Death by Association:

The extraordinary frequency of untimely deaths is no mystery

B. Cole

The recent death of microbiologist Dr David Kelly, the BBC's mole in the Iraq intelligence dossier scandal, is particularly poignant as he was at odds with what both George Bush and Blair were claiming about post-war discoveries of Iraqi weapons. Though an apparent suicide, rumours are beginning to circulate that this might be another case of a man with vital information being 'suicided' as a warning to others to keep their mouths shut? Days after his name was leaked, reportedly by the Ministry of Defense, as the suspected source for the BBC's May 29 report, Kelly was grilled by a Parliamentary committee set up to investigate the justifications of what led Britain to war in Iraq. Two days later Kelly's body was found in a wooded area near his home, his wrist slashed and a partly-empty package of painkillers nearby. 

Whatever the truth about Dr Kelly's death, the possibility of the existence of government hit squads are a growing concern- in fact, in the US it almost seems as if it's the American way of dealing with muck-raking undesirables and whistleblowers. 

Take the six dead American microbiologists linked to the hoax anthrax attacks. When the source of the high-grade anthrax was traced back to a Pentagon lab, microbiologists started dropping off like flies - five died between 12 November and 12 December 2001 in a series of suicides or heart attacks, usually in remote rural areas, while one was bashed to death with a baseball bat in a high-security lab. At least six and as many as fifteen died under suspicious circumstances -and all were directly connected to the CIA and its super-secret bio-weapons programs. It's not unreasonable to assume that when people are 'disappeared' it's because they know something important or incriminating were they in a position to shed light on the anthrax attacks? 

Government hit squads and FBI spooks and snipers seem the stuff of fiction - routinely dismissed by those in the know as conspiracy-theory rubbish. But is it? It's a well-established fact that the US government has death squads all over Latin America and other parts of the world and, since the government-sanctioned killings at Ruby Ridge and Waco, where most of the victims were children, it has become apparent that it also terrorises its own people. According to a 1995 CNN/Time poll, 55% of Americans believe that 'the federal government has become so powerful that it threatens the rights of citizens ". Does the US government really terrorise its own citizens and deliberately silence journalists who don't toe the line? 

Under America's first unelected president, appointed by the US Supreme Court, journalists have often been in the firing line - victims of Texas-style justice. This is nothing new for George W. Bush, who made a name for himself by becoming a legendary professional executioner. Under then-Governor Bush, Texas ranked first in executions. He opposed legislation banning the execution of people with IQs under 65 and legislation providing funding for the basic legal defense of indigent people. Instead Bush signed off a record 152 executions, in what has been described as an 'assembly-line' death-penalty process. And even when presented with evidence of possible innocence, Bush refused to show mercy to any of the 152 dead. In fact, Bush has said that he doesn't need to see the evidence, because he trusts the system, a system that has proven to be seriously flawed. 

Some of the individuals who were possibly murdered by America's shadow government were members of the underworld or connected to the big Mafia families. But many others were courageous writers, honest, idealistic Americans who died in virtual anonymity after they attempted to gather intelligence or expose the truth in various federal corruptions and cover-ups. 

Indeed, the Bush-CIA-Texas mob seem to have a long history of rooting out 'undesirables'. The Bush body count is littered with many such people, ethically-motivated politicians and ordinary Americans and journalists who got too close to the truth about the wholesale corruption and effectively signed their own death warrants. Since the Bush death toll is too numerous to mention, here's a stark glimpse of some of the writers, insiders and others who died mysteriously or were 'suicided'. (Suicided is a term applied to assassinations.)

Body no. 1: Journalist Danny Casolaro was in the middle of working on 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 on 10 August 1991. Both his wrists were neatly slashed seven times and a suicide note was found nearby. The only existing manuscript of his book-in-progress, along with his notes, was missing. He bragged to his friends he was going to 'bring back' the head of the Octopus. Instead, that summer, while he rushed across America to meet with dark, shadowy governmental types to research his book, he was 'suicided' in a hotel in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Without doing an autopsy, local police quickly ruled it a suicide. Casolaro had come up with what he and his publishing-industry confidants thought was the 'smoking gun' of the treasonous Iran-Contra dealings, implicating Reagan, Bush and the administration's CIA director, William Casey, who not only participated in top-secret meetings which dealt with the illegal sale of arms to Iran, but orchestrated the covert Contra War. At the time, the media largely overlooked the Contra drugs connection and focused on the gun-running and capital-raising transactions of the Reagan/Bush White House. At the centre of the scam was Oliver North's 'Enterprise' - an international web of deceit involving illegal missile sales to Iran, NYC mobster money laundries and numbered Swiss bank accounts. Casey died suspiciously two days just before he was to testify in the Iran-Contra inquiry. Many believed Casolaro's naiveté led to his downfall. He divulged too much of his findings and his notes of his interviews to the friendly-seeming spy-types who were aiding him in his so-called book venture. [In September, 1992, a Congressional Report on the Inslaw Affair, agreed that Casolaro was most likely murdered.]

Body no. 2: Steve Kangas, a prolific writer who got on the wrong side of George W Bush and his cronies, was found dead on 8 February 1999. He was discovered in a semi-conscious state by electrician, Don Adams. Adams reported blood on the floor around the spot and left to call for help. When he returned they found Steve sitting on the toilet slumped over and covered in blood. His website, Liberalism Resurgent, ruffled many high-profile feathers, but it disturbed billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife most of all, even though he was only fleetingly mentioned on Kangas's website. Scaife, a publishing magnate and Bush crony who the most generous donor to conservative causes in American history, hired a private detective to look into Kangas' past. The award-winning political website, with over 300 html pages, was a 'one-stop-shop' of liberal arguments and facts to be used in debates against popular neo-conservative myths. Scaife tried to discredit Kangas by viciously attacking him with a long-running smear campaign in his many newspapers. While Scaife was on the war path, Kangas was quietly working with a publisher to finish his book. Kangas' body was found in a 39th-floor bathroom outside of Scaife's offices in Pittsburgh, the victim of an apparent suicide. But the story is full of holes: Kangas was a prolific writer, yet he left no note. Why did he go on a long trip from Las Vegas to Pittsburgh with a fully-packed suitcase of clothes? He also bought a burglar alarm shortly before he left for Pittsburgh. Why did he need a burglar alarm if he was planning to kill himself? A gun-control campaigner, he nevertheless bought a gun. What was he afraid of? And why on earth did he go to Pittsburgh just outside of Scaife's doorway? After his death, everything in his flat was trashed, but his computer was sold for $150 and its hard drive wiped clean. Although the most bizarre detail of his suicide is that he was shot twice in the head? The police never conducted an investigation beyond the autopsy and the very next morning, 18 hours after his death, they ruled it a suicide, without even carrying out toxicology tests. Equally odd, there are over 1,000 internet posts on this topic, dated from eleven days after his death, yet it was not reported in mainstream media until nearly a month later.

Body no. 3: Mark Lombardi, a successful conceptual artist who, while chatting on the phone with a banker friend about the Bush savings-and-loan fraud, started drawing a diagram, which evolved into a complex series of drawings and sketches that charted the details of the fraud. According to The New York Times: "He was soon charting the complex matrices of personal and professional relationships, conflict of interest and fraud uncovered by investigations into the major financial and political scandals of the time; he eventually created a database that now includes around 12,000 3-by-5-inch cards." Lombardi's drawings simply and elegantly mapped out the secret deals and suspect associations of financiers, politicians, corporations and governments. Thirteen lines in the chart originate with or point to James R. Bath, Bush family friend and US representative of the bin Ladens, more than any other name presented. Among those linked to this obscure yet central character are George W. Bush, Jr, George Bush, Sr, Senator Lloyd Bentsen of Texas, Governor John B. Connally of Texas, Sheik Salim bin Laden of Saudi Arabia and Sheik Salim's younger brother, Osama bin Laden. On the evening of 22 March 2000, Mark Lombardi was found hanged in his loft. His long-time friend, Andy Feehan, like many of his friends, was mystified by Mark's death: "When the news of Mark's death arrived, all of us thought that he was murdered. We assumed that he had made one too many accusations, and that someone made a phone call. We still don't know what happened. We'd read that the medical examiner ruled Mark's death a suicide, but we're unable to understand or accept the idea that Mark would kill himself right when he was at the top of his game."

Body no. 4: James Hatfield, author of Fortunate Son, an unauthorised biography of George W. Bush, which detailed Bush's cocaine use and cover-up of a cocaine arrest, was found dead on 18 July 2001 in a seedy Arkansas motel room, another suicide victim. His is a long, painful story. The 43-year-old writer, who left behind a wife and baby daughter, left no notes for his family and friends that listed alcohol, financial problems and Fortunate Son as reasons for killing himself, according to police. Three years before his death, his original publisher, St. Martin's Press, pulped its entire run of Fortunate Son just as it shot to The New York Times bestsellers list after they discovered the author's own drug past. A New York punk-rock publisher, Soft Skull Press, later reprinted it and rushed it out in time for the 2000 presidential elections. The Bush camp, of course, was on the case. In fact, Bush's chief strategist, Karl Rove - who previously worked for Richard Nixon, the godfather of dirty tricks - had contacted Hatfield urging to meet him to see if he was 'on the right track'. He also received death threats from one of the Bush allies who had confirmed Bush's cocaine arrest allegations. The threats named Hatfield's wife and daughter and said, "If you value their lives, you'd better back off." In early 2001, Hatfield accidentally found out his computer was bugged when he took it to be repaired. Could this mean that Bush strategists dug Hatfield's criminal record to discredit him and kill off his book? After Hatfield's death made the headlines, the official story force-fed to the corporate media, as surreal as it seemed, was that Hatfield was charged on 17 July with credit-card fraud. Police had confiscated his computer and given him 24 hours to turn himself in, but instead he checked into a motel, overdosed on prescription drugs and died. But why would a bestselling author try to commit credit-card fraud using a computer he believed was bugged? He was also afraid of breaking the terms of his parole, fearing that if he did, that he would be sent back to Texas to prison, where, he was convinced, he would be killed. In the police report, there's no mention of anything found in the computer that was confiscated, though it was the first item mentioned in the application for a search warrant.

Body no. 5: Bob Stevens died of a mysterious case of anthrax. He worked as a photo editor for American Media, who owns the National Enquirer. The Bush family suffered immense embarrassment at the hands of the Enquire when they published a photo of daughter Jenna, obviously drunk, cigarette in hand, cavorting on the floor with another drunken female. Stevens was the first person in 25 years in the US to die of the inhaled form of anthrax. This was a very high-grade military anthrax traced back to a Pentagon lab.

This is not mere conspiracy theory. These are the facts. These people all had connections to Bush and all had some sort of first-hand knowledge of dirty deals, high-level scams, frauds and other treasonous activities the government tried to suppress - and all died in mysterious circumstances. When there are international microbiologists and investigative journalists dropping dead all over the place, it's hard to believe in this many coincidences.