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In Memoriam: Mike Gravel

June 27 , 2021 (EIRNS)—With the news of the death of the good friend of the Schiller Institute, Sen. Mike Gravel, Dennis Speed, moderating the second panel at today’s Schiller Institute Conference, offered the following, followed by a word from Helga Zepp-LaRouche. Joe Lauria, the editor of Consortium News, has written a eulogy for Mike. Lauria has worked closely with Mike since 2006, when Mike ran for President, and has recently published a book with Mike on his role in the release of the Pentagon Papers.

Dennis Speed: We are changing our program because this morning we joined the world in recalling and recognizing the importance of United States Senator Mike Gravel, who passed away yesterday.

Gravel immortalized himself as a man of courage with his release of the Pentagon Papers back in 1971. He also appeared in several conferences with our organization. On September 12, 2015, he joined Helga Zepp-LaRouche, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, and Lyndon LaRouche in a forum in New York City. Ramsey Clark also passed away this year. The three World War II veterans—Clark, Gravel, and LaRouche—enjoyed each other’s company, and they enjoyed discussing the marked differences and remarkable convergences in their respective views of the world.

We have a short video in which Mike Gravel [speaking at that conference] described the dangers of the present day, his earlier life, and how he faced the truth.

Sen. Mike Gravel: It’s the total human insanity we have, that we can deal and manipulate and control the bomb. We can’t. Not at all. We’re victims of circumstance.

And so, when I take your views, they’re as valid as mine. But my view is optimistic; I’m not old enough, yet, to be totally pessimistic. My view is that what China is doing, with the help of Russia, and with the BRICS, is really where the future of mankind lies, in terms of solutions. Not our leadership. It’s going to be what they’re [the Chinese] doing, and how they’re handling it. As I pointed out to you earlier, Putin has run things very well. After the provocation of Ukraine—and most Americans have forgotten that we’re the ones that did this; we’re the ones that did it. They don’t hear that any more in the press. And I don’t know if anybody has seen the recent “Frontline” piece on “Putin’s Way”: It was horrible. And I have an intelligence background.

When I was 23 years old. I was a top secret control officer. At 23, mind you. I was in Germany as an adjutant for a communications intelligence service. Our cover was the CIC. What did we do at this place? There were only two military officers—myself, 23, as a second lieutenant; and a lieutenant colonel, who was in the sauce a good part of the time. The rest of it was run by Germans. And what we did is, we’d open people’s mail, wantonly, and wire-tap people in Europe, wantonly. Now, that’s when I was 23 years old.

So you can figure, when we had the Pentagon Papers come up in the Senate, and a Senator could not go in and read the papers, except being under guard, couldn’t take any notes; all I could think of was: when I was 23, I was acting with more power than any Senator can act right now in viewing the Pentagon Papers! So, little wonder that when Ellsberg approached me, and asked if I would read the Pentagon Papers as part of my filibuster against the draft, I said, instantaneously, “Of course, yes, I would!”

Speed: Those of us who were of draft age at that time, remember Mike fondly. We remember his irreverence, his courage at a very dark moment in the United States’ history. And our condolences and our affirmation of his courage go out to his wife Whitney, and his family.

Helga Zepp-LaRouche: I could not start my talk without addressing the incredible loss of Mike Gravel. If all people in the United States would live up to his standards, the world would be a beautiful and peaceful place.

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