An Israeli shipping company whose vessel now sits unloaded for a third straight day in Oakland, CA has a peculiar past that raises questions about possible foreknowledge of the September 11 attacks.
That, at least, is the gist of a report published earlier this year by Veterans Today, which says that Zim Israeli-American Shipping, the predecessor company of the present Zim Integrated Shipping Services, once occupied office space in the North Tower of the World Trade Center but moved to Norfolk, VA, into a brand new building it had constructed, in early September 2001–roughly a week before the 9/11 attacks.
Zim Integrated Shipping is the owner of the Piraeus, the vessel that has been holed up since Sunday at the Port of Oakland, where protesters have gathered to protest Israeli war crimes in Gaza and where dock workers have refused to cross the picket line and unload the ship. According to this report, published today:
Protesters, who appeared at 5 a.m. at the port’s Oakland International Container Terminal, said their presence on Tuesday once again effectively blocked the ZIM Piraeus from being unloaded, since longshoremen have refused to cross picket lines.
Port spokesman Robert Bernardo confirmed the ship remained unloaded.
The protesters totaled about 30 people and no arrests were made, Oakland police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said. A handful of police officers will be posted at the Port throughout the day to monitor the situation, Watson said.
Published on Feb. 21 this year, the Veterans Today article, authored by Keith Maart, says that in 2001 Zim still had four and a half years remaining on a 10-year lease of its offices in the World Trade Center but that for some strange reason the company elected, apparently in March of that year, to “fast track” construction of the new building in Norfolk.
Zim found the site in Norfolk, obtained all permits, drew up the architectural plans, and built its 2-story 45,000 square-foot steel frame/brick veneer office building in only six months, which is about as fast as humanly possible for a commercial office project.11 It is so fast, that they even have a special name for it in real estate jargon; it’s called fast tracking, as a typical development period would be closer to one year.12 13 Fast track construction is utilized when a company needs to have their building completed in a short time as standard design and construction procedures are compressed to meet that goal. The added development challenges and construction risks of fast tracking were summed up by Zim’s real estate company when they stated in April 2001, “Since accepting Zim’s fast track project last month, Hunter has been involved in assisting with site location, selecting the development team of architects and general contractor, and developing strategic relocation plans for Zim’s employees… It is a terrific assignment that presents many challenges, not the least of which is to ensure that the site is completed by move-in by September 2001.”14
Zim’s remaining lease term had long been a point of debate, with 9/11 conspiracy debunkers claiming there was no evidence that Zim’s WTC lease term extended beyond their move-out date. However, a FOIA request to the Port Authority of New York-New Jersey by LetsRollForums.com resulted in a copy of the WTC tenant roster with lease expiration dates.15 The Port Authority document showed that Zim entered into a 10-year lease contract starting on March 1, 1996 and expiring on Feb. 28, 2006, or about four and a half years after Zim’s September 2001 move-out date.16 Confirmation that Zim’s remaining lease extended beyond their move-out date was further established by a Crain’s New York Business article on April 9, 2001 that stated, “Rising rent wasn’t an immediate concern [for Zim’s relocation decision] — several years remain on the lease”17. 2
Assuming Zim leased around 60,000 square feet at $30/square-foot at the WTC, its four and a half year remaining lease obligation would have been about $8 million.18 Strangely, Zim did not seem concerned about high leasing costs when it entered into a relatively long 10-year lease in March 1996, and there is also no evidence that Zim tried to sublease its space in the six months they were planning and building their new office building in Norfolk. This is not the expected action of a company that stated their reason to vacate the WTC was to cut costs. Fortunately for Zim any worry about their $8 million lease liability disappeared when the WTC came crashing down on 9/11.
The burning question is why did Zim have to chance the added risks and challenges of fast tracking the development of their Norfolk office to guarantee its completion by Sept. 4, 2001 when it still had perfectly fine office space at the WTC with an existing four and a half year $8 million lease obligation? Zim’s public excuse that they moved to cut costs does not explain why it was mandatory that the Norfolk office be completed by Sept. 4, 2001. The fast track development process cost Zim more money and added unecessary development risks. What difference would six months have made (i.e., fast track vs conventional development time period) when they still had occupancy rights with a significant lease obligation at the WTC?
So what explains Zim’s extraordinary good luck in making the decision to fast track their new building and being able to get it completed just prior to the 9/11 attacks? Maybe it’s the same explanation for the luck of Larry Silverstein, who normally breakfasted each morning at the Windows on the World restaurant, but who, on the morning of 9/11, happened to have an appointment with a dermatologist. Again from Maart’s report:
The fact that Zim probably had at least six months foreknowledge of the specific attack date would suggest they probably had foreknowledge of the entire 9/11 operation. Indeed, even the alleged 9/11 hijackers did not 5 start making their 9/11 flight reservations until Aug. 25, 2001.44 However, Zim’s 9/11 connections do not end with their timely move-out of the WTC or with their known support and cover for Israeli intelligence (with its history and means of false flag attacks against the US). Zim also happened to be a tenant in a building that was most likely taken down by controlled demolition and there is evidence linking explosives to other Israeli groups in the NY/NJ area.45 Coincidently, the owner of all three WTC towers that came down crashing down in controlled demolition style on 9/11, Larry Silverstein, was friends with three ex-Israeli Prime ministers, including Benjamin Netanyahu, to whom he was speaking weekly with at the time.46
An in-depth investigative report In December 2013 by this author on the “Celebrating/Dancing Israelis” shows that the FBI detected explosives in the Israelis’ van when they were apprehended on 9/11.47 Although the FBI analyzed explosive samples taken from the Celebrating Israelis’ (CIs) vehicle, the lab results were never revealed in the FBI investigative documents, and were curiously still pending about two weeks after they were taken.48 There is no rational or explainable reason for the FBI not to have completed the explosive tests in this timeframe and the most logical reason for the FBI not showing the results is because the van tested positive for explosives.
The CIs happened to work for an Israeli-related moving company in the NJ/NY area, Urban Moving Systems (“UMS”), which was also apparently searched for explosives two days after 9/1149 (There were also at least three other Israeli-related moving companies in the immediate area with one under investigation by the FBI in conjunction with moving one of the hijackers.)50 Coincidently, CI Yaron Shmuel worked for an Israeli explosives company after 9/11, which suggests he may have had a background in explosives.51 In addition, five of fourteen Israeli Art students, or 37 percent, who provided their Israeli military backgrounds to US investigators worked in explosive ordnance units.52 Thus, Israel had the expertise and human resources in the US to wire the WTC’s for demolition and the moving companies to help transport the explosives and devices.
Zim was founded in 1945 by the Jewish Agency and the Histadrut, and according to Maart, it was 49 percent owned by the Israeli government at the time of the 9/11 attacks. Perhaps most notable about all this is Maart’s citation of a 1979 CIA assessment of Israeli intelligence that mentions Zim. Quoting directly from that assessment:
Other Israeli government organizations that provide support to the [Israeli] intelligence and security community are the Ministries of Finance and tourism, El Al, and the national shipping line, Zim. Unofficial Zionist organizations based in Israel and Jewish communities throughout the world also give aid to Israel operations when needed… Official organizations used for [Israeli intelligence] cover are Israeli Purchasing Missions and Israeli Government Tourist, El Al, and Zim offices, Israeli construction firms, industrial groups and international trade organizations also provide non-official cover. Individuals working under deep or illegal cover are normally charged with penetrating objectives that require a long-range, more subtle approach, or with activities in which the Israeli Government can never admit complicity.”
According to former Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky, the Israeli intelligence agency often uses sayanim, or “helpers,” recruited from the Jewish diaspora, when carrying out operations outside of Israel. And apparently they have little trouble finding diaspora Jews whose primary loyalty is to Israel rather than to their own countries. According to one report, “At any one time, up to 50 senior Mossad officers are based in Europe, running a network of thousands of agents loyal to Israel.”
Maart believes all the evidence points to the conclusion that Zim apparently “knew they had to be out of the WTC before September 11th, and that is why they did everything in their power to ensure they would be out of the WTC and in their new Norfolk office by Sept. 4th.”
And now, curiously, with less than a month to go before the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we have a Zim ship in a standoff with protesters and dock workers in Oakland. Funny how these things turn out.
Bay Area media reported the following today:
Representatives for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union said Monday that the union had not taken an official stand on the issue, but that individual dockworkers had decided not to cross the pickets for safety reasons.
Past protests at the port had been unsafe when police confronted protesters, in one instance firing rubber bullets that hit some longshoremen reporting to work, according to a press release from the union.
You can also go here and read some comments posted by people who’ve been attending the protests at the port. Here is one rather interesting one:
Sunday night, August 17th — I just got back from a picket line at the Port of Oakland. So the Zionist ship that had been cruising around in circles for the last day or two finally snuck into port this afternoon, apparently thinking we’d be gone. But we were there. Yes, we were there! And the dockworkers refused to cross our picket lines. The word on that came at 8:12 p.m., that the workers had decided to go home. That was just as night was falling.
We picketed at four gates of SSA, which is where the OPD attacked protesters back in 2003. I was at the very last gate. I counted about 45 of us there. Hard to say about the other gates, as we drove by it I got a quick look, and I’d estimate that there were maybe 200 of us in all.
While walking the picket line we chanted, “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free” and other chants. I told someone it was my birthday, the others heard me say that, and then they sang the Happy Birthday song for me. I’m 73 today. And about a half hour later it became a truly, truly happy birthday, when the announcement came through that the longshoremen would not unload the ship tonight.
But we’re not done with that Zionist ship. Please gather at the West Oakland BART station tomorrow (Monday) morning at 5 a.m. We’ll picket again!
Free Free Palestine! and a loud hearty cheer for the dockworkers of Local 10 of the ILWU!!!
And here’s another which includes the actual press release from the union:
Here’s a press release from the union about yesterday:
Volatile atmosphere at Gaza demonstration prevents Longshoremen from entering Port of Oakland terminal
Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union were unable to report to work Sunday night at SSA Marine’s terminal in Oakland, Calif., due to volatility associated with a large demonstration and significant police presence at the gates of the facility. In 2005 [it was actually 2003 — EL], Oakland police fired rubber bullets in similar circumstances, wounding several longshoremen who were trying to report to work.The demonstration at the Oakland International Container Terminal was in protest of Israel’s occupation of the Gaza Strip and was directed at the calling of a Zim Integrated Shipping Services vessel associated with the State of Israel.
The ILWU has taken no position on the issue associated with the demonstration, but in cases when unsafe circumstances arise at the point of entry, the union must protect the safety of its members in the workplace. When it was ascertained that last night’s demonstration and associated police presence created an unsafe environment, dispatched ILWU-represented Longshoremen and Clerks that arrived at the SSA gate to work stood by instead at a safe location away from the demonstration point.
SSA, after recognizing the safety situation associated with ingress to their gates, released all ILWU manpower at 7:30 p.m.
– ILWU Coast Longshore Division news release
It’s an interesting development, because without a contract — and hence the arbitrator chosen my both the union and management — the workers have more leeway in choosing whether to cross the “community picket” or not.
NEWS UPDATE (Monday, August 18, 2014, 12 noon) : unconfirmed reports are saying that longshore shifts dispatched to work the ship have been sent home by SSA today as well, making it the 2nd day of the effective boycott of the ship, Zim Piraeus, owned by an Israeli firm.
The previously cited news report also includes comments from Israeli officials, one of whom refers to the protests as “political terrorism”:
The protest is “nothing short of political terrorism,” and has little effect on Israel because the ship rarely goes to Israel, said Andy David, consulate general of Israel to the Pacific Northwest region.
“The people of Oakland and of California, these are the people who will suffer with these actions,” David said.
The ZIM Piraeus transports goods between Asia and the U.S., according to consulate spokesman David Goodstone. Zim Integrated Shipping Ltd. is 32 percent-owned by Israeli shareholders, he said.
The Pireaus was prevented from unloading both Saturday and Sunday by larger groups of Block the Boat protesters in response to Israel’s attacks on Gaza and its ongoing occupation of Palestine.
Mohammed Shehk, a spokesman for Block of the Boat, said even though Monday’s protest was not called by their group, they still supported the action.
Shehk said their movement hopes to gain momentum and make the company realize they are not welcome at the Port of Oakland or other West Coast ports. Protesters are planning to meet Zim ships scheduled to dock later this week in Tacoma and Seattle and awareness campaigns are planned for Vancouver and Long Beach.
And apparently the “political terrorism” is also being extended to the Oakland office of California Sen. Barbara Boxer:
Mohamed Shehk, a spokesman for Block of the Boat, said protesters also plan to meet outside the Oakland office of U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., at noon Tuesday to “stand against her position in support of the Israeli government.”
Her office said that she was travelling abroad Tuesday and could not immediately be reached for comment.
Traveling abroad perhaps to Israel. Boxer is one of the staunchest supporters of the Jewish state in the US Senate, and on July 28, while Israel was still in the midst of its ground invasion of Gaza, she urged passage of the US-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014. The act would continue to make reserve stockpiles of US military equipment available to Israel through fiscal year 2015, and would also require the president to report to congress every two years on “the status of Israel’s qualitative military edge.”
“While we work toward a just peace in the Middle East and an end to the tragedy of war, it is critical that we reaffirm our enduring commitment to Israel’s security and the historic ties between our two nations,” Boxer said. “This legislation sends a clear message that America’s bond with Israel remains unbreakable, and I am proud that it has the support of more than three-quarters of the Senate.”
“Critical” to reaffirm America’s commitment–to a state that has bombed UN schools and shelters, slaughtered children, and killed more than 2000 people in the months of July and August.
At some point, from the perspective of those who share Boxer’s loyalties, it is likely also to become “critical” to do something about the protests against Zim Shipping should they expand to other ports in other cities, as the protesters are calling for. So what are we likely to see?
Brute force, with police using clubs, tear gas, and the like, is how police in America normally respond to protests these days. I don’t know if it will come to that, but if it should, the police in Oakland and elsewhere effectively will be put in a position of attacking Americans…in order to defend Zim Shipping…a company with ties to a government that may well have played a role in 9/11.
A good many police, perhaps a majority, would carry out such orders, I believe, without hesitation. But I also feel that there are some for whom being placed in such a position–again should it come to that–would raise deeply conflicting issues of loyalty.