Statement from Chelsea Manning Regarding Grand Jury and Consequences Associated with Her Refusal

Statement from Chelsea Manning Regarding Grand Jury and Consequences Associated with Her Refusal

Alexandria, VA — On Wednesday March 6, 2019 Chelsea Manning appeared before a Federal Grand Jury in the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) and refused to answer questions from prosecutors regarding the release of information she disclosed to the public in 2010.  Chelsea invoked her 1st, 4th, and 6th Amendment protections to provide just cause for her refusal.  On Friday March 8, 2019 Chelsea will return to the court for a hearing wherein Judge Hilton will consider the legal grounds for her refusal.  The following is a statement from Chelsea Manning regarding the Grand Jury and the possible consequences associated with her refusal:

“On Friday, I will return to federal court in Alexandria, Virginia for a closed contempt hearing. A judge will consider the legal grounds for my refusal to answer questions in front of a grand jury. The court may find me in contempt, and order me to jail.

“Yesterday, I appeared before a secret grand jury after being given immunity for my testimony. All of the substantive questions pertained to my disclosures of information to the public in 2010—answers I provided in extensive testimony, during my court-martial in 2013. I responded to each question with the following statement: ‘I object to the question and refuse to answer on the grounds that the question is in violation of my First, Fourth, and Sixth Amendment, and other statutory rights.’

“In solidarity with many activists facing the odds, I will stand by my principles. I will exhaust every legal remedy available. My legal team continues to challenge the secrecy of these proceedings, and I am prepared to face the consequences of my refusal.”

Chelsea Manning is represented by Moira Meltzer-Cohen, appellate attorney Vincent Ward, and local counsel Chris Leibig and Sandra Freeman.

All are encouraged to support Chelsea any way they can.  To learn more about Chelsea Resists or to donate to Chelsea’s legal defense visit: https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/chelsea-manning-needs-legal-funds-to-resist-a-grand-jury-subpoena

Questions regarding Chelsea Manning’s support committee should be directed to ChelseaResists@protonmail.com

Chelsea Manning Continues to Challenge Grand Jury Subpoena, Motion to Quash Denied, Remains Under Seal

Chelsea Manning Continues to Challenge Grand Jury Subpoena, Motion to Quash Denied, Remains Under Seal


Punitive Risks from Opaque Grand Jury Echo Trump Administration Resentment Towards Manning and President Obama’s Decision to Commute her Sentence

Alexandria, VA — This morning a judge in the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) denied a motion filed by Chelsea Manning’s attorneys to quash a subpoena compelling grand jury testimony from Chelsea.  Chelsea and her attorneys plan to utilize every available avenue to challenge this subpoena. Chelsea has been compelled to come back to court tomorrow. Following today’s events Chelsea’s support committee, Chelsea Resists!, has issued a solidarity statement:

“Today we stand in solidarity with Chelsea Manning, and her fight against the dangerous and undemocratic grand jury system. Grand juries operate in secret, allowing the government to retaliate against activists and dissidents behind closed doors.

“This case is no exception. By demanding that Chelsea testify and keeping the basic facts of this grand jury under seal, the government today denied the public’s right to see this oppressive process in the light of day.

“Donald Trump and his administration have publicly declared their disdain for Chelsea, and for President Obama’s decision to commute her sentence. Chelsea has stood by the testimony from her 2013 court martial, and this subpoena serves no legitimate purpose. It is a punitive effort to reverse Obama’s legacy, exposing Chelsea to legal hardship and possible imprisonment.

“Even further, this case has profound 1st Amendment implications. It threatens to erode the rights of journalists who publish information in the public interest. The grand jury could also subject Chelsea’s activist networks to intrusive surveillance for engaging in lawfully-protected activity.

“By challenging this subpoena, Chelsea joins dozens of activists who have refused to jeopardize themselves and their communities. After seven years of imprisonment and torture, Chelsea has suffered enough. We demand an end to this vindictive fishing expedition, and the abolition of the repressive grand jury system. #LeaveChelseaAlone!”

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Chelsea Manning is represented by Moira Meltzer-Cohen, appellate attorney Vincent Ward, and local counsel Chris Leibig and Sandra Freeman.

All are encouraged to support Chelsea any way they can.  To learn more about Chelsea Resists or to donate to Chelsea’s legal defense visit: https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/chelsea-manning-needs-legal-funds-to-resist-a-grand-jury-subpoena

Questions regarding Chelsea Manning’s support committee should be directed to ChelseaResists@protonmail.com

Chelsea Manning Challenges Grand Jury Subpoena, Support Committee Issues Statement in Solidarity

Chelsea Manning Challenges Grand Jury Subpoena, Support Committee Issues Statement in Solidarity

Alexandria, VA — Chelsea Manning has been summoned to appear and give testimony before a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) on March 5, 2019.  Following a rich history of contributions to activist communities, Chelsea will utilize every available avenue to challenge this subpoena. In support of Chelsea, activists have begun mobilizing through a support committee called “Chelsea Resists!” the following is the first statement from her support committee:

“By serving Chelsea Manning with a grand jury subpoena, the government is attempting once again to punish an outspoken whistleblower for her historic disclosures. We stand with Chelsea in support of her refusal to participate in this repressive and undemocratic process.

“Grand juries are notoriously mired in secrecy, and have historically been used to silence and retaliate against political activists. Their indiscriminate nature means the government can attempt to artificially coerce a witness into perjury or contempt. Chelsea gave voluminous testimony during her court martial. She has stood by the truth of her prior statements, and there is no legitimate purpose to having her rehash them before a hostile grand jury.

“Since her release in 2017, Chelsea has become a prominent public speaker, emboldening countless activists who resist fascism, white supremacy, and transphobic bigotry. Her 2010 disclosures exposed war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and showed the public the true nature of 21st century asymmetric warfare. By employing these tactics against her, the government is using a roundabout method to further punish Chelsea for her past actions, adding to the seven years of trauma, imprisonment and torture she has already endured.

“Since its first day in office, the current administration has attempted to erase every last piece of Barack Obama’s legacy — from the Affordable Care Act to civil rights protections for transgender people. We reject the coercive tactics of the carceral state and its fascist leaders, who weaponize the law to target activists, immigrants, and anyone who dares speak truth to power. Today, we stand in solidarity with Chelsea, as well as all current and former political prisoners who have resisted grand jury repression.”

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Chelsea Manning is represented by Moira Meltzer-Cohen, appellate attorney Vincent Ward, and local counsel Chris Leibig and Sandra Freeman.

All are encouraged to support Chelsea any way they can.  To learn more about Chelsea Resists or to donate to Chelsea’s legal defense visit: https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/chelsea-manning-needs-legal-funds-to-resist-a-grand-jury-subpoena

Questions regarding Chelsea Manning’s support committee should be directed to ChelseaResists@protonmail.com

Documents Show FBI Targeting Pro-Choice Movement as Violent Terrorist Threat

Documents Show FBI Targeting Pro-Choice Movement as Violent Terrorist Threat

Washington, DC — In an especially egregious case of “bothsidesism,” the FBI is training local law enforcement that the pro-choice movement represents a violent terrorist threat in ways akin to the extreme anti-abortion movement. This was uncovered in documents obtained via an open records request submitted by the transparency organization Property of the People.

The documents, along with other records obtained by Property of the People, reveals that the FBI has changed its domestic terrorism designation “Anti Abortion Extremists” to “Abortion Extremism” in order to include pro-choice activism within this official domestic terrorist category.

One of the newly-obtained documents, titled “Abortion Extremism Reference Guide for Law Enforcement,” was distributed by the FBI at a counterterrorism training for local law enforcement in 2017. The opening line of the document reads dubiously, “Both pro-life and pro-choice abortion extremists engage in criminal activity and seek to further their ideology, wholly or in part through force or violence.”

The FBI’s Abortion Extremism Reference Guide for Law Enforcement further informs that, “Catalysts which may lead to an increase in pro-choice extremism include […] “restricted access to abortion services.” The FBI’s Guide continues that, “Characteristics of pro-choice extremism include belief in a moral duty to protect those who provide and receive abortion services.”

“Pro-choice activists should not have to worry about being targeted as terrorist extremists simply for advocating for bodily autonomy and a woman’s right to choose,” said Gunita Singh, Staff Attorney for Property of the People.

“The FBI has a long, sad history of targeting progressive movements as threats to American security,” stated Ryan Shapiro, Executive Director of Property of the People. At its core, the FBI is, as it has always been, a political police force that primarily targets the left. However, what we’re seeing here is in some ways even more disturbing than the FBI’s routine policing of progressive dissent. Pro-choice activism isn’t even dissent. It’s literally a movement to uphold the existing constitutional order.”

The FBI’s message appears to be taking hold. As revealed in another document obtained by Property of the People, one Washington State Sheriff who attended the FBI’s counterterrorism training shared the Bureau’s Abortion Extremism Reference Guide for Law Enforcement (along with other FBI domestic terrorism reference guides) with the rest of his department. In his email distributing the guides, the Sheriff added, “I attended a counter terrorism meeting with the FBI and other agency heads a short time back. Attached is the latest and greatest about groups we should be aware of.”

About Property of the People

Property of the People is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to governmental transparency in the service of democracy. The organization’s motto is, “The records of government are the property of the people. It’s time we reclaim them.” Property of the People can be found on twitter at @propOTP

Property of the People is represented by Washington, DC-based FOIA specialist attorney Jeffrey Light assisted by Property of the People staff attorney, Gunita Singh.

Document Reveals FBI Categorizes Proud Boys as ‘an Extremist Group with Ties to White Nationalism’

Document Reveals FBI Categorizes Proud Boys as ‘an Extremist Group with Ties to White Nationalism’

Vancouver, WA — An internal affairs report obtained by The Sparrow Project and published today by Property of the People reveals how the FBI categorizes the Proud Boys as “an extremist group with ties to White Nationalism.”  The report, which was produced by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office in Vancouver, Washington, outlines an investigation that ultimately culminated in the termination of Deputy Sheriff Erin Willey for violations of the Office’s General Order 01.29.180 regarding non-discrimination and anti-harassment for her affiliations with the Proud Boys and her production and sale of Proud Boys’ Girls merchandise benefitting the group.

The Proud Boys is a fraternal organization of self-described “Western Chauvinists” founded by CRTV talking head Gavin McInnis.  Violence, Nationalism, misogyny, Islamophobia, transphobia, and anti-immigrant animus are frequent themes at Proud Boy events and their forums online.  Jason Kessler, organizer of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, boasted of his Proud Boy membership in 2017 and Alexander Ramos, a Proud Boy from Georgia, was one of the men convicted of the vicious parking garage beating of Charlottesville native Deandre Harris.  Recently, 9 Proud Boys were arrested in New York City after the group engaged in a targeted beating of three anti-fascists following a reception at the Metropolitan Republican Club celebrating the 1960 televised murder of Japanese socialist Inejiro Asanuma. Proud Boys events regularly draw a motley crew of violent fascists and smarmy Trump supporters hoping for a fight, and according to the Clark County Sheriff’s report, the FBI has taken notice.

According to the report:

“The FBI categorizes the Proud Boys as an extremist group with ties to White Nationalism.  The FBI has warned local law enforcement that the Proud Boys are actively recruiting in the Pacific Northwest and that some in the group have contributed to the escalation of violence at political rallies held on college campuses, and in cities like Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington.”

The Report Continues:

“The Proud Boys were publicly categorized as an extremist group by the FBI in 2018 and a Hate Group by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2018.”

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office began investigating Willey after The Columbian received a photograph of Willey in a Proud Boys’ Girls sweatshirt alongside a photograph of Willey in her patrol uniform.  According to the investigation’s findings, the photographs were sent by Graham Hayden Jorgensen, an abusive ex-boyfriend, who remains active within the Proud Boys in the Vancouver region. Court records indicate that Jorgensen had sent text messages indicating he hoped Willey would die or get injured on the job. Jorgensen was arrested on domestic violence charges earlier this year.

You can download a copy of the Clark County Sheriff’s report via Property of the People’s document archive HERE.