Friday, 28 August 2009

libya: corfu talks rescue hbos and rbs


PanAm 103’s bombing was an iranian retaliation

August 25-26, 2009 --SPECIAL REPORT. EARLY EDITION. U.S. Air Intelligence Agency report stated Iran carried out PanAm 103 bombing

The neocons, in their normal group think fashion, are now teaming up to launch all-out attacks on Scotland for releasing from prison convicted PanAm 103 bomber Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi. Some neocons are urging a boycott of Scottish products and tourism. Of course, the demonization of Scotland comes as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu visits Prime Minister Gordon Brown in London and follows Israeli attacks on Sweden's government over an Aftonbladet report on Israelis trafficking in Palestinian body parts removed from the bodies young Palestinians killed by Israeli troops, Ireland's former President and UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson for receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama, and Norway over a boycott of Israeli products by a Norwegian regional government.

The blaming of Libya for the take down of PanAm 103 was concocted by the CIA and Mossad, working in tandem, to cover up their activities related to weapons smuggling with Iran in the 1980s. Had Iran been officially blamed for the December 1988 attack on PanAm 103, retaliation for the USS Vincennes attack on an Iran Air Airbus-300 in July 1988, the lucrative joint CIA-Mossad weapons smuggling program to and from Iran during the Iran-Iraq war would have become an embarrassment. Therefore, a cover story was created to blame Libya for the bombing and two Libyan agents, Megrahi, who was later convicted, and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, who was acquitted based on the same flimsy and dubious evidence used to convict Megrahi, were named as the perpetrators.

The Iranian connection was never revealed by the CIA, which was under orders to cook the intelligence to pin the blame for Lockerbie on Libya.

A declassified Air Intelligence Agency, formerly SECRET NOFORN WNINTEL, dated March 4, 1991, states that Iranian Interior Minister Ayatollah Ali Akbar Mohtashemi ordered the attack on PanAm 103 in retaliation for the Iran Airbus downing by the U.S. Navy. The relevant paragraph in the redacted report states:

"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 dollars 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 U.S. shootdown of the Iranian Airbus. Mohtashemi has also spent time in Lebanon."

Two veteran ABC News correspondents, one in Paris and the other in Nicosia, later told this editor that the wire transfer of $10 million from Iran via a Greek bank to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley for the construction of the Pan Am 103 bomb was intercepted by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) Ayios Nikolaos listening station in Cyprus. Both correspondents said the blaming of Libya for the Lockerbie bombing was fantasy from the beginning. It was later revealed that Nidal, who later was given asylum by Saddam Hussein in Baghdad and died there under suspicious circumstances in 2002, had alternately worked for the CIA, Mossad, and Egyptian and Kuwaiti intelligence.

The CIA and Mossad went to extreme lengths to keep their secret arms smuggling network to Iran from exposure. This was during the time of the Iran-contra scandal and the transition from Ronald Reagan to George H. W. Bush. Bush was deeply enmeshed in the Iran-contra scandal and its links to the smuggling of weapons to Ayatollah Khomeini's government in Iran.

In 1987, the up-and-coming Christian Democratic Union Premier of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, Uwe Barschel, began objecting to the use of Hartenholm airport in his state for the smuggling of weapons to and from Iran. The Iranian-run airport was also used to smuggle nuclear materials and drugs. Barschel was lured to the Hotel Beau-Rivage in Geneva by what WMR was told were CIA and Mossad agents operating under diplomatic cover with the assistance of the Federal German Bundesnacrichtendienst(BND) intelligence service. On October 11, 1987, Barschel was discovered dead and fully-clothed in his hotel room's water-filled bathtub. The drug Lorazepam was found in his blood stream. The autopsy of Barschel indicated force was used against him before his death.

Years ago, the editor was provided with copies of TOP SECRET CIA cables intercepted by East German intelligence in 1987. The cables are between the military attache at the US. Embassy in Bern and the Joint Chiefs' Intelligence and Threat Analysis Center (ITAC) at the Pentagon, with copies to the CIA's Deputy Director of Operations and the Director of the NSA, that suggest that the decision was made to assassinate Barschel, code named "Perch," after two agents, a CIA agent code named "Lokal" and a Mossad agent code-named "Rabbi" met with Barschel in Geneva, code named "Laketown," only to discover the Schleswig-Holstein Premier was "unyielding" to their demands about permitting his state to be used for Iranian arms and drug smuggling. The German word for the fish "perch" is "Barsch."

The second intercepted CIA cable states: "Jerry took Perch to Temple met with Lokal and Rabbi at 2130 Perch unyielding refuses coop Rabbi ordered disposition alternative w asap advise no act." In can be assumed that the CIA was being informed that Mossad was recommending that Barschel be eliminated and the CIA was informing Langley that no action was required on the part of the CIA.

Two days after Barschel's meeting with the CIA and Mossad agents, his body was discovered in the bathtub in Room 317 at the Beau-Rivage.

A little over a year later, Pan Am 103, would be blown up over the skies of Scotland. To protect the Iranian-CIA-Mossad smuggling link, Libya would be framed for the attack. And in an added bonus, a group of CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) personnel who may have been aware of the CIA's connections to the Iran-contra and Israeli weapons smuggling operations with Iran happened to be on board the ill-fated Boeing 747: Matthew Gannon, the CIA's deputy station chief in Beirut; Major Chuck McKee, assigned to the DIA station in Beirut; Ronald Lariviere, a security officer at the U.S. embassy in Beirut; and Daniel O'Connor, a security officer at the U.S. embassy in Nicosia. Assistant Deputy Director Michael S. Bernstein, a special agent for the Office of Special Investigation at the Department of Justice.

Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill, who is under tremendous political fire for releasing Megrahi to Libya while he lives his last days with prostate cancer, may still have the last triumph. Megrahi is vowing to present new evidence establishing his innocence. Barack Obama, who shows more and more by his actions that he still answers to his old employer, the CIA -- while he worked for the CIA front Business International Corporation and perhaps before and after -- wants Megrahi kept under house arrest in Libya.

There is little wonder why the Israel Lobby and Obama and FBI director Robert Mueller are so incensed over MacAskill's actions. Mueller was assistant to Attorney General Richard Thornburgh in 1989 and prosecuted both Megrahi and Fhimah, as well as long-time CIA operative Manuel Noriega of Panama. Obama and Mueller are clearly trying to cover the tracks of their respective agencies as Megrahi prepares to tell all.

August 25, 2009

The secret deal behind Megrahi's release

British intelligence sources report to WMR that a series of high-level financial deals between Libya, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling, Business Secretary Peter Mandelson, former Speaker of the House of Commons Michael Martin, and Scottish First Minister Alexander Salmond resulted in the release from a Scottish prison of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the Libyan Arab Airlines officials convicted of planting the bomb on board Pan Am 103 that killed 281 people on the plane and in the village of Lockerbie in 1988. Megrahi's colleague, Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, was acquitted of charges in the terrorist attack.

In fact, according to the British intelligence sources, the Libyans were never responsible for the bombing of PanAm 103, which was carried out by the Iranians and their Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) proxies in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley in retaliation for the shooting down by the USS Vincennes of an Iran Air Airbus-300 over the Persian Gulf in July 1988 that killed all 290 passengers and crew. WMR discovered from Cypriot authorities that the bomb intended for PanAm 103 arrived at Larnaca International Airport on a private plane from Lebanon, was placed on a flight to Frankfurt and then transferred to a feeder flight from Frankfurt to London Heathrow and, ultimately, on the ill-fated PanAm Boeing 747 bound for New York. National Security Agency (NSA) and Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) intercepts of Iranian and Greek banking communications proved the Iranian connection but the U.S., British, and Israeli governments saw fit to blame Libya's Muammar Qaddafi for the attack.

Negotiations on the deal to free Megrahi, who stood to embarass the British and U.S. governments with new evidence of his innocence if the appeal of his conviction had gone forward, began last October after two major Scottish banks, Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), collapsed. After HSBC and Barclays made overtures to the Bank of England to buy HBOS and RBS, the proposals were rejected by what is known in Whitehall as the "Larnarkshire Mafia" -- Brown, Darling, and Martin -- intervened in the Scottish financial crisis and ordered that public money vice commercial funds be used to prop up HBOS and RBS. Eventually, Lloyds TSB bought HBOS creating Lloyds Banking Group, which was, itself, later bailed out by the British government.

The word from Whitehall is that, although Parliament is in summer recess, senior staffers know that a major secret deal was worked out between Number 10 and Number 11 Downing Street (the residences of the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, respectively) and Qaddafi and sealed after a meeting two weeks ago between Mandelson and Qaddafi's son, Saif al Islam Qaddafi, at a Rothschild family-owned villa on Corfu.

The deal worked out is that profits realized from future oil and gas deals between Britain and Libya will be used to bail out the Scottish banks. As for speculation that Labor wants to use the Scottish financial crisis to prove that current plans by the ruling Scottish National Party (SNP) government to move Scotland toward independence to prove that Scotland cannot fare on its own without London, Brown and Salmond, a former RBS senior economist who negotiated Scotland North Sea oil revenue spending plans between RBS and the government while working for the bank, are on very close terms, according to our sources. Brown, a former British Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Salmond knew exactly what they were getting in return from Qaddafi and his son when they hammered out the "bailout-for-Megrahi" agreement -- the financial bail out of Scotland's two largest banks that were riddled with toxic bad loans by sweetheart oil and gas deals with Libya. Qaddafi was celebrating more than Megrahi's release at the public ceremony in Libya -- the mercurial Libyan leader, once considered a pariah, is now one of the most influential business moguls in Great Britain -- on both sides of Hadrian's Wall.

Private Eye issue 1243

21st august-3rd september 2009


Earlier this year the Eye predicted that the Scottish courts would hear only a small part of the appeal of Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi before it would be abandoned and he would return to Libya to die with his family. Meghari’s release was on the cards for some time.

That was ensured by Jack Straw, the justice minister, sticking up two fingers at parliament’s human rights committee and rushing through the prisoner transfer deal with our new best friend, Muammar Gaddafi. After all, the deal suited all the main players, cementing relations with Libya as well as halting an appeal that threatened to prove a major embarrassment to both the UK and US governments. News last week that Megrahi was to be returned on ‘compassionate grounds’, because he was dying of cancer, briefly raised hopes that his appeal could continue in his absence. But that was never going to be allowed to happen, and Megrahi, who had always said he would never return to Libya until his name was cleared, duly dropped his appeal.

The casualty is justice and the truth about the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, which claimed 270 victims. For as readers of the Eye’s special report by Paul Foot in 2001 are well aware, Megrahi’s trial was a travesty. There were the testimonies of two witnesses who were paid huge sums by the CIA – one a notorious liar and paid informer, Abdul Giaka, who first put Megrahi in the frame; the other the Maltese shopkeeper who identified him as the man who bought clothes said to have been packed round the bomb. He had been shown photographs of Megrahi.

Some forensic evidence appeared to have been tampered with and much evidence withheld – including the fact that there had been a serious breach in security in Heathrow at the Pan Am baggage area in the early hours of 21 December 1988, the day of the bombing. A padlock on the door had been professionally cut and the area open to intruders. Coupled with the testimony of baggage handlers about two extra cases going on board – one matching the description of the bag said to have carried the bomb – this would have featured heavily in Megrahi’s appeal.

And then, of course, there were the similarities to the modus operandi of a Syrian-backed terrorist cell operating out of Frankfurt, including altitude-sensitive timers, which the judges did not allow Megrahi’s defence team to raise at trial. Because the appeal in Edinburgh has been dogged by delay, none of these troubling issues have been aired. And now, short of the public inquiry demanded by the families of the victims, they never will be.

Allowing the only man convicted of the bombing to be returned to Libya has produced howls of outrage on both sides of the Atlantic. (That is, apart from the rare voices of the UN observer at the trial and some of the British victims’ families, who have studied every aspect of the case and believe there has been a miscarriage of justice.) That outrage would be better focused on the governments and justice systems that have ensured we have all been denied the full truth about Lockerbie.

Download Paul Foot’s 2001 special report, Lockerbie – The Flight From Justice, priced £5, here.

* To read this story in full, buy the latest edition of Private Eye – in shops now.

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