Daniel Ellsberg, delivering the 11th Annual Frank K. Kelly Lecture on Humanity’s Future (photo by Rick Carter)

We are devastated by the news of the passing of Daniel Ellsberg, the great American hero and longtime friend and advisor to the Foundation. Best known as the original whistleblower, Dr. Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers in 1971 at the risk of spending the rest of his life in prison; his turn away from establishment led to decades of advocacy for peace and nuclear disarmament. He is the author of three books: Risk, Ambiguity, and Decision, published in 2001; Secrects: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers, published in 2003; and The Doomsday Machine, Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, published in 2017. In 2005, Dr. Ellsberg was the recipient of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s Distinguished Peace Leader Award.

Just days after sharing his terminal cancer diagnosis in late February of this year, Dr. Ellsberg participated in our Nuclear Dangers virtual event, alongside Professors Noam Chomsky and Richard Falk (see recording and transcript below). Moderated by Cynthia Lazaroff, the wide ranging discussion about the state of the Ukraine War and the necessity for peace was also an opportunity for Dr. Ellsberg to share his appreciation and love for his friends and colleagues. As confessed by Ellsberg during the conversation, Chomsky and Falk were two of the people to whom Ellsberg had given copies of the Pentagon Papers, before the New York Times published them.

In the coming days and weeks, much will be written about Dr. Ellsberg. His unusual bravery, in putting his entire life on the line to end a war based on lies, has been deeply inspiring to many over the decades. He has said numerous times that this was not a difficulty decision for him, if it meant saving countless American and Vietnamese lives. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he displayed a similar kind of bravery in facing his diagnosis this year. Cheerful by nature, during the Nuclear Dangers event, he came across as the epitome of happiness and gratitude. He would go on for several weeks to give interviews in mainstream media, to the New York Times, CNN, and others, trying – as much as possible – to share his message to posterity on the necessity of nuclear disarmament. But unlike in the popular outlets, at NAPF, he was uncensored. We hope you will take time to listen/watch/read the advice that this great man left for us all. May we heed his powerful words.

Video of the Nuclear Dangers event, March 2, 2023

Transcript of the Nuclear Dangers event, March 2, 2023

Video of the Nuclear Dangers event, April 29, 2022

Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s Symposium on October 24, 2016

11th Annual Frank K. Kelly Lecture on Humanity’s Future