Through one of Michael's contacts, I was able to obtain the corporate documents on F.I.D.C.O. Corporation (First Intercontinental Development Corporation). This formidable organization lead me straight to the head of The Octopus. The Board of Directors of FIDCO consisted of the following principles:
(1) Robert Maheu, Sr, Vice President, Director former FBI agent, former CEO of Howard Hughes Operations, senior consultant to Leisure Industries.
(2) Michael A. McManus, Director, Vice President and General Counsel to FIDCO former Assistant to the President [Reagan] of the United States at the White House in Washington D.C.
(3) Robert Booth Nichols, Director, Sr. Vice President and Chairman of Investment Committee Chief Executive Officer of R.B.N. Companies, International, a holding company for manufacturing and development of high technology electronics, real estate development, construction and international finance.
(4) George K. Pender, Director former Director of Pacific Ocean area of Burns & Roe, Inc., an international engineering & construction corporation with active projects on all seven continents of the world. Senior engineer consultant to Burns & Roe, Inc.
(5) Kenneth A. Roe, Director Chairman and President of Burns & Roe, Inc., International engineers and Constructors, a family corporation owned by Kenneth Roe and family. Major current project of the company is the engineering design and construction of the U.S.A. Fast Breeder Nuclear Reactor Plant in conjunction with Westinghouse Electric Corporation which is responsible for the nuclear system supply of steam. Construction value of present business backlog of Burns & Roe, Inc. is in excess of six billion U.S. dollar.
(6) Frances T. Fox, Vice President and Director former General Manager of L.A. International Airport, former Director of Aviation for Howard Hughes Nevada operations, now called Summa Corporation, City Manager of San Jose, California.
(7) Clint W. Murchison, Jr. Director Owner of the Dallas Cowboys NFL football team.
(8) William M. Pender, Director and Sr. Vice President licensed contractor, State of California.
(9) Glen R. Shockley, Director Consultant to Fortune 500 Companies in business management. Internationally known as financial consultant in funding.
The list of directors was accompanied by a letter dated January 11, 1983 on FIDCO letterhead originating out of Santa Monica, California addressed to Robert Booth Nichols in Marina Del Rey, California. The letter, signed by George K. Pender, briefly referenced a copy of a resolution resulting from a meeting of the Board of Directors of FIDCO.
On April 13, 1983, Robert Booth Nichols wrote a letter to Joseph F. Preloznik in Madison, Wisconsin, outlining proposed arms projects, one of which was to build a two story building of approximately 7500 square feet with concrete walls and floors to house the "R & D position." (I later found the R & D facility referenced in a 1981 Wackenhut Interoffice memorandum as a companion facility to Wackenhut to be constructed on the Cabazon Indian reservation for the assembly of shell casings, propellants, war heads, fuses, combustible cartridge cases and other weapons systems).
Nichols wrote to Preloznik, "Should there be any questions with regard to my credibility, verification can be made through F.I.D.C.O. I have enclosed a copy of that appointment."
If in fact, F.I.D.C.O. was a vehicle of The Octopus, then the tentacles of its Board of Directors lead straight to the head. Clint Murchison, Jr. of Dallas, Texas was the son of Clint Murchison, Sr. who, according to Dick Russell, author of the book, "The Man Who Knew Too Much," (pp. 521523) was cut from the same political cloth as H.L. Hunt.
"Back in 1951, after General Douglas MacArthur was relieved of his Korean command by President Truman, H.L. Hunt accompanied MacArthur on a flight to Texas for a speaking tour. Hunt and Murchison were the chief organizers of the pro-MacArthur forces in Texas. They would always remember the general standing bareheaded in front of the Alamo, urging removal of the `burden of taxation' from enterprising men like themselves, charging that such restraints were imposed by `those who seek to convert us to a form of socialistic endeavor, leading directly to the path of Communist slavery.'"
According to Russell, Hunt went on to set up a Mac-Arthur-for-president headquarters in Chicago, spending $150,000 of his own money on the general's reluctant 1952 campaign, which eventually fell apart as MacArthur adopted the strident rhetoric of the right wing.
"Still, connections were made," wrote Russell, "Charles Willoughby, for example, was a regular part of the MacArthurHunt entourage and undoubtedly was acquainted with Murchison as well." Both [the Hunts and the Murchisons] cultivated not only powerful people on the far right, but also J. Edgar Hoover, Richard Nixon, organized crime figures, and Lyndon Johnson, whose rise to power emanated directly from his friends in Texas oil.
"Like Hunt, Murchison was an ardent supporter of Senator Joseph McCarthy's anticommunist crusade. McCarthy came often to the exclusive hotel that Murchson opened in La Jolla, California, in the early 1950's. So did Richard Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover.
"In 1961, after Nixon had lost the presidential election to JFK the previous year, Murchison sold Nixon a lot in Beverly Hills for only $35,000 a lot Murchison had financed through a Hoffa loan which Nixon sold two years later for $86,000.
When Hoover visited the (Murchison) Hotel Del Charro, as he did every summer between 1953 and 1959, Murchison picked up his tab. That amounted to about $19,000 of free vacations for the FBI Director over those years.
Whether Hoover knew it or not, almost 20 percent of the Murchison Oil Lease Company in Oklahoma was then owned by Gerardo Catena, chief lieutenant to the Genovese crime family.
By the autumn of 1963, a major scandal was brewing around Bobby Baker, whom Vice President Lyndon Johnson had made secretary of the Senate Democrats in 1955, when LBJ was majority leader. LBJ called Baker "my strong right arm, the last man I see at night, the first I see in the morning."
On October 8, 1963 Baker was forced to resign, as a Senate investigation of his outside business activities began producing sensational testimony on numerous questionable deals.
"Baker's deals were tightly interwoven with the Murchison family and the Mob," wrote Dick Russell. "What first attracted the attention of Senate investigators was a lawsuit brought against Baker in 1963 by his associates in a vending company, alleging that he failed to live up to certain bargains. Those associates were, for the most part, Las Vegas gamblers; one of them, Edward Levinson, was a lieutenant of Florida mobster Meyer Lansky, whose Fremont Hotel in Vegas was financed through a Hoffa loan.
"Baker, it later turned out, did considerable business with the Mob in Las Vegas, Chicago, Louisiana, and the Caribbean. Through Baker, Levinson had also gotten to know Clint Murchison."
"Clint Murchison, Jr. [listed on the Board of Directors of FIDCO] tried to persuade the Senate Rules Committee in 1964 that his own real estate dealings with Jimmy Hoffa in Florida were `hardly relevant' to the Baker investigation."
Robert Maheu (Senior Vice President and Director of F.I.D.C.O.), was also mentioned in Russell's book, "The Man Who Knew Too Much," (pp. 190). Wrote Russell: "Back in 1960, with then vice president Richard Nixon serving as the White House's liaison to the CIA's Cuban operations, the CIA had initiated its long series of assassination attempts against Castro. The `cutouts' in the operation started with Las Vegas billionaire Howard Hughes's righthand man, Robert Maheu, who got in touch with organized crime leaders Sam Giancana, Johnny Rosselli, and Santos Trafficante, Jr. They in turn enlisted the direct assistance of Cuban exiles ..."
Throughout my conversations with Michael Riconosciuto the names of Robert Booth Nichols, George Pender, Glenn Shockley and Michael McManus (other directors of F.I.D.C.O.) cropped up repeatedly, but I found few references to them in any published books or magazines. Riconosciuto often stated that George Pender and Glenn Shockley were CIA officials, which I later corroborated through Peter Zokosky, a partner of Robert Booth Nichols's.
In August, 1994, I did, however, manage to obtain three significant letters with the signatures of Michael A. McManus and George Pender on them.
The following letters on F.I.D.C.O. confirm its presence in Lebanon.
Letter No. 1 Written on White House letterhead stationary, dated, June 29, 1983, from Michael A. McManus, Assistant to the President (Reagan) to George K. Pender in Santa Monica, California:
It was good to see you again. I appreciate the update you and your associates gave me concerning the status of your efforts in the rebuilding of Lebanon.
"Without question FIDCO seems to have a considerable role to offer particularly in the massive financial participation being made available to the government of Lebanon.
"As you are aware, the United States government is providing financial aid. We are very interested in the success of the rebuilding effort in Lebanon. I will appreciate your continuing to keep me posted. Best personal regards. Sincerely,
Michael A. McManus, Assistant to the President."
It is interesting to note that in 1982, one year before the above letter was written, Israel invaded Lebanon in a bid to crush the PLO strongholds there and install the Gamayel family in power. At that time TelAviv was supporting the ultraright Christian Phalange militia . It was the Christian Phalangist militia which first brought Lebanon into the heroin trade. And the powerful Christian Gamayel family which led the way in turning to outside forces for money, guns and political support. Foremost among those sources was the international heroin trafficking network.
This according to Bill Weinberg, editor of High Times magazine, who wrote the indepth article, "The Syrian Connection" in March 1993. Weinberg also noted that as far back as 1955, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearings learned that Sami el Khouri, the Gamayel's chief of finances, was importing raw Turkish opium into Lebanon, where it was processed into heroin and then shipped to Sicily for reexport throughout America and Europe.
El Khouri controlled the Gamayel family's shipping lines, trading, trucking and air freight companies. El Khouri's machine was the Lebanese wing of the French Connection the wing that continued to do business with the Sicilians in a bid to propel the Gamayel family to power.
After the Israeli invasion, the Lebanese Parliament elected to the presidency Bechir Gamayel who had long been on the CIA payroll. But before he could take office, Bashir was killed by an assassins bomb, and Bechir's brother, Amin, was installed as president.
The following letter from George Pender, President of FIDCO, to President Amin Gamayel in Beirut is printed in its entirety here.
Letter No. 2 Written on F.I.D.C.O. letterhead stationary, dated July 12, 1983, from George K. Pender, President of FIDCO, to President Amin Gamayel, Presidential Palace, Beirut, Lebanon.:
"Dear Mr. President:
I had visited Beirut in February and May, 1983 to discuss FIDCO participation in the redevelopment of Lebanon. These meetings were held with the Chamouns, Maurice Ghanem and Mourad Baroudy. Of particular interest is the fact that FIDCO offered to arrange the financing of projects considered, provided they were in the government sector. Unfortunately, the response, to date, is dragging and a golden opportunity for Lebanon is slowly dying.
"I had made no effort to see you at that time as I thought it more prudent to delay until I had something more tangible to present. I expressed specific interest in the rebuilding of Damour and Alkhyam. FIDCO has presented these projects to an international Trust with whom we have a close relationship, and we are very confident that we can arrange the funding under International Chamber of Commerce format, provided FIDCO can negotiate turnkey contracts on both projects. We are ready, willing and able to proceed immediately on this basis.
"I understand you will be at the White House on July 22nd. Would it be possible for me to meet with you in Washington, D.C. on July 21st briefly so that I may personally present our interest in Lebanon? As per copy of attached letter, the White House is actively interested in our efforts.
"For your personal information, I was a good friend of Bechir. I was with him in Beirut in 1976 when the Syrian Army came in to police. When he later visited the United States on a speaking tour, my wife and I went to Framingham, Massachusetts to meet with him. I miss him tremendously.
"I would appreciate your reply as soon as possible. You can also reach me via telex 652483 RBN [Robert Booth Nichols] ASSOCS LSA. Thank you for your time and consideration. Sincerely yours,
George K. Pender."
I cannot stress enough the importance of this letter From George Pender to Amin Gamayel. In the very first paragraph of Pender's letter he noted that "Maurice Ghanem" participated in the meetings held in Beirut in May 1983 to discuss F.I.D.C.O.'s participation in the redevelopment of Lebanon.
Michael Riconosciuto had stated (on page 40 of this manuscript) that he had worked directly under "Maurice Ganem" and George Pender in Lebanon! Riconosciuto had explained that Maurice had a "relative, either a brother or a cousin, who was a senior DEA official with Michael Hurley."
Then, in a 1993 book entitled, "Trail of the Octopus" by Donald Goddard with Lester Coleman, on page 152, I stumbled across the name of Fred Ganem in the following context: "The number of DEAcontrolled deliveries of heroin down the pipeline to the United States had increased noticeably during the winter as a result of Fred Ganem's special knowledge of the Lebanese communities in Detroit, Houston and Los Angeles."
This was independent corroboration of a link between F.I.D.C.O. (George Pender and Michael McManus) and the very same heroin operation in Nicosia, Cyprus which Riconosciuto had described in detail to me in December 1991!
It also directly connected George Pender with Michael T. Hurley. Goddard and Coleman recounted how "members of the Jafaar clan and other DEA couriers would arrive at Larnaca with suitcases full of highgrade heroin, white and crystal, and be met off the boat ... by officers of the Cypriot Police Narcotics Squad, who then drove them up to the Euramae office in Nicosia."In his interview with R.J. (page 37), Riconosciuto had maintained that "F.I.D.C.O. had a companion company called Euramae Trading ..." Three years later, "Trail of the Octopus," described Euramae as such: "Coleman was given a desk at the Euramae Trading Company., Ltd., a DEA/CIA `front' newly set up by the Cypriot Police Narcotics Squad in a luxury three bedroomed penthouse apartment down the street from the US Embassy. It gave him the creeps from the start.
"Intended as a place where DEA and CIA agents could meet unobserved with informants and clients, as a message drop for CIA arms dealers supplying Iraq and the Afghan rebels, as a waiting room for DEA CI's and couriers from Lebanon, and as a transit point, not just for heroin, but for cash, documents and bootleg computer software moving to and fro along the BeirutNicosiaUS pipeline, Eurame, as run by ElJorr, was more like a lowlife social club than a secret intelligence centre."
Coleman had complained to Hurley, but Hurley had just brushed it aside.
It is noteworthy that George Pender listed Robert Booth Nichols's "telex" number at the bottom of his letter to Lebanon President Amin Gamayel. During that time span, Nichols and Pender (when they weren't in Lebanon) were operating a NSC listening post from a condo at Marina Del Rey. It was allegedly the U.S. end of the Nicosia, Cyprus operation. Michael Riconosciuto, Ted Gunderson and Allan Boyak, an attorney representing Riconosciuto, all had stories to tell about apartment number "007." More on this in a moment. Next, was the Lebanese response to George Pender's aforementioned letter (No.2).
Letter No. 3 Written on Arab Bank Limited letterhead, dated November 23, 1983, from Abdul Majeed Shoman, Chairman/General Manager of Arab Bank Limited in Amman, Jordan to George K. Pender in Santa Monica, California:
"Dear Mr. Pender:
Mr. Ahmad has talked to me about the fund to reconstruct Lebanon and we the Arab Bank together with a group of other banks will be glad to cooperate with you concerning this respect.
"We shall discuss, in future, how this cooperation will be made and on what conditions and plans.
"You have mentioned in your letter to Mr. Ahmad on September 27th that this fund amounts to US$ three billion or more. There is no problem to take care of this by the Arab Bank and the other group of banks as stated above. The terms and conditions will be discussed with you provided the condition is clear in Lebanon and subject to the approval and counter guarantees of the Lebanese Authority. Yours sincerely,
Abdul Majeed Shoman, Chairman/General Manager."
It is unlikely any "reconstruction" (funded by F.I.D.C.O.) ever took place in Lebanon. Only a Congressional investigation could determine what the US$three billion dollars was actually used for.
The next document, pertaining to Robert Booth Nichols, Senior Vice President of F.I.D.C.O., originated from an interview between Jeffrey Steinberg, a writer for Executive Intelligence Review, and Allan Boyak, an attorney in Utah whom Michael Riconosciuto contacted immediately after his arrest in Washington state.
Michael T. Hurley had allegedly been transferred from Nicosia, Cyprus to DEA in Washington state shortly before Michael's arrest. Riconosciuto's arrest had taken place with a week after signing the Inslaw affidavit.
It is noteworthy that Danny Casolaro also contacted and interviewed Allan Boyak shortly before his death. According to Ted Gunderson and others who knew Danny, Boyak met with Casolaro in Washington D.C. and provided him with a copy of a transcript of the meeting between himself (Boyak), Riconosciuto, and Ted Gunderson, who at that time was Riconosciuto's investigator.
I later obtained the same transcript from Gunderson's live-in partner, J.M., and have related the contents of that explosive transcript in Chapter 13.
Meanwhile, the following "Memorandum for the File," dated 62591, was written by Steinberg after his interview with Boyak: (Excerpted)
"I met at length Saturday, June 22, 1991 with Allan Boyak, an attorney from Utah who is representing Michael Riconosciuto in his pending drug case. Boyak is not the lead attorney and will not apparently be making court appearances in the case.
"Boyak recounted the following personal background information: He was in the U.S. Army in Special Forces and apparently did some contract work for the CIA during the 1960's and early 1970's. At some point in the early 70's, he worked briefly for the Drug Enforcement Administration (or its antecedent agency), being stationed in California.
"Boyak had some falling out with the DEA and left the government service altogether, entering law school. While in law school, Boyak became friendly with Jim Nichols, a classmate. Nichols told him that he had a brother who was heavily involved in organized crime and had been disowned by his family.
"Once out of law school, Boyak joined a Hollywood law firm and became involved in criminal defense work, representing a number of well placed West Coast drug traffickers. At some point, Boyak moved to Utah (he is a practicing Mormon), while retaining his California law practice on a parttime basis.
"In addition to his o.c. [organized crime] clientel, Boyak also maintained contacts and apparently did some legal work for some of his old buddies from his Green Beret and CIA days. One such pal was Art Suchesk, who ran a CIA proprietary company called Hoffman Electronics.
" ... At some point in the late 1970's, one of Boyak's clients, a Mormon old boy named Cap Kressop, who was a technical wizard, was approached by Robert Nichols and asked to manufacture a prototype laser site for a rifle. Kressop was offered a $200,000 contract for the job but he became suspicious when Nichols wanted to pay him in cash.
"Boyak contacted Nichols at his Marina Del Rey, California home/office [apartment "007"] and the two had a lengthy meeting there. Boyack's description of that meeting is that it was continuously interrupted by telephone calls and telex messages. Boyak came away convinced that Nichols was involved in large scale illegal drug operations.
"After consulting with one of his close friends from Green Beret days, then an assistant U.S. Attorney named Dexter Leitenen (now the Miami U.S. Attorney), Boyak went to the Los Angeles FBI office with the suspicions about Nichols' activities.
"The FBI background check [conducted by Ted Gunderson] on Robert Booth Nichols (born 1943 or 1944 he couldn't remember for sure) revealed that he was `squeeky clean.' In fact, he had a Class I machine gun license.
"Boyak did discover, however, that one of the people Nichols referenced as a business associate and personal friend, Harold Okimoto, was believed by some of his sources to be a top Japanese organized crime figure based in Hawaii. Okimoto was described as a top agent in the Yakuza overseas.
"Over the next two year period, after the L.A. FBI had dropped any interest in the Nichols matter, Boyack's friend, [Arthur] Suchesk, repeatedly ran into Nichols in such places as Singapore, the Philippines, and Taiwan. Suchesk was based out of Zurich, Switzerland during this period, apparently still doing his front man work for the CIA.
"Boyak says that information developed during this period, through Suchesk and others, [indicated] that Nichols was indeed a bigtime drug dealer who was very well insulated from any U.S. law enforcement problems. Nichols operated exclusively overseas. Whenever he came to the United States, he never engaged in any illegal activities.
"However, Boyak described Nichols' rum importing business as a cover for bigtime heroin trafficking from the Golden Triangle. Nichols was also named as `Mr. Big', according to Boyak, in the Medellin Cartel, in drug prosecutions in Utah and Los Angeles.
"Three to four years ago, Boyack received an out of the blue telephone call from Michael Riconosciuto. Michael identified himself as a former employee of Robert Nichols. He also referenced Ted Gunderson as a `mutual friend.' Boyak had only met Ted once very briefly when he was pressing the L.A. FBI to look into the Nichols dope suspicions ..."
" ... Then in April 1991, Boyak received a phone call from Ted Gunderson, informing him that `Michael was in trouble. He was caught in a government frameup.'
"Boyak returned to his background profile of Bob Nichols, parts of which were apparently provided by Bob's estranged brother, Jim Nichols. It seems that as a young man, Robert Nichols wound up in Hawii functioning as a hitman for the Tongs. He was `adopted' as the Yakuza godson of Harold Okimoto, a 67yearold car dealer in Hawaii.
"Nichols grew up to be a big business front man for the Far East syndicate. He reportedly laundered between $50200 million for Ferdinand Marcos. He now owns an estate in Hawaii, a feudal castle outside of Milan, Italy and the referenced Marina Del Ray home in California.
"Nichols has an office in Zurich. At one point, he was reportedly involved in the smuggling of China White heroin into Mexico where it was treated to look like the Mexican brown heroin which was more popular at the time.
"It should be emphasized that all of this information about Robert Nichols comes exclusively from Allan Boyak. None of it has yet been independently corroborated to my knowledge. Bill Hamilton and some other people involved in tracking the Inslaw story have all spoken to [Robert] Nichols and report that he has been straightforward with them and has provided leads and documents re: Michael Riconosciuto.
"Nichols is listed on the board of directors of First Intercontinental Development Corporation (FIDCO) along with George Pender and several officials of the Howard Hughes linked Suma Corporation."
One of the most surprising, and disturbing, documents I found in Michael Riconosciuto's hidden files (see Chapter 9) was an envelope with a notation on it, handwritten and signed by Ted Gunderson, which read as follows:
"Michael: Raymond [Lavas] is arriving at LAX, 7:55 p.m., Air Canada via flight 793 from Toronto. Will have to go through Customs. This will give us another member for our drug/arms operation. Only problem [is] Raymond will probably be using instead of selling. Sorry I didn't get to D.A. office. I tried to call, but no answer. By the time I fought the traffic to the bank and did my banking, it was too late Will be home tonight (818) 8806238. T.G."
Raymond Lavas was Ted Gunderson's forensic expert when he worked for the FBI. Lavas was in constant contact with Bobby Riconosciuto after Michael was incarcerated. In fact, everyone was watching Michael and Bobby very closely.
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