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Monday, February 09, 2004

A single topic today. The arrest, trial and execution of Nicola Saco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti for murder during a bungled robbery was catapulted from a criminal case of local interest here in Massachusetts into an international cause celebre. To many observers, then and now, it seemed that the pair were being punished not for a crime for which the evidence to convict was sketchy at best, but rather for their unabashedlly anarchist beliefs. In fact, even today repercussions are felt here; despite our share of heinous crimes, Massachusetts legislators steadfastly refuse to reimplement the death penalty...

The Saco Vanzetti Project is a great starting point..

Here's another good overview..

Focus on the trial, from Court TV

Trial excerpts here

The Ballistics Evidence

Opposing Views on its significance

To learn more about the historical development of firearms identification forensics, and see where this fits in, go here..

Site in Italian

Perspective from An Anarchist Site

Cartoons from The Daily Worker

The Socialist Worker's Viewpoint

Justice Felix Frankfurter's 1927 Atlantic Article

Audio Presentations from Multimedia History Site

Songs by Woody Guthrie and others..

This article is primarily of interest because of the notoriety of the author, Fred Leuchter. This Boston engineer sold himself as an expert on execution devices when capital punishment was resumed after a 20 year hiatus in the US. Then he moved into the field of Holocaust Revisionism, getting himself arrested in Germany, and loved by neonazis everywhere..

Essay by Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman, the 'heavies' of American anarchism..

Upton Sinclair , the famous 'muckraker' wrote a huge novel, 'Boston' , about the case. Young radical that I was, I slogged through it for a high school writing assignment..

The Saco and Vanzetti Case makes this list of 10 most important trials in American History..

..as well as this one of the most important anarchist events..

OK, if you've done your homework, please take a second to register YOUR verdict in the poll below:

'How can the life of such a man
Be in the palm of some fool's hand?
To see him obviously framed
Couldn't help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land
Where justice is a game.'

Bob Dylan, 'Hurricane'

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