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Russia; climate change; Left against right; fire arms; CU South – Boulder Daily Camera


Alvin Blake: Russia: Reflecting on Our Perspectives

I don’t know if nuclear first strike capability is possible. We must determine whether an arms race with Russia could lead to our annihilation; and if so, we must have both countries agreed on a freeze on new nuclear weapons (at least if such a freeze is verifiable). There should of course be an immediate inspection of any suspected nuclear weapon site. If Russia does not agree with this – and if a diplomatic gesture such as inviting it to join NATO does not work – then we must have tougher sanctions than at present.

We should also (especially if such a freeze is not verifiable) consider removing the threat from the prospect of increased trade.

Alvin blake


Julie Kaewert: Climate: there is no emergency

Science, reason and fairness for all should be important factors in determining public policy. Unfortunately, the policy suggested in “Boulder City Council on Board for a More Aggressive Climate Approach” (June 10) was lacking in all of these cases.

Boulder’s Acting Director of Climate Initiatives (!) Jonathan Koehn said: “Questions remain about Xcel’s investment in natural gas, the pace at which the utility is dismantling its fossil-fueled units and the impacts on the communities that Xcel serves. You might think he’s wondering if Xcel can produce enough power to responsibly meet the needs of our community – remember the people who died in Texas? – given that obviously neither the sun nor the wind provide continuous energy. This is not the case: he suggests that Xcel is not moving fast enough to impose more expensive regulations… and less reliable power.

Reality: As the sun and wind fail to keep up (the sun goes down every night), natural gas power plants have to be turned on quickly, wasting large amounts of energy. Your electricity supplier relies heavily on traditional fuels and will do so for a long time. Find out why Germany now recognizes that the wind cannot meet its needs as hoped after 20 costly years: bit.ly/3zZnsn8.

Fact: we don’t have a climate emergency. Look at all the science. To learn more about climate science, visit the NOAA Space Weather Laboratory; see realclimatescience.com; read “Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, The Neglected Sun, Unstoppable Global Warming Or The Never Apocalypse.”

Finally, expensive and costly climate policy is unfair to the working middle class and the poor, who pay higher taxes to heat their homes and cannot afford Tesla or solar panels.

One day, battery technology may allow us to generate more energy with wind and solar power. Until then, we must use science, reason and fairness to meet our energy needs.

Julie kaewert


Richard Socash: Left and Right: We want a Borg world

What is the difference between left and right? Both parties claim high morality and pass judgment on the other. Often the evidence gets lost in stubborn details and one remains confused rather than enlightened.

Simply put, the right believes in equal opportunities and the left believes in equal outcomes. One wants to raise the bottom while the other wants to lower the top.

In their own way, the left would create a Borg world where everyone would be closer to a number in the collective rather than an individual in society. Intentions can be good, but often the result is damaging. Diversity and inclusiveness have become the mantra of the left and the adult version of participation trophies where merit has been replaced by belonging. There is no Supreme Court seat, executive office in an organization, or civic function that is due to class, race or gender, but many speak and believe as if it were true. The best “helping hand” is most often found at the end of the wrist.

There were, are and always will be wrongs and injustices, but ascribing strong negatives like “racist” or “privileged” to a given group is often an excuse for failure. When a word is used too loosely and often incorrectly, it loses its meaning. Instead, try using “behaviorist,” where one person’s judgments or actions are the result of confronting the behavior of others rather than being burdened with systemic or inherent human flaws.

Richard Socash


Ted Cackowsky: Guns: a completely absurd statement

“The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to have a good guy with a gun. The recent Arvada tragedy highlights the utterly absurd reasoning behind this statement.

A policeman (Good Guy) is shot dead by a Bad Guy. The Samaritan (Good Guy) responds by killing the Bad Guy. Another policeman (Good Guy) intervenes and kills the Good Guy.

The result being one villain dead, two good guys dead, one good guy living with the burden of his actions.

Ted cackowsky

Broom field

Charles Horowitz: Mental Health: Wake Up All, Please

Wake up to the mental health needs: There are nearly three times as many suicide deaths per day in the United States as there are homicide – there are 52 homicides per day in the United States, according to the CDC, but about 132 suicides per day. The suicide rate is almost three times the homicide rate, but we’re talking a lot more about gun control than mental health.

Yes, gun control is necessary, and we forget worse. It is a tragic prospect. Decreased availability of community mental health services is associated with increased suicide death rates, research shows. Wake up, everyone, please.

Charles Horowitz


Robert Porath: CU Sud: Not a sacred cow

With its usual eagerness to deflect the negatives of its constant expansion onto the citizens of Boulder, the university foams the cream of its “south campus” and expects the city to provide the infrastructure, streets and systems. water supply and sewerage, and absorbs the increase in traffic and pollution with open arms. It’s time to stop seeing CU as the holy cow of the city wandering and leaving its footprints and. At will.

Robert porath


Russia battles third wave of coronavirus pandemic | Coronavirus and Covid-19 – latest news on COVID-19 | DW


Doctors and officials in the Russian cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg are now talking openly about a third wave of coronavirus infections. Stricter restrictions are being introduced in several parts of the country, vaccination is made compulsory and some hospitals are again equipped to treat COVID-19 patients exclusively.

Denis Protsenko, chief medical officer at Moscow’s main hospital for COVID-19 patients, told Russian media he believes the third wave, which has now engulfed Moscow and St. Petersburg, will reach other parts of the country. Russia by July. He said there were more than 400 patients in his hospital’s intensive care unit and 200 people were arriving for treatment every day.

“It’s more than the peak days during the first two waves,” said Protsenko. “We’ve really taken it far too easy when it comes to attitudes towards wearing masks and maintaining social distancing – basically everything we’ve been doing for an entire year. He said people had grown tired of precautionary measures. This combination sparked this third wave, he said.

Denis Prozenko (left) with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Michoustine

Although patients’ symptoms have not changed significantly from previous waves, Protsenko said, doctors are noticing a shorter incubation period for the virus, with the first symptoms appearing on average four to five days after the outbreak. infection, and not seven to nine days as seen above. . He also said patients were not responding as well to treatments that had been shown to be effective in the previous two waves. Doctors at the Moscow hospital have yet to find the exact reason for this, Protsenko said.

Doctor: “Get vaccinated”

Doctors in St. Petersburg have also confirmed a third wave of coronavirus infections. “We plan to reach peaks in the number of cases in July, just like last winter – and even exceed them,” Mikhail Cherkashin, deputy chief medical officer at MIBS hospital in St. Petersburg, told DW. . The medical institute is already treating more patients than it had in the spring of 2020, said Cherkashin, who is in charge of the computed tomography center during the pandemic.

“We had time to prepare,” Cherkashin said. “Now we are re-equipping the hospitals, which had already resumed their regular activities in the spring. It is difficult to predict what will happen.” Cherkashin said doctors were optimistic that the number of infections would decrease by the fall.

Cherkashin said doctors weren’t too concerned about the delta variant of the coronavirus. Although it appears to be more contagious, it has generally not led to a more severe course of COVID-19. “My most important recommendation is to get the vaccine,” Cherkashin said. “Unfortunately, the vaccination campaign in Russia is still proceeding too slowly and poorly, which is why compulsory vaccination is introduced in a number of regions. In addition, of course, you need to wear protective masks, wash your clothes. hands and avoid the crowds. “

Gloved hand holding vials of Sputnik V vaccine

Russia has developed Sputnik V, but the country’s vaccination campaign is going too slowly

Dreaded national wave

Doctors across Russia expect a significant increase in the number of infections in July. Some hospitals are already short of beds. “It was hell for two days,” Dr Elena Kolchina, who runs a polyclinic in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, told DW. “This third wave has just overwhelmed me. I work 12 hours, I am exhausted and I barely have the strength to speak. And this despite the fact that our clinic is fully staffed with doctors.” She added: “Yesterday alone 62 people came to us with fever and 52 called their family doctor. We haven’t had so many cases before.”

Kolchina said hospitals are gradually reaching capacity. A few weeks ago, polyclinics were instructed to bring all COVID-19 patients over the age of 70 to hospital. Now, she says, it’s hard to find available beds. “I think it’s because the vaccination of the population is too slow,” Kolchina said. “Only 3,000 people have been vaccinated here, which is nothing. My boyfriend says that at his hospital not all admitted patients were vaccinated.”

There are only a few beds left in the Bryansk hospitals. Vladimir Perlukhin is a doctor in a clinic on the outskirts of the city. “We still have a few free beds in our hospital, but in Bryansk, where we are sending patients, there are problems,” Perlukhin said. “Patients without COVID-19 are turned away because the beds are already full of corona patients. “

A health worker injects a man on a train

In addition to slow vaccinations, doctors say people are letting their guard down

Perlukhin blamed the sharp increase in the number of cases at the start of the holiday season. “People are not paying attention to the situation,” he said. “They are walking around in groups of five to 10 people. I am currently working in the patient admission department. In just five hours, I admitted 30 patients. Compared to the first and second waves, I see more and more young patients. “

Dmitry Seregin, an Oryol paramedic, also fears a third wave in his town. He is concerned about the growing number of CoVID-19 patients in neighboring regions. Orel has only recently recovered from the second wave.

After the incidence rate fell in the spring, Seregin said, the staff dedicated to COVID-19 has been reduced. “Medical facilities had already started to re-prepare designated beds for COVID patients as regular patient beds,” Seregin said. “I’m afraid it’s too soon.”

This article was translated from German. It was originally written in Russian.

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Democracy Digest: V4 dragged into EU gay rights crackdown in Hungary


For his part, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban says that the law “does not contain any discriminatory element” because it is only designed to protect children’s rights, guarantee parents’ rights and does not apply to guidance rights. sexual of these. over 18 years old. He Mark von der Leyen’s statement as “shameful because it is based on false allegations”.

On Thursday, European Commissioners Thierry Breton and Didier Reynders said the bill would violate the bloc’s media and technology laws because it “unjustifiably” restricts TV and online content currently regulated in the EU by under the Audiovisual Media Services Directive and the Electronic Commerce Directive. .

By raising the stake, more than half of the EU Member States have signed a joint statement expressing “serious concerns” about the law and calling on the Commission to act against this “blatant form of discrimination”. Belgium, the main driver of the letter, approached the 27 Member States asking them to put their name on the letter. Notably, all the most important members – such as Germany, France, Italy and Spain – were among the 17 signatories, although Hungary’s central European neighbors – the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia – all refused to sign it.

The reason for the Czech refusal to sign is not clear – even, it seems, to the government itself. Local media reported that Czech officials in Brussels told them that the Belgian initiative had gone through the Prague government. The Czech government office said, frankly, they didn’t know why there was no Czech signature.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis said Thursday morning, as he arrived in Brussels ahead of the summit, that he wanted to discuss the issue with Orban. The leaders were to meet at a pre-summit coordination meeting of the Visegrad Four (V4) group. “It needs to be explained in detail… I can’t judge it, we agreed we would have explained it in V4 to make sure the interpretations are correct,” Babis told reporters.

The Prime Minister added that the Czech Republic is a liberal country supporting the rights of sexual minorities and that he discussed the issue with Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, the only openly gay leader of an EU country. He said he also plans to consult with Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek.

Poland, of course, did not sign the letter which pledged to “continue to fight against discrimination against the LGBTI community”. This was no surprise given the campaign the government in Warsaw has waged against sexual minorities in recent years. Meanwhile, a third of Polish municipalities have passed resolutions against “LGBT ideology”, while Education Minister Przemyslaw Czarnek announced a series of reforms, including restricting access to sex education and replace it by promoting the “traditional family” in schools.

Speaking earlier this week on German radio RND, Polish Ambassador to Germany Andrzej Przylebski expressed sympathy for Hungary. Referring to the Munich municipality’s request (rejected by UEFA) to light its stadium in rainbow colors to protest against new Hungarian legislation, the ambassador said he believed that this genre pressure on Budapest was “inappropriate and offensive”.

The ambassador added that the Hungarian parliament had “the unquestionable right to provide legal protection to children in schools, to protect them from homosexual themes”.

Slovak officials have also remained silent on the issue and refused to protest the controversial law. Although no official statement has been released at the time of publication, news of Slovakia’s reluctance was received with disdain after a popular parody account’s take on the matter went viral.

“Guess which side Slovakia joined – the Middle Ages or the 21stst century? “asked the administrators of the account in a Facebook Publish, which received over 4,000 interactions and many aggrieved comments in less than a day.

Julius Rosenberg was a Soviet spy. Ethel’s case is more murky


Ethel Rosenberg. By Anne Sebba. the Saint-Martin press; 320 pages; $ 28.99. Weidenfeld & Nicolson; £ 20

ON 19 JUNE 1953, just minutes after the execution of her husband, Julius, for espionage, Ethel Rosenberg, 37, is tied to the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison in New York. The first three electricity charges failed to kill her, but after two more she died, with smoke rising from her head, the only woman executed in America in the 20th century for a crime other than murder. Thousands of people filled the streets around the Brooklyn Chapel where the couple’s funeral took place. There have been demonstrations all over Europe, especially in France.

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For many on the left, the execution of the Rosenbergs accused of spying for the Soviet Union – and transmitting atomic secrets – was analogous to the Dreyfus affair in France half a century earlier. Under the grip of McCarthyist anti-Communist hysteria, this interpretation ran, America had sent an idealistic Jewish couple with two young children to their deaths over forged evidence. The condemned couple protested their innocence until the end.

In Julius’ case, it was never a compelling story. He had recruited his brother-in-law, David Greenglass, who was employed on the top-secret Manhattan project in Los Alamos, for the Soviet cause; Greenglass was in turn linked to Harry Gold, the courier of Klaus Fuchs (a much more important source of intelligence for the Kremlin). The latter three have all confessed to spying.

But the evidence against Ethel was much weaker and, at trial, was based primarily on the perjury testimony of Greenglass, who had secured a plea deal, and his wife, Ruth. Greenglass later admitted that his crucial testimony – that Ethel had typed up notes on American nuclear weapon technology in the Rosenbergs’ apartment in September 1945 – had been false. Ruth, who even escaped jail time, was probably the typist.

There have been many books on the Rosenberg affair. J. Edgar Hoover, the FBIdirector of, called theirs the trial of the century. But the biography of Ethel by Anne Sebba is the first for 30 years. She places great importance on the 2015 publication, after Greenglass’ death, of the grand jury’s testimony, including her original statement that Ethel had no involvement in the plot. With access to an extensive archive of Ethel’s letters, many of which were poignantly written from prison and gathering interviews with surviving witnesses, including the Rosenbergs’ two sons, Michael and Robert, Ms Sebba tells a story fascinating love, betrayal, misplaced idealism and brutal legal and political maneuvering.

The image of Ethel that emerges is that of a tough and intelligent autodidact and a potential opera singer who grows up in distinguished poverty with an indifferent mother. She became a union activist, a committed communist, then a passionate wife and an overly anxious parent. A victim of serial betrayals herself, she places above all the principle of loyalty to her husband and the communist cause, even if cooperating with her accusers would have saved her life and prevented her children from becoming orphans. It’s impossible not to sympathize with her terrible plight, but she is by no means an entirely attractive figure. There is something fanatic about her.

Was she innocent, at least morally, as the author maintains? The answer is probably no. In 1995, the US government released a cache of documents deciphered by Project Venona, a World War II counterintelligence operation that intercepted messages from Soviet intelligence sources, which continued into the Cold War. . The material provides powerful evidence that Julius was indeed the linchpin of a prolific spy network that gave Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union a precious treasure trove of military secrets. It seems inconceivable that Ethel was not fully aware of his activities; she probably helped him, especially by recruiting his brother and Ruth.

But that does not legitimize his trial and execution. Crucial evidence was denied to the defense. One of the prosecutors was young Roy Cohn, who went on to work for Joe McCarthy and Donald Trump; his role in obtaining perjured testimony and in secretly pushing the judge to impose the death penalty was shameful. The Venona evidence was never submitted and was ambiguous as to Ethel’s involvement anyway. Government lawyers knew their case was fragile but believed that if they threatened Ethel with execution, she would pressure Julius to reveal his network. They didn’t want to kill a young mother. As William Rogers, the Assistant Attorney General admitted, “She called our bluff.”

Ms. Sebba rightly sees this as a serious miscarriage of justice. But in exonerating Ethel almost entirely, she goes too far.

This article appeared in the Books and Arts section of the Print Publishing under the title “Sinned against and sinning”

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Sputnik V vaccine demonstrates best safety profile in Argentine province of Buenos Aires


MOSCOW, June 24, 2021 / PRNewswire / – The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF, that of Russia sovereign wealth fund) announces data from the Ministry of Health of Buenos Aires Province (Argentina), confirming that the Russian vaccine Sputnik V against the coronavirus has demonstrated the best safety profile of all vaccines used in the province.

Based on data collected between December 29, 2020 and June 3, 2021, with 2.8 million doses administered, Sputnik V had the lowest ratio of serious adverse events. Complete data from the Ministry of Health of Buenos Aires province is available at:


Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), mentionned:

“Based on global experience, we see that Sputnik V has the best safety profile compared to other vaccines. This is confirmed by international data from national and regional ministries of health in a number of countries in various parts of the world, where Sputnik V is being used successfully to protect the population.

Sputnik V has a number of key advantages:

  • The efficiency of Sputnik V is 97.6% based on the analysis of data on the rate of coronavirus infection among people in Russia vaccinated with the two components of Sputnik V from December 5, 2020 at March 31, 2021;
  • The Sputnik V vaccine is based on a proven and well-studied platform of human adenoviral vectors, which cause colds and have been around for thousands of years.
  • Sputnik V uses two different vectors for the two injections of a vaccination cycle, providing longer immunity than vaccines using the same delivery mechanism for both injections.
  • The safety, efficacy and absence of long-term negative effects of adenoviral vaccines have been proven by more than 250 clinical studies over two decades.
  • There are no strong allergies caused by Sputnik V.
  • The storage temperature of the Sputnik V at + 2 + 8 C means that it can be stored in a conventional refrigerator without the need to invest in additional cold chain infrastructure.
  • The price of Sputnik V is less than $ 10 per shot, which makes it affordable worldwide.

Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) is that of Russia sovereign fund created in 2011 to carry out co-investments in equity, mainly in Russia, alongside renowned international financial and strategic investors. RDIF acts as a catalyst for direct investment in the Russian economy. RDIF’s management company is based in Moscow. Currently, RDIF has the experience of the successful joint implementation of more than 80 projects with foreign partners totaling more than RUB2 tn and covering 95% of the regions of Russian Federation. The companies in the RDIF portfolio employ more than 800,000 people and generate revenues corresponding to more than 6% of that of Russia GDP. RDIF has established joint strategic partnerships with leading international co-investors from more than 18 countries totaling more than 40 billion dollars. Further information can be found at www.rdif.ru

For more information contact:

Alexey Urazov

Andrew Leach / Maria Shiryaevskaya

Russian direct investment fund

Hudson sandler

Director of External Communications

Mobile: +7 915 312 76 65

Phone: +44 (0) 20 7796 4133

E-mail: [email protected]

Logo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1140939/Russian_Direct_Investment_Fund_Logo.jpg

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SOURCE Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF)

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Russia clashes with UN, West over aid to Syria


Stressing the importance of strengthening Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia insisted that aid can and should be channeled across lines conflict in Syria, and accused the UN and the West of doing nothing to promote such deliveries over the past year.

Unless Western nations “both in word and deed prove their commitment to this goal,” he warned that there was no point in talking about renewing the mandate of the last border post between Turkey and the north. -western Idlib, which expires July 10.

“We still have time before ‘D-Day’. Hopefully this will not be wasted, ”said Nebenzia.

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who visited the Turkish border post at Bab Al-Hawa in early June, said the United States was ready to work to expand aid to Syrians across borders and lines. conflict.

But right now, “without cross-border access, more Syrians will die,” thousands of children will be denied food and be permanently stunted in growth and cognitive development, and millions of people will have reduced access. drinking water, medical supplies and COVID. -19 vaccines, she said.

“There is no plan B,” said Thomas-Greenfield. “Plan B is to keep pushing for the extension of the mandate. Plan B means that we have failed, and I hope we do not fail.”

“So I’m going to work on this every day until it’s accomplished,” she said.

Wednesday’s clash at the UN Security Council preceded consideration of a draft resolution to keep the Bab al-Hawa crossing open, likely for a year instead of the current six-month term, and possibly to reopen two others.

The council approved four border posts when deliveries began in 2014. Nebenzia said Russia agreed to this because Syria “was torn apart by terrorism.” He said Damascus had since liberated nearly 90% of its territory and was trying to improve the lives of the Syrian people. “Under these conditions, the cross-border mechanism is only an anachronism,” he said.

In 2020, Russia used its threat of veto in the council to win victories for its close ally Syria, to halve the mandate and to limit the deliveries of humanitarian aid to the only terminal in Bab al-Hawa since the Turkey.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a virtual briefing to the council said more than 70% of the population is in need of help, and almost all are “in dire need” of help to survive .

He stressed that cross-border operations “can never replace cross-border assistance at current levels”, pointing to the more than 1,000 trucks that pass through Bab al-Hawa each month.

“A refusal to extend the council’s authorization would have devastating consequences,” Guterres warned.

Acting UN humanitarian chief Ramesh Rajasingham said failure to extend the mandate “would disrupt life-saving aid to 3.4 million people in need in the northwest, millions of whom are among the most vulnerable in Syria “.

Last week, 42 ​​non-governmental organizations warned that closing the border post to Idlib would leave more than a million people without food because they have the capacity to meet the needs of only 300,000 people, he said. he declares.

“A cross-border operation would be a vital addition to the cross-border lifeline, but it could not replace it in any way,” Rajasingham said. “Even if deployed regularly, cross-border convoys could not replicate the size and scope of cross-border operations. “

But the Syrian ambassador to the UN, Bassam Sabbagh, echoed Russia, calling the cross-border aid operation politicized and saying that “the reasons and conditions which led to its adoption n ‘no longer exist’, it should therefore end.

Ireland and Norway will draft the Security Council resolution to extend the cross-border mandate.

Irish Ambassador to the United Nations Geraldine Byrne Nason said the resolution, which will be released in the coming days, “will renew and expand the mechanism for delivering humanitarian aid in response to urgent humanitarian needs.”

She warned that “the non-renewal would cause a humanitarian catastrophe in northwestern Syria.”

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Biden, Putin take steps forward on nuclear weapons, but jump wanted


In recent weeks, several international alliances of peace groups have urged President Joe Biden and President Vladimir Putin to face the terrible risks of the global warehouse of nearly 14,000 nuclear weapons owned by nine nuclear states (Russia and the United States hold more than 90%). The alliance of which I am a member has called on them to stop the nuclear arms race, which alarmingly is once again strong; commit to seeking a world without nuclear weapons; and take the first step: declare a common commitment that their nations will not use nuclear weapons first under any circumstances.

Thus, we were pleased that at their summit this month (“Biden, Putin draw their lines”, page A1, June 17), the two presidents addressed the issue of the nuclear threat by reaffirming the Gorbachev-Reagan declaration of 1985, to be won and should never be fought ”, and by committing to engage in a dialogue on“ strategic stability ”. We now want the dialogue to begin quickly and embrace the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free planet. Biden and Putin will have huge popular support if they accept this.

I truly believe they can be successful if they challenge the world like JFK’s lunar challenge in the United States 60 years ago, and swear: we will totally eradicate nuclear weapons from the earth during this. decade.

Pierre J. Metz


The writer is affiliated with the Massachusetts Peace Action group.

Ethel Rosenberg by Anne Sebba’s Critique – A Notorious Cold War Tragedy | Biography books


The case of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, the young American Jewish couple executed in June 1953 at the height of the Cold War for allegedly passing on atomic secrets to the Russians, has weighed heavily on American political and cultural consciousness for 70 years. They were the first civilians to be charged and put to death for conspiring to commit peacetime espionage, and the case has long been tried, including by many on the political right, such as the ugliest mistake of the United States during the Cold War.

Meanwhile, fiction has enriched the game with the eerie truths and metaphors of the stories swirling around this “stubbornly mundane” couple. Sylvia Plath The bell famous opens with the line: “It was a weird and sweltering summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs…” But it’s EL Doctorow The book of Daniel, published in 1971, told from the perspective of the intelligent and restless eldest son of the slain couple (the Isaacsons in the novel) which remains the most inventive evocation of political meanings and deeper human consequences in history. Anne Sebba was introduced to tragedy by the “highly fictionalized but hopelessly dramatic version of events” of Doctorow, a “paperback paperback book” she devoured as a young mother living in New York City. the 1970s. She became fascinated by “what can happen when fear, a powerful and blunt weapon in the hands of authority, turns into hysteria and justice is willfully ignored”.

The case continues to polarize opinion to this day, and reading this book it is all too easy to see why. There are striking similarities between the poisonous atmosphere of the Cold War and that of contemporary politics, and in particular Trump’s America: official lies, raw misogyny, stalking the radical left and racial and ethnic minorities. , the contempt and twisting of the judicial process, the cowardice of so many moderate mainstream politicians. (Neither Truman nor Eisenhower found the courage to challenge the press and public hysteria around the case and commute the death sentences of the Rosenbergs.) The case is littered with reprehensible figures, from J Edgar Hoover to Roy Cohn, who at 23 was the junior attorney on the prosecution team, becoming chief attorney at the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954 and later attorney and general fixer for young Donald Trump. Cohn, who died in 1986, is now widely vilified as a corrupt tyrant, a man who, despite being gay and Jewish, has persecuted both gays and Jews throughout his career. During a first crisis of his presidency, Trump would have bellowed: “Where is my Roy Cohn?”

At the time of the case, many believed that both Rosenbergs were innocent of all the charges against them. Then the publication in 1995 of decoded transcripts of messages between Soviet healers and their American recruits – Project Venona – confirmed that Julius, an engineer in an army strategic laboratory, had passed on secrets during the war, although arguments still rage on the importance of the material. he got it for the Russians. The case against Ethel remains, in Sebba’s words, “ambiguous”. Venona did not provide any conclusive evidence that she worked for the KGB; she did not have a code name, for example, although, as Sebba acknowledges, she may have known aspects of her husband’s work and approved of his motives. Nor is it a capital crime in a democracy where action alone is legally punishable and freedom of thought is protected. Instead, Ethel was mainly convicted on the false testimony of her younger brother David Greenglass, a spy working in Los Alamos where the atomic bomb was made, who spared the death penalty by going after his sister. and his brother-in-law. Greenglass, who served nine and a half years while his wife was never charged, later confessed he lied at trial when he said he saw his sister typing up secret information for Julius to pass on . In 2016, the Rosenbergs’ middle-aged sons – to no avail – asked incumbent President Obama to exonerate their mother.

Those who choose to judge this biography as the product of a writer who indulged in totalitarianism or espionage fail to capture its true heart. Sebba clearly expresses his own distaste for communism, and his explicit mission is human rather than political: it is to “extrapolate” Ethel the woman of all notorious and sordid history. In doing so, she brings us a woman, much like the heroine of Plath, suffocated by the “madness that incarcerated so many women in different ways in the early 1950s.”

Ethel Greenglass was born in 1915, the only daughter of a poor Jewish family on the Lower East Side. Her mother, Tessie, was “a bitter woman with such affection for the boys of the family,” and her father too weak in character to defend his intelligent and artistic daughter. The determined young Ethel did well in school despite many obstacles – at 13 she was diagnosed with scoliosis (curvature of the spine) – and resolutely developed her passion for singing and opera theater . Working as a clerk in a shipping company, a still shy young Ethel led a 1935 strike against poor wages and working conditions, and became increasingly drawn to the small but growing world of American Communism. . His politics deepened after meeting the handsome young Julius Rosenberg, three years his junior, with whom there was an immediate and powerful sexual bond.

President Eisenhower’s Rosenberg Family Appeal for Clemency, 1953. Photograph: Hank Walker / The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images

Communism was a whole social and ideological world to its adherents, but Sebba usefully reminds us of how official U.S. attitudes toward the Soviet Union fluctuated considerably over a relatively short period of time. Violated for the Soviet-Nazi pact of 1939-1941, Stalin’s Russia was adopted as a heroic and sacrificial partner from 1941 to 1945, only to make the United States become paranoid about the possibility of the Soviet Union expanding its own atomic weapons, especially after the start. of the Korean War in 1950. It was the political context that led to the hysteria of the Rosenberg affair.

Ethel’s real concerns during the war years were not political but personal. Motherhood has triggered a parallel and intense psychic life in her. She dreamed of being a good mother to her sons – Michael, born in 1943, and Robbie, born in 1947 – enrolling in parenting classes at the avant-garde New School in New York. Still seriously strapped for cash, the couple reunited enough for Ethel to see a child psychotherapist and then a psychiatrist, Saul Miller, who visited her in prison, and with whom she fell in deep love and hopelessly addicted. Until the last weeks of her life, Ethel struggled to internally free herself from the consequences of the corrosive neglect of her biological family and to uphold a sense of her own intrinsic human worth.

Ethel’s backstory makes her apparent strength in the face of intense official and public pressure all the more striking. The Rosenbergs’ trial in 1950 for conspiracy to commit acts of espionage was a travesty of justice. The judge colluded with a malicious prosecution to portray her as a “full partner” in acts of espionage and to undermine her legitimate use of the Fifth Amendment. She refused to inform about her husband or to renounce his political beliefs. It didn’t help either, Sebba observes, that she remained impassive and shabby dressed throughout the trial.

After their conviction, public pressure increased to commute the Rosenbergs’ death sentences, but this was not enough to save them. While Julius held onto a naive belief in official mercy until the end, Ethel was convinced they would die and worked to protect her children as much as she could in the face of their parents’ impending and terrible fate. Her last letters to her children and the accounts of others about their last visits to prison are heartbreaking. “Showing her sons dignity, confidence and courage in the face of adversity was Ethel’s mantra and the source of what little strength she retained in the end.”

Sebba has dug deep into this famous and archetypically masculine story of espionage, weapons and international tensions to give us an intelligent, sensitive and absorbing account of the short and tragic life of a woman made remarkable by the circumstances. Betrayed by so many people in her own life – from her mother, to her brother, to her country – the most important thing was that she remained true to the things she believed in and to the people she loved, whoever they were. the results. Clinging to this fateful path, she emerges as a stubbornly courageous figure, a woman who towers over the parade of morally dirty, selfish and misogynistic figures who conspired to destroy her.

Ethel Rosenberg: A Cold War Tragedy is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson (£ 20). To support the Guardian and the Observer, purchase a copy from guardbookshop.com. Delivery charges may apply.

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Iran takes tougher line with election of new president


DUBAI / CAIRO / ISTANBUL – Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi appears determined to focus on preserving the country’s Islamic regime, a marked departure from outgoing President Hassan Rouhani’s focus on reforms and a more conciliatory stance to the outside world.

The hard-line conservative leader, who currently heads the judiciary, will lead the country amid latent domestic and international problems, with growing discontent among citizens, especially young people hungry for more freedoms, and a prospect chaotic for negotiations between Iran and the international community to rebuild the 2015 nuclear deal.

At the end of April, there was an event – unimaginable in a declared Islamic country – in a mountainous region of central Iran: young men and women drinking and dancing to loud club music. They weren’t at the campsite to enjoy nature. “I don’t like bugs, but there’s nowhere else I can be with my boyfriend,” Shiva, 25, said shyly as she spent time with him in a tent. .

There was no religious police to enforce Iran’s strict Islamic laws. The number of “campers” has increased tenfold in recent years as young people seek more personal freedom, a camp guide said.

Since the Iranian revolution of 1979, the country has been ruled by religious leaders from the Shiite branch of Islam. They instituted many strict religious laws, requiring women to wear headscarves and banning alcohol, for example. The buses have separate entrances for men and women, who are not allowed to stay in the same room without a marriage certificate.

More than 30 years after the Iranian revolution, Iranian women love fashion and shop in Tehran on June 20. (Photo by Momoko Kidera)

But the revolutionary zeal of the Iranians weakened in the four decades following the coming to power of the clerics. The scarves have receded and have become colorful. Women take them off when boarding international flights from Tehran.

Raisi will be faced with changing attitudes of Iranian citizens as he seeks a more traditionalist path for his country.

Young people in Iran have it tough. With 25% unemployment among those 24 and under, many cannot get married because they cannot afford to buy a house, or even pay for a marriage. Iran’s currency, the rial, has plunged against the dollar by four-fifths over the past three years. The consumer price index jumped about 50% over the year between February 20 and March 20. Consumers complain that food prices have more than doubled.

In mid-May, there were widespread power outages of about two hours a day. The unexpected blackouts before the peak in summer demand have been blamed on electricity-hungry cryptocurrency mining.

Mining virtual currencies is not profitable for many businesses in their home countries, given the huge electricity bills involved. But because electricity costs are low in Iran, many Chinese cryptocurrency miners have set up industrial complexes in the country.

Cryptocurrencies mined in Iran from January to April accounted for 4.5% of the global total, according to blockchain specialist Elliptic. The power outages caused by this online activity have taken their toll among ordinary citizens.

Iranian leaders brag about the “economy of resistance” and a “strategic alliance” with China. But the bet did not pay off. The national industry remains at a standstill. Meanwhile, as Iran is effectively cut off from the international financial system by US sanctions, foreign companies are pulling out en masse. Schools for German and foreign children in Tehran are struggling to keep their doors open as student numbers plummet.

Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia and other neighbors are trying to reduce their dependence on oil. As they strive to make better use of their youth and wives, they are wooing foreign companies through deregulation. Turkey, which has a population similar to Iran’s, has seen its economy grow rapidly over the past four decades despite Iran’s lack of natural resources.

A 52-year-old carpenter named Mikael, who fought in the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-1988, lamented, “I can’t even afford to buy an apartment after working for over 30 years. I fought for the regime which cannot fulfill such a dream and hope. “

Raisi won last Friday’s presidential election after other top moderates and reformist rivals were barred from running for pre-election selection. In the end, there were five die-hard conservatives, a moderate and a reformer to choose from.

If the hard-line leaders gain control of the three branches of government, the policy of dialogue with the international community, led by Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, risks being abandoned.

Talks with the United States and other major powers to salvage the nuclear deal ahead of Iran’s presidential election have not borne fruit. If distrust of Tehran increases in the United States, even indirect communication with the Joe Biden administration will be blocked.

Talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal took place in Vienna on June 20, for the first time since the election of Ebrahim Raisi. Their conclusion has been postponed. © Reuters

Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian visited Russia in early June and reached a deal under which Moscow will lend Iran 1.2 billion euros ($ 1.42 billion) to build a power station in the southern town of Sirik. For now, foreign investment in Iran is likely to come mainly from Chinese and Russian companies. US, European and Japanese companies have lost interest in Iran, which temporarily soared after the 2015 nuclear deal.

On the foreign policy front, Saudi Arabia severed ties with Iran in 2016 as the two countries vied for regional dominance. The chances of improving bilateral ties are growing as indirect talks between Riyadh and Tehran, which began in April, have stalled.

The civil war in Yemen was the key issue in the negotiations. The conflict is a proxy war between Iran, which supports the Houthis, an armed Shia rebel group, and Saudi Arabia, which supports the Sunni-dominated Yemeni interim government.

Hard-line leaders in Iran seek to increase the country’s influence in the Middle East through proxy forces, as evidenced by its support for Hamas during its military clash with Israel in May. Hamas, a militant Islamist organization, rules the Palestinian territory of Gaza.

Esmail Qaani, commander of the elite Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, reportedly hailed Hamas rocket attacks on Israel as a “unique and successful response” to Israel in a telephone conversation with the group leader. Iran is believed to be helping Hamas build the rockets it periodically fires from Gaza into Israel.

Israel has refrained from fighting directly with its enemy Iran, which would surely cause enormous damage to both sides. But the “gray zone war” across neighboring countries, which could lead to direct conflict, is already a reality.

As the Biden administration reduces US involvement in the Middle East, traditionally pro-American countries in the region, like Saudi Arabia and Israel, are keeping their distance from Washington. In these circumstances, no country can intervene if the confrontation between the two great powers of the region becomes serious.

At a press conference on Monday after his election victory, Raisi said Iran would revert to the nuclear deal in exchange for the lifting of all US sanctions. The United States is “committed” to lifting all sanctions, said Raisi, stressing that Iran would not agree to a simple easing. Rejecting direct negotiations with Washington, he made it clear that his position would be tougher than Rouhani’s.

If Iran decides to arm itself with nuclear weapons after a failed deal, Saudi Arabia could follow suit. The nightmarish scenario of a nuclear arms race in the volatile Middle East continues to loom.

Additional reporting by Tala Taslimi in Tehran

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