Bo Gritz campaign signs
On this chill evening, a mere fortnight before a Trilateralist named Clinton got the nod, American-built cars of substantial steel pull up in front of Lakeside’s Harvest Christian Fellowship. The bumper stickers say it all: “God, Guns, Guts and Gritz” and “Let’s Take One More Hill: Capitol Hill.”
Bo Gritz montage
Patriots have come to hear presidential candidate Lt. Col. James “Bo” Gritz (rhymes with “rights”) lay out his war-room strategies to combat the elite string-pullers who, we are told, are planning to insert a subcutaneous microchip into the right hand of every man, woman, and child — the literal “Mark of the Beast.”
The Lakeside church’s lobby, as cold and fluorescent as a high school’s, serves as the makeshift greeting post for this low-rent rally. Unfurled behind the metal tables with their campaign merchandise is the official “Bo Gritz For President 1992” poster displaying the “most decorated soldier in the Vietnam War” in Green Beret uniform and regalia, dozens of medals crowding his chest.
The folks gathered here aren’t exactly what you’d call mossbacks. Though most have been loyal Republicans all their lives, they are united by disgust at the deterioration of the country under the Republican regime and are prepared to vote their conscience for a more radical corrective. Mary Snyder, who in another generation would have been known as the little old lady from Pasadena, is proud to call herself a Gritz Granny. She pumps my hand. “Did you get a chance to read the material I gave you?”
“Sure did.” Calling Gritz’s San Diego campaign headquarters that morning, I was taken by surprise to hear a slightly addled-sounding old lady answer the phone. She persuaded me to meet her later at a “patriot tax protest” at the Star of India at the Embarcadero. No protest had materialized, but I had no trouble picking out the Gritz Granny from the tourists. The leathery septuagenarian was a walking advertisement — below the neck of her black “Vote for Bo” T-shirt, she had added her own hand-painted slogan, “Write-in a shoo-in.” Along with directions to that night’s rally at the Lakeside church, she had loaded me down with audiotapes and pamphlets.
“Did you get a chance to listen to the tapes?” asks Mary.
“I’m afraid that all the tapes were blank except for the one with the ‘We Must Take America Back’ song.” The C&W tune by San Diego musician Steve Vaus, promoting isolationism, right to life, and prayer in school, became the unofficial campaign song and was heard in a repeating tape loop before Gritz’s September 14 appearance at Mission Valley’s Scottish Rite Masonic Temple.
“Oh, dear,” frets Mary. “Well, here’s a tape where Bo really gives it to the One-Worlders. Says that if he’s elected he’s going to take Capitol Hill with 16,000 grandmothers armed with toilet plungers. We’re gonna unstop the plugs, let the human sewage go, you know.” She laughs.
“With a write-in candidate?”
“Even Bo says it isn’t gonna be easy.” She looks me over. “Are you military?”
“Family in military?”
“Not currently. Say, was the rally advertised?” “Oh, I don’t know. I’ve told people. None of them come yet except you.”
“Was it listed in the paper? The radio? How are people to know?”
Mary shrugs. “This isn’t a revolution of big guns, it’s a revolution of small guns.”
The rally was convening. Despite the floodlit double-trailer-sized “Gritz for President” mural on Woodside Avenue, fewer than three dozen patriots are gathered inside. There is nevertheless a sense of millennial ferment here this evening, aspread-the-word-in-the-church-and-gun-club kind of thing, a genuine nativist groundswell taking root despite — or perhaps because of— near-complete media inattention.
Onstage, three homegrown campaign bigwigs, filled with the quiet presumption of faith, look down on the patriots seated in the pews as if surveying a ship on the horizon. Jim Tills, San Diego County campaign secretary, bespectacled, thin, bluenose-looking, rises and leads us in prayer. “God, let us strengthen our resolve to take back our country from those who are destroying it.” A baby begins to cry, and its mother hurries the yowler into the lobby. “Help us help Bo Gritz in his struggle to take back this country from ungodly forces.”
A large-screen television is wheeled onstage. We are not to commune with Bo Gritz himself but his videotaped image positioned in front of Old Glory, with the candidate waving to the cheers and hoots of loyal San Diego supporters gathered at the September 14 rally.
The video’s tinny sound ricochets through the church, but Gritz is a practiced orator and plays the crowd with the give-and-take of a Baptist preacher. “Things are serious today. All the things that our founders warned us about, guaranteed our rights. Do the rights come from the Constitution?”
“No!” yells the crowd on videotape. Several inside Lakeside Christian Fellowship second the response.
Gritz continues. “No. They’re inalienable rights. They come from where?”
“From God. What is the Constitution?” Gritz holds aloft a copy of the “divinely inspired document.” “You see, here it is in one page. My heavens, remember? We used to have ten rules to live under, didn’t we?... There was a person 2000 years ago that set an excellent example. He went into the temples and he overturned the moneychangers’ tables. He wasn’t very popular, was he? That’s precisely what we need to do today. We need to turn the tables of the moneychangers over!”
“Well, there is a solution, and it is a simple solution. In the next minutes I think you’re going to learn more about how to cure the ills of the American deficit and debt than your congressman, than your governor, and than most of your bankers know.... First of all, where does money come from?... The answer comes from the chief counsel of the United States treasury, Russell L. Munk. He says, ‘The actual creation of money always’ — isn’t that an interesting word — ‘always involves the extension of credit by private commercial banks.’ Where does money come from? Private commercial banks. And always, is it in the form of credit? It is. Always.... Where does the interest come from to pay the interest on the loan? Where’s that money come from? Well, we asked it, and here’s Russell L. Munk’s signature. He says, ‘The money for paying the interest on the borrowed money comes from the same source as the other money comes from.’ ”
Derisive laughter. Bo acknowledges it and holds up a $100 bill.
“This $100 bill, how did this get into existence? It had to be borrowed. You mean even the U.S. government has to borrow the money from private commercial banks? What’s the answer?”
“Yes, it does. Always involves the extension of credit. Now, let’s say there’s 10 percent interest. Where did this $10 come from? It has to be borrowed also. And you have compound interest. Now are you beginning to see why we are never, under the current system, can we ever, is it mathematically possible to ever pay off the debt?”
“Let’s go into it a little deeper. Who gets this kind of money? And how do they acquire it?... Here’s Donna Pope, director of the Mint. Here’s what she says. ‘The notes are sold to the Federal Reserve at the cost of manufacture. Not at face value.’ Ten dollars costs two cents to make.” He holds up the $100 bill. “How much does this cost to make?”
“And so this is sold to the Federal Reserve. Is the Federal Reserve any more federal than Fred Smith’s Federal Express?”
“No, it is not. It is a private consortium of banks. Whose notes are these? Are these the United States Government’s notes?”
“No, it says right here on the note, ‘Federal Reserve.’ They’re not federal, and they have no reserves. So, complete misnomer. This is sold to the Federal Reserve bank for two cents a bill. Now it is loaned into existence at the face value, is it not?”
“So, being able to sell money at face value plus interest, when they buy it at the production value, is something wrong with that picture?”
“Should we be borrowing our own money from private banks?”
“When you borrow this, don’t you have something called collateral? Now collateral is something real, isn’t it? Isn’t it your home or the ground upon which the home was built or your crops are planted? Before you get this [money], don’t you have to put something of value up?”
“Then, you see, somebody’s going to go broke in order for you to be able to pay for your own debt, aren’t they? Someone’s not going to be able to pay theirs because there’s no money that is created that isn’t loaned into existence. The banks then foreclose. What do they get when they foreclose? They get something real, don’t they?” “Yes!”
“As president of the United States, I am going to have on the very first day in office a pot metal coin, and it is going to be struck, and it will say, ‘$4 trillion,’ and it will say, ‘Debt of the United States Paid in Full,’ and it will also say, ‘In God We Trust!’ ”
“People say, ‘Well, Bo, what about the chaos you would cause? I mean, the Emir of Kuwait owns $8 billion of this debt.’ You know where the Emir of Kuwait can go to collect? Let him go to the Federal Reserve, where he borrowed it from. I’m sure they’d be more than happy to carve him out a little piece of their coin.”
The cheap mikes and speakers overload with an ovation. The Lakeside patriots nod and clap.
The videotape turns to snow. John Allen Jones, the local Gritz campaign press secretary who conveys a Jack Kemp type of look and polish, strides to the big-screen television, turns it off, pushes it away. The church audience, small as it is, seems fired up. A fat man in overalls applauds enthusiastically, a Vietnam Vet with sunken cheeks and greasy hair whistles his approval. The press secretary warns us that 1992 will be the last free election in America, so we’d better cast our vote for the only man who can steer this nation back from the brink of calamity. “And I think you know his name, and it sure isn’t H. Ross Pee-Row!”
Born in Enid, Oklahoma, on January 18, 1939, his voice to this day still imbued with Oklahoman drawl, James (“Jimmy” or “Jimbo” or “Bo”) Gordon Gritz lost his father, an Army Air Corps pilot, near the end of World War II. For as long as he can remember,
Bo Gritz felt that he had been “born to be a warrior.”
“Combat is the most honest place on earth,” writes Gritz in his autobiography, Called to Serve:
Men take on Christ-like qualities of selflessness. A pure unspoken language communicates a single message: “You and I are one. What happens to you happens to me. You are not alone. We will live or die together.” It is a sweetness of spirit that few will taste, but once experienced, it causes profound changes in your life that the uninitiated do not understand.
Joining the rarefied ranks of the Army Special Forces, the Green Berets, reinforced a sensibility of maverick warrior mysticism. Think of Toshiro Mifune in Yojimbo. As he says in Called to Serve:
They taught me to pick locks and crack safes, fall through thin air from 26,000 feet in the dead of night, breathe under water, fly airplaces, bust a half-dozen bricks with my bare hands, blow things to kingdom come, shoot every kind of firearm made, communicate in Swahili, Mandarin Chinese, Morse Code, and several other languages, travel the world over and be decorated for doing things that otherwise would have landed me in jail.
Heaping his scorn on mercenary soldiers, soldiers of fortune who work for pay and not for cause, Gritz now pridefully declares, “There are soldiers like myself who are not staff pukes. We didn’t come up the ranks slow-stroking the generals. Instead we came up in the foxholes and the field. We will not sell our time, our talent, our resources to anyone regardless. But we’ll give them, if the cause is right.”
For the past ten years, Gritz has quartered his family in the high desert 50 miles southwest of Las Vegas, in a sparsely populated region known as Sandy Valley. Two Cessnas are parked in the front yard; horses are penned in the back. It’s a comfortable home, impeccably neat. There’s a display case full of books on karate (both he and his wife Claudia are black belts), walls chock-a-block with Special Forces memorabilia, all the many medals under glass, portraits of Christ, and a Confederate flag standing at the ready.
Even at the age of 53 Bo Gritz is a powerfully built man with bulging, Popeye-like forearms. A kind of military Tom Bodett, Gritz uses his folksy drawl to charming effect. A tireless interviewee, Gritz settles into a plush armchair and, taking my microcassette recorder in hand, reflects on the forces that made him, in the words of associate Gary Goldman, “a consummate guerrilla warrior, a master of psychological warfare.”
“I used to test my people [in Vietnam],” recalls Gritz, “once they said they wanted to volunteer for my unit. I would sit across the table, take a hand grenade, place it on the table, and say, ‘Pull the pin and let it go.’ I knew I had taken the blasting cap off the grenade. But they didn’t know it. When you’re on special operations, they cannot let common sense rule their judgment. They have to believe in me.”
It is said that the Rambo movies were inspired by Gritz’s exploits. His daredevil rescue of a U-2’s black box deep behind enemy lines was written up in General William Westmoreland’s book, A Soldier Reports; the story was optioned from Gritz by William Shatner for $10,000. Francis Ford Coppola sent a letter asking to use a photograph of Gritz and his Cambodian mercenaries, which appeared in Westmoreland’s book, for Apocalypse Now. Says Gritz, “Colonel Kurtz was commanding a Cambodian army, and I commanded a Cambodian army. Matter of fact, I was the first to do so.”
Like the Robert Duvall character in Coppola’s movie, Gritz conveys the sense that he is untouchable, God’s own warrior. In Called to Serve, he claims that bullets bounce off his head, a spring miraculously appears to slake his thirst, a helicopter on crash course suddenly finds enough lift to clear Gritz and crew from certain death. He figures that he had personally killed over 400 in combat.
“Something saved me when I came back [from Vietnam],’’says Gritz. “I went to the top of a mountain in Mexico. I had one bullet in my 9mm. I had to come to some kind of realization. Had all of the loss of life that I had precipitated in Vietnam, was it excusable, was it possible? Searching back, there was never once I took a life just because I had the power. If you take life and do it in the course of duty...then I think it’s a different case. That kind of wrongful death is excusable.”
And so the American Berserker was able to salve his conscience, climb upon his white steed, and fight for the work of the Lord. As one of God’s own warriors, Gritz felt more beholden to his moral obligation than career advancement when General Harold Aaron asked Gritz to retire from Special Forces, give up an imminent promotion to full colonel, and hunt down POWs as a civilian. Little did Aaron realize that when he turned loose the King of Covert Ops into Southeast Asia, he created a balls-of-brass moral crusader bent on pantsing what Gritz calls “the Good Old Boy circuit” in D.C.
“I’m very glad that things went the way they did,” reflects Gritz. “I wouldn’t want to be a general in the Pentagon todaywith no goo-nads, sitting there having been castrated of my initiative or any real talent that I might have because of this compartmentalization.”
Before his POW missions, Gritz was already troubled by what he’d seen in Panama in 1975 to 1977 as a Special Forces commander, i.e., a covert operations field commander. He accuses the U.S. government’s shielding of Manuel Noriega, then Omar Torrijos’s intelligence chief, and participation in the mysterious Operation Watch-tower, a CIA- and Mossad-run subterfuge that ferried cocaine from Bogota into Al-brook Army Airfield in Panama. “Why would the U.S. government go under the leaves to operate a cocaine connection between the Medellin syndicate, Noriega, and the Mossad?” asks Gritz. He answers his own question. “Ten percent of required CIA covert funds come from congressional appropriation. The other 90 percent is made up from extra-legal means.”
PEROT DON'T WANT NO P.O.W. BONES
In the eyes of the American public, Gritz’s reputation was solidified by his Rambo-like forays into Laos and the Golden Triangle in search of POWs. High-profile news stories culminated in a Parade magazine cover feature.
As Gritz explains it, General Eugene Tighe, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, asked H. Ross Perot to fund Gritz’s POW rescue mission. Gritz describes his first meeting with Perot in Called to Serve:
In Perot’s outer office was a large-scale bronze figure of “The Marshal” — True Grit at full gallop with Winchester extended. Perot’s inner office was lined with glass display cases containing stuffed birds in various habitats. Hanging on the wall behind his chair was a sign that read “Eagles don’t flock.” On the side wall to the right was his U.S. Naval Academy diploma.
Perot was to the point: “General Tighe has asked that I send you to Southeast Asia in search of POWs. I want you to go over there and do everything necessary. You come back and tell me there aren’t any POWs left alive. I don’t believe there are and I’m not interested in bones.”
Appreciating Gritz’s expertise in black operations, Perot hinted at a James Bond scheme to choke the flow of dope into Texas:
He added: “When you get back I have an additional task for you. Governor Clements and the head of the DEA have given me permission to have one man operate outside the law. I know you have extensive contacts in Central America. I want you to uncover and identify everyone dealing cocaine between Columbia and Texas. Once you’re sure you’ve got them all I want you to wipe them out in a single night like an angel of death. Is that clear? I know you have the capability to do this.”
Gritz’s POW rescue plan, which involved the use of inflatable rubber airplanes, wasn’t greeted with enthusiasm by Perot, who begged off from bankrolling the scheme. Operation Lazarus was eventually set in motion with financial help from Fred O’Green of Litton Industries and a cool 30 Gs from none other than Clint Eastwood.
Interagency competition — Gritz claims covert subterfuge — quashed Operation Lazarus and shadowed Gritz’s Southeast Asian expeditions for an entire decade. In a recent telephone interview, Colonel Earl Hopper, vice chairman of the POW-MIA organization Task Force Omega, recalls, “There was a change of attitude in Washington, wherein the Reagan-Bush administration had decided to back off with the support of Bo’s operation and turn it over to the CIA. Bo continued his operations trying to locate POWs, but each time his operation got underway he was sabotaged by the U.S. government. In one case he was in Laos at the time the Voice of America broadcast to the Lao people that he was there. This was a stab in the back, a perfidious act, in my opinion.”
From 1981 to 1985, Gritz and team undertook four risky trips across the Mekong river into Laos and each time were thwarted in bringing back POWs because of leaks by the Thai press and Voice of America, the U.S. government’s shortwave propaganda outreach. In one case, a POW-rescue team member, Chuck Patterson, made off with a briefcase carrying sensitive documents, selling the information to Soldier of Fortune magazine for $5000.
Scott Barnes, the quixotic conspiracist who fed H. Ross Perot peculiar information regarding Vietnamese hit squads at the tail end of the 1992 presidential campaign, looms prominently in the early miscues of Gritz’s POW campaign. Smarting from an early termination from the Gritz-led Operation Grand Eagle in 1991, Barnes returned to the U.S. and began feeding the press the now-discredited story that Gritz’s actual mission was a CIA-sponsored plot to assassinate two POWs. He also told the FBI that Gritz had been planning to assassinate President Reagan, in league with a Libyan hit squad.
Flakes, sabotage, and perfidy aside, the only tangible proof of Gritz’s proximity to POWs, dead or alive, exists in an MIA’s Air Force Academy ring and the photograph and signature of MIA Major Walter H. Moon handed to Gritz by a Vietnamese contact. This evidence, without benefit of examination, was denounced by Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Armitage as fake.
Ted Sampley, now editor of the U.S. Veterans News and Report, was apparently tapped by forces in the Reagan administration to track Gritz’s activities. “In 1984, when I was getting back into the POW issue,” he related during a recent phone conversation, “and being a very loyal Republican in those days, I had been approached...to infiltrate a Veterans group that were hanging out by the Vietnam Veterans memorial, and one of the people they wanted me to spy on was Bo Gritz. They were spying on Bo Gritz. I testified about this in November of ’91 in front of the Senate Select Committee.... Gritz became the victim of a smear campaign. He challenged the U.S. government and found himself being called a fruitcake, idiot, charlatan ....”
The POW-MIA stalemate remains a textbook lesson in bureaucratic obfuscation. The U.S. Select Committee on POW -MIA Affairs concluded, after 17 months of hearings, that nothing has been proved for or against the presence of live POWs in Southeast Asia. “Charges of cover-up [in the Committee’s report] were...fueled by dissent in the committee,” wrote Clifford Krauss in The New York Times. “For instance, [Senator Charles E.] Grassley and Senator Robert C. Smith of New Hampshire, the deputy chairman on the panel, urged the inclusion of a section on satellite imagery of what the two Republicans said was credible evidence of prisoners’ sending distress signals.”
Also absent from the final report was Bo Gritz’s comprehensive oral deposition before the Select Committee on November 23, 1992, detailing his ill-fated excursions into Laos.
NOSE TO NOSE WITH JABBA THE HUT
Throughout the ’80s Gritz kept active with anti-Communist activities such as training the Afghan Mujahadeen in the Southern Nevada desert. After one such training session, Gritz was called on by Tom Harvey, National Security Council staff officer for the Reagan White House, to investigate a report that Golden Triangle drug lord Khun Sa was interested in turning over a live POW to the U.S. government. News accounts imposed on Khun Sa a Dillinger-like notoriety. “In my mind’s eye,” writes Gritz in his autobiography, “I could see [Khun Sa as] some giant Star Wars-style Jabba the Hut living in a jungle-covered Taj Mahal, slurping up virgins, surrounded by an army of Apocalypse Now-type mercenaries.”
Accompanied by his loyal retinue, Gary Goldman and San Diegan Scott Weekly, Gritz trekked into Khun Sa’s camp armed with only videotape cameras and a polygraph machine. The three were surprised to be cordially received by the notorious drug trafficker.
“I noticed the throbbing vein in his neck,” records Gritz, “and thought how easy it would be to rid the world of its most infamous drug lord. I could break a stack of seven bricks — Khun Sa’s neck would snap like a twig.” Gritz restrained himself from acting out a self-appointed role of Terminator and after verifying the falsity of the report on Khun Sa’s ostensible POW holdings, returned to the U.S. with a Khun Sa proposal to eradicate opium fields in exchange for money and official recognition of his Shan territory as a legitimate state.
Khun Sa also dropped a verbal bomb on Gritz — that as yet unnamed officials in the U.S. government had been among his best customers for high-grade opium and heroin.
Back in the States, Gritz confronted the White House on Khun Sa’s proposal to eradicate the opium trade and was told, “Bo, there’s no one here who supports that.”
Recalls Gritz today, “Almost immediately, the sky began to fall.”
"GET BO GRITZ"
Scott Weekly, who accompanied Gritz to Khun Sa’s stronghold, was confronted in San Diego by representatives of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the U.S. Customs Service. “The agents convinced Scott that it was believed that I had somehow been involved in weapons dealing with Iran or some such nonsense,” writes Gritz in Called to Serve. “They claimed their presence in San Diego was for the purpose of putting pressure on Scott by charging him with transporting explosives, in order that he might testify against me.”
Gritz sighs and continues, “The agents emphasized that if he did not cooperate, every member of the team would be arrested for investigation; that they knew we were in pursuit of American POWs at the time; that they did not want to interfere with those efforts so they were hopeful that Scott would go with them, plead guilty without a defense counsel...and that if he would do that, none of us would be interfered with.... Scott was assured...that he would receive unsupervised probation and would be able to rejoin the team as soon as the investigation was concluded.”
“Scott calls me from San Diego and tells me this,” winces Gritz, “and I said, ‘Watch out, S.! Watch out about what they’re doing to you!’ Because they were trying to get me to stop talking about Burma. Don’t believe anything the government says to you, it was all set up. The day he appeared before the judge, those U.S. agents did not show for him. The judge, instead of dismissing the charges, gave him five years in Lompoc. And it was 14 months until we could get an evidentiary hearing. After I spoke, the judge released him.”
Rues Gritz, with a note of pain in his voice, “Scott’s a super good person, but I tell you, if you take a wild horse and you break him, there is something that is a great loss, and it’s obvious. That 14 months really, really hurt him. I heard he was in trouble, so I sent him a thousand bucks so he could have a Christmas.”
Scott Weekly (nicknamed “Doctor Death”) currently assists Gritz in his “preparedness” seminars, with instruction on proper use of a gas mask, CB radio, and other aspects of “infrastructure breakdown countermeasures.” Weekly, who resides in a landslide-prone area of San Diego, has secured his house by reinforcing his walls with brick and sand to protect against his “many enemies.” What enemies? “I took care of a bunch of Lebanese terrorists a while ago,” says Weekly, “and they don’t forget.” Does this tie into the World Trade Center bombing? “Well, that bombing was in the works for a couple years. The FBI really has their hands full.”
“The real turning point,” recalls Gritz, “the real shock I had, was when my best friend, a man named Joseph H. Felter, Jr., he was the CEO of Wedtech, called me. We were in a safe house in the prime minister’s quadrangle of Bangkok, and I had just come out of Burma. A Major Chuck Johnson was listening in.”
(Major Johnson’s affidavit quotes Felter’s warning to Gritz: “They say you’re in for a real shit-blizzard unless you knock off all current activities.... You’ve got no option.... You’re going to be ‘taken care of.... You’ve got to erase and forget everything.... You are going to hurt the government and get hurt unless you do exactiy as I say.”)
“I found myself not in the shadows, but out in the open,” explains Gritz, “not in verbal judo, but in real terms, where the government, my government, was saying, ‘You erase and forget or we're going to bury you.' What do you do? Had I been a West Point officer like Tom Harvey, I probably would have clicked my heels and marched in their direction. But instead it made me angry. I’m very hard headed. If you want me to do something, tell me I can’t, and that’s exactly what I’m going to start to do.”
So Gritz went back to Khun Sa and pointed a camcorder at him. Through an interpreter, Khun Sa spilled the beans on Americans who participated in drug trafficking, names like Mafia don Santo Trafficante, CIA agents Daniel Arnold and Jerry Daniels, CIA deputy director for covert operations Ted Shackley, and lastly, Richard Armitage, who is said to handle the financial arrangements, fun-neling drug money to Nugan Hand Bank of Australia.
The Khun Sa videotape had been proclaimed by Gritz as red-handed evidence of the shadow government drug mob in action. Daniel Sheehan, who was cobbling together the Christie Institute’s La Penca lawsuit (dismissed by Judge Lawrence King four days before it was to be heard in court) thought at first the videotape was confirmation “that Shackley and Clines and Armitage were conduits for selling opium in Southeast Asia. My investigator jumped up and down and said, ‘Wow, here it is, confirmation!’ It seemed a little too pat. I told my investigators to take the video and go through it frame by frame. I wanted to know whether or not they could see a copy of my [Iran-Contra] affidavit on the table. Sure enough, there was my affidavit open to the very page where I had named those guys, based on a source I had that was the former CIA liaison officer to Vang Pao.”
Experts have also questioned whether we should believe Khun Sa, even if Gritz did not coach his answer. Alfred W. McCoy, author of the seminal Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, which exposed CIA complicity in the drug trade, says, “Khun Sa is a master manipulator. He can fool anybody. I thought the offer that Gritz brought back was just another Khun Sa con job.”
Con job or not, the promised “shit blizzard” soon began to rain down on Gritz. For two years, from spring 1987 to spring 1989, Gritz would be entangled in a legal quagmire over “using the passport of another.” It was a Twinkie charge; working under the ISA, Gritz was supplied a variety of passports, one black diplomatic, one red official, and one blue tourist variety. Finally on April 17, 1989, the Grand Jury trial began. The prosecution presented 19 witnesses; but when the defense was called, it was discovered that U.S. Attorney William Maddox had brought the wrong charge against Gritz.
Following the case’s dismissal, reporters crowded prosecuting attorney Maddox, asking him why he had pursued the case.
Maddox answered, “George Bush called me up and told me to get Bo Gritz.”
BIRTH OF THE RAMBO CANDIDATE
The Khun Sa revelations, the mysterious deaths of Army friends involved in Operation Watchtower, the jailing of Scott Weekly, and the overtly hostile intentions of the U.S. government to his well-being had, taken together, shaken Gritz enough for him to realize, “I was brainwashed by the government.”
Denouncing governmental chicanery on talk radio programs in the late ’80s attracted to Gritz a coterie of conspiracy gadflies, including Lars Hansson. “Bo revealed to me one night,” says Hansson recently during an interview, “that his full-time occupation now was to extract his cranium from his anal orifice. I found Bo at that time to be incredibly humble.”
Gritz became an avid student of conspiracy literature, at times latching on to a more speculative realm of conspiracy, a twilight area where shadowy politics melts into metaphysics. “One morning Bo wakes me up, all excited,” says Hansson, “reading me passages from a book called The Gods of Eden. ” The book, by the pseudonymous William Bramley, postulates that an extraterrestrial superrace called “The Custodians” have enslaved the human race in warlike bondage through the intercession of evil secret societies, which Bramley traces back to ancient serpent cults.
More than 100 pages of Gritz’s autobiography weave conspiracy information. The Kennedy Assassination was a coup d’etat masterminded by ex-Nazis turned munitions makers. The AIDS virus was a federal project. Jonestown was an MK-Ultra-type CIA operation gone haywire. In fact, Gritz maintains that he knew Special Forces soldiers that had gone down to Jonestown to perform “exterminator” operations to “destroy the evidence.” The conspiracy sections, titled “Profiles In Conspiracy,” “The Third-World War,” and “One Nation Under God,” are also informed by Gritz’s Christian readings, to wit, the bar code is a Satanic ploy to coerce the population to accept the literal Mark of the Beast, which will ultimately manifest itself in a microchip placed below the skin of the right hand.
When Willis Carto of the Liberty Lobby called Gritz in late 1987 to run alongside David Duke as the Populist Party’s vice presidential candidate, he accepted. Gritz soon dropped out of the race, repudiating Duke as “bigoted garbage dumped into a perfectly good container.” About
Duke, Gritz now pleads ignorance. “You got to realize a soldier is not into this kind of thing the way people are who are not in the military. I didn’t know anything about JBS [John Birch Society] or Carto or Ku Klux Klan.” But Gritz’s admission was admittedly disturbing in its own right. Why would he go so far as sign himself up as a vice presidential candidate without knowing about his running mate?
That question pains Lars Hansson. “This guy, who has so much strength and decency and courage and conviction, tripping on his dick almost every turn he makes. So many people who have so much reverence for the guy agonize over watching him do these things that are, and there’s no other word for it, stupid.”
After bailing from the Populist’s 1988 presidential race, Gritz made a run for a Congressional seat from the Las Vegas area. “Bo really had a chance to win that Congressional race,” remembers Hansson. “The other candidates were lightweights and nonentities. But Mike Triggs, his campaign manager, is a real screwball. He’s bragging of having once been a drug dealer, and I’m standing there in Bo’s kitchen thinking, ‘What?’ Then in the middle of the campaign Triggs goes to jail for 30 days for misuse of a rental car and writing bad checks. Bo totally alienates the Republican hierarchy. They went out in a special news conference to publicly endorse the other Republican candidate before the primary.”
RIGHT WOOS LEFT?
Once answerable to the chain of command in Special Forces, Gritz now genuflects solely to the kind of government endorsed by the “man upstairs.” Seething with “banksters’ ” plots to destroy America, Gritz discovered a role model in Old Hickory, Andrew Jackson, who shot down the privately-owned U.S. Bank and its cabal of foreign interests. For the presidential campaign of 1992, Bo Gritz molded himself as the millennial reincarnation of Andy Jackson, God’s own warrior, to sweep clean Washington’s Augean stables.
Gritz’s likeness even appears on a privately minted silver coin, so that members of the Bo cult can trade among themselves with God-approved, precious-metal-backed money.
With an instinctive insight into the populist antipathy for professional politicians, Gritz maintains that he became a presidential candidate by default. “It wasn’t my idea to run for president,” says Gritz. “It was Don Wassail’s [Populist Party chairman]. Don seemed to be a decent fellow to me. He wasn’t anti-Semitic, like I believe Carto is. Wassell had Ev Mecham [Evan Mecham, impeached Governor of Arizona, who opposed the Martin Luther King holiday] and myself in California in August of 1991.1 deferred to Mecham. I said, ‘Why don’t you let Ev be the presidential candidate? He’s got a lot more name recognition than I do.’ Ev said, ‘Bo, I’m starting a newspaper; I’ll do it if you take it initially until I get my newspaper going.’ I said, ‘All right, I’ll lead it off,’ because Wassail said they’ve got to have somebody to put on the ballot.
“But the governor never got his newspaper going. So I told the Populist Party that I’ve got to write my own platform, and Wassail said all right. I wrote the Populist platform myself, and it became the America First Coalition.”
I ask Gritz if his America First Coalition is based on Charles Lindbergh’s America First organization that sought to keep the U.S. out of the Second World War.
“I don’t know. Basically, it was living by the Constitution. We weren’t going to intervene in foreign government affairs. If we would have stayed out of Guatemala, for example, the United Fruit Company would have suffered a little bit, but Guatemala would not have lost tens of thousands of people killed by CIA-supported and -inspired police actions. That was the whole purpose of America First. Certainly, we would never have gone along with NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement], those kinds of things.”
Gritz’s campaign, dependent upon the Populist Party’s spare-time warriors, was something less than a well-oiled machine. Each state’s campaign manager was responsible for fundraising and purchase of campaign paraphernalia from national headquarters. There was little consolidation of forces with few guidelines and no overall plan. Supporters resorted to setting up tables at gun shows and church outings.
Throughout the campaign, Gritz’s folksy appeals to anti-establishment types on the left and right incensed his critics. The Village Voice publicized an unpleasant encounter in Seattle with a baiting member of Queer Nation. Gritz admits “scaring” him; Richard Lee, the Queer National, claims that he was “physically attacked.” A Soldier of Fortune slam piece sought to devalue Gritz among his own jingoistic constituency. Political Research Associates’ Chip Berlet weighed in with a 70-page report, “Right Woos Left: Populist Party, LaRouchian, and Other Neo-fascist Overtures to Progressives, and Why They Must Be Rejected,” in which he wrote, “Bo Gritz is the point man in an effort to build a coalition of white supremacists, anti-Jewish bigots, neo-fascists, and paranoid gun nuts,” a befogging simplification that discredits Gritz’s value as a witness to government skullduggery. In a phone interview, Berlet was particularly antagonist toward Daniel Sheehan of the Christie Institute.
Sheehan, currently sequestered in the San Bernardino area, appeared on several panels with Gritz and other critics of covert irresponsibility in the U.S. government. Responding to his critics, Sheehan explains during a phone interview, “Bo had hoped that I would directly endorse his presidential bid. He began to make reference to the investigations that I had been conducting about the off-the-shelf enterprise of Secord and Clines and Hakim and that crowd. The secular left community started really getting furious, and they began to contact me and demand that I come out and publicly condemn Bo. I said I’m not in the business of endorsing or condemning political candidates. The Village Voice called us. Progressive magazine called. There was this whole campaign against us. But I don’t think that people should refuse to speak to people just because they are in another ideological camp.”
Gritz enjoys repeating the story about a Minnesota professor who says to him after a lecture, “ ‘You look like Attila the Hun to me, and I probably look like a pinko commie faggot to you, but we’re marching to the same drummer here.’ I made the point to him, I said, ‘Professor, we’ve got to stop being right and left and liberal and conservative. We’ve got to start being Americans together before we lose what we have.’ ”
If the San Diego County rallies were indicative of nationwide trends, few people left of center were attracted to Gritz despite his anti-establishment rubric. If leftists weren’t put off by the blinding glint of Gritz’s medals, they were surely put off by invocations for a return to a Christian nation, tough talk about homosexuals, and his stand against abortion. Others belonging to a more exotic orbit seemed to flit around the Gritz campaign. After the Lakeside rally, a peculiar man, the kind who keeps his pens inside a pocket protector, introduced me to cosmic conspiracies and a newspaper called The Phoenix Liberator.
A WHOLE PANFUL OF NOODLE SOUP
The Liberator is a weekly subscription tabloid that publicizes the anti-Zionist revelations of “Gyeorgos Ceres Hatonn, Commander in Chief, Earth Project Transition, Pleiades Sector Flight Command, Intergalactic Federation Fleet.” Hatonn is characterized in the Liberator as a “bringer of truth...to reveal the lies foisted upon you to claim your souls for the physical evil Elite controllers.” Controllers, custodians, evil elites— where politics intersect metaphysics. The Phoenix Liberator endorsed Gritz’s presidential bid, often funneling campaign news through its pages.
On various weeks of the 1992 campaign, the Weekly World News supermarket tabloid showed candidates Clinton, Perot, and Bush shaking hands with a space alien. Bo Gritz may have been the only candidate to actually attempt to enact such an event. Apparently, his vice presidential candidate, Cyril Minett, had convinced Gritz in the midst of his campaign to fly to the Tehachapi Mountains north of Los Angeles to meet with Hatonn, the eight-and-a-half-foot reptile-like Commander from the Pleiades.
Recalls Gritz, “We got to this little storefront, and Cy says, ‘Now, I just want to verify this. Hatonn himself is going to walk in and meet with us?’ And a person said, ‘Yes, he'll be here momentarily.’ I had this vision in my mind of a person in a lizard suit walking across a parking lot, but momentarily [a woman who] calls herself Dharma sat down at the table and said very quickly without any fanfare, ‘I am present.’ And I thought, ‘Shoot, we got a channeling thing going on here.’ Cy said, ‘Are you eight and a half feet?’ She said, ‘No, no, I’m actually nine and a half feet.’ ”
For workers in the Gritz campaign, conspiracy paranoia was infectious. Many spoke of having their phones tapped and their mail opened. Gilbert Martinez, a building contractor who served the Gritz campaign as its overall coordinator in San Diego County, whispered, several weeks before the November 3 election, “The CIA shot at my house. They’re trying to get rid of me.”
While Gritz was stumping through San Diego, Martinez pressured him to twice meet with a man named Andy Nicolaw, who represented himself as a controlling interest in a huge corporation named COSMOS. Nicolaw had apparently promised Martinez that COSMOS would pour $2 billion into Gritz’s campaign if Bo would “go to this little house in Illinois.” Gritz found that rumors had become so epidemic that in two successive newsletters he was forced to reveal COSMOS as a hoax. This from Gritz’s January 1993 Center for Action newsletter:
COSMOS is said to have 124 international banks behind it — even Fidel Castro now supports COSMOS. COSMOS claims such power as to command the Joint Chiefs of Staff. COSMOS has caused Clinton to decline the presidency. COSMOS now controls government and is going to restore our Constitution — so they say.
“Gilbert asked me to meet with this Andy,” says Gritz. “Andy’s a crackpot. There’s noodles all over the place. COSMOS is a whole panful of noodle soup.”
THE SALUTE HEARD 'ROUND THE WORLD
Gritz and his third wife Claudia are practicing Mormons, active in their local LDS church and “sealed in the St. George, Utah Temple for all eternity.” But they found a spare week in 1987 to spend at Pastor Peter J. Peters’s Christian encampment in the Rocky Mountains. Peters is one of the main proponents of what is known as the Christian Identity movement, a loose confederation of largely rural and small-town fundamentalists who believe that Anglo-Saxons are the true Israelites and that Jews are Satanic impostors.
Members of the Christian Identity and Christian Patriot movements mix an almost Rabbinical fascination with the minutiae of Bible and Constitutional law with millennial fervor. Gritz himself is most closely aligned with Oregon’s Christian Patriot Association. The many various groups that compose this nativist movement don’t see eye-to-eye on most issues. Some refer to God, others, “YaHWeH.” All, however, seem fiercely opposed to Zionism, the IRS, the Federal Reserve System, and the perceived sinister plot of the New World Order.
“[Peters’s] camp was a delight,” recalls Gritz. “They had Catholics, they had Mormons, they had all kinds of folks, and it was a very healthy meeting, I thought. And I got to know Pete, and he invited me twice again to come to his camp, and I spoke in those summers, and with no offense.”
Pastor Peters and Bo Gritz differed, however, on at least one question: whether homosexuals should be put to death. Peters’s booklet, “Death Penalty for Homosexuals Is Prescribed in the Bible,” is dedicated to “my Colonel friend [Gritz] who inadvertently inspired me to write this. May he and all Christian soldiers be mindful of the need to be obedient to our Great Commander and Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, and uphold His orders concerning homosexuality.” In a phone interview, Peters stated that the booklet was necessary since “Bo Gritz told me that he would fight to the death to allow anyone their rights, including homosexuals. As far as I was concerned, that bordered on blasphemy.”
Gritz has since toughened his views. “There are first-degree murderers that deserve to be electrocuted. There are third-degree murderers that ought to be released. There are first-degree homosexuals who probably should be skinned alive. You find them in San Francisco making ads that say, ‘We’re going to pervert your sons and daughters, we’re going to commit these atrocities.’ Those are the first degree. Take ’em out, far as I’m concerned.”
The Christian Identity taboo on interracial marriage finds Gritz in conflict, since he has two children by his second wife, who is Chinese. He nevertheless adopts the view that intermarriage is wrong. “If my daughter, who is Amerasian, were to come to me and say, ‘Dad, I met this person and he is from India, what do you think about our getting married?’ I would probably say, ‘Melody, I’m advising against it, there’s cultural problems you’re getting into.’ I support staying within your nation, within your language, within your race, within your religion.” The biggest and most defining event of Gritz’s presidential campaign was the Ruby Ridge Massacre, a massive federal action involving a white separatist family holed up in a small plywood home near the Sandpoint area of northern Idaho. Randall Weaver, the family’s patriarch, had decided that he wasn’t going to respond to a warrant accusing him of selling shotguns with too-short barrels. Sequestering his family in his cabin, Weaver accused federal agents of setting him up because he had refused to spy on Aryan Nations, the neo-Nazi compound located in nearby Hayden Lake.
Sandy Valley sign
The standoff broke when camouflaged U.S. Marshals crept onto the Weavers’ property and accidentally caught the attention of Randall, his 13-year-old son Samuel, and Kevin Harris, 24, a family friend who lived with the Weavers. A shoot-out took the life of young Samuel, who was shot in the back. A highly decorated U.S. Marshal named William Degan died in the exchange. The following morning a government sniper shot Randall’s unarmed wife Vicki in the face, killing her instantly. Randall and Kevin Harris were wounded in the attack. With his three young daughters inside and his dead wife lying on the kitchen floor, Weaver sealed off various openings in his house, vowing never to leave.
Hundreds of law enforcement troops — from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the FBI, and even U.N. troops training in western Montana — descended on the Ruby Creek area, sealing off a two-mile radius around the Weaver cabin. Invited to Ruby Creek by the FBI, Bo Gritz and sidekick Jack McLamb, editor of the “Aid and Abet” newsletter, designed to influence police to join the Christian Patriot cause, arrived to the cheers of anti-ZOG (Zionist Occupation Government) protestors camped out at the roadblock.
As Gritz tells it, even though the FBI asked him up to Ruby Creek to help resolve the situation, he wasn’t at first allowed past the police barriers. At the roadblock, Gritz and McLamb ceremoniously made citizens’ arrest declarations for FBI director William Sessions, on-site FBI chief Gene Glenn, Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus, and the director of U.S. Marshals, Henry Hudson.
Within hours Gritz was shuttled up from the roadblock to the Weaver home and began to soften up Randall Weaver for surrender. Several days later Gritz mediated a peaceful conclusion to the siege, just the way, Gritz informs me, he had prophesied in a dream.
The national media, with their cameras and microphones trained on Gritz after the surrender, capture him delivering a Nazi salute — or was it a wave? — at several skinheads in the crowd. Gritz claims he was conveying Randall Weaver’s thanks to the skins for a letter he had delivered and was simply trying to get their attention. “If I wanted to give a Nazi salute,” Gritz maintains, “I certainly would know how to give it, and I would have given it in a fashion that any good Nazi would have been proud of.” Gritz’s reply to Don Fotheringham, who clucked alarmedly at the incident in the John Birch Society magazine, The New American, was to accuse him of being either a Jew or a shill for the Anti-Defamation League.
While the mainstream press began to tout Gritz’s alliances with the white separatist movement, many racialists began to doubt that Gritz was really on their side. In an article titled “The Ruby Creek Sa’Bo’tage,” printed in Pastor Ben Williams’s American Christian Newsletter and reprinted in Pastor Richard Butler’s Aryan Nations newspaper, writer J.B. Campbell labels Gritz a Freemason and a “political pied piper” bent on destroying the white racial movements. A cartoon accompanying the article shows a haloed, uniformed Gritz held aloft by a crane labeled “Central Government.” The caption reads, “The Phony Savior.”
“The Aryan Nation people were mad,” explains Gritz. “They wanted Randall Weaver dead. They would have had their martyr. The media was mad. They wanted the Weavers up there in that little clapboard cabin as nothing but charred bones. That would have made a wonderful story. The truth is, a number of Weaver’s neighbors were mad because they hated Weaver for whatever reason. A lot of people were mad because Weaver came out of there alive. And it just happened to be my misfortune that...I got the Weaver family out alive with no more bloodshed.”
CIRCLING THE WAGONS
Gritz did not make the ballot in California or most states of the union, but he nevertheless managed to win 106,000 votes in the November 3 general election. His support was particularly strong in Mormon regions of the country. According to Hugh Dellios of the Chicago Tribune, “In Utah, Gritz received 28,000 votes on Nov. 3, and residents say it was hard to find a car bumper in central Utah without a Gritz sticker on it.”
Some of the most vocal Gritz partisans in San Diego County are prominent members of the Mormon Church. Neil Logan, a 40-year-old El Cajon-based chiropractor and president of a conservative, largely Mormon organization called Families for America, had been a life-long Republican; but even with 12 years of Republican control, Logan was fearful that the country had been going out of control. “It was like the movie where the guy sticks his head out the window and screams, Tm not going to take it anymore!’ The taxation, the legislature, the New World Order, everything is falling on us.”
As with many, Logan first heard of Gritz during the presidential campaign. It took a friend to clue him in. “I did some extra digging [this election]. Gritz’s platform was right on target with how I felt about things. It boils straight back down to the Constitution. We’ve gotten so far away from it. We the people are supposed to be in charge, and we have allowed bureaucrats to run away with everything. What most people don’t realize is that we never can get out of debt because we have the Federal Reserve Bank that dings us a percentage of every dollar that’s put out. How can you get straight with that? At least Bo Gritz knew that was the problem, and he even had a solution. I don’t know if it would have worked, but it sounded good.”
“The $4 trillion pot metal coin?”
Logan laughs, “Yeah. At first, the conspiracies and all this stuff, it was so fantastic at first, I couldn’t believe it. It was like reading the National Enquirer or something. And yet when I tried to substantiate these things, I found other resources that told me these things were actually going on, they all pointed to the same thing. I became convinced.”
Neil Logan’s conspiratorial vision finds resonance in La Mesa resident Eugene Olson, a retired FBI operative and devoted Mormon Church functionary who voted third party for the first time in his 80-plus years when he wrote in Bo Gritz for president. Gritz was the first candidate, claims Olson, who ever bothered to address the Federal Reserve, a plot first revealed to him by reading a pamphlet by the conservative Mormon ideologue Cleon Skouzen.
“That was the first time I realized that under the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 Congress'authorized private banks to order the printing of money and then loan it to the government at interest. I thought that must be the dumbest thing I ever heard of. There is a book, Debt Virus, and it says there is no money produced anywhere by anyone that is not disseminated as a loan. Eventually, it will only result in everybody going bankrupt.”
His speech slowed by age, Olson accuses the media of blacking out Bo Gritz. “They blacked out Buchanan, too, but this guy, they didn’t even mention him. You wonder who owns what. We went down to Bolivia on church assignment. Leadership training work. Down there you have a totally controlled press. About the only news you’d read down there is General Garcia-Mesa says thus-and-so. We get back up here and to our amazement we find that we have a controlled press too. Perhaps not controlled by the government, but by someone, the same interests who control both the government and the news.”
Eugene Olson was so impressed by Gritz’s September 14 speech in Mission Valley that he traveled up to San Fernando for an encore. Like Logan, Bush’s and Clinton’s New World Order gives Eugene Olson fits. “In a speech to the United Nations, Bush is quoted as having said, ‘It is to the sacred United Nations charter to which we and all people now and forever will yield our allegiance.’ We heard some observations [from Gritz] that they should have been indicting Bush for treason instead of funning him for re-election.”
Although Eugene Olson doesn’t recall hearing an official church stand on Gritz’s candidacy, it seemed to worry many in the Mormon hierarchy. M. Samuel Sherwood found Gritz worthy of a paper directed to church elders titled “Wolf in Patriot’s Clothing.” Writes Sherwood, “There just are just too many inaccuracies, gaps and misrepresentations, in my opinion, for me to support [Gritz], no matter his religion, or fancy jingoistic constitutional jargon....”
A Chicago Tribune story tracking Mormon Church antipathy to its more radical elements inspired rumors of Gritz’s excommunication. Gritz chalks up the rumors to the LDS Church’s fear of being targeted by the IRS. “There’s never been any action toward [excommunication], there’s no action now as far as I know. As a matter of fact, in a few days my wife and I are going for a temple interview. That’s not normally something that happens if you’re excommunicated.”
Gritz’s popularity among conservative Mormons notwithstanding, Bo Gritz won only 577 write-in votes in all of San Diego County for his 1992 presidential bid. Gritz Granny Mary Snyder claims a media blackout and polling subterfuge. “When I went to vote, I asked for the write-in candidate list and they said, ‘We don’t have one.’ I said, ‘Yes, you do.’ I understand at some of the polls they didn’t even allow people to write in.”
John Allen Jones, the Gritz campaign press secretary in San Diego County, believes that Perot’s re-entry in the race hurt the Gritz candidacy more than anything, especially since many of the Perot people had paddled up to the Gritz dock after the Texas billionaire first bowed out of the race. “Perot may have been trying to defuse the independent movement, throw them off course. I thought that because, when he first pulled out after stirring up all the enthusiasm, the state chairmen of his campaign from New York, Ohio, Alabama, and Virginia immediately volunteered to bring their people over to the Gritz campaign. When I saw that mass coming over, I thought, ‘Wow!’ And then, just as the momentum was going over to the Gritz campaign, Perot came back in. I just have to speculate that this was some political backroom agenda going on to bring Perot back as a spoiler.”
Other supporters of Gritz’s positions on outlawing abortion, the New World Order, and the Federal Reserve, such as Steve Baldwin, the Republican candidate who was narrowly defeated for the 77th Assembly District seat, decided, in the final analysis, to vote for George Bush. As Baldwin fearfully realized, “A vote for Bo Gritz became a vote for Bill Clinton.”
Several months after the election, Gritz campaign workers are burned out. A vocal few are disgusted.
John Allen Jones has devoted himself to his El Cajon law practice “because I got behind in my own financial needs because of the campaign and wound up in some financial difficulties because of it. ” Jim Tills, San Diego County campaign secretary, is working 16-hour days to “catch up with the work I missed while I was devoting my time to Bo Gritz.” Gilbert Martinez would rather not think about the whole thing. “I haven’t talked to Bo. I’m not going to talk to Bo.” Gilbert’s wife is even more adamant: “Everybody’s talking for this, against that. We’re not going to have anything to do with it, Bo Gritz or anybody else, ever again.” And about the shooting up of the Martinez house by the CIA? Mrs. Martinez snaps, “Who told you that? That’s a lot of bullcrap. It was gang members.”
Devvy Kidd, Gritz campaign chairman in Colorado, definitely has a bee in her bonnet. “I believe that the campaign cash contributions have been misused. I encouraged the national chairman in Florida [Charlie Brown] to qualify for federal funding. He maintains right up until the end that they never collected enough to qualify for matching federal funds. Gritz collected $300,000 in his Nevada office, but you only needed $200,000 to qualify [for matching funds].
“The first week of October, Gritz himself canceled an appearance on Larry King Live to speak to 50 people at the Liberty Lobby in Washington. No serious candidate for president of the United States turns down the opportunity to appear on a show that draws a viewing audience of 28 to 34 million people. That doesn’t make any sense at all.
“When he came here last August, he stood both nights at his speeches and told everybody, ‘I won’t go away. If you support me, whether I win this election or not, I won’t go away. I’ll be at the forefront of the patriot movement. I will always be here for you.’ Come November 4th, the son of a bitch evaporated out of the patriot movement. I saw him, his wife, and a guy named Richard Flowers at the Salt Palace on November 6. Richard Flowers is an active Nazi, and he’s one of Bo Gritz’s better friends.” (Flowers, Gritz’s Oregon campaign chairman, who runs a mail-order concern, CPA Publishers, considers himself a Christian Patriot, not a Nazi.)
A seething Dewy Kidd continues, “What Bo Gritz does now is hawk his book and survival literature. Instead of getting in the face of Congress, he tells people how to go and hide and store food.”
Mrs. Kidd faxes me the Federal Election Commission report on Gritz’s campaign, circling a rather peculiar entry. A Jeb Bush of the CIA has contributed $400 to the campaign. Somebody somewhere must have a wry sense of humor.
I’d rather have my mouth tied around the exhaust pipe of a bus and be drug all the way to Los Angeles than get into any political arena,” complains a weary Gritz just two months after the conclusion of his presidential campaign. “I hate politics, I hate politicians. They belong on the bottom of the ocean with whale manure. In 1994 there’s a governor’s campaign in Idaho. I don’t want America five years from now to open their arms to an empty sky and say, ‘Why, God, have you done this terrible thing to us?’ ”
To forestall this cry to heaven, Gritz is choosing Idaho to run for governor even though “it would be a horrible campaign because I’m not from Idaho and all my political opponents will be screaming, hollering, yelling, saying Bo is a carpetbagger.
“Nevada is a state that derives most of its income from gambling. Utah wouldn’t be a good place because it is cancerous with church administration. Idaho is a good place, strategically. It has access to Canada and probably has more water under its soil than any other state in the union.
“There are four phases that Americans that would continue to live as free individuals will face. The first phase is awareness — that’s what we did during the election. People have to know what’s going on before they can be expected to act. The second phase is preparation. I think we’re into that now, and that’s what I’m going to be doing for the next year to come, and that is helping people to prepare, to live self-reliant in spite of the government. We’re orienting it toward the riots in L.A., the storms in Miami, in Hawaii, the volcanoes, the earthquakes.
“I believe Bill Clinton is even more of a globalist than Bush. I think it means a loss of the United States as a separate nation, and our Constitution will eventually come under the U.N. charter. Maybe there are enough people in Idaho who think we ought to maintain our identity. If there aren’t it doesn’t make any difference. We’ll have a Neighborhood Watch program if we have to. Meaning if there’s only five of us, we’ll say, ‘Look, we’re not going to hurt anybody, but don’t you come in here and tread on us.’
“Eventually, people may have to relocate if they want to do that, and that’s the third phase. I think there could even be a fourth phase, and that’s a defense phase. I can see a time when we may have to circle our wagons, so to speak, in order to say, ‘Look, if you want to come in and take our Constitutional rights, you can try, but we’re going to defend what is ours.’ ”
Does Bo Gritz think there will be a showdown with the Godless New World Order?
“I think it will come to the point. It’s biblical. That’s why I say if you count prophecy in Revelation with what they’re doing today, then I’m an Identity Christian because I think we’re going to see a literal Mark of the Beast. I think it’ll be a part of the globalist cashless system. I was on a radio program the other day, and a lady came on and says, ‘Sounds awfully complicated for people who believe like you.’ And I said, ‘Yes, ma’am, it’s not going to be easy.’ And she says, ‘Does it mean if you don’t have a mark, you have to have gold or silver?’ I said, ‘Yes, ma’am, we’ll be bartering.’ She says, ‘You know, it just sounds so easy for me. I’ll have this mark, I’ll go down to the grocery store. I don’t have to carry money. I don’t have to do my income tax. Anything I need, it’s right there. This sounds wonderful.’ I said, ‘Yes, ma’am, unless you are a Bible believer or a Christian.’ Nobody said it’s going to be easy. But if you do read Revelation, you will see that if you accept this system that the smoke of your torment rises forever.”
Before the Idaho gubernatorial campaign, Gritz will be touring the States with his day-long SPIKE preparedness seminars (“Specially Prepared Individuals for Key Events”). “America is in peril. Within five years, it’s just mathematics, we’re going to come to the point where it’s impossible to pay the bills.
“We’re going to teach land navigation, map and compass. We’re going to teach emergency medical; don’t try to call 911 when it’s busy with riots. Homestead Air Force base is taking care of its own butt. We’re going to teach general preparedness, everything from getting a trust to protect your finances to securing a zone in your home so that if the police get the ‘wrong’ address you may not be hit by ammunition.”
Mary Snyder, the Gritz Granny, standing in front of the Star of India tells me, “Bo used to be rah-rah-rah, get things done with blood and violence, but he doesn’t believe that anymore. But,” she adds, “it may take violence to change things.”