Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Government Privacy News

Pentagon Papers Ellsberg Supports Wikileaks 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.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Pentagon Papers Ellsberg Supports Wikileaks

Comments Filter:
  • WTF were the Pentagon Papers? Were they pentagonal?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      You kids! Get off my lawn!

    • Vietnam war exposer (Score:5, Informative)

      by emj ( 15659 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @05:46PM (#34493432) Journal

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

    • by fishexe ( 168879 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:16PM (#34493904) Homepage

      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.

  • by AdmiralXyz ( 1378985 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @05:45PM (#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 []? 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?
    • by fishexe ( 168879 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @05:51PM (#34493526) Homepage

      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! said aside from right-wing Neocon this point that's basically what he's become. So shoot, can't name one.

    • 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.

      • 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 Am

    • 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..

    • 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

    • 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

      • by miro2 ( 222748 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @07:16PM (#34494784)

        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."

        Its probably because you are self-filtering information that contradicts your own opinion. There are in fact many examples of information in these documents that the American public has a right to know. Here is a clear cut example:

        The United States has been knowingly lying to the American public about its participation in military strikes in Yemen. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley in answered "No" to the question "Is the U.S. involved in any military operations in Yemen?" But the documents reveal the answer was a lie. Crowly was not misinformed. He was lying. Dont you believe that US citizens have a right to know when killing is being done in their name?

        A good article with several links, and fascinating audio: []


      • by Wraithlyn ( 133796 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @07:29PM (#34494938)

        That's because the actual contents of the leaks are not the point. The leaks themselves are the point.

        Wikileaks' goal is essentially to make secretive regimes so paranoid about leaks that they clamp down on themselves, crippling their ability to communicate and operate efficiently.

        In Assange's words:

        The more secretive or unjust an organization is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie. This must result in minimization of efficient internal communications mechanisms (an increase in cognitive “secrecy tax”) and consequent system-wide cognitive decline resulting in decreased ability to hold onto power as the environment demands adaption. Hence in a world where leaking is easy, secretive or unjust systems are nonlinearly hit relative to open, just systems.

        Source []

        • Hence in a world where leaking is easy, secretive or unjust systems are nonlinearly hit relative to open, just systems.

          The problem is that not all secretive systems are unjust. I mean, a healthy relationship with your girlfriend (I know this is Slashdot, but humor me) is a "secretive system" and obviously your relationship would suffer if all your conversations, arguments, and snarky comments about her relatives and bitchy friends were suddenly thrown out in the open. In Assange's terms, your relations wou

  • by Somewhat Delirious ( 938752 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:05PM (#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 you really want to spend your time and energy arguing about the way Wikileaks redacts the leaks?

    • Those people are idiots. Assange offered the government the opportunity to negotiate for redactions, and was turned down because they, in effect, wanted the entire thing redacted. As in none of it released.

      Strikes me as a bit suspicious that if it's really that damaging that they didn't accept that the materials were out there and at least try to contain the damage.

    • by jd ( 1658 ) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {kapimi}> on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:41PM (#34494316) Homepage Journal

      Pffft. Those same people didn't seem to mind Wikileak's standards for redaction when they published papers by governments hostile to the US. Indeed, as I recall, those people didn't object in the slightest to leaks about any other government at all. Or indeed, leaks about corrupt organizations (other than popular American brands).

      The US government's position that Wikileaks has endangered informants is also questionable (given that one of those "informants" was feeding bad information and assassinated 7 CIA agents, another was a hoaxer, an unknown number of these informants have been killed by Predator strikes, and an unknown number have been discovered through inept US handling). It's also not terribly consistant with history, since informants have traditionally been regarded as expendable and informing entirely at their own risk.

      (I'd also note that informants for other governments over the course of history and for the Taliban have generally had a low survival rate at the hands of the US or other Western powers. I'm curious as to how these objectors explain why it's ok for one side to persecute collaborators but not the other.)

      It's one rule for those you like, another for those you hate. Politics as usual.

      It's also the American obsession with winning. The idea of losing is evil in their eyes, although anyone going to war is naive to pretend that the outcome is guaranteed. The reality is that the war cannot be "won" - partly though ineptness on the Allied forces, but also because nobody has been willing to actually say what "winning" means. There's no victory conditions to achieve and therefore no benchmarks to test against. The "war against terror" has no defined opponents (even the "Taliban" isn't a unified entity but an ill-defined collection of tribes and external parties with few - if any - objectives in common and certainly no leadership structure), so we can't even say "winning is beating such-and-such an opponent in some way".

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

  • by wonkavader ( 605434 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:13PM (#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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Check out Daniel Ellsberg's site.

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

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:17PM (#34493926) Homepage

    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 [] is now the subject of a complaint that he was inciting to commit murder.

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

    • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:33PM (#34494200) Homepage

      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. [] 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?"

      • by MartinSchou ( 1360093 ) on Thursday December 09, 2010 @05:24AM (#34498410)

        Why are drug smugglers being kept in Guantanamo? Wasn't that particular prison designed for highly dangerous terrorists? Drug smugglers aren't terrorists.

        Now, one can argue that the drug trade funds terrorism, and that argument is being made quite a bit, but why not bring terrorism charges against every day US citizens buying and selling drugs then?

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )

      The "rape charge" is already falling apart.

      It fell apart within the first few hours when the boss of the person that laid the charges came into work and dismissed the charges, but by then, ironically, they had been illegally leaked to the press. The charges been only been revived because it is politically convenient.

  • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) ( 193358 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:18PM (#34493938) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by anonicon ( 215837 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:33PM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JockTroll ( 996521 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:36PM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @10:16PM (#34496304)

    When Lenin and his crowd of happy murderers took over Russia during WW1, the various Revolutionaries who started running the Russian foreign Service started publishing ALL of the Tsar's Diplomatic files.

    As the Tsar had been talking with everyone in Europe, Asia, and the Americas, his diplomats had sent home thousands of reports - polite and impolite, about all sides of the War, and how it all started.

    The diplomatic cr%p hit the fan, and outraged people and governments everywhere; it was one of the reasons President Wilson announced his policy of "Open Agreements, Openly Agreed to" as part of his peace plans.

    We've been here before, and we'll be here again. Diplomacy is about haggling with people you'd prefer to shoot, which results in agreements that everyone hates, but can't live without.

The world is coming to an end--save your buffers!