>Earlier this week, Bryan and I watched a film about Daniel Ellsberg release of the Pentagon Papers and the subsequent furore about top secret documents being made public.
To be very honest, I think I wandered through the early part of my life in a bit of a coma as I really didn’t take much notice of world events at all. I can remember talk of the Vietnam War and also the shootings of the students at Kent University by the National Guard, because the latter was so shocking, but other than that, I rather drifted along untouched much by the world around me.
So it was rather interesting and informative to see how Mr Ellsberg changed, from being part of the government set-up and supporting the Vietnam War, to opposing it after actually being in Vietnam and after he’d read the Pentagon Papers prepared by the Rand Corporation where he worked.
A few Senators who received copies of the papers refused to take action. But a young US Senator, Mike Gravel of Alaska, entered 4,100 pages of the Papers into the record of his Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Grounds – he was the only one present!
In the meantime, the Nixon administration tried to stop newspapers publishing the papers, but failed as more and more newspapers got old of copies and starting publishing the contents – an unstoppable tidal wave. Ellsberg and a fellow workers at the Rand Institute, Anthony Russo, were eventually prosecuted but the case was thrown out when the Watergate burglaries were exposed and the fact that there had been illegal wire-tapping of Ellsberg and his contacts.
I’ve really reduced this to the bare essentials. But one fact I found fascinating was that when the trial started and jurors were being picked, a psychiatrist advised the legal team for Ellsberg and Russo to exclude middle-aged men where possible. The psychiatrist said that these men were often in a position of having nixed their dreams, perhaps taken actions which were against their beliefs and integrity, had possible regrets they had about the lives they’d lived, and would likely not be sympathetic to people who had taken action in line with their conscience.
Ellsberg seems to have had some sort of epiphany in his actions around the Pentagon Papers because he’s been an activist for peace and social justice ever since. I think this is remarkable as he has never waivered in his commitment to his conscience, his ethics and his own integrity. It’s something which, I feel, should give us all food for thought about how we live our own lives – is it in line with our own ethics, conscience and integrity? If we have regrets, have we taken action to ensure we don’t do whatever caused us regrets in the past? Of course, I realise that the world is not black and white and there are shades of grey in everyone’s life. But it’s my firm belief that it is soul-destroying to live an inauthentic life and not to set sail from the shallows into the deep from fear or a wish for some sort of ephemeral security.
Further on this theme, I was also struck by the gutsy actions of the newspapers involved, who fought for freedom of the press. When did this gutsiness in the US press start to evaporate and disappear? The lack of investigative reporting and journalism in the lead-up to the second Iraq War, the gutlessness in not questioning the actions of the dysfunctional, lying, warmongering Bush administration were appalling. The conventional press laid down and allowed Dick Cheney & Co to walk all over them. The fact is that the conventional media was supine, intimidated by an administration totally in thrall to the military-industrial complex, and things aren’t any better today.
Interestingly, the lies and subterfuge surrounding the second Iraq War – and now emerging in the war in Afghanistan – have led to a surge in on-line, independent media which is far more reliable for the truth of world events than the conventional media who continue to parrot the same old, same old pro-plutocracy garbage. And now we’re seeing the release of the Wikileaks documents, which is a product of the capitulation of the conventional media to government spin. Sort of karma-like, isn’t it?
Just to wind up with some astrological mutterings – Pluto (hidden stuff, secrets, dark material, etc) is currently swanning around in Capricorn (governments, regulations, plutocracies) which is indicative of the dirty little (or big, depending on your view) government, banking and plutocratic secrets being dragged into the light of day. Moreover, Neptune has moved into Pisces, with which it has affiinity as it’s all about water, and here are hidden things flowing into public view, arousing – I imagine – some rather savage emotions in those who would like to keep their lies, crimes and secret actions well bolted down in the cellars.
Yes, definitely karmic, I think!