Daniel Ellsberg and WikiLeaks: Film and discussion will explore implications for social change
Daniel Ellsberg Film & WikiLeaks Potluck Discussion
2 – 4 p.m. Sat. Jan. 15
The Bloom Collective
671 Davis NW, Grand Rapids
(Corner of 5th & Davis)
Bring a dish to pass. Vegan options provided. $3-$5 suggested donation.
A 2010 release, the film The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and The Pentagon Papers takes viewers back to 1971 when Detroit native and Pentagon analyst Dr. Daniel Ellsberg leaked The Pentagon Papers to the Washington Post and 17 other newspapers. This secret history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam revealed that the nation’s leaders, Republican and Democratic alike, had lied, “proclaiming their desire for peace while seeking a wider war, declaring fidelity to democracy while sabotaging elections, and exhibiting a sweeping callousness to the loss of both Vietnamese and American lives,” as the film’s website says.
From 1964 to 1967, Ellsberg worked in the Pentagon and then for General Edward Lansdale in Viet Nam. In 1969, he began attending anti-war events. His epiphany came while listening to a speech by draft resister, Randy Kehler, who later did time in prison for refusing to serve in the military.
“It was the example he was setting with his life. How his words in general showed that he was a stellar American, and that he was going to jail as a very deliberate choice—because he thought it was the right thing to do,” Ellsberg recalled. “There was no question in my mind that my government was involved in an unjust war that was going to continue and get larger. Thousands of young men were dying each year. I left the auditorium and found a deserted men’s room. I sat on the floor and cried for over an hour, just sobbing.”*
Ellsberg was eventually charged with espionage, theft and conspiracy—he faced a maximum sentence of 115 years. However, when the presiding judge discovered that the government had illegally gathered the evidence against him, the case was dismissed.
Times have changed. The Patriot Act and increased legal latitude given to the military as far as torture, rendition and assassination don’t bode well for Julian Asange and Bradley Manning. Even so, Wikileaks continues to deliver more sordid details about US Foreign Policy on a daily basis.
Join The Bloom Collective for a discussion about the US government documents that are posted on WikiLeaks, the US government response to this information, how corporate media is spinning the story and, in spite of that spin, the implications for radical social change.
View the trailer:
*Source: Thomas, Marlo et al. (2002). The Right Words at the Right Time. New York: Atria books.