Report from the board of Directors Chair

The board of our organization, Victims of Pan Am flight 103, Inc., held one of its four yearly meetings on June 10. Your board meets twice yearly in person and twice by conference call. At this recent meeting, in addition to the reports of our standing committees, there was discussion of several topics including the recent death of convicted bomber Megrahi.

We also discussed the updating of pamphlets which are used by those who represent VPAF 103, inc., at various venues, most recently distributed by Glenn Johnson during his attendance at the faf symposium for cruise lines on June 6 in Miami, Fla.

Members of the board were invited to participate in a conference call with the White House on April 2, facilitated by our president, Frank Duggan, with White House staff, during which we were told of Libya’s struggles that lie ahead as they try to organize elections, normalize the various zones and improve Libyan security. During this phone meeting, we were told that a new U.S. ambassador to Libya was appointed and we asked if we could have a phone chat with him before he began his assignment. On April 27, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens spoke with us, just prior to his may departure for his assignment in Tripoli, his living arrangements to be in a secure compound there. Amb. Stevens spent part of last year in Benghazi and has served in Tripoli in the past. He was sent to Libya to liaise with the Libyan Transitional National Council from April to November 2011. Amb. Stevens concedes that Libya is in a state of disarray now, but the people are hopeful for democracy. They want to improve the health and education of the country using the wealth of their country. There is a homogeneous desire for democracy and Amb. Stevens is optimistic, although Libya is tribal and must work with the fact that there is a divide in the role of religions and a divide between the regions. He informed us that there is to be an election in June 2012, and given the wide diversity in the many political parties present, all parties will be held to the same principles.

Briefly touching upon Megrahi and the stories surrounding his guilt/innocence, Frank Duggan and Amb. Stevens concurred that there were never any bribes offered or given for testimonies at the trial. Also, in raising the question of the perception of us, the families of the Victims of Pan Am 103, by the Libyan people, it was agreed that we are in unison with the Libyan people who suffered under Qaddafi’s regime. Questions regarding Senussi and Moussa Koussa were inconclusively answered in that Senussi is currently being held in Mauritania while it can be decided what will be the next move regarding his disposition. The French, the ICC, the Libyans and the U.S., on behalf of our loved ones, all want a chance to question him and move forward with indictments related to his suspected involvement in many crimes. Moussa Koussa, an American- educated ‘smooth character’ is reportedly in Qatar, unindicted as of yet. Regarding the possible location of files of the Gadhafi regime relating to Pan Am 103, it is not hopeful that any will be recovered from the ransacked headquarters of regime’s offices. Amb. Stevens reported that FBI Director Mueller had visited Tripoli recently and the assumption is that Pan Am 103 was on his list of topics.

When questioned about his priorities once he arrives in his post, Amb. Stevens replied that he would like to make sure there will be a stable democracy established and to find justice in the Pan Am 103 case. an invitation was extended to the ambassador to visit the Pan Am 103 archives at Syracuse University, and he was informed of the various memorial services that take place each year.

We asked Amb. Stevens if it will be possible for him to keep in touch with us even as he serves in Tripoli and he assured us that we could have periodic conference calls once he settles in. During our board meeting it was agreed to approach Amb. Stevens about the possibility of having a conference call during our general membership meeting in the fall at Syracuse University and to ask him to be a speaker at the December 21 memorial ceremony at Arlington Cemetery if he is back in the U.S. at that time. As of this printing, Frank Duggan did reach out to Amb. Stevens regarding these requests and he has indicated that he has penciled in our dates and, although it is difficult to predict where he will be several months down the road, if he is available he would be pleased to take part in them.

During our previous meeting on March 13, it came to our attention that the Cairn at Arlington Cemetery was in need of attention and repair and it was confirmed at this June 10 meeting that board member Jane Davis was in contact with the Klein family and these matters are being addressed.

We look forward to our next board meeting, to be held by conference call, in late August/early fall, at which time we will finalize our plans for our board meeting on October 25, to be held at Syracuse University and for our general membership meeting on Saturday, October 27, at SU. Most are aware that Syracuse University sets aside a Week of Remembrance, during which the 35 SU students lost in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 are remembered. Many activities, presentations, and displays are planned for that week, culminating with a meaningful ceremony conducted by the current class of Remembrance Scholars at the Place of Remembrance on campus. It is appropriate that we have established a board tradition of meeting during that week and then holding our general membership meeting on the Saturday that closes this special week. Plans for this meeting include election of officers, invited speakers, including the Remembrance Scholars and, in addition, the archives are made available to our members and guests.

Mary Kay Stratis
Chair, Board of Directors