Friday, 12 February 2016

“They're never going to tell”

[On this date in 1990, members of President George [H W] Bush’s Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism (PCAST) met members of the families of UK Lockerbie victims at the US embassy in London. What follows is taken from the Wikipedia article Pan Am Flight 103:]

On 29 September 1989, President [George H W] Bush appointed Ann McLaughlin Korologos, former Secretary of Labor, as chairwoman of the President's Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism (PCAST) to review and report on aviation security policy in the light of the sabotage of flight PA103. Oliver "Buck" Revell, the FBI's Executive Assistant Director, was assigned to advise and assist PCAST in their task. Mrs Korologos and the PCAST team (Senator Alfonse D'Amato, Senator Frank Lautenberg, Representative John Paul Hammerschmidt, Representative James Oberstar, General Thomas Richards, deputy commander of US forces in West Germany, and Edward Hidalgo, former Secretary of the US Navy) submitted their report, with its 64 recommendations, on 15 May 1990. The PCAST chairman also handed a sealed envelope to the President which was widely believed to apportion blame for the PA103 bombing. Extensively covered in The Guardian the next day, the PCAST report concluded:

"National will and the moral courage to exercise it are the ultimate means of defeating terrorism. The Commission recommends a more vigorous policy that not only pursues and punishes terrorists, but also makes state sponsors of terrorism pay a price for their actions."

Before submitting their report, the PCAST members met a group of British PA103 relatives at the US embassy in London on 12 February 1990. Twelve years later, on 11 July 2002, Scottish MP Tam Dalyell reminded the House of Commons of a controversial statement made at that 1990 embassy meeting by a PCAST member to one of the British relatives, Martin Cadman: "Your government and ours know exactly what happened. But they're never going to tell." The statement first came to public attention in the 1994 documentary film The Maltese Double Cross – Lockerbie and was published in both The Guardian of 29 July 1995, and a special report from Private Eye magazine entitled Lockerbie, the flight from justice May/June 2001. Dalyell asserted in Parliament that the statement had never been refuted.


  1. The following comment comes from Peter Biddulph:
    December 1990. A Congressional hearing under the chairmanship of Representative Robert Wise (Dem. –W. Va) - Drug Enforcement Administration's Alleged Connection to the Pan Am Flight 103 Disaster.

    Two senior administrators from the DEA gave evidence: Stephen H. Greene, Assistant Administrator for the Operations Division, and David L Westrate, Assistant Administrator for Planning and Inspection.

    Greene opened confidently, denying that any kind of drug transfer operation was going on before or during the disaster: "The DEA has no arrangement with German Law enforcement authorities, nor any other country, under which luggage could be placed on board an aircraft while bypassing airline security measures."

    Congressman Thomas: "There are witnesses, as you know... who claim that a person who came to your office a number of times was also on the plane. [Khaled] Jafaar."

    Westrate: "That is untrue. We have absolutely no record, either written or through any of our interviews to establish Mr Jafaar's presence at any DEA facility nor any prior association with Mr Jafaar in any way, shape or form."

    Wise later returned to the subject: "When and how did passenger Jafaar's name come to your attention as a possible drug mule that might have been duped into [carrying] the bomb that destroyed Pan Am Flight 103?"

    Westrate: "I think we should defer that question."

    Wise: "Alright. Did Mr Jafaar have, to your knowledge, from your investigation, any contact with any DEA offices?"

    Westrate: "No sir."

    Wise: "Was he working in any capacity, as a DEA informant?"

    Westrate: "No he was not – as a sub-source, for example."

    Congressman Wise later addressed Greene: "Have you looked into Mr Jafaar's background, family past? What did you find?"

    Greene: "I would like to defer that."

    Congressman Wise: "Alright. Are you aware that Mr Jafaar reportedly made frequent trips to Lebanon, from his home in Dearborn, Michigan? "

    Greene: "I would like to defer that."

    Congressman Wise: "Are you aware – I am deferring another question also – are you aware of a company in Cyprus called 'Eurame'?"

    Greene: "Yes I am."

    Congressman Wise: "Is this a company in which the DEA has an interest?"

    Greene: "It was a company set up by the Cypriot law enforcement authorities to use as a place to meet individuals. It consisted of an apartment and a telephone and was simply a place to meet people. I am aware of it, that it had a company name on it."

    Congressman Wise: "And can you describe the DEA's interest in this company?"

    Greene: "The Cypriot police made this facility available. And we occasionally used it to meet individuals in an area outside of the embassy. And anything further than that, I will tell you in closed session as to our exact involvement with this facility."

    In a filmed interview Lester Coleman, a former member of the U.S. Defence Intelligence Agency claimed: “... the DEA could not eradicate the drugs in Lebanon, so they could only do two things: firstly to monitor what was being produced, and how it was being shipped out; secondly to use DEA informants in Lebanon, in drug sting operations in the United States, to set up drug buys, and catch buyers in America. The DEA office in Cyprus was responsible for monitoring drug activities in Lebanon. They had to do it from a distance, because the DEA were not allowed to set foot in Lebanon. A controlled delivery is a delivery where a courier carries a pre-determined amount of heroin through security checkpoints with the knowledge and consent of the local law enforcement people. For example, the Germans in Frankfurt, the British Customs and Excise service in London."

  2. Interesting. One wonders if it had the slightest bit to do with the actual bombing though.