Chelsea Manning’s advocates are decrying what they they see as the Trump administration trying “to punish an outspoken whistleblower” following the revelation that she’d been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury.
“Chelsea gave voluminous testimony during her court martial. She has stood by the truth of her prior statements, and there is no legitimate purpose to having her rehash them before a hostile grand jury.”
—Chelsea Resists support committeeThe demand to appear before a federal grand jury on March 5, the New York Times reported, “was issued in the Eastern District of Virginia and comes after prosecutors inadvertently disclosed in November that Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has been charged under seal in that district.”
There were “multiple reasons to believe that the subpoena is related to the investigation of Mr. Assange,” Times added, including that fact that it came from federal attorney for the Eastern District Gordon D. Kromberg, who previously argued successfully for the federal government that the criminal charge against Assange should stay sealed.
“Moreover,” the Times continues, Manning said that
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Mr. Kromberg has told her lawyers in vague terms that prosecutors wanted to talk to her about her past statements. During her court-martial, Ms. Manning delivered a lengthy statement about how she came to copy archives of secret documents and send them to WikiLeaks, including her online interactions with someone who was likely Mr. Assange.
As such, the subpoena, according to journalist Glenn Greenwald, “shows that the Trump DOJ—as they’ve repeatedly vowed—is extremely serious about prosecuting WikiLeaks & Assange for publication of documents, which would pose a grave threat to press freedoms.”
The newly-created Chelsea Resists support committee, meanwhile, argued that by “serving Chelsea Manning with a grand jury subpoena, the government is attempting once again to punish an outspoken whistleblower for her historic disclosures.”
“Grand juries are notoriously mired in secrecy, and have historically been used to silence and retaliate against political activists,” the committee added. “Their indiscriminate nature means the government can attempt to artificially coerce a witness into perjury or contempt. Chelsea gave voluminous testimony during her court martial. She has stood by the truth of her prior statements, and there is no legitimate purpose to having her rehash them before a hostile grand jury.”
The support network, which notes that Manning “risked so much for public good,” is raising funds to support her legal defense fund.