Sunday, October 25, 2009

Wikipedia Entry Steve Kangas

Welcome to my 300th posting here.

The Matrix is undemocratic.
Using subversive techniques once aimed at communists,
and with all the money they ever need to succeed,
the Matrix undemocratically controls our government,
our media, and even a growing part of academia.
These institutions in turn allow the Matrix to control
the supposedly "free" market.
It doesn't win all the time, of course -- witness Bill Clinton's
impeachment trial -- but it does score an endless string of other victories elsewhere,
all to the detriment of workers, consumers, women, minorities and the poor.

We need to fight it with everything we've got.


Those who wish to become activists need to direct their energies to dismantling the corporate special interest system and restoring greater equality of income

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Steven Robert Esh (he later changed him name to Steve Kangas) was born on 11th May, 1961. His parents were conservative Christians and he attended private religious academies in South Carolina.

After graduating from high school in 1979, Kangas joined the US Army. He was later transferred to military intelligence and spent a year in Monterey (Defense Language Institute) learning Russian. He also spent time at Goodfellow Air Force Base in Texas before being sent to do secret work in Central America.

In 1984 Kangas moved to Germany where he was involved in electronic eavesdropping on Soviet military units in Eastern Europe, analyzing the transcripts and reporting back to NATO. It was at this time he began to question his conservative political beliefs.

Kangas left military intelligence in 1986 and became a student at the University of California in Santa Cruz. This experience moved him further to the left: "There, kindly professors pointed out to me the illogic of defending life by taking it, destroying the planet for a buck and shutting down schools to build more prisons. I am now thoroughly brainwashed to believe that kindness and human decency are positive traits to be emulated and encouraged."

Kangas ran the Liberalism Resurgent website. This included several articles on the activities of the Central Intelligence Agency. One of his online essays, The Origins of the Overclass, attempted to show "why the richest 1 percent have exploded ahead since 1975, with the help of the New Right, Corporate America and, surprisingly, the CIA." In the essay he argues that Richard Mellon Scaife ran "Forum World Features, a foreign news service used as a front to disseminate CIA propaganda around the world."

Scaife was very unhappy with the attack made on him and employed private detective, Rex Armistead, to carry out an investigation into Kangas.

It is believed that Kangas was working on a book about CIA covert activities when on 8th February, 1999, he was found dead in the bathroom of the offices of Richard Mellon Scaife, the owner of the Pittsburgh Tribune. He had been shot in the head. Officially he had committed suicide but some people believe he was murdered. In an article in Salon Magazine, (19th March, 1999) Andrew Leonard asked: "Why did the police report say the gun wound was to the left of his head, while the autopsy reported a wound on the roof of his mouth? Why had the hard drive on his computer been erased shortly after his death? Why had Scaife assigned his No. 1 private detective, Rex Armistead, to look into Kangas' past?"



A Timeline of CIA Atrocities

By Steve Kangas

The following timeline describes just a few of the hundreds of atrocities and crimes committed by the CIA. (1)

CIA operations follow the same recurring script. First, American business interests abroad are threatened by a popular or democratically elected leader. The people support their leader because he intends to conduct land reform, strengthen unions, redistribute wealth, nationalize foreign-owned industry, and regulate business to protect workers, consumers and the environment. So, on behalf of American business, and often with their help, the CIA mobilizes the opposition. First it identifies right-wing groups within the country (usually the military), and offers them a deal: "We'll put you in power if you maintain a favorable business climate for us." The Agency then hires, trains and works with them to overthrow the existing government (usually a democracy). It uses every trick in the book: propaganda, stuffed ballot boxes, purchased elections, extortion, blackmail, sexual intrigue, false stories about opponents in the local media, infiltration and disruption of opposing political parties, kidnapping, beating, torture, intimidation, economic sabotage, death squads and even assassination. These efforts culminate in a military coup, which installs a right-wing dictator. The CIA trains the dictator’s security apparatus to crack down on the traditional enemies of big business, using interrogation, torture and murder. The victims are said to be "communists," but almost always they are just peasants, liberals, moderates, labor union leaders, political opponents and advocates of free speech and democracy. Widespread human rights abuses follow.

This scenario has been repeated so many times that the CIA actually teaches it in a special school, the notorious "School of the Americas." (It opened in Panama but later moved to Fort Benning, Georgia.) Critics have nicknamed it the "School of the Dictators" and "School of the Assassins." Here, the CIA trains Latin American military officers how to conduct coups, including the use of interrogation, torture and murder.

The Association for Responsible Dissent estimates that by 1987, 6 million people had died as a result of CIA covert operations. (2) Former State Department official William Blum correctly calls this an "American Holocaust."

The CIA justifies these actions as part of its war against communism. But most coups do not involve a communist threat. Unlucky nations are targeted for a wide variety of reasons: not only threats to American business interests abroad, but also liberal or even moderate social reforms, political instability, the unwillingness of a leader to carry out Washington’s dictates, and declarations of neutrality in the Cold War. Indeed, nothing has infuriated CIA Directors quite like a nation’s desire to stay out of the Cold War.

The ironic thing about all this intervention is that it frequently fails to achieve American objectives. Often the newly installed dictator grows comfortable with the security apparatus the CIA has built for him. He becomes an expert at running a police state. And because the dictator knows he cannot be overthrown, he becomes independent and defiant of Washington's will. The CIA then finds it cannot overthrow him, because the police and military are under the dictator's control, afraid to cooperate with American spies for fear of torture and execution. The only two options for the U.S at this point are impotence or war. Examples of this "boomerang effect" include the Shah of Iran, General Noriega and Saddam Hussein. The boomerang effect also explains why the CIA has proven highly successful at overthrowing democracies, but a wretched failure at overthrowing dictatorships.

The following timeline should confirm that the CIA as we know it should be abolished and replaced by a true information-gathering and analysis organization. The CIA cannot be reformed — it is institutionally and culturally corrupt.

1929

The culture we lost — Secretary of State Henry Stimson refuses to endorse a code-breaking operation, saying, "Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail."

1941

COI created — In preparation for World War II, President Roosevelt creates the Office of Coordinator of Information (COI). General William "Wild Bill" Donovan heads the new intelligence service.

1942

OSS created — Roosevelt restructures COI into something more suitable for covert action, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Donovan recruits so many of the nation’s rich and powerful that eventually people joke that "OSS" stands for "Oh, so social!" or "Oh, such snobs!"

1943

Italy — Donovan recruits the Catholic Church in Rome to be the center of Anglo-American spy operations in Fascist Italy. This would prove to be one of America’s most enduring intelligence alliances in the Cold War.

1945

OSS is abolished — The remaining American information agencies cease covert actions and return to harmless information gathering and analysis.

Operation PAPERCLIP – While other American agencies are hunting down Nazi war criminals for arrest, the U.S. intelligence community is smuggling them into America, unpunished, for their use against the Soviets. The most important of these is Reinhard Gehlen, Hitler’s master spy who had built up an intelligence network in the Soviet Union. With full U.S. blessing, he creates the "Gehlen Organization," a band of refugee Nazi spies who reactivate their networks in Russia. These include SS intelligence officers Alfred Six and Emil Augsburg (who massacred Jews in the Holocaust), Klaus Barbie (the "Butcher of Lyon"), Otto von Bolschwing (the Holocaust mastermind who worked with Eichmann) and SS Colonel Otto Skorzeny (a personal friend of Hitler’s). The Gehlen Organization supplies the U.S. with its only intelligence on the Soviet Union for the next ten years, serving as a bridge between the abolishment of the OSS and the creation of the CIA. However, much of the "intelligence" the former Nazis provide is bogus. Gehlen inflates Soviet military capabilities at a time when Russia is still rebuilding its devastated society, in order to inflate his own importance to the Americans (who might otherwise punish him). In 1948, Gehlen almost convinces the Americans that war is imminent, and the West should make a preemptive strike. In the 50s he produces a fictitious "missile gap." To make matters worse, the Russians have thoroughly penetrated the Gehlen Organization with double agents, undermining the very American security that Gehlen was supposed to protect.

1947

Greece — President Truman requests military aid to Greece to support right-wing forces fighting communist rebels. For the rest of the Cold War, Washington and the CIA will back notorious Greek leaders with deplorable human rights records.

CIA created — President Truman signs the National Security Act of 1947, creating the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Council. The CIA is accountable to the president through the NSC — there is no democratic or congressional oversight. Its charter allows the CIA to "perform such other functions and duties… as the National Security Council may from time to time direct." This loophole opens the door to covert action and dirty tricks.

1948

Covert-action wing created — The CIA recreates a covert action wing, innocuously called the Office of Policy Coordination, led by Wall Street lawyer Frank Wisner. According to its secret charter, its responsibilities include "propaganda, economic warfare, preventive direct action, including sabotage, antisabotage, demolition and evacuation procedures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-communist elements in threatened countries of the free world."

Italy — The CIA corrupts democratic elections in Italy, where Italian communists threaten to win the elections. The CIA buys votes, broadcasts propaganda, threatens and beats up opposition leaders, and infiltrates and disrupts their organizations. It works -- the communists are defeated.

1949

Radio Free Europe — The CIA creates its first major propaganda outlet, Radio Free Europe. Over the next several decades, its broadcasts are so blatantly false that for a time it is considered illegal to publish transcripts of them in the U.S.

Late 40s

Operation MOCKINGBIRD — The CIA begins recruiting American news organizations and journalists to become spies and disseminators of propaganda. The effort is headed by Frank Wisner, Allan Dulles, Richard Helms and Philip Graham. Graham is publisher of The Washington Post, which becomes a major CIA player. Eventually, the CIA’s media assets will include ABC, NBC, CBS, Time, Newsweek, Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps-Howard, Copley News Service and more. By the CIA’s own admission, at least 25 organizations and 400 journalists will become CIA assets.

1953

Iran – CIA overthrows the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh in a military coup, after he threatened to nationalize British oil. The CIA replaces him with a dictator, the Shah of Iran, whose secret police, SAVAK, is as brutal as the Gestapo.

Operation MK-ULTRA — Inspired by North Korea’s brainwashing program, the CIA begins experiments on mind control. The most notorious part of this project involves giving LSD and other drugs to American subjects without their knowledge or against their will, causing several to commit suicide. However, the operation involves far more than this. Funded in part by the Rockefeller and Ford foundations, research includes propaganda, brainwashing, public relations, advertising, hypnosis, and other forms of suggestion.

1954

Guatemala — CIA overthrows the democratically elected Jacob Arbenz in a military coup. Arbenz has threatened to nationalize the Rockefeller-owned United Fruit Company, in which CIA Director Allen Dulles also owns stock. Arbenz is replaced with a series of right-wing dictators whose bloodthirsty policies will kill over 100,000 Guatemalans in the next 40 years.

1954-1958

North Vietnam — CIA officer Edward Lansdale spends four years trying to overthrow the communist government of North Vietnam, using all the usual dirty tricks. The CIA also attempts to legitimize a tyrannical puppet regime in South Vietnam, headed by Ngo Dinh Diem. These efforts fail to win the hearts and minds of the South Vietnamese because the Diem government is opposed to true democracy, land reform and poverty reduction measures. The CIA’s continuing failure results in escalating American intervention, culminating in the Vietnam War.

1956

Hungary — Radio Free Europe incites Hungary to revolt by broadcasting Khruschev’s Secret Speech, in which he denounced Stalin. It also hints that American aid will help the Hungarians fight. This aid fails to materialize as Hungarians launch a doomed armed revolt, which only invites a major Soviet invasion. The conflict kills 7,000 Soviets and 30,000 Hungarians.

1957-1973

Laos — The CIA carries out approximately one coup per year trying to nullify Laos’ democratic elections. The problem is the Pathet Lao, a leftist group with enough popular support to be a member of any coalition government. In the late 50s, the CIA even creates an "Armee Clandestine" of Asian mercenaries to attack the Pathet Lao. After the CIA’s army suffers numerous defeats, the U.S. starts bombing, dropping more bombs on Laos than all the U.S. bombs dropped in World War II. A quarter of all Laotians will eventually become refugees, many living in caves.

1959

Haiti — The U.S. military helps "Papa Doc" Duvalier become dictator of Haiti. He creates his own private police force, the "Tonton Macoutes," who terrorize the population with machetes. They will kill over 100,000 during the Duvalier family reign. The U.S. does not protest their dismal human rights record.

1961

The Bay of Pigs — The CIA sends 1,500 Cuban exiles to invade Castro’s Cuba. But "Operation Mongoose" fails, due to poor planning, security and backing. The planners had imagined that the invasion will spark a popular uprising against Castro -– which never happens. A promised American air strike also never occurs. This is the CIA’s first public setback, causing President Kennedy to fire CIA Director Allen Dulles.

Dominican Republic — The CIA assassinates Rafael Trujillo, a murderous dictator Washington has supported since 1930. Trujillo’s business interests have grown so large (about 60 percent of the economy) that they have begun competing with American business interests.

Ecuador — The CIA-backed military forces the democratically elected President Jose Velasco to resign. Vice President Carlos Arosemana replaces him; the CIA fills the now vacant vice presidency with its own man.

Congo (Zaire) — The CIA assassinates the democratically elected Patrice Lumumba. However, public support for Lumumba’s politics runs so high that the CIA cannot clearly install his opponents in power. Four years of political turmoil follow.

1963

Dominican Republic — The CIA overthrows the democratically elected Juan Bosch in a military coup. The CIA installs a repressive, right-wing junta.

Ecuador — A CIA-backed military coup overthrows President Arosemana, whose independent (not socialist) policies have become unacceptable to Washington. A military junta assumes command, cancels the 1964 elections, and begins abusing human rights.

1964

Brazil — A CIA-backed military coup overthrows the democratically elected government of Joao Goulart. The junta that replaces it will, in the next two decades, become one of the most bloodthirsty in history. General Castelo Branco will create Latin America’s first death squads, or bands of secret police who hunt down "communists" for torture, interrogation and murder. Often these "communists" are no more than Branco’s political opponents. Later it is revealed that the CIA trains the death squads.

1965

Indonesia — The CIA overthrows the democratically elected Sukarno with a military coup. The CIA has been trying to eliminate Sukarno since 1957, using everything from attempted assassination to sexual intrigue, for nothing more than his declaring neutrality in the Cold War. His successor, General Suharto, will massacre between 500,000 to 1 million civilians accused of being "communist." The CIA supplies the names of countless suspects.

Dominican Republic — A popular rebellion breaks out, promising to reinstall Juan Bosch as the country’s elected leader. The revolution is crushed when U.S. Marines land to uphold the military regime by force. The CIA directs everything behind the scenes.

Greece — With the CIA’s backing, the king removes George Papandreous as prime minister. Papandreous has failed to vigorously support U.S. interests in Greece.

Congo (Zaire) — A CIA-backed military coup installs Mobutu Sese Seko as dictator. The hated and repressive Mobutu exploits his desperately poor country for billions.

1966

The Ramparts Affair — The radical magazine Ramparts begins a series of unprecedented anti-CIA articles. Among their scoops: the CIA has paid the University of Michigan $25 million dollars to hire "professors" to train South Vietnamese students in covert police methods. MIT and other universities have received similar payments. Ramparts also reveals that the National Students’ Association is a CIA front. Students are sometimes recruited through blackmail and bribery, including draft deferments.

1967

Greece — A CIA-backed military coup overthrows the government two days before the elections. The favorite to win was George Papandreous, the liberal candidate. During the next six years, the "reign of the colonels" — backed by the CIA — will usher in the widespread use of torture and murder against political opponents. When a Greek ambassador objects to President Johnson about U.S. plans for Cypress, Johnson tells him: "Fuck your parliament and your constitution."

Operation PHEONIX — The CIA helps South Vietnamese agents identify and then murder alleged Viet Cong leaders operating in South Vietnamese villages. According to a 1971 congressional report, this operation killed about 20,000 "Viet Cong."

1968

Operation CHAOS — The CIA has been illegally spying on American citizens since 1959, but with Operation CHAOS, President Johnson dramatically boosts the effort. CIA agents go undercover as student radicals to spy on and disrupt campus organizations protesting the Vietnam War. They are searching for Russian instigators, which they never find. CHAOS will eventually spy on 7,000 individuals and 1,000 organizations.

Bolivia — A CIA-organized military operation captures legendary guerilla Che Guevara. The CIA wants to keep him alive for interrogation, but the Bolivian government executes him to prevent worldwide calls for clemency.

1969

Uruguay — The notorious CIA torturer Dan Mitrione arrives in Uruguay, a country torn with political strife. Whereas right-wing forces previously used torture only as a last resort, Mitrione convinces them to use it as a routine, widespread practice. "The precise pain, in the precise place, in the precise amount, for the desired effect," is his motto. The torture techniques he teaches to the death squads rival the Nazis’. He eventually becomes so feared that revolutionaries will kidnap and murder him a year later.

1970

Cambodia — The CIA overthrows Prince Sahounek, who is highly popular among Cambodians for keeping them out of the Vietnam War. He is replaced by CIA puppet Lon Nol, who immediately throws Cambodian troops into battle. This unpopular move strengthens once minor opposition parties like the Khmer Rouge, which achieves power in 1975 and massacres millions of its own people.

1971

Bolivia — After half a decade of CIA-inspired political turmoil, a CIA-backed military coup overthrows the leftist President Juan Torres. In the next two years, dictator Hugo Banzer will have over 2,000 political opponents arrested without trial, then tortured, raped and executed.

Haiti — "Papa Doc" Duvalier dies, leaving his 19-year old son "Baby Doc" Duvalier the dictator of Haiti. His son continues his bloody reign with full knowledge of the CIA.

1972

The Case-Zablocki Act — Congress passes an act requiring congressional review of executive agreements. In theory, this should make CIA operations more accountable. In fact, it is only marginally effective.

Cambodia — Congress votes to cut off CIA funds for its secret war in Cambodia.

Wagergate Break-in — President Nixon sends in a team of burglars to wiretap Democratic offices at Watergate. The team members have extensive CIA histories, including James McCord, E. Howard Hunt and five of the Cuban burglars. They work for the Committee to Reelect the President (CREEP), which does dirty work like disrupting Democratic campaigns and laundering Nixon’s illegal campaign contributions. CREEP’s activities are funded and organized by another CIA front, the Mullen Company.

1973

Chile — The CIA overthrows and assassinates Salvador Allende, Latin America’s first democratically elected socialist leader. The problems begin when Allende nationalizes American-owned firms in Chile. ITT offers the CIA $1 million for a coup (reportedly refused). The CIA replaces Allende with General Augusto Pinochet, who will torture and murder thousands of his own countrymen in a crackdown on labor leaders and the political left.

CIA begins internal investigations — William Colby, the Deputy Director for Operations, orders all CIA personnel to report any and all illegal activities they know about. This information is later reported to Congress.

Watergate Scandal — The CIA’s main collaborating newspaper in America, The Washington Post, reports Nixon’s crimes long before any other newspaper takes up the subject. The two reporters, Woodward and Bernstein, make almost no mention of the CIA’s many fingerprints all over the scandal. It is later revealed that Woodward was a Naval intelligence briefer to the White House, and knows many important intelligence figures, including General Alexander Haig. His main source, "Deep Throat," is probably one of those.

CIA Director Helms Fired — President Nixon fires CIA Director Richard Helms for failing to help cover up the Watergate scandal. Helms and Nixon have always disliked each other. The new CIA director is William Colby, who is relatively more open to CIA reform.

1974

CHAOS exposed — Pulitzer prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh publishes a story about Operation CHAOS, the domestic surveillance and infiltration of anti-war and civil rights groups in the U.S. The story sparks national outrage.

Angleton fired — Congress holds hearings on the illegal domestic spying efforts of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s chief of counterintelligence. His efforts included mail-opening campaigns and secret surveillance of war protesters. The hearings result in his dismissal from the CIA.

House clears CIA in Watergate — The House of Representatives clears the CIA of any complicity in Nixon’s Watergate break-in.

The Hughes Ryan Act — Congress passes an amendment requiring the president to report nonintelligence CIA operations to the relevant congressional committees in a timely fashion.

1975

Australia — The CIA helps topple the democratically elected, left-leaning government of Prime Minister Edward Whitlam. The CIA does this by giving an ultimatum to its Governor-General, John Kerr. Kerr, a longtime CIA collaborator, exercises his constitutional right to dissolve the Whitlam government. The Governor-General is a largely ceremonial position appointed by the Queen; the Prime Minister is democratically elected. The use of this archaic and never-used law stuns the nation.

Angola — Eager to demonstrate American military resolve after its defeat in Vietnam, Henry Kissinger launches a CIA-backed war in Angola. Contrary to Kissinger’s assertions, Angola is a country of little strategic importance and not seriously threatened by communism. The CIA backs the brutal leader of UNITAS, Jonas Savimbi. This polarizes Angolan politics and drives his opponents into the arms of Cuba and the Soviet Union for survival. Congress will cut off funds in 1976, but the CIA is able to run the war off the books until 1984, when funding is legalized again. This entirely pointless war kills over 300,000 Angolans.

"The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence" — Victor Marchetti and John Marks publish this whistle-blowing history of CIA crimes and abuses. Marchetti has spent 14 years in the CIA, eventually becoming an executive assistant to the Deputy Director of Intelligence. Marks has spent five years as an intelligence official in the State Department.

"Inside the Company" — Philip Agee publishes a diary of his life inside the CIA. Agee has worked in covert operations in Latin America during the 60s, and details the crimes in which he took part.

Congress investigates CIA wrong-doing — Public outrage compels Congress to hold hearings on CIA crimes. Senator Frank Church heads the Senate investigation ("The Church Committee"), and Representative Otis Pike heads the House investigation. (Despite a 98 percent incumbency reelection rate, both Church and Pike are defeated in the next elections.) The investigations lead to a number of reforms intended to increase the CIA’s accountability to Congress, including the creation of a standing Senate committee on intelligence. However, the reforms prove ineffective, as the Iran/Contra scandal will show. It turns out the CIA can control, deal with or sidestep Congress with ease.

The Rockefeller Commission — In an attempt to reduce the damage done by the Church Committee, President Ford creates the "Rockefeller Commission" to whitewash CIA history and propose toothless reforms. The commission’s namesake, Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, is himself a major CIA figure. Five of the commission’s eight members are also members of the Council on Foreign Relations, a CIA-dominated organization.

1979

Iran — The CIA fails to predict the fall of the Shah of Iran, a longtime CIA puppet, and the rise of Muslim fundamentalists who are furious at the CIA’s backing of SAVAK, the Shah’s bloodthirsty secret police. In revenge, the Muslims take 52 Americans hostage in the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

Afghanistan — The Soviets invade Afghanistan. The CIA immediately begins supplying arms to any faction willing to fight the occupying Soviets. Such indiscriminate arming means that when the Soviets leave Afghanistan, civil war will erupt. Also, fanatical Muslim extremists now possess state-of-the-art weaponry. One of these is Sheik Abdel Rahman, who will become involved in the World Trade Center bombing in New York.

El Salvador — An idealistic group of young military officers, repulsed by the massacre of the poor, overthrows the right-wing government. However, the U.S. compels the inexperienced officers to include many of the old guard in key positions in their new government. Soon, things are back to "normal" — the military government is repressing and killing poor civilian protesters. Many of the young military and civilian reformers, finding themselves powerless, resign in disgust.

Nicaragua — Anastasios Samoza II, the CIA-backed dictator, falls. The Marxist Sandinistas take over government, and they are initially popular because of their commitment to land and anti-poverty reform. Samoza had a murderous and hated personal army called the National Guard. Remnants of the Guard will become the Contras, who fight a CIA-backed guerilla war against the Sandinista government throughout the 1980s.

1980

El Salvador — The Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero, pleads with President Carter "Christian to Christian" to stop aiding the military government slaughtering his people. Carter refuses. Shortly afterwards, right-wing leader Roberto D’Aubuisson has Romero shot through the heart while saying Mass. The country soon dissolves into civil war, with the peasants in the hills fighting against the military government. The CIA and U.S. Armed Forces supply the government with overwhelming military and intelligence superiority. CIA-trained death squads roam the countryside, committing atrocities like that of El Mazote in 1982, where they massacre between 700 and 1000 men, women and children. By 1992, some 63,000 Salvadorans will be killed.

1981

Iran/Contra Begins — The CIA begins selling arms to Iran at high prices, using the profits to arm the Contras fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. President Reagan vows that the Sandinistas will be "pressured" until "they say ‘uncle.’" The CIA’s Freedom Fighter’s Manual disbursed to the Contras includes instruction on economic sabotage, propaganda, extortion, bribery, blackmail, interrogation, torture, murder and political assassination.

1983

Honduras — The CIA gives Honduran military officers the Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual – 1983, which teaches how to torture people. Honduras’ notorious "Battalion 316" then uses these techniques, with the CIA’s full knowledge, on thousands of leftist dissidents. At least 184 are murdered.

1984

The Boland Amendment — The last of a series of Boland Amendments is passed. These amendments have reduced CIA aid to the Contras; the last one cuts it off completely. However, CIA Director William Casey is already prepared to "hand off" the operation to Colonel Oliver North, who illegally continues supplying the Contras through the CIA’s informal, secret, and self-financing network. This includes "humanitarian aid" donated by Adolph Coors and William Simon, and military aid funded by Iranian arms sales.

1986

Eugene Hasenfus — Nicaragua shoots down a C-123 transport plane carrying military supplies to the Contras. The lone survivor, Eugene Hasenfus, turns out to be a CIA employee, as are the two dead pilots. The airplane belongs to Southern Air Transport, a CIA front. The incident makes a mockery of President Reagan’s claims that the CIA is not illegally arming the Contras.

Iran/Contra Scandal — Although the details have long been known, the Iran/Contra scandal finally captures the media’s attention in 1986. Congress holds hearings, and several key figures (like Oliver North) lie under oath to protect the intelligence community. CIA Director William Casey dies of brain cancer before Congress can question him. All reforms enacted by Congress after the scandal are purely cosmetic.

Haiti — Rising popular revolt in Haiti means that "Baby Doc" Duvalier will remain "President for Life" only if he has a short one. The U.S., which hates instability in a puppet country, flies the despotic Duvalier to the South of France for a comfortable retirement. The CIA then rigs the upcoming elections in favor of another right-wing military strongman. However, violence keeps the country in political turmoil for another four years. The CIA tries to strengthen the military by creating the National Intelligence Service (SIN), which suppresses popular revolt through torture and assassination.

1989

Panama — The U.S. invades Panama to overthrow a dictator of its own making, General Manuel Noriega. Noriega has been on the CIA’s payroll since 1966, and has been transporting drugs with the CIA’s knowledge since 1972. By the late 80s, Noriega’s growing independence and intransigence have angered Washington… so out he goes.

1990

Haiti — Competing against 10 comparatively wealthy candidates, leftist priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide captures 68 percent of the vote. After only eight months in power, however, the CIA-backed military deposes him. More military dictators brutalize the country, as thousands of Haitian refugees escape the turmoil in barely seaworthy boats. As popular opinion calls for Aristide’s return, the CIA begins a disinformation campaign painting the courageous priest as mentally unstable.

1991

The Gulf War — The U.S. liberates Kuwait from Iraq. But Iraq’s dictator, Saddam Hussein, is another creature of the CIA. With U.S. encouragement, Hussein invaded Iran in 1980. During this costly eight-year war, the CIA built up Hussein’s forces with sophisticated arms, intelligence, training and financial backing. This cemented Hussein’s power at home, allowing him to crush the many internal rebellions that erupted from time to time, sometimes with poison gas. It also gave him all the military might he needed to conduct further adventurism — in Kuwait, for example.

The Fall of the Soviet Union — The CIA fails to predict this most important event of the Cold War. This suggests that it has been so busy undermining governments that it hasn’t been doing its primary job: gathering and analyzing information. The fall of the Soviet Union also robs the CIA of its reason for existence: fighting communism. This leads some to accuse the CIA of intentionally failing to predict the downfall of the Soviet Union. Curiously, the intelligence community’s budget is not significantly reduced after the demise of communism.

1992

Economic Espionage — In the years following the end of the Cold War, the CIA is increasingly used for economic espionage. This involves stealing the technological secrets of competing foreign companies and giving them to American ones. Given the CIA’s clear preference for dirty tricks over mere information gathering, the possibility of serious criminal behavior is very great indeed.

1993

Haiti — The chaos in Haiti grows so bad that President Clinton has no choice but to remove the Haitian military dictator, Raoul Cedras, on threat of U.S. invasion. The U.S. occupiers do not arrest Haiti’s military leaders for crimes against humanity, but instead ensure their safety and rich retirements. Aristide is returned to power only after being forced to accept an agenda favorable to the country’s ruling class.

EPILOGUE

In a speech before the CIA celebrating its 50th anniversary, President Clinton said: "By necessity, the American people will never know the full story of your courage."

Clinton’s is a common defense of the CIA: namely, the American people should stop criticizing the CIA because they don’t know what it really does. This, of course, is the heart of the problem in the first place. An agency that is above criticism is also above moral behavior and reform. Its secrecy and lack of accountability allows its corruption to grow unchecked.

Furthermore, Clinton’s statement is simply untrue. The history of the agency is growing painfully clear, especially with the declassification of historical CIA documents. We may not know the details of specific operations, but we do know, quite well, the general behavior of the CIA. These facts began emerging nearly two decades ago at an ever-quickening pace. Today we have a remarkably accurate and consistent picture, repeated in country after country, and verified from countless different directions.

The CIA’s response to this growing knowledge and criticism follows a typical historical pattern. (Indeed, there are remarkable parallels to the Medieval Church’s fight against the Scientific Revolution.) The first journalists and writers to reveal the CIA’s criminal behavior were harassed and censored if they were American writers, and tortured and murdered if they were foreigners. (See Philip Agee’s On the Run for an example of early harassment.) However, over the last two decades the tide of evidence has become overwhelming, and the CIA has found that it does not have enough fingers to plug every hole in the dike. This is especially true in the age of the Internet, where information flows freely among millions of people. Since censorship is impossible, the Agency must now defend itself with apologetics. Clinton’s "Americans will never know" defense is a prime example.

Another common apologetic is that "the world is filled with unsavory characters, and we must deal with them if we are to protect American interests at all." There are two things wrong with this. First, it ignores the fact that the CIA has regularly spurned alliances with defenders of democracy, free speech and human rights, preferring the company of military dictators and tyrants. The CIA had moral options available to them, but did not take them.

Second, this argument begs several questions. The first is: "Which American interests?" The CIA has courted right-wing dictators because they allow wealthy Americans to exploit the country’s cheap labor and resources. But poor and middle-class Americans pay the price whenever they fight the wars that stem from CIA actions, from Vietnam to the Gulf War to Panama. The second begged question is: "Why should American interests come at the expense of other peoples’ human rights?"

The CIA should be abolished, its leadership dismissed and its relevant members tried for crimes against humanity. Our intelligence community should be rebuilt from the ground up, with the goal of collecting and analyzing information. As for covert action, there are two moral options. The first one is to eliminate covert action completely. But this gives jitters to people worried about the Adolf Hitlers of the world. So a second option is that we can place covert action under extensive and true democratic oversight. For example, a bipartisan Congressional Committee of 40 members could review and veto all aspects of CIA operations upon a majority or super-majority vote. Which of these two options is best may be the subject of debate, but one thing is clear: like dictatorship, like monarchy, unaccountable covert operations should die like the dinosaurs they are.


http://archive.salon.com/21st/feature/1999/03/src/19kangas.jpg

The Strange Death of Steve Kangas

This page is one of several questioning the death of Steve Kangas. In many ways it is a fusion of my own theories and a melting of both the work of Jason's and Doug's pages. The reader should view both sites as Jason provides many of the same questions but also the only time line of the events available along with links to all of the media articles through mid April.. Doug likewise sets forth the serious nature of many of the questions and sets forth on a proof of murder. A proof that is entirely consistent with the views presented in this paper. In effect both pages are extraordinary and preceded this page, making them a particularly valuable resource and resources the reader should consult.



On Feb 8, 1999 at 11:30 PM Steve Kangas was found lying on the restroom floor of One Oxford Center, Pittsburgh in a semi conscious state by electrician, Don Adams. Adams reported blood on the floor around the spot and left to call for help. Upon returning they found Steve sitting on the toilet slumped over covered in blood, the victim of an apparent suicide. On Feb 12 the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette broke the news in a terse 46 word article that police had ruled the death a suicide. Note to the reader, the reader should refer to Jason's page as he presents the best time line as well as links to all of the news articles. The following is not a complete time line of events nor is it intended to be such.

But what appears to have been a simple suicide at first is much more complex and several questions has arisen from a set of bizarre circumstances. It is hoped that in airing these questions in an open an unbiased manner that a non-partial investigation can be triggered in an effort to get to the truth. The reader is referred to Doug's page for a similar view and mission. This page will present some of the more troubling questions of Steve's death in the mind of this writer as well as present links to other pages that likewise question the events around Steve's death. In addition links to mirror sites of Steve's award winning web site, Liberal Resurgent will be included. The man can be killed but his ideas can live forever.

At one point I was nearly convinced that the death was a suicide, but there was still the troubling question of why anyone would travel from Las Vegas to Pittsburgh just to commit suicide. And the more that several web warriors and myself dug the more unanswered questions we kept finding. In much the same vein as each new article from the media that was published more troubling questions were raised for which the answer went begging.

On March 14 Scaife's lap dog and reporter, Richard Gazarik for the Scaife owned Pittsburgh Tribune Review published a smear article on Steve. The article could be describe in no other terms other than a smear, it was inherently a vicious attack. Much of the article was factually incorrect and served no purpose other than to smear Kangas. But it was the beginning of a vicious mean spirited attack by the right wing media involving the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Tony Snow and Tucker Carlson. Gazarik made wild claims about Steve being obsessed with Scaife, the fact remains that only 7 pages in Liberal Resurgent even mentions Scaife and 5 of them only in passing. In one case the only mentioning of Scaife was in a list of right wing foundations. The reader is reminded that Steve's web page consisted of over 400 files. With only two percent of those files even mentioning the name Scaife one is very safe in concluding that Gazarik was only trying to inflame his readers. Its hardly the case of being obsessed.

Gazarik attacked with vigor Steve's page The Origins of the Overclass as being false. This is hardly a surprise for someone working for a member of that Overclass. Its inclusion could be to serve but one purpose to inflame the right wing reactionaries and mean spirited greed heads that are unfortunately all to common today. My own research has found that Overclass in this country to be real and a topic of scholarly research. Perhaps Gazarik could try and refute the book by G. William Domhoff entitled Who Rules America before sounding off on a topic that he obviously knows nothing about. It is a somewhat of a classic on the topic and is in its 3rd printing. Incidentally Domhoff was a professor at Santa Cruz where Steve had been working on his Doctoral degree, although he didn't know Steve.

Gazarik also attacked Steve's opinions of the close association of the media (reporters and editors) with the CIA. Probably in a vain attempt to build credibility for himself and to distance the fact that the Scaife foundations had served as a conduit for the CIA to funnel money through and in at least one case to be an out right front organization for the CIA to spread disinformation. Perhaps Gazarik isn't old enough to remember the Church committee back in the mid 70s in which the CIA's use of the press was made public in a congressional hearing. Perhaps Gazarik should spend less time investigating liberals in an effort to smear them and spend a little time getting the facts straight. If he had he would realize that the New York Times' web site has one page devoted to exposing the CIA-media connection. But then I doubt if the facts are any concern of Gazarik, the Tribune-Review or Scaife.

On March 28 the Post Gazette prints the article Mission: Implausible; Dick Scaife couldn't keep his probe of Kangas a secret. The Post-Gazette details the efforts of Scaife using Gazarik along with the hire thug Rex Armistead whose name has arisen in Ken Starr's fiasco and the possible bribery of some of Starr's witnesses. It's the first print article to raise the question of why Scaife hid his investigation from the police. If we are to believe Scaife that he was only concerned with his safety why then hide any information that he may have gathered from the very people that could help him the most and guards his home, the local Pittsburgh police? Also troubling is if we were to believe smears appearing in the Scaife owned paper portraying Steve as a loser down on his luck why did Scaife apparently still believe him to have been a threat and launch an all out mean spirited attack?

As autumn approaches it appears that the Pittsburgh police have yet to interview Scaife. Although on March 17 the Post Gazette printed an article entitled Police seek to question Scaife in man's suicide stating that the Pittsburg police were then wanting to take a second look at the case due to the information coming forth from the media coverage. The exact quote from the police was as follows "are going to interview Mr. Scaife, if he'll submit to an interview." Excuse me but just when the hell did police interviews in a crime investigation become voluntary for the rich elite?

But even more troubling is the reckless disregard for common decency displayed by the Tribune-Review towards Steve's family. We now know that much of the Tribune-Review stories was blatantly false. For example the story about Mein Kampf being one of the books in Steve's backpack has now been shown to be false. The media source of this information appears to have been from Steve's mother. She is unsure who had told her that and thinks she may have misunderstood the original statement and believes it may have referred to finding it in Steve's apartment instead. The only source of that information would have been through the Scaife organization and his private thug Rex Armistead. But Steve's parents mistakenly gave their ok for Armistead to search Steve's apartment and access his email.The police never conducted an investigation beyond the autopsy. This is evident from the Feb10 Tribune-Review article in which it was stated that the autopsy was ruled a suicide on Tues Feb 9th. Again we can see the rush to close the case, this would not have been time enough for the completion of toxicology tests. The reader needs to ask himself what kind of a low down snake would imply to a grieving parent that their child was a Nazi admirer. Apparently the answer is the same kind of low down snake that would publish knowingly false smears and call it news.

It was in this time frame of late March early April, that Scaife directed another member of the Tribune-Review, Adam Music into the lion's den of the Usenet political groups to quell stories concerning Steve's death. Mr. Music announced his presence as an editor and stated he hoped to clear up any questions. This is one writer among many web active warriors that hit Mr. Music with a barrage of questions. Unfortunately Mr. Music was long on bullshit and short on answers. His all too familiar refrain of not knowing the answers to questions and that the questions should be directed to the reporter was hardly reassuring and flew against his stated purpose for posting in Usenet. Needless to say Mr. Music probably still awakes nights in a cold sweat over his experience on Usenet. I am sure from some of his responses to queries from others as well as myself that the experience was less than pleasant for him. I am also left wondering just what kind of paper the Tribune-Review is when the reporters seem to know more than the editors. But that is a logical summation of Mr. Music's presence on Usenet.

In the course of a normal investigation the number of unanswered question first rises then falls as the scope of the investigation is established and testimony and evidence is gather. However this is not the case in the death of Steve Kangas with the passing of time and with each outside investigation the number of unanswered questions just keeps rising.

With this short background it is time to look at the serious questions that have arisen and the need for some straight answers if not a full investigation. Some of these questions may indeed have harmless answers. I would be willing to overlook a couple such questions and conclude that Steve's death was a suicide. But when not one or two but several such questions start clustering around an event its obvious that someone has not done a proper investigation or that someone is trying to feed the public a lot of hooey. Many of these questions Jason has asked on his web site a couple however are new.

1. Why Pittsburgh, Why Suicide??? This is perhaps the most troubling and elusive of all questions to answer. The fact remains most people commit suicide at home or work or in close proximity to one or both. No one travels 2000 miles to a town in which he's and unknown just to commit suicide. Nor do those planning to commit suicide make long range plans or even short range plans. In a later question we will show that Steve was indeed making some long range plans. As for the short range plans it is known now that Steve had a list with him. Was this a list of people to interview as part of his longer range plans? Or was it a list of people to interview for a job or some other reason? One thing is certain it established that he had a plan and given that he had only arrived that day in Pittsburgh he could have hardly spoken to more than one or two.

2. Why did Steve buy a gun and install a burglar alarm??? This is the question that troubles his mother the most. Was Steve trying to protect himself or something of value? There is no other answer for the burglar alarm. It has one purpose only. But then what was he protecting and who was threatening him? And why if we were to believe the Scaife stories about a man down on his luck and broke would he spend some of his last money on a burglar alarm? And what would he have to protect? Why would a person with strong anti-gun views even buy a gun? Why would a man planning suicide and yes most suicides are planed as long as six months in advance would bother to register the gun as reported by the media?

3. How Did He Remain Undetected for almost 9 hours in One Oxford Center??? How could anyone remain undetected wondering about a major upscale office building for a total of 9 hours while carrying a backpack. One guard from the building remembers observing that he was wearing expensive shoes. Sitting in the restroom down the hall from Scaife's offices is one answer but it's hardly satisfying. It's hard to imagine that no one else used that facility without observing the presence of someone else.

4. Why Did Scaife refuse to answer Steve's parents questions??? This is another question that troubles his mother. Why did Scaife refuse to answer her questions of whether he had met with Steve that day? Likewise why did building security officials refuse to answer her questions and in her own words give her a run around? Coupled with the immediate preceding question it raises only more questions and hoists a red flag.

5. Why does the police report and autopsy report differ??? This is the biggie. Why does the police report list the wound to the left temple area but the autopsy state it was through the roof of the mouth? The ambulance report also lists a gunshot wound to the left side of the head. How was it that the corner missed this wound? Why did the electrician state there was blood already on the floor when he first found Steve but there is no mention of that fact in the autopsy report? Once again we encounter a question that needs to be thoroughly answered before any doubt can be removed.

6. Why no exit wound??? Another biggie that has never been addressed. I find it impossible to believe that a 9mm would not have made an exit wound. I would with trouble accept the lack of an exit wound if it had been a 22 rimfire. (This writer has the scars in his left leg to know what a 22 can do even after ricocheting twice. Once off a rock, I saw the rock explode through my scope then of a car fender before hitting me in the calf and traveling through about 3 inches of muscle.) Even more troubling is from the articles printed in the media was the fact that two fragments was retrieved from the back of the skull. I will acknowledge that bullets can do strange things but I find it hard to believe a 9mm slug would fragment going through 4 inches of soft tissue. The normal expected outcome would be for the slug to remain intact and to mushroom not fragment. Nor has the media ever stated that these two fragments composed the majority of a 9mm slug. Were these fragments large or were they small? Combined would these fragments compose an entire 9mm slug or not? In light of further evidence an considering the other oddities surrounding this case it leads this writer to the conclusion that the slug was of a devastator type, the bullet of choice for an assassin. Once again until a complete thorough answer to the size and number of fragments is forthcoming all doubt must remain.

7. How was the death ruled a suicide within one day??? One day for an autopsy would not have allowed time for toxicological tests to be completed. Yet according to the news article of Wed. Feb 10 from the Tribune-Review the autopsy was completed on Tuesday. Was this just part of a rush to sweep it under the floor? Why didn't the corner check the mouth for powder burns? According to one of the articles it was because of rigormortis. If thats the case how did they determine the wound was through the roof of the mouth? Its just another example of how rushed this autopsy was. At the very least it shows a corner jumping to conclusions before all results are in.

8. Why no Nitrate residue on the hands.??? Another mystery from the autopsy report, no nitrate residue was found on Steve's hands. The corner tries to make a claim that only 50% of suicide victims show a residue. That some weapons have next to no blowback and that the residue could have been rubbed off in the handling of the body. Well maybe but then I am old enough to remember that Oswald went home washed his hands and changed clothes, yet they still found nitrates on his hands.

9. The blood alcohol content why the discrepancy??? Adams reported first finding Steve one the floor in an almost comatose state and unable to answer intelligibly. The toxicology report stated a blood alcohol level of .14. Certainly high enough to be arrested for drunk driving but far from the level to render a person semi-comatose. And even if factual then how did a stumbling down dead drunk pick himself up find his gun and commit suicide without anyone hearing the shot all in the manner of a few minutes.

10. Why did Scaife seek out Steve's parents??? We know that Scaife associates sought out Steve's parents. Scaife people obtained permission from them to search his Las Vegas apartment, to read his Email and who knows what else. What was Scaife looking for? Coupled with a question below it seems that it was more than just paranoia, but part of an almost hysteric search. From the text above it seems that the Scale organization used Steve's parents in one of the most iniquitous manner I have ever heard, to feed disinformation to the press as in the false story about Mein Kampf. Even Steve's mother admits to feeling somewhat used or taken advantage of in one of the media reports. Simply put taking advantage of another's grief is the lowest form of malevolent behavior.

11. What was Music doing in usenet??? From the text above we know that it was not for his stated purpose of answering questions and to clarify any questions. Was Music nosing around Usenet in hopes of stumbling onto whatever it was that Armistead couldn't find in Las Vegas? And remember Armistead is a top notch thug for Scaife.

12. Why the vicious mad dog media attack??? Why did Scaife launch and all out mad dog attack on Steve? It served no purpose other than maybe unwittingly attracting more attention to the case. There still is no evidence that Steve intended to threaten or in any way harm Scaife. Such rumors are solely based on conjecture and are noting more than playing fast and loose with the facts.

13. Why sell Steve's computer??? This is another puzzling question that defies logic. According to the media reports Steve's roommate had returned from an extended trip to find Steve hadn't paid his share of the rent so he sold the computer for $150. This roommate was also Steve's former business partner. A partner that had bought Steve's interest for $30,000 after telling him it was worth $100,000. But Steve had refuse the higher offer not wishing to become part of the 2% top income earners that he deplored in his web page. Are we to believe that a person that had received essentially a $70,000 gift from Steve would quibble over $150? It simply doesn't make sense.

14. What was Steve's plan??? This writer believes very firmly that Steve had a coherent plan and was in the process of executing it when he was killed. The story appearing on April 11 in the Washington Week mentions the first step of this plan. It refers to an October post in Usenet in which Steve sought out advice if the computer he had just purchased would be adequate for a high volume server application. The article concludes that if Steve had the funds, the time and the presence of mind to expand his political activism how could anyone believe the Scaife smears. Confirmatory evidence from Deja News reveals that this is one of the first posts in which Steve used a new Email address of Liberalism Resurgent and that he also had registered the server as Resurgent. It fully destroys the Scaife smear that he was going to use the computer for a sex site. This I believe was the first step in the plan in January the second step of his plan is revealed on his web site. On Jan 9 he modified the file Help_the_Fight revealing his plans for Liberalism Resurgent. In it he detailed plans to hire writers in particular college students, as well as setting a maximum cap on income for any employee. Now we know beyond a doubt that he had a plan and what the computer was for. It also shows a continuing effort over an extended period requiring time, money and a presence of mind. But the plan doesn't end here. There is one final piece of evidence of this plan. It was found with his knapsack upon his death. It was the list of names. It is this writer's opinion that the list of names were people that Steve was going to interview for the initial expansion of his web site. Up to this time there is every indication that Steve had but one plan and that he was diligently working toward that goal of expanding his web site. The list should be viewed in that light. When it is things begin to make sense. The reader of this page is now invited to go back and reread each of the questions keeping in mind Steve's plan and notice how many of the previous questions have suddenly been answered. In fact if one assumes that Steve had other information as put forth in the final paragraph here it wipes out 7 of the preceding questions and leaves only the questions about the autopsy report left. But now even those questions have a plausible answer as part of an on going cover up.

These interviews with people on that list would then be used as the basis for additional pages. Perhaps even as collaborating evidence for additional information that he may have had. If such was the case it would certainly explain and remove any doubt about the Armistead search in Las Vegas and the presence of Music in Usenet.




ABOUT ME

I was born at a relatively young age in the first year of "Camelot" -- no, not King Arthur's reign in the 6th Century, but President Kennedy's in 1961. You could say I was literally a child of the 60s, but love, peace and understanding had no chance to pervert my young mind, since my family was strictly Christian conservative.

I left religion at age 12, and conservatism at age 26, to become the godless pinko commie lying socialist weasel that conservatives find at right. I'm sure that liberals will recognize something of the kindly, gentle, good-humored progressive student I actually am in this photo, which makes this a political Rorschach ink-blot test (and probably about as attractive).

I've led an interesting life, even if it hasn't always taken me where I want to go. Upon graduating from high school in 1979, filled with high hopes and dreams of wealth and fame, I promptly ran into the back-to-back recessions of 1980-82, the worst since the Great Depression. So I did the politically correct thing to do -- for a conservative -- and joined the Army. I must have scored really low on their qualifications tests, because they relegated me to military intelligence. This included a year of learning a foreign language (Russian) while basking in the sun at the Presidio of Monterey, California.

I had just begun wondering why everyone complained about Army life when they shipped me off to Fort Bragg, to play G.I. Joe in the dirt. While my paperwork was still being processed, President Reagan decided to invade Grenada. I waved my comrades goodbye at neighboring Pope Air Force Base, unable to join them without my paperwork. (Damn bureaucracy!) No matter -- I got to see a war anyway, in Central America, doing things I am not at liberty to discuss (but which you can read about in any newspaper).

In 1984 they shipped me off to Berlin, to do more of the things I can't discuss. Basically this involved electronic eavesdropping on Soviet military units in Eastern Europe, analyzing the transcripts and reporting back to NATO. It was here that I learned that a Soviet invasion of Western Europe was impossible, because their soldiers lacked certain sophisticated training -- like, oh, say, driving skills. But I must not have been in the entire intelligence loop, for our leaders could often be seen on television solemnly warning us of the grave Soviet threat that hung over Europe like a pall.

And then there were the wake-up calls -- the terrorist bombing of a Berlin discotheque only a few blocks away from my living quarters. In response, Reagan ordered the bombing of Libya, even though it later turned out that we had no proof they did it. (The subsequent terrorist alert, however, forced me to cancel my vacation to Spain.) And then there was the Soviet's assassination of Major Arthur Nicholson, one of my intelligence compratiots, whose funeral I attended. The image of his 4-year old daughter clutching a Cabbage Patch doll throughout the entire service is one that is forever burned into my memory. This was a pivotal moment in my life, causing me to question my conservative beliefs and take a more serious look at the costs and benefits of the arms race. And I was also there when Chernobyl experienced the worst nuclear disaster in history, giving Berlin a nice radioactive bath in my last month of service. But other than this, I loved Europe.

With an honorable discharge in one hand, and the GI Bill in the other, I flew back to California in 1986 to recreate the college lizard lifestyle. Port of entry into said lifestyle was the University of California - Santa Cruz. This campus is one of the most beautiful in the world, sitting atop a small mountain of redwood forests, overlooking all 50 miles of Monterey Bay. It is also one of the most liberal places in America, only one of two U.S. cities to have ever elected a socialist mayor. Needless to say, Santa Cruz is often the target of Rush Limbaugh's wrath. UCSC is also famous for its appearance in the movie Pulp Fiction, albeit as an emblem on John Travolta's "dorky" T-shirt. (The yellow creature you saw was a banana slug, the school mascot.)

Going from the Army to USCS was like going from conservative heaven to liberal heaven at warp speed. There, kindly professors pointed out to me the illogic of defending life by taking it, destroying the planet for a buck and shutting down schools to build more prisons. I am now thoroughly brainwashed to believe that kindness and human decency are positive traits to be emulated and encouraged. I know this is a radical thought for a straight white male, but I suppose it proves that European traits are not really, reeeeeaallly genetic.

Today I have a major in Russian studies, with an emphasis on political science and economics. However, I am applying to grad school in U.S. political science, which has interested me much more since communism fell. I visited Russia in 1989, and the trip was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. The Russians are the warmest, friendliest people I've met anywhere. But their country was in the final stages of collapse, with devastating environmental problems and economic stagnation. Yet more proof, if more be needed, that dictatorships are disastrous. Long live democracy...

I have many interests in life, among them traveling, writing, movies and socializing in Santa Cruz's deservedly famous coffee shops. But one of the biggest is chess. From 1992 to 1995, I served as the Santa Cruz Chess Club President, where I am both a tournament director and a strong A-player. Teaching chess to school children is one of my life's greatest joys.

Return to Steve's Home Page


kangaroo@resurgent.com
USENET POSTINGS

steve_kangas@hotmail.com


http://www.post-gazette.com/regionstate/19990419kangas6.asp

After his suicide here, liberal's Web site lives on

Monday, April 19, 1999

By Dennis B. Roddy, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Almost three months after he shot himself to death in a Downtown office building and touched off a flurry of conspiracy theories, Steve Kangas, a seeming loner, has left behind an unexpected survivor: the Internet Web site on which he espoused liberal politics and attacked conservative causes.

An obscure former Army intelligence analyst who had quit his job with a betting company in Las Vegas, Kangas was 37 when he shot himself in the head in a bathroom on the 39th floor of One Oxford Centre -- just down the hall from the offices of one of the conservative figures he had criticized: billionaire publisher Richard Mellon Scaife.

On his Web page, Kangas called Scaife one of the "overclass," and echoed widely disseminated theories that Scaife, who has spent millions on organizations that have attacked President Clinton, was the leader of a "vast, right-wing conspiracy."

Now, the World Wide Web page that Kangas created and spent his final days upgrading is continuing without him. Despite his father's attempts to close Kangas' account with a Santa Cruz, Calif.-based Internet company, an anonymous donor has put up money to keep Kangas online while newfound fans download the site's contents and get ready to put together "mirror" sites that will keep Kangas online long after his death.

To date, four such sites have gone online, carrying his "Liberalism Resurgent" as it looked the day Kangas died.

"It's a fairly popular page," said Matthew Kaufman, president of Tycho Networks, which owns Scruz.Net, the Internet service provider that hosts Kangas' page.

Kaufman declined to say who is funding the page's continuing presence on the Web but said Kangas' account at Scruz.Net was due to expire soon. Because no one has come forward with either a subpoena for records, any leftover e-mail that might contain clues about Kangas' motives will likely be lost, according to Kaufman.

One online acquaintance of Kangas, Jason Gottlieb, a first-year law student at Columbia University, said several Internet friends had e-mailed him about plans to finance Kangas' account to preserve the page. At the same time, Gottlieb has started his own Web page chronicling events surrounding Kangas' death.

"One of our first reactions was: 'Oh my God, if he's dead he's not going to pay his bill and this wonderful Web site is going to be lost forever,' " Gottlieb said.

"Steve was very, very respected among liberals, not because he was a great intellectual, but because he was trying to get out sincere activism in a very serious way," said Mike Huben, a Boston computer programmer who worked with Kangas developing "Liberalism Resurgent."

Huben's relationship with Kangas is emblematic of how relationships work in the world of the Internet. The two collaborated regularly via e-mail, with Huben critiquing Kangas' writings. They spoke by telephone occasionally. They never met face-to-face.

The page consisted of long essays and question-and-answer files that Huben said were to provide Internet discussion group users quick answers to counter conservative arguments.

Although Kangas criticized Scaife in two entries, the site shows little evidence of what Scaife's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review characterized as an "obsession" with the publisher.

One entry spun its own conspiracy theory about the CIA's role in creating an "overclass" in which Kangas included Scaife. The other repeated assertions that Scaife funded a right-wing conspiracy against Clinton.

Huben said he and several others in left-of-center groups had downloaded the material from "Liberalism Resurgent" and, the minute the plug is pulled, will put Kangas back online.

"Fortunately, we seem to be in the clear legally, since the pages have an encouragement (in writing) for people to reproduce them noncommercially, at the bottom," said Huben.

Kangas' mother, Jan Lankheet, still angry with some media depictions of her son as a probable assassin, seemed satisfied with the prospect of his Web page continuing.

"There's something to be said for that. Now that he's dead, may his work live on after him," she said.

The prospect of perennial versions of "Liberalism Resurgent" doesn't sit as easily with Lankheet's former husband and Kangas' father, Robert Esh. A self-described conservative Christian, Esh asked Tycho to close his son's account several weeks ago and said he'll permit the mirror sites only if they include a 2-1/2 page statement he has written, criticizing his son's politics and explaining his own theories of the suicide.

Those theories include a suggestion that Kangas' life spun apart because he rejected belief in God, relying instead on "humanistic psychology" that fed a combination of despair and bad judgment that led him to kill himself.

Esh, who signs the statement "The father of a much-loved Prodigal Son that never came home," said he believes Kangas killed himself near Scaife's office to saddle the publisher with an unexplained death similar to that of White House deputy counsel Vincent Foster.

"He knew this would cast a shadow over his enemies' future efforts that would never be fully dispelled," Esh writes. "In life, his Web site was not seen by many and not taken that seriously. But as of today it has drawn so much attention it's hard to log on. Could it be that he had the foresight to realize that what he would never be able to achieve in life, he would be able to hopefully achieve in death?"

Foster's 1993 suicide in a suburban Washington, D.C., park became the focus of repeated stories in Scaife's newspaper. The stories questioned whether Foster's death was a suicide, despite repeated official findings to the contrary.

The Tribune-Review, reporting Kangas' death, strongly suggested that he had gone to Pittsburgh to kill Scaife. Rex Armistead, a private investigator who worked on the Scaife-funded "Arkansas Project" that dug for negative information on Clinton, was assigned to investigate Kangas. He searched Kangas' apartment and questioned friends and co-workers in an effort to find out whether he had planned to shoot Scaife.

Esh said Armistead told him last week "there's no evidence either way."

Neither Armistead nor Scaife's lawyer, H. Yale Gutnick, returned telephone calls by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette seeking comment.

The full details surrounding Kangas' final days remain murky. Pittsburgh police last month said they were continuing to investigate the death, but they have not released a report and have not sought records of his computer account in California. Additionally, Esh, Kangas' father, said he has not been contacted by investigators.

An original police report mentioned a gunshot to the left side of Kangas' head, and an ambulance report also said Kangas had a bullet entry wound on the left side of his head.

An autopsy by the Allegheny County coroner's office, however, left little doubt that Kangas shot himself through the roof of his mouth and that the bullet lodged in the left lobe of his brain. Tests on his hands for gunpowder residue later showed a small amount, most of it on his left hand, suggesting it was gripping the barrel of the gun when he shot himself.

Kangas' own family also received confusing information. Initially, his mother, Lankheet, said she was told her son had a copy of Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" in his knapsack.

In fact, Kangas had two books on American politics with him.

"I don't know where I got that idea," Lankheet said later.

A partial explanation might lie in Kangas' Web site, where he included extensive quotations from Hitler's book, all designed to debunk right-wing politics. Lankheet now thinks she misunderstood a message that her son might have had a copy of "Mein Kampf" in his apartment, where he put together his Web page.

"That was one of the ways of understanding how people were controlled," Huben said. "He read it for the same reason people read Machiavelli."



Suicide leaves more questions than answers

Sunday, March 14, 1999

By Dennis B. Roddy, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

After he set up a Web site championing the political left, Steve Kangas posted his photograph alongside the story of his transformation from the son of conservative Christians to free-thinking leftist.

"I left religion at age 12, and conservatism at age 26, to become the godless pinko commie lying socialist weasel that conservatives find at right," he said in the text beside a photo showing a bearded, bespectacled man who looked like an artifact of the 1960s.

"I'm sure that liberals will recognize something of the kindly, gentle, good-humored progressive student I actually am in this photo, which makes this a political Rorschach ink-blot test."

A Rorschach blot, indeed.

Among those who knew him, Kangas, who left the world in a sudden, inexplicable moment of self-directed violence, is now a cipher.

A man of professed nonviolence who argued against gun ownership, Kangas bought a gun, left Las Vegas and hid out in a restroom near the offices of conservative publisher Richard Mellon Scaife, against whom he had written. Moments after a building engineer stumbled across him around 11:30 p.m. Feb. 8, Kangas shot himself.

He left no suicide note. There was no manifesto. Police found $14.63 in his pockets and a nearly empty whiskey bottle nearby. He had three books, a few magazines, socks and toilet paper in his backpack. What was in his head is anybody's guess.

Who was Steve Kangas, and what was he doing on the 39th floor of One Oxford Centre in the dying hours of that Monday night? Scaife's organization hired a private detective to try to find out.

Ask those who knew him and the perceptions become as distant as the two political poles between which he traveled during his 37 years of life.

"He always seemed like a gentle soul," recalled Vince Winkel, for whom Kangas wrote free-lance articles on politics for an Internet magazine. "He was probably one of the most mellow persons I've met. A really, really mellow guy. Laid back."

"He was a little fat guy who was lonely and geeky," said Denise Waddell, whose husband, Tom, worked with Kangas at a Las Vegas company that specializes in gambling software. "I think he was a little man trying to make a big life for himself."

"He was a happy guy. He had plans for this summer," said his mother, Jan Lankheet, who lives in Michigan and whose Christmas card inviting her son to visit last year was in his backpack when he was found dead.

"I probably was the closest sibling to him, but that's not saying much," said his sister, Sharise Esh, who lives in suburban Washington, D.C. "He was a very competitive person who wanted to do well in life and felt he didn't have the tools needed to do that."

Kangas, who changed his name several years ago from Steven Robert Esh, gave varying accounts of his life.

On the Internet, he was read by an assortment of people who love to debate politics. His online biography tells of a guy who joined the Army after high school and wound up working in military intelligence, both in Central America and Germany, during the waning days of the Cold War.

To friends in Santa Cruz, the easygoing California town where he attended college from 1987 to 1994 without completing his degree, Kangas was a masterful chess player and former president of the local chess club.

One acquaintance described him as a gambler. Another remembered him as living just one step from homelessness as he eked out a marginal living selling free-lance writings to a Colorado Web site.

Flash ahead a few years to 1997 and it was Steve Kangas the swell.

He joined P.W. Enterprises, a Las Vegas firm developing software that combines assorted factors on racehorses and, its creators hope, comes up with consistent winners. The company currently is marketing the software in Hong Kong.

He told his sister he made as much as $200,000 in one year. When she mentioned, in passing, that she needed to save some money, Kangas sent her six $100 bills in the fall of 1997.

"He took great pride in that," she said.

But Tom Waddell, who found Kangas his job at P.W. Enterprises at a moment when Kangas was about to become homeless, remembers a guy with talent who still screwed up the books at his new job and who squandered thousands of dollars on Las Vegas escorts.

"He seemed very mild-mannered, but he was always very conscious of how he presented himself to people," Waddell said. "I'm shocked he would be in the same room with a gun."

Steven Robert Esh was born May 11, 1961, the son of a graphic artist and a mother who went on to get a doctorate in religious studies. His now-divorced parents are strongly conservative Christians, and he attended private religious academies around Landrum, S.C.

He joined the Army three years after leaving high school in 1979, and his resume includes time at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif., where he studied Russian. Kangas then received intelligence training at Goodfellow Air Force Base in Texas.

On his Web site Kangas writes that he was sent to Central America, "doing things I am not at liberty to discuss," before he went to Berlin, where he eavesdropped on Soviet military communications.

After the Army, Kangas returned to the United States in 1986. He settled in Santa Cruz, a college community south of San Francisco, where coffee shops buzz with politics from the nearby branch campus of the University of California.

Kangas described the shift from the Army to Santa Cruz as "like going from conservative heaven to liberal heaven at warp speed."

One Santa Cruz acquaintance remembered Kangas as a talented chess player who seemed to also become involved in gambling, although Tom Waddell, the former co-worker, said Kangas rarely had enough money to gamble to any large extent.

What became clear, though, was that Kangas had veered sharply to the left in his beliefs. At the same time, he briefly married, and for a period of more than a year, was almost entirely out of touch with his family during the late 1980s.

"He was unhappy with his childhood, and he didn't feel our parents prepared us for life in the real world," explained Sharise Esh.

Then, two years ago, his siblings and father chipped in to fly Steve home to South Carolina for Christmas.

"We all felt we'd had a huge reach-across," Robert Esh said. "It wasn't that we were at odds with each other or fighting, but that he'd kept some distance because his belief system was different than ours."

That Kangas' belief system had become different from his family's was clear after his parents examined his Web page. Lankheet called some of the writings "extreme."

One of Kangas' online essays, "Origins of the Overclass," purports to show "why the richest 1 percent have exploded ahead since 1975, with the help of the New Right, Corporate America and, surprisingly, the CIA."

Toward the end of the essay, he introduces Scaife and tells of the billionaire's role - later confirmed - in running a London news agency that was a CIA front.

The essay also discusses Scaife's donations to various right-wing think tanks and other organizations.

Kangas went into greater detail on Scaife in another piece discussing the "vast right-wing conspiracy" that first lady Hillary Clinton has claimed was aligned against President Clinton.

The piece is largely a rehash of previously published accounts of Scaife's involvement with think tanks and the American Spectator's "Arkansas Project," to which Scaife contributed more than $1.8 million in an effort to dig up dirt on Clinton.

While Kangas' Web site includes criticisms of Scaife, none of the pieces published there reflects a singular obsession with him. Other conservatives and right-wing foundations also are referred to in his writings. In none of them does he make threats.

During the time he was gaining a reputation for his Web site, Kangas was also, in some respects, falling apart in his personal life.

Both Tom and Denise Waddell said Kangas increasingly was spending time and money on paid escorts in Las Vegas, and that while he seemed to consider the women friends, they generally abandoned him after his money ran out.

Kangas also was becoming unhappy with his work arrangements.

He quit a year ago and accepted a $30,000 buyout, even though company officials tried to tell him his share was worth $100,000.

"He said, 'No, I don't want to be in that damn 1 percent I rail about in my Web page,' " Jan Lankheet recalled.

In early January, he called his sister, Sharise. The man who had a few months earlier turned down $100,000 now was pleading poverty.

A few weeks later, according to his family, Kangas bought a gun, registered it on Jan. 26, and ordered a burglar alarm for his apartment.

No one seems to know precisely when he left Las Vegas or when he arrived in Pittsburgh. He rented a locker at the Greyhound bus terminal, Downtown, and also had a Pittsburgh street map, according to Lankheet, who traveled to Pittsburgh last month to seek details about her son's death.

Surveillance cameras at One Oxford Centre picked him up riding the escalator in the building lobby Feb. 8 and also in the elevator lobby, but the building lacks an extensive network of such cameras, so the last sighting was at 2:45 p.m.

In nine hours, Steve Kangas, professed man of peace with a mission no one has yet decoded, would be dead and a mystery begun.


Death sparks conspiracy theory

Sunday, March 14, 1999

By Dennis B. Roddy, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

A former Army intelligence officer shot himself to death last month in a restroom outside conservative philanthropist and publisher Richard Mellon Scaife's Downtown offices, and Scaife has assigned a private investigator to determine whether the incident was a bungled assassination attempt.

Steven R. Kangas

Steven R. Kangas died in the late hours of Monday, Feb. 8, on the 39th floor of One Oxford Centre.

The shooting of the 37-year-old Las Vegas man attracted little attention at the time, and Pittsburgh police and the Allegheny County coroner's office quickly ruled it a suicide.

Since then, though, the Internet has churned with speculation about Kangas. Some Web theorists have drawn parallels to the 1993 death of White House Deputy Counsel Vincent Foster, whose apparent suicide Scaife has openly questioned, calling it "the Rosetta Stone" of the Clinton administration.

For the past month, according to Kangas' friends and family, Mississippi private investigator Rex Armistead has traveled the country, trying to learn what interest Kangas might have had in Scaife.

Kangas had recently sold his share of a gambling business in Las Vegas, and he ran the "Liberalism Resurgent" page on the World Wide Web. The page published extensive criticism of conservatives, and some of its writings asserted that Scaife was the financier of a right-wing conspiracy to topple President Clinton.

According to a city police report, One Oxford Centre building engineer Don Adams was making a routine check of electrical circuit breakers in the men's room down the hall from the Scaife foundation offices when he found Kangas lying face up, his head protruding from beneath a toilet stall.


Police said Adams left the restroom to radio for help, and when he returned with a colleague a minute later, they found Kangas seated on the toilet, slumped over after apparently shooting himself in the head. Police and security guards found a 9 mm pistol Kangas had bought two weeks earlier in Las Vegas, along with at least 47 rounds of ammunition in his backpack and one of his pockets.

Police also found a nearly empty bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey and three books, including "Mein Kampf" by Adolf Hitler.

An autopsy by the Allegheny County coroner's office determined that Kangas died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. A toxicology test set his blood-alcohol level at 0.14 - above the state's threshold of 0.1 for being too intoxicated to drive.

Kangas' parents say they have attempted to figure out why their son, whose military career included stints in Central America and Berlin during the latter days of the Cold War, would have gone to Pittsburgh, apparently with no credit cards and only $14.63 in his pocket, to kill himself.

Scaife is one of three tenants on the 39th floor, a location he specifically requested when he moved his family foundations and personal offices there several years ago. Also on the floor are Staley Capital Advisers and the law offices of T.W. Henderson.

Henderson yesterday said he heard nothing further about the suicide after it was reported and knew nothing about Kangas. Receptionists at Staley Capital referred all inquiries to One Oxford Centre management.

"We're as baffled as anybody else," said Robert Esh, Kangas' father, who said his son had changed his name six years ago from Esh to Kangas, his mother's maiden name.

Richard Mellon Scaife

"We have no earthly idea why he would be up there."

Esh and Kangas' mother, Jan Lankheet, are divorced. He lives in South Carolina, and she resides in a small town in Michigan.

Both said they had no idea their son had bought a gun and learned of it only after his suicide. Then they discovered he had ordered a burglar alarm for his Las Vegas apartment.

"Steve was totally nonviolent. He didn't even believe in guns. It looks like he was running scared, and we don't know why," Esh said.

Scaife hired Armistead to find out whether Kangas had gone to One Oxford Centre with plans to confront or attack the billionaire because of Scaife's financial backing of conservative groups that have attacked Clinton.

One of those organizations, The American Spectator magazine, received more than $1.8 million for the so-called "Arkansas Project," which sought to find evidence linking Clinton to drugs and also looked into the Foster suicide.

The magazine also uncovered allegations concerning Paula Corbin Jones. It was Jones' sex-harassment lawsuit against Clinton that eventually led to revelations of the president's sexual liaison with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Published reports have said Armistead played a role in the Arkansas Project, and a federal grand jury in Little Rock last year began looking into the matter.

Scaife, who publishes the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, also assigned one of his reporters, Richard Gazarik, to dig into Kangas' background.

Kangas' family and friends who have talked with Armistead and Gazarik say the men have explored theories linking Kangas and associates to the CIA and the intelligence communities.

Kangas' mother said she has tried, without success, to find out whether her son attempted to visit Scaife.

"We still don't know if Steve was running or if he was after somebody," Lankheet said.

She and her current husband, Roger, traveled to Pittsburgh several days after Kangas was found dead and attempted to trace his final movements.

She said police and officials at One Oxford Centre did not directly answer her when she asked whether her son might have had contact with Scaife. It could not be determined whether Scaife was even in his office Feb. 8. He could not be reached for comment.

"We said, 'Did Steve actually try to see him?' Nobody talks. You get a shrug of the shoulders," Lankheet said.

On the day she visited, Lankheet said, One Oxford Centre officials showed her a building surveillance tape that indicated Kangas was in the building at 2:45 p.m. Feb. 8. Neither the police nor the coroner's report indicates his movements between then and 11:30 p.m., the approximate time the building engineer reported finding Kangas in the men's room.

According to the police report, Kangas made eye contact with Adams, who asked him, "Are you OK?" The report said Kangas mumbled something and Adams told him to stay put and he would get help.

Adams told police he went outside to radio for a colleague. When the men returned, they found Kangas fully clothed, sitting on the toilet, covered with blood.

One of the building engineers who responded to Adams' call, Don Oberdick, said it appeared Kangas shot himself after he was discovered, but no one seemed to have heard the gun go off.

"That was a hell of a way to start the evening off," he said.

Adams declined to give details, saying, "It's over, it's history. There's nothing I want to say about it."

Paramedics declared Kangas dead at the scene at 11:53 p.m.

A county pathologist concluded that Kangas was shot through the roof of his mouth. Two pieces of a 9 mm bullet were recovered from the back of his brain.

One Oxford Centre officials said Scaife's staff immediately asked for upgraded security on the floor. Keypad locks were installed on the men's and women's restrooms, which are along a wall facing Scaife's office suite.

In the autobiography he posted on his web site, Kangas called his move to Las Vegas in 1997 "a big mistake" and said he was planning to move back to Santa Cruz, Calif., where he spent nearly a decade after attending the University of California's campus there.

Instead, according to family and friends, he placed ads in the Las Vegas newspaper to sell his car and his camera, then bought the gun, which he registered with Las Vegas police Jan. 26,. Precisely when he left Las Vegas, no one seems to know.

Word of Kangas' death raced through the Internet community, where he was known as a participant in liberal, conspiracy and left-wing news discussion groups, and where his Web site was gaining in reputation.

"Steve Kangas Found Shot To Death in Richard Mellon Scaife's Bathroom," reads one posting on the alt.current-events.clinton.whitewater discussion group.

On the alt.conspiracy.jfk discussion group, an independent television producer named Jerry Trowbridge picks away at the Tribune-Review's suggestions that Foster, the White House deputy counsel, might have been murdered.

"There's a lot wrong with the Foster suicide investigation, and now there's the Steve Kangas suicide that has some very interesting connections to the Foster case," Trowbridge wrote.

Kangas' death, the Scaife connection and its possible meanings quickly formed the basis for several heated exchanges as the Internet rumor mill went into full throttle in the weeks after Feb. 8.

Several writers pointedly drew attention to Kangas' previous declarations against handgun ownership and the fact that he ended his life with one in his hand.

Compounding the controversy is his family's dissatisfaction with the account of his death.

Whatever trail Kangas might have left on the home computer from which he worked were lost after his roommate returned from Hong Kong, where the firm was selling its horse-racing computer software.

Denise Waddell, wife of one of Kangas' co-workers at the business, said the firm's president, Peter Wagner, had shared an apartment with Kangas. When Wagner returned from the extended trip to discover that Kangas had not paid his share of the rent for several months, Wagner was stuck for the money.

To reimburse himself, she said, Wagner sold Kangas' computer to the building's maintenance man, who then erased its hard drive.

About the same time, Robert Esh, the dead man's father, gave Armistead permission to collect Kangas' mail and examine any other records, which were later passed along to the family. The investigation, Esh said, yielded no conclusive evidence about what Kangas was doing in Pittsburgh.

Two discrepancies between the coroner's report and the police report filed in the case have intensified family speculation about Kangas' death.

First, his parents point out, the police report says, in the heading "nature of injuries," that Kangas suffered a "gunshot wound/left head."

The autopsy report clearly states that Kangas shot himself through the roof of the mouth.

"Things are a little confusing," Esh said.

Then, the initial coroner's report said that when Adams, the building engineer, found Kangas lying face up on the floor of the bathroom stall, he also spotted blood around him, something that would suggest he had already been shot.

The narrative in the police report makes no mention of blood until after Adams re-entered the bathroom and found Kangas on the toilet seat.

Kangas' body was cremated, his mother said, to save costs in returning his remains to South Carolina, where he was raised.

Esh said the family was still struggling to understand why their son would have traveled so far to hide in a bathroom outside the offices of a man he had criticized.

"That's how it started out, the theory that Steve was there to do some damage to someone else. But Steve was totally nonviolent. He didn't even believe in guns."

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