Henry Kissinger called Daniel Ellsberg “the most dangerous man in America.” Why?
Because “Ellsberg sacrificed a promising Government career to inform the American public that the Vietnam War had been packaged and sold as containment of the Communist threat, when in fact the historical record, as recorded in the Pentagon Papers, illuminated fervent imperial ambition across successive US administrations.” How? “He leaked a comprehensive RAND Corporation study officially titled United States-Vietnam Relations 1945-1967, otherwise known as the Pentagon Papers, to the New York Times in 1971.” – Dan Bigna, Overland.org
…Ellsberg, although still a faithful Government employee, nevertheless started to express doubts about the validity of the war and increasingly substituted strategic analysis with a moral perspective. He began to view his discontent as an active protest against an executive authority that no longer reflected the will of the people and had become murderous in intent. This transformation within Ellsberg’s conscience is what makes The Most Dangerous Man in America such compelling viewing. Ellsberg had been an active and willing participant in the Pentagon war machine and had made a successful career for himself both as an academic and government advisor with access at the highest levels.
As time went on, it seems that Ellsberg came to an understanding that the preservation of democracy espoused in grand terms by a succession of American Presidents masked an ongoing commitment to violence and terror. When Ellsberg realized that the exercise of executive power by Nixon had gotten completely out of control, he took the necessary steps to alert the public as to what the Vietnam war was actually about by releasing the Pentagon Papers to a number of Senators and then to the New York Times in 1971.
Ellsberg – who exposed the duplicity of five US presidents – calls Edward Snowden “the greatest patriot whistleblower of our time, and he knows what I learned more than four decades ago: until the Espionage Act gets reformed, he can never come home safe and receive justice.”
[Snowden] is the quintessential American whistleblower, and a personal hero of mine, Leaks are the lifeblood of the republic and, for the first time, the American public has been given the chance to debate democratically the NSA’s mass surveillance programs. Accountability journalism can’t be done without the courageous acts exemplified by Snowden, and we need more like him. . . .
The secrecy system in this country is broken. No one is punished for using secrecy to conceal dangerous policies, lies, or crimes, yet concerned employees who wish to inform the American public about what the government is doing under their name are treated as spies. Our ‘accountability’ mechanisms are a one-sided secret court, which acts as a rubber stamp, and a Congressional ‘oversight’ committee, which has turned into the NSA’s public relations firm. Edward Snowden had no choice but to go to the press with information. Far from a crime, Snowden’s disclosures are a true constitutional moment, where the press has held the government to account using the First Amendment, when the other branches refused.
Read Ellsberg’s statement on Snowden here.
And please do not miss the compelling post by Eben Moglen, professor of law and legal history at Columbia University and founder, Director-Counsel and Chairman of Software Freedom Law Center.
Our journalists failed. The New York Times allowed the 2004 election not to be informed by what it knew about the listening. Its decision to censor itself was, like all censorship and self-censorship, a mortal wound inflicted on democracy. We the people did not demand the end at the beginning. And now we’re a long way in. Our military listeners have invaded the centre of an evolving net, where conscriptable digital superbrains gather intelligence on the human race for purposes of bagatelle and capitalism. In the US, the telecommunications companies have legal immunity for their complicity, thus easing the way further. The invasion of our net was secret, and we did not know that we should resist. But resistance developed as a fifth column among the listeners themselves.
In Hong Kong, Edward Snowden said something straightforward and useful: analysts, he said, are not bad people, and they don’t want to think of themselves that way. But they came to calculate that if a programme produced anything useful, it was justified. That power eradicated human freedom. ‘Remember,’ said Cicero to Marcellus in exile, ‘wherever you are, you are equally within the power of the conqueror.'”
Read Moglen’s thought-provoking article here: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/may/27/-sp-privacy-under-attack-nsa-files-revealed