After thirty years of cover-ups and government stonewalling, an Arkansas mother is suing eleven federal and state agencies
A quick internet search for Linda Ives pulls up an intriguing email.
"I have never claimed any direct connection between Clinton and my son's murder," the email begins. "However, his fingerprints are all over the case."
The contents of Ives' email are far more explosive than anything you can find in the Podesta Files or the DNC leaks. But Ives isn't a hacker or a DNC staffer. And she's definitely not a Russian agent.
Linda Ives is an Arkansas mother who is suing the United States government. If successful, her lawsuit will bring closure to a 30-year nightmare—and would likely implicate several three-letter agencies in a massive cover-up.
Multiple investigations were botched or derailed. Evidence and files pertaining to the case disappeared. Witnesses died before they were able to testify. Numerous Freedom of Information requests to the FBI, CIA, Department of Justice and other agencies were chewed up and spit out by uncooperative bureaucracies.
After nearly thirty years of cover-ups and government stonewalling, Linda Ives is suing eleven federal and state agencies for "full and unredacted reports" that could shed light on who killed her son.
As her lawsuit states:
Plaintiff believes the only reason she has not received adequate responses [to her FOI requests] is that an adequate response would show crimes by government officials and would expose them and government agencies to suits for damages.
Plaintiff will prove that there has been a massive cover-up by federal, state and county officials.
A court date has been set for sometime in late November, 2017, but a motion to dismiss filed by the government has been pending for more than six months.
Ives has never made her son's unsolved murder into a vendetta against the Clintons. She has stated repeatedly that her only goal is to identify her son's killers.
Nevertheless, in 1996, Clinton White House counsel Mark Fabiani accused Ives of spreading "conspiracy theories and innuendo" about Clinton—an episode detailed in Ives' lawsuit.
Although not a defendant in the case, Bill Clinton's name appears repeatedly in Ives' suit.
Ives is now appealing to the internet for help—although it remains to be seen if her son's case can attract as much attention as the mystery surrounding Seth Rich, the DNC staffer gunned down near his home in Northwest D.C., on July 10, 2016.
"Most of [the] public still does not understand that murder in politics is real," Ives wrote on the popular internet message board 4chan. "To Seth Rich's family: I am sorry for your loss. I have been there and I know your pain and frustration. I do not know what happened to Seth, but I do know what happened to my son and I know why justice never came."
I let the investigators of the case do their job. I trusted their expertise, experience, and motives. I didn't find out till years later that the same people who were so kind to me, who were supporting me and reassuring me, were actually involved in covering up the murder of my son.
I was told over and over again by them to not do or say anything publicly that would hurt the case. So even when my intuition told me that something was off, I held my tongue.
I fear you might be victims to the same manipulative tactics that were used on me.
On August 23, 1987, two teenage boys were stabbed and bludgeoned to death in a quiet suburb of Little Rock, Arkansas. Placed side by side on nearby railroad tracks, their bodies were later mutilated by a northbound Union Pacific train.
Investigators initially declared the deaths of Kevin Ives, 17, and Don Henry, 16, an accident. The medical examiner assigned to the case, Fahmy Malak, concluded that the two boys had smoked too much marijuana and had fallen asleep on the tracks.
According to Malak, Kevin and Don were in such a deep, marijuana-induced slumber that they were unable to hear the approaching train—or its horn.
After a massive public uproar—thanks largely to the efforts of Linda Ives—a grand jury was called to investigate the case. The bodies of the two boys were exhumed and a new autopsy was conducted, which revealed that Kevin and Don had been stabbed and bludgeoned before being placed on the tracks.
Kevin and Don had been murdered.
As outraged citizens and newspaper editorials called for Fahmy Malak's dismissal, then-governor of Arkansas Bill Clinton defended the disgraced medical examiner (Malak's medical malfeasance was the result of "stress", according to Clinton) and even recommended he receive a 41 percent pay raise.
And while Linda Ives worked tirelessly to bring her son's killers to justice, Clinton was gearing up to become the next president of the United States.
Before launching his presidential campaign, Clinton participated in negotiations to create a new position for Malak in the Arkansas Department of Health—despite there being a government hiring freeze.The story of "the boys on the track" (popularized in part by a book by the same name, written by Arkansas Times senior editor Mara Leveritt) is believed to be connected to a massive CIA-linked drug smuggling operation that was based in Mena, Arkansas.
Ives believes her son was murdered for wandering in on a drug drop—and that the 30-year cover-up involves the highest levels of government.
'Your government’s got its foot on somebody'
Linda Ives is suing almost every major US alphabet agency—the CIA, DEA, DHS, DIA and FBI—as well as the Department of Justice, the State Department, the State of Arkansas, the Arkansas State Police and the Saline County Sheriff's Department.
Her suit demands full compliance with all Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, as well as "completely unredacted" documents relevant to her son's unsolved murder:
Defendant agencies have conducted investigations into the death of plaintiffs son. Plaintiff has filed Freedom of Information requests with the defendant agencies and has received inadequate responses by virtue of no response or highly redacted responses.
There is no legal excuse for non-response or a redacted response as there is no ongoing investigation as no one is being investigated or arrested ... Plaintiff is entitled to know who killed her son, why her son was killed and who covered it up.
Filed on August 24, 2016, two consecutive judges recused themselves from presiding over the case.
The current judge, Brian S. Miller, has yet to rule on a motion to dismiss filed by the government in November. Although Linda Ives' attorney, R. David Lewis, responded to the motion in mid-December, the pending motion has been collecting dust for nearly six months.
"Nobody knows what to do," Lewis told this reporter during a telephone conversation. "The motions have been pending since November and I filed my response in December. Nothing."
Waggaman: But they have a judge for the case. What’s the last word you heard from them?
Lewis: Not a word.
Lewis: Yup. I think the word is—your government’s got its foot on somebody. I don’t know.
Waggaman: You think there’s some sort of … pressure?
Lewis: I don’t know! I’ve told you everything I know.
While waiting six months for a ruling on a pending motion is unusual, it's far from unprecedented. However, Ives has good reasons to be weary. As her lawsuit states, "Plaintiff has been trying for the last 29 years to learn how her son was killed, why and by whom and has been met with stonewalling at every turn."
Before filing suit, Ives—through her attorney—spent years petitioning federal and state agencies for unredacted documents related to her son's case.
According to Mara Leveritt of the Arkansas Times, the FBI is believed to have 17,000 documents relating to Kevin Ives' murder. However, only heavily (or in many cases, completely) redacted documents relevant to the case have been released to the public.
Ives believes that the reason federal and state agencies are redacting or withholding information about her son's death is because complying with her FOI requests would expose the government to criminal liability.
As her suit claims: "Plaintiff believes the only reason she has not received adequate responses is that an adequate response would show crimes by government officials and would expose them and government agencies to suits for damages. Plaintiff will prove that there has been a massive cover-up by federal, state and county officials".
FOI Nightmares: Arkansas, not Indiana
Representing the government, US Attorney Stacey Elise McCord filed a motion to dismiss in November, arguing that Ives had failed to "exhaust administrative remedies" (in layman's terms: appeal) after her FOI requests turned up nothing.
But Ives' attorney, R. David Lewis, disputed this claim, noting that many of the agencies in question had already breached their obligations by filing late responses to Ives' Freedom of Information requests, meaning that no "exhaustion of administrative remedies" was necessary.
While government agencies may exceed the twenty-day time limit under certain circumstances, Ives' FOI requests were routinely mishandled and even ignored.
Lewis' response to the government's motion to dismiss, filed on December 13, 2016, details years of bureaucratic foot-dragging as Linda Ives sought unredacted documents that could help bring closure to her son's unsolved murder.
One particularly absurd episode involving a "typographical error" would feel right at home in a Joseph Heller novel.
On April 9, 2012, Lewis faxed a FOI request to the United States Attorney's Office in Little Rock, Arkansas, and received acknowledgment of receipt on the same day which stated that the request had been forwarded to the Executive Office for the United States Attorney’s Office (EOUSA).
What followed was months of hoop-jumping—including Ives having to prove that her son was actually dead—which ended on September 12, when the EOUSA informed her that a search for records on her son in Indiana had returned no relevant documents pertaining to her request.
The much-awaited response likely came as a surprise to Ives, because her FOI request sought documents located in Arkansas—not Indiana.
But Ives didn't give up.
On December 5, Lewis faxed a letter to the EOUSA stating that his client's FOI request sought records in Arkansas and not Indiana. Several weeks passed without any response, so on January 10, 2013, Lewis sent a follow-up letter reminding the EOUSA that his client was still waiting for any documents found in Arkansas pertaining to her son, as detailed in her FOI request.
Finally, on February 25, the EOUSA responded, stating that there had been a "typographical error"; the EOUSA insisted its original search which turned up no relevant documents was conducted in Arkansas, and not in Indiana as originally claimed.
Ives' lawsuit accuses the government of stonewalling her efforts to uncover the truth about her son's murder, and her FOI battle with the Executive Office for the United States Attorney’s Office could be considered Exhibit A.
But FOI requests sent by Lewis to other alphabet agencies suffered similar fates.
For example, after filing a FOI request with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Ives was informed that the agency was unable to locate any files related to "Kelvin Ives":
But even without the "typographical errors", government agencies were unable to process Ives' FOI requests in a timely manner.
One FOI request, sent to the FBI on April 20, 2012, remained in bureaucratic limbo until it was eventually referred to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) on February 14, 2013. But the DIA did not respond until September 28, 2013—months after the case was referred to it and some year and a half after the FOI request was made to the FBI.
Despite all of this, the government argues that Ives has yet to exhaust all "administrative remedies" available to her.
Government finally produced documents—about Pablo Escobar
Despite the long delays and clerical errors, at least one of Linda Ives' FOI letters furnished results.
As Lewis details in his response to the government's motion to dismiss, Ives was eventually sent documents—but they were from an agency that she had never petitioned for information, and the documents themselves had little to do with her son:
The FBI withheld thousands of documents pertaining to her son's case—but at least Ives was able to inspect State Department files about Pablo Escobar?
The Clinton connection
In an email dated October 12, 1999, Linda Ives wrote that while she has never claimed any direct connection between Clinton and her son's murder, "his fingerprints are all over the case":
1. The state crime lab director is appointed by the governor and serves at the will of the governor. At the time of the boy's murder, the director's position was vacant. Three department chiefs, Ken Michau, head of toxicology; Ralph Turbyfill, who I believe was head of latent fingerprints and; Bear Chandler (I've forgotten his department) were designated by Clinton to be the "acting directors.
When Steve Cox, who was the crime lab's trace evidence expert, found cuts in both of the boy's shirts, he wanted to do further testing to determine whether or not the cuts in the shirts matched any of the wounds on the boys' bodies.
Cox received a memo from the acting directors stating that no further testing was to be conducted because the crime lab was "going to back Malak's ruling".
This information came from Cox's grand jury testimony. In fact, Cox left the Arkansas state crime lab and moved out of state. I do not believe that the acting crime lab directors would have made the decision to stop Cox from doing his job without orders from above. The only person they answered to was Bill Clinton.
2. For 5 years Clinton steadfastly defended Fahmy Malak (medical examiner who ruled the boys deaths accidental) despite a huge public outcry for his dismissal and even recommended a 41% salary increase in his salary.
3. Understanding that Malak was a definite liability and problem for his presidential campaign, when Clinton decided to run for president Clinton's office participated in "negotiations" to create a new position for Malak in the state health department despite a hiring freeze. Then when the "negotiations" were exposed in the media, Clinton lied about his involvement, which was also exposed and loudly protested to no avail.
4. An FBI agent told us that the State Democratic Party Chairman, Lib Carlisle, called the state capital to call off the state police investigation of the boys' murders.
5. Don Birdsong was the state police investigator in charge of the case in 1989. If you have looked at much of the website, you know that, in my opinion, the ASP investigation was a sham. Birdsong withdrew from the case and was appointed Arkansas State Police liason to Clinton's office.
6. Robert Shepherd, appointed by Clinton as the state drug czar, interfered with three separate investigations of the boys' deaths. He tried to convince the U.S. Attorney's office that Jean Duffey was "crazy"; He warned John Brown to back off the case and; he attempted to intervene in the FBI investigation.
7. I was placed on Clinton's "enemies" list and, in fact, singled out by White House Counsel Mark Fabiani to reporter Phil Weiss who wrote the New York Times Magazine article, "Clinton Haters". [Why] was I important enough to even be on the list, much less be singled out to reporters???? Phil Weiss' conclusion was much like mine -- I am not a conspiracy nut out to get Bill Clinton -- I have a legitimate complaint about the handling of my son's murder case.
[My] agenda has never been to "get" Bill Clinton -- The only persons I am interested in "getting" is my son's killers. Likewise, I also cannot ignore the obvious connections he has to the case.
Bill Clinton is not a defendant in Ives' case—but his name appears repeatedly in her lawsuit.
Ives' suit claims that Clinton was intimately connected with CIA drug smuggling operations in Arkansas, helped launder drug money and received a cut from the profits.
A few excerpts from Ives' lawsuit:
- Terry Reed trained pilots for Barry Seal, the infamous Mena drug smuggler. According to Ives' lawsuit, "Reed reported a meeting in March of 1986 which was held at a bunker in Camp Robinson located in North Little Rock, Arkansas between Bill Clinton, Clinton's aide Bob Nash, Terry Reed, Max Gomez, the alias for Felix Rodriguez, John Cathey, the alias for Oliver North, resident CIA agent Akihide Sawahata and the man in charge who called himself Robert Johnson who said he was the emissary for Mr. Casey, the head of CIA."
"In this meeting, it was stated that Bob Nash was Clinton's economic head and the liaison officer with the secret intelligence operations that had been carried out undetected at the Mena airport. Johnson then described Gomez as the agency's man-in-charge of planned operations in Mexico. Johnson said to Clinton, 'The deal we made was to launder our money through your bond business but what we didn't plan on was you and your***** ****** here start taking yourselves seriously and purposely shrinking our laundry.'"
- "Linda Ives was filmed by two people who produced a documentary called The Clinton Chronicles which discussed that the Mena airport had been the command post of the biggest drug smuggling operation in the United States importing $100 million per month in cocaine into Mena. It alleged that much of that money had been laundered through the ADFA, a bonding agency that Governor Clinton had created to help small businesses get started."
- "In November 1996, a CIA inspector general's report was declassified which admitted that the CIA had been at Mena for routine aviation related services, that L.D. Brown, an Arkansas State policeman assigned to security at the Arkansas' governor mansion, had been a candidate for CIA employment in 1994 at the suggestion of Bill Clinton and the CIA had limited contact with Seal and installed cameras on his plane."
As detailed in her lawsuit, in 1996, Ives was targeted by Clinton's White House counsel Mark Fabiani for spreading "conspiracy theories and innuendo":
During Clinton's presidency, Fabiani made a name for himself as a spin doctor. Newsweek called Fabiani and his business partner Chris Lehane the “masters of disaster” owing to their ability to control media narratives.
In his February 23, 1997, piece about "Clinton crazies" for the New York Times Magazine, Philip Weiss expressed sympathy for Linda Ives' story. However, Weiss denied that he had been sent by Fabiani to smear her:
The Journal said Ives said the White House had ''sicced'' me on her. But the former Whitewater counsel, Mark Fabiani, had spoken of her case to me in rather neutral terms, and as I told Ives, I thought official inaction in her son's case merited further investigation.
Linda Ives has stated repeatedly that her only goal is to bring her son's killers to justice.
So why did White House counsel Mark Fabiani, the "master of disaster", suggest Weiss interview her for a piece called "Clinton Crazies"?
Ending a 30-year nightmare
What comes next for Linda Ives?
Examining the troves of documents related to her case, it's difficult to dismiss Ives' claim that she can "prove that there has been a massive cover-up by federal, state and county officials".
But amazingly, even with Clinton's fingerprints on the alleged cover-up, her lawsuit has received no meaningful media coverage outside of Arkansas.
Linda has reached out to Wikileaks, Judicial Watch, and even the "weaponized autism" of 4chan to help her finally bring closure to her son's unsolved murder.
After thirty years, Ives could finally see her suit in court and justice for her son, but likely only if there is enough public awareness and pressure on the judiciary.
Ives will be conducting a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" on Wednesday, June 7.
Who will help Linda Ives?
UPDATE (9/6/17): Read Linda Ives' AMA here
Riley Waggaman is managing editor of Russia Insider. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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