The Reel LM Johnson and Philippine Independence Part Three

The Movie Mogul

He next pops up in 1896 as manager of the rather posh Astor House Hotel, established in 1846 as Richards’ Hotel and Restaurant on The Bund in Shanghai, which existed until 1 January 2018 when it was shut to turn into office spaces. Apart from being supposedly the finest hotel for foreigners in the city at the time, it was also a meeting place for smugglers. Authorities in Hong Kong were strict on smuggling, including arms, but Shanghai was very different.

on 7 July that year, he married Ms. Marcella Olsen in Shanghai, who had previously lived in Hawaii, at the Astor House Hotel.. Meanwhile, about the same time, the Philippine Revolution against Spain got underway.

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The Reel LM Johnson and Philippine Independence Part One

The elusive Colonel Johnson

Getting It Wrong

In an article in the Philippine newspaper Inquirer of 13 June 2012, Rodel Rodis wrote: “Dewey, under specific orders from Navy Undersecretary Theodore Roosevelt to not make any commitments to Philippine independence, dispatched an artillery colonel, L.M. Johnson, to represent him….”

Dewey did no such thing. Johnson’s identity has generated a number of fallacies, from being Dewey’s secretary to being a US Army colonel to being a retired US Army veteran.

Stanley Karnow’s In our image: America’s empire in the Philippines gets it wrong:

“Colonel L. M. Johnson, an obscure retired officer then in business in Shanghai, who had come to Manila to exhibit a newfangled contraption known as the cinematograph. Aguinaldo, eager to have an American on hand to symbolize U.S. recognition of his endeavor, had persuaded him to participate.”

As does James C. Bradford in his 2016 book America, Sea Power, and the World when he says “Johnson had no official role in the Philippines”

There there is the conspiracy theory silliness of Ritchie Quirino’s Pinoy Jazz Traditions:

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Tallano – A Momentary Diversion

The consistency of impossible, misleading and fraudulent documents offered in support of the Tallano fraud, and there can be no other word for it,  seems to be the only consistent thing about them. While engaged in debating the problems of the entire Tallano story this photograph was shown by a Tallano proponent. Not only is the caption false but it does a real disservice to genuine Philippine history and two real figures important to the nation’s story.

Here is the photograph with the caption as provided:

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Interrogating Tallano – Is the Philippines the richest country in the world? Part 11

And so we reach the final part of the examination of the document that lays at the heart of the Tallano claims, Oct 01-4.  The remainder of the alleged translation continues to present evidence of an incompetent fraud dressed up with a klutzy version of 1960s pseudo-legalistic language, ignorance of Philippine history and the protocols in use at the time.

Let us look at this last section:

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Interrogating Tallano – Is the Philippines the richest country in the world? Part 10

So far we have established two options: Either the Original, unseen, document is fraudulent, or the allegedly accurate translation is nothing of the sort and is functionally meaningless.  Or both. OCT 01-4 would have been in both English and maybe Spanish. Neither version is available for study and verification. If they ever actually existed. The preamble, for instance, contains references to things that did not exist until half a century to a century after the date on which the document was signed.

A less patient person might have already thrown the document at the wall after the anachronisms and impossibilities of the preamble alone. But let us take the time to study the main body of the text: the areas of the Philippine archipelago claimed by the Tallanos. As we shall see there is one part of the archipelago to which, by omission, the document does not lay claim. It is a strange omission, but one entirely explicable.

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Interrogating Tallano – Is the Philippines the richest country in the world? Part 9

Already, just from the preamble, OCT 01-4 shows firm evidence of fraud.

Before we get into the main body of OCT 01-4 it is perhaps worth a short detour to look at a name in that preamble: Princess  Rowena Maria Elizabeth Overbeck McLeod of Austria. It is, to say the least, odd to find the names Overbeck and McLeod in a document dated 1764, even by the minimal standards of the Tallano canon.

Of course, ‘Princess’ might merely have been her given name. While not unusual in the present-day Philippines it would have been very unusual in the 18th century with its concern with rank and privilege. It may have been a rank acquired when she, if she existed, married the claimant to the throne of the Philippines, but that is unlikely since the ‘of Austria’ indicated she was a princess of Austria. Continue reading “Interrogating Tallano – Is the Philippines the richest country in the world? Part 9”

Interrogating Tallano – Is the Philippines the richest country in the world? Part 8

As the song goes, in the Sound of Music, let us start at the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start. The very first line of the document indicates a very poor and inaccurate translation, despite assurances of the authenticity of the translation, or a document that is fraudulent and written by someone entirely unfamiliar with British history or the nomenclature in use at the time.

Or that Dawssonne Drake was ignorant of the correct terminology for the period. Certainly, Drake was born far away from Britain, in India, but he was an employee of the East Indian Company, under which auspices he governed Manila and it is unlikely that he would have made such a fluff as to refer, in the very first line of the document, to the ‘Royal Crown of England’.

First, in no formal document invoking any monarch, is the term Royal Crown used. It is simply ‘The Crown’. Since at least the Act of Union in 1707,  the British monarch was, at that time, the king of England, Scotland and Wales.  The term ‘Royal Crown of England’ is, therefore, a glaring anachronism not in use for several centuries before the dating of the document.

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