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And Bonds, with the allegations of perjury at the Balco investigation hanging over his head and

mobs of drunken and racist fans in the nation's ballparks pelting him with verbal abuse,

continued his relentless march toward Hank Aaron's home run record.



Did the White House force the indictment of Barry Bonds?

 By Jean Damu    


The Barry Bonds, Strom Thurmond, Piggly Wiggly connection

Beware! This is a conspiracy theory alert: Did the White House lend a hand in pushing forward the indictment of ex-SF Giants slugger Barry Bonds?

"Preposterous!" you say? Maybe, maybe not.

The most obvious question is, why would anyone in the White House even want to be involved?

Possibly because Major League Baseball has a long, warm and congenial relationship with the government reaching as far back as 1922, when Oliver Wendell Holmes and his pals on the Supreme Court granted to white baseball leagues exemption from anti-trust laws.

Subsequently Congress has refused to exert any influence that might have urged baseball owners to come out of the 14th Century in regards to its labor policies, which have radically changed only due to political pressure on the part of the union.

In the current imbroglio surrounding performance enhancing drugs, the owners utilized their close connections to Congress to set up a fraudulent commission to "investigate" the players' drug usage, but it appears the commission's real purpose is to absolve the owners of any participation in the drug scandal.

Therefore, President George Bush, himself a former baseball owner, might be inclined to get the ball rolling on the Barry Bonds trial, which, it is hoped by many, will once and for all place the spotlight of the drug scandal totally on the players and away from the owners.

On Dec. 3, 2003, Bonds testified before a federal grand jury, charged with the investigation of the Balco drug scandal, that he had never knowingly taken steroids or other performance enhancing drugs. Balco was the South San Francisco drug company that had manufactured steroids and other performance enhancing drugs that were sold to numerous professional and amateur athletes.

Bonds' personal trainer Greg Anderson admitted to having a business relationship with Balco laboratories and said he had sold steroids to some athletes. But he refused to testify against Bonds.

Anderson claimed that, in exchange for his confession, he had been assured he would not have to testify before the grand jury. The judge, however, said no evidence existed of such a promise, and for consecutive terms he jailed the former trainer for refusing to testify.

Following the conclusion of the Balco hearings, U.S. Attorney Kevin Phillips refused or failed to file an indictment against Bonds. Meanwhile, Anderson remained incarcerated.

That is where matters stood until Nov. 15, 2007, when everything suddenly changed and Bonds was indicted. What happened?

In December 2006, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales infamously fired seven U.S. Attorneys in a move that was widely perceived as an attempt to replace them with others who were more responsive to political pressure.

For instance, in eastern Arkansas, Timothy Griffin was named the new federal prosecutor. Formerly, Griffin had been an assistant to presidential advisor Karl Rove and served as the head of research for the Republican National Committee.

In this role, Griffin was in charge of the scheme to remove Blacks, the homeless and soldiers from Ohio voting roles in the 2004 election.

In San Francisco, U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan was removed allegedly because he mismanaged his office and was replaced by Scott Schools from South Carolina.

Enter the Strom Thurmond factor

In 2002, in a classic case of nepotism and as a retirement present to Strom Thurmond, President Bush - instead of giving Thurmond a gold watch - appointed Thurmond's son, Strom Jr., a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina's law school, to the lofty position of U.S. Attorney for South Carolina.

At 28, Thurmond was the youngest and probably least qualified person ever to be named a U.S. Attorney, a post he held onto for just two years, during which time he prosecuted seven cases.

To aid the inexperienced Thurmond, however, the Justice Department saw to it that Schools was named the deputy prosecutor, whose essential duties were to manage the office.

Like Thurmond, however, Schools is also from a Southern family of privilege.

Schools' grandfather, Joseph Newton, was the founder and CEO of the Piggly Wiggly Corp. For those unfamiliar with Piggly Wiggly outlets, think Safeway with a southern accent.

Schools' father, Burt Schools, and Newton's son in law, became the second in command at Piggly Wiggly, and today Scott's brother, David, serves as a high level exec at the firm.

As an attorney and prosecutor in South Carolina, Schools earned a reputation as someone who practiced law to advance an agenda.

"Schools has enough money that he doesn't have to practice law. It's more a form of recreation for him. He's been programmed as a Republican operative for the past 20 years and is a perfect stalking horse for an ideologue like George Bush," noted Charleston attorney and Democrat Waring Howe Jr. in an article published by

Brett Bursey is another Schools critic from South Carolina. In 2002, Bursey was arrested in Columbia, South Carolina, for holding up a sign at a Bush press conference that said, "No more war for oil."

Though the state charges were dropped against Bursey, deputy federal prosecutor Schools immediately filed federal charges under the Presidential Assassination, Kidnapping and Threats statute, thus making Bursey the first citizen prosecuted under this law.

He was convicted and paid a $500 fine.

Bursey, who was recently interviewed by labor journalist Steve Zeltzer, says that among some, Schools is seen as a practicing politician as opposed to a practicing attorney, "willing to expend energy and resources in the pursuit of trivial cases."

Though Schools was named merely an interim federal prosecutor, it was felt by many observers of the office that either Schools would attempt to win the permanent nomination for himself or Joseph Russionello, a popular previous U.S. Attorney here, would be nominated.

For months however, no nomination was forthcoming.

And Bonds, with the allegations of perjury at the Balco investigation hanging over his head and mobs of drunken and racist fans in the nation's ballparks pelting him with verbal abuse, continued his relentless march toward Hank Aaron's home run record.

But through the summer months and into the fall there was no word - no word on the indictment and no word on a permanent replacement at the U.S. Attorney's office.

Finally, on Nov. 15, just days after the conclusion of the baseball season, everything came together.

At the same moment George Bush was naming Joseph Russionello, who, as a previous U.S. Attorney, had once returned $35,000 to Nicaraguan cocaine traffickers, to the post of federal prosecutor in Northern California, Scott Schools was signing the Bonds indictment and releasing it to the press for scrutiny.

Simultaneously, the nearly forgotten Anderson was released from prison.

Lance Williams, the San Francisco Chronicle reporter who co-wrote the original articles on the Balco and Bonds events and who has written a book, the rights of which have recently been sold to HBO to make a film, once marveled how President Bush had called him and told him what a public service he (Williams) had performed by exposing the steroids-in-baseball scandal.

A public service or a service to the baseball owners and their friend, the president?

Does one need to be paranoid to think there is a likely connection between the White House and the remarkable events of Nov. 15?

If reading any of the above causes a sense of paranoia, don't despair. You can rest assured all your enemies are real!

Wednesday, 05 December 2007

Jean Damu is a former member of the International Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, taught Black Studies at the University of New Mexico, has traveled and written extensively in Cuba and Africa and currently serves as a member of the Steering Committee of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. Email him at

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posted 7 December 2007 / update 7 February 2012




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Related files: Indictment of Barry Bonds  Home Runs, Heroes, and Hypocrisy   White House and Indictment of Barry Bonds