“The Most Dangerous Man in America:” Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers leaker and peace activist, on war, conscience & whistleblowers

This spring marks the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. Daniel Ellsberg was a key figure whose revelations contributed to the war’s end. Ellsberg is a former Marine and adviser on the Vietnam War to President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. He is best known for provoking a national political crisis in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times, and other newspapers. The Pentagon Papers revealed that top US government officials had been lying about the Vietnam War to the American people.

For leaking the Pentagon Papers, Ellsberg was charged with theft, conspiracy and violations of the Espionage Act, but his case was dismissed as a mistrial when evidence surfaced about the government-ordered wiretappings of his phone and break-ins of his psychiatrist’s office.

Henry Kissinger referred to Ellsberg as “the most dangerous man in America,” but many view Daniel Ellsberg as hero who risked his career and even his personal freedom to help expose the deception of his own government in carrying out the Vietnam War.

Daniel Ellsberg is now 84 years old and remains active in the peace movement. I spoke with Ellsberg earlier this month at a conference in Washington DC about the lessons of the Vietnam War which featured a number of key leaders from the antiwar movement.

Did electing Obama undermine progressive causes?

Did the election of President Obama undermine the antiwar movement and other progressive causes? What can we learn from the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street? The new book Party in the Street tackles these questions.

Michael T. Heaney, co-author, Party in the Street: The Antiwar Movement and the Democratic Party after 9/11, assistant professor of organizational studies and political science, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

The campus sexual assault epidemic, 5-7-2014

Dartmouth College students and activists Jillian Mayer and Becca Rothfeld and Dartmouth Professor Peter Hackett discuss the prevalence and impact of sexual assault
both personally and on their campus. The students outline the changes that they are
demanding, including why they sat in at the president’s office and why they are calling for ending the fraternity system. UVM vice provost for student affairs Annie Stevens talks about sexual assault at UVM. Scott Buckingham of VBSR previews the upcoming VBSR spring conference and Dan Barlow recaps the status of legislation at the State House.