Washington Investigative Reporter Wayne Madsen on the Trail of the Bushes and their Murderous Accomplices
What are the odds?
What are the odds that a number of people who had either opposed the Bush 41 and 43 administrations or knew too much about the Bush family’s shady past all suffered mysterious deaths, mostly suicides? Of course, lists of suspicious deaths have been produced before as a way to tie past presidents to the untimely demises of their enemies.
Right-wingers created a somewhat dubious list to suggest that President Bill Clinton had some of his political enemies murdered. However, given the sordid past of George H. W. (“Poppy”) Bush, the number of baffling deaths of people who threatened to expose corruption by him and his sons (including George W. Bush) is remarkable and appears to be more than coincidental.
Some of the suspicious deaths involved individuals who appeared in front page headlines: Senator Paul Wellstone, ex-CIA Director William Colby and Enron’s Cliff Baxter. Others remain largely unknown to the general public. Pre-George W. Bush Mysterious Deaths involving “Poppy” Bush Chilean arms dealer Carlos Cardoen allegedly engaged in weapons smuggling.
According to a 1995 deposition by Howard Teicher, a Reagan National Security Council official, Cardoen worked with the CIA during the 1980s to illegally ship military hardware, including deadly cluster bombs, to Saddam Hussein¹s regime in Iraq, while it waged a bloody war with Iran.
Between 1990 and 1991, three journalists investigating various aspects of arms and high-tech trafficking believed to involve George H. W. Bush were found dead under suspicious circumstances. They were: Freelance writer Danny Casolaro, found in a bathtub in a Martinsburg, West Virginia hotel, died from seven slashes on each wrist.
Anson Ng, a Financial Times stringer, was discovered shot to death in the bathtub of his apartment in Guatemala City. Jonathan Moyle, a British aviation journalist, was found hanging in the closet of his hotel room in Santiago, Chile.
Casolaro, who had traveled to Martinsburg in August 1991 to meet a source, was working on a book that charged George H. W. Bush was part of a global criminal enterprise Casolaro called the “Octopus.”
The freelancer’s notes and briefcase were apparently stolen from his hotel room before Casolaro supposedly committed suicide. Moyle had uncovered details of Cardoen¹s role in the Poppy Bush deal to illegally ship weapons to Iraq.
Ng was looking into secretive Bush “Octopus”related operations that used California’s Cabazon Indian Reservation as cover. High-level CIA Suspicious Deaths On April 28, 1996, former CIA Director William Colby went missing at his Rock Point home on Cobb Island in Charles County, Maryland.
After Colby’s canoe was found adrift, his body was later discovered on the shoreline of the bay. Colby, a veteran of CIA missions in Southeast Asia and elsewhere, was said to have lost his footing and drowned.
At that time, Colby was cooperating with John DeCamp, a Republican State Senator in Nebraska and a former CIA Phoenix Program colleague from Vietnam days, in investigating a national pedophile ring said to involve George H. W. Bush, which was reported in a series of articles in 1989 in the Sun Myung Moon-owned Washington Times.
In the mid-1970s, then-President Gerald Ford had appointed the tightlipped Poppy Bush to replace Colby as the Director of Central Intelligence, after Colby gave too much information to the Church Committee, which was probing the CIA and various covert actions, such as the JFK assassination.
In 1982, Moon was convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to 13 months in federal prison. He served his prison term in the mid-1980s. When Moon’s Washington Times began investigating pedophiles in the Bush White House in 1989, the Bush camp became frantic.
Soon, the Washington Times dropped its investigation of Bush and the former president has been a frequent paid speaker at various Moon functions.
Colby¹s suspicious death was not the first, nor would it be the last, involving a high-level U.S. intelligence official. On Sep. 26, 1978, retired CIA Deputy Director for Strategic Research John A. Paisley’s sailboat was found moored off Solomon’s Island, Maryland.
Paisley’s body was found in the nearby Patuxent River, his submerged corpse tied to diving weights. Although Paisley was shot through the head, police bizarrely ruled it a suicide. Paisley was involved with the electronic intercept programs of both the CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA).
He may have had important information on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (which Bush has been connected to; see here) that he was about to impart to the House Select Committee on Assassinations, a follow up to the Church Committee.
Former CIA officer Victor Marchetti told the Baltimore Sun that he believed Paisley was about to “blow the whistle” on the JFK assassination John Millis, the late Executive Director of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), allegedly committed suicide on June 4, 2000.
He died a day after forcing the CIA to release a controversial report dealing with cocaine trafficking. Police in Fairfax, Virginia still refuse to reveal the contents of a suicide note allegedly written by Millis.
Millis’ knowledge of CIA drug dealing posed a threat to the presidential campaign of George W. Bush, since many of the alleged activities occurred during W’s father’s Contra support operations in Latin America during the 1980s.
The Contra-coke link was widely reported in newspapers. Suspicious Deaths Skyrocket Under George W. Bush On July 17, 2001, a maid discovered the body of James (“JH”) Hatfield in a Day¹s Inn motel room in Springdale, Arkansas.
Police later said Hatfield was wanted for credit card fraud and that he committed suicide from an overdose of prescription drugs. Hatfield was no ordinary suicide victim.
He had written a blockbuster, New York Times bestselling book called Fortunate Son about George W. Bush’s criminal past, including his AWOL status in the Texas Air National Guard and his alleged arrest for cocaine possession in 1972 in Houston.
However, it was not Bush¹s past but Hatfield’s that became an issue. Hatfield¹s criminal rap sheet — which included embezzlement and taking out a contract on his former boss — overshadowed the troubling allegations about Bush.
After the media hits on Hatfield, his publisher, St. Martin’s Press, recalled 70,000 copies of Fortunate Son although the publishers, editors and attorneys had carefully fact checked the book.
In 2006,”suicide” claimed another official involved with Enron case.
Former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas and member of President Bush’s Corporate Fraud Task Force Michael T. Shelby, 47, allegedly shot himself to death at his home in northwest Houston on July 18, according to Houston police.
The police immediately ruled out foul play in the suicide death of Shelby, who served as chief U.S. prosecutor in Houston from 2001 to 2005. Afterward, he joined the law firm of Fulbright & Jaworski, where he worked on corporate fraud cases. Shelby was said to have had cancer at the time of his death.
Shelby first worked for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Houston in 1989, moved to Phoenix, and in 2001 returned to Houston to take the U.S. Attorney’s job.
More interestingly, Shelby, as U.S. Attorney, recused himself from investigating those involved in the Enron scandal, including “Kenny Boy” Lay, Jeffrey Skilling, and Andrew Fastow. Former Enron Chairman Ken Lay allegedly died suddenly from a heart attack in early July 2006 in Aspen, Colorado.
Death by Airplane Crash It was reported that it was the Federal Bureau of Investigation that placed a bomb on the private airplane that killed state of Nebraska chief investigator Gary Caradori and his 6-year old son “AJ” on July 11, 1990.
Caradori was hired by the Nebraska unicameral legislature to investigate allegations that a number of Nebraska youth had been sexually abused and transported over state lines in a scandal centered upon the Franklin Credit Union, headed by rising GOP African-American star Lawrence King.
A very knowledgeable source involved with what became known as the “Franklin Scandal” reported that Caradori flew to Chicago ostensibly to attend the All Star game on July 10 at Wrigley Field.
In reality, the trip to the game was a cover for Caradori to meet with a source who handed him photographs that proved that Nebraskan children, some from the famed Boy’s Town orphanage, were being used for the sexual gratification of important political leaders in Washington, including Vice President and President George H W Bush.
Caradori phoned his wife and another investigator shortly before the All-Star game and told them the same thing: “I got what I came after. I got ‘em by the balls. I’ve got pictures. I will take them to the game and bring them back to Nebraska.”
When Caradori began to follow the money behind the Franklin scandal, he discovered two things: the Franklin Credit Union was being used by the Bush White House and CIA to launder money for the Iran-contra affair and King and his associates were given a free ride to sexually traffic in and molest children, including many procured from Boy’s Town.
One of those implicated in the Franklin scandal was Housing and Urban Development Secretary Sam Pierce. At the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas, King held a $1 million reception for Pierce.
However, King’s salary at the time was $14,000 a year and the actual cost of the reception was $300,000. The difference, $700,000, went into a slush fund that was laundered by the Franklin Credit Union for various “activities” sponsored by the CIA and White House.
On July 11, Caradori took off in his private plane from Chicago en route to Nebraska. Witnesses on the ground said they saw a flash in the sky followed by an explosion. Initial news reports stated that Caradori’s aircraft exploded in flight and then crashed.
However, subsequent news reports were altered and claimed the aircraft exploded upon impact with the ground.
Caradori and his son were killed in the crash. The local Sheriff’s office reported that scattered in the wreckage were child pornographic photographs. The FBI arrived and began systematically removing the photographs, debris, and Caradori’s briefcase.
Meanwhile, FBI agents in Lincoln, Nebraska entered Caradori’s office and seized his files. Another FBI agent showed up at the office of a Nebraska state official investigating the Franklin case and demanded he turn over his files. The state official told the FBI agent to “get the hell out.”
The Bush White House immediately began covering up the Franklin scandal and put pressure on the remaining Nebraska state investigators. The FBI used the Kansas City mob to intimidate high-level witnesses and investigators of the Franklin scandal. One of the lead Nebraska investigators revealed “the FBI killed Caradori . . . they put the bomb on his airplane.”
Monsignor Robert Hupp, the Vicar-General of the Archdiocese of Omaha, a former Navy chaplain, and, in 1976, the first-ever clergy member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations, had reported in the early 1970s to his bishop that there was sexual abuse at Boy’s Town that even involved a priest murdering a boy. Hupp was later named the head of Boy’s Town, ostensibly to keep him quiet.
Hupp was in charge of Boy’s Town until the late 1980s, when the Franklin scandal first hit the front pages.
Eventually, even after stepping down as the head of the orphanage, Hupp was forced to leave Boy’s Town altogether.
In 2003, a longtime supporter of Boy’s Town allowed Hupp to move into his cabin in Mausten, Wisconsin after being forced to leave the facilities at Boy’s Town.
A reporter for the Omaha World-Herald, a newspaper owned by Nebraska billionaire Warren Buffett and which always had a skeptical view of the Franklin scandal, volunteered to drive Hupp to Wisconsin. Upon arriving at the cabin, the reporter prepared dinner for Hupp.
The retired monsignor who broke the Catholic Church’s vow of silence on its role in the Franklin scandal, died in his sleep that same night.
On October 25, 2002, progressive Minnesota Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone, engaged in a tight re-election race with Republican Norm Coleman, died along with his wife, daughter, staff members and flight crew in a plane that crashed on approach to Eveleth airport in northern Minnesota.
At the time of his death, the fiercely antiwar Wellstone was pulling ahead of Coleman in the polls. Wellstone’s Beechcraft King Air A100 crashed and exploded into flames.
Initially, the National Transportation Safety Board reported that there was a “slight irregularity” in the Eveleth airport’s radio beacon. An investigation of the aircraft debris suggested that the plane’s two engines were running at the time of the crash.
Columns appearing in the Duluth Tribune-Review and on the web site AlterNet suggested that Wellstone was murdered in a conspiracy involving the Bush White House.
The Bushes and their political cronies never liked Wellstone. In 1991, the newly elected Senator Wellstone, attending a White House reception for new members of Congress, cautioned President George H. W. Bush against engaging Iraq in a costly war after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
Bush was then overheard asking, ”Who is this chicken shit?” In the months prior to the second U.S. invasion of Iraq, “taking out” Wellstone was a top priority for Vice President Cheney and presidential adviser Karl Rove. Coleman went on to defeat Wellstone¹s replacement on the ticket, former Vice President Walter Mondale.
Plane crashes involving those who posed a threat to the Bush family plagued a number of politicians. On April 5, 1991, Republican and former Texas Republican Senator John Tower, the chairman of the Tower Commission probing the Iran-Contra scandal, died in a plane crash, along with his daughter and 21 other passengers and crew aboard Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight 2311 on approach to Brunswick, Georgia.
The day before, Republican Pennsylvania Senator John Heinz III, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that had oversight on the IranContra scandal, died when a helicopter collided with his aircraft over a Philadelphia suburb.
Heinz’s widow Teresa Heinz later married Massachusetts Democratic Senator and 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry. Poppy Bush is widely believed to have been implicated in the Iran-Contra affair: after Congress banned funding for the Contras, who were fighting a secret war against Nicaragua¹s leftist Sandinista government, White House operatives illegally sold arms to Iran and then used the proceeds to finance the Contras.
On July 16, 1991, the Piper Saratoga aircraft piloted by John F. Kennedy, Jr. crashed seven miles off of Martha’s Vineyard. Kennedy, his wife and sister-in-law were killed. The NTSB blamed haze and pilot disorientation for the crash, even though Kennedy’s flight instructors maintained that JFK, Jr. was a careful and conscientious pilot.
Some expected Kennedy to run for the U.S. Senate from New York, with a possible view to a future presidential bid. Given Bush Sr.’s alleged ties to the JFK assassination, the Bush clan would feel threatened by a rising star in the Kennedy camp.
Kennedy was also reportedly going to overhaul his George magazine and devote more of its content to hard hitting investigative reporting sleuthing that may have reopened the conspiracy that assassinated his father in Dallas in 1963.
In fact, this writer had tentative plans to meet with JFK, Jr. to discuss the possibility of writing for his revamped and more aggressive magazine. A friend of Kennedy, who was interviewed by the FBI after his death, reported that FBI agents originally treated their probe of the crash of the airplane as a “murder investigation.”
Swan Dives out of Buildings
On November 7, 2003, State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research Near East and South Asian division (INR/NESA) Iraqi analyst John J. Kokal, 58, was found dead outside the State Department building. Washington police reported the case as a suicide, resulting from Kokal¹s jumping from the building’s roof.
Kokal’s INR/NESA bureau was at the forefront of confronting claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. A colleague of Kokal’s told this reporter that the Iraq analyst was despondent over “problems” with his security clearance.
Washington police never ruled out homicide as the cause of his death. On November 25, 2003, former National Security Council official Dr. Gus W. Weiss, an outspoken critic of the Iraq War, was found dead outside a service entrance to Washington’s Watergate East residential building, where he lived.
Police ruled that Weiss had killed himself by jumping from the roof of the Watergate building. Weiss was a former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy under President Carter and served on the Signals Intelligence Committee of Carter’s Intelligence Board. Weiss also served as an adviser to the CIA and as a member of the Defense Science Board.
In September 2005, another State Department suicide was covered up by the department. Although the name of the deceased employee was never released, State Department sources revealed that it was a female who worked in the Press and Public Diplomacy Branch of the State Department’s Near East and South Asia Bureau.
More Strange Deaths
In the months prior to and after the 2001 bio-terror anthrax attacks on the U.S. Congress, media, and U.S. Postal Service, there were a number of suspicious deaths of medical researchers, the most notable being that of Harvard virologist Dr. Don Wiley.
Wiley’s suspicious death in Memphis was ruled a suicide by the Shelby County Medical Examiner and the FBI. However, an investigation by this writer concluded that the Harvard scientist had not died from jumping into the Mississippi River from the I-40 Bridge connecting Memphis to Arkansas, but was murdered.
The homicide on November 15, 2001 was likely the result of Wiley asking too many questions about the source of the anthrax attacks.
On October 20 at 8 pm, the body of United Nations seismographic monitoring expert Timothy Hampton was found at the bottom of a stairwell at the UN’s Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) offices in the E-Building of the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria.
Hampton worked in the CTBTO’s International Data Center Division, which collects seismographic data on tremors from 255 monitoring stations around the world.
UN authorities and Austrian police quickly concluded that Hampton committed suicide.
However, Hampton’s widow, an inspector for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and his sister in Britain believed that Hampton, who analyzed hundreds of underground seismometers around the world for signs of nuclear tests, believe the British engineer was murdered.
They based their claims on a second autopsy requested by the family that revealed signs of a struggle and strangulation. The Austrian Times reported that there were signs that Hampton had been strangled and his body carried up the stairs from the 6th floor to the 17th floor and then was tossed down the stairwell.
Richard Benyon, Hampton family’s Conservative Party Member of Parliament for Newbury in the UK, was quoted by the Austrian Times as saying Hampton’s colleagues were fearful of their own lives, with many refusing to work at night and morale at CTBTO becoming extremely low.
Austrian police had even attempted to burn the clothes that Hampton was wearing at the time of his death, before the investigation of his death had been fully completed.
A little less than a year before Hampton’s death, an American working for the UN in Vienna died under similar circumstances, with his body being found at the bottom of a stairwell.
That death remained “under investigation over a year later with no further information on the identity or job of the American being revealed. There were reports that the American also worked for CTBTO.
In February 2008, the body of a 44-year old Austrian UN employee, Maria DiBiase, was found after she fell from the 19th floor of the 39-story UN Secretariat Building on the East River in New York. DiBiase, said to be a friendly and talkative person, jumped after showing up for work on Sunday morning, February 17, which was a day-off for most UN employees.
Police immediately ruled DiBiase’s death a probable suicide. Although DiBiase was reportedly a UN employee, another report stated she was attached to the Austrian Consulate in New York.
Austria is significant in the UN’s nuclear counter-proliferation work since Vienna is the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which was, at the time of DiBiase’s death, at loggerheads with the Bush administration over Iran’s nuclear program.
DiBiase’s suspicious death was the first since 2003, when a UN security guard, Michael Holton, a 16-year veteran American UN security force member, was found with a gunshot wound to the head in a third floor lounge in the Secretariat building. The New York Police Department and FBI later concluded Holton was depressed and that he committed suicide.
However, the first reports from the UN were that Holton, 41, a husband and father of two, was a well-respected officer with no prior psychological problems.
There were no witnesses to the shooting, no suicide note, no reported gun shots heard, and no witnesses. When discovered, Holton was seated on a chair and the alleged suicide gun was found on an adjacent chair.
On May 26, 2006, Italian police discovered the badly decomposed body of Canadian diplomat Lewis B. Miskell in a Naples sewer. Miskell, 49, had been stabbed in the abdomen.
Intelligence sources report that Miskell, who assigned to the Canadian embassy in Vienna, Austria, was the attaché responsible for liaison to UN specialized agencies in Vienna.
The most important UN agency in the Austrian capital is the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the nexus for nuclear talks with Iran and a significant activity surrounding the activities of the defunct Brewster Jennings Associates, the covert weapons counter-proliferation front company illegally revealed by the Bush White House.
The clampdown on information about Miskell by the pro-Bush Stephen Harper government in Canada indicates that Miskell may have had an intelligence function and was operating under ‘official cover’ at the Canadian embassy in Vienna.
On July 30, 2005, it was reported that former Citigroup board member Arthur Zankel fell from the window of his 9th floor Manhattan apartment.
Zankel retired from Citigroup’s board in 2004 and was said by his longtime friend and colleague, Citigroup Chairman Sanford Weill, to have been suffering from depression.
Hours later, Wim Duisenberg, the retired head of the European Central Bank, was found dead in his swimming pool at his villa in Faucon, in southeastern France. Duisenberg retired in 2003.
At around 9:00 p.m. on September 29, 2003, Fairfax County, Virginia police responded to what might only be described as a freak accident. But on closer examination, the police discovered they were dealing with the mysterious death of an employee of the 47-year-old brother of President George W. Bush, venture capitalist Marvin Bush.
Sixty-two-year-old Bertha Champagne, described as a long time “baby sitter” for Marvin and Margaret Bush’s two children, son Walker and daughter Marshall, respectively 13 and 17 years old, was found crushed to death by her own vehicle in a driveway in front of the Bush family home at 6202 Fort Hunt Road in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County.
The police report revealed that Ms. Champagne had gone to her car to retrieve a videotape of her and President Bush in order to show it to Marvin. The vehicle, a 2000 Oldsmobile Bravada, supposedly went into gear by itself and pinned Champagne against an outer structure on the property that served as a Secret Service checkpoint when Marvin’s father was president.
There are only two persons listed on the police report: Bertha Champagne, the victim, and Marvin Bush, listed as “other” in a box for “arrested, suspect, or other.” The body of Maryland publisher Philip Merrill was discovered June 19, 2006, in the Chesapeake Bay near Poplar Island, with a gunshot wound to the head and weighed down with an anchor.
The death of Merrill was eerily similar to the Chesapeake Bay “suicide” of the CIA’s John Paisley in 1978 and Merrill¹s body was found just north of where Paisley’s body had been discovered.
Merrill’s body was discovered some 11 miles from where his boat had been found a week before. Investigators concluded that Merrill committed suicide by shooting himself in the head with a shotgun.
Investigators ruled Merrill’s death a suicide even before an autopsy was performed. Merrill, a close friend of Vice President Dick Cheney and financial backer of a number of neo-conservative organizations, was the head of the U.S. Export/Import Bank.
The bank made a number of dubious loans to the U.S.-run Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq and a successor agency known as the Trade Bank of Iraq. In November 2003, $500 million in credit was extended to the Trade Bank of Iraq by the Export-Import Bank.
Much of the money was supposed to facilitate U.S. “exports” to Iraq, but was actually used to pay major U.S. contractors operating in the occupied country.
A 2005 audit report by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction concluded: “the CPA did not establish or implement sufficient managerial, financial and contractual controls to ensure that funds were used in a transparent manner.” The report stated that $8.8 billion allocated to the CPA was unaccounted for.
California attorney and journalist Paul Sanford is the attorney who argued before the U.S. Supreme Court why “Under God” should be excised from the Pledge of Allegiance but who is best remembered for asking White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan in 2005 why the leaking of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson’s name by the White House should not be considered an act of treason. Sanford died suddenly at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Seaside, California on Christmas Eve.
According to police, Sanford, who was married with two children, “probably” jumped between 9 and 12 floors above the hotel’s atrium to his death in what was called a “suicide.”
According to the Monterey County Herald, Sanford was not registered as a guest of the hotel but his car was parked next to the building. He and his associates often met at the Chili’s restaurant next to the hotel because it was close to the KRXA studios where he co-hosted a Saturday radio show. Sanford’s friends expressed disbelief that he would put his family through such a trauma.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb wrote a damning expose about the Bush family’s involvement in trafficking drugs under the umbrella of CIA covert operations in his book, Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion.
On December 10, 2004 Webb was found dead in his home. He had recently complained about government surveillance. Webb was found dead with two gunshot wounds in his face. Despite this, Sacramento County, California coroner ruled Webb’s unusual death a “suicide.”
Keith Ryan, a 37-year old Bureau of Immigration and Customs (ICE) agent attached to the US embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, was likely shot in the back of the head by an assassin, not from a self-inflicted gunshot wound as proffered by the US embassy.
Ryan’s body was found in his home in the upscale neighborhood F-7/3. Ryan was to fly back to the United States on January 28, 2008, completing his one-year assignment, mere hours from the time of his death. Ryan’s body was found by a colleague who arrived to drive him to Islamabad airport. A 9 mm pistol was found nearby.
Ryan was the father of 8-year old triplets and lived with his wife in Silver Spring, Maryland, according to the Boston Herald. Although the Pakistan Institute of Medical Science in Islamabad wanted to do a full autopsy on Ryan, the US embassy prevented it, ordering his body removed to Germany.
Pakistani pathologist sources at the institute said Ryan was hit in the upper part of the rear of his neck, without evidence of gunpowder traces in the wound, and indicated that he was shot from a distance of more than four feet. Pakistani media sources also reported that a bullet was lodged in Ryan’s skull and had not exited as reported by other sources.
There were conflicting reports on whether a suicide note was discovered at the scene of the death.
US State Department sources reported they were skeptical about the US embassy’s explanation and its comments that Ryan had merely “passed away” and that no foul play was involved.
The first statement that Ryan committed suicide came from the Pakistani Interior Ministry, the same agency that was implicated in the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
Ryan was an employee of the Homeland Security Department who started out as a Border Patrol agent and switched to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. INS was then folded into Homeland Security and changed its name to ICE. Ryan’s designation was “senior special agent.”
Suicides by gun, jumps from windows and buildings, slashed wrists in hotel bathtubs, hangings, as well as deaths from suspicious plane crashes, are certainly the stuff of spy novels. However, the Bush family has historically been recognized as being ruthless towards its enemies.
This article has not even scratched the surface of the possible victims of the Bush Crime Family: pages can be devoted to the bathtub wrist slashing “suicide” in 2004 of Florida Department of Transportation chief investigator Ray Lemme, who was probing major state contract fraud involving Governor Jeb Bush and his associates;
the hanging “suicide” on March 22, 2000 of artist Mark Lombardi, who had sketched out art exhibit-quality pencil displays of the international criminal links of the Bush family, including their close links to the Bin Laden family;
and the 1989 “suicide” in a Boston hotel room of former ABC newsman and Republican lobbyist Craig Spence, a major player in a child prostitution scandal that rocked the Bush 41 White House and the state of Nebraska.
The drawings of Lombardi point out some interesting relationships between the Bush family, the Bin Ladens, BCCI entities, and Dubai. Lombardi died from a reported hanging suicide in 2000 but his “Global Networks” drawings, illustrating the relationships between Texas financial networks and Middle East businessmen and government figures, garnered the interest of the FBI and Homeland Security Department after the 9/11 attack.
One of Lombardi’s drawings, titled “George W. Bush, Harken Energy and Jackson Stephens, c. 1979-90, 5th Version, © 1999,” shows a link between UBME Bank Dubai and Bush Harken Energy investor Sheik Abdullah Taha Bakhsh; Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), SA (Luxembourg); Harken and BCCI investor Gaith Pharaon; the late Sheik Salim Bin Laden (the older brother of Osama Bin Laden who died in a 1988 plane crash in Texas); Main Bank Houston; James Bath, George W. Bush, and George H. W. Bush.
Jessica Mixon, a “highly trusted” county official in Nassau County, north of Jacksonville, admitted to Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) officers in April 2005 that she stole $200,000 while she was financial manager for the Nassau County Court clerk’s office. Mixon told the FDLE she lost all the money on gambling trips.
However, FDLE officers only came up with evidence that Mixon took one gambling trip to Las Vegas. However, after more than $1 million was found missing.
A week after Mixon confessed to FDLE officers, she allegedly shot herself in her chest in a Florida motel room. Mixon was in charge of depositing money from traffic fines and court fees into a special bank account but her friends wondered what happened to the rest of the money.
On April 3, 1996, Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and 34 other people on a trade mission to the Balkans died when their modified U.S. Air Force Boeing 737 crashed into a mountainside in Croatia, killing all aboard. Although a raging snowstorm was at first cited as the cause of the crash, aircrew error and a faulty cockpit panel were ultimately blamed.
Clinton opponents immediately suggested that Brown was murdered in some plot ordered by the White House. However, one of those killed in the crash was Paul Cushman, Vice President for International Banking of Riggs Bank in Washington, D.C. Riggs had been intertwined with the Bush family in a number of dubious deals, including slush funds for dictators from Chile to oil-rich Equatorial Guinea.
In the years after Cushman’s death, U.S. and foreign authorities began criminal proceedings against a number of individuals who either ran Riggs’ international banking operations or had international accounts with Riggs.
They included Equatorial Guinea’s dictator’s Riggs account manager and the daughter of Chile’s late dictator General Augusto Pinochet. George W. Bush’s uncle, Jonathan Bush, served as a top Riggs official, before the bank was acquired by PNC Bank of Pittsburgh.
On October 16, 2000, just three weeks prior to Election Day, Missouri Democratic Governor Mel Carnahan and his former chief of staff died when their twin-engine Cessna, piloted by Carnahan’s son Randy, crashed 35 miles south of St. Louis.
Carnahan was challenging Missouri’s ultra-conservative Republican Senator John Ashcroft for his Senate seat. Carnahan’s name remained on the ballot and even in death he defeated Ashcroft in the election. George W. Bush named Ashcroft his Attorney General while Carnahan’s wife, Jean, filled her husband’s Senate seat.
In 2007,the Air Force’s second-ranking procurement official, Charles Riechers, was found dead of a reported “suicide” at his home in South Riding, near Dulles International Airport.
Although Riechers’s body was reportedly found at 8 pm on Sunday, October 14, his death was not reported to the media until Tuesday morning, October 16 — a common occurrence with high-profile “suicides” during Bush administrations.
Riechers, a retired Air Force officer who specialized in converting commercial aircraft to military use, had become embroiled in a controversy earlier this month after the Washington Post reported that while awaiting confirmation by the Senate for his Air Force post, he was being paid by Commonwealth Research Institute, a Johnstown, Pennsylvania firm, while doing actual work Assistant Air Force Secretary for Acquisition.
Riechers, who left a wife and son, was reported to have died in an “unattended” suicide. The suicide occurred in Loudoun County and was first reported by the Loudoun County Sheriff.
However, the autopsy on Riechers, for which details were not released, was performed by the Fairfax County Medical Examiner. The Air Force also declined to comment on details of Riechers’s death.
The Fairfax County Medical Examiner was responsible for conducting autopsies on a number of politically-connected deaths and is well-known for its obfuscation on details of autopsies.
Previous cases involving the Fairfax County Medical Examiner include President Clinton’s deputy counsel Vince Foster, presidential brother Marvin Bush’s domestic assistant Bertha Champagne, Porter Goss’s House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Executive Director John Millis, and Drug Enforcement Administration undercover agent Tommy Burkett.
Burkett, a student at Marymount College in Arlington, was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head in his parents’ home over the Thanksgiving weekend in 1991.
Police determined that Burkett committed suicide. However, witnesses believed that Burkett was murdered due to what appeared to his father to have been a severe beating.
It was later reported that Burkett was an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration and was reported on significant deals being conducted on the Marymount campus.
In December 2003, Jonathan Luna, the Assistant U.S. Attorney for Maryland, a husband and father of two, departed Baltimore in his vehicle, strangely leaving his cell phone on his desk at his office, and drove a circuitous route through Delaware, New Jersey, and then Pennsylvania before he was found in a creek near the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Denver, Pennsylvania, stabbed to death 36 times, supposedly with his own pen knife.
Federal authorities leaned toward a suicide but local investigators treated the death as a homicide. In 2004, Luna’s boss, U.S. Attorney Thomas DiBiagio, claimed he was being pressured to stop his investigation of Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich’s staff for links to gambling (particularly the gambling interests of jailed Maryland/DC GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff), prostitution, and other corruption and filed a threat report with the FBI.
The Washington Post and Washington Times then falsely reported that Luna was fearful that DiBiagio was going to fire him, which led to Luna’s ‘suicide.’ It is a charge DiBiagio strongly denied.
DiBiagio told the New York Times that the pressure from Ehrlich’s office and the Justice Department served ‘to intimidate my office and shut down the investigations.’ Maryland Democratic Senator Ben Cardin asked for an investigation of DiBiagio’s firing.
The investigation of Ehrlich’s office’s role in the prostitution investigation was linked to police misconduct in Baltimore surrounding the use by former Baltimore Police Commissioner Ed Norris of Deborah Jeane Palfrey’s Pamela Martin & Associates escort service, which ensnared a number of top Republicans, including Louisiana Senator David Vitter and Assistant Secretary of State Randall Tobias.
The Baltimore prostitution connection may also be linked to the use of escorts by then-New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
Palfrey reputedly committed suicide by hanging herself on May 1, 2008 at her ailing mother’s home in Tarpon Springs, Florida.
Palfrey’s mother Blanche Palfrey said in an interview that her daughter was writing a book at the time of her death.
The book was certain to have been a tell-all about the high-level clients of her Pamela Martin & Associates escort agency, which, during its thirteen years in operations, catered to Washington’s, Baltimore’s, and Annapolis’s top Republican political elite. Vice President Dick Cheney was reportedly among the clients of Pamela Martin while he served as CEO of Halliburton in the 1990s.
One US intelligence source said Palfrey’s hanging bore the attributes of USsupported Latin American death squad assassinations common in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Another U.S. intelligence source adamantly said, “there is no way this woman [Palfrey] took her own life.”
Palfrey had her own doubts about the alleged suicide of one of her escorts a year earlier.
In January 2007, after being exposed by the media as running an escort, Brandy Britton, a PhD and former Associate Professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore Campus, was found hanging in her home in Ellicott City, Maryland, a suburb of Baltimore.
Britton’s home had been foreclosed after she was charged with running a prostitution service using the name “Alexis” and has since been identified from Palfrey’s phone lists as one of the Pamela Martin & Associates escorts. Palfrey used the name “Julia.”
On September 9, 2003, the former U.S. Attorney for Eastern Texas, Michael Bradford, who served for seven years until April 2001, was found dead near his car in a wooded area in Hardin County, Texas. Bradford was 51 and was appointed U.S.
Attorney on the advice of Texas’ longtime congressman Jack Brooks, a longtime and no-nonsense investigator of administration scandals, Republican and Democrat.
As U.S. Attorney, Bradford successfully sued several large oil companies to recover $400 million in royalty payments due the federal government. Bradford suffered a gunshot wound to his head and police found a shotgun near his body. Police ruled the death a suicide.
Bradford’s replacement, Wes Rivers, served as U.S. Attorney for East Texas for seven months until being downgraded to Assistant U.S. Attorney in Tyler, Texas. Rivers prosecuted several drug cartel leaders. In July 2007, Rivers tied suddenly of a brain aneurysm while vacationing with his family on the Bolivar Peninsula, near Galveston. Rivers was 56.
During the evening of October 11, 2001, Tom Wales, 49, the Assistant U.S. Attorney for Washington State, was shot through a window in his basement. The assailant fired the shots from Wales’s back yard. Wales later died in the hospital.
The FBI investigation, code named “SEPROM” [Seattle Prosecutor Murder], remained unsolved. John McKay, the US Attorney for Western Washington, who pressured both the Justice Department and FBI to more vigorously investigate Wales’s murder, was, like Maryland U.S. Attorney Tom DiBiagio, fired by U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for asking too many questions and not being seen as “loyal Bushies.”
In 2004, two female federal prosecutors in Texas who were prosecuting cases involving Medicare fraud by Novation LLC and other medical care providers were found dead from suspicious causes.
Federal prosecutor in Fort Worth, Thelma Colbert, was found dead in her swimming pool on July 20, 2004, while Assistant U.S. Attorney Shannon Ross was found dead in her home on September 13, 2004.
The Tarrant County medical examiner ruled Colbert’s death an “accident.” The Dallas County medical examiner determined Ross’ death was from “natural causes.”
William H. Lash III was the second high-ranking former African-American official and Harvard alum in the George W. Bush administration to die under suspicious circumstances in 2006.
On July 13, 2006, Fairfax, Virginia police responded to a domestic incident at the McLean, Virginia residence of Lash, who served as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance. He served in the position from 2001 to 2005 and was responsible for a special task force that assisted companies in securing contracts in U.S.-occupied Iraq.
Lash, who was 45 and a New Jersey native, was a high-powered Washington attorney who served as counsel to the U.S. International Trade Commission during the Reagan administration.
Before and after leaving the Bush administration, he taught law at George Mason University. According to The Washington Post, police were called a little before 10 p.m. by Lash’s wife, Sharon Zackula.
She claimed she and Lash had a dispute and she ran from their home. The story claims that sometime between “shortly before 10 p.m.” and 9:55 p.m., police obtained a warrant for the arrest of Lash for domestic assault. Police arrived at 9:55 p.m. at Lash’s front door. The police then knocked on the door for ten minutes before they heard two gunshot wounds from inside the home.
Police then used bullhorns to ask Lash to phone them. Police also instructed neighbors to turn off all their lights and go to their basements. That decision prevented any witnesses from noticing anyone fleeing the scene of the shooting.
At 1:00 a.m., Friday morning, police sent a robot unit into the home. It was not until 3:50 a.m., almost six hours after the shooting was heard, that police discovered the bodies of Lash and his 12-year old autistic son dead in a first floor bedroom from gunshot wounds to the upper body. Police claimed that Lash shot his son and then himself.
Neighbors and colleagues expressed shock at the news, all saying that Lash showed no signs of tension or depression and that was very devoted to his son.
Lash was also an adviser to the corporate public relations firm Brunswick Group, LLC, a U.K.-based firm that once employed Clinton State Department spokesman Jamie Rubin as a director of its political affairs unit. Brunswick had been known by a number of names, including Lincoln Research Ltd. Its holding company was based in the Channel Islands.
Brunswick represented the Royal Bank of Scotland and paid 5,000 pounds to the Labor Party in return for its clients to receive tickets to dine with top Labor politicians. On July 12, 2006, Neil Coulbeck, a Royal Bank of Scotland officer and a witness in the Enron case, allegedly committed suicide in an East London park.
On September 7, 2005, Eric Miller, a prominent African-American attorney who had served as Assistant Chief of Litigation for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), was found partially burned and beaten to death in his automobile parked in a seedy neighborhood in Washington.
On January 6, 2006, recently-retired New York Times Washington editor David Rosenbaum, who extensively covered the Iran-contra scandal, was beaten to death near his northwest Washington, DC home.
There were some uncomfortable aspects to this case. One is that it took 22 minutes for an ambulance to reach the crime scene in a quiet and crime-free part of northwest Washington.
Emergency services gave their response a “Bravo” rating, meaning they considered Rosenbaum’s injuries to be less than “Charlie” or “Delta,” serious and life-threatening, respectively. Police concluded that Rosenbaum was beaten to death as the result of a robbery.
In 2011, someone with ties to the Virginia Republican Party died suspiciously from a fall from the “W” Hotel in Washington, DC. The “W” has no relation to George “W” Bush.
The only consistent story about the death of the woman who supposedly jumped to her death from the rooftop bar at the W Hotel, just a block from the White House, was that there was no consistent story.
A Washington Metropolitan Police homicide source said that police closed the W Hotel’s 10th floor POV Lounge after 47-year old Stephanie Huebner of Alexandria, Virginia allegedly walked from a table where she was sitting alone and climbed over the railing of the building and plunged to her death.
Some witnesses claim Huebner temporarily grabbed a ledge below the 9th floor before letting go and hitting 15th Street across from the U.S. Treasury Department.
The incident occurred at around 11:00 pm.
Washington police and homicide detectives questioned all the patrons in the rooftop lounge before allowing anyone to depart. “The bar was in lockdown,” according to one source who was present in the bar when Huebner fell to her death.
A witness said Huebner was blond and of slight build. The witness discovered Huebner in a pool of blood after her fall from the rooftop of the hotel. She was pronounced dead at the scene by DC emergency personnel. The witness who saw Huebner on the street said one person rushed out of the hotel saying Huebner had been “pushed.”
W Hotel staff were instructed by their management not to discuss the details of the reported suicide. The Washington Post chose not to report on the identity of the woman who fell, claiming it was not their general policy to report the names of suicide victims.
However, WJLA-TV, the ABC affiliate, did announce the woman’s name during its June 30 broadcast. Although WJLA reported that Huebner had been drinking at the bar, eyewitnesses said she had very little, if anything, to drink. Huebner was not a guest at the hotel. WJLA interviewed one guest who said he witnessed Huebner’s fall, however, the guest chose to remain anonymous.
Police were aided by uniformed Secret Service officers. Law enforcement temporarily closed 15th Street between F Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. A Secret Service source reported that the death of Huebner was “strange” and that constituted the prevailing view inside the agency.
Another witness to the alleged suicide claimed to have been familiar with Huebner and said she was a military veteran.
When asked the service, the witness replied, “I believe Air Force.” Huebner’s on-line biography claimed that she was “unemployed,” however, she donated money to Republican political candidates. Her mother, Carolyn Huebner, was a well-known figure in the Commonwealth Republican Party.
On December 9, 2011, former Georgia U.S. Representative Cynthia McKinney was stunned by the alleged suicide of Georgia State Senator Robert Brown. McKinney issued the following statement: “It was with shock and disbelief that I received a phone call yesterday evening around 6:18 informing me that State Senator Robert Brown had been found dead in his home.
Later, I learned that the coroner reported that he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. I am still stunned and dazed and confused. I don’t understand this at all. State Senator Brown and I were working on a project to infuse Georgia politics with a much-needed added dimension: that is, independent voting.”
Suspicious Military Deaths
When the body of Air Force Captain John Frueh was found near his rental car near Badger Peak in northeast Skamania County, Washington on September 8, 2007, questions began to be asked. Frueh was assigned to “Operations Weather” for the Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field in Florida.
Hurlburt is the headquarters for the Air Force’s Special Forces activities. Frueh was a veteran of Special Forces combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. He had flown to Portland, Oregon to attend his best friend’s September 2 wedding.
Frueh was to have returned to Florida on September 4.
No cause of death was given by the authorities. Frueh had flown to Portland on August 25 to attend his friend’s wedding. According to The Oregonian, Frueh had last spoken to his family in Florida on August 30 after renting a car at Portland International Airport. Frueh was 33, married, and a father of two young children.
Why would Frueh have driven a long distance from Portland to Washington? Frueh was last seen on August 29 going for a walk in Nob Hill, in northwest Portland. He was carrying in his backpack a camcorder, Global Positioning System (GPS), camera, and cell phone.
According to the Portland Police, the last call from Frueh’s cell phone was at 12:29 pm on August 29 from the intersection of I-205 and S.E. Mill Plain Road in Vancouver, Washington, ironically, close to a Search and Rescue facility.
There is also the question as to how Frueh traveled to a stop off of the interstate highway in Vancouver, Washington on August 29 if he did not rent his car at Portland International until the next day, August 30, the same day his family in Florida last heard from him by phone.
Considering Frueh’s last cell phone call was on August 29 from Vancouver, why did he presumably use a pay phone to call his family in Florida?
Frueh’s last reported phone call at Portland airport came on the same day, August 30, that five or six nuclear weapons aboard a B-52 supposedly went “missing” during a flight from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.
Frueh’s position in the headquarters of the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command “weather operations” would have given him access to a highly classified information.
Suicide in this case appears highly unlikely. Frueh had recently been selected for Major. He was attending his best friend’s wedding and he had a wife and two children.
Police in Washington State immediately ruled out foul play in Frueh’s death. A report was floated that he suffered from some unspecified “medical condition.”
Cover-up was the rule of the day in the investigation of the April 22, 2004 death in Afghanistan of April 22, 2004 death in Afghanistan of NFL starturned-US Army Ranger Pat Tillman.
At an August 1, 2007 hearing of the House Government Oversight and Government Committee, the ranking Republican member, Representative Tom Davis (R-Virginia) used the dreaded “conspiracy” word to describe the Pentagon’s handling of the Tillman case.
Davis said, “There are no good answers to the necessarily tough questions raised about how the facts of this friendly-fire incident were handled, by whom and when.
Testimony from our previous hearing, and the results of six separate Army investigations, all show the tragic truth can only fall somewhere between screw-up and coverup, between rampant incompetence and elaborate conspiracy.
And once you’re descending that continuum, it almost doesn’t matter whether the failure to follow Army regulations about updated casualty reports and prompt family notification was inadvertent, negligent or intentional.”
On the evening of April 22, 2004, Tillman’s team member, Private First Class Bryan O’Neal, reported that he suspected fratricide in Tillman’s death. That statement appears in the Army 15-6 report required for all hostile combat deaths.
However, someone, whose identity is yet unknown, re-wrote O’Neal’s statement to reflect that “Corporal Tillman was killed by the enemy.” Tillman was reportedly in contact with a number of noted anti-war individuals in the United States and was reporting to them that the war in Afghanistan was based on fraudulent causes.
Tillman indicated he would join their anti-war campaign after his Army discharge. Powerful forces in the Bush administration had every motive to ensure that Tillman would never hit the anti-war circuit in the United States.
Colonel Ted Westhusing, a professor at West Point and himself a West Point graduate, as well as the Army’s top expert on military ethics, was found dead June 5, 2005 from a purported self-inflicted gunshot wound in his trailer near Baghdad Airport.
At the time of his death, Westhusing was investigating a private military contractor, U.S. Investigations Services (USIS) of Virginia, for fraud and human rights abuses. USIS is financially linked to the Carlyle Group.
Westhusing’s family and friends rejected the Army’s determination that Westhusing took his own life. The Army based its decision on a “suicide” note said to be written in Westhusing’s handwriting.
The Carlyle Group employed Bush Sr. for a number of years as a senior adviser. Other Carlyle advisers included Bush’s former Secretary of State James Baker and former British Prime Minister John Major.
On September 10, 2001, Bush Sr. was attending a Carlyle business meeting at Washington D.C.’s Ritz-Carlton hotel along with Shafig Bin Laden, a brother of Osama Bin Laden.
After spending the night of September 10 at the White House, Bush Sr. flew out of Washington on a private jet before the first hijacked plane struck the World Trade Center. In 1990, Carlyle placed failed businessman George W. Bush on the board of one of its subsidiaries, Caterair, an airline catering company.
On April 15, 1985, Barbara Evans-Smith, the 64-year old wife of retired U.S. Army Colonel William Evans-“Bull” Smith, was found strangled by a pair of pantyhose in their home in the village of Lincoln, south of Leesburg in Loudoun County.
Leesburg was also the location of the March 22, 2009, brutal assault on retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel and former CIA officer William Bennett and his wife. Bennett was bludgeoned to death in the assault and his wife, Cynthia, was left in critical condition.
Colonel Evans-Smith, who prepared country studies for the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and, after his retirement, was the director of foreign area studies at American University, was charged with the second degree murder of his wife. He was convicted by a Virginia court in August 1985 and was sentenced to five years in state prison in Staunton.
The Virginia Court of Appeals later overturned Evans-Smith’s conviction on the grounds that the evidence used by the state was based on hearsay and was prejudicial and circumstantial.
Hair samples collected at the crime scene and from a pubic combing of the deceased’s body were discovered not to belong to either the victim or Colonel Evans-Smith.
A second trial began on April 17, 1989, and Evans-Smith was, once again found guilty of second-degree murder and was sentenced to twenty years in prison. In 1994, the retired colonel was eventually cleared of murdering his wife by a federal appeals court and freed after spending five years in prison.
The federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the evidence used against Evans-Smith did not prove guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
It was thenVirginia Attorney General James Gilmore, the future Governor, who sought to put Evans-Smith away for the rest of his life and it was Gilmore who had egg on his face when the federal appellate court tossed out the conviction of Evans-Smith.
A dark-colored van seen in proximity to Evans-Smith house the morning of the murder of his wife was never considered important to the Loudoun County Sheriff investigators.
The following is quoted from the Fourth Circuit Appellate Court’s decision vacating Evans-Smith’s conviction:
“A witness for the defense testified that she had seen a green van with Louisiana plates speeding through the area. The van had cut her off, and had acted strangely enough that she reported it to the police.
Patricia Packard, who lived opposite the entrance to Evans-Smith’s driveway, testified that she remembered hearing and seeing a dark-colored vehicle hurriedly departing the Evans-Smith driveway the morning of the murder between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m.” Evans-Smith had arrived at work at American University between 8:30 and 8:35 a.m. that morning.
Many in Evans-Smith community believed the murderer or murderers of Mrs. Evans-Smith were associated with the suspicious van with Louisiana tags, just as many in Loudoun County later believe the murder of retired Army Colonel William Bennett was connected to a suspicious white van with Florida tags seen in the area before and at the time of the assault on the Bennetts.
It was known that William Bennett was involved in sensitive classified work for the CIA that may have included intelligence on Israel’s illegal transfer of sensitive U.S. military technology to China and Russia.
In the case of Evans-Smith, his role in writing country studies for the U.S. Special Operations forces during the 1970s and 1980s included a host of potential snake pits that could have earned him a set up by political enemies.
It was the time of Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and William Casey, the countries of Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iran, Libya, and Pakistan were in the headlines, the Afghan CIA-funded Mujaheddin war and Iran-contra were well underway, and northern Virginia crawled with the likes of Oliver North and John Poindexter.
In July 2008, General Tom Tinsley, commander of the 3rd Wing at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska, died from a gunshot wound to his chest. The incident remained under Air Force investigation with no plausible conclusion ever issued.
Although Tinsley was well-liked by officers and enlisted personnel who worked with him, as well as by the people of Anchorage, a “whispering campaign” directed against Tinsley’s mental wellness was floated by Pentagon officials.
Questions were in abundance after the 2007 reported “suicide” death of the U.S. defense attaché in Nicosia, Cyprus, Lt. Col. Thomas Mooney.
After gone missing for two days, Mooney’s body was found in the Troodos Mountains, southwest of Nicosia.
Mooney, who was 45 and had a wife and children, was last seen on June 28, 2007. US ambassador to Cyprus Ronald Schlicher confirmed that Mooney died.
A U.S. government statement was issued that quickly ruled Mooney’s death a suicide, even before a full investigation by U.S. and Cypriot authorities was completed:
“The injury was compatible with self-infliction. There was no evidence of foul play whatsoever.”
The statement said that Mooney had a neck wound that was caused by a “large instrument.” Mooney’s body was in a state of decomposition when it was discovered. A blade was reportedly found near Mooney’s body. Mooney’s car was found nearby with the doors locked.
Although the U.S. authorities immediately decided that Mooney committed suicide, Cypriot police avoided the conclusion that Mooney’s death was from suicide.
There were also conflicting stories about where Mooney was going when he disappeared. One report had him going to the gym and another said he was heading to the airport, presumably the international airport in Larnaca, south of Nicosia.
On September 4, 2006, Army Lt. Col. Marshall Gutierrez, the chief logistics officer at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, who was investigating over-payments for goods and services and other fraud, supposedly committed suicide in his base quarters after ingesting prescription sleeping pills and anti-freeze. In December 2006, Army Major Gloria Davis, a contracting officer at Camp Arifjan, allegedly committed suicide in Kuwait after she admitted to receiving $225,000 in bribes from Lee Dynamics, an Army logistics contractor.
Iran-contra and 9/11 “Tidying Up” Operations
Between late Thursday, January 31, and Saturday, January 2, 2013, Saturday being the same day the badly beaten body of professional New York photographer Sarai Sierra being found along the ancient wall of Istanbul, Turkey, former CIA and commercial airline pilot Philip Marshall, age 54, allegedly took a Glock 9 mm handgun and shot his 17-year old son Alex and 14year old daughter Macaila in their heads. Marshall’s two children were shot while they slept on a couch in Marshall’s Murphys, California home. Marshall then allegedly turned the gun on himself.
Marshall was a former airline pilot for Eastern and United and was a contract pilot for the CIA and Drug Enforcement Agency during the Iran-Contra episode of the 1980s. Marshall was also the author of two books about 9/11, which suggested that the Bush administration, along with Saudi Arabia, not any terrorist group, were responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Marshall also wrote an earlier book, a novel titled Lakefront Airport, which was a recollection of his experiences in the Iran-contra episode.
Marshall’s neighbors discounted the Calaveras County Sheriff’s quick determination that the shooting deaths of the Marshalls, along with that of Marshall’s wife’s dog, were a murder-suicide. Marshall’s children and the dog were staying at his home because his estranged wife was on a trip to Istanbul. It is noteworthy that Marshall’s wife Sean was in Istanbul the same time that Sierra was murdered. However, no connection was ever determined between the two American women.
Istanbul police reported that Sierra’s Samsung Galaxy phone and iPad were missing although her gold earrings, necklace and bracelet were still on her body.
Other reports said Sierra’s i-Phone was also missing. Sierra had been beaten so bad her face was said to be unrecognizable.
Marshall also knew CIA contract pilot, government informant, and drug smuggler Barry Seal, gunned down in his car execution style in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1986. Seal was preparing to provide evidence to federal investigators of Vice President George H W Bush’s involvement in CIA cocaine smuggling and the Iran-contra scandal.
Vice President Bush’s personal phone number was reportedly found in the trunk of Seal’s car. Seals murderer or murderers were never brought to justice. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Gary Webb documented the CIA drug smuggling activities in his book Dark Alliance. Webb, it should be recalled, was found dead in his Sacramento home in 2004 from two gunshot wounds to the head. The county coroner ruled the death a suicide.
Former Florida Senator and Governor Bob Graham’s novel, Keys to the Kingdom, is about a retired senator from Florida named John Billington who takes meticulous notes and tells a State Department intelligence officer about a Saudi connection to terrorism. The fictional Billington, like Graham, was the chairman of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee.
In the novel, before he can provide any further details to the intelligence officer, Billington is run over by a black pickup truck, killing him. The Billington in the novel is obviously Graham. Graham has pointed to a significant Saudi government connection to terrorism, including the 9/11 attack. Phil Marshall agreed with Graham’s contention concerning Saudi links to terrorist attacks in the United States.
Dallas-based Affiliated Computer Systems (ACS) was responsible for maintaining the Department of Education’s federal direct student aid program, caused the leak of personal data, including Social Security Numbers, dates of birth, and financial information on 21,000 federal student loan recipients.
ACS, it will be recalled, was the firm that managed the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Student Processing Center in London, Kentucky. On March 11, 2002, six months after Mohammed Atta and Marwan al Shehhi allegedly flew planes into the World Trade Center, their Venice, Florida flight school, Huffman Aviation, received INS visa approval forms from ACS granting Atta and al Shehhi their student visas for their stay in the United States.
ACS also purchased scandal-plagued IMS from Lockheed Martin on August 24, 2001. IMS had run the WorkNet “welfare-to-work” program for Pinellas County, Florida. Janet Gifford-Meyers, a lawyer in the Pinellas County Economic Development office and Rick Dodge, the Economic Development chief for Pinellas County, blew the whistle on contract fraud involving IMS. The firm hired people to harass Gifford-Meyers and Dodge.
One harasser threatened Gifford-Meyers with the loss of her unborn baby. In April 2001, GiffordMeyers was said to have committed suicide from an overdose of barbiturates. After ACS bought IMS from Lockheed, Dodge was fired by the Pinellas County Administrator in August 2002. Gary Webb reported to this writer before his death that he was investigating ACS.
The DC Medical Examiner and Obfuscation
On February 12, 2011, The Washington Post — the paper that puts the final official lid on stories in the nation’s capital — reported on the District of Columbia Medical Examiner’s conclusions on the fiery automobile death of former Rep. Rosa DeLauro chief of staff Ashley Turton. Turton died betwen 4:30 and 5:00 am on January 10 after she started her BMW. The DC Medical concluded Turton died from burns and inhalation of “products of combustion” with “acute alcohol intoxication.”
A friend of Ashley Turton reported that the former congressional staffer who became chief lobbyist for North Carolina-based Progress Energy was on her way to the airport, possibly with a stop at her office, to fly to Charlotte where a buy-out of her company by Duke Power was to be announced later in the day. To believe the DC Medical Examiner (DCME), Turton was in a heavily drunken state as she was heading to the airport for an early morning flight to attend a conference with her present and future employer. And, curiously, the DCME issued its findings before the DC Fire Department concluded its own investigation.
It is not the first time the DCME issued a dubious autopsy report on a politically-linked suspicious death.
In March 1995, the DCME concluded that a 36 year-old Little Rock, Arkansas woman named Margaret Davis King had committed suicide when she threw herself into the Lion Exhibit at the Washington National Zoo around 5:00 am after entering through the secure employee’s entrance, scaling a tall fence, diving nine feet into a moat and swimming to the lion’s lair, and then somehow enraging a male lion to the point that he swatted her head and then ate her hands and most of her arms. King had left no suicide note.
King was in Washington to file a lawsuit against President Bill Clinton who she claimed had abducted “their daughter.” King had been ruled mentally unstable in Arkansas and was known to the Secret Service. King was carrying a small tape recorder when she “committed suicide.” The DCME and Washington Metropolitan Police said they could not immediately identify King until two days after her death, even though she was carrying an Arkansas photo identification bus pass.
In July 1997, Mary Mahoney, a former White House intern who worked with Monica Lewinsky, was murdered execution-style, along with two colleagues, at a Starbuck’s at 1810 Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown in Washington. There were reports that Mahoney was to go public with information about what she knew about sexual harassment at the Clinton White House.
Mahoney was shot in the head with five bullet from an automatic weapon. Her two colleagues, Emory Evans and Aaron Goodrich, were taken to another room at the coffee shop and executed separately, each shot one time in the head with a revolver. No money was taken from the Starbuck’s, ruling out robbery as a motive.
Two separate types of bullets and two guns were used in the killings, a clear indication that more than one killer was involved. The murders occurred on a Sunday evening after the shop closed at 8 pm. There was ample cash in the drawers after a busy Independence Day weekend. Police also examined a security video tape from the upscale Four Seasons Hotel, which was several blocks away from the Starbuck’s on Pennsylvania Avenue. The DCME never looked at the murders as a professional hit but as a random robbery.
On November 26, 1996, the day after Thanksgiving, when most federal employees take the day off, Commerce Department executive secretary Barbara Wise’s bruised and partially naked body was found locked in her office at the Herbert Hoover Building, across 15th Street from the White House Ellipse. Wise handled the personal correspondence for Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown and Commerce Department official John Huang.
On the morning of the day Wise died, President Clinton, at Camp David for the Thanksgiving weekend, returned to the White House on an unscheduled trip to retrieve a poetry book he said he needed for his Inaugural Address, not scheduled for another two months. DCME conclusion on Wise’s death: unknown.
The list of those who died under suspicious, politically-connected circumstances is practically never ending as are the questions they raise. For example, Paul Wilcher, a friend of longtime White House correspondent Sarah McClendon, died in his Capitol Hill apartment after he picked up on some of Danny Casolaro’s research. Clinton’s White House counsel during the impeachment hearings, Charles Ruff, died suddenly at his home of a heart attack at the age of 61.
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s (HPSCI) ranking member Representative Julian Dixon (DCalifornia) dropped dead only weeks after being briefed by John Millis, who later allegedly committed suicide in Virginia, on the CIA-Bush drug connection.
What was Representative Gary Condit, also of HPSCI, briefed on exactly by Millis? What did Condit tell his friend Chandra Levy, an intern for the Federal Bureau of Prisons who disappeared in Rock Creek Park in Washington but whose remains were discovered a year later after an initial painstaking search of the area in the park where she was last known to be. Or what did he ask her to find out for him through her Bureau contacts?
What did congressional staffer Lori Klausutis discover before her body was discovered in January 2001 in the Florida office of GOP Congressman-turned-MSNBC show host Joe Scarborough?
Although it may never be positively determined how many deaths of Bush enemies were merely suicides, accidents or resulted from foul play, one thing seems very certain. As long as the Bush family maintained its political grip at the federal level, particularly within the CIA, and at the state level, mysterious deaths were bound to occur.
One seasoned Washington intelligence expert said the possibility of official or semi-official “death squads” carrying out assassinations of Bush and other administration critics could not be ruled out.