On Feb. 5, 1999, in U.S. District Court in Lincoln, Nebraska, an extraordinary hearing occurred in Paul A. Bonacci v. Lawrence E. King, a civil action in which the plaintiff charged that he had been ritualistically abused by the defendant, as part of a nationwide pedophile ring linked to powerful political figures in Washington and to elements of the U.S. military and intelligence establishment. Three weeks later, on Feb. 27, Judge Warren K. Urbom ordered King, who is currently in Federal prison, to pay $1 million in damages to Bonacci, in what Bonacci’s attorney John DeCamp said was a clear signal that “the evidence presented was credible.”
During the Feb. 5 hearing, Noreen Gosch stunned the court with sworn testimony linking U.S. Army Lt. Col. Michael Aquino (ret.) to the nationwide pedophile ring. Her son, Johnny, then 12 years old, was kidnapped off the streets of West Des Moines, Iowa, on Sept. 5, 1982, while he was doing his early-morning newspaper deliveries. Since his kidnapping, she has devoted all of her time and resources to finding her son, and to exposing the dangers that millions of children in America face from this hideous, literally Satanic underground of ritualistic deviants.
“We have investigated, we have talked to so far 35 victims of this said organization that took my son and is responsible for what happened to Paul, and they can verify everything that has happened,” she told the court.
“What this story involves is an elaborate function, I will say, that was an offshoot of a government program. The MK-Ultra program was developed in the 1950s by the CIA. It was used to help spy on other countries during the Cold War because they felt that the other countries were spying on us.
“It was very successful. They could do it very well.”
Then, the Aquino bombshell: “Well, then there was a man by the name of Michael Aquino. He was in the military. He had top Pentagon clearances. He was a pedophile. He was a Satanist. He’s founded the Temple of Set. And he was a close friend of Anton LaVey. The two of them were very active in ritualistic sexual abuse. And they deferred funding from this government program to use [in] this experimentation on children.
“Where they deliberately split off the personalities of these children into multiples, so that when they’re questioned or put under oath or questioned under lie detector, that unless the operator knows how to question a multiple-personality disorder, they turn up with no evidence.”
She continued: “They used these kids to sexually compromise politicians or anyone else they wish to have control of. This sounds so far out and so bizarre I had trouble accepting it in the beginning myself until I was presented with the data. We have the proof. In black and white.”
Under questioning from DeCamp, Gosch reported: “I know that Michael Aquino has been in Iowa. I know that Michael Aquino has been to Offutt Air Force Base [a Strategic Air Command base, near Omaha, which was linked to King’s activities]. I know that he has had contact with many of these children.”
Paul Bonacci, who was simultaneously a victim and a member of the nationwide pedophile crime syndicate, has subsequently identified Aquino as the man who ordered the kidnapping of Johnny Gosch. In his Feb. 5 testimony, Bonacci referred to the mastermind of the Gosch abduction as “the Colonel.”
A second witness who testified at the Feb. 5 hearing, Rusty Nelson, was King’s personal photographer. He later described to EIR another incident which linked King to Aquino, while the Army special forces officer was still on active reserve duty. Some time in the late 1980s, Nelson was with King at a posh hotel in downtown Minneapolis, when he personally saw King turn over a suitcase full of cash and bearer-bonds to “the Colonel,” whom he later positively identified as Aquino. According to Nelson, King told him that the suitcase of cash and bonds was earmarked for the Nicaraguan Contras, and that “the Colonel” was part of the covert Contra support apparatus, otherwise associated with Lt. Col. Oliver North, Vice President George Bush, and the “secret parallel government” that they ran from the White House.
Just who is Lt. Col. Michael Aquino (ret.), and what does the evidence revealed in a Nebraska court hearing say about the current state of affairs inside the U.S. military? Is the Aquino case some kind of weird aberration that slipped off the Pentagon radar screen? Not in the least.
Aquino, Satan, and the U.S. Military
Throughout much of the 1980s, Aquino was at the center of a controversy involving the Pentagon’s acquiescence to outright Satanic practices inside the military services. Aquino was also a prime suspect in a series of pedophile scandals involving the sexual abuse of hundreds of children, including the children of military personnel serving at the Presidio U.S. Army station in the San Francisco Bay Area. Furthermore, even as Aquino was being investigated by Army Criminal Investigation Division officers for involvement in the pedophile cases, he retained highest-level security clearances, and was involved in pioneering work in military psychological operations (“psy-ops”).
On Aug. 14, 1987, San Francisco police raided Aquino’s Russian Hill home, which he shared with his wife Lilith. The raid was in response to allegations that the house had been the scene of a brutal rape of a four-year-old girl. The principal suspect in the rape, a Baptist minister named Gary Hambright, was indicted in September 1987 on charges that he committed “lewd and lascivious acts” with six boys and four girls, ranging in age from three to seven years, during September-October 1986. At the time of the alleged sex crimes, Hambright was employed at a child care center on the U.S. Army base at Presidio. At the time of Hambright’s indictment, the San Francisco police charged that he was involved in at least 58 separate incidents of child sexual abuse.
According to an article in the Oct. 30, 1987 San Francisco Examiner, one of the victims had identified Aquino and his wife as participants in the child rape. According to the victim, the Aquinos had filmed scenes of the child being fondled by Hambright in a bathtub. The child’s description of the house, which was also the headquarters of Aquino’s Satanic Temple of Set, was so detailed, that police were able to obtain a search warrant. During the raid, they confiscated 38 videotapes, photo negatives, and other evidence that the home had been the hub of a pedophile ring, operating in and around U.S. military bases.
Aquino and his wife were never indicted in the incident. Aquino claimed that he had been in Washington at the time, enrolled in a year-long reserve officers course at the National Defense University, although he did admit that he made frequent visits back to the Bay Area and to his church/home. The public flap over the Hambright indictment did prompt the U.S. Army to transfer Aquino from the Presidio, where he was the deputy director of reserve training, to the U.S. Army Reserve Personnel Center in St. Louis.
On April 19, 1988, the ten-count indictment against Hambright was dropped by U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello, on the grounds that, while there was clear evidence of child abuse (six of the children contracted the venereal disease, chlamydia), there was insufficient evidence to link Hambright (or the Aquinos) to the crimes. Parents of several of the victims charged that Russoniello’s actions proved that “the Federal system has broken down in not being able to protect the rights of citizens age three to eight.”
Russoniello would later be implicated in efforts to cover up the links between the Nicaraguan Contras and South American cocaine-trafficking organizations, raising deeper questions about whether the decision not to prosecute Hambright and Aquino had “national security implications.”
Indeed, on April 22, 1989, the U.S. Army sent letters to the parents of at least 56 of the children believed to have been molested by Hambright, urging them to have their children tested for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), because Hambright, a former daycare center worker, was reported to be a carrier.
On May 13, 1989, the San Jose Mercury reported that Aquino and his wife had been recently questioned by Army investigators about charges of child molestation by the couple in two northern California counties, Sonoma and Mendocino. A 9-year-old girl in Santa Rosa, California, and an 11-year-old boy in Fort Bragg, also in California, separately identified Aquino as the rapist in a series of 1985 incidents, after they had seen him on television.
Softies on Satan
When the San Francisco Chronicle contacted Army officials at the Presidio to find out if Aquino’s security clearances had been lifted as the result of the pedophile investigations, the reporters were referred to the Pentagon, where Army spokesman Maj. Greg Rixon told them: “The question is whether he is trustworthy or can do the job. There is nothing that would indicate in this case that there is any problem we should be concerned about.”
Indeed, the Pentagon had already given its de facto blessings to Aquino’s long-standing public association with the Church of Satan and his own successor “church,” the Temple of Set. This, despite the fact that Aquino’s Satanic activities involved overt support for neo-Nazi movements in the United States and Europe. On Oct. 10, 1983, while travelling in West Germany on “official NATO business,” Aquino had staged a Satanic “working” at the Wewelsburg Castle in Bavaria. Aquino wrote a lengthy account of the ritual, in which he invoked Nazi SS chief Heinrich Himmler: “As the Wewelsburg was conceived by Heinrich Himmler to be the ‘Mittelpunkt der Welt’ (‘Middle of the World’), and as the focus of the Hall of the Dead was to be the Gate of that Center, to summon the Powers of Darkness at their most powerful locus.”
As early as April 1978, the U.S. Army had circulated A Handbook for Chaplains “to facilitate the provision of religious activities.” Both the Church of Satan and the Temple of Set were listed among the “other” religions to be tolerated inside the U.S. military. A section of the handbook dealing with Satanism stated, “Often confused with witchcraft, Satanism is the worship of Satan (also known as Baphomet or Lucifer). Classical Satanism, often involving ‘black masses,’ human sacrifices, and other sacrilegious or illegal acts, is now rare. Modern Satanism is based on both the knowledge of ritual magick and the ‘anti-establishment’ mood of the 1960s. It is related to classical Satanism more in image than substance, and generally focuses on ‘rational self-interest with ritualistic trappings.’ ”
Not so fast! In 1982, the Temple of Set fissured over the issue of Aquino’s emphasis on Nazism. One leader, Ronald K. Barrett, shortly after his expulsion, wrote that Aquino had “taken the Temple of Set in an explicitly Satanic direction, with strong overtones of German National Socialist Nazi occultism…. One fatality has occurred within the Temple membership during the period covered, May 1982-July 1983.”
The handbook quoted “Nine Satanic Statements” from the Church of Satan, without comment. “Statement Seven,” as quoted in the handbook, read, “Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all fours, who, because of his ‘divine and intellectual development’ has become the most vicious animal of all.
From ‘Psyops’ to ‘Mindwars’
Aquino’s steady rise up the hierarchy of the Satanic world closely paralleled his career advances inside the U.S. military. According to an official biography circulated by the Temple of Set, “Dr. Aquino is High Priest and chief executive officer of the Temple of Set, the nation’s principal Satanic church, in which he holds the degree of Ipissimus VI. He joined the original Church of Satan in 1969, becoming one of its chief officials by 1975 when the Temple of Set was founded. In his secular profession he is a Lieutenant Colonel, Military Intelligence, U.S. Army, and is qualified as a Special Forces officer, Civil Affairs officer, and Defense Attaché. He is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College, the National Defense University and the Defense Intelligence College, and the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute.”
Indeed, a more detailed curriculum vitae that Aquino provided to EIR, dated March 1989, claimed that he had gotten his doctorate at the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1980, with his dissertation on “The Neutron Bomb.” He listed 16 separate military schools that he attended during 1968-87, including advanced courses in “Psychological Operations” at the JFK Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and “Strategic Intelligence” at the Defense Intelligence College, at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C.
Aquino was deeply involved in what has been called the “revolution in military affairs” (“RMA”), the introduction of the most kooky “Third Wave,” “New Age” ideas into military long-range planning, which introduced such notions as “information warfare” and “cyber-warfare” into the Pentagon’s lexicon.
In the early 1980s, at the same time that Heidi and Alvin Toffler were spinning their Tavistock “Third Wave” utopian claptrap to some top Air Force brass, Aquino and another U.S. Army colonel, Paul Vallely, were co-authoring an article for Military Review. Although the article was never published in the journal, the piece was widely circulated among military planners, and was distributed by Aquino’s Temple of Set. The article, titled “From PSYOP to Mindwar: The Psychology of Victory,” endorsed some of the ideas published in a 1980 Military Review article by Lt. Col. John Alexander, an affiliate of the Stanford Research Institute, a hotbed of Tavistock Institute and Frankfurt School “New Age” social engineering.
Aquino and Vallely called for an explicitly Nietzschean form of warfare, which they dubbed “mindwar.” “Like the sword Excalibur,” they wrote, “we have but to reach out and seize this tool; and it can transform the world for us if we have but the courage and the integrity to guide civilization with it. If we do not accept Excalibur, then we relinquish our ability to inspire foreign cultures with our morality. If they then devise moralities unsatisfactory to us, we have no choice but to fight them on a more brutish level.”
And what is “mindwar?” “The term is harsh and fear-inspiring,” Aquino wrote. “And it should be: It is a term of attack and victory—not one of rationalization and coaxing and conciliation. The enemy may be offended by it; that is quite all right as long as he is defeated by it. A definition is offered: Mindwar is the deliberate, aggressive convincing of all participants in a