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DEADLY  1991 - YEAR OF INJUSTICE THAT TOOK DOWN A PRESIDENT
THE EXECUTIONS OF REPORTERS ANSON NG AND
JOSEPH "DANNY" CASOLARO

(Part 3 of a series)
by Virginia McCullough
(Click to read Part 1) (Click to read Part 2)
(Click to read Part 3) (Click to read Part 4)

Deadly 1991 was a year caught in the vortex of a rapidly changing world.  The 1940's saw a world  divided in a fight between good and evil.  The 1950's represented a world of stability and renewal.  The 1960's was a time for the next generation to challenge past values and rock established governments.  The 1970's brought a quiet after the storm with two glaring exceptions.  The 1980's was the era of galloping greed and back room deals.  Then 1991 ushered in the decade of the nineties.

In 1991 the same people who created the 1980's were still in power, but now the public was questioning their greed and the backroom deals the power brokers had made.  George Herbert Walker Bush had been an important member of the powerful cartel that ruled the world for the past thirty years.  Now he was the 41st President of the United States seeking his second term in office.   He was still surrounded by the same advisors who had counseled him in the decade of assassinations.  His mentors of the 1960's still had the same agendas.  The changing times had changed them not at all. 

However one scandal after another surfaced in the late 1980's during the final years of President Reagan's tenure.  Vice President Bush and his cronies expertly defused each potentially explosive leak.  So the closet door remained closed with its skeletons locked firmly inside until the Vice President became President.  Bush's first three years in the top spot were rocky and the undercurrent of angry constituents grew as his bid for reelection drew near.  But the former director of the CIA was an expert on deniability.  Deny, delay, deny, delay -- his  lawyers and his black op comrades advised him and, for awhile, smoke and mirrors worked.   Like an expert batter in a batting cage, the 41st President continued to bat the scandals down one by one.

Then, in the spring of 1991, those who had the President's ear informed him that two reporters were beginning to connect the dots linking the scandals ever closer to the President seeking reelection.   Daily headlines named the scandals:  BCCI, the Iran Contra, the October Surprise, the Gulf War,  Wackenhut Corporation, known as the "CIA's CIA" and its involvement in the Alyeska Pipeline, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the biological warfare weapons programs, the sovereign Indian reservations such as California's Cabazon, Minnesota's Minominee and Arizona's Papago who were laundering money for drugs for arms, the Savings and Loan fiasco, the World War II Japanese war booty in hidden gold, bullion from Iran, The Company - a drug ring connecting Fresno, California and Lexington, Kentucky,  the former CIA Director Richard Helms and the former U.S. Senator James Abourezk of South Dakota, the palaces and dual use weapons in Iraq, the self proclaimed man-of-leisure and multi-millionaire Robert Booth Nichols, the phony pilot Gunther Russbacher, the multi-generational mob and the CIA operative Michael Riconosciuto and many, many unsolved murders most often labeled suicides. 

This maze was viewed by two young reporters as a web of interconnecting events woven by President George H. W. Bush. One writer, Anson Ng, was a stringer for London's Financial Times, living in Guatemala while he followed leads linking international weapon deals to the Bank of Credit and Commerce International.  The other writer was a free lancer named Joseph "Danny" Casolaro, based at his home in Fairfax County, Virginia -- home to the CIA.  Casolaro was documenting stories about the "secret government" and its ties to a decade old scandal called Inslaw.

In past generations the mob had an iron clad "Golden Rule".  A mob member could kill love rivals, mafia bosses, or uncooperative politicians.  But its "Golden Rule" declared that no mob member would murder a journalist or a judge.  The massive media coverage that followed the execution of reporters simply did not justify the silence it temporarily achieved.  Similarly martyred judges only increased law enforcement heat on organized crime's business activities.  These were accepted facts of life until the 1970's when the old world Dons began losing control to the nouveau riche, the drug-driven younger generation who were taking over mob business.  In the last five years of the 1970's two startling events only proved the wisdom of the mob's "Golden Rule".

On June 2, 1976, Arizona Republic's investigative reporter Don Bolles went to meet a source at the Clarendon Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona.  The source had promised him additional information on the organized crime cartel he was investigating.  The meeting had been arranged the day before and Bolles went inside the hotel to wait.  When time had passed and it became apparent that the source had failed to show, Bolles went out to the parking lot and slid behind the wheel of his car.  Nearby a waiting assassin triggered the car bomb that exploded costing Bolles the lower part of his body and an arm.  The courageous journalist lived 11 days and named the coward he had arranged to meet that fateful day.

The repercussions that followed his death were extraordinary.  Dozens of reporters from around the country descended on Phoenix and worked tirelessly to continue the work that Don Bolles had started.  In the months that followed, these writers, working in his honor, published 23 articles striving to expose those who killed their associate.  Bolles murder gave birth to the organization known today as the Investigative Reporters & Editors, Inc. (IRE) .  Now over 3,000 members stand ready to harken to the call whenever a fellow reporter is threatened. 

On a bright spring day in San Antonio, Texas U.S. District Judge John Howland Wood Jr. was walking from the front door of his home to his car.  "Maximum John", as he was known for his delivery of long prison sentences to drug dealers. was on his way to his courtroom on May 29, 1979 when he was gunned down with a single shot to the back.  Judge Wood had been scheduled to preside over the upcoming drug trial of Jamiel (Jimmy) Chagra, the mastermind of the prominent and tragic El Paso family known as the Chagra Brothers.  Jetting between Las Vegas and El Paso. the Chagras were alleged by prosecutors to be drug traffickers. 

Wood's murder was the first of a sitting judge in the 20th Century and the first contract murder of a federal judge in United States history.  The response by law enforcement was immediate and forceful.  The FBI worked around the clock and spent more money on this investigation then they did to investigate the murder of President Kennedy.  The depth and breadth of the Wood/Chagra investigation remained unmatched until the Oklahoma City Bombing.  Organized crime felt the heat and remembered the "Golden Rule".

A decade later journalists Anson Ng and "Danny" Casolaro were tracing the money that flowed between the mob and the administration of the 41st President of the United States.  In so doing they had  woven a web of intelligence operations, autonomous sovereign nations within the United States, money laundering and the multiple murders of money men, lawyers and operatives.  Unlike their counterparts in the so-called legitimate media, these independent scribblers named names, dates and events.   The writers felt that they were on the verge of cracking big stories and they eagerly shared their new discoveries with family and friends.  Both also told those close to them they had been warned unlocking other's secrets could be a dangerous undertaking. 

Americans watched during the spring and summer of 1991 as the cost to bail out the "failed" savings and loan industry grew daily.  Federal regulators disputed the cost to taxpayers estimated by the Bush Administration.  Banking bureaucrats came and went and the names of regulatory agencies changed as rapidly as did their responsibilities.   Those Congressmen and Senators taking sides in the debate were soon given nicknames indicating what team they were on in the financial fiasco.  One of the most easily recognized was the Keating Five; five powerful lawmakers who had allegedly aligned themselves with wealthy Charles Keating , head of  Lincoln Federal Savings and Loan Association.   Of the four democrats and one republican who made up the Keating Five, the only one to be reprimanded by his fellow lawmakers was California's Senator Alan Cranston.

Senator Cranston had always been fiercely independent.  Now he was angrily stating that he had done nothing that his fellow Senators had not also done.  On  August 8, 1991 Senator Cranston spoke from the Senate floor during a Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee Hearing:

Dateline Washington D.C. (UPI) -- A journalist who was found murdered in his apartment in Guatemala City late last month may have been killed because he was investigating the scandal ridden Bank of Credit and Commerce International, a U.S. Senator said Thursday.

Anson Ng, a stringer for the Financial Times in London, was working on a "big story" concerning BCCI's activities in Guatemala, according to people he had talked to shortly before his death, Sen. Alan Cranston, D-Calif., said in a statement released at a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing.
(Click. Tangled in the Web of the BCCI )

"Although officials in Guatemala have sought to characterize Ng's assassination as the work of common criminals, the murder seems to be the work of professional hit men," Cranston said.


Cranston said, "Suspicion in journalism circles in Guatemala" is that Ng's murder was related to his probe into arms trafficking allegedly carried out by BCCI in collusion with top leaders of the Guatemalan military.

The Senator said Ng's close friends have told him that a silencer was used in the killing and that he was shot once in the head.

Guatemalan authorities, however, say no bullet was found either in the body or in Ng's apartment.

Cranston said Ng's friends also have told him that his head had been wrapped in a towel and his body left in the bathroom, apparently in an effort to keep his murder secret for a few days.

A set of documents were stolen from Ng's desk and Guatemalan authorities have impounded a set of computer disks that the journalist used for his work, Cranston said.

Cranston said he has urged Guatemalan authorities to "take all necessary steps to ensure that Ng's killers are brought to justice, no matter what their rank or station in life."

Last July Guatemalan officials sent two investigators to Miami to look into Florida bank accounts held by former President Vinicio Cerezo and to investigate the 1988 purchase of three Sikorski military helicopters, bought from Jordan during Cerezo's administration.

The two were also to investigate a $30 million BCCI credit given to Guatemala's central bank in 1988.  In a press release Thursday, the Banco de Guatemala said the loan was received "within the law."

The BCCI loan was repaid in October 1988 with a contingency loan from the International Monetary Fund, the bank said.  The bank also received two smaller loans from BCCI, one for $5 million in 1986 and another for $2.5 in 1988.

Bank manager Fabian Pira would not comment on whether or not the funds from BCCI were used to buy the Sikorski helicopters, saying the matter was "a state secret."

The central bank's involvement was "indirect."  Pira told a local newspaper, "Because of the nature of the transaction I cannot give more details," he said.

A report in the June issue of  TIME  Magazine said the declared price of $5 million paid for the helicopters was much higher than the market price, and that some Guatemalan officials involved in the transaction, including then President Cerezo's brother, pocketed the difference.

Guatemalan Congressman Jorge Skinner-Klee called bank officials "a bag of cheaters," and charged that the Banco de Guatemala "has absolutely no documentation on the destination of the BCCI money."

Guatemalan Attorney General Asisclo Valladares said authorities were also investigating a $200,000 BCCI tax fraud, and another case of $4 million lost to treasury officials through illegal coffee exports.

This reporter's sources stated that 34 year old Anson Ng was also in Guatemala City to interview the bag man for the CIA sponsored hit of three people in Rancho Mirage, California on or about June 30, 1981.  The Cabazon Indian Reservation's head of security Fred Alavarez and his two friends had been tortured and executed at Alavarez's home on Bob Hope Drive and their bodies discovered later.  Within months the entire home was razed so that no clues remained.

Jimmy Hughes, an intelligence operative, identified himself as the bag man who delivered money to the hit man at the instructions of the CIA's front man, "Dr." John Phillip Nichols, who had been in charge of the Cabazon Indian Reservation in Indio, California since 1978. Click. When both federal and state law enforcement backed out of protecting Hughes when he came forward, Hughes left the United States for Guatemala City.  It was Hughes who could place the triple murder on the doorstep of the CIA through their operative, Nichols.  Both Alvarez and Hughes had written documentation detailing "Dr." Nichols' joint ventures with the Wackenhut Security Corporation. Former CIA Director Wm. Casey who had been Ronald Reagan's campaign chairman was chief counsel and major stockholder in Florida's Wackenhut.  One letter from John P. Nichols to his attorney dated 9-1-81 stated the joint venture had many activities throughout South America including, but not limited to, El Salvador and Guatemala.

The grisly details surrounding Ng's death  had all the ear marks of past CIA "wet jobs".  Ng had been found in his bathroom with his head propped up by two towels, a bullet through his brain.  No other tenants of the crowded apartment complex had heard anything and the bullet that killed him was never found, indicating perhaps that a silencer had been used and the scene sanitized by the killers.  In other words, it was a professional hit as opposed to a casual robbery. 


After the defeat of George H. W. Bush by Bill Clinton in the election of 1991, this reporter sought, through Congressional representatives, a CIA investigation into the execution of reporter Anson Ng.  The official reply from the CIA's Director of Congressional Affairs reads as follows:

...the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is working closely with the Intelligence Oversight Board, which has been tasked by President Clinton to investigate allegations of wrongdoing related to several cases of human rights abuse in Guatemala.  However, the CIA has no legal authority to conduct an investigation into the death of Mr. Ng. in Guatemala.

As you are aware, the CIA was established under the National Security Act of 1947 to collect, correlate, evaluate and disseminate foreign intelligence and counterintelligence and to perform such other functions related to intelligence as the National Security Council directs.  Section 102 of the National Security Act specifically prohibits the CIA from engaging in law enforcement functions.  This prohibition applies to the CIA without regard to the nature of the criminal activity or its location, foreign or domestic.   

American citizens and watch dog groups would never have heard of Anson Ng's execution if they had to rely solely on the print and television media. Without the light Senator Alan Cranston shined on the execution murder of journalist Anson Ng, the American public would  never have known that this courageous reporter was brutally shot to death simply because he wanted to expose the corruption of two nation's secret police and their banking entities.

Following the revelations about Ng's death, journalists started to organize to protest the killing of one of their own.  But before that could take place, on August 10, 1991,  another reporter was executed at the Sheraton Inn located in Martinsburg, West Virginia.  This time it was impossible to keep the murder a secret.  Headlines around the world featured the strange death of reporter Jos. "Danny" Casolaro.  There was an intense anger and a nationwide concern that had not been seen since the Don Bolles murder in 1976.

Again the murder scene was a bathtub in a bathroom in what should have been a secure room.  Again the victim was an intelligent man who could blow the whistle on the man in the White House.  This time, however, the grisly details of Casolaro's nude body lying in bath water running red with his own blood shocked even the most conservative supporter of Bush.  A handsome 44-year old man  with an athletic body,  Danny was a shy man who would not have chosen to be found naked, according to his former wife, Terrill, the mother of his son.

Casolaro was found with multiple deep cuts on both wrists, some severing the tendons.  There were no hesitation marks as is typical in such cases.  Dr. Anthony Casolaro, Danny's brother, emphasized that his brother was so squeamish about the sight of blood that he was reluctant to have his blood taken by his physician, Dr. Casolaro's business partner.

Danny was not known to be an exceptionally neat person and yet, if the official version is to be believed, his clothes were laid out neatly on the bottom of the bed.  No reporter notes or files were found in the room.  More importantly this man, who was acutely depressed and acting to end his life, took the time to take towels from the towel ring and attempt to wipe up the blood from the bathroom floor before placing the stained towels under the sink.
  
A terse suicide note was also found at the scene consisting of very few words.  Friends and family stated that this was unlike Casolaro's florid writing style where descriptive phrases often covered whole paragraphs. The note also included a statement about "God letting him in" that went against the grain of his religious upbringing.

Danny had told his brother that he had been receiving threatening phone calls and he told Tony, "If anything happens to me, don't believe it was an accident".  These revealing conversations, coupled with the fact that authorities embalmed his brother's body on a Sunday before notifying the Casolaro family in violation of West Virginia, law led Dr. Casolaro's to reject the ruling of suicide by authorities just days after Danny's death.   Danny also relayed his fears to some of his associates and to FBI agent, Thomas Gates, who was investigating an international arms dealer named Robert Booth Nichols, one of Casolaro's sources on the Inslaw case.  Following his murder, these people came forward and testified before congressional committees.

There was one major difference between the elimination of Ng and Casolaro.  Most sources allege that Ng was executed by the CIA and Casolaro was murdered, according to a national security operative of the United States Government "by agents of the Justice Department to insure his silence.  The entire matter (Casolaro murder) was handled internally by Justice and our agency was not involved."  This statement placed the death of Danny directly on the doorstep of Attorney General Richard Thornburgh.

The Inslaw case that cost reporter Casolaro his life was the umbrella that encompassed each and every major scandal dating back to the Assassination Decade.  Intricately entwined in the web of  30 years of corruption was G.W. Bush.  For a history of Pappy Bush, Click.

Two reporters working two big stories found executed in bathtubs just weeks apart in the late summer of 1991 reminded journalists and historians of another attempted intelligence hit by the butchers of the secret government.

Disavow: A CIA Saga of Betrayal published  by Diablo Western Press in 1995 and written by Rodney Stich and T. Conan Russell is the story of another handsome family man named Ron Rewald and his position as the CIA's front man in charge of another CIA bank called Bishop, Baldwin, Rewald, Dillingham, and Wong otherwise known as BBRD&W.  Rewald was a CIA operative, useful only so long as the CIA's black operation remained secret.  Once his luxurious life style in Hawaii was exposed as a CIA front to con the world's richest men,  his life was expendable and he was disavowed by the CIA.   On Pages 190 and 191, supra, the CIA's attempt to kill Ron Rewald is detailed:

Later as moonlight drenched the empty beach and swimming pool 16 floors below, two men stealthily approached and entered Ron's room.  The small light next to the bed was still on.  A blood smeared razor blade was beside the empty codeine bottle.  On the bed, splattered with blood, was an open Bible.  Near the end of the bed, on the floor, in a crumpled heap was a motionless Ron, clad only in pale blue shorts.

Angelo Cancel, a short stocky Latin roughly rolled the bloody body over with the toe of a shiny black boot.

"Okay, Rewald's not dead," Cancel told a companion.  "We're in luck."

"Great," Bob Allen said.  "Let's get him into the bathroom.  See if he'll talk."

The two men dragged Rewald's limp body into the bathroom.  They propped him up against the tub.  Cancel slapped his face.

"Shit, he's dying right now," Cancel said.

"Try giving him something to drink."

Cancel held a glass to Ron's mouth.  They slapped Ron in the face, trying to revive him.

"Son-of-a-bitch," Cancel said, frustrated.  "It's no use.    He can't swallow."   Both men were now bending over the dying chairman (of BBRD&W).

Allen continued soundly slapping him.  "Ron, Ron!  Where is the green book?"

Ron began to roll in and out of consciousness.  Cancel shook him violently and Ron's head struck the edge of the tub.

"Ron, is it here?" Allen asked.

Ron managed a weak, "no".

Cancel sneered, reached in a pocket and retrieved a Buck Knife.  Flipping open the blade, he continued to sneer and said in a soothing voice, "Ron, Ron, my friend.  We came to help you.  The company always looks after its own."  Cancel continued in the soothing voice.  Then, he dug the blade of the knife deep into the flesh of Ron's left arm below the elbow and slowly drew it across the inside of the forearm.  Blood gushed from the deep cut.

Ron felt nothing, not even the knife slash.  As the two men drank from two large bottles, they offered him some, but he couldn't drink.  Finally consciousness again faded as he heard their voices in the other room.

The two men had left Ron in a pool of blood and made a hasty search of the room.  They found nothing of interest.  As they left the hotel room, they turned to look at Ron on the floor of the bathroom.  As Cancel continued to sneer, Allen saluted good bye and closed the door.  The room slowly went black as Ron slipped back into unconsciousness.  Only the CIA has known where Ron was.

Luck was with Ron Rewald and he survived, incapacitated from his experience, to endure a trial sealed by National Security, and a long prison sentence.  Now paroled, he is now living in a secret location with his loving wife.

Anson Ng and  Danny Casolaro were not so lucky.  The scandals that consumed them have consumed us all.  We, and our children and grandchildren, continued to endure the yoke placed upon us by George H.W. Bush's secret government.

by Virginia McCullough © 10/26/04

 


 

DEADLY  1991 - YEAR OF INJUSTICE THAT TOOK DOWN A PRESIDENT
Click. THE SCANDALS HAUNTING
GEORGE H. W. BUSH IN THE RUN UP TO THE 1992 ELECTION AND HIS DEFEAT

Part 4 of a series
by Virginia McCullough and Kathryn Dixon
(Click to read Part 1) (Click to read Part 2) (
Click to read Part 3) (Click to read Part 4)