Saturday, May 03, 2008

A Loyalty Oath???

In a story that seemed to come out of the left field of Mars, a Cal State instructor was fired for refusing to sign a loyalty oath!

In my innocence and naïveté I thought that loyalty oaths had gone out the window with the rest of the trappings of the McCarthy era. So I was more than a little surprised by this story.

Years ago, before I started work for the government, I said that I would never under any circumstances sign a loyalty oath. I was fully prepared to stir the pot and take them to court when I was first hired by a state agency.

Imagine my surprise when I found that loyalty oaths were no longer required to get a government job. After that I guess I just assumed that they were some kind of ancient ritual and we'd somehow gotten beyond such meaningless exercises (after all, if you really were an enemy agent/aspiring saboteur, would you balk at signing a fucking piece of paper indicating otherwise? No, you wouldn't, and neither would I).

But no, not the Cal State system. Even today they demand that individuals sign their fucking oath, to the professional and personal detriment of persons of conscience who, for whatever reason, feel ethically required to refuse to sign.

Welcome to the return of McCarthyism. Actually, it never really left us, but it's been underground for 50 years, just waiting for the opportunity to raise its ugly head.

7 Comments:

Pepsiholic said...

Actaully Farns its not a Cal State requirement, it's California state Law... from 1952. State employees have to sign it and since Cal State is a state run school...

I thought California was the most liberal state in the Union? Why haven't the people of California got rid of this stupid law?

Pepsiholic said...

Oh and Farns, McCarthy was right about Soviets in the American government. From CNN:

...With the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, a number of new archival sources have become available that throw much-needed light on the McCarthy era and the attack on domestic communism. More and more FBI files on the Communist Party U.S.A. have been released; Russian archives holding the records of the Communist International and the CPUSA have allowed access to American scholars; and the Venona cables, decrypted World War II Soviet messages between KGB offices in the United States and Moscow, have been released by the National Security Agency. This new evidence is forcing the revision of many of the prevailing myths about the internal communist threat to American democracy in the postwar era...
...The new evidence demonstrates that Julius Rosenberg was an important Soviet agent in charge of a spy ring that obtained scientific secrets, including material relating to the atomic bomb.

It confirms that Alger Hiss was an important Soviet agent from the mid-1930s through the 1940s, turning over State Department secrets to Soviet military intelligence.

Elizabeth Bentley, a Soviet spy who defected in 1945, identified dozens of government officials she claimed had turned over information to her during World War II. Bentley was widely disbelieved and derided as the "blond spy queen." None of those she named was ever successfully prosecuted for espionage (one was convicted on a related charge). The new evidence demonstrates conclusively that she told the truth. Among her sources were a top-ranking officer in the Office of Strategic Services, officials in the War Production Board, Board of Economic Warfare, State Department, War Department, Army Air Force, Office of War Information, Treasury Department, and the Office of Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs.

In fact, more than 350 Americans secretly worked for Soviet intelligence during World War II -- when the United States and the Soviet Union were allies. A number of them served in very high positions in the U.S. government. Harry Dexter White was assistant secretary of the Treasury and played a key role in creating the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, pillars of the postwar world monetary structure. Lauchlin Currie was one of a half-dozen special assistants to President Franklin Roosevelt. Laurence Duggan was in charge of U.S. relations with Latin America.

All of these spies were uncovered in the Venona decryptions in the late 1940s. But the spies uncovered by Venona were only part of the security problem faced by U.S. counter-intelligence agencies. Fewer than half of the Americans mentioned in the Venona cables were able to be identified; the others were hidden behind cover names that the FBI could not penetrate. Who were the other 150 Americans who worked for the KGB? Had they remained in the government or the military? Were they scientists still working in Los Alamos?

And what about the targeting of American communists as security risks? We now know that the CPUSA had set up a special "underground apparatus" that helped Soviet intelligence recruit party members as spies, helped locate safe houses for meetings, secured false passports for agents, and otherwise assisted the Soviet Union. Headed by a veteran communist leader, this apparatus reported directly to the leader of the Communist Party. Most American communists were not spies, of course, but the party to which they belonged was neck-deep in espionage.

McCarthy's wild charges did not help uncover Soviet spies. But there were spies, there was a legitimate security issue and there were very good reasons for suspecting that most of the spies were American communists. None of that excuses the excesses of McCarthyism, but it also puts the era of McCarthyism into context. The Soviet Union had mounted a major espionage offensive against the United States, using hundreds of American citizens as its weapons. And the Communist Party U.S.A. was organizationally complicit in espionage.

Another Vietnam Vet said...

Dude, you got to stop reading Ann Coulter as if she were infallible.
You can't name one single "communist" that McCarthy outed, and even if there were all those commie spies in the state dept or wherever, which is doubtful, it does not give a thug like McCarthy free reign to ride roughshod over our constitutional liberties.
And whether Alger Hiss was truly a spy or not is still an unresolved question. Not to people like you, though, who are so eager for a rushs to judgement that you ignore opposing views and contradictory testimony.
Give it up, dude. I can't believe you're having any kind of "fun" with this shit.

Farnsworth68 said...

AVV, give it up on trying to rehab this guy. He's beyond the pale when it comes to a reality-based discussion.
For more info on the Alger Hiss case, the Wikipedia article contains a good summary. Look towards the bottom to see the holes in the theory that the former Soviet agents "outed" Hiss. The evidence cited by mAnn Coulter and others is, at best, problematic.

Pepsiholic said...

AVV and Farns, please tell me when Ann started working for CNN. That is where the article was from not Ann. The author was Dr. Harvey Klehr, Emory University. And it used documents recently released from Russia.

You two are funny, get some info you don't like and immediately you start saying it's from a right-wing site. Farns, I think you need to show AVV how to click on a link.

Pepsiholic said...

AVV, McCarthy was investigating the communist party in the U.S. What did the CNN article (not Ann) say about it: And what about the targeting of American communists as security risks? We now know that the CPUSA had set up a special "underground apparatus" that helped Soviet intelligence recruit party members as spies, helped locate safe houses for meetings, secured false passports for agents, and otherwise assisted the Soviet Union. Headed by a veteran communist leader, this apparatus reported directly to the leader of the Communist Party. Most American communists were not spies, of course, but the party to which they belonged was neck-deep in espionage.

And I'm not familiar with what constitutional liberties he violated. Did he throw anyone in jail? Arrest them or just demand investigations of people who he thought were communists?

Pepsiholic said...

Hey AVV here's your source who you mistakenly refer to as Ann:

Honored with the prestigious 1998 George Foster Peabody Award, CNN's landmark COLD WAR series is the first major documentary on the subject.

The concept was proposed by CNN founder Ted Turner, the man celebrated worldwide for his revolutionary approach to news and information technology. In 1994, Turner approached Britain's Jeremy Isaacs -- already famous for his documentary series, "The World at War" -- to lead the project. Isaacs then assembled an acclaimed team of historians, writers and producers, and asked the actor Kenneth Branagh to provide the series' narration.

This sweeping look at nearly five decades of history is the crystallization of a massive, three-year-long effort. The series' production team shot more than 1,000 hours of original footage, and screened 1,500 hours of film reference material.

The "McCarthy" segment was one of six.

Here is some snippets of an interview with your "Ann" You can read the whole interview
here

CNN Moderator: Tonight's guest is Harvey Klehr, Ph.D., a professor of political science at Emory University. He was one of the first Western researchers allowed access to the archives of the Comintern, and is a co-author of "The Secret World of American Communism," "The Amerasia Spy Case: Prelude to McCarthyism" and "The Soviet World of American Communism."

Chat Participant: Prof. Klehr, in "Storming Heaven," you went to some lengths to insist that the CPUSA was NOT an agent of Soviet policy, however duped ideologically they may have been. Do you now reverse that position?

Dr. Harvey Klehr: Yes, I have revised my opinion based on what I discovered in Russian archives. Neither I, nor any other American academic, expected to find so much evidence of monetary support and use of the CPUSA for espionage.

CNN Moderator: What shocked or surprised you most in the Soviet archives?

Dr. Harvey Klehr: The revelations that that the CPUSA had been intimately involved in Soviet espionage and that the leadership of the CPUSA not only knew about the espionage, but actively participated in it. This included Earl Browder, head of the party.

Chat Participant: Sir now that we know for sure that the Rosenbergs were guilty (at least one of them) do you think we will see less left wing handwringing and more right wing sympathy for McCarthyism excesses?

Dr. Harvey Klehr: I think both were guilty, although Ethel was only a minor participant in the espionage. I doubt that American radicals or the left are going to stop the "handwringing", in part because many of them insist that the new evidence is unreliable or forged. Hmmm who does that sound like Farns? It has generated right-wing triumphalism, some of it justified.

Chat Participant: Ohh, left wingers, myself included, are not "handwringing" over the Rosenberg's being guilty or not. Our anger of that period stems from the suspension of normal civil rights in order to publicly try and convict people without due process. What is your feeling on that issue?

Dr. Harvey Klehr: The Rosenbergs' civil rights were not violated. You can believe that they should not have been executed, but still recognize that they were found guilty in a trial during which they had all the legal rights of any accused. Their case was reviewed by various courts and the sentence carried out. Again, the execution may have been an overreaction, but it hardly involved the suspension of civil rights.

Chat Participant: Dr. Klehr -- Emory grad here! Was anyone able to successfully deflect the charges made against them by McCarthy & Co.?

Dr. Harvey Klehr: A number of people did so, ranging from General Marshall1 to Dean Acheson 2. Even some relatively obscure people stood up to McCarthy, with the help of journalists like Edward Murrow Hey AVV I guess that answers your question wondering if McCarthy got any of them right. But, he also ruined a number of innocent people.

Chat Participant: Mr. Klehr, what is your opinion on Alger Hiss?

Dr. Harvey Klehr: The Venona decryptions indicated that he was a Soviet spy. Allan Weinstein has a new book coming out next year, which contains irrefutable proof from Russian archives that Hiss was a Soviet agent of long-standing.