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Daniel Ellsberg Speaks May 11

UC Riverside Hosts Noted “Pentagon Papers” Figure

Daniel Ellsberg Will Compare Iraq and Vietnam at 7 p.m. May 11

(May 7, 2004)

Cover of the book

Cover of the book

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- Daniel Ellsberg, who changed American political life when he released the “Pentagon Papers” to the New York Times and Washington Post in June, 1971, will draw a comparison between the wars in Vietnam and Iraq at UC Riverside at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 11 at the University Lecture Hall.

His talk, “Iraq & Vietnam: Parallels and Prospects,” is free and open to the public. Parking costs $5.

Ellsberg is a former U.S. Marine commander and Rand analyst, and was one of the "whiz kids" recruited by Robert McNamara as a Pentagon war analyst in the Johnson administration. Ellsberg is a prominent speaker and activist on behalf of antinuclear and social justice causes. His visit is sponsored by the Program on Global Studies, the UCR Branch of the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, and the Institute for Research on World-Systems.

“This is a historic opportunity for the campus community and the general public to hear about the parallels between these conflicts, from someone who helped plan the Vietnam War, and then dramatically released top secret documents to reveal the lies that had drawn us into that conflict,” said Thomas Reifer, associate director of the Institute for Research on World-Systems.

Dr. Ellsberg served at high levels in the State Department and at the Pentagon. He had a major impact on US political life with his release of the Pentagon Papers, which started in motion the chain of events that led to the Watergate break-in and a prior restraint ruling against The New York Times and Washington Post until the landmark Supreme Court case, U.S. v. The New York Times.

Dr. Ellsberg's book, “Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers,” has become a bestseller. In a quote on the back cover, Senator John F. Kerry wrote, “Daniel Ellsberg demonstrated enormous courage during a difficult and turbulent time in America’s history, courage which undoubtedly saved American lives on the battlefield and helped to hold politicians accountable for mistakes they refused to admit. His story reminds us that to fulfill the responsibilities of citizenship is to always ask questions and demand the truth.”

The Institute for Research on World-Systems (IROWS) organizes research among social and physical scientists on long-term, large-scale social change and its causes and effects. The Institute pursues research on the rise and fall of civilizations, long-term processes of globalization and climate change.

Bio of Daniel Ellsberg:
Daniel Ellsberg was born in Detroit in 1931. After graduating from Harvard in 1952 with a B.A. Summa cum Laude in Economics, he studied for a year at King's College, Cambridge University, on a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. Between 1954 and 1957, Ellsberg spent three years in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving as rifle platoon leader, operations officer, and rifle company commander. From 1957-59 he was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows, Harvard University. He earned his Ph.D. in Economics at Harvard in 1962 with his thesis, Risk, Ambiguity and Decision .In 1959, he became a strategic analyst at the RAND Corporation, and consultant to the Department of Defense and the White House, specializing in problems of the command and control of nuclear weapons, nuclear war plans, and crisis decision-making. He joined the Defense Department in 1964 as Special Assistant to Assistant Secretary of Defense (International Security Affairs) John McNaughton, working on Vietnam. He transferred to the State Department in 1965 to serve two years at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, evaluating pacification on the front lines. On return to the RAND Corporation in 1967, he worked on the Top Secret McNamara study of U.S. Decision-making in Vietnam, 1945-68, which later came to be known as the Pentagon Papers. In 1969, he photocopied the 7,000 page study and gave it to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; in 1971 he gave it to the New York Times, Washington Post and 17 other newspapers. His trial, on twelve felony counts posing a possible sentence of 115 years, was dismissed in 1973 on grounds of governmental misconduct against him, which led to the convictions of several White House aides and figured in the impeachment proceedings against President Nixon. Since the end of the Vietnam War he has been a lecturer, writer and activist on the dangers of the nuclear era and unlawful interventions.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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