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FTR #695 Dancing Machine: Reflections on the Death of Michael Jackson

MP3 Side 1 [1] | Side 2 [2]

Intro­duc­tion: Past broad­casts have out­lined an appar­ent strate­gic goal of the Under­ground Reich and the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work [3], as set forth in the Nazi tract Ser­pen­t’s Walk [4]. (For detail about the Bor­mann net­work, see Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile [5].)

“The SS . . . what was left of it . . . had busi­ness objec­tives before and dur­ing World War II. When the war was lost they just kept on, but from oth­er places: Bogo­ta, Asun­cion, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Mex­i­co City, Colom­bo, Dam­as­cus, Dac­ca . . . you name it. They real­ized that the world is head­ing towards a ‘cor­po­racra­cy;’ five or ten inter­na­tion­al super-com­pa­nies that will run every­thing worth run­ning by the year 2100. Those super-cor­po­ra­tions exist now, and they’re already divid­ing up the pro­duc­tion and mar­ket­ing of food, trans­port, steel and heavy indus­try, oil, the media, and oth­er com­modi­ties. [Ital­ics are Mr. Emory’s.] They’re most­ly con­glom­er­ates, with fin­gers in more than one pie . . . . We, the SS, have the say in four or five. We’ve been com­pet­ing for the past six­ty years or so, and we’re slow­ly gain­ing . . . .”

(Ser­pen­t’s Walk by Ran­dolph O. Calver­hall; Copy­right 1991 [SC]; Nation­al Van­guard Books; 0–937944-05‑X; pp. 42–43.)

This pro­gram asks whether this Under­ground Reich strat­e­gy may have tar­get­ed the extreme­ly valu­able music cat­a­log owned by the late Michael Jack­son, a col­lec­tion that includ­ed many of the most impor­tant of the Bea­t­les’ tunes. Tuck this line of informed spec­u­la­tion away for future use, and see if Ger­man cor­po­ra­tions begin using Bea­t­les’ songs (licensed to them by Ber­tels­mann) to sell prod­uct.

In the peri­od lead­ing up to his death, Jack­son had some very “inter­est­ing” peo­ple around him. Might some of them have been involved in push­ing him over the edge and to his demise?

Among the note­wor­thy char­ac­ters around Michael Jack­son dur­ing the clos­ing phase of his life was vet­er­an intel­li­gence offi­cer Gor­don Nov­el, pic­tured at right. Hav­ing served with the CIA’s anti-Cas­tro efforts, and an indi­vid­ual whose name crops up in con­nec­tion with the inves­ti­ga­tions of both the assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy and Water­gate, Nov­el is dis­cussed in FTRs 579 [6], 269 [7], among oth­er pro­grams.

Jack­son told Nov­el he felt that he was the focal point of a con­spir­a­cy to obtain a valu­able music cat­a­log to which he owned the rights. Jack­son felt that orga­nized crime asso­ciate Alvin Mal­nik and per­son­ages asso­ci­at­ed with SONY music were involved. (SONY bought out Ber­tels­man­n’s music arm [BMG]). He also felt his life was in dan­ger.

More depth con­cern­ing the sin­is­ter forces gath­ered around Michael Jack­son dur­ing the clos­ing phase of his life was pro­vid­ed by Ian Halperin [8]. Assert­ing that Jack­son was gay and pre­ferred young male lovers, Halperin main­tains that the pedophil­ia charges of which Jack­son was acquit­ted were base­less.

It was to finance his defense against those charges that Jack­son sold off half of the rights to a valu­able music cat­a­log, includ­ing the rights to many of the Bea­t­les songs. The oth­er half of the cat­a­log is owned by SONY, which acquired Ber­tels­man­n’s music arm.

Might Jack­son’s accusers have been part of a con­spir­a­cy to wrest con­trol of the Bea­t­les’ cat­a­log from his con­trol?

Halperin also notes that Jack­son was in poor health and that the pro­posed 50-show Lon­don appear­ance would have severe­ly dam­aged or destroyed Jack­son’s health. He also notes that sin­is­ter forces around Jack­son dur­ing the clos­ing peri­od of his life includ­ed oper­a­tives of Louis Far­rakhan’s Nation of Islam, includ­ing a mys­te­ri­ous man named Dr. Tohme Tohme, whose pre­cise back­ground is a mat­ter of con­jec­ture. (For back­ground infor­ma­tion about Far­rakhan and his orga­ni­za­tion, includ­ing infor­ma­tion link­ing Far­rakhan to the assas­si­na­tion of Mal­com X, see FTR #21 [9].) Far­rakhan is pic­tured above, right, with some of his goons.

It is Halper­in’s opin­ion that those around Jack­son knew his health was bad and that he could­n’t stand the rig­ors of the pro­posed tour. Were they try­ing to push him into his grave? Were they in cahoots with ele­ments look­ing to obtain con­trol of the Bea­t­les cat­a­log?

Two weeks after Jack­son’s death, the pow­er­ful Ber­tels­mann [10] firm was cap­i­tal­ized by KKR [11]in a new music ven­ture. Spec­u­la­tion involved the pos­si­bil­i­ty that Ber­tels­mann might use the cap­i­tal to acquire the rights [12] to the licens­ing of the cat­a­log owned by Jack­son and SONY.

The bulk of the sec­ond side of the pro­gram deals with Alvin Mal­nik, a for­mer attor­ney for Mey­er Lan­sky (often men­tioned as Lan­sky’s pos­si­ble heir) and an execu­tor to Jack­son’s will. Right­ly or wrong­ly, Jack­son was very afraid of Mal­nik, whom he sus­pect­ed of plot­ting to gain con­trol of his estate, his stake in the Bea­t­les’ cat­a­log, in par­tic­u­lar.

Mal­nik con­vert­ed to Islam and adopt­ed an Ara­bic name. In addi­tion, his son Mark Mal­nik mar­ried a princess of the Sau­di roy­al fam­i­ly and changed his name to Sha­reef. (Father and son Mal­nik are pic­tured at right.) The broad­cast exam­ines this rela­tion­ship. Mr. Emory refers to the Mal­nik milieu as “Lake Mal­nik” and notes the many pow­er­ful and monied inter­ests with prop­er­ty on or adjoin­ing that remark­able lake.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Review of Ber­tels­man­n’s links to the Under­ground Reich; review of the sce­nario set forth in Ser­pen­t’s Walk; the death by gun­shot wound [13]of the father of one of Jack­son’s [false] accusers; the fact that L.A. author­i­ties were–for a time–treat­ing the Jack­son death as a homi­cide [14] inves­ti­ga­tion; Alvin Malnik’s rela­tion­ship with the world of the late CIA drug smug­gler Bar­ry Seal; Malnik’s rela­tion­ship with Seal attor­ney Richard Ben-Veniste (a mem­ber of the Kean Com­mis­sion charged with inves­ti­gat­ing 9/11); the Sau­di roy­al family’s inter­ces­sion on behalf of Malnik’s in-laws when their crim­i­nal activ­i­ties came to light.

1. Among the note­wor­thy char­ac­ters around Michael Jack­son [15] dur­ing the clos­ing phase of his life was vet­er­an intel­li­gence offi­cer Gor­don Nov­el. Hav­ing served with the CIA’s anti-Cas­tro efforts, and an indi­vid­ual whose name crops up in con­nec­tion with the inves­ti­ga­tions of both the assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy and Water­gate, Nov­el is dis­cussed in FTR #‘s 579 [16], 269 [7], among oth­er pro­grams.

Note that Jack­son felt that he was the focal point of a con­spir­a­cy to obtain a valu­able music cat­a­log to which he owned the rights. Jack­son felt that orga­nized crime asso­ciate Alvin Mal­nik and per­son­ages asso­ci­at­ed with SONY music were involved. (SONY bought out Ber­tels­man­n’s music arm [BMG]). He also felt his life was in dan­ger.

. . . Take Gen­er­al Max­i­mo Overkill, for instance. That’s his sol­dier of for­tune’s nom de guerre. His real name is Gor­don Nov­el, and he moves in those spooky cir­cles which he calls “high strange,” where con­spir­a­cies flour­ish and cloak-and-dag­ger inves­ti­ga­tions over­lap. He cut his teeth work­ing for for­mer New Orleans dis­trict attor­ney Jim Gar­ri­son on the J.F.K. assas­si­na­tion, and he boasts that he served as for­mer attor­ney gen­er­al Ram­sey Clark’s “Dober­man” at Waco. Sev­er­al weeks before the tri­al began, I was put in touch with him through Steven Saltzman—the son of a James Bond–film producer—in Mona­co, who told me that Michael Jack­son’s broth­er Jer­maine had been seek­ing Nov­el­’s advice on how to stop the tri­al. Accord­ing to Nov­el, the Jack­sons believed that it was all a grand con­spir­a­cy, that the accuser’s moth­er was being paid by Jack­son’s ene­mies, who want­ed to take con­trol of his major eco­nom­ic asset, the Sony/ATV Music cat­a­logue, which holds pub­lish­ing rights to 251 Bea­t­les songs and works by scores of oth­er pop artists. Jack­son claimed that the main con­spir­a­tors were Sony Records; its for­mer pres­i­dent, Tom­my Mot­to­la; and San­ta Bar­bara Coun­ty dis­trict attor­ney Tom Sned­don, the pros­e­cu­tor, who also inves­ti­gat­ed Jack­son in 1993. The cat­a­logue is held joint­ly by Jack­son and Sony, and Jack­son’s share is mort­gaged for more than $200 mil­lion. If Jack­son defaults, Sony has first chance to buy his half as ear­ly as this com­ing Decem­ber. (A Sony spokesper­son said, “We are not going to com­ment on any aspect of this.”)

Jack­son explained to Nov­el that the con­spir­a­tors had intro­duced him to Al Mal­nik, a wealthy Mia­mi attor­ney who had once rep­re­sent­ed Mey­er Lan­sky. Mal­nik lat­er helped Jack­son refi­nance his loans. That was not what Jack­son told Nov­el, how­ev­er. Accord­ing to Nov­el, Jack­son said he was lured to Mal­nik’s house in Mia­mi Beach by film direc­tor Brett Rat­ner to see a house so beau­ti­ful it would make him cata­ton­ic. He said that once he was there, how­ev­er, Mal­nik, who Jack­son claimed had Mafia ties, want­ed to put his fin­gers in the singer’s busi­ness. Jack­son also said he received a call from Tom­my Mot­to­la while he was there, which aroused his sus­pi­cion, but he did not tell Nov­el that he lat­er put Mal­nik on the board of the Sony/ATV Music part­ner­ship. (Reached by tele­phone, Mal­nik scoffed at the idea of a con­spir­a­cy or of his hav­ing any Mafia ties. He said, “It does not make any sense.” Rat­ner con­firmed that he took Jack­son to Mal­nik’s house and that he con­sid­ers Mal­nik a father fig­ure.)

Jack­son and Mot­to­la have been at odds for years. In New York in July 2002, Jack­son staged a pub­lic protest against Mot­to­la with the Rev­erend Al Sharp­ton, call­ing him a racist and “very, very dev­il­ish.” He called for a boy­cott of Sony, which is believed to have con­tributed to Mot­to­la’s ouster from the com­pa­ny six months lat­er. Jack­son is report­ed­ly so fright­ened of Mot­to­la that one of the rea­sons he sur­round­ed him­self with Nation of Islam guards in 2003 was that he thought Mot­to­la could put out a hit on him. (Mot­to­la could not be reached for com­ment.)

Jack­son want­ed Nov­el to find the links among these char­ac­ters. Nov­el told me in March that “he believes he’ll get con­vict­ed. He believes the judge, the D.A., and the Sony guys are a con­spir­a­cy to take over his mon­ey.”

On March 17, near­ly a month into the tri­al, Nov­el went to Nev­er­land to strate­gize. Max­i­mo’s first thought was that Michael was in need of “an extreme makeover” of what he calls “imag­gio.” Jack­son drove him around the ranch in an old pick­up truck. “He act­ed like he was scared sil­ly,” Nov­el told me. His fear was “six foot thick. He kept ask­ing me what prison was like. Can he watch TV and movies there? He want­ed me to stop the show.” When I asked Nov­el what that meant, he relat­ed that Michael said, “ ‘I want this tri­al stopped.’ He said the judge and Sned­don had rigged the game.”

The gen­er­al was blunt with Jack­son. “I told him, ‘Get rid of the weird per­sona. You look like the weird pedophile. I’m talk­ing about the hair, lip­stick, eye­brows. Just be your­self, and say why you’re doing it. Say that’s your show-biz per­son­al­i­ty. It’s just what you do to sell LPs.’ He said, ‘No. I just want to be me.’ ” The gen­er­al also told him to find a female lover. “He did­n’t want to go with girls, do the romance thing either. He did­n’t want to come to Jesus; he thinks he’s already reli­gious. I said, ‘Why did­n’t you stop fool­ing around with kids?’ He said, ‘I did­n’t want to.’ ”

Nov­el told Jack­son that he could walk away free if he would just sub­mit to a lie-detec­tor test, under­go hyp­no­sis, and take truth serum, which Nov­el would admin­is­ter in “a con­trolled envi­ron­ment.” While he was under the influ­ence on video, Nov­el said, Jer­maine could ask him ques­tions, and they could dis­trib­ute the video world­wide, prov­ing his inno­cence. Jack­son refused to take truth serum, Nov­el said, claim­ing it was against his reli­gion.

Nov­el told me that he was ready to go pub­lic with this infor­ma­tion and sell it to the high­est bid­der, because Jack­son had stiffed him on his $5,000 con­sul­tan­t’s fee. I told him that Van­i­ty Fair does not pay for infor­ma­tion, but he nev­er­the­less relat­ed in detail a con­fer­ence call he had had with Michael, Jer­maine, and the Rev­erend Jesse Jack­son. Many of the things he said they had dis­cussed were echoed in an inter­view Michael gave Jesse Jack­son on Keep Hope Alive with Rev­erend Jesse Jack­son the fol­low­ing East­er Sun­day.

Michael said on the phone that what was hap­pen­ing to him was the result of racism. He told Jesse Jack­son in the radio inter­view, “I’m total­ly inno­cent, and it’s just very painful. This has been kind of a pat­tern among black lumi­nar­ies in this coun­try.” He told him he got strength from the exam­ples of Nel­son Man­dela, Jack John­son, Muham­mad Ali, and Jesse Owens. Nov­el told me he had said to Michael, “You can either be a vic­tim or a war­rior.” In his inter­view, Michael told Jesse Jack­son, “I’m a war­rior.”

On the phone, Nov­el told me, Michael and Jesse had decid­ed that telling the press they spoke with each oth­er fre­quent­ly was a good way to give a pos­i­tive spin to Michael’s predica­ment. Sure enough, Ray­mone Bain, Jack­son’s attrac­tive spokes­woman, prompt­ly told reporters that Michael woke up before dawn every day and spoke with Jesse for 15 or 20 min­utes. She said, “They talk togeth­er and pray togeth­er.” In the inter­view Michael said, “I gained strength from God. I believe in Jeho­vah God very much.”

Nov­el told me they had dis­cussed the con­spir­a­cy at length on the phone. In the inter­view, Jesse Jack­son asked Michael point-blank about the cat­a­logue and what was in it. Michael said that “it’s a huge cat­a­logue. It’s very valu­able, it’s worth a lot of mon­ey, and there is a big fight going on right now as we speak about that.” He added, “I can’t com­ment on it. There’s a lot of con­spir­a­cy. I’ll say that much.” . . .

“CSI Nev­er­land” by Mau­reen Orth; Van­i­ty Fair; July/2005. [15]

2. More depth con­cern­ing the sin­is­ter forces gath­ered around Michael Jack­son dur­ing the clos­ing phase of his life was pro­vid­ed by Ian Halperin. Assert­ing that Jack­son was gay and pre­ferred young male lovers, Halperin main­tains that the pedophil­ia charges of which Jack­son was acquit­ted were base­less.

It was to finance his defense against those charges that Jack­son sold off half of the rights to a valu­able music cat­a­log, includ­ing the rights to many of the Bea­t­les songs. The oth­er half of the cat­a­log is owned by SONY, which acquired Ber­tels­man­n’s music arm.

Halperin also notes that Jack­son was in poor health and that the pro­posed 50-show Lon­don appear­ance would have sev­er­aly dam­aged or destroyed Jack­son’s health. He also notes that sin­is­ter forces around Jack­son dur­ing the clos­ing peri­od of his life includ­ed oper­a­tives of Louis Far­rakhan’s Nation of Islam, includ­ing a mys­te­ri­ous man named Dr. Tohme Tohme, whose pre­cise back­ground is a mat­ter of con­jec­ture. (For back­ground infor­ma­tion about Far­rakhan and his orga­ni­za­tion, includ­ing infor­ma­tion link­ing Far­rakhan to the assas­si­na­tion of Mal­com X, see FTR #21 [17].)

It is Halper­in’s opin­ion that those around Jack­son knew his health was bad and that he could­n’t stand the rig­ors of the pro­posed tour. Were they try­ing to push him into his grave? Were they in cahoots with ele­ments look­ing to obtain con­trol of the Bea­t­les cat­a­log?

What­ev­er  the final autop­sy results reveal, it was greed that killed Michael Jack­son [18]. Had he not been dri­ven – by a cabal of bankers, agents, doc­tors and advis­ers – to com­mit to the gru­elling 50 con­certs in Lon­don [19]’s O2 Are­na, I believe he would still be alive today.

Dur­ing the last weeks and months of his life, Jack­son made des­per­ate attempts to pre­pare for the con­cert series sched­uled for next month – a series that would have earned mil­lions for the singer and his entourage, but which he could nev­er have com­plet­ed, not men­tal­ly, and not phys­i­cal­ly.

Michael knew it and his advis­ers knew it. Any­one who caught even a fleet­ing glimpse of the frail old man hid­ing beneath the cos­tumes and cos­met­ics would have under­stood that the Lon­don tour was mad­ness. For Michael Jack­son, it was fatal.

I had more than a glimpse of the real Michael; as an award-win­ning free­lance jour­nal­ist and film-mak­er, I spent more than five years inside his ‘camp’.

Many in his entourage spoke frankly to me – and that made it pos­si­ble for me to write author­i­ta­tive­ly last Decem­ber that Michael had six months to live, a claim that, at the time, his offi­cial spokesman, Dr Tohme Tohme, called a ‘com­plete fab­ri­ca­tion’. The singer, he told the world, was in ‘fine health’. Six months and one day lat­er, Jack­son was dead.

Some liked to snig­ger at his pub­lic image, and it is true that flam­boy­ant clothes and bizarre make-up made for a com­ic grotesque; yet with­out them, his appear­ance was dis­tress­ing; with skin blem­ish­es, thin­ning hair and dis­coloured fin­ger­nails.

I had estab­lished beyond doubt, for exam­ple, that Jack­son relied on an exten­sive col­lec­tion of wigs to hide his grey­ing hair. Shorn of their lux­u­ri­ance, the Peter Pan of Nev­er­land cut a skele­tal fig­ure.

It was clear that he was in no con­di­tion to do a sin­gle con­cert, let alone 50. He could no longer sing, for a start. On some days he could bare­ly talk. He could no longer dance. Dis­as­ter was loom­ing in Lon­don and, in the opin­ion of his clos­est con­fi­dantes, he was feel­ing sui­ci­dal.

To under­stand why a singer of Jackson’s fragili­ty would even think about trav­el­ing to Lon­don, we need to go back to June 13, 2005, when my involve­ment in his sto­ry began.

As a break­ing news alert flashed on CNN announc­ing that the jury had reached a ver­dict in Jackson’s tri­al for alleged­ly molest­ing 13-year-old Gavin Arvi­zo at his Nev­er­land Ranch [20] in Cal­i­for­nia, I knew that his­to­ry had been made but that Michael Jack­son had been bro­ken – irrev­o­ca­bly so, as it proved.

Nor was it the first time that Michael had been accused of impro­pri­ety with young boys. Lit­tle more than a decade ear­li­er, anoth­er 13-year-old, Jor­dan Chan­dler, made sim­i­lar accu­sa­tions in a case that was even­tu­al­ly set­tled before tri­al – but not before the dam­age had been done to Jackson’s rep­u­ta­tion.

Michael had not helped his case. Appear­ing in a doc­u­men­tary with British broad­cast­er Mar­tin Bashir, he not only admit­ted that he liked to share a bed with teenagers, main­ly boys, in pyja­mas, but showed no sign of under­stand­ing why any­one might be legit­i­mate­ly con­cerned.

I had start­ed my inves­ti­ga­tion con­vinced that Jack­son was guilty. By the end, I no longer believed that.

I could not find a sin­gle shred of evi­dence sug­gest­ing that Jack­son had molest­ed a child. But I found sig­nif­i­cant evi­dence demon­strat­ing that most, if not all, of his accusers lacked cred­i­bil­i­ty and were moti­vat­ed pri­mar­i­ly by mon­ey.

Jack­son also deserved much of the blame, of course. Con­tin­u­ing to share a bed with chil­dren even after the sus­pi­cions sur­faced bor­dered on crim­i­nal stu­pid­i­ty.

He was also play­ing a tru­ly dan­ger­ous game. It is clear to me that Michael was homo­sex­u­al and that his taste was for young men, albeit not as young as Jor­dan Chan­dler or Gavin Arvi­zo.

In the course of my inves­ti­ga­tions, I spoke to two of his gay lovers, one a Hol­ly­wood wait­er, the oth­er an aspir­ing actor. The wait­er had remained friends, per­haps more, with the singer until his death last week. He had served Jack­son at a restau­rant, Jack­son made his inter­est plain and the two slept togeth­er the fol­low­ing night. Accord­ing to the wait­er, Jack­son fell in love.

The actor, who has been giv­en sol­id but unin­spir­ing film parts, saw Jack­son in the mid­dle of 2007. He told me they had spent near­ly every night togeth­er dur­ing their affair – an easy claim to make, you might think. But this lover pro­duced cor­rob­o­ra­tion in the form of pho­tographs of the two of them togeth­er, and a wit­ness.

Oth­er wit­ness­es speak of strings of young men vis­it­ing his house at all hours, even in the peri­od of his decline. Some stayed overnight.

When Jack­son lived in Las Vegas, one of his clos­est aides told how he would sneak off to a ‘grungy, rat-infest­ed’ motel – often dressed as a woman to dis­guise his iden­ti­ty – to meet a male con­struc­tion work­er he had fall­en in love with.

Jack­son was acquit­ted in the Arvi­zo case, dra­mat­i­cal­ly so, but the effect on his men­tal state was ruinous. Sources close to him sug­gest he was close to com­plete ner­vous break­down.

The ordeal had left him phys­i­cal­ly shat­tered, too. One of my sources sug­gest­ed that he might already have had a genet­ic con­di­tion I had nev­er pre­vi­ous­ly come across, called Alpha‑1 antit­rypsin defi­cien­cy – the lack of a pro­tein that can help pro­tect the lungs.

Although up to 100,000 Amer­i­cans are severe­ly affect­ed by it, it is an under-rec­og­nized con­di­tion. Michael was receiv­ing reg­u­lar injec­tions of Alpha‑1 antit­rypsin derived from human plas­ma. The treat­ment is said to be remark­ably effec­tive and can enable the suf­fer­er to lead a nor­mal life.

But the dis­ease can cause res­pi­ra­to­ry prob­lems and, in severe cas­es, emphy­se­ma. Could this be why Jack­son had for years been wear­ing a sur­gi­cal mask in pub­lic, to pro­tect his lungs from the rav­ages of the dis­ease? Or why, from time to time, he resort­ed to a wheel­chair? When I returned to my source inside the Jack­son camp for con­fir­ma­tion, he said: ‘Yeah, that’s what he’s got. He’s in bad shape. They’re wor­ried that he might need a lung trans­plant but he may be too weak.

‘Some days he can hard­ly see and he’s hav­ing a lot of trou­ble walk­ing.’

Even Michael Jackson’s leg­endary wealth was in sharp decline. Just a few days before he announced his 50-con­cert come­back at the O2 Are­na, one of my sources told me Jack­son had been offered £1.8million to per­form at a par­ty for a Russ­ian bil­lion­aire on the Black Sea.

‘Is he up to it?’ I had asked.

‘He has no choice. He needs the mon­ey. His peo­ple are push­ing him hard,’ said the source.

Could he even stand on a stage for an hour con­cert?

‘He can stand. The treat­ments have been suc­cess­ful. He can even dance once he gets in bet­ter shape. He just can’t sing,’ said the aide, adding that Jack­son would have to lip-synch to get through the per­for­mance. ‘Nobody will care, as long as he shows up and moon­walks.’

He also revealed Jack­son had been offered well over £60million to play Las Vegas for six months.  ‘He said no, but his peo­ple are try­ing to force it on him. He’s that close to los­ing every­thing,’ said the source.

Indeed, by all accounts Jackson’s finances were in a sham­bles. The Arvi­zo tri­al itself was a rel­a­tive bar­gain, cost­ing a lit­tle more than £18million in legal bills.

But the dam­age to his career, already in trou­ble before the charges, was incal­cu­la­ble. After the Arvi­zo tri­al, a Bahrai­ni sheikh allowed Jack­son to stay in his palace, under­writ­ing his lav­ish lifestyle. But a few years lat­er, the prince sued his for­mer guest, demand­ing repay­ment for his hos­pi­tal­i­ty. Jack­son claimed he thought it had been a gift.

Roger Fried­man, a TV jour­nal­ist, said: ‘For one year, the prince under­wrote Jackson’s life in Bahrain – every­thing includ­ing accom­mo­da­tion, guests, secu­ri­ty and trans­porta­tion. And what did Jack­son do? He left for Japan and then Ire­land. He took the mon­ey and moon­walked right out the door. This is the real Michael Jack­son. He has nev­er returned a phone call from the prince since he left Bahrain.’

Although Jack­son set­tled with the sheikh on the eve of the tri­al that would have aired his finan­cial dirty laun­dry, the set­tle­ment only put him that much deep­er into the hole. A hole that kept get­ting big­ger, but that was guar­an­teed by Jackson’s half own­er­ship of the copy­rights to The Bea­t­les cat­a­logue. He owned them in a joint ven­ture with record com­pa­ny Sony, which have kept him from bank­rupt­cy.

‘Jack­son is in hock to Sony for hun­dreds of mil­lions,’ a source told me a cou­ple of months ago. ‘No bank will give him any mon­ey so Sony have been pay­ing his bills.

‘The trou­ble is that he hasn’t been meet­ing his oblig­a­tions. Sony have been in a posi­tion for more than a year where it can repos­sess Michael’s share of the [Bea­t­les] cat­a­logue. That’s always been Sony’s dream sce­nario, full own­er­ship.

‘But they don’t want to do it as they’re afraid of a back­lash from his fans. Their night­mare is an organ­ised ‘boy­cott Sony’ move­ment world­wide, which could prove huge­ly cost­ly. It is the only thing stand­ing between Michael and bank­rupt­cy.’

The source aid at the time that the sched­uled Lon­don con­certs wouldn’t clear Jackson’s debts – esti­mat­ed at almost £242million – but they would allow him to get them under con­trol and get him out of default with Sony.

Accord­ing to two sources in Jackson’s camp, the singer put in place a con­tin­gency plan to ensure his chil­dren would be well tak­en care of in the event of bank­rupt­cy.

‘He has as many as 200 unpub­lished songs that he is plan­ning to leave behind for his chil­dren when he dies. They can’t be touched by the cred­i­tors, but they could be worth as much as £60million that will ensure his kids a com­fort­able exis­tence no mat­ter what hap­pens,’ one of his col­lab­o­ra­tors revealed.

But for the cir­cle of han­dlers who sur­round­ed Jack­son dur­ing his final years, their gold­en goose could not be allowed to run dry. Bank­rupt­cy was not an option.

These, after all, were not the han­dlers who had seen him through the after­math of the Arvi­zo tri­al and who had been pro­tect­ing his frag­ile emo­tion­al health to the best of their abil­i­ty. They were gone, and a new set of advis­ers was in place.

The clearout had appar­ent­ly been engi­neered by his children’s nan­ny, Grace Rwaram­ba, who was gain­ing con­sid­er­able influ­ence over Jack­son and his affairs and has been described as the ‘queen bee’ by those around Jack­son.

Rwaram­ba had ties to the black mil­i­tant organ­i­sa­tion, the Nation of Islam, and its con­tro­ver­sial leader, Louis Far­rakhan, whom she enlist­ed for help in run­ning Jackson’s affairs.

Before long, the Nation was sup­ply­ing Jackson’s secu­ri­ty detail and Farrakhan’s son-in-law, Leonard Muham­mad, was appoint­ed as Jackson’s busi­ness man­ag­er, though his role has less­ened sig­nif­i­cant­ly in recent years.

In late 2008, a shad­owy fig­ure who called him­self Dr Tohme Tohme sud­den­ly emerged as Jackson’s ‘offi­cial spokesman’.

Tohme has been alter­nate­ly described as a Sau­di Ara­bi­an bil­lion­aire and an orthopaedic sur­geon, but he is actu­al­ly a Lebanese busi­ness­man who does not have a med­ical licence. At one point, Tohme claimed he was an ambas­sador at large for Sene­gal, but the Sene­galese embassy said they had nev­er heard of him.

Tohme’s own ties to the Nation of Islam came to light in March 2009, when New York auc­tion­eer Dar­ren Julien was con­duct­ing an auc­tion of Michael Jack­son mem­o­ra­bil­ia.

Julien filed an affi­davit in Los Ange­les Supe­ri­or Court that month in which he described a meet­ing he had with Tohme’s busi­ness part­ner, James R. Weller. Accord­ing to Julien’s account, ‘Weller said if we refused to post­pone [the auc­tion], we would be in dan­ger from ‘Far­rakhan and the Nation of Islam; those peo­ple are very pro­tec­tive of Michael’.

He told us that Dr Tohme and Michael Jack­son want­ed to give the mes­sage to us that ‘our lives are at stake and there will be blood­shed’.’

A month after these alleged threats, Tohme accom­pa­nied Jack­son to a meet­ing at a Las Vegas hotel with Randy Phillips, chief exec­u­tive of the AEG Group, to finalise plans for Jackson’s return to the con­cert stage.

Jackson’s han­dlers had twice before said no to Phillips. This time, with Tohme act­ing as his con­fi­dant, Jack­son left the room agree­ing to per­form ten con­certs at the O2.

Before long, how­ev­er, ten con­certs had turned into 50 and the poten­tial rev­enues had sky­rock­et­ed. ‘The vul­tures who were pulling his strings some­how man­aged to put this con­cert extrav­a­gan­za togeth­er behind his back, then pre­sent­ed it to him as a fait accom­pli,’ said one aide.

‘The mon­ey was just unbe­liev­able and all his finan­cial peo­ple were telling him he was fac­ing bank­rupt­cy. But Michael still resist­ed. He didn’t think he could pull it off.’

Even­tu­al­ly, they wore him down, the aide explained, but not with the mon­ey argu­ment.

‘They told him that this would be the great­est come­back the world had ever known. That’s what con­vinced him. He thought if he could emerge tri­umphant­ly from the suc­cess of these con­certs, he could be the King again.’

The finan­cial details of the O2 con­certs are still murky, though var­i­ous sources have revealed that Jack­son was paid as much as £10million in advance, most of which went to the mid­dle­men. But Jack­son could have received as much as £100million had the con­certs gone ahead.

It is worth not­ing that the O2 Are­na has the most sophis­ti­cat­ed lip synch­ing tech­nol­o­gy in the world – a par­tic­u­lar attrac­tion for a singer who can no longer sing. Had, by some mir­a­cle, the con­certs gone ahead, Jackson’s per­son­al con­tri­bu­tion could have been lim­it­ed to just 13 min­utes for each per­for­mance. The rest was to have been chore­og­ra­phy and lights.

‘We knew it was a dis­as­ter wait­ing to hap­pen,’ said one aide. ‘I don’t think any­body pre­dict­ed it would actu­al­ly kill him but nobody believed he would end up per­form­ing.’

Their doubts were under­scored when Jack­son col­lapsed dur­ing only his sec­ond rehearsal. . . .

“I’m Bet­ter Off Dead. I’m Done’: Michael Jack­son’s Fate­ful Pre­dic­tion Just a Week Before His Death” by Ian Halperin; Mail Online; 6/29/2009. [8]

3. Los Ange­les author­i­ties were mov­ing in the direc­tion of a homi­cide inves­ti­ga­tion at one point in their inquiry.

The slow drib­ble of news and rumors in the after­math of Michael Jack­son’s death con­tin­ues, with reports that the L.A. Coun­ty Dis­trict Attor­ney’s Office is con­sid­er­ing the case a crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion, and that the LAPD is treat­ing Jack­son’s death as a homi­cide. . . .

“Police Say Jack­son Death Being Treat­ed as Homi­cide” by Jeff Thomas [“The Star Report”]; San Jose Mer­cury News; 7/17/2009; p. A2. [14]

4. Two weeks after Jack­son’s death, the pow­er­ful Ber­tels­mann [10] firm was cap­i­tal­ized by KKR in a new music ven­ture. Spec­u­la­tion involved the pos­si­bil­i­ty that Ber­tels­mann might use the cap­i­tal to acquire the rights to the licens­ing of the cat­a­log owned by Jack­son and SONY.

Less than a year after Ber­tels­mann, the Ger­man media giant, exit­ed the music busi­ness, it is tak­ing a nov­el approach to get back in.

The com­pa­ny said Wednes­day that it would form a joint ven­ture with the pri­vate equi­ty firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Com­pa­ny to license and admin­is­ter music rights.

The new com­pa­ny will com­bine Bertelsmann’s exist­ing BMG Rights Man­age­ment unit with the finan­cial mus­cle of K.K.R., which will own 51 per­cent of the joint ven­ture, with Ber­tels­mann hold­ing the rest.

And while BMG’s indi­rect com­peti­tors will be the music pub­lish­ing titans of the world, like EMI, Warn­er Music, Uni­ver­sal and Sony — com­pa­nies that mar­ket the immense cat­a­logs they own — BMG is count­ing on sign­ing artists who are seek­ing some­one who will admin­is­ter their intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty with­out actu­al­ly own­ing it.

“Our finan­cial strength com­bined with BMG’s sec­tor exper­tise will cre­ate a unique plat­form for build­ing up a glob­al music-rights man­age­ment busi­ness,” Johannes P. Huth, the Euro­pean head of K.K.R., said in a state­ment.

In August, Ber­tels­mann sold its stake in the music com­pa­ny SonyB­MG to Sony for $900 mil­lion. As part of the deal, it retained the rights to 200 Euro­pean artists, who, with 100 signed since Octo­ber, form the core of BMG Rights Man­age­ment, which is based in Berlin.

Found­ed last Octo­ber, BMG Rights Man­age­ment is a rel­a­tive­ly new busi­ness that acts as an agent for artists whose intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty can be licensed for uses out­side of tra­di­tion­al record­ing. For exam­ple, the music can be broad­cast through var­i­ous media or used in movie pro­duc­tions.

Its sta­ble of artists includes Toby Gad, a Ger­man song­writer liv­ing in New York who has worked with artists includ­ing Bey­on­cé and Han­nah Mon­tana, and 2Raumwohnung, a pop­u­lar Ger­man group.

K.K.R. will put 50 mil­lion euros up front into the new com­pa­ny, draw­ing on its Euro­pean invest­ment funds, and anoth­er 200 mil­lion euros over five years as invest­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties arise, accord­ing to Philipp Freise, a direc­tor of K.K.R. in Europe and mem­ber of its glob­al media team.

“We both want to broad­en BMG’s glob­al reach faster than orig­i­nal­ly antic­i­pat­ed,” Thomas Rabe, Bertelsmann’s chief finan­cial offi­cer, said.

Hartwig Masuch, BMG’s chief exec­u­tive and a vet­er­an of its music pub­lish­ing busi­ness, will keep that title in the new com­pa­ny.

BMG has offices in six Euro­pean coun­tries, includ­ing Ger­many, Britain and Italy, and is now turn­ing its gaze across the Atlantic to begin sign­ing artists there. “With this joint ven­ture, the main point now is to get active in the Unit­ed States,” said Tobias Riepe, a Ber­tels­mann spokesman.

Though its first pri­or­i­ty is acquir­ing a sta­ble of artists, anoth­er pos­si­bil­i­ty for expan­sion would be for BMG to acquire con­trol of music cat­a­logs in its own right from oth­er own­ers, or artists who sell them, Mr. Riepe said.

The music world, for exam­ple, is now abuzz with spec­u­la­tion about what will hap­pen to the cat­a­logs con­trolled by heirs of Michael Jack­son. The recent­ly deceased pop super­star had his own music cat­a­log, and a 50 per­cent inter­est in the Sony/ATV col­lec­tion, which includes songs from The Bea­t­les — assets the fam­i­ly could try to sell. . . .

“Ber­tels­mann Re-enters Music World with K.K.R.” by Carter Dougher­ty; The New York Times; 7/9/2009; p. B3. [11]

5. More about the Bertelsmann/K.K.R. deal:

To Hen­ry Wadsworth Longfel­low, music was “the uni­ver­sal lan­guage of mankind.” Mon­ey may be the lin­gua fran­ca for the part­ners at the pri­vate equi­ty firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, but a com­bi­na­tion with music could make a pleas­ant tune for its investors.

The fund run by Hen­ry Kravis is team­ing with the Ger­man media group Ber­tels­mann to pounce on some of the choic­est bits of the music busi­ness — copy­rights to songs. Giv­en the tur­bu­lence in the record­ed music sec­tor, and the own­er­ship of libraries like Michael Jackson’s up in the air, they’ll like­ly have a wealth of assets from which to choose.

Wide­spread dig­i­tal dis­tri­b­u­tion of music has ham­pered the abil­i­ty of com­pa­nies like Warn­er Music Group and EMI to make mon­ey from their tra­di­tion­al activ­i­ty of find­ing new artists and mar­ket­ing their tunes. Yet, their copy­right busi­ness­es con­tin­ue to pro­duce prof­it. In the quar­ter that end­ed in March, Warner’s pub­lish­ing divi­sion post­ed 40 per­cent oper­at­ing mar­gins, four times those of its record­ed music divi­sion.

That has raised expec­ta­tions that copy­right own­ers like EMI, which is high­ly lever­aged, may need to sell assets to pay down debt and fix their record­ed music oper­a­tions. Sim­i­lar­ly, Warn­er may seek to mon­e­tize part of its library to finance a bid for the record­ed music arm of EMI, should its own­ers at the buy­out firm Ter­ra Fir­ma wish to sell.

And copy­rights owned by the estates of Michael Jack­son and Allen Klein, the for­mer Rolling Stones man­ag­er, may come on the block. The Jack­son estate’s share of its ven­ture with Sony, which holds the rights to most of the Bea­t­les’ music, was val­ued at $390 mil­lion in a 2007 audit. . . .

“Part­ners Fan­cy a Trove of Songs” Lau­ren  Sil­va Laugh­lin and John Foley [Breakingviews.com]; The New York Times; 7/9/2009; p. B2. [12]

6. Short­ly after Jack­son’s death, the father of the first of his two [false] accusers died of a gun­shot wound, said to have been self-inflict­ed.

First, Even Chandler–father of Jor­dan Chan­dler, the boy who first accused Michael [Jack­son] of molestation–committed sui­cide by hand­gun, spark­ing spec­u­la­tion that he’d per­haps done so out of guilt over the whole child molesta­tion scan­dal that arguably start­ed the down­ward spi­ral of the fall­en King Of Pop’s bizarre life. We shall nev­er real­ly know, and there was no sui­cide note at the scene. . . .

“Nov. 16–22: Crash­es, Feuds, Rumors & Duets (i.e., Just Anoth­er Week In Music News)”; Yahoo.com; 11/20/2009. [13]

7. Ber­tels­mann was the pub­lish­er for the SS in World War II. The fir­m’s patri­arch, Hein­rich Mohn, was a mem­ber of that orga­ni­za­tion. Avail­able evi­dence sug­gests strong­ly that Ber­tels­mann is part of the Under­ground Reich.

Note that the late Hein­rich Mohn select­ed Dieter Vogel to head the Thyssen firm. In addi­tion to being one of the Ger­man core cor­po­ra­tions (and there­fore part of the Under­ground Reich), the Thyssen firm is one of the most impor­tant ele­ments of the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work.

“Issu­ing more than 20 mil­lion vol­umes, Ber­tels­mann was the largest sup­pli­er to the army and sup­plied the SS.”

(“Bertelsmann’s Nazi Past” by Her­sch Fis­chler and John Fried­man; The Nation; 12/28/98; p. 1.)

8. More about Ber­tels­mann and Hein­rich Mohn’s mem­ber­ship in the SS:

“When Ber­tels­mann applied after the war for a sec­ond pub­lish­ing license, it was turned down by occu­pa­tion author­i­ties. [Ber­tels­mann patri­arch Hein­rich] Mohn had ‘for­got­ten’ to men­tion that he had been a ‘pas­sive’ mem­ber of the SS, as well as a sup­port­er of the Hitler Youth and a mem­ber of the pres­ti­gious Nation­al Social­ist Fly­ing Corps, accord­ing to de-Naz­i­fi­ca­tion files in the cen­tral state archive in Dus­sel­dorf.”

(Ibid.; p. 2.)

9. For those inclined to view the activ­i­ties of Hein­rich Mohn and asso­ciates as some­thing that was “long ago and far away,” the pro­gram reviews the fact that Ber­tels­man­n’s house historian–Dirk Bavendamm–exhibits behav­ior sug­ges­tive of Ber­tels­mann being part of the Under­ground Reich. As recent­ly as 1998, Baven­damm wrote a book blam­ing World War II on Franklin Roo­sevelt, U.S. impe­ri­al­ism and Jew­ish con­trol of the media. A remark­able inter­pre­ta­tion of that con­flict from the offi­cial his­to­ri­an of the largest Eng­lish lan­guage pub­lish­er.

“His book Roosevelt’s Way to War (Roosevelt’s Weg zum Krieg) was pub­lished in 1983. Rewrit­ing his­to­ry, he stat­ed that Roo­sevelt, not Hitler had caused World War II. He also wrote that Amer­i­can Jews con­trolled most of the media,’ and he claimed they gave a false pic­ture of Hitler. Did the book impress [Heinrich’s son Rein­hard] Mohn, then the major­i­ty share­hold­er of Ber­tels­mann? The firm hired Baven­damm as its house his­to­ri­an, and in 1984 he com­plet­ed a his­tor­i­cal study, 150 Years of Ber­tels­mann: The Founders and Their Time—with a fore­word by Mohn. A year lat­er, Baven­damm edit­ed the firm’s offi­cial his­to­ry, which set forth the untrue sto­ry that the firm had resist­ed the Nazis and had been closed down by them. Mohn also asked Baven­damm to write the autho­rized his­to­ry of the Mohn fam­i­ly, pub­lished in 1986 under the title Ber­tels­mann, Mohn, Scip­pel: Three Families—One Com­pa­ny. In a sec­ond book, Roosevelt’s War (pub­lished in 1993, reis­sued in 1998), Baven­damm accus­es the U.S. Pres­i­dent of enact­ing a plan to start World War II. In the same book he sug­gests that Hitler’s threats in ear­ly 1939 against Euro­pean Jew­ry were a reac­tion to Roosevelt’s strat­e­gy against Ger­many. After the rev­e­la­tions about Bertelsmann’s Nazi past appeared, the com­pa­ny announced that it had asked ‘the his­to­ri­an and pub­li­cist Dr. Dirk Baven­damm to look at the new infor­ma­tion and begin to rein­ves­ti­gate the role the pub­lish­ing house played in those days’ and defend­ed his work.”

(“Bertelsmann’s Revi­sion­ist” by Her­sch Fis­chler and John Fried­man; The Nation; 11/8/99; p. 1.) [21]

10. The bulk of the sec­ond side of the pro­gram deals with Alvin Mal­nik, a for­mer attor­ney for Mey­er Lan­sky (often men­tioned as Lan­sky’s pos­si­ble heir) and an execu­tor to Jack­son’s will. Right­ly or wrong­ly, Jack­son was very afraid of Mal­nik, whom he sus­pect­ed of plot­ting to gain con­trol of his estate, his stake in the Bea­t­les’ cat­a­log, in par­tic­u­lar.

Mal­nik con­vert­ed to Islam and adopt­ed an Ara­bic name. In addi­tion, his son Mark Mal­nik mar­ried a princess of the Sau­di roy­al fam­i­ly and changed his name to Sha­reef. The broad­cast exam­ines this rela­tion­ship. Mr. Emory refers to the Mal­nik milieu as “Lake Mal­nik” and notes the many pow­er­ful and monied inter­ests with prop­er­ty on or adjoin­ing that remark­able lake. Peo­ple and insti­tu­tions involved with, and over­lap­ping, the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty, orga­nized crime, pol­i­tics, show busi­ness, indus­try and finance all rubbed elbows with Mal­nik.

The marriage–literally–of an alleged heir to the Lan­sky syn­di­cate to the Sau­di roy­al fam­i­ly rais­es the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a tru­ly remark­able and vir­tu­al­ly lim­it­less engine of cor­rupt pow­er. (For dis­cus­sion of Mal­nik, the pro­gram excerpts mate­r­i­al from FTR #512 [22].)