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January 15, 1969 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-01-15

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Seventy-eight years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan
under authority of Board in Control of Student Publications

Morton Sobell:


but not clear

20 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich..

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily exp ress the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.



The Nixon men

"A TREE LOOKING at a tree doesn't do
anything." So says Walter Hickel,
who becomes apopleptic thinking about
all. those square miles of timber just
standing there, rotting. But then there
has already been rather full public airing
of the sins of the Alaska governor who is
Nixon's interior secretary designate.
Less noticed has been the information
beginning to trickle down about the past
and present doings of other Nixon ap-
pointees. John Mitchell, Nixon's law
partner and choice for attorney general,
was known previously as a municipal;
bond expert. Now it turns out that he is
an unreconstructed proponent of wire-
tapping in non-security cases, the Su=
preme Court apparently notwithstanding.
Also gracing the justice department will
be Richard Kleindienst, best known as
a former Goldwater toughie. Melvin
Laird, praised by many sources for mod-
eration, is delivering shrill cries for more
and more preparedness.

AVID PACKARD is not only founder
and co-owner (stock worth more
than $300 million, to be placed in trust--
not sold) of a large defense contracting
firm; he also sits on the board of Gen-
eral Dynamics, manufacturer of the abor-
tive F-111, whose fate Packard as a high
defense department official will have to
help decide. The President-elect's nomi-,
nee for under secretary of agriculture, J.
Phil Campbell, Jr., is an ex-Democrat
turned Republican in protest over the
seating at the 1968 convention of Julian
Bond's biracial delegation. His credentials
include the strong support of Strom
Until just recently there had been
complaints that Nixon was giving no in-
dication what paths he intended to pur-
sue as chief executive. With each new
Nixon{ appointment, one only wishes one
was able to persist in that complaining.

WHEN NO ONE'S in the guard-
post, you can drive up t h e
winding road that leads to the
federal penitentiary at Lewisburg,
Pa., and take a look at the awe-
some red-brick colossus t h a t
houses some of the most hardened
criminals in the country.
You can see the watchtowers,
equipped with machine guns and
spotlights, and think about the
horrible crimes that must have
been committed by these men to
warrant such a fate.
Lewisburg ranks with Atlanta
and, formerly, Alcatraz as one of
the most secure prisons in t h e
Yesterday, Morton Sobell, who
has served over 17 years in all
three of these institutions, was
ordered released immediately from
Lewisburg by the U.S. Court of
Appeals in New York.
SENTENCED TO 30 years im-
prisonment in 1951 for "conspir-
Iacy to commit espionage," Sobell
will re-enter society a living re-
minder of the tragedy that sur-
rounded the deaths of Julius and
Ethyl Rosenberg in what has been
termed the most sensational court
case of the twentieth century. Al-
though he was never implicated
in the atomic bomb spy conspir-
acy that sent the Rosenbergs to
the electric chair, Sobell was tried
as a co-defendant and was given
the maximum sentence for h i s
Under federal regulations grant-
ing up to 10 days a month credit
for good behavior, he was due for
release on Aug. 24 of this year.
However, the Bureau of Prisons
had said Sobell could be freed as
early as Jan. 10 if the appeals
court gave him credit for the time

he was in jail prior to sentencing
because he could not raise $100,-
000 bail. His release, was based on
the court's decision yesterday to
credit him with 7 months and 18
days jail time.
THOUGH HIS release repre-
sents a significant victory for the
defense committee that has filed
more than a dozen appeals for
freedom since 1951, a number of
crucial legal and political ques-
tions surrounding the trial will re-
main unanswered now that he is
Last November, t h e Supreme
Court refused him a hearing to
present charges that the govern-
ment's case against him was per-
meated by fraud. His petition re-
questing a new trial charged that
the prosecution h a d, by "false
testimony and evidence and other
deceptive and fraudulent devices"
established in the minds of the
jurors that the defendants had
stolen the so-called "secret of the
atom bomb."
Until several years ago, his ap-
peals for a retrial and for a par-
don had been based on his claim
that he was not part of the atomic
plot and was unfairly handicapped
by being forced to stand trial with
the Rosenbergs. However, when a
revealing b o o k by Walter and
Miriam Schneir, "Invitation to an
Inquest," was published in 1965,
the entire Rosenberg case began
to seem more and more a result

of the mass hysteria that sur-
rounded the trial.
The book, recently re-released
w i th an undated last chapter.
brings to light new evidence that
casts doubt on the guilt of the
Rosenbergs themselves.
ONE OF THE MOST controver-
sial pieces of evidences brought
out in Sobell's petition for a re-
trial was a sketch of a "cross-sec-
tion of the atom bomb" - which
David Green6glass, Ethyl Rosen-
berg's brother, testified was a copy
of a sketch he had passed to the
Rosenbergs. The petition was
backed up by long affidavits from
scientists, who commented on the
Greenglass sketch, which was fin-
ally unimpounded and released *o
the defense after fifteen years.
Dr. Henry Linschitz, one of a
small group of scientists who ac-
tually assembled the bomb used
on Nagasaki, described the sketch
and Greenglass's testimony as
"garbled, ambiguous, and highly
Linschitz said "It is not possible
in anydtechnologically useful way
to condense the results of a two-
billion dollar development into a
diagram drawn by a high school
graduate machinist on a single
sheet of paper."
That the Greenglass testimony
- despite these considerable ques-
tions as to its validity - was in-
strumental in the Rosenberg's
conviction - a n d consequently
the conviction of Sobell - is in-
In his opening to the jury, U.S.
attorney Irving Saypol said: "We
will prove that the Rosenbergs de-
vised and put into operation.. ,
an elaborate scheme which en-
abled them to steal through David
Greenglass this one weapon which
might hold the key to the survival
of this nation and means the peace
of the world, the atomic bomb."
AGAIN, in his summation, Say-
pol says. "We know t h a t these
conspirators: stole the most im-
portant scientific secrets ever
known to mankind from this
country and delivered them to the
Soviet Union."
Moreover, Judge Kaufman, who
heard the same testimony es the
jurors, said in sentencing the Ros-
enbergs to death that their "con-
duct in putting into the hands of
the Russians the A-bomb years be-
fore our best scientists predicted
Russia would perfect the bomb
has already caused, in my opinion,
the communist aggression 'n Ko-
rea . . ."
And yet, though the trial oc-
curred during the Korean War
and at the height of McCarthyism,
the Supreme Court, by refusing to
consider Sobell's petition, recog-
nized de facto t h e lower court
judge's opinion that the degree of
importance andaccuracy of the
Greenglass testimony was irrele-
vant to the case.
charged that the government
knowingly permitted Greenglass

After 1 7 years, a man
begins -to fade .,.

Mutu al paranoia

IT IS HARD to tell whose neuroses are
more acute these days-HUAC's, for
its phobia of the Communist threat raised
by SDS's ."increased militance," or SDS's,
for the incredible paranoia it has devel-
oped about the danger of subversion by
reactionary elements both inside and out-
side the organization.
At this point, in fact, it would be ex-
ceedingly difficult to tell which side is
expending a greater amount of neurotic
energy on useless efforts to maintain its
internal security - SDS or the profes-
sional anti-Communist witch-hunters.
Fior SDS seems to be currently divert-
ing much of its attention away from
actively formenting revolutiop toward
an extremely painful working out of ela-
,borate precautions, governing the minute
details of its relations with the capitalist
society it is seeking to overthrow.
The amount of time and emotional
involvement devoted to purely procedural
issues at the last National Conference and
the fact that no clear-cut ideological
program emerged, is probably a fairly ac-

curate indication of the extent of the
Communist-instigated danger which SDS'
poses to American society.
BUT PERHAPS HUAC doesn't care whe-
ther or not the menace which it is
so determinedly combatting is really real.
For HUAC has a long and colorful history
of thriving on the death-throes of Amer-
ica's left-wing movements. And SDS is
unquestionable dying. But for HUAC, the
illusive nature of the prey does not seem
to diminish the thrill value of the chase
in the least.
HUAC's new chairman Rep. Richard
H. Ichord (D.-Mo.) has coupjed the an-
nouncement of his crusade against SDS
with a request for greater powers to
maintain order in his hearings. It would
seem that this request for Congressional
action provides an excellent opportunity
for the less obsessed members of Congress
to expedite another ineffectual organiza-
tion along its way to oblivion.

1Letters to the Editor
Ilickel ist whose livelihood for years has
To the Editor: derived from resource develop-
o t orment?
T HE NOMINATION of Walter As Chairman of the Conserva-
J. Hickel to be Secretary of tion Committee of the Mackinac
the Interior strikes at the heart Chapter of the Sierra Club, I have
of the new momentum which con- been notified that the Club is
servation has achieved in Federal fighti th ation as
policy. Steve W ildstrom's column fighting this nomination as ar-
pol Jan9)sy.te italm'scl dently as it fought for a Redwood
(Daily, Jan. 9 says it all. Hickel National Park. After all, it is the
is a lifelong frontier developer same fight! Conservation-minded
who has neither an runderstanding citizens would be well advised to
of conservation, nor any sense of immediately telegraph Senator
urgency regarding it. His state- Henry M. Jackson, chairman of
ments on behalf of shrinking our the committee considering Mr.
national wildlife refuges, promo- Hickel's qualifications, expressing
ting mining and timber harvest opposition to his confirmation.
in our national parks, and weak- Your own Senators should know
ening water quality standards in-
dicate he 3s unfit to be our "Sec- your views too. (Western Union
retay ofConsrvaton."offers a special rate for wires to
retary of Conservation." members of Congress: 15 words
The' most positive comment I mebrofCnes;1wrd
for a dollar). Only the voice of
have heard about this appoint- the public can overcome the tra-
ment is that, perhaps, with sev- dto fatmtccnimto
eral years on the job, Mr. Hickel dition of automatic confirmation
might learn something about "the by the Senate.
New Conservation." The New Con- -Douglas W. Scott, Grad
servation is equally committed to School of Natural Resources
a quality urban environment as to Chairman, Conservation
the preservation of wilderness Committee
areas such as Isle Royale. Must Mackinac Chapter,
the Cabinet become an education- Sierra Club
al device for an anti-conservation- Jan. 14

and Harry Gold - the only other
prosecution witness against t h e
Rosenbergs - to give perjured
testimony. The charge is backed
up by considerable evidence,
showing that their testimony con-
tains none of the details termed
the "necessary link in the chain
that points to the guilt of t h e
Not only is there such compel-
ling evidence that the Rosenbergs
were framed, in which event there
would be no case against Sobell,
doubt that if there was a conspir-
but there is also considerable
doubt that if there was a con-
spiracy, Sobell was involved in it.
The only witness implicating
Sobell in the spy ring was his
friend Max Elitcher, a convicted
perjuror. The extent of Elitcher's
testimony concerning Sobell was
that he had been approached by
Sobell about procuring informa-
tion for the Soviet Union, and that
one night he had ridden with So-
bell to a spot which appeared to
be near Rosenberg's home, that
Sobell had with him what looked
like a film can, and that when
Sobell returned after a few min-
utes walk he no longer had the
Such evidence hardly seems suf-
ficient proof of a crime meriting
a 30-year sentence, with a re-
commendation by the trial judge
that Sobell not be given parole.
DURING THE past 17 years
many distinguishedworld figures
joined Helen Sobell's plea for her
husband's freedom. Among them

have been Nobel Laureates Harold
Urey and Linus Pauling, Queen
Elizabeth, Lord Bertrand Russel,
and the Queen-mother of Belgium.
Despite the shaky evidence
against him and the circum-
stances surrounding his trial,:So-
bell's release yesterday was in no
way based on the merits of the
case. The Supreme Court's decis-
ion of last November virtually as-
certains that nothing will be done
to settle the long-standing doubts
or correct any injustice that may
have been done to him.
Sobell is now free, but the stigma
placed upon him nearly twenty
years ago may never be removed.
Reflecting the attitude which the
press has taken all along regard-
ing the nature of the case, Sobell
was referred to by the Associated
Press in an article on his rlease
as "convicted atom spy Morton
Sobell," though he was never di-
rectly implicated in the atom
bomb conspiracy.
SEVERAL WEEKS ago, I learn-
ed of another side to this "atom
spy." A convicted draft resister
serving a four year sentence at
Lewisburg described the work that
Sobell has done in building up
the prison hospital as being of
"great humanitarian value."
And yet, because of this stigma,
because the government was too
afraid to exonerate him, history
will recognize Sobell not as a great
humanitarian, but as one of this
country's worst criminals.


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has discovered a new national
menace. Robert Welch prefaced
the latest edition of American
Opinion, the Birch house organ
(you should pardon the expres-
sion), with a tirade against "the
now mushrooming program of
so-called sex education in the
public schools." Alluding Freud-
ianly to some "deeply laid plans"
of unidentified subversives, Welch
laments that "a preponderant
majority of the American people
are not yet even aware of the
filthy Communist plot."
Is he implying that sex was in-
vented in Moscow in late 1917?
ONE'S INITIAL, and admittedly
half-informed, reaction to the re-
port that Wilbur Cohen was offer-
ed the deanship of the Univer-
sity's education school was on the
balance negative.
Admittedly the appointment of
the out-going Secretary of Health,
Education and Welfare would help
the school solve some of its ser-
ious financial problems that force
graduate students to rub should-,
ers with eighth-graders in the
crowded building named after the
halls of the crowded building
named after the now defunct Un-
iversity High School.
In fact Cohen set as a condi-
tion of his acceptance that t h e
Regents make the education school
a priority target for a sizeable in-
crease in funding. And it is al-
most certain that a man with
Conen's national reputation would
greatly increase non-University
contributions to ed school fund-
HOWEVER, throughout h i s
eight year tenure in Washington,
Cohen has given the impression
that while he is receptive to new
ideas, his basic intellectual orien-
+o~in "77n rina~nne~+111." n 1A a

need of a ;thorough intellectual
and structural revolution, a far
better choice for dean would be a
man far more free from the cre-
los of the past than is Cohen.
An even more significant liabil-
ity of the Cohen is that he indi-
cated that if appointed he has no
intention of giving up his ex-
tensive off-campus interests,
The last thing the education
school, now relegated to second
class status, needs is a part-time
dean. One wishes the University
would for once give precedence to
education over public relations
and withdraw the Cohen offer.
J. William Fulbright and his Sen-
ate Foreign Relations Committee
have ended their investigation in-
to the exacting happenings in the
Gulf of Tonkin on Aug. 6, 1964
by merely releasing several rather
unilluminating documents provid-
ed by the Pentagon.
While many war critics have
long maintained that the attack in
the Gulf of Tonkin was either fab-
ricated by our Government or was
a massive over-reaction to a rela-
tively minor harassment, it in in-
deed tragic that the Fulbright
Committee has allowed this mat
ter to lapse without issuing a re-
Wayne Morse f and Ernest
Gruening, the only members of
Congress to vote against the mo-
mentous Gulf of Tonkin Resolu-
tion, were defeated for re-election
this fall. And the timidity shown
)y the Fulbright Committee in
side-stepping the opportunity for
a full and open inquiry into the
Tonkin affair shows how deeply
they would be missed.
The defeats of Morse and Jos-
eph Clark of Pennsylvania coup-
led with Eugene McCarthy's per-
verse resignation leave the doves
on the Committee only precarious-

With the prognosis for the new
Nixon Administration looking
bleaker with each new appoint-
ment, the lessening militance of
the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee may deprive us of an,
important check against Presi-
dential folly.
AS THE STRIKE by the Ameri-
can Newspaper Guild against the
Associated Press goes into its sev-
enth day the effects are becoming
growingly obvious. As supervisory 1
personnel taking over for striking
reporters go to cover news for the

first time in 20 years, the results!
are occasionally comic as is indi-
cated by the following verbatim
reprint of A036 as it came over
the AP wire late yesterday morn-
NEW YORK (A') - The v i c e
presidency, says Hubert H. Hum-
phrey, is an experience in "ecstacy,
pain, r humiliation, and -frustra-
The Vice President characteriz-
ed the nature of his office in
brief, impromptu r3, zip 1
One problem, Bartino said in a
letter to McCall's wasthat mart-

juana grows wild in Vietnam and
so is readily accessible. He said the
Pentagon had initiated an educa-
tional program on drug abuse.
"No military establishment,
where security is always vitally
critical, and relying as it does on
the team concept, can chance hav-
ing one member even momentarily
unbalanced through the use of
any dangerous drug," Bartino
b1132aes Jan 14
SPEAKING OF dangerous drugs,
over vacation New York's Mayor


-t - - -
/f ~ i
!r f
. . .

John Lindsay sent his anti-crime
recommendations to the New York
State legislature including a re-
quest to sharply raise the maxi
mum penalties for mugging and
possession of "dangerous drugs."
In what charitably should be
viewed as the opening of his "I
kept the streets of New York safe"
re-election campaign Lindsay ask-
ed the legislature to raise the
maximum penalty for muggers
from 7 to 15 years and proposed
similar raises in jail terns for the
users of "dangerous drugs."
A politician's record on civil
liberties is widely held to be the
most reliable index of his sin-
cerity, since there are few in-
stances where a public leader can
gain appreciable support for up-
holding civil liberties.
At a time when it is becoming
increasingly clear that long prison
terms are neither effective as a
corrective or a deterrent, it is
distressing to see Lindsay going
to such lengths to try to win back;
the support;} of the frightened
Queens middle class.
ONE OF THE most distressing
commentaries on the state of
American civilization has been the
almost total absence of any polit-
ical satire.
Will Rodgers has been dead for
over thirty years. That Was the
Week that Was (TW3) last just a
year one television. Lenny Bruce
was hounded off the stage and
then into a premature death by
the intolerance of middle Amer-
ica and their ever-obliging law
enforcement officials.
That's why it was so refreshing
to stumble across some excerpts
from Mort Sahl's current night
club act reprinted in the Wash-
ington Post. And to give you the
views of one of America's last sur-
viving political satirist here are

have his chauffeur do it, and when
it happened, Humphrey would cry
a lot."
And lastly in one of the tersest
film reviews on record:
"I finaly discovered what was
wrong with the movie "The Grad-
uate." It's a movie about a Jewish
boy with Gentile parents."
* * *
IN ONE OF the most surprising
political turnabouts in recent
years the author of Goldwater's
famous acceptance speech line.
"Extremism in the defense of
liberty is no vice,' is now working
with Marcus Raskin at the Insti-
tute for Policy Studies in Wash-
Karl Hess, the chief Goldwater
speechwriter of that bygone cam-
paign, is now convinced by the
"overwhelming evidence" against
American foreign policy and has
joined in the eclectic critiques of
current American policies with .a
co-defendent in the Spock trial.
Where four years ago he was a
militant anti-Communist of the
National Review stripe, today Hess
laments the contradiction in a
governmental policy which oppose
authoritarianism at home, while
supporting "the most crushing re-
striction of liberty" abroad - the
suppression of revolution by mili-
tary intervention.
One was always amazed by the
degree to which conservatives
failed to see the way in which a
massive military Establishment in
the name of anti-Communism un-
dermines domestic liberty. In the
same way it has always been
strange how liberals, often ever
so wary of anti-Communist hys-
teria, failed to see. the vast po-
tential for people-manipulation in
some of their most reverred New
Deal concepts.
That's why it is encouraging too
see a man like Hess attempt to use


t 1s


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