Daniel Ellsberg is arrested during a demonstration to protest nuclear weapons outside the gates of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif., on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015. (photo: Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group)
20 August 15
ietnam War-era whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, 84, known for releasing the Pentagon Papers in 1971, has once again been arrested for protesting U.S. nuclear weapon arsenals, this time at Lawrence Livermore Labs on Thursday, August 7, the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. Ellsberg was arrested with fifty other protestors from the Bay Area, while 250 more joined in support to draw attention to the 2016 funding of Lawrence Livermore Labs: $1 billion for nuclear weapons, designing new long-range warheads, and upgrading existing nuclear arsenals.
According to a video of the protest, Ellsberg, a former Defense Department analyst, addressed the protestors outside the fence of Lawrence Livermore Lab, stating, “The killing at Hiroshima was mass murder.… In the target plans that I worked on, and ones I worked on in Russia, the smoke will go into the stratosphere as it did in Hiroshima by higher firestorm. But simultaneously, thousands of cities, with pillars of smoke, will join around the globe blotting out the sunlight sufficiently to kill harvests around the world, and condemn nearly the entire population of the world to death. It’s the Doomsday Machine, The End. We’ve known that, not at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, but for the last twenty-five years, and yet these threats go on; the threats go on. They are threats of ending nearly all life. It’s never a good day to die, but it is a good day to get arrested.”
Japanese elder Takashi Tanemori also spoke to the rally. He was only 8 years old when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, and he lost his whole family and became blind from the atomic blast. He spoke of the importance of forgiveness, but for all to keep trying to eradicate all nuclear threats in the world.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, after speaking to the rally of supporters from the Livermore Conversion Project and the Tri-Valley CARES (Citizens Against a Radioactive Environment), Ellsberg and the fifty other protestors lay on the ground (in chalk lines drawn around their bodies to symbolize the victims of atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki) blocking the West Gate of the facility. Reports state that members of the Lawrence Livermore Lab police force showed up in riot gear with batons, and after demands by the Alameda County Sheriffs to disperse, Ellsberg and others were nonviolently arrested, cited for trespassing, and immediately released.
Within hours after Ellsberg was released, he appeared on the Scott Horton Radio Show, where he further explained, “The possibility of human extinction as a result of American or Russian, and/or together, nuclear weapons that are on alert facing each other right now still exists, and still reflects American policy under our current president, as well as his predecessors.”
To understand the authenticity of the knowledge of Daniel Ellsberg, look to his bio: In the early 1960s, Ellsberg, a former Rand employee, was a consultant to the Departments of Defense and State, and to the White House, where he specialized in resolving problems of the command & control of nuclear weapons, nuclear war plans, and crisis decision-making. He drafted the Secretary of Defense Guidance to the Joint Chiefs of Staff concerning operational plans for conducting a general nuclear war.
He has been arrested in nonviolent civil disobedience actions close to one hundred times, with 50+ geared to protesting nuclear weapons, e.g. at Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapon Production Facility, the Nevada Test Site, Livermore Nuclear Weapons Design Facility, the vicinity of Ground Zero at the Nevada Test Site, and at the Vandenberg Missile Test Site. Over the past few years, he has been arrested at Vandenberg Air Force Base to protest the testing of dummy ICBMs (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles) to show the danger of having land-based missiles.
In addition, Ellsberg protested nuclear policies during the Carter and Reagan administrations, questioning President Carter’s idea of using neutron bombs and President Reagan’s promotion of Cruise and Pershing missiles. In the 1980s, Ellsberg also traveled with a Greenpeace voyage to Leningrad, protesting Russian nuclear testing, and was expelled from the Soviet Union at the time.
In 1995, Ellsberg launched an Abolition Fast, in which he and the Rev. William Sloan Coffin fasted on water for twenty-six days during the Non-Proliferation Treaty Renewal Conference held at the United Nations. The fast also included nuclear activists pledging to fast one or more days during the U.N. conference.
A documentary movie of his life work, “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers,” is highly recommended to grasp the nuclear policies he has dedicated his life to raising to higher standards, and to highlight the global need for nuclear disarmament.
Yes, it’s a good day when Daniel Ellsberg gets arrested.
Breaking News: On August 19, 2015, just two weeks after Ellsberg’s recent arrest on the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the U.S. plans to once again launch a dummy Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) from Vandenberg Air Force Base (in California). It will target the Kawajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI). This test comes also in the midst of the major lawsuits filed by the Marshall Islands, called the Nuclear Zero lawsuits, which are attempting to hold the nine nuclear nations accountable for not adhering to the provisions in the Non-Proliferation Treaty to disarm. The lawsuit has been appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (SF). David Krieger, president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and consultant to the Marshall Islands in the Nuclear Zero lawsuits, stated today, “While the U.S. continues to develop and test launch its nuclear-capable missiles, the Marshall Islands is seeking a judgment against the U.S. and other nuclear-armed nations for failure to fulfill their nuclear disarmament obligations under international law.” Krieger previously was arrested with Ellsberg at Vandenberg Air Force Base in protest of other test launches of ICBMs.
Jane Ayers is an independent journalist (USA Today, Los Angeles Times, The Nation, etc.), and is a regular contributor to Reader Supported News. Contact her atJaneAyersMedia@gmail.com or visit her website.
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