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"Russia has made seven abusive attempts to have me arrested since 2013 on politically motivated charges. If Russia is allowed to take over Interpol, it is like the mafia taking over global law enforcement," Browder told Newsweek.
Roman Abramovich, a Russian oligarch who owns the British football club Chelsea, sold his stake in Russia's Channel One Television station, according to reports.
VTB Capital, an investment branch of the Kremlin-owned VTB Bank that reportedly offered to finance Trump Tower Moscow when then presidential candidate Donald Trump was pursuing the development project, purchased Abramovich's remaining 20 percent stake in Channel One. The news of VTB's new ownership stake in Channel One was reported widely in the Russian media. VTB is a majority state-owned bank that operates as one of Russia's largest lenders. The bank has been under U.S. sanctions since 2014, after Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine and started backing pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country. The bank has since hired D.C. lobbyists to advocate for its removal from the sanctions list, but its efforts have been unsuccessful.
Berezovsky and Abramovich had been locked in a protracted court battle in which the former accused the latter of pressuring him to sell his shares of the Russian oil firm Sibneft and sought billions of dollars in damages. In 2012, Berezovsky lost the case to Abramovich. Berezovsky lived in self-imposed exile in Britain until 2013, when he was found dead in his bathroom with a noose around his neck. Police determined that the death was a suicide, but investigators later suggested that they would re-open the investigation to look for potential foul play.
At the eleventh hour, the premiere was canceled. The New York Times said threats of libel suits from Bill Browder accusing Nekrasov of defaming both him and Magnitsky had accompanied the cancellation. Nekrasov blamed two last-minute interventions. The first was from MEP Marieluise Beck, unhappy because Nekrasov refused to remove her interview segment from his film. The second objection, which Nekrasov considered decisive, came from the film's principal sponsor, German public television broadcaster ZDF. Along with its French public television subsidiary Arte, ZDF also shelved the film a few days before its scheduled telecast.
In 2013, Hermitage closed its Russian fund which in 2005, had over $4 billion in assets under management. In 2013, the fund was evaluated as having less than $60 million in assets. Closing the fund led to a dispute between investors and HSBC which was a manager and trustee of the fund.
Magnitsky had never been a lawyer, nor had he ever investigated or reported a theft of $230 million US from the Russian treasury; he had never been arrested for that, nor was he asked to rescind his testimony; he was never beaten and he did not die of beatings and torture, including beatings and torture for his alleged refusal to rescind the allegations that he had never made, at least not until after he was arrested.
After 10 months in his court-imposed custody, Magnitsky (who had been interrogated 9 times and 12 times had appealed to the court regarding his detention (each two months before the court of first and second instances) had not mentioned anything of the kind that could resemble the wordings Browder repeatedly (more than 10 times) used in July 2017 at the meeting of the Senate Committee: "uncovered a USD 230 million tax fraud, testified against corrupt police officers who put him under arrest for that. ") on October 14, 2009, read to investigator Silchenko a previously concocted statement he had received electronically, which, four months prior to that, had been spoken about by his employer, William Browder, in New York, at the Senator Cardin's Helsinki Commission meeting. One month later Magnitsky died.
The criminal case concerning a theft of 5.4 billion roubles (which is about 217 not 230 million dollars) from the Russian treasury was not initiated based on reports submitted by Magnitsky or anyone else from among Browder 's employees, and it had been investigated by the Russian law-enforcement authorities before Magnitsky's arrest.
Magnitsky was never interrogated under that case nor was he prosecuted under that or any other criminal case other than the one under which both him and Browder were accused of conspiring, in 2001, to commit tax fraud involving false recruitment of people with disabilities and without appropriate education in the capacity of financial analysts of Hermitage Fund. And if Browder, who has been absconding from law enforcement authorities since 2008, and has been under investigation since 2004, had a real desire to get Magnitsky released fi'om custody, nothing would have prevented him from paying his past due taxes in the amount of approximately $19 million USD that were detected by the tax authorities as early as 2003 and 2005 and were found to be fraudulent tax evasion by courts held with participation of Browder's employees and the case would have been closed in compliance with the Russian laws.
Browder, however, chose a different tactic. In May 2008, he hired a US lobbying firm of Jonathan Winer, a former assistant to the US Secretary of State, and went to Congress to lay down the groundwork required to obtain immunity for himself and attack the entire Russian system. And when Magnitsky, who was getting ready for trial, and after reading for the record the statement that was delivered to him on an electronic medium by an unknown person died in the pretrial detention facility, Browder and everyone behind him who had theretofore been silent about him acquired at least an opportunity to use Magnitsky 's death to turn him into a martyr and to create a picture of all consuming corruption in Russia in case someone in the USA decides to start investigating the real facts of their illegal actions and crimes they may have committed against the American people.
I have named these people before and I will name them again: William Browder, and a group of unidentified individuals from the American corporation ZIFF Brothers who in 2007 profited approximately US$] billion from the criminal activities committed in the territory of the Russian Federation, including, as it became known later4, 66 million shares of the Russian gas giant having concealed from the USA controlling authorities the entire story of the high yield investing in Russia.
I sent this information to the investigation authorities and the Russian General Prosecutor's Office in October 2015 and was prepared to provide this information, alongside all the details and supporting documents, to any US politician or journalist, including Mrs. Clinton, which I have always spoken about as well, including in all my written comments and video interviews and which was not broadly covered by mass media.
The Russian Human Rights Council had not determined Magnitsky was beaten and tortured in prison. But Browder and Magnitsky Act conclusions impose the preliminary report of the Human Rights Council under the President of Russia as evidence that Sergei Magnitsky was beaten and tortured in prison. However, the report clearly states that it is not a report by the Presidential Council, but it expressed the preliminary opinion of the Council's working group, which is still subject to finalizing, because "a comprehensive investigation by the competent authorities of all the circumstances of Magnitsky 's death has not completed." One of the members of the Working Group, Kirill Kabanov, stated under oath in the US that the preliminary report by the working group (and Borschev's report quoted in it) have been prepared for the most part based on unverified material provided by William Browder and his lawyers, some of which were full of errors, for instance, Magnitsky was called a lawyer therein, or claimed to be a whistleblower. He further stated that "since then the Human Rights Council has collected additional information" and "at the moment, the Human Rights Council can't say what will be their conclusions regarding the facts after obtaining more evidence."
Q: And did you know Mr. Sater personally before 2015?
A: I did.
Q: And what was the nature of your relationship?
A: I knew Felix Sater when I was around 17 years old, socially.
Q: And did there come a time when you entered into a business relationship with Mr. Sater?
A: With Mr. Sater? No, I was never in business with Mr. Sater.
Q: Okay. Did you ever conduct business with Mr. Sater?
Q: Okay. Prior -
A: So just - I want to be clear, though, because there's a lot of misconception about my relationship to Felix Sater. We did not grow up together. I don't even know where Felix grew up. I know he was married. He's got, I think, three daughters. I couldn't tell you any of their names. I've never actually had dinner with him and his wife. From the time I saw him at 17, because there was just a group that I knew that knew him, I didn't see him again for 20 years until Trump, when he was involved in the Trump SoHo project. So this whole story about Felix and I being lifelong friends is just not true.
Cheri Seymour has worked as an investigative reporter, newspaper editor, private detective and author of books. ark-roundtable.com...
Finding Antony Sutton's books in the late '80's finally gave me some perspective on what my former-OSS/G2/CIA father had originally told me some twenty years earlier about a hidden world behind the curtain: of intelligence agencies, secret societies, war, propaganda, the drug trade, unlimited budgets, and the attending undercurrents of corruption. Hubris plumped for a fall.
The fact that Cheri Seymour, a reporter for a small newspaper in a remote idyllic community on the doorstep of the majestic Yosemite Valley became part of numerous attempts to expose this malfeasant malignancy, demonstrates the breadth, depth, and scope of the rot within our civic institutions.
- Kris Milligan
Publisher, Trine Day, 8/18/2010
Journalist Danny Casolaro's death was like a stone hurled into a pool of water. Ever expanding circles of shock waves rippled from the epicenter in Washington, D.C. to the furthest reaches of the nation's consciousness. When the last circle wave crashed upon the West Coast, its psychological effects prompted California journalists to seek answers to what had been contained in Casolaro's files, stolen on the eve of his death. This book attempts to follow the trail of his investigation which he termed 'The Octopus'."
"Just prior to his death on August 10, 1991, Casolaro ecstatically told friends he would be traveling to Martinsburg, VA to bring back the head of the Octopus. Instead, his body was found in a blood-filled bathtub at a Martinsburg hotel, his wrists slashed deeply ten or twelve times. No papers were found in his hotel room or in his car, though he was known to cart an accordion style file folder everywhere he went. The room was cleaned and his body was embalmed before relatives were notified; authorities had assumed it was a suicide."
"... Casolaro's notes at home confirmed that he had traced the tentacles of his Octopus back to a CIA 'Old Boy' network that had begun working together in the 1950s around the Albania covert operations. Reportedly, these men had gotten into the arms and drug trade back then and had continued in that business ever since."
"He said a meeting had been held in December 1999 at the Los Alamos facility in New Mexico which was attended by the heads of the intelligence divisions of the U.S. [CIA], Britain [MI6], Israel [Mossad], and CSIS [Canadian Security Intelligence Service] relative to questions about upcoming Y2K computer problems. The topic of discussion was labeled 'Unique Elements.' The meeting had been called after a glitch was found in the British computer system which caused the loss of six months of 'historical case data.'
A source who attended the Los Alamos meeting had suggested to McDade that it appeared all four allied countries shared the same computer system, possibly PROMIS, presumably because PROMIS was the only system developed years ago which could be mutually integrated by these allies. McDade had been told by another source that the Israeli Mossad may have modified the PROMIS software so it became a 'two-way backdoor', thus allowing the Israelis access to top U.S. weapons secrets at Los Alamos and other installations. He hinted that the Israelis may now possess all the nuclear secrets of the United States. This was four months before Associate Press reported in June that hard drives and discs containing nuclear secrets were discovered missing at Los Alamos."
"Like a many-tentacled octopus, this ties in with what John Cohen, a House Judiciary Committee investigator on Inslaw, said about the theft of the PROMIS software: 'You see, I've had a side theory about why PROMIS was taken. It was that PROMIS could be modified to track money laundering. And it could be used as an active information gathering, or an active moving software program that can go into other databases. And it could be modified to control hundreds of accounts and move money through the international banking system.'
Cohen added, 'What a lot of people don't realize is that there are two international banking systems. There's CHIPS and SWIFT. And the word Swift Chips has been spread throughout this whole [Inslaw/PROMIS] investigation. CHIPS is a referral to the Clearing House Interbank Payment System and its European counterpart, SWIFT. And they do $2 billion dollars worth of banking transactions a day. And if one was able to move accounts through there, you could move money invisibly around the world...' "
"Unknown to me at the time, I had taken a quantum leap in the direction of the Octopus when I contacted Ted Gunderson. The mystery of the Mariposa coverups would soon be divulged through an associate of his, a former member of 'The Company' in nearby Fresno, CA."
"Tell me about Wackenhut."
"It's a security corporation headquartered in Coral Gables, Florida. Wackenhut provides security for the Nevada nuclear test site, the Alaskan pipeline, Lawrence Livermore Labs, you know, all the high security government facilities in the U.S. They have about fifty thousand armed security guards that work for minimum wage or slightly above."
"On the other hand, on the Wackenhut board of directors, they have all the former heads of every government agency there ever was under Ronald Reagan and George Bush: FBI, CIA, NSA, Secret Service, etc.
"You know, they've got retired Admiral Stansfield Turner, a former CIA director; Frank Carlucci, former CIA deputy director; James Rowley, former Secret Service director; Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, former acting chairman of President Bush's foreign intelligence advisory board and former CIA deputy director. Before his appointment as Reagan's CIA director, the late William Casey was Wackenhut's outside legal counsel..."
I interrupted him, wanting to know where he fit into the picture?
"Well, I served as Director of Research for the Wackenhut facility at the Cabazon Indian reservation in Indio, California. In 1983-84 I modified the PROMIS computer software to be used in law enforcement and intelligence agencies worldwide. A man named Earl Brian was spearheading a plan for worldwide use of the software, but essentially the modified software was being pirated from the owners, Bill and Nancy Hamilton."
I asked, "So how did that cause your arrest?"
Michael was articulate but his story was becoming complicated. He continued. "I signed an affidavit for the Hamiltons stating that I had been responsible for the modification. The House Judiciary Committee on Inslaw was investigating the theft of the software and I was afraid I would be implicated since I had performed the modification. Eight days later, in an attempt to discredit my testimony, I was arrested for allegedly operating a drug lab."
Inslaw Inc is an information technology firm which developed the famous PROMIS software. A bankruptcy court determined INSLAW was defrauded of its intellectual property rights. Hillary Clinton was the intellectual property lawyer for the company that illegally marketed the software worldwide. Mary Jacoby, wife of FusionGPS founder Glenn Simpson, is the daughter of a major investor in the company Hillary Clinton represented that marketed the stolen software.
"For three months, Riconosciuto called daily from Pierce County Jail in Tacoma, Washington. At his request, I attached a tape recorder to my phone and unraveled a complicated web of illegal overseas arms shipments, espionage, CIA drug trafficking, biological warfare development, computer software theft, money laundering, and corruption at the highest levels of government."
"Because Indian reservations are sovereign nations and do not come under federal jurisdiction, Wackenhut International had formed a partnership and entered into a joint business venture with the Cabazon Indians to produce high-tech arms and explosives for export to third-world countries. This maneuver was designed to evade Congressional prohibitions against U.S. weapons being shipped to the Contras and middle-eastern countries."
"Turner later noted to reporters that he was 'scared #less' about information he had seen connecting Ollie North and BCCI. 'I saw papers from Danny that connected back through the Keating Five and Silverado [the failed Denver S&L where Neil Bush had been an officer]', he said."
"To his friend Ben Mason, Danny showed a 22-point outline for his book. Included in the information he shared with Mason were papers referring to Iran-Contra arms deals. Photocopies of checks made out for $1 million and $4 million drawn on BCCI accounts held for Adnan Khashoggi, an international arms merchant and factotum for the House of Saud, and by Manucher Ghorbanifar, an arms dealer and Iran-Contra middleman, were presented.
"Dear Mr. Weld:
As agreed Messrs, Manichur Ghorbanifar, Adnan Khashoggi, and Richard Armitage will broker the transaction of Promise software to Sheik Klahid bin Mahfouz for resale and general distribution as gifts in his region contingent upon the three conditions we last spoke of. Promise must have a soft arrival. No paperwork, customs, or delay. It must be equipped with the special data retrieval unit. As before, you must walk the financial aspects through Credit Suisse into National Commercial Bank. If you encounter any problems contact me directly.
Sincerely, WM. Bradford Reynolds
Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division
"Adnan Khashoggi's sister, Samira Khashoggi Fayed, was the mother of Dodi Fayed, an Egyptian multi-millionaire film producer who was romantically involved with Diana, Princess of Wales. In the early hours of August 31, 1997, the couple died in a car crash in a Paris underpass."
"Most of Danny's drafts focused on the Southeast Asian heroin connection, CIA drug money used to finance the Contras, and the ability of terrorists to send missiles containing dangerous chemicals and biological diseases into the U.S.
One typewritten draft entitled 'Behold, A Pale Horse' described an 'international cabal [in Southern California] whose freelance services covered parochial political intrigue, espionage, sophisticated weapon technologies that included biotoxins, drug trafficking, money laundering, and murder-for-hire that emerged from an isolated desert Indian reservation...
According to Danny, the cabal continues today, 'its origins spawned thirty years ago in the shadow of the Cold War.'"
"You look at Cytotoxic T-Lymphocytes. You go ask any medical professional what they're doing on the leading edge of research there? What the full implications to humanity are, ok?"
"It would have been Hitler's wet dream. It's selective to such a degree that it's awesome. With the appropriate genetic material, you can wipe out whole segments of humanity. There's no stopping it.
You can very specifically wipe out disease cells, cancer cells. Look at the patents. Look at Immunix Corporation, look at the patent portfolios on Bio-Rad.
Of significance, was Chasen's confirmation of the horrendous properties of the "virus" which he encountered at the Indio facility. He said "Wackenhut was running amuck." Robert Nichols and Peter Zokosky had attempted to sell the biological warfare technology (developed in cow uteri) through Wackenhut, using Robert Frye, VP of the Indio facility as the front man. According to Chasen, Frye went behind his [Chasen's] back in facilitating the project; when Chasen learned of the project, he shut it down. (Chasen supervised the Indio facility from Coral Gables) Because of the project underway at the Indian reservation, he chose to never set foot on the property.
Pia Farrankopf was dead in her garage for five years. She worked for a company with deep ties to some major scandals involving illegal government spying. She was reported to have argued with her former boss at Alltel. She installed core banking systems linked with a major banking spy scandal. She work for many years with Obama's uncle -- and he may have even been her boss at some point and traveled with her to install Systematics core banking systems across the globe. And, someone with an interest in voter fraud is the best lead in a criminal investigation…
- Vasa Croe
So....where does FusionGPS come in? Well, they have been deeply involved in recent stories on Russia obviously....they are an intelligence gathering company.
FusionGPS is owned by Glenn Simpson. Glenn is married to a woman named Mary Jacoby. Now how odd would it be for them to have a connection to the direct involvement of Jackson Stephens acquisition of Systematics? Very odd....yet here it is....
Chasen acknowledged the biological technology introduced by Nichols and Zokosky, saying it had been presented to him as something that could 'create anything from chicken soup to long range missiles.' When he learned of the properties of the technology, he halted it immediately. When pressed for further details, he added reluctantly, 'It was the kind of thing your mind erases.'"
CS: Ted Gunderson gave me a huge manual on The Octopus...
Nichols: In my opinion, to research anything of that magnitude you are looking at - it would require a lot of money and a lot of travel and a lot of patience. I don't think Ted Gunderson knows anything, personally. He's domestic. It's not his area.
CS: Did you operate a telex company with him during the Olympic Games?
Nichols: Absolutely not. A telex company. Absolutely not. Oh, jeez. Did you ask Ted Gunderson that?
CS: Well, no, I didn't...
Gunderson: Well, you can't be shy. You have to ask questions, or else how do you know?
CS: What did Danny Casolaro spend so much time on the phone with you for?
Nichols: Danny used to ask me different things. But Danny was more into the names in Paris and Switzerland and -- Danny was investigating the whole international situation. You have to spend a lot of money and do a lot of traveling. Danny had said to me that he had a whole agenda worked out, you know, where he was going to go and who he was going to see. And I mean it literally was a global trip...
At noon we arrived at Nichols' Sherman Oaks apartment building. Littman punched in #68 and spoke briefly to Nichols, who buzzed the door open. At Nichols' apartment, #103, Littman pointed out the electronic security system on the front door, then at the last moment, instructed my husband to wait in the van. We owned a 1991 Chevrolet conversion, so he napped and watched television the rest of the afternoon. Towards the end of the five-hour meeting, Nichols invited him up for coffee and cake.
Peter Zokosky and his wife (former Mayor of Indio), Robert Booth Nichols and his wife, Ellen, were present inside the apartment. Littman had previously warned me that the apartment was electronically wired to detect any listening devices I might be wearing on my body. I said I had none.
Littman had also warned me that I would be seated on a couch next to a stuffed lion which had a tape recording device (bug) under its tail. Sure enough, when I entered the apartment, I was seated on a white couch near the lion. A giant anaconda skin hung stretched across the wall. European and African relics decorated the apartment. It was instantly obvious that Nichols and his wife didn't live in the apartment, it was a meeting place.
Nichols smoked cigarettes and as a result, kept the upstairs windows in the apartment open, allowing a cool February breeze to flow through the apartment. Nerves, and the cool air induced me to keep my light coat on during most of the interview. At first, Peter Zokosky, a friendly, congenial man, did most of the talking. As the conversation warmed up, Nichols entered intermittently, then took over completely.
A formal gourmet luncheon was served of curried soup, salmon and turkey finger sandwiches, wine and home-made strawberry cake. Ellen Nichols was the perfect hostess, but rarely said a word.
Regarding Danny Casolaro, Nichols and Zokosky both insisted that Danny had been 'murdered'. Danny's book research had progressed to a point where he was looking overseas for answers and Nichols had offered to direct him to certain connections that would have completed his investigation.
Nichols confirmed that he was privy to Danny's findings on a regular basis, but chose not to elaborate on the content of his last conversation with Danny.
I continued to press him for information on the "cause' of Danny's death; what had he discovered that caused him to be murdered? Nichols responded defiantly that he knew why Danny died, but he said "no journalist or investigator had done enough work to be deserving of that information yet."
It was not until the end of the meeting, when we had established a tentative rapport, that Nichols offered to take me to Europe, as he had Danny, to find the answers to my investigation of the Octopus. But he stressed it would be very expensive and I would be gone for several months. I remember the probing look on his face as he made the offer. I had nodded slowly, stating I would give it some thought. I wondered fleetingly if he was trying to recruit me into the CIA? Or create a new Manchurian candidate?
Regarding the stolen PROMIS software, Nichols said he believed Michael Riconosciuto had been contracted by the government to "derail" Bill Hamilton at Inslaw. According to Nichols, Michael did have the PROMIS software codes. Allegedly, Peter Zokosky's "brother" sold copies of the software to Israel. Zokosky nodded in agreement at that statement.
While we were on the subject of drugs, I took the opportunity to question Nichols' involvement. I led in by describing the drug situation in Mariposa county, adding that the entire country seemed to be economically dependent on the drug trade. Nichols nodded in full agreement, then noted that Europe's economy was completely dependent on drug money. Without drugs, banks and whole countries would collapse financially.
I did not openly confront Nichols at his apartment about the above documents, but asked him if he had sold or facilitated the research of specific biotechnology to the Japanese? Nichols adamantly denied any involvement in such research.
When I rephrased the question, and he realized I knew about the MIL agreements, he admitted that he had in fact facilitated the research of methodology and induction of cytotoxic T-Lymphocytes through "five offshore research institutes." But, he added that the research was "classified" by the sponsoring governments and "secret" and he could not discuss it.
When I pressed for the names of the sponsoring governments, he clammed up. Had I known more about the technology at the time, I would have pointedly questioned him about the properties of the virus, but in retrospect, my ignorance opened doors that otherwise wouldn't have been opened.
At one point during our conversation, and completely out of context with what we were discussing, Nichols played a video tape of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The southern wall of Nichols' apartment contained a six-foot-wide screen on which I watched a blown-up enlarged, slow motion "uncut" version of the famous Zapruder film.
I watched what appeared to be the standard media version of the film, seen so many times in film clips over the years, but then Nichols slowed the camera even more, and on the six-foot screen, I observed the driver of the limousine turn to his right, first looking at Connolly, then at Kennedy. The driver's left hand came over his right shoulder, and he was holding a long barreled gun. Smoke and a bullet emerged ever so slowly across the screen into Kennedy's head, blowing brain tissue into the air as he fell back against the seat.
Stunned, I watched Jacqueline Kennedy open her mouth in horror as she glanced at the driver, then try to climb over the back seat of the car.
Littman and Zokosky and I stared at the scene in silence, unable to believe what we were seeing. Nichols then changed the tape and showed what he described as the "media" version, the driver continued to drive, unflinching, as the shots rang out. Then the scene switched to the back part of the limousine.
At this point, Nichols stopped the frame and pointed with a stick at a tree in the background behind the limousine. From the middle of the tree to the ground, there was no trunk, just air. The top part of the tree was growing in air!
I demanded that my husband be allowed to see the film. I felt I must have been hypnotized. When he arrived, he viewed both films up close, in slow motion, and saw the same thing. Nichols played both tapes backwards and forwards as often as we demanded, until the memory of it was burned forever into our minds.
I assumed the video has been tampered with. I asked Nichols where he had obtained the original "un-cut" version? He would not say. I had no idea at that time that his FIDCO partner, Clint Murchison, Jr's father had had instant access to the Zapruder film immediately after the assassination in Dallas, Texas.
Nichols studied me for the longest time, then walked over to the window and lit a cigarette. He finally commented that the CIA can cover up anything it wants, even a president's murder. He wanted to show me the power of the Octopus. "Nothing is as it appears to be," he said.
Somehow, that statement rang true. He then noted that he'd read my first book, the one I had sent him, then handed me a book entitled, The Search for the Manchurian Candidate. He told me to read it, appraising me silently. Inwardly, I recalled a conversation with Ted's live-in partner [name withheld by request], in which she related a conversation she'd had with Ted after a dinner engagement with Nichols. Nichols had reportedly stated to Ted that he headed a 200-man assassination team. Ted's partner had been too frightened to elaborate on this conversation, but had pointed out that Nichols once worked in the MK-Ultra (Manchurian Candidate) program during the Vietnam War. This program was part of the "Phoenix Project." Interestingly, numerous publications had mentioned that Earl Brian had also participated in the Phoenix Project during the war.
Nichols' sister was allegedly a professional hypnotherapist, and Nichols himself was reportedly trained in the art of hypnotism. According to Riconosciuto, they all called themselves "The Chosen Ones," wore skull and crossbones rings, and shared a common interest, if you could call it that, in the old German SS occultism, its tribal and inner circle rites.
After much coaxing, I finally agreed to send him some sort of an affidavit. I was working as a reporter for the local newspaper and didn't have time to put together a detailed report, so I simply attached a notarized cover sheet to "Vortex" and mailed it off to him with a few supporting documents.
On October 28, 1992, Cohen called back. He was very excited about Vortex. "There's some great information here," he observed. "You did a very good investigative job, I have to commend you on that. I realize it's only a fraction of everything you have. What you have done, you have put the pieces of the whole thing together. Little bits and pieces of things I have known about, that I had theorized about, you have found the answers to those specific questions." I explained to Cohen that I planned to publish a book on the subject and his professional opinion was valuable to me.
He added, "You've done some good investigative work here. It puts me in a position to say, "Yeah, this stuff is good, and this is some stuff you may want to get out. In fact, I can put myself out as being available to these media people to be an inside source, for background only, which would also add credibility to your project."
Cohen hesitated, seemingly uncomfortable with what he was about to say. He drew a deep breath, then proceeded. "You are actually a key witness to this thing now. And you might want to consider talking to a couple of the honorable law enforcement people that are still working on this. I do know there are currently some FBI investigations that are in place on this... "
Cohen hesitated again, gathering his thoughts. "... There has been some coordination on this." He waited for a response, a signal that I understood what he was trying to say. I said I understood.
"It's been unofficial, but there has been some coordination. So I'd like to know whether... maybe it would even keep you out of the limelight, whether you would mind, as long as I talk about it and clear it with you first..."
Cohen was leading up to something, but having trouble getting to the point. "... There is a certain sharing of information. Some of the leads and some of the stuff [in Vortex] (pause) ... Because I'll tell you, one of the biggest hits (pause) ... I always felt that there was a narcotics connection in this ...
I laughed aloud. Cohen continued ... "regarding international narcotics distribution. And I've sort of made my expertise in my years in law enforcement, international narco-terrorism, the weapons-dope connections in the intelligence agencies..."
I could only say, "Yes, yes, yes."
"... And when I was in Los Angeles I did a lot of undercover work with Colombians, where I worked international narcotics conspiracies with DEA and FBI and, being a local police officer, I didn't really get caught up in their systems, I just made some great contacts in these agencies. But I also learned quite a bit about Southeast Asian heroin and the rise of the Medellin Cartels and the other Cartels in Latin America."
"Yes." By then, I know Cohen had grasped the significance of the information Michael Riconosciuto had attempted to trade to the FBI, as well as Danny Casolaro's fatal inquiry about Mike Abbell of the DOJ and his connection to Gilbert Rodriguez and Jose Londono of the Cali Cartel.
Cohen continued ... "And I also ran into quite a few law enforcement professionals who were pretty irritated because of the intelligence agency, drug dealer connection."
"Well, the thing that is interesting is, one of the most interesting things in the whole report, was the article on The Company."
" ... Because that immediately answered, or confirmed, what my suspicions had been. And I know the exact, right channel to push to get this thing hooked up. And he's a big-time ... (pause) See this is a very good time for people like us, who are out for purposes of good, to ... (pause) You see ... right now the FBI is in a war with the Department of Justice. So, the time is ripe to feed this stuff to the right people." (I would later learn in early 2001 that the "war" between the FBI and the DOJ was the entire key to the Octopus story).
I agreed that the drug operations needed to be cleaned up, because the drugs were filtering into the smaller communities. But, thinking of Mariposa, I added that there were law enforcement people involved in the drug trade.
Cohen agreed. "I'm very careful with whom I deal with. And I think when these people contact you, you'll be somewhat surprised."
Reluctantly, I said, "OK, I will work with them."
Cohen concluded by saying, "You said some real interesting things. I like the section where you said 'Bob Nichols runs Glen Shockley, Glen Shockley runs Jose Londono.' Now that corroborates some information that I got in the past which talked abot one of the reasons PROMIS was stolen. You see, I've had a side theory about another reason why PROMIS was taken. And it was that PROMIS could also be modified to track money laundering."
"... And it could also be used as an active information gathering, or an active moving software program that can go into other databases. And it could be modified to control hundreds of accounts and move money through the international banking system."
I interjected. "This is what Michael Riconosciuto was trying to trade to the FBI and to FinCen ..."
Sean and Sue subsequently interviewed Michael Riconosciuto, their shared witness, during Easter 2000 at the Federal Corrections Center at Coleman, Florida, in addition to dozens of other case-related witnesses, journalists, and investigators who had preceded them. Sean called it the "Spookloop." Their combined eight-month investigation also took them into the hallowed halls of law enforcement agencies nationwide, where, with hindsight as an advantage, they harvested the dossiers of related probes dating as far back as the 1980s.
On August 26, 2000, detective Sue Todd called me to discuss the abrupt closing of the RCMP investigation. She said the Toronto Star newspaper had reported on Friday, August 25, that the RCMP National Security Division was investigating the use of the PROMIS software for spying by the United States and Israel.
As a result of this exposure, some high-ranking officials from CSIS and RCMP had conducted an internal meeting in which they apparently decided to shut down the PROMIS investigation. After eight months of intense work, both Todd and McDade were not only disturbed by what they had learned about the Octopus's far-reaching tentacles, Sean had told me that he was being monitored or surveilled by an Israeli Mossad agent, this according to Sean's source at RCMP. I don't know if Sue was aware of this, or not?
Nevertheless the longest phone conversation in my life began on that day, August 26, at approximately 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., then picked up again from 5:00 p.m. until approximately 10:47 p.m. The conversation comprised a total of approximately 10 hours. Todd said if anything happened to her as a result of her investigation, and the RCMP findings, she wanted me to publish what they learned. I readily agreed to that.
I did not take this lightly, because Sue Todd was not easily rattled. Before she reached the rank of homicide detective, she had been a police officer for more than 15 years and prior to that had worked on a California Department of Justice/Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement Task Force as an undercover narcotics officer. She had served as an intelligence consultant for numerous state and federal law enforcement agencies and held numerous certificates in specialized training. In her spare time, Sue liked to race her Corvette up to maximum speed, when she could. This was not a woman who shied away from danger.
Today, Todd is alive and well. However, she and McDade shared their findings with me throughout their investigation with the full understanding that at the conclusion of their probe, that data would be included in The Last Circle book. And what a prodigious exploration it was--
The following information was derived from the above phone conversation, and from my own follow-up work to validate the data provided to me that day. The RCMP investigation began as follows: Through a mutually shared Canadian source, John Belton (a banker who claimed he lost a great deal of money regarding the sale of PROMIS to Canada, and alleged that his bank financed the purchase of PROMIS from Earl Brian), McDade and Todd had been brought together and ultimately joined forces in their respective investigations.
Later in 1996, in an unrelated scandal, Earl Brian was indicted, arrested, and convicted on ten of thirteen counts of falsifying company finances during 1989 to obtain $56 million in bank loans. At the time of the alleged fraud, Brian was the chairman of two companies specific to the charges: United Press International and Financial News Network. He was then sentenced to four years and nine months in federal prison, but was free on bail during his appeal. On October 14, 1998, a federal appeals court upheld his fraud convictions. Brian soon entered prison. The following year, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his case. (He was released n November 1, 2002, after having served his complete sentence.
Sue had followed a long and tangled road to discover that the Abernathy murders were not connected to Michael Riconosciuto; whether he knew them or not was irrelevant. A former reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle had told her that the Abernathys in Hercules, father and son, were murdered because the father "was holding documents for Michael Riconosciuto." And of course, the connecting factor to McDade's investigation was also Michael Riconosciuto, who claimed to have installed a back door, or Trojan Horse, in the PROMIS software which RCMP was allegedly in possession of.
In the end, the two investigators did solve the mystery of PROMIS and RCMP, but not the Abernathy homicide. Essentially, the former reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle who had originally provided Sue in May 1997 with the lead that Neal Abernathy was holding documents for Michael Riconosciuto had been misinformed, and so her homicide investigation of the Abernathy execution-style murders in Hercules was being closed as well.
Nevertheless, Todd and McDade's joint 8-month investigation produced results beyond anyone's wildest expectations relative to the Octopus. Anyone who had observed the RCMP investigation up close in the United States would have realzied that the pattern of witnesses who were questioned by the Mountie, the information for which they were asked and which they provided, revealed that the alleged theft of the PROMIS software was not, in fact, always the focus of the investigation, but rather how the software had come to be used. McDade and Todd clearly focused on drug trafficking and money laundering, and Michael Riconosciuto was at the top of their list.
Riconosciuto was a scientific genius, but he also had familiarity with drug operations worldwide and had secretly provided Sean and Sue with information relating to Ben Kalka's arrests in California, in which 900-1000 lbs. of methamphetamine and $1 million in cash had been seized in Kalka's possession. It's important to point out that in the beginning, few investigators of the Octopus saga ever realized the significance of the drug angle, but in the end they always discovered that it was a key piece to the puzzle.
(to be continued)
Ben Kalka's San Francisco defense attorney, Chris Cannon, explained that the chemical precursors necessary to make that much meth would require all the precursor sold in one year in the United States on the open market. And that was just one shipment. Riconosciuto told Mr. Cannon that he had records that would prove that the precursors Kalka used to make the drugs were provided by the U.S. government. Riconosciuto told investigators McDade and Todd that [name withheld] Chemical Company was cooperating with the FBI and reporting all the chemicals that Riconosciuto ordered for his chemical companies in Washington State. Riconosciuto then provided the precursors to Ben Kalka.
Even so, Kalka wonders today why the FBI didn't track him down once the methamphetamine began hitting the streets. The agency maintains it eventually stumbled across Kalka's drug enterprise during another undercover operation.
Soon, he had produced what might have been the largest batch of methamphetamine produced in this country.
And it was all with chemicals supplied with the help of federal agents.
When he was finally arrested, Kalka gave the government $1 million and 1,000 pounds of methamphetamine, all that remained of the 8,000 pounds of the drug he'd produced, in exchange fro a promise that he would serve no more than 10 years in prison.
In 2000, Detective Eddy Erdelatz, a former San Francisco police inspector, provided a valuable lead about an obscure file, long forgotten at the San Francisco Police Department, which opened a window back in time to what was going on at the Cabazon reservation in the early 1980s. The file was labeled the "Paul Morasca Homicide Investigation File - Case No. 82-1052505" and it had never been computerized, so unless you knew it existed in the police department archives, it was essentially inaccessible unless you walked into the police department and signed for it. Only law enforcement personnel could access the file, it was unavailable to the public.
In 1981, Detective Erdelatz had investigated suspected drug trafficking and money laundering, then investigated Paul Morasca's gruesome homicide in January 1982 and placed a comprehensive report within the file relative to Philip Arthur Thompson's suspected connections to the murder.
It is noteworthy that the Morasca murder occurred just six months after the June 29, 1981 execution-style triple homicide of former Cabazon Tribal Council vice-chairman Fred Alvarez and his friends, Ralph Boger and Patricia Castro in Rancho Mirage, California.
As of August 2000 only one law enforcement officer had accessed the Morasca file in a decade, but the contents of the 1980s file, consisting of a thousand pages of police reports from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, Riverside County D.A.'s office, and Indio Police Department, along with numerous other agencies in California, became significant not only to Sue Todd and the RCMP investigators, but to future investigators in the years to come; it was instrumental in solving a 28-year old homicide case.
Morasca had been chosen to manage the Cabazon Casino shortly before his murder, so this might explain why the Cabazon-related investigative reports had been inserted into the Morasca file in San Francisco. Many of the Alvarez triple-homicide reports, including those written in Riverside relating to the Octopus, no longer existed in Riverside twenty years later, so it was fortunate that someone inexplicably inserted them into the Morasca file for safekeeping.
Within the huge file, was a report entitled, "Interim Overview --," dated February 1982, which included a document from the Indio Police Department dated August 21, 1981, relating to the investigation of the Cabazon Indians in Indio, California. This document included a surveillance report in which Cabazon Administrator Dr. John Phillip Nichols was observed visiting and meeting with various La Cosa Nostra underworld figures such as Tommy Marson, a known Gambino family associate who lived in a sprawling mansion in Rancho Mirage near Indio in the 1980s. Other alleged mobsters mentioned in the report included Vincent Caci Bologna, Anthony Fratianno, Daniel Magano, and other LCN figures.
The following is taken from Kelly O'Meara's notes: Riconosciuto had also purportedly been working on the CRYPTX software, a powerful data security/encryption program, and the TRELLIS software, before he assertively became involved with PROMIS and the Cabazon/Wackenhut weapons proposals. Ben Kalka was allegedly involved in the CRYPTX project also in 1981-82.
Sue said, "We got further than anyone else ever got in this case ... Nobody outside of law enforcement will ever know what we found because no one in law enforcement can ever tell anyone what they found." "Who controls the flow of money controls countries. PROMIS was tailored by Riconosciuto for banking and money laundering," she added. She also believed that ECHELON has PROMIS in it and there is a treaty between the U.S. and Canada to share the data from that spy apparatus.
I subsequently obtained a detailed 12-page "Memorandum for the Files" document relating to the Indo-China Project which discussed some U.S. Customs Internal Affairs findings during their far-ranging investigation. The memorandums outlined a dark tale of U.S. intelligence activities dating back as far as World War II when the OSS (Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor of the CIA) was conducting secret intelligence operations against the Nazis on the European continent. A major international money laundering infrastructure was involved, and a European-wide "private" intelligence network running through Britain, Germany, Monaco and other points with very close ties to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), according to the report.
Of particular interest to me was one Memorandum dated 5/3/91 which stated that one official closely related to the former Reagan administration appeared to be "in the middle of a major heroin transaction involving the Gambino family, dirty elements of the U.S. and British intelligence and others --"
The report said that a UK-German-Japanese consortium which handled the off loading of containers from ships in New York were on the mob payroll and were used to smuggle drugs into the United States.
It is important to note that the alleged theft of PROMIS software was well investigated. However, no investigation by any governmental body, including the U.S. House Judiciary Committee which made public its findings in September 1992, the Report of Special Counsel Nicholas J. Bua to the Attorney General of the United States Regarding the Allegations of Inslaw, Inc. completed in September 1993, confirmed that any agency or entity of Canada had obtained and used an illegal copy of the Hamiltons' PROMIS software.
A Justice Report commissioned by Attorney General Janet Reno concluded the same but did confirm that a system called PROMIS was being used by Canadian agencies but claimed that this system was totally different - it was just a coincidence that the two software programs had the same unusual name and spelling.
So what happened over the course of 10 years to lead the RCMP's top national-security investigators to probe the matter anew and to do so with such secrecy throughout the United States and Canada? Why would McDade, by all accounts a seasoned and well-respected Mountie, tell whopping tales to so many people, including not only Bill Hamilton but strangers Seymour, Todd, and others?
The answers may be found in the pattern of people who were questioned by the Mounties. The information for which they were asked and which they reportedly provided, may reveal that the alleged theft of the breakthrough PROMIS software was not, in fact, the focus of the investigation, but was secondary to how the software has come to be used.
In August 2000, McDade told the Toronto Star's Valerie Lawton and Allan Thompson, "There are issues that I am not able to talk about and have nothing to do with what you're probably making inquires about," which centered on PROMIS. Was the Mountie revealing the level he had unguardedly revealed to Seymour and friends?
Surprisingly, McDade did not focus his investigation on interviews with government officials who were involved with the PROMIS software. Rather he focused on people who claimed to have knowledge of the purported theft, many of whom also have been connected to other illegal activities, including drug trafficking and money laundering. And Michael Riconosciuto was at the top of McDade's list.
Today, that evidence is in the hands of foreign agents - our neighbors up north in Canada. When questioned about the magnetic tapes, the RCMP would neither confirm nor deny that they were in its possession. Michele Gaudet, the RCMP spokesman, did tell Insight that the investigation is ongoing and it is very much about the PROMIS software - software that may or may not involve back-door entrance into the most secret computer systems in the Western world.
Peter Zokosky said John Vanderwerker and Glenn Shockley worked for the CIA. Both were involved with the Wackenhut/Cabazon "Joint Venture." He said Meridian International Logistics (MIL), of which he was a board member with Robert Booth Nichols, was a "front company." It was used for the purpose of "funneling money to pay the board of directors of MIL." The payments amounted to "five figures."
Kelly asked, "Where did the money come from?" Zokosky said it came from the NSA. He explained that the NSA does not have to account for money. The NSA makes a "profit." He alluded that some of the money came from drug profits. He said he was told that the "only people that get busted [for drugs] are those that don't have a distribution territory."
Discussion ensued about drug economies worldwide. He said drugs are called "gold" and used as currency worldwide. "Real gold takes up space and is difficult to transport. Payments are made for arms with drugs. Drugs are a business at the highest levels of corporations because there is a huge market and demand for drugs."
At my home on February 15, 2001, I answered a knock on my door. An individual was standing there with an innocuous bound accordion file brought from Washington, D.C. I have assigned a code-name for this individual as "Source" to protect this individual's identity. Source said the documents had been obtained from the House Judiciary Committee on Inslaw archived files. The files were the result of a 3-year investigation by the Committee relative to Inslaw's claim that the U.S. Department of Justice stole Inslaw's enhanced PROMIS software under the direction of Attorney General Edwin Meese.
Source noted that the documents involved a lot more than the stolen software by the DOJ. They indicated that the Mob was controlling the DOJ. Source had been given access to the documents stored at the National Archives in Suitland, Maryland. Someone in government had ordered the Judiciary Committee files delivered to his/her office and allegedly in the dead of night, source and another person had been given access to the Judiciary files.
Source explained that only Judiciary Committee members are allowed access to these documents. They are reports written by the investigators who worked for the Judiciary Committee and they contain information provided to the investigators by FBI agents, U.S. Attorneys, DEA agents, and other government and law enforcement people.
Source had been allowed to view and copy all 37 boxes of documents, but due to time constraints, had made copies of only two boxes. The two boxes were labeled or code-named "John Cohen-Personal" and they contained statements from and memorandums/reports of conversations with Thomas Gates, Marvin Rudnick, Richard Stavin and others relating to the FBI wiretaps of Robert Booth Nichols, Eugene Giaquinto and others associated with MCA Corporation. Included in the boxes were copies of the FBI wiretap tapes. Everything in those two boxes was copied, including the wiretap tapes, according to source.
... the first known public reference to The Octopus can be found in Dan Moldea's 1986 book entitled, Dark Victory, in which Moldea aptly named MCA "The Octopus." In the forward of his book, Moldea quoted Ralph Salerno, New York Police Department in 1967 as saying, "Organized crime will put a man in the White House someday - and he won't know it until they hand him the bill."
---One of the industry's giants was being represented by a mobster [Salvatore James Pisello]. How deeply had the industry been infiltrated? Four years after the convention there's still no answer to that question. But there's a new question: Why has the Justice Dept. dropped its investigation of the ties between Pisello and MCA?
Last December, according to sources in the Justice Department, the Los Angeles prosecutor who had started the investigation was called back to Washington and told by top officials of the Strike Force against Organized Crime to eliminate MCA from the probe. David Margolis, the strike force's chief, and Michael DeFeo, his deputy, told Marvin Rudnick, the prosecutor, that he could pursue a tax case against Pisello, who had earned about $600,000 in income from his dealings with MCA, but that he couldn't call several of MCA's executives as witnesses nor could he try to determine the exact nature of Pisello's relationship with MCA.
The action raises a host of troubling questions and has prompted a preliminary investigation by a House subcommittee. While spokesmen for the Justice Dept. and MCA refuse to comment on the case, the House Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee has interviewed witnesses in an attempt to determine if hearings are warranted and whether Justice Dept. officials acted properly in killing the investigation.
The case is certainly worth examining. Why, for instance, when the entire record industry is under the scrutiny of grand juries in at least five cities, would one major record company [MCA] be exempted from investigation? Why would a supposedly reputable business get involved in a series of apparently unprofitable deals with a man of dubious background?
One element of the case makes the whole matter even more curious: the names of some of MCA's high-placed friends. These include Robert Strauss, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and an MCA board member; Howard Baker, a former U.S. Senator and a former MCA board member; and Ronald Reagan, the president of the United States and once one of MCA's most important clients. [On Feb 27, 1987 Howard Baker resigned from MCA's board and became Reagan's chief of staff].
Interviews with industry sources and law enforcement officials, court documents, and MCA's own records indicate that there's an unusual relationship between the Mafia figure and the Fortune 500 company -- a relationship that seems to be just the sort of thing that the Justice Dept. is supposed to investigate.
In another excerpt, Moldea wrote:
--- For 22 of the years that Ronald Reagan pursued a career in show business, MCA was his talent agency. Lew Wasserman, the company's chairman, represented Reagan during the actor's early days in Hollywood. The late Jules Stein, MCA's founder and a longtime political supporter of Reagan's, negotiated the sale of Reagan's California properties at hugely inflated prices. In fact, MCA's help in the real estate transactions made Reagan a millionaire. Wasserman is a major contributor to and sits on the board of the Reagan presidential library, along with Attorney General Edwin Meese and seven others. He's helping to raise $80 million to build it.
So the biggest question of all, and another one that's still unanswered, is: Did someone do a favor for Reagan's pals?
So the official head of the Octopus resided in the U.S. Department of Justice, supported by an out-of-control presidential administration, its tentacles comprised of a cabal of "old Boy" cronies, true believers, who held that the end justified the means in their obsession to quell the expansion of communism in neighboring countries and throughout the world. They gave corruption a new meaning as they stampeded through the Constitution, cowboyed the intelligence community, blazed new trails into drug cartels and organized crime, while simultaneously growing new tentacles that reached into every facet of criminal enterprise. The theft of high-tech software (PROMIS) for use in money laundering and espionage, illegal drugs and arms trafficking in Latin America, exploitation of sovereign Indian nations, were just a few of these enterprises.
What could be more demoralizing to those men and women who serve and protect, than to capture on tape (actual voice recordings), members of the Gambino and Bufalino crime families, in collusion with the Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney General, the highest law enforcement authority in the nation, arranging the shutdown and sealing of an FBI investigation of MCA in order to facilitate he largest sale in U.S history to the Japanese?