Sid Thomas: Libya Redux

2 posts


A few weeks old, but worth notice:

Pan Am flight 103 and Libya​

One thing American mainstream news sources systematically fail to mention in reporting about the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland on December 21, 1988, is that Col. Qaddafi's now defected strongman, Moussa Koussa, has vehemently denied from the beginning that Libya had anything to do with it. This, even though he was the one who signed papers for the regime allowing Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, also Libyan, to be tried, later convicted, for the crime. Also instrumental in gaining al-Megrahi's release from Scottish prison on humanitarian grounds of terminal illness.

Now it is reported Koussa's bank accounts have been unfrozen and he is free from all charges.

The UK Guardian reported his denial, however, along with testimony from an academic expert, Professor Robert Black, that "he had never formed a firm view on whether Libya was involved in the bombing, but had long suspected Megrahi had been wrongly convicted. "As far as the Libyans supplying components or logistical support for the bombing, I don't know," he added."

Evidently there are grave doubts about the Lockerbie bombing abroad, not translated here. In fact, agreement seems to prevail that as a top intelligence official for a key country in a pivotal region, he was just the up-front kind of guy US agencies can best deal with, leaving it at that. The consideration he gets is justified on the grounds of unique knowledge of and access to Qaddafi's inner circle. In other words, he knows how things work and can still work them. All of which makes it easy to gorget about Lockerbie.

But such forgetting is actually part of the picture. Oliver Miles, "a former British ambassador to Tripoli, said he knew Koussa well when he was head of the Libyan "people's bureau" or UK embassy before he was expelled in 1980 for openly supporting Irish republicans", Guardian reports stated this. "Detaining and threatening to prosecute Koussa would be very damaging to the UK's main interest: destabilising and toppling Gaddafi. "I very much hope that the government puts the questions of possible court action and criminal proceedings as a second priority, behind using this incident to unsettle Gaddafi. If Moussa Koussa is in jail, that's hardly going to encourage more defectors."

If this were all, perhaps the entire episode could be dismissed as the vagaries of spycraft. But there is more. Considerably. Chapter 8 of The Oklahoma City Bombing and the Politics of Terror, by D. Hoffmann. "Lockerbie -- A Parallel", details a story supporting Koussa. For one thing, 'Several minutes before flight 103 took off from London's Heathrow airfprt, FBI Assistant Director Oliver "Buck" Revell rushed out to the tarmac and pulled his sona nd daughter-in-law off the plane.". He could have known, Hoffman notes, from Oliver North's connections with Syrian arms and drug runner Monzer al-Kassar, associated with Syrian intelligence chief Ali Issa Dubah, Syrian army officer Ahmed Jibril and terrorist Abu Nidal, all involved, along with Gen. Richard Secord and Iranian Albert Hakim, in shipping guns from Poland to Reagan's illegal Contra war. The unattended Lockerbie suitcase bomb traversed the same route followed by suitcases of heroin from Lebanon to Frankfurt o London.

It appears from Hoffman's account that two U.S. teams charged with rescuing hostages in Lebanon, unknown to each other, one a link to the shadowy Syrians, the other, from the DIA and CIA (Maj. Chas. McKee and Beirut stationchief Matthew Gannon), respectively, became entangled. The McKee-Gannon team were on Pan Am 103, carrying back 'discovery' of the outlaw cell .

Another background detail was the 4.3.'88 shootdown of an Iranian airliner by the U.S.S. Vincennes over the Straits of Hormuz, killing all 290 people on board. "Assuming the plane was a hostile aircraft, Will Rodgers III gave the command to fire." Under Islamic law the crime had to be avenged. "It was known at the time that the contract was out to down an American airliner," one Interfor report stated. "That contract --$10 million dollars--was given to Ahmed Jibril." This suppressed detail adds yet one more layer of motive to blame Libya. As for that, noted CIA spokesman Vince Cannistraro isquoted bt Bob Woorward as boasting "I developed the policy toward Libya. In fact I even wrote the draft paper that was later adopted by the President." Cannistraro, together with Howard Teicher, director of the office of political affairs in the NSC and Oliver North, developed "the Reagan-inspired policy of destroying the Libyan regime of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi."​

The whole Lockerbie things stinks. Paul Foot did the best work on it for Private Eye.