Monday, December 20, 2010

Under the radar: Unmanned Mexican orbiter drone crashes in El Paso

raw story

Under the radar: Unmanned Mexican orbiter drone crashes in El Paso

By John Byrne
Monday, December 20th, 2010 -- 9:16 am

20101216 034438 orbiter UAV GALLERY Under the radar: Unmanned Mexican orbiter drone crashes in El PasoIt's not just the US using drones anymore: it's Mexico too, and they're literally crashing in our own backyard.

On Tuesday of last week, a small Mexican drone crashed in the El Paso Valley, as far as a half-mile into the United States. Little is known about the crash or what the device was doing in US airspace. US officials returned the craft to Mexico.

"We are collecting data about the crash. We don't have the aircraft because it was returned to its owner," Keith Holloway, spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, told the El Paso Times on Friday.

Holloway told the paper the drone was a mini orbiter unmanned aeronautic vehicle manufactured by the Israeli firm Aeronautics Defense System.

"According to the developer's website, the aircraft is designed for use in military and Homeland Security missions," the paper's reporters wrote. "It can be used for reconnaissance missions, low-intensity conflicts and urban warfare."

"According to in 2009, Aeronautics Defense Systems of Yavneh, Israel, planned to sell Mexico's federal police over $22 million worth of its Skystar 300 surveillance aerostats and small Orbiter UAVs," they added.

Mexican officials didn't return calls for comment by the paper. This is the first time a Mexican drone is thought to have been operating near the US border. A police detective told reporters that the craft descended into a residential backyard, and that his department was told it wasn't a police matter.

"I was told that it crashed in somebody's backyard, and that no one was injured," El Paso police Detective Mike Baranyay told reporters. "I was paged at 6:28 p.m. on Tuesday, so it happened shortly before that. We were told it was not a police matter."

As a NATO member, Mexico has approval to obtain higher intensity drones than the one that actually crashed. Noted Wired's Spencer Ackerman on Friday:

It appears to be a case of border security gone wrong. The Mexican government has been testing the Orbiter for help monitoring the border, U.S. officials told MSNBC, and this one malfunctioned and crashed. Federal officials solemnly returned the wayward drone to their Mexican counterparts. Curiously, a representative from the Mexican attorney-general’s office declaimed any knowledge of the drone crash.

McLeary notes that it’s hardly a mystery why the Mexican government would want the drones hovering near that stretch of border: it’s right by violence-riven Ciudad Juarez, a drug-cartel-plagued city that has seen a stunning 3000 murders in 2010, thanks in part to a veritable flood of American guns. The drones might as well fly, because very little else is working. A recent paper from the Center for a New American Security analogized the region’s violence to an insurgency. The Mexican Army went into the city in 2008 bearing artillery.

Which makes it a little curious why Mexico’s only messing around with tiny drones like the Orbiter. General Atomics recently got export-control approval to sell the Predator — sans missiles — to non-NATO countries for surveillance usage. On the other hand, if the Mexican government can’t keep a drone with a 3-pound-plus payload in the air, maybe a slow transition into the world of unmanned aircraft is good thing.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Last Circle: Welcome to the Spookloop

December 15, 2010 at 08:13:08

The Last Circle: Welcome to the Spookloop

By Ed Encho (about the author)

Be patient, spread the word among friends, do your little bit. The system will self-destruct because it is funded on corruption and untruth.

-Anthony Sutton

"Nothing is as it appears to be."

-Robert Booth Nichols

It was evident that when the body of freelance writer Danny Casolaro was found in a bathtub full of bloody water on August 10, 1991, his wrists deeply slashed multiple times that it was already a highly unusual "suicide'. That he was in the final stages of wrapping up his investigation of an association of mobsters, government officials and rogue intelligence figures grown out of a dirty CIA "Old Boy network"that he had dubbed The Octopus and that his body was discovered in a Martinsburg, West Virginia hotel room where he had gone to pick up the final piece of evidence for his story made his death all the more suspicious. The fact that his briefcase and files (always present during his work) were missing, his body prematurely and illegally embalmed prior to the notification of his family and room 517 of the Martinsburg Sheraton professionally cleaned, making any sort of law enforcement forensic investigation prohibitive are not signs that would indicate a typical suicide. Casolaro, according to sources was not despondent but rather quite elated that his book was nearing completion when he had made the trip to "bring back the head of the octopus" where he was reportedly set to meet a key figure and to trade information that he had in his possession . There was a 'suicide' note found at the scene but it was short and cryptic, not what a professional writer would likely leave as his final words. There was however, another piece of paper that was found tucked inside of his discarded shoe that would prove to be far more compelling. The mystery surrounding Casolaro is still to this day unsolved and unfortunatley, largely forgotten, but through the dedicated work of others who were able to pick up the trail and to continue his research into this most important of matters there have been enough pieces of a very elaborate puzzle put together, and the picture is extremely disturbing.

One of the researchers, who has worked tirelessly over the years, at times under great risk to get the real story is author Cheri Seymour, a California based writer who picked up the baton and carried it further and continued to interview Casolaro's sources as well as to expand his scope. Her laboriously researched and now completed book entitled The Last Circle (published by Trine Day) was recently released and provides what is to date the most detailed and damning analysis of The Octopus. Seymour provides a fascinating account of events surrounding not only Casolaro's investigation but also takes a look at the trickery and deceit of figures within the Reagan Department of Justice and the theft of the Inslaw Corporation's highly sophisticated PROMIS software program. Described as a precursor to artificial intelligence and the highly technical computer systems of today the story of PROMIS would come to figure prominently in many of the most disturbing aspects of our current system of what is at least for the moment, a soft fascism where Big Brother style surveillance and control, financial chicanery of the highest order and the ominous contingency plans for government reactions to potential domestic unrest are ubiquitous yet they remain largely unnoticed by the average American citizen. Thanks to a cunning and relentless shadow government and a controlled media, most have no idea that they are inside of a rapidly closing trap. Seymour's book which is subtitled Danny Casolaro's Investigation into The Octopus and the PROMIS Software Scandal is a must read for those who truly have a serious understanding that something in this country has gone terribly wrong.

The Last Circle of the title refers to the bottom level of Dante's pits, the area that is populated by the real scum, those who were traitors to their country, friends and lords; at this point in late 2010 this pit must have a multi-year waiting list given the wanton and systemic criminality in our rotting Empire. For a subject as important as the Casolaro research, the PROMIS software story, The Octopus and the huge reverberations forward into our current and thoroughly corrupt high-tech militarized surveillance state there has been little written outside of dated magazine and newspaper articles and one book. While bits and pieces are scattered throughout many books based on larger subjects such as BCCI and Iran-Contra, Casolaro's Octupus has only prominently been featured in one book to my knowledge that even attempted to do it justice, Kenn Thomas and Jim Keith's The Octopus: Secret Government and the Death of Danny Casolaro. While a draft internet version of The Last Circle which has been available on the internet for years and has provided invaluable material to serious researchers the completed version of The Last Circle is a must read, not only for the updated additional information but for the large appendix of well over 100 pages of of images and official documents including some of Danny Casolaro's own handwritten notes. It is such a detailed and meticulously researched book that it is truly impossible to even begin to do it justice in any sort of short review. I will however try to offer up a high-level overview of the incredible story presented by Cheri Seymour.

The Last Circle begins with the story of how Seymour who was at the time working as a reporter for the Mariposa Gazette came to realize that local law enforcement figures were involved in drug trafficking. The dark, snaking trail that is described runs through our hidden history and corrupted institutions like the roiling river Styx. Cheri Seymour picks up the trail with a bizarre accident during the Queen of England's 1983 visit to Yosemite National Park when a routine scouting of the Queen's motorcade route resulted in a head on collision between a local Sheriff's car and a car driven by members of the U.S. Secret Service. The accident resulted in the deaths of three Secret Service agents. The Mariposa County Sheriff's officer, Sergeant Roderick Sinclair was found to to have been under the influence of illegal drugs. Three years prior to the accident, Sinclair also had previously investigated the disappearance and presumed drowning of whistleblower deputy Ron Van Meter, a law officer who had been outraged at having discovered drug trafficking within the department. Cover-ups occurred as they typically do in such matters and Van Meter's death was attributed to a boating accident (he had borrowed the boat to arrest fellow deputies at Lake McClure), the body was not recovered at the time of the incident. Ten years after the "accident", his body was recovered, wrapped in a fish net and weighted down by several objects including a fire extinguisher.

Subsequent research revealed that Sinclair had connections and powerful ones at that. His father had been an aide to General Douglas MacArthur, the vaunted WW II leader of forces in the Pacific who became a hero to the more virulent elements of the far right after being dismissed by President Truman during the Korean War. Members of the general's staff, most prominently Charles Willoughby in the postwar period became integral in the Cold War and the "ends justify the means' ideology that would define the jihad against the Red Menace of Communism that served as blanket justification for immorality and lawlessness from which The Octopus would be birthed. With anti-Communism as a cover and with the postwar creation of the National Security State and the CIA it very quickly became possible for connected insiders to engage in great acts of criminality and atrocity in order to fund off the books operations and enrich themselves while expanding their dark reaches into the global narcotics and drug trade. The fight against Communism provided justification for alliances with former Nazi war criminals who were assisted in escaping justice by U.S. intelligence and then sent to the Eastern Bloc as well as Latin America to protect the ability of U.S. corporations and banking interests to ensure that countries would stay "business friendly' which translates into torture, coups, black ops and most importantly riches. But I am getting ahead of myself.

With growing evidence of the collaboration of local officials and the out of control drug trade that included burgeoning methamphetamine labs and a strange connection through a subsidiary of mega-corporation MCA (the Curry Company was the largest concessions company in Yosemite National Park, hit hard by drug distribution activities at the time); concerned residents of Mariposa County mobilized and attempted to use the legal system to address the very serious problems of illegality that existed. Local groups were formed and lawsuits filed, a letter was written to then President Ronald Reagan by the wife of attorney Ben Wagner who was to represent citizen's group D.I.G. (Decency in Government) in District Court. In one of the more eerie passages from this very disturbing book Ben Wagner received a response from a "Chuck" at the Reagan White House who scheduled a meeting with him, a secret meeting per White House request. Seymour writes that "However, the day after meeting with "Chuck", Wagner unplugged his phone and walked out on his law practice and his home in Jackson California, taking nothing with him except his clothes and has wife, never to be seen again". There are many similar stories of those who have gotten too close to the truth when investigating this intricate web of spooks, mobsters, corrupt government officials and their activities, some have simply disappeared, others have met with strange demises, suspicious accidents and "suicides', the pattern is a consistent one.

Seymour's investigation led her to a retired FBI agent named Ted Gunderson, a figure who seems to often appear in some of the most sordid and scandalous investigations in recent history who in turn led her to The Octopus. On the basis of earlier material that was provided by Gunderson on the drug trade to the since disappeared Wagner for use in the case against drug trafficking cops, Seymour called him and a meeting was set up at Gunderson's home in Manhattan Beach. After the meeting, Gunderson gave the author a series of newspaper clippings and documents, many of which dealt with Danny Casolaro and his investigation of The Octopus. There was also material on Inslaw and PROMIS, Iran-Contra activities, financial scandals including the Savings and Loan crisis and defense contractor the Wackenhut Corporation. The next day Seymour received a collect call from a man named Michael Riconosciuto and he had a tale to tell. Calling from jail in Tacoma, Washington Riconosciuto provided her with the names of people who were in charge of methamphetamine operations in Mariposa and Fresno Counties. When asked who was behind the ring he revealed something much larger and more sinister than would have been imaginable:

"It's the Company. Arms get shipped to the Contras, the Afghanistan rebels [Mujahaden], the Middle East. Your know, to fight the Soviet influence. But the Contras and Mujahaden don't have the money to pay for the arms, so they pay with drugs, cocaine or heroin. The Company handles the drug end of it in the U.S. ""

The bombshell unleashed by Riconosciuto cut right to the heart of The Octopus, and his entanglements with it were numerous. He divulged that was incarcerated as a result of corrupt Justice Department figures seeking to discredit him for his affidavit provided to Inslaw's attorney Elliott Richardson for the purpose of providing the House Judiciary Committee that was investigating the theft and illegal modification of Inslaw's PROMIS software with pertinent. In the affidavit, Riconosciuto admitted that it was he who had modified the software to include a "back door" which would allow for remote users to access information on the host computer. The software, once modified was then sold by Reagan administration cronies to foreign governments where it was used for reasons of espionage. Prior to the affidavit, Riconosciuto had been contacted by a Peter Videnieks of the Justice Department threatening him if he were to cooperate with the Judiciary Committee probe that there would be consequences. Eight days after the affidavit was filed Riconosciuto was arrested for allegedly running a meth lab. Videnieks would himself come under scrutiny in a U.S. Customs Department Internal Affairs probe for potential perjury and other activities. He had also been at DOJ as a contract administrator during the time of the PROMIS theft and modifications and had alleged but never completely proven ties to dirty figures in the Reagan administration.

Riconosciuto stated that he had altered the software largely on the Cabazon Indian Reservation in Indio, California where the Wackenhut Corporation and the tribe had a joint-venture to use the sovereign lands for weapons testing, for sales to Latin America and other overseas destinations. It was a prefect situation, the reservation provided cover for variety of endeavors including the development and testing of arms including a fuel air explosive, biochemical warfare agents and other armaments that could be provided to third world regimes, primarily to right-wing governments in Latin America. It was an oversight free zone and a haven for spooks, paramilitary figures including Contra leaders such as Eden Pastora during Reagan's dirty wars south of the border during the 1980s. In his book The Crimes of a President , author Joel Bainerman described the reservation as a "CIA cutout" which would be consistent with the type of activities that were conducted there . Riconosciuto was a technical wizard, a child prodigy who at the tender age of 10 had wired his parents neighborhood with a private telephone system and who won numerous science fairs in his youth. A computer expert who at some point became attractive to intelligence figures and who later became a critical figure in the dark trades practiced by the shadowy operatives of the National Security State. Riconosciuto was also a major source for Danny Casolaro.

The story of the PROMIS software, an abbreviation for Prosecutors Management Information System is complicated and full of the sort of intrigue that would normally be found in a Robert Ludlum or Tom Clancy novel. Developed by Inslaw Corporation's Bill Hamilton, PROMIS was designed as a legal case management tool where cases could be tracked and with over half a million lines of computer code was an innovative and unprecedented piece of high-technology for its time. The program was capable of integrating numerous databases and was to have been sold by Inslaw to the U.S. Department of Justice to replace the antiquated system in use at the time. However, Inslaw's contract with the government was subverted by corrupt figures within the Reagan Justice Department who conspired with a Reagan and Edwin Meese crony named Earl Brian (long alleged to be associated with the October Surprise) who then used legal trickery to steal the PROMIS software and drive Inslaw into bankruptcy. The software, after being stolen was modified by Riconosciuto and then distributed by Brian and others to various foreign countries including Israel with the modification allowing intelligence figures to engage in espionage using the back-door feature. The flag waving, drug-running Reagan National Security Council aide Colonel Oliver North also saw much potential in using PROMIS for the surveillance of American citizens as a function of the infamous REX 84 program, a subsidiary of FEMA and the Continuity Of Government contingency plans that were solidified during the Reagan years. Recently, there were two critical articles that referenced the use of PROMIS and derivatives in regards to current day shadow government contingency plans for the tracking and rounding up of potential dissidents, these being Christopher Ketcham's The Last Roundup and Tim Shorrock's Exposing Bush's Historic Abuse of Power, both referenced in my own series on the abuse of the software by the shadow government entitled Main Core, PROMIS and the Shadow Government.

The use by extreme reactionaries to assist in the implementation of a fascist police state infrastructure, the spying on foreign countries including U.S. allies (which has just been confirmed once again as a matter of policy with the recent Wikileaks data dump and the mandate to collect biometric and credit card data on United Nations officials) and the use of surveillance for control and political blackmail were not the only functions of PROMIS. More darkly, the program could work very well in the laundering of money from illegal narcotic trafficking, the manipulation of financial markets and for the benefit of corrupt government officials in providing intel to organized crime figures. Another Casolaro source, Robert Booth Nichols, a suave dashing sort of a no-holds barred uber spook whose activities and work facilitated some of the most sinister elements of what author Peter Dale Scott refers to as the "Deep State" figures prominently in the saga. Nichols, a man who had connections between both legitimate government, shadowy intelligence figures and organized crime figures is a key figure in The Last Circle. Smooth enough to be retained for sensitive foreign intelligence affairs by the U.S. government and ruthless enough to hang a man upside down in front of a whirring airplane propeller as a method of persuasion, Nichols is like a character straight out of central casting, more on him in a little bit.

The Cabazon Indian Reservation, where PROMIS was modified, is a critical piece of the story; it is the nexus point where many of the elements of the shadow government and its underworld cohorts all intersect. In thoroughly examining Cabazon, it is possible to trace decades of criminality, black operations and the accompanying subversion of the democratic institutions of this nation both backwards into the post WW II era as well as forward to events of late 2010. The clouds of intrigue swirling around the reservation begin with the 1981 execution of Cabazon Indian Tribal Council vice-chairman Fred Alvarez along with friends Ralph Boger and Patricia Castro. Alvarez was appalled at the use of the reservation for sinister purposes and the corruption of then administrator John Phillip Nichols, a connected man whose juice had been instrumental in the Cabazon-Wackenhut joint venture; Alvarez was about to blow the whistle at the time of the triple murders. Shortly afterwards, there were weapons testing demonstrations held for Iran-Contra leaders at Lake Cahuilla and attended by the aforementioned Earl Brian who in an official document in the appendix of Seymour's book, was identified as a CIA employee.

As Seymour continues to untangle the web of deceit there are more disturbing revelations regarding the Cabazon Reservation and those who used it as a base for operations. Through contact with Riconosciuto and access to a treasure trove of his files kept hidden away in a trailer in Death Valley, she was able to expand her research. In addition to the Alvarez murders, there was another bizarre death associated with the Cabazon Reservation. The body of Paul Morasca, a Riconosciuto associate, was found in his San Francisco condo hog-tied and slowly strangled with a telephone cord around his legs and neck. He was also pretty good, as was Riconsciuto at moving money around through the SWIFT-CHIPS financial clearing houses utilized by banking institutions. Morasca, who had been appointed to a management position with the Cabazon Reservation casino, was dead months later. He was a financial wizard when it came to moving money through the interbank clearinghouse systems; according to some he may even have been involved in the transfer of funds out of the notorious Australian CIA connected drug-money laundering Nugan Hand Bank as it collapsed; Morasca allegedly had access codes to several accounts used to launder funds at the time of his murder and may have been tortured to provide the information to his killer (s). Another highly suspicious death, a school teacher named Mary Quick, the aunt of a Morasca/Riconosciuto associate who may have mistakenly been involved with the access codes was shot in the face during what was ostensibly made to look like a robbery. The Cabazon Reservation's casino, according to a San Francisco Chronicle article received seed money from the Gambino Crime Family.

Now here is a bit of food for thought, the note that was found inside of Danny Casolaro's shoe in Room 517 of the Martinsburg Sheraton had the names of both Fred Alvarez and Paul Morasca were among the other bits of information that was written on it. It was known that Casolaro had planned a trip to Indio and the Cabazon Reservation as a continuation of his research, a trip that he never was able to make thanks to those who had one hell of a lot to lose were they to be exposed. They would have revealed a very ominous connection between intelligence figures and off the books ops, mob figures and political figures burrowed deep inside the bureaucracy and working hand in hand with criminal elements. I excerpt from the press release for The Last Circle:

During the last week of his life, Danny had discovered a connection between a former director of international affairs for the Justice Department, the Cali Drug Cartel and Robert Booth Nichols, an international intelligence operative whom he had been interviewing extensively for months. Danny's last phone bills indicated he'd spent hundreds of hours on the phone with Nichols, most of the calls averaged one to two hours. This in effect was one tentacle of Danny's Octopus.

Danny had confronted Nichols about the the former DOJ director and the Cali Cartel while staying in Martinsburg. It was the last conversation Danny ever had wtih Nichols and with Bob Bickel, a friend whom Danny Confided in. Bickel Subsequently confirmed the conversation, but for reasons unknown, the Cali Cartel connection was never published in any of the official investigative reports on Danny's death. These included the DOJ report of September 27, 1994.

Said Justice Department official was a man named Mike Abbell, a top ranking bureaucrat who after leaving the Justice Department where he once headed the Office of International Affairs, was indicted in a massive drug racketeering case against the Cali Cartel. Casolaro's research had touched upon many corrupt and powerful interests and their long-running illicit schemes but his tracing the criminality directly into the United States Department of Justice may just have been the third rail. The Last Circle provides a substantial amount of information on just how dirty that elements of the nation's top law enforcement institution may have been and provides plenty of information including wiretaps, interviews with the good guys who were trying to get to the bottom of it all and in perhaps the most chilling statement of all, that there are extremely high-ranking officials who may have been involved in obstruction of justice and who are still at the DOJ where their duties now have come to include providing legal cover for torturers and war criminals such as John Yoo and Jay Bybee and frantically working to prevent Wikileaks from publishing information on Bank of America by revising the 1917 Espionage Act. Given the ugly hidden activities of the banksters and a history of fraud and money laundering such a leak could expose the whole game and shine a light on the longtime institutional corruption in this country, especially the collusion between banks, drug traffickers and government figures and we certainly can't have that can we?

Now to return to the previously mentioned Robert Booth Nichols, the intelligence man who was a major source of Danny Casolaro (Casolaro's last days included numerous calls to Nichols) as well as a business
partner of Michael Riconosciuto. Nichols was also a board member of FIDCO (First Intercontinental Development Corporation) which includes such interesting luminaries as former Howard Hughes aide and known CIA employee Robert Maheu as well as Texas oil billionaire and former NFL franchise owner of the Dallas Cowboys Clint W. Murchison Jr., a man whose father has been linked by some to the power cabal that would have a hell of a lot to gain were President John F. Kennedy to end up dead. Nichols was a big time player, according to accounts he had done independent contract work for the CIA, the NSA and had been tied to figures in both the Japanese Yakuza as well as the Gambino Crime Family. He dealt in military grade weaponry and had been under Federal investigation for international money laundering at one time. Nichols, it appears was a crucial go-between for darker elements of the U.S. state and organized crime. Former business partner and head of MCA Home Entertainment Eugene Giaquinto, a man with known mob ties was recorded on wiretap as saying that Nichols was his "government man" and that he could be counted on to provide official government documents pertaining to investigations. That figures within the government would have cozy relationships with the mob is really nothing surprising, and I must offer up my standard disclaimer regarding such collaborations. As in previous work that I have done on the subject of mob influence with U.S. government activities and figures I make no moral judgment regarding mob activity, it's a business to these people and the costs associated are of no regard to me. What I DO have a serious problem with are corrupt or compromised government officials allowing themselves to be used by organized crime or to misuse their positions of trust as public servants to enrich themselves and their organized crime partners. For these rats truly belong within Dante's last circle or in a Supermax prison at the very least.

There is a long history of the CIA/OSS in working with organized crime figures, the traceable beginning point would be World War II and the government's deal with Charles "Lucky" Luciano and other bosses to assist the American war effort, notably Operation Underworld. War was war and such alliances were deemed necessary during a time of great national crisis and mobilization, that sort of alliance is much different than the criminality that grew out of the ongoing marriage of the CIA and other intelligence arms with organized crime figures. Such collaborations have a tendency over time to pollute and corrupt the ideals and objectives that they at one time purported to justify, for another example one need look no further than the CIA/OSS providing amnesty to Nazi war criminals, for example General Reinhard Gehlen who was brought in to the U.S. intelligence apparatus, ostensibly to wage the war against demonic Communism. This is a story for another time though, I just needed to make it clear that I have no personal bone to pick with organized crime, only with the officials who betray the country and the public trust by abusing their positions to enrich themselves by working with them.

Nichols seems to be one of those who benefitted immensely by playing both sides and through parlaying his connections and interests into a very nice career. He was so important that as recently as 2004 was still a big time go to guy when he was involved in a scheme with chasing down a $250 billion treasury note (Serial Number SC 3040-20) that was allegedly backed by 2,500 metric tons of gold stored at the Atlanta Federal Reserve. Nichols, described in a lawsuit brought by Bayou LLC hedge fund's Steve Israel against Nichols for his role in an alleged scam involving the note was said by his attorney as:

"He was asked to find something, and he found it," Nichols's lawyer, Joseph Bainton, told Bloomberg, declining to elaborate. "There are very few people capable of performing this service, for which he was paid a lump sum of $10 million"

Nichols was vouched for by one John P. Ellis, a cousin of then President George W. Bush whose long family history of intelligence ties is hardly a secret and whose moral traditions would be consistent in those who would have no qualms about engaging in alliances with organized crime figures. After all, it was George W. Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush whose Wall Street firm was closed down by FDR back in 1942 under the Trading With The Enemies Act for helping to launder money for the Nazis, not that Prescott Bush was unique, plenty of Wall Street bankers and American industrialists cashed in by helping to build the Third Reich. Other than to use those sort of alliances to illustrate the lack of morality, principals or loyalty to their own countries which are exactly the sort of traits that are present in The Octopus and it's disregard for anything even remotely resembling honor, decency and traditional American values, I will leave that story to be told in the future. Nichols by the way is now deceased, he died in Geneva, Switzerland; a victim of a massive heart attack and interestingly enough there was evidence of a blow to the head. It would seem that he had outlived his usefulness and in my personal opinion, considering his history and the type that he ran with I personally am skeptical as to the official cause of death. In The Last Circle, Cheri Seymour describes a harrowing visit to interview a chain-smoking and wily Nichols, after which she, for reasons of personal safety, decided to take an extended vacation away from her home. The creepiest part of the visit being when he broke out his version of the Zapruder film from his personal video collection.

A hugely important part of Seymour's book is the section where she meets with investigators Sean McDade of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and California Homicide Detective Sue Todd (who was investigating another potentially connected murder of a father and son) at her home. McDade was investigating the PROMIS software story on an official national security assignment for Canada and contacted Seymour for information as a result of his research of the draft version of her book on the internet. An arrangement was made for McDade to visit Seymour in order to gain access to her research materials and he and Detective Todd met with her, and in the process of culling and copying documents he dropped a couple of bombshells. First being a reference to a December 1999 meeting at the Los Alamos facility in New Mexico attended by heads of the intelligence services of the United States, Britain, Israel and Canada over the potential for disruptive shared computer problems due to the Y2K period. McDade had a source that alluded to all four countries using the PROMIS software. He offered up a scenario that the "Israeli Mossad may have modified the original PROMIS modification, or back door, so that it became a 'two-way' back door allowing the Israelis access to U.S. weapons secrets at Los Alamos and other installations." and according to Seymour, McDade "hinted through innuendo that the Israelis may now possess all the nuclear secrets of the United States." There would seem to be some additional evidence that may support this sort of Israeli espionage in a London Times story on whistleblower Sibel Edmonds entitled For Sale: West's Deadly Nuclear Secrets. McDade also stated that : "The details of my findings in Canada could cause a major scandal in both Canada and the U.S. If my investigation is successful, it could cause the entire U.S. Republican party to be dismantled, and more than one presidential administraiton will be exposed for their knowledge of this."

McDade returned to Canada along with a load of copied documents and the investigation continued. The probe continued and eventaully progressed enough to become sufficiently disturbing to those affected. The FBI as well as the Israeli Mossad were monitoring him as he progressed through the process of conducting interviews with potential witnesses and building the case. He had obtained several tapes that acccording to Riconsciuto contained the boot up versions of the modified PROMIS software. He planned to fly Bill Hamilton of INSLAW to RCMP headquarters to assist in accessing the tapes when a Toronto Star article was published in late August 2000 that resulted in the shutdown of the 8 month investigation. Chapter 21 of The Last Circle details a long conversation between Detective Sue Todd and the author on what the findings had been and which she wanted published were anything to happen to her. A subsequent investigation of the closed down RCMP investigation was undertaken by journalist Kelly O'Meara of Insight Magazine and the four parts are available here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. Despite the official stonewalling, obfuscation and danger involved, the author reveals that both Sue Todd and Kelly O'Meara continue to work to expose The Octopus, let us hope that we have not heard the last from them and their dedication to justice serves as an inspiration to all.

"Organized crime will put a man in the White House someday - and he won't know it until they hand him the bill"

-Ralph Solerno, NYPD (from Dark Victory: Ronald Reagan, MCA and the Mob)

The Last Circle also devotes considerable space to the relationship between former President Ronald Reagan and the MCA Corporation, his agent. Drawing on Dan Moldea's book Dark Victory, subtitled Ronald Reagan, MCA and the Mob. It isn't well publicized that the hallowed national icon of those who dabble in the black arts of revisionist history, Ronald Reagan is a man with more than a few skeletons in his closet. Reagan was in the 1940-50s a struggling B-movie actor and Democrat who campaigned for Harry Truman in 1948 (this link is as priceless as it is stunning). Reagan, at some point realized that the real future laid in his willingness to sell out whatever ideals that he may have had and join the Republican party, ratting out his Hollywood peers as Communists to a McCarthyist nation braying for blood while president of the Screen Actors Guild and building up the necessary resume and connections for his ascension to America's throne. Long before Saint Ronald Reagan was authorizing criminals like Edwin Meese and Oliver North and their ilk to destroy the national regulatory structure, wantonly subvert the Constitution, and engage in a global spree of weapons and drug trafficking to fund torturers and murders in Latin America he made his pact with the devil.

Reagan's rise to power and later, canonization by the conservative movement was helped along enormously by his affiliation with MCA and the accumulated chits that he would receive which would serve him in his rise to the presidency. MCA, originally a talent agency that became the 800 pound gorilla of Hollywood as well as a partner of organized crime figures had benefitted greatly when Reagan, as SAG president played an integral role in negotiating a deal that would allow the corporation to circumvent antitrust laws in order to enter into television production as well as talent. Reagan was subsequently targeted by a federal grand jury for his role in the "sweetheart deal" between MCA and the actor's union. According to a Justice Department memorandum from the case described a Hollywood source as saying that "Ronald Reagan a complete slave of MCA who would do their bidding on anything." Reagan changed his political affiliaton to Republican, citing a newfound contempt of big government, became wealthy and increasingly strident in his ideology and rhetoric, so much so that General Electric Theatre, he was a host became uncomfortable with his on air reactionary rants. Reagan then ran for and was elected Governor of California where he continued to hone his act and pile up favors that would serve him for his enthronement at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Reagan, like all presidents came into power surrounded by cronies and lackeys, one of course was Edwin Meese who rose to Attorney General and according to information obtained from FBI wiretaps on Gambino crime family figures may have intervened in order to foil a federal investigation into MCA and alleged mob connections that could have torpedoed the sale of MCA to Japanese interests. On the wiretaps, Eugene Giaquinto who was a board member of the MCA Corporation who had a lifetime relationship to boss John Gotti had stated that "he would call Edwin Meese and have the FBI's investigation of MCA stopped." The Reagan era Justice Department was not only engaged in corrupt practices such as the theft of Inslaw's PROMIS software but also was actively engaged in the obstruction of justice in order to protect Reagan's longtime benefactor MCA. The investigation was of course shut down and the MCA deal went through, principled and honest public servants resigned out of disgust and the bad guys won again. The litany of crimes and unethical practices of the Reagan administration is long and his Octopus's tentacles have slithered into too many scandals and institutions to list here but there are two very important and serendipitous connections. Giaquinto had bragged about his "government man" Robert Booth Nichols who provided him with critical information and Danny Casolaro was also investigating MCA connections to The Octopus at the time of his death.

"After a six-year hitch in the military, I became a professional hit man for the Mafia. I collected money, hurt a lot of people and saw a lot of blood. I know what it's like to cut the throat of a man, see a man die, or throw a man in the trunk of a car and take him to his death. I did many horrible things. I allowed myself to do whatever was necessary.

-The Reverend Jimmy Hughes: Admitted killer

An Authorized, Government Backed Covert Action:The final chapter in The Last Circle deals with the quest for justice by Rachel Begley, whose father Ralph Boger was murdered along with Fred Alvarez, the man who was about to blow the whistle on the illicit activities at the Cabazon Indian Reservation in 1981. Begley relentlessly pursued the truth about the murders and her story was chronicled in the work of Emmy Award winning reporter Nathan Baca's 35 part series on the Octopus Murders for Palm Springs KESQ-TV. Also known online as Desertfae, she at great personal danger considering the malevolent figures that she was dealing with successfully worked to expose the truth about her father's murder and her tenacity led to the cold case being re-opened by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. Her courageous efforts led to the arrest of admitted hitman Jimmy Hughes, now running a pseudo religious organization in Honduras.

Detective John Powers of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department was investigating the cold case of the Alvarez murders, having been led in that direction as a result of a more recent probe into the 2005 murder- suicide of David McGowan and his family. McGowan, a Riverside County District Attorney investigator who may have been digging too deeply. According to Baca (whose links have all apparently been disappeared down the memory hole at KESQ now that he is working for a Las Vegas station but fortunately Desertfae has posted many of the videos on her You Tube site) who revealed in his work on the story that:

The murder case has been reopened and closed multiple times in the past 27 years. Sheriff's investigators have asked friends and former partners of District Attorney Investigator David McGowan whether he was working the case in 2005. An investigation concluded that McGowan murdered his family of five before shooting himself on May 10th, 2005. Surviving family members tell News Channel 3 they believe the investigation was rushed and incomplete.

Detective Powers and Rachel Begley were working on seeking jsutice for the murders when they met with Cheri Seymour who assisted them in gleaning important information on the case. She strongly encouraged Powers to get copies of the Paul Morasca Homicide Investigation File of which no electronic copies existed and access was restricted. The file, Case No. 82-1052505 was being stored with the San Francisco Police Department records and contained long missing files on the Alvarez murders which he has now backed up lest it be conveniently misplaced. An arrest warrant for Hughes was issued and he was apprehended in Septermber 2009 as he was boarding a plane in Miami for return to Honduras.

Hughes, a former head of security at the Cabazon reservation has admitted to being a hired gun for both the mafia and the CIA. Hughes incidentally was the guy who Financial Times reporter Anson Ng was allegedly chasing down when he himself was murdered in Guatemala in July of 1991. His organization, very originally named Jimmy Hughes Ministries is a testament to the adage of religion being the last refuge of scoundrels and provides cover by serving as a front for black ops such as the 2009 Honduran coup d'etat against president Manuel Zelaya who had to be deposed for being an ally of Venezuala's Hugo Chavez. Chavez is a man the U.S. power structure despises (and has already moved against and failed) and whose ability to stand up to the United States plutocracy. His recalcitrance cannot be allowed to spread regionally lest the rivers of blood that have been loosed by dictators, their thugs and their CIA facilitators, most trained at the torture institute The School of the Americas stop flowing so that lust for money and power can be slaked. In The Last Circle it is noted that Hughes, working with the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International (FGBMFI) provided support for the overthrow. Hughes never ceased being a thug for hire, he just changed venues.

Hughes has stated in a 1985 television interview that the Alvarez murders were "an authorized, government backed covert action" and was caught on video by Rachel Begley and Fred Alvarez's son Mikel during his Febuary 2008 appearance at an FGBMFI dinner event in Fresno stating that:

"I was trained in the military. I killed people all of the world, right or wrong, because the government ordered me to. Your dad and I were friends. He touched somebody"they gave an order and that's what happened to him. It's a lot bigger than the murder of this guy or the murder of that guy. It's big ". You're talking political people. "

Hughes also made veiled threats such as the chilling comment to Begley that "you've got to be're knocking on some very dangerous doors..just think about your children..they need a mother" to Begley. Once arrested and extradited to California to stand trial Hughes was due to finally face the judgement of the law but then in another one of the travesties that plague the rotten to the core judicial system of this corrupt empire the case against Hughes were dismissed, and with a deft twisting of the knife, the charges were dropped on the very anniversary of the murders. Jimmy Hughes walked, perhaps he knew fully well where too many bodies were buried, that and he continues to serve the dark forces of The Octopus. As of this writing, Rachel Begley is not giving up, she has justifiably filed a formal complaint against Deputy Attorney General Mike Murphy, just another one of the charlatans masquerading as servants of the law in this terminally damaged republic.

Who Watches the Watchers?

The dismissal of the case against Jimmy Hughes is just another example of the vast corruption that has slowly eaten away at the once strong underpinnings of the American system of justice. Today, there is no consistent enforcement of the law; there exists a system that has been throughout the years rigged in order to allow those who have the financial means or the political connections to circumvent justice. In the post-9/11 era in which our once vibrant democracy has turned into something perversely un-American that has now very appropriately been named the HOMELAND, our true birthright, the civil liberties as set forth in the Bill of Rights have been eroded and are on the verge of extinction. All due to systemic corruption and the actions of The Octopus and those who serve it.

We have seen the gradual erosion of such long-standing legal principles such as Habeas Corpus which was disposed, under the guise (of course) of fighting 'terrorism'. Posse Comitatus has been struck from the books with the establishment of NORTHCOM and the surveillance colossus that grew out of PROMIS is rendering obsolete the right to privacy and the presumption of being innocent until proven guilty. Our airports have turned into something out of post-Stalin Russia with the TSA 'pat-downs' and naked body scanners and just this week, word comes that Janet Napolitano, top apartchik of the Department of Homeland Security will be appearing on TV screens in the nation's Wal-Marts with the "If You See Something, Say Something" inducement to report 'suspicious' behavior. The noose is tightening and as has been predicted by many of us, the entire gross facade of the War On Terror was only a ruse. Every oppressive tactic, every torture chamber and secret prison was being prepared for the real enemy: patriotic Americans demanding the truth and wanting to take their country back from the criminals who stole it. The entire system has now been transformed in order to protect the interests of criminals, looters and the progeny of The Octopus. You will see no serious investigation of the heads of Wall Street banks, their profits largely derived through fraud, money laundering and other ill gotten gains from cash cows such as drug trafficking. Nor will you see any war criminals, war profiteers or the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats who cover up for them, rig the laws and engage in acts of subterfuge for money be prosecuted. This is the country in which we now live.

As Cheri Seymour writes:

"Every government official I talked to, every journalist, told me that nothing can be done to dismantle The Octopus, there is no one in office in this great nation that has the power to prosecute the Octopus criminals because the tentalces have become an integral, and accepted culture within our society, and indeed within our economy."

So the responsibility in stopping this all lies with us, me and you dear reader. I opened this essay with the quote from Anthony Sutton that appeared in The Last Circle : Be patient, spread the word among friends, do your little bit. The system will self-destruct because it is funded on corruption and untruth. This much is essential, for the only way to regain our freedom, dignity and liberty and to ensure that those who are guilty of a myriad of crimes are held accountable is to be tenacious in researching - and reporting on their crimes. The only two things that The Octopus, now fully assimilated into the system understands is power and money, the only thing that it fears is the truth.

Joseph Daniel Casolaro 1947-1991

The Octopus: Eight people who have changed the course of the world, a real life "Mission Impossible" team whose gifts exploited the secret empires of rogue spy networks, big oil and organized crime.

-From Danny Casolaro's notes

Ed Encho is a free lance writer, activist and consultant who resides in West Central Florida and author of the upcoming "A Monolithic and Ruthless Conspiracy".

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author
and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Publishing Classified Info: A Review of Relevant Statutes

Secrecy News

Secrecy News from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy

Publishing Classified Info: A Review of Relevant Statutes

December 8th, 2010 by Steven Aftergood

“There appears to be no statute that generally proscribes the acquisition or publication of diplomatic cables,” according to a newly updated report (pdf) from the Congressional Research Service, “although government employees who disclose such information without proper authority may be subject to prosecution.”

But there is a thicket of statutes, most notably including the Espionage Act, that could conceivably be used to punish unauthorized publication of classified information, such as the massive releases made available by Wikileaks. See “Criminal Prohibitions on the Publication of Classified Defense Information”, December 6, 2010.

The updated CRS report sorts through those statutes, provides an account of recent events, presents a new discussion of extradition of foreign nationals who are implicated by U.S. law, and summarizes new legislation introduced in the Senate (S. 4004).

A previous version (pdf) of the CRS report, issued in October, was cited by Sen. Dianne Feinstein in a Wall Street Journal op-ed yesterday in support of prosecuting Wikileaks, though the report did not specifically advise such a course of action. Sen. Feinstein also seemed to endorse the view that the State Department cables being released by Wikileaks are categorically protected by the Espionage Act and should give rise to a prosecution under the Act.

But the Espionage Act only pertains to information “relating to the national defense,” and only a minority of the diplomatic cables could possibly fit that description.

The new CRS report put it somewhat differently: “It seems likely that most of the information disclosed by WikiLeaks that was obtained from Department of Defense databases [and released earlier in the year] falls under the general rubric of information related to the national defense. The diplomatic cables obtained from State Department channels may also contain information relating to the national defense and thus be covered under the Espionage Act, but otherwise its disclosure by persons who are not government employees does not appear to be directly proscribed. It is possible that some of the government information disclosed in any of the three releases does not fall under the express protection of any statute, despite its classified status.”

Incredibly, CRS was unable to meaningfully analyze for Congress the significance of the newest releases because of a self-defeating security policy that prohibits CRS access to the leaked documents.

The CRS report concludes that any prosecution of Wikileaks would be unprecedented and challenging, both legally and politically. “We are aware of no case in which a publisher of information obtained through unauthorized disclosure by a government employee has been prosecuted for publishing it. There may be First Amendment implications that would make such a prosecution difficult, not to mention political ramifications based on concerns about government censorship.”

For our part, we would oppose a criminal prosecution of Wikileaks under the Espionage Act.

Assange Attorney: Secret Grand Jury Meeting in Virginia on WikiLeaks

Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community

Assange Attorney: Secret Grand Jury Meeting in Virginia on WikiLeaks

LONDON -- A secret grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, is meeting to consider criminal charges in the WikiLeaks case, an attorney for the site's founder, Julian Assange, told the Al-Jazeera network in an interview.

[WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange surrendered to British authorities last week. He is set to appear in court Tuesday.]WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange surrendered to British authorities last week. He is set to appear in court Tuesday.
"We have heard from Swedish authorities there has been a secretly empaneled grand jury in Alexandria ... they are currently investigating this," Mark Stephens told Al-Jazeera's Sir David Frost on Sunday, referring to WikiLeaks. The site, which facilitates the disclosure of secret information, has been slowly releasing a trove of more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables since November 28.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said last week he had authorized "significant" actions related to a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks' publication of the cables, but has declined to elaborate.

Assange is sought for questioning in connection with allegations of sexual assault in Sweden. He surrendered to British authorities last week.

"I think that the Americans are much more interested in terms of the WikiLeaks aspect of this," Stephens told Al-Jazeera. He said it was his understanding that Swedish authorities have said that if Assange is extradited there, "they will defer their interest in him to the Americans ... it does seem to me that what we have here is nothing more than a holding charge." The United States just wants Assange detained, he said, so "ultimately they can get their mitts on him."

"He is entitled under international law, under Swedish law, to know the charges or the investigation that's going on, the allegations made against him and the nature of the evidence which is said to support it," Stephens said. "As I sit here talking to you now, he hasn't that that information, so he's not been able to comprehensively rebut (the allegations)."

Assange is next set to appear in court Tuesday. Stephens said his client is ready to meet with the Swedish prosecutor if she travels to London, but she has not done so.

The legal process could be a long one, he said. "There are a number of issues in this particular case which raise European Convention and human rights points."

Meanwhile, The U.S. House Judiciary Committee plans to hold a hearing on "the Espionage Act and the legal and constitutional issues raised by WikiLeaks," according to its website. More details on the hearing and a witness list had not been posted as of Monday morning.

Before WikiLeaks began posting the cables, Assange wrote to the United States and told them he did not want to imperil any ongoing operations or put anyone at risk, Stephens said. Redactions put in place are not seen to have exposed anyone to risk, he said.

Beside the United States, WikiLeaks has apparently angered Russia and China, Stephens told Al-Jazeera. Russia has accused him of being a CIA operative, according to the attorney, while cyberattacks against WikiLeaks have appeared to come from Russian and Chinese computers. "He does seem to have picked enemies, if you like, with the three major superpowers," Stephens said of Assange.

Last week, supporters of WikiLeaks calling themselves "Anonymous" and "Operation Payback" claimed responsibility for disabling or disrupting the websites of MasterCard, Visa and PayPal. The group tried unsuccessfully to bring down, tweeting on the website Twitter, "We don't have enough forces."

Anonymous made the attacks not through hacking, but by directing a giant traffic surge to the targeted website in a distributed denial-of-service, or DDoS, attack. Such attacks are hard for most websites to defend against, and they can significantly slow or crash a website.

Govt Response to Wikileaks Said to Cause More Damage

Secrecy News

Secrecy News from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy

Govt Response to Wikileaks Said to Cause More Damage

December 10th, 2010 by Steven Aftergood

The U.S. Government insists that the classification markings on many of the leaked documents being published by Wikileaks and other organizations are still in force, even though the documents are effectively in the public domain, and it has directed federal employees and contractors not to access or read the records outside of a classified network.

But by strictly adhering to the letter of security policy and elevating security above mission performance, some say the government may be causing additional damage.

“At DHS we are getting regular messages [warning not to access classified records from Wikileaks],” one Department of Homeland Security official told us in an email message. “It has even been suggested that if it is discovered that we have accessed a classified Wikileaks cable on our personal computers, that will be a security violation. So, my grandmother would be allowed to access the cables, but not me. This seems ludicrous.”

“As someone who has spent many years with the USG dealing with senior officials of foreign governments, it seems to me that the problem faced by CRS researchers (and raised by you) is going to be widespread across our government if we follow this policy.”

“Part of making informed judgments about what a foreign government or leader will do or think about something is based on an understanding and analysis of what information has gone into their own deliberative processes. If foreign government workers know about something in the Wikileaks documents, which clearly originated with the U.S., then they will certainly (and reasonably) assume that their US counterparts will know about it too, including the staffers. If we don’t, they will assume that we simply do not care, are too arrogant, stupid or negligent to find and read the material, or are so unimportant that we’ve been intentionally left out of the information loop. In any such instance, senior staff will be handicapped in their preparation and in their inter-governmental relationships,” the DHS official said.

“I think more damage will be done by keeping the federal workforce largely in the dark about what other interested parties worldwide are going to be reading and analyzing. It does not solve the problem to let only a small coterie of analysts review documents that may be deemed relevant to their own particular ‘stovepiped’ subject area. Good analysis requires finding and putting together all the puzzle pieces.”

So far, however, this kind of thinking is not finding a receptive audience in government. There has been no sign of leadership from any Administration official who would stand up and say: “National security classification is a means, and not an end in itself. What any reader in the world can discover is no longer a national security secret. We should not pretend otherwise.”