On June 19, 1953, U.S. citizens Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed at Sing Sing Prison in New York on the false charge of conspiring to pass atomic secrets to the Soviet Union during the Second World War. The U.S. and Soviet Union were nominally allies against Nazi Germany at the time so the Rosenbergs were actually sentenced to death for passing secrets to a U.S. ally, which makes no sense. But the U.S. was a Soviet ally in name only. It is now well-known that the U.S. ruling circles, which had conspired with Nazi Germany during the war, had decided to openly betray the anti-fascist alliance before the war ended and to rebuild Germany as an anti-communist bulwark against the Soviet Union.
No documentary proof of spying by the Rosenbergs was produced during the trial and allegations by “witnesses” went uncorroborated. The single scrap of physical evidence produced was a supposed sketch of the high-explosive lens mold that U.S. scientists were developing at the Los Alamos atomic weapons research centre. It was supplied by Ethel Rosenberg’s brother, David Greenglass, a Los Alamos army machinist who later confessed he accused Ethel Rosenberg of spying only to save his own wife from prison. Dr. Henry Linschitz, a Los Alamos chemist involved with development of the lens mold, said in an affidavit endorsed by fellow scientists Robert Oppenheimer and Harold Urey that the sketches were “too incomplete, ambiguous and even incorrect to be of any service or value to the Russians in shortening the time required to develop their nuclear bombs.” In a March 1997 article, Alexandr Feklisov, a former KGB agent who had met with Julius Rosenberg between 1943 and 1946, stated in the New York Times: “He [Rosenberg] didn’t understand anything about the atomic bomb, and he couldn’t help us.”
The use of the lens mold “evidence” also falsely suggested that there was such a thing as a secret which was critical to creation of the atomic bomb. The fact was that at the end of the Second World War, U.S. atomic scientists had emphasized over and over that there was no secret to the bomb. In fact, in 1945 the U.S. government published their official report Atomic Energy Developed for Military Purposes (aka the Smyth Report), which outlined all the basic steps in the U.S.’s atomic bomb project, clearly showing there were no atomic bomb secrets. U.S. scientists had also stated over and over that other countries would be able to apply the same scientific principles and develop their own bomb within three to five years. They added that since it was impossible to develop defences for atomic warfare, it was mandatory to establish conditions under which world cooperation in atomic power would prevail. In his infamous Cold War-opening “Iron Curtain” speech in Fulton, Missouri in 1946, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill raved that nuclear cooperation was “criminal madness.”
The Rosenbergs, who were both members of the Communist Party USA, were the first and only U.S. citizens to be publicly executed for espionage. Ethel Rosenberg was the first woman to be executed by a federal order. Their trial and execution took place at the height of the Cold War, when open anti-communism and hatred of the Soviet Union was the U.S. state ideology, the McCarthyites were running rampant with their witch hunts, and anyone with progressive views was persecuted unmercifully. It was clear from the beginning that the Rosenbergs were really on trial for their political views and to try to intimidate others. The trial judge told the court that he believed the Rosenbergs’ spying had “caused the Communist aggression in Korea.” The U.S. government promised the couple leniency if they would publicly attack the Soviet Union but they refused and stood on their principles to the end. In his last letter, Julius Rosenberg accurately stated that he and Ethel were “victims of American fascism.”
U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower was forced right after the execution to make a public statement that was a ludicrous attempt to justify the state-ordered murders. Eisenhower used Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels “Big Lie” technique, claiming: “By immeasurably increasing the chances of atomic war, the Rosenbergs may have condemned to death tens of millions of innocent people all over the world. The execution of two human beings is a grave matter. But even graver is the thought of millions of dead, whose deaths may be directly attributable to what these spies have done.” As is well known, the only country which has ever used atomic bombs to kill innocent people is the United States, which in 1945 had dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, acts of state terrorism which caused, directly and indirectly, hundreds of thousands of deaths.
Exposure of the lies about atomic secrets means that even the overall claim that any “Soviet spies” ever obtained any information anywhere which helped the Soviet Union develop the atomic bomb is highly questionable. In fact, the roots of the Soviets’ own Bomb Project went far back to 1910 with research into radioactive materials. The Soviets launched their atomic bomb program in September 1942, after it became very clear that the U.S. and others were already building a bomb, as demonstrated by evidence contained in the 1940 report of the British committee struck to determine how to build a nuclear bomb, codenamed the MAUD Committee. Work on the Soviet program accelerated after the U.S. Trinity bomb test on July 16, 1945. On December 25, 1946, the Soviets created their first chain reaction in a graphite structure. The Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb on August 29, 1949, only four years after Nagasaki. It should also be noted that Soviet atomic scientists were burdened by having to work under the onslaught of the Hitlerite invasion while U.S. scientists worked in peaceful circumstances.
The Rosenbergs were sentenced to death on April 5, 1951, but the conviction was followed by four years of appeals, protests, and a world-wide campaign for clemency that included such people as physicist Albert Einstein. On the day of the execution, 5,000 protesters rallied at Union Square in New York City and hundreds of supporters picketed the White House. Large protests took place world-wide, including in Paris where 400 people were arrested, in London, and in Rome. Ten thousand people attended the funeral in Brooklyn. Many older Americans trace the moment of their “radicalization” to the Rosenberg executions. The campaign to exonerate the Rosenbergs has continued to this day, spearheaded by their children, Michael and Robert Meeropol, and their granddaughter, film director Ivy Meeropol, who in 2004 produced the reflective film, Heir to an Execution. On September 20, 2015, New York City Council honoured Ethel Rosenberg on what would have been her 100th birthday, acknowledging her unjust execution. A monument to the memory of the Rosenbergs stands in Havana, Cuba. The Spanish text reads: “For peace bread and roses we will face the executioner. Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Murdered June 19, 1953.”
1. Canada secretly supplied much of the uranium for the U.S. atomic bomb project from its government-owned Eldorado Mines at Port Radium on the shores of Great Bear Lake, Northwest Territories. Sahtu Dene people were employed at minuscule wages to carry dangerous radioactive ore on their backs, with no protection. The Canadian government knew of the radiation dangers but hid them. The Sahtu Dene now suffer from very high cancer rates.
2. The first atom spy scare took place in Canada starting February 15, 1946, based on stories told by cipher clerk, Igor Gouzenko. Montreal MP Fred Rose, a member of the Communist Party, and many others were arrested under the Official Secrets Act. Many were released but Rose was sent to prison for four-and-a-half years. Author William Reuben argues convincingly in his exhaustive book, The Atom Spy Hoax (Action Books, 1954), that such a spy network never existed but was concocted by the Canadian state to suppress dissent.
Source: TML Weekly, June 18, 2016 – No. 25