Last modified: 7:58 AM Saturday, 14 January 2017

Daniel Ellsberg and Julian Assange: two of a kind?

When Daniel Ellsberg reads assertions that WikiLeaks is inconsequential or morally questionable, as compared with his own release of the documents that helped bring down the Nixon administration and end the Vietnam War, he takes exception. To do so is, he says, “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.”

Daniel Ellsberg, of Pentagon Papers fame

Investigative journalism past: Daniel Ellsberg,
of Pentagon Papers fame.
[ Image Source ]

Julian Assange

Investigative journalism present: WikiLeaks
editor-in-chief Julian Assange.
[ Image Source ]

In essence, there is no difference of kind between Ellsberg’s and Assange’s exposés: Both reveal corrupt and hubristic representatives of the ruling elite making destructive and immoral choices on behalf of a public kept resolutely uninformed of their “leaders’” behavior. Both, too, have faced frenzied attempts on the part of that elite to silence them by any means necessary.

If, as most Americans now agree, Ellsberg’s revelations aided the nation in restoring a modicum of accountability to its government and are therefore valuable in succoring our democratic traditions, then it is hard to justify the attacks — both rhetorical and practical — on WikiLeaks, which is providing the same service with a somewhat broader scope. Ultimately, one either believes in accountability or one does not.

Originally published as a review of a article comparing
Daniel Ellsberg and Julian Assange.

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