June 11, 2011
While they no more engage in overt forms of apartheid, their desire for upper hand over 'lesser', colored people is profound. If the colored people they interact with have weaker position, they relish the contempt they can feel. If, as increasingly is the case with China, they cannot any more show contempt with authenticity, it is visceral hatred.
We should face upto this reality and drop all the glib nonsense about US and India being 'fellow' democracies. To them we, or any other people this side of Suez will never be equal.
Not only will they feel either contempt or hatred but will also act to ensure that they have upper hand over us in some way or the other. Some norm of interaction and engagement that puts them as superiors, some unequality in any form howsoever indirect.
It is really time our policies start taking cognisance of this. We should conduct our political and diplomatic affairs as if they did not exist. And then, when they demand we take cognisance of their 'strategic needs', we should deal in strictly transactional manner.
For long term, a few people around the world will be our allies and we should focus on them - non-Taliban Afghans, Tibetans, Myannmarese and such like. We should strengthen them and ensure their 'all weather' support.
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As the debt-ridden US struggles to reduce its deficit and a cash-rich China flexes its muscles, most ofAsia is worried about a weakened America retreating from the region. Last week, Robert Gates, the departing US defence secretary, stepped in to dispel these fears. He told a gathering of Asia's defence officials in Singapore that America's "robust military engagement and deterrence posture" will not only continue but expand. Given America's deep strategic and economic interests in the Asia-Pacific region, it is not an empty assurance.
America's stake in Asia is enormous - nearly a trillion dollars in annual trade, billions of dollars of investment, to say nothing of the security of its allies, its global standing and the importance of the South China Sea that carries a third of the world's trade. Concrete reasons aside, for the US not to counter perceptions of declining commitment to the region would undermine its influence.
It is no coincidence that Gates's reassurance came mere weeks after reports of new tension between China and the South China Sea claimants - Vietnam and the Philippines. Vietnam has always been more public in its denunciations of Chinese harassment of its fishermen and exploration vessels. But last week, the Philippines too was uncharacteristically blunt in condemning hostile Chinese actions in what it claims as its territorial waters. Gates diplomatically blamed a lack of "rules of the road" for these clashes. But there was no mistaking who he saw as responsible for not respecting agreed codes of conduct.
It was against this backdrop of Chinese assertiveness that secretary of state Hillary Clinton launched her "America is back" in Asia slogan. China's spats with Japan over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands and its support for North Korea's aggressive behaviour have prompted its neighbours to ask for a greater American commitment. In July last year, Clinton provoked a sharp Chinese response when she offered the US's good offices for a peaceful resolution of the South China Sea dispute. Encouraged as they were by the new American assertiveness, they have since grown anxious about how impending cuts in the Pentagon's budget will impact the US presence in Asia. Gates was upfront in admitting that drastic cuts in the defence budget (of $400 billion over the next 12 years) are in the works, but assured allies that the focus has been first on cancelling troubled or unnecessary weapons programmes and culling excess overhead. However, "key remaining modernisation programmes - systems that are of particular importance to our military strategy in Asia - will rank at or near the top of our defence budget priorities," he announced.
In recent years, China has developed anti-submarine and anti-ship ballistic and cruise missile capabilities to counter the power projection of the US's carrier battle groups. But without mentioning China by name, Gates noted US concerns about "anti-access and area denial scenarios" and said that the US was working to develop a new concept of operations - called "Air-Sea Battle" - to ensure that America's military will continue to be able to "deploy, move, and strike over great distances in defence of our allies and vital interests". These programmes, he said, would grow "even in the face of new threats abroad and fiscal challenges at home, ensuring that we will continue to meet our commitments as a 21st century Asia-Pacific nation - with appropriate forces, posture, and presence". As part of an expanded US role in the region, Gates announced the deployment of littoral combat ships to Singapore. These short-range, high-speed warships, optimised for shallow-water operations with anti-submarine and demining capacity, would be best suited for Southeast Asian waters.
To underline America's new position in Asia, Gates noted how its former enemy Vietnam now has a "strong and vibrant bilateral relationship" in trade, security and defence. The US and India, he said, were working "more closely together than ever before".
Worth noting is that Gates underscored America's deepening commitment to Asia while taking care to avoid antagonising Beijing. Gates pronounced China-US relations as being on "a more positive trajectory", a view with which his Chinese counterpart readily agreed. Notwithstanding their recent provocative behaviour, Chinese leaders are aware of the limits to their power. The plain statements about the US's determination to stay in the region were thus a sobering message to take back to Beijing.
Posted: Jun 10, 2011 at 1515 hrs IST
Ahmedabad Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that the clean chit given to Tahawwur Rana in Mumbai terror attack-related charges by a US court was a "foreign policy setback", and demanded that India reconsider its policy towards the United States.
"Just to please Pakistan, US has unlocked the ways for all the 26/11 Mumbai attack terrorists to be free of guilt. It is time that the central government should rethink its
policy towards US," Modi said.
"US declaring Tahawwur Rana innocent in Mumbai attack has disgraced the sovereignty of India and it is a major foreign policy setback," Modi said on his Twitter page.
"The masterminds active behind the terrorist movements in India will now seek justice in the courts of America," the Gujarat Chief Minister said.
"Will US let the Indian court take a trial of 9/11 terrorist attack case?" he tweeted.
Modi has always been critical of the Centre's policy in connection with the 26/11 vis-a-vis Pakistan and the United States.
Tahawwur Rana was on Friday held not guilty on the charges of involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks by a US federal court which however convicted him for providing material support to Pakistan-based terror group LeT, and for plotting an attack in Denmark.
The 59th Bilderberg Meeting will be held in St. Moritz, Switzerland from 9 - 12 June 2011. The Conference will deal mainly with Challenges for Growth: Innovation and Budgetary Discipline, the Euro and Challenges for the European Union, the role of Emerging Economies, Social Networks: Connectivity and Security Issues, New Challenges in the Middle East, Conflict Areas, Demographic Challenges, China, Switzerland: Can it remain successful in the future?
Approximately 130 participants will attend of whom about two-thirds come from Europe and the balance from North America and other countries. About one-third is from government and politics, and two-thirds are from finance, industry, labor, education, and communications. The meeting is private in order to encourage frank and open discussion.
Bilderberg takes its name from the hotel in Holland, where the first meeting took place in May 1954. That pioneering meeting grew out of the concern expressed by leading citizens on both sides of the Atlantic that Western Europe and North America were not working together as closely as they should on common problems of critical importance. It was felt that regular, off-the-record discussions would help create a better understanding of the complex forces and major trends affecting Western nations in the difficult post-war period.
The Cold War has now ended. But in practically all respects there are more, not fewer, common problems - from trade to jobs, from monetary policy to investment, from ecological challenges to the task of promoting international security. It is hard to think of any major issue in either Europe or North America whose unilateral solution would not have repercussions for the other.
Thus the concept of a European-American forum has not been overtaken by time. The dialogue between these two regions is still - even increasingly - critical.
What is unique about Bilderberg as a forum is the broad cross-section of leading citizens that are assembled for nearly three days of informal and off-the-record discussion about topics of current concern especially in the fields of foreign affairs and the international economy; the strong feeling among participants that in view of the differing attitudes and experiences of the Western nations, there remains a clear need to further develop an understanding in which these concerns can be accommodated; the privacy of the meetings, which has no purpose other than to allow participants to speak their minds openly and freely.
In short, Bilderberg is a small, flexible, informal and off-the-record international forum in which different viewpoints can be expressed and mutual understanding enhanced.
Bilderberg's only activity is its annual Conference. At the meetings, no resolutions are proposed, no votes taken, and no policy statements issued. Since 1954, fifty-eight conferences have been held. The names of the participants are made available to the press. Participants are chosen for their experience, their knowledge, and their standing; all participants attend Bilderberg in a private and not an official capacity.
For further information refer to www.bilderbergmeetings.org. A list of participants is attached.
St. Moritz, Switzerland 9-12 June 2011
Final List of Participants
BEL Davignon, Etienne Minister of State
DEU Ackermann, Josef Chairman of the Management Board and the Group Executive Committee, Deutsche Bank AG
GBR Agius, Marcus Chairman, Barclays PLC
USA Alexander, Keith B. Commander, USCYBERCOM; Director, National Security Agency
INT Almunia, Joaquín Vice President, European Commission; Commissioner for Competition
USA Altman, Roger C. Chairman, Evercore Partners Inc.
FIN Apunen, Matti Director, Finnish Business and Policy Forum EVA
PRT Balsemão, Francisco Pinto Chairman and CEO, IMPRESA, S.G.P.S.; Former Prime Minister
FRA Baverez, Nicolas Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
FRA Bazire, Nicolas Managing Director, Groupe Arnault /LVMH
ITA Bernabè, Franco CEO, Telecom Italia SpA
USA Bezos, Jeff Founder and CEO, Amazon.com
SWE Bildt, Carl Minister of Foreign Affairs
SWE Björling, Ewa Minister for Trade
NLD Bolland, Marc J. Chief Executive, Marks and Spencer Group plc
CHE Brabeck-Letmathe, Peter Chairman, Nestlé S.A.
AUT Bronner, Oscar CEO and Publisher, Standard Medien AG
CAN Carney, Mark J. Governor, Bank of Canada
FRA Castries, Henri de Chairman and CEO, AXA
ESP Cebrián, Juan Luis CEO, PRISA
NLD Chavannes, Marc E. Political Columnist, NRC Handelsblad; Professor of Journalism, University of Groningen
TUR Ciliv, Süreyya CEO, Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri A.S.
CAN Clark, Edmund President and CEO, TD Bank Financial Group
BEL Coene, Luc Governor, National Bank of Belgium
USA Collins, Timothy C. CEO, Ripplewood Holdings, LLC
ESP Cospedal, María Dolores de Secretary General, Partido Popular
INT Daele, Frans van Chief of Staff to the President of the European Council
GRC David, George A. Chairman, Coca-Cola H.B.C. S.A.
DNK Eldrup, Anders CEO, DONG Energy
ITA Elkann, John Chairman, Fiat S.p.A.
DEU Enders, Thomas CEO, Airbus SAS
AUT Faymann, Werner Federal Chancellor
DNK Federspiel, Ulrik Vice President, Global Affairs, Haldor Topsøe A/S
USA Feldstein, Martin S. George F. Baker Professor of Economics, Harvard University
PRT Ferreira Alves, Clara CEO, Claref LDA; writer
GBR Flint, Douglas J. Group Chairman, HSBC Holdings plc
CHN Fu, Ying Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs
IRL Gallagher, Paul Senior Counsel; Former Attorney General
CHE Groth, Hans Senior Director, Healthcare Policy & Market Access, Oncology Business Unit, Pfizer Europe
TUR Gülek Domac, Tayyibe Former Minister of State
NLD Halberstadt, Victor Professor of Economics, Leiden University; Former Honorary Secretary General of Bilderberg Meetings
GRC Hardouvelis, Gikas A. Chief Economist and Head of Research, Eurobank EFG
USA Hoffman, Reid Co-founder and Executive Chairman, LinkedIn
CHN Huang, Yiping Professor of Economics, China Center for Economic Research, Peking University
USA Hughes, Chris R. Co-founder, Facebook
USA Jacobs, Kenneth M. Chairman & CEO, Lazard
CHE Janom Steiner, Barbara Head of the Department of Justice, Security and Health, Canton Grisons
FIN Johansson, Ole Chairman, Confederation of the Finnish Industries EK
USA Johnson, James A. Vice Chairman, Perseus, LLC
USA Jordan, Jr., Vernon E. Senior Managing Director, Lazard Frères & Co. LLC
USA Keane, John M. Senior Partner, SCP Partners; General, US Army, Retired
GBR Kerr, John Member, House of Lords; Deputy Chairman, Royal Dutch Shell plc
USA Kissinger, Henry A. Chairman, Kissinger Associates, Inc.
USA Kleinfeld, Klaus Chairman and CEO, Alcoa
TUR Koç, Mustafa V. Chairman, Koç Holding A.S.
USA Kravis, Henry R. Co-Chairman and co-CEO, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
USA Kravis, Marie-Josée Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute, Inc.
INT Kroes, Neelie Vice President, European Commission; Commissioner for Digital Agenda
CHE Kudelski, André Chairman and CEO, Kudelski Group SA
GBR Lambert, Richard Independent Non-Executive Director, Ernst & Young
INT Lamy, Pascal Director General, World Trade Organization
ESP León Gross, Bernardino Secretary General of the Spanish Presidency
CHE Leuthard, Doris Federal Councillor
FRA Lévy, Maurice Chairman and CEO, Publicis Groupe S.A.
BEL Leysen, Thomas Chairman, Umicore
USA Li, Cheng Senior Fellow and Director of Research, John L. Thornton China Center, Brookings Institution
DEU Löscher, Peter President and CEO, Siemens AG
GBR Mandelson, Peter Member, House of Lords; Chairman, Global Counsel
IRL McDowell, Michael Senior Counsel, Law Library; Former Deputy Prime Minister
CAN McKenna, Frank Deputy Chair, TD Bank Financial Group
GBR Micklethwait, John Editor-in-Chief, The Economist
FRA Montbrial, Thierry de President, French Institute for International Relations
ITA Monti, Mario President, Universita Commerciale Luigi Bocconi
RUS Mordashov, Alexey A. CEO, Severstal
USA Mundie, Craig J. Chief Research and Strategy Officer, Microsoft Corporation
NOR Myklebust, Egil Former Chairman of the Board of Directors SAS, Norsk Hydro ASA
DEU Nass, Matthias Chief International Correspondent, Die Zeit
NLD Netherlands, H.M. the Queen of the
ESP Nin Génova, Juan María President and CEO, La Caixa
PRT Nogueira Leite, António Member of the Board, José de Mello Investimentos, SGPS, SA
NOR Norway, H.R.H. Crown Prince Haakon of
FIN Ollila, Jorma Chairman, Royal Dutch Shell plc
CAN Orbinksi, James Professor of Medicine and Political Science, University of Toronto
USA Orszag, Peter R. Vice Chairman, Citigroup Global Markets, Inc.
GBR Osborne, George Chancellor of the Exchequer
NOR Ottersen, Ole Petter Rector, University of Oslo
GRC Papaconstantinou, George Minister of Finance
TUR Pekin, Şefika Founding Partner, Pekin & Bayar Law Firm
FIN Pentikäinen, Mikael Publisher and Senior Editor-in-Chief, Helsingin Sanomat
USA Perle, Richard N. Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
CAN Prichard, J. Robert S. Chair, Torys LLP
CAN Reisman, Heather Chair and CEO, Indigo Books & Music Inc.
USA Rockefeller, David Former Chairman, Chase Manhattan Bank
INT Rompuy, Herman van President, European Council
USA Rose, Charlie Executive Editor and Anchor, Charlie Rose
NLD Rosenthal, Uri Minister of Foreign Affairs
AUT Rothensteiner, Walter Chairman of the Board, Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich AG
FRA Roy, Olivier Professor of Social and Political Theory, European University Institute
USA Rubin, Robert E. Co-Chairman, Council on Foreign Relations; Former Secretary of the Treasury
ITA Scaroni, Paolo CEO, Eni S.p.A.
CHE Schmid, Martin President, Government of the Canton Grisons
USA Schmidt, Eric Executive Chairman, Google Inc.
AUT Scholten, Rudolf Member of the Board of Executive Directors, Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG
DNK Schütze, Peter Member of the Executive Management, Nordea Bank AB
CHE Schweiger, Rolf Member of the Swiss Council of States
INT Sheeran, Josette Executive Director, United Nations World Food Programme
CHE Soiron, Rolf Chairman of the Board, Holcim Ltd., Lonza Ltd.
INT Solana Madariaga, Javier President, ESADEgeo Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics
NOR Solberg, Erna Leader of the Conservative Party
ESP Spain, H.M. the Queen of
USA Steinberg, James B. Deputy Secretary of State
DEU Steinbrück, Peer Member of the Bundestag; Former Minister of Finance
GBR Stewart, Rory Member of Parliament
IRL Sutherland, Peter D. Chairman, Goldman Sachs International
GBR Taylor, J. Martin Chairman, Syngenta International AG
USA Thiel, Peter A. President, Clarium Capital Management, LLC
ITA Tremonti, Giulio Minister of Economy and Finance
INT Trichet, Jean-Claude President, European Central Bank
GRC Tsoukalis, Loukas President, ELIAMEP
USA Varney, Christine A. Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust
CHE Vasella, Daniel L. Chairman, Novartis AG
USA Vaupel, James W. Founding Director, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
SWE Wallenberg, Jacob Chairman, Investor AB
USA Warsh, Kevin Former Governor, Federal Reserve Board
NLD Winter, Jaap W. Partner, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek
CHE Witmer, Jürg Chairman, Givaudan SA and Clariant AG
USA Wolfensohn, James D. Chairman, Wolfensohn & Company, LLC
INT Zoellick, Robert B. President, The World Bank Group
GBR Bredow, Vendeline von Business Correspondent, The Economist
GBR Wooldridge, Adrian D. Foreign Correspondent, The Economist
Friday 10 June 2011
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, separated by heavy wire screen, as they leave the US courthouse after being found guilty by a jury. (Photo: Roger Higgins / Wikimedia)
Federal District Judge Irving R. Kaufman was a pious man. He visited his synagogue to commune with whatever god he believed in before making up his mind to condemn Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to die in the electric chair, making orphans of their two young boys. That, however, was not the full reach of his piety. Under pressure from the Justice Department to end the Rosenberg case quickly, after two years of delays in the courts, Kaufman set their death for a Friday. This created an unanticipated complication, as Sam Roberts recounts in his grisly description of the execution in "The Brother": New York State traditionally carried out its executions at 11:00 PM. But this would mean the Rosenbergs would burn several hours into the Sabbath - the Jewish holy day. What to do? Kaufman sought the advice of a rabbi to ascertain the exact time when the Sabbath began, then ordered the executions moved up to a more comfortable hour.
The judge must have gotten satisfactory advice, for there were no complaints from organized Jewry in America. Julius died from the traditional three jolts of electricity; Ethel required an additional two jolts, perhaps the only shred of evidence that she was really the tougher member of the spying duo.
And, while the evidence remains much disputed, the preponderance suggests that spies they were. Eventually, even the Rosenberg's journalistic cheerleaders, Walter and Miriam Schneir, acknowledged that Julius Rosenberg was ringmaster of a busy espionage collective that was passing electronic and aeronautical intelligence to the Soviets during the Second World War. Julius himself - unlike the nerd depicted in photographs - was a brazen cowboy who scored a daring espionage coup by stealing the proximity fuse from its plant of manufacture piece by piece: this device uses an electromagnetic wave guide to identify a nearby aircraft, vastly increasing the efficacy of anti-aircraft batteries.
Schneir acknowledged that Julius was a spy - but not an atomicspy. And, so, the case has dragged on to this very day, and two important questions remain unanswered:
- Were the Rosenbergs framed to break up their spy ring in a distinctly conclusive manner (and, relatedly, what was Ethel's role in the ring)?
- If the death penalty is ever appropriate, was it called for in this case?
One way of plowing through the voluminous writings on the Rosenberg case is a kind of literary triage, singling out the few key books that can be considered "game changers" - titles that defined, or altered, the terms of debate. The first such book is Walter and Miriam Schneir's "Invitation to an Inquest," first published in 1965 and seldom, if ever, out of print, which makes two postulates that undoubtedly were very much in keeping with the McCarthy-induced paranoia of the early 1960s:
David Greenglass, the Los Alamos machinist and brother of Ethel, whose testimony sent Ethel to the chair, was not a spy, but a psychopathic liar who was used by the government.
The Feds faked any remaining forensic evidence to tighten the straps that would hold Julius and Ethel in the chair.
This was heady, heavy stuff, but many people on the left - perhaps most - had so little trust in the American government that they probably believed the Schneirs were right. It might not be an exaggeration to say that the Schneirs' hypotheses were the dominant theory of the case, at least on the left, for some 20 years.
The next game changer, which stood the Schneirs' theory on its head, was the first edition of Ronald Radosh and Joyce Milton's "The Rosenberg File." Based on impressive scholarship, Radosh and Milton drew the relatively modest conclusions that 1) atomic spying was a relatively insignificant activity of the Rosenberg ring only, and 2) Ethel's role in the enterprise was severely limited. Radosh and Milton comment that the first edition was - with the exception of that segment of the "Old Left" that was identified with the Communist Party - well received both on the left and right. At that time (1984), the Schneirs howled the loudest.
Still, the files that Radosh and Milton succeeded in cracking open were not as conclusive as the most critical student of the case might wish. It took a second game changer, again from Radosh and Milton, to establish the guilt of the Rosenbergs beyond a reasonable doubt - or so it would seem. The second edition of "The Rosenberg File" came out in 1997, by which time two seminal events had occurred:
The government had finally released the Venona Decrypts - cable traffic during World War II that the Russians thought was secure, but which, in fact, was deciphered by US Army cryptographers. The Venona decrypts included traffic between American-based spies and Moscow Centre, the heart of the KGB. These decrypts unambiguously identified Julius, code name LIBERAL, as a loyal friend of the Red Star and seemed to implicate Ethel.
For a brief period after the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was a narrow window of openness, often greased by money, in which now-unemployed KGB agents talked to Western scholars and journalists about key cases, including that of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. When weighed alongside the Venona decrypts, the tales of the aging spies are consistent and convincing.
At roughly the same time the second edition of "The Rosenberg File" came out, historians of the cold war and espionage buffs were treated to one of the most extraordinary books in the literature of investigative journalism, Joseph Albright and Marcia Kunstel's 1997 "Bombshell" - and what a bombshell it is: the husband-and-wife team of seasoned Moscow reporters, with the private wealth to hire six research assistants and to travel wherever their leads steered them, unveiled a heretofore unknown physicist named Ted Hall, based at Los Alamos and engaged in research that put him at the heart of the bomb project, who passed on drawn-to-scale plans of the bomb to the Soviets. His own diagrams backed up those of another Los Alamos physicist, Klaus Fuchs, and served as the basis of the Russian atomic bomb.
What, then, about the contributions of Ethel's machinist brother, David Greenglass?
What Greenglass passed along - and pass along he did, in the tough-minded interrogations of Sam Roberts, that reduce to ashes the Schneirs' claim that Greenglass was a psychopathic liar - were "lens molds." These are blast reflectors that cause the outer shell of the plutonium bomb to cave inward quickly and uniformly, setting off a nuclear chain reaction. Greenglass was so inept that he got the number and shape of the lens molds wrong and a KGB memo expressed contempt for the poor quality of his work. One thing for sure: Greenglass did not steal what prosecutors and judge would call the "secret" of the atomic bomb; had the Soviets followed Greenglass' sketch, which was not even drawn to scale, their bomb would have fizzled. This is borne out by expert testimony, such as that of physicist Philip Morrison, the man who armed the Hiroshima bomb:
"It is not possible in any technologically useful way to condense the results of a two-billion-dollar development effort into a diagram, drawn by a high school graduate machinist on a single sheet of paper." ["Final Verdict: What Really Happened in the Rosenberg Case," p 26.]
"Bombshell" would play another, more ambiguous role in the Rosenberg case. The Rosenberg's son, Michael Meerpool, came upon a puzzling bibliographic citation in "Bombshell," which he conveyed to Walter Schneir, who picked up an investigation that had consumed a substantial chunk of his life's work. The issue was reference to a KGB file - not the contents of the file itself, but only a reference - that raised anew the question whether Greenglass ever passed his inept sketch on to Julius and, furthermore, whether Ethel ever typed up the accompanying notes from his moronic handwriting, the only crime for which she was tried and convicted as a conspirator. Meerpool's query led Schneir to an aptly titled book, "The Haunted Wood," by two men, Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vassiliev, the former an ex-college professor with deep ties to the American intelligence community, and the latter a former KGB agent living in London. "The Haunted Wood" paraphrases a KGK memorandum dated February 16, 1945, ordering Rosenberg to turn over his network to other handlers and instructing his own KGB handler to cease meeting with him. Schneir could have done a less sloppy job of scholarship by referencing the relevant pages in "Bombshell" and "The Haunted Wood," but confusing as it is, the bottom line is clear enough: If Rosenberg and his handler obeyed orders and if the KGB did not subsequently override those orders, there was no September 1945 meeting at the Rosenberg apartment where Greenglass passed along his sketch and his scribbles and where Ethel typed up the latter. Which brings us to the last game changer, Walter Schneir's brief, posthumous little book, "Final Verdict: What Really Happened in the Rosenberg Case," with a preface and conclusion by his wife Miriam (who rather naively anticipates that Obama will open up the case).
It is understandable that Schneir would hitch his wagon to this star, because everything - or almost everything - else in the case had crumbled around him. But the reader should take care not to put too much faith in this discrepancy in dates, for the KGB was notorious for changing orders by 180 degrees in a matter of days. If Schneir is right, then the Rosenbergs were framed beyond any shadow of a doubt. But if so, why? A possible explanation is that the government used the execrable Greenglass as the instrument to remove Rosenberg and his network. Conceivably. the government hoped that the threat of death would inspire Julius - or Ethel - to finger the other members of the ring. If that is what the government intended, the Rosenbergs had too much courage for them.
A reasonable theory of the case is that the government indeed used Greenglass to try to shut down the Rosenberg ring - which they probably accomplished. It would hardly be surprising if prosecutors of the likes of Roy Cohn didn't "massage" Greenglass' testimony, using the threat of the electric chair and the indictment of his wife to ensure his complicity.
But when everything seems to be tied up in a neat package, Schneir has a quote from Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor and one-time death penalty battler turned post-9/11 advocate of torture, citing a conversation with Rosenberg prosecutor and mob lawyer Roy Cohn:
"Roy Cohn ... proudly told me shortly before his death [in 1986] that the government had 'manufactured 'evidence against the Rosenbergs, because they knew Julius was the head of a spy ring. They had learned this from bugging a foreign embassy, but they could not disclose any information learned from the bug, so they made up some evidence in order to prove what they already knew. In the process, they also made up the case against Ethel Rosenberg." ["America on Trial" (NY: Warner Books,2004.p/323)]
In right-wing quarters, especially those where "kike" and "yid" are words of currency, the Rosenberg case is still considered the crime of the century, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. Schneir has come a long way from "Invitation to an Inquest" - so far as to suggest that an appropriate penalty for Julius might have been the same that Klaus Fuchs got for a much graver act of espionage, followed by an exchange for one or more of our own spooks. Even 15 years seems excessive, for not only was the Soviet Union an ally, but she was suffering almost unimaginable casualties; and Lend-Lease notwithstanding, the Soviet Union was not getting our best weaponry. If the Rosenbergs failed to appreciate how the war in Europe and Asia would so quickly turn into the cold war, they were in the company of some of our shrewdest statesmen and FDR himself.
So, while the Rosenbergs probably did break a law that was passed amid the hysteria of an earlier world war by passing non-atomic intelligence on to the Russians, the statesmen committed a monumental blunder in underestimating the Soviet Union's imperialistic intentions. The Rosenberg's crime was probably to break the 1917 Espionage Act; by far the greater crime was to kill husband and wife on June 19, 58 years ago. The execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg is the true crime of the century - an abomination that casts an ineradicable black mark on the American criminal justice system and on the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose own crime was a failure to grant mercy.