Sunday, August 10, 2008

Standing up to power

Anthony Russo, who helped Daniel Ellsberg copy and leak the Pentagon Papers in 1971, passed away this week. Both men were employed by the defense think tank The RAND Corporation when they became disillusioned with American policy in Vietnam and decided to release parts of a 14,000 page report to the press. Ellsberg said that the documents, "demonstrated unconstitutional behavior by a succession of presidents, the violation of their oath and the violation of the oath of every one of their subordinates."

Both men were charged with treason, but a judge eventually tossed the case out of court. The Nixon Administration attempted to prevent the documents from being published, but The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe went ahead, risking possible fines and jail time by defying the government. All of those who helped bring the truth to the public are heroes. Authority should always be questioned; dissent is not just a right, but it is the obligation of every American.

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