Update (March 15, 2020)
The fund to pay Chelsea Manning’s court fines raised $267,000–enough to pay the fines and associated fiscal fees–and is now closed. A few hours ago, another fund was created to help with Chelsea’s living expenses. While it has reached its goal of $30,000, it is still open and accepting donations:
Original article (March 14, 2020)
These certainly feel like dark times, however, Chelsea Manning’s release from prison yesterday was a ray of sunshine for many of us. With only person-to-person outreach, and people proactively asking, “How can I help Chelsea?”, our community has stepped up to raise nearly all of Chelsea’s fines. We’re at $255,000 of the $265,000 goal, in just 24 hours!
Chelsea legal team just shared, “Needless to say we are relieved and ask that you respect her privacy while she gets on her feet.”
Chelsea “is exhausted from this ordeal, and can really use your help repaying these fines,” shares Chelsea’s friend, and GoFundMe campaign organizer Kelly Wright. “Thank you so much helping Chelsea and spreading the word!”
On Thursday, March 12, Judge Anthony Trenga ordered her release from confinement, not due to any change of heart on his part, but because the second WikiLeaks grand jury to which she had been subpoenaed, and before which she had again refused to testify before, had concluded.
Judge Trenga kept in place fines totaling $256,000–the GoFundMe campaign is trying to raise $265,000 in order to pay for that platform’s fees.
If Chelsea had been kept jailed for another six months, as we were expecting, the fines would have kept accumulating at $1,000 every day.
On Wednesday, March 11, facing another six months in prison and anticipated fines of nearly a half million dollars upon her release, Chelsea attempted to take her own life.
It is possible that prosecutors could convene a third grand jury and again subpoena Chelsea, however, there is no current indication of that happening. If that were to occur, Chelsea would face a maximum six more months in jail, as she has now been jailed for 12 of the maximum 18 months allowed for grand jury resistance.
Explaining to Judge Trenga why she was compelled to resist:
“I object to this grand jury … as an effort to frighten journalists and publishers, who serve a crucial public good. I have had these values since I was a child, and I’ve had years of confinement to reflect on them. For much of that time, I depended for survival on my values, my decisions, and my conscience. I will not abandon them now.”
Great job, Jeff. Chelsea has been the victim of government terrorism of the worst kind. Now we need only 2 more things – 1) to get Reality Winner out of prison, and 2) to hope that the British refuse to extradite Julian Assange, which they should realize would subject him to the same terrorist tactics the U.S. government used against Chelsea.
Great team effort. But I’m surprised it wasn’t possible to set up a trust fund to meet Chelsea’s every need at her initiative without pouring that same money into a potentially bottomless pit of fines. Wouldn’t that have been legally possible?
It certainly seemed like the fines were a bottomless bit, up until 48 hours ago. Now the pit is full. Personally, I thought Chelsea would raise enough to fund her legal team for a multi-year fight to overturn some or most of the fees, and I hope she still does that. I’m assuming that having those fines hanging over her head was a contributing factor in her suicide attempt last week, and to have that wiped out is amazing.
Your boast that “our community has stepped up to raise nearly all of Chelsea’s fines” is unfounded and, as I see it, an attempt at stolen valor. There is no evidence that the community of U.S. war resisters, military objectors and their families contributed to the crowdfund that surpassed its goal in less than 24 hours. The fund’s organizer, Kelly Wright, identifies as an anarchist, and has no affiliation with Courage to Resist.
The GoFundMe page publicly displays the name of donors, including top donors. There, I see many people that supported Chelsea since May 2010 as donors. Our community stood by Chelsea in the hours after her arrest on May 27, 2010, when absolutely no one else did. Our community took responsibility for paying for the legal defense team of her choosing, when she had no other options and was assuming she spend the rest of her life in a Guantanamo cage. Our community carried though on that promise, spending about a million dollars on legal fees over seven years (until she was released). Our community spent months sitting behind Chelsea in the Fort Meade courtroom, and marched outside a thousand strong. Our community staged hundreds of events worldwide on Chelsea’s behalf, making her case widely known. Our community convinced President Obama to commute her sentence, that led to her release 28 years early. And, in the last few hours, our community chipped in to support Chelsea’s current GoFundMe efforts (established by her friend, who like many of us, is an anarchist). So, that’s my reply to “stolen valor”.
I didn’t ask for your résumé. I challenged your unfounded boast that “our community has stepped up to raise nearly all of Chelsea’s fines.” Your claim to see “many people that supported Chelsea since May 2010 as donors” is anecdotal and unconvincing. Over the past two days, nearly seven thousand contributors combined for $267,002 to pay her fines. Did your purported community raise nearly all of that? It’s also worth noting that Chelsea Manning herself has never claimed to be a war resister. In 2013 she wrote to The Guardian: “I don’t consider myself a ‘pacifist,’ ‘anti-war,’ or (especially) a ‘conscientious objector.'” She has since advocated dismantling the U.S. military, but that’s because she’s an anarchist, not because she embraces the shopworn labels she rejected seven years ago.
Well, when I read “Our community” I felt that you were including all of us who support Chelsea, not just folks affiliated with Courage to Resist. (I’ve never been active in Courage to Resist before, but I will be in the future. ) WE did it!
For us to know peace on our planet we need many more Chelseas and communities like yours – impressive – well done and good luck going forward.
I was moved by Chelsea’s actions from the get go. I will continue to stand with her and marvel at her courage and commitment to the truth. As journalism erodes, the role of whistle blowers becomes ever more critical, and Chelsea was the one that opened my eyes. Evil will not win over good as long as there are people with a conscience like Chelsea and the guts go against the grain which she has done repeatedly.
I understand that Chelsea is seeking to become Maryland’s next senator. I wish her well.
Hi Luke. Chelsea ran for that Senate seat in 2018. Since her release from jail three weeks ago, she has not made any public statements about her next steps, beyond trying to pull her life back together.
After a month, still no word from Chelsea. What is her new address? All i remember is it’s in Oakland, CA
I don’t have any insider info to share, but given that she tried to take her own life a few days before being unexpectedly released from jail, I’m hoping that she is spending this time focused on recovering from her cumulative ordeals.
At our house, Chelsea Manning is a hero. She has endured terrible punishment because she stands up for humanity. Sadly, that often pits her against the imperialist aims of our government. Chelsea is a patriot for the people of the world, and we wish her a happy future free from harassment and harm.