Saturday, February 24, 2007

Addison Series #3 - "Not my poster"

Readers Note: For general background on the Addison Series posts see “The Cpl. Addison Series.”

Cpl. David Addison is a veteran Durham police officer whose regular assignment is Coordinator for Durham CrimeStoppers, described by DPD as an independent nonprofit organization. He also sometimes fills in as DPD's public spokesperson.

To understand this current post, readers should be familiar with the contents of “Addison Series #1 - "This horrific crime,” and "Addison Series #2 - "CrimeStoppers will pay cash."

"Addison Series #2" – “CrimeStoppers will pay cash” reported on Addison’s distribution on March 28 to media, DPD substations and others of the text of a Durham CrimeStoppers “Wanted” poster which, among other things, told the community:

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.
For the next thirteen days, the CS “Wanted” poster circulated on Duke’s campus and in the Durham community.

During that time, the “Wanted” poster inflamed unstable individuals and hate groups who targeted the players with threats, including threats of castration. DPD warned of unconfirmed reports of plans for a drive by shooting in the neighborhood where some lacrosse players lived.

Yet during all that time no member of Duke University’s “leadership team,” including any trustee, Duke's President, Richard H. Brodhead, or a single Arts & Sciences senior faculty member publicly questioned the truthfulness or appropriateness of the “Wanted” poster.

A review of The Raleigh News & Observer and The Durham Herald Sun’s achieves for the period March 28 to April 10 revealed no instance of either newspaper’s editorialists or a single news columnist with either paper questioning the truthfulness or appropriateness of the CS “Wanted” poster telling the community:
The victim was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed. This horrific crime sent shock waves throughout our community.
Then on April 10 someone finally spoke up and asked that the CS “Wanted” poster be changed.

It wasn’t Duke’s Dick Brodhead who requested the change, although friends tell me he now says, “I’m one of the biggest critics of how the players were treated.”

Then was it a Duke trustee? What about a senior Duke Arts & Sciences faculty member? Or any journalist at the N&O or H-S?

No to all those questions.

On April 10 it was DPD Major Lee Russ, Addison’s supervisor, who spoke up and told Addison to change the “Wanted” poster.

You can read about what Russ directed Addison to do here in this N&O story.

But note two things about the story: The N&O is wrong when it says the “Wanted” poster was first distributed on April 3. The first distribution, as documents I’ve reviewed reveal and as Russ confirmed to me in an interview, was March 28.

The N&O story is also wrong as regards the number of emails Russ sent Addison requesting corrections. Russ sent him three, not two emails.

The N&O’s story is reliable as regards this :
Tuesday at 11:16 a.m., Addison e-mailed the same release [the March 28 CS poster ], but modified the first sentence to read: "The victim alleges that she was sodomized, raped, assaulted and robbed."

The second sentence calling the incident a "horrific crime" was deleted.

Eighteen minutes later, an amended CrimeStoppers release was sent. The only change was that "the victim" was now referred to as "the complainant."

Addison did not return calls inquiring about the change.
And, of course, as Addison Series readers know, he’s never returned my calls either.

Russ says Addison will have no comments to make on the Duke lacrosse case or the “Wanted” poster.

April 10, the date on which Russ directed Addison to change the “Wanted” poster may spark a memory with you.

Wasn’t April 1o the day the defense attorneys learned the first round of DNA testing of samples from the all 46 lacrosse players had all come back negative?

Wasn’t April 10 the day the defense attorneys scheduled a press conference and released that news to the community?

You’re right on both counts.

Now to another date: June 13, 2006. Durham attorney Alex Charns, acting on behalf of an unindicted Duke lacrosse player makes a second request to Durham’s city manager and DPD’s Chief Stephen Chalmers.
Dear City Manager Baker and Chief Chalmers:

This is a follow-up Public Records Act (N.C.G.S Sec. 132-1 et seq.) request
as well as my second request for an Internal Affairs or city manager investigation of the libelous posters that you admitted in the letter to me signed by Major Lee Russ, dated May 26, 2006, "was copied by a member of our agency using a Durham Police Department header". […]

In response to my initial request for certified copies of all city of Durham
and Durham Police Department press releases or posters concerning the Duke lacrosse alleged rape investigation, some records were released to me.

I do not believe all records concerning these posters were given to me because I received a certified copy of the poster that I provided to the city as proof instead of copies of the poster from police department files or computers. (bold mine)

If records have been destroyed or deleted, I request records concerning the destruction of the records including but not limited to authorizations for their destruction and the date of their destruction.
Note, readers, that Charns references having received a letter from Russ on May 26. Russ’ letter was in response to Charns’ initial request for an investigation and apology.

Also, bear in mind that Russ explained in Addison Series #2 that DPD had no responsibility for Addison’s production of the CS “Wanted” poster (Baker’s office has confirmed to me that Russ position is also the position of the Durham City government. In effect both agencies are saying they have no responsibility for Addison’s creation and distribution of the “Wanted” poster.

And recall that I can’t locate anyone at any place who’ll answer for CrimeStoppers.

With all of that in mind read the following email Addison sent on June 2 to media, police substations, news organizations and others on the CS distribution list. Addison told recipients his email’s importance was “High.”

His subject head was: Durham CrimeStoppers Posters ????
On Tuesday, March 28, 2006, Durham CrimeStoppers sent an email asking for information regarding the events which occurred at 610 North Buchanan Street. (sic) On Monday, April 10, 2006, at the request of Durham Police Department, changes were made to the original email dated Tuesday, March 28, 2006 and sent to the media and all other recipients of Durham CrimeStoppers emails. This revised email was sent three times to the media and recipients of Durham CrimeStoppers emails. This revised email was sent three times to the media and recipients.

Durham CrimeStoppers never generated/produced any posters for this case. Customarily, posters are created for every case however Durham CrimeStoppers never created any posters for this case. Several posters have surfaced and again none were made by Durham CrimeStoppers.

I hope this informations clarifies any misunderstanding. Durham CrimeStoppers is committed to being a medium between the law enforcement communities and the citizens they serve and protect. We will continue to seek informations to assist in solving crimes in our community. Thank you for all of your support.

Together, we are making Durham a safer community.

Wade Smith, an attorney for members of the Duke lacrosse team, has announced that no DNA samples taken from 46 of the athletes matched any DNA on the alleged victim and that he hopes Durham's district attorney will consider dropping the case.

Russ first interview

Charns’ 6/13 email

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Churchill Series - Feb. 23, 2007

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

Readers Note: An Anon gently noted a dating error in the Feb.21 series post. I was off by a century. I'd said "1998" instead of "1898."

I corrected and left a "thank you" on the post thread but I'm doing it here as well so you'll know of my error, and on the chance Anon may have missed my "thank you."


Light and slight today

Many have held the office of Lord Privy Seal. Most are now forgotten. Others are not: Stanley Baldwin and Anthony Eden, for instance.

Churchill, for all his offices and honors, was never Lord Privy Seal. But the office wouldn’t have suited him.

From the Churchill Achieves Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge we learn about the office of Lord Privy Seal: “A historic office filled by a Cabinet Minister without responsibility for a particular department.”

In “ancient times” the King had two seals: A state seal for use with documents of state and a privy seal for private documents. A different Lord was charged with the care of each.

A place in the British Cabinet without any responsibility.

I think I have what it takes to be Lord Privy Seal. What about you?

I hope you have a good weekend. I look forward to seeing you next week.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Churchill Series – Feb. 22, 2007

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

Some time back I did a two week series on the three month long trip Churchill, his brother, Jack, and their two sons made in 1929 across Canada, down the West coast to California and then back across the states to New York for the return voyage home.

In November 2002, John Plumpton, then President of The Churchill Center, addressed The Churchill Society for the Advancement of Parliamentary Democracy. The event was held at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto.

Plumpton began:

I am honoured to speak to you in a venue that hosted Winston Churchill at a luncheon on August 17, 1929. Including those listening on loud speakers on the street outside of the Royal York, 3,000 heard him.

Churchill was actually reasonably modest about what drew people to hear him.

On one occasion, when he was complimented on the large turnout, he responded: “Yes, but imagine how many would have come if you had announced you were hanging me.”
It’s a wonderful story, isn’t it?

I’d never heard it. How about you?

Nifong & AG prosecutor questions

ABC’s Durham affiliate, Eyewitness 11 News, reported yesterday that Durham DA Mike:

Nifong has met with the special prosecutors at the Attorney General's Office.

A spokeswoman for the Attorney General declined to comment on the details of the meeting, but confirms the discussion took place within the past week.

It comes nearly two weeks after defense attorneys for the three charged players in the case met with special prosecutors for several hours at the Attorney General's office.
That news got me asking questions.

Were the special prosecutors responsible for deciding only whether to proceed with the case brought be Nifong against three clearly innocent young men?

What if, when examining evidence, the special prosecutors found evidence suggesting crimes may have been committed by others, including some sworn to uphold the law and at least one attorney sworn to administer justice?

What then?

I couldn’t find any MSM follow-up this morning on the Nifong interview story and couldn’t find any at at 3 P.M today.

So I posted some questions and received a response I think belongs on the main page.

You’ll bear in mind we always need to be cautious about what we read. Who knew, for instance, last March that the Raleigh News & Observer was withholding from us the news of the players’ cooperation with police, and was instead promulgating the “wall of silence” falsehood?

With that said, the comments from a reader self-identifying as Ex-prosecutor impressed me as have other comments the self-identified Ex-prosecutor has made. They’ve also drawn affirming comments from others self-identifying as attorneys.

Ex-prosecutor said...

Here's my view as an ex-prosecutor but not from NC.

Generally, special prosecutors replace the DA who has withdrawn from the case, and have sole responsibility for deciding whether it should proceed or they should seek dismissal. In most jurisdictions, the dismissal recommendation is made to the judge assigned to the case, who may accept or reject it.

A preliminary hearing, which Mr. Nifong avoided, would have determined whether a crime probably occurred and whether those charged probably committed it. That's the legal standard and if the special prosecutors cannot answer each question affirmatively, they have an ethical responsibility to recommend dismissal.

Mr. Nifong claimed that he had a duty to proceed just because the complainant had claimed she was raped, or whatever she claimed. However, that is wrong, and the special prosecutors can find themselves civilly liable if they believe this to be the case.

Generally, citizens, lawyers included, have no responsibility to report a crime, such as if I see my neighbor's car being broken into. However, lawyers have a duty to report misconduct by another lawyer, and they may find some additional improper acts by Mr. Nifong. This would include evidence of a crime, although they have no duty to report it to the Durham police department, who should investigate.Reporting would be to the state bar, which might report a crime.

The replacement prosecutors are really in the cross-hairs, because misconduct on their part could lead to ethics charges against them as well as civil liability. In my opinion, if they want to proceed with this case, they must do a complete investigation to make sure the case is viable. Proceeding without this being done could subject them to civil liability if the case is lost.

It is standard procedure for replacement prosecutors to discuss the case with the DA they replace. What is telling to me is that they met first with defense lawyers before meeting with Mr. Nifong. The first meeting should have given them plenty of ammunition for the second. I expect they would have asked him why he supplanted the police in the investigation, set up the illegal lineup, refused to meet with defense counsel before bringing charges, etc.

This is the most egregious case of DA misconduct that I have ever seen. Distill the misconduct of DAs in other cases, mix them together, and the blend can't approach the misdeeds of Mr. Nifong. Personally, I'd rather pass consecutive kidney stones than prosecute this case.

Message to Ex-prosecutor: Thank you for a carefully considered, concise and very well-organized response.

Question to the Raleigh N&O and other NC news organizations: Why aren't you reporting on this story?

Nifong & AG prosecutor questions: Help, please

Here in Durham our ABC affiliate, Eyewitness 11 News, reported yesterday:

Eyewitness News has learned among other witnesses in the case, Nifong has met with the special prosecutors at the Attorney General's Office.

A spokeswoman for the Attorney General declined to comment on the details of the meeting, but confirms the discussion took place within the past week. It comes nearly two weeks after defense attorneys for the three charged players in the case met with special prosecutors for several hours at the Attorney General's office. […]

Special prosecutors James Coman and Mary Winstead have spent weeks sorting through several boxes of evidence including thousands of pages of documents. They are conducting interviews with several key witnesses in the case as they prepare for a hearing scheduled for May 7th.
I’ve got questions about this story as well as the responsibilities the special prosecutors have with regard to all the evidence they have in those boxes. Maybe you do, too.

I hope Betsy’s Page, Durham-in-Wonderland, The Johnsville News, La Shawn Barber, Liestoppers, Right Angles and other bloggers covering the Duke Hoax case can help answer some of those questions. Readers too, especially attorneys.

Are the special prosecutors responsible only for determining whether the Hoax case should continue or be dismissed?

As they go through all those boxes of evidence and they see, for example, Crystal Mangum’s charge that she was robbed, do they have any responsibility to consider whether charges should be brought concerning it?

And if they decide to drop the charges against David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann in part because Nifong conspired to hide exculpatory DNA evidence, do the special prosecutors have a responsibility to consider whether Nifong committed a crime by hiding exculpatory evidence?

If yes, what do they then do?

If no, why not?

Is it possible Nifong met with the special prosecutors because they have questions about his conduct that might lead them to go beyond the single question of whether or not that Hoax prosecution should proceed?

If any of the evidence the special prosecutors examine suggests that investigative officers may have committed a crime, what are the special prosecutors supposed to do in that case?

I would think the AG’s office will make copies of everything that’s in those boxes and retain the copies. Does anyone know if I’m right about that?

I’m sure there's a lot more many of us want to know about what the special prosecutors are responsible for doing.

Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann are not only innocent of the charges brought against them; they're crime victims, with the crimes committed against them perpetrated by, among others, officers who swore to uphold the law and at least one attorney who swore to administer justice.

Is the NC State Attorney General’s office charged with investigating the crimes committed against those three young men or is that the responsibility of Durham DA Mike Nifong’s office?

Piot's "wall of silence" response

On Feb. 12 on Duke West Campus African and African American and Cultural Anthropology professor Charlie Piot, a signatory of the now discredited faculty Group of 88 "listening statement," delivered a vicious ad hominem which targeted historian and Brooklyn College professor Robert KC Johnson, a leading critic of the statement as well as some individual signees whose actions have shocked many in the Duke community and elsewhere.

Piot didn't make print copies of his attack available; and event "sponsors" won't release to Johnson and others a tape of Piot's ad hominem.

Piot says he can't release his "lecture" because he's promised it to a journal editor who accepted it on condition Piat not make copies available.

That's an odd explanation given Piot read his "lecture" before an audience estimated at more than 150.

I've posted on all of the above (here and here). I also sent Piot links to my posts and requested he answer at least two questions:

Per your Feb 12 lecture:

1) Am I right that you accused Johnson, of “inciting racist attacks on [Duke] African-American professors?” (I have that as a quote in my notes.)

2) Did you say, as my notes indict, that at his blog, Durham-in-Wonderland, Johnson practiced “common strategies [used] among totalitarian regimes” which you’ve studied?

I hope, Professor Piot, I’m wrong about both questions.

If I am, I want to work with you to correct what I attributed to you.
Piot responded with the following email:
Dear John in Carolina,

Sorry, but I don't have the time to get in a back and forth about this.

My piece will go to press sometime in late April/May, and you can read it then.

I wasn't asking Piot for "a back and forth." He could have answered each question with a "Yes" or "No."

I take his refusal to answer my questions as a "Yes."

I mean, what kind of academic passes on the chance to simply say, "No, I didn't say another academic incited racial attack's on African American professors?"

I'll soon say more about Piot and the Group of 88.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Churchill Series – Feb. 21, 2007

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

On April 22, 1898 the heir to the British throne, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII wrote a letter to a twenty-three year old subaltern, then stationed in India.

The young officer had recently sent His Royal Highness a copy of his first book, The Malakand Field Force, his account of the recent fighting along what was then the Northwest border area of India but which is today part of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border area. The young officer had taken an active part in the fighting.

The Prince had known the officer, Winston Churchill, since he was a boy, and was a very close friend, some say even an intimate friend, of Churchill’s mother, Lady Randolph Churchill.

My Dear Winston,

I cannot resist writing a few lines to congratulate you on the success of your book! I have read it with the greatest possible interest and I think the descriptions and the languages generally excellent. Everybody is reading it, and I only hear it spoken of with praise.

Having now seen active service you will wish to see more, and have as great a chance I am sure of winning the [Victoria Cross] as Fincastle had; and I hope you will not follow the example of the latter, who I regret to say intends leaving the Army in order to go inot Parliament.

You have plenty of time before you, and should certainly stick to the Army before adding M. P. to your name.

Hoping that you flourishing, I am,

Yours very sincerely,

The Prince knew his young man. The following year Churchill resigned from the Army and contested unsuccessfully in Oldham for his first seat in Parliament.

The letter is found in Churchill's My Early Life: 1874-2004. (pgs. 155-156)

A bit about lawsuits

For months readers have been asking concerning the Duke Hoax: Where are the lawsuits?

I’ve said nothing, although I’m very sympathetic with the questioners.

The Duke students, their families and the public have received in many instances extremely foul treatment from authorities and institutions they had every right to expect would treat them fairly, honestly and legally.

Regarding David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann there is already at hand extensive prima facie evidence they are felony crime victims of Durham DA Mike Nifong, certain Durham police officers and others.

So where are the lawsuits?

I’m going to say a few things in response to the question, but first some qualifications of what I’ll say.

I’m not an attorney.

Other than knowing what we are all hearing – that a number of lawsuits are coming - I’m not privy to the plans of anyone who has standing to bring the suits we’ve heard discussed.

What I’m going to say is not meant to be comprehensive.

It’s meant to respect reader questions by offering “at least a few thoughts” about what JinC readers keep asking.

What follows is best thought of as something like a few sketch lines at the start of a drawing.

Now here goes ----

If you’re going to bring a civil suit against someone who’s committed crimes against you, you want to make sure you don’t do anything with a civil suit that would interfere with a criminal prosecution.

Something else: often with civil suits, waiting can have a big payoff.

Suppose, for instance, you believe a police department spokesperson deliberately gave out false information to the public saying you’d committed a crime, and the police spokesperson’s supervisors did nothing to correct what their department spokesperson said and discipline the officer.

You want to bring a libel suit against the officer, his supervisors and the department.

But you have to prove your case, unless before you bring suit the officer and his supervisors admit to what they did or are convicted of doing it.

In that case, aren't you glad you followed your attorney's advice and waited?

You're now in a very different and easier position. You’re task now is primarily to show you were harmed and establish what needs to be done as a result.

Something else and then I’ll be done for today ---

In the case say, of libel suits, courts and juries often look at what you did before you brought suit. Did you inform the respondent you believed you’d been libeled and ask for some type of correction? Was you request persuasive? Did you give the respondent time to respond? And so on ……

Folks, there are a few sketch lines and nothing more.

I hope they helped some of you who very rightly want to see as much justice as possilbe wrung from this terrible series of injustices launched when Crystal Mangum gave her false witness, and many others began conspiring and enabling.

Johnsville News: An appreciation

I don’t know if one or many produce Johnsville News, one of my “must visit daily” blogs. I can't even contact JN. It doesn't accept email.

For all I know, a Duke trustee(s) could be producing it as a kind of underground resistance to what President Brodhead, his “senior team,” and the faculty’s Group of 88 are doing to a university many of us love.

Whatever the case, JN puts out a fine blog. Along with Liestoppers it is, IMHO, one of the two best news and commentary aggregators on every aspect of the Hoax. If it’s part of what’s happening regarding the Hoax, those blogs mention it.

I’ve wanted to write JN for sometime but since I can’t reach JN, I’ll just say it here.

I’m glad JinC readers will see it, too.

Early in the Hoax case, JN named Crystal Gail Mangum. I thought that was a mistake.

I believe a rape accuser who goes to the police should be granted anonymity so long as the accuser doesn’t abuse what is really a privilege. After all, unlike police states, America is a country where we are supposed to have a right to face those who accuse us of crimes.

I didn’t say anything about what I saw as JN’s mistake. There were a couple of reasons for that.

One was that JN was doing so much good in the cause of exposing the Hoax and demanding decent government and justice in Durham , that I was reluctant to fuss with JN.

Another is that I’m often wrong. But I’ve learned that if I keep my eyes and ears open and my mouth shut, I’m able to at least reduce the frequency of my mistakes.

And that’s what happened regarding JN’s early naming of Crystal Mangum and my thinking it was a mistake.

I learned over time I was wrong. I wrote about how and why I learned I was wrong in “Fairness demands she be named.”

So I want to hat tip JN for naming Mangum early on when she and her family were granting interviews and she was cooperating in a frame-up of innocent people about whom Mangum knew she had made false charges.

JN's made me a little smarter. I won't go so long the next time an "anonymous victim" like Mangum comes along and moons the public.

As long as I’m saying nice words about JN, I want to call your attention to two JN posts:

The first is from last October but it’s “current” today regarding the concerns it raises about gangs, guns, and drugs in Durham.

It’s also an excellent example of in-depth reporting on Durham’s growing gang problem. Take a look at the post and ask yourself if you’ve seen anything as detailed and informative in either the Raleigh N&O or the Durham H-S.

And the second?

Well, you must know JN does wonderful spoofs.

A recent one: “North Carolina Media - 'Freedom of the Press' Award Winners.”

Red carpet and fanfares, please!

The honorees include:

For Best Adapted Work of Fictional Story Telling in support of a hoax

Reporters Anne Blythe and Samiha Khanna of the Raleigh News & Observer for their inflammatory and false March 25 story:
Dancer gives details of ordeal

A woman hired to dance for the Duke lacrosse team describes a night of racial slurs, growing fear and, finally, sexual violence
Other journalists honored include N&O executive editor for news Melanie Sill and Durham Herald Sun editor Bob Ashley.

Give the award list a look here. You’ll smile.

BTW - Are there any deserving journalists JN missed?

JN isn’t perfect. If you doubt that, just ask DA Nifong or Duke’s Professor Whaneema Lubiano.

You don't like Churchill?

Some visitors to JinC avoid the Churchill Series; other come only for it.

God bless both groups.

Recently a number of new Churchill folks have shown up.

I thought I'd welcome them and maybe tempt the non-Churchill folks a bit with a post in which Churchill is not "the hero," and in fact is misled by a great Allied leader. But all ends well.

So here follows an old Series post (Dec. '05) that's my favorite.

I worked up the post based on events reported on pages 336 - 337 of Forest Pogue's superb George C. Marshall: Organizer of Victory.


At a critical time during World War II, an American military leader Churchill trusted set in motion plans to thwart something he felt the Prime Minister was planning.

It sounds ominous, but if you read on I know you'll say things worked out for the best.

Just before Pearl Harbor, Churchill sacked Britain's Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Field Marshall Sir John Dill. It was arranged that Dill would finish out the war in a backwater post.

Following Pearl Harbor, Churchill decided to go to Washington to develop a joint American-British war plan. He knew the British would need Dill's knowledge at what would be complicated and contentious planning sessions.

So Dill was brought along with Churchill's party to give what he had, and then be shuffled off.

But it came about that he stayed on in Washington in a new position; one in which he made a vital contribution to the war effort.

How so?

Well, since the American and British chiefs of staff would jointly plan Allied strategy and allocate scarce resources; and since the joint chiefs would meet only occasionally for planning sessions; there was a need for liaison between the two nations' chiefs between meetings.

That difficult task was given to Dill.

It was agreed he could best fulfill it in Washington with direct access by cable to each of the British chiefs and right to attend the American chiefs' meetings.

Dill performed splendidly. The late historian Stephen Ambrose said no one surpassed Dill in explaining to the chiefs of each nation the ideas, needs and temperaments of the chiefs of the other nation.

But during the first months of 1944, with D-Day approaching, Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall feared both countries' chiefs would lose Dill's service because Churchill felt Dill was tipping too much in the Americans favor. Marshall thought Churchill might recall him.

Marshall wanted to convince Churchill that Dill was so well thought of in America that recalling him would harm Allied relations.

So Marshall hatched a scheme.

What if Harvard gave Dill an honorary degree, he asked an aide? Wouldn't that impress Churchill? The PM wouldn't want to pull such a man out of the States, would he?

The aide was dispatched to Harvard whose president said he would like to but there was so much that went into an honorary degree, he didn't see how it could be done.

The aide duly reported back to Marshall.

"Try Yale," Marshall barked.

Yale had some of the same problems with an honorary degree as Harvard. But its President, Charles Seymour, said Yale could award Dill the Charles P. Howland Prize.

And what was that?

It was awarded for outstanding contributions to international understanding.

The award ceremony, President Seymour assured the aide, would include mace, academic procession, anthems, etc.

Marshall thought that would all be just fine.

The War Department informed the press that the Chief of Staff would be taking time from his very busy schedule to travel to New Haven to attend this most important award ceremony. What's more, Secretary of War Simpson and Asst. Secretary of War Lovett were also planning to attend.

The press reported on the ceremony with what Simpson later called a "big splash." Marshall stayed long after the ceremony talking informally to the press and posing for pictures, actions not typical of the General.

Soon other colleges and universities, including The College of William and Mary and Columbia University, awarded Dill honorary doctorates.

Marshall later told the aide he'd heard Churchill had said, "Dill must be doing quite a job over there."

Of course, there was no more talk of recall.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Churchill Series - Feb. 20, 2007

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

In the last days of April and the very first days of May, 1940 it became apparent to British and French intelligence that the German army facing their forces on the Frence border was beginning to stir after months of relative inactivity during what had become known as "the phony war."

Most Allied leaders were very confident then that they could repel a German attack and in the process inflict heavy losses on the Germans. France was believed to have the world's greatest army. The Allies had been preparing and reinforcing their defensive positions since September, 1939.

In that atmosphere of confidence, French and British leaders met in Paris.

Churchill's principal bodyguard during WW II, Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Walter Thompson tells us:

A meeting took place of the Supreme War Council.
[Prime Minister] Chamberlain was present with Daladier, the French Prime Minister, who said it was the finest war council he had ever attended.

I stood at the side of the group and watched the statesmen and the officials having their photographs taken.

Back at the British Embassy, Mr. Churchill suddenly asked me, “Did you have your picture taken with the group, Thompson?”

“No, sir.”

“Pity. I am certain that the people in that group will never meet again in similar circumstances.”

Within a few weeks Daladier was a prisoner of the Germans and Chamberlain had been replaced as Prime Minister by Churchill himself.

Walter Thompson, Beside the Bulldog: The Intimate Memoirs of Churchill’s Bodyguard. (pg. 89)

Duke lax parents on Fox

Charles and Susan Wolcott, parents of a Duke grad and player on the 2006 Men's lacrosse team were guests on Hannity & Colmes tonight.

Locomotive Breath sent along a link to a youtube item:

How'd the parent's do?

IMO very well.

Alan Colmes asked them about the treatment the suspect just arrested and charged in connection with the rape of a Duke student is receiving vis a vis the treatment DA Mike Nifong, certain Durham police officers and the Durham Courts meted out to the Duke Men's lacrosse players.

The parents agreed it showed an "absurd double standard."

Mr. Wolcott said with regard to this most recent case: "Durham police [are] following prescribed procedure. The Durham DA is not involved."

I hope the police start to make a habit of that. Maybe the city council or Mayor Bell could do something to encourage DPD to keep "following prescribed procedure."

As for the "DA is not involved:" Well, there aren't any votes for him in this case.

Besides, he's busy preparing for his hearing before the State Bar on ethics charges.

Ms. Wolcott said: " We have a [Duke lax] case where there is no evidence.

You're right, Mom.

That's why Nifong and his primary helpers had to, on the one hand, work so hard to manufacture incriminating evidence, and on the other hand, drive all the way to Burlington to arrange with a co-conspirator to hide exculpatory DNA evidence proving your son and all the other players were innocent of Crystal Mangum and Mike Nifong's false charges.

One of the segment's two most powerful moments: "There was a lottery to choose any three players. Any one of them could have been picked, including our son."

That's precisely the point Duke Law professor James Coleman made on June 13 when he wrote:

"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.
The other most powerful moment:” We are looking forward to justice."

I think we can get some justice out of a series of conspiracies by criminals and enablement of their criminal conduct by many in media, at Duke and in Durham.

But it's still going to take a lot of work.

So let's keep at it, folks.

Nifong and others need to go to jail.

Brodhead and many of "Dick's team" need to be gone ASAP. Some new trustees wouldn't hurt, either.

The Raleigh News & Observer needs to publish on page one a number of apologies and it's deliberately malicious March 25 anonymous interview story needs to be retracted.

Hopefully, civil suits will tell Durham citizens much more than we presently know about how so many of our public officials enabled the frame-up.

That knowledge may provide the impetus to change "the crowd" that's run things in Durham for more than 20 years.

The Wolcotts were excellent justice advocates.

Duke lax player on Fox tonight at 9 (w. correction )

Friends tell me tonight's Fox News Channel Hannity & Colmes program will include an interview with Scott Wolcott, a classmate and lacrosse teammate of David Evans, falsely indicted by a grand jury influenced by "evidence" manufactured by Durham DA Mike Nifong and certain Durham police officers.

Hannity & Colmes runs at 9 PM Eastern and repeats at midnight.

I plan to watch it and post afterwards.

I hope you watch it, too.


At 9 pm a blog friend emailed me that it will be Charles and Susan Wolcott, parents of a Duke lax player who'll be on the show tonight. The friend said she had that news from Susan Wolcott. The friend added: "If her son IS on the show his name is WILLIAM and not SCOTT."

I reported what I was told.

I'm sorry if any of that was in error.

I'll watch the program which has just started and make any error acknowledgment as necessary later this evening.

CORRECTION: My original post was wrong and the updated information was correct.

I'm sorry for my error.

I posted on the program here.


Addison Series #2 – “CrimeStoppers will pay cash”

Readers Note: For background on this post see “The Cpl. Addison Series” and “Addison Series #1 - "This horrific crime”

Veteran Durham police officer Cpl. David Addison has for some years served as the Durham Police Department’s (DPD’s) full-time Coordinator with Durham CrimeStoppers (CS), which DPD’s website says is a separate organization independent of DPD.

According to DPD’s website:

”Local law enforcement agencies conduct CrimeStoppers investigations, but a board of directors made up of citizens from a broad cross-section of the community is responsible for establishing CrimeStoppers' policy, raising funds, and determining the amount and method of reward payments.”
That CS description is similar to the one Addison’s supervisor, Maj. Lee Russ, described to me during an interview last June.

Russ also said during a recent interview (email exchange) that Addison occasionally fills in as DPD spokesperson for DPD’s regular spokesperson, Ms. Kammie Michael.

Michael is a DPD civilian employee. She therefore does not have the police responsibilities and duties which Addison does as a sworn law enforcement officer. Nor is she in a police line of command.

From March 24, the day the public first learned of “the Duke lacrosse case” until at least March 27, Addison served DPD spokesperson for the case.

As DPD spokesperson, Addison repeatedly told the public a woman had been brutally beaten and raped at a party hosted by members of the Duke Men’s lacrosse team.

But in fact the evidence DPD had at the time indicated very strongly that the crimes Addison was telling the public in absolute terms had occurred almost certainly hadn’t, something Addison surely knew at the time.

Addison’s false statements regarding felony crimes at the party were essentially the same as those Durham DA Mike Nifong began making publicly on March 27, and would continue to make for nine months, until the NC State Bar’s Ethics Committee brought charges against him for numerous ethics violations, including publicly making such statements.

On March 24, the day Addison is first mentioned in media reports as DPD’s Duke lacrosse spokesperson, Durham police officers working the case were ordered to report directly to Nifong.

That could explain why Addison’s DPD supervisors didn’t act to correct the false information he was giving the public. They may have rationalized to themselves that correcting Addison was Nifong’s responsibility.

Press reports indicated that on either March 27 or 28 Kammie Michael began speaking for DPD on the lacrosse case.

But Addison wasn’t finished giving the public false information about “the crimes” of the Duke lacrosse players.

On March 28 Addison, acting as Durham CS Coordinator, released via email to media, DPD substations and others the first version of the Duke lacrosse CrimeStoppers “Wanted” poster. (The CS poster was amended by Addison at least twice on April 10 at the direction of his immediate DPD Supervisor, Maj. Lee Russ. I’ll say more about that in the next series post.)

The March 28 CS “Wanted” poster said in part:
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.
The “Wanted” poster ended:
Information can also be provided anonymously through Durham CrimeStoppers at 683-1200 or by email to (Please use an anonymous email account). Durham CrimeStoppers will pay cash for any information which leads to an arrest in this case. (The full text of the “Wanted” poster is the third document in this post.)
[Before going further, I want to remind readers the CS “Wanted” poster and the “Vigilante” poster are two very different documents. For more information about their differences, see here.]

No one disputes that when Addison served as DPD spokesperson from March 24 to 27 for the Duke lacrosse case, he did so as a sworn, veteran DPD officer. Both DPD and the City of Durham bear responsibility for what he said and did then.

However, there is considerable contention regarding the circumstances in which Addison produced and distributed the CS “Wanted” poster. There’s also contention regarding which of three agencies (CS, DPD and Durham City) bear what, if any, responsibility for Addison’s “Wanted” poster actions.

There are also questions that need to be answered concerning why Addison produced the “Wanted” poster in the first place.

Did Addison produce the poster at the behest of Nifong or a DPD officer who was reporting to Nifong? Or did Addison simply produce the poster entirely on his own because he thought it was what a DPD officer and CS Coordinator should do on March 28?

A few other questions from among many that need to be answered: Did Addison at any time discuss the “Wanted” poster with anyone connected with the Duke lacrosse investigation, including Nifong and officers reporting to him? Did he discuss it at any time with any DPD officers, including his DPD supervisors, before April 10 when Russ directed him to change it?

Let’s sort through the contentions and questions. We can’t resolve everything, put we can get some things “out there.”

First, what do Addison and CS have to say about the dissemination to the media and community of a CS “Wanted” poster that made what Addison knew were false charges directed against 46 Duke students, none of whom the police by March 28 had even identified as primary suspects and brought in for questioning, and some of whom DPD knew had not only not been at the party, but had not even been in Durham the night Crystal Mangum made her false accusations?

In a word: Nothing!

Beginning last May and continuing this January, I called Addison at his CS number repeatedly and left VMs. I always ID’ed myself as a blogger and explained my purpose for calling.

Helpful DPD personnel even gave me Addison’s cell number. VMs left there were never returned, either.

During my recent email interview with Maj. Russ, I explained Addison’s failure to respond to my calls. I asked Russ if he could help get Addison to respond.

Russ told me:
“Cpl. Addison will have no further comments on this incident or the Duke Lacrosse case in general.”
Write it down: DPD’ s first spokesperson on the Duke lacrosse case and it’s CS Coordinator and “Wanted” poster producer will have “no further comments” on his statements to the public that innocent citizens had committed a “brutal rape” and “this horrific crime.”

As with Addison, I’ve tried many times to reach CS representatives since last May. My calls have never been returned.

Does Durham CS have an active board of directors? Does Durham CS have regular board meetings, open to the public or at least reported on in media?

Not that I can find out.

I asked Russ last June if he knew how I could reach anyone at CS. He told me to just keep trying what I was already doing.

In that same interview last June Russ said Addison had a kind of blanket authority from CS’s board to issue at his discretion “solicitations of information” (a term DPD uses interchangeably with “Wanted” poster, flyer, email).

It was, Russ said, with that CS authority and acting as CS Coordinator that Addison produced the “Wanted” poster. Therefore, Russ maintains, DPD does not bear responsibility for the production and distribution of the March 28 “Wanted” poster.

In correspondence I’ve reviewed, Durham’s city manager, Patrick Baker, has said essentially the same thing.

Since I’ve not been able to reach anyone at CS, I can’t report its position regarding any responsibility it bears for a poster that a Durham attorney, Alex Charns, acting on behalf of an unidicted Duke lacrosse player, says libeled the players.

Charns has requested an internal DPD investigation and report concerning the production and distribution of the March 28 poster as well as a full public apology to the players by the City of Durham for its distribution to media and the public.

In the next Addison Series post, I’ll report on the steps Charns has taken and the responses of DPD and Durham City.

I interviewed Charns on Feb. 19 and I’m awaiting a call back from Baker’s office. So I should be able to give you “the latest” on what’s happening. The post is titled: “Not my poster.”

That post will be followed by the last two in the Addison Series: “Sue who?” and “It’s called ‘squeezing.’”

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Churchill Series – Feb. 19, 2007

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

As August 1939 drew to a close, it was obvious that Britain would soon be at war with Germany.

TIME magazine’s September 4, 1939 edition, prepared, of course, some days before that date, gave TIME readers some sense of what was happening in London and the rest of Britain on the eve of war:

Joseph Patrick Kennedy, 50, father of nine and normally cheerful, flew from Cannes to London one day last week brimming over with gloom which had been gathering inside him for more than a year.

As the official eyes, ears, head and heart of the U. S. in Great Britain, it seemed that he was at last about to behold that unspeakable spectacle which he had dreaded: totalitarian war in which women & children, the aged and the ill, civilians as well as military, orders sacred and orders profane, would all be devastated regardless.

Ambassador Joe Kennedy returned to a Britain preparing for death on a scale it believed impossible to exaggerate. Yet Britain was calm, methodical, at moments almost whimsical—completely different from last September.

London expected 100,000 air-bombing casualties per week. Some 250 big suburban busses were transformed into ambulances. Hospitals ringed the city, first-aid stations honeycombed it.

But these preparations were only for a London that was to be relatively empty 48 hours after hell should erupt. Evacuation plans for all nonessential workers, for mothers & children, old people, invalids, were set and published. Beauty parlors were crammed with women seeking one last hairdo before fleeing to safety or reporting for emergency jobs.

King George returned, hurried and hatless, from Scotland to attend Privy Council, become a quasi-dictator and stay at Buckingham Palace, beneath whose gardens were built prodigious bombproof quarters for King, retinue, servants. Queen Elizabeth and the two Princesses stayed on at Balmoral Castle, where gas masks were issued to all.

Later they would go to Windsor Castle, whose rock, looming above the fabled cricket fields of Eton, was tunneled and chambered invulnerably for them and for art treasures from Buckingham Palace as well as the Castle.

Queen Mary obdurately insisted on staying at Sandringham on the dangerous east coast.

Their Majesties' friend and Great Britain's U. S. banker, John P. Morgan, called off the grouse shooting at his Scottish moor, offered his Gannochy Lodge to the nation for a hospital.

To Ambassador Kennedy, retired U. S. Banker George Weeks (National City) offered his "Headley Park" on the downs near Epsom as a refugee embassy. […]
You can read the rest of the article here.

On September 3, 1939 at 11 A.M. GMT Prime Minister Neville Chamberlein announced to the nation that Britain was now at war with Germany.

In the next few posts we’ll look at what Churchill was doing during those final days preceding a war he’d seen coming for 20 years; and done more than perhaps any statesman in Europe to avoid.

Piot hurt himself

CORRECTION: I say in the post that Professor Piot is a signatory to the Group of 88's statement. He is not.

I apologize for my error.


On November 18, 1973, as the Watergate cover-up was unraveling, The Washington Post reported President Nixon had said:

"People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook."
On Feb. 12, 2007, in what was advertised on the Internet as a panel presentation on Duke’s West Campus to which the public was invited , African and African American and Cultural Anthropology professor Charlie Piot, a signatory of the now discredited Duke faculty Group of 88’s “listening statement,” attacked historian, Brooklyn College professor and blogger Robert KC Johnson, one the statement’s leading critics.

Piot ended his attack with: “KC – Shut up and go back to teaching!”

Nixon’s “I’m not a crook” claim didn’t do him any good. If fact, it hurt him. It got a lot of people saying to themselves: “Now that I think about it, maybe he is a crook.”

What about Piot’s “KC – Shut up and go back to teaching?” Did it do Piot any good? What are people at Duke, especially Piot’s faculty colleagues, likely to think of it ?

Piot clearly meant his “Shut up” line to be one of the most important in his lecture. It was his crescendo and climax, delivered with deliberate emphasis. It drew long and sustained applause from his audience which included many of his fellow Group of 88 signatories and their students.

As regards all of that, Piot’s “Shut up” closer was well-chosen and successful. It expressed in a few words exactly what Piot, the majority of the “88,” many of their students and some others at Duke would like Johnson to do.

But did Piot’s “Shut up” do him much good beyond “the world of ‘88’ and its satellites?”

I doubt it. In fact, I think Piot’s “Shut up” has already hurt him and will hurt him even more as people at Duke learn what he said. While the panel event has received scant media attention, word of Piot’s “lecture” is spreading on campus with his “Shut up” line getting the most attention.

Did Piot want people to view his lecture as a scholarly disputation?

If he did, ending with “KC – Shut up and go back to teaching” was a mistake.

Telling another academic to “Shut up and go back to teaching” is the way you end an ad hominem, which is just what Piot’s “lecture” was. (Taping of Piot’s remarks was not permitted except for an “official” taping by panel sponsors who haven’t released it. Piot told me in an email he couldn’t release text copies of his remarks because he’s promised them to a journal editor who’s agreed to publish them, a proviso of which is that Poit’s remarks not be released pending journal publication.)

I’ve often heard “Shut up and go back to teaching” or something very like it said at Duke. “I wish that professor would just shut up about politics and teach” and “If we don’t safeguard our rights, the trustees will think they can tell us, ‘Shut up and go back to teaching.’”

Duke faculty have a very strong negative reaction to the “Shut up” line, especially when the target is a fellow academic, even one with whom they disagree.

Faculty who value open debate and free expression, and that’s most Duke faculty, scorn those demanding an academic “Shut up and go back to teaching.”

In fact, thinking back over a more than 30 year association with Duke, I can’t recall a single professor who, speaking at a public panel forum, said of another professor: “Shut up and go back to teaching.”

I’m not saying it hasn’t happened, and I’m not saying that most of Piot’s “88” colleagues and some others on the faculty wouldn’t say the same thing to Johnson in the same kind of setting. We’ll have to wait and see.

But I am saying Piot’s statement, coming from a Duke faculty member, is unusual, abhorrent and will be rejected by the overwhelming majority of Piot’s faculty colleagues.

They’ll instead identify with what Economics Professor Roy Weintraub, a faculty member for thirty-seven years and twice chair of the academic council said in a Feb. 14 letter to The Chronicle ( “Disagreement is not McCarthyism” )
”I don't ask the panelists to shut up and teach. I ask them instead to understand that for various Duke faculty, staff, administrators, students, parents and alumni to disagree with them in public or in private is neither McCarthyism nor an academic travesty and betrayal of the values of our institution, but is rather an expression of their believing otherwise.”