Lockerbie — Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…! [Chapter IV : The ‘Wait & See’ Strategy]

“Even before the final settlement, it is possible to argue that the US and Iran reached a tentative agreement about Pan Am 103. (…) using the back channels already established through ‘Irangate’, and relying on the policy of searching for moderates with whom to do business, it is possible that the US sought the isolation of Mohtashemi in exchange for a policy of non-retaliation.”

Davina Miller — Who Knows About This? Western Policy Towards Iran: The Lockerbie Case (December 2011)

“To Mr. Montazeri.

Since it has become clear that after me you are going to hand over this country, our dear Islamic revolution, and the Muslim people of Iran to the liberals, and through that channel to the hypocrites [Mojahedin-e Khalq], you are no longer eligible to succeed me as the legitimate leader of the state.

I give you the following words of advice, and it will be up to you whether you take note of them or not:

One: Try to change the members of your cabinet so as to avoid feeding the hypocrites, Mahdi Hashemi’s clique, and the liberals from the sacred charity funds donated to the Imam.

Two: Since you are a gullible person and are provoked easily, do not interfere in political matters, and maybe then God will forgive you for your sins.

Three: Do not write to me ever again, and do not allow the hypocrites to pass state secrets to foreign radio stations.

Wishing you peace”

Ruhollah al-Musavi al-Khomeini (March 26 1989)

“President Bush and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher secretly agreed last spring to play down the truth about Pan Am flight 103. When the intelligence reports began to leak last March [1989], Thatcher called Bush to discuss their problem. Bush didn’t argue when Thatcher suggested that they low-key the findings. At any rate, the Anderson article provided some explanation for the curious official silence of both heads of state after March 1989.”

Paul Foot

June 8 2020 — On March 16 1989, Paul Channon, the then British Secretary of State for Transport, lunched five journalists at the Garrick Club. Channon told them — off-the-record — that the Lockerbie killers had been identified and would soon be arrested. The Lockerbie investigation seemed to be over. But then, a political earthquake rattled the capital of Iran. And by the time the tremors were felt in Washington and London, George Bush and Lady Thatcher understood that the ‘Lockerbie Solution’ had to be put on hold until the smoke cleared. 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…!

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

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

RELATED POST: Lockerbie — Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…! [Chapter III : Operation Autumn Leaves]

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 IV : The ‘Wait & See’ Strategy

During the first phase of the investigation, Iran was painted as the ‘bad actor’ who had ordered the Lockerbie attack as a revenge for the downing of Iran Air Flight 655 on July 3rd 1988.

When a joint US/UK indictment finally came in November 1991, Libya – and Libya alone according to President Bush — was the culprit. Who decided to re-direct the investigation? And why?

In March 1989, the Lockerbie investigation came to a halt following a phone call between George H. W. Bush and Margaret Thatcher. [1]

When the work resumed in September 1989, the investigation goes straight to Malta and, from now on, Libya is the new and only focus.

The draft of script I [PFLP-GC sponsored by Syria and Iran] is thrown to the garbage bin.

Lunch  at the Garrick Club, London  (March 16 1989)

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.” [2]

Channon told them — off-the-record — that the Lockerbie killers had been identified and would soon be arrested.

On March 17 1989, the headlines were all about Lockerbie. In a piece titled “WE KNOW JUMBO BOMB KILLER”, The Sun reported that “Detectives probing the Lockerbie jet disaster now know WHO did it, HOW he did it and WHERE he put it on the plane.”

The Daily Mails blasted off: “PAN AM KILLER TRACKED DOWN” and announced that the terrorist who planted the bomb would soon be arrested. [3]

And weeks passed by. The names of the terrorists were never revealed. Arrest warrants were never issued. What had just happened then?

Over the years, people have suggested that Paul Channon was merely trying to deflect attention from his own 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. [4]

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.

So, there is no doubt that Paul Channon had been telling the truth. Yet, he probably went to his tomb not knowing why Thatcher had to sack him during the Summer of 1989.

In truth, the Prime Minister could hardly have revealed that her decision had been the consequence of a phone call she had in late March 89 with the President of the United States.

The Bush – Thatcher Phone Call

Near the end of March 1989, the Lockerbie investigation came to a halt following a phone call between George H. W. Bush and Margaret Thatcher. [5]

Jack Anderson and Dale Van Atta revealed that Bush and Thatcher had decided to put the Lockerbie investigation on hold.

Over the years, many have questioned this story but Lockerbie investigator George Thomson confirmed the infamous phone call to this author. [6]

“I met Dale Van Atta at his home. He is a very interesting guy and obviously had very good contacts. He confirms the Thatcher/Bush call and from the background information he was able to discuss with us in confidence I have no reason to doubt him.”

So the question is quite simple. What was the true rationale for Bush and Thatcher for deciding to ‘cool it’? And what event(s) could possibly have driven their agenda?

If these questions could  be answered, a major part of the Lockerbie puzzle would be solved.

Conspiracy Theory

Many ‘experts’ have suggested that the “switch” from Iran & Syria to Libya was the result of realpolitik.

Here is the typical explanation provided by The Guardian [7] :

“The impending Anglo-American war against Iraq necessitated neutralising Iran and winning the support of Syria.

Britain’s diplomatic relations with Syria were duly restored in November 1990 and the Gulf war commenced in 1991.

Sure enough, the credibility of intelligence theories about the Lockerbie bombing being masterminded by the Iran- and Syria-backed Palestinian gang was soon dismantled.”

Sadly, many people, including the lawyer for Megrahi’s family, still subscribe to this theory. Let me make one thing very clear. This theory is nonsense! [8]

The invasion of Kuwait occurred in August 1990. And even if Saddam may have made up his mind a few months earlier, the timing simply does not work because the decision to blame Libya for Lockerbie was clearly taken in the Autumn of 1989.

The ‘Wait and See’ Strategy [From March 1989 to September 1989]

Declassified US Intelligence documents show that the US expected that Iran would retaliate for the Iran Air Flight 655 tragedy which was widely understood by Iranians as an Act of War.

At that time, Khomeini was already very ill and the two most important Iranian political figures were Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri and Hojatolislam Hashemi Rafsanjani. [9]

In July 1988, Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri was the designated successor of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini who used to call him “the fruit of his life”.

Hojatolislam Hashemi Rafsanjani was the Speaker of Iran’s Parliament and also the commander of the armed forces

These two men had totally opposite views on the path to follow after the downing of Iran Air Flight 655.

Rafsanjani wished to follow the diplomatic path and argued that Iran should not push for any revenge.

On the other hand, Montazeri wanted — and argued for — an open war. Like most Iranians, he believed – rightly so! – that Iran was already fighting the US in the war against Iraq.

Thus Montazeri asked Ayatollah Khomeini to order ”revolutionary forces and resistance cells inside and outside the country to target America’s material, political, economic and military interests.”

Back to the Iran-Contra Affair

Montazeri and Rafsanjani were not exactly close friends. They were already on opposite sides of the fence when the greatest scandal of that decade erupted.

“The Iran-Contra affair was a political scandal in the United States that occurred during the second term of the Reagan Administration. Senior administration officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran, which was the subject of an arms embargo.

The profit would then be used to fund the Contras in Nicaragua. Under the Boland Amendment, further funding of the Contras by the government had been prohibited by Congress.” [10]

Mehdi Hashemi, a senior official in the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, leaked the affair to the Lebanese magazine Ash-Shiraa. The story was published on November 3 1986 and created a huge scandal.

And sure enough, Mehdi Hashemi was related by marriage to the family of Ayatollah Ali Montazeri.

Hashemi had nothing but contempt for Hashemi Rafsanjani, the man who turned out to be a central Iranian figure in the Iran-Contra scandal.

From an American point of view, the prognosis in the aftermath of the downing of Iran Air Flight 655 was rather straightforward and gloomy.

Montazeri was about to succeed Khomeini soon and there was no love in his heart for the Yankees.

The Fall of Montazeri

From November 1986 on, tensions between Montazeri and Khomeini began to surface in the public domain. [11]

Montazeri began to criticize the State. Specifically, he virulently denounced the mass execution of political prisoners in August 88. [12]

Then, in March 1989, the BBC (Farsi) began to publish his letters condemning the post-war wave of executions. [13]

That was the last straw.

On March 26 1989, Khomeini strongly denounced Montazeri’s actions. A couple of days later, Khomeini announced that Montazeri ‘had resigned his post’. [14]

His pictures disappeared from public offices. The books were rewritten to deny his revolutionary credentials. The streets named after him were renamed. [15]

The demotion of Montazeri was a major “game changing” event.

After March 26 1989, it may very well be that it would no longer serve the US/UK geopolitical interests to blame Iran for Lockerbie.

Khomeini was known to be very ill. If a pragmatic new leader — “friendly” enough to seek a solution to the hostages crisis in Lebanon — could seize power in Tehran, it would be totally counter-productive to blame Iran for the actions ‘attributed’ to the old regime.

This would only serve the interests of the hard-liners, such as Motashami-Pur, the then Iranian minister of interior.

Thus, ‘Let us wait and see what happens next’ became the Lockerbie policy after March 1989.

The Death of Khomeini

Ruhollah Khomeini died on June 3rd 1989. Rafsanjani was instrumental in securing a quick solution to an urging crisis.

First, Ali Khamenei was elevated from the position of hojatoleslām to the rank of Ayatollah.

That title, and a modification of the Constitution which previously restricted the job to the few people such Montazeri who had the title of Grand Ayatollah, was then enough to promote him as the new Supreme Leader of Iran.

Next, Rafsanjani himself was elected Iran’s president on August 3rd 1989. Rafsanjani would not disappoint Western powers and their business interests.

“Rafsanjani quickly garnered increased powers for a previously weak executive office, and he showed considerable political skill in promoting his pragmatic policies in the face of resistance from Islamic hard-liners.

Rafsanjani favoured reducing Iran’s international isolation and renewing its ties with Europe as part of a strategy to use foreign investment and free enterprise to revive the country’s war-torn economy.” [16]

So far, so good…

The End of the CIA’s Script I

By September 1989, blaming Iran for Lockerbie would simply not serve the geopolitical interests of the US and UK anymore.

But as Marcel Pagnol wrote:

“A wise man does not look for the culprits of a crime. A wise man chooses the right culprits.”

And now, the obvious “culprit” was Libya. An indictment – without a chance of a trial — was the perfect solution.

The US would easily obtain — with a bit of “wheeling and dealing” — a UN resolution against Libya, thus making an example of their favorite geopolitical “punching bag”.

If there ever was an era of “Unilateralism”, it was that period.

For Thatcher, it was also a path to end the supply of Libyan weapons — and Semtex —  to the Provisional IRA who had almost succeeded in assassinating her and came very close to destabilizing the state. [17]

In some circles, the final “Lockerbie Solution” must be viewed as a brilliant strategic victory. For those who wanted the truth, it remains a bitter story to this day.

PS — Lockerbie post Khomeini

On August 4 1989, Rafsanjani, Iran’s new President, declared that Iran was prepared to intervene on behalf of the hostages if the US acted in a “reasonable” manner. [18]

Interior Minister Mohtashemi-pur opposed Rafsanjani’s position. But just like Thatcher had sacked Paul Channon, Rafsanjani sidelined Mohtashemi-Pur.

In September 1989, at the US–Iran Claims Tribunal at The Hague, the US agreed
to pay Iran $567,000,000. President Bush announced the payment on November 7 1989,
remarking that he hoped, “Iran would use what influence it has” to release the US
hostages held in Lebanon.

In late August 1989, German police discovered the existence of a print-out at Frankfurt airport that indicated that the ‘primary suitcase’ had begun its journey in Malta. [19]

September 1 1989 — The Lockerbie investigators suddenly noticed that an item of blast damaged clothing – a pair of dark brown checked trousers manufactured by the ‘Yorkie Clothing’ company in Malta — had a number (1705) stamped on a pocket lining. This number was enough to identify the store who had made the order, and therefore a individual who might identify the buyer. [20]

October 1989 — Although the investigators officially linked Megrahi to the Lockerbie disaster in the Autumn of 1990, a CIA Cable dated October 17 1989 already connects Megrahi to Lockerbie! [21]

On November 12/13  1989, Marwan Khreesat, the PFLP-GC Frankfurt cell bomb-maker – and a Jordanian agent – was finally interviewed at the Headquarters of the Jordanian Intelligence Service  [22]

But most importantly, some time in the Autumn of  1989, a very mysterious fragment of a circuit timer — known as PT/35(b) — appeared in highly suspicious circumstances. This fragment will become the key piece of evidence linking Pan Am 103 to Libya.

I will discuss the sudden metamorphosis of the Lockerbie ‘evidence’ (pointing away from Iran and towards Libya) in Chapter V and the utter imbecility of the Lockerbie Case against Megrahi will be exposed in Chapter VI.

The forgery of PT/35(b) will be the subject of Chapter VII.

But before ending this Chapter, I wish to explain the motivation of a man only known as ‘GOLFER’ — a police officer involved in the early stage of the investigation — who was the source for a long series of articles published in the Autumn of 1989.

“If Lockerbie is Scotland’s Watergate then Golfer is our Deep Throat. Golfer is the ONLY eye witness to the planting, fabricating and corrupting of evidence. Potentially he is the whistle blower who could blast the whole official ship of lies out of the water.” [23]

Later, the same person would make a long series of allegations that were submitted to the SCCRC during the first review of Megrahi’s conviction.

For years, I have been wondering why GOLFER was telling both the TRUTH as well as so many lies. [24]

But his story and his motivations finally make sense to me. Here is what actually happened to him.

When the investigation turned to Libya in the Autumn of 1989, GOLFER was extremely upset that fabricated evidence was going to be used to frame an innocent man.

So, he called his nephew who was a national reporter, namely David Leppard.

GOLFER was not upset that the evidence had been fabricated. Actually, he was one of the Police officers who had fabricated the evidence to frame Abu Talb and the PFLP-GC gang.

But he had no qualms about it because he was certain that they were guilty. [25]

And thus, GOLFER was horrified that the evidence he had helped to fabricate was going to be used in the case to frame someone else!

So, when he wanted to tell the truth about it to the SCCRC, GOLFER first wanted immunity.

But the SCCRC would not — and legally could not — grant him immunity. So, in order to tell the truth about the fabricated evidence, he had to lie to hide his own role and the parts played by his friends and accomplices. [26]

Of course, GOLFER did not want to incriminate either his friends or himself. But that meant that he had to lie about many things and, not surprisingly, the SCCRC decided to reject all his allegations as nonsensical gibberish from a person known to be an alcoholic.

Sadly, GOLFER was telling the TRUTH about a central part of the case.

The clothes from Malta had been planted and most importantly, the central piece of evidence — known as PT/35(b) — linking Libya to Lockerbie had also been planted by the Lockerbie investigators.

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

Chapter IV : The ‘Wait & See’ Strategy

I wish to dedicate this story to Professors Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman.

Noam Chomsky (left) `and Edward S. Herman (right)

Two decades ago, I contacted Noam Chomsky about the Lockerbie Tragedy. Chomsky sent me a very interesting piece of information regarding the April 5 1986 bombing of the La Belle Discotheque. [27]

Chomsky also suggested that I contact Ed Herman. So, I did and we stayed in contact long after that. Here are two quotes from these amazing intellectuals regarding the Lockerbie Case. [28]

“The case of the convicted bomber Abdelbasset Al Megrahi is a remarkable illustration of the conformism and obedience of intellectual opinion in the West. […] I think the trial was very seriously flawed, including crucially the alleged role of Malta. There is every reason to call for a very serious independent inquiry.”

Noam Chomsky

The evidence against the PFLP was quietly but firmly junked. A new culprit was needed, and Muammar Qaddafi and Libya suited well as general-service villains. It took little time for ‘definitive proof’ to be redefined, and the media moved accordingly, with hardly a mention of the political convenience of the shift.”

Edward S. Herman

In the famous book they co-authored — Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media — Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky propose that the mass communication media of the U.S. “are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function, by reliance on market forces, internalized assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion”, by means of the propaganda model of communication. Herman and Chomsky argued that America is manipulating public opinions.

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

Chapter IV : The ‘Wait & See’ Strategy


1) Jack Anderson and Dale Van Atta (January 1990) — According to their source, it is Margaret Thatcher who called Bush, and not the other way around as it has often been reported.

In his piece, Jack Anderson and Dale Van Atta wrote:

« Thatcher called Bush on the phone. In that conversation, they agreed that neither could stand the political heat of making the evidence public because both were impotent to retaliate. »

2) Lockerbie — The Flight from Justice by Paul Foot

3) Cover-Up of Convenience: The Hidden Scandal of Lockerbie by David Ferguson and John Ashton

4) A trusted source told me that he read the document.


President Bush and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher secretly agreed last spring to play down the truth about who blew up Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. (…)

Bush knew that Khomeini had proved the undoing of Jimmy Carter and had nearly proved the undoing of Ronald Reagan. Carter lost an election because he couldn’t get American hostages back from Iran, and Reagan suffered the biggest blow of his presidency when he tried to trade arms to Iran for American hostages.

So Bush didn’t argue when Thatcher suggested that they “low-key” the findings — say that the investigation was inconclusive and long-term.

After the call, word was quickly passed to top officials conducting the Pan Am investigation that they were not to make any off-the-record remarks implicating Jibril or Iran. In Britain, when the press speculated about possible perpetrators, investigators called the speculation “wild” and “irresponsible.”

6) Lockerbie investigator Georges Thomson sent me the following information:

“Dale Van Atta should appear in our next Lockerbie film on Al Jaz. I met him at his home where we filmed him, he is a very interesting guy and obviously had very good contacts. He confirms the Thatcher/Bush call and from the background information he was able to discuss with us in confidence I have no reason to doubt him.”

7) The Guardian  —  Lockerbie conspiracies: from A to Z — Based on a 1995 Guardian investigation by Paul Foot and John Ashton — by Patrick Barkham — The Guardian (April 7 1998) [K is for Kuwait]

8) See : Lockerbie — Was Megrahi a Libyan Intelligence Officer?

9) An Iranian doctor working in the hospital where Khomeini was treated has provided me with a clear description of his illness timeline.

10) Iran–Contra affair — Wikipedia

11) Mehdi Hashemi was arrested and executed in 1987.

12) Montazeri also ridiculed the fatwa of Khomeini against Nobel Prize Salman Rushdie in February 1989.

13) The letters were provided to the BBC by former Iran president Bani Sadr, but it is not clear who provided these documents to his office in Paris, where he lived in exile.


15) It is of course a bit of a mystery as to why Montazeri did not wait until he succeeded Khomeini to fix the problems. When asked that very question, he responded that, “I could not sleep at nights, knowing that innocent people were being killed.”

16) Hashemi Rafsanjani — ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA

17)  See: 35 Years Ago — The Brighton Bombing (October 12 1984) [Understanding the Lockerbie Solution]

18) Davina Miller — Who Knows About This? Western Policy Towards Iran: The Lockerbie Case (December 2011)

19) Frankfurt Print-Out — Only a child would believe that fairy tale. When Guido de Marco — then Deputy Prime Minister and later President of Malta — was told  in September 1989 by the Lockerbie investigators that a document from December 1988 indicated that the ‘primary suit case” had started its journey on his island, this statesman had a simple but quite colorful reply: “Do you take me for a cunt?”

20) Yorkie trousers — The Police claimed to have been led to Gauci by a Manufacturer’s Label (Yorkie) attached to the trousers and by a Stamped Number 1705 on a pocket which was an order number for Gauci’s Shop. However, a Police Document indicates that when the trousers first came into the possession of the Police there was no such label attached.

21) In October 1989, a CIA cable from Malta (SUBJECT: Libyan Activities Leading Up to Pan Am Bombing — Abdalbasit Ali Al-Magrahi) established — out of nowhere —  a link between Megrahi and Lockerbie.

22) FBI Tom Thurman — Odorless Semtex, and inoperative IEDs! BTW… Tom Thurman conducted the interview…

23) GOLFER — Policing Lockerbie, A Bella Caledonia Special Investigation (September 7 2011)

24) GOLFER — Eventually, I managed to identify who GOLFER was. See:

RELATED POST: Lockerbie — Who Is The Mysterious GOLFER? [Part I : Trust No One]

RELATED POST: Lockerbie — Who Is The Mysterious GOLFER? — Part II : “Whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” [UPDATE]

RELATED POST: Lockerbie — Who Is The Mysterious GOLFER? [Part III : Unmasking The Devil]

25) Of course, GOLFER was wrong about that. But that is irrelevant to explain his role because he truly believed that Talb was guilty!

26) The Lord Advocate is the only person who has to power to grant someone immunity.

27) Noam Chomsky — See: On This Day — The West Berlin La Belle Discotheque Bombing (April 5 1986) [False Flag — CRYPTO AG]

28) Edward S. Herman — See: Edward S. Herman (April 7, 1925 – November 11, 2017) & Lockerbie


Lockerbie — Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…! [Chapter IV : The ‘Wait & See’ Strategy]

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2 Responses to Lockerbie — Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…! [Chapter IV : The ‘Wait & See’ Strategy]

  1. george thomson says:

    In March 1989, the Lockerbie investigation came to a halt following a phone call between George H. W. Bush and Margaret Thatcher. [1]

    When the work resumed in September 1989, the investigation goes straight to Malta and, from now on, Libya is the new and only focus.

    The above extract from your latest chapter jolted my memory


    George Thomson


  2. L says:

    Welcome back George! As always, your knowledge of this case is highly welcome. Your friend, L


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