is the extraordinary story of Gene "Chip" Tatum.
Above all, he is aware that his testimony
implicates serving and former US Presidents plus a whole list of high-level
government officials and others in a welter of nefarious activities -
including assassination, blackmail, coercion, gun-running, money-laundering
Found guilty, he was sentenced to serve a 15-month sentence.
In March 1996, an additional charge - conspiring
to embezzle - was brought against him. Found guilty, he was incarcerated in
Jesup Federal Correctional Facility, Georgia, where he is serving a 27-month
concurrent sentence. Ensuing press interest resulted in one article
appearing in the Tampa Tribune on 4 May 1996.
His defense lawyer refused to call any of the 80
witnesses whom Tatum nominated for the defense. Later, his lawyer freely
confessed to having come under pressure from the US Department of Defense.
Tatum says the first charge was a set-up to discredit him following his
"resignation" from "Operation Pegasus". The second charge he views with
greater skepticism and concern.
Tatum declares he will not,
He goes on to explain that back in 1994, in a telephone conference call involving Oliver North, Felix Rodríguez and the late William Colby of the CIA, he was warned to turn over incriminating documents and tapes he had accumulated for his "retirement".
He wryly observes that had he done so, he would
probably have been quickly "terminated" in an "extreme" way - a specialty of
the Pegasus team of which he was once a member.
It is an extraordinary story.
Joining the Air Force in February 1970, he went through Army jump school, escape and evasion training, jungle training, sea survival school and diving school and was assigned along with six others as "Combat Controllers" (the USAF equivalent of Special Forces), receiving his distinctive Special Forces burgundy-colored beret.
From there he was assigned to Tinker Air Force
Base, Oklahoma, and then on to Fort Bragg, North Carolina - home of the
"Green Berets" - for training in C4 plastic explosives, mines, nuclear,
biological and chemical warfare, plus indoctrination in electronic and
With Tatum attached, Team Red Rock
totaled 14 in all, and was about to be tasked with an operation that came
directly from the White House.
President Nixon, desperate to quell domestic
riots over an increasingly unpopular war, sought to withdraw all US
personnel from South-East Asia. Withdrawal would - and, in the end,
ultimately did - cause a military vacuum, quickly leading to the defeat of
South Vietnamese forces.
In Laos, a dwindling number of Meo tribesmen, together with covert US personnel employed by the CIA proprietary company, Air America, were battling against superior North Vietnamese ground forces. A much similar pattern was occurring in Cambodia, amid grave fears that the "domino theory" would result if either of these two nations were to fall to the Communist North Vietnamese.
Nixon hoped that the vacuum caused by the withdrawal of US covert forces could be filled by native Cambodian forces.
Lon Nol, the Cambodian leader, stubbornly
continued to resist Nixon's diplomatic overtures to take up the slack, being
anxious to hedge his bets and realistic about his chances of survival as
Khmer Rouge and Vietnamese forces prepared to swarm in, unhindered by US air
Taken in unarmed and alive, the Sappers would be
"sacrificed" and their bodies left to be discovered by Cambodian forces. A
furious Lon Nol would assume North Vietnam was to blame. It was hoped that
such an act would stiffen Lon Nol's backbone. With nowhere else to turn, the
US puppet would urgently seek US hardware to strengthen his forces and
continue the battle.
Using their knowledge of "escape and evasion"
tactics, the team decided to trek to the Vietnamese border and back to
safety with US forces.1
Life would never be the same again for Chip Tatum.
For a while, he worked out of Homestead Air
Force Base where he was NCIOC of the tower receiver sight and MARS station.
This was the base which then-President Nixon used for his frequent visits to
the Key Biscayne, Florida, "White House". Much of this period remains
obscured behind a thick blanket of classification.
Colby felt that as a young Air Force man, Tatum
might be "approached" in these towns for "information". The idea was to make
contact with foreign agents and covertly gather information about them and
their operations. Later, he was tasked with infiltrating Yugoslavia in order
to gather intelligence on potential successors to the then Yugoslavian
Tatum acted as his courier, shuttling between
Lamar and Springfield, Colorado, with transaction files. From there he was
transferred to MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Florida.
This warning referred to Nixon, Kissinger and
Haig, and Tatum's role in and survival from "Operation Red Rock".
A photograph of him standing in front of his
MD-500 Defender gunship on the beach-head in Grenada, appeared along with a
feature story in the Louisville Courier-Journal. Tatum will only say of this
episode that he "wasn't there", in the same sense that he "wasn't in
Jim Malone, of the Louisville Courier-Journal, finds this extraordinary.
He has documents showing the 160th was stationed at Fort Campbell, even though officials in the Pentagon continue to deny it - as they deny the wing's role in Grenada. Malone, in a telephone conversation with this writer, advised that the 160th is now stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina - home of the famous Special Forces, the Green Berets.
Their mission is to fly "Delta teams" on covert assignments, Malone added.
This, as Tatum was to discover later, was none
other than Lt Col. Oliver North - the central architect of America's
Nicaraguan Contra campaign. Besides fighting a covert war, North was also
the link-man in much, much dirtier work.
Moreover, the series of articles claims that the explosion of "crack cocaine" in Los Angeles resulted entirely from the Contra leaders-cum-dope peddlers who made vast personal fortunes from their activities. Today, the official argument remains that the Contras were "freelancing" without the knowledge or consent of their CIA "handlers" or North's so-called "Enterprise".
Despite these assertions, mountains of hard
evidence point in a different direction. Included in this evidence is an
entry from North's own diary which shows his knowledge of cocaine shipments.
Almost all of these "whistleblowers" have been
hounded and imprisoned. Some have died, whilst others have fled. The whole
Contra thing, Tatum states, was also being used by an extremely covert group
Once familiarized, they assumed the Medevac
mission for Joint Task Force Bravo. Previously, in 1984, Tatum infiltrated
the 3/498th on the instructions of Lt Col. Oliver North who had established
contact under the code-name "Jake" (North had "control" of the 160th air
wing and was also deeply involved with the tactical planning of "black ops"
missions in the Grenada invasion).
These, he was told, would take priority over his
other duties. He was also given his "chain of command": three individuals,
any of whom could authorize Pegasus missions.
A common feature of all future Pegasus missions
was the transport "of large white coolers in and out of the Contra camps".
Two crew members offloading the cooler
accidentally dropped it, breaking the seal. Inside were over 100 bags of
cocaine. Tatum resealed the cooler and later watched as it was transferred
aboard the C-130, outward bound for Panama.
On two occasions he carried similar coolers to
Mena Airport, Arkansas. Deliveries of medical coolers to Little Rock AFB
were picked up by Dr Dan Lasater - a close confidant of the then
Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton.
Extraordinarily, this included infiltrating Nicaraguan airspace (Tatum says it was not difficult to infiltrate any country and that "foreign powers" would kill to know how it is done), and landing at Bluefields Air Base with deliveries for placement aboard civilian C-123s and C-130s.4
This mission was followed by a brief stint in Colombia, where he was assigned to assist the Drug Enforcement Administration's "War on Drugs", only to discover the DEA was heavily engaged in narcotics trafficking.
Seal flew an assortment of aircraft, offloading
shipments of weapons in South America and picking up deliveries of cocaine
for his return flight to the US on behalf of Col. North's Enterprise. His
primary base of operations was Mena Airport, Arkansas.
This conversation focused on Barry Seal's
increasingly notorious activities. When Tatum later heard Seal had died, he
immediately understood who was behind the killing. The discussion also made
it clear that VP Bush, Governor Clinton and his three respective
"handlers" were knee-deep in the cocaine venture and making fistloads of
I have appended their full names and titles in
Most, if not all of these names are readily familiar to Contragate investigators and journalists covering this story.
Allegations regarding the involvement of former President George Bush in the cocaine business are by no means new - they abound in plentiful supply. The fact that Bush pardoned a number of his closest advisors, who were facing criminal prosecution and possible imprisonment, late on Christmas Eve 1992, just weeks before Bill Clinton's inauguration, left a sour taste in the mouths of many.
If prosecuted, they clearly would have fingered the President himself.
During l986, he had left Honduras and set up a money-laundering business in Watertown, New York State, close to the home base of the Army's 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum. The location was chosen with care. With access to Fort Drum's telephone lines for secure communications, he was assigned a Cherokee-140 fixed-wing aircraft,5 used to ship personnel and supplies across the Canadian border under radar cover.
His tenure with these companies lasted from 1986
through to 1990. This was a pure Pegasus operation.
Although Tatum was listed as the president in all three companies, in reality all were under the control of Ben Whittaker, a lawyer from Rochester, New York. Whittaker, Tatum says, is closely associated with Tony Wilson of the Wilson family who owned Xerox Corporation.
In addition, he was also closely associated with
South Eastern US Investment Group (SEUS) - an investment bank in
Savannah, Georgia - from 1985 through to 1989. Another proprietary he was
involved with was Irving Place Development, a service organization of Irving
Bank and Trust Company. Cocaine proceeds were laundered through these
companies by an ingenious use of construction loans.
He does explain that the primary figure involved in the laundry exercise in Arkansas was "Jack Stephens".
Jackson Stephens, owner of Worthen Bank & Trust Company, is closely aligned with President Bill Clinton.
Tatum states that,
Developing this theme in more detail, Tatum explains that the Enterprise was receiving drugs in exchange for the guns they supplied to the Contras.
The raw product in the form of coca leaves was
supplied by the Colombians and pressed into large cube-shaped bales and then
shipped to Nicaragua and Honduras.6 All the "product" was
pre-sold and the delivery into the US "guaranteed".
Thereafter, the dirty money was filtered via construction loans with permanent "takeouts" "arranged by banks and mortgage- lenders". These, in turn, were later sold to Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's - negotiable US Federal Mortgage Securities that are traded globally on a daily basis. Each laundry "cycle" lasted from six months to a year.
The result was dirty money transformed into
good, clean, US currency.
Eric Brown, the son of the founder of CIB, was heavily involved in these activities.
Three additional companies were involved, to Tatum's knowledge:
All became very successful, providing,
He believes Pegasus was established during the
Eisenhower years as a secret group inside the CIA to spy on that agency on
behalf of the President. At some point - believed to be after the
assassination of President Kennedy - Pegasus went AWOL from direct US
Government control and came under the direction of an international Board of
Directors which Tatum alleges now includes
George Bush and
The group has "representation" from a number of intelligence agencies throughout the world. Included are the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) as well as agents from British, Israeli, Turkish and Danish Intelligence plus "others who performed various functions for Pegasus".7
The mission of Pegasus, Tatum explains, is,
One of Tatum's Pegasus duties included flying "Archer Teams" (four-man hit teams) in his helicopter to their insertion point.8
He states that Enrique Bermudez was assassinated in 1991 by a Pegasus team, adding he,
Bermudez, known as "Commander Three Eight Zero" was the senior Contra leader.
Tatum received two broken ribs when he came
under small-arms fire during the assassination.9
He perished, following the shooting-down of his aircraft with missiles from Tatum's helicopter.
For the sake of ease, I shall call this
individual "Mr X" or, simply, "X".10
He recently testified before the US Senate Intelligence Committee. Formerly, "X" was a senior executive in a South American subsidiary of a leading US soft drinks corporation. During his Senate testimony, he denied any knowledge of CIA involvement in the narcotics trade, adding that condoning such activity would have been foreign to his way of life. Not so, says Tatum.
"Mr X" had been recruited into the CIA by
then-Director William Casey, with the assistance of Oliver North.
Failure to help his friend would result in X's
intimate knowledge of Bush's involvement in the dope trade being made
public. His threat left Bush with a sour taste. A Pegasus team was assigned
to "neutralize" him in early 1990.
They chose to use the drug Scopolamine, which also went by the nickname "Burundanga" or "the Voodoo drug".
The drug is extracted from the pods of a flowering shrub that grows in remote regions of South America. In its processed, powdered form, Scopolamine is "void of smell, void of taste". When properly administered "it causes absolute obedience" without this being "observable by others".
Importantly, the target will not recall any of
the events that occurred during the period they were under the spell of the
The evening started with cocktails and was followed by a fine meal.
Following the meal, he was ushered into the suite of a "blonde bombshell" supplied by the CIA.
"Mr X" had already ingested a dose of Burundanga during pre-dinner cocktails. "X" was gallant with the blonde as they both moved into the bedroom where video cameras were already set up in one corner. In short order, the blonde had "X" standing naked in front of her and began to indulge his desires. All the while, the video cameras whirred.
Slowly stripping off, the "blonde" revealed his
manhood in all its glory. "Mr X" was instructed to reciprocate the favor and
perform fellatio. He obliged, his intimate activities recorded at 24 frames
a second on videotape.
Tatum says that "X" can never allow that video to be seen:
As frame after frame flicked by, "X" reportedly
wept, forced to watch himself kill his homosexual "lover" and then engage in
the most grisly cannibalistic ritual imaginable.
He was acutely aware that most deep-cover agents
do not survive long in what is a very dirty game at a high-stakes poker
He also told the President that copies of the tape had been placed in six different locations worldwide, saying,
He closed the conversation by stating that when he originally,
This, Tatum reasoned, would avoid intimidation or torture.
In a message to this writer, Tatum stated,
Few individuals, even now, are aware of the significance of Jupiter Island.
Located on the Atlantic coast of Florida, just a few miles north of Palm Beach, the island measures a mere half a mile wide and nine miles long. According to authors Webster Griffin Tarpley and Anton Chaitkin, island residents read like a "Who's Who" of the Anglo-American establishment.
Many have close connections to the intelligence apparatus and not a few are, or have been, members of the notorious Skull and Bones Society, a secretive and influential Masonic lodge formed at Yale law school.1
Interestingly, many of the early residents,
including Averell Harriman and Prescott Bush - George Bush's
were strong supporters of
Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist
Party prior to World War II. Even in recent years, George Bush continued to
have unfinished work with Nazis domiciled in South America, Tatum
says-especially while the world's eyes were turned towards Saddam Hussein
and Iraq during Desert Storm. That, however, is another story.
All vehicles are tracked by sensors placed in the roads and every housekeeper, gardener or other non-resident is required by ordinance to be fingerprinted and registered. Residents themselves are carefully screened prior to being permitted to purchase real estate (many purchase by invitation, it is thought) and one of their primary duties as good residents is to perform active 'surveillance' to ensure the island remains secure.2
It was here that Tatum met with and discussed sensitive projects with then Vice President and later President Bush, at the residence of his mother, Rose Bush.
The various presidential orders, which led to the formation and operation of the covert activities in which Tatum and others participated, are significant for they constitute a secret government within a government. This is the power that hides behind the open face of democratic government. Some have called this power base "the Octopus".
Activities include high-level narcotics
trafficking, illegal transfers of ultra-high-tech weaponry, money laundering
on a massive scale and an odd "hit" or "alignment" to keep wobbly-kneed
individuals on the straight and narrow.
One entity formed to support the SSG was the Terrorist Incident Working Group (TIWG), established in April 1982 by authority of President Reagan in NSDD-30.
This group consisted of representatives of the
following: Director of Central Intelligence, Department of Defense (DoD),
FBI, NSC staff and others as required.3
Having revealed the framework of the authorizing presidential directives necessary for the conduct of these covert operations, Tatum then detailed the nitty-gritty of the OSG:
Until Tatum forwarded these details, the existence of more than one OSG was unknown.
In fact, Tatum has now revealed the existence of three OSGs.
OSG-1 was headed by Ted Shackley and was "our anti-narcotics group".4 OSG-2 was the anti-terrorism group and OSG-3 was "our 'alignment' group". Tatum was originally posted to OSG-2 which was commanded by Col. Oliver North. The third group, OSG-3, was commanded by Richard Secord.
Following the exposure of Oliver North's role in
Contragate in 1987, North resigned as head of OSG-2 and his spot was taken
over by Secord. Tatum moved up to command OSG-3 at the same time.
Representing British Intelligence was Sir Colin Figure.
Formerly head of MI6, Sir Colin transferred in 1986 to become "Security Coordinator", one of the top slots at the Cabinet office under the premiership of Margaret Thatcher. He retired in 1989. Amiram Nir represented Israeli interests until his assassination by an "Archer" team led by Tatum-at the request of high-level Israeli individuals-in 1988. Any of these six could "call a mission".
In addition, George Bush could do likewise. Of
significance, too, was the occasional representation on the TIWG of Lord
Chalfont. The British lord was an adviser on "Mid-East affairs" between 1986
Author Peter Jones, in an unpublished book, looked in some detail at the business activities of this Conservative Party "Grey Eminence" and leading Freemason.7
Of no little interest was the author's detailed
connections of numerous companies that he believed were involved in all
manner of dark activities. Interestingly, these included a company called
Leisure Circle that has a sinuous connection to Sir John Cuckney, one
of the central figures of the Scott Inquiry into arms sales to Iraq.
Money laundering was one of the principal activities of Col. Oliver North.
Years earlier, in the late '60s or early '70s, the CIA had secretly provided to the Shah of Iran a perfect set of printing plates that could reproduce US$100 bills without blemish. Also provided was an intaglio printing press. This special printing press ensures that the etched plate meets paper with tremendous force, creating the distinctive embossed feel of a genuine banknote.
In addition, the Shah was also given the ink and
banknote-quality paper, enabling him to produce perfect counterfeit US
dollar banknotes. The Shah later fled Iran and left the plates and press
behind in his confusion. The whole caboodle sat in the mint at Tehran,
according to some experts.8
Of this, US$4 billion was shipped by plane to Iran where it was exchanged at a ratio of one good bill for two counterfeit bills.
On the return trip, the 707 aircraft's cargo container carried two shrink-wrapped pallets containing $4 billion each. The 707 arrived at Howard/Albrook Air Force Base in Panama where the pallets were offloaded under armed guard of the Panamanian military.
The counterfeit notes were re-deposited into
Escobar's account at the Panama central bank. Under no circumstances could
the counterfeit bills be permitted to leave the bank vault-for fear of
devaluing the US currency with forged notes-and active steps would later be
taken to ensure this.
This was facilitated by the supply of military
equipment, arms, ammunition and replacement parts for weapons systems. This
part of the deal was arranged by Col. Oliver North on behalf of the CIA's
If later caught, Tatum says,
Some of these funds were then used to support
the Contras, whilst the rest disappeared down the ultra-black hole of the
Company's covert finances.
For his trouble, DeBusia was entitled to take a
commission amounting to $200 million. The remaining $3.8 billion was then
secreted in private, numbered accounts around the globe and controlled by
George Bush and William Casey.
According to Tatum, only one figure emerged
unscathed: George Bush, who alone retained control of $3.8 billion in
laundered funds. Obviously, the CIA still retained control over the balance
of their $4 billion share of the 'sting' operation.
This individual was present in Tehran during
many of these events, and was later posted to another sensitive location in
this connection. Moreover, it has additionally been revealed that Banca
Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL) was heavily involved in the Superbills sting.
That BNL was an intrinsic part of Oliver North's so-called "Enterprise" - in
reality, the OSGs of the Terrorist Incident Working Group-is beyond doubt.13
Perhaps some of the money was to be used to
grease palms and otherwise finance Bush's bid for the presidency following
the completion of President Reagan's second term. Maybe it was used to
finance other lucrative projects. Perhaps it was to be used to inject
financial muscle into another, grander scheme, of which Tatum has recently
spoken, involving George Bush's "scope and mission" paper for a New World
The "scope" of the Corporation involves four features:
The Corporation is to be privately owned with a board of directors "consisting of twelve members, elected annually by the shareholders". In addition there are to be five departments:
Part 1 of this article recounted the names of high-level US individuals, given to Tatum by Barry Adler Seal before he was killed in 1986. Seal called this the "Boss Hogs" List and it included senior individuals in 11 different countries who, Seal claimed, controlled the global narcotics network.
The complete list is reprinted verbatim (including spelling mistakes), and in the manner in which it was written by Tatum on the reverse of a flight log:15
In March 1996, Tatum wrote to former Director of Central Intelligence, William Colby. Readers will recall that it was Colby who originally recruited Tatum into the CIA in 1971 and set him on his career as a covert intelligence operator. Since that time, Tatum developed a fondness for the super-spook, and Colby, in turn, played the role of mentor. In his letter, Tatum asked Colby to write a foreword for his book, Operation Red Rock, which he had completed just two months earlier.
But there was another purpose in writing to the
At that time he had not planned to reveal any of
the details that he has now provided. In the event, his offer was taken up
and he served a prison sentence of just over one year. That is where matters
should have ended.
His letter to Colby stated:
He angrily continued:
He then added:
There then followed a warning:
Ominously he added:
Tatum then continued by outlining how he would enter evidence for his forthcoming trial and warning that if disallowed for reasons of classification, then,
Tatum closed the letter by saying:
Less than two months later, the former DCI was reported missing.
By Monday 6 May 1996, Colby's body was found. It
was later reported that Colby died following a "canoeing" accident on the
Wicomico River, Maryland. Tatum and many others (including this writer)
doubt this. Throughout his life, Colby had an all-abiding fear of water. It
would have been entirely out of character for him to step voluntarily into a
boat, let alone a canoe.
This has come as no special surprise to Tatum, who recently stated to this writer:
That, however, is another story.
He was informed that he was being released-less
than midway through his 27-month sentence-with immediate effect, following
an appellate court decision that found his conviction by Judge Adams to be
Meanwhile, he has written and published his Chronicles that detail many of his allegations.16