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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Ethel, Julius Rosenberg executed June 1953 during “Red” hysteria: resistance legacy continues

 Courageous individuals are among but “we lack organized mass political effort confronting corporate enemy” says son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg
Editing, re-reporting, ending comment by 
Carolyn Bennett 

here had to be a Rosenberg case. At the same time, there were more narrow reasons behind the death penalty itself. It was used in an attempt to coerce cooperation. The ultimatum was, ‘talk or die.’ My mother was held hostage. The government said to Julius, ‘You talk, admit your guilt, or she will die too.’

“If you follow that to its logical conclusion, you can see that in fact they didn’t want to carry out the death penalty, at least not at first. They fully intended to reward my parents by commuting the death sentence if they cooperated, but when they didn’t cooperate, they had to show them who was boss ─ by killing them.

Weapons of Mass Destruction
WMD Scare
(pretext, hoax)
“Behind it all was the Cold War hysteria and the political aim of whipping up support for war and repression. My parents refused to capitulate. They sacrificed their lives rather than contribute to the anti-communist hysteria.” [Robert Meeropol] 
Meeropol's parents
Wikipedia note: Ethel and Julius Rosenberg: born September 25, 1915 (Ethel); May 12, 1918 (Julius) in New York City (both); Died June 19, 1953 (aged 37) Ethel; June 19, 1953 (aged 35) Julius at Sing Sing Prison (both); Charge(s): Conspiracy to commit espionage; Penalty: Capital punishment; Conviction status: Executed; Occupation: Actress, Singer, Secretary (Ethel), Electrical engineer (Julius); Children: Michael Meeropol, Robert Meeropol, 
 Britannica note: Red Scare: Despite his strongly anticommunist foreign policy and creation, in 1947, of an elaborate Federal Employee Loyalty Program, resulting in the firings of hundreds of federal workers and forced resignations of several thousand more, Harry S. Truman’s (33rd U.S. President, 1945-1953) final years in office were marred by charges that his administration was lax about, or even condoned, subversion and disloyalty and that communists (disparaged ‘reds’) had infiltrated the government. 
U.S. Senator Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin infamously held that the Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry Truman administrations amounted to ‘20 years of treason.’

In February 1950 McCarthy claimed that he had a list (whose number varied) of State Department employees who were loyal only to the Soviet Union.

McCarthy offered no evidence to support his charges and revealed only a single name, that of Owen Lattimore, who was not in the State Department and would never be convicted of a single offense. Making charges, mostly undocumented, of disloyalty, the senator enjoyed a highly successful career and won a large personal following.
Many others promoted the scare in various ways, leading to few convictions ─ but much loss of employment by government employees, teachers, scholars, and people in the mass media.

Ethel and Julius Rosenberg
Wikipedia image
In this era of paranoia, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were killed by the State. World Socialist Web Site’s Fred Mazelis last week posted his interview with Robert Meeropol, son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. This is more of what Robert Meeropol had to say about past and present scares and State abuses.

“The legacy of my parents,” he said, “is their resistance. They were confronted by the U.S. government and told that they must (tell lies) or die: that they had to admit to being involved in atomic espionage when that was not the case. My father was involved along with a number of other young men in trying to help the Soviet Union, but he had nothing to do with the atomic bomb and he was not going to lie about it.

 “Today, in the cases of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden ─ and not only in these cases ─  these are young resisters, young people saying we are not going to put up with this government or any government having such awesome power to spy on the population.…
Lynne Stewart
Practicing attorney
Political prisoner

“As we confront the corporate elite and the authorities, we need more people like this. The only thing I would add is that, unfortunately, while we have courageous individuals ─

…what we lack is an organized mass political force to confront the corporate enemy.

As founder of the Rosenberg Fund for Children, Robert Meeropol explained his motivation.

“On a personal level,” he said, “I set out to help children whom I see as kindred spirits ─ children who suffered because of attacks on their parents in response to their parents’ activism.

“In the 20-odd years of its existence, the RFC (Rosenberg Fund for Children) has made grants totaling nearly $5 million to hundreds of children. I did some research on this and the trend in recent years shows the need for this work.

In Barack Obama’s first year in office, there were some 600 political arrests.

In the second year, this was up to 900

In the third, it hit 1,300, and

With ‘Occupy Wall Street’ and other protests, there were over 8,000 political arrests in the final year of (President) Obama’s first term.

Robert Meeropol and daughter Jenn
Son and granddaughter
Ethel and Julius Rosenberg legacy
Rosenberg Fund for Children
“Many of those arrested have children. They are not famous, these are not big names, and their children have educational and emotional needs. The kinds of activities supported by our grants include camp, art and music lessons, school tuition, day care, therapy and the costs of travel to visit incarcerated parents.

“…. If it is going to take years and even generations to transform our society, then we on the left must work to transmit our values across generations.…” 

obert and Michael Meeropol are the sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who in June 1953 were executed by the U.S. government on trumped-up charges of atomic espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union. Robert, the younger of the brothers, was six years old when his parents were killed by the State. The Rosenberg brothers were adopted and raised by Abel and Anne Meeropol. They have spent their adult lives campaigning to expose the importance of the Rosenberg case. In the 1970s, they successfully sued the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to force the release of 300,000 previously secret documents dealing with their parents. In addition to his work as founder (1990) of the Rosenberg Fund for Children (www.rfc.org), Robert Meeropol is a practicing attorney and hold academic degrees in anthropology and law.
Leaders in Human Rights
Eleanor Roosevelt (l)
Margaret Chase Smith (r)

In her June 1, 1950, resistance, her   “Declaration of Conscience” against  McCarthyism, U.S. Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine lays charges of “selfish, political exploitation of fear, bigotry, ignorance and intolerance.” 

 More than sixty years since the Rosenbergs and Roosevelts, Joe McCarthy and Harry Truman and here we are again faced with paranoia and pretexts and persecution, high crimes of the State, gross abuses of law, human rights convention, and ethical principles perpetrated with impunity by leadership USA all over the world. How is this possible? 

Meeropol is right. We are without organized mass political effort, an essential togetherness; and if there is to be a constructive societal transformation, we on the left must instill requisite values across the generations. But for a nation of people who are plummeting insidiously into America's separatist past; and even worse, a people bent on destroying the foundational potential  and promise laid down by the founders for liberty and justice for all ─ this is indeed a tall order. 

Sources and notes

“The WSWS speaks to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg’s son: An interview with Robert Meeropol”
(Fred Mazelis), June 15, 2013, http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/06/15/meer-j15.html

Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julius_and_Ethel_Rosenberg

“The Rosenberg Fund for Children was started by Robert Meeropol, who was orphaned at age six when his parents, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, were executed at the height of the McCarthy Era. In 1990 Robert figured out how he could repay the progressive community that helped him survive. He founded the RFC to help children of targeted activists in the U.S. today- children who are experiencing the same nightmare he and his brother endured as youngsters.”

CELEBRATE THE CHILDREN OF RESISTANCE: the RFC’s signature public event. The program honors the progressive legacy that Ethel and Julius Rosenberg left to their sons while celebrating the courage of activists today, http://www.rfc.org/celebratethechildrenofresistance

United States (Red Scare). (2011). Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Deluxe Edition.  Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica


“Minnesota Nazi: Commander of SS unit lives in U.S. after World War II” (Staff Writer), June 14, 2013 - See more at: http://www.miaminewsday.com/national/10387-minnesota-nazi-commander-of-ss-unit-lives-in-us-after-world-war-ii.html#sthash.GmqW1SmU.dpuf

By David Rising, Monika Scislowska, and Randy Herschaft, Associated Press / June 14, 2013 at 11:49 am EDT

Michael Karkoc, age 94, “a top commander of a Nazi SS-led unit accused of burning villages filled with women and children lied to American immigration officials to get into the United States and has been living in Minnesota since shortly after World War II, according to evidence uncovered by The Associated Press.

“In 1949 Michael Karkoc told American authorities he had performed no military service during World War II, thus concealing his work as an officer and founding member of the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion and later as an officer in the SS Galician Division, according to records obtained by the AP through a Freedom of Information Act request.

“The Galician Division and a Ukrainian nationalist organization he served in were both on a secret American government blacklist of organizations whose members were forbidden from entering the United States at the time.” http://www.miaminewsday.com/national/10387-minnesota-nazi-commander-of-ss-unit-lives-in-us-after-world-war-ii.html


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