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Mr. Burkett’s Lawyer

The jury has decided. Plus much more including the future of the Ryder Cup and of the United Nations.

9.21.04

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SCOUT'S HONOR
Re: David Van Os' letter in Reader Mail's The Plain Truth:

Mr. Van Os can't have it both ways here: Either he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about because he hasn't discussed it with his client, or he's in fact reporting what Mr. Burkett's told him and hence has waived attorney-client privilege (despite his careful language attempting to preserve it). From what I know of Mr. Van Os, his practice specialty has been in labor relations law, with perhaps some dabbling in civil personal injury work (as, for example, in his prior representation of Mr. Burkett in his claims to have suffered injuries while on a Guard assignment in Panama). Mr. Van Os and his client would be well advised, if they have not already, to associate counsel whose specialty is criminal law, even if they genuinely believe that Mr. Burkett has committed no crime.
-- William J. Dyer, a/k/a Beldar of BeldarBlog
Texas Bar No. 06321100
Houston, Texas

Mr. Van Os is, of course, an attorney with integrity. His statement of what he claims to have actually said can be summarized: "The forgery does not change the truth of the facts." While this is true (a lie never changes the actual truth, even if it prevents the truth from being discovered), his implication is that the forgeries do not misstate the facts. However, he must know that a forged document is not admissible evidence of a crime and that the 86-year-old former secretary is not a credible witness. While he may be "honest," he certainly cannot be trusted to impartially adjudicate the law as a Texas Supreme Court justice.
-- Jasper Gillis

Mr. Van Os: Your proof that you are honest and ethical is based upon an award given by your peers? A bunch of lawyers? Oh please! That's like Al Capone being nominated for the best little mobster from his peers! You're not even a very good lawyer. In your last paragraph, you use the supposition of Ms. Knox to argue that there is proof of poor George's truancy. I'm not even a lawyer and I can see through that. As for your statement, "the tax paying citizens have a right to know," I'm a tax-paying citizen and I want to know why John Kerry has missed so many votes through out his career … on taxpayers' expense. I want to know why both John Kerry and John Edwards are still getting paid for jobs as senators that they are not able serve in, and getting paid from my tax dollars. Keep being a Democrat, Mr. Van Os, it's the only place you'll be able to find people (some, not all) dumb enough to believe you.
-- Peter Amato
Palm Harbor, Florida

In his response to George Neumayr's "Working Kinkos," Bill Burkitt's lawyer, David Van Os, says:

"I am an ethical citizen and an ethical lawyer and never would condone forgery or falsification."

He goes on argue that "...Mrs. Knox has publicly stated that although she did not type the 'CBS Documents," they may be attempted re-creations of documents that may have existed." Necessary, Van Os implies, in order to "reflect what was actually going on."

Perhaps Mr. Van Os feels that rationalizing forgery is more "ethical" that condoning it.
-- Robin Boult
Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Having waded through Lawyer Van Os's blather about Rather and all of that other clap trap, after exhaling a heavy sigh as Al Gore might have done in 2000 had he been forced to listen to a recitation of Van Os's credentials and proclamations of how "ethical" he is, permit me to sum it all up with a diplomatic reference to what Vice President Dick Cheney said to Senator Patrick "Leaky" Leahy not too long ago …

You're not fooling anyone.
-- John Weathers
Washington, D.C., former El Paso resident.

It's a good thing that David van Os wrote what he did in his email. I don't think it is possible for a human to speak those words out loud without either a tall glass of water or a stiff drink to clear the blockages that would accumulate in the larynx. There are two exceptions: a man of the cloth or a man of law. Since he seems to lack the eloquence of the Rt. Rev. Jackson, I must retreat to understanding that he is David van Os, Esquire.

It interesting to note that polls on the believability of lawyers as individuals or as a profession have always been low. Even when a famous Arkansas lawyer was called "an unusually good liar" and later disbarred, it did not lower their already poor rating. Ever the good sports, M. Rather and CBS, M. Raines and the New York Times, and others in the mainstream media have been trying to lift the lawyers' rating by aiming even lower, but lawyers have tenaciously held their low ranking tightly in their ice-cold fingers.

It is interesting to note that it was and is very hard to prove that criminal leaders, from Al Capone through today, are actually mobsters. Very good lawyers help them claim that they are "honest businessmen." Does this fool anyone? Was John Gotti really a mobster? His lawyer patently denied it. Legally, Al Capone was simply bad with numbers and went to prison for tax evasion. In reality, he and his syphilitic brain masterminded a record of terror that like Babe Ruth's stood for decades.

I am open minded, and willing to believe what M. van Os tells us, that his lawyer peers hold him in high esteem. In fact, I am sure that M. Van Os, M. Kerry, and M. Edwards are all shining examples of their profession. Perhaps they aspire to equal M. Clinton's unimpeachable ethics and honesty. After a brilliant career in the legal profession and politics, it was only late in Clinton's career that he was actually caught uttering a partial truth while under oath and disbarred. Since M. Van Os was not under oath while he wrote the email, there are no actionable statements.

I for one am relieved that M. Van Os has promised that his client is innocent and he is also spotless and pure. I can sleep easier tonight knowing that nothing happened, and nobody is guilty of fraud or slander.
-- Newt Love
Annapolis, Maryland

Van Os and I come from the same home town but I do not know him. I do know that I will not vote for him. I do know that he is trying to draw a red herring across the path when he says:

"Colonel Killian's secretary, Ms. Knox, has publicly stated that although she did not type the 'CBS documents,' they may be attempted re-creations of documents that may have existed, and the contents of the documents do reflect what was actually going on with George Bush and the Texas Air National Guard."

No, the fact is that the contents of the documents only reflect Ms Knox's recollection of "what was going on with George Bush and the Texas National Guard." That recollection seems to have been tainted by the passage of time and her present political opinions and in any case is not that of person who was really close to Col. Killian. Contrary to Mr. Rather's insinuations, Ms. Knox was a clerk-typist, not the Killian's personal secretary, and her recollections are largely the stuff of gossip. Which is, by the way, pretty much true of the CBS story.
-- John Schuh

Is David Van Os for real? Or is it just a nom de plume for Bill Clinton? I've never read so much twisted logic in my life.

I don't need to be hypothetical or create possible scenarios out of thin air to know that Van Os and the rest of the Democratic hacks and office holders are obviously desperate. It's now okay to make up wild accusations against any Republican with no proof only because they believe them to be true. I didn't pay very close attention in psych class, but isn't that a close definition of insanity?

I also have noted the continued use of the word forgeries to describe these documents. I read a blogger recently who, correctly in my mind, says they should be called what they really are -- fakes! Forgeries suggest there are real documents with the same content somewhere. Nope, these are total fabrications.

And a small word of advice to Mr. Van Os: Get your money from Bill Burkett up front ...
-- Greg Barnard
Franklin, Tennessee

Mr. Van Os is not much of advertisement for either East Texas or Eagle Scouts. He reminds me of another Eagle Scout, Marian Barry. I have drawn several conclusions from reading with interest the various stories of this case:

1. There are no hand-written notes by Colonel Killian. If there were, that is what we would have seen. They could have easily been verified as accurate and would have been powerful evidence of an immature young man. I am not sure that it would have made much of difference in the election since many American young men have been immature. It is always more disturbing when they get into their fifties and sixties and are still immature. Using the Oval Office as a brothel, choosing sides in a political debate about war based on which side gives you more speaking time, looking back fondly about turning the Vietnamese and Cambodian peoples over to communist murderers as your peak accomplishment in life are examples of people's behaviors who can't seem to leave their adolescence behind. Maturity doesn't seem to be a problem for your average Democrat voter.

2. Colonel Burkett is the source of this story and the phony documents. He is crazier than a coot and had to be an anonymous source since close scrutiny of him would ruin the story. I wonder how many times anonymity is used this way? In a just society there would be a criminal investigation into this forgery and somebody would go to jail. The colonel would of course be able to make a credible insanity defense if this happens.

3. Mr. Van Os is a lawyer. He actually believes that his endorsement of his client is meaningful. That after all is what lawyers do. He is a Democrat hack that puts his party ahead of his country and the law. He could be a case study in a History Channel show called, "Eagle Scouts Gone Bad".

4. Newsman should avoid political functions. The fact that Dan Rather attended a Democrat fund raiser is just another demonstration of his arrogant bias. It is very hard to believe that Dan was not aware of the forgery. The only possible explanation is that he is not much of a journalist. I believe he could make this case without much trouble.
-- Clif Briner

Upon reading David Van Os's submission, I was struck by how clever an attorney he must be. I suppose it takes one to know one, and I think that I'm one. His words are a very good example of how to proceed from the plausible to the implausible without his reader seeing it happen.

Consider this: His first paragraph pretty much sums up his bona fides. He's an Eagle Scout, strictly schooled in Honor and Integrity and Universally Adored by his 'Band Of Brothers At The Bar.'

His second paragraph explains what he has to complain about: being misquoted (he was actually Dowdified) by the New York Times. Welcome to The Real World.

His third paragraph lays the groundwork for his penultimate conclusion. Bill Burkett 'is an honorable man.' He had nothing to do with 'the documents.'

His fourth paragraph, building on his previous ones as having established both his and Mr. Burkett's credibility, segues off into using a secretary's 'memories' as proof that George W. Bush was a rapscallion in the Air National Guard, and next suggesting that his declaration that he is not able to remember what Mrs. Knox 'remembers' is a lie. Perhaps President Bush cannot remember such "significant events in his life" because such events did not occur? Contrast that with Sen. Kerry's memories of spending Christmas in Cambodia being "seared" into his consciousness.

As any attorney who has ever cross-examined a witness knows, memory is unreliable, especially after the passage of 30-odd years. But in general, inability to remember something which did not occur is pretty darned reliable. Were Attorney Os to cross-examine President Bush with a question such as "Did you or did you not disobey a direct order to take a physical examination?" it would be immediately objected to as "Assuming Facts Not In Evidence." Let's first prove that 1st Lt Bush was ordered to take a physical before asking if he refused to do so.
-- Bob Johnson
Bedford, Texas

If you drag a hundred dollar bill through a Kinko's, you never know what you'll find. Perhaps the person who typed the FORGED documents for Bill Burkett.
-- Mrs. John B. Jackson III ( Janet)

SCHOOL OF HARD DRIVES
Re: Henry C. Blaufox's letter in Reader Mail's The Plain Truth:

Mr. Blaufox, I don't question Mr. Van Os' nefarious capabilities. But to the issue of looking for data on computers quite honestly it is quite easy. Data mining has become such an important forensic tool that the given ability to search computers was written into the Patriot Act. Unless the drive itself has had a complete format done to it the data is still there.

When someone deletes data, the PC does not go thru and wipe the data off the disk. It merely removes references to the links where the data resides on the drive in the master record of the drive. Anyone with a copy of Norton Tools or other UnWipe tools can recover the data. And if it is really corrupted, there are slews of data recovery firms in the back of magazines like Computerworld that would be happy to dissemble the drive, mount on a external drive and read the data for you for a fee.

Yes computers are replaced on regular basis in places like Kinko's to keep up with technical change. But at a personal level, as a technologist, I still have a Pentium 1 or 2 sitting around the house in use. I would suspect that Mr. Burkett is as well. Fire and flood can destroy data as well. But, I have also seen drives survive Hurricane Hugo and industrial fires. It just depends on a lot of factors. But the drives themselves are sealed at manufacture.

The most telling opportunity for an investigator would be how Mr. Burkett delivered the documents. Did he email them or transmit them? That's nirvana for now it would be on a least 4 locations - Burkett's PC, Kinko's server, the operator's workstation and possibly the printer. Many printers now have hard drives and a residual copy would be there along with a printable log of when it was printed if someone hurries. Also what is Kinko's backup schedule? It could be on tapes as well sitting at Corporate.

But time is of the essence as at any crime scene.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

KINKO'S COOPERATION
Re: George Neumayr's Working Kinko's:

If anyone caught the date, or at least an approximate date, that documents were faxed from Kinko's, there should be a telephone (fax) number on record which will tell us who or what organization the fax was sent to (CBS, DNC, Xxx's for Kerry, Cleland's office, etc.). Duration of the connection would indicate the number of pages faxed. If the Kinko's shop is "cooperating" as the article suggests, getting a printout of phone charges should be a piece of cake.
-- M.J. Whitney
Bonita Springs, Florida

PUMPING KERRY
Re: Paul Beston's Unfit for the Screen:

Paul Beston makes a big and probably erroneous assumption about the so-called Kerry documentary: it will be a truthful account. This year the Democrats have the market cornered for pig lipstick. If Butler does go ahead and produce an accurate account the title could be "The life and four month's time of John France Kerry".
-- Diamon Sforza
San Diego, California

OUT OF BOUNDS
Re: Lawrence Henry's Ryder Cup Ridiculousness:

In Lawrence Henry's recent article "Ryder Cup Ridiculousness," he blames much of the loss on "Colossally bad coaching by Hal Sutton, who seems to have mistaken stubborn determination for any real ideas."

I was struck how this criticism echoes so much of the condemnation leveled upon George W. Bush by his critics for his handling of the "War on Terror." Moreover, I wonder if Mr. Henry better understands how many Americans feel about their lack of confidence in our current "Commander-in-Chief," as many of his observations paralleled those of the anti-war movement.

Henry goes on to relate his frustration about Sutton's poor planning, misuse of resources and other "fundamental problems" that led to his confidence in the Americans' ability to win the Ryder Cup being undermined. The irony of such a critique of leadership appearing in a periodical that seems largely contented by the President's strategy in our current struggle is heavy indeed.
-- Michael Kimaid

I live about three miles from Oakland Hills in Bloomfield Township, Michigan. If it were not for the sound of Snoopy One droning in the sky nearby, I never would have guessed that there was an event of such import so nearby. The multi-culti Europeans may have retained the cup, but they left lots of Euros in the neighborhood tills. One of my wife's coworkers has a client whose home is on/near the course. Rented it out for one week for 70 kilobucks! To a Duke and an Earl and their cohorts/cohabitants no less! She kept track of things by doing the housekeeping herself. Will now remodel to her hearts content. Every time there is a major event at Oakland Hills, those owning homes surrounding the course make out like bandits. As they say in real estate, location, location, location.

American golfing fans such as myself are deeply disappointed in team USA's performance. But for some, there certainly was a silver, or should I say, a gold lining. And, well, there's always next, sorry, two years from now. It won't be a Presidential election year and the troops should be better able to concentrate on their game -- I hope!
-- Dennis Sevakis
Bloomfield, Michigan

Mr. Henry: You are overlooking an inherit flaw in the U.S.'s Ryder Cup travails. The US, for the most part, fields a team of spoiled millionaires, spawned from a life of privileged country clubs, enjoying almost "royalty status" in and around the greatest golf courses of the world, lavished with free clothing and equipment while traveling in personal jets, staying free (with family) in stately homes near the tournaments and who, by the nature of the game, typically have no interest or experience in "team" competition. With a few exceptions, we expect them to compete with men who know the pressure of survival, still drive to tournaments, stay in budget motels and abandon their families for months to get a shot at the "spare bone". (This is the beauty of the Tiger Woods phenomenon, multi-cultural, trained on municipal courses, etc.) How painful to watch these rich Americans missing easy putts regularly and the pesky Euros consistently making them with ease.

Wonder how we'd do if we reversed the qualifying standards for our Ryder Cup team; you know, invite the bottom of the list, the guys who drive their friends' cars weekly to qualify for a chance to grab a tournament spot, who live and die under pressure, eat fast food and spend sleepless nights in out of the way motor courts. At least they would appreciate the free shirts.
-- Sam Haynes
Mendocino, California

Lawrence Henry replies:
I have often thought of what kind of team you'd get with pure captain's picks. Unfortunately, golf is such an old boy network, you'd tend to get many of he same guys. But a mid-list Ryder Cup team might include: Chris DiMarco (still), John Daly, Todd Hamilton, Paul Stankowsky, Zach Johnson, Jerry Kelly, Tim Herron, Steve Lowery, Joey Sindelar, and Kirk Triplett. Then I'd keep Tiger and Phil.

By the way, the Europeans are plenty rich. Ever seen Monty's house? Or counted how many Ferraris Darren Clarke and Miguel Angel Jimenez own between them?

KOFI OF LATE
Re: Jed Babbin's The Emperor of East 46th Street:

Dear editors including Mr. Babbin: The situation in and concerning Sudan underlines the point that until countries are willing to do something about mass murders, they should never again say, "Never again!"!
-- R.L.A. Schaefer
Dubuque Iowa

I was pleased to hear in Mr. Babbin's last paragraph that he is one who looks for the impotent corrupt U.N. to be eventually replaced by a new organization of democracies which will do those things for the rest of the world that the UN should be doing now. If the U.N. were the organization that it purports itself to be, it would NEVER have a Secretary-General such as Cafe Au Lait. The man is a terrorist by omission. In a better time a man such as he would stand in the dock to answer for his crimes, his incompetence , and his moral corruption. Where oh where do these tin-pot dictators come from anyway?
-- Joseph Baum
Newton Falls, Ohio

The foundation for the U.N. 's successor, "…a coalition of democracies willing to act in the interests of peace and prosperity," was laid long before the United Nations was a twinkle in its daddy's eye. It predates the U.N. and is currently the U.N.'s chief competitor in the global peace and prosperity business.

This coalition consists, currently, of 50 democracies. The interests of many, many more of the globe's peoples are represented by the citizens of these 50 member states, most of whom trace their familial origins to other regions.

This coalition will indeed succeed the U.N. by virtue of the moral integrity and conservative world view embedded its founding documents, in contrast with the moral turpidity, mindless egalitarianism and hopeless corruption of the U.N.

The coalition comprises, collectively, the planet's largest economy and most formidable military force. It has a long tradition of welcoming new members, as individuals, while exporting its values of individual liberty, human dignity, and the rule of law to any willing buyer.

We do not need the United Nations (tm) , the one with the brand name on East 46th Street. We, the 50 United States of America, inhabited by immigrants and their descendants from every corner of this world ... we are the united nations. The one that works.

Time to put the fake one out of its misery.
-- Paul Kotik
Plantation, Florida

It's time that the U.S. withdraws from the feckless, duplicitous outlaw U.N. Immediately. We can find productive uses of our time and energy at home or even abroad.

It's also time Mr. Bush challenges the U.N. to stop pussyfooting around and get to the bottom of the Oil-for-Food scandal and undo that damage. Now.

Regrettably, however, that will not mend or revive American, Iraqi and coalition soldiers and civilians who've been wounded or killed-or who will be wounded or killed-by terrorists funded by money diverted from that program. This outrage must not be allowed to pass. Annan and his administrators are responsible and should be held accountable in court. But, then, the International Court of Justice is an arm of the U.N.

Perhaps we should declare the U.N. hostile? After all, President Bush did say America would exact justice on those who support terrorists.
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

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