-cont'd- One theory had it that Casolaro's death had less to do with the Octopus than it did with manufacturing fraud at Hughes Aircraft. Hughes Aircraft has a long history of exclusive and secret deals with the US government for aerospace technologies, many almost certainly involving Area 51. Casolaro had brushed up against this corruption in his pursuit of his Octopus spook group. A contact he made the day before he died, Bill Turner, gave him documentation of the fraud at Hughes. Turner noted that Casolaro added these papers to the ever-present accordion file of current research. After they found Casolaro's body, Turner got himself arrested on a bank robbery charge in order to remove himself from any further involvement. The joint venture between the Cabazon Indian tribe and Area 51's Wackenhut did exist, at least between 1981 and 1983, and Michael Riconosciuto certainly was involved with it at least in some capacity. A report from a task force of the sheriff's office of Riverside County, California placed Riconosciuto at a weapons demonstration with Earl Brian ("of the CIA") put on by the Cabazons and Wackenhut. Riconosciuto also claimed that he had a tape documenting threats made against him by another Justice Department official, but he had thrown it in a marsh near Puget Sound the night he was arrested on trumped up methamphetamine charges. Casolaro spent many days searching the Puget Sound bog to no avail, looking for the tape that ostensibly could verify the claims of "Danger Man," Casolaro's nickname for Riconosciuto. The Puget Sound location was significant because of its proximity to a famous early UFO event, the 1947 Maury Island incident. That event--six flying saucers seen by harbor seamen that left behind slag debris--had been witnessed, or hoaxed, by the business partner of Riconosciuto's father, a man named Fred Lee Crisman. In the 1960s, Crisman was subpoenaed by New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison as part of his investigation of the Kennedy assassination. Some researchers claimed that Crisman was one of the "railyard tramps" arrested near Dealy Plaza on November 22, 1963; others note that he possibly gave refuge on his Oregon ranch to a member of the Minutemen, an early militia group investigated by the Warren Commission. AUSSIE LINK Little suggests that Casolaro knew of the Crisman connection, or of the significance it might hold for what he already knew about Area 51 and the other secret airbase that held his attention, Australia's Pine Gap. Pine Gap is the top secret American underground base located near Alice Springs in the Northern Territory of the land down under, officially known as the Joint Defense Space Research Facility. It was built in 1968 officially to share program data with the Australians. Renown intelligence defector Victor Marchetti, who served in the CIA director's office from 1966 to 1969, now acknowledges that he co-authored the secret agreement between the agency and the Australian Department of Defence on the establishment of the Pine Gap station. Officially, it monitors spy satellites and intercepts and decodes broadcast communications between foreign powers unfriendly to the US. One of Pine Gap's important functions is to monitor geostationary satellites for wide ranging information on enemy telemetry, radar emissions and telecommunications. Opposition from the Australians to the base grew as its nature as an espionage facility outside of Australian control became clear. In his 1987 book Crimes of Patriots, author Jonathan Kwitny demonstrates that covert manipulation led to the early end in Australia of the administration of Labor Party prime minister Gough Whitlam because of his opposition to Pine Gap. Casolaro noted with aggravation Kwitny's inability to see the tentacles of the Octopus in the affair. "It didn't take many people to design the apparatus that would insure the renewal of the lease for the Pine Gap installation near Alice Springs, Australia," Casolaro wrote. "After all, how could a democracy spit up a Prime Minister that could sack the security of the Western Alliance?" Indeed, Whitlam was rousted after his public complaints about intelligence agency deceptions over the tragic US policy in East Timor, and the CIA's funding of Australia's right- wing Country Party, as well as his opposition to Pine Gap. Whitlam was not driven from office by an election, but was removed on a technicality by a governor-general he had appointed, one who had strong ties to the CIA. No doubt the paranoia about this destabilization of the Australian government by the US fueled rumors about the underground Pine Gap base involving alien/government collaborations, rumors that Danny Casolaro knew about that were very similar to what he was hearing about Area 51. Certainly the base's potential for surveillance also triggered his interest as well. PROMIS had been used in tracking Soviet submarines; might it also be used to track Soviet satellites? One report told of a Moscow summit conference in 1972 during which an early Pine Gap satellite picked up limousine radio-telephone conversations between Soviet missile designers, Andrei Gromyko and Leonid Brezhnev that revealed a missile secretly being kept from SALT negotiations. UFO DISINFO? Back on the Area 51 front, Casolaro was hearing rumors that Michael Riconosciuto had worked for Lear Aircraft in Reno, Nevada. This connected him to both Bill Lear, creator of the Lear jet, and often claimed by UFO buffs as having done research on anti-gravity for the government, as well as John Lear, a former CIA pilot who also hit the UFO circuit with tales of saucers and aliens in cahoots with the US government. In 1989, a man named Bob Lazar went public with his claims that he had back-engineered alien spacecraft at Area 51. Lear and Lazar lectured widely on the UFO circuit in the late 1980s and early 1990s, along with other UFO lecture celebrities like Bill English and William Cooper. Cooper's 1991 classic, Behold A Pale Horse, shared the title of the first draft proposal of Casolaro's manuscript that eventually became titled The Octopus. After Casolaro's death, Michael Riconosciuto made claims that Casolaro had learned nothing more than what one of two intelligence factions wanted him to know in order to embarrass the other faction. One faction was called Aquarius and had a leadership sub-group called MJ-12, the name, of course, of the supposed secret group founded by Harry Truman in the wake of the Roswell flying saucer crash. Riconosciuto even told one writer that he had witnessed the autopsy of an alien body--this long before the famous alien autopsy film began to circulate. Some have suggested that the tales of extraterrestrials that surround areas like Area 51 and Pine Gap serve as disinformation to deflect attention away from serious issues such as gun-running and black project weapons development. Casolaro's own view, and the extent of his knowledge and interest in this tributary from the Octopus research, and whatever he learned that might have brought the truth closer to the surface of the murky waters in which he swam, may have died with him.