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Ron Brown's Loose Lips Seal His Fate
by J. Orlin Grabbe
- The April 1996 issue of The American Spectator contained an
article "Why Ron Brown Won't Go Down". Shortly thereafter, on
April 3, both Commerce Secretary Brown and his plane went down
while on a landing approach to an airport in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Thirty-four other passengers were on board.
- Ron Brown--who at various times has been under investigation
by the Commerce Department Inspector General, the FDIC, the
Justice Dept., the House Government Reform and Oversight
Committee, and the Senate Judiciary Committee--was only two weeks
away from being indicted with respect to a bribe paid by Oklahoma
company Dynamic Energy Resources. "I am too old to go to jail,"
Brown loudly proclaimed. "If I go down, I'll take everyone else
down with me." Brown assumed the threat would force Democratic
bigwigs to rally around him, to make sure that the charges he
faced were buried in an appropriate fashion. But Brown
miscalculated. His own words buried him instead.
- Brown was flying in the same equipment that had ferreted
Hillary Clinton around Bosnia the week before. The aircraft had
taken no intervening flights
- The plane was a 43A, not a T-43A as reported. "T" stands for
trainer, but in this case the extra control stick for the
instructor had been removed.
- Brown's plane was one of two planes in the fleet not equipped
with a Black Box. It was, however, already wired for a Black Box,
and the latter could have been purchased and put in place for the
occasion for a mere $80,000 or so. (The wildly varying costs
estimates-- in one case $6 million was cited--are speculative
noise.) It is against Air Force regulations to transport
government officials of diplomatic status or higher without a
Black Box. Clearly, someone wasn't doing his job.
- Landing visibility was good. This was reported by two pilots
who landed immediately ahead of Brown's flight. One of these
pilots has had more than 8000 hours flying experience. The
statements by Lt. General Howell Estes--carried on CNN and
elsewhere--about visibility problems and terrible conditions of
wind, rain, and fog, are either simply erroneous or constitute
sheer disinformation. ("The Pentagon finally told that old fart
to shut up," one source says.) Similar statements such as those
by Don Phillips in the Washington Post that "the plane was
fighting . . . poor visibility when it slammed into a mountain"
(A28, April 12, 1996) also seem to be part of a active
- "If you are even a quarter mile off course, the tower begins
screaming at you," says a pilot who has flown into that airport.
To be off more than two miles is impossible without having
generated a great deal of control tower radio traffic. What do
the tapes show with respect to Brown's flight?
- The control tower tape is missing. While very suspicious,
this could simply represent an attempt by someone to secure
crucial evidence. However, there is a backup cylinder which
keeps a backup copy of all traffic for up to three months. This
backup cylinder is also missing. "The missing backup cylinder
shows that this was a professional job," says a source highly
connected in the intelligence community.
- The maintenance chief for navigation systems at the airport,
Niko Junic, is said to have subsequently committed "suicide" at
home, on the Saturday after Wednesday's crash of Brown's plane.
Junic is said to have shot himself in the chest, an unusual
choice of techniques. His medical records show him to be a very
stable, reliable individual.
- Brown's plane made its approach to the airport from Tusla in
the northeast. But part of the plane ended up on the
mountainside about 10 miles southeast of Dubrovnik, while another
part ended up in the water roughly 18 miles away--about five
miles northwest of Dubrovnik in the Adriatic. This indicates the
plane came apart at fairly high altitude.
- CIA trawlers have recovered part of the wreckage in the
water. This, along with the wreckage on the hillside, not only
shows unmistakable evidence of an explosive blast, but the type
of detonator ("descending detonator") that set it off. The
downing of the plane was no accident: it was a deliberate act of
- When President Clinton appeared on camera to announce the
disappearance and death of Ron Brown, his nose and eyes showed
unmistakable signs of recent significant cocaine usage. Did the
President need a lot of lines to get courage to face the public?
Or was this just one more example of the type of hubris that lead
to Brown's demise?
- Like Brown himself, those responsible for his death have
apparently miscalculated. Two of the most powerful organizations
in the U.S. government have now decided that enough is enough,
and they aren't going to let the cover-up of the Brown
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Other articles by Orlin Grabbe are archived at ftp ftp.shout.net in
sub-directory pub/users/bigred/og You can get there via
"anonymous ftp" -- logon as "anonymous" then enter the first half
of your e-mail address as a password. For example:
- logon: anonymous
- password: abc@
- cd pub/users/bigred/og
- get file
If you need more technical help on how to do an anonymous ftp,
see most any basic book on the Internet. Grabbe's material is
also accessible via world wide web at
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