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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


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


Smarter Urban Growth: Markets or Bureaucracy?
Recorded: Wednesday, October 3, 2001

Astronomical housing costs, suffocating traffic congestion, and pollution take a heavy toll on our quality of life. Are these problems the inescapable consequences of modern life or the results of poor government policies? Proponents of "smart growth" seek to correct them by replacing suburban living with high-density, urban living and public transit. Others seeks to extend and expand current public and private systems. But how smart are these and other approaches? Would market-based alternatives be preferable to create sustainable communities? Urban economists Randal O'Toole and Daniel Klein discussed innovative "smarter growth" solutions for affordable housing, transportation, land use, and the quality of life in our communities.

Experts: Randal O’Toole
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Bureaucracy and Government, Land Use, Privatization, Property Rights, Regulation and Deregulation


The New Path for Africa: Establishing Free-Market Societies
Recorded: Wednesday, April 28, 1999

Why has Africa, despite its rich history, cultures, and abundant resources, largely remained in the grip of dictatorship, starvation, genocide and war? How can this tragic legacy of colonialism, socialism, and plutocracy be replaced with the welfare of economic liberalization, individual rights, and the Rule of Law? Based on his new book, "Africa in Chaos," award-winning economist George Ayittey will examine the record of American statism and the revolution for free-market societies.

George B. N. Ayittey Professor of Economics, American University Author, Africa in Chaos and Africa Betrayed

David J. Theroux Founder and President, The Independent Institute

Experts: George B. N. Ayittey
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Civil Liberties/ Human Rights, Defense and Foreign Policy, Economic History and Development (International), Free Market Economics


Fixing America's Cities: Privatization and Community Empowerment
Recorded: Tuesday, April 6, 1999

Stephen Goldsmith

Mayor, City of Indianapolis, Indiana

Author, "The Twenty-First Century City"

Experts: Stephen Goldsmith
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Land Use, Property Rights, Regulation and Deregulation, Transportation, Urban Issues


Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War: How Government Can Mold Public Opinion
Recorded: Thursday, October 7, 1993

What happens when government goes unchallenged, and when questions regarding present or proposed policies go unasked? With the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War, for example, Americans are increasingly wary of foreign conflicts. Yes, American forces are still active in Somalia and are being called for in the Balkans and elsewhere. To understand how government officials may seek to shift public opinion on unpopular programs, John MacArthur has found understanding the precedents set during the war against Saddam Hussein to be most insightful.

In his presentation, Mr. MacArthur will draw upon his widely acclaimed book, Second Front: Censorship and Propoganda in the Gulf War, to scrutinize the government's campaign to tightly control the American media during Operation Desert Storm. With a reporter's critical eye and a historian's sensibility, he will trace decades of press-government regulations – during Vietnam, Grenada, and Panama – which helped set the stage for restrictions on Gulf War reporting and for a government public-relations triumph.

In his talk, Mr. Macarthur will detail the behind-the-scenes activities during Operation Desert Storm by the U.S. and Kuwaiti governments as well as the media's being co-opted while its rights to observe, question, and report were heavily restricted far beyond and needs to protect American lives. He will demonstrate how, despite a torrent of words and images from the Persian Gulf, Americans were systematically and deliberately kept in the dark about events, politics, and simple facts during the Gulf Crisis.

Drawing upon frank and startling interviews, Mr. MacArthur will discuss how the Pentagon, after locking out the press in Grenada and Panama, pooled, censored, and escorted the media under armed guard in the gulf to a degree seldom seen before in America's wars. As a result. the media may have merely become glorified government stenographers, uncritically accepting such stories as the Kuwaiti babies being snatched from incubators by Iraqui soldiers, the precision of "smart bombs," the exaggerated size and morale of Hussein's forces, and the nature of losses on both sides. In revealing the workings of propoganda, Mr. MacArthur will question the impact and need for such extraordinary government power.

Experts: John R. MacArthur
Type: Independent Institute Event
Issues: Bureaucracy and Government, Civil Liberties/ Human Rights, Defense and Foreign Policy, Diplomacy and Foreign Aid, Entertainment, Government Power, Government Secrecy, History (International), Terrorism and National Crises


National Dinner to Honor Robert A. Conquest
Recorded: Tuesday, July 7, 1992

July 7, 1992 • Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco, California

Speakers (In Order of Appearance):