The creation of the Fifth Column to deal with official corruption was necessitated by a confluence of several factors.
1. First of all, there is the corruption of the Justice Department itself. One couldn't simply turn over the fruits of a lot of hard investigative work, involving both financial and other information, to the Department of Justice, and expect to see justice done. The Justice Department is part and parcel of the same corrupt system. Nowhere is this more in evidence than the theft by "trickery, deceit, and fraud" (in the words of a federal bankruptcy judge) of the PROMIS software. The Justice Department is bent on discrediting, ruining, or indicting anyone who is harmful to the government's case. The Department's carrot-and-stick method of operation can be seen from the following paragrahs found in an affidavit of Michael J. Riconosciuto (March 21, 1991):
"In February 1991, I had a telephone conversation with Peter Videnieks, then still employed by the U.S. Department of Justice. Videnieks attempted during this telephone conversation to persuade me not to cooperate with an independent investigation of the government's piracy of INSLAW's proprietary PROMIS software being conducted by the Committee on the Judiciary of the U.S. House of Representatives.
"[Carrot:] Videnieks stated that I would be rewarded for a decision not to cooperate with the House Judiciary Committee investigation. Videnieks forecasted an immediate and favorable resolution of a protracted child custody dispute being prosecuted against my wife by her former husband, if I were to decide not to cooperate with the House Judiciary Committee investigation.
"[Stick:] Videnieks also outlined specific punishments that I could expect to receive from the U.S. Department of Justice if I cooperate with the House Judiciary Committee's investigation.
"[Stick #1:] One punishment that Videnieks outlined was the future inclusion of me and my father in a criminal prosecution of certain business associates of mine in Orange County, California, in connection with the operation of a savings and loan institution in Orange County. By way of underscoring his power to influence such decisions at the U.S. Department of Justice, Videnieks informed me of the indictment of these business associates prior to the time when that indictment was unsealed and made public.
"[Stick #2:] Another punishment that Videnieks threatened against me if I cooperate with the House Judiciary Commitee [sic] is prosecution by the U.S. Department of Justice for perjury. Videnieks warned me that credible witnesses would come forward to contradict any damaging claims that I made in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, and that I would subsequently be prosecuted for perjury by the U.S. Department of Justice for my testimony before the House Judiciary Committee."
2. Secondly, there is the corruption of congressional investigative bodies. "We tried in the early 90s to take the evidence to all the appropriate legislative committees," Chuck Hayes told me. "We ended up with egg all over our faces." For how do you get members of the House and Senate to investigate illegal drug-dealing, arms-dealing, and money-laundering, when many of these same people are on the take from drug dealers, arms dealers, and money launderers? Before this route would work, you would have to first root out many of the same corrupt members of congress. One way to do this would be to get them to resign, or to agree to not run for re- election, by presenting them with evidence documenting their corruption. (You would also hope for, eventually, an honest Justice Department, so these same legislators could also be prosecuted.) Over the past year, a number of Capitol Hill residents, not to mentioned state government officials and corporate executives, were visited by a very large man bearing a package containing 200 to 300 pages of financial and other documentation. They subsequently resigned, usually "to spend more time with their families."
3. Finally, there is the general inattention of the news media, and their unwillingness to do any serious investigation on their own. The media is often content to relay the content of government handouts, or to get quotes from each of two opposing sides. To actually go on a search for evidence and to subject it to hard analysis is foreign to them. The New York Times, for example, is not that keen on pursuing corruption in the Clinton administration. Nor has the media shown a great propensity for independent analysis of the circumstances involving the death of Ron Brown, the downing of TWA 800, or the political funding scandals associated with the Lippo Group.
The Fifth Column was organized in the matter of a carefully thought-out intelligence operation. There were layers within layers. But at heart the Fifth Column is essentially a mobile computer, and the people who program it, tend to it, and run it. The computer is very powerful, necessary to do the work of correlating data from many sources. The computer must remain mobile to avoid detection and ransacking by corrupt FBI agents who are themselves targets of the Fifth Column investigation. Communication is handled by a variety of methods, including use of an earth-to-satellite signal.
Bill Clinton's political Gestapo has invested considerable time and effort in an attempt to trace the computer-carrying truck. The Washington, D.C. office of the FBI sent out two cars to Kentucky that were specially equipped to vector in on a ground-to-satellite signal. They ran into problems with the local wildlife, however, including a bobcat who ripped out the interior and panel wiring in one car. (This bobcat is now alleged to be on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list.) On another occasion, hearing that the truck was returning from Little Rock, the Department of Transportation, along with the FBI and the Secret Service, for a time stopped and searched every truck leaving Arkansas on Interstate 40. (Do you ever wonder why truckers don't love the Feds?) On a third occasion, someone started a rumour that the truck was traveling under the guise of Frito-Lay--with the consequence that every truck departing the company was stopped for inspection. The only public representative of the Fifth Column is Chuck Hayes himself.
The pursuit of corruption is a deadly business. I went to Kentucky and spent a week with Hayes, and his last statement to me at the airport was: "Watch yourself. I don't want another Casolaro on my hands." Danny Casolaro was one of the few journalists Hayes respected. Hayes and Casolaro had slowly developed a relationship, and Hayes had become an important source of information for Casolaro. Hayes had tried to dissuade Casolaro from going to his final, fatal rendevous. On August 9, 1991, the last day of his life, Danny Casolaro said he had arranged a meeting with Peter Videnieks and Robert Altman to trade them some documents in which they were interested for further documents regarding the sale of the modified PROMIS software. Robert Altman was a former attorney for Bert Lance who became President of First American Bank after it was taken over by BCCI. Peter Videnieks was the Justice Department official mentioned above in Riconosciuto's affidavit, as well as a former Customs official who had cleared the PROMIS software for export. The meeting had been arranged by a covert intelligence operative of the U.S. Army Special Forces named Joseph Cuellar.
A friend of Danny's had been keeping two sealed envelopes. According to a signed affidavit (which I will call the "F Affidavit," for his protection), the friend says, "On August 9, 1991, I delivered two packets of documents that I had kept for Mr. Casolaro to him in Martinsburg, W. Va. . . . Danny had told me that [the] meeting had been arranged by Joseph Cuellar. That he was to meet with someone from Sen. Byrds office and from the I.R.S., plus Peter Videnieks and Robert Altman. He was to exchange some documents that was to their interest in order to get more info on Promis. He had told me that Altman only agreed after he was told papers would be sent to Robert Morgenthau."
Casolaro was found dead in Room 517 in the Martinsburg Sheraton Inn about 12:30 the following day. A person was seen leaving his room shortly before he was found dead, but the FBI never interviewed the eyewitness, nor showed her pictures of likely suspects. They were in a hurry to close the matter as one more "suicide" (much as in the later case of Vince Foster). Documentary evidence also shows that Earl Brian, the person who marketed the PROMIS software to intelligence agencies around the world, was in Martinsburg that same day. (Brian was subsequently indicted for, and convicted of, financial irregularities while he was head of three separate companies: Infotechnology, Financial News Network, and United Press International.)
When the Clinton administration came into office, Attorney General Janet Reno appointed Webster Hubbell to handle the Inslaw case, as well as questions concerning Casolaro's death. Hubbell's assistant on the entire matter was Stephen Zipperstein, who was subsequently appointed to a position in the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles, with a mandate to sit on the indictment of Earl Brian. (Brian was indicted by a grand jury in June 1994, but the indictment was not made public until September 1995.) That is, the Justice Dept. attorney appointed to oversee the Inslaw case and the issue of Casolero's death, was the same person appointed to protect Earl Brian--who was a principal target of the Inslaw case, and very possibly a member of the group that killed Danny Casolero. Hence the old equation: "investigation" = cover-up.
At the time of his death, Casolaro had computer printouts and documents he had received from a National Security Agency (NSA) employee named Alan Standorf. These included "wire transfers (copies) of monies paid to Earl Brian and sent to shell companies in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland that came from accounts held by foreign agents and governments at the World Bank and BCCI" (F Affidavit). Some of the documents received from Standorf "were classified Top Secret and some had letters SCI [Sensitive Compartmented Intelligence]" (F Affidavit). Some time after Casolaro's death, Alan Standorf himself was found dead, having been stuffed into the trunk of a car at the National Airport in Washington, D.C.
No, I would say I didn't want another Casolaro on anyone's hands any more than Hayes did.
November 14, 1996
Web Page: http://www.aci.net/kalliste/