Sunday, 18 August 2013

Living in the shadow of Lockerbie

[This is the headline over a long profile by Michael Russell of Dr Jim Swire which appeared yesterday on the website of the West Highland Free Press. It is full of fascinating information about his life and family background.  The passages that follow are those that relate to the Lockerbie affair:]

Obviously, inevitably, we talk about Lockerbie. Since losing his beloved daughter Flora in that atrocity almost 25 years ago, Dr Jim Swire has thought about little else.

“It has been difficult, but I try to keep my campaigning on Lockerbie within certain bounds,” he tells me at the family’s home-from-home in Orbost, north Skye. “I have to try to remain a human being, in spite of all this.”

That effort involves regular breaks at Leobost, the house that Jim built in the 1970s in an area where he spent a much of his childhood. (...)

After Eton, it was off on national service and his first brush with terrorism.

“I was sent out to Cyprus and the Greeks under Archbishop Makarios were killing British soldiers whenever they could. I saw what happened to morale in our regiment when someone was killed. Our sympathies were with the Turks so when I was on night patrol you went to the Turkish part — it was safe there.”

Talk of terrorism brings Lockerbie to Jim’s mind; I suspect it’s always there, waiting to erupt.  We spend the next 10 minutes discussing timers, break-ins, and geopolitics.

To summarise a horrendous quarter-century of heartbreak, struggle and dogged persistence is, on the face of it, quite simple. Libyan Abdelbaset al-Megrahi didn’t plant the bomb onboard Pan Am Flight 103 — Iranian proxies did, in revenge for the shooting down earlier in 1988 of an Iranian airliner.

Jim’s own journey has taken him from being a “cloth cap-doffing member of the establishment” to having no faith whatsoever in politicians or the judicial system. And behind it all he still misses his daughter.

“She really was a smasher,” he says. “She loved Skye. She came up here on holiday at every opportunity and would go cycling round the island. And when I think of her joking and laughing, walking down through the departure gate, not knowing that just a few hours before there was a break-in at the airport…”

He stops himself before he gets too upset. (...)

In the early 1960s, after achieving the necessary A level grades in evening classes, Jim went to medical school in Birmingham.

“I wanted to do something that benefited humanity. I wanted to use my manual skills and people skills, which weren’t that bright because of my strange, lonely upbringing here. I led a very isolated childhood. I enjoyed it in my own way but it left me not a natural mixer.

“But medicine was perfect because in a medical situation you get people coming to see you because they want some skill that you have got so you don’t need the normal meeting skills  as the situation is already structured for you. The role is already cast for you, and I made some good friends through it.”

His first and only practice as a GP was in Bromsgrove, just a few miles south of Birmingham. This is where Jim and Jane have their permanent home. Their remaining children, William and Catherine, live near Edinburgh and Malvern, Worcestershire, respectively and have children of their own.

In 1991 Jim left the Bromsgrove practice and the medical profession when Lockerbie — first as he tried to bring the Libyans to justice, and then as a post-verdict convert — took over his life. He thinks, however, that his time in the front line of campaigning is drawing to a close.

“We’ll see what happens with e-petition 1370,” he says. “It’s in the hands of the Justice For Megrahi group now.”

Jim hinted that a major revelation would coincide with this December’s 25th anniversary of the bombing. Perhaps he’ll finally be able to lay the past to rest before too long.


  1. MISSION LOCKERBIE, 2013 (doc. nr. 9995.rtf):

    Ordered the former FBI Special Agent Richard Marquise, ex cordinator and task force chief, between the FBI and CIA in the "Lockerbie affair" - to block again - the link to the documentary film "Lockerbie Revisited" by Gideon Levy ?
    MEBO announces the new link:

    A sea of lies:
    The FBI's Richard Marquise responded to this summary of the film 'Lockerbie Revisited' as follows:
    "Gideon -- sorry we did not have more time to chat when you were in Washington and frankly talking at the Cemetrery was pprobably not the best thing to do. I just want to clarify one thing-- per your question to me re PT-35.
    I cannot recall exactly what I said last Sommer when we spocke, but I recall I told you I would not lie to you PT-35 did come to Washington-- in the possession of the actual position of Allen Feraday, in June 1991.
    The timer was in Washington but never in the control or possession of the FBI. Hope this clarifies what we talked about.
    Dick Marquise.
    Please compare the statements of FBI expert Tom Thurmann on the Introductory video on URL- Link:

    Richard Marquise answered Gideon Levy's question:

    G.L.: Would you have a case if you wouldn't have these evidence (MST-13 timer)?
    R.M.: Would we have a case. It would be a very dificult case to prove. It would be a very dificult case to prove ... I don't think we would ever had an indictment.
    And he said also: But I can tell you that now money was paid to any witness, any witness prior to the trial. No promise of money was made to any witness prior to the trial.
    G.L.: And was there paid any money after he trial? R.M.: I'm not gonna answer that.
    And he said: If someone manipulated evidence, if somebody didn't invesitgate something that should have been investigated, if somebody twisted it to fit up Megrahi or Fimah or Libya, then that person will go to jail. I mean that sincerely, that person should be prosecuted for that.

    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd Telecommunication Switzerland. Webpage:

  2. "Jim’s own journey has taken him from being a “cloth cap-doffing member of the establishment” to having no faith whatsoever in politicians or the judicial system. "

    Interesting feature Robert Black, thanks for posting.

    If Jim Swire lost his faith in the political and judicial establishments I still feel convinced that our media could have come to the rescue by wanting the truth behind Lockerbie as much as Jim did and demanding that very thing in banner headlines.

    Alas, our media, for reasons it has kept private, failed all of us on Lockerbie.

    We had to suffer prominent "journalists" like Linklater ridiculing those who were trying to get to the truth. We had the media ignoring clear evidence that the Megrahi trial and verdict were seriously flawed. And we had Linklater awarded a CBE for "Services to Journalism". I think, rather, his award was for services to the Establishment for he is no journalist.

    Having seen his contempt displayed very clearly and so publicly last year in Edinburgh when he openly mocked Jim Swire and others on the stage I felt utter despair over what the UK media now is. On Lockerbie it has joined the judicial and political Establishments in taking the view that the truth behind so many deaths just doesn't matter.

    Shame on them all for sure, but shame on the media especially for it is the job of the media to hold the other two to account.


    Behind the Lockerbie Affair conceals a high-explosive and -political criminal case.
    Involved into this dirty case, are well known officials, including from Scotland and Great Britain.
    Suspiciously - therefore also BBC had to banish a crucial movie from the Internet: "The Conspiracy Files - Lockerbie". This movie is part for the truth recovery !

    By the way: The last offer from BBC MOTION GALLERY:

    Dear Edwin,
    Sorry for my late reply. If it is online for free please estimate something between 3k and 4k for 12 months, just on your specific website.
    All the best,
    Christian Tsambikakis

    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd Telecommunication Switzerland. Webpage:

  4. It seems that Richard Marquise has not moved on from the position he laid out in the interview with Gideon Levy which Edwin quoted from. While the rest of the world now accepts that money was paid to the Gaucis, Richard continues to do the "three monkeys" trick, saying "if it happened nobody told me." Presumably he didn't think to ask. We know from DCI Harry Bell's report to his superiors early in 1991 that Tony Gauci was already expressing an interest in receiving money for his evidence and had been made aware of the American scheme. We are also aware that Tony's brother, Paul, was expressing similar interest in a cash reward at this time. The pattern of Tony's laughable, developing identifications of Megrahi certainly suggests coaching from some quarter and coaching suggests some sort of cash deal.