Gutsy Reporters Probe DC, Nebraska Pedophilia Claims

By Andrew Kreig / Director’s Blog

Washington, DC-based broadcaster Wayne Madsen hosted fellow author Nick Bryant March 20 for a rare public discussion of reports of pedophilia involving prominent Washington officials and media celebrities. The two longtime investigative reporters agreed that those who try to expose such crimes among the powerful can expect major career setbacks, with early death a distinct possibility. In the audio interview posted on the Wayne Madsen Report (a subscription-only site), they agreed also that those involved in cover-ups, by contrast, often prosper in their careers because of the power of perpetrators, including lucrative blackmail opportunities.

Bryant, whose specialties include reports on abused children, spent seven years researching The Franklin Scandal: A Story of Powerbrokers, Child Abuse and Betrayal. The publisher TrineDay synopsizes the 650-page book (including index) as “the true story of a child-pandering network and the masking of its very existence through a massive cover-up orchestrated from the utmost pinnacle of power – using the CIA, FBI, Secret Service and a corrupt judicial process.” The book’s theme is that the ring was based in Nebraska, and drew both boys and girls from Boys Town and other homes for foster or troubled children.

From interviews and court documents involving participants, the book describes how children were shipped to wealthy pedophiles for sex and drug “parties” in Omaha, Washington, Hollywood, Las Vegas and elsewhere around the nation. Initial reports two decades ago created a scandal in Nebraska and Washington.

A Nebraska legislative inquiry and three grand juries examined the evidence. But after legislature’s chief investigator died in a mysterious plane crash authorities cast increasing doubt on the allegations. Former Franklin Community Federal Credit Union Manager Larry E. King, a once high-rolling financial and political figure in Republican circles, was convicted of financial crimes. But he did not face charges on claims that for years he pimped children for sex at gatherings for political, law enforcement, business and media figures around the nation. Alisha Owen, who like many of the purpored victims developed a reputation for erratic behavior, refused to recant her testimony that she had been a victim. The book provides powerful evidence that authorities railroaded her on perjury charges. Among many irregularities, her former defense attorney gave testimony against the defendant, purportedly after becoming romantically involved with an investigator. Owen was sentenced to 9 to 15 years in prison, with two years of the sentence in solitary confinement.

Madsen is a former Naval Intelligence officer who once mounted an in-depth investigation of pedophilia charges against his commanding officer. He is one of the few journalists anywhere willing to risk granting Bryant an interview for the book. The two discussed on Madsen's show how reporters were once far more willing to explore scandal allegations against the powerful. As illustration, Madsen opened his show with a clip from an ABC-TV news broadcast in 1982. On it, ABC’s Frank Reynolds and Carole Simpson reported that authorities were investigating members of Congress and their staffers on allegations of homosexual sex and drug involvement with underage pages. The clip included an interview with a former page who claimed that between 15 and 20 members of congress or staff were implicated. The clip also included a broadcast denial of involvement by then-Congressman Larry Craig of Idaho, who said he was being smeared simply because he was single. Craig, a Republican later married and elected to the U.S. Senate, would ultimately leave office under a cloud in 2009 after being arrested on a charge of soliciting sex by tapping his foot in an airport mensroom.

In their interview, Bryant and Madsen discussed allegations that politically well-connected pedophiles running the ring transported teens to a Washington mansion that was rigged with hidden cameras and microphones to blackmail attendees for political purposes. Two decades ago, the Washington Times published several major investigative stories alleging that powerful figures were implicated, and that late-night tours for pages at the Bush White House helped glamorize “after-parties” at the Kalorama neighborhood mansion of an operative named Craig Spence. But the Washington Post quoted anonymous law enforcement sources at the time as denying misbehavior. Then the Washington Times stopped publishing stories after Spence suddenly died and the Bush administration stepped up outreach to the paper’s leader, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. In their interview, the two reporters discussed also mysterious deaths of investigators and witnesses in the scandal. These included the drowning of former CIA Director William Colby, 76, a Catholic reputedly disturbed at reports of wrongdoing and helping Nebraska's legislative investigation. Another was the death of the legislature’s chief investigator, Gary Caradori, and his son after their airplane disintegrated in mid-air for unknown reasons after they attended a Chicago Cubs baseball game.

"Had the Franklin Scandal blown up," Bryant said on the Madsen show about Caradori's investigation, "it would have been the end of politics as we know it in America." Bryant's reason? He says a full account would have shown the involvement of extremely high-level figures who attended parties that were "honey-traps" to implicate not simply for public officials but major figures in the news media.

Those are serious claims, of course, and difficult for any outsider to substantiate. I have read Bryant’s compelling book, however, and suggest that it’s a serious effort by a courageous author to bring the relevant courtroom records to a wider audience. The McClendon Group speaker society, which specializes in bringing newsworthy speakers to the National Press Club who are widely ignored by the mainstream media, has extended an invitation to Bryant for a dinner lecture soon at a date to be determined. The McClendon Group previously hosted discussions of the Franklin Scandal. Among those speakers have been former Washington Times investigative reporter Paul Rodriguez, who helped break the original stories based in part on work with the legislative investigator Caradori.

Listed below are selected articles on legal reform and political, security and media factors. The articles contain a sample of news. See the full article by visiting the Project home page's section on News Reports, and clicking the link.

Wayne Madsen Report, Interview with Nick Bryant, author of The Franklin Scandal: A Story of Powerbrokers, Child Abuse and Betrayal, March 21, 2011 (Subscription-required). Madsen provides a rare interview to fellow investigative reporter Nick Bryant, who spent seven years documenting a compelling book about a Nebraska-based nationwide homosexual network in the 1980s that allegedly involved prominent figures in law enforcement, politics and the news media.

Professors Blogg, Censorship of Assange articles in the Guardian & Swedish press, Dr. Marcello Ferrada de Noli, March 19, 2011. A human rights activist updates his research about Swedish and United Kingdom newspapers that block readers from citing certain Justice Integrity Project and Naomi Wolf articles regarding Sweden’s investigation of a WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The report includes correspondence with the Swedish IT contractor Twingly, which manages IT for reader comments at several large newspapers. The blocked articles mention U.S. political strategist Karl Rove, who lists on his website that he has been advisor to the Swedish government and who called for Assange’s execution in a television news interview Aug.7. Rove’s defenders in Sweden deny suggestions that the Assange investigation has been flawed by irregularities or that Rove might be involved either directly or through his friends at the nation's leading publication relations company, Prime Group, or leading think tank, Timbro.

Harper’s No Comment, The Justice Department’s Prison Rape Problem, March 18, 2011. In an engaging review-essay in the New York Review of Books, David Kaiser and Lovisa Stannow address the issue of sexual abuse in prisons and the shocking failure of the U.S. government to discipline prison guards who mistreat inmates. According to a recent report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics(BJS), a branch of the Department of Justice, there were only 7,444 official allegations of sexual abuse in detention in 2008, and of those, only 931 were substantiated. These are absurdly low figures. But perhaps more shocking is that even when authorities confirmed that corrections staff had sexually abused inmates in their care, only 42 percent of those officers had their cases referred to prosecution; only 23 percent were arrested, and only 3 percent charged, indicted, or convicted. Fifteen percent were actually allowed to keep their jobs. The total number of incidents of sexual abuse involving prisoners in the United States is more in the order of 216,000 per year: that’s the number that the BJS estimated for 2008.

FireDogLake, Dan Ellsberg Handcuffed at White House for Protesting Obama’s Torture of Bradley Manning, Jane Hamsher, March 21, 2011. Eighty year-old Daniel Ellsberg was arrested on Saturday in front of the White House when he refused to leave at the request of police. He was one of 113 people who were arrested, handcuffed and taken to the police station on March 19, 2011 for protesting President Obama’s continued torture of Bradley Manning.

Legal Schnauzer, Key Figure in Abramoff Case Gives New Meaning to the Term "Dirt Bag," Roger Shuler, March 11, 2011. Reviewers have noted that Michael Scanlon is portrayed as being even more corrupt than Jack Abramoff in the new film Casino Jack, which stars Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey. For those of us in Alabama, that has special meaning. After all, Scanlon was the one-time press secretary for our former Republican Governor, Bob Riley.

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