Scott Horton Interviews Daniel Ellsberg

Scott Horton, August 06, 2011

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This interview is from the KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles broadcast of August 5th, available here.

Daniel Ellsberg, author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers, discusses his articles “A Hundred Holocausts: An Insider’s Window Into U.S. Nuclear Policy” and “Hiroshima Day: America Has Been Asleep at the Wheel for 64 Years;” the “cultural lag” phenomenon wherein the technology of mass destruction overtakes mankind’s moral capacity; the objections within the military to dropping the atomic bombs (because firebombing Japanese cities had been devastating enough and surrender was imminent); the H-bomb’s staggering destructive force as compared to an A-bomb; how the Russian and US “hair trigger doomsday machines” put us at perpetual risk of annihilation; how the relatively cool-headed George W. Bush (as compared to Cheney and McCain) kept the US out of potential nuclear wars; and the stagnant pace of disarmament, even though it could be done quickly and is absolutely essential.

MP3 here. (29:22)

Daniel Ellsberg is the author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers.

In 1959 Daniel Ellsberg worked as a strategic analyst at the RAND Corporation, and consultant to the Defense Department and the White House, specializing in problems of the command and control of nuclear weapons, nuclear war plans, and crisis decision-making. He joined the Defense Department in 1964 as Special Assistant to Assistant Secretary of Defense (International Security Affairs), John McNaughton, working on Vietnam. He transferred to the State Department in 1965 to serve two years at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, evaluating pacification on the front lines.

On return to the RAND Corporation in 1967, he worked on the Top Secret McNamara study of U.S. Decision-making in Vietnam, 1945-68, which later came to be known as the Pentagon Papers. In 1969, he photocopied the 7,000 page study and gave it to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; in 1971 he gave it to the New York Times, the Washington Post and 17 other newspapers. His trial, on twelve felony counts posing a possible sentence of 115 years, was dismissed in 1973 on grounds of governmental misconduct against him, which led to the convictions of several White House aides and figured in the impeachment proceedings against President Nixon.

19 Responses to “Daniel Ellsberg”

  1. Trident missile engineer Bob Aldridge -www.plrc.org-resigned because the Pentagon aims to achieve a disarming first strike capability and wrote The Counterforce Syndrome, First Strike! The Pentagon´s Strategy For Nuclear War and Nuclear Empire (ch. 9 on anti-submarine warfare).On the new missiles in Bulgaria, Romania and Poland Bob Aldridge wrote: "Whether they are on ships or land, they are still a necessary component for an unanswerable first strike." To take out the missiles surviving First Strike with Minuteman-3 and Trident-2. This leads to Launch On Warning, probably by 2014.
    The MX was cancelled but the warhead was put on Minuteman-3. Why ? According to Professor Paul Rogers that warhead and the D5 on Trident-2 are designed to minimize nuclear winter effects when used against missile silos rather than industrial targets. That´s the reason GPS (formerly NAVSTAR) was developed: For mid-course correction of Minuteman-3 and Trident-2 when attacking Russian missile silos. General Harbottle told me, "They are bloody fools in the Pentagon because they don´t realize that pursuing a First Strike Capability leads to Launch On Warning and nuclear war by mistake. Bloody fools indeed. Former CND Information Officer David Guinness suggests "It´s only for diplomatic blackmail." Anyway, it leads to Launch On Warning and suicide by mistake.
    Maybe that´s what happened on the Moon and Mars (google: Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA) and probably elsewhere. In Colombia I had a surgery and the surgeon told me his theory: Very,very,very long ago an all-out war had taken place between the Moon and Mars. The few survivors settled here. So we are really 3-in-1. Lunatics (Musicians,intellectuals,etc.), Aggressives from Mars, and the original farmers (people brainwashed by USA Today, Newsweek,etc.). But we don´t really know, do we ??? By the way, Bob Aldridge: America in Peril, Hope Publishing.

  2. Claus……. Bad URL……. -www.plrc.org-resigned It ends up as my local yellow pages….

    The armageddon crew of thoz who wish to be raptured away from their mortgage and cold wives should be kept far away from the nuclear planning…….

  3. "Maybe that´s what happened on the Moon and Mars"

    Whoa there! You cannot just go and make up stuff based on old recycled Heinlein stories. Moon has always been a wasteland of light elements, leftover from the two protoearth collisions, and Mars is just a paradise for people who want to do rock-climbing in pressure suits, too small to even hold on to a serious atmosphere.

    If I wanted to read Adamsky, I know where to google him.

  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le%C3%B3_Szil%C3%A1r

    During 1938 Szilárd accepted an offer to conduct research at Columbia University in Manhattan, and moved to New York, and was soon joined by Fermi. After learning about the successful nuclear fission experiment conducted during 1939 in Germany by Otto Hahn, Fritz Strassmann, Lise Meitner, and Otto Robert Frisch, Szilárd and Fermi concluded that uranium would be the element capable of sustaining a chain reaction. Szilárd and Fermi conducted a simple experiment at Columbia and discovered significant neutron multiplication in uranium, proving that the chain reaction was possible and enabling nuclear weapons. Szilárd later described the event: "We turned the switch and saw the flashes. We watched them for a little while and then we switched everything off and went home." He understood the implications and consequences of this discovery, though. "That night, there was very little doubt in my mind that the world was headed for grief."

  5. FOR 1THE BIBLE DON'T TEACH NOTHING ABOUT A RAPTURE .JESUS ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE COMES LIKE A THEAF IN THE NIGHT.JUST LIKE DANILES 70TH WEEK BEING PUSHED INTO THE FUTURE IS NO WERE IN THE BIBLE JESUITS FROM THE CATHOLIC CHRCH CAME UP WITH THAT TO HIDE THE FACT THAT THE BIBLE DESCRIBES THEM AS THE LITTEL HORN THAT RIDES THE BEAST.SO ANYONE THAT THINKS THEY WILL ESCAPE IS WRONG.BUT I WROTE TO SPEAK ABOUT THE UNINTELIGENCE OF HAVING WEAPONS THAT WOULD DESTROY ALL HUMANS AND MOST LIFE ON EARTH.AMERICA WAS THE FIRST TO USE SUCH WEAPONS AND MOST LIKELY WILL BE THE SECOUND.LIKE DANIEL SAID GET THEM DOWN TO AT THE MOST A COUPLE DOZEN OR GET BETTER YET GET RID OF THEM ALTOGEATHER.WE HAVE ARE LIVES IN THE HADS OF PEOPLE THAT CARE LESS ABOUT THE AVERAGE PERSON.THERE IS NO IFS BUT WHEN WILL THERE END UP BEING A WAR WERE NUKES DESTROY ALL OF US.YOU WOULD THINK THE WORLD WOULD REALIZE WAR IS USLESS NO ONE WINS EVER ONE LOSES.THE COUNTRYS AMERICA IS ILLEGALY AT WAR WITH AND THE COUTRYS THEY PLAN TO WAR WITH ARE ONLY DEFENDING THEMSELFS FROM A COUNTRY THAT WANTS TO RULE THE WORLD.SORRY BUT WE WILL ALL DIE BEFORE THAT EVER HAPPENS.

  6. Please google Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA. By the way, Bob Aldridge knows everything (worth knowing about US First Strike Capability) and is right in everything.
    Our TV signals go far into the Universe. Of course, they won´t contact us as they realize we are totally nuts, crazy, insane. The US chose to invade Afghanistan. For what ? The Trans-Afghan Pipeline. And soldiers are willing to die for aircondition in Texas.

  7. WE NEED SMART PEOPLE TO RUN ARE COUNTRYS.ITS NOT A MATTER OF IF BUT WHEN A FULL OUT NUCULAR WAR WILL HAPPEN.ISRAEL IS THE BIGGEST THREAT OF WW3 WITH NUKES JUST LOOK AT THERE SAMPSON OPTION AND YOU WILL SEE FOR YOUR SELF.

  8. You know, US ICBM's can hit a hair on a gnat’s behind. If we got rid of all our nukes, we could still use ICBM's to knock out military targets with conventional warheads. We NEED to get rid of these weapons. They are unnecessary and immoral. First rule of combat: avoid conflict. We only harm ourselves by keeping them.

  9. It's amazing that, in the twisted minds of our overlords, thousands of warheads are NOT enough and that they need to be improved! You can't make this stuff up.

  10. It sounds to me like you have described the most evil nation on earth. "First strike nuclear posibility is on the table."

  11. Then Secretary of Defense Weinberger stated on TV: "The US aims to achieve a first strike capability". As he never has been repudiated, it´s still official US policy. Why else must Minuteman-3 and Trident-2 have a CEP of 30 meters or less ? That´s not needed for MAD. And why did they put the MX warheads on Minuteman-3 ? Because that warhead like the D5 on Trident-2 minimizes nuclear winter effects when used against missile silos rather than industrial targets. A Disarming First Strike Capability with H-bombs ? "Only" for diplomatic blackmail ??? It´s not only the money involved. The bloody fools in the Pentagon don´t believe in nuclear winter, they think they can get away with First Strike to initiate 1,000 years of Pax Americana. They don´t talk about the missiles in Bulgaria, Romania and Poland on TV or in the papers. Everybody can google Missiles in Black Sea, but they won´t mention it. They think it´s best for us to die sleeping, without knowing anything about it. Enjoy the last 3-5 years !

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  14. **NewsFlash* The U.S. Congress is on Break.. BUT, 86 of our UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN are going to ISRAEL ! First off, now you know for sure who OWNS america..like ariel "the butcher" sharon has said in the past…. Now we know that the tail (Israel) wags the dog (America)

  15. [...] – has advanced, the cultural evolution of humankind – especially in the developed West – has not kept up. Indeed, the split between science and the humanities has widened, in modern times. Science has [...]

  16. It´s not only to keep the jobs in the district. For at least 40 years the Pentagon has been aiming to achieve a disarming first strike capability. Office For First Strike Plans. That´s suicidal so Bob Aldridge resigned and wrote The Counterforce Syndrome, etc. The Pentagon´s drive for an unanswerable first strike capability leads to Launch On Warning and suicide by mistake/malfunction caused by the bloody fools in the Pentagon.

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  19. [...] Daniel Ellsberg on Antiwar Radio discussing Hiroshima. Half hour interview with Ellsberg challenges conventional American thoughts on the ethics and “necessity” of bombing civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There are also links to two related articles, in case you don’t care for radio interviews. [...]

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