The book from  which  the  following  is  excerpted, The Octopus:
Secret Government and the Death of Danny Casolaro, by Kenn Thomas
and Jim Keith, will be available  in  late  November  from  Feral
House, POB 3466, Portland, OR 97208.
One  person  who  might  have  had a view of how PROMIS works was
Charles Hayes.  Newspapers identified  Hayes  as a salvage dealer
in Pulaski County, Kentucky, near the temporary home of Ari  Ben-
Menashe in Lexington, who purchased $45 worth of surplus computer
equipment  from  the  government  in  July  1990.   The equipment
included  13  terminals,  nine  printers,  two  cartridge  module
drives,   19   backup   cartridges   and   two   central   memory
units--equipment that had been  used  by the US Attorney's office
since 1983 to maintain information  via  PROMIS  on  the  witness
protection program, informants, office employees, and outstanding
grand  jury  cases.  In August, when federal officials discovered
that  a  weak  magnetic  screwdriver  had  failed  to  purge this
information  from  the  equipment  adequately,  two  FBI   agents
dispatched  to  make inquiries of Hayes were kicked out.(1) Three
days later,  Hayes  began  to  cooperate  with  the US Attorney's
office, denied that he had possession  of  any  information  that
might  have  been  on  the  equipment, and invited an inspection.
Inspectors  discovered  that  the   serial  numbers  of  the  two
cartridge modules that Hayes claimed were the ones he bought  did
not  match  the numbers of the modules the Justice Department had
sold.  (2) Hayes then claimed  he  had  sold the modules, but did
not name the purchasers until after  federal  officials  filed  a
lawsuit.(3) Justice Department attorneys later claimed that Hayes
had  indeed tried to sell the secret information to an undercover
informant, but criminal charges  were  never filed.  (4) The case
led to a congressional investigation of  computer  security;  the
Justice  Department  now  tosses rather than sells its extra data
storage devices.
(1) Baker, David L., "Computer Records Accidentally Sold,"
Lexington Herald-Leader, September 1, 1990.
(2) Baker, David L., "Buyer Says Agents Didn't Find Computer
With Secrets," Lexington Herald-Leader, September 5, 1990.
(3) "Buyer of US Computer Files To Be Disclosed," Lexington
Herald-Leader, September 6, 1990.
(4) Baker, David L., "US Says Pulaski Man Tried To Sell
Secrets," Lexington Herald-Leader, September 22, 1990.
With the help of  Wackenhut  and  the  Cabazons, according to Ari
Ben-Menashe, the US developed its own version  of  the  back-door
and the US and Israel began looking for a neutral company through
which it could sell the program to foreign intelligence services.
The  company  chosen for the task was Degem, a computer firm with
offices in  Israel,  Guatemala  and  the  South African Bantustan
homeland.  It had been taken  over  for  the  purpose  by  Robert
Maxwell,  the  publishing  mogul  who  drowned  under  mysterious
circumstances  in  1991.   Through  Maxwell's  Degem,  working in
tandem with Brian's Hadron,  the  software  found a home with the
military  regime  in  Guatemala,   where   it   tracked   leftist
insurgents.   "Even  if they traveled under a false name, various
characteristics, such as height,  hair  color, age, were fed into
roadside terminals  and  PROMIS  searched  through  its  database
looking  for  a  common denominator.  It would be able to tell an
army commander that  a  certain  dissident  who  was in the north
three days before had caught a train, then a  bus,  stayed  at  a
friend's  house,  and was now on the road under a different name.
That's  how   frightening   the   system   was."    According  to
Ben-Menashe, PROMIS was used in South Africa to track and squelch
the organizers of a strike among the black coal miners via  their
mandatory  identity  cards  (5).   Degem  also sold PROMIS to the
Soviet Union and the system  was utilized by its GRU intelligence
service at least until the coup against Mikhail Gorbachev.  (6)
(5) Oddly, a member of a congressional delegation sent on a fact-
finding tour to Johannesburg at  the  exact  moment  the  world's
second  largest platinum mine fired 20,000 black workers to end a
walk-out in January 1986, was Charles Hayes of Chicago.  The mine
was located  in  the  homeland  of  Bophuthatswana,  northwest of
Johannesburg ("South African Platinum Mine  Fires  20,000  Blacks
Over  Strike,"  Lexington  Herald  Leader,  January 7, 1986.)  In
December of that year, the Charles Hayes, who would later buy the
loaded Justice Department  computers  but  identified  then as an
attorney, was involved with a  gemstone  smuggling  operation  in
Brazil  with  links  to  Kentucky.   He  represented  one  of the
Brazilian corporations indicted  by  the  US  over the smuggling.
(White,  Jim,   Courier-Journal,   September   6,   1990.)    (6)
Ben-Menashe, Profits of War, p.  141.
Kenn Thomas publishes Steamshovel Press, a journal that regularly
examines  conspiracy  theories.   Singles  issues:  $5.50 in USA;
US$6.50 foreign.  SUbscriptions:   $22.00  in USA; US$26 foreign.
Send to Steamshovel Press, POB 23715, St. Louis,  MO  63121.   On
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