"The Octopus Returns"
by Kenn Thomas
Here's a quick refresher paragraph on the Octopus:
Danny Casolaro was "suicided" in 1992 on the trail of the mother of all conspiracies, a transnational cabal manipulating world political events since World War II called The Octopus. Key to his research was a super-surveillance software called PROMIS, which was given to a crony of Ronald Reagan's as a pay off for the deliverance of $40 million to the Ayatollah Khomeini for the "October Surprise" -- holding on to the 52 American hostages in Iran until after Jimmy Carter lost the 1980 election. The crony profiteered from PROMIS (really owned by a company called Inslaw) by selling it to police agencies throughout the world for the purpose of tracking criminals and extrapolating their next moves.
Feral House plans a new edition of the book The Octopus: Secret Government and the Death of Danny Casolaro. Casolaro's own notes - those that didn't disappear the night he died - provided the basis of the book, which I co-wrote with another celebrated conspiracy writer, Jim Keith. That first edition came out in 1996 and is now a bit of a collector's item, costing about $100 on amazon if you can find a copy.
Like all great conspiracy writers, Casolaro was dismissed as a paranoid crank. The book's existence as a kind of cult classic testifies to how cutting-edge parapolitical insight is pushed into an underground of the few who care to know. It's re-emergence now, however, has an eerie, although not unsurprising, parallel with events and people easily recognizable to the wider world. The Octopus, the real one, has returned just in time for the book.
Example one: shortly after the Afghanistan war stories began circulating that Osama Bin Laden was using the PROMIS extrapolation function to avoid capture. According to these stories, it was given to him via a circuitous route from the Russians who got it from the famed turncoat spy Robert Hanssen.
Example two: the June resignation of Paul Redmond, Assistant Secretary of Information Analysis for the US Homeland Security department. Described by some as a "legendary spy catcher" - he had a role in the capture of CIA traitor Aldrich Ames - Redmond officially resigned for "health reasons." Most took that as polite cover for Redmond's frustration with under-funding of the department, but others connected into to a rumored secret investigation Redmond was conducting of long-standing common interests between the Bush and bin Laden families and was forced to resign. Among the connections: PROMIS, also had been given to Saddam Hussein by the senior Bush in the early 1990s, and he too now uses it to avoid capture. Danny Casolaro had reported that Iraq was among the countries that originally purchased the software illegally.
Example three: Casolaro had also written about John Poindexter, one of the few people convicted in the Iran-contra scandal, a trading-with-the-enemy affair that grew out of the October Surprise. An appeals court overturned his five 1990 felony convicitions, however, and more recently Poindexter was appointed head of a new information technology unit of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon agency that developed the internet. This new DARPA unit was called Total Information Awareness. Symbolized on its website and on a wall decoration in Poindexter's office by an eye over a pyramid - a tip of the hat that he worked for secret masters -- it's purpose was to further develop PROMIS-like software that could track every detail of every American citizen's life.
In July, Poindexter was forced to resign from the administration when it was discovered that DARPA's TOI also was developing a futures trading market based on the prediction of terrorist events. Of course, a short-selling spree on the real market made a fortune for someone just after the destruction of the World Trade Towers, so someone was already pretty good at predicting terrorist events.
Examples four and five: the central conspiracy that concerns even the major media now is the role of the Saudis in the 9/11 disasters. Casolaro had written about the al-Yamama aerospace contract umbrella that keeps US and British money flowing into Saudi Arabia. He focused on the career of arms merchant Adnan Khashoggi, who helped develop the contracts, and his partner, Manucher Ghorbanifar. Back in March, because of meetings Khashoggi set up with Bush defense adviser Richard Perle to privately profiteer from the still pending war in Iraq, Perle was also forced to resign. This month it has been reported that Pentagon underlings for the Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, have been meeting with Manucher Ghorbanifar, unauthorized by Dubya, of course.
The pattern of resignations is erupting around the edges of the Octopus entity that Casolaro began to delineate back in the late 80s/early 90s. The low-level, limited hang-out resignations more or less shield the central creature from true exposure. The compliant press helps with that, of course, not having enough historical memory to see the pattern. The only memory it has of Danny Casolaro is that he had whacky conspiracy "theories".
The new book looks at all of this and much else concerning The Octopus, Casolaro's original research as well as how it illuminates what now goes on in the post 9/11 warfare world.
Secret Government and the Death of Danny Casolaro
by Kenn Thomas and Jim Keith
Review by Jon Roland
Danny Casolaro called it "the Octopus". A vast, interlocking network of criminal conspiracy that reaches into every branch and agency of the U.S. government, many other national governments, and every sector of our societies.
An investigative reporter seeking the truth, Danny told his friends he was meeting an informant to "bring back the head of the Octopus" when his body was found in a hotel in Martinsburg, West Virginia, on August 10, 1991. Much of the evidence he had gathered was missing. The death was ruled a "suicide", but the evidence supports murder. He never had the chance to write the book he was working on. This is an attempt to finish the book Danny started, based on his surviving notes and further investigation.
Critics will say that this book contains much material that is unconfirmed. The authors admit this, but much of the information is of a character that does not lend itself to confirmation, unless we some day kill the Octopus and dissect its tentacles. Nevertheless, the pieces do fit together to create a coherent picture, albeit an incomplete one. Much work remains to be done to bring the full truth to light. This book can provide a foundation for further investigation.
Casolaro's investigation began with his inquiry into the case of Inslaw, from whom the U.S. Justice Department stole a software package called PROMIS and sold it to governments and financial institutions around the world, after modifying it to provide a back door by which they would track the movement of money and other assets everywhere.
In investigations it is an old rule that you "follow the money", but in this case we can track the spread of the PROMIS package to follow the people who are following the money, and in so doing, exhibit the links in the network of criminal influence around the world and back to their origins, the way a physician might use an angiogram to reveal the blood flows in a human body.
Along the way the authors touch on virtually every kind of criminal enterprise and official corruption and abuse. They tie it all together in what is, if nothing else, the most complete and complex conspiracy theory yet developed, and one that is perhaps the best supported by available evidence. If even a part of this is true, it demands the attention of every responsible person. There is no escaping this monster. Either we kill it or it will kill us.
Much of this material will be familiar to investigators, reformers, and conspiracy buffs. But Thomas and Keith have found some new material and put the pieces together in some new ways that make sense. Time will tell how much of it is true. But the evidence, if not all valid, certainly needs to be explained.
If you thought all you had to worry about was the feds reading your email, or perhaps picking up the RF from your computer keyboard, consider what is said in an interview in this book with Michael Riconosciuto, the computer expert who modified the PROMIS package for the U.S. government:
Q: There was that one interview with [William] Hamilton where he was talking about how PROMIS is some kind of system that includes chips that broadcast directly to NSA satellites.
MR: They are not chips as such. The existing chips in the machine are tricked into doing it. I'm getting ready to go on television explaining that chapter and verse.
Q: On national television?
MR: German television. I will explain in hardcore, unambiguous technical terms how it's done. Unambiguous to people who are technically competent.
Q: When I describe these things to other people they say "That's not possible", particularly people who like to think of themselves as computer jocks. My thought is that ordinary people with PCs can do incredible things now, particularly with the CD ROM stuff.
MR: If you know what you're doing.
Q: But the people who actually invest enormous amounts of money and resources into it, like the National Security Agency, can do things untold, I'm sure.
MR: I'm letting the cat out of the bag where PROMIS is with the NSA. It's in the MOSIS program. The Metal Oxide Semiconductor Implementation System.
But there may be good guys at work, too. In the final "Chronology", we find:
"At Casolaro's funeral, two unknown figures appear. One of them places a medal on Casolaro's casket and saluted, although Casolaro never served in the military."
Your mission, gentle readers, if you care to accept it, is to finish the work Danny started. But along the way, just make sure it is the bad guys who commit "suicide".
And make sure all your friends read this book.
This book is now out of print. Check with its publisher, Feral House, for updates on its availability, or with used booksellers.
Adnan Khashoggi and Manucher Ghorbanifar, 12/12/86
From The Octopus: Secret Government and the Death of Danny
Casolaro by Kenn Thomas and Jim Keith, Feral House.
Tony Casolaro saw his brother on Monday, and thought that he
looked tired. Danny said that he had been getting threatening
calls in the middle of the night, and that they were ruining his
sleep. Danny stated that the calls had been going on for about
A close friend, Ben Mason, showed up at Casolaro's house
around 3:30 pm, and although Mason was anxious to go to a
restaurant and eat, Casolaro insisted on showing him some of his
latest investigatory acquisitions. He took Mason downstairs and
retrieved five pages of material from a box. The first page was
information on contra arms transfers, allegedly involving Adnan
Khashoggi. Two more pages were photocopies of BCCI checks for one
million and four million dollars, drawn on Adnan Khashoggi and
Manucher Ghorbanifar accounts -- these checks had been known to
researchers since 1987 or earlier. Another page was a passport
photo of Hassan Ali Ibrahim Ali, said to be the manager of
Sitico, allegedly a front for Iraqi arms deals. From the way
Casolaro spoke to Mason, it seemed that he had met Ibrahim. Doug
Vaughan's research determined that the pages had come from Bob
Bickel, who had gotten them from Richard Brenneke, another figure
prominent in Casolaro's research, someone who had provided
testimony about the October Surprise.
On August 5, Casolaro had called Texas oil engineer Bob Bickel,
who at one time worked as a Customs Bureau informant, apparently
to talk about Robert Booth Nichols and his association with a
former Justice official named Michael Abbell and Columbian drug
lord Gilberto Rodriquez, both of whom were being investigated for
their connections to the Cali drug cartel. Bickel previously had
aspired to blow the whistle on CIA chief Robert Gates' role in
shipping weapons to Iraq in the late 1980s. He had given Danny
photocopies of one million and four million dollar checks drawn
on the BCCI accounts of Iran-contra go-betweens Adnan Khashoggi
and Manucher Ghorbanifar. He also gave him the passport
photograph of Hassan Ali Ibrahim Ali, a front man for Iraqi
weapons sales. (Doug Vaughan traced these papers back to Richard
Brenneke.) The check photocopies had circulated among researchers
for years but when matched with the passport it seemed to
represent a great breakthrough to Danny. Was Hassan Ali Ibrahim
Ali the "maybe Arab or Iranian" man that a waitress saw Casolaro
with at the Sheridan that night?
From Casolaro's clippings files:
DOC TYPE: PRESS
DOC SUBJECT: ARMS INDUSTRY
DOC FILE: KHASHOGGI, ADNAN
DOC NO.: PR\AI\KA-01
DOC YEAR: 90
SUMMARY: THE HOUSTON POST- NEW YORK JURY CLEARS IMELDA MARCOS AND
KHASHOGGI OF LOOTING AND CONCEALING FILIPINO ASSETS.
KEYWORDS: GERRY SPENCE, OTTO OBERMAIER, PHILIPPINES
DOC TYPE: PRESS
DOC SUBJECT: ARMS INDUSTRY
DOC FILE: KHASHOGGI, ADNAN
DOC NO.: PR\AI\KA-02
DOC YEAR: 90
SUMMARY: POST ENERGY- KHASSHOGI ANNOUNCES JOINT VENTURE WITH NRG
RESOURCES INC. KEYWORDS: OIL, NATURAL GAS, PHOENIX OIL & GAS
CO.,BILL TURNEY, JERRY ALLEN
DOC TYPE: PRESS
DOC SUBJECT: ARMS INDUSTRY
DOC FILE: KHASHOGGI, ADNAN
DOC NO.: PR\AI\KA-03
DOC YEAR: ?
SUMMARY: UNKNOWN MAGAZINE- PROFILE ON KHASSHOGI'S ROAD FROM
RICHES TO RUIN KEYWORDS: TRIAD AMERICA CORPORATION, SALT LAKE
CITY, EMMANUEL FLOOR, TRIAD INTERNATIONAL
DOC TYPE: PRESS
DOC SUBJECT: ARMS INDUSTRY
DOC FILE: KHASHOGGI, ADNAN
DOC NO.: PR\AI\KA-01
The Criminal Cabal of Guns & Drugs
By David Guyatt
It is one of those stories that even the wildest novelists can’t properly imagine. A group of well placed government bureaucrats and politicians, plus numerous CIA spooks and military covert ops types shake hands with the Mafia and agree to do business on the QT. This involves shaking-down very wealthy figures, dealing guns on the black market, money laundering and trafficking drugs on a world-wide scale. Along the way they bleed the assets of numerous banks, bankrupting many of them in the process. They also involve themselves in Masonic secret societies and pull unseen strings deep inside the Vatican. And, of course, they organise a few political assassinations, invoke some random murders and set alight the fuse on dozens of major bombing events - just to add zest and confusion.
Everything is done in the name of “anti-communism,” and is conducted under the umbrella of “national security” – a designation that is sure to stifle any irksome police investigation that could otherwise lead to arrest and imprisonment. It also ensures their now decades old “business enterprise” will continue to prosper without any kind of oversight. Welcome then, to the national security “untouchables” - a group of shadowy puppet-masters who practice organised crime on a global scale in the name of freedom and democracy – and who often possess marked Nazi sympathies.
Danny Casolaro, a freelance American journalist dubbed this group The Octopus. Casolaro was investigating them for their involvement in the October Surprise story, the theft of Inslaw Corporation’s smart software suite known as “PROMIS” and their connections to the Iran-Contra affair involving Lt. Col. Oliver North, as well as the collapse of BCCI, the global bank dubbed the Bank for Crooks & Criminals International.
According to Carol Marshall, an American writer, Casolaro told friends that he “had traced the Inslaw and related stories back to a dirty CIA “Old Boy’ network that had begun working together in the 1950’s around Albanian covert operations.” Marshall adds that “these men had gotten into the illegal gun and drugs trade back then and had continued in that business ever since.” She adds that Casolaro was also investigating the Wackenhut Corporation – a leading international security firm based in Indio, California. Wackenhut Corp., began life, according to its own promotional literature, back in 1954 when a handful of FBI Special Agents decided to set-up a specialist company providing investigative services to business and industry.
But Marshall and Casolaro may well have been a few years out in their reckoning on the founding of the Octopus. There is persuasive evidence that the roots of this group date back to the war or immediate post-war years. There was certainly an accommodation reached between the Mafia and the US military by the time of the US led invasion of Sicily. In exchange for Mafia help for the Sicily landing, Mafia kingpin, Lucky Luciano, was released from prison in the US for exile in Italy.
But the relationship between the US military and intelligence community and senior members of organised crime was far more deep-seated. Lt. Colonel Lucien Conein, a high-ranking CIA officer stationed in Saigon before and during the Vietnam war, also belonged to the Corsican underworld, the Union Corse. This crime clan was responsible for the so called “French Connection” heroin shipments from Southeast Asia to Marseilles and then on to the United States during the Vietnam War era. Conein was so well connected to leaders of the Corsican underworld that when he left Vietnam, he was presented with a gold medallion embossed with the Napoleonic eagle and the Corsican crest. The medallion is traditionally worn by Corsican crime bosses to signify their seniority. Conein is believed by some to have been the inspiration for the principal character in William Herrernan’s best selling novel, The Corsican. Meanwhile, earlier in his career, Conein had been an OSS liaison officer with the French resistance during WW11.
Meanwhile, it is a sad fact that the narcotics industry has been lurking behind almost every major – and most minor – wars over the past five decades. The war is Southeast Asia that encompassed Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand witnessed a vast explosion in Opium and Heroin trafficking – with the connivance of the CIA. Much of this resulted from the decision to covertly arm, at a cost, local warlords to fight in the battle against communism. In order to be able to buy these weapons, local military commanders took control of and increased Opium production in their region. This was then exchanged for weapons and the Opium found its way to the US and Europe.
The guns for dope model that developed during the Vietnam war proved effective elsewhere, too. Similar structures were later developed in Afghanistan, El Salvador and even up to and including Kosovo – where the NATO backed KLA trafficked heroin.
Bu the Octopus does not limit itself to just guns and drugs – even though these two do generate spectacular profits. According to Carol Marshall, there is evidence of an old and deep involvement in chemical and biological (CB) weapons that may date back to WW11 and the secret Japanese Unit 731 that developed CB weapons in Manchuria. This connection also revealed, Marshall discovered, the Octopus connection to the Yakuza – Japan’s notorious underworld – in the form of Robert Booth Nichols.
Nichols repeatedly appears in Marshall’s manuscript because of his apparent relationship to organised crime syndicates and Mafia front organisations. Nichols, however, is also a member of the CIA, a fact he admitted on the witness stand during a 1993 trial for false arrest. Threatening to subpoena a list of highly placed government officers in his defence, the trial Judge, Thomas C. Murphy, ruled a mistrial. Meanwhile, Nichols continued to maintain a very close association with Harold Okimoto, Nichols Godfather and member of the Board of Directors of First Intercontinental Development Corporation (FIDCO) – a firm in which Nichols was a principle. Okimoto, meanwhile is alleged to have been a high ranking Japanese intelligence officer during WW11 – a post invariably given to senior members of the Yakuza.
One of the principal persons providing inside information to Carol Marshall was Michael Riconsciuto – a CIA scientific whiz kid imbued with marked intellectual abilities who ostensibly worked for the Wackenhut Corporation. Riconsciuto, who had been close to Robert Booth Nichols for twenty years, visited a top secret facility with him. This was located at Alice Springs in Australia and housed, according to Riconosciuto a “city of sorts, containing sophisticated communications equipment, laboratory equipment and other items that he would not define.” This facility was “privately owned” Riconosciuto told Marshall, adding that what he had seen there “made him realise it was time to terminate his relationship with Robert Booth Nichols.”
Riconosciuto refused to say what it was that caused his dismay during his Australian trip, but author Carol Marshall believed it had something to do with bio weapons that he’d worked on and which might have had a bearing on Gulf War Syndrome. This illness is said to have subterranean connections to HIV AIDS and is rumoured to have resulted from the illegal field-testing on allied troops of an experimental AIDS vaccine during the Gulf war. Were a commercial company to have found and successfully tested an AIDS vaccine, the potential profits they could earn would be enormous.
Likewise, the development of a genetically modified killer disease possesses potential for profits also. During one of her last interviews with Riconosciuto, Carol Marshall pressed the CIA scientist to explain his involvement in developing a genetically engineered biological weapon during his time at Wackenhut. Riconoscituo explained that he had worked on a “military concept where you can engineer these biological agents….you see, a specific penetration group can be immunised, and everybody else dies.”
Riconosciuto, meanwhile, was the first to claim years ago that a race specific biological weapon had been developed. At the time his claims received short shrift. We now know, however, that the Israeli’s have indeed been developing such a device as have the South Africans. Nor can the allegations of an HIV AIDS bio-weapon be written off as fantasy.
Dr. Wouter Bassoon - head of South Africa’s military covert weapons programme – who has been dubbed the “Doctor of Death” by the South African media, is said to have been involved in the use of the AIDS virus against enemies by using “infected blood” in “an operation.” Bassoon is also charged with trafficking in Ecstacy and Mandrax tablets, money laundering, the illegal administration of truth serum, conspiracy to murder and murder. Dr. Bassoon had admitted that his activities were based on a US chemical & biological weapons programme. "I must confirm that the structure of the project was based on the U.S. system. That's where we learnt the most," he said.
Meanwhile, the serpentine connections between South African security forces and leading figures from the realm of organised crime during the Apartheid era, can only serve to reinforce the incredible reach and depth of the Octopus.
How the Octopus gets it profits
A typical scam revolves around the most popular arms for drugs cycle. Weapons purchased years before by the Pentagon are acquired by the Octopus at “book value” – meaning the cost of purchase for, say, 1980 when an assault rifle might then have had a price tag of $300 each. In 1990, this cost could easily have risen to $600 each. By acquiring the 1980 stock at $300 per rifle, the Octopus could sell it to their “client” for, say, for $700 each – including shipping - thereby making a handsome profit of $400 each. In order to replenish its stock of rifles, the Pentagon arranges to purchase the current model weapon at the prevailing price – making the tax-payer the loser.
The second leg of the arrangement sees the Octopus contract to purchase the “clients” supply of drugs. The purchase price is set well below street value, but sufficient for the client to be able to afford to purchase the arms needed. The drugs are then “cut” and distributed and, naturally, generate immense additional profits at the street level. In this manner, each leg of the transaction makes a bountiful profit. The last part of the jigsaw is to launder the illegal profits through the banking system and then invest part of the proceeds into bona fide businesses.
US Grandees of the octopus
CIA whiz-kid Micahel Riconosciuto told author Carol Marshall that the US government “sanctioned” meth laborities in Fresno, Madera and Mariposa County in California. Marshall had been earlier involved in an investigation in Mariposa County that involved Police Sergeant Roderick Sinclair of the Mariposa Sheriff’s Department. Sinclair, had according to a number of witnesses been a long-term user of drugs had, while on duty, veered the car he was driving across the road and hit another car. Inside were three US Secret Service men who were all killed outright. What grabbed Carol Marshall’s attention, however, was the way the Judge in the subsequent trial appeared to cover-up Sinclair’s drug habit. The author later realised that a “tentacle of the Octopus had slithered into Mariposa County” when she discovered that Rod Sinclair’s father, Colonel Sinclair, had been a military attaché to General Douglas MacArthur during WW11 – and later supervised training of Japanese in intelligence methods. MacArthur and members of his team have long been associated with the Octopus – perhaps because of the General’s role as Japan’s “Shogun” after WW11 and the inevitable contacts created with the Japanese crime clans, the Yakuza. It has recently been revealed that MacArthur appears to have personally benefited from war loot plundered by the Japanese and later secretly recovered by the OSS and the CIA. This was in the form of gold bullion accounts set-up in MacArthur’s name by the OSS/CIA officer Santa Romana.
Warfare – each side is set to bleed the other for profit
During hearings in 1987, the Senate Sub Committee on Terrorism, Narcotics & International Operations revealed a series of “secret memo’s” written by General Paul F. Gorman who as head of “Southern Command” commanded the US military presence in South America during the 1980’s. Gorman had written: “There is not a single group in unconventional warfare that does not use narcotics to fund itself.” He was referring to the US backed Contra’s supported by Colonel Oliver North and the national Security Council of the US. This was the tip of the iceberg, however. Every conflict from Vietnam on through Lebanon, Afghanistan, Croatia and Kosovo has relied on the guns for drugs equation operated by the Octopus. One very senior Pentagon source described how this came about to author Monica Jensen-Stevenson: “What started out in Vietnam as a neat way to find money to fund covert operations had developed into a huge industry. The men and women who are involved, maybe they can’t get off the merry-go-round. Maybe it keeps spinning faster and faster, they make more and more money, and even if they wanted to duck out, they can’t.” Theodore Shackley, one of the key CIA figures involved in covert operation since Vietnam described in his book The Third Way that low intensity conflicts are not really fought to be won but to bleed both sides so as to maximise black market commerce and to secretly field test new weapons and techniques on a “training battlefield.”
The Head of the Octopus?
In her book The Last Circle, author Carol Marshall outlines an international company, First Intercontinental Development Corporation (FIDCO) that she said led her “straight to the head of the octopus.” She then lists the Board of Directors of FIDCO who included Robert Maheu Snr, right hand man of Mob and CIA connected Howard Hughes and Robert Booth Nichols, self-confessed CIA agent with powerful Mafia affiliations. Among others on the board were Michael McManus, former assistant to President Reagan and Clint Murchison Jnr., owner of the Dallas Cowboys NFL football team. The latter is the son of Clint Murchison Snr., who was one of the motivating factors behind General Douglas MacArthur’s failed Presidential attempt in 1952. Muchison senior was also closely associated at this time with Richard Nixon, who later became US President and had financial dealings with him that involved Jimmy Hoffa, a Mafia figure connected to the Teamsters Union. Others who were close friends of Murchison senior included FBI chief, J. Edgar Hoover. That Clint Muchison senior had dealings with the Mafia is undisputed. For example, 20% of the Murchison Oil Lease Company was owned by Gerardo Catena, a leading lieutenant of the Genovese crime family. Of interest, too, are Murchison’s Texas connections. Investigative journalist, Pete Brewton, in his book The Mafia, CIA & George Bush, ties former President George Bush to leading Mafia figures in Texas.
[E: This chapter was omitted from the printed edition.]
"This underground empire is controlled by a handful of people for money — that's the only secret of the temple."
— Investigative reporter Danny Casolaro, prior to his murder by the Octopus
The nomenclature of the Lockerbie and World Trade Center bombings provide a unique and unparalleled insight into the dynamics of the Oklahoma City bombing. Each event gives the reader a glimpse of how the Shadow Government operates, utilizing drug dealers, criminals, and terrorists to do its bidding.
All three bombings were sting operations that utilized, and were utilized by, terrorists bent on causing destruction.
But the question still remained: who was controlling the terrorists? To understand that, one must peer through the doorway of time stretching from WWII to the present.
To prepare for the invasion of Sicily during WWII, the OSS (which later became the CIA) collaborated with the Corsican Mafia. The arrangement permitted the Mafia use the port of Marseilles for heroin smuggling in exchange for its assistance in defeating the Nazis.
After WWII, the heroin operation moved to Vietnam and Laos, then to Afghanistan and Pakistan, as the CIA embroiled itself in a covert war against the Soviets. Assistant Secretary of Defense for National Security Affairs Richard Armitage sat on the "208 Committee," which oversaw military aid to the Mujahadeen. Fazoe Haq, the governor of the Northwest Frontier Province (the largest heroin growing province in Afghanistan), who was originally worth $100,000, was suddenly was worth $200 million after the war. Armitage was his main contact.
Vince Cannistraro (Mr. "Libya done it") also sat on the 208 Committee, representing National Security Advisor Robert "Bud" McFarlane, Oliver North's supervisor.
Shortly after the start of the Afghani operation, the CIA began arming the Contras in Nicaragua. Cannistraro himself [along with Duane "Dewy" Clarridge, then Chief of the CIA's Latin American Division] headed Casey's original operation to arm the Contras, based on Reagan's March, 1981 decision. As former Green Beret Andrew Eiva said, "Cannistraro was up to his ears by 1985." This is significant, considering the Boland Amendment, prohibiting aid to the Contras, was passed in 1984.
Some of these are the same players who moved into other Central American countries, setting up security services (death squads) for U.S.-backed dictators, and profiting handsomely from the cocaine trade.
If anyone thinks these are outrageous allegations, consider the statements of Mike Levine, one of the DEA's most highly decorated veterans: "For decades, the CIA, the Pentagon, and secret organizations like Oliver North's Enterprise have been supporting and protecting the world's biggest drug dealers," including the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan, the Contras in Central America, the DFS in Mexico, the Shan United Army in the Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia, and "any of a score of other groups and/or individuals like Manuel Noriega. Support of these people has been secretly deemed more important than getting drugs off our streets."
Or consider the words of Lt. Col. Bo Gritz, former commander of the Special Forces in Latin America and the most decorated soldier in Vietnam. Gritz made a trip to the Golden Triangle in 1983 to search for American POWs, a mission that was ultimately stonewalled. Gritz believes the POWs are being used as drug mules, and the government doesn't want them returned alive, for fear they would expose the Octopus. As Gritz said: "[They] would not want the American POWs to come home. Because when they do, there will be an investigation as to why they were abandoned. At that time we will uncover this secret organization and its illicit drug money and financing. The Secret Team would then be exposed."
As Gritz later wrote in Called to Serve:
If Richard Armitage was, as Khun Sa avowed, a major participant in parallel government drug trafficking, then it explained why our efforts to rescue POWs had been inexplicably foiled, time after time... If it was true, Richard Armitage would be the last man in the world who would desire to see prisoners of war come home alive.
As "Special Consultant to the Pentagon on the MIAs," in Bangkok in 1975, Armitage reportedly spent more time repatriating opium profits then recovering POWs. In 1976, when Khun Sa was still selling heroin to CIA officials, the head of the CIA was none other than George Bush.
Former presidential candidate H. Ross Perot, who was appointed presidential investigator for POW/MIA affairs, came upon the same information, and was warned by former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci to stop pursuing the connections to Armitage. As he sadly explained to a group of POW/MIA families in 1987: "I have been instructed to cease and desist."
Ironically, between 1987 and 1991, Vice-President Bush served as head of the South Florida Drug Task Force, and later as chair of the National Narcotics Interdiction System, both set up to "stem" the flow of drugs into the U.S. While Bush was drug czar, the volume of cocaine smuggled into the U.S. tripled.
Celerino "Cele" Castillo, the DEA's head agent in El Salvador and Guatemala from 1985 to 1991, told reporters and Senate investigators of numerous known drug traffickers who used hangers controlled by Oliver North and the CIA in El Salvador's Ilopango military airbase. When Castillo naively tried to warn Bush at a U.S. embassy party in Guatemala, Bush "just shook my hand, smiled and walked away…"
"By the end of 1988," added Castillo, "I realized how hopelessly tangled the DEA, the CIA, and every other U.S. entity in Central America had become with the criminals. The connections boggled my mind."
"The CIA — they're making deals with the Devil," adds Mike Levine. "Unfortunately, the Devil is smarter than they are."
Some of those devils, like Monzer al-Kassar — "business partner" of Richard Secord and Oliver North — would be utilized to do the Octopus's dirty work.
Another name Khun Sa mentioned repeatedly was Ted Shackley. A long-time CIA player, Theodore G. Shackley (known as "The Blond Ghost") began his Agency career as CIA Station Chief in Miami, where he directed the CIA's JM/WAVE Operation, a post-Bay of Pigs attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro and wreck havoc within that sovereign nation. Utilizing Cuban expatriates, the CIA conducted hundreds of sabotage raids against Cuba in direct violation of the U.S. Neutrality Act. Shackley also worked in close partnership with Mob figures John Roselli, Sam Giancana, and Santos Trafficante.
While the operation was shut down in 1965, due mainly to revelations of organized crime connections and drug smuggling, many of the participants remained in Miami, continuing their illegal activities.
Later, as Station Chief of Laos, Shackley directed Major General Richard Secord's air wing in tactical raids against the Communist Pathet Lao, who happened to be General Vang Pao's main competition in the opium trade. By keeping the Pathet Lao busy with the help of the CIA and the American military, Pao's Hmong tribesmen were able to become the region's largest heroin producers.
Of course, Shackley, his deputy Tom Clines (who supervised the air base in Long Tieng), and their colleagues in CIA front companies like Air America were only too happy to help, smuggling heroin to the U.S. in the gutted bodies of dead GIs (with the assistance of their old Mob buddy Santos Trafficante, who had helped form their ZR/RIFLE assassination team, and Vietnamese Air Force General Nguyen Cao Ky), and laundering the profits in the Nugan-Hand bank. As a 1983 Wall Street Journal article stated:
Investigations following Mr. Nugan's death and the failure of the bank revealed widespread dealings by Nugan-Hand with international heroin syndicates, and evidence of massive fraud against U.S. and foreign citizens. Many retired high-ranking Pentagon and CIA officials were executives of or consultants to Nugan-Hand.*
Shackley, along with Nugan-Hand's attorney — former CIA Director William Colby — directed the infamous "Phoenix Program," a largely successful attempt to "neutralize" by torture and murder approximately 40,000 Vietnamese civilians suspected of being Viet Cong sympathizers. One Phoenix operative, testifying before Congress, stated that Phoenix was "a sterile, depersonalized murder program… it was completely indiscriminate." The assassinations would continue in Nicaragua under the code-name "Operation Pegasus."
After becoming the head of the CIA's Western Hemisphere operations (Latin American Division) in 1972, Shackley supervised the overthrow of the Chilean government ("Operation Track II") by murdering democratically elected President Salvador Allende. With the backing of the CIA under Shackley, the military led a violent coup by Right-wing General Augusto Pinochet, which resulted in the abolishment of the Constitution, the closing of all newspapers save for two Right-wing dailies, the outlawing of trade unions, the suppression of all political parties, and the arrest, torture, and execution of thousands.
After a brief stint as Director of the Far East Division, Shackley directed CIA agent Edwin Wilson in training the Shah of Iran's notorious secret police, the Savak, who routinely tortured and murdered the Shah's opponents. Later Shackley would assist more directly in these efforts.
In 1975, Shackley became Associate Director in the Directorate of Operations, which put him in charge of Covert-Operations, Counter-Intelligence, and ironically, Counter-Narcotics, all under the command of George Herbert Walker Bush.
These associations naturally led to Shackley playing a role in the formation of the "Secret Team," (to coin a phrase invented by Col. L. Fletcher Prouty) the covert and illegal enterprise that was the driving force behind the Iran-Contra operation. Donald Gregg, one of Shackley's subordinates during his Saigon tenure, would later become Assistant National Security Advisor during Iran-Contra, reporting directly to Vice-President Bush.
It was against this backdrop that Shackley served as a "consultant" to players such as Bush, Secord, North, and Casey in their illegal and bloody guns-for-drugs network that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the flooding of our streets with tons of drugs.
As Wall Street Journal reporter Jonathan Kwitny writes about Ted Shackley in his book, The Crimes of Patriots:
Looking at the list of disasters Shackley has presided over during his career, one might even conclude that on the day the CIA hired Shackley it might have done better hiring a KGB agent; a Soviet mole probably could not have done as much damage to the national security of the United States with all his wile as Shackley did with the most patriotic of intentions.
Between Shackely's Cuban and Indochinese campaigns, more dope dealers were probably put onto the payroll of the United States Government, and protected and encouraged in their activities, than if the government had simply gone out and hired the Mafia — which, in the case of the Cuban campaign, it did.
CIA Director Admiral Stansfield Turner forced Shackley to resign from the Agency in 1979, due to his "unauthorized" dealings with rogue agent Edwin Wilson, who was selling plastic explosives to Libya (with Shackley's approval). Had he not left, Shackley would likely have become head of the Agency.
George Bush, who headed the Agency in 1976, strongly desired to continue in that post. He was not reappointed when Jimmy Carter took office.*
Moreover, Turner, who had little faith in HUMNIT (Human Intelligence) sources, decided to reshape the CIA along more advanced technological lines. As a result of Turner's infamous "Halloween Massacre," the CIA cut its field agents from several thousand to just over 300. As President Jimmy Carter would later state, "We were aware that some of the unqualified and incompetent personnel whom he discharged were deeply resentful."
The old hands of the Agency, who formerly had at their disposal almost unlimited "Black Budget" funds for covert operations, were suddenly forced into retirement, or forced into lockstep with Turner's new guidelines.
Although CIA Director William Casey hired 2,000 new covert operators in 1980, many CIA critics felt Turner's actions had already caused the secret cells of the good-old-boy networks to bury themselves — and their illegal activities — even deeper.
It is this element, birthed in the hysteria of the Cold War, legitimized by the paranoia of the National Security state, and nurtured by the politics of greed, that has buried itself in the core of American politics.
As long-time Army Criminal Investigator Gene Wheaton defines it: "An elite, very clandestine, very covert group within the intelligence community…. The CIA and DIA is just the lightening rod for the people who really control things."
Those who could accept the idea of government foreknowledge of the Oklahoma City bombing would be hard-pressed to accept the notion that certain factions within the government might have orchestrated the bombing itself. Those who have a difficult time accepting this are stymied by what they perceive as "government."
As Wheaton explains, "The government is just a bunch of monuments, office buildings, computers, and desks. They don't see the crazies in the government — the little conspiratorial cliques within the government."
These little conspiratorial cliques — the same players that Shackley intersects with, going back to Cuba, Laos, Afghanistan and Nicaragua — have been involved for decades in everything from drug and gun-running, to assassinations, covert warfare, and outright terrorism. It is a terrorism that increasingly has no particular face, no ideological credo, no political goal. It is a terrorism motivated by power and greed.
By no means the lone man behind the curtain, Ted Shackley represents one of the more visible of this lexicon of covert operators upon whom the powers that be depend on for their endless supply of "black ops" and dirty tricks. Perhaps this is how Shackley knows, or seems to know, the complex truth behind Oklahoma City. It is a truth that remains hidden behind a sophisticated labyrinth of covert operatives, all of whom converge at similar times and places. They are, as David Corn writes, "the little faceless gray men we never see and seldom hear about." Those we call the "Shadow Government," the "Parallel Government," the "Enterprise," the "Octopus," or a half-a-dozen other names, are carefully hidden behind an endless roster of official titles and duties, and a plethora of familiar-sounding organizations and institutions.
These same faceless little gray men would pop up in the Oklahoma City bombing conspiracy like interminable weeds between the cracks of the pavement. From the Bay of Pigs to Iran-Contra to Oklahoma City, the names, faces, and players would coalesce for a brief moment in time into an indistinguishable menagerie of politicos and spooks, terrorists and assassins — to commit their terrible deed, then fade into the seamless world were little distinction is made between assets and criminals.
Ted Shackley was officially forced to resign from the CIA due to his dealings with friend and renegade agent Edwin Wilson. Wilson and former CIA employee Frank Terpil had smuggled two tons of C-4 to Libya, and at the behest of Shackley, had set up terrorist training camps there utilizing Green Berets led to believe they were working for the Agency. The ostensible purpose of this maneuver was to permit the CIA to gather information on Soviet and Libyan weapons and defense capabilities, and to learn the identities of foreign nationals being trained for guerrilla warfare. Upon obtaining their passports and travel plans, Shackley would alert their home country's secret police, who would then assassinate them upon their return.
While Wilson was sentenced to a long prison term, Terpil fled to Cuba, and has since been involved in numerous dealings with the PLO and other terrorists, supplying them with sophisticated assassination weapons, detonators, and communication systems.
Terpil also supplied torture devices to Ugandan Dictator Idi Amin, who used a bomb supplied by Terpil to assassinate Kenyan cabinet member Bruce McKenzie.*
One month later, Terpil was implicated in the murder of three executives of the IBEX corporation — a high-technology company that was doing business with the Savak. John Harper, IBEX's former director of security, said that while in Tripoli, he saw a mock-up of the ambush site at the training facility that Terpil and Wilson had set up.†
Readers will recall this is the same Frank Terpil that was seen by Cary Gagan in Mexico City with Omar (Sam Khalid?), six months before the Oklahoma City bombing. "I saw him down in Mexico," recalled Gagan, "in November of '94, in Mexico City… with Omar."
Gagan said he and Omar met Terpil at the Hotel Maria Isabelle in the Zona Rosa district. Gagan didn't know who Terpil was at the time, but described him as a fat, balding, 60ish fellow, who was "terribly dressed." In other words — Frank Terpil.
"I heard the name because I knew Wilson's name from the Florence Federal Penitentiary in Colorado." Gagan said that one of his intelligence contacts, a man named Daniel, told him about Terpil. "The conversation came up in reference to the Gander, Newfoundland crash," said Gagan.
Was Terpil in Mexico to supply explosives to Omar? While Gagan wasn't privy to the conversation, he believes that was the purpose of the meeting.
When Wilson and Terpil were selling arms and explosives to Libya, they were reporting to none other than Ted Shackley. Kwitny notes that Wilson and Terpil were hiring anti-Castro Cubans from Shackley's old JM/WAVE program [and Green Berets] to assassinate President Qaddafi's political opponents abroad:
Some U.S. Army men were literally lured away from the doorway of Fort Bragg, their North Carolina training post. The GIs were given every reason to believe that the operation summoning them was being carried out with the full backing of the CIA.…
Readers will also recall that while Timothy McVeigh was still in the Army, he wrote his sister a letter telling her that he had been picked for a Special Forces (Green Beret) Covert Tactical Unit (CTU) that was involved in illegal activities. These illegal activities included "protecting drug shipments, eliminating the [Octopus's drug] competition, and population control."
This is exactly what Shackley, Clines, and Secord did in Laos — assassinating and bombing Vang Pao's opium competition out of existence.
Could this CTU McVeigh claims he was recruited for be a latter-day version of Shackley's assassins? Former federal grand juror Hoppy Heidelberg said McVeigh's letter indicates that he turned them down, while former FBI SAC Ted Gundersen claims McVeigh actually worked for the group for a while, then became disenchanted.
If McVeigh had actually been recruited for such a group, the question arises of what cover-story he was given. As discussed, it is highly likely he was told that he was on an important mission — to infiltrate a terrorist organization and prevent a bombing. Considering McVeigh's background and character, it is unlikely he is a terrorist who set out to murder 169 innocent people.
Also recall that McVeigh was seen with Hussain al-Hussaini. The Iraqis would provide a convincing and plausible excuse if McVeigh was led to believe he was part of a sting operation: "Son, you were a hero in the Gulf War. Your country needs you now in the fight against terrorism." It is a story a young, impressionable man like McVeigh would fall for.
It is also possible that McVeigh was sheep-dipped as disgruntled ex-GI for infiltration into the neo-Nazi community, which would provide a doorway into the bombing conspiracy through places like Elohim City.
Or perhaps, as a result of his becoming "disenchanted" and "leaving" the CTU, he became targeted for "termination," and was set up as a fall-guy. Such is standard operating procedure for those who attempt to leave the world of covert operations.
Either way, the fact that there appeared to be two "Timothy McVeighs," just as there were two Oswalds, would suggest a sophisticated intelligence operation, one that was designed to put McVeigh in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Like Oswald, McVeigh probably believed himself to be a government agent, part of a secret project. Like Oswald, McVeigh was not told what the plan really involved, and was trapped, framed, and made a patsy.
This goes a long way towards explaining why an armed McVeigh didn't shoot and kill Officer Charles Hanger when he was stopped on the Interstate after the bombing. Why would a man who had just killed 169 men, women, and children balk at killing a cop (a member of the system that McVeigh allegedly hated) on a lonely stretch of highway? The only possible answer is that McVeigh believed he was part of a sting operation — a government asset — and would be protected.
Whatever McVeigh's actual purpose and intent, it is curious, to say the least, that Ted Shackley would tell D'Ferdinand Carone that the perpetrator of the bombing was somebody from here.
How did he know?
Roger Moore, the mysterious gun dealer whom the government claimed McVeigh and Nichols robbed to "finance" the bombing, ran a company next to Bahia Mar Marina in South Florida (a popular hang-out for the Iran-Contra crowd), which manufactured high-speed boats. The boats — sold through Intercontinental Industries of Costa Rica (an Ollie North "cut-out") — were used to mine Nicaragua's harbors in "Operation Cordova Harbor."
One source I spoke to said Moore had direct contact with Oliver North. "I don't know who his [Moore's] contact was on Iran-Contra beyond Don Aranow. I know he had access and would talk directly to Oliver North. He knew Felix Rodriquez pretty well, he knew Nester Sanchez, Manny Diaz, all those guys around Jeb [Bush] pretty well."
This source also claimed that Moore was a "paymaster" for Tom Posey's Civilian Military Assistance (CMA) — the covert paramilitary operation that served as the primary nexus for arming the Contras.
A retired CIA/DIA agent I spoke to in Arkansas, said "[Moore] was an Agency contractor."
Other sources say Moore was an informant for the FBI. He allegedly tried to sell heavy weapons to the Militia of Montana (MOM) as part of an FBI sting operation. A call to MOM indicated that Moore had indeed stopped by for a friendly chat. He told Randy Trochmann, one of MOM's leaders, that he was traveling the country meeting with militia groups in an attempt to verify black helicopter sightings and rumors of UN troop movements. This seems a peculiar pastime for a man who worked for a network of spooks devoted to bypassing and subverting the Constitution.*
What is also peculiar is a letter written by Moore to McVeigh in early 1995. Introduced at the trial of Terry Nichols, the letter, speaks of "a plan… to bring the country down and have a few more things happen."
Robert "Bud" McFarlane went on to form his own consulting firm, and joined the board of American Equity Investors (AEI), founded by Prescott Bush. AEI's board of directors reads like a Who's Who of the spook world, including former CIA officials George Clairmont and Howard Hebert, and CIA lawyer Mitch Rogovin, who was George Bush's legal counsel when he was Director of the Agency.
AEI invested in a Tulsa, Oklahoma company: Hawkins Oil and Gas, from 1988 to 1991. McFarlane was a "consultant" for Hawkins and several other companies on the Ech power project in Pakistan, which required frequent trips to that country. This was during the tail end of the largest covert operation the U.S. ever conducted — the arming of the Mujahadeen, who trained in Pakistan. McFarlane sat on the "208 Committee," who's job it was to procure weapons for the Mujahadeen, and arms contracts for the Pakistani government.
Recall that Richard Armitage, who was the contact for Fazoe Haq, governor of the Northwest Frontier Province, also sat on the "208 Committee." As Alfred A. McCoy writes in The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia:
It's known that the CIA paid the Afghan guerrillas, who were based in Pakistan, through BCCI.… That the Pakistan military were in fact banking their drug profits, moving their drug profits from the consuming country back to Pakistan though BCCI. In fact the boom in the Pakistan drug trade was financed by BCCI.…
BCCI also served as a conduit for the Iran-Contra operation, largely through Gaith Pharon, former head of Saudi Intelligence, who operated out of Islamabad, Pakistan. The Saudis played a major role in funding the Mujahadeen and [via the request of Secord and McFarlane] the Contras.
McFarlane — who former Mossad official Ari Ben Menashe claims is a Mossad asset — worked with the president of Hawkins' International Division, Mujeeb Rehman Cheema, on the Ech project. Was Hani Kamal's supposed statement that Khalid was connected to the Mossad accurate? A prominent Muslim community leader, Cheema claims he does not know Sam Khalid.
Interestingly, Gagan said that at one point, Terry Nichols rendezvoused with his Middle Eastern friends at the Islamic society of Nevada. Cheema is chairman of the Islamic Society of Tulsa. Is there a connection? And what of Cheema's links to McFarlane? Was McFarlane using Hawkins as a front for CIA activities in Pakistan?
It is perhaps prophetic that many of the terrorists implicated in the major bombings of the last decade attended the terrorist conference held in the Northwest Frontier Province town of Konli, Pakistan in July of 1996. As noted, Osama bin Ladin, a Saudi who funded the Mujahadeen and was implicated in the Riyadh and Dhahran bombings, (a close associate of Sheik Abdel Omar Rahman, implicated in the World Trade Center bombing), Ahmed Jibril (who bombed Pan Am 103), and senior representatives of Iranian and Pakistani intelligence, and Hamas, HizbAllah, and other groups attended the conference.
Stephen Jones claimed he had learned through the Saudi Arabian Intelligence Service that Iraq had hired seven Pakistani mercenaries — Mujahadeen veterans — to bomb targets in the U.S., one of which was the Alfred P. Murrah Building.
Just who were these "Pakistani mercenaries," and were they really working for Iraq?