Monday, 18 February 2013

Inquiry call on Malta’s last link to Lockerbie

[This is the headline over an article by Herman Grech in yesterday’s edition of the Maltese newspaper The Sunday Times.  It reads as follows:]

The father of a Lockerbie victim has called for an immediate inquiry into an aircraft circuit board fragment which links the 1988 disaster to Malta.

“There is now no evidence that a long-running timer was used. Without that link, Malta is out of the frame once and for all in my opinion,” Jim Swire told The Sunday Times.

Dr Swire has written to Scotland’s Lord Advocate after it emerged last week that the three experts most involved in defining the significance of the discrepancy over the metal were never approached by the Crown Office or the police.

This circuit board fragment was the crucial link at the trial, and suggested that the bomb departed from Malta. But investigators concluded last year that the circuit board fragment used in evidence at the original trial, although mimicking circuit boards owned by Libya, could never have come from any such board.

The latest development comes in the wake of a petition calling for an independent inquiry into the conviction of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi for the bombing of the US airliner over Scotland, which killed 270.

According to the prosecution, the suitcase containing the bomb left Malta on an Air Malta flight to Frankfurt before being transferred to another flight to Heathrow. But in 2007, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission concluded that a miscarriage of justice may have taken place.

Dr Swire called on the authorities to probe the circuit board fragment, its origin, and the way it found its way inside a police evidence bag to be used by the prosecution as a key part of their evidence.

In a letter sent to Scotland’s Lord Advocate, seen by The Sunday Times, Dr Swire said the circuit board fragment was the one last remaining credible link to Malta.

“The misuse of this one piece of evidence should surely be enough on its own to destroy the prosecution case.

“Now that we know that that link never existed, since the fragment was clearly fraudulent in its intent, there is little reason to pay attention to the buyer of the clothing, the Gaucis, the happenings at Luqa that day and so on,” Dr Swire said.

“There is of course no proof, intelligence services try hard not to leave any. There is also however something called common sense.”

Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci had identified Mr Megrahi as the person who had purchased clothes (whose fragments were found on the disaster site) from his shop in Sliema in December 1988. However, Mr Gauci’s testimony was subsequently undermined by news that the CIA had compensated him for his evidence and the fact that he had been coached by investigators to pick out Mr Megrahi, who died last year.

Dr Swire said adherence to the Camp Zeist 2001 verdict, in the face of the immediate criticisms of the UN’s special observer, among others, while at the same time refusing to investigate well-supported allegations, would be seen as dereliction of the Crown Office’s duty to deliver timely justice. Effectively it would also amount to protection for the real perpetrators.

“As her father I have a right to know who murdered her and why her life was not protected,” Dr Swire said, in reference to his daughter Flora, who was 24 at the time.

“I am proud simply to be involved in a search for the truth, concerning my daughter’s murder, and not in any attempt to denigrate others in the process.”


  1. The SCCRC have already conducted an "in-depth" investigation into the provenance of PT 35(b) (see chapters 7 & 8) of the SCCRC summary and concluded, in the face of the evidence, that everything is hunky dory. In particular they have glossed over the findings of their own document examiner Mr McCrae and assumed, in the face of clear evidence to the contrary,(see para 7.21) that the RARDE photographic record of photograph 117 is correct. (See the excellent article "Page 51 and its Environs" in The Lockerbie Divide" written without the benefit of the ESDA tests.)

    Mr McCrae's statement is within the appendixes to the SCCRC report and only the "spun" SCCRC representation of what it says. Dr Swire should demand its release.

  2. Very interesting. As Köchler said:

    "In giving exoneration to the police, prosecutors and forensic staff, I think they show their lack of independence. No officials to be blamed: simply a Maltese shopkeeper."

  3. The other question is would any identifiable clothing from the ‘bomb case’ survive a 450g or even a 680g semtex explosion?

    For the benefit of some, I do not mean whether a fragment of clothing survives, that can identified as a fragment of clothing.

    But whether a fragment survives that can be identified as coming from a particular item of clothing and from a particular shop and purchased on a particular day by a particular person?

    This elementary question eluded the defence team who preferred to launch a defence on whether it was raining on the day of the purchase?

  4. Unlike some people around here, the defence knew perfectly well that identifiable parts of textiles do survive at that distance from a blast of that nature. So claiming that was impossible would not have been at all advisable.

  5. Rolfe you are shameless beyond a reasonable doubt and would even make Blair blush?

    And is it true you also think 2 planes pulverised into dust 3 towers (combined 267 floors high) at free fall speed?

    Or let me guess, you’ve read AE9/ and think it’s bonkers, because the green lizards did it?

    Couldn’t resist it, but won’t mention this subject again on this thread.