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. In January 2017, former US president Barack Obama commuted that sentence and Manning was freed. Now Manning is back in jail because she refuses to testify against WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.
** Chelsea was taken into custody today for resisting a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia
Chelsea provided the following statement: pic.twitter.com/tWjEOFyhYn
— Chelsea E. Manning (@xychelsea) March 8, 2019
ShadowProof editor Kevin Gosztola, who reported almost daily on Manning’s court martial, spoke about the latest developments:
Some of the prominent people who voiced support for Manning (then Bradley) in the lead-up to and during her court martial included Professor Noam Chomsky and author and social commentator Ralph Nader. Three Nobel Peace Prize laureates – Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, and Mairead Corrigan-Maguire – also spoke out in support of her. And Corrigan-Maguire nominated Manning for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013.
Support from a number of celebrities came in the form of a video:
In 2014, around 100 prominent figures also signed a statement in support of Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks, and whistleblowers, including Manning.
The reason why Manning was court martialled
Manning was responsible for the leak of over 700,000 documents. Relating to the second Iraq War and the Afghanistan conflict, these were subsequently published by WikiLeaks,
On 22 October 2010, Wikileaks released the Iraq War Logs:
- Iraq War Logs: Context
- Iraq War Logs: What the Numbers Reveal
- Iraq War Logs: The Truth is In the Detail
Perhaps Manning’s most infamous war crime exposé was a video of a US Army Apache helicopter in Baghdad in 2007 opening fire on a group of men. The helicopter crew fired on civilians, including a Reuters photographer and his driver. The crew also fired on a van that stopped to rescue one of the wounded men. The driver of the van was taking his small children to a tutoring session. He was killed, and his two children badly injured.
Here is the full version of what happened in that killing spree:
After her original sentence was commuted, Manning was keen to throw her support behind a number of political struggles – against fascism and for LGBTQI+ rights:
Manning on WikiLeaks
Manning provided material to WikiLeaks, and that material was subsequently published by The Guardian, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the BBC. The Guardian also published the key war crimes that Manning revealed.
In an article published by The Guardian in 2015, when she was still incarcerated, Manning crucially observed:
…when I was court-martialled for providing government documents and information that I felt were in the public interest to a media organization, the government charged me with “aiding the enemy” – a treason-related offense under the US constitution and military justice system that even civilians may be charged with. During one of my pre-trial hearings in January 2013, the military judge in my case, US Army Colonel Denise Lind, asked the government lawyers: “Does it make any difference – if we substituted Wikileaks for The New York Times: would the government still be charging this case in the manner that it has and proceeding as you’re doing?” An assistant trial counsel for the government answered a straightforward “Yes, Ma’am”.
The US Department of Justice has confirmed to Associated Press and New York Times that Assange has been charged under seal.
And in a 2013 affidavit, Assange stated:
In Alexandria, Virginia, a Grand Jury has been empanelled for the past three years to explore ways to prosecute WikiLeaks for its publishing work. It has identified seven civilians, including the ‘founders, owners or managers of WikiLeaks’. The Grand Jury’s case number is 10GJ3793.
The late Michael Ratner, Assange’s US lawyer, was certain about the most likely charge:
In June 2012, lawyer David House told the Grand Jury investigating WikiLeaks and its alleged dealings with Manning:
The show trial that is now underway in Alexandria VA has the potential to set a dangerous precedent for regulating the media. Using Nixonian fear tactics that were honed during the Pentagon Papers investigation, the DoJ is attempting to dismantle a major media organization –WikiLeaks – and indict its editor, Julian Assange.
According to the Intercept:
Individuals who refuse to cooperate [with a grand jury] can be held in civil contempt by a judge and imprisoned for up to 18 months, the length of the grand jury.
Here is Chelsea’s address:
Chelsea Elizabeth Manning
William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center
2001 Mill Road
Her jail does NOT accept:
-books or cards
You CAN write letters with pen or colored pencils on paper, and send newspapers.
— ChelseaResists (@ResistsChelsea) March 8, 2019
Clearly, global support is needed once more to demand that Chelsea Manning, probably the world’s most famous whistleblower, be released yet again.
Featured image via screenshot.
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