The eighth day of proceedings in the trial portion of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition hearing will begin shortly. I'll have live updates at this thread. #AssangeTrial
Yesterday, Pentagon Papers whistleblower @DanielEllsberg testified and exploded several myths about Assange and WikiLeaks, as well as his whistleblowing.

These myths are frequently deployed to make Assange and WL seem different than Ellsberg.

Professor John Sloboda, who co-founded Iraq Body Count, takes the proverbial witness stand.

The Iraq Body Count project closely analyzed the Iraq War Logs. #Assange
Sloboda tells the court the Chilcot inquiry report relied on Iraq Body Count #Assange
Sloboda said Iraq War Logs were the "largest single contribution to knowledge about civilian casualties in the Iraq War."

It exposed 15,000 previously unknown civilian deaths. #Assange
Sloboda recalled nearly 400,000 documents needed redaction. "The aim was a very stringent redaction of WikiLeaks before publication."

Any information that "could be damaging to living individuals, including informants," needed to be removed. #Assange
Sloboda mentioned there was pressure from media partners to publish sooner, but "pressures were consistently rejected."

Media partners had redacted small sample of logs and wanted to proceed, but Assange insisted entire Iraq War Logs be published before any media organization.
On Iraq War Logs, "They were over-redacted for caution. There was probably material which was certainly harmless."

Approach was "be overcautious and then in certain circumstances on closer examination unredact" #Assange
All incidents unique to the Iraq War Logs, Sloboda said, are still unique. Iraq War Logs remains only history of those deaths. #Assange
We're taking a 10-minute break so that the defense can ask Assange if he has any questions for Sloboda. So I'll go back and fill in testimony from prosecutor's cross-exam, which was very much a fishing expedition.
Prosecutor Joel Smith attempted to establish that Iraq Body Count did not appreciate jigsaw identification, but it was a risk discussed. That's why information such as a person's occupation was redacted from Iraq War Logs. #Assange
It would appear Smith wanted to see if the Iraq War Logs were mishandled or if any media person compromised their security. So he asked about staffing at The Guardian and WikiLeaks. That didn't lead to anything fruitful. #Assange
Sloboda indicated some mosque locations may have been removed, and software used could redacted categories as issues arose. They used an English dictionary to redact, which would remove Iraqi names from the data #Assange
Smith asked if a human had gone back over to make sure the piecing of details could not be done to threaten US sources cooperating with authorities. Sloboda said "clearly there was a process," but "no human could check them all." #Assange
Smith read a quote from Assange on the Afghan War Logs. Again, Sloboda had nothing to do with this release. Yet, he was asked if this matched Assange's attitude on redactions. Sloboda was not aware of Assange saying anything like that in conversations on Iraq War Logs.
The prosecutor read an affidavit that contained two examples of Iraq War Log documents that allegedly named "local human sources." Sloboda did not recall this happening. #Assange
Smith insisted this was because Assange took a "cavalier attitude" to redaction and publication.

Sloboda immediately slapped that down as a possible explanation.
The defense, including Assange, did not apparently have further questions for Sloboda.

We are now in recess until 2 pm as Assange's legal team and prosecutors want to confer over testimony from witnesses that could be read into the record and speed up this process.
Carey Shenkman, who studied the history of the US Espionage Act, will be the next witness. He also worked for late great human rights attorney Michael Ratner, who was part of WikiLeaks legal team. #Assange
Carey Shenkman takes the virtual witness stand in Julian Assange's extradition trial.
Nothing to go make into a New York Times headline. We are dealing with a technical issue with Shenkman's connection and then we'll be rolling. #Assange
Housekeeping note as this gets sorted out: If you want to receive daily written reports in your inbox on Assange extradition trial, go to
I'm an independent journalist, dependent on the few dollars readers are able to throw my way. So if you have a little bit to give and can support this journalism, this is the donate link: #Assange
We expect Shenkman to give testimony on what makes the Espionage Act charges against Assange so unprecedented. Hope they are able to figure out his connection.
Shenkman will be speaking over the phone, and we will see his video. We could've gone to this setup for other witnesses that had audio issues but oh well. Moving right along. #Assange
Shenkman says the US Espionage Act is "extraordinarily broad." #Assange
From Shenkman's submission: "Whilst the Espionage Act
established harsh penalties for spying for a foreign enemy in wartime and in light of US entry into war addressed such matters as US control of arm shipments and its ports..." #Assange
Shenkman continues: "...the Act also reflected the government’s desire to control information and public opinion regarding the war effort." #Assange
Shenkman made it clear the Espionage Act has always depended on political discretion as a safeguard against its misuse. #Assange
Shenkman went over three grand juries that attempted to prosecute publishers under the Espionage Act: Chicago Tribune (1942), Amerasia (1945), and the Pentagon Papers and Boston Grand Jury (1971-1973). #Assange
Summers asked why in each of the cases of press publishing classified information there has never been an indictment.

Shenkman said because First Amendment concerns. "There were fierce debates and opposition from the press." #Assange
Shenkman: "Internal deliberations" that have come out [from government] historically have "shown great ambivalence about the scope of Espionage Act." #Assange
Summers asked if member of press would have feared prosecution under Espionage Act in 2010.

Shenkman said no, leaks are routine. Customary for Justice Dept not to use Espionage Act to indict the press for publication or for alleged activities with sources. #Assange
I'll go back and fill in earlier testimony. Clair Dobbin is now trying to disqualify Shenkman because he worked for Michael Ratner, who was part of the WikiLeaks legal team. #Assange
In so many words, Shenkman is arguing that Dobbin's line of questioning is unfairly prejudicial as she raises past writings of his on WikiLeaks and acts like that makes his analysis of Espionage Act biased and imbalanced. #Assange
Dobbin reads a quote from Michael Ratner to Carey Shenkman and asks him to explain why he made the statement on WikiLeaks.

Shenkman reasonably replies, "I can't speak for Mr. Ratner, and unfortunately, he can't be available to qualify that statement." #Assange
Shenkman said in the food chain, he was plankton, and "Michael Ratner was one of the most respected constitutional attorneys in the United States."

He can't be expected to know why Ratner was making particular comments on WikiLeaks. #Assange
Michael Ratner, an esteemed human rights attorney who represented WikiLeaks, is dead. He would be here today if he had not died from cancer in 2016. The US prosecution is trying to hold an associate accountable for the opinions of a man who is dead. #Assange
The prosecution is asking questions about anything and everything that is not related to the US Espionage Act, which was the focus of Shenkman's submitted testimony. #Assange
Moreover, it is impossible for member of press to follow the line of questioning from prosecution because it relies on a massive bundle that Shenkman had no time to read before cross-examination. It was emailed to him after he took the stand. #Assange
Shenkman goes there like I did. He asks Dobbin why she is making him confirm what certain statements say. Shenkman says it doesn't seem like a great use of his time or the court's time. He wrote his submission on the US Espionage Act. #Assange
To be clear, Dobbin is doing exactly what the judge has told the Assange legal team expressly not to do. She is reading statements from prosecution materials aloud that do not require any meaningful explanations from the witness. It is frivolous. #Assange
Shenkman: “I never thought based on history we’d see an indictment that looked like this." Adds it is "truly extraordinary." #Assange
Dobbin is referring to prior cases with outcomes favorable to US prosecutors seeking to prosecute Assange. She is quoting statements and trying to get Shenkman to agree these are controlling, agreed legal concepts. But Shenkman is saying she is over-simplifying.
Dobbin asked if "obtaining unauthorized access to govt databases is or is not protected under First Amendment."

Shenkman makes point that there are cases in US courts arguing over what constitutes "unauthorized" or "authorized" access. So he can't simply say yes or no #Assange
As we were about to take a 10-min break, Dobbin complained about Shenkman. Baraitser slapped her down immediately, saying she didn't want to hear it.

Baraitser said she developed topics slowly. "You take the consequences of your approach." #Assange
We are adjourned, and I will be live with a report on Day 8 of #AssangeTrial at the top of the hour.

At Assange's extradition trial, the court heard testimony from @CareyShenkman on the rich history of political prosecutions under the Espionage Act that go all the way back to the law's inception.…

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The first hearing before the UK High Court of Justice in the US government's appeal in WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition case will start shortly. I'm remotely observing.

Thread for updates on the "preliminary" appeal hearing.
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