Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The leading statement of the Iran responsibility thesis

[Five years ago today OhmyNews International published a long article by Dr Ludwig de Braeckeleer headed Former Iranian President Blames Tehran for Lockerbie. The following is merely a short excerpt:]

In an interview conducted on May 16 [2008], Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, the former president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, told me that Tehran, not Libya, had ordered the bombing of Pan Am 103 in revenge for the downing of an Iranian civilian airliner by the USS Vincennes a few months earlier.

On July 3, 1988, the navy cruiser USS Vincennes, also known as "Robocruiser," shot down Iran Air Flight 665 over the Persian Gulf. The civilian airliner was carrying mostly Muslims on their pilgrimage to Mecca -- 290 died, most Iranians.

According to Bani-Sadr, in the immediate aftermath of the Lockerbie tragedy, [Ali Akbar] Mohtashemi-Pur, the then minister of the interior, acknowledged in an interview that he had contracted Ahmad Jibril, the leader of a Palestinian organization, to bomb an American airliner. The interview was scheduled for publication the following day. Hours before distribution, the newspaper was shutdown.

In the aftermath of the USS Vincennes accident, top figures in the Iranian government held a series of meetings in Beirut with leaders of Ahmed Jibril's terror group, the PFLP-GC (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command).

"Everybody in US intelligence knew about Iran's intention to bomb an American airliner in response to the downing of one of its own only months earlier. We knew that," former CIA operative Robert Baer explains.

"There was a smoking gun in July '88 that Iran hired Jibril to knock down at least one American plane," Baer told me. And indeed, media have long reported that high-ranking Iranian officials held a meeting with [Hafez] Dalkamoni, a trusted lieutenant of Jibril and a man said to be only known by the CIA as Nabil. In late October '88, Dalkamoni and Ghadanfar, alias Nabil Massoud, were arrested in Frankfurt where they were running an operation to destroy airliners.

"I was assigned to Paris in 1988 running down leads with French police on both Pan Am 103 and UTA [Union des Transports Aeriens] -- I do not know the ultimate judgment on the leads we produced. Or why precisely the case is being reviewed by Scotland. Keep in mind in your research that intelligence and evidence are two separate domains. Often it's the case [that] compartmented intelligence is not shared with the FBI. I do not know what the FBI was given or not given," Baer added.

"There's a world of intercepts and information from sources that is never shared with the FBI. This is because the controller of the information doesn't want to compromise the source. At the CIA, we look at the FBI as trying to get convictions, while intelligence is to get at a proximate truth."

Reacting to the downing of Airbus 665, Ali Akbar Mohtashemi-Pur swore that there should be a "rain of blood" in revenge. Mohtashemi had been the Iranian ambassador in Damascus from 1982 to 1985. He is widely believed to have helped to found Hezbollah in Lebanon and had close connections with the terrorist groups of Beirut and the Bekaa Valley.

The National Security Agency intercepted and decoded a communication of Mohtashemi linking Iran to the bombing of Pan Am 103. One intelligence summary, prepared by the US Air Force Intelligence Agency, was requested by lawyers for the bankrupt Pan American Airlines through the Freedom of Information Act.

A classified document prepared for the Multi-National Force during the first Gulf War reads: "Mohtashemi is closely connected with the Al Abas and Abu Nidal terrorist groups. He is actually a long-time friend of Abu Nidal. He has recently paid $10 million in cash and gold to these two organizations to carry out terrorist activities and was the one who paid the same amount to bomb Pan Am Flight 103 in retaliation for the US shoot-down of the Iranian Airbus."

Caveat: Former FBI Special Agent Richard Marquise led the Lockerbie investigation. Marquise has told me that the document came from a source of unknown reliability. However, careful reading shows that the source makes a clear difference between rumours and facts.

While parts of the document reads: "Mohtashemi is said to [have done this or that]," the paragraph regarding Pan Am 103 is factual. It reads: "He has recently paid…"

The difference of style cannot be ignored.


  1. This Iranian statement contains named people, referral to a recent motivation and official statement about revenge, a referral to a 'terrorist' meeting, statements about money paid and who received them.

    All something that at the very least could be a target for an investigation, to confirm or refute.

    If the motivation was there, that is.

    So different from the vague and wishy-washy statements from Libyan officials that contained nothing of substance, or which would be possible to verify.

    > Marquise has told me that the document came from a source of unknown reliability.

    Making it at least much more likely to be true than what we receive from some of FBI's sources of very well-known reliability. As examples we can mention Giaka and Gauci.

    But of course Marquise is right that we should not simply trust anything at face value.

    So what work did Marquise do and document, to investigate the possibility of an Iranian involvement?

    Being afraid of doing some work can not be the reason, considering the tireless efforts he put into to investigate the Libyan/Megrahi path.

  2. Dr Ludwig has made one the most important contributions to the search for truth in the Lockerbie case. His article, above, was one of a series of dozens of well-researched articles he produced. He has been rather quiet recently, but I hope we see more from him.

  3. If during the Iran Iraq war, Iran had publicly announced its intention to attack USA in reprisal for IA655, why would they sub-contract out the attack rather than do it themselves?

    And even if for some reason they did, why would they not acknowledge their role in the otherwise anonymous attack and claim credit to impress the Iranian people?

    Or are we to assume they would be embarrassed admitting to attacking a civilian target?

    If so this would be morally impressive considering that the 10 year Iran Iraq war (USA incited Iraq to attack and then backed both sides - Iran/Contra) had inflicted over a million casualties!


    Before the 'IRAN' is blamed for the "PanAm 103 bombing", must be confirmed, the Scottish Miscarriage of Justice against Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and Libya ...
    Bevor der 'IRAN' für das "PanAm 103 Bombing" verantwortlich gemacht wird, muss über das Scottish "Miscarriage of Justice" gegen Abdelbaset al-Megrahi und Libyen bestätigt werden...

    by Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd. Telecommunication, Switzerland. URL: www.lockerbie.ch