“The Octopus – Eight people who changed the course of the world, a real life “Mission Impossible” team whose gifts exploited the secret empires of rouge spy networks, big oil and organized crime.”
Handwritten note of Danny Casolaro
"That story isn't going to die as long as there's a real reporter alive, and there are a lot of them alive."
“What very few historians or other people have grasped is that intelligence has been institutionalized in our country. When the CIA was invented in 1947, we began to encrypt our history. The CIA charter said it shall be an ‘engine of conspiracy...’ ”
Jim Hougan, noted expert on Intelligence
As always, there is a pattern to the way things work in the world. When you focus not so much on events and deep politics, and on the investigators themselves, another pattern emerges. The pattern of those people that get too close to the truth. And two such people were national columnist and What’s My Line regular Dorothy Kilgallen and journalist Danny Casolaro. Both died under mysterious circumstances, Kilgallen from an alleged accidental drug overdose and Casolaro from an alleged suicide. Both said shortly before their deaths they were on the verge of big breakthroughs in their investigations. For Kilgallen, it was her research into the death of John Kennedy. For Casolaro, he was deep into investigating the theft of Inslaw’s PROMIS software. Both received warnings and death threats for their involvement with these investigations.
You Can’t Know Everybody’s Business
For many years the CIA issued an assassination handbook to each new intelligence officer. (It is unknown if it is still issued.) It mentioned various methods, guns, knives, stealth and so on. It also had sections on making the assassination look like an accident. Simulated suicide of a victim is not mentioned though seems like a viable method along with many mentioned in the manual. As stated in section #2, Accidents:
“For secret assassination, either simple or chase, the contrived accident is the most effective technique. When successfully executed, it causes little excitement and is only casually investigated...”
The key point is “casually investigated.” And that was certainly the case in Kilgallen’s death. The NYPD never interviewed the hairdresser that discovered her body. Suicides and accidental drug overdoses more than anything else provide cover. But, nothing is perfect and loose ends generally abound. Such as the suicide victim that is left handed but the gun is found in the right hand. Or in Danny Casolaro’s case, an aversion to blood and then found almost drowning in it.
So you can’t completely know everybody’s business, their personal habits, likes and dislikes. So if you wanted to off somebody and make it look like an accident or a suicide there are always going to be something out of place.
Two Bodies, Two Paths, Same Trail
Danny Casolaro was found in a Sheridan Hotel room tub filled with his own blood, his wrists deeply slit in August of 1991. His brother Tony, a doctor, pointed out that Danny was terrified of blood or anything to do with it. To take his own life that way and perish in his own blood is unconscionable. Oddly, his body was quickly embalmed without the Casolaro family’s consent. An autopsy was performed and traces of two antidepressants, Hydrocodone and Tricyclic were found in his system. Danny was never known to use drugs of this nature. They never found any prescriptions for them or medicine bottles for such drugs. No other drugs were found in his system. The only health problem discovered were Multiple Sclerosis lesions found on the brain. There was no past indication of any mental health issues. Being a writer there was nothing in his notes of having such issues.
On the other hand, if the death of Dorothy Kilgallen was a faked overdose of alcohol and barbiturates, it was done by people that had little knowledge of her or her personal habits. Dorothy’s body was discovered by her hairdresser, Marc Sinclaire on the morning of November 8, 1965. Immediately he knew things were wrong when he discovered her in the third floor bedroom of the townhouse–normally she slept in the fifth floor bedroom. She was found sitting up in bed, still wearing her make-up, false eye lashes, false hairpiece and earrings from the previous night’s TV show. Normally, she would never go to bed in this state. She was not wearing her regular pajamas, but instead a blue matching peignoir and robe. A book was on her bed, but upside down, a book she finished reading two weeks earlier. Her reading glasses were nowhere nearby. The air conditioning was on though there was no need for it being a crisp fall morning in Manhattan.
The autopsy showed her to be in overall good health, but tests found her to be over the legal limit for alcohol consumption. The cause of death would be ruled as "acute ethanol and barbiturate intoxication, circumstances undetermined." However, in 1968, a newer method of chemical detection was developed and using Kilgallen’s saved tissue samples, proved that she died of a lethal mix of three barbiturates: secobarbital, amobarbital and pentobarbital. Acute barbiturate intoxication indeed! It should be noted her favorite drink included the ingredient, quinine, which can be used to mask the taste of barbiturates. Never the less, these drugs were never found in her home and like Casolaro, there were no prescriptions or pill boxes for these drugs.
Even more peculiar was the name of the pathologist that appeared on the death certificate. Dr. James Luke, a New York City medical examiner, did the autopsy. However, another physician, Dr. Dominick DiMaio had his name signed on the death certificate. When questioned about this Dr. DiMaio said he didn’t know why his name was signed there as he was not working out of Manhattan. As he said in a 1995 interview in Midwest Today magazine, “I was in Brooklyn. Are you sure I signed it? I don't see how the hell I could have signed it in the first place. You got me." If this is true, his name was forged.
Incidentally, upon their deaths, both people had their research papers and files disappear. It’s odd because there is no reason to it. If Casolaro did commit suicide, then what did he do with his briefcase that he always carried with him? (While his briefcase may have vanished, his other files and notes were at his apartment not bothered. His family retrieved them.) The disappearing of documentation is suspicious as it’s unrelated to the event but too important a piece of evidence just to fade into nothing. If he was not murdered and made to look like something else, such as an accident or a suicide, then why do these important things go missing?
With Kilgallen her death is considered an accidental drug overdose. If that is so, then why does her JFK research file disappear upon her death? It was unknown what it contained but she did the last known interview with Jack Ruby and her file most likely contained the notes of that interview. The FBI has shown an interest when they found out her son was searching for the file in 1975, ten years after her demise. They inquired of him if he had found it yet; he had not and evidently never did. Notice the FBI, supposedly having solved the case within 24 hours in 1963, still has an interest in her files. What more could they possibly learn from that?
With Casolaro there is the cut wrists, the razor blades and the suicide note. The cause of death and the resulting evidence looks straight forward despite several kinks. The same with Kilgallen in how her body was found. It all comes down to the missing documents. The missing files are the most suspicious part of this type of event and create an air of intrigue, a sense that there is more going on than meets the eye. If the files had not gone missing there is nothing to ponder save the tragedy of the event.
Wikipedia, in their entry on Danny Casolaro states his investigation of the Octopus is a “conspiracy theory.” Seems to me, a theory can’t get you killed or cause your things to vanish. Wikipedia, while a good source for quick information is a New Media online outlet that in many ways operates like the Old Media did, or what is left of it still does. Read what you will about JFK, 9-11, or the Octopus with caution. You will only get part of the story from whomever the anonymous posters are.
Cheri Seymour, author of the The Last Circle, probably the best book on the Casolaro/Octopus/Inslaw affair, chronicles just how deep a conspiracy it really was and how deep it runs and branches out into so many other areas of lawless activity. She interviewed many of the same people as Casolaro did and gathered much of the same facts and documentation, if not more. To try and put this complicated story simply, the Inslaw company developed a database program called PROMIS which through a series of maneuvers, was pirated by the Department of Justice, reengineered with a backdoor and sold by the government to spy on other governments around the world, friends or not. Seymour eventually shows how PROMIS could be used for international money laundering from illegal drug trafficking. Sounds pretty wacky, huh? Just read it and check out her documents in the back. If you can read her book and not see a criminal conspiracy in operation here, then you can’t handle the truth of the way the world actually works.
Dorothy Kilgallen on the other hand seems to get better treatment though they have to use the John McAdams as a source, which leads to an article by an McAdams’ acolyte, Eric Paddon. Staying in style, it presents just enough information to make a Warren Commission critic appear to be a kook, in this case, Kilgallen, which is easy to do by selectively editing the facts as Paddon does. That is the M.O. of these guys whether it is McAdams, Paddon, Bugliosi and Posner–they are all cherry pickers of the evidence. They have to be in order to make it all work out right. Too bad they don’t put the government’s claims under the same withering inspection. I won’t go into the Kilgallen piece here, not because the evidence presented is so damning–but more of an issue of why bother haggling with such closed minds that use selective fact checking to build a case on something. Never the less, most of the controversial things I’ve mentioned here you won’t read on Wikipedia about this case.
By and by, Wikipedia serves to enforce the views of the status quo on the Internet under the guise of the free flow of information.
In Kilgallen and Casolaro we have two diligent and brave truth seekers that both met untimely deaths just as they were about to pull the covers off of closely held secrets and there is much here to tie them in a pattern. It is more or less the same pattern investigators of high crimes and deep politics stumble into. I just don’t understand why people in this line of work, when playing ball with the Big Boys, don’t find better ways of protecting themselves. At least have a can pepper spray available if you are not going to carry a gun. Bad people know there are lines the good people won’t cross–and they use that to their advantage.
Whether both were murdered or not is still a matter of speculation. One can never know for sure till new witnesses come forward or new evidence is discovered. However, if they were both murdered it was of no use in the long run as killing journalists does not stop the pursuit of the truth. As Dorothy Kilgallen wrote about the assassination of JFK, "That story isn't going to die as long as there's a real reporter alive, and there are a lot of them alive."
Amen! Indeed. It goes on forever.
Seymour, Cheri, The Last Circle; Proudy, Fletcher, L, The Secret Team; Gordon, Thomas, Secrets and Lies
CIA Assassination Manual Online