First I need to say right off the bat that any or all of the deaths that I discuss
here may be just what they have been officially found to be: suicides or accidents.
And we need to be very careful that we don’t overstate the case as to what
these “suicides” and “accidents” PROVE, lest we be considered
“conspiracy theorists” at a time when we are trying to get people
to take seriously the dangerous state of our election system, as well as the many
crimes of the Bush Administration. Nevertheless, it seems to me that there is
a disturbing pattern here – and we would do well to consider it.
I doubt that many DUers would find it very difficult to believe that the Bush
administration sometimes has its domestic enemies assassinated. Most or all
of us believe that the Bush Administration led us into a war on false pretenses
(though perhaps a minority believes that at least they had decent motives).
And the good majority of us believe that its plans for preventing and dealing
with the recent human tragedy in New Orleans and surrounding areas were so lacking
in effectiveness and enthusiasm that at best they should be characterized as
willful negligence. Are these things less bad than assassinating one’s
domestic enemies? I don’t think so. But the latter does seem scarier in
some ways, perhaps because of what it says about the power that our government
currently holds. So let’s consider some of these cases:
J. H. Hatfield
J. H. Hatfield wrote a scathing biography of George W. Bush, called “Fortunate
Son”, which was published while Bush was running for President in 2000,
following numerous aggressive attempts to prevent its publication. In addition
to detailing many of the well known (to DUers) unethical and probably illegal
business dealings by Bush in the 1990s, the book also alleged that Bush was
found guilty of a cocaine use charge which was expunged from his record. I read
his book with great interest in early 2001, and shortly thereafter I was dismayed
to hear of Hatfield’s “suicide”.
discusses Hatfield’s death in June 2001, which was ruled a suicide, the
result of a drug overdose in a hotel room. There was no autopsy. Suicide notes
were found by the bedside, which Hatfield’s wife identified as being in
his handwriting. Other evidence arguing for suicide includes the fact that Hatfield
was having severe financial problems, and had just been charged with credit
card fraud (which appears to have been a set-up).
Evidence arguing against suicide includes the fact that Hatfield had made public
his receipt of death threats against him, his wife, and his daughter, from Bush
allies. According to Hatfield, he was told "If you value their lives, you'd
better back off from this edition." In addition, the lady who checked him
in at the hotel noted that he was "pleasant and smiling" and "made
conversation and had no visible signs of distress".
Hatfield’s publisher, Sander Hicks, initially accepted the suicide verdict.
However, more recently, in January 2003, he announced
that he was making the suicide notes available to forensics experts, to compare
with handwriting samples that Hicks had acquired through the Freedom of Information
Act, in order to arrive at an independent verdict in the case. I could not find
any more recent information on this.
Cliff Baxter was a former Vice Chairman of Enron, and one of the few high level
Enron executives who had tried to prevent Enron’s illegal activities,
which resulted in the fall of the company and the disappearance of the life
savings of many of its employees, in one of the largest corporate fraud cases
in U.S. history. At the time of his death he was about to testify before the
House Energy and Commerce Committee about the scandal at Enron. It was felt
by many that his testimony could be devastating to top Enron officials and might
even provide a vital link between Enron and the Bush Administration.
Baxter, 43, was found shot to death in his car on the morning of January 25,
2002, near his home in Sugar Land, Texas. As this
article explains, local authorities quickly called his death a suicide,
without a serious investigation or even an autopsy. But hours later, the local
Justice of the Peace, Jim Richard, reversed his decision not to order an autopsy,
citing intense public interest.
Baxter was not known to have depression or any other mental problem at the
time. He was a multi-millionaire, with an apparently happy family life. Furthermore,
he had spoken with a friend recently about the fact that he felt he needed a
discusses the autopsy findings and provides a copy of them. It notes that although
the autopsy states “suicide” as the cause of death, no evidence
is given to support that conclusion. It also goes into detail about how the
physical findings are much more suggestive of murder than of suicide. And finally,
it notes that Baxter would have had no need for ratshot, the ammunition used
to kill him, and that ratshot is the perfect murder ammunition, since it leaves
no evidence capable of matching the gun to the ammunition.
Paul Wellstone was the greatest thorn in the side of the Bush Administration
of any U.S. Senator. Had he lived it was thought likely that, starting in 2003,
he would have initiated a serious Senate investigation into the September 2001
terrorist attacks against our country. He died in a small plane crash just weeks
prior to the 2002 mid-term elections, as it was becoming evident that he would
win a third term to the U.S. Senate. It was thought at the time that a Wellstone
victory in Minnesota would result in Democratic control of the Senate for the
next two years (which would have been the case had Max Cleland not been defeated
According to this
article, “None of the typical causes of a small plane accident—engine
failure, icing, pilot error—appear to have been involved.” Evidence
suggests that both engines were running when the plane hit the ground. The plane
had passed through the icing altitude without apparent difficulty, and it was
cleared for approach to the airport. Both pilots were very experienced and skilled.
The Beechcraft model in which Wellstone was flying has an excellent safety record.
Though visibility was limited, it was well above the minimum required.
There had been no problems until shortly before the crash. Witnesses say that
the plane hit the ground at an almost vertical angle, and the crash was followed
by an “extreme post-crash fire”.
Raymond Lemme was the official from the Florida Inspector General’s office
who was in the midst of investigating the election rigging charges of whistleblower
Clint Curtis when he died. Curtis’
main allegation was that he was asked to write a computer program that would
be capable of switching votes from one candidate to another, and which would
be undetectable. Curtis also claims that Lemme had told him shortly before his
death that he “had tracked the corruption all the way to the top”.
Lemme was found dead in a Valdosta, Georgia, Knights Inn motel room on July
1, 2003. His arm was slashed twice with a razor blade, near the left elbow.
The Brad Blog has
thoroughly investigated this case and put forth several reasons to believe that
it was not a suicide, as has been ruled by the Valdosta police, including:
1. Evidence includes two motel receipts – an unsigned check-in receipt
dated June 29, 2003, and a signed check-out receipt dated June 30, 2003, 6:54
a.m. Yet Lemme was found dead in the hotel on July 1, the day AFTER he apparently
checked out. The police claim that the check-out date on the receipt is wrong,
and ascribe the “incorrect” date to machine error, but refused to
provide additional detail on that.
2. The initial police report stated: "a defect in the camera flash memory
cards resulted in no usable photographs. Photographs will not be submitted with
this report." Yet good quality photographs of the crime scene, some showing
Lemme in the bath tub where he is said to have killed himself, and which were
previously said not to have existed, later showed up. The legitimacy of the
photographs was confirmed by the Valdosta police.
3. Inconsistency of police report and photographs: An official report by Detective
Shannon Floyd states that there was no sign of foul play, and that there was
no blood on the towel on which a black belt (apparently used as a tourniquet)
was found. Yet, the pictures clearly show blood on the towel and severe bruising
on the right side of Lemme’s neck.
4. When Brad Blog attempted to talk with Detective Floyd about her inconsistent
findings, they were told that she no longer works for the Department, and the
police refused to tell them how they could reach her.
5. After re-opening the case (late 04 or early 05), the case was quickly closed
after talking with the Florida Department of Transportation. The Valdosta police
refused to comment on why the Florida DOT should have a say in when they close
a death investigation in Georgia.
6. Lemme’s work colleagues and family all agree that there were no previous
indications that Lemme wanted to die.
7. Nobody knows why Lemme was in Georgia, about 80 miles north of Tallahassee,
where he lived and worked. No autopsy was performed, whereas had the death occurred
in Florida, an autopsy would have been required.
Dr. David Kelly was a microbiologist and an expert in weapons of mass destruction.
He had already blown the whistle regarding the exaggeration of British intelligence
reports on the possibility of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, as the Bush
Administration was trying to make the case for invading Iraq. This
DU article speculates that the Bush Administration may have had yet a great
deal more to fear from Dr. Kelly’s telling what he knew of the Administration’s
devious plans for building a case for war in Iraq.
On July 18th, 2003, Kelly was found dead in a secluded lane in Harrowdown Hill,
with his left wrist slit. His death was ruled a suicide, but Jim Rarey feels
that there were many red
flags that indicated otherwise, including:
1. Kelly was initially found propped up against a tree, and yet medical evidence
indicated that he died on his back.
2. The ulnar artery was severed, but not the radial artery. This would be extremely
difficult for a person to accomplish by himself.
3. Two paramedics at the scene said that there was surprisingly little blood
for an artery having been severed, yet the forensic pathologist who performed
the autopsy testified that there were copious amounts of blood at the scene.
4. The forensic pathologist said that bruises and scratches on Kelly’s
body were due to stumbling around in heavy underbrush, yet no heavy underbrush
was found at the scene of the death.
5. The day before his death, Kelly communicated with Judith Miller of the NY
Times, talking about “many dark actors playing games”.
Colonel Ted Westhusing, one of the Army’s leading scholars of military
ethics, volunteered to serve in Iraq in order to enable him to better be able
to teach his students, as described in this
article. A few weeks before he died, he had received an anonymous complaint
that a private contractor was cheating the U.S. government and committing human
rights violations, including participating in the killing of Iraqi military
personnel and civilians. Westhusing reported all this, but an official investigation
found his allegations to be “unfounded”. Westhusing was very upset
about these findings.
Shortly thereafter, in June of 2005, Westhusing was found dead in a trailer
at a military base in Baghdad, with a gunshot wound to his head. The death was
ruled a suicide. At the time he was the highest ranking U.S. officer to die
But Westhusing’s family and friends were not pleased with the suicide
verdict. Shortly before his death he had expressed fear of being alone. His
family and friends were troubled that he died “without a bodyguard, surrounded
by the same contractors he suspected of wrongdoing. They wonder why the manager
who discovered Westhusing's body and picked up his weapon was not tested for
gunpowder residue.” “He's the last person who would commit suicide,”
said a graduate school colleague of his.
Three more Bush biographers and six microbiologists associated with
the anthrax hoax
While I was researching the Hatfield death I came across the fact that, with
Gary Webb’s death in 2004, this was the fourth
“ ‘suicide’ by a researcher who had a detailed understanding
of the structure and function of the Bush crime family.” This section
of my thread differs from the above sections in that these are very brief accounts,
and two of the additional three “Bush researchers” who are discussed
here conducted research involving Bush Senior, but apparently had little or
nothing to do with our current president.
Gary Webb, the “investigative reporter who broke the story about the
CIA's involvement with crack cocaine dealers in Southern California in the 1980’s”,
was found dead in Sacramento in December 2004, from a gunshot wound to the head.
The death was ruled a suicide. This
article notes that Webb had been receiving death threats and discusses the
impossibility of a suicide victim shooting himself in the face twice.
article discusses the deaths of Mark Lombardi and Danny Casalaro. Mark Lombardi
was found dead in his loft, from hanging, in March 2000.
Danny Casolaro was writing a book, 'The Octopus', “which was meant to
be an explosive expose of the scandals surrounding the presidency of George
Bush Sr.”, when he was found dead in August in a hotel in Martinsburg,
West Virginia, in 1991. He had bragged to friends that he would “bring
back the head of the Octopus.” Both his wrists were slashed seven times,
and a suicide note was found nearby. The only existing manuscript of the book
he was writing, as well as his notes, were missing.
The same article notes six dead microbiologists connected with the 2001 anthrax
hoax. The article notes that after the source of the anthrax (the strain that
killed several American citizens and was also sent to the offices of Senators
Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy) was traced to a Pentagon lab, “microbiologists
started dropping off like flies”. Five died between 12 November and 12
December 2001 of “suicides” or “heart attacks”, and
one was bashed to death with a baseball bat in a high-security lab.
Putting this in perspective
I must reiterate that we need to be very careful that we do not overstate the
case for what might be construed as a pattern of assassinations committed by
our current Administration against its domestic enemies. For example, one article,
commenting on the odds of so many “Bush researcher deaths” actually
being a suicide, calculated the odds against that to be about one
in ten quadrillion. That’s patently ridiculous, as those calculations
assume that all four of these men were the only ones who were involved in researching
Bush family crimes, and that they all occurred in the same year, which they
What ARE the odds of so many suicides or violent accidental deaths occurring
to enemies of the Bush Administration since, let’s say, George W. Bush’s
inauguration? I am an epidemiologist, which means that I make my living by assessing
the causes of injury and death, through statistical analysis of real life events.
Yet, I can hardly begin to calculate what these odds are. I know that the suicide
rate in this country is quite low: In men between the ages of 25 and 65
it is only about 17 to 20 cases per 100,000 population per year. But the main
reason that I can’t calculate the odds is that I don’t know what
to use as a denominator – which would be the number of persons at risk
of such a death (i.e., Bush Administration enemies) during this time period.
So, in order to calculate the odds, I would have to have a list of, say, the
top 10 or top 200 Bush Administration enemies since Bush’s inauguration,
and then see how many of them had died of violent deaths which were ruled suicides
or accidents. And in putting together such a list, one would have to be careful
not to be biased by existing knowledge of the death of these people.
I will end by giving one sample calculation. IF we assume that, of the 5 “suicide”
deaths that I discuss in some detail in this thread (leaving out Senator Wellstone,
since that was ruled an accident, not a suicide), all 5 of the individuals were
among the top 100 persons whom the Bush Administration would have liked to see
disappear, the odds against 5 of the top 100 Bush Administration enemies really
dying of suicide over a five year period is about ten thousand to one, assuming
that they were not related. If we further consider the facts that most of the
victims had no known reason to commit suicide and did not seem at all suicidal,
the investigations seemed so rushed and incomplete, the various evidence against
suicide in these cases, the known ruthlessness of our current Administration,
the likelihood that some people would have been too difficult to assassinate,
and the possibility that I may have missed some additional top 100 deaths during
this time period, the odds would become even more remote.
This looks like an ominous pattern to me.