If anyone knows how Julian Assange might feel right now, it would be Daniel Ellsberg. Perhaps the most famous whistleblower in the United States, Ellsberg was heavily persecuted for his role in releasing the Pentagon Papers in 1971 that detailed the classified history of the Vietnam War.
Ellsberg was interviewed on Democracy Now! today about the growing support for Assange and his group WikiLeaks, and discussed the possible charges that could be issued by the U.S. Department of Justice.
"If I released the Pentagon Papers today, the same rhetoric and calls would be made about me. I would be called not only a traitor -- which I was then, which was false and slanderous -- but I would be called a terrorist," Ellsberg said. "Bradley Manning and Julian Assange are no more of a terrorist than I am."
Ellsberg joined an international group of former intelligence officers and ex-government officials as a signatory on a statement in support of Assange. The statement they released reads, in part, "WikiLeaks has teased the genie of transparency out of a very opaque bottle, and powerful forces in America, who thrive on secrecy, are trying desperately to stuff the genie back in."
The signatories also include Colonel Larry Wilkerson, the former Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, former FBI special agent Coleen Rowley, and former British Intelligence employee Katharine Gun.
For the complete interview, transcripts and audio/video podcasts, visit Democracy Now!. Democracy Now! has been covering WikiLeaks and the case against Julian Assange closely. Click here to see all of our WikiLeaks reports, which include interviews with Julian Assange, whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, legal experts and journalists. Join us on Facebook.