Even though their guilt was known to a few, anti death penalty and
anarchist folks allowed riots and other violence to take place, based upon the
fraud of their innocence, similar to some cases in more recent history.
1) “Sacco and Vanzetti: Guilty After All?” NPR, March 4, 2006, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5245754
Of all of those proclaiming the innocence of Sacco and Vanzetti, by  far,
the most famous was author and activist Upton Sinclair. Sinclair met with Sacco
and Venzetti’s defense counsel, who told Sinclair that they were both guilty and
that he had concocted all the alibis. The letter indicates why Sinclair didn’t
expose that conversation.
“My wife is absolutely certain that if I tell what I believe, I will be
called a traitor to the movement and may not live to finish the book,” Sinclair
wrote Robert Minor, a confidant at the Socialist Daily Worker in New York, in
“He also worried that revealing what he had been told would cost him
readers. “It is much better copy as a naive defense of Sacco and Vanzetti
because this is what all my foreign readers expect, and they are 90% of my
public,” he wrote to Minor.” Even knowing this, Sinclair, published “Boston”, a
novel which was a novelized version of the Sacco and Vanzetti case and which
proclaimed them innocents murdered by the capitalist system – the mantra of
leftists supporting S&V.
So for profit and fear, Sinclair lied and more innocents died.
There was much violence, worldwide, based upon the presumption that both
Sacco and Vanzetti were innocents railroaded by the US. Sinclair, as others,
throughout, withheld this knowledge. Despicable.
2)  “Sinclair Letter Turns Out to Be Another Expose”, Jean O. Pasco, LA
December 24, 2005,
Ideale Gambera, whose father was a Boston anarchist in the 1920s, said
there was a strict code of silence to protect the group (anarchists) and hide
the nature of their activities. He said his father, Giovanni Gambera, a member
of the Sacco-Vanzetti Defense Committee, told him before he died in 1982 that
Sacco was one of the killers.”They all lied,” said Gambera, a retired English
professor living in San Rafael. “They did it for the  cause.”
3)  The Trial of Sacco and Vanzetti, by Doug Linder (2001), updated
through 2005
No historian has more closely examined the evidence in the Sacco-Vanzetti
case than Francis Russell.
Like most intellectuals of the time, Russell entered into his research
assuming that both Sacco and Vanzetti were innocent.  Decades of studying the
transcript, examining physical evidence, and interviewing those close to the
case convinced Russell that his initial assumption was half-wrong: Vanzetti was
innocent, but Sacco was guilty.
Fred Moore knew that the prosecution had a much stronger case against Sacco
than Vanzetti.  Moore recounted in a letter to Upton Sinclair how he was
tempted, in his summation, to stress the weakness of the evidence against
There was so little evidence against Vanzetti–almost none in fact–I
believed that there was a good chance of acquittal if I should push home the
fact.  But I felt sure, in that case, Sacco would be found guilty.  I thought
there was a fighting chance the jury would disagree as to the two but if they
acquitted one I knew enough of juries to feel sure they would soak the other.
So I put it to Vanzetti: “What shall I do?” and he answered,  “Save Nick, he has
the woman and child.”
Many people interpreted the Lowell report, while leaving no doubt as to
where the Commission stood on Sacco, as hinting at some uncertainty as to
Vanzetti’s guilt.  A. Lawrence Lowell rejected that suggestion in a letter to a
friend in England.  Though he admitted the case against Vanzetti was “wholly
circumstantial,” the “final impression” of the Commission “was that Vanzetti was
the plotter and Sacco an executioner.”
In 1941, two years before his death, anarchist leader Carlo Tresca,
provided the first inside confirmation of Sacco’s guilt when he told Max
Eastman, “Sacco was guilty but Vanzetti was innocent.”  Eastman’s article
recounting his conversation with Tresca appeared in National Review in 1961.
Others would later confirm being told the same information by Tresca.
In October 1961, ballistics tests were run using Sacco’s Colt automatic.
The results left little room for doubt that the bullet (Bullet 3) that killed
Berardelli in 1920 came from Sacco’s gun.  Some scholars continue to dispute the
conclusiveness of the tests, arguing that Bullet 3 might have been planted by
prosecutors.  The planted bullet theory, however, is implausible for a number of
reasons.  (Among the reasons: Bullet 3 matched perfectly with the autopsy report
on Berardelli, the prosecution witnesses were much more tentative about
identifying Bullet 3 as coming from Sacco’s gun than they would have been if
part of a conspiracy to frame Sacco, and the risks to Katzmann of falsifying
evidence were greatly disproportionate to anything he might have gained.)
Further word on the Sacco and Vanzetti case came in November, 1982 letter
from Ideale Gambera to Francis Russell.  In his letter, Gambera revealed that
his father, Giovanni Gambera, who died at age ninety-three in June 1982, was a
member of the four-person team of anarchist leaders that met shortly after the
arrest of Sacco and Vanzetti to plan for their defense.  In his letter to
Russell, Gambera said “Everyone [in the anarchist inner circle] knew that Sacco
was guilty and that Vanzetti was innocent as far as the actual participation in
killing.” Vanzetti undoubtedly knew who the Braintree bandits were; he may have
had some limited role in planning the crime, or perhaps had advance knowledge of
the crime–but it seems likely that Bartolomeo Vanzetti was, as he told the
jury, selling fish in Plymouth on April 15, 1920.
2005 brought another stunning revelation when a letter written in September
1929 by Upton Sinclair, author of the muckraking classic The Jungle, was
In a letter to his private attorney John Beardsley, Sinclair described a
meeting he had with Sacco and Vanzetti defense attorney Fred Moore in a Denver
hotel room.  Sinclair arranged the meeting with Moore when he uncovered
troubling information while researching a novel that condemned the execution of
Sacco and Vanzetti.  “Alone in a hotel room with Fred, I begged him to tell me
the whole truth,” Sinclair wrote.  What Moore revealed “sent me into a full
panic….He told me the men were guilty, and he told me in every detail how he
had framed a set of alibis for them.”  (Sinclair pondered the possibility that
Moore’s drug use and quarrels  with other members of the defense committee might
have led him to assign guilt to his former clients beyond that indicated by the
evidence.  But, in the end, he seemed convinced that Moore spoke the truth.)
Sinclair asked Beardsley to “stick [his letter] away in a safe, and some time in
the far distant future the world may know the real truth in the matter.”
Sinclair worried that revealing the truth about the guilt of Sacco and Vanzetti
might “make things harder for the victims” of some future “frame-up” by
government officials.

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