Monday, 18 July 2011

Libyan foreign minister admits Lockerbie bombing involvement

[This is the headline over a report published this evening on The Telegraph website. It amplifies the AFP news agency report that was the subject of the immediately preceding blog post. The report reads in part:]

A former Libyan foreign minister has admitted the country was involved in the Lockerbie bombing but said for the first time it was part of a wider conspiracy.

The former minister, Abdul Rahman al-Shalgham, who was ambassador to the United Nations when he defected in February, revealed a new theory about who was responsible for the explosion on board Pan-Am Flight 103 in an interview with an Arabic newspaper.

"The Lockerbie bombing was a complex and tangled operation" he said, when asked to describe the background to the disaster.

"There was talk at the time of the roles played by states and organisations. Libyan security played a part but I believe it was not a strictly Libyan operation."

He went on to say that the compensation payment to the families he helped negotiate on behalf of the regime – while disclaiming responsibility – angered the Libyan leader, Col Muammar Gaddafi.

"He used to say, 'We had no role in Lockerbie, so why should we have to pay compensation'," Mr Shalgham said.

Two Libyan state employees were put on trial in The Hague [RB: Actually, of course, Camp Zeist, near Utrecht] under Scottish law for the bombing of Flight 103, in which 270 people died in 1988. One, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, though he was released on medical grounds in 2009.

Libya always denied involvement, and alternative theories state that it was the work of Iranian intelligence, or a Palestinian terrorist group.

Mr Shalgham's revelations are the first serious suggestion that there could be elements of truth to both stories.

Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the former minister of justice who defected at the beginning of the uprising against the Gaddafi regime in February and is now chairman of the opposition Transitional National Council, claimed in an earlier interview that Col Gaddafi personally ordered the bombing.

But Mr Abdul Jalil was only involved in politics from 2007, having been a provincial judge most of his career. Mr Shalgham, by contrast, was Libyan ambassador to Rome at the time of the bombing and later at the heart of government.

[See my comment at the end of the preceding blog post.]


  1. Defectors Shalgham and Jalil seem to be telling us what they think we want to know.

    Are they by any chance trying to divert our attention from NATO's Debacle in Libya?

  2. Well, it's perfectly possible Libya was involved. But did the bomb travel on KM180 from Malta that morning?

    That's the question people should be answering. Because if it didn't (and it quite obviously didn't), then the entire Lockerbie investigation was a shambles of a disgrace. Which is was, of course.

  3. MISSION LOCKERBIE, 2011, doc. nr.1460.rtf.

    To avoid being to be registered on the blacklist of the EU Regulation No. 288/2011, there was for some VIP persons, only to go the opposite direction .
    In the spirit of securing my "flight of capital" on my bank abroad ...

    To the memory for Mr Abdul Rahman al-Shalgham:

    Wednesday, 25 February, 2004:
    Mr Ghanem told BBC Radio 4 that Libya's decision to pay $2.7bn in compensation to families of the Lockerbie victims was the result of pressure from US and UN sanctions. He agreed with the suggestion that this meant Libya did not see the payments as an admission of guilt. [The Financial Times]

    Wednesday, 25 February, 2004:
    Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Shalgam said on Tuesday Libya was not responsible for the 1988 Lockerbie crash, according to reports from Tripoli, capital of Libya. "Libya accepts responsibility for the actions and activities of its officials," Shalgam told a press conference. "We did not say we accepted responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am." Earlier in the day, the Libyan government denied any involvement in the crash, saying the compensation it offered is not an admission of guilt, but an attempt to "buy peace" with Western countries. [Xinhua]

    The Council of the European Union and the world media now expect facts from Abdul Rahman al-Shalgham and from rebel leader Mustafa Abdel Galil, resigned as Libya's justice minister...

    by Edwin Bollier, MEBO LTD Telecommunication, Switzerland. URL:

  4. Mr Shalgam's motives couldn't possibly be related to this I s'pose...

  5. Rolfe, you're right of course. But we also know that there is no credible evidence for Libyan involvement because we know that those who fabricated the case against Megraghi have always been in a position to fabricate. Even if the appeal had been heard, all it would have done was take us right back to square one.
    I notice that recently in certain SNP circles a new position is emerging, "OK, it,s not how it came out at Camp Zeist, but Libya were still involved". My response is always "what is your evidence?" and they, of course, have none. But the line is enough to "permit" further sitting-on of hands. I expect it will morph into " its all too complicated, we'll never get to the bottom of it."

  6. If only the Camp Zeist fantasy-football version can be quashed, the door is open for the whole thing to be reopened. Gadaffi may be culpable for Lockerbie in exactly the same way he was culpable for Eniskilllin. Or not, as the case may be.

    But while we have a bunch of toom tabards repeating the speak-your-weight mantra that the place for this decision is in a court of law and the court of law has decided, it is very difficult to make any headway.

  7. "He went on to say that the compensation payment to the families he helped negotiate on behalf of the regime – while disclaiming responsibility – angered the Libyan leader, Col Muammar Gaddafi.

    "He used to say, 'We had no role in Lockerbie, so why should we have to pay compensation'," Mr Shalgham said."

    Sorry, he's lost me completely with that.

    These people who are talking now have DEFECTED to the West's side. I think we should bear that in mind. As far as I'm aware there was no evidence connecting Libya to Lockerbie until certain people decided that was the direction the investigation was going to go in. The involvement of others at that point was promptly abandoned and they went after Libya.

    I think we should be careful here especially in view of what we are doing right now in Libya.