The US government are currently attempting to charge Julian Assange the founder of WikiLeaks with secretive criminal charges. WikiLeaks was set up in 2006 as a platform for anonymous submissions of restricted or legally threatened material from whistle blowers the US government are currently trying to discover if Assange was more involved in the extraction of material in an attempt to charge Assange with conspiracy. As part of this case the grand jury have attempted to force one of the most prominent whistle blowers Chelsea Manning to testify, she has refused and now sits in prison.

This booking photo provided by the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office, in Virginia, shows Chelsea Manning. On Friday, March 8, 2019. (Alexandria Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Manning who is a former US soldier leaked over 750,000 classified, or unclassified but sensitive military and diplomatic documents which revealed since the beginning of the Iraq and Afghanistan that hundreds of thousands of civilians had been killed in both countries, there had been growing Taliban attacks, and that 150 innocent people were held in Guantanamo Bay for years without trial among others. The most infamous leak supplied by Manning was the Baghdad airstrike video which showed American soldiers killing innocent civilians and journalists the footage called ‘Collateral Murder’ by WikiLeaks put them on the map allowing them to reach a large audience with the unfiltered truth of the acts of the Government.

This threatened the government’s power to control the narrative and continue to lie to the American people about the actions of the Military. Manning was court marshalled and sentenced to 35 years in prison for her part in the leaks. She was later released after seven years of torture, humiliation, and solitary confinement and until a few days ago worked as a public speaker discussing the importance of truth and activism.

The US government have tried to convict WikiLeaks founder for years the Obama administration opened a conspiracy case against him which they later dropped but did not close which has enabled the Trump administration to reopen the case which they attempted to do secretly and continue to do in a closed court. The Grand Jury Trial have been trying to hear a testimony from Manning who has continuously refused explaining that any information needed is available after an exhaustive investigation and an open testimony which lasted an entire day. She refuses to testify in a private trial which has led to arrest the judge in the case has said that she will remain there until she gives in or the trial is over. This is how American heroes are treated in 2019. The case against WikiLeaks is a monumental attack on the freedom of the press which contributed to Obama dropping the case and I theorise why Trump has decided to pursue it. WikiLeaks was not the only media outlet to publish Manning’s documents the Guardian, Washington Post, and Trumps favourite The New York Times all did the same. The precedent this case sets if Assange is found guilty could easily see editors and journalists from more mainstream outlets handed the same punishment for the same crime.

If the media is not able to publish information about the government then citizens will be unable to know anything about the forces that control the country. This is incredibly dangerous and cannot be allowed Chelsea Manning is in prison for believing this and she needs our support because we need access to information.