Monday, August 24, 2009
We're talking about the Libyan intelligence agent convicted for THIS 1988 atrocity:
Sometimes it is not what is said or done that gives clue or reason to a series of events, but rather what is NOT said or done. In the curious case of the Lockerbie bomber's the release from Scottish prison last week, the distinct lack of hue & cry on behalf of the Obama Administration speaks volumes:
The United States Government immediately issued a statement to express "deep regret" at the decision: "The United States deeply regrets the decision by the Scottish Executive to release Abdel Basset Mohamed al-Megrahi," a White House statement said . . .
That's kind of lukewarm and vanilla flavored; it's hard to imagine the Oval Office was blindsided by this thing. In fact, it's almost as if the Obama Administration expected this thing to take place.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's statement is even more telling: "The United States is deeply disappointed by the decision of the Scottish Executive to release Abdel Basset Mohamed al-Megrahi who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for his part in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which took the lives of 270 persons, including 189 Americans . . ."
Take note that in her statement Secretary Clinton does not label al-Megrahi a terrorist or a murderer or a killer, simply that he was convicted and sentenced. This is significant: the rumor in political and intelligence circles is that the American, British and Scottish governments do not believe the Libyans were responsible for the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland on December 21, 1988.
So if Libyan intelligence agents operating on orders from Mohamar Ghaddafi weren't responsible for the greatest act of terrorism up until that point in history, then WHO WAS? Please bear with me as I lay out the pieces to this puzzle:
The official reason given for Abdel Baset al-Megrahi's release, according to Scotland’s Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill, was "compassionate grounds" because the convicted terrorist is apparently dying from prostate cancer. Never mind the fact that practically every man in the world over the age of 65 has some detectable trace of prostate cancer.
When the story first hit the radar screens, this was presented as an arbitrary decision made solely by the Scots, the people who tried & convicted al-Megrahi in 2001 in an unprecedented trial that involved moving Scottish jurists to an international venue in the Netherlands. The excrement quickly hit the rotating ventilator when it was disclosed that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown discussed the issue with Colonel Gaddafi six weeks ago.
The legal expert who engineered the extraordinary legal footwork getting a jurisdiction together to try al-Mehgrahi, Robert Black QC FRSE, to this day has a close interest in the Lockerbie affair, not least because he was born and brought up in the town. In his website dedicated to Lockerbie, Black discusses the strong evidential case proposed by retired CIA case officer Robert Baer.
During his 20-year career with the CIA, Baer was known as the Agency's best man in the Middle East. Baer has repeatedly recently gone on record stating his suspicions that Lockerbie was not the work of the Libyans, that there is hard evidence that other nations - Iran particularly - were/are responsible for the atrocity.
The why's & wherefore's are as complex as the trail I have laid out up to this point. I am not a lawyer, I am a soldier, but this was explained personally to me by a connected Washington Beltway insider. His words rang true to me, so I present this to you:
In the spring of 1988 the United States Navy was involved in convoy missions escorting reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers past the Iranian coastline and through the hotly contested Straits of Hormuz. These operations led to the largest combat operations for American naval forces since World War II, during which two Iranian warships and three armed speedboats were sunk. It also marked the first anti-ship surface-to-surface missile engagement in U.S. Navy history.
The Iranian frigate IS Sahand (F 74) burns after being attacked by the Joseph Strauss and A-6s.
During the aftermath of these engagements, the US Aegis missile destroyer USS Vincennes shot down Iran Air Flight 655 over the Persian Gulf, killing all 290 civilian passengers onboard, mostly Iranians, including 66 children, ranking it seventh among the deadliest airliner fatalities.
It is believable that the Iranians would resort to a terrorist act to avenge this event, because they already had a track record of international terror operations against the United States and their own citizens abroad. Case in point: the suicide bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut in October of 1983, as well as the US & French Embassy bombings in Beirut at the same time, were both traced back to Iranian-sponsored terror organizations.
Basically, the shootdown of one of their civilian jetliners by an American warship gave the Iranian leadership legal justification to retaliate against the United States - what better a target than the largest jetliner in the world at the time, the Boeing 747, under the American flagship colors of Pan Am?
Then why, if the evidence for Lockerbie points to the Iranians, would Mohamar Ghaddafi be willing to accept responsibility for the event, and why would he give up one of his own intelligence agents as a scapegoat? The Libyans were an easy scapegoat - in the mid-1980s it would be difficult to find a Libyan intelligence agent in Europe who DIDN'T have plastic explosive residue on his hands. They might not have done Lockerbie, but they bombed the La Belle Disco in Berlin, killing 2 American servicemen and a Turkish woman.
It must be noted that at first Ghaddafi did NOT accept responsibility for Lockerbie - Libya's official admission of responsibility only came many years later, and with strings attached: in May 2002, Libya offered up settlement payments to the families of the 270 killed in the Lockerbie bombing, representing US$10 million per family. The Libyan offer was that 40% of the money would be released when United Nations sanctions, suspended in 1999, were cancelled; another 40% when U.S. trade sanctions were lifted; and the final 20% when the U.S. State Department removed Libya from its list of states sponsoring terrorism.
In December of 2003, the Libyan government announced its decision to abandon its weapons of mass destruction programs as an important step toward rejoining the international community. The Libyan WMD program was significant, apparently:
Libyan scientists revealed that, between 1980 and 1990, they had made about 25 tons of sulfur mustard chemical-weapons agent at their Rabta facility (which the CIA had long ago identified), produced shells for more than 3,300 chemical bombs, and tried to make a small amount of nerve agent. They had not mastered the art of binary chemical weapons, however, in which chemicals come together to form a lethal agent only when the bomb explodes. Thanks to sanctions, Libya was unable to acquire an essential precursor chemical.
On the nuclear front, Libya had developed highly compartmentalized chemical and nuclear programs that were often unknown even to the Libyans who worked at the facilities, they had already imported two types of centrifuges from the Khan network. Libya had also imported two tons of uranium hexafluoride to be fed into the centrifuges and enriched as bomb fuel. Libya had managed to acquire from the Khan network everything required to produce a 10-kiloton bomb, or to make the components for one, as well as dozens of blueprints for producing and miniaturizing a warhead, usually the toughest step in producing an atomic weapon.
So there was the stick: we wanted to close down the Libyan WMD program, and the Libyans were willing to barter with us in order to get their frozen funds back, to lift international sanctions against their country and shuck the pariah image they'd been living under for decades.
And here was the carrot: Lifting sanctions would allow U.S. oil companies back into Libya, where U.S. firms were at one time producing more than 1 million barrels per day and where oil facilities could be enhanced to reach 2 million bpd within five years.
Nobody in either of the Bush Administrations wanted to finger the Iranians, for whatever reason. My source suggests this may be because Syria was implicit in terror operations with the Iranians, and in 1990 President George Bush '41 saw Syria as critical to holding together the tenuous Arab Coalition assembled by US-led forces against Saddam Hussein in Operation Desert Storm, the first Gulf War. This sentiment continued under Bush '43, apparently; the Syrians were seen as key to winning great influence amongst the Arab nations of the Middle East.
And now this man is a national hero in his country:
This whole thing stinks to high heaven. Good thing I lost my idealism after the Ollie North Arms-for-Hostages thing back in '86 - S.L.