[This is the headline over an article by Arthur F Bethea published today on the website of the Massachusetts newspaper South Coast Today. It reads as follows:]
In a late June press conference, President Obama said that Col Gadhafi, "prior to Osama bin Laden, was responsible for more American deaths than just about anybody on the planet."
Ignoring George Bush's needless invasion of Iraq that led to the deaths of more than 4,400 US soldiers, Obama linked Gadhafi and bin Laden to deceive less-informed viewers into thinking that the two are one and the same. They aren't. In 1998, Libya issued the first official Interpol arrest warrant against bin Laden, and Gadhafi condemned 9/11. An enemy of bin Laden, Gadhafi opposes radical Islamic fundamentalism.
Obama was also alluding to the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, that murdered 189 Americans. This indirect smearing is reminiscent of Bush, who implied falsely (but never directly asserted) that Saddam sponsored 9/11. If Obama wants to accuse Gadhafi of Lockerbie, he should man up and state the charge directly.
Many people assume that Gadhafi is guilty of the Lockerbie bombing because a Libyan intelligence officer (Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi) was eventually convicted. What few Americans know is that the trial's fairness has been convincingly disputed. Key witnesses appear to have been paid for their testimony, evidence may have been fabricated, one crucial witness has admitted to perjury, and the witness who identified Megrahi has had his reliability attacked by the prosecutor who brought the original charges.
A former professor of Scottish law at Edinburgh University, Robert Black, said, "No reasonable tribunal, on the evidence heard at the original trial, should or could have convicted" Megrahi. The conviction was "an absolute disgrace and outrage." Megrahi is "an innocent man."
Some readers will protest, "But Gadhafi paid damages; he must be guilty." Yes, Libya paid more than $2.5 billion in reparations, but, according to one source, sanctions had cost the country $30 billion. Saif al-Islam, Gadhafi's son and former heir apparent, explained, "We wrote a letter to the Security Council saying we are responsible for the acts of our employees," but this "doesn't mean that we did it in fact." "What can you do?" he asked. "Without writing that letter we would not be able to get rid of sanctions."
Compelling evidence implicates Iran in the Lockerbie bombing. Thinking it was about to be attacked by a fighter jet, the USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian airbus in July 1988, killing 290 people, most of them Iranians. Iran's religious dictator, the Ayatollah Khomeini, promised that the skies would rain with American blood. Iran offered a huge reward for revenge; a Palestinian terrorist organization, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command, apparently accepted the offer; and 5½ months after the Vincennes disaster, 189 Americans were murdered.
A senior CIA officer in 1988, Robert Baer, worked the case from the start and concluded that Iran sponsored the bombing. According to Baer, now retired from the CIA, financial records indicate that Iran transferred $11 million to the Swiss bank account of the PFLP-GC two days after the bombing. Obviously, if Iran did transfer $11 million to a Palestinian terrorist group two days after the atrocity, this is overwhelming evidence of Iranian involvement. England's Sunday Herald said it saw the "CIA paperwork that supports" Baer's claims.
In 2009, Baer told England's Sunday Mail that the CIA had "hard evidence" of Iranian involvement "almost from the moment the plane exploded."
Another American intelligence organization also linked the bombing to Iran. A September 1989 memo from the Defense Intelligence Agency states: "The bombing of the Pan Am flight was conceived, authorized and financed by Ali-Akbar Mohtashemi-Pur, Iran's former interior minister."
There are many good reasons to oppose Obama's Libyan adventure but no good ones [to support it], including false revenge for Lockerbie.