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The Criminal Cabal of Guns & Drugs
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 WWII.
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.
But 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 Basson - 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: Danny Casolaro's Investigation into the Octopus and the PROMIS Software Scandal 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. Murchison 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 Murchison 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.
- Trine Day Books 26 September 2010