Mar 102019

The debt we owe to Chelsea Manning is staggering. 

Before the news reporting that she is back in jail (scroll down),  an abbreviated reminder of what she has done, without mention of what happened to her in prison, and in spite of which she is standing her ground today, in the face of a Court Order that she testify before a grand jury.  

Her courage leaves me in awe.   She is an amazing woman.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

(I prefer to use the words of Chelsea (then Bradley) Manning herself, so mostly from:

2013-05-09 The Death of truth. Chris Hedges’ interview Julian Assange, references to Bradley Manning


Manning made it clear last Thursday (in Court) that he leaked the documents to Wikileaks

because he saw serious problems in US foreign policy. Problems which are as serious as they can be: war crimes, criminal behavior at the highest levels up to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, unethical behavior and bullying of other nations. 

Manning’s sole purpose was to

spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general.”*

He hoped the debate

might cause society to re-evaluate the need or even the desire to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment every day.” 

Regarding the collateral murder video which showed civilians, including two Reuters journalists being massacred, he said

I hoped that the public would be as alarmed as me about the conduct of the aerial weapons team crew members. I wanted the American public to know that not everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan are targets that needed to be neutralized, but rather people who were struggling to live in the pressure cooker environment of what we call asymmetric warfare.” 

When discussing the State Department cables (INSERT:  became known as the Cablegate files) Manning

saw that the US was not behaving the way the “de facto leader of the free world” should act as the cables “documented backdoor deals and seemingly criminal activity.” Again, he hoped for a change in policy as the “cables were a prime example of a need for a more open diplomacy” that would avoid conflict and save lives. 

In some of these statements you get a hint of Manning’s empathy for fellow human beings. The incident that really showed it was his comments on David Frankel’s book “The Good Soldier,” where Frankel describes a seriously injured Iraqi civilian on the ground at the end of the Collateral Murder video. He lifts two fingers toward the soldier, a well-known sign of friendship, as he asks for help. The US soldier responds lifting his middle finger as the Iraqi died.

Manning puts himself in the place of the Iraqi thinking his final act was an act of friendship only to be returned by a crude obscenity of unfriendliness. Manning acknowledges that this “burdens me emotionally.” 

Manning was clear that

he was solely responsible for his actions saying “The decisions that I made to send documents and information to the WLO [Wikileaks Organization] and website were my own decisions, and I take full responsibility for my actions.”  He described his conversations with an anonymous person at Wikileaks but made it quite clear there was no espionage conspiracy between Manning and Julian Assange.  His statement made it much more difficult for the US to prosecute Assange under the Espionage Act.

Excerpt from New Statesman:

Manning spent nearly seven years in US jail, first awaiting trial and then post-conviction – after a guilty plea – on 22 counts relating to leaking material to WikiLeaks.

The world’s public got an unprecedented view of US military and foreign affairs.

In the video titled “collateral murder” we could watch first-hand both the shocking callousness and the casualness of the crew of a US Apache as it gunned down a group of suspected militants, which included two Reuters journalists who were killed in the attack. (INSERT:  not all the people were “suspected militants”. Children were not spared.  My memory – – I think there were three children, but at least two.) 

Minutes later we see the same crew launch a Hellfire missile against a home – without even bothering to wait for a pedestrian simply walking near the house to pass.

Material in nearly 90,000 leaked documents from the Afghan conflict revealed similar abuses on a far larger scale – including the existence of Task Force 373, a death squad revealed to have killed civilians and even Afghan police officers on its missions.   (INSERT:  what is known as the publishing of the Afghan War Diary on WikiLeaks.)

A similar cache of documents from Iraq  (INSERT:  The Iraq War Logs), this time nearly 400,000 of them, revealed the huge civilian death toll of US operations in the country, shedding new light on so-called “escalation of force” incidents – a military euphemism for checkpoint shootings – and more.   (INSERT:  there is a chilling news report on the leaked documents regarding “escalation of force” at

More than 250,000 US diplomatic cables showed how the US used its soft power overseas, revealed corruption among US-allied governments, how the US spies on its allies as enthusiastically as its enemies, Middle Eastern power plays, and more.

And a final cache of documents, the Guantanamo Bay Files,  showed what a hollow lie claims that only the “worst of the worst” were sent there, detailing how senile men in their 80s, taxi drivers, and other blameless civilians found themselves shipped halfway around the world, incarcerated without trial, and abused.

For revealing these things to the world – which the US government has repeatedly publicly acknowledged caused no physical harm to anyone – Chelsea Manning spent nearly seven years in jail, until Barack Obama commuted her sentence as one of his presidency’s final acts.

And now she is back in jail.

“I will not comply . . . ”   read her words in the news article below.   Telling truth.  In a United States that has long ago gone rogue.

– – – – – – – –

I hope people understand how much we would not know.

I am doubly indebted:  I would not have been able to piece together the information from the American Ambassador to Canada about American designs on Canada were it not for what came to be known as the Cablegate leaks.    How we became an integrated part of what is now the American Republic long gone rogue, is no mystery.

It is not clear to me that there has been adequate reporting of what is in the Cablegate files that pertain to Canada.   Someday I hope to find time to look into that.  An internet search shows there were thousands of such documents.  I know only of the one that figures in the posting:

2019-02-23    propaganda flourishes if you kill Julian Assange. . . Americans and Canadians vis-a-vis Venezuela, Canadians to buy warships for $105 Billion, Lockheed Martin, Corruption



Chelsea Manning and then

2019-03-10 What in hell is the “Bolivarian Revolution”? Important to understanding why we’ve threatened war on Venezuela 

lead me to say:

I’m out of the closet:  I’m a revolutionary.

The United States brought about my conversion.

= = = = = = = = = = =

The BBC Report, followed by the Washington Post Report

Chelsea Manning prepares to enter the Albert V. Bryan U.S. District Courthouse on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, in Alexandria, VA

Former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning has been jailed for refusing to testify before an investigation into Wikileaks.

Chelsea E. Manning


** Chelsea was taken into custody today for resisting a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia

A Virginia judge ordered her taken into custody until the grand jury’s work is finished or she decides to testify.

Manning said she shared everything she knows during her court-martial.

Manning was found guilty in 2013 of charges including espionage for leaking secret military files to Wikileaks, but her sentence was commuted.

Manning, 31, told US District Judge Claude Hilton that she would “accept whatever you bring upon me”, but would not testify, the Associated Press reported.

Her lawyers had reportedly asked that she be confined at home due to medical issues, but the judge said US Marshals would address her care needs.

US prosecutors have been investigating Wikileaks for years, and in November prosecutors inadvertently revealed possible charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, in court documents from a separate case.

On Friday, Manning said in a statement: “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.”

Prosecutor Tracy McCormick said Manning could be freed if she changes her mind and decides to follow the law and testify, according to the Associated Press.

Chelsea Resists!, a group supporting Manning and seeking to raise money for her legal fees, said grand juries were “mired in secrecy, and have historically been used to silence and retaliate against political activists”.

“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.”

Manning was arrested in Iraq in 2010 for disclosing more than 700,000 confidential documents, videos and diplomatic cables to the anti-secrecy website.

While Manning said she only did so to spark debates about foreign policy, US officials said the leak put lives at risk.

She was sentenced to 35 years after being found guilty of 20 charges related to the leak, but only served seven before former President Barack Obama commuted her sentence in 2017.

Her sentence was the longest given for a leak in US history. Mr Obama said it was “disproportionate” to her crimes.

Republicans criticised the Democratic president’s decision at the time.

Then-Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan said Mr Obama had set “a dangerous precedent that those who compromise our national security won’t be held accountable”, the New York Times reported.

President Donald Trump has called Manning an “ungrateful traitor” who “should never have been released from prison”.

= = = = = =  ==

Chelsea Manning sent to jail for refusing to testify in WikiLeaks case

Former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning will be held in jail until she testifies before a grand jury or that grand jury is no longer operating, a federal judge in Alexandria ruled Friday.

Most of the hearing at which prosecutors argued for Manning to be held in contempt was sealed, but the court was open to the public for argument over whether she should be put in jail and Judge Claude M. Hilton’s ruling.

“I’ve found you in contempt,” Hilton said. He ordered her to custody immediately, “either until you purge yourself or the end of the life of the grand jury.”

The investigation Manning was called to testify in remains secret, but she said she was asked about WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy website she shared classified documents with in 2010. Manning served seven years of a 35-year prison sentence for her leak before receiving a commutation from President Barack Obama.

Outside court before the hearing, Manning said she was prepared to go to jail.

Chelsea Manning, 31, was booked into the Alexandria Detention Center on Friday morning after refusing to testify before a grand jury about the website WikiLeaks. (Alexandria Sheriff’s Office)

“These secret proceedings tend to favor the government,” she said. “I’m always willing to explain things publicly.”

Manning held up a large stack of papers — the transcripts from her military trial, which she said would tell prosecutors everything they want to know.

“I’ve given voluminous testimony; I’ve given voluminous information,” she said.

In a 2013 pretrial hearing, prosecutors disclosed excerpts of chat logs taken from Manning’s personal laptop, including one in which Manning allegedly asked Assange for help in cracking a password. In another, Manning allegedly told Assange “i’m throwing everything i’ve got on” Guantanamo detainee reports “at you now,” to which Assange allegedly replied, “OK…great.”

In a long sworn statement at the end of the pretrial inquiry, Manning said “the decisions that I made to send documents and information” to WikiLeaks “were my own.” She was questioned by a military judge about the statement. But she never took the stand during the trial itself, so prosecutors never had the opportunity to question her.

Chelsea Manning leaves the federal courthouse in Alexandria on March 5. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)

Manning’s attorney, Moira Meltzer-Cohen, on Friday told the judge it would be “an act of tremendous cruelty” to send the transgender ex-private to jail given medical and safety concerns. Manning came out as transgender after her sentencing in 2013.

Outside court, Meltzer-Cohen praised Manning’s courage. When asked by a reporter about a possible appeal of the judge’s ruling, Meltzer-Cohen said that would be “quite likely.”

Prosecutor Tracy McCormick said in court that the jail has experience handling both transgender inmates and public figures.

“The government does not want to confine Ms. Manning,” McCormick said. “She could change her mind right now and decide to testify.”

Manning’s attorney did thank prosecutors for working in “good faith,” saying “they bent over backwards to accommodate” medical needs linked to Manning’s gender transition.

Hilton said any medical concerns Manning has should be addressed with the U.S. Marshals but that the court was available if she has problems.

WikiLeaks’s founder, Julian Assange, has been charged in a case that remains under seal but was inadvertently exposed by prosecutors late last year, though the details remain secret. He is under asylum at the Ecuadoran Embassy in London.


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