[Diary of a Vengeance Foretold] Part 151
NOVEMBER 30 1988
“It is imperative that when screening or searching radios, radio-cassette players and other electrical equipment, staff are to be extra vigilant.”
WARNING Dated November 23 1988
Hostages in Lebanon
As widely anticipated, the UK has resumed diplomatic relations with Iran on November 11 1988. Officials said there had been no deal to help secure the release of British hostages held in Lebanon by pro-Iranian radicals.
On November 20 1988, Iranian radio reported today that former President Jimmy Carter has recently written to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini offering to serve as a ”neutral American channel” in efforts to free United States hostages in Lebanon and improve American-Iranian ties. The same day, after returning from the US where he had met with former US President Jimmy Carter, Abolghasem Mesbahi was accused of being a double agent. He was arrested but released from prison on March 20, 1989, after only 120 days.
As the West German Foreign Minister ended a visit in Tehran on November 30 1988, an Iranian Government official indicated that Iran is linking efforts to free foreign hostages in Lebanon with the fate of Iranians believed held there. ”There aren’t just American hostages in Lebanon, but there also are Iranian hostages, who are in the hands of Christian militiamen,” Mohammed Javad Larijani, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister, said after meeting with Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher. Mr. Larijani was referring to three Iranians who were presumed kidnapped by Christian gunmen in 1982.
Operation “Autumn Leaves”
On October 30 1988, the BKA finally informed their Swedish counterparts — SAPO — of the Autumn Leaves operation.
On November 1st 1988, SAPO rounds up Martin Imandi, Mohamed Moghrabi, Abu Talb and several of their associates. SAPO founds six passeports belonging to Abu Talb. Charges were filed by SAPO against Imandi and Mograhi. But in absence of supporting evidence forthcoming from the BKA, all suspects arrested were released.
A couple of days after his release by the BKA, Ramzi Diab left Frankfurt for Vienna and then returned to Syria. Soon after his arrival in Damascus, Ahmed Jibril organized a tribunal to establish who had been a mole inside the Dalkamoni cell. Beside Marwan Khreesat who was working for Jordan intelligence, and thus was at least indirectly a CIA asset, the tribunal established that Diab was a mole for the MOSSAD. Diab was executed. The CIA has confirmed his death.
On November 5 1988, Khreesat requested to make a phone call to Amman, Jordan. A BKA officer, fluent in Arabic, listened to the call. He believed that Khreesat was talking to an officer of Jordan Intelligence. Khreesat asked him to “expedite legal matters in Germany.”
According to Vincent Cannistraro, soon after the PFLP-GC sentenced Ramzi Diab to death, Jibril sent a representative of his organization to Tripoli, Libya. Jibril wanted Gaddafi to help with the revenge bombing he had been contacted for by Tehran.
On November 9 1988, Khalid jaafar arrived at Frankfurt airport. Bilal el-Salheli, a friend from Lebanon, told him that he could stay with his brother Hassan.
On November 10 1988, Dr Christian Rinne, the investigating judge at the Federal High Court in Karlsruhe considered the case against Marwan Khreesat. Under German law, the federal prosecutor acting for the BKA had applied for a new arrest warrant against him. Amazingly, and against all evidence, his request was overruled.
A HOLMES document labeled D772 H65 shows that during a search of Abassi apartment, conducted on November 11 1988, a toolbox was recovered. The Box contains various equipment including three digital alarm clocks.
On November 6 1988, the New York Time alleges that a newly seated Federal grand jury is investigating whether any participant in the Iran-contra affair committed perjury in testimony to a Congressional panel last year or in appearances before the grand jury. The Time quotes a source familiar with the matter said today.
Bob Woodward of The Washington Post interviewed former MOSSAD agent Amiram Nir in London in August 1988. Nir told Woodward that he was considering the best way to sell his side of the story, as “only half of the Iran-contra affair had been made public”.
Nir then asked Woodward not to publish any parts of the interview until he got the go ahead. When Woodward contacted Nir again in early October, he was told that he was still not ready to go public.
Nir does not know that he has only a few days left to live. He will be executed on December 1st 1988.
On November 24 1988, the judge in the Iran-contra case gave Col. Oliver L. North until Dec. 19 to specify any additional Government secrets he would disclose in defending himself at his trial on conspiracy charges.
In late November 1988, during a visit to Libya, investigative journalist David Yallop, who specializes in unsolved crime and miscarriage of justice, interviewed Nidal.
During their exchange, Nidal told Yallop that he was under great pressure from the Syrian government to reactivate and commit an act of terror against an American airliner.
In an interview by David Yallop conducted late Nov. 1988, Nidal said that: “the West should expect some action in the near future.”
On 17/11/1988 , double agent Lovejoy, known to CIA as Nutcraker, contacted the Iranian embassy in Beirut. He informed Moshen Armin — the head of Iranian intelligence in Lebanon — that CIA agents have left Beirut but would return in the beginning of December.
Warnings of an Airliner bombing
On November 2 1988, the FAA alerted the airlines with a warning, similar to one already issued by the Germans. The warning describes the Toshiba radio-cassette bomb found in Dalkamoni’s car on October 26 1988.
On November 8 1988, a Defense Intelligence Agency Terrorism Intelligence Branch issued a “Defense intelligence Summary” [DITSUM] warning that hardline Palestinian groups will step up their terrorist activities in order to discredit Arafat initiative.
On November 9 1988, the BKA released a warning through Interpol regarding the bomb found in the Ford Cortina of Dalkamoni when he was arrested on Oct. 26 1988. The warning was also passed on other security channels.
On November 17 1988, another FAA bulletin reiterates the danger that terrorists will attempt to smuggle a radio bomb aboard an airliner. The document described the bomb seized in the Autumn Leaves Operation in details and urged all airlines to be extra vigilant.
On November 18, 1988, Pan Am was specifically advised by an FAA Security Bulletin that a Middle Eastern terrorist group had been found in Germany with a bomb concealed within a Toshiba radio designed to explode aboard airliners. The alert called upon Pan Am to activate extra vigilance and a rigorous adherence to their regulations for baggage reconciliation. Pan Am was warned of the difficulty of relying on X-rays which would not detect such bombs.
On November 22 1988 , the British Department of Transport issued its own warning, which provided a further detailed description of the bomb built by PFLP-GC member Marwan Khreesat.
On November 23 1988, the authorities at Heathrow airport have distributed their own warning to security staff regarding the Toshiba bomb. The warning reads as follows. “It is imperative that when screening or searching radios, radio-cassette players and other electrical equipment, staff are to be extra vigilant.” Moreover, the Heathrow authorities built a dummy Toshiba radio-bomb and circulated it for training purposes. pictures of the bomb built by Khreesat and recovered during operation Autumn Leaves were also circulated.
NOTES AND REFERENCES
Western Captives Are Linked to Iranians Held in Lebanon — November 30, 1988