French Coverup of Diana Assassination Exposed!
by Jeffrey Steinberg and Allen Douglas
As the result of interviews with a dozen well-placed sources and eyewitnesses in Paris and London, EIR has assembled the most comprehensive profile yet to be published, of the events surrounding the Aug. 31, 1997 murder of Princess Diana, Dodi Fayed, and Henri Paul.
While many crucial questions remain unanswered, one overriding fact emerges from the assembled evidence: The French authorities have systematically suppressed evidence, intimidated and gagged key witnesses, badly bungled the most vital forensic tests, and prevented any outside agencies, including the families of the deceased, from even raising questions about the conduct of the French officials handling the investigation. Moreover, as one American source familiar with the investigation put it, the failure of the French emergency medical team at the scene of the crash, to get Princess Diana to a hospital where she could have received life-saving attention, for nearly two hours, would have resulted in manslaughter prosecution of the responsible officials had the crash occurred in the United States.
And who were those officials? According to several sources, interviewed by EIR, the Paris Police Prefect (police chief), Philippe Massoni, was at the crash site in the tunnel under the Place de l'Alma; and, the French interior minister, Jean-Pierre Chevenement, was at the Pitie Salpetriere Hospital prior to the arrival of the ambulance carrying Princess Diana. On Nov. 10, Tim Luckhurst, the assistant editor of The Scotsman, and the co-author of a detailed investigative report on the events that transpired in the Place de L'Alma tunnel immediately following the crash, confirmed that Massoni was in the tunnel, overseeing the rescue and preliminary forensic investigation. Even the French media reported that, along with Massoni, other top-ranking French officials were also at the tunnel, including Patrick Rioux, chief of the Judiciary Police, and Martine Monteil, head of the Criminal Brigade.
The very presence of these high-ranking French government officials, necessarily placed them in charge of the so- called rescue effort. The evidence shows that Princess Diana's death was almost certainly the direct result of criminal negligence by these French authorities.
Unless the ongoing cover-up by French officials is broken, there is no doubt that the deaths of Princess Diana, Dodi Fayed, and Henri Paul will go down in history as another Dreyfus Affair, in which a French government's mishandling of an important case led to its downfall. Already, French authorities have announced that they do not expect to complete their "official" probe of the car crash until the end of 1998 - more than 12 months from now.
In the interest of breaking that French official cover-up, we publish the following documentary account.
1. The events of Aug. 30-31, 1997
Surveillance And Harassment On Arrival
Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed arrived in Paris by private jet from Sardinia during the day of Aug. 30, 1997. From the moment they left the airport to drive into Paris, they were besieged by a small army of paparazzi. Along the route into Paris, the Mercedes carrying Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed was harassed by a black Peugeot, which, while driving in front of the Mercedes, jammed on its brakes without reason several times, to allow paparazzi in other cars and on high- speed motorcycles to come up alongside Dodi and Diana and harass them.
Later in the afternoon, when Diana and Dodi were on the Avenue des Champs Elysees, the same black Peugeot showed up. One of Dodi Fayed's bodyguards confronted the driver of the Peugeot, who retorted that the couple had not seen anything, compared to the harassment they would experience as the day wore on.
Initially, Dodi Fayed had planned to dine with Princess Diana at a Paris restaurant on the evening of Aug. 30. In fact, they left the Ritz Hotel at approximately 7:30 p.m., expecting not to return. Apparently, the continued harassment prompted them to change their plans and return to the Ritz Hotel, which is owned by Dodi Fayed's father, Mohamed al-Fayed, and dine there in a private suite.
Henri Paul, the deputy security chief of the Ritz Hotel, was on duty all day. He left the hotel shortly after Dodi and Diana departed for dinner. When Dodi and Diana unexpectedly returned to the hotel shortly after 9:30 p.m., Paul was contacted on his mobile phone, and voluntarily returned to work. Although Paul's precise whereabouts between 7:30 p.m. and approximately 9:45 p.m., when he returned to the Ritz Hotel, are still not known, there has been no evidence to date, suggesting that he was drinking alcohol during this time. On the contrary, teams of British journalists who tried to track down leads, provided by the French police, on Paul's so- called wild drinking bout while he was off duty, failed to turn up a single witness who saw Paul take so much as a single drink. Several of the bars identified by French official "leakers," were not even open during the hours when Paul was allegedly drinking himself into a stupor.
Further, the hotel's internal, closed-circuit TV cameras continuously followed Paul, once he returned to his duties. They showed Paul to be sober. During those final several hours at...the hotel, Paul was in the constant company of other security professionals, all of whom vouched for his sobriety, after the barrage of French police-inspired media leaks accused Paul of being drunk and high on prescription drugs. One of the last things that Trevor Rees-Jones, the bodyguard who survived the tunnel crash, remembers, is that he, too, considered Paul to be perfectly sober and fit to drive. Contrary to another French government-leaked "big lie," Paul was qualified to drive the Mercedes 280-S. He had been to Germany on two occasions, taking the Daimler Benz special driving courses, which he passed with flying colors.
Surveillance At The Ritz
The Ritz Hotel is located between the Place Vendome and Rue Cambon in the heart of Paris. It is one of the most elegant hotels in the city. It is next door to the Ministry of Justice. Yet, as a group of approximately 35 paparazzi gathered in front of the hotel, shortly after Dodi and Diana returned from their aborted effort to dine out, there was no move by French police to provide security to the couple, or even place barricades between the couple's car and the paparazzi-despite the earlier incidents of aggressive paparazzi harassment of the couple, and the threats from the driver of the Peugeot. These minimal efforts, which the French authorities chose not to take, could have potentially saved the lives of the three crash victims.
In addition to the well-known army of paparazzi, there were other eyes following the couple during their final hours. Virtually all of the buildings in the neighborhood of the Ritz Hotel have sophisticated closed-circuit television cameras- both inside and outside. Much of the activity of the paparazzi and the other observers has been captured on tape. Yet, the French police, in response to queries from the families of the three victims, repeatedly have denied the existence of any CCTV film footage or still photographs that shed any light on the events of the evening.
Sources have provided EIR with some details of what those CCTV shots do, in fact, reveal.
Mingled in with the crowd of paparazzi, gathered outside the Place Vendome main entrance to the Ritz Hotel, were a number of other individuals, carefully watching the scene. Several of these observers also were in the hotel. At approximately 9:45 p.m., at about the time that Dodi and Diana were returning to the Ritz Hotel, two English-speaking men, at- tempting to appear as if they were paparazzi, entered the Ritz and sat down at the main lobby bar. They ordered several rounds of drinks, and remained in the bar, carefully observing the lobby, until shortly before midnight. Their identities remain unknown, but their suspicious presence inside the hotel lobby is noteworthy.
The Decoy Effort And The Spotter
According to several sources familiar with the details of Dodi and Diana's final hours alive, Dodi Fayed made the decision that he and Princess Diana would leave the hotel by the back entrance at 38 Rue Cambon, in a backup car that was called to the hotel just hours before the fateful last ride. The plan was to have one of Dodi Fayed's security guards, Alexander "Kes" Wingfield, walk out the front door of the hotel and signal the drivers of the Mercedes and the Land rover (which was the trail car), that the couple would be coming down in five minutes. At that moment, Dodi and Diana got into the back seat of the Mercedes 280-S, driven by Henri Paul, with Dodi's other regular bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, in the front passenger seat. As they sped off, the paparazzi were still in front of the hotel oblivious to the departure. Had this been merely a typical paparazzi "photo stakeout," the plan would have likely succeeded, and the couple would have slipped off into the night.
Tragically, this was anything but a typical stakeout. The CCTV cameras reveal that there was a spotter at the back of the hotel, who immediately realized what was happening. That still-unidentified man immediately placed a call on a mobile phone. A moment later, the paparazzi in front of the hotel were on their motorcycles, chasing after the Mercedes.
Sources familiar with these events caution that it should not be presumed that the mobile phone call by the spotter was necessarily placed to one of the paparazzi in front of the hotel. Other actions were apparently triggered by that call, involving at least two cars that were lying in wait for the Mercedes near the Place de L'Alma tunnel.
The failed evasion attempt, in fact, turned into a target- of-opportunity for a vehicular homicide. It was the only occasion in which Dodi and Diana ever travelled in a car, without a trail car carrying security guards.
The Chase And The Crash
As the Mercedes 280-S left the rear of the Ritz Hotel, several dozen of the paparazzi, finally alerted to the diversion, set out in hot pursuit. Although the events of the next several minutes are not fully known, as the Mercedes drove through the heart of Paris, a half-dozen eyewitnesses have testified that, as the Mercedes took a right turn onto the Voie Georges Pompidou, a highway running along the right bank of the Seine River, about two kilometers from the entrance of the Place de L'Alma tunnel, there were a number of cars and motorcycles aggressively chasing behind.
Brian Anderson, an American businessman from California, was driving in a taxi along the Voie George Pompidou, when he saw the Mercedes 280-S driving past, with two motorcycles and other cars right on its tail. Anderson told reporters from NBC "Dateline" that the Mercedes was travelling at a rapid, but safe speed, of approximately 60 miles per hour, but that there were clearly other vehicles attempting to harass the Mercedes, as it headed toward the tunnel entrance. Anderson also noted that the driver of the Mercedes appeared to be perfectly in command of the situation, and showed no signs of being drunk.
Brenda Wells, a London-born secretary living and working in Paris, told police that her car was run off the road near the entrance to the Place de L'Alma tunnel by a dark- colored Fiat Uno that sped past her in pursuit of the Mercedes. Wells has been missing from her apartment for several weeks, and there is some concern that she has become a victim of foul play.
Mohamed Medjahdi and Souad Mousakkir were driving on the Voie Georges Pompidou at about 50 mph in their Citroen, in front of the Mercedes, and Medjahdi told Fox TV that he saw two cars speed past the Mercedes, as others were coming up menacingly from behind.
Francois Levy, a retired ship's captain from Rouen, France, was also driving in front of the Mercedes, as the cars entered the tunnel. He contacted attorneys for the Ritz Hotel, who passed his account on to the French police. "In my rearview mirror, I saw the car [the Mercedes] in the middle of the tunnel with the motorcycle on its left, pulling ahead, and then swerving to the right directly in front of the car," Levy said. "As the motorcycle swerved and before the car lost control, there was a flash of light, but then I was out of the tunnel and heard, but did not see, the impact." He continued, "I immediately pulled my car over to the curb, but my wife said: 'Let's get out of here. It's a terrorist attack.' There were two people on the motorcycle."
On Sept. 7, Journal du Dimanche published interviews with two other witnesses, who requested to remain anonymous. The first told the publication: "The Mercedes was driving on the right hand, shortly before the entry of the tunnel, preceded by a dark-colored automobile, of which make I cannot say. This car clearly was attempting to force the Mercedes to brake. The driver of the Mercedes veered into the left-hand lane, and then entered the tunnel." The witness said that his attention was drawn to the scene by the loud sound of the Mercedes' gears being suddenly lowered.
The second witness interviewed by Journal du Dimanche was walking along the Seine River, when he was startled by "the sound of a motor humming very loudly." He said he saw a Mercedes "travelling behind another automobile. I believe the reason the Mercedes accelerated so suddenly, was to try to veer into the left lane, and pass that car."
Bernard Dartevelle, the attorney for the Ritz Hotel, told Associated Press's Paris correspondent, Jocelyn Noveck, on Sept. 8, that he had been shown copies of two photographs confiscated by Paris. police, that showed driver Henri Paul blinded by a bright flash of light. Dartevelle described the two pictures: "One sees very distinctly the driver dazzled by a flash. One sees very distinctly the bodyguard at his side, who with a brisk gesture lowers the visor to protect himself from the flash, and one sees very distinctly Princess Diana turning to look behind the vehicle, and one sees very distinctly the yellow headlight of a motorcycle." Dartevelle added, "The photo taken before the first photo of the accident shows the Mercedes taken from very close. . . . A driver, who is maybe a photographer, and a motorcyclist, also perhaps a photographer, are very directly implicated in this accident."
The cumulative accounts of these eyewitnesses confirms that the Mercedes carrying Dodi Fayed and Princess Diana was under attack by several cars and motorcycles, working in tandem, at the point that the Mercedes careened off the tunnel pillars, hit the right wall of the tunnel, and then crashed headlong into pillar number 13.
There are suggestions of a blinding flash of light, as described by Dartevelle, and corroborated by other witnesses. Security experts have confirmed that both British and French intelligence services have developed, and deployed mobile lasers, or dazers, which temporarily blind a target, and also cause sudden, sharp, paralyzing pain in the optic nerve. These anti-personnel lasers, which have been used in Africa, the Balkans, and in the Persian Gulf War, are light and mobile, and could easily be used from the back seat of a car. One type of these "dazer" devices widely available in Europe, is the size of a fountain pen, and can be purchased for as little as $35. Such weapons may have been used by the attackers. Other sources told EIR that many of the paparazzi carry cameras that are equipped with super-powered flashes, that are capable of penetrating bullet-proof glass, and dark-tinted glass, to photograph passengers inside targeted cars. These flashes give off near-blinding light. Contrary to stories leaked by the French authorities, the Mercedes 280-S that was carrying Dodi Fayed and Princess Diana in that final ride, was not bullet-proofed. Nor did it have specially darkened windows.
Was a blinding laser used in the attack? Or, were other blinding lights used to intentionally incapacitate Henri Paul seconds before the fatal crash? These are among the questions that may never be answered.
But, other questions are being gradually answered, including whether the Mercedes was struck by another car inside the tunnel, just before the crash.
From the moment that the first eyewitnesses came forward to speak to the media and the French police, there were reports that a dark-colored car had smashed into the Mercedes a split second before the crash. These reports were consistent with all of the eyewitness accounts catalogued above. For two weeks, the French authorities leaked story after story to the press, dismissing the idea of a "second car" as sheer foolishness, and outright interference in their investigation.
However, finally, on Sept. 15, the London Daily Telegraph, in a story by Julian Nundy from Paris, noted, "Paris police investigating the crash . . . have found a mysterious scratch along the right-hand side of the tangled wreckage of, the Mercedes in which she was a passenger. Although investigators say they had '98%' dismissed theories that another vehicle ahead of the Mercedes might have caused it to swerve out of control, they say the paint stripe along the side of the car, could indicate a brush with another vehicle."
The same day, another eyewitness, who requested to remain anonymous, told France 2 television, "At that time I saw two cars. One a sedan-type of a dark color, accelerated sharply, and from that moment, the Mercedes, which was going very fast, bumped into the sedan, and lost control."
It would be another two weeks, before the French authorities finally admitted that they had, indeed, found the paint marks of a Fiat Uno on the right-side of the mangled Mercedes. They had also found parts of a rear brake light fixture embedded in the front of the Mercedes, and other parts of a Fiat Uno near the crash site.
Yet, no Fiat Uno owner had come forward to tell police that he or she had been involved in the crash, as one would expect an innocent party to the crash, to do. Nor has anyone approached the tabloid press to proclaim, "I was nearly killed by Diana's reckless chauffeur," and make financial demands on the Ritz Hotel. The car remains missing. The owner and driver are unknown.
In a bad parody of Inspector Clouseau, the French police, a month after the crash, finally began their search for the missing Fiat Uno. The belated search has been further compounded by a series of French police leaks, which have sowed additional confusion about the color of the missing car: The first accounts, consistent with all the witness stories, described the missing Fiat Uno as dark blue. But, subsequent accounts, all leaked by the French police, described the missing car as black, red, and white. French authorities are now saying that the hunt for the Fiat Uno, alone, will require the resources of one-fourth of the investigative squad of the Paris Police, and will take close to one year to complete.
A Crucial Witness
At the moment of the crash at the Place de L' Alma tunnel, London attorney Gary Hunter was in Paris with his wife. They were in their room on the third floor of the Royal Alma Hotel, at 35 Rue Jean Goujon. In an exclusive interview with EIR on Nov. 12, Hunter recounted what he heard and saw. At approximately 12:25 a.m., on Sunday, Aug. 31, through the open window of his hotel room, Hunter heard the sounds of the automobile crash inside the tunnel. He ran to the window. Hunter, contrary to initial accounts in the London Sunday Times on Sept. 21, had no line of sight on the tunnel, which was behind the hotel. However, he did see two cars turn left, onto Rue Jean Goujon, within less than two minutes of the crash. The first car was a dark vehicle, which was immediately followed by a white vehicle, which, he believes, was a Mercedes. The two cars sped past the hotel "at break-neck speed, almost reckless speed." Hunter told the Sunday Times that he thought they were travelling at 60-70 mph. The two cars were driving in tandem, "with the white car nearly on the bumper of the smaller dark car." The two vehicles sped up to the corner past the hotel, where there is a traffic circle. They sped out of sight. The strange behavior of the two cars, according to Hunter, "made me feel it may be linked to the crash sounds in the tunnel. . . . My initial thoughts were that these were people fleeing from something."
At the time he saw the two cars speeding past his hotel, Gary Hunter had no idea that the crash in the tunnel under the Place de L'Alma had involved Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed. He did not learn of their deaths until the next morning, and, as Hunter described it to EIR, he and his wife were shattered by the news. On Monday, the Hunters returned to London. By Tuesday morning, Hunter decided that "what I saw may have been important." He contacted attorneys for the al Fayed family. They made an appointment to meet on Wednesday, which was postponed. They finally met, in London, on Thursday morning, and Gary Hunter told the lawyers what he had heard and seen. The attorneys assured him that his verbal account would be passed on to the French authorities investigating the crash. Indeed, on Friday, Sept. 5, Hunter was called by the al Fayed attorneys, who confirmed that his account had been delivered to the appropriate French officials.
Hunter never heard another word from the French police for weeks. On Sept. 8, Hunter returned to Paris, where he was scheduled to give an interview to NBC-TV. While in Paris, he contacted the French authorities and volunteered to give them a statement. They refused to see him. Hunter told EIR that his decision to give an interview to the London Sunday Times was motivated by concern that the French refused to interview him. Two days after his interview appeared in the Sunday Times, he got a response - of sorts. The London Evening Standard published a story, based on unnamed sources in the French investigative squad, branding Hunter's story "ludicrous." The unnamed officials were quoted as saying that they were "tired of the meddling" in their investigation.
It was only after the Fiat Uno story was finally corroborated, and Hunter's remarks picked up by other media, that the French authorities finally asked Scotland Yard to take a statement from him. That took place at the end of October.
Gary Hunter was, by no means, the only highly credible, impartial witness, who was treated shabbily by the French authorities. Brian Anderson, the California businessman who saw the Mercedes 280-S being pursued by other cars and motorcycles, offered to give a statement to the French police. For his troubles, he had his passport confiscated for hours. Yet, the police never came to take a formal statement from him.
2. The Death Of Princess Diana
Meanwhile, back at the tunnel . . .
Henri Paul and Dodi Fayed both died instantly in the crash in the Place de L'Alma tunnel. Bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, seated in the front passenger seat, had buckled his seat belt shortly before the crash. This probably saved his life.
Princess Diana also survived the crash. She sustained serious injuries and was bleeding internally, but the first doctor on the scene of the crash believed that she would survive, with proper emergency medical care. Dr. Frederic Mailliez was driving through the Place de L'Alma and happened on the site, just minutes after the crash. According to a lengthy news account, published in The Scotsman on Sept. 29, Dr. Mailliez did not believe that Princess Diana's condition was desperate. He later told a French medical journal, "I thought her life could be saved." Dr. Mailliez was an experienced emergency medical professional, who worked at one time for the SAMU, the French government's emergency ambulance service, before going to work for a private medical response outfit called SOS Medecins.
Dr. Mailliez found Princess Diana lying on the back seat of the Mercedes, according to his account to The Scotsman. Contrary to stories leaked by French authorities to the press, she was not pinned in the rear compartment. The back seat of the Mercedes had not been seriously damaged in the crash, and there was no obstruction to getting at Diana. The French authorities issued these initial false reports in response to queries why it had taken an incredible one hour and 43 minutes, from the time that the first ambulance arrived at the crash site, to deliver Princess Diana to the hospital-four miles away.
Further, Romuald Rat, one of the most thuggish of the paparazzi, who was later charged with possible complicity in the Mercedes crash, was observed by one eyewitness at the crash site, leaning over Princess Diana as she lay semi-conscious in the back seat of the Mercedes, just before the first emergency rescue crew arrived.
Dr. Mailliez moved Diana's head to allow her to breathe. He called the emergency hotline to report the details of the crash on his car phone. He was told that ambulances had already been dispatched to the scene. He then administered oxygen, and ensured that Diana was not going to choke to death~h or swallow her tongue. When SAMU arrived on the scene, Dr. Mailliez left, confident that she would be quickly brought to a nearby hospital. He had ah~already concluded, on the basis of Princess Diana's vital signs, and her movements, that she was bleeding internally.
The first doctors to arrive with the ambulance and the other emergency vehicles reached the same conclusion, according to statements given to The Scotsman. One doctor who asked to remain anonymous said: "She was sweating and her blood pressure had dropped. She had the external signs of internal hemorrhage."
Diana was lying across the back seat of the Mercedes, with most of her body leaning outside the car, when the ambulance arrived, approximately 15-16 minutes after the crash, according to one of the ambulance crew, who also spoke to The Scotsman. She was almost immediately removed from the car.
Yet, Diana remained at the crash site for another hour, before she was placed in an ambulance and driven, at less than 25 mph, to a hospital on the other side of the Seine River, four miles away. The decision to bring Princess Diana to La Pitie Salpetriere Hospital was evidently made by the senior French government officials on the spot, Paris Police Chief Massoni and Interior Minister Chevenement. Massoni was in the tunnel, and Chevenement was already at La Pitie Salpetriere, in phone contact with the rescue crew in the tunnel. Yet, there are five other hospitals closer to the crash site, all with advanced emergency capabilities.
One highly respected French doctor who specializes in emergency response, told EIR, in an exclusive interview, that Princess Diana should have been taken to the Val de Grace, "which is much closer than La Pitie. That is a military hospital. Every political figure who is in a car crash or is injured is taken there." The doctor added: "The firemen, who were on the scene of the crash, are part of the Army. They undoubtedly notified the Val de Grace, which has a top team of trauma specialists on duty 'round the clock. I might have helicoptered her in. She would have been on the operating block a few minutes after being stabilized. This woman was one of the world's most powerful and influential people. She would normally have been given top priority and top treatment. She was not."
Not only was Princess Diana not brought to Val de Grace. She was not brought to Cochin Hospital, the Hotel Dieu, Lariboisiere, or the private American Hospital - all of which were closer than La Pitie Salpetriere, and all of which had qualified personnel and emergency facilities to repair the damaged arteries.
There is no credible explanation for why the French emergency personnel at the scene waited for more than an hour to place Princess Diana into the ambulance. There is no credible explanation for why the four-mile ride, through barren Paris streets, took 43 minutes! There is certainly no credible explanation for why the ambulance stopped for ten minutes outside the French Natural History Museum, just a few hundred yards from Le Pitie Salpetriere Hospital, as confirmed to both The Scotsman and the British weekly The People!
In a case where a crash victim has been diagnosed as suffering from internal bleeding, there is only one proper course of action. The victim should be stabilized, and then be rushed to a hospital for surgery. Unless the internal bleeding is stopped, the patient bleeds to death.
This is precisely what happened to Princess Diana. From The Scotsman:
"What is puzzling about the treatment offered to Diana is that she was not hospitalized until her condition had deteriorated to a critical extent. She suffered a series of heart attacks in the tunnel and on the way to the hospital, and had a massive cardiac arrest within minutes of arriving at La Pitie Salpetriere. The truth is that she was dead on arrival in the operating theater, although the surgical team battled against all the odds to revive her.
"No convincing explanation has been offered for the delay. The surgical team at the hospital had a long time in which to prepare for the arrival of their patient. They were in telephone communication with the doctors in the tunnel from the very beginning and were on formal alert from 1 a.m. Diana did not arrive until at least one hour later."
3. The Henri Paul Autopsy
The Drunk Driver Hoax
For the first 48 hours after the crash, French authorities and their controlled media focussed all the attention on the paparazzi, blaming their aggressive hounding of Diana and Dodi, for what was already being described as a high-speed crash: Then, the story leaked by the French authorities changed, ostensibly because the results of the blood tests performed on driver Henri Paul showed that he had alcohol levels in his bloodstream three times the legal limit. Suddenly, the paparazzi were exonerated, and the entire world media blame for the death of Princess Diana and Dodi shifted to "the drunk driver," Henri Paul.
In the weeks that followed the initial leaked autopsy findings, the French authorities embellished the tale. A purported second autopsy revealed that Paul had been also high on two powerful prescription drugs, one of which, not coincidentally, was often prescribed to chronic alcoholics. Several weeks later,,the French "official" leaks reported that further testing showed that Paul had been on a drinking binge for several weeks, prior to the crash, according to tests of his hair.
From the outset, there was strong contradictory evidence. Friends,
co-workers, and relatives universally disputed the media attempts to portray
Paul as a sullen, depressed alcoholic: Further, Paul had gone for his annual
physical exam, to qualify for renewal of his pilot's license
48 hours before the crash. He not only passed the physical exam. According to
the Doctor who administered the exam, there were no signs of any damage to
Paul's liver, a usual sure-fire sign of alcoholism. The French autopsy report
also confirmed that Paul's liver was
healthy at the time of his death. It has been confirmed that between 10 p.m. and midnight, Paul drank two glasses of Ricards and water at the Ritz Hotel bar. The alcohol content of those drinks was very small. Yet, for the blood alcohol tests to have been accurate, Paul would have had to have gone through three bottles of strong red wine, or a dozen glasses of alcohol, earlier in the day, to have still shown such strong alcohol presence in his blood at 12:25 a.m. on the morning of Aug.31, at the time of the crash.
Both the doctor who regularly performed the annual pilot's license rigorous physical exams and Paul's personal physician told the media that Paul had never been diagnosed as an alcoholic, and had never received prescriptions for either of the two drugs allegedly found in his bloodstream. Ultimately, the French police admitted that there was no record anywhere in France of such prescriptions in Henri Paul's name. But this did not in any way deter the continuing media characterization of Paul as "the drunk driver."
Gross Incompetence . . . Or Worse
There is another explanation for this anomaly. The postmortem on Paul was either hopelessly bungled by gross incompetence, or the results were tampered with. Here are the facts as reported to EIR. You, the reader, can draw your own conclusions.
From the moment that the French authorities began leaking the purported forensic findings (that Paul had been driving the Mercedes high on booze and prescription drugs), his family began demanding that a separate, independent autopsy be conducted.
The French authorities refused to allow the Paul family to hire their own forensic pathologist to conduct an independent set of tests. In fact, the French authorities only would release Paul's body to his family, for proper burial, if they agreed that the body would be cremated or buried without any further tests.
Ultimately, the French officials agreed to release a copy of the written results of the original post-mortem to the families of the deceased. Two independent teams of noted forensic pathologists reviewed the written report, and their conclusions were astonishing.
Dr. Peter Vanezis conducted one of the reviews with a colleague from Lausanne. Dr. Vanezis is a noted British pathologist who holds the Regis Chair of Forensic Medicine at Glasgow University. He was used by the United Nations in both Bosnia and Rwanda, to determine whether genocide had occurred, following the discovery of mass graves. He was the forensic pathologist who established that the woman who had been the pretender to the Romanov throne, was a phony.
Dr. Vanezis and his colleague spent 12 hours, reviewing the first post-mortem report. They found, first, that the report established that there was no deterioration of Paul's liver, in itself evidence that the "chronic alcoholic" line was a lie. The rest of the report was a horror story of bungling, violation of standard procedures and protocols, and unanswered questions. The personnel who performed the test clearly treated it as a "garden variety" car crash.
The report did not identify the temperature at which the body was stored, from the time it was removed from the car to when the tests were performed. There was no chain of custody provided.
Henri Paul's body had been crushed in the crash. His stomach, heart, and liver had been crushed and burst open. Thus, the entire chest cavity was badly contaminated by other body fluids, food residues, and so on, mixed together with the blood. Under such circumstances, it is standard practice to take blood samples from other parts of the body, particularly the limbs, which are far from the contaminated chest cavity. But, the first post-mortem report was only conducted on the blood taken from the contaminated chest cavity.
French authorities had leaked to the press that there had been two "independent" post-mortems conducted, and both had revealed the same presence of large amounts of alcohol in Paul's blood. The report provided to the families revealed that the so-called independent tests had been performed on the identical contaminated blood sample from the chest, which had been divided in half and given to two separate laboratories to test. So, in reality, there was only one test. Furthermore, French officials claimed that a urine sample had been taken as well. But the report showed no results of urine tests.
Dr. Vanezis and his associate prepared a detailed memorandum, raising all of their concerns about the forensic report. Their memorandum was passed along to the magistrates in charge of the investigation, Herve Stephan and Marie-Christine Devidal. Dr. Vanezis's report demanded answers ta a dozen or more disturbing questions he had posed. The family of Paul and other victims of the crash demanded that they be authorized to have an independent, outside autopsy done on Paul's body. The French authorities would only allow a French doctor to perform such an outside test; and, not surprisingly, not one qualified French forensic pathologist was willing to get involved with such an independent test.
A second team of prominent forensic pathologists in Lausanne, Switzerland, in the meantime, had been sent the original forensic report. They drew almost identical conclusions to those in the Vanezis report. They, too, were horrified over the outright incompetence and violation of the most elementary procedures by the French government personnel. A third independent audit of the first post-mortem was conducted by a team at St. Georges Hospital in London, and their results were the same.
So, at best, the only forensic evidence - the only evidence period - that showed Henri Paul to have been drunk on the night of Aug. 30-31, was incompetent, insofar as it was thoroughly unreliable. At worst, it was another instance of willful sabotage and cover-up by the French government. And, this was not the last of the French misconduct and lying.
4. A Tissue Of Lies
There are many other willful lies that have been told by the French authorities and dutifully put out by the world media. Each of these lies, taken individually, could be written off as inconsequential. But, taken as a whole, they constitute a willful attempt by the French authorities to cover up evidence - that Princess Diana, Dodi Fayed, and Henri Paul were the victims of a murder plot. Given the fact that Princess Diana's death was at the hands of the French government - at the highest level of the Jospin Socialist Party administration - it should come as no surprise that their account of the crash at the Place de L'Alma tunnel, from beginning to end, was a tissue of lies. (See also, Synopsis of Autopsy Findings Provided for this Site)
Here are some of the most egregious lies, uncovered by the EIR investigative team.
1. "The speedometer proved Henri Paul was driving at a recklessly fast speed." Virtually all news accounts in the immediate hours after the crash reported that the speedometer of the Mercedes had been frozen at over 180 kilometers per hour, when the first rescue workers and witnesses arrived on the scene. This "evidence" was used to establish that Paul was speeding recklessly at the time the crash occurred. After the so-called post-mortem results were leaked, purporting that Paul had been drunk and high on prescription drugs, much of the world media pronounced the case a cut-and-dried instance of drunk driving. In fact, EIR has confirmed that the speedometer of the Mercedes was at zero!
This is consistent with claims by the car's manufacturer, Daimler Benz, that whenever a Mercedes 280-S is in an accident, even a crash at reasonably slow speed, the speedometer will freeze at zero. It is no wonder that the French authorities rejected Daimler Benz's offer to send a team of safety engineers to France to assist in the crash investigation.
2. "Diana was trapped in the back seat." For weeks, the French authorities justified the long delay in getting Princess Diana to a hospital with claims that the rear compartment of the car had been crushed, and it required a lengthy effort by French firemen and rescue workers to pry her body loose from the back seat. Eventually, after a number of early eyewitnesses inside the tunnel came forward, the French government was forced to retract the story, and admit that the rear compartment had not been damaged in the crash.
3. "The Mercedes was a faster, armored vehicle". Initial media reports, provided by the French authorities, had identified the Mercedes carrying Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed as the much faster 600 model. Early reports also claimed that the car was armored. In fact, the Mercedes 280-S, a four-cylinder car incapable of reaching high speeds quickly, had been called up from a pool of cars available to the Ritz Hotel just hours before the fateful ride.
EIR has recently learned that the French police have established that the missing Fiat Uno is a turbo model manufactured between 1984 and 1987. This Fiat has a higher acceleration rate than the Mercedes 280-S, and a higher top speed. This means that the Fiat was capable of passing and cutting off the Mercedes, and accelerating to avert serious damage in a collision.
4. "Henri Paul had goaded the paparazzi, 'You won't catch me tonight.'" Early media coverage, based on leaks from the French government, reported that, as Paul was leaving the Ritz Hotel, he had taunted the paparazzi, shouting, "You won't catch me tonight." In fact, as we reported at great length above, Paul at no time had any contact with any of the paparazzi. The Mercedes left the Ritz Hotel from a rear exit and there was never any communication between him and the paparazzi. The purpose of this fairy tale was to further the idea that Paul was drunk and "out of control" shortly before the crash. CCTV footage, taken from cameras at the Ritz Hotel and from adjacent buildings, fully confirm EIR's account of events.
5. "There are no photographs of the chase." All along the route that the Mercedes took, from the Ritz Hotel, along the Voie Georges Pompidou, to the entrance to the Place de L'Alma tunnel, there are both outside CCTV cameras, and special radar-activated cameras installed by the French police. If, at any time, the Mercedes or the cars and motorcycles chasing after it had gone beyond the speed limit, the radar cameras should have automatically snapped pictures. These pictures should have provided the police with a time-sequence account of the final moment's before the crash.
But the French authorities have systematically claimed - through press leaks, and in response to queries by the families of the deceased - that no such pictures exist. We are to believe that every one of the cameras was either broken or out of film. Yet, other drivers, who were passing along the Voie Georges Pompidou shortly before the Mercedes chase, were indeed later contacted by French police and told that there were photographs showing that they were speeding. Incredibly, the French authorities also continue to insist that none of the outside CCTV cameras on any of the buildings along the route show anything relevant to the crash probe.
6. "The paparazzi were nowhere near Henri Paul's car at the point of the crash". Some accounts, based on French government leaks, claimed that the nearest paparazzi were 400 meters behind the Mercedes 280-S at the point the crash took place. This lie, aimed at pinning the entire blame for the crash on "the speeding drunk driver Henri Paul," is discredited by the testimony of Anderson, Levy, and Wells, as well as a half-dozen other eyewitnesses who have requested to remain anonymous.
7. "Henri Paul was not qualified to drive the Mercedes". Paul had received specialty driver training from Daimler Benz in Germany. Contrary to some French press claims, Paul was not required to have any kind of special driver's license, in order to drive the Mercedes 280-S.
The cumulative effect of these falsehoods, each traced back to French government sources, to date, has been a ruthless cover-up on the part of the French - who clearly have a great deal to hide.
Katharine Kanter and Christine Bierre, from our Paris office, contributed to this article.