March 26 2010
last update April 7
Player: Mobdi Goben, alias Abu Fouad, aka "The Professor." (not to be confused with "Professor" Samir Kadar of Abu Nidal's group). Born August 4 1943 in Haifa, Palestine. Member, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC). [Leppard, 1991, p11] Died, apparently, sometime prior to late 2000. [inferred, see below]
In later 1988, Mobdi Goben was based in Yugoslavia, running a safe house at Krusevac. He served as a supplier of Semtex-H explosive for the PFLP-GC’s airliner-bomb-making activities in Neuss, West Germany. Member Martin Kadorah picked the stuff up from Goben and brought it back to the cell, where Marwan Khreesat worked it into his radio-encased altimeter-triggered IEDs.
Goben was arrested in Yugoslavia following the Autumn Leaves arrests, of October 26, one of two related arrestees in that country (the other being Kadourah). "The Professor" wasn’t gotten until November, but as they took him in, authorities also found a quantity of Semtex in the safe house. [Leppard 11]
From there details are not clear. At some point, years later, he might have died. During the Camp Zesit trial in late 2000, the Prosecution was tipped off about a document held by the Syrian government, apparently the ‘deathbed confession” of Mr. Goben. I’ll cite the analysis posted at Ed’s Blog City, which seems about right from what I know, and cogent.
Much has been made of a secret document that had been apparently seen by the Prosecution team during the original trial in 2000, but not revealed to the Defence team at Zeist.
Private Eye magazine reported in 2001: Soon after FBI agent Edward Marshman had finished giving his evidence at Zeist in 2000, the trial was subject to a long delay.
The Prosecution team explained that they had had notice from a foreign government that more information might be available that would be relevent to the trial. The foreign government, it was revealed later, was Syria and the information was known as the Goben Memorandum, of which the full text was now in the hands of the government in Damascus.
On his death bed, it was rumoured that Goben has set out the entire 'Autumn Leaves' conspiracy […] He had since died and, after a few more weeks' delay to the trial at Zeist, the Syrian government made it clear that if there was any such memorandum, they had no intention of releasing it.
Exactly who handed this copy over the the Scots and why remains a little unclear. Even in the years since its first mention at trial, the letter has been seen by a scarce few, mostly within either the PFLP-GC, the Syrian services, or the Scottish prosecution. If it's even genuine. The letter clearly remain mysterious, but researcher Ludwig de Braeckeleer has gathered this summary, from available sources, of the its alleged contents:
"The Goben memorandum claims that Abu Elias, a relative of Ahmed Jibril and senior member of the PFLP-GC, planted the bomb in the luggage of Khalid Jaafar. In his Memorandum, Goben, nicknamed “the Professor” in his organization, also claims that the Lebanese American passenger was involved in a CIA-approved heroin-smuggling operation. The luggage used for these operations, it is claimed, bypassed normal security screening." [source]"Abu Elias" is the elusive bomb-builder (?), apparent snoop for his uncle, and the hand-off guy who was to handle the airline security end of delivering the bombs. It seems to be largely Goben's supposed confession that has backed the Megrahi Defense team's charge that this central player is currently living in the United States - specifically, the capitol. If the memo is their main source for the man's identity, that's not the best omen, as Goben could well have just been repeating the same CIA-drugs-Frankfurt intrigue recently aired by Juval Aviv, Lester Coleman, Alan Francovich, and others.
But by now we have compelling reasons to suspect "Abu Elias" might have left town and sidled into London for the deed. It is the only entry point that would work for a Khreesat bomb as understood, and then fits perfectly as for takeoff-explosion time. And there's direct evidence that the bombs were placed at London, somehow in the deadliest corner of luggage container AVE4041, well before the German feeder carrying any Jaafar bags had arrived there. [see: London Origin Theory]
For these reasons, if Goben's alleged words are any clue of real knowledge, it's that he was trying to help distract from the true method by tossing a golden apple of discord into the discussion. An insider endorsing the Trail of the Octopus revisionist line is irresistible to many. But however the dying (?) terrorist intended it, his story is likely wrong and a distraction, at least regarding the bomb introduction.
And would it then be wise to rely much on his identifying clues of this elusive "Abu Elias"? This could reflect back poorly on the suspicions that it first seemed such a boon for. Nonetheless, the issue remains vital.