Full Video of The Independent Institutes 2011 25th Anniversary Gala for Liberty held November 15, 2011. Part 1: Introductory Remarks and Tribute to Robert Higgs Part 2: Tribute to Mario Vargas Llosa Part 3: History of The Independent Institute and Fund for the Future Part 4: Tribute to Lech Walesa Part 5: Special Tributes, Sponsors, and Credits
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, Ellsbergfully expecting to spend the rest of his life in prisonsmuggled 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 insiders 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, Ellsbergs 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.
The great question of Pearl Harbor: what did U.S. government officials know and when did they know it? Ithas been argued for years. After decades of Freedom of Information Act requests, Robert Stinnett was finally able to examine the long-hidden evidence, shattering every shibboleth of Pearl Harbor. He finds that not only was the attack expected, it was deliberately provoked through an eight-step program devised by the Navy for President Franklin Roosevelt. Could Pearl Harbor have neither been an "accident" nor a mere "failure" of U.S. intelligence nor a "brilliant" Japanese military coup? Could the tragedy at Pearl Harbor have been a carefully orchestrated design, initiated at the highest government levels in order to galvanize a peace-loving American public to go to war? Robert Stinnett will discuss this startling issue in detail.
Robert B. Stinnett
Former Journalist, Oakland Tribune and BBC.
Author of the books, George Bush: His World War II Years and Day of Deceit: The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor.
In 1989, during a large peaceful student demonstration in Beijings Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government deployed its military to massacre hundreds of unarmed students and other civilians in order to stop a growing movement for democratization and individual freedom. Since then, tens of thousands who have spoken out have been imprisoned, tortured and killed, and the government has refused to even admit that such atrocities have occurred. This special Independent Policy Forum will feature three outstanding experts, including two of the leaders of the original Chinese student movement. They will discuss the events then and since, the current movement in china for freedom, and the implications of current Chinese government policies for Americans.
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.