Lest we forget: Michael Connell was assassinated ten years ago this week

From Mitchel Cohen:

As Election Day is here, and as many of us consider whether there’s a role for stopping fascism through elections and try to draw lessons from history, here’s something I originally posted to listserves at the time.

Ten years ago this week, Michael Connell was killed in a small plane crash in Ohio, similar to the crash that killed Sen. Paul Wellstone. Connell was Karl Rove’s “fixer,” and had been subpoenaed to testify about how the had flipped votes electronically in the U.S. elections since the turn of this millenium and especially in the Kerry vs. Bush debacle in 2004.

A “Deep Throat” Emerges in the Mike Connell Plane Crash
By Roger Shuler >

An anonymous informant has provided information indicating that an airplane piloted by Republican computer expert Mike Connell was sabotaged before it crashed on December 19, 2008, near Akron, Ohio.

One of Connell’s sisters says she believes the family will file a wrongful-death lawsuit against Republican strategist Karl Rove if foul play ever is proven in the plane crash.

Those are two of the major revelations in a stunning recent investigative piece at BradBlog, by award-winning television producer and writer Rebecca Abrahams.

Connell, the founder of New Media Communications in Richfield, Ohio, was considered a skilled and experienced pilot. He developed campaign Web sites for a number of Republican clients, including George W. Bush and John McCain.

Connell had been forced to give a deposition in an election-fraud lawsuit on November 3, 2008, the day before the general election. Roughly six weeks later, his plane crashed next to a vacant house in Lake Township, Ohio, as Connell was returning from a business trip to Washington, D.C. The cause of the crash is unknown, and it remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Why was Mike Connell a central figure in election-fraud issues? And why have questions been raised about the nature of the plane crash that killed him? Abrahams summarizes:


Although mainly un-reported, there’s a great deal of controversy surrounding Connell’s death–largely in part because he was the architect of many Republican websites including and, the site Karl Rove used for 95% of his email correspondence. Connell was also considered a key witness in the election fraud lawsuit King Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Association v. Blackwell. The suit implicates Former Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth J. Blackwell, Karl Rove and others of 2004 election night vote rigging.
Attorneys in the case believe that Connell, who had not been accused of any wrongdoing, had firsthand knowledge about the missing White House emails and Rove’s alleged wrongdoing with respect to the 2004 Presidential election.


Connell’s sister, Shannon, says she believes her brother’s work related to politics led to his death. Reports Abrahams:


Although her brother never spoke of his work, Shannon believes that Mike’s ties to the Bush Administration and the GOP are somehow related to his death.
“It just seems way too convenient, the timing since he had been deposed. He didn’t get to testify. But I don’t think he would’ve perjured himself. When it comes down to it, he was basically an honest person. If push came to shove and he was under oath testifying, I believe that he would’ve told the truth. I think that there were other people who believed that as well.”


The Connell family has received tangible evidence that suggests foul play in the plane crash. Reports Abrahams:


Recently, the Connell family has been dealt another blow–an anonymous memo penned by someone identifying themselves as “Mark Felt” (the name of the man who was ultimately revealed to be “Deep Throat”), cataloguing an order and mission to remotely intercept and rig the instrument panel of Mike Connell’s plane then “sanitize” the area.
Heather confirms receipt of this memo, which was cc’d to six unknown recipients.


What does the memo mean? Abrahams reports that it is being taken seriously:


Those close to the case believe the person behind the memo is a real informant with inside knowledge about Connell’s plane crash. There are a number of Intelligence officials looking into it, including the FBI. The FBI field agent in charge of the case, Jack Vickery, did not return my calls. But Cliff Arnebeck, the prosecuting attorney in the case and the one who deposed Mike Connell last November, issued the following statement:


We received copies of the “deep throat” letter and redacted report of a jackal that “is not supposed to exist.” We passed on to the FBI this and other information we have relevant to the matter. Our impression is that the FBI is doing its job of investigating specific allegations regarding the assassination of a vital witness in our federal election fraud case.


The term “jackal” refers to a hired assassin. And Abramhams quotes an expert on the subject:


Former CIA operative John Perkins wrote about such “jackals” in his book, Confessions of an Economic HitMan, and says while he doesn’t have any inside knowledge about Connell’s death, he would not be surprised if he was murdered.
“It wouldn’t surprise me a bit. They’ve certainly assassinated a lot of people in this country. The Kennedys were assassinated. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. It’s entirely possible that Paul Wellstone was assassinated. We’ve had a long, long history of assassinations. It’s extremely successful in terms of turning politics around and getting people off cases. In a way, Bill Clinton was assassinated but it was a personality assassination. The Connell case is just one more possibility.”


Perkins says that the mysterious plane crash long has been a popular tactic with hired assassins:


“It’s so easy to cover it up. The evidence is destroyed and everybody knows airplanes are fragile anyway, small airplanes in particular. So it’s a very clean type of assassination in terms of ways to do it because the area where the plane crash happens can be quickly cordoned off . . . and the evidence can be cleaned up very quickly and most of it is destroyed anyway. But if there’s anything left, it can be disposed of very, very quickly.”


The Connell family wants to know the identity of the informant. The family also wants to know more about threats Mike Connell reportedly received in the weeks leading up to his death.

Shannon Connell is quick to say that justice will be difficult to achieve in her brother’s death. Reports Abrahams:


Shannon says if there were proof of foul play, she believes her family would file a wrongful death suit against Karl Rove. But she says she’s not sure her family will ever know what really happened that day in December.
“I think Mike got caught up in some other people’s lives and didn’t know how to get out or was trying to get out. You know, I’m real cynical about whether justice will be done. A lot of the government officials probably have gotten away with a lot of things. My position now is what’s going to make this different? What’s different with my brother’s death that’s any different than Paul Wellstone’s?”


Posted by legalschnauzer at 11:06 AM

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