Glossary - Definitions

Is Deception Wrong?


In the dictionary the word deception means to deceive, to cause another to believe what is not true. To mislead. At face value, this is quite immoral. Generally, we would say it would be highly improper to mislead anyone to believe something that is not true. Yet Sun Tzu endorsed this practice in his Art of War. Like many concepts in life (and as you might expect), nothing is as simple as it seems.

We will present two examples to fully examine the morality of deception. The first example is about the idea of stealing. We all tend to believe theft is wrong. In almost all cases, taking someone's property without payment is extremely inappropriate. However, would it be immoral for a penniless parent to break into a drugstore to get medicine for his sick infant? Some would believe not in this instance. Why? Although this is still considered stealing, it's overshadowed by something good: caring for a helpless child. This first example is to show how even a disagreeable idea can be made proper under the right circumstances.

Our second example is a story about a determined monk. He vowed to never tell a lie, to never deceive, i.e., to never use deception. This monk is obviously someone committed to staying moral. One day, while meditating under an oak tree, he was interrupted by a young boy. The boy said people are after him, but he claimed innocent to any wrongdoing. The youth further stated that he will now climb up the oak tree and urged the monk not to tell anybody where he's hiding. The monk believed him and promised to not say a word.

When a group of angry people came and questioned the monk if he knew whether a young boy had passed his way, the monk thought hard about the inquiry. If he tells them where the boy is, then he would break his promise. If he tells them no, then he would be lying. Finally the monk had the solution: he simply pointed up -- in the direction of the youth. The boy was then dragged down and subsequently punished. Needless to say, the monk was relieved he had kept his unbroken record of never telling a lie. Nevertheless, he had placed his ideals above bringing harm to someone innocent. This act is cruel and hardly moral. The second example is to show how an agreeable idea can be made improper under some circumstances.

The question still remains: is deception wrong? To Sun Tzu, it is the Way of warfare; it must be applied. For him, deception increases the chances of a quick victory. With it comes reduced hardships and the sparing of soldiers' lives. In fact, if the general can successfully deceive the enemy, he will likely achieve the highest accomplishment in warfare -- victory without fighting.

Implied throughout the Art of War, Sun Tzu preferred using implements of psychology (such as deception and diversion) over direct attacks by military force. It's apparent which results in the least amount of loss. He knew that psychological damage can be returned to normal over time but a "destroyed nation cannot exist again, the dead cannot be brought back to life."

Therefore, one can only conclude that deception is amoral; the degree of its morality would depend on the situation, and of course, the observer's perception. Note that from the perspective of a hardened warrior and strategist like Sun Tzu, deceiving someone is simply a duty that must be brushing ones teeth. You brush your teeth so you can keep them clean. This promotes a healthy body. Likewise, he uses deception so he can achieve military victory. This promotes a secure nation. In these particular instances, both acts are neither sinful nor pious, and have little to do with morality. 

Please note: when reading the words "authority," "coordination," "guidance," "management," "preservation," "protection," "regulation," "restraint," "sustainable development," and "trust," used by groups who say they would do these things, substitute the word "control," then reread.
Collaborate - To cooperate, usually willingly, with an enemy nation, especially with an enemy occupying one's country. - The Random House College Dictionary, 1980 Revised Edition, page 263. (Note: Please, consider when you see this word, collaborate, in plans, agency documents, etc., and consider its real meaning.)

Definitions - The United Nations, at several various conventions, has addressed the problem of definitions. Difficult and crucial terms, such as "alien", "invasive", "non-native", "native", "indigenous" and others have been discussed. Probably all speakers, presenters and participants in the discussions have agreed on the importance of definitions and also on the fact that most national laws tend to neglect or underestimate the definition problems. All agreed on the urgent need of internationally harmonized terminology, a need particularly emphasized by John Hedley in his presentation at the International Plant Protection Convention.

If any new international regime is being developed, whatever its scope, harmonization of terms should be an essential element, if not the starting point.

2. A statement of the precise meaning of something. In classifications this refers to the explanation of the concepts encompassed in category description and often includes specific examples of what is and is not included in particular categories.  In deliberations on the use of terms, delegates called for definitions of the terms "exploration area", "commercially sensitive area", "inspectors" and "precautionary measures".  With regard to the definition of exploitation, one delegation objected to the inclusion of construction and operation of mining, processing and transportation systems as part of the exploitation process. The point was made, however, that if a contractor wished to include the costs associated with these systems in cost-recovery claims, they would have to be considered part of exploitation. Another representative questioned the allusion to the production of minerals, since the production process was a land-based, rather than an exploitation, activity, but according to another member, insofar as land-based activities were associated with exploitation, they had to be included in any definition of that term. The definition of "guidelines" to be issued by the Legal and Technical Commission was the subject of much debate. Some members stressed that the Commission had no authority to issue a legally binding instrument but could only formulate recommendations or suggest practices that the Council would then have to approve. Guidelines would not override the rules laid down by the Council, as they were merely mechanisms to assist contractors in the implementation of those rules. As such, there was no question of the Commission exceeding its mandate.  Some speakers questioned whether the code should attempt to define "marine environment", in view of the difficulty of interpreting it in a legal document. Others, however, wondered how serious harm to the environment could be understood if there was no definition.  The draft under discussion defines "marine environment" as "the physical, chemical and biological components, conditions and factors which interact and determine the productivity, state, condition and quality of the marine ecosystem, including the coastal area, the waters of the seas and oceans and the airspace above those waters, as well as the seabed and ocean floor and the subsoil thereof".

On the definition of "serious harm to the marine environment", several delegations wanted the words "serious harm" to be replaced by the phrase "harmful effects", which would be consistent with article 145 of the Convention.  A contractor during exploration activities may find 6 bis, relating to the protection of archaeological or historical objects that the Council agreed to incorporate in the regulations a new section. Under this regulation, contractors would be required to notify the Authority's Secretary-General in writing of any such discovery, and to take all reasonable measures not to disturb it. Members agreed that all references to provisional members of the Authority should be omitted from the regulations.

There was also general agreement to omit from the list of definitions the terms already defined in the Convention, and to add an explanatory paragraph to this effect.  Inclusion of the crime of aggression is acceptable provided that a clear and precise definition is arrived at. (UN)

Access to Safe Water - Measured by the number of people who have a reasonable means of getting an adequate amount of clean water, expressed as a percentage of the total population. It reflects the health of a country's people and the country's ability to collect, clean, and distribute water. In urban areas "reasonable" access means there is a public fountain or water spigot located within 200 meters of the household. In rural areas, it implies that members of the household do not have to spend excessive time each day fetching water.

Water is safe or unsafe depending on the amount of bacteria in it. An adequate amount of water is enough to satisfy metabolic, hygienic, and domestic requirements, usually about 20 liters (about 4 gallons) per person per day. (WB-UN)

Included By Reference - A phrase, legal statute, report, et al that, by its mention, is included in its totality (as in:  "...identified in one or more land and resource management plans.").

Key Terms - Key terms employed in the United Nations Treaty Collection to refer to international instruments binding at international law: treaties, agreements, conventions, charters, protocols, declarations, memoranda of understanding, modus vivendi and exchange of notes. The purpose is to facilitate a general understanding of their scope and function. Over the past centuries, state practice has developed a variety of terms to refer to international instruments by which states establish rights and obligations among themselves. Term such as "statutes", "covenants", "accords" and others are used. In spite of this diversity of terminology, no precise nomenclature exists. In fact, the meaning of the terms used is variable, changing from State to State, from region to region and instrument to instrument.

Some of the terms can easily be interchanged. For example,  an instrument that is designated "agreement" might also be called "treaty" or "convention".  The title assigned to such international instruments thus has normally no overriding legal effects. The title may follow habitual uses or may relate to the particular character or importance sought to be attributed to the instrument by its parties. The degree of formality chosen will depend upon the gravity of the problems dealt with and upon the political implications and intent of the parties.  Although these instruments differ from each other by title, they all have common features and international law has applied basically the same rules to all of these instruments. These rules are the result of long practice among the States, which have accepted them as binding norms in their mutual relations.

Therefore, they are regarded as International Customary Law. Since there was a general desire to codify these customary rules, two international conventions were negotiated. The 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties ("1969 Vienna Convention"), which entered into force on 27 January 1980, contains rules for treaties concluded between States. The 1986 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties between States and International Organizations or between International Organizations ("1986 Vienna Convention"), which has still not entered into force, added rules for treaties with international organizations as parties. Both the 1969
Vienna Convention and the 1986 Vienna Convention do not distinguish between the different designations of these instruments. Instead, their rules apply to all of those instruments as long as they meet certain common requirements.

Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations provides that "every treaty and every international agreement entered into by any Member State of the United Nations after the present Charter comes into force shall as soon as possible be registered with the Secretariat and published by it".  All treaties and international agreements registered or filed and recorded with the Secretariat since 1946 are published in the UNTS. By the terms "treaty" and "international agreement", referred to in Article 102 of the Charter, the broadest range of instruments is covered. Although the General Assembly of the UN has never laid down a precise definition for both terms and never clarified their mutual relationship, Art.1 of the General Assembly Regulations to Give Effect to Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations provides that the obligation to register applies to every treaty or international agreement "whatever its form and descriptive name". In the practice of the Secretariat under Article 102 of the UN Charter, the expressions "treaty" and "international agreement" embrace a wide variety of instruments, including unilateral commitments, such as declarations by new
Member States of the UN accepting the obligations of the UN Charter, declarations of acceptance of the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice under Art.36 (2) of its Statute and certain unilateral declarations that create binding obligations between the declaring nation and other nations. The particular designation of an international instrument is thus not decisive for the obligation incumbent on the Member
States to register it. It must however not be concluded that the labeling of treaties is haphazard or capricious. The very name may be suggestive of the objective aimed at, or of the accepted limitations of action of the parties to the arrangement. Although the actual intent of the parties can often be derived from the clauses of the treaty itself or from its preamble, the designated term might give a general indication of such intent. A particular treaty term might indicate that the desired objective of the treaty is a higher degree of cooperation than ordinarily aimed for in such instruments.

Other terms might indicate that the parties sought to regulate only technical matters. Finally, treaty terminology might be indicative of the relationship of the treaty with a previously or subsequently concluded agreement. (UN)

Landscape - An area composed of interacting and inter-connected patterns of habitats (ecosystems) that are repeated because of the geology, landform, soils, climate, biota, and human influences throughout the area.

Landscape structure is formed by patches (tree stands or sites), connections (corridors and linkages), and the matrix. Landscape function is based on disturbance events, successional development of landscape structure, and flows of energy and nutrients through the structure of the landscape. A landscape is composed of watersheds and smaller ecosystems. It is the building block of biotic provinces and regions. (USDA Forest Service Glossary)

Major Land Resource Area (MLRA) - Major land resource areas are geographically associated land resource units delineated by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and characterized by a particular pattern that combines soils, water, climate, vegetation, land use, and type of farming. There are 204 MLRAs in the United States, ranging in size from less than 500,000 acres to more than 60 million acres. Geographically associated land resource units with particular patterns of soils, climate, vegetation types, water resources, and land uses.

Multiple use -- According to the Multiple Use and Sustained Yield Act of 1960 (P.L. 86-517, June 12, 1960), as amended, multiple use of the national forests means the 'harmonious and coordinated management of the various resources, each with the other, without impairment of the productivity of the land, with consideration being given to the relative values of the various resources, and not necessarily the combination of uses that will give the greatest dollar return or the greatest unit output.' Multiple use implies a sustained yield of outdoor recreation, range, timber, watershed, and wildlife and fish values. 

Outstanding Natural Area (ONA) - An area that contains unusual natural characteristics and is managed primarily for educational and recreational purposes. (BLM)

Sustainable Development - "Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." From the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (The Brundtland Commission, 1987)

Unnecessary or Undue Degradation - Surface disturbance greater than what would normally result when a mineral exploration or development activity regulated under 43 CFR 3809 is being accomplished by a prudent operator in usual, customary and proficient operations of similar character and taking into consideration the effects of operations on other resources and land uses, outside the area of operations. Failure to initiate and complete reasonable mitigation measures, including reclamation of disturbed areas; or failure to prevent the creation of a nuisance, which may constitute unnecessary or undue degradation. Failure to comply with applicable environmental protection statutes and regulations thereunder will constitute unnecessary or undue degradation. (BLM)

Viewshed - Subunits of the landscape where the scene is contained by topography similar to a watershed.  An enclosed area of landscape which can be viewed as a single entity.  The total area visible from a point (or series of points along a linear transportation facility) and conversely the area, which views the facility.  2. The landscape that can be directly seen from a viewpoint or along a transportation corridor. (BLM)

Vertical Mulching - A high priority recovery need for the federally-listed desert tortoise and other sensitive species occurring within the California Desert is the restoration of unauthorized routes, or road reclamation (refer to West Mojave Route Designation, Ord Mountain Pilot Unit, Biological Resource Screening Components; Bureau of Land Management 1997). Such restoration allows for the protection of large contiguous blocks of habitat that are relatively unencumbered by vehicle use impacts and related activities. Restoring unauthorized routes would significantly reduce identified habitat fragmentation occurring within designated tortoise critical habitat units and yield tremendous positive benefits affecting recovery of this species. Of the 22 major threats to the tortoise identified in recent research, ten would be significantly reduced by restoring unauthorized roads and trails, including the following: fire, off highway vehicle recreation, animal collection, garbage and litter, handling and manipulation, invasive weeds, noise, vandalism, predation (by ravens and similar subsidized predators), and non off-highway vehicle recreation. The Barstow Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management is currently seeking support among potential cooperators to use “desert tortoise habitat compensation” funds for road and trail restoration. Such funds are occasionally generated, pursuant to guidelines in BLM’s Desert Tortoise Rangewide Plan, when habitat-impacting projects are approved within the range of the tortoise that cannot be fully mitigated on-site. In the past, these “habitat compensation” funds have typically been used to acquire private inholdings within designated tortoise critical habitat units. Recently, however, the Barstow Field Office determined that compensation funds generated by several large-scale projects would enable cooperating agencies to protect/enhance a much larger amount of tortoise habitat if these funds were used for route restoration, rather than habitat acquisition. Both methods of offsite habitat compensation are necessary for long-term recovery of the desert tortoise and other sensitive species in certain critical habitat units, and these options should be carefully evaluated on a case-by-case basis. To accomplish both tortoise habitat restoration and route designation objectives in critical habitat units, BLM staff have developed a reclamation strategy commonly referred to as “vertical mulching.” This technique involves the placement of structure (live vegetation, rocks, dead shrubs and “snags,” bunch-grasses, and various woody material) within the confines of the closed roadway surface, both on the ground surface and in a vertical manner, designed to conform with adjacent vegetation and terrain. Use of this technique is further described below. Discussion: Lessons learned by BLM over past decades have shown that route designation cannot be effectively implemented by simply installing red carsonite “closed to vehicle use” signs on or adjacent to unauthorized routes of travel. Efforts must include encouraging vehicle travel on designated open routes, and making designated closed routes literally disappear into the landscape. To begin this “disappearing act,” decompaction and mulching techniques must be applied to closed routes, extending at least to the visual horizon, especially where the closed routes intersect with other routes. The Barstow Field Office has demonstrated that unauthorized roads and trails can be economically restored through use of vertical mulching techniques. These techniques involve placement of boulders and organic structure, such as live/dead and down vegetation, within the disturbed soil portion of affected roadbeds. Only vegetation, rock and woody structure native to the immediate closed route vicinities are used. The estimated cost for restoring tortoise habitat using this technique is $500 per acre, using current technology. The target restoration areas consist of roads and trails that facilitate a variety of anthropogenic impacts to designated desert tortoise critical habitat. The specified collection and installation of mulching material occurs under the supervision of a qualified natural resource specialist, archeologist, biologist or technician, to ensure a minimization of impacts to biological or cultural resources. Areas adjacent to where route closure/rehabilitation is planned may occasionally be used to gather dead vertical mulching material, in a manner designed to avoid causing local dead and down habitat loss, yet also accomplish restoration objectives. In no circumstances are shrubs that shade animal burrows or that are located adjacent to cultural resources, removed for use as mulching material. However, live and dead vegetation from the immediate region, salvaged from land clearing or road maintenance operations, may occasionally be used as mulching material in such restoration projects. Memorandums of understanding developed between land management agencies and local transportation departments, regarding salvage and storage of native material for this application, can facilitate large-scale projects. The use of pitting, ripping, or other scarification techniques within the confines of route or roadbed soil disturbance is sometimes necessary for rapid site recovery. Such scarification is done with hand-tools or through the use of heavy equipment and machinery (toothed rake, pitter, or similar device pulled by a tractor). After scarification, the live or dead vegetation is placed in a vertical fashion within the confines of route or roadbed soil disturbance, in a manner designed to conform to adjacent terrain and vegetation. The Barstow Field Office is able to restore Mojave Desert habitats for about $500 per acre, due to relationships and agreements it has in place with the California Conservation Corps and other local young adult labor groups. Under an existing agreement, the California Conservation Corps will match BLM contributed project funds on a dollar for dollar basis. As a consequence, funds generated by large habitat-disturbing projects could also qualify for matching by the state of California, in the form of matching labor funds available via the use of the California Conservation Corps. Conclusion: Vertical mulching can be an economical technique for restoring unauthorized roads and trails in desert tortoise and other sensitive species’ habitats. In some circumstances it may provide much more “bang for the buck” when compared to traditional forms of offsite compensation. Its application in selected areas of the California Desert will reduce anthropogenic impacts to the listed desert tortoise, contributing significantly to the recovery of this threatened species. References: Bureau of Land Management (BLM). 1997. West Mojave route designation, Ord Mountain pilot unit, biological resource screening components. California Desert District BLM Office, Riverside, California.