Monday, November 03, 2008

International Crimes, Spying, and Software?

Conspiracy theorists think that there has been a continued link between software, international spying, crime syndicates, and the controlling of governments, assets, companies, and money due to a software system used by lawyers, police, courts, and government.

The system was allegedly originally used to track terrorists and put the "fix" in banking and international business.

If you google "promis software" [this is the # 1 result],

Here is what Wikipedia has to say:


Inslaw Inc. is a small Washington-based information technology company.

In mid-1970s, it developed Prosecutor's Management Information System (PROMIS) for the United States Department of Justice. The principal owners, William A. Hamilton and his wife Nancy, later alleged that the DOJ modified its contract with their company to obtain an enhanced version of PROMIS, but refused to pay for it once delivered. This allegation of software piracy led to three trials in different federal courts, and to congressional hearings.

Inslaw, once called the Institute for Law and Social Research, was a nonprofit business created by William A. Hamilton in mid-1970s. Inslaw's original software product PROMIS was a database designed to handle papers and documents generated by law enforcement agencies and courts.[1] It was funded almost entirely by government funds; and therefore versions created prior to January 1978 were in the public domain. On January 1, 1978, amendments to The Copyright Act of 1976 took effect, automatically conferring upon Inslaw as the author of PROMIS five exclusive software copyright rights, none of which could be waived except by explicit, written waiver. The U.S. Government negotiated licenses to use but not to modify or to distribute outside the federal government some but not all versions of PROMIS created after the January 1978 effective date of the copyright amendments. In 1981, after Congress liquidated the Justice Department's Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) (which had been the primary source of funds for Inslaw's development of PROMIS), the company became known as Inslaw Inc., a for-profit corporation created to further develop and market PROMIS and other PROMIS-derivative software product(s).

The newly created corporation made significant improvements to the original software. The resulting product came to be known alternately as PROMIS '82 or Enhanced PROMIS, a 32-bit architecture VAX 11/780 version.

[edit] Enhanced PROMIS contract and allegations of theft

In March 1982, the Department of Justice awarded Inslaw Inc. a $9.6 million, three-year, cost-plus-incentive-fee contract to implement a pilot program in twenty-two of the largest U.S. Attorneys' Offices using the older 16-bit architecture, PRIME version of PROMIS which the government had a license to use.[2]

While PROMIS could have gone a long way toward correcting the Department's longstanding need for a standardized case-management system, the contract between Inslaw and Justice quickly became embroiled for over two decades in bitter controversy.[3] The conflict centered on whether or not the Justice Department owed Inslaw license fees for the new, 32-bit architecture VAX version which the Justice Department had obtained from Inslaw if the government substituted that version for the old 16-bit PRIME version which had been the subject of the original contract. (The Justice Department had obtained the new enhanced version from Inslaw at the start of the second year of the Implementation Contract by modifying that contract and by promising to negotiate the payment of license fees.)

Edwin Meese

One month after the April 1983 Modification 12 agreement, the government began to find fault with some of Inslaw's services, and with negotiated billing rates. The government then began to withhold unilaterally each month increasing amounts of payments due Inslaw for implementation services.[4] The Justice Department agent responsible for making payments was a former Inslaw employee, C. Madison Brewer.[1] According to published reports, "Brewer was aided in his new DOJ job by Peter Videnieks.[nb 1] Videnieks was fresh from the Customs Service where he oversaw contracts between that agency and Hadron Inc., a company controlled by [Edwin] Meese[nb 2] and Reagan-crony Earl Brian.[nb 3] Hadron, a closely held government systems consulting firm, was to figure prominently in the forthcoming scandal."[1]

Simultaneously with the withholding of payments, the government decided to substitute the enhanced version for the old version originally specified in the contract. However, the government failed to negotiate the payment of license fees as promised in the April 1983 Modification 12 agreement, claiming that Inslaw had failed to prove to the government's satisfaction that Inslaw had developed the enhanced version with private, non-government funds and that the enhanced version was not otherwise required to be delivered to the government under any of its contracts with Inslaw.[3] Enhanced PROMIS was eventually installed in a total of forty-four federal prosecutors' offices following the Modification 12 agreement.[nb 4]

By February 1985 the government had withheld payment of almost $1.8 million for Inslaw's implementation services, plus millions of dollars in Old PROMIS license fees. Inslaw filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[7]

Elliot Richardson

In his court cases, William Hamilton was represented by several attorneys, one of whom was lawyer Elliot Richardson, formerly the United States Attorney General under President Nixon.

[edit] Federal investigations

Two different federal bankruptcy courts made fully litigated findings of fact in the late 1980s ruling that the Justice Department "took, converted, and stole"[nb 5] the PROMIS installed in U.S. Attorneys' Offices "through trickery, fraud, and deceit,"[nb 6] and then attempted "unlawfully and without justification"[nb 7] to force Inslaw out of business so that it would be unable to seek restitution through the courts.[3]

Three months after the initial verdict, George F. Bason, Jr., the federal judge presiding over the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Columbia,was denied reappointment to a new 14-year term on the bench by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the appointing authority.[nb 8] His replacement, S. Martin Teel, took over shortly after Judge Bason announced his oral findings of malfeasance against Inslaw by the Justice Department; Teel had been the Justice Department Tax Division attorney who had argued unsuccessfully before Judge Bason for the forced liquidation of Inslaw.[8][9]

Leigh Ratiner (of Dickstein, Shapiro and Morin, which was the 10th largest firm in Washington at the time) was fired in October 1986. He had been the lead counsel for Inslaw and had filed the suit against the Justice Department in federal bankruptcy court. His firing came reportedly after the Mossad arranged a payment of $600,000 to his former firm as a separation settlement.[nb 9] In September 1991, the House Judiciary Committee issued the result of a three-year investigation.

House Report 102-857: INSLAW: Investigative Report[3] confirmed the Justice Department's theft of PROMIS. The report was issued after the Justice Department convinced the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on a jurisdictional technicality to set aside the decisions of the first two federal bankruptcy courts.[nb 10][10] The House Committee also reported investigative leads indicating that friends of the Reagan White House had been allowed to sell and to distribute Enhanced PROMIS both domestically and overseas for their personal financial gain and in support of the intelligence and foreign policy objectives of the United States.[11][1][12] The Democractic Majority called upon the Attorney General Dick Thornburgh to compensate Inslaw immediately for the harm that the government had "egregiously" inflicted on Inslaw. The Republican Minority dissented. The Committee was divided along party lines 21—13. The government ignored the recommendations.

[Wikipedia source]

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[click here] for information on the Private Attorney General bill bolstering Grand Juries.


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