From Steamshovel Press #7:

The Promis Threat:

An Octopus Slouches Toward Mena, Arkansas, Area 51 and The International UFO Congress in Las Vegas

by Kenn Thomas

The first version of the Promis software--the software that figured prominently in events leading to the suspicious death of writer Danny Casolaro in a West Virginia hotel room in 1991--had a simple purpose: to track criminals in prosecutors' offices throughout the country. With the press of a button Promis provided district attorneys with up-to-the minute case histories. Inslaw, the company owned by St. Louisans Bill and Nancy Hamilton, originally began developing the software using taxpayer money as part of the Justice Department's Law Enforcement Assistance Administration in the late 1970s. When the Reagan White House nixed the LEAA in 1980, Inslaw became a for-profit corporation and continued modifying Promis as computer technology evolved. Inslaw signed a contract with the Justice Department in 1982 to supply the software exclusively to all U. S. attorneys offices. The contract was worth $10 million. The Justice Department never paid and in 1985 Inslaw filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy and began a lawsuit. In 1988 Inslaw was awarded $7 million in damages. That settlement was upheld by the federal court but the U. S. Court of Appeals ordered it retried and Inslaw appealed to the Supreme Court. During these legal gyrations a software concern owned by Ed Brian, a friend of then attorney general Ed Meese, made a very hostile buy-out offer to Inslaw. The last legal action on this case came in the middle of October when Attorney General William Barr refused to authorize a special prosecutor to investigate the Inslaw allegations. Bill and Nancy Sullivan are no doubt studying further appeals. The Promis modifications, of course, are what should concern the defenders of civil liberties. Even before it fell into the hands of the Justice Department, it had been shanghaied by the Navy to track and extrapolate Arctic Soviet submarine launches, which it reportedly did with extraordinary accuracy. Michael Riconoscuito, now in a Tacoma prison on drug charges and a key Casolaro informant, reports equipping Promis with a back door access, so the U. S. could spy on the police agencies to whom it illegally sold the software. The possible use of Promis in tracking political dissidents has been pointed out by Ben Price in the new IllumiNet book, The Gemstone File. It's not difficult to imagine other applications. According to JFK assassination lecturer Bob Harris, Jack Ruby's closest contacts with the Dallas police were in the Criminal Intelligence Division, a division of the Dallas Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit, versions of which exist in every city and perforcely one must wonder what kind of software drives their work. (Harris' lecture notes are available for $8 from him at Box 4-18, 522 2nd Street, New York, NY 11215) The LEIU collects information on private citizens and gives it to Military Intelligence and the Domestic Contacts division of the CIA. Details of how the Los Angeles police's version, the OCIU, spied upon and harassed private citizens, can be found in the recent LA Secret Police Files: Inside the LAPD Elite Spy Network by Mike Rothmiller and Ivan G. Goldman ($5.99, Pocket Books). The celebrity status of these citizens, of course, is what made it book worthy in this instance. Another connection between Casolaro and the JFK assassination concerns the Banca del Lavoro, a state-owned Italian bank that apparently the writer was investigating as part of the BCCI tentacle in his Octopus research. According to Sherman Skolnick, a researcher in Chicago, the Banca del Lavoro financed the training of an assassination team in Mexico, some of whom wound up in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963. At present, Attorney General Barr is considering the appointment of a special prosecutor in a case involving $5 billion dollars in loans to Saddam Hussein made by the Atlanta branch of Banca del Lavoro prior to the Gulf War, the so-called Iraqgate scandal. The Banca del Lavoro is indeed mentioned in the Torbitt Document, "Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal" by William Torbitt, which has circulated among Kennedy researchers for twenty years, as is Ross Perot. That the Torbitt Document may have originated in the office of Lloyd Bentsen, now named by Bill Clinton as treasury secretary, as well as Bentsen's connection to Defense Industrial Security Command--culprits in the assassination according to the Torbitt Document--should leave the reader a long pause to ruminate over the connections spanning the years. Back to Michael Riconoscuito: perhaps Don Ecker summed up Riconoscuito's credibility best when he told Steamshovel, "If he told me the sun came up it the morning and... To read the rest of this article and the others listed on the contents page of Steamshovel Press #7, order the back issue. $5 post paid from Steamshovel Press, POB 23715, St. Louis, MO 63121 Steamshovel Press Home Page