Diigo, May 30, 2002, The Manila Times, Treasure hunter had white supremacists for associates, by Dorian Zumel-Sicat, Correspondent and Jeannette Andrade, Reporter,
Second of three parts
Philippine and US investigators chasing the case of Michael Meiring, the American who sustained critical injuries from a mysterious explosion in his Davao hotel suite, have to dig through a wide circle of acquaintances — ranging from South African anti-apartheid warriors to American white supremacists.
The Manila Times confirmed yesterday from a source at the Makati Medical Center that Meiring remains confined at the hospital’s cardiovascular unit. The Times also learned that police in Davao City had finally filed illegal possession of explosives charges against the American.
The Times tried to visit Meiring but was told only his doctor — handpicked by the US Embassy — has access to him. The Times was also not allowed to see any of Meiring’s watchers.
A close friend of the American had earlier claimed Meiring was airlifted to San Diego, California. Other American sources from the California city, home to a sprawling US naval base, also insisted yesterday that Meiring had arrived there.
Among the most startling developments in the Meiring case was Immigration Deputy Commissioner Daniel Queto's admission last week, that no less than agents of the US National Security Council had brought Meiring from Davao to Manila.
At the time of the blast, journalists were confused about Meiring's nationality. Some dubbed him British, others American.
Meiring was formerly a citizen of South Africa, of British descent. He fled to the United States, sources said, towards the end of South Africa’s apartheid regime.
While the same sources said Meiring was a doctor for the South African police, they also stressed his ties to the African National Congress of Nelson Mandela, and hinted that he fled because of pursuit by state security officials.
American David Hawthorn, a close friend of Meiring, claimed the blast victim had confessed passing to Mandela’s government the proceeds of a box of old US federal notes. That box was one of 12, containing an estimated $500-million worth of notes.
Hawthorn said Meiring showed him a letter from the South African government and a US Treasury permit to back his claim. Hawthorn also saw a “packing list” that had a cover sheet printed with the words “US Army,” the Army seal, some numbers and a group of upper case letters. Meiring, he said, claimed the list represented the serial numbers of the missing notes, dating back to 1937.
Meiring had spent the last nine years looking for more boxes and other treasure, securing a permit during the Ramos administration to recover treasure from sunken Japanese and American ships around Mindanao, and to look for gold bars and "Victory" notes.
It was then that he entered into a partnership with private hunters.
According to both Hawthorn and secretary Silvya Durante, Meiring had fronted for a very wealthy, powerful group in Manila. He returned to the country six months ago to buy another box of federal notes but was told the treasure was still in Mindanao. After a month, the impatient Meiring flew to Davao, after getting information on the box's whereabouts.
The American's friends fear the Manila group, threatened of losing the box, could have plotted against Meiring.
The group, they told The Times, was connected to a long-time Meiring financier, James Rowe of Nevada, who joined the victim during a 1993 visit.
Rowe is executive producer of Wild Rose Productions, an independent film and video documentary company based in New Green Valley, Nevada, near Las Vegas. One of the projects of Wild Rose was to do a documentary on Yamashita treasure allegedly hidden and recovered by highland tribes in parts of Mindanao.
American intelligence analyst Dan Crawford said Rowe had links to a right-winged, white supremacist and tax revolt group in Nevada that is linked with the neo-Nazi party of the United States and the "Fifth Reich" in Germany.
Treasure hunters claim much of Yamashita's 'treasure' was money, jewels, and gold belonging to the Nazis. Their descendants, inspired by some of the surviving and aged minion of Adolf Hitler, are in search of that treasure, believing that they can recover it, they can revive the movement and fulfill their dreams of a world run by a superior Aryan race.
Those same people harbor a deep-seeded resentment against Nelson Mandela and those who dismantled the racist apartheid system of South Africa. Meiring, being a supporter of Mandela is considered a "traitor" to the white race.
Another right-wing associate of Meiring is an American named Chuck Ager, from somewhere in Colorado, USA. Ager is a mining engineer. He was tasked by Meiring to supervise more than 30 tunneling operations in search of the remaining 12 boxes and the Yamashita treasure. In all, Ager was in charge of more than P5-million worth of mining and digging equipment purchase over the years by Meiring from a hardware store in the vicinity of the Evergreen Hotel.
Both Hawthorn and Durante claimed that Meiring had feared for his life in recent weeks. Each time that Hawthorn asked why, Meiring would only say, "it has to do with the treasure."
The intelligence source also said that within three weeks of the blast, Meiring was in communication with a man from England named Derek S. Fawell, of Yorkshire. Fawell knew Meiring well, according to communications from him to Meiring that was recovered by the source. "With regard to your ordinance disposal problem, I have talked with our experts. They will be at your location upon the time frame that you instruct. The device that you have described is highly volatile and must be deal with quite delicately," says one paragraph of that facsimile communication shown to me by the source. Fawell's address is listed as 3 Glenhurst Avenue, Yorkshire, England.
On Meiring's company letterhead, PAROUSIA International Trading, Inc., with Evergreen Hotel, Davao City address and telephone number, is a UK address: Patchole Manor, Kentisbury Ford, North Devon, England. Under the address, in italicized letters are the words: When in residence. The only address of record for Meiring, in his passport and with US authorities is, 381 Smokeridge Trail, Calimesa, California.
Almost immediately after the blast, security tightened around Meiring. Hawthorn told The Times: "I was told by a Filipino in Davao, carrying a message from the US Embassy that Michael would never be charged with a crime in connection with the explosion. The investigation will end up at a stone wall. Michael will be protected and eventually taken back to the safety of the United States. The incident will be shortly forgotten, if you're willing to forget it."
But even that doesn't explain why a treasure hunter and collector of medicinal herbs merited attention from the powerful US NSC.