Monday, 18 November 2013

‘Malta must clear its name over Lockerbie’

[This is the headline over an article in yesterday’s edition of the Sunday Post. It reads as follows:]

Father’s plea over evidence against al-Megrahi.

Lockerbie campaigner Dr Jim Swire has urged the government of Malta to clear their nation’s name of any involvement in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

Dr Swire — who lost his daughter Flora in the disaster — has had high-level talks with the Mediterranean island’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. Foreign Minister George Vella also attended the summit.

Dr Swire wants the Maltese to seek a review of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi’s conviction.

In 2001, the Libyan was convicted of killing all 243 passengers on the Pan Am plane as well as 16 crew and 11 people who died on the ground as debris rained down on Lockerbie.

During the trial — heard by a Scottish court specially convened at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands — the prosecution argued that al-Megrahi planted the bomb in Malta. 

The Pan Am jet had flown from the Maltese capital Valetta to Frankfurt in Germany before arriving at Heathrow to pick up passengers bound for New York and Detroit. [RB: What was actually alleged was that the bomb was in an unaccompanied case sent from Malta on Air Malta flight KM 180 to Frankfurt and then transferred onto a feeder flight to Heathrow where it was finally loaded on to Pan Am 103.]

Dr Swire said: “Twenty- five years after the murder of my daughter, the truth is still withheld from us by politicians here and in America.

“Their version of events has put Malta in a bad light because the al-Megrahi sentence holds that Malta was involved. I’m sure it was not.

“The Maltese authorities could clear the name of their island by calling for an appeal through the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission.”

In 2007, the Commission referred the case of al-Megrahi — who died last year — to the Court of Appeal after concluding that key evidence relating to Malta was unsound.

The original trial heard that baby clothing traced to the Mary’s House store in Silema, Malta, was believed to have been wrapped around the bomb.

Shop owner Tony Gauci was a key witness at Camp Zeist and identified al-Megrahi — head of security with Libyan-Arab Airlines and suspected of being a Libyan intelligence officer — as the customer who bought the baby clothes.

It later emerged senior investigators from the US Department of Justice had recommended Gauci be paid $2 million for testifying.

[RB: The vitally important point is not that Gauci received payment after the trial, but that (as the diaries of Scottish police officer Harry Bell establish) he was enquiring about payment before the trial took place and the US authorities were indicating that very large sums were available for him.]

Dr Swire was accompanied to the summit by Robert Forester of the Justice for Megrahi Committee. Robert described the meetings as “absolutely superb”.

Dr Swire added: “After all this time, the people of Malta are still interested in this case. I think that is because there is real doubt about the verdict.”

“I am also interested in getting as many people as possible to look at the evidence, because people who actually look seem to come to the same conclusion as I have done.

“This wasn’t right. This guy was scapegoated. He didn’t come to Malta with the bomb. He didn’t put it on board at Luqa. It was put on board at Heathrow Airport in London.

“The Prime Minister and Mr Vella listened very intently to what I had to say and that is the most we could hope for.”

Al-Megrahi was convicted in 2002, but died in Libya in 2012 having been controversially released from Greenock Prison on compassionate grounds almost three years earlier.


  1. There was an out of court settlement establishing that the ‘bomb’ wasn’t boarded at Luqa, but Malta still has an interest in overturning the Zeist judgement to make that official.

    But at what price, because clearing one’s own name by implicating Heathrow and Pan Am security will not endear Malta to US/UK.

    Better for Jim Swire and JfM to only say that Malta/Luqa is innocent and leave the truth for a public enquiry, particularly as the Heathrow theory is no stronger than the Luqa fantasy.


  2. MISSION LIFE WITH LOCKERBIE, 2013 -- Go on ground to new facts... (google translation, german/english):
    MALTA must clear its name in connection with the 'Lockerbie-Tragedy'.

    Sufficient evidence are available that no unaccompanied suitcase with Air Malta Flight KM 180 (21 Dec. 1988) - was transported from Malta via Frankfurt to Heathrow, to PanAm 103 !

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

  3. The evidence that there was a bomb is utterly overwhelming (and it does not simply depend on Hayes and Feraday).

    I have until now been patient with bomb deniers, notwithstanding their complete failure to engage with the evidence that conflicts with their stance. No longer. Dave's is the last such contribution that will be accepted on this blog.

  4. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Either there was a bomb (IED, call it what you like) in the bottom front left-hand corner of baggage container AVE4041 which damaged a couple of dozen pieces of luggage and the container itself, and blew a small hole in the fuselage, or else someone went out on the night of the 21st and took away all the original plane debris, replacing it with debris from a plane which was destroyed in that way.

    A very large number of pieces of debris were recovered over a wide area, which fit together to show there was an explosion right there. A large number of people saw these pieces of debris when they were recovered, with their own eyes. The pieces were all photographed in great detail, and the photographs are available to view.

    And best of all, when you put the bits together properly, something which Hayes and Feraday apparently didn't bother to do, it shows quite conclusively that the bomb was in the suitcase John Bedford saw at Heathrow before the flight from Frankfurt landed. Without any doubt whatsoever. This is exactly what Hayes and Feraday were at pains to declare didn't happen. Kind of funny sort of fabrication exercise that would fake up evidence showing the opposite of what the conspirators wanted to show.

  5. Some snipe from the sidelines hidden by the anonymity of the Net, others take action openly, publicly, constructively and at their own personal cost (and I do not just mean financial, though that comes into it too).

  6. Announcing the future potential moderation of Dave, who spend considerable time here (otherwise I would not bother), is not to be taken lightly.

    And as admin in other contexts, I have faced this issue a couple of times myself and so the matter interests me a lot.

    It should!
    We are at the very essence of the responsible management of information, the lack of which is the major source some very serious problems in the word.

    So while is is off-topic and became long, I give my own thoughts below, for those who might care.

    - - -

    Every administrator of a publication is likely to face the problem of "free speech" vs "maintaining a level".

    In some forums you will see people
    - copying-and-pasting the same page again and again
    - using the forum to discuss off-topic matters
    - repeating points of view again and again, regardless of whether they were answered earlier.
    - flaming others

    Oops. The "free speech" became the opposite: suppression and washout of considerate people's contributions.

    The forum easily becomes a poster column advertising matters, that the administrator finds diluting and misleading.
    People willing to spam the same stuff again and again unfortunately inversely correlates with those being the most willing to discuss the details.

    (I couldn't help thinking about your “Crown” in this context.“The conviction was safe”, vs. the countless contributors willing to discuss evidence -
    - who all has the opposite opinion [with very countable exceptions: Richard Marquise and (once upon a time) the trial judges – did I forget any]?)


  7. RB writes on the front page:

    "Readers are invited to comment on blog posts. All comments require to be pre-moderated by me, and I shall reject all (a) that are not related to the Lockerbie disaster or (b) that fail to meet my -- perhaps idiosyncratic -- standards of courtesy towards other contributors. Comments will not be rejected simply because I disagree with them or because I, or other contributors, find them irritating."

    All of us regular posters are in violation at times. (If you read this, you hereby have seen an example of [a])

    'Relevancy' is not sufficient, as it does not catch repeated postings or “spammed” opinions. [b] can, with some stretch be applied, but I have preferred something like:

    "I only allow postings that contributes to a flow of continuously developing information about (topic)"

    as this is exactly what it is all about, which is why it works well.

    - - -

    It is an interesting old trick to torment the moderator by mixing the mantra with something new and considerate. Moderator be strong: If too much mantra and too little new and considerate – out it goes!

    - - -

    Dear Dave!

    you have the opinion that other explanations that a bomb was the likely reason for the fall of panam103.

    You are exactly as entitled to that opinion as anyone else to his.

    However, nothing seems to develop at all. You leave important (IMHO) questions unanswered.
    You don't seem to care about discussing the evidence in any dept, which in my opinion can be argued to falls under [b] of above, and would fall well under my [a].

    The matters pointed out by Rolfe above has been raised how many times? 10? 20?

    You think differently about evidence, in comparison with, IMHO, most other people, otherwise you'd not be able to have your points of views.

    Again, that is your right, but did you note the IMHOs above? This is essentially what it is all about, and here is the last one.

    IMHO some of your postings are harmful, without respect, forcing other contributors to either repeat one more time the answers (which is invariably more laborious than making claims) or leave your statement standing unanswered for anyone who might visit the blog.

    Absolutely not supportive for a flow of continuously developing information about Lockerbie. Out they go!

    Some moderators have the option to move contributions to "Alternative Points of View" and that would be preferable.

    But I don't believe that this option exist here, and without that option, I support the removal of repeated points of views where the repeater does not seem to care about, or respond to the answers provided.0

    Thank you for the many interesting postings you also make.

    Note that, however unfair, also that other interests than strictly the “flow of continuously developing information” may apply.
    Otherwise I know at least one more person around here who'd need moderation too.

  8. Quincey Riddle,

    Far from it, I contacted in my own name all MSPs and most Scottish councillors articulating my view point and believe this helped keep PE1370 alive.

  9. With friends like that, who needs enemies?

  10. You are exactly as entitled to that opinion as anyone else to his.

    "You are entitled to your own opinion. You are not entitled to your own facts." (Daniel Patrick Moynihan)

    This is Dave's problem. There may be many opinions about what happened that night, or perhaps more pertinently what happened beore and after that night. We can discuss these in a civilised and respectful manner, take on board the thoughts of others and perhapd modify our own viewpoints.

    Dave however spends all his time ignoring actual facts, clinging to a theory of the disaster posted on the internet by someone who has obviously not seen much of the important evidence. It's impossible to have a sensible discussion with someone who cannot accept factual information when it is provided to him.

  11. "You are entitled to your own opinion. You are not entitled to your own facts."
    I love that one! Thank you!