A Call to Heroes: My “Sit-Down” with Vince Bugliosi

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There are adjectives that come to mind when describing famed former prosecutor and renowned author, Vincent Bugliosi, who for 40 years has set the standard for prosecutorial skill in America. Some are intrepid, brave, independent, brilliant, driven, indomitable, respected, focused, relentless, and confident. 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.”

Thankfully, as De La Vega aptly implores, Vince’s book is NOT being ignored. NOT by his patriotic colleagues in law who seek justice against an Administration that misled their nation into a wretched unnecessary war. NOT by the patriotic American public that’s witnessed its beloved nation toppled from human rights enforcer to human rights destroyer. And NOT by the legions of activist patriots who have placed their own freedoms at risk again and again to end the unConstitutional reign of George W. Bush – despite the complicit Legislative and Judicial Branches which failed in their Balance of Powers.

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.”

Which brings us to Vince’s CALL TO HEROES. The heroes in Vince’s case are those who would prosecute George W. Bush for murder in an American court of law – which includes the hundreds of city and county District Attorneys, the 50 State Attorneys General and any of the 93 U.S. Attorneys in the 93 federal districts for whom Vince established jurisdiction to proceed with the case. Vince is certain that amongst this vast population of prosecutors, there is at least one patriot who loves this nation deeply enough to hold Bush accountable for the murders of over 4,000 service men and women whom he lied into going to war.

The good news for whomever does step forward to take George Bush to task is the promise of assistance from Bugliosi himself – who as a prosecutor is held in the highest regard. In the words of famed defense attorney F. Lee Bailey, Vince is “the quintessential prosecutor.” For Harvard Law Professor, Alan Dershowitz, Vince is “as good a prosecutor as there ever was.”Thus, Vince’s offer to serve as consultant to whomever accepts the case should be incentive enough to take it on – especially since whomever does take it on will encounter instant fame. Vince has also offered to accept a Special Prosecutor appointment from any U.S. Attorney or District Attorney who would like him to try the case.

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.

As I talk to you [Linda] right now, there are a hundred-thousand dead – maybe a million – and this guy is off having a great time! I said to myself, ‘No, you son of a bitch! You’re not gonna have another perfect day for as long as you live if I have anything to say about it because I’m gonna put a thought in your mind that you’re going to take with you to your grave. That’s the least that I can do for these thousands of poor soldiers coming back from Iraq in a box or in a jar of ashes. And the thousands upon thousands of innocent men, women, children and babies dying because of your war. And that thought is that there’s no statute of limitations for murder. They went after Pinochet after 33 years – and then he died.”

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.”

For Vince it’s as cut and dry as that. But he has yet to meet the real left – the fearless marchers, protesters, and bloggers who have NO fear of “the right.” Vince’s idea of the left is corporate media – which he still calls liberal. For all his renaissance-man-persona, there’s one area where Vince trails behind. TECHNOLOGY!!

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.”

What’s interesting is that Vince clearly knew the importance of this book – but he didn’t know the rest of us KNEW IT TOO – or that we even existed. How ironic that with all the conversation on the blogosphere about prosecuting George W. Bush, the hero we’ve all been waiting for didn’t have a clue that we were waiting!

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.”

I also reached out to respected Constitutional attorney and George Washington Law Professor, Jonathan Turley, who is a frequent legal analyst on television and who has testified before Congress. Professor Turley responded by email saying, “I have not had a chance to look at the book because I am in rather intense litigation. I will not be able to read it for a couple weeks, unfortunately, so I will not be able to comment at this time.” Constitutional scholar and Duke University Law Professor, Erwin Chemerinsky, responded by Blackberry from Europe stating, “I am on vacation and have not seen Vince’s book. I’ll get a copy when we get back early this coming week.” America’s most gifted legal professionals are paying attention to Vince’s book with full intent to read it.

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.jpgOn a slightly different note: The comparisons between John McCain and Barack Obama are stark. I’m committed to electing Obama – although he often disappoints me. Yesterday was one of those disappointing days when he announced his support for the FISA compromise that lets the telecoms off the hook. To say I’m furious at Obama is an understatement. Yet, if John McCain is elected there is the distinct possibility that in addition to bombing innocent people, ending Roe v. Wade, and supporting torture, he will pardon George W. Bush – which removes any possibility of criminal prosecution within the United States. As angry as I am at Obama right now, I don’t believe he’d have the gall to pardon Bush. If Obama even remotely entertains that notion, he shouldn’t be allowed to serve.

by Linda Milazzo

Linda Milazzo is a Los Angeles based writer, educator and activist. Over the past three decades, Linda has divided her time between the entertainment industry, community development projects, and education. A political and social activist since the Vietnam War, Linda attributes her fully-engaged-intense-head-on-non-stop-political activism to the UNFORTUNATE EXISTENCE OF GEORGE W. BUSH, corporate media, self-serving officials, greed-ridden American imperialism, environmental atrocities, egregious war, nuclear proliferation, lying leaders, global tyranny, the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex, and her need for justice complex.

Recent articles by Linda:

My Dream Ticket: Barack Obama & Caroline Kennedy

The Case for Mental Health Screening of Candidates and Electeds

LA Progressive

Published by the LA Progressive on June 22, 2008
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About Linda Milazzo

Linda Milazzo is a Los Angeles based participatory journalist and educator. Since 1974, she has divided her time between the entertainment industry, government organizations, community development projects and educational programs.

Linda began her writing career in advertising and promotions. From 1976 to 1989, she operated an independent public relations service providing specialty writing for individual and corporate clients. A socio-political activist since the Vietnam war, Linda has focused on political writing since 2002. Her essays, letters and commentaries have appeared in domestic and international journals, newspapers and magazines. She's an educator and creator of a writers' program she's taught privately and in public schools.

Linda has facilitated an advocacy writing workshop and has developed an advocacy writing program for implementation in public and private educational institutions and in community based organizations. She's a regular contributor to numerous high profile and highly respected news and opinion websites.