"The greater the adversity to be overcome, the greater one's life is given extraordinary meaning--be it by the threat of man, poverty, disease or any form of injustice. As this is the balance of life, the weight and measure of the dark to the light, todayís nightmare in contrast to the dream of a better tomorrow, the acceptance and valuation of the bad with the good to come out of all things."
On Sunday, May 1, 1988, the Los Angeles Times presented a 2,487-word feature article in its Valley Edition. Written by John Johnson, the article is titled: "NINJA: Hero or Master Fake." (available in PDF, 3.06 MB). It was a somewhat innocuous title to say the least, maybe a bit sensationalist, but one is then directed to the subtitle: "Others Kick Holes in Fabled Past of Woodland Hills Martial Arts Teacher." This subtitle is not as typical as the opening title and should automatically raise a "red flag" to the reader.
Why would a writer present a thesis beginning with the word "others?"
The article is a text book example of perception management. The articleís exaggeration of facts and use of statements out of context are clearly part of a disinformation campaign. And it was this particular campaign which spurred the majority of Frank Duxís controversy. Johnsonís biased editorial was placed in the paper to create the appearance of an objective article. But given the venomous tone, the manipulative juxtaposition of comments, and the employment of fabricated evidenceó it is apparent Johnsonís reporting falls quite below the benchmarks of quality, objective reporting.
Johnsonís article is legally couched and carefully crafted, according to Duxís legal counsel, Michael Lucero, Esq. And Mike Frankel, Esq., who reviewed the document in 1988. Johnson adeptly sidesteps and slithers around those civil laws governing libel and slander. The article produces superficial sources in order to invoke Times vs. Sullivan, the case law and legal loophole by which a journalist can allege most anything at their whim, as long as their allegations can be attributed to an appearance of due diligence.
A man does not have to defend himself for telling the truth. Why would Johnson then be so diligent and intent on crafting an article that dodges charges of slander? Irrefutably, the details of Johnsonís handy-work shows his malign intentions.
It is simple to prove that Johnson lies outright about the trophy receipt. If he has formulated this lie, can you trust anything he asserts? It would take a much more significant dissertation to undo all of the lies and prove the factsĖ effectively untangling Johnsonís web. So instead, we have provided a (still somewhat lengthy) sampling of facts that prove Johnsonís lie about the receipt, effectively showing that Johnsonís infamous "NINJA: Hero or Master Fake" cannot begin to answer the question which comprises its title.
Before Johnsonís article ever went to print, as documented in his book, The Secret Man, HarperCollins, 1996, Dux had gone to the editorial offices of the Los Angeles Times accompanied by his attorney, Michael Lucero. They were armed with video taped copies of 16mm & 8mm film Kumite footage documenting Duxís world championship status in the Kumite. They also had photographs and other types of evidence.
While there, Dux exposed the self-evidently fabricated receipt for a trophy that John Johnson would later mislead readers to believe was crucial evidence. He alleged that this receipt proved Frank Dux commissioned and purchased his trophy from a local trophy shop. The situation was soon made painfully clear to Dux and his legal counsel when the editor refused to allow Dux to continue further shaming John Johnson. The editor suddenly withheld the rest of Johnsonís "evidence," namely the military service and medical records which Johnson planned to cite.
Due to the editor not allowing Frank Dux to continue to expose the fabrications that John Johnson intended to use, the Los Angeles Times was able to invoke Times vs. Sullivan, as mentioned in the introduction to this essay.
As documented in The Secret Man (pgs. 66, 67), The Los Angeles Times editor took Dux aside and expressed that he had no choice but to run the Johnson article, and whispers, "North". Confiding a name that the editor alleges Dux must accept as the reason why he is about to be targeted for discreditation.
The alternate fact is that the editor could have been lying to Dux about "North" and his supporters forcing him to run what is obviously "a hatchet job." In that by not running the Johnson story as an exposť piece, he would have denied his paper the opportunity to draw attention and increase sales, through the sensationalism of a scandal. (The secret to the early fortune acquired by the publishing family of Randolph Hearst.) The latter is especially believable with the public being bombarded with ads and word of mouth to see the film based on Frank Dux life, Bloodsport, just released at the time. Certainly, the editor is accountable for Johnsonís time and expense in investigating the story, hardly justified by a fluffy, feel-good article.
While one can easily discern the misrepresentation of the truth, as carried out by Johnson, he and the newspaperís motives still remain unknown. The allegation by the editor that John Johnsonís intent and malice was due to outside influences protecting Iran Contra personality, Lt. Colonel Oliver North, raises a question, though. How could the editor be made aware of the fact that Duxís testimony if subpoenaed could assist in contradicting Northís prior testimony made before Congress? Dux ended up maintaining his silence regarding his specific covert activities, but despite this a felony conviction is eventually brought against North. For further information consult the Oct 5,1986 interview on "60 Minutes," where General John Singlaub acknowledged that he and Lt. Col. Oliver North worked together to establish the Nicaraguan contra supply network.
Undisclosed by Johnson to his readers, was the self-evident truth that all of the expert sources he quotes in his article (e.g. Chadwick Minge, Ninpo Master Tanemura, Benny "The Jet" Urquidez, Chuck Corey, etc.) are all direct business competitors of Dux. Each stood to gain financially by impugning Duxís character and professional reputation. Their finances may have been especially threatened by the film "Bloodsport" just being released in theaters at the time.
Johnson conceals the fact that he had also interviewed sources who were not only impartial but who had contradicted Johnsonís choice quotes. Namely, ignoring internationally acclaimed third party eyewitnesses to Dux achievementsó like the father of American Karate, Ed Parker and many other notable Martial Arts authorities who came forward in support of Dux (e.g. Muay Thai, World Champion, Paulo Touche, Swedish full-contact Kyukoshinkai Karate Champion, Kurt Peterson, etc).
An examination of Johnsonís conduct revealed, in most instances, that he had threatened, badgered and intimidated eyewitnesses that stood to contradict John Johnsonís false allegations and those misrepresentations being made by his sources. (e.g. Lt. Charles Stein, USAF, Ed Parker, and Richard Robinson, etc.).
Impartial eyewitness, Lt. Charles Stein, USAF, was so alarmed by Johnsonís adversarial demeanor he felt compelled to file an official report with the appropriate military investigative authority, thereby, documenting Johnsonís outrageous threats and behavior.
It all goes to show that Johnson wasnít investigating anything but trying to construct a predetermined outcome to his story. Not to mention Johnsonís guttersnipes at the film. Painting it with his carefully crafted words, to the effect, that the kind of person whoíd see or would recommend Bloodsport, were those mindless red neck white trash headlight flashing drive-in stereotypes (see Johnsonís opening paragraph).
The crux of John Johnsonís allegations is that Frank Dux faked his winning the Kumite. Johnson asserted that Dux commissioned and purchased his world championship Kumite trophy from a local trophy company, identified as Moody Trophies, located in North Hollywood, California. He claimed to have in his possession a copy of the receipt made out in Duxís name.
Armed with the receipt, he also alleged that he had an interview with W. R. Moody, himself. Moody is credited with confirming the legitimacy of the receipt but never comes forward and says with any certainty that he made the Dux trophy. Instead, he is quoted stating that he "partially made it," according to Johnson. A quote like this stands out clearly to the critical readerís eye.
In the editorial offices of the Los Angeles Times, when Johnsonís Moody Trophies company receipt was presented, Dux responded by pointing out that it is dated, 1982. And, therefore, an obvious fabrication of evidence. Frank Dux was documented holding his world full-contact Kumite championship trophy two years prior, in the November 1980 issue of Black Belt magazine. The article was entitled: "Kumite a Learning Experience."
The aforementioned did not deter Johnson from concealing the validity of the receipt or Moodyís testimony in his article. Obviously, this was done in order to cast his dispersions on Frank Dux reputation and credibility without interest in researching the truth of Duxís past.
Johnsonís receipt resurfaced again before the television cameras of Court TV, in [Frank Dux vs. Jean Claude Van Damme, Superior Court, County of Los Angeles.] A Xerox copy of the receipt was entered into evidence and was attributed as being identical to one that Johnson refered to in his article, which supposedly disparaged Duxís world championship title.
Not surprisingly, with Dux having pointed out the previous receiptís two-year discrepancy in The Secret Man, (pg.66 par. 3) the newest version of the receipt was backdated to read 1979. Thus nullifying Duxís prior rebuttal evidence.
Van Dammeís attorney, Martin Singer withdrew the receipt from evidence after learning that the photo of Frank Dux holding his trophy in the November 1980 issue of Black Belt magazine, wasnít photographed by the magazine photographer, as assumed. It was submitted by a student of Dux who shot and developed the photo, in 1976, three years prior to the 1979 receipt cited by Martin Singer and obviously provided by John Johnson.
As in the editorial offices of the Los Angeles Times, in 1988, the court proceeding [Frank Dux vs. Jean Claude Van Damme, Superior Court, County of Los Angeles] had brought to light a fact contradicting its legitimacy. The name invoiced on the receipt is misspelled, DUKES. It also does not posses Duxís correct address. Therefore, in order to believe the credibility of this receipt one would have to assume Mr. Dux didnít know where he lived or how to spell his own name. Johnson argued the discrepancy existed because Dux intentionally supplied the incorrect information. But if this was the case, why would Dux have provided even a semblance of his own name?
In spite of the certainty that the receipt was in reality a Xerox copy of another receipt, now being back dated. And that Frank Duxís name and address given, is also erroneous, the [Frank Dux vs. Jean Claude Van Damme, Superior Court, County of Los Angeles] court proceeding reveals one more startling piece of evidence. Johnsonís malice is made self-evident when Dux points out on the witness stand, as does Dux attorney, Steven Kramer, a key consequential fact. The receipt that Johnson claims proves Dux commissioned and purchased his trophy is for a standard multiple, three tiered trophy, with karate figures attached on top.
The receiptís detailed description of the trophy flies in the face of reason when it was compared to the photograph of the trophy, which Dux was documented holding in Black Belt magazine or its visible presence in Superior Court. There was no mistaking the obvious discrepancy as the Dux trophy is a two-foot tall wood pedestal with a conspicuous 17" silver bowl on top.
The local trophy shop receipt and, thereby, the whole crux of Johnsonís allegation Dux is a fake because he had purchased his trophy, is debunked as a fabrication of evidence by Steven Kramer, Duxís attorney. Establishing Johnsonís inability to testify truthfully, his prior representations not being credible, and his witnesses, like Moody, as being incapable of withstanding scrutiny when cross-examined. Many even claimed never to have given such testimony.
"Outrageous," is the comment used by Steven Kramer to describe Johnsonís misrepresentation of the facts and his so-called evidence when it is again reintroduced by Soldier Of Fortune magazine, ratifying an obvious fraud. The receipt that just wonít die. It had been made obvious time and again to anyone inspecting the local trophy shop receipt that it was created by someone who had never seen the actual Frank Dux trophy and certainly had never received a purchase order from Frank Dux.
The undeniable certainty that the local trophy shop receipt is fabricated evidence did not deter John Johnson or Soldier Of Fortune from putting it in service against Dux. Johnsonís presentation of fabricated evidence, accompanied by false and misleading quotes, as well as, omission of pertinent facts, lays the foundation to a pattern of behavior by which Johnson can be judged. His other assertions, therefore, logically, must also be viewed as being tainted or false. Certainly never again would his evidence be presented in a court of law. Even after using it in their article, Soldier of Fortune magazine made the wise choice not to introduce the matter into litigation with Dux after he sued for libel and slander. [Dux vs. Robert Brown and Soldier Of Fortune Magazine; Case No: BC198883, Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County].
If you requested the article from the Los Angeles Times today, would you receive a copy of the same article printed in 1988?
John Johnsonís reprehensible conduct warrants an apology to Frank Dux from the Los Angeles Times and a retraction as well as an investigative look into John Johnson, the accuserís background. It should be revealed, if indeed, as John Johnsonís editor had alluded, that this man is not just another journalist at all, but someone serving a hidden agenda. Namely, serving those who hide behind anonymity in their attempt to undermine and corrupt a free press, working secretly from the filthy underbelly of the US government.