Saturday, 2 July 2016

Why the focus shift from Iran to Libya as culprits?

[Dr Ludwig de Braeckeleer has today posted a fascinating article on his PT35B website. It offers a plausible geopolitical explanation for the shift from Iran to Libya as the preferred culprits in the bombing of Pan Am 103. The following is an excerpt -- the full text should be read:]

Soon after the tragedy of Pan Am 103 on December 21st 1988, the investigators suspected that a Syrian-based terrorist group (the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command) was responsible. It was assumed by some (known by others?) that Iran had ordered the attack as revenge for the downing of Iran Airbus 655 on July 3rd 1988.
When a joint US/UK indictment finally came in November 1991, Libya – and Libya alone according to President Bush - was the culprit.
How did they get from Iran to Libya? For one thing, the metamorphosis of the “evidence” is quite spectacular. I will provide just one example. The forensic scientists initially “were fully satisfied” that the bomb had been hidden in a white Toshiba radio. In their final report, they were fully satisfied that the item was a black Toshiba radio. Who cares? The white radio pointed to a device assembled by the PFLP-GC in Germany during October 1988. The black Toshiba radio was pointing to Libya as it had been mostly delivered to a Libyan company whose director was a person suspected of terrorism by Western Intelligence agencies.
When did the “switch” occur? Jack Anderson and Dale Van Atta claimed in 1990 that the Lockerbie investigation switched from Iran to Libya following a phone call in March 1989 between George H W Bush and Margaret Thatcher.
Conspiracy Theory
Many observers have suggested that the “switch” was the result of realpolitik. Here is the explanation provided [RB: at letter K] by The Guardian:
“The impending Anglo-American war against Iraq necessitated neutralising Iran and winning the support of Syria. Britain’s diplomatic relations with Syria were duly restored in November 1990 and the Gulf war commenced in 1991. Sure enough, the credibility of intelligence theories about the Lockerbie bombing being masterminded by the Iran- and Syria-backed Palestinian gang was soon dismantled.”
I do not subscribe to this theory. The invasion occurred in August 1990. And even if Saddam had probably made up his mind a few months earlier, the timing simply does not work.
Is the theory of a “switch” for geopolitical reasons plausible? Is there any evidence it occurred around March 1989? If so, what could possibly be the rationale?
Key Dates of the Forensic Work
Dr Hayes began its work on December 27 1988 when he found evidence of an explosion on the lower frame of a luggage pallet. The work goes on – day after day – until March 1989 when it came to a sudden halt. Then the work resumed on May 12, 1989 with the discovery of PT/35(b) recorded on the infamous page 51. Little happens next. Then in September 1989, the investigation goes to Malta and, from now on, Libya is the new focus. The PFLP-GC is officially history as far as Lockerbie is concerned.
Therefore, I consider that the “Switch Theory” is entirely plausible with a caveat. The calendar seems to point to a “Wait and See Strategy”. It appears that Thatcher recommended to “cool it” until events unfold. The question is: What events did she have in mind?
[RB: Dr De Braeckeleer then explains how political developments in Iran in 1989 rendered it no longer in the interests of the United Kingdom and the United States for Iran to be accused of responsibility for Lockerbie.]

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