Calls are now growing for her release from detention that Nils Melzer, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, described as “open-ended” and “progressively severe”. Melzer argued that her treatment contained:
all the constitutive elements of torture, or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
A true hero
As The Canary‘s Tom Coburg previously reported:
In 2013, former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning was convicted of violating America’s Espionage Act – along with other offences – and sentenced to 35 years imprisonment.
Manning was responsible for leaking hundreds of thousands of documents relating to the invasion of Iraq and the Afghanistan conflict. These were subsequently published by WikiLeaks.
In January 2017, former US president Barack Obama commuted Manning’s sentence to end in May 2017.
Manning is now refusing to testify against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. As she explained in a letter to the judge in 2019:
I object to this grand jury … as an effort to frighten journalists and publishers, who serve a crucial public good. I have had these values since I was a child, and I’ve had years of confinement to reflect on them. For much of that time, I depended for survival on my values, my decisions, and my conscience. I will not abandon them now.
Many people described Manning as a hero on social media:
Chelsea Manning is a hero of our age. This is terrible news. https://t.co/6ZHO6Cc84K
— Adam Ramsay (@AdamRamsay) March 12, 2020
Incredibly sad news – a hero of our age. https://t.co/8GL3KujMoo
— Mark Curtis (@markcurtis30) March 12, 2020
And Naomi Klein described her courage as “simply astonishing”.
Sending so much love to Chelsea Manning, whose courage is simply astonishing. https://t.co/8jM03TM6Bz
— Naomi Klein (@NaomiAKlein) March 11, 2020
Free Manning now!
Manning is scheduled to appear in front of Judge Anthony Trenga on 13 March. As Coburg wrote in The Canary, “Manning’s lawyers have issued a motion, arguing that their client is incoercible and so should be released”. Her lawyer Moira Meltzer-Cohen stated:
The key issue before Judge Trenga is whether continued incarceration could persuade Chelsea to testify. Judges have complained of the ‘perversity’ of this law: that a witness may win their freedom by persisting in their contempt of court. However, should Judge Trenga agree that Chelsea will never agree to testify, he will be compelled by the law to order her release.
On social media, many people called for her release:
Free Chelsea Manning! Free Julian Assange! https://t.co/2iZdCmhvJW
— Asa Winstanley (@AsaWinstanley) March 12, 2020
It’s no secret that the U.S. “justice” system is a bastion of barbarism, but its treatment of @xychelsea has been truly beyond the pale.
FREE 🖤 CHELSEA 🖤 MANNING https://t.co/a6CMCCpb5T
— Kim Kelly (@GrimKim) March 11, 2020
Manning is a hero. She’s shown immense bravery under intense repression in conditions that Melzer found amount to torture. Yanis Varoufakis argued that her treatment shows the hypocrisy of liberal democracies and their stance on human rights:
And so, the torture of Chelsea Manning (to force her to lie about Julian Assange) continues year in year out. Putin, Xi, Orban and assorted despots are laughing their heads off as our so-called liberal democracies shred human rights https://t.co/8M09A9zwte
— Yanis Varoufakis (@yanisvaroufakis) March 12, 2020
And as journalist Matt Kennard stated, “those who remain silent are complicit”.
Be in no doubt. The US/UK govts are trying to break Manning+Assange. They want to send a message: if you expose our crimes, we will destroy you. These prisoners are the frontline of battle to hold on to our freedom. Those who remain silent are complicit. https://t.co/t6XcI1hiIb
— Matt Kennard (@DCKennard) March 12, 2020
We must not remain silent. Manning’s treatment cannot and should not be allowed to continue. And every single one of us needs to speak out and call out this gross injustice against a brave and principled whistleblower.
Featured image via Wikimedia/Manolo Luna
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?