Stop the presses! Chelsea Manning has been sent back to jail! But mainstream media largely reacted to the whistleblower being imprisoned again with token, bland coverage – those that even cared to report on it, that is. Instead, media reporting on her new battle with the grand jury is quieter than a swarm of crickets on a warm summer night. After serving four months for providing “more than 700,000 government files to WikiLeaks, a gigantic leak that lifted the veil on American military and diplomatic activities around the world,” Manning is once again serving time.
Manning was arrested on March 8 after being found guilty of contempt of court for refusing to testify in front of a grand jury concerning her disclosure of U.S. war crimes. The hearing was closed, one of the reasons she refused her summons.
“I will not participate in a secret process that I morally object to, particularly one that has historically been used to entrap and persecute activists for political speech,” Manning said in a statement which she tweeted:
** Chelsea was taken into custody today for resisting a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia
Chelsea provided the following statement: pic.twitter.com/tWjEOFyhYn
— Chelsea E. Manning (@xychelsea) March 8, 2019
Although she is protected against double jeopardy and would be granted immunity for her testimony (as long as she gives up her right to remain silent), there are conditions that make the process uncomfortable for her: In a grand jury hearing, jurors are not screened to determine if there is a personal bias that may be damaging to her, and there would be no defense attorneys to assist her. Another concern is that indictments could be issued, even without any evidence.
The mainstream media’s blatant disregard for reporting on this issue should alarm all of us. Manning’s imprisonment raises serious concerns about the rights of whistleblowers and the freedom of the press. While many consider her a traitor for divulging military secrets, others consider her actions brave and desperately needed in today’s world of secrecy and conspiracies.
Several independent journalists rallied to Manning’s defense in tweets:
If Chelsea Manning changed her name to "Pussy Riot" and her location to "Russia," we might hear some outrage from official Washington and the Beltway press corps that claims to care so much about press freedom https://t.co/nQg0bYwYli
— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) March 8, 2019
If a pundit complains that Trump sending mean tweets about cable news anchors is an existential threat to press freedom, but then says nothing about Chelsea Manning being re-incarcerated (she's one of the most important journalistic sources in US history) you know they are frauds
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) March 8, 2019
The US government tortured Chelsea Manning for YEARS for the “crime” of exposing human rights violations. Now they’ve thrown her in jail again for resisting a Grand Jury dragnet. If you care one iota about free speech or basic rights, start fighting for her release right now.
— Evan Greer (@evan_greer) March 8, 2019
Manning’s situation is further compounded by the fact that she is a transgender in the military. At a time when politicians are fighting over and slinging insults on whether transgenders should be allowed to serve in our nation’s defense, here came Bradley Manning, a military intelligence analyst, spilling sensitive secrets.
But this story received only a modicum of the attention it deserved. Instead, the MSM is focused on the Mueller investigation and looking for any little thing President Trump does that can be twisted and skewered to paint him in the worst light imaginable.