FROM RAYELAN ALLAN RUSSBACHER
SITUATION UPDATE RE: GUNTHER KARL RUSSBACHER, CAPT. USN
May 22, 1992
On February 7, 1992 Gunther Russbacher was sentenced to 21 years in Missouri state prison. The sum total of the alleged crimes was under twenty thousand dollars and most of that had been repaid by the insurance carrier for the brokerage company. When this sentence is compared to Michael Milken who received ten years for a 1.3 trillion dollar offense, the apparent injustice in the American justice system is evident.
After my husband was sent to the Fulton Diagnostic center for psychological and medical evaluation, Ross Perot contacted us and offered to send a lawyer to talk with Gunther. Mr. Perot felt and feels as though a coverup is going on. While Mr. Perot is not totally convinced that Gunther is the October Surprise pilot, he does feel that there were many irregularities in Gunther's case, including numerous violations of his civil rights.
Mr. Perot dispatched an attorney and two pilots to Fulton to question Gunther. Before the Perot team arrived, Gunther had been transferred to the prison hospital ward at the University hospital. Mr. Perot was told that Gunther had experienced a heart attack. The legal team was denied permission to speak with Gunther.
Bob Peck, Mr. Perot's personal assistant, met me at the St. Louis airport and we drove to the hospital to speak with Gunther. When we arrived at the hospital, we discovered that Gunther had requested a transfer back to the prison. Mr. Peck and I spoke with the doctor in charge of my husband's case. He told us that despite doctor's recommendation, Gunther had checked himself out of the hospital. The doctor went on to say that four men, in suits, he assumed they were CIA, were wandering around the hospital asking questions and trying to get past the guards to see Gunther.
Mr. Peck and I contacted the prison the next morning and were allowed to speak with Gunther through glass. While I was visiting with him, he had another angina attack and was rushed to the infirmary where a nitroglycerin patch was put on his chest.
After he returned to the visiting room, he told me he had been threatened in the hospital and that was the reason he checked out. While in the hospital, he was told that if he talked with Perot, his son would be killed. Gunther learned immediately afterwards, that his fifteen year old son had just been charged with seven counts of assault. His son was in the adult jail, NOT the juvenile detention center. His son was awaiting a hearing before the same judge who had sentenced Gunther to 21 years in prison. We later found out that the assault charges against Gunther's son, were filed by a man who had given Gunther, Jr. a six pack of beer. When the man took the remaining bottles back, Gunther, Jr. kicked and beat the man's truck! The man was not charged with giving alcohol to a minor.
The stress of the recent heart problems, the unjustly imposed 21 year sentence and the threat to his son was close to killing him. Gunther was faced with a choice of seeing his son incarcerated or staying incarcerated himself. If he talked to Perot, his son would pay the price.
Gunther decided not to disclose to Perot's aide any pertinent information. This decision prompted Mr. Perot to withdraw his offer until Gunther agreed to disclose top secret details of the SR 71 spy plane and the flight from Paris to the United States...the flight in which vice presidential candidate George Bush was flown back from a secret "October Surprise" meeting with the Iranians.
One day after Bob Peck and I were in Fulton, guards at Fulton took out their anger at being pushed around by Ross Perot on my husband. He was given a Rodney King style beating with night sticks. Two bones in his foot were broken. The official accounting of the incident shows that Gunther slipped and fell in the shower. Gunther was put in a cast and put in solitary confinement.
The solitary confinement cell was a small black metal cubicle with a concrete platform and a filthy torn mattress for a bed. There was a light which was too dim to read by, even if he had been allowed reading material. He could not make contact with the outside world. The cell was crawling with cockroaches, some of which crawled into the cast and laid eggs.
At the same time that he was being held in solitary confinement and not permitted contact with me, I began hemorrhaging. The doctor called it metropathia hemorrhagica. The doctor said it is excessive bleeding brought on by severe psychological trauma.
Three weeks later, I hemorrhaged again. In a three week period of time, I lost enough blood to make me severely anemic and too weak to get out of bed ... and I was still losing substantial quantities of blood. The medical doctors assured me that there was nothing wrong with me. The medicine they gave me didn't stop the bleeding.
I finally went to an acupuncturist who treated me with herbs and needles. The bleeding stopped one day later and has not returned. But in spite of iron and vitamin therapy, my energy and endurance levels have not returned to normal, and I seem to catch every cold that comes along.
Gunther was kept in solitary confinement for several weeks. Finally the Governor of Missouri, John Ashcroft, intervened. Gunther was transferred to protective custody in a prison just three blocks from where Governor Ashcroft lives in the Governor's Mansion.
Gunther was finally allowed calls to the outside. I want to thank all of you who wrote to the Governor on our behalf. It was your letters that helped get my husband out of the "hole". It was your calls to the Missouri Capitol and to radio stations across the country that kept him alive.
THANK YOU! Thank you!
In March a public defender was appointed to represent Gunther. In spite of delays in obtaining Gunther's legal files, the attorney was able to get the appeal filed in time. The appeal is very well presented and makes several strong points, the most important being that the statute a limitations ran out 15 months before sentencing. In other words, Gunther was held for nine months in a county jail on charges that had already expired.
The point is also made that Gunther went into court to plead guilty to a misdemeanor which carried a maximum one year county jail term, and ended up being railroaded into a felony plea which carried 4 consecutive 7 year terms. He was then placed on five years probation. It was this probation that was revoked, for allegedly impersonating a Naval officer. Gunther was then sentenced to 21 years in prison.
Another attorney, Paul Wilcher from Washington D.C., came to Missouri pro bono, to help Gunther prove that he is a Navy Intelligence officer who is attached to the CIA. Paul is the first person to take the time to fully debrief Gunther.
Paul has prepared a 350 page document which he has submitted to the October Surprise Task Force, which is headed by Representative Lee Hamiltion. It is my personal belief that the committee will do nothing with this information.
I received a letter from my own Congressman, Leon Panetta. I was told by him not to bother Congress anymore with telephone calls or letters until we have documents in our possession that prove conclusively who my husband is. At the time of my husband's original arrest in 1989, all of his possessions were confiscated from my home. The FBI took his clothes, his suitcases, his briefcase and his papers. After the FBI left, there was nothing in my possession that belonged to my husband. At the time of his arrest in 1989, he was living in a CIA safe house and his office was at the Langley, Virginia CIA headquarters. In other words, all evidence of Gunther's ties to the intelligence community were taken from me, or in CIA controlled safe houses and offices. I am sure my Congressman, a Democrat, knew this!
With the exception of a two week period in July of 1990, my husband has been in prison the entire three years of our marriage. We did make attempts to retrieve documents three times during the two weeks that he was out of prison. The attempts were unsuccessful.
I would like to ask Mr. Panetta and other members of Congress, who are capable of demanding my husband's service record, why they expect us to do it and how they expect my husband, from his prison cell, to accomplish this?
We have requested his Navy and CIA records, but as of this date, we have not received one page from the government, even though the CIA told us that we owe a $100.00 copying fee for the documents the mailed us.
While Gunther was held in solitary confinement, I called Kurt Waldheim, the President of Austria and begged him to help us. I knew that Austria had records of my husband's CIA activities in Austria. I asked President Waldheim to disclose this information. President Waldheim dispatched the Vice Consul General from Chicago to visit my husband in Missouri.
The first thing Austria did was restore Gunther's Austrian citizenship. It had been revoked because Gunther was an employee of the United States government. The Austrian government then began looking into the case. What they discovered were gross violations of human and civil rights. In looking into my husband's case they discovered a pattern of human rights abuses perpetrated on Austrian citizens starting at the end of World War II and continuing to this day.
The violations have grown more intense during the Reagan/Bush years. One can only wonder if this pattern of deprivation of the rights of Austrian citizens residing in the United States had anything to do with President Reagan's banning of President Waldheim for war crimes. One must also wonder why the so-called Waldheim war crimes were not brought up when Kurt Waldheim was the head of the United Nations?
Why did these war crimes only surface in 1986, the same year that the discrediting of Gunther Russbacher began ... the same year that the Iran/Contra scandal first surfaced when Eugene Hasenfus (an Austrian) survived the crash of an American plane in Nicaragua. This plane was part of the private air force that supplied arms to the Contras. These private planes were actually owned by various CIA proprietaries (dummy companies set up by CIA operatives to carry out covert activities).
The money to run these proprietaries was channeled through National Brokerage Company in St. Louis. NBC was a CIA proprietary set up by Emory J. Peden (an alias used by Gunther Russbacher) for the specific purpose of laundering black budget CIA funds which could then be used to purchase planes and arms for the Contras, the Afghan rebels and Iran.
It should also be known that Karl Gunther von Russbach, Gunther's father, was a close friend of Kurt Waldheim's and Mr. Waldheim served as substitute godfather for young Gunther after Gunther's official godfather, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, was put to death.
It should also be known that Austrian intelligence had in their files documented proof of arms being transferred through Austria to Iran as part of the Iran/Contra scandal. This was operation Gladio.
After looking into Gunther's case, the government of Austria has initiated suit in the World Court in the Hague charging the United States with human rights violations on behalf of twelve of its citizens. These men had been forced into virtual slavery for the United States intelligence community. These men were former intelligence officers from World War II days who were forced to work for the United States after the war. When their children were old enough, they too were also put to work for the United States government. These men, and their children, have been virtual slaves of the United States government since the end of World War II. My husband is the son of an Austrian intelligence officer. Karl von Russbach was part of the conspiracy to assassinate Adolph Hitler. When the attempt failed, the elder Russbach fled to Britain and was recruited by the OSS. He was then bought to Winnemucca, Nevada where he helped train CIA operatives, until his death in 1973.
Karl Russbach began training his son from the time young Gunther could walk and talk. The von Russbach family has a history of espionage dating back to the crusades.
My husband had no choice in his career. He father started his training, and as soon as the United States government needed someone with his talents, he was forced to go to work for them. Gunther was drafted, out of high school, at age seventeen. A young man who could speak German, English and Russian was needed for a mission in Europe. Gunther spent a little over a year in the United States Army, then charges were manufactured, giving him a criminal record and a dishonorable discharge. His official discharge papers give a code which states that he was given a lateral transfer into a civilian agency. I.e., the CIA.
It was done this way for two reasons:
1. To keep him in the intelligence community. If he tried to leave the Community, he would be thrown in jail until he changed his mind and started working for them again. This is the type of coercion and forced servitude that Austria is looking into.
2. To give him a criminal background so that he could more easily (and safely) infiltrate terrorist and other illegal operations.
Gunther has tried to get out of the CIA several times. Each time, he was arrested and thrown in jail. Each time he tried to tell the American people the truth about their government, more charges were filed. To keep him quiet about the Iran/Contra affair he was charged in 1986 with 26 counts of stealing by deceit. These charges had lain fallow, with no follow up, until he married me. At the time of our marriage, I was working with Barbara Honegger, the author of the book, "October Surprise". At the time, Barbara was the most well known October Surprise researcher. Gunther was arrested two days after we were married and has been incarcerated ever since.
I have no idea what, if anything, will be the outcome of the lawsuit in the World Court. I am not overly optimistic about our chances of ever getting the truth out. I do not believe that the October surprise committee in the Congress is really doing an in investigation. Lee Hamilton, the head of the committee, has already gone on record saying that he does not believe that George Bush was involved in the October Surprise scandal. If he believes that, be cannot also believe my husband's story. Also remember that Lee Hamilton was part of the Iran/Contra coverup.
No matter how hard we have tried to bring our story to the attention of congress and the media, nothing has helped ... Gunther is still in prison and there is nothing in the foreseeable future which gives any indication of a reversal of conviction.
It will be six years before he is even eligible for parole. If you have any suggestions regarding anything else we should do, please contact us or do it yourself.
We are still having money problems. Our telephone bills are enormous. By June 12th I need to pay $1,000.00 or the phone is disconnected. In addition, we have been paying Paul Wilcher's expenses because he has given up his job and is devoting all his time to helping us. His phone bill is over $600.00, due immediately. Needless to say, we are all living at poverty level. It is very hard for me to ask for money, because I have never been poor. I have never known what it was like to have no food in the house and no money to buy food.
I have developed deep compassion for the poor and oppressed in our country. I have discovered that you can't understand the poor by studying them. You have to become one before you feel their pain, their frustration and their rage. I am different from most poor people because I have become poor by fighting the injustice that has been done to my husband. I made the choice to devote my time to getting him out of prison and exposing the criminal conduct of our country. Even though I am poor by choice, it is a choice I think you would have made if you had been in my place.
When I was working and making money, I was the one who paid Barbara Honegger's phone bills and bought food for her and her dog while she was writing her book, October Surprise. I now find myself in the identical situation of needing money for food and phone bills while I do my work.
So far, our friends, like you, have helped me through the money problems. It has been a year since I ran out of money from the sale of my home. In that year God has truly blessed us because when we have appealed for money, it arrived. I continue to pray that the money miracles will continue until our ordeal is over. If you can help us again, thank you ... if you can't, please don't feel badly. I understand what having no money feels like ... if you can't help financially, you can help in other ways ... with your prayers, your blessings and your letters to Congress, the media and Governor Ashcroft of Missouri. We can't let Gunther's name slip out of their sight.
The Geraldo Rivera news program, "Now It Can Be Told," recently taped a segment with my husband and me. I don't know yet when or if it will be shown. Paul Wilcher taped the entire interview for us. It is available in a 5 90 minute audio tapes.
I am constantly asked how I have endured this three year horror. When that question arises several images flash through my mind:
An image of Valley Forge and the winter my direct grandfather Patrick Rhoads, endured there..
The image of his grandsons, Daniel and John, trudging through deep snow, on their way to rescue the Donner Party.
The image of my great grandmother, Susan Wardlow Smith, giving birth to my grandfather just hours after burying her husband, who was killed during the battle of Shiloh.
My family has suffered and endured great hardships to build this country. Compared to them, my sacrifice is small and my burden of it is lightened by friends like you.
Thank you. Without your moral support, financial support, and your prayers, I could not continue the fight.
Rayelan Allan Russbacher