"If you want somebody you can trust, trust yourself"
In a land of wolves and thieves.
Don't put your hope in ungodly men,
Or be a slave to what somebody else believes. - Bob Dylan
I know, I called a moratorium on Dylan lyrics. But it has been four days, and he's already said everything.
"Trust Yourself" is the best advice when wading into America's deep, weird end. Especially since, whenever we get over our heads in the bizarre black ops swamp of protected ritual abuse, it seems there's no avoiding Ted Gunderson. But is there any trusting him?
I don't know what to think about Gunderson. Or maybe I do, but I don't want to think it out loud. It would nice to assume the best intentions of everyone who takes up the cause of exposing these crimes. But because of the nature of the crimes, the names of the criminals, and simple human nature, I think it's prudent to assume several circles of disinformation before we reach something like the truth. And that makes me wonder, where do we find Gunderson?
One place we find him is in The Last Circle by "Carol Marshall" (real name Cheri Seymour): a samizdat sequel of sorts to the work which cost Danny Casolaro his life. "Unknown to me at the time," she writes, "I had taken a quantum leap in the direction of the Octopus when I contacted Ted Gunderson."
Here's Seymour's telling of her first meeting with Gunderson:
On November 30, 1991, Ted Gunderson opened the door at his Manhattan Beach home and ushered us into a small living room cluttered with toys. He made no explanation for the toys scattered around the floor and the couch, but offered coffee and donuts, then proceeded to eat most of the donuts himself. I had expected someone dripping with intrigue, instead he was classic in the sense of an investigator; rumpled shirt and slacks, nervous movements, distracted behavior. We sat on the couch bunched together amongst the toys. Gunderson pulled a kitchen chair up in front of us, leaned over and began stuffing his mouth with cheese and crackers, all the while talking, his body in perpetual motion. He was a big, handsome man with an aging face and tossled silver hair. He seemed entirely unaware of his appearance or the appearance of his home, but his pale eyes were intelligent and probing. Intuitively, I knew he was more than he appeared to be.
A young woman, perhaps early thirties, entered the room brushing long blond hair, still wet from the shower. Her faded jeans and sun-drenched appearance reminded me of friends I'd known growing up in Newport Beach. Gunderson introduced her as his "partner," as she seated herself silently on the floor next to him. The flush on her face brought a fleeting prescience to me that they had been making love shortly before the meeting.
The woman was Jackie McGauley, the first parent to believe her child was abused at the McMartin Daycare, the case with which Gunderson's name is most closely associated.
Two years ago McGauley wrote the following about her former boyfriend, which was quoted this past March 29 in an open letter from Barbara Hartwell to Noreen Gosch:
When I threw Ted Gunderson out of my house and figured out my damages, I found I was over $30,000 in debt. I was a single mother of 2 young children, only receiving $300 per month in child support. I was very ill the entire time Ted was in my house. Needless to say, the kids and I were destitute. I was unable to be very involved in the issue. Survival for me and my kids was all I could manage. Some of you know how desperate my situation was and helped me.
In the mid 90s Cheri Seymour, who had been around the last 2 of the years I was with Ted, approached me to join her in writing a book. Frankly, I was scared. I refused and asked her not to use my name in the book.
Cheri wrote the book, based on her experiences and documents gathered during that time. That book is The Last Circle. Cherie used a pen name, Carol Marshall. From what I hear, Cherie has had a rough time and had to go into hiding. I doubt I would have lived if I had worked with her on this project.
Gunderson has responded to Hartwell's letter, including McGauley's comments, here.
I'm not interested in the he said/she said. What I find most worrying is beyond dispute: Gunderson inserted himself into the life of a vulnerable woman at a time of great emotional distress. (A woman half his age - Gunderson was born in 1928 - and though I don't know if that matters, I think it deserves a mention.) It may have been crazy love, it may have been a love of control, it may have just happened. But it appears to me inappropriate and possibly exploitive. And appearances would seem to be important in such a line of work.
Perhaps this wouldn't bother me if we didn't already have the example of so-called Monarch deprogrammers becoming intimate with their subjects. For instance, "ex-CIA" Mark Phillips and Cathy O'Brien, Fritz Springmeier and Cisco Wheeler. I can't assess their intentions, and whether they represent another covert layer of control. I'll just say I imagine that accessing certain programming must be a great temptation for some men.
But of more concern than Gunderson's girlfriends are his business partners. One, Michael Riconosciuto, whom Casolaro dubbed "Dangerman," had personally modified the stolen PROMIS software to create backdoors to spy into the networks of end users. (His affidavit in the Inslaw case can be read here.) Seymour spoke also to Riconosciuto for The Last Circle, and he described for her the role the security firm Wackenhut has in the Octopus's self-financing international guns-for-drugs trade. (Riconosciuto had served as Director of Research for the Wackenhut facility at the Cabazon Indian reservation, where he'd made the alterations to PROMIS.)
One of the most surprising, and disturbing, documents I found in Michael Riconosciuto's hidden files was an envelope with a notation on it, handwritten and signed by Ted Gunderson, which read as follows:
"Michael: Raymond is arriving at LAX, 7:55 p.m., Air Canada via flight 793 from Toronto. Will have to go through Customs. This will give us another member for our drug/arms operation. Only problem [is] Raymond will probably be using instead of selling. Sorry I didn't get to D.A. office. I tried to call, but no answer. By the time I fought the traffic to the bank and did my banking, it was too late. Will be home tonight (818) 880-6238. T.G."
Then there is Robert Booth Nichols, a figure linked to both the CIA and the Mafia, who became Casolaro's highest-placed source on the Octopus. Seymour writes of a 71-page transcript of a series of tape recorded interviews between Riconosciuto, Gunderson and Nichols at Nichols' Marina Del Rey apartment in 1983:
In reading the transcript, it appeared that Gunderson and Nichols were interviewing Riconosciuto for recruitment into a drug/sting operation. Riconosciuto later verified that he was, in fact, being recruited into the overseas Lebanon drug operation by Gunderson and Nichols because of his (Riconosciuto's) undercover experience in the drug trade. ... Nichols later confirmed to me that he (Nichols) had indeed interviewed Riconosciuto with Ted Gunderson in 1983 and the transcript was legitimate, though he wouldn't state the purpose of the interview.
Here is how Seymour ends her telling of her own interview of Nichols:
Nichols studied me for the longest time, then walked over to the window and lit a cigarette. He finally commented that the CIA can cover up anything it wants, even a president's murder. He wanted to show me the power of the Octopus. "Nothing is as it appears to be," he said.
Somehow, that statement rang true. He then noted that he'd read my first book, the one I had sent him, then handed me a book entitled, "The Search for the Manchurian Candidate." He told me to read it, appraising me silently. Inwardly, I recalled a conversation with J.M. [Jackie McGauley], in which she related a conversation she'd had with Ted after a dinner engagement with Nichols. Nichols had reportedly stated to Ted that he headed a 200-man assassination team. Jackie had been too frightened to elaborate on this conversation, but had pointed out that Nichols once worked in the MK-ULTRA (Manchurian Candidate) program during the Vietnam war. This program was part of the "Phoenix Project." Interestingly, numerous publications had mentioned that Earl Brian had also participated in the Phoenix Project during the war.
Nichols' sister was allegedly a professional hypnotherapist, and Nichols himself was reportedly trained in the art of hypnotism. According to Riconosciuto, they all called themselves "The Chosen Ones," wore skull and crossbones rings, and shared a common interest, if you could call it that, in the old German SS occultism, its tribal and inner circle rites.
So here's my question: why is Ted Gunderson, self-styled enemy of Satanic Ritual Abuse, a longtime friend and partner of Robert Booth Nichols, a reputed veteran of MK-ULTRA and student of Nazi occultism? (Interestingly, when then-FBI agent Gunderson had run a background check of Nichols, he reportedly found him to be "squeaky clean.")
Issues can be black and white, but never people. Motives can be muddied, and feet can be planted in different, and even seemingly contrary, worlds. It may not make someone particularly bad; it may just mean someone is complicated. Though sometimes, the contradictions can make them especially dangerous.
So who is Ted Gunderson? I don't know. Hell, I don't even know who Cheri Seymour is, or if that is her real name. (And the scene in which she describes Nichols screening her a "director's cut" of the Zapruder film does make me, at least, question the soundness of her judgement.) But shouting "Disinfo agent!" and "COINTELPRO!" can make one feel a bit like a character in John Carpenter's The Thing, suspecting everyone, not knowing who's the monster. Still, they weren't imagining the monster. Are we?
And who am I? I know the answer, but you probably don't. So like I've quoted before (and it's the Buddha, not Bob Dylan, this time): "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
I hope Noreen Gosch remembers Paul Bishop, and keeps her guard up.