Federal Judge Orders Chelsea Manning Released from Jail

The order came after the grand jury investigating WikiLeaks was dismissed, Kevin Gosztola reports. 

Chelsea Manning. (Screen shot of live stream from Ford Fischer)

Release Comes Day After
Manning Suicide Attempt

By Kevin Gosztola

Federal judge Anthony Trenga ordered a jail in Alexandria, Virginia, to release United States Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning. The order came after the grand jury investigating WikiLeaks was dismissed.

Manning was confined for 365 days or one year after being held in civil contempt because she refused to testify before a grand jury empaneled to investigate WikiLeaks. She attempted to commit suicide on March 11.

During her time in jail, Manning accumulated $256,000 in fines. She faced a fine of $500 per day for 30 days. That increased to $1,000 per day until she was released.

Trenga refused to waive these fines. She will still owe over a quarter of a million dollars.

In August, Trenga ruled, “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.”

Manning’s legal team challenged the court. “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.”

Furthermore, according to her legal team, Manning attempted to share her financial records with the federal court in an effort to show that she has debt and a “compromised earning capacity,” which has “left her balance sheets near zero.” But the court apparently never completed a financial assessment of her ability to pay fines.

While Manning was in jail, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer condemned [PDF] the U.S. government’s “coercive measures” against Manning.

Melzer suggested authorities intentionally inflicted “progressively severe mental and emotional suffering for the purposes of coercion and intimidation at the order of judicial authorities,” and it compounded Manning’s post-traumatic symptoms and other mental and physical health problems, which she still experiences as a result of prior abuse she endured when she was imprisoned for releasing documents to WikiLeaks.

“I conclude that such deprivation of liberty does not constitute a circumscribed sanction for a specific offense but an open-ended, progressively severe measure of coercion fulfilling all the constitutive elements of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” Melzer declared.

It was the second time in the past 10 years that a U.N. official condemned the U.S. government’s “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment” against Manning.

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, “Unauthorized Disclosure.”

This article is from Shadowproof.

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33 comments for “Federal Judge Orders Chelsea Manning Released from Jail

    March 16, 2020 at 06:43

    And here’s some good news:


    • Realist
      March 16, 2020 at 23:13

      Oh, goody. Uncle Sam can buy another hellfire missile to arm one of his reaper drones with the cash. Somehow the schmuck always sticks it to “his” people when the bills come due for his atrocities.

  2. AndyS
    March 15, 2020 at 14:55

    Those fines just got crowd-funded out of existence…Which is nice.

    • Eugenie Basile
      March 17, 2020 at 03:50

      The people vs deep state: 1 – 0

  3. Vera Gottlieb
    March 15, 2020 at 12:16

    For her own peace of mind and security, why doesn’t she seek asylum in Europe? Or even Russia.

  4. ML
    March 15, 2020 at 10:09

    We raised $266,000 + for her huge fine imposed upon her by the cruelest system in the world in just two days! Thanks to all who contributed through her GofundMe page! Now you can contribute to some living expenses to get her back on her feet through another GoFundMe that is running currently. I am thrilled she is free as are so many of us!

  5. remo
    March 15, 2020 at 00:14

    This is a depravity of justice.
    Not a deprivation.

  6. March 14, 2020 at 17:16

    Wonderful to hear a judge has ordered Manning to be freed. Does it mean that it will actually happen?
    US govt intransigence against justice for truth tellers about its hideous wars is long-standing. US govt hide many millions of dead and many thousands of human rights atrocities, deliberately to prevent large-scale revolt about these still ongoing wars. Can Manning be safe in America, given all this? Kay

  7. March 14, 2020 at 01:22

    I fear that if the US gets Assange here the government will once again try and get Manning to testify.

  8. Realist
    March 14, 2020 at 01:00

    So what are the courts going to do to her if she cannot pay that exorbitant fine? Put her in jail? That amount of money, more than levied on many really evil convicted felons, is, to anyone not inclined to concede absolute power of the government over its citizenry, simply cruel and unusual. How is it not? Unless she is given a cushy job with lavish pay, like Hunter Biden, she will be financially strapped for life. What’s the current annual interest on a $265,000 loan, if she could get one? She presently can’t even pay rent without this onerous debt hanging over her. This is just lifetime harassment by the government.

  9. geeyp
    March 14, 2020 at 00:22

    Chelsea stuck to her principles and that makes her a true heroine. For the one act alone that Julian provided when he helped make Edward’s escape happen , is why Snowden is not locked up now. For the judge to claim that the ridiculous fine is “not so excessive” shows ya just how well off some of these crooks are.

  10. Truth first
    March 13, 2020 at 16:20

    America is a mean and greedy country. These firmly intrenched attitudes have cause the death of millions and suffering of many more.

    An evil empire!!

  11. dean 1000
    March 13, 2020 at 12:24

    Harassed, jailed, fined and tortured to the point of suicide. The fate that awaits those who tell us about the nefarious, or just plain dumb, acts of government. The financial torture continues even though Chelsea Manning is out of jail. Hopefully it can be appealed. It punishes Manning twice for the same thing.
    Legally Nils Melzer said it all.

    • Me Myself
      March 14, 2020 at 21:47

      Contempt of court? Yes very much so judge! You are the devil incarnate! By the way Isn’t contempt an expression?

      Are not expression protected under one of those amendments (I don’t know freedom of … or something like that!)? Or maybe you just can’t read!

  12. Frances Goff
    March 13, 2020 at 12:24

    Nemesis, Thou art awesome (Goddess of Justice, btw). . . The fools of the Empire clatter to the floor like poorly-made marionettes; Chelsea, please take care of yourself in the wake of the horrors inflicted by GOP-slackers like them. I have lit hundreds of candles at my UU Church, praying “for ChelseaManning, until she is free” . . . andI will continue do so.

  13. Richard Graham
    March 13, 2020 at 11:18

    Thank heavens the 1% couldn’t break her completely. She fights for those ideals that made the US great once, and might again.

    Berta Cáceres, MLK, Malcolm X, Viola Desmond, David Milgard, Donald Marshall Jr., Guy Paul Morin, Thomas Sophonow, James Driskell, Wilson Nepoose

    The list in Canada alone is disgusting, reflecting the contempt Canadian men have for women or anyone the racist public or brutally stupid police regard as eccentric.
    “From 2001 to 2015, the homicide rate for Indigenous women in Canada was almost six times as high as the homicide rate for non-Indigenous women, representing “4.82 per 100,000 population versus 0.82 per 100,000 population” which represents a minimum of 20 to 25 women killed every year.
    Read Stevie Cameron’s great book ‘ON THE FARM’ and realize that Canadian Police and the RCMP are as brutally stupid as any southern racist pig force.

  14. Eugenie Basile
    March 13, 2020 at 10:46

    Chelsea is an example of honesty and courage for the whole world.
    Now FreeAssange
    ..and let those judges make fools of themselves.

  15. lexx
    March 13, 2020 at 10:19

    she refused to testify before

    translation she REFUSED TO LIE

  16. Drew Hunkins
    March 13, 2020 at 09:45

    Now she owes what many students owe in student loans.

  17. Marcella
    March 13, 2020 at 09:00

    Highest praise to Chelsea Manning for bravery and patriotism. This past week Roger Waters gave a powerful interview (Tucker Carlson) and said that he has been including the video of collateral murder for many years in his concerts. How many fans knew/know that both Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange had/have been suffering years of torture for exposing this heinous crime by the US MIC. Get the word out — time to be woke with the facts. Thank you CN for your service.

  18. Me my self
    March 13, 2020 at 06:13

    She would rather kill herself rather than be under the thumb of Federal judge! Wow sounds familiar to Guantanamo bay tenants.

    God save America! If federal judges won’t.

  19. Dave LaRose
    March 13, 2020 at 06:03

    Chelsea, you are one of the only principled players in the “National Security” drama. Thank you for your service to us all and good luck with the rest of your life.

  20. Ramon
    March 13, 2020 at 01:16

    This is the best news years, lets hope Chelsea can remain free. Very best wishes for her recovery from this awful ordeal.

  21. Bob Van Noy
    March 12, 2020 at 20:56

    Many thanks Kevin Gosztola and Consortiumnews. The judge also applied a substantial fine and Caitlin Johnstone has referenced a donation link at her web site…

    see: caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/03/13/judge-releases-manning-after-suicide-attempt-effectively-fines-her-supporters-256000/

    • Me my self
      March 13, 2020 at 07:22

      I don’t believe encouraging or condoning federal torture by paying blood money (the fine)!

      It would be better to give her bit coins or other means of untraceable money or to trusted person on her behalf.

      At least until the fine is rescinded.

  22. Joe Tedesky
    March 12, 2020 at 20:35

    I find it appalling that during this whole presidential election cycle never was there even a mention of Chelsea Manning nor Julian Assange to be brought up during any of these tired and silly debates. What’s even more disgusting is how the public was made to sympathize over Jim Acosta of CNN getting pity for his performance art of ‘oh poor me Jim Acosta for how Trump meanly picks on me for my being a reporter who only strives to report (not) the truth’ gets so much attention while Assange and Manning both get ignored. The real American Patriot is Chelsea Manning while Julian Assange is without a doubt a brave martyr for free speech. The right side of history in time will lionize these two hero’s of our day for the truth shall prevail.

    • Dave LaRose
      March 13, 2020 at 06:04

      Amen, Joe.

    • March 13, 2020 at 09:34

      Good point Joe. They say the truth will set you free. I say the truth will get you killed.

    • Rob Roy
      March 13, 2020 at 09:54

      Good to hear from you, Joe. You are exactly right. Chelsea and Julian are today’s heroes. What the PTB gets away with now will stop with Tulsi or Bernie, not Biden.

    • Randal Marlin
      March 13, 2020 at 10:19

      I agree that “the real American Patriot is Chelsea Manning while Julian Assange is without doubt a brave martyr for free speech.”
      I am not so sure about “the right side of history will lionize these two heroes of our day for the truth shall prevail.” When you are up against the military-industrial-surveillance complex “the truth” Joe Tedesky has in mind (and me along with him) is likely to get buried by an avalanche of discrediting factual material, real or invented.
      We have seen how the aim all along by the MISC has been to destroy these two individuals, to have them serve as a warning to others who might be similarly tempted by the need and desire to serve moral truths that matter.
      I believe that Edward Snowden also deserves to be lionized. He happens to have seen how easily he could have suffered the same fate as Chelsea Manning but was astute enough to avoid it. He’s said he would “face the music” if he believed he could get a fair trial, but in the current state of U.S. justice I would say he has reasonable grounds to doubt this, notwithstanding Judge Anthony Trenga’s hopeful order to release Manning. Let’s see if he actually gets released, and for how long.

    • March 13, 2020 at 12:20

      I find it appalling too, Joe, but not at all surprising that the most important issues are never discussed in the debates, or the media in general. That’s why the populace is so woefully ignorant and confused. On the news last night, Chelsea’s release was mentioned very briefly and Julian Assange’s name was not uttered at all.
      I’m so glad she has been released though and hope she can go forward without further persecution. She is one of the few heroes of our time.

    • jimmy
      March 13, 2020 at 13:23

      Tulsi Gabbard spoke about it. She has been shunned by the “Democratic” party
      because of it, along with other awful topics that nobody else will address.

    • Jon Adams
      March 14, 2020 at 13:42

      Tulsi Gabbard declared her support of Julian Assange. She had been effectively blackballed by the DNC and the “Lamestream.”

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