End Of An Era

The news has come out that effects me and anyone who participated in the antiwar movement from the 70s.

The person that released the secret info to the public through the Pentagon Papers has very little time left in this world.

The “Pentagon Papers”?

This is for those too young to give a shit about this historic incident.

The Pentagon Papers, officially titled Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force, is a United States Department of Defense history of the United States’ political and military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967. Released by Daniel Ellsberg, who had worked on the study, they were first brought to the attention of the public on the front page of The New York Times in 1971.  A 1996 article in The New York Times said that the Pentagon Papers had demonstrated, among other things, that the Johnson Administration had “systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress.”  (Some things never change…think Ukraine you dullards)

The Pentagon Papers revealed that the U.S. had secretly enlarged the scope of its actions in the Vietnam War with coastal raids on North Vietnam and Marine Corps attacks—none of which were reported in the mainstream media. For his disclosure of the Pentagon Papers, Ellsberg was initially charged with conspiracy, espionage, and theft of government property; charges were later dismissed, after prosecutors investigating the Watergate scandal discovered that the staff members in the Nixon White House had ordered the so-called White House Plumbers to engage in unlawful efforts to discredit Ellsberg.


Daniel Ellsberg is dying.

Daniel Ellsberg, who copied and leaked documents that revealed secret details of US strategy in the Vietnam War and became known as the Pentagon Papers, said he has terminal cancer and months to live. Ellsberg posted on his Facebook page Thursday that doctors diagnosed the 91-year-old with inoperable pancreatic cancer on Feb. 17 following medical scans. Doctors say he has three to six months to live, he said. Ellsberg said he has opted not to undergo chemotherapy and plans to accept hospice care when needed, the AP reports.

The documents in the Pentagon Papers looked in excruciating detail at the decisions and strategies of the Vietnam War. They told how US involvement was built up steadily by political leaders and top military brass who were overconfident about US prospects and deceptive about the accomplishments against the North Vietnamese. Ellsberg, a former consultant to the Defense Department, provided the Pentagon Papers to Neil Sheehan, a reporter who broke the story for the New York Times in June 1971. Sheehan died in 2021. Sheehan smuggled the documents out of the Massachusetts apartment where Ellsberg had stashed them, illicitly copied thousands of pages, and took them to the Times.

President Richard Nixon’s administration got a court injunction arguing national security was at stake and publication was stopped. In June 1971, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of allowing publication, and the Times and the Washington Post resumed printing stories. The Nixon administration tried to discredit Ellsberg, an effort that included Nixon aides orchestrating a break-in at the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist. Ellsberg was charged with theft, conspiracy, and violations of the Espionage Act, but his case ended in a mistrial when evidence surfaced about government-ordered wiretappings and break-ins. “When I copied the Pentagon Papers in 1969, I had every reason to think I would be spending the rest of my life behind bars. It was a fate I would gladly have accepted if it meant hastening the end of the Vietnam War,” Ellsberg wrote.

This is a letter from Daniel Ellsberg to his supporters….

Dear friends and supporters,

I have difficult news to impart. On February 17, without much warning, I was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer on the basis of a CT scan and an MRI. (As is usual with pancreatic cancer – which has no early symptoms – it was found while looking for something else, relatively minor). I’m sorry to report to you that my doctors have given me three to six months to live. Of course, they emphasize that everyone’s case is individual; it might be more, or less.

I have chosen not to do chemotherapy (which offers no promise) and I have assurance of great hospice care when needed. Please know: right now, I am not in any physical pain, and in fact, after my hip replacement surgery in late 2021, I feel better physically than I have in years! Moreover, my cardiologist has given me license to abandon my salt-free diet of the last six years. This has improved my quality of life dramatically: the pleasure of eating my former favorite foods! And my energy level is high. Since my diagnosis, I’ve done several interviews and webinars on Ukraine, nuclear weapons, and first amendment issues, and I have two more scheduled this week.

As I just told my son Robert: he’s long known (as my editor) that I work better under a deadline. It turns out that I live better under a deadline!

Living on a Deadline in the Nuclear Age. Some Personal News From Daniel Ellsberg

This man meant a lot to us in the movement….his guts and his drive has been an inspiration for all us that are concerned about the state of our war machine.

His voice will be missed….there are so few voices left in the antiwar movement…..and these days we need all we can get.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”


6 thoughts on “End Of An Era

  1. I recall extracts of those papers being published in The Sunday Times in the UK. I was about 20 at the time. He has such a positive attitude to his terminal diagnosis. I hope I can follow his example when my time comes.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. I would encourage all those who have not, to see the Spielberg, Hanks/Streep film. “The Post” to catch up on this bit of history. The exposing of the “Pentagon Papers” was probably the death knell in expecting devoted loyalty within government.. and rightly so. That pendulum has swung to the far opposite. We now live in the world of whistleblowing to be sure, but also proving lately that a whistleblower can have their own personal agenda NOT motivated by some higher moral ground (sour grapes for having been fired, personal retribution, personal politics, instant fame, etc.). The extended result of the event of the Pentagon Papers is that we have learned to question governmental motives – a good thing – but also has created a fertile field of creating conspiracy theories, much based on the idea that if the government is involved then there must be a sinister plot afoot involving power and/or money, and an elite few that will benefit from it all. The press seems to like it either way. It’s headlines. BUT… it’s important that we question not only government on these decisions but also ourselves in our often impulsive, more often than not, populist, clamor to react to some unwarranted fear. A perfect example being this Chinese balloon nonsense. Pure politics.. and shooting all balloons down with half-million dollar missiles to avoid public outcry is pure ludicrous. Our Intel and military people know what they are doing (and I am completely okay with Congressional oversight and investigations), yet there is near to zero public faith in any governmental institutions these days… and we only have ourselves to blame.

    1. Doug, I agree but Americans do not ask questions on the intentions of the governmental programs…..and when they do the answers are just a regurgitation of what the media tells them is the truth. chuq

  3. I guess I am kind of anti-war myself — I only support wars that contribute to the protection of the United States — I never understood how Vietnam ever did that … or Afghanistan — or Iraq –but those last two did do something to tamp down all the activities of the anti-Amereican Islamists …for awhile anyway …Maybe they have all gone underground …I don’t know —

    1. That is a common myth the our wars are to protect the US…..Ellsberg showed how wrong all that is…..his voice will be missed. chuq

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