From the Committee for the Republic
The Committee gave its Defender of Liberty Award to Daniel Ellsberg on the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision on the Pentagon Papers. The rise of whistleblowers is born of Congress abdicating its constitutional responsibility to conduct oversight of the executive branch. Congress readily surrenders to executive claims of state secrets, executive privilege or the executive’s putative national security genius. Before delivering the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times, Ellsberg sought in vain to have them publicized by Senators William Fulbright, George McGovern, Charles Mathias and Gaylord Nelson. Despite the Speech or Debate Clause constitutional protection, none, in the end, was willing.
The House and Senate Intelligence Committees are guardians of the imperial presidency. Their kid-gloves oversight spawned Edward Snowden’s revelations of National Security Agency privacy abuses and Defender of Liberty Award winners John Kiriakou and Alberto Mora who blew the whistle on the Bush Administration’s torture programs during the Iraq War. After a belated torture investigation, the Senate Intelligence Committee meekly bowed to the Obama Administration and self-censored its damning report.
Filmmakers Rick Goldsmith and Judith Ehrlich will discuss their documentary “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers “. The title comes from Henry Kissinger’s description of Ellsberg after he exposed five successive administrations lying to the American people about the Vietnam War. The Committee celebrates the whistleblower who jumps into the breach to fight those who endanger the American Republic. Before our discussion with the filmmakers, be sure to watch their accounting of the man who took great personal risks to stop the Vietnam War at mostdangerousman.org. (Edward Snowden was influenced by the film before acting as a whistleblower.)
Ellsberg’s greatest regret is his failure to release a second Pentagon Papers to stop nuclear war. In his ground-breaking 2017 book “The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear Planner”, Ellsberg discloses the omnipresent harrowing danger of regional U.S. commanders given authority to use nuclear weapons offensively. That makes every day another potential Cuban Missile Crisis or worse. Ellsberg exposes the delusional mentality that the credibility of the American nuclear umbrella justifies risking nuclear winter and exterminating the species. General Thomas Power, commander of nuclear forces from 1957-1963, bugled: “If at the end of the [nuclear] war, there are [but] two Americans alive and one Russian, we win.”
Last month, Ellsberg revealed in the New York Times our military’s eagerness in 1957 to initiate nuclear war against China over the inconsequential island of Quemoy located on the coast of mainland China. Ellsberg wishes to challenge the constitutionality of the Espionage Act to warn American citizens against the danger of seven decades of presidents advocating a nuclear first strike policy. In policing the world, every day American presidents roll dice with your life!