Lockerbie: The New York Times

On the very day (March 12 1991) Lord Fraser warned that he may make public the truth regarding the Lockerbie investigation, the New York Times published an amazing story:

 Jordan Link Reported for Spies Slain in Syria

“Two undercover agents who were killed by Syrian terrorists last fall, apparently after the United States compromised their identities during a diplomatic exchange with Syria…

The two agents were unmasked and killed by an unidentified terrorist group after the United States passed information about Syrian terrorism in a series of diplomatic exchanges to that nation’s President, Hafez al-Assad, as well as to its Foreign Minister, Farouk al-Sharaa, and to lower-ranking Syrian diplomats.”

There is just one glitch. Such event never actually occurred. Now, can you guess who planted this story? And what do you think was the purpose of such a disinformation job?

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PCAST: The Missing Data

“There was a real push in the Embassy community to make sure that everybody was aware that there had been a terrorist threat made, and that people flying Western carriers going through such points as Frankfurt should change their tickets”

Consular Assistant Karen Decker

You may remember that the warning was publicly posted at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow on Dec 14 1988…

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March 91: Lord Fraser Sets Deadline

DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE TERRORISM SUMMARY

15 MARCH 1991

THE LORD ADVOCATE OF SCOTLAND, PETER FRASER,

DISCLOSED ON 12 MARCH THAT HE MAY MAKE PUBLIC THE CRIMINAL

INVESTIGATION INTO THE BOMBING OF PAN AM 103 BY 21 DECEMBER

1991 (THE THIRD ANNIVERSARY OF THE INCIDENT). FRASER STATED

THAT IF THE DEADLINE HAS BEEN REACHED AND HE IS SATISFIED

THAT THE INVESTIGATION HAS PROGRESSED AS FAR AS POSSIBLE, HE

WILL REVEAL THE WHOLE STORY OF THE HUNT FOR THE BOMBERS OF

PAN AM 103. LORD FRASER ALSO INDICATED THAT THE CRIMINAL

INVESTIGATION WAS ONGOING AND THAT THE GOVERNMENT STILL

HOPES TO BRING THE PERPETRATORS OF THE BOMBING TO TRIAL,

WHERE THE WHOLE STORY WLL BE TOLD IN HIGH CRIMINAL COURT.

WHEN ASKED TO IDENTIFY WHERE THE TRIAL WOULD TAKE PLACE,

FRASER STATED THAT IT COULD TAKE PLACE IN THE U.S.  PRESS

REPORTS HAVE INDICATED THAT IT IS EASIER TO EXTRADITE A

CRIMINAL TO THE U.S. THAN TO GREAT BRITAIN.

COMMENT: LORD FRASER’S REMARKS SHOULD BE TAKEN

SERIOUSLY.  IT HAS BEEN EXPECTED THAT IF REPORTS FROM THE

LOCKERBIE TASK FORCE ARE INSUFFICIENT TO BRING ANYONE TO

TRIAL, FRASER WOULD DISCUSS CLOSING DOWN THE INVESTIGATION

WITH CHIEF CONSTABLE ESSON. THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT A

CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF POLITICAL PRESSURE IS BEING FELT BY

LORD FRASER TO BRING THE CASE TO RESOLUTION AS QUICKLY AS

POSSIBLE.  EVEN THE AMERICAN RELATIVES OF VICTIMS GROUP HAS

PUBLICLY ENDORSED FRASER’S STATEMENTS.  IT IS UNCLEAR WHY

FRASER STATED THAT TRIAL COULD TAKE PLACE IN THE U.S. RATHER

THAN IN GREAT BRITAIN. BECAUSE THE EXTRADITION PROCESS IS

GOVERNED BY BILATERAL AGREEMENTS BETWEEN NATIONS, IT IS

LIKELY THAT THE U.S. AND BRITAIN SHARE SIMILAR AGREEMENTS

WITH OTHER COUNTRIES.

SERIOUS REPERCUSSIONS WILL BE FELT IF FRASER

CLOSES THE CASE AND DIVULGES INFORMATION DERIVED FROM THE

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION. THE DISCLOSURE OF MUCH OF THE

INFORMATION POSSESSED BY FRASER COULD SERIOUSLY JEOPARDIZE

U.S. PROSECUTIVE EFFORTS. VARIOUS INTELLIGENCE AND POLICE

ACTIVITIES, SOURCES, AND METHODS – AS WELL AS THE IDENTITIES

OF INVESTIGATORS AND SUSPECTS – MAY BECOME PUBLIC. SHOULD

THIS TYPE OF INFORMATION BE DISCLOSED, IT COULD HAVE A

NEGATIVE IMPACT ON FUTURE RELATIONS AMONG THE VARIOUS

INTELLIGENCE AND POLICE ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED WITH RESPECT

THE SHARING OF SENSITIVE FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE AND POLICE

INFORMATION.

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Dec 28 1988: Evidence of Terrorism

On Dec 28 1988, Michael Charles (AAIB Inspector) announced that Pan Am 103 had been downed by a High Performance Plastic Explosive.

An analysis of swabs taken from two pieces of a luggage container conducted by Dr Douse at RARDE had revealed the presence of traces of RDX and PETN.

Because both compounds enter in the production of Semtex, it is almost universally accepted that Semtex was the High Performance Plastic Explosive used to destroy Pan Am 103.

On Nov 20 1991, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs was asked “what evidence he now has on the country in which the high-performance plastic explosive used in the Lockerbie outrage was manufactured.”

Mr Garel-Jones replied that: “the Air Accidents Investigation Branch report No. 2/90 and the report of the fatal accident inquiry relating to the Lockerbie air disaster refer to the positive evidence of a detonating high performance plastic explosive, similar to Semtex, being responsible for the explosive destruction of Pan Am flight 103. We have no evidence linking any one country to the manufacture of the plastic explosive used.”

Semtex was manufactured in Czechoslovakia. On March 20 1990, President Vaclav Havel disclosed that his country had supplied 1,000 tons of Semtex to the Libyan government of Col. Gadhafi.

 Of course, Semtex was a particularly sensitive matter in Britain because Libya had supplied large amount of it to the IRA.

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Reagan Calls Lady Thatcher

(1) Cover note:

[Not classified]

The White House,
Washington

The President has seen 12/22/88
1988 DEC 22 PM 12:11

RECOMMENDED TELEPHONE CALL

TO: Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
DATE: December 22, 1988
RECOMMENDED BY: Colin L. Powell
PURPOSE: To thank Mrs. Thatcher for her expression of sorrow over the Pan Am 103 tragedy.
SECURE OR OPEN: Open line call
INTERPRETER: None required.
PHONE NUMBER: [Witheld by editor.]
CONTACT PERSON: Charles Powell, Special Assistant to the PM
TIME DIFFERENCE: +5 hours
SUGGESTED TIMES: 1:00pm – 1:15pm
TOPIC OF DISCUSSION: Pan Am Flight 103 Tragedy. (See attached points to be made)

Date of submission: December 22, 1988

ACTION: [RR annotated:]“Call Made”

(2) Talking Points:

POINTS TO BE MADE WITH PRIME MINISTER THATCHER

— Margaret, I understand you have just returned from the site of the Pan Am crash.
— I want to thank you for your expression of sorrow on the Pan Am 103 tragedy.
— On behalf of the American people, I also want to thank the rescue workers who responded so quickly and courageously.
— Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this accident, both the passengers on the plane and the villagers in Scotland

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US Embassy, Moscow – December 14, 1988

On December 14 1988, the following warning was publicly posted at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

===

ADMINISTRATIVE NOTICE

American Embassy, Moscow

December 13, 1988

 To: All Embassy Employees

Subject: Threat to Civil Aviation

Post has been notified by the Federal Aviation Administration that on December 5, 1988, an unidentified individual telephoned a U.S diplomatic facility in Europe and stated that sometime within the next two weeks there would be a bombing attempt against a Pan American aircraft flying from Frankfurt to the United States.

 The FAA reports that the reliability of the information cannot be assessed at this point, but the appropriate police authorities have been notified and are pursuing the matter. Pan Am also has been notified.

 In view of the lack of confirmation of this information, post leaves to the discretion of individual travelers any decisions on altering personal travel plans or changing to another American carrier. This does not absolve the traveler from flying an American carrier

 William C. Kelly, Administrative Counselor

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