Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon Papers whistle-blower who leaked studies showing successive US governments knew the Vietnam war was un-winnable, had died aged 92. He was put on trial in 1973, charged with espionage, conspiracy and stealing government property, which could have landed him with a possible 115-year sentence and smeared as mentally unbalanced. The case against him was dropped after a supreme court ruling due to gross governmental misconduct, including a break-in at the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist, which in part led to Watergate and Nixon’s resignation in 1974.
By the end of the Vietnam war in 1975, more than 58,000 Americans were dead and 304,000 were wounded. Nearly 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers were killed, as were about 1 million North Vietnamese soldiers and Viet Cong guerillas and more than 2 million civilians in North and South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
He said he never regretted what he did – “I would not have thought of doing what I did which I knew would risk prison for life, without the public example of young Americans going to prison to make a strong statement that the Vietnam war was wrong and they would not participate, even at the cost of their own freedom. Without them, there would have been no Pentagon Papers. Courage is contagious.”
In recent years he has praised Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.
He was born 7 April 1931 9.47 am Chicago, Illinois, with his parents, originally Ashkenazi Jews, having converted to become Christian scientist. His mother and sister died when he was in his late teens in a car accident when his father fell asleep at the wheel. He joined the marines, served three years in Vietnam, then after an economics PhD on decision theory, became an analyst.
He had a 10th house Sun, Uranus, North Node in pro-active Aries on the focal point of a T Square to Saturn in Capricorn opposition Pluto Jupiter in Cancer – hugely resourceful, courageous, impulsive, super-confident and determined, he was custom-designed to make waves and be a trailblazer. His Sun Uranus was also trine an upbeat Sagittarius Moon.
Such an emphasised Uranus can be a social catalyst and freedom fighter though can also be lawless, defiant of authority figures, aggressively determined on upsetting the status quo. Without his reckless confidence he would never have tilted his lance at the head of government when the risks were more than considerable.
When the New York Times printed his information in 1971 his chart was ploughing through heavy seas in what must have been a fearful time with his Solar Arc Midheaven approaching the square to his Saturn; and the discouraging tr Saturn trine Pluto aspecting his SA Sun Uranus.
Unsurprisingly Nixon disliked him (understatement) – with Ellsberg’s single minded Sun Uranus falling in Nixon’s 8th setting off an undersea volcanic eruption and dragging secrets into the open. With Ellsberg’s Saturn in Capricorn putting a damper on Nixon’s Capricorn Sun.
Their relationship chart had a differing-agenda composite Sun, Venus, Uranus conjunction in an unsettled trine to Pluto; and a hostile, power-struggling composite Mars square Pluto. That Mars Pluto (= fight to the death) was being elbowed by tr Uranus in Libra when the Pentagon Papers were released which set off the train of events leading to Watergate and Nixon’s near impeachment.
Earlier this year he announced that he had inoperable pancreatic cancer and had given up his salt-free diet which had improved his life dramatically. He spent his final months eating “hot chocolate, croissants, cake, poppyseed bagels and lox” and enjoying “several viewings of his all-time favourite [movie], Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”.