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Whistleblower dead in plane crash
December 20, 2008 6:59 PM   Subscribe

One of my sources died in a plane crash last night Michael Connell, a high ranking Republican "IT Guru" who was supposedly about to come forward with damning info on Karl Rove, perished in a small-engine plane crash on Friday. He had sought protection after Rove allegedly threatened him.
posted by waraw (113 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is just the kind of lurid 48 Hours-style murder mystery whodunit that the press might actually give enough of a shit about to begin seriously reporting about some of the corruption and other assorted shenanigans of the last 8 years.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:07 PM on December 20, 2008


I'm betting it won't make the news. It's just a plane crash. It's not like it was a suicide or had anything to do with the Clintons, after all.
posted by Michael Roberts at 7:14 PM on December 20, 2008 [6 favorites]


Surely this . . .
posted by troy at 7:17 PM on December 20, 2008


Someone needs to archive that blog post, in case anything untoward were to happen to the guy reporting this and/or his Web host.
posted by limeonaire at 7:20 PM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


We're no aviation experts, but perhaps the choice of a small engine had something to do with the crash. Surely a large engine would be preferable.
posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys at 7:21 PM on December 20, 2008 [8 favorites]


Whistleblowin' + single-prop plane is never a good idea.
posted by wolfewarrior at 7:22 PM on December 20, 2008 [24 favorites]


As we all know from Senator Wellstone, never board a small engine plane if you are against the Washington elite.
posted by wheelieman at 7:26 PM on December 20, 2008 [42 favorites]


This seems like the Bush version of those e-mails that used to circulate about all of the people connected to Whitewater that died.
posted by proj at 7:27 PM on December 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


Well, it will be fun to watch metafilter maintain even keeled commenting on this one and not dip into the realm of X-Files or conspiracy theory. Especially in the face of so much daming evidence and reliable sources.

The easiest explanation is the guy crashed his plane. But people prefer to think that Vince Foster was a hit, that JFK Jr. was a hit, that Michael Connell was a hit, and that Matt Haughey was a hit. Not everything needs to be a Hollywood drama.

Matt Haughey is still alive? Quick, someone hand me my phone. No, not that one. The "burner."
posted by cjorgensen at 7:31 PM on December 20, 2008 [5 favorites]


Sounds like the plot from the movie The Net.
posted by jca at 7:41 PM on December 20, 2008


you know what i think? - there are ways of killing people in "accidents" that might be a lot less dangerous to the hitmen than arranging an airplane crash, which, after all, is going to be investigated by the federal government, as a routine procedure

also i really dislike this journalist's passive aggressive way of bringing up the possibility of a "hit" while denying that he's claiming any such thing

he's putting the idea in people's heads and he needs to own that
posted by pyramid termite at 7:45 PM on December 20, 2008 [18 favorites]


Suspicious plane crashes do happen. One would be an idiot not to have some suspicions or doubts after the fixing/rigging of the 2004 election.

Frankly, it's a miracle that Obama, having been elected, was 'allowed' by the Rovian puppet crew to be permitted to be called "President elect" after the Rove Republicans stole the last election. The voting system is a big deal in a democracy, essential. When the voting system is corrupt and there is no fair counting of ballots it is not a democracy any more, it's a dictatorship.

Considering the extent of the corruption of the present Bushco regime, not much surprises me about the lengths to which they have gone and could go. Possibly murdering a whistle blower does not seem unlikely.
posted by nickyskye at 7:46 PM on December 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


Frankly, it's a miracle that Obama, having been elected, was 'allowed' by the Rovian puppet crew to be permitted to be called "President elect" after the Rove Republicans stole the last election.

(conspiracy) unless of course things are so screwed up they WANT their political enemies to be in charge when the shit hits the fan, so they'll get blamed for it (/conspiracy)

by the way, there were a lot of people here who kept claiming there wouldn't be an election at all

they were wrong
posted by pyramid termite at 7:51 PM on December 20, 2008 [4 favorites]


"lot" = 1 or 2
posted by troy at 7:53 PM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


There was an election? OH FUCK!

Who won? Not the other guy not the other guy.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:54 PM on December 20, 2008 [6 favorites]


...not dip into the realm of...conspiracy theory.

Because it's so ridiculous that a small group of insiders high in the government could effect, then coverup or explain away, murder.
posted by DU at 7:55 PM on December 20, 2008


If you're going to stage an accident, better to do it when your executive branch owns control over the FAA, run by someone not yet confirmed by Congress.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:09 PM on December 20, 2008


Does anyone else think that the tendency to interpret deaths as purposeful hits rather than accidents or actions of crazies shows an unwillingness to accept the idea that good people sometimes die for no good reason?
posted by echo target at 8:12 PM on December 20, 2008 [16 favorites]


Often people that die purposefully at the hands of others die for no good reason.
posted by inconsequentialist at 8:14 PM on December 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


These guys have already proven they're beyond justice; they've already done the equivalent of walking into a society wedding, shitting in the punch bowl, wiping their ass with the bride's veil and then standing around smirking while no one says a word.* So what's another small plane going down, more or less?

* Actually, that's not true. The gossip columnist attending this hypothetical wedding reported that the punch had "an exciting spicy flavor" and that the bride's outfit was "a daring combination of traditional finery and a streak of earthy realism" and that any criticism of these elements was by people "unappreciative of the protection" the uninvited guests had provided the proceeding, especially given the way the "world had changed" when the betrothed's limo had been discovered with a flat battery earlier in the day.
posted by maxwelton at 8:14 PM on December 20, 2008 [20 favorites]


The foul weather makes it more likely to be an accident. Pilot error is the number one cause of small plane accidents, but foul weather is often the catalyst, there is no room for error.
posted by stbalbach at 8:16 PM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Squeal all you like about "tinfoil hats" and "conspiracy theories" (as if that rather ordinary term were disparaging in itself), the fact that the guy who set up the infamous alternate communication and email system for the White House suddenly dies one month before the people he did it for lose their executive powers, is just amazingly, fantastically convenient for, y'know, somebody. This is true even if he hadn't been about to come forward.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:17 PM on December 20, 2008 [13 favorites]


Most unfortunately, Connell was not a whistleblower yet. I highly recommend this story that Larisa Alexandrovna links to in her blog post as well as her article on the various break-ins connected to the US Attorney and Siegelman scandals.

Deep Throats are a dying breed this week.
posted by grounded at 8:18 PM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Plane crashes? Why stage a plane crash when you can just spread the rumor that he's a pedophile?

I mean, plane crashes leave evidence, man.
posted by dhartung at 8:33 PM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Who was Mike Connell?
posted by waraw at 8:34 PM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Airplanes have become conscious and are staging a coup. They are Republicans. Do not board an aircraft unless you are a real American or you will be crashed too.
posted by Camofrog at 8:36 PM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obviously, nothing to see here, except the ridiculous conspiracy theories promulgated by the same tin-foil hatters who screeched and screamed in 2000 that Bush would destroy America.

Look, a small plane crashed. That happens all the time. He probably got hit by a freak Northwoods, er, north wind, er, head wind.

It's simply inconceivable in the United States that MKULTRA our government or Watergate major political party would Family Jewels engage in assassination.

It Can't Happen Here.
posted by orthogonality at 8:38 PM on December 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


Count me among those who were wrong; who believed after all the trouble the Bushites had gone to to increase the White House's power over the last 8 years, there was no way they would ever willingly hand over all that power to a Democrat!

And even the "let the shit hit the fan while we can blame the other party" scenario no longer makes much sense, since so much has already not just hit the fan but been widely distributed before they left office, that it appears the American People have placed the blame squarely on the Old Boss and are willing to give the New Boss some time to try to fix it. But then I've been wrong before.

As for Justice catching up to the Bushites for their multitudinous crimes, I'm still confidently pessimistic, considering the number of political vermin that need to be removed from the Justice Department and other civil service. Killing potential whistleblowers really doesn't seem necessary... yet. And one of this gang's greatest shortcomings appears to be a lack of thinking ahead.
posted by wendell at 8:54 PM on December 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


Why don't you sissies grow a pair and take back your country? Take Rove to Syria and waterboard him. He'll sing like Karen Carpenter.
posted by fleetmouse at 9:30 PM on December 20, 2008 [4 favorites]


I would just like to point out that being a private pilot is pretty much a dealbreaker for getting life insurance, and there are damn good reasons for that. Before we give ourselves carpal tunnel typing OMGTURDBLOSSOM, let's just keep that in mind, ok?
posted by deadmessenger at 9:46 PM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one who thinks it's neither obviously a hit nor obviously not a hit? People sometimes die when they're scared and in a hurry. Possibly including Bush administration defectors. People also sometimes commit terrible crimes to cover things up. Including government officials. I'll wait for the evidence to roll in before getting myself all red in the face on one side or the other.

Investigating crimes is neither my job nor my area of expertise. Sure, investigations can sometimes be manipulated, forcing other people to step in, but the investigation here hasn't even happened yet! Are we already trying to police the police before they even arrive on scene? Show me how you feel the authorities whose job it is to investigate the accident botched it, and then maybe I'll sign on to the conspiracy club. Until then, we are recklessly interfering in an investigation without cause.
posted by Xezlec at 9:46 PM on December 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


you know what i think? - there are ways of killing people in "accidents" that might be a lot less dangerous to the hitmen than arranging an airplane crash, which, after all, is going to be investigated by the federal government, as a routine procedure

Investigated by the people who were involved in politicizing the justice department, approving of torture and illegal rendition and the election fraud and illegal deletion of the probably incriminating emails that this guy uncovered? Yeah, I got ya. Rule of Law, bitches!
posted by Chuffy at 10:03 PM on December 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Investigated by the people who were involved in politicizing the justice department, approving of torture and illegal rendition and the election fraud and illegal deletion of the probably incriminating emails that this guy uncovered?

You sure give the FAA a lot of credit.
posted by Cyrano at 10:38 PM on December 20, 2008 [7 favorites]


Wouldn't it be a lot easier just to shoot him and toss his ass in a swamp somewhere?

I've never heard of an incident of a plane being sabotaged to go down mid-flight that didn't involve bombs or hijacking. Outside of Hollywood, anyway. How easy is it to do this in a way that won't be picked up by the pre-flight check or instruments, and leave no evidence?

It's not that I necessarily put this past someone who might be potentially indicted for treason over his testimony -- that would be a hell of a motive. It's just that I suspect the crime drama cliché of fiddling the hydraulics or what-have-you is pure fantasy and something you could count on a pre-flight check catching.
posted by cj_ at 10:46 PM on December 20, 2008


A YouTube video related to the OP?: Karl Rove, Election 2004, Election 2008, Congress, Spoonamore.

If Harper's and the U.S. Attorney in New Mexico can talk about Rove involved in some other "massive conspiracy", I don't see why I cannot use the c-word.

Standing firmly behind my suspicions about the corrupt Rove-Bush regime, though they may well be mistaken in this particular incident, or not.
posted by nickyskye at 10:48 PM on December 20, 2008


The fact that the guy who set up the infamous alternate communication and email system for the White House suddenly dies one month before the people he did it for lose their executive powers, is just amazingly, fantastically convenient...

Yes, it seems that way. But correlation and causation are not the same thing. When cheaters appear to get lucky, it's logical to assume they cheated. But it doesn't rule out the possibility that they really did get lucky.
posted by bicyclefish at 10:52 PM on December 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


How do we know this guy was actually a source of some tiny, random website. I mean, who has ever heard of "at-largely"?

Lets say your a bit of a crank, but you've been looking into the USA scandal and know most of the lower level people involved. Then, you read an article about some low level person dying in a plane crash. Seems like, if you claimed that guy was a source of yours, you'd get a lot of traffic and "cred" with less credulous people.

In other words, the basis of the article rests on three premises: 1) That this guy really setup the email system. 2) That he really died. and 3) That he was really a source. The first two are easy to verify, the last is impossible, but it seems unlikley to me.

After all, why would he have leaked to "at-largely" and not a major site like talking points memo or, hell, the NYT? If I had dynamite info, you better believe I wouldn't fob it off some random website with a 500k Alexa rank.
posted by delmoi at 11:24 PM on December 20, 2008 [10 favorites]


You know, whenever people talk about conspiracy theories, nine times out of ten they're giving the alleged conspirators WAY too much credit. The fact is, secrets are hard to keep, and government agencies are pretty abysmal at it.

Besides, this ain't the Bushies' M.O. All the really scary shit they've done has been right out in the open. All the naked Executive Branch power grabs, the fraud leading up to the Iraq war, the blatant profiteering by friends of the Bushies, the curtailing of civil rights, the wiretapping, the condoning of torture, the fiscal malfeasance, all of it was done in plain daylight for all to see.

And the American people? Well, we just kinda let it happen. Because Bush was the kind of guy we wanted to have a beer with.

So why bother crashing a fucking plane? What the hell was this guy going to tell us that we didn't know already? What, you think people are going to get angry? NOW!?
posted by Afroblanco at 11:24 PM on December 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


Does anyone else think that the tendency to interpret deaths as purposeful hits rather than accidents or actions of crazies shows an unwillingness to accept the idea that good people sometimes die for no good reason?

Huh? I don't think anyone was claiming this guy was "good", he set up Karl Rove's illegal email system (allegedly). I think people are concerned about the timing. Anyway I'm not buying this conspiracy theory, my understanding is that there is plenty of evidence of illegality here, and why assassinate this guy when bush still has a month left to pardon everyone?
posted by delmoi at 11:30 PM on December 20, 2008


1. Connell may not have run out of gas, but may have hit an ice patch. The initial call I got described him running out of gas. That is no longer what is said to have happened.

Sounds like what's being described here is airframe icing (also), where moisture freezes onto the plane and disrupts its ability to maintain flight. Some small planes are able to handle icing to a certain degree, but Ohio and Pennsylvania west of the Alleghenies are infamous for dangerous icing in the wintertime. The conditions today (low overcast, occasional precip, temps hovering around freezing) seem well-suited to this phenomenon.
posted by tss at 11:31 PM on December 20, 2008


Looking around a little bit, the author is seeming a bit more credible. She is an editor for Raw Story here's her Wikipedia article. She may have sought this guy out, rather then him going to her.
posted by delmoi at 11:51 PM on December 20, 2008


This bullshit again?
posted by empath at 11:58 PM on December 20, 2008


Uh, Raw Story has been caught fabricating stories before.

Secondly, there's a very important point to be made here that the request for protection had to do with a lawsuit, not a physical threat.
posted by empath at 12:00 AM on December 21, 2008


I was only questioning whether or not this guy was really a source of Larisa Alexandrovna, and Alexandrovna has at least a little more credibility then some totally random person. I still don't think the guy was assassinated or anything like that. And it's still theoretically possible that Alexandrovna just heard about this guy dying and then claimed he was a source of hers.
posted by delmoi at 1:55 AM on December 21, 2008


This is my surprised face.
posted by kcds at 4:27 AM on December 21, 2008


You know, any contractor willing to work on that Death Star Exchange Server knew the risks. If they were killed, it was their own fault.
posted by fullerine at 4:30 AM on December 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


Besides, this ain't the Bushies' M.O. All the really scary shit they've done has been right out in the open. All the naked Executive Branch power grabs, the fraud leading up to the Iraq war, the blatant profiteering by friends of the Bushies, the curtailing of civil rights, the wiretapping, the condoning of torture, the fiscal malfeasance, all of it was done in plain daylight for all to see.

The wiretapping was out in the open? Fraud leading up to the invasion? Fraud is pretty much by definition not out in the open. If it were, it would fail. The fiscal malfeasance (assuming you're talking about the deregulated damage to the economy) did not become common knowledge until investment banks started going belly-up.

All the things you list were emphatically denied by the Bushmen; that makes them anything but out in the open.

I'm not saying this as an argument either way in the reason for the plane crash, but let's not rewrite history to try and make a point, OK?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:48 AM on December 21, 2008


Well, they suicided the D.C. madame just a few months ago. I don't think it's too nutty to assume they did the same to this guy. But yeah, flying a single engine plane...or did he? Maybe it was remote control. Maybe they loaded his body and the guy who did pilot the plane jumped out, like in Temple of Doom. This stuff just writes itself.

For all the conspiracy theory you need and then some, here's the Above Top Secret thread on this.
posted by zardoz at 5:11 AM on December 21, 2008


They seeded the clouds to cause the ice storm in the first place. It goes much deeper than you think, sheeple.
posted by fixedgear at 5:28 AM on December 21, 2008 [5 favorites]


"Forrest Gump with a high IQ"

what's that supposed to mean? could he be any more cryptic? Gump with a higher IQ would have been normal.

also: conspirrracyfilterrrrr. arghya.
posted by krautland at 5:31 AM on December 21, 2008


Dear future whistleblowers,

Please be sure to leave documents and evidences with the proper authorities before flying a plane in icy weather. Thank you.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:50 AM on December 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is the kind of thread that makes us look crazy.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:09 AM on December 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Uh, Raw Story has been caught fabricating stories before.

Citation? I couldn't find anything in a cursory web search about it.
posted by sebastienbailard at 6:28 AM on December 21, 2008


It's a good thing that the black helicopters don't operate well in icy conditions, or they'd be coming for us all.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:29 AM on December 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


This is the kind of thread that makes us look crazy.
posted by shakespeherian


Actually only some look crazy, others look reasonable. Whom is which is for you to decide.
posted by Eekacat at 6:31 AM on December 21, 2008


Sometimes it seems that the most rotten scum have the most astonishing good luck. This trait probably had something to do with the endearing "Turdblossom" nickname.

Besides, this ain't the Bushies' M.O. All the really scary shit they've done has been right out in the open.

They were in the open with all the stuff they thought they could (and mostly have) gotten away with. All the REALLY scary shit hasn't seen the light of day, and probably never will.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 6:38 AM on December 21, 2008


FAA confirms 'emergency' status of Obama plane landing!
posted by R. Mutt at 6:38 AM on December 21, 2008


I really don't know what to think about this troop of clowns any more. After all the crimes that we know about (much less the ones we don't) it would seem clear that they can't afford to let go of the controls, ever. Yet the election was held and they lost it fair and square, perhaps because turdblossom has read too many New Age books about reality creation and he really thought the polls weren't saying what they were saying, like in 2006. So anyhoo it seems that they genuinely believe they are totally in the right and beyond retribution, perhaps because geedubya could always just pardon everyone while he's still in office, except he doesn't seem likely to do this because he's got his heels dug in insisting that they never did anything that needs a pardoning. And then this happens, and people wonder why some of us think it might not be a total co-inky-dink.
posted by localroger at 6:58 AM on December 21, 2008


Don't know about the plane crash, but the case does seem to have been heating up. I'd like to see Jeralyn at Talkleft or Greenwald sort through this before jumping to any conclusions.
posted by mediareport at 7:10 AM on December 21, 2008


Nothing tells you more about a claim then the mendacity used to present it.

The allegation is that Rove told the witness that his wife would be prosecuted for violations of a lobbying law if he didn't "take the fall." Yet in this and multiple ither posts, it is alleged that Rove had "threatened" the person, which makes it sound like there was a physical threat to his life.

When I see mendacious presentation like that it discredits the claim for me.

I'm a big fan of Occam's razor on this one. When looking at the causes for re-election of Bush, the simplest explanation is the stupidity of the American people.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:29 AM on December 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


the guy who set up the infamous alternate communication and email system for the White House suddenly dies one month before the people he did it for lose their executive powers, is just amazingly, fantastically convenient for, y'know, somebody.

I believe he set up E-mail accounts for them at GOP.com. Its not like he set up some evil supercomputer or something.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:36 AM on December 21, 2008


A threat does not have to be physical. There is no mendacity here.
posted by waraw at 7:36 AM on December 21, 2008


Of course it is mendacious. Look at the post.

One of my sources died in a plane crash last night Michael Connell, a high ranking Republican "IT Guru" who was supposedly about to come forward with damning info on Karl Rove, perished in a small-engine plane crash on Friday. He had sought protection after Rove allegedly threatened him.

The implication is that Rove physically threatened him. That is mendacity. I'm not saying the threat alleged is not a threat, I'm saying that the way it was put in the post above and in the linked post is mendacious because it fails to impart that the threat was not of a physical nature.

I hate Bush more than anyone, but we don't help ourselves with this crap.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:19 AM on December 21, 2008


From www.marketwatch.com

A tipster close to the McCain campaign disclosed to VR in July that Mr. Connell's life was in jeopardy and that Karl Rove had threatened him and his wife, Heather. VR's attorney, Cliff Arnebeck, notified the United States Attorney General , Ohio law enforcement and the federal court about these threats and insisted that Mr. Connell be placed in protective custody. VR also told a close associate of Mr. Connell's not to fly his plane because of another tip that the plane could be sabotaged. Mr. Connell, a very experienced pilot, has had to abandon at least two flights in the past two months because of suspicious problems with his plane. On December 18, 2008, Mr. Connell flew to a small airport outside of Washington DC to meet some people. It was on his return flight the next day that he crashed.
posted by meddeviceengineer at 8:26 AM on December 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I am NOT - I repeat NOT - saying this was a). a murder, b). that it was in any way connected to the White House or to Karl Rove, and c). that I am convinced of any of the above three.
So what is it he is trying to say?
posted by Nelson at 8:31 AM on December 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


The wiretapping was out in the open? Fraud leading up to the invasion? Fraud is pretty much by definition not out in the open. If it were, it would fail. The fiscal malfeasance (assuming you're talking about the deregulated damage to the economy) did not become common knowledge until investment banks started going belly-up.

Once the wiretapping became common knowledge, nobody really seemed to care, and so it continued. Given his about-face on the issue, I doubt that our President-Elect will do anything about it, either.

I pretty much always knew that the reasons for the Iraq invasion were fraudulent; anyone with a brain could tell that. Mobile biological weapons laboratories on railroad cars? Really? They actually expected people to believe that shit?

And the fiscal malfeasance.... well shit, who didn't see that one coming? Greenspan et al had been preaching the same dangerous free-market fundamentalist bullshit for DECADES. I never believed in it. Lots of people didn't.

You know, I used to have a roommate who was really into conspiracy theories. It got on my nerves. I tried to explain to him the difference between a conspiracy and a collusion of interests; a conspiracy must be kept secret, while a collusion of interests is usually obvious to anyone with half a brain. It's all about incentives, and who has an incentive to do what.

I mean, given Bush's background, is it surprising to anyone that his legacy would involve enormous profits for oil and defense interests, enormous profits for anyone in the financial and real estate sectors who had the wisdom to get out while the getting was good, and a curtailment of civil liberties that would make his former-CIA-director-dad proud?

It's called a collusion of interests, and there's nothing secret about it.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:39 AM on December 21, 2008


meddeviceengineer, there's no story on this on marketwatch.com that I can find, do you have the url?
posted by waraw at 8:41 AM on December 21, 2008


So what is it he is trying to say?

Probably the same thing I am: that this is suspicious, and deserves inquiry.
posted by waraw at 8:54 AM on December 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


Probably the same thing I am: that this is suspicious, and deserves inquiry.

It's a plane crash. There will be a thorough inquiry. The FAA does fantastic analysis of plane accidents, including small private planes. Except of course THEY control the FAA for a few more weeks, so will CONTROL the result of the inquiry that's going to be published in about six months. And as sad as it is, solo pilot in a small plane crashing in icing conditions has a fairly likely explanation. Except of course THEY control the weather.
posted by Nelson at 8:59 AM on December 21, 2008 [5 favorites]


there were a lot of people here who kept claiming there wouldn't be an election at all

they were wrong


The peaceful transfer of power remains to be seen.
posted by Balisong at 9:06 AM on December 21, 2008


From www.marketwatch.com

A tipster close to the McCain campaign disclosed to VR in July that Mr. Connell's life was in jeopardy and that Karl Rove had threatened him and his wife, Heather. VR's attorney, Cliff Arnebeck, notified the United States Attorney General , Ohio law enforcement and the federal court about these threats and insisted that Mr. Connell be placed in protective custody. VR also told a close associate of Mr. Connell's not to fly his plane because of another tip that the plane could be sabotaged. Mr. Connell, a very experienced pilot, has had to abandon at least two flights in the past two months because of suspicious problems with his plane. On December 18, 2008, Mr. Connell flew to a small airport outside of Washington DC to meet some people. It was on his return flight the next day that he crashed.


Why no actual link? I'll tell you why. Because that section of www.marketwatch.com is a service which will release any press release you pay them to put out there. It isn't as if the Wall Street Journal (the owner of Marketwatch.com) is investigating this. The way it is posted above, makes it seem like marketwatch is really looking into this. They are just printing press releases.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:07 AM on December 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


In related news -- Bush e-mails may be secret longer -- "Cheney allegedly uses 'a loophole ... large enough to drive truckloads of documents through,' as legal battles, technical difficulties delay required transfer to archives."
posted by ericb at 9:10 AM on December 21, 2008


I believe he set up E-mail accounts for them at GOP.com. Its not like he set up some evil supercomputer or something.

You're right...E-mails don't really have any significance...
posted by Chuffy at 9:15 AM on December 21, 2008


Oh, I get it now. People dying in plane crashes is funny!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:17 AM on December 21, 2008


This is the link, and, yeah, it's a press release—not a news story.
posted by emelenjr at 9:19 AM on December 21, 2008


You're right...E-mails don't really have any significance...

I'm not saying the emails have no signifigance, They might show a consipiracy to use the offices of the U.S. Attorneys across the country to push fake "voter fraud" prosecutions to gin up GOP chances in an election. They could also show that the U.S. Attorney in San Diego was forced out for going after Duke Cunnigham.

But what I'm trying to say is that this guy just set up the email server they used. It isn't like he's a mad genius or something. It was a simple and illegal move to get around the Presidential Records Act. But acting like this guy held the key to anything other than the already well-documented set up of those servers is just crazy.

Just remember, this is George Bush we are talking about. These people are incompetent. Conspiracy? These guys?
posted by Ironmouth at 10:12 AM on December 21, 2008


Nothing tells you more about a claim then the mendacity used to present it.

No. I could as easily respond with "Nothing tells you more about a claim than the fallacies used to dispute it." But that would be equally absurd. A weakness in an argument tells you absolutely nothing about the truth of the thing being argued, only about the persuasiveness of that particular argument. You need facts to reach conclusions, not magical thinking and well-poisoning.

Second, what is the claim that you say loses credibility because of what you claim is the "mendaciousness" of using the word "threatened" in this case? The claim that the man is dead? Um, he is dead. I don't see any other claim, unless you're saying it's untrue that he was threatened because you don't think "threatened" is the correct word, in which case your argument is tautological.

And by the way, if someone tells you that if you don't do as they like they will retaliate, that's known as a threat. I don't know any other word for it.

Personally I don't think McConnell was murdered. I don't think he wasn't murdered either. I do think that it is normal and sensible to suspect foul play and investigate accordingly when someone dies violently without witnesses, and that someone was enmired in a key and essential way in a gigantic controversy. You're welcome to think otherwise, but don't accuse anyone who doesn't of irrationality: you're the one jumping to conclusions.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:53 AM on December 21, 2008 [5 favorites]


(that'd be Connell, not McConnell, of course)
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:54 AM on December 21, 2008


It's pretty clear to me that there is an illegal conspiracy to intimidate & spy on witnesses & whistleblowers against Bush administration politically motivated crimes & that Connell easily fits into the likely target category. That they've been able to successfully commit all these risky crimes without being caught demonstrates field training of a depth you're only likely to get at FLETC, Quantico or Camp Peary. A cell of Federal law enforcement officers and/or intelligence field agents willing to commit serious crimes to cover up the crimes of their sponsors is probably not only willing to commit premeditated murder to further their cause but able to pull it off as well.

That said, all this speculation is just that without hard evidence to connect individuals to the crime, which is not likely forthcoming unless somebody slips up or confesses. Of course it could have been an accident too. Both ways are about as plausible to me. I doubt we'll ever know without a Deep Throat, Jr.
posted by scalefree at 11:05 AM on December 21, 2008


The peaceful transfer of power remains to be seen.

doom winters eternal in the paranoid's breast - next up - how bush is right now taking injected drugs, scheduling plastic surgery and undergoing melanin treatments so he can turn himself into a black double of obama and pretend that he's the new president

at least 20 speech therapists in the d c area have disappeared in the last month! - it all ties in ... once obama had vowed to tell the american people the truth about the faked moon landings he HAD TO BE STOPPED!!
posted by pyramid termite at 11:23 AM on December 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


yeah, it's a press release—not a news story.

There's plenty of supporting info in the links here, not least at waraw's "Who Was Mike Connell?" link. Again, the court case was very real - Brad Blog has been reporting this story for a while and posted this October update about Connell running out of ways to avoid testifying under oath, as well as the lawyer's letter to Attorney General Mukasey last July claiming Rove had threatened legal trouble for Connell's wife if Connell went ahead.

Again, I hope the plane crash gets this story more attention from folks who follow politics and law closely and may have thoughtful things to say about this case, but it's not that difficult to get a general outline of the facts so far.
posted by mediareport at 11:26 AM on December 21, 2008


To be a little more generous about it, I can see how it could be regarded as a distortion to say "he died after he was threatened" when the threat was not a death threat. But it also appears to be true (if we accept all the assertions of fact that we've heard so far) that that milder threat didn't appear to work, which suggests to any thinking person that the threat is still relevant. An unheeded threat certainly might escalate to something more severe or final.

Again, I don't know what happened. As has been pointed out many times, to fly a light plane in icy conditions is to take your life in your hands. Occam's razor is certainly a good starting point here, as is considering what he was embroiled in.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:26 AM on December 21, 2008


When looking at the causes for re-election of Bush, the simplest explanation is the stupidity of the American people.

Ah, but remember that it was the stupidity of about half of the American people. I'm not saying they tampered with anything, but close elections tricky, and Ohio was very close.
posted by graventy at 11:30 AM on December 21, 2008


I'm definitely in the "not sure here" camp: "this is suspicious and needs inquiry". There have been too many unexplained accidents in the last four years - but mostly accidents are just accidents and coincidence happens. I am not sure.

Some of you, however, really need to get a dictionary:

Threat, n, an expression of intention to inflict evil, injury, or damage.

You can threaten to take someone to court, you can threaten to blacken people's names. If someone told me, "Do X or I'll criminally prosecute your wife," I'd say I was "threatened" - what else would you call it, pray tell?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:35 AM on December 21, 2008


Oh, come on, people, have you learned nothing from Prison Break?

This has Company written all over it. [insert plot holes here]
posted by bwg at 12:04 PM on December 21, 2008


It's a plane crash. There will be a thorough inquiry.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Um, sure.
posted by trondant at 12:46 PM on December 21, 2008


Maybe Connell faked his own death, and is alive and well in Bora Bora.
posted by Restless Day at 12:54 PM on December 21, 2008


Makes me wonder about Paul Wellstone
posted by Mr. Crowley at 1:07 PM on December 21, 2008


Oh yeah how 'bout JFK Jr....
posted by Mr. Crowley at 1:19 PM on December 21, 2008


Don't forget about Vince Foster, too.
posted by Nelson at 1:19 PM on December 21, 2008


If some 15 year old thug will kill someone over a street corner, imagine what a millionaire would do to gain the most powerful position on the planet.
posted by four panels at 1:44 PM on December 21, 2008


What about the Big Bopper?
posted by empath at 1:59 PM on December 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


A fascinating comparison made by the Washington Post: A look at how Las Vegas slots and electronic voting machines compare.
posted by nickyskye at 3:21 PM on December 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


I have no idea about this person and this particular case, but I don't think it's surprising to assume that, in general, politically-motivated murder is any less common in America than planned murders with other motivations. When there is a lot of money and power at stake, people will do a lot of things. That said, television and movie dramas have trained us to believe that premeditated murder is much more common than it really is, and that those murders are solved more often than they actually are.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:25 PM on December 21, 2008


A passenger plane did not hit the Pentagon.

You know this.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:04 PM on December 21, 2008


which makes it sound like there was a physical threat to his life

If the charges had jail time attached it certainly is a physical threat.

As to conspiracies and bad actors in government, I'll just point people to G. Gordon Liddy.
posted by ryoshu at 6:45 PM on December 21, 2008


The local CBS affiliate reports Connell had been warned not to fly his plane because it might have been sabotaged.
posted by EarBucket at 5:59 AM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


There's not much to wonder about Wellstone. His pilot lied about his experience, often had his co-pilots fly instead (after one such instance the co-pilot urged him to retire) and they didn't keep up enough speed and stalled.
posted by starman at 6:00 AM on December 22, 2008


Metafilter: A Daring Combination of Traditional Finery and a Streak of Earthy Realism.
posted by nfg at 7:46 AM on December 22, 2008


A weakness in an argument tells you absolutely nothing about the truth of the thing being argued, only about the persuasiveness of that particular argument.

Re: the real world.

People with no facts resort to distortions and mendacity because they have nothing else.

Here's the thing. George Bush won Ohio in 2004. It sucks, it was a bad thing that people were convinced by him to vote GOP, but not only did Bush win Ohio, but he won the popular vote also. The

The other thing is that they would be utterly stupid to kill someone to do this. Look at a real political conspiracy, Watergate. Did they ever go after their burglars? No they tried to pay them off to take prison terms. And they got caught. It is a simple matter of cost v. effect. There are much easier and less risky ways to do this. We've seen this before, voter "caging" and the like, challenging African American voters at the polls, spreading misinformation, slowing the speed of the poll lines, ruling in the GOP's favor for election disputes, etc. There simply is no need to resort to drastic measures here.

What's the cost if it comes out now, that Bush indeed had U.S. Attorneys bringing fake "voter fraud" prosecutions. Sure he looks bad, but he looks bad anyway. His Presidency has less than a month remaining. Risking everything by killing this guy makes zero sense.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:47 AM on December 22, 2008


That news report linked by EarBucket strikes me as odd. They buried the detail of the sabotage warning until the last three seconds, and appeared to have no interest in following up on it.
posted by waraw at 8:05 AM on December 22, 2008


...What makes this conspiracy different from all other conspiracies?

Ma nishtanah halailah hazel mikol haleilot?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:58 AM on December 22, 2008


Psst! WTC was a controlled demolition!
posted by chlorus at 10:44 AM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Mark Crispin Miller on the Connell case
posted by homunculus at 11:28 AM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


"If some 15 year old thug will kill someone over a street corner, imagine what a millionaire would do to gain the most powerful position on the planet."

Much less actually, since the millionaire has a lot more to lose. That's why you tend to see millionaires doing sneaky things w3ith legal tricks, rather than barging into a rival's house guns blazing. The same generally holds for politicians.

But I think we can all be certain that Karl Rove used his elite ninja skillz to stand on top of the plane's wing while in flight, pouring water on it to ice it up. In a storm that the CIA seeded in order to kill the guy...after spending ten years making sure global warming would make the winter storms worse.

Fiendishly clever, these Republicans.
posted by happyroach at 2:03 PM on December 22, 2008


You don't think rich people with political connections have people killed? Tell that to Salvador Isabelino Allende.

Have you people not read any history? Jeebus, Since the beginning recorded history the elites have been murdering people. For Christ sake murder drove the frigg'n Roman empire.

The wealthy elites start wars for their own agendas. What makes you think they won't kill an individual when it's expedient? Or that somehow now we so much more civilized? Really?
posted by tkchrist at 4:40 PM on December 22, 2008


As I queried a while ago, does anyone know of a documented instance where the CIA, KGB, MI5, Mossad, or whatever used a small plane crash to off someone? These little guys seem to fall out of the sky all the time, so it might be good cover if one has a fairly fool-proof was to misdirect the NTSB investigation.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:43 PM on December 22, 2008


"...fool-proof ways to..."
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:47 PM on December 22, 2008


As I queried a while ago, does anyone know of a documented instance where the CIA, KGB, MI5, Mossad, or whatever used a small plane crash to off someone? These little guys seem to fall out of the sky all the time, so it might be good cover if one has a fairly fool-proof was to misdirect the NTSB investigation.

I don't know of any. Though it's likely an intelligence organization would want to make SURE the person is dead. So they use bombs. Crashing a plane or something seems too fraught with unknowns. And much the time Intelligence agencies want the relevant people to know the target person was assassinated to send political messages so it's usually somewhat more overt.

I doubt very much any intelligence agency would be involved with a domestic killing for the Bush administration. Bush and Rove have publicly shit on the CIA from day one. Blaming them for every fuck-up they couldn't lay on the door step of Clinton, hippies, and homosexuals. So using the assassination track record of an intelligence service might not provide much insight. Though there are likely a great deal of killings that have taken place we don't know about.

There are plenty of independent contractors out there with the necessary experience that will kill somebody for a buck. Who knows.
posted by tkchrist at 5:00 PM on December 22, 2008


There are plenty of independent contractors out there with the necessary experience that will kill somebody for a buck. Who knows.

I read that Payne Stewart's death and [insert F1 ace's name here - Coulthard?] near death were done by independent contractors working for bookies.

/what I read, not necessarily what I subscribe to
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:41 PM on December 22, 2008


Now there's a book alleging that the OSS killed General Patton.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:28 AM on December 23, 2008


I doubt very much any intelligence agency would be involved with a domestic killing for the Bush administration.

I certainly wasn't suggesting that the intelligence agencies would be involved were this a killing, but was trying to get at whether there was documentation that it was possible to use this method to accomplish such a killing. If so, a renegade group of former employees of the covert agencies could be enlisted to do it.

Though it's likely an intelligence organization would want to make SURE the person is dead. So they use bombs.

Is this true? I thought documentation shows that poisons, gunshots, and car crashes were also used (and don't forget Fidel's exploding cigar!).

But I agree with your bottom line: There are plenty of independent contractors out there with the necessary experience that will kill somebody for a buck. Who knows.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:45 AM on December 23, 2008


There are plenty of independent contractors out there with the necessary experience that will kill somebody for a buck.

We know there's a black bag team running interference for the Administration, mostly doing break-ins & the occasional arson job plus maybe running somebody off the road. You can't look at the list of suspicious crimes surrounding the probes against the Administration & say it's all smoke & no fire (err, so to speak).

If it was me running the operation I'd want to keep it off the books but keep it also keep it "in the family" & use hand-picked, highly ideological former federal agents, intelligence field agents or military Special Ops operatives. If you're working directly for the President it shouldn't be too hard to find just one guy to run the team & let him recruit the rest. Or maybe they outsourced it completely & went to someone like Rendon, Wackenhut or Kroll for it.
posted by scalefree at 7:52 AM on December 24, 2008


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