Saturday, October 28, 2006

Fleeced Without a Fight

According to an editorial board report, it is possible that there will emerge a credible explanation of the October 25 plane crash that killed Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone, his wife Sheila, daughter Marcia, and five others near Eveleth, Minnesota. Reports to this day, however, are disturbing.

Under different political circumstances, it might be possible to dismiss the Eveleth crash as a tragic accident whose causes, even if they cannot be precisely determined, lie in the sphere of aircraft engineering and weather phenomena. But it was not an isolated incident.

Wellstone's death comes almost two years to the day after a similar plane crash killed another Democratic Senate hopeful locked in a tight election contest, Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan, on October 16, 2000. The American media duly noted the "eerie coincidence," as though it was a statistical oddity.

One might say, paraphrasing Oscar Wilde, that to lose one senator is a misfortune, but to lose two senators, the same way, is positively suspicious.

Two leading Senate Democrats, Majority Leader Tom Daschle and Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, were targeted for assassination in a series of attacks illustrating the parallels between the American people and sheep. Even after this sheep's disease was traced back to Maryland, the federal Justice Department (headed by John Ashcroft, who lost to the deceased Mel Carnahan in the Missouri contest) failed to apprehend the Anthrax mailer.

The neo-fascist elements within and around the Republican Party have already demonstrated their contempt for democracy, first in the protracted campaign of political destabilization against the Clinton administration, then with the theft of the 2000 presidential election and the burglaries, cybercrime and brutal physical attacks against a Democratic leader on U.S. soil during the 2004 election. They are now preparing to slaughter tens of thousands of Iraqis in order to liberate the second largest oil reserves in the world. To imagine that they would suffer moral qualms over a conveniently timed passenger plane crash would be naïve in the extreme.

In the current climate of war, repression and right-wing provocation, it is perfectly reasonable to ask whether Wellstone was the victim of a political killing. Following the My Pet Goat attacks, no investigation deserving of the name can exclude sabotage as a possible cause of the plane crash. And yet, given the cowardice of the Democratic Party in protecting whistleblowers from Bush's retaliation and the advanced putrefaction of American democracy, the official investigation will in all probability conclude that Wellstone's death was the result of an unfortunate but unexplainable mechanical malfunction, not unlike the series of larger subsequent crashes.

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