When Judges Kill [Cases] – Looking Back At Lattimore

The Court In Unhappier Days

Washington’s Federal Courthouse was the scene of some of the final acts in the Lattimore drama, where twice the presiding judge in the case threw out the government’s principal charges, gutting the case.

On May 12th the court will revisit Lattimore, with the Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit and the Litigation Section of the District of Columbia Bar staging a re-enactment of parts of the case, and an overview of its significance.  Several participants played small rolls in Lattimore back in the day:

Patricia M. Wald, former Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit who was with Lattimore’s Arnold, Fortas &  Porter defense team,

G. Duane (Bud) Vieth, still with Arnold & Porter, the firm’s successor,

Berl Bernhard, former clerk for Judge Luther Youngdahl, who sank the government’s case.

Also participating will be conservative legal legend Miguel Estrada, whose DC Appeals Court nomination by George W. Bush was filibustered by Senate Democrats.  Despite his nomination’s failure, the Estrada is still in the fight, writing a stirring defense of the 2009 coup in his Honduran homeland.

I’m gonna guess he plays the prosecution.

McCarthyism’s High Tide: Owen Lattimore In The Dock

Morris Don’t Bore Us

Thanks to the oddly webpaged Public.Resource.Org we can once again enjoy McCarran Committee counsel Robert Morris doing a victory lap the day the Committee called Owen Lattimore a “conscious, articulate instrument of the Communist conspiracy” .

It was downhill from there, as the Committee’s careful assemblige of free-floating factoids and fanciful history failed to withstand scrutiny or contact with the courts.  

Owen Lattimore: Out Of Print, But Never Out Of Style

The pages of “The Browser” book blog feature an appreciation of Owen Lattimore from Michael Dillon, author of   “Xinjiang: China’s Muslim Far Northwest.”  Dillon discusses Lattimore’s never surpassed writings on China’s inner-Asian frontiers and Xinjiang  The Browser interviews an area expert touting five books in their field, and  Lattimore accounts for two of Dillon’s five.

Dillon mistakenly has Senator Joseph McCarthy chairing the House Un-American Activities Committee and poking Lattimore from that venue, but otherwise seems a sound fellow.  If anything I think he kind of undersells Pivot of Asia, Lattimore’s Xinjiang book issued as McCarthy’s fraud was beginning to unfold in 1950.  The book figured in the many investigations, with FBI wiretaps picking up conversations in Mongol between Lattimore and Mongol scholars he’d brought to Johns Hopkins to work on the book project.  Also involved on the book was the Chinese scholar Chen Hansheng, whose Comintern affiliation played a role in the McCarthy and McCarran hearings.

The Browser shares with us an image they appeared to have lifted from Amazon of a snappy 60s paperback cover for “Inner Asian Frontiers Of China,”  Amazon’s coming from a bookseller offering pricey editions of the tome.   The other Lattimore book mentioned, “Pivot of Asia,” is available free online.

Owen Lattimore Proves The Birther’s Cause!

The Chinese Roots Of A Kenyan Anti-Colonial Worldview

Barack Obama Birthers continue to seethe and churn,  and now their obsessions have reached a moment which comes to every crackpot crusade:  their enemies’ sneering mockery has become further proof of the righteous cause.   Birthers now embrace random assertions linking them to McCarthyism, because McCarthy Was Right too!

Elitist contempt only makes them stronger, and getting called out on facts only spurs them to greater feats of makebelieve history.

Owen Lattimore has now been joined to the Birther defense in the dusty corners of America’s internet, if only indirectly.

The commentariat argument is that Birthers and McCarthy have both been called fact-challenged, but Joe was right and so are they.

One “BarryObam” takes to the pages of the Glen Burnie Forum, claiming Lattimore and others named by McCarthy were found out by subsequent historians, ergo, nanny nanny boo.

As your correspondent has reported, endlessly replicated assertion does not make fact, and the case against Lattimore remains a vague hash of McCarthy/McCarran charges sprinkled with claims unnamed historians or Soviet documents vindicate the cause.

Lattimore’s previous afterlife brush with presidential greatness came when he took some of the blame for turning a boyish Bill Clinton into the Soviet’s willing servent.

Bill Clinton’s “Road To Moscow” is one of the highlights of recent crackpot history, with the ’88 campaign’s dark muttering about Bill’s student travels taken to insane levels.  The glancing reference to Lattimore shows how the deed is done.

As a Georgetown junior, Clinton inherited his antiwar orientation from his part-time employer, Senator J. William Fulbright. Fulbright’s views on Vietnam had in turn been influenced by scholar Bernard Fall. Fall had an academic background at institutions linked to Chinese Communist apologist Owen Lattimore.

Well, sort of.  Starting in 1952 Fall was a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington.  Up in Baltimore,  Lattimore was on leave fighting McCarthy and McCarran’s charges.  And in 1953 Hopkins abolished Lattimore’s Walter Hines Page School of International Relations in an effort to get rid of him altogether.   But other than that he and Fall worked in lockstep for America’s downfall.

Forever Youngdahl

Our Hero 

This [actually, that] Day In History.

May 2, 1953 was the beginning of the end for efforts to get Owen Lattimore.

He had been indicted on a motley group of perjury counts growing out of his record 12 day encounter with the McCarran Senate Internal Security Committee.  The McCarran Committee was an effort to clear up Joseph McCarthy’s loose ends. McCarthy failed to prove his claim that Lattimore was the top Soviet agent in the United States, or much else, but Lattimore’s contempt for his accusers spurred them to more thorough efforts at burying him.

McCarran forced Truman’s last and Eisenhower’s first Attornies General to pledge Lattimore’s indictment, and Truman left the case as a parting gift to Eisenhower.

But Federal Judge Luther Youngdahl dismissed the key charges, particularly Count One, a catch-all claim that Lattimore had promoted the Communist Line in East Asia.

Youngdahl was upheld by the Appeals Court, leading the Eisenhower Justice Department to try yet another Hail Mary indictment, only to have those charges shot down by Youngdahl as well.

By 1955 it was all over – the feds gave up the effort.

Lattimore Limited Time Offer!

Attorney For The Damning 

Owen Lattimore is charged with Contempt of Congress, and you are there!

From now till April 30 a somewhat educational web site is offering free access to its many videos, most of them old newsreels and 50s interview show kine scopes.

Among the treasures on display is an interview with Robert Morris, McCarran Committee Counsel, just as the Senate Internal Security Sub-Committee unleashed its 1952 report claiming Lattimore perjured himself.

In the Committee’s investigation of the Institute of Pacific Relations Lattimore was interrogated for 12 days, a record which may still stand.   From this the Committee, and later the Eisenhower Justice Department, drew 7 counts against him. http://skinnydiet.commonsenseliving.com/notavail.JPG

The indictment failed, dismissed by the federal courts despite the legal craftsmanship of boy prosecutor Roy Cohn, who had run the Lattimore grand jury fresh from helping convict the Rosenbergs, but before his service with Senator McCarthy.

Glenn Beck’s McCarthy-Was-Rightists: Dead Horses Can’t Be Broken

Glenn Beck, America’s proven reserve of comic delight, drills once more into the buried treasure which is McCarthyism.

Thursday Beck launched a spirited defense of the late Senator’s good works, in the midst of an insane roundup of the history of the Roosevelt administration.

Attention to detail suffered in Glenn’s thrilling tale, as he recalled [at 3:30] Hitler’s 1939 pact with the Nazis.

Stalin For Time

Perhaps he meant the better known Hitler-Stalin pact of that year?

Beck also gets Alger Hiss’s conviction date off by a year, and somehow wanders into American intervention in Vietnam without mentioning the name, substituting trite facts about the dead-on-arrival South East Asia Treaty Organization. http://kcm.kr/dic_image/985689aa1930506b816f96034cd7ff22.jpg

Suddenly the long dead Solon and his vivid imagination were all the rage. Salon posted the Beck video, Steve Benen commented,  Balloon Juice linked to that, and it’s commentariat sprang into action, rushing once again to assure the nation that something somewhere someday nailed Owen Lattimore.

The FBI had a source claiming that Lattimore was indeed feeding information to the Soviets. I would hope that you could concede the difficulty of providing evidence which could compromise intelligence sources, which given the FBI report I provide you seems to be case.

Which of the ninety-one pages this clown links to substantiates the bold claim is unclear, or why the entire FBI file [which Lattimore himself FOIA’d] isn’t linked to.

McCarthy had a source who confidently told the Senate he’d been informed as early as 1937 that Owen J. Lattimore was a secret Communist.  Confidence by some in Louis Budenz is undiminished despite Lattimore’s tragic lack of any middle name.

Tune in Monday night, when Becky threatens to roust the Reds creepin’ round Obama.Threat or menace?

Owen Lattimore, Internet Star: The Half Life Of Crazy

Even the most up to date blogger is usually in thrall of the ideas of some long-dead politician, and Joseph McCarthy’s children are everywhere on the net.  Almost daily you may read full throat-ed claims for the guilt of Owen Lattimore, buttressed with a brisk re-hash of the old cause.

Sixty year old accusations of a man 20 years dead retain a lively presence, with blog comments managing to shoehorn tired charges into a remarkable variety of of topic threads.

A recent piece on Senator Jim Bunning’s unemployment compensation holdup somehow meandered into the enduring guilt Owen Lattimore. One “Bilgeman” went from the Kentucky Solon to Lattimore in a few breezy steps. He links to a 1987 piece written while Lattimore was still alive which recycles a version of the claim Lattimore sank Nationalist China, or worse, but offers assertions rather than proof. Bilgeman has what might charitably be called an eccentric view of the 1950s, chalking up Brown Vs. The Board Of Education up to reds under the beds as well.

Slightly more relevant, but still less than fresh, crank commentators on the Gateway Pundit blog offered a “McCarthy was right” defense of Liz Cheney’s recent McCarthy-ish outburst, with Lattimore among the “proven” traitors smilin’ Joe got so close to nailing.

The style is to throw in references to the Venona papers for that 90s sheen, then dash as quickly as possible to musty fifties reports and claims, ’cause Venona does nothing for their case against Lattimore.

More esoteric are fans of the Wasp Establishment’s interlocking directorates, who in the course of a rant about the League for Industrial Democracy manage to award Lattimore a 1931 Harvard degree, for which the non-college graduate full professor and department head would no doubt be grateful.