A Call to Heroes: My "SIT-DOWN" With Vince Bugliosi
A Call to Heroes: My "SIT-DOWN" with Vince Bugliosi
June 20, 2008
There are adjectives that come to mind when describing famed former prosecutor and renowned author, Vincent Bugliosi, who for forty years has set the standard for prosecutorial skill in America. Some are intrepid, brave, independent, brilliant, driven, indomitable, respected, focused, relentless andconfident. Each fits perfectly well. But after interviewing Mr. Bugliosi at his California home, and reading his latest book, "The Prosecution Of George W. Bush For Murder," I am compelled to add two more adjectives to that already formidable list: PATRIOTIC and ENRAGED. Beyond all other characterizations one may ascribe to Vincent Bugliosi, the principal descriptors TODAY for this inherently honorable man are PATRIOTIC and ENRAGED - emanating equally from his love for his nation.
Of course, there's another descriptor that has long been associated with Vincent Bugliosi. That descriptor is JUSTICE, to which Bugliosi has devoted his life. Yet not until now - not until George W. Bush caused the murders of over 4,000 Americans and countless innocent Iraqi men, women, children and babies, has JUSTICE assumed an even greater role for Bugliosi - arguably this nation's preeminent prosecutor. JUSTICE has morphed from a noun to a verb - enacted by Bugliosi with a vengeance - fueled by his intense love of nation, his profound knowledge of law, and his unparalleled ability to dispense it. Vincent Bugliosi is a man of action. While others speak of JUSTICE, Bugliosi creates the ways to achieve it - and he has done so in this book.
Thus it is, that when legendary prosecutor Vince Bugliosi writes a book that establishes the case to prosecute George W. Bush for murder in an American court, for those who know the law, neither the book nor the case are ignored. As told to me by Elizabeth De La Vega, veteran Justice Department attorney who served under Presidents Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and Bush II, and author of the New York Times Best seller, "United States v. George W. Bush et. al.":
"Vincent Bugliosi is a consummate prosecutor who has now put together yet another compelling case. His is a cry for justice on behalf of the thousands upon thousands of people who have suffered irreparable harm -- and the many of who have died -- as a result of the criminal conduct of the President of the United States. This passionate and powerful brief should not be ignored."
As shared with me by Stephen Rohde, Constitutional lawyer, author, and former president of the ACLU of Southern California:
"At a time when the Democratic leadership has utterly failed to pursue the remedy of impeachment provided by the Founders in the Constitution, Bugliosi's innovative challenge to indict Bush for murder should be pursued by attorneys general in every state where men and women have died due to Bush's criminal acts. This Nation cannot allow Bush to leave office and live out his days being paid huge fees to give speeches and serve on corporate boards instead of being tried for the deaths and injuries he has caused. Whether he is forced to stand trial for murder or for war crimes and crimes against humanity, George W. Bush must be held accountable."
There are certainly enough family members of murdered service men and women who want George W. Bush tried for their murders. This afternoon I spoke with Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan whose son Casey was killed in Iraq. Cindy, who's mentioned in Vince's book, is eager to see Bush tried for Casey's murder. She'll be reaching out to Vince to tell him that if prosecution is possible, she's on board on Casey's behalf.
As I've previously noted, Vince's patriotism is palpable - in his presence, and in his book. By any standards, this 73 year old son of hard working Italian immigrants has achieved his American dream. He's the first in his family to finish college. He's a brilliantly successful lawyer and one of America's most renowned authors. Yet despite his great accomplishments, Vince's focus is on the future - with minor reflection on his past. Right now, the driving force of Vince's life is prosecuting George W. Bush for murder - a desire that first took hold on August 13, 2005, when he watched Bush on television speaking with reporters from his cushy Crawford ranch. As Vince tells it:
"In the middle of some of the worst atrocities in Iraq, with the surivors of victims screaming out in anguish over the unspeakable horror of it all, Bush after a hearty breakfast tells the media: Quote: I'm gonna have lunch with Secretary of State Rice, take a little nap, I'm reading an Elmore Leonard book right now - knock off a little Elmore Leonard this afternoon - go fishing with my man Barney [his dog], have a light dinner, then head for the ball game. So it's a perfect day. End quote.
Coming from Vincent Bugliosi, a man who has proven time and again that he has no fear, this is a threat George Bush should take seriously. Vince will not back down. One must remember that Vince Bugliosi is the author of "Helter Skelter."He's the guy who prosecuted Charles Manson in a case where a defense attorney was found dead - and though it was never proven - is believed to have been killed as retaliation by Manson Family members. Vince was the hands-on prosecutor who publicly defied Manson's threats of retribution. He's fearless.
In retrospect, it's interesting how so many physically slight men, like Vince Bugliosi, Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, stand so tall against injustice. Equally interesting is how powerful corporate entities like major publishing houses and media conglomerates, succumb willingly to the same.
Despite his literary successes, the same publishing houses that would ordinarily vie for a Bugliosi book, passed on "The Prosecution Of George W. Bush For Murder" - a testament to the incivility of the Bush administration and the level of fear it engenders. Gratefully, Vanguard Press took the plunge. When I asked Vince why corporate media and large corporate publishers ignored his book, he responded with:
"The left is afraid of the right but the right's not afraid of the left." Those on "the right" are terribly mean, evil and bad people."
Vince doesn't use a computer. He writes his books long hand on canary pads. He has no email address, doesn't surf the web, doesn't google, doesn't have a cell phone, and doesn't know the rest of us exist! He laughs when I tell him the blogosphere has become the mainstream. He doesn't know what a blog is, or a website. He's amused by the iPod I use to record our talk, and amazed by the iPhone I use to take his photo (above). Yet for all his lack of technology savvy, he did comprehend that without one corporate TV appearance and no major newspaper review, his book still debuted at #17 on the New York Times Best Seller list and at #30 on Amazon.com. Three weeks ago, when his book first launched to a corporate media blackout, his book signing lines at Book Expo America in Los Angeles were two hours long. When I explain to Vince that the internet drove that enthusiasm, he begins to catch on.
On June 13th, after an appearance on DemocracyNow! with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales, whom Vince hadn't previously heard of, his book sales spiked like mad. When I explained to him that Amy has the most successful radio and television news program in independent media, the message sinks in even more. The fact is, after all the major publishing houses turned down "The Prosecution of George W. Bush For Murder," Vanguard, who published the book, greeted Vince by saying,
"Vince this book has to be published. This is the most important book of your career."
As a lay person with no legal background, I have no idea how sound Vince's case is - although it appears impressive to me. But I've reached out to enough legal scholars to know how respected Vincent Bugliosi is. Dr. William Pepper, the famous and controversial attorney who defended James Earl Ray in the 1999 civil trial (supported by Martin Luther King's family) where the jury found Ray not responsible for MLK's assassination, and who differs with Vince on Vince's 1650 page treatise on the JFK assassination, told me:
"I certainly support the concept of prosecuting this president and those around him. The concept of a criminal prosecution within the United States by local prosecutors is certainly a creative idea that Mr. Bugliosi has put forward. Because of the broader violation of international criminal law there should be the prosecution of all in this administration by the U.S. Department of Justice. Vince Bugliosi has established an exemplary record as a prosecutor and thoughtful legal analyst. His perspective should merit serious legal attention."
The fact is, Vincent Bugliosi is as decent a man as you'll ever meet. He's written the book that others are too afraid and too unskilled to write. America's good fortune is that there is NO ONE BETTER than Vincent Bugliosi to write the case to prosecute George Bush. Please support Vince on his critically important mission. Do ALL you can to spread the word. Encourage every legal scholar in America to make the case for the prosecution of George W. Bush. Encourage every talented prosecutor to take this case on. Buy the book and pass it on. Bush leaves office in less than 7 months. Let's make certain he doesn't have a PERFECT day for as long as he lives!
Linda Milazzo is a Los Angeles based writer, educator and activist. Her writing has appeared in numerous domestic and international newspapers, magazines and journals. Over the past three decades, Linda has divided her time between the entertainment industry, community development projects and education.