Monday, March 24, 2008

Two years ago - The Hoax/Frame went public

On March 24 2006 the Duke Lacrosse Hoax/Frame exploded into the local media with the interview of Durham PD Cpl David Addison on local TV and in the News-Observer & Herald-Sun, both local newspapers. Today we are running a re-post of our Nov 13, 2006 Blog article which explained how the Hoax was promoted from a local story to a National media frenzy.

From the "Wall of Silence" to Community Uproar to a National Story

In one of our earlier posts on the "Hoax within the Hoax," we described how the false accusation that the players were not cooperating spread from the Durham PD Crimestoppers' Cpl. David Addison, into the hands of the local media. We have pointed out that the captains all fully cooperated, providing hours of interviews without counsel and giving written statements. They also provided DNA samples and offered to take polygraph tests, which were refused by the Durham PD. [A Conspiracy of Truth]

Since we posted that article, it has been revealed in court that March 24 was the date that the Police Investigators were ordered to report to DA Nifong and to follow his orders from that point on. Therefore, on that day, DA Nifong became the Chief of the Investigation. This sheds new light on the activities of the police spokesperson Kammie Michael and Cpl. Addison and raises suspicions of the source of the misinformation they released.

March 24 – Friday

On March 24 curious news of the Duke Rape Hoax was released to the media. Cpl Addison appeared on WRAL-TV. He also gave interviews to both the Raleigh News & Observer and the Herald-Sun, spreading the accusations and the false claim of the "wall of solidarity" or "wall of silence." Many of his quotes, as reported, were false and inflammatory.

The lurid details of the assault were a shock to the community, especially to the residents of Trinity Park, where the captains lived at 610 N. Buchanan. A 27 year old Black mother of two and NCCU student was brutally beaten and raped vaginally, anally, and orally for 30 minutes by three white lacrosse players in their midst. The police were reporting the rape as an absolute fact. To make the accusation worse, it was claimed that 43 other players stood by and did nothing to stop it. The extraordinary act of Judge Stephens ordering the entire Duke lacrosse team to submit to 46 separate DNA tests, leaving out the one Black player, gave additional credence to these serious allegations.

The false idea that the team was hiding behind a wall of silence was honestly troubling to many in the community. It caused considerable damage to the team’s credibility. Residents just couldn't reconcile the fact that the players might have been falsely accused with what they were hearing about the brutal nature of the assault from the police. “The lacrosse team refused to cooperate,” so therefore, they must be hiding something, was the conclusion of many. At the same time, the media was bolstering the image of the “victim.” The police knew full well the accuser worked for an escort service, and that the responding officer thought the accuser was" passed out drunk." She had herself admitted her inebriation and her use of the muscle relaxant Flexeril (the night of the party) to the doctors at UNC. Unlike the police, at that time the public did not know of the dancers' conflicting stories, a recantation, or the accuser's long psychological history. Nor did the public know of the prior criminal records of both dancers, or the identity of the person who made the 911 calls. The public did not know, but the police certainly did. Recently we learned that at the same time the candlelight vigils were being held, the accuser was performing her regular stripper routine and signing in clients to the VIP room at the Platinum Club.

These allegations couldn't have come at a more opportune time for DA Nifong's struggling election campaign and the Durham activist community. Sexual Assault Awareness Week at Duke was planned for March 27th through March 31st. The Women’s Center annual week-long event, with its planned seminars and displays on campus, was ready to go on Monday morning. It was the perfect stage for this Hoax to spread. Those who legitimately organized the week on behalf of the Women’s Center wanted to address the issues of sexual assault, but a group of dedicated activists, well known in the local community, were about to take over and exaggerate this accusation into broader issues. Many would now use this as an opportunity to advance his or her own cause. We would also see the Duke 88, a group of professors mainly composed of faculty from the African-American Studies, Cultural Anthropology, English, and History Departments, who had their own overriding agendas ... align with the "professional" protesters. Suddenly this case had racial overtones and this accusation became a forum for their diverse complaints.

Durham and Duke’s Activist Community

With the proximity of the many universities in the Triangle area, Durham has become a center for activism. From protesting about the war in Iraq, women’s issues, racial diversity, environmental concerns, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Progressive Alliance Movement has become a force in local politics.

In the center of much of this activism is the Indy Weekly, an alternative newspaper, which associates itself with progressive causes in NC. Local activists use their list-servers and e-mail accounts to communicate back and forth regarding issues and upcoming protests. Indy staff members & Duke employees would later forward e-mails from the local activists into the Trinity Park Association List-server where sympathetic residents would post them.

On March 7th, some in Duke's professorial community were outraged at the the prospect of a lecture given by David Horowitz: author, conservative TV guest, and publisher of FrontPage Magazine. Most recently he had been promoting his book, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America . One of the professors mentioned in that book was a Duke 88 co-signer, Miriam Cooke. Mr. Horowitz was warning about the growing campus culture of professors who promote agendas, and indoctrinate their students in fields of study that don’t stand up to scholarly standards. It was a packed lecture hall where Mr. Horwitz spoke.

In that audience was another Duke 88 co-signer, Professor Diane Nelson whose idea of a protest against Mr. Horowitz’s demanding higher standards for the professors, was to encourage students to strip to their waists. Fortunately the protest never came off as the tops stayed on.
On that same night, March 7, there was a Hip Hop Forum called “Mic Check: The Hip Hop Generation Has Something to Say” held in Von Canon C at Duke. Manju Rajendran served on a panel that also included Duke Professor Mark Anthony Neal (Duke 88) and Clyde Williams, former adviser to President Clinton, and the chief domestic policy adviser in the Clinton Foundation.

"Manju Rajendran is a 25-year old artist, activist, and biologist. She is on the Future 5000 team of the League of Young Voters, which means she is part of creating an incredible online directory of dope progressive youth organizations across the country. She has worked with Hip Hop Against Racist War, NC Lambda Youth Network, Youth Voice Radio, Movement Rising, National Child Rights Alliance, and more." CampusProgress.Org: Speakers

Campus Progress is the college outreach organization under the Center for American Progress, which is headed by President Clinton’s former Chief of Staff John Podesta. Manju is on a Speaker’s Bureau list of over 160 members that includes the likes of Duke 88 Professor Neal, Rev. Sharpton, and former President Bill Clinton.

Manju Rajendran is a skilled organizer from UNC with a proven track history of projects ranging from the anti-war movement to her “Hip Hop Against the Racist War” group, which she co-founded. Currently she is in South Carolina as the Communication Director for South Carolina Equality Coalition opposing the Constitutional amendment to make same sex marriages illegal.

Rann Bar-on is another Duke activist well known to President Brodhead. A Duke Graduate Student in Mathematics, Rann co-organized Palestine Solidarity Movement Conference at Duke, much to the angst of Alumni and Jewish groups. From being shot by a rubber bullet in a protest against the Israelis in the West Bank, being arrested in an anti-war protest in Fayetteville, to his hobby of taking photos, Rann seems to be always where the protests are. He was there that day at 610 protesting.

The intervention of experienced protesters was about to explode these allegations not only in the community, but across the nation.

March 25th – Saturday

As word of the allegations regarding the lacrosse team’s “wall of silence” spread throughout the neighborhood list servers, the community was called into action. The Herald Sun would describe the effect of its March 25th article in its March 26th paper.

“Several people making comments on the e-mail bulletin boards cited Saturday's Herald-Sun article, in which police said all members of the team had refused to cooperate in the investigation of the alleged attack.” Herald-Sun March 26, 2006

Early Saturday morning the first e-mail went out from a local resident in Trinity Park expressing shock and outrage at the lacrosse team and their wall of silence.

“Shame on them. Shame on the parents who raised them. Who are [sic] this so-called "men" who shout racist slurs and have no respect for women, authority, indeed, for anyone? Who do they think they are? My heart goes out to the woman who may have been assaulted...”

Another e-mail went out announcing that Duke Professor Faulkner Fox was organizing a silent protest at the Lacrosse game at 1 pm and a candle light vigil in front of 610 N. Buchanan. It has become a tradition to hold a candle light vigil when a rape was reported.

“Last night, more than 200 people showed up to the house at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. with candles to protest the “wall of silence” from the Duke men’s lacrosse team. The gang rape alleged to have taken place at the rental house, one of two “lacrosse houses” across from Duke’s East Campus, has stunned the university’s students and the Durham "community.” Indy Week Blogs

Meanwhile, the accuser was stripping with no apparent injuries or harmful effects at the Platinum Club in Hillsborough, according to the club bouncer HP Thomas.

Earlier in the day, at about 4:30 pm Saturday, the activists began to talk about have a large "shout out" as they called it. After the Saturday night vigil they gathered and planned another protest at 610 on a Sunday Morning for "Cacerolazo," or a pots and pans protest.
“Late Saturday Night an anonymous e-mail was sent out on the Indy Weekly List servers. (Listservs)"

by anonymous • Saturday March 25, 2006 at 10:55 PM

"In the early hours of March 14 at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. two black women went to work as exotic dancers for a Duke Lacrosse Team party. The women were surrounded and had racial slurs flung at them by the aggressive men. The two dancers tried to leave but were coaxed to return. One of the women was pulled into a bathroom and raped, sodomized, and beaten by at least three white men for over half an hour. The accusations are first-degree rape, kidnapping, assault by strangulation and robbery, but the members of the Duke Lacrosse Team are maintaining a strict code of silence. Y'all, a sister- an NCCU student and a mom of two- has been brutally assaulted, and we need to get together and make a big noise! A group of concerned Durham residents are planning a Wake-Up Call against Sexual Assault on 9AM Sunday (*tomorrow!*) outside 610 Buchanan Blvd. This is a *peaceful* protest at the house where the rape occurred. Duke officials say the house is rented by three lacrosse team captains. We will not be trespassing onto the property- we will line up along the sidewalk without blocking it. Dress warmly, bring your whole family and bring pots and pans and things to bang them with! We are having a "Cacerolazo," or a pots & pans protest, because it is a tool women all over the world use to call out sexual assaulters. Show up on time! If the police inform us that neighbors feel we are disturbing the peace, we will quietly disperse. We are hitting the ground running on this one, so please call at least one person tonight and pass the word on your neighborhood listservers.”

(This was forwarded by an IndyWeekly Columnist onto the Trinity Park Listserver)

"We need to get together and make a big noise!" Durham residents Theo Luebke and Manju Rajendran wrote in an e-mail that spread to community members and student groups, such as the Women's Center." WomensNews.Org

March 26 - Sunday

The next morning the protest was held at 610 N. Buchanan, home to three of the Duke lacrosse captains and where the alleged incident occurred. It was led by Manju, who was portrayed in the media as a young woman courageously rallying against these “alleged rapists.”

"There is a sense that Duke students need to be protected from Durham, but rapes are happening off East Campus at the hands of Duke students," said Manju Rajendran, an organizer of the event. "We are here to break the silence around sexual assault and violence."

"Signs read 'You can't rape and run' and 'It's Sunday morning, time to confess.' The protesters left the signs on the front steps of the Buchanan Boulevard residence. The crowd yelled, 'Where are their parents?' and called for the lacrosse team's head coach Mike Pressler to be fired. Some wanted the University to force the group to testify."

The propaganda had begun in earnest. The organizers were morphing the allegations into broader issues and attempting to incite the community. There was no data to support that Duke students were raping women off campus. Yet this claim would be repeated during the week.

The 610 Buchanan protest was well planned and organized. The organizers had been thorough and arrive early to knock on doors and inform the neighborhood who hadn't seen the e-mail message. Media were notified, in fact Manju would later claim some members of the media contacted them first. Local TV crews were there to catch the outrage. Stilt walkers were carrying signs of “Give them equal measure,” marching along with members of the Cackalack Thunder Drum Corps, who provide drum beats in protest marches across North Carolina.
610 N. Buchanan Chants

Handouts were passed around and the crowd chanted in unison to the beat of the drummers.

"Who’s being Silent?
They’re being silent!
Whose protecting rapists?
They’re protecting rapist!
So, who are the rapists?
They must be the rapists!"
"Out of the house!
Out of the town!
We don’t want,
You around!"

The week of protests was off and running. It was great-intended theatre, mixed with warning to the Lacrosse captains living in the house, that there could be consequences far greater than any criminal proceedings. Most ominously, protesters carried this sign:

Video and Photos

A video was taken by a fellow protester and freely distributed across the Internet along with photos.
Video of the Protest: Part I Part II
Photos of the Protest:


The next morning March 27th, at 12:30 am, Ruth Sheehan's “Team’s Silence is Sickening” Column was posted online. It was quickly linked on the Trinity Park listserver.

“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.”

Professor Fox would be interviewed on WRAL expressing the shock of the community.

“The arrogance and bravado that they were above the law or they could think this woman is below the respect of the human community really outrages a lot of people,” Fox said.

Manju received a call from MSNBC Rita Cosby's New York producer to appear on Rita's show March 28. She quickly called a meeting with other activists to go over “talking points” that she would use on TV. Her friends in the activist community were abuzz and quickly passed the word to tune in.

RAJENDRAN: Well, I feel like this rape is an outrage, the racist attack is an outrage. But I feel like this is much bigger than Duke and Durham. I feel like we, as a nation, are wrestling with a long legacy of institutionalized racism and a whole culture of sexual violence. We‘re trying to undo a long legacy here, with centuries of oppression.” MSNBC

It was now “institutionalized racism and a whole culture of sexual violence” from an assault that never happened. The protests would grow larger. The “wall of silence” hoax would be repeated over and over. Rann Bar-On would protest against the Duke Administration and call for mandatory diversity programs so the racism at Duke could be confronted. Rajendran and Bar-On would be both seen at other protests and quoted by reporters. Bar-on would be using his IndyWeekly press credentials to obtain access into Brodhead’s press conference and report back what was happening. A small cadre was hard at work—some were Duke employees, some Duke Grad Students, some were just local activists—but they all had one goal: to make as much noise as possible and turn up the volume.

The Hoax had become an event for personal activism. As one student would remark on Duke News Sense:

“It seems as if some protesters of the situation surrounding the Duke lacrosse team are concerned primarily with obtaining "concessions" from the Duke administration and advancing a radical social agenda.”

The Mainstream Media would start pouring in, as more organized protests continued all week long. DA Nifong, empowered by the media attention, went on to make some of his most outrageous comments. Not only did he make prejudicial comments concerning the alleged rape, Nifong even went on to mislead several reporters by hinting of potential evidence that never materialized in discovery.

A perfect example of DA Nifong fanning the flames was captured on CNN Live Today on March 29:

"It just seems like a shame that they are not willing to violate this seeming sacred sense of loyalty to team for loyalty to community," Nifong said on CNN on March 29. "My guess is that some of this stone wall of silence that we have seen may tend to crumble once charges begin to come out."

A misleading "Fact" Sheet, which was posted to the internet by Duke University Environmental Sustainability Coordinator, Sam Hummel, was drawn up by some protestors and subsequently distributed on the listservers. Among other items, the fact sheet falsely stated that the lacrosse team had refused to meet with the police. In addition, a Wanted Poster of the lacrosse team, with curiously similar wording to Hummel's Fact Sheet and featuring head shots of most of the players, was passed out anonymously offering Cpl. Addison’s phone number as a contact.
Duke's campus was flooded with satellite trucks, and cable news anchors. Very soon, reporters from the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN would be rushing to retell the false story of the lacrosse team’s “Wall of Silence.” Anonymous sources would be quoted by ESPN about the alleged victim’s injuries at Duke Hospital. The community would hear a radio pundit say, “If they were my sons I would take out a switch and they would be telling the truth.” Next, Duke professors would take advantage of this atrocity by voicing their resentment about the over-funded athletic program.

Professors from the Duke 88 would especially be busy speaking in the media proclaiming the institutionalized racism in America and the mistreatment of Black women in society by White males. The implications were clear; the lacrosse players were condemned as racists. The Duke 88 would release their “We’re Listening” proclamation, which quoted an IndyWeekly article about racism at Duke. These professors wrote articles and held workshops. Some of their grad students would also be quoted in newspapers and on national television proclaiming the culture of racism at Duke and telling anecdotal storied that, albeit unverified, helped drive home their point.

Professer Lisker, Director of the Duke's Women's Center would joined in repeating buzz words, like a "town-gown" and "the perfect storm."

"There are so many kinds of anger," Donna Lisker, director of the Duke Women's Center, said of the stormy campus reaction that has included demonstrations. "There is anger about sexual violence. There is a racial component and a town-gown component. One of my colleagues called it the perfect storm." Baltimore Sun

It was no longer about whether an assault actually took place, as much as it had become an opportunity. It was a chance to be on National TV and speak their “talking points; as activists , local reporters, students, and Professors joined in. It was ratings for the Networks, and a possible Pulitzer Prize for a lucky reporter. The truth of the accusations apparently no longer mattered for many, as if presumption of innocence did not apply to the lacrosse players. Very little fact checking was done as reporters repeated falsehoods and copied other reporter's stories. The obligatory lip service to constitutional rights was sometimes mentioned, but it was just words, as former prosecutors like Wendy Murphy and Nancy Grace went for the throat. It was the start of a vicious campaign against the lacrosse team, driven by personal agendas and fueled by lies.

The Duke Lacrosse team had been the target of a campaign to turn the community against them. It worked! The residents of 610 had to leave their house and live elsewhere under fear of personal safety. Their season was canceled and their coach was fired. Interim DA Nifong, buoyed by local and National Media publicity, won the primary campaign he was losing just weeks before.

Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty were suspended from Duke and are still, as of today, prohibited by Duke from continuing their education. The legal costs are enormous and the stress unimaginable. The Hoax continues on today with Duke’s refusal to confront the truth of those in their midst who spread these lies and President Brodhead’s denial of the grave injustice done to his three students. It continues with the election of DA Nifong by a minority of Durham voters. Despite the overwhelming amount of exculpatory evidence DA Nifong seems bent on sacrificing these three innocent young men in a trial for his political benefit.

And at the bottom of it was a lie, a false accusation, which was repeated and repeated, over and over again and made bigger. Lies were added on, like the "Wall of Silence," the culture of sexual violence, and the institutionalized racism at Duke. They even created the myth of the perfect storm to hide their actions.


On April 11, 2007 North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced that the charges against the three players were dismissed. Further he stated that they were totally innocent and after an extensive review no evidence existed that there was any assault.

DPD Investigator Ben Himan would later admit in Nifong's State Bar disbarment hearing that he believed Crystal Gail Mangum made up the story.

Tomorrow we take another look at Duke's employees and Faculty


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Great round-up, Liestoppers!

Archivist said...

Oh, what a nightmare -- reading this is so painful, so hurtful.
Sadly, there is still too much toleration for wrongful accusations of rape -- came across this Web site that is chronicling recent news stories about it:

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Anonymous said...

Hi, My name is John,Can anyone explain me why the prices for these Muscle Relaxant are so low? Carisoprodol,Cyclobenzaprine,Flexeril,Flextra-ds,Skelaxin,Soma,Zanaflex

Anonymous said...

So when are the pukes like Manju and Rann going to get their "equal measure"?

Anonymous said...

In Hell like the rest of the bastards deserves,

Anonymous said...

Welcome To Durm You Have Now Entered Hell

Anonymous said...

What will Duke do for an encore? Kind of hard to beat a porn show as "art!"

Durham IS a sewer!

Anonymous said...


A very good post there.

Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty were suspended from Duke and are still, as of today, prohibited by Duke from continuing their education.

I thought they had been invited back, about the time they were deciding which of the many other schools that wanted them to attend.

Anonymous said...

What do they care about Duke 0 they got their four million each to massage their "hurt feeling."

Anonymous said...

MORE proof of the denial of the Sheriff's Office to take our complaints and requests! My God, they CANNOT get away with this!!!
Undeliverable: Mr Croft's death
"System Administrator" ..

Your message

To: Sheriff
Subject: Mr Croft's death
Sent: Thu, 13 Mar 2008 17:14:05 -0400

did not reach the following recipient(s):

Buchanan, Ricky on Sat, 15 Mar 2008 17:17:35 -0400
Could not deliver the message in the time limit specified. Please retry
or contact your administrator.
dcsnet01. DurhamSheriff. net 4.4.7

Where is our civil rights?!?!
Rhonda Fleming

Report: Easley press office ordered e-mails deleted
Mar 29, 2008

RALEIGH, N.C. -- State government public information officers were instructed by Gov. Mike Easley's press office to delete e-mails to and from the governor's office, according to notes released Saturday by the governor's office.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Saturday that Andrew A. Vanore Jr., a lawyer who works for Easley, produced notes made by two public information officers. The notes showed that they and others were told at a meeting on May 29, 2007, to destroy e-mails. A third public information officer said he also recalled those instructions.

But Vanore said the notes don't mean what they say. He also said the instructions were not followed.

Easley's chief legal counsel, Reuben F. Young, has been vacationing with his family in China and could not be reached for comment. Deputy press secretary Seth Effron has been instructed by Vanore not to comment.

Questions about the way the Easley administration handles e-mails arose after publication of an N&O series, "Mental Disorder: The Failure of Reform." The series reported on an ill-conceived and poorly executed mental health reform plan on which the state has wasted at least $400 million.

Two days after the series ended, Easley ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to fire its public information officer, Debbie Crane. Later that day, Crane told The N&O that the governor's press office had directed that e-mails be deleted to bypass the state's public records law.

Young and Effron quickly denied that such instructions had been given.

Julia Jarema, public information officer at the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, recorded this note for the meeting in question: "Public records request -- increasing careful of email delete emails to/from gov. office every day."

Diana Kees, public information officer at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, recorded this note: "emails - more & more public records requests (blogs?) be careful w/emails; delete emails to and from gov office every day."

Vanore said he did not know what the notes meant.

"It could be interpreted a number of different ways, and the only way to properly interpret it would be to talk to the individual who took the note," he said. But he said he had instructed all of the employees not to talk about that issue because the newspaper may file a lawsuit.

Vanore said the e-mail messages to and from the governor's press office were clear and irrefutable proof that there was no systematic intent to destroy e-mail.

Hugh Stevens, an attorney who represents The N&O, said the notes made by Jarema and Kees confirmed Crane's allegation.

"This sounds to me as though there was a concerted and willful attempt to evade the public records law by deleting the e-mails," he said. "I don't see how you can interpret it any other way."

Guess whose e-mails were deleted? OURS! I have had numerous people write to both Easley, and the Sheriff, for our case, and after being "blacklisted" from the county website and willingly negligent, here is more PROOF of the deliberate abuse of powers in public offices to purposely deny the public RIGHTS, and to perform MORE illegal and unconstitutional tactics to prevent being "OUTED!"


Rhonda Fleming

11:20 AM

Anonymous said...
Hello NC Courts, now what are YOU going to do about this little MISHAP?!?!

The TRUTHS will come forward!

3:38 PM

Anonymous said... (North Carolina Adminstrative Office Of The Courts)

North Carolina, Raleigh, United States, 17 returning visits

Date Time WebPage
30th March 2008 15:35:11

30th March 2008 15:36:01

30th March 2008 15:36:29

30th March 2008 15:37:02

Why don't you join the board and DO something instead of just watching! BASTARDS!

Anonymous said...

We need more protections for defendents. Protecting the innocent is infinitely more important than punishing the guilty, and our society is polluted with those who support false allegations. "Innocent until proven guilty" is a sham, and totally inadequate.

Those who would condemn prematurely must be silenced. Due process is more important that the "right to lie."

Anonymous said...

Due process in Durham? HA!