Pentagon whistleblower Ellsberg, South American, Indian activists win 'alternative Nobels'

Daniel Ellsberg, the former U.S. Defense Department official who leaked secret Pentagon documents during the Vietnam war, was among the winners of the "alternative Nobels" announced Thursday in the Swedish capital.

Ellsberg shared the 2 million kronor (Ђ215,000; US$273,000) Right Livelihood Award with Indian women's rights activist Ruth Manorama and a poetry festival in Medellin, Colombia. Anti-corruption campaigner Chico Whitaker Ferreira of Brazil won the honorary award.

The prize committee said this year's awards honored "justice, truth and peace-building."

The awards were founded in 1980 by Jakob von Uexkull, a stamp dealer who sold his collection to fund a program to recognize work that he believed was ignored by the prestigious Nobel Prizes.

Ellsberg was given the award "for putting peace and truth first, at considerable personal risk, and dedicating his life to inspiring others to follow his example."

Manorama was honored for her work toward achieving equality for dalit women in India. Dalits, or untouchables, belong to no caste and have faced centuries of discrimination.

The prize committee also cited the "The Festival Internacional de Poesia de Medellin" for promoting peace in what it called one of the most violent cities in the world, reports AP.

Whitaker Ferreira, a Roman Catholic activist, won the honorary award "for a lifetime's dedicated work for social justice that has strengthened democracy in Brazil and helped give birth to the World Social Forum, showing that 'another world is possible,"' the citation said.

The awards will be presented in a ceremony at the Swedish Parliament on Dec. 8, two days before the Nobel Prizes are handed out.