Monday, 7 March 2011

Who was the Lockerbie bomber?

[This is the headline over an article by Stephen Blease in today's edition of the News & Star, a newspaper circulating in the Carlisle area. It reads as follows:]

With Libya in the news again, there has been more argument over the compassionate release of Abelbaset al-Megrahi , the man accused of the Lockerbie bombing.

We might ask whether a mass murderer deserves compassion. But is al-Megrahi a mass murderer?

Not everyone thinks so. Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was one of the 270 people killed, doesn’t think Libya was even involved. And Hans Koechler, an observer at the trial, called al-Megrahi’s treatment “a spectacular miscarriage of justice”.

Consider these facts. In July 1988, six months before the Lockerbie attack, the US shot down an Iranian airbus, killing 290 people. The Ayatollah Khomeini vowed that “vengeance would rein down from the skies”.

Iranian officials then met a terrorist group whose favoured tactic was to place explosives inside radio cassette players with timers triggered by air pressure. The remains of radio cassette players were found among the wreckage.

At the time, nobody mentioned Libya. It was only in 1991 during the first Gulf War – when Britain and America wanted Iran on side – that Libya was first accused.

So can we really say al-Megrahi did it beyond reasonable doubt?


  1. MISSION LOCKERBIE, 2011, doc. nr.1077.rtf. google translation german/english

    Scottish Parliament please fairness and made public the 'SCCRC' Secret papers on the Lockerbie Affair; as promised by First Minister Alex Salmond.
    Libya's former justice minister Mustafa Abdel-Jalil hold one's ground and say: Colonel Muammar Gaddafi ordered Al Megrahi for the "Lockerbie-bombing" on 1988. He did not describe the proof... +++
    MEBO: Not everyone thinks so.
    If Abdelbaset Al Megrahi have received such a assigned task, it can be pre suppose that Al Megrahi as an "person entrusted with secrets" prior to the delivery in 1999 to the court in Kamp van Zeist, was died an fatal "illness" or was died after an "accident" ?
    Abdelbaset Al Megrahi is innocent (and as yet closed facts) can have nothing to do with the destruction of Pan Am 103 !
    It is Mr. Al Megrahi to recommend urgent, that he voluntarily returned to Scotland and re-activated his appeal.
    'Scottish Parliament', bitte Gerichtigkeit und öffnen Sie die geheimen 'SCCRC' Dokumente; wie von First Minister Alex Salmond versprochen.
    Libyen's ehemaliger Justiz-Minister, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil behauptet, dass Colonel Muammar Gaddafi 1988, an Abdelbaset Al Megrahi den Auftrag gegeben hatte ein US- Passagierflugzeug zu zerstören (Lockerbie-Bombing) ? Beweise konnte er bis heute nicht vorlegen...+++
    MEBO: Nicht alle denken so.
    Hätte Abdelbaset Al Megrahi einen solchen Auftrag bekommen, kann davon ausgegangen werden, dass Al Megrahi, als "Geheimnisträger", vor der Überlieferung 1999 an das Gericht in Kamp van Zeist, an einer "unerwarteten Krankheit" oder durch einen "Unfall" gestorben wäre ?
    Abdelbaset Al Megrahi ist unschuldig und kann, aus noch geheimen gehaltenen Gründen, nichts mit der Zerstörung von PanAm 103 zutun gehabt haben !
    Es ist Mr. Al Megrahi dringend zuempfehlen, dass er freiwillig nach Scotland zurückkehrt und sein Appeal neu aktiviert.

    by Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd. Switzerland. URL:

  2. Carlisle News and Star? You do read some obscure papers - the poor paper boy in Roggeveld Karoo, carting all this stuff, 20 miles up a dusty track. "I'm sorry Robert, the Galloway Gazette wasn't delivered this week."

  3. Listen mate, that's my local bloody rag, so watch what you say! Even I get published in it whenever there's an eclipse of Pluto!

  4. Another reporter who has no clue as to the facts. He states that Mr. Megrahi was the man "accused" of the Lockerbie bombing. A Scottish court listened to the facts and he is no longer accused but "convicted" of the Lockerbie bombing. In addition, this reporter talks about a PFLP-GC radio yet no evidence of that type device was found--only a different radio as well as a fragment of a timer traced to Libyan intelligence. Those are facts. The fact that Libya was not mentioned in the public domain until time of indictment is still difficult for some in the media--"how come we did not figure it out before they announced it?" The fact remains-- the indictments and subsequent conviction had nothing to do with the first Gulf War--it had only to do with evidence and where it led. None of the FBI agents or Scottish police officers were involved in politics and no one--repeat--no one--told us what to find. It is sad that this many years out, so many intelligent people cannot get the simple facts straight.

  5. And sadder that an intelligent man like you Richard Marquise has to put spin on other facts and believe liars like Giaka.

    Will you be involved in the newly revived investigation American media is reporting will be conducted?

    One can only hope not. Many of us wish to determine the truth not have spin put on it.

  6. Mr. Marquise has a point. The MST-13 timer fragment, wherever it came from, was in the chain of evidence by September 1989. The asbestos radio manual page was there by May 1989. These are the two items which were held to point to Libya. May-September 1989 was a good while before the first stirrings of the Gulf War. Kuwait wasn't even invaded until about August 1990 if my memory is accurate.

    This does mean that the facile, much-repeated "oh but they only went after Libya because of the Gulf War" mantra is based on a false premise. It may have been convenient to go after them then, but the evidence this was based on did not magically appear at that point.

    However, leaving aside the huge doubts about the provenance of both these items, where does this get us as regards the culpability of Megrahi, specifically? Nowhere, that's where.

    It doesn't even prove Libya was the culprit. MST-13 timers werer supplied to other customers. And Libya got theirs in 1986, plenty of time for them to have been passed on to other agents. It's not as if Libya wasn't arming half the world's terrorists at the time. Megrahi knew Edwin, sure, but not until well after the timer purchase, and never in connection to these timers.

    And these radios were widely available in shops in Libya, and less common elsewhere. Sure. Does that prove any operation using such a radio has to have been a Libyan operation? Suggest it might be, maybe. Prove it? hardly.

    But even if it was a Libyan operation, which I personally doubt, having serious doubts about the provenance of these particular items anyway. Why Megrahi? Why this particular Libyan?

    The only evidence linking Megrahi to the Lockerbie bombing is the contention that he was the man who purchased the clothes from Tony Gauci. And frankly, how gullible or biassed do you have to be to believe that, on the evidence presented? Gauci described a man who was quite obviously not Megrahi, buying clothes on a day when Megrahi wasn't even on Malta. And the rest is just shocking police pressure plus bribery of witnesses, and three judges who seemed determined to bring in a conviction and damn the evidence.

    Even the assumption that the bomb travelled on KM180 was based entirely on the prior assumption that the man who bought the clothes was at the airport when the flight departed. Take that away, and what do you have? A coding anomaly at Frankfurt airport, that's all - and even that, one a piece of evidence with the most bizarre provenance in this comlpetely surreal case.

    So that's your evidence, Mr. Marquise. We all know what police investigations can be like when they latch onto someone they've become convinced is guilty. Every little thing is twisted and reinterpreted to suggest guilt, huge great contradictions and even alibis get swept under the carpet, and stonking great wodges of evidence pointing to other people just get ignored.

    The world is full of miscarriages of justice that occurred in just this way. Nothing much unique about Lockerbie from that point of view.

  7. Ah, Mr. Marquise, making one of his gracious visits to this site.

    So Dicky, what are your thoughts about the corrupt and paid-for evidence provided against Fihmah and Al-Megrahi at the trail. Are you okay with that?

  8. According to David Horowitz of The Jerusalem Post, "US Intelligence" was briefing journalists that it was a Libyan operation as early as January 1989. I assume they also briefed Scottish investigators and the FBI.What evidence did you receive from them, Richard? It could not have related to timers or radios at this time.

  9. This was dated 29th of January 1989

    : LONDON - Investigators of last month's Pan Am Jumbo crash over Lockerbie are taking seriously a letter which appears to show Libyan responsibility for the bombing. The letter, said in today's Sunday Telegraph to have been written by the former head of Libya's diplomatic mission here, praises Col. Gaddafi for the Lockerbie bombing, congratulating him on "the slaughter of the American and British imperialists."

    and this was dated 16th of April 1989
    : News in Brief
    The terrorist network responsible for last December's Lockerbie bombing was conceived early last year in Libya, according to American intelligence sources quoted in today's Sunday Telegraph. The paper says that Colonel Muammar Gaddafi chaired a meeting between the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards at which plots against U.S. targets were formulated.

    Its hard to believe you were never told about this, Richard.

  10. Richard Marquise
    '...and no one--repeat--no one--told us what to find'

    But did they tell you what to ignore, what to conceal or what to plant?

  11. Reagan went off on one against Libya on about day seven. Edwin wrote his letter on the Spanish typewriter on day 30.

  12. "But did they tell you what to ignore, what to conceal or what to plant?"

    ..........or how many millions of dollars to offer as bribes to the Gaucis without telling the court that's what the US intended to do right after the verdict?

  13. Is Richard Marquise forgetting that that the US Defence Intelligence Agency stated in December 1989 that "there was no credible evidence" against Libya, and that they state the bomb was conceal in a Toshiba radio using a barometric trigger which is the same type described in US Department of Defence cables as being found in Germany in Oct 1988?

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. MISSION LOCKERBIE, 2011, doc. nr.1078.rtf. google translation, german/english.
    Returnticket to Scotland: Proposal and recommendation:

    Dear Mr. Al Megrahi Abdelbaset, please go voluntarily return to Scotland and let your appeal go to the 'Status Quo' returned. So that you can expose the politically motivated MACHINATIONS in the 'Lockerbie-Affair' of the Scottish Justiciary, to the Libyan People and the world. Initiate persons know that you by specific reasons and by the reproach official circumstantial evidence, with the Pan Am 103 crash not anything to do can have

    Some of the Scottish Officials are the true criminals in the Lockerbie Affair are responsible for manipulating evidence in the Lockerbie Affair and are still protected by the Scottish Justice !
    (They are not involved in the PanAm 103 bombing, but responsible for the conspiracy against Libya).

    Notices: the words from ex FBI Task Force chief Richard Marquise, cordinator between FBI and CIA in the "Lockerbie-Affair": If someone manipulated evidence, if somebody didn't invesitgate something that should have been investigated, if somebody twisted it to fit up up Megrahi, or Fimah or Libya, then that person will go to jail. I mean that sincerely, that person should be prosecuted for that!

    Please watch now the full documentary film "Lockerbie revisited" by Regisseur Gideon Levy, shown to Scottish members of Parliament about important facts concerning the conspiracy against Libya.

    Vorschlag und Empfehlung:
    Sehr geehrter Mr Abdelbaset Al Megrahi bitte gehen Sie freiwillig nach Scotland zurück und lassen Sie im Gegenzug Ihr Appeal auf den Status Quo zurücksetzen. Damit können Sie dem Libyschen Volk und der Welt die politisch motivierten Machenschaften der Scottish Justiciary offen legen. Es ist gewissen Personen bekannt, dass Sie aus spezifischen Gründen und durch die vorgehaltenen offiziellen Indizien-Beweise, mit dem PanAm 103 Absturz nichts zutun haben können.

    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd., Switzerland. URL:

  16. "It was only in 1991 during the first Gulf War, when America and Britain wanted Iran on their side -that Libya wa first blamed."

    I thought that red herring had been laid to rest. Saddam Hussain invaded Kuwait in August 1990. The surprise indictment was made indictment was announced on the 12th November 1991 six months after the war ended. I accept the US did not what to blame Iran because there was nothing they could do about it and Libya was a convenient scapegoat whose support for terrorism was curtailed by sanctions. Without tyhe Gulf War they would still have exonerated Iran and blamed Libya.

  17. To be fair to the Gulf War interpretation, there's good evidence of a grand strategic switch from Iran or the USSR as the regional threat to an Iraqi threat, that was underway even before the 1988 cessation of the Iraq-Iran war. see here.

    That said, I don't think it could be any more than a minor secondary consideration in 1989. Possibly impotence to strike back, as Baz mentions, and definitely embarrassment (of one or three different kinds), were more pressing concerns.

    I'm certain the turn to both Libya and Megrahi was set and locked by the end of '89 at the latest.

  18. Caustic, I disagree about Libya/Megrahi being locked in by the end of '89.

    The US Defence Intelligence Agencies paper "Pan Am 103: Deadly Co-operation" briefing is dated December 1989 and states there is "no credible intelligence" against Libya.

    Cables in the November 1990 also indicate that the USA was putting pressure on Syria to hand over member of the PFLG-GC based there as the USA considered them to be responsible for the bombing. Syria refused as the USA did not provided irrefutable evidence. It isn't evidence that Syria / PFLG-GC were guilty, but it does give credence to the argument that attention was divereted from Syria for co-operation in other matters.

    Interestingly, one of the cables suggests Megrahi was in London on 21 December, loading the bomb there.

    Another interesting cable may make Richard Marquise think again before critising journalists. Richard suggested that the journalist doesn't know his facts because the bomb on Pan Am 103 was "a different radio" (I assume he means "different type of radiio"). However the cables state that there 5 bombs created by the cell; one was in a Toshiba radio, one was in a Sanyo radio, 2 were in Toyner receivers and 1 remains unaccounted for, "believed to be a Toshiba radio/cassette player larger than the (other Toshiba)...". So Richard, aren't you the one that doesn't know the facts? Maybe it is the cables that are unreliable, in which case can you make sure Julian Assange isn't persecuted.

  19. Sorry, I meant to link the source of my message;

  20. Well, not everyone was brought in at the same time. Scottish police were the last to know, the DIA was likely never brought in, so to my thinking, that counter-argument doesn't work.

    B.C., thanks.

    My thinking on the frame up is it started with the CIA, was somehow seeded to the FBI, and then to the Scots, with others like the DIA perhaps never brought in (no official role or need).

    There are a lot of little clues that the idea of Libya being blamed was there in intelligence circles from early 1989 (a pair of Libyans at Frankfurt airport cited in early Feb), and the purchase date December 7 was agreed by the end of the year, which date wound up fitting Megrahi, who was eventually found to bet the best fit in several ways (the alias being the clincher, I think).

    I'm just saying I suspect someone who matters (CIA), but not everyone, had IDd him early on, and I suspect every Malta clue was planted to bring the surface-level investigation to him. I could be wrong, but my gut says that's it.

    Also, some of the public maneuvers, especially well into 1990, could be to keep their leads secret or whatever. A mid-1990 book I have makes absolutely no mention of Libyan involvement or even a Malta link (except as a rumor investigators thought useless), but notes that it was keeping certain leads secret to help investigators (like Malta and Libya?).

    I'll have to look at that cable about Megrahi in London. That seems interesting but I've only heard about it recently.

  21. Hi Caustic, a November 1991 cable states "The piece of luggage containing the bomb and timer was dispatched from Malta, but the timer was not set until it arrived in Europe. The luggage containing the bomb was purportedly intercepted in London by AL MAQRAI who probably claimed the bag, set the timer, then switched luggage tags to route it on the Pan Am flight 103".

    I do agree that it is possible that not all parties were on the same page at the same time.

  22. Okay, I have read that, just needed a reminder. Who the hell write that at the same time the indictments are going out? London?

    I think a lot of us agree the bomb was introduced in London, and the "timer" wasn't "set" until a bit after takeoff. But Megrahi was nowhere near there, going the opposite way from Malta as the unaccompanied suitcase.

    This something with no basis is "purported" by whom? Someone in DIA hinting that they know this CIA/DoJ thing has a big problem - in London? For leverage or something?

    More than likely just another weird DIA "fact." I tried to scan the PDF for context but it seems pretty jumbled. I didn't find that passage, but saw some other's I've read and a lot of other weird "facts" that don't line up with what we heard later. It's something to come back to.

    The Iran-Libya-Syria terror treaty that's alluded to is interesting - I don't know if it's true in the slightest, but it does seem convenient in the switch-over... busting any/all of those would then seem valid. Next time, we just need a whole-world-but-us alliance to allow the blame to go wherever it fits best, no limitations at all. ;)

  23. We've discussed that cable before. As far as I can see, it's an invention by someone interested in a reward, trying to tie Megrahi and Fhimah (whom it also mentions) into the plot as he thinks it's supposed to happen.

    The writer knows Megrahi was at Luqa and the bomb is supposed to have travelled on KM180, but he has also brought Jibril into his story, and he knows Jibril's bombs had the barometric timers that would have had to be set at Heathrow. So he imagines Megrahi must have travelled with the bomb, and somehow got access to it at Heathrow to prime it, then melted away without boarding the transatlantic flight.

    Of course that's completely not what is supposed to have happened, so it's no surprise that isn't followed up. It's a jawdropping insight into what informants were prepared to invent though. And the timing is fine. They were after Megrahi from late 1990, so invented fairy-stories attempting to implicate him are exactly what we'd expect in 1991.

  24. In a televised interview on channel 4's "The Lockerbie Debate"
    (following the first screening of The Maltese Double Cross") Oliver revell stated that "if Iran was found to be responsible there were plans to go after them."

    Of course I suspect that somebody went to great lengths to make sure Iran wasn't found to be responsible otherwise they would have had to do something about it.

    In response to Caustic Logic's hunch that the DIA played no part does he not think that following the Vincennes Incident they had a view on the prospect of war with Iran and like the US Government itself was not going to have foreign policy and major issues of war and piece dependent on the outcome of CSP Orr's investigations.