Passagi sui Finders da "The Franklin Scandal" di Nick Bryant. Modifica
"While I was courting Anthony in the hopes of attending a black mass, I continued to
troll the Internet for stories pertaining to Satanism. The Net was replete with stories
of Satanists abducting children, and also of clandestine bonds between Satanists and
the CIA. Given my inherent skepticism of conspiracies, I initially dismissed the
tales. Eventually, I came across a number of stories about a cult called the “Finders”
that weren’t rooted in fringe paranoia, but, according to the sources, in a US
The existence of tangible evidence intrigued me, and I phoned a “conspiracy
theorist” who claimed to have the authentic US Customs report on the Finders. We
spoke for maybe twenty minutes, and he discussed the Finders, the “Illuminati,” and
a cavalcade of far-reaching speculation, convincing me that he wasn’t of sound
mind. A week or so after our conversation, however, I did in fact receive a package
from him that contained the US Customs report on the Finders and also a US News
& World Report article on the Finders that quoted the report.
The Customs report, written by Special Agent Ramon Martinez, recounted a sordid,
horrific cluster of events. On February 4, 1987, a concerned citizen notified the
Tallahassee Police Department—he had observed six white children, “poorly
dressed, bruised, dirty, and behaving like wild animals,” in a Tallahassee park. The
children were accompanied by two well-dressed white males driving a white 1979
Dodge van with Virginia plates.
The Tallahassee police responded to the call and took the children and adults into
custody. The adults refused to cooperate, and one produced a business card that
stated he planned to exercise his Constitutional right to remain silent. Police officers
noted that the children, whose ages ranged from three to six, could not adequately
identify themselves or their custodians and were “unaware of the function and
purpose of telephones, televisions, and toilets.” The children also said that they
were not allowed to live indoors and were given food only as a reward. The
Tallahassee police charged the two adults with felony child abuse, and they were
held on a $100,000 bond. The children were placed in protective custody.
Police officers found documents in the van that enabled them to tentatively identify
the two adults and partially identify the children. They also found documents
containing two Washington, DC addresses.
The Tallahassee police suspected child pornography; they contacted the US
Customs Service (USCS), which has a Child Pornography and Protection Unit.
Shortly thereafter, Detective James Bradley of the Washington, DC Metropolitan
Police Department (MPD) contacted Special Agent Ramon Martinez of the USCS.
Detective Bradley indicated that the Tallahassee arrests were probably linked to a
case that he was investigating in the DC area, involving a “cult” called the Finders.
An informant had told Bradley that the Finders operated various businesses out of a
warehouse in DC and housed children at a second warehouse.
“The information was specific in describing ‘blood rituals’ and sexual orgies
involving children, and an as yet unsolved murder in which the Finders may be
involved,” wrote Martinez in his report.
Bradley told Martinez that the Tallahassee arrests of the two adults for child abuse
were the critical mass he needed for warrants to search the two warehouses. And on
February 6, the MPD, accompanied by the USCS, executed search warrants on the
warehouses. Rummaging through the first warehouse, they found jars of feces and
urine and also a room equipped with several computers and printers and a cache of
“Cursory examination of the documents revealed detailed instructions for obtaining
children for unspecified purposes,” wrote Martinez. “The instructions included the
impregnation of female members of … the Finders, purchasing children, trading,
and kidnapping. There were telex messages using MCI account numbers between a
computer terminal believed to be located in the same room, and others located
across the country and in foreign locations. One such telex specifically ordered the
purchase of two children in Hong Kong to be arranged through a contact in the
The investigators also discovered documents that discussed “bank secrecy,” “hightech
transfers,” “terrorism,” and “explosives.” To their astonishment, they even
found a detailed summary of the events surrounding the arrests in Tallahassee the
previous night and instructions that were broadcast via a computer network. The
instructions advised the “participants” to move the “children” through different
police jurisdictions, and “how to avoid police attention.”
Martinez and the MPD officers also found a large collection of photographs. A
number of the photos were of nude children, and one appeared to be a child “on
display” in a way that accented the “child’s genitals.” An MPD officer then
presented Martinez with a photo album. The album contained photos of adults and
children dressed in white sheets slaughtering two goats. The photos portrayed the
slaughter, disembowelment, skinning, and dismemberment of the goats by the
children. The photos showed the removal of the male goat’s testes and the removal
of “baby goats” from the female goat’s “womb,” and the presentation of a goat’s
head to one of the children.
“Not observed by me but related by an MPD officer were intelligence files on
private families not related to the Finders,” Martinez continued in his report. “The
process undertaken appears to be have been a systematic response to local
newspaper advertisements for baby-sitters, tutors, etc. A member of the Finders
would respond and gather as much information as possible about the habits,
identity, occupation, etc., of the family. The use to which this information was to be
put is still unknown. There was also a large amount of data collected on various
child care organizations.”
Approximately a month after the MPD executed the warrant, Agent Martinez set up
an appointment with Detective Bradley to review the documents that had been
seized at the two warehouses. His report stated that he was to meet with Bradley in
early April. On April 2, 1987, Agent Martinez arrived at MPD headquarters at
approximately 9:00 A.M., and he was in for a shock. Detective Bradley was
unavailable, but he spoke to a “third party” who was willing to discuss the Finders
only on a “strictly off the record basis.”
“The individual further advised me of circumstances which indicated that the
investigation into the activity of the Finders had become a CIA internal matter,”
Agent Martinez concluded in his report. “The MPD report has been classified secret
and was not available for review. I was advised that the FBI had withdrawn from
the investigation several weeks prior and that the FBI Foreign Counter Intelligence
Division had directed MPD not to advise the FBI Washington Field Office of
anything that had transpired. No further information will be available. No further
action will be taken.”
Wow! After I finished reading the USCS report, Buffalo Springfield’s “For What
It’s Worth” came to mind: “There’s something happenin’ here. What it is ain’t
exactly clear.” The USCS report certainly triggered a paradigm shift within me—I
suddenly became willing to entertain ideas that I previously would have discarded
with dismissive skepticism.
Though I was intrigued by the USCS report, I attempted not to jump to conclusions
—I’ve met many people over the years whose only aerobic regimen is jumping to
conclusions. But I felt that the Finders definitely merited a LexisNexis search of all
newspaper articles relating to the cult. I went online and collected over twenty
articles on the Finders from a hodgepodge of daily newspapers, ranging from the
New York Times and Washington Post to the Orange County Register.
Almost all of the articles pertained to the investigations launched by the Tallahassee
police, MPD, and USCS. The earliest articles discussed the Finders’ probable
involvement in “Satanism,” and a spokesman for the Tallahassee police said that
one of the children “showed signs of sexual abuse.” Moreover, an FBI spokesman
announced that the Finders were being investigated for “the transportation of
children across state lines for immoral purposes or kidnapping.”
A February 10, 1987 article in the Washington Post reported on a news conference
kicked off by MPD Chief Maurice Turner, Jr. This news conference occurred after
the CIA intervention, and at it Chief Turner backpedaled with ferocity, rejecting
allegations that the Finders were involved in satanic rituals or child abuse. The chief
also elevated the Finders from a cult to a “communal group.” He neglected to
mention that the Finders were a communal group that reportedly had an interest in
“purchasing children, trading, and kidnapping,” and also an interest in “terrorism”
and “explosives.” He omitted discussing the jars of feces and urine as well.
Two days after Chief Turner’s press conference, an FBI spokesman said that their
investigation of the Finders was “winding down,” because the Bureau hadn’t
“uncovered any evidence of federal violations.” The two adult Finders taken into
custody by Tallahassee police had their felony child-abuse charges reduced to
misdemeanors. Six weeks later the abuse charges were dropped altogether, and the
children were eventually returned to the Finders.
That was seemingly the end of the Finders saga. But almost seven years later, the
grisly USCS report was leaked to the media, because a cadre of Customs agents
were aghast that law enforcement hadn’t followed up on the Finders. A December
27, 1993 US News & World Report article, “Through a Glass, Very Darkly: Cops,
Spies and a Very Odd Investigation,” discussed the efforts of Democratic
Representative Charlie Rose of North Carolina and Florida Representative Tom
Lewis, a Republican, to expose the government’s ties to the Finders.
“Could our own government have had something to do with this Finders
organization and turned their backs on these children?” asked Representative Lewis
in the article. “That’s what all the evidence points to. And there is a lot of evidence.
I can tell you this: We’ve got a lot of people scrambling, and that wouldn’t be
happening if there was nothing here.”
The MPD declined to comment on the Finders to US News & World Report , but an
anonymous investigator for the Tallahassee Police Department criticized the MPD’s
handling of the matter: “They dropped this case like a hot rock.” The article also
quoted “ranking officials” from the CIA who described accusations linking the CIA
to the Finders as “hogwash.” The efforts of Representatives Rose and Lewis to hold
a hearing on the Finders/CIA connection ultimately came to naught.
My LexisNexis postmortem on the Finders and the subsequent US News article left
me perplexed and whetted my curiosity. The LexisNexis articles provided me with
the names of a dozen or so people enmeshed in the Finders saga, and I decided to
start making phone calls.
The first Washington Post article on the Finders interviewed a psychologist “who
works with cult members.” In the article, the psychologist said that he had “tracked”
the Finders for five years. I really wanted the skinny on the Finders, and the
psychologist’s remarks had the academic perspective of a zoologist commenting on
a rare species for a National Geographic documentary. I thought he could offer me
deep, anthropologic insights into the Finders’ mating habits, rituals, and mores—so
I called him first.
Our conversation lasted all of five or six seconds. I said, “My name is Nick Bryant,
and I’m a freelance writer researching the Finders,” and he stammered: “I don’t
know what you’re talking about! N-n-n-o comment! N-n-n-o comment!” Click. The
word “Finders” elicited such a negative response that I immediately thought of
Pavlovian conditioning, à la A Clockwork Orange, or, perhaps, a threat to life or
I phoned the mother of a Finder: “No comment!”
I phoned a former Finder: “No comment!”
I phoned law enforcement: “No comment!”
Freelance writing has largely immunized me to rejection: Being barraged by “No
comment!” didn’t dent my resolve. But I found it nearly impossible to garner
information about the Finders and why the CIA might quash an investigation into
the group’s seemingly sinister activities.