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Mark Milley, the Rosenbergs, and Alger Hiss

Throughout her history, America has experienced her share of traitors, the most notorious of which, of course, being Benedict Arnold. The word 'treason appears in the Constitution five times and is considered so serious a crime that in Article I, Sec. 6, we learn that "The Senators and Representatives shall… in all cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest… ." Article II, Sec. 4 explains that "The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." Furthermore, "The Congress shall have the Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted."

What then do we make of the top-secret actions of the left-wing military apparatchik Gen. Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who reportedly compared the pro-Trump "Million MAGA March" last November to the "modern American equivalent of 'brownshirts (the pro-Nazi militia) in the streets'"? Recent allegations that the 'woke' Milley single-handedly instructed his subordinates to not take orders from the outgoing President Donald Trump without his involvement, fearing he "could go rogue" and order a military strike or launch nuclear weapons after the January 6 Incident, have elicited accusations of treason among Republicans. In the process, Milley called the Chinese government to warn of a possible attack against the regime ordered by Trump. And he's unrepentantly justified his phone calls with Beijing as "(reassuring) both allies and adversaries… in order to ensure strategic stability."

So were all of Gen. Milley's actions part of a broader conspiracy by a secret military junta to throw a coup d'etat after his attempted gaslighting of President Trump ("Mr. President, they are not burning it down") at the height of the George Floyd riots all while the media painted the nature of the destruction of Kenosha, WI, as "fiery but mostly peaceful protests"? By Gen. Milley's suggestion that the $1 billion in damage caused by Black Lives Matter and Antifa militants was somehow a 'trivial' bill that local taxpayers nevertheless would have to foot? Why might he attempt to intimidate Trump by suggesting that "We're a country of 330 million people. You've got these penny packet protests. They used spray paint, Mr. President, that's not an insurrection," then join former Defense Secretary Mark Esper to refuse Trump's order to clear out the besieged cities under the Insurrection Act because at a time where police officers and innocent civilians were publicly executed and law enforcement defunded by Democrat mayors in large cities, these "protests were understandable given systemic racism"? It should be noted that the pro-Communist China group, the Chinese Progressive Association (C.P.A.) in San Francisco, funded a venture by Black Lives Matter (B.L.M.) co-founder Alicia Garza.

Yes, Gen. Milley's comments in support of Critical Race Theory and claims that Communist China is not an enemy are deeply troubling. Additionally, former Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explained that "If General Milley called and… told the Chinese Communist Party, I promise you I will give you a holler before we attack, this is deeply inconsistent with his responsibility… He is not even in the chain of command." In light of his phone call then, is Gen. Milley a pro-Beijing stooge like the family of the current President who is protecting him for his failures in executing the Afghanistan withdrawal?

The Case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg

Two cases during the Cold War may shed light on whatever fate may befall Gen. Milley. In September 1949, the Soviet government publicly announced the detonation of an atomic bomb in what proved to be shocking and disheartening news related to the American people by the Truman White House. In the summer of 1949, the F.B.I. learned that the secret blueprints for the bomb had been stolen and turned over to Moscow. And the Soviet scientific community, which had finally come to understand the secrets of splitting the atom, had domestic communist spies like Alger Hiss and the married couple of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to thank.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg lived in the lower east side of Manhattan most of their lives, and both attended the same high school. At 14 years old, Julius joined the Young Communist League. Julius began associating with his future wife, Ethel (nee. Greenglass), around 1932, and, disliked by Ethel's parents, Julius was barred from visiting their home from about 1932 until 1935. During that period, Ethel and her two younger brothers, Bernard and David, occupied an apartment on a floor above their parents' home, and it was there where Julius would frequently visit Ethel, which was littered with copies of Communist Party literature The Daily Worker. During this time, Julius and Ethel became devoted communists, maintaining that nothing was more important than serving the cause of the world revolution. This included conspiring to steal top-secret documents on creating the atomic bomb and delivering them to the Soviet government.

Similar to Gen. Milley, Alger Hiss was highly regarded among the Washington establishment. Hiss, a well-educated and well-connected former government lawyer and 'deep state' State Department official, had collaborated with Eleanor Roosevelt and F.D.R.'s Defense Secretary Cordell Hull to create the United Nations in the aftermath of World War II. In August 1948, Whittaker Chambers—a senior editor at Time magazine—was called by the House Committee on Un-American Activities to corroborate the testimony of Elizabeth Bentley, a Soviet spy who had defected in 1945 and accused dozens of members of the U.S. government of espionage, including Julius Rosenberg and Hiss.

Information furnished to the F.B.I.'s Security and Intelligence Division in March 1944 by Bentley pointed to Julius Rosenberg's membership in the Communist Party while also establishing that Ethel had signed a Communist Party petition. Given Rosenberg's employment within the permanent bureaucracy, his position within the federal government was terminated in December 1945. In August, five years later, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were arrested by the F.B.I. on charges of espionage conspiracy. At the time of Julius' arrest, a search of the apartment disclosed that the Rosenbergs were members of the International Workers Order. On February 2, 1951, the Rosenbergs entered pleas of not guilty and denied all espionage allegations against them. On March 28, the jury rendered guilty verdicts against both Julius and Ethel. Both were sentenced to death. They were executed at Sing Sing Prison the same day on June 19.

The Alger Hiss Case

Members of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, led by the young California Congressman Richard Nixon, prodded Chambers to disclose information suggesting more to his story and his relationship with Hiss. The F.B.I. immediately probed Bentley's claims to ensure that those who were credibly named—including Hiss and Julius Rosenberg—no longer continued to have access to government secrets or power. As the investigation into Bentley and related matters deepened in 1946 and 1947, Congress became aware of and concerned about the case.

A critical turn of events came in November 1948 when details were leaked to the press, and the Hiss case became embroiled in partisan politics that would impact the presidential campaign. Chambers, who'd renounced the Communist Party in the late 1930s, reluctantly testified, ultimately acknowledging that he'd been part of the communist underground in the 1930s along with Hiss and others. He produced documents showing both he and Hiss had committed espionage, including a package of microfilm and other information he'd hidden inside a pumpkin on his Maryland farm that November. The two revelations, which became known as the "Pumpkin Papers," contained State Department materials' images, including notes in Hiss' handwriting. This was the 'smoking gun' the Justice Department needed.

Hiss was charged with perjury and convicted on January 21, 1950, but not for espionage because the statute of limitations had run out. He was sentenced to five years in prison, ending a critical case that helped further confirm accelerating infiltration of the U.S. government by Soviet spies during the Cold War.

What now with Gen. Milley?

Does Gen. Milley's likely illegal top-secret phone call with the Chinese regime match the espionage cases which led to the convictions of the Rosenbergs and Alger Hiss? According to Article III, Sec. 3 in the Constitution, Treason "shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort." Furthermore, "No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court." By the Constitution's standard, Gen. Milley appears to have committed treason. Under 18 U.S.C. § 2381, any conviction on charges of "(levying) war against (the United States) or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere… shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000… ." This is consistent with the Rosenbergs' fate.

But Gen. Milley, like Alger Hiss, is embraced within elitist circles, the legacy media, and the Democratic Party. Meanwhile, the political trajectory of Donald Trump―the source of Milley and the establishment's ire―closely parallels Richard Nixon, who was similarly branded an outsider by the East Coast elites who never forgave his role in the Hiss case. Trump, like Nixon, has weathered every extreme slander and libel imaginable. Recall too that Time magazine published a detailed account of the elaborate "conspiracy" featuring elected officials, "left-wing activists and business titans" in "an extraordinary shadow effort" to "protect" the 2020 presidential election from President Trump's attempts to undermine ('win') it. Because Nixon had unearthed Soviet infiltration at the very core of the 'deep state, he faced the media's wrath and the Washington establishment throughout his political career. It's deeply ironic, therefore, that after Nixon 'lost' to John F. Kennedy in one of America's most controversial presidential elections in 1960 only to stage history's most remarkable comeback when he finally won in 1968, he was ultimately destroyed in 1974 by the efforts of the same Bob Woodward who 48 years after Watergate, released the litany of serious allegations against Gen. Milley in his latest book, Peril.

More profoundly than Nixon, Trump's brutal honesty and unfiltered attacks on the Washington establishment unmasked the most potent figures throughout our government and society―even the true nature of many of our friends, family, and neighbors. For this unspeakable crime, the elites have sworn to destroy him. And so long as Gen. Milley remains a pawn on the elites' chessboard, he won't likely face charges even for perjury.

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About the Author:

Jonathan P. Henderson (B.A. in History, Minor in Pol. Sci.; Univ. of Tennessee, 2012) is a resident of Knoxville, TN. He is Owner/Administrator/Editor-in-Chief of The Conservative Historical Review and a blogger/columnist for PolitiChicks and Intellectual Conservative.

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