Key Assange prosecution witness is part of academic cluster which has received millions of pounds from UK and US militaries

On 2nd October 2020, Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis report

One of the US prosecution’s key medical witnesses in the Julian Assange hearing, who claimed that Assange’s risk of suicide is ‘manageable’ if extradited to the US, works for an academic institute that is funded by the UK Ministry of Defence and linked to the US Department of Defence, it can be revealed.

  • US prosecution witness works at Institute of Psychiatry funded by UK military, although is not personally funded by it.
  • Witness leads research group which works “in collaboration” with centre set up with US Department of Defence funding.
  • He co-leads the group with academic whose work is often funded by UK military.
  • Institute’s partner department is closely linked to the Anglo-American military and intelligence communities, and created a course for British intelligence officers on behalf of the UK government.
  • Responding to Declassified, witness says: “I had no conflicts [of interest] to declare.”
  • Revelations come following end of Old Bailey hearing on Assange’s US extradition.

Dr Nigel Blackwood, a reader in forensic psychiatry at King’s College London (KCL), told the extradition hearing in London last week that Julian Assange was suffering only “moderate” depression. 

Giving evidence as an expert witness for the US prosecution, Dr Blackwood rebutted other experts’ findings on the seriousness of Assange’s condition, adding his suicide risk was “manageable”. He told the court: “Mr Assange has proved himself to be a very resilient and very resourceful man, and he has underplayed that.” 

At the request of US prosecution lawyers, Dr Blackwood examined Assange during two meetings in March. In his written submission to the court, he said that it would “not be unjust” to extradite Assange to the US.

Declassified has discovered that Dr Blackwood’s professional work at KCL is linked to a cluster of academic groups which are funded by or associated with the British and American militaries. 

Declassified has seen a contract showing that the Ministry of Defence (MOD) provided more than £2-million to KCL’s Institute of Psychiatry for the years 2013-16 for a project which KCL is forbidden to mention in public without MOD approval. It is likely the contract has been renewed and is still active.

See whole article in the Daily Maverick Declassified