Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Scalia Death, With “Pillow Over his Head,” Sparks Suspicion

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Suspicions and unanswered questions surrounding the surprise weekend death of pro-Constitution U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia are swirling around the Internet and beyond. Many of the concerns center on the fact that the man who found Scalia's body, businessman and Democrat donor John Poindexter, said the late justice was discovered with “a pillow over his head.” Also sparking alarm among some commentators and suspicious citizens are reports and official statements indicating that no autopsy will be conducted, despite contradictory claims surrounding the cause of death. Even the establishment press, apparently unfamiliar with the definition of the term “conspiracy theory,” has started reporting on the concerns and questions, albeit generally with a dismissive tone. Cries for an autopsy and congressional probe are growing louder, too, even as the White House, Democrats, and leftists waste no time in plotting to name a successor and tip the balance of power. The atmosphere is getting very tense.

Justice Scalia, the longest-serving member of the high court, died at an exclusive West Texas ranch on Saturday, February 13, at age 79. Media accounts citing local officials have reported that he died of natural causes. Contradicting that, however, other reports, also citing local officials, said Scalia died of a heart attack, also known as “myocardial infarction.” The judge who pronounced Scalia dead did so over the phone without having seen the body, and without ordering an autopsy, news agencies reported. So it was not immediately clear how the cause of death was determined. A justice of the peace in the Texas county where Scalia died, though, was quoted as telling the Washington Post that she would have ordered an autopsy in an article about “chaos, confusion and conflicting reports” after the death. “If it had been me … I would want to know,” the official said on Sunday, echoing the thoughts and concerns of millions of Americans. Scalia's family reportedly declined to request an autopsy as well, though, and apparently the plan was to have the body quickly embalmed.

Speaking to the San Antonio Express-News, Houston businessman Poindexter, who owns the massive luxury ranch where Scalia died, lit a firestorm of controversy with a comment he made. “We discovered the judge in bed, a pillow over his head,” Poindexter was quoted as saying in comments that rapidly spread across the Internet, the blogosphere, and beyond. “His bed clothes were unwrinkled.” The ranch owner noted that he sat near Scalia and had a chance to observe the justice before he went to his room at around 9 p.m. the night before. Scalia’s behavior “was entirely natural and normal,” Poindexter, who received an award from Obama, was quoted as saying in media reports. Scalia apparently went to bed early and had specifically declined a security detail for the occasion, according to media reports. In other words, there were no known witnesses to the death — a fact that numerous commentators said was enough, in and of itself, to demand a thorough autopsy.   

When Scalia failed to get up the next day, Poindexter said he entered the room and found the justice dead. “He was lying very restfully. It looked like he had not quite awakened from a nap,” the ranch owner was quoted as saying. “His hands were sort of almost folded on top of the sheets. The sheets weren’t rumpled up at all.” Everything in the room “was in perfect order,” Poindexter continued, adding that Scalia was in his pajamas, “peacefully, in bed.” Friends cited in multiple media reports, meanwhile, confirmed that Scalia was “his usual, happy self during the time leading up to his death,” as the Chicago Tribune put it. Why or how the justice would have gotten a pillow over his head was not immediately clear, and at this point, the public may never find out. But it is certainly unusual.  

It was only the second time in over six decades that a sitting Supreme Court justice has passed away. Members in recent decades have chosen to retire rather than hold office until death, according to media reports. Scalia had not indicated any plans to retire and was said to be in relatively good health, despite some chronic health conditions reportedly cited by his doctor. With his passing, though, the balance of the court has decisively swung further away from the Constitution. Indeed, considering the widespread misunderstanding among Americans that the high court has the authority to write the “law of the land,” more than a few top political figures have suggested that Americans' God-given rights now hang in the balance.

The gleeful and ghoulish reactions by extreme leftists and Obama supporters also sparked alarm among suspicious citizens and commentators. Radical statist group MoveOn.org, funded by billionaire statist George Soros, celebrated the “HUGE [sic] opportunity” to have the Obama administration and the federal government do things that “were impossible just days ago.” Those “things,” the group said, include trashing the First Amendment right to free speech when people associate together in groups, overturning state laws to ensure election integrity, keeping Obama's anti-constitutional “climate” decrees in place after they were recently blocked by the court, and waging war on the few restrictions that exist against the killing of pre-born children. Other leftist groups and anti-Constitution extremists expressed similar statements. Some especially hateful voices even openly celebrated Scalia's death on social media.  

While an autopsy has apparently been ruled out, critics of the handling of the news contend that one must be done — assuming it is still possible. Numerous organizations, talk-radio giants, commentators, writers, and citizens have started calling for one.

Among prominent figures sounding the alarm is radio host Alex Jones, one of the top radio personalities in America with a media empire that has an audience dwarfing many establishment outlets. On Sunday, Jones released a video on Facebook in which he suggested Scalia may have been murdered. In a follow-up video about whether the New World Order-promoters murdered the justice, Jones noted that many prominent Americans in the know have been suggesting for some time that the ongoing “war for the country” was becoming more serious — so serious that people standing in the way of totalitarianism, such as Scalia, could end up murdered. Jones' news portal Infowars.com, meanwhile, featured information on an (unscientific) poll conducted by Conservative Outfitters that found eight in ten of the more than 40,000 people who voted suspecting “foul play.”  

Another top media personality asking questions was Michael Savage, among the top five most influential and most widely listened to talk-radio hosts in America. “Was [Scalia] murdered?” Savage asked during his program. “We need a Warren Commission-like federal investigation.... This is serious business.” He also called for an immediate autopsy, according to media reports. In a follow-up post on his website, Savage also wondered how the left would react if anti-U.S. Constitution zealot Ruth Bader Ginsburg died under similar circumstances with a pillow on her face in the final year of a Republican administration at a property owned by a mega-donor for the GOP. And in an interview with Savage on Tuesday, leading GOP presidential contender Donald Trump, when asked whether the candidate would support a Warren Commission-style probe, noted that "they found a pillow on his face, which is a pretty unusual place to find a pillow.” Trump did not say whether he would support a commission.

“There was no medical examiner present. There was no one who declared the death who was there. It was done by telephone from a U.S. Marshal appointed by Obama himself,” Savage said, outlining some of the many reasons why suspicion, whether warranted or not, is spreading like wildfire across America. “The question is, is it a conspiracy theory to ask questions that are so obviously in need of answer, or is it just common sense. And where is the common sense both in the press and the Republican Party. The answer is nowhere.” Of course, questions, by definition, cannot be a “conspiracy theory, despite the establishment media's misuse of the term.

The pro-life group Operation Rescue, in an e-mail to supporters, highlighted the “disturbing conflicting reports that have surfaced concerning Justice Scalia's sudden and unexpected death,” and the fact that no autopsy was planned to investigate it. “Operation Rescue calls for a full inquiry into Scalia's death and respectfully requests that an autopsy be performed in order to put to rest unanswered questions regarding his passing,” said the organization, one of many that has asked questions and called for answers to put any and all doubts to rest.

Writing in American Thinker, James Lewis noted that the leftist hatred for Scalia was intense, and that it should force the FBI to re-examine the death threats he likely received over the years. “The American public must also know on whose authority an obviously necessary post-mortem examination was avoided,” he wrote. “The best way to restore public trust is to appoint a bi-partisan Congressional committee to oversee a medical pathology team.” While Justice Scalia's sudden passing “may have been” due to natural causes, “for the first time since the assassinations of JFK and Martin Luther King, Jr. many Americans are sincerely wondering what might have happened.” And those are not just Americans on the “the paranoid fringe,” Lewis added. Indeed, the circumstances make it “crucial to have a Joint Committee of Congress to put any reasonable doubts to rest.”

Some establishment-minded analysts have dismissed suspicions of foul play, noting that Scalia was already 79 and, according to his doctor, suffered from a variety of health issues. An article by the Dallas Observer notes that “conspiracy theories” about the death are proliferating, for example, and lambastes the growing number of high-profile commentators for expressing their suspicions and asking questions. But then, the same article outlines three theoretically feasible ways in which the justice could have been murdered while leaving little evidence of the crime for investigators.  

At the top of the list is smothering, something that could be seen as consistent with the pillow over Scalia's head. “Even a close examination can miss this cause of death,” the Observer reported. It then cites a book on forensic pathology written by Dinesh Rao. “Homicidal smothering is extremely difficult to detect,” reads the book. “The autopsy may reveal asphyxia, but there may not be any corroborative medical evidence to prove foul play.” Other methods include various poisons that give the appearance of a natural death or heart attack. Of course, the federal government has had such technology for generations — ice darts with poison that melt and leave no trace — as revealed in congressional hearings. The article cites the murder of Nevada State Controller Kathy Augustine with succinylcholine — extremely difficult to detect even in autopsies — as an example of how it could be done. Finally, gassing with carbon monoxide, the evidence of which could be concealed with a pillow on the face, was also listed.

If nothing else, the fact that suspicions have spread so quickly and widely among Americans says a great deal about the polarization of America in recent years. Today, it was one of the top news items in America, according to automated news aggregating services. The obvious lack of trust also highlights the growing sentiment by huge swaths of the American public, as shown consistently across polling and surveys, that the nation's rulers are out of control and willing to do just about anything to get their way. Washington, D.C, and the Obama administration are responsible for that, regardless of how loudly they decry it.    

As virtually all of the suspicious commentators have said, it is entirely plausible — even likely — that Scalia died of natural causes or a heart attack. The simplest way to silence the questions, suspicions, and speculation, though, would be for a thorough and independent autopsy to be conducted. In fact, there are few, if any, legitimate reasons why an autopsy should not be done — unless somebody has something to hide.

Photo: AP Images

Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU.

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