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The Forgotten Flight: Terrorism, Diplomacy and the Pursuit of Justice

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On 19 September 1989, 170 people were killed when French Airlines UTA Flight 772 was destroyed by a suitcase bomb while en route from Chad to Paris. Despite being one of the deadliest acts of terrorism in history, it remained overshadowed by the Lockerbie tragedy that had taken place ten months earlier. Both attacks were carried out at the instruction of Libyan dictator Qa On 19 September 1989, 170 people were killed when French Airlines UTA Flight 772 was destroyed by a suitcase bomb while en route from Chad to Paris. Despite being one of the deadliest acts of terrorism in history, it remained overshadowed by the Lockerbie tragedy that had taken place ten months earlier. Both attacks were carried out at the instruction of Libyan dictator Qaddafi, but while “Lockerbie” became synonymous with international terrorism, UTA 772 became the “forgotten flight”. As a lawyer, Stuart H. Newberger represented the families of the seven Americans killed in the UTA 772 attack. Now he brings all the pieces together to tell its story for the first time, revealing in riveting prose how French investigators cracked the case and taking us inside the courtroom to witness the litigation against the Libyan state that followed. In the age of globalization, The Forgotten Flight provides a fascinating insight into the pursuit of justice across international borders.


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On 19 September 1989, 170 people were killed when French Airlines UTA Flight 772 was destroyed by a suitcase bomb while en route from Chad to Paris. Despite being one of the deadliest acts of terrorism in history, it remained overshadowed by the Lockerbie tragedy that had taken place ten months earlier. Both attacks were carried out at the instruction of Libyan dictator Qa On 19 September 1989, 170 people were killed when French Airlines UTA Flight 772 was destroyed by a suitcase bomb while en route from Chad to Paris. Despite being one of the deadliest acts of terrorism in history, it remained overshadowed by the Lockerbie tragedy that had taken place ten months earlier. Both attacks were carried out at the instruction of Libyan dictator Qaddafi, but while “Lockerbie” became synonymous with international terrorism, UTA 772 became the “forgotten flight”. As a lawyer, Stuart H. Newberger represented the families of the seven Americans killed in the UTA 772 attack. Now he brings all the pieces together to tell its story for the first time, revealing in riveting prose how French investigators cracked the case and taking us inside the courtroom to witness the litigation against the Libyan state that followed. In the age of globalization, The Forgotten Flight provides a fascinating insight into the pursuit of justice across international borders.

58 review for The Forgotten Flight: Terrorism, Diplomacy and the Pursuit of Justice

  1. 5 out of 5

    David

    This book is about the tragic, terrorist-caused,death of my wife’s Aunt Bonnie Pugh and the fascinating lawsuit that eventually followed. As such, of course it was a very personal story to read. And yet, i recommend it as an intriguing complex case study of the foibles of American foreign policy, where the pursuit of a seemingly good new direction undercuts justice, falls flat and all in the ultimate cause of our addiction to money and oil! Seven Americans were killed on a flight filled with Afr This book is about the tragic, terrorist-caused,death of my wife’s Aunt Bonnie Pugh and the fascinating lawsuit that eventually followed. As such, of course it was a very personal story to read. And yet, i recommend it as an intriguing complex case study of the foibles of American foreign policy, where the pursuit of a seemingly good new direction undercuts justice, falls flat and all in the ultimate cause of our addiction to money and oil! Seven Americans were killed on a flight filled with African and French passengers by Libyan terrorists. Overlooked especially by comparison to the almost identical bombing of the Pan Am flight brought down at Lockerbie, the seven American families were allowed, nevertheless, to sue the terror sponsoring nation of Libya. The judge eventually awarded the families seven billion dollars. Because I was able to meet these families and hear their stories, I was able to witness first hand the tragic ripple effects of the murders of their beloved. The law which allowed the suit to be pursued, did not fit well with the national powers designating authority to the President and Congress to set foreign policy. In the end, the Bush Administration and the Democratic majority Congress, negated the huge award given by Federal Judge Henry Kennedy. Having read Condeleezza Rice’s book about her service as Secretary of State, I noticed that she did not reference this decision, even though it was a legacy move at the end of President George W. Bush’s second term. Despite these disappointments, the book by lead attorney, Stuart Newberger, spells out the success of the pursuit in getting concessions and a modicum of justice from Libya and its leader Qaddafi. I recommend the book to those who teach civics and to attorneys (and any) intrigued by international affairs.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Katie B

    In September 1989, French Airlines UTA Flight 772 came crashing to the ground due to a suitcase bomb, killing all 170 people on board. This became known as the "forgotten flight" because despite it being one of the deadliest terror attacks in history, the world's attention was mainly focused on the Lockerbie bombing tragedy that happened 10 months earlier. Both attacks were encouraged by the Libyan government. This book follows the lawyer for the families of the seven American victims of Flight In September 1989, French Airlines UTA Flight 772 came crashing to the ground due to a suitcase bomb, killing all 170 people on board. This became known as the "forgotten flight" because despite it being one of the deadliest terror attacks in history, the world's attention was mainly focused on the Lockerbie bombing tragedy that happened 10 months earlier. Both attacks were encouraged by the Libyan government. This book follows the lawyer for the families of the seven American victims of Flight 772, as he attempts to bring justice by holding the Libyan government responsible for this senseless tragedy. This was a fascinating look at a piece of history that has often been overlooked. What I enjoyed most about the book is that it followed not just Flight 772 but also the other state-sponsored terror attacks that occurred around that time period. These events being discussed in depth really put into context the political climate at the time and the ramifications. Some of the things that happened decades ago have been actually popped up in the news recently. The strength of this book is the first half or so where the facts and history are laid out for the reader. When the lawyer becomes a part of the storyline due to his representing the American families of Flight 772, is when the story starts to drag on. I also found myself wondering why the final amount awarded by the FCSC was never disclosed other than vague terms when monetary damages was previously a huge part of the story by the author. Overall though, this is a good look at history and I would definitely recommend this book. I received a free copy of the book from the Early Reviewers program at LibraryThing. All views expressed are my honest opinions.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jane Norman

    Exciting Suspenseful True Story This beautifully written book reads more like a suspense story or international thriller than a book on diplomacy and justice. Once started I was unable to put it down and read straight through until 2.30 am. It is about the 1989 bombing of a DC 10 Airplane out of Chad which crashed in the middle of the desert on the way to De Gaulle airport killing all 107 persons aboard including the French crew and 7 Americans. French investigators discovered the culprits behind Exciting Suspenseful True Story This beautifully written book reads more like a suspense story or international thriller than a book on diplomacy and justice. Once started I was unable to put it down and read straight through until 2.30 am. It is about the 1989 bombing of a DC 10 Airplane out of Chad which crashed in the middle of the desert on the way to De Gaulle airport killing all 107 persons aboard including the French crew and 7 Americans. French investigators discovered the culprits behind the bombing to be none other than Libya, the same country behind the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 that crashed in Lockerbie Scotland in 1988. Stuart Newberger, the author, represented the families of the 7 Americans killed in the doomed French flight out of Chad.He skillfully recounts the investigation and the exciting trial in US District Court in the District of Columbia leading to a first ever verdict in the United States holding Libya directly liable for an act of terrorism. Mr. Newberger then describes the machinations, politics and diplomacy involved in getting Libya off the terrorism list which included a congressional act dictating that Libya compensate all victims of their terrorism, but at the same time wiped out his and other victims claims and judgments. I wish more people knew about the 1989 bombing of the French flight. It’s tragic that that case got so little publicity compared to the Pan Am case. Mr. Newberger has helped fill the gap with this story. There is so much more to this book. If you are a Francophile as I am you will enjoy the descriptions of the lead French magistrate, Paris and the French courts. I cannot recommend this book enough.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Martin

    This extraordinary book feels like a Law & Order episode, where the perpetrator is a whole country, and the victims are a whole cohort of innocent people. The comparison doesn't end there, because the "opening scene" is quick, and nasty, and awful before the first "chun chun," then order gets involved quickly to determine what happened. Finally, the law takes a long time for justice to prevail. Still working with this comparison, the book itself mirrors real life. The dirty stuff happens quickly, This extraordinary book feels like a Law & Order episode, where the perpetrator is a whole country, and the victims are a whole cohort of innocent people. The comparison doesn't end there, because the "opening scene" is quick, and nasty, and awful before the first "chun chun," then order gets involved quickly to determine what happened. Finally, the law takes a long time for justice to prevail. Still working with this comparison, the book itself mirrors real life. The dirty stuff happens quickly, and is briefly told in the narrative. Then the investigative stuff unfolds, and the book follows pace accordingly. Finally, the law business - the part where the universe inclines towards justice - takes an awfully long time, in real life, and in the book, to unfold and come to a conclusion. It's a perfect synergy. It's revealed a lot like the movie Inception, where the three separate threads and speeds somehow, ingeniously, are in perfect sync with each other. Somehow, the author, a trained lawyer pulls off this mastery of telling. What this book does, most of all, is successfully relay how painstakingly slow the process of justice truly is, and also never to despair with the slow movement of these wheels, because even if a law, or a system, or a man (usually a President) is in your way, then just give it time, all these circumstances can change if you have the right advocate, and you pull the right levers.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mordechai Weiss

    Like many people, I love to read "And they lived happily ever after" stories. For a brief moment, I hoped that the story being written by the author might be heading in that direction, but instead, the bitter truth was revealed, and that is that we, unfortunately, live in a world with some very bad people who even more, unfortunately, do some really, really bad things. And although justice may be a goal, it is a goal that sometimes is only partially reached. Especially when dealing with such hei Like many people, I love to read "And they lived happily ever after" stories. For a brief moment, I hoped that the story being written by the author might be heading in that direction, but instead, the bitter truth was revealed, and that is that we, unfortunately, live in a world with some very bad people who even more, unfortunately, do some really, really bad things. And although justice may be a goal, it is a goal that sometimes is only partially reached. Especially when dealing with such heinous crimes. Stuart Newberger does an excellent job revealing to us, layer by layer, how the lawsuit involving UTA 772 played out. Forgive me for the cliche, but it was a real page-turner that I didn't want to end. At one point in the book, German Chancellor Bismark is quoted for an observation which he made regarding the legislative process, that it is "like making sausages: a lot of ingredients, a lot of blood, a lot of things you do not want to know about when it is served." It is exactly these types of insights written by the author that makes this book so entertaining, despite its very sensitive and sometimes complex topic. In the end, the author serves us some sausages as well, learning about things that we really don't want to know (but need to know anyway).

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    A French airliner, UTA 722, is blown out of the sky above the remote desert of the Sahel in 1989. This is the story of how investigators and lawyers and diplomats worked to bring the perpetrators to (some form of) justice, in the decades that followed. It’s not a whodunit; it’s more of a how-can-we-prove-they-done-it-and-restore-some-sense-of-justice book. The author was the lawyer in one of the two main cases against the Libyan government and its agents who planted the bomb that destroyed UTA 7 A French airliner, UTA 722, is blown out of the sky above the remote desert of the Sahel in 1989. This is the story of how investigators and lawyers and diplomats worked to bring the perpetrators to (some form of) justice, in the decades that followed. It’s not a whodunit; it’s more of a how-can-we-prove-they-done-it-and-restore-some-sense-of-justice book. The author was the lawyer in one of the two main cases against the Libyan government and its agents who planted the bomb that destroyed UTA 722 and killed its passengers and crew. He led the American legal effort, following a likeminded French legal case, to secure damages from the Libyans and a legal determination of culpability. The prose is serviceable if not eloquent, and the twists and turns are remarkable given how many political and legal hurdles had to be cleared to reach some sense of closure for the families of the victims.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kamimi

    Our family was a part of this book, so it is a personal rating along with an acknowledgment of a well written and interesting book. Newberger takes a story about terrorism and fills in the history and context around it, then walks the reader through the nuances and slow work of the governments involvement through a court case. Giving us a fuller picture of an evil man, Gaddafi. Newberger doesn’t touch on the personal side of it too much, but enough to offer a glimpse into the tragedy and long te Our family was a part of this book, so it is a personal rating along with an acknowledgment of a well written and interesting book. Newberger takes a story about terrorism and fills in the history and context around it, then walks the reader through the nuances and slow work of the governments involvement through a court case. Giving us a fuller picture of an evil man, Gaddafi. Newberger doesn’t touch on the personal side of it too much, but enough to offer a glimpse into the tragedy and long term effects of terrorism on innocent families. It’s good to have a public accounting of the story, we will treasure this book in our family however bitter sweet it is to remember Great Aunt Bonnie’s untimely death.

  8. 4 out of 5

    David Corleto-Bales

    The strange tale of Libya's rather forgotten, (but not in France) bombing of an airliner over Niger in 1989. Part of Libya's terrorism war against the west, governments, desperate to eventually gain their hands on Libyan oil, managed to bury the responsibility for the crime. Newberger, a lawyer who handled many lawsuits against countries who engaged in terrorism brought by the outraged families of the innocent victims, details the sad story here. The strange tale of Libya's rather forgotten, (but not in France) bombing of an airliner over Niger in 1989. Part of Libya's terrorism war against the west, governments, desperate to eventually gain their hands on Libyan oil, managed to bury the responsibility for the crime. Newberger, a lawyer who handled many lawsuits against countries who engaged in terrorism brought by the outraged families of the innocent victims, details the sad story here.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lachlan Finlayson

    A well written record of the events, the people, the politics , the legal cases, repercussions and so on. A story that deserves wider recognition and understanding given the extent of the crime committed.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Greg Harris

    Advanced review: Interesting legal read, well detailed and informative. A book that should be added to school criteria for its detailed legal learnings and world history.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Well written book about the downing of Flight 772 in the Tenere Desert of North Africa by Libyan terrorists. Fascinating, horrifying, frustrating.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Marco

  13. 4 out of 5

    Francisca

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sofia Stenroos

  15. 5 out of 5

    david zara

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lee Rawles

  17. 4 out of 5

    Harel Ashman

  18. 4 out of 5

    Logan Carmichael

  19. 4 out of 5

    Carol Birkland

  20. 5 out of 5

    edmund salomomns

  21. 5 out of 5

    Romain Aymon

  22. 4 out of 5

    David E

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jameson Foran

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jodie

  25. 5 out of 5

    Simon J.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alan Merkow and Leslie Jameson

  27. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tanvir Ahmed

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jerome

  30. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  31. 5 out of 5

    Kara Lauren

  32. 4 out of 5

    Melly Mel

  33. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Bradley

  34. 5 out of 5

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  35. 5 out of 5

    Mark

  36. 5 out of 5

    Micielle

  37. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

  38. 4 out of 5

    Pam Mooney

  39. 4 out of 5

    Stacia Chappell

  40. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

  41. 5 out of 5

    Debee Sue

  42. 4 out of 5

    J Collins

  43. 5 out of 5

    Gordon Bingham

  44. 4 out of 5

    Robert

  45. 4 out of 5

    James

  46. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Wise

  47. 5 out of 5

    ed Lucas

  48. 5 out of 5

    Diana

  49. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne

  50. 5 out of 5

    Skeetor

  51. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  52. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Heare Watts

  53. 5 out of 5

    Chuck Stone

  54. 4 out of 5

    Kara

  55. 5 out of 5

    K

  56. 5 out of 5

    Carol

  57. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

  58. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Taylor-Cruz

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