"I invoke."

This text file purports to be a transcript of David House's grand jury testimony. House is a friend and supporter of Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private accused of sending secret documents to Wikileaks, and hence to the press. [via @Glinner and @azzamckazza]


  1. It is so sad to see them shocked and stunned he knows his rights and uses them.
    If only they went after the wrong doing that was exposed in all of this with as much ferocity.

    1. House actually does not know his rights.  You don’t have a 5th amendment right to disregard all questions asked.  You only have a 5th amendment right to not answer a question if the answer will incriminate you.  I don’t think he would incriminate himself by answering any of the questions asked. 

      You can call it civil disobedience, but you can’t call it knowing his rights.

      1. I don’t think he would incriminate himself by answering any of the questions asked.

        Really? Did you read the text file in its entirety?

        “Mr. House, are you involved with the Bradley Manning Support Network?”

        “You admitted to federal agents in Boston that you had met Bradley Manning in January 2010, is that correct?”

        “Isn’t it true that you spent the night of January 27 2010 with Daniel Clark and Bradley Manning?”

      2. I don’t think he would incriminate himself by answering any of the questions asked.

        Have you ever seen the “Don’t talk to the Police” videos?

        The first one is a (fast) talk given by Professor James Duane, Regent Law School in Virginia Beach.  He’s followed, in the second video, by Officer George Bruce of the Virginia Beach Police Department.

        1. My goodness, that police officer scares me. Great to know he doesn’t deliberately try to send innocent people to jail, but knowing that they can lie to suspects not just about what they know but about how the whole system works … that makes him look a lot less like a good person. At least he seems to be honest about the lying…

          Thanks a bunch for linking those videos. I’m not in the US but this seems at least in part be applicable elsewhere, too

          1.  I’m not sure it applies the world over.

            IANAL, but it seems to be that in Canada, the defense team is supposed to have access to ALL the evidence the prosecutors have.  I kinda recall cases being thrown out because the prosecuting team withheld evidence.

            But again, IANAL.

      3. If he was just making up these imaginary rights, they why was he not detained? 
        Oh because this is a witch hunt to keep people focused on “THE LEAK” rather than the disgusting and the legally questionable actions the Government undertakes.
        They have reached far and wide to try and harass as many people as possible, trying to keep a narrative of Assange being the mastermind behind everything going, that it was an attack on them rather than someone fed up with the lies.
        You will notice the lack of coverage into the acts revealed by the leak, and the lack of acknowledging that they call out dictators for doing the exact same things they do.

        It was a Grand Jury, not bound by the real world laws of actually having to have proof and evidence.  They used this idea to indict MegaUpload of laundering money… with the evil evidence of they paid  their bills.  They want to build a case and go after everyone they possibly can, what are the odds of someone involved with Wikileaks getting “random” security searches every time they travel?

        They want to make sure that people who might leak anything are well aware that they will destroy their lives, and take down everyone around them.  We used to have laws protecting them from these things, but it seems we have forgotten that sometimes leaking the truth, even if its not pretty, is much better than allowing lies to flourish.

    1. Contemporary court stenographers use machine shorthand /stenotype  to achieve the requisite speeds of 185-225 words per minute needed to be licensed as a Registered Professional Reporter (not only court recorders, but closed captioners as well).  The system uses special keyboards essentially allowing them to type in shorthand rather than writing it.

  2. Brilliant and well within his rights. I also love that there’s evidently a rule against taking your own notes. How asinine is that?

    1.  Because they really don’t want it getting out just how fixed and one-sided grand juries are. 

      Remember, in a grand jury, you have to go in ALONE.  They make your lawyers stay outside the room.  Why?  Because it increases the level of stress on the witnesses and accused. 

      Our jury system is pretty great all in all, but man, the way prosecutors are allowed to indict is shameful.  You basically get nothing.  You don’t face accusers or evidence and aren’t even told what’s going on.  They make it as hostile as possible, while pretending it’s not hostile, that they’re only trying to get to the truth.  Baloney.

      1. Er, no. Secrecy in grand juries is a fundamental aspect of due process. From the Supreme Court in 1979:
        “We consistently have recognized that the proper functioning of our grand jury system depends upon the secrecy of grand jury proceedings. In particular, we have noted several distinct interests served by safeguarding the confidentiality of grand jury proceedings. First, if preindictment proceedings were made public, many prospective witnesses would be hesitant to come forward voluntarily, knowing that those against whom they testify would be aware of that testimony. Moreover, witnesses who appeared before the grand jury would be less likely to testify fully and frankly, as they would be open to retribution as well as to inducements. There also would be the risk that those about to be indicted would flee, or would try to influence individual grand jurors to vote against indictment. Finally, by preserving the secrecy of the proceedings, we assure that persons who are accused but exonerated by the grand jury will not be held up to public ridicule.”

        1. How about: if you have enough evidence that somebody did something, you take them to court. If you don’t, you don’t.

          A grand jury has special powers to detain and shake down people to try to scrape up enough evidence to proceed with a trial. I’m given to understand that torture has much the same goal.

    2. It’s pretty obvious why they don’t allow people to take notes — so that witnesses can’t publish their notes of anonymous proceedings, as House did.

  3. Lacking a copy of Exhibit 1-A I’m picturing Thomas Jefferson holding a middle finger up to the prosecution

  4. David House: you rule. If I was American I would go out right now and get a tattoo of your shit-stirring line (No right to invoke rights under amendments in Australia, so it wouldn’t make much sense). Maintaining this fucking charade is the single most terrible thing Obama has done during his tenure and the longer he punishes Manning without trial the more he loses support of liberals who value the true ideals of freedom.

    The US went through this the last time you were doing shitty stuff en masse: Ellsberg. Humanity prevailed in that case and I hope it will in this case. The authorities destroyed everything Ellsberg had, but he stands decades later as an inspiration to anyone who makes a choice based on solid moral conviction. If your asshole establishment wasn’t so busy doing messed up things in your name then they wouldn’t be so concerned that the information leaked. Then there’s this about a Pentagon defense contractor who got hacked to the value of 24,000 sensitive files. Why don’t you put them on trial? Oh that’s right.. you pay them to be incompetent.

  5. One thing I don’t understand: if you’re invoking your right to remain silent, is there a need to state that? I mean, why not just, like, remain silent if you already have the right to do so?

    1. IANAL, but I believe it’s a procedural thing; if you refuse to testify the judge can compel you to testify / hold you in contempt of court. Invoking the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination (a.k.a. the right to remain silent) is the Constitutionally-guaranteed exception to this.

      (Actual lawyers. please correct me if I’m wrong.)

    2.  One of the courts (can’t remember if it was Supreme or Appeals) did in fact rule that silence is not an unconditional assertion of 5th Amendment rights. It is much better to actively assert your right in any case.

  6. Replace “Invoke.”, “I invoke.”, etc. with “Fuck you.”, “Eat a bag of dicks.” and you get the true meaning here and I commend him for it.

Comments are closed.