[What follows is excerpted from an item posted on this blog on 23 August 2009:]
It took the use of the US Freedom of Information Act to unlock the full intelligence documents which are now highlighted in the appeal submission. [RB: This refers to the appeal abandoned by Megrahi prior to his compassionate release.]
They show memos from the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) which suggested the downing of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 270 people in 1988, was in response to the shooting down of an Iranian Airbus by the American warship USS Vincennes five months earlier.
In a memo dated September 24, 1989, and reproduced in the appeal submission, the DIA states: ‘The bombing of the Pan Am flight was conceived, authorised and financed by Ali-Akbar Mohtashemi-Pur, Iran’s former interior minister.
‘The execution of the operation was contracted to Ahmad [Jibril], Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command [PFLP-GC] leader, for a sum of $1million [£600,000].
‘$100,000 of this money was given to Jibril up front in Damascus by the Iranian ambassador to Sy [Syria], Muhammed Hussan [Akhari] for initial expenses.
'The remainder of the money was to be paid after successful completion of the mission.’ (...)
The memos and reports, denied in full to the original trial, were available to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission which, two years ago, cast doubt on the safety of Megrahi’s conviction based on six separate counts of the legal argument.
Their view opened the way for a second appeal.
[What follows is an excerpt from Dr Davina Miller’s article Who Knows About This? Western Policy Towards Iran: The Lockerbie Case:]
On 24 September 1989, the US Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), in a secret information report not releasable to foreign nationals and relying on information acquired through the National Security Agency (NSA) at Fort Meade (ie through Foreign Signals Intelligence), asserted that the attack on Pan Am Flight 103, “was conceived, authorised and financed by Ali-Akbar (Mohtashemi-Pur)”, the former Iranian Minister of the Interior. The execution of the operation was contracted to Ahmad (Jabri’il), the PFLP-GC leader, for the sum of $1,000,000. The report was highly detailed in describing the organisation of the bombing and claimed that, “the flight was supposed to be a direct flight from Frankfurt to New York, not Pan Am Flight 103”.[xxxii]
In October 1989, a further DIA report noted that Iranian “radicals want to be able to retaliate in less time than it took them to carry out the Pan Am 103 bombing”.[xxxiii] The CIA’s ‘Terrorism Review’ for 14 December 1989 also noted that liaison between Iran and radical Palestinian groups “was most likely responsible for the bombing of Pan Am 103”.[xxxiv]
The Defence Intelligence Agency in a brief in December 1989, titled “Pan Am 103: Deadly Co-operation” argued that, “Iran probably was the state sponsor for the PFLP-GC attack on Pan Am 103”. The same report noted: that the bomb was “a sophisticated, barometrically triggered explosive device probably fabricated by the PFLP-GC”; that “DIA believes the device was placed aboard...in Frankfurt”; and that, “analysis of material confiscated from this PFLP-GC cell has provided strong circumstantial evidence linking the cell to the bombing”. The report further detailed the relationship between Iran and the PFLP-GC, including the initial overtures, payment for Pan Am 103, and the latter’s exploitation of Iran’s “established terror network in Europe”.[xxxv]
[xxxii] Defence Intelligence Agency, Information Report, 24 September 1989, http://www.dia.mil/foia/panam103.pdf, 18 March 2010
[xxxiii] Defence Intelligence Agency, Information Report, 7 October 1989, http://www.dia.mil/foia/panam103.pdf, 18 March 2010.
[xxxiv] Central Intelligence Agency, Directorate of Intelligence, Terrorism Review, 14 December 1989, http://www.foia.cia.gov/browse_docs_full.asp, 19 March 2010.
[xxxv] Defence Intelligence Agency, Defence Intelligence Brief, ‘Pan Am 103: Deadly Co-operation’, December 1989, http:/www.dia.mil/foia/panam103.pdf, 18 March 2010.
[RB: These links are now broken, but were operative on 13 December 2011 when I first posted extracts from Dr Miller’s article.]