Daniel Ellsberg was the cause of one of the biggest political controversies in the history of the United States when he released the Pentagon Papers in 1971. This top-secret Pentagon study of U.S. government decision-making concerning the Vietnam War was released to various newspapers. When the New York Times was stopped by a Nixon administration court order, Ellsberg leaked the 7,000 pages of documents to the Washington Post and 17 other publications. These revelations clearly showed deceptive practices by the government and played a significant role in changing the views of many Americans - and ultimately changing history.
When Ellsberg turned himself in to face trial for his actions, he said, "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." After a trial which revealed massive corruption and various nefarious plots against Ellsberg, all charges were dismissed.
The parallels to what has been taking place in recent years is striking. We have learned a great deal from the more recent revelations of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden. Unlike Ellsberg, however, these two have been treated extremely harshly by both the government and the mainstream media. Those journalists who have published the information that was leaked to them have found themselves demonized and even threatened by those in power. It seems that there has never been a more dangerous time for whistleblowers and that information is more restricted than ever.
We are honored that Daniel Ellsberg recognizes the value and importance of the HOPE X conference and it's great to know that he'll be able to speak in person to a whole new generation of individuals who will also shape the direction of the world one day. We can only hope they'll also be ready to stand up for their convictions, no matter the cost.
HOPE X will be held July 18-20, 2014 at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City. You can get your tickets here. For the month of April, we're donating ten percent of our ticket sales to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
To get amazingly discounted hotel rooms during the conference, click here.
To get involved with conference planning, join our mailing list, submit talk/panel ideas, organize a special project, or volunteer for various HOPE activities, visit x.hope.net.