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David Guyatt
02-26-2009, 02:42 PM
I love the MSM. Note from the below story that Monzer Al-Kassar's unique history of involvement with Oliver North's "Enterprise" in the Iran-Contra affair is not even hinted at. Nor allegations that he was a CIA asset. Nor his involvement with BCCI. Nor his involvement in the Lockerbie bombing.

Big Bro prefers to wipe clean away those blemishes on the body politic. But read on.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7909411.stm

Arms dealer jailed for 30 years
A Syrian-born arms dealer has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for conspiring to sell millions of dollars of weapons to Colombian rebels.

A New York court found Monzer al-Kassar guilty of masterminding sales of arms, including surface-to-air missiles and grenade launchers to left-wing rebels.

Prosecutors said he knew Farc rebels would use them against US operations aimed at disrupting the cocaine trade.

His Chilean associate Luis Felipe Moreno Godoy was sentenced to 25 years.

Al-Kassar, 63, lived in Spain and was known as the "prince of Marbella" for his lavish lifestyle.

During his trial, he was described as one of the world's most prolific arms dealers.

He and Godoy were caught in a sting operation by undercover intelligence officers who posed as Farc contacts and filmed the operation.


It's a tragedy that a person as intelligent has spent so much of his life in activities that were certainly not calculated to advance the human race
Judge Jed Rakoff
US District judge Jed Rakoff said al-Kassar, who was convicted in November, was a "sophisticated person," motivated by money.
He said the pair agreed to sell "huge quantities of serious weapons to what they believed was a terrorist organisation who would use these weapons, amongst other things, to kill Americans and wreak havoc."

In a bid for leniency from the judge, al-Kassar said he was not "against Americans, America or against any other kind of nations."

He also quoted Jesus, the Koran and an old Arabic poem, Reuters news agency reported.

His defence lawyers had said he was a legitimate arms dealer, and had passed on information to Spanish authorities as an informant.

But Judge Rakoff called al-Kassar "a man of many faces".

"It's a tragedy that a person as intelligent has spent so much of his life in activities that were certainly not calculated to advance the human race."

Previously, the US Embassy in Madrid has said that since the 1970s al-Kassar sold weapons to the Palestinian Liberation Front and clients in Nicaragua, Bosnia, Croatia, Iran, Iraq and Somalia.

In 2006, he was named by the Iraqi government as one of its most wanted men for allegedly helping to arm insurgents. A UN report meanwhile called him an "international embargo buster".

He was acquitted in 1995 of supplying arms that were used in the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship off the coast of Egypt, which resulted in the death of an American, Leon Klinghoffer.

***

http://aconstantineblacklist.blogspot.com/2009/02/monzer-al-kassar-iran-contra.html

Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Monzer Al-Kassar & Iran Contra
Also see: "U.S. Senate Investigation Into the Bank for Credit and Commerce International"

"Mr. Kassar would get a 'pass' by the US on his narcotics trafficking in the region ..."

Excerpt: "Monzer al-Kassar and Transnational Terrorism"
ajacksonian.blogspot.com
10 JUNE 2007

... A lovely snippet on the ability of Mr. Kassar to influence folks that should be arresting him is described with this:
The primary example here is Al Kassar who, for example, closed a deal with the French government. While being sentenced to eight years in Paris, he negotiated without any problem with the French authorities and several opportunities to arrest Al Kassar were ignored.

So much for this 'rule of law' concept! Yes he could, indeed, influence people and he could help the French... if they would just ship some arms to Iran. Such a good deal! How could the CIA pass that up? Well, from what we see in the Iran/Contra business, it didn't.

Thus comes in Ollie North, Richard Secord and a lively crew of folks looking to purloin some weapons, get some cash, free some hostages and get arms to the Contras all in a few easy steps. They would set up a business they called the 'Enterprise' and it would work with an international arms dealer who had a direct line to Iran: Mr. Monzer al-Kassar. Mr. Kassar had moved offices to Poland so as to avail himself of Soviet bloc arms, which were a bit cheaper and easier to sell than Western ones. So the 'Enterprise' would look to get a ship to do the go between work, owned by a Portugese company: Defex.

So now a bit from Chapter 8 of the Walsh Report on Iran/Contra:
Phases V-VII of the Contra Arms Sales (March-June 1986)

Between February 27 and May 23, 1986, the Enterprise paid Defex Portugal about $860,000 for contra weapons. Weapons were delivered to Central America in March, April and May in three shipments. CSF books show profit distributions between April and June, numbered Phases V through VII, totaling $550,471. In addition, there was an unnumbered distribution of $37,277 on June 20, 1986, resulting from the Phase VII shipment.

The Undelivered Shipment and Distribution (July-September 1986)

In July 1986, the Enterprise paid Defex (Portugal) $2.6 million and $500,000 to another dealer, Monzer Al Kassar, for contra weapons. In late July, a shipment of arms left Portugal for Central America aboard the recently acquired Enterprise freighter, the Erria.8 According to Thomas Parlow, the Erria's Danish shipping agent, the freighter was carrying arms picked up in Poland and Portugal.9

8 Clines, Hakim and William Haskell, an associate of North, traveled to Copenhagen in April 1986 to purchase for approximately $320,000 the Erria, which the Enterprise had leased a year earlier for a weapons shipment to the contras. The ship was purchased by the Enterprise in the name of Dolmy Business Inc., a Panamanian shell company. Thomas Parlow became the Erria's Danish shipping agent. According to Parlow, Hakim would telephone Parlow to direct movement of the ship, and Parlow would communicate those directions to the ship's captain. (Parlow, FBI 302, 3/5/87, pp. 2-3.)

9 Ibid., p. 3.

As the Erria was nearing Bermuda, Parlow, acting on instructions from Hakim, ordered it to slow its speed and await further instructions. Clines then directed the ship to work its way slowly back to Portugal.10 When it arrived in Portugal it could not obtain permission to enter the port. In this mid- to late-August 1986 period, Secord ordered Clines to try to sell the cargo or dump it at sea, according to Parlow. The vessel headed for Spain, where it remained anchored for two weeks.

10 The ship apparently was ordered back to Europe because it was to be used in an impending U.S.-Israeli venture involving Iran.

As the Erria made its circuitous journey, the CIA through a series of commercial entities arranged to buy the weapons aboard. According to CIA officials, they did not learn the identity of either the owner of the ship or its cargo until January 1987, when a newspaper article named the Secord-Hakim Enterprise as the owner of the ship and the weapons.

The CIA paid $2.1 million for the arms shipment, including shipping and handling costs.11 According to the private arms dealer who bought the arms for the CIA, he paid $1.6 million for the weapons. Of that, the Enterprise received $1.2 million, and the remainder went to Parlow or Defex, who worked together to re-sell the weapons.

And a bit further on we get a look at some of the cash amounts involved:
The Iran/Contra Diversion

Because of the commingling of Enterprise funds, it was not possible to determine precisely how much money was diverted from the Iran arms sales proceeds to the contras. After direct U.S. sales of arms to Iran began in February 1986, the amount of proceeds diverted to the contras that could have been proved at trial was $3.6 million. It probably was at least $1.1 million more.51

51 The $3.6 million diversion estimate does not include expenditures OIC could not provide evidence for at trial but were, in fact, contra-related, including: the purchase of a $200,000 Jetstar by the Enterprise for contra-related travel; a $500,000 weapons purchase from Monzer Al Kassar, who was not available to testify; and about $535,000 that was used to purchase, operate and insure the Danish freighter, the Erria, which was not used exclusively for contra operations.

Independent Counsel arrived at the diversion figure of $3.6 million by calculating the Enterprise's total contra-related expenses following the first direct U.S. shipment of arms to Iran in February 1986, less the amount of funds in Enterprise accounts specifically deposited on behalf of the contras. The Enterprise's contra-related expenses after February were conservatively estimated at $6.7 million. The amount deposited for the contras was $3.1 million. Thus, the amount that was clearly diverted from the arms sales was $3.6 million.

North, in his testimony, attributed to Nir and Ghorbanifar the idea for a diversion of arms sales funds to the contras. In the Poindexter trial, although uncertain, he fixed the date in December 1985 or January or February of 1986.52 As early as November 14, 1985, North's notebooks show that he discussed with Nir a plan to obtain the release of the hostages by payments to certain Middle Eastern factions. The questions they discussed included: "How to pay for; how to raise $,'' and a possible solution was to set up a "joint'' Israeli-U.S. "covert op.'' According to the Israelis, North apparently told Israeli defense officials in a meeting in New York on December 6, 1985, that he intended to divert funds from the arms sales to the contras.

And, of course, Mr. Kassar was unavailable for testimony! Even more amazing is that he went from working for someone else to being his own operation just as this was going on. In exchange for doing this, Mr. Tijhuis cites a report that Mr. Kassar would get a 'pass' by the US on his narcotics trafficking in the region, thus allowing him to continue getting benefit for the deal above and beyond arms payments. ...

http://ajacksonian.blogspot.com/2007/06/monzer-al-kassar-and-transnational.html

That wouldn't be all. Far from it, Mr. Kassar would *also* be getting in good with BCCI and its ability to launder and transfer funds for illicit deals on a global basis. ...

Kassar OK'd Terror Arms, Feds Charge
BY THOMAS ZAMBITO
NY DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
November 5, 2008

A Syrian arms dealer agreed to funnel high-powered weapons to a terror group so it could slaughter American agents fighting the Colombian drug trade, prosecutors charged Wednesday.

Monzer Al-Kassar, 62, and accused accomplice Luis Felipe Moreno Godoy, 59, went on trial yesterday in Manhattan Federal Court for conspiring to supply Colombian guerrillas with rocket-propelled grenade launchers, surface-to-air missiles and thousands of machine guns.

Kassar "without hesitation agreed to supply them with everything they asked for and more," Assistant U.S. Attorney Brendan McGuire told jurors.

Prosecutors say they'll show jurors videotapes of overseas sitdowns between the defendants and "cooperators" working with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Kassar lawyer Ike Sorkin says his client is a legitimate businessman.
"There's nothing illegal about being an international arms merchant," Sorkin said.

Godoy lawyer Roger Stavis asked his client to stand and face the jury.
"He's not a killer and he's not a terrorist," Stavis said, his hand on Godoy's shoulder.

Stavis said the men intended to double-cross the cooperators by turning them in to Spanish police because they believed they were terrorists.
"It was a game of cat and mouse, but it was a game of cat and mouse by both sides," Stavis said.

In 1995, Kassar was acquitted of charges that he conspired to supply assault rifles to Palestinian militants who hijacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro.

tzambito@nydailynews.com
Posted by Alex Constantine at 8:54 PM

***

The below is extracted from Chapter Two of Lex Coleman's now pulped book "On The Trail of the Octopus". It was pulped after Lex lost a law case in the UK brought against him on a technical factual error by a senior DEA officer.

A free digital copy of the entire book can be download HERE

http://www.naderlibrary.com/trail.toc.htm

http://www.naderlibrary.com/trail.ch.2.htm

TRAIL OF THE OCTOPUS -- FROM BEIRUT TO LOCKERBIE -- INSIDE THE DIA

Chapter 2:

The agents couldn't tell him because they didn't know but it was about the terrorist attack that destroyed Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie.

Given a limited capacity for moral outrage and a steady diet of sanitized brutality in the media, people can show an alarming tolerance for atrocities that do not affect them directly. More die every day from 'ethnic cleansing' in the Balkans or from genocide in Iraq or starvation in the Horn of Africa than the 270 who died on 21 December 1988, when Flight 103 went down, but there was something so utterly desolating about that particular mass murder that almost everyone in the Western world felt they were affected. Just as the whole Muslim world had felt affected earlier in July when 290 pilgrims on an Iranian Airbus died in the twinkling of a SAM from the USS Vincennes.

Perhaps it was because the victims were so completely unprepared. It was just before Christmas -- a season, if not always of goodwill, then at least of less ill will. A sentimental time, with people more open, more vulnerable. Traditionally, a time for families to reunite and celebrate their children and remind themselves of what life is all about -not for families to be savagely torn apart and the bodies of their children strewn across the ground.

The young people who boarded Flight 103 were in high spirits. Thirty-five of them were students of Syracuse University looking forward to getting home for Christmas, and the mood was infectious. Even before Captain James MacQuarrie lifted the 747 off from Heathrow's runway 27L at 18.25 hours, they had a party going. The holidays had begun.

Half an hour into the flight, just north of Manchester, the Maid of the Seas leveled off at 31,000 feet, preparing to swing out over the Atlantic on the long great circle route across the ocean. Drinks were being served. Passengers moved about in the cabin, although when seated they had been advised to keep their seatbelts on because of some light turbulence. Mothers settled their babies. People eased off their shoes, making themselves more comfortable. When would dinner be served? What was the movie? Warm and enclosed against the night, no one could have known their last minutes were draining away. No one was ready.

The bomb went off in the cargo hold a few seconds before 19.03.

Everybody would have heard it. Though only a small bomb, it punched a hole in the fuselage and put out the lights. Then they would have known -just a fraction before the shock waves, the explosive decompression and an airspeed of 500 miles per hour wrenched the aircraft to pieces.

All alone in the dark, as a shrieking, roaring wind stripped the cabin bare, then they would have known, those who were still alive. Whirled out into the frozen void, lungs bursting, then they would have known.

Six miles up and falling through space, the actual stuff of nightmare, then they would have known, those still aware. It would be two to three minutes yet before the earth received them ...

It was a terrible way to die.

The victims on the ground were even less prepared. Far below in Lockerbie, the streets were quiet, spangled with colored lights from Christmas trees in front-room windows. Families were sitting down to an evening meal or watching television, relaxing after the day ...

Scything out of the night sky, the wings of the aircraft, loaded with a hundred tons of fuel, exploded on impact at the end of Sherwood Crescent, cremating 11 people in an awesome orange fireball that rose slowly to a thousand feet.

Death had never been more arbitrary, nor any crime more wicked.

The truth about Flight 103 will probably never be known in all its particulars. Too many people have tampered with the evidence. Too many people have lied about it or stayed silent. Too much remains hidden behind the cloak of national security and legal privilege. Even the facts that are not in dispute have been used to support theories at total variance from one another, according to the degree of culpability to be concealed or the political requirements of the governments concerned.

But if the whole truth is never likely to he known, enough of it has emerged from the fog of lies and evasion to point a finger at those responsible. And there may still be other witnesses who, like Lester Coleman at the time of his arrest, have yet to realize that they hold a piece of the evidence, pinning the guilt down more precisely.

It is now widely accepted that the sequence of events leading to the Lockerbie disaster began on 3 July 1988, in the Persian Gulf. While sailing in Iranian territorial waters, the US Aegis-class cruiser Vincennes somehow mistook a commercial Iranian Airbus that had just taken off from Bandar Abbas airport for an Iranian F14 fighter closing in to attack and shot it down, killing all 290 passengers on board, most of them pilgrims on their way to Mecca.

Predictably, the United States government not only sought to excuse this blunder but lied to Congress about it, lied in its official investigation of the incident, and handed out a Commendation Medal to the ship's air-warfare coordinator for his 'heroic achievement'. (Although he earned nothing but notoriety for the kill, the cruiser's commander, Capt. Will Rogers III, still insists that the Vincennes was in international waters at the time, and that he made the proper decision. After being beached in San Diego for a decent interval, he was allowed to retire honorably in August 1991.)

The Iranians were incensed. Paying the US Navy the compliment of believing that it knew what it was doing, they chose to construe America's evasive response to their complaint before the UN Security Council as a cover-up for a deliberate act of aggression rather than as an attempt to hide its embarrassment. (They were already smarting from what they perceived to be America's failure to honor its secret arms-for-hostages deal.)

To reaffirm the power of Islam, and in retribution for the injury, the Ayatollah Khomeini himself is said to have ordered the destruction of not one, but four American-flag airliners. But discreetly. Not even the most implacable defender of an unforgiving faith could afford to provoke an open war with 'the Great Satan', particularly at a time when he was obliged to look to the West for technology and trade to rebuild an Iranian economy all but shattered by the long war with Iraq.

His minister of the interior, Ali Akbar Mohtashemi, was placed in charge of planning Iran's revenge. At a meeting in Tehran on 9 July 1988, he awarded the contract to Ahmed Jibril, a former Syrian army officer and head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), based in Damascus. Although Jibril later denied his complicity in the bombing, he was reported to have bragged privately that the fee for the job was $10 million. Unnamed US government sources let it be known that the CIA had traced wire transfers of the money to Jibril's secret bank accounts in Switzerland and Spain.)

Certainly, his terrorist credentials were not in dispute.

In 1970, the PFLP-GC had blown up a Swissair flight from Zurich to Tel Aviv, killing 47 passengers and crew, and had only narrowly failed to destroy an Austrian Airlines flight on the same day. The bomb malfunctioned.

Two years later, in August 1972, the pilot of an EI Al flght from Rome to Tel Aviv managed to make an emergency landing after a PFLP-GC bomb exploded in the cabin at 14,000 feet, injuring several passengers. And later on, Jibril's terrorist cell in West Germany succeeded in exploding bombs aboard two American military trains.

The group was known for the sophistication of its explosive devices. Bombs designed to destroy an aircraft in flight often featured a barometric switch that could be used, with or without a timer, to detonate a charge at a predetermined altitude -- and two such devices were seized by the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA), the German Federal police, on 26 October 1988, eight weeks before the fatal flight of Pan Am 103 left Frankfurt, en route to London, New York and Detroit.

Jibril had chosen Frankfurt as the target airport for several reasons. It was an important hub for American carriers, connecting with feeder airlines from allover Europe and the Middle East; the PFLP-GC's recently reinforced European section was already based in Germany, under cover of that country's sizeable Middle Eastern community, and Jibril knew he could count on the cooperation of local Islamic fundamentalists in Frankfurt, not least among the Turkish baggage handlers employed at the airport. Their skill in evading its security system had already proved very useful in promoting Syria's heroin exports.

After several more meetings with Iranian officials in Beirut and Teheran, Jibril sent a senior lieutenant, Hafez Kassem Dallkamoni, to Germany to team up with Abdel Fattah Ghadanfar, who, since the beginning of the year, had been stockpiling arms and explosives in a Frankfurt apartment. Dalkamoni himself moved in with his wife's sister and brother-in-law, who lived in the nearby city of Neuss, where they ran a greengrocery business.

On 13 October 1988, he was joined there by Marwan Abdel Khreesat and his wife from Jordan. A television repairman by trade, Khreesat was the PFLP-GC's leading explosive's expert and bomb-maker.

As Khreesat also appears to have been an undercover informant for the German or Jordanian authorities, or both, it is not known if he told the BKA about Dalkamoni, but the Massad, Israel's security agency, and the CIA certainly did so. Documents seized by Israeli forces in a raid on a PFLP-GC camp in south Lebanon pointed clearly to a new terrorist offensive in Europe, led by Dalkamoni, and a general warning to that effect had been circulated to all European security forces by the end of September.

Acting on this intelligence, a BKA surveillance team was watching when Dalkamoni greeted Khreesat on his arrival from the airport and helped carry his bags into the Neuss apartment.

The German police were also watching when the two men went shopping for electronic components on 22 October; when Dalkamoni arrived at the apartment on 24 October with a number of foil- wrapped packages delivered from Frankfurt by Ghadanfar; while Khreesat remained indoors on 24 and 25 October assembling four (possibly five) bombs in two Toshiba radio-cassette players, two hi-fi radio tuners and a video screen, and on 26 October, when Dalkamoni and Khreesat left the apartment, as though for good, carrying their luggage.

At this, the BKA moved in, arresting both men on the street, and over the next 24 hours raided apartments and houses in five other German cities, rounding up a total of 16 terrorist suspects. Two others, one of them Mobdi Goben -- another PFLP-GC bomb-builder more commonly known as 'the Professor', and the probable source of the Semtex explosive delivered to Dalkamoni by Ghadanfar -- were unfortunately out of the country.

Even more unfortunate, when the Neuss apartment was searched, three (possibly four) of Khreesat's bombs were no longer there. Nor was the brown Samsonite suitcase he had brought with him from Jordan. The BKA had to be content with the bomb it found in Dalkamoni's Ford Taunus -- 312 grams of Semtex-H moulded into the case of a black Toshiba Bombeat 453 radio-cassette recorder fitted with a barometric switch and time delay.

It had been assembled for just one purpose, to destroy an aircraft in flight. An urgent warning was accordingly issued to airline security chiefs throughout the world to be on the lookout for Khreesat's three (or four) missing bombs and possibly other explosive devices hidden in Toshiba radios. (Months later, in April 1989, two of Khreesat's missing bombs were found in the basement of the greengrocery business run by Dalkamoni's brother-in-law in Neuss. As if this were not embarrassment enough for the BKA, one of the bombs exploded while it was being disarmed, killing a technician. The other was then deliberately destroyed 'for safety reasons', thus denying the Lockerbie investigators possibly vital forensic evidence.)

The BKA had better luck at Ghadanfar's apartment in Frankfurt. Among lesser weapons, its search party found an anti-tank grenade launcher, mortars, hand grenades, submachine guns, rifles and another five kilos of Semtex. On the strength of this and the bomb found in the Ford Taunus, Dalkamoni and Ghadanfar were held on terrorist charges. Khreesat and the others, however, were released 'for lack of evidence' and promptly disappeared.

Still committed to Frankfurt as the best airport from which to attack an American passenger aircraft, Ahmed Jibril turned for logistical support to Libya, the PFLP-GC's principal supplier of Semtex. Dalkamoni and Mohammed Abu Talb, another key member of the European group, had already conferred at least twice with Gaddafi's agents in Malta, but they had yet to target a particular American airline.

The mechanics of getting a bomb aboard a trans-Atlantic flight were straightforward enough, given Jibril's connections in Frankfurt, but he faced a serious conflict of interest with the Syrian heroin cartel based in Lebanon. The PFLP-GC had no wish to offend Rifat Assad, brother of Syria's dictator, President Hafez Assad, and his associate, Monzer al-Kassar, who between them controlled the flow of drugs along the 'pipeline' from the Bekaa Valley to the United States via Frankfurt and London.

Al-Kassar was an arms dealer, armourer-in-chief to Palestinian extremist groups in the Middle East, including the PFLP-GC, and also, through Lt-Colonel Oliver North and former Air Force General Richard Secord, to the Contras in Nicaragua. In this latter capacity, he enjoyed the protected status of a CIA 'asset', and had intrigued his American sponsors hugely by acting as a middle man in the ransom paid by the French government in 1986 to secure the release of two French hostages held in Beirut.

Under intense pressure from the Reagan White House to do something similar to free the American hostages, the CIA, like the French, sought to persuade him to use his influence with Syria and the Syrian-backed terrorist factions in Lebanon, but al-Kassar was a businessman. In the business of selling heroin as well as arms. He would do what he could, but ...

The CIA understood him perfectly.

So did Ahmed Jibril, who derived a large part of the PFLP-GC's funding from the profits of Syrian drug trafficking.

He knew that neither Rifat Assad, a CIA 'asset' himself, nor al-Kassar, would wish to see their drug pipeline through Frankfurt compromised by a terrorist attack that would inevitably draw attention to the gaps they had so profitably exploited in airport security. On the other hand, he also knew that they could not refuse to cooperate without seeming to lack zeal in the cause of Islam. That would seriously displease not only Iran, but the powerful, Iranian-backed Hezbollah and its allies in Lebanon, who were hell-bent on revenge for the downing of the Iranian Airbus.

Towards the end of October 1988, around the time of the BKA's raids on the PFLP-GC in Germany, Mossad agents observed Jibril and al-Kassar dining alone at a Lebanese restaurant in Paris in an attempt to resolve the dilemma.

Neither could afford to be entirely frank with the other. Jibril was unaware of just how much protection al-Kassar enjoyed from the Americans and the BKA, and al-Kassar could only guess at the strength of what was left of Jibril's underground network in Europe. Unwilling to help but unable to refuse it, al-Kassar eventually promised to use his connections to get a bomb aboard an as yet unspecified American passenger flight from Frankfurt.

But the position was more complicated even than that. Besides the revolving-door loyalties of Assad and al-Kassar, another variable in this delicate equation of interests was the octopus factor. With the CIA's permission, playing one target group off against another in the hope of crippling both was standard practice for the US Drug Enforcement Administration in Cyprus, which otherwise had no scope to manoeuvre in the charnel-house of Lebanese politics.

Although the Syrian Army's occupation of eastern Lebanon had brought the region's drug trafficking under the supervision of Rifat Assad, the Syrian presence was deeply resented by the well-armed and ferocious Lebanese clans of the Bekaa Valley who had previously run their family enclaves like independent principalities. The Jafaar clan, for one, had been shipping hash and heroin to the United States for almost half a century, since the days when Lucky Luciano held a near-monopoly on supplies from the Middle East.

With family members settled in and around Detroit as American citizens, and traveling regularly back and forth between Lebanon and the United States, the Jafaars saw no reason why they should have to pay Syrian interlopers for 'protection', even if Assad and his partner, Monzer al-Kassar, had proved adept at negotiating with the Colombian cartels to expand the Bekaa's interests into cocaine and other drugs.

Unable to risk its agents in a war zone split between hostile Syrians, xenophobic Islamic fundamentalists and disgruntled Lebanese drug barons, the DEA could only exploit the friction between them as a means of slowing down the export of illegal narcotics that, in value, had come to represent about 50 per cent of Lebanon's economic activity. But even here the DEA was handicapped, for the drug-smuggling route that ran from the Bekaa to Nicosia, the administrative centre for the traffic, then on to the United States via Frankfurt and London, had a political significance of often higher priority than narcotics law enforcement.

To the CIA, the Assad/al-Kassar pipeline was both a bargaining chip in seeking the release of American hostages and an important link in its Middle East intelligence-gathering network. And to the US State Department, the narcotics industry was virtually the sole means of economic support for the pro-Western Christian factions in Lebanon, without whom the whole country would collapse into the hands of Islamic extremists.

Caught between the demands of police work and these other, political considerations, and often required to share his informants and facilities with the CIA, Michael T. Hurley, the DEA attache in Nicosia, was obliged to confer almost daily with 'the spooks' upstairs in the embassy to see what he was free to do before sorting out the practical details with local officials of the BKA and H.M. Customs and Excise, who naturally needed to know what the Americans were up to if Frankfurt and London were involved.

Narcotics law enforcement in Cyprus tended to proceed, therefore, on the basis of ad hoc agreements between an assortment of government agents with different agendas, reflecting local priorities, and, for political reasons, was aimed more at breaking up drug distribution rings in the United States than at knocking out their suppliers in Lebanon.

Virtually all Hurley was free to do, apart from compiling narcotics intelligence reports, was to organize 'controlled deliveries' of heroin to Detroit, Houston and Los Angeles with a view to having his DEA colleagues in those cities arrest the traffickers who claimed them. And the most reliable couriers he could find for that dangerous job were Lebanese or Lebanese-American informants who either faced 30 years in jail for dope offences if they refused to cooperate or who, like the Jafaars, hated the Bekaa Valley's Syrian overlords so much that they would do anything to get them off their backs.

These, then, were the arrangements -- validated as necessary by the DEA, the CIA, the Cypriot National Police, the German BKA and H.M. Customs -- that al-Kassar reluctantly made available to Ahmed Jibril.

On 5 December 1988, the US Embassy in Helsinki received a telephone warning that 'within the next two weeks' an attempt would be made to place a bomb aboard a Pan Am flight from Frankfurt to New York.

On the night of 8 December 1988, Israeli forces raided a PFLP-GC camp near Damour, Lebanon, and captured documents relating to a planned attack on a Pan Am flight out of Frankfurt later that month. This information was passed to the governments of the United States and Germany.

At around the same time and continuing until a final call on 20 December, American intelligence agents monitoring the telephones of the Iranian Embassy in Beirut heard an informant named David Lovejoy brief the Iranian charge d'affaires about the movements of a five-man CIA/DIA team which had arrived in Lebanon to work on the release of American hostages and which planned to fly home from Frankfurt on Pan Am Flight 103 on 21 December.

On 18 December, the BKA was tipped off about a bomb plot against Pan Am 103 in the next two or three days. This information was passed to the American Embassy in Bonn, which advised the State Department, which in turn advised its other embassies of the warning. (The tip possibly originated with confederates of al-Kassar in a last-ditch attempt to divert Jibril away from Frankfurt, or at least away from Pan Am, by promoting tighter security checks and a higher police profile at the airport.)

On 20 December, the Mossad passed on a similar warning, this time relating specifically to Flight 103 next day.

At 15.12 on 21 December, airport staff began loading passenger baggage aboard the Boeing 727 that was to fly the first leg of Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Heathrow. About an hour before its departure at 16.53, a BKA agent was said to have reported 'suspicious behaviour' in the baggage-handling area, but no action was taken.

With 128 passengers and an estimated 135 pieces of luggage, the 727 arrived at Heathrow on time. Forty-nine passengers, most of them American, then boarded the Maid of the Seas for the trans-Atlantic leg of the flight, their bags being stowed on the port side of the forward cargo hold. A further 210 passengers with baggage, beginning their journey in London, now joined the flight, but after the State Department's warnings to embassy staffs, the aircraft was hardly more than two-thirds full when it took off at 18.25, 25 minutes late.

At 19.03, when the bomb exploded in the forward cargo hold on the port side, the 747 broke up into five main pieces that plunged down on Lockerbie, scattering bodies, baggage and wreckage over an area of 845 square miles.

It was four days before Christmas - and perhaps only a coincidence that the Iranian Airbus had been blown out of the sky by the USS Vincennes four days before the feast day of Id al-Adha, the high point of the Muslim year. Had flight 103 left Heathrow on time, it would simply have vanished far out over the Atlantic, leaving little more than that coincidence to color speculation about who and what might have been responsible.

The day after the disaster, Lester Coleman was interviewed by Tom Brokaw on the NBC network's 'Nightly News' as an expert on Middle East terrorism. Although it had yet to be shown that Flight 103 was destroyed by a bomb, the media had assumed from the start that a Palestinian terrorist group was responsible, and Coleman shared that opinion.

The Libyans probably had a role in it, he told Brokaw, because they had a large cache of Semtex explosives and about 20,000 pounds of C4, its American equivalent, supplied by CIA renegade Edmund Wilson. They also had access to electronic timers and other components, and the necessary expertise to construct a sophisticated explosive device. For some years, he said, the Libyans had acted as quartermasters for terrorist groups around the world.

Coleman went on to suggest that the Iranians had probably inspired the attack and commissioned Syrian-backed terrorists to carry it out, but that part of the interview was not aired.

If Brokaw had asked him how they had managed to get a bomb aboard Flight 103, Coleman would have had to pass, because he didn't know he knew.

Peter Lemkin
02-27-2009, 10:50 AM
Mr. Oliver North should get about 45,678,905.67 years, by my calculations.

David Guyatt
02-27-2009, 11:14 AM
Odd really, because he hasn't served even a day.


North was tried in 1988 in relation to his activities while at the National Security Council. He was indicted on sixteen felony counts and on May 4, 1989, he was initially convicted of three: accepting an illegal gratuity, aiding and abetting in the obstruction of a congressional inquiry, and destruction of documents (by his secretary, Fawn Hall, on his instructions). He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gerhard A. Gesell on July 5, 1989, to a three-year suspended prison term, two years probation, $150,000 in fines, and 1,200 hours community service.
However, on July 20, 1990, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU),[7] North's convictions were vacated, after the appeals court found that witnesses in his trial might have been impermissibly affected by his immunized congressional testimony.[8] Because North had been granted limited immunity for his Congressional testimony, the law prohibited the independent counsel (or any prosecutor) from using that testimony as part of a criminal case against him. To prepare for the expected defense challenge that North's testimony had been used, the prosecution team had - before North's congressional testimony had been given - listed and isolated all its evidence[citation needed]; further, the individual members of the prosecution team had isolated themselves from news reports and discussion of North's testimony. While the defense could show no specific instance where any part of North's congressional testimony was used in his trial, the Court of Appeals ruled that the trial judge had made an insufficient examination of the issue, and ordered North's convictions reversed. The Supreme Court declined to review the case. After further hearings on the immunity issue, Judge Gesell dismissed all charges against North on September 16, 1991, on the motion of the independent counsel.

It helps to have friend in high places I'm told. :thrasher: