Just to follow up on how this ended:
1) with the starter motor failing to turn the engine, I felt that it had to come out and be bench tested
2) to remove the starter, it requires that the right side line to the oil cooler be removed, minimally at the bottom. You may need to raise the bike, since your wrench is probably too long to fit.
3) you will also need to remove the right-side exhaust, minimally, loosen all fastenings, especially the rusted nuts that fasten the header to the cylinder head, and the clamp that fastens the wee pipe that joins the right and left exhaust pipes underneath the bike. (note: loosening these nuts could have been a world of pain. A dose of WD40, a two hour wait and scrubbing the rusted studs with a tooth brush was all that was needed in this case.)
4) the other end of the header is bolted to the frame, with the button-head bolt located behind the foot brake lever. Removal of the foot brake lever assembly requires removal of the chain sprocket cover. This is great fun, isn't it?
You can however avoid this make-work project somewhat, if you can access the bolt that fastens the foot brake lever to the assembly, from underneath the bike and from the other side. You will need an 18" extension, a knuckle adapter, and an allen-key socket head, to do this.
5) With the right side exhaust now completely loose, but in place, using a long bar, you can flex the exhaust just enough to provide the half-centimeter of extra space required to slide out the starter motor.
6) with the motor held by a vice, and the correct direction of rotation established by a mechanic who happened to be visiting, I discovered that, indeed, the direction of rotation was incorrect. I rotated the casing about 30 degrees clockwise, and this corrected the problem.
7) now that the starter motor was out, I had total access to the leaking threaded plugs that were the objective in the first place, so I pulled them out, wrapped them in teflon tape, and cranked them real snug. If they still leak, I'm buying a rubber mat to put under the bike. Or another bike.
8) everything went back together ok. Following advice on other threads, I did not replace the rusted nuts with stainless ones, since stainless apparently sets up a chemical reaction causing a total bond with the stud. I also used a copper-based, high temp anti-seize compound from loc-tite, on the stud threads, and having tightened the original rusty nuts onto the studs, I capped them with nice shiny acorn nuts.
What a clusterf##k. I must have spent 10 or 12 hours on this, over 2 weekends. For a few oil spots....
Sometimes they give, sometimes they take