I didn’t particularly like Ron Brown when he was alive.

But I want justice for him today.

What I can’t figure out is why the people who liked him when he was alive have so little interest in seeking justice for him now that he’s gone.

Nearly 50 years after the murder of a 14-year-old black boy, Emmett Till, in Mississippi, there’s a national outcry to identify his killers. And that’s as it should be.

Thugs beat him, shot him, and tossed his mutilated body into the Tallahatchie River in 1955. Then a jury deliberated 67 minutes before acquitting those accused of his murder.

Yet, no one has ever even stood accused of killing Ron Brown, the former secretary of commerce and head of the Democratic National Committee – despite compelling evidence presented in a new book by Jack Cashill, “Ron Brown’s Body.”

At the very least, the first real investigation of Ron Brown’s death needs to be conducted. The case needs to be reopened. There is no doubt at all that the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology obstructed justice in its brief examination of the cause of Brown’s death.

Jack Cashill is the first reporter to read the 22-volume report and to find and examine Brown’s death certificate. His book also benefits greatly from the complete cooperation of Brown’s confidante Nolanda Hill and the U.S. Navy forensic photographer, Kathleen Janoski. Here is what we know for sure about Ron Brown’s last days:

  • To protect his son Michael from prison, Ron Brown threatened to expose the White House’s yet unrevealed Asian fund-raising scheme, in which Brown played a major role.

  • Just weeks before his death, Brown started going to church for the first time in his life. He was scared for his life and that of his confidante Hill.

  • The Croatian government insisted on a Dubrovnik stop an unprecedented 36 hours before Brown’s scheduled landing.

  • The Air Force called Brown’s pilot’s nearly two-mile deviation into a Croatian hillside “inexplicable.” No aircraft had ever drifted inland before at that airport. The AWACS data suggests sabotage of the ground-based navigation system, a line of inquiry that the Air Force was not allowed to pursue.

  • For the first time ever on friendly soil, the White House ordered the Air Force to skip the “safety” phase of the investigation and move directly to the “accident” phase. There would be no consideration other than accident, even though this airport was near the Bosnian border and in a potential hot-fire zone.

  • Three days after the crash and two days before his scheduled interview by the Air Force, the Croatian responsible for the airport’s navigation system was found with a bullet hole in his chest.

  • A day later, every pathologist who viewed Brown’s body concluded that his head wound, at the very least, looked like a bullet hole. In a decision that reached the White House, there would be no autopsy. The Brown family was not informed. Nor was there any forensic testing or a search for an exit wound.

  • The head x-rays, that showed a possible “lead snowstorm” were destroyed. Officially, they were lost.

  • The three Armed Forces pathologists and the forensic photographer who blew the whistle on this case had their careers destroyed.

  • In silencing these dissidents, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology brass assured the public that Brown died of “multiple blunt force injuries” like the others. The death certificate says otherwise. It notes that Brown died of “blunt force injuries to the head.” He was the only one of the 35 victims to have a reported head wound.

  • The Croatian neo-fascist strongman, Franjo Tudjman, who had feared a trip to the Hague as a war criminal, ended up a week after the election at the Walter Reed Army Hospital to have his cancer treated.

  • His son, Miroslav, investigated the death of the navigation chief and ruled it a suicide.

If this were not enough, Brown had gone to Croatia to broker a sweetheart deal between Tudjman and the Enron Corporation. The Enron execs took their own plane. All criminal charges against Michael Brown were dropped save for a campaign violation wrist slap.

Today, incredibly, he is vice chairman of finance for the Democratic National Committee. To keep Nolanda Hill quiet, the Clinton Justice Department indicted and incarcerated her on tax charges.

Without an autopsy or a serious inquiry into the plane crash, there will be no closure on Ron Brown’s death.

If Emmett Till deserves posthumous justice, Lord knows Ron Brown does.


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