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[The Senate was divided 50 to 49 with the Democrats in a majority of one.  That one was the most progressive Senator in the government.  We all know how the murder of a great man or woman in public life tends to fix itself in memory when the news arrives.  Where were we?  We were packing a bag for Washington, DC, to march against the impending war in Iraq.  My sign said, “Senator Wellstone Was Murdered.” People nodded in pained agreement and rightly went back to the task at hand – which was to show that public pressure could not stop the war, and that all talk of democracy – literally, the kratos (power) of the demos (people) – was fake.  Instead the “President” let it be known that American democracy is really just demo-doxia, the right of the people to their own impotent “opinions.” 

As William Rivers Pitt of truthout would report a few days later, Jesse Jackson said some words of respect and remembrance to the crowd: “In Democracy's Wake - The Anti-War Protest in Washington DC.”

Even without the Downing Street memo, the mass murders of 9/11 were enough to show us that the war on Iraq was already inevitable – indeed, as we’ve just learned this week, the war was already underway while we stood on the grass in the millions trying to prevent it.

I’ll end with Shakespeare, because lately, as the world seems to be losing its future, that particular author has been deeply reassuring.  Here’s a morsel from Romeo and Juliet (III, ii).  The first part will remind you of the Democratic National Convention of 1964, when one eventual victim of the murder state paid homage to another one.  The rest is for those of you – or that part of each of us – that believes Peak Oil will bring not only brutality and loss but also cooperation and solidarity – and a break in the power of the Big Lie.  These days the dread as well as the hope for renewal are building higher than at any time since 1968, when Paul Wellstone heard Bobby Kennedy say this:

Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.

O, I have bought the mansion of a love,
But not possess'd it, and, though I am sold,
Not yet enjoy'd: so tedious is this day
As is the night before some festival
To an impatient child that hath new robes
And may not wear them.

-- JAH]

The NTSB Failed Wellstone



Jim Fetzer and John Costella

Special to From The Wilderness

© Copyright 2005, From The Wilderness Publications, All Rights Reserved. This story may NOT be posted on any Internet web site without express written permission. Contact May be circulated, distributed or transmitted for non-profit purposes only.

When Senator Paul Wellstone’s plane crashed near Eveleth, Minnesota on Friday, October 25, 2002, killing him, his wife, his daughter, three aides, the pilot, and the co-pilot, a casual observer might have forecast a simple investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The mass media widely reported bad weather in the area—freezing rain, snow, icing, and fog, with poor visibility—and implied that the weather had caused the crash.

All that remained of the fuselage of Senator Wellstone's plane: little more than ash. This photograph looks back from the cockpit (foreground) into the fuselage. (The yellow numbered markers are NTSB identification points.)

More than a year later, however, the NTSB’s 63-page Final Report1 answered few questions, and left a huge void in the public record for those wishing to understand the death of the outspoken Senator. Despite having released over 2,300 pages of Factual Reports and supporting documents2 to the public during the course of its investigations, the NTSB’s Final Report does not address the most fundamental questions surrounding the crash. Moreover, even the very presence of the FBI during the investigation of the crash site was almost completely eliminated from the documents that were released—let alone the results of the FBI’s investigations—despite an abundance of evidence that its agents were on site before members of the NTSB, and continued to play a major role at the crash site in the days that followed.

The NTSB concluded that the probable cause of the accident was “the flight crew’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed, which led to an aerodynamic stall from which they did not recover.”3 It found that both pilots simply ignored their airspeed reading during descent, ignored the Course Deviation Indicator (CDI) needle indicating they were not heading toward the airport at all, ignored the loud stall warning horn that sounded when their airspeed dropped to a dangerously low level, and simply allowed the plane to stall and crash.4

The NTSB also concluded that icing played absolutely no role in the crash.5 Despite several scientists’ attempts to construct theoretical arguments for the possible presence of icing,6 the Chairman of the Meteorology Group, Kevin Petty, Ph.D., had to reiterate the statements of two pilots who had flown into Eveleth-Virginia Municipal Airport (EVM) just hours earlier, indicating that there was very little icing at the altitudes of the Senator’s plane.7 Moreover, the Duluth Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) specifically instructed the plane to descend to an altitude that would take them under the reported icing,8 and repeated an earlier request9 that the pilots report any icing conditions.10  They never encountered any at all.11

Another view of the fuselage, this time from behind. (The yellow arrow is the NTSB's; it points to a rear passenger door.) It is unexplained how the tree remained unburned.

The NTSB further found that the navigational beacon at EVM did not play a role in the crash,12 despite concerns that were earlier reported in the media.13 Although slightly out of tolerance,14 thirteen replicated check flights consistently demonstrated that the plane should have been guided directly to the airport.15 Pilots used the beacon to fly into and out of EVM both before and after the crash. No explanation was offered for the fact that the Senator’s plane continued to drift off-course before crashing, despite calculations showing that the Course Deviation Indicator in the cockpit would have moved to full deflection (indicating they were massively off-course) long before the plane allegedly stalled.16

Instead, the NTSB pointed the finger at the air charter company, Aviation Charter, for failures relating to paperwork17 which the company’s legal advice indicated was within the requirements of all regulations,18 and for failing to implement crew training modules relating to coordination and teamwork,19 which it had no obligation to provide,20 and despite the NTSB having obtained evidence that both pilots had, in fact, received such training from previous employers.21 It further criticized the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for failing to provide sufficient surveillance of Aviation Charter’s operations to detect these “discrepancies,” despite acknowledging that the FAA had in fact fulfilled all of its requirements in its oversight of the company.22

Most remarkably, absent from the NTSB’s Final Report is any analysis, discussion, or conclusion about the fire that consumed the aircraft. Indeed, in all of the thousands of pages released by the NTSB on the crash, the fire is only ever described in three words: “post-crash fire.” What we do know is that the plane crashed at approximately 10:22 AM.23 The assistant airport manager at EVM, Gary Ulman, who went up in his own plane to search for the missing plane at 10:55 AM, initially ignored24 plumes of blue and white smoke25 he saw two miles south-east of the end of the runway, being the wrong color smoke for a jet fuel fire, and criss-crossed around the area surrounding the airport looking for the plane26—only to return for a closer look and to realize that it was, indeed, the crashed aircraft.27

Aerial view of the crash site, reportedly taken the day after the accident from a State Police helicopter, at the request of the NTSB.

After his location of the site, the first emergency responders arrived at the crash site at 11:35 AM.28 A fire extinguisher was emptied on the fire,29 which engulfed the fuselage, but it was not expected to have much effect “as it was a metal fire.”30 Several bladder packs of water were subsequently emptied on the fire.31 A bombardier was reported to be at the scene by 11:45 AM.32 A Department of Natural Resources brush truck arrived on the scene, which was subsequently discovered to have an empty water tank because it had already been “winterized.”33 A second water-carrying vehicle was sent to the scene from Hibbing, which reportedly caught fire after being taken off its trailer, and itself had to be extinguished.34 Finally, additional fire units were summoned from surrounding areas.35 The Fayal Township Fire Department Chief, Steve Shykes, who was in command of the site, reported at 5:56 PM that the “fire is out at [the] site.”36 The Medical Examiner, by now on-scene, concluded that the heat in the still-smoldering debris would preclude any removal of the remains of the occupants of the aircraft until the next day.37

One would think that this seven-and-a-half-hour fire deserved investigation. Photographs released by the NTSB show that the fuselage was reduced to ashes, and all that remained of the seats were disconnected frames.38 The victims were only discovered as a by-product of the search through the ashes for the Cockpit Voice Recorder,39 and were only identified by the Medical Examiner through dental records.40 In turn, the search for the Cockpit Voice Recorder lasted a day, until it was discovered that the plane had none.41 One might think that the owners of the plane should have informed the NTSB of this fact before the fire was even extinguished.

Given such a suspicious fire, it might be completely appropriate that the FBI be called in to assist in the investigation of the crash site. Unfortunately, the NTSB leaves us in the dark as to how this came to pass. The NTSB has sole jurisdiction over aircraft investigations, unless the U.S. Attorney General declares the crash a crime scene42—which he never did. However, the first member of the NTSB didn’t arrive from Chicago until around 5:30 PM,43 and the NTSB Go Team” dispatched from Washington, D.C. didn’t arrive until around 8:20 PM44 to 8:45 PM.45 No one appears to have contacted the FBI, yet by 6:35 PM CBS would report on its website that FBI spokesman Paul McCabe said there was “no indication the crash was related to terrorism”—a remarkable conclusion, given that the fire had just been extinguished, and that there would even turn out to be a link between the co-pilot and an alleged terrorist.46

According to Rick Wahlberg, Sheriff of St. Louis County, in which the crash occurred, a team of FBI agents appeared at the crash site around noon.47 Gary Ulman confirmed that the FBI had been on the scene absolutely no later than 1:00 PM.48 The NTSB’s lead investigator, Frank Hilldrup, stated that the first FBI agent arrived on the scene at 12:30 PM.49 When questions began to be raised by Mike Ruppert of and Christopher Bollyn of as to how FBI agents arrived on the scene so rapidly, McCabe insisted that logs were not kept of arrival times.50

Lt. Tim Harkenen of the St. Louis County Sheriff's Department, who had promised to retrieve his files and look up the logged arrival times of personnel at the crash site, failed to take or return any further calls.51 The Duluth FBI field office insisted that the agents came up from the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul)—but this would imply that they departed before Wellstone’s plane even left the tarmac at St. Paul.52 A 911 computer dispatch transcript53 states that, by Sunday morning, the federal personnel at the scene consisted of 8 FBI agents (mainly from Minneapolis), 8 NTSB investigators, 3 FAA investigators, and a member of the U.S. Federal Police Capitol Dignitary Protection Division.54

Another aerial view of the crash site, taken from slightly further away. The NTSB never explained why the pilots turned the plane south - away from the airport - in the last seconds of the fatal flight. This photo suggests that they chose this grove of less-sturdy tress to soften their crash landing. The NTSB found that the plane descended through the trees with wings level, but at a steep angle of 26 degrees.

We can only wonder what the FBI found at the crash site: neither the Final Report, nor the thousands of pages of documents released by the NTSB, even acknowledge their presence at the scene. When asked by author Don “Four Arrows” Jacobs why the FBI was not listed as party to the investigation in the Final Report, the NTSB’s Hilldrup simply stated that “they were not a party to the investigation”.55 When further asked what they were doing on the scene for many hours before the arrival of the NTSB, Hilldrup (who only took over on Monday) speculated that “maybe they were responding to the—you know—the conspiracy theories.”

When it was further pointed out to him that there could hardly have been any conspiracy theories operating before the crash was even known to the general public (first reports emerged around 1:30 PM), he then suggested that they may have been there to “identify bodies.” But we know that the bodies weren’t even retrieved until the next day—and in any case were identified by the Medical Examiner, using dental records. Hilldrup then insisted that he knew that everything was “above board.” Finally, he was asked why there was no public hearing held for this incident. His response? “We only have hearings for high-profile cases.”56

We do know that, by 1:45 PM, the command center at the crash site requested that Duluth ATCT or the FAA declare the area a no-fly zone.57 This was at a time when only local emergency personnel, and the FBI, were on site; the NTSB was still many hours away. Two minutes later, a canine unit was reported “in service” at the scene.58 Duluth ATCT reported back at 3:56 PM that the no-fly zone had been put in place.59

By 11:00 AM the next morning, EVM airport reported that a plane had violated the no-fly zone, and that names and addresses would be obtained from the violators.60 Later in that hour, Channel 4 News asked Princeton Flight Service if the no-fly zone could be removed, but the command center at the crash site promptly insisted that it be maintained, for at least another day.61 At 2:17 PM the Police 911 computer dispatch records a vehicle “taking pictures of the communications trailer.”62 By Sunday morning, KSTP Channel 5 was again requesting the lifting of the restrictions, which was again denied.63 Curiously, however, the NTSB would later release photographs and videotape taken, on their request, from a Minnesota State Patrol helicopter, and dated Saturday, October 26.64

The NTSB leaves us in the dark as to why the pilots never issued any radio distress calls, either on the EVM airport communication frequency, the Duluth ATCT frequency, or any emergency frequency. We are to believe that the plane emerged from the clouds, miles off-course from its correct final approach to the airport, and simply continued to descend into the forest. The Final Report does not draw attention to the fact that, four miles out from the airport and about 850 feet above the ground, the plane dropped off Duluth ATCT radar65—not unexpectedly for the air traffic controller, because radar coverage from Duluth is unreliable below 1100 feet above the ground.66

The remaining radar data shown in the report comes solely from the U.S. Air Force 84th Radar Evaluation Squadron; there is no FAA corroboration of the final minutes of the flight.67 Coincidentally, it is at this very time that the aircraft appears to halt its descent and level off, at an incorrect altitude for final approach.68 At the same time, it suffers a massive loss of airspeed.69 The NTSB “smooth out” the USAF air speed data in the last two radar returns, giving the impression of a more gradual approach to a stall speed; the raw data, in contrast, indicates a more rapid loss of power.70

The NTSB obtained statements from at least three witnesses that the engines of the Senator’s plane went quiet just before the plane crashed,71 and one witness who said the engines “quit suddenly” and went “completely quiet” when the plane was at least five miles from the airport.72 However, the NTSB does not explain the ramifications of these observations. The plane was equipped with “constant speed” propellers,73 which automatically adjust the angle that they cut through the air, to allow the turbine engine to continue turning at a constant, optimal RPM (like a gearbox in a car, but able to continually “shift gears” to keep the engine at its best RPM).74 The witnesses were surprised to hear the engines almost cut off, because they were accustomed to hearing planes landing at EVM airport, for which the engines keep the same RPM, and the sound slowly fades as they travel into the distance. The reported behavior of the engines of the Senator’s plane indicates a serious failure of some aspect of the engine/propeller system.

Indeed, the NTSB’s “Powerplants Group” investigated the engines, and particularly the propellers, in minute detail.75 Hartzell Propeller, Inc., is listed in the Final Report as a party to the NTSB’s investigation.76 (Pratt and Whitney Canada, who manufactured the engines, were not a party to the investigation, but provided a technical advisor.)77 The Powerplants Group found evidence of normal engine operation at the time of the crash, and the final positions of the pistons controlling the propellers to be at flight idle” position;78 these facts were reported in the Final Report.79 No mention, however, was made of the witness reports of the change in engine RPM, nor of the fact that the propeller piston mechanisms revealed ten different markings indicative of being below idle position as the plane descended through the trees, which would give the plane almost no forward thrust.80 No analysis or explanation of these phenomena was offered in any NTSB documents released to the public.

Another view of the remains of the wreckage, which fared much worse than the trees surrounding it. The NTSB claimed that the FBI was not a party to the investigation, but FBI agents were the first on the scene, and dominated the investigation of the site in the following days.

There were reports of strange electromagnetic phenomena in the vicinity of EVM airport around the time of the crash. John Ongaro, a Duluth businessman who was driving to the same funeral that Wellstone was to have attended, and who happened to be driving near the airport just before the time of the crash, reported a strange cellphone call which consisted of screeching, oscillating sounds.81 Phone records later placed the time of the call at 10:18 AM, just two minutes before the plane dropped off FAA radar and began to lose airspeed. Garage doors are reported to have opened by themselves.82 One of the NTSB’s meteorologists commented on a pocket that appeared on weather satellite radar around Eveleth at the time of the accident, which indicated water-laden clouds, in contrast to the ice-laden clouds in surrounding areas, and stated that such abrupt changes in time and space do not usually occur.83

Electromagnetic weaponry is highly advanced84 and would explain the loss of communications through the frying of electronics in the radios; but many of the systems on the Senator’s plane were actuated through mechanical linkages: this was a twin-turboprop plane built in 1979, not a computer-cockpit jumbo jet. Even the constant-speed propeller governor system was hydraulically and mechanically actuated.85 However, each propeller governor contained two solenoids (electrical switches) for both testing the unit and protecting against overspeed, with wires running to switches in the cockpit.86 An electrical fire in the cockpit that caused some or all of these solenoids to activate would have catastrophic effects and could cause the engines to almost shut down, as described by witnesses. This is, of course, but one possibility. The NTSB chose not to investigate any.

The NTSB’s investigators spent substantial time and effort looking into the backgrounds of the pilots, interviewing many people, and uncovered a great number of intriguing leads. However, these were dealt with differently, depending on their nature. Any information that tended to indicate that the pilots were in any way incompetent or dishonest—in even the slightest way—was seized upon, expanded on, and witnesses frequently re-questioned. Much of this information found its way into the Final Report. For example, the Captain, Richard Conry, was alleged to have maintained two sets of logbooks in the mid-1980s. Although the total flying hours reported in the two books is essentially the same, the existence of two books is elaborated to the point of warranting a full page of text in the Final Report, plus one of only four graphs presented in the entire Report.87

In fact, the NTSB’s own documents reveal that the second logbook was a different type, color, and size to Conry’s other logbooks, was found in a different part of Conry’s house (the basement rather than the attic), was in fact discovered by another Aviation Charter pilot (rather than Conry’s widow), and that Conry’s widow stated that she had never seen it before.88

Conry was also alleged to have lied about his eyesight to the FAA.89 Examination of the documents reveals that he failed to check a box on some paperwork, due to his attending a new doctor that didn’t allow him to review his previous paperwork when filling it out, as he was used to doing. He himself alerted the FAA to his mistake the very next day, after returning home to Minnesota and consulting his previous records.90

A number of incidents exemplifying poor piloting by Conry were alleged by a number of co-pilots, none of which was ever reported to any member of Aviation Charter’s management.91 Nevertheless, a number of these incidents made it through to the Final Report.92 In contrast, witness after witness described Conry as the most meticulous, careful, cautious, “by-the-book” pilot they had ever known.93 Senator Wellstone, who was a nervous flyer, insisted that either one other pilot or Conry be the Captain for his flights.94 Conry had flown him at least a dozen times,95 the most recently three days before the fatal flight.96 The day after, just two days before the crash, he had passed his regular FAA flight check, flawlessly.97

The co-pilot, Michael Guess, had trained to be a ground instructor for Northwest Airlines. The NTSB focuses on the fact that he essentially “flunked out” of this course, being unable to master quickly enough the advanced computer systems necessary to teach pilots how to fly the A320 Airbus.98 However, he participated in the flight-training lessons in an A320 simulator, and passed that section of the course.99 Flying a King Air twin turbo-prop plane is far removed from the complexities of an Airbus. The witness reports indicate that he was a competent young co-pilot, building his experience and flight hours.100

Aspects of the backgrounds of Conry and Guess that led in the slightest way in more sinister directions were downplayed by the NTSB. For example, Conry’s construction business hit troubles in the late 1980s, and several subcontractors sued for lack of payment.101 Damages were awarded against him. After losing his counterclaims and appeal to the verdict of the civil trial, Conry stood trial on criminal charges for mail fraud.102 One NTSB witness stated that this related to his non-payment of damages from the civil trial.103 Conry was convicted, and served 17 months in Yankton Federal Prison Camp. However, the NTSB did not provide any description elaborating on his criminal conviction, and its Final Report does not refer to the prior civil court judgment.104

Another view of the crash site, with both FBI and NTSB personnel on the scene.

There is considerable confusion and intrigue surrounding the departure of the fatal flight itself. The Flight Service specialists who fielded two calls that morning, allegedly from Conry, failed to recognize his voice, and stated that the second caller—who filed the ultimate flight plan—sounded distant, unemotional, stressed and apprehensive.105 Both operators were surprised that he did not know the identification code for EVM, nor the direction of EVM from St. Paul.106 Calls on the morning of the accident to members of the Senator’s staff, the co-pilot, and Aviation Charter give conflicting accounts of whether the flight would be delayed or canceled.107 The NTSB was unable to resolve these discrepancies. If the possibility that someone may have been impersonating Conry was ever considered, it was never discussed in the documents released to the public.

Michael Guess was recruited into aviation by the Tuskegee Airmen.108 In his home state of Minnesota, his aunt secured help from Dexter Clarke, who provided a program assisting African Americans into careers in aviation.109 Guess paid Clarke to provide training and allow him to be a co-pilot, including on revenue flights, for which Guess was not remunerated. Clarke happened to fly into St. Paul the morning of the crash, and Conry sought weather advice from him, asking him to repeat the information for the Senator.110

Guess’s mother stated that he was in the Air National Guard in Duluth, and received a letter after Northwest did not allow him to attend drill duties. At the time of the NTSB’s investigations, she had a lawyer investigating the incident in order to “clear his name.”111 However, we know little else of his connections with the military; the NTSB did not pursue the question. After flunking out of Northwest Airlines’ ground instructor training program, Guess returned to the front-desk job that he had been previously performing at Northwest. By this time, however, the position had been transferred to Pan Am.112

There Guess met Zacharias Moussaoui, an accused 9/11 terrorist co-conspirator. Guess reportedly “inadvertently” left a disk for a 747 jumbo jet simulator at a workstation, which was later found copied onto Moussaoui’s laptop computer.113 At Aviation Charter, Guess had told colleagues that he was “at least a role player” in the detection of Moussaoui—that he and a receptionist thought that what Moussaoui was requesting was unusual, and that he had raised the issue with others.114 Sure to the trend, the NTSB did not mention Guess’s connection to Moussaoui at all, and even went as far as suppressing the name of Pan Am from its Final Report, referring to it as “another company located at the same training facility.”115

The NTSB’s own documents are replete with such examples of inconsistency, of promising leads puzzlingly allowed to go cold. There is little serious analysis of what actually occurred on October 25, 2002, and no consideration at all of the possibility that foul play might have been involved. The FBI clearly believed otherwise, expending considerable resources on this supposedly non-existent case. What they learned, alas, has yet to be revealed to the American public.

Paul Wellstone deserves better. Nothing less than a full re-opening of the investigation is tolerable, if we are to pretend to retain any semblance of justice in the United States.

Jim Fetzer, McKnight University Professor at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, is a former Marine Corps officer. The author of more than 20 books in the philosophy of science and on the theoretical foundations of computer science, artificial intelligence, and cognitive science, he has edited three books on the assassination of JFK as well as co-authored a book on the death of Senator Paul Wellstone.

John Costella graduated top of his class in Honors degrees in both Electrical Engineering and Science, and has a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics, specializing in electromagnetism. His contributions to the JFK assassination have established scientifically that the Zapruder home movie of the assassination is an inauthentic fabrication. He teaches Math at The Peninsula School, in Melbourne, Australia.

1 National Transportation Safety Board, Loss of Control and Impact With Terrain, Aviation Charter, Inc., Raytheon (Beechcraft) King Air A100, N41BE, Eveleth, Minnesota, Oct. 25, 2002, Aircraft Accident Report NTSB/AAR-03/03, PB2003-910403, Notation 7602, Adopted Nov. 18, 2003. Available from Hereinafter referred to as the “Final Report.”

2 NTSB Public Docket 34064, Accident ID DCA03MA008, available on CD-ROM by request from the NTSB’s Public Inquiries Branch, (202) 314-6551. Hereinafter referred to as “Public Docket.”

3 Final Report, Sec. 3.2, “Probable Cause.”

4 Ibid., Sec. 3.1, “Findings.”

5 Ibid., Finding 10.

6 Public Docket: Meteorology Factual Report, Jan. 15, 2003; and particularly Addendum 1 to the Meteorology Factual Report, Feb. 6, 2003.

7 Public Docket: Meteorology Factual Report, pp. 15-16 and p. 40;

8 Public Docket: Air Traffic Control Group Chairman’s Factual Report of Investigation, Feb. 4, 2003, p. 9.

9 Public Docket: Attachment 1 to Air Traffic Control Factual Report, transcript of Princeton AFSS Preflight 11 position, Jan. 23, 2003, p. 6 of faxed document (attachment is unnumbered).

10 Public Docket: Attachment 2 to Air Traffic Control Factual Report, transcript of ATCT South Radar position, Jan. 31, 2003, p. 5 of faxed document (attachment is unnumbered).

11 Ibid., pp. 5-7.

12 Final Report, Sec. 3.1, Finding 12.

13 See, for example, John W. Fountain, “Crash Investigators Reconstruct Flight of Wellstone’s Plane,” New York Times, Oct. 28, 2002; Tom Majeski, “Weather, landing system are suspected causes,” St. Paul Pioneer Press, Oct. 26, 2002.

14 Public Docket: VOR Navigation System Group Chairman’s Factual Report of Investigation, Feb. 20, 2003, p. 9; VOR Navigation System Special Study, Apr. 9, 2003.

15 Public Docket: Attachment C to the VOR Navigation System Group Chairman’s Special Study.

16 Public Docket: Addendum 1 to VOR Navigation System Group Chairman’s Special Study, Nov. 10, 2003.

17 Final Report, Sec. 3.1, Findings 14 and 15.

18 Public Docket: Operational Factors Group Chairman’s Factual Report, Feb. 20, 2003, p. 17.

19 Ibid., Finding 16.

20 Public Docket: Operational Factors Group Chairman’s Factual Report, Feb. 20, 2003, p. 21.

21 Public Docket: Attachment 6 to the Human Performance Specialist’s Factual Report; Attachment 1 to the Human Performance Specialist’s Factual Report, p. 21.

22 Final Report, Sec. 3.1, Finding 17.

23 All times listed in this article are local time, Central Daylight Time (CDT). Many times quoted in the NTSB’s Factual Reports and supporting documents are in “Zulu” time, namely, Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), also called Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). To convert from “Zulu” time to CDT, subtract five hours.

24 Paul McEnroe et al., “Senator dies in crash,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, Oct. 26, 2002.

25 Public Docket: Attachment 1-2 to the Operational Factors

26 The NTSB interviewed at least four witnesses who heard or saw a low-flying plane that could not have been the Senator’s, based on their published flight path; see Public Docket: Survival Factors / Witness Specialist’s Factual Report, and particularly the map on p. 1 of Attachment 5 to the Airplane Performance Study. This corroborates Ulman’s statement to the press that he initially ignored the smoke. However, the NTSB interview summary with Ulman has him flying immediately to the smoke, which contradicts both Ulman himself and the witnesses. See Public Docket: Attachment 1-2 to the Operational Factors Group Chairman’s Factual Report.

27 Paul McEnroe et al., “Senator dies in crash,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, Oct. 26, 2002.

28 Public Docket: Survival Factors / Witness Specialist’s Factual Report, Feb. 13, 2003, p. 13.

29 Ibid.

30 Ibid.

31 Ibid., p. 12.

32 Public Docket: Attachment 3 to the Survival Factors / Witness Specialist’s Factual Report, p. 1.

33 Public Docket: Survival Factors / Witness Specialist’s Factual Report, Feb. 13, 2003, p. 12.

34 Ibid.

35 Ibid.

36 Ibid., p. 10.

37 Ibid., p. 12.

38 Public Docket: Attachment 1 to the Survival Factors / Witness Specialist’s Factual Report.

39 Public Docket: Airplane Performance Group: Crash Site Factual Report, Feb. 3, 2003, p. 2.

40 Public Docket: Attachment 3 to the Survival Factors / Witness Specialist’s Factual Report, pp. 10-11.

41 Public Docket: Airplane Performance Group: Crash Site Factual Report, Feb. 3, 2003, p. 2.


43 Public Docket: Attachment 3 to the Survival Factors / Witness Specialist’s Factual Report, p. 2

44 See, for example, Paul McEnroe et al., “Senator dies in crash,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, Oct. 26, 2002.

45 Final Report, p. 63.

46 See discussion of Zacharias Moussaoui, below.

47 Don “Four Arrows” Jacobs and James H. Fetzer, American Assassination: The Strange Death of Senator Paul Wellstone (New York: Vox Pop, 2004), p. 11. (Hereinafter referred to as “American Assassination.”)

48 American Assassination, p. 12.

49 Ibid.

50 Ibid.

51 Ibid., p. 13.

52 Ibid., pp. 82-85.

53 Public Docket: Attachment 3 to the Survival Factors / Witness Specialist’s Factual Report, p. 11.

54 A curious feature of the 911 dispatch transcript is the censoring (blacking out) of a solid block of 30 lines of the Police record after 11:22 AM on Saturday, Oct. 26: Ibid., p. 3.

55 American Assassination, p. 14.

56 Ibid.

57 Public Docket: Attachment 3 to the Survival Factors / Witness Specialist’s Factual Report, p. 2.

58 Ibid.

59 Ibid.

60 Ibid., p. 10.

61 Ibid.

62 Ibid., p. 8.

63 Ibid., p. 11.

64 Public Docket: State Police Helicopter Photos cover page, Taken Oct. 26, 2002 At the Request Of The Airplane Performance Group Chairman, and Photos #1, #2, #3, and #4, filed Aug. 23, 2003.

65 Public Docket: Air Traffic Control Group Chairman’s Factual Report of Investigation, Feb. 4, 2003, p. 5, supported by Attachment 9.

66 Ibid., p. 10.

67 Public Docket: Attachment 1 to Airplane Performance Study, Mar. 24, 2003.

68 The NTSB asked Aviation Charter’s Chief Pilot, Alan Hoffert, for an explanation for this behavior. He could offer no explanation. See Public Docket: Attachment 1-39 to the Operational Factors Group Chairman’s Factual Report, p. 174.

69 Public Docket: Attachment 1 to Airplane Performance Study, Mar. 24, 2003.

70 Ibid.

71 Public Docket: Airplane Performance Group: Crash Site Factual Report, Feb. 3, 2003, pp. 5-8, Witnesses #1, #3, and #4.

72 Ibid., Witness #7.

73 Public Docket: Powerplants Group Chairman’s Factual Report, Feb. 19, 2003, p. 3.

74 See, for example, for a simple introduction to constant-speed propellers.

75 Public Docket: Powerplants Group Chairman’s Factual Report, Feb. 19, 2003.

76 Final Report, p. 63.

77 Ibid.

78 Public Docket: Powerplants Group Chairman’s Factual Report, Feb. 19, 2003, pp. 6 and 9.

79 Final Report, p. 26.

80 Public Docket: Powerplants Group Chairman’s Factual Report, Feb. 19, 2003, pp. 6-10.

81 American Assassination, pp. 47-50.

82 Private communications to Jim Fetzer.

83 Public Docket: Meteorology Factual Report, Jan. 15, 2003, p. 39.

84 Abstracts of unclassified reports of electromagnetic and other directed-energy weapons are listed in American Assassination, pp. 135-6, and include reports from the Department of Defense (1994), the Scientific Advisory Board of the U.S. Air Force (1995), the National Air Intelligence Center (1996), and the Royal Australian Air Force (1993). Current capabilities, of course, remain classified. In a curious coincidence, Raytheon, the fourth-largest U.S. defense contractor, now owns a number of patents for devastating electromagnetic weapons developed in the 1980s. It also owns Beechcraft, which manufactured the Senator’s plane.

85 Public Docket: Powerplants Group Chairman’s Factual Report, Feb. 19, 2003, p. 3.

86 Ibid., p. 14.

87 Final Report, pp. 12-13.

88 Public Docket: Attachment 1 to the Human Performance Specialist’s Factual Report, pp. 27-28.

89 Public Docket: Human Performance Specialist’s Factual Report, Feb. 20, 2003, pp. 8-10.

90 Public Docket: Attachment 13 to the Human Performance Specialist’s Factual Report, pp. 1-2. Ironically, the doctor raising the charge of “falsification” refers to the required waiver certificate as a “wavier [sic]” 26 times, demonstrating himself how easy it is to make minor errors in paperwork.

91 Public Docket: Errata 1 to the Operations Group Chairman’s Factual Report, Mar. 4, 2003.

92 Final Report, pp. 8-10.

93 To avoid selective bias, one must read all of the 253 pages of summaries of witness interviews released by the NTSB. See Public Docket: Attachment 13 to the Human Performance Specialist’s Factual Report, and Attachments 1-1 through 1-47 to the Operational Factors Group Chairman’s Factual Report.

94 Public Docket: Attachments 1-27 to the Operational Factors Group Chairman’s Factual Report, p. 123.

95 Final Report, p. 10.

96 Ibid., p. 10.

97 Ibid., p. 11.

98 Ibid., p. 14.

99 Public Docket: Attachment 1 to the Human Performance Specialist’s Factual Report, pp. 40-41.

100 Again, the complete set of witness interview summaries should be considered; see above references.

101 Public Docket: Attachment 23 to the Human Performance Specialist’s Factual Report.

102 Public Docket: Attachment 24 to the Human Performance Specialist’s Factual Report.

103 Public Docket: Attachment 1 to the Human Performance Specialist’s Factual Report, p. 20.

104 Final Report, p. 9.

105 Public Docket: Air Traffic Control Group Chairman’s Factual Report, p. 9-11.

106 This is particularly strange, given that 55-year-old Conry had lived in Minnesota for most of his life, had been flying since he had first gone up as a young boy with his father, and owned a PC-based flight simulator on which he and his co-pilots would practice takeoffs and landings on the weekends.

107 References to these discrepancies run throughout the NTSB’s documents, and an explicit list of citations would be excessive.

108 Public Docket: Attachment 1 to the Human Performance Specialist’s Factual Report, p. 44.

109 Ibid., pp. 4-6.

110 Ibid., pp. 1-4. (See also Final Report, p. 3.)

111 Ibid., pp. 44-45.

112 Public Docket: Attachment 1 to the Human Performance Specialist’s Factual Report, p. 35.

113 Christopher Bollyn, “Wellstone and 911: The Uncanny Connections,” The American Free Press, Dec. 2, 2003;

114 Ibid.

115 Final Report, p. 14.

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