What Barack Obama Ought To Know About Ron Brown
© Jack Cashill
Eleven years ago tomorrow, a United States Air Force plane carrying the body of Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and those of 32 other Americans left Croatia for Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
The 33 Americans had died, not all of them immediately, when their USAF aircraft crashed “inexplicably” into a mountainside less than two miles from the Cilipi Airport near Dubrovnik.
An hour after the plane departed, and a day before the USAF was to question him, Croatian Niko Jerkuic, the man responsible for the Cilipi Airport’s navigation system , showed up dead with a bullet hole through his chest. Authorities claimed suicide.
The next day, Easter Sunday that year, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology forensic photographer, U.S. Navy CPO Kathleen Janoski, mounted a stepladder at the Dover mortuary and began to shoot Ron Brown’s body.
"Wow,” said Janoski upon spotting a circular indentation in Brown’s skull, “that looks like a bullet hole."
The pathologists who heard her cry and heeded it would soon enough wish they hadn’t. It would cost them and Janoski their careers.
But so far, to no good end. Eleven years after Brown’s death, some very basic questions remain unanswered simply because the powers that be, the major media included, have refused to ask them.
That could change. Presidential aspirant Barack Obama is the first person in the last ten years with the means and the motive to get at the truth. In the way of oppositional research, he could pose the following questions to Hillary Clinton and expect his friends in the media, especially in the black media, to echo them:
The pathologists did not go public with their concerns until December 1997, twenty months after the crash. On December 18, the head of the NAACP, Kweisi Mfume, took the Brown case to the White House and demanded answers.
On Christmas Eve, protestors showed up at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. Leading the charge was veteran activist and former comedian Dick Gregory.
The mainstream media largely ignored Gregory, just as they had Mfume. But there was one black leader neither the media nor the White House could ignore. That was Jesse Jackson, and he came forward on January 5, 1998.
With Jackson on board, reporters finally raised the Brown question at a press conference on that same day. They obviously struck a nerve.
“The Pentagon, I think, has very thoroughly and in very gruesome detail, and no doubt in ways painful to the Brown family, addressed this issue. And it’s time to knock this stuff off,” snapped press secretary Mike McCurry. “I’m not going to talk about this further or take any further questions on the subject.”
For all of McCurry’s bluster, the White House could not just blow Jackson off. With momentum still building in the black community, the Washington Afro-American ran a lengthy front-page story on January 17. At this moment in time, the story had enough substance and enough bi-racial support to breach the walls of the mainstream media and shake Washington to its foundation, but this was not to be.
In one of the great ironies of modern media, another scandal was brewing at the exact same time. On that same January 17, the name “Monica Lewinsky” entered the public record for the first time.
Two days later, Matt Drudge broke a Michael Isikoff story that Newsweek had been suppressing. So rich was this story in the tawdry details the public loves the major media had no choice but to open the floodgates. By January 21, the Monica tale had inundated the land and left every other news story gasping for breath.
Jesse Jackson had a choice to make. He could either pick away at the administration on a story that had just lost its legs, or he could ride the rising tide of resentment in the black community and come to the besieged president’s aid.
Jackson did the latter. Now an Obama supporter, it may be time for him to make amends. The black community has not forgotten Ron Brown.
As a cautionary tale on the fate of a savvy African American politician who dared to defy the Clintons, Obama ought not forget Ron Brown either.
About Mega Fix:
In this stunning, surprisingly entertaining, 90-minute DVD video documentary, Emmy-award-winning filmmaker Jack Cashill traces the roots of Sept. 11 to the perfect storm of disinformation that surrounded the Clintons' desperate drive for the White House in the years 1995-1996.
Cashill leads the viewer from Oklahoma City to Dubrovnik, where Ron Brown's plane crashed, to the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia to the destruction of TWA Flight 800 off Long Island to the Olympic Park bombing. Jack Cashill's "Mega Fix" DVD is now available.
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