Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Deja vu--the Pentagon Papers and Climategate II

Climategate II has taken a very chilling turn.  One that to my mind raises far greater issues than the idiocy of AGW and the great hoodwink.  The Obama administration's criminal division of the Justice Department sought and executed search warrants against Wordpress, the blogging software company that hosts several of the blogs where the anonymous "FOIA" posted a link to the zipfile that contained the second batch of incriminating emails from Mann and the boys.  Worse, it participated in a physical raid and seizure at home of the blogger who goes by Jeff Id at, where all of his computers and his router were taken.  His was the first blog to upload the link, probably because he lives in a time zone five hours ahead of the others.  He was assured that he was not a suspect, but they nonetheless had armed agents serve the warrant and seize the instruments of his blogging.  Others whose files were ordered frozen at Wordpress were Steve McIntyre at and Tallbloke’s Talkshop at

Now let's go back 40 years.  Then Secretary of Defense Robert Macnamara, ordered a specially constituted commission to basically do a full review of the Viet Nam War.  One person who had worked on the report was Daniel Ellsberg in his position as an assisstant to Undersecretary (and long time Macnamara buddy) John McNaughton.  Ellsberg came to oppose the war, left the Department of Defense and went to work at a think tank called RAND.  The report was classified "Top Secret-Sensitive".  Since there was no "Sensitive" classification, everybody knew that to mean it was politically emabarrassing.  Everyone knows the story from there, Ellsberg first tried to interest Henry Kissinger in the report (which had information such as the expansion of the "secret war" into Cambodia and Laos), and then Senators Fullbright and McGovern.  None would do anything, however, so he brought it to the NY Times.  And they started to publish it.  The Justice Department sought and got an order from a Federal court to cease and desist further publication of the Pentagon Papers, by anyone.  The Supreme Court threw that order out as a Constitutionally impermissive prospective prohibition on free speech.  The Justice Department rushed back and got a narrower order against just the NY Times.  So the NY Times gave the papers to the Washington Post, who continued to publish them until Justice got an order against them, too.  So they forwarded the papers to the LA Times, and so on.  Eventually, Senator Mike Gravel from Alaska read them into the record on the floor of the Senate because Article I, Section 6 of the United States Constitution provides that "for any Speech or Debate in either House, [a Senator or Representative] shall not be questioned in any other Place", thus the Senator could not be prosecuted for anything said on the Senate floor, and, by extension, for anything entered to the Congressional Record, allowing the Papers to be publicly read without threat of a treason trial and conviction.

Ellsberg was arrested and tried under the Espionage Act of 1917 and other charges including theft and conspiracy, carrying a total maximum sentence of 115 years.  Upon surrendering to the US Attorney in Boston, he released the following statement:

I felt that as an American citizen, as a responsible citizen, I could no longer cooperate in concealing this information from the American public. I did this clearly at my own jeopardy and I am prepared to answer to all the consequences of this decision.
He was ultimately freed due to gross prosecutrial misconduct.

The Justice Department knew what it was doing then, as it knows what it is doing now.  It serverd, serached and sued all of the 17 newspapers that published the papers, even though it knew and freely admitted that the papers had done nothing illegal.  It brought the full force and power of the executive branch of the United States governement against Ellsberg and tried to lock him up forever.  The Obama admistration is doing the exact same thing now.  They are serving, searching, seizing and scaring the blogs that posted the link to the Climategate II emails, even though they freely admit that posting the link was legal and in fact protected free speech.  And they are hunting FOIA for all they are worth, hoping to charge him or her with offenses that carry sentences  in excess of one's life expectency.  And the use of the immense power entrusted by us to those public officials to crush free thought and discussions, about any topic, is an evil that cannot be tolerated in any amount.

I do not claim to be great friends with any one US Senator, but I know several of them.  I also love a good court fight.  So Mr. or Ms. FOIA, if you are looking for another place to post some more emails, feel free to send them to me.  And I suspect there are probably a few million others you would have to chose from, too.


Graybeard said...

Linked back from my little place - and H/T to Borepatch for pointing this piece out.

2cents said...

Good. The more exposure the better. This is a dangerous travesty.