The Family Assistance Education & Research Foundation (FAERF) has been at the forefront of the evolution of emergency management, combining the head-heart approach for a fully integrated response to survivors of traumatic loss. Practicing consciousness in the workplace involves caring for people first, without exception.

Terrorist Who Built the Bomb Responsible for the Lockerbie Disaster to Stand Trial in 2025


Written by: Carolyn V. Coarsey, Ph.D.

November 2023


“Wheels of justice grind slow but grind fine.”
― Sun Tzu
The reason the trial will not take place in 2024 is due to the amount of evidence the prosecution team has amassed. It will take an entire year to prepare the overwhelming proof for court.
– Glenn Johnson, Jr., Father of Beth Ann Johnson, 21-year-old Victim of PAA Flight 103


     As the Christmas holidays approach, families of the 270 people who died in the Pan American Airlines Flight 103 tragedy on December 21, 1988, face another anniversary and remembrance of their enormous losses. But since around this time last year, a significant justice advancement has occurred. As of December 2022, at long last, the man believed to have built the bomb that brought the Boeing 747 down on the tiny village of Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 11 of their citizens along with all the passengers and crew on board the flight, is on US soil, incarcerated and awaiting trial. (See the press release below from December 2022 for details).
FAERF Advisory Board Members and long-time friends of FAERF, Carole and Glenn Johnson, Jr., updated us at a recent Board meeting on the news about the impending trial and why it will be a while longer for the case to move forward than families had hoped. While it is impossible to refer to ‘good news’ in any mention of PAA 103, the announcement of the pending trial is an enormous validation to the US, UK, and other countries.

Your task is not to seek for love but merely to seek and find all barriers within yourself that you have built against it.
The purpose of this article is to acknowledge the resilience of the families who had every reason to succumb to bitterness and resentment over this horrific tragedy. First, because of the way in which their loved ones died; second, the way the airline and government officials initially treated them; and ultimately, the length of time it took for justice to be served.

Gifts from Beth – Better, not Bitter
In previous articles, I have written about the many contributions of Carole and Glenn and the Victims of Pan American Flight 103 (VPAF103). As the years have gone by, the list of accomplishments in the name of Beth and their loved ones, the VPAF103 organization, has become the symbol of how the choice to become “better, not bitter,” as Carole has often said, can become a life-long practice. In my 2004 book, Handbook for Human Services Response, I share much of their story as of that publication date. Since then, the gifts Beth has given Earth long after her physical departure continue to grow due to the generosity of her parents, who choose to honor her—as they continue to grieve her loss. Perhaps the most significant contribution is their example for others, i.e., choosing to remain loving and devoted parents to their sons left behind, other relatives, church and community—and society.
As mentioned in the Handbook, their story and all that was denied them became the checklist and the earliest blueprint for the Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act of 1996 and the Foreign Air Carrier Support Act of 1997. This tragedy occurred at a time when families were unable to connect telephonically with the airline and were initially denied transportation to the site of the crash.
Today, thanks to Carole and Glenn, these families who continued to speak out became the champions for other families who follow them for years to come. These simple acts of kindness are considered best practice and have become standard for the way many business organizations respond to families whose loved ones are injured or die in tragedies of all sorts – not just airline accidents.


“Until you become completely obsessed with your mission, no one will take you seriously. Until the world understands that you’re not going away —that you are 100 percent committed and have complete and utter conviction and will persist in pursuing your project—you will not get the attention you need and the support you want.
– Grant Cardone, The 10X Rule: The Difference Between Success and Failure

I am grateful to pioneers like Carole, Glenn, and the families comprising the VPAF 103 group. Their courage and commitment are primarily responsible for the advancements we take for granted today in how corporations and entire governments respond to families left in the wake of such tragic events as the terrorist bombing of PAA Flight 103.
Press Statement December 12, 2022
Anthony J. Blinken, Secretary of State
Alleged Pan Am Flight 103 Bombmaker in US Custody
Today is an important day for justice. Following an intensive diplomatic effort, Abu Agila Mohammad Mas’ud Kheir al-Marimi is in U.S. custody to face trial for his alleged role in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. The bombing resulted in the deaths of 270 people nearly 34 years ago on December 21, 1988. The victims came from 21 nations and included 35 students from Syracuse University returning home to spend the holidays with their families, two Diplomatic Security Agents from the State Department, a CIA officer, and 11 residents of Lockerbie, Scotland.
We wish to thank all those who played a role in ensuring Mas’ud faces justice in the United States. The prosecution of Mas’ud is the product of years of cooperation between U.S. and Scottish authorities and the efforts of Libyan authorities over many years. I want to particularly express my gratitude for the tireless work of the U.S. Department of Justice to pursue and prosecute Mas’ud. The United States has never and will never stop seeking justice on behalf of the American people. My first priority is the safety and security of our citizens overseas, and we will remain clear-eyed and focused with our partners in pursuing those who would seek to do us harm.



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