Thursday, August 7, 2014

Two Down... Another Fugitive Dead: Brad Bishop - Time is Running Out

Memo to William Bradford Bishop, Jr:

Less than a week after police gunned down fugitive Charles Mozdir, a child molester, following a tip via CNN's The Hunt with John Walsh, a second fugitive's body has been found. The decomposed remains of Shane Miller, who, like you, had murdered his wife and children, were found by California law enforcement officers on August 1. No cause of death has been determined, though suicide by gun shot appears to be a good bet. Miller mercilessly shot his wife and daughters, aged 5 and 8, last year, then absconded.

That's two fugitives down out of seven profiled so far by The Hunt, on the air only since July 13. Amazing odds, no? And this is why John Walsh is a national treasure. Driven to catch vile criminals on-the-run by the murder of his own young son, Walsh's previous America's Most Wanted program was responsible for the apprehension of over 1200 fugitives.

Now, here's where you come in, Brad. As you surely know, The Hunt devoted a whole hour to your case on July 27. The episode has been repeatedly rebroadcast since. People are watching. And, as I've stated previously, your world is constricting. First, the FBI put you on their Ten Most Wanted List. Second, you're profiled on The Hunt (whose ratings, btw, are outta sight!) Third, and this is a new twist, an Italian journalist with one of his country's top newspapers, contacted me recently about raising your profile among the Italian public. It seems there is a very popular tv program that engages citizens to track down missing persons. But this journalist feels he might be able to persuade the producers to include a criminal fugitive in their programming. Oh, that would be you, Brad. Given that the odds are good you've been hiding out in Italy (where The Hunt is not available), splashing your face before 61 million Italians might just flush you out -- especially with a $100,000 reward (that's €72,832) on your capo.

The walls are closing in. Are you still on anti-depressant drugs? Can you stand the pressure of being found out? At 78, I assume you're in no condition to outrun the cops, or blaze a trail, road runner style, across Europe, or whatever place you're currently at. Charles Mozdir's life ended in a hail of bullets. Shane Miller died alone in the wilderness like a wild animal. Your future isn't looking good, Brad.

Drop me a line.

 See also --

One Down... CNN's "The Hunt" Leads to the Killing of A Fugitive - Brad Bishop: Pay Attention

Friday, August 1, 2014

Amateur Hour Diplomacy: Moneybag Campaign Donor to be U.S. Ambassador to Bankrupt Argentina

The following was written by retired Foreign Service officer Tex Harris:

A Rookie to Argentina: America's Default ?


If political fund raising were a ring toss carnival sideshow, ambassadorships would be the huge stuffed teddy bear prizes lining the top shelf of the booth -- something to aspire towards for the big donors. And there are many smaller prizes on the shelves below – membership on a presidential commission or advisory committee, night in the Lincoln Bedroom, invitation to a state dinner or White House concert, etc., down to a fancy Christmas card from the President’s family.

Unlike the carny game, the rules of “donor maintenance” are hidden from public view, while many of the prizes on offer are paid for by the taxpayers, but only if the candidate the player is supporting wins. Career Foreign Service officer diplomats are not permitted by the Hatch Act to play this game.

In the selling of ambassadorships, even the amount paid to play is not public. The problem is that while all direct campaign contributions from an ambassadorial nominee and family members are capped by law at $2,600 each, and must be reported publicly to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- the much larger campaign amounts that are bundled through the nominee’s working the rolodexes of contacts are not reported publicly and may never be reported by the campaign which totals them up carefully like the win tickets at the carny booth.

So the true total cost of winning the big ambassadorship job is seldom known; but the benefits are. A three-year ambassadorial term at a G-20 embassy would be worth well over $500,000 a year in value to the donor being "maintained." This valuation includes salary of $181,500 yearly, multiple servants, a top chef & crew, a very fine house, car/driver, often a plane and a boat, representation funds, etc. Plus a lifetime title -- of which there are few in our republic—which gets one the best table in most restaurants in the nation, great cachet among one’s peers forever, and future contacts galore. 

If the ambassadorship, which over the three year term is worth over $1.5 million and can be obtained for only $145,000 -- as the public record shows for ambassadorial nominee to Argentina, Noah Mamet -- then “paying to play” ambassador is one of the best investments in the country. America’s “dollar diplomats” are among our wisest investors at the public trough.

The only loser is the nation and its citizenry. While the Argentine ambassador to Washington was hand picked by that nation's Finance Minister for her command of American English, high-level political experience, understanding of international finance, the U.S. legal system and its politics, we are about to send someone to Buenos Aires with few qualifications. And we are  doing this when Argentina has just defaulted on billions of dollars of bonds with major financial and legal interests at stake in a mega Argentine financial crisis. Instead of sending a fluent Spanish speaking professional to lead our Embassy, the White House political staff chose a top rated political bundler, who is a diplomatic rookie, with "conversational Spanish," innocent of international financial experience. The White House pays off a mega campaign bundler and the nation gets rookie leadership in a key post at a critical time.

So exactly how does this "donor maintenance" process work at turning political bundlers into likely diplomatic bunglers? First every bundler has a number, which is given to all donors persuaded to contribute to his/her candidate. When a donor, who is a contact of the bundler, sends in a check to the political campaign for the capped $2,600 amount or less, the donor includes the bundler's number on the campaign form, and this notated number and the amount is then credited to the bundler’s account in the campaign’s books. The bundler remains hidden -- unless the campaign agrees voluntarily to release its records -- because the only public record required is the listing of the individual donor candidate’s and immediate family’s contributions. No one knows the full cost of the top shelf prize – an ambassadorship.

Here is the public data on Noah Mamet, the White House’s current nominee to be ambassador to Argentina: 

The non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics has previously reported that Mamet bundled $96,000 to the Obama campaign.

Direct contributions from Mamet and his immediate relatives totaled $44,660, including $37,040 to the Obama campaign and the DNC, and $8,000 to 12 current Senators who can vote on his confirmation -- Donnelly, McCaskill, Brown, Heitkamp, Tester, Kaine, Landrieu, Gillibrand, Bennet, Coons, Reid, and Boxer.

Other reports based on a variety of hidden sources show that Mamet, who is a career professional Democratic Party fundraiser, raised over two million mostly from donors in the L.A. region.
Other details of Mamet's bundling prowess are available below.

One hopes that a key embassy in a G-20 capital, with one of the top ten U.S. ambassadorial residences in the world - The Bosch Palace - does not go for a mere $145,000 in contributions to a non-fluent Spanish speaker, who has never been to the country before and mistakenly told the SFRC that Argentina is an U.S. "ally" when its Foreign Minister led a customs team in forcibly entering a U.S. Air Force plane at the local airport last year and photographed its top secret communications code settings.  Some ally.

Through the political parties “donor maintenance” programs, we continue to sell the jobs of representing our country’s interests for merely raising a million bucks or so, at a time when American influence needs to be represented by our best, and not our most politically generous.

A policy where the political parties get the benefits and the nation gets amateur “dollar diplomats” leading its key embassies around the world is a win/lose policy with serious implications for American diplomacy, which we are increasingly relying on to protect our key security and economic interests in the world.

In our top posts, American ambassadorial leadership is not competitive. We are fielding rookie minor leaguers in a World Series game. Compare our ambassadors to Russia's. Our “donor maintenance” policies are one cause of our decline. The political party wins; the nation loses.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

One Down... CNN's "The Hunt" Leads to the Killing of A Fugitive - Brad Bishop: Pay Attention

Memo to William Bradford Bishop, Jr:

"On Monday (July 28), eight days after the show ('The Hunt') first aired, the 32-year-old suspected sex offender (Charles Mozdir) died in a shootout in New York City as police closed in. During the show, first broadcast on July 20, a deputy U.S. marshal fielding calls got a tip about Mozdir, accused in a 2012 California child molestation case...'This is our first capture,'" announced the new show's host, John Walsh.

In my open letter to you of April 11, I warned you that your being placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list would make your world much smaller: "From now on, you can count on being at much greater risk of being found out and turned in. That grocery clerk, that gas station attendant, that second wife. Spurred to act by that hundred grand in reward money on your head. Unless you've had major plastic surgery, your face is now a bullseye." Charles Mozdir turned out to be a real life bullseye. Not a pretty end. But justice was served nonetheless. Now with "The Hunt's" profiling the Bishop murders this past Sunday, count on your world, such as it is, closing in even more.

In three days time, you will turn 78. I, of course, have no idea of your state of health, but a flurry of bullets won't make it better. Sure, Mozdir was on the lam for only two years and you for thrity-eight. And the trail, let's face it, is cold indeed. But so were those of John List and Whitey Bulger, murderers apprehended after eighteen and sixteen years respectively. Heck, they're even arresting nonogenerian SS officers for war crimes sixty-nine years after the end of World War II. Of the 502 fugitives who have been on the FBI's Top Ten list, 471 have been apprehended or located.The odds are against you and they're growing.

"The Hunt" did not spare the viewing public of the letting of so much blood from the fatal wounds you inflicted on Annette, Lobelia, Geoff, Brent and Brad III. Ponder that your turn may be next. Do you have the guts? Better to turn yourself in and finally face the music. Drop me a line.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Latest Thriller from Ethan Jones: ROGUE AGENTS

My favorite Canadian thriller writer, Ethan Jones, has just released his latest novel relating the exploits of Canadian Intelligence Service agents Justin Hall and Carrie O'Connor. This one's got everything. Don't read it if you're on heart medication...

EthanJones_RogueAgents_Amazon1400Amazon bestselling author Ethan Jones delivers ROGUE AGENTS, the new pulse-pounding thriller of the summer.

After a nuclear incident in Pakistan, two agents of the Canadian Intelligence Service disappear during a covert operation in South Korea. They end up in a prison camp in North Korea, where they are being tortured so they can reveal top secret intelligence.

Justin Hall and Carrie O’Connor, CIS best field operatives, who have just returned from a terrorist-hunting mission in Syria, are ordered to infiltrate the most hostile nation in the world. Their objective is like nothing they have faced before: assassinate the two captured agents, one of whom is a good friend of Justin.

Justin and Carrie consider their allegiances and the consequences of their operation, as they join forces with a North Korean defector and two MI6 agents familiar with the treacherous terrain of the Communist country. Then they come upon new intelligence that complicates their almost impossible mission. It is now a race against time to reach the captured agents before it is too late.

A mild mannered Calgary attorney and family man, Ethan drops all his inhibitions when he's at the keyboard conjuring his non-stop action tales. I'm convinced the man leads a double life. Give him a try. You won't be disappointed.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Myths Surrounding the William Bradford Bishop Murder Case

As readers of this blog are aware, I've written about the William Bradford Bishop, Jr. murder case in this venue and in my thriller, CHASM. Last year, I sought to reach out to Bishop during a tour of European countries, where many in the law enforcement community believe he may be hiding out. This year, CNN asked to interview me about the case for their new crime investigative series, The Hunt (the show airs Sunday, July 27 at 9pm ET). My interest in Bishop spanned my twenty-three-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service and since. Brad Bishop was a Foreign Service officer when he bludgeoned his mother, wife and three young sons to death in their home on March 1, 1976 and then disappeared. I have no official role in this case. I am just another citizen who would like to see justice served. 
As often happens with tragic events, lively imaginations go into overdrive conjuring up all manner of fantastical scenarios, often centering on the conspiratorial. From the JFK assassination to 9/11, Americans have engaged in a favorite pastime of building conspiracy scenarios. My intent here is to dispel several myths that have grown around the Bishop murder case. Here goes --

  • Brad Bishop was actually a CIA "agent" working under cover in the U.S. State Department: Bishop was an economic ("econ") officer working in the very unsexy Division of Special Trade Activities and Commercial Treaties. At that time, this was the State Department office charged with managing and negotiating trade relations with other countries. Based on my two-and-a-half decades of service inside the U.S. government foreign affairs apparatus (including the intelligence community), and on talking to those who had worked with him, I can say unequivocally that Brad Bishop was a bona fide State Department Foreign Service officer. Some of the basis of this myth of Bishop-as-spy stems from his previous tours of duty in the U.S. Army as an intelligence officer. So what? Many FSO's did stints as military intel officers prior to joining State. I myself had served in military intelligence as an analyst prior to joining the State Department. People change jobs in all spheres all the time. What you were isn't necessarily what you are now. As of August 14, 1963, when he was honorably discharged from the Army, Bishop was no longer an intel officer of any stripe.
  • Sinister elements in government, possibly the FBI itself, or elsewhere are protecting Brad Bishop: For what possible reason?? The spinners of this tale have yet to flesh it out. Therefore, not much further can be debated about it. The FBI placed Bishop on their Top Ten Most Wanted list in April. A serious outfit, you know the FBI is real serious when it puts someone on its famous list of top wanted criminals. Nobody, nobody, wants Bishop apprehended and brought to justice more than U.S. law enforcement. Believe me.
  • The murders were an act of revenge by some Yugoslavian entity due to something Brad Bishop may have done while spying on that nation: Bishop was trained by the Army as a Serbo-Croatian linguist. Two aspects of his Army intelligence work have come to light: a) he monitored Yugoslav broadcasts for possible intelligence value; and b) at one point, his superiors tasked him with infiltrating a Yugoslav ski team visiting Italy to try to recruit its members to become spies for the U.S. As for the radio monitoring gig, such work hardly spurs target countries to "take revenge." Such official eavesdropping is done by most nations of any consequence. It is a kind of passive spying. The ski team ploy deserves more guffaws than respect. Sort of a real life "Spy vs Spy" spoof ripped straight out of Mad Magazine. Bishop recounted to friends that he failed miserably in this ridiculous cold war mission, therefore, hardly making him a target of righteous fury from Belgrade. Finally, the now defunct Yugoslav regime was not noted for carrying out assassinations, least of all against American officials.
Conspiracy theories involving me:

I wrote my second thriller, CHASM, back in 1996. It went on to become an Amazon bestseller. As thriller writers are wont to do, I drew on real secret programs and real life characters to spin my tale of fiction. My invented top secret program, "Operation CHASM," imported Balkan war criminals into the United States to help keep the peace in that volatile corner of Europe. I based Operation CHASM on a real life program, Operation Paperclip -- a covert cold war project run by the OSS and its successor, the CIA, to bring in Nazi war criminals to work on our fledgling space program. One of the protagonists in my novel is William Winford Ferret, a State Department officer who is assigned to help run CHASM. He starts losing his mind as the Balkan malefactors commit murder and mayhem within the U.S. Ferret ends up murdering his family and going on the lam. Sound familiar?

Well, I've been receiving messages along the following lines lately:
  • In Chasm you fabricate a setting that suggests that (former Secretary of State) Warren Christopher had something to do with the deaths of Brad and his bothers, mother and grandmother. He did not. The murders occurred in March 1976 when Kissinger ran State. Yugoslavian criminals are fictitiously blamed for their deaths. Who in reality should be blamed?
  • Then there is the Chasm overlay. Astonishingly, a neighbor and friend of xyz is in fact a former Nazi. Another casually asked me if I knew Warren Christopher, Sec. of State during the drafting of the Dayton Agreement. You say Chasm is virtually entirely fictitious, but is it?
  • Mr. Bruno, it is clear you based your book, Chasm, on the real William Bradford Bishop story. Having been in the government with a top secret clearance, it is evident that you know what is really behind the Bishop murders. Could you please divulge your secrets on this case?
Ich bin vom Himmel gefallen! as the Germans say; or I'm gobsmacked, to quote the Brits. Suddenly, my novel reveals dark knowledge of nefarious real programs and people. And I know the real story behind the Bishop case. On the one hand, I'm flattered. My fiction writing must be really good. On the other hand...

Let me set the record straight here and now: Brad Bishop, Foreign Service officer, under psychiatric treatment and on antidepressant medication, killed his entire family on March 1, 1976. He hauled their bodies to eastern North Carolina where he attempted to incinerate them. He then disappeared. There have been at least two credible sightings of him in Europe over the years. William Bradford Bishop is a wanted felon. The FBI has put 100 grand in reward money on his head. Period. Full stop.

Brad: if you're reading this, please set them straight. You can write it right here in my blog.