US Harassing and Intimidating Chelsea Manning
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Heroic whistleblower Chelsea Manning was brutally and illegally punished for exposing US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq – performing an important public service, deserving universal praise.
She took great personal risks to reveal vital truths everyone has a right to know. During her politicized military and civil confinement, she withstood the brutality of a vicious rogue state, an increasingly totalitarian one, masquerading as democratic – in name only, never the real thing.
She survived her ordeal standing tall, her unjust politicize 35-year prison sentence commuted by Obama at the 11th hour before leaving office. He should have exonerated her straightaway, honoring her as a national hero.
Last fall, she compared life in the US surveillance police state to being imprisoned, saying:
“I am constantly bombarded by reminders about how different, about how drastically different the world really is. This whole notion that you get out of prison and you are free now turned out to be a bit of a downer…”
“Because what happened, we really built this large, big prison, which is the United States, in the meantime. It was already happening. It just really intensified.”
“You think about the surveillance systems, the cameras, or the police presence, and you think about the fact that we have walls around our country, and that is very much the same thing that is inside a prison…I see a lot of similarities between the world out here and the world that was in there.”
In January 2017, days after taking office, Trump tweeted: “Ungrateful TRAITOR Chelsea Manning, who should never have been released from prison, is now calling President Obama a weak leader. Terrible!”
Like most of his predecessors, Obama remains an unindicted war criminal, a military, industrial, security, media complex/Wall Street tool, an anti-populist, pretending otherwise.
For doing the right thing, Manning’s harassment continues. She was unjustly subpoenaed to give grand jury testimony on March 5 – a summons she’s challenging legally.
In her defense, activists created the “Chelsea Resists” Support Committee, an initiative to raise funds for her legal defense, a statement on her behalf saying the following:
“By serving Chelsea Manning with a grand jury subpoena, the government is attempting once again to punish an outspoken whistleblower for her historic disclosures. We stand with Chelsea in support of her refusal to participate in this repressive and undemocratic process.”
“Grand juries are notoriously mired in secrecy, and have historically been used to silence and retaliate against political activists. Their indiscriminate nature means the government can attempt to artificially coerce a witness into perjury or contempt.”
“Chelsea gave voluminous testimony during her court martial. She has stood by the truth of her prior statements, and there is no legitimate purpose to having her rehash them before a hostile grand jury.”
“Since her release in 2017, Chelsea has become a prominent public speaker, emboldening countless activists who resist fascism, white supremacy, and transphobic bigotry.”
“Her 2010 disclosures exposed war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and showed the public the true nature” of US wars of aggression.
“By employing these tactics against her, the government is using a roundabout method to further punish Chelsea for her past actions, adding to the seven years of trauma, imprisonment and torture she has already endured.”
“Since its first day in office,” the Trump regime escalated war on humanity at home and abroad. “We reject the coercive tactics of the carceral state and its fascist leaders, who weaponize the law to target activists, immigrants, and anyone who dares speak truth to power.”
“Today, we stand in solidarity with Chelsea, as well as all current and former political prisoners who have resisted grand jury repression.”
Secretive grand jury proceedings are convened to determine if crimes were committed – witnesses only present during their testimony to a prosecutor and grand jurors, no judge or legal representation present.
Witnesses are required to answer questions by a prosecutor and jurors. Prosecutors try establishing probable cause to indict.
They manipulate grand juries, gaming the system to get judgments they seek, justice denied time and again.
Witnesses accused of nothing can be indicted if prosecutors claim they gave false or misleading testimonies. They’re not told of the risk, making them vulnerable if this was the prosecutorial intent for demanding their testimony.
Clever ones can manipulate witnesses to unwittingly mislead. Anything said under oath or otherwise can be used against them – why Manning is vulnerable to be indicted again on new charges because of her prominent activism for justice.
No just cause exists for demanding she appear to give grand jury testimony, a likely fishing expedition, seeking to entrap her into making what can be claimed to be false or misleading statements.
No charges exist against her, no reason for her to testify. The Eastern District of Virginia federal court where she was ordered to appear issued a secret indictment of Julian Assange – for the crime of truth-telling, he and Manning both targeted for the same reason, how all totalitarian states operate.
Assange is an investigative journalist/whistleblower, publishing material supplied by sources believed to be credible, unidentified for their protection.
WikiLeaks is not an intelligence operation. Nor it it connected to Russia or any other country. Claims otherwise were fabricated.
Assange earlier explained that WikiLeaks has the right “to publish newsworthy content. Consistent with the US Constitution, we publish material that we can confirm to be true…”
Is there a connection between Manning’s subpoena and the Trump regime aim to extradite and prosecute Assange – maybe wanting them both imprisoned?
She was told her grand jury summons wants her to “talk about her past statements,” including earlier saying that no one at WikiLeaks pressured her to send information. She acted on her own.
In response to her subpoena, she issued a statement, saying “(t)he grand jury process, mired in secrecy, is troubling. The proceedings take place behind closed doors, without a judge or defense attorney, which makes them susceptible to abuse.”
“I have nothing to contribute to this case, and I will not endanger myself or the activist communities I’ve organized with since leaving prison. I stand in solidarity with all grand jury resisters, who have refused to participate in this predatory and deceitful practice.”
Her lawyers will do all they can to protect her, including motions contesting her subpoena, knowing she risks a possible contempt citation.
What’s going on is how all police states operate, targeted individuals judged guilty by accusation.
The fundamental rights, freedom and safety of Manning and Assange are greatly endangered – because of the Trump regime’s rage to punish them.
Doing the right thing is its own reward. In America and other police states, it risks harassment, intimidation, prosecution and imprisonment.
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My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”