On February 18, 2009, WMR learned of additional significant details on the secret mission and fate of the U.S. merchant vessel, SS Poet, in October-November 1980. WMR was present at a presentation made by former Chester, Pennsylvania Sun Shipyard Vice President Schorsch to the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers - Philadelphia chapter, in Essington, Pennsylvania on February 18.
On January 5, 2007, WMR reported on the last voyage of the US-flagged merchant vessel, the SS Poet, in October 1980, along with the secret "arms-for-no-hostages" mission that saw the defeat of President Jimmy Carter and the election of Ronald Reagan as the 40th President of the United States.
On January 14, 2008, WMR reported: "WMR previously reported the SS Poet never reached either the Strait of Gibraltar or Port Said because the ship had been secretly commissioned by a rogue element in the CIA working with the Reagan-Bush campaign to deliver arms and spare parts to Iran to forestall an 'October Surprise' by the Jimmy Carter administration that would have seen U.S. hostages in Tehran released prior to the presidential election.
On July 2, 2008, WMR reported: "WMR has learned from a former CIA clandestine services officer that the SS Poet, after delivering its arms to Iran, was dispatched by the military forces of a 'third party.' Apparently, the idea that there were 34 Americans who were witnesses to an act of treason against the United States and the illegal influencing of an American presidential election, was too risky for the conspirators. When asked the identity of the 'third party,' the CIA source responded simply: 'the Israelis.'"
Instead, George H. W. Bush, Reagan's vice presidential candidate, along with Reagan campaign manager William Casey, Carter National Security Council staffer Robert Gates, Donald Gregg of the CIA, and other criminal conspirators, negotiated secret arms shipments to Iran in return for 'no hostages' prior to the election. WMR has reported that Bush and Casey secretly visited Paris on October 19, 1980, to hammer out the "arms-for-no hostages deal with representatives of the Ayatollah Khomeini's government.
The US-flagged vessel, the Poet, was chosen to secretly ship the arms to Iran. The Poet was home ported at the Sun Shipyard in Chester, Pennsylvania,just south of Philadelphia International Airport. U.S. and foreign intelligence sources previously told WMR that the Poet was destroyed after it delivered its arms cache to Iran but the U.S. Coast Guard came up with a cover story that the vessel disappeared in the mid-Atlantic without a distress call and without a trace. Thirty four U.S. merchant mariners on board the Poet were lost along with the ship."
In his presentation, Schorsch, who, along with former Sun Shipyard President Paul Atkinson, have been waging a lonely thirty year battle with the government over the CIA's role in taking over and selling off the one-time profitable shipyard that built the CIA's Glomar Explorer, as well as the scandal that enveloped the Poet.
Schorsch traces the scandal involving the Chester facility back to February 1980 when William Casey took over from John Sears as campaign director for Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign. According to Schorsch, Casey began conspiring with Sun Company, the parent firm of Sun Shipyard in March 1980. The deal was that Sun Company wanted to divest itself of the Sun Shipyard, and Casey promised a buyer. Sun allegedly agreed to provide money to Casey for the Reagan campaign and, in return, Casey would protect Sun Company financially from the divestment of the shipyard. After Reagan won the election in November 1980, Casey, who was to become Reagan's CIA director, helped the firm write down $98 million in shipyard assets to a mere $10 million. There was also a slush fund created of $120 million. The Sun Shipyard was doomed. In 1975, Ashland Oil had purchased Levingston Industries, reportedly for "CIA purposes." Ashland Oil reportedly admitted to CIA involvement. In a convoluted business deal involving a company called Penn-Texas Corporation, Girard Bank of Philadelphia - which was taken over by Mellon Bank, and Casey and company, Sun Shipyard became an asset of Pennsylvania Shipbuilding, Inc. in an asset "flip" involving little money.
Former Sun Shipyard Vice President Eugene Schorsch reveals fate of Chester Sun Shipyard and SS Poet to veteran engineers and shipbuilders of closed Chester facility in address on February 18 at Ramada Hotel in Essington, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia.
The deal involving the weapons promised to Iran by the Bush-Casey-Gates-Gregg team involved the charter of the SS Poet and a cover story to mask the arms shipment by the vessel.
SS Poet, chartered by CIA covert operation to deliver weapons to Iran for 1980 Reagan-Bush-Casey campaign team to keep U.S. hostages in Iran until after November 4 election.
After many years of the U.S. Coast Guard refusing to turn over the charter of the Poet pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act requests, WMR has now obtained a copy of the charter of the Poet to ostensibly carry corn to Port Said, Egypt. The charter is between Poet owner, Hawaiian Eugenia Corporation and the Minstry of Supply for the Arab Republic of Egypt.
There is also a reference in the charter to Universal Shipping Company, 1911 North Fort Myer Drive, Suite 702, Arlington, Virginia. The CIA's administrative and personnel offices were once housed in the "Ames Building" on North Fort Myer Drive. There is very little information available on the firm, which ended up in the news when on October 24, 1985, a Soviet ship, the Marshal Konev, for which the firm acted as a shipping agent, sought to have a defecting Ukrainian seamen in Reserve, Louisiana, who jumped overboard into the Mississippi, returned to the vessel. Ukrainian-American groups accused Universal Shipping Company of acting as a "secret' party in a secret U.S.-Soviet agreement to prevent Soviet seamen from defecting in American ports. Universal Shipping hired a commercial launch to have Marislav Medvid returned to the Marshal Konev. After Medvid jumped overboard from the launch, a Soviet KGB grabbed him from a levee and held him until the launch brought seven more Soviet sailors to beat him and return him to the launch and the Soviet vessel.
A civil case brought on September 20, 1989, by the Republic of Senegal in the U.S. Court for the Southern District of New York named as defendants Brown Brothers Harriman & Company, for which Prescott Bush once served as an official, and Universal Shipping Company. Judge Robert Patterson, Jr., dismissed the Senegalese suit against the firms.
The real smoking gun is that Universal Shipping Company was located in the same 1911 N. Fort Myer Drive office building as the one set up in the late 1970s by CIA covert agent Thomas G. Clines, the close associate of Theodore Shackley, the CIA's number two clandestine service official. Clines was named in 1978, after his retirement from the CIA, as the head of API Distributors, Inc., an oil well drilling supply company with offices in 1911 N. Fort Myer Drive. The firm was actually run by CIA agent Edwin Wilson, who was later convicted of selling arms to Muammar Qaddafi's regime in Libya. Wilson was released from prison on a "technicality" involving his prosecution after serving over two decades in confinement.
Wilson had Clines set up another company at 1911 N. Fort Myer Drive: Egyptian American Transport and Services Co. (EATSCO), which had an "exclusive concession" to ship American goods to Egypt. The Poet was thought to have had its "cover contract" to deliver corn to Port Said drawn up by covert elements in the CIA to hide the ship's transport of weapons to Iran on behalf of the Reagan-Bush-Casey presidential campaign. The address connection between Universal Shipping Company, the Poet, and EATSCO leaves little doubt that the Poethad another classified mission and that its "disappearance" was arranged by the CIA to cover the agency's treason against President Carter. Shackley's firm, Research Associates International Ltd., also maintained offices with the Wilson-Clines entities at 1911 N. Fort Myer Drive.
WMR has also obtained page four of the Poet charter, and page five of the charter, indicating the involvement of the Agency for International Development (AID), a long-time cipher for covert CIA operations masked as "assistance" programs. The charter for the Poet was signed by the Egyptian Company for Maritime Transport, Egyptian Commercial and Economic Office, Universal Shipping Company, Hawaiian Eugenia Corporation, and International Cargo and Ship Chartering Consultants, Inc. The U.S. Coast Guard redacted the signatories.
The other "smoking gun" page of the Poet charter is the last page, page seven, which appears to have been added as an addendum. The page contains "war risk clauses." However, the Poet was officially sailing corn to a peaceful port, Port Said, Egypt. Neither Egypt nor its neighbors were in a state of war at the time. However, there was a state of war ongoing between Iran, the Poet's destination for the Reagan-Bush campaign's arms, and Iraq. The war risk clause is another indication of the Poet's final destination in the Persian Gulf, where all commercial ships at the time were insured for war risks.
The classified and illegal mission of the SS Poet was clearly arranged by the Bush-Casey team in association with current and former members of the CIA clandestine service. Ed Wilson's presence in the same building in Rosslyn, Virginia with the shipping agent for the Poet provides ample evidence of the collusion that took place to eject Carter from the White House. Wilson's arms smuggling network extended to various arms embargoed nations, including Libya and, through his associate Frank Terpil, Idi Amin's regime in Uganda. The EATSCO connection to Universal Shipping suggests that the network also extended to Iran and was used by the Bush-Casey team to illegally ship weapons to Iran to prevent Carter's own "October Surprise" of a U.S. hostage release by the Ayatollah Khomeini regime.
In the end, the Poet's owner, Henry Bonnabel, received $1 million in insurance for the Poet and $3 million for its cargo of corn. The families of the 34 U.S. merchant mariners who died after the ship delivered its secret arms cache to Iran never received even a hint of what happened to their loved ones.
Robert Gates, who was a CIA operative in the weapons smuggling caper, and later served as George H. W. Bush's CIA director, remains as Barack Obama's Defense Secretary. WMR is pursuing additional leads on the reasons behind Gates' influence in the Obama administration.