A Dialogue with the Devil
by David McGowan
On August 29, 2001, this journalist received an e-mail correspondence from a certain Lt. Col. Michael Aquino, informing me that he was none too pleased with the Pedophocracy series of articles. Go figure. The following is the complete text of the message that I received, interspersed with my responses (in red) to the points that Aquino attempts to make. This posting will serve as an open response, so to speak, to Aquino's correspondence. None of Aquino's comments have been edited and are presented here exactly as received, including the typos and misspellings.
Subject: "Pedophocracy Part 3"
Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2001 19:20:03 EDT
From: Xeper@aol.com [Aquino's e-mail address, for anyone wishing to send him their own response]
Dear Mr. McGowan,
I have just been alerted to your "Pedophocracy" series by Mr. Robert Sterling of The Konformist.
If the purpose of your writings and website is, as you suggest, to expose the truth and not to perpetuate lies, then your continuing to promote "Satanic Ritual Abuse" falsehoods concerning my wife and myself is irresponsible and hypocritical.
To the contrary, what is irresponsible is for the media - largely owned and controlled by the intelligence apparatus to which you have dedicated your life - to consistently ignore and deny the evidence of widespread and absolutely loathsome abuse of children. As Part I of my series abundantly documents, there is in fact a massive body of photographic evidence verifying that children all across this country, and around the world, are being sexually abused, tortured, and even killed for the depraved enjoyment and financial gain of persons probably not unlike yourself.
We have never harmed any children, anywhere, anytime, and have abundantly and aggressively exploded scam-artists' fabrications to the contrary for years.
If you are insinuating that I am a "scam artist" (as you appear to be), I invite you to present any evidence to support that charge. I would point out that that term generally refers to someone who is peddling knowingly false information for personal gain. These articles have been posted and distributed as a public service. I have been paid nothing to make this information available. Indeed, unlike yourself, I have nothing to gain by becoming involved in this issue and a considerable amount to lose.
Certainly the least you could have done was to *contact and ask* me about any questions in your mind on the subject, which I regret you didn't have the integrity to do.
You have absolutely no moral ground to stand on whatsoever to be passing judgment on my integrity.
Appended below is the *truth* concerning the Presidio scam
I find it very telling that you would choose to insert asterisks on either side of the word "truth." A Freudian slip, perhaps?
- which as an avowed opponent of government illegalities and coverups you should find as disgraceful as I did. Everything I say here is a matter of public record, and I have sworn to it under oath as necessary.
Every day, in courtrooms all across America, thousands of people swear under oath to tell the truth and then proceed to lie when it serves their self-interest to do so.
Please consider whether it is accordingly not indeed thr decent thing for you to do to remove mention of my wife's and my name from your "Pedophocracy" piece, both on your site, Sterling's, and wherever else you have circulated it.
I find it rather amazing that you feel yourself qualified to offer an opinion on what the "decent thing to do" is? Your shamelessness apparently knows no bounds.
Michael A. Aquino
You will forgive me if I doubt your sincerity.
THE 1986-7 PRESIDIO "SATANIC RITUAL ABUSE" EVENTS
Following the publication of the "recovered memories of Satanic ritual abuse" book Michelle Remembers in 1980, the United States and other Anglo-American countries went through a decade of "SRA" scares and witch-hunts. After the 1984 McMartin Preschool became internationally publicized in one such scare, day-care facilities generally became targets of "SRA" witch- hunt instigators.
You haven't even gotten through the first paragraph of your rebuttal and already you are peddling deliberate disinformation. Here you have identified the McMartin Preschool case as a "witch hunt." How then do you explain the existence of the tunnels beneath the school that were uncovered and documented by a highly reputable archaeological team? How do you explain the untimely deaths of three individuals connected to the case just before they were to have their day in court? How do you explain the fact that nearly 500 kids, of all different ages, all reported being abused at the school? How do you account for the fact that the jury hearing the case overwhelmingly believed that the kiwere in fact severely abused, but were unable to affix the blame for that abuse? How do you account for the fact that Virginia McMartin's own granddaughter believed that her kids were abused at the school? You do not account for these things because, quite simply, you cannot. You merely label it a witch hunt without offering a shred of evidence to support that point of view. I happened to grow up in a city just adjacent to Manhattan Beach where my parents were both public school teachers. As such, they had numerous friends and associates who were fellow teachers and other childcare professionals (school nurses, counselors, psychologists, etc.). These people, and thousands more like them around the country, had to deal with the fallout from the McMartin and Presidio operations (and countless others). They had to help rebuild the shattered lives. They had to try, as best they could, to repair the damage and clean up the fucking mess that your people left behind. The McMartin case a 'witch hunt'? I hardly think so.
The epidemic extended to U.S. military services as well, including 15 U.S. Army day-care centers and elementary schools by 1987. In late 1986 it was the turn of the Presidio of San Francisco.
On 9/28/86 the _San Francisco Examiner_ began a series of 8 front-page stories sensationalizing the witch-hunts. Approximately a month later one set of Presidio parents claimed that their son might have been anally raped by one of the day-care teachers, Gary Hambright, and the scare was off and running, with scores of children being "abuse-diagnosed" by a "play-therapist" despite not a single published confirmation of actual physical harm to any child. Hambright denied any "abusing" whatever, and all of the other teachers and staff supported him.
I will assume that when you say "play therapist," you mean therapist that was not fully co-opted by the people that you work for. As for there being no published confirmation of abuse, I would note that, as my article references, the case was written up in a highly respected medical journal that was subject to peer review.
As in other witch-hunts it made no difference: Over the next year Hambright was suspended, indicted, charges dropped reindicted, charges redropped amidst a massive media frenzy. Parents rushed to file over $84 million in claims, as was also routine in such witch-hunts. [The previous year a similar, highly-publicized witch-hunt at West Point had resulted in $110 million claims.]
The truth is, as my article also points out, that the state acknowledged in open court that kids had in fact been abused at the West Point Child Development Center. How exactly does that qualify as a "witch hunt"?
Left out of the Presidio claims bonanza were Christian chaplain Larry Adams-Thompson and his wife Michele, who had never reported their daughter Kinsey Almond for any physical or psychological symptoms during the entire time she had been under Hambright's supervision at the day-care center (9/1-10/31/86). In their original 1/87 FBI interviews both A-Ts were specific about that date- window, because Almond turned 3 on 9/1/86 and, as confirmed by the Presidio Director of Personnel & Community Affairs, Hambright supervised only children age 3 and older.
Despite Almond's untouched state [on 3/12/87 Presidio doctors examined her and pronounced her a virgin free from any physical signs of abuse], the A-Ts placed her in an intensive 8-month program of "play-therapy". The same "therapist" who pronounced the scores of other children "abused" soon pronounced Almond "abused" as well.
There is little doubt that some of the Presidio doctors were complicit in the operation and the cover-up, and are therefore no more credible than you.
The A-Ts, however, were not content with just accusing Hambright. In 6/87 Michele introduced "SRA" themes and insinuations about me - who had been a topic of curiosity and gossip as a famous Satanist officer throughout my 1981-86 assignment to the Presidio Headquarters - to the "therapist".
Then on 8/13/87 the A-Ts saw my wife Lilith and myself at the Presidio post exchange and went running to the witch-hunt investigators alleging that Almond had accused us of kidnapping and raping her while she was under Hambright's supervision. [They then climbed on board the financial bandwagon with a $3 million claim of their own based on their faked story.] This quickly resulted in an even more sensationalistic international media storm.
The truth is that the media in this case, as in virtually every other case of this nature, spent most of its time and energy attempting to downplay the charges and discredit the child victims/witnesses and their parents.
The San Francisco Police investigated, verified that Lilith and I had been 3,000 miles away in Washington, D.C. - where I was on duty every single day Almond was at the daycare center 9/1-10/31/86 - and closed the case with no charges accordingly.
I think we are all adults here, and as such we are well aware that the federal government has it within its power to alter documents to protect one of its own. In fact, it happens all the time.
In October 1988, however, I appeared as a panelist on a Geraldo Rivera Halloween special. Rivera was trying to aggravate and escalate the "SRA" witchhunt mania, and I was speaking out against it.
Well, if you said it on the Geraldo show then it certainly must be true.
The broadcast came to the attention of Senator Jesse Helms, who became enraged that a Lt. Colonel in the Army should dare to hold a "Satanic" religion. As Freedom of Information Act filings later revealed, Helms then secretly contacted his close personal friend, Secretary of the Army John Marsh, and insisted that Marsh devise some way to destroy my career.
The notion that Helms, who himself has deep and long-standing ties to the intelligence community, would take offense to you is a fundamentally preposterous notion. Helms has been around the block a time or two, and is well aware that the intelligence services are brimming with all manner of human refuse -- including expatriate Nazis, organized crime figures, assassins, Latin American death squad leaders, torture aficionados, and more than a few satanists.
As my 20-year military record was without blemish [In 1987 I was the sole USAR officer in the nation selected to attend the prestigious National Defense University/ICAF], the only way to act on Helms' demand was to try to revive the chaplain's scheme to threaten Lilith and myself, apparently expecting that with sufficient intimidation by the Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) I would resign and "disappear". [It didn't work.]
The CID first (Jan 89) illegally forced a fulltime active duty board to deny me a new fulltime contract on expiration of my current one in 9/90. Six months later, after a sham "reinvestigation", it issued a report "titling" Lilith and myself for the chaplain's allegations. ["Titling" is a statement by the CID that it thinks a crime occurred.] Nevertheless the report itself contained not a single item of "evidence" other than the A-Ts' allegations that any crime whatever had occurred - and either suppressed or ignored abundant evidence of our innocence and the A-Ts' violations.
[For example, the CID tried to get around our 3,000-miles-away proof of innocence by finding out when we *had* previously been in San Francisco - several months before the 9-10/86 "window" - and then (in 1989) simply revising the allegation to *that* date! When the CID then learned that that this manufactured redate made the A-Ts' alleged location physically impossible, it then (in 1991) proceeded to invent a *new* location, once again on no grounds except its 1991 predicament. Both the manufactured "redating" and "relocating" necessarily made numerous additional elements of the chaplain's original fabrication impossible as well - inconvenient complications that the CID addressed by simply ignoring them.]
What this bizarre exercise in "manufactured evidence" *did* demonstrate was the strength of the political agenda predetermining the CID's "reinvestigation" from the outset. [For instance, the CID's illegal fixing of the fulltime- duty board took place at the *beginning* of its "reinvestigation" - half a year before it was supposedly able to perform the evaluation of that investigation.] Clearly an expose' that we had in fact been the innocent victims of a cold-blooded, calculated scheme to defraud the government - by a *Christian chaplain* - was politically out of the question from the beginning.
My repeated demands that those responsible for the CID action, as well as the chaplain, be court-martialed for false official statements, manufacture of evidence, obstruction of justice, misprision of serious offense, attempted $3 million defrauding of the government, and several other UCMJ and federal law violations, were similarly - and equally illegally - suppressed. The CID's response was to say that I was "swearing falsely" to these facts. Nevertheless it could not - and did not - produce even a single example of *any* such "factual falsehood" in the documents I filed and swore to under penalty of perjury. [Nor, of course, was I ever charged with making even a single "false statement".]
By administrative complaint process in 1990 we were able to have the "SRA titling" of Lilith removed. The CID refused to remove mine - although the A-Ts had always alleged we "did the SRA together" - because to do so would have exploded the entire CID operation and opened a trail of serious law violations leading to Helms and Secretary of the Army Marsh.
I next filed suit in federal court in 1990 to have the rest of the CID report exposed and retracted. The U.S. Privacy Act would have forced a comparison of every CID statement in the report with the actual facts (a _de novo_ judicial review).
For this reason the CID argued intensely that its reports should be immune from _de novo_ review.
The case was filed as a Motion for Summary Judgment. There was no jury or in-court testimony. We assumed that the CID's legal violations were so flagrant, obvious, and numerous that a simple ruling by the judge would suffice.
To our surprise the judge ruled that all CID reports were indeed exempt from _de novo_ judicial review, and that the CID could conclude whatever it wished from its report *as written*.
We appealed, and the appeals court upheld the district judge's decision to exempt CID reports from the Privacy Act. Again in its decision, the appeals court recited as "facts" excerpts from the very CID document whose falsehoods were the *issue* of the entire lawsuit.
Following the lawsuit I detailed and documented the CID lawyer's extensive lies in briefs & oral argument to the Army Inspector General, Judge Advocate General, and finally the Army Chief of Staff.
None of my facts or documents was disputed or refuted, but neither was any action taken to courtmartial those responsible. This effectively exhausted my options.
The bottom line was that on one hand the politically- driven "black bag job" to intimidate me out of the Army had failed, and indeed could not withstand many other decent and honorable offices and officials in the same Army who, as they learned about the scheme, refused to aid, abet, or tolerate it. [This included every single superior officer in my own chain of command throughout all the years of the initial attack against us and the subsequent investigations.]
On the other hand we came to realize that it was politically out of the question that a Christian chaplain be courtmartialed for crimes committed against a "Satanist" and his wife, or that trails of illegal actions leading to powerful national political figures would be followed. And we also learned that the courts were also not about to force exposure such a widespread and potentially politically-explosive cover-up as this one.
And to think that people label me a 'conspiracy theorist.' If I am reading this correctly (which is not an easy thing to do, considering the severely convoluted logic), then you are claiming to be the victim of a 'vast right-wing conspiracy' involving one of the most powerful Senators in the country, the Secretary of the Army, the Army's CID, a district court judge, an appeals court, the Army Inspector General, the Judge Advocate General, the Army Chief of Staff, and numerous other lower-level players all working together for no larger purpose than to destroy you personally. And here I was thinking that what was really going on was a concerted effort to protect you so as not to expose a government-sanctioned operation to torture and abuse children. Of course, only some crazed conspiracy theorist would believe that sort of a scenario. Your version is obviously so much more credible.
On the expiration of my fulltime active duty contract in 1990, I continued as a parttime active USAR officer for the next four years, assigned to Headquarters US Space Command with an above-Top Secret clearance. I decided to retire in 1994, and at that time received the Meritorious Service Medal from the [new] Secretary of the Army, covering 1984-1994. I remain today in the Army as a Lt.Colonel, USAR-Retired.
Most people will find it sufficient, I think, that Lilith and I were never charged with anything after two long investigations (SFPD/FBI, CID), that I retained my TS+ clearance, and that I retired honorably in 1994. My Officer Efficiency Reports from the time of the attack on us to my 1994 retirement also continued to give me the highest possible evaluations in all categories.
You seem to want it both ways. First you spin some long-winded and ludicrous tale of your persecution by the powers that be, and then almost in the same breath trumpet the numerous honors bestowed upon you by those very same powers, while attempting to vindicate yourself by noting that no charges were ever filed against you. So which is it? Quite frankly, I fail to see how you can seriously contend that you were persecuted when, as is in fact the case, no charges were ever filed against you -- despite the testimony of numerous witnesses not only from the Presidio, but from elsewhere around the country as well.
My military service and present Army-Retired status are public record and can be independently verified by anyone wishing to take the trouble.
As far as I know, no one has disputed that you have a military service record -- a record that includes time spent in Vietnam as a psychological warfare operative, which quite likely means that you were a part of the Phoenix Program. For the uninitiated, Phoenix was a program concerned with the illegal torture and assassination of as many as 40,000 Vietnamese men, women, and children.
Nor is the 1990 lawsuit in any sense a "skeleton in my closet". A review of my attorney's district & appeals briefs & orals will glaringly expose what was actually taking place: a court coverup of blatant Senatorial/SecArmy/CID misconduct - and simultaneous brushing-aside of numerous illegal actions against an Army officer and his wife of a "politically incorrect" religion.
An easy allegation to make, though there is nothing beyond your word to indicate that there is any substance to this charge.
Michael A. Aquino, Ph.D.
[Here follows an additional comment of mine concerning the original "abuse" allegations at the Presidio of S.F. concerning the daycare teacher there, Gary Hambright:]
Hambright was originally indicted 12/86 on the basis of allegations made by the Tobin parents (which kicked off the Presidio witchhunt). This indictment was dismissed 3/87 on the grounds of hearsay.
It's rather interesting that in your earlier accounting of the case you made no mention of the name Tobin and strongly implied that the entire "witch hunt" was instigated by Chaplain Larry Adams-Thompson, thereby allowing you to cast the entire investigation as some kind of religious persecution. The truth is that it isn't about religion. It's about pedophilia.
After more parent/therapist input to investigators, Hambright was reindicted 9/87 on "two counts of oral copulation and 10 counts of lewd & lascivious conduct" (SF Chronicle 1/4/88).
All of these charges were dropped by 2/17/88. On 2/18/88 the Chronicle said:
"The final count of oral copulation against the former Southern Baptist minister was dismissed by U.S. District Judge William Schwarzer after the parents of the alleged victim said their child could not withstand the rigors of the trial."
[The Tobins originally alleged "anal rape" of their son by Hambright. When a pediatrician refuted any evidence of this on S.F. television, the allegation was switched to "oral copulation".]
No news article that I have ever read indicated that there was a shred of *physical* evidence showing that *any* child at the Presidio had been sexually abused in connection with that scam. I say "news article" because I was not privy to investigators' records on the Hambright allegations, and can verify only what I read in the media.
Partway through the investigation a stir was created when the media announced that several of the children had been diagnosed with Chlamydia. However (a) the Army later announced the tests were unreliable, (b) no retesting of the children was ever conducted, (c) Chlamydia can be transmitted by direct contact with any mucuous membrane [such as mouth or eyes], (d) no testing of the children's parents for this disease was conducted, and (e) reportedly Hambright did not have this disease. [For that matter, as verified by our own medical records, neither Lilith nor I have ever had it either.]
The *only* "evidence" against Hambright thus consisted of parental hearsay allegations and the allegations of "therapist" Debbie Hickey, the Army psychiatrist who conducted the "play therapy" indoctrination sessions for the children once the scam got underway.
If you don't count the testimony of the sixty child witnesses.
Though it is inevitably denied in such cases, children on average are at least as credible, if not more so, than adult witnesses. And then of course there is the medical evidence and the psychological symptoms of abuse, which you also choose to deny. Parents of some of the children have stated that investigators didn't bother talking to them after their children's abuse was medically confirmed, as my article also makes note of.
Later on, after Lilith and I had been attacked by Chaplain Adams-Thompson, I met with Hambright's public defenders in their S.F. office to see what documents they might provide which would help us. During that meeting (which occurred after the second dropping of all charges against Hambright), I bluntly asked the two lawyers if there were *any* actual evidence - not just accusations - that Hambright had committed any abuse crime whatever. They both said, "None at all." [They didn't say "no comment" or "we can't discuss that".]
The fact that his defense attorneys protested his innocence proves absolutely nothing. They wouldn't be doing their job were they to do otherwise. Among all the hollow arguments you have presented thus far, this is perhaps the most specious of them all.
To me the ultimate proof that no Hambright abuse was committed is the *timeline*. According to the Chronicle story quoted above, Hambright was ultimately accused of sexual attacks of up to 60 children during the period May 85-November 86 (when the Tobins made their allegations and started the witchhunt against him). Is it possible that 60 children 3-6 years old (the only age group in Hambright's daycare classes) could have been raped and sodomized for *a year and a half* before the Tobins made their allegations *and not a single parent noticed anything wrong with any child either physically or behaviorally during that year-and-a-half*?
Not only is it possible, it actually happens all the time. As any reputable therapist working in the field can attest (that is, one who isn't co-opted by your people, such as the liars at FMSF and VOCAL), children who have been subjected to the type of unfathomable abuse that these kids reported need to be removed from that environment for a considerable period of time before they feel comfortable revealing the depravities that have been inflicted on them. As I'm sure you know, children who have been repeatedly threatened with death, and who have been told repeatedly that their parents and other loved ones will be killed, and who have had those warnings reinforced by being forced to witness and participate in the killing of others, become quite adept at hiding their abuse from their parents and other family members.
We assume that none of the parents ever took any child to the Presidio hospital for any such problem during that time otherwise symptoms of sexual abuse would have started an investigation *right then*. No one noticed *anything* the slightest bit wrong with *any* child until *after* the Tobins had started the whole accusation/"therapy" show on the road.
These are the basic facts I know about the Hambright allegations. On 1/6/90 the _Chronicle_ stated that Hambright had died 11/8/89 of AIDS:
"'This seems to be the sad, final chapter in the story,' said Nanci Clarence, one of two federal public defenders who represented Hambright in the child molestation case. 'Gary died with a clear conscience. It's just too bad that he had to spend the final two years of his life battling these baseless charges.'"
You will forgive me if I fail to shed a tear for the dearly departed Hambright (whose death was kind of timely, don't you think?). We all know that under our system of jurisprudence, one is assumed to be innocent until proven guilty. The unfortunate truth though is that we live in a world where people like you are protected, so there is virtually no chance that the numerous charges made against you will ever be given a fair and just hearing. When faced with such a situation, 'we the people' have no choice but to render our own verdict, after taking into account the full weight of the evidence on both sides. Having undertaken such a review, I have come to the inescapable conclusion that you are guilty as charged, beyond what I would consider to be a reasonable doubt. There is nothing in your rebuttal argument that would lead me to reconsider that verdict.