This article has been months in the making working with several sources to tell the tales buried in history of “The Octopus” — the INSLAW PROMIS software scandal and those killed in the wake of its tentacles.
For the first time ever, new details will be revealed on the decade-old murders of two journalists: a CIA intelligence operative, an NSA whistleblower; and the imprisonment of another CIA whistleblower, in this series aptly titled: “Octopus PROMIS.”
This series will explore the theft of a sophisticated computer software, assassinations, cover-ups involving the DOJ and CIA and compartmentalized commercialized treason against the American people by the hidden underbelly dark world of intelligence.
A conglomerate cabal accountable to absolutely no one, known today as the Deep State formed “within the highest councils of government” as Senator Daniel Inyoue said, during the hearings on the infamously known scandal Iran-Contra.
The Story Of INSLAW PROMIS Software
PROMIS is said to be the forerunner to the NSA’s PRISM software that was disclosed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. PROMIS has also been forked into various different softwares over the years used for a myriad of applicable uses within government, which this writer will discuss later.
PROMIS stands for Prosecutor’s Management Information System and was software first used by the U.S. Department of Justice, and later numerous intelligence agencies domestic and foreign.
The software was stolen from Bill and Nancy Hamilton of INSLAW corporation, and then bugged by Earl Brian (who was at the time one of President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George H.W. Bush’s envoys to Iran,) and Rafi Eitan, whom was director of Israeli intelligence agency LAKEM.
PROMIS was then distributed to allies and enemies alike backdoored with Signal Intelligence (SIGNIT) surveillance technology accessible to U.S. and Israeli intelligence services remotely through encrypted telecommunication signals, according to sources.
This was done primarily through Brian’s company Hadron, and Systematics Inc run by Jackson Stephens, as well as by Mossad-linked super spy media mogul Robert Maxwell who was also said to have been involved with the Russians then-Soviets, at the time.
Besides Hadron and Systematics Inc, there were others involved in the theft and sale of the software including the following individuals — Adnan Khashoggi, Richard Armitage, and Manucher Ghorbanifar to name a few, according to a letter sent to then United States Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division William F. Weld discussing conspiracy to sell PROMIS to Sheik Klahid Bin Malfouz as a “gift.”
The letter doesn’t only show that the DOJ was involved in the plot against INSLAW as early as May 1st 1985, more specifically it shows conspiracy with CIA-linked persons of interest that were all involved with the famous Iran-Contra debacle.
In 1999, British BBC journalist and author, Gordon Thomas, published an authorized history of the Israeli Mossad entitled Gideon’s Spies: The Secret History of the Mossad in which he included very detailed admissions by Rafi Eitan about his initial meeting with Earl Brian in Iran in the 1970s.
Earl Brian disclosed his determination to find a way to profit personally from the sale of INSLAW, Inc.’s PROMIS software; Brian’s subsequent success was in getting the Reagan Administration to give copies of PROMIS to Rafi Eitan.
Eitan then recruited British publisher Robert Maxwell to sell copies of PROMIS equipped with a Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) “back-door” to the intelligence and law enforcement agencies of friendly and adversarial governments worldwide. This was so that Israel and the NSA could steal other countries’ intelligence secrets.
Maxwell succeeded in the sale of more than half a billion dollars of unauthorized, copyright-infringing versions of PROMIS, while the amount of sold copies by Khashoggi, Armitage, Ghorbanifar, Eitan and likely others are unknown.
Gordon Thomas interviewed Rafi Eitan because he had served as the Mossad’s Deputy Director for Covert Operations for almost a quarter of a century.
Eitan would become the Director of LAKEM Scientific and Technical Intelligence Agency in the Israeli Ministry of Defense early during the first term of the Reagan Administration around the same time that Eitan had obtained PROMIS software, then recruited Robert Maxwell, and began selling the software to make his profit.
INSLAW Counsel Elliot Richardson passed away on the last day of 1999. In 2000, INSLAW obtained two sworn statements from Gordon Thomas on the circumstances and content of Rafi Eitan’s disclosures regarding Earl Brian and PROMIS.
INSLAW also prepared a lengthy memorandum (approximately 45 pages) of evidence the company had pieced together over the years which appeared to corroborate significant elements of Rafi Eitan’s PROMIS admissions to Gordon Thomas. (DOCUMENTS)
Further, according to testimony of former Mossad agent Ari Ben-Menashe, Brian provided a copy of PROMIS to Israel’s military intelligence through Rafi Eitan, who used the alias Joseph Ben-Orr.
Israel then contacted an Israeli American programmer, Michael Riconosciuto, who modified the software at Cabazon Indian Reservation near Indio, California. CIA and Israeli intelligence operatives then proceeded to sell the stolen copies and work together to build a more sophisticated version of Main Core, which this author will discuss in a future article in more detail, but will briefly touch on the subject in the third section of this story.
Brian first attempted to buy out INSLAW and PROMIS and then use the company to sell the bugged version of the software. However, his venture was unsuccessful and blocked, so he then turned to Attorney General at the time Edwin Meese whose Justice Department refused to make payments to INSLAW, despite stipulation under a $9.9 million contract with the government for the company to install PROMIS as the Justice Department’s case management software in 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices.
In other words, they were using the software entirely for free, which INSLAW and the Hamiltons have claimed for decades was theft from the company.
Meese’s role in that decision may have been influenced by his own personal friendship with Brian, and the fact that his wife was a major investor in Brian’s businesses.
Ironically, the first refused payment to INSLAW was one month after the Hamiltons refused to sell the company to Meese’s friend Brian. Meese, like Brian, was allegedly connected to affairs such as Iran-Contra and Reagan’s October Surprise.
The DOJ stopped paying the Hamiltons in 1983, claiming they weren’t fulfilling their obligations on the contract, and eventually INSLAW went bankrupt and sued the Justice Department.
A key fact that most miss is that the person assigned by the Department to manage the contract, C. Madison Brewer, had previously been fired by INSLAW for unknown reasons. Just one month after the contract was signed, Brewer (a disgruntled employee) recommended that the DOJ terminate the agreement even though INSLAW was performing its duties without a single failed delivery.
As a result, INSLAW hired former Attorney General Elliot Richardson as their attorney. Richardson filed a civil suit claiming that the company had been the victim of a conspiracy by the Justice Department.
In 1987 a federal judge, George F. Bason Jr, for the bankruptcy court ordered the government to pay INSLAW $6.8 million; the order was later overturned on a technicality. The court also found that the DOJ run by Meese “took, converted, stole” the software through “trickery, fraud and deceit.”
The DOJ withheld documents on the INSLAW affair from Congress, then appointed Nicholas John Bua as Special Counsel to address the matter with an independent investigation.
Meese wasn’t the only corrupt DOJ head according to Rodney Stich in Defrauding America, “by misusing the power of their office…three U.S. attorney generals in the Reagan-Bush administrations, Edwin Meese, Richard Thornburgh, and Vice President George H.W. Bush’s man William Barr, misappropriated, or aided and abetted, the theft of the software called PROMIS.”
However, Stich missed mentioning an official of the DOJ William F. Weld whom the letter above implicates in the conspiracy to steal and resell PROMIS software.
The scandal became too noisy after several Congressional investigations concluded wrongdoing by the Justice Department and called for the appointment of a special prosecutor, who ended up being former CIA operative and current Attorney General under President Donald Trump, William Barr.
Barr previously served under the Bush administration as Assistant Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General, and Attorney General.
“I started off in Washington at the Central Intelligence Agency and went to law school at night while I was working at CIA,” William Barr said during an oral history event in 2001.
As a former AG, Barr got to work helping aid the cover-up of INSLAW, just as he did for the CIA protecting the agency from Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) and BNL investigations, the Church Committee as a part of the CIA’s Office of Legislative Council (OLC) from 1973 to 1977, and ongoing scandals today walking through a revolving door.
Barr appointed a former Justice Department crony Nicholas Bua to conduct an “investigation” of the INSLAW matter, and then report back to him. The special counsel would be selected by Barr; would be subservient to him; and would report to him. Barr could then ignore the recommendations if, in the remote possibility the special counsel did not cooperate in the expected cover-up.
After INSLAW owner Bill Hamilton distributed a report on the INSLAW scandal to each member of the House Judiciary Committee dismissing Bua’s report, Congressmen Jack Brooks (D-TX) and Charlie Rose (D-NC) tried to enact a bill that would force an investigation of the Justice Department and the death of journalist Danny Casolaro, as well as pay reparations to the owners of INSLAW. Among the allegations of criminal statutes the bill and Committee accused the DOJ of included:
- 18 U.S.C. Sec. 371–Conspiracy to commit an offense.
- 18 U.S.C. Sec. 654–Officer or employee of the United States converting the property of another.
- 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1341–Fraud.
- 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1343–Wire fraud.
- 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1505–Obstruction of proceedings before departments, agencies and committees.
- 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1512–Tampering with a witness.
- 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1513–Retaliation against a witness.
- 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1621–Perjury.
- 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1951–Interference with commerce by threats or violence (RICO).
- 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1961 et seq: Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations.
- 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2314–Transportation of stolen goods, securities, moneys.
- 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2315–Receiving stolen goods.
The bill, H.R. 4862 was introduced in the House on July 29, 1994, but died without any action by the Democratic leadership in the waning days of the 103rd Congress.
There is also the fact that one week after giving an affidavit to INSLAW regarding the PROMIS software in 1991, CIA spook Riconosciuto was arrested on trumped-up drug charges that he had built a meth lab. The Assistant U.S. Attorney prosecuting the case attempted to cover up Riconosciuto’s intelligence background by claiming to the jury the CIA agent and programmer was “delusional.” (More on Riconosciuto and his importance later.)
Riconosciuto had been introduced to Hamilton by Jeff Steinberg, a longtime top aide in the Lyndon LaRouche organization in May of 1980. Riconosciuto stated that he was involved with the October Surprise, asserting “that he and Earl Brian had traveled to Iran in 1980 and had paid $40 million to Iranian officials to persuade them not to let the hostages go before the presidential election.”
After the two met, Riconosciuto was later introduced to Casolaro who began his investigation into the Octopus in the 1990s. Casolaro dubbed Riconosciuto “Danger Man” for many reasons that will be made apparent in this series, if the former CIA agent being still locked up in an unknown prison for whistleblowing various truths isn’t evidence enough.
In 1992, one year later, the U.S. Supreme Court denied an application made by INSLAW to hear its case. The application had been filed the previous year (see October 9, 1991), as INSLAW sought to overturn an adverse ruling by an appeals court in its dispute with the Justice Department.
Attempts To Settle INSLAW Case Stonewalled By CIA And DOJ In Modern Day
In 1998, a U.S. Federal Court ruled that INSLAW owned the copyright to PROMIS software, and that if the U.S. Government had used PROMIS illegally, then royalties should be paid to the company. However, that effort has been consistently stalled and INSLAW has never received a single penny in royalties.
As the story goes from a source, three years later in March 2001, then CIA Director George Tenet was arranged to read two affidavits together with INSLAW’s summary of the corroborative evidence (provided in the document dump) that had been obtained.
After reading the documentation, Tenet made a phone call to a mutual friend of Hamiltons and said in that conversation that if the information was accurate, what the government had done to the Hamilton family “was unconscionable” and the “INSLAW case needed to be settled.”
Tenet further stated that he did not understand why Attorney General John Ashcroft was failing to settle the INSLAW case but that he was prepared, if necessary, to settle the CIA’s part of the case. Tenet also allegedly added that he had ordered the CIA General Counsel to report to him by Wednesday the following week on the matter of the CIA’s legal liability to INSLAW for payment of compensatory damages.
One week later, however, CIA Director Tenet again called that same friend to inform that the CIA General Counsel had advised him not to become involved in the INSLAW Affair. This may be because, we now know, that a memo shows that the Agency was offered a government copy of PROMIS as early as 1981, thanks to a FOIA request by Michael Best who wrote:
“This is despite the CIA denying in repeated statements to Congress, to not have bought the software. This memo, however, shows that the Agency was offered the PROMIS software along with a list of other pieces of government owned software and the hardware necessary to run them. Since CIA didn’t disclose this or search those records, it’s unknown if they acquired an initial copy of the software this way. Even if it did not, it undermines their claims to have fully cooperated and searched every reasonable record and Agency component as they didn’t search their software requisition records.
“The Department of Justice also repeatedly stated that, aside from a notable exception, they didn’t provide copies of PROMIS to anyone else or distribute it throughout the government. These memos, however, show that the software was being offered throughout the federal government from the beginning, making versions of the software readily acquirable for anyone in the government to review or toy around with prior to Earl Brian and Edwin Meese’s scheme to defraud INSLAW while modifying (i.e. inserting backdoors) and distributing the software through the U.S. and overseas.”
Not long thereafter during the same spring of 2001, Bill Hamilton contacted retired four-star Admiral Daniel Murphy for the first time since 1991, when they had first met through Elliot Richardson former Secretary of Defense under President Nixon. Murphy had served under Richardson as his Military Adviser so he was considered trusted and loyal by INSLAW’s lawyer.
Murphy later served as Deputy Director of the CIA during the Ford Administration; as Under-Secretary of Defense for Intelligence during the Carter Administration; and as Chief of Staff to Vice President Bush during the first term of the Reagan Administration (when the Reagan Administration’s misappropriation of PROMIS for intelligence projects began).
After hearing Hamilton’s account of the abrupt turn around by CIA Director Tenet regarding his willingness to settle the CIA’s part of the INSLAW Affair, and reading the two sworn statements of Gordon Thomas along with the INSLAW memorandum summarizing evidence corroborative of significant elements of Rafi Eitan’s PROMIS-related admissions, Admiral Murphy vowed to help INSLAW.
Admiral Murphy said:
“The INSLAW summary of evidence is carefully and responsibly written as though a good lawyer wrote it. It leaves no doubt about what transpired and the INSLAW case needs to be settled but INSLAW first needs to find another outstanding lawyer like Elliot Richardson because government officials will regard it as their patriotic duty to look INSLAW’s lawyer in the eyes and lie.”
According to sources, in August 2001 Murphy introduced Hamilton to former FBI Director and former CIA Director William Webster believing the man could help.
The three then met for three hours discussing the INSLAW case. Three days later, Webster phoned Murphy declining to take on INSLAW as a client because he stated “that he was not confident that the George W. Bush would be willing to settle the INSLAW case.”
In 2001, the FBI arrested an FBI Agent, Robert Hanssen, who was accused for almost two decades of spying for the Soviet Union and, after its fall, later for Russia, NY Times reported.
However, in June 2001, the Washington Times published a front-page article reporting that sources familiar with the government’s then-ongoing security debriefing of Robert Hanssen had leaked to the Washington Times the fact that Hanssen, a computer software-savy FBI agent, had sold the Soviet KGB copies of various versions of INSLAW’s PROMIS software that the U.S. Government had misappropriated for intelligence applications, including the FBI’s PROMIS-derivative FOIMS investigative case management system and database systems used by other U.S. intelligence and defense entities.
Soon after the FBI’s arrest of Robert Hanssen, Attorney General John Ashcroft appointed none other than William Webster to conduct a security review of the FBI on the account of Hanssen’s two decades of espionage against the United States.
In September 2001 Admiral Murphy met with C. Boyden Gray, who agreed to represent INSLAW in seeking a settlement. When Murphy was Chief of Staff to Vice President Bush, he hired Gray as the Vice President’s legal counsel and after serving as legal counsel to Vice President Bush for the two terms of the Reagan Administration, Gray became White House Counsel under President George H.W. Bush.
In a separate telephone conversation with Hamilton at the approximate time as the meeting with Gray, Admiral Murphy told Hamilton he had been thinking about what was told to him months earlier regarding the reactions of CIA Director George Tenet in March 2001.
Admiral Murphy replied that he had a “hunch” that there was “another PROMIS application INSLAW had not yet discovered, and that the additional PROMIS application involves something so seriously wrong that money alone cannot cure the problem.” Murphy added that the government might never compensate INSLAW unless and until the Company “discovered that additional use of PROMIS.”
Murphy then stated that he was confident that Hamilton would figure out the additional PROMIS use and volunteered to serve as INSLAW’s “intelligence guru,” as well as attend Gray’s meetings with government officials to “keep them honest.” Murphy further told Hamilton what he expected to say to Attorney General Ashcroft when he and Gray met with Ashcroft; “John, let’s cut the crap. This case needs to be settled and here is how to settle it.”
Unfortunately, in late September 2001, Admiral Murphy died unexpectedly. Then the George W. Bush Administration stonewalled INSLAW Counsel Gray for the next two years, the same way previous Republican and Democratic administrations blocked INSLAW Counsel Elliot Richardson prior.
PROMIS Forked Application Use And The Top Secret Main Core Dissident Database
PROMIS was forked into many reported use cases for the U.S. government, including an intelligence application onboard nuclear submarines of the United States and Great Britain, and the use by both the U.S. Government and certain Allied Governments for inventory tracking of nuclear materials and long-range ballistic missiles.
But the most bizarre and frightening use was to keep track of dissident Americans under Main Core.
The Main Core database isn’t just a rumor or conspiracy theory, PROMIS software was used by Iran-Contra fall guy then-National Security Council, Lt. Col. Oliver North to create the dissidents list for Rex-84 that would later evolve to Main Core.
North used PROMIS software in 1982 in the Department of Justice, and at the White House, to compile a list of American dissidents to invoke if the government ever needed to do so under Ronald Reagan’s Continuity of Government (COG) program as a liaison to FEMA.
In 1993, Wired described North’s use of PROMIS in compiling the Main Core database:
“Using PROMIS, sources point out, North could have drawn up lists of anyone ever arrested for a political protest, for example, or anyone who had ever refused to pay their taxes. Compared to PROMIS, Richard Nixon’s enemies list or Sen. Joe McCarthy’s blacklist look downright crude.”
This Main Core database of individuals was given to a handful of individuals, meaning most government officials had no knowledge of the program ever existing. The database was passed off from administration to administration through National Security channels, according to sources.
Enter in the picture former CIA spook, imprisoned whistleblower and INSLAW witness Michael Riconosciuto. Riconosciuto warned about Main Core’s database and the dissident round-up program, he also stated that he was the programmer who backdoored INSLAW PROMIS software.
Riconosciuto specifically testified that PROMIS “was stolen as a favor to software-company executive Earl Brian, a friend of Meese’s, for Brian’s help in persuading the Iranian government to hold on to the embassy hostages until the 1980 election was over.”
This means that in the 1990s, Riconosciuto described exactly what intelligence officials would discuss years later in Salon and Radar.
Riconosciuto also whistle-blew regarding the development of alleged ethnic bioweapons by Wackenhut and the Bio-Radcorporation, the Lockerbie incident and Wackenhut’s ties to the CIA, which is now G4S security. Riconosciuto additionally spoke about drug smuggling across various parts of the U.S., according to the book The Last Circle by Cheri Seymour, written at the behest of Congress to understand what had been uncovered by Casolaro which he deemed “The Octopus.”
Somewhere along the line this all became a tongue-in-cheek paranoid joke, and a conspiracy theory instead of a known fearful fact.
Within high-reaching intelligence circles it’s one of the most well-kept secrets that the U.S. maintains a list of “marked” individuals considered dissidents to round up and bring to camp FEMA in case of “Martial Law” or a deemed “emergency” event, which isn’t clearly defined.
In 2008, Salon ran an article shedding some light, detailing Main Core software and its evolution. Investigative journalist Tim Shorrock reported the alleged disturbing domestic surveillance activities following 9/11 used by the Bush administration to spy on Americans.
Which is ironic as the original non-forked backdoored PROMIS software was used to spy on American and foreign communications prior to 9/11 with Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) technologies implanted by the Israelis and another separate software iteration by the CIA.
Shorrock cited “several former U.S. government officials with extensive knowledge of intelligence operations,” who stated “a vast amount of personal data on Americans, including NSA intercepts of bank and credit card transactions and the results of surveillance efforts by the FBI, the CIA and other agencies” was included in the new and improved code of Main Core software.
Although, PROMIS is one key to 9/11, a subject too vast for full analysis in this piece. PROMIS software and Michael Riconosciuto’s own ties to 9/11 will be included in a future article by this author.
This article serves as background introducing the reader to the PROMIS INSLAW affair and its many characters and twists and turns which all roads seem to lead back to the DOJ, NSA and CIA.
Another government official with a high-ranking security clearance spoke to the tabloid Radar the same year, corroborating Riconosciuto and other officials’ claims that Main Core is:
“A database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived ‘enemies of the state’ almost instantaneously.”
This database had as much as 8 million American names in it, according to Journalist Christ Ketcham who reported the massive number of U.S. citizens “marked” in 2008.
The number of names now in Main Core’s database according to a former intelligence source is believed to be in the “high double digit millions, heading for the triple digits millions” spanning across the political spectrum.
The other use of Main Core’s system since its creation under Reagan is using its detailed access into anyone’s life for political blackmail of members of Congress and other influential people, according to a source.
Through extensive research and the aid of several sources, this author was able to track down the evolution of Main Core which will be expanded on in a later article.
Main Core after Ronald Reagan was developed further at a base in North Carolina where sophisticated artificial intelligence was inserted in the code, and later advances at a Guatemalan military base with help of the Israelis. We will also discuss the Main Core feeder systems and suspected agencies that are involved with the database.
A PROMIS To Keep And Kill Over
This writer has spoken to several sources over the course of months. Ted L. Gunderson, one of this reporter’s only sources who will be made public for this article since he is now dead, first told this author about INSLAW PROMIS software almost a decade ago. Ted was a close friend of Riconosciuto and Casolaro, and may have been mutual friends with Ian Spiro, who was also a friend of the “CIA wiz kid.”
Danny Casolaro kept a transcript of a May 1991 meeting attended by Alan Boyak, a lawyer and former CIA operative, Ted L. Gunderson former LA and Dallas head of the FBI, and former CIA, Michael Riconosciuto. Boyak was representing Riconosciuto and Ted was one of the investigators involved with looking into the case to exonerate his friend.
Many remain unaware but Riconoscuito and Gunderson were very connected to intelligence and helped broker a deal for Ronald Reagan and CIA dir. Bill Casey by assisting in setting up the Mujaheddin with unassembled Chinese 107 MM rocket systems at a meeting with Tim Osman (Osama Bin Laden) and Ralph Olberg, in 1986.
This was done by Riconoscuito using his contacts in the Chinese industrial and military group Norinco. These systems could then be reconfigured into portable anti-aircraft guided missile systems, and produced in Pakistan at a facility called the Pakistan Ordnance Works to fire at the Soviets in Afghanistan (Pakistani ISI).
So when Danny Casolaro was put into contact with former CIA spook Riconosciuto, former FBI LA and Dallas head Ted L. Gunderson, NSA Army whistleblower Alan Standorf and possibly even Alan Boyak, it was a significant catalyst.
Although, there may have been more people involved in helping Casolaro expose the criminal aspects of “The Octopus,” these were the names that multiple sources all corroborated, with the addition of Ian Spiro, a businessman who got “caught up with the wrong crowd” and a friend of Riconosciuto who held documents for him.
For each of their own reasons, both Spiro and Casolaro tried to tell the tale of PROMIS and the then Octopus (deep state) that used Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI).
Information flowed to Casolaro from former CIA whistleblower Michael Riconosciuto, former FBI senior agent Ted L. Gunderson and NSA whistleblower Alan Standorf, as well as their own sources. Spiro was directly involved in various operations under Eitan.
Both men were met with fatal ends due to their pursuits: Spiro for his selfishness and later attempts to protect himself and his family — Casolaro for his drive to muckrake the truth, no matter what the cost.
According to a source, Rafi Eitan may have been responsible for the death of Casolaro and the deaths of Spiro’s family hiring a hitman Joseph Cueller who will be discussed later in this article.
Eitan at the time had stated a threat to a friend of Casolaro stating that Danny should “mind his own business.” This was prior to Casolaro slitting his wrist an estimated 12 times; the cuts on the right wrist extended to the tendons, and the cuts on the left hit tendons.
Danny was found dead in his bathtub a bloody mess in Sheraton Hotel in Martinsburg, West Virginia. The exact scene seen by investigators mirrored the death of another reporter in Guatemala, Anson NG Yonc, who was also found dead in his bathtub; the only thing different was one was dead from a single gunshot, the other was dead from slit wrists, the Associated Press reported.
Danny had come to Martinsburg two days earlier to meet new sources including William Turner, a former employee of Hughes Aircraft; he also met another source behind the IRS building, who was an unidentified U.S. Army Special Forces covert intelligence officer, presumably Joseph Cueller, according to a source knowledgeable about Casolaro’s final investigation.
These sources Casolaro believed would contribute to his year-long investigation into “The Octopus” and, in his words, the evidence that would “bury the Justice Department.”
In Casolaro’s view this massive conspiracy encompassed the alleged theft of PROMIS by Justice Department officials; an effort by a former CIA operative (Riconosciuto) to use a California Indian reservation as a front for supplying weapons to the Nicaraguan Contras (Iran-Contra, Operation Pseudo Miranda); the shady connections between the Wackenhut Corporation and the CIA; the prolific BCCI scandal, S&L debacle; Pan Am 103 and the October Surprise.
This may explain in part why he went to the IRS building prior to his death to attempt to follow the missing or additional money with an audit trail. However, unbeknownst to Danny, that last meeting may have been a set up on the intrepid reporter’s life, as this article illustrates.
“Dan dealt in this nebulous, shadowy world,” Dick O’Connell, a friend of Casolaro’s and publisher of Washington Crime News Services said.
“He was saying ‘they’ took that INSLAW software and sold it overseas and took the profits from that and turned it into arms for the Contras,” O’Connell told the Associated Press. “That’s what he was working on and he told me he thought BCCI was the conduit for all of these money transactions.”
At about 5:30 p.m. the night before his death Casolaro happened to meet a man named Mike Looney who rented the room next to Casolaro’s Room 517. They chatted on two occasions — first at about 5:30 p.m. and then again at about 8:00 p.m. Looney later explained, “[Casolaro] said he was there to meet an important source who was going to give him what he needed to solve the case.”
According to Looney, Casolaro claimed that his source was scheduled to arrive by 9:00 p.m., “But as the appointed hour came and went Casolaro became embarrassed.” Casolaro left Looney, explaining that he had to make a telephone call. He returned a few minutes later and admitted that his source might have “blown him off.” Casolaro and Looney talked until about 9:30 p.m according to sources who are familiar with the story.
At around 10.00 p.m., Casolaro was last seen purchasing a coffee at a nearby convenience store. That was the last time anyone reported seeing Danny Casolaro alive according to the case documents.
Following the death of Casolaro, INSLAW Attorney Elliot Richardson called for an investigation. “It’s hard to come up with any reason for his death, other than he was deliberately murdered because he was so close to uncovering sinister elements of what he called ‘The Octopus,’” Richardson said.
In its Addendum to INSLAW’s ANALYSIS and REBUTTAL of the BUA REPORT, dated February 14, 1994, Inslaw notes the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI): “OSI’s publicly- declared mission is to locate and deport Nazi war criminals. The Nazi war criminal program is, however, a front for the Justice Department’s own covert intelligence service, according to disclosures recently made to INSLAW by several senior Justice Department career officials…According to written statements of which INSLAW has obtained copies, another undeclared mission of the Justice Department’s covert agents was to insure that investigative journalist Danny Casolaro remained silent about the role of the Justice Department in the INSLAW scandal by murdering him in West Virginia in August 1991.”
As Casolaro worked on his Octopus story, he came to rely increasingly on an individual named Robert Booth Nichols as a source, and as a friend. Casolaro also relied heavily on Riconosciuto. Danny even flew to Seattle to serve as Riconosciuto’s volunteer pretrial investigator when he was arrested in March 1991 on drug charges, one year after he began his investigation.
In time, however, Casolaro became more skeptical of Riconosciuto’s stories which included bizarre alien retrievals by black helicopters to gun smuggling and bioweapons; and within a few months he was refusing to accept his collect calls from jail. But Casolaro had not abandoned his own investigation into The Octopus. (You can read Casolaro’s notes here.)
In July 1991, after Nichols visited Casolaro in Washington, D.C., Danny began to suspect that Nichols was far more sinister than he’d imagined, and began to investigate his past activities. This may be because Casolaro had learned just a few months before his death that Riconosciuto was the source he should have trusted.
In the transcript meeting mentioned above in May 1991 with Gunderson and Boyak, Riconosciuto described an occasion where Nichols wanted to deliver a message to a mobster from Chicago. “He hung the man upside down on a hoist in an airplane hangar in front of a prop plane, then started the engine of the plane and revved it up, so that the man hanging on the hoist was sucked toward the propellers.” According to Riconosciuto, “By the time Bob got finished with him, he wanted to die.”
Three days before Casolaro died, he called Thomas Gates, who worked in the bureau’s L.A. office. As Gates testified before the House Judiciary Committee, Casolaro told Gates that Nichols had warned or threatened him after his last visit on July 7th, “If you continue this investigation, you will die.” Approximately a month later in August, Danny was found dead.
According to an affidavit sworn by Agent Gates during the course of a 1987 investigation into mob activities in Hollywood, Nichols was identified by the FBI as early as 1978 as a drug trafficker and money launderer.
If that’s not enough, it turns out Nichols was head of Meridian Arms, which in turn joined up with a tiny California Indian tribe the Cabazon Band of Indians and the CIA-connected Wackenhut Corporation in a scheme to manufacture arms on the Indians’ reservation to then be sent to the Contras along with the production of bioweapons sold to the U.S. military and later Japan according to Riconosciuto.
Casolaro had become too trusting despite the nature of his investigation. On August 9th, William Turner said he delivered “two packets of documents” to Casolaro in Martinsburg. In a sworn statement, Turner explained Casolaro planned “to swap some info to his source for more information on INSLAW.”
Turner stated the documents included “computer printouts and other documents Casolaro had received from Alan Standorf, Michael Riconosciuto and unnamed sources, relating to the sale of modified PROMIS software . . . to Canada, Australia and Israel to name a few countries.” Casolaro told Turner that the meeting with a source in Martinsburg “had been arranged by Joseph Cuellar” according to a March 14th, 1994 affidavit by Turner, provided in the documents.
The Murders of Danny Casolaro, Anson NG Yonc, Ian Spiro and Alan Standorf
In 1992, Hamilton began receiving information from a never-identified U.S. intelligence source through a third party, a retired Army Criminal Investigation Division officer.
“My intelligence source claimed that Danny was murdered by U.S. Army Special Forces Intelligence Major Joseph Cuellar in the course of a covert intelligence operation,” Hamilton stated. “The objective of the operation was to recover every copy of computer printouts from a Defense Intelligence Agency PROMIS-based domestic surveillance database system called Main Core, acquired through the assistance of National Security Agency employee Alan Standorf.”
Despite the fact that FBI agent Scott Erskine misconstrued Hamilton’s words, in his notes taken during their meeting about Casolaro’s death stating Danny became “embarrassed” by his own investigation.
Erskine let slip a key fact that the Martinsburg Police had a witness who claimed she saw an unknown man leaving Casolaro’s room the morning of his murder that matched the description of the man he met at the bar the night before who was “impatient.”
Hamilton wonders whether Cuellar was the man an unnamed Sheraton Inn maid told the Martinsburg Police she saw leaving Casolaro’s room the morning of his death on August 10th, provided documents indicate.
“A male in his 30s, with an excellent sun tan, wearing a fashionable tee-shirt, dark slacks, and deck shoes,” according to the unknown maid and Charles Work a lawyer for INSLAW wrote in a letter to then Assistant Associate Attorney General John C. Dwyer deputy of Attorney General William Hubbell.
According to sources, this is due to a claim by a retired FBI agent, who was working for INSLAW at Business Risks International (BRI) where Cuellar was then working as well, who said the maid may have misconstrued Cuellar’s Hispanic complexion for the sun tan she described.
The retired FBI agent secretly observing Cueller further stated that the maid’s description of the man’s expensive sports clothes matched the way he usually dressed.
However, this information was covered up by authorities, and the DOJ at the time ordered the notes to be sealed. Despite the fact that the description matches the same exact man Casolaro met at the bar the night before his death, INSLAW lawyer Charles Work wrote in a 1994 letter provided to this writer by INSLAW INC. months ago.
Further, the INSLAW lawyer states that INSLAW had confidential sources tell them that Casolaro had been found with ethyl alcohol absolut in his system, but not just anywhere — injected into his spine to “deaden the nerves below his head.”
INSLAW was also provided the inventory lot number according to Charles which he stated was: “6810-00-242-3645.” A forensic pathologist Dr. Kit Green who worked for almost a decade at the CIA claimed the inventory number indicates the poison came from a U.S. Army inventory.
According to INSLAW’s counsel Charles Work, Danny was even warned through Hamilton after receiving a threat or warning relayed from CIA Charles Hayes not to go to DC and meet a source behind a certain facility. INSLAW suspects that building was a townhouse on Jackson Place just behind Blair House used during both the Reagan and Bush administrations for White House “dirty tricks.”
The property was used by former CIA employees equipped with computer equipment and encrypted communications. It was also used for “very sensitive U.S. government intelligence, law enforcement and national security databases on U.S. citizens.”
In other words, the townhouse was likely an operation HQ of the Main Core database, which Casolaro had just obtained printouts from Alan Standorf. Allegedly, Casolaro obtained Standorf’s documents from William Turner who passed off copies to Casolaro according to a source who helped this writer tell this mysterious tale.
Hayes was a former longtime clandestine contractor with Division D of the CIA which was comprised of CIA clandestine service officers and NSA engineers. Division D was apparently the predecessor organization to the stand-alone joint NSA/CIA agency known as the Special Collection Service (SCS).
Division D of the CIA allegedly had a major role within the CIA on the illicit intelligence uses of PROMIS. So the “warning” coming from Hayes alleged by Hamilton, looks much more like one of many threats that were given to Casolaro before the end of his life.
However, Hayes caused the resignation of several corrupt politicians in his time until he was thrown in prison on suspicious charges like Riconosciuto. Hayes was also dubbed on the internet as the Angel Of Death because he was the head and public representative of the Fifth Column, a group of hackers who tracked political payoffs through money-laundering channels.
On an interesting note the Angel Of Death was quoted stating: “I don’t want another Danny Casolaro on my hands,” when speaking about why the Fifth Column was necessary.
Further, Hayes testified in favor of INSLAW in a a Chicago grand jury in 1992 and later in 1996 he was deposed by Department of Justice, Beth Cook. On both occasions Hayes accused the DOJ of “lying, cheating, and stealing.” Beyond that Hayes is who came up with the crafty name “The Octopus” for the web of people that surrounded scandals of the 1980s, which according to Orlingrabbe Hayes was also a source who worked with Casolaro.
So its far more likely that Hayes was sending a warning than a threat before Danny lost his life.
Hayes was later arrested in 1996 and jailed after he was accused of hiring a $5,000 hit on his son by an unknown FBI agent as testified by FBI agent David R. Keller who alleged the incident. The timing of that event was suspicious in that it occurred after Hayes assisted then Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr in drafting indictments against Hillary and Bill Clinton.
Turner also went to jail to serve time for a bank robbery that many believe he committed to avoid being killed by the same forces that killed Danny Casolaro, and Alan Standorf.
Such a scenario seems nonsensical to this writer. If someone in a position of power wants to have one killed, the last place one would want to be is behind four walls with no escape. But maybe Turner felt safer behind bars?
A source claim that could not be confirmed stated that Turner entered into FBI witness protection after the robbery. If true, this may indicate that Turner did the robbery to get the FBI’s attention, which would make more sense then to simply just go to prison.
Spy Magazine reported the horrific bizarre murder scene of Danny Casolaro, observed by Barbara Bittinger, the assistant head housekeeper of the Sheraton Inn in Martinsburg, West Virginia that further contradicts that Danny committed suicide.
“Under the sink, lying more or less flat, were two bloody towels. It looked like someone tried to wipe up the blood on the floor and slid the towels under the sink,” said Bittinger, who was only interviewed by police briefly the day the body was found and never by any journalists before speaking to Spy. “It looked like someone” – not the maid, Bittinger tells us – “threw the towels on the floor and tried to wipe the blood up with their foot, but they didn’t get the blood, they just smeared the floor,” Spy Magazine wrote.
According to the Bua Report, included in this document dump, Casolaro began reporting death threats “during the last few weeks of his life,” with only a single report of a death threat told to the police by Olga Mokros, an Arlington, Virginia neighbor the Monday before Casolaro’s death.
According to the Bua Report, “Mokros could not recall any other specific occasions on which Mr. Casolaro received such a call, even though she was at his house nearly every day.” This statement is contradicted by the notes in a police interview with Mokros, in which it’s expressed that she had answered Casolaro’s phone months before his death only to hear threats to kill him and “cut him into pieces.”
Less than an hour later, a different man hissed in the phone to Olga: “Drop dead.” Then there was a third call, but Olga remembered only that no one spoke and that she heard only music as though a radio were playing in the same room as the caller. “Don’t call him no more,” she said hanging up the phone. A fourth call was the same as the third, and a fifth came later that night. “No music…and no one spoke.” After this she slammed the receiver down.
Olga’s statements contradict the official claims and conclusions of the Justice Department and the Special Counsel investigation led by Judge Nicholas John Bua in the infamous Bua Report, providing another sliver of proof that Danny Casolaro didn’t commit suicide, according to a Muckrock FOIA request.
Casolaro himself documented the threats, telling his brother Tony, “I have been getting some very threatening phone calls. If anything happens to me, don’t believe it was accidental.” Tony was also skeptical because, “none of his notes on the case were found with his body.”
It turns out that Tony wasn’t the only person Danny had told that he might be in danger; he’d also told Gates, a special agent of the FBI.
As previously written, Casolaro had uncovered that one of his sources, Robert Booth Nichols, had secrets. It turned out that Nichols was an international money launderer and an associate of the Gambino organized crime family.
This information was derived by Danny from his other sources, including Gates and Richard Stavin, who corroborated Riconosciuto’s claims about the man. Stavin was a former special prosecutor for the Justice Department who had been assigned to the MCA case, another case Casolaro had later eyed. In his investigation of the MCA case, it turns out Stavin unearthed documents about Nichols, who was also a target of his probe. On July 31, 1991, Casolaro had a conversation with Stavin.
It was in this conversation that Stavin told Danny that Nichols had been a money launderer and that he was connected to the Gambino crime family and the Yakuza through Harold Okimoto an associate of Frank Carlucci (who served as Secretary of Defense and Deputy Director of the CIA before becoming Chairman of The Carlyle Group).
But then Stavin told Danny something that he regretted in an interview years later. Stavin expressed to Danny that Nichols had offered his services as an informant to several U.S. Government agencies. “Maybe I shouldn’t have told him,” said Stavin. In Stavin’s opinion: “It seemed like a cover-your-ass situation.”
It was during this period of Danny’s investigation that he had learned the secret hidden from many: that organized crime rings and the mafia had infiltrated intelligence agencies and government in general. Casolaro was now on borrowed time living on a thread.
One of this writer’s sources also disclosed that Eitan had been seen by a maid/witness known only as Paula at Ian Spiro’s home in the San Diego area at the time of his and his family’s murders in the fall of 1992. Spiro’s 40-year-old wife, Gail, daughters, Sara, 16, and Dina, 11, and son Adam, 14, were allegedly killed during the incident. Spiro was then found in his car miles away dead of cyanide poisoning.
Ari Ben Menashe, mentioned earlier in this article, also claimed that in approximately May 1993, Eitan met him at a hotel in Montreal and warned there would be “consequences” if both Menashe and Hamilton were to continue speaking about Israeli intelligence’s role with PROMIS software, according to Hamilton’s notes.
Menashe further claimed that Ian Spiro had served as a courier to the Middle East for Eitan of documents stolen by Jonathan Pollard and had freelanced in some way for his personal financial gain from the documents, which accounted for his murder in San Diego.
It is publicly known that Pollard had access to a massive trove of classified material which was very appealing to Israeli intelligence and Eitan. Over the years, Pollard is said to have handed over thousands of files to Israel.
The U.S. government eventually caught on to Pollard’s activities and arrested him in 1985. It took years before Israel acknowledged its ties to Pollard but the Zionist state eventually admitted its connection to his espionage against the U.S.
The Israelis gave some of Pollard’s Top Secret documents to the Russians in exchange for Moscow expediting Jewish immigration to Israel. Israel also granted Pollard citizenship in 1995, despite the man being imprisoned for his crimes.
In autumn 2015, just a few years ago, U.S. authorities caved to Zionist pressure and released Pollard from prison under parole. Pollard is said to remain in New York City under round-the-clock surveillance in fear that he might escape and flee to Israel, The New York Times reported.
Another source whom wished to remain entirely anonymous including their former profession who seemed quite knowledgeable about Spiro corroborated Menashe stating:
“Ian Spiro had become involved with the “wrong crowd” to clear his debts. As a broker he passed from the halls of Wall St to the shadowy government formed during the Reagan-era, effectively signing his soul to the devil by working deals for Rafi Eitan, which included Espionage for the Israeli government. Spiro was all about making a profit, exactly like Eitan was, that’s why they got along. But something happened between the two, Spiro began having financial problems and double-crossed Eitan trying to cut him out of an intelligence deal. That’s when Spiro threatened Eitan that he would go public with the organized crimes that Eitan was involved with at the time. Think what was going on AK? I won’t get into too many specifics, but PROMIS wasn’t the only operation Eitan was involved with.
“Eitan was revered as a Mossad super-spy until he died earlier this year, after all he was responsible for the team that hunted down Nazi Holocaust mastermind, Adolf Eichmann. The whole PROMIS trapdoor affair had the backing of the Israeli government, Eitan wasn’t just a lone-wolf in the ordeal, his target was Earl Brian and company. He succeed in his endeavor and Brian also profited so it was a winning situation both ways for them.”
The source wouldn’t confirm or deny but seemed to hint at Spiro and Eitan both being involved in Iran-Contra together. That information got this writer digging. Surprisingly, it is apparently public information that Ian Spiro was involved with the Iran-Contra weapons for Western hostages deal in Lebanon and aided Terry Waite. This fact was documented in a book by BBC journalist Gavin Hewitt and according to Oliver North’s Notes.
In other words, the evidence at hand suggests that Mossad may have been involved with the clandestine sale of guns, and trade off of guns for drugs smuggling going on in Iran-Contra and beyond (Operation Pseudo Miranda), since the two men worked so closely together.
A report by Haartez in 2010, discloses an Israeli operation called ‘Tipped Kettle,’ in which weapons stolen by Israel from the PLO in Lebanon were transferred to the Contras; and the bigger kicker here is to “anti-American elements in Iran” during the 1980s. So it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if Eitan was also involved with Spiro and his connections. This time period paints a picture of a lot of secret aggression against the U.S. by Israel from espionage, to arming anti-Americans in Iran.
A report by San Diego Magazine with a quote from one of the hostages corroborates even further:
“Former hostage Peter Jacobsen confirmed to the media that Spiro was indeed involved in the release of hostages in the Middle East,” San Diego Magazine wrote.
However, Ian Spiro is much more important to INSLAW, because according to court documents filed shortly after the murders, Spiro was holding computer equipment essential for Michael Riconosciuto to prove a Justice Department conspiracy to steal the sophisticated computer software.
Just like Casolaro, Spiro started receiving threatening phone calls prior to his own death. San Diego Magazine further reports:
“Two weeks before the murders, he called Ken Quarton from his car phone, leaving a message on Ken’s answering machine. Agitated, he talked of threatening phone calls. He made a similar call to his uncle. At about the same time, Spiro asked a jeweler, a friend, for cyanide. He said he needed it to clean gold; the friend was skeptical and didn’t give it to him. Undeterred, a few days later Spiro bought cyanide from a downtown jeweler.
“Spiro also was looking for a gun. “He asked me a couple of times; I just forgot about it,” says attorney James Street, who often socialized with the Spiro family. Two weeks before the murders, Spiro asked again. He said he had been getting threatening phone calls since he had approached a movie company with his story about events in the Middle East. Spiro said he was afraid for his family. This time Street gave him a gun, a .357 magnum that was “noisy as hell.”
“‘He seemed to be sincere,” Street says. “If it gave him some solace, it was a small thing to do. I spoke to him once after that, and he said he had heard footsteps around the house.” Spiro complained of not sleeping, saying phone calls were keeping him up. “He seemed to be under a great deal of pressure. Ian said something had come out of his past to haunt him.'”
Shortly after Spiro’s death and the mass murders of his family, three rain-soaked suitcases, packed with Spiro’s papers and an audiotape apparently made by Ian just days before, appeared in a part of the desert near where he had been found dead in his car after ingesting cyanide. However, there were missing documents.
In a book titled, The Other Side of Deception, former Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky states that Spiro had stolen some money from Mossad which was used to pay Hezbollah hostage takers to free Western hostages. Ostrovsky states that Spiro had taken some of the ransom money for himself and that Mossad tortured him to reveal the whereabouts of the hidden money but he ended up dying during the torture.
A former U.S. intelligence source corroborates Hamilton’s own source who stated that the men who were responsible for the deaths of Casolaro and Spiro’s family were Joseph Cuellar and Rafi Eitan at the behest of a Defense Intelligence Agency covert operation to identify and retrieve every copy of computer printouts from Main Core and other evidence that Casolaro had allegedly obtained in 1991 from Michael Riconosciuto, Alan Standorf and other sources, prior to Standorf’s own mysterious murder.
Apparently, Cueller had been used by Eitan to spy on Danny Casolaro prior to his untimely bloody death. Several questions remain, but the motivation seems to be money and to stop exposure which would have resulted in embarrassment and presumably eventually arrests of those involved.
As the Bua Report notes, Cuellar also reportedly threatened both Lynn Knowles, an ex-girlfriend of his, and Casolaro, referencing the murder of Anson Ng Yonc, a Financial Times reporter who had been killed in Guatemala after digging too deep into INSLAW, and weapon dealings using BCCI as a conduit to Guatemalan military according to Sen. Alan Cranston, D-Calif., at a hearing on BCCI. NG “went to Guatemala to see a key witness that was alleged to have important information tying the U.S. Justice Department to the BCCI scandal.”
Exactly like Casolaro and Spiro, the documents that NG obtained in his own investigation turned up missing after his death.
The Case of Alan Standorf’s death is yet another odd turn in the PROMIS INSLAW OCTOPUS saga. Standorf was found at a Washington, D.C., airport lifeless, his car in a toll parking lot at Metropolitan Washington National Airport.
According to Dr. Stephen Sheehy of the Medical Examiner’s Office in Northern Virginia “Standorf died of a blunt force blow to the back of the head around Jan. 4th,” The Morning Call reported in 1991. The Medical Examiner added, “Standorf’s body, with no visible wounds, was found the night of Jan. 28th under clothing and luggage on the back floor of his small car.”
Standorf’s murder was blamed on a simple robbery-homicide; authorities noted it was “unconnected to his work with the Army and NSA,” despite Standorf’s death happening a month after resigning from his former job as a civilian employee of Vint Hill Farm, a military security installation near Manassas, Va according to The Morning Call. However, the FBI claims that there is an ongoing law enforcement proceeding regarding Standorf’s death, Muckrock reported.
It turns out that Turner called the detectives involved with looking into the death of Danny Casolaro shortly after his death and told them that: “Casolaro had been investigating Standorf’s death, and now…Casolaro was dead too.”
However, the true full story is much more riveting, Standorf had perpetrated an approximate two-hour security breach of the Main Core database on behalf of Danny, then after the breach Standorf quit his job, according to sources.
Standorf marks the fourth mysterious death in the Octopus PROMIS case that we have so far explored. Which honestly in this writer’s opinion the biggest scandal of Octopus PROMIS isn’t just the stonewalling by the DOJ, and CIA for stolen software, it is the assassinations and obstruction of justice that happened to cover it all up, that we’ll explore further in the next article in this series.
There are many questions left unanswered. But one of the most daunting questions is, what happened to CIA whistleblower Michael Riconosciuto? Riconosciuto was set to be released in 2017, but was mysteriously imprisoned again for unknown reasons. His current location is unknown, as is the condition under which he is being held, much whether he is dead or alive.
It’s as if the NDAA Act in 2011 signed by President Barack Obama, allowing indefinite imprisonment of dissident Americans was written for Riconosciuto and anyone else who is deemed a “government threat” to give the authority to use the Main Core database without press blow back.