Lockerbie — A Parallel
"The covert operators that I ran with would blow up a
747 with 300 people to kill one person. They are total sociopaths with no
— Former Pentagon CID Investigator Gene
On December 21, 1988, in the tiny town of Lockerbie, Scotland, 270 lives
came to a traumatic and fiery end when Pan Am flight 103 was blown out of the
skies. Two hundred and fifty-nine people plunged to their deaths, and 11 more
died on the ground.
Several minutes before flight 103 took off from London's Heathrow
airport, FBI Assistant Director Oliver "Buck" Revell rushed out to the tarmac
and pulled his son and daughter-in-law off the plane.
How did he know?
Perhaps Revell's intimate knowledge derived from his relationship with
Lt. Colonel Oliver North. In March of 1986, North advised Attorney General
Edwin Meese to head off the FBI's ensuing investigation into Iran-Contra. Meese
informed Revell. Consequently, North managed to keep abreast of the FBI's
investigation by conveniently receiving copies of all FBI files.
Widely known for his inestimable and illegal support of the Contras,
North (along with General Richard Secord and Iranian Albert Hakim) was a
business associate of Syrian arms and drug runner Monzer al-Kassar. For his
role in shipping Polish arms to North's mercenary army, al-Kassar became the
recipient of North's undying gratitude [and laundered drug proceeds].
Like so many criminals, drug-dealers, and mass-murderers the CIA had
cozied up to over the years, al-Kassar enjoyed the highly valued status of CIA
Al-Kassar was also closely aligned with Rifat Assad, brother of Syrian
dictator Hafez Assad. Assad's daughter Raja was Kassar's mistress, and had once
been married to Abu Abbas, a colleague of the notorious terrorist Abu Nidal.
Rifat himself was married to the sister of Ali Issa Dubah, chief of Syrian
intelligence, who, along with the Syrian army, controlled most of the opium
production in Lebanon's Bekka Valley. The drug profits financed various
terrorist groups, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of
Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), run by former Syrian army officer Ahmed
Al-Kassar also acted as middleman in the ransom paid by the French to
effect the release of two hostages held in Beirut. Given his assistance in
securing the release of those hostages, the CIA believed al-Kassar would prove
invaluable in negotiating the release of the six American hostages then being
held in Lebanon.*
In return for this favor, al-Kassar's drug pipeline to the United States
would be protected by the CIA. This would not prove difficult, as the DEA was
already using Pan Am flights out of Frankfort, Germany for "controlled
delivery" shipments of heroin. Realizing they couldn't halt the flow of drugs
coming out of Lebanon, the DEA utilized the controlled shipments, escorted
through customs by DEA couriers, as part of a sting operation, with the
intention of catching the dealers in the U.S.
Negotiation with individuals like Monzer al-Kassar had only one
drawback: al-Kassar was closely linked, not only with the terrorist-sponsoring
Syrian government, but with groups such Ahmed Jibril's PFLP-GC. Jibril, was
also aligned with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, which had a somewhat different
agenda than al-Kassar.
On July 3, 1988, less than six months before the Pan Am 103 bombing, the
U.S.S. Vincennes shot down an Iranian airliner over the Straits of Hormuz,
killing all 290 people on board. Assuming the plane was a hostile craft, the
captain of the Vincennes, Will Rodgers III, gave the command to fire.
While the people of Iran grieved, the officer responsible for the fatal
mistake was awarded a medal.†
Under Islamic law, the crime had to be avenged. As Juval Aviv of
Interfor stated in his report, "It was known at the time that the contract was
out to down an American airliner."
That contract — $10 million dollars — was given to Ahmed
Jibril. Jibril had already
established a base of operations in Neuss, Germany, not far from Frankfort.
Central to his cell was one Marwan Abdel Razzack Khreeshat. Khreeshat's
specialty was in building small, sophisticated bombs incorporating timing
mechanisms capable of detonating at pre-determined altitudes.
By mid-October 1988, Jibril was ready. Khreeshat had assembled five
bombs, built into Toshiba radio-cassette players. However, the German police
were watching Khreesat. On October 26, Khreesat and 14 other PFLP-GC suspects
were rounded up in an operation code-named "Autumn Leaves." One of the bombs
was seized. Yet four more remained at large.
While in custody, Khreesat demanded to make a phone call, then refused
to answer any questions. Within hours, he was mysteriously released.
The incident is strikingly similar to the arrest of "neo-Nazi terrorist"
Andreas Strassmeir on traffic charges in February of 1992. "Boy, we caught hell
over that one," recalled tow-truck driver, Kenny Pence. "The phone calls came
in from the State Department, the Governor's office, and someone called and
said he had diplomatic immunity.…"
Similar calls were made on behalf of Khreesat. Former CIA agent Oswald
Le Winter, who investigated the case, stated, "…pressure had come from
Bonn… from the U.S. Embassy in Bonn… to release Khreesat."
It seems that both Strassmeir and Khreesat were operatives of U.S.
intelligence. "I had spoken to a German reporter who refuses to go on camera,"
adds Le Winter, "but who is very close to federal intelligence sources in
Germany, who assured me that Khreesat was an agent of the Jordanian service,
and an asset of the Central Intelligence Agency."
Given the close relationship between the Jordanians and the CIA, this is
not surprising. Yet it appeared Khreesat wasn't only reporting to the
Jordanians and the Americans; he was also reporting to Ahmed Jibril.
Two months before the bombing, Jibril and al-Kassar were spotted by a
Mossad agent dining at a Lebanese restaurant in Paris. Jibril was hoping to use
al-Kassar's controlled drug shipments through Frankfort to effect the delivery
of a bomb. The problem: how to protect the drug shipments while at the same
time extract revenge on the Americans? Al-Kassar preferred the former option,
but, due to political pressure, he grudgingly agreed to the latter.
While a CIA team in Wiesbaden, code-named "COREA," was negotiating its
secret deal with al-Kassar for release of the hostages (and protecting his drug
route), a second team, led by Major Charles McKee of the Defense Intelligence
Agency (DIA), and Matthew Gannon, the CIA's Deputy Station Chief in Beirut, had
traveled to Lebanon to assess the odds for a military-style rescue
According to Aviv's report, McKee's team had, while reconnoitering for
the release of the hostages, stumbled onto the first team's illegal drug
operation. McKee refused to participate. When he and Gannon contacted their
control in Washington, they received no reply. Against orders, they decided to
fly home to blow the whistle. According to Aviv:
They had communicated back to Langley the facts and names, and reported
their film of the hostage locations. CIA did nothing. No reply. The team was
outraged, believing that its rescue and their lives would be endangered by the
By mid-December the team became frustrated and angry and made plans to
return to the U.S. with their photos and evidence to inform the government, and
to publicize their findings if the government covered up.
They never arrived. That night, Pan Am flight 103 was blown out of the
Was the death of McKee, Gannon, and five others on their team an
unfortunate coincidence, or did someone want to ensure that they didn't reveal
the carefully guarded secrets of the Octopus?
Given the ample and specific warnings received by the U.S. Government
from the BKA, the Mossad, and a Palestinian informant named Samra Mahayoun, it
would seem the latter.*
Whatever the case, it is indisputable that U.S. authorities were warned
of the attack, and failed to stop it.
Was their failure deliberate?
"Do I think the CIA was involved?" asked a government Mideast
Intelligence specialist quoted in the financial weekly, Barron's. "Of
course they were involved. And they screwed up. Was the operation planned by
the top? Probably not. I doubt they sanctioned heroin importation — that
came about at the more zealous lower levels. But they knew what was going on
and didn't care." The expert added that his agency has "things that support
Aviv's allegation, but we can't prove it. We have no smoking gun. And until the
other agencies of the government open their doors, we will have no smoking
The Lockerbie bombing was not the first time authorities were warned in
advance of a pending terrorist attack. The situation would repeat itself five
years later in New York City, and seven years later in Oklahoma.
It was an all too eerie coincidence.
Typically, U.S. authorities disingeniously denied receiving any
warnings, as they would later do in New York and Oklahoma. Yet, as in those
cases, evidence of prior knowledge would eventually become known. "It
subsequently came to me on further inquiries that they hadn't ignored [the
warnings]," said a Pan Am security officer. "A number of VIPs were pulled off
that plane. A number of intelligence operatives were pulled off that
Due to the warnings posted in U.S. embassies by the State Department
(but not forwarded to Pan Am), many government employees avoided the flight. In
fact, the large 747 was only two-thirds full that busy holiday evening. South
African president Peter Botha and several high-ranking officials were advised
by state security forces to change their reservations at the last hour. The
South African State Security forces have a close relationship with the
Just as they would do in Oklahoma, government officials promised a
complete and thorough investigation. Stated Oliver "Buck" Revell, who headed up
the Bureau's investigation: "All of us working on the case made it a very, very
personal priority of the first order."
Fronting for the CIA, Vince Cannistraro chimed in: "I had personal
friends on that plane who died. And I assure you that I wanted to find the
perpetrators of that disaster as much as anyone wanted to."
As in Oklahoma City, this would become the catch-all phrase that would
set everything right and prove the government had no involvement. Of course,
this would be somewhat difficult in Revell's case, since he pulled his son and
daughter-in-law off the plane minutes before it took off. (This was
suspiciously reminiscent of the ATF agents who were paged not to come into work
on April 19.)
Interestingly, Revell was the FBI's lead investigator in the crash of an
Arrow Air DC-8 which exploded on December 12, 1985 in Gander, Newfoundland,
with the loss of all 248 personnel. As in Oklahoma City, that site was quickly
bulldozed, destroying crucial forensic evidence, with an Army official
maintaining a watchful eye at all times.
Hiding behind the cover-up was the same cast of characters — Oliver
North, Duane "Dewy" Clarridge, and Vince Cannistraro — who was North's
deputy at the NSC during Iran-Contra, and would later appear in Lockerbie. The
same cast of characters that lurked behind the scandals in Nicaragua and Iran,
and would appear like ghostly apparitions in the smoldering ruins of Oklahoma
It was also an act that the U.S. Shadow Government, responsible for
precipitating, was anxious to cover up. Had the true cause of the crash —
North's double-dealing with the Iranians — been revealed, the Iran-Contra
scandal would have surfaced two years before it did.
Oliver "Buck" Revell would be on hand to make sure it didn't.
Three years later, in Lockerbie, the government was still claiming it's
hands were clean. Yet it vigorously protested Pan Am's attempts to subpoena
warning memos and other documents that would have revealed the government's
foreknowledge, just as it did in Oklahoma.
Simply stated, the attack on Pan Am 103 was in retaliation for the
downing of the Iranian airbus. The reason for targeting Pan Am was simple: the
airline was regularly used by al-Kassar's operatives to ferry drugs. It would
be a simple matter to switch a suitcase containing drugs for one containing a
That appears to be just what happened. According to Lester Knox Coleman,
III, a former DIA agent in Cyprus seconded to the DEA: "I knew from the
conversations around me in '88, that he (Lebanese drug courier Khalid Jaffar)
was involved in the controlled deliveries. There's no doubt in my mind about
that at all. When I found he was on 103 and was killed, and there was a
controlled delivery going through at the time, and I knew the security problems
the DEA had, and the relationships they had with the people in Lebanon, with
the issues involving security, it was very simple for me to put one and one
together and get the big two — that the DEA's operation had a role in all
According to Juval Aviv, the drug suitcase was switched at Frankfort,
where Turkish baggage handlers working for al-Kassar had been regularly
switching bags for those containing heroin.* As the Interfor report
On December 21, 1988, a BKA surveillance agent watching the Pan Am
flight's loading noticed that the "drug" suitcase substituted was different in
make, shape, material and color from that used for all previous drug shipments.
This one was a brown Samsonite case. He, like the other BKA agents on the
scene, had been extra alert due to all the bomb tips. Within an hour or so
before takeoff he phoned in a report as to what he had seen, saying something
was very wrong.
The BKA reported this to the CIA team in Wiesbaden, who, strangely, did
not reply. According to Aviv, "[The CIA unit] reported to its control.
CONTROL REPLIED: DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT, DON'T STOP IT, LET IT GO."
Apparently, the CIA team "did not want to blow its surveillance
operation and undercover penetration or to risk the al-Kassar hostage release
operation," wrote Aviv. It seemed the CIA figured the BKA would intercept the
terrorists, keeping the CIA out of the picture, thereby maintaining its cover.
Yet this explanation hardly seems credible. The BKA had informed the CIA
about the threat — a threat to one of its own planes. They also knew the
Americans were running a sensitive undercover operation, and must have assumed
the Americans would want to handle the situation themselves.
Moreover, there is no indication that the CIA had instructed the
BKA or any other German authorities to stop the bombing. The question is: why
not? Certainly the CIA wouldn't blow its cover by asking the BKA to intercede,
as they were already aware of the CIA/DEA operation.
This raises even more disturbing questions. Had the CIA "control" in
Washington, monitoring the situation, purposely allowed the bombing to occur?
Was the McKee team, about to blow the whistle on the Octopus, specifically
targeted for elimination? Had Middle Eastern terrorists knowingly or
unknowingly conspired with the Octopus in eliminating a group of pesky whistle
Strangely, after the crash, large numbers of American "rescue" personnel
began showing up rather quickly. As one searcher, a member of a mountain rescue
team recalled: "We arrived within two hours [of the crash]. We found Americans
The first to appear was an FBI agent. According to George Stobbs, a
Lockerbie police inspector, "[I] started to set up a control room, and
[between] eleven o'clock and midnight, there was a member of the FBI in the
office who came in, introduced herself to me, and sat down — and just sat
there the rest of the night. That was it."*
Was this so-called FBI agent there to observe the Scottish police's
investigation, and report any conflicting findings back to her superiors?
Tom Dalyell, a member of British Parliament, remarked: "…Absolutely
swarms of Americans [were] fiddling with the bodies, and shall we say tampering
with those things the police were carefully checking themselves. They weren't
pretending, saying they were from the FBI or CIA, they were just 'Americans'
who seemed to arrive very quickly on the scene."
The scenario was eerily similar to that in Oklahoma City, where rescue
workers and bomb squad technicians seemingly appeared out of thin air.
Recall that Oklahoma City eyewitness Debra Burdick, who was near ground
zero when the bomb went off, said: "And right after that, here comes the Bomb
Squad, before the ambulances and the Fire Department."
"They would have had to have had some kind of warning to respond that
quick, said Burdick's husband, "because they would have had to get in their
gear and everything."
As mentioned previously, Burdick wasn't the only one who saw federal
agents and rescue personnel arrive a bit too quickly. J.D. Reed, who was in the
County Office Building when the bomb went off, later wrote: "The paramedics and
firemen were already at work. How could they move so quickly? They were there
by the time we got down to the street!"
Then there was Sergeant Yeakey's ominous letter to his friend Ramona
McDonald, which stated: "Everyone was behind you until you started asking
questions as I did, as to how so many federal agents arrived at the scene at
the same time.…"
In Lockerbie, a number of American agents — some wearing Pan Am
jumpsuits — were desperately searching for something. As Dalyell recalled:
"It was… odd and strange that so many people should be involved in moving
bodies, looking at luggage, who were not members of the investigating force.
What were they looking for so carefully? You know, this was not just searching
carefully for loved ones. It was far more than that. It was careful examination
of luggage and indeed bodies."
Dr. David Fieldhouse, the local police surgeon, identified Major McKee
early on. "I knew that [the identification of] McKee was absolutely correct
because of the clothing which correlated closely with the other reports and
statements, and the computers that were linked up to Washington."
This would subsume that Washington knew exactly what McKee — who
hadn't told Control he was coming — was wearing. In other words, it means
he was under surveillance by the Octopus.
Fieldhouse also tagged over 58 bodies. "I later learned that when the
bodies were taken to the mortuary, all the labels which had been put on them
had been removed with the exception of two," said Fieldhouse, "but all the rest
had been removed and discarded."
A similar incident would occur in Oklahoma City. After nurse Toni Garret
took a break from tagging dead bodies, she walked back to the makeshift morgue
that had been set up in a nearby church. "When we came back in, there was a
cold, callous atmosphere," said Garret. "I found out later that the FBI had
Not only had the FBI taken over, but for some reason, they were
suppressing the body count, which they originally claimed as only 22 dead. This
enraged Garret, who had personally tagged over 120 bodies. While giving a news
interview, FBI agents rushed over and told her to stop. Garret recalled the
scene: "He said, 'Well, we're down here now, and we're taking over the
building. It would be advisable and recommendable that you keep your mouth
In Lockerbie, police officers and military personnel would be prohibited
under the Official Secrets Act from talking about what they had witnessed.
Just what had they seen that was so sensitive?
Jim Wilson knows. A local farmer, Wilson told relatives of Pan Am
victims that he was present "when the drugs were found." The Tundergarth farmer
had discovered a suitcase packed with heroin in one of his fields. Worried that
it might harm his sheep, he informed local police, who notified the Americans,
who then raced to the scene in an all-terrain vehicle. Wilson noted that the
Americans seemed extremely angry that the drugs had not been discovered earlier
by their own personnel.
One Scottish police officer who did speak out said that his department
had been told to keep an eye out for the drugs early on. He also overheard
American personnel say that there was a drug courier on the plane — Khalid
Jaffar — one of the Lebanese informants used by the DEA.
Had the heroin belonged to Jaffar? Since the drug suitcase had been
switched at Frankfort, it would seem unlikely. A more probable explanation is
that it belonged to Gannon or McKee — evidence of the illegal operation
being run by the Octopus.
It would certainly explain why U.S. officials were so desperate to find
the suitcase before the Scottish authorities did. Once located, the heroin was
removed, and the bag placed back in its original position like nothing had
In Oklahoma City, 10 hours after the blast(s), federal agents halted
rescue efforts to remove files from the building. While limited numbers of
rescue workers were constrained to the lower right side of the building,
between 40 and 50 federal agents began carting away boxes of files from the ATF
and DEA offices.
"You'd think they would have let their evidence and files sit at least
until the last survivor was pulled out," one angry rescue worker told the
New York Daily News.
Then, approximately 10 days after the blast, two white trucks pulled up
to the postal annex across from the Murrah Building that was being used to
store emergency supplies. A dozen men in black unmarked uniforms, wearing ski
masks and carrying submachine guns, jumped out and formed a protective corridor
to the building. Others, wearing blue nylon windbreakers and carrying hand-held
radios, formed an outer perimeter. As a witness watched, he observed "box after
box of what appeared to be files or documents in boxes [that] were loaded on
the unmarked trucks that looked like Ryder rental trucks, but were
The witness, a Tulsa Fire Captain who was filming the site of the
explosion, was told by one of the agents to put down his camera. His film was
What were in the boxes — boxes that were originally stored in the
Federal Building — that over a dozen mysteriously anonymous federal agents
armed with submachine guns were so anxious to secrete into hiding? Were they
files that were being taken away to be destroyed… or to be protected? And
The public would never learn of this bizarre incident, just as they
would never learn of the Mid-Eastern connection, the numerous John Does, the
prior warnings of Cary Gagan and Carol Howe, and the elaborate cover-up. The
government had convicted their man — Timothy James McVeigh — just as
they had done with Lee Harvey Oswald 34 years ago. The victims who subscribed
to the government's version of the case could now begin to experience a sense
of "closure," whether they had learned the truth or not.
Five years before, the government had attempted to provide "closure" to
the Pan Am bombing by announcing its newly discovered "evidence" — a tiny
piece of microchip allegedly linked to the bomb. This new evidence, discovered
in a remote field ten months after the crash, would conclusively prove, the
government claimed, that Libyan terrorists had destroyed the plane.
Like the evidence of McVeigh's racing fuel purchases which suddenly came
to light 18 months after the bombing, or the startling new "revelations" of
Eldon Elliott, Thomas Manning, and Daina Bradley, this "new evidence" would
help the government divert attention from the true perpetrators of the
Interestingly, Tom Thurman, the FBI lab technician who matched the chip
— a tiny charred fragment that had miraculously survived two Scottish
Winters — would later be accused of perjury in unrelated cases.
Nevertheless, the discovery was hailed as a major find. Vince
Cannistraro, the CIA Counter terrorism Chief on the National Security Council,
was the front-man for new "Libyan" theory.
"The principle avenues that led to identification of a foreign role in
an act of terrorism," Cannistraro quipped with mock assurance, "was forensic
evidence recovered by the Scottish police at Lockerbie themselves.
Investigators and townspeople on their hands and knees, crawling along the
countryside, picking up minute bits of debris. And one of those bits of debris
turned out to be a microchip, which was analyzed microscopically that led to
the Libyan connection."
Like the Ryder truck axle in Oklahoma City that was allegedly discovered
by several different people, so the microchip would have a confusing and
contradictory bevy of claimants. "Three of his people (FBI agents) had sworn
that they had found this piece in a piece of a coat and had signed a paper to
this effect," stated Bollier. "I later heard that it was the Scottish police
who had found the piece in a shirt that came from Malta." Yet in spite of this,
the Scotts would attempt to have a townsperson sign a statement that he had
found the chip.
Yet the townsperson whom the FBI claimed had discovered the chip could
not even recall finding it. The man, named "Bobby," said "I got a call from a
policeman asking if he could come down to my home, and would I sign to say that
I picked those [items] up. He brought with him three small bags about the size
of an eight-by-five piece of paper, one of which contained an item of cloth,
one of which contained a brown piece which looked very much like a piece of
plastic, the third piece I couldn't tell what it was."
Had the chip been planted by the FBI? The Bureau admitted that it
already possessed two such timers, confiscated from two Libyans in Dakar and
Senegal in 1986. The incident was remarkably similar to the Oklahoma City
bombing witnesses who were coerced into signing statements that differed from
what they actually saw.
Yet British authorities would willingly cooperate with the U.S. as the
result of a phone call made by President Bush to Prime Minister Margaret
Thatcher. According to Washington Post syndicated columnist Jack
Anderson, the two heads of state agreed that the investigation should be
"limited" in order to avoid compromising the two nations' intelligence
For his part, Cannistraro had developed, along with NSC staffers Howard
Teicher and Oliver North, the Reagan-inspired propaganda policy of destroying
the Libyan regime of Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi. As Bob Woodward wrote in the
Vincent M. Cannistraro, a veteran CIA operations officer and director of
intelligence on the National Security Council staff, and Howard R. Teicher, the
director of the office of political military affairs in the NSC, supported the
disinformation and deception plan….
"I developed the policy toward Libya," said Cannistraro. "In fact, I
even wrote the draft paper that was later adopted by the President."
In spite of the obvious propaganda ploy, the evidence against Libya was
dubious at best. Even more dubious was the government's theory of how the bomb
got on board. According to "Buck" Revell, the bomb, built by two Libyan
intelligence agents — Abdel Basset al-Megrahi and Lamin Khalifah Fhima
— was placed inside a suitcase and smuggled into the airport at Malta, and
tagged for its final destination to JFK airport in New York. It then flew,
unaccompanied, to Frankfort, where it changed planes, also unaccompanied, then
flew to London, where it managed to change planes again, only to explode over
Like the specter of two lone amateurs with a fertilizer bomb, the
government actually expects the public to believe that a sensitive
altitude-triggered time-bomb managed to pass through three countries
unaccompanied, pass through security and customs checks, change planes
twice, then detonate at precisely the right moment over its target
Such a suggestion, even to the uninitiated, is ridiculous.
And there was no evidence to support it. According to Dennis Phipps,
former head of security for British Airways: "…the records of handling of
that fight were made available for me to see. There was no evidence of any
unaccompanied bags. All of the bags that were carried as passenger baggage on
that flight, had to be checked in by a passenger who actually traveled on the
Said Michael Jones, Pan Am's London Security Chief: "I've never seen any
documentation whatsoever, produced by Pan Am or anybody else, showing there was
any interlying baggage to Pan Am from the Air Malta flight…"
Even the FBI's own telex, dated October 23, 1989, stated:
To Director, FBI, Priority — Records there is no concrete
indication that any piece of luggage was unloaded from Air Malta 100 sent
through the luggage routing at Frankfort airport then loaded on board Pan Am
In fact, it is absurd to suggest that trained intelligence agents or
even clever terrorists would opt for such a far-fetched and risky plan.
Especially given the security measures regarding unaccompanied bags, which
would have surely aroused suspicion. This premise becomes even more ludicrous
considering the unexpected delays inherent in Winter holiday flights. How had
the bomb, after passing through three countries, managed to arm itself and
detonate at precisely the right moment?
Miraculously, eight months after the bombing, a baggage print-out was
obtained by the BKA showing an unaccompanied bag that had been transferred from
The government finally had its "evidence."
Just as they had suddenly dropped the Middle Eastern lead in Oklahoma,
the government was now switching tracks and blaming the Libyans for the Pan Am
bombing. But why? Why, after two years of solid evidence pointing to Syrian and
Iranian involvement, was the government now blaming Libya — and on such
Naturally, like the theory of McVeigh's "revenge for Waco," the
government had a handy explanation: Libya's motive for the attack stemmed from
the April, 1986 U.S. air-raid on Tripoli and Benghazi, in which over 37
civilians, including Qaddafi's infant daughter, were killed. That raid
was in retaliation for the bombing of the La Belle Discotheque in Berlin a year
earlier, in which two U.S. servicemen and a Turkish woman were killed.
In fact, the involvement of Libya in the disco bombing was highly
questionable. It is also curious why Qaddafi would wait two-and-a-half years to
extract his revenge on the Americans for the Benghazi attack.
Essentially, government's desire to implicate Libya for the bombing of
Pan Am 103 was no different than its desire to implicate the militia for the
bombing in Oklahoma City. In that case, they claimed, the motive was revenge
for the government's atrocities at Waco.
In fact, President Bush knew perfectly well who had bombed flight 103.
Six months after the bombing, Secretary of State James Baker visited with
Syrian Foreign Intelligence Minister Farouk al-Sharaa. Baker asked:
"What are you doing about the GLC group?"
"What are you talking about," asked al-Sharaa.
"Jibril," answered Baker. "We know they are responsible for Lockerbie.
What are you doing about them?"
"How do you know that?"
"We have the evidence," Baker replied. "And the evidence is
Nevertheless, the government lied to the American people. The investigation had turned
political. In July of 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. President Bush began forming
his Gulf War coalition. Syria, formerly viewed as a terrorist state, was now
seen as a necessary ally.
Interestingly, Bush had been quietly making overtures to Syrian
President Assad for years. Assad was a bitter enemy of President Saddam Hussein
of Iraq. In order to bring Syria into the coalition, all evidence pointing to
them was dropped. And, in November of 1991, the Libyan theory became the
"official" version of the bombing.
The real story appears somewhat different.
On December 20, an intercept of a call made to the Iranian embassy in
Beirut confirmed that an American operative named David Lovejoy (AKA: Michael
Franks, Michael Schafer) had spoken to Iranian Chargé d'Affaires Hussein
Niknam, and advised him that the McKee team had changed its travel plans and
booked passage on flight 103. The next day, Niknam called the Interior Ministry
in Teheran and passed on Frank's information.
The DEA was also monitoring McKee, and separately informed the CIA in
Washington, British MI6, and the CIA team in Wiesbaden.
Al-Kassar's operatives had also observed Gannon making travel
arrangements in Nicosia, and reported this to their CIA handlers in Wiesbaden.
This wasn't difficult, as the DEA's "controlled delivery" operation, run by DEA
Station Chief Michael T. Hurley in Cyprus, utilized Arab informants, some of
whom, according to Coleman, were reporting back to Ahmed Jibril.
As one source familiar with the case said, "Every spook in Europe knew
that McKee and Gannon were flying home on flight 103."
Yet while the McKee team was obviously compromised, the question begging
to be answered is, who is Michael Franks? And why did Franks inform the Iranian
embassy, a bitter enemy of the U.S., of McKee's travel plans?
An associate of Oliver North, Franks worked for Overseas Press Service
(OPS) a television consultancy firm run by W. Dennis Suit. A former CIA
operative in Central America, Suit was an associate of North, William Casey,
Jack Singlaub, Jack Terrell, and Contra leaders Adolfo and Mario Calero. Lester
Coleman aptly described him as a representative of North's "Georgia Mafia."
In other words, Franks worked for the Octopus.
Sent to Cyprus by OPS as a "cameraman," Franks was in a perfect position
to monitor the activities of the DEA.
The other question begging to be answered is: who at the CIA Control in
Washington (not their headquarters in Langley) told the CIA team in Wiesbaden:
"DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT, DON'T STOP IT, LET IT GO"?
It has been argued by apologists for the CIA that the Agency didn't stop
the bombing because it didn't want to compromise its hostage-rescue mission
— an operation being run by the Octopus in collusion with Monzer
al-Kassar. Essentially, we are asked to accept the idea that the CIA was ready
to sacrifice the lives of 270 people so as not to risk the opportunity to free
A more plausible explanation is that the Octopus didn't want to
compromise its profitable drug and gun running operation — an operation
that traces its roots from the Corsican Mafia, through the Hmong tribesman in
Laos, to the Mujahadeen in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and finally to the cartels
in Columbia and Mexico. It is an enterprise run by many of the same spooks that
ran the Cold War, channeling billions of taxpayer dollars into the
military/industrial establishment, while funneling thousands of tons of heroin
and cocaine into our cities' streets.
As intelligence analyst Dave Emory notes, "When federal intelligence
agencies in the United States decide to move in a particular direction —
or when a faction of them decides to move in a particular direction — they
do so when to move in that direction would scratch a number of different itches
at different levels simultaneously."
By passing on the travel plans of the McKee team to the Iranians, Franks
allowed Ahmed Jibril to bomb the plane, eliminating McKee and Gannon in the
process, and preventing exposure of the Octopus. At the same time, the Iranians
got revenge for the shootdown of their airliner, and the drug dealers kept
their operation relatively intact.
Using the Iranians as proxies permitted the Octopus to maintain
Describing how proxies or "cut-outs" are used in assassination work,
25-year DEA veteran Mike Levine said, "…when you say 'they wouldn't do
it,' surely you don't think that the Sicilian Mafia (to use an example) sends
out a couple of Italians to do a hit on a U.S. Attorney that they could link
directly back? No, absolutely not. What they might do is use what's left of
[August] Record's organization (a drug dealer in South America), they might
talk to an Italian who lives in Paraguay or Monte Madeo, he then talks to the
son of a German who lives in Paraguay. An arrangement is made. They want them
hurt. This organization finds out that this guy's wife is flying on a plane.
Not that that's happened. I'm giving you a scenario… that's the way
it's done. We're living in a world where murder has become very, very
high-tech, very convoluted, with cut-outs…
"TWA, Pan Am 103 — this is the perfect M.O. of this organization,"
adds Levine. "Not that they (Ricord) did it, but when they did things, there
was no way it would ever go back to them, because they would do it for someone
In the case of Pan Am 103, it appeared that the Octopus was more
interested in covering up its involvement with drug smugglers than in securing
the release of American hostages. And it was willing to sacrifice 270 lives to