Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Aug. 19: Re-Open Pan Am Flight 103 Case

By Sylvia Gurinsky

Almost 20 years later, there's been no justice for the families of those killed in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

If Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, who is in jail in Scotland, was complicit in that bombing, he should die in prison. Megrahi has terminal cancer and has appealed for his freedom to go home to Libya to die. If he's guilty, why release him on compassionate grounds? Where was his compassion for the 270 people who were murdered Dec. 21, 1988?

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and American families of those killed on the Pan Am flight are among those insisting that Megrahi, the only person ever convicted in the bombing, should stay in jail. Many in Great Britain, including families of the murdered, believe he should be freed, and have questioned the evidence presented at his 2001 trial. But the debate brings up a bigger matter: The unanswered questions of what happened in Lockerbie, and who really ordered it.

Was it Libya? Was it Iran, taking revenge for a shooting down of one of its airliners by the U.S.S. Vincennes months earlier? Was it one of the Palestinian terrorist groups, supported by Iran and/or Syria?

In 1990-91, Syria joined the American-led coalition and Iran didn't object when troops liberated Kuwait after its invasion by Iraq. More recently, the United States has re-opened diplomatic ties with Libya, which offered millions of dollars to the families of those killed in Lockerbie. Whatever they disagree on, families on both sides of the Atlantic do agree on this: The whole truth has never come out, and international politics is the primary reason why.

Jim Swire of Britain, whose daughter Flora died in the bombing, is planning to sue the Scottish prosecution service, reports The Telegraph in Great Britain:

Swire's action should be just a start in re-opening investigations into the bombing and finding out who was responsible for what happened to Pan Am Flight 103. Families who lost loved ones deserve an honest answer.

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