Robert Meeropol, son of the executed Rosenbergs, on WikiLeaks

by Dennis Bernstein

U.S. citizens Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed under the 1917 Espionage Act in 1953.

The U.S. Justice Department is now considering charging WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange with espionage under the 1917 Espionage Act. In a recent interview, syndicated on PacificaRadio’s Flashpoints show, I spoke to  Robert Meeropol, founder of the Rosenberg Fund For Children. Meeropol is the son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, the only U.S. citizens to be executed under the 1917 Espionage Act. In a strong defense of Wikileaks, Assange and Bradley Manning, Meeropol released a statement stating:

My parents were executed under the unconstitutional Espionage Act, here’s why we must fight to protect Julian Assange.

In the following interview he talks about the history of the 1917 espionage Act, the execution of his parents and some of the political “Echoes” from the 1950’s red scare days that are reverberating today. Meeropol also talks movingly about how his parents’ unwillingness to cave  in the face of government intimidation, even at the cost of their lives.

I think that resistance is inspirational.  When people resist, they inspire others and if you combined the resistance with the inspiration you end up building a movement of support.

DB: Let’s begin this way, Robert Meeropol.  The U.S. Congress is back in session, the Republicans are in charge of the House, and today they read the Constitution. Would that be relevant in your defense of Julian Assange?

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