Welcome to the fourth installment in a series that began as an examination of the ties between President Donald J. Trump and organized crime. This series grew out of a prior blog I had published in October of 2017 that considered his brief tenure as CEO of the infamous gaming interest known as Resorts International.
As was noted there, Resorts was a major powerhouse during its heyday of the early 1970s. Its famed casino on Paradise Island in the Bahamas frequently attracted such Overworld figures as President Richard M. Nixon and reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes during this era. But in addition to Hughes, guests also included rogue financier Robert Vesco and Vatican bank head Paul Marcinkus (noted before here), who would end up knee deep in his own financial scandals by the early 1980s.
But in addition to the rogue financiers, there was also shareholders such as William Mellon Hitchcock, who at one time was the banker for the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, the largest LSD smuggling network in the world. Hitchcock and other shareholders had their accounts managed by the Castle Bank & Trust, an infamous CIA-linked institution that has long been used to launder the proceeds from drug and arms sells. And the casino itself was heavily staffed by various Mafioso, many linked to Meyer Lansky.
Probably the most curious aspect of Resorts, however, was its ownership of a private intelligence agency known as Intertel. Staffed extensively by many "former" US intelligence assets, Intertel first gained notoriety in 1970 when it "rescued" Howard Hughes from his Las Vegas residence. Hughes was rarely seen in the flesh again after this event and there has been much speculation for years that Intertel had kidnapped Hughes with an eye towards taking over his vast business empire.
But, as we saw in part one of this series, Trump was already well acquainted with the Syndicate by this time. When of his key early backers was a reputed member of the Genovese crime family known as Edward "Biff" Halloran. As was noted in the second installment of this series, Halloran was a former business partner of Bradley Bryant, who by the late 1970s was operating a vast drug and arms trafficking network known as "the Company." Halloran played a key role in getting the Company off the ground during the late 1970s when had also begun to work with Trump.
Both Bryant and his business partner, Andrew "Drew" Thornton, were both military veterans and the Company recruited heavily from such ranks to staff their operation. They leaned heavily on Soldier of Fortune magazine for personnel. The magazine's founder, Robert K. Brown, had very extensive ties to the CIA. In general, it was widely believed by law enforcement personnel that investigated the Company that it had some type of relationship with the CIA.
As was noted in part three, Halloran was not Trump's only tie to the Company. Beginning in the mid-1970s, Trump began making frequent pilgrimages to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, which was being used extensively by the Company to launder drug money at the time. By the early 1980s he had become a regular on the Kentucky Derby set, which featured many Kentucky politicians and business people in league with the Company. One of them was Governor John Y. Brown, who would go on to move into Trump Tower in 1984 after he lost his reelection bid, thanks in no small part to allegations concerning his ties to the Company. Around this time Trump Tower become a mecca for laundering dirty money, as was noted in part one, not unlike how Caesars Palace had been used in the prior decade. As was noted in part three, John Y. was believed to be a hidden owner of Caesars during this era before moving on to Trump Tower in the 1980s.
As I wrapped up the installment, I began to consider the background of the man who likely initiated Trump into these circles, namely his longtime attorney and political mentor Roy Cohn. Cohn was a longtime darling of the far right --he had served as Joseph McCarthy's lead council during his communist witch hunts in the 1950s. During this time he also developed an intense hatred for the Kennedy family.
By the early 1960s Cohn was close to the mob and reportedly a member of Permindex, an organization long linked to the JFK assassination. Not long afterwards he would also become the New York City attorney for Greek shipping magnet Aristotle Onassis, who is alleged to have put up the money for RFK's assassination.
While Cohn was first introduced the conspiratorial lexicon around 1970 thanks to the references to him in the controversial "Torbitt document," it wasn't until the early 1990s that rumors began to emerge concerning the incredible lengths to which his relationship with the US intelligence community went. Amusingly, these allegations were started by a former CIA officer who had participated in the highly controversial Phoenix Program.
I am of course referring to former Nebraska state senator John DeCamp, who claimed:
"... According to the former head of the vice squad for one of America's biggest cities, 'Cohn's job was to run the little boys. Say you had an admiral, a general, a congressman, who did not want to go along with the program. Cohn's job was to set them up, then they would go along. Cohn told me that himself.' "
(The Frankln Cover-Up, John DeCamp, pg. 179)As I've noted over the years, I'm not a huge fan of DeCamp's and corroboration for his claims in this regard is mixed at best. DeCamp also alleges that one of Cohn's key collaborators in this work was infamous DC lobbyist and public relations guru Robert Keith Gray. To establish Gray's bonafides as a honey trap specialist for the CIA, DeCamp repeats claims initially made by the great Jim Hougan that disgraced CIA veteran Edwin Wilson (addressed before here) was running sexual blackmail operations out of a certain D.C.-based club Gray was an early president and frequent guest of beginning in the late 1960s. Here is the relevant passage from Hougan's classic Secret Agenda, which DeCamp also quotes at length:
"According to fugitive ex-CIA officer Frank Terpil, CIA-directed sexual blackmailing operations were intensive in Washington about the time of the Watergate scandal. One of those operations, Terpil claims, was run by his former partner, Ed Wilson. Wilson's base of operations for arranging trysts for the politically powerful was, Terpil says, Korean agent Tong Sun Park's George Town Club..."
(Secret Agenda, Jim Hougan, pg. 120)
|"Big" Ed Wilson|
"Wilson's immediate motive for meeting Gray was to discover the relationship between Gray and a young Korean named Tongsun Park who first came to the United States in 1956 to attend Georgetown University. Park subsequently dropped out of college, but for a college drop-out he was rubbing elbows with some of the biggest names in Washington society, thanks largely to introductions from Gray. Park came from a family with long ties to Korean intelligence, and American oil companies that did business in Korea.
"By 1965 the CIA became interested in young Park because, with Gray's help, he had formed a new, exclusive social club named The George Town Club after its location. Park had been working on organizing the club for years. He was loading his new social club with founders, members, and management with ties to U.S. intelligence. Park put up the money and, with introductions from Gray and others, recruited founders for the club like the late Marine General Graves B. Erskine, who had an active intelligence career. Anna Chennault, the powerful advocate in America for Nationalist China, became a force in the club. Others followed, and most, like Gray, had the same conservative political outlook, connections to the intelligence world, or 'congressional overtones.' "
(The Power House, Susan B. Trento, pgs. 97-98)
It is interesting to note than many of the individuals and organizations linked to the Company in the second installment of this series such as Robert K. Brown, Mitchell WerBell III and the Medellin Cartel, had extensive ties to the WACL as well. The links between the Medellin Cartel and the WACL, noted before here, are especially interesting and relevant to the series, as shall be revealed in a future installment. But moving along.
The George Town Club appears then to have been a front for this network, especially the APACL associates and their American backers. This researcher tends to believe Wilson's claims that he was dispatched by the CIA to keep tabs on what was going on at the George Town Club as factions of the US intelligence community and Overworld were becoming quite disillusioned with the China Lobby at the time.
Let us now return to DeCamp's allegations, which essentially were that Robert Keith Gray was involved in sexual blackmail operations and that he was a protege of Roy Cohn's. As to the former, there are some indications that Gray may have had dealings in a certain honey trap operation by the 1980s (more on that in a moment), but evidence for such things happening at the George Town Club is quite scarce. While there can be little doubt that the club was used to influence American politicians, as far as this researcher can tell, this was accomplished through good old fashioned bribes, not trysts.
|The George Town Club|
Several years after the George Town/Koreagate scandal had subsided, Gray was implicated in a D.C.-based prostitution ring with deep implications.
"In June 1982, the FBI began investigating allegations made by a male congressional page (a high school student working for the Congress, usually as a messenger) that he had been solicited by a congressman, and that several of his fellow pages had told him about sexual activities with members of Congress. A couple weeks later, on July 1, Congressman Louis Stokes, the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, known as the Ethics Committee, announced that the Committee was joining the FBI and local law enforcement in their investigations. Stokes said the Ethics Committee would widen the scope of the investigation to include a range of alleged irregularities on Capitol Hill including sexual relations between pages and congressmen and charges that a cocaine and marijuana ring operated in Congress and used pages and congressional employees as couriers...
"Gray's name first surfaced as the result of an anonymous tip to the House Ethics Committee accusing Gray of using drugs and sexual activity to lobby Congressman..."
(The Power House, Susan Trento, pg. 176)Gray was accused of being in league with a D.C.-based male prostitution ring being run by a former Justice Department official then working as a consultant to Congress and a photographer who ran a local photoshop. Nothing ultimately came of these allegations, though certainly the investigation was not helped by the fact that several of the private detectives being used by Congress were also working for Gray at the same time. But moving along.
|Robert Keith Gray|
Certainly it is tempting to speculate that their relationship was much closer than what is publicly known. Both men first rose to prominence in D.C. during the 1950s, though Cohn's time there was winding down by 1956 when Gray first made the scene. Both men traveled in the same circles and appear to have been especially close to a certain CIA director whom shall be addressed in a moment. And both men were gay Republicans in era when such things were kept deep in the closet. But when all is said and done, there does not appear to be any definitive evidence concerning the extent of their relationship, only that they traveled in the same social circles and knew one another. It is interesting to note, however, that Tom Fortuin, Gray's attorney during the prostitution ring allegations, hailed from New York City and was apparently a good friend of Cohn's.
Before leaving this topic there are two interesting points worth making. One was the suspected ties between the Company and the arms smuggling operation of Ed Wilson in Libya.
"Defense and Treasury Department investigators intensified their probe of the China Lake thefts, searching for links to ex-spies Wilson and Terpil. Like the Bryants, Wilson and Terpil had recruited China Lake employees to build bombs destined for Libya, and had sponsored repeated thefts from China Lake. Larry Barcella, assistant U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., was on the brink of seeking a federal indictment for Wilson and Terpil for their role in supplying weapons and terrorist training to Qaddafi. Interviewed by ATF agents about the matter, Barcella said he had no evidence a connection existed between the Wilson/Terpil network and Bradley Bryant. Although there was a great deal of suspicion that some of the items Bradley Bryant had in his possession in Philadelphia were bound for Libya, coupled with the insistence by the Philadelphia police that Terpil had visited Bryant at the Sheraton prior to Bryant's arrest, Barcella was unable to prove that a relationship existed."
(The Bluegrass Conspiracy, Sally Denton, pg. 129)Denton indicates, however, that many law enforcement personnel believed that a connection existed. Certainly there were more than a few similarities between the operations being overseen by Wilson, especially there emphasis on gunrunning and the use of "former" US military personnel to assist in these activities. For more information on the Company's use of mercenaries and their thefts from China Lake, check the second installment.
The other point worth mentioning is a certain woman who played a crucial role in Gray's rise to prominence in D.C. during the 1950s: socialite and heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post. Post inherited the General Foods corporation from her father at age 27 and by the early twentieth century was reportedly the richest woman in the United States. Gray was a regular attendee at her D.C.-based parties in the 1950s and she seems to have played a key role in introducing him to a clique of powerful, rightward leaning women such as Anna Chennault and Clare Booth Luce who would remain key backer of Gray's for decades.
|the legendary Mrs. Post|
"... Wilson recalled that Gray and Park entertained most of Washington society at The George Town Club, including the late Marjorie Merriweather Post. Gray would arrange to invite senators and congressmen down to Mara Largo, her vast Palm Beach mansion. Ed Wilson said he sometimes went on these trips. 'Mrs. Post used to come in quite a bit because Gray was very close to Mrs. Post. When she went down to Florida to her big mansion down there, he [Gray] used to fly senators and stuff down there and they had contact. I don't think it was business, just social. I used to see her all the time down there.' "
(The Power House, Susan Trento, pg. 101)Yes dear reader, the Mar-a-Lago mentioned above is the same Florida mansion that the Orange One is presently using as the White House South. By the time Trump purchased it in 1985, Post had been dead since 1973. At the time of Post's death, the mansion had been willed to the United States Department of the Interior as a national landmark and a possible presidential retreat.
But throughout the 1970s Congressman Paul G. Rogers urged that the estate should be returned to the Post Foundation, a trust Post had established to manage her estate. Curiously, Rogers was the brother of Doyle Rogers, Post's longtime attorney who was tasked with managing her estate via the Post Foundation. When Mar-a-Lago was returned to Post Foundation in 1980, Doyle became the one tasked with selling the mansion.
Doyle eventually agreed to sell Mar-a-Lago to Trump in 1985, after the Orange One had been making bids on it since 1983. Reportedly a more lucrative offer was on the table from an interest based out of Houston at the time, but Doyle Rogers opted to sell the propriety to Trump anyway. Shortly thereafter he became Trump's Palm Beach attorney and frequented represented the Orange against complaints emanating from his use of Mar-a-Lago.
Spence originally began his professional career as a journalist, serving as ABC's Vietnam correspondent during the war's height in the late 1970s. He then left ABC and Vietnam in 1970 and relocated to Japan. There he developed contacts with the aristocratic Shiina family, who were very prominent in the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party, which has almost exclusively ruled Japan since the end of World War II. As was noted before here, the Liberal Democratic Party was very close to both the Yakuza and the old Asian People's Anti-Communist League clique noted above.
Spence used his ties with the Shiina family to establish himself as a powerful Republican lobbyist in the D.C. area by the early 1980s. It was the Shiina family that provided Spence with the money he used to procure his home in D.C.'s Kalorama area, which reportedly was used to entrap various VIPs in the city. Spence ran up a nearly $20,000-a month tab with a local homosexual escort service to provide entertainment at his famed parties there in addition to providing ample amounts of cocaine. More than a few guests believed that the drug-fueled sexual escapades were being recorded by an elaborate surveillance system Spence had throughout the house.
"... the Washington Times expanded considerable amounts of ink fleshing out Spence's blackmail enterprise: A Washington Times article from June 1989, 'Power Broker Served Drugs, Sex at Parties Bugged for Blackmail,' revealed the strange goings-on at Spence's DC home: 'Several former associate said his house on Wyoming Avenue was bugged and had a secret two-way mirror, and that he attempted to ensnare visitors into compromising sexual encounters that he could then uses leverage.'
"According to interviews conducted by Washington Times reporters, Spence had an eight-foot-long, two-way mirror overlooking his library they gave him a prime vantage point for 'spying on guests.' Bugs were also scattered throughout various nooks and crannies within his house...
"A former Reagan administration official who worked at the US Information Agency attended soirees at Spence's home, and he disclosed to Washington Times reporters that he personally observed a cornucopia of recording and taping equipment. 'It was my clear impression that the house was bugged,' he said. An Air Force sergeant whom Spence employed as a bodyguard corroborated accounts of blackmail: 'The house was definitely bugged. I can't say what he was doing with the information. I don't know that. But he was recording whatever occurred there.' "
(The Franklin Scandal, Nick Bryant, pgs. 301-302)
|Craig J. Spence|
Spence has also been fingered as an associate of former Nebraska state representative Larry E. King by numerous eyewitnesses. King was the head of the now defunct Franklin Community Federal Credit Union in Omaha, Nebraska. Franklin collapsed in 1988 as part of the unfolding savings and loan crisis of the late 1980s. As investigators began to take a look at King and Franklin, allegations began to emerge that King was a leading figure in a nationwide pedophile ring that recruited children from the Omaha area. Several of these kids would go on to allege encounters with Spence via King.
Henry Vinson, the so-called "D.C. Madam" who provided many of the male escorts for Spence's parties, also alleged to have seen King and Spence together and to have overheard them speaking of a pedophile ring they were both involved in. He also alleged that Spence repeatedly pushed him to procure underage boys for his parties, which Vinson refused to do.
The allegations concerning King, often referred to as the "Franklin scandal," remain highly controversial. Charges against King involving pedophilia were thrown out years ago, but several of his reputed underage prostitutes managed to successfully sue King in the late 1990s and numerous witnesses have come forward over the years to corroborate the claims against him. As such, many astute researchers consider Franklin to be a cover-up of epic proportions. And at the heart of it was Spence, who appears to have been the key figure for this ring in Washington D.C.
|Larry E. King|
"... Spence's soirees also attracted high-ranking military and intelligence officials. In fact, CIA Director William Casey seemed to be particularly fond of Spence and his high-flying get-togethers. Spence once threw a glitzy birthday bash for his friend and right-wing closet homosexual Roy Cohn, and his friend William Casey was one of the guests of honor. Larry King, as you will recall, discussed his friendship with William Casey in an article in Omaha's Metropolitan."
(The Franklin Scandal, Nick Bryant, pg. 296)Thus, Cohn was not only friendly with Spence, but the infamous Bill Casey would attend a birthday bash for Cohn as a guest of honor. As was noted in the prior installment, Cohn was instrumental in setting up media mogul Rupert Murdoch as a propagandist for the CIA during the Reagan years. Casey was the CIA director during this time and personally participated in the talks to sponsor Murdoch, along with US Information Agency director Charles Wick, a friend of Gray's. It is likely Cohn used his relationship with Casey to make these arrangements.
Casey is surely one of the most controversial CIA directors of all time, playing a key role in Iran-Contra. But beyond that, Casey appears to have been a leading figure in both the Fascist International and pedophile rings linked to it, as was noted before here.
But let us return to Cohn. It would appear that the man potentially had ties to two individuals, fellow Republican homosexuals, who were engaged in honey trapping. In the case of Craig Spence, there can be little doubt that he was involved in some type of sexual blackmail. The evidence is far more circumstantial for Gray, but allegations have dogged him for years and he was apparently quite notorious among D.C. vice officers.
There are also indications that Spence and Gray were involved in the long alleged Franklin pedophile ring managed by Larry King. The evidence for Spence is far more compelling. In point of fact, there isn't especially credible evidence linking Gray to it other than his connections and his frequent trips to Nebraska. Still, both men were close to Bill Casey, who appears to be plugged into a broader international pedophile network. And Cohn had relationships with all three men, being especially close to Casey and Spence and potentially providing Gray with an attorney when he was implicated in a vice ring.
Shaw, like Cohn, Gray and Spence, was a Republican closet homosexual. Over the course of Garrison's investigation, Shaw was repeatedly linked to the curious figure of David Ferrie. Ferrie worked with Lee Harvey Oswald out of the office of New Orleans private detective Guy Banister during the summer of 1963. Both Banister and Ferrie were linked to a host of far right wing organizations (as was noted before here) many of them tied to the same anti-Castro network I linked the Company to in the second installment of this series.
But beyond that, Ferrie was also linked extensively to the Syndicate and, more ominously, an interstate prostitute ring that was essentially a gloried form of sexual slavery (noted before here). Most disturbing of all, however, is the fact that Ferrie was an arch pedophile who may have molested dozens of kids in the New Orleans area. As noted before here, there are some indications that Shaw and Ferrie were both involved in an especially sadistic pedophile ring in New Orleans. What's more, Shaw had ties to the same international network that Casey was a part of, as I noted before here.
P2 and Gelli derived much of their power from a collection of files Gelli kept with comprising material on numerous figures that he used for blackmail purposes. Whether or not these files contained sexual material is unknown, but would hardly be surprising. The respective operations of Cohn, Shaw and Gelli all seem to follow a similar modus operandi.
And be assured, Spence and Gray were hardly the extent of Cohn's ties to sexual blackmail. In fact, one of his proteges appears to have spent decades springing various honey traps across the globe. He shall be considered in the next installment. Stay tuned dear reader.