Readers continue to send messages expressing their support and appreciation for the editorial board statement published by the World Socialist Web Site on October 29, raising the question whether Senator Paul Wellstone’s death was a political assassination [“The death of US Senator Paul Wellstone: accident or murder?”]. The WSWS published a number of letters criticizing this editorial, together with a reply by Patrick Martin, on November 11. Below we reprint a number of letters commenting on the original statement and the subsequent correspondence.
I read with interest the responses you have received to the above-referenced editorial. I was rather surprised at their vehemence; only two days ago I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen since before the US elections, and he mentioned, without prompting, that the first thing he had thought upon hearing of Wellstone’s plane crashing was that it was sabotage. I was somewhat relieved to hear those words spoken aloud (no one wants to think of themselves as a paranoid nutcase, after all), but I can’t believe that hundreds of thousands of otherwise reasonably sane American citizens did not wonder the very same thing. In this political climate, how could they not? The people who make up the current administration stole an entire election, after all; I think it’s fairly safe to assume that if there are depths to which they would not stoop, we have not seen them yet. At any rate, we have the right to ask. Perhaps it was bad luck, sheer dreadful coincidence. Perhaps not. But we have the right, as citizens, to ask, and we also have the right NOT to be told how stupid we are for wanting to do so. When we have been pummeled into cowed, obedient silence by the powers that be, God help us all.
Keep up the wonderful good work. As Fidel said, it is not enough for the truth to be the truth; the truth must also be told. I send your articles far and wide; thank you for sending them to me.
Very truly yours,
12 November 2002
Enjoy your leadership in workers press. You are able to say that corrupt corporate America has lost its journalistic integrity and leadership. I respect your work and your points of view. Great job and be well.
11 November 2002
Thank you for having the guts to print thought-provoking stories. It is refreshing compared to the regurgitated type of government-censored press conferences that mainstream media has the nerve to call news.
I think commercial airliners are extremely safe and we should not be so trusting of the absurd explanations we have been getting lately. In the case of TWA 800 and the similar SwissAir incident we should demand another investigation related to the activities of the local naval base. I would venture to say that for any commercial air crash, we should scrutinize the passenger manifests since in almost all of them passengers were on board that were ready to implicate a government or had been a thorn in the side of a government.
The Bush family has a long history of criminal activity ranging from their involvement with the Nazis, the bin Ladens, Noriega, Saddam (it’s a long list), to the fleecing of the government by the Bush boys and now stealing an election.
Finally we should not be so quick to accuse others when all along we have been using bio-warfare in the form of Agent Orange and now depleted uranium. We are the world’s most aggressive nation, we do covet the oil no matter where it is and this was all predictable.
No, it could never happen here! I am sure the German people initially also refused to believe that their government would ever do such things!
11 November 2002
I am deeply interested in your articles and letters about Senator Wellstone’s dubious death. One reader refers to a CNN picture of something looking like a fire. Is this true? Did you see it too?
As a foreigner not so good at English, I’m happy to know there are some Americans whose English reading ability is inferior to mine. Some of your readers are so hasty and careless.
Sincerely, bon courage.
I was immediately suspicious of the Wellstone accident. Here’s why. I learned of the accident while in an Asian nail art shop. The shop had on CNN international. The first announcement was... “plane crash in Northern Minnesota, Eveleth”—no mention of who or whom. I thought it was odd to announce a small plane crash in Minnesota on international news. The next news flash mentioned the Wellstone campaign party and possibly Ted Kennedy, who was listed on the original flight manifest. (Too tempting for our Shadow Government to have both Kennedy and Wellstone on the same small plane?)
The third statement from CNN struck me as very odd ... the news flash reported that the flight crew were well known to the Wellstones and were very experienced pilots. Isn’t that odd? To make that statement at that time? Not even mention weather? It sent a chill down my back. I felt like they had the statement about the pilots prepared ahead of time.... We now know the pilots were not as experienced as stated. The pilot has a felony record through his business dealings. He lied about his experience and the felony...
I am concerned about the copilot, Michael Guess, not the pilot. I wonder if Guess did not already know terror suspect Moussaoui before Moussaoui entered the flight simulator in Eagan, Minnesota. Perhaps that is why Guess did not ask for identification and left Moussaoui unattended. Moussaoui used this as an opportunity to copy the simulator CD—which was found later on Moussaoui’s laptop (see Minneapolis Star Tribune article).
Michael Guess listed St. Paul as his home. His funeral was at St. Lukes Church, St. Paul. I looked in the St. Paul phone directory and found only one Arthur Guess listed. The newspaper had made it sound like his family was a longtime St. Paul family. St. Paul was also Moussaoui’s home ... and very shortly after 9/11 either the Minneapolis or St. Paul paper did an interview with a “landlady” in St. Paul who had rented to a terrorist(s) who were associated with the cell in Florida. I suspect Guess knew Moussaoui.
Guess went to school at the University of North Dakota. Little was mentioned of his family. He had a fiancée. Did the pilots accept an unidentified package? Small planes are easy to impair. Small airports have little security. If you think the right-wing Republican extremist (US’s Shadow Government) had a hand in 9/11 ... you would consider a connection.
11 November 2002
Inclement weather, pilot error and mechanical failure have pretty much been ruled out. That is to say on the latter that the engine was going, the propellers rotating, at the time of the crash. There were eyewitnesses (several) who say they heard a gunshot at the time of the crash. There were a lot of discrepancies in official reports of exactly WHERE the crash site is. And the spokesperson for the NTSB is a former CIA operative.
If you don’t have access to Michael Ruppert’s article on the subject (you probably do), I would be happy to write him for permission to forward pertinent paragraphs on the subject...
People in this country appear to be afraid to discuss this issue, although the possibility crossed the minds of most of the people I have asked—on the right as well as on the left.
Oh, yes, and Ruppert says that two US Representatives told him under conditions of anonymity that no one on the Hill believes it was NOT political assassination. Anyone who has lived under the CIA knows what that means.
11 November 2002
I must strongly commend Patrick Martin’s eloquent, well reasoned, and forceful reply to the people who outright dismiss “conspiracies.” I will be passing on his reply to several hundred more people. Perhaps more people will question what this government is doing and is capable of.
One of the critics pointed to Wellstone and Carnahan as the only supposed examples of untimely deaths of progressive stars in this country. Their historical memory is much too short. The list is long and goes back to J.F. Kennedy. Perhaps they can cite some examples of Republican accident victims during the same timeframe.
As for possibilities of causing a crash on short notice and without physically altering the plane, we only have to look to our military’s clandestine capabilities. Focused microwave energy pulses or electron pulses are an established fact of life. We do not know what weapons are now available, including shoulder mounted weapons that were developed to shut down tanks or other vehicles at long range. The ability to target a low-flying plane on approach to a landing field is not beyond comprehension or ability.
As for dismissing conspiracy theories, all one need to do is look at one of the largest conspiracies in existence, the military-industrial complex. But of course, that “good ol’ boys” network doesn’t exist any more than the KKK or the “good ol’ boys” networks of the South. Only the Mafia, gangs and Clinton’s circle of acquaintances conspire in their own self-interest, never the military, corporations, religions or the wealthy.
11 November 2002
You passed along the info about the plane that went down carrying Paul Wellstone. Sorry to take so long to respond. I needed to do a little research.... I am not a pilot. I’ve been hiring pilots and small craft in my work for 30 years. In the time I’ve been in almost every kind of small craft made, from Piper Cubs and Cessna 172s (a bit scary) to Lears, King Airs and jet helicopters.
I’ll keep this short, but some details of this class of plane (Beechcraft A100) are worth noting. They have the best avionics in the business, as good, though smaller, than commercial airliners. They also usually have black boxes because of the “caliber” of customer they carry, i.e., the very rich. The A100 is not only one of the most reliable in the air, they are complicated enough to require extensive checkout before every flight and the maintenance is rigorous, not just for safety reasons but also because they cost as much as a mansion. This is not a plane that goes down in freezing rain.
Which leads to the next part. Visibility and conditions were not an issue in this accident. A pilot cannot fly this plane without an IFR (instrument) rating and thousands of hours of experience. IFR rating means the plane can be landed completely on instruments with no visibility at all—fog, freezing rain, driving snow, etc. Wellstone’s plane had two such pilots, which is unusual in itself. Not to say that weather not does sometimes present unworkable conditions—it does. But that’s where the pilot’s judgment comes in. Along with the 200 or so small craft I have flown in, I also got to know as many pilots, and they are not chance-takers, with the exception of some hotdog rich guys with their own planes (who account for the majority of real accidents)—that kind doesn’t get hired to fly important people anywhere. In fact they can’t fly for hire anyway because they would have to go through some additional rigorous training and most of them don’t.
On every flight I have chartered I have gone with the pilot(s) through the preflight checkout and asked a mess of technical questions. I tell them upfront I want a technical flight with all the explanation they can muster. My respect for both their skills and their good sense couldn’t be any greater. At rock bottom, they want to get home safely as much as I do and they just don’t take risks, especially when so many alternatives are available with IFR, even in remote places like northern Minnesota. They would have redirected right away if the weather looked like too much to handle, and they would have told their passengers that it was the only safe thing to do.
Two last small pieces—ice and freezing rain do not set planes on fire. The fact that they were clocked turning away from the chosen airstrip says that something else waved them off. The NTSB investigators (actual voices on the radio today) went to great lengths to emphasize that a “severe” fire had begun after impact. In fact, that’s about all they had to say, other than describing a crash perimeter that was preposterously small for serious investigation.
There was mention of witnesses who saw the plane on fire on the way down, but they were neither identified nor repeated later in the day. Plain and simple, based on my every experience with dedicated pilots and precision aircraft, planes like the A100 do not catch fire in spotty, wet weather and two experienced pilots are extremely unlikely to agree to fly under conditions they can’t control. They were not suicide bombers. This plane was destroyed intentionally from afar.
11 November 2002
I must respond to the comments against your suggestion that foul play should be considered as part of the Wellstone investigation. Those readers must be naive fools who not only don’t read your columns very much or very much of anything else. Or they are simply plants from the same forces that may have been involved in the foul play.
I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t think Paul Wellstone was assassinated. There are many aspects of the situation that have not been widely reported—such as the quick arrival of the FBI to “secure” the site. The very point that the mainstream media won’t even consider foul play (or even part of the “terrorism” they are eager to find going on everywhere) is suspicious enough to suggest they don’t want the issue raised. I understand that it has just been reported that the pilot was to blame—a patsy for not being able to disprove plane malfunction? Paul Wellstone was whacked, and most people in their broken hearts know it.
11 November 2002
Thanks for the denouement of those agents provocateurs who wrote in, much as on the BBC World Service’s Sunday phone-in programme “Talkingpoint”, selected callers with set pieces ready seem to reflect the capitalist-elitist line.
As to your excerpt:
“As far as the practical means of deliberately causing such a crash, several readers have written in to suggest that mechanical sabotage of the aircraft is not the only possibility. Interference with navigation, the deliberate sending of false signals to mislead the pilots who were on instrument approach, remote-control takeover of the plane or even the firing of an anti-aircraft weapon are all technically feasible.”
I’d like to point out that Der Spiegel wrote on the plane crash that killed Mozambique’s Samora Michel that South African intelligence ops had set up a bogus ground-beacon to override the genuine one and lure the plane off course.
Thanks for your articles, keep the flag of truth flying!
Perhaps you have seen it, but if not, an article entitled “Was Wellstone murdered? It’s a legitimate question journalism must feel free to ask” may be found at http://www.onlinejournal.com/Media/Ramares110702/ramares110702.html.
I too rely on WSWS for an amplification and perspective on world events that corporate media overlooks or buries. Thank you.
11 November 2002
I just wanted to add to your response to some of the letters you received that it’s not necessarily someone in the administration who would do something like deliberately crash Wellstone’s plane, but the right-wing wackos on the periphery.
When I lived in Florida in 2000 I watched in amusement and shock when right-wing toadies were flown in from other parts of the country to Dade County where votes were being manually recounted. They broke into the building, up to the floor where the counting was going on, and pounded and screamed for the counting to stop. Fearing for their lives, the people inside stopped their counting.
And, as you mentioned, the illegal and embarrassing US Supreme Court decision to stop the counting is another example that the “riff raff” surrounding the Republican Party will stop at nothing to get their way. Like petulant children, only with weapons.
12 November 2002
I find it incredible that people would scoff at the issues you raise in this article. What is the matter with people that they cannot open their eyes to the events that are taking place within the US at this critical time? And why is the mainstream media not supporting any kind of independent investigation of the myriad unexplainable acts which have taken place since 9/11, including the hundreds of unanswered questions regarding that event? Is it possible that most of us are too caught up in saving our own skins that we are willing to neglect what we are doing to the rest of the world?
It is a sad time in our history, to be sure. We need people like yourself to keep speaking out. Thank you for doing so!
17 November 2002