Ron The Cop

A lie told often enough becomes the truth.

March 31st, 2008

UPDATE – The Currency of the New Media

Cross-posted at Rocket’s Brain Trust

Michael Yon has a new dispatch up at his website. Yon’s new book, Moment of Truth in Iraq, is now available for pre-order. I just posted this comment in Yon’s latest thread.



I ask where can you find the same richness in the dispatches from the MSM like what Michael Yon writes? This is why the MSM is losing credibility in the eyes of their readers and viewers. As I recently wrote on a local issue regarding my paper the Spokesman-Review, Spokane, WA:

As I said at the recent meeting the $64 question is whether the S-R will abide by its Code of Ethics once affirmed.  The onus is upon the S-R to demonstrate to its readers that it will follow the code and that this is not just some PR exercise.  The readers are not dumb as you think.  The readers will ultimately decide the credibility of the S-R as a trusted/reliable  source of news, commentary, and thought of the day.

The traditional media no longer holds the preeminent position of the  du jour source of the news.  See the article below. We are experiencing a major communication reformation as great or greater than that of Martin Luther’s time (Hugh Hewitt’s Blog and Glenn Reynolds’ An Army of Davids).  The new media does not require large capital investments e.g, printing presses and transmission networks of the traditional or mainstream media.  The new medium of expression is essentially free for all to participate.  The currency of the new media is the validity, reliability, and predictability of the information provided in one’s own daily life.  The sources that best meet those needs will attract readers and grow  Those sources which lack credibility and/or don’t correct misinformation quickly will die.

Ron the Cop
Friends of Mark Fuhman

March 28th, 2008

BREAKING – FBI narrowing suspects in anthrax mail to Fort Detrick

I just posted this to the Friends of Mark Fuhrman email group. I thought it was worth a post here as I have some previous knowledge on this. FYI – In case you didn’t see this yet. This is really from the realm of little green men!

Ron the Cop


WASHINGTON — The FBI has narrowed its focus to “about four” suspects in the 6 1/2-year investigation of the deadly anthrax attacks of 2001, and at least three of those suspects are linked to the Army’s bioweapons research facility at Fort Detrick in Maryland, FOX News has learned.

Read More

Gee I wrote about this several years ago:


And yes this could be considered from the realm of “conspiracy theorists.” On the other hand there is motivation why some at USAMRID and big pharma may have wanted to push the continued development of the anthrax vaccine for other reasons. A little scare would continue and ensure the demand for anthrax vaccine production. Mind you by treaty the US wasn’t supposed to possess stocks of weaponized anthrax powder.

This new report seams to indicate US “black” labs did produce limited stocks of weaponized anthrax powder. There is no doubt that the 9/11 AQ members were involved in production of crude anthrax but there has been considerable debate in the Blogos that some of the anthrax letters contained weapons grade anthrax and not connected to the terrorists. The FBI’s case ran cold or perhaps ran into national security roadblocks thrown up to CYA those involved. A real spy vs. spy thriller!

Here’s the crux. Some USAMRID researchers own/control patents on a vaccine adjuvant “squaline”. It has been previously alleged that the USAMRID and big pharma with a blind eye from NIH were conducting human dosage range studies using “squaline” in the anthrax vaccine on US service personnel without their knowledge being deployed to Iraq in the first Gulf War. These researchers are all seeking the “golden fleece” of a viable vaccine for AIDS with the potential to make an enormous amount of money.

The rub is too little “squaline” doesn’t get the adjuvant boost necessary for single dose vaccines. Too much some believe invokes an autoimmune response and the development of autoimmune diseases in those that may have a genetic predisposition. Coincidently these cluster of diseases are exactly what appear in service personnel that has been come to known as Gulf War Syndrome. Also in testing all folks suffering from Gulf War Symdrome tested positive for antibodies for squalene.

Squalene is a naturally occurring substance in the human body but it is “hidden” or sequestered from the body’s immune system by being walled off in cellular walls. There is none or very little circulating freely in the bloodstream. There appears to be a natural tolerance to allow for introduction by injuries or wounds into the bloodstream. Once this tolerance level is exceeded an autoimmune response is invoked which boosts the effectiveness of vaccines. Too much squalene is speculated leads in some cases in those with genetic predisposition to suffer significant illnesses or life debilitating syndromes.

Read more here



For a synopsis on this and the anthrax vaccine:

The War Within: The Anthrax Vaccine Story


Michelle Malkin weighs in with these notes:

The anthrax case, the media, and the innocent

March 24th, 2008

Turning the Tables on the Associated Press


Blogger Brian Ledbetter recently received a notice from AP’s legal eagles that his use of AP photos exceeded the normal “fair use” conventions. That’s interesting. This is a case of being half pregnant. Anyway the AP was not so constrained from using the photos of Eliot Spitzer’s call girl. Hypocrisy?

Ron the Cop

Turning the Tables on the Associated Press

The AP threatened to sue Brian C. Ledbetter for reproducing their photos without authorization. But they didn’t ask permission before they grabbed Ashley Dupre’s pictures.

by Brian C. Ledbetter

The life of a blogger will occasionally resemble that of Buffalo Bill Cody’s stories of old. And, much like the lead-slingers of times long past, we sometimes get nicked.

For the past year and a half, I’ve been writing Snapped Shot, a blog that focuses on providing commentary, analysis, and the occasional exposé on professional photojournalism. Looking through the product of the photo newswire services daily and pointing out anything that seems out of the ordinary. Looking for possible counterfeiting in Lebanon. The ever-raging Rage Boy. Mystery missiles, unfired bullets, and playground munitions (oh my). All in all, it’s proven to be quite an entertaining hobby to keep my spare time occupied, and has introduced me to a terrific bunch of people.

Then, one day, a volley of proverbial bullets appeared on my porch, neatly wrapped in a FedEx envelope. The label said it all, the gunslinger having put their return address ever so neatly on the envelope. The Associated Press had sent me a friendly little care package.

The counsel for the Associated Press had fired the first warning shot, informing me that it was their opinion that Snapped Shot was in violation of their copyright.

Read More

March 24th, 2008

BREAKING – Iraqi Documents Show al-Qaida Ties

 I’m generally not posting GWOT items here but at Rockets Brain Trust but I thought this one was worth it.


Ron the Cop


From an email to the Friends of Mark Fuhrman:

What Ray, Mark, and Scott have been saying is now breaking in the MSM [See group email below].  See today’s WSJ lead editorial.  Why aren’t other MSM outlets following the WSJ’s lead?  BTW Scott now has the blow by blow update at Flopping Aces.




Saddam’s Terror Links
March 24, 2008; Page A14

Five years on, few Iraq myths are as persistent as the notion that the Bush Administration invented a connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. Yet a new Pentagon report suggests that Iraq’s links to world-wide terror networks, including al Qaeda, were far more extensive than previously understood.

Naturally, it’s getting little or no attention. Press accounts have been misleading or outright distortions, while the Bush Administration seems indifferent. Even John McCain has let the study’s revelations float by. But that doesn’t make the facts any less notable or true.

[Saddam Hussein]The redacted version of “Saddam and Terrorism” is the most definitive public assessment to date from the Harmony program, the trove of “exploitable” documents, audio and video records, and computer files captured in Iraq. On the basis of about 600,000 items, the report lays out Saddam’s willingness to use terrorism against American and other international targets, as well as his larger state sponsorship of terror, which included harboring, training and equipping jihadis throughout the Middle East.

“The rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the region gave Saddam the opportunity to make terrorism, one of the few tools remaining in Saddam’s ‘coercion’ toolbox, not only cost effective but a formal instrument of state power,” the authors conclude. Throughout the 1990s, the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) cooperated with Hamas; the Palestine Liberation Front, which maintained a Baghdad office; Force 17, Yasser Arafat’s private army; and others. The IIS gave commando training for members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the organization that assassinated Anwar Sadat and whose “emir” was Ayman al-Zawahiri, who became Osama bin Laden’s second-in-command when the group merged with al Qaeda in 1998.

At the very least the report should dispel the notion that outwardly “secular” Saddam would never consort with religious types like al Qaeda. A pan-Arab nationalist, Saddam viewed radical Islamists as potential allies, and they likewise. According to a 1993 memo, Saddam decided to “form a group to start hunting Americans present on Arab soil; especially Somalia,” where al Qaeda was then working with warlords against U.S. humanitarian forces. Saddam also trained Sudanese fighters in Iraq.

The Pentagon report cites this as “a tactical example” of their cooperation. When Saddam “was ordering action in Somalia aimed at the American presence, Osama bin Laden was doing the same thing.” Saddam took an interest in “far-flung terrorist groups . . . to locate any organization whose services he might use in the future.” The Harmony documents “reveal that the regime was willing to co-opt or support organizations it knew to be part of al Qaeda — as long as that organization’s near-term goals supported Saddam’s long-term version.”

For 20 years, such “support” included using Fedayeen Saddam training camps to school terrorists, especially Palestinians but also non-Iraqis “directly associated” with al Qaeda, continuing up to the fall of Baghdad. Saddam also provided financial support and weapons, amounting to “a state-directed program of significant scale.” In July 2001, the regime began patronizing a terror cartel in Bahrain calling itself the Army of Muhammad, which, according to an Iraqi memo, “is under the wings of bin Laden.”

It’s true that the Pentagon report found no “smoking gun,” i.e., a direct connection on a joint Iraq-al Qaeda operation. Supposedly this vindicates the view that Iraq’s liberation was launched on false premises. But the Administration was always cautious, with Colin Powell alleging merely a “sinister nexus” in his 2003 U.N. speech. If anything, sinister is an understatement. The main Iraq intelligence failure was over WMD, but the report indicates that the CIA also underestimated Saddam’s ties to global terror cartels.

The Administration has always maintained that Iraq is just one front in the war on terror; and the report offers “evidence of logistical preparation for terrorist operations in other nations, including those in the West.” In 2002, an IIS memo explained to Saddam that Iraqi embassies were stockpiling weapons, while many of the terrorists trained in Fedayeen camps were dispatched to London with counterfeit documents, where they circulated throughout Europe.

Around the same time, the IIS began to manufacture better improvised explosive devices “designed to be used in civilian areas,” and the regime bureaucratized suicide operations, with local Baath Party leaders competing to provide recruits for Saddam as part of a “Martyrdom Project.”

All of these are inconvenient facts for those who want to assert that somehow Saddam could have been easily contained and presented no threat to the U.S. The Harmony files buttress the case that the decision to oust Saddam was the right one — which makes it all the more puzzling that the Bush Administration is mum. It isn’t the first time the White House has ceded the Iraq debate to its opponents.



To All:

OK some folks don’t think Newsmax is a reliable source.  However as I’ve said before many times before the collective works of Ray Robison, Mark Eichenlaub, Scott Malensek and Kenneth Timmerman including his new must read book “Shadow Warriors,” have demonstrated the connections between the Saddam Regime with Islamofascist terrorist organizations whether they be of Shi’ia or Sunni origin.  Saddam was up to his eyeballs with these groups whenever it was in his best interest to remain in power.  Saddam was a “Friday go to mosque Muslim” as we refer “Sunday to go to church Christians.”


Iraqi Documents Show al-Qaida Ties

Thursday, March 20, 2008 8:09 AM

By: Kenneth R. Timmerman


March 24th, 2008

News Without Reporters


News Without Reporters

March 23, 2008 12:15 AM


Reporters are a dying breed, says Steve Boriss, and that’s a good thing. America got along fine without them once before.

by Steve Boriss

One of journalists’ recurring put-downs of bloggers is that they are simply recycling someone else’s news — that there will always be a need for reporters to produce it. Yet, America had a reporterless past and will likely have a reporterless future. And, news will be better for it.

We have lost perspective on what a reporter actually is — a middleman. On one side are news events. On the other are audiences who want to know about them. A reporter’s job is to move “the truth” from Point A to Point B as accurately as possible.

This middleman function, with reporters serving as mere links in a news supply chain, was never needed until fairly recently. Before the printing press was invented, we were all receivers and transmitters of news, spreading it by word-of-mouth. Soon after its invention, multitudes of mostly one-man print-shops, as a sideline, printed newspapers to supplement this word-of-mouth process. These printers wrote their own articles blending facts with opinion, much like bloggers do today. Others also contributed, often without receiving compensation or attribution — citizens, gossips, letter-writing “correspondents” from other towns, and similarly-operating foreign and domestic newspapers whose stories were simply lifted.

Since this is what news looked like at the time of the Founding Fathers, they gave no particular mandate to reporters, a function that did not even exist at the time. The “freedom of the press” they cited in the First Amendment was not about “the press,” but about everyone’s right to freely use a printing press to express their views without government interference, supplementing the free speech clause that allowed everyone to express their views orally.

The first full-time reporter in America did not appear until the 1820’s, after steam engines were integrated into printing presses. Suddenly, newspapers had to be run like businesses to achieve consistently high circulation levels to pay for equipment and keep newsstand prices low. Reporters provided the needed constant flow of consistently well-written articles.

For the first century of their existence, the public had a realistic view of what full-time reporters actually did and awarded them the appropriate, low level of status. Legendary editor Walter Lippmann wrote in 1919 that “reporting is not a dignified profession for which men will invest the time and cost of an education, but an underpaid, insecure, anonymous form of drudgery, conducted on catch-as-catch-can principles.”

But Lippmann was also determined to turn reporting into a profession. He urged us to “make up our minds to send out into reporting a generation of men who will by sheer superiority, drive the incompetents out of business” to be replaced by “patient and fearless men of science who have labored to see what the world really is.” He called for “professional training in journalism in which the ideal of objective testimony is cardinal” with reporters conducting “as impartial an investigation of the facts as is humanly possible.”

But at the same time Lippmann created a puffed-up image of reporters that has lasted for decades, he was planting the seeds of the role’s destruction. Despite their self-image as objective professionals, reporters have yet to create methodologies to back-up their claims. This is painfully obvious in the book The Elements of Journalism, the closest thing there is to journalism scripture, which shrugs-off an admission that every reporter has his own methodology for verifying facts. Now with alternative, challenging voices from cable TV, talk radio, and the blogosphere, the public increasingly understands that reporters are often biased and inaccurate, just like the rest of us. We are also relearning what Thomas Jefferson intuitively understood — the truth is more likely to emerge from a multitude of voices competing in a freewheeling marketplace of ideas than from elites offering their views of the truth drawn from their own limited knowledge and perspectives.

Now, the Internet is eliminating the reporter as middleman by connecting audiences directly with the real sources of news — politicians’ offices, PR firms, whistleblowers, think tanks, courts, police departments, and everyone else with a news ax to grind. These entities have always been capable of writing their own stories in a usable form, but have previously needed reporters to get their stories distributed. Nor will we miss investigative reporters, who had always been dangerously untrained in the skills needed to do their job properly (e.g. forensics, law) and often unfairly destroyed the reputations of innocents. Society has many alternative, more responsible ways to right wrongs, and the blogosphere can easily fill this void.

We will continue to have news middlemen, but those that survive must create real value for their audiences. Editors can create value by aggregating, analyzing, adding opinions, and gathering like-minded audiences for advertisers. Bloggers do the same. But, reporters are repeaters. They, not bloggers, are unnecessary recyclers of news.

Steve Boriss blogs at The Future of News. He works for Washington University in St. Louis, where he is Associate Director of the Center for the Application of Information Technology (CAIT) and teaches a class called “The Future of News.”

March 20th, 2008

Will the S-R follow the lead of the Committee of Concerned Journalists?

Spokesman-Review Editor Steve Smith has started a new thread “Managing Change.” Senior Editor Carla Savalli just returned from a summit meeting convened by the Committee of Concerned Journalists (CCJ):

The committee brought together in Washington, D.C., a small group of super-star editors to help the organization develop training and consulting programs to help newsrooms manage the changes they must undertake to survive the new era.

I have great respect for the CCJ having heard a lecture of one of their founding members. I challenged the S-R to follow their lead with this comment.

Det. Ron Wright (Retired)


Mr. Smith,

There was a long discussion this and related topics in your post:

Greetings from Reno

I attended a lecture by one of the founders of the Committee of Concerned Journalists several years ago. Many of my beliefs/opinions of what the MSM must do to regain its credibility – read sustainability in light of the new media, is found in CCJ’s three goals regarding instituting a national discussion of what core journalism principles should be:

1. To clarify and renew journalists’ faith in the core principles and function of journalism.

2. To create a better understanding of those principles by the public.

3. To engage and inform ownership and management of these principles and their financial as well as social value.

This led to the distilling of the following nine principles:

There are, we have distilled from our search, some clear principles that journalists agree on — and that citizens have a right to expect. They are principles that have ebbed and flowed over time, but they have always in some manner been evident. They are the elements of journalism.The first among them is that the purpose of journalism is to provide people with the information they need to be free and self-governing.

To fulfill this task:

1. Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth.

2. Its first loyalty is to citizens.

3. Its essence is a discipline of verification.

4. Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover.

5. It must serve as an independent monitor of power.

6. It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise.

7. It must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant.

8. It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional.

9. Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience.

I alluded to these principles in the discussions regarding the S-R new code of ethics whether this is a mere PR ploy or a serious effort by the S-R to regain credibility in the eyes of the readers.

The second concern goes to the heart of a Code of Ethics re a major regional newspaper of record. The question is how to restore editorial integrity that separates the business interests of the owners from the newsroom floor. Historically there is a bright line between editorial content and the business side of a paper. In our unique circumstance a similar bright line needs to be drawn between editorial control and the owners of the paper to have any credibility with the readers.[…]

Even the Washington News Council recommended that the S-R separate itself from the Cowles Co attorney, Duane Swinton of Witherspoon & Kelley because of inherent conflicts of interests. This was recently evident in the withholding of more RPS documents from public disclosure. Witherspoon & Kelley were objecting to this release on behalf of the owners of the Cowles Co.


Because of the significant amount of property that the Cowles Co owns or controls in Downtown Spokane and along the Spokane River to the Idaho border, there inherently is a conflict of interest regarding its involvement in development projects and reporting by the S-R. [See the Fancher Report]

Det. Ron Wright (Retired)

Posted by Det. Ron Wright (Retired) | 20 Mar 9:56 AM

March 18th, 2008

The chicanery that went down with the RPS deal

UPDATE:  The Currency of the New Media

My remark that was pulled from S-R Editor Steve Smith’s blog “News is a Conversation,” in the post Greetings from Reno has interesting reappeared after porn spam was deleted from this thread.  This thread has continued on with a lively debate regarding accountability of the MSM and the new media.  Two commenters, David Brookbank and Green Libertarian, who take issue with my views regarding the GWOT actually agreed with my comments.

“Ron the Cop”

Here’s Mr. Brookbank’s comment:

Given the topic of this “News is a Conversation” thread is review & critique, transparency, and ethics, all as applied to the conversation about news in the context of the Spokesman-Review, I find it very appropriate that this particular evenings conversation has come to rest at Dick Wright’s comments on Det. Ron Wright.

Let me start by saying I am pleased to see that Det. Wright has chosen to identify himself by name, and left behind his old monikers of Rocketsbrain and RBT. I can only hope that other law enforcement participating here and at other S-R blogs will do the same.

Why do I say that? Because he has something valuable to contribute and his credibility is enhanced — or at least not detracted from — by his use of those aliases.

What some see as his “obsession” with certain aspects of the Cowles business, potential conflicts of interest (which abound, in potential at least, if not, on occasions, in inevitable reality), and the River Park Square parking garage can be seen as a solid focus on one of his areas interest. In that sense, he is one of the experts that the S-R says it wants to make use of in the type of community dialog it envisions for its online presence. Ron Wright believes the courts have yet to fully speak on the matter of River Park Square and I see no reason to object to his often excellent analysis. (True, I have problems with other aspects of his world view, mostly dealing with foreign policy, and have made that known in other S-R threads and on my own blog.)

Two points on which to commend Det. Wright:

1) I greatly admire the quality of his blog, from a technical perspective. It is attractive and very functional. You will excuse me if I borrow ideas from it, Det. Wright, or even ask you a periodic question about how you did this or that.

2) Whether the S-R publishers and editors or others like it or agree, Det. Wright has become an important source of critique and a storehouse of information on the 125 year old Spokesman, the city’s only daily paper. His blog appears on its way to becoming a legitimate source for those looking for a place to go for info on the S-R and for quotes from other sources, incl. current & former S-R reporters (such as Bob Jebb) and other important Spokane journalists (such as Tom Grant, Larry Shook & Tim Conner). When a single family & its business interests casts the sort of shadow that the Cowles family enterprises inevitably do over the reporting of reality in a region & over the business environment shaping the lives of the residents of that town and region, a voice — however grating some may find it — such as Det. Wright’s is a very valuable voice in our system of checks and balances. There is no need for conspiracy theories to appreciate an aggressively critical eye being applied to forces as powerful as newspapers and police departments.

Finally Det. Wright’s reposting of certain things censored from the S-R blogs — such as his response to Green Libertarian’s question about the Department of Justice methodology used to determine what percentage of the media the S-R controls in the Spokane area (80%, by the way)– and his reflections on censorship in historical and contemporary contexts are very valid and, perhaps most importantly, very local.

After all, many a comment or line of thought has been rejected or deflected by the S-R online staff with the generalized defense that the S-R really is about reporting local news and events.

As much as it used to bother me, Det. Roctetsbrain is now local. Go to it, bro.

Posted by David Brookbank  |  16 Mar 11:55 PM

Green Libertarian added this comment:

Oh fer Gawd’s sakes, people.

Anyone and everyone paying attention KNOWS the chicanery that went down with the RPS deal [my emphasis]. It’s plain on it’s face. Cowles decided they needed a $10-20M infusion (from the tax-payers) to make the project “pencil out”.

Thru a series of convoluted moves and bogus parking studies, they conned the City Council into it. The IRS, WSJ, Camas/The Local Planet blew the whistle on the deal and the thing unravelled, still, Jim West, a “made man” if there ever was one, and the Council signed off on the bail out deal when the fundamentals on the project (HUD loan etc) went south. The taxpayers in the City of Spokane (not a rich bunch, mind you) are on the hook for not only the original “public/private” capital infusion but millions of attorney fees that the sham deal generated, and will be paying such for many years, if not decades. Standard operating procedure or the monied elites. Basically the same scam happened in Seattle as well. Go Nordy’s!

In the end, the project helped spur additional DT development, which probably won’t recapture the cost of this fiasco to city coffers, however, especially at the time, the alternative was in fact looking rather bleak. Travelled much, seen cities of Spokane’s size with completely decimated downtowns? I have. They’re all over the country.

So don’t shop at Nordy’s if it’s too pricey, and it is. But definitely eat at Chick-N-More and support that DT business.

Posted by green libertarian  |  17 Mar 5:44 PM

I posted these additional comments:

Mr. Brookbank,

I’m shocked and literally stunned that we are in agreement on something. Even though we may differ on issues regarding the GWOT, we can agree on others. Regarding accountability of the MSM, this is the exact point I’ve been trying to make here and when I linked to this excellent piece at a new media outlet Pajamas Media:

The Power of New Media on the Presidency

Garyc apparently failed to notice I’ve agreed somewhat with his opinion on Boeing losing the tanker contract and cited concurring views in the Blogos.

I working on recruiting some local correspondents with expertise in other others. I mentioned a possible story on the frozen meat being buried in the Nortside Landfill. I’ve also developed a contact who is very familiar with the circumstances surrounding the AMR over billing fraud.

Yes, my interests regarding Spokane seem to focus on the owners of the S-R, their development projects, and their cross-ownership of media in the Spokane Regional Market that is monopolistic in nature. As I’ve said above there is an inherent conflict of interest with their development interests. Actually I feel compelled based on my professional training, education, and experience to do so. There were many times in my professional career I let some cases slide because of time constraints. I no longer have those constraints and I’m repaying my civic duty debt.

My significant other and I chose to relocate to the Spokane Area because of its many excellent attributes e.g., three major and lesser educational institutions, three major health/research institutions, a fine airport, arts and culture, four seasons and banana belt climate, lack of geologic and natural hazards, three malls with the usual stores, Lowes and Home Depot, unique geology and landscape, somewhat unPC Russian is the “second language”, and friendly people. The one thing lacking is a “normal” political/governmental environment. This is a “company town” than needs to shed its apron strings in order to evolve, prosper and grow.

Det. Ron Wright (Retired)

Posted by Det. Ron Wright (Retired)  |  17 Mar 10:21 AM


Gee this is a real landmark day! GL and I agree on something too.

Garyc, yes there will always be a need for reporters who can aggregate/assimilate info for readers. Citizen journalism however is a little different. These are more narratives and opinions will be expressed. It’s the nature of the beast. Blog readers I’m sure are aware of this and hence my recommendation about surveying the views on many blogs. I too am curious why Spokane seems lacking in the diversity of local blogs. Perhaps HBO has spawned the interest of bloggers in Northern Idaho. We need a similar incubator here in Spokane.

Mr. Brookbank I can’t take all the credit for my latest blogging venture, Friends of Mark Fuhrman. Its main focus will be local. While Mark was very opinionated and whether you agreed with him or not, he provided an important source of information that otherwise might not be provided by the MSM. Hopefully as this site grows I may be able to lure Mark back doing virtual net radio/podcasting doing his interviews with local guests on topics of interest.

Friends of Mark Fuhrman is a co-creation with Terresa Monroe-Hamilton of Noisy Room, Monroe Virtual Services and co-founder of Media Mythbusters and its related blog site.

Det. Ron Wright (Retired)

Posted by Det. Ron Wright (Retired)  |  17 Mar 6:45 PM


March 13th, 2008

Sheriff Bamonte urges manslaughter charges in RPS garage death

I thought I would share this letter from former Sheriff Bamonte requesting the tragic death of Jo Savage in the RPS parking garage be investigated as a manslaughter. I will let the readers decide if Sheriff Bamonte is a kook, nutso, loon, wacko, conspiracy theorist, or from the realm of little green men as Mr. Smith is so fond of referring to those who critique S-R reporting. Sheriff Bamonte challenged S-R Editor Steve Smith to abide by his profession’s ethics and do the investigative reporting that this case deserves:

. . . As the editor of Spokane’s only newspaper and considering your obligation to the public according to the Associated Press Managing Editor’s Statement of Ethical Principles, which state you should “vigorously expose wrongdoing, duplicity or misuse of power, public or private,” I formally request that you follow-up on this complaint to the point of doing your own investigation. Try to think of this felony crime as though the Spokane Police Department or the county sheriff’s department were the suspects and, as such, devote the same attention and coverage you would if this crime had been committed by members of our law enforcement agencies.

I find Sheriff Bamonte to be a consummate law enforcement professional who has thoroughly reviewed the facts surrounding the death of Jo Savage and concluded:

. . . I strongly feel there is exceptional probable cause and strong evidence to charge one or more persons with manslaughter in the first degree for the death of Jo Ellen Savage. The elements of that statute are quite clear and concise and appear to easily fit the probable cause and available evidence requirements applicable to charge that crime.

I concur in Sheriff Bamonte’s opinion and conclusion.

Ron the Cop



August 18, 2007

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich

and Chief of Police Anne Kirkpatrick

Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and Spokane Police Department

1100 W. Mallon Avenue

Spokane, Washington 99260

Regarding: Citizen complaint request for felony investigation, Manslaughter in the first degree.

Dear Sheriff Knezovich and Chief Kirkpatrick:

As the result of a comprehensive Spokane history book project my wife and I are working on, we have had occasion to discover and investigate a number of alleged clandestine frauds and/or criminal actions committed by various members of the Cowles family and Spokane city officials. One of these criminal actions involves what appears to be a willful and reckless omission of an official duty that resulted in a death. I recently learned this incident was never criminally investigated but was settled monetarily behind the scenes by the Cowles family’s insurance carrier, Safeco Insurance.

We concern ourselves with accurate investigations, documentations and authenticity in our writings. We strongly believe history is a science and should be approached as such. Consequently, we are avid truth and justice seekers. In our research, we have discovered the commission of a Class A felony, wherein a death occurred as the result of a reckless and deliberately orchestrated violation of a city safety inspection policy, followed with a subsequent cover-up by specific people in positions of power and public trust. It appears, because of the status and positions of the perpetrators involved, this horrific and preventable death has never been officially reported as a crime or brought to justice.

The death of Jo Ellen Savage on April 8, 2006, came about as the direct result of certain city officials who, with deliberate intent and disregard for the public’s safety, appeared to have colluded to bypass mandated city safety-inspection rules in favor of the financial interests of Spokane’s most powerful family – a family who controls 80% of Spokane’s media and, indirectly, the political careers of Spokane’s elected and appointed officials. As a result of what strongly appears to be reckless collusion with total disregard for the public’s safety and the violation of RCW 9A.32.060, a terrifying death occurred.

As a former three-term elected sheriff of a Washington State county, and a 25-year veteran law enforcement officer, I easily recognize the elements of felony crimes contained in the Revised Code of Washington. I strongly feel there is exceptional probable cause and strong evidence to charge one or more persons with manslaughter in the first degree for the death of Jo Ellen Savage. The elements of that statute are quite clear and concise and appear to easily fit the probable cause and available evidence requirements applicable to charge that crime.

The statute (RCW 9A.32.060) reads:

“Manslaughter in the first degree.

(1) A person is guilty of manslaughter in the first degree when:

(a) He recklessly causes the death of another person; or

(b) He intentionally and unlawfully kills an unborn quick child by inflicting any injury upon the mother of such child.

(2) Manslaughter in the first degree is a Class A felony.”

At this time, I respectfully request that either one or both of you, as Spokane’s chief law enforcement officers, initiate a criminal investigation into this death. I am enclosing, among other evidence, a copy of information containing probable cause developed by one of Washington State’s foremost and highly respected, award-winning, investigative journalists, Larry Shook, who was also at one time a correspondent for Newsweek magazine. I have also studied and corroborated the majority of Shook’s research and find it to be highly credible. Based on what I have uncovered and discovered to date, I believe extensive and incriminating evidence will be found through an investigation. I ask that you both carefully study this information and please contact me if you have any questions.

Conveniently, a majority of the investigative work involving this case is probably already documented. Typically, in these types of deaths, insurance carriers conduct extensive investigations prior to settling. Based on the nature and circumstances of this accident, and the fact that it was quickly and quietly settled for an undisclosed amount, there is certain to be an extensive file generated by Safeco’s investigators. These types of insurance investigative and settlement files are excellent resources for criminal investigators and usually packed with substantial amounts of evidence. In the case of a criminal investigation, and through the process of discovery, Safeco Insurance Company officials would be required to share this information per a subpoena.

I am enclosing six memorandums and documents. These documents corroborate the facts that the Cowles parking garage had serious structural problems that specific city officials and Cowles family members were made aware of, yet took no action. Most alarming is a statement issued on August 21, 1998 by Spokane City council members Barnes, Holmes, Green, Colliton, and Higgins, voicing their strong support for the city’s purchase of the Parking garage. This was less than two years from the time they received the Walker report, which stated the parking garage needed immediate repairs. This letter also corroborates an Internal Revenue Services report and finding stating they (the IRS) recognized that “developer (Cowles) maintained a relationship with city officials wherein the developers were in a “position to control or influence its activities.” Most importantly, evidence proves both city and Cowles family members knew of these dangerous conditions, yet recklessly ignored them. The motive was to relieve the Cowles family from the expense for these costly repairs and pass those costs to the city once the deal was closed. These reports are listed as follows:

1) The Walker Condition Assessment Report issued in 1996. This report documents the deteriorated condition of the garage and the dangerous lack of safety repairs. It specifically addressed the concern that the pre-cast panels were in need of replacement or repair, stating some have deteriorated “so far as to threaten the immediate stability of the panels.” In fact, it was a failure of one of these panels that caused the death of Jo Ellen Savage. Ten years later, when Jo Ellen Savage’s car bumped a precast panel and was pulled by the lip of that panel over the side of the garage to her gruesome death four stories below, the recommended repairs from this report had still not been completed. Even more reckless was the fact that following her death and months after, throughout the summer, other than securing a piece of plywood in place of the panel that had pulled Savage to her death, repairs were still not made. Cars were allowed to still park directly below the exact location of the failed pre-cast panel.

2) The Jacobson & Associates, Inc. Report. This was an engineering report completed in 2003 for the purpose of assisting with the appraisal work required to sell this garage to the city. This reports scathingly condemns the condition of the garage and strongly accentuates that the recommendations in the Walker report were not followed. (It should be noted that the RPS garage was not a new garage, it was built in 1973-74.) It again greatly emphasizes the dangerous condition of the parking garage and blatant disregard of the known and immediate recommended repairs – repairs that were recommended, but ignored, as needing immediate attention in 1996. Page three of this report specifically brings to the attention of all concerned that the recommendations concerning the dangerous conditions outlined in the 1996 Walker report had not been performed stating: “These finding are serious and indicate an imperative for actions to repair, restore and protect it as a safe low life-cycle cost facility.”

3) Internal Revenue Report, June 29, 2004. This report recognizes that the developer (Cowles) maintained a relationship with city officials wherein the developers were in a “position to control or influence its activities. (This is an extremely important and damning piece of evidence.)

4) An August 21, 1998 written and signed statement by Spokane City council members Barnes, Holmes, Green, Colliton, and Higgins, voicing their strong support for the city’s purchase of the Parking garage. This was done in opposition and contempt of Mayor Talbot, who voiced his opinion that the city was being taken advantage of.

5) Operations Memorandum, December 9, 1998. This memorandum was generated by Nick Dragisich, Assistant City Manager of Operations, and identifies 16 committee members who attended a meeting wherein a consensus of the Public Works Committee was to not do any inspection of the parking garage.

6) An investigative news story written by Spokane journalist Larry Shook, titled Death by Parking. This investigative piece of journalism lays out the entire scenario concerning the cover-up, proceeding and following Jo Savage’s death. Of great significance in this report is the statement of Rex Franklin, a Cowles bookkeeper, who was also identified as the garage manager. On May 18, 2006, the Spokesman-Review published a picture of Rex Franklin. The picture was dated 1991. It showed him trying to pull back a cracked precast panel, just like the one that failed when Jo Savage died. Franklin will be an important witness to contact. He has made statements that he was ordered to falsify the parking garage’s books. This investigative story is must read as it identifies numerous witnesses and criminal actions.


As both a student and researcher of Spokane history I have discovered that various members of the Cowles family, through their news monopoly and wealth, have established a 92-year-pattern of controlling the majority of our elected and appointed officials for the benefit of their family’s own financial interests. Often, their financial gain is against the public’s best interest and kept secret, as they control a large segment of the news media. In this specific complaint, they (with the help of certain public officials) have been allowed to avoid a Class A felony manslaughter investigation – an immunity not afforded lesser citizens.

Thank you in advance for your time and attention to this matter. I also ask that you advise me of whatever actions you decide to take regarding my official complaint.


Tony Bamonte

P.O. Box 8625

Spokane, WA 99203


The Spokesman-Review

Steven Smith, Editor

P.O. Box 2160

Spokane WA 99210

Regarding: Citizen request for a journalist investigation on the death of Jo Ellen Savage based on the standards of the Associated Press Managing Editors statement of ethical principles.

Dear Mr. Smith:

I am enclosing a copy of a criminal complaint I recently filed. You will find it self-explanatory and probably of interest. As the editor of Spokane’s only newspaper and considering your obligation to the public according to the Associated Press Managing Editor’s Statement of Ethical Principles, which state you should “vigorously expose wrongdoing, duplicity or misuse of power, public or private,” I formally request that you follow-up on this complaint to the point of doing your own investigation. Try to think of this felony crime as though the Spokane Police Department or the county sheriff’s department were the suspects and, as such, devote the same attention and coverage you would if this crime had been committed by members of our law enforcement agencies.

I am also enclosing a copy of a letter I wrote to Stacey Cowles on August 8, 2007. Isn’t it newsworthy that your employers were successfully sued for close to $9 million by someone who formerly contracted for them, especially when a bankruptcy judge ruled that your employers acted in “bad faith”? Was the judge in this case not credible? Will that story ever appear in the Spokesman-Review or any of the television stations, especially Channel 6? (please also refer to the APME statement of Ethical Principles)

Yesterday on the Mark Fuhrman show, I listened to the reading of a letter you wrote explaining why you were not going to respond to questions regarding anything to do with allegations of wrong-doing by your employers. You appear to be out-of-line and arbitrary in your accusations against all parties who are contrary to your championed position. Can you actually prove or provide evidence that any of the people you have demeaned are not truly credible? If you can’t, you shouldn’t defame those who are honest, but challenging to your or your employers positions. I am also aware of negative and demeaning comments you have made about me to various journalist. This is disappointing and unjust as we have never met.

When first hired by the Cowles’s you appeared to have integrity and be above the type of journalism you are now involved with. Maybe you should ask yourself! Are you truly free of obligations to any interests other than the public’s right to know the truth? Are you avoiding conflicts of interest, real or perceived, and are you free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility. Over time, truth and justice seem to always find the light.

As I’m sure you are aware, those who will not answer legitimate and sincere questions from concerned members of the public generally have something they wish to hide. Isn’t that a fact you may have learned during your many years of journalist experience?

I openly wonder if, when you made the decision to work for the Cowles, you truly knew their expectations and clandestine business dealings. In the May 6, 2007 edition of the Spokesman-Review, you state: “This is not about an investigation into the appropriateness of the River Park Square development or the public private partnership . . .” In truth, this entire scenario does center around the RPS. The Cowles have already been caught committing a number of illegal activities, which they to date, have used their political connections and media empire to cover up. Currently, a number of actions are about to commence that appear to have the strength necessary to procure justice.

Although I am disappointed in your apparent recent compromised integrity, I still have some faith in you for the fact that you did call for an audit. At this time, I have two questions. What happens if a reporter reports in a way that causes a crime to be covered up or attempts to cover up a crime and gets caught? What happens when certain facts are brought to your attention that show your employers may have committed a crime and you make efforts to conceal their criminal actions? At this time I would urge you to seek your own independent legal counsel and ask those questions.

I have one last question. In the same article I quoted above, you state: “It’s not about the checkered record of other journalists who reported on the controversy.” It appears you are alleging that some dishonest journalists have falsely reported on RPS. I would like to know who you are referring to and what exactly do you mean by “checkered record.”

I learned this morning that a major fraud complaint against the Cowles has been filed with the United States attorney for the Eastern Washington district. This was filed by a former nine-year veteran Spokane City Council woman, Cherie Rodgers, and the highly acclaimed award-winning journalist, Tim Conner. This complaint was filed by invitation of United States attorney, Jim McDivitt, during a time he called in to the Mark Furhman Show and was on the air for about 15 or 20 minutes. McDivitt’s only qualification for accepting this complaint was that it be credible. I ask you, are Rodgers and Conner credible and if not, why aren’t they? To the best of my knowledge, they are both highly respected and honorable.

There is a good chance your employers may be on their way to receiving national attention for a number of disgraceful actions and crimes they have committed. In the best interest of the public your profession dictates you serve, I hope you will conduct a fair and open investigation.



Tony Bamonte

P.O. Box 8625

Spokane, WA 99203

March 13th, 2008

Manslaughter charges urged in RPS garage death [S-R Brunt’s article found]

In Update II to The Currency of the New Media I childed the S-R regarding Jonathon Brunt’s article was MIA on Sheriff Bamonte’s letters urging the Jo Savage death in the RPS parking garage be investigated as a manslaughter:

Manslaughter charges urged in RPS garage death

I sent an email to S-R Online Director Ryan Pitts:

Just thought I would make you aware that on your webpage under “ongoing coverage” on River Park Square crash, that the Jonathan Brunt’s August 24, 2007 story isn’t listed.  I couldn’t hit on it either using Google and using the search function on your webpage.  I eventually had to go to a pay site to get it .  .  .

Ryan promptly responded and Brunt’s article was found and the S-R links were restored:

The story shows up on the headline list for 8/24/2007, so I have no idea why Google doesn’t find it.

However, it was keyworded incorrectly, which is what kept it from also showing up on the River Park Square ongoing coverage page. That’s fixed now.


 I promptly replied and expressed my displeasure regarding my comment being censored in this discussion thread at S-R’s Blog “New is a Conversation.”


Thx.  I appreciate it.  I used several search words including Brunt, Bamonte, and Savage et al both on your internal search function and Googled externally using the same terms.  The only hits back to the S-R server were for the follow-up story re Knezovich’s agreeing with Kirkpatrik’s decision to kick the Savage investigation to the feds.   This story I’m guessing never went out on the AP wire as no links were found to other papers picking up the story even though it ran on S-R’s Page One above the fold here. The only external link I found was to a arhive[sic] subscription site. The site only gives a teaser excerpt and requires a fee for the entire story.  Here’s the link.  Don’t know if you can open it because it’s enabled by my IP and subscription.

I’m sorry for my “snarky comment” that the “powers that be” have since pulled but S-R Associate Editor Gary Crooks opened the door with his rhetorical question to me.  Having been a career investigative bureaucrat for many years, sometimes a little prodding is necessary to further these investigations along.  That was my point re the lack of investigative zeal the S-R’s part that is inconsistent with my experience with newspapers and reporters.  This is also on point with the discussion Ast. City Editor David Wasson and I were having regarding the ability of the new/alternative media  to hold the MSM accountable for its news product. Because of the “family’s” connection to the Savage case there is an inherent conflict of interest.  If what Sheriff Bamonte and I believe to be the truth in the Savage death case there is a strong motivation not to have this investigation proceed to its logical conclusion.  There is the appearance of evil here whether it exists or not.

Generally if I’m not mistaken a follow-up story by now would be the journalistic norm instead of just waiting for the kettle to come to a boil.   As a point of comparison and relevance the “monkey story” is running today on S-R’s Page One in the right column.  I know Mr. Smith’s position is that when there is “new” news the S-R will report it.    On the other hand I believe it is a fundamental journalistic responsibility to the people to ask the probative questions so that we the people can hold our elected/appointed accountable.  By not asking these questions whether there is any animus or complicity on the part of the S-R owners does not lend any credibility to the S-R.  This is further compounded when my “ankle-biting” comments are summarily censored.

Again thanks for your assist.

Det. Ron Wright (Retired)

March 11th, 2008

Cowles Co & RPS fraud etal research resources

Tim Connor and Larry Shook, award winning investigative journalists, whose collective works regarding the Cowles Co and the River Park Square bond fraud (RPS) are online at Camas Magazine, now have their entire works compiled in a downloadable PDF document. Researchers now can download this document and search it with normal search tools without relying on the Camas site’s limited search function:

The Ultimate Archive
In one 800-page searchable document, all Camas RPS stories are now available in a PDF format Details…

While on the subject of research tools, anyone doing serious work on these topics the Fancher Report is a must read. This extensive report on the Cowles Co media empire was done in the 70’s regarding its cross-ownership of media in the Spokane market. It was estimated that the Cowles directly or indirectly control 80% of the media in this market. As Larry Shook writes in his soon to be published book Girl from Hotsprings chronicling the events and circumstances surrounding the tragic death of Ms. Jo Savage in the RPS parking garage:

Voices from the Shadows

DECADES BEFORE THE CONTROVERSIAL River Park Square public/private partnership, Fancher described how the Cowles family helped orchestrate an elaborate scheme to use public money—federal and local—to redevelop downtown in a way that enhanced the value of the family’s real estate. Simultaneously, Fancher’s sources told him, the family was instrumental in changing local government to make it more responsive to Cowles business interests.

Fancher’s thesis might have been portraying garden variety, old-fashioned American graft, something right out of Lincoln Steffens’s 1904 muckraking classic, Shame of the Cities, except for one thing. At the heart of the graft was the very institution that was supposed to be the watchdog guarding against corruption—a newspaper. . .

Fancher’s sources described how Spokane’s mayors, city council members, city managers, and city staffers were little more than Cowles puppets. They explained how Cowles-led downtown property owners, via compliant city hall staff, were effectively able to tax the entire community—Washington’s second largest city—for their private benefit. . .

Fancher’s sources explained that the family handpicked candidates for public offices, supported them with favorable media coverage, and editorially attacked those who opposed the Cowles agenda. (Read about present-day editorial policies in “The Stench that Won’t Go Away.”) . . .

In a way, the Fancher Report foreshadowed the River Park Square fiasco. Still, outsiders who grappled with the financial scandal of the Cowles mall were shocked by the conditions they found in Spokane. “In thirty years of practicing securities law, I’ve never seen another city like Spokane,” said Gary Ceriani of Denver, lead bondholder attorney. “I especially don’t understand Betsy Cowles. In Denver, we have people who make a living [suing] people like her. In Spokane, everyone defers to her.”

“Spokane is the last company town in America,” said former Prudential Securities investment banker Mark Schwartz of Philadelphia. Schwartz, an attorney, filed complaints with both the IRS and SEC over River Park Square . . .

. . . . Because I consider it such a valuable historical artifact, and because the ethic of university theses is to permanently contribute to scholarship, I contacted Terry Fancher and requested permission to post it on this website. After confirming the document’s authenticity, Fancher graciously approved its publication here. —L.S. (July 14, 2006)

I recently referred to the Fancher Report in a recent debate regarding the new S-R Code of Ethics and was promptly censored. Larry Shook emailed me with this comment that the findings of the Fancher Report are still valid today:

Ron: In addition to reading the Fancher Report, which you linked in your e-mail, those interested in “enlightenment” about Cowles media control of Spokane might find the 7/20/04 article “The Parable of the Three Giants” at useful. Among other things, the story reports:

“After taking MBA and law degrees from Harvard, Fancher went to work at the Justice Department in the early 1980s. He recently told a Camas reporter that when the Cowles family found out he had been assigned to the KHQ case, they used political influence to get him pulled off. Fancher says IRS officials told him they were furious about the move.

Obviously, KHQ’s broadcast license has remained solidly intact.

Today, says Cherie Rodgers, Spokane’s fate is essentially unchanged from the time Fancher wrote his thesis.

One of Spokane’s top advertising executives concurs. Asking not to be identified, he says his research shows the Cowleses still dominate about 80 percent of Spokane’s media.

Tom Grant, the only other journalist in Spokane to vigorously investigate River Park Square, recently wrote about his experience in a letter to Camas. He noted the “broad effort by the region’s leading news family to cover up the truth.” He criticized mainstream media for avoiding “a critical examination on the issue. The main reason: the very news leaders who should have been reporting on the secret deal were the people behind the secret deal.”

Grant blames Cowles pressure for ending his career in Spokane.

“News in Spokane has been dominated by Cowles Publishing for nearly a century. During my decade of working in Spokane television, I discovered that … The Spokesman-Review sets the agenda for all news reporting in the city. Television news directors pulled it out to determine daily assignments at morning news meetings. The Associate Press relied on it almost exclusively for determining what stories to send out on the wire. In my personal experience, I have observed the local AP office reject stories that failed to match the mainstream view as reported in The Spokesman. The AP has routinely carried stories about the parking garage deal as reported by The Spokesman, but never passes along reports from Camas Magazine.

“Cowles Publishing controls news on three television stations: the NBC affiliate, the PAX affiliate and the Fox affiliate. It has even attempted to control the news on other stations. After I reported on the secret parking garage deal [for KXLY], Cowles Publishing hired a public relations firm to muzzle my reporting, and it was successful. Part of the pressure came from direct communications between the Cowles PR firm and our news management. Part of the pressure was applied to advertisers at the other stations….”

Ron the Cop