A Libyan ‘patsy’ has been illegally kidnapped in Libya by US agents who probably bribed militias there with dirty money – all to continue a nefarious campaign of lies to deflect US culpability of Lockerbie
Evidence is now emerging of how the US broke international laws, let alone agreements it had signed with Libya, to kidnap a Libyan national all in a bid to keep the theatre of lies alive of Libya’s involvement of the Lockerbie Pan Am bombing of 1988.
The implications of such illegal acts are huge as it makes making any deals with the US – either a peace deal in Ukraine or even the nuclear deal with Iran – almost impossible as America shows the rest of the world that it can’t keep their promises on deals struck.
Around midnight in mid-November, Libyan militiamen in two Toyota pickup trucks arrived at a residential building in a neighbourhood of the capital of Tripoli. They stormed the house, bringing out a blindfolded man in his 70s.
Their target was former Libyan intelligence agent Abu Agila Mohammad Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi, wanted by the United States for allegedly making the bomb that brought down New York-bound Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, just days before Christmas in 1988. The attack killed 259 people in the air and 11 on the ground.
Weeks after that night raid in Tripoli, the US announced Mas’ud was in its custody, to the surprise of many in Libya, which has been split between two rival governments, each backed by an array of militias and foreign powers.
Analysts said the Tripoli-based government responsible for handing over Mas’ud was likely seeking US goodwill and favour amid the power struggles in Libya.
Four Libyan security and government officials with direct knowledge of the operation recounted the journey that ended with Mas’ud in Washington.
The officials said it started with him being taken from his home in the Abu Salim neighbourhood of Tripoli. He was transferred to the coastal city of Misrata and eventually handed over to American agents who flew him out of the country, they said.
The officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. Several said the United States had been exerting pressure for months to see Mas’ud handed over.
“Every time they communicated, Abu Agila was on the agenda,” one official said.
In Libya, many questioned the legality of how he was picked up, just months after his release from a Libyan prison, and sent to the US Libya as the US don’t have a standing agreement on extradition, so there was no obligation to hand Mas’ud over. This stunt raises a number of questions in itself as to the reasons behind the murky practices of the Americans, pushing some analysts to conclude that, even to this day, there is a massive cover up being played out by the US.
Families of the Lockerbie victims in the UK have gone on the record to actually oppose the notion of Mas’ud’s trial in the US, preferring a UN option, such is the level of skepticism about the role of America and its objectives.
The White House and Justice Department declined to comment on the new details about Mas’ud’s handover. US officials have said privately that in their view, it played out as a by-the-book extradition through an ordinary court process.
A State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with briefing regulations, said Saturday that Mas’ud’s transfer was lawful and described it as a culmination of years of cooperation with Libyan authorities.
Libya’s chief prosecutor has opened an investigation following a complaint from Mas’ud’s family. But for nearly a week after the US announcement, the Tripoli government was silent, while rumors swirled for weeks that Mas’ud had been abducted and sold by militiamen.
After public outcry in Libya, the country’s Tripoli-based prime minister, Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, acknowledged on Thursday that his government had handed Mas’ud over. In the same speech, he also said that Interpol had issued a warrant for Mas’ud’s arrest. A spokesman for Dbeibah’s government did not answer calls and messages seeking additional comment.
On December 12, the US Department of Justice said that it had requested that Interpol issue a warrant for him.
After the fall and killing of longtime Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in a 2011 uprising-turned-civil war, Mas’ud, an explosives expert for Libya’s intelligence service, was detained by a militia in western Libya. He served 10 years in prison in Tripoli for crimes related to his position during Gadhafi’s rule.
He was released in June after completing his sentence. After his release, he was under permanent surveillance and barely left his family home in the Abu Salim district, a military official said.
The neighbourhood is controlled by the Stabilization Support Authority, an umbrella of militias led by warlord Abdel-Ghani al-Kikli, a close ally of Dbeibah. Al-Kikli has been accused by Amnesty International of involvement in war crimes and other serious rights violations over the past decade.
After Mas’ud’s release from prison, the Biden administration intensified extradition demands, Libyan officials said.