Richard Medhurst Profile picture
Sep 21, 2020 50 tweets 22 min read Read on X
Day 10 of the Julian #Assange extradition hearing begins.

Live updates in this thread:
First witness to testify is Prof. Dr. Christian Grothoff. Grothoff is Professor for Computer Science at the Bern University of Applied Sciences. His testimony pertains to the issue of unredacted cables. #Assange
Defense begins examining witness. Mark Summers QC asks Grothoff about the file accessible to Guardian journalist David Leigh. Grothoff confirms that this file was encrypted and could only have been opened with the right password.
This password was published in David Leigh's book. The password of the encrypted file could not be changed, once someone had it there's essentially nothing you could do to restrict access.
Grothoff explains that soon thereafter the WikiLeaks domain experienced a slew of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, causing their DNS providers to cut off service to @wikileaks. As a result several mirrors of the site sprung up. #Assange
To combat this, @wikileaks issued a public guide on how to create mirrors of the site, to make sure it stayed online.……
Grotfhoff explains that a small number of these mirrors may have contained a copy of the encrypted cables but were essentially useless without the password – until David Leigh published it in his book.
Grothoff refers to an article in Der Freitag, which first told of an "outdated password" published in David Leigh's book. People put two and two together, went looking for it and unlocked the cables. There was nothing #Assange could do at this point.…
Prosecution now rises to cross-examine the witness.
Grothoff is being asked about the materials and documents provided to him by the defense and their respective timeline. Grothoff asserts that these articles are all in the public domain and legitimate.
Prosecution is attempting to paint the witness as biased again, directly challenging his impartiality.
Prosecution is citing an open letter from @wikileaks
that Grothoff signed, calling on @realDonaldTrump
to pardon #Assange. Apparently this is supposed to incriminate him as being biased.
Grothoff says he doesn't remember signing the letter but regardless, by no means does it diminish his expert opinion or make him any less impartial in regards to the technical matters of the case.
Asked whether he personally looked at files, Grothoff says he did as part of his research and he obtained them via Cryptome.
Asked how many people @wikileaks disclosed the encryption key to, Grothoff replies he has no idea but that perhaps putting it in a book as @davidleighx did might have done the trick.
Prosecution asks Grothoff if it's true that ~50 NGOs and outlets were given access to the cables?

Grothoff: correct, however, each was only given limited access. David Leigh is one of few people who had unrestricted access to full set and he published the pw
Regarding the timeline of events, Grothoff replies to the prosecutor that he is not aware when exactly @wikileaks became aware of the password being published in @davidleighx's book.
Grothoff also quotes from @davidleighx's book: "It had been a struggle to prise these documents out of #Assange" underlining his reluctance to give access, as opposed to what the prosecution is alleging.
Grothoff: mass-mirroring the @wikileaks site without the encrypted file would've been smart to obfuscate location of ones that did contain it. Would be like burying a needle in a haystack by building more haystacks.
Link to Der Freitag article mentioned above (in German).…
Earlier the prosecution was saying the article talks about data being "circulated on the internet" and no mention of a mirror. Grothoff replies that it's essentially the same thing and "circulating" in this case likely means @wikileaks mirrors. #Assange…
Discussion about tweets from Nigel Parry establishing the time and date of light bulb moment realizing the password in @davidleighx's book decrypted the cables and their subsequent release.

There was some confusion about the date and time zone differences.
Prof. Grothoff asserts that what's clear is @wikileaks didn't publish first. Cryptome and Yoshimo (via Torrent) dropped decrypted and unredacted cables around 14 hours before WikiLeaks published anything.
Prosecution still trying to blame @wikileaks and #Assange for having a more accessible/searchable format of the leaks and also "amplifying" the story, thus making it allegedly 'more visible'. Wikileaks replaced the password with XXXX's in editorial.
@davidleighx's bright idea of using the password to decrypt the cables as the title for one his chapters. #Assange
Prosecution have finished cross-examination.

Defense resumes examination of expert witness Prof. Grothoff.
Grothoff reaffirms that Leigh was given password by #Assange. Password to the entire archive was not given to other media partners participating in redactions.
Grothoff reminds court that Leigh was only given the password reluctantly by #Assange. Leigh badgered Assange and said he'd probably be on his way to Guantanamo Bay in an orange jumpsuit before they published anything.
Grothoff, being an expert in computer security, asserts it's quite common putting sensitive materials on a temp server as long as they're encrypted because they're useless without the password to decrypt them. Banks and hospitals do this regularly.
Grothoff could not find any examples at all of the password being disclosed prior to publication of @davidleighx's book. #Assange
Grothoff: if there are websites that mirror the encrypted file containing unredacted cables, they most likely used custom software to mirror @wikileaks, perhaps collecting a hidden directory along the way. Nonetheless, that's of their own doing, not per WikiLeaks' instructions.
Defense wants to refute the prosecution's narrative that @wikileaks' editorial allegedly gave away the password (which was replaced by a string of X's) or allegedly got the story to blow up, since the editorial mentioned disclosed neither the password nor the filename. #Assange
Going back to the open letter calling on Trump to close the Grand Jury: the defense highlights the fact it was signed not just by Grothoff, but also by a swath of former military and intelligence officials, members of parliament, observers, etc.

Prof. Christian Grothoff's testimony is concluded.
If #Assange and @wikileaks hadn't condemned @davidleighx's disclosure of the pw, the prosecution would be saying "why were you silent?".

Assange even tried warning HRC and was told to "call back in a few hours".

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Court resumes from lunch.

Defense want investigative journalist Andy Worthington to testify. He has done extensive work on Gitmo and would speak about the torture detainees have undergone. #Assange
Keeping in line with their inability to empathize with other human beings; the prosecution retorts "it's irrelevant".

Just as they objected last week to the witness statement of Khaled El-Masri (tortured by CIA), they continue to dodge any acknowledgement of US crimes. #Assange
Lewis, objecting to testimony from @GuantanamoAndy, complains that all the witnesses sound repetitive.

Nice of the prosecution to admit there is broad consensus among seasoned journalists, human rights lawyers, constitutional litigators and IT experts that this trial is wrong.
Small break while we wait for defense and prosecution to agree on a list of witnesses who will testify and those who will submit written statements.
(Warning, graphic)

Judge Baraitser tells the defense she will not make a ruling on detainees being tortured in Gitmo, despite this being established in the Committee Study of the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program…
More time needed to finalize witness list. Court adjourned til 4pm local time.
The European Court of Human Rights also acknowledged in its ruling of AL NASHIRI v. POLAND that torture was taking place at Guantanamo Bay…
Prosecution and the defense have agreed to read Cassandra Fairbanks' @CassandraRules statement into the record but will not be questioning her. She is a Trump supporter but prosecution accuse her of bias for also being a supporter of Assange.
Fairbanks @CassandraRules states she was part of DM group involving Arthur Schwartz. He told her under direct orders from Trump: #Assange would be charged with @xychelsea's leaks & former US Amb. to Germany Richard Grenell would get Ecuador to withdraw Assange's asylum plea.
Fairbanks @CassandraRules communicated this to Assange in person. She became aware that the embassy was under surveillance. Two weeks later #Assange was evicted from the embassy and arrested. Schwartz also reportedly told her that #Assange and Manning "deserved to die".
Court is adjourned for the day.
Will be going live in a bit to do a full video summary:

Thanks for supporting independent journalism:
Just wanted to make clear the timeline here: mass-mirroring started in December 2010. This is before the password was published in Leigh’s book in February 2011.

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More from @richimedhurst

Mar 26
BREAKING: Julian Assange has been granted limited leave to appeal by the High Court.

I have just been given the ruling and will provide more information below Image
Before I include more points of order (the ruling is around 66 pages) this means that Assange has not exhausted his legal options in the United Kingdom, and may yet convince a court to stay and bar the extradition to the United States
This is a full explanation of the Assange case, please watch it if unfamiliar (and even if you are) as it encapsulates the entire issue in one video.

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LIVE THREAD: Day 2 of Assange High Court Hearing (2024)

I am attending Julian Assange’s hearing today from inside the Royal Courts of Justice. Live updates below and subsequent coverage on
I'm seated in the court and hearing has just begun.

Please read my reporting on Day 1 of the hearing here if you haven't already:

Julian Assange not attending because not feeling well. He was not present yesterday either. This is due to years of persecution by this very US indictment and other state retaliation for his disclosures of US war crimes.
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