• Dinner and a Speech with Daniel Ellsberg

    June 3, 2013

    Tags: , , , ,
    Posted in: Democracy

    It was one of my great pleasures to have dinner with Daniel Ellsberg (and several others supporting justice for Bradley Manning) this week.

    Ellsberg is the prototypical whistleblower, a former Marine and serious government official supporting the government’s way until something– in Ellsberg’s case, learning the truth about U.S. conduct in the Vietnam War– so shocked his conscience that he was compelled to speak out. In Ellsberg’s case, that resulted in the “Pentagon Papers” and the landmark legal decisions defending the right of the New York Times to publish them. That those same legal rights are now under attack by the Obama Administration, and likely to figure significantly in the Manning case, just emphasized the importance of what Ellsberg risked his freedom to do.

    I wrote an open letter to Dan, tracing a small part of my own political awakening to his brave actions. Maybe worth a read.

    In person Dan proved to still be an amazing intellect at age 82. Though his hearing has faded, his mind is razor. Talking politics with him, from Lyndon Johnson to Bradley Manning, was like playing chess against Fischer, discussing writing with Steinbeck or shooting pool against Fats.

    Dan also possesses an amazing stock of jokes, some a bit naughty, which he tells with some skill. One involved a leprechaun (you had to be there) and Ellsberg slipped in and out of an Irish accent as effortlessly as he skewed Richard Nixon moments earlier.

    The next night I joined Ellsberg, Jesselyn Radack, Michael Ratner, Tom Drake, Ethan McCord and others at the Unitarian All Souls Church in Washington DC to speak out for justice for whistleblower Bradley Manning. Manning’s trial, after his three years of confinement, finally begins June 3. The speeches were followed by interviews with the BBC Radio World Service. The American media, who certainly profited from Manning’s whistleblowing, skipped the event.

    Sorry to brag a bit, but losing one’s job at the State Department isn’t all bad when you get opportunities like this.




    Video of the support Manning speeches.




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    Copyright © 2017. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity. Follow me on Twitter!

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  • Recent Comments

    • meloveconsullongtime said...

      1

      WOW! My first reaction to the idea of meeting Mr Ellsberg is:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FucbvoFFy0

      😉 🙂

      But then, as for you and Mr Ellsberg et al, meeting at a UNITARIAN “church” “to speak out for justice for whistleblower Bradley Manning. Manning’s trial, after his three years of confinement…”

      …well, THAT just tells me that THE TRUE Church (of which I’m a member, a bad member), the Catholic Church, has to do better! It looks to me like Manning’s sufferings as an innocent victim are part and parcel of the Body of Christ – therefore, as the Catholic Church IS the Body Of Christ, hmm, let me work on this!… 😉

      Meanwhile I’m trying to think of which Catholic Saint Daniel Ellsberg reminds me of. The one who first comes to mind is Saint Paul, a Jew who made a nuisance of himself through his whistleblowing about persecutions of the innocent!

      06/3/13 3:09 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...

      2

      PS re,

      “Dan also possesses an amazing stock of jokes, some a bit naughty, which he tells with some skill. One involved a leprechaun (you had to be there) and Ellsberg slipped in and out of an Irish accent as effortlessly as he skewed Richard Nixon moments earlier”:

      You didn’t tell us the joke. I wonder (being part Irish myself), might it have been this one? I’ll change the names to fit current events:

      Well, they say that one night at an Irish pub in some American city, Vice President Joe Biden went to the Men’s lavatory and was “having a slash” at the urinal, and a very short man next to him said:

      “OY! Me lad, that’s a wee little organ ye’ve got! Now dontchya wish ye had one as big as MINE?” And the tiny man showed Joe Biden his enormos phallus. So then the envious Biden said:

      “What you’ve got is not mentioned in any White House Briefs. How did you get that?”

      And the tiny man answered, “Well, y’see, Joseph m’lad – ah, now ye don’t mine me callin’ ye Joseph, not Mr Vice President? – well y’see, I’m a Leprechaun! And I use MAGIC to make me own organ so large! And I can do it for you, too! But for a price…”

      …and Joe Biden asked, “What price? I’ve got lots of staff and…”

      And the Leprechaun said, “Ye’ve got a LITTLE staff, HAHA! But here’s the price, just let me bugger ye up yer ass, and then I’ll do some magic to make yer organ as big as mine!”

      So then Joe Biden agreed, and then while the Leprechaun was buggering Joe Biden in the Men’s Lavatory, the Leprechaun asked Joe Biden:

      “And how old are ye, lad?”

      And Joe Biden answered (with difficulty as he was being buggered): “SEVENTY!”

      And then the Leprechaun said, “Seventy? Aren’t ye too old to believe in leprechauns?”

      06/3/13 3:25 PM | Comment Link

    • JHanlon said...

      3

      I could have sworn I met Ellsberg or one of the
      Ellsbergs. I was using my tablet in McD’s. I asked
      this guy if he was Daniel Ellsberg. He said no.
      I found a pic of Ellsberg and showed him. This
      guy had a peculiar smile and still denied it. He
      was Ellsberg except around the nose. I asked him
      if he knew about the Pentagon Papers. No.
      Politics? No. He then proceeded to know more
      about politics than I did. He asked me if I knew the
      names of SCOTUS. The usual polling question.
      I named a few. He named the rest. In my life stuff
      like this is the rule not the exception.

      Obama has
      been hell on whistleblowers and deportations.
      I didn’t vote for him b/c the alternative was worse
      even though it was. I didn’t vote for him b/c he was
      ideologically pure b/c he isn’t and purity doesn’t
      exist in the #1 spot of US politics. I don’t like political
      purists but I know that many whistleblowers
      need a break including the ex-TSA who lost his job.

      06/3/13 3:49 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      4

      Outstanding PVB. I too owe Mr. Ellsberg a huge debt of gratitude, as the product of his act of courage substantiated my own little decision to resign from my small job with the Federal government, although, at the time, I had no idea the depth of criminality to which the government had perpetrated. However, thanks to Mr. Ellsberg’s revelations, I was able to formulate a view of the world around me to which I carry to this very day, and I thank him for that too.

      Having read your letter to Mr. Ellsberg, something caught my attention, which I would like to quote…
      “As you read them, you understood that the government had knowledge early on that the war could not be won, and that continuing the war would lead to many times more casualties than was ever admitted publicly.”

      This is what really infuriates me now. We’ve been in a state of almost continuous war since the 50’s, knowing full well there will never be a moment whereby ANY “war is won”. Meanwhile, by virtue of lies, hundreds of thousands of human lives are wasted, while the Corporatacracy profits in the billions. For those kids born after 9/ll..this is all they’ve known. War war war war war..yet, by virtue of public schooling, they know nothing, but government propaganda. It is precisely this ethos that allows our government to propagate new wars, as our youth have been indoctrinated to nationalism from birth, while never being allowed to see the truth. I asked my 14 yr old grandson the other day, if he knew what caused the Iraq war. He didn’t have a clue..and worse, didn’t care. All he wanted to do was get back online to play..you got it.. WAR VIDEO GAMES. And that my friend..is our legacy to our youth and it makes me sad and angry.

      bartender..set em up.

      06/3/13 4:24 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      5

      ps..one other thing. I’d give a years SS income to hear Mr. Ellsbergs PERSONAL, private opinion of politicians, corporations..and the military, as he has personally seen the depth of corruption within them. I can only imagine.

      06/3/13 4:37 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...

      6

      An icon for Daniel Ellsberg (the Martyrdom of Saint Paul, see the crowds excoriating him as an “Enemy of the State”):

      http://www.1st-art-gallery.com/thumbnail/130637/1/The-Martyrdom-Of-St.Paul.jpg

      06/3/13 5:08 PM | Comment Link

    • Dinner with Daniel Ellsberg | We Meant Well – Peter Van Buren « World Media Information said...

      7

      […] original post here: Dinner with Daniel Ellsberg | We Meant Well – Peter Van Buren Comments […]

      06/3/13 5:58 PM | Comment Link

    • Dinner with Daniel Ellsberg | We Meant Well – Peter Van Buren « World Media said...

      8

      […] the original: Dinner with Daniel Ellsberg | We Meant Well – Peter Van Buren Comments […]

      06/3/13 6:00 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      9

      quote:”…see the crowds excoriating him as an “Enemy of the State”)..”unquote

      Unfortunately melov, ALL of us are enemies of the state now. Here is living proof….

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSPhQEW3o04

      However, they’ve now lost their Mandate of Heaven, as the “target” sublimely illustrates.

      This event happened day before yesterday in Temple Texas. This event was prompted by the illegal confiscation of a legal weapon owned by an Iraq vet while hunting with his son, by the ridiculous Temple Texas police.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szgGI5nrbQY

      youbetcha…enemies of the state. In that case, I submit they indeed have lost their legitimacy as it is those “enemys” from whom they get it in the first place.

      06/3/13 6:43 PM | Comment Link

    • teri said...

      10

      So glad all of you went and spoke out.

      Okay, gotta tell a joke. How can you tell when you’ve pissed off the Unitarians?

      One night, you find a giant question mark burning in your yard.

      06/3/13 7:00 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      11

      The eternal conspiracy question: is we corrupt or just incompetent? While the USG goes after these “dangerous” whistlebowers who pose such a threat to our national security, it turns a blind eye to its incompetence that threatens US all: http://original.antiwar.com/vlahos/2013/06/03/cyber-war-another-epic-fail

      America, you are so fucked.

      06/4/13 10:02 AM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...

      12

      I imagine drone operator trainees using that photo of the two of you for target practice.

      06/4/13 1:41 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...

      13

      That’s fair. I use pictures of them when I go to the range.

      06/4/13 1:52 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      14

      unquote:”That’s fair. I use pictures of them when I go to the range.”unquote

      Fair is right. You should put THIS guy on one of your targets…

      After all, if he had it his way, he would line up millions of gun owners against a wall in front of a firing squad and murder them….

      http://www.examiner.com/article/journalism-professor-advocates-firing-squad-for-millions-of-americans
      nor

      Unfortunately for him, he hasn’t got a clue what UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES means, nor the HUNDRED HEADS MANDATE means,

      06/4/13 2:57 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      15

      ps, damn, hit the submit button before I was ready. Serves me right for writing before my second cup of coffee.:)I meant to post this..here is what this dimwit thinks…

      quote “Except it won’t be a boot. It’ll be an M1A Abrams tank, supported by an F22 Raptor squadron with Hellfire missiles. Try treason on for size. See how that suits. And their assault arsenal and RPGs won’t do them any good.” unquote

      right. guess what Mr. Shitferbrains. You just gave the PERFECT scenario for the government to DE-LEGITIMIZE itself. Treason indeed. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHA!

      Ok, let’s try DOLTS for $2k.

      06/4/13 3:04 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      16

      ps..I can’t resist. Did I mention the entire USG must be in last stage addiction to Synthetic Lobotomy Serum whereby Suspension of Reality symptoms evolve into full blown REALITY DENIAL…

      http://original.antiwar.com/vlahos/2013/06/03/cyber-war-another-epic-fail

      Epic fail is a massive understatement. Cyber9/11 just happened and what do they do? Start rearranging the deck chairs on the USS Titanic

      priceless. If Stupidity were weather, the DOD would be a fucking 5.1 hurricane.

      06/4/13 3:15 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      17

      well sooprise sooprise sooprise! Mr. Shitferbrains must have had a brainfart.
      http://cnsnews.com/news/article/prof-who-accused-nra-treason-apologizes-says-freedom-best-served-armed-populace
      quote:” “Would those folk accept the apology of a recent convert?”unquote

      Recent convert. right. I bet you went right out and bought an AR-15, right?

      sheeeezus, these creeps never cease to amaze me.

      06/4/13 4:32 PM | Comment Link

    • Daniel Ellsberg : The Pentagon has not been able to point to a single example of information that led to harm to an American, as they claim. ‘I’m sure that President Obama would have sought a life sentence in my case’ . | Family Survival Protocol - said...

      18

      […] Dinner and a Speech with Daniel Ellsberg (wemeantwell.com) […]

      06/6/13 5:23 AM | Comment Link

    • Daniel Ellsberg : The Pentagon has not been able to point to a single example of information that led to harm to an American, as they claim. ‘I’m sure that President Obama would have sought a life sentence in my case’ . | Family Survival Protocol - said...

      19

      […] Dinner and a Speech with Daniel Ellsberg (wemeantwell.com) […]

      06/6/13 5:25 AM | Comment Link

    • Daniel Ellsberg : The Pentagon has not been able to point to a single example of information that led to harm to an American, as they claim. ‘I’m sure that President Obama would have sought a life sentence in my case’ . | Family Survival Protocol - said...

      20

      […] Dinner and a Speech with Daniel Ellsberg (wemeantwell.com) […]

      06/6/13 5:26 AM | Comment Link

    • Daniel Ellsberg : The Pentagon has not been able to point to a single example of information that led to harm to an American, as they claim. ‘I’m sure that President Obama would have sought a life sentence in my case’ . | Family Survival Protocol - said...

      21

      […] Dinner and a Speech with Daniel Ellsberg (wemeantwell.com) […]

      06/6/13 5:53 AM | Comment Link

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