DID US ILLEGAL WEAPONS SALE TO IRAQ CAUSE PAN AM 103 BOMBING? -18/09/1988

[Diary of a Vengeance Foretold] Part 78

SEPTEMBER 18 1988

“Throughout the Cold War, as now still, with only a handful of exceptions, there have been only two kinds of CIA secret operations: the ones that are widely known to have failed—usually because of almost unbelievably crude errors—and the ones that are not yet widely known to have failed.” Edward Luttwak [1]

According to journalist Richard Halloran, the Navy has begun installing additional radios on US ships in the Persian Gulf to enable them to monitor civilian transmissions. This additional equipment is one of several steps being taken in an effort to prevent another USS Vincennes tragedy.

“Despite the lessons learned, blunders still occur, in part because people and technology change. And lessons learned from one mistake can lead to another. The inquiry into the downing of the Iranian airliner showed that when the decision to fire was made by Capt. Will C. Rogers 3d, commanding officer of the Vincennes, the Stark incident was very much on his mind,” the New York Times writes.

Intelligence

Just a few weeks after Dr. Richard Fuisz spoke to congressional staffer Suzan Lindauer in the fall of 1994, the Clinton administration placed a gag order preventing him from publicly discussing his knowledge of the Pan Am 103 bombing.

Dr Richard Fuisz

Dr Richard Fuisz

Fuisz had told her that the perpetrators of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie were based in Syria. He was adamant that Libya had played no role whatsoever in the tragedy.

“If the United States government would let me, I could identify the men behind this attack [Pan Am 1003] today. I could do it right now. You want a police line up? I could go into any crowded restaurant of 200 people, and pick out these men. […] And you know what, Susan? You won’t find this restaurant anywhere in Libya. No, you will only find this restaurant in Damascus,” Fuisz had told Lindauer.

“The 1994 gagging order was issued following disclosures by Fuisz during other legal proceedings about alleged illegal exports of military equipment to Iraq. The order claims that the information held by Fuisz is vital to the nation’s security or diplomatic relations and can not be revealed no matter how compelling the need for, and relevance of, the information. The submission also makes clear that the government is empowered to protect its interests in this case in the future, thereby gagging Fuisz permanently,” the Sunday Herald revealed on May 28 2000. [2]

Dr. Fuisz told a Congressional subcommittee that the Terex Corporation had exported scuds mobile launcher to Iraq in violation of the UN embargo. In Sept. 1987, Dr Fuisz was given a tour of the main Terex plant in Motherwell, Scotland. The Terex Corporation is a subsidiary of KCS of Westport, Connecticut.

“I had noticed two large armor-plated vehicles painted in desert camouflage with specially attached steel backs. I asked the plant manager, Art Rowe, about them and was told they were missile launchers for the Iraqi military,” Fuisz said in an affidavit taken for a US Congressional subcommittee investigating the matter.

“These shipments were all requested by the C.I.A. with the cooperation of the British intelligence people,” David J. Langevin, the vice president of Terex, told Fuisz according to his deposition.

John J. Clements was named a Terex vice president in 1987.

“One of Terex’s pressing needs when I joined the company was to borrow money for the purchase of the truck plant in Scotland,” Clements said.

Clements added that he had repeatedly heard Randolph W. Lenz, the president of Terex, tell potential investors: “We’ve got a purchase order from Iraq for 90 to 100 units. It’s great business.”

 “I knew there was business in Iraq,” Clements told NYT journalist Hersh Seymour in 1992.

On Feb 23 2003, the Sunday Herald published a story headlined “Revealed: 17 British Firms Armed Saddam with his Weapons”. The Terex Corporation is listed as a UK company having provided rocket technology to Iraq. [3]

In the spring of 1988, Iraq launched up to 200 Scuds against Tehran, Qom and Isfahan. These attacks caused widespread panic in the populace. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands fled the cities. [4] In a matter of months, Ayatollah Khomeini, contrary to what he had always stated, accepted the UN proposed cease fire which he described as worse than drinking poison.

Upon learning about the existence of the Lindauer affidavit from the Sunday Herald, Eddie MacKechnie – the lawyer for one of the Libyan indicted of the bombing of Pan Am 103 – instructed his US partners to obtain a deposition from Dr Fuisz under oath and before a judge.

Fuisz was deposed in December 2000 in presence of three CIA attorneys as well as two others from the US DoJ. As not one single question, no matter how much trivial, was answered, the judge decided to adjourn.

In a matter of days, the head of the CIA personally wrote to the judge to seek his help in ending the legal process. Nevertheless, in a second meeting, Fuisz admitted that he had high level contacts in Damascus.

Moreover, vital information was placed under double seal. Neither the content of George Tenet’s letter nor the information under double seal was ever revealed but it had become abundantly clear that Fuiz was a high level CIA HUMINT asset.

Over the years, people have wondered what link could possibly exist between the illegal US sale of weapons to Iraq and the downing of Pan Am 103 over the city of Lockerbie. At the time of the explosion, Pan Am 103 was heading straight towards and only a few minutes from flying over Motherwell, Scotland.

Had the weather conditions not slowed the airliner, Pan Am 103 would have exploded over the very city that had produced the Scud launchers that had terrorized the Iranian population through the eight years long war.

NOTES AND REFERENCES

Tales of the Cold War

Lockerbie: CIA witness gagged by US government; Lockerbie trial

Revealed: 17 British Firms Armed Saddam with his Weapons , February 23, 2003

Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988)

Lessons the Military Learns, With a Sense of Urgency , September 18, 1988

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