Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Looking Back - Rosenbergs Guilty Of Espionage

On this day in 1951, an American electrical engineer and his wife were found guilty by New York's Federal Court of passing atomic secrets to the Russians.
Julius Rosenberg, 33, and his 35-year-old wife, Ethel, were accused of stealing technical information from the atom research centre in Los Alamos and turning it over to the KGB.
A radar expert, Morton Sobell, has also been found guilty of the same charges.
The court heard the Rosenbergs, who have two young sons, were involved in a complicated spy ring, which also included Mrs Rosenberg's brother, David Greenglass, former Soviet vice-consul Arkadi Yakovlev, and Philadelphia chemist, Harry Gold.
Greenglass, a machinist at the Los Alamos research centre during World War II, said he had been asked by the Rosenbergs, both committed Communists and members of the Young Communist League, to obtain information about the atomic bomb.
Greenglass told the court he was unaware he was working on the atomic bomb project until his brother-in-law, Julius Rosenberg, told him.
The court heard the information was passed to Harry Gold, who turned it over to the Russians.
Gold, who is now serving a 30-year jail sentence after pleading guilty to espionage, had also worked as a go-between for British scientist Klaus Fuchs, it was revealed.
Fuchs was jailed for 14 years in 1950 after admitting that he had been passing atomic secrets to the Russians for many years.
Arkadi Yakovlev, also allegedly involved in the spy ring, escaped trial after fleeing to Russia before the American authorities could catch up with him.
In pronouncing guilty verdicts, Judge Kaufman, presiding over the trial, said: "That citizens should lend themselves to the destruction of their own country by the most destructive weapon known is so shocking that I cannot find words to describe the loathsome offence."
The couple, who have consistently denied any involvement in the spy ring, will be sentenced on 5 April.

The Rosenbergs were sentenced to death on 5 April 1951 and despite numerous appeals for clemency were executed by the electric chair at Sing-Sing Prison on 19 June 1953.
They were the only people in the United States ever executed for Cold War espionage, and their conviction fuelled US Senator Joseph McCarthy's anti-communist crusade against "anti-American activities" by US citizens.
The couple's two sons, Robert and Michael, who were six and 10 when their parents were executed, were adopted by friends of their parents, the Meeropols, under new names.
They only revealed their true identities in the 1970s when the Freedom of Information Act enabled them to gain documents which they believed could prove their parents' innocence.
David Greenglass escaped the death penalty, and gained immunity for his wife, after agreeing to give evidence against his sister and brother-in-law. He served 10 years in jail.
Years later he admitted he had fabricated his story to save his own skin but had no regrets about what he had done.
However, records and testimony from intelligence sources in the US and Russia, suggests Julius Rosenberg had been involved in giving some sensitive information to Soviet contacts in support of the war effort against Hitler.

Today's Smile

Desmond Tutu

Desmond Mpilo Tutu (born 7 October 1931) is a South African cleric and activist who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid. In 1984, Tutu became the second South African to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Tutu was the first black South African Anglian Archbishop of Cape town, South Africa, and primate of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (now the Anglican Church of Southern Africa). Tutu chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and is currently the chairman of The Elders. Tutu is vocal in his defence of human rights and uses his high profile to campaign for the oppressed. Tutu also campaigns to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, homophobia, poverty and racism. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism, the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2005 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. Tutu has also compiled several books of his speeches and sayings.
Early life
Desmond Mpilo Tutu was born in Klerksdorp, Transvaal
l on 7 October 1931, the second of the three children of Zacheriah Zililo Tutu and his wife, Aletta, and the only son. Tutu's family moved to Johannesburg when he was twelve. His father was a teacher and his mother a cleaner and cook at a school for the blind. Here he met Trevor Huddleston who was a parish priest in the black slum of Sophiatown. "One day," said Tutu, "I was standing in the street with my mother when a white man in a priest's clothing walked past. As he passed us he took off his hat to my mother. I couldn't believe my eyes -- a white man who greeted a black working class woman!" Although Tutu wanted to become a physician, his family could not afford the training, and he followed his father's footsteps into teaching. Tutu studied at the Pretoria Bantu Normal College from 1951 to 1953, and went on to teach at Johannesburg Bantu High School and at Munsienville High School in Mogale City. However, he resigned following the passage of the Bantu Education Act, in protest of the poor educational prospects for black South Africans. He continued his studies, this time in theology, at St Peter's Theology College in Rosettenville and in 1960 was ordained as an Anglican priest following in the footsteps of his mentor and fellow activist, Trevor Huddleston.
Tutu then travelled to King's College London, (1962–1966), where he received his Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Theology. During this time he worked as a part-time curate, first at St. Alban's Church, Golders Green, and then at St. Mary's Church in Bletchingly, Surrey. He later returned to South Africa and from 1967 until 1972 used his lectures to highlight the circumstances of the African population. He wrote a letter to Prime Minister B. J. Vorster, in which he described the situation in South Africa as a "poder barrel that can explode at any time": the letter was never answered. He became chaplain at the University of Fort Hare in 1967, a hotbed of dissent and one of the few quality universities for African students in the southern part of Africa. From 1970 to 1972, Tutu lectured at the Nation University of Lesotho.
Tutu faced a difficult balancing act: voicing black discontent while leading a largely white parish. He alternated charm with challenges as he appealed to his parish's Afrikaner heritage, recalling that their forebears had endured British concentration camps. Somewhat to the bewilderment of other black leaders, he patiently courted Vorster’s successor, P. W. Botha, explaining that even Moses continued to reason with Pharaoh. But white liberals grew nervous when Tutu called for a boycott of South African products. In 1972, Tutu returned to the UK, where he was appointed vice-director of the Theological Education Fund of the World Council of Churches, at Bromley in Kent. He returned to South Africa in 1975 and was appointed Anglican Dean of St. Mary's Cathedral in Johannesburg -— the first "Black" person to hold that position.
Personal life
On 2 July 1955, Tutu married Nomalizo Leah Shenxane, a teacher whom he had met while at college. They had four children: Trevor Thamsanqa Tutu, Theresa Thandeka Tutu, Naomi Nontombi Tutu and Mpho Andrea Tutu, all of whom attended the Waterford Kamhlaba School in Swaziland.
His son, Trevor Tutu, caused a bomb scare at East London Airport in 1989 and was arrested. In 1991, he was convicted of contravening the Civil Aviation Act by falsely claiming there had been a bomb on board a South African Airways' plane at East London Airport. The bomb threat delayed the Johannesburg bound flight for more than three hours, costing South African Airways some R28000. At the time, Trevor Tutu announced his intention to appeal against his sentence, but failed to arrive for the appeal hearings. He forfeited his bail of R15000. He was due to begin serving his sentence in 1993, but failed to hand himself over to prison authorities. He was finally arrested in Johannesburg in August 1997. He applied for amnesty from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which was granted in 1997. He was then released from Goodwood Prison in Cape Town where he had begun serving his three-and-a-half year prison sentence after a court in East London refused to grant him bail.
Naomi Tutu, founded the Tutu Foundation for Development and Relief in Southern Africa, based in Hartford, Connecticut. She has followed in her father's footsteps as a human rights activist and is currently a program coordinator for the Race Relations Institute at Fisk University, in Nashville, Tennessee. Desmond Tutu's other daughter, Mpho Tutu, has also followed her father's footsteps and in 2004 was ordained an espiscopal priest by her father. She is also the founder and executive director of the Tutu Institute for Prayer and Pilgrimage and the chairperson of the board of the Global AIDS Alliance. In 1997, Tutu was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent successful treatment in the US. He subsequently became patron of the South African Prostate Cancer Foundation which was established in 2007.

Animal Crackers

Here is a very cute photograph,
Of a squirrel who's name is Dale.
He's found himself a corn chip,
And now he's a Chippendale.

Did You Know?

A 1,200-pound horse eats about seven times it's own weight each year.

A bird requires more food in proportion to its size than a baby or a cat.

A capon is a castrated rooster.

A chameleon can move its eyes in two directions at the same time.

A chameleon's tongue is twice the length of its body.

A chimpanzee can learn to recognize itself in a mirror, but monkeys can't.

A Cornish game hen is really a young chicken, usually 5 to 6 weeks of age, that weighs no more than 2 pounds.

A cow gives nearly 200,000 glasses of milk in her lifetime.