Sunday, 26 June 2016

Al-Kassar arrest revives scandal of Bush role in Lockerbie coverup

[This is the headline over an article by Jeffrey Steinberg that appeared in Executive Intelligence Review on this date in 1992. The following are the opening and closing few paragraphs:]

Just when George Bush thought that he had forever buried the Lockerbie scandal, authorities in Spain early in June nabbed fugitive narco-terrorist Mansur Al-Kassar. As a result, one of the President's worst fears may have been revived.

Al-Kassar, a Syrian national with ties to the regime of Hafez Assad in Damascus, had been accused in 1989 of masterminding the Dec 21, 1988 bombing of Pan American Airlines Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in which 270 people perished.

At the time of the Lockerbie tragedy, Al-Kassar had been secretly employed by the US government as the so-called "second channel" negotiating the release of American hostages held in Beirut, Lebanon. Al-Kassar had, according to congressional testimony, received an estimated $2.5 million from Oliver North's secret Iran-Contra Swiss bank accounts for his role in providing Soviet-made weapons to the Nicaraguan Contra rebels. Al-Kassar's ties to the Reagan and Bush administrations apparently continued long after the IranContra scandal was exposed and North, Adm John Poindexter, and others were booted out of the government. (...)

According to an Israeli source, following Al-Kassar's arrest, Spanish authorities searched his Marbella home and discovered a safe filled with diaries and business papers. The Israeli source reports that Al-Kassar is now spilling his guts to the Spanish police about his work for the Reagan and Bush administrations, the secret dealings between Washington and Damascus, and the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, including his personal role in developing the cover story that Libyan intelligence, acting on its own, had blown up the plane.

Juval Aviv, the New York City-based private investigator who conducted the initial investigation for Pan Am, is circumspect about where the Lockerbie probe will go from here: "The Time magazine story [RB: 'The Untold Story of Pan Am 103', 27 April 1992] has fortunately put things back in perspective, and the arrest of Mr Al-Kassar could lead to a real breakthrough in the case. I still stand by my original investigative report. I have do doubt that the Syrians were deeply involved in the Lockerbie bombing, as were the Iranians and elements of Libyan intelligence. In my initial investigation, I developed evidence of a kind of 'Terror, Inc' engaged in both narcotics smuggling and terrorism for hire, running out of the Middle East into Europe. I cited the involvement of Libya in the Pan Am plot and I even referenced Mr Al-Kassar's links t0 Tripoli.

"I was deeply disturbed last year when the US Department of Justice indicted the two Libyans and left the world with the impression that Syria and Iran were blameless. Now, perhaps, in spite of that action and in spite of the events in federal district court in Brooklyn, the full story will come out."

No comments:

Post a Comment