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Book Review

 

SEEDS OF FIRE: CHINA AND THE STORY BEHIND THE ATTACK ON AMERICA

by Gordon Thomas (2001)

Reviewed by Mark Dankof for Christian News and Freedom Writer (www.freedomwriter.com)

•  Published by Dandelion Books  •  (www.dandelionbooks.com)   •   Anvil Studios, Tempe, AZ  •  ISBN:   1-893302-54-7  •  (Paperback–$25.95–523 pages)  •

 

In recording King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Daniel’s subsequent interpretation of it (Daniel, chapter 2), the Old Testament prophet underscores the constantly repristinated theme of the rise and fall of empires through successive ages and the mysterious role of God in this process in the unfolding of a linear, redemptive view of history. Central to the implementation of this sovereignly ordained plan are the selected eras, places, figures, and events which provide a mosaic-like configuration for the actors’ stage upon which the key turning points in the relations between nation-states occur. In the identification and interpretation of these turning points in the birth and death of empires, the passage of time and the employment of retrospective analysis are often followed by a greater appreciation of the event’s significance within the larger framework of historical progression.

That September 11, 2001 marks a key turning point in history is indisputable. In seeking a deeper understanding and perception of the players, events, and mysteries comprising its mosaic, discerning readers will be well served to make more than a passive acquaintance with Gordon Thomas’ new work, Seeds of Fire: China and the Story Behind the Attack on America (Dandelion Books). Employing the use of official documents along with a myriad number of personal interviews with relevant figures and his proven gift for analysis and writing, the renowned author of Gideon’s Spies, Pontiff, and Journey into Madness takes the reader through the hideous introductory case study of Kathleen Ann Sullivan’s victimization at the hands of the CIA sponsored MK-ULTRA mind alteration program. He follows this sordid account with a detailed narrative describing the cooperative role of the Reagan/Edwin Meese Justice Department and Israeli intelligence in illegally purloining the PROMIS computer software from the Inslaw, Inc. computer company in the 1980s. This software, as explained in the narrative, operated on a 32 bit architecture and ran on a DEC VAX microcomputer, possessing:

a . . . staggering 570,000 lines of computer code, allowing it to integrate with innumerable databases without a need to reprogram. . . . it also had the potential to be the most effective espionage tool modern intelligence had ever used. It did not depend on some satellite in outer space to do so, or by obtaining court orders to implement wiretaps. The appeal of Enhanced Promis was its essential simplicity. It tracked data held confidentially in other databases (pp. 35-36–Reviewer’s Emphasis).

In the latter instance, Israel’s subsequent role in modifying the software with a secret "trap door" computer microchip; its conduct of illegal sales to various world intelligence agencies; its role in facilitating the Communist Chinese use of PROMIS to steal American nuclear secrets from the Los Alamos nuclear facility in New Mexico; and the Mossad’s physical elimination of British media mogul Robert Maxwell, its own asset in the world-wide distribution of PROMIS, are examined in meticulous detail. A sketch of these details will leave the reader pondering the unfathomable paradoxes of the American-Israeli relationship, both in the conduct of espionage operations by the junior partner in the political marriage against the senior partner, as well as in the deafening silence of a series of White Houses, Congresses, and mainstream media outlets when the cracks in the canvas of these operations are subsequently demonstrated. In the Enhanced PROMIS episode, Thomas demonstrates a series of facts which taken in the aggregate will cause the American reader to ponder the nature of his/her own government, and who is being adequately protected and served by that government and its darkest, veiled processes. The picture painted and the story unveiled are as compelling as they are tormenting, prompting former U. S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson to remark that the implications of what happened in the Enhanced PROMIS affair are "even more damaging to what government should represent in the United States and indeed any democracy, than Watergate or Irangate–or all the other ‘gates’ in recent memory (p. 476)."

A synopsis of the facts presented by the author in the PROMIS software theft should also inspire specific consternation on the part of political conservatives in the United States in pondering the bitter irony of the Reagan Administration’s collusion with foreign interests in the blatant violation of U. S. copyright law and its acquiescence in predatory espionage operations against American national security interests and assets. Of particular interest in this regard is the information presented by the author about the dubious business and personal relationship of Edwin and Ursula Meese to Earl Brian of Hadron, Inc. Brian, a Farsi speaking American citizen with long term links to Ronald Reagan and Rafi Eitan, the deputy director of covert action for the Israeli Mossad, would play an interesting role for the latter in the dissemination of the Israeli doctored version of Enhanced PROMIS to Jordanian intelligence. The "trap door copy," spiked with an Israeli installed microchip for monitoring all users of the altered version of PROMIS, would enable Israeli intelligence to copy and download Jordan’s intelligence information on Palestinian terrorists. Subsequently, Rafi Eitan would turn to British media mogul and Mossad asset, Robert Maxwell, in the further distribution of the PROMIS derivative software to a diverse coalition of intelligence agencies worldwide, including over $500 million in covert sales to Canada, Great Britain, Australia, South Korea, the Soviet KGB, a Polish intelligence agency, and Communist China. The latter’s purchase of six sets of software at 9 million dollars would be the key to obtaining American nuclear secrets at Los Alamos–which would purchase its own PROMIS software from Robert Maxwell acting at the secret behest of Rafi Eitan, whose dream, in Thomas’ words, of "becoming the hard-currency millionaire of the computer surveillance world was coming true. (p. 57)" But who served as the liaison between Eitan/Maxwell and the apparently unsuspecting software purchasers of Los Alamos National Laboratory, whose procurement of the Israeli doctored Enhanced PROMIS would facilitate the Communist Chinese CSIS theft of American nuclear secrets in New Mexico, including the particulars of the W-88 Trident nuclear submarine warhead? Thomas provides a disturbing answer:

Rafi Eitan was about to begin on what he hoped would be his greatest triumph yet. He planned to penetrate deep into the very heart of America’s nuclear arsenal using his doctored version of Enhanced Promis to do so. He devised a plan for Robert Maxwell to sell the software to Los Alamos. The device would contain the trap door which was so brilliantly designed it could not be detected; if deconstructed, the trap door would simply disappear. It was Maxwell’s close connection to the late Senator John Tower–who would eventually be rewarded with a seat on Maxwell’s Macmillan publishing company in New York–which opened the door to Los Alamos (p. 57–Reviewer’s Emphasis). . . .

In April 2001, the author was provided by Inslaw with a document that goes a long way to confirm the extent of Maxwell’s role. The document was prepared by the company’s attorneys and submitted to the U. S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Headed: Role of the late Robert Maxwell in the dissemination of Promis on behalf of Israeli Intelligence, the document stated: "Maxwell had been a long-time intelligence operative for Israel. According to Ari Ben-Menashe, a former Israeli intelligence officer, Maxwell also assisted Israeli intelligence and Rafi Eitan in the dissemination of the proprietary Promis software to the intelligence and law enforcement agencies of other governments, particularly in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and certain countries in Latin America, and to international commercial banks. In August 1985, Maxwell incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia a tiny national defense publishing house, Pergamon-Brassey’s International Defense Publishers of McLean, Virginia (Reviewer’s Emphasis). In 1987, Pergamon Brassey’s hired two senior computer systems executives who resigned at the same time from the Meese Justice Department’s Justice Data Center. The proprietary IBM mainframe version of Promis had been operating at the Justice Data Center since the early 1980s. Maxwell’s six-employee Pergamon-Brassey’s was chaired by former U. S. Senator John Tower (Reviewer’s Emphasis) . . .

Finally, in providing further discussion of the death of Maxwell beyond that originally presented in Gideon’s Spies, along with redacted FBI documents from the 1980s which reveal the extent of that agency’s concern about Maxwell, his connections to Israel, and his myriad number of front organizations worldwide, Thomas leaves the reader dumbfounded in the latter’s search for any compelling rationale for the extent of the effectiveness of Maxwell, the Israeli Mossad and LAKAM, and the Chinese CSIS in penetrating Los Alamos and other additional American agencies and assets. Equally disturbing for the reader who weighs and considers, is the official silence of the American government regarding the real or perceived compromise of significant players in its Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches during and after the PROMIS catastrophe. And why the continuation of the "engagement" policy with China and the "special" relationship with Israel without pause or careful reexamination, given the victimization of the United States in an espionage operation which produced what may fairly be understood by the reader as the most serious breach of American military security and secrets since the Rosenberg affair? Was there more to the jettisoning of the nomination of John Tower as George Herbert Walker Bush’s Defense Secretary than the merely advertised allegations surrounding the personal life of the Texas Senator? Was the tragic demise of John Tower in April of 1991 in an air crash, six months before the mysterious death of Robert Maxwell off the Canary Islands, a mere accident? And why was there no investigation of the cooperation of the Reagan/Meese Justice Department with Rafi Eitan, not only in the wake of the latter’s role in both the PROMIS and Pollard spy capers, but in the Mossad operative’s subsequent role as an advisor to Fidel Castro (p. 88)? Why would Rafi Eitan refuse to reveal his own source for PROMIS to Gordon Thomas in December of 1999, adding that "it is best to leave such matters unsaid until certain people are out of prison (p. 46)?" Was Jonathan Pollard one of those "certain people?" And in the report of Special Counsel Nicholas J. Bua to the Attorney General of the United States in March of 1993 on the Inslaw/PROMIS affair (Thomas reproduces an edited/redacted copy of the report beginning on page 133), what actions were subsequently taken by the Reno Justice Department in regard to credible evidence that pirated copies of PROMIS were obtained from unknown sources by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, along with a string of international banks? And finally, why did Vince Foster request files on PROMIS only a handful of days before the strange discovery of his own corpse at Fort Marcy Park on July 20, 1993? While the answers to these disturbing questions remain elusive, Thomas provides several on-the-record commentaries which only underscore the aforementioned conclusion reached by Elliot Richardson:

He [John Cohen, the former lead investigator of the House Judiciary Committee–Reviewer’s Emphasis] had not minced his words. "There is a putrid stench that reaches across party lines in Washington and involves cover-ups by various administrations and foreign governments, specifically Israel’s. Though tens of millions of dollars have been spent investigating the ‘Inslaw affair,’ they have all failed for one reason only. Very powerful people do not wish the truth to get out. (p. 88)" . . . Typical had been the verdict by the United States Congress Judiciary Committee [Reviewer’s Emphasis]: "The theft of Enhanced Promis is surrounded by conspiracy, fraud, witness tampering, retaliation against witnesses, interference with commerce by threats of violence. Violations of the Racketeer and Corrupt Organizations Act. Transportation of stolen goods, securities, monies. Receiving stolen goods." But most serious of all had been the accusation that "a foreign power–the state of Israel–had been engaged in active espionage against the United States by the illegal use of the Enhanced Promis software. (p. 89)". . . It was in Mc Dade’s [Sean Mc Dade, senior investigator for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Security Investigations Unit–Reviewer’s Emphasis] written memo to his superiors: "If made public, it conceivably will cause a major scandal in both Canada and the United States. More than one U. S. Presidential Administration will be exposed because of their knowledge and complicity in what did happen. There is no doubt that high-ranking Canadian government officials were also involved. These persons had used the Enhanced Promis software to launder the money they received from helping to arrange the sale of Enhanced Promis to CSIS [Chinese Secret Intelligence Service]. The Israeli Mossad may have modified the original stolen software by Rafi Eitan (‘Dr. Orr’) which was the ‘first back door.’ Later it became a ‘two-way back door,’ allowing the Israelis access to top U. S. weapons secrets at Los Alamos and other classified installations in the United States. The Israelis now possess all the nuclear secrets of the United States. Compared to this espionage coup, it can be categorically stated that the Jonathan Pollard case is insignificant [Reviewer’s Emphasis-pp. 89-90]."

Any subsequent explanation of the gravity of the Communist Chinese acquisition of Enhanced PROMIS and American nuclear secrets at Los Alamos is perhaps best achieved by reminding the reader of the nature of the Chinese regime itself, both in the latter’s pursuit of the development of a domestic police state and in its increasingly bellicose foreign and defense policies vis a vis the United States and the West. Thomas does so skillfully by guiding the reader through 306 pages of compelling narrative examining the role of the Communist Chinese leadership in the events of June 1989 culminating in the Tiananmen Square massacre, and subsequently examining the disturbing links between China, the Taliban, and Osama bin Laden. The massive data contained in Seeds of Fire on the events of June 1989 involves reference to scores of eyewitness accounts of mass murder, political repression, incarceration, and torture, along with unedited posts from the period by on-site foreign correspondents. This is augmented by the author’s references to the moral and political quandaries posed by the conflict between the economic and political interests of the American corporate structure and its accompanying Bush-Rockefeller-Kissinger-Scowcroft-Haig foreign policy nexus on the one hand, and the interests of the average Chinese or American citizen on the other, which often juxtapose with the globalized elite which governs them.

The narrative is replete with examples of the potentially dangerous longer term implications of the continuance of the dichotomy between the interests of the rulers and the ruled over the policies of trade, human rights, and national security issues. Specific examples cited by Thomas include the American silence over the Chinese sale to Iraq of large quantities of lithium 6 hydride, a key component in the manufacture of a hydrogen bomb (p. 145); the Chinese brokerage of military hardware in the Middle East to American adversaries Iraq, Iran, and Syria ($300 million in 1990–p. 147); the role of Chase Manhattan Bank in the investiture of $250 million dollars in the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant, which had an integral role in producing China’s nuclear weapons; the involvement of American defense contractors like Grumman and Garret Aerospace in advancing Chinese military aviation (p. 187); the development of a satellite-linked computer database network based in Beijing, courtesy of Asset Management, International Financing and Settlement, Ltd, which employed as a consultant one Prescott Bush, the brother of President George Herbert Walker Bush (p. 289); the utilization by the Israeli Shin Bet intelligence service of Chinese-devised radioactive aerosol sprays containing genetically damaging Scandium-64 in the suppression of the Palestinian intifada, along with a full array of other nerve agents, choking agents, blood and blister agents (p. 481); the cooperative effort between Chinese and Israeli intelligence and military technicians in jointly searching the American EP-3 spy plane forced by China to land on Hainan Island in the 2001 incident (p. 487-88); and finally, the information provided by Colonel Xu Junping, a January 2001 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) defector to the United States, that the Bill Clinton sanctioned assassination attempt on Osama bin Laden after the U. S. embassy destruction in Nairobi had failed due to the specific tip-off provided to bin Laden by the Chinese CSIS which facilitated bin Laden’s escape into the mountains of Afghanistan (p. 492).

It would be Colonel Xu who would also inform George Tenet and Condolezza Rice on September 11, 2001 that Osama bin Laden had made several trips to China in the preceding two years. Thomas also adds that on that same fateful Tuesday, Lieutenant General Mahood Ahmed, head of the Pakistani PIS intelligence service, met in Washington with George Tenet to provide briefing material on the relationship of China to both bin Laden and the Taliban, material which dovetailed with the information communicated by Xu Junping in his debriefing. Thomas then proceeds to relate the most ominous information of all, subsequently corroborated by the Washington Times, that on September 11th, a delegation from China comprised of senior officers of the PLA and the Chinese Bureau of State Security, along with representatives of Chinese military defense contractors Huswei Technologies and ZTE, arrived in Kabul, Afghanistan to conclude a political and military provision pact with the Taliban (p. 492), which in turn promised to employ its influence to defuse Islamic militants operating in the northwestern provinces of mainland China. What is the significance of the bin Laden visits to China in the last two years, quite subsequent to the Khobar Towers bombing in Riyadh in 1996 and the American Embassy bombings in Africa in 1998? Does the Chinese arrival in Kabul on September 11th to consummate a deal with the Taliban suggest a wider and more newly aggressive PLA and CSIS collaboration with al-Qaeda, the PFLP, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Saddam Hussein, and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)? If so, what are the implications for the continuation of a developing relationship between the CSIS and the Israeli Mossad? And is it possible that the current American embarrassment and consternation over the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden may have resulted in the failure to consider the possibility of the latter’s concealment with an Islamic cell group in northwestern China, with the full shield, knowledge, and concealed consent of Beijing? The reader may indeed hope that the speed and comprehensive review of such questions by American intelligence and policy makers exceeds the performance of these agencies prior to September 11, 2001.

Upon completion of Seeds of Fire, the deliberative, reflective reader may well conclude that the New American’s December 17, 2001 article entitled, Communist China Joins WTO, dovetails with the concerns and analysis of Gordon Thomas on Chinese behavior, the acquiescence of the American corporate and foreign policy establishment in it, and the darker consequences yet to follow the Enhanced PROMIS and Tiananmen Square tragedies for freedom loving peoples:

The recently concluded WTO meeting in Doha, Qatar, produced a plum for the internationalist Establishment. Both the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan became members of the World Trade Organization. President Bush, repeating the tired mantra of the free-trade idolaters, expressed the hope that this latest act of appeasement of the Butchers of Beijing will somehow produce reforms in the Communist Chinese government. "Taking these steps will introduce greater competition into [the economies of China and Taiwan], and mean that both follow the same trade rules as the United States and other trading partners," Bush effused. "This, in turn, will generate greater trade and investment that will bring benefits to businesses, consumers, and workers in all our economies. . . . In the long run, an open, rules-based Chinese economy will be an important underpinning for Chinese democratic reforms." Bush seems to have forgotten that starry-eyed prognosticators have been saying the same thing for more than 20 years, ever since Deng Xiao Ping instituted the first "democratic" reforms in Communist China in the late 70s. In the ensuing decades, China developed its program of forced abortions, maintained its system of gulags for political prisoners, massacred pro-freedom demonstrators at Tiananmen Square, stole U. S. military technology and used it to build ICBMs targeted at the U. S., and suborned and corrupted a U. S. President. And we shouldn’t forget that the Chinese military continues its brutal occupation of Tibet and systematic destruction of Tibetan culture. Moreover, the Beijing government has threatened both to invade Taiwan and to attack the United States with nuclear weapons if we intervene to defend Free China. As for those long-awaited "democratic reforms," Communist China is still a one-party state, has never held free elections, and continues to persecute religious believers at least as severely as the former Soviet Union. Two decades of trade with the Chinese Communists have only given them the ability to line their own pockets and modernize their military and domestic police-state capabilities. Further economic and political entanglement, via the WTO, will only perpetuate the tragedy of Chinese Communism.

The disturbing implications of the data revealed and analyzed in Seeds of Fire are augmented by the author’s copious use of original documents which underscore the credibility of the claims and analysis of his narrative. These sections include: 1) the affidavit of MK-ULTRA survivor Kathleen Ann Sullivan (pp. 21-22), a litany of the manifestations of a demonic program evidencing its origins in the minds of those in the service of an omnipotent, deified State; 2) redacted FBI classified documents on British media magnate and Mossad agent, Robert Maxwell (pp. 67-86); 3) a collation of documents which provide a summary of the major players and the chronology of events surrounding the alliance between the Reagan Justice Department and Israeli intelligence in the theft and unauthorized distribution of the Enhanced PROMIS computer software worldwide (pp. 95-141); 4) copies of unedited coverage of foreign correspondents in China covering the events in Tiananmen Square in June 1989 (pp. 431-439); and 5) excerpts from a CIA briefing paper entitled, Global Trends, 2015, employed by George Tenet to brief the incoming George W. Bush administration after November, 2000 (pp. 495-504). The reader who tackles Seeds of Fire will be rewarded with a fusillade of disconcerting facts and angles pertaining to the American relationships with Israel and China, the lack of accountability of the American government and its elected representatives to its people, and the pathetic performance of the mainstream American press as a vehicle for responsible investigative reporting and analysis of critical public policy issues. In reporting the known facts of the Enhanced PROMIS scandal, the compromise of American interests by Israeli and Chinese intelligence, and the problematic character of the relationship of the Chinese regime to the corporate and governmental elite of the United States, Gordon Thomas successfully attempts a deeper exploration and articulation of the larger historical context and causality of the conditions and forces which facilitated the tragedy of September 11, 2001. It may well be concluded that in the absence of a painstaking American self-examination and systematic political reform rooted in spiritual re-awakening, the World Trade Center holocaust may be a predictive microcosm of modern history’s potentially greatest turning point--the final eclipse of the fortunes of the 20th century’s premier power at the hands of Chinese Communism, Islamic fundamentalism, and internal malignancy. And like its predecessor work, Gideon’s Spies, Seeds of Fire again reiterates legitimate and substantive concerns over the influence of the Israeli lobby in the United States, as the latter attempts to perpetuate the failures of British policies in Palestine rooted in the contradictions of 1917 and 1939.


(Mark Dankof (med1chd2@concentric.net) is a correspondent and staff writer with Global News Net and an occasional correspondent with the orthodox Lutheran weekly, Christian News.  A graduate of Valparaiso University and Chicago's Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, he has pursued post-graduate theological study in recent years at Philadelphia's Westminster Theological Seminary. Formerly the 36th District Chairman of the Republican Party in King County/Seattle, and later an elected delegate to Texas State Republican Conventions in 1994 and 1996, he entered the United States Senate race in Delaware in 2000 as the nominated candidate of the Constitution Party against Democratic candidate Thomas Carper and incumbent William Roth.  His writings are frequently reposted in the Iranian Times, Sam Ghandchi's Iranscope, San Francisco and Palestine Indy Media, the London Morning Paper, Nile Media, and Table Talk, the official publication of the Lutheran Ministerium and Synod--USA.)


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