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Secrecy, Freedom and Empire: Lessons for Today from Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers
Recorded: Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Daniel Ellsberg began his Vietnam-era career as a U.S. Marine company commander, a Pentagon official, and a staunch supporter of U.S. global interventionism. But, in October 1969, Ellsberg—fully expecting to spend the rest of his life in prison—smuggled out of his office and made public a seven-thousand-page top secret study of decision making in Vietnam, the Pentagon Papers. At this upcoming Independent Policy Forum, Ellsberg will tell the story of his becoming the most important whistle-blower of the last fifty years, risking his career and his freedom to expose the deceptions and delusions of U.S. leaders from Truman onward. Based on his new book, Secrets, Ellsberg provided an insider’s view of the secrets and lies that have shaped decades of U.S. foreign policy to the present. His exposure began on his first day at the Pentagon, August 4, 1964, which was also the day of the infamous Gulf of Tonkin incident. In time, the more he learned from top decision-makers, confidential documents, and reports of secret maneuvers, the more skeptical he became about the conduct and impact of U.S. foreign policies.

The release of the Pentagon Papers set in motion a chain of events that included a landmark Supreme Court decision, the arrest and trial of Ellsberg, the crimes of Watergate, and the end of the Nixon presidency and the Vietnam War.

As the U.S. pursues the current War on Terrorism, Ellsberg’s insights into governmental intoxication with power could not be more timely or important.

This special evening with Daniel Ellsberg and a distinguished panel of scholars, Barton J. Bernstein, Edwin B. Firmage, David R. Henderson, and Jonathan Marshall discussed “Secrecy, Freedom and Empire: Lessons for Today from Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers.”

Experts: Daniel Ellsberg
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Defense and Foreign Policy, History (International)

       
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Big Brother is Watching
Recorded: Thursday, June 6, 2002

To outsiders, its initials once stood for “No Such Agency.” To its employees, they stood for “Never Say Anything.” Today the public knows that the ultra-secret National Security Agency manages the nation’s spy satellites, but few know exactly why the NSA is the most powerful U.S. intelligence agency—or its roles in the Cold War, the hunt for Osama bin Laden, and Echelon, the worldwide NSA spying operation that, many charge, is illegally monitoring innocent citizens. No outsider knows more about the NSA than investigative journalist James Bamford, who began to research it before most members of Congress had even heard of it. In this talk, Mr. Bamford explained why he believes the NSA is a dangerous, two-edged sword.

Experts: James Bamford
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Constitutional Law, Defense and Foreign Policy, Democracy, Freedom, Government Waste/Pork, History (U.S), Law Enforcement, Politics, Technology, Terrorism and National Crises

       
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Gore Vidal on Understanding America’s Terrorist Crisis
Recorded: Thursday, April 18, 2002

Filmed before a live audience on April 18, 2002, renowned author Gore Vidal rejects the blind “patriotism” expected by government officials and the mainstream media, and investigates U.S. foreign policy throughout recent history, showing how it has contributed to the terrorist crisis. With his famous wit and insight, Vidal also demonstrates the ways in which the “War on Terrorism” is being used to curtail civil liberties and shred the Bill of Rights.

Experts: Gore Vidal
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Civil Liberties/ Human Rights, Culture/ Society, Defense and Foreign Policy, Political Ideology and Philosophy, Terrorism and National Crises

       
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