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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 7/27/10

WikiLeaks: Time to Celebrate, Time to Mourn

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From Vietnam through Afghanistan, deceiving the public has been the government's knee-jerk response. The Ellsberg documentary shows U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara going before TV cameras and boldly lying about all the military progress in Vietnam just minutes after McNamara had told Ellsberg privately that he agreed there'd been no progress.

When Ellsberg leaked the papers, the Nixon White House prosecuted him for espionage and burglarized his psychiatrist's office searching for dirt after failing in court to prevent newspapers from publishing the papers.

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The Obama White House didn't try to stop the New York Times from publishing the Afghan logs (hopeless since WikiLeaks had also provided them to foreign publications Germany's Der Spiegel and the British Guardian, whose initial coverage focused [much more on civilian casualties] than did the Times.)

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But the Obama administration denounced WikiLeaks as "irresponsible" and non-objective and argued that the president had announced "a new strategy" for Afghanistan last December "precisely because of the grave situation that had developed over several years." The "new strategy" claim is hardly more credible than Nixon's claim in 1968 that he had a plan to end the Vietnam War.

Asked by Der Speigel whether he, following in Ellsberg's footsteps, was "today's most dangerous man," Assange responded: "The most dangerous men are those who are in charge of war. And they need to be stopped."

Obama recently asked Congress for $33 billion more to pay for his 30,000 increase in U.S. troops to Afghanistan. That vote could happen any day.

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Will they be stopped?

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Jeff Cohen was director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, where he was an associate professor of journalism. He founded the progressive media watch group in 1986.

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