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US "whistle blower" fears US has plans to attack Iran

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dpa German Press Agency
Published: Wednesday December 6, 2006

Stockholm- American Daniel Ellsberg, famed for leaking classified documents on the US war in Vietnam in 1969, Wednesday expressed concern over possible US plans to attack Iran. Ellsberg was one the winners of the 2006 Right Livelihood Awards, often called the Alternative Nobel Prizes, to be handed out on Friday (December 8) at a ceremony in the Swedish parliament.

Co-winners were Brazilian Chico Whitaker Ferreira who helped found the World Social Forum, Indian social activist Ruth Manorama and a Colombian poetry festival.

Ferreira, 75, won the Right Livelihood Honarary Award which carries no prize money while the other winners shared the 2 million kronor (273,000 dollars) monetary prize.

Ellsberg said it was key for US officials who had information and documents relating to plans to launch airstrikes on Iran to leak them in order to "avert a war" that may include the use of nuclear weapons.

"There is a much better chance of stopping an Iran war before it starts," he said.

Information about the possible attack plans have been mentioned by unnamed officials, quoted among others investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, but documents would back up these reports, Ellsberg added.

However, ultimately the individual must weigh the personal price for such a discloure, Ellsberg said.

Speaking about the current US administration, Ellsberg said "we have seen them do things just as crazy in Iraq and you might hope they have learned, but all the evidence from the inside is that they have not learned."

In an op-ed piece in Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, Ellsberg Wednesday urged US allies in NATO to leave the alliance if the US carried out the airstrikes or deployed nuclear weapons.

The awards were created in 1980 by Swedish-German philanthropist Jakob von Uexkull, who said the winners represented "projects of hope" and could inspire others.

Ferreira underlined the need for ties between people and creating networks to "learn from each other" as the international gatherings of the World Social Forum have shown since their 2001 inception.

Manorama, an organizer and advocate for India's Dalit women sometimes called "untouchables," said she aimed to use her share of the prize to build a women's centre in Bangalore.

"Dalit women, especially in rural areas, need higher education, the right to own land," Manorama said, adding that the women still suffer from class, caste, and gender oppression.

The International Poetry Festival of Medellin founded by Fernando Rendon in 1991 was lauded for introducing public readings of poetry breaking a 6 pm curfew imposed by paramilitary groups. The streets were reclaimed and the idea has spread to other cities.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency