[Today's edition of the Maltese newspaper The Times contains a report on the CIA cables relating to the Pan Am 103 bombing that were referred to in a post on this blog on 5 September 2011. The report reads in part:]
Malta was a “primary launching point” for Libyan intelligence and terrorist teams transiting Europe, according to a recent compilation of declassified CIA cables dating between 1988 and 1991.
But campaigners for justice in the Lockerbie bombing case have slammed such claims, describing the CIA’s main informant as a “money-grubbing fantasist” who led the CIA by the nose.
The informant quoted extensively in the 255-page document (taken predominantly from declassified CIA cables released in 2008 and compiled by an international organisation) is Abdul Majid Giaka, whose testimony, as an informant, was pivotal in convicting Abdelbaset al-Megrahi for the Lockerbie bombing, despite the court having cast doubts on Mr Giaka’s credibility and reliability as a witness. [RB: Giaka's testimony was not "pivotal" in convicting Megrahi. The Lockerbie judges rejected his evidence in its entirety, with the exception of that part relating to the structure of the Libyan security and intelligence services and Megrahi's alleged position in them.]
According to Lockerbie campaigner Robert Forrester, the recently compiled cables are so heavily redacted that any effort to corroborate the veracity of intelligence is impossible.
“Giaka was showered with US tax dollars in return for nothing of substance,” he told The Times.
Mr Forrester – who forms part of a group of Lockerbie victim family members who believe Mr al Megrahi was wrongly convicted – also criticised the CIA for showing no indication of having tried to independently corroborate any of the “so-called intelligence”. [RB: The Justice for Megrahi group, of which Robert Forrester is secretary, is not, of course, "a group of Lockerbie victim family members" but a group of concerned persons, some of whom are Lockerbie family members.]
“It really does look like [the CIA] swallowed it all, hook, line and sinker, until it finally dawned on them that he was worthless,” he said.
“These additional papers detailing the CIA’s relationship with Mr Giaka, add little to what is already known and to the doubts which have always hung over this case... Malta has absolutely no reason to think that these documents taint the island’s good name any more than it has been.”
However, he added that it is up to the Maltese government to take “concrete steps” to lift the cloud of Lockerbie which hangs over the island.
“The evidence is there which proves that there is no evidence to support this conviction.”