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by Virginia McCullough BayCities Observer


Click. Notes from the Waterfront. Why Might the Santa Rosa Diocese Go Overboard?


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Why Might the Santa Rosa Diocese Go Overboard?

The Napa-Sonoma areas have been prey to both major elements of organized crime laundering monies, and to intelligence operators. For the former, see "The Napa Valley Register," March 9, 1996, p. 8(a): .... in a report by the NSIB (Napa Special Investigations Bureau) and "The Napa Sentinel," September 25, 1995. For the later, see August issues of NewsMakingNews, Notes from the Waterfront.

While it is not difficult to determine the roots in Napa County that moved in with Buttes Gas & Oil and The Moonies by the early 1970s, we have still to hear from those who have researched movements in Sonoma County.

However, control of water, the ports, the fronts was a conspicuous need in Napa County by 1980. Corporations that have traditionally served as both war industry and intelligence fronts, such as Kaiser, Cargill and Dillingham fundamentally "sewed up" the ports, docks, and properties in Napa County accessing and controlling Napa River and fronting on San Pablo Bay.

With this movement came the strategic placement of judges, district attorneys, sheriffs and the regalia needed to keep a clamp on things ... and personnel who were privy to "secrets" but who could convey information by means of their calling. Such is the case of priests who hear confessions. There is more than one priest in the Santa Rosa Diocese who has a background in the military, and more specifically, the U. S. Marine Corps.

And why the Marines? The Marines guard our embassies, they guard federal buildings -- and they report to the executive branch. The entire Iran-Contra operation shifted by 1985 from the CIA to the Executive Branch more directly through the National Security Council. Remember now former- Marine Ollie North's testimony? He tapped his "secret government, sort of the government within the government." Actually, given the fact that aid to the Contras was illegal, it is more like the "secret government outside the government" aka a bunch of cowboys.

But why would the Catholic Church be a willing contributor to all of this? And why do their priests feel immune from prosecution for extraordinary pedophile conduct and egregious financial misconduct revealed by "The Press Democrat" as having settled more than 100 claims involving numerous priests?

Not only do the answers lie in local protection systems that moved in with the clandestine nuts, but in the manner in which the Vatican came to grovel with U.S. intelligence arms during and following World War II.

And they did it with the help of Nazis who were otherwise to have been charged with war crimes.

The brilliant Christopher Simpson, an award-winning investigative reporter based in Washington, D.C., reveals the history in his seminal "Blowback - The First Full Account of America's Recruitment of Nazis, and Its Disastrous Effect on our Domestic and Foreign Policy" (1988 New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson). Simpson worked extensively with declassified documents available at the National Archives.

Let us start with page 89:

"Some of the most important early applications of (clandestine containment programs) began in Western Europe. The Italian elections of early 1948 marked another important milestone in the development of U.S. covert operations and in high-level U.S. support for use of former Nazi collaborators. Two developments of far-reaching importance for these programs took place during this election campaign. First, U.S. security agencies successfully tested a series of propaganda and political manipulation techniques that were later to come into widespread use around the world, including inside the United States itself. Secondly, the CIA established much deeper and broader ties with the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church in Rome than had previously been the case."

Then on page 90:

"The (Italian) election campaign (of 1948) became a major test of containment and of its accompanying clandestine political warfare strategy. Allan Dulles, Frank Weisner, James Angleton, William Colby, and a team of other top-ranked U.S. intelligence officials (toss in Kermit Roosevelt) put together a program of propaganda, sabotage, and secret funding of Christian Democratic candidates designed to frustrate the Italian Communist party's ambitions ... Much of this campaign was handled on an ad hoc basis out of the offices of Allan and John Foster Dulles at the Sullivan & Cromwell law firm in New York.

Working in close coordination with the Vatican and with prominent Americans of Italian or Catholic heritage, the CIA found that its effort in Italy succeeded well beyond its expectations. On a public level the United States dumped $350 million in announced civil and military aid into the country during this campaign alone. (Unaware of the propaganda machinery) Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Gary Cooper and a score of other prominent Americans were enlisted to make radio broadcasts to Italy warning against the Communist electoral menace. A CIA-financed media blitz showered Italian newspapers with articles and photographs expressing American munificence and Communist atrocities, both real and manufactured. The archbishops of Milan and Palermo announced that anyone who voted for the Communist candidates were prohibited from receiving absolution or confession. Eugene Cardinal Tisserant went further. 'Communists would not have a Christian burial or be buried in holy grounds,' he said.

Francis Cardinal Spellman of New York served as a crucial go-between in CIA-Vatican negotiations. 'The Vatican (has) been promised that American funds would be made available to assist in the presentation of the anti-communist appeal to the Italian public,' Spellman wrote following a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Marshall. The U.S. government, the cardinal said, had secretly released large sums in 'black currency' in Italy to the Catholic Church.' This 'black currency' did not come from the American taxpayers. Rather, a substantial part of the funding for clandestine activities in Italy came from captured Nazi German assets, including money and gold that the Nazis had looted from the Jews.

On page 94:

(Hunted Nazi war criminal) Walter Rauff was still hiding in the 'convents of the Holy See,' as he put it, when the CIA provided his sponsor Monsignor Bicchierai with enough money to buy Jeeps, bedding, and guns for an underground squadron of some 300 anti-communist Italian youths for use during the 1948 elections. The job of this band was beatings of .. activists, breaking up political meetings, and intimidating voters. Bicchierai's troops became the forerunners of a number of other similar paramilitary gangs funded by the CIA in Germany, Greece, Turkey, and several other countries over the next decade." (Try Iran most of Latin America in subsequent years).

The fear, the hysteria, were sheer lunacy. The communist party in Italy bore no resemblance to the hard line Soviet call. Instead, most participating were those who had petitioned long and hard with the Fascist Mussolini regime to install minimum wages for workers and provide government operated schools. That's about as "communist" as they got!

Both Winston Churchill and Dwight D. Eisenhower favored the creation of a parliament with a titular Monarch as a means to achieve a centrist government in Italy. Their calls went unheeded by the miscreant clandestine services and their Oyster Bay and Boston Brahmin cowboys who were also responsible for releasing members of the Mafia that had been interned by Mussolini. It has long since been well-established that these Mafiosi made not one contribution either to the safe landing of U.S. and British forces in Southern Italy, nor was the war shortened by even one day because of their release from prisons. In typical fashion, Dulles acted with no authority but is own in this operation which has cost Italy dearly ever since.

See also Rodney Campbell's "The Luciano Project," (1977 New York: McGraw-Hill) and listen to "Talking History's" lecture delivered by Penn State's Associate Professor John McWilliams (at select lectures for October, 1999 and look through list for "Operation Underworld"). Both recount the findings of Governor Dewey's Herlands Commission, and illustrate a dark relationship of the Office of Naval Intelligence with the mafia in the U.S. to "hunt for commies" during the 1930s at U.S. ports and unions throughout World War II.

Post war Italy had a population that was slightly more than 70% Catholic. Today, the numbers have dwindled to less than 40% Catholic. It is little wonder why. The Vatican has yet to come out with any statements against the mafia which continues to leave some perplexed. Looks as though both U.S. clandestine operatives and the Nazis are still in control of the voice and the conscience of the Vatican.

See also "Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII" by John Cornwall. You will understand the consolidation to totalitarianism within the church. Then ask yourself why the Diocese of Santa Rosa feels it can thumb its nose at the Santa Rosa Police Department which has been trying to interview priests and examine the books and records of the Diocese.

J.A.I.L. News Journal 

Los Angeles Superior Court Involved In

Largest Bribery Scandal In Recent Court History

DAILY NEWS Sunday, August 27, 2000 
By Troy Anderson Staff Writer 

Exposed by the largest bribery scandal in recent court history, Superior Court officials admit they wrongfully kept secret an $81.6 million trust account containing $18 million in interest owed to local governments and individuals, the Daily News has learned.

It was only after an Encino attorney discovered the account by chance and bribed a Superior Court Finance Division auditor to feed him the names of those owed money that officials lifted the confidentiality from the account. 

Before they were caught, the lawyer and clerk split $1.5 million in fees by telling cities and other government agencies how they could collect $5 million in forgotten money owed them. While Superior Court officials have revised procedures for the account, no outside audit of the account has been conducted. Officials relied on an internal county audit and the District Attorney's Office investigation of the bribery case instead. 

"Very simply, the court's position for a long time was this money was confidential," said Alf Schonbach, the Superior Court finance and accounting administrator who oversees the fund. "The court made no effort to contact persons to whom the money might be owed." 

The Condemnation and Interpleader trust account currently has $63.6 million in deposits in 1,333 cases, some dating back to the early 1970s. Most of the deposits were made by cities and redevelopment agencies after condemnation of someone's property under eminent domain laws. Over the years, the fund accrued $18 million in interest from investment in U.S. government securities. 

Schonbach acknowledged that the courts did nothing until recently to notify people about the account, but said there now seems to be little interest by the cities that have a responsibility to homeowners involved in the cases. The court has been sending out notices every six months to cities with cases, but has only received six responses.

"Ultimately, the responsibility really falls on the attorneys in these cases," Schonbach said. "Given the number of cases heard in Los Angeles Superior Court, it's unreasonable to believe that a small accounting staff within the court is going to play nursemaid and remind these attorneys that they have forgotten to complete their work." Most of the money is deposits made by cities and redevelopment agencies, but Schonbach estimates a small amount is due to homeowners and their heirs. 

"In some of these older cases, people may have moved or are deceased," he said. "Probably less than 3 (percent) to 4 percent of the total in that fund is awaiting its rightful owners to come forward." The bribery case revealed that for decades the Superior Court failed to make public the individuals, businesses and municipalities that are owed money from the account. Schonbach said the informal policy was in place before he and the court clerk took their jobs in the early 1990s and that as a result of the bribery case, the County Counsel's Office recommended they make the fund public. Since last year, the court has been sending notices to cities every six months telling them about money principal and interest owed them. "We never made a deliberate attempt to conceal the information," Schonbach said. 

But retired Assistant County Counsel Fred Bennett, who advised the courts for 25 years and retired in April, said nobody ever gave the court legal advice that the fund was confidential. "When this matter was first brought to my attention, I advised the court I could not see any compelling reasons that would warrant nondisclosure of this kind of information," Bennett said. Bennett became suspicious * about the potential of someone exploiting the account when he learned an attorney was contacting cities and telling them he could get them their lost funds if they paid him half. 

"I was very concerned that their record-keeping system -- that they didn't have a good paper trail on whether the money had been paid out," Bennett said. "There was a person at the meeting named Gregory Pentoney. I recalled my fears when I later learned of the investigation of Pentoney. I took all my notes to the District Attorney's Office." In the scheme, Pentoney, 32, of Downey gave secret county account data to Encino attorney Robert Fenton, 51, who collected "bounty fees" for tracking down forgotten funds owed to cities, mostly in interest, according to court records. 

Under a plea bargain in March, Fenton pleaded no contest to giving a bribe to a ministerial officer. Pentoney pleaded no contest to accepting a bribe. Without the plea bargain, they each faced 12 years in prison. 

On Aug. 11, Fenton began a 16-month state prison term. On Sept. 8, Pentoney is expected to begin serving a two-year prison term. Fenton distributed $5 million to cities, involving 99 separate cases, and collected fees of about $1 million for himself and $463,165 for Pentoney, prosecutors say. 

The public agencies put money into the account when a property owner contested an eminent domain proceeding. The deposit was based on the assessed value of the properties being sought for public works projects. These cases can wind through the court system for years. 

Fenton discovered the fund after his parents' property in North Hollywood was condemned, said James Blatt, an Encino attorney representing Fenton. Blatt said Fenton, who is married and the father of five, had the "best intentions" when he developed his plan to profit from returning the money to the rightful owners. 

"Fenton's conduct in this case was the result of his unlikely discovery of funds wrongfully possessed by Los Angeles County and his desire to obtain the return of those funds," Blatt said. "In so doing, Fenton's judgment clouded, and what he now understands were bribes were paid. "What's so shocking about this case is that over the years Los Angeles County did not make any effort to return these monies to the rightful owners," Blatt said. 

One of the cities Fenton contacted was Glendale. 

Glendale Chief Assistant Attorney Ron Braden said his finance director received a letter from Fenton stating he could recover money for the city for a fee. Piquing his interest, Braden discovered that no one in the city had thought to recover interest on deposits made with the court on eminent domain cases over the years. "This happened not only to Glendale, but a whole bunch of other government entities," he said. "I understand that it wasn't done as a matter of practice where attorneys for cities go back into court to get whatever balance is owed them." 

Instead of taking Fenton up on his offer, Braden contacted the court to find out which cases the city could collect on. He intended to get the money by himself. After several unsuccessful attempts to find the cases, Braden contacted Pentoney, who suggested he look through a court index. After looking at the index, he got a call from Fenton, who told him he had found only a small portion of the cases. Fenton told him he would help him find the rest. 

So Braden agreed to pay Fenton. 

"We found about $400,000 worth of cases on our own and he probably found $1.3 million above that," Braden said, adding that the city paid Fenton about $2,800 and was about to pay him an additional $33,000 when an investigator called and told him Fenton was under investigation. "When I got that call I did not release that check for $33,000 to him," Braden said. "I was outraged and incensed personally." 

Afterward, Fenton sued the city to recover the $33,000. The lawsuit is on hold while he is in prison. "The only thing that bothers me frankly is that Mr. Fenton sued us," Braden said. "And Mr. Fenton said in our open court through his attorney during sentencing that he intends to proceed with his lawsuit against us. I think that's outrageous."

* Ronald Branson, author of JAIL4Judges, has had a number of court dealings with Frederick Bennett. On every case in which Branson brought action against a Los Angeles County judge for actions in complete absence of all jurisdiction, (supposedly the only grounds in which judges do not enjoy protection under judicial immunity) it was Frederick Bennett that would show up in defense of the miscreant judge. He always appeared confident and arrogant. He would remark to the judge hearing the case words like, "How's Mary and the kids?" and talk on a personal one-to-one relationship with the judges. He has been defending all the corrupt judges in the County of Los Angeles for many years. Even if you went to federal court, he would carry on in front of the federal judges in this manner.

He is reported to have said to a friend of Mr. Branson who was bringing an action against a Los Angeles County judge defendant, "There has never, in my entire experience as defense for the judges, been a ruling against any of our judges," inferring that his case was a certain lost cause. (And, of course, it was.)

It was people like Frederick Bennett that helped educate Mr. Branson into the dire need for JAIL4Judges. In the above article, Mr. Bennett attempts to portray himself as a man of integrity in the L.A. Court Corruption Scandal, and totally uninvolved. You be the judge.

-Ron Branson-

J.A.I.L. is an acronym for Judicial Accountability Initiative Law. 
Listen to HotSeat4Judges daily on Internet Radio M-Th., 6-7 pm P.T.

Virginia McCullough

"Have I missed the  mark, or, like a true archer,  do I strike my mark?
Or am I a prophet of lies, a babbler from door to door?"
Cassandra, as reported by Agamemnon

© 2000 Virginia McCullough. All Rights Reserved. Use only with written  permission. 



Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time passing
Gone to graveyards every one
Long time ago
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Covered with flowers every one
When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

When a stranger enters the small town of Cloverdale, California, he is greeted with the sign "Where the vineyards meet the Redwoods".  The Cloverdale Historical Society together with the Greater Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce publishes a folder entitled "Historical Highlights: A brief walking tour of Cloverdale, California." This publication details the history of the town and emphasizes the businesses that sustained its economy.

"Far up in the valley, where the hills draw together, with the Russian River flowing between, is snugly nestled the town of Cloverdale.  Northernmost community in Sonoma County, it was long the home of the Pomo Indians with its chief village, Makahmo, at the confluence of Sulphur Creek and the Russian River.  Later, with the coming of the Spanish it became Musalacon territory."

This unique community was incorporated in 1872 and seven years later the newspaper  Cloverdale Review, now called the Cloverdale Revelle, was founded by W. J. Bowman.  Numerous businesses flourished, including a cigar factory, steam beer brewery, tanbark sales, wool production, and cattle ranches.  Grape vineyards and orange groves covered the terrain and by 1870 the Geysers located 16 miles east of Cloverdale had become a major tourist attraction.  Stage coaches filled with eager sightseers ran back and forth until they were replaced by the iron horse in 1872.   Resorts such as Alder Glen Springs and the world famous Pop McCrays entertained people from all over the United States and Europe.

Certainly the politicians, residents and businessmen of Cloverdale have a great deal to be proud of in their booming community.  They also have a cloud that hangs over their heads that is an integral part of the city's past.  Within a 2.3 mile area from the Dutcher Creek Road to 215 North Main Street in the downtown area, three young, beautiful girls were discovered brutally murdered.

On October 16, 1975, Susan Lori Dye, a pretty 19-year-old Santa Clara girl, was found stuffed under the Dutcher Creek Road overpass.  Susan was an independent young lady  who was hitchhiking home  in the company of her 2 1/2-month-old German Shepherd puppy.  The "Hippie Era" was coming to a close but the country was still  enchanted with memories of the Summer of Love.  Susan had left Crescent City at 10:00 a.m. and arrived in Cloverdale in the late afternoon hours with puppy in tow. She may have purchased fruit at a fruit stand or store.  Several residents said that she may have purchased dinner at a local restaurant.  One witness said that Susan was offered a ride by a white male but Susan declined saying that she had a way to go and she was not afraid to hitchhike at night because she had her dog with her.  She was dressed in a medium blue ski-type sweater with white stripes around the upper chest, blue jeans with suede leather leg extensions and hiking boots.  On her back she carried a back pack on a frame with a sleeping bag.  The next day Susan Lori Dye's body was found under the Dutcher Creek Road overpass.

In Cloverdale there were rumors that a local man, a known schizophrenic, was taken in for questioning.  It was alleged he was known to have molested the daughter of his wife at the time.  He was supposed to have a small shed which was taken down and destroyed shortly after Susan Lori Dye's body was discovered.

Three weeks later on November 8, 1975 The Weekly Grapevine, a local newspaper, carried a small article with Susan Lori Dye's picture asking anyone who had seen her or had information about her to call Detective Sgt. Erne Ballinger at the Sonoma County Sheriff's office at (707) 527-2127.  Coincidentally Sgt. Erne Ballinger would later play a prominent role in the preliminary hearing of Richard Allen Davis charged with the murder of Polly Hannah Klaas whose body was discovered just a short way from the Dutcher Creek Road overpass in December 1993.  The murder of Susan Lori Dye remains unsolved.

The residents of Cloverdale must have experienced deja vu when they picked up their newspaper on May 26, 1982 and saw the beautiful smiling face of Sara Geer staring back at them.  Sara looked remarkably like Susan Lori Dye although Sara was only thirteen years of age and a 7th grade student at the local Washington School.  Her body was found in an alley between Main Street and Cloverdale Blvd about 10:50 a.m. Monday morning by a nearby resident.

The newspaper article stated that Sara was killed due to traumatic injury and no exterior wounds were present.  However two separate sources told this reporter that Sara Geer had cigarette burns to her upper left arm in the week preceding the killing.             

Sara had a best friend named Linda who would later tell a Cloverdale mother about the traumatic life Sarah led.  Linda would tell this compassionate mother "Sara never wanted to go home! She would walk the streets all alone at night for hours and hours.  The [Cloverdale] police would pick her up and take her home.  They did it often.  They had to know!!  They had to know!!"  Linda said, "That church, with the ivy growing on in, on Main Street.  She spent hours on the front porch of that church waiting for her mother to come at night.  Once she spent four hours there.  She was afraid to go home because of her mother's boyfriend."

It was Linda's own sister who had loaned Sara the garment that had been used to strangle her.  It was Linda's own sister who discovered Sara's body and then Linda came to the scene where her best friend lay.

Linda asked, "No one was there for this child.  Where were they?  Where was the school?  Where was the church?  Where were all those organizations?  Where were you, where were all of you who get paid to protect children when this child was being tormented, tortured, and abused?"

Sara Geer was murdered May 23, 1982.
Sara Geer's body was found May 24, 1982
Sara Geer's body was cremated May 26, 1982.
Cloverdale Police Department's official report issued July 13, 1982.
The final report was issued July 19, 1982.

At the time of her best friend's death, Linda wrote the following poem:


She was my best friend.  Only 13 years old.  
But very pretty
and very nice.  
Oh, how we used to play - go horseback riding,

go to the arcade, go to parties, laugh and stay in a daze.
But now she's gone to rest and stay.  She is now dead.  
No more play.

Oh, why did she die?  She was so young, so pretty.  
I wish I could
see her again playing in the arcade.  
What's happening in this world?

Too many deaths, not enough love and caring.

Sara Geer's murder remains unsolved.

It would happen yet again in Cloverdale.  This time, however, it would shake Cloverdale and the world to its very core.  The most publicized kidnapping since the Lindberg kidnapping would rock California and its reverberations would be felt around the world.  Unlike the ignored Sara Geer and the almost forgotten Susan Lori Dye, this young victim would make history as "America's Child".  Polly Hannah Klaas was kidnapped from her own bedroom on October 1, 1993.  One hour later Sonoma County Deputy Sheriff's would help and assist her kidnapper, Richard Allen Davis, to escape law enforcement hands.  In December of 1993 Davis said that he choose Cloverdale to murder and dispose of Polly Hannah Klaas.

It is said that the third time is the charm.  Perhaps that is true because Richard Allen Davis confessed to killing "America's child" less than one mile from the Dutcher Creek overpass that was the final resting place of Susan Lori Dye.  This horrible murder brought international publicity to the blossoming town of Cloverdale.  It was publicity that no one in Cloverdale wanted.

A memorial to Polly Hannah Klaas sprang up at the place where her body was found.  It was a tribute that the parents of Polly Hannah Klaas did not appreciate and did not want.  Marc Klaas and Eve Nichols requested that it be dismantled and the monies and energies channeled elsewhere to honor their daughter.  Within one month of Polly's body being discovered on Dutcher Road on the outskirts of Cloverdale, California, the memorial to Polly was dismantled by volunteers of the Polly Klaas Foundation of Petaluma, California.  The Foundation and the parents of Polly Klaas suggested that the contribution of concerned citizens be redirected elsewhere to honor the life that Polly led rather than the place where her body was found.

The poem that follows expresses their thoughts about the Cloverdale memorial:

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on the snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the mornings hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there, I did not die.

But die they did!  Three young, beautiful, special girls in a 2.3 miles radius of each other in the quiet, small community of Cloverdale, California.  Please remember Susan Lori Dye, Sara Geer and Polly Hannah Klaas. 

By Virginia McCullough © 2000
[email protected]
*Song "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" Pete Seeger © Click.
Map to Dutcher Creek Road, Cloverdale, California. Click.