1988 Terrorist Attack On Pan Am Flight 103

1622 words - 7 pages

It has been widely accepted from media depiction of terrorist attacks, that they normally occur in the streets of some Middle Eastern town, within a war-torn over ran village seized by a drug cartel, on a train or discotheque in Europe, or somewhere other than in the sky. As stated within The National Counterterrorism Center: Report on Terrorism (2011), traditional or well know tactics account for some 80% of all attacks, terrorist attacks directed toward airlines or air vehicles are less than 2%. For this reason many such threats are discounted or its relevance to put resources toward investigating. Prior to the attack on Pan Am Flight 103, intelligence data received was disseminated however, no high level officials were directly involved in the security measures required to thwart the event. December 21, 1988 was a day when the consequences of complacency would be felt by the nation.
On December 21, 1988 a civilian airliner exploded over the small town of Lockerbie, located in the Dumfries and Galloway region of southwest Scotland. Aboard were civilians representing 21 different countries; 189 those being from the United States. In all, 270 people lost their lives that day; 259 passengers and crew members and 11 killed on the ground. Because of the altitude, speed, and weather over the region that day, aircraft parts and bodies were scattered over a 2000 square kilometer area. According to The CIA Report: “Terrorist Bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 2012)”, months after the plane crash and end of the formal recovery effort, a piece of scorched shirt was discovered. The piece contained a fragment of circuit board that the heat of the explosion had fused into the shirt’s polyester fabric. The organizers, resource suppliers, planners and tactic used to deploy the explosive yielded the net effect expected by the perpetrators.
The organizers or those held responsible for the downing of Flight 103 is mystery, although 2 Lebanese men, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence officer and Lamin Khalifah Fhimah were tried, only Megrahi was convicted several years later. Within the first few hours of the attack, several groups were quick to claim responsibility via phone messages to the United States and Europe. They had claim to represent the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, the Islamic Jihad Organization, and even and organization commiserating Christmas. The lines of responsibility were further clouded when in 2003 Muammar Gaddafi, de facto leader of Libya for 42 years paid compensation to the families of the attack admitting Libya’s responsibility however, not giving the order to do so. At or around that same time, Iran whose passenger plane was shot down by an American aircraft carrier was to have paid the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine to perform the attack. But was it motives enough for the attack?
In 2003, Muammar Gaddafi sent a letter which was read to the United Nations Security Council that it (Libya)...

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