Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Someone Talked - Gene Wheaton Reconsidered


It is often said by Warren Commission appologists that if there was a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy, since no one can keep a secret, someone would have talked.

Well someone did talk, but no body paid much attention.

As Larry Hancock clearly points out in his book "Someone Would Have Talked" (JFK Lancer), John Martino talked, John Roselli talked, David Atlee Phillips talked, Antonio Veciana talked, Bradely Ayers talked, and now, most significantly, Gene Wheaton talked.

While each of the others deserve - in James Jesus Angleton's terminology, a serial of their own, I am currently concentrating on what former investigator Gene Wheaton tells us, even though it comes under the category of hearsay. While hearsay may not be admissible in court at a trial, it is admissible in grand jury hearings, and often leads to more substansive evidence, as Wheaton's story does.

In evaluating Wheaton, I use the CIA's case study method that evaluates sources and defectors by considering how much new, significant and verifiable information they provide, especially new names, places and events that are not on the record or in the files. In that regard, Wheaton comes up in spades.

Wheaton first came to my attention in Larry Hancock's book  "Someone Would Have Talked,"  which I wrote about in my JFKCountercoup blog at the time. I quoted Wheaton extensively, but I failed to follow up on the many leads he provided, something I am trying to do now.

To establish Wheaton's bonifides right off the bat we will begin with excerpts from his obituary:

Funeral Home Memorial Page for:

Milton Gene Wheaton

May 19, 1935 - December 31, 2015 

Milton gene Wheaton passed away peacefully on Dec. 31, 2015 at the age of 80 at the Desert Reginal Medical Center in Palm Springs after suffering from a traumatic head inury due to a fall at his home in Hemet.

He was born in Pawnee, Oklahoma in a Post Office on an Indian reservation. His parents were Bert and Ruth Wheaton.....

He spent a brilliant career in the military as a criminal investigator, ending his career at the rank of Chief Warrent Officer 3.

An example of his many accomplishments was when he was awarded the U.S. Legion of Merit from President Nixon for his exceptionally meritorious conduct in his performance as the Narcotics and Smuggling advisor of the U.S. Military Mission with the Imperial Iranian Grandarmerie from May 1971 through July 1973.

He retired from the military on June 30, 1975. After that he spent many years as a private investigator consultant. Then retired and spent the remaining years in Winchester and Hemet, California......

END OBIT Excerpts

Wheaton first came into the public arena when he was mentioned in a footnote to a legal civil suit prepared by attorney Dan Sheen for the Christic Institute against those principles involved in what would become known as the Iran-Contra affair.

Wheaton was an early whistle blower who first took his inside knowledge of the affair to then CIA director William Casey, who did nothing because he was behind it.

Wheaton realized Casey was in on it and when asked why he blew the whistle on them, Wheaton said that Casey and those invovled were taking millions of dollars from a foreign terrorist state (Iran) in exchange for US military supplies (missiles) and using the money to finance secret covert operations without the approval of Congress.

While Sheenan's case was dismissed by the judge,  Sheehan was ordered to pay the defendants $900,000, that put the Christic Institute out of business. 

The judge said the charges were based on "frivilous" hearsay, and just how frivilous it was became sensational a few months later when a CIA Contra support plane was shot down and baggage kicker Eugene Hassenfraus was captured alive. Hassenfraus confessed the CIA was behind the operation and had phone numbers on his possession that linked him to ( "Shadow Warrior") Felix Rodriguez, who took pride in tracking down Che Guevera, executing him and taking his Rolex watch.

The Iran-Contra affair then played out on its own in public and behind the scenes, and Wheton went quiet, for years. Then the JFK Act of 1992 was passed by Congress ordering all of the government records on the assassination of President Kennedy be made public in full by October 2017, something that still hasn't happened.

Wheaton wrote a letter to Judge John Tunheim, the chairman of the Assassinations Records Review Board (ARRB), establishing himself as a responsible person, and saying he knew of people and records that the Review Board would be interested in, and Tunheim reponded favorably.

ARRB staff attorney Ann Buttermer had a telephone conversation with Wheaton, after which she wrote an outside contact report on the details. She then met Wheaton in Washington and got more details, as well as documents and records that Wheaton said supported his story.

According to Buttimer's ARRB outside contact report, Wheaton told her Cuban exiles who were originally trained by the CIA to kill Castro, killed Kennedy instead, considering him a traitor for his failure to support them at the Bay of Pigs. 

Wheaton said that "people above the Cubans wanted JFK killed for other reasons," and that "the matter is not complex, but convoluted."

While there is only the outside contact report of Buttermer's phone conversation with Wheaton, her report on their meeting in Washington is missing, and shortly after their meeting Buttermer suddenly resigned from her job with the Review Board and disapeared. Malcolm Blunt notes that unlike every other ARRB staff member, there is no separate file for Buttermer's papers, though some of her records are scattered among the ARRB files.

Wheaton then faxed the review board, but only received a generic form reply thanking him for contacting them.

Then things went quiet again, at least on the public front, for over a decade, except for English professor John Simkin, who started the JFK Assassination Debate on his Education Forum web site, and kept track of all of the important players, including Gene Wheaton.

Also during this time some determined researchers plowed through the millions of pages of documents at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Archives II in College Park, Md., where the JFK Collection is kept. Among the records released under the JFK Act are the records of the ARRB, including Wheaton's letter to Judge Tunheim, Ann Buttermer's outside contact report on their phone coversation, and the items Wheaton gave Buttermer as supporting records to what he had to say.

If how many new, significant and verifiable names are the barrometor for bonifides, then Wheaton comes clean, as there are many, they are significant, and many have been verified.

Top of the list is Carl Jenkins, who Wheaton says was his close friend, housemate and business associate in National Airlines, one of many CIA front companies that I wrote about back in the 1980s.

[See: CIAir at the story of Ralph Cox and United Overseas Airlines].

As Hankock reported in his book, "Research confirms that beyond a doubt, Carl Jenkins was indeed a senior CIA officer who worked on paramilitary activities in support of the Bay of Pigs project and that by 1963-64 he was indeed directly involved with the AM/WORLD project, with Artime (AMBIDDY) and Quintero (AMJAVA4)."

In a September, 1963 memo Jenkins wrote how the anti-Castro Cuban commandos (he was training at JMWAVE) could, "use abductions and assassinations targeted against Cuban G-2 intelligence informants, agents, officer and foreign Communists to raise the morale of people inside Cuba."

Actualy, they were planning, training and preparing to kill Castro, an operation that Wheaton and Jenkins said was redirected to JFK at Dallas.

One of the working hypothesis of this inquiry is that whoever pulled off the Dealey Plaza Operation - they were very good, had done such things before and did it again afterwards, as the careers of Carl Jenkins and the Cubans he trained confirm.

Carl Jenkins was a United States Marine Corps (USMC) Captain in Japan, where he possibly crossed paths with Oswald. Wheaton suspects that is where Wheaton recruited Oswald, as they again crossed paths in the summer of 1963 in New Orleans, where Captain Jenkins established a new USMC Active Reserve unit, and became acquainted with mob boss Carlos Marcello.

Jenkins was known as a commando infiiltration - exfiltraion specialist, working closely with the anti-Castro Cubans before the Bay of Pigs, and at JMWAVE afterwards. At JMWAVE he trained a team of Cubans who Wheaton named as Ralphel "Chi Chi" Quintero, Nester Sanchez, Nestor Pino, Felix Rodriguez, Ricardo Morales, Tony Izquierdo, and others. While we were acquainted with some of these names, like Rodrriguez, others were new.

English professor John Simkin, who was in contact with a CIA media asset who knew Quintero, asked Quintero if Wheaton was correct in his allegations, and Quintero said Wheaton knew part of the story, and if the whole story got out it would be the biggest scandle ever.

Jenkins - and some of his team of Cubans, went on to work other operations - in 1964 Quintero was sent to Europe to meet Rolando Cubella (AMLASH), a significant player in the lead up to the assassination of the president.

They all worked for a time in the Congo, another key place of interest to those following the Dealey Plaza drama. And then Jenkins was sent to the Dominican Republic where the dictator Trujulio was assassinated. In response the CIA also sent David Atlee Phillips as the emergency Chief of Station while LBJ sent in the Marines, just to show the generals he would give them some action when JFK wouldn't.

Another name Wheaton gave out was I. Irving Davidson, who Wheaton described as a middleman, cut-out and fixer, whose clients included Clint Murcheson of Dallas, Carlos Marcello of New Orleans and Rafael Trujulio, a client he lost. Oh, yea, Davidson's office mate was Jack Anderson, the muckraking Washington columnist who exposed the CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro, a scoop he got from Roselli, probably becaues of the Davidson connection.

A year before Larry Hancock's book came out, in 2005, Wheaton was located and interviewed on videotape by Hancock and William M. Law, a short but concise tape that was premiered at the 2005 JFK Lancer conference in Dallas. But its significance was not immediately recognized. That tape sat on the shelf for another decade, and only this year (2018) was it posted on line for the world to see.

In it, Wheaton confirms all of the above, explains why he became an Iran-Contra whistle blower - "I'm a cop," and gives us more new names, including that of a Minnessotta documentary film maker Matt Ehling, who recorded "hours and hours" of tapes in which he gives more details.

 Another new name is that of one of those CIA small arms and explosive experts who assisted Jenkins in training the Cuban commandos at JMWAVE.

As I listened to the tape I thought Wheaton says the CIA trainer is "Ira" Harper, and could not find anyone by that name, but after I reposted the Wheaton video interview online, a Facebook friend (Pat Dugan) said the name is "I.W." Harper.

And that hit paydirt as "I.W." Harper was, according to a Soldier of Fortune Magazine article, a CIA explosives expert, small arms specialist who also trained Contras in Nicaragua.

While I.W. Harper is the name of a Kentucky whiskey, it's Jewish founder said he named the brand after a horseman he knew, I. W. Harper. It is likely that "I.W." is a nickname applied to the legendary CIA small arms and explosives expert since its not his real name.

There's a photo of Harper in the SOF article, The Wild Bunch, a mission photo of the armed specialists who were then training Contra commandos to fight the leftist Sandinistas in the struggle for power after the fall of the Somoza regime.

Besides Jenkins, Quintero and the Cubans, Davidson and Harper, Gene Wheaton also coughed up the names of others who were in the loop - Bill Bode, Rob Owen, Vaughn Forest and others we have yet to get to.

In the meantime, we have 
located the Minnessotta film maker who has hours of tapes of Wheton giving more details on these affairs.

More to come in Wheton Part 2.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

IW harper is a legend!