News Release

Ellsberg Named for Right Livelihood Award


Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, was announced today as a recipient of this year’s Right Livelihood Award, sometimes referred to as the “alternative Nobel Peace Prize.”

The award jury noted about Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers: “In October 1969 he started copying this and passing it to Senator Fulbright, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. When Fulbright did nothing, and after the invasion of Laos and Cambodia, he gave it to the New York Times, then the Washington Post and, when injunctions not to publish rained down on these papers, to seventeen other newspapers. The Pentagon Papers were out. They showed that the government had misled the U.S. public about the war in Vietnam. …

“President Nixon was so concerned that Ellsberg might have even more sensitive papers that he would leak, that he illegally arranged the burglary of Ellsberg’s former psychoanalyst, hoping to find information with which to blackmail Ellsberg into silence. This became part of the Watergate scandal, which led to Nixon’s resignation and, ultimately, the end of the Vietnam War. …

“In 2004 Ellsberg founded the Truth-Telling Project to encourage the insiders to expose official lying.” [More information]

Other recipients of the award this year are Brazilian Chico Whitaker Ferreira, who helped found the World Social Forum, and Indian social activist Ruth Manorama.

Ellsberg said today: “I’m hopeful that my receiving the Award for my own past and current efforts to blow the whistle on war or on deeply undemocratic and dangerous government activity will encourage others to do likewise, not in hopes of personal reward but because this unusual public recognition makes them aware that doing so can be widely regarded as ‘right livelihood,’ as the right thing to do, despite official condemnation and personal costs to themselves and their own families.”

Ellsberg’s most recent article, “The Next War,” is in the current issue of Harper’s Magazine and calls on government officials to leak documents regarding war plans on Iran. In the piece, Ellsberg writes of his regret for not leaking the Pentagon Papers earlier, and his wish that Bush administration officials like Richard Clarke had shared crucial information with the public before the invasion of Iraq. Ellsberg is author of the book Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers.
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Bagdikian was an editor at the Washington Post and was leaked portions of the Pentagon Papers by Ellsberg in 1971. He said today: “I’m glad this is getting the recognition it deserves. It’s timely because we’re right back with our government lying about a … war and doing it by violating not just the Geneva Conventions, but also the Constitution. It’s a reminder that Ellsberg was justified in what he did in … the Vietnam War. We can never take for granted that the government has a right to tell us that to criticize is to be unpatriotic. We need people to stand up to the government when we disagree and fight to preserve the constitutional rights that are in jeopardy today.”

Author of the groundbreaking book The Media Monopoly, Bagdikian is professor emeritus and former dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley.
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Nobel Peace Prize recipient Maguire wrote today: “I would like to congratulate Dan Ellsberg on being awarded the Right Livelihood Award. His courage and self-sacrifice for humanity’s sake, when he followed his conscience and revealed to the World the Pentagon Papers, is an example and a challenge to all those who today know the truth of governments’ plans for war, invasion and occupation of other people’s countries. The war plans made and carried out, undemocratically, by a political and military elite, in contradiction to the wishes of the World’s people as represented by the United Nations, must be exposed. Those who have such information should be encouraged and supported to make public such information. It will not be easy but the consequences of their silence continue to condemn many thousands of people, both now and in the future, to needless death and suffering.”

Maguire founded the Northern Ireland Peace Movement, which is now known as Community of Peace People.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167