Red Web - Blair Coan

What is Sauce for the Goose

It seem strange, but is none the less true, that when reds, pinks, yellows or professional reformers and purifiers of whatever shade run afoul the statutes, the first thing they do is strike an attitude of injured innocence, emit yowls about "persecution" and wail about the injustices of courts and the malevolence of prosecutors. It is what every socialist plotter, every I.W.W. rioter, every communist conspirator has done whenever the strong arm of the law has reached out, grabbed him, and hailed him before a legally constituted tribunal in whose presence his guilt or innocence may be determined by orderly procedure and according to the law and the evidence covering his case. One would gather from the line of argument they hand out and the character of reasoning they manifest, that they are people of a very distinct and sacred class to whom special privileges and advantages should be accorded not only by the enforcers of law but by the laws themselves.

The attitude of Senator Burton K. Wheeler of Montana, is simply a conspicuous case in point. With no feeling of consideration whatever in his own heart for the well known fact that an invalid wife, since deceased, of Attorney General Daugherty was suffering far more from the attacks upon her husband than did the Attorney General himself, Wheeler left no stone unturned and no avenue unentered in his determined endeavor to defame and besmirch Daugherty. But about the first words of complaint from Wheeler's lips, when the news was broadcast that he himself has been indicted on a criminal charge, were words of passionate recollection that for him to be charged with crime made his wife and children the innocent sufferers.

When Wheeler was indicted in the District of Columbia some months later, along with Edwin S. Booth, former solicitor of the General Land Office, and the recently convicted oil promoter, Gordon Campbell, on a charge of conspiracy to defraud the government out of millions of dollars worth of land acquired by fraudulent dummy permits, the howl about "persecution" was revived with even greater vigor than before. The indictment was obtained, after several careful investigations had been made at the direction of Attorney General Stone to make sure that there should be no ground upon which to rest a charge of "persecution."

Senator Thomas J. Walsh, counsel for Wheeler, made a spectacular fight on the floor of the United States Senate and in sessions of the Senate Committee on Judiciary to prevent the confirmation of President Coolidge's nomination of Attorney General Stone for a place on the Supreme Bench. The fight was waged around the charge that Attorney General Stone had caused the indictment of Wheeler in the District of Columbia, "many miles from his own home," and that this amounted to "persecution." Walsh sounded the rallying cry for a concerted restoration of life to the war upon the federal Department of Justice that had been waging throughout the administrations of that Department by Palmer and Daugherty, and carried on without interruption after the resignation of Daugherty and the installation of Stone as his successor.

That Albert B. Fall, Harry F. Sinclair and Edward L. Doheny had been indicted in the District of Columbia, "many miles from their homes," was nothing to touch the sympathetic heart and passionate soul of Senator Walsh, but that his protege, Wheeler, defender of reds, advocate and apologist for Red Russia and "cleanser" of the infamous energies for law enforcement in the Department of Justice, should be so indicted was "persecution" of the most indefensible character, in the opinion of Senator Walsh. But Walsh's "prosecution" of Attorney General Stone before the Senate Committee on Judiciary and his speeches on the floor of the Senate were mere incidents in as brazen a campaign of intimidation against Stone and the Department in the interests of an indicted man as may well be imagined. The efforts of Walsh and Wheeler, and others allied in sympathy with them in the enterprise of preventing a trial of the conspiracy case against Wheeler in the District of Columbia were many, varied, energetic, and in a number of instances barely short of vulnerability on the ground that they were contempt of court and of a tendency to obstruct the orderly processes of justice.

The fight upon Stone was a failure. There was not that support for it in the Senate that there had been for the fight on Daugherty, because administration senators had ceased to be quite so panic-stricken and quite so easily intimidated. So Stone's nomination for the Supreme Court appointment was confirmed. The war on the Department did not cease, however, by any means, and ever since the appointment of Attorney General Sargent as Mr. Stone's successor, it has been continued. Sargent has been maligned by Wheeler and his cohorts, and pressure of many sorts have been brought to bear in an effort to defeat the intention of the law-enforcing branch of the government to bring the case against Wheeler to a logical conclusion—either his conviction on the conspiracy charge against him, or an acquittal, as the case may be.

After the many delays of his case at Great Falls, Montana—delays for which Wheeler himself was responsible—the same came to trial. Perhaps the most material witness the government had had died. Wheeler's acquittal in the trial in Montana is accounted for because the indictment in that case failed to allege facts and acts necessary to justify a conviction, which are, however, fully covered in the Washington indictment. A verdict of not guilty was returned by the jury. Thereupon the newspapers carried a story playing up the supposed "fact," supplied to the correspondents by the Wheeler defense, that a verdict of "not guilty" was unanimously reached on the first ballot after the jury had deliberated only a few minutes. But this was not a fact at all. For the truth is, the jury deliberated upon the case for more than two hours, and the first ballot taken showed four of the jurors not voting for the acquittal of Wheeler.

Since the termination of that trial, there has been organized what is called the "Wheeler Defense Committee." This committee is like all similar committees, such as the Labor Defense Council, the General Defense Committee, the American Civil Liberties Union and the most recently organized of all these committees, known as the International Labor Defense Council. The last named, like the Labor Defense Council, was initiated by the communists, and it has taken over the machinery of the old Labor Defense Council. The Wheeler Defense Committee, like the rest of these committes, is an organization for propaganda, pure and simple, and the particular object of assault, as is the case with the others, is the law-enforcing department of the federal government.

The chairman of the Wheeler Defense Committee is Norman Hapgood, a noted radical, muckraker, professional uplifter and propagandist for Soviet Russia. Hapgood was named as minister to Denmark in the Wilson administration and resigned under fire—said fire reported as being charges of undue pro-Russian activity while representing the United States in Denmark. As this is written, Hapgood is in Europe writing special articles for consumption in the United States, telling how terrible it will be for this country if we do not recognize Soviet Russia and establish diplomatic relations with the bolsheviki, said recognition and relations being among the foremost hopes and desires of Senator Borah and the American pinks and of the communists in Russia and in the United States as well.

The vice chairman and chief publicity expert of the Wheeler Defense Committee is Basil Manly, director of the People's Legislative Service, one of the organizers and executive committeemen of the Conference for Progressive Political Action and a socialist writer and propagandist of many years standing.

Among the members of the so-called National Committee of this particular "defense committee" are Francis Fisher Kane, who took a hand in the attempts to "get" Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer and Mr. Palmer's successor in office, Attorney General Daugherty; Donald R. Richberg and Edward Keating, both ardent participants in the long war upon Daugherty; Sidney Hillman, of the extremely radical Amalgamated Clothing Workers; William H. Johnston, head of the International Association of Machinists, an outstanding leader in the railway strikes of 1922, and chairman of the National Conference for Progressive Political Action; Norman Thomas, well known New York socialist and red flag waver; Roger N. Baldwin, war "slacker" who did his bit in jail, director of the American Civil Liberties Union, and one of the most prominent agitators against the "persecution" of reds and defenders of reds, and a long list of other pro-soviet advocates, pinks and parlor bolsheviki.

The committee is engaged in the extensive circulation of propaganda in pamphlet and letter form, denouncing and defaming the Department of Justice and its present directing officials, and it is striving with might and main either to prevent the prosecution of the case against Wheeler, Booth and Campbell ever reaching the stage of trial in court before a jury, or to create an atmosphere of prejudice against the Department of Justice and in favor of the accused that it may operate to Wheeler's advantage and to the government's disadvantage when the case does come up for trial.

In justice to some of the individuals whose names appear upon the list of members of the "National Committee" of the Wheeler Defense Committee, it should be said that they have repudiated the committee, allege that the use of their names was without authority, and declare they do not subscribe either to the funds or the purposes of the committee.

The Labor Defense Council, which also engages in propaganda against enforcement of the law against reds and defenders or supporters of reds, was organized by specific direction of the communists through action taken by the Central Executive Committee of the Worker's Party. Among its members also were Roger N. Baldwin, of the Wheeler committee; John Haynes Holmes, also of the Wheeler committee; Francis Fisher Kane, of the Wheeler committee; Norman Thomas, of the Wheeler Committee; Eugene V. Debs, chairman of the National Executive Committee of the Socialist Party in its support of Wheeler for Vice President in 1924, together with such noted communists as "Big Bill" Dunne, who nominated Wheeler for governor of Montana in 1920 and campaigned for him for the Senate in 1922; William Z. Foster, C. E. Ruthenberg and Earl H. Browder.

Most of these individuals, particularly those of the deeper hues of red and pink, are associates and coworkers for about every committee that is ever organized under the camouflage of defending somebody against the heartless persecutions of the federal Department of Justice or of the law-enforcing officers of the country, states, as well as federal, but actually engaged in aiding and abetting radical causes and subversive movements of all kinds—movements that usually are of red origin or red suggestion, but which are more effective through pink execution.

Senator Walsh, of Montana; Senator Borah, of Idaho, and the sundry other leading lights of the Senate who rushed to the front for Wheeler when he was indicted, and charged "persecution" and "frame-up" when due process of law, with all its advantages to the accused, had been accorded Wheeler, were on the other side when lynch law was substituted for due process in the "indictment" and "prosecution" of the Attorney General of the United States. These gentlemen are not members of the Wheeler Defense Committee or any of these other defense committees, but they have feelings of partiality toward them. If actions speak as well as words, these distinguished senators were advocates of and participants in the practice of lynch law, when the Attorney General was on the defensive. But for Wheeler, even due process is too much for them, and they join him and encourage him and his red, pink and yellow admirers to fight on, and on, and on for the vindication of lawlessness enacted with senatorial approval, and for the conviction of the legally authorized law-enforcing branch of the American government—the federal Department of Justice.