ELLSBERG ON WHISTLEBLOWERS

Daniel Ellsberg, who blew the whistle on the Vietnam War, told retired journalist George Beres: “Mark Felt was one of a dozen people who had access to information that the White House was lying. The others need to ask themselves why they weren’t Deep Throat.” Ellsberg told Beres that what this country needs is more Felts (and Ellsbergs, say we): “We need a whistleblower with official documents to reveal the lies of the incumbent president. To do this, one must be ready to risk career and income and face imprisonment. Had there been someone with the courage to take the risk at the outset, this unnecessary war in Iraq and its terrible costs could have been prevented…. The difference between Richard Nixon of my time and Bush today is that Nixon faced a Democratic House and Senate and a news media that was more liberal, not compliant like today.”

CHAIRMAN DEAN: HOW’S HE DOING?

David Sirota writes: The Washington “centrists” who continue to attack DNC chairman Howard Dean have succeeded only in unifying a strong contingent of the progressive Democratic base around him. Dean understands that the elites will never be his base of support within the party, so he has an incentive to stay on the populist progressive message. In other words, the grassroots of the party have become crucial to his political survival–and that’s scary to the insulated Democratic establishment. For years, insiders have been able to handpick chairmen to make sure the party doesn’t move back to its middle-class roots. That explains their anger at him, and their continuing attacks. In a recent speech to party officials in Helena, Montana, Dean went out of his way to stress that the party is a big tent, but he also made clear that he believes the party needs to go in a new, more populist direction. When party insiders go to the media and attack their chairman, as Senator Joseph Biden did after Dean made some sharp-tongued, off-the-cuff remarks about the GOP, they weaken the party as a whole. Can you imagine the Republicans ever doing such a thing?

BANDUNG 2005

Damon Rich writes: The governments of the 106 countries of Asia and Africa, with nearly three-quarters of the world’s population, met April 22-23 in Jakarta and Bandung, Indonesia. The occasion was the Golden Jubilee of the first Bandung conference in 1955, which drew such heroes of Third World nationalist movements as Jawaharlal Nehru, Kwame Nkrumah, Ho Chi Minh and Sukarno. Against the background of the cold war, the original Bandung conference was seen as a struggle between the US and the USSR for the hearts and minds of the decolonizing world. While the US government refused even to acknowledge the gathering, Representative Adam Clayton Powell Jr., in the May 28, 1955, issue of

The Nation

, observed that “the United States won a victory at Bandung that it did not deserve to win…since the idea of democracy triumphed over the idea of communism.” This year the situation was much the same: The United States made no official acknowledgment of the proceedings, while Southern presidents and prime ministers, whatever their private thoughts, cheered the advance of US-led free trade. Nearly fifty years after the founding of the Non-Aligned Movement, nonalignment appears to have given way to integration into the global economy. The phrasing on the hundreds of banners hung around Jakarta and Bandung, borrowed from the lingo of corporate management consulting, said it best: New Asian-African Strategic Partnership. While such rhetoric sets an investment-friendly mood, it remains to be seen how the tools of twentieth-century global business can be used to rectify twenty-first-century global inequality.