After only a week of freedom, the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia hauled Chelsea Manning before another grand jury. They are now sending Chelsea Manning back to jail and are seeking to impose a draconian fine on the courageous truth teller. Defending Rights & Dissent strongly condemns this move and calls on the USAO to rescind its subpoena against Manning.
Manning, after disclosing classified information that exposed the true nature of 21st-century asymmetric warfare and diplomacy, was court martialed and served more time in prison than anyone else for leaking information to the media. Earlier this year, Manning was subpoenaed before a grand jury about WikiLeaks. As Manning already testified extensively under oath about her disclosures to WikiLeaks, her testimony was entirely superfluous. Objecting to the secretive nature of grand juries and believing the subpoena against her to be improper, Manning refused to testify. After finding Manning in civil contempt, she was jailed for 63 days.
Manning was released only because the grand jury expired. She was subpoenaed to testify again about her 2010 disclosures. Manning again refused to testify. This time, in addition to jailing her, a judge made the unprecedented decision to fine Manning $500 a day for each day after 30 days she is incarcerated, and a $1,000 a day for each day after 60 days she incarcerated.
One of the main targets of the grand jury has already been indicted. There is no new information Manning has to give. Hauling Manning before a grand jury, imprisoning and fining her, serves no lawful purpose. It is merely part of a vindictive and retaliatory campaign against a heroic whistleblower.
On January 17, 2011, Defending Rights & Dissent organized a protest at the Quantico Military Base demanding Manning’s freedom. It was the first known protest calling for Manning’s freedom. We will continue to fight for Manning and all those unjustly persecuted by our government for the crime of exposing its misconduct.