By Nabeel Al Mulhem - Damascus
Leader of a radical Palestinian faction denied in Damascus Tuesday that his movement was involved in the 1988 bombing of the Pan-American jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, labeling the accusation as a "roving charge that lands wherever the US wants."
"The US uses the charge as a means of pressure on certain parties when it deems that suitable," said Ahmad Jibril, top man at the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC) in an exclusive interview with Albawaba.com.
Jibril's remarks came after Iranian defector Ahmad Bahbahani claimed in an interview with American CBS news that PFLP-GC was behind the bombing.
Bahbahani, who was in Turkey, claimed also that he was an agent of the Iranian intelligence agency, that incited the Palestinian faction to carry out the terrorist attack.
"US started in 1988 and up to 1992 placing pressure on Syria, and the General Command, which was a suspect then. However, Iran and Libya were also targeted by the pressures," Jibril said.
The Palestinian leader said that at that time a group that belonged to his movement was arrested in West Germany, with explosives "similar to those used in the Lockerbie bombing," in their possession.
"The whole evidence was circumstantial, but America utilized it," he said, adding that his men were not planning to carry out an operation in Germany or any other western state, "but they were on their way to support the [Palestinian] intifada."
In response to a question if he personally knew Bahbahani, Jibril said he had never heard of the man, who charged in the TV interview that PFLP-GC was the perpetrator of the bombing, while Iran's intelligence had drawn up the plans.
"When I heard his name I thought he belonged to a Kuwaiti family," the Jibril said.
According to Jibril, such allegations are being floated these days as part of pressure on Syria in the aftermath of the Israeli troop pullout of south Lebanon and due to its position in peace talks with Israel, currently at a stalemate.
"Every US president and state secretary [since 1988] have talked to Syria regarding the accusations, but couldn't provide it with the evidence it asked for," although, he added, the group members caught in Germany, Abu Mohammad Hafez and Ghadanfar, were interrogated by the CIA, FBI and the Mossad.
Two Libyans linked to the Lockerbie case are being tried by a Scottish court in Camp Zest, Netherlands. Both defendants have pleaded not guilty -- Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)