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Gene Wheaton:CIA and the Military Industrial Complex

John Simkin

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I assumed that the 9 other cases Gene had talked about involved American assassins as well. The senate staffer was scared to death as this was way out of his league and wanted nothing to do with Wheaton after that. This was not my area either but I could not let it go. Knut Royce was a personal friend of mine. He was one of five of us who used to meet once a week at a bar in downtown DC. He then brought in his friend Mike Accoca to help on the story. [i was working on a story about the invasion of Panama as consultant to 60 Minutes with Mike Wallace when Wallace the producer Charlie Thompson and Myself all got violently sick and almost died and Mike Accoca did die.]

Have you got a date for Accoca's death? Do you think it was connected to your investigation?

In her book "Out of Control" Leslie Cockburn describes you as "a much-decorated Vietnam helicopter pilot who had settled in Washington to fight for military reform". Could you add some details to this statement.

When did you join the armed forces?

When and where were you born?

The pay off came a week later when Ted Shakley showed up on my doorstep with a shaved headed gorilla about six foot four that looked like someone out of a terminator movies and wanted to talk about Sheehan’s suit.

Was the shaved headed gorilla a man named Vernon Gillespie?

Did Shackley offer you a job with a foreign manufacturer of armed personnel carriers as a bribe.

David Corn (Blonde Ghost) quotes you as saying that "I was set up to pass information to Sheehan. But they f***ed it up because Sheehan was not playing it close to the script." Could you explain this statement in more detail?

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John, yes I believe that his name was Vernon Gillespie. (for historians I will present a problem in that names of people have never been easy for me. I can usually give a good physical description and a great biography based on what I have heard but the name thing almost rises to a learning disability. I was in my forties before I could remember AM from PM. I say this in to let you know I am not being cute when I can not remember a name with authority.) It was the only time in 24 years in DC that someone showed up at my apartment like that. Shackley wanted to come in but I refused. Was I scared, you bet. I am a pretty big guy myself but the look in this guy’s eye’s was scary. He then invited me to a meeting at his office.

I went to the office and he wanted to know my involvement in the case. Yes he offered me a job with a Belgian company that built among other things armored personnel carriers. The money sounded really good. I had spent a lot of time on armored personnel carriers so the job made a logical buy off. One of my cases at the time was the M-2 Bradley and its lack of protection for the soldiers in it. And if you look at its results in Iraq we were right about its short comings. However as we talked more he realized that I did not have first hand knowledge of the things Sheehan was basing his suit on. The offer for the job in Belgium became less firm but I was never interested anyway. This goes back to my being upset with Sheehan for putting me in the suit and not even telling me he was doing it.

The basic problem I had with Sheehan is that in my opinion he like most ideologues had his mind made up on what happened and was just looking for things that made his argument. Danny was a remarkably gifted bright and charming person. And he was someone who was hard not to like. But I felt no reasonable lawyer would have put me in that suit, I had no first hand information. I felt that much of the suit was based on hearsay and theory which makes for good books but not law suits.

One of the other questions that keeps coming up in the Forum keeps going back to what Wheaton told Danny. To this I can only say I have no idea. Wheaton was a hustler and a user. Wheaton was not interested in bring me along after I had introduced him to someone. After the first couple of meetings the only time I saw or heard from Gene was when he needed something.(usually a press or hill contact). My only importance to Wheaton is that I had a very large Rolodex with hundreds of people in it. Plus remember in a previous post after being warned off Gene by my friend’s father I didn’t seek him out. I see in some earlier posts that Wheaton said he was an anti-terrorist expert. In America at the time he served I don’t believe that the US Military was in that business.

About a year (1990) after the American invasion of Panama Mike Wallace wanted to do a piece on an American NCO that had been charged with the murder of 4 Panamanians. We had 2 other stories that we were also looking at when we were down in Panama. The first one fit close to the main story in that we were trying to determine if the reports of very large civilian deaths where true. And the second story was to check on reports that in the Military Zone the Bio Warfare guys had a large troop of African Green monkeys used to develop the AIDS virus.

Upon returning and before our original story was done we all got sick. Wallace had a pacemaker installed. Thompson developed a disease of the liver and last I heard was on a transplant list. I was in heart failure and ultimately had a quadruple heart bypass. And Mike was found dead in his apartment of a heart attack. Could have been bad luck, because our two man film crew had no medical problems.

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Guest David Guyatt
Peter wrote, in response to my request that he in fact had research that indicated that a chemical could be used to induce a heart attack:

Why, planning on using it on someone? Someone once asked me about poisons and I didn't respond in detail on that either. I trained in Environmental Toxicology. The info is in the technical literature. Some things are best left off the Forum IMO. It was my 'research of the literature' and not that I worked on research on the methods FWIW

Peter, your response was not unanticipated and has merit (if true).

But I suggest there IS a way you can demonstrate to me (and others) that you were not just "blowing smoke", I will talk to the Chief of the KWPD, who is interested in the JFK case) and make arrangements for you to send him either at his e-mail address or through confidential snail mail, the proof of your research. Since we can assume HE will not put the information to sinister use, he can them confirm the existence of your research.

I therefore request that you post a reply on this Forum that you are willing to do this.

Unless you can back up your statement, I will have some doubts about your claim to knowledge of a chemical agent that can induce heart attacks. No reflection on you, Peter, as you recall even Thomas had some doubts until he was shown the proof.


It took me less than two minutes Googing to locate three known chemical substances that can cause heart attack if used in sufficient quantities. One of those has no apparent taste or smell. Depending on which one of the three is applied, death can be either immediate or lingering (up to 3-6 hours).

If the Chief of KWPD doesn't already know about these (and others), he is advised to take a short computer course to hone his internet skills. That's providing he doesn't have direct access to the FBI and other agencies who's databases are overflowing with this sort of information.


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Any chance you know the name of Harper's children and/or what Hawaiian island?



15 Sept. 2007

Stuart, last year I was visiting with an old friend who had been partnered with IW during the Cuban adventure. He said that IW was bankrupt and living with one of his children in Hawaii. Back in the Danny Sheehan days IW owned a bait and tackle shop located on Hwy. 50 in Northern Virginia. He got involved with a Pawn Broker from Maryland and in a couple of years he had lost his share of the business. And shortly after that his wife and he moved to Hawaii to be near his adult children. If you tracked him down I doubt that he would talk to you. He was not much of a talker even with his friends, and all of his friends where in the agency. I met him on a number of times but could not say I knew him. Much of what I know of him was from people that worked with him. He was a legendary shot with a pistol but barely accurate with a rifle. In the technical service he was a great bomb maker, a real natural with explosives. The kind of natural skills from a sort of back woods boy from Louisiana. I told he was the bag man when we purchased the new Soviet man portable ground to air missile in the middle of the war from a North Vietnamese General. And during the fall of Saigon he taped a Mac 10 submachine gun to his hand so he would not drop it if he was shot as he tried to rescue his Vietnamese people so they could be evacuated. IW was the kind of guy you wanted with you when you entered a dark alley or where going to war. :rolleyes:

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My heart attack seems to be an area of interest so let me continue in the aftermath of it. At the time of the heart attack I was just scared. I spent ten days in the hospital and had an angioplasty to open the artery. After release from the hospital I spent a couple of months in Michigan at my sisters to recoup (my sister is a Medical Doctor). I then went back to Minnesota to my parents home. I returned to DC immediately after watching a News story about an incident in Northern Virginia ( this is a separate story that I will tell later. At this point I still believe that the heart attack was an act of God. However after the discussion with the Doctor heading to Afghanistan I asked my primary car Doctor ( a 34 year old African American who was a little over weight) if he knew of a drug that could induce a heart attack in a manner that the Special Forces Doctor had suggested. My Doctor responded that he had never heard of such a drug especially if it was not detectable post mortem. He said that he was going to a Medical Convention that weekend and would ask around. A couple of weeks later I had a follow up appointment with my Doctor. When I arrived at the clinic I was told I was seeing a different doctor than my regular one. I asked why I could not see my regular doctor, and I was informed that he had died of a heart attack while attending a Medical convention a few weeks before. It was more than likely a coincidence, but it scared me and I did not talk to anyone about the possibility of an induced heart attack for many years after that.

After being away from DC for many months when I returned I found that a recently retired Army Helicopter Pilot who I had meet briefly after returning from Viet Nam had taken over my life. I had met him once for lunch about two weeks before my heart attack. An older friend of mine (Chuck Meyer, ex WWII bomber pilot, Korean War fighter Pilot, Jet test Pilot, And DOD Director of Air Warfare (started Project Harvey that lead to the Stealth Fighter)) had know his father at some point in his career and was helping the son find a job in DC. Jay Donahue had flown in Viet Nam and then had made a career of the Army. He had spent much of his later career on the black side of the Army. After my leaving for Michigan he convinced my roommate and my reform associates that we where close friends from Viet Nam and he moved into my room and took my place at work. He even took over some of my speaking engagements. The interesting thing is that he did not agree with me on virtually any of my beliefs about the use of helicopters in war. And yet when he ghosted my speeches he parroted my heretical views relative to the Army’s doctrine at the time. After the incident that prompted my quick return to DC he quietly disappeared. About a year later we think we located him in Latin America flying for the State Department’s anti-drug air force.

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John, I served with the 9th Infantry Division in the Mekong Delta. Jenkins was in the Republic of South Viet Nam much earlier than me and in the time frame that I was in country he was in Laos. I have no idea where Clines and Shackley where. I have never met Clines and the only times I met Shackley was the time at my apartment and once in his office. Simple answer is no.

I had always felt that I was in the middle of a war. And frankly the arms supplied to the Contras were small potatoes. Just light infantry stuff and most of it not American (AK-47s etc.) The big money was in Iran (Ibex Killing) and supplying the Afghans fighting the Russians ( USA over 1 billion a year and the Saudi Arabia $600,000,000 a year. Jenkins to me clearly wanted the Ollie North operation taken out. They where casting them selves as players and they only supposed to be passers of Intel.

I had heard many times that North had flipped out while in the Philippines. And had spent three weeks in a mental facility. If that is true his career would have been over. The military back in the day did not take kindly to mental problems. He should have been out of the Marine Corp. Who put him in the White House? Remember that North’s funders where Homosexuals. The name alludes me but one was the only one convicted in Iran Contra and was hit by a car in downtown DC and died in George Washington Hospital. Using gays as a stop works very well with American newspapers. Once they come up with gay involvement the investigation ends.

How was Wheaton supporting him self. I know that he was using an office on N Street that belonged to an Arab arms Merchant. Very expensive digs. Why was he there? DC is an expensive town. Did he do twenty years in military? He would have had a pension then. :idea

Edited by Paul Hoven
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As it turned out I lived close to Carl and spent time visiting at night at a safe house he ran close to his town house. Like many of us conservatives he was not crazy about George Bush for President. I remember one night at Otoole’s Bar ( Agency hang out in Langley) Carl showing me a picture on the wall where George Bush and Agency people had held the first meeting for his Presidential Bid. Sometime later the picture disappeared before the bar closed (Jenkins was not in the picture).

I always thought the CIA wanted Bush as president. He had protected those officers who had been involved in Operation Condor and other criminal activities when he was director of the CIA. In fact, it was Bush who encouraged them in organizing death squads in places like Chile. According to Chi Chi Quintero, Bush had regular meetings with Shackley during his campaign for the Republican nomination in 1980. The CIA was out to get Carter after he brought in his old friend Stansfield Turner as director. If Carter remained in power, who knows what Turner would have uncovered. Shackley even wrote some of his speeches. If Bush won Shackley was to become director of the CIA. After Bush failed to get the nomination the CIA put pressure on Reagan to make him his running-mate. In return, the CIA leaked details of Carter attempts to negotiate with Iran over the US hostages to the press. Once exposed, Carter had to withdraw leaving Bush and Casey to arrange the deal on behalf of Reagan.

Have you got a date for Accoca's death?

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As I mentioned earlier [i remember one night at Otoole’s Bar ( Agency hang out in Langley) Carl showing me a picture on the wall where George Bush and Agency people had held the first meeting for his Presidential Bid. Sometime later the picture disappeared before the bar closed down ( Jenkins was not in the picture).]. Yes I am sure there where elements at Langley that backed Bush. But I was lead to believe by Carl that Bush was part of the bad guys.

People who have not lived and worked in DC seem to miss a fact of life. That every agency or military branch is not a monolithic organization. They are made up of factions that have a difference on policy and goals. They will draw their wagons in a circle when their traditional enemies attack, but fight internally for power and policy. Remember Carl also told me that NO Director of the CIA should be allowed to run for President. Now I am assuming he was telling me the truth. I have no doubt that Carl Jenkins knew the structure behind North. But as I have said before the operation in the White House was by charter not a generator of intelligence nor where they an operational intelligence unit. Carl was a very smart guy with no observable faults (drunk etc). He loved the agency, he did not like the Kennedys bringing the Mafia into the operations against Castro. In my dealings with him he never recanted those beliefs or did anything that I observed that went against them. He was a trained case officer so I suppose it could have all been an act. But I am not exactly stupid and I still feel that he was not acting.

My personal experience in the Military Reform should serve as an example of what I mean. I was and I am a very conservative person, pro-military, anti communist, and I had voted for Reagan. I believed in the military build up that helped in destroying the Soviet Union. At the same time I was attacking the Pentagon for not adequately test weapons, overpricing defense contracts and my best allies where very conservative Republican Congressmen. We were against the B-1 Bomber which was the center piece of the Reagan Build Up. It was way to expensive and it did not do all the things it was advertised to do. Some of our enemies in this fight were John McCain and Barry Goldwater. Because we thought that they where wrong in their approach.

At the same time did I dislike some one like the left wing anti-war kiss the Soviet’s ass type like Edward Kennedy, you bet I did. I wanted a non corrupt system where Generals that bought weapons that where overpriced and not mature so that when they retired they would get a fat job with the Defense contractors would end. And I thought that I was loyal to my President and doing what should be done. During the Reagan and Bush years we had many Liberal Democratic Congressional supporters. The minute Clinton was President they all disappeared from the Reform Movement. They where only in the movement because we where attacking Republican Administrations.

When ever one agency or military branch wins something ( budget or mission) another agency loses. When CIA was formed, the Navy was the premier intelligence agency. They lost when the Central Intelligence Agency was formed. As Stansfield Turner was Navy it was a major blow to any Langley loyalist and that all he would do is try and remove its primacy. It would be similar to the Church of England realizing that the new King of England was a practicing Muslim. Or better yet how the Archbishop of Canterbury was upset with PM Tony Blair attending Catholic Church with his wife and children.

A current example of the win lose aspects of agencies is what happened under the fool that Bill Clinton put in charge of the CIA. Not only did Tenet oversea the greatest intelligence failings in modern American history but mission after mission left the agency and went to State Dept., the military or the FBI. The old guys left and the CIA today is made up with about half the staff being in the business for five years or less.

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As I mentioned earlier [i remember one night at Otoole’s Bar ( Agency hang out in Langley) Carl showing me a picture on the wall where George Bush and Agency people had held the first meeting for his Presidential Bid. Sometime later the picture disappeared before the bar closed down ( Jenkins was not in the picture).]. Yes I am sure there where elements at Langley that backed Bush. But I was lead to believe by Carl that Bush was part of the bad guys.

Do you know why Carl saw Bush as one of the bad guys? Was it something he did when he served as director of the CIA?

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Yes to John and Peter, Carl linked Bush to the bad guys, and it was when he was Director. I thought that I would go back to the start of this thread and comment on things that I have first hand knowledge.

[so I got with a couple of Washington D.C. journalists that I knew. And one of them was a two-time Pulitzer prize winning journalist by the name of Newt Royce. And Newt Royce and Mike Icoca, who was a free-lancer who was writing with him – Newt at that time was with the Hearst newspaper chain in Washington D. C., with their bureau.} Gene Wheaton knew no Journalists when this thing started. Knut had been a personal friend of mine since 1981. I knew Mike through Knut and he was not as a friend at that time but an acquaintance. Wheaton and Royce where never friends, he was a their source. By the way Knut still lives in Northern Virginia and was one of the reporters who covered Ted Kennedy’s killing of Mary Jo.

[The guys that I had known for several years, uh, primarily Carl Jenkins, who was a long-time career CIA paramilitary mercenary operator, uh, probably the most highly respected of those people in that division of the agency ... he was the commander of the biggest CIA base in Laos while Shackley was over there, and while Bill Sullivan was over as ambassador. Carl and I became very close friends in the early 80s, to the point where I would keep a bedroom in his home in Washington with clothes and papers and things so I didn’t have to carry them from California. I was commuting regularly back and forth when I was going overseas, and Carl and his wife, who was an active super-grader in the agency -- he was her case officer and she had been his interpreter, and then he got her a master’s degree and then she got her Ph.D. She went on to head one of the branches of the agency -- we became like brothers and sisters, between me and them.] I am pretty sure that he was not staying in their (Jenkin’s) townhouse but in Carl’s safe house. Elizabeth wasn’t crazy about having people in her home because then she did not met them and did not have to report to her case officer. No reporter to my knowledge was ever in the safe house only people that where going some place and friends and associates of Carl. It was ½ of a duplex and I can have a friend get the exact address. I believe it was a rental. I do agree with his opinion of Carl’s reputation.

[israel sent an initial shipment of 18 missiles to Iran in late November, 1985, but the Iranians didn't approve of the missiles, and further shipments were halted. Negotiations continued with the Israelis and Iranians over the next few months.] The reason this went south was because the Israelis pulled a fast one. The Israelis were giving the Iranians early model Hawk missiles and then they where to be reimbursed by USA with the latest model. The Iranians however where not that stupid.

[former Senator John Tower] I was part of a group of journalists and hill staffers that derailed his bid for Secretary of Defense. He was a major pervert and drunk and from information had caused major problems in Europe with KGB females. All of the hill people involved where conservative Republicans.

[According to Wheaton, it had begun with an assassination training program for Cuban exiles and the original target had been Fidel Castro.] As I mentioned before Carl told me that he was involved in training the Cuban’s that where to be involved in the Bay of Pigs. And that their training base was in south east section of Mexico. He did not mention training guys to knock of Castro but that would make sense. That he would be a trainer for the Bay of Pigs makes sense because it was an amphibious operation and Carl was a US Marine as a young man, and the Marines are the masters of that form of attack. He did mention that the Cuban CI guy was really good and had rolled up over a 100 Cuban infiltrators. Most of the ones they sent in. My name thing comes up again but if I remember RED had something to do with his name. What Kennedy did by calling off the Naval Air at the last minute when people on our side are dying might not rise to assassination but had it been an Admiral instead of the President I would have had a Court Martial for him and then shot him with a firing squad.

[but the 1982 Boland Amendment blocked further military aid when it was discovered that the CIA had supervised acts of sabotage in Nicaragua without notifying Congress.

Colonel Oliver North, aide to National Security Advisor John Poindexter.] Forgive me while I go into opinion. Never thought the Reagan Administration handled the Boland Amendment correctly. I believe if they had fought it straight up to the Supreme Court it would not have stood up given Executive Branch role in our Constitution. CIA takes it the shorts and who was in charge a Navy Admiral and a loon. I always felt that North was a straw man set up to take the fall and not to smart.

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The following is an excerpt from an article on L Robert Castorr.

Nothing more is known of Castorr's "extracurricular" activities until 1983. In that year, he was "persuaded" to become a partner in a company called Impex Aalamin by an Iranian exile named Habib Moallem, and Robert Sensi. Both were keen to see Ayatollah Khomeini driven from power, and for the Soviets to be kept out of Iran. Impex - ostensibly an import-export business, was in reality, a front for recruiting spies. To help achieve their ends, they had hired Castorr to introduce them to America's top intelligence officials, having chosen him because he was a former military officer now in Public Relations who moved in Washington's conservative circles. Moallem and Sensi would later become involved in the arms-for-hostages negotiations with Iran.

I was wondering if you could shed any further light on Castorr, or the events described? Any help deeply appreciated.

Full article here.

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  • 9 years later...
On 9/21/2007 at 2:12 AM, Paul Hoven said:

Yes to John and Peter, Carl linked Bush to the bad guys, and it was when he was Director. 


 CIA takes it the shorts and who was in charge a Navy Admiral and a loon. I always felt that North was a straw man set up to take the fall and not to smart.

Fascinating thread with some great input from members who we don't see much of anymore.

I'm just quoting Mr. Hoven as a ping, to see if he is still responsive to the forum.

Edited by Michael Clark
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