Thursday, October 05, 2006

Finders Keepers

Whitley Strieber has posted a journal entry on The Finders that deserves to be read widely.

I'm posting it in its entirety below.


The current scandal involving former congressman Mark Foley's inappropriate solicitations to house pages brings to mind another scandal that is probably much more serious, but which has been swept aside.

On Saturday, February 7, 1987, the Washington Post published an article about a strange case out of Tallahassee, Florida. It seems that six children were observed in a local park and reported to police because they seemed to be in a dirty and unkempt condition. The police found that they were under the care of two men who identified themselves as Douglas E. Ammerman and Michael Houlihan.

These men told police that they were conducting the children to “a school for brilliant children in Mexico.” The men were charged with child abuse and the children were taken from them, and attempts were made to identify them. The children were traced to a warehouse in Washington, and to a group called the Finders.

There the story ended, for seven years. Then, on December 27, 1993, there appeared in US News and World Report a follow-up story. The story stated that no allegations of abuse were ever proved against the Finders, the charges against the two men were dropped, and the six children were eventually returned to their mothers.

The reason that US News had revisited the case was that, earlier in 1993, the Justice Department had reopened the investigation into the Finders, saying that there were “unresolved matters” relating to the group.

Representative Tom Lewis of Florida elaborated. “Could our own government have something to do with this Finders organization and turned their backs on these children? That’s what all the evidence points to.” He went on. “And there is a lot of evidence. I can tell you this: we’ve got a lot of people scrambling, and that wouldn’t be happening if there was nothing here.”

Marion David Pettie, the founder of the Finders, maintained that there was no connection between the group and the government, and that the group had never been involved in child abuse.

US News’s sources, however, said that some of the Finders were listed in the FBI’s classified counterintelligence files. Later, all investigations into the Finders were ordered stopped by the Justice Department, as the case was determined to be a national security matter. It was referred back to the CIA.

Since then, silence.

Let's look a little deeper. US News and World Report reported, "Custom Service documents reveal that in 1987, when Customs agents sought to examine the evidence gathered by Washington,D.C. police, they were told that the Finders investigation "had become an internal matter." The police report on the case had been classified secret. Even now, Tallahassee police complain about the handling of the Finders investigation by D.C. police. 'They dropped this case,' one Tallahassee investigator says, 'like a hot rock.'"

However, those "Customs Service documents" read by US News are a matter of public record, and it might be noted that they do not state that the affair had become simply "an internal matter." They state that it had become a "CIA internal matter."

The report of US Customs Agent Ramon J. Martinez reveals that a truly spectacular horror was uncovered, exactly as Tom Lewis suggested.

It seems that the Central Intelligence Agency had intervened in the case, declared it a national security matter, and forbidden the law enforcement officials involved even to discuss it with the FBI.

The "skeptic community" lumped the case into the "satanic ritual abuse" category, CIA officials claimed that any connection between the case and the CIA was "hogwash" and the press forgot about it.

Now we discover that Congressman Foley's abusive habits had been reported to the proper authorities years ago and never investigated, either. Swept under the rug, perhaps, by a system that is used to concealing abuse of children.

It is time for the journalistic community to demand some answers about that old 1985 case. If they do so, I suspect that they are going to bring to light something that has needed to be faced for years: something is deeply, deeply awry in Washington, and it involves the abuse of children, and it goes far beyond the present scandal.

It's time to demand that the CIA explain why it suppressed the Finders case, and for the Washington Police, the Tallahassee Police and the US Customs Service to release the results of their investigations, and for the United States Congress to begin an extensive inquiry into the degree to which children have been and are being abused behind the closed doors of official secrecy and official power.

This is Ramon J. Martinez's report on the US Customs Service Finders investigation:

"On Thursday, February 5, 1987, this office was contacted via telephone by Sergeant JoAnn VanMeter of the Tallahassee Police Department, Juvenile Division. Sgt. VanMeter requested assistance in identifying two adult males and six minor children ages 7 years to 2 years.

"The adult males were tentatively identified by TPD as Michael HOULIHAN and Douglas AMMERMAN, both of Washington, D.C. who were arrested the previous day on charges of child abuse. The police had received an anonymous telephone call relative two well-dressed white men wearing suits and ties in Myers Park, (Tallahassee), apparently watching six dirty and unkempt children in the playground area. HOULIHAN and AMMERMAN were near a 1980 Blue Dodge van bearing Virginia license number XHW- 557, the inside of which was later described as foul-smelling filled with maps, books, letters, with a mattress situated to the rear of the van which appeared as if it were used as a bed, and the overall appearance of the van gave the impression that all eight persons were living in it.

"The children were covered with insect bites, were very dirty, most of the children were not wearing underwear and all of the children had not been bathed in many days. The men were arrested and charged with multiple counts of child abuse and lodged in the Leon County Jail. Once in custody the men were somewhat evasive in their answers to the police regarding the children and stated only that they both were the children's teachers and that all were enroute to Mexico to establish a school for brilliant children...

"U.S. Customs was contacted because the police officers involved suspected the adults of being involved in child pornography and knew the Customs Service to have a network of child pornography investigators, and of the existence of the Child Pornography and Protection Unit. SS/A Krietlow stated the two adults were well dressed white males. They had custody of six white children (boys and girls), ages three to six years. The children were observed to be poorly dressed, bruised, dirty, and behaving like wild animals in a public park in Tallahassee...

"SS/A Kreitlow was further advised the children were unaware of the function and purpose of telephones, televisions and toilets, and that the children had stated they were not allowed to live indoors and were only given food as a reward...

"Upon contacting Detective Bradley, I learned that he had initiated an investigation on the two addresses provided by the Tallahassee Police Dept. during December of 1986. An informant had given him information regarding a cult, known as the "Finders" operating various businesses out of a warehouse located at 1307 4th St., N.E., and were supposed to be housing children at 3918/3920 W St., N.W. The information was specific in describing 'blood rituals' and sexual orgies involving children, and an as yet unsolved murder in which the Finders may be involved. With the information provided by the informant, Detective Bradley was able to match some of the children in Tallahassee with names of children known alleged to be in the custody of the Finders.

"Furthermore, Bradley was able to match the tentative ID of the adults with known members of the Finders. I stood by while Bradley consulted with AUSA Harry Benner and obtained search warrants for the two premises. I advised acting RAC SS/A Tim Halloran of my intention to accompany MPD on the execution of the warrants, received his permission, and was joined by SS/A Harrold. SS/A Harrold accompanied the team which went to 1307 4th St., and I went to 3918/20 W St.

"During the execution of the warrant at 3918/20 W St., I was able to observe and access the entire building...There were several subjects on the premises. Only one was deemed to be connected with the Finders. [He] was located in a room equipped with several computers, printers, and numerous documents. Cursory examination of the documents revealed detailed instructions for obtaining children for unspecified purposes. The instructions included the impregnation of female members of the community known as the Finders, purchasing children, trading, and kidnapping. There were telex messages using MCI account numbers between a computer terminal believed to be located in the same room, and others located across the country and in foreign locations. One such telex specifically ordered the purchase of two children in Hong Kong to be arranged through a contact in the Chinese Embassy there. Another telex expressed interest in 'bank secrecy' situations. Other documents identified interests in high-tech transfers to the United Kingdom, numerous properties under the control of the Finders, a keen interest in terrorism, explosives, and the evasion of law enforcement. Also found in the 'computer room' was a detailed summary of the events surrounding the arrest and taking into custody of the two adults and six children in Tallahassee the previous night. There were also a set of instructions which appeared to be broadcast via a computer network which advised the participants to move 'the children' and keep them moving through different jurisdictions, and instructions on how to avoid police attention...

"On Friday, 2/6/87, I met Detective Bradley at the warehouse on 4th Street, N.E. I duly advised my acting group supervisor, SS/A Don Bludworth. I was again granted unlimited access to the premises. I was able to observe numerous documents which described explicit sexual conduct between the members of the community known as Finders. I also saw a large collection of photographs of unidentified persons. Some of the photographs were nudes, believed to be of members of the Finders. There were numerous photos of children, some nude, at least one of which was a photo of a child 'on display' and appearing to accent the child's genitals.

"I was only able to examine a very small amount of the photos at this time. However, one of the officers presented me with a photo album for my review. The album contained a series of photos of adults and children dressed in white sheets participating in a 'blood ritual.' The ritual centered around the execution of at least two goats. The photos portrayed the execution, disembowelment, skinning and dismemberment of the goats at the hands of the children. This included the removal of the testes of a male goat, the discovery of a female goat's 'womb' and the 'baby goats' inside the womb, and the presentation of a goat's head to one of the children.

Further inspection of the premises disclosed numerous files relating to activities of the organization in different parts of the world. Locations I observed are as follows: London, Germany, the Bahamas, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Africa, Costa Rica, and 'Europe.' There was also a file identified as 'Palestinian.' Other files were identified by member name or 'project' name. The projects appearing to be operated for commercial purposes under front names for the Finders.

"There was one file entitled 'Pentagon Break-In,' and others referring to members operating in foreign countries. Not observed by me but related by an MPD officer were intelligence files on private families not related to the Finders. The process undertaken appears to be have been a systematic response to local newspaper advertisements for babysitters, tutors, etc. A member of the Finders would respond and gather as much information as possible about the habits, identity, occupation, etc., of the family. The use to which this information was to be put is still unknown. There was also a large amount of data collected on various child care organizations.

"The warehouse contained a large library, two kitchens, a sauna, hot-tub, and a 'video room.' The video room seemed to be set up as an indoctrination center. It also appeared that that the organization had the capability to produce its own videos. There were what appeared to be training areas for children and what appeared to be an altar set up in a residential area of the warehouse. Many jars of urine and feces were located in this area.

"On Thursday, February 5, 1987, Senior Special Agent Harrold and I assisted the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) with two search warrants involving the possible sexual exploitation of children. During the course of the search warrants, numerous documents were discovered which appeared to be concerned with international trafficking in children, high tech transfer to the United Kingdom, and international transfer of currency.

"On March 31, 1987, I contacted Detective Jim Bradley of the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). I was to meet with Detective Bradley to review the documents seized pursuant to two search warrants executed in January, 1987. The meeting was to take place on April 2 or 3, 1987.

"On April 2, 1987, I arrived at MPD at approximately 9:00 a.m. Detective Bradley was not available. I spoke to a third party who was willing to discuss the case with me on a strictly 'off the record' basis. I was advised that all the passport data had been turned over to the State Department for their investigation. The State Department in turn, advised the MPD that all travel and use of the passports by the holders of the passports was within the law and no action would be taken. This included travel to Moscow, North Korea, and North Vietnam from the late 1950s to mid 1970s.

"The individual further advised me of circumstances which indicated that the investigation into the activity of the Finders had become a CIA internal matter. The MPD report has been classified SECRET and was not available for review. I was advised that the FBI had withdrawn from the investigation several weeks prior and that the FBI Foreign Counter Intelligence Division had directed MPD not to advise the FBI Washington Field Office of anything that had transpired. No further information will be available. No further action will be taken."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, this group has been around since the 1960s. Are you sure of the dates as the original seven was in 1972/73 and were "misplaced" in a forest preserve? one girl, 6 boys.

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The same tactics were used. Man outside of Michigan in the 1970s was housing and mutating weird zoo animals while selling narcotics. I toured the facility as a little girl and it still haunts me to this day.

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The same tactics were used. Man outside of Michigan in the 1970s was housing and mutating weird zoo animals while selling narcotics. I toured the facility as a little girl and it still haunts me to this day.

6:58 PM  

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