Federal Corruption: Inslaw's PROMIS Software
I include this piece here, at my blog, because from this story branched out a slew of stories of federal and international corruption over the years. Becoming familiar with this story will give you the eyeglasses necessary to interpret much regarding modern-day conspiracies. Of course, it is only a start.
Federal Corruption: INSLAW
By Harry V. Martin
Copyright FreeAmerica and Harry V. Martin, 1995
EDITOR'S NOTE: When discussing the widespread corruption in the federal Bankruptcy Courts, it is difficult to focus on just the Northern California jurisdiction. This new series will focus on the extent of the corruption throughout the nation and its linkage to various courts.
When the U.S. Government sent Anthony Souza to Northern California to investigate what government officials called "the dirtiest system" in the United States, it was aware that the entire bankruptcy system is unraveling. Former LendVest Trustee Charles Duck was the main focal point of Souza's investigation-even though a local bankruptcy judge called him the most "honest man" he had ever known. Duck's ties to bankruptcy judges throughout the Bay Area is providing a picture of intense corruption going deep inside the law enforcement agencies. Even Souza admits privately that his hands are tied.
There has been one known murder in Northern California that has strong possible links to the bankruptcy system. There have been several more in Texas. This series will focus on different incidents from various parts of the country.
One of the most bizarre cases of corruption in the bankruptcy system involves a small Washington-based computer software firm called INSLAW. In 1982 the firm signed a three year contract for $10 million with the U.S. Department of Justice. The software program INSLAW developed was a case-management computer program called PROMIS. The software, which was developed by Bill Hamilton, enabled the U.S. attorneys to keep track of information on cases, witnesses and defendants, and to manage their caseloads more effectively.
Though the U.S. Attorney's Office placed the PROMIS program into operation in several of its offices, it refused to pay Hamilton. Subsequently Hamilton was forced into the bankruptcy court. Former U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson, representing Hamilton, advised him to sue the Justice Department for stealing his software.
Anthony Pasciuto, who was the deputy director of the Executive Office for U.S. Trustees, which oversees bankruptcy estates on behalf of the court, had stated that the Justice Department was improperly applying pressure on his office to convert INSLAW's Chapter 11 reorganization into a Chapter 7 liquidation, which would mean that all company assets, including the rights to PROMIS would be sold at auction.
U.S. Trustee Cornelius Blackshear corroborated Pasciuto's story. Two days after he was visited by Justice Department officials, Blackshear issued a sworn affidavit recanting his earlier testimony.
The Justice Department recommended that Pasciuto be fired. The memo seeking his dismissal reads "Ébut for Mr. Pasciuto's highly irresponsible actions, the Department would be in a much better litigation posture than it presently finds itself."
Federal Bankruptcy Judge George F. Bason, Jr., ruled in 1987 that the Justice Department had acted illegally in trying to put INSLAW out of business. Bason sent Edwin Meese a letter recommending that he designate an appropriate outside official to review the dispute because of the prima facie evidence of perjury by Justice Department officials, Meese did not respond.
Later that year after nearly three weeks of trial, Bason ruled in favor of INSLAW in its suit against the Justice Department. "The department (of Justice) took, converted, stole INSLAW's software by trickery, fraud and deceit," the judge stated, adding, "the Justice Department engaged in an outrageous, deceitful, fraudulent game of cat and mouse, demonstrating contempt for both the law and any principle of fair dealing." Judge Bason ordered the Justice Department to pay INSLAW $6.8 million. Bason's verdict was upheld on appeal by U.S. District Court Judge William B. Bryant. Three months after Bason's ruling, he was denied re-appointment to the bankruptcy court.
Hamilton's trouble began when a friend of Meese attempted to buy out INSLAW, but Hamilton turned him down. In a court document, the potential buyer is quoted as saying, "We have ways of making you sell." It was after that the trouble for INSLAW began.
The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on investigations, chaired by Senator Sam Nunn, began an investigation into the INSLAW case. Once the inquiry got under way, the Senate Judiciary Committee's chief investigator, Ronald LeGrand, received a phone call from an unnamed senior officer at the Justice Department, a person LeGrand has known for years. The caller told LeGrand that the "INSLAW case was a lot dirtier for the Department of Justice than Watergate had been, both in its breadth and its depth."
The Nunn Committee completed its investigation and published its report. It recognized that INSLAW has been a victim of the system and stated that "the Justice Department had been uncooperative, refusing to allow witnesses to testify without representatives of the litigation division being present to advise them. The effect of their presence was to intimidate those who might otherwise have cooperated with the investigation." The report states, "The staff learned through various channels of a number of Department employees who desired to speak to the Subcommittee, but who chose not to out of fear for their jobs."
Congressman Jack Brooks of Texas has opened a new investigation into the INSLAW case. Brooks is investigating allegations that Justice Department officials, including Meese, conspired to force INSLAW into bankruptcy in order to deliver the firm's software to a rival company. The rival firm, according to court records and law enforcement officials, was headed by Earl W. Brian, a former Cabinet officer under then California Governor Ronald Reagan and a longtime friend of several high-ranking Republican officials. Meese had accepted a $15,000 interest-free loan from Brian. Meese's wife was an investor in the rival company. This is the same company that allegedly sought to buy INSLAW from Hamilton and made the alleged threat.
What happened to PROMIS?
The program is in use throughout the nation and has been used also for military intelligence information. It has the ability to track troop movements.
An official of the Israeli government claims Brian sold the PROMIS program to Iraqi military intelligence at a meeting in Santiago, Chile. The software could have been used in the recent Persian Gulf War to track U.S. and allied troop movements. Ari Ben-Menashe, a 12 year veteran of Israeli intelligence, made the statement in a sworn affidavit to the court.
The software is now operative with the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the U.S. Department of Justice. Only the Justice Department is authorized by the court to use the software.
Brian now claims he acquired the property rights to the software and consummated a sale to Israel, although he had allowed its use by the Israeli intelligence forces for as many as five years before the actual sale.
In essence, a small company in Washington developed a very sensitive computer program which the Justice Department obtained. The courts ruled in favor of the developer and the judge who made the ruling was never re-appointed. The software was acquired by a friend of Meese and the Justice Department has never paid for its use and has allowed other agencies the right of its use.
The bankruptcy court was a tool, as it appears to be with other jurisdictions, to support the economic gain of a few. Charles Duck was not alone, as the record will prove.
How the Justice Department used the bankruptcy court
By Harry V. Martin
Second of a New Series
Copyright Napa Sentinel, 1991
The corruption of the bankruptcy system is endemic of a political patronage system with its roots going back to former U.S. Attorney Edwin Meese, according to many former employees of the Department of Justice. The INSLAW case - reported last week in the Napa Sentinel - is a microcosm of the entire system.
As a result of the INSLAW cases, many heads in the Justice Department were lopped off. When Judge George Bason, a bankruptcy court judge, refused to liquidate INSLAW, ruling instead that the Department of Justice used deceit, trickery and fraud, he was only one of four who were not re-appointed to their jobs. A total of 132 were re-appointed.
But to show the collusion of the Justice Department, when it removed Judge Bason from the bench after his ruling against them and for INSLAW, they had S. Martin Teel appointed to the bench to replace Bason. Who was Teel? He was a Department of Justice attorney who unsuccessfully argued the INSLAW case before Judge Bason.
Tony Pasciuto admitted that he was ordered to pressure the bankruptcy judge to rule against INSLAW. After being subpoenaed by INSLAW's attorney, Pasciuto was offered a long-awaited transfer by the Justice Department from Washington, D.C. to Albany, New York. Pasciuto bought a home in Albany and then changed his testimony. After the testimony was completed, the Justice Department cancelled his transfer. Pasciuto had to commute from Albany to Washington.
Former Attorney General Elliott Richardson made a list of the baffling questions of why the Justice Department wanted INSLAW declared insolvent and why it wouldn't pay a $6.8 million settlement to the small company. INSLAW received an offer to sell their company and they refused. The buyer informed the company that he had powerful political influence and "We have ways of making you sell." Within 90 days of that threat, the Justice Department commenced its attack on INSLAW.
The company that made the attempt to buy INSLAW had financial connections to Meese and some of Meese's cronies. When the battle ended, INSLAW was broke, an attorney, a Justice Department whistle-blower and a judge were out to work, but INSLAW was saved by a corporate giant, IBM, who rescued the company virtually from the auction block.
The company that allegedly made the threat was Hadron. It has had brushes with the Security Exchange Commission, it has gone to the brink of being broke and one of its companies has been accused by the SEC of fraud and manipulation of stock prices, the company lost $4.3 million in one year. It soon sunk $12 million in the red.
But once Meese became Attorney General, Hadron suddenly received lucrative Pentagon contracts, along with the Agency for International Development. The company was also awarded a $40 million contract from the Justice Department, despite protests against the bidding process. One member of Hadron's board was Dr. Earl Brian, who was in Reagan's California cabinet along with Meese. Meese was chief of staff in California. The Deputy Attorney General was D. Lowell Jensen, who had competed against INSLAW years earlier. The person in charge of making Justice Department payments for INSLAW's software, and who didn't, was an employee who had been fired from INSLAW. Jensen was also in trouble when the Senate was investigating the Iran-Contra scandal. Apparently the Senate committee discovered a memo written by Jensen to the National Security Council warning that the Miami federal prosecutors where on Ollie North's trail. The memo revealed that the Justice Department, who was supposed to prosecute the Iran-Contra affair, actually was tipping off the government in advance.
One Justice Department official testified at the INSLAW hearing that INSLAW's software could be dangerous. Thomas Stanton testified 'INSLAW could besmirch the U.S. Trustee program." The program is so sophisticated that it could trace all assets, track all trustees and judges. Another Justice Department employee stated that the U.S. Trustee program was flagrantly political. "It was a way of getting cronies into office. There would be 50 or 60 positions to be filledÉ it was Meese's baby." The official also stated, "It was always puzzling to me how he got away with what he got away with. He'd do things that were blatantly wrong and no one would question himÐ it's kind of scary."
The Meese program would concentrate too much power in one government department. "It's supposed to act as a watchdog over lawyers and trustees, but the problem is it's more. It has a considerable amount of power to control the administration of cases. When a case moves from bankruptcy to liquidation, the U.S. Trustees office names the trustee, who converts the assets, oversees the auction, and retains appraisers who will put a price tag on the leavings. The U.S. Trustee's program also links Justice and the IRS. The thing that's a little frightening about it is that the U.S. Trustee department sees itself as a part of the tax-collecting function of government. The Justice Department represents the IRS, and the IRS is often the biggest creditor in liquidation." states a leading bankruptcy attorney.
Bankruptcy, Justice scandal could equal Watergate
By Harry V. Martin
Third in a NEW SERIES
Copyright Napa Sentinel
As if things weren't getting hot enough for the federal bankruptcy court system, but now the INSLAW case is becoming another Watergate. INSLAW was a Washington, D. C., based computer firm that sold a highly technical tracking software program to the U.S. Department of Justice. Federal judges have upheld INSLAW's contention that the Justice Department, under Attorney General Edwin Meese, stole INSLAW's computer program.
A bankruptcy judge that made the ruling was not re-appointed to a 14-year term. Several Justice Department officials have since been fired or quit over the case.
Now a U.S. House Subcommittee is investigating the case and putting a lot of heat on the Justice Department. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh has been placed in an awkward position because of the case. Though he was not Attorney General at the time the INSLAW scandal broke, he was the man who investigated it and cleared the Justice Department of wrong doing.
Testimony has come forward that the Justice Department, under Meese, pressured the bankruptcy courts to declare INSLAW insolvent, forcing the company to release its assets, including the critical software. INSLAW was once threatened if it didn't sell its company to a close Meese associate. After the threat, INSLAW's life was made miserable by the Justice Department. When INSLAW sued the Justice Department it was awarded $6.8 million. The judge who made the award was fired and replaced with a newly appointed judge- the man who prosecuted the case for the Justice Department. A second judge upheld the first judge's ruling.
The House subcommittee is accusing Thornburgh of stonewalling the Committee's request for hundreds of documents involved in the INSLAW case. Two years ago, the same stalling tactics by the Attorney General's office played havoc with a Senate investigation of the same problem. But Texas Congressman Jack Brooks is putting the heat on the Justice Department to turn over its records on INSLAW, Brook's committee controls the purse strings of the Justice Department and has more clout than did the Senate Committee.
The protected software has been pirated to the Canadian government. Those who were found responsible for the pirating were close associates of Meese. "No sooner had the piracy been confirmed in Canada than an Israeli intelligence officer alleged that PROMIS (INSLAW's software program) was being used illegally by the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies," states James J. Kilpatrick in the March 15 edition of The Miami Herald.
After the re-appointment of the federal bankruptcy judge was halted because of his ruling on the INSLAW case, almost every bankruptcy judge that is handed the case declines to have anything to do with it. "Nobody wants to touch the case," states Chief District Judge Aubrey Robinson.
According to Brooks, the Justice Department is now ready to turn over the documents, states the Legal Times of Washington, D.C. The scandal touches many high officials in the Justice Department or formerly associated with the Department.
Edwin Meese, former Attorney General.
Attorney General Richard Thornburgh.
Justice Department Watchdog Michael Sheheen, Jr.
Gerald McDowell, chief of the Criminal Division's Public Integrity Section.
Lawrence McWhorter, head of the Executive Office of the U.S. Attorney's Criminal Division.
Bankruptcy Judge Cornelius Blackshear.
North District of California Federal District Judge D. Lowell Jensen, who was a former Deputy Attorney General and once chief competitor to INSLAW in California.
The Brooks Committee has also learned that the Justice Department's computer system is "all botched up" and has also learned that there is a lot of sensitive data within the Department of Justice computer files that is not secure. The INSLAW program was to organize everything and track cases all over the country.
The Justice Department is the prime law enforcement agency in the United States. A scandal there could rock the nation in a similar fashion as Watergate did during the Nixon Administration.
The Justice Department oversees the Federal Bankruptcy Court and the Trustee system. The Justice Department is investigating the Federal Bankruptcy Court and the Trustee System. The Justice Department has been caught using the Bankruptcy System for their own interest. In other words, the Justice Department is investigating the Justice Department's Bankruptcy System for potential wrongdoings by the Justice Department.
But is there really justice in this land?
Bankruptcy court examines software allegations against Justice Department pirating
By Harry V. Martin
Fourth in a NEW SERIES
Copyright Napa Sentinel
If you own a VCR or rent or buy movies, you will be familiar with the warning that appears on your screen that the film you are viewing is protected by a copyright and that the Federal Bureau of Investigations or Interpol can arrest you for copying the film. The warning is to prevent "pirating" of someone else's copyrighted material.
But what's good for the goose is not always good for the gander. The United States Justice Department stands accused of pirating copyrighted material - having supplied it to the Canadian government, the Israeli government and Iraqi governmentÉand to the FBI, itself.
That is how deep the INSLAW computer software case has become. The case started out when the Justice Department bought PROMIS, a copyrighted software program that helps to track criminal cases throughout the United States. When friends and associates of then Attorney General Edwin Meese attempted to buy the software company, INSLAW turned them down and then life was made miserable for INSLAW. Within 90 days the Justice Department reneged on their contract with INSLAW and refused to pay for the software program, even though it was using it. The Justice Department is accused by federal judges of attempting to bankrupt INSLAW and then hasten the bankruptcy court to declare them insolvent. Instead, the courts ruled that the Justice Department used "fraud, deceit and trickery" against INSLAW and awarded the small computer software company $6.8 million in damages.
The case became deeper when friends of Meese began to sell the program to foreign military establishments and the Justice Department began to provide the copyrighted material to other U.S. government agencies. A man who was once fired from INSLAW was put in charge of INSLAW's payments - which were never forthcoming. Another Justice Department official, who is now a Federal Judge in Northern California, was a direct competitor to INSLAW in California The Judge who made the $6.8 million ruling lost his job. The attorney for the Justice Department who fought against the Judge's ruling was promoted to the Judge's vacant position. There have been wholesale changes and firings at the Justice Department over the INSLAW case.
The Justice Department is now under investigation by a House subcommittee and this committee is receiving many documents to support the premise that the Justice Department has a skeleton in its closet that stinks greater than Watergate.
But new documents emerging in the case demonstrate a wider scandal. In an affidavit dated February 17, 1991, Ari Ben-Menashe describes his 12 year service for the Government of Israel in foreign intelligence and provides an eyewitness account of a presentation to an Israeli intelligence agency in 1987 in Tel Aviv, by Earl W. Brian of the United States.
Brian is a close associate of Meese from his California days. Brian and Meese were both in Ronald Reagan's California Cabinet when Reagan was governor.
According to Ben-Menashe's affidavit, Brian stated in his presence that he had acquired the property rights to the PROMIS computer software and that as of 1987 "all U.S. intelligence agencies, including the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, were using the PROMIS computer software." Ben-Menashe further states in his affidavit that Brian consummated a sale of the PROMIS computer software to the Government of Israel in 1987.
He further claimed that Brian also sold the PROMIS computer software to Iraqi Military Intelligence. According to Ben-Menashe's affidavit, the Israeli intelligence officer learned of this sale from an eyewitness who helped Brian broker the sale in his office in Santiago, Chile, Carlos Carduen of Carduen Industries. Carduen has been a major supplier to the Government of Iraq with weapons and munitions.
The Federal Government of Canada has admitted that INSLAW's PROMIS software is currently operating in at least two federal departments, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The Mounties are using the program in 900 locations in Canada.
INSLAW never sold its software to Canada, Iraq, Israel, the Central Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency. It also has not been paid by the Justice Department for its use, despite the $6.8 million ruling in INSLAW's favor.
The Justice Department insists that the FBI is not using the PROMIS program. Yet FBI Director William Sessions and Deputy Assistant Director Kier Boyd, have made it clear that the FBI now is unable or unwilling to provide assurances that pirated software is not included in the case management information system used by FBI field offices.
And in a startling development, a man named Charles Hayes has asserted that the U.S. government has pirated the PROMIS computer program. The Justice Department has sued Hayes in the U.S. District Court in Lexington, Kentucky, seeking to compel him to return copies of computer software left on equipment Hayes' salvage business purchased from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Lexington. Hayes has publicly claimed that the salvaged equipment contained pirated copies of INSLAW's PROMIS software.
One cover-up begets another cover-up? This is how Watergate spread.
Watergate, Iran, Contra, Saving & Loan Scandal, INSLAW Theft
Federal Bankruptcy Scandal, CIA Covert Operations
Did you ever wonder what the fathers of our country would think about it if they came back to visit today?
Key witness in INSLAW case arrested by Justice Department as predicted
By Harry V. Martin
Fifth in a NEW SERIES
Copyright Napa Sentinel
Within eight days of signing a damaging statement against the U.S. Justice Department in the INSLAW software case, a key witness against the government has been arrested and held without bail. Michael J. Riconoscuito was arrested Friday night and is being held without bail at Snohomish County jail in Everett, Washington.
Riconoscuito is being held without bail and no charges have been filed against him. He was arrested with two local men who had just sold him computer equipment for $1000. The two were known drug users. Riconoscuito, according to jail officials, is being held for the U.S. Marshal's Office - not on any alleged local criminal violation.
Riconoscuito, and the two other persons, were arrested Friday night by more than a dozen U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents.
On March 21, Riconoscuito, a computer software technician, filed an affidavit in the INSLAW case. In February, Riconoscuito was called by a former Justice Department official and warned against cooperating with an investigation into the case by the House Judiciary Committee. The former Justice Department official is reported to have threatened Riconoscuito with criminal prosecution if he talked about the INSLAW case. The Justice Department has been accused by a Federal bankruptcy Judge of stealing INSLAW's PROMIS software which has the capability of tracking criminal and military movements. According to sworn affidavits, Riconoscuito was allegedly told by U.S. Justice Department officials that if he did testify in the INSLAW case he would be criminally prosecuted in an unrelated savings and loan case and would suffer an unfavorable outcome in a child custody dispute.
The threat was made by telephone and a recording was made of the conversation, according to Riconoscuito. He indicated that two copies of the recorded telephone conversation were confiscated by federal agents when he was arrested. Riconoscuito told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that at least one other copy remained in a secured location.
Riconoscuito's testimony, along with others, claims that the U.S. Justice Department illegally distributed INSLAW's software to military and intelligence agencies in Iraq, Libya, South Korea, Singapore, Israel, Canada and other nations.
A Federal Judge ruled last week in Washington, D.C., that the INSLAW case be transferred from the Bankruptcy Court to the U.S. District Court.
During the early 1980s, Riconoscuito served as the Director of Research for a joint venture between the Wackenhut Corporation of Coral Gables, Florida and the Cabazon Band of Indians of Indio, California. The joint venture was located on the Cabazon reservation. The joint venture sought to develop and manufacture certain materials that are used in military and national security operations, and biological and chemical warfare weapons. The Cabazon Band of Indians are a sovereign nation and thus have immunity from U.S. regulations and stringent government controls.
The Wackenhut-Cabazon joint venture was intended to support the needs of a number of foreign governments and forces, including forces and governments in Central America and the Middle East. The Contras in Nicaragua represented one of the most important priorities for the joint venture. The joint venture maintained close liaison with certain elements of the U.S. Government, including representatives of intelligence, military and law enforcement agencies. Among the frequent visitors to the Wackenhut-Cabazon joint venture were Peter Videnicks of the U.S. Department of Justice and a close associate of Videnicks, Dr. Earl W. Brian, who served in the California cabinet of Governor Ronald Reagan and who has very close ties and business dealings with Meese.
In connection with Riconoscuito's work, he engaged in some software work in 1983 and 1984 on the PROMIS computer software product, developed by INSLAW but being used, without payment, by the U.S. Department of Justice. A federal court has awarded INSLAW $6.8 million against the U.S. Department of Justice.
According to Riconoscuito's court affidavit, Brian was spearheading the plan for the worldwide use of the PROMIS computer software, which was licensed and patented to INSLAW. "The purpose of the PROMIS software modifications that I made in 1983 and 1984 was to support a plan for the implementation of PROMIS in law enforcement and intelligence agencies worldwide." He said that some of the modifications that he made were specifically designed to facilitate the implementation of PROMIS within two agencies of the Government of Canada: the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service. "Earl W. Brian would check with me from time to time to make certain that the work would be completed in time to satisfy the schedule for the RCMP and CSIS implementations of PROMIS." Brian, without permission from INSLAW, but acting with the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese, reportedly sold this version of PROMIS to the Government of Canada, according to Riconoscuito."
Riconoscuito predicted his own arrest eight days later. In his affidavit filed with the court on March 21, 1991, he states, "In February 1991, I had a telephone conversation with Peter Videnicks, then still employed by the U.S. Department of Justice. Videnicks 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.
"Videnicks stated that I would be rewarded for a decision not to cooperate with the House Judiciary Committee investigation. Videnicks 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.
"One punishment that Videnicks 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,Videnicks informed me of the indictment of those business associates prior to the time when that indictment was unsealed and made public.
"Another punishment that Videnicks threatened should I cooperate with the House Judiciary Committee, is prosecution by the U.S. Department of Justice for perjury. Videnicks 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.
As predicted, after Riconoscuito's affidavit was filed with the court and reported in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Washington Post, he was arrested and is now being held without bail and with no charges.
The INSLAW case is becoming another Watergate and involves former Attorney General Edwin Meese, a federal judge, several high officials of the U.S. Department of Justice and even former White House aide Robert C. McFarlane, who transferred INSLAW software to Israel.
There are so many affidavits being filed in the case to verify wrong doing on the part of the Justice Department. Yet the Justice Department continues to refuse to supply the House Judiciary Committee with any documents in the case. The Committee is now threatening to cut U.S. Department of Justice funding if they don't cooperate in supplying these documents.
House Judiciary investigators seek new declaration
By Harry V. Martin
Sixth in a NEW SERIES
Copyright Napa Sentinel, 1991
Congressional investigators have flown to Tacoma, Washington, to interview Michael Riconoscuito - a key witness in the INSLAW case. Riconoscuito provided a damaging statement against the U.S. Justice Department in the stolen software case that potentially could become another Watergate.
Riconoscuito stated in his declaration that the U.S. Justice Department had threatened to have him arrested should he cooperate with the House Judiciary Committee investigation into the U.S. Justice Department's role in the INSLAW case. Two federal judges have ruled that the U.S. Justice Department stole INSLAW's PROMIS software and used "trickery and deceit" in the the case. One of those judges was not re-appointed to the bench after his ruling. The House Committee has already heard testimony that accuses the U.S. Justice Department of attempting to interfere with the courts in an effort to have INSLAW declared insolvent. Instead, the courts awarded INSLAW $6.8 million in damages.
Within eight days of Riconoscuito's declaration he was arrested and held without bail. Drug Enforcement Agency agents made the arrest. On Wednesday a Federal Grand Jury indicted Riconoscuito on one count of distribution of methanphetamines. He is still being held without bail. Whether or not the U.S. Department of Justice retaliated against Riconoscuito's willingness to testify before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, the House investigators are questioning Riconoscuito at Kitsap County Correctional Center. One member of the investigation stated that the House Committee is deeply concerned with the timing of Riconoscuito's arrest, particularly after he signed an affidavit stating he was threatened with arrest if he did testify.
The Judiciary Committee is investigating allegations that top Justice Department officials under former Attorney General Edwin Meese engaged in a criminal conspiracy to steal software developed by INSLAW and then furnished it to other countries including, Iraq, Libya, South Korea, Israel and Canada.
Congressman Jack Brooks, chairman of the Committee, has accused the Justice Department of a cover-up by withholding more than 200 documents in the INSLAW case. A U.S. Bankruptcy judge ruled in 1987 that officials of the Justice Department stole the sensitive computer software, used to track criminals and also military movements, "through fraud, trickery and deceit". The ruling was later affirmed by another federal Judge.
Riconoscuito has a previous drug conviction for manufacturing PCP aboard a Seattle houseboat 18 years ago. Riconoscuito's declaration states that he was hired to modify INSLAW's PROMIS software so that it could be sold to Canada and other customers. During the time of modification, Riconoscuito was working on a joint venture with a private security firm and the Cabazon Indians in Indio, California. The joint venture also included military equipment and biological and chemical warfare weapons for use and/or sale in Central America and the Middle East.
One Indian and two companions who were opposed to these operations and who alleged that tribal money was being filtered into foreign banks, were found slain execution style in Ranch Mirage. No one has been arrested in the case. The sister of one of the slain men reported the Indian ties with the Iran-Contra scandal and the software modification. That report was delivered to a New York television studio seven years ago. She is now preparing all of it in declaration form and supplying it to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee investigation.
In other related matters, another affidavit was filed in the INSLAW case which reports that a man bought U.S. Justice Department computers and court computers for salvage and found the pirated PROMIS software program in the surplus computer. The General Accounting Office has expressed grave concern over the salvaged computers, noting that the U.S. Justice Department has sold surplus computers without first erasing sensitive information from the memory banks. "The error may have put some informants, witnesses and undercover agents in a 'life-and-death' situation," the GAO states. The data could include the names of government informants, federally protected witnesses and undercover agents, grand jury proceedings, sealed indictments, confidential FBI investigations and personal data about Justice Department employees. These computers were sold by the Justice Department for as little as $45. The man in Lexington, Kentucky, who found the pirated PROMIS software in the U.S. Justice Department surplus computer also found sealed grand jury indictments.
Charles Hayes was the man who bought the equipment in July 1990 for $45. He has now been sued by the U.S. Justice Department for the return of the computers, stating that the memory bank had not been erased. The U.S. Justice Department did not go after Hayes until after he signed an affidavit about the protected PROMIS software. It is not certain whether the U.S. Justice Department wants the sensitive material back or they want the computers to block them from being used as evidence against them in the INSLAW case. Hayes did return the equipment. This was not an isolated case. Another U.S. Attorney Office notified federal agents that again sensitive data that could potentially identify agents and witnesses may have been lost.
Canadians begin probe on pirated software from Justice Department
By Harry V. Martin
Seventh in a NEW SERIES
Copyright Napa Sentinel, 1991
The growing INSLAW software theft is now reaching foreign proportions. While the U.S. House Judiciary Committee is investigating the theft of INSLAW's PROMIS software by the U.S. Justice Department, the Canadian Parliament will commence its own investigation.
Two agencies of the Canadian Government, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) - equivalent to the CIA - are using the pirated PROMIS software, allegedly supplied to them by Dr. Earl Brian, a close associate and financial partner of former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese and a former California cabinet officer under then Governor Ronald Reagan.
A Federal Bankruptcy judge - who was not re-appointed to the bench after his ruling - said the U.S. Justice Department used trickery, fraud and deception in "stealing" the PROMIS software. The sophisticated software is used for tracking criminal and military activities. It was illegally sold to South Korea, Iraq, Israel, Canada and Libya by the United States.
According to an affidavit, the software was converted in a joint venture between Wackenhut Corporation of Coral Gables, Florida, and the Cabazon Band of Indians of Indio - an independent nation. The declaration by Michael J. Riconoscuito alleges that Dr. Brian was deeply involved in the joint venture. One Indian and two of his companions who objected to the joint venture - which also dealt with military weapons, biological and chemical warfare - were found murdered in execution style. That execution was reported on 20/20 by Barbara Walters and the CIA was named as the prime suspect in the case. The software was specifically modified for the Canadian government.
Riconoscuito stated in an affidavit he was warned by officials of the U.S. Justice Department that if he cooperated with the U.S.House Judiciary Committee he would be arrested. Eight days after he signed the affidavit he was arrested by more than a dozen Drug Enforcement Agency officers near Tacoma, Washington. He was held without bail for several days and then charged with a single drug count. Though arrested in the State of Washington, he was held without bail awaiting a federal marshal to pick him up.
He, along with several others, have stated in an affidavit to the court and to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, that the PROMIS software was modified and sold to several countries, including Canada.
Late last week, Members of Parliament demanded that the Solicitor General of Canada, Pierre Cadieux, appear before a parliamentary committee to answer charges the RCMP and CSIS are using stolen computer software. Cadieux's ministry is responsible for the RCMP and CSIS.
Though both the RCMP and the CSIS originally denied they are using PROMIS, court documents show a Canadian communications department official admitted last year that the RCMP was using PROMIS, although INSLAW never authorized its Canadian sale.
"Did CSIS and the RCMP use PROMIS software or modifications of it? If so, what were the circumstances of the acquisition? Was the software stolen, and if so, was the Canadian Government aware of it?" These are the questions Parliament wants to ask Cadieux. The Canadian Solicitor has indicated that the Government is already launching its own investigation into the pirated software scandal. Canadian officials are indicating that the pirated software sales may have helped to illegally fund the Contras in Nicaragua. Contra funding and supplies was one of the most important aspects of the Cabazon-Wackenhut joint venture. Riconoscuito has had inside connections with the CIA and U.S. Justice Department and some testimony put forward states that he helped to launder $40 million for the Bush-Quayle campaign, that report has not been substantiated by any more than one government source.
Brian is the owner of a holding company which has interests in the Financial News Network, United Press International and Hadron, Inc. Hadron was the company that was unsuccessful in buying out INSLAW, Affidavits on file with the court allege that Hadron, through Reagan cronies, attempted to force INSLAW out of business after it was awarded a $10 million contract by the U.S. Justice Department.
The scandal involves Meese, Brian, former National Security Advisor Robert McFarland, several senior staff members at the U.S. Justice Department, and even federal judges. The Vancouver Sun, the leading newspaper in Western Canada, states, "The pirated software battle already has been compared to Watergate and the Iran-Contra scandal."
Murder of three Indians may be part of House probe on INSLAW case
By Harry V. Martin
Eighth in a NEW SERIES
Copyright Napa Sentinel, 1991
A security guard, who linked the CIA with the execution style murder of one Indian and two other men who objected to the tribe's manufacturing of weapons, chemical and biological warfare devices and the conversion of INSLAW''s sensitive software, fled to Sonoma and Lake counties right after the murders. The security guard's secret hiding places were sanctioned by the Riverside County District Attorney's Office and the state Department of Justice.
The security guard testified in a video-taped interview about the murders and named names. The video-taping was taken by the Riverside County District Attorney's Office after a Cabazon Indian and his two companions were found slain. The security guard's testimony to the DA's Office revealed that he was the bag man who carried $10,000 from the Indian Reservation in Indio to the top of an aerial tram in Palm Springs. The $10,000 was "hit" money. According to the testimony, several ex-Green Berets, then employed as firemen in the City of Chicago, executed the three Indians.
Who paid for the executions? According to the testimony, a man who was once closely associated with Jimmy Hoffa and who then operated the Bingo Parlor on the Indian Reservation, provided the $10,000 for the killing. The three slain men had raised serious objections to the Wackenhut-Cabazon joint venture. Wackenhut was involved as agents for the CIA to provide arms to the Contras and also to convert INSLAW's stolen PROMIS software for use by the Canadian Government. The Canadian Government has ordered an investigation into the pirated software scandal and the U.S. House Judiciary Committee is conducting its own investigation in what has been described as the U.S. Department of Justice's "trickery, deceit and theft" of the software. The U.S. Government has been connected with the illegal sale of the sensitive software to South Korea, Libya, Iraq, Israel and Canada, as well as being pirated by a number of U.S. agencies, including the CIA, National Security Agency and other military units. The software is also in use by the FBI. Only the U.S. Justice Department was licensed to use the software, which tracks criminals and can be used for military tracking, as well. INSLAW was awarded $6.8 million by two federal courts against the U.S. Justice Department.
The scandal has deepened considerably, especially since the testimony of Michael J. Riconoscuito, who worked closely with the Wackenhut company, and Dr. Earl Brian, a close aid and financial business associate of former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese and former California Cabinet official in the Ronald Reagan governorship. The scandal has caught several members of the U.S. Justice Department, the National Security Council, the federal bankruptcy court, and other government officials in a vice. Newspapers from Canada and the United States rate the INSLAW case equal to the Iran-Contra scandal and Watergate.
Riconoscuito provided an affidavit which compromised the U.S. Justice Department and covert CIA operations. The affidavit stated that Riconoscuito was warned by U.S. Justice Department officials that if he cooperated with the House Judiciary investigation of the INSLAW case, that he would be arrested. Within eight days of signing the affidavit, Riconoscuito was arrested in the State of Washington and held without bail. He was later charged with one count of distribution of methanphetamines, a crime that usually has a low bail. Riconoscuito was being held for U.S. Marshals. Investigators from the House Judiciary Committee interviewed Riconoscuito in a Tacoma jail last week.
Riconoscuito's mention of the Wackenhut-Cabazon joint venture, sparked more controversy. The House Judiciary Committee is now also reviewing information on the Indian murders.
The Sentinel was able to obtain an exclusive interview with people closely associated with the Cabazon nation and the murders. The security guard, who was the bag man, had just left the military service as an airborne ranger working on covert assignments. He was hired as a security guard for the Cabazon nation. Another man, a licensed investigator, was hired to question the security guard about what he knew. It was learned that a key Indian of the tribe was making strong objections to the laundering of money from the Bingo Parlor. The main antagonist was Fred Alvarez.
The security guard was given $10,000 to give to a hit man in Palm Springs. He has subsequently video-taped his confession to the Riverside County District Attorney's office. Alvarez, in an exclusive interview with the Desert Sun, complained about the U.S. Government's abuses of the Indian nation. He told the Sun that people were going to kill him. Alvarez was murdered in execution style after the interview.
The Riverside District Attorney's Office and the California Department of Justice commenced their separate investigation of the murders. A report was issued by the state linking the people behind the Cabazons with direct links to organized crime , a chief Mafia Family, the Gambino Family, and the CIA. The Cabazon reservation, however, is an independent nation. In video interviews, the security guard told how Wackenhut demonstrated new weapons with both the FBI and the CIA present. He also testified to the presence at these demonstrations of Dr. Earl Brian.
The man who paid the security guard $10,000 was later convicted of attempted murder after five more Indians were shot to death. He was linked by law enforcement officials to organized crime and CIA covert operations.
The security guard testified that the Indio reservation was convenient for the U.S. Government because it was an independent nation and because it was close to the Mexican border, where arms were shipped enroute to the Contras. The security guards' testimony was so sensitive, that late one night the Riverside County District Attorney's Office arranged for an armed escort to get him off the reservation. He went to Sonoma and Lake counties, and then back to Southern California to work with the Department of Justice. He fled to New Mexico and now has left the country. He may return to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, though he is in fear of his life right now.
Like in the INSLAW case, those principles involved have fallen like flies. The first federal judge to rule in INSLAW's favor against the U.S. Justice Department was not re-appointed to another 14-year term. Many members of the U.S. Justice Department quit or were fired in direct relationship to this case. The chief investigator for the Riverside County District Attorney's Office was later taken off the case and transferred to the Juvenile Division and then given early retirement. Shortly after his retirement, the DA investigator states that he was pulled off the road one day by a CIA agent and told to forget all about the "desert" if he wanted to enjoy his retirement.
The man who gave the money to the security guard for the murder, was also the same man who is reported to have been the trigger man in Chile in 1971, the target: President Salvador AllendŽ.
INSLAW case gets deeper and uncovers more 'bodies'
By Harry V. Martin
Ninth in a NEW SERIES
Copyright Napa Sentinel, 1991
When Michael J. Riconoscuito signed his affidavit implicating the U.S. Justice Department in the theft and pirating of INSLAW's PROMIS software, he opened a can of worms that may never go away. Riconoscuito revealed in his affidavit that the CIA, U.S. Justice Department and the FBI all had links to the Cabazon Indians and to John Phillip Nichols and that the Indian reservation in Indio, California, was linked directly to the Contras. Those links resulted in the death of many people.
Riconoscuito also warned in his affidavit that he was going to be arrested if he cooperated with a U.S. Congressional probe of the Justice Department involving the pirated software. Within eight days of signing the affidavit, like clock work, Riconoscuito was arrested and held without bail for the U.S. Marshal. But not to be thwarted, investigators from the Congressional Judiciary Committee met and interviewed Riconoscuito.
Riconoscuito's statements, however, have sparked a new inquiry into the entire Wackenhut-Cabazon Indian joint venture and additional coverups by the U.S. Government over the stolen software, money laundering, Mafia ties and illegal shipments to the Contras. It was the U.S. Justice Department that warned Riconocuito not to speak out. His statements have also launched an investigation into the pirated software by the Canadian Government, as well.
One Indian and two companions who protested against the manufacturing of military equipment, including chemical and biological warfare, the alteration of the PROMIS software, and shipments to the Contras, were murdered execution style. The man who was used to transport the blood money from CIA operatives and the killers, has fled the country, but not before providing video taped testimony on the murders.
Implicated in the entire Wackenhut-Cabazon Justice Department affair, was a man called John Phillip Nichols. Nichols took over the Bingo Hall and later the reservation. The Cabazon Indians are an independent nation.
Nichols, who has been linked to Jimmy Hoffa and assassination attempts of Fidel Castro and Salvador AllendŽ, has strong Mafia ties. He has been convicted of soliciting murder.
Linda Streeter, the sister of Alfred Alvarez, the slain Indian, has asked the California Department of Justice to assign a special prosecution unit to investigate the case. The information on the murders has been forwarded to the Congressional Judiciary Committee now probing the U.S. Justice Department.
The Riverside County Grand Jury and the Riverside County District Attorney's Office have extensive testimony on the murders.
Even 20/20 has done a segment on the Indian involvement and the murders. Nichols is the one who persuaded the U.S. Government to provide the Cabazon Indians with military and security equipment.
Nichols' ties are oulined on page 304 of Inside Job, the Looting of America's Savings and Loans by Stephen Pizzo, Mary Fricker and Paul Muolo.
"At San Marino Savings in Southern California we heard about a major borrower, G. Wayne Reeder (who also attempted a couple of failed ventures with Herman Beebee), meeting in late 1981 at an arms demonstration with Raul Arana and Eden Pastora, Contra leaders who were considering buying military equipment from Reeder's Indian bingo-parlor partner, Dr. John Nichols. Among the equipment were night-vision goggles manufactured by Litton Industries and a light machine gun. Nichols, according to former Reeder employees and published accounts, had a plan in the early 1980's to build a munitions plant on the Cabazon Indian reservation near Palm Springs in partnership with Wackenhut, a Florida security firm. The plan fell through. Nichols was a self-described CIA veteran of assassination attempts against Castro in Cuba and AllendŽ in Chile. Authorities said he was a business associate of members of the Los Angeles Mafia. He was later convicted in an abortive murder-for-hire scheme and sentenced."
The intertwining mess of the U.S. Justice Department, FBI, CIA, former Attorney General Edwin Meese, Dr. Earl Brian, a former Reagan California Cabinet member, the Federal Bankruptcy Courts demonstrates a broad stroke of corruption throughout the higher echelons of government. Today, a Congressional Committee is attempting to sort everything out, but a Senate Committee once tried the same thing and was totally thwarted when the U.S. Justice Department refused to cooperate.
We have, in the past year, examined the CIA-Contras-Nazi-Banking connections, the CIA-Justice Department-Bankruptcy Court connections, and the CIA-Mafia-Drug connections. It is a never ending story.
Conclusion of the INSLAW series
By Harry V. Martin
Conclusion of a NEW SERIES
Copyright Napa Sentinel, 1991
An Indian "uprising", government investigations by the U.S. Congress, Canadian and Australian Parliaments, international spying, software piracy, threats to witnesses, wholesale resignations at the U.S. Department of Justice, several murders, the arrest of a key witness, and the end of a long judicial career for one judge, this is the complex web of the INSLAW case that many governments are now indicating could become another Watergate.
It all began when associates of then Attorney General Edwin Meese and Dr. Earl Brian, a business associate of Meese and also a cabinet officer under Governor Ronald Reagan, attempted to buy a small computer software company called INSLAW. INSLAW had developed a highly sensitive program for tracking criminals - the software was called PROMIS. INSLAW had signed a $10 million contract with the U.S. Justice Department to develop the software under contract to them. INSLAW was not paid for the program and it was told that if it didn't sell the company it would have problems - it did. When insiders at the Justice Department blocked payments to INSLAW, those insiders included one fired employee of INSLAW and one former competitor of the firm - INSLAW was pushed into the bankruptcy courts. The Justice Department, according to evidence on file, pushed the bankruptcy court to declare INSLAW insolvent. Instead the Bankruptcy Court ruled that the Justice Department owed INSLAW $6.8 million. The judge who made the ruling was removed from the bench.
Meanwhile, Dr. Brian, according to many affidavits from intelligence officials and former CIA and Justice Department operatives, sold the PROMIS software with modifications. Brian received the assistance of the Justice Department and later the CIA in the sale of the pirated software. The conversion of the PROMIS software was done on the Indian reservation of the Cabazon Nation. John Phillip Nichols - who is an old time CIA operative linked with assassination attempts on both Fidel Castro of Cuba and Salvador AllendŽ of Chile, held control of the Cabazon Nation through a bingo casino. He also obtained contracts with Wackenhut to manufacture night vision goggles along with chemical and biological weapons.
Materials manufactured on the Cabazon Nation reservation were shipped to the Contras. Nichols was also closely associated with Mafia connections and Jimmy Hoffa, as well. Wackenhut has close ties with the CIA and Justice Department with such illuminaries as Former CIA Director Stanfield Turner in their employ. Wackenhut has approximately 80,000 employees and runs several jails and federal prisons. They have a "small army" of their own.
When one Indian and two of his companions protested against the use of the Nation, including the illegal pirating of INSLAW's software they were murdered in execution style. According to testimony on file with the Riverside County District Attorney's Office and the state Department of Justice, three ex-Green Berets who were then Chicago firemen, were hired to do the killing. Nichols was accused of the murders. After several other murders, Nichols was convicted of attempted murder for hire. On Saturday, April 20, the Indians staged their own "uprising", and "took" back their reservation from Nichols. The Tribal Council voted him out and placed the sister of the slain Indian in charge. However, after the vote was official, the reservation was swarming with uniformed and armed Wackenhut guards.
Michael Riconoscuito, a covert CIA operative, provided an affidavit to the U.S. Congressional Judiciary Committee investigating the Justice Department's role in the pirated software. He revealed the role Nichols was playing with Cabazon Indians and how Dr. Brian was involved in the conversion of the PROMIS software. Riconoscuito stated in the affidavit that he was warned by Justice Department officials that if he testified before the Judiciary Committee or provided evidence, he would be arrested. Within eight days of his affidavit, Riconoscuito was arrested and held without bail in a Tacoma, Washington jail. Riconoscuito told the Sentinel on Friday in an exclusive interview from the Tacoma jail, that his 4-year-old son's life had been threatened and that he was facing two life sentences if he cooperated with the Congressional investigation.
Riconoscuito told the Sentinel that he would probably not testify in the INSLAW case in order to be freed from jail and protect his son's life. He did indicate, however, that he has supplied enough information to the Judicial Committee investigators to provide a host of new key witnesses to the pirating of the INSLAW software by the Justice Department. Riconoscuito is a typical example of a CIA covert operator who is not being allowed to "leave" and who has too much inside "dirt" on the illegal operations of the CIA.
Riconoscuito's affidavit, however, sparked an uproar in Canada. Riconoscuito stated in the affidavit that the Indian reservation was used to alter the PROMIS software for use by the Canadian government. A Parliamentary inquiry is being launched into why and how Canada became involved in the purchase of pirated software from the U.S. Government. The software is being used by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Intelligence Service.
In Australia, another uproar has been created over the pirated PROMIS software. There, the Government is claiming that the CIA is tapping into the computers of the Australian government. It may be possible that the "alteration" done on the software at the Indian Reservation was to install an override password, so that the CIA could tap in to foreign government's intelligence system. The pirated software has been sold to Israel, Libya, Iraq, South Korea, Canada and Australia, there may be even more nations involved in the program.
Many members of the Justice Department have left since the INSLAW matter was exposed. A U.S. Senate Committee investigated the Justice Department but gave up its investigation when the Justice Department refused to surrender any documents. The Congressional Committee has threatened the funding of the Justice Department and the records have been promised, but not yet delivered. The Justice Department sent investigators to Tacoma immediately after Riconoscuito's arrest. The Committee expressed alarm over the arrest because it was predicted right in Riconoscuito's affidavit.
The INSLAW case is only being covered by a few newspapers throughout the United States, including the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Miami Herald, Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle (on occasion) and the Vancouver Sun. It has not made the wire services. Dr. Brian's company owns United Press International.
How will it go? Stay tuned!
By Harry V. Martin
Copyright Napa Sentinel, 1991
June 18, 1991
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Napa Sentinel produced a lengthy series about the INSLAW case and alleged wrongdoings by the U.S. Department of Justice. This article and subsequent others will publish the details of a Congressional hearing into the matter.
The U.S. Department of Justice has refused to allow Congress access to INSLAW documents. INSLAW is a small computer software company that developed a sophisticated program to track criminals. The Justice Department was accused by a federal court judge of "deceit, trickery and theft" of the software, which has now found its way into the illegal possession of foreign governments and U.S. intelligence networks.
Congress has decided to investigate the INSLAW case and the Justice Department. The Justice Department, in turn, has arrogantly refused to supply Congress with the documents. Since this refusal, the Justice Department has agreed to allow Congressional investigators to review screened documents. The investigators are not allowed to copy the material, but to make note of them and the Congress would then have to subpoena them. At which time, the Justice Department will decide whether or not to release them to Congress. Attorney General Richard Thornburgh, who refused to budge on the issue, has now resigned. The heighth of arrogance.
A Congressional Subcommittee on Economic and Commercial Law of the Committee on the Judiciary held hearings concerning the refusal of the Justice Department to cooperate. Congressman Jack Brooks of Texas, head of the committee investigating the Justice Department, stated that the Justice Department has denied the committee access to critical documents involving the Justice Department's dispute with the INSLAW Corp. "The documents were requested as part of an ongoing investigation of allegations that high-level Department officials conspired to force INSLAW into bankruptcy and liquidate its assets. Further, it has been alleged that these officials also attempted to arrange to have the company's primary software product, called PROMIS, transferred or bought by a rival company." Brooks stated in his opening remarks, "As incredible as this sounds, Federal Bankruptcy Judge George Bason, who will be testifying later, has already found much of the first part of the allegation to be true. In his decision on the INSLAW bankruptcy, Judge Bason ruled that the Department 'took, converted and stole' INSLAW's proprietary software using 'trickery, fraud and deceit'. The judge also severely criticized the decisions by high-level Department officials to 'ignore the ethical improprieties' on the part of the Justice Department officials involved in the case."
Brooks backed up Bason's findings, in stating, "In November 1989, Senior District Court Judge William B. Bryant unequivocally supported Judge Bason's findings and criticized the Department for attempting to escape accountability by asserting, among other things, 'sovereign immunity', whatever that is. I didn't think we had kings in this country." Brooks continued, "Despite the dramatic findings by the two courts, the Department has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing by its officials, claiming that its conflict with INSLAW is nothing more than a simple contract dispute. I find this position a little hard to swallow."
Brooks, who says the major controversy involves the highest levels of the Justice Department, including at least two assistant attorneys general, a deputy attorney general, and Attorney General Meese, himself, states, "Unfortunately, the Department has thwarted attempts by Congress to learn the complete truth concerning the INSLAW case. Justice has repeatedly denied both the House and Senate investigating committees access to critical documents that may prove the Department's innocence or guilt. As a result, I am even more convinced that the allegations concerning INSLAW must be fully and independently investigated by the committee."
Former Attorney General Elliot Richardson has outlined the government's devious role, indicating that friends of Ronald Reagan and Edward Meese made every attempt possible to take over INSLAW and gain full proprietary rights to the PROMIS software. The man behind the move, according to Richardson, was Dr. Earl Brian, who also owns United Press International. Richardson was the Attorney General under Richard Nixon and refused to fire the Watergate Special Prosecutor on Nixon's orders, Richardson was also fired.
Richardson revealed that Meese's Justice Department needed to create a case management system designed along the concept of the PROMIS software. Meese's friends wanted the $200 million contract and thus the need to buy out or force INSLAW into bankruptcy. "We believe that these attempts to acquire control of PROMIS were linked by a conspiracy among friends of Attorney General Edwin Meese to take advantage of their relationship with him for the purpose of obtaining a lucrative contract for the automation of the Department's litigating division. Among the facts pointing to the existence of this conspiracy are the following:
Between 1958 and 1966, Edwin Meese and D. Lowell Jensen (then deputy attorney general) served together in Alameda County, California, District Attorney's Office. From 1966 to 1974, Meese was a key aide to Governor Ronald Reagan. From 1970 to 1975, Dr. Earl Brian served in Governor Reagan's Cabinet. In January 1981, Meese became Counsellor to President Reagan. In 1981 to 1982, Brian served in the White House as the chairman of a task force which reported to Meese.
When Meese joined the Reagan Administration, Brian was the controlling shareholder in Biotech Capital Corporation. Biotech controlled Hadron, Inc., a company which specialized in integrating computer-based information management systems. This was the company which tried to buy INSLAW.
Mrs. Meese bought stock in Biotech's first public offering with money borrowed from Edwin Thomas, soon to be an aide to her husband. Brian lent Thomas $100,000 for the purchase of a house in Washington. Mrs. Meese later bought stock in American Cytogentics, another Brian company.
In June, 1983, a DOJ "whistleblower" warned the staff of Senator Max Baucus that, as soon as Meese became Attorney General, unidentified friends of Meese would be awarded a "massive sweetheart contract" to install PROMIS in every litigation office of DOJ. According to a statement made to Judge Jane Solomon of the Civil Court of the City of New York, Stanton's attempt to force INSLAW into liquidation was part of a 'conspiracy to get the INSLAW software'. Several high-level DOJ officials spoke of DOJ's determination to "get" or "bury" INSLAW. One DOJ employee said that Jensen was behind this effort. A second attributed the award to Hadron of a $40 million computer services contract for litigation support in the Lands Division to the influence of a Deputy Assistant Attorney General with close ties to Meese. Other DOJ employees connected Meese, Brian, and Hadron with the harassment of INSLAW and the attempt to acquire PROMIS."
Richardson also testified, "In late April 1988, Richard LeGrand, chief investigator of the Senate Judiciary Committee, telephoned (William) Hamilton (owner of INSLAW). LeGrand said that he was calling at the request of an unnamed senior official in DOJ whom he had known for 15 years and regarded as completely trustworthy. According to this official, the INSLAW case was 'a lot dirtier for the Department of Justice than Watergate had been, both in its breadth and depth'. The official asked LeGrand to inform the Hamiltons that the Justice Department had been compromised on the INSLAW case at every level, and that Jensen had engineered INSLAW's problems right from the start. The official also said that senior career officials in the Criminal Division knew all about this malfeasance, but would not disclose what they knew except in response to subpoena and under oath. LeGrand has since told the Hamiltons and others that his informant would come forward only if assured of protection against reprisal."
The Justice Department, according to Richardson, refused to undertake any type of criminal investigation. Richardson told Congress, "It was foreseeable that such an investigation would not only expose widely ramified criminal conduct on the part of the Departmental employees, but also make the Department liable for punitive and consequential damages much larger than the $6.8 million already awarded."
Judge Bason told Congress, "The judicial opinions that I rendered reflected my sense of moral outrage that, as the evidence showed and as I held, the Justice Department stole INSLAW's valuable property and tried to drive INSLAW out of business." He added, "Those opinions were upheld on appeal by Senior U.S. District Judge William Bryant. Very soon after I rendered those opinions my application for reappointment as bankruptcy judge was turned down. One of the Justice Department attorneys who had argued the INSLAW case before me was appointed in my stead." Over 90 percent of all bankruptcy judges seeking reappointment are usually returned to the bench.
There is a good deal more here: Federal Corruption: INSLAW