Wednesday, April 13, 2005

You will know them by the trail of dead

There's a rock band called ". . . And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead", which is also the way to recognize a lot of conspiracies. The conspirators have gotten more sophisticated since the heady days of the 60's and 70's, when witnesses were dropping like flies. Now they just need to take care of a few key people, like Gary Webb, or James Hatfield, or Cliff Baxter, or Danny Casolaro, or Steve Kangas. Raymond Lemme was an investigator from the Florida Inspector General's office at the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). He is now dead, an apparent suicide. Lemme was the investigator assigned to the case of Clint Curtis, a Florida programmer who has made some disturbing allegations about Chinese spying and computer vote rigging in Florida. You might think a story tying a Republican congressman to both Communist Chinese espionage and computer vote rigging might be big news, but you'd be wrong (and innocent Dr. Wen Ho Lee is still waiting for his pardon). From Chris Floyd:

"Late last year, Congress heard sworn testimony from Florida programmer Clint Curtis, who created vote-rigging software in 2000 at the request of Tom Feeny, a Bush Family factotum. Feeny wanted Curtis (a fellow Republican) and his employer, Yang Enterprises, to produce untraceable programs that could 'control the vote' as needed, investigator Brad Friedman reported. Feeny also told Curtis of Bush plans to 'suppress the black vote' with 'exclusion lists.' This is exactly what happened. BBC investigator Greg Palast has shown that tens of thousands of legitimate African-American voters were deliberately 'purged' from the rolls by a private Republican-controlled corporation hired by Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Afterwards, Feeny - who had been Jeb's running mate in his first gubernatorial campaign - was rewarded for his dutiful service with a plum congressional seat.

In 2002, Raymond Lemme, a Florida state government inspector, took up Curtis' charges, which included other corruption allegations involving Feeny, Yang Enterprises and a Yang employee charged with peddling military technology to the Chinese. In June 2003, Lemme told Curtis he had 'tracked the corruption all the way to the top' and that 'the story would break in a few weeks.' On July 1, 2003, Lemme was found dead in a Georgia hotel room, just across the Florida border.

Local police ruled that Lemme, a happily married man eagerly planning his daughter's wedding, had suddenly decided to slash his wrists. At first they said there were no photos of the death scene; but then the pictures turned up on the Internet and were confirmed as authentic by the embarrassed police. The photos clearly contradicted the original suicide report on several points - presenting evidence, for example, that Lemme had been beaten before his death. The investigation was reopened after Curtis' Congressional testimony - and then abruptly shut down after local police spoke to a never-identified 'someone' in the Florida state government."

This story has received exemplary coverage in The Brad Blog (index of articles here: see also here and especially here). The disgusting local press has tried to 'manage' the problem for Jeb and Feeny, but has been deftly parried by The Brad Blog. As well as alleging vote fraud, Curtis also testified to the illegal shipment of computer chips to China by an employee of the same computer firm which was working on the vote-rigging software. The employee has admitted to the gist of the charges in a plea agreement he has entered into. A contract between FDOT and the programming company in question was terminated by FDOT as a result of the investigation launched after allegations first made by Curtis. Officials apparently find at least some parts of Curtis' testimony worth acting on. As well, Curtis has passed a polygraph examination concerning his allegations. There is every reason to believe that the story told by Curtis of computer vote-rigging in Florida is true, and the extraordinary circumstances of the death of investigator Raymond Lemme adds the unmistakable odor of a conspiracy cover-up. To summarize the weirdness (excellent full summary here):

  1. Curtis stated in his affidavit that Lemme had told him in June of 2003 that "he had tracked the corruption 'all the way to the top' and that the story would break in the next few weeks."

  2. Lemme's body was found in a motel in Valdosta, Georgia, about 80 miles from Tallahassee and just over the Georgia state line. Had he killed himself in Florida there would have been a mandatory state autopsy. There is no such requirement in Georgia.

  3. His wife reported him missing on the day she couldn't locate him, which was June 30. However, the documentation from the motel shows that he signed in on June 29. Even better, it shows he signed out on June 30, a pretty good trick for a dead man. The date discrepancies may be because of an error in the computer at the motel, but that still doesn't explain how a dead man checks out.

  4. His unsigned suicide note fails to mention his only daughter, who was due to be married in three weeks and about whom he often talked. Everyone who knew Lemme said it was very out of character for him to disappear as he did.

  5. The Valdosta police investigators reported that they had no crime scene photos due to a malfunction of the flash memory cards in the digital camera they used (i. e., more than one card must have failed). The photographs, which were no doubt released by an honest cop, appeared on the internet. The police lied. Why would they do a thing like that unless they didn't want anyone to see the photos?

  6. The investigators reported that he killed himself by slitting his wrists, and there was no other trauma to the body. The graphic crime scene photos show an unmistakable discoloration to the side of the neck, as if he'd been sapped to knock him out before his murderers slit his wrists to stage the suicide.

  7. The police report states:

    "On the bathroom floor next to the bathtub was a black in color man's dress belt, which was lying on the top of a white in color hotel bath mat. The belt appeared to have been used as a tourniquet; dried blood was visible on the belt but was not visible on the towel."

    The crime scene photo shows this to be incorrect, with blood clearly visible on the towel.

  8. The Valdosta police reopened the investigation and then quickly closed it again after a call from a mysterious Florida official.

  9. Why would a guy who wanted to kill himself drive 80 miles to the sleasiest motel (see here) in Valdosta, Georgia?

  10. A witness saw three men outside of Lemme's room, and thought it was strange that they were standing there.

  11. The Supplemental Incident Report claims the police were summoned as a customer refused to vacate a hotel room. They really enforce the check-out time in Valdosta! Do the police commonly enforce the check-out of motel customers? When they are two hours late? When the customer had signed a check-out receipt at 6:54 a. m.?

  12. Lemme's watch was placed neatly next to the sink. It had stopped. Why would it have stopped? Did it break in the trauma of his kidnapping?

  13. From The Brad Blog:

    "We had hoped to speak with Det. Shannon Floyd since she took the crime scene photos and wrote the most detailed report in the case file. She was the one who reported the camera's 'flash memory cards' as having failed, said that there were no 'signs of trauma', that 'Nothing was observed that would indicate foul play' and described there being no visible blood on the white towel next to the tub. She also described the stopped watch and the check-in and check-out receipts, along with their dates, but mentioned nothing about the apparent inconsistency in dates.

    In our first conversation with Valdosta's Capt. Childress, he had informed us that Det. Floyd was no longer with the department and was now teaching at a university. He didn't feel it appropriate to let us know where she was teaching, but in our second call, he informed us that, 'Det. Floyd does not work for us anymore. She left and is teaching somewhere now. I'm not gonna tell ya where she is. Her husband said she didn't want to talk to the media. I spoke with him last night after we spoke.'"

A diligent investigator discovers that vote fraud goes all the way to the top of government in Florida. The thugs who run Florida have three enforcers kidnap the investigator, drive him up to the nearest place where they can be safe from an autopsy, knock him out, and stage his suicide by slitting his wrists. Pressure is put on local investigators, no doubt used to doing dirty work for the thugs who run Florida from the wild city of Tallahassee, to lose the crime scene photos and deliver a report completely consistent with suicide. An honest cop releases the photos, so the preparer of the report has to disappear, and local police have to clam up. One phone call from Tallahassee shuts down the reopening of the investigation. Honest men like Raymond Lemme deserve better than this sordid cover-up. His staged 'suicide' is proof that the allegations of Clint Curtis are true. The conspirators always give themselves away in the cover-up. You will know them by the trail of dead.