Trail of the Octopus (book)

Trail of the Octopus: From Beirut to Lockerbie – Inside the DIA is a book co-written by Lester Coleman and Donald Goddard.[1] It received its United Kingdom publication in 1993 and its first United States publication in 2009.[2] Coleman wrote that terrorists had infiltrated a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) operation outside of the United States and, because of incompetence on part of the DEA, were able to smuggle a bomb on Pan Am 103.[1] Coleman said "No one knows what is really going on. If they ever did, it would make Watergate look like Alice in Wonderland."[3] In the book Coleman accused Hurley of being the primary figure of responsibility of a coverup of the actual causes of the crash;[1][4] Coleman also accused Martz and another Atlanta Journal-Constitution journalist, Lloyd M. Burchette, Jr., of being involved in a coverup.[4] In the book Coleman also claims he sought, and was granted, political sanctuary in Sweden and further claims in the book that after he was under Swedish protection he provided Pan American World Airways with a civil affidavit which cleared Pan Am of full responsibility for the Pan Am Lockerbie bombing.[5]

Bloomsbury published Coleman's book in the United Kingdom. Christopher Byron of New Yorker said that Coleman chose to have the book published in the UK because "negative publicity ruined the book market for him in the U.S." Byron said that attempts by Bloomsbury to sell the book in the United States "seem to have failed." A spokesperson for Bloomsbury stated that she had "complete confidence" in Coleman's statements. According to Byron, after a series of interviews with people mentioned in the book, he could not find any who had been contacted by Bloomsbury about their role in the book.[6]

Hurley sued Bloomsbury in a London court.[4] The DEA head and the book's publisher agreed to settle.[1] The settlement papers of the publishers stated that remaining copies of the book had been destroyed. In addition, The Mobile Register stated that the book publishers admitted that Coleman's statements against Hurley had no truth and paid Hurley's legal fees and an additional undisclosed sum.[1]

As of 2013 the book is published by BookSurge.[7]


Alasdair Palmer of The Spectator wrote that the authors do not present sufficient evidence and that they do not defend the theories they espouse in the book; according to Palmer, instead they attack the people they oppose.[8]

See also


  1. "James helps arrange return of fugitive from Europe." Associated Press at the Times Daily. Friday October 25, 1996. 9 of 16. Retrieved on September 28, 2010.
  2. Coleman, Lester and Donald Goddard. Trail of the Octopus. United States Publication, 2009. Copyright Page. Retrieved from on October 25, 2010. "First United States Publication 2009 First United Kingdom Publication 1993."
  3. Geoffrey Leslie Simons (1993). Libya: the struggle for survival. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 78. ISBN 0-312-08997-X.
  4. Martz, Ron. "CONSPIRACY THEORIES: Outlandish claims can hit close to home." Atlanta Journal-Constitution. April 30, 2000. C5. Retrieved on September 26, 2010. "Coleman, an American, seemed a good candidate. He had a Lebanese wife and had traveled widely in that country and in other parts of the Middle East." and "byline "Collin Knox," a pseudonym frequently used by Coleman." and "Coleman has since been convicted of federal charges of perjury and state charges of forgery. But the conspiracy theory lives on on the Web --- the convictions just another part of the government's effort to keep him quiet and hide the real truth about Pan Am 103." and "Coleman's primary target in the book, the head of the DEA office in Cyprus, successfully sued the British publisher and Coleman for libel in a London court. The publisher had to offer a public apology and destroy all remaining copies of the book."
  5. "Taking the Blame". London Review of Books - author, Paul Foot. January 6, 1994. Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  6. Byron, Christopher. "The Great Pretender." New York. October 4, 1993. Volume 26, No. 39. 30. Retrieved from Google Books on October 19, 2010. ISSN 0028-7369.
  7. catalog entry for 2009 paperback edition Trail of the Octopus: From Beirut to Lockerbie - Inside the DIA [Paperback]. Retrieved on December 15, 2013.
  8. "What happened before the big bang?" (Archive). The Spectator. 5 February 1994. p. 26. Retrieved on September 26, 2014.
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