On this day in 1916, a bomb in San Francisco killed 10 people and wounded 40. It was a start of a legal travesty that took 45 years to unravel (see the ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY…  below).


Justice Blind 3-07-1989


Let us kill the death penalty before we kill more innocent people

It’s a disgrace that the U.S. is in the same league on capital punishment as Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, India and other bloodthirsty societies in Asia and Africa

Over the decades as a war correspondent, geopolitical commentator and a business analyst, I have warned a number of times that Justice is neither perfect nor blind.

Justice is easily corrupted by political, ideological, business, religious or racial interests. That is why I have also spoken out against the capital punishment in this country (for example, see Capital Punishment: Justice or Revenge?, Sep 28, 2000 – http://www.truthinmedia.org/Bulletins2000/tim2000-9-9.html).

As the esteemed 18th-century English jurist, judge and politician Sir William Blackstone put it, “it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.”

The above 1916 “Preparedness Day” murder trial is a case in point. While Justice blindly pursued its ideological and political beliefs at the time – that organized labor was behind the bombing – while the terrorist who set off that bomb and killed all those innocent people got away scott free.

Because this 1916 case is not an exception. There are thousands of wrongful convictions happening in the U.S. right now, more than 100 years after that trial.

Samuel Gross, a law professor at the University of Michigan, cataloged 340 exonerations between 1989 and 2003. These exonerations were almost all murder and rape cases, which get much more post-conviction attention, whereas the total number of felonies also includes burglary, car theft, tax fraud, and drug possession.

Some 95 percent of felony convictions are the result of plea bargains, with no formal evidence ever presented, and most never bother with an appeal.

There’s a more rigorous way to crunch the numbers, according to Gross’s new study. And that approach leads to a false conviction rate that was high enough to make one gasp — 4.1 percent.

Gross and his colleagues calculated a 4.1 percent error rate among people who are sentenced to death. This is a small subset (less than 0.1 percent) of the total number of prison sentences but, because of the stakes, these death row cases are scrutinized far more than most. (see this National Geographic report – https://goo.gl/TF3XW2).

Stop and think about it for a moment. Four out of 100 death row convictions are FALSE! So we are killing innocent people. And even if some are exonerated before being put to death, they incarcerated for years, or even decades, like those two labor defendants from the 1916 trial.

And the U.S. calls itself a “civilized” country? Look at the company we are keeping…


Gross and his colleagues collected data on the 7,482 people who were sentenced to death between 1973 and 2004. Of these, 117 were exonerated, or 1.6 percent. But among these, 107 were exonerated while they were still on death row, whereas only 10 were exonerated after their sentence had been reduced to life in prison.

“This leads to a bizarre situation,” Virginia Hughes writes in the National Geographic . “If you’re on death row and your sentence is reduced to life in prison, you’re suddenly much less likely to be exonerated than someone who stays on death row.”

In short, Justice is not perfect and is never blind. That is why we must not put our blind trust in it. So let us kill the death penalty before we kill more innocent people.




A bomb at a Preparedness Day parade on Market Street in San Francisco kills 10 people and wounds 40. The bomb was hidden in a suitcase. The parade was organized by the city’s Chamber of Commerce in support of America’s possible entrance into World War I. San Francisco was suffering through severe labor strife at the time, and many suspected that anti-war labor radicals were responsible for the terrorist attack.

Labor leader Tom Mooney, his wife Rena, his assistant Warren K. Billings, and two others were soon charged by District Attorney Charles Fickert with the bombing. The case attracted international interest because all evidence, with the exception of a handful of questionable witness accounts, seemed to point unquestionably to their innocence.

Even after confessions of perjured testimony were made in the courtroom, the trial continued, and in 1917 Mooney and Billings were convicted of first-degree murder, with Billings sentenced to life imprisonment and Mooney sentenced to hang. The other three defendants were acquitted.

Responding to international outrage at the conviction, President Woodrow Wilson set up a “mediation commission” to investigate the case, and no clear evidence of their guilt was found. In 1918, Mooney’s sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

During the next two decades, many groups and individuals petitioned California to grant the two men a new trial. By 1939, when evidence of perjury and false testimony at the trial had become overwhelming, newly elected Governor Culbert Olson pardoned Mooney and commuted Billing’s sentence to time served. Billings was not officially pardoned until 1961.



Inside the CIA



What the world learned yesterday about the US government’s torture practices makes Watergate seem like a tempest in a teapot.

Impeachment? How about prosecution and imprisonment of those responsible for writing this dark chapter of American history. For, The CIA torture practices would have made Gestapo proud.

And not just the Bush administration officials are to blame. See below how Obama’s White House also stonewalled Senate Committees REPEATED requests for Information in 2013.

Which is why we need an independent Special Prosecutor to prosecute the criminals in our government. Several US and international agencies have already called for it, too.

Barack Obama (FILES) This June 2, 2008 file photo sho george-w-bush-800x430

Human Rights Watch, for example, is one of them. They also called on Obama to appoint a special prosecutor.

“The Senate report summary should forever put to rest CIA denials that it engaged in torture, which is criminal and can never be justified,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “The report shows the repeated claims that harsh measures were needed to protect Americans are utter fiction.”

“Unless this important truth-telling process leads to prosecution of officials, torture will remain a ‘policy option’ for future presidents.” HRW said in its today’s release (see http://www.hrw.org/node/131091).

Bush Briefs The Media After Meeting Defense And Foreign Affairs Team img_nc_373 Bush Torturers

Here’s an excerpt from the 500-page Executive Summary of the actual declassified Senate report:

“This Committee Study documents the abuses and countless mistakes made between late 2001 and early 2009… The Study describes the history of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program from its inception to its termination, including a review of each of the 119 known individuals who were held in CIA custody.”

Which means that as horrific and widespread the CIA’s torture practices have been, they are only a fraction of the criminal practices what the US government and its agents carried out.

Here’s a quote from the footnote of Page 9 of 299 of the Executive Summary:

“The report does not review CIA renditions for individuals who were not ultimately detained by the CIA, CIA interrogation of detainees in U.S. military custody, or the treatment of detainees in the custody of foreign governments, as these topics were not included in the Committee’s Terms of Reference.”

Bush Addams family

FORGET “THE ADDAMS FAMILY”… We now have a new “reality TV” version of it


I can’t think of many times in recent memory that I agreed with John McCain on any subject. In fact, I can’t think of ANY time during the last 25 years that the former Republican presidential candidate and I were on the same side of a political issue. Not since I told off the Senator face-to-face for his role in the “Keating Five” scandal (S&L era corruption case – “the only honest politician is the one who stays bought” – see “McCain: Our Fraud Hero“, Mar 2000).

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 8.40.52 AM

Well, yesterday, McCain surprised me. His personal experiences as a prisoner of war in Vietnam outweighed his Republican party loyalties. Speaking on the Senate floor on Dec 9, McCain said those…

,,,(CIA) security policies “stained our national honor, did much harm and little good.”

Saying that “the truth is sometimes a hard pill to swallow,” an emotional Sen. John McCain, subjected to torture himself, praised the release on Tuesday of a report on CIA torture of terrorist suspects.

Check out this story, including a video of McCain’s speech, on USATODAY.com: http://usat.ly/1D4rwCk


Nor were such criminal activities limited to just the Bush Administration.

Here’s another quote from the footnote of Page 9 of 299 of the Executive Summary about how Obama’s White House Also Stonewalled Senate Committees Repeated Requests for Information in 2013:

“The Committee did not have access to approximately 9,400 CIA documents related to the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program that were withheld by the White House pending a determination and claim of executive privilege. The Committee requested access to these documents over several years, including in writing on January 3, 2013, May 22, 2013, and December 19, 2013. The Committee received no response from the White House.”

lady-scales-of-justice-peeking Obama’s Miss Justice (left) Miss Justice

Nor did Obama take any action after a four-year investigation by his own Justice Department:

“From January 2, 2008, to August 30, 2012, the Department of Justice conducted a separate investigation into various aspects of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program, with the possibility of criminal prosecutions of CIA personnel and contractors.”


And since silence implies acquiescence, this makes Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder also culpable as accessories to CIA/Bush crimes.



UN report: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=49560#.VIhrMWTF95k

You can download the full 500-page Executive Summary at this link: file:///Users/altzar/Downloads/249652086-Senate-Torture-Report.pdf