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Jim Fetzer: The Strange Death of Paul Wellstone

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Guest James H. Fetzer

Here's another. Frankly, it's embarrassing that this guy is posting on this subject.

Was Paul Wellstone Murdered?

By Michael I. Niman, AlterNet. Posted October 28, 2002.

For our government to maintain its credibility, we need an open and acccountable independent investigation into the death of Paul Wellstone.

Paul Wellstone Dies in Tragic Plane Crash

The death of the Minnesota senator, the conscience of the Senate, will have a major impact on American politics.

Paul Wellstone was the only progressive in the U.S. Senate. Mother Jones magazine once described him as, "The first 1960s radical elected to the U.S. senate." He was also the last. Since defeating incumbent Republican Rudy Boschowitz 12 years ago in a grassroots upset, Wellstone emerged as the strongest, most persistent, most articulate and most vocal Senate opponent of the Bush administration.

In a senate that is one heartbeat away from Republican control, Wellstone was more than just another Democrat. He was often the lone voice standing firm against the status-quo policies of both the Democrats and the Republicans. As such, he earned the special ire of the Bush administration and the Republican Party, who made Wellstone's defeat that party's number one priority this year.

Various White House figures made numerous recent campaign stops in Minnesota to stump for the ailing campaign of Wellstone's Republican opponent, Norm Coleman. Despite being outspent and outgunned, however, polls show that Wellstone's popularity surged after he voted to oppose the Senate resolution authorizing George Bush to wage war in Iraq. He was pulling ahead of Coleman and moving toward a victory that would both be an embarrassment to the Bush administration and to Democratic Quislings such as Hillary Clinton who voted to support "the president."

Then he died.

Wellstone now joins the ranks of other American politicians who died in small plane crashes. Another recent victim was Missouri's former Democratic governor, Mel Carnahan, who lost his life in 2000, three weeks before Election Day, during his Senatorial race against John Ashcroft. Carnahan went on to become the first dead man to win a Senatorial race, humiliating and defeating the unpopular Ashcroft posthumously. Ashcroft, despite his unpopularity, went on to be appointed Attorney General by George W. Bush. Investigators determined that Carnahan's plane went down due to "poor visibility."

Carnahan was the second Missouri politician to die in a small plane crash. The first was Democratic Representative Jerry Litton, whose plane crashed the night he won the Democratic nomination for senate in 1976. His Republican opponent ultimately captured the seat from his successor in November.

While an article in the New York Times on Saturday pointed out the danger politicians face due to their heavy air travel schedules, the death of a senator or member of Congress is still relatively rare, with only one other sitting U.S. Senator, liberal Republican John Heinz, dying in a plane crash since World War II. Heinz, who entered office as an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War, later emerged as a strong proponent of health care, social services, public transportation and the environment. He also urged reconciliation with Cuba. He died when the landing gear on his small plane failed to function, and a helicopter dispatched to survey the problem crashed into his plane.

One former senator, John Tower, also died in a small plane crash. Tower was best known as the chair of the Tower Commission, which investigated the Reagan/Bush era Iran/Contra scandal.

Another member of a prominent government commission who died in a small plane crash was former Democratic representative and House Majority Leader Hale Boggs. Boggs was best known as one of the seven members of the Warren Commission, which investigated the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The commission found that Lee Harvey Oswald was acting alone when he killed the president. Boggs, it turns out, had "strong doubts" that Oswald acted alone, but went along with the commission findings. Later, in 1971 and 1972, he went public with his doubts. He was presumed dead after the small plane carrying him and Democratic Representative Nicholas Begich disappeared in 1972.

Texas Democratic Representative Mickey Leland also died in a plane crash. In his case, the six-term member of Congress and outspoken advocate of sanctions against the apartheid government of South Africa, died while traveling in Ethiopia. Another American politician to die overseas in a plane crash was the Clinton administration's Commerce Secretary, Ronald Brown, whose plane went down in the Balkans.

Anyone familiar with my work knows that I'm certainly not a conspiracy theorist. But to be honest, I know I wasn't alone in my initial reaction at this week's horrible and tragic news: that being my surprise that Wellstone had lived this long. Perhaps it's just my anger and frustration at losing one of the few reputable politicians in Washington, but I also felt shame. Shame for not writing in my column, months ago, that I felt that Paul Wellstone's life, more so than any other politician in Washington, was in danger. I felt that such speculation was unprofessional and would ultimately undermine my credibility. In the end, my own self-interest triumphed, and I never put my concerns into print. Neither did any other mainstream journalist, though I know of many who shared my concern.

When I heard Wellstone's plane went down, I immediately thought of Panamanian General Omar Torrijos, who in 1981 thumbed his nose at the Reagan/Bush administration and threatened to destroy the Panama Canal in the event of a U.S. invasion. Torrijos died shortly thereafter when the instruments in his plane failed to function upon takeoff. Panamanians speculated that the U.S. was involved in the death of the popular dictator, who was replaced by a U.S. intelligence operative, Manuel Noreiga, who previously worked with George Bush Senior.

There is no indication today that Wellstone's death was the result of foul play. What we do know, however, is that Wellstone emerged as the most visible obstacle standing in the way of a draconian political agenda by an unelected government. And now he is conveniently gone. For our government to maintain its credibility at this time, we need an open and accountable independent investigation involving international participation into the death of Paul Wellstone. Hopefully we will find out, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that this was indeed an untimely accident. For the sake of our country, we need to know this.

Dr. Michael I. Niman teaches journalism and media studies at Buffalo State College.

Here's an example that displays Burton's massive ignorance about this case.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Published on Tuesday, April 24, 2001 in the Madison Capital Times

Bush Fears Tenacious, Popular Wellstone

by John Nichols

ST. PAUL — U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone had just finished rousing a crowd of 2,000 trade unionists, farmers, environmentalists and students with a fiery condemnation of George W. Bush’s free trade policies, and now he had a problem. He couldn’t get down the steps of the Minnesota State Capitol here to join the march protesting Bush’s Free Trade Area of the Americas scheme.

Wellstone is just too popular with his constituents. He couldn’t move in the face of a steady stream of men in Teamsters jackets, farm wives holding newborns, green-haired college kids and Catholic priests approaching to offer variations on the words of a steelworker who told Wellstone, "I am so damn proud to be able to say you’re my senator."

Most of them also asked a question: "How come Bush hates you so much?"

Let there be no doubt as to the identity of George W. Bush’s least favorite Democratic U.S. senator. It’s Wellstone, the rabble-rousing Progressive who represents not just Minnesota but what remains of the fighting populist spirit of the Upper Midwest.

Elected in 1990 following a grass-roots campaign in which he toured the state on a beat-up school bus, Wellstone was the No. 1 target in 1996 for Republicans who thought the senator had doomed himself with a lonely vote against punitive "welfare reform" legislation. He won re-election with ease that year, proving to both the Republicans and to their whimpering Democratic allies that bashing the poor might not be nearly so smart a political move as Dick Morris thought.

As Wellstone prepares to seek a third term next year, it would be reasonable to assume that he might finally be in for some smooth political sailing. But reasonableness doesn’t figure into the calculations of the Bush White House, where the president himself, Vice President Dick Cheney and political commissar Karl Rove practice the politics of vengeance.

The Bushies despise Wellstone, who unlike most Senate Democrats has been fighting spirited battles against the new administration’s policies on everything from the environment to the tax cuts for the rich to military aid for the "Plan Colombia" drug war boondoggle. Other Democratic senators who face re-election contests in 2002 are, according to polls, more vulnerable than Wellstone. But the Bush camp has been focusing highest-level attention on "Plan Wellstone" — its project to silence progressive opposition.

Last Tuesday as Minnesota House Majority Leader Tim Pawlenty was just hours away from announcing his intention to mount a Republican challenge to Wellstone, he got an urgent call from Rove asking him to step aside for Bush’s preferred candidate, St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman.

Then, on Wednesday morning, with just 90 minutes to go before his planned announcement, Pawlenty was driving his kids home from a dental appointment. The car phone rang, and Pawlenty found himself talking to Cheney. The vice president told Pawlenty that Bush did not want Coleman — a party-switching former Democrat who chaired the losing Bush presidential campaign in Minnesota — to face a difficult primary contest from a credible Republican.

Pawlenty finally "agreed" to step aside.

Minnesota is not the only state where the Bush camp is seeking to pick senators. But the level of involvement in the Wellstone race is remarkable. Coleman dropped a planned gubernatorial bid after two White House pressure sessions with Bush. And now that Coleman is leaning toward a Senate race, Bush, Cheney and Rove are pulling out all the stops to make sure they are in charge of the anti-Wellstone effort.

Even Pawlenty, as he was proclaiming himself a "team player," admitted that "it makes you wonder about the process and the integrity of the process."

What does Wellstone say? "I think the way to oppose George W. Bush is to stand up to him, to speak out when his policies are wrong, to put holds on bad legislation he’s promoting. Obviously, that’s not the sort of opposition Bush and Cheney approve of. The nice thing is that, even if they can dictate the Republican nominee, the people of Minnesota still get to choose their senator."

Copyright 2001 The Capital Times


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With this post, Evan Burton proves that he has no serious commitment to the

truth in the Wellstone case, since we devote more than a chapter to laying out

the evidence that the White House wanted to get rid of him. I am appalled at

the level of ignorance displayed by some members of this forum, which does

not seem to inhibit them from making assertions that are not only false but

even provably false. I suggest Burton exercise just a modicum of effort to

ascertain whether or not his suggestion is even remotely reasonable, which

it is not. Egad! This guy really doesn't know even the basics about this case.

Edited by James H. Fetzer
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Guest James H. Fetzer

Here's another. There are many more, but you begin to get the general idea.

This article can be found on the web at


Paul Wellstone, Fighter


[from the May 27, 2002 issue]

Paul Wellstone is a hunted man. Minnesota's senior senator is not just another Democrat on White House political czar Karl Rove's target list, in an election year when the Senate balance of power could be decided by the voters of a single state. Rather, getting rid of Wellstone is a passion for Rove, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and the special-interest lobbies that fund the most sophisticated political operation ever assembled by a presidential administration. "There are people in the White House who wake up in the morning thinking about how they will defeat Paul Wellstone," a senior Republican aide confides. "This one is political and personal for them."

That has made it political and personal for Wellstone. The man who decided to abandon a self-imposed two-term limit on his Senate service at least in part because of his determination to block Bush's conservative agenda wears the target with pride. At a moment when most Democrats are still trying to figure out how to challenge a popular President, the former college wrestler is leaping into the ring. Wellstone is not running for cover; he is running to deliver a message about politics in a state and a nation that he believes to be far more progressive than the readers of political tea leaves in Washington could begin to imagine.

"This race is going to be a case study of whether you can maintain liberal, progressive positions and win in this country in 2002," says Wellstone as he campaigns among Laotian immigrants on a sunny spring morning in St. Paul. "We're not running a race that asks people to vote for me because, as a Democrat, I will be a little more compassionate, a little better for working families and children and immigrants, than a Republican. We want to draw the lines of distinction. I'm saying that there is a big difference between the America the conservatives want and the America I want." He adds, "I don't want this to be just about me. This race has to be about basic questions of whether liberals and progressives can flourish in national politics. That means there is a lot more on the line than whether Paul Wellstone wins or loses."

Wellstone is right. His race is being read as a measure of the potency of progressive politics in America. If he wins, a blow will be struck not just against the Bush machine but against those in the Democratic Party who argue for tepid moderation. With Senate majority leader Tom Daschle and House minority leader Dick Gephardt still struggling to identify the themes on which Democrats will stake their claim for control of Congress later this year, Wellstone is refreshingly different--he knows where he stands and he stands there proudly. For years, progressives have argued that Democrats will win big only when they distinguish themselves from Republicans on fundamental economic and social justice issues. Here is Wellstone--arguably the most prominent elected progressive in the country--doing just that.

Yet even as he follows the progressive playbook, Wellstone is no sure bet. In a state that gave America liberal Democratic icons like Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy and Walter Mondale, and that has not backed a Republican for President since 1972, current polls show Wellstone running roughly even with Republican challenger Norm Coleman, a former mayor of St. Paul. To be sure, Coleman has benefited from being "Bush's best boy" and from steady infusions of campaign cash that are available to the Administration's chosen ones. But the full explanation for Wellstone's tight spot is found in a more complex calculation that involves Wellstone himself, the changing character of the upper Midwest, the flux in which the Democratic Party finds itself and the machinations of the people who manipulated Bush into the highest office in the land. "Sure, the Bush Administration is targeting Paul this year, but Paul is never a shoo-in," says Myron Orfield, a Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) state senator widely regarded as one of the nation's top experts in the study of voting patterns. "Paul's a controversial guy. He's the little guy who takes on the big guys. That is not something the political process is designed to reward these days. If you take strong stands you put yourself at risk--and Paul takes more strong stands on more issues than just about anyone else."

Virtually alone among Senate Democrats, Wellstone sees himself not just as a member of Congress but as a member of a movement. He identifies with progressives, organizes family-farm rallies in Washington, marches with striking hotel workers and dares to title a book The Conscience of a Liberal. That does not mean that Wellstone is the unbending leftist that his critics allege and that many of his supporters would prefer. The man who began burning bridges with the Bush family when he challenged then-President Bush's Persian Gulf War preparations on their first meeting ("Who is this chickenxxxx?" Bush Sr. asked) may be the Senate's boldest foe of the Star Wars national missile defense program and of increased military aid to Colombia. But he disappointed peace activists when he joined a unanimous Senate vote to authorize an ill-defined military response to the September 11 attacks and dismayed civil libertarians when he refused to join Senator Russell Feingold's solo opposition to constitutionally dubious antiterrorism legislation.

Still, Wellstone has few rivals on the left side of the Senate aisle. Congressional Quarterly says no senator had a more consistent record of voting against Bush Administration proposals during the new President's first year. Wellstone racks up 100 percent ratings from the AFL-CIO, Americans for Democratic Action and the League of Conservation Voters. He is the veteran grassroots organizer hailed by consumer activists for waging a three-year battle to temper the draconian "bankruptcy reform" bill pushed by the credit card industry. He is the former college professor who has been the chief Senate voice of those who maintain that education-reform initiatives must involve better measures of success than standardized tests. He is the crusader for disability rights and healthcare reform who--since he was diagnosed in February as having a mild form of multiple sclerosis--is in demand not merely as an advocate but as a very human example of what the struggles are about. The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently described him as "the go-to guy to advance the causes of educators, environmentalists, consumer and labor groups, the elderly and the poor."

For many progressives, that still sounds like a recipe for electoral success. But this "Democratic" state has not elected a DFL governor since 1986, its Senate seats have switched partisan hands twice in twelve years and while Minnesota still backs Democrats for President, it does not do so by much. "This idea that Minnesota is an easy Democratic state is overblown," says Robert Richman, a veteran Democratic campaign aide. "Gore barely won the state in 2000"--prevailing over Bush by fewer than 60,000 votes out of almost 2.5 million cast. Minnesota Democrats note that when Green candidate Ralph Nader's 126,696 votes--5 percent of the total--are added to Gore's, the numbers look better. But Democrats didn't used to have to resort to such calculations in a state that swam against rougher Republican tides to back Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis.

Some of the slippage has to do with signals sent by national Democrats. The 1990s saw the Democratic Party relying more on the upper Midwest than ever before for Congressional ballast, yet DC Democrats get low marks for addressing the region's traditional concerns. "This is the part of the country that has saved the Democratic Party in the Senate," says Neil Ritchie, a DFL precinct activist and one of the savviest analysts of farm-state voting patterns in the country. "But, when you've got Clinton, Gore and the Democratic Leadership Council promoting free trade and helping corporate agribusiness, it makes it hard for Democrats out here." Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota have ten Senate seats, nine held by Democrats who, for the most part, preach a farm-and-factory populism with which the technocratic Al Gore was never comfortable. Eight years of Clinton/Gore centrism sucked a lot of air out of the "us against them" populist rhetoric that was long the currency of Democrats in the region. That's a big part of why Bush beat Gore by an overall margin of more than 80,000 votes in these states, and why the shift of relative handfuls of votes would have given Bush an additional twenty-eight electoral votes--making the Florida recount fight irrelevant.

Now, Rove is gambling presidential prestige and Republican dollars on the prospect that the upper Midwest is the key to taking back a Senate that went Democratic last spring after Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords exited the GOP. "Midwestern voters don't feel the connection with the Democrats that they once did," crows Rove. To that end, Wellstone, South Dakota's Tim Johnson and Iowa's Tom Harkin, all up for re-election, are getting what GOP insiders call "the Rove treatment": recruitment of high-profile Republican challengers, major-league fundraising assistance and regular presidential visits. All other things being equal, picking off either Johnson or Harkin would be enough to split the Senate 50-50 and again allow Vice President Cheney to break partisan ties. But beating Wellstone would be the sweetest win. "They have made it very clear that if they could beat one Democrat this year, it would be Paul Wellstone," says Minnesota political consultant Richman. "Paul gets under their skin."

"When I first met the President, he called me 'Pablo,'" Wellstone jokes. "That lasted a day or two. Then they started trying to figure out how they were going to get rid of me." While other Democrats approached the new Administration cautiously, Wellstone raised hell. In one of the first confrontations between the Administration and the newly Democratic Senate, Wellstone used his chairmanship of a subcommittee on worker safety to demand that Bush Labor Department officials justify the Administration's rejection of federal ergonomics standards. And Bush aides are still smarting over a Wellstone amendment to the President's tax cut plan that diverted $17 billion to veterans programs.

For Bush and Rove, payback takes the form of Norm Coleman. A weathervane politician, Coleman switched from Democrat to Republican in the late 1990s. That and his too-slick-by-half style ("I've changed my party, my hair, my smile," he boasts) have never endeared him to the Republican faithful. But he plays well in the burgeoning suburbs of the Twin Cities, where voters know him from two terms as mayor of St. Paul and where Rove thinks the race could be decided. In a state where politics traditionally followed urban and rural lines--the DFL's "Farmer-Labor" tag recalls the populist party that merged with the Democrats in the 1940s--Minneapolis and St. Paul suburbanites now represent 44 percent of the state's population. That, explains DFL State Senator Jane Krentz, who represents suburbs northeast of St. Paul, "is shifting the way people look at politics."

Coleman's 2002 plan had been to avenge his 1998 loss of the Minnesota governorship to Jesse Ventura, the wrestler-turned-third-party-pol who has yet to decide whether he will seek a second term this year. (There was speculation at one point that Ventura might challenge Wellstone on the Independence Party ticket, but the talk fizzled. If Ventura seeks a new term, an Independence Party Senate candidate might still draw votes--most likely from Coleman. By the same token, a Green candidate could shave some votes off Wellstone's total. But third-party candidates are not expected to gain much traction arguing that voters lack a choice between Wellstone and Coleman.)

When Coleman switched ambitions under pressure from the White House, even Republicans said he would not be helped much by being identified as "Bush's boy" in a state that tends to favor politicians who think for themselves. But things changed after September 11. As Bush's approval ratings soared, Coleman wrapped himself in the cloak of presidential popularity--and perks. When Bush made his second Coleman-promoting trip to the state this March, banners announced Minnesota Is George W. Bush and Norm Coleman Country. The ex-mayor stepped off Air Force One with Bush, and stuck by his supporter-in-chief like glue through a day that culminated with Bush's raising $1.2 million for Coleman and another $800,000 in soft money for GOP efforts on his behalf. Former President George Bush headlined an October fundraiser in St. Paul for Coleman, and Cheney signed a fundraising appeal. Rove steered special-interest contributions--especially those from an energy industry angered by Wellstone's decadelong battle against oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge--toward accounts established to aid the man Minnesota media call "Bush's favored-son candidate." Minnesota political observers predict Coleman's campaign will spend $10 million, while another $5 million will be spent by the GOP and anti-Wellstone interests. Anti-Wellstone attack ads are already on TV, and the hits will keep on coming. Republicans say Wellstone's decision to seek a third term--after having stated years ago that he only planned to serve two--is evidence that the maverick Senator has "gone Washington." It's a tough sell, considering Coleman's party switch, but Richman says, "They'll hit Paul from now until November--above the belt and below the belt."

In this most intense of all Senate contests, Wellstone knows he will not win re-election simply by unfurling old Farmer-Labor banners. To counter Coleman's claim that a Republican can get more done for Minnesota, Wellstone is showcasing legislative accomplishments and the coalitions he has forged with Republicans to increase funding for teacher training, vocational education and environmental protection. Those efforts got an unexpected boost in April when Bush broke with Republicans to endorse Wellstone's proposal to make corporations provide mental healthcare coverage for employees.

But while he will make the case that he can forge coalitions with the best of 'em, Wellstone is not selling himself as a centrist. No one would believe him. Besides, he says, the winning message is still a populist one. Wellstone is determined to "draw real lines of distinction" in this year's campaign, and that will serve him well in the DFL's urban and rural strongholds--where he can energize voters who were unenthused about Gore. Yet, like Democrats in rapidly changing states across the country, Wellstone understands that he must craft a message that adds suburban votes to his base. He would have a comfortable lead today were it not for the margin--twelve points in a recent poll--that Coleman has in the nine suburban counties around the Twin Cities. One of the primary tasks of the Wellstone campaign this year is to find the populist bone in the suburban body politic. Orfield, the expert on suburban voting patterns, thinks it will succeed. "Some of the issues Paul has fought hardest on--healthcare, protecting pensions, environmental protection--play very strongly in middle-income suburbs where people are feeling squeezed," Orfield argues. "I think that Paul is going to do a very good job of reaching them, and I think that his success will provide a very important lesson for Democrats in other parts of the country."

Wellstone says the strategy is to reach across lines of class and community to focus on issues that are universal--like education. So what's the populist twist on the education debate? Wellstone's first television ads explain that Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans will dry up money needed to educate urban, rural and suburban kids. Scrap the cuts, Wellstone argues, and free up $121 billion for education programs over ten years. While most Senate Democrats shy away from such talk, and while Coleman claims the Senator is engaging in "class warfare," Wellstone says, "This is a message that gets people excited because it rejects the Administration's line that there isn't enough money to educate our children, care for our seniors, clean up the environment and provide healthcare benefits to people who need them."

Coleman and Rove are betting that while Wellstone's message may play in rural and urban areas, it won't excite suburbanites. But Krentz, the suburban state senator, thinks Wellstone is on to something. "Paul understands that he's got to connect with suburban parents who know that their kids' schools are not being funded adequately, and he's got to get them thinking about why that is happening," she says. "It's tough because people like to believe that it's possible to settle things without a fight. Paul's challenge is to convince people that there are issues worth fighting for."

With the Enron scandal fresh in America's memory, Wellstone will also push the idea that there are interests worth fighting against. "When the oil company money comes in, we're going to talk about it," he says. "We're going to fight like hell."

Wellstone means it when he says "we." Despite Bush's aid to Coleman, Wellstone is keeping pace in fundraising thanks to an activist base that has provided 70,000 contributions averaging $48. But that does not mean that he is mounting a standard campaign. While campaign manager Jeff Blodgett says Wellstone will try to match Coleman's advertising blitz, the campaign will devote more than half its budget to the sort of people-to-people networking that can deliver Wellstone's message to every precinct in the state. Labor, farm and education groups are helping to organize 25,000 volunteers, 7,500 of whom are expected to take time off from work to help on Election Day. Says precinct activist Ritchie, "You're going to see a campaign where the Bush money gets beat because Wellstone is so damn strong at the grassroots that--no matter how many lies they try to tell--there will be a network to get the truth out." Wellstone is devoting tremendous time and energy to expanding the network far beyond the traditional DFL base. "This really is the new Minnesota," he says as he enters Pooh Phetnongphay's Laotian restaurant in St. Paul. "Paul's a sweetheart," Phetnongphay says. "Everyone is registering to vote to help him win."

Even as Phetnongphay speaks, Wellstone is working the other side of the crowded room. The candidate is limping because of his multiple sclerosis. But the disease, which by all accounts is both under control and of little concern to Minnesotans, has stolen none of his thunder. At 57, he is running harder than ever before. His state and his country are changing. But his faith that a progressive populist message can reach a new Minnesota--and a new America--is unshaken. "The President can come in. The Vice President can come in. The big money can come in. But I'm not worried. I've got you with me," Wellstone roars, as he rallies his troops. "I am a proud progressive senator from Minnesota. I am a proud liberal senator. I am a labor senator. I am an environmentalist senator. I am an education senator. I am a civil rights senator. And that's how we win this election. That's the politics that wins this year."

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Jim...Burton and Lamson seem to be clear advocates of ALL OFFICIAL STORIES ARE TRUE.

They attack JFK researchers; they attack Apollo researchers; they attack 911 researchers;

they attack HAARP researchers; they attack chemtrail researchers ; they attack Wellstone

researchers. They deny any "conspiracies".

Can we draw any inference from these data?

Jack :lol:

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>Kirk Otteson, Director of Operations at Aviation Charter, was asked by the

>NTSB about the type of autopilot installed in the Wellstone plane. His

>response (image below) told the NTSB something they did not want to know:

>the Senator's plane was a special version of the King Air, originally

>designated a C100, which was fitted with upgraded avionics, autopilot and



>This is buried in Attachment 1-43 to the Operational Factors Group report,

>which was not in the initial release of NTSB documents. The document can

>be viewed here:




>This fact was not mentioned anywhere else in the NTSB's reports. It is

>supported by the fact that the Wellstone plane's serial number was one of

>the last in the series, and also by the fact that it was sold to a number

>of "prestige" clients during its operational life.


  . . .


>In other interviews, the NTSB try to make the case that the GPS would not

>have been used for an instrument landing. However, it would make sense

>that, if the instruments were giving confusing readings, the pilots would

>have been justified in checking the GPS as a backup.


  . . .


>If any of you can verify this GPS blackout with other pilots, let me know

>asap. Also note that GPS is used for many other things as well, so others

>may be able to comment. If the satellites went down for a short time, it

>would affect a huge area. However, if it was just local jamming, then it

>would be localised to the area.


>If true, this would add to the "melted cloud pocket" around Eveleth at the

>time of the accident, and the other evidence (phones/garage doors) as

>evidence of some sort of electromagnetic foul play.


In response to this email from John Costella, Ph.D., I confirmed with the

pilot, his chief pilot, and the owner of his charter company the experience

I have reported previously.  There does not appear to have been a global

satellite problem, which supports the inference that the manipulation of the

GPS data was a local phenomenon (still covering several states).  Certainly,

no solar flare interference would be expected to have such systematic and

regular effects, where the intensity and direction of the deviation is in the

same direction and of similar magnitude--and at essentially the same time!

A very weak post that Colby recruited suggests that the weather was poor

and the pilots preoccupied with their efforts to control the plane.  But the

weather was not bad (ceiling at 500-1000 feet with visibility 3-5 miles and

not only no snow or freezing rain but not even any rain).  This guy does

not appear to be up-to-speed, since even the NTSB cleared the weather of

having caused the crash.  Moreover, he ignores that there were two pilots,

where the co-pilot had been handling most of the communications. If he is

a pilot, then he should know that they can't both be trying to control the

aircraft, lest they work against each other.  In a situation where it would

be of the highest priority that first responders make it to the crash scene

rapidly (with a US Senator, his wife and daughter, as well as three aides

aboard), it would be highly probable that a distress call would have been

made, if the communications equipment was still functioning.  Similarly,

if this guy is a pilot, he should have acknowledged that it was very odd

they did not respond to the loud stall warning alarm, which should have

told them they were threatening to stall and allowed them ample time to

respond, if the stall warning system was still functioning.  The simulations

with a weaker engine and at slower speeds are devastating to the NTSB's

conclusions, because they demonstrate that they had no evidence at all

to support their inference to a stall, nor any explanation as to why this

plane was on the wrong bearing (268 vice 276), yet proceeding as if it

were on the right bearing, which is readily explainable if they were going

by their GPS when the data was being manipulated, with spill over effects

that affected the pilot and co-pilot heading into the Waukengan Airport!

No other explanation comes close to accounting for what is known about

this crash than than they were led into the "kill zone" and taken down.

More on Costella's observations about the "melted cloud packet" is in

our co-authored piece, "The NTSB Failed Wellstone", links given above.

Of course, I anticipate the usual barrage of garbage posts from Lamson,

Colby, and Thompson.  But I am glad to read occasional "enlightened"

posts from Pat Speer, David Healy, and other members of the forum.

Mr Fetzer,

You insist on 'harping' on! The FACTS are:

1. The weather WAS marginal. The reason the NTSB concludes it was not a factor was because it was still within limits. Being within limits does NOT make it 'fine'. Refer to an aviation meteorologist if you need guidance on this.

2. The aircraft requested, and was cleared for, a VOR approach to RWY 27. That is the approach they were vectored for. That is the approach they conducted.

3. If they had set up the GPS to monitor the approach, it would have been different. The GPS RWY 27 approach tracks 273 to the FAF from the COLLS intersection (see

4. If the GPS signal had been "manipulated" in any way, a 'GPS UNRELIABLE' or 'GPS DEGRADE' flag / warning would have appeared.

5. If they had a problem with the VOR approach, and the GPS became unreliable, and they had ANY doubt about what was happening, the CORRECT thing to do would have been to conducted a missed approach, gone around, and sorted out the problems.

6. There is NO evidence they attempted to power up the engines and fly out. This does not mean the engines or systems did not respond, it means there was no attempt to do so.

7. There is NO evidence that the communications system was inoperative.

8. There is NO evidence that any systems were damaged by any type of EMR, as would have been apparent if any systems had been subjected to sufficient EMR as to cause a malfunction.

9. It is unknown if the stall warning went off. Even so, as the reports show, the stall warning may have only sounded (IIRC) 5-7 kts above stall speed. The airspeed was bleeding off quite rapidly, so they may have only had a few seconds to react (not 'ample time'). This, combined with a preoccupation to regain the radial and get the aircraft back on the profile, may (and most likely did) lead to momentary confusion and a failure to react in time to the stall. A stall, 400-800 ft AGL when transitioning from IFR to visual, without dedicated and proper prior training, is DEADLY. More experienced and capable pilots than that flight crew have been killed in similar circumstances.

10. Pilots can and have 'worked against each other', each trying to do what they thought was right in an emergency situation. That's what CRM is all about.

Mr Fetzer, you make wild assumptions and draw conclusions from data which you are not qualified to assess.

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Jim...Burton and Lamson seem to be clear advocates of ALL OFFICIAL STORIES ARE TRUE.

They attack JFK researchers; they attack Apollo researchers; they attack 911 researchers;

they attack HAARP researchers; they attack chemtrail researchers ; they attack Wellstone

researchers. They deny any "conspiracies".

Can we draw any inference from these data?

Jack :lol:

Yes you can...most of the "researchers" you list here are moonbats. Its clear that conspiracies exist. Your little group that consists of Fetzer, Costella, White, Healy et al appear to be quite a conspiracy.

Of course you post here also begs the question...Can we draw any inference about a person that believes that a conspiracy exists in all of these cases?

Edited by Craig Lamson
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Mr Fetzer,

I'm not looking at the politics surrounding the Senator.

I am looking solely at the facts of the flight and subsequent crash.

If there was anything to suggest that outside interference was responsible for the events of that flight, THEN those political motivations might explain why those events happened. The simple fact is, however, there is nothing to suggest that this was anything more than pilot error. Nothing.


Perhaps you'd prefer a more unbiased view? I can give the report to a couple of people. One is a former senior air accident investigator for CASA (now the ATSB); the other is a work mate who performs a similar role but for the Navy.

Would yourself and Mr Fetzer be interested in their opinions regarding the NTSB report and the conclusions they drew? I am willing to pass the report (along with the various URLs Mr Fetzer has supplied)

I suspect that if they both concurred with the NTSB report, Mr Fetzer would 'dismiss' their opinions on some ground and continue with his original assertions.

This leads me to a question for Mr Fetzer which I have asked Jack on a different subject: what WOULD convince you that you were wrong and the crash was caused by nothing more sinister than pilot error?

Edited by Evan Burton
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They attack JFK researchers

I don't know about Burton but I think Lamson only attacks loony tunes JFK researchers who say the Z-film is a hoax. Lamson worked with Tink

they attack Apollo researchers; they attack 911 researchers;

They don't deny the irrefutable fact that we went to the Moon or believe nonsense like the WTC collapse was a demolition job or a missile hit the Pentagon. They must be part of "The Secret Team"

they attack Wellstone researchers

As with the above they counter shoddy research. The problem with all of the above 'theories' is that no one with true expertise in the appropriate fields of science believes them. They fit into the same category as "Creation Science" and Holocaust denial

I asked Fetzer if any pilots or aviation experts agrred with him that the crash can not be explain by pilot error. I take his lack of a reply as a no. Couldn't find one Jim? What does that tell you?

they attack HAARP researchers; they attack chemtrail researchers ;

I don't know much about these cases but from what I've seen it's the same kind of paranoid crackpot CT bunk as the above theories.

Edited by Len Colby
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Evan - There is no way to either prove or disprove that some parties may have wanted Wellstone dead.

Fetzer - With this post, Evan Burton proves that he has no serious commitment to the truth in the Wellstone case, since we devote more than a chapter to laying out the evidence that the White House wanted to get rid of him.

Jim - You're talking 'amps on 11' again. Evan didn't deny that Bush desperately wanted to defeat Wellstone. Or even that he might have wanted him dead. All that he said was that there was no way to prove it. Wanting to defeat a candidate and wanting to kill him are very different things.

As for Nilman's article it was just speculation and even he said he had no evidence. He wrote the piece a few days after the crash, he hasn't said anything else since. Don't you think if he still believed it he would have written something else.

All that your ranting shows is that become irrational where this case is concerned.

Evan's other posts go a long way to debunking you ideas.


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You haven't explained yet how killing Wellstone would increase Coleman's chances of winning. Mondale increased Wellstone's lead by 2 points, he lost because of the rally (or at least how it was spun).

As for those articles. It's more of your swamping us with "useless information". I don't know what heating up the atmosphere or seeing through walls has to do with shooting down planes. Since HAARP uses "75 foot towers" I don't think it would have been very practical anyway. There was one part about a company having a patent to something that can "disable communications" but nothing about its ability to disable other electronic devices its range or if it is functional. You do not need to show that something works to get a patent.

Somewhere else Col. Whaling's report was quoted. In the report she never says that EM weapons are functional she normally uses future tense. She did include a few sentences where she says EM weapons can do this or that but she was referring to what they could potentially due. I dig up my post form Yahoo about that and try to post it tomorrow.

Also Jim all those articles were from CT sites and they don't even prove your case. You still have not provided us with a link to an article from a reliable source that says EM beam weapons that could have downed the Wellstone plane exist. If the best you can do is an article from a CT site that quotes Whaling out of context give up!

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Len, without taking a stand on whether or not Wellstone was killed by a conspiracy, I believe this argument weakens your case. Should someone have wanted to kill Wellstone and make it look like an accident, waiting until after he was elected would have drawn too much attention and made it all too obvious to the American people.

As for the public's response to the funeral, I've read enough to know that the poor behavior by some of Wellstone's friends was blown way out of proportion by the supposedly left-wing media.

I disagree Pat all the people arguing that it was murder say that him dying days before the election was suspicious. Would it have been more suspicious if he died a month or two after being sworn in, if he indeed had indeed one? His lead was only 6 points in a poll taken two weeks before the election, victory was by no means guaranteed. He had even slipped from having a 9 point lead. As we all know there has been an unfortunate tendency recently for Democratic candidates to do less well on election day that in polls.

The question of how Wellstone's death would have increased Coleman's chances has yet to answered by Fetzer or anyone else crying murder. As for the rally if the problem was how the Democrats behaved or how it was spun is irrelevant to my point. It was not something Bush and his lackeys could have predicted - without the fallout it generated Mondale almost certainly would have won. Jonathan Alter even though Wellstone's death would increase the Democrats chances in other races in other states.

Why would they go to all the bother to kill Wellstone only to have Mondale take his place in the Senate? If Wellstone died after he was sworn in again his replacement would have been chosen by the governor and the GOP candidate was ahead in the polls.

There's no reason to believe Karl Rove and his pals were not in some way responsible for the spin created.

I agree Rove is a scumbag

This gives the appearance you are trying to show the undecided, including myself, that Wellstone being murdered is unthinkable.

I don't think "Wellstone being murdered is unthinkable". I just think tactically it would have made sense to wait and see if he did win, they could have stolen votes and used 'dirty tricks' to reduce the possibility that he would. If he won and the GOP candidate for governor lost [unlikely since he was ahead in the polls and they could have used dirty tricks and vote stealing to help him too] they could have killed a Democratic senator from a state with a GOP governor to regain control of the Senate. Kerry who looked liked Bush's strongest rival for 2004 would have been a good choice. Kerry would have been a more interesting target for them he was not that much less liberal that Wellstone and he was a threat to Bush being reelected.

Even if you disagree with my analysis about when Bush would have wanted to murder Wellstone that should not affect your assessment of my other points. Has Fetzer show to your satisfaction that working beam weapons exist? Has he eliminated pilot error as cause beyond a reasonable doubt or even that it was unlikely?

To prove me wrong, please list some conspiracy theories you believe have some merit.

The CIA was [is?] involved in the heroin trade.

Reagan and Bush conspired with the Iranians to delay the release of the hostages.

El Salvadorans backed by the CIA are largely responsible for the crack epidemic of the 80's

James Earl Ray did not act alone in killing MLK jr.

If LHO shot JFK he did not act alone

The GOP can manipulate vote counts

Dan Rather was set up on 60 Minutes

The deaths of several Brazilian opposition leaders during the military dictatorship were not accidents

he may be pre-dispositioned to believe in conspiracies

May be??

He decided the moment that he heard about the crash that it was a conspiracy. He thinks NASA's Moon photos were faked and that the Dallas Parks and Recreation Dept. is in on the JFK cover up and that the Challenger was shot down with a beam weapon.

Believing in CTs when there is reasonable evidence is one thing believing in crackpot ideas is something else.

...While he may be guilty of misrepresenting evidence

I'm glad you say so

If Fetzer is able to show that these rays exist, will you then admit his theory is possible?

Possible yes probable no

Edited by Len Colby
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Len, thanks for your response. For the record, I didn't mean to indicate Fetzer did misrepresent evidence. I merely meant to say that he might be prone to misrepresent evidence as a by-product of his innate willingness to believe in conspiracy theories, just as you might be prone to deceive yourself through your innate need to shut down conspiracy theories. Since you have indicated you have no such need, as you are ready to accept a number of other conspiracy theories considered controversial by many, my statement was incorrect.

I do think your belief that a right-wing group would wait till after the election to kill Wellstone is unfounded. It seems you believe the Bush Administration would have been able to manipulate the votes, or manipulate the Governor of Minnesota , to such a degree that killing Wellstone before the election was unnecessary. This point only has merit, of course, if the people that killed Wellstone were the same people that control the Bush Administration. While Dr. Fetzer has explained why he believes this is so, I don't believe even he believes this is necessarily so. Since certain organizations in this country have a history of committing crimes based upon their over-zealous interpretations of what someone in power has said, and since there have been many right-wing conspiracies without even the presumption of government sanction, I see no reason to believe Wellstone's murder would have to have been planned in the highest places. Would you at least agree it's possible that some members of a right-wing group, knowing that Wellstone was a prime target of the Bush Administration, decided to take matters into their own hands?

When I think of Wellstone's death, I think of that Oliver Stone film Talk Radio. I think of a man who spoke his mind and tried to speak the truth, who may not have been fully aware of the anger he aroused. I have relatives who ardently believe John Kerry was a communist and that Bill Clinton killed Vince Foster. I can only imagine some of the stuff that was being said about Wellstone by the Bush White House spin machine in their zeal to bring him down. My concern is that someone, not necessarily from the Bush Administration itself, indeed brought him down. No secret weapon was necessary. We know that there are ways to make an airplane crash look like an accident, just as there are ways to make a fatal car crash look like an accident. The driver fell asleep at the wheel, blah blah blah...

In short, even if you are successful in refuting Dr. Fetzer's theory on HOW Wellstone was killed, I see no reason why anyone's presumption should automatically become that THEREFORE it was pilot error. It MAY HAVE BEEN pilot error, but the circumstances surrounding Wellstone's death certainly warrant an intense investigation, rather than a simple "well it could have been pilot error and the pilot lied about his flight hours etc.." The presumption of driver error or pilot error is government speak for "we really don't know what happened and don't know where to begin to find out." Even if Dr. Fetzer is wrong about almost everything, which I am not in a position to know, particularly as I have not yet read his book, I still respect him for writing the book, for it is only through men raking the muck and stirring stuff up that the secrets get released from the suffocating swamp of bureaucracy.

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Guest James H. Fetzer


Bob Borosage

Paul Wellstone: The Rumpled Warrior

Date: 10/30/02 | Source: Campaign for America's Future

"I don’t represent the big oil companies. I don’t represent the big

pharmaceutical companies. I don’t represent the Enrons of this world. But you

know what? They already have great representation in Washington. It’s the rest

of the people that need it." – the text of what would have been Paul Wellstone’s

final election ad

Paul Wellstone never lost his rumple. He served as a Senator in Washington for

twelve years, but he never succumbed to the Senatorial make-over: the $1000

suit, the $100 tie, the manicured haircut. Even when Sheila got him to put on a

new suit, it would be disheveled ten minutes later.

The rumple – tie loosened, sleeves rolled up, hair unkempt – was the expression

of this special man. Paul was, first and foremost, in motion, an inexhaustible

source of energy, ideas, optimism, drive. He grabbed you with both hands,

clapped you on the back, hugged you, reached for you, argued about what you

wrote, talked about what he was thinking. Shirts wouldn’t stay tucked, suits

wouldn’t stay pressed amid all the commotion.

Paul was an organizer, a mentor, a mobilizer. When he taught at Carleton, he

was more activist than academic, taking his students to picket lines and

sit-ins, exposing them to real life struggles. As a Senator, he was more

tribune than legislator. He gave voice, as Sen. Barbara Boxer put it, to those

who had no voice. He loved to join rallies and demonstrations, to add his

energy or just his presence to people in motion.

I first met Paul in late 1987 when he was organizing Minnesota for the Jesse

Jackson '88 presidential campaign. Paul took Jackson on a sweep across the Iron

Range, speaking at churches, union halls and small state colleges. It was very

cold and grey, but Paul was dashing about without a hat, shaking hands without

gloves on, bringing shy people up to meet the Reverend, excited about the

prospects, exhilarated by Jackson’s message and oratory. At the end of a long

day, he took me back to stay overnight at his house. We talked into the night,

until I could no longer keep my eyes open. Reluctantly, he let me go to sleep,

putting me on a couch in what was supposed to be a “weatherized porch” where I

froze through the night.

Paul’s rumple reflected his connection to the people he fought for. He cared

deeply about poor and working people, about the struggles of every day life for

poor mothers, family farmers, the afflicted, the elderly. He became their

tribune in Washington, and was always accessible to them. He didn’t come from

money and didn’t care much about it, an oddity in the millionaires’ club that is

the US Senate. He and Sheila lived very modestly in a little warren on Capitol

Hill. His partnership with Sheila was the real thing, again a rare thing in

Washington. He cared about his family, and agonized over the life challenges

they faced. Perhaps that helped make him far more approachable and human than

most in Washington politics. Its fitting that he’s becoming famous for the fact

that he knew and cared about the people who served the Senators – the guards,

the restaurant workers, the cleaning people.

He and Sheila stood up for working and poor people even when he knew it would

hurt him politically. In 1996, up for re-election, Bill Clinton faced the

Gingrich assault on poor women, children and immigrants known as “welfare

reform.” Clinton knew the bill was unconscionable and said as much later. But

his pollster warned him that a veto could cost him votes, so he caved and signed

the bill. Paul was up for re-election that year also, and knew he would be

assailed for coddling “welfare queens.” But he couldn’t stomach the damage the

bill would do to the most vulnerable – poor mothers and their children. The son

of an immigrant, he couldn’t abide the assault on the new immigrants. And he

wouldn’t go along with the big lie that the problem was welfare rather than

poverty. He voted no, believing that in the end voters would respect his

principles, even if they disagreed with his position. And sure enough, he went

up, not down, in the polls after that vote.

Paul’s rumple reflected the political promise that he uniquely represented. He

loved talking to people, but hated asking for money. He believed that

mobilization could match money. In the Jackson campaign, he helped bring

remarkably talented young organizers into electoral politics. They then decided

to run Paul for Senate in 1990, not exactly a promising route to high office.

No one gave him or them a chance. But combining wit and whimsy, hustle and

energy, he and his crew upset the incumbent, while being outspent seven to one.

That belief -- that mobilization could overcome money –enabled Paul to remain

independent. Paul will be remembered for the entrenched interests he was

willing to take on – big Pharma, agribusiness, big oil, HMOs, toxic polluters,

the pirate CEOS. Over the past year, for example, the credit card companies and

banks lined up majorities of both parties for a bankruptcy bill that would

enable them to collect against people even after they were forced into

bankruptcy. Most of these are families whose lives have been shattered by

illness, divorce or loss of a job. Paul could not fathom why wealthy CEOs like

Ken Lay could shield their mansions from the people that they looted, while

divorced mothers would have to compete with credit card companies to get child

support payments. He filibustered against the bill, despite pressure from Tom

Daschle, his party’s leader in the Senate (MBNA and other credit card companies

are big employers in South Dakota). And in part because of his efforts, it has

not yet passed an otherwise accommodating Senate.

Paul Wellstone invited us to dream, but he was not a dreamer. He urged people –

particularly young people – to get involved. He fought ceaselessly about the

direction of his party and the country. When Paul considered running for

president in 2000, he traveled to Iowa, announcing that he was the candidate of

the “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.” He was in open revolt against

the money wing, warning that the party could not thrive compromised by the same

entrenched interests that fund Republicans. He was a small “d” democrat, a

warrior for democracy. He pushed to get big money out of politics, to limit the

ability of lobbyists to curry favor with gifts and trips. His passion was to

build a grassroots politics that would engage those who had lost hope or grown

cynical. He worked hard to build a progressive infrastructure that could bring

energy into politics. He crossed over to the House and became the only Senator

to join the Progressive Caucus. He headed up the Americans for Democratic

Action. He helped found the Progressive Majority to help identify, recruit and

support the next generation of Paul Wellstones. He worked with 21st Century

Democrats to put young people into campaigns across the country. “Politics,” he

talked, “is what we create by what we do, what we hope for, and what we dare to


In the tributes to his liberalism, many have suggested that he was a throw-back,

a holdout against a party that was moving more to the “center.” But in fact, his

politics point the way to the party’s future, not its past. He understood –

long before it became a pollster’s trite phrase – the importance of the “kitchen

table” issues that his constituents talked with him about over coffee in

Minnesota. He championed health care, investing in education, the minimum wage,

clean air and water, holding CEOs accountable, empowering workers, Social

Security and pension reform. He married the triumphant values of the movements

of the 1960s – on civil rights, the environment, women’s rights – with the lunch

pail concerns of working and poor people. His politics anticipated the emerging

majority for progressive reform that Democrats must learn to speak to.

Paul went out like he came in; with everyone clear about where he stood.

Virtually every Democratic Senator – and many Republicans – expressed

reservations about the president’s rush to war in Iraq. But when the vote came,

Paul was the only Senator in a contested race that dared to defy his political

consultants and cast a “no” vote that could hurt him. He simply couldn’t go

along with a policy that seemed so profoundly wrong-headed on a matter of life

and death. And in Minnesota, he rose in the polls after the vote, as if voters

once more were rewarding him for standing up what he believed.

For this rumpled warrior, the battle lines were clear. After the Iraq vote,

moveon.org, a web based network developed during the Clinton impeachment

battles, sent out an email asking people to help Paul Wellstone and a handful of

House candidates in contested races who voted no. In eleven days, they raised

over $1 million in small contributions from across the country. People

everywhere correctly saw Paul Wellstone as their champion.

That same week, one of the many business fronts operating in this election

--“Americans for Job Security,” a group that refuses to announce where its money

comes from -- announced that it would purchase over $1 million in ads to attack

Paul Wellstone. The entrenched business interests behind the group understood

correctly that he was their nemesis.

I will miss Paul and Sheila – their energy, their passion, their commitment,

their bedrock decency. I find it still hard to accept that they are gone. Even

through my tears, I can see him coming back victorious, charged up to take his

passion and his politics across the country. Now we’ll have to do that without

him. But with his idealism and his energy, he has shown us just how much is


Paul did not come from money, and wasn’t much interested in it. He and Sheila

lived very modestly in a little warren on Capitol Hill. His partnership with

Sheila was the real thing. He cared about his family, and agonized and

struggled with the real life challenges they faced. Perhaps that helped make

him far more approachable and human than most Washington politicians.

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Hmmm...COLBY...a name rich in CIA history...interrupted a meal

to go for a sail and fell overboard...conspiracy? Nah, just coincidence.

Jack :)

Edited by James H. Fetzer
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Guest James H. Fetzer


Wellstone Plane Was Out Of Control – Media Survey

Wednesday, 30 October 2002, 11:06 am

Article: Rick Ensminger

The following is a summary of the facts available at this time via the media,

surrounding Senator Paul Wellstone's airplane crash of 10-25-02. Judge for

yourself, was this more likely an assassination or an accident?


>From the 10-27-02 Sunday edition of the St.Paul Pioneer Press:

"They were no longer in control of the aircraft." said Don Sipola, a former

president of the Eveleth Virginia Municipal Airport Commission, who has 25 years

of experience flying at the airport. "That will be the $64 question---what

occurred in the last few minutes that distracted them or caused them to wrestle

control of the aircraft."

"Something caused them at low altitude to veer off course," Sipola said.

The angle of descent also indicates an out of control flight, Sipola said. The

normal approach for the aircraft is a descent of 3 degrees, he said. But Siploa

said the NTSB investigators told him Saturday that the plane was descending at

30 degrees.

"This was a real steep bank, not a nice, gentle don't-spill-the-coffee descent,"

Siploa said. This is more like a space shuttle coming down. This was not a

controlled descent into the ground."


>From the Minneapolis Star Tribune 10-26-02:

The state of Minnesota operates two King Air 100's. Jesse Ventura uses the planes.

Tom Kirton, an associate professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in

Daytona Beach, Fl. said he flew a similar King Air model for five years as a

corporate pilot before joining the school, which also has one. "The King Air is

the finest airplane I have ever flown," he said. "The engines were totally


"Performance on take off and landing was suberb. I mean, its got power to

spare," Kirton said. "You take off and lose an engine, most folks could bring it

down very, very easily on one engine and land a perfectly normal landing."

Jeff Johnson, an associate professor in the aviation program at St.Cloud State

University, said he has flown about 500 hours in King Air 100's as a private

pilot. He said the planes are forgiving, stable and reliable.


Johnson noted the King Air 100 has a flexible, boot-like device on the leading

edges of the wings that the pilot can make "expand like a balloon to break ice off."

He said he was told that only one pilot is required to fly the plane, two were

hired because a Senator was on board.

The pilots of Wellstone's plane... Conry had nearly 5200 hours of flying time

and the highest certification a pilot can attain, his company said. Guess had

650 hours and was certified as a commercial pilot; he graduated from UND's

aeronautics program.

The weather at the Eveleth airport was a mix of mist and light snow at the time

of the crash.

Greg Spoden, assistant state climatologist said that at the Eveleth airport

visibility was about 3 miles at the time of the crash.

End of Star Tribune article.


As CNNFirst Reported: Breaking News.

The crews on the ground found two large sections of plane. The tail section was

intact. The weather did not have anything to do with the crash, said the on the

scene reporter.

Wolf Blitzer tried to correct her.

He said, “The plane was flying into the storm of freezing rain, right?”

There is no evidence that weather had anything to do with the crash.

The on-the-scene reporter stuck to her guns.


>From the 10-29-02 Minneapolis Star Tribune:

However, the team was able to make this significant discovery: the plane's

landing flaps, which allow a slower and steeper approach to a runway, were

extended 15 degrees on EACH wing.

This information tends to discount the possibility, discussed by some local

pilots, that one flap may have malfunctioned, putting them in different

"asymmetric" positions and causing the plane to slowly turn 90 degrees from its

westward approach to the runway in the moments before the crash.

According to Executive Aviation, which operated the plane, Capt. Richard Conry

flew his second-to-last flight Thursday, to Bismarck, N.D. His co-pilot on that

flight told the NTSB that Conry didn't seem sick or tired on that flight.

Conry spent much of Wednesday undergoing a required test of his flying

proficiency, the Star Tribune has learned. Executive Aviation spokeswoman Mary

Milla said Monday that Conry passed the so-called check ride, which was

administered by a company pilot designated to conduct the exams by the Federal

Aviation Administration (FAA).

The proficiency checks are required of commercial aviators every six months to

maintain licensure.

"He passed the check with flying colors," said Conry's wife, Johanne, on Monday.

She also said her husband was in good health and well rested for the Wellstone



>From the 10-29-02 St.Paul Pioneer Press:

"Investigators...have ruled out physical problems with the pilots and one

important piece of equipment."

Dr. Thomas Uncini, St.Louis County's chief medical examiner, said Monday his

preliminary conclusions are that the two pilots were in good physical condition

and there were no signs that they suffered a heart attack or stroke. "No, it

didn't happen," he said of medical problems. "It looked pretty straightforward."

Frank Hilldrup, lead investigator for the NTSB said the landing gear appeared to

be down but was too damaged by fire to determine if it had been locked into place.

Another pilot who landed a slightly larger twin engine plane at the airport on

Friday, a couple of hours before Wellstone's plane crashed, said in an interview

that he experienced no significant problems.

Veteran pilot Ray Juntunen said there was very light ice, "but nothing to be

alarmed about. It shouldn't have been a problem."

He said he ran into moderate icing conditions at 10,000 feet and requested

permission to drop to 5,000. At that altitude, he had only light icing. When he

dropped to 3400 feet, to begin his approach, "the ice slid off the windshield,"

he said.

According to the NTSB, Wellstone's pilots received warnings of icing at 9,000 to

11,000 feet and were allowed to descend to 4,000 feet. Juntunen said he was able

to see the airport from five miles out, and another pilot landed a half-hour

later and told him the clouds were a little lower, but still not bad.

Radar tapes indicate the plane had descended to about 400 feet and was traveling

at only 85 knots near the end of its flight. It then turned south, dove at an

unusually steep angle and crashed.


>From the 10-26-02 edition of the St.Paul Pioneer Press:

The weather Friday was dismal, gray, foggy, with light snow, but the landing

should have been routine, said Gary Ulman, assistant manager of the Eveleth

Virginia Municipal Airport.

Shortly after 10 a.m., Ulman heard the pilot's voice on the radio and saw the

landing lights flash on after the pilot clicked the signal from the cockpit.

But the plane didn't land.

"After a while, I thought to myself, 'Where the hell are they?' "

Ulman jumped into his own private plane and took off in search of the missing




If the icing conditions were so bad (which they weren't) why would Ulman take

his own plane up?

They had just radioed in that they were coming in for a landing. They were only

about 7 miles out. They gave no indication of any problem. The NTSB has

confirmed that several times.

There was no problem with icing at the altitude they were flying.

Airport manager Ulman even took his plane up proving that icing was not a problem.

The landing gear was down.

The plane was "forgiving, stable and reliable."

The engines were "totally reliable."

You could land it "very, very easily on one engine."

"Performance on taking off and landing were superb."

The pilots were experienced veterans in good health and well rested.

Only one pilot was required to fly the King Air A100 but they had two as an

extra precaution for safety.

Bush had made it his number one priority to get Wellstone out of the Senate,

presumably thru the election process.

Bush himself had come to Minnesota to stump for Republican Norm Coleman.

"Americans for Job Security", a Republican controlled "tax-exempt" group pumped

over one million dollars into ads against Wellstone.

Wellstone had voted against Bush's Homeland Security. He had voted against some

of Bush's judicial appointees. He pushed stronger environmental programs while

Bush pushed the opposite way.

Wellstone pushed hard for genuine measures to counter corporate fraud while Bush

pushed for cosmetic ones.

Wellstone pushed hard for an independent 9-11 investigation over Bush and

Cheney's strongest objections.

Wellstone voted against giving Bush a free hand to invade Iraq and it actually

increased his popularity in Minnesota. He was pulling ahead of Coleman and it

looked like he would win re-election.


They lost all control and all communications in his plane instantly, without

warning during a landing approach.

Is this sabotage, assassination or an accident?

You be the judge.

- Compiled by Rick Ensminger

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