Ed Murphy (activist)

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Ed Murphy (born August 6, 1945) is an American peace and labor activist and the Executive Director of the Workforce Development Institute. He was a former military intelligence soldier who exposed the CIA's Phoenix Program in April 1970.

Early life[edit]

Murphy attended a public grammar school and graduated from St Peter's Boys High School, run by the Christian Brothers. When he discerned a vocation to the priesthood, he chose the Paulist Fathers in Baltimore.[1]

He spent his third year in seminary in silence and meditation as a Paulist novitiate without academic classes, radio, TV or newspapers. In July 1966 he left the seminary without being ordained, returning to secular life.[2]

He surrendered his draft deferment and enlisted in the military, to work in Military Intelligence. In January 1967 he attended Basic Training at Fort Gordon, Georgia and then returned to Baltimore for the US Army Intelligence School at Fort Holabird; followed by eight months studying Vietnamese, at the Defense Language Institute, Biggs Field, El Paso, Texas.[3]


Murphy served in Vietnam from May 1968 to May 1969 as a sergeant in the 4th Military Intelligencen Detachment, 4th Infantry Division in Pleiku, where his first recorded statement against the war was made.[4]

Murphy returned to the U.S. and was assigned to the 116th Military Intelligence Detachment in Washington D.C., conducting background checks for those applying for security clearances and was involved in military efforts to “monitor” the peace movement.[citation needed] He completed his military duty on January 15, 1970.[citation needed] The next day he met with Sam Brown, organizer of the Vietnam Moratorium and immediately spoke out against the Vietnam war and use of the military to spy on domestic activities.[5] In January 1970, Murphy returned to Staten Island and became an early organizer of VVAW, Vietnam Veterans Against the War. In May 1970, he appeared at the Overseas Press Club[6][7] with Michael Uhl and the Citizens Commission of Inquiry to expose the Phoenix Program.[3][unreliable source?]

In 1977, Murphy wrote a history of conservationists' efforts to protect the mineral springs in Saratoga Springs, New York and the founding of the Saratoga Spa State Park, This document, The Politics of Hydrotherapy and The Development of a New York State Policy (December 14, 1977) is part of the local history collection in the Saratoga Room at the Saratoga Springs Public Library.[citation needed] Mario Cuomo, then-Governor of New York, appointed Murphy Deputy Director, NYS Division of Veterans Affairs.[4]

In 1991, Murphy left New York to work on reconciliation with Vietnam, do business and environmental consulting and provide humanitarian assistance.[citation needed] He participated in the United Nations' Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)'s 1991 Investors Forum in Ho Chi Minh City and subsequent meetings with government leaders in Hanoi. For a decade Murphy worked with government, businesses, organized labor, NGOs and educational institutions interested in establishing programs in Southeast Asia.[citation needed] Through his alma mater, the College of Staten Island (CSI), he lectured, initiated programs related to and assisted in development of the City University of New York's establishment of English language training in and educational exchanges with Vietnam. He brought his daughter Zoeann with him on a CSI trip to Indochina, after which they wrote their book Vietnam: Our Father Daughter Journey[8]

In 1999, Murphy began to work with the NYS AFL-CIO, and helped establish the Workforce Development Institute (WDI), as a national leader in workforce intelligence, education and training of unionized workers.[9] In addition to serving as the Executive Director of WDI, he is co-founder of the Apollo Alliance.[10]


  1. ^ "Vietnamese Culture Had Powerful Impact", Schenectady Gazette, June 18, 1988
  2. ^ Murphy, Ed (December 1991). "Vietnam Lives in My Soul". Connections Magazine. 
  3. ^ a b Valentine, Douglas (10 June 2014). The Phoenix Program: America's Use of Terror in Vietnam. Open Road Media. p. 265. ISBN 978-1-4976-2020-9. 
  4. ^ a b Edelman, Bernard (2002). Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam. W.W. Norton. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-393-32304-7. 
  5. ^ "Islander describes ‘tortures’ he saw as a GI in Vietnam", Staten Island Advance by Dan McNamara (April 14, 1970)
  6. ^ "Vets Say GIs Tortured Captives" by Timothy Ferris, New York Post (May 14, 1970)
  7. ^ "Parallel News" by Nat Hentoff, Village Voice (May 4, 1970)
  8. ^ Murphy, Ed; Murphy, Zoeann (2006). Vietnam: Our Father Daughter Journey. Philmark Press. ISBN 978-0-9776275-0-9. 
  9. ^ Murphy, Ed. "Ed Talks". WDINY. 
  10. ^ "NORTH COUNTRY SYMPOSIUM AT ST. LAWRENCE UNIVERSITY APRIL 24". US Fed News Service. April 9, 2007 – via HighBeam Research. (subscription required (help)).