The ninth day of proceedings in the trial portion of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition hearing will begin shortly. I won't have live updates at this thread at the moment because the court's Crime Deputy Service Manager did not admit me this morning.
Constant glitches have existed in the system, and when I logged on the cloud video platform at the same time I do every morning, my name did not appear. I was hearing a repeated message that the host had not joined. Another journalist informed me they could not see me. #Assange
When I contacted the Crime Deputy Service Manager to let them know that I had an issue this morning, they said the rule is the rule. There was nothing I could say to persuade them to allow me morning access. I will miss this morning's witness. #Assange
Press are expected to join the Cloud Video Platform before 9:40 am. I enter at 9:35 every day, which is 3:35 am in Chicago. But this time the system did not recognize I was waiting and I was unfairly locked out. #Assange
I am going to use witness statement that was submitted by Nicolas Hager, an investigative journalist from New Zealand. He took the stand to testify on his work with WikiLeaks publications: Gitmo Files, "Collateral Murder," US diplomatic cables, and Afghan/Iraq War Logs. #Assange
Hager testified on the "necessity of using classified information" in his journalistic work.

"[Generally] impossible to research & write about war to a useful standard without access to sources that the authorities concerned regard as sensitive and out of bounds..." #Assange
"In the case of war, information which is classified is essential to allow journalism to perform its roles of informing the public, enabling democratic decision making and deterring wrongdoing," Hager wrote. #Assange
Hager continued, "Confidential sources and unauthorized leaks of information fall squarely within this, and it is a widespread practice for investigative journalists to ask their sources for info. There is simply no realistic and effective alternative." #Assange
Hager made the point to the court that when classified info is revealed it is not long before "claims of harm are shown to have been wildly exaggerated."

In fact, secret agencies in New Zealand use Hager's work as "unclassified references" for training staff. #Assange
Though Hager was not involved in the release of Afghan War Logs or Iraq War Logs, he has relied on them extensively, including for his book "Other People's Wars." He analyzed special forces operations, CIA-paid local forces, etc, using the materials. #Assange
WikiLeaks offered Nicolas Hager advanced access to the US embassy cables in 2010. He wrote several stories for New Zealand's Sunday Star-Times. #Assange
Hager shared how WikiLeaks asked him to read cables from New Zealand and Australia and "identify any that should not be released for reasons such as personal safety of named people."

"I found the WikiLeaks staff to be engaged in a careful and responsible process." #Assange
According to an article from Hager in December 2010, WikiLeaks "responded to criticism of past releases and decided on a slower, more controlled process of release gradually country by country with a range of media partners from around the world." #Assange
Hager described the War Logs sets and the embassy cables as archives of the "highest public interest; some of the most important material I have ever used." #Assange
From the war logs, Hager said he learned of a previously unknown US program of kill-capture operations using drones, bombs, and night raids. They targeted individuals with secret "JPEL" list." #Assange
Reports from the war log sets also revealed "large numbers of civilian deaths and injuries that had never been officially revealed." #Assange
For New Zealand, Hager testified that WikiLeaks revelations bolstered worke he produced, which spurred an inquiry into the actions of New Zealand forces overseas. #Assange
Hager noted the inquiry into NZ forces is likely to find "laws of war" were "breached" in a raid he exposed—a reminder of "vital importance of confidential sources of information in a democratic society." #Assange
On Assange, Hager testified, "During my time with the WikiLeaks team studying and writing about the embassy cables, I spent quite a lot of time with Julian Assange. The person I got to know was very different from the image portrayed in US media."
I am logged on to the cloud video platform waiting for the host to let me in so I can cover the next part of the morning's proceedings. I've done everything I was expected to do, and I do not believe I deserve this arbitrariness. #Assange
With any luck, the court clerk will recognize me and permit me to enter during the break that is ongoing until 11:45 am. #Assange
There are several journalistic colleagues who know I am credentialed to cover #AssangeTrial. They keep posting in chat that I am trying to get into proceedings, and the videolink manager is apparently threatening them with shutting down chat if they keep speaking up for me.
This is what I am about to miss because court officers have not allowed me into the observation room, where I can follow the court feed.

I've now heard that they are talking about me in court during break. A tech person won't allow me access, but a legal advisor is on my side. "It all seems terribly regimented though doesn’t it" #Assange
To all the journalists on the cloud video platform, thanks for the solidarity

Evidence is being read into the record from Jennifer Robinson, who is part of Assange's legal team, and then Khaled el-Masri, who was a victim of CIA kidnapping, torture, and rendition. I attempted during a long break to join, but I remain locked out of #AssangeTrial
The court could not be more on notice that a journalist had technical issues, was arbitrarily locked out, tried to call and get help, and then was told they could do nothing. They are choosing not to be accommodating at this point, and I have no explanation for why. #Assange
German citizen Khaled el Masri takes witness stand in #AssangeTrial. At Macedonian border, El Masri was kidnapped, detained, and held incommunicado and abused for 23 days. On 23 Jan 2004, CIA rendition team handcuffed and blindfolded him at Skopje Airport. #Assange
CIA rendition team "physically overwhelmed" El Masri and cut off all his clothes except his blindfold.

El Masri said he submits testimony because "WikiLeaks publications were relied on by the [European Court of Human Rights] in obtaining the redress I have received." #Assange
The EHCR confirmed nine years after that El Masri was "severely beaten, sodomized, shackled, and hooded, and subjected total sensory deprivation—carried out in the presence of state officials of Macedonia and within its jurisdiction." #Assange
What the EHCR found was Macedonia's "government was consequently responsible for those acts performed by foreign officials...Those measures had been used with premeditation, the aim being to cause Mr. Masri severe pain and suffering in order to obtain information." #Assange
El Masri recalled when his blindfold was removed, flash photography "temporarily blinded" him. He then saw 7-8 men wearing black and black masks. They put him in diaper and tracksuit with bag over his head and earmuffs. He was shackled and marched to aircraft. #Assange
"On the plan, I was spread-eagled and my limbs tied to the sides of the aircraft. I was given injections and an anesthetic. I was unconscious for most of the journey," El-Masri recalled. #Assange
El Masri later learned he was in Afghanistan. He was held incommunicado in a "cold concrete cell" in winter. "Humiliated, stripped naked, insulted, and threatened." He was interrogated, and in March 2004, he went on hunger strike. #Assange
On the 34th day of the hunger strike, El Masri said he was dragged from the cell to an interrogation room, "tied to a chair and a tube [was] painfully forced through [his] nose." #Assange
El Masri discovered later that the CIA knew his detention was a result of "mistaken identity." They understood he should be released but kept him detained for several more months. #Assange
End of May 2004, El Masri learned he would be released. He was interrogated once more and "warned as a condition" of his release that he was "never to mention what happened" or there would be consequences if he spoke. #Assange
On May 28, 2004, El Masri was blindfolded and shackled — again. He was led out of his cell, handed the suitcase he arrived with in Skopje, and told to change back into the clothes he had in Macedonia. #Assange
Then El Masri was brought to an aircraft and subject to what can only be described as a reverse rendition. He was blindfolded, earmuffed, and chained to a seat. He was informed he would eventually land in a European country and then be allowed to return to Germany. #Assange
El Masri landed in Albania. He believed when he landed he would be shot. in the back. They asked him why he was in Albania with no permission because he had a German passport. He said he didn't know where he was. #Assange
Sorry, this is an error. His statement was read into the record, and his translator dismissed. Technical issues prevented him from testifying as a live witness, apparently.
Summers: El Masri says as a result of cables it is known that the German government bowed to pressure from the US government to not seek the extradition of the CIA rendition team #Assange
El Masri: "I do not set out here all of the misleading and untrue statements made by a number of authorities suggesting that it was appropriate to disbelieve my allegations and undermine my claims. Intimidation upon me and witnesses were manifest throughout." #Assange
Summers mentions there has been no accountability in US for El Masri. FOIA lawsuit by ACLU revealed the CIA Inspector General investigated his rendition and torture. They found officers exaggerated the nature of the data possessed linking him to terrorism #Assange
El Masri: "I record here my belief that without dedicated and brave exposure of the state secrets in question what happened to me would never have been acknowledged and understood." He added threats and intimidation are "not diminishing but expanding for all concerned." #Assange
While Summers was reading parts of the statement from El-Masri into the record, I was admitted into the video platform and watched the courtroom feed.

Thank you to all the journalists and lawyers who helped me while I was locked out as a result of bureaucracy. #Assange
I was just emailed by the Crime Deputy Service Manager, host of video platform, who apologized to me. They confirm I should have been allowed in to cover #AssangeTrial this morning.

Let's put this behind us. Onward to this afternoon's testimony. #Assange
Keep focus on El Masri, who is supporting Assange at great risk to himself. He was tortured by CIA.

He believes "exposure of what happened [in cables] was necessary not just for myself but for law and justice worldwide," and also adds, "My story is not yet concluded."
Carey Shenkman is re-joining court proceedings as a witness in the #AssangeTrial to wrap up his testimony that started yesterday.

This is my report on Shenkman from Day 8:…
Clair Dobbin, prosecutor, asks about publishers like New York Times or Guardian, publishers who employ national security journalists.

Is there "blanket law that precludes prosecution of publisher under Espionage Act for publication of leaked national defense info
?" #Assange
Shenkman replied, "Certainly, my position is Espionage Act is so broadly worded as to allow for prosecution of mainstream press."

Dobbin: "We have common ground that state of law is such that publishers can be prosecuted under Espionage Act for publication [of NDI]." #Assange
Shenkman added, "Espionage Act has not been used against a publisher and brought before a court in this manner before.

Prosecutor replied but the Supreme Court decision in the New York Times [Pentagon Papers] case "left the door open for such a prosecution." #Assange
US government appears to be taking the clear position during Shenkman's testimony that the Espionage Act allows for the prosecution of journalists who publish US information on national security or military operations #Assange
Shenkman made the point that the issue before the Supreme Court in NYT/Pentagon Papers was prior restraint, not whether Espionage Act could be deployed against the press. #Assange
Dobbin repeatedly asks Shenkman if he accepts that Morison case involved judicial finding that Espionage Act did not *only* applies to classic spy cases.

So US govt is again taking position it is able to go after media sources and journalists who publish their info. #Assange
We obviously know based upon cases from the Obama administration era, as well as some from under President Trump, that US govt will not hesitate to prosecute media sources. Now it's clear gloves may be off for journalists or editors. #Assange
Shenkman was asked about vagueness challenges to Espionage Act. He took issue with the lack of specificity from the prosecutor and added the law "conflates classic spies, general insiders, and members of public and everyone on Earth." #Assange
Dobbin insisted the Espionage Act was "refined through judicial interpretation" and precluded "arbitrary enforcement."

Shenkman took great issue and mentioned applies to broad category—"national defense information," intent is malleable, etc. #Assange
Dobbin also tried to assert the Espionage Act was not limited to "classical espionage," which Shenkman did not agree with at all. #Assange
Dobbin maintained all the examples provided of prosecutions threatened against the press were dropped and so that showed restraint or law was not misused.

To that, Shenkman said threats resulted in stories being held back in 1980s, near bankruptcy for Beacon Press, etc. #Assange
Dobbin said threatened prosecutions were all against "publishers in the conventional sense, serious news outlets employing serious national defense journalists."

Shenkman answered no. Beacon Press was publishing arm of Unitarian Universalist Association. #Assange
Dobbin: Do you understand nature of allegations that Mr. Assange faces?

Shenkman: Yes

Dobbin: Do you accept in terms of character and scale they bear no comparison to types of examples in your report?

Shenkman: I don't
To which Dobbin proclaimed to Shenkman, "That's a frivolous assertion and a nonsensical one in the face of the allegations that are made out in this indictment." #Assange
Dobbin's final questions asked Shenkman about the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and invoked a scholar, Orin Kerr, who has studied CFAA. She totally ignored his opposition to Assange indictment until Shenkman confronted her with it.
Summers during re-examination asked Shenkman about being attacked while giving testimony. He said the prosecutor contended it was frivolous to compare case to historic examples.

Shenkman said he tries not to get offended. "I disagree with it, of course." #Assange
The defense gave Shenkman an opportunity to go through Morison, Bartnicki, and Rosen cases and clarify statements that were misconstrued or entirely ignored by the prosecutor in her effort to conduct what we were asked to accept as a cross-examination. #Assange
Dean Yates, who was Baghdad bureau chief for Reuters, submits a statement on the events that transpired and were captured in "Collateral Murder" video published by WikiLeaks #Assange
Judge Vanessa Baraitser, while hearing testimony on "Collateral Murder" video from Yates, interjects that this has "no relevance to this case whatsoever."

Fitzgerald, defense attorney, says it involves Iraq rules of engagement, which Assange is charged with publishing.
Assange wanted to help his attorney, and Fitzgerald was invited by Baraitser to go consult. He asked Assange what he wanted the court to raise and returned to make the point that "Collateral Murder" and Iraq rules of engagement were published simultaneously.
We're adjourned for the week. #Assange
I will be live in a few minutes to give a report on Day 9 of proceedings in the #AssangeTrial

Khaled El Masri, survivor of CIA torture and rendition, defied CIA intimidation and submitted a statement in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who published material that helped him win some justice in European Court of Human Rights…

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More from @kgosztola

1 Oct
It’s the final day of witness testimony in WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition trial.

Court starts soon, and I'll have live updates on Day 18 in this thread. #AssangeTrial
Yesterday, court heard from two former UC Global employees who were involved in US intelligence-backed espionage operation against Assange.

Witness #2 described how security company's director wanted to bug every room in Ecuador embassy.… #AssangeTrial
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We've assembled eight journalists, including ourselves, to address revelations from proceedings.…
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30 Sep
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I'll have live updates on Day 17 in this thread. #AssangeTrial
Yesterday, attorney Lindsay Lewis, who represented Mostafa Kamel Mostafa in high-profile extradition case, warned against US government's "unreliable assurances" in that case. She contended officials are misleading British court again.… #AssangeTrial
Lewis outlined abuse Mostafa has suffered in ADX Florence under SAMs, despite his poor health and physical disabilities.

"There is no reason to conclude that SAMs imposed on Mr. Assange would be any less arbitrary, oppressive, or difficult to challenge..." #AssangeTrial
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29 Sep
It’s the final week of witness testimony in WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition trial.

Court starts soon, and I'll have live updates on Day 16 in this thread. #AssangeTrial
“Even in administrative segregation, Assange would be able to communicate with other inmates through doors and windows of his cell.”

Yesterday, Judge Baraitser heard testimony from defense witnesses that exposed this as a terrible lie.… #AssangeTrial
Maureen Baird, consultant and former warden for federal Bureau of Prisons, is the first witness. She was "warden and senior executive service warden at three various federal prisons." #AssangeTrial
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28 Sep
It’s the fourth and final week of witness testimony in WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition trial.

Court starts soon, and I'll have live updates in this thread. #AssangeTrial
Third week of #AssangeTrial ended with significant testimony from a digital forensic expert with background in US military, who used the US military's own expert witness in Chelsea Manning's trial to discredit password-cracking theory against Assange.…
Recall, first charge brought against Assange by prosecutors—computer crime—was intended to delude world into believing US govt wasn't targeting Assange for journalism. But that was false. Always a smokescreen, and that smokescreen dissipated w/ Eller's testimony. #AssangeTrial
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25 Sep
Shifting US indictment Against Julian Assange

2018: Accused of violating three provisions of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and conspiracy to defraud US government

2019: accused of generally violating CFAA (no longer specifically charged); defrauding US govt #AssangeTrial ImageImageImage
2020: computer crime offense is no longer charged against Assange as violation of CFAA. It's now only a generic conspiracy to defraud US govt charge.

Relevant time period is now 2009-2015 and does not necessarily depend on alleged Assange-Manning chat. #AssangeTrial
I'll point out this still has elements from the CFAA where it lists the counts, and then at the bottom it indicates Justice Department is only charging under 371—"conspiracy to defraud."

So it always was and it remains a frankenoffense. Image
Read 7 tweets
25 Sep
The fourteenth day of proceedings in the trial portion of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition hearing will begin shortly. I'll have live updates in this thread. #AssangeTrial
Yesterday, Dr. Sondra Crosby, who visited Assange multiple times in Ecuador embassy and Belmarsh prison, testified. One of only witnesses we'll hear from on symptoms of "psychological torture" he showed in embassy.… #AssangeTrial
Patrick Eller, who is a compute forensics expert, will take the stand. He reviewed evidence from Chelsea Manning's court martial that particularly relates to computer crime charge and is an expert witness. #AssangeTrial
Read 65 tweets

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