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Wednesday, August 16, 2017


AGAINST JOSEPH MCCARTHY (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2017)
Rev. by Hugh Murray
David Nichols' book shows that one of the top priorities of Eisenhower's first term as president was to curb and destroy Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy. Nichols occasionally intersperses his main theme with snippets of what else was happening in the world – such as the defeat of the French at Dien Bien Phu in Indo-China(247), and the decision by the US Supreme Court overturning 50 years of precedents in favor of segregation, to declare “separate but equal,” un-Constitutional.(262)
Nichols argues that McCarthy had subverted the Constitutional protection against self-incrimination by accusing those who invoked the 5th Amendment before his investigating committee of being subversives.(45-46) To elaborate on this idea, Nichols quotes Albert Einstein who urged his colleagues not to speak at the McCarthy hearings “even if it meant 'jail or economic ruin.'” McCarthy retorted that anyone advising such is “an enemy of America.” In the next sentence Nichols reveals his own view...”McCarthy continued his demagoguery...”(46)
What Nichols does not discuss is that in 1945 a leading Soviet agent, Pavel Sudaplatov, was urging one of his underlings to befriend Einstein. Margarita Konenkova, wife of a prominent sculptor, accompanied her husband to America where her husband, Sergei, was to sculpt a head of the prominent scientist. This gave Margarita entree to Einstein, and they did become an item. Although Einstein was not part of the Manhattan Project to build the atom bomb, he knew many of the scientists involved, and they occasionally sought his advice. According to the National Geographic Channel series “Genius,” a biography of Einstein, Margarita is shown copying his notes to give to the Soviets.
Sudaplatov, in his 1995 memoir, stated that he wanted Margarita to also get close to J. Robert Oppenheimer, “the father of the A bomb,” who headed the Manhattan Project. She did not, but that may not have been necessary. Oppenheimer's landlady was a member of the Communist Party; so was his mistress; so was his brother; his sister-in-law; so was his wife. According to the FBI, Oppenheimer himself had been a member, but was told by the party to drop out so as to pass security for the Manhattan Project. The FBI had sources alleging that Oppenheimer simply became part of the party's secret apparatus. Some also alleged that he knew Steve Nelson. It is not disputed that he hired Communists for the Manhattan Project. In a recent PBS 2-hour documentary, “The Bomb,” the narrator does disclose some of the Communist affiliations of those close to Oppenheimer, but not the possibility that he remained a secret member of the Party. The documentary was sympathetic to Oppenheimer, while making his antagonist over building the hydrogen bomb, Edward Teller, into a villain disliked by most other scientists.
In 1943 the FBI bugged the home of Steve Nelson, labor leader, and veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (that fought in Spain against Franco and the Falange). By the early 1940s, Nelson, a secret member of the CP, was residing in California. Thanks to the release of various government documents, we now know some of the workings of the spy networks. In March 1943 the FBI bug revealed that Nelson met with atomic scientist Joseph Weinberg.  Nelson instructed Weinberg  to gather and send him information from other Party members working with him on the atomic bomb project at the Univ. of California, Berkeley.  Nelson also told Weinberg to inform the comrades working there to destroy their CP membership books, and refrain from using liquor.(Herbert Romerstein & Eric Breindel, The Venona Secrets, p. 255)
            In April 1943 Nelson received another visitor, a member of the Soviet Embassy in Washington DC.  The Soviet official instructed the America Communist to establish an espionage network in the American atomic program.  The Soviet counted out specific amounts of cash to fund the project, and told Nelson where he should place reliable Communists for this “special work” in conveying to the Soviets what the Americans were discovering in the US atomic program.(R & B.,p. 259) One writer suggested that this is how the FBI first learned of the Manhattan Project – from a Soviet official!

Today, we know that the Rosenbergs were guilty of espionage, as was Klaus Fuchs, but only much later did we learn of the role of Theodore Hall. How many others were involved in this? A Reuters story received almost no headlines when it appeared in January-February 2012. In January Russian leader Vladimir Putin, in a public address, praised the Western scientists who provided atomic secrets to the Soviets so that the Communist regime could develop its own nuclear bombs.  Putin emphasized that the Soviets were provided “suitcases” filled with material; “suitcases full” he stressed.  American spying on behalf of the Soviets was not paranoia; it was a reality.  And the consequence of that spying aided Stalin to develop nuclear weapons faster, and helped in other areas of military advance. To this day, do we know the full scale of spying on behalf of the USSR? On behalf of Stalin?
And how does Nichols handle the Oppenheimer case? “Another threat to Eisenhower's anti-McCarthy operation had surfaced on April 8 [1954]...the AEC [Atomic Energy Commission] had stripped J. Robert Oppenheimer...of his security clearance...following the war, he had become an advisor to the AEC.”(225) Related was an 18-month delay in America's development of the hydrogen bomb. Atty. General Herbert Brownell thought “the only possible criminal action against Oppenheimer would be for perjury.”(226) Brownell believed that Oppenheimer was guilty only of bad associations. At that time, a major theme of Eisenhower's fight with McCarthy was over the notion of “guilt by association” and how damaging this was to innocent people and freedom.
The New York Times, working with the Eisenhower Administration, reported on “Oppenheimer's questionable associations, his hiring of alleged communists or former communists, his contradictory testimony to the FBI about attending communist meetings, his failure to report in timely fashion on an attempt by the Soviet Union to secure scientific information from him, and his opposition to the development of the hydrogen bomb.”(226-27) The Administration feared McCarthy would exploit Oppenheimer's h-bomb opposition; the Wisconsonian did declare Oppenheimer's suspension was long overdue. McCarthy also claimed that he had delayed his own investigation of the h-bomb delay at the behest of the Administration “because of security measures involved.”(227)
Of course, there had been Communists and Soviet agents inside the US government. Perhaps, in many cases they simply performed their jobs as any other bureaucrats. But at other times, with their advice invariably coinciding with Soviet policy, their proposals could be disastrous from the American perspective. In 1951 McCarthy had published a book in which he contended that American policy in China after WWII was based upon advice coming from the reports of communists, socialists, and other left-wingers. This resulted in the denial of American aid to Chiang Kai Shek, which led to the collapse of his Nationalist forces and the victory of the Communists under Mao Zedong. Among those whom McCarthy sharply criticized was the former American Ambassador, Gen. George Marshall, for his role in the Asian debacle. Eisenhower, who served under Marshall in Europe, resented McCarthy's attack upon his old mentor. Moreover, Eisenhower felt himself vulnerable about some of his actions in Europe during the rosy days of US-Soviet cooperation.(144, 213)
How was Eisenhower managing the issue of communists in government? His Atty. Gen. Brownell, cleaning up the office from the past Administration, rummaging through old papers, discovered documents showing that Harry Dexter White was a Soviet spy. White had been Under Secretary of the Treasury during the Roosevelt and early Truman presidencies. Brownell conferred with Eisenhower, discussing the evidence and suggesting that he should go public with the information. Eisenhower agreed. Brownell, in a public speech, declared White a spy. And although the FBI had reported his activities in detail to Pres. Truman, despite the derogatory reports, Truman nominated White to be Executive Director for the US of the International Monetary Fund. Moreover, Truman failed to inform the Senate Banking Committee of the FBI report, so White was confirmed in the new post. On 30 April 1946 Truman had written a letter commending White's distinguished career with Treasury. White died in 1948.(85) With Brownell's expose of Truman's promotion of a communist spy, Truman fired back. He accused Brownell of playing politics, trying to divert attention from the Administration's failures on the economic front. Truman then asserted that White had been fired by his Democratic Administration. White House Press Secretary James Hagerty explained that Mr. White had not been fired, but had resigned from the Treasury Dept. To this, Truman blasted, White had been fired by resignation. Hagerty responded by reading from Truman's letter of 1946 praising White. Nichol's adds: “Truman's combative denials, even when false, made such a sharp-edged attack on a former president seem unseemly.”(86) But was this not a major problem for McCarthy? When he charged a respectable person with subversion, even when true, it was “unseemly,” “low,” “boorish,” “bullying”? Look at how Herblock portrayed McCarthy in the cartoons? Indeed, the New York Times' editorial feared Brownell's revelations about White might provoke “a reckless renewal of McCarthyism.”(87)
The House un-American Activities Committee planned to subpoena Truman, who continued to defend his general anti-communist actions. HUAC, under pressure from Eisenhower, relented on the subpoena, and Brownell now simply charged the previous Administration with “laxity” in the case of White.
At a press conference, Eisenhower, pretending to be ignorant of the White story, asserted that he would not have issued a subpoena for former Pres. Truman. Furthermore, it was “inconceivable” that Truman had knowingly appointed a Communist spy to high office.(88) “In spite of testimony by J. Edgar Hoover [and a statement by former Secretary of State James Byrnes] contradicting Truman's account...,Truman had won the public argument.”(91) Would Truman have won this argument if Eisenhower had been willing to be truthful and to support the facts being exposed? Was Ike so afraid of being labeled a McCarthyite that he was willing to allow a pass on Truman who promoted a Communist spy to a higher ranking post? When the buck stopped with Truman, Ike lied and dropped the issue. Essentially, Ike White-washed it.
Were there other communists in government? Spies? Were some providing advise based upon communist principles? Scientist Oppenheimer was undoubtedly one of those who helped delay American development of the hydrogen bomb. He did not lose his security clearance until April 1954. So Oppenheimer served in the US government under FDR, Truman, and Ike. But which government was he most desirous of serving?
In Eisenhower's State of the Union speech of January 1954, he announced that 2,200 federal employees had lost their jobs, implying the sweep out of communists was a success. (Oppenheimer was still on the payroll.) But Eisenhower had changed the methods of firing government employees. When pressed for more information about the discharged employees, the Administration finally provided statistics: 29 for loyalty concerns; 430 for security concerns, the rest for sexual perversions, alcoholism, or false statements on the job applications.(138) The new administration explained a government job was not a right but a privilege, and those who might be subject to blackmail would be dismissed. The assumption was that homosexuals, if not communists or spies, might be blackmailed into providing information to an enemy, and therefore should not work in government. However, the government provided no evidence of any of the fired homosexuals or alcoholics secreting information to an enemy.
But in many ways Eisenhower continued the personnel and policies of the Truman era. The fight over Charles Bohlen's appointment as ambassador to the USSR, was not simply about sexual rumors, as Nichols relates. Bohlen was considered another of the Acheson, soft-on- communism crowd of bureaucrats that had led to communist victories throughout much of the post-WWII world.
The culmination of Eisenhower's attempt to crush McCarthy centered around the Army-McCarthy hearings of 1954. McCarthy had received a memo alleging that 34 workers at Ft. Monmouth Army Signal Corps base in New Jersey were subjects of FBI investigation. H Stanton Evans in his Blacklisted by History writes: “...but one of many leads about the Army Signal Corps that would reach McCarthy in the spring of 1953 and later. Based on such tips, the committee launched...a series of investigations...These interlocking probes would run from the late summer of 1953 through the spring of 1954. when they would be brought to a sudden halt by stunning Army charges of malfeasance against McCarthy and his counsel Roy Cohn...”(Evans, p. 523) Some working at Monmouth would take home secret documents – an amazing 2,700 security documents signed out at one time.(Evans, 510) Earlier in the 1940s Julius Rosenberg had worked as a Signal Corps inspector along with fellow spies like Morton Sobell. The Signal Corps remained important for its research and development in radar, missiles, anti-aircraft, and other weaponry. Some working there were convinced that security at Monmouth was lax and some employees should be fired. Furthemore, not all questions about Monmouth concerned the past; a recent defector from East Germany claimed that the East European laboratory where he had worked often received data secreted from Ft. Monmouth.
McCarthy held closed hearings and various witnesses invoked the 5th Amendment rather than answer questions about communism and even espionage. McCarthy was convinced that there was more subversion to uncover at the installation, and some worked at Monmouth, like Gen. Kirke Larton agreed with the Senator. This group of about 10 army men tried to fire those they deemed security risks, but when the cases went higher – to the Pentagon, the firing decisions were reversed by the federal Loyalty Board, and the “risks” reinstated. Gen. Larton even praised Sen. McCarthy during these hearings. Also attending some of these hearings was John Adams, Army counsel, who disapproved and deemed them a witch hunt.
Because of his efforts to cleanse Ft. Monmouth and his praise for McCarthy, Gen. Larton soon discovered that he was passed over for an expected promotion. Then he would find his army career at an end. Others, too, felt the pressure from on high. Army attorney John Adams viewed many of the “risks” as innocent victims, while judging Gen. Larton as demoralizing the work-force at Monmouth with his super security concerns. When an Army dentist at Monmouth, who was a member of the Communist Party, received a promotion, McCarthy wanted to know who was responsible. He called Army Gen. Ralph Zwicker, in charge of the Fort, and berated him when he did not answer the main question - “ Who promoted Peress?”
Some complained that McCarty was humiliating an officer of the US Army, and that is impermissible. The stage was set for Ike's counter-attack: the Army-McCarthy hearings.
And with them, the anti-subversion hearings a Ft. Monmouth came to a halt. The Army, in silent collaboration with Pres. Eisenhower, counter-attacked with charges against McCarthy. It was clear that the main thrust of the Army's counter punch would be the implied unnatural relationship between McCarthy's counsel, Roy Cohn and a committee investigator who had recently been drafted, David Schine. Cohn contended that Schine was essential for the committee's work and pressured the Army to give the draftee more week-end passes during basic training in New Jersey. Cohn sought other privileges for his young colleague, but when the Army refused all Cohn's demands, according to army officials, Cohn threatened to destroy the Army.
Liberal Republican Thomas Dewey, also involved in the assault against McCarthy, suggested attorney Joseph Welch to lead the prosecution for the Army. The hearings were to be televised. At a time when on television the “I Love Lucy” show could not even mention the word “pregnant” to describe Lucy's condition, the word “homosexual” was as taboo as the act was illegal. Innuendo was used by Welch. With Roy Cohn on the witness stand, Welch probed into what work was accomplished on those week-end passes. What was he and Schine doing? On the stand, complaining about a doctored photograph introduced into evidence by Cohn, Welch wanted to know if the picture had been altered by pixies. McCarty interrupted to ask Welch for his definition of a pixie. Something akin to a fairy, Welch replied. McCarthy interjected that Welch might be an expert on that. Both sides invoked the anti-gay jabs, but the heart of the Army position was that McCarthy had humiliated an Army general because Cohn could not get more privileges for his friend, Schine. Some began to wonder what Cohn might have on McCarthy, that he allowed Cohn to make such demands on the Army. During the hearings, the Army held one witness in reserve – a chauffeur of Schine. This driver maintained that on the weekend pass days, he would drive the pair from New Jersey to New York City; he also witnessed Cohn and Schine having sex in the back seat. But as the hearings were having the desired effect, McCarthy's popularity in polls was plummeting, the Army case raced forward without the driver.
To stress the point, liberal Republican Sen. Ralph Flanders of Vermont gave a speech in the Senate calling McCarthy a menace, comparing him to Hitler, and emphasizing that the core of the Army-McCarthy hearings was the “personal relationships” between Cohn and Schine. Cohn's “passionate anxiety” to retain Schine as a staff employee. Flanders also asked what hold Cohn had on McCarthy.(277) Flanders was implying, in the euphemisms of the time, that all three were gay. McCarthy's stock continued to fall, and later the Senate would vote to condemn him.
There were issues that seemed to be resolved when the Senate condemned McCarthy. To defend his side, McCarthy sought to subpoena information where much of the planning for the hearings occurred. He was alleging that Schine was a hostage of the government that sought to derail his hearings on subversion at Monmouth. That at that meeting the government concocted a smear campaign against McCarthy and his employees. He wanted to see what happened at that meeting, and even some Democratic Senators thought that a proper request. President Eisenhower basically said no and invoked Executive Privilege to prevent any information going to Congress concerning advise to the President or his advisors. The major media celebrated the President's strong defense of the Executive branch and its powers.
Also, McCarthy had requested that government employees should inform him if they found something suspicious at work. In effect, McCarthy was asking for whistle-blowers. Eisenhower responded by wondering if such a call was itself a broach of security.(251) McCarthy asserted that Eisenhower was more worried about McCarthy moles in government than about Soviet agents. But Eisenhower's Executive Privilege won the day over McCarthy and his potential whistle-blowers.
Evans, in his book on McCarthy, notes the hypocrisy of the liberal media – it supported the Executive Privileges under Eisenhower when challenged by McCarthy, but when Pres. Richard Nixon invoked Executive Privilege, with one of the same attorneys, James St. Claire, who had worked it out for Eisenhower, - however this time, the Congress AND the media demanded the Nixon records, and even the Nixon tapes. Advisors to Nixon would not, should not, receive the protection to advise the President with the knowledge that their advise would not be made public. And today with President Trump, the liberal media support all the leaks provided by entrenched liberal bureaucrats against the new nationalist Administration. Apparently, the role of the whistle-blower and Executive Privilege depends less on the Constitution and more on whose ox is gored.
Nichols does show conclusively that Eisenhower was actively involved in the attack on McCarthy. Though both sides were willing to use the gay issue to their advantage, Eisenhower and the Army would use it most effectively against Cohn and Schine, and thus against McCarthy. While Nichols presents a record hostile to McCarthy, the Evans' book provides a different interpretation of the Cohn-Schine trip to Europe to purge American propaganda libraries, which did containe many works by Communists and those on the left, but little by authors on the right. Evans also attacks the Edward R. Murrow hit-piece on McCarthy, that Nichols mentions in his book as one of a series of events in the anti-McCarthy crescendo of mid 1954.
Nichols proves that Pres. Eisenhower was no bumbling, senile golfer ignorant of American politics. Eisenhower was leading the troops against McCarthy, but doing so behind the scenes. He viewed McCarthy as a threat, and after the televised hearings, got the Senate to condemn McCarthy and break his power. However, as a new book, this one fails. Nichols writes as if he were still in the 1950s. Since then there have been more revelations of how the Soviets did penetrate the American government. He ignores such exposes so that he can continue to write, as did liberals of the earlier era, that Hoover and McCarthy and others were paranoid, on witch hunts, destroying freedom, bullying, boorish, unseemly, even lower class. Now, we know there were witches who provided important information to our adversaries. Because of the new material, an author should reasses the conflict between McCarthy and Eisenhower and the other liberals. With new information, McCarthy seems prescient; his liberal opponents blind, bumbling, deceptive, and vindictive. Nichols refuses to reboot. His book was outdated on the day of its publication.

Communists in the American government were not all “spies” providing secret documents. They might simply provide bad advice – advice meant to promote Soviet interests rather than those of the US. And some did steal secrets. Today, we know there was much more subversion than we wanted to believe back then. Suitcases of documents! McCarthy may have been closer to the truth than Gen. Marshall, President Eisenhower, and the New York Times. Nichols fails to consider this possibility. Or should I write, probability?   

Monday, August 14, 2017


I have recently seen on TV, as a result of the murder, protests, and violence in Virginia, various Left Wing spokesmen and women stating that free speech does not protect "hate speech." This is a view all to common on university campuses. Because of the Charlottesville clashes, this may be the time of crunch.
THINK! If racist speech is forbidden, we must dump Huck Finn, even if it is the great American novel. What if a book reports Blacks commit violent crimes at a much higher rate than whites or Asians? Some will find that "racist." true but racist, and therefore a hate crime. If the local tv news shows a black criminal hi-jacking a car, that too will be deemed racist. The anchor arrested, or grovelling on camera that he meant nothing by showing the video. The Left will soon try to impose Communist notions of "free speech," - no fascist speech, not hate speech, no racist speech. The result - no free speech. If the Left wins on this issue, if they somehow get biased judges to reinterpret the American Constitution and its protection of free speech, then even on Fox News we will get only an American version of the old Pravda.
Hugh Murray

Sunday, August 13, 2017


     For years the left has terrorized conservatives on many universities.  What has emerged on the left is the view that ideas they dislike should not be expressed, should be shut down, using force and violence to do so.  So speakers who challenge affirmative action, global warming, abortion, gay rights, the Palestinian right to Israel, gun control, etc. are simply not heard on most campuses.  At most universities the right of free speech has disappeared, replace by the view that hate speech should be shut down, and hate speech is anything that the left disagrees with.  This outrageous notion of "free speech" has infected most Democrats and many liberal Republicans.
     During the 2016 campaign these ideas were fought in the streets.  When Trump supporters in California were terrorized and beaten upon leaving Trump rallies.  The cops did nothing, and the lib Dem mayors blamed Trump.  Even the media showed how left wing antifa, BLM, Occupy, and other Soros funded mobs used violence against Trumpsters and other innocent citizens who might be walking in the wrong place.  The left wing Mayors, and their stand-down cops, encouraged violence of the Left.
    In Charlottesville, that happened again.  The vicious left attacked the far right.  I do not agree with many of their views, but that is no reason for violence against them.  The police often stood down and let the Left attack.  There was blood.
    One from the right apparently got tired of being the victim.  He drove his car into the left agitators.  One killed, many injured.  That violent act must be condemned.  But so too must the numerous violent acts of the Left against a lawful meeting by people with whom they disagree.
    President Trump was correct in blaming many sides in promoting the violence.  We need to keep free speech in American, even if we disagree with what is said.