DEATH IN THE CAPITOL-CHAPTER XXVIII

I was amazed that Jane had accumulated so much information. People outside the Capitol knew her as a square person and an honest reporter. Some of her stories about the Sandusky scandal and PHEAA were top notch stuff. She had evidently called her editor and told him that she needed time off, even if it did not result in her losing her pay. It was that important for her. Her editor seemed to understand and did not want to lose a popular writer, as well as a good worker.

I, on the other hand did not have to do anything. My bosses have known me for about 30 years. They rarely kept track of my comings and goings, other than at board meetings and at our yearly conference. I kind of did my own thing and got things done in a manner that most people appreciated. I now knew that I was in way over my head. The killing of Sam Ellis, the burning down of my home and attempted murder and Jane’s experiences were matters for higher authority, but whom. I still thought that the commander of the state police, or even the FBI, should be involved if there were statewide or national implications.

I called Steve McElroy to find out if the state police commander had called. He was not around. I decided to call myself. I checked on the number and then dialed. I got a very nice person on the line who asked what business I had with the commander. I told her it was about the murder of Senator Sam Ellis. She said, “Oh,” and then connected me directly to Commander Waslewski.

I introduced myself and gave him the bare bones of what was happening. I told him that I was expecting his call via Steve McElroy. There was a long pause. He said that he had not heard from Steve McElroy or anyone else about my experience. He certainly did not know about Jane or the happenings at her home. We both were confused. Things were going around in my head. What was going on? Who did Steve call? Was there a lack of communication of was there something worse going on?

The commander asked that I come over to his office immediately so that we could sort out  these things and start on a plan to discover the extent of these happenings. Even though I trusted the commander, I was not entirely sure of who my friends were any more. How could it be that Steve did not really call anyone? Or did he and that led to other events of which I had no control? I was pleased that I did not tell him where I was living.

I was tempted to call a longtime friend of mine from high school who was the head of the FBI office in Philadelphia. I had not spoken to Eric Haakenson in a long time. He had begun his career as a teacher in suburban Philly and had quit after a few years because it was not his “thing.” I decided to give Commander Waslewski a chance before calling Eric.

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DEATH IN THE CAPITOL-CHAPTER XXVII

I found an empty cubicle in the press room and sat down. I pulled up my new cell phone and dialed the number on Jane’s desk blotter. I got a strange message when I called, saying that this number is out of use. It also told me that I should leave my name and number in case this number becomes live in the future. Sounded like a scam to me, but with all that I have gone through, I thought, what the hell. I left my name and phone number and walked out of the press room.

Sometimes, I take the elevator down the one floor to the first floor of the Capitol and sometimes I take the back stairs, which most folks do not use. As I was descending the stairs, my phone rang. There was no number on my phone’s face as it shows for everyone else that calls. I answered quickly and heard Jane’s voice. She said, “Get to someplace where no one goes in the Capitol and I will call you back in ten minutes on the dot. “ I had not time to respond, the line was dead.

There are places up on the 5th floor where people work. However there are cubby holes where one can kind of hide. I went into one of those places, not seen by anyone. In exactly ten minutes from the time she hung up, my phone rang again. I realized that very few people now had my cell phone number. Jane had gotten it from my message. However, no one outside my family, Steve McIlroy and Chief Banion now had it.

Jane’s voice was not its usual cherry self. She sounded like she was very upset. Her voice seemed to tremble when she said, “Chet, I am going to have to rattle this off quickly. When last I saw you, I told you about Sam Ellis conversation about the Sons of Liberty. I then tried to do some research on the web. I am not sure how anyone knew what I was doing. I had asked my editor if he knew things about an organization called the Sons of Liberty. He said no. That’s the only person that I told, other than you. When I came home that night, something just didn’t feel right. I don’t often remember what I do in the morning before I leave, but I did remember one stupid thing. I had left my door open to the stall shower that I have. When I came home it was closed.

Nothing else seemed to be disturbed. I did a careful scrutiny of my whole apartment. I have a cleaning lady who comes once a month. I need her because I am a slob. You have seen my desk at work. That night, I noticed that some of my nick nacks were moved just slightly. How can I tell- because the dust around the items was disturbed?

I then quickly packed some bags and got out of there. I don’t want to tell you where I am now hanging my hat. Safe to say it’s not in Harrisburg. The number on my desk blotter that I knew you would find is something that I have had when speaking to unnamed sources. They call that number and if they are real sources, they leave their names and numbers. Sounds like a regular phone message service, but I can tell you that it’s not. There is no record of that number anywhere and no way to trace the number that someone called from. So how did I get a message on that phone threatening my life, if I continued with my current research? They did not mention the Sons of Liberty at all. I knew that was deliberate.

However, I stumbled upon someone who called my number. It was someone who knew Sam Ellis pretty well. My conversation with him was so startling that I had no choice but to have you call me. Chet, our country is being taken over by a rational and perfectly planned organization with no real ties to anyone and is nowhere and is everywhere. We are in deep trouble.

PART 3 DEATH IN THE CAPITOL-CHAPTER XXVI

Since I had really no belongings, but the clothes on my back and the few things that I had purchased, moving into our new rental home was just a matter of inserting a key into the front door. I wondered whether the people who tried to kill me knew of my new residence. I called Chief Banion and told him of my whereabouts. He said that the detectives that he had assigned to me were aware of my new home. I was pleased and kind of worried. What if others were following me and also knew where I was?

I called Steve McIlroy to let him understand that I was o.k.I did not want to burden him with my new home address. I thanked he and Paula for their hospitality and help. I then called Jane Merchant on her landline phone and got her message and not her. I tried her cell phone without success. It did not even ring. That was a signal that she had a non-functioning phone, the battery was out or something else. I called her co-worker, Chris Tompkins. Chris and Jane shared opposite cubicles and very often worked on the same story.

Chris answered immediately. I told him that I was trying to reach Jane. He said, “Join the crowd.” “Do you mean that she has disappeared?” I asked. Chris told me that Jane was doing a lot of offsite research on a story at the end of last week. She really didn’t talk about it. She is not usually secretive, unless letting it out would cause so much of a disturbance that it would kill the story before it was born.

I understood that. I asked Chris if he had ever heard of the Sons of Liberty. “Funny you should ask that. Last Friday, Jane got a call from someone. She did not disclose his name. She seemed to take notes feverishly as she spoke. You know that Jane is a cool cat when she has her jaws around the neck of a story. She was very upset and nervous about what this person was telling her. I did hear here mention the words, Sons of Liberty.”

I asked Chris if I could peruse her desk. I would come by the press office. He was there when I came in. He looked like he was e loathe to allow me to search her desk, but he turned towards his computer and did not say a word after that. I looked at the piles of things on Jane’s desk. She certainly was not a neat freak. I was looking for her notepad. I did not find it. However, I did see scrawled on her desk blotter a phone number outlined in red. Above the numbers were the initials SOL.

DEATH IN THE CAPITOL- CHAPTER XXV

Nothing implies that there was an arm of the Sons of Liberty that effectuated the disposal of those who interfered with their work. However, that is not to say that at some point, local leadership might have taken things into their own hands. If that were not true, how then does one account for the obvious murder of Senator Sam Ellis? There are dark sides to all organizations. I can attest to that. The entire country was shifting to the right side of the political spectrum. The supremacy of the Gingrich led House of Representatives made it easier for the Sons of Liberty to hide behind other organizations. Opportunities were becoming abundant during the years of Bill Clinton and the two Bushes. At this point, in the late 1990’s, hosts of local municipalities had ties to the Sons of Liberty.

Of the original 500, the older modality had mostly passed away. Their sons, in most cases took over the task of working toward placing proper people into municipal, legislative and sometimes statewide offices.

By the beginning of 2000, Bill Jr. had pretty much taken hold and was using all of the technology at his disposal to create an actual organization with a hierarchy. It was not his aim to go full bore into the 21st century with some sort of business model. He was concerned that the organization would become disconnected over time with no specific aims and only local activities. The next generation was not as sure of the future as was the older one. They were more interested in their local or state or national organizations than the Sons of Liberty. What they needed was a shot in the arm. They got it with the election of Barack Obama.

The country was split already, even before the new president was elected. McIntosh Jr. saw the possibilities presented by the creation of the Tea Party and the shifting of both parties to their own extremes. This was a good omen for the Sons. They could parlay this conflict into a jump start at the national level. They had the money, the people and the philosophy to push many people and organizations into the direction of the Sons of Liberty.

The eventual aim of Bill McIntosh, Jr. and the leaders of the Sons of Liberty were to install their people into all levels of government in the United States. They then would have a stranglehold on the direction of the United States. Although they professed small and less federal government, they were not anti-federalist. They were certainly not anarchists, but they wanted the kind of control that no one had ever seen in this country.

DEATH IN THE CAPITOL- CHAPTER XXIV

By the mid 1980’s Bill McIntosh and the Sons of Liberty learned two great lessons. The first was that the qualifications for elected office were changing rapidly. At one time, Tip O’Neil’s paradigm that one should learn politics from the ground up, local elected official and on up the line, was disappearing. Candidates for offices were now often people with no political experience whatsoever were winning elections. In some sense that made things easier for the Sons of Liberty. They could now shorten the time span for candidates for all, but the highest offices in the country.

They also learned that those people with political philosophies coincident with their own were not always people who could join the Sons of Liberty. A good example was Ronald Reagan. When he was running for governor of California, one of his closest associates was a member of the Sons of Liberty. Actually, this person was one of his biggest funders. In public, Reagan sounded like a spokesperson for General Electric and the Sons of Liberty; in private he was entirely different. What people fail to remember about Reagan was that he was the union organizer who got the Screen Actor’s Guild going. Ethel Barrymore once called him a communist.

Although that was far from the truth, his public, hardline persona was not what he was in his gut. It was very disappointing when he became President of the United States. It would have been such a shortcut for the Sons of Liberty.

The 1980’s were a time of unlimited growth for the Sons of Liberty. Although the computer was not in full use, the more adroit members had caught onto the idea that there might be an easier way of communicating over long distances. Some of the more research oriented Sons (and they were only sons) created a connection with other members of the organization. It was a crude kind of email system that could not be tapped into by anyone without extensive understanding of binary codes and nascent computer language. By the end of the 1980’s, this form of communication was how all members of the Sons of Liberty communicated. It was clearly the wave of the future. The inventors of the process called it the intranet.

The Sons of Liberty had spread their wings far and wide. Starting with local elections to school boards, township and borough commissioners, they soon were supporting county commissioners and other second tier elected officials. This is not to say that they were always successful. Many times, the candidates were not up to standards and buried themselves.

It was still amazing that this organization never came to light. Somehow, the media had not penetrated the almost formless standards set up by Bill McIntosh. There was nothing to investigate. There were no transactions, financial or otherwise that were not covered by other organizations. There were no shell companies, off shore accounts, crooked stock brokers or anything like that. To accuse a nameless and faceless organization was tantamount to going crazy. Yes, there were some suspicions. Eventually, someone speaks out of turn.

This occurred in Los Angeles in 1990, when a drunken member revealed the existence of the organization at a Christmas party at this office. He told about why the organization started and how it worked. The people who heard him were mostly drunk. One attendee took him seriously. He went to a newspaper reporter friend of his and told the story. Within two or three days of research and interviews, the reporter could find nothing to substantiate any of these claims. Sadly, the attendee at the Christmas Party was killed in an automobile accident a few months later. The story and the person had died.

DEATH IN THE CAPITOL-CHAPTER XXIII

It is hard to believe that not one person outside Bill McIntosh’s circle, knew or understood what he was doing. As carefully as he could, he developed an organization that, for all intents and purposes did not exist anywhere but in the minds of the members. Who would have thought that this manner of aggregating members and keeping them from disclosing their very existence, could work?

It worked beyond even the imagining of Bill McIntosh. Somehow, he had hit a raw nerve in this country. The people who followed him agreed wholeheartedly with what he was doing. Each of them in turn created their own similar organizations within their own states. There were 50 operating Sons of Liberty, all associated with McIntosh by the early 1970’s. They had taken no action before that time. They were involved in creating a functioning and free form entity that needed no formal structure other than the minds of the members.

McIntosh kept communications going by the simple expedient of phone calls and visits. By the time that the organization needed the organizer to travel across the country, McIntosh had made sufficient money in business and through an inheritance to become independent. He was therefore able to purchase whatever he needed to keep the organization going.

He also found it advantageous to understand that many of the members were either in the upper middle class or above. There were quite a number of captains of industry who had become quite wealthy themselves as time went on. Funds for operations were still put into local banks below the federal limit for observation. By the time 1975 arrived the funds were in hundreds of banks, most of them small and local.

1975 was a signal year for the Sons of Liberty. Bill McIntosh welcomed his first child, Bill Jr. His wife, who had no knowledge of his activities doted on her son. Bill was not quite the fatherly type. He understood that a time would come when he would become too old to head up the Sons of Liberty and that he might have some feeling of letting his son take over. However, that was long in the future. There was much work to do before that.

The first attempt at launching a real activity came in a local election to a school board seat in a rural county in Minnesota. With the candidate being one of the Sons of Liberty, the Minnesota branch was careful not to run rampant in trying to elect one of its members. There were four seats available on the board and 6 candidates. The Son’s candidate, with the help of his organization, used a shotgun approach to the campaign. They looked at all of the ways of contacting voters, from phones to newspapers and also person appearances. They used mostly small amounts of cash to buy things that they needed and did it out of town for the most part. The candidate won over all of the other five candidates my hundreds of votes. Their first outing was a success. It was a harbinger of what they might do in the future.

DEATH IN THE CAPITOL- CHAPTER XXII

Of the 900 or so people that McIntosh contacted, 500 said that they did not like the direction that the country was going. In 1965, the Vietnam War was in full flower. Black Power riots in many central cities were inflaming racial conflict. The passage of many of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society were still going on amidst the beginning of what is now termed, “The Sixties.” For many in our country, all of these things signaled massive changes in our culture. We had even given over our own rock and roll to the British Invasion. Dissatisfaction was growing fueled by the Vietnam War.

McIntosh was no ordinary John Bircher. He was too young for World War II, Korea and a bit on the older side for Vietnam. He could not have gone anyway because of the polio he had when he was a boy. At twenty seven years of age, he was smart, ambitious, and sure of what he wanted to do.

In his further contacts with many of the yes people, he discovered many kindred spirits. Some were much older than he and many were just about his age. Somehow the age spread was bi-modal. In going into depth with a number of the older contacts, he discovered that many of them had gone even further in their thinking. They already belonged to groups that were not happy with the world as it was. They were not uniformly, what we call right wingers. Their politics were all over the place and some of them had a great deal of wealth. Many knew of their ancestors and even more were surprised with McKintosh told them who they were related to. He found some Gills and Edes tucked into a small town in Maine. They were aware of their forbearers and were happy to discuss the issues that McIntosh presented.

From those phone calls, a plan was created to form a twentieth century form of the Sons of Liberty.

The plan contained some rules about not talking about the organization, if that’s what you could call it. Funds for the organization were siphoned off from small bank accounts to other small bank accounts with no relation to a central account. Withdrawals and deposits were kept under the rule of observation. In 2015 it is $10,000. It was much less at the beginning. Bill McIntosh had access for all of these accounts under many names and social security numbers. Withdrawals were done in small amounts and over time in each bank. McIntosh was able to drive around the country and do his business with little notoriety in the many communities. His was a one man operation funded by invisible donors. He needed no other funding to keep himself alive and in good shape. He was a one man band that made no music.