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Caitlin Johnstone: “US Re-Imprisons Manning To Coerce Her To Testify Against WikiLeaks”

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Written by Caitlin Johnstone; Originally appeared at her blog

After being imprisoned for seven years under draconian conditions which twice drove her to suicide, whistleblower Chelsea Manning has again been thrown behind bars for defending government transparency. Manning has been jailed in contempt of court after refusing to testify before a grand jury related to Assange and WikiLeaks, saying she “will accept whatever you bring upon me.”

Caitlin Johnstone: "US Re-Imprisons Manning To Coerce Her To Testify Against WikiLeaks"

“The judge said she will remain jailed until she testifies or until the grand jury concludes its work,” AP reports.

“Chelsea can be incarcerated for the remainder of the grand jury [up to 18 months], and the term of the grand jury can be extended by six months,” Manning’s attorney Moira Meltzer-Cohen told Business Insider.

“Note that Manning is not jailed as a ‘punishment’,” WikiLeaks tweeted. “She has formally been jailed to ‘coerce’ her into testifying against our journalists (including Assange) for publishing the truth about the US government. She will remain in jail until she breaks and complies or wins on appeal.”

Manning responded to all of the grand jury questions by saying, “I object to the question and refuse to answer on the grounds that the question is in violation of my First, Fourth, and Sixth Amendment, and other statutory rights.” Manning explained her decision in the following statement:

“I will not comply with this, or any other grand jury. Imprisoning me for my refusal to answer questions only subjects me to additional punishment for my repeatedly-stated ethical objections to the grand jury system. The grand jury’s questions pertained to disclosures from nine years ago, and took place six years after an in-depth computer forensics case, in which I testified for almost a full day about these events. I stand by my previous public testimony. I will not participate in a secret process that I morally object to, particularly one that has been historically used to entrap and persecute activists for protected political speech.”

Manning’s defense team further explained her objection to being forced to testify:

“Due to their secretive nature and limitless subpoena power, the government has utilized grand jury processes as tools for garnering information about movements by questioning witnesses behind closed doors. Since testimony before grand juries is secret, grand juries can create fear by suggesting that some members of a political community may be secretly cooperating with the government. In this way, grand juries can seed suspicion and fear in activist communities.”

Daniel Ellsberg, who like Manning is one of the greatest American whistleblowers of all time, made the following statement upon Manning’s arrest:

“Chelsea Manning is again acting heroically in the name of press freedom, and it’s a travesty that she has been sent back to jail for refusing to testify to a grand jury. An investigation into WikiLeaks for publishing is a grave threat to all journalists’ rights, and Chelsea is doing us all a service for fighting it. She has already been tortured, spent years in jail, and has suffered more than enough. She should be released immediately.”

“Really this isn’t about Chelsea Manning at all,” journalist Ben Swann told RT today. “It’s really about for the government to try and to create a concept, a narrative, in which they demonstrate that Assange and WikiLeaks assisted Manning in retrieving and obtaining classified documents, which WikiLeaks then published. And the reason that’s significant is because, under the Espionage Act, they want to charge Assange with having committed espionage against the United States.”

In other words, they can’t arrest Assange for publishing leaks given to WikiLeaks, but they can try to manipulate a narrative that he was involved in Manning’s exfiltration of government documents. This seems like the most plausible scenario to me, and since WikiLeaks shared Swann’s comments on the outlet’s Twitter account it seems they find it plausible as well.

And of course the fauxgressives who’ve been shrieking about Trump’s “war on the press” for two years have nothing to say about this administration setting a horrifying precedent by throwing a whistleblower in jail in order to force a journalist’s source to testify against them. Of course the McResistance who’s been screaming bloody murder about Trump saying mean things about Jim Acosta has nothing whatsoever to say about this administration pursuing the arrest of a journalist in a precedent which would be devastating for press freedoms around the world.

“If Chelsea Manning changed her name to ‘Pussy Riot’ and her location to ‘Russia,’ we might hear some outrage from official Washington and the Beltway press corps that claims to care so much about press freedom,” saidjournalist Max Blumenthal today.

“I continue to find it astounding that media stars have spent two years prancing around proclaiming Trump poses a grave threat to press freedom because he tweets insults at Chuck Todd, while they ignore by far the greatest press freedom threat: their attempt to prosecute WikiLeaks,” added journalist Glenn Greenwald.

“If a pundit complains that Trump sending mean tweets about cable news anchors is an existential threat to press freedom, but then says nothing about Chelsea Manning being re-incarcerated (she’s one of the most important journalistic sources in US history) you know they are frauds,” said journalist Michael Tracey.

The United States government has just re-imprisoned one of the nation’s greatest whistleblowers to coerce her into helping to destroy the world’s greatest leak publisher, both of whom exposed undeniably true facts about war crimes committed by that same United States government. Truth tellers are being actively persecuted by this same power structure which claims it has the moral authority to topple governments and interfere in international affairs around the world, exactly because they told the truth. Please take a moment to make sure you’re really appreciating this.

Assange started a leak outlet on the premise that corrupt power can be fought with the light of truth, and corrupt power has responded by smearing, silencing, and persecuting him and doing everything it can to stomp out the light of truth, up to and including re-imprisoning an already viciously brutalized American hero like Chelsea Manning. This is as clear-cut an admission as you could possibly get that the most powerful forces in our world are not at all what they pretend to be. Those who run US government agencies and their collaborators are monsters, and they’re not even hiding it.

You can contribute to Chelsea Manning’s legal fund by clicking here. You can also write her a letter (thread on acceptable materials here) at:

Chelsea Elizabeth Manning
William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center
2001 Mill Road
Alexandria, VA 22314

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  • FlorianGeyer

    Chelsea Manning may seem rather odd to some, including me, BUT I cannot fault her bravery and fortitude to expose the criminality of the US military and the quasi ‘ Inquisition style ‘ courts where the public are refused access.

    She is far braver than me.

    I salute her.

    • You can call me Al

      Everything you state is 100% correct to me with 1 exception. I cannot call it her, it is a man end of, therefore a “him”… once we start excepting this pc nonsense, I believe we fall into their trap and will then accept further modifications and manipulations of sexes and humanity.

      Gender was “invented” !!! by Sexologist “John Money” coined the term gender role in 1955, but only came into the publics knowledge in the late 1970s, where it was taken over by the political elites… his name says it all to me.

      • FlorianGeyer

        I fully agree wirt you, but in this situation I considered his 7 years of depravation and torture in a US Military prison.

        The inhumane treatment he was subjected to is the reason I demurred to her chosen identity.

        • You can call me Al

          mmmm, they do it to their own as well ?. Ok fair play.

      • Sinbad2

        If you had been tortured for 7 years by the Americans you might also call yourself a she.
        How many times do you think those sickos raped him/her.
        Remember abu Graib?

        • You can call me Al

          Oh !!.

  • Vitex

    Manning is a psy-op MK-Ultra style brainwash victim to my mind and everything it says is untrustworthy.

  • Sinbad2

    It seems that the longest sentence Manning can get for contempt is 18 months.
    If they get him/her into one of their secret courts, they could lock him/her up for 30 years.
    Guilt or innocence is irrelevant in the US legal system.

  • Rick0Shea

    Why was CM still in the USA? On probation or something where they seized her passport? You’d have thought she would have found political asylum somewhere the instant she got out of prison.

  • william sorlien

    Contempt of Court is more a make believe than any act one might project on Chelsea. That is the faulty premise; all else is attachment or expectation.
    Conditioned reflex is the sleight of hand the cheats and charlatans depend on. To resist is not the answer. Dismiss the lie, then with it disappears distraction.
    The resolution has always been within our grasp. The weakest link, those handmaidens of disaster, have most to lose, and can not bear it after. Fire Your Congressperson.

  • william sorlien

    Judges frequently create ignoble laws intended to oppress defendants directly from the bench. Chelsea could remain held in contempt for years if it so suited the anti-Constitutional geomancers.
    This extortion needs confronting right away. Our appeals and protests are not enough. They are lost in the cacophony of straw men conjured from mere dust.
    Tear the facade from the Institution to reveal there is nothing left, nor substance.

  • Truth and courage in the face of America’s ideological ugliness.

    If there is anyone who deserves the Nobel Peace Prize, it is Chelsea.

    But, it won’t happen.

    The Nobel people are as intimidated today as the UN is about doing anything that might embarrass the US, the way Martin Luther King’s prize did.

    The prizes have become meaningless.

    • Brother Thomas

      She is the bravest person I know of.