The Cover-up of Sonny Bono's Murder

News Suppression

It is now news in Australia that new evidence has turned up that suggests that California congressman Sonny Bono was murdered and did not die in a skiing accident as we have been told repeatedly.  Although he was an American whose job was to represent Americans, as far as the mainstream United States press is concerned this news is unworthy of the attention of the people of the United States.  This is the same American press, of course, that never breathed the slightest hint of suspicion that there might have been foul play involved when the experienced skier Bono was reported to have slammed into a tree at the Heavenly Ski resort in Nevada on January 5, 1998.  There were no witnesses, the autopsy report was not released to the public, and Bono had shown himself to be something of a thorn in the side of official Washington, which is probably all the more reason for the lapdogs who call themselves journalists to have dummied up.

For Americans, the new revelations can be found buried away—and ignored by "respectable people"—in the U.S. supermarket tabloid, Globe, of April 14, which hit the news racks on April 4.  They were said to have been gathered by investigator Bob Fletcher, 66, who, according to Globe, was connected to the case even before Bono died:

He also feels partially responsible for what happened to the California congressman.  

Before Bono's death, Fletcher had been probing the activities of high ranking U.S. military and government officials he claims were raking in millions from arms and drug deals in Central America and Southeast Asia.

He says he sent his shocking findings of corruption, including videotaped evidence, to Bono.

"I later received a call from an assistant in his offices to tell me Sonny had seen my full report and was absolutely livid about the level of corruption I made him aware of," Fletcher tells GLOBE.

"He was going to make it his No. 1 priority when Congress resumed after the Christmas and New Year break.  He was going to go after the biggest names.

"Just 10 days later, I received a call that he was dead.  I'd heard it was suspected his offices had been bugged.  Tragically, that must have been the case.  There's no doubt in my mind Sonny was murdered by someone who needed to silence him."

The new evidence is the long-suppressed autopsy report, itself, which Fletcher obtained and furnished to Globe

After reviewing the shocking secret documents, former FBI agent Ted Gunderson tells GLOBE: "The official version of Sonny Bono's death is hogwash. It's nonsense for anyone to now try to suggest that Bono died after crashing into a tree.

There's zero evidence in this autopsy report or any of these official documents to show such an accident happened.  Instead, there's powerful proof he was assassinated.  "This was an evil plot that was carried out to almost perfection by ruthless assassins."

Even though two of the online Australian newspapers attribute their article to "staff writers," it's the same short article in The Australian, Mercury (The Voice of Tasmania), and The Daily Telegraph (first two links now dead), beginning:

SONNY Bono, former husband and singing partner of superstar Cher, was clubbed to death by hitmen on the orders of drug and weapons dealers who feared he was going to expose them, a former FBI agent claims.

Ted Gunderson, now a private investigator, has told the US Globe tabloid that Bono, who served as mayor of Palm Springs for four years, did not die after hitting a tree on a Nevada ski slope in January 1998 as everyone believed.

So identical, are they, in fact, that all three of them have the first sentence in bold.  Continuing in the brief, rather sketchy article, they say:

Bono, an experienced skier, was ambushed on the slopes by hired hitmen, who beat him to death and then staged a tree collision, Mr. Gunderson said.

He called for authorities to dig up Bono's remains and open a homicide investigation.

His claims have reportedly been backed by top forensics experts who fear Nevada authorities were too quick to call the death a skiing accident.

The Australian papers, it should also be noted, leave the impression that Gunderson is the prime mover in this investigation while only mentioning Fletcher at the end of their article as follows:

Investigator Bob Fletcher had also confessed he sent evidence of a 10-year study that linked top US government officials to arms and weapons dealers to Bono less than a month before his death, the Globe reported.

"(Bono) was going to make it his No.1 priority... There's no doubt in my mind Sonny was murdered by someone who needed him silenced," Mr Fletcher told the paper.

In an email to me on May 13, 2008, Mr. Fletcher was emphatic that Gunderson "has had absolutely nothing to do with this investigation."  (The foregoing section, starting with "The Australian papers...," was added on May 13.)

Interestingly, Yahoo also picked up the story, but it is Yahoo for the United Kingdom and Ireland and Yahoo for Australia (both links now dead).  It would appear that Yahoo is as compliant toward corrupt American authorities as it is toward their counterparts in China.

The Autopsy

How compelling is the new evidence?  The five-page autopsy report prepared by Dr. David E. Palosaari, official pathologist for Washoe County at the time, concluded that the death was caused by "craniocerebral injuries due to blunt force trauma (skiing accident)."

But Globe reports further:

Other injuries detailed in the document included a black eye, swollen lips, bloody nose, bruised jaw, and two upper teeth knocked out, all on the right side of the head.

But the pathologist also noted a series of small fractures in a "central depressed region" on the right side of Bono's skull and found "some of the fractured bone pieces have a curved configuration."

Fletcher consulted a panel of experts and performed a re-creation to determine how these wounds were caused.

He concludes the depressed area was due to blows from a rounded-edged weapon wielded by a man taller than the 5-foot-nine, 165-pound politician and the killer was left-handed since the wounds are on the right side of Bono's face and head.  He also believes there was a second man who held Bono from behind.

Fletcher thinks the murder weapon was a pistol, but other experts tell GLOBE that a gun barrel would have left distinguishable marks.

"Sonny was ambushed and viciously battered to death with a billy club or similar weapon," ex-FBI man Gunderson says.  "The killers staged the crime scene and made it look like a tragic ski-accident."

Fletcher insists the lack of damage to the back of Bono's brain, known as "contra-coup" injuries, is proof that he was beaten to death.  He says people who hit objects face-first normally have brain injuries caused when the organ rebounds off the back of their skull.  And other physical evidence doesn't add up, either, he says.

Strangely for what was called a ski accident, Bono had no smashed ribs, broken knees, neck trauma--or hand injuries that would have come from trying to ward off a collision with a tree, Fletcher says.  And signs that he actually hit the tree--including bark impressions on his face and plant debris on his clothes--are also missing, the investigator says.

And his ski goggles weren't smashed as they likely would have been in a collision, according to the expert.

Fletcher also notes the back of Bono's clothes were [sic] soaked with blood--but he had no back wounds.  "The blood must have come from someone else, perhaps when Sonny valiantly fought back and hit one of his assailants," he declares.

The autopsy also mentions a small L-shaped tear on the back of Bono's black and purple Fila ski jacket.  Fletcher says the tear is a likely result of a struggle.  And Gunderson believes the new evidence gathered by Fletcher raises the specter of murder and warrants a new investigation.

Fletcher believes that Bono's wife when they became famous together, Cher, will call for a new investigation when she learns of these new revelations.  Little hope is held out, apparently, that she will be joined by Mary Bono, Sonny's wife at the time of his death.  Mary, who succeeded Sonny in the Congress and has remarried, has suggested publicly that his errant skiing was caused by Sonny having taken too many prescription painkillers.  But that suggestion had already been contradicted by a previously-released toxicology report, said Globe.  Their marriage, which was Sonny's fourth, was said to have been troubled at the time of his death.

Sonny's mother, Jean, on the other hand, believed all along that he was murdered.  She died in 2005, but not before demanding "a much more thorough investigation" into his death, according to Globe.

A Waco Connection?

Gunderson agrees with Fletcher that the 62-year-old Bono was likely to have been killed because of what he might uncover, or had already uncovered, about illegal drug and arms dealing by high-level government officials.  But there are other possibilities.  When Janet Reno testified before Congress about the final, fatal assault on the Branch Davidians at Waco, Bono was relentless in his questioning about the professed use of CS gas on the confined men, women, and children:

Representative Sonny Bono (R-CA), a member of the full House Crime Committee, was concerned that Ms. Reno had not conducted a more exhaustive study of CS before making a decision. He challenged her claim that she had done all she could to investigate the attributes and hazards of the substance, noting that the U.S. Army Chemical Research and Development Center had confirmed that it knew of no laboratory studies of CS in which the subjects were children. He pointed out that Army databases "contain virtually every study on CS that has ever been conducted by any government or private facility in the world," and stated that he found it "difficult to understand how, after extensive, exhaustive research you failed to uncover the following information that I uncovered in just one day: a report contained in the Journal of the American Medical Association, dated August 4, 1989, that states, I quote, 'Inhalation and toxicology studies at high levels of CS exposure have demonstrated its ability to cause chemical pneumonitis and fatal pulmonary edema.' According to an ear, nose, and throat surgeon that I talked to, pulmonary edema is caused when the mucous membrane is irritated, it secretes mucous which in children and infants plugs up the bronchi. They thus drown in their own saliva and mucous. As soon as the child breathes the fumes, the process begins. Soon after that, the child has little lungs left to breathe, and dies. I find it impossible to believe that with the most powerful law firm in the country, the Department of Justice, at your disposal you could not find this information out, that I found out in one day with two staff members .... So I am sorry to say, Madam Attorney General, that I think you failed there." He concluded with the observation that, in his opinion, "it is the responsibility of the Attorney General in cases like this to research every bit of evidence, and if there is counter evidence, then the error should be on the side of the children."  Robert W. Lee, "Waco Whitewash."

What we see here on display is an independence of mind that is both refreshing and dangerous for an American member of Congress.  Perhaps Bono looked even further into the Waco outrage and found the Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum, which concludes that the whole episode was even more vicious and barbaric than almost anyone suspects.  Then again, any member of Congress looking seriously into high level corruption finds himself in what the military calls a "target-rich environment," so who knows what got him killed?  The best comparisons that can be made are to the less well-known investigators Paul Wilcher or Danny Casolaro, or perhaps to another California Congressman, Leo Ryan.

The Tabloid Cover-up Operation

One can hardly argue that the American press has really done the proper job of a free press in a free society because these new revelations have, at least, been published by Globe.  Rather, the opposite is more nearly the case.  There is hardly any better way to discredit a serious story than to have it published in a tabloid, and only in a tabloid.  This Globe story is quite similar to the National Enquirer story about the dubious "suicide" of Enron executive, Cliff Baxter, or the Star story about the George W. Bush-led fraternity at Yale branding pledges with hot coat hangers.  It is well sourced and documented.  One can bet that Bob Fletcher made a serious effort to get the story covered by "more respectable" news outlets, but was rebuffed.  The same "respectable" news organs are now continuing to cover up for the controlling criminal elite by blacking out what Globe has published.  

What is really impressive is how thoroughgoing and monolithic the whole operation is.  The country is full of reporters who buy groceries in supermarkets just as I do.  One would think that one of them, in one corner or other of this vast country, would spot the Sonny Bono article, would recognize the importance of the story, and would be able to prevail upon his or her editor to follow up on it.  But it hasn't happened yet.  For now it's much bigger news in Australia than it is here, and the odds are very long that not one peep about these Sonny Bono autopsy revelations will be heard anywhere from the American mainstream press.

The same sort of blackout occurred when the former lead investigator for Kenneth Starr, Miquel Rodriguez, spilled the beans about the cover-up of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster's murder, and it happened when the official investigation of the "suicide" of America's first defense secretary, James Forrestal, was made public, and it will occur again.

David Martin, April 6, 2008

Links checked Nov. 22, 2010

Note.  Bob Fletcher's investigative reports are available at P.O. Box 216, Bayview, Idaho 83803, email  The writer of the Globe article is Bob Burns, email


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