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Pentagon Papers Ellsberg Supports Wikileaks

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the your-daily-wikileaks-story dept.

Government 464

wierd_w writes "Daniel Ellsberg says: 'Every attack now made on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was made against me and the release of the Pentagon Papers at the time.' Due to the recent debates over the pros and cons between the wikileaks releases and those of the historic 'Pentagon papers,' Daniel Ellsberg, who released the pentagon papers in 1971, has written an editorial on the subject declaring that he rejects the mantra of 'Pentagon Papers good; WikiLeaks material bad,' and that further 'That's just a cover for people who don't want to admit that they oppose any and all exposure of even the most misguided, secretive foreign policy. The truth is that every attack now made on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was made against me and the release of the Pentagon Papers at the time.'"

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464 comments

No Surprise There (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34493350)

Ellsberge and Assange are two peas in a pod. Why would anybody be surprised by this? This merits a front page story here?

I'd like slashdot to have some balance. Why can't you post one opinion (there have been many published) that don't agree with what Wikileaks is doing here.

Re:No Surprise There (1)

pickens (49171) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493454)

I can't believe anyone is surprised (5, Insightful)

paulsnx2 (453081) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493730)

The Leak is Leaked and every corporations are pressured by the government to take silly actions against Wikileaks. All before we get any analysis of the content. Now it seems that everyone blasting Wikileaks must be for selling boys for sex parties (one of the cover ups documented in the leaks).

Yeah, they called Putin "Batman", and yeah the US has been twisting arms all over the world to get governments to lie to their people. But selling pretty little boys out for sex and covering it up because an American company was involved?

The "Danger" to American Diplomacy is accrued when our diplomats are involved in totally unethical and immoral behaviors. The "Danger" gets paid out when the documentation of such things gets out to the public. If our government wants to protect its diplomatic efforts, then DON'T ACCRUE the risk in the first place. Then you don't have to fear the leaks.

And if Mastercard and Visa (who now look like they want a world safe for the KKK and those that sell "Boys for Sex") would just wait for the Analysis before bowing to pressure, then they might get out of this without looking like fools.

Re:I can't believe anyone is surprised (1)

SwordsmanLuke (1083699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494034)

Now it seems that everyone blasting Wikileaks must be for selling boys for sex parties (one of the cover ups documented in the leaks).

Not that I'm doubting you, but I hadn't seen this reported. Citation?

Re:No Surprise There (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34493456)

Instead of attempting to use social language codes (the appeal to popularity with "anybody", the sarcasm in "merits a front page story", the appeal to authority in "I'd like..."), why not stop beating around the bush and give some reasons why you don't agree with what wikileaks is doing.

Re:No Surprise There (5, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493626)

Go ahead and post one. Who keeps you from doing it?

Freedom of speech swings all ways, it also means that you may post here something that people might not like. I would like to see it! Give me ONE good reason why Wikileaks is wrong in what it's doing. So far nobody manged to convince me, but I would very much enjoy reading a good reason why Wikileaks should cease to exist.

I do think that Wikileaks did a great service to the world, but I do not benefit from listening to opinions that match mine. People telling me that I'm right do not give me any meaningful input. I already "know" that I'm right. People are always in the assumption that they're right. But to be "more right", I need more input. More input allows me to adjust my position, to test that input against my existing input and either verify or falsify my point of view. Welcome to science. It works for opinions, too!

Only an input that challenges my point of view and presents me with an antithesis can offer me more insight. So please do. I would be happy to hear it!

Re:No Surprise There (4, Insightful)

The Moof (859402) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494102)

All you have to do is look at how that post was modded to know why you don't see opposing opinions on the matter (unless you browse at -1).

There are some valid points on both sides, and my personal beliefs on the matter tend run in line with Wikileaks. However, anything brought up here that may look at this with any negative light on Wikileaks are usually censored with mod points (and, based on my experience, met with anti-American insults).

Re:No Surprise There (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34494238)

I'm not of the position that wikileaks should not exist, but consider some counterarguments. The consequences may be the opposite of honest, open, accountable governments, which are presumed to be desirable. Diplomats all over might no longer be candid in communications knowing that anything they say may turn up later.

Re:No Surprise There (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34494014)

Why can't you post one opinion (there have been many published) that don't agree with what Wikileaks is doing here.

there aren't any coherent opinions to that effect, bro. the existence of wikileaks or a comparable entity is implied by the existence of the internet. you're asking them to post something that doesn't exist.

Wtf pentagon? (2, Funny)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493354)

WTF were the Pentagon Papers? Were they pentagonal?

Vietnam war exposer (4, Informative)

emj (15659) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493432)

Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] , basically Ellsberg copied a couple of meters of reports stating that there were now way the US could win the Vietnam war.

Re:Vietnam war exposer (-1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493594)

Apparently the reports, as Wikipedia states, were basically an outline saying that the president lied to the public and was expanding the war. I see no evidence of the US "losing" and, in fact, given the nature of "expanding" the fronts of a war, I'm inclined to believe we were actually "Winning" and lying about it.

Re:Vietnam war exposer (4, Insightful)

black6host (469985) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493704)

Have you ever been to the memorial to those that lost their life in Vietnam, located in Washington DC? What I refer to as "The Wall". No winning there. I remember watching the news videos of the last remaining people being pulled from the U.S. Compount in Saigon by helicopter. Not much winning there either.....

Re:Vietnam war exposer (2)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493828)

War lives lost:
Vietnam War: 58,209
WWII: 405,399

Clearly, we lost WWII 8 times as badly as we lost Vietnam.

Re:Vietnam war exposer (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494012)

Yeah, because that's totally an apt comparison, what, with Vietnam systematically killing millions and invading a dozen countries while their partner on the other side of the world does the same.

Re:Vietnam war exposer (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494108)

I fail to see how that's relevant to the definition of a war being won or lost being based on how many soldiers died?

Re:Vietnam war exposer (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34494160)

Considering that Vietnam wasn't a war, and that we haven't had a war since WWII...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Powers_Clause

Re:Vietnam war exposer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34493852)

While I'm certainly not going to argue that the US won the Vietnam War, your appeal to emotion makes for a pretty poor argument that they didn't. Would looking at a monument to soldiers lost in World War II prove that we didn't win there either?

Re:Vietnam war exposer (1)

kanto (1851816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493902)

Apparently the reports, as Wikipedia states, were basically an outline saying that the president lied to the public and was expanding the war. I see no evidence of the US "losing" and, in fact, given the nature of "expanding" the fronts of a war, I'm inclined to believe we were actually "Winning" and lying about it.

Dr. Strangelove, I presume? I'd hardly call escalation as concrete evidence of "winning" anything; you've won when you no longer have to fight, there's no price for just showing up.

Re:Vietnam war exposer (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494062)

The article doesn't say anything about the US losing, and talks about the US expansion in the region. Lacking any other analysis, the facts presented do not indicate any form of losing. Basic reasoning would tie expanding fronts to winning by converse of being squeezed out of the war (if you invade 5 cities and months later you have control of 2, you are losing; if you invade 5 cities and months later you're shelling 15, it's hard to argue that they're steadily beating you back).

The argument that "this says we were losing" is a clear mental disconnect in this case; and even more, seems to entirely avoid what the papers were actually about-- that several administrations were lying, top-down, to the public AND congress, saying they weren't engaging in certain acts of war while at the same time ordering those very acts of war.

Saying that these papers basically said we were losing the war is ... I don't even know how to categorize that. A fantasy? It's not a misrepresentation of fact (that statement has no bearing on the contents of these papers). Maybe we could call it a lie, but it seems more like delusion to me. The kind of self-inflicted illusion you get when you have a political opinion and believe anything that touches the topic must only serve to justify that opinion, rather than either opposing it or talking about some other aspect of the topic entirely.

Re:Vietnam war exposer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34493670)

More than just that it was un-winnable, but that it was entirely based on false pretenses and the public was told bald-faced lie after bald-faced lie from the very beginning.

Re:Wtf pentagon? (0, Offtopic)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493614)

How do I get an "Offtopic" on an article about the Pentagon Papers asking what the Pentagon papers are? That seems to be directly on-topic.

Re:Wtf pentagon? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34493770)

How do I get an "Offtopic" on an article about the Pentagon Papers asking what the Pentagon papers are? That seems to be directly on-topic.

Probably because they were annoyed that you were too lazy to spend 5 seconds googling it instead of asking a rather useless question here where it will get, at best, a link to a source that would probably be near the top of the search results anyway. At worst it will lead to a bunch of additional uninformed posts to clutter up the thread.

Re:Wtf pentagon? (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493806)

I'm guessing you got that mod because the Pentagon Papers were quite famous, and anyone posting on Slashdot should be able to look up something that famous themselves rather than asking us to explain it to them.

Re:Wtf pentagon? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493874)

Yes. It was an early model of the octagonal papers used on Battlestar Galactica.

Re:Wtf pentagon? (3, Funny)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493904)

WTF were the Pentagon Papers? Were they pentagonal?

Basically, back then they didn't have laser printers that the papers had to fit through, so they had a little bit of freedom to play around with shapes.

Does this mean... (-1, Troll)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493384)

...that you're a rapist too?

Re:Does this mean... (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493430)

It could just mean that he's been smeared as a rapist to try to discredit him, which he has.

Re: Assanges-chief-accuser-has-her-own-history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34493648)

In other words, she is your father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate.

Re: Assanges-chief-accuser-has-her-own-history (3, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493826)

No, in other words, she worked directly with a group funded by the CIA.

Re: Assanges-chief-accuser-has-her-own-history (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493988)

If the CIA were going to frame him for rape, I'd think they could do a better job of it than they did. No evidence, flimsy and contradictory testimony by the victims, crazy interpretations of the law, public and friendly interactions with him after the fact, waiting days before making the accusation, not even an accusation of violence. I would imagine that a CIA frame up would be a bit better constructed that the case against him is.

Re: Assanges-chief-accuser-has-her-own-history (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34494180)

Actually, this smells of a 100% typical CIA op. It is the same organization that planned to topple the Cuban regime by chemically shaving Castro. Can you get any more stupid than that?

You should not believe Tom Clancy's books so much, you know. In reality, Jack Ryan never shot anyone in London, and the only non-GS job he's ever had was his brief appointment as a Secretary of the Treasury, where he was instrumental in helping Lehman Brothers sink.

While his dumber subordinates were covering for Madoff.

Re:Does this mean... (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493434)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Assange accused of having consexual sex?

Re:Does this mean... (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493510)

You mean consexual sense, of course.

Re:Does this mean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34493642)

Of course he means consexual? What were you thinking?! Consensual?! Ha!

Re:Does this mean... (2)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493638)

But he didn't tell the women he was having a one night stands with that he might have a one night stand with someone else as well! She might not have had a one night stand with him if he had said so! He also said he would call her back and then he didn't!

Re:Does this mean... (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493856)

He's accused of having non-consensual sex. The claim is that there was consensual sex up to a point, but the woman asked him to stop and he failed to do so, at which point it became non-consensual.

Re:Does this mean... (2)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493878)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Assange accused of having consexual sex?

Yes. The formal charge is consensual sex contrary to the condom laws of Sweden. Previous charges of non-consensual sex have been dropped.

Re:Does this mean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34493948)

Just the other day the Pope announced he's going to move the whole of Vatican over here.

(I'm Swedish. We're not allowed outside without condoms)

That's what's so facepalm-inducing about it all (5, Insightful)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493416)

The other day, Lieberman (who is looooong past his expiration date as a politician. Let's get with the program, Connecticut) was mouthing off on Fox News about how the New York Times should be investigated for espionage for cooperating with Wikileaks and publishing the cables. It's like, has he really never heard of New York Times v United States [wikipedia.org] ? This wasn't that long ago, and it was the same newspaper to boot. And apart from the really right-wing Neocon wingnuts, find me a person today who doesn't think the leak of the Pentagon Papers was ultimately for the best. Why should Wikileaks be any different?

Re:That's what's so facepalm-inducing about it all (3, Insightful)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493526)

And apart from the really right-wing Neocon wingnuts, find me a person today who doesn't think the leak of the Pentagon Papers was ultimately for the best.

I know! Joe Lieberman!...er...you said aside from right-wing Neocon wingnuts...um...at this point that's basically what he's become. So shoot, can't name one.

Re:That's what's so facepalm-inducing about it all (-1, Troll)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493544)

Sorry, but divulging classified information is certainly a felony, it's black-letter law (National Security Act).

Re:That's what's so facepalm-inducing about it all (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34493674)

Sorry, but divulging classified information is certainly a felony, it's black-letter law (National Security Act).

Correct.

But the supreme court of the US held that the crime is committed by the one who leaks the classified information. The journalists who merely publish it (NY Times, wikileaks) committed no crime.

Re:That's what's so facepalm-inducing about it all (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493804)

Does anyone know what happened to the guy who leaked those diplomatic transcripts?

Re:That's what's so facepalm-inducing about it all (4, Informative)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493692)

Then you had sure as hell better lock up all the good people at MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, Reuters, the AP, etc, etc, because the information certainly hasn't gone through the proper reviews yet and it's still technically classified. Therefore, they are publishing and distributing classified information, lock them up!

Leaking the information in the first place is certainly illegal, there's little doubt in the argument that the man or woman (most likely Manning at this point) committed a crime. However, it has been shown that freedom of the press trumps the vague term national security, did you even read the link the GP posted? Here's some highlights regarding the Justices' decision:

He [Justice Hugo Black] was against any interference with freedom of expression and largely found the content and source of the documents to be immaterial.

Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. wrote separately to explain that the publication of the documents did not qualify as one of the three exceptions to the freedom of expression

The President of United States possesses great constitutional independence that is virtually unchecked by the Legislative and Judicial branch. "In absence of governmental checks and balances", per Justice Stewart, "the only effective restraint upon executive policy and power in [these two areas] may lie in an enlightened citizenry - in an informed and critical public opinion which alone can here protect the values of democratic government."

Justice Thurgood Marshall argued that the term "national security" was too broad to legitimize prior restraint

Re:That's what's so facepalm-inducing about it all (5, Insightful)

Saishuuheiki (1657565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493778)

Divulging classified information may be a felony, but it's a felony in this country. It's hard to argue we should arrest a foreign citizen who hasn't set foot in American territory or stolen the documents himself. Now arresting the person who leaked the documents to Assange is a different matter.

By your point of view, if someone leaked information detailing Iran's nuclear program, we should immediately send them back to Iran to be executed. After all, it's clearly against the law

Re:That's what's so facepalm-inducing about it all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34494208)

Yeah, but everyone hates Iran.

Re:That's what's so facepalm-inducing about it all (2)

colinnwn (677715) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493798)

And regardless of what strained legal reasoning is used, no one should be subject to US law that is either not a US citizen, or physically inside US jurisdiction. Also, just because something is determined to be "illegal" doesn't mean it is dangerous or should be stopped. It just means the current government has decided it is threatening to its interest.

Re:That's what's so facepalm-inducing about it all (1)

Requia (1734466) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494152)

The supreme court disagrees.

"it is clear to me that it is the constitutional duty of the Executive— as a matter of sovereign prerogative and not as a matter of law as the courts know law—through the promulgation and enforcement of executive regulations, to protect the confidentiality necessary to carry out its responsibilities in the fields of international relations and national defense"

from New York Times v United States (1971).

Though my favorite gem from the concurring opinions has to be: "For when everything is classified, then nothing is classified, and the system becomes one to be disregarded by the cynical or the careless, and to be manipulated by those intent on self-protection or self-promotion."

Re:That's what's so facepalm-inducing about it all (1)

SpeedBump0619 (324581) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493556)

I agree (I think) with the releases by wikileaks, but as I see it the major difference is that the New York Times is a paper of record, and Ellsberg is a US citizen. Frankly I think it just terrifies every government on the planet that a foreign national could choose to publish anything they receive with no real recourse.

In the end I do believe wikileaks is in the right, but I can understand why the US is so keen to make it as painful as possible.

Re:That's what's so facepalm-inducing about it all (1)

Saishuuheiki (1657565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493722)

It's hard to hold it against NYT but not Wikileaks. Even if NYT didn't publish any of it, it would be publicly available for anyone to download, regardless of whether it's considered classified. Being that the purpose of being classified is to keep the information out of the hands of malicious people who could use the information to do harm, assuming that these people wouldn't be able to just get it form the widely available source is just silly.

The main difference with the NYT is a larger portion of the American public would read it. One would hope that in general our documents aren't classified so law-abiding Americans can't read them.

Re:That's what's so facepalm-inducing about it all (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493562)

That may establish precedence but only for cases where prior restraint isn't justified. Depending on what all these cables contain, it may be justified.

Justice Brennan reasoned that since publication would not cause an inevitable, direct, and immediate event imperiling the safety of American forces, prior restraint was unjustified..

Re:That's what's so facepalm-inducing about it all (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493966)

That may establish precedence but only for cases where prior restraint isn't justified. Depending on what all these cables contain, it may be justified.

Justice Brennan reasoned that since publication would not cause an inevitable, direct, and immediate event imperiling the safety of American forces, prior restraint was unjustified..

Considering that they only released a tiny fraction of the cables, and those were redacted by professional journalists from several major newspapers, I don't think there's anything in there that would even remotely qualify it under that description.

Re:That's what's so facepalm-inducing about it all (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34493616)

The Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment did protect the New York Times' right to print said materials.
- New York Times v United States [wikipedia.org]

In this case, I don't think Julian Assange is protected under the United States First Amendment.

Re:That's what's so facepalm-inducing about it all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34493744)

who said he needs to be? He's not a us citizen!

Re:That's what's so facepalm-inducing about it all (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493968)

Indeed, this is the part I'm most curious about. At any rate, if the rumors are true and there's a US warrant waiting out there for when he gets dropped into Sweden, wouldn't that afford him pretty much immediately the protections of a US citizen, since he'll be thrown into a US court and, apparently, have US laws thrown at him. Unless they're going to Gitmo-ize him, but I can't see that happening. He's not a combatant of any kind.

I still have mixed feelings about the whole thing, but quite frankly I think the war against Wikileaks is moronic, an abuse of process and ultimately futile. I mean, this is taking the Streisand Effect to a galactic level here. The more they make these leaked documents a big issue, the more traction Wikileaks gets. As to Assange, he's basically become a digital martyr, any court proceeding, even over those rape charges, is going to be seen as an attempt to shut him up.

The smartest thing anyone could have done was to just go "That sucks", investigate who actually did the leaking (it's pretty obvious they already know), prosecute them and just leaving the complaints to muttering. Yes, it sucks that poor old Clinton will have to spend the next six months on a jet giving verbal blow jobs to various foreign governments over the unguarded language used by US diplomats, but that's got to be preferable to the method of attack being used now.

Beyond that, it does strike me that there are a lot of people with an authority fetish. You would think, for instance, that British conservatives would be hailing the release of documents showing how the Scottish executive and the British Labour government was fearful of economic reprisals by Gaddafi over the Megrahi affair, and released him and bullshitted about the extent of Megrahi's illness (they made it sound like he might kick the bucket before he got a friggin' plain to Libya, and yet the sonofabitch is still alive nearly 16 months later).

You can't have it both ways (5, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493802)

Either Assange is subject to US law or he isn't. If he is, he should be protected by the First Amendment. If he isn't, then they have no legal right to prosecute him.

All of the idiots who want to temporarily suspend the law to punish one person always forget that it could be their turn sooner than they think. And, frankly, I'd rather not continue to establish the precedent that the world's most powerful country gets to arrogantly ignore international law and kidnap people to kill or torture them. In fifty years, it could be someone else putting hoods over US citizens who dare to mention the truth in public.

Re:You can't have it both ways (1)

makubesu (1910402) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493972)

Either Assange is subject to US law or he isn't. If he is, he should be protected by the First Amendment. If he isn't, then they have no legal right to prosecute him.

Sounds like a good rule of thumb to me. Too bad the people running Gitmo don't think the same.

Re:You can't have it both ways (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494032)

All of the idiots who want to temporarily suspend the law to punish one person always forget that it could be their turn sooner than they think.

There is already at least one US Citizen[1] on a government death list who has had his rights to a trial magically removed. So I already think that it *is* sooner than you think

[1] Yes I know he is a terroist etc, but from what I understand he still remains a US Citizen

Re:That's what's so facepalm-inducing about it all (3, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493812)

Why would you think that?

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

"Congress SHALL MAKE NO LAW ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;" seems pretty clear to me. Rights belong to the people, all the people, not just citizens or certain classes of people.

Re:That's what's so facepalm-inducing about it all (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494094)

The Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment did protect the New York Times' right to print said materials. - New York Times v United States [wikipedia.org]

In this case, I don't think Julian Assange is protected under the United States First Amendment.

Not sure why he would need to be. The NYTimes and others published the documents first [salon.com] anyway.

Re:That's what's so facepalm-inducing about it all (-1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493678)

I have not studied the issue, but I have seen credible arguments that the leak of the Pentagon Papers was ultimately destructive of the best interests of the American people. I do not have an opinion one way or the other at this point and the event happened far enough in the past that I am not going to do the study needed to decide. I will say that those who at that time promoted the idea that publishing the Pentagon Papers was a good idea were pushing a destructive political agenda.

Re:That's what's so facepalm-inducing about it all (5, Insightful)

Danse (1026) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494050)

I have not studied the issue, but I have seen credible arguments that the leak of the Pentagon Papers was ultimately destructive of the best interests of the American people. I do not have an opinion one way or the other at this point and the event happened far enough in the past that I am not going to do the study needed to decide. I will say that those who at that time promoted the idea that publishing the Pentagon Papers was a good idea were pushing a destructive political agenda.

Eh? You haven't studied the issue, you don't intend to study the issue, but you'll go ahead and declare that those who supported the release were pushing a destructive agenda. Why doesn't that surprise me? Seems like the sort of thing that people do when they can't be bothered to actually get informed on a subject. Just find some source that agrees with their pre-conceived notions and declare their verdict on the issue.

Re:That's what's so facepalm-inducing about it all (0)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493696)

1. The NY Times and Wikileaks are two different beasts when it comes to "journalism". If they aren't, then every spy could be issued with a press pass from his intelligence agency's house organ and be immune to prosecution. This may be a matter for the courts to delineate further, but it's clear to reasonable observers.

2. There's a distinction to be made between things that are improperly classified and should be released and things that are properly classified and should not. Since the Ellsberg case, those distinctions have been made a part of law and are explicitly spelled out in the presidential directive that delegates his authority to classify information, from which flows everyone else's authority (within the American system).

3. There is a procedure for declassifying information and a system for getting that moving. People who simply ignore that and publish so as to maximize the publicity value of the information are not interested in security at all. The law accounts for that. Ask Scooter Libby.

4. I'm about the farthest thing from a right-wing anything you could find wearing shoes, and I think that parts of the Pentagon Papers release suffer from the same problem that parts of the Wikileaks releases do. The information that shouldn't have been classified certainly should have been released, but the endangerment of the lives of people due to the release of information that was justifiably classified verges on negligent homicide.

Re:That's what's so facepalm-inducing about it all (4, Informative)

Halo1 (136547) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493870)

1. The NY Times and Wikileaks are two different beasts when it comes to "journalism". If they aren't, then every spy could be issued with a press pass from his intelligence agency's house organ and be immune to prosecution. This may be a matter for the courts to delineate further, but it's clear to reasonable observers.

The NT Times and Wikileaks are immune from prosecution under US law because they did not steal the information themselves (nor ordered anyone to steal it). That has already been delineated by the US Supreme Court. Whether or not they are journalists does not even enter the picture.

Re:That's what's so facepalm-inducing about it all (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494132)

4. I'm about the farthest thing from a right-wing anything you could find wearing shoes, and I think that parts of the Pentagon Papers release suffer from the same problem that parts of the Wikileaks releases do. The information that shouldn't have been classified certainly should have been released, but the endangerment of the lives of people due to the release of information that was justifiably classified verges on negligent homicide.

What endangerment are you referring to, specifically? Is there some particular information that you believe has put lives in imminent danger?

Re:That's what's so facepalm-inducing about it all (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493710)

Because it wasn't like 40 years ago and we're far, far from a hindsight position that tells us just how beneficial it eventually was.

If you look back and watch the turmoil the Papers caused you'd think it was the worst that could possibly have happened to the US, the sky is falling, the world is ending, the commies win and they'll have their next party congress on wall street, all because Ellsberg betrayed the country and should be hung, quartered and drawn, right after being subjected to much worse ordeals.

Ummm, because it is different information? (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493808)

While I don't agree with a lot of what is going on, this automatic assumption that any leak = good on the part of many I also disagree with. I believe the pentagon papers leak was good over all because the public needed to know the information and that needs was enough to outweigh any harm it would cause and just generally breaking the oath and trust to keep information confidential he'd taken. So the reason it was a good thing was the context, what was leaked, and why.

So Wikileaks can very well be seen as different because their information is different. Personally I have thus far not seen a good reason for the leak. All the information I've been pointed to thus far (I don't have the time to go and sift through it myself) has either been things the public already knows (like the fact that there are civilian casualties in a war) or things that the public has no compelling interest to know (like diplomats private conversations about other world leaders). I haven't seen anything that I've said "Yes, the public needed to know this, it is important and shouldn't have been secret."

Re:Ummm, because it is different information? (1)

grcumb (781340) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494164)

While I don't agree with a lot of what is going on, this automatic assumption that any leak = good on the part of many I also disagree with.

Er, no. Every leak is damaging to those whose actions are exposed. That's pretty much the definition of a leak.

Freedom of the press, however, is always good. Even -especially- when the publisher in question is a douche.

Please don't confuse the two. Leakers quite often get punished. Ellsberg's life was ruined by the Nixon administration. A free press should never be punished or in any way intimidated by the state.

Re:That's what's so facepalm-inducing about it all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34494066)

"Why should Wikileaks be any different?"

Because US society is grossly xenophobic, and this time foreigners are involved?

It's much easier to create a bogeyman of someone who isn't inside your borders and hence has a harder time refuting your points to your face in debate. Much easier for inept politicians when you have a bogeyman to blame for everything that goes wrong, or to distract from the real problems, i.e. why US officials right to the top were ordering the illegal spying on UN officials and UN systems on UN territory which is meant to be completely independent precisely so politicians from all over the world can meet without any of that kind of bullshit.

Trying to push into the spotlight (1)

Uthic (931553) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493442)

Maybe I'm just being overly cynical about things.

Re:Trying to push into the spotlight (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493718)

Are you saying Ellsberg is looking for attention?

I doubt it. But this isn't the first time his name has come up regarding the comparison, and it's coming up a lot more often now, so it's reasonable to see him writing this, whether it's solicited or not, so as to reduce the flood of questions.

raep (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34493528)

Ellsberg had sex with two Swedish girls, failed to call them back the next day, and was therefore accused of rape and held without bail? Ellsberg received extrajudicial death threats from members of congress?

Re:raep (5, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493958)

No, but there was this:

Ellsberg later claimed that after his trial ended, Watergate prosecutor William H. Merrill informed him of an aborted plot by Liddy and the "plumbers" to have 12 Cuban-Americans who had previously worked for the CIA to "totally incapacitate" Ellsberg as he appeared at a public rally, though it is unclear whether that meant to assassinate Ellsberg or merely to hospitalize him.[24][25] In his autobiography, Liddy describes an "Ellsberg neutralization proposal" originating from Howard Hunt, which involved drugging Ellsberg with LSD, by dissolving it in his soup, at a fund-raising dinner in Washington in order to "have Ellsberg incoherent by the time he was to speak" and thus "make him appear a near burnt-out drug case" and "discredit him". The plot involved waiters from the Miami Cuban community. According to Liddy, when the plan was finally approved, "there was no longer enough lead time to get the Cuban waiters up from their Miami hotels and into place in the Washington Hotel where the dinner was to take place" and the plan was "put into abeyance pending another opportunity".

Supreme court ruling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34493580)

In the First Amendment the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government's power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell. In my view, far from deserving condemnation for their courageous reporting, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other newspapers should be commended for serving the purpose that the Founding Fathers saw so clearly. In revealing the workings of government that led to the Vietnam war, the newspapers nobly did precisely that which the Founders hoped and trusted they would do.
Justice Hugo Black 1971

What I can't get my head around... (5, Insightful)

Somewhat Delirious (938752) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493754)

What I can't get my head around is al those people that spend their time complaining that Wikileaks is not careful enough in redacting the documents and is putting lives at risk. I mean talking about a skewed world view... Not one death on the whole planet has been directly or indirectly attributed to any of the Wikileaks revelations. Not one! Not even by US state officials who would have every reason to do so if they could only find one!

Meanwhile, what digging in the wikileaks files has confirmed or revealed (so far) about the US: torture ongoing after Abu Graib, systematic lying to the electorate and the governments of friendly powers, the killing of thousands upon thousands of civilians including women, children, the elderly, even handicapped people by US armed forces, lying about civilian death tolls, the killing in cold blood of enemy forces after they surrendered, systematically turning a blind eye to the use of torture by allied forces, complicity in having allies break their own national laws in order to support the US war effort... do I have to continue?

Seriously people...do you really want to spend your time and energy arguing about the way Wikileaks redacts the leaks?

Slashdotted already? (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493776)

...or something more sinister. I'd hate to see his site being flooded requests misinterpreted by the media as an attack.

_every_ attack? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34493794)

"The truth is that every attack now made on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was made against me and the release of the Pentagon Papers at the time."

Wow, I didn't realize they DoSed his website in 1971!

Not a good argument (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493832)

Just because the statements made against Ellsburg back in the 70s were similar to those made against Wikileaks now doesn't infer that Wikileaks has the same moral high ground. Either Wikileaks' actions stand on their own merits, or they fail.

Drawing a poor analogy: If I call someone a liar, it's not automatically a falsehood just because Joe Wilson called Barack Obama a liar a year or so ago. You have to look at the circumstances and evaluate whether the statements are true in each case.

Re:Not a good argument (1)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494030)

I agree, but that's a bad example. I can show you videotaped instances where Barack Obama *has* lied.

Just sayin'.

Written by Michael Ellsberg (3, Informative)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493868)

"Daniel Ellsberg, who released the pentagon papers in 1971, has written an editorial on the subject..."

The editorial was written by Michael Ellsberg, not Daniel Ellsberg, though it quotes Daniel Ellsberg.

Re:Written by Michael Ellsberg (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34494188)

Check out Daniel Ellsberg's site.
http://www.ellsberg.net/archive/public-accuracy-press-release#more-451

you'll find he's very much involved with the editoral posted above.

Assange is going to come out of this a hero (5, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493926)

Assange is going to come out of this a hero. The "rape charge" is already falling apart. The press is now mostly supporting Assange. Give it a week, and there will be calls for resignations of some Government officials.

Some of his opponents are already in trouble. One of the "commentators" calling for calling for Assange to be killed [upi.com] is now the subject of a complaint that he was inciting to commit murder.

Meanwhile, Wikileaks [wikileaks.ch] remains online, and response times are good.

Wilkileaks on Guantanamo (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494200)

Some of the cables shed light on why closing down Guantanamo is so hard. The US has some captured Kuwaitis, and Kuwait doesn't want them back. [wikileaks.ch] Kuwaiti Minister of Interior Shaykh Jaber al-Khalid Al Sabah: "If they are rotten, they are rotten and the best thing to do is get rid of them. You picked them up in Afghanistan; you should drop them off in Afghanistan, in the middle of the war zone." About a group of Iranian drug smugglers the US had captured after their boat foundered, he said "God meant to punish them with death and you saved them. Why?"

This is worse than the New York Times in 1971 (5, Insightful)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493938)

The New York Times, after publishing the Pentagon Papers, did not have its bank accounts frozen. Their legal defense was able to proceed without losing their defense fund.

Good (1)

e-d0uble (531945) | more than 3 years ago | (#34493956)

I was wondering if and when Ellsberg would weigh-in on this sad story. Can't wait to read what he has to say, and will do so when his site is no longer slashdotted.. At this moment ellsberg.net is giving: "Error establishing a database connection"

Overblown Response (2)

anonicon (215837) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494194)

Wow, interesting early comments. I remember the Pentagon Papers release (their release caused Nixon to go into a paranoid overdrive that resulted in Watergate) and the blowback it caused due to the government's lies.

Frankly, the more secrets they release, the more transparent national leaders' lies will be to the public. That's not to say that's good or bad, it just is.

As for being a traitor to America or Russia or the banking system, riiiiiight.

Different era (5, Insightful)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494232)

That was the Seventies. This is the 21st Century. Back then people rioted, now they keep their heads down. Nowadays, Ellsberg would be silenced, nobody would print his story, and he would have an international arrest warrant issued against him for, huh, farting without authorization. Welcome to the Age of the Wimp.
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