1000’s of people gathered in New York’s Union Square to protest on that day.
It was Friday, June 19, Jewish Sabbath, this is significant because after their lawyer argued that you couldn’t kill them on the Sabbath, the judge moved up their execution by 2 hours, before sundown, and before the Sabbath began. Cruelty and anti-semitism in one stroke. Their two young sons, 6 and 10, were not at Union Square, nor at their parents’ execution, they were at their family friends’ home.
The newspapers were filled with a vitriolic combination of anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and anti-communism. Communism was our country’s number one threat in the nation’s psyche. The Un-American committee was in full swing, people were black listed for their political beliefs, people were expected to spy on each other in the name of national security and the continuation of the “American Way of Life.”
People were terrified of unknown and shadowy threats. The Rosenbergs – foreign, Jewish, and communist were perfect targets.
Ethel, 38, was killed because she refused to name names. She refused to share names of other activists, not other spies, but other activists. The deals that the FBI offered her prove this. “Just name names and we will let you go free and be a mother to your children.” “Don’t let them become orphans.” “Just name names and we will only kill Julius, but you can go free.” The recently released grand jury transcripts, proved it without a doubt – the testimony at the grand jury directly contradicted secret testimony given at the trial that linked Ethel to any alleged espionage.
Julius was killed because he was communist and Jewish and maybe gave non-classified secrets to the Soviet Union. Most evidence shows that if Julius did give information to the Soviets, it was information they already had and of very little value. Other people who gave much more to our governments’ “enemies” were not executed for their actions. Julius, at age 35, was a symbol of American fears – foreign, a communist, Jewish – this was enough to justify killing him.
Marxist Nobel Prize-winning existentialist philosopher and writer Jean-Paul Sartre called the trial “a legal lynching which smears with blood a whole nation. By killing the Rosenbergs, you have quite simply tried to halt the progress of science by human sacrifice. Magic, witch-hunts, autos-da-fé, sacrifices – we are here getting to the point: your country is sick with fear … you are afraid of the shadow of your own bomb.
Today, we are told that our number one threat is Islamic “terrorists” (or environmental extremists, or Occupy activists). This threat can bring down our “American way of life.” The nation is still “sick with fear”, our daily lives filled with meaningless, color-coded terrorist threats.
Jerry Koch, a 24 anarchist, is in jail today because he refuses to name names. He refuses to testify at a grand jury. According the journalist, Will Potter, writing for Vice magazine, “Koch isn’t accused of this crime—or any other crime. Prosecutors told his lawyers that they think he was at a bar in 2008 or 2009, after the bombing [of a military recruitment center in Times Square where only property damage occurred], and that someone else at the bar knew about another person who was involved. Koch was subpoenaed to a grand jury in 2009—when he was only 19—and publicly stated that he didn’t know anything about it and wouldn’t cooperate.” (Will Potter, http://www.greenisthenewred.com/blog/jerry-koch-anarchist-grand-jury-resister-nyc/7067/). This year, the authorities tried to make him testify again. He has refused again to answer questions about his friends, his political activities or his involvement with Occupy.
Another American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki was recently executed for the “crimes” of being foreign, Muslim, and outspokenly against the US government and the military. Yes, he espoused violence against the United States, he decided that he couldn’t remain in the US and struggle peacefully, but instead urged people to take arms up against his country. He may have been urging people to fight the US military, but as far as I know there is no evidence that he used anything other than words to make his point. While the military has claimed that he was a mastermind behind al-Qaida, they have yet to provide any proof of these claims. Of course, when you have your own private kill list, there is no need to provide proof; there is no judge, no jury and no oversight. He did not get a trial or a lawyer; he was assassinated by a drone attack.
Then his 16 year old son, Abdul Rahman al-Awlaki, a US citizen, was also executed by a US drone – apparently for the crime of being the son of someone who was designated an “enemy of the state”.
Today, people are terrified of unknown and shadowy threats. A cleric and his teenage son – foreign, Muslim and in another country – were perfect targets. The Occupiers, young, anarchists, dirty were perfect targets. Who is next?
Now we are being told that these murders with no trial, no defense, were necessary to keep us safe. Just as the spying by our government on our phone calls, emails, text messages, Skype calls, is also necessary to keep us safe. Jerry Koch is in jail because prosecutors are keeping us safe from so-called anarchist “terrorists”. Ethel and Julius Rosenbergs were executed to keep us safe. A teenage boy was killed to keep us safe.
Funny, I don’t feel safe at all. I start to wonder who is “us” and who are “they”? I wonder who else will be the perfect target next?