May 21 2010
As the 2000 trial of Libyans Megrahi and Fhimah was being prepared, one controversy that surfaced and threatened was a revived claim by Dr Richard Fuisz. Reported in the Sunday Herald (Scotland), Fuisz was described as “a multi-millionaire businessman and pharmaceutical researcher,” reported by other sources to have been “the CIA's key operative” in Damascus, Syria in 1988. It was said he could “immediately resolve” the issue and name the true perpetrators of the bombing of Flight 103. None of them were Libyan.
We know of this because he deposited his story - or rather the fact that he had a story - with a Congressional Aide to Rep. Ron Wyden (D-OR). A solid liberal on the House’s blue team, Wyden’s own involvement is unclear. But according to the Herald, this aide shortly swore an affidavit regarding Fuisz’ claims. He had tried to tell the CIA about this before, but had the reports destroyed, the aide says. Further, she relates Fuisz’ assertion that:
"If the government would let me, I could identify the men behind this attack today. I could do the right thing I could go into any crowded restaurant and pick out these men I can tell you their home addresses You won't find [them] anywhere in Libya. You will only find [them] in Damascus. I was investigating on the ground and I know."The government didn’t let him and one month after that affidavit “a court in Washington DC issued an order,” the Herald explains, “barring him from revealing any information on the grounds of ‘military and state secrets privilege’” Classic conspiracy theory fuel.
However, the paper also reported his gagging actually stemmed from another issue entirely – as part of the legal proceedings about criminal American military assistance to Iraq in its war against Iran. As a millionaire pharmaceutical researcher, that his secrets guarded the "nation's security or diplomatic relations" seems quite troubling.
Dr. Fuisz had apparently held his secret knowledge about Lockerbie for quite some time before coming out with it in late 1994. And legal proceedings being what they are (complex but largely predictable), he might just have guessed the Iraq weapons case could have him silenced any time – as happened in November. October then would be a strange time to simply tell someone, in effect, “I could name the true perps later on, except that I might be gagged.” If he wanted to tell the truth, why not just tell it outright before it’s too late?
There has been an amazing amount of apparent disinformation surrounding the Flight 103 case, and my sense of that is tingling a bit here. But I can’t see either ruling our or fully believing that Fuisz’ locked box contains a key to the case, as some have concluded. The Herald reported some unnamed UN ambassadors, alerted of Fuisz’ story and his gagging, urged the order be lifted to allow him to speak before the trial of the two Libyans. The request was of course ignored (I have the transcripts from the trial and Fuisz is not mentioned that I could find).
Now the congressional aide who had testified to Fuisz’ hints, one Susan Lindauer, was not so much ignored as attacked - albeit a decade later and over a different issue, again involving Iraq.
Next: Part four: Susan of Grandeur
MacKay, Neil. "Lockerbie: CIA witness gagged by US government." Sunday Herald. May 28 2000.