Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Who was really behind the Lockerbie bombing?

[This is the headline over an item on the Aljazeera website about its current Inside Story programme. It reads as follows:] 

As the world marks the 25th Lockerbie attack anniversary, we ask why there is no clarity on who was the perpetrator.

Commemorations have been held in the US, UK and Scotland to mark 25 years since Pan Am flight 103 crashed over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people. But after all these years, there are still questions about who was responsible for one the most infamous attacks in modern times.

The UK, US and Libyan governments have promised to work together to reveal the full facts of the bombing.

On December 21, 1988, the quaint Scottish town of Lockerbie was about to become the scene of one of the world's most infamous attacks.

The airliner had just left London's Heathrow airport – on its way to New York.

Less than half an hour after takeoff a bomb detonated, triggering an explosion and killing all 259 people on board. Most of the passengers were American while 11 others on the ground were also killed.

Three years later, a joint indictment by the US and Scotland implicated two Libyans for the bombing.

One of them was Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, who was accused of 270 counts of murder, conspiracy to murder and breach of aviation security.

In April 1999, the suspects, including al-Megrahi, surrendered and were flown from the Libyan capital, to the Netherlands, where the case was heard.

When the trial began in 2000, al-Megrahi pleaded not guilty but he was later convicted. In 2002, he re-launched an appeal which was unsuccessful and al-Megrahi started his life sentence behind bars in a Scottish prison.

The Libyan authorities formally accepted responsibility for the attack, and even paid out $2.7bn in compensation to the relatives of those killed. That move prompted the United Nations to lift its sanctions.

Six years into his prison sentence, it was revealed that al-Megrahi suffered from advanced prostate cancer. He was given just a short time to live, and on those grounds, a Scottish judge decided to free him. [RB: It was not a judge, but a Scottish Government minister.]

He arrived home to Libya to a hero's welcome, which upset people around the world and triggered international condemnation.

The last interview al-Megrahi gave, was while he was on his death bed in 2011.

He spoke about the man whose testimony helped convict him - Tony Gauci, a shopkeeper in Malta - who said Megrahi bought clothes in his store that were found wrapped around the bomb on the plane.

"If I have a chance to see him [Gauci] I am forgiving him. I would tell him that never in my entire life have I been in his shop. I never bought any clothing from him. And ... I would tell him ... that he dealt with me very wrongly," Megrahi said in his last interview.

Last year, the man known as the Lockerbie bomber died. Al-Megrahi has always said he is innocent, and his family, to this day, say they want an appeal against his sentence and demand the truth be revealed.

As the world remembers Lockerbie 25 years on, divisions remain between those who believe he was really guilty of the crime and those who do not.

So do we know who was really behind the bombing? Have investigators failed to nail the perpetrator? Was al-Megrahi a scapegoat? And how strong were the evidences that convicted al-Megrahi?

To discuss this, Inside Story presenter Folly Bah Thibault is joined by guests: Jim Swire, who lost his daughter in the bombing and led a high-profile campaign for justice on behalf of the UK victims' relatives; Richard Marquise, then head of FBI's task force on the Lockerbie investigation; Morag Kerr, the author of Adequately Explained by Stupidity? Lockerbie, Luggage and Lies; and Anas el-Gomati, the director general of Libya's first public policy think-tank Sadeq Institute.

[Today’s Aljazeera GMT schedule can be found here. The programme can be watched here on You Tube.]


  1. MISSION LIFE WITH LOCKERBIE, 2013 -- Go on ground to new facts... (google translation, german/english):

    If in the last few weeks, before the 25th Anniversary, in the "Lockerbie tragedy", in the media and through new documentary films, the effort was made, that the responsibility of Libya, for the bombing of PanAm 103, now will be exchanged in direction to IRAN - then following facts as "moral" exoneration for IRAN, should be noted, for the following reasons:

    Iran Air Flight 655 was a Flight from Bandar Abbas, Iran to Dubai. On 3 July 1988, at the end of the Iran–Iraq War, the airbus, flight, IR 655, was shot down over the Strait of Hormuz by SM-2MR surface-to-air missiles fired from the United States Navy guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes.
    The aircraft, which had been flying in Iranian airspace over Iran's territorial waters in the Persian Gulf on its usual flight path, was destroyed. All 290 on board, including 66 children and 16 crew, died.

    Ranking seventh among the deadliest disasters in aviation history, the incident retains the highest death toll of any aviation incident in the Indian Ocean and the highest death toll of any incident involving an Airbus A300 anywhere in the world.
    The incident continued to overshadow U.S.-Iran relations for many years.

    Following the explosion of PanAm 103 flight, six months later, the British and American governments initially blamed the PFLP-GC, a Palestinian militant group backed by Syria, with assumptions of assistance from Iran in retaliation for Iran Air Flight 655. The blame was later shifted to Libya.

    Vice President George H. W. Bush (later President of United States of America) declared a month later, "I will never apologize for the United States of America, ever. I don't care what the facts are." (Newsweek, August 15, 1988).
    A new documentary,film "Death flight PanAm 103 - the mystery at Lockerbie" - presented on 11 December 2013, in the Swiss TV, show following new factual Information:

    The authors Christoph Caron and Carl-Ludwig Paeschke said we have found some witnesses who, have often been silent for years and lead their statements on a track that the official investigations have neglected a very early age - the direction to Iran:
    A witness of this is the former Iranian intelligence officer and defector Abolghassem Mesbahi. He confirmed in an interview - that the attack was an act of *revenge - on behalf of Ayatollah Khomeini.

    Continued below >>>

  2. Continued >>>

    Based on the formula of lex talionis, Suhre 5.45: life for life - an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth - from IRAN, was planned alleged a revenge for the shooting down of the IranAir 655, with 290 deaths, by the United States. According to IRAN's plan was - to perform a preferably same scenario for destroying a U.S. airliners over the sea, with about similar number of victims, on a *holiday (in before Christmas time, on December 21, 1988.

    *Under holiday was meant the SOLSTICE, on 21 December - "Schab e Yalda". The (Yalda Night) is one of the oldest festivals in the Iranian culture.
    With a familiar announcement to the United States, because of the annihilation of the IranAir 655 (290 dead person) and a call for revenge: "It will blood raining from the sky etc.." USA was warned official, via the western mainstream media and the international TV stations.
    By the time delay due to a changed flight path over the Atlantic to New York and a storm blew up (200 Km/hr.) - the IED-bomb with compression ignition , exploded not over the sea, but over land, near Lockerbie ...

    Revenge is an act which is to effect the balance of previously alleged or actual suffer wrong. Often it is in revenge for a physical or psychological violence. From the crime it is distinguished by the legality of the archaic law.

    In the archaic society is the right to revenge on the opposite side of the loss of any rights. This loss occurs automatically with the iniquity which attracts the revenge after themselves. From some sort of verdict is not required. Sura 2.178 f makes the retribution bid for all Muslims binding:
    "O you who believe! Is prescribed for you in the homicide Retaliation."

    In 1996, the United States and Iran reached "an agreement in full and final settlement of all disputes, differences, claims, counterclaims" relating to the incident at the International Court of Justice.
    As part of the settlement, the United States agreed to pay total only US$ 61.8 million, an average of US$ 213'103.45 per passenger, in compensation to the families of the Iranian victims. However, the United States has never admitted responsibility, nor apologized to Iran.

    The Tragedy of Lockerbie give even, after 25 years still mystery's on which are unbearable until today. The families of the victims of PanAm 103, Abdelbaset al Megrahi, Libya, AirMalta and the finaziell injured person, like Edwin Bollier and MEBO Ltd company, have a right to true facts !

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

  3. Marquise thought Jim Swire's comments at the Abbey were "excellent". Interesting.

  4. Marquise has always had an great element of common sense and remains one of the most likeable guys. I wonder what he really thinks about the case.

    Too bad that he doesn't take the steps into discussing the evidence.

    He would have the background and power to make history, instead he does what we all expect a genuine FBI guy to do. Deny, suppress, ignore.

    What a missed chance.
    So far, at least. I have not given up hope for him.

    Jo, really good to see you back, BTW. Steady on.

  5. Jo G

    Alas yes, and I wonder who gave Jim Swire the Swedish address?

  6. MISSION LIFE WITH LOCKERBIE, 2013 -- Go on ground to new facts... (google translation, german/english):

    In the interview with AlJazeera, topic: "Who what really behind the Lockerbie bombing"?
    It is striking that the former FBI Special Agent Richard Maquise, led the U.S. task force which included the FBI Department of Justice and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) - mainly clings firmly in the "white lie": "I, Abdelbaset al Megrahi, was NOT in Malta, but in Tripoli on 20 and 21 December 1988 !
    All other, alleged evidence material was stated in earlier time, have been indicated by Mr. Marquise, only in a torrent "Aura Imaging" (evaporates)...

    Supported on the status of Megrahi's statements to his lawyers and to the police before (1998) - before the trial (2000) in Kamp van Zeist - visited Abdelbaset al Megrahi actually Malta, between the 20-21 December 1988, with a second Libyan passport in the name of "Ahmed Khalifa Abdusamad".

    Megrahi's "white lie": "I was NOT in Malta but in Tripoli...", was pronounced for fear to will bring him into connection as a suspicious person, with the purchase of clothes by Tony Gauci in Malta and the bombing on PanAm 103.
    The Access of Megrahi's "white lie" must by clarified, by a psychologist (presumably in favor of al Megrahi) as a normal reaction amid such allegations.
    Today, it is clear that the visit of al Megrahi in Malta, nothing have to do with the alleged clothes purchase by Tony Gauci, and with the alleged smuggle in, of a "bomb bag" on the Air Malta, flight, KM 188 !...
    Justice for the late Abdelbaset al Megrahi and Libya.


    Im Interview auf Al-Jazeera, Thematik: "Wer war wirklich hinter der Lockerbie Bombardierung"? - Fällt auf, dass der frühere FBI Spezial-Agent Richard Marquise, der die US-Task-Force leitete, die das FBI-Departement für Justiz und der Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) verband - sich heute hauptsächlich an der "Notlüge" von Abdelbaset al-Megrahi festklammert: "Ich Abdelbaset al Megrahi, bin am 20./ 21. Dezember 1988, NICHT in Malta, sondern in Tripoli gewesen..."!

    Alle anderen, früher vorgehaltenen materiellen Beweise, wurden von Mr. Marquis nur noch unspezifiziert, in einem Schwall von "Aura Imaging" angedeutet... (verdampft)...
    Abgestützt auf den Stand von Megrahi's Aussagen, bei seinen Rechtsanwälten und zuvor bei der Polizei (1998) - vor dem Prozess (2000) in Kamp van Zeist - besuchte Abdelbaset al Megrahi tatsächlich Malta, zwischen dem 20./21. Dezember 1988, mit einem zweiten Libyschen Passport, auf den Namen "Ahmed Khalifa Abdusamad".
    Ich glaube der Ursprung und die Nutzung einer "Notlüge", wie die von al Megrahi, "ich war NICHT in Malta sondern in Tripoli...", wurde ausgesprochen aus Angst, als verdächtige Person, mit dem Kleider Kauf bei Tony Gauci, in Malte und dem Attentat auf PanAm 103, mit 270 Opfern, in Verbindung gebracht zuwerden.
    Der Zugriff auf eine "Notlüge" unter solchen Behaupungen, muss durch einen Psychologen (vermutlich zu Gunsten von al Megrahi) als normale verständliche Reaktion, entlastend gewerted werden.
    Heute ist klar, dass der Besuch von al Megrahi in Malta, nichts mit dem angeblichen Kleider Kauf, bei Tony Gauci, und der Einschleusung eines "Bomben Koffer" auf den Flug, AirMalta KM-180, zu tun haben konnte!
    Gerechtigkeit für den verstorbenen Abdelbaset al Megrahi und Libyen.

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

  7. I liked Richard Marquise and exchanged a few cordial e-mails with him. When he debated Ludwig de Braeckeleer I thought Marquise got the better of the exchange although Professor de Braeckeleer hadn't grasped "the Heathrow origin". Couldn't pin Mr Marquise down on this though so gave up.

    Was it Libya, Iran or the PFLP-GC? Or did the authorities, for quite intelligible reasons, collude in the bombing? Even Charles Norrie, one of the "tin-foil" people got this.