Since the crash that  killed  Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, radio
talk shows, fax networks and computer  communication  links  have
been filled with various conspiracy theories.
(Exclusive to The Spotlight, April 29, 1996)
By Mike Blair
Thousands  of  Americans  believe that when an Air Force jetliner
crashed into a mountain near  the Croatian coastal resort city of
Dubrovnik, killing the secretary of commerce, more than two dozen
U.S. business executives and others, it was not an accident.
A series of  mysteries  and  contradictory  statements  from  the
government  continue to baffle those trying to unravel details of
the April 3 death of Ron Brown.
Critics find  it  more  than  coincidental  that  DynCorp CEO Dan
Bannister decided not to make the trip two days before the  group
left  Washington.   DynCorp  has 600 employees working in Bosnia.
Writers on patriot  networks  have  tied  DynCorp to non-military
security forces in the Balkans.
One of the leading theories discussed was that the crash was  not
an  accident  but  a  means to end an embarrassment for President
Bill Clinton.  Brown was  investigated  by the Justice Department
in 1993 for allegedly taking  $700,000  in  bribes  from  Vietnam
(*Spotlight*  July  5,  1993  and  others).   He  was  cleared by
Clinton's Justice Department.
Another ongoing probe  focused  on  the commerce chief's business
A special  prosecutor  was  trying  to  determine  whether  Brown
improperly  accepted  more than $300,000 from a business partner,
Nolanda Hill, and if  he deliberately filed inaccurate disclosure
statements and a misleading mortgage statement.
The case was dropped after Brown's death.
A federal grand jury in Oklahoma  was  expected  to  indict  both
Brown  and  his  Washington  lobbyist son, Michael, for influence
peddling.  The case focused on the hiring of the younger Brown by
Dynamic Energy Resources, a gas  pipeline company based in Tulsa,
according to published reports.
Two former partners in the firm said that Michael Brown was hired
by Dynamic in order to win favor with his father.
Independent counsel experts indicated after  the  crash  that  it
would  abruptly  end  the investigation of the commerce chief and
probably his associates.
In any case,  adding  fuel  to  the  speculation  are a number of
mysteries and contradictory government statements  involving  the
air crash:
  ** According to Pentagon and White House officials, the plane
  on  which  Brown  and  34 others were killed was not equipped
  with flight voice and data recorders, known as "black boxes."
      These reports came  after  Croatian Prime Minister Vlatko
  Matasa and Miljenko Radic, head of the Croatian civilian  air
  traffic  control,  both  stated that the two boxes were found
  inside the tail of the plane.
      The Pentagon said the aircraft was too old to be equipped
  with the data recorders.
      However the United States  European Command in Stuttgart,
  Germany, insisted the plane did have  the  "black  boxes"  on
      This  was  the  same aircraft in which Secretary of State
  William Perry had been  ferried  about  Bosnia earlier in the
  week and several weeks ago had  carried  first  lady  Hillary
  Clinton  and  the  Clintons' daughter Chelsea to the troubled
      The  burning  question  is,   why  would  such  important
  personages of the Clinton administration be  assigned  to  an
  aircraft without such data recorders?
  **  The  Pentagon  claims  that the aircraft had not received
  upgraded radar  and  communications  technology to facilitate
  electronically-controlled "blind landings."
      Again, why would such  a  plane  be  used  to  carry  key
  administration officials?
  **  Why  did  the  aircraft attempt a landing at Dubrovnik in
  what locals have called "the worst storm in a decade?"
  ** Lt. Col. James Albright,  commander  of the Air Force unit
  in Germany, which included the plane, had been replaced  five
  days  before  the crash for complaining about safety concerns
  about the planes flying  into  poorly equipped airports, such
  as the field at Dubrovnik.
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