SUGGESTED WAY TO BEGIN
On August 23, 1987, in Saline County, Arkansas, Kevin (17) and Don (16) were murdered by two dirty cops. Linda’s relentless pursuit for justice, has embattled the most powerful entities in our government from the local to the federal levels. She hasn’t won, but neither have they, and she’s not quitting by any stretch of the imagination.
Kevin is the son of Larry and Linda Ives.
Don is the son of Curtis and Marvel Henry.
Anyone who hasn’t followed Linda’s story from the beginning will likely be overwhelmed by the decades of events and the large number of people involved. So this is how I suggest you might pick up in order to catch up.
You could read the “Home” page which sets the back-drop that has loomed over this story from the beginning. When the involvement of 3 presidents in the crimes of Mena were exposed, it became easy to understand why the level of stonewalling against Linda has been impenetrable. But that all comes later in the story.
To go forward from the murders in an orderly sequence, you can choose from 3 options:
The article below is a summary of the first twelve years of the incident.
Wednesday, June 2, 1999
Recapping the first Twelve Years
By Jean Duffey
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.
Hearing the Truth Can Make a Difference
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. . . I’m 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 Doug’s and Lisa’s 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.
Update: August 8, 1997
A Study in Conspiracy
By Jean Duffey
First, there were years of confusion:
Those of us who profess a connection between the “train deaths” and our federal government realize the difficulty average folks have believing there could be such a conspiracy between local and federal officials. It’s nearly impossible to imagine such a notion, which makes it easy for mainstream media to scoff at the mere suggestion.
The public’s skepticism is understandable. When U.S. Attorney Chuck Banks held a press conference in June of 1991, to clear Dan Harmon and all other Saline County public officials “of drug-related public misconduct and other forms of wrongdoing,” I knew Banks was covering up serious crimes, but I didn’t suspect a conspiracy.
There were immediate rumors of blackmail based on a visit Harmon made to Banks with a video tape tucked under his arm. A few years prior to this visit, Harmon headed a county grand jury investigation involving a Saline County gambling house protected by former Sheriff James Steed. Prostitutes were paid to lure public officials into sexual encounters which were clandestinely captured on film, and if such a film of Banks existed, Harmon would certainly have access to it. Putting two and two together, a plausible explanation of Banks’ blatant obstruction of justice was spawned.
I was not and still am not convinced, however, a two-year federal investigation was shut down because Banks was being blackmailed. Harmon’s visit with Banks was indeed before Banks publicly proclaimed all Saline County free of corruption, but it was after Banks had already begun to dismantle the grand jury investigation. The wheels were already in motion to thwart any public official indictments. It seemed to me an attempt to blackmail Banks would have to be lower-keyed, and the facts are supportive of my supposition.
Prior to his walking into Banks’ office with the alleged video tape, Harmon was facing seven felony counts of income tax evasion. After leaving Banks’ office without the alleged video tape, he was facing three misdemeanor counts of failure to file tax returns. Blackmailing Banks to reduce charges of tax improprieties is believable, but blackmailing a U.S. Attorney to ignore two years of accumulated evidence against a number of public officials is simply not believable.
Shutting down a federal grand jury which wanted to indict several public officials was a very large-scale obstruction of justice, and Banks could not have done that on his own. Banks sent the 1990 jurors home at the end of their term with a warning they would be indicted if they spoke about what went on during their service. This was according to three grand jurors who were so outraged at Banks they wanted me to know they were unanimously ready to indict Dan Harmon and several other public officials. Something more than a blackmail tape was involved.
Still, I didn’t think in terms of a conspiracy, even though Banks, a republican- appointed U.S. Attorney, was protecting a bunch of democrats holding county offices. To justify his actions, Banks used a media smear campaign Harmon had contrived against me, which had completely discredited me professionally by the end of 1990. Although Banks knew the information my drug task force had provided the grand jury was credible, he used my destroyed reputation as the reason he concluded the allegations against Saline County officials “were based on rumors and innuendo.” The truth is, even if all the evidence offered by my drug task force was discounted, Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Govar had independently accumulated enough evidence during his two-year investigation of Saline County corruption to support indictments. In spite of the amassed evidence, Banks announced , “we found no evidence of any drug-related misconduct by public officials in Saline County.”
I was dumbstruck by the announcement and bewildered when I remembered Chris Day, the Saline County Arkansas Gazette reporter, had given me prior warning. A source Chris would not name told him Banks was going to clear Harmon and all other Saline County officials in exchange for a federal judgeship nomination. I immediately called Bob Govar with Chris’s prediction. Bob said, “That’s nonsense. Banks has been wanting a nomination for years, but it’s just not going to happen.” Bob was wrong. Several months were allowed to pass after Banks publicly cleansed Saline County, then Banks received his federal judgeship nomination from President George Bush.* That’s right – from George Bush. Some kind of conspiracy plot was the only explanation, but it was just too ridiculous to consider, so I didn’t.
Professionally destroyed, dodging two bogus felony warrants, and fearing for my safety, my husband and I retreated from the controversy and lived quietly as school teachers in Pasadena, Texas. Then, in March of 1994, the FBI persuaded me to get involved again. An eye witness had come forward and passed an FBI polygraph test placing Dan Harmon on the tracks with Kevin Ives and Don Henry the night they were murdered back in 1987. This prompted the FBI to open it’s own investigation of the “train deaths” and to ask for my assistance. It was during that eighteen-month-long FBI investigation the conspiracy exposed itself.
Linda Ives and I began communicating for the first time. We shared information with each other and with the FBI. I also met Saline County Sheriff Investigator John Brown, who told me about a pilot he had interviewed who claimed to have flown a drug drop to the location where Kevin and Don were murdered. Additionally, Arkansas had become the focus of national interest by now, and many investigative reporters were anxious to uncover information about Clinton. The “train deaths” case certainly had connections to Clinton via Fahmy Malak, which initially piqued the interests of right-wingers. Then, as Linda and I shared information with anyone and everyone who would listen, the mystery unraveled, and the FBI verified much of what we now know.
Now, there was understanding:
Local law enforcement officers protected a major drug-drop site in Saline County that was part of the Mena Airport drug smuggling operation set up in the early 1980’s by the notorious drug smuggler, Barry Seal. By the mid-1980’s, CIA operatives were using Mena to help finance their covert support of the Nicaraguan Contras. (See the CIA page.) In spite of overwhelming evidence, Mena’s connection to a CIA operation or to a government-protected drug operation has been discounted or ignored by mainstream media. Even though Seal smuggled drugs in a cargo plane given to him by the CIA, and even though that plane was shot down over Nicaragua with a load of weapons, the media reports and supports the official CIA position of denial.
I realize now, my drug task force was dismantled because we were getting too close to solving the “train deaths.” We learned Kevin and Don were murdered because they witnessed a drug and/or money drop from an airplane. My task force knew public officials were actively involved in covering up the murders, but we were shut down before we connected the local activity to Mena. We were not allowed to progress our investigation any further. Harmon, a popular public figure at that time, lead a brutal campaign to discredit me; dirty public officials supported Harmon’s efforts; the media thrived for months on writing unsubstantiated allegations against me and my task force; and Chuck Banks used me as a scapegoat to justify shutting down the 1990 federal grand jury inquiry.
When I realized the catalyst for the thwarting of every investigation of the “train deaths” had been the Mena connection, I warned Phyllis Cournan, the agent in charge of the FBI investigation. I told her Kevin and Don’s killers would be indicted only if the investigation stayed away from Mena, but I was fooling myself to think that was possible. The Mena connection must eventually be made. By then, there had been six “train deaths” investigations that had gone nowhere, and in November of 1995, the FBI investigation became number seven. (See the FBI page.) The Mena connection again caused the rug to be yanked out from under an investigation which, in turn, is the logic behind a conspiracy premise.
A problem with swallowing any conspiracy theory is the murky connections. However, in this case, the evidence of a conspiracy between Mena CIA operatives and Saline County public official thugs brings the big picture into focus. It is important to understand all those involved did not sit around a conference table and discuss how to pull off a conspiracy. To the contrary, I have spoken to several ex-CIA operatives and a CIA contract pilot who occasionally flew the Saline County drop. They all explain that any one person in an operation knows only what is necessary for a specific assignment. This fits with statements made by some of the witnesses claiming to have picked up drugs from the tracks. They were told the drugs were coming up from Louisiana by train, which I believe was deliberate misinformation. Yet, it is the role of Dan Harmon in this story that is most convincing there was and is a multi-level, bi-partisan conspiracy.
My drug task force provided substantial evidence of Harmon’s involvement in illegal drug activity to the 1990 federal grand jury. Harmon countered with a smear campaign discrediting me and my task force. I was the good guy, and Harmon was the bad guy; but I was abandoned, and Harmon was supported. At the time, I didn’t know the cause of Harmon’s muscle, but the effect was clear – Banks protected Harmon from a multi-count indictment by a federal grand jury. From a larger perspective – Democratic District Prosecutor Dan Harmon was cleared by Republican U.S. Attorney Chuck Banks who was rewarded with a federal judgeship nomination by Republican President George Bush who is a former CIA Director.
Sounds pretty wild, but I challenge anyone to come up with any other explanation that makes half good sense for the support and protection Dan Harmon has received from low- to high-ranking public officials in spite of his years of various and numerous well-publicized criminal activity. (See Browse Back to the Future on the Saline County, Arkansas page.)
Now, there is frustration mixed with hope:
Like the adage, Linda and I are all dressed up with no place to go. We have enough evidence to have Dan Harmon and several other public officials indicted for covering up the murders of Kevin and Don, but we have no place to take it. We have enough evidence to connect the murders to CIA-Mena drug smuggling, but mainstream media won’t listen. We have evidence to warrant a Congressional investigation of a conspiracy among Republicans and Democrats to cover-up the crimes of Mena, but a Republican Congress won’t investigate a Republican scandal.
We have no official authority, we have no political clout, and we have no media influence, and we have no money, but we appear to be having an effect. Dan Harmon went down in flames, and three political candidates from his district, who publicly supported him through the years faced surprising defeats on November 5.
The odds are overwhelmingly against us, but we have hope and we have the Internet. Maybe we have all we need.
*Note: Chuck Banks was scheduled for a confirmation hearing in late November of 1992, but all Bush nominations were withdrawn immediately after Clinton won the election. Banks never received his judgeship. Sometimes there is justice. Banks, however, managed this year to get himself appointed head of the Pulaski County Republican Party. Either memories are short, or the Republicans of Pulaski County don’t care if their leader is dirty.
On November 11, 1998, I received a most unwelcome reply to an e-mail I had sent to Jean Duffey, the former administrator of the Saline County Drug Task Force in Arkansas. After reading what she wrote over and over, one thought repeated in my head: My God, it’s real.
A month earlier, I had finally sat down to read a copy of The Clinton Body Count List. As an ardent Democrat and outspoken Clinton supporter for almost eight years, my only concerns regarding the President’s scandalous exploits were focused on the fact that our Republican representatives might impeach a successful, popular president over partisan politics. With my best friend, Sue, and her computer at our side, we used the internet to research Ken Starr (talk about a conflict of interest), and to write our representatives in DC to protest Starr’s ludicrous grounds for impeachment.
We even discussed putting up a website to inform people on the steps they could take to end this madness, and we signed petitions—anything we could think of to help “Save Bill.”
When Sue first read me the list over the phone in September; we laughed.
Not at the deaths, but at the ridiculous and seemingly desperate allegations. I remember saying that there seemed to be an awful lot of people in Arkansas committing suicide by shooting themselves in the back of the head.
October 19…I read the list for myself and became curious. Surfing the net, I found body count lists with anywhere from 80-20 victims. A search for a site not associated with the “Right” or with the “Nuts,” yielded few results.
It was the word Mena that caught my attention. Every list posted on the most conservative websites included deaths linked to a drug-smuggling operation at the rural airport in Mena, Arkansas, and named then-Governor Clinton as the operation’s protector. At first glance, I assumed I’d discover some bizarre attempt to blame Clinton for the drug-smuggling and gun-running that supported the Nicaraguan Contra rebels, while absolving Reagan, Bush, and Ollie North. Yet, this was not the case. Not one website, from the Wall Street Weekly to the American Spectator, refuted Reagan and Bush’s actions in the operation, not that many accounts even mentioned the former presidents, but their involvement was not denied..
Why? Why, oh why, would any conservative right-winger [I took out “Republican” here, because Republican Senators and Representatives ARE trying to hide Mena.] want to dredge up the Iran-Contra scandal to get Bill Clinton? By their own allegations, these sites acknowledge Clinton’s comparatively small participation in the biggest “Whew!” of Republican politics. No big secrets here; just the pathetic truth that they all got away with it (Wake-up call to the media and politicians everywhere – THIS is why no one cares about Clinton committing perjury).
Clinton accuser, Terry Reed, says the Governor took a 10% kick-back of cash and coke for looking the other way. It boggles the mind, Reed who claims to be an ex-CIA operative writes such a detailed account in his book “Compromised: Clinton, Bush, the CIA,” that shrugging it aside seems irresponsible. Which is why I’m writing. At the end of that night-day-night in October, utterly exhausted in body and soul, I faced an undeniable truth that something may be horribly wrong with our president. Since that day, I’ve reviewed court cases, read books, and visited sites hoping, desperately hoping, to be proven wrong. Unfortunately, as in my search for a left-wing website refuting the Body Count List, I’ve been unable to find any satisfactory answer other than “it’s a vast right-winged conspiracy, ” which just doesn’t do it for me anymore.
Now I’m not asking for the life upheaval experienced by investigators Russell Welch and Bill Duncan, or the unwitting victims of Mena crimes, but I want answers. I demand them, and I demand that the press give them to me.
In twelve hours I was able to find enough information to turn my blood cold. In four months, I’ve been able to find enough verification to compel me to put my name to this editorial.
There are two dead boys on those Body Count Lists. Kevin Ives and Don Henry, who were found on the railroad tracks near a drop- sight of drugs, money, or both. The FBI acknowledged that the boys’ murders were related to the Mena operation, but later changed it’s position, saying now the deaths were accidental, the absurd ruling of State Medical Examiner Fahmy Malak who was supported by Governor Clinton in the face of severe media ridicule.
Two grieving families want to know why state and federal investigations of the murders have been either stalled or shut down all together. Why won’t the FBI give them a consistent answer? Why, despite the accounts of investigators such as Jean Duffey, has mainstream medai backed off of this story?
With the amount of information and evidence regarding Mena-related activities, no reason exists as to why responsible journalists should be disallowed to report these stories. The job of the media is not to shelter us from harsh truths, but to serve as a watchdog for the people. No opinions or judgment calls are necessary, thank you – just report the information.
It was about two months after initially stumbling onto all of this that I once more sat before Sue’s computer, trying to make sense of the whole mess. Looking for information dated after 1996 (when these stories wafted in and out of the media), I found the “train deaths” website where Jean Duffey and Linda Ives update the public on their quest for answers. After browsing through links, reviewing Duffey’s experience with the Drug Task Force, and reading the heartbreaking account of Linda Ives, I sat back dejectedly on the verge of tears. “It can’t be real,” I thought.
I decided to write Jean Duffey; to tell her that I was a Clinton supporter, that I was frightened about the information I’d come across, and to offer support to the Ives and Henry families. I never expected to receive a reply, but several days later, Duffey wrote me back. Not a form letter giving me more information about the site, nor a request for a donation to help the families. She said she was writing because like me, she too is liberal and she too had found her way “to the truth” about Clinton.
Duffey’s reply brought me up short. You see, I’m still desperately hoping to be proved wrong, and when one of the figures that I’ve been researching turns out to be a real person, it distresses me. More than a purveyor of a website reprinting information, Jean Duffey has actually been a participant in these events, and with her reply, the last pane of rose-tinted glass crashed to the ground.
I’m still a liberal, and I still think that Kenneth Starr and the House Republicans are wrong, wrong, wrong. Sue suggested that perhaps the Republicans are using Monica Lewinsky the way Elliott Ness used tax evasion on Capone. Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. When Ken Starr spends our time and money investigating sex and perjury, while ignoring Mena , he tramples the justice he so stridently and hypocritically promised to obtain.
So, what happens next? That’s up to you, to us. I would suggest writing your representatives in Washington, the editors of your newspapers, hosts of talk radio shows, and the managers of your local news affiliates, and demand investigations. There are people willing to talk, begging to have their stories told – let your media and your public servants know that you need to hear what these people have to say.