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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/21/20

ASSANGE HEARING DAY 10 -- Fairbanks Testifies Trump Ordered Assange Arrest

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Fairbanks Testifies Trump
Ordered Assange

11:48 am EDT: Journalist Cassandra Fairbank testified that President Donald Trump had personally ordered Julian Assange's arrest from the Ecuadorian embassy in London in April 2019.

Cassandra Fairbanks
Cassandra Fairbanks
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Fairbanks said she learned in October 2018 directly from Arthur Schwartz, a Trump backer and member of the president's inner circle, that the U.S. would have Assange taken from the embassy; that he would only be charged with the Chelsea Manning leaks and not for the Vault 7 CIA or DNC email releases; that the U.S. would again go after Manning to testify against Assange; that Richard Grenell, then U.S. ambassador to the Germany and later director of national intelligence, had worked out a deal with Ecuador to hand Assange over, that the order to get Assange had come directly from Trump and that the U.S. would not seek the death penalty to make extradition possible.

All of these things came true, Fairbanks' testified. Armed with this information she traveled to London from Washington and met with Assange at the embassy where she revealed these details to him.

Upon return she says she was contacted by Schwartz who was furious because he learned of her informing Assange, evidently through surveillance at the embassy. When she tweeted about this Grenell contacted her employer at The Gateway Pundit and tried to have her fired. A panicked Schwartz informed her that there was an investigation into who leaked this information to her. Fairbanks has posted the audio recording of Schwartz's call in which he fears going to jail.

She testified that Schwartz said Assange and everyone else at WikiLeaks should get "lethal injections."

Her testimony was read by defense lawyer Edward Fitzgerald after the government objected. But defense argued that hearsay rules do not apply to political testimony. Her testimony, especially of Trump's role, bolstered the defense argument that Assange's prosecution is political and therefore violates the U.S.-UK extradition treaty.

It was probably best for the prosecution to forgo cross examination, say nothing and just let Fairbanks' testimony be read in court. She stated she was a WikiLeaks supporter so the prosecutor couldn't go after her for hiding bias. It would have been difficult to pick apart her testimony, especially as she has recordings. And the prosecution would not have wanted to go near surveillance at the embassy nor that Trump ordered the arrest.

9:38 am EDT: Prosecution argued it only learned in the morning of the next scheduled defense witness, journalist Andy Worthington, and did not have sufficient time to prepare cross examination. Extraordinary, as the prosecution has repeatedly been told by defense witnesses that they are being sent a bundle of prosecution documents sometimes only hours before they were to testify, giving them no time to prepare for cross examination.

It appears Worthington will not appear as a witness and that journalist Cassandra Fairbanks may be up next.

US Concedes WikiLeaks Was Not First
to Publish Unredacted Diplomatic Cables;
But Says it Had Widest Reach

8:24 am EDT: The prosecution Monday morning was trying to establish that even if WikiLeaks was not the first to publish the unredacted State Department cables containing informants' names (even though only Julian Assange is the only one being prosecuted for it), it made WikiLeaks more liable than others who published first because WikiLeaks has a larger reach on the internet and included a search engine with the files, unlike those who published the cables before it.

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