Veterans For Peace stands strongly in solidarity with Chelsea Manning. Chelsea has been a remarkable example of principled dissent. She showed great courage in releasing documents and now again standing firm against the questionable practices of a grand jury. Veterans For Peace calls on Chelsea to be released immediately.
Veterans For Peace and many VFP members were among the most committed supporters of Chelsea Manning when she was arrested in May, 2010 and eventually court-martialed for releasing the Collateral Murder video and other critical information about the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that the public had the right and need to know.
Veterans For Peace members were arrested outside the Marine Base at Quantico, Virginia, where Chelsea was being held in torturous solitary confinement. Members rallied outside her court martial at Fort Meade, Maryland, and sat in the courtroom every day. Veterans For Peace helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Chelsea’s defense, in conjunction with Courage To Resist and the Chelsea Manning Support Network.
As an organization, we were dejected when Chelsea was convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison. We were very grateful when President Obama commuted Chelsea’s sentence. Our members have watched with admiration as Chelsea has evolved into an important activist for transparency (the public’s right to know) and for transgender rights.
Once again, Chelsea Manning is demonstrating remarkable, principled courage. And once again, the powers-that-be are persecuting her. Chelsea has refused to participate in a grand jury fishing expedition against Julian Assange and Wikileaks. A grand jury is rumored to have already issued a secret indictment against Julian Assange.
Chelsea Manning has been arrested and jailed, and is facing a possible 18 months in prison.
As she was being taken back into custody on March 8, Chelsea declared,
“I will not participate in a secret process that I morally object to, particularly one that has been historically used to entrap and persecute activists for protected political speech.”
Daniel Ellsberg, a member of VFP’s Advisory Board, responded,
“Chelsea Manning is again acting heroically in the name of press freedom, and it’s a travesty that she has been sent back to jail for refusing to testify to a grand jury. An investigation into WikiLeaks for publishing is a grave threat to all journalists’ rights, and Chelsea is doing us all a service for fighting it. She has already been tortured, spent years in jail, and has suffered more than enough. She should be released immediately.”
Veterans For Peace agrees with Daniel Ellsberg. We are proud to stand with Chelsea Manning once again. We will add our voice and our energies to supporting her in her courageous stance.
FREE CHELSEA MANNING (again)!