Chelsea Manning's statement on the occasion of her release

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/05/10/jail-or-conscience.html

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This went from “potentially quite admirable stand” to “there are too many states, please eliminate three” territory right quick.

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Jesus Chelsea, get in a car, drive north and apply for refugee status here in Canada.

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Room empty for Don Jr…

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There are ham sandwiches who have gone to prison who would agree with her assessment. It’s not a kooky idea.

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Whether you see her as hero or criminal, you have to admire that she holds true to her principles.

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This Canadian concurs. The U.S. is fast becoming a banana republic.

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You actually don’t. I mean, many millions of people have been exterminated by other people holding true to their principles. Anti-abortion people are holding true to their principles. Donald Trump is holding true to his principles of being a scumbag. Lots of horrible shit is done by people holding true to their principles. So no, you don’t.

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Actually Chelsea Manning is being put in prison for breaking a law that everyone is compelled to follow. Does Canada never jail people for violating court orders? Really?

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Probably in “I either go to jail, or turn my back on my prisons”, the last word should have been “principles”?

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Canada does not have grand juries anymore, in fact the only country other than the US that still has them is that hallmark of justice and probity Liberia. Canada has preliminary hearings instead, and there is regular talk of getting rid of them too.

Originally intended to protect against malicious prosecutions, in the US they have to a degree mutated into a vehicle precisely for what amounts to malicious prosecution.

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People can be compelled to testify in open court. Trials can be partially in camera, eg. juvenile cases. I don’t know whether anyone has been jailed for refusing to testify in camera (like US grand juries).

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Just because an idea is new to you doesn’t make it a crackpot theory. Think of it as an opportunity to learn. Here, I’ll give you a head start:

The Grand Jury as the Prosecutor’s Administrative Agency - Harvard Law Review
Grand Juries: Wasteful and Pointless - Editorial by Chief Judge of New York State
Should The Grand Jury Be Abolished? - American Law Library
Grand Jury Resistance Project

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While this may indeed be true (and I appreciate you making these valid points), it still does not negate that:

• Grand juries are law in the USA

• They have been for a very long time

• Manning saying she doesn’t respect Grand Juries is frankly the same logic that can be used for violating any law that a person doesn’t agree with.

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The law is made by dead people, and it’s up to the living to change it. And the normal way that happens is a few brave people stop following it, then some more, then more, and then at some point in the process the legislative body ratifies the change that has already been initiated.

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Manning saying she doesn’t respect Grand Juries is frankly the same logic that can be used for violating any law that a person doesn’t agree with.

This is the principle underlying civil disobedience. Laws are created by people, and powerful people at that, and therefore are not always just or morally correct. Purposely violating an unjust law is therefore a tactic that has been successfully used to challenge and ultimately overturn these laws. Think of the civil rights movement as an obvious example. Chelsea Manning has gone to prison every time she’s been ordered to do so, so it’s not like she’s advocating anarchy. She’s following a long tradition of protest by refusing to comply with a law she finds immoral and accepting the consequences of that decision.

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She can move to Britain too. Her mother is Welsh so she can legally claim citizenship assuming she doesn’t already have it.

I know it’s not ideal, if I wasn’t living in Britain already I wouldn’t choose to move here, but it is an option.

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Well if Britain were somehow to remain in the EU she could subsequently move to a memberstate of her choice.

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And sometimes it is right. Imagine a world where Rosa Parks followed the law and always gave up her bus seat. It’s not a world I want to live in.

There are valid reasons why activists don’t respect Grand Juries. They are often used to split left wing groups with fear and distrust.

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She might be safer from the US Government, as a US citizen and resident.

(see also: Julian Assange)

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