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December, 2000

My Reply to "An Open Letter From Ed Priebe to Family Members in Argentina"

In view of the many inquiries that I have received with relation to the postings from Mark and James Penn, which were related to the Argentine judicial cases of 1993, accusing the ex-members who presented their depositions before the Argentine Courts to have lied to the Judge and considering the possible existence of new evidence not known to me, I presented the question to three ex-members.-
As a prudential time have elapsed but no answer was received and as I have always been convinced that the ex-members who presented their depositions before the Argentine Courts have not lied and that they should have never deserved to be treated as part of a "lunatic fringe" and the above mentioned postings seemed to me to be heavily biased for the COGs' side because only the favourable judgements of two of the three Judges of the Court of Appeal were mentioned without the slightest reference to the third Judge, who voted in dissidence (i.e.: serious difference of opinion of a judge which runs contrary to the conclusions of the majority), I decided to post my own message at the NDN General Discussion Board.-
My expectations were that I would receive specific answers to my very specific questions and I was surprised to receive Ed Priebe's reply which I consider to be utterly inappropriate and out of place as well as totally unrelated to the questions that were posted by me at the NDN Board.-
I do not intend to enter into a controversy as to whether Ed's letter was justified or not, devious or not, misinformed or not; whether he was badly advised or not, received intentional comments from third parties who could have been influenced by CMs/FMs or people committed in a parallel movement with the intention to take control of the group or not; whether Ed was subjected to some sort of pressures from known or unknown parties or not but, leaving all these possibilities aside, "noblèsse oblige" and here goes my reply:
First of all, please allow me to say that I find your doubts as logical as a doubt can be and that it is possible that the fact of being misinformed, is driving you to commit gross assessment mistakes and to write and affirm a lot of nonsense to say the least (I was about to use a much stronger word, but I prefer to refrain from it).-
I shall try to answer punctually to the several items concerning to my person that were raised upon and follow the order of publication as presented in your open letter. Now, with regards to José Baamonde, I think that you should addressed your questions personally to him.-
As I said before in a previous mail, I'm glad that you have been able to settle down, found a family and find a good a rewarding job. Good for you!
I never said that you lied and I assume that you'll keep your word as it was presented to the Judge.-
With regards to the Philippines, you know that I'm perfectly aware of all the things that happened there, to the extent that you showed your admiration at the amount of information that we had been able to gather, such as literature, internal documents, bibliography, graphic material and photographs of all sorts; also at the thoroughness of our knowledge of the operational aspects, structure and activities, both at national and international levels. You also agreed that it was the most detailed and ample investigation that was ever carried out on this particular subject.-
Going back to the Philippines, I'm sure that you remember our conversations with Watchman in your presence; it was commented that if the Philippines intent had not failed, a series of similar coups would have followed in Thailand and Indonesia using the same tactics. The political implications for the South East Asia were obvious and there is no need to enlarge on this particular aspect.-
Now, with regards to Argentina, you didn't know as to whether similar activities were foreseen by the leadership or not. You asked me if somebody have ever heard something about that, but you very well know that anybody who might have known something would have kept his mouth shut; you also know that the knowledge of certain decisions taken by the Folks - particularly with regards to finances, investments and anything of importance or that must be kept secret - is the exclusive privilege of the top ranks of the leadership, and this only at the right moment and at the time of implementation of such decisions. The plain members and the local and national leaders only obey, no questions asked. This is something that was duly corroborated by you.-
I agree with you in the sense that all that you said to have happened within the COGs belong to the near past and to other places and wasn't related to the activities, structure and behaviour of the cult in Argentina.-
It is up to you to believe me or not, but I don't feel frustrated, resented or angered with anybody. My only regret is not to have counted with more time and the resources needed to fulfil my investigations as it would have been my desire, before the Minority Court sent the proceedings to the Federal Court.-
I remember Abigail telling me that drugs had been planted during a previous raid. Well, that particular raid was the result of investigations that were carried out in 1989 with the intervention of police personnel that was out of my jurisdiction and under the orders of a different Judge. I don't have the details of that particular case so, I'm not in a position to judge.-
I can assure you that all I have done and the investigations that I've carried out are duly recorded and added to the minutes of the Court; all the proceedings reflect the truth and nothing but the truth and I have always acted under the orders received by the Minority Court.-
It is a fact that I've asked you: "Would you carry out the medical examinations on the kids?"
And that your answer was a rotund "No!" because the possibility of finding abused children was far fetched because the sexual practices with minors had been abandoned several years ago. I was then in agreement with you and I still am, but I remenber putting it very clearly to you that I made it my own personal opinion, if and when no signs that would make me think differently were made apparent. But in the end I was tied up to the decisions of the Judge.-
The medical exams were done under orders from the Court and the Police has no authority to decide for or against them. In this particular issue you are attributing to me a responsibility that was never mine.-
Your flight to this country and your stay didn't cost a dime to the police. This is something you must check with the Court (or with your informers).-
Now, with regards to your question about the videos: Are you referring to the Latin American Video News and another, in the first part of which the Geraldo`s TV show with the interview to Mene is shown and in its second part, adult women and young girls are dancing and doing strip tease and women performing scenes of lesbianism, which were produced by MWM in the Philippines (Manila) and filmed by J.P.? Well, these videos are added to the case minutes at the Minority Court, duly registered and received in legal form by the Court's Secretary as is the norm in all these cases. The same temperament was adopted at the reception of three videos which had been sent by John D. via Express Mail - United States Postal Service. All this can be duly verified after consulting with the Court.-
I reiterate that you are misinformed or that you are paying lip service to what the media, the Family spokesmen or Mark's posting said, all of which is totally and utterly unfounded. Allow me to say it again: You must consult the minutes of the case at the Courts. And allow me to affirm with all my strength that during the 1993 proceedings no drugs or pornographic videos were ever planted.-
You are accusing me gratuitously and attributing to my person responsibilities I have never had. I was not the person in charge of the raids, as the Federal Court decided to appoint another Police Chief to carry out the proceedings on the field, with police personnel under his direct and exclusive supervision. I do not know whether the mission was rightly or wrongly carried out but, allow me to say it again, at the reports of the raids, no mention was made of drugs or pornographic videos being seized. Once again: this can be duly verified after consulting the Court's minutes.-
Please allow me to put it very clearly: I am the only one responsible for my acts and I'm ready to take charge of my mistakes and my blunders and, as I said before, all my investigative work and proceedings are duly and punctually recorded in the minutes of the Minority Court case therefore, please do not charge me with unfounded accusations and do not attribute to me the wrongdoings of other persons, their mistakes and gaffes, as I have never had any authority over them.-
You are asking me what individuals or organizations were the driving force behind the raids, you mention the "Opus Dei", that "Extremist Catholic Defence League"; the Government of the United States of America; the CIA; a worldwide crusade against the Family, etc. I must confess this is the first notice I have of all these things. You are still attributing me the responsibilities that can only emanate from an authority and a decision power that I do not have to day and have never possessed in the past, never. I do not know what somebody could have told you or what you have found out but, as I said before, at the beginning of this letter, your doubts are as logical as a doubt can be but what you are saying in your "Open Letter" is a lot of nonsense.-
I understand that in Baamonde's book, the article of the Philippine Daily Inquirer is reproduced but no names are named, the corresponding spaces are left blank. I can try to get a copy of the book and post it to you via air mail, then you'll be able to personally verify what I'm saying. -
Yes, I remember the list of names, except two of them. It was the day of your drawing and allow me to say that you are mistaken, the drawing wasn't for me, it was intended for other person but when that person saw it, didn't like it and refused to accept it and you were about to torn the drawing to pieces but I asked it to you and you acceded to give it to me, I still keep it. I remind you the particular moment of time because I understand that by then, you had already given part of the list to other person.-
I agree with you that what happened to Ava Martin, if it happened as you described it, was really deplorable, I don't know what to say about it. The same with regards to Pascuala J..-
Please allow me insist: In this country, the Judges are the only ones with authority to order a raid and the subsequent arrests. The Police do not have such authority and can not proceed to a raid without a search order from a Judge.-
The Penitentiary Service and the Police are two different and independent institutions, each have their own particular functions and none have any authority on the other.-
This is the first notice I have about the NBC. I don't know the persons that you mention and it was impossible for me to "shut them out" because, as I said before, I wasn't in charge of the raids.-
I fail to understand the meaning of "illegal gatherings". I do remember the conversations that you, Richard and I had about the charges under investigation, all that was related to minors, illegal privation of liberty, forgery of ID documents, swindling, illicit association and others and how hard it is to gather evidence and the difficulties to locate the NAS' home address and the WS unit in Argentina. You couldn't help us on these because you didn't know but you should also accept that you were evasive. When asked if you could give me the location of the Latin American High School in Peru, you responded: "In Peru"; about the Training Camp of Mexico, your reply was "Mexico"; about the Heavenly City School of Japan, the answer was "Japan" ; about the Centro de Formación Enterprise de Sudamerica, the answer was "South America"; about the Finca de Ho in Macao, you responded "Macao"; the Colony of Isolation, etc., the answer was always of the same nature: not conclusive and elusive. When asked about the whereabouts of Moses Berg, whether he could be staying in Brazil or somewhere else, your reply was that it was possible because he liked warm weather zones (tropical zones). I mention these things because I want you to understand the difficulties and delays found in an investigation. Mark you, this is not a reproach to your elusive answers.-
As a Policeman I must inform the judicature that, according with my criteria and the evidence received and/or produced, a certain offence or crime could have been committed but in the end it is the Judge the only one that evaluates the evidence and the only one with authority to decide upon and qualify such and such offence or crime in accordance with the Codes and judge in consequence.-
For your knowledge and in the hope that it will help you to clarify your ideas, what follows is a synthesis of the sequence of events in the 1993 Argentine case:
The Minority Court of Mercedes in its resolution dated June 28th., 1993 infers the existence of the following crimes: rape, statutory rape, withholding of minors, fraud, reduction to servitude, illegal privation of liberty and forgery of ID documents. With no prejudice of the definitive competence, transfers copies of all the proceedings (a total of eight volumes with 1600 pages) to the San Isidro Federal Court. The Minority Court continues the investigation.-
On September 1st., 1993, the San Isidro Federal Court orders the raids, the arrests and all the proceedings considered to be necessary and after evaluation and on the basis of all that, the detention of the adults was transformed into a preventive arrest as being "prima facie" responsible for the following crimes: corruption of minors, reduction of persons to servitude, illegal privation of liberty aggravated by religious ends, illegal retention and withholding of persons against their will and participation in an organization that promotes racial and religious discrimination, all in real concourse and established an embargo of their belongings, properties or money to cover the sum of $5.000.000.- for each of the detainees.-
After that, a resolution of the San Martin Federal Court of Appeal (conformed by three judges) dated on December 12th., 1993 and with the favourable vote of two of the three Judges: Dr. Alberto Mansur and Dr. Horacio E. Prack revokes the arrests and orders the release of the arrested persons but not yet their definitive acquittal. Because the two Judges were of the opinion that the evidence provided consisted only of literature and lacked other elements to be considered as real evidence, the case was returned to the Court of origin for further investigation. The third Judge, Dr. Daniel Mario Rudi voted in dissidence (serious difference of opinion of a Judge which runs contrary to the conclusions of the majority). In his allegation, Dr. Rudi stated that the conduct of the accused persons makes them responsible for the crimes of: corruption of minors, reduction of persons to servitude, illegal privation of physical liberty, racial and religious discrimination, alteration of the civil status a minor of ten years of age and ideological forgery of documents destines to prove de identity of persons, all of that in real concourse, his vote confirmed the appealed resolutions and partially modified the legal qualification of the crimes, considering that the detainees incurred in breach of Art. 210 bis of the Criminal Code 1993, not Art 210 (please refer to the Code which was in effect on 1993), which defines the figure of illicit association (agreement of a group of persons with the object to abuse the law or the legal system), aggravated by the intent to endanger the constitutional order of the Country. Therefore, Dr. Rudy voted for the imprisonment to be confirmed, but because two votes out of three favoured the position of the culprits, they were released but investigations of the alleged crimes must be continued.-
As you can see, in a first instance resolution, that of June 28th., 1993, the Minority Court passed a copy of all proceedings to the Federal Court at the latter's request after the recount of the results of the investigations which was presented to the Court "in voce" was herd by the Federal Judge. It was close to that date that Richard travelled to Argentina and, a few days later, it was your (I mean yourself and the others) turn to fly. Your first deposition was presented to the Minority Court and later on, by July 27th., 1993, it you did the same before the Federal Court. Your depositions confirmed the charges under investigation, which have already been mentioned in the first resolution and were known to the Federal Court before that date, therefore there was no need to convince anybody and your arrival to this country was not a decisive factor for the raids, which would have been carried out with or without you presence in Argentina. The first motive for the raids was that reports had been filed stating the fact that children were missing and were being claimed by their parents. Several other reports were added to the first ones.-
You might be confused because the Federal Court in charge of the 1993 case, was the same that acted in 1989, but the Judges were different. The 1989 Judge was Dr. Piotti and in 1993, it was Dr. Marquevich.-
As the 1989 case was not closed and was still opened (no final judgement was still pronounced), at the moment when the Federal Court received a request for the competence of the Minority Court and copies of all the proceedings thereof, they decided to unify both cases and in consequence continued with the proceedings based upon the new evidence, disregarding that produced for the 1989 case.-
What you stated about Richard's sayings, in the sense that he was the one that told you about the officer's surprise at what he was singing, the wardrobe, the dogs and my threats to an ex-member, only Richard would have known why it was that he said all these things and it is unfortunately obvious that he can't say any more so, even if I deny it, your own convictions and your position with regards to this particular issue, would no allow you to accept my denial. Finally this is up to you, you may believe whatever you like.-
You continually insist about my responsibility over everything that happened. Please allow me to remind you once again that I only participated as mere investigator for the Minority Court, which was as correct and thorough as it could have been. It was founded on the sayings of ex-members, internal literature, the gathering of past and contemporaneous evidence and several reports. After my job was done, the final decision was, is and always will be, the exclusive responsibility of the Judge in charge of the case and in accordance with the law. I am not to be held personally responsible for the final results, as my position and specific functions had nothing to do with it. I was totally outside the sphere of responsibilities and functions of persons which have always been out of my direct or indirect control.-
As I do not wish to delay any more my reply to your letter, I'm posting this one which is to be taken as only the first part of my replay to your "Open Letter". The second part, with my personal point of view about the generalities of your apology, will be posted once your reply to this letter is duly received by me.-
Thank you for the time consumed in writing your answer to my first letter and I hope that your replay to this one as well as the comments of other people, be signed with real names, home address (no PO Box, please), telephone number and e-mail address. I'm only asking this to be in equal conditions, as this letter as well as any other that I might have written or shall write in the future as well as e-mails, have been, are and always will be, signed with mi real name, address, e-mail and telephone number.-

Sincerely yours,
Hugo Gabutti,
P. Zufriategui 676,
(1714) Ituzaingó,
Buenos Aires,
Tel.: 54-11-4624-4342

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