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In case you have not been following the story, a pastor along with members of Sun Myung Moon’s "church" have plead guilty to poaching protected baby leopard sharks. There is audio(link below) of a sermon in which the pastor, Kevin Thompson, gives details of the poaching project and describes how he personally told Moon about the operation. He said Moon got excited and wanted to put "20 boats" into the effort and that Moon even drew up plans for the operation.


The Unification Church is paying 500 grand into a fund to protect the sharks as part of an agreement to avoid prosecution.


The first dispatch by AP reported that the sermon clearly shows Moon was implicated by the pastor. Then a second, shorter AP edited version, the one which is the most widely circulated, scrubbed any mention of the sermon or its contents and only quotes Moon’s spinners claiming Moon had no knowledge of the "operation" - something shown to be false by AP’s own earlier reporting.


details on the flop

First, check out about the last ¼ of the audio found here of Moon pastor's sermon describing the shark operation and his conversation with Moon about it:

Thompson, the pastor, admits on tape that he not only told Moon, but that he used the money to support "church activities." It was found that the poaching ring Thompson headed kept their boats, fishing gear and the sharks at one of Moon’s businesses.

Now compare the two AP reports.

Here’s an excerpt from AP’s initial report. Note the deceptive Moon spinners comments right after the article notes that Moon was advised about the shark operation. Shanker, Moon’s spinner, probably wasn’t within a thousand miles of the conversation between the pastor and Moon, yet he boldly spins it.


Church to pay into wildlife fund over shark poaching convictions

MARCUS WOHLSEN - Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO - The church founded by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon will pay $500,000 to restore damaged habitat - and avoid prosecution - in a case of a pastor who poached hundreds of baby sharks from San Francisco Bay, federal prosecutors said Monday.

The Unification Church's payment - part of a "non-prosecution agreement" with the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco - will go toward a $1.5 million fund to undo the environmental damage inflicted by the pastor's bizarre scheme. .....

In a recording of a 2003 sermon, Thompson unabashedly told his congregation just how far he believed that dominion extended, boasting that members of what he called the "Ocean Church" had spent more than a decade catching and selling baby leopard sharks to pet stores.

"We want the smaller the better," Thompson said.

Thompson bragged that a fellow church member had one day discovered a leopard shark pupping ground in mud flats along the bay and had returned with more than 100 baby sharks. He said pet stores would pay $20 per shark and sell them for home aquariums for $75 each.

Moon himself became excited when he learned about the shark-catching operation, Thompson claimed in the sermon.

"He told me, you know you need 20 boats out there fishing," Thompson said. "He had this big plan drawn out."

Rev. Moon "did not have any kind of personal knowledge or involvement with the details or the particulars" of Thompson's operation, said Rev. Phillip Schanker, a spokesman for the church. Any conversation that may have taken place would have been in the context of Thompson having a casual conversation with his 87-year-old spiritual leader about fishing, an activity they both enjoyed. ...

According to the federal indictment against Thompson and the other men, the Bay Area Family Church owned three boats, at least one of which Thompson told authorities was used for shark fishing.

The boats were stored "for years," Thompson said in interview transcripts, at a San Leandro distribution center for one of the largest sushi wholesalers in the U.S., True World Foods, Inc., a business founded by Unification Church members.

Now in the shorter polished up AP version they take all references to the sermon audio and what it says out of the report and have this fresh quote from Shanker which would have REALLY looked stupid had AP not scrubbed the sermon quotes.

from the shorter, more widely circulated version:

Moon didn't know about Thompson's operation, said the Rev. Phillip Schanker, a spokesman for the church.

An NPR report, which also covers for Moon, say this:

"...according to investigators, some of these poachers asked their preacher whether they were doing the right thing. He responded, allegedly, that the poaching was God's will."

"God’s will" is also their excuse for swindling hundreds of millions of dollars from the Japanese.

And here is how East Bay Express, which has been covering the story, described yesterday’s DOJ press conference. East Bay Express does NOT travel in the Moon spin zone:

Moonies Pay $500,000 to Avoid Shark Prosecution


The San Francisco U.S. Attorney’s Office agreed Monday not to prosecute the Unification Church and its founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon for baby-leopard-shark poaching in exchange for a $500,000 fine. The non-prosecution agreement brings an end to the three-year federal investigation into shark poaching in San Francisco Bay. The illegal poaching ring was led by Reverend Kevin Thompson, pastor of the Unification Church in San Leandro. The Express reported last month that Thompson told Moon about the shark poaching and the conservative newspaper publisher condoned it.

Former follower of Moon’s, Michael Warder said this to FRONLINE:

Warder: "Moon wanted total control of the media, so there would be no independent media with journalistic integrity. It would be a media totally loyal to Moon."

I think people misinterpret these things. That does not mean he owns all the media but that the media will not do any hard reporting on him. They will let him go about his business of manipulating our political system with billions in overseas cash and they will NOT make any waves for him.
John Gorenfeld had to post video of the ceremony in which Moon was crowned in the Dirksen Building before the media would even mention it – a full three months after the ceremony.

Media "loyal" to Moon -- we are in those days.

Originally posted to moonboots on Tue Feb 13, 2007 at 01:37 PM PST.

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