Maggie Alarcón

5 reasons to remember the Pentagon Papers

In Cuba/US, Politics on June 13, 2011 at 5:38 pm

By Margarita Alarcón Perea

“40 Years Ago Today, the New York Times Began Publishing the Pentagon Papers,” is a sentence I just found on Daniel Ellsberg’s web site.

Daniel Ellsberg served in the Pentagon under then Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Ellsberg had been on duty on the evening of the Gulf of Tonkin incident, reporting the incident to McNamara

For those of you who are rusty on US/World history, the Gulf of Tonkin incident served as President Johnson’s legal justification for deploying U.S. conventional forces and as the commencement of open warfare against North Vietnam.

When Daniel Ellsberg back in the 1960´s photocopied classified documents from the Pentagon to which he had access he did so because he was disenchanted with the war his government was pulling his country into, he felt he had to do something to stop the lying and protect the lives of so many that would be lost in the end.

The government of course wanted Ellsberg tried and convicted but due to the gross governmental misconduct and illegal evidence gathering, and the defense by Leonard Boudin and Harvard Law School professor Charles Nesson, charges against Ellsberg were dropped.

Charges dismissed.

After his trail ended Ellsberg learnt that there had been a plan by the CIA to drug him with LSD and have him appear completely incoherent in front of a mass audience. Now here comes the punch line of my rant: whom did the CIA have on board to do this fiendish act? Well, turns out it was 12 Cuban –Americans no less! Ha! We’re everywhere! The good ones and the bad ones! I leave it to readers to decide which is which.

But as fate or karma would have it, turns out that the lawyers who defended Ellsberg in one of the most important and decisive trials in US history had a young fresh out of law school lawyer who also went by the name of Leonard. Leonard Weinglass was his name and he had already garnered a name for himself during the trial of the Chicago 8.

Len Weinglass

Little did Lenny know back then during the trials of Tom Hayden and Daniel Ellsberg that Cuba would be following him till his dieing day. For it was Len’s last case, his last battle against the same windmills of gross governmental misconduct. It was the case of 5 Cubans unjustly imprisoned in the US precisely for divulging information to Cuba and the United States on terrorist activities against their Cuban homeland and against all those in the US, Cuba or anywhere else who wanted normal relations between both countries.

Len Weinglass during a rally in support of Freeing the Cuban 5.

The question now is who would want to infringe more heinous acts like that of “spicing” Ellsberg’s soup? Well, not all that different from the 12 who had been contracted by the CIA back in the day. Once again, Cuban Americans. Cuban Americans in Miami, Cuban Americans who just won’t quit in their incessant meddling and manipulating of anything hopeful between these two neighbouring nations.

So now, 40 years after the New York Times began publishing the Pentagon Papers which inevitably led to the end of the Viet Nam wouldn’t it be great if another truth came to light and President Obama with or without the help of the New York Times, freed the Cuban 5 hence taking the next step towards ending the US – Cuba conflict?

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