#JulianAssange hearings Part 2 - Day 10 (Thread)

Court is scheduled to sit from 10:00 am.

via @SputnikInt
Professor of Computer Science at Christian Grothoff, of Bern University of Applied Sciences, has just been sworn in via video link.

He was asked to look at the unredacted classified diplomatic cables (after the release of the documents)
Prof Grothoff confirms that the file that David Leigh had access to was encrypted to such an extent "that made it basically useless to anybody that did not know the encryption key."
The encryption key was described in David Leigh book as a very long passphrase.. and one can determine how much “brute force” it would take to break the password. Prof Grothoff says adding that “the computational effort would have been prohibitive”.
The WikiLeaks site was under constant attacks (Denial of Service Attack), by as of yet unknown attackers, “to make the site less visible”, Prof Grothoff says.
Professor Grothoff explains that a Denial of Service attack directs computers to request the resources of the website as if they were normal users to the extent that the website cannot handle the number of requests to the extent that actual users can’t make use of the website.
Every DNS server providing WikiLeaks services started to terminate WikiLeaks services because the access was undermining their ability to serve other customers, Prof Grothoff explains.
People started to Mirror (which WikiLeaks also asked people to do) the website (copy the site) which is typically hosted somewhere else to be able to aid with the undermining of the site via the Denial of Service attacks. Prof Grothoff says.
WikiLeaks posted instructions on how to mirror its site Prof Grothoff confirms to Mark Summers QC, barrister for the defence (though he also said it is "pretty easy" apparently, as such some people already know how).
Prof Grothoff notes that some mirrors at some point contained the unredacted cables, "in encrypted form so it would be useles". Very few of the mirrors that included the unredacted cables having not followed the instructions by WikiLeaks and just sought to copy everything
"David Leigh published the passphrase as the title of a chapter in his book and explained that it was given to him by Julian Assange" to give access to the unredacted cables.
The encryption password could not have been changed by WikiLeaks Professor Grothoff explains. He notes that a German newspaper Der Freitag published the fact that there was a password that was revealed in a book that could lead to the encrypted file which had been mirrored.
Cryptome (based in the US) and Pirate Bay ultimately published, or in the latter's case linked to, the full unredacted cables.

Professor Grothoff confirms that he accessed the docs this weekend & notes a WS from Cryptome they've never been prosecuted by the USG.
This material was available on the internet in a way that would be "virtually impossible" to stop.

“Sometimes the researching of the chronology required using tools that may not be general knowledge about how to retrieve information posted 10 yrs ago" & is no longer readily available, Prof Grothoff tells prosecution lawyer.
“To some extent would you accept that you are dependent on the contents of those documents [provided by the Defence] being true when piecing the chronology together”? Asks prosecution lawyer.

Prof appears to answer in the affirmative, to a limited extent.
Q. You were required to disclose anything that might reasonable show that you are not impartial in this case

A. Nothing in I can think of. I conducted my investigation with keeping in mind evidence that would contradict the defence’s position.
Q. Prosecution reads out an open letter that was made to Donald Trump calling for an end to the prosecution of Julian Assange. He notes that Prof name appears to be on the list of signatures.

A. Possibly, I don’t recall, but possible. I occasionally sign petitions that...
...I find reasonable. It’s been a few years.

Ive been asked to sign lots of letters over the years and I usually read them carefully and if I don't find them objectionable... I sign them.
Prosecution is pressing the issue as to whether he thinks the prosecution is a "step into the darkness". He now says the expert is "biased".

Prof Grothoff says he looked at specific technical issues regarding the publication of the cables.
Q. In 2017 when you signed the letter what was your allegations against Mr Assange and WikiLeaks?

A. That they are not journalist and that they shouldn't have published the material they did [non-verbatim]
Q. Do you accept that signing a letter to the POTUS calling for ceasation of prosecution against WikiLeaks "might reasonably be thought" to deteract from your objectivity here.

A. No [with an explanation]
Q. So you are saying that the reason you didn't disclose signing this letter is that you simply forgot signing a letter to POTUS?

A. Yes.
Prof says that he downloaded the files from via Cryptome. And used the WikiLeaks search a bit but didn't find it particularly useful so usually uses his own script.
Q. Joel Smith: Have you any idea how many people were given the password by WikiLeaks to the encrypted file?
A. Prof Grothoff: No. By Mr Leigh, I don’t know how many copies of his book were sold, possibly hundreds of thousands.

Q. In 2017?
A. I have no idea.
Q. 50 media and human rights organisations were given access to unredaccted classified documents. Correct?
A. Based on that statement it seems so. Yes.

Q. Is that a yes?
A. Yes.
As far as I can tell Mr Leigh was one of the very few who was given access to the full set. And as far as I can tell Mr Leigh was the only one who gave access to [the wider public via a massive leak by disclosing of the password]
Prosecution are reading from David Leigh's book. He keeps pressing the witness as to how many peopel were given the full access to the documents. Prof Grothoff said, we do not know for certain.
"I do not know who from WikiLeaks became aware and when [that David Leigh’s book revealed the password]", Prof Grothoff says to the prosecutor lawyer Joel Smith further to a question on the matter.
Joel Smith is now going through the various diplomatic cables which were published by WikiLeaks, for country after country on or around 24 August 2020.
Court is breaking for 15 minutes so the Professor can find a specific Tweet that has been referred to.
The prosecution is going through the various times and dates information was published. It is the USG's contention that WikiLeaks published unredacted documents before they were revealed by Cryptome and others.
The prosecution now appears to be leading to the position that even if some sites published the unredacted documents first WikiLeaks had a greater audience and made their unredacted release of documents as being "more publicly visible" compared to Cryptome.
The prosecution also suggests, further to an article in The Independent, that the WikiLeaks release was "more comprehensive". Prof Grothoff accepts that due to its wider audience WikiLeaks release would be more "visible" but not "more comperehensive".

Re-examination to commence after short break as Mr Assange want to speak to his lawyers.
Prof Grothoff confirms that he found no examples of anyone revealing the passcode to the unredacted cables before David Leigh's book. He also confirmed that uploading docs online with a sufficiently strong passcode is used by finance, medical services and others.
There's now a dispute between Mark Summers QC & the Judge. She wants to know what he is re-asking the witness questions that are addressed in his statement. Summers says there is a dispute regarding the chronology of events as they relate to the publication of the unredacted docs
There was a final question from Mark Summers QC but the bloody fire alarm in the office building I'm in has gone off so I've had to leave.
Down the street and around the corner from the Old Bailey, buses and cars honk their horns in response to two demonstrators holding up signs in support of Julian Assange.
Ex-diplomat @CraigMurrayOrg and activist @BrownNaila speak outside of the Old Bailey.
Artist @MIAuniverse has come to Me Assange's hearings as an observer supporter.
John Rees, of WikiLeaks' @DEAcampaign, says computer science professor Christian Grothoff "made very, very clear" that the unredacted diplomatic cables first made their way to the public via David Leigh & Luke Harding's book publishing the encryption passphrase.

via @SputnikInt
Current intended witness can’t make it and so Defence are seeking to call another witness Mr Worthington who was an expert being called in by the Telegraph and WikiLeaks in order to assist them with their understanding about the Guantanamo Briefs.
Prosecution say “It’s just not fair” because they’ve had no ability to prepare the cross because they were only put on notice at 10am today.
A discussion (between Judge, prosecution and the defence) has followed as to whether it is even necessary for Mr Worthington to testify.
Defence want the court to accept that there was a finding by the ECHR and the US Senate Torture report that certain Guantanamo Bay detainees were tortured and that WikiLeaks documents revealed that people were targeted.
Judge says she won’t make a finding on this issue.
Mr James Lewis for the prosecution says they won’t accept the accuracy of the contents of Mr
Mark Summers QC it remains entirely relevant, and potentially determinative [to article 10] that information disclosure by WikiLeaks...
...was evidence that on its face was evidence that suggested that. And that is the purpose for which I would call Mr Worthington.
Prosecution say this is not relevant because Mr Assange is not being charged with the publication of the Guantanamo Bay files (though he is being charged with receiving them)....
... Prosecution are prepared to accept that the documents have been interpreted by some people that there has been torture in Guantanamo Bay. “It would be wrong for me to make any concessions” given the fact that the US was not a party to the ECHR case, said Mr Lewis.
Mark Summers QC notes that it isn’t just the ECHR it is also the Senate torture report which says that torture occurred.
Mark Summers QC is now explaining to judge "We have had difficulty re-scheduling the witnesses in this case in light of what happened to us a week and a half ago… once one person says no I can’t come that afternoon I need to come another time the whole thing comes out of kilter"
Mark Summers QC adds: . The team has been working hard to ensure that there are witnesses here every day to be called.
Judge determines: It is clearly unfair to Mr Lewis, the Judge says, though she notes his rather eloquent explanation as to the scheduling issues.
I hope this won’t be repeated because you are going to provide a definitive list. When can this be provided please?
A longer conversation comes about regarding the difficulty of coming to an agreement regarding the witnesses and the statements. Another adjournment has been called to permit Mr Assange and counsel to speak. Following which a WS from Ms Cassandra Fairbanks will likely be read.
Court has briefly sat and then re-adjourned till 4pm as Mark Summers QC says that the defence and the prosecution are making "some progress" regarding the matter of witness statements. It remains unclear whether another WS will, in fact, be read into court as initially expected.
Statement from Ms Fairbanks is being read into court by the defence.
Statement of Cassandra Fairbanks has been read into court and the actual recording of one of her conversations with Arthur Schwartz may be played at some stage.

My piece on this to be published imminently.
BREAKING: Assange's Removal From Embassy Was Coordinated on 'Direct Orders From the US President', Court Told

My review of the statement w/ comment from @CassandraRules

Court now adjourned for the day
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via @SputnikInt

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via @SputnikInt
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via @SputnikInt
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