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Sep 17, 2020 42 tweets 11 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
DAY 8 of the #Assange hearing is about to begin.
Our tweets are on this thread.

We'll report live at 5pm BST on #CNLive!

Judge has arrived. Edward Fitzgerald requests meeting today to settle on evidence that can be read into court.
Today's first witness is Prof John Sleboda [in psychology]. has published on psychology, terrorism & armed conflict. Founder of Iraq Body Count.
Prof Sleboda is speaking about the targeting of civilians as a war crime. Knowing how one's loved ones died is a basic human need, he says. Sleboda worked w/ Iraq War Logs (which revealed 15K civilian casualties unreported by US Mil).
Defence: What type of info did the Iraq War Logs offer
Sleboda: Everyday field reports, sometimes names but very detailed reports about the time, location & manner of death

Defence: Yr org. Iraq Body Count approached @Wikileaks for help in discovering such details?
Sleboda: Yes
Defence: Was Mr Assange helpful.
Sleboda: Yes, he invited us to join a consortium with the media partners - @Guardian etc

Defence: was there a rigorous process of redaction /security
JL: Yes, Assange was very strict & devised swift methods for detecting / redacting names.
JL: Julian devised a brilliant method of getting rid of names. Taking a dictionary as basis, every word in the logs that was not in the dictionary - such as names - was redacted 1st round. Then acronyms & professions were dealt w/ using different process, inc manual. Took weeks
JL #Assange wanted to sanitise the whole dataset of Iraq War Logs, so that all could be published. They were somewhat "over-redacted" acc to Sleboda.

Defence: How did Iraq War Logs raise public awareness of civilian casualties?
Sleboda: We found abt 40K URLs talking about it
X-exam of Prof John Sleboda
Prosecutor is verifying Sleboda's credentials.

Prosecutor: You started Iraq Body Count (IBC) in 2003 & it was to gather information. Do you have any experience dealing w/ informants in repressive regimes?

Prosecutor: So Afghan War Logs were already out & you heard there might be a similar release about Iraq?
JS Yes. We signed a non disclosure agreement.
Prosecutor: The you were handed 400K sensitive docs without being vetted by Mr #Assange?
JS Don't know if I was vetted
Prosecutor: Do you know what jigsaw identification
JS Piecing together facts to deduce someone's ID
Prosecutor: You had a meeting w/ #Assange to talk abt access & then u were approved?
JS Yes.
Prosecutor: How many got access
JS 4 from our org. I don't know how many others
Prosecutor: Do u know how many people in @Wikileaks had access to the Iraq War Logs?
JS: No
Prosecutor: You said WL had published "responsibly". That would mean not publishing names of sources?
JS: Absolutely
Prosecutor: Co-operating sources would have been placed in danger if named?
JS Yes
Prosecutor: You spoke of a "steep learning curve" in dealing w/ redaction of informants's name. Was that between mistakes w/ Afghan War Logs & refined redaction techniques used w/ Iraq WLs
JS: Yes
Prosecutor: So the redaction process w/ the Afghan War Logs was flawed?
JS: I wasn't involved in the former but I understand there was room for improvement.
Prosecutor: You got access to the unredacted dataset?
Prosecutor: You had the "dictionary" program to help you?
JS Yes
Prosecutor: A surname like Summers would be in the dictionary. Right? But the software would in principle, remove names but nothing else?
JS The software was being updated all the time.
Prosecutor: How much would have to be manually redacted?
JS I don't know.
Prosecutor: You said #Assange shared your attitude about responsible redaction. He was challenged publicly at Frontline Press Club about Afghan War Logs names being revealed. Do you agree w/ this statement (reads)?
JS I'd never heard that one, but I recall no similar conversation
Prosecutor: Was your main interest re civilian casualties mainly in battle report
JS Yes but not always
Prosecutor: Are u aware the Iraq War Logs did contain unredacted names of co-operating sources?
Prosecutor reads..."named local human sources"
JS 1st I've heard of it
Prosecutor: Did names slip through because Mr #Assange had a cavalier attitude towards redaction?
Prosecutor: Then what is the explanation?
JS I've never learned of this before, but the explanation is that for some reason despite rigorous redaction, some names remained.
No re-exam for Sleboda. Edward Fitzgerald requests time to go through documents w/ the prosecution to agree on what can be read in an open court.

Baraitser agrees but asks that this can be done in future outside court time.

Court resumes after lunch w/ witness Carey Shenkman
Carey Shenkman, constitution lawyer has been sworn in. He is citing his experience with the Espionage Act.
Carey Shenkman can not be heard clearly enough by the court. Break until the problem is resolved.
Defence witness Carey Shenkman is back.

The Espionage Act was born out of one of the most repressive periods in US history. Firm hand, acc to Woodrow Wilson, it imposed penalties on those who were opposed to war.
The Espionage Act is extraordinarily broad, says Shenkman.
Studies show there was incredible confusion over its scope and only prosecutorial discretion as a safeguard against its misuse to target any citizen.
Schenkman says Espionage Act used against government employees. There is no public interest defence and 793 is not limited to classified information.
Shenkman. This case is unprecedented (prosecution of a journalist]. There were attempts, but they were all overturned. Grand Juries were convened, but there was no indictment. These were very high-level political decisions, often involving presidents.
Defence & Shenkman discuss 11 cases he cites where the press were not prosecuted for publishing classified info.
Moving on to the Pentagon Papers, which ended in Supreme Court for prior restraint, not for a criminal case. The court ruled that the press can not be restrained. The issue of criminalising journalism [@nytimes] never came before the court - but there was mixed opinion about this
Shenkman: US law protects members of the press. The type of reporting @Wikileaks were part of in 2010 was generally encouraged.

Defence: Fast-forward 3 years. Was there a publication that made the press nervous?

CS: Yes, talk was circulating abt Espionage Act. The Rosen case.
X-Exam of Corey Shenkman by Clare Dobbins

You worked for Michael Ratner, who represented Mr #Assange? You say now you don't represent Mr Assange?

CS Yes, it's been 4 years.
CD Were you on the legal team that represented Mr Assange?
CS yes, in a limited capacity
Miss Dobbin is asking witness Carey Shenkman to speak about the contents of a document she sent at 3am today, which he didn't receive.
Shenkman: I wish I had more time to read this >300 pages.
Prosecutor: Referring to something you wrote, the byline says you are a constitutional lawyer and a member of Julian @Assange's legal team.
Shenkman: The reason I have a byline on that is I provided research on detention
Miss Dobbins reading from various publications where he expresses "views" about Mr Assange's detention

Shenkman: Those are peer-reviewed articles by historians. I understand my obligations to the court

Dobbins implies bias. Shenkman, his contribution is history of Espionage Act
Dobbins is portraying Carey Shenkman as an activist for #Assange
Miss Dobbins Have you ever acted for @wikileaks?
Shenkman I worked for Mr Ratner who represented Mr #Assange.

Miss Dobbins keeps pushing this. Shenken is not sure what she is driving at.
The prosecution is asking Shenkmn to answer for things that Michael Ratner wrote and said.

Shenken: My speculations would be of no value.
CD: What did you think about what Ratner wrote?
CS: I can't remember what I thought in March 5 years ago.
Ratner was way above me in our firm
Baraitser has interrupted Dobbins. She is asking him legal questions about Freedom of Information requests. Shenkman is happy to answer that there are many obstacles for investigative journalists

It has been difficult for the witness to find material in a bundle he just received
Shenken wonders if Dobbins is trying to suggest a 2013 Washington Post article did not indicate there was no ongoing investigation into #Assange.

He says Obama did not indict
Dobbins: If there was no ongoing investigation why did Mr Assange stay in the embassy. You wrote that he feared extradition.

Shenken: This is one of the most contentious issues in the US among legal scholars, but most are shocked at this use of the Espionage Act
Shenken tries to speak of the naming informants not being in the Espionage Act but she brusquely moves him on.
Dobbins: Are you saying Mr Assange's case should be dealt with in the US.

Shenken: No I'm telling you about the Espionage Act.

Dobbins questions Shenken on US law, re NatSec information & First Amendment

He cites @Snowden who was credited in the 9th Circuit
Dobbins wants Shenken to admit dealing with classified material is broadly forbidden. Shenken: We have to think about a spectrum. There are certain activities that are integral to news-gathering.

Dobbins: You say hacking gov databases protected by 1A?
CS: No word "hack" in CFAA
Dobbin: You're saying if a journalist gets involved in criminal activity 1A can protect them?

CS I can't give you a yes or no answer

CD Shouldn't this be nutted out in a US Court?

CS No. My testimony is about the [mis] use of the Espionage Act.

Baraitser calls a break
Dobbins begins to complain about not getting short answers. Baraitser says she won't hear this. That Dobbins developed her argument slowly and the witness had been doing his very best to answer. She's calling it a day.

Camera swings to #Assange. He gets up and leaves.

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Follow our tweets from the courtroom on this thread.
We are in the courtroom. About to start.
All rise.

Edward Fitzgerald for the defense, who will be dealing with psychiatric issue. Mr #Assange does not wish to attend.
Read 86 tweets
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#JulianAssange is no doubt on his way to the High Court for the USA v Assange Appeal, starting 10.30am BST. We will be connected to the hearing via video link and live-tweeting on this thread.
The Appeal will be heard by Lord Justice Holroyde and Lord Chief Justice Burnett.
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The #JulianAssange High Court hearing before Lord Justice Holyrode and Mrs Justice Farbey will begin soon.

We will be live-tweeting on this thread.
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