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Context of 'April 17, 1984: Libyan Diplomats Allegedly Shoot and Kill British Policewoman; Case Remains Unsolved and Controversial'

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Yvonne Fletcher.Yvonne Fletcher. [Source: Public domain]Woman Police Constable Yvonne Fletcher is shot and killed in London’s St James’s Square during a protest outside the Libyan embassy. Eleven demonstrators protesting against Libyan ruler Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi are also injured in the volley of gun fire. The shooting is followed by a siege of the embassy, as well as the breakdown of diplomatic relations between Britain and Libya. After ten days, thirty Libyan diplomats are allowed to leave Britain. Because they are granted diplomatic immunity, there is effectively no police investigation in Fletcher’s murder. [BBC, 3/25/2004] Not everyone, however, is convinced that Libyans are to blame. In 1996, Channel Four shows a documentary entitled Dispatches: Murder at St James’s, in which several respected criminal and ballistic experts express doubts that the fatal shot could have come from the embassy. The program is praised by Tam Dalyell, a veteran Labour MP, who is also a critic of the governmental investigation of the Lockerbie crash. These arguments are dismissed by British authorities. [Guardian, 7/23/1997] Later, the Libyan government, eager to ease crippling diplomatic and economic sanctions, accepts “general responsibility” for the death and allows British investigators to come to Libya in search of the shooter, but Scotland Yard fails to find him. The case remains unsolved. [Observer, 6/24/2007]

Entity Tags: Yvonne Fletcher, Tam Dalyell

Timeline Tags: Alleged Use of False Flag Attacks

A Labour Party lawmaker storms out of the House of Commons after saying the Blair administration lied about a recent dossier it released that purported to show Iraq’s deceiving UN weapons inspectors about its presumed cache of WMD (see February 3, 2003). Tam Dalyell, the longest-serving member in the Commons and a member of Tony Blair’s Labour Party, thunders, “To plagiarize an out of date Ph.D. thesis and to present it as an official report of the latest British intelligence information, surely it reveals a lack of awareness of the disastrous consequences of such a deception.” Dalyell calls for an emergency debate on the issue. “This is not a trivial leak. It is a document on which is the basis of whether or not this country goes to war and whether or not young servicemen and servicewomen are to put their own lives at risk and indeed thousands, tens of thousands of innocent civilians.” [Associated Press, 2/10/2003]

Entity Tags: Tam Dalyell, Blair administration

Timeline Tags: Events Leading to Iraq Invasion, Domestic Propaganda

For a few tense minutes, an unidentified plane flying inside Washington’s no-fly zone comes close to being shot down by the military. The plane, a Beechcraft King Air, is carrying Governor Ernie Fletcher (R-KY), who is coming to attend the funeral of former president Ronald Reagan. The plane’s transponder is broken, but the pilot notified the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the problem earlier in the flight. However, the FAA failed to inform the military, which was therefore unable to identify the plane. In addition to the lack of transponder identification, the plane is flying deep inside the no-fly zone around the White House. The Capitol is evacuated at around 4:30 p.m., when thousands are awaiting the arrival of President Reagan’s coffin. An F-16 is scrambled to identify the plane but is unable to do so because of cloud cover. NORAD’s commander, General Ralph Eberhart, is asked if the plane should be shot down. Fortunately, the pilot turns toward National Airport at this time, ending the crisis. [Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), 7/4/2004; USA Today, 7/4/2004; Washington Post, 7/8/2004] A new mobile radar command post, called the Joint-Based Expeditionary Connectivity Center (JBECC), which merges civil and military radar data and which was deployed in the Washington area immediately after 9/11 (see September 12, 2001), is used by the military to identify the plane and avoid a shoot-down. [Associated Press, 11/29/2004]

Entity Tags: Federal Aviation Administration, Joint-Based Expeditionary Connectivity Center, Ernie Fletcher, Ralph Eberhart

Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

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