Great Sedition Trial of 1944 (censored on Wikipedia)

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Below is the last version of the article The Great Sedition Trial of 1944 before it was censored and removed from Wikipedia on December 13, 2004.

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The so-called Great Sedition Trial was a 1944 trial, in Washington, DC, of a group of some 30 individuals for sedition, in the form of violations of the Alien Registration Act of 1940 (known as the Smith Act). The defendants were alleged to be part of an international Nazi conspiracy. It is arguable that the trial was political in nature; it was advocated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt and is considered by some critics as tantamount to a show trial. The trial arose out the the strongly isolationist and/or allegedly pro-fascist stance of the heterogeneous group of defendants at the height of US involvement in World War II.

The trial began April 17, 1944, after a number of attempts by Federal authorities to frame charges robust enough to survive Grand Jury hearings, but was characterised by an inability on the part of prosecuters to prove specific intent to overthrow the government. Rather, it appears to have consisted of months of the prosecuter, O. John Rogge, reading the writings of the defendants to an increasingly weary jury. A mistrial was declared on November 29, 1944, some time after the death of the trial judge, ex-congressman Edward C. Eicher.

In part because of the abject failure of the trial, which ended "in tragedy and farce" [1], it is notable as one of a number in the US in which the dictates of freedom - especially of freedom of speech - have been set against concepts of national security. The most obvious near comparison, from the immediate post-war era, was that of McCarthyism and the congressional hearings arising out of Joseph McCarthy's intense anticommunist allegations.

There were other notable Smith Act Trials including the 1941 trial and conviction of James P. Cannon, Grace Carlson, Harry DeBoer, Max Geldman and thirteen other leaders of the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party and the indictment and trials in the years following World War II of over 140 leaders of the Communist Party USA. Nevertheless, the 1944 trial of suspected Nazis and fascists is used by some far-right groups, historical revisionists and anti-Semites as an example of alleged Jewish / Zionist control of or influence on American life and policy.

Defendants

to be continued...

External links

Source: Great Sedition Trial of 1944 (Wikipedia, December 14, 2004)

See also

Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.
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