back to article Freed whistleblower Chelsea Manning back in jail for refusing to testify before secret grand jury

After seven days of freedom, US Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning is back behind bars for refusing to testify before a secret federal grand jury investigating WikiLeaks. District Court Judge Anthony Trenga ordered Manning back to prison, and said she will, in addition, be fined $500 a day for the first 30 days in the clink, …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One crime.

    Am I the only one who thinks jailing someone indefinitely on a "contempt of court charge" is absurd? The refusal is one action, one crime. It doesn't happen "again" because the accused fails to change their mind or to budge. It's still the original refusal. It should only be punished once.

    I worry about how this can be used to apply a lifetime prison sentence for civil disobedience.

    1. s2bu

      Re: One crime.

      I believe that technically this one was a completely different grand jury...

      Same concern though, yes.

    2. Saruman the White

      Re: One crime.

      It is not an indefinite sentence; Manning will be automatically released in 18 months when the Grand Jury is discharged whether or not it has completed whatever it is supposed to be doing.

      1. I am David Jones

        Re: One crime.

        After 18 months she can go straight to a debtors’ prison with those levels of fines ... :(

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: One crime.

          500 USD per day, with a little bonus of USD 1000 for the (short) time she's out, between in and in, for 18 months... about USD 300,000. Plus fast mounting interest for non-payment, no doubt. Yeah, fucked for life. And I'm sure there's at least one (...) out there, keen to please his bosses, thinking "good, good, but how can we make it even WORSE to drive the message home?"

          1. Reg Reader 1 Bronze badge

            Re: One crime.

            and fines only work against the plebeians, we Patricians have no concern of those....whoops wrong website...damn that corrupt judicial system

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: One crime.

            Nah, bankruptcy is the only reasonable option.

        2. macjules Silver badge

          Re: One crime.

          I would gladly chip in to help with those fines as or if required.

          I only hope that Julian Assange appreciates and comprehends that someone is prepared to go to prison rather than testify to a grand jury in the same federal court which is formulating charges against one Julian Assange ... strange coincidence that.

          1. Claverhouse Silver badge

            Re: One crime.

            Do you have some sort of point here ?

      2. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

        Re: One crime.

        At which point they'll assign a new grand jury. Rinse, repeat.

        This is an obvious abuse of power

    3. Magani
      WTF?

      Re: One crime.

      The floggings will continue until morale improves.

    4. veti Silver badge

      Re: One crime.

      It's not a "punishment" exactly, it's meant to be coercive. It's meant to last until either she gives in, or the reason for imposing it vanishes. The flip side is that since it's not a fixed sentence, she can end it any time she chooses.

      Is it "fair"? Well, maybe not. But the word "subpoena" means "under penalty". The whole point is that if you don't comply with it, there's a price to pay for refusing.

      1. sabroni Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Is it "fair"? Well, maybe not.

        Maybe not? How about we all start with the precept that being indefinitely imprisoned, pardoned, then re-arrested indefinitely again for whistle blowing on illegal behaviour is not fair.

        Maybe my arse.

        1. Andrew Norton

          Re: Is it "fair"? Well, maybe not.

          Pardoned? who was pardoned?

          Manning's sentence was COMMUTED. That means cut. No Pardon.

          And this isn't about whistleblowing, it's about concealing evidence of crimes from the justice system. Amazingly enough, society tends to frown on those that try to hide crimes. Is it different when it's someone you like?

          1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

            Re: Is it "fair"? Well, maybe not.

            No, it's not different, but when someone does if from principle, I can't help but admiring a stance that is willing to pay the price for those principles, even if i don't sgree with them.

      2. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

        Re: One crime.

        Thus is straight up banana republic levels of abuse of power.

        If this was happening in Russia, people would be screaming to overthrow the government there

        1. macjules Silver badge

          Re: One crime.

          Well it does happen there quite a lot. And the screaming is not about overthrowing the government - more like "please don't hurt me any more".

          1. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

            Re: One crime.

            If this was happening as often as you suggest western main stream media would be all over it.

            The fact that they are not doing any reporting on that suggests that they lack the stories to do so.

            1. Marshalltown
              Pint

              Re: One crime.

              Your faith in MSM is touching.

              1. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

                Re: One crime.

                Anything that generates clicks generates income; it's all about the (wrong) incentives.

      3. Claverhouse Silver badge

        Re: One crime.

        The flip side is that since it's not a fixed sentence, she can end it any time she chooses.

        Giving in and surrendering to the evil is not a flip side.

    5. Smody

      Re: One crime.

      I want to know why the whole concept of "contempt of court" is not recognized as blatantly counter to the U.S. Constitution. A judge becomes judge, jury, and "executioner", and hands out what could become a life sentence. No trial by a jury of peers, no actual law being broken. It's insane.

    6. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

        Re: One crime.

        You do know what Manning leaked, don't you?

        1. Andrew Norton

          Re: One crime.

          Yes.

          Video footage of an already known incident (which already had a whole book chapter written about it published 6 months earlier)

          And diplomatic cables that Manning had spent 3 months trying to get a news agency interested in, but which they turned down because there was nothing newsworthy in them.

          Did you think there was something else released?

    7. Marshalltown

      Re: One crime.

      It appears that the "indefinite" nature of the sentence along with the seriousness of the issue means that Manning or her attorney can demand a jury trial for the contempt charge itself. The maximum sentence for contempt is limited to no more than would be expected for a petty offense - ca. six months maximum. The fine alone exceeds the "petty offense" limit. For a federal "petty offense" the jail term is not more than six months and the fine $5,000 maximum - or both, naturally. So the judge is way, way past any "reasonable" reaction to the refusal.

    8. RealWhistleBlower

      Re: One crime.

      Manning never was a whistleblower - he was a thief who due to his gender identity issues had a beef with the Army and stole massive amount of highly classified information just because he could - now as to being jailed for refusal to testify - they can keep her in jail for as long as that grand jury is in session - she should still be in Leavenworth, but this was one of President Obama's few big mistakes!

  2. raving angry loony

    Between the whole "secret trials", the ability of their police to confiscate anything even if there's no crime proven, their willingness to overthrow democratic governments to protect the profits of their corporations, and their unilateral decisions to murder innocents in other countries without any consequences, I guess the USA really doesn't actually believe any of the propaganda they've been busy slamming around for 50 years. They're just another pirate, and not even a dashing one.

    Also find it rather hypocritical how one person gets thrown in jail indefinitely for refusing to testify, but others with better connections (ie: certain people close to Trump) are simply argued with when they refuse to testify.

    1. seven of five
      Big Brother

      some people just don´t understand, Mr Loony, let me explain once more to you:

      The US is THE GOOD GUYS. If they are forced to questionable actions it is ALL YOUR FAULT. And you need to be punished for it. You had it coming, after all. And you can end it anytime, just do as they say (it is the US, after all, and not some third rate dictatorship). So stop being difficult, and stop these questions before they have to start questions as well. You would not like them asking questions.

      Democracy and freedom is as they do, everything else is terr´sm. Under god, ecetera.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        you forgot to mention that he's a "useful idiot" for voicing his "extremist views", or simply a Kremlin troll. And so am I, what else? :(

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Secrecy...

      A Grand Jury is not a trial - it's an outdated institution, but still it's not a trial.

      Secrecy in this kind of situation is really a double edge sword. On one side it can be needed to protect witnesses (who otherwise could fear too much, or be intimidated). On the other side it hinders transparency.

      Anyway, in this case it's just a red herring. The real issue for Manning is avoiding to witness under oath - knowing the consequences.

      After all, WikiLeaks has its secrets as well....

    3. Lee D Silver badge

      "others with better connections (ie: certain people close to Trump) are simply argued with when they refuse to testify."

      Who didn't testify when issued a demand to do so?

      Because as far as I know, all the demands resulted in someone testifying. Maybe not what you wanted. Maybe not answering every question to the detail they desired. Maybe just saying "No, I will not provide that". But they testified.

      You can testify without having to accede to responding to every question in the positive. You testify and say "No, I won't tell you that." or "No, I don't know." or "No, I couldn't say what he said with certainty". But *not* testifying when requested is just dumb.

      Same way that failing to appear before court will see you arrested.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Aodhhan

      Nobody close to Trump refused to testify before a grand jury. If you're referring to someone refusing to testify before a Congressional committee; this is something completely different. Perhaps you should reread the Constitution, and learn about the different authorities between the 3 branches of government.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What happened to the 'right to silence'?

    Looks to me as if the US government, notoriously vindictive against people who have embarrassed it, is using this loophole to effectively give her a life sentence, with continuous fines.

    Also, doesn't the US have a Fifth Amendment granting them the right to silence?

    No wonder Assange (for all that he is a giant arsewipe) is understandably worried about what will happen if they get their hands on him for any reason.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: What happened to the 'right to silence'?

      It's not a life sentence, it's a sentence that she can end at a moment's notice any time she wants.

      And the Fifth Amendment says that you can't be compelled to testify against yourself. Implicit in its very existence is the assumption that you absolutely can be compelled to testify against anyone else. This is what that "compulsion" looks like.

      1. JJKing Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: What happened to the 'right to silence'?

        My understanding is she was granted immunity (in the secret Grand Jury) from prosecution and as a result cannot use the 5th. Can someone more knowledgeable than confirm this?

        1. Andrew Norton

          Re: What happened to the 'right to silence'?

          This is correct in that immunity was granted.

          It's not correct that it's a 'secret grand jury', it's just a bog standard Grand Jury, which is closed to public spectators. There are transcriptions made, and released to the defense.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: What happened to the 'right to silence'?

      Manning could still stay silent, or answer "I don't know" or "I don't remember". Just, everything would be under record.

      Anyway, if courts could not issue subpoenas, summons, or the like, those able to intimidate witnesses the most would win.

      Remember that the Law has to protect your Rights, but Rights comes also with Duties....

      1. Aodhhan

        Re: What happened to the 'right to silence'?

        Manning can't get away with a lot of the "not remembering" things, when she spurts and tweets out comments referring to the past. Also, it's likely... many items are about clarifying evidence--such as emails. A bit tough to say you don't remember.

        Finally, if you don't remember something... and then have an interview or tweet out something about the incident at a later date, you'll then be subject to lying before a grand jury which comes with a hefty sentence if convicted. Realistically, if you don't fess up something in a grand jury, you're basically gagging yourself on the subjects for the rest of your life. Or if the individual(s) later confesses or another witness provides information which then implicates you, you've lost a huge chance to defend yourself; perhaps even lost the ability to cross examine.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: What happened to the 'right to silence'?

        "Anyway, if courts could not issue subpoenas, summons, or the like, those able to intimidate witnesses the most would win."

        The Grand Jury isn't really a court. It's part of the investigative process. If the prosecutors are thinking about prosecuting someone they should make up their own minds instead of roping in some citizens (how are they chosen, BTW?) to decide in secret. If they were to decide they have a case let them put it on, issue a subpoena and let her refuse or testify in open court as she sees fit.

      3. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

        Re: What happened to the 'right to silence'?

        This is the simplest answer, one adopted by pretty much everyone: assert you do not recall to any question, do so consistently, and your principles are safe.

        ("I don't remember" is slightly tougher if you do actually remember. But "I do not recall" is distinct from "I cannot recall" in that the non-recalling may be because of forgetfulness or volition (I could, but I won't).

        There's plenty of precedent for this tactic, including (starting at the top) the 41st President of the United States. If he can do it, so can she.

        People can also fuck with the system by answering in the form of questions ("Q: Who did it? A: Was it Tony Trenga? No... wait.... it could have been... no, sorry, I don't recall"). This eventually discourages the prosecutor because the testimony delivered is deliberately confusing to the jury. You can also wait until you're in the jury room, everybody's waiting, and then refuse... of course, it's back to jail, but who can say that you didn't have a legitimate change of mind (twice)?

        But she's grandstanding. I suspect she has less interest in avoiding testifying than in making the point that she's not testifying.

      4. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Andrew Norton

      Re: What happened to the 'right to silence'?

      The 5th amendment is only the right to remain silent to avoid self incrimination.

      Manning was given immunity from prosecution for things arising from testimony. Now there's no interest in self preservation to compete with the interests of justice, so manning therefore can't claim self-interest and can only claim desire to conceal a crime.

      unsurprisingly courts frown on attempting to conceal a crime.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: What happened to the 'right to silence'?

        It is utterly bizarre that people can be forced to act as a witness in preliminary investigatory proceedings (for that is what a Grand Jury is), on pain of prosecution.

        1. Andrew Norton

          Re: What happened to the 'right to silence'?

          yes, it's incredibly 'bizzare' that we set up a system of justice that doesn't let anyone who feels like it keep quiet (or be intimidated into quiet) or to hide evidence of wrongdoing.

  4. david 12 Silver badge

    No, the USA does not have an ammendment giving people the right to refuse to be witnesses in court.

    I could explain more, but why bother? If you were interested in being correct, you could look up in Wikipedia: since you're talking through your ass, having it explained in words of 4 letters isn't going to help.

    1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

      We all know Wikipedia is a bastion of absolute truth and fact ... so that was a well considered comment then.

    2. Jorge_The_Custard_Stripper

      Tough day buddy?

  5. bombastic bob Silver badge
    FAIL

    You live by political correctness/favoritism, you die by the LACK of it

    just saying Pvt Manning would have been treated COMPLETELY DIFFERENT (by the press, in particular) had the sex change NOT happened...

    Pvt Manning, enjoy your stay at the IRON BAR HOTEL!

    And next time, show up and plead the 5th or something. You can be compelled to APPEAR, and go to jail for FAILING to appear, yet you can STILL remain silent when you DO finally appear, and "plead the 5th".

    So STOP TRYING TO MANIPULATE PEOPLE (in particular SJWs) INTO FEELING SORRY FOR YOU. It's a SICKENING display...

    1. localzuk

      Re: You live by political correctness/favoritism, you die by the LACK of it

      Woah there bob, easy with the caps.

      What has this got to do with her transition? Nothing at all. Just makes you look like a bigot bringing it up IMO.

      I'm not sure what your argument is either. Her view is that secret grand juries are undemocratic and wrong, and as such she refuses to recognise them as legitimate and is willing to suffer the consequences of that belief. Its a principled stance, and its her prerogative to hold it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You live by political correctness/favoritism, you die by the LACK of it

        That is Bombastic Bob, of course she/he is a bigot, you may not have seen her/his previous posts on similar subjects.

        I just hope that this is an online persona that she/he created for trolling purposes and she/he isn't like this IRL.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: You live by political correctness/favoritism, you die by the LACK of it

          Bombastic Bob

          Judging by his past comments, he wouldn't have a problem with Sharia law being imposed, together with the draconian punishments.

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: You live by political correctness/favoritism, you die by the LACK of it

      She can't plead the fifth unless she can claim to be in legal jeopardy herself. Since she's already served her time over this episode, that could be a tough sell.

      Personally I think she doesn't mind being in jail, as long as it means she also gets to be a martyr and a cause celebre. It's going to jail that's made her famous, and kept her in the headlines. For some people, that must feel like a worthwhile trade.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: I think she doesn't mind being in jail

        because if you had, for one second, to actually consider what it's like for her you'd realise how bigotted and thoughtless your position is.

      2. Andrew Norton

        Re: You live by political correctness/favoritism, you die by the LACK of it

        its nothing to do with 'having served the time already', it's a great claim by Manning that its just the same thing as from the court martial, but it isn't

        The reason manning can't plead the 5th is that the prosecutor granted immunity. it's about *different* stuff that what a JAG lawyer specifically asked about in relation to specific charges a few years ago.

    3. jmch Silver badge

      Re: You live by political correctness/favoritism, you die by the LACK of it

      "yet you can STILL remain silent when you DO finally appear, and "plead the 5th"."

      IANAL but my understanding is that since grand jury is not a 'real' court, you are not allowed to 'plead the 5th'. My understanding is that her refusal to testify has nothing to do with incriminating herself, it's a protest against the secrecy of the court.

      She COULD go to the court and answer 'I don't know / remember' to everything but that wouldn't work as a protest, and the very fact that we're chatting about it at all shows that she is getting the exposure she wanted for her protest.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You live by political correctness/favoritism, you die by the LACK of it

        So if a grand jury is not a 'real' court, yet has the power to fine suspects, or witnesses, does that make it effectively a kangaroo court?

        If so, why would anyone with principles have any respect for it?

      2. Andrew Norton

        Re: You live by political correctness/favoritism, you die by the LACK of it

        You're wrong.

        You can plead the 5th amendment protection against self incrimination in a Grand Jury.

        Unless you have immunity from prosecution, at which point there is no possibility of self-incrimination, and so the 5th amendment protection can not be invoked.

        1. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: You live by political correctness/favoritism, you die by the LACK of it

          That doesn't make sense to me. Immunity from prosecution doesn't mean you can't incriminate yourself, it just means that you wont be prosecuted for doing so. The fifth amendment should surely thus still apply - this is a criminal case, and she is being asked to bear witness against herself.

          1. Andrew Norton

            Re: You live by political correctness/favoritism, you die by the LACK of it

            actually, it does mean you can't incriminate yourself. As in you can not be prosecuted for it, so how can you be incriminated by it?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They really don't want her to be free

    ever!

    She really needs a new legal team to file writ after writ of Habeous Corpus on her behalf.

    Otherwise they'll just keep issuing subpoenas to appear for grand jury after grand jury for the rest of her natural and beyond if possible.

    At least while Turnip Head is POTUS. IANAL and all that jazz.

    1. localzuk

      Re: They really don't want her to be free

      Indeed, that's my thought - this is permanent punishment in action. What is to stop the government forming these grand juries over and over again, demanding her compliance? What if she does testify but they're not happy with her answers, will they just create a new grand jury again? At what point does it become the equivalent of vexatious litigation?

    2. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: They really don't want her to be free

      Do they even have Habeas Corpus in the States ?

      We mustn't mix up legal systems.

      1. Swarthy Silver badge

        Re: They really don't want her to be free

        Yes, the US has Habeas Corpus. We were taught that the US (more-or-less) invented Habeas Corpus.

        We have ALL of the bodies!

    3. Andrew Norton

      Re: They really don't want her to be free

      They already tries that.

      the appeals court threw it out with a 'lol, you just pass the bar?' kinda statement.

  7. Danny 2 Silver badge

    She has some balls on her

    I mean no offence, I'd say that about any woman who took such a brave stance. My utter respect for Chelsea.

  8. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    The US gubbermn't can't win this.

    From what I've read about her, it seems to me that Manning is highly principled and absolutely unafraid of anything the US can throw at her. One can only hope that ultimately she will become a beacon of, and a rallying-point for native activism that will show those retards in the White House what people power really means. Still, it's highly amusing to watch because the only thing the petulant and childlike US government will do is to make a martyr of her. But as usual, they are too stoopid and arrogant to realise or be able to backtrack.

    If I could afford it, I'd pick up her legal costs. All of them.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    secret grand jury on the grounds that they are undemocratic

    Reality in the world's leading democracy: to be sentenced to indefinite (effectively) prison and unlimited (effectively) fine by claiming that a secret grand jury is undemocratic :/

    1. Andrew Norton

      Re: secret grand jury on the grounds that they are undemocratic

      grand juries are closed, they're not secret.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: secret grand jury on the grounds that they are undemocratic

        Thanks for the semantics. That's really helpful. /S

        You must be a lawyer.

        1. Andrew Norton

          Re: secret grand jury on the grounds that they are undemocratic

          No. and it's actually a big difference.

          In "secret" only a few select people know what's going on, usually not the defense.

          In a closed court, just the general public can't.

          In a grand jury, it's members of the public that make it up, and there's a stenographer, who records what happens in court and everything. Just not open to the public.

          So it's a CLOSED court , not a 'secret' boogie-man court.

          And no, not a lawyer, just someone that bothered to read up on how things work.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: secret grand jury on the grounds that they are undemocratic

            >No. and it's actually a big difference.

            Not that big a difference to the public at large.

            From what I've read, I don't see a need for the grand jury in a first world legal system; either the prosecutor has the evidence they need to put a case before a REAL court and jury or they don't.

  10. Blofeld's Cat

    Hmm ...

    I find it very refreshing that someone is prepared to both accept and deal with the consequences of their actions, rather than simply blaming everyone else.

    1. Jay 2

      Re: Hmm ...

      Yes. I'm sure there's a some-time acquaintence of Manning's also currently locked up who could learn something from that.

      1. Claverhouse Silver badge

        Re: Hmm ...

        Sending Mr. Assange into the Maw would not be good for this defendant, Assange or us.

        It is extraordinary how many pompous moralists hate and revile the fellow, to the extent of a sickly pretence he should 'pay for his [alleged] crimes' to satisfy their own twisted lusts for subservience and obedience to power.

        Solzhenitsyn knew these people well.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There are two sides to this

    On the one hand, there is someone going to prison on principle, but on the other had exists the fact that there was a duty to secrecy, and thus no authorisation to hand off secrets to an uncontrolled third party. The latter offence has been amplified since by the blatant political stance of Wikileaks, we must discount that as he/she/it committed the act before this became abundantly clear but it does illustrate the risk of disclosure.

    Subpoenas are not issued lightly. If you break the law and your oath, you will face consequences. Those consequences can be lessened or even removed if your actions were to the benefit of society (the whistleblower principle and associated protection), but unauthorised disclosure is and remains a crime.

    As for people being influenced by change os sex/skin colour/political affiliation/haircut - I don't think the treatment would have been much different. The crime of disclosure is what matters, not the shade of lipstick in play. Does it have influence? Yes, probably, judges and juries are still just humans, but I think that detail falls away against the nature of the crime.

    Objectively, the law was broken in an area where it is known that such has severe consequences. There's no point complaining about that afterwards, about the only mitigating aspect is that is was done very naïvely* on behest of someone else whose behaviour is not exactly going to earn him bonus points either now he's behind bars. That may lessen the crime, but it does not erase it.

    * One has to ask why this naïvity was not picked up during initial screening. IMHO, someone who can be so easily led up the garden path should not be allowed near anything important unless it was false information.

    1. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: There are two sides to this

      This person was already sentenced --- to 35 years --- under the Obama admin, and then pardoned after 7 years. So any debt to justice has already been paid, and any such wittering on about that crime is redundant.

      1. Andrew Norton

        Re: There are two sides to this

        not pardoned, sentence commuted. very different things.

        1. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

          Re: There are two sides to this

          Yes, only real (war) criminals like Elliot Abrams get a pardon.

          Whistle blowers of war crimes get a commuted sentence (if lucky)

  12. Lee D Silver badge

    "It is telling that the United States has always been more concerned with the disclosure of those documents than with the damning substance of the disclosures."

    Indeed.

    It is.

    But note that "the United States" here not only refers to the government of said country, but to its citizens too. Nobody is up in arms about it. It made the news, it died off, that was it. Nobody cares (generally speaking, of course there are people who care).

    That's why they can continue, because nobody's really surprised, shocked, or even disappointed... the average American or indeed their allies just don't care about that.

    That's my problem with all the Wikileaks stuff - they claim it's ground-breaking, world-changing, risk-your-life-for stuff and - actually - nobody cared. Was it really worth whistleblowing for the response obtained? And doing so so badly and amateurishly (trusting Assange, for a start, not to mention just chatting about doing it with random people online). Same with Snowden, Assange himself, etc. was it really worth it? All they've done is taught every whistleblower to shut their mouths because hardly anyone will back them, and the full force of the law will descend on them, until they are living under Russian "hospitality", imprisoned after exile inside an embassy, or imprisoned indefinitely.

    Not to mention "refusing to testify" is the most ridiculous thing ever (are you listening Mr Trump?). You testify. You note your objection at the start (about whether or not you think it's a kangaroo court) and then you testify everything you're willing to. You co-operate. Because in no other circumstance are you ever going to see daylight.

    You're not being asked to lie. You're not being asked to arrest Assange personally. You're not even being asked to drop him in it. You can refuse or deny certain knowledge if you like. That's what people do, even in the full face of the cameras, in such things. But "not testifying" is just going to hurt you and only you, and hurt bad, and for a long time.

    1. Claverhouse Silver badge

      So, really no-one should do anything ever...

      For some people evidently the Berlin Wall will never fall; the KGB/CIA is the Sword & Shield; and the Politburo cannot err.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "That's what people do, even in the full face of the cameras, in such things."

      You've unwittingly pointed to the crux of the matter. The whole point is that this isn't "in the full face of the cameras", it's a secret hearing process that other parts of the civilised world realised some time ago shouldn't be used. Read the article and you'll find that that's exactly what she's objecting to.

      Testifying in open court is something else entirely. The defendant is aware of the process and can challenge the evidence. The Grand Jury is a secretive, one-sided process with all the coercive powers of a court and none of the safeguards.

    3. Andrew Norton

      Probably the reason no-one cared, was because nothing Manning leaked was new or groundbreaking.

      Manning tried for MONTHS to get a news agency interested in the cables. no-one cared, because there's nothing in them but routine minutiae, with no wrongdoing.

      What about the video? Well, yes, the edited version looks bad; the unedited version less bad though (and thats the reason it was edited). Now, who remembers what the focus was on when it came out? That's right, it was on the 'callousness' of the pilots, and their language. You know why it wasn't that this happened at all? Because Reuters reported on it happening in 2007, two weeks after it occurred. Hell, it was even covered in depth in a book, including transcripts of the audio, released September 2009 - 6 months before manning got hold of the video.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        The unedited version of the "collateral murder" video is in no way any less bad than the edited version, it just cuts out a lot of chatting back and forth. In the end it's still a US helicopter killing 2 unarmed reporters from a very long way away with absolutely no accountability or oversight.

        1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

          imanidiot's name is appropriate. It's a video of a US helicopter killing four or five of heavily armed insurgents and two unarmed reporters half a mile or so from a running battle, which was subsequently investigated and the investigations findings being published.

          The mistake the pilots made was misinterpreting the shape of a long lens with the shape of an RPG. The group had both long lenses and RPGs (and AK rifles). Had they not confused the lens with an RPG, they'd probably have let troops on the group shoot at the insurgents.

          1. Cederic Silver badge

            So to recap, you think that shooting unarmed reporters, their bodyguards, the wounded unarmed reporter lying on the ground and the children in the van sent to provide medical aid is perfectly ok?

            I don't.

  13. Aodhhan

    Almost humorous reading the posts

    ..especially from non-citizens who think they know the USA's legal system. What posts show, is they don't know much about it at all.

    A grand jury isn't just used to determine if a trial should be held, it's also used to determine if a trial SHOULD NOT be held.

    Many times, a grand jury investigation shows the innocence of those connected with the case.

    So you may think she's brave--many believe she isn't upholding her duty as a citizen.

    Something you may think of, when you're an innocent bystander in a crime, a witness knows this beyond a doubt but refuses to testify (maybe they don't like you, or are afraid, or hate the government, etc.). So now, investigators start ripping through your life looking for evidence; talking to friends, family, coworkers, bosses, etc. Even if you're eventually absolved of any crimes, you'll go thru hell and perhaps lose a good job and/or good friends, etc. Certainly if it becomes public, people will judge you and look at you differently. You may never find good work again.

    Just look at the posts. If you think courts are unfair... look at how fair public opinion is. So many people making comments without knowing the whole truth.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Almost humorous reading the posts

      "A grand jury isn't just used to determine if a trial should be held, it's also used to determine if a trial SHOULD NOT be held.

      Many times, a grand jury investigation shows the innocence of those connected with the case."

      Wouldn't a non-secret hearing with the defendant able to challenge evidence be a better way to establish innocence? On this side of the pond we decided that and abandoned the institution. Instead the prosecution have to make up their minds as to whether they have a case.

      Committal proceedings are held in open court with the accused able to challenge the prosecutions evidence. It serves the same end as that for which you praise the Grand Jury but is open and fair. It's more likely to achieve the end of deciding whether there shouldn't be a full trial than a secret one-sided, outmoded kangaroo court. Some of your non-citizens are quite familiar with the alternative; some of us have even taken part in that process. Some of us think that it's a more civilized option.

      1. Andrew Norton

        Re: Almost humorous reading the posts

        no, because then it becomes a trial, with all the preliminary expense.

        The point of a grand jury is to determine if there's probable cause of a crime.

        That's the bar, "probable cause". No exculpatory evidence. is there evidence that a crime has probably been committed?

        The uk got rid of it, and just replaced it with the prosecutor deciding on their own.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Almost humorous reading the posts

          "The uk got rid of it, and just replaced it with the prosecutor deciding on their own."

          We have committal proceedings before a magistrate. That precedes any full scale trial. How do I know? I've given evidence in such hearings. They serve the same purpose as the OP described for the Grand Jury but without the secrecy and one-sidedness and with a magistrate making the decision.

          1. Andrew Norton

            Re: Almost humorous reading the posts

            Committal hearings were abolished in the UK, the 28th will be the 6th anniversary of that.

            In the US, there are something like a committal hearing, called a Preliminary Hearing.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the fictional goodguys

    Its the US so lots of misguided evil then later a feel good Hollywood movie of the noble decent human being that took them on etc etc.

    Its going to be a busy 2030s with various Trump dramas and comedy's ,plus Manning, Snowden and Assange vehicles.

    No doubt oliver stone is thrusting himself into the mix but so many subjects,which one,which one?

    Hope Trump lives to see and enjoy the inevitable movie exaggerating his degeneracy. And I hope the rest of us can still see the joke.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Forced suicide

    The criminals Manning exposed never had charges pressed against them. Manning went to jail, and back and back. This is what happens if you work for a government and have some moral compass. They will drive Manning to suicide (like field solders that saw the oil/opioid business end of the wars) . I don't like it, but it is what is going on.

  16. JaitcH
    FAIL

    Simply Illustrates How Petty The US Government ...

    can be.

    Nice to meet someone who stands on principles in these days of crooked presidents and politicians (and judges).

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's HE, HE, HE

    Bradley Manning, in wartime, would have been shot for what he did - and rightly so.

  18. WereWoof

    The Rockford files, season 3, Episode 7 - So Help Me God went into some length about the injustice of the Grand Jury system, It`s gives an interesting insight to the Chelsea Manning case,

  19. Colin Bain

    Whistleblowers always suffer

    In terms of trusting the system/Grand Jury, given that Manning has, from her pov suffered greatly, there is little trust in the system. To her either way, she will be punished somehow. Even if theoretically she won't, in practice she will and has.

    If the stuff she revealed was in the public domain and so worthless, this just highlights the inequity of her treatment.

    As Private Eye often reveals, whistle bowers suffer, because people in power who do wrong things themselves, are embarrassed and can't stand it. So they use their power to crush the whistleblower. Even Doctors, who arguably are some of the most powerful in society.

    Bullies win, those who stand up lose. No matter how many cutesy stories we get form well meaning, but wrong, teachers etc

    1. Andrew Norton

      Re: Whistleblowers always suffer

      you're trying to equate the general, with the specific.

      We knew about the incident, we didn't know some of the details.

      It's the same as we know your name, we don't know all your details. You may say you have a credit card, you don't tell the word the number, etc.

      You can post a picture of yourself, but that's not the same as me using your photos to construct a model to use for facial recognition systems.

      Your partner may have a baby, you may even announce it, doesn't mean I get "speculum priviliedges, does it?

      You see the difference between the general and the specific?

  20. jack d
    Headmaster

    Very troubling

    We cannot agree on Chelsea's stance and motives and her tactics, because we all have different opinions ourselves and there is yet no legislation that we all have to be like one. What is not stressed enough is the behaviour and actions of the judge. They clearly show by him imposing improportionate, punitive fines, that it is not justice this "jury" is after, but low revenge on those who dare to question criminal actions of those in power. This "jury" is an abuse of democracy by those who should be its champions.

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