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Chelsea Manning Jailed

Written By: - Date published: 9:58 am, March 9th, 2019 - 42 comments
Categories: class war - Tags: , ,

Former intelligence agent Chelsea Manning has been jailed for refusing to testify before a Grand Jury investigating WikiLeaks.

US district judge Claude Hilton held Manning in contempt of court and ordered her jailed after Manning confirmed she will not testify because she objects to the secrecy of the grand jury process.

Manning says she already revealed everything she knows at her court martial.

The judge said she will remain incarcerated until she testifies or until the Grand Jury concludes its work.

Manning released a statement in which she said she “will stand by my principles. I will exhaust every legal remedy available.

“My legal team will challenge the secrecy of these proceedings and I am prepared to face the consequences of my refusal.”

This is daft, of course.

There are no obvious or compelling principles involved.

The American Grand Jury system involves closed door hearings. The prosecutor presents evidence, then the jury decides if there is probable cause for a trial to commence.

The Grand Jury does not make a decision about guilt, but it can effectively find a person innocent by refusing to accept there is probable cause. In the latter case, the secrecy is helpful to the wrongly charged; the false claims do not see the light of day and the person accused can resume their life without ‘no smoke without fire’ gossip following them around.

It’s not the system we use here. In fact, it’s almost unique in the world.

But it’s in the US Constitution, it’s been used for centuries, and it seems to work for the Americans.

If Manning wants the system changed, she could try democratic means.

But allowing herself to be jailed on a principle that does not appear to exist is foolish in the extreme.

And it’s allowing herself to be re-victimised by Wikileaks.

Speaking of the anti-democracy, pro-capitalist organisation, their response was a meisterwerk of doublespeak:

“This is America, 2019: A secret trial against a source for refusing to testify against a journalist.”

Get that? It’s all about Assange, not Manning.

In the real world, it’s journalists who get jailed for protecting their sources. But for St Julian, it’s all about protecting him.




42 comments on “Chelsea Manning Jailed ”

  1. SPC 1

    I guess one riposte to someone who does not get it, is one does not have to remain a dick, to do so is a matter of free will.

  2. Hey…think this piece is in the wrong place…could one the mods please move this over to kiwiblog?

  3. Lucy 3

    So Julian Assange’s fears about America may be true. Good on Chelsea for sticking to her guns. If she believes that she should not give evidence in secret and she is prepared to stand by her principles, then who am I to disregard her wishes. Think the writer needs to think about what is right. It is wrong for justice to be started in secret, the whole principle of justice is that justice has to be seen to be done.

    • Hi, Lucy. There is no principle in law that justice has to be seen to be done. In NZ we have behind closed doors hearings all the time. As we speak, a ‘prominent New Zealander’ is being tried, but we are not allowed to report his name. Does that break your inviolable law as well? What about the victims of crime? Do you insist rape victims be named too?

      I find the Grand Jury system unusual, even archaic. Here in NZ we are investigating moving to the French system of inquisitorial trials, where it is not prosecution versus defence, but a joint attempt to get to the facts. That is, to a large part, already how our Employment Relations Authority hearings are held. There are many ways of getting to good decisions. The Americans have their system, and it works for them.

      If there is genuine principle involved in this case, Manning hasn’t identified what it is.

      • SPC 3.1.1

        “The American Grand Jury system involves closed door hearings. The prosecutor presents evidence, then the jury decides if there is probable cause for a trial to commence.”

        Trial against whom – Wikileaks for publishing information. What “imperial censorship” right does the USA have over international media?

        And those asked to testify – have they been offered immunity from prosecution (on any charge unrelated to their pardon). And if they do not (despite not being on charge) they get incarcerated …

        Why would anyone willingly participate in a fishing expedition for a cause they have objection to – keeping the USA governments dirty laundry secret from their own people.

        • AB

          Yeah – that was my question – how does a US Grand Jury get to have jurisdiction over Wikileaks?
          Is it on the same basis that they get to decide who is the President of Venezuela?

          • SPC

            The “world’s policeman” also claiming immunity from the ICC, and yet does not want their own nefarious activites exposed in the world media by whistleblowers.

      • Chris 3.1.2

        “That is, to a large part, already how our Employment Relations Authority hearings are held.”

        Tell that to lawyers who represent employers.

      • Lucy 3.1.3

        Justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.’1 Lord Chief Justice Hewart’s remarks, uttered nearly 100 years ago, are now heard throughout the common law world and beyond.
        It is a concept that is in the English law jurisdictions the issue with the “prominent New Zealander” is going through the courts now as New Zealanders do not like justice in secret and we have 100 years of precedent. The issue of rape victims is nasty and a crap card to play. That is also covered by precedent a defendant has the right to face their accuser but the public do not have a right to know who a victim is as it should be! If you don’t like Chelsea Manning that’s OK but if she want to stand on her principle that the people have the right to know what her evidence is that’s her right

        • te reo putake

          Thanks, Lucy. As you note, there are limits to openness in judicial systems. I agree entirely.

          Again, the question arises as to what principle Manning thinks is involved here and why volunteering to go to jail will make a difference.

          She’s already said that she has in her previous trial given all the evidence she can divulge, so it’s not a question of “the people’s right to know’. The people already know.

          So what’s her motivation? What does she expect to achieve?

          • SPC

            Are you sure the testimony provided in that trial is public knowledge?

            • te reo putake

              I don’t know for sure, but Manning seems to think so. Mind you, it was a military trial, wasn’t it?

              My gut feeling is that the earlier testimony is mostly irrelevant to this process, which is about Wikileaks’ collusion with Russia to undermine American democracy. Or something like that, anyway. I can’t be sure, because it’s a secret 😉

          • Bewildered

            Martyrdom and publicity

            Being yesterday news is not much fun,Likewise been a transsexual is so mainstream it does not garner the attention it use to

          • Lucy

            Te Reo Putake I wonder about her motivation too, but she did spend eight years in solitary confinement so this may cloud her thinking on her best way forward. I am assuming that she does not want a secret tribunal to bring an arrest warrant for Assange, though why she is protecting the knob head who got her arrested is beyond me. Have no idea about her motivation and think she has not articulated well what her reasonings are – also her “team” is doing a shit job at advising her and clarifying her position.

  4. francesca 4

    Diss Wikileaks all you like, but the secret cables they published on the Chagos Islanders were crucial in the recent ICJ court case which found that the UK had acted illegally, and the Chagos islands should be returned to Mauritius, and that the evicted islanders should be allowed to reclaim their homeland.
    I find Binoy Kampmark’s writing very difficult to unpack, but he lays out the whole disgraceful affair in detail

    I don’t buy the argument that the cables undermine the UK and the UK is a “democracy” therefore Wikileaks undermines democracies.
    It is a considerable vindication of Wikileaks that the ICJ, as the UK Court of Appeal did some years before, recognised that the leaked cables were legally admissible


  5. RedLogix 5

    An interesting post TRP. I think in principle you are correct, although a lot of people here will viscerally want to back Manning regardless.

    The crucial point is understanding why the Grand Jury process uses secrecy; and how it works to protect the innocent.

    On the face of it this incident doesn’t make sense. Maybe we need more information to understand it better.

    • Grant 5.1

      Never really thought about it before but the grand jury system seems similar to the French practise of having an investigating magistrate interview the police / prosecutors and the accused before deciding whether to recommend that a formal prosecution takes place .

      • greywarshark 5.1.1

        I’ve wondered about that system Grant. Do you think it would have a better result for law here than at present? I am a regular reader of Simenon and his
        actor Maigret and it gives a picture of how the system probably works. Maigret
        has to report regularly, and ask for permissions; there is overview. Sometimes Maigret needs more time and the prosecutor gets tetchy. It seems an interesting approach for someone to have an overview who is not from the police. Our police might be said to have an underview?

        • Grant

          Not something I know much about, other than watching Maigret and the like..

          Here is the Wiki link if you can be bothered with a bit of a read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Examining_magistrate

          I think the role of an examining magistrate stems from the character of an inquisitorial system of justice (eg. French) as opposed to the adversarial system used by most anglophone countries. Probably stems from the post revolutionary introduction of the Napoleonic Code which was an attempt to put into practice the “Rights of Man and the Citizen” propounded by the French Revolution.

    • Siobhan 5.2

      On the face of it this incident doesn’t make sense. Maybe we need more information to understand it better.“…that is actually a very pertinent point…and is the whole problem with secret court proceedings.


      Two new lawsuits are challenging the continued secrecy of the grand jury investigations related to the deaths of Michael Brown…..

      grand jury secrecy allowed the prosecutor to manipulate the public’s perception of the process and to shield atypical prosecutorial tactics from view.


      and if you want to feel extra relieved to have never been before a Grand Jury then please read this..and anyone who reads this and is left with any faith in the system cannot be helped..

      Over the last 17 years I have represented dozens and dozens of clients who were subpoenaed to testify as witnesses at State and Federal Grand Juries regarding government investigations. A grand jury is a secret tribunal where a citizen is forced to answer questions by a prosecutor, often against their will.

      They are not allowed to have an attorney in the grand jury room to advise them while the questioning takes place. There is no Judge in the grand jury room to oversee the fairness or legitimacy of the proceedings. The prosecutor alone determines what evidence will be provided to the grand jurors, and that alone forms the basis of their deliberations and their determination regarding whether a felony indictment will issue. The prosecutor becomes the grand jurors’ friend: he controls their bathroom breaks, meals, and whether they can return to their work, families, and lives. The prosecutor, a politically elected position, works very closely with police every day and generally exhibits bias toward police as a result of this familiar relationship. The prosecutor holds enormous power over the outcome of a grand jury proceeding.


      Some have estimated that grand juries issues indictments, true bills, 9 times out of 10.

      In practice, no bills* are rare. Most grand juries indict. Why not? They only see one side of the case.

      (*No Bills means..no case to answer)


      • RedLogix 5.2.1

        I suspected as much. I’ve heard all sorts of dubious things about the US Justice system over the years, and this does nothing to improve my view.

      • Grant 5.2.2

        Well that sounds more like the Star Chamber: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Chamber

      • alwyn 5.2.3

        “They are not allowed to have an attorney in the grand jury room to advise them while the questioning takes place.”.
        That is apparently true. However they can have their lawyer nearby and can apparently refuse to answer any question at all until they have had a chance to talk to their attorney. Must be bloody slow and I doubt it would impress the Grand Jury but there you are.
        I don’t know whether this is complete or accurate but here is a simple explanation about the subject.

        I believe one of the theoretical reasons for the Grand Jury system was to protect against abuse of Executive Power. Whether it does is a separate question. On the other hand it does protect against claims of Executive Privilege. Nixon, at the time of Watergate, claimed that no-one on his staff had to answer to questioning from the Legislature or the Courts.
        However Executive Privilege did not apply to Grand Juries and both Nixon, and later Clinton had to respond to their questioning.

        • Siobhan

          I believe one of the theoretical reasons for the Grand Jury system was to protect against abuse of Executive Power. Whether it does is a separate question. On the other hand it does protect against claims of Executive Privilege.

          If Grand Juries were only employed in situations where Executive power could be used to block prosecutions I might think that was a valid point.

          However when you look at statistics such as
          Grand juries declined to indict in 11 out of 162,351 federal cases in 2010
          you have to suspect that most of those 162,351 federal cases do not involve Executive privilege.

          In fact In the words of Justice Douglas: “It is, indeed, common knowledge that the grand jury, having been conceived as a bulwark between the citizen and the Government, is now a tool of the Executive.


          • Grant

            “..Justice Douglas: “It is, indeed, common knowledge that the grand jury, having been conceived as a bulwark between the citizen and the Government, is now a tool of the Executive.”

            Which is exactly what the Star Chamber became. At least grand Juries are just a way of (potentially) railroading people into the court system and can’t actually convict and sentence them.

            #Grateful for small mercies

    • Richard 5.3

      I think in principle you are correct, although a lot of people here will viscerally want to back Manning regardless.

      Imagine if a Trump associate refused to testify before a Grand Jury because they’d covered the same ground at their trial. Manning supporters would be apoplectic about such an affront to the justice system.

  6. Incognito 6

    People don’t get to decide what other people’s principles are or should be. Many lack the courage, backbone, and integrity to stand up for their genuine principles. That said, people generally avoid situations in which they would be compelled to declare their principles (in public) and choose for them, or not for that matter. Colloquially, this is often called “our comfort zone”.

  7. And just for the record, Chelsea is claiming first, fourth and sixth amendment protections. You may be wondering why no mention of Fifth Amendment privilege “against compelled self-incrimination or other privilege.”.

    Well, the powers that be dealt to that one way back..(my bolds)

    ” If you plead the fif, as it were, the prosecutor simply asks the attorney general to grant you immunity from prosecution, thus overriding your right against self-incrimination. This sly move was established in 1954 by the Communist Control Act, with president Eisenhower stating this about the new law:

    “… I signed a bill granting immunity from prosecution to certain suspected persons in order to aid in obtaining the conviction of subversives. Investigation and prosecution of crimes involving national security have been seriously hampered by witnesses who have invoked the Constitutional privilege against self-incrimination embodied in the Fifth Amendment. This Act provides a new means of breaking through the secrecy which is characteristic of traitors, spies and saboteurs.”

    In the 1970s, the Nixon administration scaled back the constitutional protection even further under the pretext of fighting organized crime. Now when you are granted immunity, the government doesn’t guarantee that you won’t be prosecuted if you testify – only that they won’t use your words from that testimony against you in court. They are, of course, free to use other people’s testimony against you – testimony which they also demanded via a grant of immunity. This new law was quickly put to work targeting anti-Vietnam War activists, black liberationists, and Puerto Rican Independentistas (as well as pretty much every other radical left wing movement in the 70s). It has been used most recently to target radical environmental and animal rights activists, and anarchists. Because of the secrecy surrounding the process and the very limited protections you have if you testify, completely refusing to speak to the grand jury seemed to many of those subpoenaed to be the safest and clearest way to ensure that they would not accidentally incriminate others or themselves. Members of these movements have largely adopted total non-cooperation as the strategy for resistance – despite its consequences.”


    The cards of ‘Justice’ have been lining up against activists for a long long time, and the American Government has things pretty tight now…when they want them to be.

    Apparently establishment War Criminals, Bankers and the biggest tax dodgers are still in the Too Hard basket.

  8. gsays 8

    I knew it was too good to last, agreeing with you TRP over the last three posts.

    My opinion on Chelsea Manning is that she has courage to burn, far braver than I would like to think I was.

    I can’t help but think a little of the attitude about Chelsea Manning in this post is to do with the contempt that Julian Assange is held in by some folk of the ‘left’.

    Surely it is these radical actions (refusing to bend to ‘ the mans’ wishes) that moderate gains are achieved.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 8.1

      Skim read the post, saw “St Julian“, and skipped straight to the comments.

      Pleased to see that most comments are in support of Manning’s decisions.

      The persistant use of the mocking “Saint Julian” meme by TRP and the usual suspects over the years is ‘clever‘, but is may be superfluous to the main thesis of the post.

      21 June 2012: “Cheers, Vicky, the fact that one of the women is linked to the CIA makes all the difference, because as we all know, it’s impossible to rape anyone linked to the CIA and international law gives Saint Julian immunity from prosecution in such circumstances, even if the other victim isn’t linked to the CIA at all. Glad you’ve cleared that up.

      21 July 2012: “Yeah, good point. Sweden should change its laws because of a non-existent threat to St Julian.

      9 May 2013: “Crikey! I’d forgotten all about Saint Julian, thanks for reminding us that he is still avoiding facing his accusers. Justice For Assange Now!

      12 December 2013: “I genuinely think it tanked because St Julian is of no interest to the cinema going public and he’s damaged goods to those with an interest in politics. Personally, I thought the film was going to be a hagiography of the sainted one, so avoided it for that reason, but I’m pleased to hear from you that it’s more truthful than I suspected.

      15 March 2015: “Yep. If it was John Key being investigated, you can only imagine the howls of indignation. But because it’s Saint Julian, no worries. What’s a little light raping anyway? The victims were asleep, so what do they care?

      23 July 2018: “In this case, the beneficiaries of wikileaks are primarily crooks and capitalists. Despite all the handwringing about St Julian fucking his way into self imposed house arrest, I haven’t read a case from the left that wikileaks has helped end poverty, diminished climate change or improved the lives of working people.

    • xanthe 8.2

      Thats just sad TRP . Both chelsea and secret grand juries are deserving of insightful discussion. That was not it!…… and you have been going so well lately.

  9. johnm 9

    ” This is daft, of course.

    There are no obvious or compelling principles involved.”
    Yes, there are Chelsea Manning: ‘ 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. ‘

    ” If Manning wants the system changed, she could try democratic means.

    But allowing herself to be jailed on a principle that does not appear to exist is foolish in the extreme.

    And it’s allowing herself to be re-victimised by Wikileaks. ”

    The above statement is nonsense.
    Chelsea Manning: ‘ 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. ‘

    It’s the warped U$ system re-victimising her not Wikileaks. Whistleblowers have constitutional protection and that includes Wikileaks.

    ” Speaking of the anti-democracy, pro-capitalist organisation, their response was a meisterwerk of doublespeak:

    “This is America, 2019: A secret trial against a source for refusing to testify against a journalist.”

    Get that? It’s all about Assange, not Manning.

    In the real world, it’s journalists who get jailed for protecting their sources. But for St Julian, it’s all about protecting him. ”

    The above is further warped nonsense from TRP!
    There’s no doubt they’re after Assange. There’s no doubt they’re further using and abusing her to get Wikileaks and Assange. And the journalist Assange they want to lock up in a hell hole and throw the key away!

    If there’s any meisterwerk of doublespeak round here TRP fits the bill!

  10. johnm 10

    What Chelsea Manning Faces in Jail

    KEVIN GOSZTOLA: That’s right. So as we know, it’s up to 18 months that she could be in jail. Of course, the grand jury wasn’t recently empaneled this week, so it could be less than 18 months. The grand jury, maybe it gets an extension, or maybe it resumes in another iteration, and so then she could remain in jail. There are ways to coerce her into testifying, whether the government would admit it or not, or describe it as intentional. The fact is that while she’s in prison she’s going to have difficulty obtaining access to health treatment, mental health evaluations, psychological meetings. You know, if she wants to meet a psychiatrist to get help with anything; if she wants access to anything she’s getting because she’s a transgender woman–and I don’t know if she’s done transitioning completely, or she’s still getting any-.

    And so that likely is something they could withhold from her in order to coerce her into testifying. This is really real. And I think, you know, I exchanged letters with her while she was in prison. One of the things I have to just share here is that she had said to me, “I can’t be myself. Every time I try to assert my existence or to find myself on my own terms, I get beat up by the world. I’m really scarred, bloodied, and bruised at this point.” And I share that to just point out how traumatizing her incarceration in military prisons was, and that she–you know, to remind people that she went through cruel and inhuman treatment while she was at Quantico, and was in conditions of solitary confinement. And so, you know, getting back into this jail, what is that going to do to her, and how is that going to affect her ability to maintain her resistance?

    Chelsea Manning Jailed for Refusing to Cooperate with Wikileaks Grand Jury

  11. johnm 11

    A federal judge ordered Chelsea Manning to prison Friday morning for an indefinite period of time, after the former Army private, jailed for seven years for providing information to WikiLeaks exposing US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, refused on principle to answer any questions before a secret grand jury investigating the media organization and its founder Julian Assange.

    “The Socialist Equality Party unequivocally condemns the US government’s vindictive and criminal persecution of Chelsea Manning,” said Joseph Kishore, the national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in the US.

    “Chelsea suffered solitary confinement, abuse and torture, and over six years of imprisonment for letting the American and world population know the truth. Yesterday, she once again stood firm to fundamental democratic principle and refused to assist the Trump administration in its vendetta to falsely incriminate WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. She is a heroic figure and she must be defended.


    The grand jury has been empaneled to bring espionage and conspiracy charges against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. Manning revealed that the questions she had refused to answer on Thursday all concerned her interaction with the organization, which receives documents delivered to it anonymously and avoids learning the identity of contributors in order not to undermine their security.

  12. Morrissey 12

    But it’s in the US Constitution, it’s been used for centuries, and it seems to work for the Americans.

    That is possibly the most complacent, and ignorant, statement to be posted anywhere on the internet this year.

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