(Editorial Note: This is an intriguing piece by Alison Maynard that originally appeared on her blog in January 2016. It dovetails with my own recent investigation into the 9/11 Flight attendant Betty Ong. Of course, the overarching issue is the extent of fakery in news events and the way these sorts of synthetic events and narratives form the basis of our (mis)understanding of the world.)
Over 22 years ago, the world was rocked by the violent murder of American voting rights activist and Fulbright scholar Amy Biehl in South Africa. She was a blond, blue-eyed Stanford graduate aged 26 when she was pulled from her car in Guguletu Township outside Cape Town on August 25, 1993. While a mob of 300 black students shouted, “One settler, one bullet!” and “Kill the settler!” hoodlums pulled her from her car, stabbed her in the heart, and bludgeoned her head with a brick. One day after her death, a professor of Amy’s at Stanford, Larry Diamond, pinned blame for the murder on the Pan Africanist Congress, “a relatively small, extremely militant political fringe group in the black community in South Africa … that has been more inclined to commit violence against whites.”
The Los Angeles Times on Sept. 2, 1993, recounted the heart-wrenching personal visit Melanie Jacobs, Amy’s best friend and roommate in South Africa, made on Sept. 1, 1993, to Newport Beach, California, to bring Amy’s ashes to her parents. Melanie was accompanied by her 14-year-old daughter, Solange. It was Melanie who identified Amy’s body after the murder. According to the L.A. Times, Amy—amazingly–climbed into a police vehicle after being mortally injured, and was driven not to the hospital, but to the police station, where she died on the floor. Melanie, summoned to identify the body, recognized Amy by the “clunky black shoes sticking out from under the pink blanket.” She could not bear to look at the face. Melanie herself died tragically from a fall from a balcony in 1998.
Amy’s parents, Peter and Linda Biehl, went on after Amy’s murder to form the Amy Biehl Foundation Trust, a charitable organization committed to providing skills training, such as bread-baking and knitting, to impoverished black Africans in South Africa. Scholarships were created in Amy’s memory all over the globe, including two Fulbrights named for her. The Amy Biehl Foundation provided a scholarship to Solange Jacobs to study at Stanford. The University of the Western Cape, where Amy was on the Fulbright, created the annual Amy Biehl Memorial Lecture, and a high school was named for her in Albuquerque. Stanford University created a veritable shrine, a repository of Amy’s senior thesis and materials produced by the Biehl Foundation (although, surprisingly, only two photos of Amy). Her Stanford thesis adviser Kennell Jackson was effusive in his praise: Amy “knew everything about Africa” and “had been all over Africa,” including in Namibia. Larry Diamond said he had seen her just three weeks earlier in South Africa, and had worked with her recently by telephone on the details of her admission to Rutgers University, where she was supposed to start work on a doctorate the month she was killed.
Possibly the hardest piece of news for the average American to comprehend was Linda and Peter Biehl’s almost immediate forgiveness of their daughter’s murderers. The Biehls were lauded for their resilience. They shook the murderers’ hands and hugged their family members. Even more difficult to comprehend, the Amy Biehl Foundation gave two of Amy’s murderers scholarships to attend Stanford, after they were pardoned by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
At least, the foregoing is what was reported. There are curious inconsistencies in the reportage, however. The March 1994 Stanford Magazine article says Amy went to high school in Albuquerque, New Mexico; the L.A. Times says not only that she attended Newport Harbor High School, but that she was valedictorian there. The 1985 yearbook of Newport Harbor High School does not even list her in the index. The Stanford Magazine article–written (oddly) by a Sports Illustrated writer, Phil Taylor—quotes Linda Biehl as saying Amy’s ashes were “sent to us.” Linda says again, here, that Amy’s ashes came home in an American Airlines bag. But no—they were personally delivered by Melanie Jacobs, weren’t they? Solange, now 36, remembers that she and her mother were so mobbed by press on that trip, they were escorted by airport personnel through a tunnel at Heathrow.
More inquiries pulled up more things, making this story start to smell like old tuna casserole from the back of the fridge. The official list of Fulbright winners does not contain the name “Amy Biehl.” She was not a Fulbright scholar, therefore, despite the New York Times, Los Angeles Times–and other publications around the world–insisting that she was. There is no death certificate for Amy, either in the United States or in South Africa. As an American citizen, she would have had a Social Security number, and her death would have been reported in the Social Security Death Index; but she is not listed on the SSDI. She was never registered as a student at the University of the Western Cape. She never had a California driver’s license, even though she registered to vote in California both in 1986 and 1992, and listed 647 Irvine Ave., Newport Beach, California as her permanent residence in a 1991 application to the State Department.
There is an autopsy report prepared on August 26, 1993, but this document does not bear her name, nor state her hair and eye color. It describes her physique as “small”–5’4½” and 117 lbs–although Solange Jacobs, who lived with Amy for 10 months, says she was 5’6” or 5’7”. The report was signed by the state pathologist for South Africa, Gideon Knobel, M.D., the son of a former Nationalist Party member of Parliament. It mentions only one stab wound. In October 1993, Knobel added an addendum to address an odd dissection of “Amy Biehl’s brain” two months after her cremated remains had been delivered to her parents. This addendum bears the only mention of the name “Amy Biehl” in the report.
The South African Police produced almost nothing in response to requests for records—and the photos it did provide do not indicate that any crime, at all, occurred. No pictures of a body, no blood, not even the “mustard yellow Mazda” Amy supposedly drove and was pulled out of (described in the court judgment as “beige”). The SAP refused access to witness statements, because to provide them would constitute “too large a diversion of resources.” It also withheld autopsy photos, because it wishes to protect the public from such “graphic photos” and to “protect the human dignity of the parents and family.” To date, after over almost a year and a half of effort I have been provided none of the records from the trial which was held, resulting in—four convictions, as is evidenced by the applications for amnesty to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and as reported by the L.A. Times in 1998? Or was it three, as a Stanford press release reported in 1994? The L.A. Times told us in 1993 that only three suspects were taken to trial. So, three defendants; four convictions. Whatever, the convictions were based on confessions and secret evidencetaken by the judge from unnamed witnesses in a non-jury trial. The L.A. Times took care, however, to report the horrifying laughter which burst from the gallery during the trial, when a prosecution witness described the vicious stabbing of Amy Biehl.
The people laughing may have known something L.A. Times readers didn’t: that the whole thing was a hoax. Most problematic for the official story is that there is a person who shares Amy Elizabeth Biehl’s date of birth (April 26, 1967) and address of 647 Irvine Ave., Newport Beach, California, named Amy Elizabeth Byrd. In November 2014 Amy Elizabeth Byrd came up in Intelius and similar services as “associated with” Amy Elizabeth Biehl, as well as Amy Biehl’s father Peter, mother Linda, sister Molly Corbin, and brother Zach Biehl; along with several Byrds. In January 2016, Intelius added the helpful detail “Stanford” to Amy Byrd’s profile, as well as the name “William Biehl,” Amy’s grandfather. There are two other addresses for Amy E. Byrd, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Warrenton, Missouri. At these addresses too, she is listed as associated with Amy E. Biehl.
So it appears Amy is alive. She just got married and changed her name.
Walking in the Shoes of the Hoaxsters.
Peter J. Biehl, who died at age 59 in 2003, met and married Linda while a student at Whittier College in California in the 1960’s. At Whittier, his passion was acting and he appeared in several student productions. His dramatic experience would be an obvious plus in his later role as the father of a murdered female activist.
Peter had an amazing career. He took his young family to Tucson, Arizona, as is apparent from Amy’s second-grade class picture at “Harelson School, Tucson,” included in the Stanford Magazine article. As a newly minted college grad and father in 1967, Peter became employed in the company headed by his dad, Fry Consultants, Inc., the Southwest regional office—and Peter rose to head it, himself. Then, Peter became the CEO of American Atomics in Tucson, which made luminous watch dials. He ran into trouble in 1979 when the company was tied to tritium-contaminated food in school lunchrooms. Tritium-contaminated food?? Huge amounts of tritium were unaccounted for. Arizona governor Bruce Babbitt had to order the National Guard in. How this could happen was never explained, any more than was the placing of drama major Peter Biehl at the helm of American Atomics.
So the Biehls, along with American Atomics, evaporated from Tucson. At some point, Peter and Linda became associated with three different residence addresses in Newport Beach, California (Orange County), as well as one in La Quinta, CA (Riverside County). At all four they accumulated a huge pile of tax liens, both from the IRS and the State of California. There are also releases recorded after 1993 for most of those liens. Strangely, no deeds come up in Peter and Linda’s names for any of the Orange County addresses, including 647 Irvine Ave. and 9 Kamalii Court in Newport Beach, which Amy used for voting registration in 1986 and 1992. Amy also gave 647 Irvine Ave. as her permanent address in her 1989 passport application. How can there be liens in Peter and Linda’s names recorded against properties they did not have title to? Although Orange County property records prior to 1982 are not available online, there are no deeds from 1983 to 2016, either, showing these properties were ever conveyed away. And, according to this letter, Amy was in high school in Santa Fe in 1985! The liens must be bogus, which makes it highly probable the releases functioned as a payoff mechanism, convenient because the payor is not identified. So much for the investigatory acumen of the Los Angeles Times reporters. They sure missed the boat. Except: the L.A. Times was on the boat. Consider these sly headlines, “Life After Death” and “Biehl’s Living Legacy.” Stanford University was on the boat, too.
Maybe Peter’s most important role in life was to take the missing tritium to Los Alamos. And maybe that’s why he died of cancer at age 59. But at this point I am connecting dots rather far off the page. Sure, there could be lots of reasons why the Biehls moved to Santa Fe! Or was it Albuquerque? Or Newport Beach? Whatever.
Peter’s brother, David “Larry” Biehl, had a role to play. Larry is an investment adviser who appeared regularly on “Wall Street Week” in the 1980’s. Those appearances stopped in 1987. Larry is a Stanford graduate, too. It would appear he is the “money man” for the Amy Biehl Foundation, since he resides in San Marcos, California, where the foundation is based. Larry is a founder of the “Da Vinci Society,” whose website, after my first inspection of it, a few days later came up “Page Not Found.” In a preface he wrote on behalf of the Da Vinci Society for someone else’s book, he talked about “transpartisanship,” a word I had never encountered before.
But there is another Larry interested in “transpartisanship,” that being Larry Jay Diamond, the Stanford professor—who, in fact, is not listed in the Stanford Yearbook of 1989, the year Amy graduated, so maybe he never knew Amy Biehl at Stanford, at all. In fact, when asked for an interview, he denied knowing Amy very well. Diamond’s name may be prophetic, because South Africa is all about diamonds, and gold. The Stanford professor has been involved in “democracy movements” not only in Africa, but all over the world. Importantly, he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Rockefeller-funded and -operated think tank which controls the major U.S. media outlets. The CFR tells the Central Intelligence Agency and State Department what to do. The Fulbright Foundation has also been pegged as a CIA front, which explains why it would go along with the false information that Amy had won a Fulbright fellowship. It is fair to say Larry Diamond is more interested in regime change in the service of corporate interests than in actual democracy, therefore. For example, he “served as the inspiration” for a documentary which went viral, entitled “I am a Ukrainian,” purporting to be a grass roots production but, in reality, linked to “shadowy NGO’s that have been directly involved in starting phony ‘color revolutions’ in the past.”
The conclusion is inescapable that the Biehls are a spook family. More evidence is the company both William and Peter worked for in Tucson, George Fry & Associates–“Fry Consultants, Inc.” by 1968–represented vaguely as a “management and marketing firm.” George Fry, listed in “10,000 Famous Freemasons,” was a partner in spy contractor Booz, Fry, Allen & Hamilton, now Booz Allen Hamilton, owned by the Carlyle Group. Booz Allen Hamilton was Edward Snowden’s employer. Under William Joseph Biehl’s stewardship the company had 250 of Fortune Magazine’s “Top 500” companies for clients, a remarkable achievement which can only with difficulty be conceived as the result of simple hard work.
As for Amy, maybe she was truly passionate about Africa and felt the permanent erasure of her identity was worth it, to “further democracy.” Phil Taylor and Kennell Jackson, Jr., both black men, might similarly have played along in the belief they were furthering a noble cause. That cause would be the first multiracial elections in South Africa, set for April 27, 1994—and specifically, victory for the ANC. The dead girl’s birthday fell on April 26th, the day before, providing an opportunity to bring it up all over again, to remind the electorate about Amy Biehl the dedicated white activist murdered by the Pan Africanist Students’ Organization, while the voting was going on. The CIA wanted the people, 17 million of whom were black Africans voting for the first time, to give a mandate to Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress, presented as the peace candidates (despite their own extensive history of violence). It did this at least in part by portraying the Pan-Africanist Congress as the murderers of Amy Biehl.
It is beyond the scope of this article to examine to what extent Mandela and the ANC were creatures of the CIA, but it is clear, in retrospect, that they were — and are.Patrick Bond, a South African economist, has analyzed the ANC’s role in permitting the largest companies, such as Anglo-American and DeBeers, to change their location of ownership from Johannesburg to London, causing an irretrievable currency crash. While ANC chiefs ride around in limousines, 35% of South Africans are unemployed, struggling with high crime rates, frequent power outages, and substandard education and health care. As dozens of striking mine workers executed in cold blood by ANC goons in 2012 found out, you stand up for your rights in South Africa, you die.
Despite the U.S. government’s profession of anti-apartheid goals, American corporate interests were always entwined with the Nationalist Party—the Afrikaners. The CIA’s desire, and strategy, would be to protect and perpetuate the privileges these economic interests enjoyed under Nationalist Party rule, even while creating the illusion of a huge shift to majority rule. The CIA would not stand idly by, to only passively observe such a momentous event as this 1994 election, which might jeopardize the interests of American and multinational corporations. It is well within the ambit of known CIA behavior to concoct psy ops such as the “murder of Amy Biehl by the PAC” to influence the election. The bimonthly trips made by CIA asset Linda Biehl to South Africa in connection with the Amy Biehl Foundation later, not to mention the $500,000 initial grant to it, also ought to raise a few eyebrows. Is she smuggling diamonds? I’m not making that comment entirely in jest.
In particular, now we know why it was so easy for Linda and Peter Biehl to be “resilient,” and forgive their daughter’s murderers. There was no murder to forgive.
(Thanks to Anne Berg for fleshing out the Booz Allen Hamilton)