Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Lockerbie families attack UK over Moussa Koussa travel plans

[This is the headline over a report just published on The Guardian website. It reads in part:]

Families of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing have accused the British government of "betrayal" after it allowed Moussa Koussa, the former Libyan foreign minister, to leave the UK to attend an international conference.

Koussa, who defected to Britain at the end of last month, was en route to Doha in Qatar on Tuesday, where an international conference on the future of Libya is to be held with representatives from the Benghazi-based opposition.

He is expected to return to the UK after the conference, but is free to travel as he pleases.

Brian Flynn, the brother of JP Flynn, who died in the 1988 attack and now organises the Victims of Pan Am 103 Incorporated campaign group in New York, said the UK authorities had "crossed a line" by allowing Koussa to attend the conference and thereby suggest he is a peace negotiator rather than, as they believe, a key instigator of the bombing.

"I think the British are being played by him … he has convinced them he can be valuable in this process, but he is not the suave diplomat in the suit sitting on the sidelines, he is one of the key guys who mastermined [the bombing of] Pan Am flight 103," Flynn said.

"He is a stated enemy of the British government. Our feeling is that the British government gave a nod to Lockerbie by questioning him two days before this conference, but that feels disingenuous. The Scottish and American prosecutors on Lockerbie are being betrayed by the politicians and the diplomats. Cameron has been good on Libya, but this sounds an awful lot like Tony Blair is back in charge."

Flynn's organisation, the largest victims' group in the US, seeks to discover the truth behind the bombing and win justice for those who died. He said the families believed the decision to allow Koussa to travel to the meeting in Qatar was part of a British strategy to encourage other defectors to flee to Britain from Gaddafi's regime, as there was no way either the rebels or the regime would trust him as an intermediary.

"He blatantly betrayed the Libyan regime and for more than 25 years he betrayed the Libyan people, so why is this the guy we are sending [to the talks]?" said Flynn.

Koussa is said to be travelling to Doha in order to establish whether he has a role to play in the rebel movement along with other senior defectors from the Gaddafi regime – perhaps by brokering a deal between Tripoli and Benghazi. (...)

Jean Berkley, co-ordinator of the UK Families Flight 103 group, who lost her 29-year old son Alistair when the Pan Am flight was blown up in mid-air, said she was mystified by the decision to let Koussa travel.

"It is very unexpected," she said. "Is he the basis of a new Libyan opposition, or what? He doesn't seem a very suitable person. Our aim is always to get more of the truth and we want a full public inquiry. Koussa must have some interesting knowledge. It is hard to know what to make of it. We will wait and see and watch with interest."

[A report on the CBS News website reads in part:]

Libya's former Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa is traveling to Qatar to share his insight on the workings of Muammar Qaddafi's inner circle, a British government official said Tuesday.

Koussa has been asked to attend the conference on Libya being held in Doha as a valuable Qaddafi insider, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

MI6 agents stopped questioning Koussa last week, according to the official. Koussa had been staying in a safehouse until late Monday night, according to Norman Benotman, an ex-member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and relative of Koussa who has been in regular contact with the former foreign minister since he fled to Britain.

Although Koussa was provided with legal advice, Benotman said he believed he had "cleared most of the legal hurdles in the UK" surrounding his alleged involvement in the Lockerbie bombing and arming the IRA.

Britain's Foreign Office confirmed the trip in a statement Tuesday, saying that Koussa was "traveling today to Doha to meet with the Qatari government and a range of other Libyan representatives."

The statement added that Koussa was "a free individual, who can travel to and from the UK as he wishes."

[A report on The Independent website reads in part:]

The coalition was accused of turning Britain into a "transit lounge for alleged war criminals" today after it was disclosed that Libyan defector Moussa Koussa had been allowed to leave the country.

Muammar Gaddafi's former right-hand man is travelling to Qatar ahead of a meeting of the international alliance's Contact Group tomorrow. (...)

But Tory MP Robert Halfon, whose family fled Libya when Gaddafi took power, insisted the coalition was repeating mistakes made with Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.

"Many people will be very anxious that Britain is being used as a transit lounge for alleged war criminals," Mr Halfon said.

"We should learn from the release of Megrahi that we should not release those people associated with Gaddafi or let them out of the UK until they have faced the full course of the law, whether in British courts or international courts." (...)

Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland, said: "Mr Moussa Koussa was interviewed by Scottish police last Thursday as a potential witness in the Lockerbie investigation.

"He has not been under Scottish jurisdiction, and therefore the Crown Office has no power over his movements.

"However, we have every reason to believe that the Scottish authorities will be able to interview him again if required."

Susan Cohen, who lost her 20 year-old daughter Theodora in the Lockerbie bombing, said the British Government had now "lost all credibility".

Speaking from her home in New Jersey, she said she was "concerned" about the actions of the UK Government and called for the US to intervene.

She said: "I was hoping that the CIA would be able to speak with Moussa Koussa.

"After what happened with the release of Megrahi I no longer trust the British - the English or the Scots - on this.

"I want the US involved in this. After they let Megrahi out, why should we trust the Scots or the English to handle this?

"To me Moussa Koussa is nowhere near as important as Gaddafi, but he is helpful to us in terms of information he has on Lockerbie. That is very, very important.

"My concerns are how long he is going for, and whether he will come back.

"I am mostly worried about how much access the Americans will have to him and how much he will share with us, and when this information about Lockerbie will become public.

"How can we trust the British anymore? I think they have lost all credibility."


  1. I sympathise with the families who lost loved ones as a result of this terrorist outrage.
    Moussa Koussa MUST be questioned about Lockerbie and the answer made public

  2. What if he says he doesn't know anything about it? What good will that do anyone? Those who are convinced he was "behind it" will merely assume he's lying. The rest of us will merely observe that he could well be lying.

    What if he says he knows that Ahmed Jibril's gang smuggled the bomb into the baggage container at Heathrow? Those who are convinced the bomb travelled unaccompanied from Malta will refuse to listen, I suspect. And that includes everyone who is in any position of power in this situation.

    What if he says Gadaffi was indeed the criminal mastermind, and he has proof - that an agent of Gadaffi's smuggled the bomb into the baggage container at Heathrow? Again, the same people will refuse to listen.

    And the rest of us will go on observing that whatever he says, he could well be lying. Presumably he has an internet connection and would have been able to get himself up to speed on these issues and the various plausible claims he might make....

  3. Moussa Koussa has been questioned about Lockerbie, Stuart.

    As former CIA official Susan Lindauer said last Friday: Libya had nothing to do with the Lockerbie bombing.

    What more can Mr Koussa usefully add to Ms Lindauer's very clear statement on the subject?

    The BBC reports today that Mr Koussa is on a diplomatic mission to Doha in the Persian Gulf.

  4. MISSION LOCKERBIE, 2011, doc.nr.1240.rtf. (google translation, german/english:

    It is very simple, the UK Crown Office knew through 800 'SCCRC'-files and the document under 'National Security' (PII) that Libya and thus ex intelligence chief Moussa Koussa (ESO) are not involved in the Pan Am 103 bombing...
    And for that reason absolute no objection of UK, to deletion of person nr.24 (Koussa) on Official journal of the Europan Union nr. 288/2011; and therefore was no problem for Koussa's depature to Qatar for Doha talks as an "representative" of Libya.

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

  5. Why the PanAm 103 families group attack Great Britain not for the secrecy of the 800 SCCRC-files and the document under 'National Security' (PII) ?
    Have the families of the Lockerbie victims FEAR of the TRUTH and its CONSEQUENCES ? It gives the impression...

  6. I am sorry for Susan Cohen's loss but really I despair of Americans sometimes. How they can utter criticism about other countries "losing credibility" beggars belief. Susan Cohen's country paid three million dollars in bribes to two witnesses. Is that not stretching credibility to the point where it breaks utterly?