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Was Ron Brown murdered, and, if so, how and by whom?
Posted By Jack Cashill On 05/12/2004 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
Editor’s note: This column is the 11th and concluding segment of an 11-part exclusive WorldNetDaily series excerpted from Jack Cashill’s shocking new book, “Ron Brown’s Body.” “At the end of day,” says Cashill who began the project a skeptic, “it is not irresponsible to talk about murder, nor to ask what Hillary Clinton was doing in Bosnia a week before Brown’s death.”
When I first heard of the Ron Brown plane crash in 1996, I presumed it was just that – a crash, an accident. It was not until the revelation of the hole in Brown’s head in late 1997 that I began to question the simplicity of the earlier explanation.
Still, even when I proposed this book, I cautioned the publisher not to expect a clear verdict at book’s end. I believed the most likely explanation would prove to be either an accident or possibly a terrorist incident covered-up for the sake of political expediency, like TWA Flight 800. For that reason, I chose to focus on why the plane went up rather than why it came down. I expected to conclude that in its illicit pursuit of campaign cash, the White House frequently and needlessly put its principal bagman, the secretary of Commerce, in harm’s way.
In exploring Ron Brown’s life, however, I came to see just how desperate were his circumstances, especially at the end. I also came to see how deeply – and willfully – flawed was the investigation into his death.
What finally convinced me that talk of “murder” was not irresponsible was the official 22-volume Air Force report. To secure it, I had to go through the Freedom of Information Act. The collective experience of those who have investigated TWA Flight 800 or other controversies with FOIAs is one of pure frustration. This application was entirely different.
When I initially balked at the four-figure price of securing the full report – I had been working with a 100-page summary – the Air Force waived the fee and sent it immediately. As I said in my thank-you note, “This is the nicest thing my government has ever done for me.” Just days later, a squad of UPS men arrived carrying boxes. I think someone wanted me to have this. The Air Force has, after all, an abiding interest in the truth. An “inexplicable” plane crash needlessly ruined 16 Air Force careers and ended six worthy Air Force lives.
Contained deep within the report are some astonishing revelations, none of which had ever been revealed in the media. The technical data, especially from the AWACS planes, stunned the airline pilots with whom I was consulting. They are too complex to reveal here, but they strongly suggest that the ground-based navigational systems had been sabotaged. Remember, too, that the man responsible for those systems, Niko Jerkuic, had been found dead two days before he was to be interviewed by the Air Force.
The Air Force report also revealed the Enron connection. Even if the plane crash were accidental, Brown and 34 others died for no higher purpose than to secure a sweetheart deal between a fascist dictator and a notoriously corrupt American company. This was the “very important challenge of his time” that inspired President Clinton to compare Brown to Martin Luther King. Again, there is much more than can be revealed here. In the book, the reader can explore the evidence as to who benefited from Brown’s death and, if he were murdered, who might have executed him and how.
There is one more curious piece of evidence, this one found deep in the Air Force report. Filed in Zagreb on April 17 – 11 days after the crash – is the “Report of the Death of an American Citizen Abroad” for Ronald Harmon Brown. This certificate lists the cause of death as “blunt force injuries to head.” He is unique in this regard. Every other passenger died from “multiple blunt force injuries.” Remember, too, that both Gormley and the acting secretary of the Air Force, F. Whitten Peters, had earlier sworn that Brown had died from “multiple blunt force injuries.”
The photos of Brown after death suggest no other potentially fatal head wound save for the circular hole on top – the one AFIP officials had done their best to minimize or ignore. Among those officials was Cmdr. Edward Kilbane, whose name is on Brown’s death report. When I called Kilbane to inquire not only about this report but also about his visit to the White House immediately after the crash, he laughed nervously and said he would get back to me. He has not.
In his fawning biography of Brown, “Ron Brown: An Uncommon Life,” New York Times reporter Steven Holmes does his best to explain away the head wound, but he only succeeds in reinforcing the case for foul play. In Holmes’ account, head pathologist Col. Gormley is anxious enough about the wound to order a second full set of X-rays to be taken as well as a third set “taken later.” The reader is not told when exactly that “later” was. Holmes must not realize that Brown’s body immediately went to embalming after Gormley’s cursory examination and soon after that to Washington to lie in state.
“The mystery deepens even more,” adds Holmes, “when the Air Force [he means the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology] admitted it had lost the original X-rays taken of Brown during postmortem examination.” As to the alleged “lead snowstorm,” Holmes tells us this was “probably caused by dust on the X-ray film.” As the reader recalls, both Gormley and acting Secretary Peters had earlier blamed not dust, but “a defect in the reusable X-ray film cassette.” The story was mutating over time.
Holmes, alas, offers still more evidence of journalistic complacency during the Clinton years. He is investigating what appears to be a bullet hole in the head of a troubled public figure. He learns that the first set of X-rays did show a lead snowstorm but that those X-rays were somehow lost. Incredibly, he is not the least bit suspicious.
Holmes implicitly asks us to accept his authority because he writes for the New York Times, and not the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “First of all,” sniffs Holmes in dismissing any talk of conspiracy, “there was the newspaper that broke the story.”
From the perspective of the major media, to seek the truth about the Clinton administration was to monger conspiracy. They would leave that unpleasant task to the alternative media and blind themselves to all evidence short of DNA. Indeed, in their cynicism and passivity, it was they – Bill Clinton’s media friends – who undid his presidency. Had they ever shamed him into honoring his office, he might have become the president they once thought he could be.
Editor’s note: The sensational new edition of WND’s monthly Whistleblower magazine,”THE PARTY OF TREASON,” rips the veneer of civility and compassion off the Democratic Party and reveals how the party of Truman and Kennedy has been transformed into “the enemy within.”
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