Subscribe to Secularism is a Womens Issue

Secularism is a Women’s Issue

Home > impact on women / resistance > Assange And Manning Sacrifice Their Freedom For Our Right To (...)

Assange And Manning Sacrifice Their Freedom For Our Right To Know


Wednesday 3 April 2019, by siawi3


Assange And Manning Sacrifice Their Freedom For Our Right To Know

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG.

April 2, 2019 ,


Julian Assange, the editor of Wikileaks, a media outlet for information provided by whistleblowers, has been in confinement in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for almost seven years and is experiencing increasingly harsh treatment. Chelsea Manning, who leaked information to Wikileaks and spent seven years in prison for it, is back in prison for her refusal to testify against Assange in a secret court. We speak with Joe Lauria of Consortium News about why Assange and Manning are sacrificing so much to protect our right to know what our governments are doing, the historical significance of their deeds and what we must do to support them.

Listen here:

new Popular Resistance Podcast Network at


Joe Lauria is the editor of Consortium News, taking over after the death a year ago of Robert Parry, its founder. Lauria has been a United Nations correspondent for 25 years. This included six and a half years as the Wall Street Journal correspondent based at U.N. Headquarters in New York. Mr. Lauria has covered ever major world crisis that has come before the U.N. over the past quarter century. Among those stories was the fraught diplomacy before the First Gulf War and the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq; the 1990s wars that broke up Yugoslavia; the genocide in Rwanda; the destruction of Libya; the coup d’etat in Ukraine and resulting civil war; the devastating conflict in Syria; African coups and the U.N. response to earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural disasters. Mr. Lauria has interviewed numerous presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers, and ambassadors and questioned many other leaders in press encounters, including Yassir Arafat, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Robert Mugabe, Jacques Chirac, Jimmy Carter, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. He reported numerous exclusives and front- page U.N.-related stories for the WSJ. These included a U.S. exclusive on the U.N. General Assembly considering a new probe into Dag Hammarskjöld’s death; the U.N. envoy to Yemen saying Saudi bombing derailed a political settlement close to completion; senior U.S. officials asking the U.N. to pull its chemical weapons inspectors from Syria; Rwandan President Paul Kagame saying he would’t pull his troops from Somalia after a critical U.N. report; the Indian foreign minister suggesting India favored negotiating with the Taliban; Somalia’s prime minister saying he would welcome a bin Laden-style US raid on militants in his country; China revising its anti-separatist stance in South Sudan; and U.N. corruption favoring Price Waterhouse Coopers on a multi-million dollar contract and more. Before the WSJ, Mr. Lauria was the Boston Globe’s U.N. correspondent for six years and has also reported from the U.N. for the London Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, The Johannesburg Star, Montreal Gazette, Ottawa Citizen and Vancouver Sun; and the German Press Agency dpa. Mr. Lauria has been an investigative reporter for The Sunday Times of London, having taken part in investigations that led to the suspension of a British member of parliament for corruption and the unmasking of an FBI/MI5 double agent. At Bloomberg News he led an investigation that brought about the resignation of an Argentine provincial governor after he issued a counterfeit government bond. Mr. Lauria’s work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, New York Magazine, and other publications. He is the author of two books. The first was with former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Mike Gravel, a history of U.S. foreign policy and the defense industry, published by Seven Stories Press, with a Foreword by Daniel Ellsberg. It was entirely conceived, researched and written by Mr. Lauria. The second was a ghostwritten history of the three major Middle East religions with an emphasis on the history of Islam. Mr. Lauria has traveled to more than 70 nations. Much of his reporting has focused on the Middle East, having visited the region more than two dozen times in the past four years, including lengthy stays in Egypt and Iraq. With the exception of Yemen and Iran, he’s visited every country in the region, many multiple times. Mr. Lauria has won two journalism awards and taught journalism at two U.S. universities. He has lectured on three continents and has appeared numerous times on radio and television, including on CNN (where he was interviewed by Wolf Blitzer), Good Morning America (interviewed by George Stephanopoulos) as well as on the BBC, the PBS News Hour, C- Span, Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, Sky Arabia, and RT. He’s also been a guest on Leonard Lopate’s and Brian Lehrer’s radio shows on WNYC in New York.



Chelsea Manning Again Takes Fall For Defending Public’s Right To Know

By Janine Jackson,

April 2, 2019

Above Photo: From

Image from the “Collateral Murder” video Chelsea Manning disclosed to WikiLeaks.

Chelsea Manning was a US Army soldier who released to WikiLeaks Iraq and Afghan war logs, with information on torture and civilian killings, including an airstrike that killed two Reuters correspondents; and diplomatic cables revealing, among other things, a secret deal between the US and Yemen in which the US would bomb the country, and the Yemeni government would claim the attacks. For Manning, these were acts that shocked the conscience, and that US citizens, in whose names they were claimed, should know about. She hoped the release to the media and the public via WikiLeaks would spark “worldwide discussion, debates and reforms.”

The military sought a court martial and a life sentence, claiming her disclosure “aided the enemy”; she was eventually sentenced by a military judge to 35 years, but her sentence was commuted by Barack Obama after she had served seven years—still the longest time anyone has served for disclosing classified information to the media. It’s generally understood that Obama recognized that it wasn’t possible to charge WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange, via Manning, without exposing journalists at the New York Times or the Washington Post to prosecution for sharing the same information—not to mention collecting prizes for it.

Manning has recently been subpoenaed by a grand jury, widely understood to be attempting a case against Assange, though as a grand jury it’s all very secretive, and asked to testify again about her 2010 public disclosures. She refused, citing the very secretiveness of the process, and noting that she had already testified fully about the reasons for her disclosures, that they were her choices alone, and not solicited by Assange or anyone else. A judge then ordered her incarcerated until she agrees to testify or until the jury is done, which might be 18 months.

In 2011, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Méndez called for a ban on solitary confinement because it could amount to torture (UN News, 11/18/11).

It bears repeating that while solitary confinement should not be used for anyone, it is especially immoral to place Chelsea in solitary when she has not been accused of, charged with, nor convicted of any new crime.But Manning isn’t just in prison, she’s in solitary confinement—it’s supposedly not punitive because she won’t help the government make its case; no, it’s “administrative segregation,” generally understood to be for prisoners who might be in danger in the general prison population. US media talk about solitary confinement as though it were like a “time out” for the “worst of the worst”; it’s defined by a UN special rapporteur and others as torture. The isolation of being confined to a cell for 22 hours a day, without access to other people or reading materials, is known to have harmful psychological impacts. Chelsea Resists!, Manning’s support committee, adds:

Famed Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg says:

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 in fighting it.

Charlie Savage (New York Times, 3/8/19) mentioned that an effort to prosecute Julian Assange would raise “novel and profound First Amendment issues.”

So where is the press corps? A New York Times piece (3/8/19) by Charlie Savage noted that the effort to convict Julian Assange—which is clearly what this is about—would raise “novel and profound First Amendment issues.” And outlets from the Times to CNN to Time magazine wrote single stories noting her re-incarceration.

But where are the editorials? Where is the outrage, or even recognition, that someone whose goal was to reveal actions—illegal and unconscionable—being carried out in the US people’s name, and whose revelations led in fact to debate and interrogation of those actions, is once again taking the fall for reporters happy to report those revelations and claim awards for doing so? I can’t find any editorials in US corporate media in support of Manning, or of journalists’ right to inform the public, or of the public’s right to know.

As with Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, decades from now, mainstream media will likely speak matter-of-factly about Manning’s contributions as whistleblower. But what matters is what they’re not doing now. Democracy dies in darkness, indeed.