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60 Minutes Australia reporter Ross Coulthart to gray-haired Hemingwayesque figure, “Mike, we know it’s you. Because we have your fingerprints” (Holds up a tablet PC with fingerprints showing.)

Michael Hand (a.k.a. Michael Jon Fuller): (Silence, gets into car and closes door).

On 9 November 2015, Australia media broke the story of how Peter Butt, an author of a Nugan Hand book called Merchants of Menace and award-winning documentary film maker, tracked Michael Hand to Idaho Falls, Idaho. Hand runs a custom knife company and lives under the name of “Michael Jon Fuller”. There’s a brief video clip from 60 Minutes Australia of Hand being confronted on the sidewalk before he silently gets into a vehicle and shuts the door:

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/nugun-hand-bank-mystery-afp-to-consider-new-information-after-fugitive-michael-hand-found-20151109-gkuol5.html

In the Asia conspiracy world, a confirmed Michael Hand sighting is the equivalent of discovering Elvis and Michael Jackson doing tequila shots in a private room of a Las Vegas nightclub. To True Lies followers, they know that I have followed Hand’s story for almost thirty years.

Michael Hand 2015 Nov

 

Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 9 November 2015 as sourced online (same URL as above).

The first question any True Lies Blog reader (see Nugan Hand Bank | Michael Hand and the Sunshine Band, 2015 June 27) is going to ask is whether Hand has been arrested? The FBI and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (“ASIO”) have no comment. Neither the local Sheriff’s Office in Idaho where Hand/Fuller lives, nor the U.S. Marshal Service have any warrants outstanding, either. So, no, Hand hasn’t been detained.

Hand’s company released the following statement:

“A recent news story has surfaced from 60 Minutes Australia condemning Michael Fuller as a criminal because of an incident that occurred in Australia over 35 years ago. This is untrue and inaccurate. While we empathize with those who lost money, as with any investment, Michael Fuller is not to blame” (Source: Idaho State Journal 10 November 2015 as sourced online from http://www.idahostatejournal.com/news/local/local-company-says-man-linked-to-decades-old-bank-collapse/article_49c0eb89-d689-5aa6-916c-3837b82c5825.html)

It will be interesting to see if anyone wants to open a 35-year old can of worms, particularly since Hand was hiding in plain sight using his original Social Security number. The US obviously wasn’t trying very hard to bring him to justice. I will note, however, that most people who have fixed (time) deposits in banks don’t view them as “investments”. They typically receive low interest in return for expecting to get their principal back at maturity. Of course, in jurisdictions without the FDIC or another bank deposit insurance program in place then “Youse pay your money and youse take your chances.”

Bradley West, Singapore, 16 November 2016

 

Handing Out Highlights

 

This story is so new that there are only a few articles to draw from. The best one I’ve found is Sleight of Hand from The Saturday Paper (https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/law-crime/2015/11/14/nugan-hand-bank-fugitive-found-us/14474196002625) dated 14 November 2015. The article contains a grab bag of tidbits in respect of Hand since he fled Australia in June 1980 using a false passport and a disguise, moving from the US into Canada and then into thin air:

  • In 1982 Hand was spotted on the Nicaragua-Honduras border training the Puma Battalion of Nicaragua rebels sponsored by the CIA
  • Using old fashioned sweat and the internet, Peter Butt searched for Hand on the Idaho Secretary of State website and found a “Michael Jon Fuller” with his wife as vice president of the TOPS Knives elite knife making company. Fuller’s handwriting matched that of Hand’s, as did the dates of birth for the two men. So much for Hand being a master of deceit.
  • Butt had interviewed an ex-comrade in arms Douglas Sapper who reported that in Vietnam and Laos in the 1960s “Hand was an exceptional solider.” In one Vietnam battle, Hand ran out of ammunition and killed as many as twenty soldiers with just a knife. Hand won the Distinguished Service Cross for valor while in Vietnam.
  • Butt has seen an ASIO document dated September 1980 that describes a conversation between Australia’s Prime Minister’s office and the ASIO spy agency. It hints at Australia asking Washington to deny a CIA connection to Nugan Hand Bank that the domestic politicians could then latch on to.
  • Apparently in the last week, Hand stepped down as president of TOPS Knives citing his wife’s and his failing health. He denied that this had anything to do with the Australia reporting.
  • Butt’s take on Hand is that he was hustler who had CIA support during Nugan Hand’s eight-year run from 1973-1980.

I suspect that the Aussie press isn’t going to let this particular canine slumber. Stay tuned for more developments.