1 October 2020. Twenty minutes sufficed for the reading of the "gist" of the astonishing testimony of two witnesses, their identity protected as their lives may be in danger, who stated that the CIA, operating through Sheldon Adelson, planned to kidnap or poison Assange, bugged not only him but his lawyers, and burgled the offices of his Spanish lawyers Baltazar Garzon. This evidence went unchallenged and untested.
      [...] I have noted before, and I hope you have marked my disapproval, that some of the evidence is being edited to remove elements which the US government wish to challenge, and then entered into the court record as uncontested, with just a "gist" read out in court. The witness then does not appear in person. This reduces the process from one of evidence testing in public view to something very different.
      (Day 21 = Wednesday 30 Septermber 2020)
      • This report includes a copy of Noam Chomsky's expert report to the court (signed and dated 12 February 2020), together with a closely-typed 9-page report by a witness who asked to remain anonymous, on the illegal bugging of the embassy by the Spanish firm UC Global. Both reports are well worth reading.
    • Murray, Craig (9 October 2020). "Where Is My Final Assange Report?". Retrieved 29 September 2021. But in that courtroom, you were in the presence of evil. With a civilised veneer, a pretence at process, and even displays of bonhommie, the entire destruction of a human being was in process. Julian was being destroyed as a person before my eyes. For the crime of publishing the truth. He had to sit there listening to days of calm discussion as to the incredible torture that would await him in a US supermax prison, deprived of all meaningful human contact for years on end, in solitary in a cell just fifty square feet.
      Fifty square feet. Mark that out yourself now. Three paces by two. Of all the terrible things I heard, Warden Baird explaining that the single hour a day allowed out of the cell is alone in another, absolutely identical cell called the "recreation cell" was perhaps the most chilling. That and the foul government "expert" Dr Blackwood describing how Julian might be sufficiently medicated and physically deprived of the means of suicide to keep him alive for years of this.
  • Twice-daily court reports from Bridges for Media Freedom

Other sources[edit]

  • Timm, Trevor (23 September 2020). "The Next Bob Woodward Could Be Muzzled by the Assange Verdict". Medium. Retrieved 2 October 2020. The U.K. extradition hearing for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is now in its third week, but you would hardly realize it if you read only mainstream news outlets. Despite the fact that most of the major newspapers in the United States vehemently condemned the Trump administration's charges against Assange as a threat to press freedom, there has been a worrying lack of coverage of the case. [...] But if the precedent the Trump administration is seeking in the Assange case existed at the start of Woodward's career, he certainly wouldn't be reporting on what the president secretly told him about Covid-19 or the many other revelations in his new book.
    In fact, Woodward's legendary investigation into Watergate, which made him the household name he is today, likely never would have gotten off the ground.
  • Cook, Jonathan (24 September 2020). "ASSANGE EXTRADITION: US Using The Guardian to Justify Jailing Assange for Life as the Paper Remains Silent". Consortium News. Retrieved 1 October 2020. Publishing evidence furnished by whistleblowers is at the heart of any journalism that aspires to hold power to account and in check. Whistleblowers typically emerge in reaction to parts of the executive turning rogue, when the state itself starts breaking its own laws. That is why journalism is protected in the U.S. by the First Amendment. Jettison that and one can no longer claim to live in a free society.
    Aware that journalists might understand this threat and rally in solidarity with Assange, U.S. officials initially pretended that they were not seeking to prosecute the WikiLeaks founder for journalism — in fact, they denied he was a journalist. That was why they preferred to charge him under the arcane, highly repressive Espionage Act of 1917. The goal was to isolate Assange and persuade other journalists that they would not share his fate.
    • Set up a link to the video i/v with Mark Davis. TO-DO.
  • Mercouris, Alexander (28 September 2020). "LETTER FROM LONDON: The Surreal US Case Against Assange". Consortium News. Retrieved 1 October 2020. That the true purpose of the U.S. government's relentless pursuit of Assange is to prevent him from exposing more of its crimes, and to punish him for exposing those of its crimes which he did expose, if only so as to deter others from doing the same thing, is perfectly obvious to any unbiased and realistic observer. However, the hearing in London is being conducted as if this were not the case.
    I am aware of the many criticisms which have been made of Vanessa Baraitser, the judge who is hearing Assange's case. I don't disagree with any of them. However, I do get the impression that Baraitser's patience has been sorely tried by the U.S. government's repeated and dizzying changes of position. I also get the impression that she was particularly annoyed when the U.S. government, on the virtual eve of the hearing, presented to the court and the defence its second superseding indictment, which in effect made a nonsense of the first.
    • A good exposition, by a lawyer, of the contradictions in the US case against Assange, and the twists and turns it has been forced to use, esp. the two superseding indictments.

58min documentary on ARD1 (might be by NRD?)

Absolute And ArbitrAry power 'How the media is helping to kill Extinction Rebellion and Julian Assange

After the verdict[edit]

  • Cook, Jonathan (4 January 2021). "Assange wins. The cost: Press freedom is crushed, and dissent labelled mental illness". Retrieved 6 January 2021. The US and British establishments do not care where Assange is imprisoned – be it Sweden, the UK or the US. What has been most important to them is that he continues to be locked out of sight in a cell somewhere, where his physical and mental fortitude can be destroyed and where he is effectively silenced, encouraging others to draw the lesson that there is too high a price to pay for dissent.
    The personal battle for Assange will not be over till he is properly free. And even then he will be lucky if the last decade of various forms of incarceration and torture he has been subjected to do not leave him permanently traumatised, emotionally and mentally damaged, a pale shadow of the unapologetic, vigorous transparency champion he was before his ordeal began.
  • Hedges, Chris (4 January 2021). "The Empire is Not Done with Julian Assange". ScheerPost. Retrieved 6 January 2021. The arrest eviscerates all pretense of the rule of law and the rights of a free press. The illegalities, embraced by the Ecuadorian, British and US governments, in the seizure of Assange were ominous. They presaged a world where the internal workings, abuses, corruption, lies and crimes — especially war crimes — carried out by corporate states and the global ruling elite will be masked from the public. They presaged a world where those with the courage and integrity to expose the misuse of power will be hunted down, tortured, subjected to sham trials and given lifetime prison terms in solitary confinement. They presaged an Orwellian dystopia where news is replaced with propaganda, trivia and entertainment.
  • Varoufakis, Yanis (6 January 2021). "The end of democracy? What next for Julian Assange?". Retrieved 7 January 2021. We held what was called the Belmarsh Tribunal, inspired by ? where we gathered for precisely the purpose you are articulating, to turn the tables: instead of constantly defending Julian, to start prosecuting the war criminals that are killing him as we speak. And that is a process that we are continuing. You've given me a great pass for discussing the assassination that precedes the actual murder, that's the character assassination - what you mentioned regarding Jeremy is precisely what I experienced in 2015 - I was actually warned ... - precisely 10 days later every major newspaper, FT, WSJ, Times of London (sic) El País, all of them, unleashed a torrent of abuse against me, just complete fake news about me ... I experienced that, why? Because that was a moment when the will of the Greek people had to be bent ... so they created essentially a narrative that made it impossible for any of my arguments or facts to emerge, because suddenly it became something about me. This is exactly what they did with Jeremy [Corbyn] and this is exactly what they did with Julian - and you know, the Deep State, call it whatever you want, they've become much, much better at it than they used to be ... but now what they do is something that is far worse, they accuse you of something that really hurts you, calling somebody like us a racist, a bigot, an anti-Semite, you know, a rapist, this is what really hurts, because if anybody calls me a rapist, today, right, even if it's complete baloney, right, I feel as a feminist I have the need to give the woman implied the opportunity to speak against me, because this is what we left-wingers do, so this is what they do, the character assassination is what, that he elected Trump single-handedly, right, and that he was a rapist ... Allow me to do some reporting, right? ... I'm going to finish off with an account of a discussion I had with Julian in the Ecuadorian embassy in November 2017. It's no secret to the US authorities, because - as I found out recently, I actually watched the video that they taped of me, ... as part of the court case the Spanish judge started against the company employed to videotape me and Julian having this conversation, so I'm only telling you that which the NSA already knows ... so he had actually sent me a message, I was in Athens, and he said, I need to speak with you, can you get on a plane and come to London, which I did a number of times, but this is of interest to all of us especially in the context of the character assassination, of calling him a Trumpist, ... he said to me, one of the Republcan senators came to visit me recently - I thought OMG, a senator, that's big news, a senator going into the Ecuadorian embassy, along with sombody else, and they offered me a pardon, a presidential pardon from Trump. I said, OK on condition of? - that I reveal that the Hillary Clinton emails ... did not come from the Russians, and I said, Julian, from what you've told me in the past, you don't know where your information comes from, Wikileaks is structured in such a way that it's double-blind, nobody knows anything, even Julian does not know who is sending the stuff, this is the whole point of the design of the software. He said, yes that's true, but this person actually made himself known to me - himself or herself, I'm not sure, and I said, so what, can you confirm it was not the Russians? He said, absolutely, I said well, why don't you then? Because that goes against the whole principle of Wikileaks, non-disclosure of sources. I said well, what if your source says that he/she is OK with the idea of it being disclosed? He said, well, look, firstly, it's very dangerous, because if I get in touch with this person, ... he may be found out, ... so I don't want to jeopardise the person, but even if they gave me the OK to disclose the that I got the emails from them, it would be against the principles of Wikileaks to do this, so I said, what did you do, what did you say to the Trump representatives? He said, I told them to fuck off. Now this is the man we're talking about - I find Julian infuriating many times ... but he's a man of principle, he had a chance of being pardoned by telling the truth, but because that would mean disclosing his sources, he didn't do it. ... I said, you may end up in a supermax prison, he said, yeah, I know, ... because I turned the Trump people down, thay may be even more determined to bring me down. That was in November 2017, I have the video.
  • Cook, Jonathan (8 January 2021). "Even If Assange's Death isn't the Goal of the US and UK, Everything They're Doing Makes It More Likely". CounterPunch. Retrieved 8 January 2021. No 'flight risk" – There were reasons, however, to be suspicious of what Baraitser was really up to even as she made her ruling in Assange's favour.
    During the hearings back in September, Baraitser had endlessly indulged lawyers representing the US while showing absolute disdain for Assange's legal team, obstructing them at every turn. Her contempt for Assange and his political and moral worldview was on show throughout the proceedings. She often arrived in court with a prepared script she read from, barely feigning a pretence that she had listened to the legal arguments presented in court.
    She ignored the facts, the expert testimony presented in court and the legal arguments – all of which favoured Assange – and backed instead what amounted to a purely political [emphasis in original] case made by the US.
    "No flight risk"
    In fact, the judge was up to something else entirely in delaying the bail hearing till Wednesday, two days later. She wanted – as presumably did those who have been supervising her behind the scenes – to refashion the image of her court, which for months has given every appearance of being entirely beholden to the US administration.
    As the corporate media briefly raised its head from its slumber to meaningfully acknowledge for the first time the Assange hearings, she wanted to ensure those reports noted how independent her court was. For two days, commentators could crow about British legal sovereignty and humanitarian values, even as most tacitly accepted her dangerous premise that the US has a justified claim to extradite Assange.
    When Baraitser slammed the cell door shut once again on Assange, leaving him exactly where he was before she discharged him, her decision was presented as little more than a technical ruling based on a reasonable assessment of Assange's "flight risk".
    In fact, Assange is no flight risk, and never was. He didn't "jump bail" in 2012 by heading into the Ecuadorean embassy. He sought political asylum there to escape the very real threat of being extradited to the US for his journalism. He was accepted by the Ecuadorean authorities because they believed his fears were genuine.
    Back then, a Swedish prosecutor had revived demands Assange return to Sweden for questioning over flimsy sexual assault allegations – allegations that had been dismissed by a previous prosecutor. That investigation, we now know, was kept alive at British insistence. Nonetheless, Sweden refused to give assurances that they would not extradite Assange on to the US, where a grand jury was drawing up charges against him.
    {{cite magazine}}: External link in |quote= (help)
  • Tonoli, Carley (5 January 2021). "Two lost souls swimming in a fishbowl: My friendship with Julian Assange". Medium. Retrieved 10 January 2021. Julian is a wonderful and complex person, but like all of us, he is also a flawed and fallible man. He has a brilliant mind, a generosity of spirit, intense focus, a strong sense of justice, and a passion and drive to improve the world for his fellow human beings. Likewise, Julian is beautifully flawed: he can be aloof, stubborn, and, at times, impetuous; he can be socially awkward, is a terrible dancer, always late, and very messy. Julian also has his quirks. His favourite film is the Dr Strangelove, he can go days without sleep, he can drink more milk in a day than most people I know, and, above all, he thinks outside the box in ways I haven't seen before. At the same time, he's surprisingly ordinary: he loves Pink Floyd, board games, and Japanese food; he's an avid reader, and he isn't above a bit of harmless gossip about people in our social circle.
    • My comment: This should be compulsory reading for all those (probably affected by the propaganda barrage) who appear to think that Julian is so terrible at a personal level.
  • Johnstone, Caitlin (11 January 2021). "'Journalists' Who Smear Assange Are Pure Scum". Substack. Retrieved 11 January 2021. If I had written an article in a major publication claiming there was "no real reason" to believe Assange would face extradition proceedings if he left the Ecuadorian embassy, and then that claim had proved horrifyingly wrong, I personally would have done what any normal person would do and shut the entire fuck up about Julian Assange for the rest of my life.
    Not James Ball though. There's a certain type of personality that guarantees it will always fail upward because it possesses a remarkable combination of power-worshipping obsequiousness, a total lack of shame, and a complete lack of scruples. It's the same type of personality that still gets lucrative punditry work after pushing for the Iraq invasion. ...
    I'm pretty good with words, but I've never succeeded in finding any which adequately articulate the absolute depravity of the mass media smearmeisters who've spent years getting paid to churn out deceitful hit pieces about Assange while he's silenced and unable to defend himself. There's simply no one lower. There's shit, there's the shit that would come out of shit if shit could shit, and then there's people like James Ball. ...
    People like James Ball are directly responsible for the empire's ability to make an example of what happens to a journalist who exposes US war crimes, and they must never be forgiven for it.
    • Dawson, Suzie (24 October 2016). "Another Day, Another Two-Bit Smear On Julian Assange". ContraSpin. Retrieved 11 January 2021. A disclosure at the end of Ball's latest WikiLeaks smear reads: "James Ball, one of the authors of this article, worked for WikiLeaks for a short period between late 2010 and early 2011." (The disclosure does not appear on earlier articles on the same topic. Such as this one.)
      What the disclosure fails to mention is that James Ball was in fact fired from WikiLeaks in early 2011.
      {{cite news}}: External link in |quote= (help)
      • A damning assessment of James Ball
      • Cited in Johnstone's article
      • Her other articles on ContraSpin are all also worth reading.
    • Melzer, Nils (31 January 2021). "A murderous system is being created before our very eyes". Information Clearing House. Retrieved 2 February 2021. Half a year after Assange was placed in pre-extradition detention in Britain, Sweden quietly abandoned the case against him in November 2019, after nine long years. Why then?
      The Swedish state spent almost a decade intentionally presenting Julian Assange to the public as a sex offender. Then, they suddenly abandoned the case against him on the strength of the same argument that the first Stockholm prosecutor used in 2010, when she initially suspended the investigation after just five days: While the woman's statement was credible, there was no proof that a crime had been committed. It is an unbelievable scandal. But the timing was no accident. On Nov. 11, an official document that I had sent to the Swedish government two months before was made public. In the document, I made a request to the Swedish government to provide explanations for around 50 points pertaining to the human rights implications of the way they were handling the case. How is it possible that the press was immediately informed despite the prohibition against doing so? How is it possible that a suspicion was made public even though the questioning hadn't yet taken place? How is it possible for you to say that a rape occurred even though the woman involved contests that version of events? On the day the document was made public, I received a paltry response from Sweden: The government has no further comment on this case.
      What does that answer mean?
      It is an admission of guilt.
      • Essential reading on debunking the Swedish sex allegations (far too much detail to summarise here).
    • Shipton, John (December 2020). "Indestructible Podcast #2: Wikileaks & Latin America". Indestructible (Interview). Interviewed by Rodrigo Acuña. Alborada ["Dawn"] – Latin America Uncovered (published 7 February 2021). The conditions [in Belmarsh Prison] are oppressive and dire. [Recorded before the verdict was given.]
    • Eagleton, Oliver (2 March 2021). "Keir Starmer is a Long-Time Servant of the British Security State: The Labour leader's obsession with the union jack is more than just empty electioneering". Novara Media. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
      • devastating indictment of Starmer's role

General background reading[edit]


The list above can be daunting; there is far too much to read in one session. I recommend starting with Melzer 2020 – well written, by an expert who knows what he's talking about, and who covers all the main points. Still quite substantial, but possible to read in one sitting. A top-quality, impeccable source.

The next on the list should be Caitlin Johnstone's superb compilation at Johnstone 2019. I've put it at the top of my list because it is so good. Probably too long for most people to read in one go; I recommend reading the introduction, then skimming through the rest, but do come back to it from time to time until you've read it all.

Finally, it is not possible to understand the attacks against Assange (both the physical (especially the torture), and the verbal attacks (the propaganda)) without understanding how propaganda operates in nominally democratic countries:

Watch this video Noam Chomsky - The 5 Filters of the Mass Media Machine, 2 March 2017. It's only 5 minutes – a little levity, in contrast to the heavy reading above, but a good, easy-to-understand introduction to how the propaganda system works.
A worrying modern development of the propaganda system is how good people can be manipulated to evil ends. See Catherine Brown above.
  • Herman, Edward S.; Chomsky, Noam (1994). Manufacturing consent: the political economy of the mass media. London: Vintage. ISBN 978-0-09-953311-5. OCLC 32467794. The UK edition of Herman and Chomsky's 1988 classic work. Essential reading.
  • Herman, Edward S.; Chomsky, Noam (2002). Manufacturing consent: the political economy of the mass media. New York: Pantheon Books. ISBN 978-0-375-71449-8. OCLC 47971712. Updated version of the classic work.
  • Edwards, David; Cromwell, David (2018). Propaganda blitz: how the corporate media distort reality. Media Lens. London: Pluto Press. ISBN 978-0-7453-3811-8. OCLC 1054056200. May be easier to appreciate than Herman and Chomsky, as the examples given are much more recent. Oriented towards the UK rather than the US.


Agreed that you need to read outside the commercial media if you want to get a full appreciation of what is happening with Assange. Luckily el pais and la republicca are covering some aspects of the case so that we can get some of the information into Wikipedia. Burrobert (talk) 14:26, 11 December 2019 (UTC)[reply]

I suggest writers call the growing number of Western democracies who are going back to the third world model 'hamburger republics'. 'Ham' as in ham actor,etc. Best wishes for the new, even if probably more digusting, year.Nishidani (talk) 13:18, 31 December 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Interesting (coincidence?) that you should mention "hamburger", as I've been contemplating expanding the (new) Helen Steel article, and other articles associated with the McLibel case. Unlike most peace activists/dissidents, there are some decent sources available on Steel.
The accounts of visitors to Assange in Belmarsh remind me of visiting Brook House, the larger of the two immigration detention centres at Gatwick, the same dehumanization – just more extreme. And I can also see similarities with the psychological effect on my father of three years as a Japanese PoW in the Second World War. But at least my father had the moral support of his comrades, not isolation, as is the case with Assange. --NSH001 (talk) 14:16, 31 December 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Friday the thirteenth[edit]

Well, it looks like this country (England at any rate, but possibly not Scotland) is doomed (Friday 13 Dec 2019).

In the 1930s in Germany it was anti-Jewish racism (=antisemitism); today in England it's anti-immigrant racism.

The blindingly obvious[edit]

Given the extraordinary vicious, unprincipled campaign of lying, smears, deceit and deception against Corbyn and the Labour Party, it would not be surprising to find these liars using every dirty trick in the book. Hard to imagine that they would have any scruples about rigging the vote-counting process, probably focussing on the postal votes in about 50 to 100 marginal constituencies. Unfortunately it takes time and effort to dig up the evidence to prove it, but some people are working on it. Watch this space.

A month later[edit]

Quite a good analysis from The New York Review of Books[b][c][d] by David Graeber.

Confirmation of the lying[edit]

  • See the report on disinformation during the election campaign.

    In summary, the evidence suggests that the current regulatory framework for political advertising and campaigning during elections is not fit for purpose and wholly inadequate for the digital terrain on which elections are increasingly fought. There is no greater threat to democracy than disinformation, especially when it is produced and disseminated by an incumbent government and reinforced by the bulk of the mainstream press. As well as fact checking claims in real-time, broadcasters should provide viewers with regular updates and data on the scale of falsehoods put out by rival parties. As for online advertising, it seems clear that the current policies and enforcement operated by the platforms is nothing more than minimal and feeble given the scale of the problem. Unless and until the major platforms are able to implement a robust fact checking approval system before publication, there is an unanswerable case to ban all political advertising online during election periods (Schlosberg 2021).

Quotes and notes

  1. ^ "This was an election of two illusions.
    "The first helped persuade much of the British public to vote for the very epitome of an Eton toff, a man who not only has shown utter contempt for most of those who voted for him but has spent a lifetime barely bothering to conceal that contempt.
    "We on the left didn’t lose this election. We lost our last illusions. The system is rigged – as it always has been – to benefit those in power. It will never willingly allow a real socialist, or any politician deeply committed to the health of our societies and to the planet, to take that power away from the corporate class. That, after all, is the very definition of power. That is what the corporate media is there to achieve." (Cook 2019)
  2. ^ " The country is now being governed by a hard-right government placed in power by its oldest citizens, in the face of the active hatred of its increasingly socialist-inclined youth. It’s fairly clear that for the Johnson team, Brexit was never anything but an electoral strategy, and that they don’t have the slightest idea how to translate it into economic prosperity." (Graeber 2020).
  3. ^ "Margaret Hodge, Labour MP for an East London constituency, really set off the summer’s conflagration in 2018 when she denounced Corbyn in Parliament as (in her words) “a fucking anti-Semite and a racist” over a purely technical quarrel over whether all the examples would be included when Labour adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism; but Corbyn supporters were quick to point out that the two had first tangled over Jewish issues in 1987, when Hodge was head of the Islington Council, and Corbyn, then a young local MP, had joined with Jewish activist groups to stop the council from selling the site of an Orthodox cemetery to property developers. Corbyn actually had a long history of supporting Jewish causes and had worked especially closely with the Haredim community." (Graeber 2020).
  4. ^ "Accusing Corbyn of being personally indifferent, or even sympathetic, to what happened when the floor was opened to everyone was a textbook application of Karl Rove’s famous principle of swiftboating: if one really wishes to discredit a political opponent, one attacks not his weaknesses, but his strengths. Until then, even Corbyn’s enemies had admitted he was an honest man and a dedicated antiracist. Suddenly, he stood accused of being himself, personally, anti-Semitic, and of being a lying weasel for denying it." (Graeber 2020).


More confirmation of the lying[edit]

I strongly recommend this book:

This book is the definitive work on the bogus-antisemitism smear campaign that destroyed Corbyn. Winstanley has had the help of dozens of people, and they have gone to great lengths to ensure that everything has been accurately sourced and verified. I used to think that I knew everything about the smear campaign, having watched, with horror, its progress, but this book is an eye-opener. Everything about the smears has been based on lies, from top to bottom and beginning to end. To a much greater extent than I had imagined. One point surprised me, and that was the extent of Corbyn's capitulation, towards the end of the campaign, under the intense military-Zionist pressure. At first sight I had thought this was a good thing (it's always good, in peace-making, to look for compromise), but he started apologising for telling the truth. It's fine to apologise for making a mistake, but never, ever apologise for telling the truth. Once you start on that path, the military-Zionists will never stop. Just like blackmailers, they will come back again and again, asking for more and more. You absolutely cannot, and should not, appease them. An important lesson for the future. -- 11:06 (UTC), Friday 13 October 2023.

Wikipedia Wars and the Israel-Palestine conflict...please fill out my survey?[edit]

Hello :) I am writing my MA dissertation on Wikipedia Wars and the Israel-Palestine conflict, and I noticed that you have contributed to those pages. My dissertation will look at the process of collaborative knowledge production on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and the effect it has on bias in the articles. This will involve understanding the profiles and motivations of editors, contention/controversy and dispute resolution in the talk pages, and bias in the final article.

For more information, you can check out my meta-wiki research page or my user page, where I will be posting my findings when I am done.

I would greatly appreciate if you could take 5 minutes to fill out this quick survey before 8 August 2021.

Participation in this survey is entirely voluntary and anonymous. There are no foreseeable risks nor benefits to you associated with this project.

Thanks so much,

Sarah Sanbar

Sarabnas I'm researching Wikipedia Questions? 20:51, 20 July 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Sarabnas, sorry for taking so long to reply – I still have my hands full with recovering from the sudden death of my old laptop, plus some medical problems (oh, the joys of getting old!).
I do have reservations about surveys (too much depends on how they are framed), but I might still have a go at your survey in due course. Doing so might of course prompt a few more thoughts, in which case I will record them either here, or on your page. My first thought, on receipt of your message and looking at your page and contribution list was that you seemed to have missed out a lot of editors; however you seem to have mostly remedied that on 24 July. I have been around here a very long time, and it is striking how so many editors who caused me so much trouble in the early days have since been blocked/banned, mostly for sockpuppetry. Re people being blocked/banned, you might like to take a look at Nishidani's user page for the story of how he got himself banned and reinstated. Israel/Palestine wasn't originally among my concerns before I encountered Wikipedia. But I am interested in peace activists (very difficult to get these right on Wikipedia, because the so-called "reliable sources" are, in their case, about as unreliable as you can get), and I soon came accross Rachel Corrie (whose dad, by the way, is – like me – a retired actuary) and was horrified by what was being done to her article. It all seemed so totally bizarre (as does mainstream US politics, since the propaganda being pushed in mass media is both so powerful and so counter-factual).
That got me looking into more sources on Israel/Palestine, and I began to appreciate the horror of what was happening to the Palestinians. I already had an inkling from reading Noam Chomsky, though at the time I was more interested in Latin America, having spent 3 weeks with a Quaker group in Nicaragua under the Sandinistas and later 2 separate visits to Bolivia working with a Quaker charity, also Costa Rica, a country that decided to abolish its army. Nowadays I tend to leave Israel/Palestine to a small team who are very good at what they're doing (much better than me), but I still do some technical edits there, and will occasionally offer support when needed. The use of language also bothers me – I don't think those who describe themselves as "pro-Israel" are for the benefit of Israel at all, they're pro-something, but not Israel in the natural sense of the word. I regard Israel as a tragedy. I grew up, like most of my generation, with a huge sense of sympathy for Jews, their long history as the victims of persecution, pogroms, racism and bigotry, and above all the Holocaust. Present-day Israel feels like a betrayal of that history: partly because of interference by outside military powers, and partly because Israel has been taken over by militarists and militarism, exemplifying the moral corruption that always accompanies militarism. Quakers have a long history of helping Jews (there's a little about that on my user page), also other groups who have been similarly victimised, but overall, probably Jews more than any other group. It's a tragedy, when it could have been a "light unto the nations".
I think Wikipedia is hopeless at covering the horrors being perpetrated all over the world by the US military (and sadly, the UK also), and sooner or later something is going to have to be done about what qualifies as "Reliable Sources"; perhaps the worst example is Syria, and the activists working on the ground there. You might want to take a look at my user page, which has something to say about Syria. But the horror is ubiquitous. Still, there's reason for optimism – Wikipedia's treatment of Israel/Palestine today is much, much better than it was 15 years ago. That's partly because of the persistent hard work being put in by some editors, and partly because there do exist "Reliable Sources" which are in fact accurate, not the case for many other topics or geographical areas. --NSH001 (talk) 15:52, 28 July 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Hi NSH001 - thanks so much for your message! I greatly enjoyed reading it. I completely understand your reservations re: surveys, and I share them. My hope with the survey was to gain more insight into the personal motivations of editors (which isn't always shared on the user page) and help illuminate some of the meta-level dynamics I am finding through edit history. I have been making my way through the editor list, which is slow work that requires a lot of copy-pasting...I'm getting there, though! :)
Wikipedia feels like a never ending rabbit hole, and each day I open my laptop to work on my dissertation I find another interesting nugget. Unpacking the politics has been curious as well, especially comparing the way people are treated or sanctioned and the ways that mirrors inequalities in 'real life' as well. Exactly as you said as well, it's been interesting to see how certain editors/sockpuppets have been banned and weeded out. I think it raises some interesting questions about the power of norms in the Wikipedia community and the extent to which it's able to self-govern in a way that promotes collaboration over competition. The Israel-Palestine case in particular is interesting because in many ways it's an exaggerated microcosm of the dynamics happening elsewhere. Wikipedia is fantastic in so many ways, but it has a lot of weaknesses - some of which are structural - that need to be addressed if it's going to protect itself from mis/disinformation, coordinated editing campaigns, accuracy, neutrality and so on. As the world (and Google!) relies on Wikipedia more and more, pointing out and working to fix those weaknesses becomes even more important. Hopefully my dissertation will be a step in that direction, and thank you for your efforts to do the same!
Very cool about the Quakers by the way - I used to work for an NGO founded by Quakers :) I really enjoyed working there, and really resonated with a lot of Quaker ideas and principles as well, especially the emphasis on nonviolence and social justice. Sarabnas I'm researching Wikipedia Questions? 17:47, 28 July 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Sarabnas, hope you're not having too many problems with your dissertation. I was very impressed by this interview with Ken Loach:
Loach is calm and collected, despite what is being done to him by the nonentities currently running the Labour Party, and in my opinion his analysis of what needs to be done to stop the bastards is spot-on. And just like Rachel Corrie, Ben Chacko's dad is an actuary! Probably retired by now, but I'd have to check to be sure. Yet another coincidence, the company he (Chacko père) worked for, Eagle Star offered me a job when I finished university, but I turned them down for another company. I was very tempted to take the job, because Cheltenham is a very pleasant place to live and work. I particularly remember the job interview because when I mentioned that I would have studied French at university if I hadn't done maths, we conducted the rest of the interview in French. Best wishes, --NSH001 (talk) 18:05, 26 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]


Can you work it on Israeli occupation of the West Bank? Copied some refs from another article and made a mess I think. nableezy - 14:59, 6 September 2023 (UTC)[reply]

OK, done. Needed a little bit of work to manually fix the crappy inline cite templates, but otherwise routine. Luckily Asha's 30-day prison sentence has recently expired (more details will be revealed when Nishi returns from his well earned holiday). Sorry to hear you got Covid twice, must have been awful. Thankfully I seem to have escaped it, despite numerous visits to a large hospital where they are treating Covid patients, and having chosen not to be vaccinated. NSH001 (talk) 22:14, 6 September 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks Neil! Been vaccinated and boosted before both bouts lol, but the second time around was pretty easy tbh, just one bad night of chills. The wife didnt get so lucky with it being her first time with it, had the whole gamut of symptoms from fever to lose of taste, but all better now thankfully. nableezy - 03:45, 10 September 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Glad to hear that your wife is better now, please pass on my best wishes. --NSH001 (talk) 08:25, 10 September 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Always precious[edit]

Ten years ago, you were found precious. That's what you are, always. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 08:10, 29 September 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Thank you so much, Gerda, for your kind thoughts. Very much appreciated. --NSH001 (talk) 10:01, 29 September 2023 (UTC)[reply]

A category or categories you have created have been nominated for possible deletion, merging, or renaming. A discussion is taking place to decide whether this proposal complies with the categorization guidelines. If you would like to participate in the discussion, you are invited to add your comments at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2023 October 1 § Category:WikiProject X members on the categories for discussion page. Thank you. Qwerfjkltalk 09:34, 2 October 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Responded here --NSH001 (talk) 21:31, 20 October 2023 (UTC)[reply]


Citation bot[edit]

Those html comments will stop CB from editing those parameters? Or are you expecting humans who run the bot to read them? If the former, cool! I didn't know that. If the latter, I don't think it'll work because the whole problem (in my view) is editors run the bot on articles without ever checking to see if the bot made any mistakes afterwards. Either way, I hope your solution works -- if it does, I'll probably adopt it in the future, so thanks either way. Levivich (talk) 16:55, 2 November 2023 (UTC)[reply]

It's all documented at User:Citation bot. The devs can't monitor all the changes, but I know they do try to look at as many of the "deny Citation bot"-type comments as they can. --NSH001 (talk) 17:23, 2 November 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Books & Bytes – Issue 61[edit]

The Wikipedia Library: Books & Bytes
Issue 61, January – February 2024

  • Bristol University Press and British Online Archives now available
  • 1Lib1Ref results

Read the full newsletter

Sent by MediaWiki message delivery on behalf of The Wikipedia Library team --16:32, 5 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]