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Was America's Top Rocketeer a Communist Spy? The FBI Thought So

Unknown Lamer posted about 4 months ago | from the spying-as-a-hobby dept.

The Military 165

New submitter IMissAlexChilton (3748631) writes Frank Malina masterfully led the World War II effort to build U.S. rockets for jet-assisted takeoff and guided missiles. As described in IEEE Spectrum, Malina's motley crew of engineers and enthusiasts (including occultist Jack Parsons) founded the Jet Propulsion Lab and made critical breakthroughs in solid fuels, hypergolics, and high-altitude sounding rockets, laying the groundwork for NASA's future successes. And yet, under suspicion by the Feds at the war's end, Malina gave up his research career, and his team's efforts sank into obscurity. Taking his place: the former Nazi Wernher von Braun. Read "Frank Malina: America's Forgotten Rocketeer". Includes cool vintage footage of early JPL rocket tests.

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There goes the planet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47578919)

Oh god here we go with the OTO, L. Ron Hubbard, and Aleister Crowley

Nazis over Scientology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579013)

From the government's standpoint, some very experienced Nazis were preferable to some oculists and scientologists. The Nazis could have merely joined the KKK back in the 50s, and pushed white America to the moon. On the other hand, scientologist super powers might have provided cheaper ways to LEO. Maybe we backed the wrong guys.

Re:Nazis over Scientology (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579075)

Occultist? You're scared he's going to spill state secrets to Satan? I'd be more worried about Stalin.

Where did it say he was a scientologist? They didn't even exist back them. You made that up to pump up your argument.

> A Nazi he was not. Go read up on the history of Germany's rocket scientists.
Wow. A Nazi sympaptizer on Slashdot.

> The majority were a buncha eggheads who thought it was cool they'd found someone willing to fund them, right up until they found themselves with guns pointed at their heads and explanations of what would happen to them or their families if they didn't succeed.

How about getting the fuck out of there like all the other scientists else did? ""I'm not a Nazi but I build concentration camp machinery because if I didn't someone else would"" is a weak argument, you Nazi-loving fuck. Your brethren who tried it at Nuremberg got a rope around their neck.

Re:Nazis over Scientology (4, Informative)

Artifakt (700173) | about 4 months ago | (#47579899)

Where did it say he was a scientologist? They didn't even exist back them. You made that up to pump up your argument.

Jack Parsons was friends with L. Ron Hubbard for a time, and this friendship allegedly failed because Hubbard took off with a great deal of Parsons' money. Again allegedly, Scientology was founded with that money. Malina and Parsons are two major figures in rocketry who did various occult rituals with both Alastair Crowley and L. Ron Hubbard and basically the historical links between those last two are mostly links through the rocket researchers more than direct contacts.

He was a spy... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47578923)

... and a homosexual.

Re:He was a spy... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579039)

Send J edgar hoover under the covers sting agent!

White Werhner von Braun may be many things... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47578945)

A Nazi he was not.

Go read up on the history of Germany's rocket scientists. The majority were a buncha eggheads who thought it was cool they'd found someone willing to fund them, right up until they found themselves with guns pointed at their heads and explanations of what would happen to them or their families if they didn't succeed.

While it's s sad Frank Malina lost out on continued innovation in the JPL, put the blame where it belongs: The Feds and the Congresscritters who were so caught up in their witch hunts that they drove away the very brilliance that might've helped us not only take the space race to another level, but perhaps also avoid the stagnation imbued during the late saturn v and shuttle era.

Imagine if Skylab had stayed in orbit and been used as the basis of an ISS 20 years earlier.

The possibilities were endless. But as usual jackbooted thugs and politicos ruined them for their own careers.

Re:White Werhner von Braun may be many things... (4, Insightful)

Nutria (679911) | about 4 months ago | (#47578983)

The majority were a buncha eggheads who thought it was cool they'd found someone willing to fund them,

And willingly worked 12,000 "undesirables" to death.

put the blame where it belongs

Square on Frank Malina's shoulders for wanting to do something else.

Re:White Werhner von Braun may be many things... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579009)

And willingly worked 12,000 "undesirables" to death.

Got cite he personally oversaw the forced labor of prisoners?

Re:White Werhner von Braun may be many things... (5, Informative)

pupsocket (2853647) | about 4 months ago | (#47579343)

From the article:

"The actual manufacturing was done by prisoners from the concentration camp Mittelbau-Dora. As the historian Michael J. Neufeld has documented, von Braun went so far as to handpick detainees with technical qualifications for this work. (The prisoners were worked literally to death. In all, about 12,000 died producing von Braun’s rockets; for comparison, the rockets themselves would kill an estimated 9,000 people, many of them civilians.)"

Re:White Werhner von Braun may be many things... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 4 months ago | (#47579967)

Well, it's a bit of a bridge.
You see, he could have just shot himself and thus spared the production slaves of the V2, of course you could easily argue that in such a case they would have just been sent to the gas chambers.

Re:White Werhner von Braun may be many things... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579997)

You see, he could have just shot himself and thus spared the production slaves of the V2, of course you could easily argue that in such a case they would have just been sent to the gas chambers.

Yes, you could argue that but that would only reveal that you don't know what you arguing about.

Re:White Werhner von Braun may be many things... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579007)

The majority were a buncha eggheads who thought it was cool they'd found someone willing to fund them, right up until they found themselves with guns pointed at their heads and explanations of what would happen to them or their families if they didn't succeed.

Why weren't they shot, then? The V2, while way ahead of it's time, was not a success during the war since blowing up the right target was an important requisite. If they had more time, though...

Re:White Werhner von Braun may be many things... (3, Insightful)

Kaenneth (82978) | about 4 months ago | (#47579167)

It inspired Fear, and a weapon of terror against civilian targets was the real requirement.

Re:White Werhner von Braun may be many things... (4, Funny)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about 4 months ago | (#47579225)

Their greatest weapon is terror. Terror and efficiency. Okay, their two greatest weapons were terror and efficiency. And organization Okay, their three greatest weapons were terror, efficiencey and organizatoin.

Re:White Werhner von Braun may be many things... (4, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 4 months ago | (#47579249)

The V2 ... was not a success during the war

That is an understatement. The V2 had no significant military effect, but consumed enormous resources to develop, manufacture, and deploy. Freeman Dyson once described the V2 program as "almost as good as if Hitler had adopted a policy of unilateral disarmament."

Re:White Werhner von Braun may be many things... (3, Informative)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 4 months ago | (#47579907)

That simplifies is slightly.

The V2 was about as expensive as a top-end fighter jet (thought the only jets were top end then). So every V2 meant one less fighter in the air, except it didn't. The problem they had was a massive lack of oil for fuel which means the fighters couldn't fly. The V2s were powered by alcohol, and no one had planes able to run off the stuff then.

Also, if the Reich's nuclear bomb ambitions had worked out, the V2 would have provided an unstoppable delivery mechanism.

Re:White Werhner von Braun may be many things... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47580169)

Also, if the Reich's nuclear bomb ambitions had worked out, the V2 would have provided an unstoppable delivery mechanism.

Size of warhead of V2: 1000 kg.

Weight of the the first atom bombs: about 4000-4500 kg.

See the problem?

But anyway, V2 was a complete waste of resources. Developing it cost Germany more than the damage that they caused cost to Britain. That the nazis could have wasted the same amount of resources for jet fighters that they couldn't have used is not a particularly good argument in support of V2, as they might done something useful, instead.

For example, had they gone with anti-aircraft rockets they might have caused heavy losses to the American daylight bomber formations.It's impossible to say now whether wasserfall rockets could have stopped the raids as the project never get enough resources to get to the practical testing phase. However, with a hypothetical production and deployment rate of 3000-4000 wasserfalls a month, you need a hit rate of only ~3-4% to destroy 100 heavy bombers a month .

Re:White Werhner von Braun may be many things... (2, Informative)

JDAustin (468180) | about 4 months ago | (#47579319)

Of course you need to remember that the US government was infiltrated with communist spies and sympathizers. You only need to look at Alger Hiss, Harry Dexter White, Harry Hopkins and the Rosenbergs.

Re:White Werhner von Braun may be many things... (3, Insightful)

readin (838620) | about 4 months ago | (#47579555)

Of course you need to remember that the US government was infiltrated with communist spies and sympathizers. You only need to look at Alger Hiss, Harry Dexter White, Harry Hopkins and the Rosenbergs.

Good luck getting Communism Deniers to admit this. I would be happy if we can get them to admit that Russian Communism was just as evil as Nazism.

Re:White Werhner von Braun may be many things... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579917)

The problem is people like you keep mixing up Communism - an economic system - with the Soviet political system. It's about the same as claiming that capitalism is a government like the United States. The Soviet political system was corrupt as any seat of power will be.

Re:White Werhner von Braun may be many things... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47580071)

Which shows what is inheritly wrong with communism: Communism without a strong government to enforce it can not happen. Communism with a strong government to enforce it will always create a corrupt seat of power.

Thus communism itself is flawed, evil and will ruin any society that tries to implement it.

Re:White Werhner von Braun may be many things... (5, Insightful)

Nyder (754090) | about 4 months ago | (#47579705)

Of course you need to remember that the US government was infiltrated with communist spies and sympathizers. You only need to look at Alger Hiss, Harry Dexter White, Harry Hopkins and the Rosenbergs.

You know, it's sort of like terrorists today. We might have a few here (and we do, Boston marathon bombing) but see, most of us are NOT terrorist, but the way out government acts, there is terrorists under every bed. Not unlike how they acted in the "communist" scare days.

The problem? Our government, the USA doesn't care if it fucks over all it's law abiding citizens trying to stamp out a few "undesirables". They didn't care back then, they don't give a fuck today. That is the problem. They create these monsters why how they act, then want to punish us for it?

Re:White Werhner von Braun may be many things... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 4 months ago | (#47579349)

Imagine if Skylab had stayed in orbit and been used as the basis of an ISS 20 years earlier.

I don't think the substances that would allow me to imagine that are actually legal.

Seriously, by the time of the third occupancy crew Skylab was badly worn out on top of the damage caused by the loss of the heat shield. It would have been much more of a liability due to the amount of work required to resupply and refit it.

Where do you get this garbage? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579945)

You clearly have not read the appropriate NASA documents.

Skylab was in very good condition and NASA wanted to use it in conjunction with the shuttle, which was scheduled to be operational before Skylab fell into the atmosphere. The Shuttle was to be used to re-boost it, but two things happened: [1] solar activity was higher than expected (which affects the upper-most part of the atmosphere and increased the atmospheric drag on Skylab) and [2] the shuttle ended-up being too far behind schedule. NASA, realizing that shuttles would not be ready in time, studied launching an unmanned "tug" to dock with and re-boost Skylab so it would still be there on orbit and operational by the time shuttles were ready, but congress in the late 70's was as stupid as today - Congress did not fund this cheap solution, so we ended-up dumping $100 Billion and ten years of construction time into building ISS to get a similar orbital capability (Skylab had 320 cubic meters pressurized volume, that's more than the US part of the ISS). The shuttle could have then flown additions to Skylab (which had a docking adapter for multiple visiting vehicles). An enhanced Skylab would have had no Russian "entanglements", and had its own lifesupport and navigation capabilities.

Skylab was FAR from "worn out" and the damage from the launch was quite managable. The astronauts who closed it out left it ready for re-manning. When Skylab re-entered the atmosphere it did so under remote control from the ground, with its systems fully functioning until they were destroyed by the reentry. READ THE DAMNED REPORTS, which consist of hundreds of paged of excellent details, before misinforming people.

HAHAHA bullshit! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579413)

I like all of the sources you've provided. Here's some of mine to counter your argument:

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=wernher+von+braun+nazi&safe=off

Oh I see. You are making the "Pope" argument. Basically, people can conveniently pick and choose when it benefits their own personal interests in determining who "really are" nazis and who "really aren't" nazis, by the "logical" fallacy of , "well these people had guns to their heads and had to do what they did".

I have news for you; all the pepper bombs invented by American engineers used to kill millions of innocent civilians in the middle east are still American.

That makes Von Braun still a nazi, fuckface.

Re:White Werhner von Braun may be many things... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579515)

Its not surprising to hear any of this. In the fight against this bullshit propaganda they called communism the US was leading the way when it came to the very things that made up communism. Censorship, oppression, ect.. The US government including the defunct morons in Congress anybody and I mean everybody that they felt had enough influence to cause any upheaval to the-powers-that-be.

They went after any civil rights leaders, or movements dubbing them communists sympathizers and even used the media/press to brainwash the mainstream populace to buy into their bullshit. If you were anyone of influence or just an average Joe/Jane and back talked your moron politicians or the political system you would find yourself in hot water.

In simple terms the US used communism to implement its own version to control its citizens, we simply refer to it as propaganda, and it continues to this day now they are using terrorism, and this time they want to monitor everyone and every move they make whether they are a threat or just some brainless twit.

Re:White Werhner von Braun may be many things... (1)

readin (838620) | about 4 months ago | (#47579581)

In simple terms the US used communism to implement its own version to control its citizens, we simply refer to it as propaganda, and it continues to this day now they are using terrorism, and this time they want to monitor everyone and every move they make whether they are a threat or just some brainless twit.

Just like we used Nazism to push millions of young men into government service.

Well no, sometimes the monsters are actually real. Look up the history of the Ukraine, and who started WWII in Europe by invading Poland, and the gulag, and...(I could go on and on but I need to get some sleep).

Lessons for today's world (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47578947)

I wonder how many innocent people today have had themselves and their careers ruined by the NSA/GCHQ/TLA and how as a result we have all suffered by not benefiting from their work.

Re:Lessons for today's world (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47578977)

Yep replace paranoia over communism with paranoia over terrorism and we have the NEW USA.

Re:Lessons for today's world (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579127)

Paranoia over communism? At a time when the most iconic proponent of communism was a country that would glass the entire US if there wasn't a mutual threat of the same, and attempted to implement totalitarianism across the entire world?

You are aware that the implementation of communism is a breach of fundamental human rights?

Re:Lessons for today's world (1, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | about 4 months ago | (#47579313)

You are aware that the implementation of communism is a breach of fundamental human rights?

Any one party system is a breach of fundamental rights.

I don't remember "property" in the "Life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" quote. Are you arguing that you have the right to property?

Re:Lessons for today's world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579469)

What the fuck do you think Liberty is? The right to do as you're told? Go look it up sometime.

Re:Lessons for today's world (3, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | about 4 months ago | (#47579645)

Doing what you want and telling others they can't do what they want because you claim the land under them, or the clothes on their back doesn't sound like "liberty" either.

Re:Lessons for today's world (5, Insightful)

readin (838620) | about 4 months ago | (#47579531)

You are aware that the implementation of communism is a breach of fundamental human rights?

Any one party system is a breach of fundamental rights. I don't remember "property" in the "Life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" quote. Are you arguing that you have the right to property?

The philosopher they were channeling had said life, liberty, body and property. Also the forerunner to the Declaration of Independence was the Virginia Declaration of rights which said "That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety."

Later of course property was included as fundamental in the Fifth Amendment which said "No person shall...be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law" and again in the Fourteenth Amendment which says "...nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."

Property is so fundamental that it was one of the earliest rights recognized. The Magna Carta says, "No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land."

So yes, we all do have the right to property. It is fundamental.

Re:Lessons for today's world (3, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | about 4 months ago | (#47579659)

You have a right to *your* posessions, but not a fundamental right to own any possessions. Once you have them, they are yours, but that's different than saying you have the right to the.

Just because I have the right to procrate, doesn't mean I will have children provided to me (by the government or private enterprise), should I demand them. Property is the same. You don't have a right to "have" property, but once you have it, it is yours.

Re:Lessons for today's world (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579887)

American historical revisionism at its worst.

The Magna Carta was not about recognising some magick human right, but a negotiation process between the monarch and landowners. In return for not fighting the the king, the king promised not to take away the nobles' little feudal empires. Property is referred to because it's what gave the noblemen power. The average Joe owned not a hole to shit in, let alone enjoyed rights.

The Founding Fathers were similarly businessmen who wanted to imagine they'd just made the same deal with the British monarch - except they hadn't, so they acted unilaterally but using the same pompous language.

America, being young and prone to religion as all young things are, elevated a very practical process of power-mongering into a quasi-religious principle. Like all religions, their most redeeming feature is their ability to act arbitrarily but rationalise after the fact, which is why the US (following the Magna Carta) barely recognised all humans until the 1960s (a prerequisite to recognising human rights), and today its government exercises more control over what might otherwise be "private property" than anything imagined in the 1770s. It certainly exerts more dictatorial power than pissant Britain has for half a century.

The course of true zealotry never does run smoothly, nor is it indexed correctly.

Re:Lessons for today's world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47580157)

Liberty includes the freedom to enjoy the rewards of any property you may own, and the freedom to not have that property taken away. Enumerating all your freedoms makes for a bad catchphrase. Worse, enumerating them would imply a finite bound on your freedoms. The US constitution enumerates the rights of the government instead.

Of course, modern US government is turning the tables, claiming any right not explicitly forbidden to them (and then some which are), while limiting your freedoms. The Founding Fathers knew how established politics worked, and set up the Constitution to protect against that, but the Founding Fathers are dead. It is up to the People to defend that Constitution.

Re:Lessons for today's world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579925)

Another one of you. Let me guess: you think Communism outlaws private property. You're incorrect, which probably goes a long way to explaining your political philosophy. Communism outlaws owning means of production. You can own a house, a mansion, an apartment, a car, and even a store. What you can't own is a factory producing goods. There's no violation of human rights in that if there's no violation of human rights in forcing people to prostitute 1/2 of their waking hours to the highest bidder in return for food and shelter.

Re:Lessons for today's world (2)

readin (838620) | about 4 months ago | (#47579561)

Yep replace paranoia over communism with paranoia over terrorism and we have the NEW USA.

To get to paranoia over communism you have to replace paranoia over nazism.

You think it wrong to call the concern about Nazism "paranoia"? It is similarly wrong to call the concern about Communism "paranoia". Communists killed a whole lot of people. They were equally involved in the invasion of Poland that started WWII in Europe. They killed millions in Ukraine through forced starvation. Name something the Nazis did and you can find the equivalent in Communism (except for developing nice cars like the Volkswagen; the Communists didn't do anything like that.).

Re: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579083)

When you consider that it is cheaper for people to be killed instead of paying for surveillance, you might understand that having a career ruined is a small part of what is possible. It is obvious that the government will refuse any attempts at transparency when national security is the concern. It has been common for the government to have public executions without trial when an american citizen is known to say "bad things" (leaders of poltiical groups in the 60s had sudden deaths which prevented their progress, but credit wasn't taken, with the recent concern over muslims we have seen at least 1 very public execution if you ignore previous war efforts). A capitalist country must pursue war to keep its economy somewhat stable, reducing its normal boom/bust cycle along with the normal taxes (including government policy changes), interest rate changes, and money supply changes. Pursuing war for no real purpose except economic prosperity requires no attachment to ethics and demonstrates how current leaders are required to make decisions. All decisions are for the sake of commerce. Why would you care about a potential security risk, especially when it is a single person? To save money which can be used for defense spending with offensive purposes the most logical choice is to eliminate the threat (their job, to protect commerce: to eliminate threats both international and domestic).

Re: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579179)

Good thing the government doesn't give a single shit about how much money it waste playing spooks.

Re: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579223)

| When you consider that it is cheaper for people to be killed instead of paying for surveillance

As overblown as the government surveillance has grown in America, the objective is still to ensure our safety (albeit at the expense of our freedom). Killing citizens would be a bit of a step back in the safety category.

And no--it wouldn't be cheaper.

| It has been common for the government to have public executions without trial when an american citizen is known to say "bad things"

Saddam Hussein did a little more than just saying "bad things"

Re: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579253)

|| When you consider that it is cheaper for people to be killed instead of paying for surveillance

| As overblown as the government surveillance has grown in America, the objective is still to ensure our safety (albeit at the expense of our freedom). Killing citizens would be a bit of a step back in the safety category.
| And no--it wouldn't be cheaper.

Sure it is. No mess or fuss over the course of many years of a normal lifetime of roughly 70 years old. How could it not be cheaper?

|| It has been common for the government to have public executions without trial when an american citizen is known to say "bad things"

| Saddam Hussein did a little more than just saying "bad things"

Saddam Hussein just outlived his usefulness in the proxy war with the Soviets. The Iraq War on a lack of intelligence helped the economy have an easier time surviving the dot com bust (not Desert Storm but instead the efforts to kill him in 2003). There are many other "naughty" leaders in the world, but some dictators are installed by the US while others are ignored because they help to facilitate commerce (they just haven't gotten on the wrong side of US interests yet). It is a distraction to bring him up, focus on US citizen executions, that is what this is about. Otherwise you just look like a troll.

Re: (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 4 months ago | (#47579465)

It has been common for the government to have public executions without trial when an american citizen is known to say "bad things"

Saddam Hussein did a little more than just saying "bad things"

I wasn't aware that he was an american citizen.

Plus we didn't off him when he was murdering Kurds and other "undesirables", or when he started a revanchist war against Iran that resulted in several hundred thousand, possibly a million, casualties. He only got in the doghouse for seizing Kuwait, threatening the carefully engineered balance-of-powerlessness established in the middle east by the the allies after WWI.

Re:Lessons for today's world (3, Insightful)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | about 4 months ago | (#47579309)

I wonder how many innocent people today have had themselves and their careers ruined by the NSA/GCHQ/TLA and how as a result we have all suffered by not benefiting from their work.

In an environment where you can be punished for your beliefs, is intelligence really the evil?

It's not the information that's to blame, it's what people do with it, and the worse people are, the less they'll need.
Think of the worst people throughout history, and imagine them making less informed decisions.

McCarthyism, Salem witch trials, Inquisitions

See, the problem wasn't solid information regarding who's a communist, who's a witch, or who's Muslim, the problem was the people punishing you if they thought you smelled like one.

Re:Lessons for today's world (0)

readin (838620) | about 4 months ago | (#47579543)

McCarthyism, Salem witch trials, Inquisitions

One of these things doesn't belong here...

How many people were executed by McCarthyism? Sure, some careers were set back, but the same can be said of how we handle racism, sexism, and laws concerning homsexuality? People lose their jobs for speaking their minds due to fears the government will huge amounts of money to be taken from employers as a result of a lawsuit.

You have modern day examples of witchhunts but you choose one from 60 years ago. Why?

And the witches McCarthy were far more dangerous and worthy of being hunted.

Useless toxic puffer fish for President (4, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | about 4 months ago | (#47579637)

And the witches McCarthy were far more dangerous and worthy of being hunted

Ah yes, like that dangerous playwright who was offered a way out if his wife, Marilyn Monroe, agreed to be photographed with McCarthy for political promotional material. That was one part of the witch hunt, in that case more accurately called a shakedown.

It was an utterly worthless grab at power by an immoral, corrupt and ultimately cowardly man who wanted to skew the political playing field in his direction when opposed by a large number of far more worthy candidates for President from both parties. It's just as well that he bit off more than he could chew by getting a lot of special favors for one of his friends in the military and then attempting to prove that General Marshall (of the Marshall plan and a lot of other things, such as running a big chunk of WWII) was a communist. His stupid stunt meant to send him into the White House was exposed for what it was - a power grab by a man who had achieved very little in his life attempting to drag down others who had and make himself look bigger.

So do you think he had a list of spies like he said he did? Why didn't he hand them over then? Wouldn't it be a bit like treason to have a list of foreign spies and not hand it over to law enforcement?

Re:Lessons for today's world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579431)

I wonder how many innocent people today have had themselves and their careers ruined by the NSA/GCHQ/TLA and how as a result we have all suffered by not benefiting from their work.

And KGB - the USSR put their own rocket genius Korolev (who kind of looks like Anthony Hopkins) in a gulag for 5 years.

Re:Lessons for today's world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579501)

Or dope convictions.

Re:Lessons for today's world (2)

readin (838620) | about 4 months ago | (#47579517)

I wonder how many innocent people today have had themselves and their careers ruined by the NSA/GCHQ/TLA and how as a result we have all suffered by not benefiting from their work.

I wonder how many innocent people had themselves and their careers ruined by Communists. I seen numbers over 100 million just for people murdered by Communists. The number of careers ruined is many times that - both by simple matter of Communism not working and by deliberate attempts to deprive people of education (see the Cultural Revolution and talk to my physics professor who spent his college years on a farm rather than learning physics and researching). .

Stalin was originally Hitler's ally ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579737)

I wonder how many innocent people had themselves and their careers ruined by Communists. I seen numbers over 100 million just for people murdered by Communists.

Don't forget that Stalin was originally Hitler's ally. They conspired together to invade Poland, splitting the country between the two of them. So Stalin's Soviet Union was partly responsible for the start of the war. It was only Hitler's later betrayal and invasion of the Soviet Union that ended the alliance with Hitler and prompted a new alliance with the US and the UK.

Re:Lessons for today's world (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579865)

In fact, Stalin has personally killed a billion of people!

What's Venona say? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47578959)

Venona busted Alger Hiss but good.

...and (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579003)

Who cares?

another GNU link (4, Informative)

clovis (4684) | about 4 months ago | (#47579025)

I think this is the intended artice:
http://spectrum.ieee.org/aeros... [ieee.org]

Re:another GNU link (1)

IMissAlexChilton (3748631) | about 4 months ago | (#47579037)

yes, it is. thanks!

von Braun didn't take his place (5, Interesting)

thrich81 (1357561) | about 4 months ago | (#47579047)

von Braun didn't take anyone's place -- he created his own place in Huntsville. The work on rockets on the West Coast and other places in the US continued with little affect by von Braun. For example the Navy's Vanguard project which was supposed to launch the USA's first satellite was a parallel effort to the Army's efforts at Hunstville. And the Air Force developed the Atlas and Titan missiles in other parallel efforts. It just happened that when NASA needed big rockets for Apollo, the Saturn series developed by von Braun's team were the most suitable. Notably, precursors to Apollo, the manned orbital Mercury and Gemini missions, were launched on those Air Force derived boosters. The sentence in the summary is BS. And by all accounts, von Braun was agnostic towards the Nazis, neither a supporter nor a resister, disinterested in politics, but navigating the system he found himself by the time it was too late to get out -- yeah, I know it is more complicated than that, but I don't have a thesis to write here.

Van Braun built weapons for Nazis (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579077)

It's pretty hard to claim you're "agnostic" or "not a supporter" when you build weapons for someone.

Re:Van Braun built weapons for Nazis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579089)

So everyone who built weapons for Saddam Hussein was a supporter?

Or one of any number of other cases.

Re:Van Braun built weapons for Nazis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579131)

Yes, they supported his cause knowingly. It is hard to say they were mentally incompetitent to the point that they had no control of their actions, so yes, they chose to help Saddam, just like those that helped Adolf. If they were forced to work, they always have the option of suicide.

Re:Van Braun built weapons for Nazis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579389)

You knowingly pay taxes that fund the NSA. Therefore, you are a supporter of the NSA. Ass.

Re:Van Braun built weapons for Nazis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579849)

Where exactly do you live? And did you check lately what happens with all of your tax dollars?

So, what's the case here? Are you mentally incompetitent (sic) to the point that you have no control of your actions? Or are you willingly supporting those actions? You know, you always have the option of suicide...

Re:Van Braun built weapons for Nazis (4, Interesting)

jafac (1449) | about 4 months ago | (#47579393)

There's actually a long story behind this, and Von Braun was actually arrested because Hitler suspected he was a traitor. Von Braun was a visionary who just loved rockets and wanted to land on the moon and colonize space. The Nazis were a funding means-to-an-end for his rocketry studies. After the Nazis tried to arrest him and his team, he escaped with some equipment and top scientists to defect to the allies.

So no, it's not at all accurate to speculate that Von Braun was a Nazi or into that whole ideology.

He used his expertise to con the Nazis into paying for his very expensive hobby.
Then he came to the USA, and played the same con on Congress to fund his continued work here. Congress thought they were getting ICBMs to wave at the Russians. Von Braun was getting a moon landing, and who gives a shit about politics.

Re:Van Braun built weapons for Nazis (4, Insightful)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about 4 months ago | (#47579425)

"So no, it's not at all accurate to speculate that Von Braun was a Nazi or into that whole ideology."

No, he was just a guy who used up the lives of prisoners to meet his ends. He may not have been an ideologue, but he was a sociopath.

Re:Van Braun built weapons for Nazis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579479)

So, he can't be an ideologue (for his own ideas, not necessarily Naziism) AND a sociopath? There's a logical fallacy in there somewhere...

Re:Van Braun built weapons for Nazis (3, Interesting)

radtea (464814) | about 4 months ago | (#47579763)

Then he came to the USA, and played the same con on Congress to fund his continued work here.

So in your view von Braun was an amoral, self-agrandizing liar who was willing to actively engage in the selection of slave labour working in death camps to build rockets that killed thousands of strangers just so he could play with cool toys? Because that's what you're describing.

I say "self-agrandizing" because everything that von Braun wanted to do would have been done without him, without the 12000 dead slave labourers, without the 9000 dead British civilians.

I've had some pretty extreme scientific and technical ambitions in my time, but have somehow been able to realize many of them without killing people, and have given up the rest because: killing people. So I'm willing to pass judgment on von Braun in this respect: if he faced a choice between following his dreams and not killing people I'd have to say the latter is the far better choice.

Re:Van Braun built weapons for Nazis (3, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 4 months ago | (#47579931)

f he faced a choice between following his dreams and not killing people I'd have to say the latter is the far better choice.

It's very easy to say that when faced with threats against yourself or your family. We'd all like to believe that we'd do the right thing in the face of overwhelming adversity, but frankly you have no way of knowing what you'd do until it happens.

It is however easy to judge from behind the safety of a keyboard.

Re:von Braun didn't take his place (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 4 months ago | (#47579143)

He joined the Nazis when he didn't have to, and then later lied under oath about when he joined, saying he didn't join until years later when he did have to.

Re:von Braun didn't take his place (1)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about 4 months ago | (#47579231)

Nazi schmazi, says Wernher von Braun.

von Braun didn't take his place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579247)

Detractors can say what that want and they may be right about for some of it. But von Braun mostly behaved himself while he was here, we pumped him for all he was worth, and we got pretty good stuff. Yes, he designed stuff for our enemy, but if I had lived in the civil war times I might have built something like the CSS submarine Hunley. I would have been fighting for my country even though I may have had some doubts about it.

Re:von Braun didn't take his place (1)

hey! (33014) | about 4 months ago | (#47579467)

Yes, he designed stuff for our enemy, but if I had lived in the civil war times I might have built something like the CSS submarine Hunley.

With slave labor, no less.

Yes people are limited by their culture and time, but not *that* limited. Braun deserves condemnation for using slave labor in WW2.

Re:von Braun didn't take his place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579619)

Says the guy with a mobile phone full of conflict cobat and PC built by something pretty close to slave labor in china.

Re:von Braun didn't take his place (1)

qbast (1265706) | about 4 months ago | (#47580139)

Are you this stupid to compare long working hours and ability to quit any time to being literally worked to death?

Re:von Braun didn't take his place (1)

Sproggit (18426) | about 4 months ago | (#47579689)

The earliest American land barons and economists built the US economy on the backs of slave labour too.
When someone is monomaniacal they are spectacularly effective at achieving a set goal.
If their sponsors are sociopaths (Like the Nazi's first AND the US later - for von Braun), the results can be achieved breathtakingly quickly.

Neither the Nazis, nor the US had altruism as their goal when supporting von Braun. - This is known

Whether his goals where altruistic, may be up for speculation, although I think space exploration is a pretty lofty ideal.

Did the end justify the means? In either case?
Probably not, but we now enjoy the end, while others had to pay the means, never forget that.

If anyone is fundamentally horrified and appalled by the fact that he used concentration camp slave labour, and that the US only used him to advance their instruments of war, I cannot say that I disagree with your moral standpoint.
I do however have to request that you hand over all your technological goodies and advances that are a direct and indirect result of the space program, since otherwise YOU are getting reaping the rewards of an end while despising the means.

You can't have it both ways.

Slave labor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47580039)

Sadly, most societies in human history have used slave labor at some point; historically, it's been "the norm" far more often than the freedoms we all have today. It took rare and extraordinary men (like William Wilberforce, Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln) to gradually re-adjust the thinking of human beings to see slavery as "wrong" and "unjust".

I'm not in any way inclined to defend the WWII Germans (not all were members of the NAZI party) given the number of relatives I had who fought againsts them in WWII and my ardent opposition to national socialism, BUT whose who try to tar Von Braun with the charge of using "slave labor" need to answer two questions: [1] just how much proof do they have that he either CHOSE to use slaves (NOT ideal aerospace workers) or had any say in their treatment? and [2] given that the vast majority of young german men were conscripted and in combat facing very life-threatening situations themselves, how bad should the average german have felt about "prisoners" being forced to work in factories that (as dangerous as they indeed were) would still have seemed preferable to many combat duties? I am NOT saying that the slave laborers had it "good" or "easy" or "safe" ... just saying that the average German AT THAT TIME AND PLACE would have thought about their sons, brothers, fathers, etc on the war fronts and from that perspective would have had a very different view of the conditions of the "prisoners" (who they would have been inclined to believe had "done SOMETHING wrong" just as civilians in all nations tend to assume people in their prisons are guilty of something) Even the least-evil German authority who (IF given any choice) did NOT use slave labor (given the immense numbers of people Hitler and the SS were locking-up) probably would have thought of themselves in a dilemma similar to the One Truman faced with the atomic bomb: "If I do NOT use it and then after the war the relatives of all the soldiers who died because of my choice find out then what will I say?". AGAIN: Slave labor is evil and the WWII German version was BRUTAL, but it's easy to sit at a keyboard in the relative comfort of mommy's basement and pontificate on the imperfections of man, having first stripped-away all context and wiped-away all the bloodshed surrounding it. Slavery in the American South was a far more monstrous thing in that the Southern Slave owners were not even using "enemiy prisoners" in time of all-out total war... the US slave "owners" simply were enriching themselves financially.

Remember: Von Braun was, at one time, jailed by the NAZIs who apparently thought he was sabotaging his work... it's entirely probable that he had absolutely no say in the workforce he was ordered to use. There is probably no way to prove this either way, and Von Braun took to his grave his honest personal thoughts about all this. Anything he (or indeed any of his associates) said or wrote about it in his post-war years must be presumed to be "tainted" (if he claimed to not know, we can assume he would not have admitted it even if he'd known, and if he said he knew but was sorry we sould presume this was a self-serving attempt at redemption). There is simply no way anybody associated with anything the entire world has judged "exterme evil" can ever be fully redeemed in the eyes of all.

doubt it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579053)

its just like any heirarchal system as people shuffle around and retire, Pompus manger X needs position Y, for buddy Z.
easiest way is to just make up crap / discredit / at which point you can put buddies where you want, its actually fun to watch
when you dont have to worry about societys shit in general.

See also Hsue-shen Tsien (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579065)

See also Hsue-shen Tsien, another JPL founder, whose (unjustified) house arrest and deportation gave an immeasurable boost to China's missile program.

America prefered actual Nazis to suspected communists.

Re:See also Hsue-shen Tsien (2)

IMissAlexChilton (3748631) | about 4 months ago | (#47579133)

Iris Chang's Thread of the Silkworm has an excellent account of Tsien.

Re:See also Hsue-shen Tsien (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579135)

Nazi Germany was gone, but Communist Soviet was very much alive and kicking. Loyalty to Nazi Germany would have been irrelevant.

He isn't the only one (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579081)

You should look up who is China's "Father of Rockets".
Hint: just like Malina, except he was ethnic Chinese and decided to go to Communist China instead of giving up his career.

Suspecting your top talent of being a spy, what a great way to kickstart advancement programs for your enemies!

Re:He isn't the only one (2)

twosat (1414337) | about 4 months ago | (#47579183)

Him too? I had heard of Qian Xuesen (known in the USA as Hsue-Shen Tsien) who also was one of the founders of JPL and ended up founding China's space program as well. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q... [wikipedia.org] https://news.ycombinator.com/i... [ycombinator.com]

Re:He isn't the only one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579215)

The Wikipedia link pretty much sums it all up:

During the Second Red Scare of the 1950s, the United States government accused Qian of having communist sympathies, and he was stripped of his security clearance[3] in 1950. Qian then decided to return to China, but instead was detained at Terminal Island[4] near Los Angeles. After spending 5 years under virtual house arrest,[5] Qian was released in 1955, in exchange for the repatriation of American pilots captured during the Korean War. Notified by U.S. authorities that he was free to go, Qian immediately arranged his departure, leaving for China in September 1955

Re:He isn't the only one (3, Insightful)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about 4 months ago | (#47579221)

I'm pretty sure China's "father of rockets" lived sometime during the Song Dynasty.

However the FBI (2)

dbIII (701233) | about 4 months ago | (#47579111)

However remember the FBI was too incompetent back then to remember to bring handcuffs to the arrest of "public enemy number one". A necktie had to do the job.
And then they fell for the scam of the "lie detector" - or did they really fall for it or was Hoover just accepting yet another kickback before spending Government money?
What you see today is nothing like it was back then.

Are all American Citizens Terrorists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579203)

The NSA thinks so!

Re:Are all American Citizens Terrorists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579711)

You have it all wrong.

Is everyone in the world apart from those working for the NSA and possibly the Secret Service a Terrorist?

The probable answer in some peoples eyes in an emphatic YES.

Um excuse me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579245)

Everyone knows we only have technology because of space. This heretical notion that somehow WWII drove the 20th century is not correct.

I invite the submitter to "self-criticism" DPRK-style.

interesting, somehow I didn't even know this (3, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about 4 months ago | (#47579483)

Malina is pretty well known in some corners of CS for his work on kinetic sculpture and generative art, and for founding the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology, along with its associated journal Leonardo [leonardo.info] . But I didn't know he did rockets earlier in his career.

XKCD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579567)

65 posts without an xkcd link? WTF.

Re:XKCD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579895)

Here you go:
http://xkcd.com/984/

Sick of Denialists (1)

readin (838620) | about 4 months ago | (#47579593)

I'm so sick of Denialists who refuse to except the facts about Communism and the evil it created for hundreds of millions of people.and the threat that it posed to those not yet taken by it.

Re:Sick of Denialists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579631)

Hmm... Communism... Stalinism. Whatever. I think "Stalinism" is probably a better description. It was under Stalin that the USSR really got rid of any indication of wanting to actually live up to any of its idealist basis. We have "communism" (notice the little c) all over the place today, and yet it's not teh evilz in these situations...

Re:Sick of Denialists (3, Informative)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 4 months ago | (#47579881)

Yup. Most Americans have no idea what communism really is/was. Basically, it was a power grab by a large number of apparachik (officious) people, who enjoyed micromanagement of everyone around them about everything. Nosy Parkers on steroids. In most western countries today, we have many communist institutions now: Old age pension, disability pension, health care, limited working hours, minimum wages... However, we also have the bad things associated with communism: Overflowing prisons, secret/not so secret military prisons (Guantanamo, Guam), places of torture (CIA camps in Poland), spying on everybody innocent or not (NSA, CIA), border fences with guards who shoot to kill (Arizona, California border with Mexico)...

You cannot possibly be that STUPID (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47579981)

You communist-apologists are just incredible.... every time somebody points out even a subset of the evils and the failures of communism, you guys always say "the wrong guys tried it!" or "they did not do it right!" or "that wasn't communism... that was something ELSE and not the ideal form!". Stalin was "the wrong guy", Lenin "did it wrong", chairman Mao "didn't do it right", Pol Pot "didn't really try it", Nicolae Ceausescu "was the wrong guy AND did not really try it" etc etc etc.

NEWSFLASH: There is no RIGHT way to do evil. The primary problem with Communism is that the only way to implement it is by evil means (by stealing from people and abusing people and forcing people to act contrary to their individual rights) ... and the ONLY way to do that is by selecting evil men and giving them the power... but such men ALWAYS use the power they are given for evil.

You need to take "Human Nature 101" or, failing that, try putting down your tablet (with the facebook page and twitter feeds) and try READING some serious BOOKS - the sort that use big words and make you THINK. Hayek's "The Road to Surfdom" is an excellent starting point.

Re:You cannot possibly be that STUPID (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47580199)

There's a simple explanation: it's not stupidity, it's arrogance. They watched communism destroy millions of lives. They watched it fail in country after country. Then they say, "it failed because it wasn't really communism" or some equivalent.

To rephrase, what they're actually saying is, "they weren't doing communism properly; I know how to make communism work". They ignore that fact that in places like the old Soviet Union hundreds of millions of people didn't just read a few books on communism and shout a few slogans but were raised learning Marxist theory. Hundreds of millions of people considered themselves committed communists and were doing their best to make communism work.

The people you accuse of stupidity are often very smart people. But they're arrogant enough to believe that they're smarter than the hundreds of millions of people who tried to make communism work.

Better a Nazi than a Commi (4, Informative)

rainer_d (115765) | about 4 months ago | (#47579959)

That was really the line of thinking in large parts of the US-government for a while.
Best expressed by no one else than Harry S Truman, who, when a member of the congress complained about the huge amounts of former Nazis in the new intelligence agency the US was building up in post-war Germany (nowadays known as BND), simply replied: "I don't care if this Gehlen guy [first head of the agency, a former Nazi-general] is fucking goats - as long as he's helping us, we'll use him".

During the 2nd world-war, if you played your cards well in Germany, you could achieve a lot. Some people early on realized this and built a career on it that often continued after the war. If you had the support of "the system", you had almost unlimited resources at your disposal.
Von Braun used these resources because he had a vision, a dream - and he was crazy and ruthless enough to sacrifice anything to make his dream come true.
Like the above mentioned Gehlen, he was also bold enough to change sides when the right time had come - knowing that the work he had done and the ideas in his head were more interesting to the Allies than the rest of what had happened during the war.

People from the UK (where V2 rockets hit mostly) are usually furious when you mention the name - they'd have probably wanted to put him up for trial in Nuremberg and seen him hanging - but his work, his men and he himself were already too important by the time the court was setup - and the cold-war had already started.

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