BERLIN – Swiss chemical professor Hans Brandenberger has issued a report that appears to lay a scientific basis for the theory developed by a self-identified former Mossad agent that an Israeli hit team assassinated scandal-plagued German politician Uwe Barschel in his Geneva hotel room in 1987.
Under this scenario, Barschel was killed because of his knowledge of illegal Israeli-Iranian arms trading, according to a lengthy article on Sunday in the Berlin-based Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
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The paper’s headline read “New lead in the case of Barschel. Trace leads to Mossad” and drew parallels between the contentions of the former Mossad agent, Victor Ostrovsky, and the report issued by forensic specialist Brandenberger.
The 89-year-old toxicologist said “the chemical findings indicate a murder.... Because of the complexity of the murder it must be assumed that a professional hit team, and not an individual, was at work.”
Ostrovsky wrote in his 1994 book The Other Side of Deception: A Rogue Agent Exposes the Mossad’s Secret Agenda that Uwe Barschel was killed by a five-man Israeli assassination team.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor issued a statement to the German news service DPA on Monday, saying “There’s no basis on which one could connect Israel to this case.”
In terms of a new German investigation, Palmor said, “It’s not up to us to tell the German authorities what they should do or not do.”
Palmor dismissed Ostrovsky’s contentions, saying “Half of what he says is lies, and the other half is invented.”
Uwe Barschel was a member of the Christian Democratic Union and was governor of Schleswig- Holstein from 1982-1987. Engulfed in a political scandal because of his involvement in a mudslinging campaign against his opponent, Barschel resigned in 1987. Though Barschel denied participation in discrediting his Social Democratic opponent, it was revealed that he played a role in the campaign attacks.
The Swiss authorities – including a number of forensic experts –
concluded that the 43-year-old Barschel committed suicide by taking
sleep medication in Geneva’s Beau-Rivage hotel, where he was found dead
in the bathtub.
Brandenberger argues in his pathology report that the killers gave
Barschel powerful sedatives and then a lethal cocktail of drugs.
According to Brandenberger, his report is based on an analysis of tissue
and organs detailing the trajectory and timing of the several drugs.
Germany’s media and legal system have pursued leads over the years to
determine if Barschel’s death was a suicide or the result of foul play.
The case has become something of an obsession over the years among
German media and authorities. Brandenberger’s report is now fueling wild
conspiracy theories about Israel in the blogosphere.
The public prosecutor’s office in Lübeck, Schleswig-Holstein, announced
on Monday that it plans to reopen the Barschel case. According to a 1998
Lübeck prosecutor’s investigation, there were “discrepancies” in
Ostrovsky’s account that did not provide credibility for his theory that
the Mossad was responsible for Barschel’s death.