The La Belle attack in April 1986: first Casus Belli against Gaddafi’s Libya

Below is the translation of three originally French articles from its author François Belliot, that were first published as a 3-part essay examining the La Belle discotheque attack [1], which occurred on April 5-6 1986. This is yet another incident that fits a pattern, connecting Lockerbie and Munich 1972 Olympic incidents and linking all of them to either Mossad or CIA.

The article you are about to read, interconnects many more of these attacks, which adds weight to my recent disclosures posted in Munich 1972 Olympic (hoax attack) by further showing the alleged La Belle “terrorist attack” was fabricated.

The author did not look beyond this in order to clarify whether there were actually any real victims and concludes, that this La Belle discotheque incident was an obvious false flag. For the story and its message, Belliot’s findings and conclusions stand firmly. However, while I completely agree with his conclusions, I am also aware there is another layer or level of deception, which makes a difference between the definition of a “false flag” and a “complete hoax”. Were there any real victims of this event? What can be found about it online? Unfortunately, not many pictures or anything else besides mainstream sources regurgitating the official story without checking or thinking about it. Until some trustworthy evidence shows up and proves me wrong, I will call the La Belle discotheque bombing a hoax, where nobody actually died. At the very end of this translated article, you may find those few pictures available online, that were accompanying articles worldwide, showing nothing important in particular that would allow anybody to make any opinion about the event itself.

I as well took the liberty to merge all 3 individual articles into a single one, original articles can be found in French at the link below. Not being a French native speaker, this translation is not exactly easy to read through, for which I apologize.

Source here

After examining the Mukden incident of 1931, the Thornton affair of 1846 and the assassination of President Boudiaf in 1992, the Observatoire des Mensonges d’Etat (ODME) examined the La Belle discotheque attack that occurred on the night of 5 – 6 April 1986 in West Berlin, which resulted in the bombing of Libya by the United States 10 days later. Given the complexity of the case, the ODME will divide its study into three parts that will be published over the next three weekends. In this first part, we will recount the attack, the subsequent US punitive expedition and we will put the event back into its historical context.


It is very common in the State terrorism affairs that the truth only takes shape of little snippets, and years, decades must pass by before the puzzles of the unfolding event begin to resemble what actually happened. This truth applies marvelously to the La Belle affair, named after the West Berlin discotheque, which was hit by a bomb on the night of 5 – 6 April 1986. The key dates for this study will be years of 1970, 1981 , 1985 for the most significantly associated past events; and 1990, 1995, 1998, 2001, 2004 for subsequent associated events.

I will begin by telling the story of the attack and then I will elaborate the immediate consequences with the bombing of Libya by the United States, which took place 10 days later as retaliation. Then I will endeavor to shed light on the event in the light of stormy diplomatic relations in the preceding decade between the United States and Libya, which are not lacking signs before the attack, and ended with the bombing operation of United States, which intervened in this stride.

I will then enter into the history of the investigation, which is far from regular in terms of dramatic twists and revelations. I will also try to finish by re-evaluating the responsibilities of the attack. I warn my reader in advance that there are ultimately too few elements to slice in one direction or another. Only one thing is certain in this story: while history has recognized the unique guilt of Libya, the latter may have nothing to do with the execution of the La Belle attack.

The bombing

The La Belle’s nightclub attack occurred on April 6, 1986 at 1:40 am. The night club, located in West Berlin, was very popular with American soldiers. The two-kilogram bomb was placed near the disc jockey mounted under a table near the dance floor. It was made up of explosives, nails and shrapnels and was controlled by an electronic detonator. The disco was crowded when the explosion occurred. Two people died on the spot with 230 others injured. Some had their limbs snatched. Another [soldier] died of his wounds a few days later. Among the victims, there were 50 US soldiers.

The responsibility for the attack is not claimed, but a radio message of satisfaction emanating from Tripoli saying “An event has just taken place, you will be happy with the result”, is intercepted by NATO’s listening stations and ships cruising in the Mediterranean, and puts the United States on the track of Libya. “The Mad Dog of the Middle East,” as Ronald Reagan called it, has committed one provocation too much and must therefore be punished as soon as possible.

Operation El Dorado Canyon and the bombing of Libya, 10 days later

In months preceding the attack on the La Belle are particularly rich in terms of terrorism, with several attacks attributed by the US administration to the Libyans. President Reagan, however, did not want to engage in a war with Libya without Casus Belli in reinforced concrete (see Hersch), and had contented himself with denunciations and threats. With the intercepted claims in messages aired from Tripoli, he thinks he has a more convincing smoking gun and gives the green light to launch the retaliation. On 7 April, the US ambassador to West Germany publicly reveals these ties to Libya’s responsibility in the attack. The police officers in charge of the investigation say they have no evidence in this direction, the head of the anti-terrorist police in Berlin going so far as to reject a week later “the assumption of an exclusive responsibility of the Libyans “. The intercepted messages, however, are deemed convincing enough to launch a vast retaliation operation, which will be known as El Dorado Canyon.

On April 14, in a speech to the nation, President Reagan made the follwoing uncompromising statement: “The proof of Libya’s involvement in the Belle’s attack is direct, precise, is irrefutable. We have strong evidence of other attacks planned by Gaddafi … We Americans are slow to anger. We always seek peaceful ways before resorting to force, and we have sought them. We have tried discreet diplomacy, public condemnation, economic sanctions, and military force demonstrations … and all these ways have failed”. This retaliation campaign also augurs the concept of “preventive war” since it is the first time the United States has advanced, as part of the Casus Belli, “the need to defend against future dangers”. Margaret Thatcher will hold a speech before the House of Commons, apparently modeled on that of her US counterpart, the next day following the bombardment.

Many European countries, including France, Italy, and Spain, refused to participate in the operation and prohibited US aircraft from flying over their territory. The attack’s file seemingly presented a certain number of anomalies: it is not at all “the signature” of Gaddafi to send joyful radio messages; for this kind of sensitive affairs it [message of successful completion] always proceeds in writing. These intercepted messages are systematically confirmed by the Mossad, who sometimes repeated them in the same terms. Moreover, Gaddafi, as a defender of the minorities, would have never accepted the targeting of a discotheque frequented by black American soldiers, which was the case of the La Belle disco.

Admiral Poindexter

The planning of all operations is entrusted to Admiral Poindexter and his adviser Oliver North, who was at the time also in charge of the financing of the “contras” death squads in Nicaragua[2]. The main difficulty of the operation was to synchronize arrival of the bombers. France, Italy, and Spain, having refused permission to fly over their territory, the expeditionary force, part of which had to take off from England, had to bypass the European continent and pass through the Straits of Gibraltar. Noam Chomsky also reports in De la Propagande an amazing detail: the planners of this retaliatory expedition wanted the bombings to take place just before the evening TV news were aired on the east coast of the United States, to transmit them practically live in the news: “The bombing of Libya” occurred at exactly 7 pm; eastern standard time, and it was not trivial. It was the hour of the evening news of the three TV channels. This meant that the Reagan administration had all the time it wanted. For a start, a close-up on the exciting events in Tripoli and Benghazi… the lights going out, bombs falling, what a great thing! Then sequence in Washington, where the government announces that what happened is “self-defense against a future attack”. They control the story for the most part during the first hour, after everything is over. A few questions come to mind. How is it that the bombing took place at exactly seven o’clock, when the three channels launched their news? It was not easy. The flight lasts 6 hours from England. It was impossible to fly straight because the continental countries had refused them an overflight. They were opposed to the bombing. It was therefore necessary to cross the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. They got there at 7pm. The first great historical crime that has been timed to fit into the evening news. The second question is: how is it that the TV channels have been there? Does ABC have an office in Tripoli? They were there because they had been told in advance: be ready at 2 AM Libyan time. We’ll show you a little show. Thus the TV channels were informed about this exciting event. Nobody was supposed to notice it. “ (p. 75).

Around 2 AM, the bombers arrived at about the same time in sight of the Libyan coast and, within half an hour, dropped 60 tons of bombs on military targets in Tripoli and Benghazi, barracks, airports and air defense networks. Some 60 Libyans perished in the bombing, 2000 others are wounded. The operation can be considered a failure, since, as the officials and military interrogated by Seymour Hersch on this case, the real objective of the mission was to kill Muammar Gaddafi. One of his daughters perished in the bombing and members of his family were shaken by explosions. Gaddafi was unharmed, perhaps saved by the Italian government of Bettino Craxi, who, finding the US file way too light and doubtful, decided to warn him of the imminence of the bombing, with the help of his Minister for Foreign Affairs, Giulio Andreotti. One of the reasons for the failure of the operation may be the choice of GBU-10 laser-guided bombs, released from F111F bombers, to reach the Bab al-Azizya district where Gaddafi resided. On 4 of the bombers the guidance system proved defective and 16 GBU-10 could not have been dropped. Another GBU-10 also missed its target, falling on a residential area and causing many civilian casualties. This is the beginning of the era of surgical strikes and the surgeon still had trembling hands and a little blurry look.



Laser guidd bomb
GBU-10 Laser guided bomb

Reactions of the international community

Few countries at the time supported Operation El Dorado Canyon and many condemned it. On November 20, a resolution text condemning the bombing of Libya is presented in the UN Security Council. This text denounces the operation as “a violation of the United Nations Charter”, calls for “reparations for material damage and loss of life”. At the Security Council the draft resolution is supported by Bulgaria, China, Congo, Ghana, Madagascar, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, the USSR and the United Arab Emirates. Australia, Denmark, France, England, and the United States oppose it. The ratio is 9 to 5 but the last three countries have vetoed, with this attempt remaining unresolved. For their part, the African Union and the Non-aligned movement also denounced the bombing of Libya.

In short, a very large majority of countries have opposed this punitive expedition and the “irrefutable proofs” promised by Reagan and Thatcher – the messages of intercepted claims cannot be considered as such – have never been advanced.

Historical context of the case

If we were to eliminate the attack on the La Belle from the history books, in order to keep only Operation El Dorado Canyon, it would be clear, that the campaign of Libya’s bombardment is only the ultimate “bouquet” among the series of US provocations against Libya. The countries, that voted for the UN resolution condemning this retaliation operation, certainly had in mind, that this was not the first time the United States had wanted, threatened or assaulted selected country.

One of the first decisions of Muammar Gaddafi when he came to power in 1969 is to close the two Americans and the British military bases on the Libyan soil.

A few years later, he orders the nationalization of the oil companies, a hard blow especially for the Americans since 13 of the 20 companies working on the spot are theirs.

In the 1980’s Libya was one of the countries considered by the United States to be a danger to their security. Gaddafi has engaged in incendiary speeches against the imperialist powers, where the United States figure was hit hard. He had entered into a strategic alliance with the USSR and had received instructors and military equipment from the superpower of the “world’s island” [3]. Libya showed total hostility towards Israel, the closest ally of the United States along with England. Moreover, Gaddafi, in his anti-imperialist strategy, did not hesitate to finance terrorist groups designed to harm the imperialist powers, for example, he financed the IRA against England, ETA against France and Spain and the PLO against Israel.

In December 1979, following the burning of the United States embassy by angry demonstrators, Libya is placed on the recently created list of terrorist states.

Escalations really began in 1981, when Ronald Reagan came to power. In foreign policy, this man was in favor of stronger and warlike positions, although he describes himself in the same imperialist rails as his predecessors. Under his first mandate, an additional US$ 355 billion is being injected into the defense budget, which has already increased nominally from US$ 444 billion a year to US$ 580 billion. Concerning Libya, as soon as Reagan came to power, various plans of attack and disinformation operations were built:

In March 1981, Secretary of State Haig said that Libya is hosting training camps for terrorists.

In May 1981, the United States broke off diplomatic relations with Libya.

On August 19, 1981, the first incidents in the Gulf of Sidra occurred. Colonel Gaddafi had decreed a “line of death” extending from Misrata in the west to Benghazi in the east, thereby extending the line of Libyan territorial waters across all the Gulf of Sidra, beyond the 12 miles set by certain maritime conventions. In retaliation, since the 1970’s, the US Navy regularly performed military exercises in this area. These operations intensified with the arrival of Reagan in power. On August 19th, very large exercise was launched, with the participation of a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier for the first time. On the border of the “line of death”, squadrons of fighters were dangerously crossing it and two Libyan hunter aircrafts were brought down by F14 tomcats. Following this operation, Libya accused the United States of international terrorism.

Line-of-death Libya

map marking the “line of death” stretched between Misrata and Benghazi

To blackwash Gaddafi’s reputation, the CIA falsified multitude of disclosures (see article by Hersch) to create a reputation of the global terrorism leader.

On December 6, 1981, the attaché to the defense of the US Embassy in Paris was assassinated. The next day, Reagan said he had proof of Libya’s guilt and accused Libya of being the leader of global terrorism. On the 11th, he asked 1500 US nationals to leave the Libyan soil.

In March 1982, the United States declared an embargo on exports of crude oil.

In October 1984, they accused Libya of having laid down minefields in the Red Sea.

On November 3, 1985, the Washington Post reported that Reagan had authorized a covert operation aimed at destabilizing the Gaddafi regime.

Hersch reports that during all these years, various plans are made to overthrow Gaddafi.

On 27 December 1985 co-ordinated attacks on Rome and Vienna killed 19 people (including 5 Americans) and 110 injured, the United States accused the Abu Nidal Organization (now known to be controlled by Mossad) and condemned financial assistance from Libya.

In January 1986 the United States froze some of the Libyan assets abroad.

On 24 and 25 March 1986, the US military organized the largest military exercise ever conducted on “the line of death”. No fewer than three aircraft carriers, escorted by 30 warships, took part in it. The 6th Fleet attacked 4 Libyan warships and sunk two of them. SAM batteries are also bombed. Libya did not attack back.

The attack on the La Belle disco takes place 10 days later on April 5, and the bombing campaign of Libya 20 days later.

By the time the event occurred, therefore, the United States had been provoking for many years already   and declared hostility towards Libya (for more details see this link). Imagine for a moment if Libyan ships were doing regular military exercises in the Gulf of Mexico in front of New Orleans, and took a malicious pleasure in touching or crossing the line of US territorial waters. The United States would immediately declare war on Libya and instantly annihilate the rash fleet. It should be noted that the convention regulating the 12-mile distance from territorial waters, the first version of which dates to 1982, has never been ratified by the United States. Moreover, six-month period before the bombing was marked by a resurgence of American initiatives hostile to Libya, whenever an attack occurred in Europe, such as the double attack on the airports of Vienna and Rome at the end of 1985, United States sought to put it on the back of Gaddafi’s Libya (without advancing the evidence).

Considering additionally, that it was frequent during those years that the intelligence services favored the dissemination of false information about Gaddafi and some of his actions in such a way to provoke Casus Belli, it is not at all unthinkable that CIA agents were involved in a false flag terrorist bombing at a West Berlin discotheque. This is all the more plausible in view of the fact that, as we see, the United States had infinitely more interest in mounting a false flag attack on soldiers in a nightclub in West Berlin that would be attributed to Libya. Moreover, as we shall see later, everything indicates that the information – relied on by Reagan and Thatcher to bomb Libya in an attempt to assassinate Gaddafi – was a subject of manipulation.

Let us now turn to the investigation, which begins four years after the fact.

While ten days after the La Belle bombing Ronald Reagan announced that he had “irrefutable” evidence, it took four years for a set of new elements to be placed in the investigated file. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 opened up access to the archives of the Stasi, which provide information on East Berlin individuals who would have implemented the attack at the time. According to the prosecution, these archives deliver, in particular, five names: three employees of the Libyan Embassy in East Berlin, Musbah Eter, Yasser Chraïdi, and Ali Chanaa, and two women, Verena, Ali’s wife, and Andrea Haeusler, Verena’s sister.

Detlev Mehlis
Detlev Mehlis

Eter and four other suspects were arrested in 1996 in Lebanon, Italy, Greece, and Berlin. The investigation could finally begin. The trial was opened in November 1997, under the direction of prosecutor Detlev Mehlis. It lasted four long years, after which in November 2001, Musbah Eter, who was constantly trying to charge the other co-defendants during the trial, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the preparation of the attack. Yasser Shraïdi and Ali Chanaa, aged 14 and 12, the former charged to have been the brain of the operation, the latter charged with participating in its implementation. Verena Chanaa, Ali’s wife, is the only one to be convicted of murder, since she placed the bomb in the discotheque; she was sentenced to 14 years in prison. The investigation determined that the three men assembled the bomb in the Chanaa apartment. The explosive used for the attack was sent from East Berlin in a Libyan diplomatic bag. Verena Chanaa and her sister Andrea Haeusler put down the bomb in the disco and left it five minutes before it exploded. Ms. Haeusler was acquitted on the grounds that she was unaware of the case, particularly that the murderous bag contained a bomb.


The court established a motive for the attack as Libya’s desire to take revenge for the material and human losses sustained during the large-scale US military exercises organized at the border of the Gulf of Sidra ten days earlier by the Americans (as described above). In the case of the accused were filed all messages of preparation and a statement sent from Tripoli to the East Berlin Embassy, telephone tapping of Eter and Shraidi, reports on the activities of the Libyan embassy in East Berlin and documents attesting to the payment of money to the Chanaa spouses as a reward for their action. The trial, however, could not formally establish the responsibility of Gaddafi in this case, the court regretting on this point the extreme reluctance of the German and American intelligence services to share their information with the court.

The shadow areas of the survey: later disclosures

In 1998, German journalists from the Frontal magazine of the public channel ZDF, alerted by what they believe to have recognized as shadow areas of the investigation, decide to conduct their own investigation. The facts which they bring up to date and the conclusions they have reached, are very different from those of Mr. Mehlis, and they come to expose their doubts in detail in a documentary which was aired on ZDF TV on the 25th August 1998. The authors of the German documentary made a number of discoveries including: the main accused, Yasser Shraïdi, is most likely innocent and was used as a scapegoat by the West German intelligence services (BND) and the CIA; at least one of the accused, Muster Eter, was a CIA agent for many years; at least one of the suspects, Mohamed Amairi, would be an agent of the Mossad. As for Shraidi, who was later located in Lebanon, the German authorities exerted strong pressure to obtain his extradition, as indicated by the Lebanese prosecutor Mounif Oueidat and his deputy Mrad Azoury. The latter said that he had not been given any evidence of Shraidi’s involvement in the attack (see also this article by Nafeez Mossadeq). At best, there were vague clues. This evidence was, however, so thin according to the journalists of Frontal, that the responsible Berlin judge threatened to release Shraidi if he was not provided with something more solid (9 September 1996).

On the same day that judge issued this threat, prosecutor Mehlis flew to the island of Malta with police inspector Uwe Wilhelms and a German intelligence officer to meet a man, who had previously been ignored by the prosecution: Musbah Eter. He was in charge of an international trade company which, according to Frontal, served as a cover for certain secret activities of the CIA. The agreement was that the prosecution of Eter would be stopped if he agreed to testify against Shraidi. Having accepted the contract, he testified the next day at the German Embassy; the warrant for his arrest was scrapped, and, thinking he had no risk, fled to Germany. According to Frontal, who relied on East German intelligence notes, which closely watched Eter at the time, the man worked at the Libyan embassy in East Berlin, but made frequent visits to the embassy the United States. Many other elements point to an active participation of Eter in the preparation of the attack.

Reporters of Frontal also note, that some key suspects have not been able to testify before the court, because they were protected by these intelligence services. There was apparently another group involved in the bombing, a group of professional terrorists, led by a certain “Mahmoud” Abu Jaber, who worked for anyone who had enough money to hire him. The members of this group were cited at the trial, but in an extremely superficial manner and without any charge being placed on them. These men were present in Berlin few months before the operation and had daily contacts with the other accused. Several hours before the attack, they moved to West Berlin. Their movements were noted by the Soviet and East German services who came to the conclusion, that they were agents on the paylist of Western services[4]. Frontal journalists have tracked down Mohamed Amairi, the right-hand man of Mahmoud Abu Jaber, in Norway, and even managed to get an interview. It ended when the man refused to say for which intelligence service he was working. His lawyer, more loquacious, then conceded that he was “an agent of the Mossad”.

Frontal’s conclusions on the assessment of responsibility in the attack on the La Belle are very different from those of Prosecutor Mehlis, who, having completely disregarded this key figure in the Mohamed Amairi affair, and who lifted the warrant for his arrest before he obtained Norwegian citizenship under turbulent circumstances. “These intrigues of the secret services make the task of the Berlin court virtually insoluble, but one thing is certain, conclude Frontal journalists, the US version presenting the Libyan state as a terrorist state can no longer be maintained “.

The murky role of Detlev Mehlis in the assassination of Rafik Hariri

Given the serious irregularities that Judge Mehlis was apparently found guilty of in La Belle’s trial, one might at least expect that a counter-investigation would be conducted to obtain certain answers from him. None of this has happened. On the contrary, it is this man who has got the formidable responsibility of presiding the inquiry commission into the assassination of Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. As set out in these two articles by Talaat Ramih and Thierry Meyssan, Mr. Mehlis seems to have gone even further in the Hariri case.

Among the innumerable irregularities of this inquiry commission, Ramih and Meyssan note that 1) the analysis of the crime scene was not done in detail. 2) the deep crater observed after the explosion does not correspond to the effect that would have caused a truck trapped. (3) The reconstruction took place in France, in camera, and its results have not been disclosed. (4) Since the investigators wanted to verify the hypothesis of a missile fired from a drone (several witnesses heard an aircraft at the time of the attack), they requested satellite photos of the area at the time of the incident from Israelis and United States, who have declared themselves unable to accede to this request due to technical breakdowns of their satellites. 5) A passenger in Hariri’s armored car survived. Unexpectedly, traces of depleted uranium were found in his body, which should have led the investigators to explore the track of the depleted uranium missile, a technology inaccessible to Syrians and Hezbollah fighters, the accused in this case. (6) The position of an attorney should never have been entrusted to Mr. Mehlis for reasons of conflict of interest. Meyssan notes: “In the early 2000s, Mr. Mehlis was highly paid as a researcher by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (AIPAC) and the Rand Corporation (the think tank of the US military-industrial complex). All of which cast doubt on his impartiality in the Hariri case and should have challenged him”. 7) Mehlis was assisted by Commissioner

Gerhard Lehmann
Gerhard Lehmann

Gerhard Lehmann, secret service member, formally recognized by a witness as a participant in the Bush administration’s program of kidnapping and torture (see paragraph 99 of Dick Marty’s report of 12 June 2006 for the Council of Europe). 8) on three soil samples taken at the crime scene, then divided into three jars that were sent to three different laboratories, two analysis showed no trace of explosive. The third jar, taken by Mehlis and Lehmann, and sent to the third laboratory of their own choice, is the only one to have revealed the traces of explosives. However, in principle, if three judicial experts were to be chosen, it was in the event of disagreement between them, that the majority opinion would be used. 9) In order to carry out his investigation, the man conceded to have relied on the expertise of the Israeli intelligence services, while Israel could be suspected of being involved in the assassination (Ramih and Meyssan). 10) The prosecutor did not hesitate to rely on false testimony, to bring suspicion on President Bashar el Assad and Emile Lahoud. “On the basis of these false testimonies, Meyssan says, Detlev Mehlis arrested four Lebanese generals on behalf of the international community and imprisoned them for four years. Penetrating with his cowboys into the home of each, without a mandate from the Lebanese justice, he also addressed the members of their entourage. In addition, a detail that furiously recalls the encounter between Mehlis and Eter in Malta in 1990, “Lehmann proposed to one of the four incarcerated generals his release if he agreed to give false testimony against a Syrian leader. “Meyssan concludes:” Detlev Mehlis’s investigation turned not only to ridicule the false witnesses, but also in the illegality of the arrest of the four generals. To the point that the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the UN Human Rights Council intervened and firmly condemned this excess of power. “


Faced with the magnitude of the scandal, Mehlis, pressed by his government, withdrew from the inquiry commission before it came to a conclusion.

This set of irregularities and overwhelming manipulations coming from Detlev Mehlis are obviously not likely to diminish the mistrust induced with his action during the trial of the La Belle. On the contrary, the practices, which Mehlis has abundantly manifested as the director of two extremely sensitive investigations, draw a hollow profile of a judge, whose function would occasionally be to conceal matters of state lies.

The counter-investigation of Frontal magazine, revealing the manipulations of Judge Mehlis, and the links of certain terrorists to the Mossad, the CIA or the BND, allowed to take a different look on the planning and the execution of the attack.

Another mystery is still to be clarified: why have messages of claim been issued, which have not been contested by any country since Tripoli in the days before and after the attack? A former Mossad agent may have given the answer to this question.


The testimony of the ex Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky

Victor Ostrovsky
Victor Ostrovsky

Victor Ostrovsky is a former operational officer of the Mossad who worked for the Israeli intelligence agency from 1982 to 1986. Initially inspired by the nationalist ideal and persuaded of the irreproachable conduct of the state of Israel, and is scandalized by “the corruption of ideals, the pragmatism that looks at the navel, coupled with (…) covetousness, and a total lack of respect for human life”, he resigns and feels the duty to reveal some of Mossad’s most impressive operations. His reaction produced two books with explosive content: By Way of Deception in 1990 and Other Side of Deception, in 1995.


In the second of these two books, Ostrovsky devotes a long development to a particularly daring operation carried out by the Mossad on Libyan soil at the beginning of 1986.

The following four paragraphs are a condensed translation of Ostrovsky’s narrative.

“At the beginning of 1986, Mossad, always in search of new and bold ideas to put in difficult situation those whom it considers as the most dangerous enemies of Israel, imagines to implant a transmitter at the heart of Tripoli, which could then be used to send false compromising information. These broadcasts would be coded to and borrowed from a Libyan governmental frequency. Intercepted and deciphered by western listening stations, they would be interpreted as evidence of Gaddafi’s responsibility in the event of a terrorist attack.

“Shimon” (Peres?) gives the green light to the operation that is triggered on February 17th. In the middle of the night, two Israeli warships are headed west, following the Libyan territorial waters as close as possible. Having reached the level of Tripoli they slow down and release in the water a commando group of 12 men. Settled in two very fast boats, they speed towards the coast. Having reached within two miles, part of the commando group is put into the water in small submarines, the other went to fix the rendezvous point. Near the shore, two men remain to guard the submarines, and the other 4 land the transmitter which is housed in a cylinder six feet long and 6 inches wide. They are then headed for the nearby coastal road and came across a man repairing a broken wheel. It is actually a Mossad fighter who awaits them. When he sees them, he stops his mime and opens the back doors of the van. Immediately afterwards, the group of men made their way to the center of Tripoli. In order for the signal of the transmitter to be useful in the plan, it must be situated as close as possible to the sources from which the Libyan government messages are ordinarily transmitted. To do so, the Mossad fighter has been renting an apartment on Al Jamhuriyh Street for three months, three blocks from the Bab al Azizia barracks that housed Gaddafi’s headquarters and residence. The truck enters the building and the Mossad men, now dressed as civilians, climb to the top floor of the Troyen, which they coated with carpet.

They quickly install the device, then make the trip back. In the early morning, the 12 men of the commando are off, without being spotted. The Mossad fighter remains on the spot to observe the Trojan. It is supposed to explode violently in case of intrusion. A few days later, the Trojan began to issue Libyan “official” messages, all of which were about more trouble coming from terrorist projects. All these messages are encrypted by the Mossad to give them more credibility.

“Several of these messages, sent in the days before and after the attack of the La Belle disco, which comes two months later, evoke the attack. These are intercepted by the Americans, who, as hoped by the Israelis, managed to break the encryption. “

Victor Ostrovsky takes part in the operation: “Operation Troyen was one of the most striking successes of the Mossad. It led to the aerial bombing of Libya, a bombing which had three important consequences: for one, it achieved the agreement on the release of American hostages to Lebanon, keeping Hezbollah its status as the number one enemy of the West; two, it was a message sent to the whole Arab world, showing them the true position of the United States of America in the Arab-Israeli conflict; three, it brilliantly improved the image of the Mossad internally, because it was them, thanks to an ingenious operation, that had pushed the US to do what it was necessary to do”.

Credibility of Ostrovski’s testimony

The question of the credibility of such testimony obviously arises. Considering the nature of the source, that is to say, an ex-Mossad agent, it is not the kind of testimony that can be taken easily.

There are, however, many arguments in favor of Ostrovsky’s credibility. First, the reaction of an extreme vigor of the Israeli government. When MI5 agent Peter Wright issued a book of disclosures about England’s intelligence activities, Spycatcher, the British government reacted vigorously, thus indirectly showing that the information disclosed by that agent had weight to it. An enormous publicity was given to the book which became a best seller, of which no disclosures have since been denied. The Israeli government made the same mistake. Rather than ignoring him, worried and stung, they tried to prevent his appearance with every possible means. Isser Harel and Meir Amit, two former Mossad leaders, gave Ostrovsky reputation of a threat to national security.

Gordon Thomas, author of the Secret History of Mossad,

reports the story when Ostrovsky’s book was published: “(His two books) have raised an important corner of the veil on the inner workings of Mossad. It described the operational methods of the service and named many still active agents; it is possible that he compromised some in the course of his avenging disclosures, convinced that he was more than unjustly treated during his eviction from the Mossad. (Thomas, Mossad’s Secret History, p. 281). Reactions were intense in Israel and in the ranks of the Mossad: “Ostrovsky was the target of a major campaign of denigration in the “Mirror” group, and also in Maariv, reported by Maxwell in the major evening newspaper in Tel Aviv, where he was treated as a mythomaniac, calumniator and false friend of Israel. However, for having read these two books, the most senior members of the Israeli intelligence service knew that the bulk of this information was true. (Thomas, p. 283)

We can also quote Gilad Atzmon from “Parabole d’Esther”, recently published by Demi Lune, relating to Ostrovsky. “I consider Ostrovski’s testimony to be credible. As we know, the Israeli government has used all possible means to prevent the publication of his books”. In support of this assertion, Atzmon recalls the reaction of a renowned Israeli columnist, Joseph Lapid, who was later to become Minister of Justice in Ariel Sharon’s government: “Ostrovski is the most fervent Jew of any in modern Jewish history. He has no right to live unless he is ready to return to Israel and face justice. (…) I say things exactly as I think. Unfortunately, the Mossad cannot do it, because we cannot put our relations with Canada at risk. But I hope there is an honest Jew in Canada who will do it for us. (…) It would only be justice for a man who did the most horrible thing a Jew could think of, namely, to sell the Jewish state and the Jewish people to our enemies for money. There is nothing worse than a human being can do, if indeed Ostrovsky can be described as such.” And Atzmon later added: “An Israeli journalist, future Israeli justice minister, expressed the most scandalous opinions here. He encouraged a Jewish co-religionist to perpetrate an assassination in the name of the Jewish brotherhood. In short, Lapid not only confirms Ostrovsky’s revelations of the invisible world of sayyanim, but confirms Weizmann’s view that, from a Zionist point of view, there are no Jewish Canadians, but only of Jews residing in Canada. However, Lapid also asserts that a Jew living in Canada should behave as an assassin in the service of what he considers the Jewish cause”.

Media campaign in Canada and the United States to denigrate Ostrovsky when his book was published is yet another indication of his credibility. While Ostrovsky was invited to numerous radio and television programs (due to the scandal and success of his book), he was almost always confronted with an “intellectual”, who was obviously very concerned about Israel’s reputation, was hostile to him and who often had not read his book. The short broadcasts prevented him from sufficiently developing his purpose. This media treatment is nothing exceptional in the United States, where the pro-Israel lobby (see Mearsheimer and Walt’s book, which gives an edifying account of it) exerts considerable influence on a part of the US foreign policy, watching and witch-hunting those who would criticize the policy of Israel.

To further complicate things

The interpretation of this complex affair is rendered even more delicate by a final episode in the middle of the decade in 2000. Libya, in the years following the attacks of September 11, probably feeling the wind of the tomahawks getting closer (Libya was still on the list of terrorist states), and wishing to lift the economic sanctions that paralyzed its development, decided to embark on a dense and spectacular series of diplomatic gestures aimed at restoring contacts and to make them more frequent.

On May 29, 2002, Libya agreed to pay compensation to the families Lockerbie victims, a sum of U$2.7 billion, although the official version of this case contains as many anomalies as the La Belle.[5]

In August 2003, the eldest son of Muammar Gaddafi proposes to compensate the victims of La Belle.

On 12 September 2003, the UN Security Council voted to lift the sanctions against Libya.

On December 19, 2003, Gaddafi declared that his country renounces weapons of mass destruction.

In March 2004, Libya signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

In January 2004, Lybia agrees to pay 170 million dollars to the 170 families of victims of the plane of UTA spat out in 1989 in Niger.

In May 2004, Gaddafi paid a diplomatic visit to Brussels.

In September 2004, the United States lifted its trade embargo on Libya, in act since 1982.

In October 2004, Gaddafi, furious that Chancellor Schroeder refused to visit the El Dorado Canyon memorial, asks Germany for millions of dollars in compensation for the countless mines laid in the Libyan desert by the Wermacht Afrika troops during the Second World War (which still victimize Libyan civilians every year).

In August 2008, Berlusconi’s Italy agreed to pay Libya US$ 5 billion in damages over 25 years in compensation for the 30 years of Italian occupation from 1911 to 1942. In exchange Gaddafi promises to deal with problem of immigration more efficiently.

It is in August 2004 that the foundation presided by Saif Islam, one of the sons of Gaddafi, announces that Lybia will finally compensate the victims related to the La Belle discotheque attack in 1986, as part of the global settlement framework. The foundation pledged to pay US$1 million to the family of the Turkish victim, US$ 350.000 to each of the eleven seriously injured, 80% for to anyone disabled and US$ 188.000 dollars to each of 157 others seriously injured. The owners of the destroyed disco will receive US$ 700.000. The total amount is US$ 35 million. This agreement seems to logically imply Gaddafi’s Libya responsibility in this attack.

This final episode of the La Belle incident remains extremely turbid. It is apparent that Libya, via Gaddafi Foundation, agrees to compensate the victims of the La Belle, but it is done so with serious drawbacks:

  • No allowance is foreseen for the victims of the attack (about fifty).
  • Libya does not acknowledge its responsibility for the attack and is ready to compensate victims for humanitarian reasons.
  • The agreement also provides compensation for the victims of the April 15 bombing of the Libyan people, which left more people dead and injured.

This indemnification agreement therefore does not constitute an acknowledgment of Libya’s liability. It is also possible that it is part of a more general agreement between Libya and some Westerners, who would not accept lifting of the sanctions, and unsubscribing Libya from the list of states supporting terrorism in exchange for the recognition of responsibility in certain attacks.

It is clear from this list of gestures of goodwill that the promise to pay compensation comes in a sequence, where the leader of Libya tries to round all possible angles so that his country becomes “normal” again. It must be borne in mind that at the time Gaddafi was undoubtedly afraid of being in the same catastrophic situation as Saddam Hussein; the strong man of Libya felt, that he must make such spectacular decisions to preserve his power, hence also his zeal in the hunt for Islamists, whom he opportunely abhorred forever. The painful memory of El Dorado Canyon’s operation was certainly present in his mind.

His recent overthrow seems to be giving way to this series of acts of repentance and goodwill. The only head of state who acknowledged his responsibility for terrorist actions and compensated the victims, one of the few to have officially renounced any weapons of mass destruction program, a man who was also actively collaborating in the Al Qaeda [scam] after September 11, 2001 – as a reward Gaddafi was ultimately abominably “lynched” after a massive bombing campaign, that resulted in tens of thousands of casualties, all justified by an even bigger lie than the one served to launch the Operation El Dorado Canyon.

Balance sheet

We have gone through most of the aspects of this LA Belle affair. If it is impossible to decide in one way or another, we can at least assess whether the original proposal – “Libya is responsible for this attack” – is ultimately fair or not, and whether the United States and / or Israel stand out among the suspects. Let us examine successively the evidence against the three countries.

Is Libya responsible?

It is well burned in the public opinion, especially since the last campaign of mediating, which made it possible to accept the need to bomb Libya again and to lynch Gaddafi, that the latter was a monster, the butcher of his own people, etc., and the Lockerbie affair in 1988 or UTA’s 772 flight in 1989 appear to give credit to this reputation. Now, in light of the evidence put forward, if Libya had planned and implemented the La Belle’s attack, this would imply 1) that for the occasion Gaddafi would have changed communication methods for his terrorist operations since (2) that he would have denied his biased favor of “minorities” by deliberately targeting a discotheque mainly frequented by black soldiers; (3) that for the occasion, unless the journalists of Frontal have allegedly lied or been grossly misled, he allegedly associated himself with agents of the Mossad, the CIA, and the West German Secret Service (BND) 4) that the claims messages sent from Tripoli would be genuine, and the French, Spanish and Italian intelligence services allegedly committed a serious mistake in expertise 5) that the narrative of Ostrovsky would be a subject completely made of lies.

It should also be recalled that judge Mehlis’s investigation was flawed with many irregularities (see previous paragraphs), which were later as well found in the investigation of the assassination of Rafik Hariri, led by the same Mehlis.

Indeed, the only truly solid element accrediting Libya’s responsibility would be the victims’ compensation agreement, although it was found that it did not imply recognition of responsibility for the attack and that took place in a series of strong diplomatic gestures on the part of Libya to restore its blazon on the international scene in a context of war against terrorism, launched by the United States in retaliation for the attacks of September 11, 2001.

If Libya was initially considered to be solely responsible in this case, it can be ultimately argued that its direct participation in the attack on La Belle discotheque is unlikely.

Are The United States responsible?

We have largely considered the responsibility of the United States in examining diplomatic relations between the United States and Libya and in the construction of Operation El Dorado Canyon. We must therefore recall the most important points: (1) the United States had produced numerous provocations and threats in the previous decade, the last of which was the vast military exercises organized ten days before the bombing (2) The United States used to spread false information to blackwash Gaddafi’s reputation, and it was not the first time they had accused Libya void of any evidence (for example, the double attack on the airports of Vienna and Rome in December 1985. 3) The evidence put forward by Reagan to justify operation El Dorado Canyon is extremely dubious. 4) According to Frontal, Musbah Eter, the main suspect in the case was a CIA agent for years. 5) I would simply add to the record that it is a great American tradition (shared to some extent with other powers in their imperialist phase, such as France, the United Kingdom, or Japan) launching a war, small or large, on the basis of an attack under false flag incident or any other kind of fomented and accepted falsehood. This manipulation could be part of a series including the Thornton case of 1846, explosion of USS Maine in 1898, the Pearl Harbor raid in 1942, the Tonkin incident in 1964, the 1991 Nassiriya affair, 11 September 2001, and the legend of the “Weapons of Mass Destruction”, invading Iraq for the second time in 2003.

Whatever one may think of Mr. Gaddafi, it is undoubtedly wrong that the latter was described at the time as “leader of global terrorism” by some in the United States. A brief historical overview of the last 150 years shows unambiguously that it is in the United States, and by far, that comes the title unenviable.

The responsibility of the CIA and / or certain members of the Reagan administration in the implementation of the attack can therefore be considered as very probable. As for the bombing campaign on Libya, which took place 10 days later, it can be regarded, in the light of the weak evidence and of the large number of civilians killed, as a far wider terrorist operation as well as the attack on La Belle, for which the United States bears full responsibility.

Is Israel responsible?

The shadows of Israel and Mossad hover over this attack and its consequences throughout the case: 1) According to Frontal journalists, Mohamed Aimari, one of the suspects – inexplicably dismissed by the prosecutor Detlev Mehlis – was a Mossad agent. 2) The prosecutor who handled the La Belle case, Deltev Mehlis, is linked to pro-Israel lobbies. 3) According to Ostrovsky, a Mossad commando placed the Trojan device to send false messages of mission’s success from the heart of Tripoli 4) the Mossad systematically held these messages as true and confirmed them every time, when most European countries looked at them as false. 5) Hersch reports that Israeli spies informed the planners of El Dorado Canyon until the last moment of the Gaddafi’s whereabouts to be sure that he was not missed.

These elements obviously carry a very strong suspicion of Israel’s involvement in the planning and implementation of the attack. But this is not all: a brief history of relations between Libya and Israel since Gaddafi’s accession to power highlights, that it is the state of Israel that had the most powerful motive, wanting to diminish the power of Libya’s nuisance.

Since its creation in 1948, the state of Israel lives haunting its own destruction and the hope of its perenniality. One of its major concerns is therefore to contain the states and organizations in its proximate environment, which are likely to undermine its security. Among these states or groups, of course, are the Palestinians, hundreds of thousands of whom have been driven from their land as a result of the successive wars between Israel and its neighbors. The most determined are grouped around the PLO of Yasser Arafat and the group of Abu Nidal (who was controlled by the Mossad). Another of these entities is Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya. The latter made some of the most incendiary statements in regard to the Hebrew state. A year after he came to power in 1970, he set the tone in a speech: “My greatest dream is to see one day a free, sovereign and independent Palestine. As long as this goal is not achieved, Libya and with it the entire Arab nation will not consider itself sovereign or independent. “Afterwards, rich of its petrodollars, Gaddafi will extensively fund the Yasser Arafat’s PLO. When Saddate, the man credited for Egypt’s reconciliation with Israel, was assassinated in 1982, he rejoiced loudly and called on the Egyptians to resume their struggle against Zionism.

The problem of Israel is that it is difficult to conduct military retaliation operations on their own either for reasons of military capability or not to stir up the hostility of its neighbors. It is for this reason that Israel has developed a powerful intelligence service and, through very influential lobbyists, arrangements  for other states to carry out the wars that are in its strategic interests. As Mearsheimer and Walt emphasize in the pro-Israel lobby and US foreign policy, “most pro-Israeli groups, and especially the central lobby organizations, are also helping the United States help Israel to remain the main power in  the Middle East. Not satisfied with wanting to maintain financial aid and generous military assistance, these groups want the United States to attack Israel’s main opponents in the region: Iran, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and Syria. At a minimum, the lobby demanded that the United States contain “rogue states” and prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons. Ostrovsky’s interpretation of the La Belle case was oddly interesting: the Israelis did not manipulate the US Congress, but merely created the event, that would in return provoke a reaction from the Reagan administration.

For all these reasons, Israel’s responsibility in the La Belle affair must be reassessed and considered as highly probable.

Epilogue: an article by Howard Zinn

If it is impossible to decide about the question “who did what?” with certainty. In La Belle, we can at least note the logic of double standards in the assessment of terrorism cases. If the attack on the La Belle is a Libyan terrorist action, asks the American historian Howard Zinn in a 1993 article, what about the bombing campaign of Libya 10 days later, launched on an extremely uncertain legal basis, and which resulted in the death of a much higher number of civilians?

“Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.” Thomas Jefferson wrote that in Notes from Virginia.

Those words came to mind as I listened to the announcement from our government that it had bombed the city of Tripoli.

We live in a world in which we are asked to make a moral choice between one kind of terrorism and another. The government, the press, the politicians, are trying to convince us that Ronald Reagan’s terrorism is morally superior to Muammar Khadafi’s terrorism.

Of course, we don’t call our actions that, but if terrorism is the deliberate killing of innocent people to make a political point, then our bombing a crowded city in Libya fits the definition as well as the bombing-by whoever did it-of a crowded discotheque in Berlin.

erhaps the word deliberate shows the difference: when you plant a bomb in a discotheque, the death of bystanders is deliberate; when you drop bombs on a city, it is accidental. We can ease our conscience that way, but only by Iying to ourselves. Because, when you bomb a city from the air, you know, absolutely know, that innocent people will die.

That’s why Defense Secretary Weinberger, reaching for morality (his reach will never be long enough, given where he stands) talked of the air raid being organized in such a way as to “minimize” civilian casualties. That meant there would inevitably be civilian casualties, and Weinberger, Schultz and Reagan were willing to have that happen, to make their point, as the discotheque terrorists were willing to have that happen, to make theirs.

In this case, the word “minimize” meant only about a hundred dead (the estimate of foreign diplomats in Tripoli), including infants and children, an eighteen-year old college girl home for a visit, an unknown number of elderly people. None of these were terrorists, just as none of the people in the discotheque were responsible for whatever grievances are felt by Libyans or Palestinians.


Even if we assume that Khadafi was behind the discotheque bombing (and there is no evidence for this), and Reagan behind the Tripoli bombing (the evidence for this is absolute), then both are terrorists, but Reagan is capable of killing far more people than Khadafi. And he has.

Reagan, and Weinberger, and Secretary of State Schultz, and their admirers in the press and in Congress are congratulating themselves that the world’s most heavily-armed nation can bomb with impunity (only two U.S. fliers dead, a small price to pay for psychic satisfaction) a fourth rate nation like Libya.

Modern technology has outdistanced the Bible. “An eye for an eye” has become a hundred eyes for an eye, a hundred babies for a baby. The tough-guy columnists and anonymous editorial writers (there were a few courageous exceptions) who defended this, tried to wrap their moral nakedness in the American flag. But it dishonors the flag to wave it proudly over the killing of a college student, or a child sleeping in a crib.

There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people for a purpose which is unattainable. If the purpose is to stop terrorism, even the supporters of the bombing say it won’t work; if the purpose is to gain respect for the United States, the result is the opposite: all over the world there is anger and indignation at Reagan’s mindless, pointless, soulless violence. We have had presidents just as violent. We have rarely had one so full of hypocritical pieties about “the right to life.”

In this endless exchange of terrorist acts, each side claims it is “retaliating.” We bombed Tripoli to retaliate for the discotheque. The discotheque may have been bombed to retaliate for our killing 35 Libyan seamen who were on a patrol boat in the Gulf of Sidra-in international waters, just as we were.

We were in the Gulf of Sidra supposedly to show Libya it must not engage in terrorism. And Libya says-indeed it is telling the truth in this instance-that the United States is an old hand at terrorism, having subsidized terrorist governments in Chile, Guatemala, and El Salvador, and right now subsidizing the terrorism of the contras against farmers, their wives and children, in Nicaragua.

Does a Western democracy have a better right to kill innocent people than a Middle Eastern dictatorship? Even if we were a perfect democracy that would not give us such a license. But the most cherished element of our democracy-the pluralism of dissenting voices, the marketplace of contending ideas-seems to disappear at a time like this, when the bombs fall, the flag waves, and everyone scurries, as Ted Kennedy did, to fall meekly behind “our commander-in-chief.” We waited for moral leadership. But Gary Hart, John Kerry, Michael Dukakis and Tip O’Neill all muttered their support. No wonder the Democratic Party is in such pathetic shape.

Where in national politics are the emulators of those two courageous voices at the time of the Gulf of Tonkin incident in Vietnam- Wayne Morse and Ernest Gruening-who alone in the Senate refused to go along with “our commander-in-chief” in that first big military strike that launched the ten-year shame of Vietnam?

And where was our vaunted “free press”? After the bombing, a beaming Schultz held a press conference for a group of obsequious reporters in Washington who buttered him up, who licked at his flanks, who didn’t ask a single question about the morality of our action, about the civilians killed by our bombs in Tripoli. Where are the likes of I.F Stone, who did in his little newsletter for so many years what no big American daily would do-raise hard questions? Why did Anthony Lewis and Tom Wicker, who sometimes raise such questions-melt away?

Terrorism now has two names, world-wide. One is Khadafi. One is Reagan. In fact, that is a gross simplification. If Khadafi were gone, if Reagan were gone, terrorism would continue-it is a very old weapon of fanatics, whether they operate from secret underground headquarters, or from ornate offices in the capitols of the superpowers.

Too bad Khadafi’s infant daughter died, one columnist wrote. Too bad, he said, but that’s the game of war. Well, if that’s the game, then let’s get the hell out of it, because it is poisoning us morally, and not solving any problem. It is only continuing and escalating the endless cycle of retaliation which will one day, if we don’t kick our habits, kill us all.

Let us hope that, even if this generation, its politicians, its reporters, its flag-wavers and fanatics, cannot change its ways, the children of the next generation will know better, having observed our stupidity. Perhaps they will understand that the violence running wild in the world cannot be stopped by more violence, that someone must say: we refuse to retaliate, the cycle of terrorism stops here.“

Bibliography of this three-part study

I did not detail all the references, which have been useful to me in the three articles of this study. I refer the reader to the many links I have discussed in each of the three articles. I would repeat all the same to finish, either the books that I read in full or in part to give me a precise idea on some point useful to the understanding of this case, or the articles and reports, without which certain shadow zones of the La Belle affair would have remained simply impenetrable.

article de Seymour Hersch, publié dans le New York Times Magazine du 22 février 1987

article de Howard Zinn extrait de l’ouvrage the Zinn Reader, publié en 1993 aux éditions Seven Stories.

article d’un correspondant allemand résumant le reportage de Frontal passé sur la ZDF en 1998

article de Saïd Haddad sur les fruits et défis de la normalisation libyenne

le lobby proisraléien et la politique étrangère des Etats-Unis, John Mearsheimer et Stephen Walt

La parabole d’Esther, de Gilad Atzmon, éditions Demi-Lune, 2012

l’histoire secrète du Mossad, Gordon Thomas

By way of deception, Victor Ostrovsky, Saint Martin’s Press, 1991, édition épuisée, mais version intégrale en ligne est consultable via ce lien hypertexte.

Other sides of deception, Victor Ostrovski

L’assassinat des dirigeants politiques étrangers par les Etats-Unis, Etienne Dubuis, éditions Favre, 2011.

[1] Wikipedia at the link provided calls it a »bombing«. I think it is an exaggeration to call it a »bombing«, so I am referring to it as an »attack«.

[2] This case is too complex to be developed in this article. In a few words, Richard Brenneke, “the most senior official in charge of the CIA’s funds for this type of operation”, told Gordon Thomas: “The money from the arms sold to the Iranians was used to to buy drugs in South America. Cocaine was transported by ship to the United States to be sold to the mafia. The money was then used to sell weapons to the Contras. ” (Secret History of the Mossad, p. 604)

[3] Expression of McKinder designating the geographical group formed by Africa, Asia, Europe, and some neighboring islands such as Japan or the United Kingdom. This set can be described as the “island of the world” in that it is the largest continental set on a planet covered nine-tenths by the oceans.

[4] John Goetz in “Covert Action’s Spring”, published in 1996, had already come to the conclusion when he was studying the KGB archives, that Abu Jaber was a CIA informant and had spoken to his correspondent for two days before the attack to set the price of the operation at $ 30,000.

[5] I have replaced author’s original link with a link to my own post


Known and available pictures of the La Belle discotheque incident:

La Belle 1986

La Belle Discotheque

File picture shows site of a bomb blast in a Berlin discotheque in 1986

LA Belle - evidence2

LA Belle - evidence1

LA Belle - evidence4



One thought on “The La Belle attack in April 1986: first Casus Belli against Gaddafi’s Libya

  1. Just finished reading this, though it took me a few nights. Some really potent stuff in here. This section specifically struck me as terribly apt, given the ruthless climate today and the recent Vegas event too:

    “(P)erhaps the word deliberate shows the difference: when you plant a bomb in a discotheque, the death of bystanders is deliberate; when you drop bombs on a city, it is accidental. We can ease our conscience that way, but only by Iying to ourselves. Because, when you bomb a city from the air, you know, absolutely know, that innocent people will die.”



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