No, this is no mistake by our editors — repeating a headline used seven times in Workers World since this brave transgender soldier and whistleblower Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison seven years ago. It is, however, one we didn’t expect to repeat after she received a presidential commutation of her sentence in January 2017.
The U.S. government is persecuting Manning because it hates the truth and refuses to share that truth with the people. Washington despises whistleblowers like Manning, Edward Snowden and the media organization WikiLeaks who expose the crimes of the CIA, Pentagon and State Department — crimes they commit worldwide to protect and expand the property and profits of the super-rich who rule the U.S.
While on active duty in Iraq as an intelligence analyst, Manning released 700,000 classified and sensitive military and diplomatic documents. They revealed details about modern imperialist wars never before made public. This included the infamous “Collateral Murder” tape of a U.S. “Apache” attack helicopter firing on civilians in Baghdad in 2007, killing 11 adults, including two Reuters journalists.
By revealing the crimes of U.S. imperialism, Manning and WikiLeaks carried out a service to humanity. No one should be punished for exposing crimes against humanity. By releasing this truth, they set an example that can inspire anyone working for the U.S. state apparatus — its military or civilian organizations — who has any sort of feeling of solidarity with the world’s oppressed.
Manning was ordered this March to testify before a grand jury investigating those who are trying to reveal these crimes. She refused to say more than she already had at her own trial.
U.S. investigators are trying to build a case against WikiLeaks and against its founder, Julian Assange, who has been in asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012. The U.S. hoped to use Manning’s testimony against Assange and his organization.
Called to testify March 7, Manning objected to the secret nature of the federal grand jury and refused to answer on constitutional grounds. The next day she was arrested and placed in a civil prison, where she may be forced to remain for the life of the grand jury — potentially 18 months — unless she agrees to testify.
Manning has said she will refuse to talk. This is a heroic position for any political prisoner and even more so for Manning because of the increased oppression and brutal treatment to which transgender people are often subjected in prison.
For all of the points made above, Workers World repeats the demand we made during the seven years Manning was in military prison: Free Chelsea Manning!