Monday, 14 March 2011

Iran-Contra Cover-ups, Iranian Republic, Ouster of Saddam, Iran Again the Target, & the Murders of Wheeler and Ali Reza - Part 2

by Trowbridge H. Ford

The world has never been in a more precarious position, though no one noticed it at the time, than in the days and weeks following the assassination of Sweden's statsminister Olof Palme shortly before midnight on February 28, 1986 in Stockholm. While the assassination had gone off completely as planned - apparent assassin Captain Simon Hayward and possibly others infiltrating his KMS bodyguard assessors as poachers and requiring the use of walkie-talkies when they were nowhere to be seen - there was still the worry that the assassin might be caught, though a scapegoat had been set up to take the bait of being he, and there was another fallguy waiting in the wings if necessary. If the shipments of arms to Iran on February 18th and 27th were disclosed, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein could be made to look like the power behind the scenes, thanks to his ambassador in Sweden, Mohammad Saeed al-Sahaf, better known now as "Baghdad Bob", complaining about the fact to Palme, the UN's official negotiator of an end to its war with Tehran, around twelve hours earlier. Hopefully, this would not be necessary, as the plotters who actually managed to murder Palme had a plan to blame Moscow for the shooting, provided the scapegoat made his getaway there, and was found to have the murder weapon. Once this was confirmed, the USSR would be well on its way towards the exit as a NATO-led sea, land, and air armada disarmed it without a nuclear war. (1)

Fortunately, with such a complicated conspiracy, there were all kinds of things that could go wrong - e. g., spies becoming turncoats, turncoats avoiding self-serving opportunities, key players refusing to go along, double agents being neutralized, and the like - and unsurprisingly they happened in great abundance. The Agency's Aldrich 'Rick' Ames, the Bureau's Robert Hanssen, and the Mossad's Jonathan Pollard supplied enough new information about what Washington was up to - thanks to what earlier spies like Ronald Pelton, the John Walker ring et al. had provided - so that Moscow was fully prepared not to be taken by surprise. The Soviet ambassador to Sweden was sure that Palme was going to be assassinated, rendering inoperative the telephone of the embassy's KGB resident so that convicted Swedish spy Stig Bergling could not attempt to flee while on compassionate leave that night to get married - what CIA and Sweden's Security Service aka Säpo bugging teams hoped to exploit by bugging the resident's house that very night. While Bergling decided against trying to flee, the plotters still had a fallguiy for being the assassin, the so-called "Mad Austrian" - someone sounding like the infamous Josef Fritzl whose sexual excesses, especially with his daughter Elisabeth and other young women who had been murdered, had led to his being blackmailed by the Mossad into being there. Unfortunately for the plotters, the 'Mad Austrian' turned out to have an alibi for being the assassin.(2)

Further afield, the assassination had led to all kinds of activity in the USSR, in the seas around it, and beyond them out into the Atlantic to Norway's shores. Vladimir Kryuchkov's KGB had completely shut down the double agent network that Washington depended upon in knowing how to react to the fallout from the Palme killing. Double agent Sergei Motorin (code named GAUZE) was to call a girl friend in the States if Moscow had been completely surprised by it, but the KGB made sure he made no calls. Then Valery Martynov (code named GENTILE) was to inform Washington if the Soviets were preparing for an ICBM launch in reaction to any degrading of its nuclear submarines, the boomers, but Alexander Litvinenko's GRU railway inspection squad had discovered Operation ABSORB, a container full of electronic sensors which the Japanese firm Toshiba was sending across the Soviet Union on the Trans-Siberian railroad in the hope of discovering any nuclear weapons going east in preparation for launch along the way (3) - what Moscow had a 'dangle' called EASTBOUND to keep Washington thinking that the operation was still okay.(4) There was also Boris Yushin who was to inform Washington if the Soviets were caught by surprise by the assassination, and hurriedly sent their boomers on station in anticipation of an American-NATO first strike on its difficult to defend Kola peninsula and surrounding waters.

Ola Tunander has laid ouf the essentials of the plan in his Cold Water Politics: The Maritime Strategy and Geopolitics of the Northern Front if the U.S would take the offensive rather than just respond to some Soviet attack in the region. "After having reduced the threat from Soviet submarines and air forces, US carriers (supported by aircraft from Northern Norwegian airbases) would be able to proceed north toward the North Cape...One carrier battle group may seek shelter in Vestfjord in order to attack the Kola bases in concert with the two carriers further north. The fourth carrier battle group is assumed to have sailed down into the North Sea to participate, should the conflict escalate to the Central Front." (5)

While Tunander made it sound as if it were only a future possibility, it had already been tried after the Stockholm shooting. Immediately, US Navy Secretary John Lehman, Jr.'s attack submarines started probing the White Sea off Norway in the hope of opening up the water for the carrier battle groups while locating, and sinking the Soviet boomers and submarines protecting them in anticipation of so degrading their underwater nuclear deterrent that Moscow would consider continuing the struggle hopeless. The Soviets were not, however, caught by surprise, but Washington soon was, as NATO's Anchor Express Exercise - fittingly named by Lehman in anticipation of a very short war - started moving through Vasdalen in Norway to join forces with the anticipated arrival of the US battle groups(Task Force Eagle), killing seventeen Norwegian engineers in the process - what resulted in feverish consultations which ultimately led to the attacks becaming defensive operations. Furthermore, the Commander of Task Force Eagle, Admiral Carl Trost, mutinied, refusing to carry out Lehman's orders. It remained a secret, though, until one of its planners, Rick Haver, alluded to the issue at a Pentagon meeting in December 1987, only for Red Banner Fleet Commander Admiral K. A. Makarov squelching further discussion thus. "It's enough that both survived."(6)

The lack of finding a convincing suspect of the assassination only added to the confusion. While witnesses of the shooting supplied real clues for investigators to go on, they were increasingly forgotten about as the investigation dragged on.Taxi driver Anders Delborn actually saw the shooting. He said ..."in no uncertain terms, that the Palmes had stood talking to the killer for some time before the murder took place." (7) Delsborn added: " I heard two pistol shots from the other side of the street. I saw the killer standing by Palme, who suddenly collapsed. Then I saw the man's gun and smoke coming from the barrel. I heard the shots through the traffic noise and I could see quite clearly the man standing there, holding the pistol in his right hand. It looked like a Wild West revolver - it was so long."(8) For good measure, a few minutes later, a young, professional artist encountered a man who was startled by being recognized by her just before he got into a blue Volkswagen Passat and sped off at high speed, and she made a sketch of him, thinking that he might have been involved in the killing. "The Phantom" soon became just this as no one was able to find a convincing match of the man, "...a sinister, foreign-looking character: Lean and grim, with a long nose and thick lips, he certainly looked like a murderer."(9)

While all of this is necessary to go through to show that there were all kinds of things going on in Northern Europe at the time, and the assassination of Palme could be the incident just to connect it all. If it had somehow been successfully solved, this whole, dangerous connecting rod could have been forgotten about. If this was so, it seems that someone like Hayward would have increasingly been under the microscope, being a right-handed, fit young man who worked for Britain's Special Forces, and the injury to it - his having lost joints to the middle and ring fingers of it because of an accident in Cyprus (10) - might well explain why he raised it so that Delsborn could see smoke, coming from its long barrel - what he would have to do in order to put the revolver safely back in his pocket. This would certainly rule out left-handed Christer Pettersson, but the police kept trying to pin the crime on him or other locals, especially Viktor Gunnarsson. Why? And then "The Phantom" looks much like the photograph that Hayward placed of himself on the cover of his autobiography: Under Fire: My Own Story, as if to advertise the deed, once he had been banished from Sweden in September 1989 after serving two and one/half years in a Malmö prison on an apparent set-up, drug-smuggling charge.

While Oliver North's plotters could not solve the problem of who killed Palme, they did everything they could to get the arms-for-hotages problems settled as quickly as they could, no matter what the cost, so that Sweden would longer be a serious question of concern. In the process, Washington completely forgot about the spies who had prevented the alleged non-nuclear showdown from occurring, and it showed little concern about the fate of the double-agents who paid for the failure. In fact, William Casey's Agency and the White House were so eager to pin the Palme assassination on Moscow that they fell for another Soviet 'dangle'. In November 1985, Gennady Varenik, aka FITNESS, had gone missing in November 1985 after he had told the Agency of KGB plans to bomb restaurants outside American bases in West Germany to incite anti-American sentiments. The Israelis, in return for their being cut out of the arms-for-hostages process after the HAWK missile fiasco in Sweden, had their surrogates in the PLO's Abu Natal organization attack the Rome and Vienna airports around Christmas to give substance to the terrorist threats against American interests. In late March 1986, an alleged friend of Varenik's, later called Mr. X, wrote Varenik's handler, Charles Leven, stating that the KGB had been reading its messages, thanks to having a mole at its secret communications center in Warrenton, Virginia.(11) It took the CIA six months to figure out that Mr. X was a plant.

Still, Mr. X provided enough disinformation for Washington to go ahead with its plans to blame Libya's Gaddafi for the terrorism it had mounted in anticipation of the showdown in Stockholm against Palme. "Three of the terrorists in Vienna," Christopher Andrew wrote, "were found to be using Tunisian passports supplied by Libya." (12) Then, after the Pentagon had estblished plans for punishing it with an air strike, the Israelis bombed the La Belle Discotheque in West Berlin on April 5th, killing two people, and wounding over 50 American servicemen - part of their Project Trojan to fix the atrocity upon Tripoli where messages were allegedly exchanged between the Libyan People's Bureaux in East Berlin and to a listening post mounted by the Mossad outside Tripoli at Libya's expense. "Intercepted Libyan cables," Andrew added, "decrypted by NSA and its British ally, GCHQ, provided proof of Libyan responsibility." (13) With this intelligence input, Reagan obliged Prime Minister Thatcher to assist the air strikes later the same day, the President himself selecting the targets, though irritating the cryptanalysts both at NSA and GCHQ by alluding to their part in the plot. The incident established Tripoli as the convenient fallguy when anything went wrong, and needed to be fixed.

With the Palme assassination finally put on the back burner, former NSA Bud McFarlane, thanks to Reagan's persistent prodding, went ahead with more arms shipments to Tehran in the hope that the remaining hostages would be released. In May, he led a mission to supply it with two plane loads of spare parts for its HAWK missiles, and waited for days in vain for any response, returning in failure while canceling the delivery of the second shipment. It all showed that Manucher Ghorbanifar, the Iranian arms dealer who had been cut out of the process since the November 1985 failure, and North were essential if anything was to be achieved, so they were back in Tehran six weeks later with a second load of HAWK missile parts, marked up 370% in price, and which the Iranians refused to pay. "While Ghorbanifar haggled with the Iranians for reimbursement, another Iranian intermediary negotiated the sale of five hundred more TOW missiles." (14)

The whole plot started to unravel when a C-123K supply plane, containing cargo-kicker Eugene Hasenfus, and loaded with arms for the Contras, was shot down in August by Sandinista anti-aircraft fire over Nicaragua. When he survived, and told his story to his captors, it really gather pace when Al Shiraa, a Lebanese periodical, gave details about the operation on November 3rd. "The article also detailed McFarlane's failed mission to Tehran, portraying McFarlane as a supplicant and North as a naive amateur carrying a Bible and a chocolate cake." (15) The race was then on to determine if this was true, what else happened, what illegal acts were committed and by whom, what was Reagan's role in the whole process, the essential importance of keeping Sweden's role secret, had any surprises occurred during the process to make matters more difficult, what had Iran gained by it all, and what blowback and the like occurred along the way. The process of discovery was made more difficult by the destruction of evidence, lying by the main participants, immunity given to them by people investigating parts of the process, the failure to prosecute successfully its main architects, and the giving of pardons to most of them.

As for the President's role in Iran-Contra, Special Counsel Lawrence Walsh left no doubt, but refused to prosecute him because of the time it had taken to find it out for sure, and the poor state Reagan was in by then: "He had traded arms for hostages. He had pushed eager aides to keep bargaining when more seasoned officers had advised against it. In his own mind, he had arranged the facts into the context of McFarlane's original proposal of an 'Iran Initiative' - a secretive effort to open lines of communication and support to factions in Tehran that might someday replace the Ayatollah Khomeini's radical regime with pro-Western policies, and that might, as a gesture of good will, persuade their Lebanese followers to release the hostages. In fact, the dialogue had never gone beyond bartering missiles for prisoners. The hidden trade and the diversion of part of the proceeds to the Contras had violated American poliy and law." (16) Little wonder that Reagan biographer Lou Cannon discounted this telling truth by citing the President's denials in sorn testimony before various bodies, and also mentioned his failing memory. (17)

The most interesting part of Walsh's inditement of North was his discussion of the notes that George Cave, a retired CIA official, had prepared about his mission to Iran. While North had grossly exaggerated his role with the President, North was the authority on his mission. "As he presented the Bible, North had said, 'We inside our government had an enormous debate, a very angry debate inside our government, over whether or not my president would authorize me to say 'We accept the Islamic Revoution of Iran as a fact.'...(The president) went off one whole weekend and prayed about what the answer should be, and came back almost a year ago with that passage I gave you that he wrote in the front of the Bible I gave you. And he said to me, 'This is a promise that God gave to Abraham. Who am I to say that we should not do this?' "(18)

As for there being any doubt about this - what Cannon attempted to deny by stating that no one knew exactly when North was telling the truth, and when he wasn't (19) - Walsh added: President Reagan had testified before the Tower Commission that he had indeed inscribed the Bible for North and that (NSA) Poindexter approved the inscription, saying that it was a favorite passage of one of the negotiators." (20) Of course, Reagan's inscription, and North's declaration were worth more than all the arms the Americans had provided, as they assured Iran's survival, especially since it was increasingly being punished by Saddam's armies in the Iran-Iraq War. It seems the passage was a favorite of Ghorbanifar's. The de facto recognition of Iran certainly helped in finally getting a unamimous resolution UN resolution for ending the war on July 20, 1988, and its implemention a month later. Without it - what one would have expected, and the United States could have prevented by objecting to the regime's continuance - it could well have played into the hands of Reza Pahlavi returning but Washington was now committed to continuance of the Iranian Republic.

The signs of Iran softening its demands over the war, and gaining the support of an increasing number of domestic dissidents had been occurring despite Khomeini's objections for quite awhile. Soon after the Iran-Contra scandal broke, SAVAMA director Hossein Fardoust retired, replaced by a less hard-line one. Grand Ayatollah Hossein Montazeri got sacked in 1988, though, Khomeini returning to the position, for complaining that SAVAMA had been behaving no better than SAVAK Former SAVAK director in Washington, Mansur Rafizadeh, proved an empty threat to the mullahs - despite his February 1987complaints about Ghorbanifar in Time magazine - when his long-anticipated Witness: From the Shah To the Secret Arms Deal, An Insider's Account of U. S. Involvement in Iran appeared a few months later. It had little good to say about the Pahlavis, especially the Shah himself and his sister, talking about all kinds of cruel and perverted things they had done. The Shah was portrayed as fomenting assassintions of domestic opponents while Khomeini had liberal and CIA advisors. Nikki Keddies wrote in a review of the book for the LA Times, stating: "The great problem, nearly as much for the Iran specialist as for the non-specialist, is to judge how much of this dramatic account is true, and how much is self-serving
invention." (21)

It was only after Reagan had finished his terms in office that one learned just how entrenched in the covert government in Washington agents of the Iranian Republic had been in the Contras' drug connection. The delay had been somewhat caused by the shooting down of an Iranian Airbus on July 3, 1988 by the American guided-missile cruiser USS Vincennes, and the Iranians arranging for Syrian arms deal Monzar Al-Kassar to retaliate by bringing down Pan Am Flight 103. The shooting down of Iran Air Flight 65, killing 290 crew and passengers, was clearly the result of Captain William C. Rogers' aggressiveness where his ship was in Iranian waters, and mistook the climbing airliner on its way to Dubai for an F-14 Tomcat fighter, coming down in an attack. The incident, while Washington neither admitted responsibility for it nor apologized to Tehran for the accident, paved the way for the Reagan administration agreeing to a ceasefire in the Gulf War.

The shooting down of the Pan Am flight just before Christma in 1988 was the result of part of the Agnecy, known as CIA-1 in Frankfurt, which wanted arms dealer Al-Kassar to help it secure the release of more hostages in return for continuing his drug-smuggling operations while another team, under the leadership of Charles McKee, had come to Beirut in the hope, it seems, of finally retrieving CIA station chief William Buckley through a rescue mission. When the McKee team learned of Al-Kassar's activites, and that they were protected by higher-ups back in Washington, he moved to stop it when they returned to Langley. "The McKee team was in the dark and way out in the cold." (22) "Semtex" was mixed by higher ups into Al-Kassar's usual shipment of drugs, and it was allowed to get on a plane going to London when a control in Washington said that the suitcase was okay. The Pan Am flight exploded prematurely over Lockerbie, Scotland, and, as expected, the Libyans were made the fallguys for the tragedy.(23)

The primary reason for the cover-up was that the Contras were involved in drug-smuggling, and arms dealers connected to the Iranian Republic, not only Al-Kassar but also Ghorbanifar and Sadeg Tabatabai, were deeply integrated into it, showing that the Iran-Contra was not just a clever rip-off of Tehran. Al-Kassar's brother-in-law was Syria's intelligence chief, and a lover of a neice of dictator Hafez Al-Assad, an ally of the Iranians during the Gulf War. Tabatabai - brother-in-law of Khomeini's son Seyyed Achmed, and Deputy Prime Minister of the last government, Medhi Bazargan's, under the Shah - was the chief negotiator for the mullahs in arranging the completion of the stalled "October Surprise" - the freeing up of its $7.9 billion deposited in American banks - just hours before Reagan became President, and the American Embassy hostages were released.(24) These fellows were deeply involved not only with North's Enterprize operation but also the Medellín Cartel. The failure of the press to report it, and John Kerry's Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism; Narcotics, and International Operations to properly investigate it over three years, especially Al-Kassar's activites, was what induced Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall to write Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America.

The risks of being more forceful in one's investigations were patently clear. When Palme's Foreign Ministry officer for approving all matérial exports, Admiral Carl-Fredrik Algernon, was scheduled to testify on January 21, 1987 before the special prosecutor investigating illegal arms shipments, he was apparently pushed in front of a subway train at Stockholm's Central Station six days earlier. Perhaps.he would deny that Sweden had its own, illegal arms dealings: they were just part of a bigger one, North's Enterprize "We thought we could interfere anywhere in the world," a scared, important Swedish official told reporter Richard Reeves, "without taking sides. Palme decided to take a higher profile, and now we are paying the price."(25)

The Swedish connection apparently explained why American officials, especially in the CIA, who knew about it being so adamantly opposed about it being exposed - what led to the failure of many trials of those responsible for Iran-Contra. For any trial to be successful, the context in which the alleged crimes took place would have to be presented, and in these trials, tapes recorded by Norway's communications agency would be essntial. In the trial of Joseph Fernandez, the CIA chief of station in Costa Rica, such details would have to be revealed, and the Agency strongly opposed it. In explaining its opposition, Richard Stolz, the Deputy Director for Operations, finally blurted out "What will they think in Oslo?"(26) - an allusion to the tapes which concerned Sweden, especially Palme stopping the November 17th HAWK missile shipment, and what Walsh planned to get round by using numbers rather than names The identification of Sweden as country # eight is still highly classified. While the Judge would not hear of such courtroom antics, the trial was ultimately prevented by the Attorney General issuing an affidavit, refusing to provide the necessary information.

Then there was another murder never solved. When Walsh was trying to confirm all kinds of claims, he was desperate to find really telling evidence. Ultimately, his investigators found Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger's extensive notes about almost everything - what he had originally denied having. By May 1992, the prosecutors had mastered the notes sufficiently that they started deposing suspects about what they knew, and when they knew it, starting with former Attorney General Edwin Meese - what became the most damaging evidence against President Reagan. On March 27th, wife Parivash of Majid Rafizadeh - whose brother Mansur was the former SAVAK chief in Washington - was shot dead in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey while her husband was away in California. Nothing was taken, indicating that it was a retribution killing. A most likely reason was the erroneous belief that the Rafizadehs were finally telling the truth about Iran-Contra,

Once Clinton became President, Iran certainly went on the back burner as he was much more interested in finally settling scores with Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Yugoslavia's Slobodan Milosevic. The continuing problems with Baghdad meant that Washington had to concentrate almost all its humint and signit resources to find out as much as it could about what Iraq had, and was up to - what had continually been ignored during the 1980s. Moreover, as NSA Director William Studeman added, "...Iraq had a substanlial knowledge and sensitivity of our capabilities in the area of imaging other intelligence collection methods such as signals intelligence...our security had been penetrated because we were dealing with this target to whom we had spent so many years displaying what our intelligence capabilities were." (27) Conditions were still bad enough even after Saddam's ouster that Ghorbanifar, thanks to his connections with Vice President Dick Cheney, offered to find his WMD if given a $2 million advance, but David Kay, head of the hunt for them, would not hear of it.(28)

In fact, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who had always favored Iraq in its regional conflict with Iran, ordered his Secreatry of the Air Force to have the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) have its radar satellite hit the ancient city of Bam's underground, qanat water system with laser beams in August - fearing that the mullahs were adopting the Shah's expansive ambitions at the Sunnis' expense. The use of these Lacrosse satellites for such operations had been discovered in June 1990 when the DCI Robert Gates had allowed the NRO, which was then under his control, to experiment with them, as Danny Stillman had suggested, and they had pulled off the earthquake in northwest Iran, making sure that Tehran stayed on side during the 1991 Gulf War, and it worked. Then President Clinton had to resort of their use in the aftermath of the aerial bombardment of Serbia to make Slobodan remove his forces from Kosovo after it was discovered that Turkey had betrayed the mission to Belgrade - what resulted in the Izmit earthquake there in 1999.(29)

And the Pahlavis just continued to become less relevant to Iran's future than ever. Reza, the new Shah, had moved to Washington in 1984 after having split with his mother, Queen Farah, who continued to live in Cairo's Koubbeh Place, two years earlier by moving to Morocco. "Ostensibly, he devoted his time," William Shawcross wrote, "to attempting to restore the monarchy. But he did not have much visible success." (30) His younger brother, Ali Reza, had moved to the U.S. in 1982, attended Mount Graylock School outside Williamstown, Massachusetts in preparation for entering Williams College that former DCI Richard Helms had attended, but thought better of it when the time came, and attended Princeton where he received his B:A., having majored in physics. Then Ali Reza attended Columbia, receiving an M.A. in art history. Finally, he decided to get a Ph.D. from Harvard in ancient Iranian history, moving to Boston.

It was here that Ali Reza met the love of his life, Sarah Tabatabai - the daughter, it seems, of Ali Tabatabai, the press secretary of the Shah's Embassy who SAVAK's turncoat Hossein Fardoust had had assassinated. " 'He was engaged to Sarah Tabatabai for many years. But a few years ago, he lost his fiancée in a scuba diving accident and never quite recovered from that,' a friend close to the Shah's family told the Daily Beast. 'She was his connection to life, art, and Iran, and she was very close to the queen and her loss was unbearable,' the friend said."(31) What was most intriguing about it is that her death was not really confirmed until after his, her merely being called his ex-fiancée when she was killed in 2009. She was obviously more important in his life than either his father or his deceased sister.Leila.

Sarah helped him take a much longer, serious, balanced look at Persian history, especially about its current condition. She must have become more interested in what could happen to current Iran under the mullahs, especially after she learned more about why Dawud Salahuddin, an American Black Muslim killed her father. He wanted to kill Americans who had helped make such a mess out of Iran, particularly Kermit Roosevelt, Jr., who engineered the Shah's return in 1954, or Henry Kissinger who was the Shah's greatest supporter. Fardoust demanded that he kill Tabatabai who was the best Iranian substitute. Salahuddin is also wanted by the FBI for seeing its former agent Robert Levinson on Kish Island, an Iranian resort, before he disappeared while he was trying to stop various smuggling by the Iranians. Salahuddin considers himself a soldier for Islam, though he is known to be closely associated with Iran's current reformers.

It seems that Sarah learned of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency's Operation Shakespeare that John P. Wheeler was directing, especially after the disappearance of an Iranian arms dealer, Amir Hussein Aldabili, later in October when he visited Tbilisi, Georgia, especially when one learns that ICE was so worried that it was just another SAVAK trap - its designation of what Iranian intelligence officers could be up to.(32) The increasing sanctions on Iran were having a negative impact on many people she knew, and were doing nothing to help restore the Shah's regime, or making the mullahs' give up on their nuclear program. It makes one wonder if there is more to her alleged scuba diving accident than admitted.

Could she have been assassinated because of what she had learned, and was telling Ali Resa, making him just more resigned to the mullahs' regime after her death, and why he never finished his Ph.D disseratation? And it just becomes more suspicious when one sees blogger Surge Deck talking about the five things that should be known about the deceased Ali Reza - all of which are centered around his relationship with Sarah: his strugglining with Iran's political problems, being well-educated, grieving over other family tragedies, being a most-sought after bachelor for marriage, and what Sarah was unable to change.

Reporter Stephen Kinzer, who lived just down the road from Ali Reza in Boston's South End, had already announced the demise of the Pahlavi dynasty in his book, Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America's Future. Kinzer urged fundamental changes in America's foreign policy, replacing the autocratic Saudis, and difficult Israelis, with allancies with the growing, democratically inclinded, Muslim states of Turkey and Iran - Ali Reza's mission. These countries were becoming much more reliable, secular, democratic states which could best promote Washington's interests in the region, and relations with them should improved and increased. Of course, this would put an end to any chance of the Pahlavis ever returning to Tehran as monarchs. Kinzer underlined all this when he wrote Ali Reza's obituary, "Prince Ali Reza Pahlavi's Suicide: Tragic End to Iran's Dynasty." The only thing missing in the obituary was the deceased's relations with women, especially Sarah.

Once the details of Operation Shakespeare were printed in The Philadelphia Inquirer last September, the totally demoralized Ali Reza decided to go out with a bang, taking revenge on his beloved Sarah's nemesis, John Wheeler. Ali's mission for a more democratic Iran was explained thus after his death: "I'll do something that has nothing to do with me because the assumption is that I don't exist anymore. I'll do something for the people for which I am suffering that would take me up to death.(33)

The only trouble with the quotation about his dying is that its author provided no act by him to justify his death. I think that he suggested a meeting or at least allowed the use of his name by the assassins who enticed Wheeler to go to the Sheraton in Wilmington just after Christmas, thinking that Ali Reza would be there to supply more input for his program of increasing sanctions against Iran's companies and suppliers. There he was ambushed, sedated, all his information stolen by a squad of SAVAMA agents, and once it disclosed that he was Iran's leading antagonism, he was bopped on the head, and his body dropped into a dumpster, thinking that it would never be found

The accidental discovery of his body in the Wilmington landfill just before it disappeared, apparently forever, brought forward Ali Reza's death much sooner than he expected. With Delaware and Washington authorities learning that the special assistant to former Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne had been murdered - what infuriated Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden when the Medical Examiner confirmed the homicide as it made it more difficult for the authorities to explain it away through private conversations with his widow after his killer was killed too, and explained why the US Attorney David Hall, it seems, told the police not to go "overboard" about the murder - it was fairly easy to determine what had happened to Wheeler. The assassins who checked into the room where the meeting took place could be tracked, and their connection ot Ali Reza could be traced by the National Security Agency. Its keyword-spotting technology (KWS) would allow it to quickly trace the connection(34), once it was looking for words, like wheeler, wilmington, amin, new castle, shakespeare, mitre, etc.

As for who actually killed Ali Reza, the most likely candidate is agents of NSA's Special Collection Service (SCS) which took over the Agency's *Executive Action' program after details of William King Harvey's project ZR/RFILE in Division D were exposed by the Church Committee. "The SCS is headquartered in a heavily protected compound of modern buildings on Springfield Road in Beltsville, Maryland, a few miles south of NSA."(35) While both Harvey and his successors have stressed the need for information technology, procurement, and sources, they are not beyond murder if it comes necessary to promote aims, or restrict blowback, as Harveuy's expansion of Task Force W in the anti-Castro mission demonstrated when it attempted to kill him in all kinds of ways.(36) The SCS seems to have a track record in such killings too with the unsolved murders of Tina Ricca when the NRO was setting up its new headquarters without congressional authority, and the unsolved one of Gareth Williams when he was apparently revealing NSA's sources, procurement technology, and information in the Afghan War for Assange's Wikileaks.

Some allied service, especially Israel's Mossad as a parting gift for Director Meir Dagan, could have done it as a favor for Washington, but this seems much less likely. The fact that someone did it is best illustrated by the Boston police being even less interested in determining how this resident exile died than the authorities in Delaware with Wheeler, especially when first account of the death reported that Ali Reza's girl friend had called at 2 a. m. on January 4th to report that her boy friend had just died from a self-inflicted wound to the head. The police settled for that, though the deceased had no girl friend at the time. She had died most unexpectely in a scuba diving accident two years earlier.

Reminds me of Jörg Haider's last moments when a woman called in, stating that she had seen him driving off the road, and would be coming in to give evidence about it. She never came: Ali Reza's killer, never had to.


1. For more, see:
2. For more about him, see Jan Bondeson; Blood on the Snow: The Killing of OLof Palme, pp. 60-1.
3. Pete Earley, Confessions of a Spy: The Real Story of Aldrich Ames, p 118ff, especially p. 197.
4. Ibid., p. 200.
5. Tunander, pp. 100-1.
6 Quoted from Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew, Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage, p. 368.
7. Bondeson, op. cit., pp. 37-8.
8. Quoted from Chris Mosey, Cruel Awakening: Sweden and the Killing of Olof Palme, p. 11.
9. Bondeson, op. cit., p. 57.
10. Captain Simon Hayward, Under Fire: My Own Story, p. 35ff.
11. Earley, op. cit., p. 194.
12. Christopher Andrew, For the President's Eyes Only, p. 483.
13. Ibid.
14. Lawrence E. Walsh, Firewall: The Iran-Contra Conspiracy and Cover-Up, p. 7.
15. Ibid., pp. 7-8.
16. Ibid., p. 10.
17. Lou Cannon, President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime, pp. 521-2.
18. Walsh, op.cit., pp. 84-5.
19. Cannon, op. cit.p. 523.
20 Walsh, op. cit.p. 85.
22. Jonathan Vankin & John Whalen, "Pan Am Flight 103," in The 60 Greatest Conspiracies of All Times, p. 284.
23. For more about the cover-up, see my article:
25. Quoted from Richard Reeves, "The Palme Obsession," The New York Times Mazaine, March 1, 1987, p. 2.
26. Quoted from Wash, op. cit.. p. 216.
27. James Bamford, Body of Secrets, p. 545.
28. Bob Woodward, State of Denial, pp. 259-60.
29. For more, see my series, "Glimpses of America's Man-Made Disasters, on from the beginning.
30. William Shawcross, The Shah's Last Ride: The Fate of An Ally, p. 408
32 For more, see:
33 Quoted from "The Suicide of Ali reza Pahlavi: A Revolt against Forced Exile," 1/08/2011
34. James Bamford, The Shadow Factory, p. 323ff.
35. Bamford, op. tic., Body..., p. 479.
36. Vankin & Whelan, "Get Castro!" in op. cit., p. 17.

Monday, 7 March 2011

The Shah's Iran, SAVAK, Islamic Revolution, Iran-Contra, and the Killing of Olof Palme - Part 1

by Trowbridge H. Ford

During the quarter-century reign of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi as Iran's Shah, the source he had of staying in power was because of all the trouble that London and Washington had gone to in order to put him in power in the first place. When the Shah and his family suddenly fled Tehran in 1979, it was confident that it would be back, or at least find a comfortable environment in exile, only to learn that neither Britain nor America really wanted anything to do with him, a stance which became even more troubling, given his growing cancer, and the fact that no other country except Egypt really wanted it. Its earthly moves became even more precarious after Iran's mullahs overthrew the monarchy, and its militants seized all the personnel of the American Embassy in November, setting off its terrible ordeal while the 'October Surprise' by the Reagan administration was panning out, a process which was only softened by the Shah's death. The Pahlavis were still confident that its heir, Reza, would someday return to Tehran as Shah.

Mohammad Reza's fall was because he trusted his American overlords too much, believing that the growing communist threat to Iran would always prevent it from happening. As a result, the Shah made himself and his family ever more remote from his people while doing whatever the West demanded, especially allowing Iran's oil to be plundered in an unprecedented manner, and only pursuing nuclear power in ways that it could live with. Thanks to the ouster of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq, every major American oil company joined British ones in gaining a significant part of Iran's oil production without paying any Iranian taxes, and it only increased when Iraq's Saddam Hussein nationalized its oil reserves while Iran only became more beholden to disaster capitalism as it purchased more military weapons than it could afford to meet the alleged Soviet threats, and its own internal opposition, leading some to suspect that he had more expansive ambitions of his own.

The Shah then in 1967 nationalized Iran's own oil resources, taking how much oil Iran produced away from OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, driving it for everything it was worth in order to pay for his increasing desire to make Iran a real world power within a generation. Washington, though protesting, was forced to go along openly with anything he demanded about Iran's oil production, and was willing to sell him almost anything but atomic weapons. "No one can dictate to us," the Shah explained. "No one can wave a finger at us, because we will wave a finger back." (1) In the process, Iranian businessmen like Manucher Ghorbanifar and Albert Hakim, suspected SAVAK informants, made fabulous fortunes, "...constrituted a new court, and one riven with just as many jealousies as that which revolved around the Shah and his family."(2) It was because of this growing American influence in Iranian economic and military affairs that the Ayatollah Khomeine broke with the Shah in 1964, and called for his overthrow from Paris in 1978.(3)

The plundering of oil in Iran - while in the short term was a bonanza, especially because it was accompanied by an incredible increase in the world price of the commodity - in the long term it became an increasing albatross because it could only be sustained by extra output, what it was soon unable to provide.(4) The contraction of its economy was also exacerbated by its customers, especially Britain and the United States, using covert means to force Tehran to cut its prices and/or yet again increase production. The primary means was to fund minorities of either a national, like the Kurds, or political nature, especially the communists, to oppose the regime - what, of course, just made matters worse. The first director of Iran's National Intelligence and Security Organization aka SAVAK, General Teimur Bakhtiar, was sacked for saying so, and for seeking Washington's assistance in overthrowing the Shah - what the CIA informed him of, and Bakhtiar was replaced in 1961 when he organized demonstrations against reforms that the Shah had authorized. After a decade on the run, organizing efforts to overthrow the Shah, he was finally killed in a hunting accident - what was suspected of having been arranged by Mossad elements still with SAVAK.(5)

Relations between Tehran and Washington just became more unstable as time went on despite appearances, especially after OPEC imposed an oil embargo on the United States in reponse to the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Just after Nixon's stunning victory in the 1972 presidential election, he had fired Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms because he had proven difficult in allowing the Agency help cover up the Watergate break-in, and on the spur of the moment, the President had offered Helms the ambassadorial post in Tehran, not because of any covert foreign plan but because of a covert domestic plan - to get him as far away as possible from the blowback from Watergate. While the Shah's enemies thought that the appointment showed that he was simply the CIA's puppet (6), the Shah apparetnly thought otherwise, particularly when Helms became a ravid supporter of his digging his own grave by his rapid transformation of Iran. Helms rejected all advice that the Shah pursue contacts with his opponents, especially Muslim ones, and that the United States distance itself from his increasingly isolated rule.

This seemed like part of an American plan to covertly overthrow him when Helms's real thoughts about conditions in Iran just started leaking out in Washington when the Shah and his family hastily left Tehran. "According to cables from Ambassador Helms to Washington, published by Jack Anderson in 1979, the Shah became irritated by critical publicity about the activities of SAVAK operations in the U. S. in 1976." (6) In a later cable, the Shah warned Helms that Iran would respond in kind if America took any action against his agents in the States. The Shah added a month and a half later that he wanted to maintain its special relationship with Washington, and denied that any SAVAK actions were against either the American government or its citizens. Then on January 3, 1977, the Shah told the departing Helms that if any action were taken against his agents in the States, he " 'would not be able to overlook the presence of seventy of your people who are carrying out activities contrary to Iranian law' or of 'others whom we do not know about officially.' " (7) In short, the Shah had just about had it with the employees of the American Embassy in Tehran.

It would seem that American investigators would be interested in this build-up of SAVAK in the States, and elsewhere, especially in France and Britain, but SAVAK was only of interest when it was going after troublesome dissidents at home, starting with the descimation of a Marxist gang in 1971 which had occupied the gandarmarie of the Caspian village of Siahkal. During the period 1971-1977, SAVAK, led by Parviz Sabeti, killed 368 guerrillas, and executed around 100 political prisoners. "Once in SAVAK hands," Shawcross wrote, "people would simply disappear." (8) In fact, the claims about SAVAK brutality became so widespread that the Shah restrained it somewhat, sending off its agents to more sophisticaed agencies, particularly the CIA, so its method would be less cruel. But the damage had been done, and there was no turning back of the clock when oppostion to the regime mounted. Sabeti wanted to kill 5,000 of the protesters to regain regime stability, but the Shah would not hear of it, confident that he could weather the storm.

Though it didn't seem obvious at the time, the survival of the Shah's regime seemed to depend upon his surviving the onslaught upon it, or at least make arrangements for the transfer of power to his son, Reza, once he gained his majority. In the meantime, the only likely successor was twin sister Princess Ashraf Pahlavi's son, Shahriar Mustapha Shafiq, taking over if the Shah died or became a hopeless medical problem because of his spreading cancer. Princess Ashraf was completely different from her slightly older, twin brother - bold, outspoken, and most immoral in her economic and family life, just adding to the Shah's problems. While she epitomized everything that was corrupt about the country, as did her elder son Shahram, her younger son Shafiq, who graduated first in his class at Britain's Dartmouth Naval College in the late 1970s, seemed much more interested in expanding Iran's influence in the region, like the Shah himself, than just commanding the elite Hovercraft fleet at the Bandar Abbas naval base. "The Imperial Navy was supposed to protect the Persian Gulf and to safeguard the oil lanes, " Shawcross explained, "but he thought it was not being equipped to do either." (9)

With such a looming conflict about whether Iran would become the leading secular or Muslim power in the region, it was hardly surprising that when Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile in Paris, he put the highest priority on determining the condition and outlook of the Pahlavi family, and taking measures which best suited the kind of Iran he sought. While the head of his revolutionary courts, Sadeq Khalkhli, was sentencing the Shah and many members of his court to death, the Ayatollah was busy, figuring out who and how to dispose of first. In doing so, he appointed Hossein Fardoust, head of SAVAK's Special Intelligence Unit, the head of the mullahs' successor, the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security aka SAVAMA. Fardoust had attended Le Rosey school in Switzerland with the Shah, and had been his constant confident ever since. Fardoust obviously knew the worst secrets about the regime, especially his own, and planned to make the most of them for his new employers.(10)

Fardoust had attended to some of the needs of the Shah's sons.He took them back and forth to the Swiss school, Crown Prince Reza now being 19, and his brother Ali Reza just in his teens, getting to know them quite well. More important, Fardoust conveniently saw to the scapegoating of high officials for alleged corruption - what the Shah thought might save himself and his family. Fardoust's former SAVAK boss, yes-man General Nematollah Nassiri - who was more interested in amassing wealth during his tenure in office while similar dandy Parviz Sabeti was actually running in service - was recalled from Islamabad where he was ambassador in November 1978 to face charges. He was noted for his attempts to soften the blows by SAVAK, even having saved Khomneini from execution because of the distress it would cause the common people. The most famous betrayal by the Shah was the arrest of his former Prime Minister Amin Hoveyda on corruption charges, and who was left to face trial and execution soon after the Pahlavis made their hasty escape from Tehran.

The most important help that Fardoust supplied the Ayatollah during the moderate government of Mehdi Bazargan was all the information that SAVAK had about CIA's spying - what the Shah had told Helms about - and once Khomeini had settled scores with some of his most notorious underlings, he immediately endorsed the students who overran the American Embasssy in Tehran on November 4, 1979. While the Shah had finally been able to go for New York for treatment, the students discovered that the Embassy had nearly 70 employees, far more than a "bare bones" staff it claimed. "The militants also found thousands of files," (11) many of which had been returned to Tehran after Ambassador William Sullivan had ordered their removal, and though many had been shreaded, the militants painstakingly reconstructed them to America's great detriment. "Over the next five years Iran published more than fifty volumes of documents seized in the embassy in November 1979." (12) While most observers saw it as the bitter humiliation of the "Great Satin", it also gave the Shah's foreign supporters, especially former SAVAK agents, the green light to do whatever they wanted.

SAVAK personnel now working for the mullahs, like Faroust, wanted to reduce the dying Shah's family from ever returning to Tehran as his successor - what the captured documents best focused on - showing that Shahriar Shafiq, Ashraf's son, was the most threatening descendant. On December 7, 1979, he was gunned down in Paris - where former SAVAK informant Ghorbanifar had conveniently relocated, allegedly fleeing in terror - as he walked to his sister's apartment in the rue de la Villa Dupont, carrying her some groceries. "A young man wearing a wraparound crash helmet fell in step behind him, pullted out a pistol and shot him in the back of the head." (13) For good measure, the assassin shot him again in the head, and then disappeared into a crowd on rue de Pergolese, never to be seen again. Shafiq had escaped from Iran after the revolution started, eluding Republican Guards giving chase as he made his way to Kuwait. He signed his own fate by calling his mother, and telling her that "...he was determined to go back to Iran." (14)

In January 1979, just before the Shah left Tehran, Khomeini supporters overran its embassy in Washington, putting its employees to flight. The Ambassador Ardeshir Zahedi rejoined the Shah's entourage while its press attache Ali Tabatabai was staying in the States, and organizing the Iran Freedom Foundation, becoming its president. By the next year, it had put together a counter-revolutionary group - headed by former Prime Minister Shahpour Bakhtiar, and including former Iranian Generals Gholarm Ali Oveissi and Ahmed Pelizben - to overthrow the Ayatollah with the help of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. "We know there are military units inside Iran which support any serious move to restore order," Tabatabai explained. "The goal of such a movement would be to establish a military government for two or three years, followed by a popular referendum on the country's future." (15)

Hardly had the press spokesman returned home to Bethesda, Maryland, than he was gunned down by an American Muslim, Dawud Salahuddin, when he went to settle a dispute at the front door between one of his bodyguards and the assassin over the delivery of a package. SAVAMA paid him $5,000 to do the killing, and he fled to Tehran afterwards where he remained unnoticed, though being wanted by the FBI. It was only a year later that Tehran admitted the existence of SAVAMA, denying that it was like other countrys' intelligence services because it observed Islamic principles. Still, the planned overthrow of the mullahs went ahead, with Saddam's forces attacking in September, but only making modest advances because of the warnings given. The war permitted Israel to kill off Carter's fadding hopes of settling the Palestinian question - what Prime Minister Begin kicked off with the July 1981 bombings of South Lebanon and Beirut, and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat finished by responding (16)

The only way that the Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign in the States could take advance of the situation was for it to promise Tehran that he would undo measures that the Carter administration had taken against it, and more if it only delayed any release of the American hostages there until after the election. Reagan told campaign supporters that he had a "secret plan" to solve the crisis - what Washington was still trying to settle with special offers of its own. "My ideas require quiet diplomacy," he disclosed, "where you don't have to say what it is you're thinking." (17) Vice presidential Republican nominee George H. W. Bush, and DCI designate William Casey, acting upon the briefing books former CIA Security Director Robert W. Gambino had stolen from White House about what it was attempting with Khomeini (18), had arranged the surprise by meeting Iranian agents in Paris and Madrid. "If the October Surprise was accurate," Vankin and Whelan wrote, "then it seems the secret arms-for-hostages deals exposed during the Iran-Contra scandal could be back dated to 1980:" (19)

The reason why the October Surprise was not more quickly identified as the beginning of Reagan's arms-for-hostages ploys was because all investigations of the process were so slow in coming, and so belated in releasing any accurate findings. This was especially true after Iran-Contra itself started being exposed. While Iran had been able to regain the initiative in its war with Iraq, thanks to the release of its funds, and the continuing supply of weapons despite the sanctions the Carter administration had imposed, conditions were becoming most difficult for Tehran by 1985. In 1983, Reagan's personal envoy to Baghdad Donald Rumsfeld declared that "the defeat of Iraq in the three-year-old was with Iran would be contrary to U. S. interests." (20) The following year, Washington resumed diplomatic relations with Iraq, and was supplying it with all kinds of weapons, including helicopters for gas attacks which were inflicted upon their domestic opponents.

In this desperate situation, former SAVAK informants and current Iranian businessmen Ghorbanifar, Hakim, and retired US Air Force Major General Richard Secord became busily involved in getting any weapons they could, and they were fairly successful in doing so despite Washington*s Operation Staunch where allies were urged not to supply weapons to Iran. During 1984, Hezbollah, a Shiite group which Iran favored, had captured seven new American hostages in Lebanon, including the CIA's chief of station in Beirut, William Buckley. National Security Advisor Robert "Bud" McFarlane was not happy with the policy, and worked around it to make sure that Tehran did not fall under Moscow's influence after the expected death of the Ayatollah. Despite the opposition of the State and Defense Secretaries to dealing with hostage takers, "...the president approved the transaction. Israel, through Ghorbanifar and his private intermediaries shipped ninety-six wired-guided antitank (TOW) missiles to Iran on August 30 and another 408 on September 14. One hostage was released." (21)

Despite this puny result, MacFarlane, Oliver North and Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres' counterterrorism adviser Amiram Nir and former Mossad director David Kimche developed a plan whereby Ghorbanifar, Al Schwimmer and Yaacov Nimrodi would provide 150 HAWK, 200 Sidewinder, and about 50 Phoenix missiles to Tehran on planes supplied by Schwimmer and Nimrodi. (22) Grand Ayatollah Hossein Montazeri had just become Iran's Supreme Leader. The CIA could not be officially used because it would have nothing to do with Ghorbanifar - suspecting that he was now a SAVAMA agent because he had flunked two lie detector tests, and " 'should be regarded as an intelligence fabricator and a nuisance.' This known liar was the reed on which McFarlane and Kimche proposed to build the new U.S relationship with Iran." (23) The plan's attractiveness was based upon shipping the military hardware through Sweden - what would make it look like it was the intended user of the weapons which would faciltate Pentagon resupply to Israel for what it had provided, and make its distrusted Prime Minister - Olof Palme, who was trying to arrange a settlement of the Iran-Iraq War - a complete fraud if the shipments were ever exposed.

The trouble started with the plotters not getting presidential approval for what was planned, and informing Congress. Ollie North was given the responsibility of informing the government of the third unnamed country, apparently Sweden, of what was planned and getting approval for it, but he didn't get round to having Secord do it before the plane departed. Then Palme was tipped off about the shipment on November 17th, forcing the El Al plane with 80 HAWK missiles aboard to return to Israel in mid-flight, and additional planes, awaiting word in Öudvika that four hostages had been released before taking them to Tehran, were left with nowhere to go. Then the plotters hastily put together another shipment on November 24th, 18 outdated HAWK missiles with the Star of David painted on them which the Iranians refused to accept. The project was then left in limbo as the President's men decided upon its suspension for the time being - what Ghorbanifar refused to pass along to the Iranian for fear that it would result in the deaths of the hostages. (24)

The most likely source of Palme's intervention was former SAVAK director in Washington Mansur Rafizadah, who became a CIA agent after the fall of the Shah, though Saddam's Ambassador to Sweden Mohammed Saeed al.Sahaf, aka "Baghdad Bob" during his 2003 ouster, could have been the source. They both wanted weapons shipped to Tehran stopped, but for different reasons. Rafizadah was opposed to any assistance that Ghorbanifar arranged because he claimed that he was now working for SAVAMA. In fact, Rafizadah even divulged to Time magazine way before American investigators discovered that Iran-Contra was a two-pronged illegal project, approved by the President, to improve relations with Iran by providing arms-for-hostages while using the proceeds to fund the Contras.(25) Ghorbanifar was able to get Reagan to revive the effort with his promises, though he still refused to work with the CIA. Ultimately, according to Rafizadah, the suspected SAVAMA agent was cut out of the process, and the White House went it alone in "Operation Recovery", after the President signed two more findings to justify the effort, supplying Iran with two shipments of 500 TOW missiles each on February 18th and 27th.(26).

The next day at 11:30 a.m., according to Jan Bondeson in Blood on the Snow, "Baghdad Bob" informed Palme that Swedish arms maker Bofors had been again illegally sending weapons to Iran (27) - what infuriated him since as recently as February 4th, he had told an Iranian military delegation that it would not be getting any weapons from Sweden as long as he was in charge. (28) Whether the Iraqi ambassador really thought that Bofors was the culprit or was just taken in by the ploy North's people used to transfer the shipments into planes where Bofors is located in Ludvika to make it look like Palme's government was violating the law, the violations of Swedish sovereignty set off alarms bells for the statsminister. Before the 1985 election, the statsminister had appointed a special prosecutor to stop such action, and he had been alerted to what was going on by Palme blocking the November shipments. Then Sweden had an agency known as SSI, the Section for Special Collection, to pick up human intelligence, and telephone and radio transmissions about such illegal activities, and the still more secret Intelligence Bureau which liaised with foreign intelligence agencies, especially the CIA and Shin Bet, to make sure that nothing like this happened.

Palme immediately concluded that Swedish authorites - not Bofors as Bondeson has claimed (29) - were aiding and abetting American-Israeli officials who were interested in his undoing, and he challenged them to protect him and members of his family when they went without informing his bodyguards to the Grand Cinema on Sveavägen to see the film, The Brothers Mozart. Palme relied upon the KMS, Ltd. bodyguard reassessors, - who had been casing his apartment in the Old Town for the last few days - to protect them from anything untoward, not knowing that these British military veterans had been brought into the plot just in case Palme's assassintion proved necessary. Members of the team, especially assassin Captain Simon Hayward, it seems, had been practicing for this possible eventuality with the stakeout of an IRA arms cache in Magherafelt, Northern Ireland, if and when young Francis Bradley was obliged to come and move it. When North went ahead with the shipment on February 18th, it triggered Bradley's assassination later the same day.(30) When the second occurred on February 27th, it was Palme's turn, though he did not know that his gamekeepers had turned poachers..


1. Quoted from William Shawcross, The Shah's Last Ride: The Fate of an Ally, p. 172.
2. Ibid., p. 177.
3. Antonia Juhasz, The Tyranny of Oil: The World's Most Powerful Industry - and What We Must Do To Stop it, p. 331.
4. For a more general discussion of the problems, see Paul Collier, The Plundered Planet, p. 37ff.
5. Op. cit., pp. 160-1.
6. Ibid, p. 273, footnote.
7. Quoted from ibid.
8. Ibid., p. 199.
9. Ibid., p. 295.
10. Ibid., p. 296.
11. Ibid., p. 276.
12. Ibid., p. 277.
13. Ibid., p. 294.
14. Ibid., p. 295.
15. Christian Science Monitor, June 19, 1980.
16. Alan Hart, Arafat, p. 442ff.
17. Quoted from "October Surprise", in Jonathan Vankin & John Whalen's The 60 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time, p. 166.
18. Angus Mackenzie, Secrets: The CIA's War at Home, p. 97.
19. Op. cit., p. 168.
20. Quoted from Chalmers Johnson, The Sorrows of War, p. 225.
21. Lawrence E. Walsh, Firewall: The Iran-Contra Conspiracy and Cover-Up, p. 5.
22. Lou Cannon, President Reagan: The Role of a LIfetime, p. 549.
23. Ibid., p. 543.
24. Walsh, op. cit., p. 6.
25. For more, see:,9171,963440,00.html
26. Walsh, op. cit., p. 45.
27. Ibid., p. 197.
28. Richard Reeves, "The Palme Obsession," The New York Times Magazine, March 1, 1987, p. 56.
29, Bondeson, p. 204.
30. For more, see Raymond Murray, The SAS in Ireland, p. 348ff., and Mark Urban, Big Boys' Rules: The Secret Struggle against the IRA, pp. 214-6.