Podcast Show #18

The Boiling Frogs Presents Daniel Ellsberg

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Dan Ellsberg provides us with his analysis of Barack Obama’s presidency, shares with us what led him to cast his vote for Obama, and how and why he’s been let down and betrayed by our current president. He discusses the stark similarities between the previous administration and Obama’s Whitehouse on issues and abuses related to civil liberties, and questions the possibility of ‘hoping’ again. Mr. Ellsberg talks about his experience as a whistleblower, the futility of disclosure to Congress then and today, the current sorry state of the US media, and more!


Ellsberg Dan Ellsberg graduated from Harvard in economics in 1952, served in the US Marine Corps from 1954-57, and obtained a PhD in economics from Harvard while working for the Rand Corporation in 1962. In 1964 he joined the Defense Department to work principally on decision-making in the Vietnam War. Mr. Ellsberg precipitated a national political controversy in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers, a Top-Secret Pentagon study of US government decision-making about the Vietnam War, to the New York Times and other publications. Ellsberg has ever since campaigned for peace and encouraged others to speak truth to power.


Here is our guest Dan Ellsberg unplugged!

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  1. How does he feel about an activist use of the Net? And, what does he think about this?

    Just saw a Wayne Madsen clip that says that Microsoft gave the NSA a backdoor into Windows 7. It allows them to essentially monitor everything (emails, surfing history and more). Madsen says this connection has been going on ever since Windows 95.

  2. there is nothing wrong with my computer that i know of and i’ve never been unable to access these podcasts. (by the way, sibel, what time was this first posted today? i’ve been anxiously looking for it all day and finally checked again around 4, i’m guessing, and saw it.) HOWEVER, now i can’t get past the inro before it repeatedly shuts off. is anyone else having this problem? guess we’ll know by number of comments posted.

    regarding “T”"‘s comment: i wonder if same isn’t true with yahoo.
    i worry re future of internet freedom. i know youtube recently warned against posting what one does not have actual copyright to. i seem to be having a lot of trouble accessing progressive.peace/911 websites and or videos which “have been removed by user” (esp on youtube) lately. perhaps i’m just being paranoid but the fact remains i could not, yesterday nor today, reach the “pink links” referred to at codepink re further pix of protesters who travelled to gaza carrying money and supplies, nor other news accounts of same.

  3. @Thymesup: Both ITune and direct downloads have been working fine. No complaints; so far! This was posted around 2:30 p.m. EST

    I’ll try to post responses to comments (previous posts) later this evening. My baby has been going through a terrible cold; been grumpy and demanding. This is when she refuses to share me with anything or anyone; if it’s a book I’m holding: slams the book and says a very confident ‘bye!’ Well, now it’s my computer if I come near it she points and shouts ‘bye!!’ & ‘bye gooogool’ (meaning bye Google- a few days ago I made a mistake and told her ‘mama is googling’…

  4. avatar ZicaTanka says:

    thymesup: Are you downloading it first? Try right-clicking on the ‘download’ link and choosing ‘Save Target As’. If not, your problem might be with streaming.

  5. @thymesup

    I’m on various networking sites (and have my own mix of sites, blogs and more).

    I’ve heard thru sources that in the past My Space has deleted people for “objectionable”(progressive) content. Murdoch’s wife runs the Chinese section of My Space. And many times you can’t reach your contacts thru their China portal. Even to post a friendly message.

    On My Space, I’ve been hacked twice. Other progressive posts on other sites and blogs have been at times deleted as well.

    The best thing for me? When online (whether it’s your site/blog or just posting comments), think like a hacker. If somebody wanted to hack me, what would they do? You don’t have to be an engineer or programmer to do this. Just some study of PC basics.

    Then, break it into steps. If they did this, how do I block them? There are lots of tools to let you protect yourself online (all perfectly legal). Will these protect you 100% against the NSA or others? Probably not.

    On the other hand, regardless of who “they” are, make it as tough as possible for them. One free key: as much as possibe, try not to leave an obvious trail in everything you do online.

  6. Listening to you folks is like oxygen. Don’t give up; we have no other hope.

  7. avatar JamesLaffrey says:

    Come on, Daniel Ellsberg.

    You are a national treasure now. You helped LBJ commit his crimes, and then you finally and bravely came out with the Pentagon Papers. But now you’re a national treasure. Yet, you talk about Afghanistan for 30 minutes and never mention pipelines and China and Russia. If you don’t raise the discussion to that level, you’re wasting your time and mine.

    And you’re right about Obama now. But you say you can’t understand the WHYs of some of Obama’s actions. For example, why can Obama be so bold, so audacious, in continuing Bush crimes. Here’s an answer for you: When a president protects and serves the CIA, the president can serve fearlessly. When a president goes against the CIA, then the president must fear everything from character assassination to bullet-in-the-head assassination.

    And why do you — after admitting that your effort (and Sibel’s effort) to get Congress to truly investigate crimes was a waste of time — why do you talk about Conyers for ten minutes and say that “pressure” by the public on Congress might get results? Again, wasting your time and mine (I’m not trying to speak for others, only myself).

    The CIA fully operates (illegally) inside the USA. Through all methods of surveillance in all agencies, including the FBI, the CIA amasses the dirt on all the politicians. And if they don’t have enough true dirt (unlikely), they’ll manufacture some. Then, if the normal rewards of complicit corruption don’t keep the politicians and their associates in line, the CIA can threaten them with character assassination.

    Please don’t use my reasoning above to construe that I have sympathy for Obama. I don’t. In fact, Obama has proved himself to be another criminal. If Obama ever had integrity, he was and is NOT “brave like MLK.” Anybody who runs for president must be brave like MLK, must be brave enough to risk being shot for trying to dismantle the criminal Intelligence-MIC. Otherwise, that person is not worthy of being president. Obama is not worthy — as a criminal, as a coward, or both.

    Yes, there were some excellent things said in the “interview.” But it amazes me when people of the stature of Dan Ellsberg remain a bit shallow on matters of such importance.

  8. thank you all for helpful comments which i’ve copied and saved for further perusal. i was able finally to access-not sure what changed. i use direct download i think (the screen is black and a big q appears-now you get the picture!). used to download amy g at itunes. guess i’m not saving these at bf, except one inadvertently but should start.
    momma, i’m amazed at what you are accomlishing while mothering a young toddler. enjoy your baby NOW, too, and take good care of yourself. hope you have help. baby books? paper and crayons? naps together. ok i’ll stop remembering! lb

  9. I agree with both Sibel and Daniel Ellsberg that Obama is a con man. I did not vote for Obama either. I voted for Cynthia McKinney and the Green Party. I voted for Obama in the primaries which I highly regret – I wish I had voted for Dennis Kucinich. I even sent the man a donation around that time which I would love to get a refund on. I was mostly attracted by his opposition to the Iraq War. Once it became clear to me that Obama was in the pocket of Israel, I knew that he would bring no real change to Washington D.C.

    Here is what I wrote just after Obama’s election.

    Anyone that still believes that Obama represents change is consciously (or unconsciously) ignoring the facts. Just look at the appointments he has made so far and the rumored appointments to come, and it should be obvious that Nader got it right. Obama represents the Big Corporations, not the Average Citizen.

    It’s too bad that liberals like Ellsberg insist on supporting the Democratic Party. There is no way that any candidate that comes from the Democratic Party is going to be allowed to change the system. The only way to create any real change is to elect 3rd party candidates.

  10. Hi Sibel,

    I posted this comment at Huffpo on the upcoming Supreme Court decision on Campaign Finance, but find it equally apropos here. We all talk of the need for radical action. Here’s a mechanism to make it happen. So, Look for the piece I refer to below nexr week:

    “So once again, as I’ve stated before on this subject:

    When money equals speech, the Poor become Voiceless.

    This is a further buttressing of a two-tier class system. One set of laws for the Corporate class, another for the rest of us. Corporate “citizens”, as defined by SP Railroad v Santa Clara County, will be the only citizens whose voices will be heard. All else will be drowned out in the cacaphony. It is time to acknowledge that, due to the corrosive nature of money in politics, that the two-party system of electoral politics has become hopelessly corrupt and the trend will accelerate if this decision comes down as expected. We must begin to consider radical solutions. If the only candidates offered from both parties are the JP Morgan candidates, where is our avenue of redress?

    The only solution I can see is to take government away from both parties. A Constitutional amendment to abolish all federal elective offices in favor of random computer selection from IRS tax rolls according to current Constitutional age and citizenship requirements. I would also offer a companion amendment to Abolish Corporate Personhood in perpituity. Turn it into Jury Duty/National Service.

    I am working on a piece detailing how it would work and will be posting it soon at:

    http://www.boilingfrogspost.com

    Real Representative Government! What a Concept!”

  11. ishmael, i like your idea, esp abolishing corporate personhood. do we do it state by state first? if congress is so beholden to corporate interests, what are the chances? but, i guess, we can’t not try just because the odds are against us.

    why doesn’t msm cover instant runoff voting (aka ranked choice voting (www.fairvotemn.org/whereRCVused ) whereby the voter gets to vote a first, second and third choice. if his first doesn’t win, then his second choice kicks in, and so on, thereby eliminating the so-called “spoiler effect”. (no more taunting to voters for third party candidates that “you just wasted your vote!” why indeed? the crooks and liars must like it the way it is.

    other things to do:(sorry for repetition from previous post)

    1. continue widening the knowledge of this website and sibel’s name in all the unlikely places, blogs, mainstream places/sites people go (very politely) that we can think of. (including, esp letters to editor of newspapers, very important to the many who do not go online -yes, there are still many of the sixties generation and older, believe it or not- re civil liberties issues familiar to us but not necessarily to them.)

    as my mom says, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. problem: so many DON’T KNOW HOW READY THEY ARE//SHOULD BE! so we have to take that info to them, and it’s NOT EASY without alienation sometimes.

    2. we support/attend cindy sheehan’s planned march encampment/action on the mall in d.c.?

    3. if you have info the public NEEDS TO KNOW, risk jail, as ellsberg has said, to get it to them. very interesting his and sibel’s opinion re not going through the tainted/bought chain of command any longer.

    4. in other words, do not be afraid. follow courage of sibel.

    and, sibel, ma’am, do you know whereabouts/well-being of indira singh who publicized ptech/formerly promis, that mike ruppert wrote about in so many chapters of crossing the rubicon. (who read your letter aloud there when you could not speak)? would it be possible to have her on your show? i just listened to the 04-05? 911 citizen commission hearings (google it and her name at youtube) and her explosive testimony and can’t find anything more recent than nearly 2 years ago.. is she ok? googling, i finally found out about michael corbin’s death after three years hearing/working on indira’s story.(see http://www.4acloserlookat911.com/?page_id=6) likelier death considering his health or, his knowledge? are these things to remain unspoken? it says a lot about the possible level of intimidation of investigative journalists. peace and courage, lb

  12. singh website moved to 4acloserlook.wordpress.com/

  13. @FrankHope,

    I wanted to vote for the Greens. I even called their national office three times to try and connect with people in my area. They never called back. Does this mean that there are NO Greens in the entire state? So I ended up voting for Ralph Nader. Still better in a sense than Obama.

    Saw something really strange on another (not to be named site). They ran a video clip of Al Franken as Senate President cutting off Liebermann. And then McCain as well.

    While in one way that’s good, in another I thought, why is this news? You say you’re a “progressive” site. And then you do a 10-minute rant on THIS?

    A prediction: despite everything that’s happening right now, the hardcore Obama-Is-Perfect crowd will NEVER admit otherwise.

  14. Listening to wise elders like Daniel, I am puzzled by a recurrent theme: moral integrity. To speak with authority from the moral high ground, one has to practice integrity. Another site I visit regularly has a Republican/Christian slant, but they are equally concerned about loss of freedoms in this country. How many listeners to this site practice socially responsible investments? Is your money in government bonds, corporate bonds, or some other venue? The market for individuals is shifting from government bonds to corporate bonds. Are we as individuals giving power to our own very worst enemies through investments?

  15. what money? i feel guilty flying to calif to see my 6 mo. granddaughter because of the waste of fuel. rather travel via my donkey, but, from maine…?….. back to sorting garlic, packing lobster bait, thawing home grown swiss chard from the deep freeze (still guiltily frozen w electricity. better to dehydrate, still w electricity, though, in these damp climes ), ordering non-monsanto seeds (big bad boogey man if ever there was one) from fedcoseeds.com; order a catalogue,. you’ll be so happy and entertained/informed!!!!! still, we are trying. and yes we know how to kill a chicken, start seeds, do without, grin and bear it, pretend it’s the great depression as in the last thirty years living here. freedom lies in knowing what is necessary, ie., what you can do without.:eggs and potatoes, no. apples, no. flour, no. beans, no. sardines, no. .beauty, no; stars, no. television, YES!!!!!. friends and family, NO!!!. come visit. just as good as n,z. perhaps. lbradbury lubec maine 04652

  16. avatar mcthorogood says:

    Why wasn’t Wikileaks dot org mentioned as method of anonymously releasing information. Wikileaks just celebrated its third birthday.

    Good content in the podcast, but the sound quality was poor. It sounded like Mr. Ellsberg was holding the microphone (handset) too close to his mouth.

  17. Sibel, this is my first time to log in and comment, but I have been reading your blog and following your struggle for a long time. This interview with Daniel Ellsberg is one of the best yet on Boiling Frogs. As far as Obama is concerned, it looks like he’s laid all the cards on the table, and is continuing where Bush left off. It is a bit breathtaking to see his former support from the progressives just falling by the wayside. But this is a good thing, good in that it means we can see more clearly what is real, and organize accordingly. Keep up the good work.

  18. Want Obama’s perspective? Watch this:

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ’0 which is not a hashcash value.

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