Daniel Ellsberg: Obama Should Release the Garani Massacre Video to the American Public Immediately

by Ellsberg.Net on June 17, 2010

From today’s Democracy Now with Amy Goodman:

AMY GOODMAN: Are you calling for Wikileaks to post the [Garani massacre] videotape online?

ELLSBERG: I’d call for President Obama to post that videotape online. Let’s see whether it confirms what his officials and the Bush officials said about it earlier, or what the truth is. Has he seen it himself? He certainly should. He has access to it. And if he does, what excuse would he have for not revealing it? So why is he waiting for Wikileaks to use its sources to decrypt that, when he can just easily release it, as he should have some time ago?

It raises the same questions—and I hope they’ll be addressed this time, as they were not addressed, for the [Iraq] Apache helicopter assault that you just saw. Namely, who was it who decided that this was not suitable for Freedom of Information Act release, that it deserved classification on national security grounds? Was that appealed upwards when Reuters was applying for that? Did President Obama himself take a position on that? And if not, who below him? What were the criteria that led to denying this to the public? And how do they stand up when we actually see the results? Is anybody going to be held accountable for wrongly withholding evidence of war crimes in this case and the refusal to prosecute them or hold anyone accountable?

More seriously, two members of that same company of the Apache assault—Josh Stieber and Ethan McCord, I think their names—who did an absolutely admirable move, stimulated by Assange’s release and perhaps Bradley Manning’s release of this videotape–they expressed remorse to the Iraqi people for their participation in the activities of this company. Ethan McCord was the very man—I don’t know if you showed him just now—who actually got the two wounded children, ran off and got the two wounded children from the vehicle, and saved their lives. And both of them expressed great remorse for what they’d done and made the statement, from their experience, that this sort of massacre was an everyday occurrence. Now that’s what requires a real investigation. Is that being done? The same will be true of Garani.

And finally, for the press to look at, what were they reporting at the time? What was the government saying about these two massacres? How does it stand up when we relook at the facts? And what is the media to make of their own inability to penetrate behind those facts and leave it to Wikileaks? Question: would any mainstream media have released either of those videos if it had been handed to them by Bradley Manning or whoever the leaker was? I don’t know the answer to that, but that’s something they should look at.

What are the rules of engagement that permitted these two massacres? And how many other massacres are they generating? The fact is, for nine years now, we’ve been hearing military estimates of how many militants are being killed, as opposed to civilians, with allegedly the civilians being a much smaller proportion. People on the ground, the local people, give absolutely reversed figures, enormous figures for civilians. We claim that we don’t have the ability to go into those denied areas, despite our wonderful progress in the areas. We’re not able to get in there to determine the facts, in many cases. Well, we now know that videos exist that give results very different from what the military were claiming, and could have done so all along. So this is a wonderful opportunity, at last, to judge the honesty or dishonesty of the military figures and get a real sense of how many civilians we’ve actually killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ellsberg starts at 26:00:

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Craig hullinger November 30, 2010 at 4:30 am

27 million people were murdered by the Axis countries in World War II in addition to those killed in war. The United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Australia were joined by the USSR, China, and other allies against Nazi Germany, Japan, and Italy. Most people believe that the War was necessary and justified.

145 million people were murdered by the Communist countries during the Cold War. The United States and Great Britain were joined by our old enemies and other allies against our former allies, the USSR, China, and other Communist countries. Most people believe the Cold War was necessary and justified.

Communism was everywhere on the attack from 1945 to 1985.  Communism expanded from Russia into Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Albania, China, Cuba, Czechslovakia, East Germany, Tibet, North Vietnam, North Korea, and a number of other countries. Communists used terrorism, murder and subversion to destabilize countries. Political murder and terrorism was an integral part of “Wars of Liberation.”

3.8 million more people were murdered in South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos when the Cold War went hot. Millions more were imprisoned, enslaved, and ethnically cleansed.Communists used terror and subversion. 

The anti war movement changed American policy. They believed that the War was immoral and that the U.S. was there for oil. They contended we were imperialist fascist war mongers. They believed that war is evil and to be avoided at all costs. They considered  Ho Chi Minh and Pol Pot as Freedom Fighters. “Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh, NLF is sure to Win”. They thought Communism was an excellent system and not monolithic. They believed that Communists were fighting for freedom and self determination. They contended that the war in southeast Asia was a civil war. 

I believe an individual and a nation must oppose that evil, especially when their avowed policy was to take over the world. We were both moral and right to oppose Hitler, Tojo, Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, and Pol Pot.

We have largely prevailed over Communism. It has been abandoned in Europe. It is liberalizing and improving in Asia. China, Laos, North Korea and Vietnam remain totalitarian police states.

I believe that many of the anti war folks were sincere in their beliefs. And they were successful in their efforts to halt financial and military support for Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. But millions of people are dead, tortured, ethnically cleansed and enslaved partly as a result of their success.

Larry November 29, 2010 at 5:37 pm

as i learn more about the ellsberg gang i feel more unsecure in america.
i don’t think its wrong to release info but i don’t believe you are doing
it for a good reason. i believe your reason is just self gradifacation on
a treason level when will you start releasing information about all
american citizens

Lena Craig November 28, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Dear Sir:
Anyone who tells the truth is dangerous – we live in a world of lies.

Arthur July 26, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Hi Daniel. I just watched a documentary about you, never knew about your life, and I think you did a great thing. However, I would like to know are your views partisan or truly objective? I’m sure you and your wife casted a vote for Obama. But now the warmongering Obama is engaging in full blown bloody war. Just like Nixon, who said he would end the war with “honor and peace” and as soon as he got elected, ramped it up. Now Obama the warmonger has increased the killing, even using Bush’s War General. I’m just hoping that you will truly be the man of principle I believe you to be….and look at Obama for the corrupt catastrophic failure he has proven himself to be. Thanks!

Yan peterson July 25, 2010 at 2:59 pm

I have read the insider releases at Cryptome. Its interesting to note that only AFTER the slapping Assange has been receiving by the insider has the site reopened for business AND repaired some of its primary features, AND agreed to a limited financial disclosure. It looks to me as if the insiders are ahead of the game here.

Upgrading its infrastructure… what tripe..!!!!!

yan peterson

H July 19, 2010 at 1:13 pm

A hidden world, growing beyond control – New Washington Post report: Top Secret America

H July 15, 2010 at 4:57 pm

1968 Senate Sessions on Foreign Relations Declassified
Via Secrecy News:

David S July 9, 2010 at 8:43 pm

This statement by Daniel Ellsberg is definitive!
He is totally on-song here, inspiring to read and inspiring to watch.

Yan Peterson July 4, 2010 at 8:29 pm

I have read the “Wikileaks Insider” emails at Cryptome. What really concerns me about Wikileaks is the manner in which appears to be run. Namely, with very little transparency and accountability, with all of the decisions concentrated in the hands of one person. In short its very secretive. The very thing that Assange is supposed to despise in the running of government departments.

There is no excuse concerning the lack of accounting procedures. Many respected NGO’s operating in politically dangerous situations manage to do this, whilst protecting their staff and donor base.

I just don’t trust Wikileaks (Assange). In contrast I have trust in Cryptome, and the way John Young runs his site.

yan peterson

T July 2, 2010 at 1:53 pm


You’re wrong re: my comments on transparency. If you go back and read them again, I never said I ONLY want transparency from Wikileaks. And NOT the govt. That’s your mistake.

Secondly, I still think that many people aren’t asking the necessary questions about Assange and Wikileaks:

Assange says he’s hired some attorneys to try and help Manning,. Yet, so far, none of them have had access to him. And two, Assange has yet to name these attorneys. If they’re so good, then why won’t he name them?

If all of the current reports are true, Assange is spening a lot of money to finance his global lifestyle. When people ask questions about that, he usually blows them off. But also, another reason is that to the MSM, “the man of mystery” angle is WAY more interesting than just another hacker story. Bottom line, sell more copies.

Let’s assume for a second that Wikileaks is what Assange says it is (and not a CIA front like others (Wayne Madsen, Cryptome, etc.) are implying). In this global depression, people are fighting to not lose their jobs and homes, no? This means they’re very careful with money.

From a non-profit perspective, there’s even more competition for donations. Therefore, to get more donations, what’s wrong with more tranparency (as long as it doesn’t expose sources or some aspects of their network to protect documents and leakers)? The competition is so tough now that in California there are non-profit consultants (that will help you market yourself to get more attention for your cause and donations). Has Wikileaks approached any of these people? I know they didn’t get a major grant that they applied for.

From what I’m seeing, the “man of mystery” aspect of this story is getting really old really fast. For whatever reason, Wikileaks hasn’t posted new documents. Meanwhile, some “Wikileaks insider” continues to slam them on Cryptome. And Assange is savy enough to know the incredibly short attention span of the MSM (and many people in the States).

But now, instead of continuing to do his work, all I’m seeing is everybody trying to cut Assange down. Which overall means nobody is really doing what they say is so important: helping whistleblowers to expose the truth. And hold the govt. and others accountable. If it’s only going to be endless ego tripping from the parties involved, then why should I donate to any of these sites?

A suggestion. Next time, do your homework before you post.

GRB June 30, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Hello Mr. Ellsberg — I was reading one of your books and was interested to see you graduated from Crankbrook. My dad did as well, and was born 1928, so he would have been close to your class. He died in 1965, so he would have never mentioned you to us.

Just curios if you knew him. His name was Randall Booth.


James Hamilton June 28, 2010 at 5:47 pm

Thank you. Forty years later I’m sure it’s all be said before, but I’m grateful for your selflessness and courage then. For your wisdom and candor today.

Old MacDonald June 25, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Hugh: “…Now that they are there I think it would be a bigger mistake to leave before they achieve their stated objective….”

The true objective is to make more billions for some who already have lots of billions. Sadly, they don’t care if their money is soaked with blood. They just want more. If you knew the truth about all the lies behind the invasion/occupation of Iraq & Afghanistan, and a little more about the needless deaths there as a result of our invasion, including hundreds of thousands of children and women, plus another million crippled for life, you would surely think otherwise.

Americans are led to believe that their military is definitely a force for good, while much of the world sees them as something like teenage bullies on steroids. If the American people knew the truth about all the warmongering, and intentional lack of diplomacy (a war machine must have enemies), they would insist on shutting the entire military industrial complex down for good. Peace, truth, & diplomacy are their biggest fears and enemies.

Hugh June 25, 2010 at 6:17 am

It would be good to be accurately informed on the actual goings on in this, or any other war. It’s crazy to think that counties are blindly throwing their lot in with the Americans or even that Americans are paying for a war to be waged but don’t know the details.
The fact that soldiers are sent there without knowing what they are fighting for or what they may be expected to do is appalling. Armies understandably want to keep certain details secret such as encryption algorithms so intelligence is protected, but how far should this aide the political agendas or the few in the know is what the real issue is.
Because it becomes a political argument it seems justified that wikileaks be entitled to provide any information it so chooses. After all, the other side does. If that means the encryption algorithm is released then so be it. It’s not difficult to create a new one. Better to be public than to be sold to their enemy before they know about it. That’s the practical side.
On the political side, if people weren’t kept ignorant of all the facts in the first place, then they could be said to be actually in support of such a conflict and would not be shocked into changing their minds when actual details are leaked.
Personally, I always thought this war was a bad idea and the Americans fell into a trap going there. Now that they are there I think it would be a bigger mistake to leave before they achieve their stated objective. They would be seen as both insecure and weak. There will be a price to pay either way. It’s a matter of which is more expensive.

WTF June 25, 2010 at 4:56 am

T – “If someone chooses to donate money or time to Wikileaks, will they be prosecuted under the Patriot Act?”

Are you serious? By that twisted logic, no one would ever be entitled to legal representation.
As for transparency, I think you will find that you are requesting privileged information.

oddfellow June 25, 2010 at 4:34 am

The embarrassment of public officials is not on it’s own a good enough reason to prevent disclosure of documents held by government agencies. Bam Bam even said so, only 18 months ago.

Old MacDonald June 25, 2010 at 2:31 am

This is rich. It’s remarkably good to see this kind offer to let Obama take the lead. The warlords must face the fact that this is check-mate. Their party is over. May they act like the good men, that at their core they are and pay the piper. After the pentagon is bulldozed, a park should be put in it’s place.
Three Cheers for WikiLeaks!

kingfelix June 25, 2010 at 1:22 am

Or warped grammar.

kingfelix June 25, 2010 at 1:22 am


“Mr. Ellsberg, Amy Goodman and others should use their influence to push for more transparency. More will only help their cause (and not hurt it).”

This sounds as if you’re asking for more transparency from Wikileaks, is that right? Rather than from the US govt. If so, what warped logic.

rude June 24, 2010 at 11:18 pm


transparency is the only things that keeps this people safe. when i see what they did and say compared to what governments do and say its quite easy for me who there is to trust.

Tor June 24, 2010 at 10:49 pm

If you knew anything about cryptome.org and John Young, you would know why there is no interest to help Wikileaks. Also, read the initial emails, that were exchanged between a few known cypherpunks, about the wikileaks project and you’ll see why John Young decided to leave the project. He was one of the first people contacted when the idea behind wikileaks was taking shape.

@Carmen Gonzalez
As for donations to wikileaks, I believe they have more than their fare share. A few searches for “wikileaks insider” and a brief stop at cryptome.org will explain why.

Ray June 24, 2010 at 10:19 pm


T June 24, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Another angle on this. It looks like Cryptome, Wayne Madsen and other sites are a bit jealous of all the global attention Assange and Wikileaks are getting.

A suggestion. Instead of endlessly trying to cut each other down, why not concentrate on the purpose of your sites instead? Frankly, this is just feeding the MSM frenzy for hype. And not accomplishing anything.

T June 24, 2010 at 5:44 pm

While I support the idea behind Wikileaks, it’s amazing to me how many prominent supports aren’t pushing for more transparency:

Who are the other heads of Wikileaks?
Which attorneys in the States are donating their time? If the ACLU can handle whistleblower cases, then why can’t Wikileaks name these people?
If someone chooses to donate money or time to Wikileaks, will they be prosecuted under the Patriot Act? I emailed Wikileaks re: this. And never got an answer.
Are any donations going to bankroll Assange’s travel/hotel bills, etc.? If that’s true, I personally don’t feel comfortable bankrolling his intl. “man of mystery” lifestyle.

If other progressive groups can have transparency re: their activities, then how come the same rule doesn’t apply to Wikileaks? Despite the Patriot Act, I don’t think Obama or Holder will chance arresting Assange. The backlash would be too severe.

That being said, I think too many people are caught up in the glamour of Assange sticking it to various governments worldwide. Mr. Ellsberg, Amy Goodman and others should use their influence to push for more transparency. More will only help their cause (and not hurt it).

rm June 21, 2010 at 1:40 pm

I will be interesting to see if any US network plays either the Iraq massacre tape, or the upcoming Afghan one after they are released. I’d like to see the entirety broadcast on the evening news, and repeated during the timeslots for ‘American Idol’, ‘Dancing’, and all the other mindless garbage they feed us so we don’t think about the real issues.

Carmen Gonzalez June 18, 2010 at 1:34 am

Thank you for sharing this on Twitter. Everyone should support Wikileaks with a donation for their noble efforts to bring the truth to the American public.

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