Ellsberg: Snowden was Right to Run

So, this is reposted from Vermont Vigilance:

In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg leaked the “Pentagon Papers” to the press, thereby revealing that the Johnson administration had systematically lied to congress and to the American people about the war in Vietnam. He was charged with espionage. However, those charges were later dismissed following the introduction of evidence of illegal wiretapping by the government.

In yesterday’s Washington Post, Ellsberg wrote an opinion piece arguing that although he had stayed in the US to face his criminal charges, he thought that Edward Snowden was right in his decision to flee.

Why? Well,

Many people compare Edward Snowden to me unfavorably for leaving the country and seeking asylum, rather than facing trial as I did. I don’t agree. The country I stayed in was a different America, a long time ago.

Ellsberg notes that he was released on bail, and was able to continue his anti-war activism while awaiting trial. The treatment of Bradley Manning provides an indication of what Snowden would have faced had he remained in the country. He would have been isolated and tortured. Not waterboarding-level torture, as the US still reserves that for Muslims. But, torture nevertheless, in the form of social isolation, sleep deprivation, etc.

Ellsberg concludes with

I hope that he finds a haven, as safe as possible from kidnapping or assassination by U.S. Special Operations forces, preferably where he can speak freely.

What he has given us is our best chance — if we respond to his information and his challenge — to rescue ourselves from out-of-control surveillance that shifts all practical power to the executive branch and its intelligence agencies: a United Stasi of America.

So say we all, Daniel. So say we all.

One thought on “Ellsberg: Snowden was Right to Run”

  1. “The country I stayed in was a different America, a long time ago.” That’s the story of my lifetime in the United States. Ironically, despite the misdeeds Ellsberg exposed, the Johnson administration was arguably the zenith of American social progress through public policy. In almost every way, things have gotten worse ever since – sometimes faster, sometimes slower, but consistently worse, with only occasional exceptions such as the recent overturning of DOMA.

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