A judge ordered whistleblower Chelsea Manning to jail on 8 March after she refused to testify in front of a grand jury about WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. Manning’s lawyers have since appealed her detention but have so far been unsuccessful in freeing her. Manning has now issued a new statement explaining why she will never cooperate with the grand jury.
The statement comes as her lawyers have filed another appeal calling for her release.
Manning insists that she will not cooperate with the grand jury. She says “nothing will convince me to testify”, and that the grand jury concept is “outdated”. What’s more, she states that it is being “used by the federal government to harass and disrupt political opponents and activists in fishing expeditions”. She points out that:
She also said the US government “is still preoccupied with punishing me”. The Trump government, she asserts, is an “increasingly frightening and untrustworthy government”. For this reason, she remarked:
I suspect they are simply interested in previewing my potential testimony as a defense witness, and attempting to undermine my testimony without the benefit of reviewing forensic evidence. This justifies my theory that participating in this investigation functions simply to abuse the justice system for political ends.
Therefore, she maintains that testifying “would constitute an unjustifiable and unethical action”. Manning ends her statement by declaring:
I’m not going to change my mind. Not now, not ever. So be it.
Torture and isolation
Manning also detailed the pain that her confinement is causing her. When the government initially detained her, she was put in “administrative segregation” for 28 days. Support group Chelsea Resists! has argued that this counts as a form of solitary confinement.
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.
As a result, during one “non-contact visit”, she became overwhelmed, suffering nausea, vertigo, and eventually vomiting.
Manning also details her medical issues while imprisoned. She points out that, following her “gender confirmation surgery”, she “requires delicate and regular self-care”. If she does not carry this out, she says that she risks “serious medical complications”.
Manning revealed that:
Medical staff acknowledges they lack expertise to examine or assist me appropriately, In response, I requested outside professionals at my own expense over three weeks ago. Despite this, I remain unseen by a professional competent to treat me.
Manning’s lawyers have also filed a new motion in an attempt to secure her freedom. They point out that, because Manning asserts she will not testify, her imprisonment has “transformed from coercive into punitive, in violation of the law”.
And given this, they contend that the government must release her.
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