FRONTPAGE USA: PAN AM 103 & LESTER COLEMAN'S DEA STORY
Former investigative journalist and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
Middle East specialist, Lester K. Coleman, "blew the whistle" on Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA) operations tied to the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103
over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988.
Since then he has obtained political asylum in Sweden to avoid an American trial that would keep him from talking further about the Lockerbie disaster. Now he is seeking residence in France (IN N. 267/10). At the same time the Clinton administration, facing European opposition -- led by France -- to Washington's theory that Libya and, in particular, supposed Libyan intelligence agents Abdel Basset Ali Al Magrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah are responsible for Lockerbie, has effectively given up trying to bring the two men to trial and will order no new efforts aimed at their extradition.
In short, Washington's Pan Am 103 story is falling apart but it refuses
to recognize the validity of Coleman's story which the former DIA agent
presented to "Intelligence" in a recent interview. Almost seven years ago,
a pound of Symtex plastique explosive, cleverly packed inside a Toshiba
radio, found its way aboard Pan Am flight 103. Thirty-eight minutes after
the Boeing 747 lifted off from London-Heathrow airport, bound for New York,
it exploded, killing all 259 aboard, raining a fireball of terror on the
quiet Scottish village of Lockerbie, killing eleven more on the ground.
Among the victims were at least two (and possibly five) American intelligence agents with the DIA, the CIA, and the Assistant Director of the super secret OSI office in the Justice Department. OSI, according to William Hamilton, president of the software company Inslaw and a former U.S. intelligence analyst in Washington, D.C., was once responsible for hunting down Nazi war criminals, but now it is Justice's own in-house intelligence unit.
Also on board was a young Lebanese-American from the Shiite Muslim community
in Detroit, Kalid Nazir Jafaar. Jafaar's grandfather recently admitted
in an on-camera interview, which appeared in the film "The Maltese Double
Cross", that Kalid was cooperating with the DEA and the CIA. The U.S. government
has vehemently denied it for years. DEA Country Attache in Cyprus at the
time was Special Agent, Michael T. Hurley, who, under oath, said Jafaar
was not one of his CI's (Confidential Informant). The FBI went one step
further, claiming Jafaar was in the United States at the time -- spring
1988 -- he was spotted in Cyprus, at what is apparently a DEA/ CIA front
operation: the Eurame Trading Company.
A former employer of the company that ran the ferry boat between Lebanon and Cyprus has provided a notarized statement confirming Jafaar was aboard the "Suny Boat" ferry that spring. The witness should know: it was his job to collect passenger's passports and assign cabins. He went on to detail how Cypriot Narcotics Police came aboard and escorted Jafaar to shore.
It was normal procedure for the Cypriots to escort DEA CI's off the
boat and bring them to the office where Coleman worked, and where he saw
Jafaar in the accompany of another DEA CI, Ibrahim El Jorr. El Jorr was
first exposed as a DEA informant two years ago in "New York Magazine",
when the magazine ran his photo. El Jorr reported to DEA agent, Mike Hurley.
A senior Cypriot police officer, now retired, in a recent interview confirmed
that Hurley's CI's, carrying heroin, were routinely escorted from the boat,
and the Marine Police were told to "look the other way".
He had no kind words for the DEA office in Cyprus or for Special Agent Hurley. DEA officials also told Congress, under oath in 1991 that there were no controlled deliveries of heroin from Lebanon via Frankfurt to the U.S. Agent Hurley in a sworn declaration, filed in the Pan Am case in May 1991, went so far as to say that no controlled deliveries took place during his six years in Cyprus. Nine months later Hurley was telling a different story. The former California drug cop was deposed in a civil case in Miami in February 1993. A former informant, Steven Donahue, went to Lebanon accompanied by Special Agent Jack Short from the New York DEA field office, and a journalist, Anthony Hayden-Guest who supplied the DEA with press credentials from his employer, "New York Magazine".
Donahue claims the DEA abandoned him when his cover was blown by the Rahme Lebanese drug clan. Donahue still has the press passes. During examination by Donahue's attorney, Jesse Jones, Hurley went into detail about controlled deliveries.
Question: Do you request permission from every country where the drugs will touch down?
Hurley: Absolutely. It's not a controlled delivery if you don't -- the key word is "controlled". If it's not controlled, if we don't know what we're putting on that airplane -- if we don't test it, it doesn't go, it's not controlled. And if we do not control it through that country, it's not controlled.
Question: Would you test it at the point of origin?
Hurley: Yes. When they first came into contact with law enforcement.
Question: Now, at the point, say, during your tenure in Cyprus when you had jurisdiction over Lebanon, did you have the ability to check at the point of origin being Lebanon?
Question: Where was the first location where you checked?
It is not the first time that agent Hurley has played with the truth under oath. He admitted during the deposition that he had once been labeled "a disgrace to the Justice Department" by a U.S. attorney in a letter of complaint to the U.S. Attorney General. " On that particular occasion he indicated that I had perjured myself", Hurley testified.
All the DEA did in response was to suspend Hurley for three days without pay. When Hurley's sworn declaration filed in the Pan Am case is compared to his sworn testimony in Miami, conflicting statements are apparent. Either Hurley perjured himself in New York or in Miami. Court records in Italy also confirm Hurley ran controlled deliveries-- without the knowledge of the Italian government, bungled it, and caused a flurry of formal protest from the Italian Foreign Ministry to the State Department. Two of Hurley's CI's, Zouher and Nadim Kabbara, upon arrival on a flight from Cyprus, were arrested at Rome airport carrying a half kilo of Lebanese heroin. Nadim Kabbara also had a business card in his pocket from Spiro T. Agnew, the defrocked former vice president of the United States, who, at the time, was a representative of a military supply company in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The Kabbaras readily admitted they were on a mission for the DEA. When
the Italian police alerted the DEA in Cyprus, Hurley claimed the two Lebanese
were not on the DEA payroll, but just drug smugglers. The Tribunale De
Roma ruled in 1986 the Kabbaras were indeed working for the DEA and were
attempting to bring DEA heroin into Italy to illegally set up an Italian
The Italian judicial panel said, "the statements made by DEA Agent Michael T. Hurley can simply not be believed." The next section of the Court ruling sent DEA headquarters and the CIA Station in Rome into a tailspin. "The Kabbaras Italian trading company, Kinex, had listed on its letterhead a telephone number (80 49 88). The number was assigned to the American Embassy in Rome, who also paid the bill. The true function of the Kabbaras was to assist U.S. intelligence in shipping military equipment to Iraq."
Interestingly, the Kabbara's base of operations in Lebanon was Port Mina in the Syrian controlled city of Tripoli. Port Mina was the staging area for the shipment of 500 TOW missiles shipped to Syria's sole Middle East ally, Iran, in November 1986, arranged by Oliver North. As it turned out, the target of the bungled DEA drug sting in Italy was an Italian businessman who had been approached to sell military blankets to Kinex, but refused to go along with the deal. Italian police also established a link between the Kabbaras and Apexco, another DEA front company in Larnaca, Cyprus, after Zouher Kabbara confessed that he could contact Hurley there as necessary by telex.
The bottom line is CIA operatives posed as DEA informants, in a clandestine
effort to ship military equipment to the Iraqi regime during the Iraq-Iran
war, and were likely involved in the Irangate-Contragate supply network.
If Hurley's own description of a controlled delivery is correct, the Kabbara
case proves this controlled delivery was out of control. According to a
14-year DEA veteran, who recently retired in Australia, the Kabbara case
proved to be such an American diplomatic embarrassment, Hurley was finally
recalled to the States, to the Pu Yallup Field Office in Washington State,
half a world away from his sphere of "expertise" as a federal narcotics
His only likely contribution being the arrest of a former CIA asset who had blown the whistle on a Justice Department scam to steal a computer software package called PROMIS from Hamilton's company Inslaw. Copies of the software turned up in the Cypriot Police Headquarters in 1987, supplied by the DEA. Hurley's Lebanese informants, turned CIA operatives, were more effective in September, 1987, or so it seemed at the time.
Sami Jafaar, a talkative cousin of Kalid, the young Lebanese killed
on Flight 103, and another relative, Jamal Hamadan were on the DEA Paris
payroll. When President Ronald Reagan issued his warning, "they can run
but they cannot hide", to Middle East terrorists lurking in the back streets
of Beirut, the CIA was on notice to locate and capture a wanted terrorist.
The principle target initially was Abul Nidal. But, after months of trying,
the only wanted terrorist they could locate was Fawaz Younes, a Beirut
used car dealer, and former bodyguard for pro-Syrian militia leader, Nabbi
Younes had guarded the hostages taken during the skyjacking of TWA Flight 847 in June 1985, which made him an accomplice in the murder of U.S. Navy diver, Robert Stetham. Jafaar and Hamadan informed the DEA that they knew Younes. Hamadan had known Younes for six years. They had once shared an apartment in Beirut, and when Hamadan later moved to Warsaw, Poland to run the Jafaar's heroin export business to the Eastern Bloc, Younes had paid him an extended visit. The two were dispatched to Cyprus under the control of Michael Hurley who turned them over to the CIA, which assigned them asset status. Hamadan made contact with Younes, and over the next few months played host to him in Cyprus where he was wined and dined lavishly (with U.S. tax dollars).
Younes was finally lured aboard a luxury yacht in international waters off the Cypriot coast on the pretext of meeting a big time drug dealer. The dealer was actually an FBI agent from a special unit supervised by Buck Revell who later played a key role in the Pan Am bomb investigation. Younes was handcuffed, thrown to the deck, breaking both wrists, transferred to the aircraft carrier, "USS Saratoga", then flown non-stop into the hands of American justice waiting on the tarmac at Andrews Air Force Base, outside Washington, D.C.
It was a triumph for American intelligence and law enforcement, and
a political plus for President Reagan. It also may have been the link that
set in motion the events leading to the explosion that cold winter night
in December 1988, 10,000 meters above the Scottish moors.
The Younes kidnapping on the high seas with the help of the Jafaars was no secret. Syrian intelligence in Lebanon logically started monitoring the Jafaar family's movements closely. And when, on 3 June 1988 the "USS Vincennes" mistakenly shot down an Iranian Airliner, killing all 290 religious pilgrims on board, Iran turned to her only ally in the Middle East for help, Syria. Armed with the knowledge that the Jafaars were working for the American DEA, Syria logically compromised the DEA's Lebanese rag-tag operation, based in Cyprus, to assist Iran in taking revenge.
The bombing of Pan Am 103 six months later follows the letter of Islamic
law regarding the use of "Intekam" (equal and just revenge). 290 died on
the Iran airbus on a religious pilgrimage to Mecca, 270 were killed in
the Pan Am 103 disaster, four days before Christmas.
If the DEA's years of denials are to be believed, then why did the DEA go so far as to lie under oath about controlled deliveries, and about the role of Kalid Jafaar? And, why have they been allowed to do it?
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