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After being imprisoned for seven years under draconian conditions which twice drove her to suicide, whistleblower Chelsea Manning has again been thrown behind bars for defending government transparency. Manning has been jailed in contempt of court after refusing to testify before a grand jury related to Assange and WikiLeaks, saying she "will accept whatever you bring upon me."
"Chelsea can be incarcerated for the remainder of the grand jury [up to 18 months], and the term of the grand jury can be extended by six months," Manning's attorney Moira Meltzer-Cohen told Business Insider.
"Note that Manning is not jailed as a 'punishment'," WikiLeaks tweeted. "She has formally been jailed to 'coerce' her into testifying against our journalists (including Assange) for publishing the truth about the US government. She will remain in jail until she breaks and complies or wins on appeal."
tomorrow i'm facing a sealed contempt hearing for refusing to testify at a secret grand jury over my 2010 disclosures
Chelsea E. Manning (@xychelsea) March 7, 2019
Manning responded to all of the grand jury questions by saying, "I object to the question and refuse to answer on the grounds that the question is in violation of my First, Fourth, and Sixth Amendment, and other statutory rights." Manning explained her decision in the following statement:
"I will not comply with this, or any other grand jury. Imprisoning me for my refusal to answer questions only subjects me to additional punishment for my repeatedly-stated ethical objections to the grand jury system. The grand jury's questions pertained to disclosures from nine years ago, and took place six years after an in-depth computer forensics case, in which I testified for almost a full day about these events. I stand by my previous public testimony. I will not participate in a secret process that I morally object to, particularly one that has been historically used to entrap and persecute activists for protected political speech."
Manning's defense team further explained her objection to being forced to testify:
"Due to their secretive nature and limitless subpoena power, the government has utilized grand jury processes as tools for garnering information about movements by questioning witnesses behind closed doors. Since testimony before grand juries is secret, grand juries can create fear by suggesting that some members of a political community may be secretly cooperating with the government. In this way, grand juries can seed suspicion and fear in activist communities."
Daniel Ellsberg, who like Manning is one of the greatest American whistleblowers of all time, made the following statement upon Manning's arrest:
"Chelsea Manning is again acting heroically in the name of press freedom, and it's a travesty that she has been sent back to jail for refusing to testify to a grand jury. An investigation into WikiLeaks for publishing is a grave threat to all journalists' rights, and Chelsea is doing us all a service for fighting it. She has already been tortured, spent years in jail, and has suffered more than enough. She should be released immediately."