#JulianAssange hearings Part 2 - Day 8 (Thread)

Court to sit at 10:00 am.

Next 2 defence witnesses due to be called:

1) Prof John Sloboda (co-founder Iraq Body Count, morning)
2) Carey Shenkmam (lawyer spec. in human rights & constitutional law, afternoon)

via @SputnikInt
Ed Fitzgerald QC, barrister on Julian Assange's defence team, enters the Old Bailey at 9.18AM.
@khrafnsson, @StellaMoris1 and @suigenerisjen enter the Old Baily as people clap for them from across the street.
Prof John Sloboda has been sworn in via video link. Awarded an OBE for services to psychology & music & has published numerous papers on psychology, armed conflict and civilian deaths. He founded Iraq Body Count - which records reported civilian deaths. iraqbodycount.org
Recording deaths is important for "Truth, justice and reconciliation" and "knowing how one's loved one died is a fundamental human need" says Prof John Sloboda of Iraq Body Count.
"He's welcome to read from his statement" if it assists him the judge says after an apparent objection from a prosecution lawyer who notes that Prof Sloboda is looking to his left as answering questions to defence lawyer Florence Iveson.
Iraq War Logs offered “The largest single contribution to knowledge about civilian casualties that has so far come to light” adding about “15,000 hitherto unknown [civilian] deaths” - Prof John Sloboda of Iraq Body Count tells defence lawyer Ms Iveson.
Prof Sloboda also notes that he and Iraq Body Count reached out to WikiLeaks. “[Mr Assange] was absolutely welcoming of [our high level of rigour]... he immediately suggested we join a media consortium which had pre-publication access to the logs…”, Mr Sloboda said.
"The aim [of Mr Assange and WikiLeaks] was a very, very stringent redaction of the Iraq War Logs" in order to "ensure that no information that could be damaging to living individuals, including informants, [would be published]"
System WikiLeaks used with Iraq Body Count "over-redacted" on a certain level because of how the system worked so we then needed to "un-redact", as "it was conceivable in some cases that the mere mention of the occupation" of some [place] "could result in their identification"
This was a "painstaking" process and there was considerable pressure on Mr Assange to "hurry-up" by media partners "pressure which was consistently rejected" by Mr Assange, Prof Sloboda says.
“They were over-redacted for caution. But the position taken was to be over-cautious and in certain circumstances possibly un-redact”, Prof Sloboda
“We were not involved in any way with Mr Assange’s or WikiLeaks release of other data sets, I can only attest to here in this court that the Iraq War Logs published in 2010 October [...] were published in a wholly appropriate highly redacted form” Prof Sloboda tells the Court
[non-verbatim cross]

Q. Your expertise was in the collation of statistics and cross referencing against what was already known?
A. Collation of documents not statistics..

A. We understood… that such logs would contain these very documentary reports of civilians being killed
Q. You approached Mr Assange and he decided you could be given access
A. Yes, on same basis of disclosure as media partners

Q. Vetting process that you underwent before gaining access?
A. My memory is that we paid a visit to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and...
...asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement after a discussion with the then Chief
A. I don’t remember a vetting procedure
Q. So you were handed 400,000 classified documents before being vetted?
A. Who are you suggesting would have done this?
Q. Did WikiLeaks or Julian Assange engage in a vetting procedure before handing over access to 400,000 classified docs to you?

A. I don’t know.
Q. What do you know about source protection?

A. Not an expert
Q. What do you know about Jigsaw protection?
A. Havne't heard before. .. I magine it would relate to piece together identity from various forms of information

Prosecutor says "Precisely"

A. "A risk we certainly discussed which is one of the reasons why additional information… was redacted such as occupation.."
Q. Sectarian violence in Iraq 2006 "Underlines does it not the danger that any individual that any cooperating individual would be put in if they were to be identified"?

A. Yes.
Q. “So responsible journalism would be not naming cooperating sources” [says rhetorically]

A. “There was an awareness at WikiLeaks that previous Afghan War Logs had identified sources?”
Q. Can’t recall. I believe it was just a sense that there needed to be a better...
... process for the next round

Q. Process Of redaction?
A. Yes

Q. Because the previous process of redaction was flawed?
A. Clearly, because it was not as it should have been. No.
"Software was being constantly modified to include and exclude information as issues arose during the process" Prof Sloboda
"A human must go back through the logs to make sure there is no jigsaw risk" lawyer for the prosecutor says who asked Prof Sloboda how many documents were reviewed by human beings before the publication of the 400,000 docs. "I don't know" the professor responded.
Prosecutor says there are 2 examples of cooperating individuals who were named & according to info from people with expertise in military & diplomatic matters as well as those with expert knowledge by publishing these docs Mr Assange created a grave risk that such people would
... experience significant harm.
A. "If they were in heavily redacted logs published in 2010 this is the first I a have heard of it" "I have no explanation of that at all"

Q. Might it be because Mr Assange "took a cavalier attitude" to the publication of these logs & informants?
A. "No"

Q. "What’s the alternative?"

A. "I imagine the alternative that some element of the redaction for some unknown reason and without seeing the particular logs referred to.. the redaction programme allowed those names to remain in the documents… simply conjecture"
Fidel Narvaez was counsel for the Ecuadorian Embassy when Mr Assange was there with asylum. He notes that Prof Sloboda said WikiLeaks and Mr Assange "were the most concerned" about redacting names to protect those who might be harmed by the Iraq War Logs.

via @SputnikInt
Craig Murray, ex-diplomat & human rights activist, has been monitoring Mr Assange's extradition hearings. He says the US prosecution today sought to paint Mr Assange as "cavalier" towards the safety of informants though the defence witness rejected that assertion
via @SputnikInt
In the vicinity of the Old Bailey there is always activity regardless whether hearings are ongoing inside.
Carey Shenkman has been sworn in via video link, he's a lawyer specialising in human rights & Constitutional law. He works with numerous organizations, including the Center for Constitutional Rights & ARTICLE 19 & is an advisor to Columbia’s Global Freedom of Expression Program
The screen to the courtroom is blank. I have informed the court officer's who monitor our video link room via the chat system.
Apparently, there are tech issues with the witnesses’ video link as well. I have been told that the other media video link observation screen is working and that they can see the court, though audio issues are still being resolved.
After disconnecting and reconnecting I can now see the court and the witness though no sound can be heard currently and the judge is not currently sitting.
The sound from the witness Mr Shenkman is so poor the proceedings have yet to start. It improved and then it stops...
Mr Shenkman's witness statement focuses on the following:

(i)a legislative history of the US Espionage Act 1917.
(ii)Its application to publication of secrets.
(iii)its particular application in light of the US extradition request for Mr Assange in 2019.
(iv)any extension of the Espionage Act in its application to Mr Assange.
(v)similarly upon the history & application of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
(vi)critiques and analyses applied to the content & application of either or both Acts above.
The witness Mr Carey Shenkman is now having to hold his mobile phone to his head (for the next 2 1/2 hours?) as he testifies via video link.
Mr Shenkman’s report explains that the Espuonage Act 1917 was passed within the context of World War I. There was intense resistance among the US population in joining the war and the law was passed to undermine legitimate criticism of the war and opposition to joining it.
“Although the [Espionage Act 1917] allowed for the prosecution of spies, the conduct it proscribed went well beyond spying. Indeed, the Espionage Act would become the principal tool for what President Wilson dubbed his administration’s “firm hand of stern repression”...
... against opposition to U.S. participation in the war. Wilson declared a no-tolerance policy for those who “inject the poison of disloyalty into our most critical affairs.” ”
Mr Shenkman's report says The Espionage Act 1917 at the time was called “an instrument of tyranny” by one representative and a Senator characterised the law as “unconstitutional, un-American, unwise, and unnecessary” adding that “no one can foresee all the evils to flow from it.”
Amended by the Sedition Act 1918 (which would later be repealed) the Espionage Act 1917 was called “the most repressive legislation in American history.”
Espionage Act enforced widespread censorship stating:

“Every letter, writing, circular, postal card, picture, print, engraving, publication, matter or thing, of any kind, containing any matter advocating or urging treason, insurrection, or...
... forcible resistance to any law of the United States, is hereby declared to be nonmailable.”
Mr Shenkman's report states that:

"the first nearly 2,000 prosecutions under the [Espionage] Act of more than 2,500 defendants were made on account of their political speech."

These were "political prosecutions" Mr Shenkman tells court.
The Espionage Act 1917 covers national "defense information" which doesn't simply include "classified information" but can include unclassified information too, Mr Shenkman tells the court.
In each of the 11 cases of press publishing classified information covered by Mr Shenkman in his report there was never an indictment. Mr Shenkman explains that there was fierce opposition from the press…
... & that the internal deliberations that have come out historically is “great ambivalence” within the justice department over the Espionage Act and that there was “no way to draw a line” between prosecuting one individual and another or one outlet and another outlet.
McCarran Internal Security Act of 1950 was passed to say that nothing in the Espionage Act of 1917 shall impinge upon the 1st Amendment but it doesn't affect the actual wording of the Espionage Act, Mr Shenkman says.
Mr Shenkmann notes the Pentagon Papers case whereby an injunction was sought against the NYT & WaPo was more focused on civil injunction matters rather than criminal liabilities. There is Obiter Dictum which implies that a criminal prosecution could happen but no further detail
For clarification: Obiter Dictum is defined as "an incidental and collateral opinion that is uttered by a judge but is not binding while deciding a case. It can be passing comments, opinions or examples provided by a judge" bnblegal.com/obiter-dictum/
Witness Rejects Prosecutor's Assertion That #Assange Had 'Cavalier Attitude' to Protecting Informants

My review of this morning's testimony

Clair Dobbin, barrister for the prosecution, is now asking Mr Shenkman whether he was on the legal team that represented Mr Assange. Mr Shenkman says yes, in a limited capacity.
**There are now some issues regarding a prosecution bundle which was sent early morning last night to the defence and sent at 3AM US time to Mr Shekman.
Judge rises for 5 minutes to ensure witness has the appropriate documents provided to him, he can't see anything in his email. Lol.
They are now discussing Mr Shenkman's contribution to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that determined Mr Assange was being "arbitrarily detained" by the UK, US & Sweden.
see here: ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/…
“I don’t think it is controversial to argue that a particular state is not in line within its human rights obligations”
I didn’t make these up Mr Shenkman tells US prosecution lawyer Ms Dobbin tells, “this is an academic analysis that has been peer-reviewed”
It's important that when someone submits what they say is expert opinion the court "can test whether or not that opinion, notwithstanding that it is said to be academic, that it is nonetheless objective and balanced in what it says” prosecution lawyer Ms Dobbin, tells Mr Shenkman
“We don’t say that judges are not able to be unbiased just because they formerly represented the government. Past clients are past clients which is something I am transparent about" Mr Shenkman says to Ms Dobbin.
Q. You describe yourself as constitutional historian… what’s the basis of that Mr Shenkman?
A. Spending the last decade reading a lot of books, giving a lot of talks, and writing a lot of pieces… and also my experience as a constitutional litigator
Q. So your work as a lawyer over the past 6 years?

A. No... I have a manuscript of the most comprehensive treatment of the Espionage Act ever written… my co-author and I are the only two who have done this historical analysis… this is the first undertaking of its kind.
Questions move forward. Mr Shenkman makes clear that he can’t comment as to the thinking behind the late Michael Ratner’s statements to the media. Michael Ratner was founder of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Before his passing Mr Shenkman worked with/for Mr Ratner.

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via @SputnikInt

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via @SputnikInt

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via @SputnikInt

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via @SputnikInt
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via @SputnikInt
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via @SputnikInt
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