June 11, 2011

QUOTE OF THE DAY

One thing that I have seen in Indians - whether those in leadership positions such as diplomats, bureaucrats, industry leaders or those who have less important positions but interact with white people, is the refusal to face to the reality of racist feelings amongst white people.

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.

Sanjay
Bangalore.

Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone

For the US, game not over in Asia

Nayan Chanda | Jun 11, 2011, 12.00am IST


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.

Panetta Confronts Pakistan Over Collusion With Militants

Inspite of almost daily revelations of Pak's continued perfidy, our government continues to mollycoddle Pakistani generals. GOTUS (in the article below) still assigns the blame to "elements within the Pakistani security apparatus" while shielding and nurturing the Pakistani "core" terrorist infrastructure. Is my government playing a much larger sinister game? Will we ever learn? Will it take another 9/11, a nuclear one possibly, before we open our eyes? And then Ridel clowns around suggesting Gurkhas on Siachen!

I find myself working ever increasing hours just to keep pace with the increase in food and gas prices. And it is becoming increasingly painful for an average Americans like myself to put decent food on the dining table for my family. Can I legally stop paying taxes to my government? If Kerry et al are bent upon shoveling weekly jaziya payments to Pakistan, let him write out personal check from his ketchup account. Why rob me and saddle my kids with debt so that Pakistanis can continue backstabbing and bleeding me with a thousand cuts? In the name of God, Enough!

I now sing Rabindra Nath Tagore's Gitanjali verses for my own dear ol' USA.

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.


Reggie Sinha

One day after his U.S. Senate confirmation hearing, Panetta is in Pakistan...


Sources: Panetta Confronts Pakistan Over Collusion With Militants

By Omar Waraich / Islamabad Friday, June 10, 2011
The troubled relations between Washington and Islamabad are undergoing further strain. CIA chief Leon Panetta traveled to the capital of Pakistan on Friday to confront that country's powerful military leadership with evidence of suspected collusion with pro-Afghan Taliban militants in the tribal areas, sources familiar with the discussion revealed to TIME.

According to the sources, the CIA chief, who will soon succeed Robert Gates as U.S. Secretary of Defense, was in meetings late on Friday with Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and his intelligence chief, Lieut. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI). (See photos of the Taliban's war in Pakistan.)

The sources said that Panetta shared with the Pakistani generals a 10-minute edited video that shows the militants evacuating two bomb factories in Waziristan. One of the factories is based in Miranshah, North Waziristan. The other factory is in South Waziristan. The militants in North Waziristan are believed to belong to groups led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Sirajuddin Haqqani. Both militant leaders have attacked U.S. and NATO troops across the border in Afghanistan, and enjoy non-aggression pacts with the Pakistan Army.

According to the sources, Panetta alleged that the militants were tipped off within 24 hours of the U.S. sharing information on the facilities with the Pakistanis. When Pakistani troops later arrived at the scene of the two bomb-making facilities, used for the manufacture of improvised explosive devices, the militants were gone. The sources tell TIME that the CIA believes elements within the Pakistani security apparatus had informed the militants that they would be targeted. (See photos of the aftermath of two suicide bombers in Pakistan.)

The video, say the sources, was made up of satellite images. Those who have seen the video said that it was a "clear" and "explicit" demonstration of the militants leaving the two sites. Before Panetta travelled to Islamabad, the video was shown to congressional leaders, including the U.S. Senate's committees on intelligence.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2077103,00.html#ixzz1Ow2Zy3vc

India should reconsider US policy after Rana verdict: Modi

Agencies

Posted: Jun 10, 2011 at 1515 hrs IST


http://www.samachar.com/India-should-reconsider-US-policy-after-Rana-verdict-Modi-lgkuJLidbhh.html



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.

Bilderberg Meetings


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.


Bilderberg Meetings

St. Moritz, Switzerland 9-12 June 2011

Final List of Participants

Honorary Chairman

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




Rapporteurs


GBR Bredow, Vendeline von Business Correspondent, The Economist

GBR Wooldridge, Adrian D. Foreign Correspondent, The Economist





The True Crime of the Rosenberg Execution

Friday 10 June 2011

by: Robert Wilbur, Truthout

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.

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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.