PAN AM 103: WHAT REALLY HAPPENED?
By Stewart Nicol
21 Years on the investigation needs to get underway
A cold case is one which has not been investigated for several years and in the case of 270 murders there is no time limit. Although the powers that be have managed to stop the appeal the truth on this case must come out if we want to put an end to further terrorist attacks. Pan Am 103 was destroyed in the skies above Lockerbie, in the south west of Scotland. What happened that night? Who did the dark deed? Why were two governments more interested in covering up the truth than finding it? These are all questions so far unanswered.
One of the ways to understand what is happening around the time that the Pan Am flight went out of the skies is to understand the politics which are taking place at the time in the world. In the late eighties the U.S.A. C.I.A. were doing their best to remove Colonel Muammer Qaddaffi from leadership in Libya. They had an unholy alliance with Al Burkan through their alliance to the National Struggle front for the Liberation of Libya. There had already been attempts on Qaddafdfi’s life including the bombing raid, from British Bases, by the U.S.A., which took the life of his fifteen month old daughter
Two years earlier the killing of Yvonne Fletcher, the young policewoman, in 1984 was thought to be a hit by the Terrorist group Al Burkan (the volcano) although it suited the U.S.A. and U.K. to blame Qaddaffi followers in the embassy. They were a secretive assassin group who attacked several loyal to Libyan leader Qaddaffi.
They were often funded by greedy Businessmen eager for billions once their people ruled Libya! The National Struggle Front of Libya was full of dissidents who did not like the Qaddaffi regime. They were even backed by the C.I.A. and trained by them in some cases. The German underworld provided guns and one documentary by Dispatches even spoke to the man who smuggled the “Walter PPK” into the U.K. that probably killed Yvonne Fletcher.
The shenanigans going on a la Iran Contra with Oliver North and his band of cohorts was also still active on various black ops. It is well known that Vincent Cannistraro was head of the anti Gaddaffi cohort and yet he is the one investigating PA103 so is it any surprise he wants to lay the blame there at Qaddaffi’s feet!
Another false theory I it was behind time. When PA103 left Heathrow it did not push off from the gate late at all. So it was never likely to blow up over the sea as had it survived it would have flown farther north, not immediately west from Lockerbie. Its flight path was as far as Stornoway in the western isles before heading west!
The idea a bomb would be planted outside U.K. defies terrorist logic never mind any other logic. However, Maggie Thatcher was so determined to say it could not happen in U.K. she wanted the blame to be put on Germany or as conveniently later appeared Malta! Whatever blew apart that aircraft it went on at Heathrow, never in a month of Sundays would it have been introduced at Malta.
Terrorists targeting planes in that era sadly knew their trade and would place it on with the least number of stops. The Iranian interior minister at that time was Ali Akbar Mhotashemi who was a friend of Abu Nidal and indeed knew Ahmed Jibril of the PFLP-GC. An account of the meeting in Iran of Jibril and his gang is described in a document which appeared in the Jordanian Newspaper printed in London. It gave a detailed account of what happened. When you think that this appeared in 1989 and Tam Dalyell read it out to Parliament it is staggering, in the least, that any suspicion about the downing of the plane would be to do with Libya.
The whole newspaper account ended up in intelligence documents in the U.S.A. and that is the source of my copy a number of years later just before the trial.
A quote from this source is, July 8 1988, “It is almost 8 a.m.. The Mehrabad International Airport is crowded with passengers who arrived in Tehran about ten minutes ago. Aboard an Iranian plane originating in London. In one corner of the airport where influential guests visiting Iran are usually received unofficially, one can observe three interior ministry officials, as well as, Hamid Reza Naqqashan, the intelligence chief of the Revolutionary Guard and Mahmud Hashemi Rafsanjani the head of Syrian –Lebanon-Palestinian desk. At 8 a guard informs the Iranian officials of the the arrival of the special flight for which they have been waiting. ”
Later on it says, “..After about half an hour, Naqqashan is seen sitting in a private Mercedes. Next to him is the important guest, Ahmad Jibril.”
The account is detailed and covers three pages two columns on each page. Each section is also dated and goes from July 1988 to 21 December 1988
That paragraph reads, “21 December – The American passenger plane crashed over Lockerbie. While and unknown group in Beirut called the Islamic revolutionary Guard claimed responsibility for the incident, the Iranian foreign ministry issued an communiqué in which it strongly denied reports alleging Iran was behind the incident. In Beirut, Ahmad Jibril received the final portion of his fee which totaled $10 million. In Larnaca, the Iranian charge d’affaires received Rashid Mehmet, who arrived in Larnaca on a German passport after carrying out his mission.”
These quotes are from document titled JPRS-NEA-89-043m  which includes other intelligence information on Egypt, Bahrain, Iraq and other Mideast area countries.
Why pay $10 million to Jibril if he is not involved in some way?
The USS Vincennes had brought down the Iran Air 655 killing 300 in the July OF 1988. It was likely that there would be a retaliation. The Ayatollah had seen the U.S. as the great Satan and this incident only went on to confirm their view.
Iran was well known for using proxy groups of terrorists for their own ends and it is worth remembering that once PA 103 went down an Iranian group the Islamic Revolutionary Guard claimed they had carried this out. Indeed the first CIA analysis suggests as much.
The massive destruction of the plane suggests, according to one expert I contacted, that at least 5 kilos (over 10lbs) must have been used to destroy the jet and that that material was close to the skin of the aircraft. Or possibly military quality munitions.
The 800 square miles tells you that the plane was ripped to pieces and indeed the severe damage to a number of the bodies underlines the fact of a massive series of explosions. The fact some bodies were ripped apart and others with horrific injuries is witness to the power and energy of the explosions. One Japanese passenger was identified from his hand – sadly all that was all that was left of him.
One pathologist told me a fingerprint from his kettle was the confirmation of his identity.
The idea that the plane dropped out of the sky at 31000 feet and fell in six minutes is what the report on the accident suggests and what the official story is said to be.
However, a perusal of the early accounts of what happened and a look at what eyewitnesses say to newspapers this is a falsehood. The first blast may well have been at 31000 feet, but the catastrophic explosions and break up happened at a much lower level than is said. One American newspaper quotes one person driving towards Lockerbie as seeing the shape of the fuselage heading for Lockerbie with out its cockpit. Other accounts tell of the cockpit landing spinning like a top! Farmers who lived locally felt the thunderous bang of the plane or rather part of the plane as it hit the ground. The fact that the Fire brigade in their report say that there was a kerosene mist in the air and a concern about fire around the town that tells you fuel may have been dumped a frantic fight to save the flight must have happened, just prior to the catastrophic final explosions, and demise of the “Maid of the Seas.”
The injuries that some people got were in some cases not fatal in themselves and it is even more shocking that a very few may even have survived the explosions and break up of the plane. Police said to me that some of the bodies looked as if they were just sleeping. Others were clearly very badly injured and some obviously fatalities. Another officer said what got to him was seeing an unbroken bottle of spirits next to the body of one victim. Some were still strapped into their seats which had been blown apart from the flooring of the aircraft.
A clear sign of high explosives were involved. To try to explain away the devastation throughout the plane a theory called the Mack Stem wave caused by the explosion is written into the Air Accident Report. Several mathematicians and a number of engineers have said to me off the record that the mach stem idea is rubbish and that is the polite word I have heard used!
William Eckardt’s lengthy article on Lockerbie in the Scientific American highlights a wide range of evidence never seeing the light of day in the court. Considering his wide experience and expertise and that at the time he had been the President of the North American Medical Examiners association, his eye witness accounts hint at a much lower level of fall to the ground. One air hostess probably survived the crash, but what happened to her. She was covered in a blanket by a local lady and help was sent for so why did she not receive it?
I know the lady in question was shocked to hear that there were no survivors. This victim according to the witness was still very shallow breathing, but had a little sign of life. The crack medical teams ‘helicoptered’ to the scene should have been there! Why was there a no fly zone immediately put up except for certain military planes?
When film scripts of terror appear there is always a baddie or large organized crime group involved. In PA 103 it is not so much a conspiracy as a conspiracy of silence. Everywhere there is disinformation a sure sign of cover up.
Otherwise why would two shades of political governments both sides of the pond seek to hide the truth or at least not want the truth found. Any crime needs a motive this one may have at least two. Firstly there is the revenge for the murder of 300 innocent Iranian victims en route to a holy celebration. Secondly and perhaps decidedly there is the CIA team returning with a scandal which would make Watergate look like a Sunday school picnic!
The choice of the revenge aircraft therefore may be more for convenience and that makes the truth an inconvenient truth. The second thing any crime requires is the means to carry out the crime. In the case of terrorists they are more than willing to kill innocents and they have the expertise of attacking planes or hi jacking them. The PFLP-GC led by Ahmed Jibril certainly took on what was called the “difficult task” by Jibril himself. To down a number of U.S. Planes. Abu Nidal, however, also was able to deal out terror attacks and was playing both sides as he was clearly connected to CIA black ops. In the end of the eighties early nineties period Abu Nidal was escorted around London by Metropolitan police to visit his BCCI bank in Sloan area. Yet according to one source in Germany an Iranian well placed to know he claimed that Nidal had alleged that he did PA 103.
He certainly had the means and a motive may have been given to him in the form of dollars! At that time the Hostages were in Beirut held by the Hezbollah headed by Imad Mugniya. Mugniya had close ties to Ali Akbar Mhotashemi as well as to Hizbullah in Lebanon. Indeed it was Mhotashemi who inaugurated the Hizbullah in the first place.
An arms for hostages deal was in the air at that time. Monzer Al Kassar who was the main gun runner for Ollie North after financier Adnan Kashoggi, had close ties to the CIA and also to Jibril’s PFLP-GC. Kassar was also lead drugs dealer in the Bekka Valley trade with Syria for drugs for Europe. Indeed he sometimes joked that his route was protected by the CIA. The route through Cyprus on to sometimes Frankfurt and London. Heroin was shipped by a mule to Detroit via New York on no less that the aircraft PA 103 route.
DIA man Les Coleman said as much in his book Trail of the Octopus and also to me in interviews by telephone. Coleman had met Khalid Nazir Jafaar who was actually a double agent working for the DEA. He was the mule aboard PA 103 and died in its demise. However, his drugs haul was aboard but not admitted to by the Crown Office. I know, the Farmer who found the drugs and called the police about them on a number of occasions, but they were spirited away by the CIA men on the ground. Indeed one local journalist was given a row for saying the CIA and Mossad were there. They wanted to know which sources had given this information. However, he never revealed them (quite properly protected them) even when they offered he could do so to the Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher face to face! He still declined.
So on that December night we can see on that plane some 243 people and 16 crew would meet their death in the surrounding area of the Scottish border town of Lockerbie. Among the passengers were at least 8 CIA personnel including Major Chuck McKee, Matthew Gannon, Daniel Emmett O’Connor, and Lariviere. There was a key figure in the controversial BCCI bank Mr. Robert Fortune. As well as Khalid Nazir Jafaar the official drugs mule (CIA / DEA approved). BKA in Frankfurt were monitoring this drugs move as were customs and excise in the UK and DEA in USA.
Pan Am airline was at that time in dispute over ownership. As the former Shah of Iran owned more than half the shares, the Ayatollah was seeking to take over the nations Flag carrier! So allegedly political expedience would rather see it go to the wall than hand it over. A motive perhaps for letting Iran get their revenge as doing so would result in the company’s bankruptcy. Better than letting Iran get their hands on it. Another possible motive is that it would be possible that if terrorists got one target in revenge it would be safer than admitting mistakes in shooting down Iran Air 655 commercial aircraft, earlier that year.
The more you dig into this story the murkier it gets. Why was the search for survivors not as high a priority as it should have been? Secondly why were there so many Americans in control of the area? The crime scene was looted too by thieves. Local police were disgusted at this pilfering and did their utmost to prosecute any found stealing. You can find a number of these cases which ended up in court. Including one red top journalist who sought to pilfer a fur coat!
So those who may have been behind the largest loss of life attack in Europe were certainly not Abdel Baset Al Megrahi of Libya. He became a scapegoat years later and one of the biggest victims as he spent over a decade in jail, his name ever linked with the atrocity. He sought to clear his name but due to a terminal illness and the unreal delaying tactics of the Crown office under orders of the U.S.A. lawyers like Murtagh! And dana Biehl the court only got started on the appeal. However five judges still have to rule on that section of the appeal and the crown office still have to drop their appeal of a stiffer sentence? That first phase of the appeal could exonerate Megrahi on the identification alone.
The case needs to be re opened and the links and real forensics followed up. The fact that a body went missing, the first swabs which indicated the existence of explosives with chemical traces of PETN and RDX were lost! Conveniently? The fact that anyone who diverges from the ‘Script’ is vilified or destroyed character and called a conspiracy the orist – which surprisingly instead of interesting journalists even more in the puzzle – they see it as a label to be avoided!
Strange that MI5 or 6 have bugged the homes of journalists who sought to find the truth and of the homes of victims’ families who seek the truth rather than seek to find the real perpetrators.
In recent years is it a coincidence that Mugniyah was assassinated, Kassar arrested and Mesbahi has been sidelined perhaps the more we look at the real case clues of PA 103 the closer to home the birds come to roost! I have no definitive answer My job here was to ask questions the closer I looked at the case against Abdel Baset Al Megrahi the further from Libya I went the closer to an uncomfortable truth I seemed to find pointing far from the Mediterranean coast and closer to terrorists such as the IRA, the PFLP GC or as Juval Aviv’s first report in 1989 suggested an inter terror group with the “Black CIA” as he described them.
Whoever did it should be followed up. If Scottish justice was perverted knowingly then a better class of prisoner should be in Barlinnie in what was called “Qaddaffi’s cafe!” For part one or two click below.
1- The Firemaster’s Report on the Lockerbie Disaster. The intelligence report JPRS-NEA-89-04. SECTION “Iranian describes PFLP-GC role in Pan Am Bombing. London Al Dustur 22/5/1989 [pp15- 17.]