Two Essays from the Past: On the 10th Anniversary of the Strange Death of Paul Wellstone

Gary G. Kohls, MD

October 25th, a week and a half before 2012’s election day, is the 10th anniversary of the death of Paul Wellstone. A number of commemorative events occurred during the week, but sadly, the loss of this courageous patriot will soon be forgotten by voters who should care enormously that his death was very likely, according to all the evidence available, planned by evil proto-fascist forces deep within Vice President Dick Cheney’s office.
Cheney and many other Bush-era Republicans who are still in positions of power in the Republican Party (particularly the Ryan, Rove, Koch Brothers, FoxNews, and Tea Party obstructionists in the GOP) hated with a passion the liberal Jewish Wellstone and his progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

His death changed the course of American and even world history, just like most of the secretive conspiracies that have been carried out for decades by covert operatives within the CIA, FBI, various national security agencies, the Pentagon, and any of the dozens of obscure military groups and assassination squads that are so well-funded by us taxpayers in the covert black budget, which is estimated at costing 50 to 60 billion dollars a year for covert operations and weapons research and development.

With this background, I submit below two pieces, one from 2002 and the other from 2004, that need re-visiting, particularly because of their relevance to this year’s presidential and congressional elections. Anyone who has actually read and digested my recent political writings about fascism will not be able to refute the fact that America may be on the brink of a neo-fascist revolution by what I have called Friendly-Faced Fascists. (Check out and Chris Hedges’ powerful take on American Fascism—corporatism, militarism, racism, homophobia, sexism, intolerance, bigotry, xenophobia, corporate control of the media, corrupt capitalism, totalitarianism, a permanent war economy—at

A Tribute to
Paul Wellstone
(Addressed to my
Fellow Altruists)

by Gary G. Kohls, MD
October 26, 2002

Friends, I just got back from a moving tribute to one of the last true U.S. Senate friends of the downtrodden and oppressed, Paul Wellstone, who, as you all know by now, died in a plane crash, with his beloved wife Sheila, his daughter and several of his staff workers, near Eveleth, MN, an hour north of Duluth.

Paul, as we all know, was gleefully hated as a mortal enemy by the National Rifle Association, anti-environmental groups, anti-choice groups, the Bush administration, the anti-union Big Business Complex, the Pentagon, and by warmongers, gunrunners, and right-wing conservatives everywhere. He was in a tight race for his third term in the U.S. Senate against the GOP’s hand-picked Norm Coleman, who was heavily subsidized and campaigned for by the shadowy bunch surrounding Dick Cheney and Karl Rove.

Wellstone was a true friend of the little people and of us idealists, and it showed tonight. The Mitchell Auditorium on the campus of Duluth’s College of St. Scholastica was packed, on very short notice, with a diverse and sorrowful group of people, including progressive Jews, progressive Christians, feminists, labor union members, Native Americans, people of color, military veterans, the young, and the old.
It was naturally a sad event. A lot of tears were shed and a lot of hugs shared, but songs were sung and wonderful tributes were given to this great man, regarded (and generally respected) even by conservatives as a rare person of conscience. Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun magazine, said earlier in an email tribute to Paul that the diminutive Wellstone was “a mensch among a Senate filled with mice.”

It occurred to me that the loss to the peace-seeking world could have an impact similar to the 1995 murder of Israel’s peacemaker Itzshak Rabin. That assassination by a right-wing extremist led to the demoralization and retreat of the Israeli peace community and the rise to power of the far right-wing Likud Party, ultimately leading to the Israeli Defense Force and Mossad atrocities that Sharon and company, with the blessings of the Cheney/Bush administration, are perpetrating against so many innocent, unarmed, and defenseless Palestinian civilians.

But there was something this evening that told me that maybe the demise of Wellstone’s altruist agenda isn’t a foregone conclusion. For tonight, there was a palpable energy that said to us: “Don’t stop now. Carry on with the program.”

Paul would surely have said, “Don’t mourn too long for Sheila and me. There’s a lot of work to be done, so get off your duffs and get on with it.” Paul would have reminded us, “There are impoverished people out there who can’t speak for themselves. They still need your voices, so keep on speaking out against their oppressors, and crank up the decibel level a bit for me!”

After the event, there was a lot of talk about not giving up. The rumor that the Democratic Farmer Labor party might be drafting Walter Mondale to take Wellstone’s place on the ticket was received with excitement—a highly probable winning strategy.

There was also a lot of talk among the politically astute that whatever the cause of the plane crash, sabotage or pure accident, the vicious right-wing attack ads that had been used relentlessly against Wellstone could backfire big-time against all the GOP candidates in Minnesota and lead to the defeat of many conservatives here and elsewhere.

So there continues to be reasons for hope for those of us who see the serious threats against democracy from the extremist pro-war conservatives, the pro-war Christian Fundamentalists, the pro-war corporate exploiters, and the pro-war militarists both here and abroad. We anti-war, anti-violence progressives have to keep on keeping on—keep on courageously speaking truth to power and taking every opportunity to alert those in the “undecided” groups in the middle of the road that the death of this good man, this courageous battler for human rights, this liberal patriotic hero, must be taken as another warning sign of the impending corporate/military complex takeover of our government and the possible demise of democracy as we know it.

So, starting tomorrow, I encourage everybody, with your friends and neighbors, to get out to the worldwide anti-war, anti-violence, pro-worker, anti-fascist rallies downtown. Don’t be ashamed of your altruism—flaunt it.
Paul and Sheila would be flaunting it.

Abundant and
Compelling Evidence
that the Strange Death
of Paul Wellstone was
an Assassination
By David Ray Griffin, PhD - December 5, 2004

A Book Review previously posted at

The authors of American Assassination: The Strange Death of Paul Wellstone 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.