Conspiracy Nation -- Vol. 7 Num. 74

("Quid coniuratio est?")


Since the crash that killed Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, radio talk shows, fax networks and computer communication links have been filled with various conspiracy theories.

(Exclusive to The Spotlight, April 29, 1996)

By Mike Blair

Thousands of Americans believe that when an Air Force jetliner crashed into a mountain near the Croatian coastal resort city of Dubrovnik, killing the secretary of commerce, more than two dozen U.S. business executives and others, it was not an accident.

A series of mysteries and contradictory statements from the government continue to baffle those trying to unravel details of the April 3 death of Ron Brown.

Critics find it more than coincidental that DynCorp CEO Dan Bannister decided not to make the trip two days before the group left Washington. DynCorp has 600 employees working in Bosnia. Writers on patriot networks have tied DynCorp to non-military security forces in the Balkans.

One of the leading theories discussed was that the crash was not an accident but a means to end an embarrassment for President Bill Clinton. Brown was investigated by the Justice Department in 1993 for allegedly taking $700,000 in bribes from Vietnam (Spotlight July 5, 1993 and others). He was cleared by Clinton's Justice Department.

Another ongoing probe focused on the commerce chief's business dealings.

A special prosecutor was trying to determine whether Brown improperly accepted more than $300,000 from a business partner, Nolanda Hill, and if he deliberately filed inaccurate disclosure statements and a misleading mortgage statement.

The case was dropped after Brown's death.

A federal grand jury in Oklahoma was expected to indict both Brown and his Washington lobbyist son, Michael, for influence peddling. The case focused on the hiring of the younger Brown by Dynamic Energy Resources, a gas pipeline company based in Tulsa, according to published reports.

Two former partners in the firm said that Michael Brown was hired by Dynamic in order to win favor with his father.

Independent counsel experts indicated after the crash that it would abruptly end the investigation of the commerce chief and probably his associates.

In any case, adding fuel to the speculation are a number of mysteries and contradictory government statements involving the air crash:

** According to Pentagon and White House officials, the plane on which Brown and 34 others were killed was not equipped with flight voice and data recorders, known as "black boxes."

These reports came after Croatian Prime Minister Vlatko Matasa and Miljenko Radic, head of the Croatian civilian air traffic control, both stated that the two boxes were found inside the tail of the plane.

The Pentagon said the aircraft was too old to be equipped with the data recorders.

However the United States European Command in Stuttgart, Germany, insisted the plane did have the "black boxes" on board.

This was the same aircraft in which Secretary of State William Perry had been ferried about Bosnia earlier in the week and several weeks ago had carried first lady Hillary Clinton and the Clintons' daughter Chelsea to the troubled region.

The burning question is, why would such important personages of the Clinton administration be assigned to an aircraft without such data recorders?

** The Pentagon claims that the aircraft had not received upgraded radar and communications technology to facilitate electronically-controlled "blind landings."

Again, why would such a plane be used to carry key administration officials?

** Why did the aircraft attempt a landing at Dubrovnik in what locals have called "the worst storm in a decade?"

** Lt. Col. James Albright, commander of the Air Force unit in Germany, which included the plane, had been replaced five days before the crash for complaining about safety concerns about the planes flying into poorly equipped airports, such as the field at Dubrovnik.

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Aperi os tuum muto, et causis omnium filiorum qui pertranseunt. Aperi os tuum, decerne quod justum est, et judica inopem et pauperem. -- Liber Proverbiorum XXXI: 8-9