PODCAST

GroundTruth

The GroundTruth Project

At the height of the Vietnam War, a government insider named Daniel Ellsberg leaked 7,000 pages of classified documents to American newspapers. The Pentagon Papers revealed that Americans had been lied to for decades about the war. Fifty years later, Ellsberg reveals his evolution from Cold Warrior to Whistleblower in the GroundTruth Podcast series The Whistleblower: Truth, Dissent and the Legacy of Daniel Ellsberg.

Based at GBH in Boston, the award-winning GroundTruth Podcast has covered global affairs from the War in Afghanistan to rising populist nationalism through shoe-leather, on-the-ground reporting.


The Whistleblower - Epilogue: Truth Is the First Casualty
Sep 10 2021
The Whistleblower - Epilogue: Truth Is the First Casualty
In war, truth is the first casualty. It's a military maxim attributed to Aeschylus, the father of Greek tragedy. In the lead up to the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and ahead of the withdrawal from a war that became the longest in American history, GroundTruth's founder Charlie Sennott returns to Afghanistan and revisits a conflict he has covered on the ground since its first battles and its first casualties. Two decades later, amid an American departure from Afghanistan that many have compared to the fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War, Sennott examines the two conflicts: the government's lies and deceptions about Vietnam revealed by Daniel Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers, the lessons left unheeded by American leaders during the Afghan war, and why it took us so long to see the mounting lies of that war. This episode concludes The Whistleblower, our 10th season of the GroundTruth Podcast, which began with the award-winning series Foreverstan, on-the-ground reporting from Afghanistan examining the first 14 years of the war. Listen to our first season: we’re going to take a step back and evaluate this podcast and think about our best way forward. How do we keep going and finding new ways to be there on the ground, telling audio stories that matter in under-covered corners of the world? We’d like to hear your thoughts about the podcast. Call us and leave a voice message with your feedback at ‪(339) 365-3754. We listen to everything you send us and we might even share some of them on this podcast. The Whistleblower podcast series is part of a wider collaboration with UMass Amherst and GBH, including a two-day conference presented by GroundTruth and UMass Amherst on “Truth, Dissent and the Legacy of Daniel Ellsberg,” featuring a conversation between the Pentagon Papers whistleblower himself and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Learn more here:
The Whistleblower - Episode 5: The Doomsday Machine
Jun 23 2021
The Whistleblower - Episode 5: The Doomsday Machine
Before he was helping plan the Vietnam War, Ellsberg was working at Rand Corporation as a nuclear war planner. In the late 1950’s and early 60’s, he came across a classified policy document that called for killing a fifth of the human population. “This, to me, was pure evil.” When he was facing trial for releasing the Pentagon Papers, he held another trove of secret documents on the Pentagon’s plans for nuclear war. His plan was to release these, most likely from prison. But in a strange twist, a natural disaster interrupted his plans. In the series finale, the whistleblower leaks documents on U.S. nuclear policy in the Taiwan Straits written by his colleague Morton Halperin at the height of the Cold War. The documents, embedded below, are still considered classified, and could put him at risk of prison time. This podcast series is part of a wider collaboration with UMass Amherst and GBH, including a two-day conference presented by GroundTruth and UMass Amherst on “Truth, Dissent and the Legacy of Daniel Ellsberg,” featuring a conversation between the Pentagon Papers whistleblower himself and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Learn more here:  like to hear your thoughts about the podcast. Call us and leave a voice message with your feedback at *‪(339) 365-3754*. We listen to everything you send us and we might even share some of them on this podcast. As we look ahead to the next season of the GroundTruth Podcast, we want to feedback from listeners like you: How do we keep going and finding new ways to be there on the ground, telling audio stories that matter in undercovered corners of the world?
The Whistleblower - Episode 1: The Lying Machine
Apr 15 2021
The Whistleblower - Episode 1: The Lying Machine
In the series premiere, we pick up on Ellsberg’s first day at the Pentagon, the day he became acquainted with what he came to call the “lying machine.” It was August 4, 1964. Contradicting accounts of an attack in The Gulf of Tonkin would give President Johnson the green light to lead the country into war in Vietnam based on a lie. We follow this thread, and the deception, through his time in the field in Vietnam, where he saw how the lies on the ground made their way back to Washington. Back home, Ellsberg observes the power of leaking government lies: His very first leak to The New York Times reporter Neil Sheehan helped to end a presidency. This podcast series is part of a wider collaboration with UMass Amherst and GBH, including a two-day conference presented by GroundTruth and UMass Amherst on “Truth, Dissent and the Legacy of Daniel Ellsberg” featuring a conversation between the Pentagon Papers whistleblower himself and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Learn more: like to hear your thoughts about the podcast. Call us and leave a voice message with your feedback at *‪(339) 365-3754*. We listen to everything you send us and we might even share some of them on this podcast. As we look ahead to the next season of the GroundTruth Podcast, we want to feedback from listeners like you: How do we keep going and finding new ways to be there on the ground, telling audio stories that matter in undercovered corners of the world?
The Whistleblower: Truth, Dissent & the Legacy of Daniel Ellsberg TRAILER
Apr 2 2021
The Whistleblower: Truth, Dissent & the Legacy of Daniel Ellsberg TRAILER
Americans across the country opened their newspapers to the first reports based on classified documents leaked by a government insider, Daniel Ellsberg. Consisting of 7,000 pages of top secret documents, the Pentagon Papers revealed in cold, analytical detail how four presidential administrations lied to the American public: the reasons for entering the war, the failures of their policies, the low chances of success, and the reasons for staying the course. But for Ellsberg, the facts were overwhelming, the lies, extraordinary, and the dissonance too deafening for him to simply stay the course, as so many other administration officials had done. This 5-part podcast series sheds light on the pivotal moments and role models that motivated Ellsberg to risk 115 years in jail in service to the truth. The series also explores his role as a nuclear planner, firmly convinced that a nuclear war would vanquish the human race in his lifetime. In exclusive interviews with Ellsberg, he reveals his evolution from Cold Warrior to whistleblower, the legacy of truth and dissent in the U.S., and their implications for our democracy today. This season of the GroundTruth Podcast is part of a year-long public history project in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Amherst and GBH, Boston and was made possible through the generous support of the UMass Chancellor’s Office. We’d like to hear your thoughts about the podcast. Call us and leave a voice message with your feedback at *‪(339) 365-3754*. We listen to everything you send us and we might even share some of them on this podcast. As we look ahead to the next season of the GroundTruth Podcast, we want to feedback from listeners like you: How do we keep going and finding new ways to be there on the ground, telling audio stories that matter in undercovered corners of the world?