Sunday, 3 February 2013

Lockerbie: Seven new Libyans named (by Sunday Express)

[This is the headline over an article by Ben Borland and Bob Smyth in today’s edition of the Sunday Express. It reads as follows:]

A new 'all-star' squad of Scottish detectives will take over the Lockerbie bombing investigation, with the pursuit now likely to focus on seven key Libyan fugitives from justice.


At least two of the men are now dead, killed during the 2011 uprising against Colonel Gaddafi, but the search for the remaining suspects is set to become an unprecedented international manhunt.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced last week that British police will conduct inquiries in Libya for the first time, in a bid to clear up the remaining questions surrounding the December 1988 atrocity.

When the new Police Scotland force is formed on April 1, the case will pass from Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary to a team of specialist officers gathered from every area of Scottish law enforcement working directly for Chief Constable Stephen House.

So far, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi - who died of cancer last year - remains the only man ever convicted of murdering the 270 people who died on board Pan Am Flight 103 and in Lockerbie.

His co-accused and fellow Libyan intelligence officer, Lamin Fhimah, was found not guilty after a historic trial under Scots Law at The Hague in 2000.

However, the prosecution also named seven other co-conspirators - at least two of whom are now dead - who were also involved in planning the attack.

These agents in Colonel Gaddafi's feared secret service, the JSO, can today be named as Nasser Ali Ashour, Mohammed Abouagela Masud, Said Rashid, Ezzadin Hinshiri, Badri Hussan, Mohamed Marzouk and Mansour Omran Saber.

In 2009, Stuart Henderson, a former detective chief superintendent who led the Lockerbie probe for four years, said his team had asked to interview eight other "strong suspects" but been blocked by the Gaddafi regime.

He said: "We submitted eight other names of people that we wished to interview that were strong suspects. Unfortunately, we never got that opportunity."

The eighth man is thought to be former spy chief Abdullah Senoussi, who is facing imminent trial and a possible death penalty in Libya alongside Saif Gaddafi.

In addition, now that the law on double jeopardy has been scrapped, the Crown Office could bring fresh charges against Fhimah, who is known to still be in Tripoli.

The Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland QC, has already travelled to Libya, along with US investigators, to meet members of the new Libyan regime.

Detectives from Dumfries and Galloway are expected to follow in March, before the case comes under the remit of the new nationwide force.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: "The Lockerbie investigation will clearly continue beyond the transition date of the current forces including Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary into the single service. The service is committed to the investigation.

"The experience and knowledge of officers who have been involved in the case as well as the expertise and specialisms from other parts of the wider service will continue to be applied to the inquiry as has always been the case."

Meanwhile, it has emerged that a series of secret court hearings in Malta were focused on gathering evidence about the additional bombing suspects.

The hearings, requested by Scottish prosecutors, were held in September behind closed doors, with security so tight that courtroom peepholes were covered over with envelopes.

A source close to the Maltese judicial authorities has now revealed the probes were focused on gathering evidence into a mystery "third man".

The most likely candidate is Masud, who worked with Megrahi and Fhimah in Malta - where prosecutors said the bomb that brought down Flight 103 was planted at Luqa Airport.

One Lockerbie expert said: "It's possible they are looking at Masud, who allegedly arrived in Malta with Megrahi and was said to have been with him when he flew out of the country on the day of the bombing.

"He was also accused of plotting with Megrahi to mount an operation in Africa.

"I don't think the police ever found him."

Masud and several of the other suspects were first linked to the Lockerbie case by controversial CIA informant Majid Giaka.

The junior Libyan intelligence officer, who was on secondment at Libyan Arab Airlines (LAA), claimed he saw Masud arriving at the airport in Malta with Megrahi in December 1988.

He alleged they met Fhimah and collected a suitcase from baggage reclaim resembling the Samonsite case which contained the bomb.

Justice for Megrahi campaign member Professor Robert Black, a lawyer who was the architect of the original Lockerbie trial in the Netherlands, said:

"It looks like the Crown Office is trying to shore up the Malta connection, which is pretty weak."

A Crown Office spokeswoman said: "The investigation into the involvement of others with Megrahi in the Lockerbie bombing remains open and Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary continues to work with Crown Office and US authorities to pursue available lines of inquiry."

The seven agents:

- Nasser Ali Ashour, the 'Armourer'. A "smooth, cultured" spy who supplied Semtex and guns to the Provisional IRA for Gaddafi in the 1980s. Adrian Hopkins, the Irish skipper who helped smuggle the arms, told French police: "He spoke English with a very distinguished accent. He never looked you in the face, likes to parade, has small feet, wears Italian shoes, drinks whisky but does not smoke." He managed Libya's network of agents in the Mediterranean and hunted down Libyan dissidents throughout Europe. Now aged 68, his whereabouts are unknown.

- Mohammed Abouagela Masud, the 'Technician'. Introduced to a CIA undercover agent as an airline technician, he worked with Megrahi and Fhimah in Malta where the bomb was allegedly planted on a feeder flight in an unaccompanied Samsonite suitcase. The evidence against Masud is thought to have been the subject of secret court hearings held behind closed doors in Valletta last year, at the request of the Crown Office. His whereabouts are unknown.

- Said Rashid, the 'Assassin'. A former head of JSO's operations section and close friend of Gaddafi who went on to become a powerful government figure. He was killed in a shoot-out with rebels in February 2011 following a speech by the dictator's son, Saif. In 1983, Rashid was arrested in France in connection with the murders of Libyan dissidents in London, Bonn and Rome, but later released.

- Ezzadin Hinshiri, the 'Diplomat'. Another senior JSO figure who became a top official and one of Gaddafi's most loyal lieutenants. He was killed along with 52 other regime supporters in an infamous massacre at a seafront hotel in Sirte in the final days of the uprising in April 2011.

- Badri Hussan, the 'Businessman'. Set up a front company with Megrahi and rented an office in Zurich from Mebo, the Swiss firm linked to the timers used in the bombing. The firm's co-founder, Edwin Bollier, told the Lockerbie trial that he delivered a suitcase from Hussan to Hinshiri in Tripoli on December 17, 1988 - just days before the terror strike. Whereabouts unknown.

- Mohamed Marzouk and Mansour Omran Saber, the 'Missing Links'. Arrested at Dakar airport in Senegal in February 1988 with Semtex, TNT and bomb triggers. They were released without charge. In 1991, a "brilliant, young" CIA analyst realised the triggers matched those used in the Lockerbie bombing, changing the entire course of the investigation. Whereabouts unknown.


[A long article entitled Lifting the lid on Libya's secrets by Eddie Barnes is to be found in today's edition of Scotland on Sunday.

An interesting addendum to the Sunday Express article is to be found on the Malta Today website.  The relevant paragraphs read as follows:]

Scottish detectives are said to be focusing their inquiries on seven key Libyan fugitives from justice, among whom a 'third man' who allegedly arrived in Malta with convicted terrorist Abdelbaset Megrahi, and was said to have been with him when he flew out of the country on the day of the bombing in 1988.

A series of secret court hearings in Malta were reportedly focused on gathering evidence about the additional bombing suspects.

The hearings - requested by Scottish prosecutors - were held last September behind closed doors, and was said to have been aimed at  gathering evidence into a mystery 'third man' connected to the bombing.

According to sources, the most likely candidate is Masud, who worked with Megrahi and Fhimah in Malta - where prosecutors still insist that the bomb that brought down Flight 103 was planted at the old Luqa Airport.

Known as 'the technician' after being introduced to a CIA undercover agent as an airline technician, Masud worked with Megrahi and Fhimah at the Libyan Arab Airlines offices in Malta, where the bomb was allegedly planted onto a feeder flight inside an unaccompanied suitcase.

One Lockerbie expert told a Scottish newspaper today that "it's possible they are looking at Masud, who allegedly arrived in Malta with Megrahi and was said to have been with him when he flew out of the country on the day of the bombing. He was also accused of plotting with Megrahi to mount an operation in Africa. I don't think the police ever found him."

Masud and several of the other suspects were first linked to the Lockerbie case by controversial CIA informant Majid Giaka. [RB: The Zeist judges held Giaka to be wholly unworthy of credit and excluded the whole of his evidence from consideration -- except his evidence relating to the structure and personnel of the Libyan intelligence services. The judges gave no reason for accepting his evidence on these matters.]

The junior Libyan intelligence officer, who was on secondment at Libyan Arab Airlines (LAA), claimed he saw Masud arriving at the airport in Malta with Megrahi in December 1988.

He alleged they met Fhimah and collected a suitcase from baggage reclaim resembling the Samonsite case which contained the bomb.


[What follows is an excerpt from a report on the website of The Malta Independent:]

Former FBI assistant director Buck Revell, who oversaw that agency’s Lockerbie investigation until 1991, told The Scotsman newspaper this week: “The two individuals initially charged were not the only people involved. So there’s no doubt that this was approved by Gaddafi and everyone in the chain of command below him.

“There are documents, witnesses and other evidence that they can obtain in the intelligence service, or the military, or from other individuals involved in support organisations.

“I expect much, if not most, of it has been destroyed, but maybe some was saved.”

He added: “The crime itself is such that I don’t believe this case should ever be closed.”

However, British relatives of victims of the bombing of the Pan Am flight 103 who have protested that Megrahi was innocent are sceptical of what might be achieved in Libya.

Mr [Frank] Mulholland [the Lord Advocate] told the families that he intended to send police to the country in February last year, two months before he himself visited.

Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora, 23, died in the bombing, said: “He told us how he was going to send officers to Tripoli to try and find out more.

“Anyone who tries to gather evidence from modern day Libya should be careful. The interim government wishes to place every conceivable blame on the Gaddafi administration.”

Reverend John Mosey, who lost his daughter, Helga, 19, in the bombing, added: “I would be extremely sceptical about what could be found in those blasted and burned out offices.

“The former regime probably shredded anything it had.”

The campaign group Justice for Megrahi, which wants an independent inquiry into the conviction, was scathing about the continued focus on Libya.

“As far as I am concerned, the conviction was a gross miscarriage of justice and the efforts the police and Crown Office are making to locate other Libyans who may have colluded in the bringing down of Pan Am flight 103 amount to little more than eye-wash,” said group secretary Robert Forrester.

But the Crown Office remains convinced Libya is key to their investigation. One man widely believed to know the secrets of the Gaddafi government is Moussa Koussa, who briefly sought refuge in the UK, following the Libyan revolution.

John Ashton, author of Megrahi: You are my Jury, and former FBI agent Richard Marquise – two men with very different views on whether Megrahi was guilty – have both said investigations should focus on the former intelligence chief.

In his book, Mr Ashton argued Megrahi could not have been the bomber because the timer used in the explosion contained a different coating to circuit boards sold to Libya.

Abdallah Senussi, Gaddafi’s brother-in-law and head of the intelligence services, who was Megrahi’s immediate boss, is another man the FBI have looked at in connection with Lockerbie.

Other potential suspects include Saeed Rashid, whom an FBI report previously claimed “managed a sustained Libyan effort to conduct terrorist attacks against US interests since the early-1980s”, and Izz Aldin Hinshiri, who was suspected of buying the trigger for the Lockerbie bomb.

4 comments:

ebol said...

MISSION LOCKERBIE, 2013 (google translation, german/english):

It seems finally to run something with a follow-up in the Lockerbie case. The two camera hearings, recently made by MEBO Ltd., were clearly part of the upcoming new examinations.

The following is interesting: before the dispute between Al-Megrahi and Hassan Badri, end of summer 1988, we (MeBo) have sent al Megrahi a telex, that engineer Ezzadin Hinshiri from Military Security/procurement, again was with a larger invoice amount in default- and whether he (al Megrahi) could help us, that the bill will get paid ?
He wrote back in his unfriendly telex - we no longer should come with such concerns to him (al Megrahi) he have nothing to do with these people ! (both telex in original are by police 'BUPO').

On this block, see also my commentary on Lockerbie: the current status
The Crucial "Badri Scenario" soon ready for further judicial investigations.
Which dirty role against Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and the ex Gadhafi regime, had Hassan Badri (ABH) played in the "Lockerbie Affair" ? Important - the "Lockerbie Affair" has to do anything with the "Pan Am 103 bombing"!
Where is Mr. Badri Hassan from earlier ABH Company now ? ....

by Edwin Bollier, MEBO of Ltd telecommunication Switzerland. URL: www.lockerbie.ch

in German language:

Es scheint endlich etwas zu laufen mit einer Nachuntersuchung im Lockerbie-Fall.
Die beiden kürzlich gemachten Kamera-Anhörungen, bei MEBO Ltd. waren klar Teil der kommenden neuen Untersuchungen.

Interessant ist noch folgendes: Vor dem Streit zwischen Al Megrahi und Hassan Badri, etwa Ende Sommer 1988, haben wir (MeBo) Abdelbaset al Megrahi einen Telex übermittelt, dass Ing. Ezzadin Hinshiri vom Military Security/Procurement, wieder mit einer grösseren Rechnungssumme in Verzug sei - und ob er (al Megrahi) uns wieder helfen könne, dass die Rechnung bezahlt werde?

In seinem unfreundlichen Telex schrieb er zurück - wir sollen nicht mehr mit solchen Anliegen zu ihm (al Megrahi) kommen- er hätte mit diesen Leuten nichts zu tun ! (beide Telexe sind im Original bei 'BUPO').

by Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd. Telecommunication Switzerland. URL: www.lockerbie.ch

Dave said...

Light hearted but serious, but have 7 names been listed for propagandist and physiological reasons?

For example, is there something convincing about naming 7 suspects that would seem unconvincing if only 3 or 6, but too many if 8?

And why no mention Mustafa Leek?

Rolfe said...

Was Libya involved in the Lockerbie bombing? I for one have no idea. Maybe it was.

However, they can find all the guilty Libyans they like, that doesn't negate the fact that the Libyan they put in jail for life was innocent.

baz said...

Obviously Musa Kusa is no longer in the frame. Of these seven suspects Mohamed Marzouk (real name Mohammed Al-Naydi) and Mansour Omran Saber, were, as the article indicates arrested in Senegal, supposedly in possession of explosives and timers (including MST-13 timers.)

What it doesn't mention is that astonishingly Saber was a Crown witness at Camp Zeist giving evidence on the 16th Nov 2000.

In Leppard's "On the Trail of Terror" page 214-5 Vinnie Cannistraro (amongst twaddle about parties in Damascus and Tripoli to celebrate the bombing) names these two as the culprits in the case!