Seth Rich

Exploration of Conspiracy Theories from Perspective of Esoteric Traditions

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Re: Seth Rich

Postby kinderdigi » Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:03 am

The Murder of John Kennedy’s Mistress, Part 2

Excerpt from Mary’s Mosaic THIRD Edition by Peter Janney

Deep PoliticsOctober 3, 2017 | Peter Janney


In Part 1 of this absorbing mystery, we saw some of the confounding facts that have made this event so incomprehensible, even after so many decades.

Mary Pinchot Meyer, mistress to John F. Kennedy, was shot twice while jogging in a deserted area in a Washington DC park. She was neither robbed nor raped. A witness who heard screams and shots ran to a wall overlooking the scene, arriving in time to see a man standing over the body, holding an object that appeared to be a gun. He described the gunman as a “negro male,” between 5 feet 8 and 5 feet 10 inches, and weighing about 185 pounds.

Soon after, a black man was arrested — but according to his driver’s license, he was only 5 feet 3.5 inches, and weighed 130. Yet the witness positively identified him.

The witness, Henry Wiggins, Jr., had been sent to that area along with a mechanic to service a “broken down” Nash Rambler. Very soon after he had arrived, the screaming started.

Later that same day, the car disappeared — and so did the all paperwork concerning the written record of the request to service the car. While this is also strange, it would not seem significant, not normally. But it appears to be part of an astonishing pattern that is eventually revealed in the latest edition of Peter Janney’s book.

In Part 2 below, more anomalies are revealed.
“It looks like you got a stacked deck”


Ray Crump Jr. was sticking to his story. During the drive to police headquarters, he kept asking Crooke, “What did I do?” Each time, Crooke replied, “You tell me what you did.”

Crump would say only that he had been drinking. He had been fishing from some rocks and had fallen into the river. He was still shivering in his wet clothes, and Crooke suggested that he might be more comfortable if he took off his wet sweatshirt. In a white T-shirt that clung to his narrow chest, Crump appeared frail and childlike, much younger than his twenty-five years. A press photographer was waiting for the arrival of the black man suspected of murdering a white woman on the towpath. Crump bowed his head to avert the glare of flashbulbs as the photographer captured his arrival at police homicide headquarters.

Detective Crooke led Crump to a windowless interrogation room. Just a few months earlier, on June 22, 1964, the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Earl Warren had ruled in a 5-4 decision that a suspect had the right to have an attorney present during questioning. The ruling emanated from Escobedo v. Illinois and became known as the Escobedo Rule. Crooke was well aware of the ruling but chose not to inform Crump of his right to an attorney. The Miranda decision, which would have required Crooke to notify Crump, prior to questioning, of his right to an attorney, would not be decided for another two years.

“I think he’s the guilty person,” Bernie Crooke would later explain by way of justification for ignoring Crump’s rights. “Not for any piece of evidence against him, but because of that other sense you develop about witnesses and defendants. You sort of know.”26

Crooke may have had an additional motivation to prove his suspect’s guilt. One year earlier, a judge ruled in a defendant’s favor arguing that the confession that Crooke had extracted from him was no good. “The judge said [Crooke] practiced very sophisticated methods of psychological brutality,” a colleague said of the case. “Bernie couldn’t even spell the words he used. And here he was, just a poor cop, trying to make a living.”27 Crooke apparently didn’t want to suffer the humiliation of losing again.

Detective Crooke ordered Crump to put on the jacket that had just been fished out of the Potomac. It was a perfect fit. “It looks like you got a stacked deck,” Crump said, close to tears. Crooke patted him on the back, and Crump began to cry.28 By the time Crooke returned to the interrogation room, Crump appeared to have pulled himself together. He had stopped crying and was staring at his shoes. Crooke decided to leave him to set up the lineup. Part of the preparation would involve instructing Henry Wiggins, his only eyewitness, what to do. “He told me to go right up to [Crump], put my hands on him, and say, ‘This is the guy. That’s him,’ so there’s no doubt in my mind, no ‘ifs’ or anything,” Wiggins recalled years later.29

Ray Crump was easy to pick out in the lineup. “The lineup isn’t that close as far as the other guys being Crump’s type, so he really sticks out,” Wiggins recalled. Crump didn’t react when Wiggins identified him. “He didn’t act concerned, like he isn’t bothered about anything. He looks like he knows what to do: just keep your mouth shut and don’t say anything,” Wiggins later said.30 What Henry Wiggins didn’t remember that day was that he and twentyfive- year-old Ray Crump Jr. had been classmates, first at Briggs Elementary in Washington, then in junior high school, from which they had graduated in 1954.

Neither school at the time was integrated, but Wiggins had gone on to Western High School and had graduated. Crump had given up on school after junior high. A friend of Wiggins’s had reminded him that he knew Crump after Wiggins had identified him.31
Wiggins gave a formal statement about what he had observed that day, and Crooke showed him the windbreaker that had been found near the shoreline of the Potomac. “That looks like the jacket,” Wiggins said, referring to the one worn by the man he had seen standing over the dead woman on the towpath. Henry Wiggins was “satisfied” that he’d made law enforcement’s case against Ray Crump. Even so, he knew that rumors had already begun to cloud the facts. “One of the detectives was saying they found Crump knee-deep in water in a shallow part of the river in a little inlet,” Wiggins said. According to this version of events, Crump had said that “he was trying to retrieve his fishing rod,” said Wiggins. Another version had it that Crump was in the water to wash the victim’s blood off, while still another held that Crump was apprehended while he hid behind some rocks in the woods that bordered the river.32 Most of the speculation, however, centered on the identity of the beautiful dead woman. Who was she? And what was she doing on the towpath? Some parts of the canal, such as the concrete abutment and first arch supports of Key Bridge, had acquired unsavory reputations as havens for vagrants, truants, and dealers who supplied the affluent of Georgetown with recreational drugs. Henry Wiggins overheard one officer speculate that the murdered woman might have flirted with her killer. Wiggins didn’t buy it. “She wasn’t any bum or some old drunk like you’d expect down there,” he said. “This woman you could tell was a lady.”33

Detective Crooke gave Wiggins his card and told him not to talk to the press or anybody else about the case. Wiggins, who had once fancied himself cop material, apparently enjoyed his status at the center of this murder investigation; in fact, he had hoped to become a police officer in Washington, D.C., after his discharge from the Army. He had done some coursework — “in psychology, search and seizure, all that stuff” — and had passed the written exam, even dieted to meet the weight requirements, but “they still wouldn’t take me,” he said. He suspected that the color of his skin had something to do with his rejection.34 In those days, the D.C. Metropolitan Police force was largely white. In any event, even though he hadn’t passed muster as a potential police officer, Wiggins — a black man pointing the finger at another black man — seemed to be the ideal witness.

That afternoon, Ray Crump had been fingerprinted, photographed, weighed, and measured, but he wasn’t tested for gunpowder burns or residue, which would have indicated whether he had recently fired a handgun. “His hands had been in water,” Chief Detective Art Weber explained later at Crump’s trial. “That would have washed away any nitrates that were present. The paraffin test wasn’t what it’s supposed to be. The FBI doesn’t think much of it either, so we don’t use it.”35 Lacking forensic evidence that would have linked Crump to the crime, police resorted to using his height and weight to help make their case. According to the intake documents, at the time of his arrest, Crump stood 5 feet 5½ inches and weighed 145 pounds — two inches taller and 15 pounds heavier than his driver’s license indicated.36 It was never clarified whether Crump had on his shoes with their 2-inch platform heels when he was measured, or whether he had been wearing wet clothes when he was weighed. Still, he was significantly smaller than the original description of the wanted man listed on Police Form PD-251: 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall and 185 pounds.

The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia had been alerted to Ray Crump’s arrival. Legal Aid public defenders typically represented indigent clients at preliminary criminal hearings, at coroner’s inquests, and at mental health hearings. “We were right there on the fourth floor of the courthouse, room 4830,” said George Peter Lamb, a former defense attorney. “Our offices would be notified if someone was being brought in. It wouldn’t be too long after the arrest. D.C. had the most restrictive laws on preliminary hearings of any federal court in the United States. Police were required to bring an arrested person before a magistrate as soon as it was feasible. To dillydally and hold a suspect in jail and interrogate the hell out of him was one sure way to result in the suppression of all evidence.”37
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Re: Seth Rich

Postby kinderdigi » Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:07 am

The Murder of John Kennedy’s Mistress, Part 3

Excerpt from Mary’s Mosaic THIRD Edition, by Peter Janney

Deep PoliticsOctober 23, 2017 | Peter Janney


The highly anticipated release of long-withheld US government documents related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy is scheduled for this Thursday, October 26. In the runup to this event, the media has devoted more attention to this history-altering political murder than at any time since the Oliver Stone film “JFK” came out in 1991.

On Saturday, President Trump tweeted: “Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened.” Although it remains to be seen whether some files will continue to be withheld by the president, this sounds like good news.

As one of the outlets digging deep into the tragedy, WhoWhatWhy has pointed out that many questions remain unanswered and many key issues are yet unresolved. Accordingly, we are dedicating more articles to the topic leading up to the highly-anticipated data dump, and have put together a crack team to analyze the documents once they are released.

— WhoWhatWhy Staff

In Part 3 of this mystery, the case against the black laborer, Ray Crump, for the murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer continues to build, despite the lack of physical evidence, and despite the lack of an obvious motive. She was neither robbed nor raped.

To make matters worse for Crump, a new witness comes forward — William L. Mitchell, an Army lieutenant stationed at the Pentagon. He claimed that, shortly before the murder, he passed a “negro male” who was following the victim “about two hundred yards” behind her. His description of the man’s clothes matches what Crump had been wearing when arrested.

This clean-cut white man seemed like an ideal witness. At the time of the 1965 trial, a Washington Star reporter wrote that Mitchell, by then no longer on active duty with the Army, was now a mathematics instructor at Georgetown University,

But in subsequent chapters of the Peter Janney book — Mary’s Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace: Third Edition — the author reveals a number of things that are wrong with Mitchell’s story. And what Janney found out about the man himself is even more disturbing:

His address happens to have been that of a CIA safe house.

Georgetown University had no record of such a person.

In the 1960s, CIA operatives frequently used faculty positions at that university as covers.

“Any trail of Mitchell’s identity or subsequent whereabouts, however, appeared to have vaporized,” wrote Janney after spending years trying to locate him. The rest of the book vividly details his quest to find this man — and what happens when that day comes.

Below, we present the last of this three-part series.

—Introduction by Milicent Cranor

And the Killer Walked Calmly Away


Crooke took possession of the two bullets and the victim’s clothing. He would deliver them to the FBI Crime Lab for testing the next day, but first he inspected the clothes for some kind of mark that might identify the victim. He found one. On the silk lining next to the fraying Mark Cross label inside one of the blood-soaked gloves, the name “Meyer” had been written in blue ink. By telephone from the morgue, Crooke instructed the desk officer at the Seventh Precinct at Volta Place in Georgetown to call all the Meyers in the Washington telephone directory. The dead woman could well be visiting from another city, he remembered thinking, but it was more likely that she was a local resident on an afternoon stroll not far from her home.51

Crooke left the morgue and drove to Southeast Washington to retrace the bus route that Ray Crump said he had taken that morning, supposedly to go fishing on the Potomac. Anacostia was another Washington, a world apart from Georgetown. It was a crime-ridden ghetto of dilapidated houses where the majority of residents were black. Crooke knocked on the door of 2109 Stanton Terrace, S.E., and was invited into a tidy, spare living room by Helena Crump, a slender young woman who held the youngest of her five children, a baby, in her arms. Her eyes instantly reflected fear and anger, and with good reason. To the black community, the police represented both a threat and indifference. Crime festered in poor neighborhoods like Anacostia, mainly because law enforcement officials allowed it to do so.

Helena Crump had learned about her husband’s arrest from a neighbor who had heard it on the radio. Ray Crump had been working as a day laborer at the Brown Construction Company’s building site at Southeast Hospital. Construction was the best-paid job that an unskilled worker could get. It was better than hustling trash or the other menial work available to uneducated black men. The work was seasonal, and strenuous: unloading heavy bags of cement, mixing mortar, and pushing loaded wheelbarrows. It was backbreaking work for someone as slight as Crump. He had recently told his coworker Robert Woolright that he didn’t think he’d be able to keep it up.

Woolright had driven to Crump’s house to give him a ride to work on the morning of the murder. “Most of the time off and on, I pick him up whenever we was on a job together,” Woolright had recalled.52 He parked in front of Crump’s house at 7:25 a.m. and waited for him to come out. Instead, his wife came out. She had been arguing with her husband, who’d said he was too tired to go to work that day and was “tired of hearing all that shit” about money. Helena handed Woolright a set of keys to the work shed at the construction site and returned to the house. Woolright drove away.

A half-hour later, Crump announced that he was going out. Helena didn’t know where he was going, but, she told Detective Crooke, he wasn’t going fishing. She opened a closet door to show Crooke a fishing rod and tackle box packed in the corner. She also identified the damp Windbreaker that Crooke had brought with him in an evidence bag. It had been a Father’s Day present from her and the children the preceding June.53

Ray Crump also smoked Pall Mall cigarettes, “the same as I do,” said Elsie Perkins, Crump’s neighbor. “I open mine from the bottom; he opens his from the top. That’s how we can tell the difference in our cigarettes,” she told Crooke, who had knocked on her door after leaving Helena Crump. Good-humored and garrulous, Perkins told Crooke that she was close with the Crumps and that she and Helena Crump maintained an informal security system. “It’s just habit. She watched who came in my house and who went out. And I would look out to see who was coming out or coming in her house.” That’s how she happened to see Ray Jr. leaving his house around eight in the morning. “I just wanted to see who was coming out of the house.”54

Crump got as far as the tree at the end of the sidewalk, then turned around, Perkins said. “That’s how I happened to see the front of him, when he walked back to the house for something.” Crump had been wearing a yellow sweatshirt, a half-zipped beige jacket, dark trousers, and dark shoes, she said. “He had on a white T-shirt because you could see it from the neck of his sweat shirt. And he had on a kind of plaid cap with a bill over it.” When the Crumps’ door closed again, Perkins had looked out “to see whether or not that was him coming out or his wife.” She had watched Ray Jr. until he got halfway down to the bend that led over to Stanton Road. Crump wasn’t carrying any fishing gear, although on previous occasions she had seen him with a fishing pole, “and he’d carry a dark little box with his fishing tools.”55
Might Crump have been carrying a gun with him when he left the house? Perkins didn’t think so. “I didn’t see his pockets bulge like he was carrying a weapon,” she told Crooke. She had never seen Ray Jr. with a gun in his possession, or known him to have one. Nor had anyone else in Crump’s family or the community.56

A motive for the murder was proving elusive. Had Ray Crump gone to Georgetown intending to commit a robbery? An emerging version of events went like this: Crump accosted a well-dressed white woman walking along on the C & O Canal towpath. When she resisted, he panicked and shot her in the head without killing her. Still conscious, she had broken free and made it to the other side of the towpath at the top of the embankment, where Crump grabbed her, dragged her some twenty-five feet back to the edge of the canal, and pressed a gun to her back, this time issuing a fatal shot.

But had it been Crump that Henry Wiggins had seen standing over the dead woman, or was it someone dressed like him? The police maintained that it was Crump, who, they alleged, had fled the murder scene by descending the embankment to the Potomac, where he disposed of the murder weapon, as well as the hat and the jacket on the basis of which Wiggins had identified him. Because of their quick response in getting to the scene and cutting off all of the park’s exits, the police believed they had trapped the assailant — who they now believed was Crump.

The police claimed that Crump had tried to swim away since the river had been the only means of escape, but that the river’s dangerous current had stopped him. Several people had, indeed, drowned there over the years. So, the police speculated that Crump had taken to the woods, trying to avoid capture. Discovering the exit at Fletcher’s Boat House blocked by police, then momentarily being spotted by police officer Roderick Sylvis, he had made his way back eastward toward Key Bridge, where he was finally encountered by Detective Warner.

Police suspicions were bolstered by the fact that Crump had lied about going fishing. And he had lied about what he was wearing on the morning of the murder. The circumstantial evidence, the police believe, was mounting against him. What they didn’t know was that Ray Crump couldn’t swim. In fact, he was terrified of being in water over his head.

But what wasn’t clear was how a panicked mugger, in the wake of a botched holdup, could have killed a woman with the cool dispatch of a professional assassin. According to Henry Wiggins, it had been a quick kill: Two shots were fired, the second of which came about eight to ten seconds after the first.

Yet Wiggins had not witnessed the murder; he had only heard the shots and observed a man standing over the victim in the aftermath. And he had watched that man walk calmly away from the scene. The viciousness of the attack and the calm of the assailant were hard to square with the demeanor of the frightened, meek Raymond Crump Jr. By the end of the day, the murder weapon had not been recovered; and in its absence, the police had only Henry Wiggins’s inconclusive account to link Crump to the murder.
October 12, 1964, had finally unfolded into an Indian summer gem with a temperature that rose into the low sixties. By the time the late afternoon sun had begun to set, every Meyer in the Washington telephone directory, save one, had been contacted. The one remaining Meyer lived in a modest two-story house, 1523 Thirty-Fourth Street, N.W., in Georgetown. Homicide Detective Sergeant Sam Wallace located number 1523, wedged into a narrow lot amid a cluster of houses. There were no lights on when he pulled up out front at about 5:30 p.m. A locked car was parked in the driveway. A hand-lettered sign at the door advertised “Free Kittens. Ring bell or call.”

Neighbors identified the house as belonging to Mary Pinchot Meyer. They also disclosed that Mary’s sister, Tony, and her husband, Ben Bradlee, lived around the corner at 3321 N Street, N.W. The block was familiar territory to the Seventh Precinct police because they had assisted the Secret Service in protecting President-elect John F. Kennedy until he moved from the neighborhood into the White House in 1960. Ben Bradlee had been close to the senator from Massachusetts, who lived in a red brick, three-story townhouse several doors down from his own.

Detective Wallace knocked on Bradlee’s door and identified himself. Increasingly certain by process of elimination that the victim was Bradlee’s sister-in- law, Wallace asked him if he would come identify the woman murdered earlier that day on the C & O Canal towpath. “Sometime after six o’clock in the evening,” according to Bradlee, he identified Mary Meyer “with a bullet hole in her head” at the D.C. morgue. He would repeat the process for Deputy Coroner Rayford the following morning in the presence of his friend and pharmacist, Harry Dalinsky.57

The Evening Star ran a front-page, one-column story that evening: “Woman Shot Dead on Canal Tow Path.” The article identified neither Mary Meyer nor the lead murder suspect, Ray Crump Jr. The article did note, however, that “police found a white jacket, possibly worn by the slayer, on the bank of the canal some distance from the scene about an hour later.”58 In fact, the jacket had been found along the Potomac River shoreline, not the canal. The inaccuracy aside, it wasn’t known how or from whom the press acquired the detail about the jacket. Its inclusion in the article, however, seemed to support the emerging narrative that had Crump ditching his jacket before trying to flee the scene by swimming away from it.

By the following morning, Tuesday, October 13, the national print and television media had latched onto the story. In Washington, both the Evening Star and the Washington Post ran front-page stories that featured photographs of Mary Pinchot Meyer and Ray Crump, the latter shown in handcuffs at police headquarters.

Shock waves reverberated throughout the tiny Georgetown enclave in which Mary had been so vivid a presence. With Bradlee’s confirmation of her identity, the newspapers informed their readers that Meyer was the niece of former two-term Pennsylvania governor Gifford Pinchot, as well as “a Georgetown artist with a hundred thousand friends.”59

Her ex-husband, Cord Meyer, was identified either as “an author and government employee” or “presently employed by the Federal Government.”60 Neither paper mentioned his real work as a high-level operative within the CIA’s Directorate of Plans, though in Mary’s obituary in the New York Times the following day, Cord was said to be employed in New York by the Central Intelligence Agency.61
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Re: Seth Rich

Postby kinderdigi » Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:09 am

I had to interrupt the group therapy session to archive a couple of things. Please continue..

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Re: Seth Rich

Postby MJK » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:02 am

We're Rolfing each other.
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Re: Seth Rich

Postby kinderdigi » Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:35 am

I follow RF hacks.. but, this is unique or, the reporter didn't get the info accurately. Can smart phones "alert" (DC Voltage present) to specific text wording? If so, it's new to me. Maybe a specific sender (GSM ID) but, to text wording?

Assassins killed Panama Papers journalist with text message bomb

BY Christopher Brennan

NY Daily News | 2017-12-06T09:07:03

The assassins who killed Panama Papers journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia used a fatal text message sent from a boat out at sea, according to a report.

Authorities on the Mediterranean island of Malta arrested ten people for the explosion last month that killed the lauded 53-year-old blogger known for her criticism of the government.

Three have now been charged, with a report in Malta Today on Wednesday revealing details of the investigation, including how they allegedly set off the powerful bomb on her car.

Brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio, 54 and 52, were joined by Vincent Muscat, 55, in the reported scheme, which involved an electronic device attached the explosive that was put on the vehicle the morning of the blast.

George Digeorgio, stationed on a boat out at sea, is alleged to have sent the text message to the device that triggered the killing after receiving a signal from his brother, Malta Today reported.

Seven other men, all of them Maltese, were released on bail as authorities continue the investigation into those already charged, who all have previous criminal records.

Galizia's family has repeatedly questioned the independence of the investigation by authorities, who were often the target of her blog.

The slain journalist was most famous for using information in the Panama Papers leaks to allege illicit activity between the inner circle of Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and the ruling family of Azerbaijan.

Reports after her death said the explosive Semtex was used in the bomb, prompting speculation that the weapon came from somewhere other than the island off the coast of Sicily.

Sources close to the investigation told multiple news outlets on Wednesday that the explosive was instead TNT.

Prosecutors have not released a motive for the killing.

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Re: Seth Rich

Postby kinderdigi » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:28 pm

Anatomy of a CIA Assassination: The Chase

Excerpt from Mary’s Mosaic THIRD Edition, by Peter Janney

Deep PoliticsNovember 14, 2017 | Peter Janney


Who killed President John F. Kennedy’s mistress, and why?

In searching for the answers to this mystery, author Peter Janney came upon what seem to be the jagged fragments of an even bigger picture.

Previously, we posted excerpts from Janney’s remarkable book on the murder of Kennedy’s mistress, Mary Pinchot Meyer — Mary’s Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace: Third Edition (Skyhorse Publishing, 2016). The excerpts were from Chapter 2, which we broke up into three parts, here, here, and here.

We now present the first of two more excerpts, taken from Chapter 12 (but with added subheading).

In this installment, Janney describes the amazing things he hears during his search for the killer, and his frustrating attempts to substantiate these stories. They are fascinating though unproven.

But the essential parts of the story are proven fact.

And, by the way, the assassination of Kennedy — the crime of the century — seems connected to Meyer’s murder.

–WhoWhatWhy Introduction by Milicent Cranor

“We do it better”


With New England blanketed by a winter blizzard in early 2004, I found myself stranded in Santa Monica, California, when my return flight to Boston was canceled. Rescheduling at a local travel agency, I ran into Hollywood actor Peter Graves.

Graves, readers may recall, was one of the stars of the 1966 television series Mission Impossible. The show was a fictionalized chronicle of an ultra secret team of American government agents known as the Impossible Missions Force. Peter Graves played the part of Jim Phelps, the team leader who began each episode selecting a cadre of skilled contract agents to accomplish the assigned clandestine mission.

Each week a new episode followed the exploits of the elite Impossible Missions Force as it employed the latest technological gadgets and state-of-the-art disguises in an effort to sabotage unfriendly governments, dictators, crime syndicates — any enemy of American hegemony. The organization that masterminded these covert operations was never revealed, yet a little imagination led to the doorstep of the CIA. So successful was Mission Impossible, it has currently (as of 2011) spawned four blockbuster Hollywood action films starring Tom Cruise.

As Peter Graves and I waited in line, I introduced myself, then started regaling him with how I had watched the show with my father, who had been instantly enamored, never wanting to miss an episode. Mentioning my father’s CIA career, and how he’d been such a fan of Graves’s character, Jim Phelps, I shared with him the memory of one particularly exciting episode, filled with intricate disguises, duplicity, and intrigue.

At the end of the episode, my father had abruptly chortled, intriguingly smiling, finally blurting out, “We do it better.”

“I’m not at all surprised,” Peter Graves shot back. “We had several ex-CIA people who worked with the writers for the show. We could never have thought a lot of that stuff up on our own.”
“I’ve had the feeling I was kinda set up there”


The serendipity of this encounter eluded me for months. For years during my research, the “Rubik’s Cube” of the murder of Mary Meyer had remained impenetrable — until a mysterious linchpin was uncovered and further corroborated.

It was only then that I began to understand the ingenious design that had been employed — one that created the illusion of something very different from what had actually occurred.

Throughout the three years Leo Damore [an investigative journalist] spent interviewing attorney Dovey Roundtree [attorney for the accused Ray Crump Jr.], the two were unequivocally convinced that Ray Crump Jr. could never have murdered Mary Pinchot Meyer. The seasoned defense attorney, imbued with an instinctive, gut-level feeling for who people really were — saints and murderers alike — never forgot her impressions upon first meeting Crump.

“He was,” Roundtree said in her 2009 autobiography, “incapable of clear communication, incapable of complex thought, incapable of grasping the full weight of his predicament, incapable most of all, of a murder executed with the stealth and precision and forethought of Mary Meyer’s [murder].”1

Yet tow-truck driver Henry Wiggins Jr. had, in fact, seen somebody standing over Mary’s corpse within fifteen seconds or so right after the second, final shot rang out. Whoever it was, he might well have been approximately “5 feet 8 inches” in height and weighed “185 pounds.” But it couldn’t have been Ray Crump.

Indeed, the most intriguing aspect of Wiggins’s testimony during the trial concerned the appearance, clothes, and demeanor of the man he saw standing over the body.

Wiggins had described the color and style of the clothes in some detail — dark trousers, black shoes, a beige-colored waist-length zippered jacket, and a dark-plaid brimmed golf cap — all of which matched what Crump had been wearing that day. Prosecutor Alfred Hantman had explicitly asked Wiggins about the appearance of the man he saw standing over the body:

HANTMAN: Could you tell the court and the jury the state of the jacket at the time you saw it on the individual who stood over the body of Mary Meyer?

WIGGINS: The jacket appeared to be zipped.

HANTMAN: Did you see the jacket torn in any manner at the time?

WIGGINS: I didn’t notice any tear.2

Nor had Wiggins mentioned seeing any stains — blood or anything else — on the zipped-up, light-colored beige jacket worn by the man who supposedly, just seconds before, had been engaged for more than one minute in a violent, bloody struggle during which the first gunshot, according to the coroner, had produced “a considerable amount of external bleeding.”3

In fact, Wiggins never indicated anything about the man’s appearance being in any way disheveled, given the murder that had just taken place. Neither his demeanor nor his clothes had ever, according to Wiggins’s testimony, indicated the man had been in any struggle just seconds before. His golf cap was perfectly in place; his jacket, clean and zipped.

Also intriguing was the demeanor of the man. Upon looking up and seeing Wiggins staring at him, he was composed and unconcerned — certainly not at all agitated or anxious that Wiggins had spotted him.

HANTMAN: Now, what, if anything did you see this man do who you say was standing over a woman on the towpath at that time?

WIGGINS: Well, at that time, when I saw him standing over her, he looked up.

HANTMAN: Looked up where?

WIGGINS: Looked up towards the wall of the canal where I was standing.

HANTMAN: Were you looking directly at him at that point?

WIGGINS: I was looking at him.

HANTMAN: Then what happened?

WIGGINS: I ducked down behind the wall at that time, not too long, and I come back up from behind the wall to see him turning around and shoving something in his pocket.4

The man then, Wiggins added, “turned around and walked [author’s emphasis] over straight away from the body, down over the hill [embankment].”5

It was as if he wanted Wiggins to see him before he, according to Wiggins, calmly walked away over the embankment. His unflustered demeanor appeared to contrast sharply with that of a trembling, petrified Ray Crump, only because they weren’t the same person.

Nearly thirty years later, in 1992, Leo Damore interviewed Henry Wiggins. The government’s star witness still vividly remembered, Damore said, the man standing over the woman’s body.

“He wasn’t afraid,” Wiggins recalled to Damore. “He didn’t appear to be worried that he’d been caught in the act. He looked straight at me.”

Ray Crump’s acquittal, however, had come as a surprise to Wiggins. He confided to Damore that he felt “strung along” by the prosecution and had been “used” to present their case. After Wiggins testified, Hantman told him that he “hadn’t done well as a witness.” Wiggins told Damore, “I just told the truth as I saw it. That’s all. The police didn’t do a damn thing to support it.”6

As the interview came to an end, Henry Wiggins proffered one last reflection about what had happened that day.

“You know, sometimes I’ve had the feeling I was kinda set up there that morning to see what I saw.”7 It was the kind of remark that wouldn’t have been lost on a crime sleuth — someone like Sherlock Holmes, or Leo Damore.

Dressed to Kill


Almost from the moment Lieutenant William L. Mitchell, USA, had appeared at D.C Metropolitan Police headquarters the day after Mary’s murder, attorney Dovey Roundtree’s suspicions had been aroused. Mitchell told police he not only believed he had passed the murder victim as he ran eastward toward Key Bridge from Fletcher’s Boat House that day, but also that he was sure he had passed a “Negro male” following her.

His description of the man and his clothes closely matched Wiggins’s.

[Ed.: Mitchell had said the “Negro male” was about his own (Mitchell’s) size, which was 5 feet 8 inches and 145 pounds. But Crump, according to his driver’s license, was 5 foot 3 ½, and 130 pounds — considerably smaller than Mitchell. And, unlike Wiggins, Mitchell had a much closer view of the “Negro male,” which makes his description all the more suspicious.]
In an effort to convict Crump, neither the police nor the prosecution team had bothered to investigate William L. Mitchell’s story. Carefully and methodically during the trial, Mitchell additionally described how he had passed “a couple walking together twice,” as well as another runner, also passed twice, someone that he thought “was a young student… about twenty, wearing bermuda [sic] shorts.”8 Mitchell said he first came upon the couple “on the road leading down to the canal [towpath] near Key Bridge.”

Having run out to Fletcher’s Boat House, Mitchell claimed to have passed the couple a second time “half way between Key Bridge and Fletcher’s…. And this time I was running back from Fletcher’s and they were walking West at the time.” Mitchell said he twice passed the other runner “wearing bermuda shorts,” both times “close to Fletcher’s Boat House.” All of this took place, he testified, before he stopped at the westward end of the narrow footbridge to allow the westward-headed Mary Meyer to cross.9

Nobody, however, had corroborated Mitchell’s story, or ever testified to seeing Mitchell on the canal towpath the day Mary Meyer was murdered.

The reader will recall that police officer Roderick Sylvis, having raced to Fletcher’s Boat House to close off the exit within minutes after the murder, had himself encountered a white couple, “a young man and woman… in their thirties” walking westward about “fifty feet” from Fletcher’s Boat House approximately ten to fifteen minutes after he and his partner, Frank Bignotti, arrived.

However, the officers, in a peculiar lapse of procedure, had neglected to get the couple’s names. Moreover, no matter in which direction the “bermuda shorts” runner was headed, at some point he, too, would have run into the murder scene, either before or after the police had arrived. But his identity, like that of the young white couple, would remain unknown.

With such an intense, all-encompassing, citywide — even national — media blitz taking place, why hadn’t the “bermuda shorts” runner and the young white couple come forward to police, as William L. Mitchell had? Why hadn’t the police broadcast a request for them to do so?

Throughout their many hours of tape-recorded discussions that began in 1990, both Dovey Roundtree and Leo Damore independently reached the same inevitable conclusion: the personage of William L. Mitchell was highly suspicious. Roundtree had tried in vain to speak with Mitchell before the trial, she told Damore, but he would never return her phone calls.

Grabbing Smoke


During several years of intense research, Leo Damore did what he did best: doggedly and exhaustively chased down any lead in order to get what he wanted. His signature tenacity took him on a journey that began with Mitchell’s listing in the Department of Defense Telephone Directory [DoD Directory] in the fall of 1964.

Upon giving his account to police the day after the murder, William Mitchell said he was stationed at the Pentagon. His listing in the DoD Directory read: “Mitchell Wm L 2nd Lt USA DATCOM BE1035 Pnt.” It included a telephone extension of 79918.10

Mitchell also gave his address as 1500 Arlington Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia — a building known as the Virginian. According to the Arlington telephone directory in 1964, Mitchell lived in apartment 1022, and his telephone number was (703) 522-2872. His name would remain listed until 1968, and then vanish.

During Damore’s extensive search, William L. Mitchell was nowhere to be found. He had left no forwarding address. Neither the directories of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point nor of the Army itself produced any identification or record of any William Mitchell stationed at the Pentagon in 1964. No record was ever located.

At the time of Mitchell’s trial appearance, Washington Star reporter Roberta Hornig identified Mitchell as “a Georgetown University mathematics teacher.”11 But no one at Georgetown University could ever locate any record of any “William L. Mitchell” having ever taught there. If Mitchell had been employed by Georgetown University, Damore reasoned, he might have been using a different name, or the record had been intentionally removed.

Sometime in 1992, Damore interviewed former CIA contract analyst David MacMichael, who still lived in the Washington area. The two soon became friends. “Leo wanted to know who this guy [William L. Mitchell] really was,” said MacMichael in 2004 during an interview for this book. He was sure he [Mitchell] had misrepresented himself as to his real identity.”

On one occasion, MacMichael recalled, he and Damore drove out to Mitchell’s former address, the apartment building at 1500 Arlington Boulevard in Arlington, Virginia. There, MacMichael confirmed to Damore that the address had been a known “CIA safe house.”12

That observation was further corroborated by another former CIA operative, Donald Deneselya, who added that during his employment at the Agency in the early 1960s, the CIA regularly used faculty positions at Georgetown University as covers for many of its covert operations personnel.

Much More: ... on-part-1/
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Re: Seth Rich

Postby kinderdigi » Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:05 pm

The Untold Story of the World’s Biggest Diamond Heist

Author: Joshua Davis. Joshua Davis Business

WIRED | 2009-03-12

Leonardo Notarbartolo strolls into the prison visiting room trailing a guard as if the guy were his personal assistant. The other convicts in this eastern Belgian prison turn to look. Notarbartolo nods and smiles faintly, the laugh lines crinkling around his blue eyes. Though he's an inmate and wears the requisite white prisoner jacket, Notarbartolo radiates a sunny Italian charm. A silver Rolex peeks out from under his cuff, and a vertical strip of white soul patch drops down from his lower lip like an exclamation mark.

In February 2003, Notarbartolo was arrested for heading a ring of Italian thieves. They were accused of breaking into a vault two floors beneath the Antwerp Diamond Center and making off with at least $100 million worth of loose diamonds, gold, jewelry, and other spoils. The vault was thought to be impenetrable. It was protected by 10 layers of security, including infrared heat detectors, Doppler radar, a magnetic field, a seismic sensor, and a lock with 100 million possible combinations. The robbery was called the heist of the century, and even now the police can't explain exactly how it was done.

The loot was never found, but based on circumstantial evidence, Notarbartolo was sentenced to 10 years. He has always denied having anything to do with the crime and has refused to discuss his case with journalists, preferring to remain silent for the past six years.

Until now.

Notarbartolo sits down across from me at one of the visiting room's two dozen small rectangular tables. He has an intimidating reputation. The Italian anti-Mafia police contend he is tied to the Sicilian mob, that his cousin was tapped to be the next capo dei capi—the head of the entire organization. Notarbartolo intends to set the record straight. He puts his hands on the table. He has had six years to think about what he is about to say.

"I may be a thief and a liar," he says in beguiling Italian-accented French. "But I am going to tell you a true story."

It was February 16, 2003 — a clear, frozen Sunday evening in Belgium. Notarbartolo took the E19 motorway out of Antwerp. In the passenger seat, a man known as Speedy fidgeted nervously, damp with sweat. Notarbartolo punched it, and his rented Peugeot 307 sped south toward Brussels. They hadn't slept in two days.

Speedy scanned the traffic behind them in the side-view mirror and maintained a tense silence. Notarbartolo had worked with him for 30 years—they were childhood buddies—but he knew that his friend had a habit of coming apart at the end of a job. The others on the team hadn't wanted Speedy in on this one—they said he was a liability. Notarbartolo could see their point, but out of loyalty, he defended his friend. Speedy could handle it, he said.

And he had. They had executed the plan perfectly: no alarms, no police, no problems. The heist wouldn't be discovered until guards checked the vault on Monday morning. The rest of the team was already driving back to Italy with the gems. They'd rendezvous outside Milan to divvy it all up. There was no reason to worry. Notarbartolo and Speedy just had to burn the incriminating evidence sitting in a garbage bag in the backseat.

Notarbartolo pulled off the highway and turned onto a dirt road that led into a dense thicket. The spot wasn't visible from the highway, though the headlights of passing cars fractured through the trees. Notarbartolo told Speedy to stay put and got out to scout the area.

He passed a rusty, dilapidated gate that looked like it hadn't been touched since the Second World War. It was hard to see in the dark, but the spot seemed abandoned. He decided to burn the stuff near a shed beside a small pond and headed back to the car.

When he got there, he couldn't believe what he was seeing. Speedy had lost it. The contents of the garbage bag was strewn amongst the trees. Speedy was stomping through the mud, hurling paper into the underbrush. Spools of videotape clung to the branches like streamers on a Christmas tree. Israeli and Indian currency skittered past a half-eaten salami sandwich. The mud around the car was flecked with dozens of tiny, glittering diamonds. It would take hours to gather everything up and burn it.

"I think someone's coming," Speedy said, looking panicked.

Notarbartolo glared at him. The forest was quiet except for the occasional sound of a car or truck on the highway. It was even possible to hear the faint gurgling of a small stream. Speedy was breathing fast and shallow—the man was clearly in the midst of a full-blown panic attack.

"Get back in the car," Notarbartolo ordered. They were leaving. Nobody would ever find the stuff here.
The job was done.

Patrick Peys and Agim De Bruycker arrived at the Diamond Center the next morning. They had just received a frantic call: The vault had been compromised. The subterranean chamber was supposed to be one of the most secure safes in the world. Now the foot-thick steel door was ajar, and more than 100 of the 189 safe-deposit boxes had been busted open. Peys and De Bruycker were stunned. The floor was strewn with wads of cash and velvet-lined boxes. Peys stepped on a diamond-encrusted bracelet. It appeared that the thieves had so much loot, they simply couldn't carry it all away.

Peys and De Bruycker lead the Diamond Squad, the world's only specialized diamond police. Their beat: the labyrinthine Antwerp Diamond District. Eighty percent of the world's rough diamonds pass through this three-square-block area, which is under 24-hour police surveillance and monitored by 63 video cameras. About $3 billion worth of gem sales were reported here in 2003, but that's not counting a hidden world of handshake deals and off-ledger transactions. Business relationships follow the ancient family and religious traditions of the district's dominant Jewish and Indian dealers, known as diamantaires. In 2000, the Belgian government realized it would require a special type of cop to keep an eye on things and formed the squad. Peys and De Bruycker were the first hires.

De Bruycker called headquarters, asking for a nationwide alert: The Antwerp Diamond Center had been brazenly robbed. Then he dialed Securilink, the vault's alarm company.

"What is the status of the alarm?" he asked.

"Fully functional," the operator said, checking the signals coming in from the Diamond Center. "The vault is secure."

"Then how is it that the door is wide open and I'm standing inside the vault?" De Bruycker demanded, glancing at the devastation all around him.

He hung up and looked at Peys. They were up against a rare breed of criminal.

About 18 months earlier, in the summer of 2001, Leonardo Notarbartolo sipped an espresso at a café on Hoveniersstraat, the diamond district's main street. It was a cramped, narrow place with a half-dozen small tables, but from the corner by the window Notarbartolo could look out on the epicenter of the world's diamond trade. During business hours, Hasidic men wearing broad-brimmed hats hurried past with satchels locked to their wrists. Armored cars idled tensely while burly couriers with handguns wheeled away small black suitcases. There were Africans in bright blue suits, Indian merchants wearing loupes around their necks, and bald Armenians with reading glasses pushed up on their mottled heads.

Billions of dollars in diamonds pass by the café's window. During the day, they travel from office to office in briefcases, coat pockets, and off-the-shelf rollies. At night, all those gems are locked up in safes and underground vaults. It's one of the densest concentrations of wealth in the world.

It's also a thief's paradise. In 2000, Notarbartolo rented a small office in the Diamond Center, one of the area's largest buildings. He presented himself as a gem importer based in Turin, Italy, and scheduled meetings with numerous dealers. He bought small stones, paid cash, dressed well, and cheerfully mangled the French language. The dealers probably never knew that they had just welcomed one of the world's best jewel thieves into their circle.

By his own account, Notarbartolo had pulled off dozens of major robberies by 2000. It wasn't just about the money anymore. He stole because he was born to be a thief. He still remembers every detail of his first robbery. It was 1958—he was 6. His mother had sent him out for milk, and he came back with 5,000 lira—about $8. The milkman had been asleep, and young Leo rifled through his drawers. His mother beat him, but it didn't matter. He had found his calling.

In elementary school, he filched money from his teachers. As a teenager, he stole cars and learned to pick locks. In his twenties, he devoted himself to the study of people, tracking jewelry salesmen around Italy for weeks just to understand their habits. In his thirties, he began to assemble teams of thieves, each with their own specialty. He knew lock-picking experts, alarm aces, safecrackers, guys who could tunnel under anything, and a man who could scale the sleek exteriors of office buildings. Each job brought a different mix of thieves into play. Most, including Notarbartolo, lived in or near Turin, and the group came to be known as the School of Turin.

Notarbartolo's specialty was charm. Acting the part of the jolly jeweler, he was invited into offices, workshops, and even vault rooms to inspect merchandise. He would buy a few stones and then, a week or a month later, steal the target's entire stock in the middle of the night.

Antwerp provided a wealth of opportunity and a good place to fence hot property. A diamond necklace stolen in Italy could be dismantled and its individual gems sold for cash in Antwerp. He came to town about twice a month, stayed a few days at a small apartment near the Diamond District, then drove home to his wife and kids in the foothills of the Alps.

When he had stolen goods to sell, he dealt with only a few trusted buyers. Now, as he finished his espresso, one of them—a Jewish dealer—came in and sat down to chat.

"Actually, I want to talk to you about something a little unusual," the dealer said casually. "Maybe we could walk a little?"

They headed out, and once they were clear of the district, the dealer picked up the conversation. His tone had changed however. The casualness was gone.

"I'd like to hire you for a robbery," he said. "A big robbery."

The agreement was straightforward. For an initial payment of 100,000 euros, Notarbartolo would answer a simple question: Could the vault in the Antwerp Diamond Center be robbed?

He was pretty sure the answer was no. He was a tenant in the building and rented a safe-deposit box in the vault to secure his own stash. He viewed it as the safest place to keep valuables in Antwerp. But for 100,000 euros, he was happy to photograph the place and show the dealer how daunting it really was.

So he strolled into the Diamond District with a pen poking out of his breast pocket. At a glance, it looked like a simple highlighter, but the cap contained a miniaturized digital camera capable of storing 100 high-resolution images. Photography is strictly limited in the district, but nobody noticed Notarbartolo's pencam.

He began his reconnaissance at the police surveillance booth on the Schupstraat, a street leading into the center of the district. Behind the booth's bulletproof glass, two officers monitored the area. The three main blocks of the district bristled with video cameras: Every inch of street and sky appeared to be under watch. The booth also contained the controls for the retractable steel cylinders that are deployed to prevent vehicular access to the district. As Notarbartolo walked past, he began taking pictures.

He headed toward the Diamond Center itself, a gray, 14-story, fortresslike building on the south end of the district. It had a private security force that operated a nerve center located at the entrance. Access was blocked by metal turnstiles, and visitors were questioned by guards. Notarbartolo flashed his tenant ID card and breezed through. His camera captured crisp images of everything.
He took the elevator, descending two floors underground to a small, claustrophobic room—the vault antechamber. A 3-ton steel vault door dominated the far wall. It alone had six layers of security. There was a combination wheel with numbers from 0 to 99. To enter, four numbers had to be dialed, and the digits could be seen only through a small lens on the top of the wheel. There were 100 million possible combinations.

Power tools wouldn't do the trick. The door was rated to withstand 12 hours of nonstop drilling. Of course, the first vibrations of a drill bit would set off the embedded seismic alarm anyway.

The door was monitored by a pair of abutting metal plates, one on the door itself and one on the wall just to the right. When armed, the plates formed a magnetic field. If the door were opened, the field would break, triggering an alarm. To disarm the field, a code had to be typed into a nearby keypad. Finally, the lock required an almost-impossible-to-duplicate foot-long key.

During business hours, the door was actually left open, leaving only a steel grate to prevent access. But Notarbartolo had no intention of muscling his way in when people were around and then shooting his way out. Any break-in would have to be done at night, after the guards had locked down the vault, emptied the building, and shuttered the entrances with steel roll-gates. During those quiet midnight hours, nobody patrolled the interior—the guards trusted their technological defenses.

Notarbartolo pressed a buzzer on the steel grate. A guard upstairs glanced at the videofeed, recognized Notarbartolo, and remotely unlocked the steel grate. Notarbartolo stepped inside the vault.

It was silent—he was surrounded by thick concrete walls. The place was outfitted with motion, heat, and light detectors. A security camera transmitted his movements to the guard station, and the feed was recorded on videotape. The safe-deposit boxes themselves were made of steel and copper and required a key and combination to open. Each box had 17,576 possible combinations.

Notarbartolo went through the motions of opening and closing his box and then walked out. The vault was one of the hardest targets he'd ever seen.

Notarbartolo leans toward me in the Belgian prison and asks if I have any questions so far. It is a rare break in his fast-moving monologue. There is a sense of urgency. He is allotted only one hour of visiting time per day.

"You're telling me that the heist was organized by an Antwerp diamond dealer," I say.

"Bravo," he replies, smiling.

"What about your cousin?"

His smile disappears.

Notarbartolo was born in Palermo, Sicily, and members of his extended family have long been dogged by accusations of Mafia connections. Those accusations reached a crescendo last year when anti-Mafia police arrested Notarbartolo's cousin Benedetto Capizzi, claiming he was about to become the new leader of the Sicilian Mafia. Notarbartolo says the Italian authorities traveled to Belgium soon after the heist to question him about Capizzi's possible role in the robbery. If there is an organized-crime link, Notarbartolo might be inventing a story about the Jewish diamond dealer to distract attention from what really happened.

Notarbartolo scoffs at this idea and insists that his cousin had nothing to do with the heist. The reality, Notarbartolo says, is that he thought the vault was impregnable. He didn't believe it could be robbed until the dealer went to extraordinary lengths to prove him wrong.

The Target

The Antwerp Diamond Center vault was protected by 10 layers of security.

The Door 1. Combination dial (0-99) 2. Keyed lock 3. Seismic sensor (built-in) 4. Locked steel grate 5. Magnetic sensor 6. External security camera

The Vault 7. Keypad for disarming sensors 8. Light sensor 9. Internal security camera 10. Heat/motion sensor (approximate location)

Illustration: Joe McKendry

It took five months for the diamond dealer to call back after Notarbartolo told him the heist was impossible. He had even given him the photographs to prove it. Notarbartolo thought that would be the end of it, but now the dealer wanted to meet at an address outside Antwerp. When Notarbartolo arrived, the dealer was waiting for him in front of an abandoned warehouse.

"I want to introduce you to some people," he said, unlocking the battered front door.

Inside, a massive structure was covered with black plastic tarps. The dealer pulled back a corner and they ducked underneath.

At first, Notarbartolo was confused. He seemed to be standing in the vault antechamber. To his left, he saw the vault door. He was inside an exact replica of the Diamond Center's vault level. Everything was the same. As far as Notarbartolo could tell, the dealer had reconstructed it based on the photographs he had provided. Notarbartolo felt like he had stepped into a movie.

Inside the fake vault, three Italians were having a quiet conversation. They stopped talking when they saw the dealer and Notarbartolo. The dealer introduced them, though Notarbartolo refuses to reveal their names, referring to them only by nicknames.

The Genius specialized in alarm systems. According to the dealer, he could disable any kind of alarm.

"You can disable this?" Notarbartolo asked, pointing at the replica vault.

"I can disable most of it," the Genius said with a smile. "You're going to have to do one or two things yourself, though."

The tall, muscular man was the Monster. He was called that because he was monstrously good at everything he did. He was an expert lock picker, electrician, mechanic, and driver and had enormous physical strength. Everybody was a little scared of him, which was another reason for the nickname.

The King of Keys was a quiet older man. His age set him apart from the others—he looked like somebody's grandfather. The diamond dealer said that the wizened locksmith was among the best key forgers in the world. One of his contributions would be to duplicate the nearly impossible-to-duplicate foot-long vault key.

"Just get me a clear video of it," the man told Notarbartolo. "I'll do the rest."

"That's not so easy," Notarbartolo pointed out.

The King of Keys shrugged. That wasn't his problem.

"Don't worry," the Genius said. "I'll help."

In September 2002, a guard stepped up to the vault door and began to spin the combination wheel. It was 7 am. He was right on schedule.

Directly above his head and invisible behind the glare of a recessed light, a fingertip-sized video camera captured his every move. With each spin, the combination came to rest on a number. A small antenna broadcast the image. Nearby, in a storage room beside the vault, an ordinary-looking red fire extinguisher was strapped to the wall. The extinguisher was fully functional, but a watertight compartment inside housed electronics that picked up and recorded the video signal.

When the guard finished dialing the combination, he inserted the vault's key. The video camera recorded a sharp image of it before it disappeared inside the keyhole.

He spun the handle, and the vault door swung open.

Thursday morning, February 13, 2003. Two days before the heist. The thud-thud-thud of a police helicopter beat over a convoy of police cars escorting an armored truck through the heart of Antwerp. They blew past posters of Venus Williams—she was due in town to compete in the Proximus Diamond Games tennis tournament.

The escorts bristled with firepower. They belonged to a special diamond-delivery protection unit, and each cop carried a fully automatic weapon. Their cargo: De Beers' monthly shipment of diamonds, worth millions.

De Beers is the world's largest diamond-mining company. In 2003, it controlled 55 percent of the global diamond supply and operated mines in South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana, among others. The rough, unpolished gems were flown to London, where they were divided and placed in 120 boxes—one for each official De Beers distributor, many of which were headquartered in Antwerp.

Every month, Antwerp's share of the boxes was flown into Belgium and transferred to a Brinks armored truck. Once the truck's doors slammed shut, the convoy sped away, sirens wailing. The vehicles rocketed past the guard gate at the entrance of the district, and the giant metal cylinders rose out of the ground behind them, blocking any further automotive access.

The armed escorts fanned out on foot around the armored truck to form a perimeter. No one was allowed near the vehicle. The doors swung open, and the boxes were quickly carried through an unremarkable entrance in the middle of the block. It was payday. The Diamond District was flush.

Notarbartolo was buzzed into the vault the next day, Friday, February 14—the day before the robbery. He was alone. In his jacket pocket, he carried a can of women's hair spray.

A security camera recorded his movements—police would later watch the footage—but the guard had gotten used to the Italian's frequent visits and wasn't paying attention. Notarbartolo stepped away from the safe-deposit boxes and pulled out the aerosol can. With a quick, practiced circular movement, he covered the combined heat/motion sensor with a thin coat of transparent, oily mist.

The vault was momentarily filled with the smell of a woman's hair.

It was a simple but effective hack: The oily film would temporarily insulate the sensor from fluctuations in the room's temperature, and the alarm went off only if it sensed both heat and motion.

Still, it was hard to guess how long the trick would work. Once the Monster was in the vault, he had to install the sensor bypass before his body heat penetrated the film. He might have five minutes—he might have less. Nobody knew for sure.

Venus Williams smashed the ball crosscourt with a yelp, overwhelming her leggy Slovakian opponent. It was Saturday night, and Williams was dominating the semifinals of the Diamond Games, an event that hyped Antwerp's predominant position in the gem world. Many of the city's diamantaires watched as Williams beat down the Slovak and moved one step closer to winning a tennis racket encrusted with nearly $1 million worth of stones.

Across town, the Diamond District was deserted. Notarbartolo drove his rented gray Peugeot 307 past the city's soot-covered central train station and turned onto Pelikaanstraat, a road that skirted the district. He pulled to the curb, and the Monster, the Genius, the King of Keys, and Speedy stepped out carrying large duffel bags. The King of Keys picked the lock on a run-down office building, and they disappeared through the door. It was a little past midnight.

The Genius led them out the rear of the building into a private garden that abutted the back of the Diamond Center. It was one of the few places in the district that wasn't under video surveillance. Using a ladder he had previously hidden there, the Genius climbed up to a small terrace on the second floor. A heat-sensing infrared detector monitored the terrace, but he approached it slowly from behind a large, homemade polyester shield. The low thermal conductivity of the polyester blocked his body heat from reaching the sensor. He placed the shield directly in front of the detector, preventing it from sensing anything.

The balcony was now safe. While the rest of the team scrambled up, the Genius disabled an alarm sensor on one of the balcony's windows. One by one, the thieves climbed through the window, dropped into a stairwell, and descended to the darkened vault antechamber. They covered the security cameras with black plastic bags and flipped on the lights. The vault door stood imposingly before them. The building was quiet—no alarms had been triggered. The police never determined how the men had entered the building.

The Genius pulled a custom-made slab of rigid aluminum out of his bag and affixed heavy-duty double-sided tape to one side. He stuck it on the two plates that regulated the magnetic field on the right side of the vault door and unscrewed their bolts. The magnetic plates were now loose, but the sticky aluminum held them together, allowing the Genius to pivot them out of the way and tape them to the antechamber wall. The plates were still side by side and active—the magnetic field never wavered—but they no longer monitored the door. Some 30 hours later, the authorities would marvel at the ingenuity.

Next, the King of Keys played out a hunch. In Notarbartolo's videos, the guard usually visited a utility room just before opening the vault. When the thieves searched the room, they found a major security lapse: The original vault key was hanging inside.

The King of Keys grabbed the original. There was no point in letting the safe manufacturers know that their precious key could be copied, and the police still don't know that a duplicate was made.

The King of Keys slotted the original in the keyhole and waited while the Genius dialed in the combination they had gleaned from the video. A moment later, the Genius nodded. The Monster turned off the lights—they didn't want to trigger the light detector in the vault when the door opened. In the darkness, the King of Keys turned the key and spun a four-pronged handle. The bolts that secured the door retracted and it swung heavily open.

Speedy ran up the stairwell. It was his job to stay in touch with Notarbartolo, but there was no cell phone reception down in the vault. Upstairs, he got a signal and dialed his old friend.

"We're in," he said and hung up.

Notarbartolo put his phone back on the dashboard. He was sitting in the Peugeot and could see the front of the Diamond Center a block and a half away. His police scanner was quiet. He took a sip of cold coffee and waited.

In the antechamber, the King of Keys deftly picked the lock on the metal grate. He shuffled backward as the Monster propped the grate open with two cans of paint he found in the storeroom. Like the rest of the team, the Monster wore plastic gloves—the police would find no prints on the cans. It was now up to him to disable the remaining systems.

The Monster oriented himself in the darkness at the vault entrance. The only sound was the steady breathing of the others behind him. His body was already projecting heat into the vault—the hair spray on the infrared sensor wouldn't last. Every second he was there would raise the ambient temperature. He had to move quickly but keep his heart rate low.

As he'd practiced in the warehouse, he strode exactly 11 steps into the middle of the room, reached for the ceiling, and pushed back a panel. He felt the security system's main inbound and outbound wires. An automatic electric pulse constantly shot into the room and back out along these wires. If any of the sensors were tripped, the circuit would break. When a pulse shot into the room, it expected an answer. If it didn't get one, it activated the alarm.

With his hands over his head, the Monster used a tool to strip the plastic coating off the wires. It was a delicate task. One slip could cut through, instantly breaking the circuit and tripping the alarm.

The police would later discover stripped wires in the ceiling and guess that the thieves considered cutting them, only to lose their nerve. But Notabartolo says that the Monster knew exactly what he was doing. Once the copper wires were exposed, he clipped a new, precut piece of wire between the inbound and outbound cables. This bridge rerouted the incoming electric pulse over to the outbound wire before the signal reached the sensors. It no longer mattered what happened further down the line. The sensors were out of the loop. It was now safe for the others to enter.

Still, the men were cautious. They blinded the heat/motion detector with a Styrofoam box, covered the light detector with tape, and then set to work. The King of Keys unloaded a homemade, hand-cranked drill and fitted it with a thin shaft of metal. He jammed the shaft into one of the locks and cranked for about three minutes—until the lock broke, snapping open the box.

The guys took turns yanking the contents out. Since they had memorized the layout of the vault in the replica, they worked in the dark, turning on their flashlights only for split seconds—enough to position the drill over the next box.

But in those muffled flashes, they could glimpse their duffel bags overflowing with gold bars, millions in Israeli, Swiss, American, European, and British currencies, and leather satchels that contained the mother lode: rough and polished diamonds. They resisted the urge to examine their haul; they were running out of time.

By 5:30 am, they had opened 109 boxes. A tamped-down giddiness pervaded the dark vault, but they had to stop. The streets would fill with people soon, and they needed to transfer their bags into Notarbartolo's car. Speedy relayed the message to him. They were coming out.

It took almost an hour for the team to haul the bags up the stairs, pass by the infrared sensor, lower the loot down the ladder, and gather in the hallway of the decrepit office building. Notarbartolo idled at the curb while on the phone with Speedy. A bus came and went, and then the street was empty.

"Now," he hissed.

In the predawn half-light, the four men raced out of the building. They jammed the bags in the car, slammed the doors, and headed off on foot for Notarbartolo's apartment. He put the car in gear and slowly pulled away.

In half an hour, they were huddled around the bags in the apartment. The Monster unzipped one and pulled out a leather satchel. It was time to celebrate.

He opened the satchel and looked up, bewildered. It was empty.

He took out another. It was also empty. A wave of anxiety swept the room. They unzipped all the other duffel bags and rifled through the satchels. More often than not, there was nothing in them.

Something had gone wrong. The diamonds should have been there.

"We've been set up," Notarbartolo said.

Notarbartolo stepped into a scalding-hot shower while the others made salami sandwiches in the kitchen. He needed some clarity—the fatigue was weighing on him. In the weeks preceding the heist, he had seen many of the satchels in the offices of the diamantaires, and they were always filled with inventory. He expected the total take to exceed $100 million. Now they were looking at a fraction of that—probably about $20 million.

Notarbartolo reflected on his interactions with the diamond dealer, and a thought flashed through his mind: Maybe the dealer wasn't operating alone. If he tipped off a group of his fellow merchants, they could have pulled their inventory out of the vault before the heist. Each could then claim that their gems were stolen and collect the insurance while secretly keeping their stones. Most had safes in their offices—they could have simply kept the stock there. Notarbartolo realized that the heist he had spent so much time planning might have actually been part of an elaborate insurance scam.

He shut off the water. A half hour earlier he was a king. Now he felt like a pawn.

Speedy and Notarbartolo were on the E19 heading out of Antwerp. It was 6 o'clock on Sunday evening. Notarbartolo settled in for the 10-hour drive back to Turin. The garbage bag filled with incriminating evidence sat in the backseat. Notarbartolo planned to stop in France and burn it, leaving no trace of the crime.

But Speedy was having trouble. His face was ashen, and his eyes darted madly at the cars around them. Finally, after only 20 minutes on the road, he snapped.

"I can't do the drive," he said.

The guy was melting down. Notarbartolo told him to take it easy. He'd drop him at the train station in Brussels if that's what he wanted. It might actually be nicer to do the trip without his friend driving him crazy.

"We can't take the garbage into Brussels," Speedy stammered. The city was crawling with cops—maybe they would be looking for them. They couldn't run the risk. They had to drop the bag immediately.

"Pull off up here," he said abruptly from the passenger seat.

"This is a ridiculous time to be having a panic attack," Notarbartolo muttered.

"Just pull off," his friend snapped.

Notarbartolo took the exit and surveyed the darkened surroundings.

"There's a dirt road," Speedy said, peering into a forest. "It'll be perfect."

August Van Camp likes weasels. The 59-year-old retired Belgian grocer had two—he called them Mickey and Minnie—and he enjoyed sending them down holes in the forest. Typically, a rabbit came rocketing out the other end. It was a lot of fun.

In 1998, he bought a narrow strip of forest alongside the E19 motorway. It was about a five-minute drive from his house, and if you ignored the sound of cars hurtling past at 80 miles an hour, it was a pretty 12 acres of trees with a gurgling stream. There were also a lot of holes with rabbits in them.

But because it adjoined the highway, Van Camp found a lot of garbage. The local teenagers once decided to have a party there and burned down a little hut he'd built. It made him fume with anger.

When he found garbage, he phoned the police, who had gotten used to his calls. A typical conversation:

"The kids have made a mess on my land again."

"I am sorry to hear that, Mr. Van Camp."

"I demand that you send someone to investigate."

"We will pass along your request."

Van Camp rarely heard back.

While hunting one morning—Monday, February 17, to be exact—Van Camp was incensed to find yet another pile of junk in the underbrush. After a flash of pique that made him puff out his cheeks, throw up his arms, and wonder what the world was coming to, he knelt down and glared at the refuse. He wanted to be able to describe to the cops what he had to put up with. There was videotape strewn all over the place. A wine bottle rested near a half-eaten salami sandwich. There were also some white envelopes printed with the words diamond center, antwerp. Van Camp's irritation increased.

"Kids," he grumbled.

At home, he punched in the number for the police and asked to lodge a complaint. The officer listened as Van Camp tallied the mess. When Van Camp mentioned Diamond Center envelopes, the officer broke in. "What was that?" he said.

"Antwerp Diamond Center envelopes," Van Camp sputtered.

This time, the police came running.

By mid-afternoon, a half-dozen detectives swarmed the forest, painstakingly gathering the garbage and collecting stray gems. Van Camp watched with satisfaction. The police were finally treating his litter situation with the proper respect.

Within hours, the trash began to fill the evidence room at the Diamond Squad headquarters in Antwerp. A member of the squad bent over the clear plastic bags, looking for immediate clues. A pile of torn paper seemed promising. It didn't take long to reassemble the pieces like a jigsaw puzzle. It was an invoice for a low-light video surveillance system. The buyer: Leonardo Notarbartolo.

Back at Van Camp's property, another detective knelt among the thorny brambles and peered at a small, jagged piece of paper poking out of the mud. He carefully lifted it free and held it up to the light.

It was a business card that bore the address and phone number of Elio D'Onorio, an Italian electronics expert tied to a series of robberies. Notarbartolo has consistently refused to identify his accomplices, but all evidence indicates that D'Onorio is the Genius.

The lab techs also bagged a half-eaten salami sandwich. They found Antipasto Italiano salami packaging nearby and sent it along to Diamond Squad headquarters.

Four days later, the detectives executed a search warrant on the apartment Notarbartolo rented in Antwerp. In a cupboard, they found a receipt from a local grocery store for Antipasto Italiano salami. The receipt had a time-stamp.

A detective drove to the grocery and asked the manager to rewind his closed-circuit television to 12:56 pm on Thursday, February 13. When the video came to a halt and snapped into focus, there was an image of a tall, muscular Italian purchasing salami. His name: Ferdinando Finotto—the man most likely to be the Monster.

On Monday — about 36 hours after the job was completed—the team of thieves reassembled at a bar in Adro, Italy, a small town about 50 miles northeast of Milan. They had agreed to meet the diamond dealer there and divide the loot. The dealer would get a third for financing the operation and putting the team together. The others would split the rest. They had anticipated a haul in the tens of millions each. Now they were looking at roughly $3 million per man. It was still a lot of money, but they couldn't help feeling they'd been played. Everybody had a lot of questions for the dealer.

Hour after hour, he didn't arrive. Notarbartolo was already uneasy about what had happened in the forest. He knew he had made a mistake—he should have turned around after he dropped off Speedy at the train station and gone back to burn the garbage. It was an embarrassing oversight, but what really irked him was that he had vouched for his friend, and the guy had cracked.

They waited at the bar until closing, drinking espressos and then beer. The dealer never showed.

On Thursday night, Notarbartolo ate dinner with his family at home outside of Turin. He tried to pretend that everything was normal. As usual, his 3-year-old granddaughter played with his cell phone and made him laugh. He momentarily forgot his worries.

His biggest problem was that he needed to go back to Belgium; the rental car was due in Antwerp the next day. The plan had always been to return it and show his face at the Diamond Center. That way, if the cops were looking for tenants who'd disappeared, he wouldn't be on the list. It would also give him an opportunity to clean his apartment more thoroughly. He told his family that he'd be leaving early the next morning. His wife decided to come along; she hadn't seen much of him lately. They could even have a nice dinner party with some friends from the Netherlands.

The next morning, as the Notarbartolos blew through the Swiss Alps, the police surrounded their home in Italy. Acting on the surveillance-system invoice discovered on Van Camp's land, the Belgian diamond detectives had asked the Italian police to search Notarbartolo's house. His 24-year-old son, Marco, was there and refused to open the front door. He frantically dialed his father's cell phone while the police smashed the door open.

In Notarbartolo's jacket pocket, his phone flashed but made no sound. His granddaughter had accidently turned off the ringer the night before. Marco called his mother's phone—it was turned off. He tried his dad's phone repeatedly. It just rang and rang.

Unaware, Notarbartolo sped toward Antwerp.

As Notarbartolo drove back to Belgium, Peys and De Bruycker wondered whether they'd ever catch the thieves. They could be anywhere by now: Brazil, Thailand, Russia. It never occurred to the detectives that one of the robbers would walk right back into the district.

But that's exactly what Notarbartolo did. While one of his friends from the Netherlands waited on the street outside the Diamond Center, Notarbartolo waved at the security guard and dropped in to collect his mail. The guard knew that the police were investigating Notarbartolo and phoned the building manager, who immediately called the detectives.

When the police arrived, they found Notarbartolo chatting with the building manager and began peppering him with questions. The friend took off as Notarbartolo stalled for time, pretending to have trouble understanding French and claiming that he couldn't remember the exact address of his own apartment. He just knew how to walk there.

"Let's go then," Peys said and loaded the Italian into a car.

Eventually, Notarbartolo pointed out the apartment.

As the police car pulled to the curb, Notarbartolo's wife and the friends who'd come for dinner stepped out of the building. They were loaded down with bags and one carried a rolled-up carpet. Another minute and they would have been gone.

The police took everyone into custody.

The bags contained critical evidence. The police dug out a series of prepaid SIM cards that were linked to cell phones used almost exclusively to call three Italians: Elio D'Onorio, aka the Genius; Ferdinando Finotto, alias the Monster; and the person most likely to be Speedy, an anxious, paranoid man named Pietro Tavano, a longtime associate of Notarbartolo's. On the night of the heist, a cell tower in the Diamond District logged the presence of all three, plus Notarbartolo. During that time, Tavano stayed in constant contact with Notarbartolo.

The day Notarbartolo was arrested, Italian police broke open the safe at his home in Turin. They found 17 polished diamonds attached to certificates that the Belgian diamond detectives traced back to the vault. More gems were vacuumed out of the rolled-up carpet from Notarbartolo's Antwerp apartment.

The Belgian courts came down hard. They found Notarbartolo guilty of orchestrating the heist and sentenced him to 10 years.

With the cell phone records and the peculiarly precise salami sandwich evidence, the Belgian detectives persuaded French police to raid the home of Finotto's girlfriend on the French Riviera. They retrieved marked $100 bills that the detectives say belonged to one of the Diamond Center victims. Legal proceedings dragged on, but Finotto was finally arrested in Italy in November 2007 and is serving a five-year sentence there.

When questioned by police in Italy, D'Onorio admitted that he had installed security cameras in Notarbartolo's office but denied any involvement in the crime. Nonetheless, his DNA was found on some adhesive tape left in the vault. He was extradited to Belgium in November 2007 to begin a five-year sentence.

The high-strung Pietro Tavano is serving a five-year sentence in Italy for the crime. He has refused to allow his attorney to make any statements on his behalf.

A fifth thief has never been identified, though police know of his existence via cell phone records and DNA traces. The King of Keys was never apprehended.

On January 4, 2009, I see Notarbartolo for the last time. Over the past 14 weeks, we have met seven times in the prison visiting room, and yet questions remain. Was $100 million stolen as the police estimate, or just $20 million as Notarbartolo insists? Does it make sense that the heist was part of a larger insurance scam or is Notarbartolo's story a decoy to throw suspicion on others? Perhaps Notarbartolo's cousin, the Mafia don, was behind the whole thing. Whatever the truth, where is the loot now?

The murky nature of the diamond trade makes it difficult to get clear answers. For instance, detective De Bruycker says that three-quarters of the business is done under the table. Since there were roughly $25 million in legitimate claims at the time of the heist, he calculated that at least another $75 million in goods was stolen. That brought the total value of the heist to about $100 million.

If Notarbartolo's insurance scam theory is correct, it went down like this: The dealers who were in on it removed their goods—both legal and illegal—from the vault before the heist and then filed claims on the legitimate gems. Denice Oliver, the adjuster who investigated the robbery for insurers, calls this the "double whammy"—these dealers would have gotten the insurance payouts and kept their stock. The $20 million found by the thieves belonged to traders not in on the scam.

Or: There was no insurance scam. The thieves actually found $100 million in the vault and Notarbartolo has spun a story to cloud the true origins of the heist.

Regardless of which theory is correct, there is agreement that the thieves got away with millions that were never recovered. Notarbartolo refuses to talk about what happened to the goods, adding that it is something best discussed once he is out of prison.

In the meantime, his share may very well be waiting for him, hidden somewhere in the foothills of the Italian Alps.

Joshua Davis ( wrote about the Kaminsky Internet bug in issue 16.12.

For vault photos and diagrams:
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Re: Seth Rich

Postby kinderdigi » Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:19 pm

The Bizarre Coincidences Surrounding the $50M Diamond Heist in Belgium

Is the $50M heist in Belgium linked to a decade-old crime? By Christopher Dickey and Nadette De Visser.

Christopher DickeyNadette De Visser02.21.13 4:45 AM ET

The Daily Beast

Great heists depend on exquisite timing, which is precisely the way an armed gang carried out the stunning diamond robbery at the Brussels airport on Monday. Just as some $50 million worth of precious stones were being transferred from an armored car to the hold of a commercial flight bound for Switzerland, what looked like a couple of black police cars with flashing blue lights drove onto the tarmac and eight men got out brandishing assault rifles. They seized 120 parcels of diamonds, got back in their cars, and were gone in less than five minutes, apparently operating out of sight of the passengers—and of the airport police.

Sounds like a scene in a movie. But there’s more. With a little imagination, there’s a whole screenplay. And like any good script, this story already has a lot of twists and turns—some of them probably blind alleys—including a few that even lead back to … Hollywood.

Questions about the timing of the Brussels Airport job did not end with the action on the runway. Belgian crime reporters immediately thought back to 10 years ago—exactly 10 years ago to the week—when an Italian gang managed to break into what the world had thought was an impregnable vault in the diamond district of Antwerp and make off with more than $100 million worth of stones.

Those middle-aged burglars were some of the best old pros in the business: planners, locksmiths, electricians, and muscle known as the School of Turin. Their leader, Leonardo Notarbartolo, was a ruggedly handsome grandfather who’d been a thief all his life and was proud of it. As robberies go, the 2003 heist in Antwerp was a work of genius, with just one stupid mistake. The gang was done in when a farmer found some suspect garbage and called the police. Among the incriminating bits of evidence: receipts for some of the gear used in the heist and a half-eaten sandwich with the ringleader’s DNA on it.

Notarbartolo was convicted of the 2003 Antwerp job in 2005, but neither he nor any of his partners ever revealed where the loot was hidden. And, proud as he was of his larcenous vocation, for much of the time he was behind bars he was trying to figure out how he could get a movie made about his life. According to Scott Andrew Selby and Greg Campbell in Flawless, their exhaustive investigation of the Antwerp job, Notarbartolo was hoping the whole deal would be lucrative, or that it least it would help him explain where he got his money if he started to look rich.

In 2009, Joshua Davis interviewed Notarbartolo in a Belgian prison and wrote a profile for Wired magazine. “I may be a thief and a liar,” the thief and liar told him, “but I am going to tell you a true story.” Davis, on his website, notes that he is executive producer of “the diamond project,” a movie adapted from his article in Wired.

In an email, we asked Davis if he had paid Notarbartolo for the Wired story, and he was categorical: “I never paid Notarbartolo anything, nor did Wired,” he said. We followed up with a question about Paramount paying for “life rights” to make a film, but Davis hasn’t gotten back to us on that yet.

All this would be so much minor gossip in the movie and publishing biz if not, once again, for the strange question of timing. Notarbartolo got out of prison on parole in 2009. According to the Belgian press, he recently went to the United States to talk to people about a movie. There have been some rumors around Rodeo Drive that “the diamond project” was in trouble, which, if true, would typically mean a lot of money promised wouldn’t get paid out, since it’s usually tied to stages of script acceptance and production.

In any case, Notarbartolo flew back to Europe on January 29. He promptly found himself under arrest at the Paris airport, where he was about to connect to Turin. He was then extradited to Belgium on Monday, as it happens—the day of the heist at the Brussels airport—a coincidence that Flawless coauthor Selby calls “amazing.”

It appears that Notarbartolo had had an arrest warrant issued for him in November 2011 on the grounds he’d broken the conditions of his parole. And one of the infractions, according to Belgian prosecutors quoted in the local press, is that while failing to pay back “one penny” to the victims of his crime, Notarbartolo made money off the story he gave to Wired. His Belgian lawyer, Walter Damen, was not available for comment. (Damen’s assistant told us he was visiting Notarbartolo in jail.) But press reports of the bail hearing say Damen claimed in his client’s defense that there was no proof he had any of the loot in his possession, and he wasn’t really profiting from his crime through the Wired story because it was really fiction.

Now, it may be that none of this really has anything to do with the heist on the tarmac at Brussels airport. “It’s a pretty different M.O.,” says Selby, an authority on the diamond business as well as diamond thefts. The 2003 job run by Notarbartolo was very quiet—almost invisible—and not discovered until the end of the Valentine’s Day weekend that year. The Brussels job was, as the military likes to say, “kinetic”—all action, with guns waving and orders shouted and people fearing for their lives, although in the end nobody got hurt. Selby says he doubts there was any direct link with Notarbartolo, but he was disturbed by so many odd coincidences of timing. “It’s weird,” he said. “I don’t know what to say about that.”

There are only so many master jewel thieves in this world, and only a handful able to carry out such rigorous preparation and execution. So suspicion inevitably would have turned to Notarbartolo had he been free when the heist took place. Fortunately for him, his arrest gives him the perfect alibi. Almost as if he’d planned it that way.

© 2017 The Daily Beast Company LLC ... in-belgium

Gangster Viciously Implicates Antwerp Diamond Dealers

by Chaim Even-Zohar | March 19, 09

In a scene that might have been taken out of a John Grisham mystery novel, Leonardo Notarbartolo, the mobster and mastermind behind the $100 million diamond heist-of-the-century from a vault beneath the Antwerp Diamond Center in 2003, has now made a “prison confession” alleging that he was the victim of a sting organized by a Jewish diamond dealer, who allegedly had a number of accomplices. The weird (and rather outrageous and unsubstantiated) history rewrite will appear in an enthralling (10-page, 7,700 words) story by Joshua Davis in the forthcoming issue of Wired magazine, and will be repeated in a movie to be produced by Paramount Pictures, which has acquired the story’s film rights.

The bottom line is a ludicrous attempt to transfer the “real guilt” of the heist from Sicilian mobsters to Antwerp diamond dealers. Pure profanity in my eyes – and probably mostly an effort to renew interest in an old story – and, maybe, to add a promotional twist to the movie.

The timing of the allegations is clear. Notarbartolo, arrested in February 2003 for the theft of diamonds gold, jewelry and valuables, is being released from prison in Belgium this week. While three of his alleged four accomplices are still serving prison sentences for their involvement in the robbery, Notarbartolo may already be on his way to retrieving the stolen goods, which were never discovered by the authorities. In his “confession,” he alleges the loot he has hidden is only worth a meager $20 million, which may just be to deceive his partners in crime and their families who will certainly be waiting for him outside the prison walls.

Agim De Bruycker, the chief of Antwerp’s Diamond Squad, believes the heist involved more than $100 million. In The Untold Story of the World's Biggest Diamond Heist… The simple mistakes made and a number of coincidences after the robbery that led the police to the gang …. And it includes the new revelation that the massive diamond heist might actually have been a cover-up for a colossal insurance fraud.

Sicilian-born Notarbartolo, who allegedly has family connections to the Italian mafia, considered the vault the safest place to keep valuables in Antwerp and even stored his own treasures there. Three years prior to the diamond heist Notarbartolo rented an office in the DiamondCenter, and he claims to have carried out a number of smaller-scale robberies in Antwerp, fencing off his spoils to a few trusted buyers.

According to career criminal and self-confessed liar Notarbartolo, one of these buyers – a Jewish diamond dealer – approached him in Antwerp in the summer of 2001 seeking to hire him to raid the vault.
Training in a Mock-Up of the Vault

Months after Notarbartolo told the dealer that the heist was impossible, the Sicilian was asked to meet the dealer at an address outside Antwerp. Inside an abandoned warehouse, Notarbartolo was confronted with a massive structure covered with black plastic tarps. Upon stepping inside the structure, Notarbartolo realized he was inside an exact replica of the Diamond Center's vault level. As far as Notarbartolo could tell, the dealer had reconstructed it based on the photographs he had provided. Inside the fake vault, there were three Italians whom the dealer had chosen to form Notarbartolo’s team. Notarbartolo now tries to present himself as only small fry in the bigger scoop of things.

After months of planning, the team carried out the perfect robbery on a Saturday night in February 2003 – the heist wasn’t even discovered until guards checked the vault on Monday morning. Actually, Antwerp’s diamond industry’’

The thieves had so much loot to carry that they left the floor of the vault strewn with cash and safe contents in their efforts to remove as much as they could haul before the city began to spring to life on the Sunday morning.

The training in the mockup vault had been so intense that no lights were used during the heist itself – also to avoid the heat of light being detected. Therefore, it was only upon examining the valuables at their safe house, well after they had left the scene of the crime, that the thieves’ enthusiasm over the perfect job began to wane. When they opened satchel after satchel that they expected to contain handfuls of diamonds, they found nothing. Most of the bags they retrieved from 109 of some 189 safe-deposit boxes in the vault were empty. Notarbartolo had expected the value of the loot total to exceed $100 million, but says the thieves ‘only’ had about $20 million.

The Mobster was Conned?

Notarbartolo came to the realization that the heist he had spent so much time planning might have actually been part of an elaborate insurance scam. The diamond dealer who initiated the robbery may have tipped off a number of his fellow merchants, who removed their inventory — both legal and illegal - from the vault before the heist. Each of them could then claim that their legitimate gems were stolen and collect the insurance while secretly keeping all their stones. The gems could have easily been transferred from the vault to safes in their offices or homes. The $20 million worth of loot that the thieves had retrieved came from traders who were not involved in the scam, according to the insurance scam theory.

There is a very unpleasant secondary element to all of this. Denice Oliver, the adjuster who investigated the robbery for insurers, says that there were roughly $25 million in claims, all of which was documented by legitimate invoices. Detective De Bruycker, working on the basis that three quarters of the diamond business is carried out under the table, calculated that at least another $75 million in goods was stolen, bringing the total value of the heist to about $100 million.

Why, for Heaven’s sake, are the police assuming that the vaults held $75 million worth of so-

But let’s leave that issue for another day.

The Scheme that Doesn’t Make Sense

The author of the Wired magazine story apparently is also troubled by the sting or scam accusation. As the writer tells it, “on January 4, 2009, I see Notarbartolo for the last time. Over the past 14 weeks, we have met seven times in the prison visiting room, and yet questions remain. Was $100 million stolen as the police estimate, or just $20 million as Notarbartolo insists? Does it make sense that the heist was part of a larger insurance scam or is Notarbartolo's story a decoy to throw suspicion on others? Perhaps Notarbartolo's cousin, the Mafia don, was behind the whole thing. Whatever the truth, where is the loot now?” he asks.

— both legal and illegal — from the vault before the heist and then filed claims on the legitimate gems. The insurance expert Oliver calls this the ‘double whammy' —

If there were no insurance claims, then the story is obviously a hoax – a tremendous lie, as well as a slander and slur on the Antwerp diamond community. The author does consider the possibility that there was no insurance scam, arguing the thought that “the thieves actually found $100 million in the vault and Notarbartolo has spun a story to cloud the true origins of the heist.” That sounds rather plausible.

The actual size of the loss is never actually discussed. At a minimum, there were $25 million worth of insurance claims. Admittedly, not all goods may have been insured. But $100 million? That’s just the kind of amount on which novels are based and from which screenplays are written.

Regardless of which theory is correct, there is agreement that the thieves got away with millions that were never recovered. Notarbartolo refuses to talk about what happened to the goods, adding that it is something best discussed once he is out of prison. That’s now.

The industry is in a recession. He has chosen a bad moment to come out of prison and see whether he can cash in on the loot. Antwerp dealers ought to be on the lookout for an Italian who may not realize that prices have come down. If he did hide $100 million worth of diamonds, he’ll be in for a surprise.

Joking aside, this is a worrisome story. And what is most troubling is why Wired magazine would enable a convicted and self-confessed thief to portray himself as a kind of petty thief who had been conned by some Antwerp diamond dealer. Have a nice weekend.
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Re: Seth Rich

Postby kinderdigi » Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:31 pm

Note: the estimate of the value taken has gone from 100+ EU to 400 EU. I wonder what the insurance companies paid in losses? kd

Organiser Of The World’s Biggest Diamond Heist Released | 04 december 2017

Leonardo Notarbartolo known as organiser of the “diamond robbery of the century” was released from prison.
In February, 2003 Notarbartolo along with three associates penetrated Antwerp Diamond Centre depot and stole 100 to 400 million euros worth of diamond and other jewelry, cash and securities. The criminals seized two thirds of all valuables stored in ADC. After prying open 123 vaults they were so loaded down they gave up on the remaining 37. despite the fact that all robbers were detained and consequently imprisoned, the most of their criminal yield has still not been found.
Notarbartolo was sentenced by the court to ten years of imprisonment while his associates were adjudged to 5 years in prison for each.
“Notarbartolo was released by the ruling of Probation commission. He has left for his homeland in Italy and is prohibited admission to Belgium. My client spent six years in prison including the period of detention,” – Notarbartolo attorney said.
The landmark robbery committed shall be considered as an example of genius simplicity.
The robbers leased is office at Antwerp Diamond Centre on behalf of feigned company thus having got the access to all ADC premises. Then they picked up the data of magnetic card keys and generated universal algorithm to open any door at ADC. Then cameras were sticked down with a tape while committing of robbery. Afterwards the robbers replaced the video records with archive records. According to Belgian police, the robbers failed to take everything as there had been too much valuables to carry.

Alex Shishlo, Rough&Polished European Bureau Editor in Brussels

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Re: Seth Rich

Postby goat balls » Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:28 am

Hey Mach, I'm gonna hit the American Express card hard for Christmas. Can I pay it off with my white privilege? Do you know?
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Re: Seth Rich

Postby kinderdigi » Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:41 pm

goat balls wrote:Hey Mach, I'm gonna hit the American Express card hard for Christmas. Can I pay it off with my white privilege? Do you know?

You knew to capitalize Mach so, you must have some knowledge of your Mach speed?

I understand, from ranchers in this area that, Albino Goats are indeed rare (I'll bet you have pink eyes too). So, your question about exchanging your "white privilege" for (being used as a financial instrument) your credit card payment is indeed possible, I think. You would have to be willing to trade various White (Albino) items in order to secure payment though. I see no other practical method of payment.

The following may be of help to you:

Best of luck to you, in your pursuit of "Albino monetary gain".

And, a Merry Christmas, kd
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Re: Seth Rich

Postby MJK » Thu Dec 14, 2017 1:42 am

White privilege? Shit, I thought it was WIDE privilege so I doubled down on the chocolate malteds and deep fried bacon wrapped butter. I even got my own seatbelt extender; what a letdown. I'm going to have start paying more attention here.
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Re: Seth Rich

Postby goat balls » Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:00 am

All of the recent allegations against Mach are probably true so he should resign immediately.

Does a penis slap across the face count as assault? Anybody know?
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Re: Seth Rich

Postby goat balls » Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:04 am

What if the slap was consensual? Asking for a friend.
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Re: Seth Rich

Postby kinderdigi » Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:59 pm

I was hoping for three but, two, just four minutes apart isn't too bad..

"Get Your Goat

Urban Dictionary

Basic Definition: To annoy you to the point of getting pissed.

Sub Definition: Goat: The goat is a metaphor for your state of peacefulness. When your goat is with you, you are calm and collected. When your goat is stolen, you become angry and upset.

Notes: Getting someone's goat can not be a quick process and must be done by not being directly mean. The best way to get someone's goat is by means of clever annoyance." ... our%20Goat

As for you knowing your Mach speed.. QED
Last edited by kinderdigi on Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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