Thursday, 31 January 2008

Unfinished business -- Sir John Scarlett

I have received e-mails from (a) Patrick Haseldine and (b) Trowbridge Ford (to both of whom I express my thanks) about the post Sir John Scarlett, continued (see They are as follows:


Dear Robert,

The state-sponsored terrorism of apartheid South Africa

I am somewhat baffled by these remarks made by Trowbridge Ford: "what ruined Patrick Haseldine's career after he had revived them when MI6 had gone belatedly to such trouble to hush them up in the first place" (Sir John Scarlett, continued - 27 January 2008). If all that Professor Ford means is that it was my December 1988 accusation of state-sponsored terrorism against apartheid South Africa that brought my career in HM Diplomatic Service to an abrupt end, then I agree with him (see "A member of the Foreign Office was willing to go public with a criticism that would almost certainly lose him his job and career" James Rusbridger The Intelligence Game (1991) ISBN 0-370-31242-2
Mine was not exactly a lone voice in the wilderness at the time since Governor Michael Dukakis, Democrat nominee in the 1988 presidential election campaign, would have declared apartheid South Africa to be a "terrorist state" had he won the November 1988 election (see

In an article published on the now defunct Pan Am 103/Lockerbie crash website entitled Lockerbie Trial : A Better Defence Of Incrimination, I accused apartheid South Africa of responsibility for a number of terrorist incidents including the February 1986 Olof Palme assassination and the September 1986 Samora Machel aircrash, as well as the December 1988 Lockerbie bombing (see, and

As can be seen from the last of the ten letters published in The Guardian (, I do not subscribe to any complicated or convoluted conspiracy theories about the Lockerbie bombing. Instead, I simply apply the Occam's Razor principle to the problem:

Flight path (December 22, 1993)

"Now that the case against Libya has been undermined by Edwin Bollier's revised evidence (Guardian, December 20), it is time to cut through the mess of theory on the culpability for Lockerbie. Applying the scientific principle of Occam's Razor to the problem (look for the simplest solution), the first question to ask is: what was so special about Pan Am Flight 103 to make it the target of international terrorism?

"The answer is that Bernt Carlsson, UN Commissioner for Namibia, was on that flight to New York to attend the signing ceremony at UN headquarters of Namibia's Independence Agreement.

"The second question is: who would want to assassinate Mr Carlsson? Many whites in Southern Africa were openly hostile to granting independence to Namibia. By murdering 258 other passengers, those responsible must have hoped to throw suspicion elsewhere and disguise their motive. Then there is the circumstantial evidence involving South Africa's Foreign Minister, Pik Botha, who was to have accompanied Mr Carlsson but instead took an earlier flight.

"The third question is: why has it taken so long for the finger of suspicion to point towards South Africa?

"I posed an identical question in the Guardian on December 7, 1989. Only an international inquiry of the kind proposed by Dr Jim Swire is likely to reveal the answer."

It is not too late to institute a United Nations Inquiry into the so far uninvestigated state-sponsored terrorism of apartheid South Africa. Libya - currently in the chair of the UN Security Council - seems well placed to ensure that such a UN Inquiry takes place in the very near future (see

Yours sincerely,

Patrick Haseldine.

And (b)

Dear Robert Black,

Thanks for posting my e-mail.

I did notice in your posting of the three links, though, you actually linked my article about Lockerbie three times instead of all three once - what seems to have been mistakes that you might want to correct.

I shall be doing more about the tragedy, and will let you know when I do.



[Note by RB: I posted Professor Ford's original e-mail in the form in which I received it, and without alteration.]

1 comment:

  1. Re: Unfinished Business - Sir John Scarlett.

    Unfortunately, one of the weblinks that I gave in my response to the original posting "Sir John Scarlett, continued" was incorrect.

    That weblink related to the internet article entitled "Lockerbie Trial : A Better Defence Of Incrimination" which was published on the now defunct "Pan Am 103/Lockerbie Crash Site."

    The article can in fact be found at, or you can simply click on my name above to retrieve it.


    Patrick Haseldine