Friday, 1 October 2010

Rewards and bribery

This is the heading over a post published today on Caustic Logic's blog The Lockerbie Divide. It reproduces the text of a long contribution by our own blog treasure, Rolfe, on the JREF forum's Lockerbie thread. In it Rolfe outlines the evidence regarding the role that money played in the Pan Am 103 investigators' dealings with witnesses in Malta, including Tony Gauci. It can be read here.


  1. Excellent post.

    Cheers, Rolfe.

  2. If I'd known he was going to do that, I'd have taken more care! Still, it's reasonably literate.

  3. Rolfe: LOL!! I knew you'd think that - coz I noticed one teeny mistake - which your usual forensic scrutiny would have caught, if you had been reviewing it.
    [It was good though - ya wee 'treasure']

  4. Apologies for missing some glaring error. Rolfe, it stays up, but if you have edits, end 'em in. It's a brilliant piece with a few things I didn't know. Giaka went back to Malta? Some police state repression if you';re allowed to take a one-way flight back to Malta and then run off with the FBI. And get your wife too, later on. How the hell was that done? Anyway...

  5. I note that Prof Black's JREF forum links aren't quite right.

    The link to the forum itself (the index page) is this

    The link the the thread he's actually talking about is this

    However, the early pages of that thread at rather tedious because the argument is with someone who knows little or nothing about the case and is merely trying to be perverse. It was dormant for a while. I resurrected it to discuss with Bunntamas. A reasonable place to start might be where Bunntamas and I bury the hatchet and agree to understand each other.

  6. Thanks, Rolfe. I've corrected the links.

  7. Ah, good move. I spotted the typo Blogiston noticed, finally. It's not worth fixing.

    Caustic, I quoted Paul Foot's synopsis of the events, because dredging it out of the transcripts would take pages. He says that Giaka was in Libya in July 1991, I presume Tripoli. That the CIA contacted him there and summoned him to Malta, to a meeting set up with DoJ officials.

    It appears that the Americans, who had been paying Giaka a pretty decent monthly retainer, threatened to cut him off without a penny if he didn't play ball. On the spot, without even his fare back to Triploi, it seems. Giaka got "emotional", especially about the fact that his wife was pregnant, and said that as a family man he needed security. The Americans persuaded him that they were the security he needed, if he co-operated, and they would whisk him off to the USA that very day if he played ball.

    Playing ball was basically to provide information to implicate both Megrahi and Fhimah in the Lockerbie disaster. Which he did.

    We can see from Vassallo's testimony how it was done, to some extent. In that case they asked him a bunch of leading questions, such as did either Megrahi or Fhimah have a bronze Samsonite suitcase with them on 20th December. Then they told him to try his best to remember because there was a lot of money available. Vassallo didn't bite, but if he had felt like it, he'd already been told what the crucial points were that the police wanted to hear about the accused.

    Mr. Taylor also noted how spectacularly Giaka's memory seemed to improve with time. Vague statements became more concrete and more detailed, with the obvious inference that the Americans were feeding him the info they wanted him to testify back at them.

    I imagine Giaka's wife simply followed on, and the baby is a US citizen.

    I don't know how much of the bad to believe about Libya in the 1980s. Some, obviously. Quite a lot, probably. But then Cannistraro was systematically demonising both Gadaffi and the entire country. How much further did he go than the reality? I don't know. Was Libya an oppressive place to be, for Libyans, at that time? I don't know, but it may not have been any worse than many other places.

    I did notice Wilfrid Borg's evidence saying that LAA flights were always very busy with large numbers of Libyans flying to Malta for the shopping. Well, pretty large numbers of Brits werre flying there at the same time for the sun, sea and sand.

    It doesn't sound like North Korea or Zimbabwe to me.

  8. You know, every time I read this part of the story, a red mist sort of descends. How dare they, and stand there in court and pretend their actions have anything at all to do with justice?

    I don't remember this being on the radar of the news reports in 2000. Where were the outraged headlines telling the world the US prosecutors were corrupt and the Scottish prosecutors willingly complicit in the solicitation of perjured evidence?

    Where are the outraged headlines NOW? How can anyone describe Megrahi as "the Lockerbie bomber" when the conviction was railroaded by dishonesty, bribery and lies?

  9. Possibly irrelevant comment.

    Do we know if Bogomira Erac, whose evidence was at least as critical to the conviction as Tony Gauci's, got anything from "Rewards for Justice"?

  10. Re Malta as a place, it altered dramatically in the early 80s. I was first there in 1980 and again in 1981. Politically a lot of change was underway. Even within that year I saw changes and one was the number of Arabs around. Bigtime. There were a lot of tensions. When I went back again in 1986 there were even more Arabs. It kind of seemed like an Arab country which it just wasn't. It also had a wonderful new harbour built courtesy of the Chinese.

  11. I also think Libya was a heavy duty place for those who did not back Gaddafi. I think Suliman could say more about that. I don't like to think what Gaddafi would do to someone who opposed him. Long before Lockerbie Gaddafi had a reputation and so did Libya.

  12. I had a read at the thread Rolfe. Thanks for the links. Nice you've been in PM with Bunntamas too. Shame he wasn't so honest about his background here. Can I point out tho that you were one of the people who speculated about who he was? You've said some people here had done this. You did it. You thought he was connected with Flynn if I remember correctly.

    I am sorry he lost someone on Pan Am 103. It is a great pity however that he chose to attack people on here and ridicule others like Jim Swire for simply taking a different view. Jim Swire lost someone too. So did Matt. His loss was no greater than theirs. I stand by my own responses re Bunntamas and I also stand by my view that some of the comments he made here to individuals, including myself, were out of order, whether he lost someone at Lockerbie or not.

  13. I just posted a host of posts from another thread which quote Bunntamas and others. It seemed to go through successfully and was here but has now gone for some reason. Most odd.

  14. This is from the JREF and I'm only posting it here because I'm concerned that it isn't quite accurate.

    "Recall a short exchange on the Robert Black blog, when several posters were speculating on Bunntamas's identity. Someone thought he might actually by Frank Duggan. I remarked,

    Originally Posted by Rolfe
    .... on the whole I think he's probably just someone who has had his entire thinking moulded by Duggan and is merely following his lead.

    Bunntamas replied

    Originally Posted by Bunntamas
    Thanks Rolfe. You are correct."

    ActuallyRolfe, you had previously posted this:

    "Fullinquiry, my own speculations are that Bunntamas is a member of the Flynn family."

    So you speculated with others. You mention "several posters" without acknowledging you were one.

  15. Some Bunntamas quotes:

    "Nope. Got my justice Rolfe. Unfortunately it was diminished by the Scots whoring to the UK for an oil deal with Libya."


  16. And another

    "Hey Fullinquiry, ever wonder whom those folks from the "engineering firm" were that approached Pr. Black about negotiating with Libya for the Lockerbie trial? Ever wonder what may have compelled Pr. Black to risk his life in traveling to Libya against sanctions to hold those negotiations? Honesty? Credibility? Hmmmm... Prior to this, Pr. Black was nothing but a civl attorny and Sheriff Judge. To risk his life in a terrorist country where he very well may have been kdinapped, one must wonder what else might have been in it for him. Hmmm???? Ever wonder why Black has never provided more information on that other than glombing on to the "title" of "Architect of the Lockerbie Trial? Hmmmm...."


  17. And another.

    "LOL. And you think posting on blogs and forums your "research" about everything that has already been judged twice is "reality"? Like I said, if that's all you and the other cranks can muster, whilst begging for more information and more posts from "outsiders" like me, it gathers zero credibility, only begs the answer to the question about how little you know and can prove about what has already been proven, and is far from what the PA103 families have accomplished. If you want to do something more, I'd love to see it. Call Pr. Black, arrange a meeting with the Libyans, Buy a ticket to Tripoli. Work with your govnernment. DO SOMETHING, besides researching everything everyone has already rehashed, and posting and re-posting on the internet about what you believe. If you can in any way do what the PA103 families did THEN, I might consider you credible. Until then, you and your fellow posters are just CRANKS. And I'm still yawning and laughing at you."


  18. Jo, stop it. Bunntamas is entirely aware of everything I posted here, and vice versa. We have agreed to draw a line under it and start again. Nobody needs things that were said in the heat of the moment weeks ago being dragged up.

    She lost her father on PA103. I didn't realise either that these posts were the cries of someone still hurting so badly more than 20 years on. A few deep breaths and moments of calm reflection on all sides can work wonders though, you know.

    People cope, or try to cope, in different ways. If it's important to Bunntamas to know whom to blame, then it's not going to be an easy thing even contemplating a different scenario. But here she is, having these discussions, not turning her back and getting on with something else.

    Say something positive, or butt out.

  19. He's a SHE!? When did it have the sex change operation? Didn't see that one comin' since it don't read like no lady. [puzzled look of doubt]

  20. Well, that one blindsided me too, I have to say.

    I do, however, know exactly who Bunntamas is, and she's completely on the level. I don't agree with her point of view, obviously, but I understand why she lashed out.

    I hope people can re-think their reactions to her and cut her a bit of slack.

  21. Rolfe, Jim Swire lost someone, so did Matt and many others. They have never spoken to anyone like that or at least I've never seen them do it publicly.

    Look at the allegations made above about the Prof by Bunntamas. Elsewhere on this blog he/she also made awful comments about Swire and other UK relatives and generally anyone who doesn't believe Megrahi is guilty.

    And yes grief is awful, I've said so, but Bunntamas would have received every courtesy here and we did try to give it initially. It was rejected and others were singled out by her/him for criticism.

    The other point I was making of course is that on JREF you have not been on the level about your own speculations re Bunntamas. You thought it was Flynn or someone associated with Flynn and you moved on in other discussions elsewhere here to other possibilities. You've not admitted that in your post on JREF.

    There is no need for the "butt out" stuff Rolfe. I'm not trying to start a row. I've expressed a view and I'm as entitled as you to do so. I accept you now believe Bunntamas to be entirely understandable and simply grief-stricken still. I just don't buy the need for her/him to have behaved as she/he has here in the past.

  22. And Rolfe, a word of caution:

    "I do, however, know exactly who Bunntamas is, and she's completely on the level. I don't agree with her point of view, obviously, but I understand why she lashed out."

    We don't know exactly who anyone is on the internet. So you only know what he/she has told you. There is a lot of trust involved remember and there are a lot of people who thought someone was on the level who simply wasn't.

  23. Yes, whoda thunkit. Fallen out with JoG and an embryo friendship with Bunntamas. I wouldn't have given you odds on that a month ago, that's for sure.

    Jo, nobody needs you coming here and telling me I "haven't been on the level" in a post on the JREF forum. You're not a member there anyway. I posted to point out Bunntamas's post where I thought she was implying that her attitude was shaped by Frank Duggan. She responded to that post by saying that she'd do her own thinking, thank you. Fair enough.

    You think I should have posted the entire thread before that, oh, I thought she might be Brian Flynn or a relative and then someone else thought she might be somebody Cohen, and then yet another person said was she actually Frank Duggan - irrelevant, my dear. Every thread does not need to reacap in detail everything in any other conversation it refers to, even to satisfy your desire to hold everyone to account for anything they say that displeases you.

    And I think I've been around the block often enough to know genuine when I see it. I agree I was reeling a bit when Bunntamas suddenly shook of the rage and turned into another vulnerable human being, but I hope I'm mature enough to reassess people according to how their behaviour evolves and develops.

    Either way.

  24. Rolfe, I agree no one needs me coming here to tell anyone what you said on the JREF forum. I did so however because it was unfair of you to say there that others here had speculated about B's identity and include only one quote from yourself suggesting you hadn't participated in that exercise when you knew you had.
    So it isn't irrelevant.

    I am not a member there I agree but you yourself directed people to read it. (See your post above.) Indeed you even gave directions to start at a certain point. You have also felt it appropriate in the past to post screeds from that forum here. So I don't see what I did as wrong.

    I don't think you should have posted the entire thread, no, not at all. I just think you should have been more open that you were one of the people who had speculated about B's identity, that's all.

    Our own disagreements are in the past Rolfe and I have no wish to raise them again. This is not an attempt to start a new row with you.

    I will repeat we are all simply names on the internet largely. It is not possible to assess what is genuine and what is not accurately in every case no matter how convinced we may be of someone's integrity. The casualties could not be counted. But good luck with it.

    "even to satisfy your desire to hold everyone to account for anything they say that displeases you."

    That was just plain nasty Rolfe and unnecessary too not to mention untrue. But if you feel the need to respond in that way so be it. I have better things to do and have a very busy day ahead here.

  25. No Blogiston, not at all. It wasn't a row to me. I've said all I have to say on the issue. I think I've been polite and civil and provided various quotes to explain the points I was making. Its done now for me.

  26. During the 1980s Libya was a socialist society, there were only a few government stores and shops and the goods available were extremely limited (soap, pasta, rice, a few clothing items).

    Foreigners in Libya had extreme difficulty finding food to purchase. Bread and eggs were widely available but to obtain meat one needed to know a farmer (the Leader had a policy that bread should be available to anyone so fresh bread was available in all neighborhoods for a low nominal fee like a penny). Seasonal vegetables could usually be found.

    The price of oil was also depressed in the 1980's.

    I recall an incident where Libya had bartered oil for bananans with a Central American country. It had been so long since Libyans had eaten a banana that actions close to rioting took place due to the clamouring to obtain some bananas.

    This is why so many Libyans travelled to Malta to shop - they could enter Malta with minimal immigration issues and it is close to Libya (most Libyans didn't have a lot of money to travel).

    In the 1990's Libyans were again allowed to establish and own businesses and shops started to slowly open and gradually offer a wider variety of goods.

    Malta in the 1980's was also far more socialist than it is now. Foreign goods were not that available and had high import taxes imposed on them - hence the existence of Maltese clothing manufacturers etc.

    My personal opinion is that Libya's decision to go back to allowing free enterprise was largely taken to counter Libyan citizen's growing tiredness of the Sanctions during the 1990s.

    With regard to Giaka's (or any Libyan's) ability to leave and enter Libya, all persons must apply for and obtain an exit/re-entry visa to be able to exit that country. The only exception is tourist (unheard of in the 1980s) and business visas where the foreigner can only stay in the country for the time permitted by such visas.

    Foreigners like me who worked in Libya had to obtain resident visas, and like Libyans, have to apply for exit and re-entry visas to be able to leave the country and then return to work.

  27. That's a really good overview, Fullinquiry. It's always difficult to know what to believe when so many people have an agenda regarding the story they tell.

    How things change though. I was reading an article in todays Herald where a bunch of ex-pats in Tripoli were complaining about the poor quality of the golf course and travelling to Tunisia to hit a ball around!

  28. Actually, part of the point of the conversation was to try to put in perspective Bunntamas's assertion that it would have been easy to have smuggled a bomb on board a plane at Malta, and of course this would have been covered up by the Maltese.

    I don't think it's that simple, by a metric mile, but it's always good to get some background.

  29. Actually, come to think of it, the Libyan Government's alleged order of Toshiba radio-cassette players is representative of how the state decided what goods would be available to Libyans in the 1980s.

    If such Toshiba radios were capable of short wave radio reception then I would say they may have been ordered by Libya. If not, not many people would have purchased them. (An interesting nugget for one of the Google investigators who frequent this site to track down.)

    Virtually everyone in Libya in the 1980's owned a boom box with short wave capabilities.

    For a period between about April 16, and April 20 1986, the locals walked around with such boom boxes on their shoulders listening to short wave - concerned about another possible wave of bomb attacks by America and soaking in both the local and foreign propoganda about the bombings that had just taken place.

  30. I tried to post previously about how, in my opinion, it would have been virtually impossible for an unaccompanied bag to be loaded on a plane in Malta. I'm not sure if that particular post made in on (I seemed to have difficulty posting and gave up).

    My own doubts about the accused guilt first arose because of my own personal experiences at Malta airport.

    The procedure was that all bags were laid out on the tarmac, and the passengers had to walk up to and identify their bag to a baggage handler, who would chalk-mark identified bags and load them on the plane. Any unidentified bags were left on the tarmac.

    If there were unidentified bags, all passengers would get off the plane, all bags would be unloaded, and the identification process would be repeated (this happened to me personally).

    In answer to the question of how easy it would be to load an unaccompanied bag on a plane in Malta - I would say virtually impossible.

    Further supporting evidence - the Air Malta v. Granada lawsuit (settled out of court)

  31. Which airline were you travelling with on that occasion? I ask, because I read somewhere that this full reconciliation process was only acrried out at Luqa by Libyan Arab Airlines, and Air Malta just counted the things.

    I'm having a go at reading Wilfrid Borg's evidence to see how he describes the process.

  32. My, my. I haven't commented here in some time, mostly due to the above sort of thing. I didn't realize Jo missed me so.
    Thanks for the support Rolfe.
    My apologies for nasty remarks I've made to / about others, in the past whilst cornered in the lions' den.
    I find it interesting however, that the "lower than a snake's belly" and numerous other nasty snipes made by Jo G are completely disregarded in the regurgitation of comments above. Yet Jo points a finger at you, Rolfe, for allegedly not being more open. HA!
    Oh wait, I think Pr. Black deleted that snake's belly comment by Jo for violating his standards of courtesy. As I noted on another comment string (where Jo created yet another row), Pr. Black has never deleted any of my comments. I don't think he's ever deleted any of Rolfe's either.

    Beside the point is who I am. Who cares? Apparently, Jo does. Considering your obession with me, I'm not sure if I should send you an autograph, or implement a restraining order. Hmmmm... what to do, what to do....LOL!

  33. Oh for goodness sake! I was sort of hoping we could let Jo have the last word she loves so much, and concentrate on the issues.

    That post Caustic Logic blogged was to some extent directed at you. How comfortable are you with the solicitation of perjured evidence by way of threats and bribery that was going on? The CIA, the DoJ, Harry Bell, they were all at it.

  34. HA! Sorry. Considering I was noted so frequently, I just couldn't let it go.

    Yes, back to the issues. I'll have another look at CL's post and maybe comment on JREF.

  35. I would like to make a passing comment before enduring a self-imposed silence on this blog until November.
    There was a thread last month which appalled me - a strong word I know...everytime I hear that word I think of my primary school teacher who frequently hit me with her umbrella - she used the word, whilst meting out instant punishment. I sometimes wish she was on this blog though, to do the same. Why? Because some individuals on here are far too 'pass-remarkable' - look this up if you're not familiar with the local vernacular.
    What's that good discussions mantra? Issues, not people. Ask yourself the question, "Does it matter? Should I let this slide?"
    One last thing, some individuals operate or conduct themselves on other forums in a manner which would receive an instant ban on this blog. (e.g. disparaging and foul-mouthed comments on 'lockerbiedivide' blog - which may have been deleted since) - so when they turn up here feigning apologetic behavio(u)r, I am dubious to their sincerity - in fact, I question their identity (male intuition).
    I'm not RB's proxy moderator, but I have my standards and principles.
    Have a nice month!

  36. The comment I made on the Lockerbie Divide has not been edited. However, the blog itself has been edited. The original blog was filled with disparaging remarks about me. Hence the reply. The current reader has no way of understanding now, what provoked my remark, outside of CL's following apologetic comments and vague explanation.

  37. I hope I'm not out of line here, but I'll say this. When Bunntamas first posted here, I was appalled. I thought such ferocious attacks must signify someone with some sort of an agenda to discredit critics of the Official Version.

    I realise now, she was appalled by people she saw as inexplicably pursuing an apologist agenda in support of the man she truly believes murdered her father.

    We reacted badly to someone we saw apparently accusing us of being on Gadaffi's payroll or something, while she reacted badly to people she saw as trying to excuse a murderer.

    Result, a very very bad start.

    I hope we can have some sort of a coming together here. We disagree about what happened. Bunntamas believes Megrahi put that bomb on the plane, we believe he did nothing of the sort. Obviously, one or other is wrong. But neither side need be insincere, or acting from dishonourable motives.

    If we can go out and come in again on that basis, I think we might progress a little further.

  38. Rolfe, drop the we. Speak for yourself and no one else.

  39. I'll post as I see fit. You're free to disagree, of course.

  40. I feel bad for the misleading arrangement Bunny noted above. I could try to recreate the original text, remove the offending comment, or perhaps the whole blog post at this point. Let me check what I'd lose... yeah, acceptable. Wasn't working anyway, I have a better posts upcoming that would subsume it anyway. Got some honey or something a little like it - vinegar in a honey suspension maybe. :)

    What you say, B? You got my attention, do you want it up or down?

    No matter the behavior or even the reason for it, we're all human here, at least deep down. I used to be less judgmental and combative, and miss those days. Somewhat. It's a tough mental world. Anyway, sorry too for my part in upsetting anyone in a non-constructive way.

    And Jo, whenever Rolfe says "we," it could almost always refer to me and then whoever else. But I respect your position.

    Best wishes, all

  41. Hope it wasn't a mistake to go ahead and blank out the bottom four comments there. Bunntamas can re-post her part if she wants. One final edit of the post too, and I hope all's well.