Militia Leader Talks

Bo Gritz Interrogated by Adam Parfrey

The above article appeared in
New Dawn No. 30 (May-June 1995)

One does not converse with Bo Gritz; like Moses or some ancient lawgiver, information flows out in one direction, garrulously, entertainingly, but in a fashion that seems almost rehearsed. Meeting Gritz is like greeting the incarnation of Jake LaMotta, a former warrior who now must entertain to make a living.

The following interview was conducted shortly in February, 1993, at Gritz's suburban-style ranch home in a sparsely-populated canyon one hour's drive West from Los Vegas. Parked in front of his house is a twin-engine Cessna; his other plane was undergoing repair in San Diego. Gritz was winding down from the 1992 Presidential Campaign, in which he garnered over 100,000 write-in votes despite seemingly suicidal decisions, such as refusing to appear on Larry King's television program - the same show that launched Ross Perot - because Gritz didn't want to disappoint supporters at a Liberty Lobby luncheon.

Gritz's campaign contrasted his Vietnam War heroics to give credence to his anti-Federal Government diatribes, in which he accused the CIA of acting in concert with Pentagon officials for peddling dope for money and influence. He likewise blamed high officials for deliberately sabotaging several Rambo-like rescues of MIAs. These revelations apparently turned Gritz into an anti-government activist, and he shared his information with the Christic Institute and other liberal watchdog groups.

After becoming a sort of folk hero in Idaho by talking Christian Identity believer Randy Weaver into peacefully surrendering to authorities after federal snipers killed his wife and son, Gritz decided to create a community named "Almost Heaven" near Kamiah, Idaho, in which like-minded patriots would construct homes and practice survival techniques, including preparation for government invasions. Needless to say, leftist activists, government authorities and the mass media are quick to condemn Gritz's community as a haven for apocalyptic cultists, another Waco waiting to happen. Gritz asserts that his community will strictly observe the Constitution, and is a logical defense against taking on the mark of the beast and other such impositions created by the New World Order.

--- Adam Parfrey

Italicised text is Parfrey's questions.
Normal text is Gritz's answers.

What was your larger purpose in writing Called to Serve?

It's not what we did in Vietnam that's important - there were some lessons to be learned so we don't repeat them. But the fact that the government has been involved in illegal narcotics trafficking, literally overdosing our own people, not third world target audiences, as we would expect, I think is important. If I can get people to understand it better and accept it better by trying to take them from how I got involved in Special Forces to current time then so be it.

As an insider or former insider, what precipitated your decision to criticize the government?

One is common sense, consciousness. On the far right you find people like Dick Secord. I know Richard Secord. He was a Major-General in the United States Air Force. He was a chief attache and knew the Shah of Iran personally. I worked for Secord's boss, Erich von Marbod, who still hasn't been uncovered, except when Ed Wilson was determined to have been a person selling tons of explosives to Qadhafi, and identified both Secord and von Marbod as conspirators along with Ollie North, everyone got the axe except North. Von Marbod had to resign his super government position; Secord had to give up being a General. But it didn't mean they gave up the business. You have General Secord, who has on public record. Playboy magazine, for example, said he deserved the $8 million dollars he made in selling the Ayatollah Khomeini missiles, for all his hard work. Before the US Senate, you have Dick Secord saying he was in business to make money when he was helping the Contras. Senator Kerry from Massachusetts asked the question, "I thought you were administered to help the Contra?!" He said, "Well, couldn't I have two purposes?"

On the other hand you have - I would cast myself - we do not sell our services. Our services are not for sale, they are given freely for what the motto Special Forces is. We Liberate the Oppressed. De Oppresso Liber. I have, but not with the same mercenary intent as Secord, accepted money on contract work for the CIA. For example, I trained Afghan Mujahadeen. The checks we received were from Stanford Technology. I didn't have any idea at the time that Stanford Technology was hooked up with Albert Hakim, Ollie North, Dick Secord or any of the rest of them.

These checks come to you, you cash them. I was asked to do the training by a trusted person in the State Department working for the Undersecretary of State for Security Assistance. When I was a commander for special forces in Latin America I knew Manuel Antonio Nor-iega personally. I was knowledgeable about Operation Watchtower. My best friend, A.J. Baker, commanded the first Watchtower miss-ion, which was CIA aircraft flying [cocaine from Bolivia to Alford Air Force Base in Panama]. Everyone associated has been killed except myself. I'm 240 pounds, I've got a 6th degree black belt. I've rained hair-covered knuckles down upon people and would do so again, properly provoked. People aren't disposed to give me threats face-to-face. But the only I guess you could call it a threat has been a telephone call wherein the person said the Israeli Mossad had figured in the death of three Special Forces Colonels. There were four who had knowledge of Watchtower, and I was the last. But nothing has ever happened [to me]. Some, what I believe to be today, partial to, but not real white supremacist, out in the Midwest, called me a couple of times to say, "Bo, watch out, the Israeli Mossad has got an assassination plan for you." How in the world would this guy know? I worked with the Mossad, I know them a little bit. There's no way that somebody outside would know what the inside was doing. I'm still alive, so obviously I haven't been targeted well if I've been targeted at all.

Was the threatening phone call from a friendly source?

Well, that one phone call was just from an unknown source. We'd call them F-6 in the intelligence vernacular, it's undeterminable. The point is that I had personal knowledge of CIA drug-trafficking. Not just in Panama. I had when I was a commander on Special Forces in Southeast Asia. Francis Ford Coppola, in 1975 sent me a letter. I was a commander of Special Forces Latin America. He wanted to use the photograph in General William C. Westmoreland's book [A Soldier Reports] showing me with Nurse Toi kneeling in front of a lot of really mean-looking Cambodian mercenaries as the headliner for his new movie Apocalypse Now. Colonel Kurtz was commanding a Cambodian army and I was Major Gritz, and I did command a Cambodian army. Matter of fact I was the first to do so.

At that time we had knowledge that the CIA was trafficking in illegal narcotics using Air America, which we over there had our own name for. We called it Air Opium. It doesn't mean that the pilots weren't brave people and did a lot of heroic things, because they did.

But those flying pigs and rice, and there was a lot of that, they weren't doing it on their own initiative, this was the government that was mixing the pigs and rice with loads of opium. As a matter of fact I was surprised and pleased to see the movie Air America finally come out because it showed for maybe the only time in history where the Pepsi Cola plant was set up in Laos, not to put mom and pop bottling companies out of business but rather to do the rather more sophisticated steps of taking opium and morphine into number four Asian [heroin] hell. Richard Nixon is the person who set [the Pepsi Cola plant] up when he lost the election to Jack Kennedy. I hate to say it, I actually voted for Nixon; Lieutenants can be forgiven of ignorances like that, I would hope. I thought that Nixon had more experience, it wasn't that Kennedy was a Catholic. After he lost, he became a director in the Pepsi Cola bottling company. I think there was a direct relationship between Pepsi Cola and the Bay of Pigs. That wasn't Kennedy's show, that was Richard Nixon's show.

I wasn't on my own going into Burma. [Gritz was asked by the Reagan White House to confirm rumors that Golden Triangle Khun Sa was holding American prisoners of war.] George Bush's office asked me to do that. H. Ross Perot was there when it happened. I found again that US government officials were still doing [dealing drugs]. I went to Nicaragua at the invitation of the State Department to look into some special weapons programs during the Contra situation. Again, here you have illegal narcotics being used to fund what the CIA thinks is right but yet what Congress says is wrong. The American people don't get a chance to vote because it is kept under the leaves, and, of course, crime pays when the President happens to be one of the chief criminals. We've got Bush now who has as of Christmas exonerated, forgiven and pardoned all the Iran-Contra people. Why? Not because he's Santa Claus but because he himself could very well be implicated, and should be. So that's fait accompli now. But what isn't completed is the government, the bureaucracy, the mechanics who do the wet work, they never change.

The only thing I did see change was when Jimmy Carter took over as President. He appointed Stansfield Turner head of CIA. Turner immediately fired Manuel Antonio Noriega, saying I won't have a drug smuggler on the payroll of the CIA. While we laughed a lot because Jimmy Carter had none of the organization of Richard Nixon, yet the remarkable thing is that the drug smuggling under Jimmy Carter came almost to a halt. And that to me was remarkable. With all his failings, Billy Beer and loans for Libya, the fact is Jimmy did one thing right, he brought Stansfield Turner in and Stansfield cleaned house for the CIA. It hasn't been the same since.

How could Jimmy Carter do something that perhaps J.F.K. may have been assassinated for?

Who knows? Jimmy Carter was an insider. He was part of Rockefeller's newly-formed Trilateral Commission in 1973. He was an insider. The answer to that is very strange. When you look at Nixon for example, why would they run him out of office? Boy, you really got to be deep on the inside to understand a lot of those things. Why could Jimmy Carter get away with cleaning up a little bit of government? It's still a basic mystery to me, but I just noticed, it was like the blind man feeling the elephant, from my point of view, all of a sudden the government got better, and that was a paradox under the Democrats. The government got better under Jimmy Carter.

You speak much about your warrior ethic and nationalistic ethic in the pages of your autobiography. Is it from that standpoint that you were disillusioned by government drug running?

Yes. Remember my comparison with Secord and myself. I think Secord's a mercenary. The guy would sell his mother if he could make a buck. On the other hand 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. And so I believe that my warrior ethic is going to put me in far better stead, if there is a God, than Secord and his cash register ethics. Some day when I prepare to meet my maker, and I'm a Christian, I have to answer for everything I've done.

Something had saved me when I came back from Vietnam. I went to the top of a mountain in Northern Mexico. I had one bullet in my 9 millimeter. 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? Because I had been an officer in charge of operations wherein people had died innocently. Villages had died because of the Mac-V rules of engagement that allowed bombardment and some of the things that I talked about in my book. The fact is that, in searching back over all of my time there, there was never once I took a life just because I had the power. And I think that was very important. Like the policeman, if you take life and you do it needlessly, then I think you're going to have to account. But if you take life and do it in the course of duty, and it is not in a selfish point of view, then I think it's a different case. That kind of wrongful death is excusable.

What was the epiphany, the turning point for you in going against the corrupt government?

The real turning point I think, the real shock I had was when I came out of Burma in 1987 there was a phone call waiting for me. We were in a safe house in Minister's quadrangle of Bangkok, Thailand. A Major Chuck Johnson was listening in; never take phone calls unless we're on a mission, for this very reason. Two state department agents that had gone to a friend of mine, Joe Felter, a former CEO of Wedtech, and he relayed their message when he said to me, "Bo, you must erase and forget everything that you've learned in the Golden Triangle. If you don't you're going to hurt the government."

Well, Joe was trying to keep me from being killed. He said, "Bo, you've got to get on the first thing smoking out of there, you've got to bring everything you got back here to the apartment," which was a safe house we've got, and I said, "Who's going to be there?" He said, "just Tom Harvey and myself." Tom Harvey was our White House National Security Council contact, and the person I first turned [Khun Sa] videotapes over to just before Christmas the year before. Suddenly I found myself not just in the shadows struggling against some unseen bureaucratic enemy - we always had that. We never had the money we needed to do the mission, we always had to scrounge and work on our own. That's what causes a lot of this drug trafficking, by the way. You get an enthusiastic CIA operative who like Ollie North is going to do the job. But they can't give him the money. And so they say, "Don't tell us how you do it. Just do it." Then you have all these druggies already in place, this is what Special Forces was trained to do. Don't go out and reinvent the wheel. You already have organised crime, do you not, that is highly successful against what? The very thing you are trying to avoid, the authorities, in this case. So you use them, and they're more than happy to pay the bill for the guns as long as the planes come back full and don't just dead-head back into Homestead Air Force Base.

So I found myself not in the shadows, but found myself out in the open, not in verbal judo but in real terms, where the government, my government, was saying, "You erase and you forget or we're going to bury you." What do you do? Well, as an officer I've taken orders all my life since I was a cadet at fourteen-years-old. I had been conditioned to take orders. But being in Special Forces helped me because we are a different army, we march to a different drummer. Oftimes there is no one to give us orders. We are given a mission and are left alone and it may be years later until on our own we are able to accomplish that mission. It allowed me to become more self-reliant, more independent in my own thought than just blindly following some staff puke in Washington. D.C. Had I been a West Point officer, I probably would have clicked my heels, because that's like Tom Harvey, and I would have marched in their direction. But instead it made me angry. Here we had an opportunity to clear up some government bureaucracy that was obviously corrupt. And yet the White House was not just dragging its feet but they were threatening me. They came down real hard because they were desperate.

So it's not just renegade agents but orders from up on top?

Listen, there are a lot of things I know now that weren't in my mind at that time. Tom Harvey and Richard Armitage are close friends. Richard Armitage was the Assistant Secretary of Defense. George Bush appointed him Assistant Secretary of State and then Secretary of the Army, but he was close friends with Harvey, they used to lift weights all the time at the Pentagon Officers' Athletic Club. I betcha this happened. When I brought those videotapes in, it was natural that Harvey probably called Dick Armitage, who was responsible for recovery of POWs, over to his office. When Khun Sa said he was going to reveal the U.S. officials, and if it was true Armitage was involved, jeez, Armitage was probably dripping in his knickers. This would have frightened him. Who authorized Armitage to do this? Again, Armitage and von Marbod - it all comes back to a nice, tight little circle. These guys didn't do it on their own initiative. And so when you go way back and look at Nixon and Armitage and von Marbod, where did they all come together? In 1973 we got out with honor under with Nixon before he got run out with Watergate, but then in 1975, even though we didn't have Tricky Dick anymore, we had the same bureaucracy. Now you had Armitage and von Marbod over in Vietnam taking out all the classified and all the very valuable weapons systems. Armitage took his to the Philippines and von Marbod took a lot of his into Thailand. These were cashed. Now what were they cashed for? Because the guerrilla cannot eat money, they can't put it down the barrel of a gun, they want stuff they can use. And so did we ever stop the war in Vietnam? We didn't. We didn't have any money, but that didn't make any difference as long as we had guns and the wherewithal. To keep this engine going takes some fuel. Money is the fuel. And of course, dope is money.

And then you had guns. What they had on their side, in the hills, they had the dope. We didn't want to make this a one-way trip, because if Armitage and von Marbod had just given them the guns that they had cached from the Vietnam war, then they might have not been able to replace them. Eventually they would have run out. So what they did then, I believe - it's good business practice, like Secord has said - we said, "You give us the dope and we'll give you the guns," and the dope is transferred into money. Where did the Contras get their guns from? They got them ultimately from the Israelis. The Israelis captured massive amounts of arms from the Yom Kippur War and the Six Day War, and they were selling these guns - plus the Israelis could arm them through the communist block, where we couldn't. And so we were dealing through the Mossad to dealing weapons to the Contras. But drugs seems to be a denominator. It allows for re-supply, so it doesn't run out.

You trained Special Forces that went into Jonestown? What was the precise nature of the operation?

I don't know precisely because it was a compartmentalized operation. The only thing that I do know for certain is what the Sergeant I quote coming out of Jonestown, he was insistent because he was disgusted, on writing this book. He was, without compromise, going to call it 'All the Niggers Are Dead'. I asked him, "Why would you want to entitle anything such an offensive way?" He said, "It doesn't make a difference what your color, your creed, your sex," he said, "when you are treated the way they were, that's what you are, you're a nigger, you're nothing else." I think that those soldiers saw things that affected them and made them very angry. I've seen other things like that in combat where there have been abuses. I wrote about one of them in my book where the Captain tortured the young girl severely and the young Sergeant put on a swastika and said "If I'm going to act like a Nazi I'm going to look like one." I think that the same kind of negative impact occurred in Jonestown. A few weeks ago there was a report out of Montreal about people winning cases against the CIA because they were utterly abused in the mental health clinic that was set up by the CIA in Canada. That all came down under Allen Dulles tried to make a Manchurian Candidate. I think the Jonestown incident was an extension of In Search of the Manchurian Candidate, I think those people were conditioned to act in certain ways and would have probably just moved from Montreal to Guyana, in this case. You look at Jim Jones' background carefully, he had a lot of intelligence contact there for doing exactly what he did.

Did it go haywire?

Of course it went haywire. God be praised, just like the Montreal Health Institute, it self-destructs because it's not good in its essence. Most of these folks involved were street people, so they didn't have people who knew where they were or were concerned about their well-being. It escalated once they killed congressman Leo J. Ryan; basically, they had no other way to go, so they just tried to self-destruct the whole mission. And that means the death of hundreds of people. As I point out in the book, the medical examiner there made some startling statements, and we wouldn't even allow the bodies to be properly examined when they were brought back in to the East Coast and turned in. So obviously it was a cover-up. Jonestown I think was an extension of Mk-Ultra from the CIA and there are probably other experiments going on.

Were Special Forces down there as it went haywire?

No, I think the Special Forces units were pulled together as an exterminator after it had reached a point where they had to destroy the evidence. Those teams were called on many times. We had what we called Disaster Area survey teams. They were put together and designed and to leave on a moment's notice. If you had an earthquake, and there were many of them in Managua, Nicaragua, Guatemala, you instantly dispatch those teams. Special Forces teams were trained to go into these areas and to be dropped in by helicopter, rappel if needs be, or parachute, and work their way back and make surveys. In this case instead of surveying for physical, meaning nature's, damage, they were surveying for human presence and mop up any that might have escaped.

Allen Dulles is dead, but that doesn't mean that the idea of controlling people's minds and behavior is dead, and I still think that is a goal. And when you look at what I believe is a tilt for Global Government you see where that would be even more intensified now. We had gas, for example, this was way back in the late 50s, early 60s, we had gas that you could use that could completely change people's desire to fight or to flee. The army's chemical-biological warfare research labs, I think that kind of stuff still goes on. They have to have human guinea pigs to practice on because animals other than human do not produce the kind of comprehensive results that they need. So when it comes down to human behavior, they probably take street people. There are kids missing off the streets of America every year. Some of them may end up being sold for body parts down in Guadalajara, Mexico, and a few other places for rich people who don't want to wait in line for organ transplants. And some of them undoubtedly end up in Satanic rituals. But many of these ritualistic abuses may really be governmental operations. I think MK-Ultra exists today.

The foregoing 'interview' is abridged from a much more comprehensive piece, with commentary, that appears in Adam Parfrey's book Cult Rapture. Mr. Parfrey's interview should in no way be construed as an endorsement of Bo Gritz or any of his theories. For further information on Cult Rapture write to the publisher, Feral House, PO Box 3466, Portland, Oregon 97208-3466, USA. Web Site: