Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Trouble with Witty Flights: Ex’s, Hexes and Nexus

Edited 7/17/13.

Political researcher Alex Constantine noted a number of persistent and redundant connections between Jeremy Blake, Theresa Duncan, and powerful people who control US Intel.  In  “J'ACCUSE!" and “Duncan and Blake Suicides Solved,” he posited that when Duncan posted “The Trouble with Anna Gaskell,” she set off a chain reaction inside this power nexus, forcing it to protect itself against public disclosure of politically, socially and criminally damning information.  He strongly implied that those in power sought not only to extinguish the source of the rogue information (namely, Blake and Duncan), but to defame that source in death, so that no one would take their words seriously.  In order to do that, the alleged perpetrators needed to sell the public on the notion that Blake and Duncan were a couple of crazed, paranoid loons.

Constantine described, at some length, the connections between Blake, Duncan, and specific power players.  So in order to evaluate the likelihood that one of these parties materially participated in the murder of Jeremy and Theresa, we would not only have to consider the strength of these connections, but also how meaningful they really are. 

Some of these connections are quite strong and provable.  For example, Anna Gaskell did not deny her relationship with Blake, and we would thus have good reason to take him for his word (as given by Duncan) that he actually knew Cownie.  Duncan knew Kate Coe, who knew right-wing ideologue Catherine Seipp, who really has the same name as Dennis Seipp, who worked for a company that had defense and Intel contracts.*  Although Warren Buffett has attempted to distance himself from corrupt former Franklin Community Credit Union director Larry King, he did know him well enough to do business with him, and for his wife to offer King her personal assistance.  Buffett also had an investment in Capitol Cities, a company founded by former DCI William Casey.

Other connections are slightly more speculative, but quite plausible and probably true.  For example, if Casey served as a treasurer for the Inter-American Press Association, it’s reasonable to think that the organization’s task sometimes overlapped (or perhaps consciously supported) the CIA.

Some connections are more tenuous.  Constantine stated, for instance that Blake dated poet Dr. Sarah Hannah.  If Duncan ever wrote about Hannah and Blake’s relationship, that item no longer appears on her blog.  Writer Ron Rosenbaum cited a UPI story that mentioned the relationship, but the link to the article is dead, and another one with the same title does not currently mention the relationship (although one can speculate that it once existed).

For the most part, the links presented by Constantine can be either proven or inferred.  But his hypothesis begins to run into problems when we consider their relevance.  If we can connect Blake and Duncan to all of these evil folks, one could argue, following the same line of reasoning, that Jeremy and Theresa are among these evil folks.  In other words, many people have relatives, or work for shady businesses, something they can scarcely avoid in this highly networked, oligopolistic society that we find ourselves in.  If you examine the company you work for, or the past military records of your employers, friends and family, it’s quite likely that you too could find yourself in a complicated diagram full of defense contracts, intelligence activities, and so forth.  That wouldn’t prove ipso facto that you were also in on the conspiracy to do in Theresa and Jeremy.

Moreover, while some institutions really have demonstrated connections to Intel, it doesn’t necessarily follow that everyone connected to the institution is up to something nefarious.  Many universities other than Columbia have had dealings with CIA, especially nowadays since the Agency openly recruits on college campuses.  Yet, one cannot assume that Columbia is, as our friend Ray would put it, “crooked down to its janitor.” 

One can also note this story’s most critical connection, between Duncan and Coe, calls for a fair degree of speculation.  True, Coe wrote a problematic piece that cast aspersions on Duncan. And although her articles and interviews lack the recklessly acerbic polemics of her close friend Seipp, one could fairly assume that Coe herself is politically conservative, given her attendance of  Los Angeles’ Wednesday Morning Club.** Still, there’s little that one could discern in these facts with respect to conspiracy.  Even though we can stipulate many of the connections between some players, we cannot not prove that Coe’s derisive prose indicated anything more than a bias against Duncan’s leftist leanings, or for all we know a personal grudge.    And even if we speculated that her supervisors ordered her to pen a poison piece--an attack on “liberal elitists and conspiracy-mongers” carefully disguised as an objective report by a skillful writer--then we would still have to ask what this has to do with the passing of Blake and Duncan.  One could easily interpret the exploitation of this tragedy as an opportunity to discredit leftist (para)political thought, without being the cause of it.

Assuming, for the sake of argument, that somebody actually put out a contract on Blake and Duncan.  Where would that contract originate?  Buffett?  Cownie?  King?  In other words, one would have to ask what route, along this interconnected highway, did the order really travel if this allegation were true.  Would all these players have to give a thumbs up to such an op, or just key ones?  Would all of them be involved, or very few? 

If there were a conspiracy to murder Blake and Duncan, then someone would have to act, not simply be (associated with).  Constantine offered no specific agency in this analysis of who ordered the putative hit, and who carried it out.  Much less is there any indication of how someone might have committed the crime and disguised it as suicide.

The main problem with the analysis is that it does not address the actual facts (few and shaky as they are) surrounding Blake and Duncan’s demises.  There is no indication of whether or not there are inconsistencies within the police investigation itself (as there were in John Lennon’s murder investigation).  Constantine did not mention anything about forensic or eyewitness evidence that would contradict a determination of suicide.  For example, when talking about Theresa, were there foreign items in the rectory?  Things out of place or damaged?  Was there any evidence of forced or surreptitious entry?  Did the police collect fingerprints that didn’t match anyone known to be in that space?  Did Duncan’s body have any bruises, contusions, ligature marks?  Did Blake’s body show signs of violence?  Did either of them have bloodshot eyes, broken thyroid bones, or swollen lungs (evidence of suffocation)?   Did toxicology and micrology reports reveal something that shouldn’t have been there?  In Jeremy’s case, was there water in his lungs (i.e., death by drowning as opposed to death by hypothermia)?  Did someone witness him meeting someone else on the train to Rockaway Beach, or see someone following him when he disembarked?  Can someone show that any of the parties depicted in these diagrams shelled out money to finance such a plan?

Mind you, the answer to any of these questions could be "Yes," given the paucity of information made public, and considering some of the disputes about the sequence of events and items found at the scenes.  The problem here is that unless someone gives us credible inside information, all of the above would remain highly speculative.  Naturally, I have nothing against speculation.  But even when taking a wild stab one should address the state of this evidence, or lack thereof.  If we buy into the premise that the couple really had powerful enemies (and they could have, for reasons we’ll discuss later), then we would still have to concede the possibility that they committed suicide.  People with enemies actually off themselves, after all.  They also die from natural causes and accidents.  At best, we can see these connections as indicative of motive, which in itself is just one piece of evidence a prosecutor can present to a jury; and it’s unlikely to stand all by its lonesome.  In order to prove murder, we would have to address many of the other circumstances involved with such a crime.

At worst, Constantine’s description still provides a pretty interesting portrait of corporate/political hegemony.  But hegemony alone doth not an assassination make.

 *As a previous commenter has pointed out, the name of Catherine Seipp's widower is Jerry Lazar.

**The Wednesday Morning Club, founded by right-wing policy advocate David Horowitz, is a regular meeting of conservative Angelinos.  As the article states, it doesn’t always meet in the morning, or on Wednesday.  But it gives its attendees the opportunity to come together in mutual support.

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  • At 9:13 AM, Anonymous Birdmadgirl said…

    For what it's worth, in regard to a possible relationship between Sarah Hannah and Jeremy Blake, I think it's possible but highly unlikely. Looking at their respective timelines, there's only a small window of time when they were geographically adjacent.

    Sarah Hannah lived in NYC from approximately 1988 until 2005. Jeremy Blake moved (as did Theresa, although not together) to NYC in 1995, but very soon after his arrival in NYC he and Theresa got together and were reported as being inseparable from that point onward.

    Not to mention that Sarah Hannah got married to Bob O'Hagan in 1995.

    It is true, however, that Hannah was a musician involved in New York's punk scene, and seeing that Jeremy was very close to the music scene in Washington DC (Nation of Ulysses, Fugazi) it is possible that they knew one another.

    But my sense is that the "Blake dated Hannah" story is a misunderstanding that has been repeated enough that it's become an accepted fact. It sure makes for a good story...

  • At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Birdmadgirl said…

    On the other hand.

    Considering the punk rock connection, it is possible that Hannah and Blake connected much earlier. Blake attended college in Chicago and grad school in California, while Hannah remained on the East Coast for her education, but perhaps, traveling with their respective bands, they came into contact sometime between 1988 (Blake would've been 17 or 18) and 1995.

    What I don't understand is why a short UPI story posted on July 21, before Blake's body was even found, would mention sure a relatively obscure thing as who Blake had dated before he was with Duncan. That's pretty inside-baseball stuff.

    Perhaps Theresa relayed the information in private correspondence with Alex Constantine. It still seems unlikely to me.

  • At 1:17 PM, Blogger X. Dell said…

    Birdmadgirl, I'm thinking that it might have been possible to have come into contact with her in DC, if her band traveled down there, or in New York (BTW, one of the big punk clubs of that time, The Continental, is about a three minute walk from St. Mark's Episcopal; if he hung out there, and lot of people did--including me--then he could have seen her or something, and become enchanted with the area).

    The point is that the connection is tenuous, and I'm always curious about where a stray datum comes from, and how it attaches itself to a story. People mention this item, but when you try to track down the source, the trail evaporates--or leads you to a dead link.

    If Constantine said that he got the information from Duncan specifically, the only practical means for getting it would be through her personal e-mails to him.

  • At 2:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I knew a guy here, a reporter. He once had to turn down a story involving a local private school because he had kids in the daycare located in the same church. They were not even run by the same people.

    My point...why was Coe allowed to write that story? L.A. Weekly is vaguely liberal in that way that modern free weeklies tend to be. Coe had no feature writing or journalism experience to speak of. Because she was a "friend" of Duncan? That should have conflicted her out for the exact reason you can observe now. The piece looks vindictive, like maybe Duncan wronged her somehow. A professional paper, even a free weekly, should never have allowed her to write that story.

    And that's not to mention Nancy Jo Sales, "married" to a principle figure in the drama, Frank Morales. This was known to the editors and even mentioned early in the article. So not only does Sales write the article, she relies on Morales for the details of the story of the night of Duncan's death. Details that don't make a lot of sense, really. And details that another of Morales's paramours, Melinda Hunt, says are an outright fabrication.

    But what theory of the case would allow for the L.A. Weekly and Vanity Fair to somehow be working together or at least to the same ends? Don't know, but I do know that the original author assigned the story was John Connoly, who later was fingered as having been working for, or at least, cozy with, the Church of Scientology.

    All of that said, I am curious if the Scientology angle is going to come up in future posts. Constantine's approach was not even worth the time, in my opinion. As you rightly pointed out, academics and ruling class people tend to be connected in all sorts of ways.

    But the Scilons are vicious, and in what may be more than coincidence, the Anonymous "Operation Chanology" movement against COS emerged not long after the death of the couple. They are powerful in L.A. and I imagine in NYC. I never found her characterization of their attacks on her that persuasive...out of town license plates, dead cats, but Paulette Cooper almost suicided during Operation Freakout, so it is very much in their m.o. to push someone to the edge like that.

    In short, I hope you won't neglect that angle in your posts.

  • At 2:54 PM, Blogger X. Dell said…

    Hello Anonymous, in case you're a different Anonymous.

    I have already mentioned Scientology, and will bring it up again, as well as the nature of the Vanity Fair report. If you read some of the comments from some of the previous posts, you'll note that I've already alluded to it.

  • At 5:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Glad to hear it. You said you were going to look at each of the three angles and I was worried you were headed off to ARGland without stopping by Clearwater.

  • At 2:30 PM, Blogger X. Dell said…

    Anonymous, I'm going to finish with my examination of these three stories, and then look at Scientology.


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