EMAIL PAGE SIXTEEN
COLUMN SEVENTY-FIVE, SEPTEMBER 1, 2002
(Copyright © 2002 The Blacklisted Journalist)
Portside (the left side in nautical parlance) is a
news, discussion and debate service of the Committees
of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. It
says it aims to provide varied material of interest to people
on the Left.
Heretofore, we were under the impression that Portside is the Internet's voice of the Left. But it turns out to be the Internet's voice of the fundamentalist Far-Left, which, like all fundamentalist organizations, adheres to an orthodoxy and consequently refuses to post dissident or differing opinions from within the Left---such as HATE YOUR GOVERNMENT BUT LOVE YOUR COUNTRY, available to be read in SECTION ONE of COLUMN SEVENTY. Fundamentalists, like fascists, will not tolerate any disagreements or variations from the fundamentalist orthodoxy.
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J. EDGAR HOOVER ALSO SPIED ON ALBERT EINSTEIN
Why the FBI Targeted Einstein
Date: Thu, 18 Jul 2002 21:17:47 -0700 (PDT)
From: portsideMod <email@example.com>
To: ps <firstname.lastname@example.org>
shows why the FBI targeted the world's most renowned physicist
FBI files about prominent personalities are generally full of crap. Rumor,
hearsay, outright lies---no scrap of derogatory "intelligence" was
deemed unworthy by J. Edgar Hoover, the bureau's longtime, gossipy director.
Especially when it came to politically active leftists, his files swelled with
those same files also have their deliciously honest and ironic parts. Consider
this example, unveiled in Fred Jerome's new book, The Einstein File: J. Edgar
Hoover's Secret War Against the World's Most Famous Scientist. The year is
1948, and the Cold War is in its infancy. Trying to stem the rush toward global
nuclear confrontation, Albert Einstein, the most prominent refugee from Nazi
Germany to become an American citizen, is urging the superpowers to cooperate in
developing atomic power and agree to cease their nuclear weapons programs. One
evening in July, he attends a dinner at a Bulgarian diplomat's home in
Washington to promote the proposals.
atomic peace initiative, like most of his other political activities, put him
squarely and unapologetically on the internationalist, socialist left. With a
new round of anti-Communist witchhunts cranking up, Hoover's agents and
informants were hounding the scientist. So an FBI source was listening when
Einstein sounded off at the dinner. Speaking to the Polish ambassador to
Washington, Einstein is reported to have said, "I suppose you realize by
now that the U.S. is no longer a free country, that undoubtedly our conversation
is being recorded. This room is wired, and my house is closely watched."
had a keen eye for such surveillance, because he was a veteran target of
political repression. After all, he'd relocated to the United States in 1932 to
escape the noose of Nazism, which was quickly closing in around the world's most
renowned Jew. Einstein spent the remainder of his life---he died in
1955---assisting political underdogs in the United States and around the world.
It's telling that the FBI's 1,800-page file on Einstein is littered with false allegations generated by the pro-Nazi press of 1930s Germany. Deeply suspicious of Einstein, Hoover and his minions followed every lead in search of dirt on their target. FBI agents monitored Einstein's phone calls and read his mail. They shadowed him at public events. They managed to turn up titillating stories about his supposed involvement with Communist
He was a lascivious pervert who liked to dress up as a woman and yet he persecuted sexual deviants. He was nothing but a two-bit bureaucrat who blackmailed his congressional bosses into eternally reappointing him. He took pride in his reputation as Americaís chief law enforcement agent and yet he knowingly thought nothing of sending innocent men to long prison terms or, worse yet, their deaths. A twisted voyeur, he sought to defame some of this countryís most famous men. Something of a neo-nazi himself, he sent the FBI to dog those who didnít believe as he did. He was J. Edgar Hoover and doesnít America think itís about time the stain of his name was removed from one of our most important federal buildings? --THE BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST
but the stories fell apart when tracked to their sources, which mostly consisted
of raving anti-Semites, con-men and mental patients. For all his efforts, Hoover
turned up nothing sinister with which to publicly smear Einstein.
scientist was an unusually difficult target, Jerome notes: "Einstein's
maverick and left-leaning politics combined with his almost universal popularity
made him a major threat to those trying to turn America into a nation of
name will be familiar to many Triangle residents. A journalist since the 1960s,
20 years ago he founded the Research Triangle Park-based Media
the way, Jerome has unearthed a side of Einstein that has been lost in most
biographies. As much as Einstein was a brilliant scientist, this book shows that
he was a determined and tireless agitator against authoritarianism, capitalism,
fascism, racism and the full range of social ills that haunted his century.
the home page of the book reviewed, see www.theeinsteinfile.com
suggests that Hoover and his agents cared less about truthfulness than about
silencing celebrities who had left-wing ideas and intimidating the remaining
population. Einstein emerges as a hero, refusing to let the federal government's
underhanded tactics discourage his support of unpopular causes. A well-written,
provocative account that could alter our views of both
has a field day telling about the campaign to have Einstein denaturalized and
deported, based on spurious charges, many of them emanating from the far-right
Catholic newspaper The Tablet. Yet "The Einstein File" uses all
of this to paint a picture of America on the verge of fascism, suffering under
an "epidemic" of McCarthyism. And in this fanciful portrait of a
cowered nation, Einstein is depicted as the leader of a new "call to
resistance." Jerome even accuses Einstein's current defenders of sanitizing
his left-wing record because they are still "frightened by Hoover's
Red-baiting." It does not occur to him that in uncovering Einstein's
record, they find his rather typical fellow-traveling activities hardly
something of distinction.
UNFORTUNATE TRUTH is that Albert Einstein was as gullible on the Cold War as the
average college leftist. American scientists' uncritical attitude on everything
affecting the Soviet Union, Sidney Hook once wrote, could be attributed to
"stubborn ignorance, sometimes compounded by a refusal to examine the
evidence of the nature of Soviet Communism." More than fifty years later,
there seems no reason to alter that judgment.
Ronald Radosh in The Weekly Standard 7/9/02
the first time, we have a book on intelligence gathering of a sort not normally
associated with Einstein. With wit and precision, Fred Jerome documents the
invasion of privacy of one of America's most prominent citizens.
Robert Schulmann, former director, Einstein Papers Project
compelling page-turner, vividly recalling an infamous time in our history, when
even America's most loyal citizens were under suspicion if they were not always
in agreement with government policy. After all, it was Einstein who warned
Roosevelt about the possibility that Germany could be building an atomic
bomb---a fact that seems to have escaped the FBI in its desperate search for
Soviet connections. A timely topic even fifty years later.
Alice Calaprice, Author of The Quotable Einstein and The Expanded
utterly failed to limit Einstein's political influence in his lifetime, Jerome
argues, [but] he helped de-politicize Einstein's image, reducing his impact on
future generations, a process this book should help reverse.
is not surprising that J. Edgar Hoover's FBI spied on Albert Einstein from 1933
to his death in 1955. As this well-done study makes clear, the famous scientist
was also a social and political activist with strong pacifist and Socialist
leanings. Einstein publicly supported the civil rights and anti-lynching
movements and was a friend of leading African Americans. Unafraid, he was
willing to denounce Joseph McCarthy and encouraged others to refuse to testify
is a frightening look at a dark past, hopefully gone forever. It also
reestablishes Einstein as a committed social activist, anti-racist, anti-war,
critic of capitalism, whose daring extended beyond mathematics.
Jerome's investigative gem details the other life of Albert Einstein, a life
most of us have never known about, but which made him a prime target of
Hoover-McCarthy Gestapoism. Yet despite those hysterical times, and the ominous
parallels between then and now, readers of this breakthrough book will draw hope
in discovering the strength and courage that complimented Einstein's genius.
Paul Delaney, former NY Times reporter and editor and a founding member of the
National Association of Black Journalists ##
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