A BAC 111 aircraft, which had been reconfigured to carry a sufficient amount of fuel to travel 3,600 miles, left Andrews Air Force Base in the late afternoon of October 19, 1980. The aircraft's destination: Paris, France. The Passengers aboard the aircraft included the command pilot U.S. Navy Captain Gunther Russbacher, Richard Brenneke and Heinrick Rupp, on the flight deck; and in the cabin was William Casey, soon to be the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency; Donald Greggs, soon to be the ambassador to South Korea; and George Bush, the future Vice President and President of the United States and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency. There were also Secret Service agents aboard the aircraft.
This is the weekend - three weeks before the November 1980 Presidential Election, that Bush has claimed he spent at Andrews Air Force Base.
Testifying to this flight is Russbacher, the pilot. The Navy pilot is currently at Terminal Island, a federal prison, awaiting an appeal on a charge of misuse and misappropriation of government properties, misuse of government jets, and misuse of government purchase orders for purchase of fuel. He was also a member of the Office of Naval Intelligence and worked with the Central Intelligence Agency. Russbacher's alias is Robert A. Walker. Russbacher now becomes the second crew member of that flight to testify to this clandestine episode that may have changed the politics of this nation and which has been labeled the "October Surprise". Brenneke was upheld by a Federal jury when he testified about the flight. After his testimony he was charged by the Federal Government with perjury, but a Federal jury acquitted him upholding his testimony that the flight actually took place. The trial was held in Portland, Oregon last year.
Russbacher, in an exclusive interview, states that Bush stayed at the Hotel Crillion in Paris. Russbacher has stated that more than one flight was involved, but that this was the initial flight at which time an agreement was made between Bush and Casey and the Government of Iran to delay the release of American hostages in Iran until after the November 1980 election. Former President Jimmy Carter and several Congressmen are now asking for an investigation into the "October Surprise".
According to Russbacher statements, Bush stayed only a couple of hours. He attended a meeting at the Hotel Crillion and at the Hotel George V. Russbacher, Brenneke, and Rupp stayed at the Hotel Florida. Bush did not return on the same BAC 111 aircraft or return with some of the people he had flown with to Paris, but instead Russbacher flew him back in the SR71. The aircraft was refueled about 1800 to 1900 nautical miles into the Atlantic by a KCl35.
The returning flight with Bush landed at McGuire Air Force base at approximately 2 a.m. on October 20. Russbacher states that Bush, while in Paris, met with Hashemi Rafsanjani, the second in command to the Ayatollah and now the president of Iran, and Adnan Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian businessman who was extremely powerful. Arrangements were apparently made to pay Iran $40 million to delay the release of hostages in order to thwart President Jimmy Carter's re-election bid. The $40 million was the beginning of terms that created the Iran-Contra scandal that is now being reopened by Congress.
Russbacher is concerned for his life, but feels that the other pilots will now come forward in a new Congressional investigation. He indicates that there is a growing division within the Central Intelligence Agency. “There is no one higher than the CIA, but there are groups within the company (term used by insiders for the CIA) that are very, very strong. And the group or clique that I belonged to, in my opinion, was probably the strongest but there are other factions that are at war with themselves,” Russbacher states."You have these groups that are answerable to no one. Well, they are answerable to one man, on top, and he doesn't seem to care how the problems are resolved, just as long as they are taken care of." The man Russbacher is referring to is President Bush.
On the eve of an announcement of a Congressional investigation into the “October Surprise”, Russbacher was to have taken a helicopter trip with Navy Intelligence officers, but he did not take the trip. The helicopter carrying several Naval Intelligence officers was reported to have crashed near or on Fort Ord in California. Russbacher, who was willing to tape this interview, states that had he been on the helicopter he would be dead right now. In fact, because of that crash, Russbacher wanted this interview taped for safety reasons.
He believes that the other aircrew members are in danger, as well, but feels that they are ready to come forward and testify, as did Brenneke last year.
The thread is unwinding and the deeds and misdeeds of high U.S. Government officials are beginning to surface. But why has so much information concerning George Bush's trip to Paris, the Iran-Contra scandal, the growing INSLAW scandal all suddenly surfaced?
There have been too many double crosses involving the Central Intelligence Agency and Bush - international double crosses. At the heart of the problem are three nations, Iran, Iraq and Israel. The Bush Administration has been pushing a pro-Arab stance at the cost of Israel. In fact, according to court documents, the United States supported the manufacturing of chemical weapons by Iraq as a counterforce against Israel in the Middle East. The Bush Administration links to oil favored a more pro-Arab stand.
It began in early 1980, when pollsters for presidential candidate Ronald Reagan reported that if President Jimmy Carter was able to obtain freedom for 52 American hostages held in Iran, he would win the election. The Carter Administration was in negotiations with Iran at the time and a release looked promising. The Reagan-Bush campaign was wary of a possible "October Surprise" by the Carter Administration that would result in the early release of the American hostages. Actually, the Iranian government was tired of the hostage issue and wanted to have an early release. They were bickering over release of frozen assets or military replacement parts to support their squadrons of American fighters. At the same time, Iraq was threatening war against Iran. Carter also considered the possibility of a second rescue attempt, but American officials leaked that information to the Iranian government and they dispersed the hostages to many different locations.
Concerned with the possible election turnaround, officials of the Reagan-Bush campaign, notably John McFarland and William Casey, held meetings in Washington, D.C. at the Mayflower Hotel and in Madrid, Spain with representatives of the Iranian government. The concept of an arms-for-hostages deal was consummated. According to Israeli testimony, the Iranians were ready in September 1980 to release the hostages, but the Republican contingent did not want release until after the November 1980 elections. The meeting in Spain were sufficiently productive to warrant a final meeting in Paris between October 18 and October 22. It was at this meeting that agreement was reached on the hostage question and a payment of $40 million was made to the Iranian government through a Luxembourg bank.
Two pilots have now stated that Casey, Donald Gregg, who worked for the CIA under Bush, and Bush attended the meeting. They were flown out of Andrews Air Force Base late in the afternoon of October 19, 1980 Bush was returned, according to Navy pilot Captain Gunther Russbacher, after a few hours in Paris. Russbacher states he flew the SR71, the Blackbird, from Paris to McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, arriving on October 20. Refueling was done 1800 to 1900 nautical miles over the Atlantic by a KC135.
Strangely enough, Bush made no public appearances during that time, three week's before the election, and has yet to prove where he was during the "missing" 21 hours. According to the pilot, Bush only stayed a few hours in Paris and was flown back to the United States. On October 21, the Iranians changed their entire negotiating position with the Carter Administration, the results of a completed deal with the Republicans.
The Israelis were the go-betweens, helping to establish the links between the Reagan-Bush people and the Iranians. The Israelis were used to ferry equipment to Iran, and in one case, an Argentine aircraft was shot down by the Soviet Union in Russian airspace. The aircraft, flown by Israelis, was carrying U.S. military equipment to Iran. Much of the equipment shipped to Iran, began weeks after Reagan took office, was stripped from NATO units in Europe and not from U.S. bases within the United States. The U.S. did not have a sufficient stockpile of arms in the country and resorted to taking weapons from the Reforger stockpile. Reforger was a massive military exercise (war game) staged in Europe with all NATO participating.
But once the Reagan-Bush team came to power, Bush began to push a pro-Arab position within the government, or, in essence, a pro-oil position. This irritated the Israelis and they felt the United States was beginning to betray them. Israel made a deal with the Soviet Union for closer relationships and also sought more Soviet Jews for immigration, thus keeping the Lukid Party in power. Israeli agents are the ones who broke the story of the Iran-Contra scandal in a Lebonese newspaper, as a retaliation against Bush. It is also the Israelis who witnessed arms deals, including the transfer of INSLAW's PROMIS software, in a Chilian meeting. The same names, Dr. Earl Brian and Donald Greggs come up in those testimonies.
The U.S. had also selected Iraq as the stabilizing or balancing Arab force in the Middle East. Israel and Iraq had a good working relationship, as did Iran and Israel. The U.S. also assisted in building up Iraq's chemical warfare base as a counter to Israeli military might. But Saddam Hussein began to show that he was not going to "follow orders" and thus the scenario of the recent Iraqi war unwound. But the U.S. does not want Hussein out of power.
Iran, in the meantime, is anti-Arab and anti-Jew, but has made accommodations with both segments of the Middle East.
Hostage deal, Inslaw cases connected in Congressional probe
Copyright, Napa Sentinel 1991
The code word for George Bush in Iran is Bosch Batteries - a name used often when the United States was clandestinely engaged in illegal arms shipments to Iran. It was also used to herald his brief presence in Paris on October 19, 1980. Though the President denies that he ever went to Paris to make arrangements for the detention of 52 American hostages until after the U.S. elections in November 1980, more testimony is coming forth from people who claim to have been there and were part of the sophisticated plot.
Navy Captain Gunther Russbacher broke "radio silence" last week in an exclusive Sentinel article which has been picked up by some newspapers and news services, and national radio. Russbacher, who is in Terminal Island awaiting an appeal on charges of misuse and misappropriation of government properties, misuse of government jets, and misuse of government purchase orders to purchase fuel. These charges stem from his position with the U.S. Navy Intelligence and a CIA mission involving a government Lear Jet. Despite his imprisonment, he has continual contact with Naval Intelligence. Russbacher's intelligence background coincides with his story. He says he piloted the BAC-111 that flew Bush, William Casey and Donald Gregg to Paris to meet with Iranian officials to arrange a $40 million transaction and arms shipments to Iran in exchange for delay of any hostage release prior to the election. Russbacher also stated that he flew Bush back to McGuire Air Force Base hours later in the SR71, the Blackbird.
But Russbacher is not the only one to come out of the woodwork to claim Bush went to Paris. From a jail cell in Tacoma, Washington, former CIA operative Michael Riconoscuito, told Congressional investigators that he was the man who transferred the $40 million to a Luxembourg Bank. Why is Riconoscuito in jail? Early this year he signed an affidavit testifying that the U.S. Justice Department did reconfigure INSLAW's PROMIS software to be used by the CIA and Dr. Earl Brian, a very close associate of former Attorney General Edwin Meese, and also a former cabinet member of Ronald Reagan's California cabinet. He claims in the affidavit that members of the U.S. Department of Justice warned him that if he testified before the House Judiciary Committee investigating the theft of the sensitive PROMIS software, that he would be arrested. Within a week of his affidavit, and after it was published in the St. Louis Post Dispatch and The Napa Sentinel, he was arrested by Drug Enforcement agents in the state of Washington and held without bail. Most of his records have been seized. According to Riconoscuito, the theft of the PROMIS software grew out of a need to obtain funds to reward Dr. Brian for his work in arranging the hostage agreement. Among other things, Dr. Brian also owns United Press International.
Richard Brenneke, an international arms dealer and former CIA operative and pilot for Air America, testified before a Federal Court that he took part in the Paris flight. The Federal Government tried Brenneke for perjury, attempting to disprove his claims. A jury acquitted Brenneke of the charges. At the trial, former CIA agent and now South Korean Ambassador Donald Gregg who both Brenneke and Russbacher claim to have participated in the 1980 Paris meeting, said he was never in Paris for the alleged meeting. However, he presented testimony to the court that he and his wife were at Rahoboth Beach in Delaware on the date of the Paris meeting. He produced photographs of his family on the sunny beach. But an expert technical witness said the cloud formations in the photograph could not have been recorded over that beach at the time, the weather was far from sunny that day. Gregg was brought into the CIA while George Bush was its director under the Richard Nixon administration. Gregg is believed to have been one of several moles within the CIA under President Jimmy Carter that staged the "October Surprise" in an effort to defeat Carter's re-election bid.
Also, Gary Sick, an Iranian expert of Carter's National Security council, has outlined the history, actions and interactions, of the "October Surprise". Barbara Honegger, a former Reagan White House aide, has written a book called "October Surprise" in which she details the meetings prior to and in Paris, the names of people who attended and the results of those meeting that Bush said he never attended. Aboihassan Bani-Sadr, who was president of Iran when the hostages were being held, is coming to the United States to promote his book, "My Turn to Speak". It also contains the same general allegations that the Reagan-Bush team paid to block the release of 52 American hostages in order to assure victory at the polls.
Bush has released copies of his 1980 campaign schedule, but there is about an 21 hour gap (Nixon's Watergate tape had an 18 minute gap) in his whereabouts. The trip to and from Paris involved about that amount of time.
Copyright Napa Sentinel, 1991
Before the revelations about the October Surprise, in which George Bush is alleged to have flown to Paris in 1980 to delay release of 52 American hostages from Iran, the American public almost learned the truth. In the first years of the Ronald Reagan Administration a small tempest was created over the Reagan campaign camp allegedly obtaining President Jimmy Carter's briefing book to be used as debate notes. The national new media was unsuccessful in arousing public attention to the situation. Even John Stockwell, a former CIA operative, boasted on the air that Reagan would win the election because of "filched material".
But that episode, as small as it appeared, was only the surface of an iceberg. Actually, the media had focussed on the wrong problem. The Reagan-Bush campaign drew a lot of information from the Carter White House during the 1980 election campaign. The Reagan-Bush campaign was so worried that President Carter might do something to obtain the release of the hostages before the election, that William Casey, with the involvement of people active in the Former Intelligence Officer's Association, systematically set up spy networks in the White House, itself. Key members of the CIA from Bush's tenure as director, were left in place-though President Carter had been warned to purge the CIA of Bush and Nixon men. Several moles within the White House and the National Security Council reported directly to Casey, who in turn reported to Reagan and Bush, but mainly Bush. Reagan was not totally informed of all the details.
One of the pieces of information that the moles inside the White House learned was that Carter had planned a rescue mission, a mission that ended in a desert disaster. According to several books and the San Jose Mercury News, among others, three retired Air Force officers, who were overseers to the Contras, also planned the desert rescue operation. The same people involved in the Iran-Contra scandal, which grew out of the alleged October 1980 deal in Paris made between the Reagan-Bush team and the Iranians, were tied into the rescue mission. Reports that have surfaced from the intelligence community indicate that the rescue attempt may have been sabotaged. Eight American servicemen died in the fiasco. The Iranians were also informed of the rescue attempt through the moles at the White House. The Director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Association of Former Intelligence Officers, Stephen Halper, had "far reaching access to the most sensitive materials". Richard Allen, to become Reagan's National Security Advisor and later disgraced, was circulating the day-to-day memos of President Carter. The CIA had virtually vetoed Carter's first choice for CIA chief and successfully pushed for the appointment of Stansfield Turner. Turner is believed to have played a key role in the October Surprise. He believed he would be reappointed .
CIA head under the new Reagan Administration.
The future of American politics, the Iran-Contra deals, arms for drugs shipments, and even the war in Iraq, all had their embryo in the 1980 election campaign. Close to the election, Reagan's own pollsters showed the election was too close to call. Richard Wirthlin, the pollster for the Reagan-Bush campaign, said that if the hostages were released before the election Carter would gain a boost of 5 or 6 percentage points in the polls, or even as much as 10 percent, giving him a sure victory for that election?
(Fourth in a series)
Navy Captain Gunther Russbacher, who worked with Naval Intelligence and the Central intelligence Agency, received a phone call at his home in St. Louis, in mid-October 1980. He was told to meet a TWA flight and take it to Washington, D.C. From there he was met by a car and brought to the Base Hospital at Andrews Air Force Base. At 1900 hours (7 p.m.) he was greeted by two military personnel in flight suits, handed flight papers and boarded a BAC-111 aircraft. Destination? Paris. Purpose of the mission? Unknown at the time.
Richard Brenneke was doing a preflight check when Russbacher closed the cockpit door. He had no knowledge of who else was aboard the aircraft. Brenneke has already testified that he was on the aircraft and his testimony was held up by a federal jury. Russbacher testifies that he did not look into the passenger cabin until he was over the Atlantic. The aircraft refueled at Newfoundland. There was also an Air Force officer aboard, according to Russbacher. It landed at Le Bourget Airport near Paris.
Who did Russbacher see in the cabin?
The pilots and crew checked into the Hotel Florida and within three hours Russbacher was called back to duty. He was to fly Bush back in the SR-71, the CIA's Blackbird, from a French Air Force Base to Dover Air Force Base. But because of security leaks in Paris, the aircraft was diverted to McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey. The flight of the Blackbird took one hour and 14-1/2 minutes, being refueled 1800 nautical miles over the Atlantic.
The SR-17 model was the YF12 A, a two-seater. According to Russbacher, Bush had few words to say on the return flight. The pilot stated, "Hold on, we're going out." Bush is reported to have replied, "It's a fast ride." Bush is a former Navy pilot. Bush was met at McGuire by an Air Force colonel who later became a four-star general.
Brenneke was the first crew member to reveal the trip to Paris and much has been done to discredit him. At his perjury trial, Brenneke's defense shot holes through Donald Gregg's testimony that he was not on the flight or in Paris. Gregg showed photographs of him and his wife on a sunny beach in Maryland, stating he was there and not in Paris. Weather experts testified that the weather conditions that day did not match the photograph. Gregg, who has been named by former National Security Advisor Gary Sick and former President Jimmy Carter, as a mole for Bush in the CIA, was a long-time CIA operative who has recently been appointed ambassador to South Korea.
A French intelligence memo does exist claiming that Bush did come to Paris in October 1980 and received French assistance. The meeting in Paris was to delay the release of 52 American hostages held by Iranian radicals. The Republicans sought to delay the release until after the elections in order to prevent President Jimmy Carter from winning the election should the hostages be released early. A total of $40 million was transferred from a Mexican account and Bush presented a draft of the transfer to the Iranians. Within six weeks after Ronald Reagan was inaugurated, covert shipments of arms were sent to Iran. When the shipments were discovered around 1985, it became known as the Iran-Contra scandal. But the origins of that scandal began in the flight to Paris. George Bush has never been able to account for this time and Secret Service memos about his whereabouts are also conflicting. Casey was never able to prove his whereabouts either. And Greggs' excuse was shot down in a court of law.
How do we know Russbacher is telling the truth? Obviously, his credibility is critical to the story. Russbacher is currently in a federal prison on Terminal Island near Long Beach. A nationwide search for records relating to Russbacher was undertaken by Tom Valentine of Radio Free America, The Napa Sentinel and other cooperative news media. The search included public records, classified information and information from highly reliable sources within the intelligence community.
Russbacher has been directly linked to both Rupp and Brenneke through the Hapsburg Trust, the Ottokar Trust and the Augsberg Trust. These trusts control billions of dollars and some of the funds were funnelled by Rupp to Aurora Bank, a failed Institution. Russbacher will not discuss the trust. Independent research has also discovered that Russbacher may be the "banker" for the CIA, its number three man. This means that he would have knowledge of various secret accounts the CIA is operating. The search also revealed that F.B.I. has a great interest in Russbacher because he could possibly lead them to monies siphoned off Savings and Loans institutions and funnelled into secret CIA accounts, and also used to finance gun and drug running.
CIA and intelligence figures made Russbacher sign a contract that he would not get married for two years, especially after a divorce from his wife, Peggy, an F.B.I. informant. Russbacher violated that contract and was married. Russbacher's wife, Rae, was told by an Army Intelligence Officer in San Francisco that she and Russbacher would have to separate. Within a few days after their marriage, Russbacher was arrested on several charges, held in jails for months at a time. Each of the charges were dropped and in every single case the criminal investigation files and court records were sealed, which is highly unusual. A fellow prisoner in Terminal Island, Ron Rewald, had the same problem. He was tried in a state court but the prosecutor came from the U.S. Justice Department. Rewald was not allowed to introduce evidence showing his CIA involvement and his records and court case are sealed. Michael Riconosciuto, another CIA operative, is currently sitting in a Pierce County, Washington jail. All his records have been seized and he is being held without bail, after testifying to CIA and Justice Department involvement in the INSLAW case.
Through a special arrangement, Rewald has met with Russbacher and was skeptical at first of Russbacher's background. But after future exchanges and the matching of names, dates and places, Rewald is certain Russbacher is who he claims to be. Rewald was involved in a covert CIA financial institution in Hawaii and had prominent Air Force generals and high ranking intelligence officers working in the firm.
The most damaging evidence against Russbacher's claim comes from Barbara Honegger, who wrote October Surprise several years ago. Honegger has been a long-time friend and associate of Rae Russbacher, who married Gunther about two years ago. Honegger has called several media people, including Valentine and the Sentinel to say that Russbacher is a "pathological liar". Honegger's work has been challenged by such people as Phillip Agee, a former CIA officer, and John Stockwell, a CIA agent. Honegger states that Russbacher is not who he appears to be, that he isn't in the Navy and that he has a criminal past. After further questioning, Honegger admits her entire information has come from a Modesto, CA. attorney named Mark Coleman, Russbacher's appointed public defender when the pilot was charged with misuse of a government aircraft and misuse of a government purchase order. The case was declared a mistrial and under threats of sending Rae Russbacher to prison for unauthorized access to a military base, Russbacher pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and is serving a short term in Terminal Island, with tremendous freedom within the institution. Honegger says that Brenneke denied knowing Russbacher.
Mark Coleman admits that Brenneke has admitted knowing Russbacher, but will no confirm times, places and dates. Coleman also admits, under heavy questioning, that he couldn't find anything to verify or deny Russbacher's background, including no employment records. An F.B.I. officer did testify at Russbacher's trial that Russbacher was doing work for them. Colman finally admits that the basis of his knowledge of Russbacher comes from Peggy Neil, Russbacher's ex-wife and F.B.I. informant.
A court record in Missouri shows that Russbacher pleaded guilty to four counts of investment fraud and was sentenced to 28 years in prison. The judge, reviewing a secret file at the trial, gave Russbacher full probation and allowed him to go to Hollywood to negotiate a movie call The Last Flight of the Blackbird. The prosecutor in the case, Mr. Zimmerman, was fired. The F.B.I. had also arrested Russbacher for kidnapping, his niece, and dropped the charges. He was arrested for impersonating a U.S. Attorney.
There has been a very swift campaign to immediately discredit Russbacher, a familiar pattern associated with Ricconosciuto, Rewald, Brenneke, and Anthony Motolese,, another CIA operative who blew the whistle. The swiftness of the discrediting campaign has been witnessed by both the Sentinel and Valentine. Moments after the two separately interviewed Coleman, the U.S. Attorney in Central California called to inquire about the interview. Honegger also called immediately, stating Coleman had told her about the calls. Why? The Russbacher case is closed, why the calls?
Honegger writes in her book, "I grew not only to like, but to love Ronald Reagan as an individual." She indicates that she did not publish her book until after Reagan left office because of her "love" for him. Yet in 1984, Honegger left the Reagan camp and campaigned for Jesse Jackson for President. Some specific references in Honegger's book to a former associate of the publisher if the Napa Sentinel are known to be seriously incorrect, because of first hand knowledge of that person's direct interrelationship to the incident cited.
Honegger's work, however, is excellent in some areas and she was the first to publicly expose the October Surprise. Her book, unfortunatley did not sell well.
The fact there is no history for Russbacher in a nation that tracks every detail of a person's movements through Social Security cards, and employment records, is not surprising. A high ranking CIA agent in St. Louis has verified certain aspects of Russbacher's story, and a senior U.S. Senator has also verified Russbacher as being "a very good man" and knows of the Hapsburg connection.
Russbacher had several code names, one being Gerhardt Mller, another Robert A. Walker and sometimes just Raven. He travelled on a Swiss passport and spent a lot of time in Europe on assignments. He logged 750 flight hours as the command pilot of the SR-71. He had some association with the USIS and MI66 intelligence units.
No one has verified Russbacher on the actual aircraft that allegedly flew George Bush to Paris, but the man and his history are recorded in the more secret annals of American records. Rae Russbacher had serious doubts about her husband, but she has close ties to the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, California. Her late husband was the dean of science there, and it was there in 1981 that she met Russbacher in a hallway, in full uniform, having a sword fight with a fellow Naval officer. The Intelligence Community opposed Russbacher's marriage to Rae because of her association with Honegger and her liberal political background, from the early Haight-Ashbury days in San Francisco, to her campaigns. Rae Russbacher was Gary Hart's Central California coordinator. Russbacher was to be "free" for two years. And in looking at the various times he was held in jail or on Terminal Island, it almost amounts to two years.
It is also reported, but not confirmed, that Russbacher has no difficulty leaving Terminal Island on Naval Intelligence business. Prison officials would not comment on that aspect, neither a denial or a confirmation.
Fifth in a Series
The SDECE, the French equivalent to the American CIA or Russian KGB, apparently monitored George Bush's trip to Paris in October 1980. The monitoring was done because French officials were also involved in the meetings with the Iranians, as were the Israelis. The trip is alleged to have been to delay the release of 52 American hostages held in Iran until after the November 1980 Presidential election.
The man who had the memo was Col. Alexandre de Marenches, head of French Intelligence or the SDECE. There were other foreign powers involved with the Paris meeting, directly and indirectly. According to Navy Captain Gunther Russbacher, who claims to have been the command pilot that flew Bush to and from Paris, the BAC-111 used in the Andrews Air Force Base to Paris flight was retrofitted for the journey and owned by the government of Saudi Arabia. Russbacher reported that information on KING radio in Seattle on Friday night. A French Air Force Base outside of Paris was used for the return flight of Bush to the United States on the SR-71 Blackbird, according to Russbacher's testimony.
Ironically, the Reagan-Bush team gave the Iranians an advanced check for $40 million, drawn off of a Mexican bank. Allegedly Maurice Stans was responsible for getting the money to Mexico and Michael Riconosciuto has told investigators from the House Judiciary Committee that he made the arrangements for the $40 million payment. Riconosciuto is currently in a Pierce County Jail in the state of Washington, being held without bail, after blowing the whistle on the Justice Department's illegal use of INSLAW's PROMIS software.
Former White House National Security Advisor Gary Sick and former Iranian President Bani-Sadr also claim the meeting in Paris did take place. Neither George Bush, George Casey or Donald Gregg have been able to concisely provide information on their whereabouts during this period of time, and even Secret Service memos on the whereabouts of Bush are conflicting. Bush remained off the campaign trail at the time, two and one-half weeks before the election.
Information received by the Sentinel yesterday from the U.S. Department of Justice, indicates that Russbacher does have legitimate CIA ties. The Justice Department commented about the Russbacher articles, "You're pointed in the right direction." Richard Brennecke has testified that he was on the flight to Paris with Bush, William Casey and Donald Gregg. The government tried him for perjury because of those statements, and a federal jury in Portland upheld Brennecke's testimony. The government later tried to indicate that Brennecke did not know Russbacher, and therefore, he could not have been the pilot of the Paris-bound aircraft. But documents that have recently surfaced show that Brennecke, Russbacher and Henrich Rupp, another pilot who claims to have been involved, are all closely related to the Hapsburg Trust or the Farnham-Ottokar Trust, a vast fund of billions of dollars, some of which were used in a Savings and Loan Scandal involving Rupp. Not only do these documents support Russbacher's ties with Brennecke, but tapes in the possession of Russbacher's wife, verify the close relationship between Russbacher and Brennecke. In fact, evidence points to the fact they are cousins and basically grew up together. Brenecke was raised in Winnamucka, Nevada, the same town that Russbacher's father is buried.
The record of what is happening to known CIA operatives who claim they were involved in the October 1980 Paris meetings?
The General Accounting Office has launched an inquiry into the alleged Paris meeting. Congress is considering conducting an investigation, as well. The GAO is an investigative arm for Congress.
If Bush went to Paris, the French and U.S. have documents to prove it
Sixth in a Series
If there is a smoking gun in the allegations that George Bush flew to Paris in October 1980 to arrange for the delay of the release of 52 American hostages, it will be found in a file cabinet in the French SDECE office, or in secure U.S. government computers.
While Bush was allegedly in Paris, the French intelligence service (SDECE) was asked to make certain the Vice Presidential candidate was not seen. French security succeeded in that task and wrote a routine memo on the incident. A man who spent 18-years in the U.S. intelligence service has testified that he actually saw that memo in December 1980 in the files of the C.I.A. The file of the Paris meeting was given to the CIA on November 18, 1980. The agent testifies that Bush had to meet with three different factions of the Iranian revolution. The meeting took place at the Rafael Hotel. The agent not only names Bush, but also William Casey, Donald Gregg and Richard Allen as participants. Bush did not attend the first meeting, only the second.
Afraid that Bush would be recognized by the French press, his aircraft landed at the military part of Orlee. He was whisked away in a closed car and brought directly to the Rafael Hotel. He was there for about two hours, the agent states. This agent has the highest CIA clearance and worked the entire time in the Directorate of Operations in the CIA and was with the Agency since 1965. The agent also testified that the $40 million the Iranians received as a "down payment" in the deal was actually funds left over from a $60 million illegal contribution to the Committee to Reelect the President (Richard Nixon's 1972 reelection campaign) from the Shah of Iran.
In a taped interview, to be released by the Napa Sentinel to KING Radio in Seattle, the agent states that Bush was "out of the loop" from midnight, October 18, 1980 to 5 p.m., October 19. He states that Bush was in a meeting with Hashemi Rafsanjani, representatives of the Ayatollah Behisti, and Javad Bahonar. A key figure was also there for the French SDECE, Robert Benes, the son of Czech President Edward Benes who died in 1948 when the Communists took over his country.
The agent further testifies that Maurice Stans obtained the funds from Mexico. After November 20, 1980. Col. Alexandre de Marenches, head of the SDECE met with President-elect Ronald Reagan in California and presented the Paris meeting report to him. He did not visit President Jimmy Carter. The French intelligence chief warned Reagan not to trust the CIA.
The U.S. agent said Bush and the CIA go back to 1959 and 1960. A memo from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was sent in 1963 to CIA agent George Bush addressing the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the possible reaction of Cubans in Miami who might have believed Fidel Castro was responsible for the plot.
But that is not the only smoking gun that could prove the Bush trip to Paris, a trip that he denies. The computers in Washington have codes buried in them, codes that would identify the Bush-Paris activity. In fact, using the right code name and code number, a complete history of the trip, the manifest of the aircraft and other details, including briefing notes, would emerge. According to three separate CIA sources, the operation was conducted in three stages and had three codes:
Navy Captain Gunther Russbacher, who has been verified by several separate agency members and intelligence sources, claims he flew Bush to Paris in a aircraft owned by the Saudi Royal Family, the aircraft was a reconfigured BAC-111, which refueled in Newfoundland. Russbacher's credibility has been a see-saw for awhile because much of his files are missing, and like many agents has a strange and sometimes silent past. Russbacher, is currently serving a short sentence in Terminal Island for allegedly impersonating a U.S. Attorney. The U.S. Defenders Office indicates that the information published about Russbacher is "on the right track". Others have confirmed the same thing.
But the Sentinel has not been totally satisfied with the complete testimony of Russbacher and has pressed other sources and Russbacher, himself, for more detail. Records will now prove that Russbacher is the cousin of Richard Brennecke, who was acquitted of perjury by a federal jury. He was charged with perjury when he testified that Bush went to Paris. Brennecke originally denied knowing Russbacher, but now admits he knows him. They virtually grew up in Nevada together after their families secretly left Austria after World War II and were recruited by U.S. intelligence. Russbacher indentified Brennecke as a member of the flight crew.
One of the difficulties in tracing the steps of CIA agents is the smoke screen, disinformation and attacks on their credibility. The Sentinel has learned that Russbacher escaped from a U.S. Federal Prison in Secoville, Texas in 1975. On national radio, Russbacher openly admitted the escape and said he was placed on the escape list and spent 10 years in Europe and the United States, working with the CIA. The fact that he has been in the United States and the focus of public attention, he has never been rearrested for the escape. But sources very high up in the intelligence community verify his authenticity.
After receiving information from other sources and pressing Russbacher, he has confirmed the reports of other intelligence officials that Robert Gates was also on the aircraft that flew Bush to Paris. "Gates had a strong hand in it," Russbacher finally admitted. Russbacher, who did not originally seek publicity on this case, was very reluctant to bring in Gates' name. Gates has just been appointed by President Bush to head the CIA and is facing Senate confirmation. Intelligence sources indicate that Russbacher is a key figure in CIA financial matters.
The smoking guns are out there, it is a question of whether they will be found or destroyed. The French have a bitter hatred for the CIA and it is plausible they might use the French report to blackmail the President, especially on matters related to the new European Community and Common Market.
Under sworn testimony, guards don't know where Bush was for 23 hours
Seventh in a Series
Presidential Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater stated at a press conference, "The President was on the campaign every day that period. He was on the campaign and he never went to Paris. And anybody who wants to give me a date I can prove it." Thus, the defense of George Bush was made. The then Vice Presidential candidate did not go to Paris to make a deal with the Iranians to delay release of 52 American hostages until after the November 1980 election.
In May 1990, in a Federal Court in Portland, Oregon, a jury found Richard Brenneke not guilty of making false statements alleging Bush went to Paris in 1980. At this trial, two secret service agents in charge of Bush's security in October 1980, swore under oath they could not state definitively or even with a high degree of confidence, where Bush was at all times during the campaign. They could not state where Bush was from 9:25 p.m. Saturday, October 18 until Sunday evening at 7:57. This is direct testimony in the federal court.
Bush claims that he had gone to Chevy Chase Country Club at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 19. But the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated this possibility and reported that no one at the country club could be found to substantiate this. Bush claims he had lunch with Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart and his wife. The Justice is dead and his wife has no recollection of that luncheon.
At the time of Brenneke's trial for perjury, the Secret Service could not say where Bush was for the missing 23 hours. Assistant U.S. Attorney O'Rourke, who was prosecuting Brenneke, could not find any information on Bush's whereabouts, either. Brenneke, in a recent letter to Fitzwater, stated, "If the government could not prove in court where Mr. Bush was for one 23 hour period discussed in the trial, how are you going to do it for this and, perhaps, other periods?"
Brenneke has asked a direct question to Fitzwater and to 26 other individuals. The other individuals include former President Jimmy Carter; Congressman Tom Foley, Speaker of the House; Congresswoman Pat Schroder; Senator Mark Hatfield; Senator Robert Packwood; Congressman Ron Wyden; Iran-Contra Special Prosecutor Walsh; Michael Scott, Brenneke's attorney; Richard H. Muller; Gary Sick; Robert Parry; John King of Associated Press; Martin Killian of Der Spiegel; Frank Snepp of ABC; Peter Jennings of ABC; Ralph Blumenthal of The New York Times; Phil Insolata of the St. Louis Post Dispatch; Larry King; Abe Rabinovitz of The Jerusalem Post; Shigeo Masui of The Yomiuri Shimbun; James Long of The Oregonian; Philip Stanford of The Oregonian; Jodi Solomon of JFS Speakers; Jacques de Spoelberch of J de S, Inc.; Rev. William Davis of the Christic Institute; and Dr. Robert Hieronimus. The question: "Did Mr. Bush, Mr. Allen, Mr. Casey, Mr. Gregg or anyone from, involved with or in any way associated or affiliated with the Reagan campaign, the Bush campaign, or the Reagan-Bush campaign visit any foreign country at any time during the summer or fall of 1980 and meet or negotiate with any Iranians, any Iranian representatives, or agents of any Iranians regarding anything? If so, was this done with the prior or subsequent knowledge or consent of either candidate? Again, if so, were any discussions, overtures or contacts reported at once to then President Carter?"
Brenneke became embroiled in this controversy when he attempted to defend his close friend, former Nazi pilot Henrich Rupp, who has been a CIA operative for many years. Rupp was charged with fraud in a Savings and Loan scandal and sentenced to 42 years in prison. The sentence was reduced to two years. Rupp claims to have piloted an aircraft that brought several high Republican campaign people to Paris in October 1980 to make a deal with the Iranians not to release the hostages. Brenneke testified on behalf of Rupp concerning his CIA connections and the October 1980 flight. After the testimony, Brenneke was tried on five counts of perjury in connection with his testimony, primarily that Bush and his close associates flew to Paris in 1980.
At one point in Brenneke's trial, Donald Gregg, now ambassador to South Korea, and also reported subject of a Federal Grand Jury indictment for perjury, told a federal jury he could not have been in Paris in October 1980 and produced a picture of he and his wife on a sunny Maryland beach. Weather experts shot down his testimony, saying the weather conditions were adverse the day Gregg claims to have been at the sunny beach.
Both Rupp and Brenneke indicate that the people in Paris to make a deal with the Iranians included George Bush, William Casey, Donald Gates, and Richard Allen.
U.S. Navy Captain Gunther Russbacher came forward in early May and claims that he was the command pilot of the aircraft flown to Paris. Russbacher's background in the intelligence community has been independently verified by many intelligence sources throughout the United States. Brenneke is elusive as to his full knowledge of Russbacher, but he readily admits knowing Russbacher's wife, Rae Allen. But this week Brenneke confirmed with Tom Valentine, of the Sun Radio Network, that he knew Robert Walker. In the first articles concerning Russbacher's claims, he stated that one of his aliases was Robert Walker.
Brenneke also confirmed information that was never published prior to the Russbacher interviews in the Napa Sentinel, that the BAC111 was a reconfigured Saudi aircraft. Brenneke indicated that there were only about three BAC111s available in October 1980, but no one knew about the aircraft being reconfigured. Brenneke indicates that the aircraft flew non-stop, but Russbacher indicates it was refueled in Newfoundland. Rupp has admitted the aircraft was refueled in Newfoundland, as well.
But what shocked Brenneke the most was the revelation made in last Friday's Sentinel of the code words of the mission:
Brenneke provided some key information about the SR-71, information that is not classified, but also not of common knowledge. This information will be used to again test the validity of Russbacher's statements. The Sentinel has continually tested the man's validity time and time again. Even though the newspaper has verified his background in the intelligence community, it cannot absolutely guarantee he was one of the pilots. But then, nobody can guarantee the Brenneke or Rupp claims, either. In each case, the men have slightly contradicted each other and sometimes their own testimony, but there has been no major deviation from the main claim that Bush was in Paris in October 1980. Brenneke has confirmed his association with the Farnham-Ottokar Trust and the Sentinel has documents to prove that association.
A French intelligence memo and the codes could shed light on the entire controversy. The French memo, delivered to President-elect Ronald Reagan in California in December 1980, details Bush's presence in Paris and also the complete details of the various meetings held between the Republicans and the Iranians.
The Sentinel also published information linking Robert Gates, now facing Senate confirmation hearings as CIA Director, to the October 1980 flight.
In the meantime, Michael Riconosciuto, who claims he made the money transfer of $40 million as a "down payment" to the Iranians, is reported to have suddenly been moved from his Pierce County, Washington, jail cell and taken to an unknown location. The Sentinel has no direct confirmation of that move. Riconosciuto was a key witness in the Congressional investigation of the Justice Department and also a witness for a low-key Congressional investigation into the October Surprise. Seattle's KING Radio was set to interview Riconosciuto on the weekend, but his sudden transfer may have blocked the interview.
Though all parties agree that Bush was in Paris, there seems to be some sort of disinformation campaign going on to cover up all the principals involved in the flight, including the name of Gates. Three separate intelligence sources have indicated Gates was aboard the aircraft as either a pilot or a passenger. Several individuals who are pushing their respective books, are challenging each and every researchers, which only adds to the confusion and disinformation campaign. Each of the researchers have strong, valid reports, but they differ slightly from their prospective.
A U.S. attorney with knowledge of the background of each of the individuals involved, an investigative reporter in Florida who has talked with his intelligence sources, and a former CIA operative, all have stated, "You're on the right track."
Eighth in a Series
It was in the beginning of May, that U.S. Navy Captain Gunther Russbacher's name came into play in the Napa Sentinel and on the national news. He claims to be the pilot who flew George Bush to Paris to participate in the negotiations with the Iranians to delay the release of 52 American hostages until after the November 1980 election.
There have been some challenges, naturally, to his statements. Through various intelligence and news sources, the Sentinel has been able to verify Russbacher's long intelligence background. To expound about the credibility of Russbacher's claim, it is important that his background be partially disclosed.
The man was born on July 1, 1942 in Salzberg, Austria. His birth certificate reads, Gunther Karl, Baron von Russbach, Count von Esterhazy. On his father's side, he was descended from the Baron who had captured Richard the Lionhearted and held him for ransom. On his mother's side, he was descended from Hungarian royalty. The Esterhazy's had been advisors to the Emperors of Austria for generations. His Godfather, was Ernest Kaltenbrunner, the head of Austrian Intelligence during World War II. The records of Russbacher's family are kept in the family church in Salzberg. His family was part of the Gehlen group which was also called the Canaris group.
After the war, several Austrian families, including his, had to leave Austria in order to avoid prosecution for working with the Nazis. Eighteen members of his family were forced into exile in the United States. His interests, as a youth, were in math, science, government and survival training, both in Oklahoma and in Nevada. He learned to fly at an early age.
In 1961, Russbacher entered the U.S. Army at Ft. Carson, CO. After basic training he was transferred to the North American Air Defense Command, where he obtained high levels of security clearances. He earned his cryptography credentials and had close meetings and ties with intelligence officers at Norad and Ft. Carson and at Ent Air Force Base.
That is basically the public life the government is quite willing to share. But in 1963, he was discharged from the military and "buried" as far as government records were concerned. At this point, Russbacher began to work with people from the Federal Building in Oklahoma City and was then transferred to the NASA school in Pasadena, TX. He moved around a lot from there, learning languages at military language schools, taught photo intelligence evaluation and aircraft thrust evaluation.
In 1965, Russbacher, who also goes by the name Robert A. Walker or Raven, was transferred to a facility at Langley Center. Most of the training at that time occurred at Air Force bases throughout the U.S., at the Center and in the Vienna, VA area. He was transferred to advanced flight schools at Shepard Air Force Base, TX. From there he went to Carswell Air Force Base, TX and then Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas and then Cannon Air Force Base, NM. He operated in Vietnam.
In 1968, he was assigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence with a permanent commission. As a flier, he was sent to Nellis Air Force Base and then to Beale for training on the SR program. He spent about seven months in simulator training before having the first loner run in the SR, Blackbird. He received his habu patch and logged a total of 750 hours front and stick time, and 150 hours as radar service officer. His assignment with the SR was at Beale, Cadena, Mindenhall, Akrotiri and in Turkey. The last runs of the Blackbird were out of Ramstein Air Force Base, Kaiserslauten, Germany.
It is the Blackbird that Russbacher claims he flew Bush back in after the Paris meeting. Originally, the SR-71 was called the RS 71 for Reconnaissance Strike aircraft. The aircraft is equipped with twin J-58 turbo-ram jet engines, which equal 32,500 pounds of thrust per unit. The speed is regulated by the nacelle spike, which are inlets which read 26.125 inches in length and can be changed from a fore to an aft position, to change the positions of the spike, which will change the power pack to turbo fans to ram jets. From 93 to 95 percent of the frame of the aircraft is made of titanium. At operational speeds, not top speeds, the center of the aircraft's skin gets anywhere from 510 to 515 degrees Fahrenheit while the temperatures along the engines run anywhere from 1050 to 1110 degrees Fahrenheit. The exhaust areas around the engines are a minimum of 1200 Fahrenheit. The cockpit glass gets so hot that you cannot touch it even with a flame retardant glove. The tires are 22 ply and contain aluminum pieces and parts in order to dissipate the heat. The air in the tires is really nitrogen. It travels at 32 miles a minute. The nose of the aircraft is interchangeable to affix different kinds of sensors.
In 1972, Russbacher was still active Navy, but most of his 201 file was closed due to frequent assignments with the CIA. The objective of a 201 file is that you build a nice clean record that you can transfer from military to civilian life. But because of Russbacher's intelligence operations, much of his 201 file is spotty. Also in 1972, he was loaned to the Department of State for Central and Eastern Europe and attached to the black consular operations, a special operations group. He was stationed at Badgodesberg, which was the U.S. Embassy in Bonn, Germany. But he also operated out of Belgrade, Vienna, Rome and Paris, plus a short term in Moscow. In Italy he worked with counter revolutionaries and counter terrorists groups in liaison with Italian intelligence staff and carbinieres. The object was to infiltrate the Brigade Roso, Red Brigade. He was in Milan when the train station was bombed.
He also worked out of the consular general's office in Genoa, held Swiss and German passports under the name of Gerhard Mller and Wagner. He worked with and against the Badermeinoff and Red Army faction. He helped get high level people out of Czechoslovakia.
In 1979, he was called back to Beal for updates and flew three tours on the newer version of the SR. He updated the global positioning system and firefly platforms at low darkness and red levels.
In February 1980, He returned to Langley, and then to St. Louis. He became an investment broker and financial planner with Prudential and Connecticut Mutual. After gaining the experience he opened up a CIA-proprietary company called National Brokerage Companies, National Financial Services, Crystal Shores Development Corporation and other companies. CIA money was laundered through these operations. He also attended Centerpoint, Phoenix which was a desert sabotage school. In October 1980, he was command pilot for the aircraft used allegedly to fly George Bush to Paris. The three code names for the operation were Magdalen, Maggellen and Michaelangelo. While he was in Paris, his cover was that he was attending the Connecticut Mutual School for advance planning in Hartford.
In January 1981, he was in Tegucigalpa, Honduras to meet with the resistance and continued the talks in Costa Rica and Cancun. Russbacher funded the group with low level black funds channeled from European banks.
In February 1982, he returned to Frankfurt to discuss shipments to Israel after boats of Marseille harbor to Arab contacts. From March to July 1982, Russbacher was on Navy duty in and out of Monterey, and also loaned to the Looking Glass and operation Michaelangelo. This involved details of using Reforger stored arms for shipment to Iran. Funds were transacted from Luxembourg City to Geneva and Zurich. His group met with Mossad (Israeli intelligence) people in Alicante for the final delivery of weapons to Iran. Aircraft was utilized from the Saudi, French, German, Austrian and Dutch government.
In October 1982, Russbacher was back at Langley (CIA headquarters), for briefing on the supply of arms to Afghani rebels. He met a special operation group at Islamabad and Ralapindi, Pakistan. Agreements were reached with the resistance people at Seven Rivers Junction in Afghanistan. Funds to finance the operation came out of financial sources in the state of Washington, Oregon, Indiana, Florida and Georgia. Much of the heavy equipment was moved to Frankfurt.
Russbacher fell from grace with the CIA after his mission in Eastern Europe failed with the death of a U.S. Army major from Heidelberg.
In February 1983 he returned to Eastern Europe. The purpose of the trip was to acquire Czech plastique explosives and small arms.
In March to August 1983, he infiltrated the Pipefitters Union in St. Louis. A year later he was back in Afghanistan. Then back to St. Louis and then to Paris on hostage taking and counter terrorism assignments.
In March 1985, he was incarcerated at Segoville, TX for an escape from federal conviction resulting from 1973 where he was caught with numerous bags of bearer bonds while dressed as a U.S. Air Force major.
From November 1985 to July 1986, he was attached to DOS consular operations service. he was active in Operation Clydesdale.
From July 1986 to August 1990 he was assigned to numerous internal U.S. operations for the CIA. In June 1989, he signed an agreement not to marry for two years, a common commitment for intelligence operatives after a divorce. But he did marry. He married a woman who was a political activist and who had lobbied against Donald Gregg's appointment for U.S. ambassador to South Korea. Gregg, at the time , was head of the CIA discipline committee. Russbacher was warned that his wife could be a KGB agent or possibly a mole for the State Department or FBI, entities that do not have a great love for the CIA.
Within days after his marriage, Russbacher was moved from California to Missouri. He pleaded guilty to an investment fraud and was sentenced to 28 years in jail. The judge, after reading a secret report, allowed Russbacher free on probation and the prosecutor was fired.
On his release he met with William Webster at Offutt Air Force Base. The trip was associated with the Lookinglass Command. He was ordered to fly to Castle Air Force Base in California. He was arrested by the FBI for trespassing and impersonating a Naval officer. These charges were dropped immediately.
He was then charged with impersonating a U.S. Attorney and misuse of government purchase orders, jet and fuel. The case was declared a mistrial. The prosecutor told him to plead guilty and therefore his wife would not be charged with trespassing on a military base. He was given 21 months in prison and is scheduled for release in December, though he has enjoyed considerable freedom.
In early May, Russbacher's boss in the Office of Naval Intelligence tried to have him transferred to Naval custody. A U.S. Senator from the Senate Judicial Committee has asked Russbacher to testify to the Senate and has personally assured him of his safety.
Did Bush go to Paris?
Last in an Ten Part Series
Congressman Lee Hamilton has announced that there is not sufficient evidence to prove that George Bush went to Paris in October 1980 to negotiate a deal with the Iranians not to release 52 American hostages until after the November 1980 elections. The purpose of the meeting was to block any chance that President Jimmy Carter would create an "October Surprise" by gaining release of the hostages and thus assure his reelection to a second term. Hamilton has conducted a low level investigation into the October Surprise, the purpose of his investigation was to determine whether or not a large scale Congressional investigation into the allegations against Bush should be held.
Hamilton has apparently made no attempt to locate a French intelligence memo delivered to the CIA in December 1980 that reports on Bush's visit and the contents of the meeting between American civilian and Iranian government representatives. Hamilton, further, has not attempted to check Norad's computers for the code name Maggellan and the code number 0221-001-666, nor have flight logs from any KC135 been obtained for the night of October 20, 1980, the night that an aircraft was allegedly refueled over the Atlantic, an aircraft that was reportedly carrying Bush.
Also, it is not known if Hamilton checked the sworn testimony of two Secret Service agents in a federal trial held in Portland, Oregon. The agents state under oath they cannot account for Bush's time for about 21 hours. Certainly, the wife of the late Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart cannot confirm that she and her husband had lunch with Bush at a country club that Bush does not belong to, nor did anyone at the country club recall him being there.
Also, the transcript of the Richard Brenneke trial in Portland, Oregon, would show that Donald Gregg, now ambassador to South Korea and a person reported to be subject of a forthcoming perjury indictment by a U.S. Federal Grand Jury, lied on the stand. Gregg denied being in Paris on the dates in question, stating he was with his wife on a sunny Maryland beach that day, and even produced a photograph. Weather experts testified that the picture does not reflect the weather patterns that existed that day, which was not sunny.
Hamilton has not been able to account for the whereabouts of Bush, William Casey or Donald Gregg on those missing days in October 1980, in fact no one has, not even the men themselves.
Several witnesses have come forward, but how credible are the witnesses. Heinrick Rupp, a former Nazi pilot and long time covert operator for the CIA, says Bush, Casey and Gregg were in Paris. Rupp was sentenced to 40 years in a CIA-funded bank scam and his sentence was reduced to two years. Richard Brenneke, another long time CIA covert operator who flew drugs and guns, went to Rupp's defense and was charged with several counts of perjury. Brenneke was acquitted of perjury by a federal jury who believed he had flown Bush, Casey and Gregg to Paris. But Brenneke's health is broken. Gunther Russbacher, alias Robert A. Walker, alias the Raven, and several other aliases, has rushed to Brenneke's defense to claim he was in the command seat. He is now in Terminal Island Federal Prison for impersonating a U.S. Attorney. Russbacher's background provides solid proof of his CIA and Naval Intelligence background. The man who claims he made the money transfer of $40 million to the Iranians, Michael Ricconoscuito, is a key witness against the U.S. Justice Department in the INSLAW case. He has provided testimony to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee investigation. Ricconoscuito warned in his affidavit he would be arrested if he testified. He was arrested just one week after the affidavit and held without bail. He was to have been interviewed on KING Radio in Seattle but was whisked away to a midwestern federal prison for "psychiatric" evaluation.
All four of these individuals are known CIA operatives or contract personnel. All have taken a fall, save Brenneke, who was saved by a federal jury.
What is also known, is that the Carter Administration, according to Gary Sick, was on the verge of obtaining the release of the hostages in October 1980, which probably would have assured his reelection. After the date that Bush allegedly went to Paris, the negotiations with the Iranians collapsed. Moments after Ronald Reagan became President, the hostages were released. Within weeks, shipments of military equipment and spare parts were flown to Iran. Mossad agents have testified to the Iran weapons deal. The French have memos about the plan. The former President of Iran confirms the Republican-Iranian deal to delay the release of the hostages, and even former President Jimmy Carter, who had preferred to remain silent, has come forward to indicate that Gregg was a mole and was possibley responsible for the October Surprise. Gregg worked for Bush when Bush was head of the CIA.
Computers on flights in and out of Andrews Air Force Base, McGuire, French air fields, refueling planes, Brenneke's and Russbacher's flight logs, transportation systems, serial numbers of aircraft supplied by the Saudi Royal Family, the inventory of Reforger materials, French memos on file with the CIA and in Paris, and the diaries and campaign logs of Bush, Casey and Gregg, conflicting Secret Service memos, and transcripts of the Rupp, Brenneke and Russbacher trials are all smoking guns if Congress wants to check out documents.
Congress is wary of the impact another Watergate type scandal would have on the American people and with foreign nations. But perhaps, Congress is more worried about what Gregg once told a Senate investigation committee probing the Iran-Contra scandal. "Back off or face martial law."
Copyright, Napa Sentinel 1991
EDITOR'S NOTE: On Friday morning, the publisher of the Napa Sentinel said on a Houston radio talk show that if anyone could break the Bush-Paris allegations, it would be the Israelis. The following article is an addendum to the eleven part series run in the Sentinel since May 3.
If there is a smoking gun in the Bush-Paris affair, it will certainly have to come from the Israelis, they are the key to the entire October Surprise package. The Israelis initiated arms shipments to Iran as a counter to Iraq. When President Jimmy Carter ordered a halt to the Israeli weapons sales the Israelis may have set up the October Paris meeting that William Casey, Donald Gregg and George Bush allegedly attended in 1980.
The known facts leading up to this scenario are as follows:
1. In March 1980, a meeting took place at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, attended by William Casey and Cyrus and Jamshid Hashemi. The two brothers were cooperating with the Carter administration, yet Casey told them he did not want President Carter to receive a political advantage by the release of 52 American hostages. Cyrus Hashemi reported the meeting to the CIA. He died suddenly after revealing the information.
2. In July 1980, Casey, a U.S. intelligence officer and Mehdi Karrubi (now speaker of the Iranian parliament) met in Madrid. Karrubi is reported to have agreed to cooperate with the delay in the release of American hostages.
3. On October 2, 1980, a meeting took place at the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington, D.C. The participants of that meeting including Richard Allen (later named head of President Ronald Reagan's National Security Council), Marine Lt. Col. Robert McFarlane (then an aide to Texas Senator John Tower and later a national security advisor to President Reagan), Lawrence Silberman (an aide to Allen and now a Federal Court of Appeals judge in Washington, D.C.), Iranian Jewish arms dealer Hushang Lavie.
In the alleged Paris meeting, those in attendance are reported to be:
Right after the alleged Paris meeting, the Israelis sent a shipment of spare parts to Iran for their American-built F-104 fighters, which was in contravention of U.S. regulations requiring U.S. approval of any shipments of U.S.-made arms to third parties.
Right after the alleged Paris meeting, the Iranians not only backed away from negotiations with the Carter administration for the release of hostages, but they also dispersed the hostages throughout Iran to prevent a second rescue attempt, a rescue attempt that was apparently leaked to them from the Reagan campaign headquarters and probably by Richard Allen.
After the hostages were released on January 20, 1981, Israel signed an agreement to ship arms to Iran. Former Iranian President Bani Sadr has verified the Israeli shipments to Iran. Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon has consistently stated that all Israeli shipments of arms to Iran were sanctioned by the U.S. government. In 1982, Israel's ambassador to the United States is quoted in the Boston Globe as stating Israeli arms shipments to Iran were sanctioned and coordinated by the United States government "at almost the highest level".
Several Israeli Mossad agents have come forward to indicate full knowledge of the Paris meeting and subsequent shipment of arms to Iran. One of those agents is Ari Ben Menashe. (His testimony is in part two of this addendum to the October Surprise series.)
If the Paris meeting did take place, the Israeli government may have been able to blackmail the Reagan and Bush administrations. Richard Curtiss writes in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, "Whenever the Reagan administration and the hard-line Israeli governments of Menachem Begin and his successors went eyeball to eyeball, it was always the U.S. that blinked. The U.S. declined to press Begin on such topics as the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, the invasion of Lebanon, the occupation of West Beirut, the Sabra-Shatila massacres, and even the Reagan Plan for Middle East peace. The Reagan administration apparently was vulnerable to highly damaging Israeli blackmail, and at least some top officials of both governments knew it." He adds, "It also explains how and why the Reagan administration so easily fell into the catastrophic series of arms-for-hostages blunders, clearly instigated as well as carried out by Israel, that became known as Irangate, or the Iran-Contra scandal. The renewed arms shipments in 1985 and 1986 were initiated by reopening exactly the same channels used in 1980 and 1981 by some of the same principals on both sides.."
Curtiss, a retired U.S. foreign service officer, feels that the Israelis hold the upper hand and can blackmail Bush or, if Bush was not involved in Paris, could create disinformation aboaut him being in Paris, anyway. "If Israel's disinformation squad has its way, the worst is yet to come." But at the same time Israel does not wish to be painted with the same political brush and would by leery of opening up such a scandal. It has also been noted that the Israeli lobby is making moves on Capitol Hill to prevent the opening of any investigation. Also, Israel is very dependent on U.S. military and economic aid and would not wish to jeopardize its close association with the United States.
However, Bush is putting a lot of pressure on Israel for an Israeli-Palestinian settlement and the possibility of yielding Israeli-captured lands. How hard Bush pushes will determine how much the Israelis will reveal about the alleged Paris meeting and arms shipments to Iran. Israel holds the key to the October Surprise.
Copyright, Napa Sentinel, 1991
Ari Ben Menashe, a 12-year agent of the Mossad, Israel's equivalent to the CIA, is doing a lot of talking these days. Menashe provided an affidavit to Congress which claims that Earl Brian, a close friend of Ronald Reagan and Edward Meese brokered the illegal sale of INSLAW's copyrighted software in the Santiago, Chile office of Carlos Carduen in which Iraq was the principle buyer.
Menshe is now claiming that George Bush did go to Paris in October 1980 to make a deal with Iranians not to release 52 American hostages until after the election. Testimony of several agents on both sides of the Alantic indicate that the Israelis were instrumental in establishing a meeting between the Reagan-Bush campaign organization and three factions of the Iran revolutionary government.
Menashe says that he definitely saw Bush in Paris in October 1980. Menashe states that Earl Brian and Robert McFarlane went to Iran to set up meetings with the Iranians on the hostage issue. The Israeli intelligence officer indicates that Prime Minister Menachan Begin wrote a secret memo instructing his inner circle to work quietly with the Reagan-Bush campaign and the Iranians. Menashe says that he actually saw the memo.
According to Menashe, a series of three meetings were held in Spain between the Reagan-Bush campaign, represented by William Casey, and Iranian officials. There was a fourth meeting in Barcelona, while the first three meetings were held in Madrid.
Menashe claims that William Casey personally invited him to Paris in October. The invitation was also extended to the military intelligence of Israel and to the acting director of the Mossad. Six Israeli representatives were sent to Paris for the meetings, with explicit instructions not to participate but to just observe. Menashe indicates the meetings took place at the Ritz Hotel in Paris on one of the highest floors of the hotel. He said that he saw Bush, William Casey and key Iranian officials. Menashe states that the head of the French intelligence (SDECE), Hamid Nagashian, deputy director of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, aides to high ranking Iranians, William Casey, George Bush, Richard Allen and Robert McFarlane were at the meeting.
The Sentinel received testimony late yesterday afternoon claiming that Bush was in Paris and presented a bank draft check for $40 million to the Iranians. The check was not left with the Iranians but was transferred to a Luxembourg bank. Here is the exact money route:
The source, already a key witness for Congress, indicates that Gunther Russbacher, the man who claims he flew Bush to and from Paris, is solidly legitimate and a key operative in the countermeasures field and ELITE, which is electronic surveillance and reconnaissance. The source also says that Richard Brenneke, another pilot who claims he flew the aircraft to Paris, is a very close associate and long time friend of Russbachers. Russbacher, according to this entrenched intelligence sourse, indicates that heis only one of six pilots authorized to fly the two-seater SR-71, the CIA's Blackbird.
The source also indicates that there are flight records at Andews Air Force Base showing that an SR-71 was flown into the base the night Russbacher claimed to have flown from Bush from Paris to McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey in an SR-71. The flight log shows a SR-71 landed at Andrews from McGuire.
The source also indicates that there are three smoking guns to prove Bush went to Paris, each chiselled in marble, meaning non-destructible evidence. A special arrangement is being made to provide this information directly to Congress for a future investigation into the October Surprise.
The source also indicates that Menashe holds sufficient evidence on McFarlane to break the October Surprise case wide open.
According to Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, there was an Israeli-American agreement authorized which is still secret. It calls for counter-terrorist operations, which has been supervised by Lt. Col. Oliver North. This agreement, according to Woodword, was not known to Congress. The agreement was part of the Iran-Contra affair and has led to a series of covert actions.
Senator Albert Gore has called for a formal investigation into the "October Surprise". A one-time Democratic presidential candidate, the Tennessee senator is considering a second race for the Democratic nomination in 1992.
But at the heart of the question of any investigation is: who would be the witnesses? The Sentinel has published a 13-part series on the allegation that George Bush and his Republican colleagues made a deal with Iran to delay the release of 52 American hostages in 1980.
As more and more attention is focussed on the issue, little attention has focussed on who would be the witnesses and what happened to many of them.
It isn't going to be easy for the Senate investigators. But there are a lot more permanent items on the paper trail that might break the case wide open.