On May 9, the whistleblower Chelsea Manning was released from jail after serving 62 days for refusing to testify before a Grand Jury about Wikileaks; she was released because the jury was dissolved. Read the rest
Two months ago, the federal government summoned me before a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia.
As a general principle, I object to grand juries.
Prosecutors run grand juries behind closed doors and in secret, without a judge present.
Therefore, I declined to cooperate or answer any questions.
Based on my refusal to answer questions, District Court Judge Hilton ordered me held in contempt until the grand jury ended.
Yesterday, the grand jury expired, and I left the Alexandria Detention Center.
Throughout this ordeal, an incredible spring of solidarity and love boiled over. I received thousands of letters, including dozens to hundreds of them a day.
This means the world to me, and keeps me going.
Jail and prisons exist as a dark stain on our society, with more people confined in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world.
During my time, I spent 28 days in solitary confinement–a traumatic experience I already endured for a year in prison before.
Only a few months before reincarceration, I recieved gender confirmation surgery.
This left my body vulnerable to injury and infection, leading to possible complications that I am now seeking treatment for.
My absence severely hampers both my public and private life.
The law requires that civil contempt only be used to coerce witnesses to testify.
As I cannot be coerced, it instead exists as an additional punishment on top of the seven years I served.
Last week, I handwrote a statement outlining the fact I will never agree to testify before this or any other grand jury. Read the rest
Chelsea Manning was released from jail today after 62 days' refusing to testify to a grand jury in the Wikileaks case. Manning did not wish to provide secret testimony; the grand jury ultimately disbanded.
Read the rest
But Manning could soon return to jail, as her lawyers indicated that she would again refuse to testify in response to a separate subpoena received while she was detained. Manning, who served about seven years in prison for the massive leak, objected to the questioning in a grand jury appearance in March that was apparently part of a continued effort by federal prosecutors investigating WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. She was subsequently held in contempt...
Chelsea Manning -- whistleblower, torture survivor, hero -- is back behind bars for refusing to testify before a grand jury about her whistleblowing activity; for 16 days, she has been held in solitary confinement in a cell for 22 hours/day, not able to speak to others, denied access to the law library, and prohibited from having reading materials. Read the rest
Last week, Chelsea Manning announced that she would fight a subpoena to appear before a Grand Jury and testify about her whistleblowing activities, citing her concern that "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." Read the rest
Chelsea Manning spent seven years in federal prison for blowing the whistle on illegal actions by the US in Iraq and around the world; while imprisoned, she transitioned her gender and changed her name, and, on her release, found herself unpersoned, unable to identify herself to the satisfaction of the state, despite being one of the most famous people in America and despite the state's unquenchable thirst for our personal data (and her's especially). Read the rest
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has announced the winners of the 2017 Pioneer Awards, "which recognize leaders who are extending freedom and innovation on the electronic frontier." They are whistleblower Chelsea Manning, Techdirt editor Mike Masnick and free expression defender Annie Game. Read the rest
Sweden's top prosecutor announced Friday that it is dropping its rape investigation of Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, because it was "impossible to serve him notice."
Assange has been hiding in Ecuador's embassy in London for five years to avoid extradition to Sweden, but he's still wanted by British cops for skipping court and they already warned him they'll arrest him if he leaves the building.
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) said Mr Assange still faced the lesser charge of failing to surrender to a court, an offence punishable by up to a year in prison or a fine. But the UK has not commented on whether it has received an extradition request from the US, where Mr Assange could face trial over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret US military and diplomatic documents.
Assange said he'd submit to extradition to the U.S. if Chelsea Manning, a key Wikileaks source, was released—an offer he later made contingent upon cutting his own deal with U.S. authorities. Manning was released this week. Read the rest
Today, the whistleblower Chelsea Manning stepped out of the Military Corrections Complex at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, having served the longest sentence in US history for whistleblowing; for the duration of her ongoing appeal, she is on "excess leave in an active-duty status" which entitles her to access to military health-care insurance and other benefits. Read the rest
President Obama commuted whistleblower Chelsea Manning's remaining prison sentence. She will go free on May 17 of this year as opposed to 2045, the duration of her full sentence. From the New York Times:
Read the rest
The commutation also relieved the Department of Defense of the difficult responsibility of her incarceration as she pushes for treatment for her gender dysphoria — including sex reassignment surgery — that the military has no experience providing.
In recent days, the White House had signaled that Mr. Obama was seriously considering granting Ms. Manning’s commutation application, in contrast to a pardon application submitted on behalf of the other large-scale leaker of the era, Edward J. Snowden, the former intelligence contractor who disclosed archives of top secret surveillance files and is living as a fugitive in Russia.
Asked about the two clemency applications on Friday, the White House spokesman, Joshua Earnest, discussed the “pretty stark difference” between Ms. Manning’s case for mercy with Mr. Snowden’s. While their offenses were similar, he said, there were “some important differences.”
“Chelsea Manning is somebody who went through the military criminal justice process, was exposed to due process, was found guilty, was sentenced for her crimes, and she acknowledged wrongdoing,” he said. “Mr. Snowden fled into the arms of an adversary, and has sought refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy.”
Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "Chelsea Manning saw injustice and stood up for what's right. Now, she's serving a 35 year sentence in an all-male military prison, and has faced systematic abuse. But now there's hope! President Obama has reportedly put her on a "short list" of candidates for a possible commutation. we need to show how much support Chelsea has right now, so people are posting photos with their arms outstretched, to tell POTUS they want Chelsea Manning free, so we can all give her a hug. Post your own photos to #HugsForChelsea and we'll add them to the gallery!" Read the rest
Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "Whoah. This is huge news. NBC is reporting that Chelsea Manning is on President Obama's "short-list" for commutation. It even appears that the DOJ has recommended that she be released. Chelsea has suffered immensely at the hands of the U.S. government, all for doing what she thought was right and trying to help people. I hope everyone will drop what they are doing today to call the White House at 202-456-1111 and tell President Obama go do the right thing and reduce Chelsea's sentence to time served. Read a statement from Chelsea's attorney and Fight for the Future here." Read the rest
Singer Anohni released a striking song and video asking for Chelsea Manning to be released:
"If you leave Chelsea Manning in prison for whistle blowing You send the final message to our nation that the Obama administration brutally punished moral courage in these unforgiving United States." Read the rest
Evan from Fight for the Future sez, "Chelsea Manning has already spent more time behind bars than any other whistleblower in U.S. history. She's been systematically mistreated, subjected to torture, and denied access to desperately needed health care while serving a 35 year sentence in an all-male military prison." Read the rest