Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Abu Talb and PFLP-GC in the frame

[What follows is excerpted from an article on the website of The Guardian dated 27 February 2000:]

Meckenheim, Germany, 14 September 1989 Swedish officials attending an international conference of Lockerbie investigators reported a lead that might implicate the PFLP-GC, the People's Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Commando, a radical Palestinian splinter group that includes some of the most experienced bomb experts in the Middle East. In May 1989, the Swedish police arrested Mohammed Abu Talb, a PFLP-GC agent born in Egypt, for several attacks with explosives in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands. What caught the attention of other investigators was the fact that Abu Talb had visited Malta twice, in October and November 1988. In apartments where the Egyptian had lived, investigators found pieces of clothing that had been bought in Malta and also a calendar on a kitchen table on which the date of 21 December 1988 - the day of the crash - had been circled.

Could the PFLP-GC have been responsible for Lockerbie? And what motive would the terrorist group have had? The investigators believed there might have been an easy answer for the second question: money and revenge. For years the PFLP-GC had received political and military support from the Soviet Union and Syria, but this came to a stop at the end of the 1980s when an Iran Air Airbus with 290 passengers onboard was shot down in the Persian Gulf by the US cruiser Vincennes on 3 July 1988. Ayatollah Khomeini demanded revenge. Might the bomb experts of the PFLP-GC have been working for Iran? According to the CIA, several million US dollars were transferred from Iran to the accounts of the PFLP-GC after the airbus strike. [RB: But see Lockerbie & The Legend of The Iranian Payment.]

But investigators were nevertheless sceptical about this lead. A number of technical details seemed contradictory and one would have thought the shopkeeper in Malta would have recognised Abu Talb's Egyptian accent. In addition, Abu Talb, who was sitting out a life prison sentence in Sweden, denied any involvement in Lockerbie.

[RB: Further details about the Meckenheim meeting can be found here (in German).]


  1. Abu Talb is no more likely to have been Tony Gauci's customer than Megrahi.

  2. Well said Rolfe.I couldn't agree more. I think i like Edwin Bollier's account best. He did his own investigation and interview of Gaucci and was in no doubt that Giaka was actually the one who bought the clothes and then passed them over to the CIA. Now i can see why Muller made sure that the CIA's involvment in Lockerbie was kept out of the investigation. The real target was the CIA and DIA whistleblowers who were returning to the US to blow the whistle. No way can they allow a successful appeal by Megrahi's son Khalid and i have no doubt that all the relevant parties will have been informed of this and what is expected of them.

  3. This scenario would explain the Helsinki warning and the the fact that US embassy staff and others were warned against travelling on that plane. this fits with the suitcase containing the bomb being put on at Heathrow when the breakin was reported which was more sensible and not Malta bearing in mind Malta had records that no unaccompanied suitcases went on its plane.They have to block the appeal and keep megrahi guilty as charged.

  4. I don't think any of us has any idea who bought these clothes. I think it was probably somebody we've never heard of and never will hear of. Also, bear in mind that if Tony was anywhere close to right on the man's age, he would be in his late seventies by now. Maybe not even alive.

    And assertions that the CIA was involved in setting up the bombing will get you denounced as a mad conspiracy theorist. (I keep an open mind but I certainly haven't seen anything resembling a smoking gun on that one.)

    Also, as a point of information, nobody at all was warned against travelling on that particular plane. The Helsinki warning, and others, didn't specify an actual day or flight. In fact, 21st December was a couple of days outside the window indicated in the Helsinki warning for when the bombing was supposed to happen.

  5. Another point. Kenny MacAskill seems to believe in the story about the PFLP-GC being paid $10 million to do the job. He just thinks they enlisted Libyan help after they were busted by Operation Autumn Leaves. Mind you, Kenny thinks a lot of things that demonstrably aren't so.

  6. The less evidence we have about a case, the greater the freedom to conceive any theory that would suit our taste.