October 25 marked the 10th anniversary of Wellstone's death. Was it accidental or an assassination to silence a sadly missed principled voice? Convincing evidence suggests foul play. More on that below.
On October 25, 2002, The New York Times headlined "Minnesota Senator Is Among 8 Dead in Crash," saying:
Wellstone "was killed today when his campaign plane crashed approaching a small airport in a wooded region in the northern part of his state."
Campaigning for a third term, he "perished along with seven other people when the chartered King Air A100 went down near Eveleth around 10:20 a.m. Central Time, the Federal Aviation Administration reported."
Weather conditions weren't abnormal. Light rain mixed with snow was reported. Flights without incident occur normally under these and harsher conditions. Wellstone perished with his wife, one child, three staff members, and two highly experienced pilots.
From the time the news broke, suspicions arose that perhaps what happened wasn't accidental. Professors James Fetzer and Don "Four Arrows" Jacobs examined the tragedy. They concluded that Wellstone was assassinated.
In 2004, they published "American Assassination: The Strange Death of Senator Paul Wellstone." More on what they said below.
Like former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, Wellstone was a rare exception that proves the rule. He was uncorrupted by money and power ambitions. He left academia to run for office. Explaining why, he said:
"I don't represent the big oil companies, the big pharmaceuticals, or the big insurance industry. They already have great representation in Washington. It's the rest of the people that need representation."
His voting record explained why he was called "the conscience of the Senate." He opposed the Gulf War and 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution.
He was also against NAFTA, oil drilling in Alaska's National Wildlife Refuge, sending troops to Haiti in 1994 without congressional approval, and bankruptcy legislation benefitting financial giants at the expense of working people.
He supported labor rights, children's and women's rights, universal healthcare, public and higher education, good jobs with livable wages, small farmers, campaign finance and lobbying reforms, and retirement security.
He once told his students, "Never separate the lives you live from the words you speak." He stood for saying what you believe and doing what you say. At a time destructive neoliberalism took hold, he was a living, breathing antidote. His voting record showed it.
He supported progressive activism. He believed in backing principles with action. He battled hardliners supporting anti-populist measures he opposed.
At a fall 1990 White House reception for newly elected congressional members, he urged GHW Bush to spend more time on education and other social issues.
He also advised him against attacking Iraq. Not at all pleased, Bush privately asked an aide, "Who is this chickenshit?" His activism and outspokenness cursed him with the mark of Cain. He'd learn later how hard it stings.
Project Vote Smart covered his voting record from April 1992 - October 2002. Many progressive ones included:
yea for family and medical leave;
yea for homosexuals in the military;
yea for ending military operations in Somalia;
nay on the Comprehensive Terrorism Prevention Act;
nay on space-based lasers;
nay on the Telecommunications Bill letting media giants consolidate to greater size;
nay on harmful welfare reform hurting poor people when they most need help;
nay on Cuba sanctions;
yea on helpful immigration reform;
nay against reconfirming Alan Greenspan;
yea for campaign finance reform;
yea for increasing the minimum wage;
nay for the partial/birth abortion ban;
yea for the Chemical Weapons Convention; it prohibits development, production, stockpiling, and use of these weapons; it also mandates their destruction;
yea for family tax relief;
yea for aiding higher education programs;
nay for banning Cuban travel;
nay for confirming John Ashcroft;
yea for a patients' bill of rights; and
nay for No Child Left Behind.
His book titled "The Conscience of a Liberal: Reclaiming the Compassionate Agenda" explained his passion for economic and social justice.
In 2002, he ran for a third term. Doing so reneged on a pledge to serve two and leave. He had unfinished business on his mind. He also faced long knives wanting him gone.
Big money was marshaled against him. An aide to his Republican opponent, Norm Coleman, said, "There are people in the (George W. Bush) White House who wake up in the morning thinking about how they will defeat Paul Wellstone. This one is political and personal for them."
Polls showed him ahead. Reelection looked likely. Potentially controlling the Senate was at stake. Eleven days before November 5, he tragically died on route to a funeral and campaign event in rural Minnesota.
Fetzer and Jacobs say Wellstone's death was no accident. It wasn't weather, plane trouble, or pilot error connected. Evidence they uncovered explains otherwise.
Confirmation of the tragedy didn't come from Wellstone's office, state police, or Minnesota's governor. It first came from GW Bush's ranch. Why was it known there before anywhere else?
FBI agents arrived with suspicious speed. Perhaps they knew in advance and positioned themselves nearby. They prevented fire teams, journalists, and others at the crash site from taking photos.
An AP photographer said he was intimidated, delayed and monitored. Was vital evidence removed or destroyed? NTSB investigators didn't show up for 10 hours. Why did FBI agents try having things both ways?
On the one hand, they declared the site a "crime scene." They also said no crime took place. How could anyone know without careful forensic examination?
Fetzer and Jacobs believe Wellstone was killed for political reasons. Coverup followed his assassination. The official story is rife with inconsistencies and willful omissions of key facts. They explained how, why, and who was responsible.
Besides eliminating a powerful progressive voice, Wellstone's enemies wanted Republican Coleman's win to help Republicans gain Senate control.
Fetzer and Jacobs explained the following:
Former CIA official Carol Carmody handled NTSB's crash investigation. She's a damage-control expert. Coverup is her game. She was also in charge of investigating Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan's suspicious aircraft crash during his senatorial race against John Ashcroft two years earlier.
NTSB is legally mandated to investigate transportation accidents. Yet it let FBI agents control things. Why it didn't explain. Mention of the FBI's involvement was excluded from their final report.
Ahead of the crash, neither Wellstone pilot signaled distress. Why not since they were going down in a remote area perhaps with no help nearby.
Some witnesses heard what sounded like the engines cutting out or stalling. Others reported odd cell phone and automatic garage door phenomena coincidental with the crash.
They included electronic interference and strange noises never before experienced. The auditory pattern appeared consistent with electromagnetic (EM) weapons use.
They were developed to knock out computer systems and harm human subjects. Most Americans know nothing about them. They can disable radio communications and warning systems.
They can alter an aircraft's flight pattern and cause pilots to lose control. They can make them lose consciousness, incapacitate them in other ways, or kill them.
Fetzer says they can "literally fry the electronic components in an aircraft" the way microwaves heat meals or lightening bolts affect objects struck.
NTSB's simulations replicated weather conditions, the flight pattern, and overall conditions at the time. Even at abnormally low speeds, they couldn't down the plane.
NTSB member Richard Healing said he had no idea what caused the crash. Yet he signed the official report giving reasons that didn't wash. They included pilot error, bad weather, and other preposterous claims. Instead of investigating responsibly, they made stuff up.
Fetzer and Jacobs established compelling prima facie and conclusive evidence to prove Wellstone's death was no accident.
They called his Beech King-Air A100 the "Rolls-Royce" of small aircraft. Pilot Richard Conry had 5,200 hours of flight experience. His rating was the highest civilian one possible. Two days before the crash, he passed his FAA flight check. He was highly qualified to fly the Beech aircraft.
Co-pilot Michael Guess was also instrument qualified. He was very able to fly the plane on his own under adverse weather conditions. It's inconceivable that either pilot alone or together fouled up.
According to NTSB's report, the "airplane descended through the trees wings level and upright on about a 26 degree downward flight path angle on a ground track of about 180 degrees."
Fetzer called this angle "too steep to suggest anything but a very serious dive, not likely to result from a low altitude stall but from a plane completely out of control very abruptly or all of a sudden."
NTSB should have stressed this. It didn't. Why was never explained. If electromagnetic weapons were used, evidence would have clearly showed it. For example, digital clocks would have failed immediately, not at impact.
FBI agents arriving quickly did nothing to stop the fuselage from burning. It continued for hours. By the time NTSB investigators arrived, bodies were charred beyond recognition. Other forensic evidence was destroyed or concealed.
According to Fetzer:
"Dennis Ciminio, a pilot and expert on devices of this kind, has confirmed that the technology to take out the plane has been around for decades and that the intense fire - which burned the fuselage but not the wings, in which the plane's fuel was stored - was almost certainly intended to destroy the evidence of how it was done."
"He has explained to me the most likely culprit here to put that kind of power directly onto the plane itself to cause such widespread mayhem would have been an electronically beam-steered-system, such as Raytheon's BFL (Beam Forming Lens) equipped Army jamming system."
"That is especially plausible, since Raytheon owns Beechcraft, which makes the Air King A-100 and would know exactly how it could be taken down."
More than electromagnetic weapons may have been involved. At about the time the plane crashed, "a white van" was seen departing the area at high speed.
"The melted area at the altitude where ice forms, moreover, strongly suggests that the Wellstone plane was taken out using a satellite-mounted laser, which would have had the effect of melting the ice at that level."
Dick Cheney was running "an executive assassination ring" out of the White House at that time. He did then what Obama is doing now. Wellstone was perhaps one of Cheney's targets.
He, "Karl Rove, and Donald Rumsfeld may not have executed this hit personally, but they were in a position to make it happen." Eventually perhaps the full truth will be known. Enough already is clear to say Wellstone's death was no accident.
Anyone with a powerful public voice supporting principles he embraced could end up targeted for elimination and killed. That's how rogue states operate. Bucking the system risks life and limb. Wellstone paid the ultimate price.
David Ray Griffin calls Fetzer and Jacob's book compelling and vitally important. It's hard not believing that Wellstone was assassinated. Bush administration officials likely ordered it.
Based on all relevant evidence, "we must conclude that the theory that Wellstone was assassinated is far more probable that the official story" that doesn't wash.
Fetzer and Jacobs agree that "evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt that Wellstone was assassinated. They have, in my view, made a convincing case."
In November 2002, investigative journalist Michael Ruppert asked, "Was Paul Wellstone Murdered?" He wrote:
"The day after the crash I received a message from a former CIA operative who has proven extremely reliable in the past and who is personally familiar with these kinds of assassinations."
"The message read, 'As I said earlier, having played ball (and still playing in some respects) with this current crop of reinvigorated old white men, these clowns are nobody to screw around with. There will be a few more strategic accidents. You can be certain of that.' "
Everyone challenging the system is vulnerable. Wellstone paid with his life.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.