Jul 22, 2013
Daniel Ellsberg has written a letter to the Washington Post defending Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who recently exposed the massive electronic spying the government is carrying out against everyone in the country: “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.”
In 1971 Ellsberg, a military analyst working on government contract for the RAND Corporation, leaked the so-called Pentagon Papers to the press that exposed the lies top government and military officials had told for years to justify the Viet Nam War. He fought the charges the government brought against him and they were eventually dismissed.
Ellsberg chose to stand his ground and stay in a country where the ruling class had been shaken and forced to make changes by the rebellion of millions of black people against the racism of this society. Tens of millions had demonstrated against the Viet Nam War. And thousands of U.S. troops were resisting and rebelling in various ways within the military against both racism and the war.
Ellsberg writes that in 1971, “I was, like Snowden now, a ‘fugitive from justice.’ Yet when I surrendered to arrest.... I was released on my own recognizance bond the same day. Later, when my charges were increased from the original three counts to 12, carrying a possible 115-year sentence, my bond was increased to $50,000. But for the whole two years I was under indictment, I was free to speak to the media and at rallies and public lectures. I was, after all, part of a movement against an ongoing war....”
Ellsberg insisted in his letter, “There is zero chance that he [Snowden] would be allowed out on bail if he returned now and close to no chance that, had he not left the country, he would have been granted bail... he would almost certainly be confined in total isolation.... Nothing worthwhile would be served, in my opinion, by Snowden voluntarily surrendering to U.S. authorities given the current state of the law.”
“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.”
Ellsberg is not overstating the situation when he speaks about the possibility of the government assassinating Snowden. To understand how much more severe the situation is today, consider this: In 1973, a judge dismissed the charges against Ellsberg because of misconduct and unauthorized government wiretapping of his phone. Today, Snowden is being pursued by the government for revealing that the government is wiretapping everyone in the country!