A PLEA FOR FUNDING
by Jean Duffey
This is a difficult update for me to write. It is a plea for money to support our federal law suit that is going to trial the first week in August. We have been able to finance our website and support a continued investigation of the murders of Kevin and Don with donations from supporters and with proceeds from the sale of our video Obstruction of Justice: The Mena Connection (we receive 2% of the sales). When the funds are short, we cover the expenses personally. We are adamantly opposed to making one penny profit from anything associated with the story. There is almost nothing we dread more than having to ask for money, but we are financially in our most desperate hour. We are $50,000 short of financing the upcoming trial.
The expose below is a recap of the events which have brought us to the brink of realizing justice for Kevin and Don. A year after the release of Obstruction, Jay Campbell and Kirk Lane sued our video's producer, Pat Matrisciana, for naming them as suspects in the murders. Linda and I welcomed the suit as an opportunity to put evidence into public record and get the facts before a jury. After depositions last summer, each party filed motions for summary judgment and argued several points of law. We flew over that hurdle with a ruling from the judge in our favor on every point of law. The last hurdle is the jury trial which is scheduled to begin on August 2. We are absolutely confident in our case and look forward to presenting our evidence to the jurors.
Our only obstacle is financing. Pat has run out of money and does not have the last $50,000. A mere $50,000 - not very much compared to the hundreds of thousands of dollars raised for Paula Jones and Bill Clinton and the millions spent by Kenneth Starr. The amount seems even more insignificant when compared to what a favorable ruling will accomplish. Not only will we realize some measure of justice for Kevin and Don, the Mena cover-up will unravel.
Please help us realize the most important opportunity for justice in the nearly twelve years since Kevin and Don were murdered to protect a government-sanctioned drug operation. Mainstream media is perpetuating the cover-up, and if we have to default for lack of money, they will never let us recover. On the other hand, if we can get through the trial, they will not be able to ignore the findings of a federal judge and jury.
Please don't think that a small contribution of $5 or $10 won't be appreciated. The truth is, we'd rather have $5 from 10,000 supporters than $50,000 from one. E-mailing and faxing I.C. Smith and Paula Casey has made a difference, telling others about our website has strengthened our support, and keeping us in your prayers has given us heart. Now, what I have always considered to be the least important factor in our purpose - money - has become the most important factor.
Please help if you possibly can. Make checks payable to the The Kevin Ives Civil Justice Foundation and mail to:
The Kevin Ives Civil Justice
RECAPPING TWELVE YEARS
August 23, 1987, the parents of Kevin Ives, 17, and Don Henry, 16, learned their sons were dead. They had been run over by a train. Too mutilated to be embalmed, their gathered-up body parts were put into a body bag, sprinkled with a preserver, and laid in a casket.
Getting through the funerals was all the parents could manage. It was at least comforting to leave the matters of determining the cause of the tragedy to public officials. After they buried their sons, the parents learned that State Medical Examiner Fahmy Malak ruled the deaths accidental and Saline County Sheriff James Steed said the evidence supported the ruling. Crippled with pain and rooted in trust for law enforcement, the parents tried to accept the ruling, but quickly began to realize the facts didn't add up.
The parents demanded and got the bodies exhumed and second autopsies were performed by out-of-state forensic experts who reported the signs of murder were clear. Circuit Judge John Cole appointed Attorney Dan Harmon as Special Prosecutor to head a county grand jury to investigate the homicides. Malak and Steed were glitches, the parents thought, in an otherwise reliable system of a free society.
Confident in Harman's honorable intentions, Linda Ives turned her energy to remove Malak and Steed from office. Saline County voters agreed that Steed was no longer fit to be sheriff, and he was defeated in the next election.
Malak, however, was steadfastly supported by Governor Bill Clinton and was not removed in spite of his incompetence in numerous cases being exposed. Linda did not understand, but that would not interfere with Harman's investigation. Even better, the Arkansas State Police were now involved.
The first year was difficult, and when the grand jury probe ended in December, 1988, without solving the murders, the parents were discouraged. Linda took heart, however, that Harmon vowed to continue searching for answers and that the state police were still investigating. Additionally, the U.S. Attorney's Office was looking into public official corruption in Saline County, including Steed's cover-up of the murders. Evidence from the new sheriff and the state police was being presented to a federal grand jury, and Dan Harmon had been elected the district prosecutor. Linda was once again encouraged.
Then she learned that a newly formed drug task force had targeted Dan Harmon as a suspected drug dealer. This, she thought, was confounding the entire federal probe.
The task force was, of course, the one I had been appointed to run. My officers and I realized early on that the forces in Saline County were entrenched in the drug trade. We knew our only hope of survival was the federal grand jury, but that investigation was eventually thwarted by U.S. Attorney Chuck Banks when he held a press conference in June, 1991, to clear Dan Harmon and all other Saline County officials. I was fired, my task force replaced with Harman's cronies, and Judge Cole ordered me to turn over all my evidence to Harmon. When I refused, Cole issued felony warrants for my arrest. I was defeated, discredited, and professionally destroyed, so my husband and I moved our family to Texas where we became school teachers.
Linda Ives did not know, at the time, that my task force's investigation included the murders of Kevin and Don, and I did not know that by the time I left the state, Linda knew Harmon was part of the cover-up of the murders. It was not until 1994 that we met, shared information, and realized that the corruption and cover-up expanded beyond the county and state levels. We had each been contacted by the FBI after an eye witness came forward and passed a polygraph test placing Dan Harmon on the tracks with Kevin and Don the night they were murdered. Linda and I were more encouraged than ever before. We had complete confidence in the FBI.
By late 1994, we learned that Kevin and Don were murdered by law enforcement officials because they stumbled upon a drug drop from an airplane. We learned there was a bi-partisan cover-up because the drugs were part of a Mena, Arkansas drug smuggling operation. And we learned that Mena drug smuggling was conducted by CIA operatives to help support the Nicaraguan freedom fighters. In short, Mena was set up by Oliver North under the approval of Vice President George Bush and the protection of Governor Bill Clinton. To solve the murders of Kevin and Don would be to expose Mena, and Linda and I knew that was not going to happen.
As soon as the Mena connection was made, I knew the FBI investigation would be shut down. The agent argued; Who has the power to shut down the FBI. My response; Who, indeed. (Bill Clinton was president by this time.) Not only was the FBI case closed, Linda and Larry Ives were told there was no evidence that a crime had even been committed.
It's impossible to express in words the feelings Linda and I had when we realized that, in spite of knowing who murdered two innocent children, the government was going to protect the killers to prevent exposing the participation of two presidents in a drug smuggling operation. The only recourse we had was to expose it ourselves.
My brother, Mark Keesee, created our website which quickly became popular on the internet. We contacted film-maker Pat Matrisciana, who had once offered to make a documentary of the murders and cover-ups. He produced and marketed Obstruction of Justice; the Mena Connection. Linda and I spent the summer of 1996 telling the story and promoting the video on talk-radio. We received enough income from the proceeds of the video to obtain documents, continue our own investigation, and finance our website which has become a massive source of information.
We were reaching significant numbers of people in spite of being ignored by mainstream media and we were having an effect. We applied pressure to the FBI who was forced to open another investigation of Harmon after his illegal activities became blatant. Harmon is now serving an eleven-year sentence in federal prison. We put Head FBI Agent I.C. Smith in the precarious position of justifying an 18-month-long FBI investigation of a crime they said was not even committed. Smith was forced into early retirement. Finally, the popularity of the video forced Campbell and Lane to defend themselves against the allegations made against them. In the first week of August, we will have the opportunity to present evidence to a jury. Mainstream media will not be able to ignore the finding of the jury and the government will have to explain why they have ignored prove of the crimes - we are, of course, confident of winning the suit.
Aside from obtaining our primary goal of exposing the murders and cover-ups, it is particularly satisfying that our non-partisan plea for justice is opening the eyes of people who once had blind-partisan-faith. A typical e-mail came from Doug Jones, who, after reading A Study In Conspiracy from our website, wrote: Your article has me worried! I was initially convinced that the reports of Clinton wrong-doings were complete fantasy, or attributable to the work of hatchet-grinding ideologues. . . but now. . . Im seeing a frighteningly repetitive theme. . . . Another reader, Lisa Ashkenaz Croke sent me an e-mail that was so moving, I asked her to write a guest editorial which she entitles What a Difference a Day Makes.
It is for the thousands of supporters who have believed in our message from day one, it is for the Dougs and Lisas who have been reached by our message, and it is for those who still think the American system of justice is reliable that we will keep up our crusade for truth.