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Phantom Spies, Phantom Justice
by Miriam Moskowitz

Release Date: 10/05/10
Genre: Memoir
Pages: 312
Publisher: Bunim & Bannigan Ltd.
Format ISBN Price
Print 9781933480251 20.00
Author Page: Miriam Moskowitz
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Miriam Moskowitz spent two years, 1950-52 in Federal prison in West Virginia as a supposed atomic spy and menace to the United States. Harassed by the FBI following her release, it took her eighteen years to pay the $10,000 fine that had also been part of her sentence, and she has spent thousands of hours since digging up the documents that brought about her indictment and contributed to the judicial misconduct that prevailed at her trial. Hundreds of FBI communications and thousands of pages of trial and grand jury transcripts form the backbone of this sordid tale; and the lessons that they teach remain pertinent in our current era of renditions, secret prisons, and burgeoning prison population.

Phantom Spies and Phantom Justice (Bunim & Bannigan Ltd., Oct. 5, 2010) is ninety-three year-old Miriam Moskowitz's J'accuse, a searing indictment of prosecutors, government bureaucrats and a judge focused more on career advancement than the truth; and of a venal press that sells newspapers with headlines as sensational as they are misleading. Ms. Moskowitz spares no punches. She demonstrates how prosecutors knowingly put lying witnesses on the stand, and judicial ethics were transgressed by a judge who collaborated with the prosecution. The judge, Irving Kaufman, was the same judge who, four months later, presided over the trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Roy Cohn and Irving Saypol, Miriam's prosecutors, performed the same function at the Rosenberg trial; two of the chief witnesses for the prosecution, Harry Gold and Elizabeth Bentley, played the same roles in the Rosenberg trial. Ms. Moskowitz makes a convincing case that her trial was a kind of rehearsal for that of the Rosenbergs, a testing of the believability of Gold and Bentley, and of how far popular prejudices could sway a jury. Her story, therefore, has implications for students of the Rosenberg trial.

Phantom Spies and Phantom Justice is, however, not just an account of an historic trial. It is a memoir of pariahhood, of fellow prisoners in New York City's Women's House of Detention and Alderson Federal Penitentiary, of a young woman reestablishing human connections. And in painstakingly following the later careers of her tormentors, Ms. Moskowitz has endowed the work with a fabulous dimension.

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