US SECURITY OFFICER IN LEBANON: PLANE TICKECTS BOUGHT FOR DEC 22 – 06/12/1988

[Diary of a Vengeance Foretold] Part 157

DECEMBER 6 1988

“My understanding is that Ambassador McCarthy was scheduled to be on Pan Am 103, but got held up in Nicosia.”

US State Dept Intelligence Chief Ronald Spiers

Today, Dec 6 1988, Airline tickets for Ronald Albert Lariviere, 33, were bought  for his return to the US on Dec 22. In the early morning of Dec 21, Lariviere flew by helicopter with US Ambassador John McCarthy from Beirut. But according to Ambassador McCarthy, Lariviere found a seat on an extra Cyprus Airways flight and decided to return on the 21.

FBI investigators looked into the possibility that the bombers of PA 103 had been targeting a CIA-DIA team returning from a mission in Beirut. William Gilman, the FBI assistant legal attaché in Rome, was charged with this part of the investigation. In a telex addressed to FBI Richard Marquise, Gilman wrote the following summary of his finding.

 “Ambassador McCarthy advised that he had no information which would assist in the investigation. He was, however acquainted with all of the Beirut victims of Pan Am 103, Matthew Gannon, Ronald Lariviere and Charles McKee.

Lariviere, a department of state diplomatic security special agent, serving as an assistant regional security officer in the US Embassy, Beirut, was responsible for the personal security of the Ambassador and the deputy chief of mission and as such was in constant personal contact with the Ambassador.

The Ambassador advised the he was unaware of any surveillance or threats against any of the three victims. Regarding the travel plans for the three Beirut victims, Ambassador McCarthy said he was aware of those made by Lariviere, who was scheduled to fly from London with the Ambassador the day following the victim flight.

Lariviere, however, changed plans when they arrived in Larnaca and found there was an earlier flight (PA 103) which would allow him to arrive home sooner. The Ambassador advised he was, however, only vaguely aware of the travel plans of McKee and Gannon.

Regarding the friendships outside of the US embassy staff of the three victims, he was only aware that Lariviere had a few Lebanese friends, some of whom he had met. The Ambassador characterised the Lebanese as nice people whom he has no suspicions about.

The Ambassador could not specifically recall whether any of the three victims accompanied him on the US military helicopter ride from Beirut to Larnaca, Cyprus, but regardless, he could not recall anything regarding the morning of the flight that could be of any assistance in this investigation.”

There is one problem with the version of the events as told by McCarthy. It does not fit the known facts.

According to Metropolitan Police records, Lariviere was booked on Dec 22 TWA flight TW783M from London to Washington National.The initial booking was made on Dec 6 through Louis Tourist agency in Nicosia.

However, on the morning of Dec 20, not 21, the booking was changed to Pan Am 103 through R.A. Travel Masters of Nicosia. [As we shall see, the same agency will rebook Gannon on PA 103 in the afternoon of Dec 20. McKee and Gannon were also scheduled to return to the US on Dec 22.] Finally, Lariviere caught the regular flight CY504, not the extra flight CY1364Y.

When confronted with these indisputable facts, Ambassador McCarthy admitted that he had no explanation and merely stated that he had been told this version of the events by a third-party. When asked who the third-party was, McCarthy replied that he could not remember.

Talal Chabaan Goes to Malta

On 6 December 1988, Talal Chabaan [1], born 4th August 1960 in Saudi Arabia, but then residing in Copenhagen, Denmark, flew to Malta to commence a seven-day package holiday at the Mellieha Holiday Complex, Malta.

His return was scheduled for 13th December 1988. He advised a representative of the Mellieha Complex that he was unfit to travel on 13th December 1988, and he did not return on that date. He left Malta on 22nd December 1988.

NOTES AND REFERENCES

(1) The reader may want to refresh his memory about his siblings:

See AN UNUSUAL CROWN WITNESS

 

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