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 report).

* 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, CA 94110
DATE: 12/6/89
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.