Friday, June 07, 2013

Unemployment and the Struggle to Save Manning

One week ago I was laid off from a job I did not enjoy. Yes, I loved the salary and was quite enthusiastic about landing this job nine and a half months ago. The pay was significantly greater than I had ever earned before. My friends and former co-workers seemed surprised when I started looking for a new job, and then my unmasked relief of actually being laid off and seizing the opportunity to collect unemployment. Yes, it was related to library science, but it was not in a library or an archives (my specialty). It was also boring, I did not like the unpredictability of contracts, and frankly didn't really care for some of the big name clients our firm had (and in fact a couple I worked on). I also felt a little out of place, and don't think I ever want to do private consultancy work again. Ever. Unless it's later in my career and I am providing some consulting work for an archives and historical collection.

That's enough about me. I am job searching for something in an archives, library, or an interesting nonprofit that I can believe in and can pay me enough so Bruno and I can survive and keep a roof over our heads.

This week was the first of Bradley Manning's long-awaited trial. He has been in pre-trial imprisonment for four years. This is for exposing war crimes, causing embarrassment to the imperial government of the U.S., and quite honestly for doing the courageous and moral thing of saying something when he saw something wrong.

Let's recap what Bradley Manning, now by his own admission, did to bring the full weight of the military and government down upon himself. He saw widespread government corruption (that the State Dept. knew about and helped cover up), he saw the military he was a part of detain and torture political scholars -- not violent terrorists, and he witnessed the war crime captured in the infamous Apache video. He first tried to go to his superior officers, and was told to shut up. He confided in a pathological felon ex-hacker who betrayed him. He also tried to approach the New York Times and Washington Post, because he thought the American citizenry should know the malfeasance and downright criminality committed in their names with their tax dollars. These two major newspapers ignored him, and then he turned to WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks although often criticized by these same news outlets is often a crucial source in mildly investigative news stories they in turn publish.

This week this young man's trial began. The government is pursuing life in prison for him. Manning never committed a crime previously. And he has plead to 10 lesser charges, but the government is hell bent on pursuing the "Aiding The Enemy" charge, which is contained in a 1917 law. The same law utilized to execute the Rosenbergs in 1953. It's what the government tried to get Daniel Ellsberg (Pentagon Papers) on, but failed.

In this week's testimony it was revealed that Bradley Manning never mentioned any intent of aiding the enemy, and that he never expressed a hatred of the U.S. Government. However witnesses commented on his intelligence, talent with computers, and ability to provide other military intelligence analysts with useful data. But we are continually being told by the military and government that he is a traitor, a criminal worthy of disdain.

I am disgusted by the imperial government. I plan to move to Ecuador, as soon as I enter retirement (hopefully an early one). This government wants to destroy this young private's life for wanting to improve the world in some small way, according to the chat log's which were used to betray him, he said: "Hopefully [this leads to] worldwide discussion, debate, and reforms..." Manning loved his nation and believed it could be improved. I am afraid he is being proved wrong.