July 27, 2013

Obama: Ho Chi Minh ‘Inspired’ by the Declaration, Jefferson; Press Coverage Is Superficial, Hostile Towards ‘Right-Wingers’


At the White House on Thursday, President Obama let his radical leftist slip show when he accepted a 67 year-old letter from from Ho Chi Minh to U.S. President Harry Truman given to him by Vietnam’s current president Truong Tan Sang and spoke of the letter’s contents: “… we discussed the fact that Ho Chi Minh was actually inspired by the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and the words of Thomas Jefferson. Ho Chi Minh talks about his interest in cooperation with the United States. And President Sang indicated that even if it’s 67 years later, it’s good that we’re still making progress.”

Darlene Superville at the Associated Press relayed what Obama said in the final paragraphs of her report on Sunday without a hint of historical knowledge about mass murderer Ho Chi Minh’s motivations for writing that letter. Perhaps she’s too young and was so consistently indoctrinated by her teachers about how the U.S. was the “imperialist” and Ho Chi Minh was the “freedom fighter” to know any better. Based on his bio, New York Times reporter Mark Landler doesn’t appear to be able to claim that kind of historical ignorance, but he has definitely retained a capacity to make excuses for repressive, murderous regimes. Excerpts from his coverage and a correct rendering of the history follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):


In WaPo Column, Georgetown Prof Equates Defending Tsarnaev, Ariel Castro … and George Zimmerman

Abbe Smith, who has written an almost 1,500-word column for the Washington Post, is described as “a professor of law and the director of the Criminal Defense & Prisoner Advocacy Clinic at Georgetown University.”

The title of her column is “What motivates a lawyer to defend a Tsarnaev, a Castro or a Zimmerman?” — as if defending an alleged terrorist killer of three and maimer of hundreds, a imprisoner of multiple women and killer of pre-born babies (who yesterday pleaded guilty to the former and will escape the death penalty), and a man who killed an assailant only because he thought he would die if he didn’t are all virtually equally problematic. Excerpts follow the jump.


Politico Goes to Pot While Ignoring IRS Scandal Developments

Pretty much all you need to know about the current negligent media culture in Washington is summed up in two items involving the Politico’s home page this morning — one which is there, and one which isn’t.

The featured story at top of the home page by Byron Tau is about infighting between “Big Marijuana” — it seems like “Big Pot” would be a more succinct nickname — and those who want to extend recent electoral victories in legalizing the drug. What isn’t there on the home page, as confirmed in a word search, is any story with a headline or tease containing “IRS.”


Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (072713)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

This open thread will stay at the top today. Rules are here. Possible comment fodder follows. Other topics are also fair game.

If you are on the front page, click “more” to see today’s items (updated sporadically).

Positivity: Among CIA museum’s prizes, an American love letter on Hitler’s stationery

From Washington:

July 25, 2013

Inside a glass case in a “secret” CIA museum is a swastika-emblazoned letter written on Adolf Hitler’s personal stationery that was delivered to the museum the day after Osama bin Laden died.

The handwritten letter, sent by future CIA Director Richard Helms to his 3-year-old son at the close of World War II, may not be as ominous as bin Laden’s AK-47 featured in this exclusive NBC News report, which rests in another of the private museum’s display cases. But it too serves as both a trophy of war and a reminder of evil.

“Dear Dennis,” reads the letter from Helms, then a spy stationed in Germany. “The man who might have written on this card once controlled Europe – three short years ago when you were born. Today he is dead, his memory despised, his country in ruins. He had a thirst for power, a low opinion of man as an individual, and a fear of intellectual honesty. He was a force for evil in the world. His passing, his defeat – a boon for mankind. But thousands died that it might be so. The price for ridding society of bad is always high. Love, Daddy.”

The letter was among a trove of memorabilia that Dennis sent to the museum 66 years later, in May 2011, to form part of an exhibit that pays tribute to the CIA’s roots in a wartime agency called the Office of Strategic Services, or the OSS.

The OSS wing of the CIA’s museum, which opened in 2011, traces the short history of an organization that was founded in 1942 to aid resistance fighters and run spies behind enemy lines before morphing into the CIA four years later. The exhibit includes counterfeit German postage stamps created by the OSS with a skull superimposed on Hitler’s image, the desk of OSS director William “Wild Bill” Donovan, and all manner of secret weapons and messaging systems.

Among the exhibits is a tribute to Virginia Hall, an OSS agent who posed as a French farmhand as she counted German military units prior to D-Day. Hall, who had a wooden leg, organized sabotage and trained Resistance fighters. The Gestapo knew her as the “limping lady,” and called her the most dangerous of all Allied spies. She later became one of the CIA’s first female officers.

The Helms memorabilia in the museum also includes a piece of Hitler’s personal china, snatched from the Fuehrer’s Berlin chancellery, as well as other photos and correspondence. But the letter on Hitler’s stationery, said curator Toni Hiley, is “truly a treasure in our collection.”
Dennis Helms, now 71 and a lawyer in New Jersey, said he found the letter when he was a teenager in the late 1950s, while he was living with his parents in Virginia.

Located in the CIA’s New Headquarters Building, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) section of the museum recognizes the work done by the intelligence service created during World War II to run spies and support resistance movements in Axis-controlled areas of Europe and Asia. The OSS was the predecessor of the CIA, which was formed a year after the war.

“My mother was an avid scrapbook keeper,” said Helms. “And I was prowling through one of the scrapbooks and I found this. I asked about it. (I thought it) was really cool. But I had no idea there’d be so much interest in it later on.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.