30 Years Ago — Terry Waite Released by Islamic Jihad (November 18 1991)

“Logic and political analysis always affect interpretations of raw intelligence data. It helps determine how you reconfigure the pieces of the puzzle.”

November 18 2021 — On November 18 1991, Terry Waite and Thomas Sutherland were released by the Islamic Jihad organization.  The timing of their release was very suspicious and many experts have argued that this was part of a deal with Iran to switch the blame for the Lockerbie bombing from Iranian surrogates to Libya. INTEL TODAY does not subscribe to this point of view. Still, there is strong evidence that a deal did really occur. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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“I was taken out, blindfolded again, put into the boot of a car, then another car, and when they took the blindfold off I was with a Syrian intelligence operative, who drove me to the Syrian intelligence headquarters.”

Terry Waite

UPDATE (November 18 2021) — On November 14 1991, the Lord Advocate and the acting United States Attorney General jointly announced that they had obtained warrants for the arrest of Abdelbasset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah.

RELATED POST: 30 Years Ago — Lockerbie : US & UK indict Libyans Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah (November 14 1991)

On November 18 1991, Terry Waite was finally released after 1,763 days in captivity. The timing of his release has always looked suspicious. Was there a deal?

Quite naturally, the anniversary prompted many to look back at this event.

A piece by the BBC [Terry Waite: ‘I don’t know how I survived captivity, but I did’] caught my attention.

Thirty years after Terry Waite was released from nearly five years of captivity in Beirut, he said he survived by “keeping hope alive”.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s envoy went to Lebanon in 1987 to negotiate the release of several captured Britons – but was taken hostage himself.

Terry Waite, now 82, who lives in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, was working on behalf of Robert Runcie [Archbishop of Canterbury] to try to secure the release of several British prisoners, including journalist John McCarthy, when he was captured by Hezbollah.

Well, as always, life is not that simple… In truth, Terry Waite was “covertly cooperating with the US”.

TWAITE
Declassified US document related to Oliver North

Terry Waite: ‘I don’t know how I survived being a hostage, but I did’ – BBC News

END of UPDATE

“I was chained to the wall for 23 hours and 50 minutes a day, I slept on the floor, I didn’t have any books or papers, I was in a room where shutters were put in front of the window so no natural light came in and of course there was no companionship so it was a fairly austere existence – a little bit worse than lockdown. But I recognised that I still had life and, although it was very limited, I was still able to live as fully as possible. In that situation, you have to learn to live one day at a time.”

On January 20 1987, Terry Waite agreed to meet the captors of the hostages as he was promised safe-conduct to visit the hostages, who, he was told, were ill. The group broke trust and took him hostage.

Waite remained in captivity for 1,763 days, the first four years of which were spent in solitary confinement. The timing of his release was suspicious. Was there a deal? Almost certainly.

Key dates

On November 14 1991, the Lord Advocate and the acting United States Attorney General jointly announced that they had obtained warrants for the arrest of Abdelbasset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah.

On November 18 1991, Terry Waite was finally released.

On November 27 1991, the British and United States Governments issued a joint statement calling on the Libyan government to surrender the two men for trial.

“A lot of people thought it (Lockerbie – Pan Am 103) was the Syrians. The Syrians took a bum rap on this.”

President Bush (November 14 1991)

Bush: “Syrians took a bum rap on Lockerbie”

It has long been rumored that the US absolved Syria from any wrongdoing — despite James Baker’s irrefutable evidence — in the Lockerbie affair as a result of Bush Senior needing the help of Damascus to go into the first Gulf War.

INTEL TODAY does not subscribe to this point of view as explained in this post: “Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani Takes Many Secrets to His Grave.” Still, there is strong evidence that a deal did really occur.

On 17 November 1991, Steven Emerson wrote:

“HOURS AFTER the Justice Department announced the indictment of two Libyan intelligence operatives for the bombing of Pan Am 103, President Bush seized the opportunity to exonerate the Syrian government from culpability in the terrorist act.

At a photo session with Hispanic Americans at the White House, Bush said, ‘A lot of people thought it was the Syrians. The Syrians took a bum rap on this.’”

James Baker: “What are you doing about the … group?”

Farouk al-Sharaa: “What are you talking about?

Baker: “Jibril. We know they are responsible for Lockerbie. What are you doing about them?”

al-Sharaa: “How do you know that?”

Baker: “We have the evidence. And the evidence is irrefutable.”

Secretary of State James Baker meeting with Syrian Foreign Intelligence Minister Farouk al-Sharaa. (Mid 1989)

A bad rap?

The New York Times Opinion concluded:

“I do not believe that the White House or the British cooked the evidence to absolve Syria. (The Israelis are not all that trusting.)

But Washington does not want to upset the Syrians these days. So when the Libyan plastic was discovered, the evidence about the bomb plot of the Syrian-based terrorist gang was judged to be irrelevant to the question of Syrian complicity in murder in the air. Read his lips — Syria became the victim of a bad rap.

The President committed a statement for which any civil servant would have been fired. He delivered a not-guilty verdict while the investigation of mass murder, and all its legal, moral and political connections and ramifications, was still going on. That’s the rap.”

“A deal between the US and Iran that involved the issue of Pan Am 103 is not an unreasonable hypothesis, given previous US behaviour and British and French ‘deals’ with Iran for the release of hostages.”

Dr Davina Miller — “Who Knows About This? Western Policy Towards Iran: The Lockerbie Case”

Political Considerations

“The unequivocal statement on Thursday by senior State Department spokesman Richard Boucher that “this was a Libyan government operation from start to finish,” coupled with the president’s singular defense of Syria, inevitably raises questions whether political considerations entered the investigatory process.”

“At the very least, the president’s rush to exonerate Ahmed Jabril and Syria all but guarantees that investigators will stop looking for any Syrian or Iranian involvement.

Thus, rather than truly being “ongoing” as a senior Justice Department official characterized it Thursday, the Pan Am investigation is now effectively finished.” (Steven Emerson)

Terry Waite

How did Oliver North escape Justice anyway. Quick answer is that he requested secret documents that he claimed were absolutely necessary for his defense.

This includes some documents revealing that Terry Waite was “covertly cooperating with the US”.

There was of course not a chance that the UK would accept the public use of such documents.

Thus, in the name of National Interests, the documents were denied to the defense and the judge could only rule that a fair trial was not possible under such circumstances.

TWAITE

Conclusion — As one US official conceded:

“Logic and political analysis always affect interpretations [of raw intelligence data] — it helps determine how you reconfigure the pieces of the puzzle.”

Vernon Mann ITN News – Terry Waite Hostage Returns to UK from Lebanon

UPDATE (November 18 2019) — Today, Terry Waite will mark the 28th anniversary of his freedom with a talk at Arboretum in London.

The bells of St-Martin-in-the-Fields will ring out before Terry shares his story to raise funds for Hostage International.

The charity, Hostage International, was originally founded as Hostage UK in 2004 by Terry and Carlo Laurenzi OBE, who both saw a gap in support provision for families and former hostages.

“I often feel that the difficulties that families face are almost equally as difficult as what the hostage himself or herself faces.

Hostage International gives much needed emotional and practical support to the families affected and returning hostages.”

Last month, Terry Waite spoke at the latest Mayflower 400 Speaker Series event.

END of UPDATE

REFERENCES

‘It’s over’ – Terry Waite returns home — BBC

On My Mind; White House Rap By A. M. ROSENTHAL (Published: November 22, 1991)

PAN AM 103: TERRORISM WHITEWASH?

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On This Day — Terry Waite Released by Islamic Jihad (November 18 1991)

On This Day — Terry Waite Released by Islamic Jihad (November 18 1991) [2019]

30 Years Ago — Terry Waite Released by Islamic Jihad (November 18 1991)

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