Charles Dennis McKee

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Person.png Major Chuck McKeeRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Chuck McKee.jpg
Nicknamed Tiny by his Army intelligence friends
Born3 December 1948
Died21 December 1988 (Age 40)

Charles Dennis McKee was born in Pennsylvania on 3 December 1948.[1] Major Chuck McKee was killed in the bombing of the Pan Am Flight 103 on 21 December 1988.[2]

Mother's intuition

In June 2001, Time Magazine reported:

"For three years, I've had a feeling that if Chuck hadn't been on that plane, it wouldn't have been bombed," says Beulah McKee, 75. Her bitterness has still not subsided. But seated in the parlour of her house in Trafford, Pennsylvania, the house where her son was born 43 years ago, she struggles to speak serenely. "I know that's not what our President wants me to say," she admits.
George Bush's letter of condolence, written almost four months after the shattered remains of Pan Am Flight 103 fell on Lockerbie, Scotland, on 21 December 1988, expressed the usual "My heart goes out to you" sorrow. "No action by this government can restore the loss you have suffered," he concluded. But deep inside, Mrs McKee suspects it was a government action gone horribly awry that indirectly led to her only son's death. "I've never been satisfied at all by what the people in Washington told me," she says.[3]

American hostages theory

In the recent murder trial of two Libyans for the Lockerbie bombing, reference was made to the fact that a suitcase belonging to Major Charles McKee, a senior CIA agent who had been involved in the negotiations for the release of hostages in Beirut, had been mysteriously carried away from the piles of wreckage left by the crash and even had a large hole cut into it before it was returned to the investigators. The specific intention of cutting the hole, it was agreed, was to inspect the contents of the suitcase long before its evidential value could be established. (Paul Foot, "Flight From Justice", page 9)

Major Charles Dennis McKee, called "Tiny" by his Army intelligence friends, was a burly giant and a superstar in just about every kind of commando training offered to American military personnel. He completed the rugged Airborne and Ranger schools, graduated first in his class from the Special Forces qualification course, and served with the Green Berets. In Beirut he was identified merely as a military attache assigned to the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). But his hulking physique didn't fit such a low-profile diplomatic post. Friends there remember him as a "walking arsenal" of guns and knives. His real assignment reportedly was to work with the CIA in reconnoitring the American hostages in Lebanon and then, if feasible, to lead a daring raid that would rescue them.[4]

Suitcase transponder theory

McKee's targeting by the CIA is also central, in a different way, to Charles Norrie's theory; as his book A Tale of Three Atrocities explains:

The explanation came to me very quickly indeed. Poor McKee was killed by his colleagues. Unknown to him, his last duty was to help them locate baggage container AVE4041 PA among the debris, by using the transpondered suitcase he was carrying. [...] Transpondered suitcases must have a basis in fact since they appear frequently in fiction, for example in recent film "No Country for Old Men".

As for why, Norrie writes:

Once the CIA had used McKee's suitcase transponder to locate it, it must have been easy to determine which baggage container was AVE4041 PA. [...] In the remains of AVE4041 PA, the CIA placed a pre-blown suitcase, the remains of a Toshiba cassette recorder and various miscellaneous items. They hoped that, when the Lockerbie investigation team found the suitcase, they would follow the concocted evidence to a suitable CIA selected target, which would become Libya.

Norrie believes the CIA approved this operation, so it might have been better to include pre-blown materials in a suitcase to be placed right next to the bomb. Done. This tromping around in the open after the fact seems to me incompatible with someone who was in on the set-up. More to the point, there was no intact "luggage container" near McKee's bag. Pieces of AVE4041 were scattered across many square miles. Likewise the suitcase fragments would have to planted across H, I, and K sectors - a wide swathe indeed. McKee's suitcase is described as item PD/889, suggesting it was found in D sector, near Lockerbie itself and miles west of the Samsonite remains.[5]

Losing the will to live

Morag Kerr aka Rolfe was not impressed:

Personally, I find looking at alternative Lockerbie CTs to be quite instructive. It's an unusual situation, where the Official Version is itself a complete stitch-up, and we don't actually know what happened. Therefore, anyone with a theory is in principle worth listening to.
When Charles Norrie started giving out oblique hints that he had a complete thesis worked out about what actually happened, I was initially interested. When he revealed that it involved sabotaging the actual luggage container 18 hours before the plane took off, a second bomb actually planted and triggered by the CIA, and the assumption that virtually every piece of relevant evidence found on the ground was fabricated, I kind of lost the will to live on this one.
Nevertheless, one can often learn something even from batsqueak crazy CTs like Charles's. Anyone who has looked into this complex incident may have picked up some relevant fact that has escaped me, at least, or had an idea that isn't entirely crazy and might even be on the money. For example, if the story about McKee's suitcase being found and tampered with by the CIA at an early stage is true, and it could well be, then Charles's idea that it had a built-in transponder may not be completely off the mark. In addition, I really wish he would give his source for this thing about first-class luggage, because I want to know where it came from even though I think it's wrong.[6]


Related Documents

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Lockerbie - The Syrian Connectionarticle1997David Guyatt
Document:Lockerbie LiesArticle22 December 2017Steven WalkerThe Lockerbie bombing remains a text book case of a terrible tragedy causing considerable pain and suffering to relatives whose search for answers and clarification about why and how their loved ones died have taken second place to geo-political manoeuvres, deliberate meddling in legal processes, and the murky world of secret service wheeling and dealing on behalf of governments with no respect for human decency.
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