USA: Robert Ellsberg and his father Daniel

Vietnamese children bombed by napalm in US Vietnam war

From Monthly Review in the USA:

Quiet Gestures, Heroic Acts:

A Conversation with Robert Ellsberg

by Michael Hogan

… Q. Some of the younger readers of Monthly Review might be unaware of your background, Robert.

I wonder if you could begin with your father’s important gesture which was instrumental in solidifying opposition to the war in Viet Nam.

A: In 1971, my father, Daniel Ellsberg, released the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret history of the Vietnam War, to the New York Times and other newspapers.

For this he was arrested and put on trial, facing 115 years in prison.

Ultimately, the charges were dismissed when it came out that the White House had organized a team of secret operatives — the same Plumbers who were later arrested in the Watergate break-in — to spy on and discredit him.

This was the outcome of a long moral and political journey throughout the 1960s, during which time he had served in the Pentagon, in Vietnam, and at the Rand Corporation think-tank, as a government analyst.

He has described his evolution as moving from seeing Vietnam as a “problem to be solved,” to a “mistake to be ended,” and finally — after personally reading the Pentagon Papers, a chronicle of government lies and deception over several decades — as a “crime to be resisted.”

Another critical influence was the example of young draft resisters and activists schooled in the Gandhian tradition of “speaking truth to power.”

If these people were willing to risk prison for what they believed, he asked himself, “What could I do, if I were willing to go to prison?”

The result was the decision to copy the 7,000 pages of the Pentagon Papers and make them available to the public.

Daniel Ellsberg and other, originally Establishment, dissenters: here.

Ellsberg and Iran war threat: here.

4 thoughts on “USA: Robert Ellsberg and his father Daniel

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