All posts by Sparrow

Jeremy Hammond

Jeremy Hammond Issues Statement Explaining Why He is Resisting the Grand Jury

Alexandria, VA — Imprisoned information activist Jeremy Hammond was found in contempt yesterday for refusing to cooperate with a Federal Grand Jury in the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA). Chelsea Manning was similarly remanded into custody for failure to provide testimony before the same Grand Jury. Hammond, who was already serving his 7th year of a 10 year Federal Prison sentence after pleading guilty for releasing information about the Private Intelligence Firm Strategic Forcasting (Stratfor), has issued the following statement detailing his reasons for resisting the EDVA’s grand jury:

“As many of you know, I was just a few months from my scheduled release from federal prison when I was unexpectedly dragged in chains and planes to this raggedy detention center in Alexandria, Virginia. I am outraged that the government is threatening additional jail time if I do not cooperate with their grand jury investigation. Their draconian intimidation tactics could never coerce me into betraying my comrades or my principles. In the spirit of resistance and with great contempt for their system, I am choosing silence over freedom.

“I am fully prepared for the consequences of my decision just as I had been each and every time I was faced with similar choices before. Long ago when I realized that government and capitalism were too hopelessly corrupt and unjust to be reformed through legal or electoral means, I chose to engage in civil disobedience and direct action. I knew then that my actions could land me behind bars, yet I fought on anyway; after a dozen arrests and even a prior federal prison sentence for hacking, I chose once again to use my computer skills to attack the systems of the rich and powerful as part of the Anonymous federal case I am doing time for today.

“When I pled guilty, I took responsibility for my actions and my actions alone. I never agreed to be debriefed or testify in any way, unlike the government’s informant Hector Monsegur, aka Sabu, whose reward was one year of probation while I received the maximum sentence allowable by law. It was a painful choice, but ten years in their dungeons was the price I was willing to pay so I could maintain my integrity. I have never regretted my choices the entire time I have been incarcerated, and having seen and experienced first-hand the abuses and inherent injustice of the prison industrial complex, my commitment to revolution and abolition has only become more deeply entrenched.

“Now, after seven and a half years of ‘paying my debt to society,’ the government seeks to punish me further with this vindictive, politically-motivated legal maneuver to delay my release, knowing full well that I would never cooperate with their witch hunt. I am opposed to all grand juries, but I am opposed to this one in particular because it is part of the government’s ongoing war on free speech, journalists, and whistleblowers. I am insulted that those in power claim that I have an ‘obligation that every citizen owes his government’ to testify. As an anarchist, I am not part of their social contract, and do not recognize the legitimacy of their laws and courts. Instead, I believe in a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. quote I had taped to the wall of my prison cell for years: ‘One has an obligation to disobey unjust laws.’

“It is difficult to view any of this government’s laws as just when they are so selectively enforced, and when the government turns a blind eye to its own misconduct, misconduct that is on display every day that Trump is in the White House. In my case, the government, through its informant, Sabu, instigated numerous hacks, asking me to break into governments and companies all over the world. Nearly a decade later, this misconduct remains ignored. The NSA continues to surveil everyone and launch cyber attacks. Trump and his corrupt cronies continue to hold the world hostage to their megalomaniacal imperialist pig whims while simultaneously refusing to comply with subpoenas and inquiries into their vicious abuses of power. Meanwhile, Chelsea Manning and I are doing hard time in this dump for the ‘crime’ of refusing to allow our spirits to break, after ‘serving’ our sentences for exposing government and corporate corruption.

“This absurd hypocrisy and desperate ruthlessness reveals a crumbling legal system, a system that has robbed me of the majority of my adult life but could never take my humanity. I will continue to do the right thing, no matter how long it takes. I know how to do time, and I will never be intimidated by their threats. Ever!! I refuse!!”

“Our integrity sells for so little, but it is all we really have. It is the very last inch of us, but within that inch, we are free.”  — Alan Moore, V for Vendetta

Additional Information

Jeremy is being represented by attorneys Susan Kellman, Sarah Kunstler, and local counsel Jeffrey D. Zimmerman.  His legal team also includes Elisa Y. Lee and Beena Ahmad. For information on how you can support Jeremy, and for updates on his case please visit freejeremy.net or follow the Jeremy Hammond Defense Committee on twitter @freejeremynet

Jeremy Hammond

Imprisoned Activist Jeremy Hammond Found in Contempt for Failure to Testify Before Federal Grand Jury in the EDVA

Same Virginia Grand Jury Probe Holding Chelsea Manning on Contempt also finds Hammond in Contempt

Alexandria, VA — Imprisoned information activist Jeremy Hammond has been found in contempt today for refusing to answer 7 questions in front of a Federal Grand Jury in the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA). Earlier this year Chelsea Manning was remanded into custody for failure to provide testimony before the same Grand Jury.

The following is a statement from the Jeremy Hammond Support Committee regarding these developments:

“Today, in Federal Court in the Eastern District of Virginia, Jeremy Hammond was found in contempt for refusing to answer questions posed to him by a grand jury. This grand jury is  the same grand jury currently holding Chelsea Manning in contempt for bravely refusing to answer their questions.

“We do not know what questions the grand jury is investigating. Moreover, it is unclear whether or not the federal prison sentence he was serving for which he was due to be released from just two short months from now, will be suspended as the result of being found in civil contempt. 

“By removing him from FCI Memphis before his time in RDAP was completed, the government has added a minimum of six months onto Jeremy’s sentence. Judge Trenga has the option of jailing him indefinitely for contempt. The decision to compel Jeremy to testify despite his outspoken, long-standing anarchist beliefs and support for myriad brave grand jury resistors, only to place him under contempt when he adheres to those same core beliefs should be seen as little more than cruel and punitive.

“Jeremy has held strong to his beliefs over the past seven years. In fact, being subjected to the horrors of the legal system over and over again has been one of the defining factors that has strengthened Jeremy’s beliefs. There is nothing a grand jury could do or say that could compel Jeremy to testify. Jeremy made it clear from the beginning of his case that he had no  intention of cooperating with the government, and that hasn’t, and will never change. Any attempts to try to force him to testify through prolonged incarceration serves to do nothing but further punish Jeremy for his political beliefs. This highlights one of the many problems with grand juries, and one of the many reasons why they should not exist, and why it is the correct and moral stance to resist them.”

Recent Events
In late August Jeremy Hammond was removed from the Federal Correctional Institution in Memphis, Tennessee where he was serving a 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to charges he hacked the private intelligence contractor Stratfor Global Intelligence. At the time of his transfer Hammond was enrolled in the Federal Bureau of Prison’s intensive Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) which upon completion qualifies participating inmates for early release. Hammond’s prison release date was projected to come around mid December of 2019 but because of his removal from the RDAP program and the summons to this grand jury his time incarcerated could be extended by over two years.  Hammond is currently confined at William G. Truesdale Correctional Center in Alexandria, VA and will likely remain there for the duration of these proceedings.

Additional Information
Jeremy is being represented by attorneys Susan Kellman, Sarah Kunstler, and local counsel Jeffrey D. Zimmerman.  His legal team also includes Elisa Y. Lee and Beena Ahmad. For information on how you can support Jeremy, and for updates on his case please visit freejeremy.net or follow the Jeremy Hammond Defense Committee on twitter @freejeremynet

Jeremy Hammond

Imprisoned Activist Jeremy Hammond Called Against His Will to Testify Before Federal Grand Jury in the EDVA

Virginia Grand Jury Believed to be the Same Probe that Previously Called on Chelsea Manning, David House

Alexandria, VA — Imprisoned information activist Jeremy Hammond has been called against his will to testify before a Federal Grand Jury in the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA). Last week Hammond was removed from the Federal Correctional Institution in Memphis, Tennessee where he was serving a 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to charges he hacked the private intelligence contractor Stratfor Global Intelligence. At the time of his transfer Hammond was enrolled in the Federal Bureau of Prison’s intensive Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) which upon completion qualifies participating inmates for early release. Hammond’s prison release date was projected to come around mid December of 2019 but because of his removal from the RDAP program and the summons to this grand jury his time incarcerated could be extended by over two years.  Although Hammond is still in transit it is believed he will be detained in or near Alexandria, VA for the duration of his proceedings.

The following is a statement from the Jeremy Hammond Support Committee regarding these developments:

“It’s with great sadness and anger we announce that Jeremy Hammond is being brought to the Eastern District of Virginia in an effort to compel him to testify before a grand jury. Given the secrecy of grand jury proceedings, we don’t know the nature or scope of the grand jury’s investigation. However, our assumption is that this is the same grand jury that Chelsea Manning is currently being incarcerated for refusing to testify before.

“Jeremy pled guilty in 2013 in the Southern District of New York to one count of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. He agreed to plead guilty pursuant to a non-cooperating plea agreement that granted him immunity from further prosecution in all 94 federal judicial districts. At the time of his guilty plea, Jeremy made a statement that made it clear that he was pleading guilty so that he could speak freely about his actions and move on with his life without putting anyone else in jeopardy:

‘Today I pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. This was a very difficult decision. I hope this statement will explain my reasoning. I believe in the power of the truth. In keeping with that, I do not want to hide what I did or to shy away from my actions. This non-cooperating plea agreement frees me to tell the world what I did and why, without exposing any tactics or information to the government and without jeopardizing the lives and well-being of other activists on and offline.

The full statement is available here

“Jeremy pled guilty to put an end to the case against him. He pled guilty because he had no interest in cooperating with the government. He was sentenced to 10 years —the maximum allowed under his plea agreement— and has been serving his time, counting down to the day that he will finally be free. That day was supposed to come in mid-December of 2019.

“The government’s effort to try to compel Jeremy to testify is punitive and mean-spirited. Jeremy has spent nearly 10 years in prison because of his commitment to his firmly held beliefs. There is no way that he would ever testify before a grand jury. The government knew this when they gave him immunity in every federal jurisdiction in exchange for his guilty plea. In bringing him against his will to the Eastern District of Virginia, the government has put an end to his participation in the RDAP drug program, effectively adding a year to his sentence. (If Jeremy had been permitted to complete the 9-month program, he would have earned a 12-month sentence reduction.) When he refuses to testify, his sentence will be prolonged indefinitely when he is punished with further incarceration for contempt of a court order to testify.

“Like brave grand jury resisters before him, including Chelsea Manning, Jeremy firmly believes that grand juries are repressive tools of the government, used to investigate and intimidate activist communities and are abused by prosecutors to gain access to intelligence to which they are not entitled.

“The U.S. government’s blatant abuse of the grand jury process in this case continues a clear pattern of targeting, isolating, and punishing outspoken truth-tellers and activists. We must stand up and say that enough is enough. We cannot allow the government to use fascist intimidation tactics to target, imprison, silence, and torture, those who threaten their power. We must not let the government fracture us or our support for those who need us most, no matter how they may try to pit us against one another, and we must not allow them to sow fear and distrust in our communities. We must come together as one, united in our support for truth and transparency, and for those who have paid the ultimate price to bring it to us.”

Note to Editors


Jeremy Hammond is being represented by attorneys Sarah Kunstler and Susan Kellman. You can learn more about the Jeremy Hammond Support Committee by visiting freejeremy.net or following them on Twitter at twitter.com/freejeremynet

Judge Says Chelsea Manning Can Pay Fines, Despite Evidence to the Contrary

Judge Says Chelsea Manning Can Pay Fines, Despite Evidence to the Contrary


Chelsea will Remain Confined Another Year and will Face Ongoing Financial Hardship

Alexandria, VA — On Monday, August 5, 2019, Judge Anthony Trenga denied Chelsea Manning’s Motion to Reconsider Sanctions imposed after he found her in civil contempt of court for her refusal to give grand jury testimony relating to her 2010 disclosures of classified information. 

While the judge has authority to sanction Ms. Manning in an effort to convince her to comply with his order to testify before the grand jury, he does not have the authority to impose sanctions for punitive purposes. In her motion, Ms. Manning argued that the sanctions, including both incarceration and steep daily fines, will never coerce her compliance with the Court’s order, and therefore impermissibly serve only a punitive function. 

The Judge denied her motion without holding a hearing on the matter, although both parties had consented to and anticipated an opportunity to present further evidence and argument. In a footnote, Judge Trenga explained his unexpected decision by saying “The Court […] finds, based upon the nature and volume of documents proffered, that a hearing would not aid the decision process and therefore decides the Motion without a hearing.”

“…Ms. Manning has proffered a substantial number of financial records documenting her assets, liabilities, and current and future earnings,” the Judge wrote. “The Court has reviewed these records and concludes […] that Ms. Manning has the ability to comply with the Court’s financial sanctions or will have the ability after her release from confinement. Therefore, the imposed fines of $500 per day after 30 days and $1,000 per day after 60 days is not so excessive as to relieve her of those sanctions or to constitute punishment rather than a coercive measure.”

The Judge has “almost unreviewable discretion” to interpret evidence, such as Chelsea’s financial records, and to impose —or revoke— sanctions. Thus, despite the fact that Chelsea is currently deeply in debt, and can not work while incarcerated, Judge Trenga was able to conclude that fines totalling $441,000 fall within the parameters of a ‘coercive’ sanction, and do not intrude into the forbidden realm of the punitive. He also stated his belief that continued confinement may yet exert a coercive impact upon Ms. Manning, and asserted that he retains the authority to keep her confined while simultaneously imposing daily fines, a point of law vigorously disputed by Ms. Manning’s lawyers.

When informed of the judge’s decision Chelsea said, “I am disappointed but not at all surprised. The government and the judge must know by now that this doesn’t change my position one bit.”

Chelsea will remain confined for another year, and will face ongoing financial hardship, unless Judge Trenga or a higher court are convinced of what Ms. Manning has always publicly maintained: that the sanctions imposed will never coerce her compliance and are therefore entirely punitive.

Past Developments


1. May 31, 2019 – Chelsea Manning’s Legal Team Files Motion to Reconsider Sanctions: https://www.sparrowmedia.net/2019/05/chelsea-mannings-lawyers-file-motion-to-reconsider-sanctions/

2. May 23, 2019  – Statement from Chelsea Manning and Her Lawyer Regarding Today’s Superseding Indictment: https://www.sparrowmedia.net/2019/05/statement-from-chelsea-manning-her-lawyer-regarding-todays-superseding-indictment/

3. May 16, 2019 – Statement from Chelsea Manning’s Legal Team Regarding Today’s Grand Jury Hearing: https://www.sparrowmedia.net/2019/05/statement-from-chelsea-mannings-legal-team/

4. May 12, 2019 – Chelsea on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” with Brian Stelter: https://www.cnn.com/videos/business/2019/05/12/chelsea-manning-speaks-out-after-two-months-in-jail.cnn/video/playlists/reliable-sources-highlights/

5. May 10, 2019 – Chelsea’s video statement (with full transcription): https://youtu.be/TDZGRRk4Mn

6. May 9, 2019 – Statements from Chelsea and her legal team: Chelsea Manning Released from Alexandria Detention Center After Grand Jury Lapses: https://www.sparrowmedia.net/2019/05/chelsea-manning-released-from-alexandria-detention-center/

7. May 6, 2019 – Chelsea Manning and her Attorneys File Motion Declaring She will Never Cooperate with Grand Jury: https://www.sparrowmedia.net/2019/05/chelsea-manning-and-attorneys-file-motion-declaring-she-will-never-be-convinced-to-cooperate-with-the-grand-jury/

8. April 22, 2019 – Chelsea Manning and Her Attorneys Respond to 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling Affirming Contempt and Continuing Her Detention: https://www.sparrowmedia.net/2019/04/chelsea-manning-and-her-attorneys-respond-to-4th-circuit-court-of-appeals-ruling-affirming-contempt-and-continuing-her-detention/

10. April 1, 2019 – Chelsea Manning’s Lawyers Ask Court to Release Her, Pending Appeal, Citing Abuse of District Court Discretion: https://www.sparrowmedia.net/2019/04/chelsea-mannings-lawyers-ask-fourth-circuit-to-release-her-pending-appeal/

11. March 29, 2019 – Lawyers for Chelsea Manning Ask Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to Void Charges of Civil Contempt: https://www.sparrowmedia.net/2019/03/chelsea-manning-grand-jury-appeal/

12. March 23, 2019 – Lawyers and Supporters Condemn Chelsea Manning’s Ongoing Detention Under Solitary Confinement Conditions: https://www.sparrowmedia.net/2019/03/lawyers-and-supporters-condemn-chelsea-mannings-ongoing-detention-under-solitary-confinement-conditions/

13. March 8, 2019 – Chelsea Manning’s Support Committee: Manning’s Detention for Refusal to Provide Grand Jury Testimony is Pointless, Punitive, and Cruel: http://www.balestramedia.com/chelsea-press-releases/2019/3/8/chelsea-mannings-support-committee-mannings-detention-for-refusal-to-provide-grand-jury-testimony-is-pointless-punitive-and-cruel

14. March 6, 2019 – Statement from Chelsea Manning Regarding Grand Jury and Consequences Associated with Her Refusal: https://www.sparrowmedia.net/2019/03/statement-from-chelsea-manning-regarding-grand-jury-and-consequences-associated-with-her-refusal/

15. March 5, 2019 – Chelsea Manning Continues to Challenge Grand Jury Subpoena, Motion to Quash Denied, Remains Under Seal: http://www.balestramedia.com/chelsea-press-releases/2019/3/8/chelsea-manning-continues-to-challenge-grand-jury-subpoena-motion-to-quash-denied-remains-under-seal

Lawyers Say Chelsea Manning Lacks Financial Capacity to Pay Fines

Lawyers Say Chelsea Manning Lacks Financial Capacity to Pay Fines

Alexandria, VA — In a reply brief to be filed later today, Chelsea Manning will propose guidelines for a hearing to assess her financial capacity before Judge Anthony Trenga, who, just over a month ago, ordered her to pay fines that could total up to nearly half a million dollars. These fines were imposed in addition to her incarceration.

While the government has alleged that she has access to resources that would enable her to pay these fines, that perception is simply wrong, say Chelsea and her lawyers. Although prior to her recent confinement, Ms. Manning was able to earn a living from public speaking, she is not a wealthy person, her team says. Records show she was forced to lay off the individual employed by her small business after her incarceration in March, 2019. She has no personal savings, an uncertain speaking career that has been abruptly halted by her incarceration, and is moving her few belongings into storage, as she can no longer afford to pay her rent.

Chelsea — who made exhaustive financial disclosures to the public during her 2018 run for the U.S. Senate — requested an opportunity to share her records with the Court shortly after the imposition of the fines. She will produce documents demonstrating that her current debt and compromised earning capacity have left her balance sheets near zero:


The government, and maybe the general public, think that I have access to resources just because I am a public figure but that’s just not true. Making money has never been my priority.

I do the work I do for the same reason I do everything: because I want to make a difference. Now, my work has been totally interrupted by my incarceration. I definitely feel the costs of these sanctions, but I never expected to have a comfortable life, and I would rather be in debt forever than betray my principles.”

Chelsea E. Manning

Ms. Manning and her legal team argue that, as it stands, the fines imposed are so much greater than her current and potential net worth that she will not be able to pay them in full. Moreover, while corporations are routinely financially sanctioned, it is unheard of for an individual to be hit with such heavy fines, particularly where the underlying matter involves no financial misconduct. For all of these reasons, her lawyers argue, the fines should either be reduced or vacated altogether.  

Furthermore, they argue, Chelsea will sooner bankrupt herself trying to pay these exorbitant fines than cooperate with the grand jury; since these fines will never coerce her cooperation, they are impermissibly punitive. Finally, they ask Judge Trenga to acknowledge that the jail sanction has definitively failed to coerce Chelsea, transforming any further confinement into an illegitimate punishment, rather than a civil sanction.


Past Developments


1. May 31, 2019: Chelsea Manning’s Legal Team Files Motion to Reconsider Sanctions https://www.sparrowmedia.net/2019/05/chelsea-mannings-lawyers-file-motion-to-reconsider-sanctions/

2. May 23, 2019: Statement from Chelsea Manning and Her Lawyer Regarding Today’s Superseding Indictment https://www.sparrowmedia.net/2019/05/statement-from-chelsea-manning-her-lawyer-regarding-todays-superseding-indictment/

3. May 16, 2019 – Statement from Chelsea Manning’s Legal Team Regarding Today’s Grand Jury Hearing: https://www.sparrowmedia.net/2019/05/statement-from-chelsea-mannings-legal-team/

4. May 12, 2019 – Chelsea on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” with Brian Stelter: https://www.cnn.com/videos/business/2019/05/12/chelsea-manning-speaks-out-after-two-months-in-jail.cnn/video/playlists/reliable-sources-highlights

5. May 10, 2019– Chelsea’s video statement (with full transcription): https://youtu.be/TDZGRRk4Mn

6. May 9, 2019 – Statements from Chelsea and her legal team: Chelsea Manning Released from Alexandria Detention Center After Grand Jury Lapses: https://www.sparrowmedia.net/2019/05/chelsea-manning-released-from-alexandria-detention-center/

7. May 6, 2019 – Chelsea Manning and her Attorneys File Motion Declaring She will Never Cooperate with Grand Jury: https://www.sparrowmedia.net/2019/05/chelsea-manning-and-attorneys-file-motion-declaring-she-will-never-be-convinced-to-cooperate-with-the-grand-jury/

8. April 22, 2019 – Chelsea Manning and Her Attorneys Respond to 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling Affirming Contempt and Continuing Her Detention: https://www.sparrowmedia.net/2019/04/chelsea-manning-and-her-attorneys-respond-to-4th-circuit-court-of-appeals-ruling-affirming-contempt-and-continuing-her-detention/

9.  April 1, 2019 – Chelsea Manning’s Lawyers Ask Court to Release Her, Pending Appeal, Citing Abuse of District Court Discretion: https://www.sparrowmedia.net/2019/04/chelsea-mannings-lawyers-ask-fourth-circuit-to-release-her-pending-appeal/

10.  March 29, 2019 – Lawyers for Chelsea Manning Ask Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to Void Charges of Civil Contempt: https://www.sparrowmedia.net/2019/03/chelsea-manning-grand-jury-appeal/

11. March 23, 2019 – Lawyers and Supporters Condemn Chelsea Manning’s Ongoing Detention Under Solitary Confinement Conditions: https://www.sparrowmedia.net/2019/03/lawyers-and-supporters-condemn-chelsea-mannings-ongoing-detention-under-solitary-confinement-conditions/

12.  March 8, 2019 – Chelsea Manning’s Support Committee: Manning’s Detention for Refusal to Provide Grand Jury Testimony is Pointless, Punitive, and Cruel: http://www.balestramedia.com/chelsea-press-releases/2019/3/8/chelsea-mannings-support-committee-mannings-detention-for-refusal-to-provide-grand-jury-testimony-is-pointless-punitive-and-cruel

13. March 6, 2019 – Statement from Chelsea Manning Regarding Grand Jury and Consequences Associated with Her Refusal: https://www.sparrowmedia.net/2019/03/statement-from-chelsea-manning-regarding-grand-jury-and-consequences-associated-with-her-refusal/

14. March 5, 2019 – Chelsea Manning Continues to Challenge Grand Jury Subpoena, Motion to Quash Denied, Remains Under Seal: http://www.balestramedia.com/chelsea-press-releases/2019/3/8/chelsea-manning-continues-to-challenge-grand-jury-subpoena-motion-to-quash-denied-remains-under-seal