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THE corporate media’s silence over the persecution of US whistleblower Chelsea Manning and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was labelled a disgrace today and a “warning of the return of fascism” by iconic journalist John Pilger.
Mr Pilger’s comment came after Ms Manning was ordered yesterday to pay increased fines of $1,000 (£805) a day for refusing to testify against Mr Assange.
The former Wikileaks source has been locked up since March 8 for refusing to give evidence to a grand jury investigating offences allegedly committed by Wikileaks.
She already spent seven years in jail for leaking 750,000 military intelligence documents exposing US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Ms Manning said in March that she objected to the grand jury process because “we’ve seen this power abused countless times to target political speech.”
She was released briefly in May but sent back to jail seven days later and ordered to pay $500 (£402) a day for 30 days.
When that time limit passed yesterday, the fine was doubled and extended for a further 15 months or until the grand jury’s term ends.
Her lawyers say the total owed could exceed $440,000 (£354,000).
“Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange are as brave and principled as any who struggled for historic rights of freedom for all,” Mr Pilger told the Star today.
“Chelsea is incarcerated in Virginia and fined $1,000 a day for refusing to incriminate the Wikileaks editor of non-existent crimes. Julian is held in Belmarsh maximum security prison to enable his extradition to Trump’s dungeons on fraudulent charges.
“The stench of hypocrisy adds to their suffering as Britain’s ferret-like Foreign Secretary and would-be prime minister, Jeremy Hunt, convenes – laughably – a conference on ‘press freedom’ seven miles from Belmarsh.
“No truth, no irony is noted by the Vichy journalists of the mainstream media, only silence.
“Mark these disgraces as a warning of the return of fascism.”
“Imagine if this was happening to a dissident in Russia, North Korea or Iran,” award-winning news monitor Media Lens asked its Twitter followers above a link to a fundraising appeal for Ms Manning yesterday.
“There would be big headlines and massive coverage here.”
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