Saturday, 30 July 2011

Allan Francovich's The Maltese Double Cross

Allan Francovich's 1994 film can be viewed here. For the avoidance of doubt, I provide the link simply to be helpful, not because I necessarily support the thesis that the film advances.


  1. The film's thesis that the Pan Am bomb was ingested into the system at Frankfurt International Airport conflicts with Mr Wolchover's findings that its journey began at Heathrow.

  2. Pity. It's just the same version that's been available for years at

    Same quality, same truncated credits. Looks as if someone has just swiped the file and copied it across. I had hoped for a crisper picture, but no luck.

    Francovich may have been pushing the also-ran theory of the bomb's introduction, but it's still a fascinating film. And the use of music is very good.

  3. I agree Rolfe. YOu sent me the original link I remember and the film fascinated me despite the awful quality. Robert should also say here that it was banned in the UK and in the US methinks.

  4. It's a funny thing. Everyone who has really been monstered and suppressed by the US establishment has been pushing the Frankfurt bag-switch theory. Aviv, Coleman, Shaughnessy, Francovich.

    Mind you, they haven't monstered Ashton and Ferguson as far as I know. It may just be a time thing. They were trying to clamp down on dissenting theories in the early 1990s, and at that time the Frankfurt bag-switch theory was the dominant one.

    Apparently because nobody except Leppard (and Baz) had noticed what Bedford said.

  5. If you look closely at those 'truncated credits', Rolfe, you will see that John Ashton was the researcher for the 'Maltese Double Cross'.

    It was Ashton who gave me a pre-broadcast VCR copy of the MDC documentary in 1994. Ashton also sent me an English translation of Jan-Olof Bengtsson's Swedish iDAG newspaper articles about Bernt Carlsson.

    Whether 'monstered' or not by the US establishment, Ashton and Ferguson have continued to flog the dead horse of a Frankfurt introduction of the Pan Am IED.

    There is, as far as I am aware, only one theory that relies on the bomb being ingested at Heathrow: mine viz Lockerbie: J'accuse....Eeben Barlow.

  6. I thought the music was ghastly!

  7. Rolfe is waiting patiently for your insightful response here, baz!

  8. Regarding whether or not the Maltese Double Cross was banned in certain countries (Jo G above), I obtained a copy many years ago from a friend that videotaped it from a broadcast in the UK. After broadcasting the film, the UK network did a segment where relatives (including Dr. Swire) were interviewed about the film. I recall how different the US relatives take on the file was from that of the UK relatives.

    This was at the time the film was first released.

    So the film was at least not totally banned in the UK but it was never aired in North America. The land of free speech in particular couldn't handle the Maltese Double Cross!

  9. I believe a 90-minute version was shown on Channel 4, but only once. I don't know what was cut out, but it was at least an hour short.

  10. Full, thanks for that.

    Rolfe, I think Channel 4 for forced to reduce in the face of American relatives threatening allsorts legally.

    I wonder if Channel 4 would care to re show it? What do you think about asking them to do so?

  11. Full.......sorry, I should have said I think you are right and that it wasn't utterly banned here in the UK. The shocking thing is that reviews on it were "negative". Well, that's the UK media for ya.

  12. I don't even have a video tape player anymore to see if the broadcast version I have was 90 minutes or not - I do still have the videotape. This illustrates how much time has gone by since the Maltese Double Cross with no resolution of the important questions.

    I'll have to check the link and see if it's a full-length version to watch. I was not aware that there were versions of the film in differing lengths.

    It seems some of us have learned something but have our own differing takes on what was shocking. In my view it is shocking that North American television has so little interest in showing various films on the Lockerbie subject.

  13. Doesn't change the fact tho', does it, that the Maltese Double Cross made interesting viewing?

  14. Baz? What music in particular? If it was MacCrimmon's Lament you and I shall surely fall out. I once heard Barbara Dickson sing it in the Glasgow Pavillion, with no accompaniment and it made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. A bit like the conviction of Megrahi should on the backs of the necks of anyone who believes in justice. ; )

  15. Sorry, it wasn't Glasgow's Pavillion, it was the Theatre Royal.

  16. Discussion of truncated credits, whether the film was banned, might be rebroadcast, the ghastly music etc, is all very well!

    The basic problem is that the Maltese Double Cross perpetuates the myth that the Pan Am bomb was ingested into the system at Frankfurt International Airport.

    Whereas, we all now know (thanks to Mr Wolchover) that the IED began its journey at Heathrow.

    Therefore, who installed the bomb on Pan Am Flight 103 at Heathrow, and what was the motive?

  17. Jo, I expect that my enjoyment of the music was tempered by the context in that I understood I was being continually lied to by charlatans, fabricators and conmen which is why the music made me reach for the sickbag.

    While this spoof was presented as a search for the truth it was a colossal hoax. "Cover-up of Convenience" the risible rehash of the Maltese Double Cross claimed this was "the alternate version of events". Well if this was the alternate version of events then the official version must be true (which is probably why it was created.)

    People like Paul Foot were duped by this and it's proponents continue to make similar claims in Private Eye (usually parrotted by Christine Graham.) Gareth Peirce's article may have been ghostwritten by one of these fabricators with whom she had recently shared a public platform. Why else would she repeat the lie (while claiming to present "the evidence")that a suitcase of drugs were recovered at Tundregarth?

    It was interesting viewing if you appreciate a good hoax.

  18. I watched the full-length version.

    A book by Michael T. Hurley and Kenton V. Smith, "I Solemnly Swear, Conmen DEA the Media and Pan Am 103" deals with issues like those Baz has raised.

    Hurley, of course, is named in the film. Parts of the book can be read online.

    I say don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Some examples:

    Vincent Cannistraro, CIA man attached to Lockerbie, was heavily featured in the film. If one was to make a list of hoaxers associated with the entire matter, Vincent has to be near the top of the list. It's pretty clear that circa 1994 Vinnie felt a trial was unlikely.

    Why did governments invoke secrecy acts? How reliable and credible are Thurman, Hayes, Feraday, Gauci and Giaka? Was there or was there not drugs and cash on the flight? These are all valid questions inquiring minds want answered, which were raised in the film, and where doubt still remains when it need not exist.

    One must keep in mind that in 1994 when the film was released a lot less was known than after the trial.

    Today, looking backward, parts of the film do have value if the goal is to determine the truth. From that standpoint, who cares about the music or the quality or even the conclusion or who paid for the film?

  19. Oh and perhaps the most important and valid issue of all explored in the film. In 1994 the question existed: Could Megrahi and Fhima get a fair trial in the US or Scotland?

    I submit that time has answered that question.

  20. FullInquiry asked: "How reliable and credible are Thurman, Hayes, Feraday, Gauci and Giaka?"

    The answer in each case is:

    a. reliability 0%; and,

    b. credibility 0%.

    Baz asserted: "People like Paul Foot were duped."

    Using Daily Mirror notepaper, Paul Foot wrote this letter in manuscript on 9 December 1988, congratulating me on the publication of my letter in The Guardian of 7 December 1988 (exactly two weeks before the Lockerbie disaster):

    "Dear Mr Haseldine,

    This is just a note to congratulate you in the warmest possible way on your quite wonderful letter to The Guardian this week. It was an act full of defiance and democracy - two rather scarce qualities these days. And I can tell you that there are lots of journalists around who raised a hearty cheer.

    If there is ever anything I can do to help or support you, just get in touch.

    All the very best to you,

    [signed] Paul Foot."

  21. Well as I said the nominal Trotskyist Paul Foot was a dupe. Flight from Justice was OK but there was an awful lot of drivel published in Private Eye before & after Paul Foot's death.

    Could Megrahi have got a fair trial in Scotland? My view is he was convicted because of Camp Zeist.

    Was there a suitcase of drugs of the flight?

    In the Maltese Double Cross farmer Jim Wilson made no such claim. The only "evidence" that drugs were recovered was a reference to a story in Private Eye that some unnamed relative was allegedly told by some unknown party that drugs had been recovered.

    The film's "researcher" John Ashton co-wrote articles with Paul Foot and continues to make ludicrous claims in Private Eye about Khalid Jafaar (i.e. he was a "named" PFLP-GC member) somewhat at odds with the claim in his book that he was a member of Hezbollah evidenced by the recovery of a "Hezbollah" t-shirt at Tundergarth. (as is well known International Terrorists often wear t-shirts identifying their allegiance.)

    The film's narrator Brian Cox littered with numerous unproven allegations mostly concerning Khald Jafaar to fit the narrative. Jafaar was given a tape recorder full of drugs by a Hezbollah leader at "the airport".

    The film not only cited anonymous "witnesses" but even "witnesses" who didn't exist!
    (the preposterous "Mr Goldberg").

    A drug trafficker is described as "an undercover DEA agent".

    At the heart of the fraud is the professional fabricator and drug trafficker Oswald LeWinter (described by journalists John Ashton and Ian Ferguson in "Cover Up of Convenience", without a hint of self-awareness as "a man who has made a good living from duping journalists") together with his fellow conman and co-plaintiff Lester Coleman.

    Fullinquiry should study the scripted, preposterous and blatantly fraudulent Hotel room telephone scene featuring LeWinter different versions of which appear in different versions of the film!

    "One must keep in mind that in 1994 when the film was released a lot less was known than after the trial". Is that some excuse for putting out a pack of lies based around Juval Aviv's fairy story?

    Although I had read David Leppard's book it was not until June 1996 that I realised the primary suitcase had been introduced at Heathrow but until then both the proponents of the official scenario and those who challenged it agreed that the primary suitcase had come from Frankfurt. It hadn't.

    The Maltese Double Cross was worthless, the work of charlatans and fabricators.

  22. I don't disagree with anything you say, baz.

    In your view, is John Ashton the appropriate person to be helping Abdelbaset al-Megrahi write his autobiography?

  23. All I am saying is that while time has shown the Maltese Double Cross to be of limited worth, it is not worthless.

    One must sort the wheat from the chaff - it's not that much different than sorting through the official story.

    Vincent Cannestraro played a huge role in promoting the official story and some of the things he has said in the film and in other separate interviews are as preposterous as the scene Baz would have me study.

    Frankovitch and company were not involved in the investigation - Vinnie was.

    LeWinter is a spook. Vinnie is a spook. Giaka was a double spook according to the official version. Nothing any spook says can be taken as reliable.

    I have no issue with discrediting specific parts of the film that don't stand up to scrutiny, but why try to discredit everything in the film?

  24. Because a lie goes to the heart of the matter. I hold no brief for Mr Cannistraro and his claims (and those which feature in David Leppard's "On the Trail of Terror" are very interesting as they indicate that two different Libyans were to be blamed.)

    Many of the claims in the film cannot be proven or disproven. did Khalid Jafaar travel to Sweden, was he given a babygro garment by Abu Talb? The evidence he was in Sweden comes from "Mr Goldberg" who doesn't seem to exist.

    However I think it is a ludicrous position to say it must all be true apart from the odd claim that is manifestly a fabrication.However if you want to believe any fairy story you are told you are welcome to.

  25. Perhaps Paul Foot wasn't duped. In my experience if you want a story published in Private Eye you have to pay for it. Who was (and is) paying for Private Eye's coverage?

    Patrick Haseldine notes that John Ashton and Ian Ferguson "continued to flog the dead horse of a Frankfurt ingestion".

    Indeed "Cover-up of Convenience" claimed the Maltese Double Cross Hoax was true and Ashton was happy to be described as Francovich's Deputy. John Ashton co-wrote articles with Foot which pushed the "drug conspiracy".

    I thought it interesting that "Cover-up of Convenience" also presented as true another of Oswald LeWinter's hoaxes the so-called October Surprise (although what that had to do with Lockerbie escapes me). This was exposed as a fraud in a BBC Newsnight film - Directed by Alan Francovich!

    (whose girlfriend left him for another October surprise conman!)

    Mr Megrahi can employ anybody he wants to help with his autobiography although John Ashton has a serious credibility problem. However Mr Megrahi must have a forgiving nature - his interview with former CIA officer Pierre Salinger featured in the Maltese Double Cross was produced as evidence against him. Ashton's World in Action documentary may also have helped secure his conviction.

    ps. Is Patrick absolutely sure Paul Foot even read his letter? (which of course had nothing to do with Lockerbie). I'm sure he had a team to screen his mail and send effusive acknowledgements.

  26. As regards Paul Foot, he certainly didn't need to pay Private Eye to get "Flight from Justice" published since at the time Foot was employed by the magazine: "Writing for Private Eye is the only journalism I have ever been engaged in which is pure enjoyment. It is free publishing of the most exhilarating kind."

    Paul Foot was employed at the Daily Mirror from 1979 to 1993. I am positive that Foot read my letter of 7 December 1988 to The Guardian because he wrote this "effusive acknowledgment" dated 9 December 1988 in his own fair hand!

    Interestingly, Private Eye's then editor Richard Ingrams commented in the Observer of 11 December 1988: "Dr David Owen is a natural Tory, as he showed again last week over the case of Mr Patrick Haseldine, the Foreign Office official, who in a letter to The Guardian last week made a splendid kamikaze attack on Mrs Thatcher for indulging in 'self-righteous invective' over the Patrick Ryan case. Instead of taking up Mr Haseldine's point and using it as a stick to beat the Government with, as any good Opposition leader would have done, Dr Goody-Two-Shoes called for Haseldine's immediate dismissal."