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The Pentagon papers and the NSA’s spying

By Robin Loving Rowland

What do the Pentagon Papers and the National Security Administration’s spying have in common? Join Jon Sievert as he discusses the saga of the Beacon Press and the Pentagon Papers Sunday, March 23, at 10:30am at Hotel la Aldea on Ancha de San Antonio 15 at the weekly service of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

Unitarian Universalist
Fellowship Service
The Pentagon Papers and the NSA’s Spying
Sun, Mar 23, 10:30am
Hotel La Aldea
Ancha de San Antonio 15


In June 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, a Rand Corporation think tank employee, leaked excerpts of a Defense Department study on Vietnam decision-making to the New York Times, revealing the disparity between the internal policymaking and the lies and deceptions being spoon-fed to the public about the war.

Their publication touched off a firestorm of government and judicial activity that directly attacked the First Amendment. When it came time to publish the full 7,000 pages of what became known as the Pentagon Papers, 32 publishers passed out of fear of government reprisal. Only Beacon Press, the book-publishing arm of the Unitarian Universalist Association, saw the moral imperative and stepped forward to publish the full five-volume set.

Sievert will discuss the UUA’s decision to publish and the 2.5-year ordeal that led Beacon Press and the UUA into a spiral of harassment, intimidation, near-bankruptcy and the possibility of criminal prosecution. He will also address the publication in light of current events surrounding the leaks of Private First Class Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden that reveal NSA spying on US citizens and other nations.

Sievert will also discuss the history of Beacon Press and how it became a logical publisher for the papers.

Sievert is the president of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Miguel de Allende.

UUs value the individual spiritual journey. UU faith is of deeds, not creeds. There is perhaps no faith community that affirms more completely the power and potential of women and men to find and/or create meaning. What brings UUs together is a commitment to community. UUs know that differences need not divide us. UU presentations emphasize the values of community, spirituality and social justice.

At a recent UU service, overheard was the comment, “The people are so warm and friendly. Thank you for making me feel so welcome.”


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