US embassy cable - 90STATE284025

WHITE PAPER ON LIBYAN SUPPORT FOR TERRORISM

Identifier: 90STATE284025
Wikileaks: View 90STATE284025 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Secretary of State
Created: 1990-08-24 00:50:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: PTER OPRC LY IS
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 240050Z AUG 90 ZEX
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO ALL DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR POSTS IMMEDIATE
SPECIAL EMBASSY PROGRAM
UNCLAS STATE 284025 
 
INFORM CONSULS 
 
E.O. 12356:  N/A 
TAGS:  PTER, OPRC, LY, IS 
SUBJECT:  WHITE PAPER ON LIBYAN SUPPORT FOR TERRORISM 
 
1.  THE DEPARTMENT WILL RELEASE A WHITE PAPER TITLED 
"LIBYAN SUPPORT FOR TERRORISM THREATENS THE MIDDLE EAST" 
ON MONDAY, AUGUST 27.  THE TEXT OF THE WHITE PAPER, AND 
GUIDANCE FOR ANSWERING PRESS/HOST GOVERNMENT INQUIRIES, 
FOLLOWS.  A HARD COPY OF THE REPORT WILL BE POUCHED TO 
POSTS. 
 
2.BEGIN TEXT. 
 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
LIBYAN SUPPORT FOR TERRORISM THREATENS THE MIDDLE EAST 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
 
ON MAY 30 1990, TERRORISTS FROM THE PALESTINE LIBERATION 
FRONT (PLF), A GROUP LED BY ABU ABBAS AND SUPPORTED BY 
LIBYA, UNDERTOOK A TERRORIST OPERATION IN ISRAEL.  THE 
ATTACK, HAD IT SUCCEEDED, WOULD HAVE KILLED 
CIVILIANS--PERHAPS INCLUDING AMERICANS--ON TEL AVIV'S 
PUBLIC BEACHES.  THE CAPTURED TERRORISTS HAVE STATED 
PUBLICLY THAT CIVILIAN CASUALTIES WERE AMONG THEIR 
OBJECTIVES.  THE PLF CLAIMED RESPONSIBILITY SHORTLY 
AFTER THE ATTACK IN A STATEMENT TO THE PRESS IN 
BAGHDAD.  LIBYA WORKED WITH PLF LEADER ABU ABBAS--THE 
SELF PROCLAIMED "MASTERMIND" OF THE 1985 HIJACKING OF 
THE CRUISE SHIP ACHILLE LAURO IN WHICH AN AMERICAN WAS 
BRUTALLY KILLED--AND PROVIDED EXTENSIVE SUPPORT 
ESSENTIAL TO THE PLF OPERATION. 
 
-------------------------------------------- 
LIBYA'S SUPPORT CRUCIAL TO THE PLF OPERATION 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
LIBYA PROVIDED DIRECT SUPPORT IN ALL PHASES OF 
PREPARATION FOR THE PLF ATTACK AGAINST ISRAEL FROM 
PLANNING THE ATTACK TO ACCOMPANYING THE SHIP FROM WHICH 
IT WAS LAUNCHED.  THE FULL EXTENT OF LIBYAN COMPLICITY 
BECAME CLEAR AS INFORMATION GATHERED BOTH BEFORE AND 
AFTER THE ATTACK FROM A VARIETY OF SOURCES WAS PIECED 
TOGETHER.  PLF MEMBERS BEGAN PREPARING FOR A SEABORNE 
OPERATION AT LEAST AS EARLY AS OCTOBER 1988.  FROM LATE 
1988 UNTIL THE OPERATION WAS LAUNCHED  TRAINING AND 
PREPARATIONS TOOK PLACE IN LIBYA AT SEVERAL 
LOCATIONS--INCLUDING A LIBYAN NAVAL BASE.  LIBYAN NAVAL 
PERSONNEL WERE DIRECTLY INVOLVED IN THE TRAINING AND 
OVERALL SUPERVISION FOR THE OPERATION. 
 
ASSAULT BOATS PURCHASED AND MODIFIED.  LIBYA 
MANUFACTURES ASSAULT BOATS OF THE TYPE USED IN THE PLF 
ATTACK AT ITS BENGHAZI SHIPYARD.  SEVERAL OF THESE 
BOATS  WHICH ARE ABOUT 27 FEET LONG AND HAVE A TOP SPEED 
OF 35 KNOTS, WERE MODIFIED IN LIBYA TO CARRY AND FIRE A 
HEAVY MACHINE GUN AND A MULTIPLE ROCKET LAUNCHER.  THIS 
TYPE OF ASSAULT BOAT WAS AVAILABLE AT SEVERAL SITES USED 
BY THE PLF.  TWO OF THESE BOATS WERE CAPTURED DURING THE 
PLF ATTACK. 
 
TINY STAR ACQUIRED.  STAR NAVIGATION COMPANY OF PIRAEUS, 
GREECE, PURCHASED A MERCHANT SHIP WHICH IT NAMED THE 
TINY STAR IN APRIL OF THIS YEAR.  THE SHIP  EARLIER 
CALLED THE INGER M, SAILED FROM CYPRUS ON APRIL 10 
DECLARING ITS DESTINATION TO BE TRIFOLI, LIBYA.  THE 
TINY STAR WAS THE MOTHERSHIP THAT CARRIED THE ASSAULT 
BOATS AND PLF TERRORISTS TO THE LAUNCH SITE. 
 
------------------------------------- 
RETRACING THE COURSE OF THE TINY STAR 
------------------------------------- 
 
TINY STAR'S UNUSUAL MOVEMENTS IN LIBYAN WATERS BETWEEN 
LATE APRIL AND MID-JUNE COINCIDED WITH ACTIVITIES OF THE 
PLF BOTH IN PREPARING FOR THE MAY 30 ATTACK AND IN 
DEMOBILIZING FOLLOWING THE FAILED OPERATION.  TINY STAR 
WAS FIRST NOTED IN EARLY MAY IN TRIPOLI HARBOR.  SHE 
NEXT MOVED TO A LIBYAN NAVAL BASE LOCATED EAST OF 
TRIPOLI WHERE, ON MAY 24, SHE ENGAGED IN CARGO 
OPERATIONS WHICH INCLUDED LOADING THE SIX ASSAULT BOATS 
USED IN THE RAID.  THE SHIP SAILED FROM THE LIBYAN NAVAL 
BASE TO RAS EL-HILAL TO PICK UP THE PLF MEMBERS WHO WERE 
TO MAKE THE ATTACK.  AT RAS EL-HILAL ON MAY 27, AT LEAST 
SIXTEEN TERRORISTS WERE LOADED ABOARD TINY STAR, WHICH 
THEN DEPARTED LIBYA FOR THE DROP-OFF POINT WEST OF 
ISRAEL. 
 
AFTER LAUNCHING THE ASSAULT BOATS, THE TINY STAR 
PROBABLY TRAVELLED WEST-SOUTHWEST TO BLEND IN WITH THE 
HUNDREDS OF MERCHANT SHIPS ENROUTE TO AND FROM THE SUEZ 
CANAL.  THE SHIP WAS DOCKED IN MID-JUNE AT THE LIBYAN 
PORT OF TOBRUK.  TINY STAR RETURNED TO TRIPOLI HARBOR IN 
LATE JUNE.  IN LATE JULY, THE SHIP SAILED FROM TRIPOLI 
TO PIRAEUS  GREECE. 
 
--------------------------- 
IMPACT ON THE PEACE PROCESS 
--------------------------- 
 
THE ABORTIVE MAY 30 PLF ATTACK ON ISRAEL IS EXTREMELY 
DISTURBING: 
 
--  IT LED TO THE SUSPENSION OF THE US-PLO DIALOGUE. 
ABU ABBAS, LEADER OF THE PLF, IS A MEMBER OF THE PLO 
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE.  PLO CHAIRMAN ARAFAT DID NOT 
CONDEMN THIS ACTION 

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