Archive for July, 2010
Daniel Ellsberg and his Pentagon Papers
Daniel Ellsberg was a United States military analyst.
While Ellsberg was employed by the RAND Corporation in 1971, he released the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Pentagon study of US government decision-making about the Vietnam War, to The New York Times and other newspapers.
He attended Harvard University on a scholarship, graduating with B.S. in economics in 1952 (summa cum laude). He then studied at Cambridge University on a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. A year later he returned to Harvard for graduate school. In 1954, he left Harvard for the U.S. Marine Corps. He graduated first in a class in Quantico, Virginia. He served two years as a platoon leader, and was discharged from the Corps as a first lieutenant in 1957. He resumed graduate studies at Harvard, but after two years he interrupted his academic studies again, to work at RAND, where he concentrated on nuclear strategy. He earned a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard in 1962. His dissertation introduced a paradox in decision theory now known as the Ellsberg paradox.
Ellsberg served in the Pentagon from August 1964 under Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara (and, in fact, was on duty on the evening of the Gulf of Tonkin incident, reporting the incident to McNamara). He then served for two years in Vietnam working for General Edward Lansdale as a civilian in the State Department.
After his tour of duty in Vietnam, Ellsberg resumed working at RAND. In 1967, he contributed to a top-secret study of classified documents regarding the conduct of the Vietnam War that had been commissioned by Defense Secretary McNamara. These documents, completed in 1968, later became known collectively as the Pentagon Papers. Because he held an extremely high-level security clearance, Ellsberg was one of very few individuals who had access to the complete set of documents.
By 1969 Ellsberg began attending anti-war events while still remaining in his position at RAND. He experienced an epiphany attending a War Resisters League conference at Haverford College in August 1969, listening to a speech given by a draft resister named Randy Kehler, who said he was “very excited” that he would soon be able to join his friends in prison. Ellsberg described his reaction:
“…It was the example he was setting with his life. How his words in general showed that he was a stellar American, and that he was going to jail as a very deliberate choice — because he thought it was the right thing to do. There was no question in my mind that my government was involved in an unjust war that was going to continue and get larger. Thousands of young men were dying each year. I left the auditorium and found a deserted men’s room. I sat on the floor and cried for over an hour, just sobbing. The only time in my life I’ve reacted to something like that. Randy Kehler never thought his going to prison would end the war. If I hadn’t met Randy Kehler it wouldn’t have occurred to me to copy and release the Pentagon Papers.”
These documents “demonstrated, among other things, that the Johnson Administration had systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress, about a subject of transcendent national interest and significance”. They revealed that the government had knowledge from the beginning of the War, that the War would not likely be won, and that continuing would lead to more casualties than was ever admitted publicly. Further, the papers showed a deep cynicism towards the public and a disregard for safety of soldiers and civilians.
Throughout 1970, Ellsberg covertly attempted to persuade a few sympathetic U.S. Senators (among them J. William Fulbright, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and George McGovern, a leading opponent of the war) to release the papers on the Senate floor, because a Senator could not be prosecuted for anything he said on-the-record before the Senate. Ellsberg told U.S. Senators that they should be prepared to go to jail in order to end the Vietnam War.
On June 29, 1971, U.S. Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska entered 4,100 pages of the Papers into the record of his Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Grounds, which he had received from Ellsberg via Ben Bagdikian— then an editor at the Washington Post. These portions of the Papers were subsequently published by Beacon Press.
John Mitchell, Nixon’s Attorney General, almost immediately issued a telegram to the Times ordering that it halt publication. The Times refused, and the government brought suit against it.
Although the Times eventually won the trial before the Supreme Court, an appellate court ordered that the Times temporarily halt further publication. This was the first successful attempt by the federal government to restrain the publication of a major newspaper since the presidency of Abraham Lincoln during the US Civil War. Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers to 17 other newspapers in rapid succession. The right of the press to publish the papers was upheld in New York Times Co. v. United States.
As a response to the leaks, the Nixon administration began a campaign against further leaks and against Ellsberg personally. Aides Egil Krogh and David Young under John Ehrlichman’s supervision created the “White House Plumbers”, which would later lead to the Watergate burglaries.
The release of these papers was politically embarrassing to those involved in the Johnson, Kennedy, and Nixon administrations. Nixon’s Oval Office tape from June 14, 1972 shows H. R. Haldeman describing the situation to Nixon:
“Rumsfeld was making this point this morning. To the ordinary guy, all this is a bunch of gobbledygook. But out of the gobbledygook comes a very clear thing. … It shows that people do things the president wants to do even though it’s wrong, and the president can be wrong.”
In admitting to giving the documents to the press, Ellsberg said:
- “I felt that as an American citizen, as a responsible citizen, I could no longer cooperate in concealing this information from the American public. I did this clearly at my own jeopardy and I am prepared to answer to all the consequences of this decision.”
He (and his partner Russo) faced charges under the Espionage Act of 1917 and other charges including theft and conspiracy, carrying a total maximum sentence of 115 years. Their trial commenced in 1973, but due to the gross governmental misconduct and illegal evidence gathering, and the defense by Leonard Boudin and Charles Nesson, Judge Byrne dismissed all charges against Ellsberg and Russo.
The Pentagon Papers paint a picture of governmental arrogance, miscalculation, lies and deception. Worse, the McNamara-commissioned study confirmed what many Americans were thinking at the time: They had not been told the truth about the war in Vietnam. Study researchers, reviewing top secret memos, learned that government officials had not fully disclosed the extent of U.S. military involvement in Southeast Asia. Even more troubling, official files proved the US Government knew about (at least) the coup d’etat that resulted in the 1963 assassination of South Vietnam’s president, Ngo Dinh Diem, and his brother. The worst was that the incident that our President used to get us into the Vietnam War, the Gulf of Tonkin, was a false-flag non-event (fake). Admiral Stockdale recalled there was no attack the night of August 4, despite our President and reporters telling us there was. The year after Congress passed the Tonkin Resolution, President Johnson joked with reporters about what really happened: “For all I know, our Navy was shooting at whales out there.”
It was the Tonkin Resolution that gave the President powers and public support for any military action against other countries.
Ellsberg is the recipient of the Inaugural Ron Ridenhour Courage Prize, a prize established by The Nation Institute and The Fertel Foundation. In 1978 he accepted the Gandhi Peace Award from Promoting Enduring Peace. On September 28, 2006 he was awarded the Right Livelihood Award.
Ellsberg later claimed that after his trial ended, the Watergate prosecutor informed him of an aborted plot by Liddy and the “plumbers” to have 12 Cuban-Americans who had previously worked for the CIA to “totally incapacitate” Ellsberg as he appeared at a public rally, though it is unclear whether that meant to assassinate Ellsberg or merely to hospitalize him. In his autobiography, G. Gordon Liddy describes an “Ellsberg neutralization proposal” originating from Howard Hunt, which involved drugging Ellsberg with LSD, by dissolving it in his soup, at a fund-raising dinner in Washington in order to “have Ellsberg incoherent by the time he was to speak” and thus “make him appear a near burnt-out drug case” and “discredit him”. The plot involved waiters from the Miami Cuban community. According to Liddy, when the plan was finally approved, “there was no longer enough lead time to get the Cuban waiters up from their Miami hotels and into place in the Washington Hotel where the dinner was to take place” and the plan was “put into abeyance pending another opportunity”
“In revealing the workings of government that led to the Vietnam war, the newspapers nobly did precisely that which the Founders hoped and trusted they would do.”
~ Justice Hugo Black
Poison Ivy is the Worst Weed
From the Norris NPR interview of Dr. Lewis Ziska, plant physiologist for the USDA:
Many people are allergic to poison ivy, a vine with triple leaf clusters.
“Even if you barely brush up against it, you can get an angry, weeping, contagious, red rash that takes weeks to heal. Well, it turns out that poison ivy, along with its voracious cousins poison oak and poison sumac, is even more of a nuisance this summer. The plants are spreading faster, growing larger, showing up in new places and becoming more toxic. It’s the kind of thing that’s so scary, it almost deserves its own soundtrack.”
So why is Poison Ivy the worst weed in 2010?
“One of the things that we think is occurring is that as carbon dioxide is increasing in the atmosphere. Carbon Dioxide is a basic greenhouse gas, but it’s also plant food. And plants take that carbon, and they convert it into sugars and carbohydrates and so forth.
“But not all plants respond the same way to that resource, and we think that vines, particularly vines like poison ivy or kudzu or other noxious weeds, seem to show a much stronger response to the change in CO2 than other plant species. So on average, the poison ivy plant of 1901, can grow up to 60 percent larger as of 2010 just from the change in CO2 alone, all other things being equal.
“And as a result of that change, we see not only more growth but also a more virulent form of the oil within poison ivy. The oil is called urushiol, and it’s that oil that causes that causes that rash to occur on your skin…”
Unfortunately, pulling poison ivy (if you are not allergic) often breaks the vine off above ground, and leaves the root system underground. This is like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice chopping the mops in half, and they multiply like a hydra head. So as much as an organic gardener hates to admit it, poisoning poison ivy is the best way to fight it. Just one problem: Poisons do not work very well either. Here are some photos of Poison Ivy after using 2 different brands of “Poison Ivy Herbicide” after 2 weeks. While dumping the herbicides on the areas will kill everything there, you can see here a few squirts of poison sometimes barely wilts the leaves, even when there is no rain.
Although I have mercy on most other wild plants that people call weeds, I have no mercy on poison ivy because my mother is very allergic to it. Poison Ivy threats to take over as many gardens as it can get itself into, and after years of killing it, it has remained in the same area for over 40 years. Somewhere underground, there must be a mother root of poison ivy continuously sending out branches. Crabgrass and Wisteria are the same way; there seems to be no way to stop them from coming back within a 40 foot area. If you have any success stories, please post them below!
Top Five Worst Weeds (not useful or harmful)
1. Poison Ivy
2. Crab Grass
3. Wisteria & Kudzu (aesthetic but strong, fast growing and extremely destructive vines)
4. English Ivy, Virginia Creeper, Honey Suckle (aesthetic but damaging vines)
5. Thistles, Briers, Burrs
Top Five Best Weeds (useful as food for humans and bees)
1. Lambs Quarters
5. Wild Spinaches, Mustards, Flowers, etc…
The First Part of
The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations
The Great Binding Law
1. I am Dekanawidah and with the Five Nations' Confederate Lords I plant the Tree of Great Peace. I plant it in your territory, Adodarhoh, and the Onondaga Nation, in the territory of you who are Firekeepers. I name the tree the Tree of the Great Long Leaves. Under the shade of this Tree of the Great Peace we spread the soft white feathery down of the globe thistle as seats for you, Adodarhoh, and your cousin Lords. We place you upon those seats, spread soft with the feathery down of the globe thistle, there beneath the shade of the spreading branches of the Tree of Peace. There shall you sit and watch the Council Fire of the Confederacy of the Five Nations, and all the affairs of the Five Nations shall be transacted at this place before you, Adodarhoh, and your cousin Lords, by the Confederate Lords of the Five Nations. 2. Roots have spread out from the Tree of the Great Peace, one to the north, one to the east, one to the south and one to the west. The name of these roots is The Great White Roots and their nature is Peace and Strength. If any man or any nation outside the Five Nations shall obey the laws of the Great Peace and make known their disposition to the Lords of the Confederacy, they may trace the Roots to the Tree and if their minds are clean and they are obedient and promise to obey the wishes of the Confederate Council, they shall be welcomed to take shelter beneath the Tree of the Long Leaves. We place at the top of the Tree of the Long Leaves an Eagle who is able to see afar. If he sees in the distance any evil approaching or any danger threatening he will at once warn the people of the Confederacy. 3. To you Adodarhoh, the Onondaga cousin Lords, I and the other Confederate Lords have entrusted the caretaking and the watching of the Five Nations Council Fire. When there is any business to be transacted and the Confederate Council is not in session, a messenger shall be dispatched either to Adodarhoh, Hononwirehtonh or Skanawatih, Fire Keepers, or to their War Chiefs with a full statement of the case desired to be considered. Then shall Adodarhoh call his cousin (associate) Lords together and consider whether or not the case is of sufficient importance to demand the attention of the Confederate Council. If so, Adodarhoh shall dispatch messengers to summon all the Confederate Lords to assemble beneath the Tree of the Long Leaves. When the Lords are assembled the Council Fire shall be kindled, but not with chestnut wood, and Adodarhoh shall formally open the Council. [ ed note: chestnut wood throws out sparks in burning, thereby creating a disturbance in the council ] Then shall Adodarhoh and his cousin Lords, the Fire Keepers, announce the subject for discussion. The Smoke of the Confederate Council Fire shall ever ascend and pierce the sky so that other nations who may be allies may see the Council Fire of the Great Peace. Adodarhoh and his cousin Lords are entrusted with the Keeping of the Council Fire. 4. You, Adodarhoh, and your thirteen cousin Lords, shall faithfully keep the space about the Council Fire clean and you shall allow neither dust nor dirt to accumulate. I lay a Long Wing before you as a broom. As a weapon against a crawling creature I lay a staff with you so that you may thrust it away from the Council Fire. If you fail to cast it out then call the rest of the United Lords to your aid. 5. The Council of the Mohawk shall be divided into three parties as follows: Tekarihoken, Ayonhwhathah and Shadekariwade are the first party; Sharenhowaneh, Deyoenhegwenh and Oghrenghrehgowah are the second party, and Dehennakrineh, Aghstawenserenthah and Shoskoharowaneh are the third party. The third party is to listen only to the discussion of the first and second parties and if an error is made or the proceeding is irregular they are to call attention to it, and when the case is right and properly decided by the two parties they shall confirm the decision of the two parties and refer the case to the Seneca Lords for their decision. When the Seneca Lords have decided in accord with the Mohawk Lords, the case or question shall be referred to the Cayuga and Oneida Lords on the opposite side of the house. 6. I, Dekanawidah, appoint the Mohawk Lords the heads and the leaders of the Five Nations Confederacy. The Mohawk Lords are the foundation of the Great Peace and it shall, therefore, be against the Great Binding Law to pass measures in the Confederate Council after the Mohawk Lords have protested against them. No council of the Confederate Lords shall be legal unless all the Mohawk Lords are present. 7. Whenever the Confederate Lords shall assemble for the purpose of holding a council, the Onondaga Lords shall open it by expressing their gratitude to their cousin Lords and greeting them, and they shall make an address and offer thanks to the earth where men dwell, to the streams of water, the pools, the springs and the lakes, to the maize and the fruits, to the medicinal herbs and trees, to the forest trees for their usefulness, to the animals that serve as food and give their pelts for clothing, to the great winds and the lesser winds, to the Thunderers, to the Sun, the mighty warrior, to the moon, to the messengers of the Creator who reveal his wishes and to the Great Creator who dwells in the heavens above, who gives all the things useful to men, and who is the source and the ruler of health and life. Then shall the Onondaga Lords declare the council open. The council shall not sit after darkness has set in. 8. The Firekeepers shall formally open and close all councils of the Confederate Lords, and they shall pass upon all matters deliberated upon by the two sides and render their decision. Every Onondaga Lord (or his deputy) must be present at every Confederate Council and must agree with the majority without unwarrantable dissent, so that a unanimous decision may be rendered. If Adodarhoh or any of his cousin Lords are absent from a Confederate Council, any other Firekeeper may open and close the Council, but the Firekeepers present may not give any decisions, unless the matter is of small importance. 9. All the business of the Five Nations Confederate Council shall be conducted by the two combined bodies of Confederate Lords. First the question shall be passed upon by the Mohawk and Seneca Lords, then it shall be discussed and passed by the Oneida and Cayuga Lords. Their decisions shall then be referred to the Onondaga Lords, (Fire Keepers) for final judgement. The same process shall obtain when a question is brought before the council by an individual or a War Chief. 10. In all cases the procedure must be as follows: when the Mohawk and Seneca Lords have unanimously agreed upon a question, they shall report their decision to the Cayuga and Oneida Lords who shall deliberate upon the question and report a unanimous decision to the Mohawk Lords. The Mohawk Lords will then report the standing of the case to the Firekeepers, who shall render a decision as they see fit in case of a disagreement by the two bodies, or confirm the decisions of the two bodies if they are identical. The Fire Keepers shall then report their decision to the Mohawk Lords who shall announce it to the open council. End of Constitution110. At the funeral of a Warrior, say: "Now we become reconciled as you start away. Once you were a devoted provider and protector of your family and you were ever ready to take part in battles for the Five Nations' Confederacy. The United People trusted you." (The remainder is the same as the address at the funeral of a Lord). 111. At the funeral of a young man, say: "Now we become reconciled as you start away. In the beginning of your career you are taken away and the flower of your life is withered away." (The remainder is the same as the address at the funeral of a Lord). 112. At the funeral of a chief woman, say: "Now we become reconciled as you start away. You were once a chief woman in the Five Nations' Confederacy. You once were a mother of the nations. Now we release you for it is true that it is no longer possible for us to walk about together on the earth. Now, therefore, we lay it (the body) here. Here we lay it away. Now then we say to you, 'Persevere onward to the place where the Creator dwells in peace. Let not the things of the earth hinder you. Let nothing that transpired while you lived hinder you. Looking after your family was a sacred duty and you were faithful. You were one of the many joint heirs of the Lordship titles. Feastings were yours and you had pleasant occasions. . ." (The remainder is the same as the address at the funeral of a Lord). 113. At the funeral of a woman of the people, say: "Now we become reconciled as you start away. You were once a woman in the flower of life and the bloom is now withered away. You once held a sacred position as a mother of the nation. (Etc.) Looking after your family was a sacred duty and you were faithful. Feastings . . . (etc.)" (The remainder is the same as the address at the funeral of a Lord). 114. At the funeral of an infant or young woman, say: "Now we become reconciled as you start away. You were a tender bud and gladdened our hearts for only a few days. Now the bloom has withered away . . . (etc.) Let none of the things that transpired on earth hinder you. Let nothing that happened while you lived hinder you." (The remainder is the same as the address at the funeral of a Lord). [ Editors note: the above ellipses and 'etc.' remarks are transcribed directly from the text I copied. ] 115. When an infant dies within three days, mourning shall continue only five days. Then shall you gather the little boys and girls at the house of mourning and at the funeral feast a speaker shall address the children and bid them be happy once more, though by a death, gloom has been cast over them. Then shall the black clouds roll away and the sky shall show blue once more. Then shall the children be again in sunshine. 116. When a dead person is brought to the burial place, the speaker on the opposite side of the Council Fire shall bid the bereaved family cheer their minds once again and rekindle their hearth fires in peace, to put their house in order and once again be in brightness for darkness has covered them. He shall say that the black clouds shall roll away and that the bright blue sky is visible once more. Therefore shall they be in peace in the sunshine again. 117. Three strings of shell one span in length shall be employed in addressing the assemblage at the burial of the dead. The speaker shall say: "Hearken you who are here, this body is to be covered. Assemble in this place again ten days hence for it is the decree of the Creator that mourning shall cease when ten days have expired. Then shall a feast be made." Then at the expiration of ten days the speaker shall say: "Continue to listen you who are here. The ten days of mourning have expired and your minds must now be freed of sorrow as before the loss of a relative. The relatives have decided to make a little compensation to those who have assisted at the funeral. It is a mere expression of thanks. This is to the one who did the cooking while the body was lying in the house. Let her come forward and receive this gift and be dismissed from the task." In substance this shall be repeated for every one who assisted in any way until all have been remembered.
Cistern Water Pumps
If you have a cistern or another large rain-water catchment container, you should be able to use the trapped water, even if it is not potable. At least the water can be used to water the lawn, gardens, trees, or potted plants. The most primitive means of getting at the water would be lowering a bucket through and accessible opening at the top, and with an attached rope pulling it back up. However this is not always efficient since buckets lowered down tend to float on the surface of water (especially plastic ones), and therefore cannot get water into them easily.
So simple hand pumps were invented by civilization centuries ago, to solve the problem of getting water out of a cistern (or well). The most affordable and sustainable method still seems to be using a simple cast iron hand pump. By pulling up and down on the lever handle, a piston inside creates a vacuum in the pipe below. This action sucks water up from near the bottom of the pit, and out of the spout. Some pumping of the handle is usually needed before water can flow, to create the suction.
You can attach a hose to a spigot on an electric pump. The problem with an electric pump, is of course the need for electricity. If you need to pump large volumes of water out quickly without working hard, electric pumps are great.