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Those Who Controlled the Past Should Not Control the Future

Those Who Controlled the Past Should Not Control the Future

Norman Solomon

Daniel Ellsberg has a message that managers of the warfare state don’t want people to hear.

“If you have information that bears on deception or illegality in pursuing wrongful policies or an aggressive war,” he said in a statement released last week, “don't wait to put that out and think about it, consider acting in a timely way at whatever cost to yourself…. Do what Katharine Gun did.”

If you don’t know what Katharine Gun did, chalk that up to the media power of the war system.


Thank you, Mr. Solomon. This is the first time that I’ve heard of this unsung hero. And she is a hero for her time…for any time! Thank you Katherine Gun, for having the courage to do the right thing!


By coincidence I just finished watching the video and then came to CD. I highly recommend taking the time to view it. It reminds us how courageous these whistle blowers are as well as the complete lack of any humanitarian values the war criminals possess.




Thank you Po. I shall watch it now.

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it is interesting that Daniel Ellsberg assumed that the leak came from “someone very high in access in Britain intelligence services” and not from Katharine Gun, an analyst farther down the chain of command.

It seems that in the internet age these kinds of disclosures are coming from rank-and-file personnel, from Gun to Edward Snowden to Reality Winner, not forgetting Chelsea Manning, who had been imprisoned for espionage during the Iraq war while the perpetrators of that war are very probably guilty of crimes of aggression yet walk free.

I would hardly expect that anyone high up the chain to be the whistleblower, at least in the current environment post-Ellsberg. The trend seems to be for lower-level personnel to act. They may be much less likely to have internalized the values of the institution and, with far greater access to both sensitive materials and especially to a broader spectrum of opinion, may be more likely to act independently in the service of what they believe is the right thing to do.

Which prompts the question: How hard is the crackdown on this going to be?


Excellent video.

It worth pointing out that this story was little reported on in the USA when Ms Gun leaked to the Media in the UK. After this bombshell leak , a number of peoples from the UK and other commentators were booked on the US Media to discuss the ramifications of the same.

All of the media outlets cancelled those bookings. The word come from on high not to report it and they complied. You could see reports of this on Russian TV and on Chinese TV and French TV but not in the USA.

Also of note , one reason the British Governmnet decided not to prosecute Ms Gun is they realized that this would result in the Courts determining that the war on Iraq was illegal and was launched using FABRICATED Intelliegnce. As Mr Parker on the panel pointed out this was not an error in intelligence, this was stuff being made up out of nothing.

Today we see the same process at work with some of the people that post here using the same tactics to attack people questioning the “Official narrative” that were used in 2003 when those people called “Saddam Apologists” and “On Saddams Payroll” or having drunk “Saddams Kool aid” and that when people question the “Russia hacked the elections” stuff that goes on.

Again thank you for the link and I encourage those that wach it to pay attention to the lawyer near the end speaking of the guilt felt by peoples of Conscience for trying to head of this war and all they went through and contrasting it to the lack of Guilt felt by the Generals and war planners whose decisions led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands.


The title of this article lends added credence to Einstein’s “yuo will never solve a problem when the people charged with solving it are the ones who created it”.

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Warriors are not heros. They do all they do under orders without bothering to check their own morals and values and facts. Katharine Gunn IS a hero. I can’t imagine a “warrior” having the actual moral stamina to do what she did. That is where “warriors” fail again and again. The want too much to be “approved” and “hailed” and not get in trouble with their superiors, regardless of any crimes they are committing.


While I agree that Katharine Gun is a hero, I think you are over-generalizing with respect to “warriors.” Organizations such as Vietnam Veterans Against the War and Iraq Veterans Against the War exemplify the efforts and attitudes of military personnel who served in those wars and others and realized that war is not the answer. Sometimes you have to experience the literal baptism of fire to come to that understanding.

The very same Daniel Ellsberg quoted in this article served in the Marines in the 1950s before he worked in-country in Vietnam in the 1960s as a State Department employee under notorious counterinsurgency practitioner General Edward Lansdale. Ron Kovic did serve two tours of combat duty in Vietnam before the injury that left him badly paralyzed turned him into an antiwar activist. And, digging further back, Marine General Smedley Butler, one of the few persons to be awarded two Congressional Medals of Honor and live to tell about it, became late in life a critic of militarism, calling himself “a gangster of capitalism” and writing the book War Is a Racket.

I would reserve my scorn and contempt for chickenhawks such as Dick Cheney and Donald Trump, who both took pains to ensure that they themselves didn’t serve in the military–although they were not opposed to the wars they were trying to avoid–but once they became able to do so, showed no compunction about sending men and women off to die for their cause.

You do raise a good point about “warriors” who want to be approved and hailed and not get into trouble with their superiors. I immediately thought of Colin Powell. And not to be flippant, but, in the sci-fi satire Mars Attacks! a character named General Casey, played by Paul Winfield, seems to be a ringer for Powell: “But didn’t I always tell you, honey, if I just stayed in place and never spoke up, good things are bound to happen?”

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Point taken. In that sense, Katharine Gunn was part of the security apparatus herself, intelligence division, before seeing the false information come across her desk, faking a reason for war.
I guess I just really, really dislike this constant veteran veneration cult/culture we seem to have now. I badly dislike someone thanking me for “my service” and not even knowing what I did or didn’t in the service. I too believed in the Gulf of Tonkin narrative from the US when I enlisted. I was never in SEA but many in my outfit were. We constantly formed small groups for TDY (travel, temporary duty). Finish one TDY, turn in gear, rest, get another TDY ready and go. That was the life we led. Yet I probably had a shared mathematical hand in killing more North Vietnamese than any single trigger puller, all without contact or personal exposure. I put mathematical gunsites (and missile sites, if you will) on radar controlled bomb drops. I worked on computations for Skyspot stations which controlled the dropping of munitions on NV and the area, from the survey data other team members sent and brought back from SVN, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, and other places, some of which you may recognize already as places we didn’t have any troops (except we did, because I worked on other teams with the same people who were on TDY’s there from our squadron). I was all over the US and UK. Others were not only in SEA but in all sorts of places globally, even Pitcairn Island.


Thank you for sharing your story, and I hope I didn’t come off as scolding or lecturing because you have a far better insight and understanding–and experience–than I do. i appreciate your sharing your experience and putting it into a larger context.

I agree that we are in a period of “veteran veneration” and an overall celebration of war and the military might of the country. That seemed to come in after “we kicked the Vietnam syndrome,” as Bush the Elder put it, and it was all right to be gung-ho again. Andrew Bacevich, a Vietnam vet whose articles appear occasionally on CD, has a good summary of this in his book The New American Militarism, which is where your point about the veneration really hit home for me in his insightful analysis.

Yes, I think that anyone who wondered about the four US soldiers who were killed in Niger last year, or who has read any of Chalmers Johnson’s books, would know that the US has had a military presence in the most unlikely places even as the general population seems only interested in rote cheering (as if this is a sporting event) and chanting “Support our troops!” and “USA! USA! USA!” (Pitcairn Island? Were we worried that the commies were trying to disrupt the international breadfruit trade?) My understanding is that in the first half of the 1960s, Laos was a much bigger concern than was Vietnam as we waged a “secret war”–secret only to the American public, certainly not to the Laotians whose country we were destroying–in the quest to make the world “safe for democracy.”

Again, thank you for sharing your story in such a gracious reply. Your conviction regarding the veneration of the warrior culture becomes all the more powerful from your having lived that culture.