Free Chelsea Manning!! (Again...)

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
Whistleblower Chelsea Manning served 7 years of a 35 year sentence, for the so-called "crime" of giving military and State Department documents to Wikileaks. Her sentence was commuted by Obama in 2017. Whether (as Obama said) it was because he felt the 35-year sentence was disproportionate, or whether he took pity on her because she tried to commit suicide twice in prison because of the awful conditions there, or whether it was because of public pressure, or for some other reason, who knows.

So now she's back in prison again. She was called to testify in some Trump-organized grand jury that's somehow seeking to justify the standing indictment against Julian Assange, and she refused to tell the court what they're wanting to hear. Apparently they were hoping to pressure her into saying that Assange plied the information out of her, and she wouldn't throw Assange under the bus. So she's been imprisoned for as long as the grand jury is in session. And since this same grand jury has apparently been in session since 2010: in other words, there's no end in sight.

Do I need to say how many different ways this violates the Constitution, not to mention common decency? The prohibition against double jeopardy? The right to remain silent? The absence of any new criminal charges against Manning herself that she could be punished for? The fact that any testimony now obtained would be by means of coercion if not torture, and therefore completely worthless?

The message of this entire quest against Assange as well as Manning should also be obvious. As explained here:

https://popularresistance.org/the-campaign-to-free-chelsea-manning-continues/

Let’s remember what landed Manning in prison: releasing a video of an incident in which U.S. soldiers killed more than a dozen unarmed civilians in Iraq, including two journalists working for Reuters. At the time of the incident, a military spokesman said that the soldiers, who fired at a dad driving a minivan with his kids inside, “were clearly engaged in combat operations against a hostile force.” Manning proved otherwise.
Manning also revealed that Yemen’s former dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh, was colluding with the Obama administration to cover up an undeclared U.S. war against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (of which any “military-age male” killed in a drone strike is considered to have been a member). That war has killed hundreds of civilians — with one U.S. air strike alone wiping out 41 innocent Yemenis, including 21 children, according to Amnesty International.

This ongoing persecution sends a potent message to any other insider who possesses information that could be incriminating to the government or intelligence agencies. Keep your mouth shut, or else.

Even though I don't have any inside information, this incident calls to mind Henry David Thoreau's famous conversation with Ralph Waldo Emerson.

https://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/what_are_you_doing_out_of_jail_thoreaus_reply_to_emerson

American author and naturalist Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) refused to pay poll taxes for six years because he objected to any money going to support the Mexican-American War or slavery. In July 1846, he spent a night in jail. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), an essayist and philosopher and Thoreau’s friend, is said to have visited him and to have asked Thoreau why he was in jail. Thoreau is said to have asked Emerson why he wasn’t in jail.
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
I didn't know whether to put this in the catch-all "Trumping der Fuhrer" thread. It certainly would fit in, as an example of fascist legal proceedings in Trump's America. But perhaps that thread would benefit by forking out some topics.

And furthermore, the judge involved is a holdover from the Reagan administration. As the wsws explains (yes, there I am reading far left publications again...):

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/03/09/mann-m09.html

The jailing of Chelsea Manning is a particularly outrageous attack on democratic rights, carried out by a federal judge who is a byword for reactionary pro-government, pro-police and pro-employer bias, and a longtime collaborator with the national security state.
Hilton was one of a relative handful of federal judges selected by Chief Justice William Rehnquist to serve on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court, the special judicial panel set up to secretly rubber-stamp requests for spying authorizations for the FBI, CIA, NSA and other intelligence agencies. The court is notorious for approving 99.9 percent of such requests. Hilton was on the panel from 2000 to 2007, during the period when the Bush administration set up secret CIA torture camps and enormously escalated the NSA spying on telecommunications and the internet.
Appointed to the bench by Ronald Reagan in 1985, Hilton proved his value to the military-intelligence apparatus early in his career, with a 1989 decision that cleared CIA operative Joseph Fernandez, charged with four criminal counts in the Iran-Contra affair, after the CIA refused to release documents required for the prosecution of the case. In effect, the intelligence apparatus ensured impunity for its own criminal operations by refusing to cooperate with the investigation by Special Counsel Lawrence Walsh, a legal dodge approved by Judge Hilton.
According to the website “The Robing Room,” which allows lawyers and litigants appearing before federal judges to rate their demeanor, legal knowledge, and bias, Hilton routinely incorporates prosecution and government briefs into his legal “opinions,” almost never rules in favor of individuals suing their employers, the police or the government, and frequently sleeps through oral arguments by defense attorneys.
One attorney, posting on the site, called Hilton, “The most prejudiced judge with regard to average and below average income United States citizens that I have ever observed. This judge has no sense whatsoever of the search for Truth and Justice and he clearly avoids any reasonable search for Truth and Justice, especially if a large corporation or the federal government is the defendant!”
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
Even though I don't have any inside information, this incident calls to mind Henry David Thoreau's famous conversation with Ralph Waldo Emerson.

https://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/what_are_you_doing_out_of_jail_thoreaus_reply_to_emerson

American author and naturalist Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) refused to pay poll taxes for six years because he objected to any money going to support the Mexican-American War or slavery. In July 1846, he spent a night in jail. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), an essayist and philosopher and Thoreau’s friend, is said to have visited him and to have asked Thoreau why he was in jail. Thoreau is said to have asked Emerson why he wasn’t in jail.
According to the website “The Robing Room,” which allows lawyers and litigants appearing before federal judges to rate their demeanor, legal knowledge, and bias, Hilton routinely incorporates prosecution and government briefs into his legal “opinions,” almost never rules in favor of individuals suing their employers, the police or the government, and frequently sleeps through oral arguments by defense attorneys.
One attorney, posting on the site, called Hilton, “The most prejudiced judge with regard to average and below average income United States citizens that I have ever observed. This judge has no sense whatsoever of the search for Truth and Justice and he clearly avoids any reasonable search for Truth and Justice, especially if a large corporation or the federal government is the defendant!”
This has been all reduxed by Judge Ellis in his recent sentencing of Paul Manafort. Both Manafort's lawyer and Trump made statements to the effect that this trial showed no collusion with Russia. Duh, the trial was completely incidental to Russian collusion with the 2016 election, it was about massive tax fraud, to the tune of tens of millions shortchanged to the treasury. But in any legal suitcase, Judge Ellis allowed that Georgetown Paul Manafort was "an otherwise blameless" individual in sentencing him to only 47 months, rather than the recommended 20+ years.

During the trial, Ellis made several prejudicial statements where he should have been made to recuse himself.
 
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