Friday, 1 April 2011

What is the deal with this ruthless, calculating shark?

[This is the headline over an article in today's edition of The Herald by David Pratt, foreign editor of the Sunday Herald. It reads in part:]

Over the years, our dealings with Libya have never been known for their transparency.

At Colonel Gaddafi’s big tent meetings all kinds of deals in the desert were done. (...)

Two questions immediately spring to mind about which Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague need to come clean. The first is what is the nature of our relationship with the Libyan rebels? Just who, if anyone, are we cosying up to in Benghazi, and to what ends militarily and politically?

The second question to concerns the truth about Libya and the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. Part emissary, part defector [RB: see yesterday's blog post], the arrival in Britain over the last few days of Libyan Foreign Minister, Moussa Koussa, like some latter-day Rudolph Hess, is the perfect opportunity to glean information from the inside track of Gaddafi’s dictatorship. Like Hess in May 1941, Koussa in March 2011 came to the UK of his own volition. Unlike Hess, he didn’t crash land in an Eaglesham field, but touched down in a British military transport plane at Farnborough airport in an operation conducted by British MI6 intelligence officials.

At the risk of drawing too many parallels with his historical Nazi predecessor, it’s still fair to say that Koussa, like Hess, knows where the skeletons are buried. Tall, silver-haired and imposing, Koussa has the physical presence and demeanour of a great white shark. Koussa, too, has a reputation for calculated ruthlessness. Let’s not forget that this is the man who advocated killing Libyan dissidents on British soil and expressed his admiration for the IRA. In the 1980s when Lockerbie horrified us all, Koussa was a leading member of the Libyan Bureau for External Security (the Mathaba). Later in 1995 a British intelligence dossier described him as the chief of the “principal intelligence institution in Libya, which has been responsible for supporting terrorist organisations and for perpetrating state-sponsored acts of terrorism”.

Few are in any doubt that Koussa knows as much as there is to know about Libya’s regime, its links to terrorists worldwide and the Lockerbie bombing. Political shark as he is, clearly the Tripoli pond was getting a tad uncomfortable – hence his move to British shores. Yesterday, William Hague was at pains to point out that there will be no immunity from justice for Koussa, should he be found – as many claim – to have helped plan the Lockerbie atrocity.

Call me cynical, but it wouldn’t be the first time that a deal of dubious sorts has been done between the British Government and officials from the Libyan regime. By the very nature of his work Koussa for years has been in close contact with British intelligence, and in the seclusion of some safehouse during his debriefing, who can say what kind of you-scratch-my-back-deal might be struck, allowing him to slip the net of prosecution, despite what Mr Hague says?

What if, for example, Koussa simply offered up some tasty morsel of intelligence that would help put the final nail in Gaddafi’s coffin in exchange for some quiet, discreet retirement opportunity in a post-regime Libya. (...)

The only problem in the Libyan context is that any new government in Tripoli comprising leaders from the country’s rebel movement might have something to say about Koussa’s continued presence in the country. If there was one thing that struck me while in the uprising’s stronghold of Benghazi recently, it was the rebels’ complete determination to make sure that should their revolution be victorious, they would hold Gaddafi’s henchmen fully to account. One can only hope that the British Government remains as true to its word in Koussa’s case. (...)

Yesterday, Jim Swire, who lost his daughter Flora in the Lockerbie atrocity, described Moussa Koussa’s recent defection as a “great day” for families of the bombing’s victims. Dr Swire is right when he says: “This is a guy who knows everything”. And for that very reason it’s now up to the British Government to make sure a crucial opportunity is not squandered, and that if Mr Moussa Koussa really wants the benefit of sanctuary in the UK then he must once and for all put the record straight on any role Libya may have had in Lockerbie.

For too long now British policy regarding Libya has been shrouded in half-truths and riddled with hypocrisy. Now is the moment when that must change.If deals are being done over Libya, just for once I’d like to know what they consist of, in whose name they are being pursued, and to what ends.


  1. any role Libya may have had in Lockerbie.

    Quite. But what about the nature of any such role? What if Musa Kusa tells all, about - how Libya supplied Semtex to a group of terrorists who then used it in a bomb smuggled into a baggage container at Heathrow?

    Is it enough for the Crown to be able to say, look, we told you so, Libya was implicated in Lockerbie? Surely not.

    The dispute isn't about which country or countries might or might not have had a hand in that atrocity. It's about whether the bomb travelled on KM180 from Malta, as alleged.

    If "the truth about Lockerbie" doesn't encompass a Malta loading, where does that leave the investigation?

  2. "deals being done"

    " put the record straight"

    Not sure how the truth will emerge here. We'll see.

  3. I indeed wait with bated breath for the outcome of Koussa's meetings.

    However, call me cynical, but would it not be fairly safe to assume that anything divulged during any questioning that doesn't correspond or fit with the official narrative will neither be made public nor investigated further?
    And conversely, even the most tenuous, the slightest sliver of remote association to the official Zeist fairytale, will be triumphantly used to uphold and vindicate the conviction.

    And subsequently, what fate would then await Koussa?

    Perhaps, financial compensation for this information and a new cushty life in the US for Moussa?

    Perhaps even next door to that other well versed and handsomely rewarded Libya defector Mr Giaka?

  4. How I wish Megrahi would release the real info himself before the "diplomats" serve it falsely on a platter.

  5. Does Megrahi actually know any "real info" to release?

  6. Oh God, I just heard Jalil on Newsnight telling us about his (and Kusa's) "irrefutable" evidence that Gadaffi was behind the Lockerbie bombing.

    The proof? He has proof of all the money Gadaffi spent on "supporting" Megrahi and trying to get him repatriated. That means Gadaffi was behind the bombing.

    In some parallel universe.

  7. Megrahi's case was put by the SCCRC following their own independent three year investigation into his conviction.

    Those six grounds raised to suggest a miscarriage of justice may have occurred are what both the UK and Scottish political and legal establishments have sought to bury.

    We can talk of the latest UN resolution being "open to interpretation". The SCCRC findings were not and both establishments, if they were acting "in the interests of justice" had a duty to allow the second appeal to be heard.

    This hysteria now by all of them over getting to "the truth" would be laughable if it wasn't so nauseating. For the truths contained in the SCCRC report were something they wanted sealed and buried.

  8. Dear Rolfe,

    Just seen Abdel-Jalil's Newsnight performance. Stunning. It seems that I'll have to rephrase what I wrote in the piece published recently in The Firm, in which I said that he "is bound to have washed his hands in the people’s blood on a fairly regular basis." If what he said on Newsnight is indicative of the standard of proof required to convince this ex-justice minster that that Zeist is sound, just imagine what he subjected the Libyan people to when he was in office. On reflection then, he must have positively bathed in his people's blood several times a day.

    Moreover, he seems to be saying that Mr Koussa's evidence is identical to his own and that he will be supporting Mr Koussa. This reflects the almost quaint expectation, that Jalil clearly has, that what washes in Libya must surely do the trick over here, unaware, as he obviously is, that his 'revelations' concerning Gaddafi's support of Mr al-Megrahi's position whilst incarcerated has been either known or taken for granted for years in this part of the world. What do these people take us for? Truly great news all round, as Jim Swire has been saying, and copious quantities of egg on the faces of Cameron and Clarke et al.

    Since the sudden, and certainly for me, unexpected turn around on the diplomatic and military fronts apropos the war in Libya, it is all becoming quite fascinating. If Gaddafi actually manages to survive this and gain control of the oil fields again, could Mandarin become the second language in Libya? BP and no fewer than three British prime ministers must be doing their nuts in.

    Toodle pip,

  9. Mr. Forrester's negative inferences about Abdel-Jalil reveal his new-found awareness of justice in the Gaddafi dictatorship. I say new-found because Mr. Forrester is the Secretary for the Justice for Megrahi campaign, which he co-founded in collaboration with Gaddafi's Revolutionary Forces, represented by Abdullah Swissy.

    First, Prof. Black misinforms his readers that Gaddafi's consul in Scotland, who was co-ordinating with JFM's founder Swissy, was a mere "social worker." Now, JFM's spokesman comes to frame Abdel-Jalil as a bloody killer of Libyans. For this kind of accusation to come out of an ally of Gaddafi's revolutionary thugs, is sickening.

    Mustafa Abdel-Jalil was appointed minister of justice in 2007, and he turned in his resignation publicly in early 2010. He was the first minister, of any kind, to submit a resignation publicly in Gaddafi's dictatorship. His resignation was not accepted, and instead earned him a public haranguing from Gaddafi. He resigned over the case of hundreds of Libyans who were kept in prison after completing their sentences or after they were actually acquitted in court. The case is well publicized by international human rights organizations, including his opposition to the Internal Security godfathers such as at-Tohami Khaled, Abdulla Senussi, etc.

    Abdel Jalil was appointed Justice Minister at a time when Gaddafi was trying to project a reformist profile. His son was busy releasing (some) prisoners, talking about a constitution, and all that jazz that the LSE and US-based mercenaries were helping him spin. Appointing Abdel Jalil to justice was part of that campaign. He does not come from the murderous wing of the dictatorship. His reputation among Libyans is quite good, in fact, maybe too good for my taste, but even his strongest critics would not say he's got blood on his hands. Libyan blood was hardly spilled at the hands of conventional judicial bodies. Gaddafi's kangaroo courts worked in a parallel world, and they went by names like the "revolutionary courts," the People's court, the People's Prosecution Bureau, State Security Court, Internal Security, Revolutionary Committees, Cleansing Committees, Revolutionary Student Forces, etc.

    Mr. Forrester's allies in the search for justice belong to the second category. The Jamahiriya Student Union has much more blood of Libyans than anyone could ever accuse Abdel-Jalil of having. But that is not important for Mr. Forrester, as long as he can continue to mislead the Scottish public and cover up his association with Gaddafi's real "Gestapo".