What comically bad coverage. How do you write an article about someone having objections to something (esp of this magnitude) without explaining what their objections are nor what that thing even is?
I have nfi what a grand jury is without further research, so neither do 90% of people reading the article. Probably because explaining it alone outs it as a ridiculous, self-evidently awful system, and CNN wouldn't want to do that.
The last time I linked to a WaPo article on Chelsea Manning (the last time she was jailed) a mod changed the link so if you find a more informative article you can always post a link and it might be changed.
I don't actually find this to be vastly different in content than the OP but it does seem to give a little more exposition and a little less in terms of boilerplate statements from the attorneys.
Here are some cherry-picked excerpts:
> Manning has offered multiple reasons for refusing to testify, but fundamentally says she considers the whole grand jury process to be unacceptable.
> [The judge] said he hopes that while incarcerated “Ms. Manning would reflect on the principles she says she’s embracing ... and whether those views are worth the price she’s paying for them.”
> Manning herself told the judge directly: “I would rather starve to death than change my principles in this regard.”
We only assume that this grand jury is about Julian Assange (because what else would Chelsea's testimony be relevant for?), but we actually don't know. This could be a political witch hunt for any variety of reasons, and we might never find out. An opaque justice system is probably not a good thing, since we just have to trust that the people in charge will do the right thing- and we have seen countless times throughout history that the people in charge often do the wrong thing and attempt to cover it up.
We'd only never find out what her testimony was about if Manning, who as a witness is under no secrecy requirement, never said anything.
And we'd never get an idea of the broader context of the grand jury only if no indictment was ever issued by that grand jury (or an indictment was issued under seal and never unsealed and prosecuted).
With a grand jury it is illegal to discuss anything, so a one sided smear campaign during a grand jury can lead to an indictment and Chelsea would have no opportunity to offer her side of the story without risking more jail time.
No, it is not; grand jury secrecy rules apply to attorneys, court officials, grand jurors, and government staff to whom material is disclosed to assist attorneys, but not to witnesses called before the grand jury.
So, actually, not only would Manning be allowed to present her side of the story, no one with actual knowledge of her time before the grand jury would be allowed to contradict it.
We seem to have completely lost our way at this point, I thought jail was to protect the public not persecute political prisoners to build trumped up charges against your enemies and journalists in general. It feels like we’ll be really lucky if our rights and freedoms survive over the next little time and Chelsea Manning is at the forefront of this atrophy. It doesn’t seem very easy to save them especially with the politicisation of the Supreme Court.
How do we fight these things?
The integrity of the grand jury process, which is itself an essential protection of the integrity of the criminal justice system, is a public interest that needs protected.
> It feels like we’ll be really lucky if our rights and freedoms survive over the next little time and Chelsea Manning is at the forefront of this atrophy.
If her assault on the grand jury system were successful, yes, Manning would be at the forefront of the atrophy of key rights.
> How do we fight these things?
By vigorously defending the grand jury system, which protects people's names from being dragged through the mud attached to serious federal criminal charges without vetting of probable cause in a process in which government agents are obliged to secrecy against attacks like those Manning is making.
Because distrust of government is lower in other common law countries than in the US, and the grand jury process is an outside check on government.
> Because secret trials are wrong
Grand jury proceedings are not trials, they are a hoop the government has to jump through before getting to file charges, much less reach a trial.
That seems very very wrong.
Manning is in jail because she has a different idea of right and wrong than the judge does. That wouldn’t matter at a cocktail party, but in this case the judge has the power to punish Manning until she changes her mind about what the honorable thing to do is.
There is no judge present in a grand jury hearing. The only reason Manning was in front of a judge was that her lawyers argued that the prosecutor was using the grand jury incorrectly. Since Assange has already been indicted, there isn’t much sense in collecting additional evidence from Manning.
To be honest, that argument sounds plausible to me. The judge rejected it, and ordered Manning to testify or be held in contempt. Sadly, since the news reports generally ignore Manning’s legal arguments, they also ignore the details of the judge’s order.
I can think of a couple of possibilities: (1) Assange isn’t the only target (I think this is unlikely, but possible), (2) the prosecutor intends to file additional charges against Assange (I think this would be likely in a case without extradition, but extradition complicates things), (3) Manning’s lawyers are simply wrong about the limits on grand juries, or (4) the prosecutor may well be doing something wrong, but the judge can always fix it after the fact and Manning is obligated to play along for now. I really would like to know why Manning’s request was denied. All I can say right now is that she’s in contempt because she refuses to testify in front of the grand jury knowing that she won’t be charged with any more crimes related to the matter and knowing that Assange has already been charged.
This reasoning does not make sense. The bar for indictment is not "100% of all available evidence must have been collected". One can and should collect (and subsequently present) additional evidence until the closing arguments are presented. No case is ever a "sure thing". One is wise to continue to reinforce it throughout the entire process.
“According to [a spokesperson], Manning’s lawyers maintain that, since the grand jury is only an investigative tool and cannot be used by prosecutors to prepare for trials, the subpoena for Manning ‘represents an improper and impermissible use of the grand jury process.’”
Apparently the judge disagreed with that argument, but I can’t find any reports on the judge’s reasoning.
There's no secret court involved. But, yes, grand jury proceedings are secret to protect the integrity of the system as an honest probable cause filter for serious charges, which is an important public check on government and protection of the potentially accused.
The law is the law is only an argument if you're willing to always take it to it's full logical conclusion, so my question to you was, if this judge was ordering you to do something you felt was morally horrifying, such as for example sterilizing someone without their consent (as has been done in the past), would you accept it and do it?
If something is unjust, it must be complained about directly. In your example it is reasonable to complain about the law mandating sterilisation, but it is unreasonable to complain that a judge is requiring people to follow the law.
I don't really see how to get worked up about the publicly available information. The real issue is that the US government seems to have avenues available where it may be able keep not just the indictment process but also the trial itself secret; given all the damage done to the legal system in the hysteric response to 9/11 which will now be employed on people who are terrorising the US government.
I'm going to preempt anyone trying to say say that the FISA court system is not for cases like Wikileak's by pointing out that nobody knows what that court system is used for in practice. It is secret.
It has been argued for a VERY long time that grand juries (which is why she can be put in jail repeatedly like this) are unjust. Many states do not even use them because of it. Grand juries get special privileges, like compelling people to testify without lawyers, or through double jeopardy as is the case here.
Many states do not use them because they prefer to subject people to public accusation of crime without the filtering process of a grand jury up front, but instead with a preliminary hearing after the fact (and therefore after the harm of the public accusation is realized.)
> Grand juries get special privileges, like compelling people to testify without lawyers, or through double jeopardy as is the case here.
That's not a special privilege, regular courts do the same thing, whether when conducting a preliminary hearing instead of grand jury indictment or at other points in the process: witnesses, unlike defendants, have no right to representation by counsel.
Ignoring a judge, purposefully and with premeditation, is not going to earn anyone reduced punishment. It is contempt of court.
Again, if the law has ethical problems it is reasonable to put up a bit of a struggle. Just don't complain about the justice system is somehow doing anything unexpected - the problem sits with the lawmakers.
The law or rather the judges make judgement calls all the time. Does someone get bail? Does this person hide something? Is this interpretation by a lawyer sound? What mitigating circumstances should be considered in a judgement?
It's not like people ask for something unprecedented here and the law up until now was some mechanical process that always lead to the same outcome.
The fact that this has to be explained shows how sheltered and naive some people are
If they're not happy they can move to a low law enforcement country, apparently it would be the paradise for them (except for the fact you'll probably be robbed most often than not, still)
> If they're not happy they can move to a low law enforcement country, apparently it would be the paradise for them (except for the fact you'll probably be robbed most often than not, still)
Haha, yeah, because of high law enforcement the USA is a paradise where no violence or robberies take place. I don't know about robberies, but there's a lot less violence in my country than in yours where shootings are regular.
Would still rather my nation have fairer law enforcement practices.
Sufficient enforcement is not a guarantee of lower crime rates
And again, it's a bit of lack of knowledge of how things work in the 3rd world
A normal legal system will have criteria of legality for what a court can demand, if not a clearly defined list of what it can and can not demand.
In US, well, a judge can demand you to stand on your head in the courtroom... and you will have to do that!
US has a history of people being hit with contempt of court for things being borderline silly.
My business law prof was a lawyer who began his career as a trial lawyer in USA, and then moved to Canada. One of reasons he said made him drop it was him feeling despair every time he saw judges spending court breaks smoking with prosecutors, and giving him a gawking look when they saw him looking at them. He said he felt that judges and prosecutors were pretty much teaming up on poor defendants, and that he had to fight courts as much as the prosecution side.
He was one of defence lawyers for black rights movement, panthers and poorer black people, during seventies. He was one of youngest lawyers around back then, and he ended up defending such cases because nobody more senior in the defence lawyer community wanted to take upon such "hopeless" cases.
How would you not call such legal system a joke? How can it pretend having any decorum?
It may be, she's doing her small part to change something in the future. Her actions will be remembered. They already are by many people. And it's a bit myopic to just focus on "contempt of court" part.
Everytime Manning comes up, it just reminds me that US is still murdering people around the world without any justification or verification of who was killed in most cases, while the system is focussing on punishing her further - instead of trying to improve and save innocent lives.
I bet that to disclose hideous crimes would be unanimously seen as a morally acceptable act by the majority of the people.
The problem is not in the leaking act itself, the problem is the contents of the leaks.
But of course that's not what has happened. Most of the people involved walk free having been pardoned or not even charged at all. Especially at the top level nobody suffered any consequences.
Manning is in jail because high ranking politicians want her to be there. Judges are doing as they are told here.
That's pretty much what all CEOs and such do when they are testifying.
It would in many ways be the only honest answer. The facts in question are almost a decade ago now. Chelsea is now in many senses a different person. The fine details of her comments could result in the execution of another person.
Anyone who is confident of the fine details from events ten years ago before experiencing a multitude of bad experiences is probably significantly overconfident in their recollection.
But that's one silly law that judge can compel you to talk but you can easily weasel your way out of it by saying things that might be true and give no information.
I think such law shouldn't exist as it can only harm only truthful, principled people but can do nothing to any wrongdoer.
For example, if I have a piece of paper - Exhibit A, that demonstrates you were at a certain place at a certain time, that’s definitely valuable evidence but at trial opposing counsel could call into question the source of the document, chain of custody, or a number of other issues to contest its accuracy and/or validity. But if I have you on the stand and show you that piece of paper and you say, on the record, that it does seem like you were there, now I have Exhibit B - a record of your testimony, at the very least admitting the document seems legitimate and reliable. But most jurors would take your statement as pretty close to an admission.
Exhibit B is highly valuable because it’s almost impossible for your lawyer to contest.
As entertainingly frustrating as Sackler’s deposition was his responses were indeed some of the least valuable he could have possibly provided. I’m sure that was part of his legal team’s preparation for the meeting. “If that’s what it says then that’s what it says” is a meaningless tautology. But keeping up that sort of response throughout an entire line of questioning is difficult even in a deposition and takes a certain amount of IDGAF attitude that Sackler clearly has in spades. A deposition is also a bit different from the grand jury testimony Chelsea Manning would have given because a deposition isn’t a courtroom proceeding. Responses like Sackler’s wouldn’t fly if he were in front of a Judge.
In court, she could just invoke the Fifth Amendment, but I don’t know whether that applies to grand jury proceedings, especially since the grand jury isn’t investigating her and she’s already served time for any crimes she committed.
Also, if she were lying she could be charged with perjury.
Also, why would you want to focus on punishment rather than rehabilitation? The vast majority of those imprisoned are of no danger to society, and the way the US (and most other countries) focus on punishing someone for making a mistake greatly increase the chance that they'll continue to break the laws in the future and become a burden to society.
I never stated any such opinion either for or against.
Judges in America have an egregious amount of power.
In this instance, however, Chelsea Manning has been given immunity from prosecution -- meaning she can't "plead the Fifth".
Fair or not, this is an interesting stand to take.
By even showing up, you are putting yourself at risk from people thinking you snitched.
I’d be interested in reading your proof of this, because I’m fairly certain you just made this up.
At least they're competent, right? Except the part where they accidentally leaked secret information with cut and paste errors of court documents, that was pretty Mr Bean.
That is why Justice can get away with it. They should be prevented completely from being able to use these tactics. The outrageous fines, the outrageous costs to defend against them which even some well off cannot afford, and the use of the press to twist the message to their liking.
Until we realize that everyone deserves the same treatment we will never change the system.
It's impossible to fine someone someone per DAY while they are refusing to testify where I live; you can probably do it ONCE, you probably give them a jail sentence, but you cannot perform this arm-wrestling torture thing.
Grand jury proceedings are kept secret, but they aren’t limited to state secrets cases. They are actually a Constitutional right for everybody charged with a serious crime in the US.
> torturing witnesses
I assume you mean that holding Manning in jail qualifies as “torture,” which I consider a strange definition of “torture.” Are all federal prisoners being tortured? If so, does that violate the Constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment? Should they all be freed?
They certainly are pressuring this witness, but it’s actually not out of the ordinary for the US criminal justice system. The prosecutors handling Operation Varsity Blues have the same tools, and will use them this way if they think it will help. Valerie Plame’s time in jail was for contempt for refusing to appear in front of a grand jury because by doing so she wouldn’t be able to keep a journalism source secret.
This time something different: why do people support Manning's decision / find her treatment inappropriate?
Respect for sticking up for beliefs? I get that and share those feelings even if I don't share the specific beliefs.
But do people feel the 5th Amendment covers "incriminating" yourself after you've been convicted and served time (and don't have any risk of further convictions)?
Do people want the 5th to include incriminating people you like?
What specifically about the grand jury system in place here do you think is problematic or unconstitutional?
For example, a naive reading of the commerce clause would say the fact Congress can regulate commerce among the states would not apply to a farmer growing wheat to feed animals on his own farm. But surprise! Wickard v. Filburn  says that counts as interstate commerce.
Likewise, the low-resolution understanding of the fifth amendment is that you can't be forced to testify; and the low-resolution understanding of being granted immunity for something is you can't be sent to jail for reasons related to it. And yet, here we are.
A lot of Americans like the constitution - so much so, everyone in congress and the military and suchlike swears an oath to uphold and defend it. When people see these things that are a reversal of what they understand the constitution to say, it's understandable they don't like it.
she’s being jailed on an option.
If I didn't have immunity, you can be damn sure I wouldn't be answering any questions on a subject that might get me prosecuted again.
I think this is about not supporting what she feels is supporting an unjust and corrupt system. I don't blame her. I doubt that I would act the same way, but she felt strongly enough about the Army's actions in Iraq to break the law while fully aware of the consequences. She's probably got the guts to keep her word when she says she has ethical concerns about the grand jury and won't be answering any questions.
Immunity does appear to be on the table as part of the request, though I'm not sure why you would browbeat someone into testifying with jailtime and threats that amount to bankruptcy if you aren't seeking to entrap them in some fashion.
If a person has evidence that a court of law wishes to obtain, under American law the court is permitted to compel immunized testimony. Someone who refuses to comply is likely to be treated as someone who has committed an act of contempt of court.
Chelsea Manning isn't special here. Anyone who refuses to testify before a grand jury is likely to be treated this way. There's no need to postulate that it's a further attempt to punish someone for political reasons to explain all events here.
Her testimony is on file, and some parts of it are even a matter of public record. She has already extensively testified in the past.
In most court cases, there is a wish to limit the number of witnesses in a case. Where you can take testimony by reports, affidavits, and other records, you take it, as it speeds up the process considerably.
The only reason to call Manning is if you believe that you can show that new testimony conflicts with old testimony.
I have questions for the court, because they have chosen to act in a way that doesn't seem to follow standard procedure. My query is one of legal practice.
But it's a wrong dichotomy. It's more likely the judge suspects that she knows something incriminating about somebody else, maybe Julian, she doesn't want to tell. Which answers your question about legal practice.
Seeking new testimony when complete testimony is already on file, leaves open the door to parallel construction of unrelated cases. The witness may be convinced to say something that violates the terms of previous deals.
If the judge truly believes her testimony might aid in convicting Assange they have no reason not to already use the extensive testimony on file. Manning has already been extensively interrogated about Assange, for a number of years. The court has those filings available to it.
There is no reason to expect that new testimony with new evidence is available.
I assume that her testimony from her own trial can be used by the grand jury. But maybe she plead the 5th some in her trial, so they want immunized testimony about any of that. Or maybe there's stuff that she just wasn't asked about.
We "never once made this about anything other than obtaining immunized testimony in furtherance of an investigation," he said, adding that "all we want is her to truthfully answer questions as our constitutional republic requires of our citizens."
If she has been offered immunity then she can't incriminate herself. Also answering questions regarding an offense she has already been convicted of isn't incriminating herself.
If during her testimony she believes that answering a specific question would incriminate herself she can refuse to answer it upon that basis.
What she can't legally do is refuse to answer any questions whatsoever.
So if she wasn't a US citizen, how would this be different?