Wackenhut Corporation - A patriot or a partner in executive crime?

Armen Victorian

2 Jun 1997

The following short essay provides some insight into the activities of Wackenhut Corporation, the Guardians of the famous, restricted Area 51, and many other restricted areas within the US.

Wackenhut Corporation has its roots dating back to 1954, when George Wackenhut and three other former special agents of the FBI formed a company in Miami called "Special Agent Investigators," to provide investigative services to business and industry. Success was such that a year later, in 1955, another company was formed to apply the same philosophy and approach to physical security problems. Three years later, in 1958, the two companies merged under the name of Wackenhut Corporation, in Florida. From the outset George Wackenhut was the President and the Chief Executive in the company. He established the headquarters in Coral Gables. By establishing a wholly-owned subsidiary, in the same year, Wackenhut managed to extend the operation of physical security to the United States Government. The "Wackenhut Services, Incorporated" was created to comply with federal statutes prohibiting the government from contracting with companies which provide investigative or detective services.

In 1962, Wackenhut extended its operations from Florida to California and Hawaii. Four years later, on January 1, 1966, Wackenhut became an international company, with offices in Caracas, Venezuela, through half ownership of an affiliate. In the same year Wackenhut Corporation became public, and in 1967, floated its shares through the American Stock Exchange.

By then Wackenhut had expanded through its subsidiaries to 20 strong companies, and its contracts expanded into several countries, and various territories. It was then the single, largest security and investigative firm.

In 1978, by acquisition of NUSAC, a Virginia firm providing technical and consulting services to the nuclear industry, Wackenhut launched into energy and environment management fields. A year later, in 1979, Wackenhut acquired Stellar Systems Incorporation. Stellar Systems Inc. specialised in outdoor electronic security.

The main business objective of the company is to provide security and investigative services, first to the US Government, and then to business, industry, and professional clients.

Through Wackenhut Electronics Systems Corporation, it develops and produces sophisticated computerized security systems to add further edge to its security based services.

The major clients of the investigative arm of Wackenhut are the insurance industry and financial firms. They include insurance inspections, corporate acquisition surveys, personnel background reports, pre-employment screening, polygraph examinations, fraud and arson investigations.

The wide array of services offered by Wackenhut Corporation includes guard and electronic security for banks, office buildings, apartments, and industrial complexes. Training programs in English and foreign languages apply Wackenhut procedures to individual client needs. It offers fire safety and protective patrols, rescue and first aid services, and emergency support programs tailored to labour-management disputes. Its pre-departure programmes are widely in use by airports and airlines.

With about 50,000 armed security guards, and 20,000 employees, plus over 100 offices and facilities spread across the US, extending to Canada, United Kingdom, Western Europe, the Middle East, Indonesia, central and South America and the Caribbean, Wackenhut is a fearsome force, and an implement to please the desires of its clients, especially the US Government.

The darker side of Wackenhut's ambitious enterprise is its direct involvement in illegal and black projects. In the early 1980s, Dr. John Nichols, the Cabazon tribal administrator, obtained a Department of Defense secret facility clearance for the reservation to conduct various research projects, approached Wackenhut, with a detailed joint-venture proposal to manufacture 120mm combustible cartridge cases, 9mm machine guns, laser-sighted assault weapons, snipe rifles, as well as portable rocket-launchers to be built on the Cabazon Indian Reservation, and in Latin America. Amongst these proposals were details to develop biological weapons.

Dr. Nichols, born on March 6, 1943, at Loma Linda, California, the son of a prominent Los Angeles surgeon, filed an application on January 28, 1985 with the Santa Clara County Sheriff's office for a weapon permit. Nichols had invented a submachine gun that he believed was superior to the MAC10. In addition to his Californian residency, he had residences in Italy, London, and Australia for over twenty years for business purposes. As a medical doctor he is listed in Zurich, Switzerland. He also worked four years for Harold Okimoto in Hawaii, from 1968 to 1972, and as Vice President of Preventor Security Center, an intruder electronic firm.

In his application for carrying arms, for which he was granted four, two of them for Colt 0.45 automatics, he mentions the purpose for carrying a concealed weapon as: "I am involved in the research and development of weapons system, ranging from the basic blowback automatic weapon to various advanced destructive devices. As I have detailed knowledge of the workings of these systems, I feel it is imperative to have personal protection for myself and for the good of the community."

Nichols' corporation, Meridian Arms, a subsidiary of Meridian International Logistics, was licensed in California in 1987 to possess and/or transport machine guns under the Permit No. 01678, and to sell machine guns under Permit No. 01677.

Meridian International, headed by Nichols had a lucrative business in Australia and Japan. From the partnership between Wackenhut and Nichols in their Cabazon enterprise grew a strong bond between the two. Both Wackenhut and Nichols were interested in developing a new range of high tech weapons, powerful explosive devices that like a nuclear blast could produce strong electromagnetic pulse to wipe out enemy communication and electronics. The US Government in the course of their non-lethal weapon research and development has shown clear indication to further develop such weaponry.

The list of directors of Meridian International Logistics, Inc. (MIL) included colourful individuals such as Okimoto, for whom Nichols worked in Hawaii (Preventor Security Center), Zokosky and Glenn Shakley, a Board Director of First International Development Corporation (FIDICO), plus Eugene F. Giaquinto, president of MCA (Music Corporation of America) Home Entertainment Division in Universal City.

Giaquinto resigned from MIL on May 31, 1988, and returned his 10,000 shares to the company. This was due to an investigation carried out by the Los Angles Organized Crime Task Force, headed by Thomas Gates.

The May 25, 1988 MIL Board Meeting minutes reflect Robert Booth Nichols' concern: "Upon meeting with Agent Gates on March 8, 1988, our legal counsel, Judge Mark Robinson, interpreted the line of questioning of Agent Gates as having a main focus on the relationship between Robert Nichols and MCA Inc., therefore, due to Mr. Nichols' concern, which Mr. Giaquinto understood, he stated he would submit written resignation within two days. It was a unanimous decision of the board to remove Mr. Giaquinto from the position of Director of MIL forthwith."

Further notes from another Board meeting held in Sherman Oaks on August 26, 1988, clarifies issues concerning MIL's involvement in development of biological weapons: "It was unanimous decision of the Board to draft a letter to the President of an Internationally recognized Medical School in Japan (as referenced in our corporate minutes of April 24, 1988) with regard to our corporation's intention to make available a grant of funds to said school as the funds become available to our corporation, and under specific terms and conditions." The notes cast more light on the nature of MIL's involvement in this issue: "The phenomenal success in the field of immunotherapeutics by the Immunology Department of said Japanese Medical School has convinced the Board that the exclusive training of qualified physicians under contract to and the direction of Meridian International Logistics, Inc., would be of great value and benefit to our company and it's shareholders".

What these notes do not clarify is why a company engaged in arm manufacturing and dealing, with ties to organized crime, has an interest in the exclusive training of Japanese physicians in immunobiology. Further investigations unearthed documents which provided more clarification. The MIL Board Meeting minutes of September 20, 1988 make reference to an Agreement of September 14, 1988, which discusses in details an equal partnership between three parties: MIL, Ajinomoto Co., Inc., and Dr. Sheigeyoshi Fujimoto, concerning a "biological technology" patented as" devised technology for induction and activation of Cytotoxic T-Lymphocytes (CTL), directed to autogenous cancer cells in vitro with high efficiency to utilize a serum free medium. "

Through a Japanese Power of Attorney issued to Fujio Kubota, a Japanese lawyer, he was permitted to file several patents for registration of "The Method for Induction and Activation of Cytotoxic T-Lymphocytes". The main signatories to the Patent of Sep. 14, 1998, were Dr. Sheigeyoshi Fujimoto, Takasha Miyamae (Ajinomoto Co., Inc.), Hidetoshoi Onogi (from MIL), Kanechiro Ishida (International Service Center, Inc.), and Takashi Kumakawa from the American Embassy.

MIL representative Hidetoshi Onogi was given full authority on behalf of MIL to negotiate for "any other documentation pertaining to the technical knowledge and the mechanical and/or chemical processes for production of T Cells as are present in the immune system of the human body or any other organism".

The presence of a representative from the American Embassy raises the question as to whether this technology was being developed with US Government sanction. Furthermore, what was Wackenhut's role in this case? Additionally, what was the interest of Glenn Shockley, a director both on MIL and FIDCO, a CIA front corporation that offered over three billion dollars to rebuild Beirut to the Lebanese President Amin Gamayel, whose finance chief, Samei el Khouri was an important link in shipping tons of heroin to Sicily, Italy for re-shipment to the US, in these affairs.

The possible answer lies in a letter dated Jan. 20, 1983, written on Wackenhut-Cabazon letterhead, by Dr. John P. Nichols, Cabazon Administrator, to Dr. Harry Fair, from Tactical Technology in Arlington, Virginia. In it Nichols mentions that on Feb. 15, 1983, he would present "a unique list of agents and production techniques related to biological warfare". After referring to the plan Nichols had sent previously to Dr. Fair concerning the Stormont Laboratories plan which was aimed to provide Dr. Fair with information on biological warfare, Nichols added "Products could be utilized in small countries bordering Albania or large countries bordering Soviet Union."

Other documents under the title of "Possible Military Applications Utilising Hybridoma Technology" casts yet more light on Wackenhut-Cabazon intentions to produce biological weapons: "genesplicing technology provides the ability to produce pathogenic agents, i.e. viruses." It adds: "biological weaponry of this nature (both in production and supply) is limited only by the imagination of the scientists." The proposal to Dr. Fair also included a package for production of appropriate antibodies to detect the presence of such biological pathogens in the combat environment. Dr. Harry Fair's name, (Chief of Propulsion Technology, Applied Sciences Division at Pickitinny Arsenal, New Jersey), crops up in yet another Wackenhut Inter-Office memorandum, dated May 25, 1981.

The five page document from Robert Fyre, Vice President of Wackenhut, Idaho, to Robert Chasen, Vice President of Wackenhut in Coral Gables, Florida, (a former Commissioner of US Customs), details Dr. Harry Fair's visit of May 12 and 13, 1981, to the US Army Armament Research and Development Command (ARDEC), and discusses Wackenhut's commitment in Cabazon Indian Reservation, and the construction of a "Research and Development" facility on Cabazon Indian Reservation to manufacture 120mm combustible cartridge cases to sell to the US Army and further sales to NATO and the Federal Republic of Germany. Germany was adopting the use of such cartridges on its Leopard tanks at that time.

The study of further documents provides some tantalizing evidence concerning the CIA's involvement in these issues which is not within the scope of this writing, including the supply of weapons to the Contras and the Iraqi government via North Korea

In 1980 Dr. Nichols, after obtaining blueprints of Saudi's Crown Prince Fahd's palace in Tiaf, ventured a scheme to provide security for the palace. Saudis' interest prompted a background investigation on Cabazon.

Mohammad Jameel Hashem, consul of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington DC, wrote a letter to former Senator James Abourzk (SD), at his Washington office that, "According to our black list for companies, the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians/Cabazon Trading Company and Wackenhut International are not included." In other words there are no Jewish links there.

George Wackenhut's right wing tendencies are all too clear in "Wackenhut Security Review," a monthly in-house publication, wherein any anti-Vietnam movements were considered subversive, and earned him the George Washington Honor Medal in 1962, and the Freedom Foundation Award at Valley Forge, PA, both in 1965 and 1966. He also received Vigilant Patriot Award from the All American Conference to Combat Communism.

In 1965 Wackenhut claimed that it maintained files on over two and half million American people, brandished by Wackenhut as suspect dissidents. In 1966 the number was increased to four million people after Wackenhut managed to acquire the private files of Karl Barslaag, a staff member of the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities.

Wackenhut repeatedly did and does provide its offices to the CIA when the Agency needs a cover, according to Rishard Babayan, an arms dealer.

This claim is further supported by another Wackenhut employee, Bruce Berckmans, assigned to the CIA's Mexico City station, leaving the Agency in January 1975 to join Wackenhut as its International Operations Vice President. Berckmans claimed to have seen a formal proposal by George Wackenhut to the CIA, offering Wackenhut offices to the CIA worldwide as front for the Agency's activities.

According to William Corbett, a terrorism expert with an 18-year career with the CIA as an Analyst, who joined ABC News as a consultant in Europe, "For years Wackenhut has been involved with the CIA and other intelligence organizations, including the DEA. Wackenhut would allow the CIA to occupy positions within the company in order to carry out clandestine operations." Additionally, Wackenhut provided detailed information to the US Intelligence Services "in a quid pro quo arrangement."

Some of Wackenhut's directors, past and present are:

John Ammarell - Former FBI Agent
Robert Chasen - Former FBI Agent
Clarence Kelly - Former FBI Director
Willis Hawkins - Former Assistant Secretary of the Army
Paul X. Kelly - Four star General (ret.), US Marine Corps
Seth McKee - Former Commander in Chief, NORAD
Bernard Schriever - Former member, President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board
Frank Carlucci - Former Defense Secretary, and former Deputy Director, CIA
Joseph Carroll - Former Director, Defense Intelligence Agency
James Rawley - Former Director, US Secret Service
Bobby Ray Inman - Former Director, NSA; Deputy
Director, CIA; Director Office of Naval Intelligence

CIA funds start-up sleuths Agency Published Wednesday, September 29, 1999, in the New York Times:

BY JOHN MARKOFF New York Times: The CIA, hoping to ensure that the nation's spies have the latest information technology in the rapidly changing Internet age, has established a venture-capital company to nurture high-technology companies, company executives and former CIA officials said.

Click, drag meet cloak and dagger Published Thursday, September 30, 1999, in the San Jose Mercury News:

BY MIKE CASSIDY Mercury News Staff Writer: The CIA just revealed that it's moving to Silicon Valley, and already I feel like I'm being watched. It makes sense for them, I guess, cashing in on the start-up craze. The way I understand it (they would fully explain it to me, but then they'd have to kill me), the CIA is starting a venture fund to invest in cool spy stuff.

But think about this. The New York Times says the venture company, In-Q-It (rhymes with Intuit), has $28 million to spread around. Yeah, $28 million. I can almost hear the guffaws from Sand Hill Road. Pet-opia (they sell dog food, for goodness sake) landed nearly three times that in venture funding this spring. Maybe the spies could do better with a better name. CloakNdagger or eCIA or even CIA!

Valley's hot technology brings CIA in from cold Published Thursday, September 30, 1999, in the San Jose Mercury News

BY JONATHAN RABINOVITZ Mercury News Staff Writer: Five years ago John W. Lehman wouldn't have been boasting about the source of the seed money for his company's database search software. Ties to the CIA, while common in Silicon Valley, were something that didn't score points at meetings with venture capitalists. ``It was the scarlet letter,'' said Lehman, who relied on a CIA grant and CIA contracts to co-found Sunnyvale-based Verity Inc. in 1986. ``Having an appreciation on how to do things for three-letter agencies was almost a black mark.''

The CIA as Venture Capitalist By David Ignatius, New York Times, Wednesday, September 29, 1999; Page A29

If it were a Hollywood movie, the pitch would be: Mission Impossible meets Silicon Valley. But it's real life, and it's one of the oddest -- and most innovative -- things the Central Intelligence Agency has done in years.

The CIA has decided to create its own venture capital firm, called "In-Q-It," to help the agency connect better with the Internet revolution. The fear at Langley is that in a world of start-ups and instant millionaires, the CIA isn't getting technology's best and brightest anymore. So the spymasters have opted to create their own start-up, with plans for an office on Sand Hill Road in Palo Alto, where the leading venture capitalists hang out, and a $150 million kitty.

The Players:

The CIA has chosen a veteran Silicon Valley software executive to head the effort, which has an office in Washington with eight employees and will have a second office in Silicon Valley. The company's chief executive will be Gilman Louie, a Hasbro Inc. executive who made his name years ago importing the computer game Tetris from the Soviet Union. Louie, 39, said Tuesday that he would work on both coasts and was now looking for an office in Silicon Valley. He said that he had become involved in the new company accidentally after meeting a headhunter from Heidrick & Struggles at a mock-aerial dogfighting contest earlier this year.

``There is a tremendous information explosion today,'' said John McMahon, former deputy director of the CIA and an In-Q-It board member. ``As a result, the agency was always one step behind. The agency got the idea that maybe what it needed was something that would not only appreciate its needs but be an umbilical cord that was plugged in to the brightest minds in the valley.''

Jeffrey H. Smith, the new company's legal counsel and former general counsel to the CIA, said, ``The government will have the opportunity to use the intellectual property developed by In-Q-It for governmental purposes, but In-Q-It will own and have the ability to use the technology it develops for commercial purposes.''

Scott Blackmer, Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, General Manager, In-Q-It Inc

A famous CIA-Bush connected, member of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering: C. Boyden Gray.

Among the new company's board members are John Seeley Brown, director of Xerox Corp.'s Palo Alto Research Center; Lee Ault, director of Equifax Alex Brown; Stephen Friedman of Goldman Sachs; Norm Augustine, chairman of Lockheed Martin Corp., and William Perry, the former secretary of defense.

Another Silicon Valley firm, ESL Inc., was established by William Perry, who later became defense secretary and specialized in electromagnetic intelligence -- interpreting radar and radio signals

...from the 1999 ABA Annual Meeting:

Moderator: Thomas J. Smedinghoff, McBride, Baker & Coles, Chicago, IL Speakers: Joe Pyne, Senior Vice President, Marketing, United Parcel Service, Atlanta, GA W. Scott Blackmer, Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, General Manager, In-Q-It Inc., Washington, DC Richard L. Field, Attorney at Law, Cliffside Park, NJ.