Shadowproof and Project Censored present a conversation between Kevin Gosztola and Daniel Ellsberg to celebrate the release of Kevin’s book, Guilty of Journalism: The Political Case Against Julian Assange.
There’s a simple idea, advanced most effectively by Daniel Ellsberg. Whether you love nuclear weapons, believe they’re unfortunately necessary, or think they’re the stupidest thing ever to spend a cent — much less trillions of dollars — on, you ought never to imagine a need for more than the nukes on submarines and airplanes. Having them on land as well, whether you call it a Holy Triad of nuclear weapon types or not, ought to be understood as really, really dumb, no matter what you think of loading up subs and planes with enough weapons to end all life on Earth many times over. You may, as I do, believe that almost nothing could be crazier than nukes on subs and planes; or you may swear that such deployments amount to the wisest action ever taken by the human species, or by the 4% of humanity that you give a damn about, or anything in between. But there is something crazier, that we should all be able to come together and recognize as the single craziest thing ever: nukes on land, ICBMs, Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles.
Daniel Ellsberg is a former U.S. military analyst employed by the RAND Corporation who precipitated a national uproar in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers, the U.S. military’s account of activities during the Vietnam War, to The New York Times.
The attempt to extradite Julian Assange to the United States for prosecution is a war against freedom of the press and our right to know. If the prosecution of Assange under the Espionage Act occurs, it will define journalism for the 21st Century. No journalist or publisher who exposes war crimes or corruption will be safe.
On Saturday, there will be a march from Australia House in London to Parliament Square, the centre of British democracy. People will carry pictures of the Australian publisher and journalist Julian Assange who, on 24 February, faces a court that will decide whether or not he is to be extradited to the United States and a living death.
The US Department of Justice issued an 18-count indictment against Julian Assange for violating the 1917 Espionage Act. We speak to Daniel Ellsberg about the dangerous implications this move has for journalism in the United States.
“No policies in human history have more deserved to be recognized as immoral or insane. The story of how this calamitous predicament came about and how and why it has persisted over a half a century is a chronicle of human madness. Whether Americans, Russians, and other humans can rise to the challenge of reversing these policies and eliminating the danger of near-term extinction caused by their own inventions and proclivities remains to be seen. I choose to join with others in acting as if that is still possible.””
Daniel Ellsberg’s new book is The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. I’ve known the author for years, I’m prouder than ever to say. We have done speaking events and media interviews together. We’ve been arrested together protesting wars. We’ve publicly debated electoral politics. We’ve privately debated the justness of World War II. (Dan approves of U.S. entry into World War II, and it seems into the war on Korea as well, though he has nothing but condemnation for the bombing of civilians that made up so much of what the U.S. did in those wars.) I’ve valued his opinion and he has rather inexplicably asked for mine on all sorts of questions. But this book has just taught me a great deal I had not known about Daniel Ellsberg and about the world.