Sheila Anthony Defends Her Changed Foster Story
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Vince Foster’s older sister, Sheila Foster Anthony, has reacted with great indignation to Donald Trump’s suggestion that there was something “very fishy” about the circumstances surrounding the death and the “investigation” of the death of her brother, Deputy White House Counsel Vincent W. Foster, Jr. She has done so today (May 27, 2016) in a prominently displayed article in The Washington Post (Wouldn’t you know?) Here is the nub of her testimony on the subject:
Vince called me at my office in the Justice Department a few days before he died. He told me he was battling depression and knew he needed help. But he was worried that such an admission would adversely affect his top-level security clearance and prevent him from doing his job.
I told him I would try to find a psychiatrist who could help him and protect his privacy. After a few phone calls, I gave him three names. That list was found in his wallet with his body at Fort Marcy Park in McLean. I did not see a suicide coming, yet when I was told that Vince was dead I knew that he had killed himself. Never for a minute have I doubted that was what happened.
As it happens, of all of the evidence offered in support of the official and mainstream press suicide-from-depression story, none is fishier than that served up by Sheila Anthony. One of the fishiest things about it is that it is a completely changed story.
You did not have to be working in our nation’s capital as I was when Foster died to know that in the first few days after his body was found in an obscure Civil War relic of a park across the Potomac from Washington, DC, to know that no one around Foster could offer any clue as to why he might have killed himself. These included Hillary Clinton, who knew Foster very well, indeed, who said, “Of a thousand people who might commit suicide, I would never pick Vince.” At the time she got the news of Foster’s death she was in Little Rock. The following is from the FBI interview of her friend James “Skip” Rutherford:
RUTHERFORD had lunch at HILLARY CLINTON’s mother’s residence. HILLARY CLINTON was in complete disbelief and shock at the thought of FOSTER committing suicide. HILLARY CLINTON told RUTHERFORD that she could think of no indication or reason for the suicide. HILLARY CLINTON and RUTHERFORD were trying to determine a motive for FOSTER’s suicide.
Hillary and Skip had lots of company at the time, including the entire Foster family, and that certainly includes Sheila and her husband, the former Arkansas congressman, Beryl Anthony. They were all at Foster’s house in Georgetown on that fateful July night in 1993 when the police investigators arrived and asked questions. No one present, according to the police, could offer any clue as to why Vince Foster might have taken his own life.
But speaking of changed stories and fishiness, this news was not reported by The Washington Post at the time because, in spite of the fact that at least one of its reporters, Walter Pincus, was at the house, The Post reported that Lisa Foster’s lawyer turned the police away. That continued to be the “fact” of record for The Post and the mainstream press for almost a year until U.S. Park Police investigators testified before the Senate Banking Committee and described what happened at the house, and subsequently released their long-suppressed report.
The Amazing Morphing Suicide Story
Foster’s body was found on a Tuesday. For the rest of that first week the story coming out of the White House and from all officialdom was in complete accord with that FBI statement from Rutherford. But to see how things changed we pick up the narrative from my “America’s Dreyfus Affair: The Case of the Death of Vincent Foster:”
In slow and awkward stages the story of the mysterious, motiveless suicide began to change. The first attempt at changing the story amounted to something of a false start. The little-read Washington Times of Saturday, July 24, four days after Foster's death, carried an inside article about depression in which [White House spokesperson Dee Dee] Myers was quoted as saying of Foster, "His family says with certainty that he'd never been treated [for depression]." But on the front page was a story based upon information from an anonymous "source close to the Foster family" who said that Foster was, indeed, experiencing emotional problems and had turned to other family members for psychiatric recommendations. Among the family members mentioned to the reporter was brother-in-law, former Arkansas Congressman Beryl Anthony. The reporter had telephoned Anthony and asked him about the allegation and Anthony had responded, "That's a bunch of crap. There's not a damn thing to it," and angrily hung up the phone.
These early, spontaneous reactions, as with Hillary in Little Rock and the Foster family at their house on the night of the death, have the ring of authenticity. * But the story slowly changed. Here we pick up the “Dreyfus Affair” narrative:
The next significant contribution to the theory that Foster was experiencing psychological problems came four days later in The Washington Post Wednesday, July 28, on page A8. The first sentence bears quoting in its entirety:
White House officials searching the office of Vincent Foster, Jr. last week found a note indicating the 48 year-old deputy White House counsel may have considered psychiatric help shortly before he died July 20 in what investigators have concluded was a suicide, federal officials said yesterday.
The full quote is important because two days later, as part of a much longer article on the ongoing investigation, The Post said that the note had been found by the Park Police in Foster’s automobile at Fort Marcy Park, which was eventually in the report released by the Park Police almost a year later. (The July 30 Post article said, however, that the list contained the names of two psychiatrists, both of whom were named and one of whom was interviewed. Neither had been contacted by Foster. The problem here is that when the police report was released, three names were on the list and the names were blacked out as though to protect their confidentiality. The blackouts were missing in a version of the police report released some time later, and the first name on the list, the one not named in the Post article, looked as though it had been written in a different hand.)
It is also interesting to observe that mention of the list of psychiatrists does not turn up in police records until July 27, though the police had all evidence from the car in hand the night of the 20th.
The observation that investigators had concluded the death was a suicide is also not correct, at least not in any official sense. That conclusion was officially made by the Park Police on August 10.
Please note carefully that in today’s article, Sheila (or whoever wrote it for her to sign) repeats the claim that she is the source of the list of psychiatrists, but she says that the note “was found in his wallet with his body.”
So The Post has now printed at least three stories on where this very likely bogus list of psychiatrists was found, in Foster’s office, in Foster’s car at Fort Marcy Park, or in Foster’s wallet with his body at the park. When it comes to changed stories, Sheila has nothing on The Post.
We said that the whole story about this list of psychiatrists is probably bogus, and for substantiation of that claim we turn to my article, “Vince Foster’s Valuable Murder:”
That's the confusing state in which our propagandists left matters until about a year later when ninety pages of police documents were released to the public. There we find the number of psychiatrists given as three and the place where the note was found was Foster's car. This is curious on a number of counts. If the police found the note in Foster's car, why is it not specifically listed among the things reported found there? And if they were specifically searching for indications that Foster might have been suicidal, why did they let more than a week pass while the White House was saying that there were no indications of any sort of motive for Foster's "suicide?" The names of the three psychiatrists, like much else in the police report, were also blacked out, or "redacted," even though two of them had already been identified by The Washington Post. Might there have been some concern about the handwriting?
Some time later, as part of the Senate Banking Committee's investigation of the Foster death, the police report was released again, and this time the blackout had been removed. Sure enough, there is something odd about the handwriting. The first name on the list, the one we see for the first time, Dr. Robert Hedaya, is handwritten in block letters while the other two are written in cursive. No indication has ever been given as to who might have done the writing.
Dr. Hedaya is interesting because we learn from the Senate documents that he told investigators that Sheila Anthony, Vince's sister, had called him on the Friday before Foster's death on Tuesday, informing him that Vince would be calling him to talk to him about his depressed state of mind. But we also learn from a report by lead Park Police investigator, John Rolla, that the police had called all three psychiatrists on July 22, two days after the death, and Rolla reports routinely that all three psychiatrists said that Foster was not a patient of theirs. Is it at all believable that Hedaya would have made no mention of the Anthony call and, if he did, that it would have escaped mention in Rolla's report? The best bet on this particular Rolla document is that it is a backdated forgery. Not only is it inconsistent in content with Dr. Hedaya's statement, but it is also inconsistent in its timing with other revelations about this note. Furthermore, to this admittedly untrained eye, the "John Rolla" signature at the bottom looks nothing like his signature on other documents.
Smell the Fish at The Post
At this point if nothing smells fishy to you, I think you have a serious olfactory problem. I see a lot of people getting leaned on to make their stories accord with the slowly developed “suicide-from-depression” one. But when a story is being concocted, it’s hard to maintain consistency among the various parties. In Special Prosecutor Robert Fiske’s report, Sheila reportedly talked to one of the psychiatrists who had been recommended by a friend. She doesn’t say which psychiatrist or who the friend was. Hedaya, as a native of Iran, might have made a good candidate for pressure with a possible threat of deportation. Who knows how Sheila got leaned on, but after she got on board with the depression story, she told an FBI interviewer that her brother had lost lots of weight, when in fact he weighed 194 pounds at a physical exam he took on December 31, 1992, and his body weighed 197 pounds after drying out for a few hours in the heat of July 20, 1993.
The Washington Post is absolutely the last organization to have any standing when it comes to discovering the truth in the Foster death case. From the very first day they have sold the suicide thesis as hard as Rush Limbaugh sells the product or service of one of his advertisers. In fact, it was their bizarre reporting and their apparent total lack of curiosity and skepticism that originally aroused my suspicion. Why were they so quick to call it an “apparent suicide” when there was really nothing apparent about it? I had lived and worked in the area for about a decade by that time and I had never noticed Fort Marcy Park, even though I had driven by its entrance a number of times off the George Washington Parkway as one heads north. How would this person who had newly arrived from Arkansas even know about this park, I wondered, and why would he take off from work in the middle of the day, walk to a far corner of the park, and shoot himself there? It didn’t make any sense, but The Post clearly wanted us to swallow it all right down.
The outright suppression of important news has been a vital part of The Post’s suicide selling job. Nowhere has their news blackout been more important than their failure to report the full contents of Kenneth Starr’s report on Foster’s death. In Part 3 of “America’s Dreyfus Affair,” I called it “The Great Suppression of ‘97.” Even today, The Post leaves out that important appendix from the Starr Report posted on its web site. They can get by with repeating their “Foster suicide” mantra only by depriving their readers of the letter submitted by the lawyer for the dissident witness in the case, Patrick Knowlton. That letter, ordered by the three judges who appointed Starr to be appended over Starr’s strenuous objections, completely destroys the suicide thesis. One important way it does so is by destroying the story that Vince Foster drove to Fort Marcy Park. Knowlton, in spite of what his FBI interviewers reported, is adamant that the car he saw in the Fort Marcy parking lot was not Foster’s. Furthermore, his description of the reddish brown Honda that he saw is in accord with the recollections of other witnesses. Knowlton’s testimony also rules out the possibility that that list of psychiatrists could have been found in “Foster’s car” at the park.
Before that The Post had blacked out the news of the lawsuit that Knowlton had begun, announced in a news conference, against several members of the FBI for the harassment he had suffered as a grand jury witness. When reporter Christopher Ruddy had held his news conference at the Willard Hotel with three handwriting experts declaring that the torn-up note found in Foster’s briefcase and touted as a sort of suicide note was a forgery, The Post blacked out that news, as well.
Finally, in today’s Washington Post op-ed piece today attributed to Anthony, the writer wails lugubriously about the pain inflicted upon the Foster family by suicide skeptics like me. For those who can’t see on its face how preposterous such a claim is, some time ago I penned this poem:
Don’t you think that the family has suffered enough?
Why must you stir up this mess?
He wasn’t constructed of very strong stuff;
He couldn’t put up with the press.
He must not have been what he seemed to be.
He could not have been very stable.
That he might have been killed for his honesty
Is just a romantic fable.
We’ll fight for his right to be off in the head.
What do you mean we offend you?
If you should turn up mysteriously dead,
This is how we would defend you.
If you should turn up mysteriously dead,
This is how we would defend you.
* Interestingly, the now out-of-the-closet fake critic of the Clintons, Christopher Ruddy, in his book The Strange Death of Vincent Foster, describes the Anthonys as the primary supporters of the suicide-from-depression thesis. He completely omits any mention of the crucial Anthony flip-flop, which is probably a good indication of how important it is. I know that he had read my “America’s Dreyfus Affair, Part 1” because I gave him a copy by hand and he later told me in person that he had read it. Richard L. Franklin, in his strong article, “101 Peculiarities Surrounding the Death of Vincent Foster,” in Sam Smith’s Progressive Review did notice it, at a stroke demonstrating greater credibility than Ruddy and giving the lie to the charge repeated ad nauseam in the press that only extreme right-wingers are skeptical of the official story of Foster’s death.
May 27, 2016