Reopening the Rosenbergs

Note: This is the second in a series of my recollections about Julius and Ethel Rosenberg who were executed in 1953. See Part 1 and Part 3. My husband David Hughes contributed much research and text to what follows.

On February 2, 1975 my then-husband and I were given tickets to an event titled The Julius & Ethel Rosenberg Case: Reopening the Past in Light of the Present at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.1 One month before, Congress had passed—over Gerald Ford’s veto—the Privacy Act of 1974, which amended the original Freedom of Information Act of 1966. “This [new] law,” the Christian Science Monitor reported, “provides, among other things, for judicial review of classified national security data to decide if it should be held from public view.” The hope was that—via judicial intervention if need be—previously withheld exculpatory information about the Rosenbergs would be forthcoming from the FBI, CIA, and AEC.2

On stage that night in Santa Monica were Helen Sobell, wife of the Rosenbergs’ codefendant Morton, and Harold Urey, whose telegram to Eisenhower I mentioned last time. “Dr. Urey spoke first,” according to attendee and L.A. Times reader Nina Hammer. “With brief eloquence,” wrote a second attendee/reader Max Lent, “Dr. Urey shot down the conspiracy theory and made it clear that not only were the Rosenbergs innocent of stealing ‘the secret of the atomic bomb’—but no such secret ever existed.”3

Also present were Michael and Robert Meeropol, the orphaned Rosenberg sons who had been shuttled between their grandmothers, an orphanage, family friends, a shelter, and finally were adopted in 1957 by Abel Meeropol,4 who happened to have composed lyrics and songs like “Strange Fruit” (made popular by Billie Holiday), “The House I Live In” (a hit for Frank Sinatra with music by Earl Robinson), and “Apples, Peaches and Cherries” (a hit for Peggy Lee). Michael and Robert had remained relatively anonymous until publication by Louis Nizer in 1973 of The Implosion Conspiracy. Nizer’s “characterization of our parents as political fanatics who neglected us for political causes infuriated us,” and so the Meeropols sued, effectively “going public” earlier than they had wished.5

Scheduled and/or on hand at the February 2 event to provide dramatic entertainment were Susan Anspach (Five Easy Pieces), Herschel Bernardi (Peter Gunn), Peter Bonerz (Bob Newhart), Eileen Brennan, Roscoe Lee Browne, Terry Carter (Phil Silvers), Nina Foch (Ten Commandments, Executive Suite, Spartacus), Henry Fonda, Lee Grant, Phil Ochs, John Randolph (blacklisted in Hollywood between ’48 and ’66), Earl Robinson (whose Ballad for Americans had been used at the 1940 conventions of both the Republican and Communist parties6), Martin Sheen, Jack Warden, and James Whitmore among others.7

Sick to My Stomach

We took our seats in the eleventh row, a few seats in from the right aisle on the west side, so we had a great view amongst three thousand other attendees. The program was still getting underway when I heard something zooming through the air on our right, then a bang and explosion. Audience members in front of us began leaving and I wondered why. Then the tear gas hit me. Those on stage urged people to exit, but not to leave the venue.

Being a Herald Examiner subscriber at the time I hadn’t known until now that freelance writer and L.A. Times drama critic Lawrence Christon wrote about the event and incident in a lengthy February 7 article, and I’ll use it as a springboard for my thoughts, beginning with the tear gas:

[Roscoe Lee] Browne had been reading telegrams of support for about five or six minutes when a small explosion sounded, like a gunshot. Then there was a tinkling of glass to the right, high above my seat. In a flurry, the audience looked around to see if anyone was hurt. No one was. Perhaps a light bulb had broken, for there was a cloud of smoke high above us. And the sound of glass. Bu[t] why the smell of gunpowder?

Then it hit. We didn’t know, of course, that it was simply tear gas—a lot of it.8

According to a transcript of the event’s printed program, Earl Robinson was scheduled to open the entertainment with his setting of a poem by Carl Sandburg. Robinson recalled the incident in his autobiography:

Just as my piece “In the Folded and Quiet Yesterdays” from The People, Yes had begun, a fantastic crash landed on the stage. We thought maybe a spotlight had fallen. Then we smelled gas, which started burning our eyes and skin.9

The next day the Santa Monica Evening Outlook reported that a “doorman said a man and woman burst through a door near the stage just before the bomb went off, carrying an unidentified object” that was “thrown from about the 12th row on the west side of the auditorium”—right behind us! (The two fled the scene immediately.) “Santa Monica police officer John Miehle said the fragmentation-type gas device apparently was about the size of a baseball and contained a powdery substance that formed gas when it broke.” Miehle said it was a “ceramic-covered” device.

Witnesses said it broke over the head of actor Roscoe Lee Brown and actress Lee Grant, who were on stage at the time.

Some fragments of the device hit the head of Earl Robinson […] who was seated at the piano, according to a newsman who was on the scene.10

My husband and I ran out in the rain and I got sick to my stomach. We returned to our seats but the program wasn’t resumed because the fire department said it would take too long to clear the auditorium of the gas. I remember talking with people who thought the police must have been behind it. This is reflected in comments by Robert Carl Cohen, who produced the event and who we spoke with recently: “As if forewarned, within minutes Santa Monica police & firemen wearing gas masks & equipped with portable ventilator fans appeared—telling the dazed & sickened crowd huddling for shelter in the outer lobby: ‘The show’s over—go home.’”

We decided to leave.

LA Times 1975-02-03
Los Angeles Times article and photograph courtesy Robert Carl Cohen (pictured at right), who produced the event at the Santa Monica Civic.

The Show Must Did Go On (and On)

The show went on—after an hour.11 In his L.A. Times article Lawrence Christon writes how twenty-two “entertainers and actors filed out onstage before a line of floor mikes and reading stands,” receiving a standing ovation from the thousand who remained in the audience. They read “a historical summary beginning with the first detonation of the atom bomb over Hiroshima and culminating in the 14-day trial that led to the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for conspiracy to commit espionage, on June 19, 1953.”

In the following film (at 14:19) the event’s producer Robert Carl Cohen and participant Lee Grant describe for themselves the tear-gassing and the performers’ return to the stage.

After the dramatic reading, Phil Ochs sang his “There But For Fortune,” which Christon called “quiet and thoughtful, as was the message of several others in the course of the program.” Not so Helen Sobell, who “spoke of the case in harsh terms,” using phrases like “liberating the oppressed of the world” and “attacking the soft underbelly of the monster.” She referred to “U.S. imperialists” and “the Fascists who threw that,” indicating where the tear gas had gone off. Christon wrote that the audience knew “a demagogue” when they heard one. “The mood of the crowd began to shift subtly.” And “they knew that demagoguery was the last thing they wanted, the last thing that could serve them.”

Sobell was followed by Isabel Chavez, “a young, slenderly attractive, middle-class-looking Chicano girl, [who] walked on and began hollering into the mike about ‘Los Tres’ (three Chicano defendants in a drug case),” which caused “a number of people” to get up and leave. “Most of the audience was unfamiliar with the case, and her charge that police wanted to keep drugs in the barrio for purposes of oppression seemed, on the surface, bizarre.” (The aforementioned attendee Max Lent also mentioned “wearisome harangues from the stage.”)

Critic Christon had been dispatched by his editor likely due to the all-star lineup of the program. But he wasn’t even sure of that, asking somewhat rhetorically:

[S]o was I to comment on the entertainment? Gauge the program’s dramatic effects? Or was my duty something more subtle and complex: to attempt to measure how a Theater of Fact, or a Happening (both terms of relatively recent coinage designed to capture the essence of the volatile relationship between history and art) could enlighten and move an audience to a certain, shall we say, truth?

Christon remarked that the audience

was, essentially, an older, affluent Jewish crowd. The Rosenberg case links them to a different era. McCarthyism. The Bomb. Korea. The Age of Anxiety. That was a bad time for minorities and dissidents and, psychologically, even worse for a people not far removed from the death camps of Europe. What could a Jew have thought of 1953’s news headlines calling the Rosenberg case ‘the crime of the century’? How could the alleged passing of atomic bomb secrets to the Russians compare with Hitler’s atrocities?

So Christon appeared to be thoughtful but became uncomfortable at the rage of Helen Sobell, the only speaker thus far to have been personally impacted by the case, her husband Morton having been imprisoned for 18½ years. She had raised over $1 million to fund the filing of eight legal appeals—all unsuccessful—prior to his release in 1969. Upon her death, Morton told the L.A. Times that Helen wasn’t the fighting type before his arrest, but “she developed into one. … There are people who rise to the occasion and she was one of them.”12

Christon wrote that Helen “spoke as though she were an elementary school teacher berating her class for unspeakable behavior.” (And so she is a forebear of Greta Thunberg.) Helen was in fact a teacher (and a scientist whose work on the computer language Unix was acknowledged by her son Mark years later). Unlike Christon, Morton himself didn’t—indeed couldn’t—regard the Rosenberg case as an artifact of a “different era”: he was on parole for six more years. “If the day before it is up, they say I’ve stepped out of line,” Morton said in 1974, “I’m liable to serve the remaining 12 years of my sentence.” Continuing, he addressed the fact that he’d spoken at a recent Carnegie Hall rally to reopen the Rosenberg case by saying, “My primary political activity is trying to make people aware that we have political trials in this country” such as those regarding the Attica rebellion of 1971 and the Wounded Knee occupation of 1973.13 (For these “minorities and dissidents,” at least, it still was “a bad time,” as Christon had written about that “different era.” See my post Attica: Coming Together.)

As for Helen, the threat of fascism in the ’40s and ’50s, which motivated many American communists and fellow travelers, came home in the ’70s when responsibility for that February 2 tear gas attack at the Santa Monica Civic was claimed by actual fascists, as Earl Robinson recalled:

A man from some neo-Nazi group called “the provisional wing of the National Socialist Liberation Front” telephoned a news office claiming responsibility. The bomb squad said it was “the type of bomb used to get the Viet gooks out of their tunnels,” something not commonly available to anyone but law enforcement or military.14

As of that night, neither Sobell nor Christon could have known for certain whether it was neo-Nazis who had disrupted the event we attended. But indeed they had. Just as Robinson had recalled, the day after the event, at 2:30 p.m. on February 3, the local City News Service received a call saying, “The attack on the Rosenberg rally last night was carried out by the Provisional Wing of the National Socialist Liberation Front. We will continue to disrupt the love affair between the Communists and the media.” This was reported by the Evening Outlook on February 4.15 Two days later on the 6th CNS got a second call by the same neo-Nazi group at 3:30 p.m. claiming responsibility for two bombings of socialist entities that had occurred on the 4th. “We don’t want to harass the Socialists,” the caller said, “we want to exterminate them.” (Bombed on the 4th had been the office of the Socialist Workers Party on Westlake Avenue, with twenty-five people barely escaping death or injury. Three hours later in East L.A. the unoccupied Unidos Bookstore, run by Maoists, also was bombed.)16

Was the L.A. Times aware of these claims of responsibility on the 3rd and the 6th, prior to Christon’s February 7 article?

NSLF Rosenberg Leaflet
Leaflet issued by the NSLF after the Rosenberg event at the Santa Monica Civic, February 2, 1975.

Leading the Nation

Morton Sobell’s one-time attorney Frank J. Donner writes that in 1974 Los Angeles led the nation with a total of 154 bombings and “[i]n the first five months of 1975, no fewer than 18 terrorist-style bombings took place in the Los Angeles area […].”17 And coincidentally:

In April 1975 the Los Angeles Police Commission announced the planned destruction of some 2 million secret police intelligence files kept on individuals and organizations over the preceding half-century. The files covered the activities of an estimated 55,000 undisclosed individuals and groups and extended, in the words of the commission’s press release, “from the Wobblies of the Twenties to the labor agitators of the Thirties, the interned Nisei of the Forties, the alleged subversives of the Fifties and some antiwar demonstrators of the Sixties.”18

Again, this may echo the bygone “era” that Christon references, but Donner goes on to explain that the department’s Public Disorder Intelligence Division, which had amassed those files, continued its work. Yet out of the eighteen incidents in early 1975 only one arrest was made—a member of the Jewish Defense League—despite the National Socialist Liberation Front admitting to the Rosenberg and SWP incidents.19 The National Socialist Liberation Front’s leader Joe Tommasi told the Los Angeles Free Press that LAPD’s Criminal Conspiracy Section “want to bust me like mad,” but despite putting “thousands of man hours” into the incidents, they “don’t have a thing to go on.”20

“On the surface, bizarre”

Which brings us to the case of Los Tres (del Barrio). Evidently someone in the reopen-the-Rosenbergs group had felt that a local, current travesty of justice might be in order, even if its spokesperson was out of order, as characterized by L.A. Times critic Lawrence Christon and his reader Max Lent.

The case involved a federal narc, Robert Canales, who in July of 1971 tried to buy drugs in an East L.A. housing project. Guns were brandished and Canales ended up shot and paralyzed. The L.A. Times covered only the arrest, conviction, and sentencing of the three defendants, Los Tres (Alberto Ortiz, Juan Ramon Fernandez, and Rodolfo Pena Sanchez), summarizing their defense in the latter two articles:

The three testified that they thought Canales was a narcotics dealer and had hoped to scare him out of East Los Angeles. They said they were members of a community action group called La Casa de Carnalismo.

One of the main concerns of Casa de Carnalismo, according to spokesmen, is to clean the drug traffic out of East Los Angeles.21

A 1970 L.A. Times profile of Jorge Rodriguez, a high school student militant, describes the inception of “Carnalismo—the brotherhood—formerly known as Fourth Flats Gang”:

[The Rodriguezes] got the gang a clubhouse where classes in Mexican art, history and dance are now available to some 50 youngsters ages 12 through 18.

Carnalismo’s aims include keeping its members off the streets, out of gang fights and away from narcotics.22

Lawrence Christon claimed that Los Tres spokesperson Isabel Chavez’s “charge that police wanted to keep drugs in the barrio for purposes of oppression seemed, on the surface, bizarre.” But one needs not look too far below that surface to be struck by LAPD’s long history of oppression, wielded by cops in their positions of power—from quotidian brutality to shootings to, yes, drug dealing.

In 2015 my husband David Hughes did a simple study of newspaper reports that focused only on the department’s brutality cases.

My survey was bookended with “Bloody Christmas” incidents beginning in 1909 (a drunken bricklayer on his walk home severely beaten after shooting an officer in the thigh) and ending with the notorious, systematic sadism of 1951 (backdrop to James Ellroy’s L.A. Confidential novel and film adaptation).

When David and I left L.A. for Denver in 2005, LAPD was in the fourth of nearly a dozen years of a consent decree with the Justice Department.23 It began with the 1998 arrest of anti-gang unit officer Rafael Pérez: a cop stealing evidence-room coke exploded into an exposé of corruption and misconduct, as the L.A. Times reported on New Year’s Eve 1999.

In ensuing weeks, detectives put boxes of Perez’s old case files in front of the ex-cop during lengthy debriefings at a secret location. Perez told investigators that he and his partner, Nino Durden, had so often planted drugs or otherwise framed suspects that he needed to see the files to be reminded of all the tainted cases, according to sources.

As many as thirty officers were expected to be fired.

To date, what has become known as the Rampart corruption scandal includes allegations of “bad” shootings, beatings, drug dealing, evidence planting, false arrest, witness intimidation and perjury.24

So when David and I read this week that Lawrence Christon thought Isabel Chavez’s charge that LAPD “wanted to keep drugs in the barrio for purposes of oppression seemed, on the surface, bizarre,” we found it anything but astonishing, although the “purposes” might have differed from wave to wave of LAPD malfeasance. As of 1975, however, those purposes ring true.

Free Los Tres Poster
Poster issued by the National Committee to Free Los Tres, ca. 1973–1975, archived here. The airplane at top is emblazoned ‘‘Air America,” the CIA airline that allegedly carried drugs during the Vietnam War. Text on the skull reads ‘‘U.S. Gov. Approved/ Drug Traffic/ 100% Pure.” The case is the subject of a recent play, Free Los Tres.

At the time of the Santa Monica Civic tear-gassing, one Michael Craig Ruppert was an LAPD cop doing narcotics work.25 In December 1975 he met and later became engaged to a CIA agent who “had made it clear that her people were focused entirely on a guns-for-drugs trade, and that they had no interest in stopping or seizing certain narcotics shipments,” as Ruppert writes in a 2010 online bio. It actually was a drugs-for-guns operation, with heroin proceeds purchasing guns—bound for Iran. His fiancée urged him to participate as a CIA operative in the guise of an LAPD detective.

Once it became clear to me that I would be asked to allow narcotics to be delivered to the street, I flatly and categorically refused. It would have been a violation of a code of honor which had been deeply instilled in me. Within short order my fiancée disappeared, and I was to spend the last two years of my five-year tenure at the Police Department in constant fear. It had been revealed, and was to be confirmed years later, that, throughout its history, the CIA had routinely contracted key personnel in major police departments around the country and also placed CIA officers under cover as a standard procedure, even though it was illegal.

Ruppert left the LAPD in 1978.26 Was this a case of CIA overreach without LAPD complicity? Eighteen years later, in a Los Angeles high school town hall, Ruppert declared publicly what he knew about an LAPD–CIA drug dealing connection.

At the Santa Monica Civic Helen Sobell sounded like an overeager evangelist, finding a fascist under every flagstone. Isabel Chavez was a conspiracy theorist accusing LAPD of keeping drugs in “East Los” for the purposes of oppression. I can identify with both of these women.

Cleaning Out J. Edgar’s Attic

With the enhancement of the Freedom of Information Act, signed into law on New Year’s Eve 1974, government documents regarding the Rosenbergs began to be produced, not only to the Rosenberg sons but also to scholars and the press. As early as May 1975 a FOIA request resulted in Newsday declaring that new materials “provide the first documentary evidence of an apparent agreement among high government and law enforcement officials to manipulate the testimony against the Rosenbergs in the interest of making ‘A big case’—as one participant put it—and securing a death sentence.”27 In August a request filed three years before by Smith College history professor Allen Weinstein was answered by the FBI with 725 pages out of its 48,000-page file on the Rosenbergs.28 Three months later the Rosenberg sons were offered 29,900 pages of FBI files for a labor cost of $23,451.80, and 953 pages from the CIA for a cost of $14,155.30.29

The files were released in dribs and drabs. For every revelation unfavorable to the government—for instance, that the FBI had listened to Julius’s pre-trial attorney–client sessions—there was another that incriminated the accused—e.g., that Julius “allegedly described in rich detail […] his record as a recruiter of spies” to a cellmate snitch who, upon release, become chauffeur to Rosenberg attorney Emanuel Bloch, informing all the way.30

Twenty years later, on July 11, 1995 the first batch of Venona messages—decoded Soviet communications from the early 1940s—were made public by the NSA. Writing about the release at the time for the L.A. Times, staff reporter James Risen (!) states that “the FBI’s investigation of the Rosenbergs was prompted by top-secret—and damning—intelligence never mentioned in the trial […].”31

Writing a month later in The Nation were Walter and Miriam Schneir, who had published four editions of their Invitation to an Inquest, each of which “concluded that the Rosenbergs were ‘unjustly convicted’ and ‘punished for a crime that never occurred’”—the last edition in 1983. These viewpoints shifted only slightly vis-à-vis the Venona docs, which “corroborate only a relatively minor role in atomic espionage for Julius” but “reveal that during World War II Julius ran a spy ring” that “gave technical data […] on radar and airplanes” that were forwarded to the Soviets. These “nonatomic espionage activities” had been charged at the trial but the government focused on atomic secrets. The Schneirs end their article by explaining that the CPUSA was linked to the KGB, a fact “certainly not known to most rank-and-file members” but demonstrated by “[a] fragmentary but astonishing message from Moscow dated April 5, 1945” that refers to information given by Julius to what appears to be leadership of the CPUSA.32

All of the dirt that came out on Julius Rosenberg didn’t make me happy, but it didn’t really bother me. His spying was done on behalf of a U.S. ally. It could be seen as leveling an intellectual playing field. I know: Donald Trump is a moral relativist too…

Next time: The 50th anniversary of the Rosenberg executions, held in New York City.

Header image:
Memorandum from
Helen Sobell’s FBI file
dated 18 days prior to the
Santa Monica Civic event

Notes
  1. We received the tickets from our friend Oliver Haskell, who had been an employee along with Frank Wilkinson of the federally sponsored City Housing Authority in Los Angeles, memorialized in 2005 by Ry Cooder’s “Don’t Call Me Red” from his Chávez Ravine song cycle, which is my favorite album. In Sep 1952 the Los Angeles Times reported that the California Senate Committee on Un-American Activities tried unsuccessfully to locate Ollie to serve a subpoena (“Six Key Housing Authority Employees Branded as Reds,” Los Angeles Times, 26 Sep 1952, 4). But the next month in the course of Wilkinson being interrogated by that same committee, its counsel R. E. Combs stated that Ollie was neither listed as a subversive nor had he been subpoenaed (Calif. Senate, Seventh Report of the Senate Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities 1953, 105; archived here). Ollie told me that his wife had been a member of the CPUSA but he never joined. Nonetheless he was named as being a CP club member in testimony a decade later before the House Un-American Activities Committee (U.S. House, The Communist Party’s Cold War Against Congressional Investigation of Subversion: Report and Testimony of Robert Carrillo Ronstadt, October 10, 1962, 1502–1504; archived here).
  2. “Rosenberg Case Files: Access Sought by Sons,” Christian Science Monitor, 05 Feb 1975, 4.
  3. “Letters to the Editor,” Los Angeles Times, 14 Feb 1975, C6.
  4. Robert and Michael Meeropol, We Are Your Sons: The Legacy of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1975), xix–xxiii.
  5. Meeropol, 341–342.
  6. Ballad for Americans is called “the theme song” of the RNC (“First Day of Republican Convention Ends in Climax of Keynote Address,” New York Times, 25 Jun 1940, 16). Robinson writes: “Interestingly enough, Ballad for Americans also got used the week before [sic] at the Communist Party Convention” (Earl Robinson with Eric A. Gordon, Ballad of an American: The Autobiography of Earl Robinson, Lanham, Md. and London: Scarecrow Press, 1998, 98). An NPR piece places CP convention use of Ballad at Madison Square Garden. The New York Times reported that the Madison Square Garden session took place on 02 Jun 1940; it mentions singing of “The Star Spangled Banner” and “The Internationale,” but omits any use of Ballad for Americans (“Browder Proposes Creating 3d Party, 03 Jun 1940, 9).
  7. Celebrities are listed in a notice and display ad for the event, Los Angeles Times, 26 Jan 1975, R17, R40, and in a piece by Lawrence Christon in the op-ed pages, Los Angeles Times, 07 Feb 1975, C7.
  8. Lawrence Christon, “The Rosenberg Rally: Tear Gas and Darrow,” Los Angeles Times, 07 Feb 1975, C7. All quotes attributed to Christon are taken from this article.
  9. Robinson, 278.
  10. “Tear Gas Routs SM Rally Crowd,” Evening Outlook, 03 Feb 1975, 1, 5.
  11. “Tear Gas Routs” states that the explosion took place about 8:40 p.m. and the event resumed at about 9:50. A report the next day states the explosion occurred at 8:55 p.m.; see “On SM Rosenberg Rally: Nazis Claim Tear Gas Attack,” Evening Outlook, 04 Feb 1975, 1, 4. The size of the crowd also varied, per the Outlook reports, being 2500 (03 and 04 Feb) and 3000 (07 Feb).
  12. “Helen Sobell, 84; Activist Fought to Save Lives of Rosenbergs,” Los Angeles Times, 24 Apr 2002, B10.
  13. “Figure in Rosenberg Case Challenges his Conviction,” Hartford Courant (Knight News), 13 Nov 1974, 50.
  14. Robinson, 278.
  15. “On SM Rosenberg Rally,” 1.
  16. “Quick Action Saves Lives in Bombing,” Los Angeles Times, 05 Feb 1975, 3; “Nazis Admit Bombings; Cops Still Fail to Act,” The Militant, 21 Feb 1975, 4.
  17. Frank Donner, Protectors of Privilege: Red Squads and Police Repression in Urban America (Berkeley, Los Angeles, Oxford: University of California Press, 1990), 269. Some of the targets were the Unidos Bookstore (run by Maoists, the same night as the SWP, and again on 13 Apr), public TV station KCET (two bombs, 23 Feb), the L.A. Committee to Reopen the Rosenberg Case (02 Apr), Iraqi Airlines’ Hollywood office (07 Apr), SWP (again on 02 May), and the Young Socialist Alliance Bookstore in Santa Monica (04 May).
  18. Donner, 266.
  19. Donner, 269. He cites “Nazis Claim Credit For Two Bombings,” Santa Monica Evening Outlook, [0]7 Feb 1975 (he lists it as 27 Feb); “Local Nazis Admit to Rosenberg, Socialist Bombings,” Los Angeles Free Press, 21 Mar 1975. Jeanne Córdova, author of that latter article, writes, “The National Socialist Liberation Front publicly took ‘credit’ for both incidents,” but its leader Joe Tommasi, interviewed in the article, hedged, as he did in a subsequent interview: “You can’t be too careful… you know the Grand Jury is in town” (“Joseph Tommasi: His Last Interview,” Los Angeles Free Press, 22–28 Aug 1975, 6). We are grateful to Free Press publisher Steven M. Finger for providing us with articles cited here.
  20. “Joseph Tommasi: His Last Interview.”
  21. “Trio Convicted in Shooting Narcotic Agent,” Los Angeles Times, 16 Nov 1971, A21; “3 Get Prison Sentences in Dope Agent Shooting,” Los Angeles Times, 08 Jan 1972, B3.
  22. “Jorge Rodriguez,” Los Angeles Times, 29 Mar 1970, B1.
  23. The Civil Rights Division’s Pattern and Practice Police Reform Work: 1994-Present (Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, Jan 2017), 41–42; archived here.
  24. “Rampart Case Takes On Momentum of Its Own,” Los Angeles Times, 31 Dec 1999, A1.
  25. We are grateful to my husband David’s brother Richard W. Hughes for introducing us to the work of Michael Ruppert.
  26. “Michael C Ruppert – Autobiography,” Michael C. Ruppert’s Collapse Network, posted as of 12 Mar 2011, since removed; archived here. See also Matt Stroud, “The Unbelievable Life and Death of Michael C. Ruppert,” The Verge, 22 Jul 2014; archived here.
  27. “New Rosenberg Data Shows Trial Deal,” Atlanta Constitution (Newsday), 25 May 1975, 8D.
  28. “Rosenberg Data Released by F.B.I.,” New York Times, 30 Aug 1975, 13.
  29. “Rosenberg Sons Offered CIA Files—for a Price,” Hartford Courant (UPI), 20 Nov 1975, 49.
  30. “Files Show F.B.I. Got Reports On Rosenberg-Lawyer Meetings,” New York Times, 03 Jan 1976, 1; “Rosenberg Said to Confess to Informer,” Washington Post, 23 Nov 1975, B9.
  31. “Decoded Soviet Messages Affirm Rosenbergs Spy Case,” Los Angeles Times, 12 Jul 1995, A1.
  32. “Cryptic Answers,” Nation, 14–21 Aug 1995, 152–153.

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