A set of documents released by Wikileaks suggested foul play in the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 409 off the coast of Lebanon in 2010, the Lebanon-based Daily Star reported on Monday.
The documents were sourced from the Stratfor intelligence provider, a private organization, and suggest that the crash was caused by the presence of Hezbollah members onboard.
Official statements blamed a pilot error for the crash that killed 90 people after taking off from Beirut’s airport, the Daily Star said.
According to a group of emails released by WikiLeaks, a Lebanese military source told Stratfor that there were 20 Hezbollah “operatives” aboard the plane transporting explosives to Africa and that these devices went off by accident.
Stratfor investigator Reva Bhalla wrote an email saying: “they were part of HZ [Hezbollah’s] plans to target U.S. and Israeli interests in the event of military strikes against Iran.” The email goes on to state that the explosive devices on board seem to have gone off inadvertently.
A week later Bhalla sent another contradictory email claiming that the “Lebanese intelligence community believes the plane was sabotaged by the [Israeli] Mossad” in order to target a Hezbollah agent.
Massive numbers of emails from Stratfor have been released by WikiLeaks this year, in an attempt to shed the light on the organization’s “questionable legality.”
A transcript of the email circulated among Stratfor employees showed them to be cynical about the conspiracy.
“Hez[bollah] and the Iranians are masters at covert operations and movements. I can’t see them making such an obvious move,” stated one employee.
Bhalla responded that the Iranians and Hezbollah were “panicky,” because of a looming threat from Israel.
The final, official, investigating the crash found no explosive residue on the aircraft and provided a much more straightforward cause for the tragedy.
“The investigation revealed that the probable causes of the accident were the flight crew’s mismanagement of the aircraft’s speed, altitude, headings and attitude,” the report stated.