This is Part 8 of Consortium News’ multi-part series on the 50th Anniversary of the late Sen. Mike Gravel obtaining the Pentagon Papers from Daniel Ellsberg and the consequences Gravel faced for revealing the top secret documents in Congress, just hours before the Supreme Court decided the case on June 30, 1971, a half century ago today.
16.9.2020 Opponents of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange often hold up Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg as an example of someone who was responsible for a good leak. They insist WikiLeaks is not like the Pentagon Papers because supposedly Assange was reckless with sensitive documents.
WikiLeaks revealed – in partnership with major international publications, including the two involved in the Pentagon Papers Case – videos of American troops murdering civilians and celebrating the murders (a war crime) as well as documentary proof of American complicity in torture (also a war crime).
Activist and Pentagon Papers whistleblower joined protest groups alarmed by US-Iranian tensions in Washington on Saturday
As the Justice Department charges WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act, we speak to Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. In 1971, he was charged with violating the Espionage Act for leaking a top-secret report on U.S. involvement in Vietnam to The New York Times and other publications. At the time, Ellsberg faced over 100 years in prison. He tells Democracy Now!, “There hasn’t actually been such a significant attack on the freedom of the press … since my case in 1971.”
MEMORANDUM FOR: The governments and people of the United Kingdom and the United States
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPs)
SUBJECT: Extradition of Julian Assange Threatens Us All
On April 11, London police forcibly removed WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange from the embassy of Ecuador after that country’s president, Lenin Moreno, abruptly revoked his predecessor’s grant of asylum. The United States government immediately requested Assange’s extradition for prosecution under a charge of “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion” under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).
Former U.S. Government officials promptly appeared in popular media offering soothing assurances that Assange’s arrest threatens neither constitutional rights nor the practice of journalism, and major newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post fell into line.
The great American writer Henry David Thoreau wrote, “It takes two to speak the truth–one to speak and one to hear.” Today, it takes three to speak the truth–one to speak, one to hear, and one to defend the first two in court. If the US Government has its way, there will be no defense, no truth.
For the Steering Groups of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity and Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence:
William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)
Richard H. Black, Senator of Virginia, 13th District; Colonel US Army (ret.); Former Chief, Criminal Law Division, Office of the Judge Advocate General, the Pentagon (associate VIPS)
Marshall Carter-Tripp, Foreign Service Officer & former Division Director in the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research (ret.)
Thomas Drake, former Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service and NSA whistleblower
Bogdan Dzakovic, former Team Leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security (ret.) (associate VIPs)
Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)
Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator
Katherine Gun, former linguist and Iraq War whistleblower in UK’s GCHQ (affiliate VIPs)
James George Jatras, former US diplomat and former foreign policy adviser to Senate leadership (Associate VIPs)
Michael S. Kearns, Captain, USAF (ret.); ex-Master SERE Instructor for Strategic Reconnaissance Operations (NSA/DIA) and Special Mission Units (JSOC)
John Kiriakou, former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former Senior Investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Karen Kwiatkowski, former Lt. Col., US Air Force (ret.), at Office of Secretary of Defense watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003
Clement J. Laniewski, LTC, US Army (ret.) (Associate VIPs)
Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.) (Associate VIPs)
Edward Loomis, NSA Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)
Annie Machon, former intelligence officer in the UK’s MI5 domestic security service (affiliate VIPs)
Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA presidential briefer (ret.)
Craig Murray, former British diplomat and Ambassador to Uzbekistan, human rights activist and historian (affiliate VIPs)
Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East & CIA political analyst (ret.)
Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)
Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)
Peter Van Buren, US Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) (Associate VIPs)
J. Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA (ret.)
Larry Wilkerson, Colonel, US Army (ret.), former Chief of Staff for Secretary of State; Distinguished Visiting Professor, College of William and Mary
Sarah Wilton, Commander, US Naval Reserve (ret.) and Defense Intelligence Agency (ret.)
Robert Wing, former US Department of State Foreign Service Officer (Associate VIPs)
Ann Wright, US Army Reserve Colonel (ret) and former US Diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq War