ON THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE PENTAGON PAPERS
Sunday, June 13, 2021, 7:30 pm EDT
The Pentagon Papers exposed the lies about the Vietnam War, destroying the government's case for the war and sending Nixon's White House into convulsions that led to Watergate and his impeachment.
Daniel Ellsberg, the man who risked life in prison to reveal the top-secret Papers, will be our featured webinar speaker. Join us to honor and celebrate him on the 50th anniversary of the June 13, 1971 public release and explore the impact of his actions then and now.
- What was so explosive about what was in the Pentagon Papers?
- Why did Nixon's National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger call Ellsberg "the most dangerous man in America," who "had to be stopped at all costs"?
- Why did the government's espionage trial of Ellsberg and his co-defendant Anthony Russo collapse?
- How did the trial end up intensifying Nixon's Watergate scandal?
- What was the key role played by Ellsberg's co-defendant Anthony Russo?
- What role did the press play in making public the lies about the war?
VIEW THE COMPLETE WEBINAR
Dan Ellsberg • Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman
Gar Alperovitz • Barbara Myers
DANIEL ELLSBERG is a writer, activist, and whistleblower. A former analyst at the RAND corporation, he was also an official in the Defense and State Departments under President Lyndon Johnson. From 1965-1967 he served in Vietnam studying pacification programs. By 1969, believing the Vietnam War unjust, Ellsberg photocopied a top-secret 7,000-page study of U.S. decision-making in Vietnam (the Pentagon Papers). In 1971, he leaked them to the New York Times and eighteen other newspapers. The government charged Ellsberg with twelve felony counts with a possible sentence of 115 years. The case was dismissed in 1973 when Watergate inquiries exposed criminal misconduct against Ellsberg by the Nixon White House. In the decades since, he has been arrested scores of times for acts of civil disobedience in opposition to U.S nuclear and foreign policy. His books include The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner (2017) and Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers (2002).
ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN served four terms in the House of Representatives and was the first woman elected District Attorney in New York City and NYC Comptroller. In Congress, she was a plaintiff in the landmark lawsuit to stop the bombing of Cambodia, and served on the Judiciary Committee during the impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon, where she drafted the impeachment resolution (that failed) for his secret bombing of Cambodia. Holtzman also authored the extension of the ratification deadline for the Equal Rights Amendment and uncovered the presence of Nazi war criminals in the US. A graduate of Radcliffe College and Harvard Law School, Holtzman practices law in New York City.
GAR ALPEROVITZ was instrumental in expanding the publication of the Pentagon Papers. With Ellsberg in hiding, Alperovitz developed a strategy to hand off portions of the Papers to one news publication at a time beginning with The Washington Post, which helped to create an ongoing media spectacle and kept public interest in the contents of the papers alive for weeks, an approach that later proved to be crucial from both a legal and a public-relations standpoint. Alperovitz is former Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland, is Co-Chair of The Next System Project (with James Gustav Speth) and Co-Founder of The Democracy Collaborative, an organization devoted to developing community wealth-building approaches to local and national democratic reconstruction. Dr. Alperovitz lectures widely and has testified before numerous Congressional Committees. His articles have appeared in many popular and academic publications. Alperovitz’s most recent books are his 2017 Principles of a Pluralist Commonwealth; his 2013 What Then Must We Do? Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution; and a 2011 second edition of his 2005 America Beyond Capitalism: Reclaiming Our Wealth, Our Liberty and Our Democracy. He is author (with Jeff Faux) of Rebuilding America and (with Staughton Lynd) of Strategy and Program (Beacon). Alperovitz is also a historian of nuclear weapons; his most well-known works in this field are The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb (Knopf) and Atomic Diplomacy (Simon & Schuster).
BARBARA MYERS is an independent journalist and the first to explore the historical significance of the Pentagon Papers’ other protagonist, Anthony J. (Tony) Russo. Russo’s involvement in a case of Vietnam intelligence gone terribly wrong could serve as an unpublished chapter of the Pentagon Papers. Though finally in the public domain, the story of the RAND Corporation’s Motivation and Morale Study and Russo’s effort to expose it (see The Other Conspirator) is a cautionary tale that still deserves scrutiny and its own place in Vietnam historiography. Myers’ anti-war and social justice work ranges from 1970s participation in the Indochina Peace Campaign, where she first met Tony Russo and Dan Ellsberg and attended their trial, to work mentoring young Rwandans in their quest for higher education. She is an Associate Producer and Contributing Writer on the recent documentary, The Boys Who Said No!, Draft Resistance and the Vietnam War
The Other Conspirator, by Barbara Myers. The story of Tony Russo, Pentagon Papers Trial co-defendant and a whistleblower in his own right, who exposed an intelligence debacle at the center of Vietnam decision-making.