12. THE SECRET PAN AM 103 REPORT THE MEDIA IGNORED
On December 21, 1988, Pan American flight 103, en route from Frankfurt
to the U.S. via London, blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 259
people. The mass media quickly reported that the plane carried a bomb
planted by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
On November 6,1989, Congressman James A. Traficant, Jr., (D-Ohio),
released extraordinary information which implicated the CIA in the tragedy.
The mass media have ignored this information.
Traficant's information was based on a 27-page report by Interfor,
a New York consulting group reportedly made up of ex-CIA and Mossad
agents, which had been hired by PanAm's insurance company, U.S. Aviation
Underwriters, to investigate the accident.
Following are some of the controversial findings:
* A joint CIA-State Department special hostage-rescue team, of from
five to eight people, was on board the plane. They were on an unannounced
return from Lebanon, carrying maps showing the location of some of
the American hostages there. They were also bringing information about
what they believed to be an unauthorized and illegal scheme concocted
by another CIA group in Frankfurt (called "CIA-1" in the
* CIA-1, the unauthorized West German team, was "handling"
Syrian Monzer Al-Kassar and protecting his smuggling routes in return
for help freeing U.S. hostages. The report suggests CIA-1 was a renegade
unit and not part of the regular agency, since it "has a control
at an unknown area in the Washington, DC area," rather than CIA
headquarters in Langely, Virginia. It goes on to say, "It appears
that it eventually operated to some or a large extent as an internal
covert operation without consistent oversight, a la Oliver North."
* The terrorists utilized PanAm flights out of Frankfurt, where they
controlled a Turkish baggage handler who could switch bags after they
had been inspected. Both CIA-1 and the German police learned in advance
from Al-Kassar, that a bomb was going to be placed on flight 103 by
another group, led by Palestinian Ahmed Jibril. CIA-1 also knew of
the special team's travel plans.
* Because CIA-1 "did not want to blow its surveillance operation
and undercover penetration or to risk the Al-Kassar hostage release
operation," they did not take any direct steps to stop the flight.
The CIA has labeled Interfor's findings "nonsense" and the
West German police agency BKA also has issued a denial. Nevertheless,
it is strange that the major media have given so little coverage to
the PanAm report, despite an abiding interest in the plane crash.
SSU CENSORED RESEARCHER: AUDREY AUERBACH
THE SECRET PAN AM 103 REPORT
SOURCE: LIES OF OUR TIMES 145 West 4th Street New York, NY 10012
DATE: January 1990
TITLE: "THE SECRET PAN AM REPORT NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT"
AUTHOR: HOWARD FRIEL
SOURCE: SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN 520 Hampshire Street, San Francisco,
TITLE: "FLIGHT 103: THE OTHER STORY"
AUTHOR: ERICK ANDERSON
COMMENTS: This is the kind of story that lends itself to conspiracy
theories and the expected knee-jerk negative reaction to such theories.
Unfortunately, too often this has led to complete censorship of the
issue since professional journalists don't want to take a chance with
unpopular theories on controversial issues. Occasionally, however, some
of these theories achieve credibility despite this. (For example, Dan
Rather, whose narrative review of the Zapruder film of the John F. Kennedy
assassination supported the lone assassin theory at the time, now admits
that, despite his broadcast and the Warren Commission report, he doesn't
know who killed John F. Kennedy.) The tragic Pan Am Flight 103 which
crashed in Lockerbie is another story engulfed in a swirl of controversial
theories. Erick Anderson, who has explored this issue, notes that while
the crash of Flight 103 was "the subject of a great deal of major
media coverage, virtually none was given to this alternate theory (which
implicates the CIA in the tragedy). Even an ABC Network program, which
touted itself as 'The real story of of Flight 103,' made no mention
of this version -- even to dismiss it as fantasy." Anderson also
points out that there are a sizable number of people who do not want
to see this particular theory receive broader coverage. "The list
of beneficiaries from its lack of coverage (of the CIA involve-ment)
includes the story's key players: Middle Eastern terrorists, officers
and agents of the CIA, the Bush and Reagan administrations, and anyone
who may be involved in developing and carrying out America's Byzantine
foreign policy here and abroad," Anderson concluded.