The Lockerbie Bombing (Pan Am Flight 103; December 1988)

A

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Abu Nidal behind Lockerbie bombing

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2211327.stm
A former aide of Abu Nidal says the militant Palestinian leader, who was found dead in Iraq this week, was behind the 1988 bombing of a passenger plane over the Scottish town of Lockerbie.
In an interview, Atef
Abu Bakr says Abu Nidal told a meeting of his Fatah- Revolutionary Council that he had organised the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 270 people.
He told London-based Arabic daily al-Hayat that Abu Nidal had threatened to kill anyone who revealed his responsibility for the attack.
A special Scottish court in the Netherlands convicted a former Libyan government agent, Abdelbaset ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, of the Lockerbie bombing and sentenced him to life in prison.
Mr Abu Bakr, a former spokesman for the group, split with Abu Nidal in 1989, a year after the bombing.
"Abu Nidal said during
an inner-circle meeting of the leadership of the Revolutionary Council, 'I will tell you something very important and serious, the reports which link the Lockerbie act to others are false reports. We are behind what happened'," Mr Abu Bakr is quoted by the newspaper as saying.

Abu Nidal told the meeting that if anyone leaked what he had said, "I will kill him even if he is in the arms of his wife".

Al-Hayat did not make clear when or where the meeting took place, or who attended apart from Abu Nidal.

A senior British parliamentarian has urged the Foreign Office to investigate the claims "as a matter of the utmost urgency".

Tam Dalyell, a left-wing Labour MP, has long argued that the Libyans were not responsible for the attack and that it was carried out by Abu Nidal.

"If these allegations are true they blow everything relating to Lockerbie out of the water, including the trial in Holland," he said.

House arrest

The group led by Abu Nidal, one of the world's most wanted men before Iraqi authorities announced that he had killed himself in his Baghdad apartment, has been blamed for attacks in which hundreds were killed or wounded in the 1970s and 1980s.

Abu Nidal set up his headquarters in the Libyan capital Tripoli in 1987. He was put under house arrest when Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi came under pressure to crack down on militants after the Lockerbie bombing.

Mr Abu Bakr has given a series of exclusive interviews to the Saudi-owned, London-based al-Hayat since the first accounts of Abu Nidal's death emerged.

He has told the newspaper that Abu Nidal ordered the bomb attack on a Gulf Air flight from Abu Dhabi to Karachi in 1983 that killed all 111 people on board.

He also said that his former boss plotted to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 1989 with the co-operation of an Arab state, but then aborted the plan.

And he has claimed that Abu Nidal was responsible for the 1986 attack on a West Berlin disco that killed two US soldiers and a Turkish woman, and wounded 260 others, provoking American air strikes on Libya.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Libya's admission that they didn't do it

Private Eye have been all over his for awhile (even producing the book "Lockerbie: The Flight from Justice") and the lastest issue, Eye 1101: 26 reports Shokri Ghanem's (the Libyan Prime Minister's) interview on "Today" on Radio 4 (Tuesday 24th feb) that Libya weren't responsible - by paying the compensation and getting back onside with the west they stand to make vast quantities of money from oil revenues.

Some reports on this:

First Published 2004-02-25, Last Updated 2004-02-25 16:45:32


Ghanem's statement sparks another crisis


US renews call for Libyan retraction on Lockerbie


White House demands Tripoli restate publicly it bears responsibility for 1988 Lockerbie bombing.


WASHINGTON - The White House made clear Wednesday that easing relations with Libya is on hold until Tripoli restates publicly that it bears responsibility for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

"At this point, we expect Libya to make clear that their position is still the same in terms of accepting responsibility for the actions of its officials," spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters.

Asked about Washington's expected easing of a ban on travel to Libya by US citizens, McClellan said Tripoli must recant Prime Minister Shokri Ghanem's assertion that a 2.7-billion-dollar compensation agreement with the families of Lockerbie victims merely "bought peace" with the West.

"There's nothing to announce on that front at this point," McClellan said when asked about the travel ban. "We expect them to make clear publicly that their position is still the same."

Shokri Ghanem told the BBC: "We thought it was easier for us to buy peace, and this is why we agreed to compensation."

"Therefore we said, 'Let us buy peace, let us put the whole case behind us, and let us look forward.'"

Libya wrote to the UN Security Council accepting responsibility for Libyan officials involved in the bombing. The council lifted international sanctions against Libya the following month.

Libya agreed in August to pay 2.7 billion dollars (2.2 billion euros) to the families of the 270 people killed when Pan Am Flight 103 was blown up over the Scottish town of Lockerbie.
Lockerbie families condemn Libyan PM's remarks

The families of victims of the Lockerbie disaster have condemned claims by the Libyan prime minister that the country had not accepted responsibility for the bombing.

Relatives of those killed on Pan Am flight 103 said they were surprised and confused by the comments made by Shokri Ghanem.

But they dismissed the denial as "immaterial" when the big questions over the tragedy remained unanswered.

Libyan prime minister Shokri Ghanem insisted the country had not admitted responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing, but had paid compensation to "buy peace".

Dr Ghanem said Libya had paid the compensation to bring to an end the damaging sanctions imposed on the country. But he insisted that was not an admission of responsibility.

But relatives of those killed in the bombing on December 21, 1988, said the comments flew in the face of the official Libyan line on Lockerbie.

Speaking on behalf of the pressure group UK Families - Flight 103 Dr Jim Swire, who lost his daughter Flora in the bombing, said he wanted an explanation for the comments.

"Libya has satisfied the United Nations requirement that she accepts responsibility for the Lockerbie disaster and as a result UN sanctions have been withdrawn.

"We don't understand the comments by the prime minister Ghanem. It's out of line with everything Libya has been saying and nobody knows why he has said this.

"I would like an explanation as to why the Libyan prime minister has made this statement and that can only come from Libya," he added.

Pamela Dix, whose brother Peter was killed in the bombing, said the comments were "almost immaterial" when the big questions over the Lockerbie disaster remained unanswered.

"We see the comments as underlining of the fact we do not have the answers to the big questions: What was the motivation for the bombing? Who was behind it? Who paid for it? Why was it not prevented? What were the intelligence failures that allowed it to happen?

"We don't know and if he (Ghanem) does know, if he does he needs to be telling us properly.

"Until it is done through the official channels, there will go on being these kind of off-the-cuff comments which are extremely unhelpful," she added.
http://195.224.230.11/english/?id=9035

http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_870732.html

Richard Ingrams
Sunday February 29, 2004
The Observer

Colonel blip

There was a wonderfully satirical moment last week when the Libyan Prime Minister, Dr Shokri Ghanem, went on the BBC and announced that his country was not responsible for the Lockerbie bomb after all.

Why then, he was asked, had they paid out huge sums of money to the relatives of the victims, all of whom have now become millionaires overnight? 'We thought it was easier for us to buy peace,' Dr Ghanem said, 'and this is why we have agreed to compensation.'

Shock horror. After all that had happened - a trial lasting for months and costing millions of pounds, the guilty man serving a life sentence in a Glasgow prison, compensation paid to the relatives, Colonel Gadaffi, described by Jack Straw as a great statesman, accepting full responsibility. And now Dr Ghanem lets the cat out of the bag and says they only did it to 'buy peace'.

Fortunately, by the next day normal service had been resumed. The Libyan authorities issued a hurried statement rebutting the Prime Minister's remark. An American congressman explained to BBC listeners that after many years of isolation, Libyan politicians were not used to giving interviews; Colonel Gadaffi could once again be considered a great statesman by Jack Straw and others. What a relief.

The Lockerbie relatives need feel no qualms about their new-found wealth, poor Mr Megrahi, the convicted socalled terrorist, could continue to rot in his Glasgow prison cell and hopefully people would stop asking awkward questions about what really happened when the Pan Am plane was blown up in 1988.
http://politics.guardian.co.uk/diary/story/0,9176,1158914,00.html

Emps
 
A

Anonymous

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What a sordid glimpse into the Real World this is.

It reminds me of the reference in the movie Fight Club to "the equation". The car manufacturer investigates a serious accident due to a mechanical failure. He enters everything into an equation and determines whether it is cheaper to issue a recall, or to live with the legal and medical fees of the victim. Libya have done something similar here.

This is the real conspiracy, not reptilian shape-shifters from Arcturus, but the fact that world government is based on economics, and yet the naive masses still insist they operate on moral grounds.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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DD: Quite. The cracks have been papered over and order restored - the fact that an innocnet man is in jail, a country has done the sums and worked out it would be cheaper in the long run to admit to a massive crime (darkening their nation's name for centuries) and, pos. most importantly, the actual guilty parties and their motives fade into the shadows.

Paul Foot (who wrote the Lockerbie book and does the hard hitting couple of pages in the back of the Eye) also gave this breakdown:

Lockerbie conspiracies: from A to Z

Based on a 1995 Guardian investigation by Paul Foot and John Ashton

By Patrick Barkham
Wednesday April 7, 1999


A
is for Africa, South
Several pieces of evidence (see H and W) suggest that the authorities knew in advance that the Boeing 747 which blew up over Lockerbie in southern Scotland on December 21 1988 was in danger. The German newspaper Die Zeit claimed that the South African foreign minister, Pik Botha, intended to fly on Pan Am 103 but had been warned off. Mr Botha flew on an earlier flight, Pan Am 101, which, unlike flight 103, had special security checks at Heathrow. No one has been able to definitively confirm or refute the Die Zeit story.

B
is for bomb-maker
The German anti-terror campaign Operation Autumn Leaves (see J, O and P) led to the arrest of bomb-maker Marwan Khreesat weeks before the Lockerbie disaster. Khreesat was released after a few days because of a lack of evidence. In April 1989 further German police raids resulted in the discovery of two more bombs designed by Khreesat specifically to blow up aircraft. Did he make the bomb which was placed on feeder flight Pan Am 103A before it left Frankfurt for Heathrow?

C
is for coffin
Two coach-loads of officials arrived at the disaster scene in the day after the crash. Many were plain-clothed Americans with no obvious affiliation. Among their baggage was a single coffin for which no explanation has ever been given. Labour MP Tam Dalyell later produced evidence indicating that the Americans had "stolen" a body from the wreckage. A local doctor identified and labelled 59 bodies and was then puzzled to find that the Americans had relabelled and tagged only 58 in the area where he had been working.

D
is for drugs
Lockerbie farmer Jim Wilson found a suitcase full of cellophane packets containing white powder among the debris in his fields. The suitcase was taken away, no explanation was given, and the authorities continued to insist that no drugs (apart from a small quantity of cannabis) had been found on the plane. But it was later discovered that the name Mr Wilson saw on the suitcase did not correspond with any of the names on the Pan Am 103 passenger list.

E
is for the Express
Ten days after the Lockerbie disaster, the Daily Express devoted its front page to exposing a Lebanese American called Khaled Jafaar whom it named as the "bomb carrier". The Express's sources were "the FBI and Scotland Yard". The Interfor report (see I) also named Khaled Jafaar as the bomb carrier.

F
is for fiction
It has been argued that talk of the CIA, cover-ups, bombs, timers and Maltese trousers (see M) is just entertaining fiction. Some observers believe that there was no bomb on Pan Am 103 and that explosive decompression or an electrical fault caused the Lockerbie disaster, as they caused other Boeing 747 crashes.

G
is for Garrick
Paul Channon, British Secretary of State for Transport, lunched five journalists at the Garrick Club three months after Lockerbie and told them, off-the-record, that the Lockerbie killers had been identified and would soon be arrested. Yet the two Libyans who came to be the prime suspects were not charged until November 1991. It seems likely that at that time Mr Channon was confident that the Lockerbie bomb was the work of the Palestinians (see P).

H
is for Helsinki
Sixteen days before the disaster, a man rang the US embassy in Helsinki, Finland, and warned of a bomb aboard a Pan Am aircraft flying from Frankfurt to the US. The 1990 US President's Commission report on aviation security said that "thousands of US government employees saw the Helsinki threat". Not a single US worker at the Moscow embassy took flight Pan Am 103 from Frankfurt, a standard and popular route home for Christmas. But the British Department of Transport had told Pan Am in December that British intelligence dismissed the threat as "not real".

I
is for Interfor
A report by Interfor, a New York corporate investigative company hired by Pan Am, suggested that a Palestinian gang (see P) had got the bomb on to the airliner at Frankfurt by exploiting a US intelligence deal (see U). In a bid to free American hostages in Beirut, American intelligence agents had apparently struck a deal with Syrian drug smugglers: in exchange for hostage information, the agents smoothed the Lebanon-US drugs route by relaxing security restrictions and allowing drug luggage to sail through customs. The terrorist gang simply switched the drug luggage for a bomb.

J
is for Ahmed Jibril
Ahmed Jibril was the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC) (see P). He enjoyed the protection of the Syrian government. Intelligence agents reported that Jibril had been assigned by a furious Iran to avenge the shooting down of an Iranian airbus by a US warship in 1988 (which killed 290 people). The leader of Jibril's terrorist gang, Hafez Dalkamoni, was one of the Palestinians arrested in Operation Autumn Leaves (see O).

K
is for Kuwait
In 1990 Kuwait was invaded by Saddam Hussein. Anglo-American attitudes to the Middle East were transformed. Paul Foot and John Ashton argue that theories about Lockerbie are inextricably linked to this changing political situation.

In 1989 intelligence-based evidence fitted snugly with US and British foreign policy in the Middle East. Both countries had severed relations with Syria, and the Iraq-Iran war ended in 1988 with America and Britain continuing to be hostile to Iran and supportive of Iraq. The US and British governments were content with the prime Lockerbie suspects: a Palestinian gang (see P), backed by Syria and Iran.

But in 1990, the impending Anglo-American war against Iraq necessitated neutralising Iran and winning the support of Syria. Britain's diplomatic relations with Syria were duly restored in November 1990 and the Gulf war commenced in 1991. Sure enough, the credibility of intelligence theories about the Lockerbie bombing being masterminded by the Iran- and Syria-backed Palestinian gang was soon dismantled.

L
is for Libya
In November 1991, the American and British governments charged two Libyan airline officials, Abdel Basset Ali Al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, with planting the Lockerbie bomb. To justify the radical change in the investigation's focus away from the Palestinians, the US State Department said: "Fresh evidence undermined the initial theory linking the PFLP-GC (see P) to the bomb". This included evidence that the Lockerbie bomb's "sophisticated electronic timer" had been delivered from Switzerland to Libya. And, in contrast, the bombs discovered in the hands of the Palestinians in Germany (see B) had "relatively crude timers".

M
is for the Maltese connection
A series of Sunday Times investigative pieces reported that the Lockerbie bomb had first been put on a plane in Malta. The bombing had been carried out by the Palestinian group (see P), after a gang member, Abu Talb, visited Malta. He was identified by a Maltese boutique owner as the man who bought clothes later found in the bomb suitcase.

A bag which ended up on Pan Am 103 was identified by a baggage handler as coming from an Air Malta flight. When a Granada TV documentary repeated the allegations, Air Malta sued Granada for libel. A hitherto unpublished document from Air Malta's lawyers demonstrated that there were no bags on the flight which went on to Pan Am 103 or 103A. Granada settled out of court.

N
is for not proven
Legally defined as "a criminal verdict, somewhere between guilty and not guilty, the consequences of which are that the accused is treated as if found not guilty". Britain and the US fear that if attention is paid to the conflicting conspiracy theories, the case against the Libyans in The Hague could only be "not proven".

O
is for Operation Autumn Leaves
Five weeks before the Palestinian warning (see I) was received, a German anti-terrorism campaign, Operation Autumn Leaves, arrested a "team of Palestinians not associated with the PLO" in possession of a bomb in a cassette recorder (see T) strikingly similar to the Lockerbie bomb.

These Palestinians, including Hafez Dalkamoni (see J) and Marwan Khreesat (see B) had been arrested outside a flat in Neuss - two hours' drive from Frankfurt, from whose airport Pan Am 103's feeder flight had originated. They were released after five days because there was not enough evidence against them.

P
is for Palestinians
Operation Autumn Leaves led to the arrest of a gang associated with a splinter group of the Palestinian movement the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC). Was Pan Am 103 blown up by a Palestinian gang, protected by Syria and paid for by Iran?

Q
is for Queen's English
The official air accident report concludes: "The detonation of an improvised explosive device led directly to the destruction of the aircraft". If it was a bomb why wasn't it called a bomb in plain English?

R
is for red tarpaulin
On the night of the disaster teams of rescue volunteers scouring the area discovered a large object under a red tarpaulin. As they approached it, they were warned off by gunmen in the doorway of a hovering helicopter. A local farmer, Innes Graham, was also warned by US investigators to stay away from a small wooded area a few miles east of Lockerbie.

S
is for the Swiss circuit board
A central piece of evidence which pointed to the Libyans (see L) was a tiny fragment of a circuit board found among the Lockerbie debris. This was traced to a firm in Switzerland which exported timers to Libya.

Apart from the confusion over when and where the circuit board was found (reports vary between June and November 1990), the Libyan connection to the timers is not as clear-cut as investigators have claimed. The US state department maintained that all timers from the Swiss firm had been delivered to Libya, but a BBC radio programme later proved that the firm had provided identical timers to the East German secret police, the Stasi.

T
is for Toshiba
The German anti-terror campaign Operation Autumn Leaves (see O) discovered a Toshiba cassette recorder packed with semtex. Pieces of a similar model of recorder had been found in the wreckage at Lockerbie.

U
is for US intelligence
There have been several claims that the bomb was planted on Pan Am 103 by a crack team of US intelligence agents. A Radio Forth journalist reported the claim and, within an hour, was threatened with prosecution or, bizarrely, invited to disclose his source to the Prime Minister.

The Interfor report (see I) also alleged that Major Charles McKee, the head of the US intelligence team, who was travelling on the plane, was shocked by his colleagues' deal with Syrian drug smugglers and was returning on Pan Am 103 to report them. The inference was obvious - Pan Am 103 was sacrificed by the intelligence community to get rid of Major McKee. But the Interfor report was greeted with widespread scepticism.

V
is for Vincent Cannistraro
In the early 1990s the Lockerbie investigation shifted from the Scottish Borders to the CIA base in America. The man in charge there was Vincent Cannistraro. Mr Cannistraro had worked with Oliver North in President Reagan's National Security Council and, Paul Foot and John Ashton argue, he "specialised in the US vendetta against Libya".

Mr Cannistraro was part of a secret programme to destabilise the Libyan regime which culminated in the US bombing of Libya in 1986. He retired from the CIA in September 1990 but by then had helped lay the foundations for a completely new approach to the bombing investigation, in which the chief suspect was not Iran or Syria, but Libya.

W
is for warning
Three days before the Helsinki threat (see H), an intelligence source in the US state department's office of diplomatic security warned that a team of Palestinians, not associated with the PLO, was targeting Pan Am airline and US military bases in Europe. The comment attached to the message read: "We cannot refute or confirm this".

X
is for xenophobia
In 1989 Anglo-American intelligence services and politicians widely blamed the Lockerbie bomb on a Palestinian terror group (see P), backed by Syria and Iran. In 1990, (see K) Iraq became the Anglo-American Arab enemy number one in the run-up to the Gulf war; Iran became neutral and Syrian troops joined the Allied forces. Only Libya remained adamantly aligned with Iraq. Suddenly, coincidentally, the Lockerbie bomb was blamed on the Libyans.

Y
is for Yvonne Fletcher
PC Yvonne Fletcher was shot dead outside the Libyan embassy in London in 1984, causing diplomatic relations between Britain and Libya to be severed. The file on Yvonne Fletcher is still open and Britain continues to demand Libyan co-operation on the matter. The fairness of the trial of the two Libyan suspects could yet affect this case.

Z
is for Zeist
Camp Zeist is the former US air base in The Hague where the two Libyans are being tried under Scottish law. But even the conviction of Abdel Basset Ali Al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah seems unlikely to still the disquiet and conspiracies that continue to surround flight Pan Am 103.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Lockerbie/3_Col_Story/0,2763,206620,00.html

The book is a little tricky to find:

Nothing at Amazon

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000COZ4D/

and Private Eye's book section wasn't working right:

http://www.private-eye.co.uk/content/sales.cfm/issue.1101?RecordID=4

This page might help:

http://i-p-o.org/private-eye.htm

eBay may eventually throw something up but nothing today.

Emps
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Back in 1993 I bought a copy of 'Trail of The Octopus' - 'From Beirut to Lockerbie - Inside the DIA.'

(The DIA is the American Defense Intelligence Agency)

By Donald Goddard with Lester K Coleman

Published by Bloomsbury

Chapter 1 begins..........'All Governments lie, some more than others. To protect themselves or 'the national interest' American governments lie more than most'

The book makes it quite clear that Libya had no part in the bombing. I cannot understand (or rather I can actually) why more interest has never been shown in what this book reveals.

We live in a world of sinister shadows caused by 'globalisation' driven by the needs of large corporations, organised crime and governments - the last 2 often inseparable.

It's all very sad....................

:glum:
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Indeed - doing it for profit is never as attention grabbing as conspiarcies for some nebulous sinister end :(

I forgot to post this:

Lockerbie father fears jailed man is innocent

Alexis Akwagyiram
Monday March 15, 2004
The Guardian

A Lockerbie campaigner whose daughter was killed in the bombing has revealed that he met the wife of the Libyan security agent convicted of the atrocity because he now believes the man is innocent.

Jim Swire, who helped secure Abdel Baset al Megrahi's conviction, said he arranged the meeting in Glasgow because he harbours a sense of guilt.

Megrahi's wife Aisha, 41, lives with their four children in Glasgow to be near her husband, who is being held in HMP Barlinnie.

Al Megrahi was found guilty in 2001 of the 1988 bombing and sentenced to life imprisonment by a specially convened Scottish court in the Netherlands.

Dr Swire, whose daughter Flora was on the flight, said: "I told her [Aisha] I fear I may have played an important part in a miscarriage of justice.

"I told her I hoped there would be a new appeal and of my guilt over what has happened to her husband, who I believe is innocent".

Dr Swire, 67, the head of the organisation which represents the families of UK victims, added: "I don't agree with the verdict of the Scottish court but we must accept it until they decide different."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1169602,00.html
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
i think the lockerbie famalies scored a bit of an own goal when the accepted the money from libya as this seems like a bit of a payoff.

i have heard some people at my work (let me stress that this ISN'T my point of view) claiming that they've done very well with their compensation and more tax payers money shouldn't be wasted on more public enquires. :eek!!!!:

let me stress that i work with idiots.
 

sunmou

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Think i read somewhere that someone who is in line to collect money from libya over the events refuses to collect. They are a firm believer in the fact that libya wasn't involved.

Major gov's don't like gahdaiff (sp). He wanted to start a africain union... he also wantd to start a poor peoples world bank, 3rd world nations would pony up moeny together and lown it to countrys at low intrestrest... cutting out the IMF...
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I will go back over the book mentioned in my last posting and quickly revise it's contents. However, the basic story (written by a man who was actually a part of it) is roughly:-
The USA Defense Intelligence Agency DIA ordered one/some of it's agents to spy on the USA Drug Enforcement Adminisatration in Cyprus. The DEA along with the CIA was running a series of 'controlled deliveries' of Lebanese Heroin through the airports of Frankfurt and London towards America.
The agent who wrote the book - Lester Coleman - DIA - discovered the security of the 'sting' operation had been breached and thus there was a disaster waiting to happen.
He warned the American Embassy but was ignored.
Terrorists were able to smuggle a bomb on board, along with a drug consignment, which was guaranteed 'safe passge'.
The rest is history.....................
As always, a dark convoluted story that will fail to ever be adequately proven as many of the main players are either retired or dead. The procedure is to blame others for as long as it is politically advantageous to do so. In this murky world, blame is never apportioned to those who are the true cause of any of the disasters. The man in prison is an innocent 'patsy' fitted up to suit the reinvolvement of Libya and it's oil reserves back into mainstream politics.
Unfortunately as in all wars, the innocent victims of Lockerbie, 9-11, Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa - are all just expendable pawns.
The truth rarely emerges....................
 

ted_bloody_maul

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THE LEAST I CAN DO IS SHAKE HIS HAND AND SAY SORRY Oct 25 2004


SWIRE TO APOLOGISE TO LOCKERBIE BOMBER

By Magnusgardham



LOCKERBIE justice campaigner Dr Jim Swire wants to apologise to jailed bomber Abdelbasset al Megrahi - because he reckons he is innocent.

Dr Swire campaigned tirelessly for a trial under Scots law in a neutral country - which ended in al Megrahi being found guilty of blowing up Pan Am flight 103.

But he now believes al Megrahi will have his conviction overturned on appeal following the trial verdict three years ago at Camp Zeist in Holland.

Dr Swire, 68, said: 'If he is not guilty - as I believe - then we all owe al Megrahi a profound apology.

'I will have no hesitation in apologising to him and shaking his hand for the part I played.

'That is why I want to meet him. Sorry is the least I can say to him.

'I have a feeling of guilt over what has happened.

'I have no problem at all in visiting al Megrahi because of the responsibility I feel and I would like to see him once the appeal process is settled.

'I believe the verdict was unsafe and it will be overturned.

'However, I will accept the appeal verdict and if I am proved wrong I will still seek a meeting with al Megrahi to tell him I have no hatred.

'My own view is that we will never get to the bottom of Lockerbie if this verdict is not overturned.'

Dr Swire's daughter Flora was among 270 killed in the 1988 blast.

The spokesman for the UK Families Flight 103 support group met Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi three times as he campaigned for the trial.

But he now believes evidence which could have cleared al Megrahi was not heard in the case.

The retired GP believes a Palestinian group, acting on behalf of Iran, carried out the atrocity.

Al Megrahi, 52, is serving 27 years. He is held in solitary in a specially built £250,000 double cell dubbed the 'Gaddafi Cafe' at Barlinnie.

But - as exclusively revealed in Saturday's Daily Record - he will be moved to Greenock prison in December because he is lonely.

The bomber has already lost an appeal against his conviction.

But his case is being considered by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, which could allow a second appeal.

Al Megrahi's lawyer, Eddie McKechnie, has confirmed that the bomber is willing to meet Dr Swire.

He said: 'My client has been encouraged by these warm words of support.'

Source

[Emp edit; Fixing big link]
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Private Eye released a book (wrtten by the late great Paul Foot) investigating the whole Lockerbie incident and concluded that it wasn't anything to do with the Libyans but was probably a group connected with the Syrians. Its no longer in print but copies can often be found around if you look for it - its Lockerbie: Flight from Justice:

https://secure2.subscribeonline.co.uk/PEYE/product.cfm?cmp=SPECRPTS
http://i-p-o.org/private-eye.htm

General links:

http://members.aol.com/bblum6/panam.htm
http://www.portia.org/chapter12/lockerb.html
 

Timble2

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My feeling was that a political deal was done with Megrahi, even if he was involved, he was the scapegoat, the expendable team member who could be thrown to the wolves.
 

Mal_Adjusted

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greets

another couple of books:

"Trail of the octopus - from beirut to lockerbie - inside the DIA." by Donald Goddard with Lester K Coleman. Bloomsbury. 1993

John Ashton and Ian Ferguson "Cover-up of Convenience - the hidden scandal of Lockerbie" Mainstream, 2001

not sure how easy they are to get hold of, the first was (IIRC) subject to a libel prosecution which lead to it being withdrawn (one dealer is asking over £200 for a copy!!) (at that price he can have my copy!!)

see also paul foot's review of the goddard / coleman book at:

http://www.psychedelic-library.org/lockerbie.htm

and subsequent correspondence

mal
 

Mal_Adjusted

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greets

TB666 - interesting but very dated

the text "trail of the octopus - a novel" is totally different to the book, which is non-fiction.

the text of the book is available from american buddha website (but you have to register and jump through hoops to get it)

mal

another interesting article though is:

Bush Administration's Involvement in Bombing Pan Am 103

by Joel Bainerman
(May/June 1997 issue)

If the entire story behind the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in December l988 is ever fully exposed, most people just simply wouldnt believe it. Not only were various agencies of the U.S. Government at least partially responsible for the terrorist attack, the Bush Administration tried to cover up their involvement; and, as vice president, Bush is reported to have made as many as four secret trips to Damascus offering arms to Syria in return for the hostages held in Lebanon.

If the true story behind Pan Am 103 ever finally does come out, Yuval Aviv can take much of the credit.

I met a lot of strange characters during the research for my book The Crimes of a President (SPI Books, 1992), but Yuval Aviv was by far the most intriguing. I met Aviv for the first time in October l991. After a three-hour meeting, I walked out of his Madison Avenue office with my head spinning. Aviv had a certain charm about him that made him very likable, even if you didnt quite trust his information or understand his motives. He claims to be a former Mossad official who immigrated to the U.S. in l978. Shortly thereafter, he opened his own investigating firm called Interfor.

Aviv told me a lot of stories, some of which I had already checked out and found to be false. Some were verified by other sources. Like most sources investigative journalists come across, some of Avivs information was good, some wasnt. Where Aviv does come through with flying colors though is in his version of what happened to Pan Am 103, the plane that blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland on 21 December l988.

Avivs firm was hired by Pan Ams insurer in the Spring of l989 to investigate the crash. Of all the journalists and intelligence sources I met who knew Aviv, all of them agreed that his report on Pan Am 103 is the closest thing yet to the truth. The only problem is that what he has to say about the incident isnt what the Bush Administration wants to hear. In September l989, Interfors report was made public. In it, Aviv claimed that a CIA team headquartered in Western Germany is largely responsible for the bombing.

Thats not what the U.S. Administration claims. For the first two years after the crash, all the evidence pointed to Syria and Iran as the culprits. It was believed that Iran bankrolled the operation in retaliation for the 3 July l988 shooting down of a scheduled Iranian airbus in the Persian Gulf by the USS Vincennes, killing 290 people. Previously, U.S. investigators had traced a wire transfer of several million dollars from Teheran to a bank account in Vienna controlled by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command under the leadership of Ahmed Jibril (US News & World Report, 25 November l99l).

The outbreak of the Gulf War changed all that. When Saddams troops rolled into Kuwait, the Administration needed to bring Syria into the coalition effort. The following Summer, Bush sat down with Syrian President Hafez Assad in Geneva and ushered in a new era in Syrian-American relations. As a result, focus had to be deflected away from Syrian-sponsored Ahmed Jibrils terrorist group.

Lo and behold, in November l99l, U.S. prosecutors announced that their three-year investigation produced no evidence that either Iran or Syria were involved. Instead, they believed two Libyan intelligence officials and the Tripoli Government were responsible for the bombing (New York Times, 15 November l99l). President Bush would publicly remark: "The Syrians took a bum rap on this" (Time, 27 April l992).

The U.S. Government based its case on a tiny piece of plastic embedded in a shirt that had come from the suitcase that held the bomb. Miraculously, it survived two harsh Scottish winters. A British forensic expert matched the fragment of the bomb timer used to destroy a French DC-10 jet that exploded over Africa nine months after the Lockerbie tragedy and found them to be identical. Based on this evidence, indictments were issued for Libyan intelligence officials. (It seems the Justice Department would have looked a little silly asking Mummar Gaddafi to turn himself in to the American authorities.)

American and British investigators speculate that Iran and Libya were plotting simultaneously to blow up an American jet, but the Libyans succeeded first. Gaddafi, it was claimed, wanted revenge for the l986 bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi by U.S. warplanes. (Why did he wait more than two-and-a-half years to get it?) They say the bomb was first loaded as unaccompanied baggage on an Air Malta flight which departed Lauq Airport in Malta and connected with the Pan Am flight in Frankfurt. Why a terrorist would take such an indirect route and risk detection was left unexplained.

The official U.S. Governments version of events is quite different from that of the former Israeli intelligence official. Aviv explains that his investigation revealed that the origin of the terrorist attack was actually a rogue CIA group protecting a Syrian drug operation which transported drugs from the Middle East to the United States via Frankfurt. Aviv says the CIA did nothing to break up the drug operation because the traffickers were also helping them send weapons to Iran and to the Nicaraguan Contras.

Part of Avivs assertions were backed up by NBC News a year later when it reported, on 30 October l990, that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was investigating a Middle East-based heroin operation to determine whether it was used by the terrorists to place a bomb on Pan Am 103. NBC said Pan Am flights out of Frankfurt had been used by the DEA to fly informants and heroin into Detroit as part of its sting operation. It claimed the terrorists might have discovered what the DEA was doing and switched one of their bags with one containing the bomb.

The DEA denied any connection to the undercover operation (Barron's, 17 December l990). Aviv explains that the method of drug smuggling was quite simple. One person would check a piece of luggage onto the plane and an accomplice working in the baggage department would switch it with an identical piece containing the narcotics. He says that on that fatal night, a Syrian terrorist organization knew how the drug operation worked and slipped a bomb inside a suitcase on the plane.

Aviv asserts that Monzer Al-Kassar, a Syrian drug and arms smuggler, set the drug smuggling operation up through Frankfurt in l987. The CIA, the DEA and the West German secret police, the BKA, observed its activities, but didnt interfere so as to acquire information. Al-Kassar is well connected. The head of Syrian intelligence, Ali Issa Duba, is his brother-in-law, and his wife is related to Assad.

This was the same Monzer Al-Kassar who helped Oliver North supply Polish-made weapons to the Nicaraguan Contras in l985 and l986. Along with his three brothers, Al-Kassar had built a multi-million-dollar empire on military deals in Eastern and Western Europe. Administration officials who discussed these deals said Al-Kassar had clear business links with the Abu Nidal terrorist organization (Los Angeles Times, 17 July l987).

The officials said that Al-Kassar maintained offices in Warsaw and was a major broker of the Polish-owned weapons company, Cenzin. The first arms purchase by North from Al-Kassar totaling $1 million was sent by boat to an unidentified Caribbean port in the Fall of l985 and was later distributed to the Contra fighters. In April of that year, a second shipment of Polish arms was sold to the CIA as part of this transaction (Los Angeles Times, 17 July l987). In another part of the deal, more than $42 million was laundered through BCCI (Bank of Credit and Commerce International) accounts in the Cayman Islands. Al-Kassar earned more than $1 million (Private Eye, 25 October l99l).

Aviv wrote in his report that a special hostage rescue team was on the doomed aircraft, led by Army Major Charles McKee, who had discovered that a rogue CIA team in Frankfurt, called COREA, was protecting the drug route. According to a special report in Time (27 April 1992), COREA used front companies for its overseas operations: Sevens Mantra Corp., AMA Industries, Wilderwood Video and Condor Television Ltd. The report revealed that Condor did its banking through the First American Bank, a subsidiary of BCCI.

After explaining what he had learned to CIA headquarters in the U.S. and receiving no response, McKee decided to take his men home without the required permission. He planned to bring back to the U.S. proof of the rogue intelligence teams connection to Al-Kassar. If the government tried to cover it up, he would release it. Al-Kassar discovered this and reported McKees attempt to make their own "travel arrangements" back to the U.S. through the rogue CIA team in Frankfurt (Covert Action Information Bulletin Number 34, Summer l990).

Although neglected in the American press, there were at least four, and possibly as many as eight, CIA and other U.S. intelligence agency operatives from Beirut aboard Pan Am 103 (ibid.). Could they have been the target? In his book, Lockerbie: The Tragedy of Flight 103, David Johnson disclosed that CIA investigators removed a suitcase from the crash site that belonged to McKee. It was returned a few days later, and "found" empty.

The PBS investigative program Frontline reported in January l990 that the bomb was put on the plane at Londons Heathrow Airport where a baggage handler switched suitcases belonging to CIA officer Matthew Gannon. According to the Frontline investigation, the only piece of luggage not accounted for from the flight belonged to Gannon.

Frontline claims the intelligence officials were a "strong secondary target." A May l989 report in the Arabic newspaper Al-Dustur revealed that McKees teams movements were being monitored by David Lovejoy, "an American agent" whom Aviv claims was passing information to the Iranian embassy in Beirut which told the Iranian charge daffaires of the teams travel plans (Time, 27 April l992).

Aviv believes that the CIA team in Frankfurt allowed Al-Kassar to continue to smuggle drugs into the U.S. in return for help in arranging the release of the American hostages. The drug operation, he says, went as far back as Spring of l987.

In the Fall of l988, Ahmed Jibril, leader of the Syrian-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, discovered the operation. So as not to interfere with Al-Kassars activities, Jibril originally targeted an American Airlines plane, but the Mossad discovered this and tipped off the airline. When the plan changed and the target became a Pan Am airliner, once again a Mossad agent tipped off German secret police 24 hours before the flight. When a BKA surveillance agent keeping watch over the suitcase supposedly filled with drugs noticed that this time the luggage was a different color and size, he passed this information on to the CIA team, who relayed it to their superiors. They reportedly said, "Dont worry about it. Dont stop it let it go" (Barron's, 17 December l990).

Aviv says the BKA did just that.

A lengthy article on Avivs report in the financial weekly, Barron's, quotes one Mideast Intelligence specialist in the government as suggesting, "Do I think the CIA was involved? Of course they were involved. And they screwed up. Was the operation planned by the top? Probably not. I doubt they sanctioned heroin importation that came about at the more zealous lower levels. But they knew what was going on and didnt care." The expert went on to say that his agency has "things that support Avivs allegation, but we cant prove it. We have no smoking gun. And until the other agencies of the government open their doors, we will have no smoking gun."

These government agencies didnt open their doors. In September l989, Pan Am subpoenaed the FBI, CIA, FAA, DEA, National Security Council, National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency and the State Department, requesting documents relating to the case. According to Pan Ams attorney, Gregory Buhler, "the government quashed the subpoenas on grounds of national security" (ibid.).

Further signs of a cover up were revealed by investigative columnist Jack Anderson, who claimed that President Bush and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher held a transatlantic phone conversation after Bushs inauguration in which they agreed that the investigation into the case should be "limited" in order to avoid harming the two nations intelligence communities. Thatcher has acknowledged that the conversation took place, but denied she and Bush conspired to interfere with the investigation (Covert Action Information Bulletin Number 34, Summer l990).

In its investigative report, Time revealed that a former agent for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Lester Knox Coleman, III, has signed an affidavit which described the CIA-sanctioned operation. In l987, Coleman was transferred to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and was assigned to Cyprus, where he witnessed the growing trade in heroin originating in Lebanon. Colemans DEA front in Nicosia was the Eurame Trading Co. Ltd., located near the U.S. Embassy. His job was to keep track of Al-Kassars movements and report to the DEA attach in Cyprus, Michael Hurley. Coleman says he was paid in checks drawn on the BCCI branch in Luxembourg (27 April l992). (Read Trail of the Octopus: Behind the Lockerbie Disaster, Donald Goddard with Lester K. Coleman, 1994 although this was only published in Great Britain and is a bit hard to get a copy of. ARH.)

A number of investigative journalists believe that Aviv stumbled onto just one piece of a larger puzzle. In August l991, Larry Cohler, a writer for the Washington Jewish Week, reported on a set of secret negotiations which took place between Syria and the United States Government over the release of the hostages and which led to a number of covert trips by Bush to Damascus.

Over an all-you-can-eat Indian lunch one afternoon, Larry told me an incredible story that compliments Avivs conclusions.

According to a confidential Pentagon memo that Cohler gained access to, for reasons still unknown, officials in the Reagan Administration failed to pursue a series of Syrian offers to free the American hostages held in Lebanon. The Syrian overtures began in l985 and continued through mid-l989.

A number of former government officials involved in the secret Syrian negotiations say they were never told why the Syrian offers were not acted upon, while others say the Syrian offers were not genuine. Still others claim there was too little preliminary action by the U.S. Government to determine for certain whether the initiatives were genuine or not (San Francisco Chronicle, 21 July l99l).

The center of the controversy was a memo dated 17 March l987, which described a meeting attended by Lawrence Ropka, Jr., a principal deputy of Assistant Secretary of Defense for National Security Affairs Richard Armitage. Written by Ropkas military assistant, Lt. Andrew Gambara, it claimed that American businessmen and a former executive secretary to Richard Nixon, Robert D. Ladd, told Pentagon officials in December l985 that he had a contact with a Lebanese businessman who introduced him to Fasih Makhail Ashi, a judge in Syrias inspector generals office. The judge claimed he had information regarding the fate of the seven American hostages held in Lebanon. Ashi said: "the Syrians were prepared to assist in the release of the hostages if Reagan called Assad and requested his support" (San Francisco Chronicle, 21 July l99l).

Syrias aims were simple enough: It wanted closer ties with the United States. The memo said that once Reagan called, "Syria would facilitate the release and transfer of the hostages without any quid pro quo from the U.S." It said further that Ladd had already brought this to the attention of Oliver North at the National Security Council (NSC) and that someone would follow it up. A former official in Armitages office said the memo was sent to a special government agency, the Vice Presidents Task Force on Terrorism, a group of high-ranking officials from the White House, State Department, NSC and the CIA.

Two of Armitages aides acknowledged that the Syrian initiative was discussed during a number of interviews with Ladd and his attorney. Ladd said that, after hearing the Syrian offer, he arranged for Ashi to come to the United States; he was then questioned over a period of a number of days by the Task Force. Ashi asserts he spoke in the name of General Ghazi Kenaan, head of Syrian military intelligence, and even passed on details about the fate of kidnapped CIA chief in Beirut, William Buckley.

Ashi returned to Syria but received no reply. In February l987, he contacted Ladd and again said Syria would help the Americans release the hostages. Ladd tried unsuccessfully to persuade government officials to meet in Paris with Ashi. A longtime senior aid to Armitage claimed Ashi could not prove the offer was genuine. "It was my sense there was nothing there," he said (San Francisco Examiner, 21 July l991). "I was told there wasnt enough information from Ashi to run it upstairs."

However, a former official in Armitages office said that he thought Ashis overtures should at least be checked out, as the American Government could have sent someone from the Paris embassy to meet him. Ladd said that, only because of his persistence, U.S. intelligence officials eventually agreed to meet with Ashi. Then, in the early part of the Summer of l989 the CIA, without any explanation, canceled the meeting.

Despite the cancellation, Ashi called Ladd back saying that the hostages would be released if Ladd would come to Damascus for them. In August, Ladd was prepared to fly to Damascus when Ashi called back to take back the offer, saying that a tug of war over releasing the hostages had developed between Kenaan and other factions of the Syrian army.

The Congressional investigators did look into why the Administration didnt follow up on these initiatives and why, when Syria offered to help release the hostages, they were put on hold. They questioned a number of individuals, including a former Pentagon official, Peter Probst, who took part in some of the meetings; he told Cohler that it was one of several he and other officials had with Ladd on the Syrian overture. He said nothing further on the matter.

Could the Administration have been pursuing another path to free the hostages? Cohler learned from different sources that Bush made as many as four secret trips to Damascus in early l986, allegedly offering arms to Syria in return for the hostages. Congressional investigators were told by their sources that in the Spring of l988, in the middle of the presidential campaign, Bush made one final trip to Syria, telling the Syrians that the time was right to make a deal. Then, the Syrians stalled.

At that point, the Syrians might have grasped the leverage they actually had over Bush and wanted to up the ante (In These Times, 7 August l991). Its also possible that Bush might have been attempting an "October Surprise" of his own by having the hostages delivered to a Republican White House just in time for the Presidential election in November l988.

Aviv says that when these overtures failed, Bush and the CIA turned to Al-Kassar as a middlemen. (A covert deal made with drug smugglers is less likely to be exposed than one with a government or head of state.) Al-Kassar had some experience in these types of operations and at least one victory under his belt: He was used by the French Government in March l988 to free its hostages held in captivity in Lebanon.

George Bush may have wanted the same deal. M

[Joel's book, The Crimes of a President: New Revelations on Conspiracy & Cover-Up in the Bush & Reagan Administrations, is (as its back cover says), "an important document of our times and necessary reading for all who want to know what really went on during the Bush-Reagan years." We highly recommend it.

Joel also publishes The Israel Technology Letter, P.O. Box 387, Zichron Yaacov, Israel 30900; Voice: 972-6-639-6673; Fax: 972-6-639-8880; E-mail: [email protected]]
http://www.lossless-audio.com/usa/index0.php?page=1107560966.htm

mal
 

crunchy5

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http://news.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=1855852005

Police chief- Lockerbie evidence was faked
MARCELLO MEGA

A FORMER Scottish police chief has given lawyers a signed statement claiming that key evidence in the Lockerbie bombing trial was fabricated.

The retired officer - of assistant chief constable rank or higher - has testified that the CIA planted the tiny fragment of circuit board crucial in convicting a Libyan for the 1989 mass murder of 270 people.

The police chief, whose identity has not yet been revealed, gave the statement to lawyers representing Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, currently serving a life sentence in Greenock Prison.

The evidence will form a crucial part of Megrahi's attempt to have a retrial ordered by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC). The claims pose a potentially devastating threat to the reputation of the entire Scottish legal system.

The officer, who was a member of the Association of Chief Police Officers Scotland, is supporting earlier claims by a former CIA agent that his bosses "wrote the script" to incriminate Libya.

Last night, George Esson, who was Chief Constable of Dumfries and Galloway when Megrahi was indicted for mass murder, confirmed he was aware of the development.

But Esson, who retired in 1994, questioned the officer's motives. He said: "Any police officer who believed they had knowledge of any element of fabrication in any criminal case would have a duty to act on that. Failure to do so would call into question their integrity, and I can't help but question their motive for raising the matter now."

Other important questions remain unanswered, such as how the officer learned of the alleged conspiracy and whether he was directly involved in the inquiry. But sources close to Megrahi's legal team believe they may have finally discovered the evidence that could demolish the case against him.

An insider told Scotland on Sunday that the retired officer approached them after Megrahi's appeal - before a bench of five Scottish judges - was dismissed in 2002.

The insider said: "He said he believed he had crucial information. A meeting was set up and he gave a statement that supported the long-standing rumours that the key piece of evidence, a fragment of circuit board from a timing device that implicated Libya, had been planted by US agents.

"Asked why he had not come forward before, he admitted he'd been wary of breaking ranks, afraid of being vilified.

"He also said that at the time he became aware of the matter, no one really believed there would ever be a trial. When it did come about, he believed both accused would be acquitted. When Megrahi was convicted, he told himself he'd be cleared at appeal."

The source added: "When that also failed, he explained he felt he had to come forward.

"He has confirmed that parts of the case were fabricated and that evidence was planted. At first he requested anonymity, but has backed down and will be identified if and when the case returns to the appeal court."

The vital evidence that linked the bombing of Pan Am 103 to Megrahi was a tiny fragment of circuit board which investigators found in a wooded area many miles from Lockerbie months after the atrocity.

The fragment was later identified by the FBI's Thomas Thurman as being part of a sophisticated timer device used to detonate explosives, and manufactured by the Swiss firm Mebo, which supplied it only to Libya and the East German Stasi.

At one time, Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence agent, was such a regular visitor to Mebo that he had his own office in the firm's headquarters.

The fragment of circuit board therefore enabled Libya - and Megrahi - to be placed at the heart of the investigation. However, Thurman was later unmasked as a fraud who had given false evidence in American murder trials, and it emerged that he had little in the way of scientific qualifications.

Then, in 2003, a retired CIA officer gave a statement to Megrahi's lawyers in which he alleged evidence had been planted.

The decision of a former Scottish police chief to back this claim could add enormous weight to what has previously been dismissed as a wild conspiracy theory. It has long been rumoured the fragment was planted to implicate Libya for political reasons.

The first suspects in the case were the Syrian-led Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC), a terror group backed by Iranian cash. But the first Gulf War altered diplomatic relations with Middle East nations, and Libya became the pariah state.

Following the trial, legal observers from around the world, including senior United Nations officials, expressed disquiet about the verdict and the conduct of the proceedings at Camp Zeist, Holland. Those doubts were first fuelled when internal documents emerged from the offices of the US Defence Intelligence Agency. Dated 1994, more than two years after the Libyans were identified to the world as the bombers, they still described the PFLP-GC as the Lockerbie bombers.

A source close to Megrahi's defence said: "Britain and the US were telling the world it was Libya, but in their private communications they acknowledged that they knew it was the PFLP-GC.

"The case is starting to unravel largely because when they wrote the script, they never expected to have to act it out. Nobody expected agreement for a trial to be reached, but it was, and in preparing a manufactured case, mistakes were made."

Dr Jim Swire, who has publicly expressed his belief in Megrahi's innocence, said it was quite right that all relevant information now be put to the SCCRC.

Swire, whose daughter Flora was killed in the atrocity, said last night: "I am aware that there have been doubts about how some of the evidence in the case came to be presented in court.

"It is in all our interests that areas of doubt are thoroughly examined."

A spokeswoman for the Crown Office said: "As this case is currently being examined by the SCCRC, it would be inappropriate to comment."

No one from the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland was available to comment
 

ted_bloody_maul

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Lockerbie police face ‘plot’ inquiry

ALLEGATIONS that police plotted to mislead the original inquiry into the Lockerbie bombing, resulting in a wrongful conviction, have been passed to official investigators, it is understood.

The file being considered by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission claims that evidence gathered at the scene of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103, which killed 270 people, was lost or destroyed.

False evidence, it is alleged, was then provided to incriminate Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Libyan agent convicted of the atrocity at a trial in the Netherlands in 2001.

According to the file, the police investigation of Megrahi was reverse-engineered with evidence provided to match the thesis that he was guilty.

The claim, made by sources close to Megrahis defence team, comes as the commission prepares on Thursday to report the results of its three-year investigation into the case. The commissions 800-page report is expected to conclude that Megrahis conviction is unsafe.

If, as expected, his case is referred back to the appeal court, his legal team plans to lodge an application for him to be freed while the court decides whether to quash his conviction or to order a retrial.

The development could bring embarrassment for the government, coming the day after Tony Blairs departure from Downing Street. The surrender of suspects by Muammar Gadaffi, the leader of Libya, was a key element in Blairs dealings with Tripoli.

This led in 1999 to the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Libya after a 15-year hiatus. The commissions report is expected to include allegations by Megrahis defence team that crucial statements made to police by Tony Gauci, a Maltese shopkeeper who sold the Lockerbie bomber clothing which was later found wrapped around the bomb, were withheld by the prosecution. Gaucis statements are believed to have implicated Mohammed Abo Talb, a terrorist with links to the Iranian-backed Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC), and one of the early suspects for the Lockerbie bombing.

The commission is also said to be in possession of a press statement, prepared by Dumfries and Galloway police in 1990, which named members of the PFLP-GC as its chief suspects but which was never released.

Talb is serving life in Sweden for bombing an airport in Denmark, but was a free man operating in Europe in 1988.

The commission is also understood to have investigated allegations that a police officer showed Gauci a photograph of Megrahi in a magazine shortly before he was asked to identify the Libyan at his trial. The shopkeepers eventual identification of Megrahi in court was regarded as pivotal in persuading the three Scottish judges of his guilt. Theres no doubt that Megrahi was convicted because of Gaucis identification, said a source. If Gauci was shown a single photograph of Megrahi shortly before he went in to give his evidence, that would be explosive. The quality of evidence concerning a fragment of circuit board allegedly found at the crash site - which was instrumental in convicting Megrahi - has also been questioned. Megrahis trial was the longest and most expensive in Scottish legal history. A second defendant was acquitted.

An appeal in 2002 upheld the original verdict, but that may now be overturned amid doubts cast by Megrahis legal team on the testimony of expert witnesses and questions over why some material not aired at the trial was not made available to the defence.

It lends further weight to claims that it was politically unacceptable to pursue the PFLP-GC when the Gulf war in 1991 made it necessary to maintain good relations with Iran and Syria.

Robert Black, emeritus professor of Scots law at Edinburgh University, who helped to broker Megrahis trial in the Netherlands, said: My concerns have always been about what actually happened and getting to the truth. [Megrahi] should not have been convicted on the evidence before the trial judges. Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora died in the bombing, said: If the Crown Office [public prosecutors] deliberately withheld relevant material it would be a very significant development. I also hope the allegations of fabricated evidence will be addressed by the commission. Tony Kelly, who is Megrahis solicitor, and Dumfries and Galloway police and the Crown Office all declined to comment on the case.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/u ... 977670.ece
 

Pietro_Mercurios

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The smart money was on Syria, at the time. But, politics got in the way and Quaddafi's Libya was the West's official Public Enemy Nº1.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/south_of_scotland/6246574.stm

Lockerbie bomber allowed appeal

28 June 2007

The man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing has been granted leave to make a second appeal.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi was jailed for the 1988 atrocity in which 270 people died when Pan-Am flight 103 exploded over the Scottish town.

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, which has been investigating Megrahi's case since 2003, recommended the second appeal.

In light of the review findings, the Libyan reiterated his innocence.

The commission is responsible for looking into possible miscarriages of justice.

...
Altogether a bad business.
 

ted_bloody_maul

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Pietro_Mercurios said:
The smart money was on Syria, at the time. But, politics got in the way and Quaddafi's Libya was the West's official Public Enemy Nº1.
As I recall it was also linked, through the PFLP-GC, to Iran.
 

DrPaulLee

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How come Iran is not a favourite suspect?

July 1988 - US warship Vincennes brings down an Iran airbus containing hundreds of people on their way to Mecca

December 1988 - US flight downed.

Seems to be an obvious revenge attack. And when did the Salman Rushie fatwa occur?
 

Pietro_Mercurios

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DrPLee said:
How come Iran is not a favourite suspect?

...
I don't know. Syria was the smart money back then. Possibly because it was a Socialist style Baath Sunni secular One Party State, back when there as still a Soviet Union and people still talked about the secular style commie PLO.

Iran was, then, as now, a Shiite Islamic Theocracy, with Democratic overtones.

So, what chances on them working together, back then? :confused:
 

ted_bloody_maul

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The bombing was believed to be the work of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command. They've received assistance from Syria and Iran as well as Libya - Ghaddafi actually cut any ties with them in 1989, apparently, and most of their assistance then came from Iran. Before that Syria had been backing them in addition to Libya. Iirc, one of their bases on Syrian soil was shelled by the Israelis a few years back. I'm not sure they was neccessarily any direct cooperation between Iran and Syria.
 

Pietro_Mercurios

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ted_bloody_maul said:
The bombing was believed to be the work of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command. They've received assistance from Syria and Iran as well as Libya - Ghaddafi actually cut any ties with them in 1989, apparently, and most of their assistance then came from Iran. Before that Syria had been backing them in addition to Libya. Iirc, one of their bases on Syrian soil was shelled by the Israelis a few years back. I'm not sure they was neccessarily any direct cooperation between Iran and Syria.
Or, maybe it was the Tooth fairy?

Unfortunately, since the Scottish Legal system has apparently been used to comprehensively screw the pooch, the chances of finding out what really happened are considerably less than they were 9 years ago. Unless, someone, sometime, signs a full confession, with photos and video evidence.
 

Pietro_Mercurios

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http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=1023852007

First suspect could face Lockerbie charge
The Scotsman. STEVEN RAEBURN. 30 Jun 2007

THE original suspect in the Lockerbie bombing could still be charged with mass murder because he does not have immunity from prosecution, the Crown Office confirmed last night.

Mohammed Abu Talb, a Palestinian was the chief suspect for the attack on Pan Am Flight 103 until investigators linked the atrocity to Libyan terrorists in 1990.

He was a prosecution witness at the trial of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi in 2000 and it was commonly understood he had been granted protection in return for his co-operation.

But as the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission granted Megrahi a second appeal on Thursday, because it had uncovered new evidence that cast doubt on his conviction, Talb could therefore be tried for the atrocity.

A spokeswoman for the Crown Office said: "Talb does not have Crown Immunity."

The news came as the UN appointed observer to the Lockerbie trial criticised the SSCRC for failing to explain its reasons for referring the case back to court.

Dr Hans Kochler, who was appointed as UN observer to the trial and its appeal between 2000 and 2002 has previously suggested the original verdict was politically motivated.

He welcomed the referral of Megrahi's case back to the High Court for a second appeal, said it was "long overdue" and called on the SCCRC to publish its 800 page report in full.

He also renewed his call for a public inquiry into the whole case.

He said: "If this final chance to put things right and conduct criminal proceedings in a fair and fully transparent manner is missed, irreparable damage will be done to the rule of law in Scotland."

It was reported last night the Commission uncovered evidence which strengthened the line of inquiry against Talb, who was allegedly funded by Iran.

These include new records which show the CIA suspected him of the attack, in revenge for the US shooting down an Air Iran flight in July 1988, killing 290.

Police also found clothes, similar to those discovered at Lockerbie, when they raided his flat in Germany.

Talb is currently serving a life sentence in a Swedish jail for other explosive offences.
 

ted_bloody_maul

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It was reported last night the Commission uncovered evidence which strengthened the line of inquiry against Talb, who was allegedly funded by Iran.
Perhaps the reason it's being reinvestigated? I don't know how they can pin the blame without looking at the very least incompetent if not corrupt, though.
 

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ted_bloody_maul said:
It was reported last night the Commission uncovered evidence which strengthened the line of inquiry against Talb, who was allegedly funded by Iran.
Perhaps the reason it's being reinvestigated? I don't know how they can pin the blame without looking at the very least incompetent if not corrupt, though.
It's pretty thin, apparently making Justice a simple matter of political expediency. Especially considering the enormity of the crime.

My sister and her family, lived along the flight path, not too far from Lockerbie. I still remember ringing her, to make sure they were all alright.
 

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Lockerbie has never felt like a case solved. Even by the crazy standards of terrorism, it seemed a meaningless bolt from the blue without any obvious cause. As the first of the two pieces here recalls, the first country in the frame was Iran but attention switched abruptly to Libya, for reasons which may have been political. Thie first piece was published by the BBC in June:

BBC Piece

The piece copied beneath it appears in today's Observer and casts serious doubt upon one of the few pieces of forensic evidence in the case.


Thursday, 28 June 2007, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK

Lockerbie: The awkward questions

By Roger Hardy
BBC Middle East analyst

In all 270 people died in the bombing over Lockerbie

The legal review of the case of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi has re-opened the Lockerbie affair in a dramatic fashion.

It raises a host of awkward questions.

Was the original trial of the former Libyan intelligence agent fatally flawed, as his lawyers maintain?

Was the evidence contaminated by the American or British authorities?

Was Libya implicated out of political expediency, when all along the main suspect was Iran?

Initial suspicions

Pan-Am 103 exploded over the little town of Lockerbie in Scotland on 21 December 1988, killing a total of 270 people.

The initial suspicion was that Iran had exacted revenge for the shooting-down of an Iranian civil airliner over the Gulf a few months before.

"No court is likely get to the truth, now that various intelligence agencies have had the opportunity to corrupt the evidence" - Oliver Miles, former British ambassador to Libya

A US warship had mistakenly believed it was under attack from the plane, when in fact it contained pilgrims on their way to Mecca.

Iran offered a $10m reward to anyone who avenged the attack.

It looked as if the offer had been taken up by a radical Palestinian group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.

The Syrian-based PFLP-GC was led by Ahmed Jibril, who had close links with both the Syrian and Iranian regimes.

But despite these early suspicions, the focus of the investigation abruptly switched to Libya - and Megrahi was eventually convicted in 2001 at a special court in the Netherlands.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi has always insisted he is innocent

Some believed - and still believe - this sudden switch was the result, not of convincing new forensic evidence, but of political expediency.

After Saddam Hussein's Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, the West needed the support of Syria and Iran.

To get those two countries off the hook - so the argument ran - Libya was made the scapegoat.

Embarrassment

Mr Megrahi's first appeal, in 2002, was rejected. But now a Scottish review board has said the case must be re-examined.

"Scottish justice obviously played a leading part in one of the most disgraceful miscarriages of justice in history. The Americans played their role in the investigation and influenced the prosecution" - Jim Swire, father of Lockerbie victim

The fallout will be significant.

Even before the board's ruling, Jim Swire, whose daughter died in the bombing, expressed his deep frustration to the Scotsman newspaper.

"Scottish justice obviously played a leading part in one of the most disgraceful miscarriages of justice in history," he said.

"The Americans played their role in the investigation and influenced the prosecution."

Megrahi and the Libyan government will be quick to claim that he is innocent, as they have claimed all along.

He may seek to sue either the Scottish or the British authorities for wrongful conviction.

Libya could demand the return of the $2.7bn in compensation it paid to the victims' families - without ever accepting guilt.

Because of the magnitude of the case, there will be considerable embarrassment in both Washington and London.

Will we ever know who was behind the Lockerbie bombing?

Oliver Miles, former British ambassador to Libya, has his doubts.

"No court is likely get to the truth, now that various intelligence agencies have had the opportunity to corrupt the evidence," he told the BBC.

The review board, however, insisted it had "found no basis for concluding that evidence in the case was fabricated by the police, the Crown, forensic scientists, or any other representatives of official bodies or government agencies".

Almost two decades on, the Lockerbie puzzle has come back to haunt those originally tasked with solving it.

BBC Article ends.



Observer Story

Vital Lockerbie evidence 'was tampered with'

Fragments of bomb timer that helped to convict a Libyan ex-agent were 'practically carbonised' before the trial, says bankrupt Swiss businessman

Alex Duval Smith, Europe correspondent
Sunday September 2, 2007
The Observer

The key piece of material evidence used by prosecutors to implicate Libya in the Lockerbie bombing has emerged as a probable fake.

Nearly two decades after Pan Am flight 103 exploded over Scotland on 21 December, 1988, allegations of international political intrigue and shoddy investigative work are being levelled at the British government, the FBI and the Scottish police as one of the crucial witnesses, Swiss engineer Ulrich Lumpert, has apparently confessed that he lied about the origins of a crucial 'timer' - evidence that helped tie the man convicted of the bombing to the crime.

The disaster killed 270 people when the London to New York Boeing 747 exploded in mid-air. Britain and the US blamed Libya, saying that its leader, Colonel Muammar Gadaffi, wanted revenge for the US bombing of Tripoli in 1986. At a trial in the Netherlands in 2001, former Libyan agent Abdulbaset al-Megrahi was jailed for life.

He is currently serving his sentence in Greenock prison, but later this month the Scottish Court of Appeal is expected to hear Megrahi's case, after the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission ruled in June that there was enough evidence to suggest a miscarriage of justice. Lumpert's confession, which was given to police in his home city of Zurich last week, will strengthen Megrahi's appeal.

The Zurich-based Swiss businessman Edwin Bollier, who has spent nearly two decades trying to clear his company's name, is as eager for the appeal as is Megrahi. Bollier's now bankrupt company, Mebo, manufactured the timer switch that prosecutors used to implicate Libya after they said that fragments of it had been found on a Scottish hillside.

Bollier, now 70, admits having done business with Libya. 'Two years before Lockerbie, we sold 20 MST-13 timers to the Libyan military. FBI agents and the Scottish investigators said one of those timers had been used to detonate the bomb. We were shown a fuzzy photograph and I confirmed the fragments looked as though they came from one of our timers.'

However, Bollier was uneasy with the photograph he had been shown and asked to see the fragments. He was finally given permission in 1998 and travelled to Dumfries to see the evidence.

'I was shown fragments of a brown circuit board which matched our prototype. But when the MST-13 went into production, the timers contained green boards. I knew that the timers sold to Libya had green boards. I told the investigators this.'

Back in Switzerland, Bollier's company was in effect bankrupt, having faced a lawsuit from Pan Am and having lost major clients, such as the German federal police to which Mebo supplied communications equipment.

In 2001, Bollier spent five days in the witness box at the Lockerbie trial at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands. 'I was a defence witness, but the trial was so skewed to prove Libyan involvement that the details of what I had to say was ignored. A photograph of the fragments was produced in court and I asked to see the pieces again. When they were brought to me, they were practically carbonised. They had been tampered with since I had seen them in Dumfries.'

Few people apart from conspiracy theorists and investigative journalists working on the case were prepared to believe Bollier until the end of last month, when Lumpert, one of his former employees, walked into a Zurich police station and asked to swear an affidavit before a notary.
 

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From the Indie:

Robert Fisk: Do you know the truth about Lockerbie?
I urge anyone who is aware of government lies over Flight 103 to come forward
Published: 13 October 2007

After writing about the "ravers" who regularly turn up at lectures to claim that President Bush/the CIA/the Pentagon/Mossad etc perpetrated the crimes against humanity of 11 September, I received a letter this week from Marion Irvine, who feared that members of her family run the risk of being just such "ravers" and "voices heard in the wilderness". Far from it.

For Mrs Irvine was writing about Lockerbie, and, like her, I believe there are many dark and sinister corners to this atrocity. I'm not at all certain that the CIA did not have a scam drugs heist on board and I am not at all sure that the diminutive Libyan agent Megrahi – ultimately convicted on the evidence of the memory of a Maltese tailor – really arranged to plant the bomb on board Pan Am Flight 103 in December 1988.

But I take Mrs Irvine's letter doubly seriously because her brother, Bill Cadman, was on board 103 and died in the night over Lockerbie 19 years ago. He was a sound engineer in London and Paris, travelling with his girlfriend Sophie – who, of course, was also killed – to spend Christmas with Sophie's aunt in the United States. Nothing, therefore, could be more eloquent than Mrs Irvine's own letter, which I must quote to you. She strongly doubts, she says, Libya's involvement in the bombing.

"We have felt since the first days in December 1988," she writes, "that something was being hidden from us ... the discrediting of the Helsinki (US embassy) warning, the presence of the CIA on Scottish soil before the work of identifying bodies was properly undertaken, the Teflon behaviour of ministers and government all contributed to a deep feeling of unease.

"This reached a peak when my father was told by a member of the American Presidential Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism that our government knew what had happened but that the truth would not come out. In the truth vacuum, the worst-case scenario – that lives were sacrificed in expiation for the Iranian lives lost in June 1988 – takes on a certain degree of credibility. The plane was brought down in the last dangerous moments of the Reagan presidency."

Now I should explain here that the Iranian lives to which Mrs Irvine refers were the Iranian passengers of an Airbus civilian airliner shot down over the Gulf by a US warship a few months before Lockerbie and before the end of the eight-year Iran-Iraq war.

The USS Vincennes – nicknamed Robocruiser by the crews of other American vessels – blasted its missiles at the Airbus on the assumption that it was a diving Iranian air force jet. It wasn't – and the Airbus was climbing – but Reagan, after a few cursory apologies, blamed Iran for the slaughter, because it had refused to accept a UN ceasefire in the war with Iraq in which we were backing our old friend Saddam Hussein (yes, the same!). :roll:

The US navy also awarded medals – god spare us – to the captain of the Vincennes and to his gunnery crew. Some weeks later the boss of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command – a pro-Iranian Palestinian outfit in Lebanon – suddenly called a press conference in Beirut to deny to astonished reporters that he was involved in Lockerbie.

Why? Was he being fingered? Was Iran? Only later did those familiar "official sources" who had initially pointed the finger at Iran start blaming Libya. By then we needed the support of Iran's ally Syria and Iranian quiescence in our attempt to liberate Kuwait after Saddam's 1990 invasion. Personally, I always thought that Lockerbie was revenge for the Airbus destruction – the PLP's strange press conference lends credence to this – which makes sense of Mrs Irvine's courageous letter.

Her parents, Martin and Rita Cadman, have, she says, had countless meetings with MPs, including Tam Dalyell and Henry Bellingham, Cecil Parkinson, Robin Cook and Tony Blair, and with Nelson Mandela (whose appeal for Megrahi to be transferred to a Libyan prison was supported by the Cadmans).

In a poignant sentence, Mrs Irvine adds that her parents "are ageing and in their anxiety that they will die with no one having taken real responsibility for their son's death are in danger of losing focus and feeling that they themselves are 'raving'. The (1980-88) war in Iraq meant that no lessons were being learned, and because my brother chanced to be on that plane we all now feel a heightened sense of responsibility for the world situation".

Then Mrs Irvine comes to the point. "What can we do? Now that my father is older and it is up to us, the next generation, to try to needle the government, but is there any hope? I am writing to ask if you think there is any reasonable action that we can take that has a slight prospect of success ... a refusal to understand and admit to the past is dangerous for the future."

I couldn't put it better myself – and I do have a very direct idea. If official untruths were told about Lockerbie – if skulduggery was covered up by the British and US governments and lies were told by those responsible for our security – then many in authority know about this.

I urge all those who may know of any such lies to write to me (snail mail or hand-delivered) at The Independent. They can address their letters to Mrs Irvine in an envelope with my name on it. In other words, this is an appeal for honest whistle-blowers to tell the truth.

I can hear already the rustle of the lads in blue. Are we encouraging civil servants to break the Official Secrets Act? Certainly not. If lies were told, then officials should let us know, since the Official Secrets Act – in this case – would have been shamefully misused to keep them silent. If the truth has indeed been told, then no one is going to break the Official Secrets Act.

So I await news. Ravers need not apply. But those who know truths which cannot be told can have the honour of revealing them all. It's the least Martin and Rita Cadman and Mrs Irvine – and Bill and Sophie – deserve. As for a constabulary which just might be tempted to threaten me – or Mrs Irvine – in a quest for truth, to hell with them.

http://news.independent.co.uk/fisk/article3055834.ece

..and so say all of us.
 
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