Hostage negotiator Nabih Berri (L) and freed popstar Demis Roussos (R) -  The U.S. and Israel remained non-plussed
Hostage negotiator Nabih Berri (L) and freed popstar Demis Roussos (R) – The U.S. and Israel remained non-plussed

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – CBS News – Frontline Report – World News Roundup – June 18, 1985 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.

News for this day, 30 years ago was about the ongoing Hijack of TWA Flight 847 and the hostage situation taking place. The flight from Athens to Rome was hijacked by a group of Islamic Militants and diverted to Beirut. The Militants, a Shi’ite-Amal group affiliated with Hezbolah, were seeking release of some 17 militants of another militant group, held in Kuwait for the bombing of the American Embassy in Kuwait City as well as an additional 700 Muslims held prisoner in Israel. Neither the U.S. nor the Israelis would negotiate with the hijackers, instead Shi’ite Muslim leader Nabih Berri negotiated the release of some 39 hostages, including Greek pop-singer Demis Roussos, along with two of his companions. The other hostages were still being held at an undisclosed location in Beirut.

On the this day, the drama was unfolding with breaking news of the release of Roussos. Still, the Reagan White House was adamant about no hostage negotiations, despite the fact the Militants had already killed one American, Robert Dean Stethern, a Navy Petty Officer from Maryland, and promised more.

There was other news: NASA reported the Shuttle Discovery was getting ready to launch a satellite for a group of Arab nations. Saudi Prince Saud was a guest astronaut on the week-long Shuttle mission. Alleged spy John Walker’s daughter Laura offered a glimpse into the family unit, saying the elder Walker brainwashed her and her brother Michael into the spy ring he’s been accused of master-minding for the Soviets.

The White House was quoted as saying President Reagan would rather give up aid to the Nicaraguan rebels than allow a number of domestic water projects to be funded, so he threatened to veto the bill unless the projects were removed. Congress was working out a compromise.

And news from the Pentagon claimed the U.S. had the aircraft carrier Nimitz, a cruiser, destroyer and a force of up to 1500 Marines anchored off the Lebanese coast “just in case”. However, the State Department was quick to caution that sending in the Marines would be ill-advised, as the Militants had spread the hostages all over Beirut, in other Shi-ite held areas and the potential for serious casualties was high.

And that’s a little of what went on this June 18th in 1985, as reported by The CBS World News Roundup, Hourly News and Frontline Reports.

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