Chelsea Manning is going back to court tomorrow: you can help her by writing to the DoJ

Originally published at:


Ms Manning knows how to do hard time. This pointless incarceration is pure spite.


Reposted from last Chelsea Manning post:

I can’t applaud Manning’s actions without a better understanding of her rationale for not testifying.

She has already been convicted of these crimes and served her time. She cannot be re-convicted for them. She has no Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination - and she isn’t being asked about her own actions, anyway.

And the gravity of the inquiry is extreme: Manning is being asked to testify about WikiLeaks, which, as we know from the Mueller Report, actively cooperated with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election - a crime for which the entire nation is suffering.

By refusing to testify, she is withholding evidence that the government could use to prosecute criminals and protect the country from further attacks. As best I can tell, her sole reason for not wanting to testify is that she doesn’t want to. So I don’t really much difference between her behavior and Don Jr.'s, who also deserves to be in prison for numerous criminal acts - including contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena.

The main difference is that whereas the Trumps violating the law to enrich and empower themselves and to protect themselves from incrimination, Manning’s motives seem to be… spite, I guess? I don’t understand.


Ms. Manning’s U.S. Constitutional Rights are being violated, plane and simple. If you needed any further evidence of why we all as Americans must oppose at every turn this tRump administration, there it is. You could be next.


Okay, let me put this another way.

Imagine there’s this guy, we’ll call him Hero, who proclaims himself a vigilante moral crusader - like, a protector of undocumented immigrant families, fighting against the tyranny of ICE and such. He gains some populist support, including the ability to recruit some help, including a well-intentioned teenager. Let’s call her Heroine.

Heroine assists Hero in moving families to safe houses, and in the process she learns about some of Hero’s contacts and methods, which she keeps locked in her personal safe at home.

Well… bad news: Hero isn’t so heroic. Turns out his shtick of nobly protecting vulnerable immigrants is a cover for a human trafficking operation.

The moment his cover is blown, Hero flees the country. Heroine is not so lucky. She’s arrested and charged with accessory to a multitude of crimes. Her claims of good intentions are insufficient to exonerate the consequences of her actions. She is imprisoned, though pardoned after several years.

There’s still the matter of the safe. Hero’s operation is still operational, and law enforcement is working to bust it up and round up his gang. Heroine has crucial information, and a judge grants a search warrant.

Only Heroine knows the combination. She faces no legal jeopardy by turning over the information - she’s already served her time.

But she’s not telling. And she won’t say why she’s not telling - not exactly. She offers largely incoherent explanations about the corruption of the legal system and the tyranny of the government. So the information remains hidden in Heroine’s safe and Hero remains beyond the reach of the law.

How do you feel about Heroine’s choice?


That could be a great analogy, except it doesn’t match up with the facts in scope or degree, nor the opinion of Manning herself, who happens to be the one deciding her own fate. I’m not saying I agree with anything she’s done or did, but if I were in her shoes I would make the same choice.

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Well, that question was answered in the last thread (and I suspect it came up in the one before that and will no doubt come up again).

Direct statement from her support committee explaining why:


So you do know why and your question was just JAQing around.

Fair enough. More fool me.


Which ones?

Required reading for all US citizens.

I’m somewhat familiar with it, which is why I was asking. Again, which of her constitutional rights do you think are being violated?

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Then you have some reading to do, have a good day.

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My question was a serious one–as I said, I’m somewhat familiar with the Constitution from my work as a lawyer, but I’m unaware of any constitutional privilege that might apply here. So I was hoping you might have some insight that I was missing.

I’m unaware of the First Amendment offering any shield against compulsory testimony in a court proceeding; and I believe her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination isn’t implicated because she’s been granted immunity (and has already been convicted of and served time for the underlying crime). Contempt is necessarily within a court’s power and the contemnor can remedy the contempt herself by testifying, which, if I remember right, rules out deprivation of liberty without due process of law. Is there a substantive due process doctrine (or something else) that applies here?

Generally speaking, it’s pretty important for courts to be able to find facts. It’s going to be key in getting to the root of Trump’s corruption, for example. Ms. Manning seems to have had decent motives in making the American people aware of the details of the Iraq and Afghan wars. Reasonable people can and do disagree over whether she did the right thing in releasing everything she released. But in any event, sympathy for her motivations does not mean her rights have been violated any more than mere disgust with her actions would make her guilty of a crime.


She could also help herself by, you know, complying with the subpoena in an ongoing matter of real relevance and national security.

Because that, as lawyers say, is what the Subopoena is for.

mcsnee up there is a lawyer (I’m just a son-on-a-barrister) and they have it right: If you think Barr has to comply with a subpoena, so too does Manning. And if you think either don’t, then that’s not how a just, fair and equitable system of laws works. Ms. Manning knows things the courts want to know, and her silence is only protecting the guilty.

(Note: I’m not uncaring about Ms. Manning’s solitary, nor am I asserting that the prosecution is always right, here; it’s just that either we have the rule of law or we do not, and I for one far prefer the former to crossbow-anarchy and chaos.)

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Yes, it does come down to ones own opinion, and your’s is valid, as mine is. Where precisely her / Ms. Manning’s constitutional rights are being violated? I’d start with Due Process, and then mosey over to Cruel and Unusual Punishment. Likely we won’t agree on this, so have a nice day.

Due Process Clause:

The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution each contain a due process clause . Due process deals with the administration of justice and thus the due process clause acts as a safeguard from arbitrary denial of life, liberty, or property by the government outside the sanction of law.[1] The Supreme Court of the United Statesinterprets the clauses more broadly, concluding that these clauses provide four protections: procedural due process (in civil and criminal proceedings), substantive due process, a prohibition against vague laws, and as the vehicle for the incorporation of the Bill of Rights.

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Uh, “Escalation to force compliance” is in fact what our justice system is about. People are asked to comply with our laws, and, if not, penalized. Christ, that’s even how JURY DUTY works. Ms. Manning’s ‘principles’ are, clearly, protecting the guilty and blocking investigations: She can cooperate, or she can keep acting like a criminal and keep being treated like one.

Oddly enough you don’t mention judges in this process anywhere.

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You see, you were sounding pretty reasonable until you started putting things in quote marks.

You and mcsnee are quite right, she has no legal grounds to refuse to testify (or more accurately to refuse to testify except under conditions congenial to her, i.e. in public).

She does however have the same right everyone has to refuse to comply and take the consequences.

Which have duly sent her back to prison.