Hi, Dave... I'm a producer at ABC News. Can you give me a call about your site. Thanks,
March 2, 2002
What, may I ask, is it about my site that interests you? You wouldn't be interested in helping to obtain justice for Carl Derek Cooper, would you?
Oh my, you must have searched my site for "ABC"!
March 4, 2002
Well, that's what the free press is all about :) Sounds interesting...call me at 1800-221-7386 X6902. Your site was referred to me by a friend.
March 4, 2002
Talk about vague. You're going to have to be a whole lot more specific than that. What is it on my web site that you want to talk about? Do you have some questions about some particular things there that you would like to ask? What did that "friend" say about my web site to make you seek me out? Have you actually spent any time there?
What is the interest of ABC News in my web site? Does it bother them that I put out a lot more real news than, say, Ted Koppel, but they pay him tons more money than I make? Now, if we had a real free press that wouldn't be the case, would it?
Impressing no one but their colleagues, They're not even learned or witty...
See "A Literary Toast."
March 4, 2002
(I forward the following e-mail from "Geeman" with my brief comment at the end. Geeman was responding to my having sent him the autopsy of former Enron executive, Cliff Baxter.)
Thanks. If you look on my site you'll see the story about Cliff Baxter.
We both know the bastards are going to get away with it - just look at the "news" that's being allowed out about it.
Anybody who questions official party line is either ignored or discredited.
When living conditions become so bad that the disenfranchised masses riot in the streets the media will ignore half of it (never happened) and call the other half "acts of terrorism." (discredited)
Almost 3 INCHES of shot spread?? He must have shot himself from across his living room, driven himself somewhere to die, and magically picked up another small caliber bullet in his head somewhere along the way.
I can see how easy it is to mistake a silver colored (chrome or stainless?) handgun for a black (blued) one. Just ask Stevie Wonder.
www.angelfire.com/ny5/tradecencrimes That wouldn't include ABC News that's not allowing any significant news out, would it?
The things people will do for a living.
March 4, 2002
Amazing, ain't it! (Not me, tho)
March 5, 2002
Yes, Sir. I spent time at your website.
I apologize for seeming vague. I find it easier to talk to people over the telephone. Someone sent me your link and I thought that we should talk. This individual was impressed with information they'd received that you published regarding J. Clifford Baxter.
ABC News did not ask me to contact you. I am an investigative producer and I contact people based upon what interests me. The e-mail I sent to you is similar to ones I've sent to many other people on many other topics over the past 20 years. I've done many successful reports this way, not just at ABC News, but I spent many years at CBS, including working with Walter Cronkite and 60 Minutes. Talking with you takes me closer to the topic. It is the way I work. It's basically a conversation with no strings attached. I hope you call me. My number is 1800-221-7386 X6902. Thanks,
March 5, 2002
Everything I know about the Baxter case I have posted on the Net for the world to see. There's nothing more for ABC to get out of me. Now why don't you pick up the ball and run with it instead of continuing to participate in the cover-up? Really, as long as you engage in this reprehensible news suppression, it seems to me that you have little standing to talk to decent, honest folk like me. Now if Peter Jennings or Ted Koppel were to inform the American public of all the serious unanswered questions with the Baxter death and stop calling it a suicide, as a show of good faith, I might begin to think of you people as someone actually worth talking to. But I'm not holding my breath.
Same Old Press
Should they start now to keep us apprised,
We all should be greatly surprised.
Straight news undiluted,
By cant unpolluted,
Is precisely what they've stigmatized.
So go ahead and lose ratings and see your programming eaten into by cheap, but somewhat more honest, entertainment and don't expect any help from me.
By the way, had you searched my site for Cronkite or read the appendix to Part 6 of "Dreyfus" I don't believe you would have been invoking your experience with CBS News or 60 Minutes with me to try to win me over.
Readers: I had earlier posted a list of important unanswered questions in the Baxter death case.www.stlimc.org/stlouis/news/front
Most recently I had obtained a copy of his autopsy and Mike Rivero had put it up along with my accompanying article on his heavily traveled www.whatreallyhappened.com .
BAXTER AUTOPSY POINTS TO MURDER
Freedom may be on life support in America, but it is still alive. By sending a mere $25 to the Office of the Medical Examiner of Harris County, Texas, The Great Speckled Bird has been able to obtain a notarized copy of the autopsy of former Enron executive, J. Clifford Baxter. A complete copy is attached. Here are the salient points as we see them:
1. Although the "Manner of Death" on page 1 is given as "suicide," no effort is made in the autopsy to support that conclusion, and, indeed, there is no supporting evidence for suicide in the autopsy. The conclusion could only have been reached based upon something extraneous to the autopsy.
2. The strongest evidence in the autopsy report is most consistent with murder. Under EVIDENCE OF INJURY on numbered page 3 we find, "The defect is stellate and, when the wound edges are repositiioned, measures 7.2 centimeters in the horizontal direction and 4.5 centimeters in the vertical direction."
This suggests a wound inflicted by a starburst of rat shot pellets which were far enough from the muzzle of the weapon to have separated from one another by as much as 2.83 inches before striking the head. Who would, or could, shoot themselves in the temple like this?
In the paragraph above the EVIDENCE OF INJURY we read that "The palmar surface of the left hand is remarkable for an irregular, red, recent abrasion occurring at the base of the fifth digit, which measures 1/4 inch along the linear axis. There is an irregular abrasion on the palmar surface of the distal phalanx of the fifth digit, which measures 1.5 centimeters. This injury consists of discontinuous superficial abrasions with a trail of black material."
Such an injury, though very slight, is not consistent with Baxter having shot himself while seated in his car. Rather, it suggests that he had recently fallen to his left (consistent with being shot in the right temple) and attempted to break to fall by extending his left hand, perhaps on an asphalt road. The black material should have been tested to see what it is, but apparently it was not.
3. The car was much nearer to the house than news reports have indicated, for what that might be worth. As in the original Houston Chronicle report, the autopsy report says Baxter was found in his car in the 5200 block of Palm Royale Boulevard. We learn for the first time here, though, that his home was at 5211 Palm Royale Boulevard. He was less than a block from home, and could have been in front of his own house.
4. His dress, workout pants and a t-shirt, are most consistent with his having just ventured out from his house rather than his having been out in some public place.
I am putting the entire autopsy up here in case someone else might see something that I haven't, or in case someone might want to take issue with my tentative conclusions.
The Great Speckled Bird
Dear reader, if you want to read the autopsy for yourself, please go to whatreallyhappened.com and scroll down to the search box and search "baxter autopsy."
March 5, 2002
(Because she has finally told me that it is the Baxter case that she is interested in, I forward the following exchange to her):
Subject: Contact gun shot wound
Dear Sir, the injury noted in the Enron death is very characteristics of a contact gunshot wound not of one of any distance, the barrel had to be held in contact with the skin. I've been a death investigator for over 25 years and have seen this many times. It is well documented in several if not all texts on the subject.
M H West
From: David Martin [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, March 05, 2002 8:42 PM
To: Michael West
Subject: Re: Contact gun shot wound
Dear Detective West,
Could you please then explain the phenomenon to a poor layman like me? Why wouldn't the defect (the hole?) in the temple be of the same diameter as the caliber of the weapon? Entrance wounds are generally small; exit wounds are generally large. I should think that rat shot that had not had the time to spread would produce a garden-variety small entrance wound.
The autopsy with my speculation is at www.rense.com . Rense publishes readers' comments. Please send your comments there and let's see what others have to say about them. If you choose not to do so, would you give me permission to do it with your name attached?
(I had also sent the article to the Rense site and directed Mr. West there instead of to the Rivero site because of the readers' forum.)
March 5, 2002
(Melissa begins to show her hand.)
I'm hearing the same thing.
March 5, 2002
From whom? What is their explanation?
March 5, 2002
(Now she's really showing her hand. This e-mail is entitled JOURNALISM 101.)
I hope you take responsibility and clear everything up on your website. Unlike you, we have to check things before we put them out there. I was wondering why you weren't willing to verify anything with me. Next time, wouldn't it be a good idea for you to check with your detective friend first?
P.S: By the way, why ask the detective correct your mistake? Own up to it yourself!
The next day I receive an e-mail from Mr. West that backs up his assertion about the wound in spades. He sends me several pages from Vincent DeMiaio's text on gunshot wounds that includes a photograph of a "stellate" contact wound. (see attachment)
Another couple of private e-mails support the one from Mr. West. I then send the following update to Mike Rivero, which he posted directly below my orignal autopsy article. I also sent it to Rense. but he did not post it. Later he allows a reader to get the last word by making basically the same observations as Mr. West. I think I shall have to wash my hands of Rense.
Latest from DC Dave A consensus of informed readers' comments is in, and I now believe that the large irregular entrance wound is very likely to have been made by the discharge from a pistol muzzle pressed firmly against Cliff Baxter's temple, not by a weapon held a foot or two away. As one reader pointed out, there's a good chance that rat shot would not even penetrate the skull unless the gun were pressed up against the head. Moreover, when it is pressed up against the head the expanded gases between the scalp and the skull quite often cause a star-shaped (stellate) blow-out of the scalp, similar to the one described in the autopsy. See the attached page and photograph from Vincent DiMiaio's text, "Gunshot Wounds."
The big question that remains, of course, is who might have pressed the gun up against Baxter's head and pulled the trigger and on what basis the autopsy doctor and the justice of the peace rushed to the conclusion that it was Baxter.
Readers have also asked some other questions whiich may or may not have good answers such as why the clothes were wet, why was the body barefooted yet the feet were clean, where were his shoes, why weren't the hands bagged for protection, why there is nothing said about the condition of the right hand, and why Baxter had taken a powerful and fast-acting sleeping pill if he was planning to go driving somewhere and kill himself.
There also remain a host of other unanswered questions unrelated to the autopsy such as:
1. Whose gun was the death weapon?
2. Where, exactly, was it found?
3. Where did the rat shot ammo come from?
4. Where was the "suicide note" found?
5. What does the note say?
6. Has it been authenticated? How and by whom?
7. What was the condition of the car?
8. Who saw Baxter last and what was his mood?
9. What does the family have to say?
Perhaps most important of all, with the motive for murder seemingly so much stronger than the motive for suicide, why are the news media apparently so eager to embrace the suicide conclusion and to sweep the whole matter under the rug?
Then I responded to Melissa Cornick's JOURNALISM 101 message on March 8, 2002:
So, you've finally cleared up the mystery as to what you were up to with your repeated "Call me, call me" (at 1800-221-7386 X6902.) requests. You had the information that I later obtained and, seeing my mistake, you were playing the "gotcha" game. Had it been the truth you were interested in rather than a chance to catch me off guard you would have simply e-mailed me what you knew and saved me a little time in setting the record straight.
Concering my website, which is what you said originally you wanted to talk to me about, I have posted nothing there about Cliff Baxter's autopsy. If you have a look at it you will see that no new prose has gone up there since the end of January. When I had the autopsy along with my comments posted at whatreallyhappened.com I described my comments as "tentative" and invited others to come to their own conclusions. In the spirit of free inquiry they did and I have now duly revised my conclusions. I might even revise them some more if I learn some more. I would put my approach to the Baxter death up against that of ABC News any day of the week.
As far as Journalism 101 is concerned, if it is true that ye shall know a tree by the fruit that it bears, you folks must be taught that a reporter's first obligation is to determine what it is that the government wants him to say. No wonder, as Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post has said, "More and more people don't believe journalists, don't trust journalists, think we put our own spin on the news."
That's putting it mildly.
That was the last I heard from Melissa, suggesting to me that I was right about her intentions.
In the meantime, CBS News reported on April 10 that, in fact, the police have not finally concluded that Cliff Baxter's death was a suicide, and they are still investigating.
A few days later, the "suicide note" was released to the public. It is printed in all capital letters, including the signature, and reads as follows:
"I am so sorry for this. I feel I just can't go on. I've always tried to do the right thing, but where there was once great pride now it's gone," Baxter, 43, wrote to his wife, Carol, in block letters. "I love you and the children so much. I just can't be any good to you or myself. The pain is overwhelming. Please try to forgive me. Cliff."
What silly boilerplate! But ABC News, if they write anything at all, would prefer to do a story about the critics of the government and the press in the case, especially if they can catch one of them in an error.
April 28, 2002
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