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Chelsea Manning ordered to be released [pdf] (courtlistener.com)
731 points by pera 11 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 322 comments

What's the legal reasoning (if there's any) to keep her locked up and ruin her financially while not being able to swing the same punishment at all those people who refused to testify in the recent impeachment?

The reasoning is that the DOJ under Barr (and the administration in general) has no interest in cooperating with Congress or fulfilling their constitutional/legal obligations.

If the Congress really wants it can enforce its own subpoenas by putting anyone who refuses to testify in their own jail, without asking the DOJ for help. This is a power that hasn’t been used since 1934, and the current Congress has opted to work through the courts / make appeals to the electorate instead of applying it.

Actually the way to settle differences between the branches is to use the third branch, the Judicial branch. Congress takes them to supreme/federal court, which decides if the subpoenas are valid and would then enforce the subpoenas and the executive branch then has to comply. Basic checks and balances.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/12/house-demo... https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/01/democrats-...

Congress already had the judicial branch confirm they have the power to hold people in contempt, but they didn't use that power in this case.


So do it again.

Honestly though, I think the impeachment just pointed out the Ukraine stuff about as much as it pointed out Trump's phone call shenanigans, it wasn't good for them politically to keep at it, his approval rating was going up and he was raising tons of money during it. It was backfiring politically for them, the majority of the public wasn't interested (especially after the Russia thing coming up empty, you can only cry wolf so many times) and it brought their own misdealing to light so they didn't push it as they would if they really cared.

The Ukraine "stuff" was a conspiracy theory. The Russian "thing" was an actual collaboration between our enemies and our presidents flunkys that nobody seriously denied happened.

"nobody seriously denied happened"

Nobody seriously found any evidence of collaboration between Trump and his "flunkys". That's the result of the Mueller Report.

Meanwhile... it's public knowledge that Democrats and the DNC paid foreigners for information from a discredited source to get an unproven Dossier to affect an American Election.

They are both conspiracy theories spread by the side that has proven evidence of worse crimes (IE: Email Servers, Joe's quid quo pro, children of elected officials getting kick backs from Burisma, etc)

I'm sorry, but its in court records under sworn testimony in Ukraine and the NYT reported on it back IN 2015.


The Mueller investigation turned up no evidence, that's pretty much proof the media and Congress chased a conspiracy theory for 2 years with no real evidence. There's hard evidence that Hunter was getting paid lots of money for a do nothing job he wasn't qualified for, and that Joe Biden did interfere at some point (for whatever reason, he did use his political power and got involved). That much isn't a conspiracy, his son got paid for a job everyone questions why he got it.

The real estate deals Trump Jr does now gets a fair pass because its the same thing, same as the $250k paid speaking engagements for Wall Street and corporations the Clinton's and Obama's get post Presidency. It's pretty obvious the pay off just comes afterwards.

People act sanctimonious about Trump, but they fail to realize Trump is a symptom, the cancer started from within.

I don't think so. The American meddling in Ukraine before Trump even was in office is highly suspicious. You could argue that it was a justified reaction to the Crimean invasion, but saying there wasn't any stuff is completely dishonest. Biden pressured Ukraine to fire a public defender. He was even praised for doing so. This hypocrisy seriously damages any credibility of those accusing Trump of meddling in Ukraine.

Of course you should ask yourself what Russia and America are even doing in Ukraine in the first place, but that is probably a lot more comprehensive.

Some news papers argue Biden didn't pressure the public defender out of office, but that would be clearly fake news. As I said, there are people on record praising him for doing so.

In your post you said several things about "Biden". Could you clarify just who that is? I believe there is an intentional rhetorical trick being used to conflate to people with that surname. I can't say whether your use of it was intentional, but it would help if you clarified who you were talking about.

Both of those things were hoaxes by the Democrats. Pathetic power struggles to distract the public's eye from the real problems that ordinary people face. Who cares if some Russian hackers got some access to the DNC servers? That didn't affect the actual election results, not one whit.

>Ukraine stuff


I have heard reports that US officials, including Senator McCain and Asst. SoS Victoria Nuland, supported the 2014 protests and transition of power in Ukraine, which culminated in Russia's annexation of Crimea and the Donbas war. While there is another conspiracy theory out there floating around about some contracts with a small Ukrainian gas company, a reasonable person might feel more negatively about Obama's foreign policy after learning of this risky bet that went bust. This is relevant to the current election since Joe Biden, Trump's likely opponent, was VP and was involved in policymaking in Ukraine.


>Despite his leadership defects and character flaws, Yanukovych had been duly elected in balloting that international observers considered reasonably free and fair—about the best standard one can hope for outside the mature Western democracies. A decent respect for democratic institutions and procedures meant that he ought to be able to serve out his lawful term as president, which would end in 2016.

>Neither the domestic opposition nor Washington and its European Union allies behaved in that fashion. Instead, Western leaders made it clear that they supported the efforts of demonstrators to force Yanukovych to reverse course and approve the EU agreement or, if he would not do so, to remove the president before his term expired. Sen. John McCain (R‑AZ), the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, went to Kiev to show solidarity with the Euromaidan activists. McCain dined with opposition leaders, including members of the ultra right‐ wing Svoboda Party, and later appeared on stage in Maidan Square during a mass rally. He stood shoulder to shoulder with Svoboda leader Oleg Tyagnibok.

It seems like the Republican strategy both with Ukraine and Libya has been to talk about some obscure and distorted side-issue (Burisma and Benghazi respectively) which deprives the Democrats of a chance to respond substantively to the real issue, which was the foreign policy decisionmaking at the top that led to the greater situation becoming so dire in the first place.

In a way, it's a form of propaganda that uses disinformation to target well-informed people. It's kind of fun to think about when it's not pointed at you. (Republicans are hypocrites here -- nearly all of them supported Ukraine intervention at the time. But that didn't stop Democrats from running against the Iraq War in 2004 :p)

The whole affair with Biden's son in a board position and Biden interfering in the investigation of the company according to testimony in a Ukrainian court. It's what Trump was discussing on the phone call he was impeached over. People try and call it a conspiracy now, but unless you want to say the NYT deals in conspiracies (they do actually, but in this case):


Even if Biden didn't do anything wrong, in the public's eyes they see his son with no experience in that industry in a cushy, do nothing board position that pays in a month what the average American makes in a year. It smells like day old seafood.

The problem wasn't about the conduct of the Biden's, it was Trump (allegedly) telling the Ukrainian President the Ukraine would only receive already allocated military aid if the Ukraine started investigating the Bidens, supposedly to get Joe Biden into at least political if not legal trouble that Trump could then capitalize on in a re-election bid. Whether or not the Biden's did anything wrong (and so far the have been cleared at least legally, tho I have to admit there is a stink of nepotism in my opinion) wasn't the issue, the problem was if Trump, the sitting president, abused the power of his office for personal gain by threatening to withhold public aid money allocated by congress.

Biden did not interfere with any investigation.

- His son was never accused nor suspected of any crimes

- The prosecutor he asked to be removed had been in his position for 18 months and had made no progress pursuing burisma nor would he like his predecessor he was in bed with monied interests in the Ukraine. He as corrupt and everyone knew it.

If his son was guilty of anything beyond trading on his father's rep shaking up the status qou would be to his sons disadvantage.

- The president asked for a public announcement of an investigation on TV purely and only to solicit help to smear a political rival. There is no other narrative that makes any sense whatsoever.

The question was “what was the Ukraine stuff.” Whether “the Ukraine stuff” was proof of wrongdoing, I think the post you responded to did a good job of summarizing it.

1) So what, America has a responsibility for interfering in the Ukrainian justice system because it is known to be corrupt? American politics is known to be quite corrupt, do foreign powers have a moral justification for interfering?

Biden being involved in moving Ukrainian prosecutors around is evidence on the face of it of corruption at the highest levels.


> There is no other narrative that makes any sense whatsoever.

There is a very sensible narrative - maybe the Biden family was getting borderline-legal kickbacks. Even if not true it is fundamentally plausible. It is definitely worth asking about for people who aren't Democrat aligned.

There was a broad multinational support for removing the corrupt prosecutor and no reason not to.

There exists no evidence of any kick backs nor any reason to suppose that burisma gained anything other than hunter Bidens services for their money despite this already being investigated and America having the most formidable intelligence service on earth. It was asked and answered. You are holding on to a conspiracy theory.

> There was a broad multinational support for removing the corrupt prosecutor and no reason not to.

So if there is broad multinational agreement that a US judge is bad can China have him/her removed? That isn't how this stuff is meant to work.

> There exists no evidence of any kick backs nor any reason to suppose that burisma gained anything other than hunter Bidens services ...

You've just listed evidence and said you want to ignore it. That isn't a strong argument.

> ... despite this already being investigated and America having the most formidable intelligence service on earth.

And that is evidence that there was a reasonable alternative narrative of why there might be a problem.

And as almost an aside, maybe the circumstances should be investigated again when Biden isn't the nominal 2nd in the chain of command controlling the intelligence services? When he is being accused of essentially corruption? The situation seems a bit problematic.

You can disagree, but to pretend that there is no reasonable alternative where Biden is doing things that suggest corruption is an impressive work of mental gymnastics. If you are saying there already was an investigation then there is clearly enough here to justify an investigation, because someone justified it.

Congress did that and an appeals court decided they didn't want to get involved [0]. The checks and balances are clearly no longer functioning. It's unclear to me what we're supposed to do about that.

[0]: https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/28/politics/mcgahn-testimony-rul...

The checks and balances don't work as designed, and haven't for a long time. Any time there's a government shutdown that lasts for more than a couple of days, that's proof that this is simply a system too flawed to keep.

A better system is a parliamentary system: in those, you don't have conflicts often between the branches, because the executive is chosen by parliament itself. And in the rare case there is a conflict, you can dissolve parliament, have a new election, then the new parliament can choose a new PM and life continues.

There's a reason every stable, advanced, democratic republic in the world has a parliamentary system instead of one like the US's. The US's system is more similar to those in Russia and Turkey.

Did you even watch the impeachment trail from the Democrats congress? It is a disgrace. It is like you get sued but not allow to defend yourself. Law scholar Jonathan Turley testified under Democrats' criteria for impeachment, no one is unimpeachable, even George Washington himself would be impeached.

The US is an amazing place.

I think they also rightly recognize that Congress exercising its extremely rarely used right to use force could be the first step into either civil conflict (escalating to war) between the Executive branch and Congress or the further neutralizing of congress leading to one-man-rule of President as Emperor.

There are many who hear me talk about such things and think I'm absolutely crazy, but I think people have such faith that things will always end up fine (because America has been stable for so long) that they will ignore every sign until it is all but complete. History may see this week as one of a select number or crises that lead to ... something.

I fully believe that Barr actually in his heart and mind wants and is acting to further it. Trump as well. The cowardice of the House and the politeness of the Senate are just as culpable.

The Democrats meanwhile now have a choice between an out of touch old man who was the conservative VP to make Obama a little more palatable and a near communist who promotes himself with plans which don't represent the interests, philosophies, or desires of a large majority of America and could never, ever pass into law.

If we are lucky, the current pandemic will infect the three of them before the election. If we are unlucky, I believe we are very close the American Republic on the path to fall within 40 years into... something.

>don't represent the interests, philosophies, or desires of a large majority of America

'n capital/power.

You see how far to the right the pendulum have gone in the public discourse, when somebody like Sanders is a "near communist" or even "revolutionary".

The pendulum has never been as far left as Bernie talks in this country.

And as for near communist, am example among many:

>Sanders has recalled feeling “very excited” by Castro’s 1959 revolution, which played out during his teens. “It just seemed right and appropriate that poor people were rising up against rather ugly rich people,” he said in 1986.

He has a history of visiting and praising USSR and satellites with little open criticism of their atrocities.


Why you shouldn't excite by Castro revolution in 1959 exactly?

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuba:

"Batista [..] Facing certain electoral defeat, he led a military coup [..] Back in power, and receiving financial, military, and logistical support from the United States government [..] suspended the 1940 Constitution and revoked most political liberties, including the right to strike. He then aligned with the wealthiest landowners who owned the largest sugar plantations [..]"

Anyway, the discussion should be about the policies to implement. Those are hardly communist policies.

A two man conspiracy is probably not going to topple America. The White House doesn't even have a bad relationship with Congress at the moment; Trump and the Senate are getting along like a house on fire.

It hasn't been just two men. Damn near half the politically interested country do not care what Trump does.

"You know what else they say about my people? The polls, they say I have the most loyal people. Did you ever see that? Where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s like incredible,"

It's the party, it's the newly installed judges, it's his family and associates.

Trump won't topple the Republic. He will test every weakness of it and teach future iterations how to do it better. He is teaching adversaries how to manipulate and control this country better.

Rome didn't fall in a day. Neither the republic nor the empire.

The two men are figureheads for a whole system, some known, some not, which is dealing a serious blow to the institutions of the republic; damage that won't just be undone by a "good" election.

We need to elect a president that actively wants to limit the power of the presidency (not of the government, of the office and branch) and a Congress which is more interested in the individual representitives and their views than the parties. We have to have a voting republic that values these things instead of the mixture of team sport and religious crusade which American politics has become.

Unless you are about to accuse Trump of shooting someone on Fifth Avenue it isn't really that worrying. The man has been known to say things that he doesn't actually believe.

> Trump won't topple the Republic. He will test every weakness of it ...

Impeachment is pretty literally testing a weakness of the Republic, you know. There are lots of tests of the Republic; they happen regularly. America has passed an ungodly number of tests.

Similar things have been said in the Weimar republic in the 20s about German democracy. Then things went south incredibly quickly.

The tests, checks and balances a democracy throws at its opponents are only as powerful as the will of the public to defend it.

I think trying to bribe the president of Ukraine with aid money for political favors is the presidential equivalent and indeed it seems so far that party loyalty has indeed done the deed.

I looked at all of the replies, but none of them mentioned the basic difference between a court proceeding (with lots of legal precedent) and a congressional impeachment (where they decide upon the rules they'll use, and are not bound by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure). (I'm trying very hard to keep this comment non-partisan. I think I did it.)

The concrete thing I can't find anywhere is the actual, on-paper set of rules this people set up, ideally grafted to some kind of explanation on why this ruleset made any sense in context.

Congress has the same powers to jail you for being in contempt, they just haven’t in nearly a century.


My understanding is the Manning was refusing to testify to the Wikileaks/Assange grand jury - so this was basically being held for contempt of court.

IANAL but I believe the normal protection against self-incrimination, the 5th Amendement, was not applicable due to the plea agreement she entered and thus was held in contempt of court for remaining silent.

Since Manning had already been tried for crimes related to this investigation (and found guilty, and served time), she could not be given further jail time. And because she could not be given further jail time, the courts had decided that making her testify to the grand jury about Assange wasn’t covered by the fifth amendment right to remain silent (which really only covers compelled self incrimination).

I believe it has to do with the paperwork you sign when you enlist. Basically waiving a lot of your normal American rights.

> Basically waiving a lot of your normal American rights.

"waiving your rights" is a very weird concept, particularly in the "land of the free".

The rights are not necessarily waived but are subordinate to military regulations (UCMJ) in order to promote "good order and discipline". Discipline is a critical factor in the effectiveness of military units. The courts have typically trusted rulings of military courts since civilian courts are not necessarily well equipped to understand how a ruling would impact the military.

Here's a good overview of the context for limiting the rights of military personnel: https://mtsu.edu/first-amendment/article/1131/military-perso...

The US armed forces are not run as a democracy; it is an oligarchical tiered serfdom as near as I can peg it. When you sign up, nearly everything you agree to is in a binding legal contract with the US government, and if you breach contract, it is very different than breaching a normal contract. Part of that contract is that normal courts of law and their rules are secondary to military courts and all of their very, very power imbalanced rules.

Source: myself, a decade in the Marine Corps, witness in several Non Judicial Punishment cases, and one Courts Martial case.

here's James Mattis's take on the difference between civilian courts and military courts:

> ...remember that the Uniform Code of Military Justice is established under the U.S. Constitution, because our framers knew that those we give weapons to in this country have to be governed by a different set of regulations than the population at large.

> And under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which was the latest in a history of these rules that came out in the late 1940s and modified often since then, the defense is actually stronger. The defendants' rights are actually stronger in a military court than in a civilian court. Just read F. Lee Bailey's book, "The Defense Never Rests." And as one of the most aggressive defense counsels in our history, he said he would rather a court--defend--defend in a military court than a civilian court in his book.

> And the reason is you have more rights in order to prevent the military court system becoming what you and I would call a "kangaroo court." So, you give the defense more rights. And when that court acts, you--for most of us in the military who have an intimate knowledge of it, we have a great deal of confidence that justice has been adhered to, in the true sense of what justice is all about toward a person accused of a crime by the government.

this is a good interview, worth reading in full:


This was a grand jury proceeding. While this was about a matter that happened while she was in the military, anyone that is granted immunity but refuses to testify could be held in contempt by the court.

and ironically, to have a decent democracy you get even more privileges when you sign up on the political side.

makes you wonder if the side that can do less damage (enlisted serviceman) require the more draconian agreement after all.

Speaking in the most general sense possible, having your armed forces firmly under control is traditionally a core part of staying in power; it's also very generally true that no person making the rules is going to actively hinder their own ability to keep doing so.

That's why it's super important to keep them aware that the little people are watching and taking notes; that's literally the only trump card we all have.

They didn’t have immunity agreements where they agreed to testify in exchange?

How are the two things related?

Both involve people refusing to testify, and why people are being treated differently is not obvious.

Chelsea Manning was not jailed or fined for refusing to testify in and of itself. I also refuse to testify, for example, but I'm pretty sure no cop will come arrest me and put me in jail and no court will fine me.

Context is a thing, and it is relevant here.

> Chelsea Manning was not jailed or fined for refusing to testify in and of itself.

Yes, she was.

> I also refuse to testify, for example,

You can't refuse to testify if you haven't been called.

You might be inclined to refuse to testify, but that's not the same as actually refusing.

She was jailed for refusing to testify, and any relevant context is not clear, hence asking "why?"

No, she was jailed because she was found to be in contempt of court.

No, she was jailed to coerce her into testifying as she refused to. To be found in contempt of court, she would have needed to be charged.

Presidents being impeached (and their administrations) have always refused Congress's requests for testimony and documentation.

Congress can take the President to court and compel documents and testimony (or else face contempt of court and imprisonment like Manning). The House did exactly that for Nixon and Cliton.

For Trump, the House chose not to do that, because (I believe) it would slow them down, and that wasn't acceptable to them.

How was Clinton testifying also him refusing to testify? Your claims differ from history.

From this point forward: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2019/04/24/us/p... the DOJ has allowed the WH to refuse to comply with a bunch of subpoenas, and there's no amount of partisan rhetoric that can hide that fact. It's simply not up for debate, sorry.

That said, I don't know what are they standing on to be able to do that without any court just sending them all to jail.


"The right of the president of the United States to withhold information from Congress or the courts."

The article you mentioned cites executive privilege multiple times, and describes how it is unclear what the boundaries are. Simply saying "The House issued a subpoena and therefore the executive branch must comply" is just as invalid as "The executive branch can ignore all subpoenas".

Look, I'm asking for an actual memo here, I'm not interested in playing whatever game you seem to want to play.

Can you help me find this thing please?

Not sure what memo you're seeking or what game you're declining.

You said you didn't know what the DOJ/Trump administration was standing on to not comply with the congressional subpoenas. I explained they were standing on executive privilege.

As the article you linked described, the Trump administration was asserting executive privilege, and conflicts between congressional demands and executive privilege assertions need to be mediated by the courts ("But each of the emerging fights raises somewhat different legal questions that courts would have to sort through."). When the administration asserted privilege and declined to comply with House demands, the House chose proceed without court rulings, though courts probably would have compelled testimony about information previously revealed in the Mueller investigation.

For more authoritative sources than your NY Times article provides, executive privilege has been recognized in various supreme court decisions, particularly in military and diplomatic issues, even in cases where the court decided the privilege did not cover the material demanded (like U.S. v. Nixon https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/418/683/#tab-opi...).

Executive privilege began as early as 1792 in George Washington's first term, when he decided he had authority to withhold information demanded by congress. https://www.thoughtco.com/presidential-executive-privilege-3...

The impeachment inquiry started exactly because of an allegation of perjury.

The ratified Articles of Impeachment were in fact (1) Perjury and (2) Obstruction of Justice (witness/evidence tampering).

I may have mistakenly characterized Clinton as explicitly withholding information by invoking executive privilege like Nixon and Trump, rather than deceptively doing so.


Congress was explicitly told they could not do this by the DOJ, but news weren't clear on the legal reasoning, relaying instead the handwavy explanation by Barr on the popelike infallibility of the president's office.

I'm really curious about the actual legal reasoning behind this, it's got to be a fascinating read.

The DOJ has no power over Congress in impeachment proceedings.

> For Trump, the House chose not to do that, because (I believe) it would slow them down, and that wasn't acceptable to them.

The full House has to authorize a committee to to conduct an impeachment investigation and to vest it with the proper authority before the subpoenas become enforceable. The Democrats never did this because in that case, the Republicans in the House would have been able to send out their own subpoenas.

See also:



Ms. Manning. Thank you. Living a life under public scrutiny isn't for everyone. I appreciate your sacrafice and sticking to what you felt was right.

From my understanding this whole ordeal appears to be vengeful and a complete miscarriage of justice. It's almost as if it's being done to make an example and have a chilling effect on future whistleblowers.

Based on reading the news over the years it seems like the US DOJ has had quite a poor track record in general.

The Aaron Swartz case, the attitude towards Assange/Manning and a record number of prosecution of whistleblowers, doctoring of emails to obtain FISA warrants, running guns to Mexico. An attorney general was held in contempt at the time, and it looks like the current one might be too, someday, if not worse.

Incidentally I also read the recent OIG memo about rampant supervisor-subordinate romantic relationships in the DOJ, violating all sorts of workplace protocol.

I am sure there is plenty of great work coming from the department that you never hear about but all this stuff makes it seem like in some ways the department has been run very unprofessionally for at least 10+ years now.

Also disappointing has been the apparent timidity of the American news media who, until William Barr, seemed to be very soft on the DOJ.

I sure hope she leaves the country after this. This will keep happening for the rest of her life. You really don't want to run afoul of the security apparatus.

Running afoul of the "security" apparatus is exactly what we need to do a lot more of if all of this technological innovation is to mean anything.

I hope she stays. The country needs more people like Manning.

Which is precisely why she should go. The thing they did to Snowden is not exactly something that will scare Whistleblowers away.

If you want heros and whistleblowers who risk their life for the truth to stay, maybe start taking that freedom of speech thing you are so proud of a little bit more seriously..

If anyone knows of a (legit) way to donate or make a payment towards her $256,000 in fines, please do share the details.

Important: That link is _not_ intended for donations towards paying the fine, but rather Ms. Manning's legal defense!

Do you have more information about this? I saw this link posted a lot in response to this question, but no actual details.

Just follow the link... it says:

> What will funds go toward specifically?

> We will need legal funds for Chelsea’s legal fees, and legal costs such as court transcripts and travel, and commissary.

Whats the difference? She needs x amounts of money.

Right, but the primary reason you would support Manning is because you believe the government is in the wrong and that the $256k is considered coercive because the government is using it to pressure her into doing something that isn't in her best interest in regards to a fair trial.

So the goal would be to pay lawyer fees to fight the $256k of fees.

> doing something that isn't in her best interest in regards to a fair trial

You're aware she's been granted immunity, right?

No she hasn't. That is, she was not made immune to incarceration and confiscation of money - which is what the federal state did to her. She was only immune from prosecution about what she says in her testimony. However... she had already been prosecuted for her actions and did a lot of jail time.

Plus, you don't rat people out because you've been granted personal "immunity".

The link above goes to paying her legal team. Her fine will come from her own funds separately. Your lawyers don't pay your fines, you do personally.

Ideally, her legal team or someone would put up a separate fundraiser for her fine, that goes specifically to paying that. I for one would definitely donate.

Many fundraising platforms explicitly forbid raising funds to pay criminal fines.

We need a paypal link and a github pages site, not necessarily a kickstarter. She's a high profile enough case to not need a dedicated platform.

In France, during the yellow vest protest, there was a similar online crowd-founding for a boxer who did fight with a cop and was sentenced to pay a fine.

From what I remember, with some crowd-funding platforms, it is against Terms Of Service to rise money to pay sentence's fine. I do not remember if laws in France forbid it or if it's for other reasons.

Here are some links about it :



Guess be can only pay the fees and the other more general. Paying criminal fees is a bit no no.

Why would you want to throw away money paying an illegitimate debt? Donate to a trust that will take care of her instead.

I imagine it's going to be hard for her to find employment, and if she doesn't pay those fines she'll eventually end up in custody with even more fines.

Do you mean the if the person is physically unable to pay the fine they would keep said person imprisoned? This is effin' crime on it's own.

I wish some country like Iceland would just offer her a refugee status (assuming she would want it).

This whole thing is really depressing.

I wouldn't think the length of imprisonment would be longer than it would take to see a judge in most cases.

The cycle I'm referencing is usually fail to pay your fines, at some point dependent upon jurisdiction and familiarity to the court, arrest warrant is issued, if caught you are arrested and taken to jail to be held until you see a judge, accrue more fines, possibly repeat.

I'm not making statements that this will happen, only that it absolutely can and does happen to people.

It's generally hard for trans people to find employment, period -- and I doubt she has meaningful job skills given her extended imprisonment. That said, trans people rally around our own so she shouldn't have trouble surviving; but whether or not that life is existentially fulfilling is another question...

Also, I don't think it's legal to jail someone over unpaid debt (though many states will certainly try). They can do all sorts of things like garnish your wages, but federal courts don't throw people in jail for being poor.

While I definitely agree on the trans front, it's also hard for infamous people to find employment, and sometimes impossible for felons. Mixing all of those builds seemingly insurmountable hurdles.

Son of Sam laws, and their derivatives, can also prevent her from monetizing her story easily, if at all.

You can absolutely be jailed for not paying court ordered fines; that's often how the legal system in the US works for the poor and marginalized. It's a nasty cycle. Punishment fines also can't be discharged in bankruptcy, afaik.

The USA: home of the “free” where you can rot in jail because you’re poor.

> It's generally hard for trans people to find employment, period -- and I doubt she has meaningful job skills given her extended imprisonment.

She's a celebrity speaker with a large upper-middle-class fan base, so as long as their interest doesn't go somewhere else she’ll probably do okay.

Of course, if her opponents don't do their part to keep her in the news, the attention will wane.

> Also, I don't think it's legal to jail someone over unpaid debt

It's not. Though it's quite possible she could now be charged with criminal contempt and imprisoned for that.

She could also be jailed for refusing to pay her existing debt (but not for inability to pay.) But note that isn't always an easy line to draw, and a lot of time the latter is dressed up as the former, though with sufficient litigation (which someone has to fund) to challenge it, higher courts may reverse it.

> She's a celebrity speaker with a large upper-middle-class fan base, so as long as their interest doesn't go somewhere else she’ll probably do okay.

She's also very not-ok (3 suicide attempts, including 1 last week) after what she's been through. Being trans is traumatizing enough in itself, and I can't imagine what it was like for her in a military prison. If I were her, I would want an extended period of time away from the limelight.

I mean, I'd pay to see her speak.

I'd pay just for what she did. It would be nice if she pointed us to a place where we can donate directly to her.

> Also, I don't think it's legal to jail someone over unpaid debt

It frequently is, IF the debt is to the legal system.

You cannot legally be jailed for failing to pay a debt, even to the legal system; you can be jailed for refusing to do so, but that requires ability to pay.

Based on my observations of poor people with debts at local courthouses, this is a strictly theoretical legal position. It is a fact that poor people are charged money for their time spent in local jails. It is a further fact that when they can't pay those bills they are jailed again, and charged more money for this additional time in jail. I'm in Missouri, so if you want more details about this you can see anything about Ferguson.

It's not strictly theoretical, though it is, like all laws, imperfectly implemented, and particularly problematic because those to whom it is not properly applied also naturally lack the means to mount an effective legal challenge without outside aid, making it less likely that abusess will be corrected by higher courts than would be the case otherwise.

But that's not a “the law allows imprisoning you for inability to pay a fine” problem but a “the legal rights of the poor are ineffectively protected in our system” problem, which is a different and much broader problem.

> I'm in Missouri, so if you want more details about this you can see anything about Ferguson.

As I recall, practices of this kind were prominent in the catalog of violations of federal Constitutional and statutory rights compiled in the DoJ investigations around Ferguson that descended after the Michael Brown incident and associated protests, sure.

So going down to basics you have a system that effectively ruins people for the f.. of it and without ANY repercussions for guilty. Dress it any like you want but the result are what matters. USSR also had nice constitution.

That it is. Viewing the current legal system, in the US, through the lens of idealism does a huge disservice to reality.

The legal system has and will treat a single mother who works full time but just can't make the agreed upon payments differently than a felon that can't get a job that pays enough to cover costs of living and their fines; especially if the felon is in the same jurisdiction and has seen the same judge before. I've seen it several times in person, have been told about it by people that it's happened to, in several states.

Yes, you can. A simple google search would show you this. Criminal punishment debt is not the same as credit based debt. It's all about the jurisdiction, and your previous presence in the court; particularly with the same judges.

Yes, they don't have to jail you, but they absolutely can and do.

Maybe you "cannot" be, but people "are".

Is there some trust that cannot be touched by a lien placed by the government?

Yes, of course. Just as the government cannot put a lien on your bank account for saying you are going to buy Manning a sandwich or pay her rent.

The sibling link to her legal defense fund is presumably structured this way - the money goes directly to her attorney who holds it in trust specifically for her legal defense. She never has any control over it, and so she cannot be compelled to use it to pay the fine.

The judge assumes without comment that it was justified to hold Manning in the first place, and finds that she must now pay $256,000 for refusing to collaborate with the government anti-freedom-of-the-press campaign against Julian Assange.


Ah, I forgot about the Russian exception in the Constitution.

Even if Assange was a Russian agent he still did nothing wrong regarding his actions of helping whistle-blowers publish their data.

He's charged with conspiracy for conspiring to commit a crime. That's illegal.

This is irrelevant to what I am saying. I am not talking about whether what he did was illegal, I am just saying that he did nothing wrong. After all there is nothing wrong with a lot of things that are or were illegal.

Which makes it interesting, then, that one of the people they're attempting to compel as a witness would rather die than agree with that.

Please don't perpetuate those lies.

Her prolonged imprisonment in inhumane conditions is an ugly stain on Obama's presidency. I remember when he campaigned praising whistleblowers and government openness.

> Her prolonged imprisonment in inhumane conditions is an ugly stain on Obama's presidency. I remember when he campaigned praising whistle-blowers and government openness.

And Trump praised Wikileaks, and by extension Julian Assange, during his campaign and now [1] look at where things are?

The sooner people realize the type of person drawn to politics is inherently the same (supposed party factions and names are irrelevant when looked at objectively and by outcome) and have ALL lied and manipulated to get to the position to do so, the better we will be as a Species and will hopefully lead to building viable alternatives.

These people are the epitome of the narcissistic, sociopaths everyone rants running large corporations, except these are they type who will do and say anything to be elected: this is why I think seeing your Trumps or Berlusconi be elected would be useful if people were open to seeing it for it what truly is. Instead you get division and discord when we all intuitively realize that this is a myopic system that always leads to this inevitable outcome.

Every politician is the same as Trump and Berlusconi, they just hide it better.

If there was a time for this kind of Governance, and I grant you it may have been useful during initial colonization/Industrialization; it has since become clear with how this, environmental ecocide, financial/banking malfeasance, climate change, and now Corona Virus pandemics are handled that it HAS LONG exceed its last glimmer of utility.

1: https://www.msn.com/en-xl/news/other/us-assange-and-wikileak...

> Every politician is the same as Trump and Berlusconi, they just hide it better.

Citation effing needed. I would argue those are outliers of sociopaths that reached positions of power, they don't represent every head of state, let alone all elected public officials.

Sure: The Clinton's are my favorite example, not least of which because I lived with a crazy kool-aid drinker who swore Hillary was the Messiah come back to save the Earth when she was a total crony:

http://www.clintoncashbook.com/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKqWHkg5xmc

Obama has already showed himself to be an enabler for the Military Industry Complex as he expanded the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq (went in Yemen, Syria, Ukraine etc...) and went deeper on extra-judicial wars and rendition camps, then went deeper with the use of Drone Warfare, such that he was called the Drone King. Which makes sense because how did a formerly unknown Senator form IL become a 2-term president who seemingly eroded Citizen Rights? His war on whistle-blowers is already outlined. And was a Constitutional Scholar/Lawyer no less!

Worth noting, Trump from a supposed contrasting party, expanded drone warfare even further [1]. Further solidifying my point(s). And Trump doubled down on not just drone war-fare and its secrecy, but also went further than Obama on prosecuting whistle-blowers [2].

I'd say something about the Bush dynasty but I think its very easy to see their alliances to the Saudi family and previously Nazi-sympathizers to build their wealth and eventually political clout.

FYI: I'm an anarchist, and I don't have a political affiliation so I can scrutinize both 'parties' objectively and what is consistent (In the US) is that politicians always side with War and interventionism, and are often benefactors of some cronyism--they may decry it, but it happens.

Dick Cheney is the like the poster-child of what these people embody. Those that fail to 'play the game' are often berated and marginalized and subject to unfair (often illegal) practices when they run for office as they will not participate in the order of things: eg Ron Paul and Bernie Sanders come to mind.

I highly recommend Jermey Scahill's work.

1: https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/2019/5/8/18619206/under-do...

2: https://theintercept.com/2019/05/21/why-you-should-care-abou...

> I highly recommend Jeremy Scahill's work.

Seconded, I wasn't referring to Hillary "Jill Stein/Tulsi are Russian assets" Clinton.

I'm not even American, so my interest on American politics is academic at best (eventually the trends trickle down to other countries). The US is ahead of the rest of the Global North in complete institutional breakdown.

I just don't believe we should paint "politicians" with a broad brush. Most of them (like in all professions) are too ignorant to be evil, they just go with the flow. The the zeitgeist changes, they will change with it.

I'm no anarchist, so I believe the zeitgeist can be changed, but that goes against entropy, you need to apply energy to keep it changed. It's not a one-shot revolution that does it. Life is too depressing otherwise...

Chelsea Manning is not a whistleblower, she's a person who felt (for good cause, I do not deny) mistreated by the military and indiscriminately leaked classified information in response. Her actions were neither motivated by nor tailored to revealing specific wrongdoing, nor were they either directed through the channels designed for reporting wrongdoing, nor did they avoid such channels because proper channels for reporting specific wrongdoing had been tried and failed, nor did they avoid proper channels because of specific grounded belief that reporting wrongdoing through those channels would be counterproductive.

I understand the desire for a simple narrative where desirable results only come from morally pure actions and where in a conflict there is one side that is virtuous and one that is villainous, but in the Manning case I don't think any such simple narrative is possible without grossly distorting the facts.

Manning was at best unduly stressed by active bigotry and most likely specifically mistreated prior to th leaks, and possibly psychologically unsuited for wartime military service even if the service itself wasn't actively bigoted.

Manning did then indiscriminately leak sensitive defense information with the intent and reason to believe that it would cause harm to the US war effort. This did, however, include (but was by no means focussed on) information related to actual and apparent wrongdoing, especially actual and apparent war crimes, by US forces.

Manning was subsequently, while in military custody, subjected to gross violations of her human rights and basic dignity not attached to any lawful conditions of pre-trial incarceration or post-conviction punishment.

The last page states she will owe $256,000 in fines and the motion to dismiss them was denied. Really?

With a law degree going to cost you near on $150,000 in student debt, you start to think of limited options and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debt_bondage has many forms.

Depends entirely on where you go. Your $150,000 figure will get you a law degree from an elite top 20 law school, which will earn you a starting median income as a lawyer of $175,000+ in the private sector.

The median lawyer in the US will earn $4 or $5 million over their law career, at a present $120,000 per year.

The median lawyer from an elite school will earn more than twice that over a career.

$150,000 is a reasonble entry fee considering the immense income potential, which is what you're buying access to.

If you just want a law degree and are not worried about the income potential, you can alternatively go to a cheaper school (public + in-state) and slash the student debt dramatically.

Plenty of lower income lawyers out there, but yeah. Like anything, the best candidates get the best jobs. You’re not going to a top firm if you graduate at the bottom of your class and went to an average school, unless you have some other magical quality or connection.

Really. The validity of the contempt wasn't undercut, the grand jury was dismissed which terminated any basis for additional contempt sanctions not already incurred (unless criminal contempt charges are filed, but that's a separate bucket of consequences.)

Did something in particular change so they no longer needed her testimony, or did they finally accept her argument that she already told them what she knew and had nothing more to say?

Edit: Oh I didn't see that the Assange grand jury was dismissed today!

"the court finds Ms. Manning's appearance before the Grand Jury is no longer needed, in light of which her detention no longer serves any coercive purpose."

As the order states, the Grand Jury is no more and, as a result, her testimony is no longer needed.

She attempted suicide and a judge decided that she need not be incarcerated to compel her to be a witness.

That's not at all what the court order says.

It also makes the reasonable point that the Assange grand jury had been dismissed, but IIRC (and it's only been two or three hours) the court's statement was clear that incarceration to compel was not necessary. (Probably motivated more by the grand jury's conclusion than the suicide), but if you'd like to tell all of us what you think they said, that would be super!

That is most definitely not what the court order says.

She was dismissed because the Grand Jury had concluded today, and therefore her testimony was no longer required.

The suicide attempt wasn't even part of the discussion.

On the one hand, I understand the hacker ethos and the feeling that the Espionage Act in particular is a disgrace, especially as applied to Assange. (I thought the resurrection of the Espionage Act during Pres. Obama's administration was one of the most disgraceful actions of his presidency.)

On the other hand, Manning has no leg to stand on. She was granted immunity per the first sentence of this order, thus her Fifth Amendment privilege doesn't apply. She has no privilege against testifying against friends or people she wishes to lend moral support, and especially not when being called to testify in a (secret) grand jury proceeding.

She could have chosen either to comply with the court order or face contempt proceedings as a form of civil disobedience. Instead, she's arguing that she's special and that contempt proceedings need not apply.

I respect people who commit civil disobedience, especially in reaction to injustice like the Espionage Act. It's a credible signal that someone finds some particular law wrong. But this is not that scenario. By trying to avoid punishment for her contempt of court, Manning has done nothing to sway the minds of the people who need to be convinced (i.e. Congress or maybe the Justice Department).

The judge’s distinction between punitive and coercive is important. Contempt of court is closer to police use of force than to criminal punishment. Faced with a hostile suspect, cops can do some nasty stuff. Electric shocks, beating with sticks, painful chemicals. But suppose they’re ordering you to stand up, and you’re deaf or paralyzed. The baton keeps landing and you keep not doing what they ask. Resisting arrest is a punishable crime! But they can’t just beat you to death on the side of the road for it. They’d have to actually get a conviction, and even then, beating isn’t a sentencing option.

Contempt of court is the nightstick. Obstruction of justice is the resisting arrest charge. That may be on the table for her. But you can’t just keep holding someone in contempt until they do the thing they’ll never do, or once you no longer need it. She’s not asking for special treatment, that is just how contempt works.

(Not a lawyer).

I'm not sure I follow this analogy. I'm also not sure it's a very reasonable analogy in the first place. Seems a bit non sequitur.

Contempt is not society’s punishment for anything. It’s a tool the judge can use to extract your cooperation with a specific demand. Not as revenge.

Though there is common law contempt, in the US it has been codified in statutory law[1]. The text of the law states that it is indeed a punishment for disobedience with the court.

In general, "revenge" is not the aim of any administration of justice; however, punishment is a tool, for better or worse, that is used in an attempt to achieve justice. Punishment is also the type of remedy that the state can do well. The maxim about "have hammer; see problem nails" applies to the state as well.

Keep in mind that the statute, enacted by Congress, explicitly allows the exact punishment Manning herself received. While holding her beyond the grand jury proceedings was considered moot, the fines themselves survived, as fines are wont to do.


You're right, there is such a thing as criminal contempt, which can be used punitively. But it is a crime for which you have to be charged and convicted. Chelsea Manning's contempt is the civil variety, which must have a coercive purpose.

> I respect people who commit civil disobedience, especially in reaction to injustice like the Espionage Act. It's a credible signal that someone finds some particular law wrong. But this is not that scenario.

You’re just saying that you support civil disobedience when you support it. Of course. But of course people can and do commit civil disobedience to protest things you don’t support.

I chose my words carefully. People who commit civil disobedience and accept their punishments make me stop and ponder. I may not agree with their positions, but I do take them seriously. I feel the same way about people who self-immolate. Hard to have a more credible commitment to some sort of cause than almost certainly killing yourself in an extremely visible way. There's very little I would set myself on fire for, so I have serious respect for those who do it, and it makes me stop and consider what I believe.

If a law is morally wrong and you commit civil disobedience you have no moral obligation to be punished for opposing the immoral. That would be silly.

It may be that opposing the immoral law and accepting punishment has a better marketing aspect for convincing people of the immorality of the law, but doing that convincing might not be the purpose the person has, their purpose might just be opposing the immoral law.


I didn't read it that way and I'm on the left..

I've participated in civil disobedience protests before (forming a human chain.) Obstructing passage is illegal, but I believed in what I did and was willing to accept detainment.

The poster's perspective is that civil disobedience is illegal (almost by definition), and as an illegal action it has risks (detainment, being roughed up), and the willingness of people to take those risks for a cause they believe in makes them stop and listen. This is precisely the goal, and I laud them for not tuning it out!

Anyways, it can also go the other direction. The self-immolation of a reported Falun Gong member turned public opinion in China against the practice as too extreme/cultlike, bolstering the crackdown, rather than drawing sympathy for their brutal suppression.

> I'm on the left..

That doesn't mean you aren't fascist, or hold a view that isn't hurtful to democracy.

Both 'sides' are equally capable of totalitarian/authoritarian thought.

There's two schools of thought to civil disobedience. The first holds that one must surrender oneself to the authorities to distinguish civil disobedience from pure criminality. But the other holds that one should not surrender or plead guilty so as not to legitimize an unjust system.

Though I clearly am biased in favor of the former interpretation since it is IMO the most persuasive, her actions fail both. Any advocacy on her own behalf in front of the court (with the exception of genuinely extreme treatment like torture) would constitute legitimizing the proceedings. Under the latter interpretation, her only response would be to remain completely silent and refuse to cooperate at all. If we wanted evidence that she was trying to refuse the legitimacy of the court, we could see if she, for example, refused physically to move when summoned before a court, refused to say anything when addressed by the judge or any other officer of the court or refuse to file court proceedings. She might even refuse to eat or take some other drastic action. Instead, we see court pleadings, which all but imply that she respects the legitimacy of the court, just not its decision toward her.

> She might even refuse to eat or take some other drastic action. Instead, we see court pleadings, which all but imply that she respects the legitimacy of the court, just not its decision toward her.

No, she attempted suicide, more than once. Drastic action was taken along with the legal team attempting to do their jobs.

>She might even refuse to eat or take some other drastic action.

Like attempted suicide?

That does not follow. Court pleadings only imply she recognises the power over the court over her.

Looks like they are still fining Manning $256,000.00.

Her attorneys recently said 'half million' in fines...so I'm confuzzled.

"..more than a half million dollars in fines..."


edit: downvoted why? It's an article from today, 1:44pm...

There's been two distinct grand juries, each of which have caused her to be reincarcerated. Maybe she still has fines form the first one?

Even if those have been paid, it's still worthwhile to consider the full scope of injustice inflicted upon her.

Where's the GoFundMe? I have a spare $1 to jump start the effort.

Contributed $10.

OK, contributed $10 there as well. Worst case I'm out $20, best case I've done my tiny part to keep the ball rolling.

TLDR; the Assange grand jury was dismissed today so Manning is ordered released but she still owes the coeercive fines which amount to $256,000.

That is obscene. I can just about understand contempt of court incarceration for not testifying (though I have extreme reservations on the practice) but such punitive and life-debilitating fines strike me as purely malicious.

I'm sure her representation, who likely are working pro bono, will challenge the fines.

They did, as part of that order those challenges were denied. No idea if they can appeal that bit. IANAL.

I understand they already did (the same order mentions it) and they were denied. Of course, they could appeal I presume.

Despite rhetoric and protestation otherwise, "purely malicious" is a pretty good description of the US legal system.

I know people that work on that end of things, and honestly the majority seem to be well meaning people who are trying to do the right thing and not be mean spirited in their pursuit of convictions. Of course that doesn't mean they're perfect, but in (my admittedly not comprehensively systematic experience) the majority are not malicious. But it only takes, say, 10% to paint the whole group that way. Same with judges. The extremes get publicity, but I am close with a few lawyers who tell me the judges they deal with are fully capable of exercising compassion when it comes to dealing with individual circumstances.

Everything about the legal actions surrounding Assange seems purely malicious. A number of different governments (in the US, UK and Sweden) are trying to make the point, "Don't publish our dirty secrets or else."

Can Manning avoid the fines by declaring bankruptcy?

IANAL. My understanding is that "Punishment fines" aren't dischargable in a Chapter 7, but a chapter 13 could be used to help make it easier to pay them down over time. "Reimbursement fines," which are fines where the government is trying to recoup its costs, are dischargable.

Now, Manning was held in civil contempt and not criminal contempt, which MIGHT make a difference, but I'm guessing not for chapter 7? But, again, not a lawyer.

I thought court fines weren't discharged in bankruptcy -- I could be wrong

That must be her next move.

That’s not how it works Michael.

You don’t “avoid” fines by declaring bankruptcy. You can go through a bankruptcy process and as the debtor you may be forgiven from certain things that the other side will clearly never receive money from, but this isn’t a clean slate trick you just do and walk away from.

You basically convert your obligation into distrust. And can “refinance” some debts including judgments against you.

So, could Manning go through bankruptcy and have the court never receive their money, yes. But I wouldn’t say this is “avoiding the fine”, just changing it.

I have no idea what the implications of bankruptcy are in the US, but it sounds like you are alluding to something serious - aside from no credit, what would Manning face in this scenario?

No, you are entirely misreading that. You don’t just get everything reset to zero. So bad credit, yes, but also maybe a condition is that you are still on the hook for legal fees but they have been worked down to 50,000 and the payments have been rescheduled to 20 years.

It’s a legal process, not an eraser.

Fair enough. s/avoid fines/minimize financial impact/

It's a shame lamo didn't make it to see this. I know it really fucked him up to out her. That would be such a nightmare situation to be in.

>I know it really fucked him up to out her

Did it really? Lamo was a person who’d go out of his way to seek out kids to snitch on just to amuse himself.

According to his own words, yes. I knew lamo for just shy of 20 years.

I will not defend his character; his regular drug abuse and mental health issues could make him unpredictable, mean, vicious, etc. I've never called him a friend, but he was a peer, had a keen mind, and was fascinatingly unique.

I'm not defending him, but as someone that spent years conversing with him and sharing information, both online and in person, including discussions about this exact topic: Yeah, it really messed him up. Anyone that he was comfortable conversing with would say the same.

I’ve said it before but the idea of secret courts trying to coerce people into doing things seems extremely backwards and regressive. Maybe I don’t understand this system but it doesn’t seem to be about getting justice. If there is testimony already given as well it seems doubly wrong, inconsistent and hateful.

> "Maybe I don’t understand this system..."

sounds like you understand the system pretty well. the US is grounded in a limited federal government and the right to vigorously oppose it (short of, say, revolt) without persecution (see: bill of rights).

holding manning in jail for so long was persecutory and unjust.

It's common practice to hold even low level offenders for a year or more to extract a confession. NYC has been particularly infamous for this.

Doesn't make it right tho.

Manning and Assange must eat the stick so the rest of the people learn not to mess with the Authority. Must make sure that no journalist dares to even touch any future leak. Dare I remind that Greenwald has a capture order in Brasil.

Really? I thought the whole idea of free "free" was that people do mess with the Authority to keep it in check.

That is the idea. They're saying that, in practice, the Authority is anti-freedom, and freedom is the enemy.

You would prefer that prosecutors be able to indict people without any checks? Grand jury proceedings are secret to protect the innocent.

I also don't understand. I've tried to find more material about what was going on, especially re. dismissal of Grand Jury mentioned:


And I don't understand if it is actually accessible (the meaning of "sealed" there).

Courts have as much to do with justice as HR departments. Both exist only to protect the higher-ups. It's not about protecting people; it's about protecting power and those who wield it.

That doesn’t make sense. Courts are independent (in theory) whereas HR is directly paid by and depending on the company.

There _is_ a slightly looser coupling than an HR department, but the judges are still appointed and confirmed by politicians with pretty clear material interests. It's not so much a case of being "paid to rule the right way" as being chosen _because_ of an inclination to rule the right way

Independent in operation, but not able to perform their own hiring. The temptation to appoint sycophantic justices who have espoused opinions in line with the dominant party is high.

> Courts are independent (in theory)

In the last couple years the {in practice} part has made this independence completely untrue.

> completely untrue.

That would explain why the government never loses in court ever, ever, right?

One could argue that its merely lost to another government faction. Ala intra-aristocratic strife.

Perhaps it could even be described as one part of the government applying checks and balances against another part.

Why, what changed in the last couple years?

I don't necessarily agree with GP, but don't judges get government salaries?

The government consists of three independent branches of which one is the judiciary. You can’t compare this to a company which is basically a dictatorship.

I am not sure why you are being down voted, this is a perfectly accurate statement - and if viewed from a democratic perspectives, corporates are very dictatorial and mafia-like

>secret courts

This was a normal public federal district court, not the FISA court or the like. Or did you mean the concept of grand juries?

> trying to coerce people into doing things

If people aren't voluntarily complying with orders and subpoenas, what would you suggest be done?

The concept of grand juries.

I would actually say it’s almost impossible to compel people to be witnesses. If the witness believes the court to be politically motivated (which you can’t believe it isn’t) then morally of course it’s the correct decision not to testify. I for one wouldn’t give a shit at this point, I’d say just about anything to make these people leave me alone. Another problem with the coercion aspect of this, my testimony couldn’t be trusted...

> I for one wouldn’t give a shit at this point, I’d say just about anything to make these people leave me alone. Another problem with the coercion aspect of this, my testimony couldn’t be trusted...

The punishment for that is a jail sentence for the actual crime of lying under oath they call it perjury... You're not actually getting out of prison doing that unless you can lie without ever messing up or contradicting something the state already knows.

It's a tricky line subpoenas need some method of enforcement or they're basically toothless but there's definitely a line where contempt of court goes too far.

At last some good news today.

It seems to me that the 1st Amendment should, in principle, give you the right to remain silent in any circumstances (including when you're subpoenaed). After all, shouldn't freedom of speech include the freedom to not speak - isn't remaining silent in of itself a form of expression?

I understand that this is not at all how the courts have interpreted the constitution, but it remains my gut interpretation - that individuals should have the right to freedom of speech and silence. I also believe, for the similar reasons, that lying to an FBI officer, when not under oath, should be constitutionally protected.

While it might sound nice to want to sweep away compelled testimony, in this case the cure is much worse than the disease.

A major part of the Constitution's objective as specified in the preamble is to "establish justice." Certainly criminal elements - actual criminals, not people who are quasi-political prisoners like Assange - would love to be able to refuse to testify under any circumstances. Such an interpretation would be untenable and would lead to essentially a failed state. Thus we understand that the First Amendment does not mean that people cannot be called to testify in court.

Furthermore, keep in mind that your interpretation is directly contradicted by, well, the Constitution.

Sixth Amendment:

> In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right [...] to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor [...]

Considering that the First and Sixth Amendments were proposed together and ratified at the same time, I think the idea that the First Amendment allows people not to speak under compulsion of court is untenable.

Finally, the text of the First Amendment begins "Congress shall make no law [...]" That framing is important: the right is against Congress enacting a law, not the courts granting an order compelling speech (like a subpoena) or forbidding it (like a gag order or keeping grand jury proceedings secret).

Thank you for a very insightful reply that has made me reflect on my position.

I am still concerned by the ethical ramifications of forcing people to testify against their friends and loved ones. I don't think it would necessarily result in a failed state if the prosecution were forced to rely on only willing witnesses and physical evidence.

I am curious if you have any insight regarding the crime of making false statements to federal agents [1]. This actually is a law passed by congress that seems to interfere with free speech.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Making_false_statements

Cheers for thoughtful dialogue on the Internet!

I should be clear: I don't personally support what the DOJ is doing to Assange. I even think the Espionage Act likely has Constitutional defects as applied to his case; it's just never been tested. And I think the Espionage Act should be repealed at the earliest possible moment. That being said, I think we're stuck with it, and our Constitution likely doesn't prevent it from being a law, albeit a bad one.

On the other hand, I have serious misgivings about the false statement laws, at least as they cover unintentional false statements (i.e. those without _mens rea_). I don't think our Constitution was meant to punish people criminal for actions that they aren't even aware of. Unfortunately, there is long precedent establishing that "strict liability" is permissible even in criminal law. It seems like a gross violation of due process to me, but unless and until something changes, we're stuck with it.

I think you've also hit on a much bigger problem I have with the justice system: this fairly absurd idea that law enforcement can do nearly whatever it wants, whenever it wants in order to seek its own ends. If I were to propose criminal justice reforms, I would focus first almost exclusively on police procedure. Forget about bail reform or sentencing guidelines: don't allow cops to lie to people while performing an investigation; strictly prohibit cops from making any innuendo that someone waiving his or her rights is somehow "looking guilty" or some such nonsense; and get rid of the plea bargaining system.

Essentially the only thing anyone should ever say to law enforcement in the US is, "I refuse to any questioning without my attorney present." Anything else you say to them can and will be used against you, and cannot be used for your defense, since it is hearsay. It's not too hard to see that the distribution of people who know how to respond to pressure from the cops to talk is heavily skewed toward the less privileged segment of the population. When you add in things like plea bargaining, which has resulted in even many innocent people pleading guilty to crimes they didn't commit, I don't think anyone can call it justice.

It's late so I'm rambling, but I think there are serious problems with the justice system. I just don't think Chelsea Manning is a particularly great poster child for them.

And here all along I thought that she was already out.

Bad for me for being out of touch.

Awful for the Justice system for this clusterfuck!

so she is ordered released but still has to pay $256K in fines. i was so hoping that those fines would be waved.

Manning for President!

This is fantastic news.


I'm not familiar with the facts of the case.

And, I further realize that facts are almost completely immaterial to motivated reasoning about the case, but...

... assuming that you (or someone) is a straight-shooter, why is this "fantastic news"?

Manning was being squeezed to get at Assange, who most people on HN agree is himself only being squeezed for geopolitical reasons. Nobody is happy to see the justice system abused for geopolitical goals, so any step away from "jail all of the dissenters and all of their supporters" is good to see.

I am baffled that no matter how many times Assange (and a fair number of NY State Fed LEOs) say "It wasn't the Russians", that the "system" nor the "media" nor the "people" seem to be able to take him at face value: It wasn't the Russians. (Even CrowdStrike seems to be backing away from those claims in this last week)

1. Please don't use the term "The Russians". That could mean any Russian national, or Russian corporation, or the Russian government. Conflating all of those is a mechanism for smearing all of "The Russians" for actions not by all of "The Russians".

2. Even if Russia had provided Wikileaks with the Democratic Party emails (which it probably didn't), that wouldn't matter, i.e. Wikileaks was still quite justified in publishing them.

1) Please don't read too much into that. I meant it as an umbrella term. When I say "it wasn't", I'm sort of un-smearing all of them, as an umbrella. I have no problem with Russians (I actually like them - fun people - except in winter). I have problems with American disinformation.

2) Agreed. That was not a point of contention.

Can you link to where Crowdstrike is backing away from this claim?

Do you have a link to crowdstrike walking back their statements?

> Even CrowdStrike seems to be backing away from those claims in this last week

This is untrue:

As we’ve repeatedly stated, we stand by the findings and analysis of our investigation, and, as detailed in our company statement, we’ve provided all forensic evidence and analysis to the FBI as requested. Additionally, our findings have been supported by the U.S. intelligence community and other cybersecurity companies.


> Assange... say[s] "It wasn't the Russians"

Has he actually said that? The actual quotes I've seen have not been definitive:

"The same day, Assange told NBC News that "it's what's in the emails that's important, not who hacked them." When asked by NBC News if WikiLeaks might have been used to distribute documents stolen as part of a Russian intelligence operation, Assange replied: "There is no proof of that whatsoever. We have not disclosed our source."[1]


"On Sean Hannity’s radio show, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said that hacked Democratic documents sent to reporters at Gawker and The Hill may have come from Russia. But, he said, he is confident the emails he received did not come from the same source.".. "“Our source is not the Russian government,” said Assange, later claiming WikiLeaks did not receive its material from any state actor, Russia or otherwise."[2]

(Note "state actor" - which would align with the idea that the hacking group is just under direction of Russian intel, not that it is part of it)

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guccifer_2.0

[2] https://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/310654-assange-some...

I came across more recent statements from Crowdstrike, but failed to save them, and must dig them up again. Will attempt to do so (I've noticed that Google has gotten more efficient at letting me fail to find previously discovered materials, but I hope to be able to be back with my references)

Re: Assange - yes - he is quite circumspect.

I don't get this at all.

All the evidence points to it being the Russians, Putin himself said it might have been "patriotically minded" Russians, all US intel agencies say it was the Russians, all non-US agencies say it was the Russians.

And you claim to be baffled as to why people say it was the Russians?

Maybe it wasn't, but it's not exactly baffling why people say it is. There are no real counter theories at all - the only counter claims sort of say "Deep State" but nothing else.

What evidence? Press reports about intelligence agencies is not evidence.

Where is the direct, observable, undeniable evidence?

If you don't have it, then don't keep parroting the nonsense.

a) My argument wasn't that it is correct, it is that it isn't baffling that people say it.

b) What kind of evidence wouldn't you deny?

Any actual evidence at all would suffice. The word of America's criminal intelligence agencies does not.

I'll take that on good faith then. This is a reasonable that lays it out nicely: https://www.emptywheel.net/2016/12/10/evidence-prove-russian...

What are you talking about? It was Russians (at least two independent Russian groups even) and CrowdStrike has only reiterated that. CrowdStrike is also not the only source of that intelligence.

It doesn’t matter what Assange said, the only thing he could possibly know is who gave it to him. He doesn’t know where his source got it, even if his source was not Russian.

I’m also pretty sure that no LEOs said any such thing.

> CrowdStrike is also not the only source of that intelligence.

Who else examined the servers? The US Government stated in court that it relied exclusively on their analysis and never examined the servers at issue. One might think this was normally something they should be doing, but it's getting more common (e.g. with Bezos' phone, where the private company failed to decrypt the supposed malware, despite there being open source tools for WhatsApp decryption).

Given that they failed to identify the Ukranian P.A.S. malware or a bunch of Tor exit nodes, it's legitimate to question how definitively they were able to pin this on a specific APT.

> It doesn’t matter what Assange said, the only thing he could possibly know is who gave it to him.

A fair point, but one you should make to the US Government and the media who promulgated the myth that he would somehow get a pardon for saying exactly what he's repeatedly said in public for years now when the real story was that someone hoped to convince Trump of that and never actually got to talk to him.

Also, we do have some evidence against. The exfiltration happened at almost exactly the speed of a USB drive. That doesn't seem likely to be coincidental, or likely to randomly happen for internet exfiltration of data.

Because she is being released from incarceration!?

Uhhhh, yeah. I was curious about why this is a "good thing". I think I got a response that tries to respond to that more specifically up-thread. Thank you.

Well, there are many different... idealogical alignments in America.

Some believe Manning is a hero who followed her conscience and leaked classified information in order to inform the public of secret crimes the government/military committed.

Others think what Manning did was incredibly reckless and treasonous, tantamount to selling secrets to the enemy (just without the "selling" part)

So to answer your question, people in the first camp see news like this as a good thing.

I don't think this should be reduced to her original actions. She was sentenced as a consequence of them, she served 7 years until the rest of the sentence was communted by Obama.

So the real question is: was it appropriate to throw her back into prison, under very harsh conditions, just to force a statement from her. I think there is very good reasons to doubt that, independant of the stance about her original actions. From that perspective, I think her release is good news.

She is in jail for refusing to testify in front of a secret jury. The grand jury is essentially a politically motivated persecution of Julian Assange. She has already spent 7 years in jail for her part in the Wiki leaks mess and then they threw her in jail again. She released tapes to Assange documenting US killing of civilians. She is clearly a psychologically damaged person and now they are just trying to break her.

Grand juries are a normal part of the system for determining if a case should continue to go to trial they had no power to put Assange in prison.

Hmm, I don't know, how about you answer this:

Why are you such a fascist?

I don't know. I don't think I started that way. I think I started out normal like?

But when your mother awakened certain hidden feelings in me with her sex toys when I was 9, I did feel feelings against her other object of sexual obsession, you; I developed an urge to put my hands around your neck.

It's been years, but I carry it to this day.

I miss her.


tl;dr she was a whistleblower facing the wrath of the people she outed

I think she was being compelled to testify here in the Assange case, no?

Manning was never a whistleblower hence the espionage charges.

kick 11 months ago [flagged]

She was a whistleblower, hence everyone with a hint of credibility saying she was.

Also, it's customary on HN to point out when you have a conflict of interest. You work for a military contractor & used to work for the government, and probably should disclose that when talking about a subject so closely tied to your work.

It's a form of personal attack to bring in someone's personal history as ammunition in an argument. You can't do that on HN, regardless of how strongly you feel about some other commenter or their work. No amount of personal upbraiding is worth the damage it does to the container. Please don't do it again.


The case of using someone's employer or field to shame them is particularly bad for this site, because it disincentivizes people from showing up where they have the most expertise. It's true that we're all strongly biased by our work, so some distortion is inevitable, but having HN be a place where people feel free to show up on topics that they're knowledgeable in is more important than policing each other for bias.

We're also trying to avoid the online callout/shaming culture on HN in general.


> You work for a military contractor & used to work for the government, and probably should disclose that when talking about a subject so closely tied to your work.

How do you know that? I don't see anything in their profile. Was it a post that they made?

kick 11 months ago [flagged]

The gun camera footage, maybe, but the state dept. cables were not blowing any whistle.

Can you help me understand the difference between leaker and whistleblower?

Whistleblower is commonly understood to uncover illegal, criminal or otherwise punishable activity within the organization, that is being hidden. Thus the metaphor of "blowing the whistle" - as in, attracting attention to something untoward going on. However, just releasing secret documents which do not contain the proof of any specific criminal, or otherwise untoward, behavior is not "whistleblowing". For example, Manning released 251,287 US Diplomatic cables and 482,832 Army reports - unless you consider the whole US Diplomatic corps and US Army to be a criminal enterprises, this goes way beyond whistleblowing, as described above.

I mean do you understand what it is that she "leaked"? Her intentions were obviously good, she was blowing the whistle on the government committing war crimes, at her own expense, no benefit. She may have not gone through proper channels, but you can't even really expect to be protected by those systems anyway. A "leak" is generally done for some kind of personal benefit or simply to cause harm and has no noble intention. the information leaked did not put anyone in danger but did expose crimes committed by the military. She should never have been jailed in the first place, free her.

A 'whistleblower' has protections gained by following the correct procedure to identify improper/criminal behavior first. If those actions result in punishment you can bring a suit against the offending party.

A more precise term would be leaker, as somebody who commits a data breach or spillage (military term). Manning did release evidence that appears to constitute a potentially criminal act, however the quantity and material subject of information leaked greatly exceeded any single, or collection of, criminal acts at 750,000 unrelated items.

A whistleblower is a subset of leaking with the limited intention of exposing something specifically nefarious.

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whistleblower

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_breach

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spillage_of_classified_informa...

She leaked after she followed the correct whistleblowing channels.

Whistleblowing only works if the people significantly higher up aren't supportive or complicit with the illegal actions.

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