The media were fascinated with the issue of whether President Bush would apologize to the Arab/Muslim world for the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners. Meanwhile, Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who has the blood of hundreds of innocent Americans on his hands, has been welcomed back into the “international community” and recently made a triumphant visit to the European Union headquarters, where he received a boxed set of euro coins.
The press didn’t speculate as to whether or not Gadhafi would apologize for mass murder and terrorism. It was simply not an issue.
Not only did Gadhafi not apologize, the rehabilitated dictator denounced U.S. policy in Iraq and talked about returning to the days of car bombs and using “explosive belts.”
American Jeremy Hall is one of Gadhafi’s victims, seeking justice 18 years after being seriously wounded and disabled in the Berlin LaBelle disco bombing carried out by Gadhafi’s henchmen. He was a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, off-duty at the time. Hall was recently in Washington, D.C. asking members of the Congress for help and the media for publicity. But most journalists would rather write about mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners.
Hall has a radical idea?that the Libyan regime should pay a price, finally, for killing and injuring Americans in that horrific incident. It may not be deemed newsworthy by Al Jazeera, but shouldn’t American reporters cover this demand for justice?
In an interview, Hall described a blast blowing him through a door, burning skin falling off victims, picking up someone’s severed leg, and trying to help other seriously injured people in the chaos. The disco was targeted by Libya because it was frequented by U.S. servicemen. Hall suffered hearing loss and other wounds and lives on disability payments. More importantly, however, he is concerned that the U.S. Government has left its soldiers on the battlefield. The victims of LaBelle were two dead U.S. servicemen, both friends of Hall, a Turkish woman, and 230 wounded, including 80 U.S. military personnel.
Some think Libya has settled the much-publicized Pan Am 103 bombing case. This bombing killed 270 people, including 189 Americans. However, only one Libyan intelligence agent got a prison term and the regime agreed to pay some money to the families of the victims. Gadhafi himself escaped justice through a deal brokered by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. And since Gadhafi has now agreed to give up his weapons of mass destruction, the dictator has received a bonus?U.S. economic sanctions were lifted, enabling U.S. oil companies to return and make money for themselves and the regime.
But those economic sanctions were imposed on Libya before Gadhafi ordered the destruction of Pan Am 103. The sanctions were imposed in 1986 after Libya bombed the Berlin disco. President Reagan, citing hard evidence of Libyan involvement, ordered a retaliatory strike over this act of war and bombed several Libyan targets. But the bombs missed Gadhafi, and the dictator got the last laugh by peddling a phony story to the Western media that his “adopted daughter” had been killed. People felt sorry for Gadhafi, rather than his hundreds of victims, and Reagan was depicted as a barbarian.
Germany is still insisting on compensation from Libya for the disco atrocity. The U.S., however, doesn’t seem to be pressing the issue, which is one reason why Jeremy Hall and other victims came to Washington for help.
In a link to Iraq, evidence has emerged that the LaBelle attack was carried out under the direction of Gadhafi himself, and that it was executed by Libyan intelligence agents assisted by Yasser Mohammed Chreidi, a Palestinian member of the Abu Nidal Organization.
Abu Nidal left Libya in 1998 and relocated eventually to Iraq, under the protection of Saddam Hussein. In November 2002, he died in Iraq under mysterious circumstances. Iraq claimed he committed suicide. A writer for Time called it an “assisted suicide,” since he reportedly had several gunshots to the head. It’s not clear why he died or was killed. But the State Department said the fact that Nidal died in Iraq was further proof of Iraq’s support of terrorism. It was Libya, however, that worked with the organization to kill two American soldiers and injure 80 others in Berlin.
Don’t our fellow Americans deserve justice in this case? Shouldn’t Gadhafi and his regime be held accountable for this? Why is Bush groveling on Arab TV because of some isolated cases of prisoner abuse in Iraq while Gadhafi prances around Europe threatening more violence?
Does the mainstream U.S. media even recognize this blatant double standard? If so, they will cover Jeremy Hall’s campaign for justice.