The “Writer with No Hands” docudrama follows British academic Matthew Alford as he attempts to prove that Hollywood screenwriter Gary Devore was murdered by the CIA because he was about to blow the lid on the “real” reason behind the 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama.
In late June of 1997, Devore was on his way home in California after wrapping up some work in New Mexico but he never made it back. Oddly enough he had been working on plans to remake “The Big Steal,” a 1949 movie about a man who plans his own disappearance. Devore’s disappearance was the subject of a massive search – his family even went on television and offered a $100,000 reward – but nothing turned up for twelve months. Devore’s skeletal remains were found almost exactly a year later in 1998, still strapped into his Ford Explorer, submerged in a California aqueduct. Missing were the Panama script, a laptop, and both his hands.
Devore had said it would be “the toughest most hard-hitting script they were ever going to see in Hollywood.”
The documentary says there are just too many things that don’t add up, including bones that supposedly belonged to Devore but that the medical examiner determined were at least 200 years old.
Alford says that a former White House official from the Reagan and first Bush administrations told him Devore had significant contact with CIA agents and had traveled with agency officials to Panama and other Central American countries. The FBI has investigated that connection but hasn’t turned up anything.
Devore’s widow says that shortly after he disappeared, government officials came to their home and wiped her husband’s computer clean of any information, and his research also vanished. Speaking to CNN shortly after his remains were found, Wendy Devore said it wouldn’t surprise her that his latest work had something to do with his disappearance.
“He had been very disturbed over some of the things that he had been finding in his research. He was researching the United States invasion of Panama, because he was setting the actual story that he was writing against this; and the overthrow of Noriega and the enormous amounts of money laundering in the Panamanian banks, also our own government's money laundering. He was disturbed by a lot of the things that he discovered, including the weaponry we used, the way we dealt with Panama, when we were there invading them.”