Diagnosing why establishment media institutions are not covering WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition trial in London has become increasingly widespread among persons known for their political commentary.
Aaron Maté, a journalist with the Grayzone who hosts the “Pushback” show, complained, “U.S. media outlets across a wide spectrum have spent far more time promoting fantasies about Julian Assange conspiring with Roger Stone, the Trump campaign, and Russia than they have covering the Trump administration’s draconian effort to extradite Assange and criminalize journalism.”
Matt Taibbi, an independent journalist who co-hosts the Rolling Stone’s “Useful Idiots” podcast, contended, “The people who cheer Jim Acosta’s antics [for CNN] but are quiet about this Assange situation and what it means for the media and whistleblowers—this case and in the Snowden case, they’re announcing the punishment for disclosing real secrets is life—are frauds.”
When Intercept journalist Glenn Greenwald appeared on “Useful Idiots,” he offered his thoughts on the lack of media coverage, saying “a lot of liberals,” including the media, have an “authoritarian strain.” They believe “their political adversaries ought to be punished and imprisoned, that anyone who helped Donald Trump is basically a criminal. And since they see Julian Assange as somebody who helped Donald Trump, it’s not just that they’re indifferent to his prison. They actually want it. They hope he ends up in prison.”
“Media outlets, including by the way the Intercept, have completely ignored these proceedings. I’ve written about it, and we’ve done some opinion pieces or analysis of it. We’re not covering the trial, even though we should be. Nor are any other large media outlets. Basically, we’re relying on kind of independent bloggers to do it.”
“I talked to Assange’s lawyers, and I got the list of the journalists who had requested credentials to cover the trial, and it’s basically like Kevin Gosztola and some YouTubers and that’s like basically it, and it’s really scandalous how the U.S. media has chosen to ignore this,” Greenwald concluded.
I’ll share my appreciation for Greenwald, who mentioned me. He has supported my work, sharing it with his 1.5 million followers on Twitter. However, I covered the U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s court martial extensively.
Manning’s court martial faced a similar lack of media attention (although with that prosecution the U.S. Justice Department had not yet trained its sights so explicitly on the right to publish information).
It was independent and alternative news media, as well as court reporters, who led the way on coverage of Manning, and that leadership continues with the Assange extradition trial.
To help media commentators go beyond conversation about this trial that fixates on the lack of establishment media coverage, here is a guide to independent journalists and grassroots activists who received credentials from the Central Criminal Court to follow proceedings.
These individuals are either inside the Old Bailey Courthouse or outside the building every day to speak with participants in the trial. Or they are following the case through a courtroom feed that they were granted remote access to view in order to avoid traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Primarily, reports are in English.
The list is alphabetized and includes Twitter handles to help everyone access reporting on developments that is not being paid much attention in establishment media or even progressive media.
Let’s make sure their hard work is more appreciated and well known.
Consortium News (@ConsortiumNews): Journalist Cathy Vogan of Consortium News has had access to the courtroom feed, and Joe Lauria, who is editor-in-chief, has followed the proceedings closely. They publish live updates on their website and on Twitter and live stream after each day of court. Find their updates here.
James Doleman, Byline Times (@jamesdoleman): Doleman is a court reporter from London, who is tweeting live updates and publishes to Byline Times, a website which has as its tagline, “What the Papers Don’t Say.” He is writing the morning and afternoon reports for Bridges For Media Freedom, an important effort that has assisted journalists by providing briefings and witness statements to the media. Find his postings here.
Mohamed Elmaazi, The Interregnum (@MElmaazi): Elmaazi, whose work has appeared at the Canary, the Grayzone, and Sputnik, is a London reporter who is live tweeting during court proceedings. He also is conducting interviews with attendees during breaks and after each day of court. Find his updates on Twitter.
Bill Goodwin, investigations editor for Computer Weekly (@Williamrt): The publication is a digital magazine for IT professionals in the United Kingdom. Goodwin is following a courtroom feed and has written reports for CW and posted live updates to his Twitter. Find his reports here.
Carolina Graterol, London-based independent reporter (@moncaro): Graterol is a Venezuelan journalist and filmmaker who is providing live updates from court in English as well as Spanish. She is posting to her Twitter account. Find updates here.
Tareq Haddad, London-based independent reporter (@Tareq_Haddad): Haddad is based in London and publishes reports to a personal website. He is following a courtroom feed and sometimes tweets updates. Find his reports here.
Taylor Hudak, journalist and editor for acTVism Munich (@_taylorhudak): Hudak is an American journalist who is outside of the Old Bailey Courthouse every day to interview attendees and report on the scene. She conducts interviews with reporters and observers who have courtroom access, like Elmaazi. Find her reports here.
Charlie Jones, reporter for Court News UK (@CourtNewsUK): The Court News UK website requires membership to access reports, but Jones’ live updates from inside the courtroom are available on Twitter. He frequently emphasizes what Assange is doing in his updates. Find his updates here.
Mary Kostakidis, Sydney-based journalist (@MaryKostakidis): Kostakidis is a former anchor for SBS Television and a former weeknight presenter for SBS World News Australia. As a longtime journalist, she has access to courtroom feed and tweets live updates. Find her updates here.
Richard Medhurst, independent journalist (@richimedhurst): Medhurst is an independent left-wing commentator who has a popular YouTube channel that covers US politics and foreign policy from an anti-imperialist viewpoint. He is tweeting live updates. Find his reports here.
Craig Murray, historian and human rights activist (@CraigMurrayOrg): The former British ambassador attends proceedings at the Old Bailey every day, and then writes dispatches at his website, “Your Man In the Public Gallery.” His observations on the proceedings are valued among those fighting to free Assange. Find his reports here.
Juan Passarelli, filmmaker (@jlpassarelli): Passarelli recently released a 30-minute documentary, “War on Journalism: The Case of Julian Assange.” He appeared on “Useful Idiots,” hosted by Katie Halper and Matt Taibbi. He has quite a lot of experience filming people involved with WikiLeaks publications, and he is following a courtroom feed, interviewing participants outside, and posting updates daily. Find his updates here.
World Socialist Website (@SEP_Australia): Thomas Scripps of the World Socialist Website regularly covered hearings in the case. Posts can be found here.
The following are advocacy organizations engaged in daily court reporting and/or commentary on proceedings:
Assange Defense (@DefenseAssange) – The U.S. Committee to Defend Julian Assange and Civil Liberties is a project of the Courage Foundation. Nathan Fuller, director of the Courage Foundation, is following a courtroom feed and posting live updates, as well as reports. Find updates here.
DEA Campaign (@DEACampaign): Led by John Rees, a British activist and writer with Counterfire, the Don’t Extradite Assange campaign is a leading campaign in the U.K. to stop Assange from being brought to the U.S. for trial. The DEA Campaign posts live updates and Rees is following a courtroom feed. Find updates here.
Rebecca Vincent (@rebecca_vincent) – Reporters Without Borders is a global press freedom organization that is firm in their opposition to the prosecution against Assange. Vincent is the director of international campaigns for RSF, and she is consistently providing updates on the ways in which principles of open justice are not being upheld for journalists, observers, and the public. Follow her updates.
And then I’ll mention Action 4 Assange (@action_4assange), which is streaming live in the very early morning in the United States every day of proceedings. This is a stream for Assange supporters to engage with developments that are coming out of the courtroom, and plug in if they want to engage in activism to support Assange.
Of course, as Shadowproof managing editor, I am posting live updates at @kgosztola, posting daily video reports, and publishing daily written reports.
Thank you to everyone who continues to support our Assange extradition trial coverage.