Wednesday, 5 December 2012

UK Parliament Q & A on reparations for victims of Libyan-supplied Semtex

David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): What discussions his Department has had with the Libyan Government on reparations for previous victims of Libyan Semtex.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Alistair Burt): The Gaddafi regime left a terrible legacy, with many victims both in Libya and in the UK. My right hon Friends the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary and I have consistently raised Gaddafi’s relationship with the IRA when we have seen the Libyan authorities.

David Mowat: It is now accepted that Libya provided the Semtex used both at Lockerbie and at the Warrington bombing in 1993. The US Government are vigorously pursuing a claim on behalf of the Lockerbie victims, whereas the UK is more passive in its support for the equivalent McCue case. Will the Minister review our position and undertake to go the extra mile for the UK victims, including those living in Warrington?

Alistair Burt: I know my hon Friend’s position and his close relationship with those who suffered in Warrington, not least Colin Parry and his family. It has not been the UK’s position specifically to support individual compensation claims—that has been done privately—but the UK has offered facilitation and support to those making such claims. More important, the UK has also been able to support a process of reconciliation with the new Libyan authorities to make good the comment of President Magarief at the UN in September—he apologised for the crimes of the despot and is looking to try to ensure that things are repaired. We are working continually with the Libyan authorities on that. I am going there next week to help in that process.

[From House of Commons Hansard, 4 December 2012, column 710.]

1 comment:

  1. "David Mowat: It is now accepted that Libya provided the Semtex used both at Lockerbie and at the Warrington bombing in 1993."

    Mr. Mowat does not elaborate on neither who 'accepts it' nor how he knows it was Semtex, and what sources he would have.

    But inspired by the other gaping holes in this case, I just wondered how good a job was done on providing evidence that Semtex was in fact the explosive used.

    First idea was to check out the verdict.

    The word Semtex is mentioned 3 times:

    "The device could detect the presence of many explosives but would not normally detect Semtex, although it might detect one of its constituents under certain circumstances. "

    "...identical to one which was discovered in Dakar... In the briefcase were found also nine metres of fuse, four blocks of TNT, two blocks of Semtex-H, nine electric detonators..."

    Naturally, above does not in any way provide significant support for the theory that it was Semtex that was used.

    But we get closer with the third and last.

    "[7] He examined for the presence of explosive residues two pieces of metal (labels 270.1 and 270.3) which had been identified as the two major parts of the outboard base frame member of container AVE 4041. The procedures involved, which were described in great detail in Dr Douse’s evidence, ended with traces on which peaks at particular points may indicate the presence of different types of explosives. These include different variations of nitrotoluene, nitroglycerin, PETN and RDX. There may also be other peaks which result from non-explosive co-extractives. The traces relating to 270.1 and 270.3 indicated the presence of PETN and RDX. These are chemicals used in the manufacture of plastic explosives, including Semtex.

    In cross-examination it was suggested to him that a report by Professor Caddy presented to Parliament in 1996 on the possible contamination of a centrifuge used at RARDE vitiated his conclusions. However, while that report did indeed suggest that a centrifuge was contaminated with RDX, it also made clear that certain examinations carried out in the period which included December 1988 were not affected, and in the list of such examinations was included the examination of the Lockerbie debris carried out by Dr Douse.

    It was further suggested to him that the traces disclosed peaks which were consistent with the presence of TNT, DNT and nitroglycerin, but for the detailed reasons which he gave in his evidence he was entirely satisfied that the peaks in question related not to these forms of explosive but to non-explosive co-extractives."

    - - -

    Based on above alone, would any one say that that it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that Semtex used?

    With no peer-review and discussion. "He was entirely satisfied", well, scientists may not agree.

    Even a statement of 'likely' would be without base. 'very possible' is appropriate.

    - - -

    Is it important what explosive was used? No, not unless somebody puts any weight to the argument that "Semtex was used, and Libya was the major buyer of Semtex".

    That should be amended to "one RARDE based scientist believe to have found components that is used in Semtex (among other explosives)..., and Libya was the major buyer of Semtex"