“Late in October 1988 the German police in Frankfurt discovered a radio cassette bomb which contained barometric and timing devices indicating that it was intended to sabotage an aircraft.”
Paul Channon — House of Commons (March 21 1989)
“Marwan Khreesat and I had the first room on the right as you you come in the front door of Abassi flat and used it for work room for preparing the electronic appliances. Under my supervision and responsibility, Khreesat modified into bombs one Toshiba radio recorder, two tuners and one screen.”
Hafez Dalkamoni — Interrogation by German federal police officers (October 27 1988)
“I can not give you any further details regarding my involvement.”
Marwan Khreesat – Interrogation by German federal police officers (October 27 1988)
“On December 21, 1988, Pan Am 103 disintegrated over Scotland with 270 people aboard. Within days it was confirmed that the disaster had been caused by a bomb. Investigators later revealed that the device had been hidden inside a Toshiba radio-recorder that had been placed inside a rust-coloured Samsonite suitcase.”
Gavin Hewitt — The Washington Post (September 24, 1989)
“Armed with the intelligence on the PFLP-GC s activities in Neuss in October and the FAA Warning, the Scottish investigators on the ground, assisted by their American friends, were in no doubt that they were looking for the remains of a copper Samsonite suitcase which would contain a Semtex based IED concealed within a Toshiba Radio. The radio would be enclosed in a cardboard box along with an instruction manual. They even knew that the explosives within the radio would be wrapped in Toblerone type wrapping foil. In no time whatsoever they ‘found’ what they were looking for.”
Lockerbie Investigator George Thomson — Email to Intel Today (July 9 2016)
June 1st 2020 — The similarities between the facts recorded during West German Police operation ‘Autumn Leaves’ and the Lockerbie indictment are so striking that no reasonable person will accept that such nearly identical stories could have happened independently of each other just by coincidence. Indeed, only a child would believe such a fairy tale. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
RELATED POST: Lockerbie & Pan Am 103 Quotes
RELATED POST: Lockerbie — Overview & Timeline
RELATED POST: Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…!
Lockerbie — Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…!
QUICK NOTE — To make it easier for the readers to retrieve various chapters of this book, I have created a special page “Lockerbie” where all the links to the chapters will be listed with a brief description. You can access that page directly as it appears at the far right of the top bar of this blog. END of NOTE
Chapter III : Operation Autumn Leaves
On October 26 1988, German police officers arrested sixteen men in six West German cities at the end of a major anti-terrorism operation code-named “Autumn Leaves”. 
Marwan Khreesat, the bomb-maker of this terrorist cell had prepared several IEDs, including one hidden inside a Toshiba radio-cassette, which — according to various authors — has never been recovered. 
Some journalists such the late Private Eye’s Paul Foot and several Pan Am 103 relatives — including Dr Jim Swire and Reverend John Mosey among others — believe that it is too stark a coincidence for a Toshiba cassette radio IED to have downed Pan Am 103 just eight weeks after the arrest of the PFLP-GC cell in Frankfurt. 
It is certainly not a coincidence! Let us review the facts together.
Operation “Autumn Leaves”
In late September 1988, the Bundesnachrichtendienst [BND] received information from Israel regarding the presence of terrorist cells in Western Europe, including in West Germany. 
Whenever an intelligence agency wishes to pass a piece of information without being named as the source, the trick is usually to credit the MOSSAD…
But there is little doubt that the warning was sent as a result of the secret meetings held in Switzerland between representatives of Vice-President George H. W. Bush and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. 
VP Bush had very good reason to foil this plot in October 1988. Indeed, if under instruction from Tehran, a terrorist cell had blown up a US airliner in revenge for Iran Air Flight 655 in the context of the Iran-Contra scandal, Bush would not have had a snowball’s chance in hell of being elected President on November 8 1988. And the Iran-Contra investigation would have been far more serious.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command [PFLP-GC] — a Palestinian nationalist militant organisation based in Syria — was founded in 1968 by Ahmed Jibril. 
Ahmed Jibril enjoyed the protection of the Syrian government. Intelligence agents reported that Jibril had been assigned by Tehran to avenge the shooting down of Iranian Air Flight 655 by a US warship in July 1988. 
In the autumn of 1988, one the PFLP-GC cells — based in Neuss, Germany — certainly appeared to be gearing up for a major operation: the bombing of one airliner and possibly several of them. 
Hafez Dalkamoni — one of Jibril’s most trusted aides and a member of the PFLP-GC central committee — was sent to West Germany to organize the attack. 
While in Germany, Dalkamoni was living with his sister and her husband, Hashem Abassi, in the Arab quarter of the city of Neuss, east of Dusseldorf, on the Rhine river. 
With Dalkamoni identified as being in West Germany, German police decided to mount a major surveillance effort: Operation Autumn Leaves. 
Dalkamoni was often meeting Abdul Fattah Ghafandar — another member of the PFLP-GC — who had been sent to West Germany a few months earlier to run a ‘safe house’ in Frankfurt. 
Then, on October 13 1988, Marwan Khreesat — the senior bomb-maker of the PFLP-GC — also arrived in Germany. Like Dalkamoni, Khreesat stayed at the Abassi’s lat in Neuss. 
On October 22, Dalkamoni and Khreesat went to the Kaufhalle, a busy shopping mall in Neuss, and bought batteries, switches and glue. From the Huma department store they bought mechanical and digital clocks.
In the morning of October 24 1988, Dalkamoni brought to the flat two blocks of Semtex covered in aluminum foils and sealed with sticky black tape. 
Khreesat made several IEDs, including at least one hidden inside a Toshiba radio cassette recorder, similar to the twin-speaker model RT-SF 16 Bombeat that was used to blow up Pan Am 103. 
Before coming to West Germany, Dalkamoni met Abu Talb — a Palestinian terrorist living in Sweden — in Cyprus during the first week of October 1988. 
On October 18, Abu Talb left Cyprus for Malta where he stayed until then October 26.
While on the island, Talb bought a bunch of random clothes, including a baby romper-suit. Talb then returned to Sweden.
On October 26 1988, German police officers raided 12 apartments in six German states.
On that day, Dalkamoni and Khreesat returned to the Kaufhalle shopping mall. But, on their way, they first dropped Hashem Abassi at a friend’s house.
When Abassi collected his bag from the trunk of the green Ford Taurus car, he noticed a brown Samsonite suitcase.
When they finally arrived at the mall, Khreesat went to a telephone kiosk outside the Kaufhalle shopping center while Dalkamoni parked the car in Hafenstrasse, a side street.
After their arrest, the police found a Toshiba radio (with an IED hidden) in the trunk of the Ford Taurus. But, the brown Samsonite suitcase — seen by Hashem Abassi — was never found. 
When the CIA launches a disinformation campaign, their spooks make sure that the script contains plenty of real well-known events which they cleverly patch together in one incriminating story.
Then, these professional liars add some classified information only known to the Intelligence Community.
Some of this un-vetted ‘intelligence’ is often dubious while some may be true. Parts of these reports may later be declassified while some documents are ‘forever’ protected for National Security reasons or for the protection of ‘sources and methods’.
Finally, the spooks had just a couple of innocent lies to sex-up the story, and the script is ready to be leaked, bit by bit, to ‘friendly journalists’.
So let us try to write what the ‘CIA Script ONE’ may have looked like in the immediate aftermath of the Lockerbie tragedy. 
Lockerbie & The CIA Script ONE
Just days after the downing of Iran Air Flight 655 (which happened on July 3 1988), Hussain Niknam –the Iranian Chargé d’ Affaires in Beirut, Lebanon — invited Ahmed Jibril to the Iranian Embassy. 
A few days later, Motashami-Pur (the then Interior Minister of Iran), Ahmed Jibril and several representatives of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hizbullah held an important meeting in Tehran.
Iran ordered the destruction of Pan Am Flight 103 to avenge the shooting down Iran Air Flight 655 by the United States Navy in the Persian Gulf.
According to the minutes of one meeting obtained by a German Magazine, hardliners in Tehran agreed to pay Ahmed Jibril’s organization about $1 million in advance to carry out the attack. 
”We had advanced notice. The smoking gun came in July 1988,” Former CIA Bob Baer told me a few years ago.
”We had info that Iranian representatives of the Islamic Revolution Guards have signed an agreement with a Palestinian group [PFLP-GC ] to bring down a plane. The investigation data was superb. It couldn’t have been better,” Baer added.
Patrick Lang, chief of the DIA’s Middle East section at the time, agrees with Robert Baer.
Lang told this author that:
“The bombing of the Pan Am flight 103 was conceived, authorized and financed by Ali-Akbar Mohtashemi-Pur, the former Iranian minister of Interior.”
According to a declassified DIA MEMO,
“The operation was contracted to Ahmad Jibril for $1 million.”
An additional USD 10 millions was to be paid after successful completion of the mission.
According to various reports, Jibril’s organization did received $10 million on December 23rd, just two days after the bombing of Pan Am 103.
“I still agree with that. We felt quite sure that this was a PFLP-GC thing,” Lang told me.
British investigators told a BBC journalist that the bomb that destroyed Pan Am 103 was one of the devices built by Marwan Khreesat. This IED — known as the fifth device — was never recovered by German Police. 
The ‘primary suitcase’ is — of course! — the brown Samsonite last seen by Hashem Abassi on October 26 1988.
That suitcase contained Khreesat’s fifth device, in its original cardboard box, with the instruction manual.
Inside the Toshiba radio, the Semtex block had been wrapped in a aluminum foil. The rest of the suitcase had been packed with the random clothes bought by Abu Talb in Malta.
Just one last thing. How was that suitcase loaded on Pan Am 103?
Ten days after the Lockerbie disaster, several newspapers revealed that a Lebanese American called Khalid Jaafar had been duped as the bomb carrier. 
Indeed, according to PFLP-GC insiders and western intelligence sources, the IED was planted in the suitcase of Khalid Jaafar, a Lebanese mule in a heroin trafficking operation.
Khalid Jaafar boarded Pan Am 103 A in Frankfurt, and then Pan Am 103 in London. 
To prevent the IED going off on the Frankfurt-London leg of the journey, the barometric device had been coupled to an electronic timer bought by Khreesat at the the Kaufhalle shopping mall.
And, lo and behold…
In no time whatsoever, the Lockerbie investigators indeed ‘found’ what they were looking for.
The IED, made of SEMTEX, was activated by a barometric device coupled to a timer.
Forensic scientists quickly ‘matched’ white pieces of plastic to the timers bought by Dalkamoni and Khreesat in Germany.
The IED had been hidden inside a white Toshiba radio and the exact model was readily identified.
The primary suitcase was a brown Samsonite that had been packed with clothes bought in Malta, including one item of baby clothes identical to the one bought by Abu Talb in Malta during the first week of October 1988.
The Forensic Sherlock Holmeses even recovered the aluminum foil that had been used by Khreesat to wrap the Semtex block inside the Toshiba radio.
Indeed, a black ‘explosion damaged’ Cardigan with pieces of an aluminum foil violently impacted into its fabric was found and described as originating from the bomb suitcase.
On March 16 1989, Paul Channon, the then British Secretary of State for Transport, lunched five journalists at the Garrick Club.
“Channon was plainly satisfied that thanks to the brilliant detective work by the Dumfries and Galloway police, the smallest police force in the country, the Lockerbie bombers would soon be brought to book.” 
Channon told them — off-the-record — that the Lockerbie killers had been identified and would soon be arrested. 
PS — How good was that script anyway?
‘Script One’ was rather well written and quite credible, even if a few mistakes were made.
But let me make one thing very clear. This story is a piece of pure fiction based on lies and fabricated evidence!
The legend of the Iranian payment — There has been a persistent “rumor” that Iran paid US$ 11 million to the PFLP-GC terrorist organization of Ahmed Jibril in the immediate aftermath of the Lockerbie tragedy. This is simply disinformation. 
Former CIA Bob Baer told the SCCRC all he knew about this payment. On several occasions, Baer told me that the intelligence regarding this matter was “Class A”.
Considering the importance of Baer’s allegations, he was interviewed by the SCCRC. Here is the main conclusion of their report 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 (“PFLP-GC”) 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.
The legend of the 5th device — During precognition (in 1999), Inspector John McGowan stated that both Toshiba Bombeat radio cassette recorders were recovered. 
“I was aware that during the ‘Autumn Leaves’ operation, the Police in Germany had recovered four fully constructed improvised explosive devices and a partially constructed improvised explosive device.
The devices recovered were two Toshiba Bombeat radio cassette recorders, model number RT-F453D, recovered on 261088, two radio tuners, model n°s GMP8000 and ST500, recovered on 130489, and a Sanyo monitor, recovered on 170489.”
The story of the missing 5th device was, of course, just another piece of CIA fake news!
The smell Test –According to Intelligence reports, Khreesat, Dalkamoni — the leader of the cell in Germany — and Ahmed Jibril — the head of the PFLP-GC — had repeated discussions about various methods to cover the smell of SEMTEX, the explosive used in these five radio-bombs as well as in the attack of Pan Am 103.
At that time, only one company produced SEMTEX and terrorists liked it very much because it was odorless. Chemicals were added after 1991 to give SEMTEX a distinct smell.
One of the first questions addressed to Dalkamoni after his arrest by the German police at the end of October 1988 was if he knew what SEMTEX smells like.
He was quite surprised. “Who do you take me for? I am an explosive professional. I know everything about explosives. Of course, SEMTEX is odorless.” 
Today, we know that Khreesat was a CIA asset. Why did he make up all these stories about the smell of SEMTEX? And why did the CIA block the FBI from interviewing Khreesat until the autumn of 1989? 
The Forensic Sherlock Holmeses — “Forensic scientists quickly ‘matched’ white pieces of plastic to the timers bought by Dalkamoni and Khreesat in Germany.” Really?
In the last article of his series on Lockerbie published on December 24 1989, David Leppard reports an extraordinary development.
The title tells it all: “Plastic links terror team with Lockerbie bombing”.
“Ministry of Defence officials now believe a white plastic residue recovered from the crash site is the same material as that in alarm clocks bought by the group at the shop in Neuss, near Dusseldorf, two months before the bombing.”
According to the article, there was a positive match between one of these alarm clocks and the plastic residues. And yet, Leppard writes in his book published in May 1991 [page 97]:
“Hayes conducted a chemical experiment , comparing the plastic on the circuit boards of these clocks with the mysterious white plastic recovered from the bomb debris. Unfortunately, these inquiries would prove inconclusive.”
The original story was clearly a lie. This author was able to identify the source of this piece of disinformation. 
Abu Talb — Over the years, former CIA Robert Baer has made the following claims about Abu Talb:
“The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (“PFLP-GC”) 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.
Talb and Haj Hafez Kassem Dalkamoni (“Dalkamoni”) appeared on the Iranian “roll of honour” in 1990 for “great service” to the Iranian revolution. According to Mr Baer the list of those honoured was in possession of the CIA who considered Talb to be an Iranian agent.”
Again, these claims were investigated, and the SCCRC found that there was no evidence that Talb ever received a payment from Iran.
And this brings me back to the first story of these payments published by the German magazine QUICK. I was able to contact the author who admitted to me that he had written that story at the request of the CIA. The journalist even named the CIA officer who passed the ‘information’ to him. I will let you guess his identity… 
In his book, Robert Baer wrote that Abu Talb had “visited Malta on October 3 through 18 and again from October 19 to 26, 1988 — a significant tidbit since clothes bought in Malta were found amid the wreckage in the suitcase the explosive device was hidden in.” 
As I pointed to Baer as soon as his book was published, that is factually not true. From October 3 through October 18 1988, Talb was actually in Cyprus.
That is quite a lot of ‘mistakes’… But then again, what else do you expect from the CIA?
Khalid Jaafar — Contrary to numerous reports, this young man was neither a terrorist nor a drug smuggler. Actually, Khalid Jaafar was not a Lebanese citizen.
The FBI and the CIA knew that he was living a double life. His employer was the US ARMED FORCES. As a DIA officer working under cover, he acted as a Lebanese drug smuggler. 
Although Major Charles Dennis McKee was seated at the front of the plane and Khaled Jaafar at the back, Dr Fieldhouse found the two bodies lying next to each other. 
Final thoughts — In January 2013, New York Times journalist Robert F. Worth interviewed French author Gérard de Villiers about his novel: “The Ghosts of Lockerbie”. 
Back in Washington, Worth wrote:
“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.”
This is probably the best Lockerbie story ever published by The New York Times. The story is nevertheless pure fiction.
Lockerbie — Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…!
Chapter III : Operation Autumn Leaves
I wish to dedicate this story to George Thomson, a former Scottish police officer who worked as an investigator with Abdelbaset al Megrahi’s legal team preparing the appeal against his Lockerbie bombing conviction.
During his investigations, George Thomson discovered crucial anomalies in the evidence concerning the clothing that was supposedly sold by Tony Gauci and packed into the primary suitcase along with the bomb.
1) Here is a timeline of this operation which I compiled ten years ago to mark the 20th anniversary of the Lockerbie tragedy.
2) On the trail of terror by David Leppard
3) Lockerbie — The Flight from Justice by Paul Foot
4) DID GERMAN BUNGLING LEAD TO PAN AM 103? — The Washington Post (September 24, 1989)
5) See Chapter II : The usual suspects —
6) The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command [PFLP-GC] — Wikipedia
7) Yves Bonnet –Former French DST Director — also blamed Jibril for the bombing of Pan Am 103.
“Let me take, for example, the Lockerbie case and also the case of the Ténéré [UTA] that were blamed on Libya when all intelligence services know that these attacks were committed by Ahmed Jibril under the inspiration and funding from Iran.”
8) The plan for the Iberia flight is to have someone get on the flight in Madrid with the BomBeat 453 IED and then get off at Barcelona.
Just before getting off the plane in Barcelona, the courier would arm the device by inserting a pin into the radio to arm it.
The barometric device would then detonate the bomb on the Barcelona to Tel Aviv leg of the flight.
9) Hafez Dalkamoni — In 1991, Dalkamoni was sentenced to 15 years on terrorism charges for his role in the bombing of the US trains in Germany. Dalkamoni was released on 27 June 1995.
10) Neuss address — The exact address was: 16 Isarstrasse, Neuss, West Germany.
11) Operation Autumn Leaves — The Lockerbie Case
12) Abdul Fattah Ghafandar — In 1991, Ghafandar was sentenced to 12 years on terrorism charges for his role in the bombing of the US trains in Germany. Ghadanfar was released on 9 November 1994.
13) Marwan Khreesat was a Jordanian intelligence service (GID) agent and reported on the cell’s activities to the GID, who relayed the information to Western intelligence.
14) David Leppard — On the trail of terror (page 9)
15) However, unlike the Lockerbie bomb with its sophisticated timer, Khreesat’s IEDs contained a barometric pressure device that triggers a simple timer with a range of up to 45 minutes before detonation.
16) Talb in Cyprus & Malta — On October 3 1988, Abu Talb left Sweden to go to Cyprus. Talb will stay on the Mediterranean Island until October 18.
Hafez Dalkamoni had arrived in Cyprus on October 1 1988 and stayed on the island until October 5 1988.
17) The Scottish Police Report describing this event reads: ” Abassi went to the boot and recovered his bag. And, at that time, he states that there was another brown [Samsonite] suitcase in the boot which he had not seen before.”
18) Ian Fleming — During WWII, Ian Fleming — the father of James Bond — wrote “Operation MINCEMEAT”.
19) The Observer (July 30 1989)
20) German Magazine QUICK (May 1989)
21) DID GERMAN BUNGLING LEAD TO PAN AM 103? — The Washington Post (September 24, 1989)
22) Washington Times (December 30 1988) and The Daily express (December 31 1988)
23) Khalid Jaafar — At the time, the CIA was allowing Middle Eastern dealers to ship drugs to America in return for help in locating and releasing US hostages.
24) Lockerbie — The Flight from Justice by Paul Foot
25) Paul Channon — Over the years, people have suggested that Channon was merely trying to deflect attention from his troubles.
However, a document never disclosed to the defense reveals the Lockerbie investigators had indeed concluded that warrants should be sought from the sheriff in Dumfries for the arrest of four members of the PFLP-GC.
The four individuals are not named in the document, but are listed in a separate appendix.
I understand that they were: Hafez Dalkamoni, Abdel Ghadanfar, Marwan Khreesat, and Abu Talb.
27) Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission
28) Inspector John McGowan — See: Lockerbie — Who Is The Mysterious GOLFER? [Part III : Unmasking The Devil]
29) Semtex — Partial Summary of Interviews with Marwan Khreesat FD302 format, compiled by Special Agent Edward Marshman, FBI, November 1989. Crown production 1851. Portions read at trial by agent Marshman (witness no. 540), day 76, Dec 5 2000, and transcribed.
“Page 27 — 26 October, Wednesday — On Wednesday Khreesat woke up smelling something burning, as the Abassis had left the coffee on. Khreesat turned off the stove and cleaned up the burned pot and the kitchen. Dalkamoni was happy, as all the cleaning would have taken all the residue of the explosive off of Khreesat’s hands.”
30) These questions will be answered in following chapters of this book.
32) The German journalist (W. D.) provided this information to me in an email dated July 5, 2011.
33) See No Evil by Robert Baer (page 203)
Quite possibly, Jaafar held BOTH nationalities. Although the US government doesn’t allow citizens to hold two nationalities, many US citizens have UK, Israeli and many other citizenships and passports. Jaafar certainly held both passports.
35) Dr Fieldhouse — See: Lockerbie — The Strange Story of Dr David Fieldhouse
36) New York Times: The Spy Novelist Who Knows Too Much ; By ROBERT F. WORTH (January 30, 2013)
Lockerbie — Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…! [Chapter III : Operation Autumn Leaves]