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Attorney General Janet “Stonewall” Reno told the nation last week that the Justice Department had conducted a “thorough review” of the facts in the Ron Brown death investigation and concluded that there was no evidence of a crime. In reporting the story, the Washington Post, the semi-official newspaper of the U.S. federal government, stated that the military forensic pathologists involved in the Pentagon-Justice review were unanimous in supporting its conclusion that Brown’s death was caused by blunt force injuries as a result of the plane crash.

It didn’t take long for holes to start springing in this bucket of official lies.

What exactly was “thorough” about this review? No one from the Justice Department was even involved with the interviews of the military pathologists who took another look at the photographic evidence in recent weeks. The review was conducted by the same personnel responsible for the extremely suspect decision not to autopsy Ron Brown after finding what appeared to be a gunshot wound to his head. Was it likely they would find that they had committed a breech of professionalism or, worse yet, were involved in an official cover-up, last year?

Those conducting the review didn’t even bother consulting with Lt. Col. Steve Cogswell, the Air Force pathologist who first blew the whistle on the Brown head wound. Nor did those responsible change the mind of another dissenter, Lt. Col. David Hause, the Army pathologist who actually examined Brown’s suspicious head wound.

Contrary to the Washington Post report, Hause says he still believes an autopsy is the only way to put this issue to rest. He was angry at reports that he was signing on to a report he has never even seen. Hause also points out that the review was conducted in a most unconventional manner. The participants were not permitted to discuss their thoughts and conclusions with each other. They were interviewed separately and shown “blow-ups of Polaroids” that were “hard to decipher” — evidence, he said, that was not acceptable for serious scientific analysis.

Hause even raised a shocking new possibility with his bosses. He said the wound was very consistent with an exotic weapon” — such as a captive-bolt gun, the kind used to assassinate U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camarena in Mexico in 1985. The captive-bolt gun, normally used to slaughter livestock, creates a perfectly circular hole in the skull that closely resembles a gunshot. It also leaves no bullet or metal fragments in its wake.

But even more surprising is the fact that the Justice-Pentagon review has actually resulted in the emergence of a third military medical pathologist who publicly states that an autopsy is necessary to determine Brown’s cause of death. Air Force Maj. Thomas Parsons told intrepid investigative reporter Christopher Ruddy that, as far as he was concerned, the cause of Brown’s death is still “undetermined.” That makes at least three senior Armed Forces Institute of Pathology experts who have publicly, and on the record, dissented from the official government conclusions.

So much for unanimity.

And, because of the way the supposedly “thorough” review was conducted — in a series of secret, individual interviews — there is really no way of knowing what the other experts believe about what they saw.

Lt. Col. Hause’s analysis of Reno’s statement is exactly right. Of course she hasn’t found any evidence of a crime. She hasn’t looked for it.

“There’s no evidence because there has been no autopsy,” he said. “An autopsy, which might produce such evidence, hasn’t been done.”

It’s funny, the more the government stands behind its rush to judgment in Brown’s death, the more suspect its original conclusions become. What are they so afraid of? Why has the White House resorted to vilifying Chris Ruddy? Why the gag orders on the professionals at the AFIP? Why the hurried and, clearly, botched “review”? Why not take the time for a careful, independent investigation of the photographic evidence? With the high degree of sensitivity in the black community over the botched investigation of this death, why would high-ranking government and military officials risk even more political damage with such cavalier lies and deceit?

What the heck do they have to hide? Who, pray tell, are they protecting?

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