by Kenn Thomas The following article appeared in issue 6.4 (Oct. 97) of Lumpen, Chicago's magazine for the disenchanted proletariat. The current issue of Lumpen contains the second article in this series, "PROMIS and Computer Paranoia."
Because circumstances have shrouded Danny Casolaro's death in mystery, the single aspect of his research that led to it may never be known for certain. Hotel workers in Martinsburg, West Virginia found the writer dead in August 1991 in what looked like a faked suicide. The "head's up" warning flashed among students of the conspiracy culture when the learned files he had on him were missing and the details of his investigative work slowly emerged from freinds, family and fellow investigators. Casolaro previously had previously warned these same people not to believe any reports that he might have fallen victim to an "accident." The fishy circumstances of his death and the probable motivations of his possible killers remain obvious. In its "Pig System Analysis" issue, Lumpen treated its readers with a chart outlining some of the many aspects of Casolaro's investigation of the Inslaw/PROMIS case, a topic that could fill several pages with similar charts. It has done that, in fact, in places like Time and Village Voice, with many mainstream magazines attempting to make it look like a crazy patchwork of nonsense while also back-pedaling on the investigative tributaries that Casolaro opened up. To its credit, Lumpen followed and publicized the case very early on. In that spirit, the following report summarizes its main outline and brings readers up to speed on some current developments. THE OCTOPUS Danny Casolaro sought to document and expose sea of covert operatives, super- surveillance software and transnational spies. He called the monster he saw swimming in that sea "the Octopus." It consisted of a group of US intelligence veterans that had banded together to manipulate world events for the sake of consolidating and extending its power. Of course it involved the Kennedy assassination, but that was just one of many coups and assassinations pulled off by the Octopus since the end of World War II. The group had come together over a covert operation to invade Albania that was betrayed by famed British turncoat Kim Philby. The Octopus had overthrown Jacob Arbenz in Quatemala in 1954. It had targeted operations against Fidel Castro culminating in the Bay of Pigs. It also had tentacles in the political upheavals in Angola, Rhodesia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Nigeria, Chile, Iran and Iraq. Casolaro had as his main concern Octopus involvement with putting Ronald Reagan in power --the infamous October Surpise--and the role that played in introducing the PROMIS software into police systems around the world. Casolaro's catalogue of membership in the Octopus included such notorious spooks as John Singlaub and the late CIA director William Colby. As heads of the Phoenix assassination program in Vietnam they had implemented an early version of the PROMIS tracking software to keep tabs on the Viet Cong. Other Octopus tentacles included characters like E. Howard Hunt and Bernard Baker, who later emerged as Watergate burglars. Casolaro focussed on one person in the periphery of the Octopus as it had developed in the early 1980s, a man named Earl Brian, crony to Reagan's attorney general Ed Meese. Brian had been given PROMIS to sell illegally as a reward for paying off Ayatollah Khomeini to hold on to American hostages until the Carter presidential re-election campaign clearly was doomed. According to Casolaro, Meese used the US Justice department to steal PROMIS from its developers, the Inslaw group, which had its connections to the Phoenix program and also had developed the software at least in part on public money. Two congressional committees eventually agreed, however, that Inslaw was the legal private owner of PROMIS when the US Justice department shanghaied it and Earl Brian profiteered by selling it to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Interpol, the Mossad and other international police agencies as well as to the military. One application of the modified PROMIS included the ability to track Soviet submarines in previously untraceable marine trenches near Iceland. If coded correctly, PROMIS could interface with other databases without reprogramming, giving it great ability to ostensibly track criminals--but also, potentially, political dissidents--through the computer systems of various police agencies. Casolaro's main informant, Michael Riconosciuto added to this the claim that he had personally reprogrammed PROMIS with a backdoor, so it could spy on the methods of the police agencies that were using it for tracking. This gave it added appeal as a covert tool. The US could spy on the very agencies it was selling the software to illegally. BRIAN GOES DOWN Earl Brian's role in the PROMIS theft was spelled out explicitly by Inslaw lawyer Elliot Richardson, another Watergate figure in the New York Times in 1992.. Richardson was the attorney general who actually stood up to Richard Nixon's corruption during the Saturday Night massacre. Brian sued over the New York Times article and lost. Richardson had written the article to encourage investigation of the case, but Brian used the opportunity to start a nusiance libel suit. On November 29, 1995, the New York Court of Appeals dismissed Brian's claim and declared that Richardson's assertions came under free speech protections. Although never prosecuted over the PROMIS allegations, Brian survived only one more year after the libel suit before other past shady deals began to catch up with him. In October 1996 a California jury convicted him of Federal bank fraud, conspiracy and lying to auditors. Prosecutors charged that Brian had drafted false documents to conceal the losses of the Financial New Network and United Press International, for whom he served as chief executive, in order to obtain $70 million in bank loans for his other concern, a biotechnology firm Infotechnology. MARKET AND MIND CONTROL Interestingly, the pattern of financial impropriety in the case was identical to one that happened on assassination day, November 22, 1963. Someone named Tony DeAngelis misrepresented his holdings of thosuands of tons of salad oil with faked American Express warehouse receipts in order to get bank loans. Exposure of the fraud was the top news story in the New Tork Times editions that came out before the assassination on that date. Many people profiteered from the short-selling spree on the markets consequent to that and news of JFK's murder, including American Express magnate Warren Buffet and a transnational entity called Bunge Corporation, known in the financial literature of the time as The Octopus. In a classic work on the JFK assassination, Were We Controlled, psuedonymous author Lincoln Lawrence argues that DeAngeles, Ruby and Oswald were all mind-controlled in their actions on that day. (Adventures Unlimited Press is reprinting this book with annotations, bibliography, photographs and index by Kenn Thomas. Write to POB 74, Kempton, IL 60946.) Add to that the fact that Earl Brian at one time was a brain surgeon, and the other Watergate-Inslaw connection, E. Howard Hunt, who had a phone relationship with Casolaro, has also been connected to mind control operations, and the story takes some extremely interesting speculative turns. AREA 51 REVISITED Michael Riconosciuto claimed that he had made his modifications to PROMIS on the tribal lands of the Cabazon Indians in Indio, California as part of a joint project the tribal administrators had with a private security firm known as Wackenhut. Wackenhut provides security services to the notorious secret airbase Area 51. After Danny Casolaro turned up dead and his current research file missing, other notes found at his apartment later clearly indicated his interest in this Nevada super-spook facility. The base, of course, had been around since before it was used to develop the U2 spy plane in the late 1950s and early 1960s, later the SR71 Blackbird and now the mysterious Aurora super-plane. As Casolaro made his notes about it, however, it had not yet become the subject of popular lore that it is today. Nevertheless, Casolaro devoted pages of notes to Area 51. --more--