Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…! [Chapter II : The Usual Suspects]

“I will never apologize for the United States of America, ever. I don’t care what the facts are.”

Vice President George H. W. Bush (August 7, 1988)

“The White House cover-up possibly forestalled timely impeachment proceedings against President Reagan and other officials.”

Independent counsel Lawrence Walsh

May 25 2020 – On November 8 1988, incumbent Vice President George H. W. Bush, the Republican nominee, defeated Democratic Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis. On January 20 1989, VP Bush became the 41st President of the United States. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

RELATED POST: On This Day — Zola : “J’accuse…!” (January 13 1898) [2020]

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RELATED POST: Lockerbie & Pan Am 103 Quotes

RELATED POST: Lockerbie — Overview & Timeline

RELATED POST: Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…!

RELATED POST: Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…! [Chapter I : A week in December]

Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…!

Chapter II : The Usual Suspects

When Pan Am 103 exploded over Lockerbie on December 21 1988, Bush was already deep-knee in a very serious scandal: the Iran-Contra affair. [1]

And now, on top of that scandal, Bush needs to bury the truth about Lockerbie and he must quickly find a suitable culprit for this terrorist attack.

In such a desperate situation, the recipe has always been the same. You try to use both problems to neutralize each other.

To understand how, and why, Bush picked the first suspects, you must understand the Iran-Contra scandal, its origin and the geopolitical consequences of that extraordinary affair. [2]

The Fuller Memorandum

In May 1985, Graham E. Fuller — National Intelligence Officer for Near East, including North Africa and South Asia [NESA] – wrote a Memorandum for the Director and the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence. [3]

This document eventually led to the covert sale of United States weapons to Tehran in what became the Iran-contra affair. [4]

At the same time, Fuller argued that the US should use Libya as a geopolitical punching bag just to show to the world that Reagan and Bush were tough guys.

Both ideas turned into major disasters and it is truly a miracle that Reagan and Bush escaped an impeachment!

On October 2 1986, the Washington Post published an extraordinary story written by legendary journalist Bob Woodward: “Gadhafi Target of Secret U.S. Deception Plan”. [5]

Under orders from the White House, the US Intelligence Community was planting false information in the US media regarding totally made-up Libya-sponsored acts of terrorism. [6]

On November 3 1986, the Lebanese magazine Ash-Shiraa exposed the Iran-contra scandal, a US operation, run directly from the White House, during which Israeli weapons were provided to Iran despite an arms embargo. [7]

The profit from these arms sales was used to fund the Contras in Nicaragua despite strict prohibition by an Act of Congress (the Boland Amendment).

Bush has always denied any knowledge of this operation. But ask yourself a simple question.

Who was most likely to run a complex intelligence operation directly from the White House: Ronald Reagan, the old cowboy from Hollywood, whose brain was affected both by age and Alzheimer, or George Bush, the former CIA Director? [8]

The Iran-contra affair was not just a major disaster for Bush, it was also a major embarrassment for the United States.

In the Middle-east, the credibility of the United States was simply shattered. [9]

How could Bush possibly regain credibility with countries in the Gulf that are important to America? A genius came up with a ‘great idea’… Read on!

Protection of Oil Tankers in the Persian Gulf

U.S. battleships were tasked to escort Kuwaiti tankers in order to protect these oil tankers against challenge from the Iranian navy. [10]

These ships are built to fight battles in the middle of the Pacific ocean, not to police the Strait of Hormuz. Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong…

On July 3 1988, Iran Air Flight 655 was shot down by a missile fired from the USS Vincennes under the command of William C. Rogers III. [11]

The incident took place in Iranian airspace, over Iran’s territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, and on the flight’s usual flight path.  All 290 people on board died.

Every expert on Iran expected  that “radicals and hard-liners” in Tehran would argue for retaliation against the United States.

Shaul Bakhash [12] — an Iranian-American historian whose publications focus on Iran — argued that these Iranian radicals and hard-liners would use the incident

“to reinforce their assertions that United States forces are in the gulf to do harm to Iran.”

However, Bakhash did not anticipate that the Iranians would actually

“ do anything against the United States as long as pragmatists like the Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Hashemi Rafsanjani, retain control of Iran’s foreign policy.”

Ali Akbar Mohtashami-Pur, the then Interior Minister and a hardliner who opposed Rafsanjani, swore that there should be a “rain of blood” in revenge.

The Grand Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri — widely seen at the time as Iran’s next supreme leader — said a war against the United States could not be confined to “slogans and propaganda campaigns.”

“A real war must be waged on the political, economic, cultural and military fronts,” Montazeri argued.

On August 7 1988, George Bush made the following statement:

“I will never apologize for the United States. I don’t care what the facts are… I’m not an apologize-for-America kind of guy.”

Former CIA analyst Kenneth M. Pollack wrote:

“The shoot-down of Iran Air flight 655 was an accident, but that is not how it was seen in Tehran.”

The ‘kind and wise’ words of George H. W. Bush did not help…

A few years ago, Abolhassan Bani-Sadr — the former president of the Islamic Republic of Iran — told me that Mohtashami-Pur had acknowledged in an interview that he had contracted Ahmad Jibril, the leader of the PFLP-GC, to bomb an American airliner, in revenge for the shoot-down of Iran Air flight 655.

Secret Meetings in Switzerland

Members of the Bush Presidential  campaign team have revealed that Bush was actually shocked by the ovation he received from the crowd for stating that, no matter the facts, he would never apologize.

At the time, Bush was trailing his opponent (Michael Dukakis) by about 10 points in the polls.

Having grasped the political value of the issue, Bush will go on to repeat, again and again, his stance on the tragedy.

But behind the scene, a very different story was developing…

In late August 1988, a meeting between US citizen Richard Lawless and Iranian negotiators took place at Glyon, near Montreux, Switzerland. [13]

At least, two other meetings occurred in September and a fourth meeting took place in early October 1988. [14]

Among the top Tehran officials, the Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Hashemi Rafsanjani, was alone to advocate a peaceful solution. Rafsanjani suggested that a condemnation by the UN Security Council would be sufficient. Why would that be?

In the course of these secret meetings, Bush and Rafsanjani came to an agreement. Bush would help Rafsanjani to gain power in Tehran, and both men would collaborate to ensure that the full scale of their involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal is never revealed.

But first, a revenge attack on a US airliner — sponsored by the hardliners in Tehran — had to be stopped. The time had come to tip off German Intelligence regarding a terrorist cell operating near Frankfurt.

PS — On Christmas Eve 1992, President Bush ended the Iran-Contra investigation by Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh. Bush pardoned all those involved, including Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, whose trial was about to begin. William Barr, Bush’s Attorney General at the time, did not oppose the pardons. In effect, Bush had found a way to pardon the only man the Constitution does not allow the US President to pardon: himself. [15]

Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…!

Chapter II : The Usual Suspects

Bits of History

It is my hope that youngsters — people born after the Lockerbie tragedy — will read this series. Few among them understand the Iran-Contra scandal. And who could blame them?

On August 26 2019, La Libre, one of the leading Belgian newspapers, published a piece written by BELGA — the Belgian national news agency — regarding the infamous Belgian arms dealer Jacques Monsieur. One sentence speaks volumes. [16]

“[Jacques monsieur] was sentenced in the United States in 2010 in a case related to the Iran-Contra case, which concerned the illegal sale of Iranian weapons to rebel groups.”

That is of course total nonsense! This short video from the History Channel is a good introduction to this incredible affair.

 

Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…!

Chapter II : The Usual Suspects

I wish to dedicate this story to the memory of German journalist Udo Ulfkotte, former director of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and author of the book “Gekaufte Journalisten”  (Journalists for Hire).

His book — finally available in English (Presstitutes Embedded in the Pay of the CIA: A Confession from the Profession) — denounces European media who write lies under pressure from the CIA.

Indeed, many journalists who covered the Lockerbie Affair were mostly acting as political presstitutes and stenographers for the US and UK intelligence agencies.

But let us not forget the few good men who were brave enough to expose the utter nonsense of the Lockerbie verdict.

“After writing about the ‘ravers’ who regularly turn up at lectures to claim that President Bush/the CIA/the Pentagon/Mossad etc perpetrated the crimes against humanity of 11 September, I received a letter this week from Marion Irvine, who feared that members of her family run the risk of being just such ‘ravers’ and ‘voices heard in the wilderness’. Far from it. For Mrs Irvine was writing about Lockerbie, and, like her, I believe there are many dark and sinister corners to this atrocity. I urge anyone who is aware of government lies over Flight 103 to come forward.”

Robert Fisk (English writer and journalist, Middle East correspondent since 1976 )

“The case of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi is an example of a system corrupted, for base political ends, by people who do not take your democracy seriously. He didn’t do it. No-one with a straight face thinks otherwise. I don’t think I’ve used the word too often before, but the al-Megrahi case is a disgrace.”

Ian Bell  (British Journalist)

“In closing arguments, the prosecution stressed the point that Megrahi could not have planted the bomb without the assistance of Fhimah – that both defendants were equally guilty, and should stand or fall together. Nevertheless, the judges elected to find one of the two conspirators guilty and the other one innocent, a split verdict that Pr. Koechler finds incomprehensible. It is however entirely comprehensible if we accept that the judges knew there was no evidence to convict either man but that it was politically imperative for them to send one of them down.”

Alexander Cockburn (US Journalist)

“The most likely explanation of the judges’ decision to convict Megrahi despite the evidence, or lack of it, must be that either (a) they panicked at the thought of the uproar that would ensue on the American end if they let both of the Libyans off, or (b) they were simply given their marching orders by high authority in London. English judges are used to doing their duty in this manner – see, for example, the results of various ‘impartial’ judicial inquiries into British atrocities in Northern Ireland over the years, including Bloody Sunday and the post-internment torture scandal – but we had hoped, ludicrously so in retrospect, that the Scotch were made of sterner stuff.”

Andrew Cockburn (US journalist)

“There is little doubt in my mind that the Libyans did NOT carry out the Lockerbie bombing.”

Paul Harris (UK Journalist)

“Exactly when everyone decided Libya was responsible for this outrage I can’t actually remember. Mr Gaddafi seemed to be everybody’s whipping boy at the time, so that could explain it. What I do know is that none of the journalists I worked with on the story ever believed that Libya was guilty.”

Arthur MacDonald  (Journalist)

“From the outset the Lockerbie disaster has been marked by superlatives. The bombing was the deadliest terror attack on American civilians until 11 September 2001. It sparked Britain’s biggest ever criminal inquiry, led by its smallest police force, Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary. It spelled the end of Pan Am, which never recovered from the damage to its reputation. The trial at Camp Zeist was the longest and – at a cost of £75 million – the most expensive in Scottish legal history. The appeal hearing was the first Scottish trial to be broadcast live on both television and the internet. Lawyers, politicians, diplomats and relatives of Lockerbie victims now believe that the former Libyan intelligence officer is innocent.”

Hugh Miles (Award-winning freelance journalist, author, producer and consultant specializing in the Middle East)

“Scotland sadly deserves its shame, disgrace and international condemnation. But certainly not for the reasons offered and repeatedly churned. The story of the Lockerbie events has been allowed to be drowned out by one version, promoted, if not manufactured, by US intelligence and repeated by our own prosecution service and our government, in denial of later revelation, who maintain even to this day that they “do not doubt the safety of the verdict against Abdelbaset al-Megrahi,” despite it being utterly discredited, in addition to adjudged a possible miscarriage by our Criminal Cases Review Commission.”

Steven Raeburn (Editor of Scottish law magazine The Firm)

REFERENCES

1)  In the evening of January 25 1988, Vice President George Bush and Dan Rather, the CBS News anchor, shouted at each other in a 10-minute interview about the Iran-contra affair on live national television.

Rather’s Questioning of Bush Sets Off Shouting on Live Broadcast — New York Times (Jan 26 1988)

The interview is worth watching even to this day!

On This Day — CBS Dan Rather and Vice President George Bush Clash Over Iran-contra Affair (January 25 1988) [2020]

2) On This Day — The Iran – Contra Scandal (November 3, 1986) [2019]

3) New York Time, 15 February 1988

“The study was instrumental in persuading some top-ranking Reagan Administration policy makers to begin considering covert contacts with Iranian leaders. It eventually led to the covert sale of United States weapons to Tehran in what became the Iran-contra affair.”

4) MEMORANDUM_1985_GFULLER — CIA Official website

5) Gadhafi Target of Secret U.S. Deception Plan — Washington Post — Bob Woodward (02 October 1986) — Elaborate Campaign Included Disinformation That Appeared as Fact in American Media.

6) For a detailed timeline, see:

On This Day — Gadhafi Target of U.S. Disinformation (October 2 1986 — Bob Woodward) [2019]

7) The Lebanese magazine Ash-Shiraa exposed the Iran-contra scandal.(03 November 1986)

8) Amiram Nir was a terrorism advisor to two Israeli prime ministers, and he played a central role in the Iran-Contra Affair. During the summer 1988 Nir told Bob Woodward (The Washington Post) that he was considering telling the full truth about the Iran-Contra story. But on November 30 1988, he died in mysterious circumstances.

After years of investigation, Nimrod Nir believes that  his father’s assassination was ordered by then U.S. Vice President George H. W. Bush.

Ronen Bergman — an Israeli investigative journalist, author and a senior political and military analyst for Yedioth Ahronoth — believes that Amiram Nir had evidence that George H. W. Bush was fully aware of all aspects of the Iran-Contra scandal.

See: Ronen Bergman on the Iran-Contra Affair and George Bush Sr.

9) Frontline Interview — Vincent Cannistraro

10) Operation Earnest Will (24 July 1987 – 26 September 1988) was the American military protection of Kuwaiti-owned tankers from Iranian attacks in 1987 and 1988, three years into the Tanker War phase of the Iran–Iraq War. It was the largest naval convoy operation since World War II. [Wikipedia]

11) Iran Air Flight 655 — On This Day — Remembering Iran Flight 655 (July 3 1988)

12) Shaul Bakhash — Shaul Bakhash is an Iranian-American historian in Iranian studies at George Mason University where he is a “Clarence J. Robinson Professor of History.” His publications focus on Iran and its history and politics.

13) I was able to communicate with one of the participants to these secret meetings.

14) The White House denied that Richard Lawless was on an official mission.

”There is a fellow named Lawless. He is over there. What he’s up to, nobody knows. But he doesn’t represent the United States. . . . He does not represent the Vice President or the President or anybody else,” Marlin Fitzwater, a spokesman for the White House, said in Washington

According to a former Government official, Lawless has worked in the operations directorate of the Central Intelligence Agency until several years ago. Lawless had served in the United States Embassy in South Korea in the years when Donald P. Gregg had been the C.I.A. station chief there. Donald P. Gregg is now the national security adviser to Vice President Bush.

15) Let’s Talk About George H.W. Bush’s Role in the Iran-Contra Scandal — The Intercept (December 7 2018)

16) On This Day — Reagan Approves Covert Arms Sales to Iran (January 17, 1986) [2019 Fake News Award]

Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…! [Chapter II : The Usual Suspects]

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