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Kegley Institute of Ethics Hosts Daniel Ellsberg

The Kegley Institute of Ethics (KIE) at California State University, Bakersfield will host its 29th Annual Kegley Memorial Lecture on Tuesday, April 14th at 7:00 pm in the Doré Theatre. This year, KIE will host Daniel Ellsberg, famed for his central role in the 1971 release of The Pentagon Papers, speaking on “Why the United States Needs More Edward Snowdens.”

Ellsberg, considered by many to be among the most important, even heroic, figures of the 1960's and 1970's, will argue we should have a similarly positive view of Edward Snowden, the NSA analyst who also released key secret government documents, allegedly proving that the U.S. government was engaged in illegal surveillance of U.S. and international citizens. "Although there are key differences between Ellsberg and Snowden," noted Christopher Meyers, KIE's executive director, "I can't imagine anyone in a better position than Ellsberg to judge whether Snowden's actions were ethical and responsible. Ellsberg is an icon of that generation and we are in awe to have him visit CSUB."

Ellsberg became a respected military analyst for the Pentagon and The Rand Corporation. While helping develop strategy for our escalating war in Vietnam, he was increasingly shocked by the government's clear misrepresentations –in particular how involved we were in surrounding countries and how major defeats were being pitched as successes. He attempted to work within the system to get the truth revealed, but was repeatedly rebuffed. He became convinced that he had a moral duty to get the information to the public and successfully convinced the New York Times to publish secret documents –The Pentagon Papers—that showed how deep and pervasive the deception was. Those revelations are widely regarded as being the seminal point that led to the eventual end of the war. 

Charged with theft, conspiracy and a violation of the Espionage Act, Ellsberg faced decades in prison. The government essentially withdrew the charges, however, when it was discovered that White House operatives G. Gordon Liddy and Howard Hunt (of later "Watergate" fame), illegally wiretapped his phone and broke into the offices of his psychiatrist—all in an attempt to discredit him. From there, Ellsberg became one of the country's best known and most effective anti-war activists, as well as an ardent defender of whistle-blower rights.

Like all KIE events, the lecture is free and open to the public, thanks to generous support from Kern Schools Federal Credit Union and a partnership between Kaiser Permanente and San Joaquin Community Hospital. Free parking will be available after 6 pm in Lots A, B & C. Additional information is available at 661-654-2555 and at Meyers notes they are expecting a large crowd for the event and urges attendees to arrive early. 

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