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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-11 10:12 PM
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John P. Wheeler's murder and Defense Department secret cyber war ops
Here are two previous threads I started on the recent murder of top Defense Dept consultant, John P. Wheeler:

I'm going to talk mostly about Wheeler's murder, because it got bumped out of the news by the AZ horrors, while I was researching it, and I have a lot to say about it. See the bottom of this post for comment on Ashley Turton's unusual death in Washington DC, on the day that her lobby client, Progress, signed a $1.3 billion deal with Duke Energy. This occurred 2 days before the AZ shootings. Wheeler was murdered about a week before the AZ shootings.

But before I discuss more about these murders, I want to note this headline from today's newsstream:

Jan 13: "Senators say military cyber ops not disclosed."

Cyber ops were precisely what John Wheeler was said to be working on at MITRE Corporation, for the Defense Department. The article reports on the dissembling before a closed Senate hearing, by a nominee for undersecretary of defense for intelligence, Michael Vickers, who tells a senator that the reason for the Defense Dept not disclosing cyberwar ops to the Senate is that such "emerging high tech operations are not specifically mentioned in the law" requiring disclosure. He said he would, of course, "if confirmed," review the law to suggest updates. (I'm trying not to type, "LOL.")

Does this not sound like a COVERUP of something that John Wheeler might have been onto? The Defense Dept was developing high tech cyber war weapons without authorization and were failing to report it to the Senate? Whose money were they using? Who were they reporting to? Sounds to me like this secret operation could produce a motive for murder. Caveat: If Wheeler was murdered over this, it could be a MITRE rival. Could be a "rogue" group in the Defense Dept, or within MITRE or other MIC corps. Could be related to Wheeler's murder in ways we can't even guess at. I'm not pointing the finger at anybody. I'm saying that a secret op, kept from the Senate, directly related to Wheeler's work, could produce a motive for murder.

And the more I find out about Wheeler's murder, the more I think that it was a sophisticated operation and had some such motive.

Information about Wheeler and his death

Not much new has come out about the Wheeler murder itself. Still no cause of death or lab report, no crime scene, no suspects. This, for one of the most important men in Washington! That alone is bizarre. But I have come across a few more possibly relevant facts and have some more thoughts on the matter. And I'm including a time-line (below).

--Wheeler was involved in investigating the Minot air base nuclear incident (Cheney trying to nuke Iran?).

--Wheeler wrote THE handbook on bio/chem weapons that was instrumental in getting them BANNED.

--Wheeler had one of the most top security clearances in the country.

--Wheeler was involved in SEC investigations.

--His last job was as a consultant for MITRE Corporation (VERY top Defense contractor--high tech & aviation) where he was working on cyber-security issues.

--Wheeler seemed to hop from job to job within the "military-industrial complex," rarely more than a year in one job--and yet had top jobs requiring a wide range of top expertise--from bio/chem weapons to nuclear safety to air space protection to SEC investigations to cyber warfare --perhaps indicating that he was some kind of "fixer" (not necessarily bad)--solver of very difficult problems; special assignments?

--Wheeler's role in Vietnam was as an aide to a general, not in combat (as far as I know), but he WAS the crucial person in getting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial built. He was also heavily involved in Mother's Against Drunk Driving and other charities, and was special counsel to the CEO of Macy's during the Macy's 'turnaround.' A man of many talents.

--The story about Wheeler possibly having set off smoke bombs in his neighbor's house (long running dispute with neighbor about a new house blocking his view) seems preposterous and contrived, and the notion that he might have been murdered and his body thrown into a dumpster over this dispute also seems utterly preposterous. This straight-arrow military guy, with kudos from every quarter, with one of the top security clearances in the country, is setting off harmless smoke-bombs over a petty dispute with a neighbor?!? Come on.

--In this regard, apparently his cell phone was found in the neighbor's half-built, unoccupied house. This makes me extremely suspicious that the "smoke bomb" thing was 'smoke and mirrors'--a planted misdirection. It adds to suspicions that this was an insider and/or foreign intelligence hit.


Here's a basic timeline:

And here's a rough sequence of events (with me filling in some items, from various news sources and web sites; follow the cell phone through this narrative):

He parks his car at the Amtrak parking lot in Wilmington on Dec 13, about 10 blocks from the town center. He apparently takes a train to DC to his MITRE office, because that's where he's arrives in Wilmington from, shortly before he was killed. Over the Christmas holiday, his neighbors notice that he is not home (in nearby New Castle) but very loud TV is playing--loud enough to be annoying--day and night. (I don't know how the loud TV noise gets resolved).

He disappears off the radar just before New Year's (Dec. 28). He is last heard from in an email to his old West Point buddies in which he says that West Point should drop out of the NCAA because of the corruption in college sports. (--an interesting tidbit about his ethical stance in the world?). He then doesn't reply to one of their emails, which one of these friends thought unusual. That night, the fire dept. is called to his neighbor's house (the one with whom he was having the legal dispute) because smoke bombs had been set off in the house--harmless smoke devices of the kind used to remove wild animals. A later report says that Wheeler's cell phone was found in this house.

On Dec 28, Wheeler is supposed to be going from his MITRE Corporation office in Washington to his home in New Castle (near Wilmington, DE). However, I read another report that friends who dropped him at the Amtrak in DC thought he was taking a train to NY to take a holiday gift to his wife. (He and his wife have an apt in NY. They lead independent lives. She travels a lot for her Cambodian clothing import business. She was reportedly traveling when he disappeared.) Wheeler apparently never got to either of their homes and apparently took a hotel room in downtown Wilmington (Hotel du Pont). (Was Wheeler misdirecting people as to his whereabouts? Was he lying to his friends about going to NY?)

On Dec 29, Wheeler then proceeds with various erratic and inexplicable movements, some of it caught on security tapes, showing him disheveled and disoriented, and some reported by people he encountered who felt that he was in some kind of difficulty and offered help, which he refused. He refuses offer to call him a cab. He refuses money; says he "has money." None of the many people he meets report any evidence of alcohol consumption, and, at one point, he tells someone, "I am not drunk. I am not drunk," but he does seem, to everyone he meets, disoriented/in trouble. He is wearing only one shoe and carrying the other in his hand; his clothes have dirt smudges on them.

In one of these encounters, he said that his briefcase had been stolen. (Cell phone likely in briefcase, right?) But he makes no police report. He goes to the wrong parking garage to find his car and seems (on the vid) to be very frustrated and confused as to why it isn't there, and, in general, disheveled and disoriented. He tells the parking attendant that someone stole his briefcase, his parking ticket was in his briefcase and he can't find his car. After his death, there is a report that his briefcase WAS found locked in his car in a different parking lot. (Someone mugged him, took his briefcase, took the cell phone and planted it in his neighbor's house in New Castle, then returned the briefcase to his car and moved the car? Is this a misdirection scenario--not by him but by others plotting against him?)

(The vid comes from the New Castle County Courthouse parking garage called Colonial Parking. That was the wrong parking lot and is about halfway between downtown/the hotel and the Amtrak station parking lot in Wilmington. I don't know if the Amtrak lot was the right one--where his car was later found and where he had initially parked on Dec 13. Did he move his car in between? Did he think he did? Did someone else?)

On 12/30, he is seen on surveillance tapes, dressed differently, at 10th and Orange in Wilmington (near the hotel). He enters the Nemours Building, goes up to the offices of Connolly, Bove, Lodge & Hutz and asks to see the "managing partner." Before the receptionist can find someone to talk to him, he vanishes. (News report says an unnamed attorney--not the "managing partner"--states that Wheeler wanted to borrow money for train fare). (Why was he borrowing money--if that is true--when he told others he had money?)

He is last seen on 12/30, walking southeast on 11th from the Nemours Building across the Hotel du Pont valet parking area, crossing Market St., and heading for the city East Side. Much has been made of this being a "high crime" area, however, CLEARLY, the mugging (if there was one) took place the day BEFORE (and how many muggers--if he was the victim of a second mugging--bother to stuff their victims into a dumpster, let alone kill them? They usually take what goods they can and run.)

His body was found the next morning at the Cherry Island landfill in Wilmington in one of 10 dump trucks coming from Newark.

Re the cell phone in the neighbor's house: The police questioned a cab driver whose number was found in Wheeler's cell phone. The cab driver says he didn't give him a ride and doesn't know who he is. (Back to Wheeler's first stop, on Dec 29. He first goes into the Walgreen's "Happy Harry's" and asks the pharmacist, whom he knows, for a ride to his home in New Castle, a short distance away by car. The pharmacist says he can't do it, and offers to call him a cab, which Wheeler refuses. Was this some kind of set-up--which perhaps failed because Wheeler didn't take the bait? Was he already wary? WHY didn't he take a cab home? WHY does he refuse help at every step of the way to his murder? Was he afraid? Had he been drugged and was he confused because of it? Why did he leave this pharmacy and the lawyers' offices the next day, without getting help?)

A sharp-eyed reporter later noticed that the police had torn up some floorboards in his kitchen, when they were looking for the crime scene (which has yet to be identified). (Is that why he wouldn't or couldn't go home? He knew someone was waiting for him, to harm him? He'd started to realize that the mugging wasn't just a mugging and someone was after him? Or was he starting to remember that he had been drugged and interrogated, perhaps in his kitchen, with TV playing loud--and feared that place? Why didn't he go home, when he was repeatedly offered help in getting there?)

He had no health issues. He was fairly young (66). Of course, anyone can have a stroke and still be walking around. If that's all there is to this, how did he end up in a landfill? Confusion? If it was illness, all he had to say was, "Help me." People were reaching out to him. And the man had FRIENDS. He had just been emailing his West Point buddies yammering about sports. I'm sure any of them would have come to his aid, no matter the circumstances. Hell, he had thousands of buddies--given his work on the Vietnam Memorial. And he was one of the most well-connected people in Washington DC--adviser to presidents and National Security Councils. Why did he go into that law office and then leave before he spoke to someone? And did he really just want train fare? And why did he need train fare if he had money, as he said? And where was he going? (I don't think there is a train stop in New Castle where his home is. He needed a car ride to get there.)

The thing is just BAFFLING.

On the "smoke bomb" front, we're supposed to believe that all of this erratic and noticeably unusual (noticed by others and evident on the first vid) behavior had to do with him planting harmless smoke bombs in his neighbor's house? Nope. It doesn't wash. But as somebody's distraction plan? Yeah. A plan to misdirect the police and confuse the news reports and, not incidentally, to slander the dead man. That makes sense. There could even be several layers of misdirection here--that everything, including the mafia-like landfill conclusion--was made to look like less professional, less well-planned and less sophisticated than it really was--most of all to confuse the investigation.

And why haven't the police released ANY major details? Not the cause of death, not the tox report, not the weapon used, not the crime scene and no suspects. Also, this oddity about Wilmington City Council members complaining that their police are spending "too much time" on Wheeler's death really bothers me. How could anybody say that? (Note: The FBI is said to have become involved--those aces on political assassination!)


Was Ashley Turton murdered, too?

Then we have the strange death of Ashley Turton, former aide to Rep. Richard Gephardt and Rep. Rosa De Lauro, and wife of Obama's liason to Congress, by vehicle fire, at her home in Washington DC, in a standing BMW in her own garage, a week after Wheeler's murder in nearby Wilmington, and two days after the AZ shootings, on the very day that Progress Energy--whom Ashley was lobbyist for--signed a $13 billion deal with Duke Energy, making Duke the biggest energy firm in the country. Duke is just completing the Duke Energy Aviation Facility (at Charlotte international airport) which may have ties to MITRE's Center for Advanced Aviation Systems Development, and both could have ties to the $1.2 billion new DHS cyber-security facility just opened in Utah. As I said, Wheeler worked for MITRE and his stated field of work there was cyber-security.

More random (?) facts: Gabrielle Giffords recently sponsored a bill in Congress to ban sale of military aircraft on the open market. MITRE works on drone targeting systems. Duke's new airport facility could be testing such planes (as one blogger suggested, in my rounds of web sites). Dots: Giffords trying to restrict /stop some billion dollar aircraft deal. Turton right in the middle of the deal. Wheeler working for MITRE and acting secretive, and maybe misdirecting people and having misdirection used against him in a plot to murder him. Giffords shot, nearly fatally. Turton burned to death. Wheeler drugged, interrogated, stalked, murdered and thrown into a dumpster. Sounds like a spy novel. But, you know, good spy novels are based on things that really happen.

Could the secret cyber war that the Defense Dept was conducting, without informing the U.S. Senate, tie all of this together--Giffords, Turton, Wheeler, Duke Energy/Pioneer and MITRE?

The bird and fish die-off's theory

The law firm that Wheeler stopped at, where he is last seen, in Wilmington, is the one of the biggest patent attorney offices in the country, with 66 lawyers in three major locations, and pending patents on a host of intriguing items including transgenic plants, insecticide modified materials, plastics, adhesives and one fascinating item called "novel materials for organic electroluminescent devices." (See their list at ). Wheeler, you will recall, strongly opposed the use of bio/chem weapons. All those birds and fish dying was something else happening last week. There are theories about this--generally that Wheeler was going to whistleblow on AF bio/chem weapons testing. I'm neutral on this theory. The claimed report on it to Putin may be a hoax. The die-off's could well be AF activity, but tied to Wheeler's death? I don't know. I'd say it's possible, but so many things are possible at this point--including a 9/11 connection through Ptech, partner of MITRE.

Note: Raw Story reports that there was yet another political death in Arizona--Christopher Smith, a Republican legislative aide--dead of a gunshot wound in his car, in Phoenix, in mid-December.

See my Comment #12 at the following thread for a few more thoughts, after four Republican politicians in AZ resigned in fear for their lives, and about the gunshot death of Christopher Smith. Is there some kind of war going on behind the scenes, between the right and the far right, or between different corporate rulers/war profiteers? Sure a lot of shocking death happening and the victims are not all "liberals."

(Comment # 12)

"Conspiracy theories"

I've had this phrase thrown at me already, for suggesting that AZ may have been a "distraction" to get the spotlight off the Wheeler murder investigation. i'm rather sorry I made that suggestion, although I still think it's possible. The AZ shooter made a special effort to spray bullets everywhere, even at a child, guaranteeing headlines and wall-to-wall coverage for weeks. And there is a feel about the Wheeler murder that something went wrong. (Something like: He was interrogated, forced to give something up but escaped when he went to get whatever it was--he'd been drugged, thus the disorientation; and when his murderers realized he was free, they hunted him down and finished him off?) If something went wrong with the murder plan, that might require a big "distraction" while the murderers cleaned their trail--planted false clues, baffled investigations, etc. The media spotlight was on Wheeler's murder, at first, then it was abruptly turned off, because of AZ. I know it's far out, suggesting that the "bad guys" may have zombies they can activate for something like this. But I do think it's possible.

However, when I made this suggestion, I had not been aware of Giffords' membership on so many defense and security committees in the House, nor of her bill about banning the sale of military aircraft on the open market, nor of these very big deals going down involving aviation corps and facilities and security, nor of this item about a secret cyber war. She may have been a specific target.

And maybe the AZ horror has nothing whatever to do with Wheeler's death, or Turton's death, and Wheeler's and Turton's deaths have nothing to do with each other. That, too, is possible. (The police have said that Wheeler was murdered. That has not been determined as to Turton.) Obama or one of the other speakers at the AZ Memorial yesterday said that we long to make sense of horrors like that, and we may never be able to. It's certainly true that our minds want to make order where maybe there isn't any--partly because that's what we do as humans, and partly because we feel so vulnerable amidst violence and chaos.

We have to keep an open mind, but also not bury our heads in the sand. People CAN get homicidal when billions of dollars are at issue and recent history has shown us that some of our leaders are without conscience and will do anything for money and power. I'm keeping an open mind on all of this. I hope the above information is useful to DUers and others and that these many mysteries, involving the suffering of many people and the loss of many people, are solved.
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Lucinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-11 10:20 PM
Response to Original message
1. kicking and bookmarking
will read more when i get back
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RZM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-11 10:21 PM
Response to Original message
2. You're working hard, I'll give you that
But let me get this straight . . .

It's 'possible' that Loughner was a 'zombie' activated to bump the Wheeler news out of the headlines (although it wasn't a huge story in the first place).

But the notion that Wheeler set off a smoke bomb seems 'preposterous and contrived.'

Try again.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-11 10:45 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Good point! nt
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jberryhill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-11 11:05 PM
Response to Original message
4. Couple of points to firm up
Edited on Thu Jan-13-11 11:09 PM by jberryhill
"apparently took a hotel room in downtown Wilmington (Hotel du Pont)"

Has that been confirmed? One report said he told someone he was staying at "an old hotel in Wilmington", and the Hotel du Pont is the only old hotel in Wilmington. But that was from something he is reported to have said. IDK whether the fact of his staying there or not has been confirmed.

"I don't know if the Amtrak lot was the right one--where his car was later found"

He traveled frequently, and had a monthly permit for the Amtrak lot. Nobody would park over at the King street lot if they were taking the train.

Also, on the "cab driver's number in the cell phone" part - that reporting has been maddening. It is not clear from any report whether it was from an inbound call, an outbound call, or in the contacts list. The other irritating thing is WHEN was the phone found in the neighbor's house. The New Castle fire department checked out the smoke bomb thing that night. Did they find the cell phone that night, or was it only later.

You also left out the boot prints on Wheeler's kitchen floor.

I believe the ME's report isn't going to be released until toxicology comes back. That wouldn't have been completed by now. However, the finding that it was homicide was made very quickly, which would normally suggest it was obvious for some reason. The body has already been released to a funeral home.

The other thing is that it is entirely possible there was more than one thing going on at the same time. Maybe someone was after him, and he happened to pick a bad week to dick with the neighbors. The rat bombs did $1000 worth of damage to the flooring. Also, one tidbit that was overlooked was that on December 13, the Chancery Court denied his injunction. In general background stuff, the News Journal contacted his lawyer on that case for more information about his character and demeanor, and the lawyer said he had spoken to Wheeler just days before this unfolded - i.e. on the 26th or 27th. The lawyer, of course, didn't say what about, but it is tangentially interesting that this was two weeks after the denial, and may indicate Wheeler was planning for an appeal or other next steps, and received advice one way or the other.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-11 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #4
16. I don't know if his staying at the Hotel du Pont has been confirmed.
He changed clothes between Dec 29 and Dec 30. Where? How? Don't know. All day long he refused help to get home. Did he get there anyway, somehow? If so, how did he get back into Wilmington on Dec 30 (with no car)? I have not read of firm evidence that he booked a room in the hotel. I did read that it was a presumption and police were trying to confirm it.

The Amtrak parking thing is very puzzling. When we see him in the courthouse parking vid (and by testimony of the attendant), he is CONVINCED that his car is there--at Colonial Parking (not Amtrak)-- and he is very frustrated and puzzled as to why it isn't. Hard to say what was going on with him at that point. Did he think he was near the Amtrak lot and mistook Colonial Parking for Amtrak? (I have no idea if these two parking lots have a similar look and feel.) This could possibly point to where the scene of the first crime was (mugging? kidnapping/drugging? theft of his briefcase and maybe his cell phone)--between the Amtrak lot and the Colonial lot (about five blocks). He gets mugged, abducted or whatever at the Amtrak lot, but awakens and wanders to, or is dumped at, the Colonial lot. He is not clear in his head. He thinks he's still where he started out--the Amtrak lot.

"Nobody would park over at the King street lot if they were taking the train." Right--but if he intended to do something in Wilmington, he might well have moved his car so he didn't have to walk all the way back to the Amtrak lot--to get his car, to then drive home. (In the first "dishevelment" encounter, he asks the pharmacist for a ride home, refuses the offer of calling a cab to take him home (all according to the pharmacist), and then walks over to the courthouse parking lot (the King street parking lot, which I believe is called Colonial parking), to find his car, which isn't there (the second "dishevelment" incident, caught on a vid). I think I have this sequence right. So, if he thought his car was in that parking lot--which I believe is close to the pharmacy--why does he ask the pharmacist for a ride home? He doesn't yet know that his car isn't where he thinks it is. And even if these two incidents happened in reverse order--Colonial Parking first, pharmacist second--if he now KNOWS that his car isn't where he thought it was (f he's already been to the parking garage), why does he not say yes to the pharmacist calling a cab--and just figure on sorting it out in the morning? (I'm pretty sure it's the other way--pharmacy is the first incident, then he goes to the parking lot. Why does he ask for a ride, if he thinks his car in nearby?)

If we wasn't confused about the parking lots, then he must have had a memory of moving his car--from Amtrak to Colonial. Why he would have moved his car is a good question. The simplest explanation is that he was tired and didn't want to walk ten blocks back to his car, after his business in Wilmington. It could also have been to evade somebody, to have a faster getaway, or by direction to some appointment.

Why he didn't use valet parking at the hotel is another good question (if he did stay at the hotel the night of Dec 29). This indicates a change of plans, mid-course in his activity in Wilmington. He had not initially intended to get a hotel room--or he would have driven to the hotel, not courthouse parking. (Would someone in his position be concerned about the cost of valet parking? It doesn't seem likely.) He stays at the hotel--or gets cleaned up and in different clothes somewhere else--then does NOT go to the Amtrak parking lot the next day (where his car actually was, and where he routinely parked it), does NOT go to the police about his missing car, briefcase and cell phone, does NOT call upon family or friends to help him, but INSTEAD goes to the lawyers' offices (Connolly Bove Lodge & Hutz) and, after leaving there, is never seen alive again.

We don't know if he actually moved his car closer to town--or if (or why) he is confused about the parking lots. If he did park his car at Colonial Parking, how did the car get back to the Amtrak lot? Did someone else move it or did he move it, and he didn't remember?

I have not seen confirmation that his car was found at the Amtrak lot, locked and with his briefcase in it. I read this in news reports but I'm not sure that it has all been confirmed. But if these things are true, why on earth does he show up in Wilmington telling people that he had been robbed of his briefcase?

This is what points to a calculated messing with his briefcase--someone perhaps grabbing it in a planned mugging (to check its contents and/or take his cell phone, for the planted evidence?). The briefcase is then put back in his car. And the other thing he says is that he can't find his car. Why is it not where he thinks it is? This, too, points to someone messing with him (more than a street mugging), although it could be confusion.

In every scenario, we have to remember that he ended up in a landfill--not immediately, but the next day--after he changes clothes and goes to the lawyers' offices. This points to his being stalked. No ordinary street crime. Even two ordinary street muggings--as unusual as that would be--one the first day (Dec 29) and another the day after (Dec 30)--wouldn't likely end in his murder and the dumping of his body in Newark. Why would a mugger go to all that trouble?

I think the fact that he shows up the next day in fresh clothes and then gets killed and his body dumped pretty much rules out a street crime and points to a murder plot. He would have to have been mugged twice, the second time by a murderous mugger who took all the trouble to dispose of his body in Newark. Could still be a private murder plot--but that seems more and more remote; could be a plot with government/corporate motives, which, given his various jobs and status, seems quite likely to me, at this point.

Cab driver number/cell phone (at the "smoke bomb" site): I'm pretty sure the Fire Dept found Wheeler's cell phone at the unoccupied neighbor's house, just after the "smoke bomb" went off--because I also read that they were in fact wanting to talk to him about it, the night he disappeared. They might have known or found out about the lawsuit, but the cell phone would give them immediate interest in Wheeler.

I'm pretty sure I read that the cab driver's number was in the cell phone "contact list"--not from an outbound or inbound call. Could be they are withholding info. The cab driver said Wheeler didn't call him, he didn't call Wheeler and he didn't know who Wheeler was and didn't give him a ride. The calls are checkable (and could be very important evidence). Saying the number was in the "contact list" could be a police news tactic--or maybe it was just a reporter's mistake. But that was definitely the impression I had (in the "contact list"--no calls). If this turns out to be true, then it could be that the cabbie was an intermediate contact of some kind--his number given to Wheeler, Wheeler told to call it, to take that cab and go somewhere--and this may also explain why Wheeler wouldn't take a cab, when he could easily have done so, to get home. (The pharmacist offered to call him a cab; he refused the offer.)

Why then was Wheeler's cell phone taken from him and placed in the house (that was "smoke bombed')--if he was supposed to use it as a contact point? Because he did NOT call the cabbie when he was supposed to? (Deal was off. Do the "smoke bombs," plant the evidence--to mislead investigators--kill him and dump his body.) There are many possible reasons why Wheeler may have been playing along with some "deal" (blackmail, threats to his family, threats to himself, larger scale threats) (...ahem, threats of random shootings of politicians around the country? ) (...or bigger still, threat of a bio/chem load dropped in the USA?). Wheeler's apparent INDECISIVENESS in the days before he died does suggest that he was in some kind of dilemma (or that he was doing some "misdirecting" of his own--saying he was going one place, and going somewhere else). He gets stopped (mugged? drugged?), he then soldiers on, with whatever he was intent on doing. Briefcase gone, cell phone gone, car apparently gone, he regroups and goes into the law offices of Connolly, Bove Lodge and Hutz (major patent attorneys)--to do what? Get train fare? I don't think so.

Yeah, I did forget about the boot prints in Wheeler's kitchen. Those and the loud TV indicate that someone was there. The TV noise occurred over the Christmas holiday.

I did know that he had had some ruling against him, on the property dispute. I still find it nearly impossible to believe, a) that he would commit this useless action--"smoke bombing" (to what end?), and b) that this had anything to do with him being murdered, except as a contrived distraction.

Here is another scenario, that I find more plausible: The entire project--the house being built to block his view--was originated by his enemies possibly from the very beginning intended as a set up. (Those homeowners may not even know how they got their permit, maybe don't even know why the financing was so easy, may not even realize how they were directed to that project.) Maybe the plan was to eventually burn the house down, with a contrived case against him, to discredit him--or to try to blackmail him.

There are a whole lot of powerful people who could have been plotting against Wheeler--about the AF nuke incident, about the ban on bio/chem weapons, about the SEC investigation, etc., etc. THAT makes more sense to me than that ordinary people, in a property dispute, would murder a well-connected Defense Dept consultant and stuff his body into a dumpster.

Whether he "went off his meds" (as they say) and uselessly "smoke bombed" a house, to no point, merely out of anger at losing in court--certainly possible but very hard to believe--and was so unhinged that he left his cell phone there--which his West Point buddies think is ridiculous--or had nothing to do with the "smoke bomb" at all (my gut feeling)--that story does not end up in a landfill.

The "coincidence" that this was all happening at once--that Wheeler was acting erratically, heading toward his violent death, at the same time that this property dispute went against him--does NOT yield answers to his behavior (inexplicable refusals of help), to his apparent condition (mugged and/or drugged, deprived of briefcase, cell phone and car) or to his violent death. A petty "smoke bombing" does not explain anything that we have learned about his murder. But a high-level national security "war," internal combustion about a billion dollar contract, corporate warfare, vengeance by those he had crossed, in his various investigations and top security posts, his intention to whistleblow and expose something big, a scenario in which he was trying to prevent something awful from happening, and other such possible scenarios DO yield more plausible explanations of his behavior and his murder.

The "smoke bomb" incident may be folded into an assassination plot--or it may be completely irrelevant. What it isn't is plausible motive for Wheeler's murder. I think we should stay focussed on his job and his job history. He seems to have been some kind of internal whistleblower--the very capable former West Pointer and top security consultant who is called in to investigate big internal messes in the Defense establishment. I think that that is where his murderer or murderers will be found. I don't have much hope that we will ever know--but, whoever did it, I passionately hope that they don't get away with it.

Whatever else Wheeler did during his life--and whether I would agree with it or not--he is the man responsible for all of us remembering the name of each and every U.S. soldier who died in Vietnam. That is what should be done before any war--remembering the cost and the horror of the last one. Although it didn't help us--alas!--avoid yet another unjust war, I cannot help but revere the man who insisted on remembering. It is so important. It is all important. Stuffed into a dumpster, dumped in a landfill. I want to know who did it. I am not a vengeful person--but I want them to be caught, to be stopped--if they are bent upon some further nefarious scheme--and to be disempowered. I am not a believer in capital punishment, and I don't much believe in prisons either. Our society needs healing, not vengeance. I want Wheeler's death to be solved as an act of respect and as an absolutely necessary part of both justice and healing.
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jberryhill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-11 04:49 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. Couple of other points

The notion that the Marini's entire plan to build their house was a "set up" is a bit far fetched. You can go back through the New Castle city commission meeting minutes to appreciate the level of concern that Wheeler had for such questions as the number, species and locations of trees they were planning to plant. People in Old New Castle, as a class, are very jumpy about those sorts of things.

On the Colonial/Amtrak lot thing... I live in Wilmington and also use that station regularly. The King Street courthouse lot is not a good place to park for much else than either being at that county courthouse or maybe for dropping in to DelTech. There are more convenient places to park for anything else in Wilmington. I think LynneSin, also a Wilmington resident, would back me up on that.

You might also want to check the details on the "different clothes" thing since, again, the reporting is often inartfully phrased. What seems to be clear is that one day he was wearing a suit with a suit jacket, and the next day he was wearing a dark hoodie. It's not clear that the "different clothes" went as far as changing his shirt or pants. The guy who served him coffee in the morning he was observed to have bloodshot eyes, noted that Wheeler's shirt was dirty. So it's not clear whether there was a complete change of clothes or that he somehow got rid of the suit jacket and obtained the hoodie. If he didn't spend the night in a hotel, and if it is just a hoodie and not a full change of clothes, someone might have given it to him wherever he ended up sleeping.

Wheeler's apparent INDECISIVENESS in the days before he died does suggest that he was in some kind of dilemma

It could.

It could also indicate:

- he was drugged/poisoned purposefully or accidentally
- he had suffered a stroke
- he had an adverse drug reaction
- he had suffered a concussion or brain injury of some kind
- he was, as you put it, engaging in some kind of misdirection
- he had an onset of some kind of psychosis

What you are ruling "in or out" doesn't seem to be the result of fact-based reasoning.

What it isn't is plausible motive for Wheeler's murder. I think we should stay focussed on his job and his job history.

Ruling anything in or out as not "plausible" reflects a personal desire more than anything suggested by any facts thus far, and isn't a very rational approach. This is the type of reasoning that sent the US to war in Iraq, in that any fact which does not confirm the pre-ordained conclusion is discarded, overlooked or minimized.

he regroups and goes into the law offices of Connolly, Bove Lodge and Hutz (major patent attorneys)

He was wandering around inside the Nemours Building for a while. Once an exclusive office building of the DuPont company, office suites are leased to all sorts of folks there. Actually, you can get a single office rental there dirt cheap:

from $13 /SF/yr, that is a bargain.

Since you have concluded that assassination is likely, then I want to get some idea of the planning involved here. As I understand it, take as given that I have some drug that will make someone act irrational for a given length of time. so the way I am going to do the hit is to administer the drug, let the guy wander around at random acting bizarrely, and then either follow up two days later for the kill and/or hope I get lucky and that he runs into some other misfortune.

If, during that time, he runs into a cop or EMS worker, or someone calls a cop or EMS worker, who decides it is a good idea to get him into treatment or custody, what's my backup plan?

By letting him wander around like a nut for two days, aren't you taking a huge risk that someone might actually help him out?
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-11 10:38 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. All good points, well worth thinking about.
I didn't say we should IGNORE evidence of a private crime (private or random motive for murder) or a personal breakdown. In fact, that's why I've paid a lot of attention to the "smoke bomb" story. Upshot, I don't think he did it--just as a guess--and if he did, I don't think that's what got him killed.

I said we should focus on his job and job history, not ignore anything--especially evidence--to the contrary. OF COURSE an event like the "smoke bomb" happening so close to his murder should be thoroughly investigated, from all angles--including the one I personally think most important--distraction.

I haven't ruled out private murder. I haven't ruled out stroke or other illness (although that REALLY presents a problem--how did he get into the dumpster?). I haven't ruled out psychosis--the man just flipped. It happens. I haven't really ruled out anything in this baffling tale. I just think some things are more plausible than others, on the facts that we can know at the moment, and considering who he was and what he did.

Your list of plausible explanations for what he did don't explain very well what happened to him, in the end (murdered, body disposed of elsewhere):

- he was drugged/poisoned purposefully or accidentally (--he goes for 2 days without seeking help? doesn't mention symptoms to his pharmacist?)
- he had suffered a stroke (--same)
- he had an adverse drug reaction (--same)
- he had suffered a concussion or brain injury of some kind (--same--maybe he didn't realize it, though)
- he was, as you put it, engaging in some kind of misdirection (--he's guilty of something? possible--see below)
- he had an onset of some kind of psychosis (--well, he wasn't raving--nobody has said that; they've said he was coherent, not drunk, said reasonable things, refused help; psychosis could be quiet, I suppose, but he sure put on a good act of normal sanity, except for a lot of the things he did having no explanation).

But most of all, how do any of these explanations lead to murder and the landfill? All or any could have contributed to a situation, but unless he just gave up and crawled into the dumpster on his own (in Newark!)--a very unusual thing for a former West Pointer to do and logistically very tricky (did he accept a ride from a stranger, after turning down a cab--the stranger being homicidal?)--and unless the cops are wrong that it was murder, you have to explain the murder and the body dumping. (And say the cops are wrong that it was murder--how did his body get to Newark?)

As for his murderers "letting him" wander around, at the risk of his getting help, I look at it in the reverse way from your viewpoint: He DIDN'T get help. He REFUSED help. Why? Was he afraid of help? Was he under some threat to DO something such that his murderers KNEW he would refuse help? Had they told him, 'if you dare go to the police, we'll kill your wife'--something like that? Was he under surveillance from a distance, as he goes around to these different places, looking like he needs help but refusing all help? It's a FACT that he refused help, repeatedly, over two days time. Still on his feet, still able to talk. And doesn't go home. How to account for his repeated refusals of help? I'm guessing that he was refusing help under coercion--and kept changing his mind about this. Seems to be seeking help, then refuses help, time and again. Police station right here--he never goes in. Pharmacist right there, he makes no complaint of illness.

He could have been drugged at his house, interrogated and directed to do something that only he could do (get documents from a safe--something like that), and when he didn't do it, he was killed. When we see him, we see him coming out of his drugged state, and trying to grapple with whatever had occurred. He didn't remember it clearly, and as his head clears up, he becomes determined NOT to do what he was told, and then comes the indecisiveness: goes into the pharmacy, asks for a ride, wants to go home, changes his mind, refuses a cab; goes to the wrong parking lot--confused, disoriented, trying to escape the situation (?); goes into the lawyers' offices, wants to see the "managing partner" then abruptly leaves. It's as if he's changing his mind from moment to moment, about what he should do or what it is safe to do, and who he can trust, etc.

He wasn't just wandering around the Nemours building; he went up to the 10th floor and spoke to the receptionist--then he's gone--according to definite, quoted reports. (It doesn't matter what the square footage costs. He visited Connolly Bove Lodge & Hutz--if we can believe any reports at all except that the man is dead.) (One blogger I read questioned even that!) (LOL! I don't go that far.)

This is what I'm getting from the known facts. He seems afraid of help that is offered, afraid to rely on help, wary, fearful, bewildered, indecisive, but bent on something. Why doesn't he just go home and relax? He's given numerous chances to do that. Why does he stay in Wilmington? To do something--to make a decision about it and do it? Does it have to do with that law firm? With the mysterious cabbie number in his cell phone? Why doesn't he go to the police, if he's been robbed? Why doesn't he get medical help, if he's ill? (He's had a night to think about it and assess his condition.) Why doesn't he take a cab home? SOMETHING is keeping him in Wilmington. What? Just caprice? Then he's murdered and stuffed into a dumpster.

It's just an hypothesis--that he was the victim of a planned murder, having to do with his work. It can't be proved with so little information. But hypotheses are important in an investigation. Are you looking for a street criminal or a corporate criminal? A family murder or a "states secrets" murder? It provides focus but it doesn't mean that anything is ruled out. And your post is helping me to re-think other possibilities.

His behavior could indicate that he felt guilty about something, rather than fearful. Perhaps he was suffering a deterioration of his personality due to guilt, and did end up stuffing himself into a dumpster in Newark. (!) He DOES seem out of character. I won't--and can't--rule that out--that everything that points to fear, being stalked, being drugged, being evasive, being in an excruciating dilemma, trying to make a decision, refusing help, etc., does not add up to "states secrets" assassination or some other kind of mortal threat hanging over him--of which his violent murder is the conclusion--but it all instead points to GUILT and his sudden inability to cope with something that he'd done. Maybe he's so distraught about it that he puts himself in danger, twice, and whoever finally kills him just happens to be on their way to Newark.

Whatever THAT might be (something going on inside Wheeler) has yet to emerge. And, quite frankly, I would be suspicious about it--that it had been contrived, just like I think the "smoke bombs" and the cell phone were. It would have to be very convincing, with wife, family and friends in accord. (Right now, his friends are saying they can't believe he did the "smoke bombs" and I don't know what his wife thinks.)

Yes, I do have strong political prejudices. I think that our MIC and the Bush Cartel are perfectly capable of the most heinous crimes for money and power. They have demonstrated this beyond question. That's one of the reasons I would look to his work for the answer. Another is the nature of his work--which seems to have been internal investigations at the highest natural security level. Perilous work--which could produce powerful enemies. That's what it SEEMS like. Maybe he was just a pencil-pusher, signing reports, or was just trying to cover up scandals for his powerful bosses, rather than put anything right. You gotta wonder, though, how he ended up in a dumpster if he was a mere lackey.

I am particularly interested in this Michael Vickers testimony, that the very work Wheeler was said to be doing at MITRE--cyber security and cyber war--was being hidden from the Senate. Given Wheeler's history, the sort of thing he did was to find out who, what and why--then his bosses, up to and including the president decided what to do with that information. Who hid this cyber security and cyber warfare? Were they hiding it from the president as well? What were they doing? Who authorized it? Was there misappropriation of funds? Why did they hide it? What should be done?

This very limited disclosure in a closed Senate hearing may be "the tip of the iceberg." The shit may have already hit the fan about it, behind closed doors. (Thus, the AF had to do a "limited hangout.") Was Wheeler involved? Was he investigating it--officially or unofficially? Had he stumbled upon something particularly damaging that could have gotten him killed--bearing in mind, always--that we are talking about government contracts worth billions of dollars?

And--on the obverse side--was he dirty? Being blackmailed over something like this (government contracts)? Had the housing dispute flipped him over to the "Dark Side" and he was trying to recoup his losses, felt fed up with everything, and figured he was owed a real posh retirement? And got himself into some personal blackmail situation, or conflict, with big money at stake?

I would like there to be heroes. I need heroes. That is a prejudice of mine, for sure. I would like to think that he died for a good cause, trying to do right--and not for money, or for nothing--happenstance. But maybe I'll have to admit one day that Wheeler wasn't a hero. I recognize that. I am not close-minded about this. I admit that nothing is certain about it, at the moment--not even the facts we think we know. (People can lie. Tapes can be doctored. Any piece of reported evidence could be wrong, deceptive or fanciful.)

Anyway, I appreciate your criticisms and I totally agree that my imagination takes flight, at times. Got to keep it reined in and focused on facts. Whoever said it, the other night--Obama?--that we long to make sense of inexplicable horrors and may never be able to, was right on. But we do need to try.
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-11 11:21 PM
Response to Original message
5. ''Why didn't he go home, when he was repeatedly offered help in getting there?''
Outstanding analysis and reportage, Peace Patriot. There may or may not be a direct causal connection between these three tragedies, but you've shown there are connections. Seeing how Corporate McPravda doesn't actually do any investigative reporting, all people who believe in the First Amendment are in your debt.

The MI complex is capable of anything. Early in JFK's presidency, Allen Dulles and Lyman Lemnitzer proposed to Kennedy an all-out nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. Unbelievable. Like what was talked about in Dr. Strangelove. And just as sociopathic and just as NAZI.

And one of the things that most hurt me when first hearing about the shootings in Arizona was the thought that Ms. Giffords was presidential timber. Thank goodness and modern medicine she still is.

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woodsprite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-13-11 11:56 PM
Response to Original message
6. Timeline fix - Just looked at the video on CNN. Mr. Dill took him to the
Edited on Fri Jan-14-11 12:22 AM by woodsprite
Wilmington train station on Christmas Eve, where he said he had the antique dish in his briefcase as a present for his wife. Odd that his car was still parked from the 13th at the parking garage.

You're right in that there is no train station in New Castle. There is one in Newark, not far from where all these dumpster locations are.

And about the smoke bombs, smoke bombs in New Castle wouldn't be unusual with all the kids around there. The NC city police also said they investigated some kids around the Battery Park area that night with 'incidiary devices'. The Goodwill Fire Dept. is about 500 yards from their house, so they didn't have to go far.

Also, the New Castle City Police dept is less than 5 min from the Happy Harry's drug store he stopped at to ask for a ride. If he had been roughed up and his briefcase stolen in a normal crime, why not go there?

From the CNN article, "(Ret. Colonel Doug) Thornblom discounted speculation Wheeler would have been involved in an alleged smoke bomb incident at the construction site of the house.

"This is so out of character and I can tell you right now, all of us at West Point went through demolitions and mine-clearing technique training and even how to construct field expedient napalm. If Jack had wanted that house disappointed or burnt down, he would've done it. Nobody would have known about it. And he certainly wouldn't have been stupid enough to leave his iPhone there," Thornblom said."
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-11 11:04 AM
Response to Reply #6
11. That was my take on the "smoke bombs"--so out of character as to be ridiculous.
The man could launch nuclear weapons--and he's going to "smoke bomb" a house inflicting MINOR damage? No way! It doesn't make any sense. It is completely out of character; it would have gained him nothing; it didn't "do the job"; it was a useless action; it would have harmed his character if he had been caught, and, most of all--even if he went bonkers over this matter--a very, very remote possibility--how on earth could inflicting MINOR damage on a house lead to his being murdered and stuffed in a dumpster? Talk about remote possibility! Did the neighbors building the house in his view ALSO go bonkers?

Possible, yes. Anything is possible. But likely? No. And if Wheeler didn't "smoke bomb" that house, and leave his cell phone at the scene, who did?

Thank you so much for posting Ret. Colonel Thornblom's comment. I hadn't seen it. I'm glad that someone close to him has said it. I didn't know Wheeler. In fact, I didn't even know his name before he was killed. I've been trying to get a sense of his character, work and motives based on news and blog reports. I was scouring reports for any evidence that he wasn't who he seemed to be--straight-up military guy, strong sense of ethics and standard of behavior--or evidence that his murder might have been privately motivated. I'm glad that Thornblom has confirmed one of my guesses about Wheeler--that his character and training scream out against his doing a petty "smoke bombing." And if he didn't do it, who did--and why? The cell phone says it wasn't kids.

The facts about his work also scream insider hit...

--involved in stopping Cheney/Rumsfeld from nuking Iran (very probably)
--opposed to bio/chem weapons, got them banned
--involved in catching insider traders (SEC work)
--top security clearance
--became consultant at MITRE after the Ptech OBL connection became known
--right smack in the middle of billion dollar defense/security contracts
--etc., etc, etc.

In these circumstances--and given his character--and given what happened to him--the "smoke bomb" and cell phone look very much like a "distraction"--a misdirection of investigators until the real perps can disappear into the mist.

Thornblom says something else that strikes me as quite important--that Wheeler "certainly wouldn't have been stupid enough to leave his iPhone there." Wheeler wasn't stupid. He was smart--very, very smart. He succeeded at extremely difficult tasks, requiring a wide range of knowledge and skills. And not everyday knowledge--knowledge of nuclear weapons systems, bio/chem weapons and the SEC! He was no ordinary military bureaucrat, politician or consultant. So, not only is it ludicrous to believe that he would "smoke bomb" a house leaving minor damage and his cell phone, it is also a good possibility that, in the two days of his movements around Wilmington (and perhaps from Christmas onward), he was trying to outsmart someone and was relying on his "smarts" rather than accepting anyone's hel--and/or he didn't trust ANY of the help that might have been available to him. His failure to call the police after a mugging/theft, his refusal of a cab, money and other potential help, his mysterious visit to the lawyers' offices (leaving before talking to anyone), his failure to go home when he was given every chance to do so--all of these things could be explained by his being in very big trouble and determined to rely on his own smarts and courage to get through it. That DOES fit his character. It might have been a big mistake but it's the kind of mistake he might well have made. (And possibly it wasn't a mistake, but true, that couldn't trust anybody.)

His movements also indicate a man who was "cornered." He couldn't go back to his house, he couldn't go back to his MITRE office in Washington, he couldn't go to New York (where he initially said he was going), he couldn't find his car, he couldn't go to the police and not even the lawyers' offices were safe. He flees that scene and heads east--to what purpose? Is he just addled at that point--and/or terrified and on the run? (It occurs to me that he was supposed to deliver something to that legal firm, but his briefcase had been stolen and he couldn't deliver it--so maybe he was there to explain that? I find it difficult to believe that he went there for train fare. Why was he there? And why did he vanish before talking to the "managing partner"?)

All this points to a whistleblower, in my opinion--a whistleblower entirely on his own, with none of the normal protections of his existence--a man who knows something about someone else or some group with the power to corner him and kill him. Given his position and stature, he may have thought that no one would dare harm him. Or he thought he could get out of whatever bind he was in, on his own (very West Point-like), and/or didn't trust anybody else to understand what kind of a bind he was in. He was on the run--and possibly handicapped by having been drugged at some point. As to that, where was he and what had he been doing before he went into the pharmacy (his first "dishevelment" contact)? That is a blank to me. Did he wake up on the street or in some back alley, not fully remembering what happened and wandered into a familiar place (he knew the pharmacist) to orient himself? He wanted a RIDE home--a personal ride, from the pharmacist--NOT a cab. Did he have reason not to trust the cab that might show up? Was the cabbie a contact of some kind, in whatever intrigue he was involved in? Is that why he had the cabbie's telephone number in his cell phone? He was supposed to contact the cabbie but got suspicious of that contact, and thus refused to use any local cab? Or did he want a personal ride home, from the pharmacist, because he needed a witness or a pal (maybe wanted to confide that he was in trouble)? (If he had suspicions that he had been drugged, perhaps his going into the pharmacy had more than one purpose--for instance, to get out of public view, into a private car and consult with the pharmacist about his drugged condition.)

Anyway, that's what I'm seeing in this bizarre tale--a whistleblower on the run, with every "exit" blocked, i.e., refusing every potential help because he can't trust it, and with nowhere to go--home in NY, home in NC, office in DC, the pharmacy, the parking lot, the lawyer's offices, the police, all unsafe--and, as he emerges out of the fog of some initiating event (a deliberate, planned mugging, or drugging/interrogation), he has trouble getting his bearings. That's when we see him in the parking lot vid--at the end of which he throws up his arms in frustration, because his car isn't there. Somebody is playing tricks on him and he's only just beginning to realize this. How he gets dressed differently, the next day, is yet another mystery. Then he makes a firm decision--go to the lawyers' offices. Then he vanishes and turns up in a landfill.

A total misread of events? Possibly. But there certainly are precedents and the one that comes screamingly to mind is David Kelly--another "insider white guy" who had had his fill of unjust war and was in a position to know just how rotten certain things about it were.

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woodsprite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-11 11:28 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. Thanks for your research work.
Glad there is someplace we can go to share ideas where someone isn't using the label "conspiracy theorists". I haven't spoken to Bob or Phoebe Dill since their CNN interview, so I don't know if anything additional has come up that is going around the neighborhood, but I definitely get the idea that New Castle-ites are leaning more toward the govt ties than any fight with the neighbors. That dust up has been going on for YEARS. Maybe a research trip to the local watering hole wouldn't be a bad idea ;)
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-11 03:46 PM
Response to Reply #12
18. Good idea, woodsprite! Glad you're on the scene.
Do you know if the following things have been confirmed or disclosed?

--that he stayed at the Hotel du Pont (Dec 29-30)?

--that his car, locked and with his briefcase in it, was found at the Amtrak parking lot?

--where his car keys were during these events?

--when his cell phone was found at the "smoke bomb" construction?

--whether the cab driver's number was in his phone "contact list" or had been called (or had called him)?

--where he was and what doing between Christmas and Dec 29 (1st "disheveled" encounter)? (I mean, besides being at his MITRE office in DC and getting driven to the DC Amtrak to go to NY--any other clues to his whereabouts, activities during that period?)

--why he didn't go to New York to take his wife the gift? (happenstance? she had to leave the country suddenly for her business and wouldn't have been there? something like that?)

--what specifically he was working on at MITRE? (--it's just been generally described as "cyber security")

--scuttlebutt on any of the other high security projects he has worked on?

--and can you confirm my geography? (about 10 blocks between the Amtrak station and downtown Wilmington/the hotel, with the pharmacy and Colonial Parking about half way between? and New Castle not a normal walking distance, but a short drive?)
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woodsprite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-11 10:59 PM
Response to Reply #18
23. Regarding the geography, you're right about New Castle
not being a normal walk to Wilmington. I'd say the train station would be about a 20 min. drive away from where he lived, and that's if you took I-95. I lived in Old New Castle for 18 yrs. about 4 streets over from his place. The pharmacy is a Happy Harry's in the Ferry Cut-off shops at the bend where 273 turns to Rt 9. Happy Harry's is about a 5 min to 7 min walk from the Wheeler's property, and about another 5 min from the New Castle City police department. Newark is a 20 to 25 min drive from Old New Castle (on a good day), definitely not walking distance.

Have any of the articles plotted out a map? I don't remember seeing one in much detail (sounds like an interesting project ;). The Google aerial view is not the same as the street view. The aerial view shows the foundation for the house across the street being built, but in the street view, it doesn't look like they had even broken ground for the foundation yet. I'll see what I can come up with.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-15-11 03:47 AM
Response to Reply #23
24. The Happy Harry's that he stopped at wasn't the one in Wilmington near the courthouse?
Why would he need a ride from the pharmacist in New Castle, or a cab, if his house was only 5 to 7 minutes away?

I just presumed that everything occurred in Wilmington. He arrives by Amtrak from DC in Wilmington, leaves his car at that Amtrak parking lot or, for some reason, drives it to the courthouse parking lot near the Happy Harry's on Market St. Something happens during this period--an attack, a robbery of his briefcase, he recovers and goes into that nearby Happy Harry's, on Market St in Wilmington--near the courthouse parking lot (Colonial Parking), about five blocks from the Hotel du Pont and the lawyers' offices-- and asks that pharmacist for a ride to his home to New Castle. It's too far for the pharmacist, he can't leave his business that long or whatever, the pharmacist says no, offers to call him a cab, Wheeler refuses that offer and leaves. He needs a ride because his home is 20 minutes drive away in New Castle. Then he goes back to the courthouse parking lot--a short walk--and his car isn't there. Whether he actually parked it there, we don't know, but he thinks it is there--and that's where we see him on the vid, frustrated, disoriented and disheveled, saying he can't find his car.

Have I got the sequence right? Nope, I just checked the time-line. I got it BACKWARDS. Here's what the Delaware-online timeline says (if that timeline is correct): He arrived in Wilmington from DC on Dec 28. At 5 pm, he sends his last email to his West Point buddies (and doesn't reply to one of them, which they found odd). (We don't know where he is at this point.) Late that night, the smoke bombs go off at the neighbor's and the Fire Dept is called (timeline says the FD wanted to talk to Wheeler but doesn't say why--did they find his cell phone there, at that time?). The next day, Dec 29, he asks the NEW CASTLE Happy Harry's pharmacist for a ride TO WILMINGTON (the other way round from what I thought). This was at 6 pm. (What was he doing all day?) By 6:40 pm, he's at Colonial Parking in Wilmington--confused, looking mugged, saying he was robbed of his briefcase and can't find his car.

The Wilmington Happy Harry's has no part in this story, apparently. And what happens between 6 pm and 6:40 pm is the question. After turning down a cab offer from the pharmacist in New Castle, did he accept a ride to Wilmington from a stranger who mugged him, stole his briefcase and dumped him somewhere in Wilmington near Colonial Parking which he mistook for Amtrak parking? Did he get a friendly ride, get dropped off and then get mugged, was disoriented and thought he was at the Amtrak parking lot? That's the last we see or hear from him that day.

The next day (Dec 30) surveillance catches him at 3:30 near the Nemours building, where several people again perceive him as in trouble and in need of help, but he declines their help. The time-line doesn't say this, but it was reported later, that he went up to the 10th floor to the offices of Connolly Bove Lodge & Hutz and asked to speak to the "managing partner," but before the receptionist can find someone to talk to him, he's gone. At about 8:40, he's seen on surveillance leaving the Nemours building and walking east. That's the last he's seen. Body found at the Wilmington landfill, in a truck coming from Newark, the next morning, Dec 31.

Are you sure--and, to your knowledge, is everybody sure--that it was the Happy Harry's in New Castle that he went into, and not the one in Wilmington? If so, did the NC pharmacist say anything else about his demeanor (disheveled, disoriented?), or was it just a normal visit with a normal request? (Perhaps he often got a ride from this pharmacist? Friendly community that way?)

This somewhat changes my surmises about the sequence in Wilmington. For one thing, he would not have been talking to a known and friendly pharmacist after a health or injury episode, which raised the question: if he had been drugged, for instance, or felt ill or hurt, why didn't mention his symptoms to the pharmacist? If it was the New Castle pharmacist, maybe nothing had happened to him yet and he was okay. And if his request for a ride was routine, this opposes the notion that he was in trouble at the time that he talked to the pharmacist (i.e., (running into a familiar nearby building needing help). In other words, nothing unusual was going on or was noticed at this point. Wheeler may have been in trouble but it wasn't evident.

All the trouble--or evident trouble--begins in Wilmington, with Wheeler showing up at the wrong parking garage, saying he was robbed and complaining that he couldn't find his car there. Was he aware of which parking lot he was in? (Do Amtrak parking and Colonial Parking resemble each other?) Had he parked at Colonial Parking on the 28th or not? And if so, why--the consensus being that Colonial was not a great place to park? It IS closer to the Hotel du Pont and the Nemours building, than the Amtrak lot, right? If he knew he was going to have business in Wilmington, he might've parked there to be closer to those places (and didn't park at the hotel because he hadn't decided to take a room yet). The puzzle still is, why did he think he parked there, if he hadn't, and if they were easy to tell apart, even in a rattled condition?

I get the impression that Colonial is a parking structure (from the vid) and Amtrak parking is a flat, ground level, open-aired parking lot. Is that true?

If true, it would mean that he had to be very rattled, indeed, not to be able to tell them apart. Even if he'd been deliberately dropped off at the wrong place--misdirected, toyed with; or by mistake--would he go into a parking structure and then complain to the parking attendant that he couldn't find his car if the last place he'd left his car was a flat open parking lot? He might stand around, looking confused, but he wouldn't insist that his car was there.

I'm going to have to think this through, from the points of view of random chance foul play, private murder and "states secrets" assassination. I don't think the pharmacy being in NC changes things too much but it might, when you consider all the details. (For instance, it possibly puts him in New Castle on the day of the smoke bombs--because he's in NC the next evening, Dec 29, 6 pm, asking the New Castle pharmacist for a ride back to Wilmington. The Fire Dept is called at 11:30 that night (Dec 28) and they wanted to talk to him and apparently didn't (according to the Delaware online timeline)--so why didn't they just walk across the street and knock on his door (especially if that's when they'd found his cell phone)? Was he not there? Where was he? If he was there and asleep, wasn't he roused by the Fire trucks, right across the street? Also, how did he get from Wilmington to NC that day? There are no clues on that. Was he in the habit of hitching rides with strangers? A lot of new questions!)

Thank you for your information! You have straightened out a big mistake in my sequence--if the New Castle pharmacy was the one he actually went into.

One more question: Google has just confused me. It puts Colonial Parking on King St very near the Amtrak station and not near the courthouse. Is that right? Do you have the address of the parking garage that Wheeler went into? Do you know if courthouse parking is called Colonial Parking or something else? There are many Colonial Parkings in Wilmington--but none listed near the courthouse.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-15-11 05:50 AM
Response to Reply #24
26.  Newsweek describes the NC pharmacist as "startled" by Wheeler's request for a ride
to Wilmington. So it wasn't routine and may still point to his being in trouble as early as NC.

Here are some other tidbits from the Newsweek article:

Newark Police Spokesman Lt. Mark Farrall said investigators arent even sure how or when Wheeler arrived in Delaware or where he was earlier in the week. They have been unable to confirm that he ever got on the Amtrak train from Washington to Wilmington on December 28 that he was scheduled to take. Wheelers wife was out of town and never reported him missing.

Robbin Laird, head of the defense analysis website where Wheeler worked most recently, told The Daily Beast that he got an email from Wheeler on December 26 complaining about being stuck in his Manhattan apartment by the recent snowstorm. Laird said he wasnt sure Wheeler ever made it down to DC.

Friends who described Wheeler as a constant emailer said they began to suspect something was wrong when his electronic communications dwindled and he didnt even respond to celebratory missives after Army won its bowl game on December 30.

Jack was an avid supporter of cadet football, said Laird. That was the first thing that struck some as odd.



So Wheeler apparently WAS in New York (if he was giving his correct location re snowstorm in Manhattan). If true, he WASN'T misdirecting his friends, the Dill's, who dropped him at the Amtrak on Christmas eve (when he said he had a holiday gift he was taking to his wife in NY). However, this article says she was "out of town" when he went missing (and didn't report it). Things we don't know yet: When did she leave? Was he really there in NY?

One more thing I got wrong: The Dill's didn't take him to the Amtrak in DC (to take train to NY) but rather they took him from New Castle to the Wilmington Amtrak. This likely means that he was home on Dec 24. But that was a period described by a neighbor as the four days around Christmas when he didn't think anybody was home at the Wheeler's and when loud TV was blaring day and night the whole time. Wheeler apparently was home right in the middle of that period. Odd.
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pacalo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-11 12:16 AM
Response to Original message
7. Bookmarking for later.
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BlackHoleSon Donating Member (89 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-11 01:09 AM
Response to Original message
8. Excellent analysis
I have no idea whether or not you're onto anything but you are doing really valuable work - stepping in where investigative journalists would already have been, once upon a time.
Something certainly stinks to high heaven - no way someone of his caliber would meet such an ignominious fate.
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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-11 01:11 AM
Response to Original message
9. k&r
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WhiteTara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-11 10:42 AM
Response to Original message
10. thank you.
I have been wondering what is going on. The death of the leg aide in AZ is really startling because I never heard a word about that! Very interesting research you have done. Again, thank you.
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hootinholler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-11 12:10 PM
Response to Original message
13. MITRE is a nonprofit
In case you weren't aware. While they are certainly large and mostly dependent on government projects, the profit motive would not be ascribed to MITRE, but to another organization who would possibly be implementing something MITRE had a hand in engineering.

It is a curious case full of odd twists.

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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-11 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #13
17. Thanks for that reminder. Could be the Duke Energy/Progress deal. nt
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-11 08:23 PM
Response to Reply #13
20. a minor point, perhaps, but...
...the profit motive isn't the only kind of self interest that large military/govt contractors might exhibit. Even nonprofits have an interest in continuing their contracts, for instance, and if MITRE is working on some big project that powerful people are invested in-- whether monetarily or otherwise (career considerations come to mind)-- it isn't at all inconceivable that other motives might produce similar responses.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-11 10:44 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. You're right! "Non-profit" doesn't mean no profit motive or that people aren't making
a whole lot of money.

There are also very thin and sometimes non-existent lines between government and corporations these days, and reputations, careers, advancement, etc., are also very important within government and within the military.

I am very interested in the Vickers testimony about the AF withholding info on cyber security and cyberwar from the Senate, because of this. This was Wheeler's particular field at MITRE. Was he investigating this secret program, officially or unofficially?
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Hotler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-11 01:52 PM
Response to Original message
14. k&r
Stories that make you go hhmmmmmm! One of the reasons I like DU
Thanks Peace Patriot and Octafish and the others I can't remember their names.
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horseshoecrab Donating Member (613 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-14-11 03:04 PM
Response to Original message
15. k&r
Thanks for this excellent post Peace Patriot.

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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-15-11 05:06 AM
Response to Original message
25. Warrants in Wheeler investigated sealed. Clearing up some parking garage details
Sabra posted this:

Search warrants in John Wheeler homicide case to remain sealed (Jan 13)

It clears up some parking details we've been talking about (in so far as one can trust news reports). The parking garage that Wheeler walked into WAS a Colonial Parking garage, located near King and 5th in Wilmington (NOT next to the Amtrak station parking--as Google had it). This is about 5 blocks from or half way between the Amtrak station and the downtown area where Wheeler disappeared (after visiting the lawyers' offices in the Nemours Building).

The article also says that Wheeler's car definitely was found at the Amtrak station parking. (It does not say that it was locked nor that the briefcase was in it--I read these things elsewhere but don't know if they have been confirmed.)

As to sealing the warrants, I don't know if this is good, bad or indifferent, standard procedure or something to worry about. Probably it is a justifiable protection of the investigation. The warrants are for Wheeler's home, car and cell phone records and "additional warrants" (unspecified in the article). The article says that the Newark Police are leading the investigation. I don't know when the warrants were issued. They might have been issued right away, have some sort of automatic protection in the first days of an investigation and then the police have to asked a judge to keep them sealed (as the article indicates just occurred). This is important because of the cell phone (Wheeler's) that was found at the unoccupied house that was smoke-bombed.

IF the police did not have Wheeler's cell phone records until now, then I'm not sure if they knew whether or not the cabbie's number had been involved in actual calls. They obviously opened the cell phone. It was reported that a cabbie's phone number was found in it--and my recollection from reading news reports was that it was in the "contact list"--and there had not been calls involving that number. The cabbie said that he had not been called by Wheeler, didn't call Wheeler, didn't know him and didn't give him a ride.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-15-11 06:01 AM
Response to Original message
27. If you have info on Wheeler's death that could be useful to the police...
Here is contact info:

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Nicholas Sansone at 302-366-7110 ext. 135 or . You can send an anonymous text message tip by texting 302NPD and your message to TIP411. Information can also be provided anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333, where a reward may be available.
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-15-11 06:32 AM
Response to Original message
28. Here's a worrisome little tidbit on the sealing of the warrants...
"Speculation by the public about this desire to seal search warrants now is fueled by the continuing mystery surrounding John Wheeler's death. But it should be noted that asking for the sealing of the warrants is standard procedure for high-profile crimes. And the AG stepped in to do it when New Castle PD didn't make that determination early on in the investigation.

"Given John Wheeler's political and security backgrounds it makes sense to do so. Information found in his home could have national security implications and/or hinder the investigation."


My little "cover-up" alarm bells just went off. First time in this case. I am reminded of the case of David Kelly, who was found dead under highly unusual circumstances, after his whistleblowing to the BBC about the lies that Bush-Blair told prior to the Iraq invasion. After being outed and interrogated at a "safe house," he was found dead on 7/18/03, in the midst of the phony search for WMDs in Iraq, and four days after CIA counter-proliferation project head Valerie Plame was outed by the Bush Junta. Four days after Kelly's death, the Bushwhacks went further and outed the entire Brewster-Jennings CIA front company, putting our WMD counterproliferation agents/contacts around the world in extreme danger. I think Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld & brethren were pissed off that the WMDs they were trying to plant in Iraq (probably with a trail to Iran, to expand the war then and there) somehow got diverted and they never could hold up their phony "evidence" that they had been right about the WMDs for the New York Times photographer who would have been right there to get the pix. They blamed Kelly. They blamed Plame and B-J. And got their revenge on both.

What I remembered was that Kelly's office and computers were searched, after he was found dead (supposedly having bled to death all night, under a tree, near his home, from a generally non-lethal wound to his wrist).

Wheeler may have been involved in stopping Cheney-Rumsfeld from nuking Iran.

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The abyss Donating Member (930 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-15-11 11:12 AM
Response to Original message
29. Peace Patriot this is an amazing body of work!
Thanks to you and all the others participating on these threads!
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