Saturday, June 02, 2007

INNOCENT: Catotti Country (Post 2)

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
Catotti Country: Where you can try competence and character, but the appeals of race, gender and class are supreme.

Jon Ham at Right Angles has a terrific post telling us more about what’s Watt in Catotti Country.

Jon also links and comments on a KC Johnson post that takes a look at Catotti Country.

Start with Jon's post and let him link you to KC.

INNOCENT: Cotatti Country

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
Catotti Country: Where you can try competence and character, but the appeals of race, gender and class are supreme.

In today’s Durham Herald Sun we read:

City Council members have named five of the 12 people who will investigate how Durham police and District Attorney Mike Nifong handled the Duke lacrosse case, and expect to appoint the rest by June 8. …

Since the initial group of appointees includes four white men and a black woman -- Norris -- officials conceded the desire for balance would complicate the remainder of the appointments. Bell said later that compromises might be necessary.

"We might not hit the diversity goal," he said. "We might not hit the [stipulation] that you have four criminal defense people. But we're trying."

The demand for diversity came from Councilwoman Diane Catotti who, last week, was the only council member to vote against launching the investigation. She said Friday that given the initial appointments, the remainder of the slate should include two white women, three black women and two black men, thus leaving the panel 50 percent black and 50 percent female.

"This case raises so many race and gender issues it's important to have that parity," she said, conceding that the panel's eventual composition might vary by "one or two" from her ideal. …

At Friday's meeting Bell began assigning members to look specifically for people fitting the gender and racial profiles Catotti suggested.
Welcome to Catotti Country, where you’re judged by the color of your skin and your gender.

What about character and competence, you ask? Don’t they count for anything in Catotti Country?

Well sure, but not nearly as much as race and gender.

That’s why, in Catotti Country, if you’re setting up a committee to investigate a police department that a distinguished attorney recently said very likely committed crimes during an investigation headed by a DA the Attorney General publicly said was a “rogue” DA, you don’t go looking for the most qualified people to serve on the committee. Just imagine what could happen if you did that.

Instead, you use formulas and quotas to select committee members.

You’re not comfortable with that? It’s too much like those quotas and formulas many country clubs and colleges and universities used to use for admissions: Five percent Jews, ten percent Catholics, and of that ten percent, no more than a quarter of them Italian, etc, etc.

You were taught that sort of thing is discrimination. Doesn't Councilwoman Catotti oppose discrimination?

Well, I haven’t interviewed her but I think I’m safe in saying Catotti would tell us she’s very opposed to discrimination. What’s more, she’d never use the kind of formulas and quotas that trouble you. She’d say they trouble her, too.

I think what Catotti has in mind is something more like: “Five percent Conservatives, ten percent white males, and of that ten percent, no more than a quarter of them athletes, etc, etc.

Life in Catotti Country.

The entire H-S story is here.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Churchill Series – June 1, 2007

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

This post is about Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation in June 1953. But not our Winston Churchill.

The Winston Churchill in this post is the great man’s grandson who, in his autobiographical Memories and Adventures, tells us a bit about what happened when he was invited to serve as a page at the Coronation. He was 12 at the time and attending Eton:

As may be imagined I was thrilled at the prospect of being a page at the Coronation, not least for the fact that it would mean getting away from school on at least three occasions, including twice for rehearsals. …

For the first rehearsal in May all those with specific parts to play in this splendid and ancient ceremony, excepting only the sovereign, were assembled in Westminster Abbey. We were directed to our places, under the eagle eye of the Duke of Norfolk, the hereditary Earl Marshal of England, and told precisely what was required of us at each point in the ceremony, from the highest functionaries of Church and State down to the smallest pageboy….

Though short of stature and ruddy of face and, viewed from across the great expanse of the Abbey, looking like nothing so much as Mr. McGoo, the Duke of Norfolk, trailing a long microphone lead behind him, instantly asserted his authority over the proceedings by the brusqueness of his commends but, above all, by his precise knowledge of every detail of the ceremony. …

There was a splendid moment when the Earl Marshal commanded the Archbishop of Canterbury: “Archbishop! Pray bring the crown!” The Archbishop shuffled off into a corner and reappeared a few moments later bearing a crown in his hands.

The Earl Marshal took one look at it from a distance and instantly proffered the stinging rebuke: “Archbishop! That is the wrong crown! Pray bring St. Edward’s Crown!”

It had an electric effect on the assembled company and thereafter, each one of us, from the Chiefs of Staff downwards, determined not to give the Earl Marshal any ground for offering us so stinging a public rebuke.

For the dress rehearsal just a few days before the great occasion, my mother supervised my turnout in minute detail, arranging for my hair to be cut and giving the barber precise instructions as to how it was to be done. No sooner had we arrived at the Abbey than I was accosted by Field Marshall Montgomery who could never readily restrain his instinct to be a busybody: “Boy! Tell your mother to get your hair cut before the day!”
I hope you’re smiling. Have a nice weekend.
Winston S. Churchill, Memories and Adventures. (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) (pgs. 75-76)

INNOCENT: Neff Misspeaks (Post 4)

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
Readers Note: Background to this post can be found in: "INNOCENT:N&O's Neff Misspeaks at Press Club," "INNOCENT: Neff Misspeaks (Post 2)," and "INNOCENT:Neff Misspeaks (Post 3)."

To understand the email below to Raleigh N&O investigative reporter Joseph (Joe) Neff, it's essential you be familiar with the contents of the three posts linked above.


Dear Joe,

Regarding Anons calling attention to bloggers' and journalists' errors, I want to tell you why I believe it’s OK for Anons to point out our errors. I hope doing that will persuade you to correct what you said to your fellow journalists and others at the Press Club.

In the last two days I’ve corrected a spelling error in a post title and another error in the body of a diferent post.

You’ll find an acknowledgement of my spelling error on the thread of this post, along with my thanks to the Anon who called it to my attention.

The error in the body of the post was more serious. You can read about that here where you’ll see at the start of the post I placed an ERROR ALERT acknowledging my error, telling readers what I did to correct it, and thanking the Anon who called it to my attention.

One of the most serious errors I’ve made in two years of blogging involved Duke President Richard H. Brodhead and Tom Bevan of

You, Joe, likely know about Bevan's RCP but for readers who may not, RCP is probably the most visited and best public affairs and political news and analysis site on the web.

Last October, in a post concerning President Brodhead and his response to the Duke Hoax, I included part of a Bevan post on the same subject. But Bevan’s post contained a significant error which I carelessly missed.

Within the hour two Anons called the error to my attention. I immediately began a correction process by placing the following Readers Note at the head of the post:

In the post below Tom Bevan says Duke's President Richard H. Brodhead expelled members of the Duke lacrosse team "from the University without giving them so much as a chance to defend themselves and prove their innocence is reprehensible and unforgivable."

That statement is wrong. No Duke lacrosse student was expelled as a result of the party.

I should have caught Bevan's error before including it in my post.

Bevan's an outstanding blogger who I'm confident would have corrected the error had I called it to his attention. I plan to do that as soon as I finish this note.

I plan to also email President Brodhead and apologize to him for publishing the false statement.

I'll also be letting readers know what happened in a separate post which will include a thank you to those readers who called the mistake to my attention.

Look for a post later this evening or tomorrow (Blogger is going "on and off" right now) with a title such as "My mistake - I apologize"

I apologize to any of you who were misled by my error.

Excepting the unintentionally false statement, I stand by everything else in Tom's post and mine.

The next day I posted “My mistake – I apologize.” I wanted that stand alone post to call attention to my error.

In it I let readers know I’d sent President Brodhead an apology and asked him if he felt there was anything else I could do to set the record straight. I told readers I'd also been able to reach Tom Bevan. He then issued his own correction in which he called his error “significant.” The post includes a link to Bevan’s correction.

Joe, when I contacted Bevan and told him of his error, I only identified myself as John in Carolina. Bevan and I have never met. He doesn’t know me. But he corrected his error.

I’ve never asked Bevan why he did that but my guess is he did it for three reasons:

1) He wants to put the truth out there.

2) He values his integrity.

3) He wants RCP readers to know if he makes a mistake, he’ll correct it ASAP.

My take on things is Bevan and I are both lucky to have readers who point out our errors.

My only problem with such readers being Anons is becasue of that, I can't be sure they get my thanks for helping correct my errors and making JinC a better place.

I hope you understand my position. I'll keep what the Quakers call "the good hope" that you'll come to agree with it.


John in Carolina

INNOCENT: Councilman Questions DPD Actions

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007

In a story in today’s Raleigh News & Observer concerning the possible makeup of an independent committee to look into Durham Police Department’s Duke lacrosse investigation which led to the arrest and charging of three innocent men in a case where the NC Attorney General later said their was no evidence of any crimes we read :

...Council member Eugene Brown on Thursday released a set of questions for the committee that doubled as a blistering critique of the investigation's flaws.

"What was in the collective DNA of some within the Durham Police Department that denied the accused justice in our city?" Brown asked.

"Who was really in charge of investigating this case, the Durham police or the D.A.? Who was driving the train, and who was stoking the coal in the fire engine to keep this hoax of an investigation going?" …

After Mangum failed to identify her attackers in six photo lineups, investigators showed her photos of 46 members of the lacrosse team.

Though City Manager Patrick Baker and Police Chief Steve Chalmers said the seventh photo procedure was never intended to be a lineup, it led Mangum to identify four attackers, including the three who were later indicted.

"For Ms. Mangum," Brown wrote, "this was like shooting fish in a barrel.

"In essence, are police admitting that they tried doing the lineup the right way six times with no positive results, so they had to change their procedure to get what they wanted?"

Brown also pointed to discrepancies in police investigators' notes that he said raised questions about "the reliability of accounts by police."

He asked about the typed notes from Sgt. Mark Gottlieb in July 2006, which differed drastically from notes handwritten by Investigator Benjamin Himan four months earlier.

Notes taken by Himan when he and Gottlieb met with Mangum in March 2006 say that she described her three attackers as "heavyset, dark, chubby or short."

But Gottlieb in July wrote that she had described one of the three players, Collin Finnerty, as blond, baby-faced, tall and lean -- strikingly accurate terms.
The N&O linked to a pdf copy of Councilman Brown’s statement which is on City of Durham stationary and addressed to: Independent Investigator.

I’ve read Brown’s statement. It reveals a public official who knows a great deal about the case, is articulate, can ask properly pointed questions, and obviously cares about justice in Durham.

Brown’s been outspoken in his refusal to go along with Durham City Manager Patrick Baker and Police Chief Steve Chalmers when they say, in effect: “Nothing to see here, folks. Everyone go on home.”

So it wasn’t a total surprise that Brown would issue such a statement. Still, it’s so well done and touches on so many important areas of DPD’s actions with regard to the DPD case that when I finished reading the statement I wanted to cheer.

Here are a two examples of Brown’s pointed questions:
In DPD’s search for evidence, why was Dr. Julie Manly, who conducted the medical exam of Ms. Mangum at Duke Hospital, not interviewed?

Why did it take nearly a month for DPD to talk with John Shelton, the officer who first picked up Ms Mangum at the Kroger’s on Hillsboro Rd. and why was Officer Shelton’s dubious belief in Ms. Mangum’s story given no credence with the investigators?
Those of you who visit Durham-in-Wonderland know KC Johnson’s been asking that question for months. Brown’s right on point to ask it.

Wouldn’t we all like to know whether Baker, Chalmers, or Deputy Police Chief Ron Hodge ever asked it? And if any of them did, what answer(s) did he/they get?

BTW – Hodge is one of three finalists Baker has picked to succeed Chalmers when he retires in August. Can you believe that?

Regarding Brown’s compound question concerning Sgt. John Shelton, JinC Regulars know I posted concerning it some months ago. Shelton’s decisions that night are extremely revealing and have stood the test of time. I’ll post again tomorrow or Sunday concerning Shelton.

Brown devoted an entire section to the CrimeStoppers Wanted poster which many bloggers have posted on (DiW, Liestoppers, The Jonesville News, La Shawn Barber and JinC have probably been the most frequent posters).

I’ve typed out the Wanted Poster section of Brown’s report for those who have trouble accessing pdf. I follow it with a few comments ending this post. Here’s Brown (remember it’s my transcription. I may get a word or two wrong):
Before any indictments were issued, the DPD officially and repeatedly told the public that horrific crimes had been committed at the lacrosse party. In late March 2006, I, and many others, received an email “wanted poster” from Durham CrimeStoppers which stated: “The Duke Lacrosse Team solicited a local escort service for entertainment. The victim was paid to dance at the residence located at 610 N. 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.” The message later appeared, I believe, on the Trinity Park list serve and other media outlets as well. Several questions arise from this:

Who authorized Officer Addison to create and distribute such a false and libelous posting and to personally appear on WRAL (March 24, 2006) and state: “You are looking at one victim brutally raped.” Since he was not an investigator in this case, how did he reach this fallacious conclusion? Who finally ordered the poster to be removed from the public arena?

The poster states that “CrimeStoppers will pay cash for any information which leads to an arrest in this case.” Was any money paid to any citizen for such information and if so, what was received in exchange? The second dancer, Kim Roberts, who accompanied Mangum changed her story often, including after the reward poster became public. Were any public funds paid to her.
I’ve not reported or commented on the Kim Roberts/CS cash matter because I just don’t know anything about it, including whether or not it even occurred. The same goes for whether CS paid anyone else cash in this case.

But on many other aspects of the Wanted poster’s creation, distribution, Addison’s role, what his DPD supervisors did and didn’t do, Duke’s involvement in that DUPD Director Dean was CS board chair at the time the Wanted Poster was produced, DU’s dean of students Sue Wasiolek was a CS board member, etc. I covered the story and commented.

That background leads me to say this: Brown has asked few questions regarding the poster but they are the key ones. My father used to call such questions "pay dirt questions."

And if people had nothing to hide, most of the questions Brown's asking could be easily answered. “Did you, Cpl. Addison, decide to create and distribute the text for the Wanted poster on you own or did someone tell you to do that? And if someone told you, who was it?”

You get the idea, folks.

Now I’ve got to wrap this up because I want to get a post up responding to N&O reporter Joe Neff.

Message to Councilman Eugene Brown: You did a great piece of work. Every Durham citizen who values justice and wants the best police force possible for Durham will appreciate what you’ve done.

I think the people in town who will most appreciate it are the vast majority of Durham police officers who do an outstanding job, need the public’s trust and cooperation to do it, and want the DPD to be the best administered and most effective force it can be.

Message to JinC readers: Brown's document should draw a quick and cooperative response from Baker, Chalmers and Hodge. But it won’t. Look for denial and obfuscation. Maybe worse.

It will be a tough struggle to wring the truth out of those who attempted the frame-up and those who enabled them by looking the other way.

We need to stay at it.

I’ll post tomorrow on Addison and Shelton. I’m sorry there are so few links in this post but its rush-rush time.


Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Churchill Series – May 31, 2007

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

One evening in December, 1931 while in New York City, Churchill was struck by an automobile as he crossed Fifth Avenue on his way to visit his friend, Bernard Baruch. As he stepped into the street, he had looked right which is the proper direction to look in Britain, forgetting to look left now that he was in America. He never saw the car coming.

Churchill’s injuries were serious and required a seven day hospital stay followed by two weeks in bed at his hotel. Churchill was slow to recover and in considerable pain for many weeks.

In an effort to ease his recovery, his doctors agreed it would be good for him to go to the warm Bahamas where he could get out in the sun. Churchill’s bodyguard, Scotland Yard’s Detective Inspector Walter Thompson, had accompanied him on the trip. He tells us of an incident in the Bahamas:

Mr. Churchill is a man of infinite courage, but once he gave me the impression of being frightened.

It was in the Bahamas at Nassau early in 1932. He had gone there to recuperate after his accident in New York. The hotel at which he stayed was on the corner of a main road, and he was still very weak.

One morning we were out for a walk, and as we came out of the hotel a Ford car came round the corner very fast…

There was no pavement, and Winston clasped my arm and learned back against the wall, trembling. His face had gone as white as a sheet and beads of perspiration stood out on his forehead.

I was alarmed at this and said to him, gently, “Sir, you really must not do that. Try to pull yourself together.”

I could feel him bracing himself before he replied, “Yes, Thompson, it was silly of me, but it won’t occur again.”

It never did.
None of us would agree it was “silly” of Churchill to react as he did. On the other hand, I think we’d all agree with Thompson that “Mr. Churchill [was] a man of infinite courage.”

Walter Thompson, Beside The Bulldog: The Intimate Memoirs Of Churchill’s Bodyguard. (Apollo Publishing) (pg. 75)

Visiting Normandy – Post 3

The previous posts in this Visiting Normandy series are: Post 1 and Post 2.

If you can only check one of those post, make in Post 1 which includes:

Now, folks, moving on ---

Most of you going to Normandy this summer to visit the invasion beaches, inland battlefields, military cemeteries and war museums have very likely made your hotel or B&B plans.

But for some of you who’ve not done that or are looking forward to a trip in the next year or two and are traveling by car and independently rather than in a tour group, I’ve a recommendation: make Bayeux your overnight stop. (It’s better to stay at least three nights if you can.)

Bayeux is a small city of about 16K located 5 or so miles from the channel coast. The city is much like a friendly town. Most services, hotels, restaurants, stores, city sights and medical facilities are within the radius of a mile from the city center and Bayeux’s beautiful Cathedral de Notre Dame.

The Michelin Green Guide for the region that includes Bayeux will tell you a lot about the history, geography and sights of Bayeux. The Michelin Red Guide is a reliable guide to hotels and restaurants in France. It lists a number of each in and around Bayeux.

Michelin Red rates all hotels and restaurants it lists. It also provides pricing, booking and contact information, including addresses, phone numbers, and internet addresses.

In recent years some people have taken to knocking Michelin. Well, it isn’t perfect. But I’ve traveled throughout France for the last thirty years or so, and if I had to rely on only one hotel/restaurant guide, it would be Michelin.

A French friend recently put it very well: “Michelin is not everything. Still, it is the best if you want to get what you pay for.”

Tomorrow I’ll say more about Bayeux. I'll include some “How to enjoy a French restaurant” tips.

INNOCENT: Neff Misspeaks (Post 3)

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
Readers Note: I’ve previously posted: "INNOCENT: Neff Misspeaks at Press Club" and "INNOCENT: Neff Misspeaks (Post 2)”

If you’re not familiar with both posts, please read them. Knowing what’s in those posts is essential to an informed understanding of what follows.



You know I’ve twice invited Raleigh News & Observer investigative reporter Joseph (Joe) Neff to correct claims he made concerning the N&O’s coverage of the Duke lacrosse case when he participated on a panel at The National Press Club.

From an audio of the event I’ve transcribed, posted and shared with Neff his claims as follows:

“One of the things that I think really helped our paper throughout this story is we have a really strict policy against the use of anonymous sources and we did not use a single anonymous source or unnamed source in our – uh – I think as of now we’ve written 541 articles by – with at least 19 different bylines on it and what that (Neff pauses)

It was really frustrating in the initial couple of weeks when it was so competitive and no other newspaper and no other radio or TV station felt compelled to – they were going with 'sources close to the prosecution' or 'we have learned' or 'Nightline has found out' and they would just put stuff out there.

Now some of it we knew because we were told off the record, but we won’t use it, but some of it was absolute nonsense –ah – ah – so it allowed us to get beat on some very small things, but in general by not using anonymous sources, we were really saved – ah – from putting some –ah- some bad stuff in the paper.”
(Moderator moves to another matter)
Neff has so far failed to acknowledge he made the claims you’ve just read or to correct the record.

Below is Neff’s most recent email to me, followed by my reply to him.

Dear John in Carolina,

May I repeat my request that you identify yourself so I know with whom I have the pleasure of corresponding? I'm happy to elaborate on my comments in public. I'm quite at a loss that someone who has posted dozens of times to our newspaper website and writes so frequently about my newspaper does so from behind a curtain of anonymity. I much prefer the transparent approach of Prof. KC Johnson.

Which brings me to another point: I saw that your original post on this issue was Monday evening at 9:27. You first emailed me about it 4.5 hours later, at 1:54 am Tuesday, if timestamps are to be trusted. May I suggest you follow Prof. Johnson's practice (and this newspaper's) of attempting to contact people before you write about them?



Dear Joe,

Thank you for your prompt response.

I want to give it a thoughtful response which will speak to your concerns. Yesterday and today been a very busy days, so I must delay my response until tomorrow.

In the meantime, to keep readers current I’ve posted your most recent response, this email, links to the previous posts and the transcription I shared with you.

Have you been able to learn whether will “post” the audio of the panel session?

I’ve listened again to it and it’s certainly very newsworthy. I think people interested in the case and/or contemporary American journalism would find it very interesting.

On my end, I’ll continue to try to find a web site which will “post” it.


John in Carolina

INNOCENT:Durham Mayor Rips Baker, Staff

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
From today’s Durham Morning Herald: “Mayor rips water, sewer figures”

Mayor Bill Bell ripped city administrators Wednesday for saying that City Manager Patrick Baker's 2007-08 budget request would raise water and sewer rates by 6.9 percent.

The percentage actually will vary slightly depending on how much water a household uses, and for most customers will be in that ballpark. But Bell criticized Baker and his staff for publicizing the average because it could confuse residents.

"Your proposal represents about an 8 percent increase, independent of how much water you use," the mayor said during a Wednesday budget review. "That to me is different than a 6.9 percent increase."

Deputy City Manager Ted Voorhees and Assistant City Manager for Budget and Strategic Initiative Julie Brenman tried to explain the calculation to the mayor, but made little headway.

"That's very misleading," Bell said, interrupting Voorhees as the administration was explaining that officials calculate the percentage using an industry-standard assumption for household water use. "I'm not going to let you talk me out of this." …
The rest of the H-S story is here.

Mayor Bell’s criticisms yesterday of Bell and his staff come on the heels of his rejection of City Manager Baker and Police Chief Chalmers’ “report” on DPD’s actions in the Duke lacrosse case.

Bell blasted the report as inadequate and has called for an outside investigation of DPD’s conduct in the case.

Bell has been particually eager to know what role DA Nifong had in directing the Duke lacrosse investiagion.

Regarding an outside investigation, defense attorney Joe Cheshire recently told The Chronicle:
"I would not be surprised if [an independent investigation] would uncover conduct that was criminal in nature as it relates to obstruction of justice and creation of evidence," Joe Cheshire, an attorney for [David Evans, wrote in an e-mail.
For his part, Baker seems to want “business as usual. He’s selected current DPD Deputy Chief Ron Hodge as one of three finalists to succeed Chalmers when he retires this August.

I’ll have more to say soon about Mayor Bell.

KC Johnson, Liestoppers and The Johnsville News are covering Durham doings in detail and with great skill. Give them a look. I visit them every day.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Churchill Series – May 30, 2007

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

In the past few series posts I’ve sought to illustrate how carefully, sensitively and skillfully Churchill began on May 11, 1940 to assert the powers of the Prime Minister’s office to which he’d been appointed the previous day as the Germans began their blitzkrieg attack in the West. During the first weeks of his premiership there were many who questioned his fitness to hold the office. They were ready “at the instant” to join in plotting to replace him.

That may be hard for some to believe today, but Churchill was aware of it at the time. He knew especially that within the Conservative Party Chamberlain still had many supporters, a good number of whom were Cabinet officers whom Churchill had not yet had time to shuffle to other, less important posts or deny a place in his Cabinet.

Knowing all of that, on the morning of May 11 Churchill wrote a letter to the man he had just succeeded, Neville Chamberlain, a proud, really vain, man who had not resigned willingly and still commended considerable support within the Party as did Churchill’s rival for the premiership, Lord Edward Halifax, at the time Foreign Secretary.

Churchill’s letter is a masterpiece. It’s sensitive, generous to Chamberlain and reveals the carefulness, subtlety and wisdom with which Churchill began to exercise the powers of his new office.

After giving Chamberlain an account of meetings he’d just had, Churchill told Chamberlain that he had directed that no Cabinet officer would give up any housing quarters that came with the office for 30 days.

This was a break with customary practice which was that outgoing Cabinet officers vacate their housing quarters within a day or two of giving back their seals of office. In the case of Chamberlain, Churchill’s directive meant he could remain in the housing quarters at 10 Downing Street.

Churchill’s directive, which he said he was issuing to avoid petty inconveniences during the battle then raging in the Low Countries and France, was sensitive and generous.

And there was more of that to come for Chamberlain, who had agreed to serve in the Cabinet as Lord President of the Council and as a member of a small executive group called the War Cabinet. Churchill’s letter continued:

“As we [two] must work so closely together, I hope you will not find it inconvenient to occupy once again your old quarters which we both know so well in Number 11."
Number 11 Downing Street is customarily occupied by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It’s on the same side of the street as Number 10. The buildings share a common wall. Both Chamberlain and Churchill had been Chancellors of the Exchequer and lived at Number 11.

In assigning Chamberlain the quarters at Number 11, Churchill is not only being sensitive and generous to Chamberlain. He's arranging matters so that the British people will see the former Prime Minister and "the new man" working together as they literally live side-by-side.

Now that's the way to start building a national unity government, isn't it?

The letter continues and we see Churchill, still sensitive, begin to exercise his powers more forcefully but so carefully and wisely there’s nothing those who might challenge him that day can do but go along with him.
”I do not think there is any necessity for a Cabinet today, as the Armies and other Services are fighting in accordance with pre-arranged plans.

I should be very glad, however, if you and Edward [Halifax] would come to the Admiralty War Room at 12:30 P.M. so that we could look at the maps and talk things over.”
Isn’t what Churchill does in those two sentences brilliant! He lets everyone know who’s in charge of calling and cancelling Cabinet meetings; and that he now invites the two men who a week before most Britons considered their country’s two most powerful leaders to come see him at a time and place he sets.

Churchill’s letter is a wonderful example of statesmanship and political savvy working together for the nation’s benefit. And it’s a reminder "The Last Lion" was often “a wise, old fox.”
Excerpts of the letter can be found in Their Finest Hour, volume two of Churchill's “History of World War II” (Houghton Mifflin)(pgs. 10-11)

Enabling Muslim Terrorists

Australia's Sydney Herald columnist and blogger Andrew Bolt explains why a smart, independent, and accomplished woman "has a point when she says Islam is violent and a threat to a liberal society."

Bolt uses a news story and his commentary to make the woman's point.

Bolt tells us Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali will arrive in Sydney amid tight security. He intersperces excerpts from a report in (italics) with his commentary.

Now Bolt's column:

The Somali-born Muslim - who fled to The Netherlands, became a Dutch citizen and renounced her religion - has been under 24-hour guard since the murder of film-maker Theo van Gogh in November 2004 by a Muslim extremist in Amsterdam…

Van Gogh’s film Submission, which examined the oppression of Muslim women, was written by Hirsi Ali. His killer, Mohammed Bouyeri, left a five-page death threat addressed to her, pinned to the filmmaker’s chest.
But apparently local Muslim spokesmen think the real problem is what she says, rather than the threat to her life from bigots when she says it:
However, University of Technology Sydney Islamic law lecturer Jamila Hussain said Hirsi Ali’s ideas were extreme and stigmatized Muslims.

“I think she’d be better staying where she came from,” Ms Hussain said...
Actually, it’s such comments by Muslims who should know better which so stigmatize their community.

Even when such “leaders” claim Hirsi Ali stigmatizes them as violent and anti-liberal, they confirm there is in fact something to fear:
Nada Roude, of the NSW [New South Wales]Islamic Council, said Hirsi Ali’s comments on the prophet Mohammed were a “no-go zone"…

“There have to be boundaries in how far you go in respecting other’s beliefs. The reaction from the community is likely to be quite worrying.”...
Instead of seeing the “quite worrying” likely response from Muslims here to the exercise of free speech as the real problem, Roude quite typically reverses the blame, and claims the real problem is actually the woman who has had to live under police guard for four years.

[Hirsi Ali is]not a victim, after all.

No, the victim is the Muslim community whose more extreme members have given her such reason to fear for her life, and whose leaders so often refuse to defend her right to speak, to visit and to live unmolested. Victimhood is once more triumphantly claimed by people who should instead examine their own illiberal culture. (emphasis added):
Ms Roude said there seemed to be a double standard about who was allowed to visit Australia, particularly as Hirsi Ali’s visit appeared to have the potential to incite hatred.

“Muslims are not treated the same,” she said. “There are a set of rules for one community and another for the rest of the community. Anyone who causes harm to our society because they have the right to express their opinion is not welcome.”
Translated? Shut up and you’ll be safe. Criticise Islam, and the consequences be on your head. No matter what we do to you, we are the victims.

This is mad.

Consider: of the three people mentioned above - two Muslims and one non-Muslim - only one needs constant security.

Who, then, is the true victim? Who has more to fear?

INNOCENT: DPD & Duke Contacts: Questions

CORRECTION ALERT: This post originally said the April 4 phone call to Duke's Vice President for Campus Safety and Security Aaron Graves mentioned below was placed by DPD Inv. Himan. In fact, as a helpful Anon pointed out, the call to Graves was placed by DPD Sgt. Gottlieb.

The post has now been corrected.

Many thanks to the Anon. Such commenters make JinC a more reliable blog.


"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
A Durham Herald Sun story today provides information that contradicts Durham City Manager Patrick Baker's and Police Chief Steve Chalmers' claims concerning the April 4, 2006 photo session at which false accuser Crystal Mangum identified four Duke lacrosse players as her "assailants." Three of the four were later indicted as part of an extensive frame-up attempt carried out by DA Mike Nifong, members of the DPD and very likely others.

The story also reports on a previously undisclosed meeting involving Duke University’s Associate Vice President for Campus Safety and Security Aaron Graves, its Police Director, Robert Dean, Baker, Chalmers, Deputy Police Chief Ron Hodge, “a police attorney,” and the two principal DPD lacrosse case investigators, Sgt. Mark Gottlieb and Inv. Benjamin Himan. The H-S also reports on a subsequent phone call Gottlieb made to Graves the morning of April 4.

You can read the H-S story here. It’s a very important one with a great deal of information. There’s some very insightful commentary concerning it at this Liestoppers forum discussion site.

In this post I want to discuss the Duke aspect of today’s story. Excerpts from the H-S story:

… The media crush also focused high-level administrative attention on the case. The two detectives, [Gottlieb and Himan,] met on March 29 with Baker, Chalmers, Hodge, a police attorney and two Duke University officials -- Associate Vice President for Campus Safety and Security Aaron Graves and Police Director Robert Dean.

Baker on Tuesday said the March 29 meeting allowed him to hear from Gottlieb and Himan first-hand, to make sure they and Duke police were working smoothly together and to make sure the detectives had the resources they needed to finish the investigation. He said the issue of identifications didn't come up.
There are questions raised in my mind by the fact that that particular group of people met on March 29 and by Baker’s preposterous explanation for their meeting.

If Baker just wanted to hear first-hand from Gottlieb and Himan to make sure they were working smoothly with Duke police and had the resources necessary to finish the investigation, what were all those other people doing at the meeting? Especially, why was “a police attorney” there if the meeting was for the purposes Baker described? And, by the way, who is that police attorney?

Baker didn’t have to involve Graves and Dean if all he wanted to do was hear from Gottlieb and Himan about cooperation between Duke and DPD, did he?

On the other hand, if Baker and DPD wanted to work out something involving Duke and DPD that was very important and/or questionable, that might need a signoff from the “top cops” at Duke.

In that case, Baker would want/need Graves and Dean at the meeting, wouldn’t he? And maybe a police attorney to assure Duke’s “top cops” that ....

Folks, that was a “heavy hitters meeting” involving top law enforcement people at Duke and DPD, with Baker/DPD bringing along an attorney. Some very important things were surely talked about and perhaps decided there.

A little further along in the H-S article we find:
The detectives met with Nifong on March 29 and again on March 31. In the first meeting, the district attorney asked them to contact members of the lacrosse team to see if they'd talk.

In the second, according to Gottlieb, he suggested assembling the photos taken the week before and showing them to the accuser "to see if she recalled seeing the individuals at the party."

Himan's notes -- which were drafted at the time, while Gottlieb compiled his report a couple of months after the fact -- didn't mention any of the three meetings.

Gottlieb said he reported the Nifong's suggestion to Lamb and Ripberger on March 31, and had Himan and Investigator Shanda Williams start working on the PowerPoint.

Himan finished the job on April 3, the following Monday, after having Clayton and another investigator, Michele Soucie, review the presentation. The next day, Gottlieb had an office assistant, Van Clinton, look over the presentation again, and then had Clayton and two crime-scene technicians, Angela Ashby and Heather Maddry, help him show it to the accuser.

He also placed a morning call to Graves. Duke officials, like Baker, said the ID process wasn't discussed. "It's my understanding that at that stage it was just about the ways the university could assist in the investigation, and there was no discussion of the ID session," Duke spokesman John Burness said Tuesday.
Woah, Nelly!

Why is Burness speaking for Graves? Shouldn’t Graves be telling us about his phone conversation with Gottlieb?

And what is “It’s my understanding that at that stage” telling us?

It’s such a carefully qualified remark that it left me asking myself again: “Why isn’t Graves telling us about his phone conversation with Gottlieb?

And was it just a coincidence that Gottlieb called Graves on the same day DPD ran what Professor James Coleman called the “no wrong choice” photo ID procedure which was so essential a part of the frame-up?

What’s my strongest reaction to today’s H-S story? It helps build the case for a thorough investigation by the federal government.

I hope you read reporter Gronberg’s H-S story and check in at the Liestoppers forum.

The Churchill Series - May 29, 2007


I'm sorry there will be no Churchill post today, and I'm sorry I'm late getting this notice up.

It's been an extremely hectic day with a lot happening on the blog front and in other areas of my life.

But I plan to be back tomorrow with a Churchill post.

I hope you're back to read it and comment if you're so inclined.

Thank you.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

INNOCENT: N&O’s Neff Misspeaks (Post 2)

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
Readers Note: Yesterday I posted: "INNOCENT: Neff Misspeaks at Press Club"

While serving on a Duke lacrosse case panel at The National Press Club, Raleigh N&O investigative reporter Joseph (Joe) Neff claimed his paper has a strict policy against the use of anonymous sources. In fact, the N&O has no such policy.

Neff also told the audience, described as mostly young journalists, that the N&O didn’t use a single anonymous source or unnamed source in its Duke lacrosse coverage.

That’s not true. The N&O made frequent and sometimes critically important use of anonymous sources in its Duke lacrosse coverage. I cited some examples in the above referenced post.

I sent Neff an email with a link to the post. I invited him to correct the record and offered to post his correction.

If you’re new to the story or just want to review it, please read “INNOCENT: N&O’s Neff Misspeaks at Press Club.” Doing so will help you understand the post that follows which is an email exchange

I plan to post again on this matter. I’ll also share with you what I hear back from Neff.


Today I received the following email from Neff:

Dear John in Carolina,

Would you have the courtesy to identify yourself to this reporter so I know with whom I am corresponding?

Thank you.


I’m about to send Neff with the following email:

Dear Joe:

Thank you for your prompt reply.

I had time today to listen and transcribe your Press Club remarks.

I’ve checked and rechecked my transcription. While I may have a word or two wrong, I’m confident that what follows in italics is a very accurate rendering of what you said:

“One of the things that I think really helped our paper throughout this story is we have a really strict policy against the use of anonymous sources and we did not use a single anonymous source or unnamed source in our – uh – I think as of now we’ve written 541 articles by – with at least 19 different bylines on it and what that (Neff pauses)

It was really frustrating in the initial couple of weeks when it was so competitive and no other newspaper and no other radio or TV station felt compelled to – they were going with 'sources close to the prosecution' or 'we have learned' or 'Nightline has found out' and they would just put stuff out there.

Now some of it we knew because we were told off the record, but we won’t use it, but some of it was absolute nonsense –ah – ah – so it allowed us to get beat on some very small things, but in general by not using anonymous sources, we were really saved – ah – from putting some –ah- some bad stuff in the paper.” (Moderator moves to another matter)
Joe, if you find what you think are errors in what I’ve told JinC readers you said, please call them to my attention so I can review them, and make whatever corrections are necessary.

As to my identification: check the two years worth of JinC archives you can easily access from my main page. They’ll tell you a lot about me.

Now, what about what you said at the Press Club about the N&O's use of anonymous sources?

We surely agree a reporter’s reliability is very important, and is especially important when the reporter is an investigative reporter.

So I ask you again to consider correcting the record.

As I promised yesterday, I’ll publish in full a statement you make correcting the record.

I hope you do.

There are other even more important parts of the N&O’s Duke lacrosse coverage that need examination. I want to move on to learning about them and reporting what I learn to JinC readers.

For example, why did certain N&O journalists decide on March 24, 2006 to withhold from the rest of media and its readers the critically important and exculpatory news that during the N&O’s interview with the “anonymous accuser” she claimed “the second dancer” had also been sexually assaulted, but hadn’t reported the assault for fear that doing so would cost her her job? Or that the "anonymous accuser" said “the second dancer” would “do anything for money?”

Can you tell us why the N&O withheld that exculpatory news for thirteen months; and only reported it on April 12, 2007, the day AFTER NC Attorney General Cooper had declared the framed students innocent?

Do people at the N&O ever discuss what might have happened if the N&O at some point - say in mid-April when Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann were arrested in their dorms, hand-cuffed and taken to the county jail – had published what Crystal Mangum actually told you on March 24, 2006 instead of your deliberate and malicious fraud about the frightened young black mother, the three white Duke gang-rapists and all their drunken, racists lacrosse buddies who were covering up for them with a "wall of solidarity?"

Please correct your “no anonymous sources” claim and move on to answering the questions asked here.

The victims most brutalized in this case – the players and their families – deserve answers.

And so do N&O readers and many millions of Americans who care about truthful reporting and justice.

A final matter: can “post” the Press Club audio tape? I think visitors to the site would appreciate the N&O doing that.

Again, thank you for your response today. I look forward to hearing from you and posting your response.


John in Carolina

INNOCENT: Duke Loses to Brown

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
The AP reports:

Reade Seligmann, one of the three former Duke lacrosse players cleared of rape charges, will attend Brown University in the fall and play lacrosse for the Bears.

"I hope to make them proud of accepting me as a student," Seligmann said Tuesday in a statement provided to The Associated Press by his attorney, Jim Cooney. "I am looking forward to just being a student again."

Seligmann's announcement came a day after the Blue Devils lost to Johns Hopkins 12-11 in the NCAA championship game in Baltimore.

"I appreciate the support and loyalty of my teammates and coaches at Duke," Seligmann said. "I will miss them. I know that they will understand why I cannot return to Duke. I have been proud to be a part of their team and I am grateful for the support they have given to me over the past year."
I’m sure everyone reading this wishes Reade Seligmann well at Brown.

For thirteen months Seligmann had to battle through an extraordinarily trying and unjust ordeal.

People he expected would treat him fairly, educate him, and aide him in time of need did terrible things to create the ordeal. Some of those people sought to frame him for felony crimes he obviously never committed while others enabled the framers by their silence or outright support.

Seligmann fought through the ordeal with grace under pressure, remarkable character, fortitude and the wisdom to draw strength and guidance from a loving family and skilled counsels. And he stayed close to dear friends.

He’s earned every blessing life can bring. It's a safe bet Brown will always be proud to claim Seligmann. He'll bring honor to Brown.

As for Duke, who doesn’t understand why Seligmann feels he “cannot return” there?

I’ll soon say more about that.

For now I’ll just say this: It should be very troubling to people who care about Duke that the University has lost a student like Seligmann while keeping a president like Dick Broadhead and faculty like the Group of 88.

The AP went on to report:
[Collin] Finnerty remains undecided on where he will attend school.

"I'll be going in the fall somewhere," he told the AP during Monday's championship game. "Hopefully we can decide that soon and get things going back the way they should be."

Former Duke coach Mike Pressler recently completed his first season as head coach at Division II Bryant University in Smithfield, about 10 miles from Providence.

Pressler was forced to resign from Duke last year and is releasing a book on the case next month.

He declined to comment through his agent Tuesday.
The entire AP story is here.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Churchill Series – May 28, 2007

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

I want to build on something in last Friday’s post. My aim is to illustrate how carefully, sensitively and skillfully Churchill began on May 11, 1940 to assert the powers of the Prime Minister’s office to which he’d been appointed the previous day as the Germans began their blitzkrieg attack in the West.

In Their Finest Hour, volume two of his “History of World War II” (Houghton Mifflin) Churchill writes:

Early on the morning of May 11 I sent a message to Mr. Chamberlain: “No one changes houses for a month.” This avoided petty inconveniences during the crisis of the battle. I continued to live at Admiralty House and made its map room and the fine rooms downstairs my temporary headquarters. (pg. 10)
I remarked:
As far as I know, Churchill’s “no one changes houses” directive applied to all cabinet members of Chamberlain’s former government. It was very important not only for “avoiding inconveniences during the crisis of the battle,” but for showing regard for the feelings of outgoing cabinet members whose posts came with housing. That was a very important consideration at a time when Churchill was seeking to build a coalition national unity government.
It was that, but it was more.

This was Churchill’s first directive to the other members of the Cabinet. When he gave it his fitness to hold the premiership was questioned by many of them. Some hoped he would be a brief interim premier. They were ready to challenge his authority at the first opportunity.

Churchill knew that which I believe helps explain why his first directive was not only sensitive and sensible but required that nothing be done by the outgoing ministers who would soon be shuffled to other cabinet posts or denied a place in it. And since most of the posts in the incoming cabinet hadn’t been filled yet, who was there to complain?

The PM’s first directive was agreed to by all.

Churchill promptly followed his “no move” directive with other exercises of his authority that reveal a skilled and experienced political leader deftly gathering into his hands the powers of office . Tomorrow I post on how he did that. I think you’ll agree that "the Last Lion" was also a wise, old fox.

1st Lt. Lynch & Sgt. Regan Remembered

In the Duke community all who knew them remember with affection and respect 1st Lt. Matthew D. (Matt) Lynch, ’01 and Sgt. James J. (Jimmy) Regan,’02.

From Trinity A&S:

[Matt]Lynch, from Jericho, New York, was commissioned in the marines after graduating with a BA in history.

He was among the first U.S. troops deployed to Iraq in March 2003. He returned to his base, Camp Pendleton, CA, but went back to Iraq in March 2004 with a different unit that had lost a number of officers to injuries. He finished that tour in July 2004, and volunteered for a third tour when his original battalion was redeployed.

Lynch's brother, Tim, 27, an FBI special agent who served with the marines in Afghanistan and Iraq, explained Matt's decision to the New York Daily News: "It's hard to understand if you're not in the military. When it's people you look at as your brothers, it's a pretty easy decision to go back there."

Matt Lynch was a standout swimmer his first, second, and fourth years at Duke, owning school-best times in the 100 and 200 freestyle and the 200 individual medley and taking part in the 200-, 400-, and 800-freestyle relays. …

Lynch played baseball his sophomore and junior years, and though he started only 15 games over two seasons as a backup catcher, batting .245 with nine RBI, he is remembered by coach Bill Hillier, Sr., for "practicing hard and playing hard."

In an e-mail, Hillier said he talked to Lynch just before his graduation about Lynch's plan to enter the U.S. Marine Corps' Officer Candidates School. "He said he wasn't sure how people would react to his going into the military after getting a Duke degree," Hillier wrote.

"I told him there was nothing wrong with graduating from the best school in the country, then serving for the best country in the world. I told Matty — as I called him — I thought he'd be an awesome officer, and when the call came to me for a background check, I told the interviewing officer the same thing. Matty will be missed by me and by many others — but not forgotten."

Lynch was killed in late October, 2004 during a roadside attack near Ramadi.
Jimmy Regan, a lacrosse letterman from 1999-02, died Feb. 9, 2007, in northern Iraq from wounds suffered when his vehicle was struck by an explosive. Regan was serving with the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. …

Regan finished his career with the Blue Devils with 22 goals and four assists, helping the program to a four-year record of 43-21 with two ACC championships (2001 & 2002) and four NCAA Tournament appearances. An Academic All-ACC selection, Regan was named to the 2002 ACC All-Tournament Team after scoring a career-high four goals and adding one assist as Duke defeated then top-ranked Virginia, 14-13, in the championship game.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in economics from Duke, Regan turned down a job offer from UBS, a financial services company, and a scholarship to Southern Methodist University's law school to enlist in the Army, where he passed on Officer Candidate School to focus on becoming a Ranger.

"He said, 'If I don't do it, then who will do it?'" Regan's fiancée, Mary McHugh, told Newsday. "He recognized it as an option and he couldn't not do it."

Columnist Mary Katharine Ham: Former teammate Kevin Cassese remembered Jimmy as, "the ultimate Duke lacrosse man-- a man of tremendous loyalty, character, and fortitude," whose decision to join the Army seemed natural to anyone who had seen him lead on the field. "Jimmy was a leader in every sense of the word, and the pride and honor of fighting for our country was something that meant a lot to him," Cassese said in an e-mail interview.
Family and friends established scholarships to honor both men.

In Matt Lynch’s memory, you can contribute to “Duke University Office of Gift Records” (please note that your gift is for the Matt Lynch Scholarship Fund). The fund code is 618-4637. Duke University, 2127 Campus Drive, Box 90600, Durham, NC 27708

In Jimmy Regan’s memory contributions can be sent to the Jim Regan Scholarship, c/o Chaminade Development Office, 340 Jackson Ave., Mineola, N.Y. 11501.

“You are men who in your ‘lives fought for life . . . and left the vivid air signed with your honor.’”
President Ronald Reagan, Pointe du Hoc, June 6, 1984

“They gave their tomorrows for our today.”
Memorial inscription honoring war dead, Prince Hill, Cheshire, England

INNOCENT: N&O’s Neff Misspeaks at Press Club

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
On May 22 The National Press Club hosted a Newsmaker’s panel: "The Duke Lacrosse Case: A Rush To Judgment and Journalism's Future."

Panelists were National Journal columnist Stuart Taylor, who with historian and blogger KC Johnson is writing a book on the Duke Hoax; Rem Reider, editor of The American Journalism Review; and Raleigh News & Observer reporter Joseph (Joe)Neff.

I’ve been unable to find any MSM reporting on the event but I found one blogger, La Shawn Barber, who attended and reported on it.

If you’ve followed the Duke Hoax, you know La Shawn was one of those who early on questioned false accuser Crystal Mangum’s claims. La Shawn’s Hoax reporting and commentary have been among the best out there.

But for all that she’s done right, as I read La Shawn’s Press Club post, I found myself questioning something she reported.

According to La Shawn:

Neff said … that his paper has a strict policy against using anonymous sources.
How could that be right? The N&O frequently uses anonymous sources for both important and trivial news stories.

Most of you know, for example, the N&O’s March 25, 2006, 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" ) relied heavily on an interview with Mangum, who was granted anonymity.

In its story which we now know was a fraud, the N&O informed readers the accuser was granted anonymity because the N&O did that for “victims of sex crimes."

The N&O’s March 25 story was picked up that day by the AP and the networks, and reported across America by thousands of news outlets.

The N&O's “anonymous interview” story framed the lacrosse players in the public’s mind as a gang of drunken white racists which included three rapists of a "frightened young black mother" and the rapists’ teammates, who were all covering up for them with “a wall of silence.”

Did Neff forget the March 25 front-page, above the fold fraudulent story was based on an interview with an anonymous source?

What about those N&O news stories that relied on information provided by anonymous sources including the accuser’s father, other relatives, her former husband, neighbors and friends? For example, “Father: Injuries were telling” (Apr. 5) and “Mother, dancer, accuser” (Apr. 16). ($ req’d)

Has Neff or anyone at the N&O forgotten that, alone among major North Carolina newspapers, the N&O published on April 2 a photo copy of the anonymously produced “Vigilante” poster AFTER Duke expressed concerns that doing so could endanger the players?

How could Neff have said what La Shawn reported he said?

I purchased an audio tape of the panel session from the Press Club (C-SPAN didn’t tape the event). You can order a tape by calling the club at 202-662-7598. The cost is $20.00. It’s sent via US Postal. The quality’s excellent.

I’ve listened to the tape.

La Shawn had it right. Joe Neff said what she reported.

In fact, Neff went into detail about what he said was the N&O’s refusal to use anonymous sources when reporting the “Duke lacrosse case.”

That from the man many people say is the one N&O reporter “you can trust.”

Neither Taylor nor Reider questioned Neff’s bogus claim when he made it, or at any time that’s recorded on the tape.

And Neff’s claim wasn’t questioned during the Q&A.

Yet surely most of the people in the room, including the audience that at one point is referred to as mostly “young journalists,” knew Neff’s claim was bogus.

What to do?

I'm sending Neff the email below inviting him to correct the record.

I’m going to send Taylor and Reider links to this post, and invite their comments.

I’ll let you know what I hear back.

I’m sending La Shawn a link for her information. Be sure to take a look at her post. Everything I read there checks out with what I heard on the tape.

Tonight and tomorrow I’ll work to find a radio blogger who’ll “post” the audio tape so you can listen for yourselves. Keep your fingers crossed. Better yet, do you have a suggestion as to how we can get a tape out on the net?

I’ll post again on other statements the panelists made. It was a very interesting discussion.
Dear Joe,

Blogger La Shawn Barber, who covered the National Press Club panel session, reported you said the N&O doesn’t use anonymous sources.

I’ve listened to the panel session audio. La Shawn has it right.

I posted on what she reported and what I confirmed. I also provided JinC readers with examples of the N&O’s use of anonymous sources which in the Duke Hoax case were an essential for the launching of the witch hunt and the public framing of the Duke students.

For all we know, Joe, the N&O’s use of those anonymous sources might even have encouraged “the Nifong/DPD team” which did the “investigative and indictment” part of the framing of David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann.

Here’s a link to my post:

I hope you correct the record. If you do, I'll publish what you say.

I also hope there’s a way you can let the young journalists who were at the session know that what you told them was a significant misspeak.


John in Carolina

Visiting Normandy - Post 2

Readers’ Note: Many of you have asked questions concerning the Normandy invasion beaches as well as inland battlefields, monuments, museums and military cemeteries.

In this “Visiting Normandy” series, I’ll offer some responses with the usual “no guarantees.”


Since most of you reading the series will be Americans, I’ll write from an American perspective. But I welcome queries and comments from citizens of every country.

Post 1 is here. Post 2 today is special bacause JinC Regular AMac has just returned from Normandy and was good enough to share some information. It follows. I’ve included some comments of my own in italics.


By coincidence, I am back from visiting France last week. I made it to many of the spots that John recommends, and can concur with his advice.

A few things that struck me during my three days in Normandy

-- I went unsure about anti-American sentiments. I found none. Politically, the papers were full of the aftermath of Pres. Sarkozy's election and choice of P.M.--French politics.

I invited conversation among acquaintances and family (I speak some French), but none led to the broad-brush caricatures that I half-expected. It was a reminder that people (and peoples) can disagree at times, without becoming adversarial.

( Almost all the people in Normandy are extremely nice and go out of their way to help you, especially if you are in a group they learn has a returning D-Day or Battle of Normandy veteran.

But really they are very nice to all veterans. More than most people I’ve encountered, the Normans have an appreciation for military service. and the risks and sacrifices it entails.

-- The invasion sites are a paradox: it was illuminating to see the actual sites I'd read about, especially the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc and the Mulberry remnants at Arromanches. At the same time, the landscape is enormously changed from 60 years ago. The demands of agriculture have eliminated bocages from the fields. A modern road network girds the area. Time and human endeavor have masked the destruction of June 1944, so that a visit to that past requires an overlay from the mind's eye, derived from reading accounts of that time.

-- The Peace Museum at Caen offers a great account of the circumstances of origin of the war, the war itself, and the invasion. That said, I found the overall point of view to be a case-study of cognitive dissonance. "The suffering that the Liberation caused was worth it" superseded by "All war is the same, and it's all bad". One can't hold both views at once... but that seems to be the stance of the museums' curators. Be that as it may, the museum is excellent, and well worth a half-day's or day's visit.

( Yes to everything AMac says about the museum. The way I put it is: “It’s a museum with a split personality.”

Something not to miss at the museum is a film containing actual footage of events surrounding and on D-Day from both German and Allied perspectives. Footage includes Germans guarding the beaches, in their defensive positions, sighting the invasion ships, loading cannons while on the Allied side you see the ships crossing the channel, the off-loading of troops into landing crafts, the run in under fire to the beaches, etc. The film’s extraordinarily well done. It’s repeated often every day. Check for times when you first enter the museum.

-- Along with "The Longest Day", I profited from reading "Overlord" by Max Hastings (1984) and "Decision in Normandy" by Carlo d'Este (1994).

-- If you go by car: Europcar threw in a GPS system, unasked. It was immensely helpful. Still, it was near-essential to have Michelin regional map #513, Normandie (or a competitor's equivalent).

( Great advice on the Michelin #513 map. Many Barnes & Nobles and Borders carry it or will order it for you. It’s good to study the map before you start your trip.

Michelin maps are often the most expensive, but they’re invariably the best.

There are plenty of less expensive maps, even free ones with some commercial advertising. But my experience has been that when traveling in a foreign country, cheap maps can be mighty costly.

I rarely drive in Paris and then only on a Saturday or Sunday morning. If you’re traveling to Normandy from Paris, you can take a train to Caen and rent your car there. Most of the rental companies are right across from the train station. That makes for an easy return, too.

-- It is well worth the effort to strike up conversations with the older men one is likely to encounter as fellow hotel guests. Many are returning veterans (I met Americans and Brits) with first-hand stories they are willing to share.

( Wise advice that may lead to some of your best memories of your Normandy trip . Don’t forget to inquire of the Normans concerning their D-Day experiences or those they’ve heard from family members.

But approach them carefully. While the Normans appreciate their land was liberated at great cost to Americans and others, it was also liberated at great cost to them, sometimes including the deaths of parents, spouses and other loved ones as well as the destruction of their homes, farms and villages.

That caution observed, you’ll almost always find the Normans eager to talk to you and with much to share.

I’ll post tomorrow on Bayeux as a place to stay during your Normandy visit.

Thanks, AMac, for some great travel tips and commentary.

“Human-rights” orgs: The Bad And The Best

Ralph Peters asks:

How many "human-rights activists" does it take to betray civilization?

After the Fatah al-Islam terrorists holed up in a Palestinian camp carried out a wave of bombings, bank robberies and assassinations, Lebanon's struggling democratic government ordered its army to stop them.

The Palestinian refugees themselves applauded the army's efforts, stating that few of the terrorists were local and most were fanatics from other Muslim states. The terrorists ruled with the gun and sought to enforce Sharia law. Their victims want them gone.

The response from Human Rights Watch?

Ignore the crimes of the terrorists and criticize the Lebanese army for attacking them "indiscriminately."

That would be travesty enough for one week, but it was only a sideshow. Each year, Amnesty International releases what purports to be an objective global survey of the state of human rights.

Sounds like a great idea, but the report has long since degenerated into an effort to protect terrorists and mass murderers from justice - and bash America.

In its latest report, Amnesty International denounces the United States again. This time, it seems we're the foremost global abuser of human rights.

Oh, if you keep reading, rogue states such as Zimbabwe, China, Sudan, Russia and Iran get tut-tut mentions, although North Korea just sounds like a weight-loss spa. Except for our democratic ally, Colombia, only the United Kingdom appears remotely as savage as the United States. …

The sad truth is that the misnamed "human-rights community" just may be the worst enemy of human rights without a country of its own. There are real human-rights tragedies unfolding every day, from Harare to Havana, but activists don't give a damn about the average Joe or Miguel or Ali.

It's all about saving celebrity mass-murderers. And their advocates' Freudian issues with Uncle Sam. Guantanamo is one of the world's best-run prisons, where terrorists are treated all too indulgently. But to hear the human-rights charlatans, you'd think we were the SS at Babi Yar.

And don't forget that wicked-beyond-all-wickedness criminal state, Israel. Thank God we have men and women of conscience to defend the freedom fighters who launch rockets blindly into Israeli cities or massacre children as a legitimate form of protest.

We, the human race, can't afford this nonsense. Human rights matter.

But conservatives abandoned the issue to leftist ideologues - and those of us caught in the middle have no public voice to speak for us.

Meanwhile, the world is screaming in agony, while the high priests of human-rights just want to spit in Washington's face (knowing we won't spit back).

How can anyone who pretends to have a conscience attack the United States for violating human rights and engaging in "fear-mongering," while looking away as millions of Zimbabweans live on the brink of starvation in a police-state, hundreds of thousands lie dead in Darfur, all of North Korea makes Guantanamo look like Martha's Vineyard - and Islamist fanatics kill tens of thousands of Muslims?
Peters continues here.

Peters is right in his descriptions of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other such “human-rights” organization.

He’s also right about conservatives abandoning what is really the defense of our country and civilization in the face of attacks from the Left “activists.” If America falls, so will almost all of what we know as civilized life and individual freedoms.

Billions of people in this world enjoy some measure of freedom, safety and comfort because of something very important they’ve done nothing to create or maintain. It’s a shield that protects what’s good in their lives. It’s called the U. S. military.

AI and HRW enable thug-dictators and terrorists. They spew anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism. They spend money on staff and PR. That’s about it

The U. S. Military is really the world’s best human rights organization.

If you don’t believe that, arrange to visit South Korea for a few months. Live like most people there. Then visit North Korea for a few months. Live like most people there.

You’ll notice big differences. The principal reason for them is the U. S. Military.
Take it away and in a very brief time you’ll have war between North and South, and in time, a Korean peninsula more like the North now than the South.

More than forty thousand American military personnel died during the Korean War. In the more then fifty years since the fighting ceased, hundreds of thousands of American military personnel have served in Korea to assure the truce is observed.

All that sacrifice and service have been necessary to secure the freedoms and standard of living South Koreans enjoy today.

That’s just one example of what the American military means to the world.

Any day is a good day to remember that. Today, Memorial Day, is an especially appropriate one.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Visiting Normandy – Post 1

Readers’ Note: Many of you have asked questions concerning the Normandy invasion beaches as well as inland battlefields, monuments, museums and military cemeteries.

In this “Visiting Normandy” series, I’ll offer some responses with the usual “no guarantees.”


Since most of you reading the series will be Americans, I’ll write from an American perspective. But I welcome queries and comments from citizens of every country.


I’ll start with a few “important notes” and in subsequent posts get into more detail about them.

If you’re going on a tour, there isn’t much point in asking me “when and where” questions. Your tour people will take care of most of that.

If you have a particular question or some special place you want to visit, talk to the tour people ASAP before you leave or first thing on your trip. Then follow-up with them, especially if some days pass before your tour gets to Normandy.

If you’re going on your own, a few thoughts:

Almost all people in the areas of Normandy tourists typically visit speak some English; many speak excellent English.

If it’s your first trip to Normandy, you may be surprised when you do encounter a Norman who doesn’t speak much English how quickly you’ll find a Brit, a German or someone from another country standing beside you and offering to translate.

For normal tourist needs, language shouldn’t be a problem.

Some people think the only way to travel overseas is a different city or town every night.

Not me. I like to drop anchor for at least a few nights in one place. If you have the time, that’s what I recommend you do in Normandy.

And as a base city in which to stay and from which to visit the parts of Normandy we’re talking about, I recommend Bayeux.

I’ll be saying more about Bayeux in the next post.

As for visiting the invasion beaches or an inland battlefield, there may be one that has particular meaning for you because of a family connection or for some other deeply personal reason.

Something like that, of course, will take precedent over what I’m about to say which is this: if you don’t have a strong personal reason for visiting a particular place in Normandy associated with the battle, and your schedule permits at least two full days of touring, visit the following places in the order given:

1) The Peace Museum in Cean

2) Pointe du Hoc

3) The western end of Omaha Beach at Vierville-sur-Mer

4) The American Military Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer

5) The guns at Longue, if possible at low tide, so you can also see the caissons at Arromanches (scroll down to Longue)

6) Port-en-Bessin (scroll down to Port-en-Bessin)

7) The British Military Cemetery in Bayeau

Tomorrow, Memorial Day, I’ll say a little more about the sights I’ve suggested and the order for visiting.

Final suggestion for tonight: If you can read only one book about D-Day, I recommend Cornelius Ryan’s The Longest Day.

See you tomorrow.

INNOCENT: N&O Lax Cover-up - 5/27/07

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
From Merriam-Webster Online: cover-up -- a device or stratagem for masking or concealing.

The Raleigh News & Observer continues to work hard to cover-up its role in launching and sustaining the public witch hunt and framing of the white Duke students on the school’s 2006 Men’s lacrosse team.

In today’s N&O reporter Ben Niolet’s story ( "Lacrosse case leaving marks in court" ) begins:

The judicial system has a hangover. Call it the Mike Nifong effect.

In North Carolina and across the country, prosecutors with upright reputations are having to make assurances that they don't break the rules. Judges and lawyers have taken to using Nifong's name and the outcome of the sexual assault case against Duke University lacrosse case players as a shorthand for all manner of prosecutorial outrages. The case has made it harder for prosecutors nationwide to get funding or laws changed. …
I don’t doubt that all true.

But in the middle of Niolet’s story, he says:
Nifong led the charge against the lacrosse players. He denounced them to the news media while trying to build a case in spite of nonexistent and contrary evidence. …
And that’s not true, as Niolet and his editors know.

Nifong didn’t begin speaking publicly about the case until March 27, 2006.

The charge against the lacrosse players was led by The Raleigh News & Observer when it “broke the Duke lacrosse story” with a March 24 story in which the N&O seven times called the accuser “the victim” or referred to her with the possessive “the victim’s.”

Thus, in the first Duke lacrosse story the public read, the N&O repeatedly told readers the accuser was the victim thereby framing the lacrosse players as her vicitmizers.

On March 25 the N&O ran on page one, above the fold, with five column wide headlines the “anonymous interview” story:

A woman hired to dance for the Duke lacrosse team describes a night of racial slurs, growing fear and, finally, sexual violence
That story presented the lacrosse players as a gang of drunken racists among whom were three rapists and their teammates who were covering up for them.

The N&O’s March 25 story sent "the Duke lacrosse story" national and international.

By March 26 thousands of news outlets were reporting the N&O’s story about about a night that ended in “sexual violence.” Many millions of Americans were convniced “the frightened young black mother” had been brutally raped by three privileged white guys whose teammates had formed “a wall of silence” to protect them.

The N&O’s charge against the Duke students was so savage and effective that when N&O news columnist Ruth Sheehan began her March 27 column, "Teams' Silence is Sickening" , with,
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
most people, including many at Duke, applauded Sheehan's McCarthyite screed attacking the students for doing nothing more than following their parents' and attorneys' advice.

It was only later that day that Mike Nifong began speaking publicly about the Duke students.

I hold no brief for Nifong. He should be removed from office. What's more, his official conduct should be examined with an eye toward criminal prosecution.

But Nifong didn’t go public about the case until AFTER the N&O had poisoned the public’s mind against the players and inflamed the community.

Niolet and his editors know that.

I’ll send a copy of this post to the N&O’s public editor, Ted Vaden. He’s supposed to look out for the readers’ interest and hold the N&O to what he says are "the highest standards of ethical journalism."

I’ll invite his comment, and let him know I’ll share it with you.

I’ll also send copies of this post to N&O executive editor for news, Melanie Sill, and Niolet.

As with Vaden, I’ll let them know I’ll share with you what they say, if anything, in response.

The Hillary & Bill Show

Noemie Emery at The Weekly Standard offers The Days of Their Lives. It’s a “don’t miss” for all of us who’ve followed the Clinton saga from Whitewater through “I never had sex with that woman, Ms. Lawinsky” thought it all depending on what “the meaning of is is.”

Emery begins:

First there was Dallas and then there was Dynasty, family tales of intrigue in high places, guilty pleasures that kept us couch-bound each week in the 1980s, dazed by the money, the jets, the power, the houses, not to mention the rows and affairs. Then, just as these were reaching the end of their runs, along came The Clintons, a riveting saga of lust and ambition, a tale that never ran out of astounding new plot turns and still keeps the world on the edge of its seat.

As we all know, the story began many years ago, when Wellesley's star feminist met the altogether too plausible Arkansas charmer on the Yale Law School campus, and the two joined their young hearts and their rampant ambitions in an audacious plan to win and share power, of a kind never concocted before.

The series took off, and won a huge following, as one intriguing development followed the next. Bill became Arkansas attorney general, and Hillary helped him. Bill became governor, and Hillary helped him. Bill ran for president, and Hillary helped him, now more than ever.

Bill became president, and the ratings took off, ensnaring a new, international, audience. Bill retired from office, after many adventures, having beaten back efforts to eject him for perjury.

As this was happening, in an attempt to sustain the plot, Hillary ran for the Senate, won, and began running for president, opening a whole new story line, plus a whole new vein of historical interest: Sons have succeeded fathers as president; wives have followed husbands (usually dead ones) into the House or the Senate; brothers have tried to follow brothers into the White House, and failed in the effort; but never before has a former first lady tried to be elected president, and, in the process, make her husband the very first First Man.
The rest is here. Don’t miss.

More later.