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RIP Daniel Ellsberg: ‘Most dangerous man in America’ on leaking Pentagon papers, exposing government lies

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We remember the life and legacy of Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, who died on 16 Juneat the age of 92, just months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

In 1971 Ellsberg, then a top military strategist working for the Rand Corporation, risked life in prison by secretly copying and then leaking 7,000 pages of top secret documents outlining the secret history of the US war in Vietnam.

The leak would end up helping to take down President Richard Nixon, accelerate the end of the war in Vietnam and lead to a major victory for press freedom. Henry Kissinger once called Ellsberg “the most dangerous man in America”.

Over the past 50 years, Ellsberg remained an antiwar and anti-nuclear activist who inspired a new generation of whistleblowers.

Democracy Now! marks his death with excerpts from some of its interviews with Ellsberg over the years about Vietnam, as well as Ukraine, tensions with China, the threat of nuclear war and working toward a more honest discourse about US policy.

“To this day, the very idea that the US is … an empire is a taboo, and a very unfortunate one, because it makes it impossible to understand what’s going on,” Ellsberg said.

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