Former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning has been sent to jail – again – for refusing to testify to a grand jury.
A judge on Thursday ordered Manning back to the Alexandria Detention Center until she agrees to testify to a grand jury investigating Wikileaks or until the grand jury term expires in 18 months.
Manning, 31, has already served two months in jail but was released last week when that grand jury term expired.
Judge Anthony Trenga was not impressed with her rationale and said that jail time may cause her to reflect differently on the issue.
Manning told the judge that she would ‘rather starve to death’ than change her opinion.
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Former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning (pictured Thursday) has been sent to jail – again – for refusing to testify to a grand jury that is investigating WikiLeaks and founder Julian Assange
Judge Anthony Trenga was not impressed with her rationale and said that jail time may cause her to reflect differently on the issue. Manning told the judge that she would ‘rather starve to death’ than change her opinion
Judge Trenga also ruled that if Manning does not comply with the grand jury subpoena after 30 days she will be fined $500 a day.
The fine would go up to $1000 a day if she continues to refuse to testify after 60 days.
Just before she was ordered back to jail Manning declared that she would rather stay in jail forever than testify before the grand jury.
Manning, who spent seven years in military prisons for leaking US military and diplomatic secrets to WikiLeaks in 2010, said she would not bow to the threat of another contempt sentence.
‘No matter what happens today, whether I am placed in confinement or not, I’m not going to comply with this grand jury,’ she told journalists outside the Alexandria courthouse before she was sent back to jail.
Manning, was recently released from an Alexandria jail after spending two months there on contempt of court charges.
She has accused the government of seeking to revive her original court martial case. Manning said prosecutors were unhappy over her 2017 pardon by president Barack Obama.
‘The goal here is really to relitigate the court martial. They didn’t like the outcome — I got out.’
Manning was called early this year to testify to a grand jury – a panel investigating major crimes that operates in secrecy – about her work with Assange and WikiLeaks nine years ago.
She said the government was abusing the grand jury process and refused to testify, saying she had answered all the questions years before anyway.
A judge found her in contempt and on March 8 she was jailed indefinitely.
She was released last week when the grand jury’s mandate expired, and was called to testify before a new one on Thursday which she said was seeking answers to the same set of questions.
Manning was released on May 7 from a northern Virginia jail after 62 days in custody for contempt. Following her release, Manning said President Donald Trump’s administration wants ‘to go after journalists’ while being interviewed on CNN
Following her release, Manning said President Donald Trump’s administration wants ‘to go after journalists’.
Manning was interviewed by CNN’s Brian Stelter on Sunday on Reliable Sources after she spent 62 days at the Alexandria Detention Center.
‘This administration clearly wants to go after journalists,’ Manning told Stelter.
‘I think that if the administration gets its way as it’s laid out in repeated statements — like, “the media is the enemy of the people” kind of thing — you know, then I think that we’re going to see the national security journalists and a lot of disruptive, for this administration, press — we’re probably going to see indictments and charges.
‘Whenever a journalist makes a misstep, I think that they are put on notice now that the FBI and the Department of Justice are going to go after them on administration’s behalf.’
While she was not at liberty to discuss the specifics of the investigation, she indicated that it also was a probe of Assange and WikiLeaks’ actions in 2010.
The US Justice Department has asked Britain to extradite Assange to stand trial in the United States for ‘conspiracy’ in advising Manning on breaking into a restricted US government computer.
Assange, now committed to a British prison for a year and also facing an extradition effort from Sweden, asserts that he is a journalist with the right to publish purloined secrets.
Manning, a transgender woman whom supporters call a whistleblower, said the new grand jury case is meaningless since the Justice Department already unveiled its charges against Julian Assange (pictured in April)
Manning, a transgender woman whom supporters call a whistleblower, said the new grand jury case is meaningless since the Justice Department already unveiled its charges against Assange.
‘The case doesn’t make sense, it’s very bananas,’ she said. ‘Ultimately this is an attempt to place me back into confinement.’
Manning served seven years in a military prison after being convicted by court martial under the Espionage Age for leaking more than 700,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks.
The documents exposed cover-ups of possible war crimes and revealed internal US communications about other countries.
Sentenced in 2013 to 35 years in prison, she was released in May 2017 after the commutation of her sentence by Obama.
Assange was removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in April, where he had been seeking asylum for seven years. He was arrested for a long-standing charge of skipping bail related to Swedish sexual assault charges.
Manning (pictured in April) was called early this year to testify to a grand jury about her work with Assange and WikiLeaks 9 years ago
He was found guilty in April of breaking those bail conditions, and sentenced on May 1 to 50 weeks in jail.
After Assange was taken into custody, it was later revealed that a US grand jury had indicted Assange in March of 2018 on conspiracy charges related to his alleged involvement with Manning in cracking a military computer system’s password.
The US began its extradition case against Assange on May 2.
Last week, Manning’s lawyers filed court papers arguing that she should not be jailed for civil contempt because she has proven that she will stick to her principles and won’t testify no matter how long she’s jailed.
Federal law only allows a recalcitrant witness to be jailed on civil contempt if there’s a chance that the incarceration will coerce the witness into testifying.
If a judge were to determine that incarcerating Manning were punitive rather than coercive, Manning would not be jailed.
‘At this point, given the sacrifices she has already made, her strong principles, her strong and growing support community, and the disgrace attendant to her capitulation, it is inconceivable that Chelsea Manning will ever change her mind about her refusal to cooperate with the grand jury,’ her lawyers wrote.
Manning filed an eight-page statement with the court on May 6, outlining her resolve.
She wrote that ‘cooperation with this grand jury is simply not an option. Doing so would mean throwing away all of my principles, accomplishments, sacrifices, and erase decades of my reputation – an obvious impossibility’.
Manning also said she was suffering disproportionately in jail because of physical problems related with inadequate follow-up care to gender-reassignment surgery.