Saturday, February 03, 2007

Easy DPD questions; tough ones, too.

Readers' Caution: This blog names the False Accuser.


KC Johnson at Durham-in-Wonderland posts yesterday on the cast of characters in the Hoax.

Naturally, Nifong stands alone as the Central Player.

KC then identifies a number of others in the cast including various Investigators, Heroes, etc.

WiC commenters are adding additions to KC’s cast.

I’ve got some questions about KC Heroes cast but I’ll get to them later.

In the meantime, this post responds to a commenter who suggested an addition to KC’s Heroes group and asked a question I can answer. I'll bet many of you can, too.

The WiC comment and question:

Sgt. Shelton of the DPD.

Sgt Shelton who was first on the scene at Kroger to me symbolized the majority of the DPD who knew or suspected this was a hoax from the start.

This is why the Duke PD told the Duke Administration this would blow over. This is why no search warrant was sought for the house until days later. This is why the DPD reports on the night tell all the contradictory statements that night. This is also why the tape of the DPD radio chatter of their disbelief of the hoax that night was destroyed.

Nifong eventually got his lackeys at the DPD on the case and began the railroad, but initial the vast majority of the DPD seemed to behave professionally.

[I have always wondered what they would testify to if this mess came to trial?]
Sgt. Shelton and other DPD officers who wrote reports that night will have no problem testifying to what’s in their reports during either criminal or civil proceedings; or as I hope happens, during an investigation by the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

Nor will they, IMO, have any problem testifying to their actions that night with regard to the False Accuser, Gail Crystal Mangum.

Sgt. Shelton, for instance, has no need to worry if he’s asked:
”Now that you’ve read the Raleigh News & Observer’s Mar. 25 report describing how Ms. Mangum was dragged into a bathroom and brutally beaten, raped and sodomized, are you still willing, Sgt. Shelton, to defend your decision not to call an ambulance that would have immediately taken Ms. Mangum to Duke Hospital?
Shelton will answer questions like that quicker than you can bang a pot.

He'll have no trouble explaining why he decided she should be taken by police car to a detox center, Durham Access, which is in the opposite direction from Duke Hospital.

Officer Barfield, who drove Mangum there will also, IMO, have no trouble explaining why he didn't question Shelton's decision. Neither will officer Stewart, who followed Barfield to Durham Access as backup.

If, as is very likely, those officers spoke with either or both Inv. Benjamin Himan and Sgt. Mark Gottlieb, they should have no problem testifying as to what they said.

Now we move to tough questions for certain DPD officers.

Himan and Gottlieb will have a great difficulty talking to investigators and testifying in criminal and civil procedures. So, I think, will Cpl. David Addison, who as DPD spokesperson made a number of statements on Mar. 24, 25, and 26 he surely knew were false; and who on Mar.27/28 authored and distributed the CrimeStoppers Wanted poster (third document in post) telling the community(excerpt):
The victim was paid to dance at the residence located at 610 Buchanan. The Duke Lacrosse Team was hosting a party at the residence. The victim was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed. This horrific crime sent shock waves throughout our community.
Unless their attorneys can cut deals, I'm sure Himan, Gottlieb and Addison will all be "reluctant witnesses." Come to think of it, make that "very reluctant witnesses."

If you visit JinC often you've noticed I always qualify when I'm talking about what Gottlieb and some others did ("certain Durham police officers"). Among DPD's 500+ sworn officers there are many fine ones. And the fine ones involved in the initial stages of the Hoax can't wait to tell their stories in the proper settings.

The WiC commenter was right about Shelton and some other DPD officers.

Special thanks to Johnsville News. I relied on its terrific Hoax timeline for background.

Tomorrow’s Walk of Support information

You have a chance tomorrow, Sunday, Feb. 4, at 11 A.M. to step out into what looks to be a beautiful, sunny Durham day and do something to show support your support for the three young men framed by Durham’s recently elected rogue DA and certain DPD officers.

Here's the Walk’s who, what, when and more

Who’s sponsoring it?

The Concerned Duke Mothers and Duke Students for Ethical Durham. The Moms have been fighting for justice just about from the moment Nifong began the frame-up. DSED worked hard to defeat Nifong in the November election. They’ve stayed in the fight for justice.

Once more about when.

It’s tomorrow, SUNDAY, FEB. 4 in Durham.(see exact times below)


There are two walk routes. Along the way the groups from each route come together and end their walk at Duke’s Koskinen Stadium which is near Wallace Wade Stadium and close to the Fuqua Business School.

The Routes?

ROUTE #1 (Courthouse) - Durham County Judicial Building to Duke’s Koskinen Stadium. The Walk on this route will start at 11am. The length of this route is estimated as two miles.

ROUTE #2 (Alternative) This is a shorter route from Duke’s Nasher Museum to the Koskinen Stadium. The walk on this route will start at 11:15am. The length of this route is estimated as half a mile.

Below is more information passed to me by the always helpful folks at Friends of Duke University.

Is there a map of the two routes?

Yes, here is link to such a map: Map of the Walk of support routes.

Where to park and how to get to the Walk?

If you are participating in the regular Walk, we recommend that you drive to Durham and park at Court House’s parking facility. At the end of the walk, there will be a shuttle bus to take you back to your car at that location.

If you are participating in the alternate Walk, we recommend that you park at Duke’s Bryan Center parking facility. Then, you can catch the shuttle bus that will be running between Duke campus and Durham Judicial Building between 10 am and 2pm and get to your destination and back.

Do not park at the Koskinen Stadium parking lot. There is a Duke basketball game tomorrow at 2pm and that parking facility will not be available for our purposes. If you park there, you will run the risk of getting a parking ticket or being towed.

What about transportation tips?

Yes, as mentioned above a shuttle bus will be running between Duke and Durham County Judicial Building between 10 and 2pm. There will be tents setup with a sign “Shuttle Here” on both ends of the bus route. This is how you will identify exactly where the shuttle will stop. Please approach those tents and ask when the next arrival or departure rime of the shuttle bus is.

Will Duke know about the Walk?

Yes, Duke University is aware of the walk. The University has kindly agreed to make the Duke Policy available to direct traffic on campus for the duration of the walk. We expect the traffic situation to be very orderly.

Does City of Durham know about the Walk?

Yes, the necessary permission for such a gathering has been obtained by the organizers of the Walk.

What about signs and banners?

We ask that you prepare and bring your own home made signs. Make sure your signs are respectful of the purpose of the Walk. The organizers of the walk emphasized how important it is that this Walk be carried out in the most orderly and dignified manner.


Dress comfortably in Duke blue, Central Maroon, Carolina blue, State red or any other color that suits you. If you arrive early, you may be given Lacrosse t-shirts to wear. However, only 35-40 of those will be available, so do not count on getting one. It is especially important to wear comfortable walking shoes.

Latest information and announcements?

In the event there are last minute announcements or updates on the Walk, you may consult the following thread on FODU’s discussion board: "Concerned Mothers Walk – Updates and News."

What can those planning to participate in the Walk do to help?

The most important thing you can do is to come out and join the walk. If you can bring friends along that is a plus. Also, try to be as orderly, peaceful and respectful of your fellow participants (and others you may run into) as possible. Bring along thoughtful signs that express what our objective is – to show support to Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and Dave Evans.

What can those who are unable to attend the Walk do to help?

First make sure you have contacted your friends who may be able to attend the Walk and urge them to do so. It is important that that the Walk is attended well. Aside from this most important aspect, you may help in two other ways.

First, if you have not already done so, be sure to sign the following petition to show your support to Reade, Collin and Dave. Concerned Alumni and Faculty and Friends .

Second, whether you have already done it or not, you may consider contributing a small amount to the legal defense fund in lie of the Walk that you could not attend. This too will be a good way to show your support to Reade, Collin and Dave on this special day. The lowest amount you can contribute to the defense fund through the ATAF website is $50. If that’s too high, you may send a check for a smaller amount (details available on the website). What matters is that you participate in some small way in the spirit of the day and show your support to this cause.

Let us make the Walk of Support a successful one and a positive experience. Let us show our support to Reade, Collin and Dave. Good luck and thank you to all those who are participating in the Walk tomorrow.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Churchill Series – Feb. 2, 2006

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

It’s late in the evening of May 30, 1929. The results of that day’s General Election are coming in. Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin’s Conservative Government, in which Churchill serves as Chancellor of the Exchequer, is taking a drubbing.

Baldwin and Churchill follow the election returns in the Cabinet Room at 10 Downing. A Cabinet Secretary describes the scene:

[There sat the PM] with narrow slips of paper on which he inscribed the three lists as they arrived. At [another desk] sat Winston doing similar lists in red ink, sipping whisky and soda, getting redder and redder, rising and going out often to glare at the machine himself, hunching his shoulders, bowing his head like a bull about to charge.

As Labour gain after Labour gain was announced, Winston became more and more flushed with anger, left his seat and confronted the machine in the passage; with his shoulders hunched he glared at the figures, tore the sheets and behaved as thought if any more Labour gains came along he would smash the whole apparatus.

His ejaculations to the surrounding staff were quite unprintable.
There we see the famous Churchill temper.

But Churchill was quick to calm down. He almost always made amends. And he didn’t carry grudges. Late in life that he said Hitler was probably the only man he he'd ever hated.

When I think of Churchill’s temper outbursts, I often recall Shakespeare’s words in Richard II
”Small show'rs last long, but sudden storms are short”
I hope you’re back on Monday.

The N&O flacks for Edwards

Do you know Raleigh News & Observer managing editor John Drescher?

Drescher recently told readers:

”[The N&O’s] reporting was hampered by the unwillingness of the Duke players, their parents and their lawyers to speak to us.
That’s false, as Drescher knows.

It was the N&O which, among other flagrant violations of the standards of truthful journalism, suppressed news of the players cooperation with police; promulgated the falsehood that they were stonewalling; and withheld from readers and the rest of media the news that during her anonymous interview Gail Crystal Mangum had identified the second dancer, Kim Roberts, and made charges about her.

Enough with the Drescher introduction. This post is about the N&O’s flacking for former Sen. John Edwards’

I just sent Drescher the following comment on the thread of the N&O’s Editors’ Blog post: “John Edwards’ new home.”


Editor Drescher:

You say: “Now Edwards is running for president again. His critics say we give him too much coverage. I disagree.”

The problem is the N&O suppresses, underreports and spins news to help Edwards.

During the ’04 presidential campaign you ran many stories (it seemed like at least one every day) telling readers why Edwards' presence on the ticket was sure to help Kerry in North Carolina.

Some stories even included speculation that Edwards' presence had made NC a "battleground" state.

When President Bush carried NC with a landslide margin as big as the one he received in ’00, you said nothing that I recall about why Edwards was no help to Kerry.

In your story on Edwards' 30,000 sq. ft. mega-mansion, you didn’t ask a single environmental leader what he or she thinks of Edwards’ building such a large home.

Why didn’t the N&O ask a few of its Democratic allies from groups such as the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace to comment on the house?

Readers would have been interested to know what environmental leaders think the house tells us about Edwards’ “commitment to the environmental cause” and his “stewardship of the earth.”

Why didn’t you ask them what effect they thought Edwards’ house would have on global warming?

The N&O’s owner, The McClatchy Company, has a national news staff. Did you ask one of its reporters to contact former Vice President Al Gore to get his opinion of the house?

What about Edwards’ former running mate, Senator John Kerry?

The N&O should have reported what Kerry, who has a total of five large houses and vacations homes, thinks of Edwards’ trying to get by on just one house and one vacation home in a beachfront gated community.

John in Carolina

PS - When do you plan to disclose to readers and the rest of media what the False Accuser said about Kim Roberts during the interview you partially reported on in your discredited Mar. 25 story which you said was about a night that ended in "sex crimes?"


NR: Duke's 88 tries life support

An editorial comment found in National Review's Feb.12, 2007 print edition. (not available on line)

When the Duke lacrosse story broke, it immediately became a rallying cry for “social justice.” The rape of a poor black woman by three privileged white men was a perfect propaganda piece for the Left: a jarring metaphor of racial, social, and economic exploitation.
But now the case has crumbled. The prosecutor has been removed, forced to hire his own lawyers in the face of misconduct charges. Across the country, social critics have been left to cradle a dying scandal in their arms.

At Duke, however, a faculty group is working desperately to keep the corpse from growing cold. In the early days of the story, they took out a newspaper ad lamenting the “social disaster” of “what happened to this young woman.” The ad contained a collection of dramatic quotes from Duke students, “objects of racism and sexism, who see illuminated in this moment’s extraordinary spotlight what they live with every day.”

Instead of backing off from the ad, the professors have now posted an open letter defending it. They write, “We stand by the claim that issues of race and sexual violence on campus are real, and we join the ad’s call to all of us at Duke to do something about this.”

The methods to be used, apparently, do not exclude publicly declaring the guilt of three innocent men and then refusing to apologize for it.
Thanks go to NR staffer Russ Jenkins and the editors at NR for permission to republish their bang-on editorial.

BTW - NR is one of my favorite magazines. I've subscribed for close to 30 years.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Churchill Series – Feb. 1, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

The next few sentences you read may surprise, even shock, many of you. They are found on page 65 of Martin Gilbert’s Churchill and America:

On 10 May 1917, a month after the entry of the United States into the war, the House of Commons went into Secret Session. This procedure enabled Cabinet Ministers and critics of government policy to discuss the war without any newspaper coverage.
Can you believe that? What was the Government thinking? Didn’t it realize there would be many members just itching for the session to end, so they could race out and “spill the beans” to their favorite press contacts?

No, the Government didn’t realize that because they knew that wouldn’t happen. It was considered treasonable in time of war for a member to disclose what went on during a Secret Session of the House. Even in peacetime, a Member who “leaked” from a Secret Session would be considered to have damaged not just the sitting Government, but the House itself.

During WW II Churchill took part in a number of Secret Sessions at which details of strategy and resources were discussed. Information from those sessions would have been invaluable to the Axis nations. But it didn't leak.

We live in a time now when a fair question is: Can any secret vital to America’s national security be kept?

The answer I’m very sorry to say is: Not if people like the NY Times’ Bill Keller or NBC’s Brian Williams decide it shouldn’t.

Mark Twain and Wagner

“Wagner's music is better than it sounds."

I’ve always heard that remark attributed to Mark Twain. But those vary reliable fact-checkers at Urban legends say:

Twain was fond of using this quote, but he appropriately credited it to Edgar Wilson Nye, a fellow humorist.
It’s understandable that we’d come to attributing the remark to Twain.

I mean, who wants to go around saying: “As Edgar Wilson Nye once said: ‘Wagner's music is better than it sounds?’”

Brodhead Fisk # 1

Readers’ Note: This is the first post in an occasional series fisking comments concerning Duke’s President, Richard H. Brodhead.

In # 1 fisk you’ll see I don’t disagree with anything Craig Andrews, T ’65, says in his letter to The Chronicle. I just add affirming commentary.

My commentary is in italics.


The following letter, "Brodhead's response inexcusable, damaging," from Duke alum Craig Andrews, T. 65, ran in the Jan. 30 Chronicle.

To the editor:

I was uneasy with President Richard Brodhead's initial actions to the lacrosse rape allegations. As an alumnus, I read the news and noted Dr. Brodhead's decisions. I cautioned myself to wait to see if there was sound basis for his judgments, telling myself that for me to rush to judgment would be doing precisely what raised my doubts over his actions.

(I did too.

Later we all learned Brodhead knew lacrosse players had cooperated with police investigators. But Brodhead decided to withhold that information from the public. Neither he nor Duke’s top PR guy, John Burness, have ever said why.

And, as far as I know, The Chronicle has never asked Brodhead about his silence on the news side or editorialized concerning it.

My first instincts were that [Brodhead’s] early responses reflected a premature condemnation, which at the very minimum would enflame emotions against these young men and complicate their defense. It now seems my concern was well founded.

(Brodhead’s early responses did enflame emotions against the players. Recall his written, unconditional apology to “the first 911 caller?” It’s here.

How did Brodhead determine what she said was true? He’s never told us and The Chronicle has never asked.

What does Brodhead think now that he knows the caller was Kim Roberts, “the second dancer?” Did he know that at the time he made his statement?

Durham police knew it more that a week before. Did Brodhead?

While the president has gingerly back-pedaled from his early posture, I have watched and waited for him to apologize to the Duke community. To my knowledge, he has not.

Indeed, though his recent actions betray a sense of regret over his earlier hastiness, he appears to stubbornly avoid admitting error.

(Instead, he’s attacked bloggers who helped expose the frame-up he and so many others at Duke enabled.

Who’s surprised?

I believe President Brodhead failed miserably to rise to the challenges this situation presented. His actions (and those of many of his colleagues within the Duke community) have done immense damage to this great university.

(He did and they have.)

Instead of cautioning those rushing to condemn, instead of staunchly maintaining the great principles of justice and constitutional law that are among the most fundamental bases of our national ethos, he raced to posture to the crowd noise.

(Have you noticed no Duke trustee or member of Brodhead's “leadership team” has ever said he acted out of character.

What would Shakespeare do with that observation?

Whatever the ultimate outcome of the case against the young men, the President's actions were unworthy of his office. Dr. Brodhead, posturing amid the political extremists around him, is himself the greater problem. His action was the one that was anti-intellectual and unprincipled. His action was the one that cannot be tolerated within the halls of a great university. His was the action of a coward not fit to lead a great institution of learning.

(You’re so right. Brodhead needs to move on.)

He should resign as president. He should do so today.

(And then Brodhead should assist with an orderly transition to a new president who must be someone of the caliber of such past presidents as John C. Kilgo, William Preston Few and Terry Sanford.)

No NY Times-DNA credibility link found

Brooklyn College professor Robert KC Johnson has done more than anyone except defense attorneys to expose the investigative and legal travesties of what’s really the DA Nifong Hoax case but is usually called the Duke lacrosse case.

Johnson hasn’t just taken on Nifong and certain Durham police officers who conspired to frame the players. He’s also called attention to those such as Duke’s administration, much of it’s faculty, and some media and “rights groups,” who by silence or active encouragement, have enabled the ten month long series of injustices that grew from the false witness made at Duke Hospital the morning of March 14, 2006.

The New York Times has been one of Nifong’s most consistent enablers.

Johnson takes The Times on in a NY Post op-ed which begins:

READERS who followed The New York Times' coverage of the Duke lacrosse case probably experienced whiplash after reading the Monday Times editorial that hailed "modern DNA testing" for "steadily uncovering a dark history of justice denied."

The editorial mentioned two specific examples. The first came in Dallas, where a prisoner spent 18 years in jail, convicted of rape "based solely on faulty testimony of a witness." A DNA test that Texas prosecutors had fought to block then proved his innocence.

The Times also praised North Carolina's innocence commission, which has urged police to vet non-credible witnesses more aggressively.

Powerful recommendations.

Yet time and again over the past 10 months, Times reporters and columnists have acted just like the Texas prosecutors the paper's editorialists condemn.

After all, this is the same paper where sportswriters Selena Roberts and Harvey Araton published springtime columns dripping with a presumption of guilt in the Duke case.

Their only evidence?

The word of an accuser who had offered multiple, mutually contradictory, versions of events - just the type of person that the Times editorial board now demands be vetted more carefully.

This is also the same Times that in August published a 6,000-word front-page piece allegedly reviewing the case file.

Reporter Duff Wilson insisted that - despite DNA test results from the state lab showing no match between the accuser and any lacrosse player - "There is also a body of evidence to support [D.A. Mike Nifong's] decision to take the matter to a jury."

That article went out of its way to exclude mention that a March 23 order filed by Nifong's office held, "The DNA evidence requested will immediately rule out any innocent persons."

Instead, Wilson parroted the junk-science line that Nifong offered when the tests came back negative: Though "DNA results can often be helpful," the D.A. said he preferred trying "sexual assault cases the good old-fashioned way. Witnesses got on the stand and told what happened to them."
Johnson provides much more evidence of The Times’ failure to match its reporting with the facts before he concludes:
Under pressure from the state bar, Nifong first dropped rape charges and then asked the state attorney general's office to take over the prosecution.

All that remains of the case is the ever-changing story of one, non-credible witness - and DNA results of the type that the Times observes have exonerated dozens of wrongfully convicted people in the past.

Yet as allegations of sexual assault and kidnapping remain in place and the lacrosse players' ordeal approaches its 11th month, how have Times' editors responded? Silence.

Given its performance on the lacrosse case, the Times lacks the credibility to lecture anyone on the power of DNA evidence.
Johnson blogs at Durham-in-Wonderland. He posts every day on the Hoax. His posts are just as well-written and just as fact and justice driven as his NY Post op-ed which you can read here.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

That Chronicle $$$$ editorial

Readers’ Note: The Chronicle’s Editorial Board is very upset with what it calls a “small group of alumni” who it charges are “hurting everyone at Duke.” ("Alums: Don't stop donating to Duke,” Jan. 29)

Excerpt from the Jan. 29 editorial:

[T]his small group of alumni has demonized some members of the Duke community.

Many have also expressed-vehemently-their intent to never donate to Duke and to discourage others from donating as well. In doing so, these alums are overlooking the student body and the well-being of the University as a whole; by threatening to halt, and potentially withhold, their financial support, they are hurting everyone at Duke.
I’m sending Chronicle Editor-in-Chief Ryan McCartney the following electronic letter and a link to this post. McCartney is one of 13 Editorial Board members (Their bio information is here.)

McCartney's email is:

I hope many of you will share your thoughts with him.


Ryan McCartney, Editor-in-Chief
The Chronicle
Duke University

Dear Editor McCartney:

In its Jan. 29 editorial The Chronicle charges a “small group of alumni” are, among other things, “hurting everyone at Duke” by withholding financial giving.

This alum doesn’t agree with that charge nor many others The Chronicle made. In a few days I'll say more about why I disagree.

Today I’ll just cite five matters which are of great concern to what you call a “small group of alumni” and many others who care about Duke.

1) President Brodhead’s refusal on Mar. 25 to meet with the lacrosse players’ parents; his refusal to meet with them since; and his refusal to ever explain why he didn't and hasn't.

2) President Brodhead knew by Mar. 25 of the extensive cooperation the lacrosse players – not just the Captains – had provided police investigators. Yet in his Mar. 25 and Apr. 5 statements he said nothing about their cooperation, even as the “Wall of Silence” falsehood spread and endangered the players.

3) “Vigilante” posters were circulated on campus and physical threats made against the players at the Mar. 29 Take Back The Night rally. One of the rally organizers subsequently wrote a letter to the Raleigh N&O that said in part:
As one of the organizers of the March 29 Take Back the Night (TBTN) march and speak-out at Duke University, I want to clarify that we did not plan, nor do we endorse, the distribution of names and pictures of members of the Duke men's lacrosse team.

The distribution of the pictures, the targeting of the lacrosse team, and the violence implicit in the defacement of the pictures are nothing less than violations of the space that TBTN exists to create.

The event is neither a protest of the kind we've witnessed recently, a forum for accusation nor a place to target and defame. That some attendees tried to make it so is saddening and not at all in the spirit of the event.
Brodhead has never made a statement about those events that took place literally right outside his office.

4) On Mar. 30 the North Carolina State Bar’s Ethics Committee opened a file on DA Mike Nifong and his treatment of the lacrosse players. During April and May the public became aware of numerous investigative and legal travesties Nifong and certain Durham police officers were committing. On June 13 Duke Law professor Coleman published his “no wrong choices” letter and called for Nifong to remove himself from the case.

During all that time and until late December, Brodhead supported Nifong’s scheme to bring the three framed young men to trial

5) On May 18 racists shouted physical threats at Reade Seligmann as he walked to the Durham County Courthouse and again within the courtroom, this time adding death threats (“Dead man walking!”). Neither Brodhead nor any member of his administration nor any trustee has ever publicly expressed any criticism of the racists or support and comfort to Seligmann and his family.

I suggest, Editor McCartney, that before The Chronicle again attacks the “small group of alumni” it do at least two things:

1) Publish a series of news reports dealing with the concerns I’ve raised here and others that many in the Duke family have expressed to you concerning Brodhead and his administration's handling of the Hoax case. For example, did dean of students Sue Wasiolek advise lacrosse players not to tell their parents what was going on?

2) Publish an editorial explaining why The Chronicle has never reported or editorialized concerning the racists' attacks on Seligmann.

Thank you for you consideration of this letter, which I ask that you share with you fellow editors.


John in Carolina

About Edwards' new house

From NRO:

There Are Two Americas; John Edwards' New House Takes Up Almost All of One Of Them
Does his beach house in the gated oceanfront community of Figure Eight Island take of the rest of it?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Churchill Series – Jan. 30, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

On June 22, 1922 Sir Henry Wilson, a former Chief of the Imperial General Staff and at the time an MP active in efforts to resolve “the Irish Question,” was assassinated by IRA terrorists outside his London home.

Churchill was then Secretary of State for the Colonies and active in trying to resolve Anglo-Irish differences. Naturally, he was at great risk himself of assassination. His principal bodyguard for many years, Detective Inspective Walter Thompson, tells us:

For some weeks Churchill lived like a prisoner in a fortress. I was the senior officer responsible for his safety, and it was a nerve-wracking time. Plain clothes men patrolled Sussex Square day and night and when we went out, it was in an armoured Rolls-Royce. […]

I was alarmed one day when Mr. Churchill said to me that he proposed to walk across from the Colonial Office to the House of Commons. I pointed out to him the dangers of this procedure, particularly as there was no other competent person available to go with him at the time.

My remarks had no effect at all. Mr. Churchill just shot out his chin in that obstinate way of his, and replied, “Righto, you look after my back, Thompson. I’ll attend to the front.”

We reached the House without mishap, but even now I can feel my hand gripping my revolver all the way.
Churchill’s life was often threatened yet he rarely let the threat of assassination interfere with his activities. On those few occasions when he did alter his activities, he did so only in response to pleadings from Clementine or security officers who told him what he was proposing to do would put their own lives in grave danger.

BTW – Merriam-Webster Online defines “righto” as “used to express cheerful concurrence, assent, or understanding.”

The Churchill Series – Jan. 31, 2007

(One of a series of posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Just two items today.

The Churchill Centre has, as some of you may know, a Quote of the Day on its home page.

Today Churchill says, "Personally I am always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught."

In that regard, we’re all more or less Churchillian.

There must have been millions of photos taken of Churchill. One of the most memorable IMHO was taken in August, 1941 at the close of the Atlantic Charter meeting with President Roosevelt.

Churchill’s standing on the deck of HMS Prince of Wales in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland watching the destroyer USS McDougal transporting FDR down the bay to where it will rendezvous with the heavy cruiser USS Augusta, which will take FDR back to America. The photo's here.

Fairness demands she be named

Readers’ Note: After today I’ll name the False Accuser in posts and allow her name to be used on the threads. In this post I tell you why I’m doing that.

For one week starting tomorrow, I’ll put “Cautions” at the head of posts relating to the Hoax. They’ll let readers know this is a “name her” blog. After that, I’ll drop the “Cautions.”

So now you’re alerted. Please let others know as you can.

I think most of you will agree with what I’m about to say. I wish the rest of you well should you choose to move on.


There’s much public discussion now regarding news organizations’ practice of granting anonymity to those claiming to be victims of sex crimes, and at the same time identifying those who are accused.

Many say it’s very unfair that an accuser is granted anonymity while the accused are not only identified, but are sometimes framed by false reporting and character abuse as we’ve seen the Raleigh News & Observer do in the case of the Duke lacrosse players.

Even when news organizations strive to be fair and honest, “anonymity for the accuser, public exposure for the accused” is unfair to the accused, as Duke Law professor James Coleman and many others have said.

Those arguing for anonymity for accusers rely on a “greater good” argument: without anonymity victims of sex crimes will be reluctant to come forward. As a result, criminals will go unpunished and be free to repeat their crimes.

All in all, I come down on the side of granting anonymity.

But anonymity is not a right; it’s a privilege that should never be abused.

In the Duke Hoax case, the accuser and much of media have repeatedly and grossly abused the anonymity privilege.

In a future post, I’ll talk about media’s abuse.

Today I want to tell you why the Duke Hoax accuser has lost all claim to the privilege of anonymity, at least in my opinion and here at JinC.

The Duke Hoax accuser they call “Precious” used the cloak of anonymity to tell “her story” (there were really many of them) not to authorities, but to the N&O, which then told readers she was granted anonymity because she was a victim of “sex crimes.”

It can be fairly argued that when Precious granted that press interview she lost all claim to the unfair advantage anonymity gave her.

However, it may be the accuser was caught off guard by the N&O.

We may even learn she was encouraged to speak to the N&O by police investigators or someone from DA Mike Nifong’s office who “brokered” the interview. The N&O has never said who put it in touch with Precious or why the person(s) did that.

So I’m willing, until I learn more about it, to give the accuser a pass on the interview.

I also don’t hold her responsible for how the N&O reported the interview, including suppressing news the players had cooperated with the police and informing readers she was granted anonymity because the N&O did that for “victims of sex crimes.”

But then media began reporting interviews with family members who were also granted anonymity so Precious’ anonymity could be preserved. The family members told much more of “her story.” We were also told she’d be suing the players once they were convicted.

The accuser never did anything to correct any of that. She let it all work for her.

The April “no wrong choices” photo ID process was essential for the frame-up to go forward. Precious did her part and picked four players she was sure raped her.

Nifong indicted three players (we’ve never, as far as I know, been told why it was only three and not four). None of the three fit the physical descriptions of her “attackers” that Precious had given police.

Precious knew all of that. But neither she nor her family, previously so willing to talk to media, said anything. They hid behind the cloak of anonymity.

Precious knew Reade Seligmann was one of those indicted. But she said nothing for eight months before telling a DA investigator he hadn’t attacked her; he’d only watched.

And by the way, she wasn’t sure she’d been raped, but she wanted the players prosecuted for, you know, the other parts of the frame-up she and Nifong and others had arranged. Only she didn’t call it a frame-up.

Precious has grossly abused the privilege of anonymity.

It’s one thing for us to grant a person the protection of anonymity; it’s quite another thing, and an unacceptable and odious thing, to stand by and watch that person perpetrate frauds and injustices under the cloak of anonymity.

Professor Coleman has described what Nifong and Precious have done as “almost like mooning the system.” I agree.

By not acting sooner to identify the False Accuser, I helped enable her to moon the system.

But that changes tomorrow. Naming her is my way of putting sunlight on her mooning.

Carolina-Duke tix auction for ATAF

Duke Basketball Report is sponsoring an auction to help raise funds to defend the lacrosse players so grievously wronged by DA Mike Nifong and his enablers.

From DBR:

We have a very special auction to announce: four tickets for the UNC game (2/7), all together. The tickets are section 15, row h, seats 6,8,10, 12. These are near center court. There aren’t too many seats which are better than these. On top of everything else, you’ll see the action on the bench.

The proceeds of the sale of these tickets will benefit ATAF, the Association for Truth and Fairness, which was spawned out of the criminal investigation of the Duke men’s lacrosse team. The Duke lacrosse players need to raise $3 million dollars to help defray their legal expenses.

Please bid on these tickets and remember that every dollar you pay for these tickets will help defray the legal expenses of the Duke lacrosse players, which have been $3 million so far.

Even if you don’t bid - and we hope you do, even if it’s just to push the price up higher - you can help out by making an online donation. If everyone who reads DBR contributed just five dollars, we’d help them a lot.

There is this unfortunate myth that somehow, this is just an inconvenience to three wealthy families.

That’s absurd of course. These families are spending everything they have to defend their children against a prosecutor who has no interest at all in offering them a fair trial.

You can learn more or contribute at TRUTHandFAIRNESS.

Important caveat: you’ll need to check on whether or not this auction is tax-deductible for you or not.
Here’s an opportunity to do good and enjoy a Carolina-Duke basketball game in Cameron, the greatest b'ball setting in America.

Hat Tip: Durham-in-Wonderland

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Churchill Series - Jan. 29, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

In the fall of 1929 Churchill sailed for America to begin a speaking tour. He had just served five years as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Threats on his life had been made by Indian extremists. Therefore, the British government arranged for Churchill to be accompanied by a Scotland Yard bodyguard, even though he was no longer in office.

To Churchill’s delight the man chosen to guard him was Detective-Inspector Walter Thompson, who'd been his bodyguard when he was in office.

In those days, when a liner was due to arrive in New York, the press would charter a tug and go down the harbor to meet the ship; then go on board to interview celebrities and statesmen before the ship docked.

Thompson tells us what happened when the New York press came aboard Churchill’s liner and demanded to see our hero:

When we arrived in New York, I had my first experience of the American press. The ship had not docked but at dawn one morning my cabin was besieged by a crowd of men and women making a most fearful row. I thought that the Indian terrorists must be at hand!

They were shouting for Mr. Churchill. I stepped out and asked them who they were and what they wanted.

“Newspapermen,” they replied, as though that explained everything. “We must see Churchill.”

I replied that I was astonished at their behaviour, and told them bluntly that I had no intention at all of letting them interview the British statesman at this ridiculous hour.

This led to further uproar
Who doubts it did?

Eventually everything worked out. The press went to a lounge where a short while later Churchill joined the reporters for an interview. Thompson added:
Those whom I met that day were by no means the worst representatives of the American press against whom I have protected Mr. Churchill.
Thompson’s remarks put me in mind of something. Churchill no doubt had his opinions about how the American press compared with the British press. But I can’t bring to mind anytime he ever expressed them. I’m sure he did. Can anyone shed light on this matter?

Thompson, Walter - Beside the Bulldog: The Intimate Memoirs of Churchill’s Bodyguard Ex- Detective Inspector Walter Thompson. (p. 71)

An N&O joke

A Raleigh News & Observer reporter witnessed a man risk his life to save a child from an attack by a rabid dog.

The reporter asked the man if he could interview him for the story he was going to write for the next day’s N&O.

The man said sure. The reporter got out his laptop and began entering story text.

Soon the man noticed the reporter had typed as his lede: “Tar Heel fan risks life, saves child”

“Why are you calling me a Tar Heel fan,” the man asked?

“We’re in Chapel Hill. Isn’t everyone here a Tar Heel fan?” the reporter replied.

“Not me,” the man said. "I’m a Duke fan.”

The story appeared in N&O under the lede: “Duke fan kills family pet”

Race and Rev. Barber’s sermon

A few hours ago I posted: “Rev. Barber at Duke Chapel.”

The post, as you can read for yourselves here, reported on the sermon delivered today at Duke Chapel by the Rev. William J. Barber II, pastor of Goldsboro’s Greenleaf Christian Church and current president of NC’s NAACP. The post also included my commentary on the sermon.

A JinC reader has responded with this comment:

I'm sorry - but the moment I read Rev. Barber was black, I knew which 'side' he was on.

When he said he would speak about silence, I knew he would not speak of the black community's silence towards the suffering of the white Duke players but the other way around.

When he said he would speak about racial slurs, I knew he would not speak about Kim Roberts hurling them at the lacrosse players but the other way around.

When he said he would speak about bad choices, I knew he would not speak about Kim's bad choice to strip in front of strangers or Crystal's bad choice to use a sex toy on herself for money but the bad choices of the Duke players for hiring strippers.

For God's sake - and I mean that literally - I sincerely wish Rev. Barber had proven me wrong. But he chose not to.
Hold on, Reader!

How do we know, based on race, “which ‘side’” a person’s on in terms of the Duke lacrosse case overall, or in terms of its many facets?

How can you know, based only on Barber’s sermon text, that his race determined what he said?

Haven’t many white Duke professors made statements very similar to what
Barber said today?

In fact, couldn’t Barber’s sermon just as easily have been composed and delivered by any number of white preachers, including many who hold endowed professorships at Duke’s Divinity School?

I’ll bet even the Chapel Dean, the Rev. Canon Dr. Sam Wells, would agree about that.

I’ll end with four brief points on which you and I, and others should all be able to come together:

1) Durham Herald Sun editor Bob Ashley and N&O editors Melanie Sill, John Drescher and Linda Williams are all responsible for grossly unfair and false reporting concerning the Duke lacrosse players.

2) Ashley, Sill and Drescher are white; Williams is black.

3) CBS’s 60 Minutes' investigative reporter Ed Bradley spent the last months of his life working on a story that helped millions of Americans realize David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann were framed.

4) Race, as the writer said, matters. Yet it doesn’t ever explain everything; and sometimes it doesn’t even explain very much. But character always matters. We we’re reminded of that when we learned of Ed Bradley’s death. RIP

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Rev. Barber at Duke Chapel

Readers’ Note:

News reporting is above the star-line; commentary’s below it.


Rev. Dr. William J Barber II, pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, NC, preached the sermon today at the 11 A.M. service at Duke Chapel.

Barber’s a graduate of NC Central University (BA in Public Administration, cum laude) and Duke’s Divinity School, where he was a Benjamin Mays Fellow and earned a Masters of Divinity degree. Barber earned his doctoral degree at Drew University, Madison, NJ. (More bio information can be found here.)

Barber, who also serves as NC’s NAACP state president, spoke out often last spring concerning the Duke lacrosse case. At a series of news conferences he urged a prompt, full and fair investigation of charges made by a woman many at the time were calling “the victim.” Barber also met with Duke’s president, Richard H. Brodhead, who later described him as a friend from whom he had learned a great deal.

In recent months Barber’s said little about the case. But during today’s sermon he directly addressed it along with some issues many see as related to it. (I viewed the entire Chapel service via webcast.)

Barber told the congregation he would not speak about the treatment the players have received or “the indictments.” He was “putting them aside,” he said, because he wanted to talk about “silences” and “injustices.”

The “silences” existed, Barber said, because of our “denials” as individuals and a society of problems such as those evident in the racial slurs directed at the women the night of Mar. 13/14 and less than adequate educational opportunities for many children.

Barber invoked the memory and words of Dr. King in urging the congregation to make its own King’s work of bettering the opportunities available to the less fortunate and assuring that America continues to strive to be more just.

Just prior to his sermon Barber expressed appreciation to people who’d instructed and befriended him during his student days at Duke. He thanked Greenleaf Christian congregants who accompanied him to the Chapel. And he said he was glad to be with his “good friend,” Chapel Dean Sam Wells.


First, many of you will want to access Rev. Barber’s sermon. You can do that by going to the Chapel’s home page where you’ll see on your right a menu with a yellow background. The first listing is View Webcasts. Click. Now you’re at Webcast Archive. Archived sermons are in reverse chronological order.

Barber’s sermon is the first listed but it’s not active as of 6 P.M 1/28. Tech support will likely have the sermon active within a few days of its delivery.

When you click to activate the sermon it will take a minute or two before the sermon “loads up.” If you use Real Player there’s a clip bar, so you can move back and forth through the service. My recollection is Barber began preaching with the timer at about forty minutes.

Thanks are due the Friends of the Chapel who make the webcasts possible.

Now, my commentary -------

We benefit when we’re reminded of those in need and our responsibility to help them. The same is true when injustices are called to our attention and we’re offered the example of someone like Dr. King who sought to undo injustices.

Barber spoke about those things, but with less effect than he could have had.

That’s because, for reasons he never really explained, he put aside considerations of the monumental injustices done the lacrosse players while bringing “front and center” considerations of racial slurs made the night of March 13/14, and his judgment that the women dancers were at the party as a consequence of economic and social forces rather than as a result of individual choices they made.

Many in the congregation know the second dancer, Kim Roberts, acknowledges she began the racial slurring a neighbor overheard when Roberts taunted some of the players with “little ---- white boys.” But Barber only focused on the black women as victims of the slurs; and he directed his censure only at the white players.

Such discriminations are expected nowadays from NAACP leaders and others like them, but such discriminations have no basis in Christian theology.

Do you doubt there were at least some informed congregants, free of PC bias, who listened to Barber and asked themselves:

“Has he ever mounted a pulpit and condemned the racists who made threats of physical violence and death against Reade Seligman last May 18?

Has Barber ever encouraged President Brodhead or Dean Wells or anyone else at Duke to condemn those racists?

During all of Barber’s talking about the case at news conferences, at forums and in pulpit sermons has he ever expressed even a few words of solidarity and comfort to Reade Seligmann and his family?”
I’m sure everyone in the congregation who worships the holy trinity of race, class and gender agreed with Barber that social and economic forces brought the women to the house that night. But I wonder exactly how Barber and such congregants explain to themselves the fact that millions of women subject to the same economic and social forces as the two exotic dancers don’t do exotic dancing; and would feel ashamed and disgraced it they did.

There is more I could say but this post is getting long.

I’d like to hear Barber preach again sometime. His high intellect and theological training suggest he’s capable of a profound sermon that illuminates the heart of God. Today, for all his invocation of religious texts and beliefs, Barber merely delivered “the latest” from NC’s NAACP.

If Barber preaches again in Duke Chapel,I have a sermon topic and title suggestion: "False witness: Why God said it was sinful."

Sheehan knows she knows

Will Raleigh News & Observer columnist Ruth Sheehan do what she demands others to do: “Speak honestly and admit when you wrong?

Let’s see.

Dear Ms. Sheehan:

Ten months ago you wrote a column (“Team’s Silence is Sickening”) savaging 46 Duke students for doing nothing more than following the advice of their parents and attorneys. You began:

Members of the Duke men's lacrosse team: You know.

We know you know.

Whatever happened in the bathroom at the stripper party gone terribly, terribly bad, you know who was involved. Every one of you does.

And one of you needs to come forward and tell the police.
Do not be afraid of retribution on the team. Do not be persuaded that somehow this "happened" to one or more "good guys."
After that, your column got even worse.

That was March 27, 2006.

Later that day, for the first time, Durham DA Mike Nifong spoke publicly about the students.

Like you, Nifong attacked them in terms that reminded thoughtful citizens of how the late Sen. McCarthy attacked people and denigrated their constitutional rights.

Most people initially endorsed what you and Nifong were saying.

Others, such as Duke’s president, Richard H. Brodhead, calculated their best course was to say nothing critical of you or Nifong.

Instead, Brodhead-types made statements similar to what President Brodhead himself said shortly thereafter:
”Whatever they did was bad enough.”
But as the public learned more about the students and Nifong, it got harder to convince people that “Whatever they did was bad enough.”

By June sensible people recognized the truth of what Duke Law professor James Coleman said in his letter to the N&O:
According to the police account of the identification, however, the police officer who presided over the proceedings told the alleged victim at the outset that he wanted her to look at people the police had reason to believe attended the party.

Thus, the police not only failed to include people they knew were not suspects among the photographs shown the woman, they told the witness in effect that there would be no such "fillers" among the photographs she would see.

This strongly suggests that the purpose of the identification process was to give the alleged victim an opportunity to pick three members of the lacrosse team who could be charged. Any three students would do; there could be no wrong choice.
You knew Coleman was describing a frame-up. You knew we knew.

So a few days later you wrote a column blaming Nifong for your Mar. 27 column:
”To think that for a brief moment I [,Raleigh News & Observer columnist Ruth Sheehan,] actually pitied Nifong for the attacks on his handling of the case. What a joke.

Nifong is the one who described this thing in such incendiary terms from the start that it was impossible to ignore.
But, Ms. Sheehan, your Mar. 27 “Team’s Silence is Sickening” column appeared BEFORE Nifong started publicly attacking the students. It went online shortly after midnight; and a print version was delivered to Durham driveways around 5 A.M. Nifong had plenty of time to read it before he first spoke to the press later that day.

All of the above leads to two obvious questions:

1) Considering he didn't speak publicly until after your column appeared, aren't you misleading readers when you tell them all the slimes in your Mar. 27 were based on what he said?


2) Did Nifong or someone you trusted would tell you accurately what he was saying provide you with “background information” BEFORE you wrote your Mar. 27 column? In that case, while you’d still bear the heaviest responsibility for the column, you’d have some grounds for telling readers Nifong was also to blame for it.

Please answer the questions.

You know the answers. You know you know.

Just so we’re absolutely clear about Nifong: I’ve said for months he should be disbarred and tried. But odious as he is, he shouldn’t be blamed for your enablements or for those of others.

Finally, at your Metro Blog you posted some of my writing and linked back to my blog. While that usually calls for a "thank you," I want instead to urge you to do some things that will be very important and helpful to many innocent people who’ve suffered great injustices.

Please retract both your Mar. 27 and your Apr. 3 “Lacrosse team out of control” columns. Then apologize to the students, their families, Coach Pressler and his wife and young children. An apology is also owed your readers.

If you do those things unconditionally and free of any blaming of others, you will have provided what restorative justice you can to those most injured by the witch hunt to which your columns made such a significant contribution.

You will also have given your readers some assurance that truth, justice and their trust are important to you.

And you will have acted as you often tell us you want others to act, including your three young sons.


John in Carolina