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

Transmountain Pipeline

Secwempemc Activists: ‘Despite Government Approval the TMX Pipeline Will Never be Built’

Blue River, BC — The Tiny House Warriors responded to today’s official approval of the Transmountain Pipeline by insisting that it will never be built on Secwempemc land, which includes 50% of the proposed pipeline route.

The Tiny House Warriors are a group of Secwepemc land and water defenders who for the past year, have been gathered in a new village of tiny houses on Secwepemc territory near Blue River. Their village site is along the proposed pipeline route and just across from a planned thousand man camp for pipeline construction workers and they are insisting that they will not allow either the man-camp or the pipeline to be built on their territory.

Secwempemc land comprises 50% of the proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline route.

“The Trudeau government does not have the right to put a pipeline through unceded Secwepemc land,” says Kanahus Manuel, a spokesperson for the Tiny House Warriors. “To try to legitimize this illegal act, Canada uses what legal scholars call its “cunning misinterpretation of “consent” which is inconsistent with Indigenous, constitutional and international law.””

“The fact that they have a few sellout Indian Act chiefs supporting their pipeline in no way legitimizes it. The salaries of these sellouts are directly paid by the Department of Indian Affairs and they have no right to speak for the people who are the rightful titleholders of the land.”

“The same goes for the idea of selling this worthless pipeline to Indigenous people and using Indian Trust monies to back this up. This is merely trying to put a brown face on the rape of our land. We will not allow that to happen.”

And while the United Nations is today looking into the genocidal murders of Indigenous women and girls uncovered by the MMIWG Report, we will not allow Trans Mountain pipeline to insert a man camp of a thousand white men into our territory to continue and even accelerate the genocidal rape and murders of our women and girls.”

“Today, we are calling on all of our Indigenous and non-Indigenous allies to join us in this battle to ensure the man-camps are not built and the Trans Mountain pipeline will not pass.”

Chelsea Manning’s Legal Team Files Motion to Reconsider Sanctions

Chelsea Manning’s Legal Team Files Motion to Reconsider Sanctions

Alexandria, VA — Today, Chelsea Manning and her legal team filed a Motion to Reconsider Sanctions, in which they ask Judge Anthony Trenga to release Chelsea from confinement, and ask that he modify the fines he imposed on her.

During the May 16th contempt hearing, Judge Trenga found Ms. Manning in contempt of court and ordered her confined for the term of the grand jury. Judge Trenga also imposed graduated fines to be assessed at $500 per day starting after 30 days of confinement, and jumping to $1,000 per day after 60 days, for as long as she refuses to comply with the court’s order to answer questions before the grand jury.

During that same hearing, Judge Trenga prevailed upon Ms. Manning to use her confinement as an opportunity to reflect on her principles and objections to the grand jury process. A letter from Chelsea filed with the court today represents her efforts to communicate those principles and objections clearly and completely to the judge, and to show him that she has in fact reflected on her convictions sincerely and at length.

Judge Trenga is asked to consider five important arguments in today’s court filing:

  1. A renewal of Ms. Manning’s motion for release, on the basis that she cannot be coerced, and that her incarceration is therefore only punitive. A sanction that serves only to punish her would convert what is intended as a civil coercive sanction into a criminal punishment, in violation of her 5th Amendment rights to due process.

  2. The government has now successfully obtained not one, but two indictments, without the benefit of or need for Chelsea’s testimony. Furthermore, as the government’s sixty-day window to add further charges prior to the submission of their extradition request is nearly over, the legitimacy of its purported need for Chelsea’s evidence is increasingly doubtful.

  3. The court may impose civil fines in order to coerce compliance with a court order – but not to punish disobedience with a court order. Coercive fines, however, are usually only applied to corporations, which cannot be jailed. Furthermore, such fines may not be imposed without the court confirming that the fines will not be excessive or punitive. This requires the judge to carefully examine the witness’s financial capacity, which was not done in this case.

  4. In the unusual event that fines are imposed on individuals, it is where the underlying contempt involves a refusal to comply with a court order about the management of large sums of money. There are no such facts in Chelsea’s case, and her lawyers believe that imposing any fine may be presumed to be definitionally punitive, rather than coercive.

  5. Although both fines and confinement are within the traditional contempt powers of the court, past cases suggest that these may be used one at a time, or one after the other, but a court should not impose both at once.

The government and Chelsea’s legal team are in agreement that witnesses held in civil contempt may be held for no more than 18 months total, even for contempts occurring before different grand juries. As a result, on May 29, 2019, the government joined Ms. Manning’s counsel in asking Judge Trenga to give her 62 days “time served” and to modify his order of confinement to the term of this grand jury minus the 62 days she already spent in confinement (for contempt before a previous grand jury proceeding).