The Strange Case of Sam Hamilton

(orig. pub. 4/25/2011)

Samuel Hamilton was the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for all of six months.  He died on a skiing trip to Keystone, Colorado,  February 20, 2010, at age 54. The coroner’s statement says his death was “consistent with a heart attack.”  His death certainly sounds like a heart attack, but that doesn’t mean it was natural.  Hamilton did not have heart disease.  He was in good shape.  Two photos and the coroner’s report (with personal information redacted) are here. Hamilton’s boss was the Secretary of Interior, Ken Salazar, a native Coloradan.

Hamilton appeared to be a sincere conservationist, and had begun several major policy shifts as director of FWS.  I question his death, first because it happened in Summit County, Colorado, a cesspool. There is no enforcement of the law there, at least as against wealthy wrongdoers.  (Of course, if you’re not wealthy, you can expect to “arrive on vacation and leave on probation”!) Second, Hamilton was replaced by a man named Rowan Gould, who had directed the federal government’s response to the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.  A little over one month after Gould stepped in to replace Hamilton the huge British Petroleum oil well gusher happened in the Gulf.

There is evidence that this gusher, like many other huge disasters we’ve experienced, was caused intentionally by insiders engineering a stock play, or looking for government contracts.  Goldman Sachs sold 40% of its BP stock two weeks before the explosion, making $250,000,000.  Ken Salazar has been right there in the middle not only of the oil gusher, but the Summitville Mine in Colorado and the Columbine school shootings. Goldman Sachs poured a lot of dough into Ken Salazar’s campaigns, and Salazar’s willingness to enable, cover up, and erase liability for catastrophes to further moneymaking schemes would explain the bankers’ investment in him. Anyway, Gould is moved into another job a few months later.

No autopsy was done of Sam Hamilton–inconsistent with the coroner’s policy of doing autopsies routinely for persons under age 55.  In fact, the coroner was out of town:  a deputy was on duty, a Dillon police officer whose reputation for honesty in the community is not good.  No witnesses other than the Interior employees Hamilton was traveling with were interviewed, because, the coroner told me, the death occurred on Keystone’s private property and Keystone “won’t even give [her] the records.”  So, get that:  immunity from a death investigation because you’re a ski resort.  

The report says the funeral home in Denver, Horan & McConaty, had to make a special trip up to Keystone, about 100 miles away, to pick up the body.  Horan & McConaty originally told the coroner it would be up the next day, Sunday, Feb. 21. However, they called back about two hours later and reversed themselves, saying they would, instead, be up that evening.  The body was thus removed from the custody of law enforcement and embalmed in short order, making more chemical tests impossible.  There had been a toxicology test done which came up negative, but such tests are done routinely only for obvious substances such as meth, opiates, and alcohol.

Salazar’s assistant called the coroner the afternoon of the death to make sure the coroner issued her own press release before the Dept. of Interior did. Even more unusual, Ken Salazar called the coroner personally twice that evening to expedite return of the body. That is obviously why Horan & McConaty changed its plan and came up right away:  it got a call from Ken Salazar.

I was told by an employee that John Horan took the message.  The employee said he would ask Mr. Horan to call me, but Horan did not call.  I then, quite by accident, learned that Brian McConaty, one of the mortuary families, is a member of the Catholic Lawyers’ Guild.

Ken Salazar is a Catholic lawyer, too, and was awarded the St. Thomas More award in 2003.  I have suggested the Church may be giving this award to lawyers for putting their obligations to the Church above their obligation to uphold the law. Whether or not I’m right about that (or that principle is even relevant here), it’s clear that Ken Salazar knows the mortuary owner personally, and the mortuary changed its plan at Salazar’s request to expedite embalming of Sam Hamilton’s body. 

Sam Hamilton’s sudden death right before the oil well explosion to me is reminiscent of the sudden killing of Massoud in Afghanistan right before 9/11. Both are people I believe would have stories to tell on the U.S. government, real knowledge and reason to be suspicious if they were then to see the disaster take place.  If the government itself planned the disaster, they would be wise to it, and the plan would logically include getting rid of these people beforehand.)

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