I asked de Villiers about his next novel, and his eyes lighted up. “It goes back to an old story,” he said. “Lockerbie.” The book is based on the premise that it was Iran — not Libya — that carried out the notorious 1988 airliner bombing. The Iranians went to great lengths to persuade Muammar el-Qaddafi to take the fall for the attack, which was carried out in revenge for the downing of an Iranian passenger plane by American missiles six months earlier, de Villiers said. This has long been an unverified conspiracy theory, but when I returned to the United States, I learned that de Villiers was onto something. I spoke to a former C.I.A. operative who told me that “the best intelligence” on the Lockerbie bombing points to an Iranian role. It is a subject of intense controversy at the C.I.A. and the F.B.I., he said, in part because the evidence against Iran is classified and cannot be used in court, but many at the agency believe Iran directed the bombing.
The Spy Novelist Who Knows Too Much — Robert F. Worthjan
As Professor Black reminds his readers on his excellent blog, there has been a persistent “rumor” that Iran paid US$ 10 million to the PFLP-GC terrorist organization of Ahmed Jibril in the immediate aftermath of the Lockerbie tragedy.
Quoting from “The Trail of the Octopus”, the post reads:
“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 $10 million. Unnamed US government sources let it be known that the CIA had traced wire transfers of the money to Jibril’s secret bank accounts in Switzerland and Spain.”
I have discuss this issue before (See Lockerbie & The Legend of The Iranian Payment ). Indeed, many in Media, Academics, Intelligence and Political circles have accepted as fact the story of a Iranian payment to Jibril as an act of revenge for the downing of IRAN Flight 655.
Gerard De Villiers
French writer Gerard De Villiers has even written a novel about it. In that story, Son Altesse Sérénissime (SAS) Malko Linge is tasked by the CIA to recover the proof of the US$ 10 million bank transfer. The CIA does not intend to formally use this evidence to accuse Tehran but plan to blackmail the ‘ayatollahs’ in giving up their nuclear program. Uncharacteristically, Malko’s mission end in failure and there seems no hope to ever recover the documents.
This alleged “payment” is indeed a subject of intense controversy at the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. as I found out. Former CIA Bob Baer told the SCCRC all he knew about this (and other) payment. On several occasions, Baer told me that the intellegince regarding this matter was “Class A”. On the other hand, Richard Marquise – FBI agent who led the US side of the Lockerbie investigation – told me that he had seen the evidence and that the money transfer had nothing to do with Lockerbie. [The novel was criticized by Frank Duggan and the Cohen family.]
Unlike SAS Malko Linge, I have found the paperwork of this infamous money transfer. Don’t you want to know? Read on!
Former CIA Bob Baer
Considering the importance of Baer’s allegations, he was interviewed by the SCCRC. Here is the main conclusion of their repport on this matter:
15.7 According to the submissions Mr Baer provided the following information at these meetings: The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (“PFLPGC”) and Talb both received substantial payments after the bombing of PA103. In particular Mr Baer had details of bank accounts showing payments of $11m to the PFLP-GC in Lausanne on 23 December 1988 and $500,000 to Talb on 25 April 1989 in Frankfurt. According to the submissions Mr Baer believed the payments came from Iran.
15.30 As with his claim about the meeting in July 1988, the Commission considers Mr Baer’s allegation about the payment to be inadmissible hearsay. More importantly the results of the Commission’s enquiries refute the allegation that a payment of $11m was made to a PFLP-GC account on 23 December 1988.
Well, here is the PRIMARY evidence of the US$10 million transaction. (Check the currency! And the US$ – Spanish Pesetas exchange rate in 1988.)
A transfer of 10 million did indeed occur on December 22/23 1988; not in dollars but in Spanish pesetas. It is a suspect transfer of money for a short period of time. Draw your own conclusion…
FBI Richard Marquise
Long ago, I asked Marquise to comment on the following information:
“Two day after the bombing, communication intercepts indicate that Tehran ordered their Ambassador in Beirut to pay Jibril Organization for the successful operation. The transfer of the money is recorded and Dalkamoni was in possession of the Paris bank account number when he was arrested.”
“I am aware of some of this – it is classified – but has nothing to do with Lockerbie or a PAYMENT”, Marquise told me on 02/11/2008.
Marquise is right about this. This transaction – and all other transactions to and from this account (and its many joint accounts) – has absolutely nothing to do whatsoever with Pan Am 103.
Also, the SCCRC found no evidence that Dalkamoni was in possession of the Paris bank account number when he was arrested.
PS: Account 20551
The account 20551 was investigated by the SCCRC.
15.36 According to DS Russell’s report, account 20551 was known to have been used on occasions for laundering large sums of money. His report also states the following:
• on 21 April 1989 $500,000 was transferred to account 20551 by individuals named Al Zein Zaki and Shihabi Omar Ali;
• on 24 April 1989 $490,000 was transferred from account 20551 to the Indosuez Bank in Paris and was returned the same day;
Again, the SCCRC found no link between these money transfers and Abu Talb.
New York Times: The Spy Novelist Who Knows Too Much ; By ROBERT F. WORTHJAN. 30, 2013
Trail of the Octopus by Donald Goddard and Lester K Coleman (1993 UK; 2009 USA), pages 15-16.
SAS : ‘Son Altesse Sérénissime (His Serene Highness) is a series of espionage novels created by French author Gérard de Villiers, featuring prince Malko Linge as the lead character. In order to finance the repairs of his castle in Liezen, Austria, main character Malko Linge works as a freelance agent for the CIA. The CIA sends him on dangerous missions all over the world.’ [Wikipedia]