Who Blew Up PanAm 103?

Shortly before Christmas, at 7:03 pm, on 21st December 1988, at a height of 31,000 feet, and a few miles west of Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire, an explosion aboard a Boeing 747-121, the “Clipper Maid Of The Seas” (second leg of PanAm, flight 103 from Frankfurt, via London Heathrow and New York JFK, to Detroit) caused the aircraft to disintegrate and crash, in pieces, on, and around Lockerbie, killing all 259 passengers and crew and eleven of the inhabitants of the town.

A sole Libyan, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al-Megrahi, was convicted of the 270 murders and sentenced to 27 years imprisonment, by four Scottish judges, sitting without a jury, in a special court in the Netherlands. Eight-and-a-half years later, Al-Megrahi was released, “on compassionate grounds”, following a decision, by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) to the effect that “a miscarriage of justice may have occurred” and on condition that he withdrew his appeal against conviction, which would otherwise have led to a re-trial.

The UN’s official observer, at the trial, Hans Köchler, called the proceedings in the Netherlands “a spectacular miscarriage of justice” and worked tirelessly to obtain the SCCRC-review. He is still calling for an independent international inquiry into the circumstances of the trial and of the disaster itself.

In his book, “Im Namen des Staates” (“In The Name Of the State” – Piper Verlag, Munich, 1998) Andreas von Bülow, a former West-German cabinet-minister, includes a chapter entitled,“Verdeckte Herointransporte und die Lockerbie-Katastrophe” (“Heroin-smuggling and the Lockerbie-Disaster”) The sub-title of the book is “CIA, BND und die kriminellen Machenschaftender Geheimdienste” (“CIA, BND and The Criminal Activities Of The Secret Services”) The BND, der Bundesnachrichtendienst, is the secret service, of the German Federal Republic.

On the question of liability for damages, resulting from the destruction of PanAm-103, von Bülow examines charges of negligence against PanAm, for lax baggage-control at Frankfurt, and against the US-, and German, governments, for “Duldung einer jahrelang geheimgehaltenen Drogenoperation, die die Gebrüder Al Kassar im Zusammenspiel mit den Amerikanischen Behörden CIA and DEA sowie dem deutschen Bundeskriminalamt in Wiesbaden betreiben konnten” (“Connivance, for several years, in a secret, drug-smuggling operation, which the Al-Kassar brothers were able to conduct with the collusion of US-agencies, namely, the CIA and the DEA [i.e. the Central Intelligence Agency and the Drug Enforcement Administration] and the German Federal Criminal Office [BKA] at Wiesbaden”)

Regarding the Syrian Al-Kassar brothers, “Monzer Al Kassar,” says von Bülow, in the preceding chapter, “vertrieb über seine Wiener Firma Alkastronic Waffen in den Iran, nach Afghanistan undzu den Contras in Nicaragua und dies in Zusammenspiel mit den USA, vor allem unter Einbeziehung der Gruppe um den stellvertretenden Sicherheitsberater des amerikanischen Präsidenten, Oliver North, der wiederum Chef der Terroristenbekämpfung im Weissen Haus war” (“using his company, ‘Alkastronic’, in Vienna, conveyed arms into Iran, to Afghanistan and to the Contras in Nicaragua, in a joint-operation with the USA, principally in coöperation with the group attached to the American President’s official Security Adviser, Oliver North, who was also Head of Anti-Terrorism at the White House”)

In “Verdeckte Herointransporte und die Lockerbie-Katastrophe”, von Bülow continues: “Nicht umstritten ist die Tatsache, dass über die PanAm-Verbindung Frankfurt über fünf Jahre lang eine Drogenlinie deramerikanischen Drogenfahndung (DEA) oder auch CIA lief, unter der Vorgabe, auf diesem Wege den Drogenverteilernetzen in Chicago und anderen Städten der USA auf die Spur zu kommen” (“The fact is not disputed that, for more than five years, the DEA and the CIA had been running a drug-smuggling route through the PanAm-connection in Frankfurt, with the alleged aim of tracing drug-distribution networks in Chicago and other American cities”)

“Diese Operation,” says von Bülow, “die im Wege des regelmässigen Vertauschens echter Pilotenkoffer gegen identisch aussehende Drogenkoffer im Mannschaftsraum der PanAm in Frankfurt abgelaufen sein soll .. . (“This operation, which would have been performed, in the staff-room of PanAm in Frankfurt, by means of the regular substitution of suitcases-containing-drugs for the identical suitcases of pilots …) “… könnte, so die Vorstellung, von den Terroristen aufgeklärt und für eigene Zwecke, das Einschleusen eines Bomben- statt des erwarteten Drogenkoffers, missbraucht worden sein.” (” … could, it appears, have been discerned by terrorists, who, for their own purposes, would then have misused it to slip in a suitcase-containing-a-bomb, instead of the usual suitcase, containing drugs.”)

“Die Vertauschung der Koffer soll auf Videofilm aufgenommen worden sein.” 
(“The switching of the suitcases would have been recorded on video-tapes” – which were presumably in the possession of the Bundeskriminalamt at Wiesbaden)

“Das BKA soll die Niederlassung Frankfurt der CIA rechtzeitig auf auffällige Besonderheiten des Koffertausches hingewiesen haben, von dort jedoch die Anweisung erhalten haben nichts weiter zu unternehmen.” 

(“The Federal Criminal Office would have notified the Frankfurt-staff of the CIA, immediately, with regard to so striking a peculiarity as this suitcase-switching, but must then have been told, by them, not do anything further about it”)

In other words, the DEA/CIA could hardly have been smuggling drugs through Frankfurt-airport without the official coöperation of agents, from the BKA’s office at Wiesbaden, who would also have known how the operation was being performed.

Now the plot thickens further. Von Bülow goes on: “Das gleiche BKA hatte wenige Tage zuvor 16 angehörige der palästinensichen Terrorgruppierung PFLP-GC in einem Versteck in Neuss gestellt, durchsucht und Bombenmaterial sichergestellt, die Gruppe jedoch bis auf ein Mitglied wieder auf freien Fuss gesetzt.” 

(“This same the BKA had, a few days before [the bombing] apprehended 16 members of the [Syrian-backed] terrorist-organisation, PFLP-GC [Popular Front For The Liberation of Palestine – General Council] at a hide-out in Neuss, a search of which resulted in the seizure of bomb-making materials. However, it had then set free all but one of the members of the group.”)

“Der Anschlag auf das PanAm-Flugzeug soll von dieser Gruppe unmittelbar vorbereitet worden sein” (“The attack on the PanAm-aircraft would have been made directly by this group.”)

“Zwei Mitglieder der in Neuss festgenommenen Terrorgruppe sollen sich wenige Tage vor der Festnahme nach Schweden abgesetzt haben, dort festgenommen, in Haft gehalten und nach Syrien abgeschoben worden sein. “Eine Bemühung um Verhinderung der Freilassung seitens der USA soll es nicht gegeben haben.” (“Apparently, two members of the terrorist-group, which was arrested in Neuss, had left for Sweden, a few days before this, but were then arrested and detained [in June 1990, eighteen months after the bombing of PA-103] in Sweden, before being deported to Syria. “No effort seems to have been made, by the US-authorities, to prevent their being set free.”)

Von Bülow (following Jeff Jones’ “Was The CIA Involved? The Bombing of PanAm-103”) dwells upon the arrival, within the hour, at the crash-scene, of a CIA-team, disguised in PanAm-uniforms, and its removal of evidence, which was never recorded by the official investigation.

He also mentions, on his own authority, a telephone-conversation, immediately after the crash, between President Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher, during which they were heard to agree that certain pieces of evidence should not be revealed.

Later, in its defence against liability, Von Bülow tells us, PanAm alleged that, “ein Zusammenhang zwischen dem Flugzeug und einer Geheimoperation der US-Administration mit dem Waffen- und Rauschgifthändler AlKassar sei nicht auszuschliessen” (“a connection between the aircraft and a secret operation of the US-Administration and the weapons- and hashish-dealer, Al-Kassar, could not be ruled out”)

However, Von Bülow goes on, a large number of documents, which might have shed light on the truth of this allegation, were withheld, on grounds of national security, by the US-government, from the Court, in Manhattan, which was trying the complaint of negligence against PanAm.

Lester Knox Coleman III was an agent of the Pentagon’s top-secret Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) who was working with the DEA’s staff in the Lebanon and Cyprus, until the spring of 1988, when he warned the DEA’s attaché (to the US-Embassy in Nicosia) that the DEA’s drug-smuggling operation had been penetrated by terrorists.

In “Trail Of The Octopus – From Beirut To Lockerbie – Inside The DIA”, by Lester Coleman and Donald Goddard (1993) the authors are able to give more details of the BKA’s round-up of PFLP-GC-personnel, on 26th October 1988, some eight weeks (rather than von Bülow’s “few days”) before the destruction of PanAm-103.

In fact, according to Coleman and Goddard, the round-up of “16 members of the terrorist organisation” occurred in six German cities, and only Hafez Kassem Dalkamoni (a “senior lieutenant of PFLP-GC) and Marwan Abdel Khreesat (the PFLP-GC’s “leading explosives-expert”) were arrested at Neuss, where a 312gm semtex-bomb, moulded into the casing of a radio-cassette recorder, was found in Dalkamoni’s car.

However, Coleman and Goddard tell us, one Abdel Fattah Ghadanfar was arrested, on the same night, in Frankfurt, where an arsenal of weapons, including 5kg of semtex, were found in his flat.

Our authors go on: of the 16 arrestees, all were released except two (rather than von Bülow’s “one”) Detained on terrorism-charges were Dalkamoni and Ghadanfar.

Khreesat (Coleman and Goddard think) was released because he was “an undercover informant for the German or the Jordanian authorities, or both” and may have provided information, which led to the arrests.

“Two others,” say Coleman and Goddard, “one of them Mobdi Goben – another PFLP-GC bomb-builder – were unfortunately out of the country … according to the BKA, these two had arrived in Germany, from Syria, and stayed at the PFLP-GC apartment in Neuss, until a few days before it was raided in October 1988.”

These must have been von Bülow’s “two other members”, who “had left for Sweden, a few days before” the round-up. According to Coleman and Goddard, their deportation, in June 1990, prevented British police-investigators, who “were naturally keen to interview them” from “establishing further connections between the bombers and PFLP-GC headquarters in Damascus.”

On 17th June, John Merritt, writing in “The Observer”, commented: “anger at their [Mobdi Goben’s and one other’s] imminent deportation will be increased by the revelation that their links with the West-German terrorist cell, found in possession of Lockerbie-type bombs, and their whereabouts, have been known to Western intelligence services for 18 months.”

Merritt concluded his report: “with the British government entering fresh negotiations with Syria [seeking coöperation in action against Iraq] and Damascus signalling its interest in sending an ambassador to Washington, Swedish investigators were last week asking how much other information is being kept from the police inquiry for political reasons.”

According to Coleman and Goddard, the planner of the Lockerbie-bombing was one Ahmed Jibril, who had been commissioned, by the Ayatollah Khomeini’s Interior Minister, Ali AkbarMohtashemi, to take revenge for a missile-attack, launched from the US-cruiser Vincennes, in July 1988, against an Iranian civilian air-liner, killing all 290 people on board; and it was Ahmed Jibril, who consequently sent Dalkamoni to Neuss, in order to arrange the placing of bombs on four American air-liners.

The problem Jibril had encountered, say Coleman and Goddard – and which, I might add, would have given rise to Khreesat’s betrayal, and the BKA’s round-up, of Jibril’s network – was a conflict of interest between his mission and the drug-smuggling operation of Monzer Al-Kassar and the DEA.

“Towards the end of October 1988,” Coleman and Goddard say, “around the time of the BKA’s raids on the PFLP-GC in Germany, Mossad agents observed Jibril and Al-Kassar dining alone at a Lebanese restaurant in Paris in an attempt to resolve the dilemma.”

“Neither could afford to be entirely frank with the other,” continue Coleman and Goddard, “because Jibril was unaware of just how much protection Al-Kassar enjoyed from the Americans and the BKA; and Al-Kassar could only guess at the strength of what was left of Jibril’s underground network in Europe.”

Coleman and Goddard go on: “Unwilling to provide help, but unable to refuse it, Al-Kassar eventually promised to use his connections to get a bomb aboard an as yet unspecified American passenger flight from Frankfurt.”

Coleman’s first overseas assignment for the DIA (which, unlike the civilian agencies – the CIA, FBI and DEA – has no public profile, and whose agents work undercover within, and unbeknownst to, the said civilian agencies) began in Beirut, in February 1985.

On this first mission, he was inserted into an organisation run by the evangelist, Pat Robertson, called the “Christian Broadcasting Network” (CBN)

In “The Trail Of The Octopus” (TOTO) we read: “The DIA had been monitoring activities at the Virginia Beach [in Virginia] headquarters of CBN, which suggested that Pat Robertson’s organisation was heavily engaged in raising money, and providing support, for the Nicaraguan Contras, through Major-General John K. Singlaub, president of the Taiwan-directed World Anti-Communist League, and Lt-Colonel Oliver North, with the covert assistance of DCI [Director of Central Intelligence] William Casey and the CIA.”

This may seem a lot for “monitoring” to have “suggested”, but it was certainly borne out by Coleman’s experience as a CBN-employee, in the Lebanon, where CBN was arranging an arms-for-drugs deal, involving MonzerAl-Kassar, Rifat Al-Assad (brother of the Syrian President, and controller of heroin-production in the Bekaa Valley) the Contras, Oliver North and the Iranian government.

Indeed, according to TOTO, “Coleman’s job was to track the Middle-Eastern ramifications of this conspiracy, working through a network of DIA- informants [in the Lebanon] who reported to Tony Werner Asmar, the DIA-agent in place … trailing Oliver North and his boss, Robert McFarlane, President Reagan’s National Security Adviser, as and when the Iran-Contra conspiracy brought them to the region to buy illegal arms.”

TOTO goes on: “The DIA’s concern about the Iran-Contra conspirators was focused, in particular, on Oliver North’s “Georgia Mafia”, whose representative, Michael Franks, also known as Michael Schafer, arrived in Beirut soon after Coleman.”

“Socially,” TOTO says, “they [Franks and Coleman] got on well enough, to the point where Franks felt free to talk openly about the OPS [“Overseas Press Service – a front for North’s “Georgia Mafia”] and the Contras.”

That summer (1985) TOTO tells us, Coleman effectively sabotaged CBN’s arms-for-drugs deal. He also fell in love with a Maronite-Lebanese girl and, even though the Druze’ shelling of Beirut was making communications difficult, married her: “the best man [at the ceremony] hurriedly pressed into service at the last minute, was Michael Franks, alias Schafer, the OPS-mercenary.”

According to TOTO, Mr and Mrs Coleman left Beirut for the USA shortly after they were married, but, in December 1985, the DIA assigned Coleman, posing as a one-man TV-production company, to Cyprus, where he could conveniently resume the supervision and payment of DIA-informants in the Lebanon.

In Nicosia, TOTO goes on, Coleman became associated with the DEA’s operation in the region, with its Station-Head, Micheal T. Hurley, and with many of its agents, informants, heroin-couriers and unaccountable hangers-on.

Still based in Cyprus, in October 1986, TOTO says, Coleman was ordered, by his DIA-control, to deliver DIA-material, via his Lebanese contacts, to a pro-Syrian news-magazine (AS-Shiraa) This material consisted of “detailed accounts of visits made by Robert McFarlane and Lt-Col. Oliver North to Iran, travelling on Irish passports, to organise the sale of TOW-missiles and launchers to the Iranian government, in exchange for the release of American hostages; details of money-transfers and bank accounts, with dates and places – most of it based on incidents and conversations that could only have been known to the Iranian or American negotiators.”

“When the story ran,” TOTO continues, “on 3rd November, it was picked up at once by the Western media, touching off an international scandal of such embarrassing proportions that President Reagan was forced to act … on 25th November 1986, he fired North, accepted the resignation of Rear-Admiral John Poindexter (McFarlane’s successor as National Security Adviser) and spent the rest of his administration trying to dodge the political fallout from ‘Irangate’.”

This does not appear to have been the end of North’s “Georgia Mafia”, however, for, as TOTO reports, James M. Shaughnessy, PanAm’s leading defence-lawyer, received information, “from four sources”, concerning the interception, by “the Intelligence-Unit of the Lebanese Forces”, of telephone-calls to, and from, the Iranian Embassy in Beirut, in December 1988.

“All four informants,” TOTO tells us, “confirmed that the United States had the Iranian Embassy in Beirut under electronic surveillance prior to the disaster.

“They also confirmed that an American named David Lovejoy had made a series of calls to Hussein Niknam, the Iranian Chargé d’Affaires [in Beirut] about a team of American [DIA-] agents, led by Charles Dennis McKee and Matthew Kevin Gannon, who had arrived [autumn 1988] in Beirut on a mission concerned with the hostages [a number of whom were still being held, or had been kidnapped since 1986, by Iranian- and Syrian-backed terrorist groups]

“Lovejoy’s last recorded call was on December 20th 1988 [the day before the bombing] when he advised Niknam that the agents had ‘changed their travel-plans’ and would ‘catch Pan Am flight 103 from London next day …Niknam at once put in a call to the Interior Ministry in Teheran and was monitored passing on Lovejoy’s information.”

The point is [see TOTO pp 201, 225, 236] that “David Lovejoy” is an established alias of Michael Franks (alias Michael Schafer, of Oliver North’s “Georgia Mafia”) and that, if Shaughnessy’s information is reliable, he was clearly still very much in operation.

Even more important, this information, from inside the “Lebanese Forces’ Intelligence Unit” – to which Shaughnessy swore an affidavit, which he presented in court – indicates that both American and Iranian intelligence-services knew the date, time and target of the bomb, on the day before the bombing. This would mean that DIA-agents, McKee, Gannon and three others, were knowingly sacrificed. They were returning to the USA, having discovered the extent and insecurity of the DEA’s drug-smuggling operation: they had, as TOTO puts it, “advised CIA-HQ of what was going on”, and, “when no action was taken to put a stop to it”, were “outraged that their lives and their rescue mission should have been put at risk by the CIA’s deal with Al-Kassar.”

Finally, it means that PanAm-103, and all its passengers and crew, were knowingly sacrificed also, rather than allow McKee to make his report in person, to reveal what he knew to people who would listen and thereby to collapse the “pipeline” to Damascus, which, in all likelihood – and thanks to the complicity of a Scottish Court – is still in operation, buying the dubious loyalties of Washington’s associates in the Middle East.

“Although there was little room for doubt,” TOTO goes on, “that the government of the United States, with the assistance of the British and German governments, was engaged in the biggest cover-up of modern times, there was no possible way Shaughnessy could prove it to a judge and jury unless the US government opened its files and thereby virtually incriminated itself.”

As TOTO also says, regarding “Washington’s [new] alliance with Syria and its desired rapprochement with Iran … with these two [Syria and Iran] off the target-list, the only available scapegoat was Muammar Gaddafi … [who was] never – until December 1990 – seriously proposed as the prime mover: from then onwards, all the evidence offered as ‘proof’ that Libya was responsible for the mass-murder at Lockerbie would come, not from the British police or forensic scientists, but from the FBI and the CIA …”!

Article provided by Andrew Reed
Office of Nigel Farage, UKIP, Brussels

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