Saturday, 26 February 2011

Swire: Gadaffi Lockerbie claims "unreliable"

[This is the headline over an exclusive report published today on the website of the Scottish lawyers' magazine The Firm. It reads in part:]

The claims of the former justice minister in Libya's collapsing regime that Colonel Muammar Gadaffi personally ordered the Lockerbie atrocity have been described as "at the very least, unreliable" by Dr Jim Swire of UK Families Flight 103, who has met Gadaffi several times.

The claims were made to a Swedish tabloid newspaper, and have been given heavy coverage in UK tabloids and around the world.

No evidence has been offered to support the claims.

"If I were running away from my violent boss of many years in the hope of sanctuary with whatever might replace him, I too might be motivated to try to ingratiate myself with my chosen new protectors by offering them news blackening the name of my former boss," Swire told The Firm.

"The circumstances surrounding the story render it at the very least unreliable, in my view."

Swire also said that prior to the claims of responsibility emerging, he had predicted that such revelations would surface amidst the turmoil in Libya as the regime collapsed.

[Dr Swire's full statement to The Firm reads as follows:]

You will already be aware of the circulating story about the Gaddafi minister claiming that he can 'prove' that Gaddafi personally ordered the Lockerbie event. It originated from a Swedish tabloid where it emerged as a tale translated into Swedish from the Arabic. It also said that while the defecting minister claimed to be able to prove this, he was not able to reach the supportive evidence 'at present'.

If I were running away from my violent boss of many years in the hope of sanctuary with whatever might replace him, I too might be motivated to try to ingratiate myself with my chosen new protectors by offering them news blackening the name of my former boss.

It is interesting that from my phone and emails, inquiries about this story have been from the Mirror, the Sun and the Express. Wisely none of the haughtier papers have deigned to become involved in it, at least not by involving me, neither have the BBC, nor Channel 4, though Sky did try.

The circumstances surrounding the story render it at the very least unreliable, in my view.

The position of people like myself and some other UK relatives has always been that whereas the evidence for Megrahi's guilt did not add up, and should never have led to a conviction, we do not know whether the Gaddafi regime was involved in Lockerbie or not. I have said on occasion to interviewers that I thought that at the very least it would be likely that Gaddafi would have known that Lockerbie was being planned.

Of course we would love to know for certain who really did plan it, but the use of a Syrian made specialised IED (as described to the Zeist court), at the behest of Iran, still smarting from the Vincennes 'incident' still seems the more likely explanation. It may turn out that Gaddafi really was responsible, in which case the nonsense about Megrahi risks being sidelined in history, the end being held to have justified the means. But the trial verdict will remain crippling to the Scottish justice system unless they take their own steps to review their precious verdict.

I had already sent out an email 48 hours ago, in which I warned that if the Gaddafi regime did collapse, I would anticipate that America would see to it that 'irrefutable evidence' of Gaddafi as the perpetrator would emerge from the wreckage. I am already receiving gloating 'we told you so' emails from the States. I should have twigged that absconders from Gaddafi's regime would also have a very strong personal motive - terror for their lives at the hands of 'the people' - for doing so too. I think this story may be too naive even for the CIA.

Time may show.

Me, I'm for waiting to see if any verifiable evidence for Gaddafi's guilt does eventually emerge once the dust has settled, meanwhile Scotland still has to wrestle with how her criminal justice system ever came to reach that verdict against Megrahi.

I am increasingly concerned for the future of Megrahi. I believe he may be on life support, and the organisation of the hospital facilites in Tripoli may well no longer be up to maintaining that. If he dies now, the US may claim that Gaddafi had him killed rather than the cancer doing so. The senators will not want anything emerging that might justify MacAskill's decision on compassionate release.

I did a long interview for a Dutch TV news channel yesterday, which their team told me would air on Sunday for about 15 minutes. Typically I forgot to get them to define which channel it would go out on. It was mainly about Gaddafi as a man, since I have had discussions with him on four occasions.

I described him as a paranoid schizoid individual. Of course being a tyrant ruling by force, his paranoia was largely justified (see below!). Schizoid because of his wild variability in mood and attitude, and his many hatreds. I suppose an alternative diagnosis of cyclothymia could also be possible.

We went into the details of my first meeting with him, which had been preceded by interrogation by a Libyan intelligence officer drunk on Scotch. We talked of how that intelligence guy had tried to get me drunk on Scotch too (of which he had a cupboard full of bottles behind him) and how he was so drunk that I was able to pour away his multiple refillings of my glass into old Fanta tins that were lying about on the floor of his office. I recalled how he had then produced an automatic from his shoulder holster, and started to polish it lovingly with his fingers. He must have thought I had a quite remarkable immunity to alchohol, if he was thinking at all. I could not see a sign for the fire exit! The drive back from his office to my hotel was the scariest bit, but other traffic was so scared of his car that it all got out of the way. All that part's a story that would go down well at an Oldie lunch one day. It hasn't been told before.

Then we covered the first meeting with Gaddafi himself, and how the female bodyguards (spaced round the walls of the 'tent') all clicked the safety catches off on their AK47s as I approached 'the leader' and pinned a badge on his lapel as we rose at the end of the interview. The badge said "Lockerbie, the TRUTH must be known".

I must have been crazy to do all that, and probably remain slightly so.

All these and many other strange encounters with the Gaddafi regime are much more fully told in a book titled Lockerbie - Unfinished Business co-written with Peter Biddulph, it has now been 'legalled', has found a publisher, and should hit the stalls soon. How's that for product placement? It would be a pity if the strange twists and turns written from the point of view of a simple seeker after truth should be lost.


  1. The truth is Dr. Swire would not lie about his 'violent' boss to ingratiate himself to his would-be saviours, in his fictitious scenario. Neither would I, and neither would you, nor anyone else I, or we, know off (excepting Bollier, of course, but he's Swiss)
    So why is it automatically assumed, in many quarters, according to what I am reading since this news item broke, that Abdel-Jalil would act differently to any professional person with integrity, albeit the extreme circumstances he finds himself in? Abdel-Jalil was the justice minister, and is obviously loyal to Libya, an intelligent man, and I can't see why he would damn Libya for all time by lying about their involvement in an international act of terrorism, if they were not actually involved - it doesn't make sense. He must also be thinking there will be others confirming (or contradicting) his statement very soon which would tend to make him cautious of fabricating some nonsense for short-lived gain.
    So, I am not sure, discrediting him automatically as some sychophantic figure is wise, right now, until we hear more.
    If he claimed that Libya did not do it, how would he be received? As a person of integrity, no doubt, by one side, and as an atrocity denier by the other.
    Is this what we have to look forward to as a series of Libyan officials and commanders come over to the rebel side? The automatic gainsay of what they are claiming depending on whether it fits with our belief of what happened in 1988?
    If Libya was involved, and assuming Megrahi was part of the plot, since he was only a middle rated operative, there has to be many people above him and below Gaddafi who have direct knowledge of what happened - if Libya were indeed the perpetrators. And assuming they did do it, the gossip and rumours spreading after the success of the operation would have been almost impossible to suppress - so even more people would have indirect knowledge of the operation. If the inevitable happens and Gaddafi is swept away over the next few days, it will not be long before a pattern emerges from the statements received from this group of people that answers the question - it will not be left ambiguous.

  2. Check this out regarding Megrahi's safety:

  3. I have never in my life typed this before. I will now.


  4. But Blogiston, there has been an absence of rumours about who was responsible for Lockerbie. I may be wrong but I don`t recall any defecting Iranians, drunk Syrians or turncoat Palestinians spilling the beans about what really happened. Frankly, even with what we know as fact, Libya is still up there with Iran, Syria, South Africa, The Palestinians, The CIA and MI6. However, NOT on what was presented at Camp Zeist and that is what we should all focus on.
    If the bomb was planted by Megraghi on Ghaddafi`s orders, it was certainly not proved at the trial. Nowhere close.
    So lets continue to do what most of you on this site have been doing all along; concentrate on seeking the truth. Have faith. It will out!

  5. Damn, I seem to have lost a comment here.

    Blogiston, if the claim was simply that there was evidence Gadaffi ordered the Lockerbie bombing, then that's not so incredible. There isn't much evidence to support it, and if he was involved I don't think he was the prime mover, but it's certainly not impossible.

    But the claim is that Gadaffi ordered Megrahi to bomb the plane. The best the entire Lockerbie inquiry could do on that one was to show that he didn't buy the clothes from Tony Gauci and he was a thousand miles away when the bomb was smuggled into the baggage container. There was nothing else to connect him to the bombing.

    We don't suddenly find evidence that Tony Gauci really did recognise Megrahi as the buyer of the clothes, and that there was a bomb on a plane where there was quite obviously no bomb, just because a rat floating away from the sinking ship makes an unsupported statement.

  6. I suppose, the average Westerner might find Dr. Swire's anecdotes interesting, especially as they confirm the stereotype of the dumb/crazy/eccentric Arab. Swire's tales are no different from the trash written by Western journalists who interview Gaddafi and come to write at length about his sillk pajamas. Swire's "funny" tales are also no different from the "funny" stuff that Tony Blair told about a camel slipping his nose under Gaddafi's tent during a meeting. Of course, Blair didn't tell his hungry audience that the whole time he was sitting with Gaddafi, he was also facing the sole of his shoe. Swire doesn't tell about silk robes and camels, he goes for the female bodyguards. Par for the course. What is really telling in Swire's recollections is his confession about sucking up to Gaddafi. He pinned a badge on Gaddafi's lapel. Isn't that nice? And here I thought that former American congressman, and permanent idiot, Curt Weldon invented that crassness. What exactly was Swire honoring Gaddafi for, being a man for the TRUTH? How despicable! Did Swire need Gaddafi for anything he was doing? Swire was stroking Gaddafi's sick ego, which is also known more accurately in Western parlance as kissing his ass. Could anyone still believe Swire's work is independent of Gaddafi's favors? Not me.

    Swire is just another one of Gaddafi's civilian mercenaries. In that regard, he is no different than Tony Blair, the London School of Economics, or the idiots who sit on the board of Gaddafi's Charity. None of these mercenaries were ever in the dark about Gaddafi's being a mass murderer. None of them were ever in the dark that Gaddafi was using them to do his bidding among the so-called civil Western society. In the case of Swire, he was a pre-paid civilian mercenary, pre-paid to the tune of ten million dollars. Swire did his job, including coordinating his Justice for Megrahi Campaign actions with Gaddafi, after founding it with a representative of Gaddafi's terrorist arms that masquerade in the West as organizations of civil society. Swire should take no pride in telling stories of his unwarranted prostitution on behalf of Gaddafi and his fronts.

  7. And isn't it just wonderful that you can type all that on Robert's blog, and it won't be deleted either....

  8. Of course, Blair didn't tell his hungry audience that the whole time he was sitting with Gaddafi, he was also facing the sole of his shoe.

    Suliman, is that true? Because if it is, I'll even let the rest of that ridiculous rant pass without further comment.


  9. How does the latest rant by Suliman show that either Gadaffi or some other Libyan official ordered Megrahi to slip the bomb into the luggage system at Malta or that Megrahi did so of his own accord?

    Gadaffi is bad - that is the conclusion the world seems to be arriving at. How does that lead to Megrahi is guilty?

    Dr. Swire, as a thinking man, clearly can make the important distinction. So one can only conclude Suliman isn't thinking at all. My bet is that his hatred of Gadaffi has totally clouded his ability to use good judgment.

  10. Rolfe said...

    "And isn't it just wonderful that you can type all that on Robert's blog, and it won't be deleted either...."

    You must know that Robert Black opened this blog for his own purposes, not to do me a personal favor, exactly? In fact, if Black's mis/treatment and dis/favors toward any specific readers is in question, then I don't need to point out to someone with your exhibited authority that I am distinguished by being the only participant who drew an apology from Black for unfair treatment.
    The story of Gaddafi shoeing Blair is absolutely true. It was all over the A-rab media, but probably not so much on Swedish tabloids, you know, it's a credibility thang! In fact, in his most recent speeches Gaddafi made reference to "Leaders of nuclear nations" coming to his tent "head bowed," as he said. Imagine what he might say about your Campaign for justice hand in hand with his sworn soldiers of the Great al-Fateh Revolution. I can.
    Anyway, here is a link to a note and picture of the dogging of Blair.

  11. FullInquiry, the Inquiring Mind who wants to know, once said the Lockerbie compensations were "a free gift from Libya," not predicated on the ruling of the Lockerbie court case, but now has the following:
"Gadaffi is bad - that is the conclusion the world seems to be arriving at."
    So, the world seems-to-be-arriving at the conclusion that Gaddafi is bad? Are you sure, now, that it is THE world not your own little neighborhood that seems to be doing something? Don't rush to judgement, please, make sure you read a few more articles about Gaddafi's pajamas, first. See what you can get from Forbes magazine.
    Your insightful observation doesn't dis/prove any thing about Megrahi, but it sure as hell proves a lot of other things! How much thinking did that take on your part?
    "My bet is that his hatred of Gadaffi has totally clouded his ability to use good judgment."
    Never mind my views on Gaddafi, that was never the point. Why don't you and Rolfe and whoever do something like I do to you, that is address my points not just throw darts at what is behind me. Forget about me, tell us what it means in your world for Swire to pin a badge of TRUTH on Gaddafi's lapel? Could it mean that Swire was honoring Gaddafi by any chance? And what for, something to do with truth seeking? Tell me now who is morally blind. Or are you going to say he had his fingers crossed behind his back? By the way, it is mighty Christian of you to recognize the connection between hatred and moral blindness.

    You and your civil legion should go ahead and touch some of the points of fact that I make. Swire now says there is a fundamental distinction between Megrahi's guilt as established by the specifics of the court case and Gaddafi's possible culpability in reality. But what did his little badge say, did it say something specific about Megrahi's guilt? No, Jim Swire honored Muammar Gaddafi as a TRUTH seeker, his emphasis with caps not mine. I am sure that you, as a thinking person with good judgement, can give that discrepancy some thought. And on your next break from the pajama files, please tell us: if pinning a badge of TRUTH on Gaddafi's chest is not a prostitution of civil society, and not the work of an ass kissing mercenary, then what in the hell is?

  12. It is my duty to highlight a serious disagreement between this blog's commentators in respect of The Firm's article entitled Swire: Gadaffi Lockerbie claims "unreliable".

    The Firm, Rolfe and Fullinquiry spell it Gadaffi. Dr Swire, Blogiston and Suliman spell it Gaddafi. (Grendal idiosyncratically spells it Ghaddafi but should perhaps be ignored because he also misspells Megrahi as Megraghi). So we have a two-way split: 3 x Gadaffi and 3 x Gaddafi.

    As the self-appointed expert on the spelling of the Brotherly Leader's name, I am aligning myself with Dr Swire, Blogiston and Suliman, and decree that Gaddafi is the correct spelling.

    Anyone using a different version will henceforth be ridiculed.

    Anyone disagreeing with my ruling on Muammar Gaddafi can appeal to the International Court of Justice. Prior to lodging the appeal, however, you must watch this video (Why marrying a good speller is important).

  13. Patrick: Here is the story. Of course, there is only one unambiguous way to spell the name, and that way is as follows:

    معمر القذافي

    The word on the left (second word in Arabic order) is the surname. We can write it as al-Qath-thafi, in which the "al" is just the Arabic definite article, which is common but not necessary in Arabic surnames.

    The "Q" represents a sound that does not exist in the English language, although I must admit that the way some people pronounce the name "Laughlin" comes close. In translation, this sound is represented by "Q," "K," "Kh," "Gh," etc. The letter is part of formal Arabic, but it is hardly pronounced properly in colloquial speech. Most Arabic speakers substitute the sound of the hard "G," as in "girl". Oddly enough, the hard G sound is not part of formal Arabic!

    The "th" in the above is doubled, and it is the same sound as in "this" and "that". In Arabic, that sound is represented by a single letter, and it is viewed as it appears, a modified "d" not a modified "t". Incidentally, there is another Arabic letter for the other case of the "th," e.g. in "three," and that letter appears as a modified version of the letter corresponding to "t".

    In the accent of Tripoli and some other Libyan cities, not all, the following things happen: The formal "Qaf" is pronounced as a hard "G," and the "th" is pronounced as "d" (and as "t" in the second case). Therefore, we get Gaddafi or Geddafi and Gheddafi (to ensure hard G sound, especially for Italians.) This spelling approximates the pronunciation of the majority of Libyans, but it deviates considerably from the literal portrayal of the name in formal Arabic.

    There is no logic at all for doubling the "f," at leaqst no logic that derives from written or spoken Arabic.

    I hope that helps to clear up some of the variety. Lots of "degrees of freedom" because we have the visual approximation vs. the tonal or audio approximation, both of these being applied separately and in various mixtures to a name that even in its native language can be spoken (not written) in various ways.

  14. Thank you, Suliman, for agreeing with me.

    I hope the other lot were paying attention while I was reading the above explanation: the correct spelling is Gaddafi.

  15. Patrick, please ignore all my spelling. I even got Jo wrong!

  16. Grendal, but I forgave you. : )

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. Suliman: tell us what it means in your world to address the issues raised by the SCCRC regarding the trial at Zeist. Address those issues. Those issues do not represent one elephant in the room but an entire herd! The SCCRC is not a wild conspiracy theory group but an independent body within the Scots Law Establishment. They have issues with the verdict. They should be acknowledged and our country has the legal structure to accommodate them except in THIS case it will not.

    I do not seek to pin a "badge of truth" on anyone Suliman. I simply seek the truth. I am not a Jim Swire groupie or anything else you might care to throw around. I am about justice and over Lockerbie, my country, Scotland, has not sought that very thing and that makes me angry and ashamed.

    Recent events have given hope to the liars, Suliman, of burying the truth about Lockerbie beneath the downfall of Gadaffi. Do not encourage them or join them. For that would suggest the truth doesn't matter much to you either.

  19. And Suliman you indeed drew an apology from Robert Black over something I said here, not him. I described your conduct on this blog at one point as "lower than a snake's belly."

    That was what you got the apology from him for. Not his conduct, mine, although I still can't see why you were so upset. The phrase means unbelievable dishonesty: no more no less and at the time you personally were insulting Jim Swire beyond belief which is why I used that phrase. I don't know if "lower than a snake's belly" has other connotations elsewhere in the world. Here it merely means you are adopting unfair tactics. Meanwhile you had still demanded the right to insult Jim Swire! Hey ho. My only regret is that Prof B had to apologise to you for my conduct. Given your own personal conduct here at times Suliman I would say you are owed no apology.

  20. You did,Jo, and now Abdelbaset and The Colonel have emailed me to say they forgive me as well....though one of The Colonel`s bodyguards tells me that he pointed the sole of his shoe at the keyboard while he was typing! Strange man!

  21. Grendal: I am impressed! : )

  22. Unimpressed, Jo G, with your spelling.

    As a penance, you'd better watch this video.

    Then write out a hundred times Gaddafi...!

  23. Patrick, there are many things that do not impress me about you. I just don't have the time to go into that here however. : )

  24. Greetings, Jo. Yes, you and I have exchanged many words, quite a few in strong disagreements. I do understand your looking at Lockerbie in the way that you do, and I do not mind that. You have every right to your views on the specifics of the Lockerbie case, and even on its relation to Scottish politics, independence, etc. But, with all due respect, the Scottish criminal court review and politics do not mean much to me. The Lockerbie court case is only part of the bigger picture of the destruction of Libya by a criminal dictatorship being aided by Western civilian mercenaries. The Scottish causes do not give anyone the right to enable a criminal dictator in another country, to kiss his ass, or to join hands with and legitimize the agents of his that Swire just now started calling henchmen. Yes, as we say, when the cow falls, the knives increase in number!

    Swire is now discovering Gaddafi has henchmen. Did he not know that when he was pinning the badge of Lockerbie TRUTH on Gaddafi's lapel? Yes, he did know that. And he knew it when he joined hands with one of the hatcheries of Gaddafi henchmen, namely his partners in founding the Justice for Megrahi Campaign. But to Swire and his mercenary comrades, kissing the criminal dictator's ass, taking millions in Libyan money while screaming he has no right to them, and offending Libyans is no problem because Libyans after all are just a bunch of offensive non-thinking drunk Arabs, or Africans, if you prefer Rolfe's scale. No, Jo, I am not here because I give a crap about some groundhog-day style of redundant rehashing of the court case. I am here because I am interested in the role of Western prepaid mercenaries like Swire in helping a criminal dictator such as Gaddafi. What kind of moral corruption underpins their pretenses of civility, to be pinning badges of TRUTH to a crime boss, I ask you? What does it mean to you?

    On the matter of Black's apology, you are dead wrong, Jo. Black did not apologize for your comment, not at all! He had threatened to delete a comment if mine, on the grounds that I was behaving in an "uncivilized" manner toward another blog participant. I pointed to his silence about your comment as an example of his double standard, namely that when a "civilized" person from the north makes an offensive statement, it is overlooked, but not when an uncivilized A-rab does it. Hell, people gotta have standards, lots of them if they are "civilized." From my point of view, there is nothing more uncivilized than the abuse of power, which Black was demonstrating very clearly, but I am certain that was invisible to you. No, he was not apologizing for your comment. He was apologizing because I caught him with his "payants" down. I put a little twang in there for you, so you wouldn't miss the American usage.

    And yes, I was owed an apology, not from you perhaps, but certainly from Black, especially since he was claiming something about civilized behavior.