Chelsea Has Been Placed Into Federal Custody – Here Are Her Statements & Other Important Info

Updated May 16, 2019

New!   May 16, 2019 (afternoon): Statement from Chelsea Manning’s Lawyers Regarding Chelsea Being Remanded Into Custody

Updated! May 16, 2019: Timeline of Developments: Chelsea’s Resistence To A Grand Jury Subpoena

RECAP PAGE FOR ALL LEGAL DOCUMENTS IN THIS CASE

Chelsea lost her Appeal in the 4th Circuit, challenging the District Court’s finding of contempt. Here’s the statement from her legal team.

To keep up with developments, please follow the Chelsea Resists Twitter feed here.      Donate to her Legal Fund here.

Updated Index:

Solitary Confinement Statement From Chelsea’s Support Committee – March 23, 2019

Chelsea is being held in solitary confinement. See the definition of solitary confinement compared to the jail’s own definition of the “Administrative Segregation” conditions under which Chelsea is being held:

Chelsea’s statement March 8th (from her Twitter account):

“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.

The grand jury’s questions pertained to disclosures from nine years ago, and took place six years after and in-depth computer forensics case, in which I testified for almost a full day about these events. I stand by my previous public testimony.

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.”

Daniel Ellsberg’s Statement of Support

From the Freedom of the Press Foundation website:

“Chelsea Manning is again acting heroically in the name of press freedom, and it’s a travesty that she has been sent back to jail for refusing to testify to a grand jury. An investigation into WikiLeaks for publishing is a grave threat to all journalists’ rights, and Chelsea is doing us all a service for fighting it. She has already been tortured, spent years in jail, and has suffered more than enough. She should be released immediately.”

Chelsea Resists Legal Defense Fund: https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/chelsea-manning-needs-legal-funds-to-resist-a-grand-jury-subpoena

Address for writing Chelsea in Jail:

Chelsea Elizabeth Manning
A0181426
William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center
2001 Mill Road
Alexandria, VA 22314

Dos and Don’ts for Writing Chelsea in Jail (IMPORTANT)

Statement from Chelsea Manning Regarding Grand Jury and Consequences Associated with Her Refusal – March 7, 2019:

Statement from Chelsea Manning Regarding Grand Jury and Consequences Associated with Her Refusal

“Yesterday, I appeared before a secret grand jury after being given immunity for my testimony. All of the substantive questions pertained to my disclosures of information to the public in 2010—answers I provided in extensive testimony, during my court-martial in 2013. I responded to each question with the following statement: ‘I object to the question and refuse to answer on the grounds that the question is in violation of my First, Fourth, and Sixth Amendment, and other statutory rights.’

“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.”

Past Statements by Chelsea & her legal and suport team:

References: (work in progress – will keep adding to this)

1. Why Chelsea Manning Decided to Go to Jail in Protest, March 8, 2019, by Dell Cameron for Gizmodo https://gizmodo.com/why-chelsea-manning-decided-to-go-to-jail-in-protest-1833164311

“Manning, whose right to remain silent was supplanted as part of the grand jury process, was subpoenaed last month in the U.S. Justice Department’s not-so-sealed investigation into Julian Assange. Her defiance of this secret inquisition, however, is not about protecting the WikiLeaks founder at all.

Manning says she is resisting because she, like many other politically minded Americans, believes grand juries are an illegal instrument designed to aide prosecutors on fishing expeditions; a tool for stripping witnesses of their constitutional rights that has been historically used against peaceful political activists by men in power who would have them labelled “terrorists” and “enemies of the state…”

“Manning’s association with WikiLeaks nearly a decade ago was dissected in exhaustive detail during her 2013 court-martial, in which all manner of evidence about her brief contact with WikiLeaks, including the transcripts of their conversations, was presented. But now she is meant to regurgitate that story based on her own flawed memories while under the threat of prolonged incarceration if she finds any reason to refuse.

“We hope she changes her mind now,” the prosecutor, Tracy McCormick, told the Associated Press.

Although Manning is constitutionally protected from double jeopardy—from being charged twice for the same crime—her political right to silence has effectively been stripped away…”

2. Chelsea Manning Fights Subpoena — Showing How Federal Grand Juries Are Unaccountable Tools of Repression – By Natasha Lennard, March 2 2019 https://theintercept.com/2019/03/02/chelsea-manning-subpoena-grand-jury/

“Manning’s decision to fight her subpoena is an act of resistance against government repression and in defense of a free press.”

 

3. Chelsea Manning’s Lawyers Say No Formal Accusation She Gave False Statements During Court Martial (By Dell Cameron For Gizmodo)

4. Court Unseals Documents Regarding Chelsea Manning Subpoena (Documents are available via Lawfareblog)

5. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Chelsea’s Appeal & Bail Motion last Monday, April 22. Here are statements from Chelsea and her team: https://www.sparrowmedia.net/2019/04/chelsea-manning-and-her-attorneys-respond-to-4th-circuit-court-of-appeals-ruling-affirming-contempt-and-continuing-her-detention/

6. Chelsea has been let out of her solitary confinement conditions (Administrative Segregation), the definition of which, is nearly identical to the UN Special Rapporteur on torture’s definition of solitary confinement.

Chelsea Manning’s May 10 Video Statement – Full Transcription

Chelsea Manning speaks from the heart in a YouTube video on May 10, 2019.
Chelsea was incarcerated for 63 days for refusing to testify to a Grand Jury.
28 of those days were under solitary confinement conditions.

See the video here.

Complete Transcription:

Good evening.

Two months ago, the federal government summoned me before a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia.

As a general principle, I object to grand juries.

Prosecutors run grand juries behind closed doors and in secret, without a judge present.

Therefore, I declined to cooperate or answer any questions.

Based on my refusal to answer questions, District Court Judge Hilton ordered me held in contempt until the grand jury ended.

Yesterday, the grand jury expired, and I left the Alexandria Detention Center.

Throughout this ordeal, an incredible spring of solidarity and love boiled over. I received thousands of letters, including dozens to hundreds of them a day.

This means the world to me, and keeps me going.

Jail and prisons exist as a dark stain on our society, with more people confined in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world.

During my time, I spent 28 days in solitary confinement–a traumatic experience I already endured for a year in prison before.

Only a few months before reincarceration, I recieved gender confirmation surgery.

This left my body vulnerable to injury and infection, leading to possible complications that I am now seeking treatment for.

My absence severely hampers both my public and private life.

The law requires that civil contempt only be used to coerce witnesses to testify.

As I cannot be coerced, it instead exists as an additional punishment on top of the seven years I served.

Last week, I handwrote a statement outlining the fact I will never agree to testify before this or any other grand jury.

Several of my closest family, friends and colleagues supported this fact.

Our statements were filed in court.

The government knows I can’t be coerced.

When I arrive at the courthouse this coming Thursday, what happened last time will occur again.

I will not cooperate with this or any other grand jury.

Throughout the last decade, I accepted full responsibity for my actions.

Facing jail again, this week, does not change this fact.

The prosecutors deliberately place me in an impossible situation: I either go to jail, or turn my back on my prisons.

The truth is, the government can construct no prison worse than to betray my conscience or my principles.

Thank you, and good night.

SB-1421; When Will We Get The Records?

By Tracy Rosenberg (Oakland Privacy and The Aaron Swartz Day Police Surveillance Project)

SB 1421 isn’t perfect…But even with its limitations, the bill provides more law enforcement personnel transparency than has been possible in California for decades.

When then-governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1421 in October of 2018, police misconduct records were expected to start flowing on January 1.

That isn’t what’s happened, although small quantities of records have started to come out from certain cities, including Burlingame, Oakland and Berkeley.

To recap, SB 1421, one in a long line of bills that for more than a decade have tried to crack open California’s restrictive police officer’s bill of rights, turned records of investigations and discipline after incidents of lethal force or sustained incidents of sexual assault, evidence planting or lying, into public records that could be gotten with a public records request.

SB 1421 isn’t perfect. It freezes records when there are internal investigations going on and when lawsuits are in progress, which can cause lengthy delays before there is public transparency. And in cases where sexual assault, perjury and evidence-planting allegations aren’t sustained internally or in a court, records will still be sealed. But even with its limitations, the bill provides more law enforcement personnel transparency than has been possible in California for decades.

Even this modest of a change was met with outrage and rebellion by many of the state’s police unions, which have relied on the obscurity of misconduct proceedings to protect member cops from accountability for the crimes they commit.

Police unions ran into court all over California, asking for stays and injunctions in San Bernardino County, Ventura County, Los Angeles, Orange County and in Contra Costa County. Because you can’t unrelease a record after it has already been released, the courts have had to issue temporary stays while considering the issue, but at the now four courts where the cases have been fully argued, Contra Costa, LA, and now Orange County and San Diego, the police unions have lost big.

Arguing that cops involved in lethal incidents or caught lying and/or planting evidence relied on their investigative hearings hidden from view has drawn skepticism from judges, who have continued to insist that the public’s right to know outweighs the police right to hide and that illegal and criminal behavior from the police is not protected behavior that the State should help to conceal.

All the lower court rulings have been appealed, so there will be a few more months of legal jousting, but in the end, the records are going to flow. At least the ones that are left, since a few enterprising police unions have been convincing their City Councils to revise document retention protocols in order to pitch them. The first and second district of the Court of Appeals have upheld the lower court decisions releasing misconduct records and the California Supreme Court has resisted every request to intervene so so far it is public records 6, police unions 0. Those results are expected to be the same in any further legal suits.

For more background on SB-1421, here are a few references:

  1. SB-1421 Peace officers: release of records. (California Legislative Information Page) https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB1421

  2. ACLU Northern California: Lifting the Veil of Secrecy: Police Misconduct & Use of Force (SB 1421) Author: Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) https://www.aclunc.org/our-work/legislation/lifting-veil-secrecy-police-misconduct-use-force-sb-1421

  3. KQED’s California Report, January 2, 2019: State Supreme Court Denies Attempt to Block New Access to Police Misconduct, Shooting Records https://www.kqed.org/news/11715442/state-supreme-court-denies-attempt-to-block-new-access-to-police-misconduct-shooting-records