From: Brian Holtz [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, February 15, 2002 3:41 PM
To: NOVA@wgbh.org; email@example.com
Subject: Nova Meeropol interviewThis
is a response to the Nova interview of the Meeropol brothers athttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/venona/fami_meeropol.htmlThe
Meeropols (sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg) say
Julius nor Ethel Rosenberg did the crime they were killed for. That seems
to be the most important question
the most important question is: did they deserve to die?
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
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.
did they go after Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and not go after Theodore
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.
no way to know for sure what Julius Rosenberg wanted to do or what the
spy Liberal/Antenna wanted to do.
facile observation in no way substantiates the unspoken claim that no possible
intention of these spies was more likely than any other.
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
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.
said that Ethel Rosenberg was not an espionage agent.
Venona and Greenglass confirm that she was an accomplice.
you have different versions, then you can't trust any of them
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.
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
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.
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
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.