Justice and truth for Lockerbie
This appeared in the New York Daily News
The passage of 34 years since Pan Am Flight 103 was blown from the Scottish skies above the town of Lockerbie has not dimmed the need for justice for the murder of 259 passengers and crew and 11 people on the ground.
Who ordered the terrorist bombing of the American aircraft? The apprehension of the accused Libyan bomb-maker Abu Agila Mas’ud by the FBI and his delivery to a federal court in Washington will help solve this crime and bring some peace to the surviving families.
The flight, from Heathrow to JFK, had in its baggage hold a suitcase with the bomb, planted in Malta. The bomb worked as the assassins conspired and destroyed the airliner in midair.
Among the victims was a contingent of 35 Syracuse University students on the way home following a semester in Europe. Another young American murdered was David Dornstein, 25 and returning from a trip to Israel. His little brother, Ken Dornstein, 19 at the time, has conducted years of meticulous research untangling the Libyans’ involvement in the plot. His dogged pursuit, through his writings and TV documentary, helped focus on the bombmaker, Mas’ud, now in custody.
This won’t be the first Lockerbie trial. That was a Scottish court convened in the Netherlands, as part of a deal with Muammar Gaddafi. The court convicted one Libyan and acquitted another. The guilty man, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, served less than nine years of a life sentence before the Scots granted him compassionate release due to terminal cancer. But their compassion was premature, as he returned to a hero’s welcome in Libya and lived nearly three more years before dying a free man.
This time, there’s no deal with Gaddafi, who paid billions to Lockerbie families while denying responsibility. Gaddafi died in a sewer pipe at the hand of fellow Libyans who had overthrown his tyranny. This time, it will be American law on American soil before American courts. The target, the U.S. flag carrier airline, was America and now there will be American justice.