Media Mafia (Part Five): The CIA/Mafia’s Rupert Murdoch, Jim Cownie, et al
” … the charmless bureacratic tools of Operation Mockingbird … ” – Theresa Duncan
By Alex Constantine
Revised and updated (continuously)
MEDIA REPORTS on the heart-breaking deaths of Theresa Duncan & Jeremy Blake were dominated early on by News Corp.’s KATE COE, a producer for A Current Affair, whose acclaimed story on “The Suicide Duo” in the LA WEEKLY has drawn high praise from fascist enablers in the blogoshphere for its graphic presentation of silly conspiracy theory “paranoia.” …
RUPERT MURDOCH’s wunderkind, Ms. Coe – who chides “politically correct” liberals and, well, those of the JEWISH PERSUASION (see below) – neglected to mention that she worked for the CIA-Mafia’s RUPERT MURDOCH (see CIA-Nugan Hand section below) in the Weekly story … probably an oversight.
AS A MATTER OF FACT, there are a few OTHER significant details that KATE COE did not find NEWSWORTHY – such as the background of JIM COWNIE – whom Duncan feared to the depths of her silly, “paranoid” soul (see her entry below) – and his many connections to Coe’s employer, the CIA-MAFIA’s RUPERT MURDOCH.
WELL, now …
To fill the GAP, the connections are documented here in excruciating detail, speaking very eloquently for themselves. Apart from a few explanatory notes here and there, I’ve kept out of it.
Murdoch knows how Theresa Duncan died and who killed her – his business partner Jim Cownie knows, as well. They made it look like a suicide to silence her and stanch her investigations of Cownie, and are using her death to discredit opposition researchers – like myself, but also like the many silly “paranoid” researchers who have come along since 9/11. …
Jim Cownie, founder of Iowa’s Heritage Communications, on video:
Children of scurrilous CIA mind control operations, meet Jim Cownie …
THE FOUNDING OF HERITAGE COMMUNICATIONS: “Heritage was formed in 1971 by two long-time, hometown friends, James Hoak Jr. and James Cownie. They had virtually no experience in operating a cable television system but were encouraged by the support of Hoak’s father, the founder of a local construction materials company. Hoak and Cownie launched a bid for the Des Moines cable television franchise under the name Hawkeye Cablevision. Hawkeye suffered a temporary setback when the Des Moines City Council recommended awarding the contract to a rival applicant. Iowa law required an election to officially award the franchise, however, and Hoak and Cownie blitzed the media with the rallying cry, “Des Moines has its own experts,” winning the election by a landslide. … “
ON JOE ROSENFIELD, IOWA ENTREPRENEUR, OF THE WARREN BUFFETT CIRCLE AND THE FOUNDING OF HERITAGE COMMUNICATIONS: “Joe was chairman of Younker Brothers Inc, which was the largest department store chain in Iowa and Nebraska by 1987. Three brothers Lipman, Samuel and Marcus started the business in 1856 after they came out from Poland. It listed on the Nasdaq in 1992, but today it is part of the Saks Department Store Group after Proffitt’s purchased it in 1996. Its story can be found here http://www.saksincorporated.com/our_stores/store_histories/YNKhistory.html
” … Then there is Jim Hoak from Heritage Communications (Des Moines, Iowa), which got coaxed into the communications business by Joe. Joe hung out with BUFFETT, Buffett hung out with TOM MURPHY [MURPHY WAS A FOUNDER OF CAP CITIES/ABC – A PRIMARY CIA PROPAGANDA OUTLET. THE MEDIA INFILTRATION PROGRAM HAS INCORPORATED ELEMENTS OF CIA MIND CONTROL PROGRAMMING SINCE ITS INCEPTION UNDER ALLEN DULLES, AS DOCUMENTED BY DEBORAH DAVIS IN KATHARINE THE GREAT: KATHARINE GRAHAM AND HER WASHINGTON POST EMPIRE, AND ELSEWHERE. – ALEX CONSTANTINE NOTE] and the next thing you know, Jim Hoak was hanging out with Tom Murphy. Also mixed in with all of this is the Hubbells. Then again just about everyone in Des Moines know the Hubbells, because they are one of Iowa’s most prominent families. This is mainly due to Frederick M. Hubbell, who accumulated tremendous wealth in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Frederick M. Hubbell is another subject worthy of research. … “
JOE ROSENFIELD “INVESTED IN WARREN BUFFETT’S FUTURE” (& INTEL, SEQUOIA FUND):
” … In 1967, mutual friends introduced Mr. Rosenfield to Warren Buffett and the two became close friends. Investments in Mr. Buffet’s future, as well as an investment in Grinnell graduate Robert Noyce’s startup company, NM Electronics – the forerunner of INTEL – were the cornerstones of Grinnell College’s endowment growth. … During his career, Mr. Rosenfield was committed to a number of institutions, including the Democratic Party. His support of such organizations throughout Iowa as Equitable Life Insurance Company, Northern Natural Gas, Bankers Trust, General Management Corporation, and Northwestern Bell, is legendary. … “
Re: The CIA’s Tom Murphy & Cap Cities/ABC (and the Mafia)
The Seizing of the
American Broadcasting Company
Excerpt from an article on ABC that ran in the February 20-27, 1987 issue of The LA Weekly: ” … At issue in the ABC situation in particular is an extraordinary story overlooked by most of the press and never taken up by congressional investigators: Who actually took over ABC when Capital Cities Communications bought it in March 1985? For ‘Cap Cities’ is no ordinary company, and the takeover was no ordinary case of corporate wheeling and dealing. Specifically, an L.A. Weekly investigation has found that: Cap Cities’ primary executive THOMAS MURPHY, his family and some of Cap Cities’ founders had or have a relationship with another firm known to have excellent connections in the INTELLIGENCE community through one of its subsidiaries. The same firm has also been accused of MAFIA ties. … “
THE BASS FAMILY BUYS INTO HERITAGE COMMUNICATIONS
[Robert Bass is the nephew of SID RICHARDSON, whose role in the Kennedy assassination is well known. Robert’s brother Ed was a classmate of George W. Bush at Yale. The Bass family of Fort Worth are major financial supporters of Bush. – A. Constantine]
NEW YORK TIMES, December 8, 1986
“An investment group led by Robert M. Bass of Forth Worth has purchased 5.8 percent of Heritage Communications Inc. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Friday, the Bass group said that it bought the Heritage shares for investment purposes, ”without any view to control or influence management” of the Des Moines-based cable television system operator … “
For more political background on the Bass family, see:
FY 2004 DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE CONTRACTORS
” … HERITAGE COMMUNICATIONS … “
REPUBLICAN INSIDER “JIM [COWNIE] IS IN PLAY” – “… If you don’t think gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle is sucking up to the Christian conservatives in hope of stimulating the far-right come November, read the second installment of Nussle biting the hand that feeds him. Nussle, you’ll recall, kissed off Bill Krause (can he escape press coverage?) by saying he would sign any bill to kill the TouchPlay program after Krause gave him $25,000. Now we’ve heard that Nussle has dismissed Jim Cownie. Cownie, records show, gave the Congressman $50,000 for his campaign and asked that Nussle simply “consider Libby Jacobs” as his lieutenant governor candidate. Nussle promised Cownie he would. Nussle, however, never even contacted Jacobs, and when Cownie found out and wasn’t pleased, Nussle called Cownie and told him he was thinking about asking Bob Vander Plaats to join his ticket, and would Cownie like to weigh in. Only one problem, though. The Vander Plaats announcement had been made public the day before. Cownie, a Republican insider told us, “would never abandon his party,” while a Blouin staffer told us, ‘Jim (Cownie) is in play.'”
JIM COWNIE PLAYS HOST TO KARL ROVE
Des Moines City View
” … Last weekend, Ankeny real estate magnate Denny Elwell hosted a fundraiser for Congressional Republican candidate Jeff Lamberti. The featured guest speaker was KARL ROVE and included ‘hosts’ Marvin Pomerantz, JIM COWNIE, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Gary Kirke and Don Lamberti. When the Dems got word of the event, they quickly organized a rally. But because it was in a residential area, protesters were warned to keep the gathering small.”
SHARE THE NEWS [broadcast ministry]
Share the News Program
P.O. Box 24135
Federal Way, WA 98093
HOAK MEDIA CORP.: “Jim Hoak — Chairman. Mr. Hoak has spent his entire business career as a founder and senior executive of communications companies. He began in the communications business after serving as a legal assistant to a Commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission in 1969-70. He co-founded HERITAGE COMMUNICATIONS, Inc. in 1971 and was CEO from its inception. HCI was a cable television company, which later expanded into television and radio, outdoor advertising, and other media businesses. It was sold to Tele-Communications, Inc. for $1.5 billion in 1987. He then co-founded Heritage Media Corporation in 1987, purchasing the radio and television properties of Heritage Communications, Inc., where he served as Chairman.
These television stations were in similar markets to those sought by Hoak Media Corporation. Heritage Media expanded into other advertising-based communications businesses and was sold to NewsCorporation for $1.4 billion in 1997. Both companies were traded on the NYSE. Mr. Hoak has formed and operated other communications businesses, including Crown Media, Inc., a cable television company in partnership with Hallmark Cards, Inc., in 1991. It was sold in 1995. In addition, he has been a principal of Hoak Capital Corporation, a private equity firm with investments in the communications field from 1991 to the present. He currently serves as a director of three public companies (PanAmSat Corporation, Pier 1 Imports, Inc., and Texas Industries, Inc.) and several private firms. Mr. Hoak graduated from Yale University in 1966 and from Stanford University School of Law in 1969.”
RUPERT MURDOCH ENTERS THE PICTURE
Hoak Media’s Eric D. Van den Branden profile from the company web site:
” … Eric D. Van den Branden — President & Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Van den Branden has worked with Jim Hoak since he joined Heritage Media Corporation in 1995. At Heritage Media, he served as Vice President of Development managing the company’s developmental efforts by seeking out complementary acquisition opportunities that broadened the Company’s exposure to the advertising and marketing industry. With senior management, Mr. Van den Branden assisted in the Company’s entry into the direct marketing industry through the acquisition of DIMAC Corporation for $260 million, and in the ultimate SALE OF HERITAGE MEDIA TO THE NEWS CORPORATION IN AUGUST OF 1997. … “
LOST CHAPTER IN CIA HISTORY: PETER ABELES, RUPERT MURDOCH’S BUSINESS PARTNER, AND THE ORIGIN OF THE CIA’S NUGAN HAND (DRUG MONEY LAUNDERING) BANK
THE BIRTH OF HULU: JIM HOAK (HALLMARK CHANNEL) AND RUPERT MURDOCH (NEWS CORP.) ARE BUSINESS PARTNERS:
” … NBC Universal and NEWS CORP. announced the Interbrand- selected name for their joint video portal: Hulu. … NBCU also confirmed it’s buying UK-based Sparrowhawk Holdings, making it the proud owner of the HALLMARK Channel outside the U.S. Terms weren’t disclosed, but the Guardian estimates the sale at around $350 million (£174 million). NBCU now owns more than 30 international channels including the 18 Hallmark Channel feeds reaching 53 million viewers in 152 territories, and plans to have more than 50 global networks by 2010. NBCU is acquiring Sparrowhawk from a consortium that includes Providence Equity Partners, which earlier this month acquired a 10% stake for $100 million in the NBCU/News Corp. site now known as Hulu … “
The Education Forum _ JFK Assassination Debate _ Michael J. Hand
Posted by: John Simkin
Aug 1 2006
There is not a great deal on the web on Michael J. Hand. He has not been seen since disappearing from Australia after the death of his partner, Frank Nugan. It is believed that the CIA arranged for him to start a new life in the US. Anyone know anything about him?
Michael Jon Hand, the son of a civil servant, was born in the Bronx on 8th December, 1941. According to Jonathan Kwitny in his book The Crimes of Patriots: A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money, and the CIA: “Hand passed every class he took, and was noted for exceptional character, courtesy, cooperation, and appearance. His IQ registered an also exceptional 131.”
In 1959 his mother died after falling or jumping from a third-floor window. Soon afterwards he attended a one-year course at the New York State Ranger School. This was followed by a year managing a sports school in Los Angeles.
In May 1963 Hand joined the US Army and started his training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. During the Vietnam War he won the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC). According to the DSC citation he almost single-handedly held off a fourteen-hour Vietcong attack on the Special Forces compound at Dong Xaoi.
In 1966 he left the army to work “directly for the U.S, Government”. Friends of Michael Hand have suggested that he was employed on undercover missions for the Central Intelligence Agency in Vietnam and Laos. One reported that he “helped train the mountain people – Montagnards – and worked closely with the Air America crews that supplied them”. According to Jonathan Kwitny Hand worked under William Colby during the Vietnam War.
Michael Hand moved to Australia in September, 1967. At first Hand went to work selling development lots along the Australian coast. The company, Ocean Shores Development, was run by lawyer Fred Miller, a senior executive for the shipping empire owned by Sir Peter Abeles, the longtime business partner, Rupert Murdoch. One of the largest investors in this scheme was the singer Pat Boone. The registered directors included Boone of Beverly Hills, California and Patricia Swan of Sydney, Australia. Swan was Frank Nugan’s secretary. … “
MICHAEL HAND JOINS THE CIA
[Michael Hand was murdered, like Theresa Duncan, by Rupert Murdoch’s CIA-Mafia business partners. Hand’s partner Frank Nugan was also murdered by Murdoch’s CIA-Mafia business partners. Many others have been murdered by Murdoch’s CIA-Mafia business partners. The murders by Murdoch’s CIA-Mafia business partners are often disguised as “suicides.”- AC]
” … In May 1963 Hand joined the US Army and started his training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. During the Vietnam War he won the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC). According to the DSC citation he almost single-handedly held off a fourteen-hour Vietcong attack on the Special Forces compound at Dong Xaoi. In 1966 he left the army to work “directly for the U.S, Government”. Friends of Michael Hand have suggested that he was employed on undercover missions for the CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY in Vietnam and Laos. … “
THE CIA’S HAND WORKED FOR PETER ABELES IN AUSTRALIA – ABELES, MURDOCH’S BUSINESS PARTNER, WAS A MAFIA KINGPIN:
” … Bob Hawk’s (Australian Prime Minister from 11th March, 1983 until 20th December, 1991) little mate SIR PETER ABELES was the US MAFIA representative in Australia for many years and is known to have attempted to bribe well known anti-corruption journalist Bob Bottom. Of course Bottom refused but it was well known that Abeles would tie someone up in court for years if they dared to print anything derogatory about him … “
RUPERT MURDOCH, NARCOTICS KINGPIN
” … Abeles and RUPERT MURDOCH (I seem to have heard that name before) just happened to own 55% of Australia’s second biggest domestic airline – ANSETT. Ansett in turn just happened to own a 20% share in another airline – AMERICA WEST Airline. One of their planes was caught in the US chock a block full of DRUGS in the US. The result was intertesting to say the least. … “
MORE ON MURDOCH, NUGAN HAND, THE CIA, DRUGS:
” … Twenty percent of the stock of AMERICA WEST was owned by ANSETT AIRLINES of Australia and 55% of ANSETT was held by Sir Peter Ables and Rupert Murdock. We know from Jonathan Kwitney’s book THE CRIMES OF PATRIOTS that Burny Houghton, perhaps the key figure in the founding of the CIA drug money laundering bank NUGAN)HAND in Australia, had coffee with Sir Peter Ables the night of his first day in Australia. … “
CIA’s Paul Helliwell meets Michael Hand and Frank Nugan
When Frank Nugan was found dead in Australia in 1980, it was accepted as a suicide and the sighs of relief could almost be heard in Langley, on the other side of the globe. But then William Colby’s business card was found in Nugan’s wallet, and Nugan’s partner, Michael Hand, had been a contract agent for the CIA in Vietnam. Australian authorities began tracking Nugan Hand Bank, which developed into the most fun story of Golden Triangle drugs, money-laundering, profiteering, corporate shell games, and financial fraud that has yet surfaced in the CIA’s unofficial history.
The most intriguing aspect of Nugan Hand Bank was the list of Yankees who were in on the scam. Theodore Shackley, Richard Secord, Thomas Clines, and Edwin Wilson played peripheral roles, while Gen. Edwin Black ran the Nugan Hand Hawaii office, Gen. Erle Cocke ran the Washington office, Gen. LeRoy Manor ran the Philippine office, Colby was their lawyer, former CIA deputy director Walter McDonald was a consultant, Adm. Earl Yates was president of Nugan Hand, and Robert Jantzen, a former CIA station chief in Thailand, got out of Nugan Hand when he smelled drugs. He needn’t have bothered; apart from Kwitny’s Wall Street Journal articles in 1982, Nugan Hand received little coverage and no official interest in the U.S., perhaps because evidence was lacking that it was a direct CIA proprietary.
Donald Mackay Murder – Twenty Five Years On
16 July 2002
Presenter: James O’Brien
25 years ago, the people of Griffith in Southern NSW were coming to grips with news anti-drugs campaigner, Donald Mackay has been shot & killed by well-known Mafia Figures.
It’s believed he was murdered outside the Griffith Hotel at about 6 o’clock on the evening of July 15, 1977, although his body has never been found.
The case, the country’s first major drug crime, captured the nation’s attention, and led to the international police hunt for Robert Trimboli, who ordered the killing.
Amongst those reporting on the event was a young cadet journalist with the local paper, “The Area News”, Mike Donaldson, who now works for ABC Radio News in Canberra.
James O’Brien from Statewide Drive spoke with Mike Donaldson about his memories of the time, growing up and working in Griffith when this all occured.
Ex-cop killed Mackay’
Latest book details new theory on murder
DONALD Mackay was killed by a corrupt ex-cop on the orders of a member of the Nugan family, an explosive new book has claimed.
The theory – floated in John Jiggens’ book The Sydney Connection – Nugan Hand, Murray Riley and the murder of Donald Mackay – flies in the face of popular belief Mr Mackay’s death was linked to local organised crime figures.
According to Mr Jiggens, the head of the Nugan Hand Bank, Frank Nugan, ordered the hit out of fear Mr Mackay would expose a money trail leading from the bank to several notorious Griffith marijuana growers.
He turned to Fred Krahe, the book claims, a former detective sergeant nicknamed the “Killer Cop”.
Krahe, an alleged contract killer suspected of a number of other murders, was in Griffith working for Frank Nugan in 1977, the year of Mr Mackay’s murder.
In the book, Mr Jiggens claims secret accounts in the names of local marijuana growers were found at the Nugan Group packing shed for hundreds of thousands of dollars. He claims Mr Mackay found out about the secret accounts scandal in the week before he was murdered.
“The man who ordered the hit was Frank Nugan,” Mr Jiggens said.
“Through the Nugan Hand Bank, he was at the centre of the drug trade, not only in Australia, but also at an international level.
“He was a man who believed he had a licence to kill,” Mr Jiggens said.
Mr Jiggens, a Brisbane academic, also speculates Bob Trimbole’s Griffith Mob, with the nod from NSW Police, may have been working for Nugan Hand at the time. Donald Mackay disappeared from outside the Griffith Hotel on July 15, 1977.
A Melbourne heavy, James Bazley, got life in 1986 for conspiring to kill him.
Bazley has always maintained his innocence, fingering Fred Krahe for the murder.
The dogs have been barking for years that a NSW policeman killed Don Mackay. That policeman was Fred Krahe,” Bazley said in the early ’80s.
The price for the hit was said to be $10,000, but Dr Bert Weiner, an anti-corruption campaigner with vast knowledge of Victorian criminals at that time, told Mr Jiggens, “Jim Bazley would not break your arm for $10,000”.
Frank Nugan committed suicide at Lithgow in January 1980.
In a recent article, investigative journalist Evan Whitton agreed Fred Krahe may have been responsible for Mr Mackay’s murder.
But not everyone supports the theory.
Author of Shadow of Shame Bob Bottom, one of the nation’s foremost authorities on the Mackay murder, said it was “highly unlikely” either Fred Krahe or Frank Nugan were involved.
“I’m very sceptical about the theory … no way,” Mr Bottom said.
“Nobody did more at the time to investigate Fred Krahe than me and let me say I never thought he was involved in the murder.
“With no body found and no confession, the murder has always provided fertile grounds for all manner of conclusions.
“Remember at the time there were theories Mr Mackay had taken off with another woman and even the nonsense that his family were behind the murder.”
Jan 27 Sydney: Co-founder of the Nugan Hand Bank, Francis John Nugan, found dead with a bullet wound to his head.
“… As a co-conspirator in the Mackay disappearance and alleged murder, Bazley was sentenced to nine years in prison and four years for the theft of $260,000 from the security van. He was also found guilty of murdering the Wilsons and given a life sentence.
“He appealed against the murder convictions in 1986 but the appeal was subsequently dismissed.
“In an interview with Tom Prior from the Sydney Sun newspaper in 1987, Bazley denied the charges saying: “I didn’t kill Mackay and I didn’t kill the Wilsons.” …
The RUPERT MURDOCH-owned Foxtel (Australian pay-TV) Version – “Mafia did it” (no mention of Frank Nugan or the CIA):
“MARKING the 30th anniversary of the murder of popular Griffith anti-drugs campaigner Donald Mackay will be the world premiere of The Disappearance of Donald Mackay.
“Crime Investigation Australia: The Disappearance of Donald Mackay retraces the events of his shocking Australian underworld murder on Foxtel’s Crime and Investigation Network premiering tonight at 7.30pm.
“Hosted by Steve Liebmann, this home-grown compelling documentary retells the sensational events that occurred in the NSW town of Griffith in July 1977 when Mafia drug dealers took revenge on drug informant Donald Mackay. … “
NO OBJECTIONS SEEN IN NEWS CORP.’S HERITAGE BID
New York Times
August 9, 1997
“The antitrust division of the Justice Department has decided against raising objections to the News Corporation’s $1.3 billion deal to buy the Dallas-based Heritage Media Corporation, the companies said yesterday. With that hurdle crossed, Heritage Media plans to hold a special shareholders meeting on Monday to consider the proposed merger. The News Corporation is controlled by Rupert Murdoch and among its most prominent holdings are the Fox television network, 20th Century Fox studios, and major newspapers in Australia and in Britain. Heritage owns 6 television stations, 24 radio stations and also operates electronic coupon-dispensing machines inside about 40,000 stores. News Corporation has agreed to sell Heritage’s TV and radio stations to the Baltimore-based Sinclair Broadcast Group for $630 million, but that deal is contingent upon approval of News Corporation’s purchase of Heritage. … “
COLLECT THE ORIGINAL HERITAGE MEDIA STOCK ISSUE: Heritage Media Corporation (Now News Corp.)
Normal Price: $250.00
Our Sales Price: $195.00
(You Save: 22%)
RUPERT MURDOCH AND THE NEWS CORPORATION
News Corporation (abbreviated to News Corp) (NYSE: NWS, NYSE: NWSa, ASX: NWS, LSE: NCRA) is one of the world’s largest Media conglomerates. Its chief executive officer is Rupert Murdoch.
News Corporation is a public company listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Australian Stock Exchange and as a secondary listing on the London Stock Exchange. Formerly incorporated in Adelaide, Australia, the company was re-incorporated in the United States state of Delaware after a majority of shareholders approved the move on November 12, 2004.
News Corporation’s headquarters is at 1211 Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Ave.), in New York City, in the newer 1960s-1970s corridor of the Rockefeller Center complex.
Revenue for the year ended June 30, 2005 was US$23.859 billion. …
MEDIA CONSOLIDATION: LIBERTY MEDIA CORP., LIKE HERITAGE COMMUNICATIONS, IS A TCI SUBSIDIARY, AND OWNS A PIECE OF MURDOCH’S NEWS CORPORATION. (SEE “LIBERTY MEDIA’S JOHN MALONE BUYS 18 PERCENT OF NEWS CORP.,” BELOW.)
“Liberty Media Corporation is a holding company that owns interests in a broad range of electronic retailing, media, communications and entertainment businesses. Those interests are attributed to two tracking stock groups: Liberty Interactive, which includes Liberty Media’s interests in QVC, Provide Commerce, BUYSEASONS, IAC/InterActiveCorp and Expedia, and Liberty Capital, which includes all of Liberty Media’s assets that are not attributed to Liberty Interactive, including Liberty Media’s interests in Starz Entertainment and NEWS CORPORATION. …”
INCESTUOUS PARTNERS: TCI/NEWS CORP.’S JOHN MALONE IS INVESTMENT PARTNER OF JIM COWNIE’S IN PRAIRIE INET:
” … In addition to UtiliCorp Communications Services (UCS), other investors in Prairie iNet include Gateway Computers co-founder Norman Waitt, Jr.; Liberty Satellite and Technology, a publicly held subsidiary of JOHN MALONE’s Liberty Media Group; the New York City investment banking firm of Allen & Company; Las Vegas Sun Newspaper publisher Brian Greenspun; the Megunticook Fund of Boston, Massachusetts; Denver-based real estate investor Bruce Deifik; the commodity trading firm FCStone of West Des Moines, Iowa; CoBank and Janco Partners of Denver; and Des Moines, Iowa, businessman JAMES S. COWNIE. … “
THE CHARMLESS TCI/CAPCOM/BCCI SCANDAL*
THE BCCI AFFAIR – EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
1. BCCI CONSTITUTED INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CRIME ON A MASSIVE AND GLOBAL SCALE.
… BCCI’s commodities affiliate, Capcom, based in Chicago, London and Cairo, was principally staffed by former BCCI bankers, capitalized by BCCI and BCCI customers, and owned by BCCI, BCCI shareholders, and front-men. Capcom employed many of the same practices as BCCI, especially the use of nominees and front companies to disguise ownership and the movement of money. Four U.S. citizens — none of whom had any experience or expertise in the commodities markets — played important and varied roles as Capcom front men in the United States.
While investigation information concerning Capcom is incomplete, its activities appear to have included misappropriation of BCCI assets; the laundering of billions of dollars from the Middle East to the US and other parts of the world; and the siphoning of assets from BCCI to create a safe haven for them outside of the official BCCI empire.
Capcom’s majority shareholders, Kamal Adham and A.R. Khalil, were both former senior Saudi government officials and successively acted as Saudi Arabia’s principal liaisons to the Central Intelligence Agency during the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Its U.S. front men included Robert Magness, the CEO of the largest U.S. cable telecommunications company, TCI; a vice-President of TCI, Larry Romrell; and two other Americans, Kerry Fox and Robert Powell, with long-standing business interests in the Middle East. Magness, Romrell and Fox received loans from BCCI for real estate ventures in the U.S., and Magness and Romrell discussed numerous business ventures between BCCI and TCI, some of which involved the possible purchase of U.S. telecommunications stock and substantial lending by BCCI.
[See appendix for more on BCCI and TCI*]
“Time Warner, one of whose major shareholders is TCI, controls Warner Brothers and Warner Brothers Animated film distributors. It owns cable franchises with almost 12 million subscribers; Cinemax and HBO cable networks; HBO Direct Broadcast; and has partial control of Comedy Central, CNN/SI, E, and the Sega channel. It controls Time-Life Video, HBO Home Video, and the Warner Home Video companies; and also owns Turner Home Entertainment, Domestic Home Video, and Turner Home Satellite. It owns over 20 magazines including Time, Fortune, Life, Sports Illustrated, and People; and such publishing houses as Sunset Books, Little, Brown & Co., Time-Life Books, Turner Publishing, and the Book-of-the Month Club. Among its program facilities are World Championship Wrestling, New Line Cinema, Turner Entertainment, and Turner Pictures. Its cable operations also include the TBS Superstation, Turner Classic Movies, TNT, the Cartoon Network; and through its ownership of CNN, it controls CNNfn, Headline News, CNN Radio, the CNN Airport Network, and CNN International.”
WHO SPINS ‘PARANOID” CONSPIRACY THEORIES? – TCI & THE ORIGIN OF DISINFORMATION.COM
” … Disinformation was designed to be the search service of choice for individuals looking for information on current affairs, politics, new science and the ‘hidden information,’ that seldom seems to slip through the cracks of the corporate-owned media conglomerates. Ironically, it was funded by one of the largest media companies in the world (TeleCommunications, Inc. (TCI), now part of AT&T), who paid for placement on Netscape’s then ubiquitous search page. … “
(COWNIE’S HERITAGE COMMUNICATIONS IS 100% OWNED BY TCI, AND IS NOW AT&T CABLE SERVICES):
Why is TCI so Powerful?
“TCI will generate more cash flow this year than all three major networks combined.33 It now controls directly or indirectly nearly one out of every four subscribers in the US.34
“It has acquired numerous systems over the past fifteen years and now commands over 11 million subscribers.35 These are subscribers of systems wholly owned by TCI and systems in which it has significant ownership positions. For example, TCI owns 45.9 percent of United Cable (1.2 million subscribers), 100 percent of HERITAGE COMMUNICATIONS (over 1 million subscribers), 63.5 percent of United Artists Cable (803,615 subscribers), 57
percent of West-Marc Communications (340,000 subscribers), as well as portions of many other cable MSOs. … “
July 2006 Archives
Wed Jul 19, 2006
Ever heard of Hoak Media? No? Me neither. Not till this morning, anyway. It’s a Dallas-based broadcasting company that, according to its Web site, acquires and operates TV and radio stations in “small and medium-sized markets…that rank 75 to 200,” as ranked by the A.C. Nielsen Company. Hoak Media, which offices out of the Crescent Court, is named for its chairman, Jim Hoak, whose bio is impressive: legal assistant to a commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission in the late ’60s; co-founder and CEO of Heritage Communications Inc. in the early ’70s, before it grew into one of the 20 largest cable television providers in the country. Sold HCI to Tele-Communications Inc. for $1.5 billion in 1987. Started Heritage Media Corp. after that.
Rupert Murdoch, chairman of Fox News Corp.
Sold that to RUPERT MURDOCH’s NewsCorporation for $1.4 billion in 1997.
Started Crown Media Inc., a cable television company that partnered with Hallmark Cards Inc. in 1991. It was sold in 1995. Serves as a director of three public companies: PanAmSat Corporation, Pier 1 Imports Inc., and Texas Industries Inc. Started Hoak Media in 2003. Now owns seven network affiliates in such markets as Wichita Falls; Grand Junction, Colorado; and Hastings, Nebraska. Only Dallas Morning News reference I can find to a Jim Hoak is the chairman of Hockaday’s board of trustees. Really, when did I miss all this?
Anyway, says here the man bought three television stations and their affiliates in North Dakota and South Dakota: KVLY-TV of Fargo and KFYR-TV of Bismarck, both NBC affiliates, and KSFY-TV of Sioux Falls, which is an ABC affiliate. Doesn’t say for how much. The deal has to be approved by the FCC; it will be. Seriously, who the hell is Jim Hoak? – Robert Wilonsky
HOAK, JAMES – DALLAS, TX 75201 – HOAK MEDIA CORPORATION/CHAIRMAN FRIENDS OF JOE LIEBERMAN – $1,000 – LIEBERMAN, JOSEPH I (D) Senate – CT – 10/23/06
HOAK, JAMES – DALLAS , TX 75201 – HOAK MEDIA CORPORATION/CHAIRMAN OF MARTINEZ, MEL (R) Senate – FL – $500 – MARTINEZ FOR SENATE – 10/25/04
LIBERTY MEDIA’S JOHN MALONE BUYS 18 PERCENT OF NEWS CORP.
News Corp. Shareholders Express Dissent
NEW YORK, Oct. 21, 2005
(AP) In a show of dissent against Rupert Murdoch, shareholders of News Corp. withheld as much as 15 percent of their vote to re-elect four directors at the media conglomerate’s annual meeting Friday to protest the company’s failure to consult them on a takeover defense measure.
Even though the directors were still re-elected by a large majority, the fact that some shareholders withheld their support indicated a significant level of dissatisfaction with the company’s handling of the “poison pill” plan, analysts said.
The company reversed itself on a pledge to seek a shareholder vote on extending a takeover defense plan that was put in place last year after JOHN, a powerful media investor who is a longtime friend and occasional rival of Murdoch’s, unexpectedly accumulated a large block of voting shares in the company. Malone’s block stands at about 18 PERCENT, versus the 30 percent held by Chief Executive Murdoch. …
“You Just have to be opportunistic.” – John Malone
A Conversation with John Malone (Ken Auletta Interview)
” … John Malone’s Liberty Media owns a piece of five of the six largest media companies in the world. And he’s also, by the way, the holder of the largest number of cable systems in all of Europe. … “
Sponsored by: The Newhouse School at Syracuse University, The New Yorker, Cushman & Wakefield, UBS Warburg, and Booz Allen Hamilton
RUPERT MURDOCH, TCI’S JOHN MALONE & THE CATO INSTITUTE
Media Moguls on Board
Murdoch, Malone and the Cato Institute
By Norman Solomon
Last fall, when News Corporation owner Rupert Murdoch joined the board of directors at the Cato Institute, the announcement went unreported in major media. Perhaps it seemed routine for one of the world’s most powerful media moguls to take a leadership post at one of the most influential think tanks in Washington.
At future meetings, Murdoch can count on rubbing elbows with his fellow media titan, John C. Malone – president and CEO of Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI), the largest U.S. cable operator – who has been on the Cato board since 1995. The two men are well acquainted, and their companies have long been intertwined in media deals involving satellite television, cable TV, program distribution and other big telecommunications ventures. Now the heads of both firms are formally helping to run a think tank which boasts that it has “actively promoted the deregulation of the television and telephone industries.”
In recent years, the Cato Institute has neared the top tier of think tanks in the United States—on Capitol Hill and in the nation’s news media. In the 1996 book No Mercy: How Conservative Think Tanks and Foundations Changed America’s Social Agenda, Jean Stefancic and Richard Delgado write that the Cato Institute “played a key role in forming the ideas and policies of the new Republican majority in Congress.” These days, “congressional committee chairmen increasingly look to Cato scholars for testimony.”
FAIR’s search of major newspaper and broadcast media in the Nexis computer database found that Cato was one of four think tanks with more than 1,000 citations in 1995 and again in 1996 (see Extra!, 7–8/97). The Brookings Institution and Heritage Foundation were in a virtual tie for first place; Cato followed closely behind third-place American Enterprise Institute.
By the time the Cato Institute celebrated its 20th anniversary at a Washington Hilton bash with 2,000 guests last spring, the Washington Post (5/2/97) was declaring that “Cato is now the hot policy shop.” The Post quoted one of the enthusiastic guests, ABC News correspondent John Stossel: “I have no official political affiliation, but I sure seem to be agreeing with them on a lot of things.” (A year earlier, Stossel had been the keynote speaker at a Cato “City Seminar” in New York.) For corporations eager to stoke the pro-privatization and anti-regulation fervor of the Cato Institute, it’s clearly a good investment.
Broadcasters like Murdoch benefit greatly from federal giveaways. Holding frequency licenses worth fortunes, they’re now receiving free slices of a digital spectrum valued at up to $70 billion. Likewise, cable TV conglomerates—with Malone’s TCI in the lead—continue to expand under the protection of federal regulations that place severe limits on the power of municipalities to charge franchise fees for the use of public rights-of-way. While lauding the “free market,” Murdoch and Malone rely on the federal government’s aid in their quest for media monopolization. The contradiction doesn’t seem to bother the Cato Institute at all.
While it has criticized “corporate welfare,” Cato is much more intent on eliminating government programs for the poor. (See p. 22.) The annual report for 1996 trumpets a statement by Cato’s director of health and welfare studies, Michael Tanner, that “welfare has failed and cannot be reformed. It is time to end it. In its place, the civil society would rely on a reinvigorated network of private charity.”
One of Cato’s luminaries is José Piñera, co-chair of its Project on Social Security Privatization. According to Cato’s latest annual report, “the project’s work was cited by nearly every major newspaper in the United States, including the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal.” The report says that Piñera, a former minister of labor and welfare in Chile, “oversaw the privatization of Chile’s pension system in the early 1980s”– but does not mention that at the time the Chilean government was under the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Cato’s concern about intrusive government evidently does not extend to torture and murder.
In terms of commitment to human rights, Cato has found a kindred spirit in Rupert Murdoch, who is fond of floating lofty rhetoric about his Star TV satellite network. “Satellite broadcasting makes it possible for information-hungry residents of many closed societies to bypass state-controlled television,” said Murdoch, who touted new media technology as a “threat to totalitarian regimes everywhere.” But Murdoch quickly kowtowed to China’s totalitarian regime when Beijing objected to Star TV transmissions of BBC News reports about Chinese human rights abuses. In 1994, Murdoch’s network dropped the BBC from its broadcasts to Asia. “The BBC was driving them nuts,” Murdoch said (New Yorker, 11/13/95). “It’s not worth it.”
Announcing that Murdoch had joined its board, a Cato news release (9/22/97) praised him as “a strong advocate of the free market” and quoted his stirring words: “I start from a simple principle: In every area of economic activity in which competition is attainable, it is much to be preferred to monopoly.” (This from someone with 70 percent penetration of the newspaper market in Australia.)
Smoking hired guns
Murdoch sits on the board of directors of Philip Morris, the tobacco giant recently inducted into INFACT’s Hall of Shame “for exerting undue influence over public policy-making” with the help of 240 registered federal and state lobbyists—spending as much as $2 million per month to lobby federal officials. Murdoch publications such as TV Guide reap enormous profits from cigarette ads. And Murdoch’s Fox Broadcasting is cozy with Philip Morris subsidiary Miller Brewing Co., which recently boosted its advertising account with Fox to about $75 million per year for sports and primetime programs (Advertising Age, 6/16/97).
But Murdoch is just one of many Cato links to Big Tobacco. Although news reporting and media commentaries often include the Cato Institute’s assessments of tobacco-related issues, Cato’s direct ties to tobacco rarely get mentioned. For years, the list of Cato’s large contributors has included Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds.
As it happens, Cato is a fierce tiger when it comes to advocating for oppressed tobacco firms. Last summer, a Cato “Policy Analysis” by senior fellow Robert A. Levy denounced state lawsuits against tobacco companies to recover Medicaid costs for treating people with smoking-related diseases. He claimed that anti-tobacco politicians were “willing to deny due process to a single industry selected for its deep pockets and public image rather than its legal culpability.”
A month later, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee (7/16/97), Levy sounded a similar theme, calling a proposed tobacco settlement “a shameful document, extorted by public officials who have perverted the rule of law to tap the deep pockets of a feckless and friendless industry.” For good measure, Levy excoriated newly proposed restrictions on tobacco advertising as “draconian.” And he went ballistic over the idea that tobacco firms should provide funds for the health care of children without insurance: “To hold a single industry financially liable is no more than a bald transfer of wealth from a disfavored to a favored group.”
Such pronouncements from the lips of tobacco company lawyers are likely to be taken with outsized grains of salt by the public. But Levy has consistently received respectful media coverage—without reference to the links between the tobacco industry he defends and the think tank that employs him.
So, in a news article that appeared a week before Levy testified on Capitol Hill, the Chicago Tribune (7/10/97) devoted several paragraphs to Levy’s views, quoting his claims that federal efforts to regulate tobacco have been counterproductive. The article identified the Cato Institute only as “a libertarian think tank in the capital”—though it could have just as accurately been described as an advocacy group paid by the tobacco industry.
The next month, when the San Diego Union-Tribune published a 1,100-word op-ed article by Levy under the headline “Rule of Law Is a Loser in Tobacco War” (8/31/97), the identifying blurb mentioned Levy’s post at Cato—but not Cato’s relationship with tobacco companies. In that piece, Levy (“a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute”) lambasted “an $11 billion settlement of Florida’s war against the tobacco industry.” He called the settlement “shameful” because “it strips a currently unfashionable industry of basic protections the rest of us take for granted.” Ten days later, in USA Today (9/10/97), Levy surfaced again as a concerned legal scholar writing an opinion piece that decried the persecution of tobacco firms and blasted “our pervasive regulatory state.”
Major media outlets have routinely turned a blind eye to the corporate financial backing for Cato and other large think tanks in Washington. Few reporters or pundits focus on the conflicts of interest involved.
A report by Public Citizen illuminated the industry money behind the major think tanks campaigning to strip regulatory authority from the Food and Drug Administration: “Seven think tanks—the American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foun-dation, the Hudson Institute, the Progress and Freedom Foundation and the Washington Legal Foundation–received at least $3.5 million between 1992 and 1995 from drug, medical device, biotechnology and tobacco manufacturers and their corporate foundations.” But mainstream journalists paid scant attention to who was paying the piper. “Some of the country’s most renowned think tanks, frequently cited by the American media, are carrying water for the drug, medical device, biotechnology and tobacco industries,” the public interest group reported (Public Citizen, Fall/96).
Not all media outlets have given short shrift to those realities. Under the headline “FDA’s Detractors Get Funny Funding,” the Tennessean newspaper editorialized (7/29/96): “The think tanks named in the report, including the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, have produced a steady stream of anti-FDA sentiment, including op-ed pieces and reports over the last several years.” The newspaper noted “a tremendous difference between an independent think tank, which does legitimate research, and a quasi-academic mouthpiece financed by a regulated industry.”
Clearly, the Cato Institute falls in the latter category. The Institute’s yearly funding has climbed above $8 million, more than twice what it was in 1992. The organization’s most recent annual report exults: “We’ve moved into a beautiful new $13.7 million headquarters at 1000 Massachusetts Avenue and have only $1 million in debt remaining on it as we enter 1997.” Dozens of huge corporations, eager to roll back government regulatory powers, are among Cato’s largest donors.
In their book No Mercy, University of Colorado Law School scholars Stefancic and Delgado describe a shift in Cato’s patron base over the years. Cato’s main philanthropic backing has come from the right-wing Koch, Lambe and Sarah Scaife foundations. But today, Cato “receives most of its financial support from entrepreneurs, securities and commodities traders, and corporations such as oil and gas companies, Federal Express, and Philip Morris that abhor government regulation.”
Financial firms now kicking in big checks to Cato include American Express, Chase Manhattan Bank, Chemical Bank, Citicorp/Citibank, Commonwealth Fund, Prudential Securities and Salomon Brothers. Energy conglomerates include: Chevron Companies, Exxon Company, Shell Oil Company and Tenneco Gas, as well as the American Petroleum Institute, Amoco Foundation and Atlantic Richfield Foundation. Cato’s pharmaceutical donors include Eli Lilly & Company, Merck & Company and Pfizer, Inc.
Friends in the Media
While serving on Cato’s board and making personal donations, TCI’s John Malone is among many other media and telecommunications heavies behind Cato. Big donors include Bell Atlantic Network Services, BellSouth Corporation, Digital Equipment Corporation, GTE Corporation, Microsoft Corp- oration, Netscape Communications Corporation, NYNEX Corporation, Sun Microsystems and Viacom Interna-tional. It’s understandable that Cato’s news releases—while constantly urging privatization of the Internet and other communications systems—do not mention where Cato money is coming from. But it’s inexcusable that media coverage seldom includes such information.
Even when Malone makes a public appearance for the Cato Institute, reporters seem uninclined to shed light on the array of corporate funding that makes Cato possible. When Malone spoke on “Telecommunications in the 21st Century” at a Cato seminar luncheon in Denver, a pair of articles in the next day’s Denver Post (11/15/96) gave extensive coverage to Malone’s comments–and identified Cato only as “a libertarian think tank.”
Cato’s newest board member, Rupert Murdoch, is a global media giant whose U.S. possessions include the Fox television network, TV Guide, the tabloid New York Post, HarperCollins book publishers and the Twentieth Century Fox movie studios. Along the way, lax federal regulation has swelled the profits of Murdoch’s News Corp., now a $28 billion conglomerate. As a 1997 New York Times article noted (3/31/97), his 10-year-old Fox TV network “could never have succeeded if it had not received generous treatment at the Federal Communications Commission.”
Naturally, turning such big governmental wheels requires lots of political grease. In 1996, Murdoch donated $1 million to the California Republican Party, while News Corp. gave another $654,700 in “soft money” to the national GOP. In Murdoch’s native Australia, News Corp. dominates the mass media. In Britain, Murdoch controls more than a third of daily newspaper circulation along with much of cable and satellite television. While using his media outlets to push for the slashing of government social services, Murdoch was a pioneer in union-busting within the newspaper industry.
Murdoch is likely to have a long and harmonious presence on the Cato Institute’s board of directors.
Heritage Communications Expands Voice over IP Services to Guatemala
[August 12, 2004]
“MELBOURNE, Fla., Aug. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Heritage Communications Corporation (HCC) announced today it has formed a joint venture called “MundoTel” with two of its Guatemala partners: Confiansa and LA-MA sa. The MundoTel joint venture was formed to provide competitively priced, enhanced telephony services to the Guatemala market. … “
Jim Cownie Contribution to Iowa Republican Party:
Mr. James S. Cownie – 10000.00
West Des Moines, IA 50266-8223
141 37th Street
Campaign contribution to GW Bush from J. Cownie’s wife Patty:
MRS. PATRICIA H COWNIE, HOMEMAKER – $2,000
141 37TH StDES MOINES, IA 50312
Charles E. Grassley Campaign Contributions:
Heritage Communications…………………………….. $6,500 PAC
TCI and Heritage Communications
The Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 effectively deregulated the cable television industry and set the stage for an intense period of consolidation and acquisition among marginal cable operators, much to TCI’s benefit. Buffalo, Dallas, and Miami were added to the TCI fold. Through its District Cablevision system, TCI provided the first cable television service to the White House.
The next major expansion of the company occurred toward the end of 1986, when TCI acquired a controlling interest in United Artists Communications after a three-year courtship. Principally engaged in the construction, acquisition, ownership, and operation of motion picture theaters but also owner of the eleventh largest cable television system in the U.S., United Artists provided TCI with access to one of the nation’s largest theatrical exhibition circuits and to 23 cable systems serving 750,000 basic programming subscribers. Two years later, United Artists and the United Cable Television Corporation, a 49-system organization serving 17 states, became wholly-owned subsidiaries of a new company, United Artists Entertainment Company, a majority of which was owned by TCI.
Since 1985, Malone has spent more than $3 billion acquiring interests in more than 150 cable companies, representing three million subscribers. In 1987, TCI entered into a merger with Heritage Communications, a cable operator based in Des Moines, Iowa, with a similar reputation for independence, managerial aggressiveness, and risk-taking.
Jim Cownie’s corporate photo
Heritage was formed in 1971 by two long-time, hometown friends, James Hoak Jr. and James Cownie. They had virtually no experience in operating a cable television system but were encouraged by the support of Hoak’s father, the founder of a local construction materials company. Hoak and Cownie launched a bid for the Des Moines cable television franchise under the name Hawkeye Cablevision. Hawkeye suffered a temporary setback when the Des Moines City Council recommended awarding the contract to a rival applicant. Iowa law required an election to officially award the franchise, however, and Hoak and Cownie blitzed the media with the rallying cry, “Des Moines has its own experts,” winning the election by a landslide.
Des Moines, Iowa
The victory was short-lived. A lack of original programming to attract subscribers, combined with technical problems, including two natural disasters–a tornado destroyed the plant and a lightning storm interrupted service on launch night–severely damaged whatever interest and loyalty the company had developed.
Desperate but not defeated, Hoak and Cownie persevered. They were quick learners, and by the early 1980s, they had renamed their company Heritage and expanded its influence beyond Iowa’s borders, concentrating in farm belt and oil patch areas where reception, rather than programming, was the key to winning contracts. As a result, Heritage, like TCI, was relatively unaffected by the problems of other operators who had oversold and overstated their services to obtain urban franchises.
In 1985 the company entered the big-city market when it spent $110 million for Warner-Amex’s failing Dallas franchise, a system plagued by unreliable service and low customer demand. Convinced that its operations prowess would turn the franchise around, Heritage invested another $50 million in a back-to-basics approach–replacing equipment and making other technical improvements, increasing customer service training, and improving programming–in an attempt to increase the number of subscribers and restore consumer confidence in the concept of cable television.
Heritage then made two other major deals: the $43 million purchase of 51% of Gill Industries, in San Jose, and the $630 million purchase of Rollins Communications. The Rollins deal, in particular, expanded Heritage TV holdings from five to 11 stations in areas outside the economically depressed Midwest and prompted diversification into radio and outdoor advertising. Soon TCI was interested in taking over Heritage, which it did in 1987, adding 500,000 subscribers to its stable.
Video – The Rise of Cable
… In 1983, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. quietly acquired 7% of Warner Communications in several trades on the open market. Murdoch claimed no hostile intentions, but Warner president Steve Ross was not convinced and looked for a white knight. To protect itself from being taken over, Warner swapped 20% of its stock with Chris-Craft, the ex-boat manufacturer turned television station holding company.
The owner of Chris-Craft [A CIA FRONT, see Psychic Dictatorship in the USA,
by Alex Constantine – AC note] was Herb Siegel. The fact that Chris-Craft owned television stations implied that Warner, as owner of Chris-Craft stock, also owned television stations. FCC rules prohibited any foreign entity from owning more than 20% of a television or radio station. Murdoch was an Australian citizen.
Although keeping Warner away from Murdoch was very important to Ross, life with Chris-Craft was hardly pleasant. Siegel and Ross were at constant odds. Siegel personally owned more stock than Ross, and on more than one occasion threatened to call a shareholder vote for a new slate of directors.
Both Ross and Siegel recognized the benefit of owning cable, but American Express was not as convinced. Amex was willing to accept a joint bid from TCI and Time for its half of Warner-Amex Cable. Ross was ready to invoke Warner’s first right of refusal and match the bid, but Siegel refused to let the company increase its debt.
The solution would be costly in the long run for Warner. To raise the $440 million to buy back the Amex half of cable, Ross was forced to sell two-thirds of MTV and 19% of both Showtime and The Movie Channel to Viacon for $1.1 billion. But since Amex owned half of those networks, it exited cable with $990 million in cash.
Shortly after TCI failed to acquire the Amex cable properties, Malone formed a partnership to make the largest cable acquisition in the industry’s history. TCI put up about one-third of the $1.7 billion offer for Group W Cable and its 630,000 subscribers. The other partners were Time, Comcast, Daniels & Associates and Century Communications.
A year later, TCI would add 700,000 subscribers through the acquisition of United Artists Communications. Very little of the $1.3 billion paid was in cash, which left Malone with enough leverage to acquire HERITAGE COMMUNICATIONS and its one million subscribers for another $1.3 billion.
In 1985, Malone had lost out in the bidding for Storer Cable to Kohlberg, Kravit Roberts. KKR borrowed $2.5 billion to buy the 1.5 million Storer subscribers. Three years later, Malone would team up with Comcast to assume that debt and pay more than $1.5 billion cash. After closing, TCI was more than twice as large as its nearest competitor, Time, Inc.
While Malone borrowed billions to buy systems, Ted Turner surprisingly raised $5.4 billion to make a bid in 1985 for CBS, the Tiffany Network. Junk bond financier Ivan Boesky had acquired a stake approaching 15% in the network and had essentially put it into play. Drexel Burnham arranged the financing for Turner, but there was no chance that the likes of Dan Rather or Mike Wallace would ever work for Ted Turner. Potential investigation by 60 Minutes may have influenced Drexel Burnham to pull out, but CBS eventually found a white knight in the Loews Corporation and its owner Laurence Tisch ….
Crown Media Holdings, Inc.
6430 S. Fiddlers Green Circle, Suite 500
Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111
Telephone: (303) 220-7990
Toll Free: 800-820-7990
Fax: (303) 220-7660
Public Subsidiary of Hallmark Entertainment, Inc.
Incorporated: 1991 as Crown Media Inc.
Sales: $66.8 million (2000)
Stock Exchanges: NASDAQ
Ticker Symbol: CRWN
NAIC: 512120 Motion Picture and Video Distribution; 513210 Cable Networks; 513220 Cable and Other Program Distribution
Crown Media Holdings, Inc. owns and operates pay television channels dedicated to high quality, broad appeal, entertainment programming. The company currently operates and distributes the Hallmark Channel in the U.S. and the Hallmark Channel in more than 100 international markets. The combined channels have more than 73 million subscribers worldwide.
Our channels benefit from a long-term program agreement with a subsidiary of Hallmark Entertainment, Inc., our parent company. These program agreements generally provide exclusive pay television access to Hallmark Entertainment, Inc.’s first-run presentations and extensive library of original made-for-television movies and miniseries. Hallmark Entertainment, Inc.’s library consists of more than 4,000 hours of programming, including eight of the 10 most highly rated made-for-television movies for the 1993 through 1999 television seasons, based on A.C. Nielsen ratings. Programs contained in the library have won more than 110 Emmy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and Peabody Awards.
1991: Crown Media Inc. is formed by Hallmark Cards to acquire cable television systems and programming ventures.
1994: Cable systems owned by Crown Media Inc. are sold to Charter Communications and Marcus Cable; Hallmark Cards acquires RHI Entertainment Inc. and forms Hallmark Entertainment, Inc.
1995: Hallmark Entertainment, Inc. establishes Hallmark Entertainment Network, Inc. and launches its first pay television channel.
1998: Hallmark Entertainment Network acquires a 22.5 percent interest in Odyssey Holdings, the operator of the Odyssey Network.
2000: Hallmark Entertainment, Inc. creates Crown Media Holdings as a public subsidiary.
2001: The Odyssey Network is rebranded and relaunched as the Hallmark Channel.
THE FORMER PRESIDENT OF SPAIN?
NEWS CORPORATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS
K. Rupert Murdoch
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
José María Aznar
FAES – Foundation for Social Studies and Analysis
Former President of Spain
Wit of the Staircase – Theresa Duncan on Jim Cownie and Heritage Foudation/Heritage Communications
Cownie is a major Republican donor with ties to the Midwest’s Heritage Groups, founded by the ultraconservative Adolph Coors with money from his brainchild The Heritage Foundation. Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Heritage Foundation’s support for the Nicaraguan contras and Angola’s Savimbi proved extremely influential with the United States government, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Council and other governmental agencies. The Heritage Foundation presented its case for armed support for these movements, and United States support soon followed.
According to this website at media transparency.org, “among other Heritage efforts have been the publications Beware of the Union Label, The Case for Plant Closures, Upsetting the Balance of U.S. Labor Law: The Striker Replacement Bill and In Praise of Corporate Radiers: Junking Three Fallacies About Hostile Takeovers.
The site further reports: “The U.S. labor movement is a particular target for Heritage. Ronald Reagan’s first appointment to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) was Robert Hunter, a conservative activist who wrote the chapter on the Labor Department for the foundation’s ‘Mandate for Leadership.’ In that paper, Hunter called for increasing the use of NLRB injunctions against unions, gutting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and drastically cutting the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
Mr. Cownie is such an admirer of the Heritage Foundation’s political program that he apparently went so far as to name the company from which his mysterious fortune emanates “Heritage Communications.” Despite Mr. Cownie’s funding of Anna Gaskell’s Des Moines Museum vanity project and his keen interest in Mr. Wit’s Winchester Series, he and now most of the younger male members of his family are professionally devoted to using Homeland Security pork to overturn decades of social progress and subverting values that the art coummunity struggles to represent and uphold. For example, author Russ Bellant states in his book The Coors Connection that The Heritage Groups “will continue to be a key element in the phalanx of rightist groups with an agenda of austerity for the poor, hostility to minorities and women, upward distribution of wealth for the rich, economic domination of the Third World, with repression and bloodletting for those who rebel.”
In addition to his business bona fides, Cownie also has a more colorful side behind the cryptic Bruce Wayneian businessman front. According to Mr. Wit of the Staircase, aka artist Jeremy Blake, (who briefly dated Ms. Gaskell for a year or so as an undergrad in art school and who as such was more than once a personal guest of Mr. Cownie’s in the early 1990s) Jim Cownie has an oddly vast collection of firearms–an entire out building devoted to them in fact. Mr. Cownie also had a Hummer in 1992, way before they were a common sight. Then there were the mobster “friends” in Las Vegas who comped Mr. Wit and Ms. Gaskell with an eye roll and a groan when they mentioned Cownie’s name at the front desk, as he had instructed them to do. In addition to the Gaskell orphans, Cownie has four or five children of his own. The oldest male Cownie child, then a teenager, even bragged to Mr. Wit during one visit “My Dad’s going to get me in the CIA!”
Once the harassment of The Wits began, these disparate old Anna Gaskell anecdotes, which up to the late summer of 2006 had been completely unknown to me, began to suddenly bob up in Mr. Wit’s memory. Mr. Wit’s recollection was further jarred after we repeatedly witnessed Ms. Gaskell’s brother Zach mysteriously pacing in front of our Venice California home. Then there were the many cars with Iowa license plates following us around Los Angeles at the time. (We took photos of these, naturally.) Mr. Wit during this time also suddenly remembered that busy Cownie often travelled to South Dakota to attend some of the Midwest’s more unsavory biker rallies. But I guess being friends with ex-con bikers and Vegas mobsters doesn’t necessarily point to somebody who would, like, hire thugs to harass, threaten or–wow–maybe even kill people.
Much of the harassment of me and Mr. Wit was also conducted by the Church Of Scientology in L. A., who Cownie also no doubt also “does business with.” U.S. Intelligence “black ops” and “psyops” have long relied on (or just outright invented) religious cults (including the Manson Family–Charles Manson received 150 hours of in-prison Scientology “auditing”), biker gangs, and the like in Federal Counterintelligence prorgrams in order to disrupt the counterculture since the 1960s. Read more about the CIA and cults here and couch jumping, Katie kidnapping mind controlled movie star Tom Crusie’s meeting with Scooter Libby and State Department head Richard Armitage here.
While this ongoing illegal harassment of Wit using Federal employees (or their “cut-out” counterparts) and Federal funding (your Homeland Security tax dollars at work!) is meant to deprive us of work and our livelihoods and even sanity, the harassment also has a curious sexual focus on Wit that mirrors this J. Edgar Hoover campaign against Black Panther organizer and actress Jean Seberg.
Like the Federal “Cointelpro” campaign that deliberately drove Seberg to suicide, the smear campaign against Wit and Mr. Wit uses as its basis pre-existing, completely invented smears started by married art professor Ralph Rugoff and his student girlfriend Hilary Chartrand in order to cover up their 2000 affair while both worked at the California College of Arts And Crafts. This is something that sharp-eyed Wit accidentally discovered during one particularly dreary art dinner in November of that year. Hilary Chartrand is friends with Anna Gaskell, who is also known for carrying on affairs with her married professors in order to have access to ethics-challenged art world log rollers like NY Times critic Roberta Smith and her husband Jerry Saltz. (See article below.)
To add the final dessert topping to this apocalyptic art world sundae, Mr. Wit says that normally dour Cownie frequently made jokes about child molestation as a “training” tool. This wouldn’t be so fucking spooky, friends of the Staircase, if Des Moines wasn’t the land of the Project Monarch/U.S. Intelligence rumored disappearance of Johnny Gosch and the odd resemblance of poor little Johnny to Bush White House gay hooker-psychological operative Jeff Gannon.
Anyway, Ms. Gaskell and I don’t seem to have much in common besides her very brief intersection with the life of Jeremy Blake, a period about which Mr. Wit says “She was so dumb, so arrogant and so mysteriously smug. She really thought she had some sort of advantage in every situation. I could never, ever figure out where that came from, because it sure wasn’t coming from anything she did. But I guess now I know.”)
This is a pretty ugly set of circumstances, and a weirder true tale than even Wit usually presents. But, as usual from what I hear, Ms. Gaskell has gotten somebody else to do the work of articulating and then cleaning up her mental messes for her. If you’re reading this, Anna, here’s some free advice: Stop accepting payoffs from Cownie immediately, get your younger brothers away from him, get a lawyer using only your own money, and have the lawyer get Cownie to answer a few questions about your mother and father.
If I were you, I’d even take a job in a factory in order to do it.
JIM COWNIE AND FRANKLIN RITUAL CHILD ABUSE COVER-UP
Doug Adams said: “Mr. and Mrs. Wit were not crazy. In fact they were pretty damn smart. A little too smart.
“Just a bit of ‘Des Moines’ digging in documents unavailable over the internet will show you that ‘The Trouble with Anna Gaskell’ is that her legal guardian, JIM COWNIE, was eyeballed by the SENATE committee overseeing the investigation into the FRANKLIN COVER UP.
“And Mrs. Wit made the connection.
“It would appear that Anna Gaskell is a butterfly bought and sold.”
” … Cownie became the legal guardian of New York-based artist Gaskell and her siblings following the early deaths of her parents (her father was Cownie’s business partner). While an undergraduate she dated Jeremy Blake for about a year. It was during that time that Blake got to know Cownie as well. … “
THE ART OF ANNA GASKELL – From the Guggenheim catalogue:
“Anna Gaskell crafts foreboding photographic tableaux of pre-adolescent girls that reference children’s games, literature, and psychology…. In untitled #9 of the wonder series, a wet bar of soap has been dragged along a wooden floor. In untitled #17 it appears again, forced into a girl’s mouth, with no explanation of how or why. This suspension of time and causality lends Gaskell’s images a remarkable ambiguity that she uses to evoke a vivid and dreamlike world.
“Gaskell’s girls do not represent individuals, but act out the contradictions and desires of a single psyche. While their unity is suggested by their identical clothing, the mysterious and often cruel rituals they act out upon each other may be metaphors for disorientation and mental illness. In wonder and override, the character collectively evoked is Alice, perhaps lost in the Wonderland of her own mind, unable to determine whether the bizarre things happening to her are real or the result of her imagination…. Gaskell addresses this psychologically loaded subject matter with images of girls wandering in a gothic mansion illuminated by candlelight. Here the psyche in question has been fractured and fraught with terror by a perverse father’s look, a voyeuristic gaze.” …
Ron Rosenbaum: “According to sources I checked with in the New York City Police Department and the City Medical Examiner’s Office, the death of Theresa Duncan which has been almost without exception called ‘a suicide’ in the local papers has NOT YET BEEN OFFICIALLY RULED A SUICIDE. … “
[Those accustomed to allowing their opinions to be shaped by vicious psychological operations in the media – appealing to the worst in human nature (envy, herd instincts, sadism, etc.) – are unaware that the press has smeared Theresa Duncan, a slanted post-mortem assault on her character … based on psychological projection. – AC]
She observed in her blog pre-mortem that it isn’t the first time:
Theresa’s “paranoia?”: “Wit and Mr. Wit have experienced theft, intimidation, illegal wiretapping, a 1950s-style SMEAR campaign based on utter psychological projection, damage to our property, verbal and physical harassment and death threats from New York ‘artist’ Anna Gaskell’s murderous Midwestern thug [Cownie] family for years”:
Link: The Wit of the Staircase: The Trouble With Anna Gaskell.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Some confirmation of Theresa’s statement from Rigorous Intuition AND the LA Weekly article by Kate Coe caught in the act of slanting the story to depict Theresa as a mentally ill paranoiac:
“… Duncan felt that artist Anna Gaskell, who briefly had dated Blake a 13 years or so ago, was in a family controlled by just such a ‘Monarch’ [CIA mind control program]. Gaskell and her siblings were given to Jim Cownie in guardianship after their mother died, following some years after the mysterious death of their father. Duncan implied, but did not state outright…that Gaskell was a victim of Monarch style abuse by Cownie. For some reason, Coe’s article doesn’t touch on that. … “
Look what one member of the Gaskell family DOES DO:
“Remember the Johnny Gosch [“disappeared” by an organized pedophile network, it’s presumed] story by Des Moines journalist Tim Schmitt published in the alternative weekly Pointblank, and how Pointblank went out of business the same day? Pointblank’s founder and editor was Jon Gaskell, Anna’s younger brother, who was immediately handed the job of editing its replacement, Cityview, while Schmitt, who had been Pointblank’s managing editor, was fired. Gaskell has apparently since claimed that the Gosch story was an ‘April Fool’s joke,’ allegedly intended to whip ‘conspiracy theorists into a lathered frenzy.’ (From a Gaskell email: ‘It was an April Fool’s prank. Those are some pretty strange people.’)
JON GASKELL STARTS AN ALTERNATIVE NEWSPAPER
New Alt-Weekly Debuts in Des Moines
By John Dicker and Amanda Pierre
July 30, 2002
… On June 26, the first issue of Pointblank hit the streets of Iowa’s capital. From the back, Pointblank looks exactly like Cityview. They have the same square format and identical revenue-producing advertisements. But the guts of the papers are a different story.
Pointblank is helmed by three former Cityview staffers, most notably Publisher and Executive Editor Jon Gaskell, who resigned as Cityview’s editor last November. …
Gaskell walked out of Cityview in November 2001, refusing to work under Wagner, who was new to the paper. Wagner, who has more than 20 years of newspaper experience, was also in charge when Schmitt and Kabel were fired in March. Since Wagner arrived at the publication, there has been 100 percent turnover of the four-person Cityview editorial staff.
Gaskell, who has a master’s in media studies and journalism from Drake University, at first went on to do an on-line Des Moines alternative weekly called Pointblank. …
Gaskell is the recipient of a trust account set up by his late father. His father, a prominent Des Moines stock-broker, died of a heart attack when Gaskell was 20. His mother was killed in a car accident when he was 11. He and his two brothers and sister, renowned artist and photographer Anna Gaskell, split the property of the elder Jon Gaskell.
Gaskell worked at small local papers and wrote a book before getting a job at Cityview. He also has a creative writing degree from Lake Forest College in Illinois. …
FOR BACKGROUND ON SATANISM AND RITUAL ABUSE censored by the “mainstream” media, SEE: “Satanism and Ritual Abuse – Case-by-Case Documentation”
FULL CIRCLE DEPT.: HOWARD BUFFETT – A CENTRAL FIGURE IN FRANKLIN COVER-UP AND CHILD SEXUAL SLAVERY/TRAFFICKING CHARGES – BUYS INTO MURDOCH’S WALL STREET JOURNAL
What might Theresa Duncan have learned that drove Murdoch and his fellow Mockingbirds to fear her? At the time of her death, the owner of News Corp. was nearing completion of the WSJ takeover. Unbeknownst to Wall Street, Warren Buffett had bought a share of the Journal in anticipation of a negotiated deal. If Theresa Duncan had learned about this, she would have gone on to write about Buffett and Murdoch in the context of the Franklin
case with its high casualty rate of peculiar “suicides,” fatal accidents”
(including the break-up of investigator Gary Caradori’s plane in mid-air) and convenient murders, because Buffett was central to author John DeCamp’s organized child sex trafficking charges. – AC
Buffett bet on Dow Jones pays off
Andrew Clark in New York
Wednesday August 15, 2007
The world’s third-richest man, Warren Buffett, is making millions out of an opportunistic punt on Rupert Murdoch’s takeover of the Wall Street Journal.
In a regulatory filing his Berkshire Hathaway investment empire has revealed it bought 2.78m shares in the Journal’s publisher, Dow Jones, during the second quarter of the year.
The Sage of Omaha has made it clear he feels Mr Murdoch is paying a high price for Dow Jones – three months ago Mr Buffett described the $60-a-share offer as “non-economic”. “I think Rupert would acknowledge that part of his interest in the Wall Street Journal goes beyond economics,” he said in May, adding that the paper was second only to the New York Times in prestige value.
As the exact date of Berkshire Hathaway’s share purchase has not been disclosed, it is not clear whether Mr Buffett dipped into the market before or after the price of News Corporation’s offer became public on May 1. Either way, the investment was highly lucrative. In the days before Mr Murdoch showed his hand, Dow Jones shares cost about $36 (£18). Over the following weeks, the price hovered around the low to mid-50s before News Corp tied up the deal by persuading Dow Jones’s controlling Bancroft family to sell for $60 at the end of July.
News of Mr Buffett’s quiet profit is unlikely to thrill members of the Dow Jones union, the Independent Association of Publishing Employees, which spent part of the takeover battle trying to enlist Mr Buffett to launch a “white knight” bid.
His investment empire includes one newspaper, the Buffalo News in New York state. He is a newspaper addict, reading five a day, but he believes the future for print is bleak. In his 2007 letter to shareholders, he warned that the days of “lush profits” from newspapers were over.
“If cable and satellite broadcasting, as well as the internet, had come along first, newspapers as we know them probably would never have existed,” he said.
A BLOGGER’S FEAR THAT THERESA DUNCAN AND JEREMY BLAKE WOULD DIE AFTER “DISSING” JIM COWNIE:
” … When I saw the entry on Anna Gaskell and her spook dad Jim Cownie posted on the May 13, 2007 Wit, I immediately feared that Theresa and Jeremy’s lives were in danger. That they might be ‘disappeared.’ That the people they were dissing, and their assorted CIA compadres, would not allow the challenge to go unanswered. All reports indicate a double suicide, first Theresa and then Jeremy. But I wonder…. “
 Posted by: guest | July 21, 2007 8:54 PM
“SUICIDE DUO’S FALL FROM ARTIST ELITE TO MANIC BELIEVERS IN A ‘SATANIC PLOT,’ NEW YORK POST, August 5, 2007, by CHRIS LEE, CATHY BURKE and LARRY CELONAON.
This site has vanished from the Net, uncachéd:
franklinfiles.org – The Pedophocracy, Part V: It Couldn’t Happen Here
Had he been, there is no telling where the investigation might have led; his wife had once run … Who is Jim Cownie? by Pablo. July 27, 2007, 12:38:34 PM …
Come to find that Coe – who has shaped public opinion on the case, found flaws in Theresa Duncan’s character – has adopted a few Nazi beliefs herself:
Gabriel, Don’t Blind Me With Your Charisma
“Kate Coe says that when her chef husband worked at a restaurant in Santa Monica, food got sent back all the time [because of all the picky Jews]. When he moved to a restaurant in South Pasadena, that almost never happened.
“Kate writes: ‘Oh, Luke, I’M THE ANTI-SEMITE in my household. My husband thought the sending back was due to the insidious influence of show-biz, not Judism. He’d never say anything mean about anyone–that’s why he married me.'”
More CIA-Media Smears of Theresa Duncan & “Conspiracy Theorists” in the blender – Alex Constantine
Now the CIA’s Anderson Cooper is getting into the act … to kill “paranoid” Theresa Duncan all over again, and turn the public off to those attention-getting “conspiracy theories” involving the CIA and cults, the CIA and the media, mind control, political murders, 9/11, and so on.
For background on Cooper, see “Anderson Cooper’s CIA Secret”:
a Fox TV producer, with credits on “A Current Affair,” another CIA Mockingbird franchise, and Jackie Collins Presents (?) From her resumé:
Producer: A Current Affair/FOX
Producer: Jackie Collins Presents
Coe is a CIA propagandist. Her job is to discredit anyone targeted by the Agency, ala Chavez. So she smeared Duncan for writing about mind control and the CIA:
01 August 2007
“The wit of the suicide: Did Theresa Duncan lie about her B.A.?
“Turns out Theresa Duncan, who committed suicide in New York a few weeks ago and was followed into the afterlife by her boyfriend Jeremy Blake in the utterly Shakespearean method of death-by-ocean, was totally paranoid and a compulsive liar, as laid out by Kate Coe in the LA Weekly.”
“Kate Coe gets jump on artist suicide mystery”
“Paranoia. Lies. Dark pasts. Strange rants. The [Coe] article paints a very personal, surprising picture of the couple (Kate knew Duncan) and could very well be the outline for a book.”
Kate Coe published the Duncan “suicide” story in the liberal LA Weekly, but she is a right-winger – with Mockingbird friends who work for other CIA franchises, like National Review, which has recieved generous Agency funding since the magazine was launched by the CIA’s William Buckley in the 1950s:
LA Press Club Party With Sandra Tsing Loh
“… Kate Coe, who incorrectly ‘corrected’ me on two different sites about the word gauauauauntlet, introduces herself, expressing the possibility that I could have hit her (I never hit women unless they hit first). She seems nice, though I can’t quite get her to admit I was right. She mentions that she knows a girl who might be right for me — said girl’s major qualities are that she’s RIGHT WING and a drug addict, apparently. Why this would suit me, I have no idea.”
producer at PBS
researcher/writer at TIME-LIFE BOOKS
Kate Coe is frequently described by friends as enchantingly witty, delightfully acerbic, and never unintentionally rude. … Educated at an Ivy League university, which rather regrets that fact …
Kate Coe writes about her past: “I have a great love of archival film as well as stills and artwork, and know all the ins and outs of film research, clip clearance, and securing of rights and have worked closely with many Legal Affairs departments. … “
This was a CIA Mockingbird propaganda stunt:
October 21, 2005, 8:29 a.m.
Wither Public TV?
“I helped organize and moderate a series of panels about public television last weekend in Los Angeles for the American Cinema Foundation, with sponsorship by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The CPB, which funds public television and radio programming, is otherwise known (at least here on the Left Coast) as ‘Those Evil Republicans Who Are Trying To Move Big Bird to the Right.’ …
[Note on CIA/PBS propaganda: Hollywood producer Lionel Chetwynd’s Wiki entry: ” … In 2001, Lionel Chetwynd was appointed by President GEORGE W. BUSH to serve on the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. In 2003, Chetwynd wrote and produced DC 9/11: TIME OF CRISIS, a docudrama for Showtime Networks recounting the nine days in the Bush administration between the time of the September 11, 2001 ATTACKS ON THE WORLD TRADE CENTER AND THE PENTAGON and the PRESIDENT’S TELEVISED ADDRESS to the nation before Congress. … ” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lionel_Chetwynd – AC]
“On my panels, screenwriter/director Lionel Chetwynd said that PBS generally reflects a ‘leftwing European perspective’ — that is, anti-Israel — except for six weeks each year during fundraising, and then it’s ‘Jews are great.”…
Give To HBO, Not PBS?
From: Kate Coe
RE: Public Broadcasting: How Much Do You Care? (TV Board, 06/20)
Why should PBS get a subsidy from taxpayers to keep producing mediocre programming? I’d rather give my money to HBO. When PBS produces “The Sopranos” or “Six Feet Under,” then we can talk …
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT DEPT.: ” … Holy stratosphere, is that Moxie with ANN COULTER at CATHY SEIPP’S party for her daughter Maia? … And SANDRA TSING LOH was there too? … “
RE: KATE COE’S FRIEND, THE LATE CATHY SEIPP, FRIEND OF ANN COULTER, WAS ANOTHER CIA MOCKINGBIRD (NATIONAL REVIEW):
National Review Online
PBS does indeed like old people, but I wonder if that’s always such an excellent thing. I decided to correct this a bit on my own when my daughter was small and we watched so much Sesame Street that I felt I really should donate something. But I also felt that as a single mother, I was far poorer than their average elderly viewer; yet they offered a senior citizen’s discount but not an impoverished single mother one. So I checked off that I was a senior citizen and sent in my donation (getting the free program guide) under that cheaper rate. I got cruise-ship brochures in the mail for years.
“I’m horrified that Mel Stuart basically wants PBS to continue so he can sell his work,” Kate Coe, a producer who’s worked for public and commercial TV, e-mailed me about the PBS panels. “Why not just have the Feds write him a check? Why do all these geezers think they’re entitled to a life-time career at public expense? I can’t believe how many of these guys (and they’re all guys) think PBS should continue because they can sell shows.”
Cathy Seipp, 49, Noted Columnist and Blogger, Dies
By DENNIS HEVESI
Cathy Seipp, a columnist and blogger who became widely known for poking fun at the liberal leanings popularly associated with her hometown, Los Angeles, died there on Wednesday. She was 49 and lived in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles.
The cause was lung cancer, said her daughter, Maia Lazar.
Ms. Seipp was widely read on her blog, “Cathy’s World,” which she started in 2003; in a weekly column for National Review Online called “From the Left Coast,” and in a monthly column for the conservative online magazine Independent Women’s Forum.
She also wrote for Mediaweek and Salon and made guest appearances on Dennis Miller’s talk show on CNBC.
Her favorite targets included political correctness, global warming, same-sex marriage, abortion and gun control — and the Hollywood luminaries who espoused those causes.
“She would laugh about being to the right of Attila the Hun,” Kate Coe, a blogger at Mediabistro.com, said yesterday, “but she wasn’t really that doctrinaire.” …
KATE COE TAKES AIM AT A “CONSPIRACY THEORIST”
Any public sympathy for Duncan is history now. Coe knows her work. Leave the impression that the victim was mentally ill and deserved to die.
A smear job always follows CIA murders, and the smear always dwells on unsavory characteristics of the victim’s personality. We have to keep hearing about John Kennedy’s philandering, for instance. And Saddam Hussein had it coming when he lost his head (the CIA didn’t give him a list of political enemies to kill? The CIA didn’t arm him? The CIA didn’t make him vice-president and further his fascist career?), because he was a vicious killer (the CIA isn’t?).
Theresa Duncan had faults. Human. Any one of us could be murdered for political reasons – and made by Kate Coe to appear deserving of it for lying on our resumés, as Theresa Duncan admitted that she did, according to Coe.
This is one more cynical thought control piece intended to program public opinion concerning allegations made by Duncan – and possibly the cause of her death – who was very concerned about mind control – and that’s what you get with the Coe story, mind control, a typical piece of Mockingbird droppings. I imagine that 90 percent of Ms. Coe’s readers will end up loathing Theresa Duncan, and that’s the idea.
If there is no sympathy for her, no one will take her allegations concerning the CIA, Heritage Foundation or mind control seriously.
Anti-Semitic, anti-liberal Kate Coe from Fox News Corp. is dominating and manipulating coverage of Theresa’s death to turn it against blogging “conspiracy theorists”:
“Stories about the recent suicide deaths of writer Theresa Duncan (Tylenol and alcohol) and then her boyfriend Jeremy Blake (walking into the sea like Sterling Hayden did in The Long Goodbye) are all over the place. L.A. Fishbowl’s KATE COE has an L.A. Weekly story in this week’s issue, Chris Lee has an 8.3 story about the tragic duo in the L.A. Times, and Lee says in an online chat with Coe that Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, New York magazine and CNN’s ANDERSON COOPER are also preparing reports.”
Alex Constantine Notes on the Duncan family and the FBI:
Los Angeles Times’ Chris Lee returns …. Heavy emphasis is placed on Theresa’s “paranoia,” as reflected in the headline: “The world as Jeremy Blake and Theresa Duncan saw it – Friends sift through the clues left behind by a glittering ‘It’ couple who had wrapped themselves in a cocoon of paranoia.”
We keep hearing of the phantom Scientologists, but other very credible allegations made by Duncan are written out of the epitaph.
There is no trace of “paranoia” in blog statements preceding her death: “This would be regrettable, but of no personal consequence to The Wit Of The Staircase if it had not been for the extremely coordinated and professional physical and psychological harassment Mr. Wit Of The Staircase (Jeremy Blake) and I underwent subsequent to Mr. Wit creating an artwork entitled Winchester, a video trilogy based on the violence and guilt in the life of gun-company heiress Sarah Winchester … ”
The entry does not ring with “paranoia”: “The harassment Mr. Wit and I are still enduring featured as its centerpiece an FBI file I earned as an undergrad in Detroit for protesting the plant closings there and doing other labor organizing.”
Is this one of her “paranoid conspiracy theories?” There are books written by reputable scholars detailing this sort of activity. It’s not exactly a face-on-Mars delusion …
“I also wrote several eloquent articles for Wayne State University’s student newspaper demanding a Federal investigation into the Iran-Contra cover up when I was a freshman.”
The FBI must have opened a file on Duncan at this time, per Bureau policy. She was obviously a “person of interest”: “Wit’s [Duncan’s] family has generations of working class factory workers on my father’s side, and generations of academic specialists in radical political movements on my mother’s side.”
We’ll have to to file an FOIA request on that …
Duncan: “My mother, who currently works at Wayne State University and has a PhD in political science that is focused on Black Panther and other radical movements in the Midwest, also recently received harassing phone calls, as did my younger brother.”
Question: Are Theresa’s mother and brother also “paranoid” conspiracy theorists? The FBI murdered 29 Black Panthers in cold blood – or am I subscribing to “looney” theories for stating this fact. On the Net there is a post in which I debate neo-con David Horowitz into a corner on this historical fact. But to any interest vested in suppressing progressive politics, FBI murders are “crazy conspiracy theory.”
Theresa Duncan wasn’t crazy. She was a typical enemy of the state – smarter than the average programmed prole. And she knew all about Operation Mockingbird and CIA mind control and cults – this makes her my student. I’m not a “conspiracy theorist,” either, although the ignorant describe me in these condescending terms. I am, in fact, about ten years ahead of the pack, so the pack scratches its head and wonders what I’m about. So it was with Theresa Duncan.
She wrote about Operation Mockingbird – CIA control of the media. THAT didn’t turn up in Chris Lee’s smear job, either.
The crazy mind cotrolled types are in the pressroom, those who do the intelligence underground’s bidding. You know, the Gestapo … who do the killing (see archive) …
Was there a reason the FBI would be interested in Theresa Duncan’s mother, who was receiving hang-up calls at the time her daughter died – or was that Theresa’s famous “paranoia?” I was unable to download the entire dissertation on the Black Panthers written by Mary Duncan, but this is an abstract.
Mary Duncan examines the language of Black Liberation – a struggle that has seen the FBI and other sectors of the intelligence underground MURDERING every legitimate and uncompromised leader who comes along – and white discrimination – to find that the master-slave relationship is still embedded in American culture:
The language of liberation: Emory Douglas and the art of the Black Panther Party (2004)
There is a myth in America of a homogeneous citizenry with shared ideals and a common understanding of the dominant white political language. In fact there is a multiplicity of voices and historical narratives among American subgroups. The field of semiotics has provided a model to better understand how political and cultural messages are communicated through the various mediums of popular culture. In this essay I will examine the visual language of symbols and images that go essentially unrecognized and unexamined in political research, a language that affects everyday perceptions of political reality. It is within the context of the use of symbols and images in meaning production that I will explore the incommensurability in political understanding between the dominant white idiom and the black language of liberation that is based in a common history and the experience of slavery and discrimination.
Publisher Digital Commons@Wayne State University
Repository Digital Commons@Wayne State University (United States)
Keywords AMERICAN STUDIES (0323), POLITICAL SCIENCE, GENERAL (0615)
THE “SUICIDE” OF THERESA DUNCAN CAME AT AN OPPORTUNE TIME FOR MURDOCH – THE NEW YORK TIMES HAD, A COUPLE OF WEEKS BEFORE HER BODY WAS FOUND, LAUNCHED AN INVESTIGATION INTO MURDOCH’S GLOBAL BUSINESS DEALINGS – AND HE’D JUST SEEN ANOTHER MEDIA MAGNATE, CONRAD BLACK, FALL FROM OLYMPUS:
Times Undertakes Multi-Bureau Rupert Murdoch Investigation
by Michael Calderone
New York Observer
June 25, 2007.
The New York Times is currently undertaking a major news investigation, led by managing editor Jill Abramson, into News Corp.’s business dealings throughout the world, according to a source with knowledge of the project.
Currently, Ms. Abramson is working outside of the newsroom, recovering from injuries sustained during a traffic accident last month.
But, as she told The Observer in an e-mail on May 26, executive editor Bill Keller has kept her quite busy.
“Bill has asked me to lead an investigative project for the next month, which I’ll mainly do from home,” Ms. Abramson wrote at the time. “It involves a group of domestic and foreign reporters, but I obviously can’t tell you what it is.”
Well, the group includes one obvious choice: media reporter Richard Siklos, who authored Shades of Black, the 1995 biography of disgraced press baron Conrad Black.
Although Mr. Siklos is currently covering the Black trial in Chicago, he’s also been busy reporting on Mr. Black’s fellow media mogul, Rupert Murdoch: He has had nine bylined pieces, including a 3,300-word cover story in the Sunday Business section, since News Corp.’s bid for Dow Jones was announced on May 1.
The investigative project also includes, according to a source at The Times, investigative editor Matt Purdy and reporters Jo Becker (in New York), Jane Perlez (in London) and Joseph Kahn (in Beijing).
Mr. Purdy did not confirm there was an investigative project underway, and referred this reporter’s questions to Ms. Abramson—who declined to comment. Mr. Siklos also declined to comment. Ms. Becker did not return calls seeking comment. Ms. Perlez and Mr. Kahn could not be reached at press time.
A News Corp. spokesperson confirmed that they knew of The Times’ investigative project, but declined to comment.
RE: MURDOCH, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL BUY-OUT, CIA, LIBBY LEAK CASE & THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION
Theresa Duncan died in the amid Murdoch’s widely-reported takeover of the Wall Street Journal …
Another good reason why Rupert Murdoch should not get Dow Jones
by margieburns on Wed 27 Jun 2007
… Dow Jones engages in other activities besides publishing.
For example: in the past two years’ worth of motions filed by attorneys back and forth in the CIA leak case, specifically in Judith Miller and Matt Cooper’s unsuccessful efforts to quash a subpoena, several of those motions have been filed by Dow Jones.
Dow Jones, you see, has filed several times as an amicus curiae – “friend of the court” – asking the courts to unseal parts of the court record in the Miller and Cooper matters that remain sealed because they contain classified material.
The short story here is that every time Dow Jones files a motion to unseal classified material, Americans have to pay for the process. With Rupert Murdoch’s news empire, reportedly worth $68B, behind these efforts, there will be deeper pockets than ever to bleed the taxpayers.
Here’s how the process works: the high-dollar amici – friends of the court – file their motion to unseal, opposed by several government agencies including the CIA. Then the prosecution team has to file a motion in response to the pleading, taking time away from other government prosecutions. To date, the prosecution has responded by offering to unseal some further parts of the record but not those still unrevealed publicly, and the courts have acceded. Then judges have to rule on the motions, which as said have so far been partly granted and partly turned down by the courts.
All of this takes place in courts and using court personnel provided by the taxpayers, and in the name of the public’s right to know – somewhat ironically, looking at the WSJ editorial page. Indeed, one wonders why that zeal to inform the public didn’t turn up back in 2002 and early 2003, when the White House was boosting mythical Iraq WMD, mythical Iraqi complicity in 9/11, and a mythical partnership between Saddam and Islamist partisans.
In any case, with the politics of Rupert Murdoch behind these efforts – he of Fox News – they are unlikely to lighten up.
The timing of the amici filings in the Miller and Cooper matters already suggests that political considerations have been part of the mix. When then-New York Times reporter Miller and Time Magazine reporter Cooper were subpoenaed by the Special Counsel in the CIA leak case and lost their round in federal District Court (Judge Hogan), they appealed their subpoenas in the appellate court in Washington, D.C. The appeals court turned them down on February 15, 2005, with some parts of the court’s ruling classified.
Dow Jones filed to release classified parts of the ruling in the subpoena case on November 2, 2005 – more than nine months after the court’s ruling, but only five days after the October 28, 2005, indictment of Scooter Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice. In other words, the sequence suggests that Dow Jones’ amicus brief was impelled less by the classification of some parts of the subpoena ruling than by progress in the CIA leak case.
Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald responded that a redacted version of the court’s ruling should be unsealed, and the appeals court ordered the redacted version published on February 6, 2006.
Dow Jones again filed an amicus motion to unseal the remaining sealed parts of the ruling, on December 6, 2006 – ten months after the court’s ruling, but shortly before the January 16, 2007, beginning of jury selection in the trial of Lewis Scooter Libby.
Again the amicus filing looks more like a response to developments in the CIA leak case – the Libby trial – than to three appellate judges’ classifying part of their ruling. In fact, it looks as though Dow Jones felt an interest in overloading the prosecution as much as possible during the Libby proceeding; basically the amicus filings to unseal – all destined to lose – chronologically paralleled flurries of motions by the Libby defense team.
The second motion to unseal by Dow Jones, this time joined by the Associate Press, was denied by the court on February 9, 2007. Obviously the prosecution had to respond to the motion to unseal while working on the Libby trial. Dow Jones then renewed its motion to unseal on March 7, 2007 – the day after Libby was convicted on four of five counts of obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements, and while appeals were being prepared by the Libby defense team and responded to by the government.
The government responded to the renewed motion, again offering part disclosure and part redaction, on March 22; Dow Jones and the AP filed a reply to the government motion on March 30 and a supplemental memorandum on June 1, 2007 (all three most recent Dow Jones amicus briefs for some reason dated 2006 rather than 2007, though the Certificate of Service gets it right); and the government filed a sealed motion on June 19, 2007. There has been no ruling yet on the most recent filings.
The even shorter story here is that Dow Jones’ legal actions seem to have fallen quietly in line with the interests of its editorial page, while publicly professing alignment with the interests of its reporters.
Let’s just hope all this wasn’t part of what attracted Murdoch to Dow Jones in the first place. Worse, let’s hope that this process wasn’t concocted or designed to make Dow Jones attractive to Murdoch in the first place.
While all this behind-the-scenes maneuvering has gone on, rightwing ‘noise machine’ outlets, including Murdoch’s media, have complained in print and on air about the time and expense consumed in these legal actions – without ever quite getting around to telling the public how much of that drain on the polity has been caused by their own little white-collar goon squads.
KILL THEM AGAIN!: THE NEW YORKER vs. DUNCAN AND BLAKE
The New Yorker has published a story on the deaths of Duncan and Blake by 23-year old “hipster” (he generally writes about teenage sex, trendy nightspots, the senior prom, his coked-out father, etc.) David Amsden, a 23-year old novelist who admits – even boasts – that he scores zero on the credibility scale:
A Book that Doesn’t Matter – “It’s amazing, the lies you can get away with.”
New York Press
“After 200 pages of playing the damaged kid, David Amsden comes clean: ‘It’s amazing, the lies you can get away with. That’s the problem with me, I’m always telling these sort of half lies to people.’
“Well, at least he admits it. Amsden is a classic American ambition machine who lied and schmoozed his way to fame while coyly pretending to be a naïve outsider. … ” (http://www.nypress.com/16/27/books/books.cfm)
Amsden is still “lying his way to the top.” And “pretending to be an outsider,” too.
His publisher is HarperCollins, one of the leading book publishers in the world, a News Corp. appendage headquartered in New York, owned by RUPERT MURDOCH, WHO I HAVE ACCUSED OF INVOLVEMENT IN THE MURDER OF THERESA DUNCAN AND COVER-UP OF THE SAME. SEE: http://alexconstantine.blogspot.com/2007/08/murder-of-theresa-duncan-jim-cownie.html
Description of Business
HarperCollins Publishers is one of the world’s leading English-language publishers, with headquarters in New York and operations in Canada, the U.K., Australia/New Zealand and India. Its publishing groups include the HarperCollins General Books Group, HarperCollins Children’s Books Group, Zondervan, HarperCollins UK, HarperCollins Canada, HarperCollins Australia/New Zealand and HarperCollins India. HarperCollins is a broad-based publisher with strengths in literary and commercial fiction, business books, children’s books, cookbooks, mystery, romance, religious and spiritual books.
See the following web pages:
David Amsden’s take on Duncan and Blake rehashes the used tortured-culturati/crazed-conspiracists of prior reports churned out by Murdoch producer Kate Coe, and the propaganda mavens of Murdoch’s New York Post and Chris Lee – a “ringer” brought to the newsroom shortly before the death of Theresa Duncan, convenient author of the NY Post’s smear of Duncan and Blake – at the Los Angeles Times. In fact, these stories are all the same, nearly identical: The chic but doomed lovers – saucy blogger literatum and famed artist consort – dreaded non-existent, “dark government forces.” The grip of “paranoia” drove them crazy. What Amsden knows about those forces is anyone’s guess, but he immediately dismisses the deepest fears of Dunan and Blake as mental aberrations.
Evidently, Amsden never looked too closely at his own publisher, Conde Nast, which publishes the New Yorker.
Conde Nast is owned by Advance Communications
Advance Communications is owned by Samuel Newhouse – the best friend of ROY COHN until AIDS took him out:
” … By the fall of ’85 Roy was having trouble breathing and was suffering from short-term memory loss. The Roy Cohn barter-and-swap exchange, specializing in deals, favors and reciprocities of all kinds, was in abeyance. When Si Newhouse’s son Sam wanted the impossible-a berth for his yacht at the East 23rd Street marina-the chore fell to one of Roy’s law partners, Stanley Friedman. (Friedman was later to be convicted on unrelated corruption charges.) For 40 years Roy had been taking care of the Newhouses, billionaire owners of newspapers and magazines, and for 40 years the Newhouses had been taking care of Roy. … ” (Source: Carol Felsenthal, Citizen Newhouse – Portrait of a Media Merchant)
Theresa Duncan was investigating cable industry pioneer Jim Cownie at the time of her death. She tied Cownie to the doings of the Franklin Case in Omaha, which involved the CIA and satanism, a child sexual slavery network, the knock-off of an S&L, etc. The Newhouse network has covered up – misrepresented – the Franklin case in Omaha (see appended summary) in the past. But I don’t want to be side-tracked and will reserve that story for another time …
The important factor is that Newhouse has extensive CABLE interests. THERESA DUNCAN, BY GETTING INTO JIM COWNIE (who founded the company that is now AT&T Cable), WAS INVESTIGATING THE DARK SIDE OF THE CABLE INDUSTRY, INCLUDING COWNIE’S PARTNER JIM HOAK (STARTED IN BUSINESS BY CAP CITIES/CIA’S TOM MURPHY, CROWN MEDIA), RUPERT MURDOCH (NEWS CORP.), AND THE NEWHOUSE CLAN.
HER DEATH IS ABOUT THE CORRUPTION OF THE CABLE INDUSTRY.
AT THE HEART OF THE INDUSTRY IS THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY, OPERATION MOCKINGBIRD – ONE OF THERESA’S PRINCIPAL INTERESTS – ORGANIZED CRIME, COVERT OPERATIONS, POWERFUL FASCIST NETWORKS …
The Boss of Bosses
” … Many men in his tax bracket are Republicans, and much is made of Si Newhouse’s friendship with the infamous Roy Cohn; but Cohn put power before party. Should we assume Newhouse does, too? … “
“A little known fact is that Wired was bankrolled virtually from its first issue by the Newhouse family which eventually swallowed it after they bungled their IPO.”
Cohn and Newhouse Give Reagan a Second Term
Death Factories –
The Biology Of Doom
Review By Timothy Naftali – From The NY Times
… Newhouse gave us Ronald Reagan’s second term. After the disastrous first debate with Mondale in which the public got its first uncensored look at the extent of Reagan’s mental impairments, Roy Cohn called the campaign on behalf of the family offering its services.
Within a week there was a photoshoot at the Santa Barbara ranch showing Reagan cutting wood and riding horses. It was the cover story of the very next issue of Parade Magazine, the insert that appears in tens of millions of Sunday newspaper across the country.
Ed Rollins, now a flack for the Chinese, then a Reagan campaign strategist, recounts the story proudly in his autobiography.
Advance and Time Warner, Cable Industry Partners
Advance owns Bright House Cable
2002 – Advance and AOL Time Warner disband their cable partnership. Advance changes the name of its cable operations to Bright House cable.
Bright House Networks
Bright House Networks is a cable company owned by Advance/Newhouse, headquartered in Syracuse, New York. This cable service currently serves cable in Indianapolis, Central Florida (Orlando area), Tampa Bay area, Birmingham, west suburban Detroit and Bakersfield. Most of its business is concentrated in Central Florida, where Bright House is the dominant cable system in the Tampa and Orlando TV markets.
These systems were all owned by the Time Warner Entertainment – Advance/Newhouse Partnership but, under a deal struck in 2003, Advance/Newhouse took direct management and operational responsibility for portion of the partnership cable systems roughly equal to their equity. Ostensibly, this was due to A/N’s dissatisfaction with Time Warner Cable’s strategic direction. Time Warner still owns a stake in Bright House Networks even though Advance/Newhouse runs the day to day operation of the company.
Before 1994, some of these systems were fully owned by A/N under the names Vision Cable and Cable Vision (no relation to Cablevision Systems). In some areas, Bright House is the successor to Teleprompter Cable TV, Group W Cable, Strategic Cable, Paragon Cable and the Time Warner Cable systems in Florida.
Cable television: Adelphia | Advanced Cable Communications | Alameda Power and Telecom | Allegiance Communications | Blue Ridge Communications | Bright House Networks | CableOne | Cablevision | Champion Broadband | Charter Communications | Comcast Corporation | Cox Communications | Crestview Cable | Fairpoint Communications | Full Channel Communications | General Communications | Graceba Total Communications | Insight Communications | King Videocable | MCV Broadband | Mediacom | Midcontinent Communications | Millennium Digital Media | Muscatine Power and Water | Northland Cable Television | Qwest Communications | RCN Corporation | Rogers Communications | Satview Broadband Ltd | Seaport Capital | Service Electric | Suddenlink Communications | SuperTV | Tele-Communications Inc. | Time Warner Cable | Truvista Communications | Verizon Communications | Western Broadband | WOW! Internet Cable Phone
Advance and Cable
Samuel I. Newhouse Jr. $7.3 billion Publishing. New York City. 78. Divorced, remarried; 3 children
Donald Newhouse $7.3 billion Publishing. Somerset County, N.J. 76. Married, 3 children
Brothers run massive privately held media conglomerate Advance Publications, built up from newspaper properties their father Sam started buying in the 1930s. Pair took over after Sam’s death in 1979, expanded and diversified. Now run Bright House Cable (2 million subscribers) and own pieces of the Discovery Channel and Learning Channel. “Si” heads magazines (New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Vogue) under Condé Nast.
SAMUEL NEWHOUSE JR, and DONALD NEWHOUSE own Newhouse Publications, includes 26 newspapers in 22 cities; the Conde Nast magazine group, includes The New Yorker; Parade, the Sunday newspaper supplement; American City Business Journals, business newspapers published in more than 30 major cities in America; and interests in cable television programming and cable systems serving 1 million homes.
DONALD NEWHOUSE, chairman of the board of directors, Associated Press.
The Media is the Enemy
29 Nov 2005
By Eric Hufschmid
President Bush may have committed a lot of crimes, but the most important criminals are Edgar Bronfman, Sumner Redstone, Samuel Newhouse, and other people who control Hollywood, television, school textbooks, and other sources of information.
They are allowing wars and corruption on a phenomenal scale
The September 11 attack, the Oklahoma City bombing, the attack on the USS Liberty, the sex slave trade, the raping of children at Boystown, and other horrendous crimes would have been exposed long ago if it were not for their suppression of people such as myself, John DeCamp, Michael Collins Piper, and who knows how many hundreds of other people.
Newhouse publications and J. Edgar Hoover
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, led by J. Edgar Hoover from 1924 to 1972, had long cultivated sympathetic contacts in the media. These included journalists such as Hearst society columnist Walter Winchell, Sam Newhouse, Reader’s Digest editor Fulton Oursler, and Jeremiah O’Leary of the Washington Star.
THE NEWHOUSE CHAIN AND THE FBI
That Sam courted the good opinion of FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover is not surprising, nor is it surprising that Hoover kept an active file on Sam
Four days later, Hoover wrote to Newhouse at his Park Avenue apartment, regretting that he had been unable to attend the party. … the file is stuffed with assurances by various FBI functionaries that J. Edgar Hoover couldn’t ask for friendlier cooperation than that given by Sam Newhouse and his editors. On February 3, 1939, according to an internal FBI memo, Sam Newhouse wrote a personal letter to Hoover “stating that the Editorial Council of the Newark Ledger had for some time been enthusiastic admirers of the work done by the bureau. He requested that the Director send material which would be helpful in preparing editorials and news items.” Others in the Newhouse organization also approached the FBI. A memo dated April 10, 1951, noted that “[Name blacked out], who represents several newspapers. A memo dated April 10, 1951, noted that “[Name blacked out], who represents several newspapers in the Newhouse chain, called” and that he is “very friendly.” [Hoover] wanted to know if the Bureau would furnish answers to the following questions: How many Communists there are in Queens County, New York?
July 9, 2005
Newspaper Withholding Two Articles After Jailing
By ROBERT D. McFADDEN
The editor of The Cleveland Plain Dealer said last night that the newspaper, acting on the advice of its lawyers, was withholding publication of two major investigative articles because they were based on illegally leaked documents and could lead to penalties against the paper and the jailing of reporters.
The editor, Doug Clifton, said lawyers for The Plain Dealer had concluded that the newspaper, Ohio’s largest daily, would probably be found culpable if the authorities were to investigate the leaks and that reporters might be forced to identify confidential sources to a grand jury or go to jail.
“Basically, we have come by material leaked to us that would be problematical for the person who leaked it,” Mr. Clifton said in a telephone interview. “The material was under seal or something along those lines.”
In an earlier interview with the trade journal Editor & Publisher, which published an article on its Web site late yesterday, Mr. Clifton said that lawyers for The Plain Dealer and its owner, Newhouse Newspapers, had strongly recommended against publication of the articles.
“They’ve said, This is a super, super high-risk endeavor and you would, you know, you’d lose,” Mr. Clifton told Editor & Publisher. “The reporters say, ‘Well, we’re willing to go to jail,’ and I’m willing to go to jail if it gets laid on me, but the newspaper isn’t willing to go to jail.”
Mr. Clifton likened the situation to the cases of Judith Miller, an investigative reporter for The New York Times, who was sent to jail by a federal judge on Wednesday for refusing to divulge the identity of a confidential source, and of Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, who was spared jail after his source released him from a promise of confidentiality, freeing him to testify before the grand jury.
In the most serious confrontation between the press and the government since the Pentagon Papers case in 1971, Ms. Miller and Mr. Cooper were held in civil contempt last year for not cooperating with a federal prosecutor’s inquiry into the illegal disclosure of the identity of a covert operative for the Central Intelligence Agency. The Supreme Court refused to hear the reporters’ appeals on June 27.
If anything, Mr. Clifton said, The Plain Dealer’s potential legal problem with the leaked documents was “even more pointed” than the cases of Ms. Miller and Mr. Cooper.
“These are documents that someone had and should not have released to anyone else,” he said. If an investigation were pursued, the newspaper, its reporters and their sources could all face court penalties for unauthorized disclosures.
Mr. Clifton declined to provide details about the two investigative articles being withheld, but he characterized them as “profoundly important,” adding, “They would have been of significant interest to the public.” Asked if they might be published at some later date, he said, “Not in the short term.”
The Plain Dealer, founded in 1842, is a distinguished name in American journalism and was listed last year as the nation’s 21st largest daily.
Mr. Clifton noted that he had first disclosed his newspaper’s decision to withhold publication of the two articles in a column he wrote for The Plain Dealer on June 30 in defense of journalists like Ms. Miller and Mr. Cooper who refuse to name confidential sources.
“Take away a reporter’s ability to protect a tipster’s anonymity and you deny the public vital information,” Mr. Clifton wrote. And to dramatize the point, he concluded his column by telling readers that The Plain Dealer was itself obliged to withhold stories based on illegal disclosures for fear of the legal consequences.
“As I write this, two stories of profound importance languish in our hands,” Mr. Clifton wrote. “The public would be well-served to know them, but both are based on documents leaked to us by people who would face deep trouble for having leaked them. Publishing the stories would almost certainly lead to a leak investigation and the ultimate choice: talk or go to jail. Because talking isn’t an option and jail is too high a price to pay, these two stories will go untold for now. How many more are out there?”
Mr. Clifton said he was surprised that there had been so little public reaction to his disclosure of “something that newspapers typically don’t reveal – that real live news had been stifled.”
“I hoped the public would be bothered by that,” he said.
Correction: Monday, July 11, 2005:
An article on Saturday about a decision by The Cleveland Plain Dealer to withhold two articles that were based on illegally leaked documents misstated the name of the paper’s owner. It is Advance Publications
Reflections of a Newsosaur
Musings and (occasional urgent warnings) of a veteran media executive, who fears our news-gathering companies are stumbling to extinction
Saturday, July 09, 2005
Not-so-plain dealing in Cleveland
The newspaper “is the court of last resort for anyone who’s been backed into a corner,” the editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer told his readers a few days ago. Doug Clifton knows about being backed in a corner, because that’s exactly where he is.
At the end of mildly discursive column arguing that journalists ought to be legally protected from being forced by courts to reveal their confidential sources, Doug casually mentioned his newspaper is sitting on “two stories of profound importance” that his company’s lawyers won’t let him print.
This appears to be the first official example of how the press is being chilled by the confounding prosecution of Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper for not identifying the sources they interviewed for stories they never wrote about a crime that evidently wasn’t committed and for which no one but Ms. Miller appears likely to do any time.
The Plain Dealer’s decision to sit on the two stories also clearly illustrates that media companies now, more than ever, will be forced to choose between protecting the public interest and, well, weaseldom.
Saying “the public would be well served to know” about the spiked stories, Doug described them only as being “based on documents leaked to us by people who would face deep trouble for having leaked them.”
The problem with such stories, as undoubtedly noted by the lawyers called upon to scrutinize them, is that the reporters, the Plain Dealer and its parent, Advance Publications, might be hauled into court and told to reveal the confidential sources — or else. In the case of the reporters, “or else” means jail for contempt of court. In the case of the publishing companies, “or else” means many thousands of dollars in fines.
The attorneys said “this is a super, super high-risk endeavor, and you would, you know, you’d lose,” Doug told Mark Fitzgerald of Editor and Publisher, who first brought national attention to the Plain Dealer’s less-than-plain dealing with its readers. “The reporters say, ‘Well, we’re willing to go to jail,’ and I’m willing to go to jail if it gets laid on me,” Clifton told E&P. “But the newspaper isn’t willing to go to jail. That’s what the lawyers have told us. So, this is a Time Inc. sort of situation.”
Facing $270,000 in fines for contempt or court, Time Inc. chose the path of weaseldom last week when it turned over documents requested by the special prosecutor trying to learn who outed Valerie Plame, the former covert CIA operative. Although Time correspondent Cooper vowed to go to jail instead of naming the people he interviewed, he reversed course as the gavel was about to fall, saying his source had released him to testify.
In decided contrast, the New York Times and Judith Miller stuck by their sources and stuck by their guns. Which is how Ms. Miller landed in a federal lockup and the NYT is facing fines of $1,000 a day for as long as the grand jury sits. (A back-of-the-envelope calculation puts the potential fines for NYT at around $350k, plus considerably more for its army of attorneys.)
After battling for months alongside the New York Times to protect their respective confidential sources, Time Inc. surprisingly decided to give up Cooper’s notes when the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the final legal challenge to the lower court’s persistent insistence that the media start naming names.
“We believe that the Supreme Court has limited press freedom in ways that will have a chilling effect on our work and that may damage the free flow of information that is so necessary in a democratic society,” said top Time editor Norman Pearlstine when he announced the decision to identify the confidential sources. “The same Constitution that protects the freedom of the press requires obedience to final decisions of the courts and respect for their rulings and judgments. That Time Inc. strongly disagrees with the courts provides no immunity.’
The New York Times sharply, and wisely, disagreed.
“We do not see how a newspaper, magazine or television station can support a reporter’s decision to protect confidential sources, even if the potential price is lost liberty, and then hand over the notes or documents that make the reporter’s sacrifice meaningless,” said its must-read editorial. “The point of this struggle is to make sure that people with critical information can feel confident that if they speak to a reporter on the condition of anonymity, their identities will be protected. No journalist’s promise will be worth much if the employer that stands behind him or her is prepared to undercut such a vow of secrecy.”
True to its word, the New York Times has a proud record of standing up to legal and political pressure in matters ranging from the successsful battle to publish of the Pentagon papers to the case of J.W. Simonton, an editorial writer jailed for 19 days in 1857 for refusing to tell who told him about bribery in Congress.
How could two leading news organizations facing an almost identical set of facts come to such different decisions? Reasonable men and women, of course, may differ. But perhaps Time feels more economically vulnerable than the NYT.
Even though both are publicly held corporations, Publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. and other members of the founding family happen to control enough NYT shares to comfortably operate the business as a public trust. Because they represent a significant percentage of the shareholders who ultimately govern the business, they can spend the money and run the risks they think are necessary.
Not so at Time Inc. As a large company owned by financial institutions managed by people with a variety of social, political and commercial agendas – not the least of which is getting the most bang for their bucks – Time Inc. and its individual executives face far more legal and economic exposure than the folks who run the NYT. Like, for instance, losing their lucrative jobs.
If the executives at Time Inc. have a reason, if not an excuse, for their behavior, what’s the story at Advance Publications, a private company owned by the wealthy Newhouse family?
Advance is a sprawling empire including 20 newspapers (Newark, New Orleans, Portland, OR), the 26 Conde Nast magazines (New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Wired, etc.), Parade Magazine, the Fairchild trade publications (Women’s Wear Daily and several more), American City Business Journals, the Golf Digest Companies and “extensive interests” in cable television.
If Doug Clifton and his colleagues are willing to put their personal freedom on the line to report their stories of “profound importance,” isn’t the Plain Dealer obliged to publish them in the interests of fulfilling and defending its role as a public trust? From a strictly commercial point of view, isn’t the unique position of the newspaper as a public trust a major component of its formidable economic value?
As Judith Miller was packing a toothbrush for her extreme makeover as a federal prisoner, Doug wrote as fine a description of newspaper work as any you will see.
“All over this newspaper, phone calls, e-mails and letters pour in with their tales of bad things happening to good people, tales of gross governmental inefficiency or official misconduct,” he wrote. “It happens routinely in every newspaper in America, because, in the end, the newspaper, with its reporters, is the court of last resort for anyone who’s been backed into a corner.”
Now, the editor has been backed into a corner, being forced, evidently, to suppress stories he believes to be of compelling public interest.
“Some people might argue that you’re being chicken-shit,” Clifton told E&P in discussing his dilemma. “Well, I, I can respect that.”
But can he respect himself in the morning?
ADVANCE PUBLICATIONS, parent of Star-Ledger, THE TIMES of Trenton and JERSEY JOURNAL, announced July 2000 acquisition of BRIDGETON EVENING NEWS, TODAY’S SUNBEAM and GLOUCESTER COUNTY TIMES> Advance launched NJ Online Internet information service January 1996; also operates, in joint venture with Cablevision, NEWS 12 NJ 24-hour cable TV service based in Edison> Newhouse family remain in top management at Ledger, other Newhouse papers, with Donald Newhouse Ledger president> General Manager Mark Newhouse, key industry spokesman in unsuccessful effort to block 1992 NJ legislation authorizing $1 billion fiberoptic cable telecommunications network> Largest State House reporting staff, extensive government coverage, with Star-Ledger coverage, editorial positions key factor in setting NJ public policy agenda
Advance is a player in global media market
… The global media market is rounded out by a second tier of four or five dozen firms that are national or regional powerhouses, or which have strong holds over niche markets, such as business or trade publishing. About one-half of these second-tier firms come from North America ; most of the rest, from western Europe and Japan. Each of these second tier firms is a giant in its own right, often ranking among the 1,000 largest firms in the world and doing over $1 billion per year in business. The list of second tier media firms includes, among others, from North America: Dow Jones, Gannett, Knight-Ridder, Newhouse, Comcast, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Hearst, McGraw Hill, Cox Enterprises, CBS, Advance Publications, Hicks Muse, Times-Mirror, Reader’s Digest, Tribune Company, Thomson, Hollinger, and Rogers Communication. From Europe the list of second tier firms includes, among others, Kirch, Havas, Mediaset, Hachette, Prisa, Canal Plus, Pearson, Carlton, Granada, United News & Media, Reuters, Reed Elsevier, Wolters Kluher, Axel Springer, Mediaset, Kinnevik, and CLT.
THE NEWHOUSE GROUP
The Newhouse media empire provides an example of the lack of real competition among America’s daily newspapers. The Newhouse Group owns 26 daily newspapers, including several large and important ones, such as the Cleveland Plain Dealer; the Newark Star-Ledger; and the New Orleans Times-Picayune; Newhouse Broadcasting, consisting of 12 television broadcasting stations and 87 cable-TV systems, including some of the country’s largest cable networks
CROWN BOOKS CONNECTION
Jim Cownie’s closest business partner is Jim Hoak, CEO at Crown.
In the news: Si Newhouse – The man from Vogue who cares little for
Independent, The (London), Mar 24, 1998
… Newhouse is successful indeed. His personal worth has been put at $4.5bn (pounds 2.7bn) by Forbes magazine, two places ahead of Rupert Murdoch in its list of the world’s rich. He inherited a middling newspaper business from his father Sam in 1979 and turned it into a $13bn empire which to this day is owned by the Newhouse family. It includes 29 newspapers, Conde Nast magazines, until yesterday the publishing firms of Random House, Knopf and CROWN, the New Yorker magazine and American TV cable franchises with 1 million subscribers.
“The current editor of The New Yorker is David Remnick, who took over in 1998 from Brown. The magazine was acquired by Advance Publications in 1985, the media company owned by S.I. Newhouse.”
David Remnick (born October 29, 1958 in Hackensack, New Jersey) is an American journalist, writer, and magazine editor. As a reporter for the Washington Post, he also served as the paper’s Moscow correspondent. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for his book Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire. He has been editor of The New Yorker magazine since 1998.
The Franklin Case Summary
* indicates an alias namin** indicates an alias name
-The Creation of a Credit Union-
In December of 1968 The Franklin Credit Union was founded in Omaha, Nebraska. In a district represented by Senator Ernie Chambers, the community credit union stated the goal of making credit available for businesses and individuals in the African-American community of North Omaha.
In August of 1970 Lawrence E. King Jr. became the Credit Union’s new Bank Manager. Lawrence E. King Jr., known best as Larry King, is a large African-American man, and early in his career had made friends with the Democratic Party. King however, came to the conclusion that if he were to swap political parties he might achieve his desires at a much faster rate. Jumping into the Republican Party boat, Larry King began climbing the rungs to the top. By 1984 Larry King had been quoted in Newsweek Magazine as The fastest rising black star in the Republican Party. That same year, in August, King sang the National Anthem at the Republican GOP Convention in Dallas, Texas. After the convention King threw a lavish party for the entire Republican Party on the TV set of the show Dallas.
About a year later, and 25 miles outside of Omaha, the Washington County Sheriff’s Department of Nebraska contacted the Nebraska Department of Social Services (DSS). The Sheriff’s Department informed the DSS office that they had picked up two foster children from their foster parent’s home. The Sheriff’s Department had acted after complaints had been made by two foster children who were in the care of Jarrett and Barbara Webb. One of the children, Sean McArthur* had welts and scratches he said had been inflicted by the Webbs. The Sheriff’s Department had also picked up Joey Patterson*, who complained of having been beaten by the Webbs. The Webbs however, were not the only ones named, and were well connected to Larry King; Jarrett Webb was a board member at the Franklin Credit Union, and Barbara Webb is Larry King’s cousin. (1)
In November of 1985 a third child, Nelly Patterson,* had also fled from the Webb’s care after claiming she, too, had been abused. A short time later the DSS reported that they in conjunction with a Nebraska State Deputy had interviewed Nelly* and her sister Kimberly*. The two girls reported that they had been beaten numerous times by both Jarrett and Barbara Webb, and that they refused to go back to the Webbs’.
But Nelly’s* story didn’t stop there. After she had fled from the Webbs she was put under the foster care of Ron and Kathleen Sorensen. While under their care, Nelly* told a State Patrol Investigator that she had not only been physically abused by the Webbs but she had also been sexually abused by Jarrett Webb. State Patrol Investigator, Jane F. Tooley, wrote in her report on January 30 1986:
Nelly stated that when she was approximately nine or ten years of age, that Jarrett Webb kissed her for a long time and that she pulled away because she couldn’t breathe and it was nasty. ……Nelly stated again that when she was approximately nine or ten years old that on one occasion Jarrett Webb made her take a nap with him in his bed and she stated “he played with all my body parts.” (2)
By February of 1986 DSS requested that two other children in the foster care of the Webbs be removed immediately as an emergency action. The emergency listed eight different concerns that DSS had about Jarrett and Barbara Webb. Once allegations began to surface against the Webbs, lie detector tests were administered by the Nebraska State Patrol to ensure that the children were telling the truth. Accompanying the tests came a report from a Nebraska state youth worker named Julie Walters. Walter’s report included the names of Larry King, Fort Calhoun’s School Superintendent Deward Finch, and Fort Calhoun’s High School Principal Kent Miller, as possible child abuse perpetrators. (3)
But the Webbs had an edge in their defense; Washington County Prosecutor Pat Tripp, representing Nelly Patterson,* was good friends with both Deward Finch and Kent Miller. Tripp later dismissed all charges against the Webbs, even though Nelly* had passed multiple lie detector tests. Furthermore, other children under the Webb’s care had corroborated Nelly’s* testimony. For the present moment King was able to skip a rap, but eventually this case and others would come back to haunt him.
-A Young Man Comes Forward-
While Pat Tripp was ensuring that all of the charges against the Webb’s were cleared, 17 year old, Omaha native, Paul Bonacci had come forward to reveal his history of physical sexual abuse. Bonacci opened up to Omaha Northwest High School officials giving them names of his abusers. Names including: Larry King, Alan Baer (a wealthy business tycoon), and Harold Andersen, (former publisher of the Omaha World Herald). Bonacci would go on to list dozens of other prominent local and national business and political figures.
Even before Larry King’s name came up surrounding child abuse allegations, King had found himself entangled in a web of unethical business practice. Most public officials felt that they couldn’t scrutinize King’s “extra” spending, because they didn’t want to seem like The big bad white guy jumping on the tiny, Black Credit Union. But this didn’t hold back everybody from speaking out. In February of 1984 Franklin Credit Union Teller Edward Hobbs wrote a memo alleging embezzlement and other improprieties at the Franklin Credit Union. Hobbs gave a letter to Larry King and sent a copy to Nebraska State Legislator Peter Hoagland, and the Nebraska State Banking Director, Roger Beverage. The day after Hobbs gave the letter to King he was fired. Later, Roger Beverage replied to Hobbs stating that they had been watching Larry King for some time, and that they were aware of his living beyond his means. Unfortunately their “watching” didn’t get Hobbs his job back. But Hobb’s letter may have aided the IRS in launching an investigation into Larry King and his wife Alice’s personal tax returns. (4)
To say Larry King was “living beyond his means,” was putting it lightly. King’s annual salary at the Credit Union was about $17,000. King was also invested in Omaha clubs and restaurants, including: the Carnivale and the Showcase Lounge, however these investments generated little to no profits. Yet, King managed to drive a variety of luxury cars, live in a quarter-million dollar house in Omaha, and rent a $5,000/month penthouse in Washington D.C. King’s donations to various organizations and people included the Omaha Press Club, Lobbyists for Gay and Lesbian Rights, and the Republican Party, and totaled into the thousands each year. King was not just living beyond his means; he was openly showcasing his wealth, assuming he was invincible to scrutiny.
-The Millionaire Heir-
One of Larry King’s top “customers” was Alan Baer, a business tycoon, who was heir to the Brandeis department store chain, and was invested in Ak-Sar-Ben, AA Lancer Hockey Team, the Baer Law Firm, and Baer Media. On the surface Baer and King seemed to be business friends, but their relationship went to a much darker place. Baer would often stay at a suite in the Twin Tower penthouse in Omaha. At the penthouse, Baer threw parties where business and political leaders of the Nebraska area would come. At the parties cocaine would be served on a large tray as if it was an ordure. Victim-witnesses said they were “passed around” for the guest’s sexual pleasure. Victim witnesses at these parties included Paul Bonacci, Alisha Owen, as well as, Troy Boner. Troy Boner had met Baer in 1983 at one of his parties at the Twin Towers suite. While at the suite, Baer paid Troy to perform oral sex on him. Troy later became a child prostitute for Baer and Larry King.
Alan Baer was just one of Larry King’s dozens of customers. Allegations of King’s other unlikely customers included: Eugene Mahoney (former Nebraska State Game & Parks Commissioner), Peter Citron (former Omaha World Herald Columnist), Harold Andersen, (former Omaha Judge) – Theodore Carlson, and Thomas McKinney (Omaha Lawyer). But King’s clientele didn’t stop in Omaha. King flew children to cities all over the nation dozens of times for sex parties. Victim-witnesses also testified that children had been taken from Boys Town by Larry King, and later taken to some of the same sex parties. In 1988 King repeated his recital of the National Anthem at the Republican GOP Convention. But even with his powerful connections King couldn’t avoid indictment forever. (5)
After a long investigation the IRS was finally able to catch up with King. On November 4, 1988 the FBI and the IRS raided the Franklin Credit Union. The closing had come as a response to an investigation conducted on King’s personal tax returns. By the end of the day, the Franklin Credit Union’s doors would be permanently closed for business, and the beginning of a massive cover-up would begin to construct itself.
Two weeks after the Franklin Credit Union was closed Larry King was handed down a lawsuit from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) in the sum of $4 million. (6) Officials alleged that King diverted the funds directly from the Franklin Credit Union, using the money for personal expenses and other business interests.
Days after King’s lawsuit articles started pouring out of media outlets disclosing King’s lavish lifestyle. Reports detailed how King had spent the money diverted from the Credit Union. King had rented a penthouse in Washington D.C., had driven a Mercedes, and traveled in chartered limousines and jets. (7)
By December the NCUA had totaled King’s stolen assets to the tune of $34 Million. King initially denied the charges of diverting funds from the Franklin Credit Union for personal use. King had wondered if any money was missing at all, saying “I don’t think there’s that much money missing – if there’s money missing.”
Throughout the month of November and December reports began being made public about a link between the Omaha Franklin Credit Union collapse and child sexual and physical abuse. Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers, of Omaha, who had initially helped start the Franklin Credit Union in 1968, came forward and said he had received numerous reports, to which he clearly gave credence, that instances of child sexual and physical abuse were linked to the scandal. (8)
As a result of such broad allegations multiple agencies began to launch investigations, committees were formed, and court hearings were scheduled.
Nicholas O’Hara, acting head of the F.B.I. in Omaha, said his investigation centered around money laundering. Later, courts would hear that laundered funds from the Franklin Credit Union had been used in a transaction between Lieutenant Colonel Michael Aquino and Larry King, diverted funds that were used for and Iran Contra exchange.
Days before Christmas of 1988, local Omaha TV stations began reporting that the Franklin investigation was now looking into allegations of drug trafficking and various types of abuse. Investigators working on the Franklin Case began to widen their inquiries. Investigators would later find key victim-witnesses who testified about their histories of sexual and physical abuse. These same key-witnesses also provided investigators with information pertaining to drug trafficking and a nationwide ring of child prostitution.
-The Start of an Investigation and the Forming of a Committee-
Shortly after Franklin’s closing, two Nebraska State Senators stepped forward to take leadership of the investigation, Senator Ernie Chambers, of North Omaha, and Senator Loran Schmit, of Bellwood. (9)
Ernie Chambers had been the local Senator when the Franklin Credit Union had been founded in 1968. Chambers had received numerous complaints about Larry King’s lifestyle leading up to Franklin’s closing. Throughout 1988 Chambers received reports from the Foster Care Review Board in which abused children had named Larry King as a perpetrator.
Loran Schmit had heard of King while still in the early stages of his career in Omaha, while King was a democratic activist. Former State Senator John DeCamp was Loran Schmit’s personal attorney throughout the course of the Franklin Investigation. DeCamp informed Schmit of his own recollections of King’s past. DeCamp spoke of King’s copious parties after the 1984 and 1988 Republican GOP conventions where DeCamp had been in attendance.
-Early Court Sessions-
After the first session in front of the Legislature’s Executive Board Senator Ernie Chambers made an important announcement regarding the nature of the Franklin Investigation. Chambers told the public that the investigation would not only look into financial wrongdoing, but would also focus on physical and sexual abuse of children.
Later that week on December 19, 1988, Carol Stitt, Dennis Carlson, and Burrell Williams, of the Foster Care Review Board, summarized abuse complaints involving Franklin in front of the Legislature’s Executive Board. The Review Board would go on to transpire a host of allegations that would shock most people especially those in the Omaha Community.
Dennis Carlson told the Board that allegations included cult activities, sacrifices of small children, and sexual abuse. The Foster Care Review also presented their files on the Webb foster home. And considering Larry King’s name had surfaced surrounding the investigation into child abuse at the Webb home, prosecutors felt they had built a case against the former Franklin Manager.
After the December 19th session Chambers and Schmit both concluded that a more rapid investigation into abuse allegations must be conducted. Following the session an immediate response came from the Nebraska State Legislature. The Legislature would respond by forming the Franklin Committee, conducting their inaugural session in January of 1989. The committee would conduct a full ranging and in-depth investigation into allegations of child abuse, sex abuse, drug running, and prostitution immediate to those in the Franklin Case.
In February of 1989 the Franklin Committee hired Jerry Lowe, a former Lincoln, Nebraska, police officer, as their lead investigator. On February 15, 1989 the Committee received their first results from Lowe’s evaluation on the Franklin case.
Lowe painted a picture of a tangled web of bureaucracies, power, money, and sex. Lowe went on to question negligence by Law Agencies in instances of misconduct that dated back years.
Lowe continued sending the committee new reports on his investigation. Throughout the course of his reports Lowe communicated that the investigation was hot due to King’s wealthy connections and political ties. He also communicated that King seemed to have been involved in transactions dealing with guns and money between Nicaragua involving the CIA. Lowe’s investigation would continue to deepen, reporting on King’s acquaintances. (10)
-Contradictions Between Investigators-
During the same time Lowe was conducting his investigation into King’s web, Police Chief Wadman, and others surrounding the Franklin Case were wrapping up their investigations.
An article in the Omaha World Herald, dated February 5th, 1989, summed up the F.B.I.‘s and the Omaha Police’s findings. Both concluded that there was no substance to the allegations.
In an interview earlier that week, Nicholas O’Hara, special agent in charge for the FBI in Nebraska and Iowa, said, “At this point, I’m satisfied there is no substance to the allegations as far as federal criminal statutes go. We are almost at the end of that point in the investigation.” (11)
-The Other Investigator, Spire-
Attorney General Robert Spire had been conducting an investigation on Larry King and others since July of 1988. The investigation centered around reports given to Spire from the Nebraska Foster Care Review Board on the insistence of Carol Stitt. The reports were a copulation of testimony taken by the Foster Care Review Board from child victims and witnesses.
Stitt and others at the Foster Care Review Board assumed Spire would take the allegations from the children’s testimony seriously. But when they met with Spire months later in December of 88,’ they were surprised to see that little had been done to look into the reports.
By the next time Spire testified in front of the Franklin Committee it was June of 1989. Spire concluded that he agreed with the findings of the Omaha Police and F.B.I., and that there was no substance to the allegations. Spire had succeeded for the time being in sidestepping any type of investigation that might damage his career and others around him.
Money Trails Shake Things Up
In a July meeting between Franklin Committee members, Senator Loran Schmit announced that the Franklin investigation would be taking a new direction. Schmit continued by telling the committee that the investigation would now be focused on following the money trail. Schmit asserted that no important crime could be committed without spending money. Schmit also suggested there was insufficient evidence concerning the abuse allegations.
Schmit’s announcement seemed to have taken most committee members aback. Senator Ernie Chambers, Special Counsel Kirk Naylor, and investigator Jerry Lowe, all abruptly resigned concluding Schmit’s announcement. Shortly thereafter Senator McFarland also resigned from the Committee, leaving only 5 of the 10 members on the committee on board. (12)
The Investigation Continues
After the resignations the Franklin Committee regrouped. In August of 89’ the committee hired Gary Caradori as their new investigator. Caradori who had little experience as a private investigator initially found himself in over his head. Caradori recalled his first impressions of the case saying, “From the onset it was apparent that I was up against a barrier regarding mistrust of the Franklin Legislative Committee.” (13)
Caradori, however, would prove himself to be an extremely adept investigator. His investigation would uncover many of the mysteries surrounding Franklin, and ultimately he would make the definitive sacrifice for it.
-Caradori takes Videotaped Testimony-
While Loran Schmit followed the money trail, recently hired investigator Gary Caradori took another approach to the Franklin investigation; he went in search of victim-witnesses. Caradori’s search was successful and by the end of his investigation he had collected over 30 hours of video testimony from four victim-witnesses: Paul Bonacci, Alisha Owen, Troy Boner, and Danny King.
The interviews connected the dots for Caradori where other trails had run cold. The interviews described in detail allegations of sexual abuse, drug use, and other crimes connected to the Franklin Credit Union, Larry King, and prominent businessmen in the Omaha area.
The allegations from the testimony would become a central matter in the Franklin Case. Unfortunately few were allowed to personally view the taped testimonies. Small segments of the testimonies were shown on Omaha TV networks, but much of the testimony was kept private, and subjected to rumors and speculation. (14)
In the “Franklin Cover-Up,” Senator John DeCamp transcribes Gary Caradori’s personal notes concerning the videotaped testimonies taken from the victim-witnesses. In October 30, 1989 Caradori wrote the following notes after hearing Alisha Owen’s testimony,
“Ms. Owens indicated, after a three-hour interview, that she had been heavily Involved with various individuals in Omaha, including former members of the Franklin Credit Union.” (15)
On November 7, Caradori followed up with a second interview from victim-witness Alisha Owen.Caradori made an annotated transcript along with the video taped testimony. The following are excerpts from Caradori’s transcript,
“During the course of the statement, Alisha stated that she became involved with Larry King in August of 1983. Alisha was 14 years old at the time. She indicated that she met Larry King through some boys from Boys’ Town” (Omaha, NE). (16)Alisha Owen went on to describe a party that she attended at a Twin Towers penthouse in Omaha, in August of 1983:“Present when they arrived at the party were Larry King, [sic], Alan Baer, Harold Andersen, and other adult that Alisha did not identify at this time. Alisha estimated that there were approximately six adults and 20 minors.”
Owen’s also described some of the other activities she conducted on behalf of Larry King and others:
“Alisha took numerous trips at the direction of Larry King for sexual purposes. These trips include trips to Los Angeles, Kansas City, & Pasadena, CA. On these flights were other minors.
When Alisha was asked who participated and who was aware of the transportation of kids across state lines for sexual purposes, she said that Larry King and Alan Baer were aware of this.” (17)
After Caradori added it all up he had recommended 62 individuals and documents to be subpoenaed on the basis of Alicia’s testimony. (18)
Alisha Owen had given Caradori the name of another victim-witness named Troy Boner who could attest to her testimony. Caradori received a call from Troy on November 25, in which Troy spent nearly five hours telling his story to Caradori.
Troy told Caradori that he initially met Larry King through Alan Baer in July of 1984, and that he had been giving Alan Baer sexual favors in return for money since August of 1983. Troy also spoke of Larry King, and how he too, began performing sexual favors for King in return for money and drugs. By the end of the phone call Caradori had corroborated five names with Alisha’s testimony: Larry King, Alan Baer, P.J. Morgan, [sic], and Harold Andersen.
-A Committee Response-
At a press conference held on December 18, 1989, Loran Schmit announced that the Franklin Committee had viewed videotaped testimonies from Alisha Owen, Troy Boner, and Danny King. Schmit said that “members of our committee are dismayed.” (19) Schmit went on to concede that the new evidence from the taped testimonies had made the committee members very concerned about the abuse allegations.
-The DeCamp Memo-
Shortly after the start of the New Year, a memo was released to the public written by former Nebraska State Senator and lawyer John DeCamp. The memo became infamously known as “The DeCamp Memo.” DeCamp publicly named for the first time central characters that were being investigated in response to child and sexual abuse allegations.
DeCamp said that you had to turn a blind eye not to be seeing what was going on surrounding the Franklin investigation. Central figures named in the memo included: Larry King, Alan Baer, Harold Andersen, and Peter Citron. DeCamp went on to say that the central figures named “were some of the centerpieces in a coordinated program of child abuse, drug abuse, and abuse of their various public positions of trust and honor.” (20)
DeCamp’s memo infuriated some while others were empowered by the confirmation to the rumors. As a clash arose between the two sides, the Kansas City Star summed up their feelings on the memo:“Hardly modest, DeCamp takes credit for the conveying of the grand juries. “If it had not been for that memo, there would not even be a grand jury investigation today,” DeCamp contends….DeCamp had the audacity to name among others, Harold Andersen, former publisher of the “Omaha World Herald.” DeCamp left the implication that Andersen, an icon of journalism who lunches with President Bush, had a fetish for children. Said one politician, “It was like insulting God.” (21)
The Omaha World Herald also lashed out against the DeCamp memo. The paper claimed that the memo was both irresponsible and condemning. Along with the criticism from the Omaha World Herald, DeCamp was handed down a lawsuit from one of the paper’s columnists, Peter Citron. Citron’s lawsuit, however, fell by the wayside after he found himself charged with multiple counts of child abuse in February of 1990.
In April of 1990 a federal magistrate ruled that Larry King was mentally incompetent to stand trial and that he should be hospitalized for what a psychiatrist called “probable delusional paranoid disorder-grandiose type.”
Prosecutors had compiled 40 counts of fraud to charge King with, however with the incompetent ruling prosecutors were unsure of any sort of trial at all. While the financial investigation ran into snags, Caradori’s investigation was picking up, and by May of 1990 he had met his fourth victim witness, Paul Bonacci. (22)
In May of 1990 Gary Caradori met with victim-witness, Paul Bonacci for the first time. Paul had already spoken to multiple city officials regarding his history of sexual and physical abuse. Paul’s story helped Caradori put together the missing pieces of the Franklin puzzle. Through Paul’s abuse and trauma he had developed multiple personality disorder. One of Paul’s personalities used his mind as if it were a computer, storing information: names, dates, and places. Paul’s ability to remember exact places, dates, and names helped Caradori corroborate much of Alisha Troy, and Danny’s testimonies.
On May 10, 1990 Caradori met with Paul Bonacci for the first time at the Douglas County Jail. Paul was being held under charges of fondling one of his relatives. The following are excerpts from Caradori’s personal notes taken the day he met with Paul,
“Upon having Mr. Bonacci meet me in an interviewing room, Bonacci related to this writer that he knew Troy Boner, Danny King, and Alicia [sic] Owen. He further advised that he had been a victim of Alan Baer, Peter Citron, and Larry King, and had some knowledge of [sic], Harold Andersen, and a judge he later on referred to as Carlson.
The subject stated that he had been on at least one to two-hundred trips and had been involved in extensive homosexual activity as a child and as a young adult, with his homosexual activity starting when he was approximately 8-10 years old.
The Subject then stated that between the years of 1982 and 1986 he had probably been on at least 200-300 trips. The subject stated that he made at least 15-20 trips to various parts of California, a couple of trips to Washington D.C., and also trips to Des Moines, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Austin Houston, Dallas, St Louis, Miami, Pasadena, Tampa, Lincoln, and Grand Island.
Some of those trips he thought involved politicians from Washington D.C., however, he didn’t know anyone by name because of his young age.
When questioned about Alan Baer, he stated that he first met him in the “Milk Run,” an area near and surrounding the Correctional Center. He stated that he was approximately 12 years old and that this occurred possibly in 1979. He stated that Alan Baer would pay him $20 for oral sex. He stated the last time he had sex with Alan Baer was, he believed, around November 15, 1989, In Alan Baer’s apartment at the Twin Towers.
Paul Bonacci went on to state that he had gone on many “scavenger hunts” for Alan Baer. He defined “scavenger hunts” as an activity in which he would go out and recruit young boys for Alan Baer.” (23)
The following week Caradori returned to the county jail to take a videotaped testimony of Paul Bonacci. Paul’s testimony reaffirmed and amplified Alisha and Troy’s testimonies for Caradori.
Caradori, though, needed more hard evidence to help present his case to the Franklin Jury.
-A Franklin Martyr-
In July of 1990 Gary Caradori took a trip to Chicago with his 8 year-old Son, Andrew. While on the trip Caradori and his son enjoyed the MLB All-Star game at Wrigley Field, but the trip had other intentions. Caradori’s investigation had led him to Russell “Rusty” Nelson. Rusty had been Larry King’s personal photographer for years, and had taken hundreds of photographs at various functions hosted by Larry King. While in Chicago Caradori met Rusty, Rusty gave Caradori photos from some of King’s “sex” parties. The photos were the insurance Caradori had been in search of. After meeting with Rusty, Caradori contacted his home office, informing the office he now had the smoking gun to his investigation. (24)
The following day on July 11, 1990, Caradori and his son left Chicago for Omaha in Gary’s small engine plane. Minutes after their departure Caradori’s plane crashed into a field near Aurora, Illinois, instantly killing Gary and his son. Eyewitnesses to the crash said that they saw the plane break apart in the air, and watched as the pieces fell to the ground. When local authorities arrived on the scene of the crash much of the plane was missing. Additionally, former Omaha Police Chief Robert Wadman had been appointed as the police chief in Aurora, Illinois, shortly before Caradori’s fateful crash. A federal investigation later concluded that there was no sign of foul play.
Caradori’s death sent a shockwave of fear through those close to the Franklin investigation. Most felt that Caradori’s crash was no accident at all; that those responsible for the crash would stop at no ends to block any further investigation into the Franklin matter.
-The Hoax Raises its Ugly Head-
The fear summoned by Caradori’s death encouraged two of the victim-witnesses to recant their testimonies. First Danny King, and later Troy Boner, both claiming that Caradori had fed them answers while conducting their videotaped interviews.
Caradori’s tragic departure to the investigation and the recantations by Danny King and Troy Boner left the Franklin Committee and Prosecutors between a rock and a hard place. Within hours of Caradori’s death F.B.I. officers had issued a subpoena to obtain all of Caradori’s records. By the time it was all said and done Franklin Prosecutors had lost invaluable records and testimonies desperately needed for their case. (25)
Two and half years after Franklin’s doors had been closed in November of 1988 the Grand Jury finally issued its Franklin Case Report. Only twelve days after Caradori’s death, the Grand Jury testified that the entire case was “A Carefully Crafted Hoax.” The 42-page report largely disregarded facts surrounding the Franklin investigation as a whole. And went on to detail their findings using pretentious language to discount points they did not agree with. (26)
The Report acknowledged that Larry King had used money and other possessions to entice young men into sexual relationships; but concluded that these men were of consensual age. The Grand Jury also reported they would leave the financial investigation in the hands of the National Credit Union Association.
The Grand Jury did find Alan Baer guilty of pandering, and handed down an indictment to the millionaire; however the Report concluded that none of Baer’s sexual activities were related to the Franklin Credit Union or Larry King. (27) The Grand Jury also found Peter Citron to be guilty of child sexual abuse, but linked in no way to Franklin or King.
More shocking than Baer and Citron’s indictments, though, were the indictments handed down to Alisha Owen and Paul Bonacci. The Grand Jury conceded that both Alisha and Paul had lied under oath, and that they would be tried under multiple perjury charges. Alisha was later indicted on 8 counts of perjury, and Paul on 3 counts. Both were later convicted of all charges, and sentenced stiff jail time.
Paul and Alisha’s sentences came as a shock to their lawyers. John DeCamp argued he had never heard of such stiff sentences handed down to anyone of such young age. Alisha and Paul’s prison sentences was the knockout blow to the Franklin Committee. But not everyone was knocked down, and the fight for justice marched on.
Even though the Grand Jury had already made a decision on the abuse allegations, there was still a whole host of outstanding trials related to the Franklin matter. In October of 1990 six psychiatrists testified that Larry King was (finally) fit to stand trial. In a case that was moving dramatically slow, this came as a huge aid to lawmakers seeking prosecution against King.
King was facing 40 counts of conspiracy, fraud and federal income-tax violations, which involved the disappearance of $39 million from the Franklin Credit Union. (28) Defense attorneys hoped the Judge presiding over the case would re-rule King incompetent for trial, however that winter the fatal blow was handed to King. On December 7, U.S. District Judge William Cambridge ruled Lawrence E. King Jr. was indeed mentally competent to stand trial for all 40 criminal charges stemming from the Franklin investigation. (29)
By February of 1991 Both Larry King, and his wife Alice had entered a plea-bargain, pleading guilty to certain charges. King’s agreement included testimony that helped charge seven other conspirators related to Franklin’s collapse. Included were: E. Thomas Harvey Jr., Franklin’s chief accountant, and his mother, Mary Jane Harvey, Noel Seltzer, Robert F. Morley, Larry J. Murray, Sandra Rhode Prucha, administrative assistant to King at Franklin, and Jerry Quintero, a bookkeeper at Franklin. (30)
-DeCamp, Still On the Beat-
John DeCamp, who had fought alongside Senator Loran Schmit in the Franklin abuse trials had now found himself representing victim witnesses Paul Bonacci and Alisha Owen. In February of 1991 DeCamp filed a $110 Million Civil Rights suit on behalf of Paul Bonacci, against the Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha, Lawrence King, Peter Citron, Alan Baer, Harold Andersen, Robert Wadman, Michael Hoch, Kenneth Bovasso, and other key Nebraska Institutions.
In it’s usual manor the Omaha World Herald published an article ostracizing DeCamp’s civil suit filed on behalf of Bonnaci. In the article Catholic Archdiocese defense attorney Daniel Hortz claimed he had looked into the allegations surrounding the diocese saying:
“They are absolutely frivolous. They were made without any investigation [on DeCamp’s part] that we can tell.” (31)
Throughout the spring and into the summer of 1991 DeCamp sought testimony and evidence that might help him in his fight for Paul Bonacci and the truth. But as the civil suit lagged on both Alisha Owen and Paul Bonacci stood trial for their perjury charges.
In a tearful testimony Alisha Owen testified her own defense, repeating her previous allegations. Unfortunately neither Alisha nor Paul had the same comforts of their alleged abusers. The Judge ruled in favor of prosecutors, charging Alisha and Paul in all counts. (32)
Nevertheless DeCamp continued his fight for Bonacci and others. DeCamp wouldn’t find victory in court until 1999 when Judge Urbon finally awarded Bonacci $1 Million in damages against Larry King. But in the eight years between Omaha would find itself as a backdrop to ever evolving scandals.
-The Johnny Gosch Thread-
In July of 1991 The Des Moines Register broke a news story that victim-witness Paul Bonacci had handed over evidence to investigators who had been in search of Johnny Gosch. Johnny had been kidnapped in Des Moines, Iowa, while on his paper route in September of 1982.
Bonacci’s testimony matched up to evidence that had not yet been released to the public, establishing his honesty and integrity. Bonacci’s assistance to the case hadn’t come as an accident, though. John DeCamp had noted that one of the events described by Bonacci had striking similarities to the Johnny Gosh abduction. After DeCamp established Bonnaci’s story with information collected at the public library he contacted the Gosch family. Initially the Gosch family was hesitant to listen to Bonacci, but after a couple weeks Mr. Gosch made a trip to Omaha to hear Bonacci’s account.
Bonacci’s testimony shocked Mr. Gosch. Bonacci told Gosch about Johnny’s birthmark, information that had never made it to the public audience. Bonnaci went on to tell Mr. Gosch that he helped in kidnapping Johnny, using himself as lure to get Johnny into the kidnapper’s car. Bonacci also recalled pictures taken of Johnny days before the kidnapping, which was confirmed by a woman who saw the photographers, and reported it to the police. (33)
Noreen Gosch and others continued their search for Johnny over the next twenty years, when in 2005 there was a huge break.
Jeff Gannon, a reporter with fake credentials, had been publicly ridiculed and ousted after presenting a question to President Bush at a Washington press conference in February of 2005. Investigators found this hadn’t been Jeff Gannon’s first visit to the White House. White House records showed that Gannon had made dozens of trips to the White House. But Gannon’s wild story was only beginning.
Investigators also found that Jeff Gannon had been serving the Washington D.C. community as a homosexual male prostitute, complete with his own website describing himself and his services. Following the revelation that Gannon had been a prostitute online bloggers made an interesting observation. It seemed as though a picture collected from Gannon’s escort site pictured Gannon with a birthmark, perfectly resembling that of Johnny Gosch’s. Immediately bloggers began to hypothesize a theory into the Gannon-Gosch connection.
Jeff Gannon became a media spotlight in the world of conspiracy theorists. It seemed as though everybody had a take on who Jeff Gannon was, and his secret agenda. Some theorized Gannon was a spy for another country, while others claimed famous journalist, Hunter S. Thompson’s suicide came as a result of Gannon’s public ousting. But when Noreen Gosch was contacted the story finally began to take shape.
Noreen looked over the photos taken from Jeff Gannon’s site, and concluded that there was indeed physical similarities to those of her son. Gannon, however, continuously denies any connection the Gosch family. Noreen has contacted Gannon numerous times seeking a blood test to prove her case, but each time Gannon has either declined or backed out at the last minute. Just like DeCamp, Noreen Gosch continues her search for justice, and to finally be re-united with her son. You can read more on Gosch at http://www.johnnygosch.com.
-DeCamp Tells All-
By 1992 most of Omaha had all but forgotten the Franklin mystery. Nevertheless, DeCamp and others marched forward. But DeCamp wasn’t sure what direction to take next, so he sought counsel from his long time friend and mentor William Colby (former Director of the CIA). Colby thoughtfully advised DeCamp to tell his entire story. Colby asserted that by telling every last detail, with nothing left to hide, DeCamp could evade his adversaries, and finally get the entire truth out to the public.
In May of 1992 DeCamp self published The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska. DeCamp continued his story by updating the book six times, with two editions. The second edition came as a response to the tragic death of DeCamp’s mentor William Colby. In the second edition DeCamp dedicates the last chapter of the book to his long time friend. DeCamp contended that Colby’s death was no accident at all. In the book DeCamp points out Colby’s meticulous habits, always keeping everything perfectly organized, and never missing a beat. So when news outlets reported that Colby’s residence was found with the door open and a meal on the table, DeCamp began to contemplate another theory into Colby’s death. And adding to the fact that Colby had fallen victim to a “robbery” just a week earlier, DeCamp began to doubt the official story.
Immediately after DeCamp published his book he was threatened with lawsuits. DeCamp, however, who was a veteran lawyer, knew that truth was always a defense, holding by his accounts in the book. DeCamp watched as multiple threats never materialized. The Franklin Cover-Up, which can be found at most local Omaha bookstores and libraries serves as the ultimate tool in understanding the full story of the Franklin matter. To get your copy click here to visit out Franklin Cover-Up page.
-The Silence Doesn’t Break-
In 1993 the Yorkshire Television Group sent a small team to Omaha, Nebraska to investigate what was left of the Franklin Case. After spending nearly a year in Omaha collecting footage and interviews, the crew felt they had a documentary that may even win awards. With nearly half a million dollars spent on production, Conspiracy of Silence was set to shatter the silence that had shrouded the case.
In May of 1994 when the ground-breaking documentary was scheduled to air thousands tuned in to find that once again the powers that be had silenced the Franklin story. Later DeCamp was told that cable companies had struck a deal with Congress to not impede on their programming if they pulled Conspiracy of Silence. An unknown purchaser bought all of the copies of the program, and reimbursed Yorkshire Television the production costs. But not all copies were destroyed. In 1995 John DeCamp received a cutting room copy of the documentary. Click here to visit our media page to view Conspiracy of Silence for yourself.
-The Never-ending Story-
In 1999 DeCamp and Paul Bonacci saw their first legal victory in the Franklin matter when Judge Urbom awarded Bonacci $1 Million, to be paid by Larry King.(34) Though the lawsuit had come more than a decade after Franklin’s doors had closed, justice seemed to be finally pervading. But the settlement didn’t seem to open any more doors into Franklin matter, leaving DeCamp, Bonacci, and others in search of more.
A time progressed, old age finally caught up with those related to the Franklin Case. In November of 2002 Alan Baer died of cancer. After leaving much of his Ak-Sar-Ben legacy behind him, Baer had purchased the Omaha Reader (a local media paper) in 1999. Throughout the following three years Baer shepherded the paper’s growth.
Old age, though, wasn’t everyone’s nemesis. For years the Franklin matter had haunted Troy Boner. Following his interviews with the Yorkshire TV crew Boner fell off the radar until 2003. After running into a New Mexico hospital in 2003, waving the Franklin Cover-Up book, and screaming that they were out to get him because of the book, Boner was sedated. The next day when hospital workers went to check on Boner he was found dead. The death was never publicly investigated, and remains a mystery.
Large media groups have continuously overlooked the Franklin story, but this doesn’t mean the word isn’t getting out. With help from others, such as Ted Gunderson (former FBI agent), and Jimmy Rothstein (former NY Police Detective), DeCamp has gotten the Franklin Story out to thousands. Those of us fighting for justice, continue our fight to educate those who are still in the dark, knowing one day we will finally stand in the light of truth.
1 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 5
2 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 7
3John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 9
4 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 181
5 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, pages 71-74
6 Omaha World Herald, November 15, 1988
7Omaha World Herald, November 20, 1988
8 Omaha World Herald, December 18, 1988
9 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 53
10 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, pages 59-61
11 Omaha World Herald, February 5, 1989
12 Omaha World Herald, July 14, 1989
13 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 66
14 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 67
15 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 68
16 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 69
17 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, pages 73-74
18 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 77
19 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 83
20 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 92
21 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, pages 93-94
22 Washington Post, April 4, 1990
23 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, pages 100-102
24 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 221
25 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 188
26 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, pages 106-107
27 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, page 107
28 Omaha World Herald, October 13, 1990
29 Omaha World Herald, February 11, 1991
30 Omaha World Herald, February 11, 1991
31 Omaha World Herald, February 8, 1991
32 Omaha World Herald, June 14, 1991
33 John W. DeCamp, The Franklin Cover-Up / Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, Second Edition – Third Printing, Lincoln, Nebraska: AWT Inc., 1992, pages 230-232
34 Omaha World Herald, February 24, 1999
James S. Cownie – Recent Political Contributions:
DES MOINES,IA 50312
Republican Party of Iowa
DES MOINES,IA 50312
Republican Party of Iowa
DES MOINES,IA 50312
THE MACERICH COMPANY/CHAIRMAN
Natl Assn Real Estate Investment Trusts
DES MOINES,IA 50312
DES MOINES,IA 50312
DES MOINES,IA 50312
DES MOINES,IA 50312
Republican Party of Iowa
DES MOINES,IA 50312
DES MOINES,IA 50312
SELF/REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT
DES MOINES,IA 50312
DES MOINES,IA 50312
COWNIE, JAMES S
DES MOINES,IA 50312
SELF/REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT
COWNIE, JAMES S
DES MOINES,IA 50312
SELF/REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT
Robert V. Johnson has been employed as the chief financial officer of the Company since 1987. Prior to his position with the Company, Mr. Johnson was the corporate controller for Heritage Communications, Inc. a publicly traded cable television company. Mr. Johnson is a member of Financial Executives International, the Iowa Society of CPAs, and the American Institute of CPAs.
Heritage Media Corp.
“Jim Hoak co-founded Heritage Media Corporation in 1987, purchasing the radio and television properties of Heritage Communications, Inc., where he served as Chairman.”
Heritage Communications and Mind Control
James M. Hoak, Jr. – Chr, Heritage Communications
FCStone Group, Inc.
Amendment No. 3 to the
… Robert V. Johnson has been employed as our Chief Financial Officer since 1987. Mr. Johnson previously was the corporate controller for Heritage Communications, Inc. a publicly-traded cable television company. …
DAVID OMAN OF BLACKHAWK BROADCASTING/CHILD INSTITUTE
David Oman’s professional work includes government, business, and media experience – coupled with extensive volunteer leadership and a strong commitment to family. He is presently Chief Administrator of the Iowa CHILD Institute, which is creating a 21st century environmental/education facility in the Iowa City area.
David is a native of Cedar Falls and a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa. He served as an anchorman and sports reporter at KWWL-TV in Waterloo from 1972-74.
David was Press Secretary to former Governor Robert Ray and later became his Chief of Staff – a position he also held during Governor Terry Branstad’s first term. He is the only person to have served as Chief of Staff for two Iowa governors.
After leaving state government, David was an executive in the cable television industry from 1985 to 2001 with HERITAGE Communications and its successor companies – TCI and AT&T Broadband. In the early 90’s he was also an owner of radio station KBBM-FM in Winterset, Iowa’s first all-news radio station.
David was elected Co-Chair of the Iowa Republican Party in 1985 and re-elected in ’87, ’89 and ’91. He was a candidate for the Republican nomination for Governor of Iowa in 1998. David served as Chairman of the Governor Vilsack’s bipartisan Strategic Planning Council, which produced a blueprint for Iowa’s growth out to the year 2010. He co-chaired the Mayor’s Task Force on Consolidation for the City of Des Moines and Polk County during 2001. …
MEREDITH COMMUNICATIONS & HERITAGE
THE MEDIA BUSINESS
September 5, 1991
Cable Plans For Meredith
The Meredith Corporation, which publishes magazines that include The Ladies’ Home Journal and Better Homes and Gardens, announced today that it would invest $100 million in a partnership to buy cable television companies.
The partnership will be managed by New Heritage Associates, a group of former executives at Heritage Communications Inc., a cable television company in Des Moines that was sold to Tele-Communications Inc. of Denver in 1987. New Heritage will contribute $4 million to the venture.
The partnership will soon announce the purchase of its first system, a 22,000-customer company in the Midwest, said Dave Lundquist, vice chairman of New Heritage. He said that Meredith’s investment, and $200 million to $300 million in borrowed money, would be used to buy cable companies that will serve a total of about 150,000 customers. That number would make the partnership at least the 50th-largest cable system in the country.
Meredith, which has about 2,600 employees, reported income of $83.1 million in the fiscal year that ended on June 30, compared with a loss of $26.4 million the year before.
COWNIE, HOAK & MACERICH CO. [investments]
The Macerich Company (NYSE: MAC)
401 Wilshire Boulevard Suite 700
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Phone: (310) 394-6000
Fax: (310) 393-6834
The Macerich Company, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a fully integrated self-managed and self-administered real estate investment trust, which focuses on the acquisition, leasing, management and redevelopment of regional malls and community centers throughout the United States. The. More
The Macerich Company (NYSE: MAC)
President and Chief Executive Officer
New Heritage Associates
President In Charge of Cable Television Operations
Heritage Communications , Inc.
Macerich SEC FIle:
James S. Cownie: Cownie has served as a director since 1989. For the past five years he has been self-employed as an investor. Previously, Mr. Cownie was President and Chief Executive Officer of New Heritage Associates (an operator of cable television systems) and President in charge of cable television operations of Heritage Communications, Inc.
Cownie currently serves as a director of The Macerich Company.
James M. Hoak: Hoak has served as Chairman of Hoak Media, LLC (a television broadcaster) since its formation in August 2003. He also has served as Chairman and a Principal of Hoak Capital Corporation (a private equity investment firm) since September 1991. He served as Chairman of Heritage Media Corporation (a broadcasting and marketing services firm) from its inception in August 1987 to its sale in August 1997. From February 1991 to January 1995, he served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Crown Media, Inc. (a cable television company). From 1971 to 1987, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Communications, Inc. (a diversified cable television and communications company), and as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer from August 1987 to December 1990. He is also a Director of Chaparral Steel Company, Inc. (non-executive Chairman) and Pier 1 Imports, Inc. …
MACERICH’S COPPOLA TESTIFIES ON NEED FOR PERMANENT, PUBLIC-PRIVATE TERRORISM INSURANCE PROGRAM
Washington, D.C. – President and CEO of The Macerich Company Arthur M. Coppola, chairman of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts®, called on Congress today to establish a long-term, public-private terrorism risk insurance partnership.
Testifying on behalf of the Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism (CIAT) before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Coppolaemphasized CIAT’s principles for modernizing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA). CIAT believes the Federal role should focus most heavily on what the private markets have been unwilling or unable to do: enabling policyholders to purchase insurance for the most catastrophic conventional terrorism risks; ensuring adequate capacity in high risk, urban areas; and providing meaningful insurance for nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological (NBCR) risks. A permanent program should also seek over
time to reduce the Federal role in conventional terrorism markets and maximize long-term private capacity by facilitating entry of new capital.
Coppola said that CIAT stands ready to assist Congress in introducing and passing a bill that will extend TRIA permanently and improve it to keep the economy running smoothly in the face of the ongoing threat of terrorist attacks.
Coppola’s complete testimony is included on the following pages. Some of the key points from his testimony were:
• “Without terrorism insurance, the nation’s economic infrastructure is totally exposed to large-scale business disruptions after an attack, and to a retarded recovery from the damage that is caused by the attack.”
• “Primary insurers remain largely averse to exposing themselves to potentially catastrophic terrorism losses without adequate reinsurance, and the current private reinsurance market provides only a fraction of the capacity needed.” …
* KERRY INVESTIGATION OF THE BCCI SCANDAL AND TCI
In the entire BCCI affair, perhaps no entity is more mysterious and yet more central to BCCI’s collapse and criminality than Capcom, a London and Chicago based commodities futures firm which operated between 1984 and 1988. Capcom is vital to understanding BCCI because BCCI’s top management and most important Saudi shareholders were involved with the firm. Moreover, Capcom moved huge amounts of money — billions of dollars — which passed through the future’s markets in a largely anonymous fashion.
Capcom was created by the former head of BCCI’s Treasury Department, Ziauddin Ali Akbar, who capitalized it with funds from BCCI and BCCI customers. The company was staffed, primarily, by former BCCI bankers, many of whom had worked with Akbar in Oman and few of whom had any experience in the commodities markets. The major investors in the company were almost exclusively Saudi and were largely controlled by Sheik AR Khalil, the chief of Saudi intelligence. Additionally, the company employed many of the same practices as BCCI, especially the use of nominees and front companies to disguise ownership and the movement of money. Four Americans, Larry Romrell, Robert Magness, Kerry Fox and Robert Powell — none of whom had any experience or expertise in the commodities markets — played important and varied roles as frontmen.
While the Subcommittee has been able to piece together the history of Capcom and can point to many unusual and even criminal acts committed by the firm, it still has not been able to determine satisfactorily the reason Capcom was created and the purposes it served for the various parties connected to the BCCI scandal. It appears from the available evidence that Akbar, BCCI, and the Saudis all may have pursued different goals through Capcom, including:
• misappropriation of BCCI assets for personal enrichment.
• laundering billions of dollars from the Middle East to the US and other parts of the world.
• siphoning off assets from BCCI to create a safe haven for them outside of the official BCCI empire.
Conditions At BCCI Which Spawned Capcom
By early 1985, BCCI was on the verge of financial collapse as the result of losses in the commodities markets executed by the head of the bank’s Treasury Department, Mr. Z.A. Akbar.(1) Akbar, a young Pakistani and protege of Swaleh Naqvi, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, had been plucked from his job at National Bank of Oman in 1981 to manage BCCI’s investments from its headquarters in London. Despite the fact that Akbar had no apparent experience in the commodities, foreign exchange or securities markets, by 1984 he was managing over $5.5 billion at BCCI Treasury.(2)
As Akbar invested heavily in the futures’ markets, losses at BCCI treasury began to mount. According to Masihur Rahman, BCCI’s former chief financial officer, Akbar made highly unusual investments based on unsound assumptions:
He [Akbar] was taking positions on silver and 20 year bonds, suggesting that 20 year bonds would be 7% or 6.8%, and things like that,, which anybody who understands treasury knows how deeply discounted it would be if you project that sort of thing for 20 years. And he was taking those sorts of positions for a premium.(3)
As the losses increased to staggering levels, Akbar created a maze of artificial accounting. According to a 1991 Price Waterhouse report, Akbar split the department’s functions into normal Treasury activities and ‘Number Two’ account activities” . . . outside the scope of external audit . . . in the name of private clients but for [BCCI]. . .”(4) The report explained that the “Number Two” accounts derived from:
“misappropriation of external funds deposited under trust with [BCCI] to be managed on behalf of a few prominent people who are also shareholders of Holdings, and maintaining a pool of funds in the private named accounts of A. R. Khalil which were used freely by Z. Akbar to fund adjustments. . .”(5)
In other words, Akbar inflated BCCI Treasury profits through the use of unrecorded deposits in the accounts of important BCCI “customers”, such as Khalil.
By 1985, Akbar’s treasury department had accumulated losses approaching $1 billion, leading to a near collapse of the bank.(6) Akbar and, presumably Naqvi, recognized that the off-balance sheet accounting in the “Number Two” accounts could no longer adequately hide the massive losses. Accordingly, “out-of-book” or unrecorded deposits were moved “out-of-bank” to a new financial entity — Capcom Financial Services, Ltd.
At Capcom, Akbar and Naqvi reasoned, the phony BCCI accounts could be further disguised and placed beyond the reach of bank auditors. In short, Capcom afforded BCCI a wider scope of options for the manipulation of accounts, the continuation of frauds and, perhaps, a last ditch attempt at fiscal recovery.
Creation of Capcom 1984-1985
On April 26, 1984 Akbar registered an obscure company named Hourcharm, Ltd, at his home address in London. On May 22, 1984, Hourcharm was renamed Capital Commodity Dealers, Ltd., and then in July, Capcom Financial Services. Capcom was funded with a capital of 1 million which during the first year was augmented to 10,00,000 pounds and then increased to 25,000,000 pounds (approximately $37,000,000).
Capcom commenced trading in London on September 17, 1984. According to the June 22, 1991 Price Waterhouse Report to the Bank of England, “Capcom … rapidly became one of the most significant of the brokers used by Treasury [BCCI].”(7) Indeed, within the first year customer accounts bulged to over 100,000,000 (approximately $160,000,000), inordinately large sums for a fledgling commodities brokerage company.(8) According to Masihur Rahman, “Capcom was given an official credit line” by BCCI.(9)
A 1991 documentary on BCCI, produced in London, featured Jehangir Masud, a former employee of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, and Shahid Suleri, a former BCCI employee, commenting on the connections between Capcom and BCCI. Masud claimed, “the [BCCI] Treasury put huge volumes of business through generating large brokerage fees for Capcom.” Suleri recounted that Capcom allocated profits to their own account, losses to BCCI, using BCCI funds as margin deposits.(10) In testimony to the Subcommittee, Rahman concurred, noting that “many of the transactions that the bank was doing [were] being routed through Capcom, who obviously was scaling out the differentials ….and passing on the heavy losses and things to the bank.”(11)
Capcom operated as a broker in the London and Chicago commodities markets. Commodities markets should be distinguished from the stock markets, which are more or less “cash markets” designed for “direct investment.” As author Martin Mayer has explained, “you own what you buy and your success is a function of the success of the company in which you have purchased shares.”(12) According to Mayer, futures markets, in contrast to cash markets, do not offer the investor the “commodity that underlies the activity.” Mayer has written that futures investors:
“trade contracts to purchase or sell that commodity on a future date. The contract is inescapable. Those who purchase must stand ready to receive the commodity at a specified delivery point at this price on a specified date (or to buy an offsetting obligation from someone who has a contract to deliver to that point on that date, thus permitting the “clearing corporation” that serves the exchange to extinguish both contracts.) Those who sell futures contracts must stand ready to deliver the commodity to the delivery point for this price on the specified date (or buy in someone else’s contract to accept delivery.) As a result future’s markets are not situations where everyone can win.(13)
The commodities markets in the U.K. and the U.S. are not restricted, regulated or supervised as stringently as the banking industry or the securities markets.(14)
Moreover, the commodities markets can sustain almost limitless volume, a necessary prerequisite for crime on the scale of that contemplated by BCCI since fraudulent transactions may be hidden in a multitude of legitimate ones. In a letter to the directors, the Chairman of Capcom, Larry Romrell, reported that 165 million in trading during the first four months of operation, and profits of 883,393. That trend continued until 1988 leading Akbar to boast to agent Mazur: “We have contracted 165,000 contracts totalling $53 billion with Drexel Burnham,” and later, “we have done over $90 billion total in 1988.”(15)
While the number of contracts and dollar volume seems unbelievable, a commodities company can artificially create massive volume by many small or no-risk trading methods. Indeed, the volume generated by Capcom helped it to generate respectability and acceptance with reputable banks and brokers.(16) For example, listed under “Auditors and Advisers” in Capcom’s 1987 Annual Report were the following major international banks: Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company, London, National Westminster Bank Plc, Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company, New York, Deutsche Westminster Bank, A.G., and National Westminster Bank, plc. Elsewhere, Capcom noted its ties to Dean Witter Reynolds, American Express Bank, Refco, Prudential Bache Trading Corp., and Sumitomo Trust and Banking, Ltd.(17) Like BCCI, Capcom attempted to buy legitimacy to assist its rapid expansion.
Capcom’s expansion took it to the United States where it opened Capcom Futures in late 1984.(18) Mohammed Saghir, born in the same town in India as Abedi, and a former cohort of Akbar’s at the National Bank of Oman, was brought in to run the Chicago operations. The American Board of Directors mirrored that of London with Larry Romrell serving as the Chairman.
In testimony before the Subcommittee, Wendy Gramm, the Chairperson of the Commodities Futures Trading Association (CFTC) described the relationship between Capcom US and Capcom UK:
Capcom UK and Capcom US were intertwined. Both companies had common directors and shareholders. Capcom UK owned 82% of Capcom US from May 1985 until June 30, 1987.
BCCI Pulls Out
In July, 1985 the BCCI accounts were ostensibly withdrawn from Capcom, apparently on the advice of the firm’s auditors who counseled that the bank should not be engaged in the kind of speculation intrinsic to the commodities markets.(19) With all visible BCCI accounts closed, Chairman Larry Romrell observed in Capcom’s annual report: “The cessation of BCCI business obviously had an impact upon our volume.”(20)
However, according to the 1991 Price Waterhouse report, at the same time that BCCI withdrew from Capcom an amount of $68 million was paid by BCCI Treasury to Brenchase, Ltd, a subsidiary of Capcom, controlled by Akbar, raising the question of whether or not BCCI had really withdrawn from the firm.(21) Moreover, the Price Waterhouse report notes that, “…despite an apparent cessation of trading links with Capcom …two payments of $50 million were made to Capcom in March, 1986 out of external funds for which no liability for repayment was recorded.”(22) These and other comparable payments clearly suggest that Naqvi and Akbar continued to use Capcom to shield BCCI funds and perhaps to move money.
Moreover, as late as 1989 the client list for Capcom Futures, the US subsidiary of London-based Capcom Financial Services, consists of several apparent BCCI accounts in the names of BCCI employees controlled by Z.A. Akbar.
It is not clear why Naqvi and Akbar chose to maintain the public facade of a split between Capcom and BCCI. One possible explanation is that Naqvi and Akbar profited from BCCI losses both at BCCI treasury and later at Capcom. When Senator Kerry asked Mr. Rahman if Mr. Naqvi had profited from the BCCI losses, the former BCCI manager responded, “since only two, three people are involved …somebody has profited a lot.”(23)
Akbar and Capcom
In 1986, after the discovery of BCCI losses on cotton trading, Akbar left the BCCI Treasury to join Capcom. According to Masihur Rahman, Akbar “was released” from BCCI, taking “his company car and other benefits.”(24)
Upon moving to Capcom, Akbar formed Financial Advisory Services (FAS), an introducing broker, or marketing arm for Capcom. FAS was owned by Akbar’s Panamanian-registered, Liechtenstein operated nominee company, ZASK Trading and Investments, Ltd.
Akbar did not immediately become a Director of Capcom, sitting instead in the FAS offices which adjoined Capcom. Akbar explained to Mazur his reasons for not joining Capcom’s Board of Directors:
when I left the bank, BCCI people, they said ‘Mr. Akbar, for, for at least a couple of years you don’t go and sit in the office…it doesn’t look nice that you leave the bank…and establish your own company’… they said ‘please keep away’…(25)
But it was Akbar, nevertheless, who directed operations at Capcom. With the freedom of singular control over a vast pool of BCCI’s “out-of-book”, “Number Two” Treasury funds deposited at Capcom, Akbar manipulated to enrich himself. The Subcommittee has concluded that with Akbar at the helm, Capcom engaged in blackmail, bogus loans, “bucket shop” trading, use of nominee frontmen, artificial mirror-image trades, co-mingling of funds, money-laundering, theft, skimming of accounts, and kickbacks to insiders.
For example, Akbar arranged for kickbacks to Peniel Investments, a Liechtenstein-based, Panamanian-registered company that he owned. This arrangement, and others, specified commissions that he paid to himself of between $5.00 and $12.00 per contract on business he had introduced to Capcom, specifying “BCCI Overseas” as a qualifying account. In the months during which BCCI lost $430 million at Capcom, Akbar paid himself a total kickback of 4,671,579.86 (approximately $7,000,000).(26) It is not clear whether Naqvi and anyone else at BCCI knew about or participated in these kickback schemes. …
BCCI AND TCI
Documents provided to the Subcommittee also indicate that BCCI may have been a shareholder in TCI, the largest cable company in the United States.(50) All TCI shareholders were issued WTCI stock when the latter was spun-off from TCI as a separate company. The WTCI stock was then listed independently and was publicly traded on its own. In a letter to Akbar, Romrell wrote:
“I am enclosing an Information Statement which has just become available this morning covering the distribution to the TCI shareholders of all the outstanding shares of WTCI…the stock will be distributed by today by mail along with the enclosed Information Statement to all TCI shareholders…there is a possibility that the WTCI stock price will sell for a price upwards from $8.00. I still intend to buy for our accounts at the best possible price somewhere between $2 to $4.50. If you have any comments or require any additional information, please give me a call.”(51)
Six months later, Romrell wrote Akbar about an apparent agreement:
“I understand the WTCI stock will officially start trading at opening of business tomorrow, March 20. I want to confirm my understanding that I have established pursuant to my conversation with you a $100,000 credit line with which to purchase stock and, in addition, that you have authorized me to purchase stock in your behalf up to a $100,000 limit. The combined credit line would then be $200,000, except that I would reduce my credit line within 30 days from $100,000 to $85,000. If this is not your understanding or does not meet with your approval, please contact me immediately.(52)
Romrell has told the Subcommittee that, in fact, there was no agreement and no combined credit line. He acknowledged that the wording of the letter “did not sound good”.(53)
Perhaps the most provocative document suggests that Romrell was seeking a $200 million credit line from BCCI for TCI:
“…the TCI finance group that they are interested in obtaining a loan facility…I asked Bob Magness…he asked me to determine whether there would be any interest ion the part of BCCI…I believe the credit facility that TCI is looking for is around $200,000,000…as a separate matter, WTCI will soon be looking for approximately $50,000,000 to construct a new microwave route…there may be an opportunity to put this deal together with BCCI if you are interested.”(54)
According to TCI’s lawyers, the company has never had any relationship of any kind with BCCI:
[There is] no evidence that the TCI or the Related companies had any business dealings with Capcom, BCCI, or any currently identified related entity or person… (55)
Romrell, Magness and Capcom
During the period that Romrell is passing on WTCI information to Akbar, he is also contemplating an investment in Capcom: “Magness and I have discussed your proposal to invest in a U.S. brokerage firm in Chicago or New York and to participate in the ownership and operation to the mutual benefit of BCCI and ourselves.”(56) To entice the participation of Romrell and Magness in Capcom, Akbar represented to the Americans that the firm would earn a minimum of $4 million per year, and potentially as much as $10 to $15 million.(57)
Despite the fact that neither of them had any experience or expertise in the futures markets, Magness and Romrell agreed to become directors on May 27, 1984.(58) They also decided to make a financial investment in the firm. Magness, in a notarized statement dated May 12, 1992, explained to the Subcommittee:
“…I agreed to buy a 1 percent interest for approximately $15,000.”(59)
“I was not offered anything for my investment beyond the [above stated 1 percent] interest in Capcom. Nor was I offered anything as an inducement to become a member of Capcom’s board of directors.”(60)
However, Magness and Romrell also purchased a stake in Capcom with funds provided by BCCI. In a “Note for file” written November 9, 1984, Romrell scribbled:
“Bob and I” funded our share capital and loan stock as follows: “We agreed to fund $14,744(61)
and borrow $75,000 each from BCCI London…Balance of current amount due was funded from our Credit Lines at BCCI, London.”(62)
The Subcommittee has obtained documents which appear to show that, in fact there were other loans beyond those provided by BCCI. Magness and Romrell executed no-risk loans to purchase Capcom stock in a September 17, 1984 agreement with a Panamanian company secretly owned by Akbar, managed in Liechtenstein by a Dr. Franz Pucher. The company was named “Peniel Investments, Inc.”(63) Akbar provided Romrell and Magness with subordinated Loan Stock in the amounts of 330,000 (approximately $450,000) for Romrell and 69,300 (approximately $90,000) for Magness.(64) A very unusual aspect of the loans is that they were self-liquidating: funds paid into Romrell’s and Magness’ loan accounts from profits in their “managed investment” accounts would be used to pay down the loan principal. (65) In other words, these loans resembled the standard issue BCCI no-risk loans provided to those who acted as nominees for the bank.
Another set of documents dating some months later shows additional loans to Magness and Romrell from Paten Holdings, Inc., a different Panamanian company, operated out of Geneva by Mme. Cecile Ringenberg, and again, secretly owned by Akbar. (66)
Romrell has told the Subcommittee that “at the time I understood Paten Holdings to be a Swiss bank.”(67)
On May 23, 1985, the Capcom directors used Paten Holdings to increase the capital base in Capcom from L10,000,000 to L25,000,000. By increasing the capital base of the firm, Romrell’s and Magness’ overall holdings were also increased. Romrell, who had placed only $15,000 of his own money into the firm, found himself with holdings valued in excess of $2 million.(68)
The Loan Agreement, dated June 17, 1985, between Paten Holdings, Inc. and Romrell and Magness provides both men with 169,500 (approx. $250,000). The terms require payment no later than June 17, 1987. The collateral for the loans was the shares secured by an attached memorandum of deposit and dividends and interest were to be retained in order to reduce the outstanding balance of the loans. As Romrell explained: “…with regard to Paten Holdings, Inc…we had originally planned to reduce that loan with dividends from Capcom.”(69)
Indeed two years later, in July 1987, Romrell proposed a 30 percent dividend in a letter to Khalil, Adham, and Jawhary.(70) However, upset from the events surrounding the CBOT investigation, the Saudi Group refused to allow the dividends. In order to accommodate the Americans, Akbar arranged for Romrell and Magness to enter into replacement loan agreements with Paten Holdings, Inc. The new loans were for an increased amount, 221,157.93 (approx. $330,000) and were secured by the Capcom shares. (71)
The year-end 1987 audit of Capcom in London by Arthur Anderson raised the issue of disclosure of the Paten and Peniel loans:
“All transactions with related or associated parties have, where material and appropriate for the presentation of a true and fair view…There are no agreements whereby the directors could receive benefit from dealing transactions either directly or indirectly through agency agreements…In respect of the agency agreements between Capcom Financial Services, Ltd and the following companies: a) Peniel Investments, Ltd, and b) Paten Holdings, Inc. …In addition, we confirm that the agreements were entered into at arms length and that no director or shareholder has an interest in either agent company. The company and its subsidiaries have at no time during the period entered into any arrangement, transaction or agreement to provide credit facilities (including loans, quasi-loans, credit transactions, mutually beneficial arrangements or guarantees or security for liabilities for any directors, shadow directors, officers or their connected persons (except as permitted by the Companies Act 1985 and as disclosed in the accounts.)(72)
The Paten and Peniel loan documents show this statement by the auditors to be completely false. Either the auditors colluded with Capcom management, or more likely, they were misled as to Paten and Peniel by the management of Capcom.
Ultimately, Romrell tried to sever his connection to Paten. According to Cecile Ringenberg, an emergency meeting was called in London by Sheik Khalil. At that meeting, control of Paten passed from Romrell to Akbar. Romrell has indicated to the Subcommittee that he has never met Cecile Ringenberg, although a xerox of her calling card was provided by him to the Subcommittee.(73) …