The scene: The Eugene Hilton restaurant. Ruppert is exhausted and hungry, having spoken in Portland on Friday and Saturday nights at the First Congregational Church to audiences of 400-500, and that afternoon at the Eugene Hilton, to about 275 people, for over three hours. We ask him if he's too tired for an interview, but he insists on meeting with us anyway. "I love Indymedia," he said. "You guys are changing the world."
Mike Ruppert: Please, when you call me "Mr. Ruppert" I think you're an FBI agent here to arrest me or somebody asking for money. Call me "Mike", please. [Laughter all around.]
Jeremy: What level do you think someone has to rise to before they become a target [of the establishment]?
Mike: That's a good question. I guess the basic answer is the "7% solution". When you get to a point that you have reached 7% of the population, you become a threat. Right now, I'm too big to kill in one sense. 20 members of congress, 3000 subscribers in 30 countries [receive my newsletter], fairly well known now, the name is recognized. If something happened, that would be an affirmation that I was right, and it would cause more trouble than it would solve. I'm certainly not at the level of Bobby Kennedy or Martin Luther King, so I'm nowhere near that. But that's a good question. I don't know. I hope I don't have to answer it. [Using a funny voice:] "Yeah, okay I'm at the point where they have to kill you now. I just found out because they killed me an hour ago." Anyway, I don't know.
I think that when, individual, as a person, you become a threat to the establishment, imminently able to threaten the order to take it down, and you are not replaceable. You see the deal with Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King was that they were wonderful human beings. And I know Bobby was a CIA hit from start to finish -- there's information about my experience with that on the website. I'd ask you to read that. But they were personalities. One of my aims, and part of my insurance policy, is not to be a personality here. My aim is to teach the method of research and argument that takes the personality out of it. I hope that's working.
Barbara: Where is bin Laden right now? Is our government protecting him?
Mike: [With deadpan sarcasm.] I think he's getting his nails done in Switzerland. Maybe a little time in a spa in Geneva. Maybe a facelift. Someone says he looks like Gene Simmons from KISS, so maybe he's actually on tour with KISS, wearing the make-up.
Jeremy: [Playing along.] Could be. That would be a great cover.
Mike: The U.S. has no interest in finding Osama bin Laden. Never has. I don't think he will ever surface. I think that his family is influential enough. Look at this from the organized crime model; he might be like the head of the Patriarcha family or the Colombo family, maybe not important enough to kill, but certainly it would result in a Mafia war if the Bushes took him out. So they don't want to go to that length. That's my guess at this point. Who knows how much he knew? The CIA runs terrorist groups all the time without them having any clue that CIA is setting them up and funding them. So who knows where he is. He's probably having a good time.
Jeremy: I understand there were leftist organizations in the late 60's that were funded by the government and had no idea. Sometimes people are plants without even knowing it.
Mike: I almost got shot once when I told some people that I tracked CIA supplying weapons to M19 guerilla group in South America and there were some M19s in the room. I said, "hey guys, you don't even have to know that the CIA is getting you those guns".
Jeremy: That brings me around to the whole Dave Corn thing. He didn't take on your evidence. He was, I think, just trying to be dismissive of you in a snide way. But one thing that you didn't quite address when you wrote to him was that his doubts were based on the idea that the government was incapable of pulling off something like this. He said there'd have to be hundreds of people involved who would know.
Mike: That's stupid. Utterly stupid. First of all, he's saying the CIA, and FBI and all the intelligence agencies and the military are too incompetent to have pulled off this attack. But Osama bin Laden in a cave was capable of doing it? I mean, that's patently absurd, on it's face. In terms of keeping a secret, you know I keep telling everybody in the audience, people are speaking out. Mike Vreeland is speaking out. He knew about it. He was trying to get people to listen. There are some FBI agents filing suit. Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch -- that's a right wing group -- has actually filed a formal complaint on behalf of at least one known agent who supposedly knows a lot more. So people were talking about it.
Barbara: Peter Jennings recently appeared on the Larry King show. He said he was surprised that more Americans "don't take to the streets in more vigorous ways than they do", that is, protest.
Mike: Wow, really? When was that?
Barbara: A couple of nights ago.
Mike: That's amazing.
Barbara: Yeah. So, do you think that he or other journalists know about 9.11? And if so, does that make them complicit?
Mike: Yes, I think he does, and that would make him complicit.
Barbara: When did you start wondering about 9.11? Did you know something right away?
Mike: I was on the air that day, within hours of the attacks, saying that there's no way that second plane could hit unless the government wanted it to hit. This is a Pearl Harbor scenario, whatever was happening was intended to happen. That I knew as much as I told you in the lecture today -- absolutely not. But see, what I had was 25 years of studying covert operations, familiarity with the Bush clan, and the CIA so I knew immediately where to start looking. Which is why I have a leg up on almost all the breaking stories.
Barbara: What does your family think about what you're talking about?
Mike: What family? I have a father. He watches it, he's 78 years old, he's saying I'm glad I'm not going to be around when all this works itself out. He doesn't get it and he's at a point where he's, "why should I have to get it? I only have a few years to live anyway." I have no other family. I'm divorced, I have no children. No brothers and sisters. So. There's just me and the people who work for me, and everybody else I hang out with.
Barbara: They're your family.
Mike: Yeah, you're my family.
Barbara: What is the one most compelling and believable argument that most people would buy?
Mike: I hate that question. [Everyone laughs.] I hate that question. You know why I hate that question? People who have tried to attack me, they say, "what's the best piece of evidence?" I give them the best piece of evidence and they say "well, that doesn't prove anything," and they walk away. And I say "wait a minute". A lawyer in a trial presents 150 exhibits. You just asked me to produce one piece of evidence and rest my whole case on the one. You can't try a murder trial on one piece of evidence. It's not fair.
Barbara: That's understandable, but if you could at least open the door for people, what would you open the door with?
Mike: I'm going to give you three answers. Listen. The fact that the fighters were not scrambled in direct contravention of established procedure, in a way that could only have happened if the national command authority had intervened to prevent that from happening. Second is the insider trading, which is so damning that the government has clamped down on and suppressed ruthlessly. And probably third would be the $100,000 wired to Mohammed Atta from the head of Pakistani intelligence. Those are three. But see, you answer that question, and the Sophist will back you into a corner and say, "He's listed his best three and they don't prove anything." And they walk away...
Jeremy: Leading off of that question, a lot of people just have difficulty -- regardless of any specific pieces of evidence -- imagining that the government is capable. That is, that it would be involved in something like this.
Mike: Right. Those are the same people who would doubt that Adolf Hitler could have killed six million Jews. They lived in Germany, you know, and they didn't believe until they were forced to march through the camps themselves at the end of the war. Which the 101st Airborne did. There were people who did not, do not believe a lot of that stuff. That's their state of mental illness for which I'm not responsible. It can't happen here, it is happening here. I don't argue with that . I don't chase that. If they want to live in denial, that's fine. There are some people who you can get to with the facts and you can present them with the evidence on the fighters, on the insider trading, on the advance warnings that were much more specific than people get. And you can begin to see them go through this tribulation, this birth panging and all that. Those people I chase. But the ones who say, "The government would never do that," I say, "Fine".
Jeremy: I was immediately skeptical of that myself. After September 11, there were a set of emergency activist meetings in Portland, where I was living at the time, about "what are we going to do?" and "how are we going to respond to this war?" Someone came up to me and was like, "Here's why it happened and here's how the government was behind it", and I was like, "You know, that might be true but I can't even think about that right now. I just think we need to stop the bombs from falling. And I don't think anyone else is ever going to buy that, either." But --
Mike: Well you were wrong there! [Everybody laughs.]
Jeremy: Yeah. Well I've since come to reconsider. I'm not sure what the breakthrough was.
Friend of L.A. Indymedia, who is also at dinner: I'd be really interested to know what your breakthrough was because that's where all of Los Angeles is right now.
Jeremy: Well let's send Barbara down there. She's really the one who -- I think it takes a personal connection for people. Someone they know.
[Pause while food comes out, etc.]
Jeremy: I was really fascinated when you said they infiltrate the left wing, not the right wing.
Mike: Oh yeah. This is not [new]. This has been going on for thousands of years. You infiltrate the opposition and always makes the attacks come from the opposition against itself. Nichola Machievelli wrote about it very well.
Barbara: I'm curious about the article from the LA Herald Examiner that you put on your website --
Mike: 1981. Randall Sullivan. Who now writes for Rolling Stone, by the way.
Barbara: Well, it reads like a cheap novel. Is that why you put it up there, because that's how it reads?
Mike: What it shows is that 21 years ago, I was on the front page of a major newspaper then. Because I've been accused of being a CIA plant. Okay? So I say, "Look, 21 years ago, the front page of the Herald Examiner, two Sundays in a row, they wrote about me being homeless, threatened, shot at, called crazy, forced into bankruptcy, and gone through all this. So yeah, you're right, I went through twenty years of trying to set up a cover just so I could fool you now. I was homeless 21 years ago just so I could be a CIA guy now and fool you. That's right." You know, and if people want to believe that, it's fine.
Jeremy: Well, that's brilliant, Mike! [Everybody laughs.]
Mike: But also he verified that I was not fired. There's an internal Pacifica memo in LA says I was fired on psychiatric grounds, which is absolutely not true. I had the highest ratings reports possible, etc., etc.. So that paper alone establishes that I was earning the highest ratings reports possible, had a squeaky-clean record, and that was printed 21 years ago. So it's kind of hard to shoot that down.
Jeremy: You talked a little about India and Pakistan and how, with Pakistani intelligence, their person who's in charge of it there has to be vetted by our intelligence first --
Mike: Yes. Has to be approved, actually. Can't take the job. Michel Chossudovsky at the University of Ottawa has it on his site, globalresearch.ca.
Jeremy: There was that attack on the Indian Parliament Building last fall --
Jeremy: -- which had sort of a similar smell as 9.11 to it when it happened. I felt like it was something else that was planned.
Mike: There's other stuff going on. The world was ratcheted to the brink of hysteria shortly after 9.11 over India and Pakistan getting their nukes ready to go to war. They're doing that to us now again with Israel and Palestine, which is a form of psychological warfare directed at us, to keep us so tense, so wound up. It's a very effective way to control Middle America, to make them so preoccupied. It's the game of brinkmanship. I told you before what I think is going on is that Sharon is blackmailing the heck out of Bush because the Israelis know damn well that the Americans opened the door wide and said, "Come attack", if not worse.
Isn't it strange that the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism, which is Mossad [the Israeli intelligence agency, comparable to the CIA] connected, released the insider-trading? And historically that's very important. During Iran-Contra, Ollie North was trying to blame all the weapons smuggling on Israel: "Oh it was those dirty Jews. It was those rotten Israelis. They did the trades with Iran." And finally they got tired of it and they leaked a whole bunch of documents that eventually got Oliver North convicted of perjury. And I think the Israelis were letting it be clearly known immediately after the attacks, "Hey boys, we know what you did. You know that we know what you did." And it was a very subtle message. Because I read that report and I said, "Alex Brown [Alexander Brown Deutschebank, a bank], the trades were placed through Alex Brown! Oh my god, that's Buzzy Krongard [former CIA Director]. The Israelis are telling everybody they know the CIA let these attacks happen. If not worse, and profited from them." My suspicion is -- and I haven't printed this, it's just my suspicion -- is that most of the insider trades were made by the guys at the high level of CIA, you know, the traders who knew it was coming and just decided to make a few extra millions for themselves on the side as a result.
Jeremy: That would be fairly typical.
Mike: Yeah. [Imitating a CIA person:] "You know, I could place some put options, get that house in the Hamptons, no one will notice..."
Barbara: Then there's the passenger lists. The numbers don't add up.
Mike: Not only do the numbers not add up, but none of the hijackers are on the passenger lists.
Jeremy: But they wouldn't be, would they? Wouldn't they be under different names somehow?
Mike: You have to have a drivers' license to get on to any airplane. That was there before 9.11.
Jeremy: Yeah, okay.
Mike: That's one of those areas that, as a journalist, it's a nonproductive area, meaning that I could spend a lot of time chasing the anomalies, but what does it prove? I was talking to Peter Dale Scott, of Berkeley, who I love to pieces, and there's more work coming up shortly. Some of the hijackers who were named are actually still very much alive. But there are tons of these anomalies, and again, my search as a journalist, is that I can only work 100 hours a week, is to find those stories that stick like a dart in the American consciousness when you throw it out there. And I stay away from these other things that even sound like conspiracy theories. This is all stuff that we'll piece together. We already know who committed the crime, at least, I know who committed the crime. We've proved that they're lying. Now, the exact methods of how the dance steps were carried out can be added at a later date as far as I'm concerned. If we have a later date.
Barbara: Was there anyone on the planes who knew what was going on?
Mike: I don't know. I don't know.
Jeremy: Well there was that cell phone call --
Barbara: Now they're saying that cell phone call didn't even happen --
Mike: Again, you'll never come out of that alive as a journalist.
Jeremy: On September 11, I remember that during the coverage, they started showing Osama bin Laden's face right away. They would show a plane crashing into a tower, people falling from the tower, and then an Arab's face -- it was bin Laden. And they did this over and over again, all day. But it strikes me, and maybe your memory is better than mine, that it seemed like the media brought up his name before anyone in the government said that he was a suspect.
Mike: I believe that to be the case also. This goes back to the John Kennedy case where Fletcher Prouty was coming back from the South Pole and he lands in New Zealand, and John Kennedy's only been dead for three hours and here's a full five page story in the New Zealand newspaper with Oswald's photograph already there. They had a five page story with all the reports written that had to have been researched before the event.
None of that surprises me. But again, that's not anything you can throw out to the public as proof of anything. It's just a "how come?" "How come" 15 microbiologists have died? That's a big "how come" for me.
Barbara: Yeah, really big.
Mike: I'm really concerned about that. [Click here for more on the microbiologists story, at copvcia.com.]
Jeremy: I looked at the model legislation for the Emergency Health Powers Act . It's really bad, but I know that different states are watering it down. [Click here for a PDF of the legislation.]
Mike: I think you have to understand that it's not getting passed the way the big bad boys want. Which is why they're going to need another terrorist attack to get the end result that they want. That's more scary to me.
Jeremy: It passed the House in Wisconsin, but then the session was over before it could go to the Senate. Activists I spoke to were skeptical that it would pass there, but that's under the current circumstances.
Mike: But you never know!
Barbara: So might that legislation have been in place, as well as the PATRIOT Act? I mean, the PATRIOT Act is a big, big document. How was that written so quickly?
Mike: We don't know. But I've been around the Hill and I've watched legislation move, and they have pieces of bills that were written and researched on the shelf for long periods of time, for different circumstances. That's what legislative analysts do on Congressmen's staffs. So it's not sinister to me at all that somebody would have said, post-9.11, "Give me the most draconian money-laundering stuff we have written." House leadership looks at it, party leadership, signs off on it, etc. There were other parts of the PATRIOT act, clearly the stuff with civil liberties and wiretapping, but that was the easiest stuff to write. But I'm not surprised if that was written and drafted and sitting on somebody's shelf for a long time. So you can assemble a bill like that fairly quickly. But it's the selection of the component parts that makes the PATRIOT act so devastating, so venal, and so evil. All that assembled into one bill. And that's not the first time when a bill was passed with members of Congress weren't even allowed to read it. The crime bill of 1994 was the same way. They were adding new sections to the act written on cocktail napkins, on the House floor, as the members were voting. So, that style of legislation has been around for awhile... Ron Paul read the whole thing, and I think that's to his credit. Cynthia [McKinney] did too, but she has to pick and choose her battles. She can only afford to risk being crucified once, and so that's why she waited until now to come out. This is her shot. This is what she's willing to stake her future on. And she has. God bless her.
Barbara: There was an interesting newswire item on indymedia: someone encouraging everyone to wear masks because they felt like it wasn't safe to be out dissenting in the streets and have your face shown. We made this item into a feature because there were so many people adding to it. Some people felt like, yes, masks are very important, and other people felt like, no, I'm going to be out there with the truth, and I have nothing to hide and no reason to hide. There's a lot of fear right now among people who are dissenting.
Mike: You want to know what my opinion on that is?
Mike: The people who were suggesting that you wear masks are probably government COINTELPRO, and I'll tell you why. Two reasons. First of all, they're teaching you to be afraid. They're teaching you to operate from a standpoint of fear. Already that's a psychological warfare game that you've surrendered to the moment you put on the mask. But secondly, they know, if you're filmed and on the nightly news and mainstream America sees a bunch of people wearing masks, they associate you with terrorism.
Barbara: And that's an argument that was posted there. Someone also said that the surveillance equipment that the FBI has would be able to get through the mask, identify your movements, etc., and they'd be able to figure it out anyway. So a mask certainly isn't going to hide your identity.
Jeremy: Mike, those people who are suggesting that we wear masks, they might not necessarily be COINTELPRO themselves, but there are these ideas that get dropped in by COINTELPRO, I believe --
Mike: These are susceptible people, gullible people, who really don't understand how it works, and they have no real compass. So it's like, "Oh, did you hear that rumour?" and they go this way until they hear the next rumour, and then they're going that way. Those people are what we call in the intelligence world, or as a journalist, "dilettantes". They're dangerous. They're very dangerous. Especially when they get in over their head.
Jeremy: Some people have said about the PATRIOT Act, "Oh well, you know, they always do that during wars, and then it always goes away and we always get our freedoms back." That was one thing that was said to me when I was complaining about the PATRIOT Act. I wasn't quite sure how to respond to that one.
Mike: My only answer is: "You can believe that if you want to, buddy. I sure don't." How do we know what freedoms we've gotten back? When the temperature of the water is being turned up so slowly, we don't realize we're being cooked.
I don't care! When you take away amendments to the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, that's not viable, that's a line that you've crossed. You show me the argument where, yeah, in World War II, they interned the Japanese, but they didn't enshrine it in the Bill of Rights as law. They took the action. But now it's a law. Now it's written down.
Jeremy: So you see that as being a real difference between then and now?
Mike: It's huge. It's monstrous. There is no sunset clause. It reads, "Provisions of these acts will expire on January something, 2005, except in cases where the terrorist investigations were commenced prior to that date." So all you have to do is say that you started the terrorist investigation in 2004, and there is no sunset clause. It's the ultimate release from that. There is no sunset clause. Period.
Barbara: Why is there so much apathy with the American people? I know lots of people who believe that our government is corrupt, but they say, "Well, they've already won". So they're staying at home and not doing anything about it.
Mike: They will think that until somebody seizes their house or people start dying around them or until the level of corruption gets [worse], or until their 401k disappears, or until they're unemployed and they lose their medical benefits. Then they'll start to say, "I'm affected". Again, I don't worry about those people. Let them be apathetic. It's a form of denial. Let them pull the wool covers back over their heads. That's fine. Let 'em try. I shake them when I can, and I reach them. Not just me; everybody else, too. There's a lot of good people doing this.
The point is, we are making a difference. The apathetic ones? Let them stay apathetic. They can resist as long as they want to. There's an old saying in the Twelve Step recovery program for alcoholics, that you can't drag a drunk off a bar stool while he's drinking. So you let 'em drink. And you wait for the moment when they're weak and having a hangover, and that's when you hit 'em with the recovery.
I don't feel bad at all. I see this changing. I can feel it changing.
Jeremy: As you travel around the country you mean?
Mike: Yeah, absolutely.
Barbara: So, I hear you saying that you feel pretty safe with what you're doing, speaking with people. But I'm concerned about Cynthia McKinney --
Mike: You mean, physically safe?
Mike: My attitude -- and I'm tired so I'm going to tell you the honest-to-god's truth -- if they want to kill me, I don't give a shit. Okay? There's nothing they can do to me, that they haven't done to me, that would hurt me any worse than I've been hurt in my life. And I have not detailed everything that I've been through. You see this in the black ghetto all the time; you see a black man who has no place to go, no hope: "Go ahead, shoot me! Go ahead!" And you know he means it. I crossed that line. And that's a liberating line. In Japan, in Eastern culture, that's a very liberating line. There was a point in time, and I won't discuss the date or the circumstance, back in 1996, when I crossed the line completely. I was a dead man. So every day that I have had since is a gift. I don't care. I'll quote Sadat: "I will not die one minute before God has decided." I cannot worry about it. So I don't care.
McKinney, I don't think she's worried about death. She's a black woman, for god's sake. She worries about losing her seat, she worries about harming her constituents, she worries about not living up to her responsibilities to try to make a better world. That's what she worries about, and that's what I worry about. And that's all I worry about. There's nothing else to worry about.
Barbara: What do you think would happen if, tomorrow, by some stroke of magick, everyone in America woke up and realized what was going on?
Mike: That's a good question. That's a very good question. In France, they had the Reign of Terror, for about 14 years, with guillotines. "Off with their head, off with their head, off with their head!" and sometimes without reason. It was a venting of pent-up rage; a cultural, social pent-up rage that operated without reason. And without justice. The longer we forestall the accounting, the greater that rage -- when it erupts -- is going to be. It'll be messy, too.