Joshua Schulte: On Trial in NY

You’ll likely remember that Julian Assange has long believed that after WikiLeaks had published the CIA Vault 7 in 2017 was the date that brought the DoJ to put pedal-to-the-metal and charge him with 17 counts of espionage, and ‘persuade’ the London Police to drag him out of the Ecuadorian Embassy on April 12, 2019.  The po-po also stole all his electronic belongings and turned them over to the US DoJ, partially in the quest to discover who the Leaker was.

There was indeed speculation that if Schulte were to offer any defense close to ‘Assange made me do it!’, he’d be offered immunity from prosecution for his testimony.

31-yearold Schulte has pled not guilty to 11 charges, including alleged violations of the Espionage Act, the “theft of government property” and “illegal transmission of unlawfully possessed national defense information.”

‘Alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower Joshua Schulte on trial in New York’, Oscar Grenfell, 15 February 2020, wsws.org   (a few bits and bobs w/ permission):

Grenfell describes the proceedings as the same sort of Kangaroo Court Julian will face if he’s indeed extradited to the US.  He cites the fact that the papers of record seem to have boycotted the proceedings, even as US prosecutors have stated that they constituted the “the single biggest leak of classified national defense information in the history of the CIA.”

“If Schulte is convicted, it may also aid the attempts of the US Department of Justice to concoct further charges against Assange, on the grounds that he violated US “national security.”

Dubbed Vault 7, the documents detailed the activities of a secret division within the CIA responsible for offensive hacking operations. They reveal the agency as the biggest purveyor of malicious computer viruses in the world.

Among the most explosive revelations were documents showing that the CIA division would, after hacking into a computer system, leave tell-tale markers in foreign languages including Iranian and Russian. This pointed to the way in which supposedly forensic evidence of such things as “Russian interference” in the 2016 US election could be manufactured by the CIA.

The trove demonstrated that the CIA had developed capabilities to hack household appliances, including smart TVs, so that they could be used to spy on their owner. It contained evidence of even more sinister operations. One document showed that the division was seeking to develop the capacity to remotely take control of the computer operating systems of modern cars. Such capabilities could be used for assassination operations.

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Schulte’s Manhattan apartment was raided several times, beginning on March 15, 2017. This was just weeks after WikiLeaks had begun publishing Vault 7. Schulte had left the CIA in November 2016, after a series of rancorous disputes with colleagues. He was not charged with any offense relating to CIA leaks until June, 2018, over a year after he was first raided. Instead, he was indicted in November 2017 on child pornography charges, which provided the initial basis for him to be held in federal custody.

The discovery of the material supposedly took place during the course of police examinations of Schulte’s computers taken during the raids. He has pled not guilty to those offenses, with his defence noting that the material was allegedly on servers to which at least a dozen people had access.

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Schulte also faces a series of other charges, for supposedly disseminating classified information during his initial period of incarceration. This included allegedly providing information to family members about the US government’s actions against him, and the publication of Facebook posts detailing the ordeal of the police raids and his incarceration.

The government alleges that Schulte conducted what he described as an “information war” against it using contraband smartphones. It claims that this took place while he was being held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.

Those charges are of a piece with a broader assault on Schulte’s legal rights in the name of protecting “national security.” In April 2019, Sabrina Shroff, Schulte’s defence lawyer, stated that the CIA was reviewing the alleged whistleblowers’ correspondence with her before it was posted. She said that the “CIA essentially has threatened us” with the prospect of legal action if Schulte’s defence lawyers were in possession of classified material.

The trial is thus being held in a climate of intimidation.

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Schroff stated that Schulte had been selected to take the fall because of his many conflicts with colleagues at the CIA, and the fact that he was widely disliked. She said that the CIA and the FBI still did not know how the documents had been taken out of the agency’s system or transmitted to WikiLeaks. The CIA and the prosecutors were “trying to work backwards” from the publication of Vault 7 but could not prove that Schulte had been involved.

Schroff also argued that the CIA’s DEVLAN computer system, on which the documents were stored, was not secure. She argued that there were many parties, inside and outside the CIA, who could have been responsible for the leak. She noted that WikiLeaks did not begin publishing Vault 7 until roughly a year after the US government alleges that Schulte leaked the material to the organisation. Schroff stated that it was unlikely that WikiLeaks would “sit on” a “major scoop” for almost 12 months.

The opening submissions raised many questions, but the trial, like all “national security” cases, is being held under a shroud of secrecy. A slew of CIA agents are slated to testify against Schulte under conditions of anonymity.

Extraordinarily, the prosecution successfully demanded that the defence be barred from researching the CIA witnesses in any way that could link them to the agency. As Schroff has argued, this is a major obstacle to the defence exercising its right to conduct an independent investigation into prosecution witnesses.

The defence has limited access to official CIA documents. One, prepared by the CIA WikiLeaks Task Force (impact assessment) stated: “We are making educated assumptions about the scope and timing of the loss, in part because we lacked effective monitoring and auditing of this mission system.”

This would appear to cast grave doubt on the government case against Schulte. His lawyers have received no response to their inquiries about when the document was prepared, by whom and upon what its conclusions were based. A substantial section is redacted and has not been provided to the defence.

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Schulte’s trial is yet more evidence of the need to mobilise workers, students and young people to block Assange’s extradition from Britain to the US in the lead-up to [phase 1] court hearings on February 24.”

OTOH, and if you give a fig: ‘Joshua Schulte’s Human Graymail Campaign Targets Mike Pompeo’ Marcy Wheeler, emptywheel.net, February 13, 2020

““Graymail” is a term used to describe when a defendant attempts to make a prosecution involving classified information too difficult for the government to pursue by demanding reams of classified evidence that the government either has to water down to make admissible at trial or argue is not helpful to the defense.

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It has been clear for some time that accused Vault 7 leaker Joshua Schulte was employing such a strategy, but with a twist. He obviously has been trying to release as much classified information from the CIA as possible, both through legitimate means and via leaking it. But starting last fall, there was a dispute about how Schulte could serve trial subpoenas on CIA witnesses and whether he had to work through prosecutors to do so; Schulte argued the government was trying to learn his defensive strategy by vetting his subpoenas.

The dispute just surfaced again in the form of a government motion in limine to exclude 3 CIA witnesses and require Schulte to provide justifications for a slew of other CIA witnesses he has subpoenaed. At least 63 CIA witnesses have informed the CIA that he has subpoenaed them, and that’s just the ones who have informed the agency.” and so on.

Dissenter Weekly: Alleged ‘Vault 7’ Leaker On Trial, Interior Department Whistleblower Reinstated’, kevin gosztola, Shadowproof, (arrg: 28 mins).

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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wendy davis's picture

might be a #JoshuaSchulter hashtag on twitter, and more info on his attorney Sabrina Schroff,
and ran into these dillies:

File under: Iron-clad innuendo

Joshua Schulte’s Plans from Jail: “#TopSecret#FuckYourTopSecret”, January 22, 2020, emptywheel.net, Jan 20, 2020

“In response to an order from Judge Paul Crotty, the government laid out what evidence it wants to use from prison notebooks seized from accused Vault 7 leaker Joshua Schulte’s jail cell. The whole filing is –as all descriptions of these notebooks have been — utterly damning.

For example, the filing explains a reference the government had earlier made: that Schulte had made reference to non-public information about what WikiLeaks had received in the Vault 7 leak. Schulte wrote a note sometime in July 2018 suggesting that if “you” needed help, they should ask WikiLeaks for Schulte’s “code.”

“Ask WikiLeaks” (014099) (undated): In the middle of the page, the defendant writes, “If you need help ask WikiLeaks for my code.”3 The defendant’s direction to consult WikiLeaks about his “code” is admissible as Nonpublic Information Evidence, because it is a statement that WikiLeaks is in possession of source code for tools upon which the defendant worked and that are contained in the back-up file that was stolen, even though WikiLeaks has not publicly disclosed that it possesses any source code for all of the tools. Schulte’s knowledge of non-public aspects of the information that was given to WikiLeaks helps to demonstrate that he was the one who gave that information to WikiLeaks in the first place.

Suspected CIA leaker tweeted about killing WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning: Report’, wasningtontimes.com, May 16, 2020

A Twitter account linked to Joshua Schulte, a former CIA officer suspected of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, previously endorsed killing the website’s most well-known source, former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

Mr. Schulte, 29, was arrested last year and is suspected of supplying WikiLeaks with top-secret CIA hacking tools published by the website under the label “Vault 7,” The Washington Post first reported Tuesday.

Motherboard subsequently reported Wednesday that it was able to link the accused leaker to an internet handle used across multiple platforms, “pedbsktbll,” by scouring public data hosted on a website referenced by federal prosecutors in a criminal complaint charging Mr. Schulte."

and as it turns out, oscar was incorrect: ‘Ex-C.I.A. Analyst Faces Trial in Biggest Leak of Agency’s History’, NY/CIA Times.com, feb. 4, 2020

but...it's behind a paywall for me, and i can't even get in for a new limited trial now. bet it's a pip.

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wendy davis's picture

double feature. g' night. the only CIA song i know for a closing song is Weird Al's:

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wendy davis's picture

‘WikiLeaks demands answers as Twitter account LOCKED ahead of Assange extradition hearing’, 17 Feb, 2020, RT.com, Feb. 17, 2020

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson is seeking answers after the publisher’s official account was mysteriously locked, ahead of an extradition hearing for founder Julian Assange, who faces life in a US jail (or worse).
Hrafnsson claimed the @wikileaks Twitter account had been locked “shortly before Assange extradition hearing” and for no apparent reason, in a post from his personal account on Monday. Lamenting he had been unable to “reach a human at Twitter” for answers, Hrafnsson tagged both the platform’s tech support and CEO Jack Dorsey.

i’d been on the account earlier today to see if they had more news on joshua shulte's trial and hadn’t even noticed this:

The @wikileaks account’s most recent posts date back to February 9 and concern the dire precedent set by extraditing a publisher to stand trial on espionage charges. Assange’s extradition hearing in the UK, which a court ordered to be split into two parts, is set to begin next week, while the second half is scheduled for May. The publisher’s lawyers have complained that access to their client is being restricted, and Assange was only recently moved from solitary confinement at Belmarsh prison after his fellow inmates staged a protest. The UN special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer has accused the UK government of contributing to Assange’s “psychological torture” after examining the activist last year.
Assange supporters flocked to Hrafnsson’s post to pile on Dorsey and Twitter, demanding to know why Assange’s rights – as an individual on the Council of Europe’s protected list, as well as a journalist – were not being respected."

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wendy davis's picture

End torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange”’, Laura Tiernan, 18 February 2020, wsws.org

“This week’s edition of the Lancet—the world’s pre-eminent peer reviewed medical journal—carries a letter from 117 medical doctors in 18 countries, renewing their call for urgent action to save the life of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange. Their letter appears less than one week before the start of the US extradition hearing in London that may decide Assange’s fate.

The doctors issue a stark warning, “Should Assange die in a UK prison, as the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has warned, he will have effectively been tortured to death. Much of that torture will have taken place in a prison medical ward, on doctors’ watch. The medical profession cannot afford to stand silently by, on the wrong side of torture and the wrong side of history, while such a travesty unfolds.”

Yesterday, Doctors for Assange sent copies of their letter to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel and to Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne. “Mr Assange’s human rights to health care and freedom from torture must be upheld. At this late hour, we call on you to act decisively,” the doctors wrote.”

The new Doctors for Assange website is here.

WikiLeaks on twitter's been unlocked, and has the Lancet Letter.

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