Richard Medhurst Profile picture
Sep 16, 2020 42 tweets 21 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Day 7 of Julian #Assange's extradition hearing begins.

Live updates below:
John Goetz is today's first expert witness. He is a long-time journalist, has worked at the Sunday Times, Der Spiegel, LA Times. He also collaborated with #Assange on the documents @wikileaks published, notably the Afghan War Diary.
Goetz makes it clear that #Assange took extreme precautions to keep identities of informants and sources safe. White House was informed beforehand and around 15,000 documents ended up not being published in this endeavor alone.
It's clear according to Goetz that #Assange took these security measures seriously and he cannot think of or cite any examples of anyone being harmed as a result of @wikileaks publications.
Goetz: thanks to these @wikileaks cables they identified the kidnappers of German citizen Khaled El-Masri who had been taken and tortured when Macedonian police handed him over to the CIA in 2003. These cables also helped Masri win his case at the European Court of Human Rights.
Goetz: cables were instrumental in this regard and showed all kinds of pressure US was putting on Germany, threatening them not to take action over the Masri issue. Germany ended up issuing arrest warrants.
James Lewis QC of the prosecution rises to examine Goetz
Lewis questions Goetz about unredacted @wikileaks cables being published.

Goetz corrects Lewis on the timeline of events, reasserts that #Assange and WikiLeaks did everything they could to redact and were not responsible for passwords being leaked.
Lewis brings up joint statement from 2011 by the Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and others to condemn @wikileaks.

Goetz notes he was not working for Der Spiegel at the time and more importantly, this statement was issued before they had all the facts on what exactly happened.
Defense attempts to read aloud Khaled Al-Masri's statement to the court. Judge and prosecution object.
Defense briefly resumes cross-examination of Goetz.

Goetz once again says that according to his knowledge no one has ever been harmed by @wikileaks or #Assange's publications.
Court is in recess for an hour. Lots of discussion regarding admissibility of Al-Masri's statement, an innocent man who was captured and tortured by the CIA.
From Goetz' witness statement: "The important of the exposure of state criminality of the kind that occurred in Mr El-Masri's case cannot be overstated." #Assange @wikileaks
Here you can read Goetz' full witness statement which he delivered today at the #Assange extradition hearing.…
Regarding Khaled El-Masri's statement: defense wants to read it aloud and enter it into the record however prosecution keep objecting, refusing to acknowledge that US tortured him.…
Court adjourned for lunch. Resumes at 2:30pm local time
Prosecution is throwing a fit because they don’t want to admit to the record that the US tortured an innocent man and ironically this was uncovered by @wikileaks and #Assange’s work. Meanwhile they claim Assange endangered people’s lives but can’t put forward a single example.
The next witness to testify is Daniel Ellsberg @DanielEllsberg who published the Pentagon Papers in 1971; a slew of classified documents on the US’ role in Vietnam.
Ellsberg tells the court about his background, military service, publishing the Pentagon Papers with the New York Times and that he was also charged under the 1917 Espionage Act. Charges were dismissed due to misconduct by the US government.
Ellsberg @DanielEllsberg is tells the court he views the work #Assange and @wikileaks did as being of similar nature and caliber to what he did with the Pentagon Papers; identifies with Assange and Chelsea Manning @xychelsea for their dedication to let public know the truth.
In regards to #Assange, Daniel Ellsberg @DanielEllsberg says what Assange did is not "reckless" as the US government is trying to portray. Quite the contrary, he views the work @wikileaks did as being highly sophisticated, technical and done with a great deal of care.
Ellsberg @DanielEllsberg asserts that much like the Vietnam War, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars felt very similar in that they were wrong, immoral and abject failures in breach of international law. The public was misinformed, underscoring the importance of #Assange's work.
Ellsberg @DanielEllsberg: the reports in the Afghan War Diary that Manning @xychelsea provided were just field reports, the kind he'd write in Vietnam. These are a lower level of classification but still included war crimes, showing how little the US cared to even cover them up.
Ellsberg @DanielEllsberg: what I released were top secret documents, what @wikileaks was given by Manning @xychelsea were not. This shows a normalization of war crimes and torture within the US military.
Ellsberg @DanielEllsberg says Collateral Murder video showed a blatant war crime. His only 'problem' with it was the word "collateral", implying something accidental, when in fact the murder of Iraqi civilians and journalists by the US army in that video was clearly intentional.
Ellsberg @DanielEllsberg says he's glad people were able to see this video. What's shocking is that no one was punished and we were told this didn't violate the rules of engagement despite soldiers laughing and joking as they murdered civilians.
The Collateral Murder video in question:

Ellsberg @DanielEllsberg
: I was denied the chance to give my motive in court, on why I published the Pentagon Papers. This was unprecedented for a defendant charged under Esp Act. Likewise #Assange will be denied the opportunity to explain and not given a fair trial.
@DanielEllsberg to the court: "Julian #Assange could not remotely get a fair trial in the United States"
Prosecution to Ellsberg @DanielEllsberg: you're aware #Assange isn't being prosecuted for the Collateral Murder video?

Ellsberg: yes, but the rules of engagement files in the indictment connect it to the video.
Prosecution asserts that #Assange is only being prosecuted for allegedly endangering lives/putting sources in danger.

Ellsberg @DanielEllsberg: "that's misleading". Says Assange is being charged on multiple counts of conspiracy to solicit documents, possession and publication.
Prosecution tries to portray Ellsberg (to Ellsberg himself) as being "more careful" than #Assange for withholding some docs that he only gave to Congress and not media.

Ellsberg: I wanted to stop war, not diplomacy. I didn't want US gov to use them as excuse to stop negotiations
Prosecution asks Ellsberg @DanielEllsberg: did you ever endanger lives with Pentagon Papers

Ellsberg: yes, in one case, Lucien Emile

Ellsberg asserts he left this unredacted so that the entire publication, unaltered would show all this killing was pointless and of no good.
Ellsberg @DanielEllsberg disagrees with the prosecution that WikiLeaks and Pentagon Papers are not alike.

Ellsberg: those who attack #Assange, Edward @Snowden, and Chelsea Manning @xychelsea don't understand my motives. @wikileaks also held docs and didn't publish just anything.
Ellsberg @DanielEllsberg: #Assange did undertake redactions and attempt to protect informants names, etc. US gov did nothing to prevent publication of sensitive info and let this happen in order to go after #Assange.

See Assange phoning Hillary here:
Lewis: are you claiming no one was endangered by publications?

Ellsberg: not on purpose, not by #Assange or @wikileaks

Lewis: what of those disappeared in Afghanistan, etc

Ellsberg: no proof of that. Even if true, that's a tiny fraction compared to the people killed by the US
Defense is re-examining Ellsberg now.
Ellsberg notes the hypocrisy at play: back when he published the Pentagon Papers, which contained hundreds of names including CIA informant Emile, he was vilified for decades.

Now in crusade against #Assange, his work is considered "patriotic" as opposed to "evil @WikiLeaks".
Ellsberg says he sees no tangible difference between his publications and #Assange's. He views @wikileaks' work as a public service crucial in combating misinformation and government lies. There is no evidence to suggest that WikiLeaks harmed anyone.
Ellsberg is asked one last question by the defense: you agree with AUSA Kromberg's statement that #Assange and @wikileaks' publications resulted in no deaths? And that this was also established during @xychelsea Manning's trial?

Ellsberg: Correct. No deaths.

End of testimony.
#Assange hearing is adjourned until tomorrow morning. I will be going live shortly to give a full video summary.

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