Source – publiceye.org
– “…Gritz ran in 1992 for President under the slogan: “God, Guns and Gritz,” and published an isolationist political manifesto entitled “The Bill of Gritz”. Among other things, the “Bill of Gritz” called for the complete closing of the border with Mexico, and the dissolution of the Federal Reserve“:
One of the most visible attempts by rightists to recruit from the left involved the 1992 presidential candidacy of Bo Gritz. Gritz ran for president through a variety of local parties and groups, but his earliest candidacy this electoral round was under the banner of the fascist Populist Party. Even Readers Digest has called the Populist party a haven for neo-Nazis and ex-klansmen. The Populist Party was founded by Hitler apologist Willis Carto.
Bo Gritz is the point man in an effort to build a coalition of white supremacists, anti-Jewish bigots, neo-fascists, and paranoid gun nuts. At the same time Gritz has attracted a large audience of progressives with his anti-administration appeals.
Gritz promotes the ideas of the Christian Identity movement, although he claims he is not a follower of Identity. In a speech at Identity pastor Pete Peter’s Colorado headquarters, Gritz acknowledged that Peters had helped publish and distribute his book Called to Serve, which is used to promote the Gritz presidential campaign.
Christian Identity is a religion that sees Jews as agents of Satan and considers African-Americans to be sub-human. Identity claims the United States is the real promised land and white Christians are the real children of Israel. Many proponents of Christian Identity seek to overthrow the “Zionist Occupational Government” in Washington, D.C. and establish an exclusively white Christian nation, or at least seize the states of the pacific northwest.
Gritz primarily seeks to build networks of support in reactionary and far-right circles. He made a presentation on “MIA/POW & Government Drug Dealers” at the Third Christian Heritage National Conference held in November of 1990 in Florida. Among other featured speakers were Bob Weems, Pete Peters, Col. Jack Mohr and other persons who promote Christian Identity. Also speaking were Eustace Mullins, who provided the “Total Conspiracy Update,” and A.J. Barker, national chairman of the Populist Party.
The Populist Party ran former neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke for President in 1988 with Gritz as the original vice-presidential nominee. Gritz later dropped off the ticket to run for local office, and now makes excuses for his earlier affiliation with Duke.
Gritz claims he opposes racism and is trying to clean up the Populist Party. But Gritz continuously misrepresents the nature of the Populist Party and its ongoing leadership. An article in the September 1992 Soldier of Fortune magazine notes:
” Gritz also said he does not know Jerry Pope, chairman of Kentucky’s Populist Party. Pope was once a prominent figure in the National States Rights Party founded by racist J.B. Stoner, who was imprisoned for the deaths of black children in the bombing of a Sunday school class in Birmingham, Alabama.” Pope and Gritz are both listed as being on the Board of Advisers to the Populist Action Committee run by Liberty Lobby.
The Populist Party began promoting Gritz for President in the summer of 1991. The banner headline in the June, 1991 issue of The Populist Observer: Voice of the Populist Party was “Groundswell Building For Gritz Presidential Run.” Gritz had addressed the Populist Party national convention in May 1991. The following month, The Populist Observer ran another banner headline proclaiming: “Gritz Populist Party Candidacy for President Official!”
In a memo sent to Populist Party regulars by Chair Don Wassall, and signed by 11 Populist Party Executive Committee members, Wassall wrote that “We are reaching out to new people, and we have a tremendous presidential candidate in Bo Gritz.” Campaign flyers mailed from the Populist Party headquarters are headlined “Bo Gritz for President…Vote Populist Party.” In the June, 1991 issue of The Populist Observer, Gritz wrote, “I call upon you as Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Independent, right, left, conservative, liberal, et.al., to UNITE AS POPULISTS [emphasis in original] until we have our nation firmly back on her feet.” Gritz told the audience at a July, 1991 meeting in Palo Alto, California that they should reach out and attempt to recruit persons from the left.
While Willis Carto was one of the key founders of the Populist Party, the Party is now under the control of Don Wassall who is feuding with Willis Carto and the Liberty Lobby over control of the movement. According to the May 1992 issue of The Monitor, “Wassall’s Populist Party has been forced to take a back seat as Gritz has cobbled together his own organization, the America First! Coalition.”
But as the Monitor explains, “Gritz’s standard stump speech is an amalgam of themes popular among white supremacists and others on the far right: the Federal Reserve System is unconstitutional and should be abolished and a vast conspiracy of “internationalists” are taking over the world. In his book Called to Serve, Gritz writes that “Eight jewish (sic) families virtually control the FED,” (the Federal Reserve System.)
Gritz was heavily promoted by the Carto forces as early as the summer of 1987 when Gritz was holding press conferences charging that key U.S. government officials were the “biggest customers” of the world’s leading “drug lord,” Gen. Khun Sa of Burma.31
In a January 3, 1992 letter to Willis Carto, Gritz urged the warring factions in the Populist Party to cease their bickering, and told Carto he was “seeking cooperation between you and your former allies.” He also wrote “During my first meeting with Don and Phil as a Populist candidate, I expressed utmost concern over accountability of funds,” thus clearly acknowledging that he considers himself the Populist Party candidate.
Gritz’s call for the left/right coalition apparently first surfaced publicly at his Freedom Call ’90 conference held in July, 1990 in Las Vegas. Speakers at that conference included Gritz and anti-Semite Eustace Mullins, as well as Father Bill Davis of the Christic Institute, ex-CIA official (now critic) John Stockwell, and author Barbara Honegger. This fact of attendance is not meant to imply that all these persons share the same views. It is meant to demonstrate that Gritz is attempting to draw a broad range of government critics into a coalition. Stockwell, Honegger, and Davis have all said their appearance at the conference should not be interpreted as an endorsement of Gritz’s research or political views. Gritz’s Center for Action still sells a set of tapes from the conference, including speeches by Gritz and Mullins, along with Father Davis, Barbara Honegger, and John Stockwell.
This set of tapes is advertised in the Prevailing Winds catalog which mixes material from mainstream, progressive, and far-right sources. Prevailing Winds promotes the Christic Institute and dozens of other left and liberal organizations and writers (including this author), as well as featuring a full page ad for Gritz’s Center for Action. A West Coast affiliate of the Christic Institute sells The Guns and Drugs Reader, edited by Prevailing Winds. Prominently featured in the publication is material by fascist standard-bearer Bo Gritz. Prevailing Winds “recommends” tapes Gritz and the vicious Jew-basher Eustace Mullins as “important exposes.”
John Stockwell has expressed concern over the way Prevailing Winds has lumped his research together with research he finds problematic. In the past, Stockwell has been highly critical of Honegger as a reliable source of information, and has had criticisms of some aspects of Christic research as well. Stockwell says he “met Gritz there on stage” at the 1990 conference and “came away greatly unimpressed,” and he was quick to distance himself from the Populist Party.
After the controversy broke in the left press, a spokesperson at Prevailing Winds (who asked to be identified simply as Patrick) said they were now considering at least including a warning in their catalog about Bo Gritz’s ties to the Populist Party and other rightist and anti-Jewish groups and individuals. Patrick said their catalog came out before Gritz accepted the Populist Party presidential nomination, but defended the inclusion of the Gritz material, saying that “middle America needs this kind of information” because “Bush is basically a dope-peddling Nazi.”
Patrick said the appropriateness of carrying Gritz’s material, given his ties to the anti-Jewish far right, has been discussed by the Prevailing Winds staff, and also discussed with Bo Gritz and with Father Davis of Christic.
According to the Prevailing Winds representative:
Its an argument we’ve gone back and forth on, it’s a tough question, whether or not to make it available and to preserve it for research. We are interested in getting the information to the people. The good thing about it is no one else is trying to build these bridges between groups. We need to reach a rainbow of people.”
Christic’s Father Bill Davis walked out of the 1990 Gritz conference when Mullins gave his speech. Yet over a year after the event, Christic still had made no public statement distancing itself from Gritz or Mullins. In the meantime, Gritz was touring the country promoting Christic’s Iran-Contra research and implying a friendly working relationship between himself and key Christic figures, especially Danny Sheehan. Sheehan is featured in a privately-distributed videotape program focusing on Gritz’s research which takes a critical look at the Reagan and Bush Administrations’ intelligence and drug policies. That videotape, circulated by Gritz and his allies, also uncritically shows a headline from the LaRouchian newspaper New Federalist to illustrate a point.
Christic’s national director, Sara Nelson, told In These Times that Christic apologizes for the appearance of Davis at the conference with Mullins, and no one is suggesting that Christic harbors any racist, anti-Jewish or fascist views. But Christic has not issued a clear and widely disseminated public statement alerting people who may have seen the Prevailing Winds catalog or the Gritz material and who now seem confused over who supports whom. This is not meant to be interpreted as a blanket criticism of the Christic Institute. Many Christic projects have been valuable. They circulated a tremendous amount of useful information about the issue of covert action and the Iran-Contra scandal. Especially notable in other areas are the work of Lewis Pitts at Christic South and the project by Andy Lang to illustrate problems with forging democracy in eastern Europe. Yet Christic’s Sheehan, Davis, and Nelson have not taken seriously the problem of right-wing groups and individuals linking themselves to the Christic case and recruiting Christic supporters in a way that implies a shared agenda. While this is not just a problem with Christic, the role that Christic could, and should, be playing in providing leadership on this question would be extremely useful.
Front Man for Fascism: Bo Gritz and the Racist Populist Party, a report by the California anti-fascist group People Against Racist Terror describes how Gritz has promoted himself on the left. The report urges Christic to be more vocal:
Christic should join the campaign to expose Bo’s campaign for the fascist vehicle it is. Christic should take the lead in condemning the Gritz campaign, rather than demanding retractions from those who have raised criticisms and concerns. It should share frankly and self-critically with its followers the process of deception and rationalization by which it was hoodwinked, so that others can escape the same fate.32
Bo Gritz – U.S. military service
Army Air Force in World War II and was killed in action. He was raised by his maternal grandparents on patriotic stories of his father’s heroics in the war. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on August 20, 1957, and shortly thereafter attended Officer Candidate School (OCS). He was promoted to the rank of captain on April 15, 1963, and to major on June 13, 1967.
As a lieutenant colonel in Vietnam, he commanded detachment “B-36”, U.S. Army Special Forces 5th SFG for a time. B-36 was a mixed American and South Vietnamese unit which operated in the III Corps area of Southern South Vietnam. He served in a variety of assignments until his retirement in 1979 at the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Attempts to locate prisoners of war
During the 1980s Gritz undertook a series of private trips into Southeast Asia, purportedly to locate United States prisoners of war which as part of the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue some believed were still being held by Laos and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – e.g., at Nhommarath. Those missions were heavily publicized, controversial and widely decried as haphazard – for instance, as some commentators stated, few successful secret missions involve bringing to the border towns women openly marketing commemorative POW-rescue T-shirts.
In the book Inside Delta Force, CSM Eric L. Haney, a former Delta Force operator, claims that the unit was twice told to prepare for a mission involving the rescue of American POWs from Vietnam. However, both times the missions were scrubbed, according to Haney, when Gritz suddenly appeared in the spotlight, drawing too much attention to the issue and making the missions too difficult to accomplish.
U.S. Government involvement in drug trafficking
In 1986, after a trip to Burma to interview drug kingpin Khun Sa regarding possible locations of U.S. POWs, Gritz returned from Burma with a videotaped interview of Khun Sa purporting to name several officials in the Reagan administration involved in narcotics trafficking in Southeast Asia. Among those named was Richard Armitage, who most recently served as Deputy Secretary of State during George W. Bush‘s first term as president. Gritz believed that those same officials were involved in a coverup of missing American POWs.
During this period Gritz established contacts with the Christic Institute, a progressive group which was then pursuing a lawsuit against the U.S. government over charges of drug trafficking in both Southeast Asia and Central America.
In 1989, Gritz established the Center For Action, which was active on a number of issues, mostly pertaining to conspiracy theories. Attempting to build bridges among conspiracy theorists and other activists of both the left and right, in 1990 he held a conference in Las Vegas, Nevada called “Freedom Call ’90”. Speakers at that conference included October surprise conspiracy researcher Barbara Honegger, Bill Davis of the Christic Institute, conspiracy theorist Eustace Mullins, and several others. This newfound interest in conspiracy theories proved to be as controversial as Gritz’s earlier missions searching for POWs.
During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Gritz was an outspoken opponent of that war, and linked it to a conspiracy theory alleging plans to implement a one-world government, known as the “new world order.” He appeared on Pacifica Radio stations in California as a guest several times, and for a short time was in demand as a speaker to left-wing and anti-war audiences. However, during this period he also became closely associated with the Christian Patriot movement on the right, and spoke at conferences sponsored by Christian Identity pastor Pete Peters. When these associations became known to those on the left, especially after the publication of a report by the Los Angeles-based group People Against Racist Terror calling Gritz a “front man for fascism“, left-wing audiences lost interest in Gritz, and the Christic Institute and Pacifica Radio cut off any further association.
Gritz is the author of three books. The first, A Nation Betrayed, was published in 1989 and contained Gritz’s allegations of drug trafficking and a POW coverup, based on the Khun Sa interview. The second, Called To Serve, was published in 1992 and expanded on the previous book to cover a wide range of conspiracies, including the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and allegations of a conspiracy to establish a new world order. His third book is titled My Brother’s Keeper and was published in 2003.
Populist Party presidential tickets
In 1988, Gritz was the candidate for Vice President of the United States on the Populist Party ticket, as the running mate of former Ku Klux Klansman David Duke. Gritz pulled out early in the race and ran instead for a Nevada Congressional seat. Gritz was then replaced by Floyd Parker on some ballots. Gritz has claimed that he accepted the party’s nomination in the belief that he would be the running mate of James Traficant. After learning it would be not be Traficant but Duke, he decided to drop out. Shortly after meeting Duke, Gritz wrote that Duke was “a brash, untraveled, overly opinionated, bigoted young man” and that “I will not support anyone that I know to hate any class of Americans.”
In 1992, after failing to secure the U.S. Taxpayers’ Party’s nomination, Gritz ran for President of the United States, again with the Populist Party. Under the campaign slogan “God, Guns and Gritz” and publishing his political manifesto “The Bill of Gritz” (playing on his last name rhyming with “rights”), he called for staunch opposition to what he called “global government” and “The New World Order“, ending all foreign aid, and abolishing the federal income tax and the Federal Reserve System. During the campaign, Gritz openly proclaimed the United States to be a “Christian Nation”, stating that the country’s legal statutes “should reflect unashamed acceptance of Almighty God and His Laws.” He received 106,152 votes nationwide, or only 0.14% of the popular vote. In two states he had a respectable showing for a third party candidate: Utah, where he received 3.84% of the vote and Idaho, where he received 2.13% of the vote. In some counties, his support topped 10%, and in Franklin County, Idaho, was only a few votes away from pushing Bill Clinton into fourth place in the county. His run on the America First/Populist Party ticket was prompted by his association with another far-right political Christian talk radio host, Tom Valentine. During his Presidential run, part of Gritz’s standard stump speech was an idea to pay off the National debt by minting a coin at the Treasury and sending it to the Federal Reserve. This predates the 2012 Trillion dollar coin concept.
In 1993, Gritz changed his emphasis again and began offering a course called SPIKE (Specially Prepared Individuals for Key Events), where those events oppose the New World Order, which taught paramilitary and survivalist skills because he predicted that there would be a total sociopolitical and economic collapse in the U.S. He also established a community in Kamiah, Idaho (contiguous to the Nez Perce Reservation) called Almost Heaven.
Several times he used his influence and reputation in the Christian Patriot community in attempts to negotiate conclusions between legal authorities and far-Right activists. In August 1992, he intervened on behalf of Randy Weaver who, with his family, was holed up on his rural home in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, after U.S. Marshals attempted to arrest him for failure to appear in court. The 11-day standoff, which resulted in the deaths of a U.S. Marshal and Weaver’s son and wife, ended after Gritz convinced Weaver to leave his cabin and place his faith and trust in the court system. In 1996, he unsuccessfully attempted to negotiate a conclusion to the stand-off by the Montana Freemen, a group of Christian Patriot activists who were wanted on a collection of charges. After speaking with the “Freemen,” he left in frustration, stating that they presented him with what he called “legal mumbo-jumbo” to support their claims, and cautioned others in the Patriot movement not to support them (the stand-off ended when the “Freemen” surrendered after 81 days).
He has been accused of white supremacy by some, although he denounced the belief in an interview with The Militia Watchdog, saying “I’ve served with black, white, yellow, brown, red; all religions; nobody ever asked you about your religion, your blood bleeds red the same as everyone else.” As well, Gritz openly renounced racism during his “Spike” training courses, and welcomed all who wanted to join in the training regardless of race.
In 2005, Gritz became an active protester for intervention in the Terri Schiavo case. On 19 March 2005, when her tube was removed, he was arrested for trespassing after trying to enter the hospice where she lived.
As of 2010 Gritz remains active with a website and a radio broadcast called “Freedom Call” on The American Voice Radio Network  via Internet Audio Streaming, Phone Bridge, Independent Am/FM and via the Free-to-air Ku band home satellite system on Galaxy 19. He is also active as the Commander of the American Legion Post 27 in Sandy Valley, Nevada.
Beginning in 2014, Lt. Col Gritz has hosted a radio show on Americanvoiceradio.com known as Freedom Call. It is broadcast weekdays at 5pm EST.
Involvement with Mormonism
In 1984, Gritz and his wife Claudia were baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). However, amid infidelity scandals, Gritz’s stake president refused to renew Gritz’s temple recommend until Gritz could prove that he had paid his federal income tax. In response, Gritz resigned his membership in the LDS Church.
In 1999, Gritz and his second wife Judy became involved in the Church of Israel, a group that originated within the Latter Day Saint movement and has since become involved with the Christian Identity movement.
The character of John “Hannibal” Smith on the 1980s television series The A-Team was loosely based on Gritz. In the early 1980s, actor William Shatner paid almost $15,000 for the entertainment rights to Gritz’s life story.
Decorations and medals
Note – the following is based largely on photographs of Lieutenant Colonel Gritz in which he is wearing military awards.
Badges and Tabs
- Combat Infantryman Badge
- Master Parachutist Badge
- Pathfinder Badge
- SCUBA Diver Badge
- Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge
- Special Forces Tab
- Ranger Tab
United States Decorations
- Silver Star with two oak leaf clusters (Some sources state that LTC Gritz received five awards of the Silver Star.)
- Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster
- Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster
- Soldiers Medal
- Bronze Star Medal with “V” device and six oak leaf clusters
- Purple Heart
- Defense Meritorious Service Medal
- Meritorious Service Medal
- Air Medal with “V” device and 25 oak leaf clusters
- Joint Service Commendation Medal
- Army Commendation Medal with “V” device and three oak leaf clusters
United States Service Medals
- Army Good Conduct Medal
- National Defense Service Medal
- Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
- Vietnam Service Medal with five campaign stars
International Orders, Decorations and Medals
- Republic of Vietnam Parachutist Badge
- Knight, National Order of Vietnam
- Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with palm
- Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal, 1st Class
- Vietnam Civil Actions Medal, 1st Class
- Vietnam Wound Medal
- Vietnam Cross of Gallantry Unit Award with palm
- Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Award with palm
- Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
- Gold Medal of Cambodia