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British Intel Reports Critical of US Shoot Down
[Diary of a Vengeance Foretold] Part 9 - July 11, 1988
Ludwig De Braeckeleer (ludwig)     Print Article 
Published 2008-07-12 04:01 (KST)   

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July 11, 1988

"Facts are stupid things."
--Ronald Reagan, Republican National Convention

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The Sunday Times of London reported that a British intelligence report is "severely critical" of the US Navy in the downing of an Iranian airliner on July 3. The British report is based on radio communications monitored in the Persian Gulf.

The report says the regularly scheduled Iran Air flight left Bandar Abbas for Dubai almost on schedule. The airliner took off only three minutes late. Moreover, the Civilian airliner was on the correct flight path. Finally, the plane was climbing when it was downed.

As John Adams once pointed out that "facts are stubborn things," Pentagon officials had no immediate comment.

The Sunday Times said, "The intelligence report was based on conversations between the aircraft and air controllers at Bandar Abbas during the two hours preceding the downing of the Airbus."

The report also suggested that the USS Vincennes helicopter was flying into Iranian airspace.

Statement of Marlin Fitzwater

On this day, Marlin Fitzwater, the assistant to the president for press relations on US policy, has released the official statement of the president regarding the accidental attack on an Iranian jetliner over the Persian Gulf. The report states that the US will pay compensation to the families of the victims. No details were provided.

"Prompted by the humanitarian traditions of our nation, the president has decided that the United States will offer compensation on an ex gratia basis to the families of the victims who died in the Iranian airliner incident."

The report also criticizes both Iran and Iraq for the use of chemical weapons and urges the two countries to accept a ceasefire and to work out a settlement according to the guidelines worked out in UN resolution 598.

Nidal Group Hijacks the City of Poros

Terrorists associated with the Abu Nidal Organization (ANO) attacked the inter-island ferry City of Poros, in Greek waters. The attack seems to have been conceived as plan B for a botched bomb attempt in Athens during which ANO bomber Samir Kadar is rumored to have died, although some believe that he is in hiding. (His name will reappear below.)

The terrorists fired assault rifles indiscriminately and threw hand grenades into the crowd. Ten people were killed and 98 injured.

Authorities do not know the motivation of the terrorists. They speculated that the ship was hijacked either to prevent the extradition of an ANO member, Muhammad Rashid, or in retaliation for Operation El Dorado Canyon, during which the 18-month-old daughter of Libyan leader Gadhafi was killed.

Intelligence

On July 11, 1988, Jamilla Mograbi returns to Sweden from Cyprus. This would appear quite innocent if it were not for her background. Her two sisters were active members of the PPSF (Palestinian Popular Struggle Front).

Dalal died in Tel Aviv when a number of Palestinians attacked and killed people on a bus and were then in turn killed by Israeli security forces. Rashidi was jailed in Britain after throwing a grenade at the Iraqi ambassador in London.

Her three brothers' achievements are no less impressive. Mahmud, Mustafa and Mohamed Mograbi were also members of the PPSF. So is her husband Mohamed Abu Talb. In Ashton-Ferguson's book on Lockerbie, Talb appears on 82 of the 367 pages. Amazingly, that is about twice more frequently than the lone Libyan convicted of the bombing.

Also on July 11, Khalid Jaafar buys some flight tickets to travel from the United States to the Middle East. As we shall see, the young fellow travels a lot -- and he comes from quite a notorious family.

Khalid Jaafar died on Pan Am 103. He was sitting alone at the back of the half-booked plane when the bomb exploded. Khalid belongs to one of the most important drug-producing dynasties of the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. The family was already doing business with Lucky Marciano in the '20s.

After the Syrians took over Lebanon in '76, the family developed close ties with Syrian military intelligence, which in turn, was very close to the Syrian president. A US House report states that the family is a major actor in the smuggling of heroin and counterfeit dollar bills. Much of his activities in the months preceding the bombing remain a mystery to this day. Yet, some of his travels can be traced with certainty and will be described in this series.

On Dec. 5, 1988, an anonymous caller warned the US Embassy in Helsinki that a bomb attack on a US airliner was imminent. As we shall see, the details of the warning were astonishing. For instance, the caller named explicitly a Pan Am airliner coming from Frankfurt, and pointed the finger at the Abu Nidal Organization. For now, I will just say that the caller mentioned a person by the name of Soloranta. Samir Kadar just happens to have been married to a Finnish woman. Her maiden name was Soloranta.

Back to the Present

On Thursday, I reported that on July 8, 2008, a man who says he was an officer in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards also claimed that he was an informant for the CIA, under the codename Wali. Reza Khalili, an alias, alleges that he provided the CIA with information linking the bombing of Pan Am 103 to Tehran. [1]

His allegations regarding the Iranian nuclear program made me a bit suspicious. First, Khalili is quite wrong about the chronology of the events. Second, the facts that he correctly describes were already known from a document that was declassified by Rafsanjani in late 2006.

I thus e-mailed his interview to a former US intelligence agent with much experience in the Middle East. His answer, in no ambiguous terms, was that Khalili is a fabricator.
1. "Former CIA Agent in Iran Comes In from the Heat," July 8, 1988.

References

"Downing of Flight 655: Questions Keep Coming," July 11, 1988.

"British Report Said to Fault U.S. on Airbus," July 11, 1988.

City of Poros

--

Ludwig De Braeckeleer has a Ph.D. in nuclear sciences. Ludwig teaches physics and international humanitarian law. He blogs on "The GaiaPost."
©2008 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Ludwig De Braeckeleer

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