Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi, Lockerbie –
And The Lies We Have Been Told
On the 20th May 2012 the only person ever convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, died of cancer in Libya. Examination of contemporary events at the time of the bombing, the manner in which subsequent investigations were pursued, and the way in which the eventual trial (in 2000) of defendants Abdelbaset Al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah was handled, leads (ultimately) to some highly disturbing insights into the deceits that lie at the heart of “regime change”, and of “the war on global terrorism”.
ARTICLE | MARCH 11, 2014 – 5:19PM | BY TONY SHELL
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
On the 31st August 1987, and again on the 26th April 1988, troop-trains carrying US service personal were subjected to bomb attacks in Hedemünden, West Germany (fortunately with no fatalities). Those attacks were carried out by members of a PFLP-GC cell, led by Hafez Kassem Dalkamoni, operating from a base in Düsseldorf and Frankfurt. There is also evidence that, at that time, the Dalkamoni cell was involved in the smuggling of heroin from the Bekaa Valley region of Lebanon into Western Europe, via the Cyprus/Yugoslavia/West Germany trafficking route.
In late September 1988 a meeting (over approximately a two-week period) was convened in a PFLP-GC ‘safe house’ in Krusevac Yugoslavia. The purpose of the meeting was to plan a campaign to bomb civil passenger aircraft, and was hosted by the local PFLP-GC commander, Mobdi Goben. Those attending included: Hafez Kassem Dalkamoni; Abdel Fattah Ghandafar; Salah Kweiks; and Marwan Khreesat. Notably one of the attendees, the bomb-making specialist Marwan Khreesat, was in fact working in collaboration with the Jordanian intelligence service (GID) – an organization that has a close working relationship with US intelligence agencies.
Following the conclusion of that meeting, Hafez Kassem Dalkamoni made a brief visit to the island of Cyprus, before returning to Germany (arriving in Cyprus on the 4th October, returning to Frankfurt on the 5th October 1988). On the 13th October GID operative Marwan Khreesat flew into Frankfurt (from Jordan) to begin assembling the IEDs needed for the Dalkamoni cell’s aircraft bombing campaign.
The design of those IEDs was such as to enable each device to be concealed within commonly available radio or hi-fi equipment (including Toshiba-manufactured radio-cassette players). A characteristic feature of the IED electrical circuitry was that detonation would occur approximately 37 minutes, 52 minutes, or 67 minutes after the aircraft had taken off (depending on the choice of IED components).
It is known that an important meeting had been scheduled for the 28th October 1988 between the Dalkamoni/Neuss cell members, and the PFLP-GC head of ‘western region operations’ Mohamed Hadid. The meeting was to be held in Yugoslavia. Included in that meeting was an associate of Hafez Kassem Dalkamoni by the name of Habib Dajhani – a resident of Nicosia, Cyprus.
However, as it transpired, the Dalkamoni cell members were unable to attend that meeting.
On the 26th October 1988 the West German police arrested 16 members of the Dalkamoni cell. Subsequently all but two of those arrested were released without charge. Hafez Kassem Dalkamoni (the cell leader) and Abdel Fattah Ghandafar were both charged, but only in connection with the earlier train bombings – for which they subsequently faced trial, were found guilty, and served long terms of imprisonment. However nobody was charged with conspiracy to bomb civil passenger aircraft, despite the discovery of airline timetables, and explosives and a barometric arming mechanism for an IED. A key member of the Dalkamoni cell, Salah Kweiks (also known as Ramzi DIAB), was released almost immediately – enabling him to leave Germany on the 28th October to travel to (it is believed) Yugoslavia. The GID operative Marwan Khreesat was released (also without charge) approximately two weeks later.
The known activities of Salah Kweiks, both before the ‘Autumn Leaves’ police raid (26th October 1988) and in the weeks following, reveal the important role he played in the Dalkamoni-cell preparations for a bombing campaign against civil passenger aircraft. This is highly significant – given the considerable efforts made to conceal the fact that Salah Kweiks was an operative for the Israeli foreign intelligence service (MOSSAD).
What The Crown Office Sought To Conceal
On the 8th May 1987 a person by the name of Hafez Hussein purchased $5,850 in travelers cheques from the Societe Bancaire Arabe (SBA) in Cyprus. A week later, on the 14th May 1987, a Basel Bushnaq deposited those same cheques into an account at the Riggs National Bank (Washington DC). The importance of that event is this: the use by the terrorist Hafez Kassem Dalkamoni of the alias Hafez Hussein; the observations of Dalkamoni’s connections (and numerous visits) to the island of Cyprus; and the links between the Riggs National Bank and the CIA.
It is recorded that on the 15th August 1988, Basel Bushnaq met with FBI agents in Washington DC. Thereafter he continued to have contact with the FBI throughout the rest of 1988, and on into 1989.
In the course of the trial of the two Libyans charged with the Lockerbie bombing (of Pan Am flight 103, on the 21st December 1988), the Crown Office of Scotland chose not to disclose most of the 28 documents it held in relation to FBI information on Basel Bushnaq. In a subsequent letter to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC), the Crown Office asked the Commission to ensure that “his name [Basel Bushnaq] is not made public as a result of its [the Commission’s] investigations”. On three separate occasions the Commission sought to clarify why The Crown Office felt compelled to make this extraordinary request – however no response was ever received.
The relationship between the Riggs Bank and the CIA was not revealed until some 17 years later, as a result of US Justice Department investigations into money laundering. In February 2005 the Riggs National Bank was fined $16million by the US Justice Department after pleading guilty to violation of the US Bank Secrecy Act. The bank had come under intense scrutiny following reports that it had “overlooked tens of millions of dollars in suspicious transactions by Saudi diplomats and dictators from Africa and South America”.
Events in Cyprus and Lebanon
On the 21st December 1988, at approximately midday, two high ranking US intelligence officers boarded an aircraft at Larnaca Airport, Cyprus to fly to Heathrow. On arriving at Heathrow they transferred to Pan Am 103 for their onward flight to New York. Those two officers were US Army Major Charles Dennis McKee (DIA Chief of Operations, Beirut) and Mathew Kevin Gannon (CIA Operations, Beirut). These two senior US intelligence officers were provided with armed escorts for their journey home – by Special Agent Ronald Albert LaRiviere (US Diplomatic Security Service, Beirut) and Special Agent Daniel Emmett O’Connor (US Diplomatic Security Service, Nicosia, Cyprus).
One of Major McKee’s tasks in Beirut would have been to assist in the rebuilding of a US intelligence capability in the region, given that: “Successful defensive counterintelligence operations [by Hizballah] are documented as far back as the middle 1980s, when Imad Mugniyah disrupted United States operations involving Lebanese nationals working the Lebanese-Cyprus ferry lines.”
It was at this time that elements within USA Government agencies, in cooperation with Saudi-based arms dealers, were involved in supplying weapons to radical Islamic groups within the region, ostensibly to curry favour with such groups in an effort to secure the release of US hostages within Beirut and the Bekaa Valley.
It was also at this time that the regional implementation of a global strategy was emerging – involving an alliance between the USA, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Turkey This strategy included the destabilization of secular Arab states as a means of introducing fundamentalist Islamic regimes (so called “regime change”). The purpose was to incite civil war, to encourage separatist movements, and to effectively destroy the political and economic power (and independence) of targeted countries.
In regard to Lebanon, this strategy included inciting conflict between (and within) secular, Muslim and Christian communities. It included efforts to gain effective control of heroin production within the Bekaa Valley, and of the trafficking of that heroin through Cyprus (and Turkey), via the Balkans (principally Yugoslavia), into the heart of Europe. However that strategy achieved only partial and temporary success in Lebanon – not least because of the stabilizing influence of Lebanon’s neighbour Syria, with its essentially secular administration.
Despite that setback, the US/Saudi/Israeli alliance was to continue with the destabilizing strategy against other sovereign countries. Most notably it was used with considerable success in former Yugoslavia (Bosnia in 1995, and Kosovo in 1999), Iraq (2003), and in Libya (2012). It therefore should be of no particular surprise to see that strategy now being applied against Syria, with especially brutal enthusiasm.
Unfortunately we will probably never know to what extent Major McKee supported (or, indeed, was opposed to) either this emerging destabilization strategy, or the putative arms-for-hostages deals. At 18.25 hours on the 21st December 1988 Pan Am 103 departed from Heathrow for the 5-hour flight to New York. Approximately 38 minutes after take-off a bomb exploded in the cargo hold, destroying the aircraft and killing all 259 passengers and crew. Falling aircraft debris killed a further 11 people in the Scottish town of Lockerbie.
A Hidden Global Strategy
In October 2007 General Wesley Clarke recounted how, in late 2001, a Pentagon source informed him that US State Department goals were to “to attack and destroy the governments in seven countries in five years. We are going to start with Iraq, and then we’re going to move to Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.”
Perhaps even more significantly, General Clarke recounted a conversation he had had with Paul Wolfowitz in 1991, in which the then number 3 in the Pentagon told Clark: “one thing we did learn [from the First Gulf War] is that we can use our military in the region [in the Middle East] and the Soviets won’t stop us. And we’ve got about 5 or 10 years to clean up those old Soviet regimes – Syria, Iran, Iraq – before the next great superpower comes on to challenge us.”
It is a strategy implemented (to a considerable extent) through the use of private military companies (predominantly US-based, such as MPRI and DynCorp) – as well as local proxies including: extremist religious groups and/or political/organised-crime gangs (such as the Afghan Mujahadeen, the Nicaraguan Contras, or the Albanian narco-Mafia). It is a strategy that employs bogus ‘front’ companies and the global banking/finance industry (for destabilizing countries by wrecking their economies, by the financing of covert operations, and by money laundering). And in addition to the use of such proxies and bogus business corporations, there has also been the financing of CIA covert operations being increasingly provided by “private donors and friendly countries like Saudi Arabia and Brunei”.
It is a strategy closely connected to a global trade and trafficking of weapons, narcotics (principally heroin and cocaine), and people (including bonded/slave labour, and women and children for the so called ‘sex industry’).
It is also a strategy protected by lethal force (including targeted assassinations, and ‘assisted’ suicides). And, not surprisingly, disinformation and ‘false flag’ operations have been, and continue to be, used extensively, to the advantage of that strategy.
Successful operations have included Yugoslavia and Iraq. Unsuccessful operations (so far) include Russia, Lebanon, Syria and Iran.
The Strategy As Applied to Yugoslavia
As early as 1990 (some ten years before the Kosovo war) the CIA issued an internal memorandum predicting: “The Balkan region will be particularly susceptible to ethnic terrorism”. For those intent on the dismemberment and destruction of sovereign nations, it was an opportunity not to be missed.
Significant US military involvement in the Bosnia conflict began in the period late 1994 to the beginning of 1995. It was to be predominantly in the form of covert operations by the intelligence services (CIA and DIA activities in Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia) – and in a massive supply of arms and military training provided to the Muslim Bosniac Army by Washington-based private military companies.
The funding for that US involvement in Bosnia was provided by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Brunei, and Malaysia. From information inadvertently revealed by a director of the DIA, it is now known that payments received by private military companies in the 1990s from the US Treasury (on the authorisation of the US State Department, for their work in Croatia and Bosnia) originated from the coffers of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, and several far eastern countries.
It was that military intervention that made possible ‘Operation Storm’, and the expulsion of up to 200,000 ethnic Serbians from the Krajina region by the Croat and Muslim Bosniac armies, in August 1995. This was both a crime against humanity and a war crime, the purpose of which was described in an indictment by the ICTY, in February 2004: “the forcible and permanent removal of the Serb [ethnic, Christian Orthodox] population from the Krajina region, including by the plunder, damage and outright destruction of the property of the Serb population, so as to discourage or prevent members of that population from returning to their houses and resuming habitation.”
On the 28th October 1997 a US Naval Reserve ship, the MV ‘American Condor’ made one of the last of a series of secret shipments of heavy weaponry to the Muslim Bosniac Army, at the Croatian port of Ploce. Included in that shipment were a large number of 155 millimetre Howitzers (artillery) and armoured personnel carriers. This was a part of the final phase of the conversion of that particular region of (the former) Yugoslavia into an Islamic state.
The end-purpose was to enable terrorist groups, such as Al-Gama’at al-Islamiyya, establish an effective presence in the most unstable and volatile regions of Europe.
Kosovo – What We Mustn’t Know
In April 2012 the US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, warmly welcomed the Prime Minister of Kosovo to Washington, with these words: “It’s a great pleasure for me to welcome Prime Minister Thaçi back to Washington and here to the State Department. The prime minister has shown great leadership, and he has helped to promote democracy, stability, and the rule of law in Kosovo.”
A secret KFOR/NATO report, prepared in 2004, examined the past relationship between the Prime Minister Mr. Hashim Thaçi, and his personal aide/secretary Mr. Xhavit Haliti. Of particular note are the numerous allegations, contained within that KFOR/NATO report, of Xhavit Haliti’s powerful position within serious organised crime in Albania and Kosovo – of (for example) his “being involved in criminal activities such as prostitution, weapons and drug smuggling”.
That secret KFOR/NATO report included the observations that: “Mr. Haliti is known as being the political and financial adviser for Hashim Thaçi; of having been a close associate of both the former Prime Minister of Albania Fatos Nano and the (then) head of the Albanian Secret Service Fatos Klosi; and of having been the head of logistics for UCK/PDK/KLA. The report also linked Xhavit Haliti to the murders of two of his rivals for local KLA leadership, Illr Konuscheviki and Hamed Krasniqi – as well as the gruesome murder of a Tirana-based newspaper reporter, Ali Uka.
Therefore of particular interest are the allegations, contained within the KFOR/NATO report, that: “Xhavit Haliti with Fatos Nano (former Prime Minister of Albania) were in charge of destabilising the area before the Kosovo conflict started and they are supporters of Greater Albania”. As early as March 2000, Mr. Jiri Dienstbier, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, delivered an official report to the UN in which he stated that: “What the KLA [Kosovo Liberation Army] is doing in Kosovo has nothing to do with retaliation for what Serb authorities did. It is about the realization of a plan of ethnic cleansing, for destabilization of the entire region and creation of a Greater Albania”.
The KFOR/NATO report contained observations that the ‘Greater Albania’ project has been able to draw upon considerable support from within the United States of America: “Haliti can also rely on the financial support of the ‘American Albanian Civil League’, which is the American Albanian emigrants agency for the support of the ‘Greater Albanian project in the USA”. These observations were backed up by a later, secret report of the West German intelligence agency, the BND.
In December 2010 the Council of Europe member Mr. Dick Marty presented a report to the Council on: ‘Inhuman Treatment of People and Illicit Trafficking in Human Organs in Kosovo’ which included the observation: “The combined influence of [Shaip] Muja and [Kadri] Veseli [alias ‘Luli’] in this regard endured through the transitional phase of the Kosovo Protection Corps; both men were central to the design of the intelligence structures and strategic decision-making mechanisms inside the PDK party. Among the external parties they are reported to have engaged are members of the Albanian secret services, American private military and security companies, and Israeli intelligence experts”.
The significance of this is that the KFOR/NATO report of 2004 had already reported Shaip Muja to have been closely connected to Xhavit Haliti – and had also identified Kadri Veseli (alias ‘Commander Luli’) as having been “very strongly associated” with Hashim Thaçi.
The report also connected Xhavit Haliti to Islamic groups within Albania that have “a very close relation with the Islamic Jihad and the Turkish Islamic extremists”. Given that connection to Islamic extremism, it is especially interesting to find within a secret report by the German Intelligence Service (BND) an observation that: “[Xhavit] Haliti is thought to maintain contacts with the Israeli secret service MOSSAD”.
We therefore have reliable, authenticated evidence for the deliberate destabilizing of a sovereign European country through the joint efforts of: US-based private military and security companies; senior Albanian politicians; the Israeli intelligence services; radical Islamists; and extreme Islamist groups based in Turkey. Such activities were the precursors to a viscous war (between Muslims and Orthodox Christians) in one of the most volatile regions of Europe. The intervention in Kosovo by NATO in 1999 gave, in effect, an endorsement to the activities of the Albanian narco-Mafia and Islamic jihadists.
In January 2007 the IEP, acting under the auspices of The European Commission, produced a secret report for the BMVg (The German Federal Ministry of Defence). The IEP report contained recommendations on future EU development as a result of ‘lessons learned’ following the Balkans (Kosovo) conflict. In particular, the IEP looked at the growth of organised crime (of the trafficking of people, drugs and weapons, and the incitement of violent conflict between ethnic groups) following the military intervention by NATO in Kosovo/Serbia in 1999 – and especially the inability of the UNMIK and KFOR agencies to cope with the rapidly emerging (and supposedly unanticipated) state of lawlessness.
Most notably the IEP also reported on a major effort by the Washington-based US political/military establishment for the militarization of the entire Kosovo region, contrary to UN resolution 1244. That process included the arming and training of former KLA terrorists, and the use of US-based private military companies closely connected to the Pentagon. The IEP report includes observations on “the existence of secret CIA detention facilities in the grounds of Camp Bondsteel”). Camp Bondsteel is a major US military base situated in central Kosovo – and only made possible by the extraordinary US/NATO intervention in the region.
An Accelerating and Intensifying Process
All the available evidence indicates that the efforts to destabilize and subvert independent sovereign countries are being accelerated and intensified. The reasons for this are complex, but most certainly include the fact that that process is increasingly meeting effective resistance.
Therefore the expectation must be that destabilization efforts will be brought forward, military intervention will be more quickly resorted to and more ruthlessly applied, and disinformation and propaganda activities (including ‘false flag’ atrocities) will be further intensified.
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