Before Bradley Manning, there was Daniel Ellsberg.
In 1971, Ellsberg, then a RAND employee, famously leaked classified documents to the New York Times. Known as the Pentagon Papers, they proved that the government prolonged the Vietnam War despite early knowledge that it would likely lose, and that the U.S. publicly underplayed the number of likely casualties.
Ellsberg will appear twice in Sebastopol to screen and discuss the 2009 documentary The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers.
The film follows the important activist while looking back at the Vietnam-era turmoil that sparked his momentous leak. Directed by Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith, it’s garnered awards from the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam and the Mill Valley Film Festival, and earned an Oscar nod in the category of Best Documentary Feature.
The Kensington, Calif., resident is now a vocal opponent of nuclear warfare, and was accepted into the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation as a Fellow. On his website, he writes: “Public education and political mobilization against the destruction of near-universal legal norms governing nuclear weapons has never been more urgent.”
Daniel Ellsberg speaks on Friday, Jan. 27, at the Sebastopol Community Center (390 Morris St., Sebastopol; 6:30pm. $20; 707.823.1511) and with a four-course dinner on Sunday, Jan. 29, at the French Garden Bistro (8050 Bodega Ave., Sebastopol; 5pm; $50; 707.824.2030).