American Assassination: What happened to Sen. Paul Wellstone? Part II

Part II presents four reviews of AMERICAN ASSASSINATION (2004) that afford multiple perspectives regarding its significance. The first, “Abundant and Compelling Evidence”, is by David Ray Griffin, a distinguished scholar who has become the leading spokesman for the 9/11 Truth movement. The second, “No Accident”, is by Bradley E. Ayers, a former Army Captain who was assigned to the CIA to manage covert operations against Cuba from May 1963 to December 1964. The third, “Target Wellstone”, is by Russ Wellen, the editor of Freezerbox while it endured, who is now a staff blogger at Scholars & Rogues. The fourth, “Town Talk Review”, is by Andrew Griffin, a features writer for the Gannett-owned newspaper The Town Talk.

David Ray Griffin, a professor emeritus of Philosophy of Religion and Theology at the Clarement School of Theology in California for 30 years, has today, through his books and lectures, become better known as the leading voice of the “9/11 Truth Movement.” Through his investigation and analysis of the fall of the Twin Towers and mysterious collapse of World Trade Centre 7, the attack on the Pentagon and the final 9/11 Commission Report, Griffin continues to raise provocative questions about the inconsistencies and contradictions of the official version of the events of September 11, 2001. Griffin appeared on the award winning Canadian Broadcasting Corporation program “The Fifth Estate” (The Unofficial Story).

The Fifth Estate: Conspiracy Theories

On September 11, 2001 the world watched in shock and disbelief as planes flew in to New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington, and Americans realized they were under attack. But by whom? What really happened? In The Unofficial Story, the fifth estate’s Bob McKeown introduces us to people who believe the real force behind the attacks was not Osama Bin Laden, but the U.S. government itself.

David Griffin  David Ray Griffin

DECEMBER 5, 2004

Abundant and Compelling Evidence
David R. Griffin

The authors of this important book argue that Senator Paul Wellstone’s death, 10 days before the 2002 elections, was an assassination, most likely ordered by the Bush administration.

Directly confronting the widespread tendency to reject all “conspiracy theories,” the authors point out that “the idea that every theory that implies the existence of conspiracy ought to be rejected out of hand” is no more rational than the idea that every such theory should be accepted. Rather, “each case has to be evaluated on the basis of the evidence that is relevant and available in that case.” On that basis, they argue, if we look at ALL the relevant evidence and employ the scientific method of inference to the best explanation, we must conclude that the theory that Wellstone was assassinated is far more probable than the official theory, according to which his airplane crash was an accident.

The evidence includes several facts suggesting that the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) colluded with the FBI in a cover-up:

1. FBI agents from Minneapolis arrived at the crash site within 2 hours after the crash, even though the trip from Minnesota to Duluth to the crash site would have taken at least 3 hours–so they must have departed before the plane crashed.

2. When asked for the times at which private flights had arrived in Duluth that morning, the FAA said the records had been destroyed.

3. Considerable disinformation about weather conditions was quickly given to the press.

4. Although regulations called for the investigation to be carried out by the NTSB, not the FBI (because the crash site was not designated a crime scene), the FBI agents were there for 8 hours before the NTSB team arrived.

5. The FBI, even though there illegally, prevented the local “first responders” from taking photographs.

6. Although it was the NTSB’s responsibility to determine the cause of the crash and although the FBI’s prior presence was illegal, the NTSB leader publicly accepted the FBI’s declaration, made before the NTSB’s investigation, that there was no evidence of terrorism.

7. When the NTSB team finally carried out its own investigation, it was unable to find either the cockpit recorder, which it assumed the plane had had, or the black box.

8. The NTSB held no public hearings, claiming that it was not a sufficiently “high-profile” case.

9. The NTSB’s final report concealed the fact of the FBI’s participation.

10. The NTSB investigation was headed by Acting Director Carol Carmody, a Bush appointee who had earlier ruled that there was no foul play in the small airplane crash in 2000 that took the life of Governor Mel Carnahan of Missouri, the Democratic candidate for the Senate who was killed 3 weeks before his expected victory (over John Ashcroft).

The evidence also includes some facts strongly suggesting the falsity of the NTSB’s official conclusion, which was that the plane crashed because the pilot failed to maintain proper speed, causing the plane to stall.

1. The plane would have stalled only if it slowed to below 70 knots, yet it was equipped with a device that emitted a loud warning at 85 knots.

2. The plane was being flown by two experienced and fully certified pilots, a fact–obfuscated in the NTSB report-that makes this kind of pilot error very unlikely.

3. The NTSB’s theory fails to explain why, about two minutes before the crash, all communication was abruptly terminated and the plane began going off course.

The evidence also includes facts suggesting that the plane was instead brought down by an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) weapon:

1. The plane’s fuselage burned, although it was separated from the wings, which contained the fuel.

2. The plane’s electrical system, which would be affected by an EMP, was in the fuselage, and the fire from the fuselage gave off blue smoke, which is indicative of an electrical fire.

3. An EMP could explain why the plane simultaneously went off course and lost its radio about two minutes before the crash.

4. At the same time, cell phones and garage doors in the area behaved in a way consistent with the occurrence of an EMP.

5. An NTSB spokesman professed ignorance about the existence of EMP weapons that could have brought down the plane, although the existence of such weapons had been known for several years.

An important part of the authors’ case is the fact that the Bush administration would have had several motives:

1. Wellstone’s defeat would return control of the Senate to the Republicans.

2. Wellstone’s death 10 days before the election meant that $700,000 in the Republican campaign chest could be transferred, the very next day, to the (successful) effort to defeat Max Cleland in the Senate race in Georgia.

3. Wellstone was the biggest obstacle in the Senate to several Republican policies, such as those involving Iraq, Colombia, the SEC, tax cuts, and Homeland Security, and he was the strongest voice in Congress calling for a full investigation into 9/11.

4. Two days before his death, Wellstone reported that Cheney had told him: “If you vote against the war in Iraq, the Bush administration will do whatever is necessary to get you.”

5. Wellstone had developed a 7-point lead in the polls over Norm Coleman, the Bush administration’s hand-picked candidate.

Finally, with regard to the question whether the Bush administration would commit such a heinous act, the authors argue that an administration that “compounded lie upon lie to . . . send hundreds of thousands of young American men and women into harm’s way [in Iraq] is not an administration that would hesitate to kill a single senator.”

The authors conclude that the evidence shows beyond reasonable doubt that Wellstone was assassinated. They have, in my view, made a convincing case.

David Ray Griffin, author of The New Pearl Harbor and The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions & Distortions

Bradley E. Ayers  Bradley E. Ayers

by Bradley E. Ayers

Reviewer’s Note: Soon after publication, Dr. James Fetzer suggested I write a “literary” review of the book, AMERICAN ASSASSINATION: The Strange Death of Senator Paul Wellstone (non-fiction, Vox Pop/DKMC, Brooklyn, NY 11218, trade paperback, $14.00, ISBN 0-9752763-0-1) jointly authored by himself and Dr. Don Jacobs, aka Four Arrows, released in October 2004.

Somewhat humbled, I pondered Jim’s invitation. I knew Senator Wellstone. As a veteran in distress, his office was hugely instrumental in helping me obtain the VA disability benefits I presently survive on. Quite aside from that, I also agreed with his populist socio-political philosophy, admired his vision, courage and activism.

Former Marine officer, now a tenured McKnight/U of M professor, Fetzer is a respected friend. My relationship with Jim developed when he came to recognize my military background and history of government service, especially the involvement in CIA’s in Operation Mongoose (the Kennedy Administration’s secret war against Cuba and the Castro assassination attempts in the 1960s) during the period of President Kennedy’s murder and other domestic assassinations.

My credentials as a prospective book reviewer include that I’ve been licensed as a private detective in three states for more than thirty years; and, as a former, fully rated commercial air charter bush pilot had flown into Eveleth, MN, the site of the Wellstone plane crash, many times on instruments under all varieties of weather conditions.

But, could I maintain journalistic neutrality and objectivity as a reviewer given my strong personal feeling about Wellstone and my friendship with Jim Fetzer? Keenly aware of my own limitations and inadequacies, one of the most difficult tasks I know is to critique another writer’s work. I told Jim of my reservations, talked with his publisher and felt encouraged to go ahead.

With that as a backdrop, I should make it clear I don’t consider myself part of America’s conspiracy theory subculture, nor am I even remotely involved in Internet chatter. I prefer gathering and evaluating information the old fashioned way, making sure that what I get is the real thing.

This review will avoid preempting reader curiosity by revealing sensitive details of the book’s plot line, nor will it offer judgments about the credibility of the authors’ sources, the legal viability of their views and conclusions. Readers will have to make up their own minds. I offer here only a personal opinion as to the composition and merits of the work as a contribution to the troubled history of our time. I have taken the Fetzer-Jacobs book at face value.

by Bradley E. Ayers

AMERICAN ASSASSINATION challenges the reader to render careful, critical judgment about the causation of Paul Wellstone’s death, when his chartered plane impacted in a remote swampy, wooded area in northeastern Minnesota in October 2002. Was the crash an accident, a bizarre twist of fate on the eve of the fiery, outspoken liberal Democratic’s predicted reelection to the narrowly divided U.S. Senate? Or was the plane’s destruction the work of threatened right-wing dark forces determined to sabotage our country’s elective process for political gain?

The book, in tone, theme and substance passionately assumes the later, but not without making a powerful case. The authors’ thesis is structured around the fundamental, time honored considerations when appraising any crime: did a potential perpetrator have the means, motive and opportunity to commit the act; and is there human testimony, physical and circumstantial evidence to support each of these criteria?

The initial chapters of the book are devoted to building the evidentiary case for the opportune, sinister destruction of the airplane killing the Senator, his wife, daughter, campaign aides and pilots.

Fetzer and Jacobs meticulously piece together the events and identify personalities involved preceding the tragedy and those actions and developments, both official and unofficial following the crash. The authors’ reach for information is extensive and goes well beyond that of the authorities. Many basic, logical questions are posed, contradictions and inconsistencies in the reactions and pronouncements of officialdom and first responders to the crash site, all suggesting a deliberate effort to tamper with or remove critical evidence from the scene.

It’s primarily on the basis of this factual data, which includes verbatim quotations from local authorities, the FBI, NTSB and FAA as well as regional and national media reportage, that, an impressive scenario of a possible conspiracy and cover-up emerges. The accusative finger points to the Bush White House and the most powerful in the Administration, with the complicity of key Federal agencies.

I found the authors’ brief early digressions comparing a possible Wellstone murder conspiracy and cover up with other controversial high profile deaths to be a minor distraction. All in all, this is gripping, goosebump producing reading for anyone with lingering suspicions about the performance and crash scene investigation by officials of the U.S. Government.

Having quite effectively made the evidentiary argument for post-crash concealment and deliberate spoilage of the scene, the authors’ turn to the motive issue. I found these chapters to be most enlightening and absolutely essential to appreciating the breadth and intensity of the Bush cabal’s animosity that may have led to Wellstone’s elimination. AMERICAN ASSASSINATION brings together in its central chapters an extensive list of factors, some fairly obscure in public view, nevertheless important, clearly identifying the Minnesota Senator as a persistent and even greater future threat to the conservative Republican agenda thus becoming a target for removal at virtually any cost, even murder.

With the actual events, initial reactions and reports, documented physical aspects of the wreckage and crash scene observation and the possible motive for assassination and cover-up now before the reader, Fetzer and Jacobs offer a detailed retrospection of alleged “accidental” and “lone-gunmen” fatalities of key or high profile political figures in the U.S. over the past forty years. Comparison and parallels are drawn between these and the possible murder of Senator Wellstone. Thus, the authors’ buttress their assassination conspiracy premise. They generously and fairly present and debate dissenting opinions from other contemporary scholars and observers.

At this point in the book, in their capacity as educators the authors step away from the specifics of the case and engage in serious tutoring. Several chapters of the book are devoted to a rather expansive, academic and slightly complex theoretical discussion of critical thinking. This is the methodology professors Fetzer and Jacobs applied in investigating the fatal Wellstone plane crash, and analizing the events, circumstances, evidence and other factors surrounding it.

While sometimes a little heavy on classical logic process, the effort is well intentioned and, obviously, encourages the reader’s appreciation for the authors’ intellectual effort in researching the Wellstone tragedy and evolving their thesis as an alternative to the official causal determination.

The truly interested reader is now, hopefully, versed in the discipline by which Fetzer and Jacobs build their case for an assassination conspiracy in the downing of the Wellstone plane. The authors’ dissect, item by item, the government’s handling of the event, from crash site response and investigation to the suspected manipulation of public information essentially illustrating how the Establishment system either failed or was perverted to facilitate a manufactured explanation for the crash.

A pattern of procrastination, obfuscation, buck-passing, unanswered inquires, procedural anomalies, policy circumventions, apparent incompetence, discreditation of witnesses and sources, ignorance and degradation of physical evidence value is thoroughly documented. Most disturbing is the assertion the FBI played a key part in the initial phases of the crash investigation, usurping the established role of NTSB as the responsible action agency in any fatal aircraft incident. The authors’ offer a compilation of peripheral testimony, qualified sources familiar with airplane crashes and standards for investigating them.

Most disturbing, the authors’ point out the Wellstone crash investigation was never subject to public hearing as mandated by NTSB regulation in any high profile case. Staunchly defending the assassination conspiracy argument, Fetzer and Jacobs, in full attack mode, rebut the final NTSB “accident” report with a vengeance. Sentence by sentence, they catalogue the reports’ contradictions, lapses, selective use of evidence and testimony, manipulated phraseology, and ignorance of available information that might undermine the governments finding that crash resulted from pilot error. The authors’ conclusion is that the NTSB report is a rather transparent effort to establish plausible denial and is bogus.

Finally, AMERICAN ASSASSINATION presents the reader with a variety of alternative explanations for the plane crash. Some tend toward the exotic, but are technically substantiated to a reasonable degree. Other, more conventional explanations are also posed for the reader’s consideration.

Expert opinion is offered and expanded upon. The book concludes with a summary of the major points of argument, set forth in easily understood fashion.

The authors’ conviction and ardency are apparent in their work, as is the thoroughness of their research. If the book has any weaknesses from a literary standpoint its the indulgent, redundant comparison of the postulated Wellstone assassination conspiracy with the murder of JFK and the questionable deaths of other major political figures in America in recent years. There is also repetitive overkill in citing the potentially compromising backgrounds of some of the key officials involved in the investigation and reporting of the Wellstone crash.

Finally, the astute reader will be a bit uncomfortable with a certain editing unevenness of the text, something that’s very hard to avoid when combining the independent work of co-authors. The book also lacks a bibliography and index.

These shortcomings in no way detract from the substance and essential message of the book. Fetzer and Jacobs have produced an enormously provocative vital piece of work that should be of interest to anyone concerned that our Constitutional political process, our very lives, can be manipulated by evil forces hiding behind a façade of moral and ideological righteousness in America today. AMERICAN ASSASSINATION, if widely read, could well prompt a public outcry that might ultimately lead to a full exposition of the facts surrounding the strange death of Paul Wellstone. Fetzer and Jacobs argue convincingly that it was no accident. The book is a must read for all who search for the truth.

Editor’s Note: The reviewer is a former Army special operations officer, CIA and DEA operative. He has logged more than 5,000 hours of flight time as a fully rated commercial air charter-bush pilot and is licensed as a private detective. He holds an MA in education and is the author of nonfiction books, including especially THE WAR THAT NEVER WAS on CIA operations against Cuba.

RUSS WELLEN  Russ Wellen


Target Wellstone
Russ Wellen

American Assassination: The Strange Death of Senator Paul Wellstone
By Four Arrows and Jim Fetzer
Vox Pop, 199 pages, $14.00

So fierce is the competition in the crime fiction market today that only the cozy genre of mystery can still get away with a single murder victim. In padding the body count, however, authors lose sight of the first rule of a good crime novel: reanimate the corpse. In other words, the reader must get to know and care about the deceased.

When the plane carrying Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone to the funeral of a state lawmaker’s father crashed, his wife, daughter, three staff members, and two pilots died as well. By writing American Assassination: The Strange Death of Senator Paul Wellstone (on Sander Hicks’s new Vox Pop imprint), Four Arrows and Jim Fetzer honor all the victims. But demonstrating that a crime–massacre actually–was committed requires showing how Wellstone’s Senate career constituted a monument to humanitarianism that demanded to be toppled as sure as Saddam’s statue in Firdos Square, Baghdad.

Unfortunately, sniping from the left that he failed to hew to the party line obscured Wellstone’s achievements (documented in an appendix to the book). In fact, his comprehensive approach to progressive causes, from reforming American farm policy to opposing GATT and NAFTA, paralleled how the right leaves no stone unturned in its relentless quest to roll back any legislation that could conceivably be called enlightened.

In light of the suspicious circumstances under which he died, you can’t help but think that the right saw him as not one, but a plague of gadflies that had to be eradicated. He was in fact exposed to aerial spraying–intentionally, the authors maintain–while inspecting the effect of glycophospate on Colombian coca fields. With each vote, Wellstone more and more resembled a man marching to his doom.

Not only the mainstream, but also most of the independent media has used Wellstone campaign manager Jeff Blodgett’s profession of certainty that pilot error was at fault to back off from allegations of foul play. In other words, don’t let them tar you with that darn conspiracy theory label because when you try to peel it off your skin comes with it.

But conspiracy theories don’t only play with the Generation X-Files crowd; now they’re scrutinized by the ever-more-credentialed, such as Dr. David Ray Griffin, the author of The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11. Like Griffin, Jim Fetzer is a professor of philosophy (at the University of Minnesota, Duluth) and he’s polished his philosopher’s stone with three books on the death of JFK. Co-author Four Arrows is an associate professor at Northern Arizona University. (Though the authors fail to describe the division of duties, the interviews Arrows conducts suggests he’s the leg man.)

Applying the principles of philosophy to the crime, Fetzer claims that when an investigator examining a hypothesis violates “the requirement of total evidence,” “special pleading”–intentionally selecting evidence to create a biased result–occurs.

Excluding, and perhaps removing, evidence is exactly what official bodies seem to have set out to do. Only an hour after first responders arrived on the crash site at 11 a.m., the FBI materialized on the scene. In other words, they would have departed from St. Paul at 9:30–when Wellstone’s plane was taking off.

After possibly spiriting away the cockpit voice recorder, the FBI announced the crash wasn’t the work of terrorists. Meanwhile, the National Traffic Safety Board’s lead investigator, Frank Hildrup, when asked why there was no public hearing, responded that they were reserved for “high profile cases.”

As for the cause, at first the NTSB blamed icy conditions. However, when the plane didn’t land at the Eveleth-Virginia (Minnesota) Airport, its assistant manager, Gary Ulman, had no qualms about immediately taking off to search for the crash site. Others, such as National Center for Atmospheric Research meteorologist Ben Bernstein, downplayed the icing theory as well.

Besides, the Beechcraft King Air A-10 boasted an elaborate de-icing system–you learn a lot about aviation in this book–such as pneumatic de-icing boots that inflate and deflate to break ice from the leading edges of the wing and tail. And when the King Air’s maintenance records turned out to be in order, mechanical problems, along with the icy conditions, were disqualified as causes.

The NTSB then turned to the highly rated pilot, Richard Conry, a favorite of Wellstone’s who had passed an FAA flight check two days before. Sixty seconds after his last conversation with the ground, during which he reported no problems, the King Air began drifting south, whereas a normal landing would have continued straight west. In other words, discounting his turn in the opposite direction before crashing, the NTSB adopted the conclusion that Conry and co-pilot Michael Guess’s approach was too slow, stalling the plane and causing it to crash.

But even if the pilots failed to check airspeed and altitude–an almost unimaginable lapse–they would have been alerted by an alarm in plenty of time to regain speed. In other words, by arriving at this conclusion the NTSB demonstrated the same lack of concern for public scrutiny as the FBI did when it arrived early at the crash scene. More likely, the authors maintain, the King Air lost airspeed and altitude because the pilots were unable to control it.

Understanding the crash, they believe, requires establishing why the King Air suddenly stopped communicating. Another man on his way to the funeral, driving within a couple blocks of the airport at the time of the crash experienced otherworldly cell-phone interference. He reported hearing a sound “between a roar and loud humming voice…oscillating…screeching and humming noise.”

Most responsible for narrowing the authors’ search for a cause was the blue smoke typical of electrical fires that streamed out of the King Air’s sheared fuselage for hours after the crash.

In an arresting passage, the authors cite a Time magazine article describing microwave weapons the US is developing to knock out enemy electronics. Supposedly they’re capable of unleashing in an instant as much power as the Hoover Dam cranks out in a day. The authors report, among other accidents, an F-111 that crashed or aborted due simply to the radio transmissions (electromagnetic pulses) of other US military aircraft.

Suddenly the idea of electronic-jamming equipment sending a decoy VOR (landing guidance system) signal to the King Air becomes plausible. Obeying instrumentation that’s tricked into believing the plane is several degrees off course, the pilot follows the signal straight into the ground.

Possible means mapped out, what about more specific motives than the general pugnaciousness of this former wrestler’s progressivism? First, at the time of the crash the Republicans’ Senate majority was in jeopardy because Vermont’s Jim Jeffords had bolted the party. In an attempt to redress the balance, they threw all their support behind Norm Coleman, Wellstone’s opponent in the upcoming election. When Wellstone voted against granting the president power to invade Iraq, his popularity surged.

Wellstone reported that before the Senate vote on Iraq, Dick Cheney had warned him that bucking the administration could result in severe consequences for both him and the state of Minnesota. Neither was the vice president happy about the legislation Wellstone had introduced to improve protection against asbestos poisoning. Cheney had left Halliburton in a position to be sued by its insurer for asbestos claims staggering in their potential for remuneration. Only his assumption of the vice presidency granted him immunity from deposition.

After Wellstone’s funeral, you may remember how Republicans claimed the event was partisan, essentially garnering Democrats free campaign airtime. This, of course, stood in contrast, to the heartfelt way the Republican party grieved–by transferring money designated to fight Wellstone to defeating Democratic Georgia Senator Max Cleland. Corporate America was equally broken up: From the instant Wellstone’s death was reported by AP–the rise in corporate fortunes that a Republican Senate signified needed no spelling out to investors–the Dow rose steadily.

By unraveling the conditions under which he died, Four Arrows and Jim Fetzer have not only paid tribute to Paul Wellstone, they’ve brought to light the facts surrounding yet another suspicious plane crash in a lineage that extends back to Governor Mel Carnahan and Senators John Tower and Hale Boggs.

Finally, let us recall the prescience Wellstone demonstrated in his statement to the Senate on Iraq: “The United States should unite the world against Saddam and not allow him to unite forces against us.”

Andrew Griffin  Andrew Griffin

FEBRUARY 20, 2005

Book takes controversial look at Wellstone death
By Andrew Griffin

I recently read “American Assassination: The Strange Death of Senator Paul Wellstone” by Four Arrows and Jim Fetzer (Vox Pop) and was stunned by what I read in those pages.

Before the mid-term elections in 2002, the United States Senate was divided 50-49 with the Democrats in control. But after the 2002 elections, Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minnesota, was dead and the Republicans had regained control of the Senate, with former Wellstone’s replacement being former St. Paul mayor Norm Coleman, a man specifically selected by the Bush administration.

Was there more to Wellstone’s death which occurred as the result of a mysterious plane crash in northern Minnesota on Oct. 25, 2002? Why did the plane go down in relatively harmless weather just a week before the elections?

Well, intrepid investigative researchers Jim Fetzer and Dr. Don Trent Jacobs (a.k.a. Four Arrows) felt there was more to the story than that provided by the government and they proceeded to investigate this tragedy. Their research, meticulously laid out in these 182 pages, should shake this country to its very foundations.

In the preface, Fetzer and Four Arrows write that in finding out whether this was an accident or an assassination they “have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the official account presented by the National Transportation Safety Board cannot be logically sustained. Its ‘findings’ are even contradicted by its own evidence.”

And “prove beyond a reasonable doubt,” they do.

There’s the weather, which was claimed to have been icy and dangerous. However, this was disputed by others flying in the area.

Then there’s the presence of the FBI within 90 minutes of the crash. The authors note that it would’ve taken agents at least three hours to reach the swampy and remote crash site. How they got there from the Twin Cities so quickly remains a mystery.

And in addition to that, the NTSB normally takes over crash sites of this nature. Why the NTSB allowed the FBI to take control is unknown.

In researching this incident, the two undertook an independent and objective analysis of the available evidence in this case, using the pattern of scientific reasoning known as “inference to the best explanation.”

Fetzer and Four Arrows note how other outspoken leaders have died in mysterious plane crashes — from Louisiana’s Rep. Hale Boggs in 1972 to Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan in 2000, among others.

In a chapter titled “Motives for Murder,” the authors note how Wellstone had become a “hunted man” by those on the right because of his progressive stances on issues both foreign and domestic.

The beloved lawmaker, a humanitarian and compassionate man to the very end who even came to Louisiana to speak out against the brutal conditions in the state’s private juvenile prisons, had already spoken out against the U.S. anti-drug “Plan Colombia” policy. In fact there was an attempt on Wellstone’s life while he was visiting the South American country in 2001.

Wellstone was also disliked by right-wing corporate interests because of his desire to “bar corporate tax dodgers from being eligible for defense department contracts” via an amendment to the then upcoming Homeland Security bill. Wellstone’s amendment was deleted in the final version — after his death.

The two conclude that Wellstone himself would greenlight their independent investigation were he here with us.

“We believe that Paul Wellstone, who was committed to truth as well as to justice for every human being, would approve of our inquiry, precisely because the issues are profound. They affect each and every one of us who believe in democracy and the American way or wishes they still could.”

And while this book isn’t on any bestseller lists, it’s already turning out to be an underground favorite.

Book editor Sander Hicks, with Vox Pop, told The Town Talk that the first edition of 2,500 copies sold out and that the new edition will have a new cover and more information.

“This got out by word of mouth,” Hicks said. “There’s a buzz building.”

Hicks has been in touch with Wellstone Action! and hopes to have a serious discussion about their findings with members of the Wellstone family. In the meantime he’s getting the word out on liberal radio network, Air America.

Hicks marveled that a Republican wrote an review of the book saying that despite voting for the re-election of George W. Bush, the book gets to the “raw truth.” That inspired Hicks to go forward with more related to the findings in “American Assassination.”

Originally published February 20, 2005

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