The Suspicious, Disturbing Death Of Election Rigger Michael Connell In Stark County Ohio
Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
December 21, 2008
Michael Connell, the crucial techno- lynch pin in the theft of the 2004 election, and much more, is dead at the age of 45. His unnatural, suspicious death raises serious questions about the corruption of the American electoral process that now may never be answered.
Connell died Friday, December 19 when his Piper Saratoga plane crashed near his northern Ohio home. He was flying himself home from the College Park, Maryland airport. An accomplished pilot, flying in unremarkable weather, his death cuts off a critical path to much of what may never be known about how the 2004 election was shifted from John Kerry to George W. Bush in the wee hours of November 2. His plane crashed between two houses in an upscale neighborhood, one vacant, just 2.5 miles from the Akron-Canton airport.
A long-time, outspokenly loyal associate of the Bush family, Connell created the Bush-Cheney website for their 2000 presidential campaign. Connell may have played a role in various computer malfunctions that helped the GOP claim the presidency in 2000. As a chief IT consultant and operative for Karl Rove, Connell was a devout Catholic and the father of four children. In various interviews and a deposition Connell cited his belief that abortion is murder as a primary motivating factor in his work for the Republican Party.
Connell recently wrote the following in his New Media Communications newsletter, regarding Barack Obama’s election: “In our 230 year history, our democracy has suffered worse fates. It’s just that none come to mind right now.” Connell wrote: “This is just a moment in time and this too shall pass. Enduring is the fact that 2000 years ago, a babe was born in Bethlehem. When our Lord God sent his only Son for our salvation,…In spite of the current economic and political conditions, salvation is eternal.”
Ohio Republican Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell hired Connell in 2004 to create a real-time computer data compilation for counting Ohio’s votes. Under Connell’s supervision, Ohio’s presidential vote count was transmitted to private, partisan computer servers owned by SmartTech housed in the basement of the Old Pioneer Bank building in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Connell’s company, New Media Communications worked closely with SmartTech in building Republican and right-wing websites that were hosted on SmartTech servers. Among Connell’s clients were the Republican National Committee, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and gwb43.com. The SmartTech servers at one point housed Karl Rove’s emails. Some of Rove’s email files have since mysteriously disappeared despite repeated court-sanctioned attempts to review them.
In 2001, Michael Connell’s GovTech Solutions, LLC was selected to reorganize the Capitol Hill IT network, the only private-sector company to gain permission from HIR [House Information Resources] to place its server behind the firewall, he bragged.
At 12:20 am on the night of the 2004 election exit polls and initial vote counts showed John Kerry the clear winner of Ohio’s presidential campaign. The Buckeye State’s 20 electoral votes would have given Kerry the presidency.
But from then until around 2am, the flow of information mysteriously ceased. After that, the vote count shifted dramatically to George W. Bush, ultimately giving him a second term. In the end there was a 6.7 percent diversion—in Bush’s favor—between highly professional, nationally funded exit polls and the final official vote count as tabulated by Blackwell and Connell.
Until his death Connell remained the IT supervisor for six Congressional committees. But on the day before the 2008 election, Connell was deposed by attorneys Cliff Arnebeck and Bob Fitrakis about his actions during the 2004 vote count, and his continued involvement in IT operations for the GOP, including his access to Rove’s e-mail files and the circumstances behind their disappearance.
Various threats have been repeatedly reported involving Connell and other IT experts close to the GOP. On July 24, 2008, Arnebeck emailed Attorney General Michael Mukasey, stating: “We have been confidentially informed by a source we believe to be credible that Karl Rove has threatened Michael Connell, a principal witness we have identified in our King-Lincoln case in federal court in Columbus, Ohio,….”
Connell’s death comes at a moment where election protection attorneys and others appeared to be closing in on critical irregularities and illegalities. In his pre-election deposition, Connell was generally evasive, but did disclose key pieces of information that could prove damaging to Karl Rove and the GOP. Examining attorneys in the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville civil rights lawsuit, stemming from the 2004 election theft, were confident Connell had far more to tell.
There is widespread concern that this may be the reason he is now dead.
Sunday, Dec 21, 2008
Michael Connell, the Bush IT expert who has been directly implicated in the rigging of George Bush’s 2000 and 2004 elections, was killed last night when his single engine plane crashed three miles short of the Akron airport. Velvet Revolution (”VR”), a non-profit that has been investigating Mr. Connell’s activities for the past two years, can now reveal that a person close to Mr. Connell has recently been discussing with a VR investigator how he can tell all about his work for George Bush. Mr. Connell told a close associate that he was afraid that George Bush and Dick Cheney would “throw [him] under the bus.”
A tipster close to the McCain campaign disclosed to VR in July that Mr. Connell’s life was in jeopardy and that Karl Rove had threatened him and his wife, Heather. VR’s attorney, Cliff Arnebeck, notified the United States Attorney General , Ohio law enforcement and the federal court about these threats and insisted that Mr. Connell be placed in protective custody. VR also told a close associate of Mr. Connell’s not to fly his plane because of another tip that the plane could be sabotaged. Mr. Connell, a very experienced pilot, has had to abandon at least two flights in the past two months because of suspicious problems with his plane. On December 18, 2008, Mr. Connell flew to a small airport outside of Washington DC to meet some people. It was on his return flight the next day that he crashed.
On October 31, Mr. Connell appeared before a federal judge in Ohio after being subpoenaed in a federal lawsuit investigating the rigging of the 2004 election under the direction of Karl Rove. The judge ordered Mr. Connell to testify under oath at a deposition on November 3rd, the day before the presidential election. Velvet Revolution received confidential information that the White House was extremely concerned about Mr. Connell talking about his illegal work for the White House and two Bush/Cheney 04 attorneys were dispatched to represent him.
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An associate of Mr. Connell’s told VR that Mr. Connell was involved with the destruction of the White House emails and the setting up of the off-grid White House email system.
Mr. Connell handled all of John McCain’s computer work in the recent presidential campaign. VR has received direct evidence that the McCain campaign kept abreast of the legal developments against Mr. Connell by reading the VR dedicated website, http://www.rovecybergate.com.
VR demands that the Ohio Attorney General and the United States Justice Department conduct a complete investigation into the activities of Mr. Connell and determine whether there was any foul play in his death. VR demands that federal law enforcement officials place the following people under protective custody pending this investigation. Heather Connell who is the owner of GovTech Solutions, Randy Cole, the former President of GovTech Solutions, and Jeff Averbeck, the CEO of SmartTech in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Both GovTech and SmartTech have been implicated in the rigging of the 2000 and 2004 elections and the White House email scandal. Our prior request to have Mr. Connell protected went unheeded and now he is dead.
December 22, 2008
WMR has learned from knowledgeable sources in Ohio that Republican Party computer networking guru Mike Connell was warned not to fly in anonymous warnings conveyed to principals in the ongoing federal civil lawsuit of King Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Association v. Blackwell, stemming from GOP-engineered vote fraud in the 2004 Ohio presidential election, as well as a potential Ohio racketeer-influenced criminal organization (RICO) criminal proceeding against former Bush White House aide Karl Rove and Blackwell, in the conspiracy to illegally steer Ohio’s 20 electoral votes to the Bush column in 2004.
Connell’s Piper Saratoga single-engine plane crashed during the evening of December 19 in Uniontown, Ohio, as it was preparing to land at Akron-Canton airport. There were no other passengers and Connell was killed in the crash. Connell had flown to College Park, Maryland, the previous day. Connell, who lived in Akron with his wife Heather and four children, often flew to Washington for activities related to his IT businesses.
Connell’s name surfaced as a key player in Rove’s election fraud conspiracy after this year’s July 17 Columbus news conference hosted by Cliff Arnebeck, the Ohio attorney who has been representing plaintiffs in the federal civil suit against former Republican Secretay of State J. Kenneth Blackwell. On the phone at the conference was John McCain campaign adviser and computer security specialist Stephen Spoonamore who identified Connell as a key player, as well as potential trial witness, in the GOP’s conspiracy to flip Ohio votes in the 2004 election.
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Spoonamore and Connell had reportedly worked together on foreign elections in programs sponsored by the International Republican Institute (ISI) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Both had traveled abroad together on special election projects to ensure “fair voting” procedures.
For the first time, WMR has learned that the GOP vote flipping conspiracy was in place earlier than the November 2004 general election and was used to deny votes to Democratic candidates John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich in the March 2, 2004, Democratic primary. John Kerry won the primary with 52 percent of the vote to 34 percent for Edwards and 9 percent for Kucinich.
After Connell was identified as a potential witness in the civil case against Blackwell and a possible criminal Ohio RICO case against Rove, Blackwell, and perhaps others, the plaintiff attorneys received a tip from a high-level source in the McCain presidential campaign that Rove had issued a threat against Connell. Connell had worked for the 2008 McCain presidential campaign on the development of its web pages.
WMR has learned from our Ohio sources that five threats against Connell were conveyed to the election fraud plaintiff attorneys with the last tip being “Connell is in danger.” One of the threats reportedly made by Rove to Connell was that Connell could forget about a pardon from President George W. Bush if he did not “take the fall” in the event criminal charges were brought and that his wife Heather, who was used as a majority stockholder for one of Connell’s web design companies, GovTech Solutions, would be prosecuted for illegal lobbying. Connell’s other company is New Media Communications, Inc.
We have also learned that one additional tip was relayed to Connell’s wife and it was to the effect that Connell “was in danger and he should not fly his plane.”
Connell’s firms received contracts to place its servers behind the House of Representatives firewall courtesy of then-House Administration Committee Chairman Bob Ney (R-OH), later jailed for his role in the Jack Abramoff lobbying-influence peddling scandal. Connell also designed and ran the web sites for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Judiciary Committee. WMR has learned that through effective GOP control of these web sites, the Bush White House was able to monitor all committee e-mails and documents, including planning documents for House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearings against Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
We have also learned that Connell’s IT firm did classified web site development work for the CIA.
Based on the threats against Connell, the federal judge hearing the civil suit King Lincoln v. Blackwell, conveyed to Connell that the court would protect him if he came forward. On October 17, 2008, Connell’s attorneys attempted to quash an October 8, 2008, plaintiff subpoena for his court appearance. On October 31, U.S. Judge Solomon Oliver denied the motion to quash the subpoena and ordered Connell’s deposition to proceed on November 3, the day before Election Day. WMR has learned that on Friday, October 31, Connell was nervous and “beet red” during the hearing to quash the subpoena. On Monday, November 3, Connell was composed and it is believed that his top shelf law firm had been selected by Rove to represent Connell for the deposition. Rove’s intent was to ensure that there would be no deposition from Connell before the November 4 election.
WMR has also learned that Connell was prepared to testify before the House Judiciary Committee about the election fraud in Ohio and other states but that the offer of testimony was not acted upon senior staffers for House Judiciary Committee Rep. John Conyers (D-MI). A source in Columbus told us that some of Conyers’ senior staffers on his committee and in is office are not to be trusted on issues related to election fraud.
In addition, Rove and the Bush White House attempted to forestall testimony by election officials in Mahoning County and Youngstown, Ohio, on election fraud in 2004 by promising to have former Rep. James Traficant (D-OH), who is currently imprisoned after being convicted of corruption, released early in return for their silence. Traficant is not scheduled for release from federal prison until Sept, 2, 2009.