Daniel Ellsberg Speaks in Berkeley, California at the Annual BFUU Hal Carlstad Social Justice Awards Dinner in Historic Fellowship Hall on July 20, 2013. Listen to the audio at No Lies Radio! (Total Time 1:31:19)
It was a bright shining moment when a faithful Bay Area activist community gathered to hear the legendary Pentagon Papers whistle-blower speak at Historic Fellowship Hall at the Annual BFUU Hal Carlstad Justice Awards & Benefit Dinner on 7-20-13. BFUU member and Social Justice Committee activist Phoebe Sorgen described how “uplifting” Daniel Ellsberg’s speech was and she described Patricia Ellsberg’s presentation as “empowering the audience, lifting us all up as heroes.” Photo by Vic Sadot. See also the photo album of the event at the BFUU Facebook Page.
The first speaker that we hear in this 1:31:19 recording is Sherri Maurin of Nuremberg Actions (00:00:01 – 00:09:57). This group was born out of the struggles to stop the arms trains going through Concord, California, to be sent to Central America. The galvanizing incident of those days happened when the train conductor sped up and ran over US Army Vietnam War veteran-turned-peace activist Brian Willson, who was on his very first non-violent direct action. He continues his activism to this day in opposition to US wars.
You can move sound bar forward in the No Lies Radio archive if you like. The Dan Ellsberg segment starts at 00:36:50. At the 00:10:00 minute mark, Andre Conteros, who was on a water-only hunger strike, talks about the connections between the hunger strikes in California prisons, especially in Pelican Bay Prison, and at Guantanamo Bay Prison in Cuba. Indefinite solitary confinement is a reality in both places and a prisoner never knows when they will ever get out of that complete cut off from human interaction. He encouraged everyone to follow and support the hunger strikers at CloseGitmo.net
At 17:45 Cynthia Jean Johnson, former chair of the Social Justice Committee, current vice-chair, served as the MC of the evening. She spoke about the Hal Carlstad Social Justice Awards and his involvement with Nuremberg Actions. At the time of this event and even now at this post time, there is an on-going hunger strike in both Guantanamo Bay Prison and in California Prisons, most notably at Pelican Bay Prison. It was day 36 for Cynthia Papermaster and day 34 for Cynthia Jean Johnson for their participation in a liquid fast in solidarity with the Hunger Strikers at Guantanamo Bay and California Prisons.
Cynthia Papermaster of No More Gitmos and Code Pink for Peace is introduced at 19:00. She spoke about Chef Djamel Ameziane being held in Guantanamo for 11 years and being tortured. She explained that Chef Djamael is among the 86 prisoners still being held after both the Bush and Obama administrations had cleared them. Cynthia displayed the Poster Art created by artist Doug Minkler to promote sending Chef Djamel, an Algerian-born, Paris trained chef, to Berkeley, CA. In 2011 the City Counsel passed a resolution inviting a Guantanamo “detainee” to come here to live and to have his dignity and well-being restored. (Recent June 2013 coverage in Berkeley Calling Blog)
Next, the Code Pink Golden Gate Chorus and members of Occupella sang “It Isn’t Nice”, a song by legendary Berkeley “Broadside Balladeer” Malvina Reynolds, who had 70 songs published in the pages of “Broadside: The National Topical Song Magazine”. (23:00)
At 26:57 Cynthia Papermaster talks about Bradley Manning and the fight to Save the Berkeley Post Office, a demo against Chevron Oil in Richmond, VA, and how the Nuremberg principles apply to UC Berkeley professor John Yoo, who wrote the legal briefs for the Bush-Cheney regime to justify the U.S. use of torture. Cynthia Papermaster saluted other Code Pink Golden Gate Chapter activists in the hall, such as Janet Weil who won the Patriot Award for Aug 2013 from the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Jane Miller, Holly Harwood, Lisa Geduldig, and Susan Harman.
Susan Harman (30:00) speaks specifically about the “war criminals living in the Bay Area”: John Yoo at Boalt Law School; Condoleezza Rice at Stanford University; Jay Bybee was appointed for life to the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals; William Haynes is now chief counsel at Chevron in San Ramon. Some people shout out, “What about Nancy Pelosi? What about Diane Feinstein?”
Then Cynthia Jean Johnson introduces Daniel Ellsberg (35:00) to his Berkeley hometown crowd. Daniel Ellsberg (36:50 – 1:08:00) measures the passage in time becoming apparent when he spoke with young activists who did not know who Joan Baez is. Ellsberg comments that this is the 5th year of the Presidency of the man who swore in pre-election speeches to close Gitmo. He pointed to CIA whistle-blower John Kiriakou going to prison for exposing US crimes of torture. He questioned why the Obama Justice Department prosecuted him instead of the torturers. Likewise, Bradley Manning exposed war crimes in Iraq. Yet he was the one prosecuted and given 35 years by the deep secrecy state, not the perpetrators of the war crimes, some of which were caught on photos and videos! Ellsberg relates the history of his own transformation from a high ranking pro-Vietnam War Pentagon Army colonel to many years as a peace and justice activist. He credits his wife Patricia for helping him to make that transformation and to make “The Pentagon Papers” public. As always, Daniel Ellsberg spoke appreciatively about Senator Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) for publishing the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record. He always fondly recalls how the Unitarian Universalist publishing house, Beacon Press in Boston, boldly published the Pentagon Papers. Just 4 days later Ellsberg told Democracy Now! how Beacon Press came forward to publish the secret Pentagon history when all other publishing houses had refused to do it out of fear or out of a complete lack of understanding of the historical significance in revealing without any doubt whatsoever that the American people had been lied to by their President, their military, and most of their Congressional leaders. He talked about NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden and how remarkable it is that young people are becoming whistle-blowers because they “don’t want to live in a world” that the surveillance state wants to impose on everyone. He quotes a more extensive statement by Edward Snowden on that matter. He states his unequivocal support for Edward Snowden and accepts his Hal Carlstad Social Justice Award in the name of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden.
Cynthia Jean Johnson mentions Mordechai Vanunu, the whistle-blower who exposed the secret Israeli nuclear weapons program, and how Daniel Ellsberg supported him. She mentions the documentary about Daniel Ellsberg, “The Most Dangerous Man in America” (1:32 minutes long) Patricia Marx Ellsberg (1:10:00 – 1:16:30) lead the crowd in some deep breath conspiring and she called the folks there “a room full of heroes”. Cynthia Johnson gives a salute to Ann Fagan Ginger of the Meicklejohn Civil Liberties Institute in Berkeley before introducing the last speaker.
The last award went to Maxina Ventura (1:18:50), another long-time activist from peace actions to “Occupy Berkeley” Maxina speaks about some of the things she has experienced as an activist getting arrested for non-violent direct actions. Max closes out closes out the evening with her beautiful accapella “Nightingale” song. Vic Sadot had opened the evening with his Bradley Manning “Courage To Resist” song, but the recording had not yet begun.