Richard Medhurst Profile picture
Sep 17, 2020 45 tweets 20 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Day 8 of the #Assange extradition hearing resumes at the Old Bailey in London.

Live updates in the thread below:
The first expert witness to testify is John Sloboda of @iraqbodycount. Iraq Body Count maintains the world’s largest public database of violent civilian deaths since the 2003 invasion, as well as separate running total which includes combatants.
Sloboda tells the court the importance of tracking casualties in order to give dignity to the dead; a basic human need to know what's happened to loved ones; important to list them by name and how info may also reveal important trends and insight about conflict.
Sloboda: the Iraq War Logs published in 2010 by #Assange and @wikileaks was by far the largest disclosure on the true extent of the Iraq war, revealing an additional 15,000 casualties previously unknown to the public.
Sloboda: @wikileaks' publications were very detailed. @iraqbodycount approached #Assange and his help was instrumental in documenting real extent of war and list of casualties – info they simply didn't have access to from media reports and government.
Sloboda: there was strict redaction system in place in order not to reveal sensitive info. Over-redaction had to be corrected in most cases; a painstaking process but they did it nonetheless. #Assange did not bow to pressure to publish until redaction process was complete.
Sloboda says @wikileaks publications added considerable weight to the Iraqi casualties in public eye; some 40,000 articles written on this in last decade alone
Prosecution rises now to examine Sloboda
Prosecution begins firing away trying to discredit the expert witness (as usual).

Prosecution asks Sloboda if he was 'vetted' by @wikileaks or #Assange prior to being given access to documents.

Sloboda says he doesn't know.
Prosecution to Sloboda: you weren't vetted by #Assange or @wikileaks prior to being handed 400,000 classified documents? Are you familiar with source protection and jigsaw identification?
Sloboda assumes 'jigsaw identification' refers to piecing back info in order to establish identity which Prosecution affirms is correct.

Sloboda replies: hence the strict regimen in place regarding redactions or even over-redactions in order to protect sources/informants.
The prosecution being more concerned about harm to imaginary sources while glossing over what is essentially a mass grave of 15,000 Iraqis uncovered by Slabado, #Assange and @wikileaks perfectly encapsulates the absurdity of this entire hearing.
Prosecution brings up Afghan War Diary for some reason – of which Sloboda was not a part.
Sloboda reaffirms that despite pressure from news outlets to publish, #Assange did not disrupt the redaction process or rush anything.
Prosecution finishes cross-examinating Sloboda.
Not only are there zero examples of anyone being harmed by @wikileaks (by the US' own admission) but several people who worked in various capacities with #Assange such as Sloboda, Goetz have now told the court there was indeed a rigorous process of redaction in place.
Court breaks. Will resume at 2pm local time.
A full video summary of yesterday's proceedings

Court resumes.

Carey Shenkman @CareyShenkman is next to testify in #Assange hearing. Carey is a constitutional lawyer and human rights attorney.
The war in Iraq will be over before they fix the bloody tech issues in this court. #Assange
I post full video summaries of the #Assange hearing every day.

Subscribe for independent journalism:
Shenkman @CareyShenkman says the 1917 Espionage Act was born out of one of the most repressive periods in US history.

(Eugene Debs, presidential candidate jailed in 1918 for anti-war speech comes to mind. He was charged with 10 counts of violating Espionage & Sedition acts).
Shenkman @CareyShenkman: Espionage Act being used against #Assange is "extraordinarily broad". It is really a political tool which has been used historically to prosecute dissenters and implement censorship. Most scholars are in agreement of this.
Shenkman @CareyShenkman asserts there is no precedent of journalists being successfully prosecuted under Espionage Act. He points to several cases of media being investigated for publishing highly sensitive secrets, classified materials, but no indictment due to First Amendment.
Prosecution rises to cross-examine Shenkman @CareyShenkman
Prosecution asks about Shenkman's @CareyShenkman previous employment (to downplay his expert opinion and paint him as biased of course, which is routine).

Shenkman says he worked briefly on Michael Ratner's legal team who defended #Assange and @wikileaks in the past.
Shenkman @CareyShenkman says he did not receive the document or bundle the prosecution is referring to, which they of course sent to him today (!), as they usually like to lump witnesses with hundreds of documents at the last minute.
Keep in mind, #Assange himself was served new indictment and re-arrested the same day hearing resumed. If you know of anyone else who's ever been whisked away to court, never mind an extradition hearing, without time to read their warrant and prepare a defense I'm all ears.
Prosecution refers to an article that Shenkman @CareyShenkman wrote saying #Assange is a victim of arbitrary detention by UK, US & Sweden.…
Prosecution is referring to Shenkman's @CareyShenkman
past writings to paint him as biased.

Shenkman replies that his work is peer-reviewed and unrelated to his witness testimony to court which pertains to Espionage Act and historical context.
Prosecution asks Shenkman @CareyShenkman how long he's practiced law and if he's ever worked on behalf of @wikileaks.

Shenkman says he raised the bar in 2013 and worked in a small capacity for Ratner who represented #Assange.
Prosecution to Shenkman @CareyShenkman: you describe yourself as a constitutional historian?

Shenkman cites his work as constitutional litigator, talks, articles he's done and says he is writing a book on the history of the Espionage Act, the first undertaking of its kind
Prosecution asks Shenkman @CareyShenkman to comment on statements Ratner made regarding @wikileaks.

This poses several issues given that Shenkman cannot speak on behalf of Ratner, moreover Ratner is not alive.
Prosecution is citing past articles and comments in order to paint Shenkman @CareyShenkman as biased.

This is in keeping with every cross-examination the prosecution does: discredit the expert witness because every single one agrees the #Assange trial is wrong.
Shenkman @CareyShenkman to prosecution: this seems like a waste of time.
Dobbin is trying to use a 2015 quote in the Guardian from Ratner, Shenkman's old boss, that Obama admin hunted @WikiLeaks to counter the WaPo article from 2013 saying DOJ no longer after #Assange.

This to try and legitimize the trial as having legal basis and being apolitical.
Shenkman disarms her very simply: Obama administration did not indict #Assange
Shenkman tells court that he's never seen anything like this trial before and many legal scholars are in agreement that the use of Espionage Act to prosecute #Assange is highly contentious.

Prosecution cuts him off and changes subject.
Prosecution wants to ascertain what exactly Shenkman @CareyShenkman deems to be controversial under US law.
Prosecution to Shenkman: do you agree gov employees who steal gov secrets aren't protected by 1st amendment

Shenkman: hypothetical, depends on definition of stealing

Pros: you disagree with 4th circuit ruling?

Shenkman: 9th circuit court credited @Snowden for things he stole
Shenkman @CareyShenkman is frankly a brilliant witness, repeatedly disarms Dobbin and at times it feels like he's the one doing the questioning.

Prosecution asks for more time to cross examine, claiming witness didn't give short answers. Judge refuses, says it's her fault.
Court is adjourned. #Assange hearing resumes tomorrow.

Will be going live shortly to give a video summary:

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