Court Finally Releases Chelsea Manning After Suicide Attempt

I have previously objected to how the Justice Department uses grand juries to punish certain individuals who refuse to cooperate with federal investigations. This concern was heightened during my representation of Dr. Sami Al-Arian who signed a plea bargain with the understanding that, after serving his time, he would be allowed to leave the country. Instead, he was forced before a grand jury and remained in jail for years as a matter of contempt. The Justice Department often prolongs the incarceration while piling on fines to ruin individuals who refuse to cooperate. That was the case with Chelsea Manning. Like Al-Arian, she had already served time for her role in the Wikileaks controversy but the remainder of her sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama. The Justice Department proceeded to pull her before another grand jury where she refused to testify (like Al-Arian). After a long incarceration and an equally excessive 256,000 in fines, she finally tried to kill herself this week by hanging in the Alexandria jail. Only then did U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga finally order her release.

In a 2019 letter to the judge, Manning objected to the grand jury probe as “an effort to frighten journalists and publishers, who serve a public good.” Given her long prior sentence and the presidential commutation, Manning refused to testify under a guarantee to immunity because she viewed the effort as an attack on press freedom.

Judge Trenga rejected her prior pleas to be released for 10 months. After the suicide attempt, he finally relented but refused to lift the massive fines against Manning. Trenga simply noted that the grand jury had been disbanded so there was nothing to coerce at this time in terms of testimony: “The Court finds that Ms. Manning’s appearance before the Grand Jury is no longer needed, in light of which her detention no longer serves any coercive purpose.”

The Manning case (like Al-Arian’s) should compel Congress to take another look at how the grand jury system is used for retaliatory and punitive purposes by the Justice Department. One does not have to agree with the views or the actions of either Manning or Al-Arian to view these cases as abusive.

Courts clearly are not exercising much discretion under these current rules governing contempt cases. The result is that prosecutors can impose excessive levels of incarceration and fines on individuals by daisy-chaining grand juries (as with both Manning and Al-Arian). This is an area of abuse that has been ignored by Congress for too long. Prosecutors know that there is little political benefit for Congress to seek reforms when the subjects of the cases are so unpopular. The result has been unchecked authority to impose unjust and unwarranted levels of punishment through the federal contempt rules.

60 thoughts on “Court Finally Releases Chelsea Manning After Suicide Attempt”

  1. If you want some truly insightful commentary regarding Manning go read the posts at Emptywheel. Manning was taken in front of the grand jury before attempting suicide. So was one other person. Very interesting what the prosecutor said to the other person.

    Such details are not being reported in the mainstream press. Or by Turley.

  2. “Everyone should respect @AndrewGillum’s privacy as he explains why he was one of three men in a hotel room w 3 bags of meth, too impaired to talk to first responders,” Gaetz tweeted. “I know what you’re all thinking – this is not very COVID-19 hygienic.”

  3. “Help Chelsea Manning Pay Her Court Fines”

    https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-chelsea-pay-her-court-fines

    $114,283 raised of $256,000 goal

    “*Note: This is the official campaign raising funds for Chelsea Manning’s legal fines.

    This campaign is being organized by her friend Kelly Wright. Funds raised here will be used only to pay legal fines, and will be held in trust for this purpose alone.

    Either way, every penny will go towards these fines.*

    Chelsea E. Manning is a network security and artificial intelligence expert, and activist. She is a former military intelligence analyst and political prisoner.

    Chelsea was incarcerated at Alexandria Detention Center for nearly a year, due to her principled refusal to testify before a federal grand jury investigating the publishers of her 2010 disclosures. She was also fined $1,000 for each day she refused to testify, and those fines now total approximately $256,000.

    On March 12, 2020, Judge Anthony Trenga ordered Chelsea Manning’s release after the apparent conclusion of the grand jury, but he further ordered that she pay $256,000 in fines that had accumulated over the course of her confinement.

    Chelsea does not have the means to come up with over a quarter million dollars on her own, and is exhausted from this ordeal, and can really use your help repaying these fines.”

    1. “U.S. Soldier on 2007 Apache Attack: What I Saw”

      https://www.wired.com/2010/04/2007-iraq-apache-attack-as-seen-from-the-ground/

      Excerpts:

      1) Ethan McCord had just returned from dropping his children at school earlier this month, when he turned on the TV news to see grainy black-and-white video footage of a soldier running from a bombed-out van with a child in his arms. It was a scene that had played repeatedly in his mind the last three years, and he knew exactly who the soldier was.

      In July 2007, McCord, a 33-year-old Army specialist, was engaged in a firefight with insurgents in an Iraqi suburb when his platoon, part of Bravo Company, 2-16 Infantry, got orders to investigate a nearby street. When they arrived, they found a scene of fresh carnage – the scattered remains of a group of men, believed to be armed, who had just been gunned down by Apache attack helicopters. They also found 10-year-old Sajad Mutashar and his five-year-old sister Doaha covered in blood in a van. Their 43-year-old father, Saleh, had been driving them to a class when he spotted one of the wounded men moving in the street and drove over to help him, only to become a victim of the Apache guns.

      McCord was captured in a video shot from one helicopter as he ran frantically to a military vehicle with Sajad in his arms seeking medical care. That classified video created its own firestorm when the whistleblower site Wikileaks posted it April 5 on a website titled “Collateral Murder” and asserted that the attack was unprovoked. More than a dozen people were killed in three attacks captured in the video, including two Reuters journalists, one carrying a camera that was apparently mistaken for a weapon.

      McCord, who served seven years in the military before leaving in the summer of 2009 due to injuries, recently posted an apologetic letter online with fellow soldier Josh Steiber supporting the release of the video and asking the family’s forgiveness. McCord is the father of three children.

      2) Personally, I believe the first attack on the group standing by the wall was appropriate, was warranted by the rules of engagement. They did have weapons there. However, I don’t feel that the attack on the [rescue] van was necessary.

      Now, as far as rules of engagement, [Iraqis] are not supposed to pick up the wounded. But they could have been easily deterred from doing what they were doing by just firing simply a few warning shots in the direction…. Instead, the Apaches decided to completely obliterate everybody in the van. That’s the hard part to swallow.”

      3) I’ve lived with seeing the children that way since the incident happened. I’ve had nightmares. I was diagnosed with chronic, severe PTSD. [But] I was actually starting to get kind of better. … I wasn’t thinking about it as much. [Then I] took my children to school one day and I came home and sat down on the couch and turned on the TV with my coffee, and on the news I’m running across the screen with a child. The flood of emotions came back. I know the scene by heart; it’s burned into my head. I know the van, I know the faces of everybody that was there that day.

      4) Wired.com: Civilians are supposed to know that they’re not supposed to pick up a wounded person crawling in the road?

      McCord: Yeah. This is the problem that we’re speaking out on as far as the rules of engagement. How is this guy supposed to [decide] should I stop and pick them up, or is the military going to shoot me? If you or I saw someone wounded on the ground what is your first inkling? I’m going to help that person.

      Wired.com: There was another attack depicted in the video that has received little attention, involving a Hellfire and a building that was fired on.

      McCord: I wasn’t around that building when it happened. I was up on a rooftop at that time. However, I do know some soldiers went in to clear that building afterwards and there were some people with weapons in there, but there was also a family of four that was killed.

      I think that a Hellfire missile is a little much to put into a building…. They’re trained as soldiers to go into a building and clear a building. I do know that there was a teenage girl [in there], just because I saw the pictures when I was I was there, that one of the soldiers took.

      Wired.com: Do you support Wikileaks in releasing this video?

      McCord: When it was first released I don’t think it was done in the best manner that it could have been. They were stating that these people had no weapons whatsoever, that they were just carrying cameras. In the video, you can clearly see that they did have weapons … to the trained eye. You can make out in the video [someone] carrying an AK-47, swinging it down by his legs….

      And as far as the way that the soldiers are speaking in the video, which is pretty callous and joking about what’s happened … that’s a coping mechanism. I’m guilty of it, too, myself. You joke about the situations and what’s happened to push away your true feelings of the matter.

      There’s no easy way to kill somebody. You don’t just take somebody’s life and then go on about your business for the rest of the day. That stays with you. And cracking jokes is a way of pushing that stuff down. That’s why so many soldiers come back home and they’re no longer in the situations where they have other things to think about or other people to joke about what happened … and they explode.

      I don’t say that Wikileaks did a bad thing, because they didn’t…. I think it is good that they’re putting this stuff out there. I don’t think that people really want to see this, though, because this is war…. It’s very disturbing.

  4. After reading an account of King Donald’s tardy press conference, once again a stay in St Elizabeth’s is indicated.

    — David B Benson

  5. The only thing worse about being a conflicted gay man who acts 24/7 seeking attention like Manning, is a black gay man hiring a gay male escort whilst married to a woman and having 3 children with her.

    Gullum should have his nuts castrated and perhaps offered to Bradley Manning or Peter Shill / Seth Warner / John Burgoyne / Enoch Poor / Paintchips / WTF

    😉

    Oh but its perfectly alright for a liberal black failed Democrat politician to do crystal meth with a hired bodybuilder gay escort because …..reasons…

    https://newsone.com/3911667/travis-dyson-contradicts-andrew-gillum-methamphetamines-report/

    Who Is Travis Dyson? Andrew Gillum’s ‘Friend’ From ‘Methamphetamines’ Hotel Incident Speaks Out
    Dyson’s name was plastered across social media with unconfirmed reports that he is a known male escort in the Miami area.

    One of the men inside a hotel room with Andrew Gillum during a suspected crystal meth incident at a Miami Beach hotel early Friday morning has reportedly contradicted the former Tallahassee mayor’s side of the story. Travis Dyson, 30, was with Gillum and another man inside of the hotel room when the Miami Beach Fire-Rescue arrived at the scene to treat Dyson for a possible overdose, according to an official police report.

    Gillum, a former Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Florida, released a statement claiming that he drank too much while attending a wedding with some friends and denied ever using methamphetamines.

    According to Jessica Lipscomb, a reporter for the Miami New Times, Dyson told her that “Gillum did not mention anything about a wedding.”

    “I personally was not celebrating a wedding,” Dyson said after the Miami New Times called him at his home around noon on Friday. “I don’t know if [Gillum] was in town for a wedding. He did not mention that,” Dyson said.

    Dyson added that he and Gillum have “been friends for a while.”

    Gillum is a married father of three.

    After the news broke, Dyson’s name was plastered across social media with unconfirmed reports that he is a known male escort in the Miami area. The Travis Dyson who was being referenced in those reports appeared to have social media accounts — including this Facebook page — that seemed to verify the reports. An Instagram page credited to Travis Dyson was reportedly made private on Friday. Its avatar showed a photo that was similar to the photos from the Facebook page.

    Robert Littlal from Black Sports Online referred to it as an alleged “Male Orgy Crystal Meth Overdose Situation.”

    One of the men in the hotel room, Aldo Mejias, told officers that he gave Dyson his credit card information Thursday afternoon to book a hotel room for the evening. The men were supposed to reconvene later that day. Mejias reportedly told officers that when he arrived at the hotel room around 11 p.m. Thursday night, Dyson opened the door, collapsed on the bed and began regurgitating. Mejias said he gave Dyson CPR and called the paramedics. He also said that while giving Dyson CPR, Gillum was in the bathroom, vomiting, according to the report.

    Officers attempted to speak with Gillum but were unable to “due to his inebriated state.” Miami Beach Fire-Rescue said they returned to the hotel a second time to do a “welfare check” on Gillum, who authorities said by that time was stable and had normal vitals.

    According to the police report, officers found three small baggies of “suspected crystal meth,” which were located on the bed and floor in the hotel room. The suspected drugs were taken as evidence, Miami’s Local 10 reported.

    1. Why is Crazed Idiot allowed to post such garbage?? Is this why dates and time no longer accompany each comment???

      1. LMAO

        You were baited, played and mocked all at the same time

        Youre just jealous it wasnt you in the room with the hot gay escort since everyone on Grindr in West Hollywood has blocked you

  6. Speaking of Bradley Edward Manning and a stymied, encumbered and impeded military bizarrely charged with social engineering and the research and development thereof:

    Nancy Pelosi, House democrats and RINO’s violated ethics and fundamental law in their threats against the power of the President and the Commander-In-Chief.

    Nancy Pelosi, House democrats and RINO’s committed treason against the United States by “…adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.” America is in a war and a proxy war with Iran exhibiting clear, present and open hostilities which have resulted in the deaths and injuries of American citizens and American soldiers and military personnel. Democrats and RINO’s in Congress have directly and formally adhered to de facto enemies of the United States and given them aid and comfort by passing the War Powers Resolution on Wednesday, March 11, 2020.

    Congress cannot nullify the power of the commander-in-chief to command American military forces and Congress cannot absolve the President of his duty to provide for the safety of American citizens and the security of America without amending the Constitution. Abraham Lincoln unconstitutionally initiated and prosecuted the Civil War against a sovereign foreign nation for nearly four months without any resolution by Congress and for four years without the necessary formal Declaration of War by Congress.
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________

    Article 3, Section 3

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

    The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attained.
    ___________________________________________

    “Congress passes war powers resolution limiting Trump’s authority to attack on Iran”

    WASHINGTON — Defying a veto threat, Congress has approved a bipartisan measure to limit President Donald Trump’s authority to launch military operations against Iran.

    – AP, March 11, 2020
    _________________

    “House Sends Trump Bill to Restrict War Powers on Iran, Setting Up Veto”

    By Catie Edmondson, March 11, 2020

    The House gave final approval on Wednesday to a bipartisan resolution aimed at forcing President Trump to get explicit approval from Congress before taking further military action against Iran, in a bid by lawmakers to reassert congressional war powers that is all but certain to be thwarted by a presidential veto. The vote, 227 to 186, amounted to a rare move by Congress to claw back its authority over matters of war and peace from a president who has a penchant for unilateral action and little patience for consulting with lawmakers. It lands a jab at Mr. Trump as he attempts to confront the growing outbreak of coronavirus, more than two months after he moved without congressional authorization to kill Iran’s most important commander. Mr. Trump has threatened to veto the legislation, arguing that it is unnecessary because the United States is not currently engaged in any use of force in Iran, and that it would send “a very bad signal” of weakness to Iran. The Senate passed the measure last month in a bipartisan vote, but neither that resolution nor the one that was approved on Wednesday drew the two-thirds majority support needed to override a veto. Still, lawmakers argued on Wednesday that action to curtail the president’s war-making authority was not only necessary, but urgent to stop the erosion of Congress’s wars powers.
    “We do not authorize the president’s reckless actions, nor have we provided authorization for the use of force against Iran,” said Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts. The administration’s justification for the January strike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, he continued, “has been about as clear as mud.” As lawmakers pressed the White House in the weeks after the strike for a legal justification for the killing, the administration offered a series of shifting explanations, first maintaining that the president acted in response to an imminent threat, and later giving lawmakers an unclassified memo that asserted it was “in response to an escalating series of attacks in preceding months” by Iran and Iran-backed militias. On Wednesday, Republican lawmakers defended Mr. Trump and the strike, and in scorching terms accused Democrats of attempting repeatedly to undermine the president’s rightful powers as commander in chief. “Iran and its proxies are watching right now as we spin our wheels,” said Representative Michael McCaul of Texas, the top Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee, adding that they would see a “divided” Congress. “Now is not the time to tie our commander in chief’s hands.”
    _______________________

    “US-Led Airstrikes Underway in Iraq; Retaliation Against Iran-Backed Group That Killed Americans”

    By Katie Bo Williams Senior National Security Correspondent Read bio, March 12, 2020

    The United States carried out airstrikes in five locations across Iraq against the Iran-backed militia group that killed two Americans and one U.K. medic on Wednesday, according to multiple U.S. officials and confirmed by the Pentagon Thursday night. The operation targeted weapons storage facilities that “housed weapons used to target U.S. and coalition troops,” according to a Defense Department statement. “These strikes were defensive, proportional, and in direct response to the threat posed by Iranian-backed Shia militia groups who continue to attack bases hosting coalition forces,” the department said. “These terror groups must cease their attacks on U.S. and coalition forces or face consequences at a time and place of our choosing.” Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, hinted in testimony earlier Thursday that Wednesday’s attack was conducted by Kata’ib Hezbollah, the same Shia militia group that attacked another Iraqi military base in December, killing an American contractor. “The Iranian proxy group Kata’ib Hezbollah is the only group known to have previously conducted an indirect fire attack of this scale against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq,” McKenzie said.
    ____________

    “Iran retaliates for Gen. Soleimani’s killing by firing missiles at U.S. forces in Iraq”

    Jan. 7, 2020
    By Courtney Kube and Doha Madani

    Iran retaliated for the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani by firing more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi air bases housing U.S. forces on Wednesday local time. Washington and Tehran both confirmed that Iran was the source of the missiles. The extent the damage was unclear. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the strikes were a “slap in the face” to the U.S. and not sufficient retaliation for the killing of Soleimani, a top general, last week.

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