US war crimes whistleblower Chelsea Manning freed

This 13 March 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Chelsea Manning has been released from jail after a suicide attempt. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

By Kevin Reed in the USA:

Chelsea Manning released from jail after grand jury is dismissed by US federal court

13 March 2020

Chelsea Manning, the whistleblower who refused to answer questions before a federal grand jury empaneled as part of the US conspiracy against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, was released late Thursday after spending the last year in jail. Manning’s release occurred one day after the courageous fighter for truth attempted suicide in her cell and was hospitalized by prison authorities.

As of Wednesday, Manning was recovering in the hospital. According to Nils Melzer, the UN special rapporteur on torture, her condition has been upgraded from critical to stable.

Without acknowledging her heroic act of defiance, Federal District Court Judge Anthony J. Trenga issued the order granting Manning’s immediate release following his declaration that the business of the grand jury had concluded and was dismissed.

Even though it was known within days of Manning’s jailing in March 2019 that she would never give testimony, Judge Trenga’s order states that “the Court finds that Ms. Manning’s appearance before the Grand Jury is no longer needed, in light of which her detention no longer serves any coercive purpose.”

At the same time, Judge Trenga also continued his vindictive persecution of Manning by denying her motion “to vacate the conditional fines accrued against her to date.” This means that the accumulated fines of $256,000 imposed by the court on Manning for refusing to testify are “due and payable immediately to the Clerk” of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Additionally, it should be recalled that Manning was released when the term of the initial grand jury expired on May 9—after spending 63 days in jail beginning on March 8—only to be rearrested and sent back to prison on May 16 when a new grand jury was convened. The possibility remains that still another grand jury will be convened and Manning will be jailed for a third time on contempt charges.

The Eastern District Court in Virginia has been at the center of the international conspiracy against Julian Assange since the US Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted the WikiLeaks editor on seventeen counts of violating the Espionage Act on May 23.

Once Assange was forced from his asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London on April 11, he was immediately arrested and jailed by UK authorities and held over for extradition to the US without being charged with a crime. By that time, Judge Trenga had already convened the initial grand jury with the aim of gathering evidence as part of its extradition case against the journalist who is only guilty of reporting to the public the truth about the crimes of America and the other imperialist powers.

When Manning was originally subpoenaed to testify a year ago, she stated to the press, “I object strenuously to this subpoena, and to the grand jury process in general. We’ve seen this power abused countless times to target political speech. I have nothing to contribute to this case and I resent being forced to endanger myself by participating in this predatory practice.”

Despite her jailing by Judge Trenga for contempt of court—and being placed in solitary confinement at the William G. Truesdale Federal Detention Center in Alexandria, Virginia—Manning’s position has never wavered. If anything, her principled resolve grew stronger over the past year as the weeks and months went by.

For example, prior to being sent back to jail in May, and after a federal appeals court unanimously denied a motion to halt her incarceration, Manning sent an eight-page letter to Judge Trenga explaining her intransigent stance against testifying. It said, “I can—without any hesitation—state that nothing will convince me to testify before this or any other grand jury for that matter. This experience so far only proves my long-held belief that grand juries are simply outdated tools used by the federal government to harass and disrupt political opponents and activists in fishing expeditions.”

Manning is recognized around the world as a hero both for her stance against the secret grand jury and for exposing the crimes of US imperialism in turning over the Afghan and Iraq “war logs” and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks in early 2010 while she served in the US Army. Manning was arrested by military police on May 27, 2010 and faced twenty-two charges of violating the Uniform Code of Conduct and the Espionage Act.

She was then tortured while held at the military prison in Quantico awaiting her court-martial and was convicted in July 2013 and sentenced to 35 years in prison after pleading guilty to ten of the charges against her. She was imprisoned at Fort Leavenworth and served three and a half more years before her sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama on January 17, 2017.

Manning has been the recipient of numerous whistleblower awards internationally for her actions in defiance of the most powerful government and military-intelligence regime in the world. The vindictive persecution of Chelsea Manning by Judge Trenga and the US courts is an attempt to silence and intimidate anyone who might consider exposing the ongoing criminality of the US government, military or corporations.

In response to the release of Manning, award-winning journalist and film director John Pilger—who has been in the forefront of the fight to free Julian Assange—tweeted, “Chelsea Manning has been freed, but only after trying to take her life again. The thug-judge who tried to intimidate her into lying about Julian Assange failed. This may be the first significant crack in the Assange case. Now demand this hero’s freedom.”

In a related development, Jeremy Hammond, who also refused to testify before the grand jury against Assange, was also released by Judge Trenga and is being returned to the Federal Corrections Institute in Memphis, Tennessee. The “hacktivist” Hammond had provided secret documents from the intelligence contractor Stratfor to WikiLeaks in 2012 and is serving a ten-year sentence after pleading guilty to one count of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

United States political prisoner Chelsea Manning update

This 12 March 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

HEARTBREAKING: Chelsea Manning Update

Chelsea Manning has been hospitalized after attempting suicide while detained. John Iadarola and Jayar Jackson break it down on The Damage Report.

Ms. Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst jailed for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks, was hospitalized, according to her lawyers.”

Whistleblower political prisoner Chelsea Manning attempts suicide

This 12 March 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Lawyers say Chelsea Manning is recovering from having attempted suicide on Wednesday.

Gizmodo reports the imprisoned activist and former Army intelligence analyst has been held in an Alexandria, Virginia, jail.

Manning has been incarcerated for a year for her refusal to testify before a federal grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.

She was scheduled to appear before a judge on Friday regarding a motion to terminate the sanctions she’s faced for refusing to testify.

In a letter to Judge Anthony Trenga, Manning said she objected to the grand jury “as an effort to frighten journalists and publishers who serve a crucial public good.”

By Jacob Crosse in the USA:

Chelsea Manning hospitalized after attempting suicide in federal detention

12 March 2020

Lawyers for the courageous whistleblower Chelsea Manning have confirmed that the 32-year-old was rushed to a hospital on Wednesday after an attempted suicide while incarcerated in a federal detention center in Alexandria, Virginia.

Manning has been subjected to solitary confinement and punitive daily fines for one year as of today, for refusing a subpoena to testify in a secret grand jury against Wikileaks founder and publisher Julian Assange.

Assange is currently being held in London’s maximum-security Belmarsh Prison as he awaits possible extradition to the US, where he faces up to 170 years in prison for charges under the Espionage Act for publishing documents exposing imperialist war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan that had been leaked by Manning in 2010.

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) released a statement on Tuesday condemning what it described as “the reported mistreatment of Julian Assange during his United States extradition trial in February 2020.” The lawyers’ organisation urged “the government of the United Kingdom to take action to protect” the WikiLeaks publisher. The statement is the latest confirmation of the lawless character of the attempts by the British government and judiciary to extradite Assange to the US, where he faces Espionage Act charges and life imprisonment for exposing, as a journalist and publisher, American war crimes. The IBAHRI report details the extraordinary abuses of Assange that took place during the first week of the extradition hearing, which began on February 25. It notes that according to his lawyers “Mr Assange was handcuffed 11 times; stripped naked twice and searched; his case files confiscated after the first day of the hearing; and had his request to sit with his lawyers during the trial, rather than in a dock surrounded by bulletproof glass, denied”: here.

Free United States political prisoner Chelsea Manning

This 29 August 2018 Australian ABC TV video says about itself:

Rosa Parks was essentially a criminal”: Chelsea Manning responds to being labelled a criminal

Transgender activist and whistleblower Chelsea Manning speaks to Stan Grant about her activism.

By Niles Niemuth in the USA:

The vindictive campaign against Chelsea Manning, America’s political prisoner

18 July 2019

Whistleblower and political prisoner Chelsea Manning has now been confined to a federal detention center in Alexandria, Virginia for more than four months and is being subjected to punitive fines which could ruin her financially.

Manning is not being punished for any crime, nor has she been charged with a crime. Rather, she is being held in contempt of court for refusing—on principle and courageously—to testify before a star chamber grand jury impaneled to railroad journalist and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange into a US prison, or worse.

Daily fines placed on Manning by Federal District Judge Anthony Trenga for refusing to testify doubled from $500 to $1,000 on Tuesday, with the total now standing at $18,000. The unprecedented financial penalties against Manning threaten her with personal bankruptcy and have already resulted in her losing her apartment in June.

Manning’s attorneys have warned that she will be saddled with more than $440,000 in fines if the grand jury sits until its term expires in October 2020, an amount which they say would violate the US Constitution’s Eighth Amendment prohibition on excessive fines.

Assange is being pursued by the Trump administration for his role in publishing the war logs, diplomatic cables and “Collateral Murder” video which Manning leaked in 2010. He is currently being held in the maximum security Belmarsh Prison in London, England, on a bogus bail jumping conviction while he awaits extradition to the United States on charges which carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison.

The fact that Manning is still in jail means that further charges are still being considered, possibly including those which carry the death penalty. They will only be unsealed once Assange is securely in the clutches of the Trump administration.

Despite the government’s vindictive campaign against her, Manning has been steadfast in her principled refusal to testify against Assange or before any other grand jury. She told Judge Trenga in May, when he jailed her for a second time after a week’s respite, that she would “rather starve to death than to change my opinion in this regard,” adding “And when I say that, I mean that quite literally.”

Even though she served seven years out of a 35-year sentence in a military prison for leaking evidence of US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, during which time she was subjected to conditions that a UN agency said amounted to torture, Manning has never been forgiven by the US political establishment or their toadies in the corporate media.

While she sits behind bars, Eddie Gallagher, who committed war crimes in Iraq, and killer cops like Daniel Pantaleo, who choked Eric Garner to death in 2014, walk free, having received backing from the highest levels of the state. Fascist elements in the federal immigration forces carry out brutal crimes against immigrants with impunity, tearing parents from their children and cramming men and women into concentration camps.

The authors of the war crimes which Manning and Assange exposed, hands dripping with the blood of millions, continue their careers without fear of prosecution.

The outrageous persecution of Manning has gone virtually unmentioned, let alone opposed, within the entire political establishment. It has elicited no statements from major political figures. It has not been the subject of comment from the media commentators and columnists who, if similar conditions were imposed on a whistleblower in Russia or China or other countries targeted by American imperialism, would spare no ink in pontificating about the violation of democratic rights and due process.

The mainstream media and the Democratic Party support the persecution of Manning. They cannot abide Manning’s refusal to turn on Assange, slandered by the Democrats as a “Russian agent” who helped elect Donald Trump by publishing true information about Hillary Clinton’s corrupt subservience to Wall Street.

Manning is a heroic figure who deserves the unconditional support of all who are concerned with the defense of democratic rights in the United States and around the world. The demand for her freedom must be raised in conjunction with the fight for Assange’s freedom: the two are inextricably linked.

The five-day strike this week by workers, peasants and students in Ecuador against the right-wing policies of the government of Lenin Moreno pointed the way by including opposition to the rendition of Assange to the United States as one of the official demands. In violation of international law, Moreno gave Assange up to a British police snatch squad in April when he opened the doors of the Ecuadorian embassy in London where the journalist had been living for seven years after being granted asylum.

The fight for Manning and Assange’s freedom must be taken up by workers all over the world. If it is to be effective this struggle must be connected to the fight for the social and political rights of the working class as a whole and the fight against war and capitalism.

It is for this purpose that the World Socialist Web Site and the Socialist Equality Parties affiliated with the International Committee of the Fourth International have called for the formation of a Global Defense Committee to organize and coordinate the mobilization of the working class on an international scale in order to stop Assange’s extradition to the US and win his and Manning’s unconditional freedom.

Sign up now to join the fight to defend Manning and Assange!

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s lawyer Nancy Hollander this week unequivocally rebutted accusations that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange enticed or collaborated with Manning to obtain the thousands of secret documents that WikiLeaks published in 2010, revealing the war crimes and other abuses committed by the US and its allies around the world. Interviewed for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Four Corners” program, Hollander emphasised that Manning, then a 21-year-old US military intelligence private, had initiated the contact with WikiLeaks after no corporate media outlet would even return her calls about the damning information she had obtained: here.

Chelsea Manning faces $441,000 in fines and another year in jail for refusing to testify against WikiLeaks: here.

Imprisoned information activist Jeremy Hammond—who is serving a 10-year prison sentence for hacking the private intelligence firm Stratfor in 2011—has been called before a secret federal grand jury, most likely in an effort to force him to testify against WikiLeaks founder and publisher Julian Assange. In a statement released Tuesday, the Jeremy Hammond Support Committee said: “It’s with great sadness and anger we announce that Jeremy Hammond is being brought to the Eastern District of Virginia in an effort to compel him to testify before a grand jury. Given the secrecy of grand jury proceedings, we don’t know the nature or scope of the grand jury’s investigation. However, our assumption is that this is the same grand jury that Chelsea Manning is currently being incarcerated for refusing to testify before”: here.

Yesterday, December 17, whistleblower Chelsea Manning spent her 32nd birthday alone in a prison cell in Alexandria, Virginia, where she has been locked up for nine months for refusing to testify in a grand jury proceeding against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange: here.

In an official letter to the US government, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer stated that its ongoing imprisonment of Chelsea Manning is a violation of international law “fulfilling all the constitutive elements of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”: here.

Trump administration imprisons Chelsea Manning again

This 16 May 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Chelsea Manning Back in Prison After Refusing to Testify

Freed eight days ago, Manning was subpoenaed before a new grand jury investigating Assange. Despite grave danger to her health, she refused to testify, saying she would rather die in prison than change her principles.

“I would rather starve to death than change my opinion”. Chelsea Manning jailed again after refusing to testify against WikiLeaks: here.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The US American former soldier Chelsea Manning has to go back into jail because she refuses to make a statement about her contacts with whistleblowers’ website WikiLeaks. …

Manning had been in jail for more than two months until last week because she refused to testify. When she was released, because the grand jury’s term of office had expired, her lawyers already feared that she would not remain free for long. Immediately after her release, she had received a new writ of summons to appear in court.

If after 30 days in jail, the former US Army data analyst will still not have witnessed, then she will be fined $ 500 a day. That amount would double after sixty days.

This 15 May 2019 video from the USA is called Tulsi Gabbard Says She Will Drop ALL Charges Against Julian Assange And Edward Snowden If President.

Trump attacks press freedom, Chelsea Manning says

This 14 April 2019 video from the USA is called ‘We are not going to shut up’: New York protesters demand freedom for Assange and Manning.

By Jake Johnson / Common Dreams in the USA:

Chelsea Manning warns the Trump Administration ‘clearly wants to go after journalists’

May 12, 2019

Facing the possibility of being imprisoned yet again in the coming days for refusing to testify before a secretive grand jury, U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning on Sunday warned of…

Facing the possibility of being imprisoned yet again in the coming days for refusing to testify before a secretive grand jury, U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning on Sunday warned of the grave threat the Trump administration poses to press freedoms.

“I think that ultimately what they really want is, they want to go after journalists,” Manning said during an interview on CNN when asked whether the Trump administration’s effort to extradite WikiLeaks founder and publisher Julian Assange to the U.S. is a danger to the free press.

“This administration clearly wants to go after journalists,” Manning said. “I think that if the administration gets its way… we’re probably gonna see indictments and charges.”

“Whenever a journalist makes a misstep,” she added, “I think that they’re put on notice now that the FBI and the Department of Justice are going to go after them, on the administration’s behalf.”

As Common Dreams reported, Manning was released from jail on Friday after being held for 62 days—including a month in solitary confinement—for refusing to testify before a grand jury.

On CNN, Manning said she plans to fight a second subpoena to testify that was issued before she was even released from jail. According to Manning’s legal team, she could be held in contempt of court and sent to jail again as early as Thursday, May 16.

“I think that all grand juries are improper,” Manning told CNN‘s Brian Stelter. “I don’t like the secrecy of it.”

Whistleblower and political prisoner Chelsea Manning spoke out Sunday in defense of her principled refusal to testify before any grand jury impaneled to bring frame-up charges against journalist and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange: here.

London public meeting demands the freedom of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning: here.

Chelsea Manning freed, jailed again?

This 2017 video saus about itself:

Collateral Murder‘, the Video That Got Chelsea Manning Convicted

Were it not for the bravery of Chelsea Manning and her release of the Collateral Murder video to WikiLeaks, Americans would still be unaware of the war crimes that take place at their expense, and in their names.

By Sean Hollister in the USA:

Chelsea Manning has been released from jail, but she may be back in a week

She refused to testify about WikiLeaks

May 9, 2019, 8:36pm EDT

Whistleblower and former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning is no longer in jail — but that could change as early as next week.

According to a press release from Manning’s attorneys — via Sparrow Media — she was released from the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria, VA earlier today, after spending 62 days in jail for refusing to testify about WikiLeaks after being subpoenaed for an ongoing investigation.

That investigation isn’t to be confused for the prior espionage charges against Manning herself. She already served her time for that, having been released from prison in 2017 after President Obama commuted her sentence to just over seven years in total. In a former life, Bradley Manning was originally sentenced to 35 years in prison.

But according to Manning’s attorneys, today’s release is on a technicality — the grand jury’s term in the new case has expired, but she’ll be back in court (and if she refuses to testify again, possibly behind bars) as soon as next Thursday when a new grand jury arrives.

“Unfortunately, even prior to her release, Chelsea was served with another subpoena. This means she is expected to appear before a different grand jury, on Thursday, May 16, 2019, just one week from her release today,” they explain.

According to the statement, Manning plans to continue to refuse to answer questions about WikiLeaks.

Three days ago, Manning’s attorney filed a motion for her to be released “on the basis that, as she will never be convinced to cooperate with the grand jury, further confinement serves no lawful purpose and must be terminated.”

After 62 days locked away in a jail cell in Virginia, whistleblower Chelsea Manning was released from detention on Thursday morning. Even before she got out of jail, however, the courageous whistleblower was served with a new subpoena to demand her testimony before another grand jury on May 17. Thus, she could be returned to jail as early as next week: here.

Free war crimes whistleblower Chelsea Manning

This video from Australia is called Melbourne rally to free Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, March 10, 2019.

By Niles Niemuth in the USA:

Betraying my principles is “a much worse prison than the government can construct”

After nearly two months in jail, Chelsea Manning submits powerful appeal for release

7 May 2019

Whistleblower and political prisoner Chelsea Manning submitted an appeal Monday to the federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia asking for her release from jail.

Manning has been held in the Alexandria City Jail since March 8. She was detained for contempt of court after she refused to testify before a grand jury impaneled to bring frame-up charges against WikiLeaks publisher and journalist Julian Assange.

“She is convinced that to cooperate with this grand jury would be a betrayal of her beliefs about the grand jury process, and this grand jury process in particular,” Manning’s attorneys told the court in a written statement on Monday. “She is prepared to suffer the consequences for her beliefs, and it should surprise nobody to find that she has the courage of her convictions.”

Manning’s eight-page statement is a powerful declaration of political principles. She is being targeted by the Trump administration as part of a nearly decade-long vendetta against her and Assange for exposing the US government’s war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“After two months of confinement, and using every legal mechanism available so far, I can—without any hesitation—state that nothing that will convince me to testify before this or any other grand jury for that matter,” Manning declared. “With each passing day my disappointment and frustration grow, but so too do my commitments to doing the right thing and continuing to refuse to submit.”

“The idea I hold the keys to my own cell is an absurd one, as I face the prospect of suffering either way due to this unnecessary and punitive subpoena: I can either go to jail or betray my principles,” Manning stated. “The latter exists as a much worse prison than the government can construct.”

Manning served seven years of a 35-year sentence in a military prison after she was convicted of leaking classified and sensitive documents exposing US war crimes to WikiLeaks in 2010. Most notably, she released the “Collateral Murder” video, which shows the 2007 attack by US Apache helicopter gunships in Baghdad that killed two Reuters journalists and at least a dozen Iraqis.

While Manning has not been charged or convicted of any new crime, she has been treated as a convict, held in the solitary confinement for her first 28 days in jail. UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Méndez, has declared that prolonged isolation amounts to torture when used as a punishment, in pre-trial detention, indefinitely or when the person already suffers from a mental disability.

As her attorneys have noted in a previous appeal for her release, Manning indicates that she has already given the government everything she knows about her interactions with WikiLeaks and Assange during trial in 2013 and that any testimony before the grand jury would be duplicative. The real purpose of the government’s efforts to force her to testify before the grand jury is to undermine her testimony as a defense witness for Assange.

Manning’s statement describes the terrible impact of the enforced isolation on her mental health, which has been compounded by the year of solitary confinement she suffered when she was imprisoned by the Obama administration.

“I experienced difficulty keeping attention on anything, sometimes referred to as a ‘dissociative stupor.’ Thinking and concentrating get harder. Anxiety, frustration with minor things, irritation, and a spiraling inability to tolerate each symptom take hold,” she explains. “At one point I started feeling ill during a short visit in a non-contact visit booth while struggling to have even a normal conversation. After weeks of under-stimulation, I became nauseated with vertigo and vomited on the floor, ending my visit prematurely.”

Making matters worse, Manning also noted that she has been denied access to necessary medical attention for a recent gender reassignment surgery, putting her at risk for permanent injury or a potentially deadly infection. She has also been denied regular access to sunlight, must keep her mind busy with puzzles without access to good literature or friends, and has gained 20 pounds since March due to poor nutrition.

Manning is taking a courageous stand to defend Assange, who was snatched from the Ecuadorian embassy in London on April 11 by British police after his asylum was illegally cancelled by the government of Lenin Moreno.

Assange was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for bail jumping over spurious sexual assault allegations and now faces rendition to the United State. He faces an initial charge of attempted computer hacking that carries five years. He is accused of seeking to assist Manning to crack a password so that she could conceal her identity while using military computer networks.

Once in the United States, it is certain that the Justice Department will unseal further charges against Assange, including under the Espionage Act, which opens him up to the possibility of the death penalty.

“I believe this grand jury seeks to undermine the integrity of public discourse with the aim of punishing those who expose any serious, ongoing, and systemic abuses of power by this government, as well as the rest of the international community,” Manning explained.

“Therefore, participating in this fishing expedition—which potentially exposes other innocent people to the grand jury process—would constitute an unjustifiable and unethical action. Now, after sustaining serious psychological injury from my current confinement, I don’t wish to expose any other person to the trauma and exhaustion of civil contempt or other forms of prison or coercion.”

Manning noted her appreciation for the dozens to hundreds of daily letters of support, which provide her with “warmth and strength” from “colleagues, educators, lawyers, diplomats, activists, factory workers, veterans, journalists, union leaders, store clerks, gardeners, chefs, airplane pilots, and politicians…”

While Manning and Assange are cruelly pursued by the US government for their efforts to expose the truth, they have won the support and admiration of millions of workers and others around the world who will fight for their freedom.

US indicts whistleblower who exposed Obama’s drone assassination program: here.

War crimes whistleblower Chelsea Manning still imprisoned

This 12 April 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

XY Chelsea (2019) Official Trailer | Chelsea Manning SHOWTIME Documentary

Produced by Pulse Films, XY Chelsea tells the historic story of whistle-blower Chelsea Manning, whose 35-year sentence in an all-male maximum security prison was commuted by President Obama in 2017.

Shot over two years and featuring exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes verité with Manning, the film picks up on the momentous day in May when she leaves prison and follows her through her journey of discovery, while also examining her place in the conversation on national security and the fight of the transgender community for rights and visibility. XY Chelsea premieres Friday, June 7 at 9/8c on SHOWTIME.

By Niles Niemuth in the USA:

US court orders Chelsea Manning to remain in prison

23 April 2019

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning remains in jail after a federal appeals court Monday rejected her request to be released on bail and upheld a contempt order against her for refusing to testify before a grand jury impaneled to bring fabricated charges against the media organization WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.

A unanimous decision of a three-judge panel of the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia rejected her attorney’s arguments that she was wrongfully held in contempt and should be granted bail while the contempt order was appealed.

Manning’s continued imprisonment is nothing short of criminal. She is being subjected to effectively arbitrary detention in order to compel her to testify against Assange, a wrongfully imprisoned and persecuted journalist. This flagrant miscarriage of justice is a testament to the corruption of the US judicial system, which often operates in violation of both the US constitution and international human rights agreements.

“While disappointing, we can still raise issues as the government continues to abuse the grand jury process. I don’t have anything to contribute to this, or any other grand jury,” Manning declared in a defiant statement released by her lawyers Monday. “While I miss home, they can continue to hold me in jail, with all the harmful consequences that brings. I will not give up.”

“The rejection of Chelsea Manning‘s appeal against her imprisonment for contempt is a sign of lawless America,” said journalist John Pilger in reply to the court ruling. “Manning had the Constitutional right to remain silent and not collaborate with the notorious Virginia grand jury’s corrupt indictment of Julian Assange. But the US Constitution, and its Amendments—exalted by American historians as inviolable guardians of freedom and justice—are now openly flouted by US courts as America’s lawlessness abroad is reflected in its institutions notably the judiciary. The appeal rejection is a clear indication of the injustice awaiting Julian Assange should British courts allow his extradition.”

Manning, who already served seven years of a 35-year sentence in a military prison over charges related to leaking evidence of US war crimes to WikiLeaks in 2010, has been held in jail since March 8 after she made the courageous decision to withhold her testimony from the grand jury. The former Army Specialist has been sentenced to remain in jail indefinitely, either until she purges her contempt of court by testifying or the grand jury’s term expires.

Assange was arrested at the Ecuadorian embassy in London on April 11, after his asylum status was illegally withdrawn by the government of Lenin Moreno. Assange is now awaiting a May 2 extradition hearing in the high-security Belmarsh Prison, known as Britain’s Guantanamo Bay, after being convicted on a charge of bail jumping over trumped-up sexual assault allegations in Sweden.

While Assange has been charged by the US government with conspiracy to commit computer fraud, carrying a possible five-year sentence, the grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia is still seeking Manning’s testimony, indicating that further charges are still in the works. CNN already reported last week that the US Justice Department expects to bring further charges against Assange.

The US government alleges that Assange sought to help Manning crack a password so that she could obscure her identity when accessing classified information on government computers. Since she is named in the criminal conspiracy complaint against Assange, it is likely that the Trump administration is also seeking to bring criminal charges against Manning.

She is being vindictively pursued by the Trump administration in retaliation for her role in leaking war logs from Iraq and Afghanistan, US diplomatic cables and most famously the “Collateral Murder” video which shows a US helicopter gunship attack in Iraq which killed at least a dozen of Iraqis, including two Reuters journalists. Even though a contempt sentence is not meant to be punitive, just coercive, Manning was held in solitary confinement for four weeks before being released into the general prison population.

“We are of course disappointed that the Circuit declined to follow clearly established law, or consider the ample evidence of grand jury abuse,” attorney Moir Meltzer-Cohen, of Manning’s defense team, said in a statement to the press.

“It is improper for a prosecutor to use the grand jury to prepare for trial. As pointed out in Ms. Manning’s motions and appeals, since her testimony is not necessary to the grand jury’s investigation, the likely purpose for her subpoena is to help the prosecutor preview and undermine her potential testimony as a defense witness for a pending trial.

“We believed that the Appeals court would consider this, as it is strong evidence of an abuse of grand jury power that should excuse her testimony.”

Manning’s attorneys also argued that her testimony had been rendered unnecessary by the unsealed charge against Assange and that she had already told prosecutors everything relevant to her interactions with WikiLeaks during her court-martial in 2010. Manning has cited her First, Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights, to free speech, against unreasonable searches and seizure and self-incrimination, as a justification for defying the grand jury.

Furthermore, her attorneys argued that her detention is unreasonably cruel, since the jail is not equipped to provide Manning with necessary medical attention in connection with her gender reassignment surgery.

While all of these arguments have so far been dismissed, Manning can now appeal to the full 4th Circuit Court or directly to the Supreme Court.

The Trump administration’s unconstitutional vendetta against Manning and Assange is the continuation of a bipartisan effort begun nearly a decade ago by the Obama administration. Trump has the full support of the Democrats and their associated media outlets, led by the New York Times and Washington Post, in persecuting Assange and Manning.

While the current charges against Assange relate to the 2010 leaks, the Democrats have promoted the lie for more than two years that WikiLeaks colluded with the Trump campaign and the Russian government of Vladimir Putin to “hack” the 2016 election in favor of Donald Trump by leaking emails from Hillary Clinton’s emails and the Democratic National Committee.

With this narrative, pushed without evidence by the US intelligence agencies for the last two years, blown apart by the release of the Mueller report, which did not find any evidence of collusion, the true anti-democratic character of the pursuit of Assange and Manning has come to fore. The Democrats and Republicans, the two parties of Wall Street and war, agree that the journalists and whistleblowers who expose their crimes must be silenced.

Free Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Sri Lankans say

Sri Lankans demonstrate for freeing war crimes whistleblowers Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning

From the World Socialist Web Site in Sri Lanka:

SEP and IYSSE in Sri Lanka rally to defend Assange and Manning

By our reporters

17 April 2019

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) held a powerful demonstration and rally in Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital, yesterday to demand the release of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning.

Around 100 people, including workers, youth and housewives, attended the picket which was held outside the Colombo Fort Railway Station. A group of SEP members travelled 400 kilometres from war-ravaged northern Jaffna to participate and several estate workers came from the central hills plantation district.

It was one of several demonstrations called by Socialist Equality Parties around the world and the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) following Assange’s arrest by British police last Thursday. The WikiLeaks publisher faces extradition to the US on bogus charges.

Demonstrators enthusiastically chanted slogans in Sinhala and Tamil, including “Free Julian Assange, Free Chelsea Manning”, “Defend the right for free speech, Defend democratic rights”, and “Stop internet censorship, No to world war, fight for international socialism.” Hundreds of copies of the WSWS April 12 Perspective, “Free Julian Assange” were distributed to those watching the event or passing through the station.

Sri Lankan media outlets, including Veerakesari, Sri Lanka’s main Tamil-language daily newspaper, IBC radio, Dan tv, Capital fm and, covered the event.

K. Ratnayake

K. Ratnayake, Sri Lanka’s WSWS national editor, addressed a 45-minute rally following the demonstration. He explained the circumstances surrounding Assange’s arrest by British police and his illegal removal from the Ecuadorian embassy, and the moves to extradite him to the US where he could face espionage and violation of national security charges.

“What is the crime Assange is being hounded for by Washington and Britain, with the connivance of pro-imperialist Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno?

“His so-called crime was to publish leaks by former US military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, exposing the enormous war crimes committed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The exposure of US imperialist crimes committed in its predatory neo-colonial wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is a great service to the international working class.

“In preparation for new hegemonic wars, the Trump administration wants to cover up Washington’s previous criminal acts, attack freedom of speech and expression, and suppress democratic rights.”

SEP political committee member M. Thevarajah speaking to the media

Ratnayake denounced the total silence of Sri Lanka’s mainstream media about Assange’s arrest and the attacks on freedom of the press. He pointed out that the brief reports by some Sri Lanka media were hostile to Assange and Manning.

“Equally, Sri Lankan pseudo-left groups, such as the Frontline Socialist Party, United Socialist Party and Nava Sama Samaja Party, have nothing to say about this dangerous attack on democratic rights. There is not a word in their press over the jailing of Assange or Manning,” Ratnayake said.

“Like the ruling class in other semi-colonial countries every faction of the Sri Lankan ruling class—from President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to opposition leader Mahinda Rajapakse—will use this attack of their imperialist masters as a licence to intensify their assault on the democratic rights of the Sri Lankan working class.”

Kapila Fernando

YSSE Convenor Kapila Fernando told the rally that the exposure of imperialist crimes by Assange and Manning had won them enormous respect from workers, young people and others who value democratic rights.

Assange had been imprisoned in the London’s Ecuadorian embassy for the past seven years. Vast changes have occurred during this period. In every country, the working class has come forward to defend their rights against rising social inequality and austerity measures,” Fernando said.

“This is the context in which Assange has been arrested. His jailing is an attack against the working class as a whole and bound up with the drive of American imperialism toward a world war,” he said.

SEP members and supporters from the country's north and from tea plantations

The struggle to free Assange and Manning, he added, has to be carried forward through the fight for the independent mobilisation of the working class and on the basis of a socialist and internationalist program.

After the rally, freelance photographer Sunil Harischandra told the WSWS that he fully supported the fight to free Assange and Manning.

Sunil Harischandra

“World imperialism is trying to make an example out of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning and are putting their lives in great danger because they have exposed war crimes.

“They are victims of class war and we cannot let the US and other imperialists determine this,” he added. “Their fate is decisive for the world proletariat and we have to demand their freedom.”

Lohan Gunaweera, an artist, said: “The imperialist countries are preparing massively for war. This is shown by Assange being taken into custody and the jailing of Manning. The World Socialist Web Site has taken the lead in the fight against the imperialist preparations for war and in opposing the jailing of Assange and Manning.

“If the frame-ups of Assange and Manning go ahead then all journalists, artists and others who oppose imperialism will become victims. These attacks must be defeated”, he said.

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) in Sri Lanka held a successful rally and public meeting in defence of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning at Hatton on August 11. The central province working-class city is surrounded by major tea plantations. The rally, which involved plantation workers, SEP members and supporters, was held in the morning outside Hatton’s main bus terminal. Participants held banners and placards and chanted slogans in Sinhala and Tamil demanding freedom for Assange and Manning. Despite heavy rain, the hour-long demonstration gathered the support of many workers who had come to Hatton for their weekly shopping and other needs: here.

Unsealed affidavit demonstrates US seeking to prosecute Assange for his journalism: here.

Last week’s arrest of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange has been met with universal approval from the US print and broadcast media. The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, the three major US newspapers, have all enthusiastically endorsed Assange’s arrest and extradition to the United States, for charges related to his publication of documents implicating the US government in war crimes and the mass murder of innocent people: here.

Thousands of Ecuadorian workers and youth marched through Quito’s historic colonial center Wednesday demanding the downfall of the country’s President Lenin Moreno and freedom for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The demonstration, one of the largest since Moreno took office in 2017, was met with brutal repression. The security forces unleashed mounted police, attack dogs and tear gas against the marchers as they came within two blocks of the Plaza de la Independencia, the site of the Carondelet presidential palace, which was ringed by a heavy cordon of police and armed troops: here.