Thursday, March 03, 2011

Libya: Families of Pan Am 103/Lockerbie - Bring Justice for Victims of Gaddafi Terrorism and Freedom for the Libyan People

SOURCE Families of Pan Am 103/Lockerbie

Libyan dictator Gaddafi and his henchmen have acknowledged responsibility for the murder hundreds of Americans (including 270 in the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie Scotland and 170 in the bombing of the French UTA airliner over Niger as well as other Westerners in terrorist attacks), plus thousands of Libyans in his 40+ years in power. Gaddafi has now used his military and foreign mercenaries to kill a thousand or more of his own people peacefully demonstrating against him, to stay in power. Currently, Libya's diplomats have resigned en masse and the UN Security Council and the U.S. and its allies have acted to freeze assets and imposed travel and other sanctions against Gaddafi and his family. Gaddafi and his henchmen have also been referred to the International Court of Criminal Justice for investigation of human rights abuses.

Yesterday, in response to a letter handed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by the Families of Pan Am 103/Lockerbie as well as statements and questions by Committee Chair Ileana Ros-Letinen (R-Miami FL) and Congressman Ann Marie Buerkle (R-Syracuse, NY) at hearing before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Mrs. Clinton committed to urgently consult with Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller about prosecuting Muammer Gaddafi for the Lockerbie bombing.

The Secretary stated, "Because there have been statements made in the last days by what are now former members of the Libyan government fingering Gaddafi, making it clear the order came from the top, I think we need to move expeditiously."

President Obama has now privately called for Gaddafi to immediately step down, but he has adamantly refused to go.

Now is the time for President Obama to take an essential next step: Ordering a full reactivation of the criminal investigation of the Pan Am 103/Lockerbie bombing which remains the second largest murder investigation in U.S. history involving 270 innocent victims of Libyan terrorism. In 2003, the Libyan government formally promised the UN it would fully cooperate in the criminal investigation of its terrorist acts as a condition of the lifting of UN sanctions for its longstanding support of terrorism. Instead, the Gaddafi regime ignored this commitment with the consent of the U.S. and U.K. governments. Subsequently Gaddafi was rewarded with billions of dollars of commercial oil contracts, and the criminal investigations were quietly dropped.

In 2009, oil companies successfully lobbied the U.K. government for the release of Libyan security agent Megrahi, convicted of the murder of 270 in the Pan Am 103 bombing and a key potential witness against Gaddafi regime leaders, based on bogus claims of imminent death. Megrahi was greeted as a hero by the Gaddafi regime and reportedly resides in a villa near Tripoli courtesy of the regime.

Libya officials are now defecting in droves from Gaddafi. At least one, the former ex-Justice Minister Mustafa Abdel Jalil, now in Bengasi Libya assisting the rebels, was quoted in the Swedish newspaper Expressen as saying, "I have proof that Gaddafi gave the order about Lockerbie" to have Libyan intelligence agent Megrahi plant the bomb on Pan Am 103.

Gaddafi brother-in-law and top Libyan security official, Abdullah al-Sinousi, was indicted and convicted by a French court in absentia for the 1989 bombing of the French UTA jumbo jet that murdered 170, including the wife of the U.S. Ambassador to Chad. He was also named as a co-conspirator with Megrahi in the U.S. indictment for the Pan Am 103 bombing and remains an international fugitive in Libya.

"The U.S. has all the tools to gather and preserve evidence of the involvement of Gaddafi and his henchmen of the Lockerbie and other terrorist attacks at U.S. and western civilians. These include a) an embassy in Tripoli, b) special forces, c) a highly developed witness protection and relocation program, d) the Rewards for Justice program with $25 million, e) overseas FBI offices in the Middle East and Europe, f) international community and Libyan people's support, g) the legal authority under U.S. and international law. And most importantly, the U.S. has the moral authority imperative to act and act promptly before witnesses again disappear, go silent and evidence in Libya is destroyed," said Paul Hudson and Victoria Cummock, co-presidents of the Families of Pan Am 103/Lockerbie and a long time advocates for airline passenger and terrorist victim rights.

President Obama is the 5th U.S. President that has to make major decisions regarding Gaddafi terrorism. If he acts decisively and promptly, history may record that he acted to not only bring justice without war for the Pan Am 103 bombing, but to make it clear to all national leaders and officials, that those who commit mass murder, terrorism, war crimes or crimes against humanity will be personally held to account.