Chelsea Manning has vowed to fight a subpoena to testify before a grand jury March 5, against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
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“Given what is going on, I am opposing this. I want to be very forthright, I have been subpoenaed. I don’t know the parameters of the subpoena apart from that I am expected to appear. I don’t know what I’m going to be asked,” she told the New York Times to whom she provided a copy of the subpoena.
Manning, former United States Army intelligence analyst who was convicted in 2013 of leaking secret military and diplomatic archives to WikiLeaks, has been summoned to appear and give testimony before a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) Mar. 5.
The whistleblower made public documents in 2010 which exposed war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan and was subsequently imprisoned for seven years before being pardoned by former U.S. President Barack Obama.
U.S. investigators have been gathering information and pursuing witnesses involved in both recent WikiLeaks disclosures and the website's large-scale postings of U.S. military and diplomatic messages over several years from 2010, Reuters reported Officially, U.S. authorities have issued no public comments about the status of Wikileaks-related investigations.
The website’s founder, Assange, has been holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London since obtaining political asylum from the Latin American country in August 2012. The Australian no longer risks being sent back to Sweden after its authorities dropped a rape investigation against him in 2017.
However, he could be arrested in the United Kingdom if he leaves the embassy on charges of skipping prior arrest warrants which could mean his possible extradition to the United States, which has become more aggressive against Assange sience Donald Trump's election. Also the new government in Ecuador has democsrated hostile attifude towards the Wikileaks founder as it has resiticrted his acces to the Internet and to social media and resitricted his
But Assange’s case regained the international spotlight after The Guardian reported in November that he was secretly visited by Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort in the run-up to the U.S. presidential vote. Both sides have denied the story and The Guardian has amended elements of the damning report.
However, it has prompted the U.S. Justice Department to begin questioning diplomatic staff who were at the embassy at the time as part of its investigation into the Trump campaign's possible ties to Russia. The U.S. charges against Assange came to light when he was inadvertently mentioned in an unrelated court filing in November.
The subpoena follows a dramatic testimony by a former lawyer of President Donald Trump, Michael Cohen, who spoke before three congressional panels examining Russian election meddling and collusion with the Trump campaign this week. Before the House Oversight Committee, Cohen accused the president of breaking the law while in office and said for the first time that Trump knew in advance about a WikiLeaks dump of stolen emails that hurt his 2016 election opponent Hillary Clinton.
Committee chairman Elijah Cummings, a Democrat, said his panel would further investigate issues raised by Cohen's testimony.
“By serving Chelsea Manning with a grand jury subpoena, the government is attempting once again to punish an outspoken whistleblower for her historic disclosures.” said a group of activists named the ‘Chelsea Resists’ Support Committee. “We stand with Chelsea in support of her refusal to participate in this repressive and undemocratic process.”
Manning said her legal team would file a motion to beat the subpoena Friday, arguing that her constitutional rights would be violated if forced to appear before the grand jury.