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Angel of Death Gives Deposition to Justice Department in Inslaw Case

by J. Orlin Grabbe

On April 2, 1996, Charles S. Hayes--retired CIA operative, Air Force Colonel, and Kentucky salvage dealer--was deposed by the U.S. Department of Justice with respect to the Inslaw case [1]. The attorney for the Department of Justice, Beth Cook, seemed ill-prepared for what turned out to be a brutal assault on the integrity of the Justice Department itself, which Hayes accused of lying, cheating, and stealing.

Hayes has recently acquired the Internet label of AOD ("Angel of Death" or "Angel of Doom") due to his efforts in encouraging the early retirement of corrupt politicians. "Do you know the Angel of Death?" Cook asked at one point. "I know him well," Hayes replied.

Hayes has previously testified with respect to the Inslaw case, most notably before a Chicago grand jury in August 1992. Hayes' extensive testimony in that case was redacted under the National Security Act. The reasons for the redaction are not known, but apparently the grand jury's questions led far afield from the principal topic of the Justice Department's apparently illegal sales of Inslaw's PROMIS software, and got into topics related to a tangled web of freelance arms dealers, drug runners, assassins, and government miscreants--whose murky and disparate interrelationships Hayes dubbed "the Octopus"--a term adopted and popularized by freelance journalist Danny Casolaro [2], who used Hayes as a frequent source of information. Hayes is said to have testified to detailed criminal violations of U.S. law by employees of the Department of Justice and other government agencies.

Although Hayes will not discuss his grand jury testimony, other sources say that with respect to the Inslaw case, he testified to a meeting at which he was present in Brazil in the course of which Earl Brian called Attorney General Ed Meese (then in the United States) to get approval for the sale of PROMIS to the Brazilian government. Hayes is said to have backed up this assertion with an affidavit of Brazilian President Joao Figueiredo.

Earl Brian, who is said to have marketed the PROMIS software to intelligence agencies around the world, is currently under indictment in California. The indictment concerns ten of millions of dollars of fraudulent lease transactions made while Earl Brian was Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of three separate companies: Infotechology, Financial News Network (FNN), and United Press International (UPI).

Early in the April 2, 1996, deposition, Justice Dept. attorney Beth Cook enjoined Hayes not to discuss his grand jury testimony. Subsequently, however, she began to question him about it. "Are you trying to entrap me?" Hayes asked.

In the five-hour deposition, Hayes declared he was not present to help Inslaw, nor to help any government agency which was pirating software. "I'm here to help the people of the United States, whom I hold in esteem second only to my God" he said, and admonished Cook for what he called her lack of preparation, laziness, and wasting of taxpayers' money. He asked her if there was "some medical reason related to the time of month" for her "arrogance" and "obstinance".

Hayes asked to be reimbursed for expenses related to the Justice Department subpoena. "We don't pay for subpoenas," Cook said, although in fact Federal law requires that expenses incurred in response to Federal subpoenas be reimbursed.

Hayes pointed out that U.S. attorney Allen Lear had threatened to bring the FBI down on him on January 18, 1996. "I don't think that's legal," Hayes said. Anyway, "the FBI is not a chartered organization."

(A check with the Library of Congress shows that, in fact, the FBI is not chartered. As such, laws related to, and convictions based on, "lying to the FBI" are apparently not valid, for no such chartered organization exists. The correctness of this argument, based on lack of charter, has been upheld in court cases involving the FBI in Massachusetts and Vermont. In addition, since the FBI, as a subdivision of the Department of Justice, is larger than the DoJ itself, Federal law bars FBI employees from receiving benefits. FBI agents who currently receive benefits are thus apparently in violation of Federal law, and could properly be required to return the money.)

Hayes accused the DoJ of theft, saying they owed him money stemming from the largest gem seizure in U.S. history. (This appeared to be in reference to Indictment No. 86-44, U.S. vs. Antonio Carlos A Calvares, Mauricio Alcides Kruger, Mark Edward Lewis, Empresa Brasileira de Mineracao Imp e Exp. Ltda., filed Dec. 3, 1986, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Charles Hayes personally delivered gems with an appraised value of $1.3 million. Customs Form 4655, Receipt for Seized Goods, dated July 25, 1985, for goods delivered by Charles Hayes is signed by Paul E. Carpenter. A similar receipt on July 28 is signed by George F. Fritz, Special Agent, witnessed by John D. Morton, RAC. The total seizure in the case involved more than $10 million in property. Under 18 USC 371, 542, 545, Hayes says, he is entitled to mordi--this being typically 25 percent of the total seizure, but a minimum of 10 percent.)

More relevant to the Inslaw case, is the fact that in August 1990, Charles Hayes purchased used Justice Department computers and peripheral equipment (Lot 097 from the U.S. attorney's office in Lexington, Kentucky) for salvage for $45, and found on them copies of the pirated PROMIS software, as well as sealed grand jury indictments, and the names of Justice Dept. informants. The General Accounting Office found the Justice Department's sale of computers from which it had not erased sensitive information alarming, noting, "The error may have put some informants, witness and undercover agents in a 'life-and-death' situation."

The Justice Department, having sold Hayes the equipment, subsequently seized it under warrant-- apparently to prevent its being used as evidence in the Inslaw case. But Hayes subsequently sued and got the equipment back, plus a undetermined settlement amount. (This case is discussed, albeit somewhat incompletely and inaccurately, in David Burnham, Above the Law: Secret Deals, Political Fixes, and Other Misadventures of the U.S. Department of Justice, Scribner, New York, 1996).

In the April 2, 1996, deposition, Justice attorney Beth Cook seemed unaware that the Justice Department was under Congressional order from the Brookes Committee on the Judiciary (see [1]) to cease the sale of pirated software, not to mention hard drives containing confidential information. Similar restrictions have been placed on the IRS which, from its Martinsburg, West Virginia, central record depository, sold some 40,000 pounds of used computer disks containing the tax records of thousands of U.S. citizens--records of considerable interest to credit bureaus, organized crime, and foreign intelligence organizations.

When asked how he felt just prior to the deposition, Hayes said, "Great, Kentucky's No. 1," referring to the previous night's championship win over Syracuse by the University of Kentucky basketball team.

About the only thing that Hayes didn't accuse the DoJ of in his April 2 deposition was murder. Others are not so kind. In its Addendum to INSLAW's ANALYSIS and REBUTTAL of the BUA REPORT, dated February 14, 1994, Inslaw notes with respect to the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations (OSI): "OSI's publicly- declared mission is to locate and deport Nazi war criminals. The Nazi war criminal program is, however, a front for the Justice Department's own covert intelligence service, according to disclosures recently made to INSLAW by several senior Justice Department career officials . . . According to written statements of which INSLAW has obtained copies, another undeclared mission of the Justice Department's covert agents was to insure that investigative journalist Danny Casolaro remained silent about the role of the Justice Department in the INSLAW scandal by murdering him in West Virginia in August 1991."

Is the U.S. Department of Justice just another tenacle of the Octopus? If so, then what is the meaning of the phrase "with liberty and justice for all"?


[1] The Inslaw case was the subject of a Congressional report: The Inslaw Affair: Investigative Report by the Committee on the Judiciary, Jack Brookes, Chairman, House Report 102-856, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, 1992.

See also:

Mahar, Maggie, "Beneath Contemp: Did the Justice Dept. Deliberately Bankrupt INSLAW," Barron's National Business and Financial Weekly, March 21, 1988.

Mahar, Maggie, "Rogue Justice: Who and What Were Behind the Vendette Against INSLAW?", Barron's National Business and Financial Weekly, April 4, 1988.

Martin, Harry V., "Federal Corruption: Inslaw", The Napa Sentinel, a series of articles with various titles beginning March 15, 1991 and extending through March 19, 1993.

Fricker, Richard L., "The Inslaw Octopus," Wired, #4, 1993.

Bua, Nicolas J., Report of Special Counsel Nicholas J. Bua to the Attorney General of the United States Responding to the Allegations of INSLAW, Inc., March 1993

Inslaw, Inc., INSLAW's ANALYSIS and REBUTTAL of the BUA REPORT, July 1993.

Inslaw, Inc., Addendum to INSLAW's ANALYSIS and REBUTTAL of the BUA REPORT, February 14, 1994

[2] In addition to the sources mentioned in footnote [1], the death of Danny Casolaro is explored in: Connolly, John, "Dead Right," Spy Magazine, January 1993.