Thursday, 17 April 2014 17:10

The Deaths of Two Unsung Heroes: John Judge and Mike Ruppert

I didn't agree with John and Mike on every issue. But most of the time they were on the right track. Beyond that, they provided a serious and credible counterweight to the nonsense of the dying MSM.  We are all a bit poorer with their leaving us, writes Jim DiEugenio.

In the space of a few days in mid April, two fighters for the truth about America's recent history were lost to us. John Judge passed away in Washington D.C. and Mike Ruppert passed in Napa, California. It's appropriate that the two deaths in essence straddled the country. Because in a real sense, John and Mike worked hard to create an alterative paradigm to the MSM's version of contemporary American history.

John Judge

I knew both of these authors and activists for many years. In both a personal way and also in a professional manner. I first met John Judge (left, 11-22-96) at the ASK Symposium in Dallas back in 1991. This was the first of the research conferences, which became annual events when Oliver Stone's film JFK debuted. John was a working research partner of the late Mae Brussell and he was selling a collection of her best essays there in a pamphlet called the Mae Brussell reader. John and Mae had researched the major assassinations of the sixties at length and in depth. That is, the murders of John Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. And since Mae had such a wide variety of interests, John also had a cosmopolitan view of modern American history. John had opinions on things like the Tate-LaBianca murders and the Jonestown tragedy. In all these instances John and Mae came to radically different views of these events than the MSM did.

Mae's work was backed up by a huge archive of documents and books and clippings. I know this for a fact since I was one of the very few people who was allowed to utilize this archives. After Mae died in 1988, there ensued a rather unseemly battle over her legacy. This included her collection of broadcast tapes called World Watchers International. These had been made on radio station KAZU FM in Pacific Grove. It also included over 40 file cabinets of newspaper and magazine clippings and documents. In addition to that Mae had about 4000 books, some of which were very hard to come by. Lisa Pease and myself were allowed to go through these materials for a weekend in Santa Barbara when the late bookseller Tom Davis had them in his possession. Although Brussell was caricatured by many in and out of the research field, there were very few in the community that had the wherewithal and stamina to do the very difficult work she did on so many current topics. John benefited from this relationship in much of his work and in his viewpoint of how the importation of the Nazi scientific and spy apparatus through Reinhard Gehlen's relationship with Allen Dulles and John McCloy impacted the American intelligence community at its inception.

As I said, at the time I met John and interviewed him for my first book, the first edition of Destiny Betrayed, he really was not a researcher anymore. He first became a public relations liaison for Mae's work. But that effort was hamstrung over the internecine strife over who Mae actually left her archives and legacy to. John founded the Committee for an Open Archives along with Bill Kelly. That group then joined with CTKA and the AARC to form the Coalition on Political Assassinations, and John became the front person for the COPA. In the late nineties, when that group was formally disbanded, John continued to hold conferences under that banner. In addition to holding seminars on the JFK case, John also did the same in Memphis for the King case, in Los Angeles for the Bobby Kennedy case, and even in New York for the Malcolm X case.

When the 9-11 attacks happened, John immediately became involved with the family members in trying to get a federal inquiry off the ground. And he also monitored the work of that commission. From 2005 to 2007 he worked as a Special Projects Director for the exceptional Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. Two things he did for her was to arrange a 2005 conference of the very best 9-11 researchers for congress to hear, and he helped draft articles of impeachment for George W. Bush.

One of the researchers who John invited to speak at that McKinney arranged conference was Mike Ruppert. (This conference can be viewed at You Tube under the title, Cynthia McKinney on CSPAN-Report Card 1 of 4.) Which is as it should have been. Mike Ruppert was involved in his alternative journalism career in September of 2001. Mike had been a police detective in Los Angeles for a number of years. While on this job he became romantically involved with a woman who introduced him to the importation of drugs into the US by a combination of the CIA and Halliburton. This led to his resignation from the force. He then got interested in reopening the RFK case. Mike had learned some fascinating things about the RFK cover up while on the force. So he joined forces with the likes of the late Jonn Christian to try and introduce new evidence to the LA Police Commission about that case.

But when Gary Webbs's sensational stories in the San Jose Mercury News exploded onto the national agenda in 1996, Ruppert found his moment. When John Deutch visited Los Angeles, Mike confronted him on camera. This was an electric and iconic example of the old adage of "speaking truth to power". Mike capitalized on this moment by launching his own publication called From the Wilderness. This began as a mailed periodical and then became an online journal. It was one of the very few alternative voices that arose during the so-called Internet Revolution that really was a vibrant and strong media outlet in the tradition of Ramparts and the LA Free Press. (Two others were David Talbot's Salon and Bob Parry's Consortium News.)

There were very few people who were as good as Mike was on the issues of CIA drug dealing. And From the Wilderness helped launch a vibrant speaking tour for Mike. From the Wilderness grew to have a circulation in the tens of thousands. And I eventually wrote for that fine journal. (See here and here.)

But when the 9-11 attacks happened, Mike pounced on this event like a tiger. As he told me, there just seemed to be too many anomalies about it: the late arriving interceptors, the large stock market manipulation which no one collected on, the many war games in progress that day. Mike had learned from the JFK case. He was not going to concentrate on the physical evidence in 9-11. After all he said, what is more compelling than the Zapruder film? Yet, the MSM casts that aside. So he concentrated on building an internal evidentiary case, showing how a series of acts built to the final denouement. The case he made was not against George W. Bush. It was against the dyed in the wool Neocons Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld. His book on the subject, Crossing the Rubicon, is a bit long, but it is surely one of the finest books on that subject one can read.

As Mike's manager, Ken Levine, told me, Ruppert was as bad a businessman as he was a good journalist. Therefore, because he was not a good delegator and manager, From the Wilderness never prospered the way it should have. He then moved out of California into the Pacific Northwest and ran into legal problems. This essentially brought down From the Wilderness. I actually tried to buy the publication from him, but he either never got the offer or never seriously considered it.

Mike tried to make a comeback with the documentary film Collapse. But although that film was a good one there were too many of them out at the time about the economic collapse of 2007-08. It did not do for him what he expected. But Mike kept up his talking and speaking engagements. And I think it's fitting to remember him by two interviews he did with Allison Weiner on her fine program Media Mayhem. (Click here for these two appearances and here.)

I didn't agree with John and Mike on every issue. But most of the time they were on the right track. Beyond that, they provided a serious and credible counterweight to the nonsense of the dying MSM.

We are all a bit poorer with their leaving us.

- Jim DiEugenio

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