Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jurassic Ballot - When Corporations Ruled the Earth

By Rebecca Solnit

This country is being run for the benefit of alien life forms. They’ve invaded; they’ve infiltrated; they’ve conquered; and a lot of the most powerful people on Earth do their bidding, including five out of our nine Supreme Court justices earlier this year and a whole lot of senators and other elected officials all the time. The monsters they serve demand that we ravage the planet and impoverish most human beings so that they might thrive. They’re like the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park, like the Terminators, like the pods in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, except that those were on the screen and these are in our actual world.

We call these monsters corporations, from the word corporate which means embodied. A corporation is a bunch of monetary interests bound together into a legal body that was once considered temporary and dependent on local licensing, but now may operate anywhere and everywhere on Earth, almost unchallenged, and live far longer than you.

The results are near-invincible bodies, the most gigantic of which are oil companies, larger than blue whales, larger than dinosaurs, larger than Godzilla. Last year, Shell, BP, and Exxon were three of the top four mega-corporations by sales on the Fortune Global 500 list (and Chevron came in eighth). Some of the oil companies are well over a century old, having morphed and split and merged while continuing to pump filth into the air, the water, and the bodies of the many -- and profits into the pockets of the few.

Thanks to a Supreme Court decision this January, they have the same rights as you when it comes to putting money into the political process, only they’re millions of times larger than you -- and they’re pumping millions of dollars into races nationwide. It’s like inviting a T. rex into your checkers championship -- and it doesn’t matter whether dinosaurs can play checkers, at least not once you’re being pulverized by their pointy teeth.

The amazing thing is that they don’t always win, that sometimes thousands of puny mammals -- that’s us -- do overwhelm one of them.

Gigantic, powerful, undead beings, corporations have been given ever more human rights over the past 125 years; they act on their own behalf, not mine or yours or humanity’s or, really, carbon-based life on Earth’s. We’re made out of carbon, of course, but we depend on a planet where much of the carbon is locked up in the earth. The profit margins of the oil corporations depend on putting as much as possible of that carbon into the atmosphere.

So in a lot of basic ways, we are at odds with these creations. The novelist John le Carré remarked earlier this month, “The things that are done in the name of the shareholder are, to me, as terrifying as the things that are done -- dare I say it -- in the name of God." Corporations have their jihads and crusades too, since they subscribe to a religion of maximum profit for themselves, and they’ll kill to achieve it. In an odd way, shareholders and god have merged in the weird new religion of unfettered capitalism, the one in which regulation is blasphemy and profit is sacred. Thus, the economic jihads of our age.

They Fund By Night!

In the jihad that concerns me right now, most of the monsters come from Texas; the prey is in California; and it’s called our economy and our environment. Four years ago, with state Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, we Californians decided we’d like to cultivate our environment for the benefit of all of us, human and biological, now and in the long future.

They’d like to pillage it to keep their profit margins in tip-top shape this year and next. The latest tool to do this is called Proposition 23, and it’s on our ballot on November 2nd. It is wholly destructive, cloaked in lies, and benefits no one -- no one human, that is, though it benefits the oil corporations a lot. (You could argue that it benefits their shareholders, but I’d suggest that their biological and moral nature matters more than their bank accounts do and that, as a consequence, they’re acting against their deepest interests and their humanity.)

When he signed AB 32 into law, Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger, who’s totally weird, termed out, but really good on climate stuff, said: “Some have challenged whether AB 32 is good for businesses. I say unquestionably it is good for businesses. Not only large, well-established businesses, but small businesses that will harness their entrepreneurial spirit to help us achieve our climate goals. Using market-based incentives, we will reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020. That's a 25% reduction. And by 2050, we will reduce emissions to 80% below 1990 levels. We simply must do everything in our power to slow down global warming before it's too late."

With Proposition 23, two out-of-state oil corporations, Valero and Tesoro, and right-wing oil billionaires based in New York and Kansas are trying to use the California initiative process, originally intended to allow citizen intervention in the governance of this state, to countermand AB 32 and set policy for us. “According to data from the California Secretary of State's office,” Kate Sheppard recently reported in Mother Jones magazine, “more than 98% of contributions to the pro-Prop. 23 campaign are from oil companies. Eighty-nine percent of the contributions come from out of state… Valero contributed $4 million, Tesoro gave $1.5 million, and a refinery owned by the notorious Kansas-based billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, of Koch Industries, kicked in another $1 million. Just last week, Houston-based Marathon oil contributed $500,000.”

Actually, Tesoro and Valero are headquartered out of state, but their refineries in California gave us 2.4 million pounds of toxic chemicals in our air and water last year, and they’d like to continue offering the citizens of my state these gifts that keep giving illness, death, and long-term environmental devastation without interference. The coming vote is not about protecting fancy places for upscale hikers -- the stereotype used to portray environmentalism as a white-person’s luxury movement -- it’s about air quality for inner-city people, especially those who live near refineries and harbors. This is the kind of environmental degradation that’s about childhood asthma and increased deaths from respiratory illness. In other words, Prop. 23 is part of a corporate war on the poor. A vote for Prop. 23 is a vote to turn the lungs of poor children into a snack for dinosaurs, to put it in bluntly Hollywood-ish terms.

Lies of the Living Dead

To sabotage AB 32, they’re spending lots and lots of money and telling lots and lots of lies. Start with the proposition’s name -- “The California Jobs Initiative” -- designed to make you think that this measure will create jobs. Actually, according to most reputable analyses, it will do the opposite. A green economy has made jobs, is making jobs, and will make more jobs. This stealth initiative would suspend AB 32 until unemployment in California drops below 5.5% for four consecutive quarters, which it won’t anytime soon, if ever.

The implication is that doing something about climate change is a luxury we cannot afford in this bleak economy. That’s a lie. Down the road, if we don’t retool to address a future in which there’s less petroleum (at far higher prices), we’ll truly crash and the suffering will be intense. AB 32 would prevent that crash; Prop. 23 steers us directly into it.

The more we heat up the planet, the more it costs all of us, not just in money, but in colossal famines, displacements, deaths, and species extinctions, as well as in the loss of some of the things that make this planet a blue-green jewel, including its specialized habitats from the melting Arctic to bleaching coral reefs.

Doing something about climate change makes economic sense right now. It’s good business.

It’s hardly surprising that the corporate aliens lie when it comes to the relationship between doing something about climate change and the economy. After all, oil corporations funded a lot of the disinformation campaigns which, for years, promoted the idea that human-caused climate change was a figment of the overheated imaginations of mad environmentalists, and later that there was controversy (as well as corruption) among scientists when it came to global warming. The only honest information would have been that about 97% of the world’s relevant scientists overwhelming agree that climate change couldn’t be more real and is a genuine danger to humanity and the planet -- and that the evidence is all around us in freakish weather, rising oceans, melting arctic ice and glaciers, shifting habitats, and more.

The Phantom of Democracy

The oil dinosaurs want to win so badly in my home state because what happens here matters everywhere. The nation often follows where California goes. In the 1970s, we started setting energy efficiency standards that mean we Californians now use about half the energy of the average American (with no diminishment of quality of life or pocketbook pain). In the last decade, we created cutting edge measures to curb carbon emissions.

In 2002, Los Angeles state assemblywoman Fran Pavley (now a state senator) put out AB 1493, which was to -- and will -- reduce vehicle greenhouse gas emissions. It was, unfortunately, held up for six years by the Bush administration and then transformed into a national standard by Barack Obama as one of his first acts in office. Pavley also authored the now embattled “Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006,” AB 32.

If you think oil corporations and life share an interest, you should’ve been in the Gulf of Mexico a few months ago. I was. I saw their oiled pelicans, their unemployed fishermen, and their oil-smeared marshes. I tasted and smelled the poisons I could not see, and I read their lies.

The people of the Gulf will struggle to survive the recklessness of BP for decades to come, but the petrobeasts aren’t just destructive when things go wrong; they’re that way when things go according to plan as well. If the 5.5 million barrels of oil that spilled into the Gulf, thanks to BP, had instead made it to our gas tanks, the consequences would still have been dire. They are dire. The companies funding Prop. 23 are themselves a major source of climate change and, of course, a major obstacle to coming up with solutions to it.

Like the people of the Gulf during the spill, the people of Richmond, California, in the San Francisco Bay area, live with those tastes, smells, and consequences all the time, because they’re in the shadow of Chevron’s biggest west coast refinery. (Corporate headquarters are only 25 miles away.) Sirens go off during excessive leaks of toxins like ammonia, and as if out of a horror movie, an explosion at the plant in 1999 that sent an 18,000-pound plume of sulfur dioxide fumes into the air was said to be so nasty it took the fur off squirrels.

Chevron is one of the biggest corporations on the planet. While the average income for a human being in Richmond is a little over $19,000, Chevron’s profits last year were $24 billion, meaning the corporation is more than one million times as rich as the average citizen there. Nonetheless, the humans there won a huge victory recently, preventing the corporation from expanding and retooling its refinery so that it could process even dirtier crude oil (with dirtier local emissions, in a place that already suffers huge health consequences from the monster in its backyard). It may be the world’s first victory against refinery expansion.

Chevron is both the state’s biggest single greenhouse-gas emitter and a huge financial force in Richmond elections, invariably funding campaigns against green candidates. The mostly poor, mostly nonwhite citizens of Richmond are, however, organized and motivated, so if you want to watch a monster movie in which the little guys have been winning lately, follow city politics there.

One of the cool things about the West County Toxics Coalition, the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, the Green Party mayor, and the activists working with them is that they know better than anyone how to act locally and think globally, and even sometimes how to act globally and think locally. Maybe collectively they’re not so little. They’re allied with antiwar groups, with Burmese human rights groups, with the people of Ecuador and Nigeria who have suffered petro-contamination at least as bad, if not worse than BP’s Gulf spill this spring, with groups around the world fighting the petrobeast. There’s a movement out there, and sometimes it even wins amazing victories.

Around the world this month, coordinated more than 7,000 demonstrations in favor of lowering atmospheric carbon to a sane 350 parts per million, while the climate justice movement had a global day of action on Columbus Day. Among the month's heroic efforts were direct action against mountaintop-removal coal mining in West Virginia, blockades of refineries in France and Britain and of a coal-fired power plant in Germany, protests and gas-station blockades in Canada, and a rally in the Philippines, a demonstration in Finland, a march in Ecuador, a protest in South Africa, among others. In California, activists worked steadily against Prop. 23.

Think for a minute about horror movies: in some of them, the little people rally and do heroic things and the monsters or aliens are vanquished. The forces that have come together against Prop. 23 are impressive, ranging from inner-city job coalitions and traditional environmental groups to university think tanks and business interests. Winning or losing, however, depends on what happens when California voters look at that deceptive label “California Jobs Initiative” on their ballots on November 2nd.

If your heart isn’t pounding, and you aren’t biting your fingernails and teetering at the edge of your seat, then you haven’t noticed the monsters yet. Look carefully. They’re all around us -- and they’re coming for you.

Rebecca Solnit’s brother David does organizing work against Chevron, and she often shows up for the marches. She is the author of 13 books, including the forthcoming Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas (which maps toxins and right-wing corporations in the Bay Area, among other things) and A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster. She writes for as often as she can. It’s her personal version of being David in the face of all those Goliaths. To catch Solnit discussing “mixed-up California” in a Timothy MacBain TomCast audio interview, click here or, to download it to your iPod, here.

Copyright 2010 Rebecca Solnit

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

‘US Boat to Gaza’ to join efforts from Switzerland, Turkey, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Italy, Sweden, Malaysia & the Netherlands

‘US Boat to Gaza’ to join efforts from Switzerland, Turkey, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Italy, Sweden, Malaysia & the Netherlands to form the Freedom Flotilla II in March 2011

by Adam Horowitz

The following update was just sent out by US to Gaza:
We are writing with an exciting update report on the plan to send a U.S.-flagged ship as part of the next Freedom Flotilla sailing to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Representatives from the US BOAT TO GAZA have just returned from Geneva where an important meeting took place with representatives from Switzerland, Turkey, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Italy, Sweden, Malaysia, the Netherlands and The Free Gaza Movement. US TO GAZA has joined the steering committee of the Freedom Flotilla II and we are now deeply involved as part of the international team planning for the next mission which will be leaving at the end of March 2011.
First, about the timing: after much discussion, the decision was made by the international group to wait until Spring of 2011 to sail. This is in response to the outpouring of people who want to join this effort from more countries, to have more boats and more of civil society participating. The international movement is growing and voices of condemnation against illegal Israeli policies are stronger now than ever before.

At the table in Geneva were experienced, dedicated Palestinian rights activists, many of whom had participated in the last flotilla. It is significant to realize that the previous mission was, in fact, the first and only large international flotilla to attempt to break the siege of Gaza by sea. Those on board Freedom Flotilla I, as we all know, were brutally and fatally attacked by the Israeli military in international waters. Freedom Flotilla II will be the next mission to attempt to break the illegal Israeli naval blockade following this attack. Those on board the ship and all those standing in solidarity with this effort are defying the brutality of the Israeli regime by the determined measure of returning again to reach the shores of Gaza. We will not be deterred by illegal acts of violence, similar to what the people of Palestine face every day. In fact we are even more motivated to act, in the same way the people within the borders of this brutal occupation march to the walls and barriers to their freedom through tear gas and bullets again and again, or stand in the path of bulldozers, the Israeli weapon of occupation, or rebuild and rebuild the destruction wreaked upon them without pause.

The Israeli military, with impunity, carries on committing the crimes of occupation. Arrogantly and shamelessly officials from the Israeli government recently made public statements, threatening to attack the next flotilla with sniper fire and attack dogs. It is unconscionable to deliver public pronouncements of planned, unprovoked violence against unarmed people, civilians and press who will be on board. As these statements get issued from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, U.S. government officials remain silent, failing to uphold international law and bring Israeli government and military officials to account for their crimes.

We must not be deterred by the violent adventures Israel embarks upon and the complicit silence of our governments. THE AUDACITY OF HOPE, the U.S. Boat to Gaza will sail this Spring, bringing human rights advocates from civil society, supported by international law, to the shores of Gaza. In this country we will be on board, whether sailing on the deck of the boat, or standing on the platform this campaign creates speaking against U.S. foreign policy that supports Israel's abuse of power perpetrated against the people of Palestine and their supporters in the struggle for the Palestinian people's freedom and dignity, their human rights and for justice.

We need your help. Over the next few months we need you to help spread the word about the mission of the U.S. BOAT TO GAZA through your lists and sites and link people in your network to We will be planning several events leading up to and including the launch of THE AUDACITY OF HOPE and we want you and people in your networks to participate. Most importantly we need you to be the voice and to help create the unique profile of THEAUDACITY OF HOPE by speaking on behalf of this mission as it relates to your work in the struggle for Palestinian rights.

Please get in touch if you can take an active part of this campaign in the next phase.

We look forward to hearing from you!


Monday, October 18, 2010

Following his script from Langley, Obama re-launches the Contras against Nicaragua

In an almost carbon copy of Ronald Reagan's covert policies in Latin America, President Obama has not only authorized CIA-planned coups in Honduras and Ecuador, but has, according to our sources in Costa Rica, re-launched a new generation of Contras to destabilize the Sandinista government of President Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua.

As in the 1980s, the Contras are operating from Honduras, which, after the CIA's and Mossad's ouster of President Manuel Zelaya, is now a safe operating base for the Nicaraguan rightists, and Costa Rica, which is now governed by a right-wing administration, including a pro-Israeli Vice President, Luis Lieberman Ginsburg, who has authorized the Costa Rican Intelligence and Security Directorate (DIS) to work with Mossad to wiretap phone lines, emails, and web sites to ensure the success of the Contra activities being directed against Ortega.

The pro-U.S. docile governments of Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla, Honduran President Porfirio Lobo, and Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli are reportedly supporting the CIA and Mossad operations in Nicaragua. Martinelli is one of Israel's few allies in Latin America and he condemned the UN's Goldstone Report on Israel's invasion and genocide in Gaza. Under Martinelli, Israeli training programs for the Panamanian National Police have increased.

Nicaragua is seeing a surge in "civil society" activity, most notably operated by the CIA-connected US Agency for International Development (USAID), the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its components, and George Soros's various non-governmental organization (NGO) contrivances, including the Movement for Nicaragua. WMR's Costa Rica sources point to two USAID-linked contractors being involved in the covert activities in Costa Rica, Tetra Tech International, which has a substantial historical link to the CIA, particularly in the Middle East, and DPK Consulting, which is not only active in Costa Rica but also in Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Venezuela.

Ortega, who is barred from running for re-election next year, is now being faced with the same CIA, Mossad, and NGO construct that forced Zelaya from office in Honduras. Last month, Ortega reinstated a 1987 constitutional provision, known as Law 201, that permits judges and other government officials to stay in office beyond their terms until replacements can be appointed. The U.S.-backed opposition is now crying foul in a manner similar to the proposed constitutional referendum that was used to force Zelaya from office in Honduras.

U.S. ambassador to Honduras Hugo Llorens is the key player in providing support to the neo-Contras and to ensure that the Honduran resistance movement to the Lobo regime does not receive asssistance from the Ortega government across the border in Nicaragua and vice versa. Lloren's role is similar to that of John Negroponte during the Reagan administration, complete with CIA-backed death squads in Honduras resuming assassinations of student and labor leaders, as well as journalists.

U.S. covert activities in Honduras and Nicaragua are staged out of the Palmerola airbase in Honduras and are coordinated largely by Col. Robert W. Swisher, the US Defense Attache at the U.S. embassy in Tegucigalpa. Williams Brands is the USAID coordinator who provides U.S. funds from the Office of Transition Initiatives to NGOs acting on behalf of U.S. intelligence. Silvia Eiriz, the political officer, is also reportedly the CIA station chief who coordinates the anti-Ortega activity with her counterpart in Managua. The anti-Ortega operation in Nicaragua is primarily the responsibility of U.S. ambassador Robert Callahan, an old CIA hand who goes back to assisting Negroponte with the running of the death squads in Tegucigalpa in the 1980s.

The Nicaraguan opposition is now engaged in "false flag" street violence using bogus Sandinistas in classic "false flag" action carried out on behalf of the CIA and Mossad stations in Managua. The Sandinsta movement has also been split, thanks to CIA and NGO interference, into pro-Ortega and anti-Ortega factions. Similar activities on the Colombian-Venezuelan border have been carried out against civilian targets in Colombia and then blamed on Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) working with Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez. In fact, the attacks are carried out by Israeli and British commandos dressed in FARC uniforms, according to our Latin American sources. The operati0n is designed to force Chavez from office by tying him to terrorists. The Venezuelan Directorate of Intelligence and Prevention Services (DISIP) has tied the phony FARC attacks in Colombia to media propaganda operations orchestrated by Venezuela's Jewish community leaders working closely with opposition-controlled media in Venezuela, as well as media in the United States and Europe.

The CIA and Mossad are funding their neo-Contras with proceeds from the growing drug trade in Honduras and Costa Rica. As a result, drug-related murders are increasing on both sides of the Nicaraguan-Costa Rican and Nicaraguan-Honduran borders.When he was in power in Honduras, Zelaya reduced the drug trade.

In Honduras and Costa Rica, customs officials now look the other way as Israeli private security personnel, mostly ex-Israeli commandos, guard half length trucks without license plates that are moving drugs and weapons from Honduras and Costa Rica into Nicaragua to support the new Contras gearing up to fight the Sandinistas prior to next year's election.

Key border crossing points for the Israelis are in the Peñas Blancas National Park of Costa Rica and Cardenas, Nicaragua on Lake Nicaragua. The Penas Blancas area was a hotbed of Contra activity during the Reagan administration's secret war against Nicaragua.

On the Nicaraguan-Honduran border, an ex-Contra named "Comandante Jahob" is planning to start an armed conflict against Nicaragua if Ortega does not leave office next year. Commandante Jahob, whose real name is José Gabriel Garmendia, is reportedly acting along with CIA and Mossad commandos in Honduras and with the knowledge of the Honduran regime imposed by the Obama administration last year. Old CIA bases in Honduras that once supported the Contras in the 1980s, are reportedly being reactivated.

Costa Rican police and DIS personnel are allegedly involved in the cross-border trafficking. Currently, a Colombian bank is being used to buy up land along the Costa Rican-Nicaraguan border ostensibly for "tourist" purposes but the $2 billion project is designed to establish staging areas for renewed Contra warfare in Nicaragua if the Sandinistas remain in power beyond the 2011 election. The US private military contractor Dyncorp is also involved in providing assistance to the Contras using the cover of "humanitarian assistance."

On July 6, 2010, WMR reported: "After conducting its successful coup d'etat in Honduras against President Manuel Zelaya, the imperialistic Barack Obama administration is now bent on ousting Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega by massing a huge U.S. Coast Guard and Marine Corps presence in neighboring Costa Rica, a base of operations for Reagan administration-backed CIA operations in the 1980s in support of the Nicaraguan contras.

Costa Rican government officials, including President Laura Chinchilla, Vice President Luis Lieberman Ginsburg, Security Minister Jose Maria Tijerino, counter-narcotics commissioner Mauricio Boraschi, and the Costa Rican Congress agreed to Operation Joint Patrol, which will see 7,000 US Marines, 46 mainly U.S. Coast Guard vessels, and 200 helicopters and 10 combat aircraft descend on Costa Rica, which does not have a military force, from July 1 to December 31."

Helen Thomas receives loud and warm applause at National Press Club award dinner

Former White House Press Corps senior member Helen Thomas, forced to resign from her Hearst News Service job after she was ambushed by rabbi David Nesenoff and his hidden camera outside of the White House last June, received the loudest round of applause, after that bestowed on this year's honoree, when she was recognized as a past recipient of the Fourth Estate Award for journalistic excellence. This year's winner was CBS newsman Bob Schieffer. When the names of other past recipients of the award who were present at the October 15 event were announced, Thomas's applause was greater than that for Washington Postcolumnists William Raspberry and David Broder.

Thomas told the video spying rabbi that Israelis now living in the West Bank should get out of Israel and return to their own nations. Thomas's comment drew the ire of the Israel Lobby and she was forced out of her long-held front row seat in the White House Press Briefing Room.

Thomas's White House coverage, which went unbroken since covering the Eisenhower administration, ceased under Obama during a time when the White House is in meltdown and top-level resignations are now a weekly event. And Thomas's dismissal was all the result of some arrogant rabbi with a hidden camera.

Quietly, many Washington journalists were livid over the treatment of Thomas by the White House and Israel's "Amen Choir" in Washington. However, they understand what Thomas told a radio station last week, "You cannot criticise Israel in this country and survive," adding, "it's the third rail."

Many Washington journalists prefer to stay on the subway platform and be nowhere near the third rail. In fact, most never even enter the subway station.

At the National Press Club Fourth Estate Award dinner honoring CBS's Bob Schieffer, former White House correspondent Helen Thomas received the loudest applause when past recipients were recognized in the audience. The Israel Lobby's cash and influence may influence news rooms and publishers, but it does not extend to cuffing the hands of journalists to prevent them applauding.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New information emerges about SS Poet, "disappeared" by United States in October Surprise scandal

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.

Also identified in the Poet charter is the Egyptian Company for Maritime Transport in Cairo.

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.