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Ellsberg, a patriot or a traitor?

Updated on October 9, 2014

When the Pentagon Papers affair splashed the government, the whole foundation of one of the pillar of the U.S. ideology, freedom, freedom of speech and information collapsed.
In 1975, an employee of the Pentagon revealed to the American Public the historical facts of the Vietnam war. The document, the United-States-Vietnam relations, 1945-1967 : A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense, denounced the falsifications of the U.S. politico-military involvement in the Vietnam war.


Ellsberg, the whistleblower of the affair was at the time in charge of writing factually whether the Vietnam war was humanly and budget wise viable.


When the affair exploded the president in power was Nixon.


What originally titillated my criticism was the presence in the equation of a man tormented in delivering the truth because the documents he possessed had the seal of classified “top secret”. An American citizen torn apart between being a patriot (to his nation, to the people) and being a betrayer in the eyes of the highest authority of the nation, the government. As he chooses his side, the truth, he will use the NY Times to communicate his message, to divulge the truth.


In its article 1, section 6, the U.S. constitution brags (in its first amendment) : “For any Speech or Debate in either house, [a Senator or Representative] shall not be questioned in other place”. Consequently, Ellsberg sees in the senators his legitimate voice to outcry publicly the truth that otherwise would be gagged by a treason trial by the government if exposed! The opportunity of introducing the papers as congressional records would give the Senate omnipotence over the government.


It is interesting and revealing to know that none of the senators he encountered was willing to oppose the government in the name of the truth, in the light of the controversial content, and the classified “top secret” nature of the document! Which fear was undermining the senators at the moment? Wasn’t America a democracy?


Allegedly, constitutional chambers, because of their pluralism are the organs that constitutionally oppose the executive from any outburst, abuse, that carry the legal power to counterweigh absolutism, why did they remain deaf to Ellsberg's SOS?


Aware of Ellsberg’s move (to the NY Times), the government tried unsuccessfully to cease the publication with a federal court injunction. It escalated to the Supreme Court in a challenging trial “NY Times v. United-States”. By the failure of the government to demonstrate the “burden of proof”, by proving the unconstitutional behaviors of successive presidencies and their violation of their oaths, Ellsberg was absolved and gained the U.S. public support.


In an authoritarian society, the first move implemented by the dictatorial regime is to shut down the freedom of press, so as to conform to the highest sphere thinking. By suppressing one fundamental right instituted by the constitution, the government alters and redefines the constitutionality and the constituency of the former democracy.


Installed by a democratic majority “by the people” to represent its interests, the executive branch definitely disconnects itself from its constituents “for the people” while striving against the right of information.


By suing the NY Times, the U.S. government dissociated itself as an individual entity to the rest of the nation. In standing in the way of any constituent by illegitimating Ellsberg belonging to the same group of people, by denying his identity (as an American), by identifying him as a “traitor”, the government rejects the ability of any being to think individually, to exert one’s freedom of speech.


According to the NY Times, the Pentagon Papers were “historical” documents stating by this allegation as being part of the American history, heritage, culture, therefore a part of you, the people.


By hiding national documents, by not allowing the people to access “Top Secret” documents in formatting them as archives sleeping for at least a quarter of a century, the government assesses itself as an independent cell. As a result, why wouldn’t Ellsberg, X, Y or Z, when truth matters, be others independent cells living and evolving in the same environment (same nation)?


The time has come where the “territorial” government and the people unit as one! The move belongs to the government!

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    • maxoxam41 profile imageAUTHOR

      Deforest 

      5 years ago from USA

      Kiriakou, another Ellesberg?

    • maxoxam41 profile imageAUTHOR

      Deforest 

      6 years ago from USA

      A society of COWARDS. When someone is defending the freedom of information, speech... any individual not directly involved should support such action because it is to the interests of the people. Mainly this kind of information is classified and remains secret during a lifetime (for a good reason).

    • MountPenglai profile image

      MountPenglai 

      6 years ago

      Well some of those who did care might just get plain cold feet frightened

      Sounds wimpy and it dose not justify inaction but still understandable

      But not agreeable

    • maxoxam41 profile imageAUTHOR

      Deforest 

      6 years ago from USA

      Which man with a conscience would not have done what Ellesberg did for the Americans and for America?

    • MountPenglai profile image

      MountPenglai 

      6 years ago

      Nice Read,

      I would have done what he would done,

    • maxoxam41 profile imageAUTHOR

      Deforest 

      6 years ago from USA

      He symbolized what a real American should be! Thank you for reading my hub!

    • Lary Wallace profile image

      Lary Wallace 

      6 years ago from Shirley, Massachusetts

      Great hub, man. And whatever you think of Ellsberg's move, it was not a selfish one. You have to give him that much, at least. He knew the full consequences going in, and those consequences came to fruition. He suffered for his act, even if he did not suffer the way many would have preferred.

    • maxoxam41 profile imageAUTHOR

      Deforest 

      6 years ago from USA

      What would you have done if you were him?

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