The Ron Brown Plane Crash — Did CIA Hawks Assassinate Ron Brown?

"No assassination instructions should ever be written or recorded. Decision and instructions [regarding assassination] should be confined to an absolute minimum of persons. For secret assassination ... the contrived accident is the most effective technique. When successfully executed, it causes little excitement and is only casually investigated."--A Study of Assassination, a training manual written by the CIA and distributed to agents and operatives at the time of the Agency's 1954 covert coup in Guatemala, which ousted Guatemala's democratically elected president, Jacobo Arbenz Guzman.

"In the late 1970s, I also participated in the Senate's investigation of the CIA and our intelligence community. We discovered efforts to assassinate foreign leaders. We also tentatively pursued inquiries into the possibility that plots had been laid to assassinate our leaders. All part of the same Cold War, a Cold War that existed from early memory."--former U.S. Senator Gary Hart, Russia Shakes the World: The Second Russian Revolution and Its Impact on the World

"They are the most ruthless motherf---ers there are and if they want to get somebody, they will. They will do their own people up."--David Sanchez Morales, talking about the CIA, (Morales was the former Chief of Operations at the CIA station in Miami -- JM/WAVE -- and a consultant to the Deputy Director of the Joint Chiefs), cited by Gaeton Fonzi, The Last Investigation

On April 3, 1996, Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and 34 others were killed when their Air Force Boeing 737 crashed into a mountainside in Croatia. One day after the crash, before any real investigation had begun, Defense Secretary William Perry told the Associated Press that the plane crash was "a classic sort of accident that good instrumentation should be able to prevent." The Air Force soon agreed and, in its ensuing investigation, determined that the tragic event was due to navigational error. Since that time, certain anomalies have come to light regarding the crash:

  • Ron Brown was found with a .45-inch inwardly beveling circular hole in the top of his head, which resembled a gunshot wound. Despite this suspicious wound, the Air Force medical examiners decided not to order an autopsy.
  • Normally in plane crash investigations there is a two step process. The Air Force first determines whether the crash was the result of an accident, hostile fire, sabotage, or mechanical failure. In Ron Brown's case, this determination (called a safety board) was skipped. Instead, the Air Force immediately proceeded to the second part of the investigation, where only accident and legal issues are considered.
  • The Air Force reported that a navigation beacon had been stolen from the airport sometime before the crash. This led some to speculate that the pilot may have been intentionally drawn off course and into the mountainside by a spurious beacon.
  • Three days after the the crash, Niko Jerkic -- the man who was responsible for maintaining the airport's navigational aids -- died by gunshot. This was ruled a suicide. Jerkic's untimely death meant that investigators did not have a chance to question him.

Planning a Political Assassination

For assassins desiring to get rid of a political opponent, a plane crash would appear to be an ideal method. In plane crashes, evidence of sabotage is often destroyed, or at least can be made to appear so during any subsequent investigation. Also, the public knows that accidents do happen, and that planes sometimes do crash all by themselves.

However, conspirators have to be aware that even the most trusting citizen may occasionally experience misgivings, especially regarding the death of a powerful politician embroiled in controversy. Hence, to cover all bases, it would be useful (from a conspiratorial planner's viewpoint) to incorporate certain elements into a plan that would deflect attention from the conspirators and in the direction of someone else, ideally an enemy.

This kind of diversionary planning may have occurred in the case of the assassination of President Kennedy. Consider a 2001 Gallup poll which revealed that 81 percent of Americans don't believe the Warren Commission's lone nut (Oswald did it) version of the assassination. Among the 81 percent, there are those who think that Oswald was a patsy, set up by some group (or agency) to take the fall. Over the years, much evidence has emerged that suggests right-wing planning and involvement by elements of the CIA in the assassination (i.e., that the assassination was, in essence, a CIA-planned conspiracy).

Assume for a moment that CIA conspirators orchestrated the Kennedy assassination, and that Oswald was the patsy. It would stand to reason that the conspirators, in setting up the patsy, would want to divert attention from themselves, should the public ever come to doubt the lone-nut, official version of the assassination. Thus it may be regarded as good planning that Oswald was portrayed not just as a lone-nut, but as a Communist as well. In this way, any suspicion of a conspiracy would immediately point toward left-wing rather than right-wing involvement (a desirable outcome from the conspirators' point of view).

Likewise, if right-wing forces were responsible for Ron Brown's plane crash, they would probably want suspicion to focus on one of their enemies -- someone like President Bill Clinton.

Spinning a Conspiracy Theory

Soon after Ron Brown's death, a right-wing billionaire, Richard Mellon Scaife -- heir to the Mellon family banking fortune -- began to promote a conspiracy theory involving President Clinton. Steve Kangas, a journalist and former intelligence analyst, gives some background on Scaife:

One of [the CIA's 1973] recruits was billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife. During World War II, Scaife's father served in the OSS, the forerunner of the CIA. By his mid-twenties, both of Scaife's parents had died, and he inherited a fortune.... Scaife was encouraged by CIA agent Frank Barnett to begin investing his fortune to fight the "Soviet menace." From 1973 to 1975, Scaife ran Forum World Features, a foreign news service used as a front to disseminate CIA propaganda around the world.(1)

At Forum World Features, Scaife conducted what his CIA friend, Frank Barnett calls "political warfare." Barnett explains:

Political warfare in short, is warfare -- not public relations. It is one part persuasion and two parts deception.... The aim of political warfare ... is to discredit, displace, and neutralize an opponent, to destroy a competing ideology, and to reduce the adherents to political impotence. It is to make one's own values prevail by working the levers of power, as well as by using persuasion.(2)

Scaife has carried his political warfare campaign into the present day. His instrument of dissemination is no longer a foreign news service. Instead Scaife utilizes two Internet websites (NewsMax and WorldNetDaily), a newspaper (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review), along with conservative foundations and think tanks. Steve Kangas writes:

Today [Scaife] owns the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and oversees the Sarah Scaife, Carthage and Allegheny Foundations. Scaife assigned one of his newspaper's reporters, Christopher Ruddy, to a full-time, ongoing investigation into the deaths of Vince Foster and Ron Brown, trying to find evidence that the Clintons murdered them.(3)

Scaife's hired gun, Christopher Ruddy has applied the Scaife/Barnett technique of political warfare -- "one part persuasion and two parts deception" -- to the Ron Brown case. Ruddy was persuasive in arguing that there were some strange and suspicious aspects to the plane crash. Ruddy was also persuasive when he pointed out that Ron Brown had been involved in various controversies during his term as Commerce Secretary. However, Ruddy was deceptive when he omitted the fact that the biggest controversy had to do with Ron Brown's fight with the military establishment.

The Fight Over Exports

Ron Brown's struggles with the hawks in the military and intelligence agencies began almost from the moment that he assumed the post of Commerce Secretary. According to an Associated Press article: "With the Cold War over, Brown believed the United States no longer should sacrifice economic interests to other foreign policy goals and he used his close friendship with Clinton to push a business agenda inside the administration.... He succeeded in battles with the Defense Department in loosening Cold War-era export controls that American companies had long complained severely limited their ability to sell high-technology products such as computer and telecommunications equipment."(4)

Ron Brown was not alone in his quest to ease export restrictions. Brown's allies even included conservative organizations, like the American Chamber of Commerce, which stated in its White Paper: "Experience has shown ... that unilateral export controls are ineffective, except where the United States may have a pronounced lead over the rest of the world.... [With export controls] U.S. companies are put at a significant disadvantage vis-a-vis their foreign competitors, without achieving the desired effect of blocking access to technology."(5)

However, the military establishment remained unconvinced. When the Clinton administration proposed that primary control over the export of commercial satellites be transferred from the State Department to Ron Brown's Commerce Department, the military balked. In a memo dated September 22, 1995, the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies are on record as rejecting the administration's plan to transfer authority to Commerce. Also opposed was Secretary of State Warren Christopher.(6)

Attacks on the Commerce Department

Early in 1995, in what some might regard as a preemptive strike to undermine Ron Brown's position at the Commerce Department, "Allegations arose ... concerning improprieties related to [Brown's] financial transactions. In particular, there were media reports that Secretary Brown ... failed to disclose required information about First International, a company he owned with a business associate, Nolanda S. Hill."(7) In July 1995, an independent counsel was chosen to investigate these charges. As the independent counsel probe got underway, additional allegations would soon be leveled against the Commerce Secretary.

That same year, congressional Republicans would draft legislation to dismantle the Department of Commerce. The Republicans would fail in this endeavor, but not for lack of trying. According to Gary Hufbauer, a trade expert, "The force of Brown's personality was one of the major factors that saved the department."(8)

On March 14, 1996 -- in defiance of the military and intelligence agencies -- the Clinton administration transferred control of satellite sales from the State Department to Ron Brown's Commerce Department. This may have been the fateful decision that sprung the CIA hawks into action. Twenty days later Ron Brown would lose his life.

Assassinations' Prime Suspect

Whenever an American politician dies in a suspicious plane crash, the skeptical and discerning citizen will look first in the direction of the CIA -- an organization whose modus operandi in the political realm includes heavy-handed techniques like sabotage, assassinations, and coups.

The CIA almost certainly maintains lists of saboteurs and assassins that have worked with it in various campaigns over the years, and CIA operatives could conceivably put together an assassination plan by placing a few phone calls.

In all likelihood, it will never be conclusively known whether the CIA or some other party was responsible for sabotaging Ron Brown's plane. However, given the circumstances surrounding the plane crash, the CIA has to be at the top of the suspect list.

The CIA School of Assassination at Fort Bragg


1. Steve Kangas, "The Origins of the Overclass," Liberalism Resurgent, Website:

2. Frank R. Barnett, "A Proposal for Political Warfare," Military Review, March 1961.

3. Kangas.

4. Associated Press, "Now Who Will Speak Up for Capitalism in the Administration?," The Minnesota Daily, April 8, 1996, sec. World/Nation.

5. "U.S. Export Controls," 2001 White Paper: American Business in China (The American Chamber of Commerce Publications, February 2001).

6. Bill Gertz, "Satellite Export Concerns Not New," The Washington Times National Weekly Edition, June 11-17, 1998.

7. United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Regard to Ronald H. Brown: (Filed August 29, 2000), pp. 3-4.

8. Associated Press, "Now Who Will Speak Up for Capitalism in the Administration?".


The Right-Wing Shadow Government - Treason on the Right
Nixon, Watergate, and the JFK Assassination
Kennedy Curse or a Right-Wing Vendetta?
CIA Operative Gen. Ed Lansdale Photographed in Dealey Plaza
The Garrison Investigation
Jim Garrison--1967 Lecture (Audio)
Oliver Stone Answers Audience Questions
Arlen Specter and the Single Bullet Theory
Hale Boggs - Warren Commission Member and Critic
The Intimidation of Dealey Plaza Witnesses
The Senator who Suspected a JFK Conspiracy
Lee Harvey Oswald — The Patsy
Did Militarists Sabotage Gary Power's U-2 Plane?
J. Edgar Hoover - Blackmailed by the Mob
Gerald Ford's Role in the JFK Assassination Cover-up
The Enemy Within - The Pentagon Plan to Terrorize U.S. Citizens and Blame Cuba
The Plane that Never Hit the Pentagon
Vice President Dick Cheney's Stand-Down Order on 9/11
Cheney's Proposal to Dress Up Navy Seals as Iranians and Shoot at Them
Did a Neocon Gang Send Anthrax Letters to Senators Daschle and Leahy to Intimidate Them and Thwart a Congressional Investigation of 9/11?
'October Surprise' Plane Crashes (Election Eve Terror)
Using Disaster Drills as a Cover to Stage False Flag Terror Attacks
CIA Assassin David Morales Photographed at the Ambassador Hotel
General Curtis LeMay - Demented Cold Warrior
The October Surprise
The CIA School of Assassination at Fort Bragg
A Timeline of CIA Meddling in Latin America
Trickle Down Economics - The Big Con
"Body of Secrets" - Attack on the USS Liberty
CIA Infiltration and Manipulation of the Mass Media
CIA Instructions to Media Assets
Tapes Reveal Nixon Prolonged Vietnam War for Political Reasons
George H. W. Bush -- Was He Part of It?
Fonda was Right and Bush was Lying
Notable JFK Conspiracy Theorists: LBJ, Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover
The Reagan Years

Who Killed JFK?  The evidence points to a right-wing faction of the CIA with some help from its friends.  In CIA lingo, friends are referred to as "assets."  CIA assets, including media assets, were employed to help cover-up the crime.  This CIA faction was angry at JFK for his refusal to commit to a full-scale invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, and for his efforts to seek an accommodation with the Soviet Union and Fidel Castro.  High-level CIA officers are implicated.  They include:  Richard Helms, James Angleton, David Phillips, E. Howard Hunt, Theodore Shackley, William Harvey, David Morales, Edward Lansdale, and George Joannides.  Typing any of these CIA officer's names into an Internet search engine, along with the words "JFK assassination," will uncover a network of conspirators.
To see evidence that Lee Oswald was framed by CIA operatives click here: The Patsy

CIA's Greatest Hits            The Devil's Chessboard

"We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people." --John F. Kennedy

"Some staff members and commissioners of the Sept. 11 panel concluded that the Pentagon's initial story of how it reacted to the 2001 terrorist attacks may have been part of a deliberate effort to mislead the commission and the public rather than a reflection of the fog of events on that day, according to sources involved in the debate. Suspicion of wrongdoing ran so deep that the 10-member commission, in a secret meeting at the end of its tenure in summer 2004, debated referring the matter to the Justice Department for criminal investigation, according to several commission sources. Staff members and some commissioners thought that e-mails and other evidence provided enough probable cause to believe that military and aviation officials violated the law by making false statements to Congress and to the commission." --Washington Post, 2 August 2006

"At some level of the government, at some point in time ... there was an agreement not to tell the truth about what happened [on 9/11]." --John Farmer, Senior Counsel to the 9/11 Commission and Attorney General of New Jersey

"I want to overthrow Saddam [Hussein]. Find me a way to do it." —President George W. Bush, speaking in the first National Security Council meeting of the Bush presidency on 30 January 2001, eight months before the World Trade Center attacks of 9/11, as told by Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, TV documentary, "Why We Did It"

"They had a plan to go to war [with Iraq], and when 9/11 happened that's what they did; they went to war." —Senator Max Cleland, interview with Salon magazine, 21 November 2003

"As each day goes by, we learn that this government knew a whole lot more about these terrorists before Sept. 11 than it has ever admitted." —Senator Max Cleland, The New York Times, 26 October 2003

"If I had to narrow it down to one person ... I think my prime suspect [in the 9/11 attacks] would be Dick Cheney." --Dr. Robert Bowman, Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Nuclear Engineering from Caltech, former U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, and Director of Advanced Space Programs Development for the U.S. Air Force in the Ford and Carter administrations

"I asked [Senator Paul Wellstone] how his week had been. He said, 'it's been tough. Vice President Cheney called me in and told me to get on their bandwagon or there would be serious ramifications in Minnesota. 'And stop sticking your nose into 9/11; there are some rumors going around, but we are going to get to the bottom of this.' When Paul made this statement, there were about 10 military veterans standing around us, and he spoke to them about 9/11... 'There are so many things going on about 9/11 that just don’t make sense...' Wellstone knew 9/11 was staged. Wellstone was after 9/11." —Pat O’Reilly, Wellstone’s close friend, interviewed in the documentary, "Wellstone: They Killed Him"

Cheney 9/11

Dick Cheney Confronted on His Stand-Down Order on 9/11

Crossing the Rubicon — Simplifying the Case Against Dick Cheney

Cheney's Proposal to Dress Up Navy Seals as Iranians and Shoot at Them

"Amazing, incredible, pick your word. For the third time today, it’s reminiscent of those pictures we’ve all seen too much on television before, where a building was deliberately destroyed by well placed dynamite to knock it down." —CBS News anchor Dan Rather, commenting on the collapse of Building 7 - September 11, 2001 at approximately 5:30pm EST

"I will begin by stating what we know to be a solid, incontrovertible, scientific fact. We know that it is strictly impossible for any building, much less steel columned buildings, to 'pancake' at free fall speed. Therefore, it is an incontrovertible fact that the official explanation of the collapse of the WTC buildings is false." --Paul C. Roberts, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury under President Ronald Reagan

"In the summer of 2000, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a neo-conservative think tank riddled with soon to be Bush administration officials and advisors, issued a document calling for the radical restructuring of U.S. government and military policies. It advocated the massive expansion of defense spending, the re-invasion of Iraq, the military and economic securing of Afghanistan and Central Asia, increased centralized power and funds for the CIA, FBI, and NSA, among a slew of other policies that would, in the near future, be enacted upon their ascension to power. In the same document, they cite a potential problem with their plan. Referring to the goals of transforming the U.S. and global power structure, the paper states that because of the American public's slant toward ideas of democracy and freedom, 'this process of transformation is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor.'" —

9/11 - Anatomy of a Great Deception

"Real patriots ask questions." --Carl Sagan

"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth." --Albert Einstein