Pentagon Papers' Daniel Ellsberg And Other Ex-Intelligence Officers "See Plusses In WikiLeaks" Disclosures

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Update: Ellsberg's site is now back up. Below is the Press Release just sent out by Daniel Ellsberg:

Ex-Intelligence Officers, Others See Plusses in WikiLeaks Disclosures

WASHINGTON – December 7 – The following statement was released today,
signed by Daniel Ellsberg, Frank Grevil, Katharine Gun, David
MacMichael, Ray McGovern, Craig Murray, Coleen Rowley and Larry
Wilkerson; all are associated with Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in

WikiLeaks has teased the genie of transparency out of a very opaque
bottle, and powerful forces in America, who thrive on secrecy, are
trying desperately to stuff the genie back in. The people listed below
this release would be pleased to shed light on these exciting new

How far down the U.S. has slid can be seen, ironically enough, in a
recent commentary in Pravda (that’s right, Russia’s Pravda): “What
WikiLeaks has done is make people understand why so many Americans are
politically apathetic … After all, the evils committed by those in power
can be suffocating, and the sense of powerlessness that erupts can be
paralyzing, especially when … government evildoers almost always get
away with their crimes. …”

So shame on Barack Obama, Eric Holder, and all those who spew
platitudes about integrity, justice and accountability while allowing
war criminals and torturers to walk freely upon the earth. … the
American people should be outraged that their government has transformed
a nation with a reputation for freedom, justice, tolerance and respect
for human rights into a backwater that revels in its criminality,
cover-ups, injustices and hypocrisies.

Odd, isn’t it, that it takes a Pravda commentator to drive home the
point that the Obama administration is on the wrong side of history.
Most of our own media are demanding that WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange
be hunted down — with some of the more bloodthirsty politicians calling
for his murder. The corporate-and-government dominated media are
apprehensive over the challenge that WikiLeaks presents. Perhaps deep
down they know, as Dickens put it, “There is nothing so strong … as the
simple truth.”

As part of their attempt to blacken WikiLeaks and Assange, pundit
commentary over the weekend has tried to portray Assange’s exposure of
classified materials as very different from — and far less laudable than
— what Daniel Ellsberg did in releasing the Pentagon Papers in 1971.
Ellsberg strongly rejects the mantra “Pentagon Papers good; WikiLeaks
material bad.” He continues: “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.”

Motivation? WikiLeaks’ reported source, Army Pvt. Bradley Manning,
having watched Iraqi police abuses, and having read of similar and worse
incidents in official messages, reportedly concluded, “I was actively
involved in something that I was completely against.” Rather than simply
go with the flow, Manning wrote: “I want people to see the truth …
because without information you cannot make informed decisions as a
public,” adding that he hoped to provoke worldwide discussion, debates,
and reform.

There is nothing to suggest that WikiLeaks/Assange’s motives were any
different. Granted, mothers are not the most impartial observers. Yet,
given what we have seen of Assange’s behavior, there was the ring of
truth in Assange’s mother’s recent remarks in an interview with an
Australian newspaper. She put it this way: “Living by what you believe
in and standing up for something is a good thing. … He sees what he is
doing as a good thing in the world, fighting baddies, if you like.”

That may sound a bit quixotic, but Assange and his associates appear
the opposite of benighted. Still, with the Pentagon PR man Geoff Morrell
and even Attorney General Eric Holder making thinly disguised threats
of extrajudicial steps, Assange may be in personal danger.

The media: again, the media is key. No one has said it better than
Monseñor Romero of El Salvador, who just before he was assassinated 25
years ago warned, “The corruption of the press is part of our sad
reality, and it reveals the complicity of the oligarchy.” Sadly, that is
also true of the media situation in America today.

The big question is not whether Americans can “handle the truth.” We
believe they can. The challenge is to make the truth available to them
in a straightforward way so they can draw their own conclusions — an
uphill battle given the dominance of the mainstream media, most of which
have mounted a hateful campaign to discredit Assange and WikiLeaks.

So far, the question of whether Americans can “handle the truth” has
been an academic rather than an experience-based one, because Americans
have had very little access to the truth. Now, however, with the
WikiLeaks disclosures, they do. Indeed, the classified messages from the
Army and the State Department released by WikiLeaks are, quite
literally, “ground truth.”

How to inform American citizens? As a step in that direction, on
October 23 we “Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence” (see
below) presented our annual award for integrity to Julian Assange. He
accepted the honor “on behalf of our sources, without which WikiLeaks’
contributions are of no significance.” In presenting the award, we noted
that many around the world are deeply indebted to truth-tellers like
WikiLeaks and its sources.

Here is a brief footnote: Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in
Intelligence (SAAII) is a group of former CIA colleagues and other
admirers of former intelligence analyst Sam Adams, who hold up his
example as a model for those who would aspire to the courage to speak
truth to power. (For more, please see here.)

Sam did speak truth to power on Vietnam, and in honoring his memory,
SAAII confers an award each year to a truth-teller exemplifying Sam
Adams’ courage, persistence, and devotion to truth — no matter the
consequences. Previous recipients include:

-Coleen Rowley of the FBI
-Katharine Gun of British Intelligence
-Sibel Edmonds of the FBI
-Craig Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan
-Sam Provance, former Sgt., US Army
-Frank Grevil, Maj., Danish Army Intelligence
-Larry Wilkerson, Col., US Army (ret.)
-Julian Assange, WikiLeaks

“There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nothing hidden
that will not be made known. Everything you have said in the dark will
be heard in the daylight; what you have whispered in locked rooms will
be proclaimed from the rooftops.”
– Luke 12:2-3

The following former awardees and other associates have signed the above statement; some are available for interviews:

A former government analyst, Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers, a
secret government history of the Vietnam War to the New York Times and
other newspapers in 1971. He was an admirer of Sam Adams when they were
both working on Vietnam and in March 1968 disclosed to the New York
Times some of Adams’ accurate analysis, helping head off reinforcement
of 206,000 additional troops into South Vietnam and a widening of the
war at that time to neighboring countries.

Grevil, a former Danish intelligence analyst, was imprisoned for giving
the Danish press documents showing that Denmark’s Prime Minister (now
NATO Secretary General) disregarded warnings that there was no authentic
evidence of WMD in Iraq; in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Gun is a
former British government employee who faced two years imprisonment in
England for leaking a U.S. intelligence memo before the invasion of
Iraq. The memo indicated that the U.S. had mounted a spying “surge”
against U.N. Security Council delegations in early 2003 in an effort to
win approval for an Iraq war resolution. The leaked memo — published by
the British newspaper The Observer on March 2, 2003 — was big news in
parts of the world, but almost ignored in the United States. The U.S.
government then failed to obtain a U.N. resolution approving war, but
still proceeded with the invasion.

MacMichael is a former CIA analyst. He resigned in the 1980s when he
came to the conclusion that the CIA was slanting intelligence on Central
America for political reasons. He is a member of Veteran Intelligence
Professionals for Sanity.

McGovern was a CIA analyst for 27 years, whose duties included preparing
and briefing the President’s Daily Brief and chairing National
Intelligence Estimates. He is on the Steering Group of Veteran
Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, was fired from his job when
he objected to Uzbeks being tortured to gain “intelligence” on
“terrorists.” Upon receiving his Sam Adams award, Murray said, “I would
rather die than let someone be tortured in an attempt to give me some
increment of security.” Observers have noted that Murray was subjected
to similar character assassination techniques as Julian Assange is now
encountering to discredit him.

Rowley, a former FBI Special Agent and Division Counsel whose May 2002
memo described some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures, was named one of
Time Magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002. She recently co-wrote a
Los Angeles Times op-ed titled, “WikiLeaks
and 9/11: What if? Frustrated investigators might have chosen to leak
information that their superiors bottled up, perhaps averting the
terrorism attacks

Wilkerson, Col., U.S. Army (ret.), former chief of staff to Secretary
Colin Powell at the State Department, who criticized what he called the
“Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal.” See recent interviews

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167