THE RUMOR MILL NEWS AGENCY
AND THE LION CRIED
"I was born in Salzburg Austria on July 1, 1942 unto Elizabeth Maria Weissel/Esterhaszy and Karl Gunther Russbacher. My mother was the heir to the Esterhaszy estates. My father was of noble descent. He was known as the Lion of Salzburg."
By GUNTHER K. RUSSBACHER, Admiral, USN
Written June 11, 1992
Edited by Rayelan Allan Russbacher
The day was drawing to a close while the noise of the prison began to be unbearable. It seemed as if all the animals wanted to talk and yell at the very same time. The evening meal, consisting of burned pinto beans, dried out corn and spagetti sauce with unknown meat was considered the fare of the day.
The noise of the young men housed in the maximum security (protective custody unit) section of the Missouri state penetentiary reached the usual levels as inmates taunted each other back and forth through-out the large housing structure, commonly referred to as the cell house of the Ozarks. The unit houses about 320 men - all of whom have either requested protective custody, were ordered into protective custody by and through order of the court or prison administration, or they were forced to 'check in' for their own protection due to inccurance of gambling debts, or that they,failed to pay their prison pusher for drugs. Many of them cannot keep their mouths shut when it comes to the telling of tales about other inmates. Snitches, as they are called are by far in the overall majority.
Lastly, there is another group of men who are forced to live under these deplorable living conditions. These men have committed no overt acts against other inmates, but rather and moreso, pose a significant threat to the safety and security of the prison. They are the ones who have kept their honor, respect and dignity, even at the cost of incurring the severe wrath of the people running the institution. They are the ones who take freedom seriously-- even to the point of attempting escape from custody. Many of them should not have been jailed or imprisoned at all. They represent the failings of a society with little or no social conscience. They dream of fredom; taste the freedom as they watch the numerous television programs avail-able to them. They, who are commdemned to this place of higher learning feel not only lost, but also completely forgotten. It is a hell on earth. Hope, eternal hope, is the commodity panhandled by Bible toting fundementalist preachers, whose only goal is to 'rack up' another one for the Lord.
Yet there are these men who hold their heads high; find honor and dignity along with a little righteous pride, in all their little daily affairs. It is to these men that I tend to gravitate. These are the men, although few in numbers, who will stand by you when the going gets tough. Among all the scum which calls this place home, there is a man, who by virtue of his demeanor does not meet proper cri-teria, and does not fit in among the scum. I am proud to consider him friend. Maybe we are both so called misfits, and deserving the hell we live in. I can only hope not; hope that there is an end to all the shit and pain, and that we will be restored to our families, who even though suffering the same, or far worse pain, stand beside and be-hind us. Although we come from somewhat different worlds - he from the east coast, and I from the west, we share the same low opinion of most of our fellow prisoners. Tony, as I shall call him, is a man, and always there with a good word, or willing to help when prfound trouble finds my cell door. We share the same dreams; dreams of wives, children, and better times. We too long for Mr. Bushs' 'kinder gentler nation', knowing full well that such dreams can never be realized. I as well as Tony, were in the wrong place, at the wrong time. And that
As the noise abates and everyone begins to settle down for another evening of doing nothing, all thoughts turn inward - to the family I left behind. They are the ones who really suffer.
I have ceased counting days according to the calendar. I count the days remaining until I am permitted the use of the telephone. I count the hours, days, weeks and months until I may see my wife again. All my waking hours are occupied by thinking about my friend, lover, wife and very best friend.
The days move with precission slowness, knowing that I wait for each and every sundown; the coming of night. Although I have received a twenty-one year sentence for alleged investment fraud, there is no release date in sight for me and for my wife and children. Although they are not imprisioned, they too aren't free. The stigma attached to having a husband and father in prison has served to ostrasize them from any form of normal life. For they are the family of a political prisoner. A man whom president Bush considers a most severe threat. A threat not merely to the national security of these United States, but also a serious threat to the re-election chances for the current president. I have the dubious honor of being a member of the national security establishment. Now, the very Agency which I have served for all my adult life, has not only turned against me, but has threatened to destroy my very family.
My troubles didn't begin a few months or even a few years ago. It doesn't take a great deal of intellegence to know when, where and how all these problems began. Born to Austrian parents during the middle of WW II, was enough to bring my first years of life into conflict.
I was born in Salzburg Austria on July 1, 1942 unto Elizabeth Maria Weissel/Esterhaszy and Karl Gunther Russbacher. My mother was the heir to the Esterhaszy estates. My father was of noble descent. He was known as the Lion of Salzburg. It must also be noted that my father did serve in the SS Division Das Reich during WWII. At the end of the war rather than taking my father prisoner, he was permitted egress to England. There he was approached by the OSS and offered a position with the United States Intellegence Services. He accepted the posting and we began to prepare for immigration to this country. It was only later in life that I found out that we weren't the only family exiled from Austria. A number of relatives had also fallen to the hammer of WWII, and the phobia which ensued from Germany's loss of the war. I offer also that the position proffered to my father was basically the very same type of position he had occupied and executed during the years of WWII. In otherwords, the United States Government wanted my father to come to this country and assist in restructuring of the soon to be born Central Intellegence Agency.
We arrived in this country on December 10, 1954, at the port of Newark, New Jersey. My father had already been to the States a number of times, as early as 1948. As the CIA was formed and launched into life, we were already known as the Austrian family who was brought over to secure the freedoms of democracy against the global communist threat. No one made reference to my father having fought on the wrong side of the.war. William (Wild Bill) Donovan made sure that his nucleus of operatives and case officers would not be held accountable for the many atrocities perpetrated, by the Germans, during the war.
The evening sun was slowly making its way across the dry hot dessert. Night time was only about four hours away. Soon another Nevada scorcher would be behind us. My parents laughingly turned to each other and my father said, "Don't worry Lisl, the boy can handle it much better than the adults. After all, didn't you notice him chasing the dog up and down the mountain, during the deep heat of the afternoon?"
My mother Lisl turned toward him almost whispering under her breath, "You know that I'll have to return to Dallas soon. Gunther will have to come back with me. I know that you would prefer to keep the boy with you, but remember, that you and I can't really be seen together anymore."
With tears in her eyes she rose and began to cross to the living room door.
"I want us to be together more than anything in the world. We managed to survive the terror of the war together only to be told, that we must come to the United States as total strangers. What right do they have to so torment us and continue to destroy our lives? At this rate Karl, it would have been better to remain in Austria and take our chances with the Allies."
Tears were trickeling down her smooth and unmared skin, causing rivulets of tears that turned into rivers of sorrow. She was my mother. The lady Esterhaszy/Russbacher; immigrant to this godforsaken hellhole of desert wasteland. She continued her virtual stream of tears as she began to pack her overnight bag.
This torment was not new to me. I all too well remember what transpired in Salzburg and Vienna. I might have been very young, but no one can ever say that I was very dumb. I remember that night. They brought word to mother that we had to leave the country. I remembered sneaking around on top of the stairs as the 5 men told my mother that we were being exiled from Austria because we not only cause a political embarrassment but also that Austria would no longer tolerate any member of the so called ruling family to remain in country.
Because I was a child I labored under many emotions. I would lose all my friends and relatives. There would be no one for me to turn to other than mother. I knew that father served in the SS Division Das Reich, and that he was considered a dead war criminal. Far too well the memory of the death notice of my father was burned into my mind. Although merely age three, it did remain imprinted in my mind. The Austrian officer, the American, the Englishman, Frenchman and Russian Colonel, calmly told mother that father had died in battle during the last big push of the war. Saddened by my loss, I began to withdraw from all activities my mother attempted to organize for me. The memory of father was all too recent.
That was the way it went for quite some time. Mother, was told she had a great deal of time before she would be required to pack up the house and leave. We left Vienna and returned to our comfortable estate in Salzburg. One day, after playing in the brook Glan, I arrived at the house as a staff car drove up. What great suprise... a person looking just like my father exited the olive drab staff car. I looked closer and screamed at the top of my.little lungs...."Father ... You have come home to me." The stately gentleman reached down and took me into his large arms.
I was in seventh heaven. My father had come home. He had not died. Only later did I find out why such deceptive ploy was put into use. The Americans had offered my father a job and a new life in the United States of America. For me it was enough that my father was home. I was sworn to secrecy. From that moment on I was prohibited from writing or talking to any of our many relatives in Vienna. As far as all the others were concerned, my father was dead... fallen in battle.
I had become a conspirator. To what .... I surely had no idea! I did what I had been sworn to. I never again mentioned the name of my father for fear that I would compromise his life. I loved him, not only because he was the Lion of Salzburg, but because he was my honored father. True to Austria and Austrian tradition, I never referred to my father as dad, pop, or even daddy. For me he was Mr. (Herr) Father. It was a title I honored. All the other buergers called my father Herr Baron. I didn't know what that meant or dealt with. I was happy to have him home with me.
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