Chelsea Manning was imprisoned in 2010 after leaking 750,000 military documents to the website WikiLeaks. Chelsea’s revelations exposed heinous war crimes by the US military. While the perpetrators of the atrocities she exposed have never faced justice, Chelsea herself spent seven years behind bars, including several months in solitary confinement before her trial. README.txt is Chelsea’s first full-length memoir detailing what led her to speak out, and her experiences in prison. In an event organized by Baltimore worker cooperative bookstore Red Emma’s, Chelsea Manning joins Baltimore-based activist and independent journalist Ryan Harvey for a special discussion on her memoir.
On 12 July 2007, two US AH-64 Apache helicopters fired 30-millimetre cannon rounds at a group of Iraqi civilians in New Baghdad. These US Army gunners murdered at least a dozen people, including Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and his driver Saeed Chmagh. Reuters immediately asked for the US to conduct a probe into the killing. Instead, they were fed the official story by the US government that soldiers of Bravo Company, 2-16 infantry had been attacked by small arms fire as part of their Operation Ilaaj in the al-Amin al-Thaniyah neighbourhood. The soldiers called in air strikes, which came in and cleared the streets of insurgents. Reuters had information that the helicopters filmed the attack, and so the media house requested the video from the US military.
Week three of the hearings at the Old Bailey for Julian Assange‘s extradition to the US heard testimony from a computer security expert that may prove to be critical. That testimony could be used to undermine the first indictment raised against the WikiLeaks founder and therefore weaken the entire case. Other testimonies may form the basis by which the US extradition request could be dismissed. Computer forensic expert Patrick Eller was formerly lead digital forensics examiner with the US Army’s Criminal Investigation Command in Virginia.
On the show this week, Chris Hedges talks to journalist, Dean Yates, who, 13 years ago, was the head of Reuters’ Baghdad bureau. On July 12, 2007, Yates learned two of his employees, Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen, had been fired on and killed by the US Army. Their deaths, and those of others, were the focus of the now-infamous video Collateral Murder, leaked by Chelsea Manning and released by Wikileaks.
Alexandria - Today, March 12, prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia ended the grand jury of Julian Assange and Wikileaks in which Chelsea Manning refused to testify. As a result, US District Court Judge Anthony Trenga ordered the immediate release of Chelsea Manning. Manning has been incarcerated since May 2019. Judge Trenga had tried to coerce Manning into testifying by imposing a fine for every day she resisted even though she said repeatedly that she would not violate her principles, which include opposition to the secret grand jury system, and would never testify. A hearing was scheduled this Friday on a motion for release filed in February 2020 by her attorneys. Manning was arguing that her long time in jail had shown she could not be coerced to testify and that her incarceration was a punishment, which is illegal under US law.
Lawyers acting on behalf of imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning have lodged a motion, arguing for her release. This comes as WikiLeaks tweeted that Julian Assange‘s lawyers intend to produce ‘bombshell’ evidence at next week’s extradition hearing. Meanwhile, more evidence has emerged to further the argument that the extradition hearings should end on the grounds of extreme prejudice by UK authorities.
Lawyers for Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning on Wednesday filed a motion for her release, saying her continued incarceration for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury is unlawful. The motion, filed in the Alexandria, Virginia-based federal district court for the eastern district of Virginia, says that Manning's "incarceration is not serving its only permissible purpose"—to coerce her testimony. Rather, the motion argues, the detention is clearly punitive. Manning has been held in contempt of court and locked away at the Alexandria Detention Center nearly continuously since March 2019. She may be held as long as 18 months unless she agrees to testify to a grand jury about WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, who remains at a London prison as the U.S. government seeks his extradition.
Chelsea has been incarcerated for more than 9 months for her principled refusal to give testimony before a grand jury convened to investigate and prosecute journalists whose work threatens to expose government misdeeds. She has not been charged with, let alone convicted of a crime, but she is in jail under “coercive confinement” – that is, she will be held in jail until she agrees to cooperate with the grand jury investigation. She is also being fined $1,000 per day for every day she refuses to testify. She can be jailed and fined in this way for up to 18 months. Chelsea has repeatedly explained her conscientious objection to Grand Jury proceedings, citing their secrecy, their susceptibility to prosecutorial abuse, and the long history of grand jury abuse to target and harass activist communities.
The most important stories of the year for those who care about a free press involve the arrest of Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy at the request of the U.S. government, and the rearrest of the whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Assange is the founder of WikiLeaks, a website that publishes official documents exposing the crimes and lies of world leaders. Before publishing, WikiLeaks verifies that the evidence submitted is authentic. Of the millions of items published by WikiLeaks, not one has been shown to be fraudulent or untruthful.
Alexandria, VA — This week Nils Melzer, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment published a letter to the U.S. government dated November 1, 2019, condemning the incarceration of Chelsea Manning, calling such coercive confinement “torture” in violation of international law, and recommending her immediate release. He also recommends that any disproportionate fines levied against her be cancelled. The letter was made public following a customary 60-day window pending any government response.
I have the honour to address you in my capacity as Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 34/19. In this connection, I would like to bring to the attention of your Excellency’s Government information I have received regarding the use ofcivil contempt sanctions to detain and fine, Ms. Chelsea Manning,allegedly to coerce compliance with grand jury procedures.She is currently detained in William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria, Virginia...
The year 2019 has been a nightmare for whistleblower Chelsea Manning and her supporters. While Donald Trump cleared three members of the United States Army who reportedly murdered Afghani civilians, Manning is, once again, confined for acting in accord with her own principles. In 2010, she was imprisoned for leaking classified military and diplomatic documents that exposed U.S. war crimes, including the murder of Iraqi and Afghani civilians.
Military whistleblower Chelsea Manning spent her 32nd birthday behind bars yesterday for continuing to refuse to testify against Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange. She has been in prison since May after a U.S. District Judge ordered her incarceration for not recognizing the legitimacy of the grand jury. She tweeted that she was grateful for the support and the letters that she had been sent while imprisoned at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria, VA. Her lawyers have argued that the sentence is unlawful and merely punitive revenge from a state that wishes to make an example of her as a prominent whistleblower. Under federal law, a recalcitrant witness can be jailed only if there is a reasonable possibility that the incarceration will coerce them into testifying.
The courageous whistleblower Chelsea Manning has now been held in a federal detention center in Alexandria, Virginia for more than six months. Manning has not been charged with or committed any crime. She was sent to jail on March 8, 2019 for refusing to testify before a secret grand jury that has indicted persecuted WikiLeaks founder and publisher Julian Assange, who published the information she leaked exposing rampant US imperialist criminality.
This brief digs into the distinction between a punitive sanction and one that is merely “coercive.” A person who is held in civil contempt may be confined (incarcerated) in order to coerce their compliance with the court’s order to testify before the grand jury, but they may not be “punished.” If there is no coercive effect to their confinement, either because the grand jury has ended, or because there is no possible way they will be convinced to comply with the order to testify, then the confinement must be deemed punitive, and must end.