YOU MAY BE LOOKING AT A MIRROR SITE...IF YOU ARE THEN TRY TO VIEW THE SITE AT http://www.lexicon.net/adder/silva1.htm. OR http://www.smuggled.com/silva1.htm FOR THE MOST UP-TO-DATE POSTINGS. THESE SITES MAY BE WIPED ILLEGALLY BY THE AUSTRALIAN OR AMERICAN GOVERNMENTS SO IF YOU CANNOT ACCESS THE SITE KEEP IN MIND THE MIRROR SITE'S ADDRESSES AND BOOKMARK ALL IN ORDER TO GET REGULAR UPDATES.
(Editor's note: These private letters have been printed in the public interest and may be downloaded by interested parties) Further material from Silva and relating to the Silva case will be posted on this site on a regular basis so those interested should bookmark the site. (That is on the assumption that Silva's right to post mail is not stopped - he is currently being held in a USA prison). Associated sites were illegally wiped from the internet by the Australian Government on November 22nd 1996 in violation of the Australian Supreme Court, which had specifically ruled to allow the sites to remain open. This and associated sites may be wiped again, so it is strongly advised that material from it be downloaded and re-posted as much as possible.
The first letter to Raymond Hoser from Tony Silva arrived unsolicited in October 1996. I (Raymond Hoser) had no prior knowledge or interest in the case/s involving Silva and the US/FWS. However as part of my global monitoring of all wildlife crime matters had archived much material relating to the case, mainly in the form of articles in aviculture magazines, press clippings, etc, although they had not been read. Typically I only take an interest in cases AFTER they have been finalised, which is when it is usually easiest for me to ascertain the actual details and address claim and counter-claim on either side. I replied to Silva's original letter/s and asked for further material to corroborate his allegations in relation to his case. Due to Silva's continued incarceration by US authorities he is obviously hamstrung in his ability to provide corroborative evidence to support his claims, although ongoing investigations by myself and friends of Silva's in North America have pointed to sources which corroborate his allegations. In fairness to all parties, I have actively solicited material from the US government and FWS to rebut allegations made by Silva. As of January 4th 1997, no material or even correspondence had come from the US Government or agencies, in spite of a number of requests dating back over one month. In fact there had been no written acknowledgment of receipt of these requests - a fact we find alarming. Special interest in the Silva matter arises due to several facts, including the high profile the US FWS has attached to the case and the fact that officials alleged by Silva to have falsified charges against him were evidently involved in similar fabrications of charges over the earlier FWS stings known as 'snakescam' (Atlanta Wildlife Exchange) and 'Operation Falcon'. While I (Raymond Hoser) is not in a position (at this stage) to take sides in the matter, it is intended to fully investigate all allegations in a fair and independent manner and report on my findings in later publication/s. The letters from Silva have been reproduced for several reasons in unedited form (only a few names have been removed), with the view to eliciting further corroborative (or rebutting) evidence from interested parties. I would be particularly keen to receive material by POST from all relevant and named parties in relation to this and associated matters. My postal address is at the top of the first letter reproduced on this page. Finally, Silva himself was NOT consulted before I posted two letters of his on the internet. I have since received (2nd hand) mixed messages as to whether Silva wants letters posted on the internet. I alone accept full responsibility for posting this material on the world wide web.
FROM: TONY SILVA,
8225 West 30th Street
North Riverside, IL 60546
41 Village Avenue Doncaster,
5 October 1996
While I do not believe we ever met when I visited Australia-- I was there on three occasions, once in Victoria, once in Queensland/NSW/WA, and once in Cape York Peninsula-- I am writing after Judy Franklin passed along a copy of your letter. I would like to know what a single copy of each book, Smuggling 1 and Smuggling 2, would cost so that I can order. I am presently in jail as the result of Operation Renegade, whose similarities with Snakescam are incredible; when Judy read me the parts relating to Leach, I though she was talking about my case.
The press has spewed out volumes, nearly all based solely on what the government has claimed; no one, apart from Judy, has taken the time to attend court and to verify what has been claimed. If you ask her, I believe she will tell you that I have been falsely accused. When they raided the house, they took everything-- including things not related to birds. They have yet to return these things, except for a few slides; these were picked through and any that could have been vital to my defence vanished. They threw my mother into this affair to pressure me.
Alas, in a weak moment and after fighting for more than four years, I capitulated; I signed an ambiguous plea that contained countless events that I did not commit. There was 'an agree to disagree' clause throughout, which I thought would allow me to explain everything. We did explain everything and then when my lawyer realized that I was stating the truth all along-he more than suggested I plea, because as he now tells me the feds did a good 'work up' on him to make me look guilty-- I tried to withdraw a plea, but this was refused. The judge is obviously in the government's corner, having handled most of the wildlife cases (which in theory are assigned by computer), and having signed a search warrant for one of the lead agents in my case after the search was already underway-- an illegal act which is made more so by the manner in which the raid was conducted (when the agents realized they were being taped, they chased the woman down and seized the camera, but she was smart enough to exchange the tape).
No matter what evidence we present, it is overlooked for the government's hearsay: their case it's 100% hearsay, sometimes up to tripple hearsay. Leach was closely involved with the Confidential Informant (James Mackman), who I thought was a friend and who held my birds on loan when I took over the position of curator of birds at Loro Parque. He has made made the wildest of claims-- most of which were used in the government press releases even though they were disproved in court: that he participated in a meeting in an Italian restaurant where Antonio de Dios talked about arms dealings to the 'Contras and the other side' and also bird smuggling (de Dios' passport proves he was not here and if you ask him he will tell you this is a lie); that I was the only person ever to smuggle birds in pvc pipes (even though he had read about this in Australian Bird Keeper and as the agents admit not a single piece of pipe or evidence to its use was ever uncovered in the search); and that when he visited Loro Parque, he was forced to swim with the park's dolphins while someone went through his suitcase and that all I did was smuggle or talk about smuggling (all false, as proven by sworn affidavits-- it was the presentation of these that ended with my incarceration, because they proved that 'I maintain contact overseas and therefore pose a flight risk'-- yet what am I supposed to do if Mackman's claim was made overseas?).
Mackman had a good teacher-- Leach the lizard. Mackman has told people all kinds of stories-including that his grandfather can get people killed and that he was sexually and physically abused-- about himself to get their sympathy. He sold all of the birds imported illegally by Leach (principally African Greys). He is but one of the four witnesses the government called to testify. These other individuals include an Argentine national by the name of Horacio Cornejo, who (like everyone else) received immunity for his crimes, was fired as a customs broken in 1982 for lying and cannot function in that capacity until 1999 (yes 1999). Mario Trabaue, a Miami drug dealer who even the government says he can't be believed-- Judy has this and other documents-- and thus is not credible; but they believe he gave me $60,000.00 because he claims he did, even though there is no proof that he ever gave me the money (no check, cash receipt, etc). The government is going to court to get his sentence reduced for his assistance in making statements about me (bear in mind, this man murdered people and smuggled millions of pounds of marijuana into this country, on various large vessels he had in the Caribbean).
Lastly is his veterinarian, who has changed the story several times-- he claims he decapitated the Hyacinths that Trabaue claims he got from me, and then that he did not; that he came to Chicago to sex birds for me, then that he went to Wisconsin and then drove to Chicago, etc. He never kept any records, even though he says the birds were sick and all died (Trabaue disputes him and says 18 survived) and even though he considers himself at the cutting edge of avian medicine. Interestingly, this man was associated with drugs: he would only testify if we did not bring his drug dealings, or he would have taken the fifith ammendment (not testify). Obviously the judge prevented us from asking about drugs and about his possible involvement with Trabaue in this affair, about possibly receiving immunity for testifying, etc.
Two key experts testified, apart from the agents, who by the way admitted that they could not point to one bird that I sold and claim it was smuggled. One formerly employed by WWF and now FWS (I wonder why?) and Don Brunning of the Bronx Zoo. The good Dr Brunning perjured himself when he pointed to a parrot headdress and said that it had to be smuggled, because if it was made from molted feathers (as I claimed) the feathers would be worn and tattered, because molted feathers are always in terrible shape (perhaps he should see a feather ornament illustrated in the October 1996 issue of Bird Talk, which shows perfect molted feathers). He said CITES officials are corrupt (though, like everything, he can't come up with names or events-- he was sued and had to settle a case already for similarly slandering people), admitted that I did not try to bribe anyone as he claims in the NOVA documentary but that this is what was related to him (he couldn't provide names), and that all of the birds I had were extremely rare (yet you could buy them all in any American magazine), etc. This man lies and says whatever the government wants him to say.
The entire case is a farce. They claim that I sold 1.8 million dollars worth of birds but can't prove it: it's simply conjecture, because they admit they found all my money and the buyers of my birds and all they come up with is $160,000.00 (and most of that was attributed to Trabaue). I ask only this question: if we discount the 160,000.00 they claim, where is the remaining 1.640,000.00? If they didn't find the birds or their buyers or the money then they musn't exist, as I claim. By locking me up, all my rights have been taken away. My mail is read, including material to and from my attorney (which must go through a series of filters, taking as long as 7 days-- probably enough time to give the prosecutor a chance to copy them and have the upper hand), and my calls are overheard. I consider myself a political prisoner: FWS had to prove to congress that they were effective and have done enything possible to make their claim-- including intimidating my witnesses, distorting facts (including claiming that I smuggled certain birds in 1992 when even they know I owned those birds in 1989 and even before) and lying. Eventually I hope someone realizes that this is a mere witch-hunt where the the truth is irrelevent-- winning a case, a very important case, is the only end result possible for these agents.
Should you wish to know more, please feel free to write, but bear in mind that all of my mail is read. This letter is being sent out by someone else. Hopefully it will get to my mother or wife and then to you. Judy can tell you more of the horror stories.
Thanks for your time.
PS: The NOVA documentary was a farce. The Austlian Aviva Ziegler, producer, told me they wanted to expose complaints about FWS and abuses, but in fact it was the other way around. They interviewed me for hours and took everything out of context. They never told me about Trabaue, Goldsmith or Brunning, or I could have answered these charges. They obviously did not mention the government's report about the lack of credibility of Trabaue, or that the government would ask for a departure on his sentence, etc. Interestingly, every time I go to court NOVA airs locally. Much of what the search warrant claims is attributed to Trabaue and is used by a nut. That person omits to mention the problems with Trabaue's credibility. The judge, when she sentenced someone, made remarks taken from this nut's internet claims-- so is there a connection?
(Editor's note: This letter has been printed in the public interest and may be dowloaded by interested parties. The only alterations to text were removal of some typographical errors. The letter was copied using OCR to a text file, before being corrected and uploaded. Likewise for other letters that appear on this site.
Re the NOVA documentary referred to above, it is true that this was a sham and a scam. Much of the filming was done in Australia by a company called Film Australia, based in the Sydney suburb of Lindfield. The makers sought input from many top NSW aviculturists in it's making, falsely telling them that the film was about advances in aviculture. Filming took place over several days, including at an AVES convention. Because there was no footage that could be used to imply smuggling or other illegal activity, none was used. Several other interviews with people featured in the final (aired) version were 'cut' and quotes taken out of context, with a clear and deliberate aim to paint aviculture and aviculturists in general in an unfavourable light. Re Silva's claims re government theft of files, films and so on, while we at AAC cannot verify his claims, we are aware that the practices described are effectively standard among dishonest wildlife officials and Police here in Australia and would expect similar to be likely in the USA. In several such cases here in Australia these officials have come unstuck with this and ended up with egg on their faces over failed prosecutions when victims of theft have retained copies of tapes, documents and other evidence (that proved innocence) away from their place of residence in the event of thefts that did eventuate. We strongly suggest that you read the book, 'The Hoser Files - The Fight Against Entrenched Official Corruption - click here for details', for information about several such cases. Likewise for any person who feels that they may be in any way harassed or victimised by dishonest government officials now or in future, 'The Hoser Files' is recommended reading).
1996 OPEN LETTER FROM TONY SILVA - AVICULTURIST.
THIS LETTER WAS SENT TO SEVERAL PEOPLE AND HAS BEEN REPRODUCED HERE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST.
It has been some time since I last wrote. The transcript of the court hearing finally arrived-- on.August 10. They were supposed to have been ready on June 14. I went through them, and my lawyer and I discussed several facts borne our in the court testimony. There are that:
-the basis for the accusations is principally double and triple hearsay; -the government tried invariably to distort the facts;
-the 'key witnesses' all have questionable backgrounds.
Mario Trabaue is in jail for 100 years for drug smuggling and murder. A Bureau of Prisons report says that he lies, is prepared to do so whenever it is necessary to receive time off for good behavior, and that his testimony must be questioned. Nonetheless, the government prepared a document so that Mario Trabaue could receive a downward departure from his sentence for the information that he provided about me, which is basically that he received some illegal birds. Interestingly, there is no evidence that those birds ever came from me, for Trabaue had a series of large vessels going between Miami and South America bringing Into the US very large amounts of drugs.
His veterinarian, Dr Thomas Goldsmith, who testified and recanted his story apparently knew nothing of the drug dealing-which took place precisely where he worked!-- but he threatened to take the Fifth Amendment (ie, not to testify) if my lawyer brought up the fact that there is a recorded conversation between Trabaue and a Federal Agent in which Trabaue discusses doing cocaine with Goldsmith. Goldsmith claims that all but two birds in the shipment survived; Trabaue says that 18 survived. I would think that a competent veterinarian, who claims he provided the birds with medical assistance because they were very ill, would know the difference between a living and dead bird. Goldsmith based his claim that the birds came from me from a statement made by Trabaue, who is known to alter the name of his suppliers for matters of secrecy. In reality where he got the birds, if they ever existed and what is the precise story remains a mystery. Judge Bucklo would not permit that we dig into Goldsmith's drug abuse, presumably to aid the government for by doing so Goldsmith would refuse to testify.
Our question is that drug use can alter the mind and thus we wanted to know the extend of his involvement. His refusal to answer questions also raises an interesting question: If the good veterinarian is so straight forward and honest, why would he refuse to testify if drug use would be brought up? What is he hiding? Reading the transcript will reveal that, according to his own views, Goldsmith is 'on the cutting edge of avian medicine' but why then, if the birds existed and they were sick, did he not maintain records of treatment, dosages or the like? James Mackman, the government's key collaborator, revealed that while he started working for money for Fish and Wildlife Service in mid 1990, he actually acquired illegal Thick-billed Parrots from Arizona for them in 1988 or 1989. It was in 1988 that he first came to my house. Does this suggest that he was sent to me to entrap me and slowly create a story that would fly when he officially went on the pay? His stories about my activities are often wild and are more suited for a fiction novel than real life. He claims that when he visited me in Loro Parque, that he was forced to swim with the dolphins so that 1 could have someone go through his belongings. This story has been impugned by more than one credible person, who provided sworn testimonies; also to the fact that the supposed smuggling into Loro Parque that he describes never existed.
Mackman claims that I was also smuggling birds into the US. One of my supposed courrier was the 'daughter' of the President of Paraguay, who utilized the presidential jet. Interestingly the President of Paraguay had no daughter and there is no record of the presidential jet ever landing in the US. Mackman was supposedly present when Antonio de Dios and I discussed bird smuggling and arms dealing, but de Dios' passport shows he was not here and he has stated that the meeting never occurred. After the-search warrant was executed on my house, de Dios passed through the US. Fish and Wildlife Service was well aware of the date of his arrival. They could have questioned him about the illegal birds he was supposedly sending me, or about the more serious arms dealings. They did not.
Perhaps they were afraid to learn the truth. Dr Donald Bruning, of the Bronx Zoo, testified that the parrot headdress I had was smuggled. He had no direct evidence -- just that parrot feathers that are molted are supposed to be tattered and worn. This tells me that either Bruning knows nothing about parrots or that he keeps his birds in a terrible condition. Birds in captivity shed if they are well cared for feathers that are not frayed, discolored or worn; if this were the case, there would be no demand for molted feathers from artists, North American Indians, and fly fishermen. Possibly Bruning was just trying to satisfy Fish and Wildlife Service. We now know that he is involved in a private breeding operation, that also has involved with it a former agent that worked on my case. Perhaps this explains why there is a great mystery as to where my birds are. Another sordid 'witness' is Horacio Cornejo, an Argentine animal dealer. He did not testify; instead Agent Richard Marks testified for him. I suspect that the government could not afford for us to cross examine Cornejo, who was fired from his job and banned from working as a customs broker in his country from 1982-1999! The cause: lying. This man also tried to blackman Lawrenece Lafeber with rubber checks and some photographs of dead birds, supposedly ascribed to me. Interestingly, the birds were photographed on a hardwood floor ... a type of floor that I did not have at my house, or my mother at hers.
Where do I now stand? I suspect I will be sentenced, given that the judge refuses to give me the opportunity to go to trial. I will then appeal and ask for a trial. The appeal process is long and arduous, but I will fight until God decides that my time on earth is over. In other words, I am prepared to fight until I die from old age. The process will be difficult given my detention. but this this is precisely what the government wanted in the hopes that I would give up. As an example of the difficulties, I will cite the case of giving my notes and the transcripts to my lawyer. The notes could not be handed over during a client~lawyer meeting but required a special memo to the Bureau of Prisons, who could then authorize them going to my lawyer. The transcripts going back to my lawyer also required permission. They had to be boxed in front of the counselor, who then took me to the mail room to get the box weighed. I then took the box back to my room. Stamps are sold only on Thursday and I had to borrow stamps from a great many inmates to be able to afix them on the box, which had to be returned to the mail room to be mailed out. The entire process did not take hours-- but a full eight days!
Imagine being at trial and having to review some critical evidence for the next day. Does the personal notes having to go through the system mean that the prosecutor will learn of their contents and beat you to the punch at a trial? You guess the answer.
The American justice system is said to be the best in the world, until you happen to be apart from the 'real world' and in the system. Your rights then do not exist; you are at the whim of an agency that works hand in hand with the prosecutor. Despite all of this, I am prepared to fight and to prove my innocence.
Thank you all for being there.
US FWS MEDIA RELEASE RE SILVA CASE SENTENCING.
Subject: Sentencing in parrot smuggling case: Press Release
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 96 17:38:37 GMT
To: Multiple recipients of list
The Fish and Wildlife Service released the following press release today
November 19, 1996
Patricia Fisher 202-208-5634
KINGPIN OF PARROT SMUGGLING RING
SENTENCED TO NEARLY 7 YEARS WITHOUT PAROLE
On November 18, a Federal court in Chicago sentenced Tony Silva, an internationally recognized expert and outspoken protector of exotic birds, to nearly 7 years of imprisonment without parole for leading an international parrot smuggling conspiracy and a related income tax violation.
In addition to the 82-month incarceration, U.S. District Court Judge Elaine Bucklo fined Silva $100,000 and ordered him to perform 200 hours of community service during a 3-year supervised release program following the prison term. This is one of the most severe sentences ever imposed for bird smuggling.
Also sentenced was Gila Daoud, Silva's mother. She will serve a 27-month prison term to be followed by a one-year supervised release program with concurrent 200 hours of community service.
As she handed down the sentences, Judge Bucklo said, "The real victims of these crimes were the birds themselves and our children and future generations who may never have the opportunity to see any of these rare birds."
On January 30, 1996, Silva pled guilty to a far-reaching conspiracy to smuggle or attempt to smuggle into this country some of the world's most endangered, beautiful, and highly protected wild birds. The value of the smuggled wildlife totaled $1,386,900. Included in these illegal shipments were substantial numbers of extremely rare hyacinth macaws. Silva also pled guilty to filing a false income tax return in connection with his sale of birds.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Division of Law Enforcement',s Branch of Special Operations spearheaded "Operation Renegade," a 3-year international probe to stem illegal trade in wild birds. "The severity of the sentence in this case sends a clear signal that the United States will absolutely not tolerate the depletion of irreplaceable natural resources for personal gain," said John Rogers, acting Service director.
The hyacinth macaw, found primarily in Brazil, has a wild population numbering between 2,000 and 5,000. One of these birds can command a price of $5,000 to $12,000. Because of this and the bird's precarious status in the wild, the hyacinth macaw has been accorded the highest level of protection provided under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), an international wildlife treaty to which the United States and 131 other nations are parties. Worldwide, the illegal wildlife trade is a multi-billion-dollar-a-year business, second only to illegal drug trade.
The United States takes its obligations and responsibilities under CITES very seriously," said Rogers. "This case reflects the Service's deep commitment to safeguarding the global community's natural resources.
The prosecution was led by the United States Attorney's Office in Chicago and assisted by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and the Wildlife and Marine Resources Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
WE UNDERSTAND THAT AN APPEAL HAS ALREADY BEEN LODGED. WE ARE ALSO ALARMED THAT THE FWS MEDIA RELEASE ABOVE MADE NO MENTION OF THIS FACT, EVEN THOUGH IT WAS MADE KNOWN TO RELEVANT PARTIES BEFORE SENTENCING. FURTHERMORE AAC WERE ADVISED OF THE DETAILS OF THE SENTENCE SOME WEEKS PRIOR TO 19/11/96 BY AN INTERESTED THIRD PARTY AND THE ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION FOREWARDED TO US DOES LEAD TO DOUBTS ABOUT THE INTEGRITY OF THE SENTENCING PROCESS IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE, ALTHOUGH THE POSSIBILITY OF UNLIKELY COINCIDENCE IS NOT TOTALLY DISCOUNTED (STOP PRESS - AUG/SEPT 1997 - SILVE REFUSED A REHEARING OF CASE - SEE SITES RE THIS CASE LISTED AT BOTTOM OF THIS SITE).
Subject: Re: VARIOUS/XXX NEWS
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 1996 11:24:19 -0600
From: xxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxx (NOT TONY SILVA)
To: RAYMOND HOSER
This involved Operation Renegade. The presence of the agents there was mentioned in investigative reports having to do with Nan Crandall's case, indavertantly mentioning Morrison and Silva. As you know, in Operation Falcon, the Canadian government was not notified of the ongoing investigation in ther country for over a year. I suspect it's the same with this NZ business. (I'd like somebody to go to trial with these guys so I cound get some questions answered under oath--- but I guess that doesn't mean much, either, does it?) Silvio (a Canadian) was bugged by several IRS agents during Renegade. God bless Silvio, he went to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and complained.
By the way, Nan Crandall mentioned a slimeball by the name of Ron Brown. Does the name ring a bell?>
I'm hoping that once the ship starts sinking, that they will all turn on one another. A lovely thought, and one I would have though impossible, but authorities have indicted an FBI official for the cover up of the Ruby Ridge incident, in which the FBI murdered Randy Weaver's wife and son. There may be hope. I think more and more people in this country are realizing there is a problem.
Anyway, keep up the good work. I'll keep in touch and let you know what I'm finding out. Regards, XXXXX
Subject: Re: Tony Silva
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 1996 10:39:29 -0600
From: XXXXXXXX@XXXXXXXXXX (NOT TONY SILVA)
To: RAYMOND HOSER
Tony Silva just called me and informed me that the prosecutor has phoned his attorney in a snit about the letters he wrote you and that you posted on the net. Tony requested that I contact you and asks that if anyone from the prosecutor's office contacts you, you avoid talking to them until after he is sentenced. The prosecutor is pissed that Tony could even hint that the judge is prejudiced, and I guess is threatening to ask for sentence enhancements. (She is---- I am looking forward to writing about just that, but won't til Tony's sentencing. They're not going to be able to use her for AR cases when I'm done with her, I hope.) I really don't see what difference it will make. The judge is going to throw the book at Tony anyway. He will definitely do time, and his only hope is on appeal.
The sentencing, which is supposedly to take place Monday, is probably not going to go off as scheduled, although it hasn't been officially postponed as yet. There is stuff going on that I can't talk about now, but I'm sure you can just use your imagination. I am treating my phones as if they are all tapped, and I am rather distressed at a peculiar call I received yesterday. I must plod on, though.
I will email you as soon as I have any news. Best regards, XXXX
Anonymous Fax received on 29th December 1996.
101 00 100 00:00 081
Re Silva case
To get to the bottom of this case, contact the Miami Herald library and order all articles relating to one Mario Tabraue convicted murderer and torturer and his CIA dad Guillermo Tabraue. library Fax 305-995-8183.
This man dealt dope and animals and was close to some Miami wildlife agents and one wildlife inspector even went to work for him. The USFWS is helping him get out of the slammer though he killed a government witness in a revolting way. Why God only knows. Press articles and TV programs inspired by USFWS say only, he is a drug smuggler and forget the homicide.
Call the US Federal Prison Locator at 202-307-3126 and ask what Tabraue's sentence is, it used to be 100 years and has gone down and may will go down further. Ask where he is. Check US Bureau of Prisons home page and see if the place is really a prison.
Letter from Tony Silva,
20 November 1996
On November 18 at 3.00pm in Judge Bucklo's chamber a grave injustice was committed: two innocent people were sent to jail: my mother for 27 months for having signed an Income Tax on my behalf while I was living in Spain and myself for 82 months for supposed smuggling and tax evasion. The judge stated that both my mother and myself were liards and thus not credible, even though my mother had never said a single word in court, and that the sentence would be based on hearsay.
The prosecutor made an attempt to thwart my Constitutional right to free speech by citing a letter written to Raymond Hoser and posted on the Internet. Apparently I was supposed to be mute and not discuss anything about this trial. What concerns the government so much that they would want to prevent me from exerting my First Contitutional right?
Perhaps the truth: I am a political prisoner. The government was all too willing to agree to a downward departure for my mother, so that she would not have to go to jail (she is infirm and 62 years old), but they became so infuriated that I spoke out that the prosecutor, Sergio Acosta, immediately called my lawyer, David P. Schippers, about the letter and voice how upset he was I had access to the Internet. Several days later the government withdrew their support of the downward departure. They had originally suggested that if I plead guilty that my mother would be left out, and this was pointed out by my lawyer. Apparently all rights must be squashed and all agreements discarded. All this is in pursuit of justice.
Many aviculturists and conservationists have been very vocal, and everyone has listened only to the government's version. I ask everyone, both friend and foe, to verify what I am about to say, because what has happened to me is happening and will continue to happen to others in this witchhunt. Before some of you take pen and paper and begin writing, either for good or bad, do yourselves a favor as verify what the government has claimed by looking at the evidence. We are incredible in many individual's eyes, but what about the government? Allow me to look at just one area: the supposed smuggling method. The government never proved this, but made various claims to the press. Initially the birds were smuggled in pvc tubes. This was released to create an uproar and capture headlines. No pvc pipes were ever found ... and the government could not prove that any bird or other wildlife was ever smuggled using such a technique.
Secondly, the prosecutor reported to the Miami Herald that birds were smuggled with the aid of the daughter of President Stroessner of Paraguay in his presidential jet. This would capture headlines in Miami, where the predominantly Cuban community abhors dictators like Stroessner. Obviously this was another lie: Stroessner has no daughter and his presidential jet never entered the US. Lastly, in an attempt to play the cruelty issue, they informed the Chicago Tribune (19 November 1996, page 4, Section 2) that I smuggled birds in '...cardboard containers without food, water or fresh air and hidden in false bottom suitcases....' All parrots would easily chew their way out of cardboard boxes, but I ask this question: where is the evidence? Why didn't they bring one of such suitcases, or witnesses capable of describing their use, or any similar evidence?
The judge talked about the cruelty... but then she also called my mother a liard and she never said a word! Where is the evidence that the whole plethora of species (including 2 Red-vented Cockatoos legally imported and 4 Mt Apo Lorikeets never shipped; all the birds came or were coming from the reputable breeder, Antonio de Dios, though legal channels) '...were unable to survive the journey from South America....' (cf Tribune article, page 1)? As any aviculturist knows, both the Red-vented Cockatoos and Mt Apo Lorikeets are Philippine endemics and if the birds were imported legally, or never arrived, they could not have perished. Who is lying?
My mother supposedly hindered the investigation by trying to alter her signature on a single occasion; she had already provided it on numerous occasions. The agent, who also served to intimidate witnesses (list available for those interested in pursuing the truth), clearly admitted in court that he poisoned the analisers mind by stating 'I believed she tried to alter her signature' (see court testimony, Agent Moss). My mother had been writing for hours and had repeatedly shown the swollen fingers and complained of the pain from the severe arthritis that she suffers from. Obviously in pursuit of the truth the actual truth is irrelevant. (She did not try to alter her writing but just could not write from the pain.)
The local press and official press releases obviously only contain the 'truth' but which truth? These press releases were used to generate a plethora of letters, requested through the Internet. these came from afar-- including Africa, where children were made to write letters about the poor birds, all without probably knowing what they were doing. Others came from individuals far closer to home. Federal law prohibits me from citing the letters, but one individual close to Donald Brunning, for example, claimed that I had caused the destruction of 50% of the Hyacinth Macaw population and that I had been investigated by officials of St Lucia, during a convention there because I tried to bribe government officials. This is what Brunning told NOVA producers, who we now know had ulterior motives (all sordid) when they produced the program, but in court the story was much different. he could not provide names. Now wouldn't you think that those individuals would have been great in court, testifying? They were never brought in because they don't exist, but then the government is in pursuit of the truth. The judge claims she never read the letters, but if you read her remarks about the forests being depauperated by greedy individuals who will leave no heritage for future generations you will be reading basically what XXXXXX wrote on the Internet
The Pre-Sentencing Report was cited by the judge, but the individual that wrote this apparently considers Hispanics anathema: she more than once questioned if they had any 'diseases?' and just prior to submitting her final report called me-- and my wife is testimony to this conversation-- that she would give the government's version and only attach mine because this is such a 'complex and political case'. So much for fairness, which is what these individuals are supposed to be responsible for. She told my lawyer and myself when she read my version that she understood that we tried to withdraw the plea, but acted differently in court; laughing and joking during the evidentiary hearing with the agents and walking past both my mother and myself as if we were trash. There are people that can attest to her attitude. I believe firmly in my mind that this woman has problems dealing with minorities and even greater problems at coming up with a report showing both side's versions.
If both my mother and myself are not credible, who are the people that she found to be credible? One is Mario Trabaue, who is a convicted drug dealer and an individual known to have murdered; there is a Bureau of Prison's report that says he is prepared to say whatever is necessary to get a sentence reduction (which the government promised). He was brought to Chicago to testify but was never put on the stand. Another is his veterinarian Thomas Goldsmith who would refuse to testify if we discussed his involvement with drugs.
Another individual was Robbie Harris, who (from a government report only recently obtained) claimed that I obtained some smuggled Flamingoes in Los Angeles. The whole Flamingo story was discarded by the judge in court as incredulous, but then she revived it and sentenced me for their smuggling. All that I ask is this: why was Harris never sentenced for her involvement, per the report, with Philip Morrison in supplying eggs that would be smuggled to New Zealand? Where are the Flamingoes and who got them? And what evidence is there that they were smuggled? I was also charged with supplying 4 African Greys to Philip Morrison in New Zealand, but he obtained those birds supposedly from me in Chicago while I was already in Spain! And Fish and Wildlife Agents had seen one bird in New Zealand that came as an egg from Harris. Who is to say that she also did not supply those African Greys? Certainly the government was aware of that connection but kept it quiet and did not provide us with that document. All this is in pursuit of the truth.
I was charged with the smuggling of 4 Mt Apo Lorikeets, which de Dios never sent! I was charged with smuggling 2 Red-vented Cockatoos, which the government could have DNA tested to prove that they were indeed captive bred. They failed to do this and to question de Dios obviously for fear that they would learn the truth. I was charged with the smuggling of a Woolly Spider Monkey, the largest primate in South America, yet there is no one that can claim they saw the animal; nor are there any in captivity outside their range (coastal Brazil) because they fail to thrive on a diet other than the leaves of endemic plants. I was charged with all kinds of other wildlife, totaling $1.3 million. All that I ask is where is the money from the sale, the buyers or the wildlife? If they found every buyer as claimed by Agent Moss and none of these animals feature (on the list compiled they/it must not exist. Again the government is only interested in pursuit of the truth. The judge remember is the same one that signed a search warrant after the fact for one of the agents that was involved in my case and where some grave violations of law were made. My lawyer brought this up in court but she looked as if nothing awry had not been done. The press obviously did not cite this ... or the fact that she based her sentence on hearsay. Obviously in their pursuit of the truth these facts could not find space on the press releases.
The judge made reference to the very credible Dr Brunning (who, by the way, has been sued for slander and settled out of court), who claimed that in the 1960s the population of Hyacinth Macaws was 200,000 but that trappers had decimated them to between 2500 and 6000 in recent times. This is the same man that claims molted feathers must be -----tattered, the same individual who said CITES officials are corrupt (without of course being able to provide names) and the same individual whose institution tried to get me to send them St. Vincent Amazon feathers from the two birds at Loro Parque without the necessary documentation. All this aside, all that I ask is this question: where is the data that proves the population of the Hyacinth Macaw was 200,000 in the 1960s? I suspect we will find an answer along the lines that molted feathers are invariably worn and tattered. The judge played the supposed cruelty, but none of the supposed illegal shipments were ever intercepted, nor were witnesses presented, so how could she know that the birds were without food and water or cruelly packed? Obviously in pursuit of the truth, the actual truth is overlooked!
Much has been circulated in the press about the stern sentence imposed by Judge Bucklo, who from her comments in court appears to be no lover of animals in captivity, but no one has bothered to investigate the actual truth. Perhaps if more of my critics will do so, they would be surprised at what the actual truth is! No mention was made that all of the articles seized now appear lost, including documents that will be invaluable in mounting my appeal, which will occur-- nor that there must be a reason why I did not talk in court. The judge had told the Marshalls to return me immediately and for some unknown reason a book, the Pilgrim and the Cowboy, which is an expose of Fish and Wildlife practices, from which I hoped to read a passage, was detained by the Bureau of Prisons until my sentence, when it was returned to sender with a note 'No authorization on file'. No authorization is needed to receive material such as the book provided adequate procedures are followed (as was the case).
Undoubtedly the government will try again to suppress my freedom of speech, but I am exerting it once again, regardless of the risk, to warn others that a witch-hunt is going on in pursuit of the truth. In attempts to give credence to this 'truth' some grave injustices are made (such as fining me $100,000.00 when the judge was well aware that I lack such funds-- it was undoubtedly done to give credence to the government's claim of sales of $1.3 million) but then First Amendment rights, facts and sound data must be quashed to give the government what they want.
From Tony Silva
TO Ray Hoser - Australia.
Just a brief note. The following you can publish.
The government claims that I smuggled 9 flamingoes, but in the attached Harris talks about 15. Where did the remaining six birds go? She claims that the birds were smuggled across the border but this conversation (or document) was never mentioned in court, where it was reported that Harris reported that I acquired 9 flamingoes locally that I claimed were smuggled (note double hearsay). Only a photograph of some birds was exhibited. If they were my birds, why didn't she include me in the photo? I have also seen a transcript of a tape recorded conversation between James Mackman and her where she states that she had traveled to South America with me. This was not true; I believe she made this story up, as she did the one about the flamingoes, in order to have something to talk about. If she had been in South America and the flamingo story would have been true there would not have been such a change in facts (not to mention numbers!) and they would have given explicit details of the trip to South America.
This paper proves a cover-up by the agents. No mention was ever made of her involvement in supplying eggs to Morrison, but I suspect they worked out a deal to forget about this act if she kept on with the flamingo story, now greatly modified.
What's even worse is that Morrison claimed I supplied him with 4 African Grey Parrots in May 2, 1989 (remember I was in Spain from April 1989) in Chicago. Why would he have acquired the birds in Chicago and have them undergo greater stress when he had access to them in California? Nothing was ever mentioned of Harris supplying eggs to Morrison because it would have tied him into California, where he probably acquired the birds; it would also have suggested that Harris or Garvin were the suppliers. This clearly is a case of being blamed with events that I had nothing whatsoever to do with. The flamingoes and African Greys featured prominently on the press releases and the photo of the flamingoes was used by the agents to elicit sympathy. Agent Marks went as far as lying about it being illegal to wrap flamingoes in a stocking-a usual shipping method in the mid-1980s (when the event supposedly occurred). He cited IATA regulations but obviously not those from the era, which mention that such a method was permissible, but one of the most recent editions.
Each day another piece of the puzzle becomes evident. This one fills two voids.
From Tony Silva
Two days ago (today is 10-30-1996) I learned that sentencing has been delayed once again-- to November 18. I can't start to appeal until after sentencing. Please if you publish anything from my letters, try not to link it directly to me (e.g., say that it from a letter), until after sentencing because everything that I do will be used against me. I am expected to remain mute while my detractors publish and disseminate oodles of information. Already 1 got into trouble for talking to XXXXXXX, who submitted a note to XXXXXXX. The prosecutor tried to state that I was trying to distort the truth. I know you'll understand.
Regards Tony Silva
From Tony Silva
Greetings from the MCC-Chicago, where a government that righteously accuses everyone of violating human rights does so every minute: if you get sick, they leave you mope around; they read all the correspondence, including that going to your attorney, record the phone calls and probably the conversation during family visits; and they throw you into isolation should you protest. I hear Cuban prisons are not so bad-- at least there your family can bring you food. What slop they give us is often spoiled, inedible (ham made from turkey parts, e.g. intestines, etc.), or contaminated with bugs. I've had a friend send me a Field Guide to the Insects of North America so that I can identify the species that I find in my food. Don't laugh-- it's true!
Everyone here tells me that my case is political; they all feel awful but alas can't really help. One guard did show me a list of persons whose outgoing mail is checked. This in theory is against the law, but how could it be proven in a court of law and any lawsuit on my part is likely to get me thrown in isolation, or forced to take some medicine to make me groggy. This place is scary! The other persons on the list, by the way, are major gang leaders who ordered people killed. Everyone laughs that they want to give me more time than someone selling drugs that could kill humans.
We were supposed to get sentenced on November 1, but have just found out that there will be another delay. I suspect it's because an Italian television crew wrote the judge asking her about the credibility she gives James Mackman-- who is a liard-- and about the involvement of Lea Dickenson (both played vital roles in my case) and other discrepancies, that she'll reply-- she's under too much political pressure. The games played with this case are overwhelming. They claim I was going to smuggle 50 Hyacinthine Macaws from Paraguay for CI (Confidential Informant) James Mackman but they offer no evidence that any steps were taken to acquire the birds; no money was wired and the co-conspirator, who supposedly was going to send the birds, Gisela Koopmann Caceres was never contacted, or told she had been indicted. The person that they claim held the birds (Enrique Ekkert) is now dead. If you look at all the names that they cite, all can be read in my books A Monograph of Endangered Parrots and A Monograph of Macaws and Conures.
What's even crazier is that birds which I owned prior to moving to Spain in 1989 (e.g., Blue-throated Conures, Yellow-shouldered Amazons, etc.) are listed as having been 'smuggled on or around August 1990'. How could they be smuggled after they had already been in the country? The whole case reads like this. I suppose what they expected was to scare me and get me to talk, but I refused and will continue to refuse. I certainly know a lot but if people told me things in confidence how could I betray them? 1 must admit, however, that I was tempted.
One of the greatest critics has been Mike Reynolds, who wrote the judge a letter he never expected me to see. It is full of lies and basically attacks me because he can't attack Wolfgang Kiessling, owner of Loro Parque. In his Psittascene he has published all kinds of stuff, all what the government has dished out. I could have been vindictive and sent evidence which I have (in the form of letters and telexes) proving how XXXXXXXX, the editor of Psittascene, was involved in illegal importation (not to say smuggling) of Black-billed Amazons and Brazilian conures of the genus Pyrrhura. I came close, especially after I wrote her a letter stating that each coin has two sides and later found out that she had sent it to the prosecutor with a note saying something like 'maybe this will help in your prosecution of the case'. I could have-- and can still do-- considerable damage to aviculture, but my values are such that I will not, no matter how much time they threaten to give me.
What I suppose has hurt me the most is that countless people who claimed to be my friends and who invariably asked for and received help suddenly reported the governments version as truth, without asking for verification. This includes countless editors of avian publications in the UK, Australia and here. They all cite the government's claim of '100 tapes' but they have no idea what those tapes contain. In actuality there are 200 tapes, which talk a lot of nonsense. These tapes went to an expert who immediately reported that they had been doctored but then this guy vanished and so did the tapes. I heard all the tapes, but now the government claims that only 100 tapes existed. I have notes taken from each tape. They only played a few in court, stopping and starting to distort what was said. For example in one Mackman recorded me talking about some illegal lemurs that had shown up in Tenerife, but they cut the tape off where I said Loro Parque would not buy them because they were illegal and as a result had no documentation.
They took everything they found during the raid and alas documents that could be used for my defence (such as notes on birds. slides, etc.) have vanished. This was never reported in the avian publications, nor the fact that Trabaue is a drug dealer/murderer who the government offered a lower sentence to make his claims, nor that his veterinarian was linked to drugs and would not talk if we asked about these-- Trabaue mentioned Goldsmith, the veterinarian, and him doing drugs and also that he had a man by the name of Tony working for him (the person's name is Antonio Muniz) in his conversations with agents-- or that he recanted his story from that given to Nova, that Brunning testified what the government wanted him to say (that molted feathers are invariably worn and tattered-- a lie!), that Charles Munn lied about the weight of 3 Hyacinths as being substantially low and thus proving they were smuggled (the weights were normal; any book shows the weights of captive birds to be that of the three birds), and on and on.
The nut at XXXXXX has obviously taken things out of context to suit her needs. Hyperboly gets her new members. If I smuggled, for example a Woolly Spider Monkey as the government claims, then where is the animal? Who saw it? These are the largest primates in South America and are extremely rare; only some 350 survive in its range. They are specialized feeders and thus would not survive. There are none outside Brazil, the only country where it occurs, and only a total of 4 at a special primate center in Brazil, where they are fed a specialized diet. Nonetheless with all this overwhelming evidence that such an animal could not exist-- if it existed, who bought it, how was it smuggled, where, when?-- I am still charged with smuggling it. The same for some Mt Apo Lorikeets that Antonio de Dios was going to but never sent. The government never saw the animals, nor the paperwork, but charged me with their importation: they claim they were wild caught and thus in violation of CITES. Don't laugh -- the same was done with Red-vented Cockatoos. De Dios did send two birds. They were initially going to be four wild-caught individuals but 10 months later sent only 2 and both were captive bred. I was charged with importing wild birds under CITES documentation that read 'captive bred'. The government had no evidence that they were wild and could have requested DNA samples from the parents but they did not. And do you know why: because it could have proven that they were captive-bred! The agent (and also the good Dr Bruning) got on the stand and said that DNA was not available, yet if you look on page 47 of the December 1996 'Bird Talk' magazine you will see an advert by Avian Biotech International of Tallahassee, Florida, which offers to DNA test any bird for as little as $65.00 and as much as $85.00. These are all things that the avicultural press has just ignored.
My worst mistake was to accept a guilty plea. It was done at a very low point. I was a nervous wreck; my lawyer had been brain-washed by the feds and he believed them wholeheartedly (now it's a different story) and I was worried for my mother, who was thrown into this. If she sold and traded all the birds that were smuggled, as claimed in the press releases, then where are the buyers? Why can't they even bring forth one buyer? Surely these must exist if their claims are true-- but they're not and they don't!
My lawyer said 'just plea' and we'll straighten everything out at the evidentiary hearing. Alas, he didn't know-- nor did I to be truthful-- that the judge was working for the prosecution. No matter what we proved was ignored. Even the agents admitted to things-- that they couldn't point to a bird that I sold and say it was smuggled, that they found no pvc tubes, etc.-- but no matter what we did was simply ignored. It all went so wrong. I could be a bastard and go after my lawyer for poor guidance, for getting me to sign a plea that stated events and acts that I did NOT commit, and so on, but he's a good person. He just thought otherwise. The problem is that what is in the plea has been tagged on to me; no matter how much clarifying I do, the government says but 'you signed the plea'. This would have been all right had the judge allowed me to withdraw my plea, but she did not. What's even worse is that recanting everything-- to state the actual truth-could get me into worse trouble. Everyone suggests I fire the attorney and hire another one, but now this is nigh impossible: I can't even talk to one freely or work on my defense, as they read and probably copy everything for the prosecution. If I would be given house arrest, then I would call my lawyer and work something out where he could leave and be replaced, but only if this did not mean hurting him. I suppose I should be greedy and save my neck, but he did try his very hardest to pull me out when he finally realized what had gone on. I suppose this is an experience. The good thing is that I have realized how many of my 'friends' were true friends; not just leeches that stood by as long as they saw benefits.
The crazy thing is that this witch hunt is not stopping. Just two weeks ago a friend was raided in Puerto Rico (Fish and Wildlife Service runs things down there, under the name of DNR) commando style. They seized 2 Toco Toucans and a Red-bellied Macaw because they were 'smuggled' and 'endangered'. The animals were long on the island (for about 10 years) and are not endangered. They tore up the paperwork! What's even worse is that one of the toucans died and they threaten to seize his collection if he proceeds with a legal case and not declare himself guilty. I suspect his birds will go where mine ended up-- probably on Bruning's farm!
American federation of Aviculture turned their back on me, figuring that the wolves had they prey. What they don't realize is that these wolves are never satiated and will continue to hunt down aviculturists. What I have learned-- and trust me it is considerable-- will never be available to them; they will one day seek help and then I guess I will be bad and turn my backs on them.
There are thousands of pages of documents, if not more, scattered around: some is at my lawyer's office, some is at the house and some is with the government (they still refuse to give me my documents, including things they used at trial-- they distorted the facts, obviously-- and all my receipts, canceled checks, etc.). XXXXX has copies of the more pertinent stuff. My wife is 8 months pregnant and is huge, thus she'll be out of commission for a while. My poor mother is so upset - they're now harassing the people at the nursing home where my 92 year old grandmother lives and have these people so scared they don't even want to bathe my grandmother (all this because my mother's lawyer said that my mother is very close to her mother and visits her regularly and because the people wrote letters favorable to her)-and her high blood pressure, other illnesses, and my incarceration have her in such a sad state that she takes anti-depressives. I would copy what I have if I would be out, but I'm lucky enough to be able to even write. Please contact XXXXX and have her copy everything she has. It's the most vital stuff. She has transcripts, documents, etc., all with my notes. Please, please do contact her and ask her for this. You can go over it and then ask me questions.
I have instructed my mom to send you a check for Smuggling 1 and 2. If it's more let me know; her English is not that great and I got the converted rate from a newspaper that one of the inmate gets. Please do send me the other book, but send it direct to me here: Silva 06402-424, MCC-Chicago, 71 West Van Buren Street, Chicago, IL 60605. Indicate on the envelope 'Approved reading Material'. Perhaps then I will get it. The Smuggling 1 and 2 were immediately posted by my mom-- she is not allowed to bring anything to me, nor my wife, nor anyone else (not even my lawyer)-but must post things. Usually it takes 2 days if sent overnight. The books were sent 7 days ago and have not arrived. They're probably in the trash, so that I don't get them. I'll probably ask XXXXXXX for hers. By forcing everything to come via mail, they can always claim they didn't arrive and throw things away. Nothing can be received if it's registered. This, by the way, is supposed to be the 'land of the free'.
Have you any dirt on a New Zealander by the name of Philip Morrison? He claims that I sent him on 2 May 1989 four African Greys with a courrier from Chicago but in fact I was in Spain from mid-April, so it's impossible. He worked with Leach and was set up by him. The reason that I need anything on him is to prove he's lying. He did do time for smuggling birds into the US and probably worked out a deal to throw some dirt my way for a lighter sentence.
As an author, you should write the Judge and ask her questions. Her name is Elaine Edward Bucklo, Northern District of Illinois, 17th Floor-Courthouse, 219 S. Dearborn, Chicago, IL 60604. If she receives enough material from honest reporters-- thus far all have only printed their side (one for example from USA Today changed everything after an interview in order to get a scoop on a more valuable story)-- perhaps she'll dispose of the case to another judge who will allow me to go to trial. She feels that agents are honest and everyone else is a liard. She believes Leach and his lot as if they were the Lord!
Anyway, this is about all for now. I'm grateful that the Counselor allowed me to use his typewriter or this letter would have been far shorter. I hate writing but enjoy typing. He believes this is all a scam and does what he can to assist me.
PS. I don't have photos of Leach or any of those sordid people, but I do have one of James Mackman next to my mother; it was taken in Canada. I will ask my lawyer about possibly getting photos of Agents Leach, James Scott Heard and Marks. Have you ever heard of Marks or Heard? Anything of them in your files? We have only 10 days after sentencing for an appeal and must try to present anything new on these people, to show that their intentions are not as good as they claim. Marks, for example, lied in the search warrant but we can't discuss the search warrant in the appeal because the judge refused to comment on our motion to quash it-- she rejected it only hours later (without, obviously, reading it). If she would have read the motion, she would have had to comment and thus thrown it out. The case would have been finished!
FROM Tony Silva
Just this moment I received your autographed copy of the book (Smuggled-2). I haven't yet had a chance to start reading it but perusing through it, I must confess that I can't wait! I was surprised that you had written books on wildlife and reptiles. Are these available? Please advice if so and cost. As you probably don't know, I'm working on designing a couple of parks, including one in Costa Rica, where species will be exhibited as part of ecosystems. It's unfortunate that you don't read Spanish, or I'd send you a copy of the detailed study. Anyway we hope to educate people, breed the native species, and to make money for the investors. Loro Parque was a gold mine and while there I created the Spix's Macaw recovery Committee (population went from 17 to more than double in only 6 years-- everyone takes credit but it was Juan S. Villalba-Macias and I that created it and got it going; amongst the achievements was an agreement from Brazil to consider all the birds 'legal' as long as their holders participated in the recovery program; many tried taking credit, including the then functioning ICBP (talk about political!)), the Loro Parque Foundation which is funding field work in several areas, and a training program for the local police. I was also able to breed two Spix's Macaws; one young and a parent died after I left, at the hands of self proclaimed 'experts' (including Bill Arbon, who was there only 3 months and has written oodles of-- and excuse my language-- bullshit, which by the way resulted in legal action being taken against him by the park). Apparently the much ballihooed Charles Munn is being attacked; also Dr. Don Brunning. These are two of the world's recognized authorities that go to bed with Fish and Wildlife Service and publicly try to court aviculturists. Brunning, if you remember, made all kinds of idiotic remarks about molted feathers, birds, etc. and could not answer his claims about my bribing government officials, etc. I subsequently found out that he was being sued a second time for slander. Munn made some totally false claims to try to prove that some Hyacinth Macaws weighing 1200 grams were "totally off" and thus suggest they were smuggled, because they should have weighed 1500 grams. In fact, if you look at a large number of birds-- not just two or three as he did-- the average weight is 1200 grams. He could also identify 'smuggled' birds from a photograph. I suspect he can also see martians in New York! The prosecutor tried to cite weights of young, which invariably shed baby fat and thus decline in weight, to prove that the weight described by Munn was correct. It didn't matter that the birds seen by Munn in a photo were fully feathered and the ones they cited were only some 80 days old, when they started to shed, so that they could be 1200 grams by weaning. The truth in this seems completely irrelevant.
I have been told of a book called the Pilgrim and the Cowboy by McKay which also described Leach... and not in the best tone. I hear that both he and you will probably be interviewed by XXXXXXXX. Did you hear of all the problems that Crutchfield has had? Like me he ended up pleading just to end the nightmare. I've never met him but hope to some day.
I just remembered my first meeting with Joe Forshaw, in 1980 on St Lucia; during a parrot working group conference organized by Brunning. This is where I supposedly tried to bribe the government officials, though the original one cited by Brunning was contacted and wrote a letter saying I had never tried to bribe him. I suspect I got on Brunning's bad side for asking Forshaw if cockatoos were still being shot and poisoned - a question that should not have been asked at a meeting where the sole pressure on wildlife was believed to be the trade. C'est la vie, I suppose.
The enclosed from Greta Nielsen was sent to the judge and thus can't be made public yet. I was never checked by anyone; never acquired an illegal bird while at Loro Parque and have never met this crazy woman. But the truth does not matter to her - only her stories. It would be good if someone would ask her for the evidence she used to write this document.
Paper's running out. Take care and keep in touch,
From Tony Silva,
I just heard from my attorney that the prosecutor was irate about the stuff on the Internet. They can say whatever they please, but I'm supposed to keep quiet; Freedom of Speech is irrelevant in this entire matter. It will, we suspect, be used to try to get an enhancement or other problem for me. It's the witch-hunt that I told you about.
41 VILLAGE AVENUE
DONCASTER VICTORIA 3108
NOVEMBER 13TH 1996
JUDGE ELAINE EDWARD BUCKLO,
Northern District of Illinois,
17th Floor Courthouse,
219 S. Dearborn,
Chicago, Illinois, 60604,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
I've been advised that you are the Judge hearing the case involving allegations against Tony Silva and he is due for sentencing shortly.
Here in Australia, there has been a strong interest in the case and a number of serious allegations and counter allegations on both sides.
As far as I can make out, the government side says that Silva is a major international bird smuggler and that he has been charged and convicted accordingly. This viewpoint has to date been widely reported. Having received correspondence from a number of persons on Silva's side, I've been alerted to a number of alleged (and) serious inconsistencies in the government case and for that matter some allegations against yourself.
Being located in Australia, I have difficulty verifying the vast number of allegations and counter allegations made by either side, nor do I seek to in any way adversely affect the course of justice (in the proper and/or sense of the word).
However I feel that it is incumbent upon myself and others to ascertain the true facts of this case as it is my intention to report on it's progress in future publications. On that basis I ask that you immediately arrange to furnish me with copies of all (unedited) tapes, transcripts and other evidence tendered before your court as well as your own statements, court notes, transcripts and all other relevant materials including that which is used by yourself in making determinations, decisions, etc.
Such a request is not being made lightly, nor have I ever made such a request outside of Australia, but in view of the serious allegations being made against government officials and yourself it is clear that provision of this material is the only proper course to enable these persons to be accountable to the wider international community. You are no doubt aware of the interest that this case has among the wildlife keeping community, law enforcement groups, NGO's and other interested parties. I am also sure that you will welcome the opportunity to allow your good judgment and the case in general to be scrutinized by all interested parties, so as to allay any fears of foul play.
At this stage, I must stress I am not in a position to take sides in the matter, although allegations made to me by Silva's side are not altogether unique within the wildlife fraternity, and it is for that reason that they are being taken seriously by myself and others at this stage (in that we believe they warrant further investigation).
For your information, I am a zoologist and investigative author. I have published hundreds of papers, articles, etc., and have written five books, including four on wildlife - two of which are about the illegal trade in wildlife within Australia. One of my other books is about Police Corruption in Australia, so I can say that I am familiar with (and have previously documented) set-ups, judicial corruption and similar things, although again I must stress that in the above (Silva) case I am not in position to make any such allegations at this stage.
I look foreword to your immediate and proper written response.
ALL THE BEST.
FURTHER MATERIAL ON THE TONY SILVA CASE - INCLUDING A DISSECTION OF COURT DOCUMENTS, TAPES, ETC, CAN BE FOUND BY CLICKING HERE. THE MATERIAL ON THE FOLLOWING SITE HAS BEEN REPRODUCED IN SPITE OF THREATS FROM GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS IN THE USA.
FURTHER DOCUMENTATION ABOUT THE SILVA CASE...
COURT RECORDS OF THE SILVA CASE.
DECEMBER 2001 UPDATE FROM SILVA.
HOT NEWS ITEM - SMUGGLED-2 BEATS THREE MORE ATTEMPTS TO HAVE IT BANNED IN NSW COURTS - HOSER SITES ILLEGALLY WIPED FROM INTERNET - OTHER ATTEMPTS TO SUPPRESS SMUGGLED-2 - CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS OF THESE EVENTS!!!!!!
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