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“I Would Rather Starve to Death”: Chelsea Manning Heads Back to Jail after Refusing to Testify Again

The U.S. whistleblower recently spent 62 days in jail.

by Rex Santus
May 16 2019, 9:10pm

Chelsea Manning is headed back to jail after being released just under a week ago.

The U.S. whistleblower recently spent 62 days in jail for refusing to discuss her knowledge of and connection to WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. Last week, Manning was released on a technicality after the grand jury’s term ended. Before she even left, however, she received another subpoena to appear for the same reason.

Manning has once again refused to testify and will likely be in detention for the entirety of the grand jury’s term, which could be several months. This time, she will also reportedly face a $500 daily fine after 30 days of jail, which will increase to a $1,000 daily fine after 60 days.

Manning told the judge presiding over the case that she would rather starve to death than comply with the grand jury.

“I would rather starve to death than to change my opinion in this regard. And when I say that, I mean that quite literally," Manning said during the hearing.

Assange is currently facing extradition to the U.S. for allegedly attempting to hack into Pentagon computers with Manning back in 2010. Manning says she refuses to testify both because she does not approve of the grand jury’s secretive process and because she already told the courts everything she knew back when she testified in 2013.

As one of his last acts in office, Barack Obama commuted Chelsea Manning’s 35-year prison sentence after she served just 7 years for espionage charges related to her leaks to WikiLeaks. Manning’s leaks raised questions about U.S. war crimes, specifically a video she released that showed a 2007 helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed dozens, including two Reuters journalists.

Just days before she went back to jail, Chelsea Manning said that President Trump “clearly wants to go after journalists.”

“We're probably going to see indictments and charges,” Manning told CNN’s Brian Stelter Sunday. “Whenever a journalist makes a misstep, I think that they are put on notice now that the FBI and the Department of Justice are going to go after them on the administration's behalf.”

Cover image: Former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning speaks with reporters, after arriving at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Va., Thursday, May 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)