Mass-Murdering U.S. Government Continues to Persecute and Torture Chelsea Manning



Last week, it was reported that Chelsea Manning—who blew the whistle on vast U.S. war crimes in Iraq—was released into the general population at a Virginia prison after being held in solitary confinement for 28 days for refusing to testify before a grand jury. Chelsea Manning was a U.S. soldier and intelligence analyst stationed in Iraq in 2009, with access to files revealing war crimes committed during the U.S. occupation. In 2010, Manning put her life on the line by providing these files to WikiLeaks, which published the files (after the New York Times and the Washington Post expressed little interest), so as to incite, in her words, “worldwide discussion, debates and reforms.” Manning was convicted in a military trial and sentenced to 35 years in military prison. After seven years—almost a year of it in isolation that a UN Special Rapporteur on torture deemed “cruel and inhumane”—the rest of her sentence was commuted in 2017.

In early March of this year, Chelsea Manning was brought before a grand jury reportedly investigating WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange (currently in exile at the Ecuadorian embassy in London). The judge ordered her to testify, under threat of being thrown into prison until she agreed to testify or the grand jury concluded its proceedings. Manning refused to testify, saying, “In solidarity with many activists facing the odds, I will stand by my principles. I will exhaust every legal remedy available. My legal team continues to challenge the secrecy of these proceedings, and I am prepared to face the consequences of my refusal.”

Although Chelsea Manning is now out of solitary confinement, she is still being held in prison because of her continued refusal to testify to the grand jury. Manning’s lawyers had asked that she be held under home confinement instead of jail because of medical and safety complications she faces as a transgender woman, but the judge denied the request. Manning should be broadly supported for her courageous and principled stand, and the cruel repression against her at the hands of the mass-murdering U.S. government and the courts must be broadly condemned by all those opposing injustice.

Chelsea Manning

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