”I haven’t seen a vote here for you yet. If there was a vote today, you would not get Congressional approval.”
US Representative Ike Skelton, Democrat of Missouri
President Reagan has announced that the United States would compensate the families of the 290 victims who died in the downing of Iran Flight 665 by the USS Vincennes on July 3rd.
Members of the House have to face the voters this fall and they are well aware that the American public strongly opposes paying compensation. Not surprisingly, not a single Lawmaker has backed up Reagan plan to offer compensation.
”The President was premature and on the wrong side of this issue,” Republican, Representative Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania said.
Some Congressmen believe that the plan has a small chance to be accepted if it passes three tests. Firstly, the investigation must demonstrate that the accident was almost entirely the United States fault. Secondly, absolute guarantees must be provided to ensure that none of the money would benefit the Iranian government. Thirdly, payment of the compensation should be tied to Tehran acceptance of the cease-fire with Iraq.
Others, such Representative George Darden, categorically rejects the plan, arguing that paying compensation ”would make the United States seem liable in the eyes of world opinion.”
The War Goes On
The US Administration is urging Baghdad to accept the UN cease-fire. But US officials admit that they have limited influence over the Iraqis.
”It’s a mistake to suggest that we have a tremendous amount of influence on Iraq. We can’t persuade the Iraqis of anything they are not absolutely convinced is in their own national interest,” a State Department official said today
Back to the present (2008)
U.S. and Libyan negotiators have reached a tentative agreement on the outstanding compensation issues between the two countries, including the final tranche of the $10m payable to the family of each Lockerbie victim.
Former UK diplomat Patrick Haseldine has obtained some rather interesting information regarding the details of the deal.
”My understanding is that under the terms of the agreement the United States must first compensate Libya for its own bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi in June 1986 (in which Margaret Thatcher’s government was complicit), before there is a question of Libya’s paying any more than the $2.46 billion compensation which has already been extracted for the La Belle disco, Pan Am Flight 103 and UTA 772 bombings that were blamed – perhaps wrongly – on Libyan state-sponsored terrorism,” Haseldine said.
This week, Pr. Black, best known as the architect of the Pan Am 103 trial at Camp Zeits, has delivered a quite remarkable prediction.
”I have always said that the evidence led at the trial was insufficient to warrant Megrahi’s conviction. The SCCRC appears to agree with me; and I predict that the Appeal Court will agree with the SCCRC,” Black wrote on his website.
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