Bill Clinton has quietly done away with several dozen people who possessed incriminating evidence about him.
Multiple versions of lengthy lists of deaths associated with Bill Clinton have been circulating online for about twenty years now. According to those lists, close to fifty colleagues, advisors, and citizens who were about to testify against the Clintons died in suspect circumstances, with the unstated implication being that Bill Clinton or his henchmen were behind each untimely demise.
We shouldn’t have to tell anyone not to believe this claptrap, but we will anyway. In a frenzied media climate where the Chief Executive couldn’t boff a White House intern without the whole world finding out every niggling detail of each encounter and demanding his removal from office, are we seriously to believe the same man had been having double handfuls of detractors and former friends murdered with impunity?
Don’t be swayed by the number of names listed on screeds like this. Any public figure is bound to have a much wider circle of acquaintance than an ordinary citizen would. Moreover, the acquaintanceship is often one-sided: though many of the people enumerated on this list might properly claim to have “known” Clinton, he wouldn’t know or remember having met a great number of them.
“Body count” lists are not a new phenomenon. Lists documenting all the allegedly “suspicious” deaths of persons connected with the assassination of John F. Kennedy have been circulating for decades, and the same techniques used to create and spread the JFK lists have been employed in the Clinton version:
- List every dead person with even the most tenuous of connections to your subject. It doesn’t matter how these people died, or how tangential they were to your subject’s life. The longer the list, the more impressive it looks and the less likely anyone is to challenge it. By the time readers get to the bottom of the list, they’ll be too weary to wonder what could possibly be relevant about the death of people such as Bill Clinton’s mother’s chiropractor.
- Play word games. Make sure every death is presented as “mysterious.” All accidental deaths are to be labelled “suspicious,” even though by definition accidents occur when something unexpected goes wrong. Every self-inflicted death discussed must include the phrase “ruled a suicide” to imply just the opposite. When an autopsy contradicts a “mysterious death” theory, dispute it; when none was performed because none was needed, claim that “no autopsy was allowed.” Make liberal use of words such as ‘allegedly’ and ‘supposedly’ to dismiss facts you can’t support or contradict with hard evidence.
- Make sure every inconsistency or unexplained detail you can dredge up is offered as evidence of a conspiracy, no matter how insignificant or pointless it may be. If an obvious suicide is discovered wearing only one shoe, ignore the physical evidence of self-inflicted death and dwell on the missing shoe. You don’t have to establish an alternate theory of the death; just keep harping that the missing shoe “can’t be explained.”
- If the data doesn’t fit your conclusion, ignore it. You don’t have to explain why the people who claimed to have the most damaging goods on Clinton (e.g., Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Linda Tripp, Monica Lewinsky, Kenneth Starr), are still walking around unscathed while dozens of bit players have been bumped off. It’s inconvenient for you, so don’t mention it.
- Most important, don’t let facts and details stand in your way! If you can pass off a death by pneumonia as a “suicide,” do it! If a cause of death contradicts your conspiracy theory, claim it was “never determined.” If your chronology of events is impossible, who cares? It’s not like anybody is going to check up on this stuff …
Multiple versions of this “body count” list have been circulating online for two decades now. New victim names are routinely added and old ones taken off, forming an endless variety of permutations. At this point, there is no one “official” list.
But where did all this craziness start? In a 1994 letter to congressional leaders, former Rep. William Dannemeyer listed 24 people with some connection to Clinton who had died “under other than natural circumstances” and called for hearings on the matter.
Dannemeyer’s list of “suspicious deaths” was largely taken from one compiled by Linda Thompson, an Indianapolis lawyer who in 1993 quit her year-old general practice to run her American Justice Federation, a for-profit group that promotes pro-gun causes and various conspiracy theories through a shortwave radio program, a computer bulletin board, and sales of its newsletter and videos.
Her list, called “The Clinton Body Count: Coincidence or the Kiss of Death?” then contained the names of 34 people she believed had died suspiciously and who had ties to the Clinton family. Thompson admitted she had “no direct evidence” of Clinton’s killing anyone. Indeed, she said the deaths were probably caused by “people trying to control the President” but refused to say who they were. Thompson said her allegations of murder “seem groundless only because the mainstream media haven’t done enough digging.”
Ah, but they had. If not before she put her list together, at least afterwards. Anyone who continues to state the mainstream media has given these claims short shrift is being disingenuous.
Since 1994, various respected news outlets have been confronted with versions of the “Clinton Body Count” list, run their own investigations of a few of the claims, and found nothing to substantiate what they looked into. Those investigations would culminate in yet another story about an oddball conspiracy rumor.
But conspiracy theories don’t die that easily. These “body count” lists and the many specious claims contained therein continue to circulate in cyberspace and beyond: yesterday’s newspaper articles are forgotten with the next day’s delivery, but e-mail lives forever.
A 2007 version of the “Clinton Body Count” list was headed with this entry:
James McDougal — Clinton’s convicted Whitewater partner died of an apparent heart attack, while in solitary confinement. He was a key witness in Ken Starr’s investigation.
James McDougal, a key witness for Whitewater prosecutors when the investigation centered on an Arkansas land deal in which the president and McDougal were involved, had a pre-existing heart condition and died of a heart attack on 8 March 1998 while in solitary confinement at the Federal Medical Center prison in Fort Worth. The ailing McDougal had been placed in solitary as punishment for failing to provide a urine sample for a drug test. On the day before his death and while still in his regular cell (where he had access to his heart medications), he had complained of dizziness, and while being processed for isolation he threw up. However, once in isolation, he did not ask for his medicines and appeared to guards “alert, well-oriented and absent any visible signs of distress” right up until his death. An investigation into the circumstances of his demise did not find evidence of foul play.
(The McDougal entry was not part of the “Clinton Body Count” list as it circulated in 1998.)
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