From: Brian Holtz []
Sent: Friday, February 15, 2002 3:41 PM
Subject: Nova Meeropol interviewThis is a response to the Nova interview of the Meeropol brothers at Meeropols (sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg) say
neither Julius nor Ethel Rosenberg did the crime they were killed for. That seems to be the most important question 
No, the most important question is: did they deserve to die?
Even more interesting is the history of science issue. In the end, did any atomic espionage play any role in the speed with which the Soviet Union got the bomb
It plainly did speed Soviet acquisition of the bomb, but that is beside the point. Trying and failing to speed Soviet acquisition is morally indistinguishable from trying and succeeding.
Why did they go after Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and not go after Theodore Alvin Hall?
The Meeropols spin an elaborate conspiracy theory and ignore the obvious answer: there were confessions substantiating the guilt of the Rosenbergs (plural) but not that of Hall, and the prosecutors naturally preferred confessions to cryptographic evidence (which is much easier to try to impugn, as the Meeropols clumsily demonstrate).  At any rate, the existence of other unprosecuted or less-punished criminals is simply independent of the question of whether the Rosenbergs deserved their fate.
There's no way to know for sure what Julius Rosenberg wanted to do or what the spy Liberal/Antenna wanted to do.
This facile observation in no way substantiates the unspoken claim that no possible intention of these spies was more likely than any other.
What would the post-1950 world have looked like if the U.S. had the monopoly? It would be a very safe prediction to suggest that we would have used it on China in Korea
This completely ignores the argument that the Korean war would not have been started under a U.S. monopoly. It also makes the erroneous assumption that a U.N. nuclear victory in Korea could only have been a bad thing.
Venona said that Ethel Rosenberg was not an espionage agent.
Both Venona and Greenglass confirm that she was an accomplice.
If you have different versions, then you can't trust any of them
The fact that partial decrypts can be filled in over time simply does not make any such decrypt necessarily untrustworthy, and it is blatantly specious to suggest otherwise.
the agencies in charge of gathering and ultimately disseminating this material had the motive, means, and opportunity to fiddle with this material in order to demonstrate that two people were killed for a crime that they committed
Are we to suppose that the original decrypts are being held at Area 51?  Such a conspiracy theory is unfalsifiable, unparsimonious, and unsupported by the evidence.
they arrested a small-fry spy, created the story of him being a kingpin having stolen the secret of the atom bomb allegedly, took his wife as a hostage, put a gun to her head and told him, "Talk or we'll not only kill you, we'll kill her." And when he wouldn't talk, they murdered her in cold blood
The law under which Julius was executed does not outlaw kingpinhood, it outlaws espionage. There may indeed have been some rhetorical and procedural mistakes in the Rosenberg prosecution, and the Rosenbergs may indeed have believed they were working for humanity's ultimate good.  Many of history's worst villains have believed the same, and that belief simply does not grant blanket immunity for any possible action.  Julius was an atomic spy, working for the history's most murderous state (60 million dead) and against history's most beneficent state.  The magnitude of this crime is in no way diminished by hairsplitting about whether someone was a "kingpin" or a mere accomplice. We can be sure that the Rosenbergs' own lawyer had no such hairsplitting in mind when he said in his summation: "if these people are guilty of that crime they deserve no sympathy". Execution is a just punishment for any such spy, or accomplice thereof, who remains unrepentant and uncooperative.
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