A Foreign Nation Did Interfere In A US Election...In 1980

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Wayne Madsen via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

It was October and the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate was faltering in the polls after the Democratic National Convention. The Republican Party’s presidential candidate began negotiating with a foreign government to cook up a scheme to embarrass the Democratic candidate. The scheme was successful and the Democratic candidate went on to lose the election to a Republican candidate who was feared by many for his unorthodox stance on several domestic and foreign issues.


If one thinks the above description is about the recent 2016 election, he or she would be wrong.

In 1980, Democratic President Jimmy Carter, running for re-election under the cloud of the U.S. embassy in Tehran having been seized by radical Iranian students and 52 members of its staff being held hostage, was trying desperately to pull off an «October Surprise» to salvage his presidency.

Unbeknownst to Carter, the campaign of his Republican rival, Ronald Reagan, had secretly negotiated an «arms-for-no-hostages» deal with the Ayatollah Khomeini’s regime in Iran. 

In return for the shipment of embargoed military items, including spare parts for Iran’s U.S.-supplied F-14 Tomcat fighter planes and Phoenix air-to-air missiles for the planes, before the November 4 election, the Reagan team was promised by the Iranians that Tehran would hold the hostages until after the November election. Upon Reagan’s defeat of Carter, Iran held true to its promise and did not release the American hostages until noon Eastern Standard Time on January 20, 1981, the very moment Reagan raised his hand to take the presidential oath of office.

Although the media today is rife with reports of so-called «treasonous» contacts between Donald Trump advisers and officials of the Russian government, the media was not to be found anywhere in October 1980 when the Central Intelligence Agency, working with the Reagan campaign, contracted with a U.S. merchant vessel, the «SS Poet», to deliver the U.S. military contraband to Iran. In 1980, vice presidential candidate George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan’s campaign manager William Casey secretly met with Iranian government officials, reportedly in Paris, and worked out the covert «arms-for-no-hostages» plan. The Reagan team was worried that Carter would beat them to the punch because of the White House’s own secret negotiations with Iranian representatives to have the hostages freed in October, giving Carter a much-need campaign boost.

The Reagan conspirators included, in addition to Bush and Casey, Robert Gates and Donald Gregg, the CIA's moles inside the Carter National Security Council. Carter's national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, not happy with Carter's human rights stance, may have given a «wink and a nod» to the treason. The entire caper was conducted without the knowledge of Stansfield Turner, Carter's friend and U.S. Naval Academy classmate who served as CIA director.

The «SS Poet», a World War II-era U.S. merchant vessel, was at the center of the Reagan team’s treasonous plot. Little has been written about the fate of the vessel because the CIA arranged to have it sunk while outbound from the Persian Gulf after it delivered its weapons cache to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. The ship was officially listed as «lost at sea» somewhere in the mid-Atlantic after departing from Philadelphia's Girard Point marine pier #3 on October 24, 1980. The ship was ostensibly bound with a cargo of 13,500 tons of corn for Port Said, Egypt, but, in reality, had military equipment loaded in its rear number four cargo, contraband bound for Iran. 

The crew of 34 U.S. citizens was declared «missing at sea» by a U.S. Coast Guard board of inquiry, which was under heavy pressure from the CIA to cover up the ship's fate in the Gulf. The Reagan team sweetened the deal with a cash payment to Iran. Gates was said to have overseen the transfer of money to an Iranian bank account at Banque Worms in Geneva.

The Coast Guard report on the «Poet's» disappearance was tainted by an individual who claimed to have been a former third assistant engineer on the vessel. A year after the «Poet» disappeared, the witness told the Coast Guard, after the Board of Inquiry had already issued its conclusion about the fate of the ship, that the vessel was not seaworthy. However, this individual later was discovered to have been an impostor, likely hired by Casey’s CIA, who never served on board the «Poet».

The CIA's cover story, dutifully echoed by the Coast Guard, was the Poet sank without a trace in three minutes and without a distress call. One of the Poet's previous trips, in the months prior to sailing to Iran, was to Israel. The vessel had been chartered by Hawaiian Eugenia Corporation, the Poet's owner and a firm with murky CIA links, to sail to Israel. There is a strong possibility that the Israelis rigged the ship with explosives that would be detonated after its delivery of weapons to Iran on behalf of the CIA and Reagan-Bush campaign plotters.

There was a feeble attempt by certain remaining pro-Carter elements within the CIA and Justice Department to investigate the involvement of a foreign power - Iran - in the 1980 election. A March 16, 1981, memo written by then-unconfirmed Associate Attorney General Rudolph Giuliani to the Acting Criminal Division chief, John Keeney, which was titled «CIA Referral - Alleged Foreign Government Interference With 1980 Presidential Election», suggests that the CIA referred to the Justice Department certain evidence that there was criminal activity involving a foreign power in the 1980 presidential election.

Keeney and Giuliani agree to draft a letter from Deputy Attorney General Edward C. Schmults to the CIA to ask for a full report on the criminal referral. The CIA report, which was never written, would have been available to Justice personnel on a strict need-to-know basis. It can be assumed that after Casey took over at the CIA, he immediately quashed the investigation of the involvement of Iran in the 1980 election.

In any case, the investigation was stopped dead in its tracks. The Attorney General at the time of the Giuliani memo was Reagan confidante William French Smith. Smith's special assistant at the time was David Hiller, who later became the publisher, president, and CEO of the Los Angeles Times. Hiller's fellow special assistant for Smith was John G. Roberts, Jr., later nominated by George W. Bush to the Supreme Court as Associate Justice, followed by his nomination to be Chief Justice.

The «Poet's» official charter to sail a cargo of corn to Port Said was oddly appended with a «war risk» clause, even though Egypt was not in a state of war. The only state of war that existed at the time was in the Gulf between Iran and Iraq. The charter also involved Universal Shipping Company, a CIA front company headquartered in Rosslyn, Virginia, along with other firms controlled by CIA weapons smuggler Edwin Wilson. Later convicted and imprisoned for smuggling weapons to Libya, Wilson, a «retired» CIA operative, contended that his weapons smuggling operations were carried out with the approval of the CIA.

There is an interesting current news peg to the story of the 1980 election and the «Poet.» The Iranian side in the «arms-for-no-hostages» conspiracy was led by the then-speaker of the Iranian parliament, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. He would later become a key cog in the Iran-contra scandal that almost brought down the Reagan administration. Rafsanjani died recently at the age of 82. Considered a leading Iranian moderate, Rafsanjani traveled widely throughout the United States prior to the Iranian revolution in 1979 and he may have served as a deep cover CIA asset. With his death disappears from the scene another witness to the treachery involving the disappearance of the «SS Poet».

When the CIA wants to advance a meme that a foreign nation interfered in a U.S. election, it can coax its puppets in the media to hype the story, as seen now with the frivolous allegations about Russia and the Trump campaign. However, when the Langley boys want to bury their own chicanery and skullduggery in election interference, as is currently the case with CIA and British MI-6 involvement in the 2016 election on behalf of Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton and as was the situation in 1980 with Iran and the Reagan campaign, the media dutifully follows.

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Oberst-Gruppenfuhrer's picture

Can we get an article on how Israel interferes with our elections for the past 3 or more decades?  Yea, I didn't think so either.  Only the ZH commenters would say it.  Tyler Durdeshowitz would never write such an article. 

BabaLooey's picture


Like the Russians had ANYTHING to do with the MILLIONS OF AMERICANS showing up for Trump rallies during the campaign.

Yeah. The Jews or the Russians convinced those millions. FUCK YOU.

THAT RIGHT THERE - is proof enough that this whole thing is HORSE SHIT.

Anyone that believes any of this nonsense is simply a fucking moron.

johngaltfla's picture

Madsen? Really Tyler? What's next stories about how mothers were impregnated by aliens to takeover the Earth?

lew1024's picture

Wayne Madsen is a fine researcher and reporter, you are far off base with your comment.

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) BabaLooey Jan 19, 2017 6:13 AM

I went an re-watched the rallies last night.

Holy Shit what a hoot-n-nanny they were, even secret service in on the show.

How could anyone think he wasn't going to win given the size and enthusiasm of those rallies.

Trump the show stopper President.

Tarzan's picture

Interesting, that there's not a single referance, not one link, all conjecture.

Can we get a few CNBC stories on ZH too?

GeezerGeek's picture

And not a word about how Teddy Kennedy tried to enlist the Kremlin in his opposition to Reagan.

Does this mean Teddy and the Donald are co-conspirators?

Site's picture

This is exactly right CD, anyone with even a smidgen of common sense could see the rallies was his litmus test. He was destroying her in attendance literally everywhere, the wife and I knew by the end of the Iowa primary who we were going to vote for.

Urahara's picture

Wouldn't it be Durdenberg or Durdenman. Seems easier to say than Durdenshowitz. You are right by the way, this kissing jew ass cause they think and manipulated people to think that they are "chosen" is ludicrous and utterly stupid.

blindman's picture

well, the federal reserve bank owners may have influenced
an election or law or two.
aw hell.....

petar's picture

No one voted Trump, we all voted against Obama

ebworthen's picture

Ah...sure...Trump and Reagan propped by the C.I.A. and Jimmy Carter a great President.

Carter was a good man, but not a good man for leadership.

What other meme's you got cooking in the kitchen?

Ayatollah and Carter best friends?

Muhammad Ali involved?

O.J. Simpson?

Tangled web!

caesium's picture

Jimmy was more hostile to the CIA than Gipper. The plot of the silly film "Apocalypse Now" is arguably an attempt to demonstrate the power of deep state. Nobody is saying that Jimmy was a good or bad guy but just as Ike before him he knew he was not in control.

Joe Camel's picture

I love the smell of frosted pop tarts in the morning

Shibboleth's picture

So, where is your fake news now?

otschelnik's picture

Learn something new everyday.  Thanks ZH.

Grandad Grumps's picture

I remember how naive I used to be, believing that these obvious acts of conspiracy were just people acting out and not all coordinated through elitist networks.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

I continue to be amazed and disappointed that every time that the Left (Neolibs etc) and Neocons (ZioCons) and its MSM barking dogs bark the word bogeyman mantra "Russians!", the GOP and Team Trump respond in a knee-jerk fashion.

By responding reflexively and by reacting, they relinquish control of the Narrative. The Opposition is framing the Narrative, by repackaging and reposting it in the minds of the Media, Politicians and the Masses.

It's HIGH time that Trump's Team took a STRATEGIC stance in reclaiming the Narrative. This includes and holds especially true for his Senior Advisors and its Media Director.

Alow Kirk to kick-start your engine...

1. All sorts of People, Groups, Companies, Interests, and Countries try to influence others. Constantly.

2. So-called 'Friends' try to influence us to their benefit, as do Competitors and Adversaries. It's a rich and diverse Ecosystem of Influence peddlers and manipulators.

3. The means and ways vary greatly. Intermediaries are often used: PACs, Super-PACs, Think Tanks, Foundations, NGOs, Media ads, Lobbyists , etc.

4. What others try to do to us in this Ecosystem of Influence peddling and manipulation, and even spying and bribing, we do to others. Why else would you need hundreds of thousands employed at the CIA and NSA?

5. European Allies cum Friends were interfering grossly in our elections. Just think of all their politicians and Media, and how they were trashing Candidate Trump.

6. Pres. Obama publicly interfered in the elections of other countries: UK Brexit, Israeli election of Netanyahu.

7. The Saudis are NOT the friends of the American people. They might be Friends of many of our political leaders, or of some Wall St interests, but their Wahhabi exporting business is not FBO the American People or any non-Saudi people. The Saudis and other ME powers and players have invested millions into the Clinton campaign, in a Pay-for-Play arrangement. And imagination if it were the Russians being sued by 9/11 families, instead of the Saudis. Why, we'd have WW3 on our hands, if the Neocons and MIC-beholden war hawks had their way.

7. China is a far greater threat to US global interests, and to our economic interests, than is Russia. It is not Russia, but China that is buying up farms, mines and factories in Africa, Europe and South America.

9. In the context of 1-8, it would be egregiously dishonest, to single out Russia as THE threat to our elections and centuries old traditions.  It is a red herring, it is a false Narrative, it is a distraction, a misdirection. It is a Non-Story, trying its hardest to be a story. Only a grossly incompetent, negligent and agenda-driven Media would keep playing it on and on and on.

10. We don't give a damn what the Russians are trying to do, or what rabid hawks, Neocons and duped Leftists think they are doing. It matters naught, it matters not. We are bigger and stronger than any one Interest or Bogeyman of convenience.

Time to... Move On. We are. Time for Team Trump to finally put this fake news and smear campaign to rest.

WTFUD's picture

Kirk, segments of MSM have penned a letter to President Trump; an olive branch, much like Putin has offered numerous olive branches to Vichy DC/EU. All to no avail.
People are fickle and so at this moment in time a knee-jerk reaction on Twatter to the disinformation is more out of necessity.
Maybe in time . . .

BabaLooey's picture


Anyone see the fucking final presser that Soetero did?

Jesus H. Sycophant Taint Licking Christ - the entire room should have been dismantled after that shit-show of adoration.

If you didn't know it, it could have a boy band's main heartthrob with a bunch of wet-panties boppers....

YourAverageJoe's picture

You really shouldn't use Jesus name carelessly like that.

I know your pain and frustration. as does He. but there is a rule from On High regarding the vain use of His name.

mary mary's picture

I believe that "thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain" means that you shouldn't pretend you are doing something in God's name, that is, out of charity, when you are actually doing it to enrich yourself, to serve your own vanity.  That's why the word "vain" is used.

willspeaks's picture

Right, the Iranians wanted Reagan to be president over Jimma. and the "Main stream media" has sat on this ever since. Who is this moron.?

mary mary's picture

A revolution in Iran threw the Shah out.  Iranians saw the Shah as a globalist puppet, advised and watchdogged by the CIA.  The Shah was also a pretty serious fan of torturing people.  A bunch of Iranian revolutionaries stormed the USA Embassy in Tehran and imprisoned Americans employed there, claiming they were CIA (doubtless, SOME were). Carter tried and failed to negotiate a deal with Iran to get the Americans freed, but that was politically difficult, since "we don't negotiate with terrorists".  As a last-ditch "hail Mary", Carter tried "the October Surprise", a military rescue mission which failed when some of its planes crashed, killing some American crewmen.  So, two Carter failures, back to back.  No doubt, both failures contributed to Carter's defeat at the polls by Reagan.

Then, on the first day of Reagan's Presidency, Iran freed the prisoners.  So the question was, how did Reagan accomplish that, and who on his staff met with Iran's leaders, and where and when, and what did Iran get in exchange?  Answers still hard to find.

8 years later, George Bush1 succeeded Reagan.  Bush1 then proceeded to sucker Iran's arch-enemy, Saddam Hussein of Iraq, into a war, in which Bush1 blew up a lot of Saddam's military equipment.  Sometimes I can't figure out whether the USA is for Iran or against Iran.  The only thing I feel clear about is that the oil which comes out of the Middle East has a huge hidden cost, a tax cost, to Americans, to support the constant military presence and the many trillion-dollar-apiece wars that are apparently required to control that oil.

JailBanksters's picture

I don't give a rats who did it or why they did it.

I'm just glad the Satanists in the Demonic Party were exposed for what they are and all to see.

It's only going to finish when the Public uncovers the Truth,

it won't stop with Federal Agencies.



WTFUD's picture

When i joined up with Z/H i was a died in the wool liberal who thought the sun shone out of Obama's and Hillary's Ass's.
Slowly but surely the Z/H contingent subtly manipulated me into crossing over to the deplorable dark side.
Having read most of the content and comments here for the best part of 5 years i can now hand on heart state that i've been brainwashed; that Trump is a Russian mole with Trump Tower an Annex of the Kremlin.
Wait before you begin pointing figures, disparaging my inner most feelings, I HAVE INDISPUTABLE PROOF :-

Last week i attended a dinner party in Trump Tower and on the Menu, blazoned for all to see - BEEF STROGANOFF & Caviar - If this is not a tell or Kremlin Plot . . . .

Watch out for the stroganoff to appear on Menu's all over the country; you'll see, Z/h is evil propaganda.

hoosiertoo's picture

Good stroganoff and borscht is hard to find. We should import some Russians so they'll open restaurants. Hey, it worked for General Tso and tacos.

moorewasthebestbond's picture

Rudolph Giuliani rears his ugly head.


Another government hack who has been around the block and back.

mary mary's picture

Giuliana wants to go after Pizzagate.  I say, unleash the Giuliani!  (seriously)

theprofromdover's picture

Did they name all of  the missing SS Poet crew at the time, doesn't Lloyd's Register do that for worldwide shipping? Would be interesting to know if they were all made-up names, or they just sacrified some more citizens in a casual manner.

theprofromdover's picture

real people apparently.

There is a webiste called seafarers-dot-org it records a memorial service marking 30 years since the loss of the Poet. A lot of the crew were from Alabama.

WTFUD's picture

From the same Crew ( not ship ) that gave us 9/11. An inside job.

It's the unknown unknown's that frighten me.

vegas's picture

Why stop at 1980? Go back to the Church hearings when we discovered Truman formed the NSA by executive order and the budgets were classified. Where does this bullshit end?



detached.amusement's picture

 Why stop there,  go read Its Not the Law!

jcdenton's picture

Seriously Tylers ..


This is the best you can do for "click bait?"


(Are you on the same payroll as Alex Jones, et al? Saying, UNCLE to Rupert ..)


If anyone is jockeying for a Pulitzer ..


I would be contacting Amb. Wanta pronto!


At a minimum, contact Richard Syrett ..


Ask him, why is it that to date, a CANADIAN  is the best media personality .. (done on Coast to Coast)


That features, probably what will go down in history ..


As the USA's finest national hero ..


Also, the world's richest man .. (that is REAL, legal, non-dirty; aka clean money)








I'm going to pound this home into enough brain matter ..


Until ENOUGH  wake the fuck up!

mary mary's picture

Spacebar repairs - cheap!  Tired of sluggish spacebars that make you look unprofessional?  Get your spacebar fixed today.  You'll be glad you did. 

samsara's picture

Thanks Tylers for posting a Wayne Madsen article. Good writer

Mementoil's picture

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and I don't see any evidence here at all.

nevertheless's picture

What exactly makes these "extraordinary claims"? We know Reagan was dealing with weapons and drugs with Iran Contra affair, and we certainly know the CIA has worked to manipulate elections around the world before. 


I suppose you may be one of those "useful idiots" I have been hearing so much about. When dealing with absolute corruption, like that within the CIA and Washington, the idea that one can only be swayed by an avalanche of evidence, insures their corruption will go unabated. When dealing with covert and clandestine organizations, one must use deduction, reason and observation, those God given tools of wisdom, that help us see what evil goes on behind the scenes, those same tools you seem to devoid of.

GeezerGeek's picture

When making claims about Republicans engaging in bad actions, evidence is not relevant. It is the seriousness of the claim that matters.

It is a one way street, something those in Washington, DC are familiar with.

Bill Melater's picture

Same thing happened in 2016.

Obama visited the UK and campaigned against Brexit.

As usual he lost.

Just wondering if we would have liked Putin coming to the US to campaign against Hillary ...

falak pema's picture

Haha !

As people always suspected the election of Ronnie the renegade, front man for the oil lobby and CIA run deep state-- (think Weinberger and Schulz of Bechtel and Bohemian Grove fun n games)--  was dipped in the type of contra deals he will subsequently use to help neofascist and drug led cartel surrogates in contra deals in Nicaragua and Panama (Oliver North) to destabilize "commie leaning  populist rebellions".

And that shill Casey is the man who will do the same to feed that Frankensteinian concoction to fight the Soviets in Afghan; making Pak/afghan the subsequent nexus of Islamic blowback in the form of Al Qaeda Taliban alliance! 

What you sow neoliberal neocon GOP led PAx Americana you now reap.

General Titus's picture

Killery Clinton, Wasserman Schultz, etc conspired to steal the primary from Bernie Sanders, which they did

Skiprrrdog's picture

Obortions legacy...he turned Jimmy Carter into the *best president ever*...

Madcow Kaczynski's picture

I remember, at age 9, thinking that the hostage release in January showed Reagan to be a man whom the Iranians feared.

Later I learned the truth of the above story, that Ronnie and his CIA, Kennedy killing VP were actually Shia terrorists.

I guess Ronnie figured that out too when Mr. Hinckley took a shot at him.

WalterWhite's picture

It wasnt Ronnie running the op. It was his CIA partner, Bush, who planned on getting to be #1 through Reagan's assasination. Didnt work out that way, but Bush was able to operate as vice president just like he was president except more in the shadows. Perfect for a lifetime sppok.

Wage Slave 927's picture

This story is almost the grand unified kook conspiracy theory, but it still needs a villain. How about working Dick Cheney into it, like somehow he convinced Slick Willie to play Hide The Cigar with Miss Lewinsky.

Erwin643's picture

Wow, they killed 34 U.S. Citizens just to cover up shit for Reagan's election.

I guess 9/11 wasn't that much of a big leap for them, then.