The Octopus

Secret Government and the Death of Danny Casolaro

by Kenn Thomas and Jim Keith

Review by Jon Roland

Danny Casolaro called it "the Octopus". A vast, interlocking network of criminal conspiracy that reaches into every branch and agency of the U.S. government, many other national governments, and every sector of our societies.

An investigative reporter seeking the truth, Danny told his friends he was meeting an informant to "bring back the head of the Octopus" when his body was found in a hotel in Martinsburg, West Virginia, on August 10, 1991. Much of the evidence he had gathered was missing. The death was ruled a "suicide", but the evidence supports murder. He never had the chance to write the book he was working on. This is an attempt to finish the book Danny started, based on his surviving notes and further investigation.

Critics will say that this book contains much material that is unconfirmed. The authors admit this, but much of the information is of a character that does not lend itself to confirmation, unless we some day kill the Octopus and dissect its tentacles. Nevertheless, the pieces do fit together to create a coherent picture, albeit an incomplete one. Much work remains to be done to bring the full truth to light. This book can provide a foundation for further investigation.

Casolaro's investigation began with his inquiry into the case of Inslaw, from whom the U.S. Justice Department stole a software package called PROMIS and sold it to governments and financial institutions around the world, after modifying it to provide a back door by which they would track the movement of money and other assets everywhere.

In investigations it is an old rule that you "follow the money", but in this case we can track the spread of the PROMIS package to follow the people who are following the money, and in so doing, exhibit the links in the network of criminal influence around the world and back to their origins, the way a physician might use an angiogram to reveal the blood flows in a human body.

Along the way the authors touch on virtually every kind of criminal enterprise and official corruption and abuse. They tie it all together in what is, if nothing else, the most complete and complex conspiracy theory yet developed, and one that is perhaps the best supported by available evidence. If even a part of this is true, it demands the attention of every responsible person. There is no escaping this monster. Either we kill it or it will kill us.

Much of this material will be familiar to investigators, reformers, and conspiracy buffs. But Thomas and Keith have found some new material and put the pieces together in some new ways that make sense. Time will tell how much of it is true. But the evidence, if not all valid, certainly needs to be explained.

If you thought all you had to worry about was the feds reading your email, or perhaps picking up the RF from your computer keyboard, consider what is said in an interview in this book with Michael Riconosciuto, the computer expert who modified the PROMIS package for the U.S. government:


Q: There was that one interview with [William] Hamilton where he was talking about how PROMIS is some kind of system that includes chips that broadcast directly to NSA satellites.

MR: They are not chips as such. The existing chips in the machine are tricked into doing it. I'm getting ready to go on television explaining that chapter and verse.

Q: On national television?

MR: German television. I will explain in hardcore, unambiguous technical terms how it's done. Unambiguous to people who are technically competent.

Q: When I describe these things to other people they say "That's not possible", particularly people who like to think of themselves as computer jocks. My thought is that ordinary people with PCs can do incredible things now, particularly with the CD ROM stuff.

MR: If you know what you're doing.

Q: But the people who actually invest enormous amounts of money and resources into it, like the National Security Agency, can do things untold, I'm sure.

MR: I'm letting the cat out of the bag where PROMIS is with the NSA. It's in the MOSIS program. The Metal Oxide Semiconductor Implementation System.


But there may be good guys at work, too. In the final "Chronology", we find:

"At Casolaro's funeral, two unknown figures appear. One of them places a medal on Casolaro's casket and saluted, although Casolaro never served in the military."

Your mission, gentle readers, if you care to accept it, is to finish the work Danny started. But along the way, just make sure it is the bad guys who commit "suicide".

And make sure all your friends read this book.

This book is now out of print. Check with its publisher, Feral House, for updates on its availability, or with used booksellers.


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