Archives for posts with tag: Daniel Ellsberg

Picking up from where the previous blog entry has left off in regards to the segment of “Shouting Fire” documentary about Daniel Ellsberg. As it is previously mentioned, Ellsberg leaked the documents from the Pentagon about the war on Vietnam. When it comes to the actions Ellsberg he took, it happened after his experience in Vietnam which helped led to his actions as he believes that the public deserves the right to know the reason for the American involvement in the war. Because of his actions, Ellsberg have to deal with the risk of getting sent to prison for leaking the government documents to the newspaper. In the end, Ellsberg fought the charges and won as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of him. This goes to show how the freedom involves risks as the morality isn’t always black and white.

Then on the final segment of the documentary, there is the right for the people to protest on certain issues including war. The protesters would have to face the risk of abuse from the police due to the fears of “terrorism” in recent times. As the segment of the documentary has shown, it was nothing new as the protestors would face similar risk in the 1960s as well. Then there is the discussion regarding the laws that were passed during the wartime such as the “Patriot Act” submitted by the Bush Administration which people feared that it would enable the government to infringe the people’s rights. It is argued that the people who were arrested aren’t necessarily trying to derail the war effort, but expression their right to free speech.

“Shouting Fire” overall covers the ways in which the rights of free speech can have different interpretations. This includes the fact that the right to free speech applies to the people whom would voice beliefs that are highly unpopular and the criticisms are often justified. However, some of the criticisms can overstep the boundaries which leads to death threats which is opposite of what free speech is about. Furthermore, exercising the rights can even result in risk the loss of job although the situations of it can depend on the circumstances. Then there is the actions by Daniel Ellsberg and the treatment of the protestors during wartime which shows that in the end, there is a price to pay when trying to exercise the rights to free speech. The documentary demonstrates that the right to free speech and the situations involving it can be much more complicated than one can think.

The video called “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg” is a documentary that covers the incident in which the classified information on the war in Vietnam was leaked to the New York Times. Daniel Ellsberg, the person responsible for the action was charged by the Nixon Administration for espionage and was tried, only for the trial to be ruled a mistrial in 1973. More importantly, the Supreme Court would go on to rule in favor of the New York Times for publishing the information provided by Ellsberg. The video goes into details in the reason why Ellsberg leaked the information about the Vietnam War from the Pentagon papers. It also shows the risk Ellsberg took in order to make sure the information is revealed to the public, including how Ellsberg’s family would be in danger as a result of the suspicions in regards to his activities.

My reaction to the documentary is that it is hard to fathom the pressure Daniel Ellsberg might have went through when he worked to get the information to be made public. There will be divided opinions on whether Ellsberg have done the right thing or not, but there is no doubt that what he did was bold. Personally, I was somewhat conflicted in regards to Ellsberg’s actions but ultimately, I believe he have done the right thing. While what Ellsberg did wasn’t the ideal way to get the classified information to be revealed to the public, the actions by the Nixon Administration to cover up the wrongdoings on their part and even broke into Ellsberg’s office so they can find they evidence they need to discredit him shows the lengths by Nixon and his staff to keep the people from knowing the truth. I also believe that the public deserves the right to know the truth of what was going on. At the time, the information in the Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam War was kept secret because if the contents were revealed, it would hurt the administration’s efforts to continue U.S. involvement in the war.

While there may be debates regarding Daniel Ellsberg’s legacy as a result of leaking the Pentagon Papers, his actions ultimately turns out to be the right thing. Despite knowing the consequence of his actions, Ellsberg was bold enough to do what he believed was representative of the American freedom.