Daniel Ellsberg: “Obama Would Have Sought a Life Sentence in My Case”

Daniel Ellsberg testifies about the Pentagon Papers at a Senate subcommittee meeting on May 16, 1973. (photo: AP)

Daniel Ellsberg testifies about the Pentagon Papers at a Senate subcommittee meeting on May 16, 1973. (photo: AP)

By Timothy B. Lee, The Washington Post, 8 June 2013

n 1971, an American military analyst named Daniel Ellsberg gave a New York Times reporter a copy of “United States – Vietnam Relations, 1945-1967: A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense,” a multi-volume work that became known as the Pentagon Papers. The massive, classified study painted a candid and unflattering portrait of the military’s conduct of the Vietnam War. The Supreme Court rejected the government’s request for an injunction against its publication later that year in a 6-3 ruling.

Ellsberg became the first person prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act for releasing classified information to the public. But the case was thrown out after the judge learned that the government had engaged in the illegal wiretapping of Ellsberg and other misconduct.

Today, Ellsberg is one of the most outspoken critics of the Obama administration’s prosecution of leakers. Under President Obama’s tenure, the government has prosecuted six individuals for releasing classified information to media organizations.

Ellsberg is particularly fierce in his support of Bradley Manning, a young soldier who released a large amount of classified information to WikiLeaks. Manning was arrested in 2010, and his military court-martial began this week. Ellsberg considers Manning a hero, and he argues that there is little difference between what Manning did in 2010 and what Ellsberg did four decades earlier. We spoke by phone on Friday. The transcript has been edited for length and clarity. Continue reading

Daniel Ellsberg defends NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden

Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, says whistleblowers like Snowden and Bradley Manning are helping Americans defend their right to privacy.

Jennifer Mattson, GlobalPost, June 10, 2013

Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War, said Edward Snowden, 29, the whistleblower who exposed a National Security Agency wide-ranging surveillance program, showed “the kind of courage that we expect of people on the battlefield.”

Ellsberg said on Twitter “there has not been in American history a more important leak than Snowden’s,” including his own, during Watergate.

In July 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, a former National Security Council consultant and military analyst changed the course of history when he leaked confidential information about the Vietnam War to a reporter at The New York Times. Those documents later became known as The Pentagon Papers.

Snowden, who has fled to Hong Kong, worked for the NSA as a contractor for Dell and Booz Allen over the last four years.
Ellsberg told The Daily Beast:
“The information about unconstitutional activity that he [Snowden] put out could only be reversed or stopped if the public knows about it, and there was absolutely no way for them or most members of Congress to learn about it without him putting it out.
He went on to say that he identifies with Snowden, “his choice, his decision, his performance” and that the 29-year-old is clearly aware of the consequences of his actions.

He said it is clear is that Snowden broke the law and faces possible of prosecution.

Ellsberg had this to say on CNN:

Daniel Ellsberg “I Think They Have Everything And That Is The Recipe For A TYRANNY In This Country!”



The Whistleblower: “I Can’t Allow the US Government to Destroy Privacy and Basic Liberties”

Jun 9, 2013

The 29-year-old source behind the biggest intelligence leak in the NSA’s history explains his motives, his uncertain future and why he never intended on hiding in the shadow


, and in Hong Kong The Guardian, Sunday 9 June 2013

The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.

The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” he said.

Snowden will go down in history as one of America’s most consequential whistleblowers, alongside Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning. He is responsible for handing over material from one of the world’s most secretive organisations – the NSA.

In a note accompanying the first set of documents he provided, he wrote: “I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions,” but “I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant.”

Despite his determination to be publicly unveiled, he repeatedly insisted that he wants to avoid the media spotlight. “I don’t want public attention because I don’t want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing.”

He does not fear the consequences of going public, he said, only that doing so will distract attention from the issues raised by his disclosures. “I know the media likes to personalise political debates, and I know the government will demonise me.” Continue reading

She Almost Stopped the War

Katharine Gun: Ten years on,  what happened to the woman who revealed dirty tricks on the UN Iraq war vote?

In the run-up to the critical vote on war in Iraq, Katharine Gun exposed a US plot to spy on the UN. As a film of her story is planned, she tells of her anger and frustration – but not her regrets

The Observer, Saturday 2 March 2013

Katharine Gun

[Katharine Gun back in Cheltenham last week: ‘This is the ugly truth of what goes on.’ Photograph: Andy Hall for the Observer]

Ten years ago, a young Mandarin specialist at GCHQ, the government’s surveillance centre in Cheltenham, did something extraordinary. Katharine Gun, a shy and studious 28-year-old who spent her days listening in to obscure Chinese intercepts, decided to tell the world about a secret plan by the US government to spy on the United Nations.

She had received an email in her inbox asking her and her colleagues to help in a vast intelligence “surge” designed to secure a UN resolution to send troops into Iraq. She was horrified and leaked the email to the Observer. As a result of the story the paper published 10 years ago this weekend, she was arrested, lost her job and faced trial under the Official Secrets Act.

The memo from Frank Koza, chief of staff at the “regional targets” section of the National Security Agency, GCHQ’s sister organisation in the US, remains shocking in its implications for British sovereignty. Koza was in effect issuing a direct order to the employees of a UK security agency to gather “the whole gamut of information that could give US policymakers an edge in obtaining results favourable to US goals or to head off surprises”. This included a particular focus on the “swing nations” on the security council, Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Bulgaria and Guinea, “as well as extra focus on Pakistan UN matters”. Continue reading

Memorial Day: While the system glorifies imperialist war, the people remember the victims of their war crimes — Iraq

Update: On July 6, 2010, Private Bradley Manning, a 22 year old intelligence analyst with the United
States Army in Baghdad, was charged with disclosing this video (after allegedly speaking to an
unfaithful journalist). The whistleblower behind the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg, has called Mr.
Manning a ‘hero’. He is currently imprisoned, facing military court trial. The Apache crew and those behind the cover
up depicted in the video have yet to be charged. To assist Private Manning, please see

5th April 2010 10:44 EST–Statement from Wikileaks

WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad — including two
Reuters news staff.

Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success
since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-sight, clearly shows the
unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved
in the rescue were also seriously wounded. Continue reading

UCBerkeley Whistle-blowers conference to support Bradley Manning


Open Space Whistleblower and Transparency Conference
February 17-19, Berkeley

On the weekend of February 17, 2012, an unusual mix of notable experts from surprisingly disparate backgrounds will meet at UC Berkeley for a three-day conference. The conference will focus on discussion and creative innovation concerning the importance of truth and transparency to a free society. The “Occupy The Truth” Conference is open to the public.

The conference will begin Friday night at 6pm with mixer followed by an esteemed panel of speakers, featuring Daniel Ellsberg, Col. Ann Wright and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern. At 8:30pm Reverend Billy Talen will give a rousing “sermon.”

Saturday and Sunday begin at 9:00am with registration and breakfast ending with a closing circle from 5 to 6pm. The days will be broken up into ‘unconference’ style workshops, wherein attendees will collaboratively create and manage the conference’s agenda and work flow.

The host organization, FRESH JUICE PARTY, is a politically prejudiced media group best known for interrupting President Obama at a fundraiser to protest the illegal treatment of accused WikiLeaker, Bradley Manning. Now they say they are set to hold their own party, where they will welcome constructive interruption, performance, and innovation. You should definitely expect the unexpected. Continue reading