Daniel Ellsberg: Losing the First Amendment Reverses War of Independence

Ellsberg gave the following address to the Belmarsh Tribunal on Friday night. A video and transcript follows.

Hi, I’m Dan Ellsberg. One of the foundation stones of our government here in the United States, for democracy and a republic, is our First Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids any law by Congress or the states abridging freedom of speech or of the press, along with freedom of religion or of assembly, that precluded the passage of a British type Official Secrets Act, which most countries have.

Almost no other country has a law singling out the press as protected by our freedom, by the First Amendment and the British type Official Secrets Act, which criminalizes any or all disclosure of information protected by the government executive branch. Even disclosure to the public or to the press or to Congress or Parliament is criminalized and subject to prison.

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A Personal Message from Daniel Ellsberg

When the folks at Antiwar.com asked me to write a note to help them raise funds I immediately accepted for several reasons.

First of all, because I’m a longtime reader, almost since the beginning (1995!). Their news section is indispensable. Jason Ditz’s news briefs keep me up to the minute. Their editorial content is varied, non-partisan, and often challenging. And I mean that in the best way. Of course I don’t always agree with Justin Raimondo – actually, I almost always do! – but he’s always interesting and principled. And he’s a terrific writer!

Secondly, it’s important that Antiwar.com exists – because all the worst people would be ecstatic if it didn’t. As war clouds loom on the horizon, this high-traffic high-quality site is more important than ever.

And one more reason: Antiwar.com has been consistently right about the major foreign policy issues of the day. They’ve had the courage to challenge what "everybody knows" – and were vindicated when the conventional wisdom was finally overturned.

Turn on your television set, or look at the op-ed page of your paper: there you’ll see the "experts" who have been wrong about everything. These people were wrong about Iraq, wrong about Afghanistan, wrong about Libya, etc. ad nauseam. Yet they’re still collecting paychecks, still basking in the spotlight.

Isn’t it about time we rewarded truth-telling instead of error?

Please make your tax-deductible donation to Antiwar.com today, for the same reason I will – because they’ve earned it.


Dan Ellsberg

Daniel Ellsberg: Trump Threat to WikiLeaks Is the ‘Nuclear Option’ Against the First Amendment

Statement by Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whistleblower:

“Obama having opened the legal campaign against the press by going after the roots of investigative reporting on national security — the sources — Trump is going to go after the gatherers/gardeners themselves (and their bosses, publishers). To switch the metaphor, an indictment of Assange is a ‘first use’ of ‘the nuclear option’ against the First Amendment protection of a free press. (By the way, the charges they’re reportedly considering against him — conspiracy, theft, and violation of the Espionage Act — are exactly the charges I faced in 1971.)

“If journalists and publishers fail to call this out, denounce and resist it — on the spurious grounds that Julian is ‘not a real journalist’ like themselves — they’re offering themselves up to Trump and Sessions for indictments and prosecutions, which will eventually silence all but the heroes and heroines among them.”

This statement by Daniel Ellsberg was read by Army veteran and retired diplomat Ann Wright at a news conference Friday morning outside the Department of Justice organized by ExposeFacts, a project of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

Video of the news conference, which also featured remarks by retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern, is now available at Facebook Live. Higher quality video and audio will be available later today on YouTube and via @xposefacts.

Daniel Ellsberg Interview: Persecution of Israel’s Nuke Whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu Is a Relic of British Colonialism

After 18 years in prison, the man who exposed Israel’s nuclear weapons program to the world, Mordechai Vanunu, remains restricted under obsolete principles contradicting the UN Charter on Human Rights, prominent whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg told Russia Today.

Calling Vanunu a “preeminent prophet of the nuclear era,” Ellsberg stressed that Israel must recognize, for its own good, what Vanunu did was right and come clean about the existence of its nuclear weapons program. The Israeli government should also stop lying to its own people and the world and admit that they were the first to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East, he added.

Ellsberg, who exposed the Pentagon Papers on the Vietnam War to the American media in 1971 and was prosecuted and branded a “traitor” by some for his move, also talked about Vanunu’s ordeal from the perspective of a whistleblower.

RT:Ten years since his release, Vanunu is still under constant government pressure, is in constant fear of arrest. Why is that happening, do you think?

Daniel Ellsberg: I think it’s essentially what they want to be a life-time punishment, in effect, for embarrassing them, actually, in a policy that really can’t be defended in the nuclear era. Is it really legitimate for a country to develop nuclear weapons in secret and continue to maintain the secrecy, then, indefinitely from the world, or pretend to keep that secret? I think not. I think Vanunu did exactly the right thing by telling his fellow citizens, and the rest of the world, that Israel had a large nuclear program. And for that, he served 18 years in prison: 10 and a half in a very small cell of isolation – a 6 by 9 foot cell – what Amnesty called “torture,” essentially, for that long period.

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Ellsberg Responds to State Dept Showcase

The State Department has released its “American Documentary Showcase,” which includes…

“The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers.”

Ellsberg responds:

WOW! Hot damn! Sometimes even the current USG comes through — with a show of the old American ideals, still worth fighting for! (Now, if we could get this shown INSIDE the State Department, and the Pentagon and CIA, Camp David… I’d give anything; any ideas?)

Daniel Ellsberg Says Boycott Amazon

Open letter to Amazon.com Customer Service:

December 2, 2010

I’m disgusted by Amazon’s cowardice and servility in abruptly terminating today its hosting of the Wikileaks website, in the face of threats from Senator Joe Lieberman and other Congressional right-wingers. I want no further association with any company that encourages legislative and executive officials to aspire to China’s control of information and deterrence of whistle-blowing.

For the last several years, I’ve been spending over $100 a month on new and used books from Amazon. That’s over. I ask Amazon to terminate immediately my membership in Amazon Prime and my Amazon credit card and account, to delete my contact and credit information from their files and to send me no more notices.

I understand that many other regular customers feel as I do and are responding the same way. Good: the broader and more immediate the boycott, the better. I hope that these others encourage their contact lists to do likewise and to let Amazon know exactly why they’re shifting their business. I’ve asked friends today to suggest alternatives, and I’ll be exploring service from Powell’s Books, Half-Price Books, Biblio and others.

So far Amazon has spared itself the further embarrassment of trying to explain its action openly. This would be a good time for Amazon insiders who know and perhaps can document the political pressures that were brought to bear–and the details of the hasty kowtowing by their bosses–to leak that information. They can send it to Wikileaks (now on servers outside the US), to mainstream journalists or bloggers, or perhaps to sites like antiwar.com that have now appropriately ended their book-purchasing association with Amazon.

Yours (no longer),
Daniel Ellsberg