I promised at the beginning of the series that I would discuss the conspiracy theories swirling around the Agofsky case. One, in particular, I found especially intriguing when you consider the current political climate and pre-election antics. You may remember from previous articles that at the time of Dan Short's death, the State Bank of Noel had been audited on three occasions in recent years. They had been reduced to weak bank status, and after the robbery and murder, the whispers around town grew to rumbles. It was said that the bank's shareholders had been involved in seedy dealings, and one was money laundering. Their unsavory practices are allegedly what tipped off auditors in the first place.
At trial, Dan Short's daughter Melanie gave credence to this theory. Melanie explained that her father, usually a reserved and careful man, had begun drinking heavily the summer before his death. She recalls him telling her and her mother that he was anxious about a situation at work and he feared for his job. He said a member of the bank's board was pressuring him to commit "an immoral act." Melanie said Short never gave them any details about what was being asked of him.
Here's where things get interesting, and to be honest, a little crazy. Before proceeding, I do want to clarify that many facts within this conspiracy are true. They're matter of public record and can be easily found by any novice search-engine warrior. There are also things in this story that can't be clearly verified, but perhaps could be by a better journalist than me. I don't know if Dan Short's murder is truly entangled in this web; Shannon certainly doesn't think so. I don't know what I think, because there is so much I can't see and read for myself — too many people that can no longer be questioned. But all you have to do is search "Clinton Mena, Arkansas" and you'll find a lot of people who think Short's death is connected to our former president.
I can only give you a brief background into the Mena Scandal. To do more, I'd have to write an entirely separate series. The information is out there, and it is quite easy to fall down an insane rabbit hole of documentaries, articles, interviews, and online forums. My husband and I can attest to this fact, because while brushing up on research for this piece, we did exactly that. There is a lot of information to absorb, and a lot of it is quite sobering.
Mena is a small town in Western, Arkansas, in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by sprawling forests. Mena is only really notable because it has an airport — an airport that was allegedly used in the 1980s to bring in planeloads of cocaine. Cocaine that was then distributed and sold for large quantities of money used to purchase and supply weapons to the Contras in Nicaragua. Much of what I have learned about this story I have learned by reading transcripts and watching interviews of former IRS Investigator Bill Duncan and his partner former Arkansas State Police Investigator Russell Welch. For anyone really interested in delving into this madness, I would suggest that you start with these men. They spent so much of their time and energy completely immersing themselves into this case a feeling I can certainly relate to.
According to Duncan and Welch, the bulk of the story centers around a drug-smuggler named Adler Berriman Seal, also known as Barry. Most reports show that Barry Seal started his drug operation in 1981, and set up shop at the Mena Intermountain Regional Airport. Before long, Seal was importing up to a thousand pounds of cocaine a month. But by 1984, Seal found a different kind of gig. He became a DEA informant and eventually participated in a CIA sting operation in Nicaragua. Less than two years later, Seal was dead — murdered by Colombian hitmen in Louisiana. Eight months after his death, Seal's cargo plane, which had been based at Mena, was shot down over Nicaragua. It was found to be full of weapons and Contra supplies.
At least ten investigations into the goings-on at the Mena Airport have been hampered or indefinitely stalled in some way. In fact, Investigator Duncan himself has a memo from several members of the attorney general's staff, noting that he had been instructed: "to remove all files concerning the Mena investigation from the AG's office." This was immediately after it became known that several Arkansas newspapers were planning to file FOIA requests aimed at the Clinton administration.
As I said, it's a rabbit hole I could easily fall down again, in regards to this article. I'm more focused on the strange deaths surrounding the Clinton administration and how they may be connected to the murder of Dan Short. If you want to investigate the Mena scandal, I sincerely encourage it. It's just more documented evidence that the agencies and organizations that are meant to keep us safe —Congress, the FBI, the CIA — are largely concerned with only profiting themselves.
But at the very least, these are intriguing and undeniable facts:
1. Several of former President Clinton's best friends were caught and charged with smuggling large amounts of cocaine;
2. Clinton intervened on their behalf afterwards in some shape or form, even giving one a full pardon;
3. Clinton ordered that the monitoring of drug traffic between Colombia and the United States be stopped;
4. Clinton terminated the money laundering investigation section of the Justice Department's Criminal Division and;
5. Clinton blatantly lied about offering $25,000 for the Mena investigation budget.
A slew of mysterious deaths forms a ring around the periphery of the Clinton administration. There are numerous sites and forums dedicated to this subject, and most will have the same basic list. Some random names will be present on certain lists and then missing for one reason or another on others, but they are largely similar and comprised of the Clintons' friends, rivals, and business associates. I have provided a sample here, one which includes Bank President Daniel Short.
Mahoney was a former Clinton intern. She was allegedly preparing to go public with her story of sexual harassment when she was murdered at the Starbucks in Georgetown where she worked. Mary and her two coworkers were shot to death after hours, yet no money was taken.
Probably one of the better-known names on this list, Foster was a Deputy White House Counsel for President Clinton. His death was ruled a suicide, but the circumstances surrounding his demise are questionable to say the least. "The Strange Death of Vince Foster" by Chris Ruddy is an interesting book on the topic.
Wilson was a former DC councilman. He was found dead of an apparent suicide by hanging, after allegedly telling others that he was ready to come forward and reveal what he knew about Clinton. None of his friends or family recall him being depressed or anxious at the time of his death.
KATHY FERGUSON AND BILL SHELTON
Kathy was the ex-wife of one Trooper Danny Ferguson, who was by many accounts a volatile man. He was named as a co-defendant alongside Bill Clinton in the Paula Jones sexual harassment suit. Kathy was supposed to be a corroborating witness for Paula Jones when she was found dead in her living room. Her death was ruled a suicide, even though she left no note and her suitcases were found packed as if in preparation for a trip. Her fiancé, Bill Shelton, was found shot to death at her graveside. His death was also ruled a suicide.
James Bunch was a wealthy and well-connected Texan. Bunch had a "little black book" that contained the names of many influential and powerful men across Texas and Arkansas who visited certain prostitutes. He was also a close friend of President Clinton, and died of gunshot wound that was startlingly similar to Vince Foster's.
Parks was the Head of Clinton's Gubernatorial security team in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was gunned down in his car while stopped at an intersection. His family said that in the weeks leading up to his death, they were being followed by unknown men and their home had been broken into. Parks had been compiling evidence on Clinton's illicit activities, but his files were stolen during the break-in and never recovered.
Martin was an accountant working for the CIA. She was found shot to death in Mabell, Texas; her killer was never apprehended. Martin had documents and paperwork detailing an account for drug-smuggler Barry Seal that had been set up at the Fuji Bank in the Caymans. Its contents totaled over $1.5 million.
Baugh was an attorney who represented President Clinton's close friend, Dan Lasater, in a case concerning his alleged financial misconduct. Baugh was found dead after allegedly jumping from the window of a multi-story building. Lasater was later indicted and convicted on cocaine distribution charges and was eventually pardoned by Clinton. If you're interested in watching a thorough and enlightening interview concerning Lasater and his seedy operations, I most highly suggest you seek out former United States Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff's absolutely savage cross-examination of Dan Lasater during the Senate Whitewater Committee hearing. (Sidenote: Chertoff is the presidential debate moderator we desperately need.)
Coleman had a documented affair with Clinton while he was Attorney General down in Arkansas. She was found dead with a large gunshot wound to the back of her skull. No autopsy was allowed to be performed, but she had told people close to her that she was pregnant before her death--which was ruled a suicide.
Wilcher was a powerful Washington attorney investigating government corruption. He was found dead in his bathroom in his Washington apartment, and no cause of death was ever determined. At the time of his death, he was looking into a connection between the Reagan/North cover-up, the incident at Waco, and the drug and gun-running operation still occurring at the Mena Airport. Wilcher had delivered a detailed report of his findings to Janet Reno barely a week before he died.
JON PARNELL WALKER
Walker was a successful bank fraud investigator who fell to his death from an apartment balcony in Virginia. Walker had been investigating a suspicious transfer of funds from the Resolution Trust Corporation to Madison Guaranty S&L that covered up a $47 million dollar embezzlement.
McDougal was a former partner of Clinton's in the Whitewater deal. He died in solitary confinement less than 24 hours before he was due to appear in front of a grand jury. McDougal had inside information about the Clintons' questionable alliances and their unsavory financial practices--the circumstances surrounding his death are unclear.
SHERIFF GENE MATTHEWS
Matthews had been looking into the drug related activities at the Mena Airport and attempting to follow the chain of money-laundering at the time of his death. He was shot to death by federal officials.
Mr. Patrick managed to escape with his life, but only after four documented attempts to murder him. Without his prior knowledge, millions of dollars were laundered through his account at Lasater & Company, the brokerage firm owned by the pardoned cocaine dealer Dan Lasater. Patrick has an extensive paper trail in his possession, but has since gone into hiding.
Now we've come full circle. Though Dan worked at the State Bank of Noel in Missouri, the Shorts lived and did much of their business in Benton County, Arkansas. Three days before his death, Short allegedly told several friends (who wished to remain as unattributed sources) that he had been forced to launder drug money and was about to be in serious trouble. It was rumored that the funds were coming from the operation at the Mena Airport. Short was becoming increasingly nervous about his involvement and was having second thoughts. Before he could do anything, he was kidnapped and murdered. And the rest of the story, you know.
Did Bill Clinton have knowledge of the illegal activity at the Mena Airport? Yes, that fact is documented. Was he instrumental in stalling investigations centered on the large-scale drug smuggling operation and the laundering of the resulting funds? Also yes. Was the State Bank of Noel one of the institutions used to launder the funds? I just don't know. Is it possible? Yes. Is there enough documented evidence to say so with certainty? In my opinion, no. But it's an interesting theory, and one that probably should have been investigated more thoroughly. Crazier things have certainly happened, a fact that becomes glaringly apparent the further one investigates the Clinton Connection.
If you have any questions, comments, or you think you can help Shannon's case, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.