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Sep 18, 2020 53 tweets 17 min read Read on X
DAY 9 of the Assange extradition hearing will begin soon. The cross-examination of constitutional lawyer & Espionage Act historian, Corey Shenkman, continues.

Our live-tweets will be on this thread.
Join us at 5pm BST for Joe Lauria's round-up of the day

The judge has arrived. Edward Fitzgerald calls Nicholas Hagar. The conclusion of Corey Shenkman's testimony will continue this afternoon.
Nicky Hagar is sworn in. He was invited to comment on the 2010 publications of Guantanamo SOPs, The Afghan & Iraq Logs and the Cables.

Hagar reads that he was badly affected by his country's involvement in wars of aggression. Our work is to uphold human rights.
Hagar speaks abt the activities of NZ Special Forces. There are some subjects that are so secret, we can't work on them w/out whistle-blowers. Every publication I work on, someone says the exposure of the secret information will cause harm.
Hagar: I deal w/ things other people don't often look at. Special operations, psychological operations.

EF: What was the importance of the Iraq War Logs?
NH: It was exactly the kind of info people need to know. Of the highest public interest.
EF What was the relationship between the 'Collateral Murder' video & the Rules of Engagement.

NH After the shooting, the words "Look at those dead bastards" opened the eyes of the world to the horrors of war. The release of this film had an impact on future civilian casualties.
Hagar: I went to England in 2010 worked with a team of journalists on redacting the @xychelsea material. It was a careful, responsible & highly focused process.

I had become tired of standard [under-informed] news coverage. Julian tried to make the world a better place w/ truth.
James Lewis X-examines

Confirms Hagar has read the indictment & extradition order. Asks him to explain what #Assange has been charged with, but only seems interested in Hagar saying he was not charged for 'Collateral Murder'.

Asks if NH has paid a gov source to hack a computer
NH explains the relationship between investigative journalists and sources. Our role is not passive, he says. We encourage and help our sources.

JL Would you unnecessarily reveal the names of sources knowing it would put their lives in danger?

NH Of course not, but...
JL is reading from @Wikileaks media partner statement: "We deplore the publication of unredacted material...".

NH I don't want to give an answer to what are disputed facts you cite".

JL: Reading (again) from @davidleighx & @lukeharding1968 book, abt what #Assange said...
Hagar says there was much animosity between @davidleighx & Assange. He believes the source is unreliable. [As would imply previous testimony in 2011 from then @DerSpiegel journalist John Goetz].
JL You wrote your work without having to name sources?
NH Yes
JL You said the claims of harm are seen to have been exaggerated. No one was harmed. Wouldn't lives of informants in a repressive regime be in danger?
NH (unclear)
JL asking more questions abt NH's writings
JL How many cables did you personally review.
NH A few hundred from NZ, Australia.
JL What criteria did you use to make redactions
NH There were quite a few that said Strictly Protect. What I noticed its that this didn't relate to potential harm but political situations.
NH When redacting, I was convinced there would be no harm.
JL Was it suggested you put the Rules of Engagement alongside 'Collateral Murder'?
NH Yes. I was glad to.
Re-examining Nicky Hager
From the indictment, you understand that Mr #Assange is more widely charged than what the prosecution is claiming? Not just counts of publishing?

NH Yes
Fitzgerald & Hager discussing how the unredacted cables actually got out on the internet. The password was published & then the trove published by others (not @Wikileaks) who thought it fine not to redact. The @wikileaks team had been very careful about redacting. Thus, no harm.
Asked to explain the relevance of the Rules of Engagement to the 'Collateral Murder', Hagar says they demonstrated the troops were not at risk when they fired on civilians.
EF You said you included 'Collateral Murder' alongside the 'Rules of Engagement'. They belonged together?
NH Yes

Nicky Hagar testimony ends
Statement from Jennifer Robinson being read, re events on August 15 2017 at the Ecuadorean Embassy. @DanaRohrabacher & a Mr Johnson visited & said they were speaking on behalf of @realDonaldTrump, to talk about "what might be necessary to get him out".
Jennifer Robinson @suigenerisjen statement (cont).

The deal was that #Assange testify for president @realDonaldTrump about the 2016 elections and he could walk free. #Assange did not supply any information to his envoy congressman @DanaRohrabacher
James Lewis says no more than the prosecution does not accept the truthfulness of the contents of Jennifer Robinson @suigenerisjen's statement.
Judge Baraitser has arrived after break. Khaled El-Masri will take the stand. There are some technical difficulties connecting him. Defence and prosecution are still arguing about his appearance. Lewis said his accounts of @CIA rendition & torture were irrelevant.
Defence argues that it is not the truth of Mr El-Masri's account that the court has to decide upon. The point is that @Wikileaks disclosures revealed subversion of justice by US in respect to his case. Although... the Strasbourg Court has found El-Masri's accounts truthful.
#Assange is speaking. We think he's asking to speak with his lawyer.

Lewis is trying to claim that #Assange isn't charged with publishing cables concerning El-Masri. Judge Baraitser says he is charged with receiving them.

Mark Summers will read Khaled-El-Masri's statement
Khaled El-Masri statement concerns how he was mistakenly kidnapped, rendered and tortured by @CIA, then later dumped on the side of the road in Albania.

We will learn how @Wikileaks disclosures revealed what happened at a diplomatic level to subvert justice in El-Masri's case.
El-Masri won an Article 34 case in 2012 at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The court found he had been tortured while held by @CIA and he was awarded compensation. The court condemned countries collaborating with the in secret torture programs.
Mark Summers reads Khaled El-Masri shocking statement, about being beaten, sodomized, dressed in a nappy & taken to a torture site. He went on hunger strike, and was force-fed, was interrogated for 5 months and then dumped up a mountain road in Albania. Thought he would be shot.
EL-Masri ran into Albanian police and managed to get home. He began a struggle for accountability but was highly discredited. It was a long struggle. Mr Goetz, a journalist from whom we heard testimony, was able to trace his whole trajectory. It resulted in a court case...
Arrest warrants were issued for the @CIA agents but USA interfered to prevent extradition requests being issued. The revelations in the @Wikileaks cables were relied upon by the European Court of Human Rights. El -Masri's claims were true and there had been no basis to arrest him
Defence lawyer for #Assange Mark Summers speaks now about threats made by Mr Pompeo to the International Criminal Court which is investigating US war crimes. Intimidations are not diminishing by any means.

Judge Baraitser thanks Mark Summers for his "very helpful" statement.
Correction: James Lewis says the prosecution accepts the truthfulness of the contents of Jennifer Robinson
@suigenerisjen's statement.

We apologise for not hearing Mr Lewis well. He was speaking very quietly and turned slightly away from us
To further clarify, what the US rejects is the truthfulness of @DanaRohrabacher's claim, that he was representing @realDonaldTrump when offering a deal to #Assange -#Russiagate testimony for freedom.
Carey Shenkman is back. Yesterday he & Dobbins ended by arguing over whether controversial points of law - like in the #Assange case - should be decided in the US courts - or whether Espionage Act was entirely political & UK Extradition Treaty should bar his extradition.
Clare Dobbins: You're not aware of any law that precludes publication of national defence information?

Carey Shenken: The Espionage Act is so broad, anyone could be prosecuted, but no publisher has been yet.

CD Reads ruling on Rosen case Pentagon Papers re Espionage Act 793 (e)
Clare Dobbins: The court left open the possibility of using the Espionage Act 793 (e) (unauthorised possession of classified documents). Do you accept that?

CS The cases you are citing are complex and unlike this case. I can't see the relevance of your questions to my statement.
Dobbins & Shenkman are arguing abt vagueness of Espionage Act. She asks if he is aware it has been refined. He says most scholars would disagree. She challenges a claim of Shenkman that it can be arbitrarily used: says it can only be used re disclosure of classified information.
Shenkman suggests Clare Dobbins read a few scholarly articles about the Espionage Act & scope of nat. defence information. It doesn't have to be classified to be considered nat. defence. Can be used on gov employees, citizens. The same legal standard is applied to many categories
Dobbins: You misleadingly say the executive decides the scope of criminal law. It's the criminal court, right?

Shenken: The executive decides the classification. I'm talking about decisions to investigate before a case comes to a court. This has a chilling effect on publishers
Shenken: The Espionage Act is very clumsily drafted. How it was intended and how it has been interpreted are two different things
The battle between the lawyers, Dobbins v Shenken continues. He is challenging her every question and demonstrating his superior knowledge on the area of law they are discussing. Flooding her with more scholarly information that she wants to hear. "It's really not that simple".
Shenken insists 793 is a highly disputed act. Advises Dobbins to ask him questions about what he & other scholars have written over the years, rather than reading from one case. Cites numerous cases where it was misused for political reasons to threaten & stifle the press.
Shenkman: The First Amendment doesn't make any distinction between professional journalists and anyone else reporting in the public interest. There are historical examples of misuse of the Espionage Act to chill such reporting.
Dobbins: Do you understand what Mr Assange is charged with?
CS: Yes
CD Do you accept there is no comparison between your historical examples & what he has done.
CS: No. There are cases like the Pentagon Papers which are very similar
Dobbins: You also said the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act (CFAA) is also very broad.
Shenkman: Yes, refers her to a few documents
The definition of "unauthorised access" is not clear cut. It is being discussed in the Supreme Court.
Dobbins suggests the examples Shenken has offered the court are "frivolous" & ends her questions.

Re-exam of Shenken by Summers
Does not agree they were frivolous.

Speaking about Espionage Act v First Amendment in the Morrison case (a whistle-blower in Naval Intelligence)
Summers: Is it right to say that government employees have no 1A rights?

Shenken: You can't have one incontrovertible law. It depends.
Bartnicki (a wire-tapping case) tells us that the press can't engage in separate criminal activity, but ordinary news gathering is protected.
Summers: We know there has never been an indictment of a journalist under 793. You said in the case of Rosen, the press wasn't implicated. The case was dropped. It has no presidential value?

CS No, not really.

MS Has there been an indictment of a foreign journalist?
CS: No
Summers On the subject of the vagueness of the Espionage Act. Has the vagueness of this act as it concerns the press, ever been the subject of a judicial decision?

MS: Then how has it threatened the press?
CS: It has threatened press w/ contrary points of view

End re-exam
Baraitser: Re releasing the transcripts to the press, in view of them being paid for the parties, I don't think the court can authorise them being released.

Fitzgerald: That's something we can discuss between us. Might I also request that prosecution bundles be given earlier?
Break for 10 minutes while the defence try to arrange a statement they want read to the court.
Edward Fitzgerald will read a statement from Dean Yates, Reuters Bureau Chief in Bagdad 2007. Two of his staff, Namir & Saeed were killed in an Apache helicopter air-strike. The military reports said there had been a clash, but Namir's camera contained no frames of a clash.
Dean Yates (continued) We'd never heard of the Rules of Engagement, cited to justify the engagement. Reuters asked to see all of the footage. Denied. When Reuters saw it in the @wikileaks release, they saw their injured cameraman & his rescuers murdered, in violation of RoEs.
Dean Yates: US military were deceiving us. Was it not for @xychelsea and #JulianAssange the truth of what happened to Namir & Saeed would never have been revealed to the world.

Fitzgerald: Showing the Rules of Engagement @Wikileaks shed light on criminality in Baghdad airstrike.

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More from @Consortiumnews

Feb 21
Our live updates from the #Assange courtroom at the Royal Courts of Justice, Day 2 afternoon session, will be on this thread. Image
Court in session. Now we can hear the prosecution but not the judges.
Prosecution is refuting Ground 4 and Ground 6 of the defence's appeal. Focusing on the Fair Trial issue.

There is an argument of Speciality or nothing. The claim is the applicant is at risk of being punished for conduct he has not been charged with. That is Specialty and it is being forced into Art. 6
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Feb 21
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Feb 20
Our live updates from the #Assange Renewal Appeal courtroom - Day 1 afternoon session - will be on this thread. Image
@unjoe @CathyVoganSPK Court in session again.
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Continuing with prior cases in the US relating to this case. Prior publishers of many source names only had passport confiscated. Daniel Ellsberg, a state employee, was not prosecuted.
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Feb 20
Consortium News hopes to be live tweeting from the #Assange court room on this thread, but we have NOT received our video links as yet - neither @unjoe nor @CathyVoganSPK (who had intended to connect via remote access).

If the links do not arrive they will both be in the court room and will endeavour to report from there.Image
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Nov 13, 2023
DAY 2 David McBride trial @MurdochCadell
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@MurdochCadell Defence is presenting a note related to a classified document illustration circumstances where an officer would best disobey orders, to avoid a dangerous situation for example, and be 'guilty' of a military offence, but not a criminal act.
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Tweets will be on this thread. Image
David McBride will be defended by Stephen Odges, Emmanuel Kerkysharian and Paul d'Assumpcao.
McBride has been allowed to bring in Jake his dog, into the Supreme Court, unlike Julian #Assange who was made to sit in a glass cage.
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