A Nation Betrayed

(excerpts are from a transcript of the video) Col. James `Bo' Gritz:
What I want to tell you very quickly is something that I feel is more heinous than the Bataan death march. Certainly it is of more concern to you as Americans than the Watergate. What I'm talking about is something we found out in Burma - May 1987. We found it out from a man named Khun Sa. He is the recognized overlord of heroin in the world. Last year he sent 900 tons of opiates and heroin into the free world. This year it will be 1200 tons.

[video showing discussion at Khun Sa's headquarters -- some translation of Burmese to English going on. Bo Gritz still narrating in foreground.]
On video tape he said to us something that was most astounding: that US government officials have been and are now his biggest customers, and have been for the last twenty years. I wouldn't believe him. We fought a war in Laos and Cambodia even as we fought whatever it was in Vietnam. The point is that there are as many bomb holes in those two other countries as there are in Vietnam. Five hundred and fifty plus Americans were lost in Laos. Not one of them ever came home. We heard a president say, "The war is over, we are out with honor - all of the prisoners are home." and a few other lies. Now we got rid of that president, but we didn't get rid of the problem. We ran the war in Laos and Cambodia through drugs. The money that would not be appropriated by a liberal congress, was appropriated. And you know who we used for distribution? Santos Trafficante, old friend of the CIA and mobster out of Cuba and Florida. We lost the war!

Fifty-eight thousand Americans were killed. Seventy-thousand became drug casualties. In the sixties and seventies you saw an infusion of drugs into America like never before. Where do you think the Mafia takes the heroin and opiates that it gets through its arrangement with the US government? It doesn't distribute them in Africa or Europe. This is the big money bag HERE. We're Daddy Warbucks for them. So I submit to you that the CIA has been pressed for solutions. Each time they have gone to the sewer to find it. And you can't smell like a rose when you've been playing in the cesspool. We've been embracing organized crime. Now you've all looked and heard about Ollie North, about the Contras, about nobody knowing anything.

[cut to part of Iran Contra hearings with Ollie North explaining the flow of funds from Iran to the Contras]
And Mr. Gorbanifar suggested several incentives to make that February transaction work. And the attractive incentive for me was the one he made that residuals could flow to support the Nicaraguan resistance.

Even Gorbanifar knew that you were supporting the Contras.

Yes he did. Isvestia knew it. The name had been in the papers in Moscow. It had been all over Danny Ortega's newscasts. Radio Havana was broadcasting it. It had been in every newspaper in the land.

All our enemies knew it and you wanted to keep it from the United States Congress.

We wanted to be able to deny a covert operation.

[end of scene]
Bo Gritz:
We have a constitution that says that the laws will be made by the Congress, enforced by the executive branch, interpreted by the judicial branch. But in reality we have an executive branch that has for more than twenty years operated in what Ollie North called a parallel government. When the Congress says no, it makes no difference. They're gonna do it anyway. And it is special intelligence -- top secret. Why? Not because the communists don't know what were doing. It's to keep it a secret from YOU. You're not capable of making those kinds of decisions -- according to those in parallel government. The reason I know ... I was there. I've been a product of the parallel government myself.

Lieutenant Colonel James `Bo' Gritz is the most decorated Green Beret commander of the Vietnam Era. General William Westmoreland, in writing his memoirs, singled out Bo Gritz as the "American Soldier" for his exemplary courage in combat and outstanding ingenuity in recovering a highly secret black-box the Viet Cong had taken from a crashed U-2 spy plane. The feature films "Rambo", "Uncommon Valor" and "Missing in Action" were based in part upon his real-life military experiences.

Bo Gritz:
Dick Secord, General, United States Air Force, a man I know well, said it best. Before the senate investigating committee Dick Secord was asked: If we were supporting the Contras, why were we selling them arms bought from a communist bloc nation at exorbitant profit rates?

[cut to a scene from Congressional hearings] Senator:
If the purpose of the enterprise was to help the contras, why did you charge Colero a mark-up?

We were in business to make a living, Senator. We had to make a living. I didn't see anything wrong with it at the time. It was a commercial enterprise.

Oh..I thought the purpose of the enterprise was to aid Colero's cause.

Can't I have two purposes? I did.

Oh ... alright.

Bo Gritz:
And then Dick Secord said in his playboy interview: "I think I deserve the eight million that we made from the Iran arms sale for all the hard work I did." If you've got to pay a patriot, you've got the wrong guy. These are patriots for profit. There has been a guise of patriotism that a lot of people have been hiding behind. War is their business. Business has been good.

[fade to a scene from the Vietnam War]

Bo Gritz risked his life a thousand times in combat in Vietnam before he was sent by national security council staffer Tom Harvey in the White House to Burma in November of 1986 in search of American prisoners of war. He discovered instead a heroin highway and a nation betrayed by high-level American officials involved in narcotics trafficking. Tom Harvey and his superiors in the White House were not pleased with Bo's report.

[fade to a scene of Bo Gritz in a field. It apprears to be in Southeast Asia. Palm trees and oxen indigenous to the area abound.]

Bo Gritz:
The thing that I was most concerned about was -- and I thought it was fantastic -- was the [Asian] general's offer to stop the flow of opium and heroin into the free world. When I asked him [assume he's talking about a conversation with Tom Harvey now] he said "That's fantastic."

There was a pause. Then he said: "Bo, there's no one here that supports that." And I said, "What?! Vice-President Bush has been appointed by President Reagan as the number one policeman to control drug entry into the United States. How can you say there's no interest and no support when we bring back a videotape with a direct interview with a man who puts 900 tons of opium and heroin across into the free world every year and is willing to stop it?" And he said, "Bo, what can I tell you? All I can tell you is there is no interest in doing that here."

Well that made me wonder. That's because it doesn't sound American and it doesn't sound right. Thats when we began to do our own investigation, because for about three years people had told me -- both in Washington DC and, interestingly enough, in Oklahoma City -- that the whole POW situation was being undermined by U.S. Government officials involved in drug trafficking. I wouldn't believe it. I said: "You guys aren't playing with a full deck... you've got yourselves strung out too thin." And they said: "Bo, you better listen, because for three years we've had prisoners literally within our grasp and something has happened at the last minute." (I said), "Each time, I've made every effort to cooperate with government officials. I can't believe that people in the U.S. Government would actually, either overtly or covertly, do anything to undermine a rescue operation."

Well, we're still without Prisoners of War and there is no interest, we're told, at the White House in stopping the flow of drugs coming in from the Golden Triangle into the free world.

[fade to front-page articles about Bo Gritz in PARADE Magazine and in SOLDIER OF FORTUNE] Narrator:
Lieutenant Colonel Bo Gritz is no stranger to controversy. In thirty years of devoted service to the U.S. Army and to the recovery of American prisoners of war, he has encountered plenty. .....

.... Bo Gritz won his Green Beret in the Army Special forces by passing all courses in unconventional warfare training. After graduating from officer's candidate school, the newly-commissioned second lieutenant then insisted on Ranger training.

Assigned to the command of the first mobile South Vietnamese guerilla forces to be organized, Gritz also operated secretly in Cambodia and Laos with his force of Cambodian mercenaries, or "Bo's", as he called them. By official body count, over 450 of the enemy died as a result of Gritz's actions. His wartime records are replete with examples of Bo's concern for keeping Americans alive in a war gone mad.

As recon chief of the supersecret Delta Force, Bo was cited for valor in saving the lives of 30 U.S. infantrymen from the "Big Red One" Division. More often than not, his valor was in placing himself between the enemy and his men. According to an official military report dated 31 July 1967 submitted on then Major Gritz: "His personal bravery is legendary, exemplified by the fact that he has been awarded five silver stars and numerous other decorations for valor." In all, Bo Gritz was awarded 62 citations for valor, five silver stars, eight bronze stars, two purple hearts and a presidential citation.

Bo was ready to sign up for a fifth tour of duty when he had a talk with General Fred Weiyan (sp?), the "daddy-rabbit" in Vietnam. As Gritz described it: "I was a major and special operations chief. I'll never forget that day. I stood there and heard that man say: `Bo, you're not going to win the war, and neither am I.' That was the most disillusioning moment of my life. It meant that every man who had ever lost his finger or his life had lost it for nothing. I decided, on the spot, to leave Vietnam. I would not kill another enemy or risk another comrade's life."

Bo Gritz:
I've had the opportunity to do a lot of things that other officers have not. I was the first reconnaissance chief and intelligence officer for Delta Force -- commanded the first guerilla forces that went behind enemy lines. When I commanded Special Forces in Latin America, we did it exactly right. And we did exactly what men in camouflage are supposed to do. It was very natural that Harold R. Aaron (sp?) would single me out because, besides having a sixth-degree black belt in karate, I have established an ability to operate on my own. And I think when Aaron said, "Bo, we want you to do this", he understood that I'm also hard headed enough that I wouldn't cave in. He said, "I want you to consider retiring. It would only be temporary. We have overwhelming evidence now that people are still there, being held in communist prisons." Mr. H. Ross Perot had been asked by Eugene Tighe, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, to back a private mission that would look into the POW situation. Perot said, "Bo, I want you to go there. I want you to do everything you have to do. You come and tell me there aren't any prisoners of war left alive."

Bo returned from Indo-China with extensive evidence that there were indeed American prisoners of war in captivity, including a solid report of 47 at one particular camp. Perot turned the project back over to General Tighe who wrote to Secretary of Defense Harold Brown asking that the source, a Nguyen Dok Jong (sp?) be brought to the United States for a polygraph test. Brown repeated the request to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. One month later, Vance finally responded that the Commissioner of Immigration would not permit Jong into the United States for further questioning. As Bo puts it: "Think about it. One man, not a thousand, and the Defense Intelligence Agency chief and Secretary of State can't get him into the country. That was a pretty clear signal that the military was politically handcuffed on the prisoner of war issue."

For eight years Gritz sought to find and free American POW's. He crossed five times behind enemy lines into communist Laos and Vietnam. Three times he was within moments of embracing those American heroes our government had declared dead. Each time something unexplained caused Gritz and his Operation Lazarus team to fall short, with freedom and victory in sight for the POW's. (to be continued)

transcribed by Jim Burnes