A man who’s done what Daniel Ellsberg has done deserves our attention, especially since he’s apparently not going to be around much longer. From Marjorie Cohn at consortiumnews.com:
Daniel Ellsberg at a protest against the Iraq war in San Francisco, where he was arrested. (Steve Rhodes/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
The legendary Daniel Ellsberg has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In a March 1 email to friends, Dan wrote, “I’m sorry to report to you that my doctors have given me three to six months to live … it might be more, or less.” He will turn 92 on April 7.
Dan displayed uncommon courage in 1971 when he publicized the 7,000-page top-secret Pentagon Papers while working at the Rand Corporation. As a consultant to the Department of Defense, Dan drafted Defense Secretary Robert McNamara’s plans for nuclear war.
In his book, Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers, Dan wrote that the Pentagon Papers exposed the “secrets five presidents had withheld and the lies they told” about U.S. decision-making in Vietnam. “This truth telling set in motion a train of events, including criminal White House efforts to silence or incapacitate me.” The government’s illegal efforts to silence Dan resulted in the dismissal of the charges against him and his codefendant Anthony Russo. “Much more important,” Dan noted, “these particular Oval Office crimes helped topple the president, an act that was crucial to ending the war.”
In 2014, Dan gave a keynote speech at the 45th reunion of the Stanford Anti-Vietnam War movement. At the reunion, he explained how the United States came dangerously close to using nuclear weapons during the Vietnam War. In 1965, the Joint Chiefs recommended to President Lyndon B. Johnson that U.S. forces hit targets up to the Chinese border. Dan thought their real aim was to provoke China into responding and then the U.S. would cross into China and demolish the communists with nuclear weapons.
Now, Dan is urging the world to again avoid nuclear annihilation.