June 12, 2010
Daniel Ellsberg, who gained fame when he leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971 in hopes of ending the Vietnam War,
told MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan on Friday that he not only sees a parallel between himself and the person who recently leaked a video of an assault by US forces on Iraqi civilians but also fears for the safety of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who published the video.
Army specialist Bradley Manning was recently arrested in the case, and according to reporter Philip Shenon, the Pentagon is “desperately” seeking Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in hopes of preventing further damaging revelations.
Noting that since his own prosecution under the Espionage Act “for revealing information to the American public” almost 40 years ago there had been only two other similar indictments prior to the current administration, Ellsberg stated angrily, “President Obama, who came in promising transparency in government and to end the excessive secrecy has totally violated that pledge. … That’s really not the kind of change I voted for when I voted for him.”
Philip Shenon, who was appearing along with Ellsberg, told Ratigan that Assange “was supposed to appear this evening at a panel in Las Vegas … but he apparently canceled on them at the last minute. … He said last week at [a] New York gathering that he had been instructed by his lawyers not to return to the United States.”
“I was supposed to do a dialogue with him at that conference,” Ellsberg added, “and the explanation he used was that he understood that it was not safe for him to come to this country.”
“I think it’s worth mentioning a very new and ominous development in our country,” Ellsberg continued. “I think he would not be safe even physically, entirely, wherever he is. … We have a president who has announced that he feels he has the right to use special operations operatives against anyone abroad that he thinks is associated with terrorism.”
Recalling that he himself had been the intended target of a CIA hit squad in 1972, Ellsberg suggested, “As I look at Assange’s case, their worry that he will reveal current threats, I would have to say, puts his well-being, his physical life, in some danger. And I say that with anguish. … I think Assange would do well to keep his whereabouts unknown.”
Video of the complete Dylan Ratigan segment with Daniel Ellsberg can be see here.