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Embassy Row

- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 20, 2011

LOCKERBIE AVENGED

Frank Duggan, who has been chasing Moammar Gadhafi since a Libyan terrorist killed nearly 200 Americans on a plane over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, rejoiced Thursday when he learned the deposed dictator was dead.

"This is a great day, not just for the Lockerbie families, but for all families who have suffered under this brutal dictator," Mr. Duggan, who represents the relatives of the Lockerbie victims, told Embassy Row.

"We are grateful to the people of Libya who have risked their lives to be free of this monster and to the NATO forces who led the military effort."

Mr. Duggan, president of the Victims of Pan Am Flight 103, cautioned that Libya remains unstable, despite the death of the dictator.

"There is always a risk of what happens next, and the turmoil after Saddam Hussein was toppled does not promise a smooth transfer to a democratic state," he said, referring to Iraq's former dictator.

Mr. Duggan said he is worried about a vast arsenal of missing Libyan weapons and about reported Islamic extremist links to some members of the revolutionary council that replaced the Gadhafi regime.

"We are concerned about the thousands of missiles that have disappeared, as well as the nature of the rebels themselves, but it is still a great day. It may also energize the Syrians and others who had their 'Arab Spring' crushed," he said.

Another issue for the Lockerbie families is the whereabouts of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the only man convicted for killing 270 people, including 189 Americans, in the attack on the airliner.

Scotland released al-Megrahi in 2009, after doctors claimed he had terminal cancer and would die in three months. He is still alive and remains a hero to many Libyans. Al-Megrahi received a hero's welcome when he return to Libya.

"As for Megrahi, the little worm is still alive," Mr. Duggan said. "He was still a national hero until recently, with his picture on T-shirts and people naming their children after him.

"That is what boiled our blood, and makes it hard for us to root for the Libyans, but we are grateful that they finally rose up to topple Gadhafi and his murderous followers."

Mr. Duggan recalled the reaction of Kathy Daniels Tedeschi, whose husband died on the airliner and whose stepson married a woman who lost her father in the attack.

On the day of al-Megrahi's return to Libya, Mrs. Tedeshi "cried all day in front of her TV watching Libyans cheer his release," he said.

"Today, she is crying again, as are others, that this monster Gadhafi who killed their loved ones, is dead," Mr. Duggan said. "It will be interesting to see what happens to Megrahi when the rebels deal with him."

NOT BUYING AMERICAN

The U.S. ambassador to Canada is trying to defend protectionist trade measures in President Obama's proposed "jobs bill," but Canadians are not buying the American envoy's excuses.

Ambassador David Jacobson this week told business executives in Canada that the so-called "Buy American" provision in Mr. Obama's bill will have no impact on U.S.-Canadian trade, which topped $526 billion last year.

Mr. Jacobson said only a "small part" of the $447 billion bill includes requirements for American-made materials to be used for the construction of schools, roads and bridges.

"A small part of the bill relates to repairs ...," he said. "It was to these parts - and these parts alone - to which Buy American applied."

The ambassador said most of these expenses would be for labor and land "which Canada couldn't supply anyway."

However, Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast remained unconvinced.

"History has shown that, in times of economic challenge, the global economy is revived by lowering trade barriers and that lowering them will have the opposite effect," he said.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or email jmorrison@washingtontimes.com. The column is published on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

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