‘Something is Rotten in Denmark’ – Gene Wheaton on Intelligence Assassin Squads

by Robert O’Dowd

The one thing for sure is that you’re not going to get cooperation and a commendation from the government for writing about a covert operation that involved running cocaine into the country, fueling a crack cocaine epidemic, and murdering a senior Marine Corps officer who threatened to blow the whistle on the illegal guns-for-drugs operation.

While investigating the environmental contamination story at El Toro for Salem-News, I ran into another Marine veteran of my squadron at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, CA, who asked me if I knew Colonel Sabow.  John U. was living in Minnesota and we communicated by email and phone about the base’s status as an EPA Superfund site.  John was 100% disabled veteran who was in the same squadron at El Toro several years before me.  I think I said something like, “John, who in the hell is Colonel Sabow and what’s does it have anything to do with El Toro and its toxic chemicals?”

John’s reply got my full attention: “He was murdered by the government because he threatened to blow the whistle on a covert operation involving guns and cocaine. Call Dr. David Sabow, his brother, if you’re interested in the story.” I got the phone number from John, called Dr. Sabow, who shared his story with me and the medical and forensic support for cold blooded murder.

Gene Wheaton, a patriot and excellent military criminal investigator, was one of the names that Dr. Sabow shared with me.  Wheaton corroborated the murder of his brother by a government hit team by providing testimony to the DOD Inspector General on it.

Wheaton, a former enlisted Marine and retired Army warrant officer, had over 25 years’ experience in criminal investigation, many CIA contacts, and was a friend of general grade officers.

From 1985 to 1989, Wheaton was a consulting investigator for the Iran/Contra Affair; he briefed the staffs of special prosecutor Walsh, the House/Senate Select Committee, and Pentagon official on this investigation.

While in the military, Wheaton was recruited by this group of assassins but turned their offer down.  It’s not hard to believe that Wheaton would have passed this treasonous information on to others. For one reason or another, Wheaton was ignored by official Washington.

Neither Congress nor the Lawrence Walsh pursued the government’s involvement in cocaine trafficking.  There’s no question that cocaine trafficking is a felony and if pursued could have resulted in indictments and convictions of very powerful people.  Instead, the Iran/Contra hearing turned into a TV matinee, featuring Lt. Colonel Ollie North in the leading role of someone who ‘took the fall’ for  President Reagan, Vice President Bush and others by destroying government documents and admitting that he lied under oath to protect the ‘national interests’. The only jail term was for tax invasion by former CIA operative Tom Clines.

Besides Wheaton, others had information on the Nicaraguan Contras and cocaine trafficking, too.  It’s not a long list but includes Senators John Kerry and Gary Hart, DEA agent Celerino “Cele” Castillo, Associated Press reporters Robert Parry and Brian Barger who reported in December 1985 that Nicaraguan rebels in Northern Costa Rica were involved in cocaine trafficking. It didn’t matter.

Wheaton was actively involved in the investigation of Colonel Sabow’s death and provided information to the DOD IG about the connection between the murder (officially a suicide) of Colonel Sabow, Iran-Contra, and cocaine trafficking into the US.  Wheaton told Dr. David Sabow in 1994 about an extremist intelligence assassination cell:

“There is an extremist intelligence related assassination cell concealed within the Pentagon/DOD which murders NOT enemy agents but rather loyal US Government officers who threaten to expose illegal covert operations by their renegade superiors…I first crossed paths with this network while investigating the “Gander Crash” of 12 Dec 85, which resulted in the death of 248 US soldiers and 8 civilian crew members.  This crash threatened to expose “Iran-Contra” one full year before it was officially brought light (Nov 1986).  I was specifically cautioned that if I successfully exposed the Gander cover-up I would be murdered by this assassination network.  This warning was given to me by one of the US military’s highest ranking and highly respected General officers. I have again crossed paths with this network during my investigation of the 21 Jan 1991 murder of USMC Col Jimmy Sabow at USMC Air Station El Toro, CA…while working as a USAF O.S.I. special agent, I was personally approached to be a member of a secret assassination sub-culture within the US Government.  The code name within the military for this assassination underground was “the Z-D program, Z-D being the abbreviation for “Zeta-Diogenes”.  This operation arose out of the intelligence failure at the Bay-of-Pigs invasion of Cuba.  I feel we should do everything possible to expose this psycho-lunatic fringe sub-culture ASAP.”

The DOD IG interviewed Wheaton in 1994 as part of their investigation of the death of Colonel Sabow. Wheaton provided information on the smuggling of money and narcotics into the country. Wheaton told the DOD IG that Colonel Sabow was murdered to prevent him from disclosing a covert operation that had gone rogue at MCAS El Toro, involving the use of civilian C-130s to transport weapons to Central and South America and illegal drugs on the return trips north.  Wheaton said that El Toro and remote locations on military installations in the “western part of the United States” were used for these illegal activities. As part of his investigation, “he had identified and interviewed two pilots who had been engaged in this operation.”

The operations were ended with the death of Colonel Sabow and then moved to “Libya as a training mission in support of Muammar Gaddafi” in return for oil.  The covert operations at El Toro were under the control of Colonel Joseph Underwood, the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing’s Chief of Staff.”

The C-130s were “unmarked or marked with logos of civilian companies” and “flown by nonmilitary type crews, i.e., long hair and blue jeans.”  Wheaton’s witnesses told him that these aircraft would taxi to “Spook Corner,” in the Southwest quadrant of the El Toro “where unidentified material and equipment was loaded or unloaded as part of the illegal covert operation or for some sort of servicing of the aircraft. The aircraft would then depart El Toro.”  Wheaton had MP witnesses who had provided testimony to this effect but refused to provide their names to the IG with the exception of Staff Sergeant Randy Robinson, who had already gone on record describing the unmarked C-130s.

Wheaton had no doubt that the military was involved in narcotrafficking and provided more details to the DOD IG.  Wheaton told the IG that a covert operation to under the cover of a US Department of Agriculture program named ‘Screw Worm,’ provided weapons, ammunition and other material to the Government of Peru in their struggle against guerrilla forces known as the “Shining Path.”  Wheaton said that a number of individuals involved in this covert operation were concurrently conducting an illegal covert operation whereby they were smuggling additional weapons, ammunition and material to Peru. The individuals were selling the weapons, ammunition and material to the Shining Path as well as to the Government of Peru, for money and narcotics. The money and narcotics were then smuggled back into the United States and air dropped at remote locations on military installations in the western part of the United States.

Wheaton told the DOD IG that Tom Clines and Ted Shackley, two former CIA operatives, “had run a top-secret assassination program since the 1960s.”

There’s no reason to believe that this “psycho-lunatic fringe sub-culture” is not active today.  Wheaton did all he could to expose this lunatic fringe group.  Gene Wheaton passed on December 31, 2015. His loyalty to the oath he took to support the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, is something that needs to be honored by all veterans.

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