Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Lockerbie bombing: Libya visit 'positive'

[This is the headline over a report published this afternoon on the BBC News website.  It reads in part:]

The Lord Advocate has said meetings with senior members of the Libyan congress to discuss the Lockerbie bombing case were "extremely positive".

Frank Mulholland QC led a delegation of Scottish and US law enforcement officers and prosecutors to Tripoli this week.

It followed the announcement by the Libyan Attorney General that he had appointed two prosecutors to the case.

The visit was a chance for them to meet their Scottish and US counterparts.

Mr Mullholland said there was a commitment from the Libyan authorities to progress the investigation.

"Requests for assistance in the investigation have been made to the Libyan authorities and information has been provided to the Libyan prosecutors to assist them in their understanding of the case," he added.

"Discussions focussed on the need for a framework of co-operation in terms of mutual legal assistance and the Libyan criminal procedure code.

"It was agreed that there will be regular meetings to assess developments and progress."

[This is becoming boring. Every few weeks there is an announcement about Libyan cooperation with Scottish/UK/US Lockerbie investigators. The fruits of such “cooperation” so far? Zilch. Here is what I wrote on an earlier occasion:]

As I have said before, if the "new investigation" limits itself to seeking evidence of Libyan responsibility for Lockerbie, it is likely to prove futile.  Closed minds are the last thing that a true and meaningful investigation requires.


  1. All,

    In August of last year, Iain Mckie, Prof Black and I were informed by CC Shearer, the SIO of our JFM allegations, that he had identified a conflict between our allegations 5, 6 and 7 and the Crown Office's 'live' inquiry in its attempts to incriminate further Libyans alongside Mr al-Megrahi for the destruction of 103. As a consequence of this, he had discussed the matter with COPFS producing the result that those allegations were frozen. At the same encounter, DCC Shearer refused to say who the SIO of the Crown Office's inquiries was when asked.

    In a letter to the Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament immediately prior to its consideration of JFM's petition 1370 (on 24th September last year), DCC Shearer informed the JC that he anticipated that the conflict would be resolved in a matter of weeks. JC Conver Christine Grahame said at the session that weeks were weeks and that she did not expect it to take months. By the time of the next consideration of 1370, on 18th February, JFM and the JC will have been awaiting news from Police Scotland for just shy of 5 months.

    Patrick Shearer retired in October of last year. As of today, Police Scotland have failed to inform JFM whether a new SIO has been appointed.

    Allegations 5, 6 and 7 all relate to the shard of PCB whose provenance has now been established to be something entirely different to what was presented at Zeist. The scientists who conducted the tests that demonstrated this have never been approached by COPFS for their evidence.

    Call me naïve if you will, however, I always had this rather quaint notion that the function of COPFS was to serve the interests of justice instead of defending the reputation of its own establishment. Hey ho.

    Moreover, Not only is Police Scotland riding roughshod over JFM but over the Justice Committee too. Is this the conduct we can expect from an organisation that has some 1,200 plus more officers than it had in 2007 when asked to investigate serious criminal allegations in a case involving 270 murders? Apparently yes. Deary me.

    But the tourists still think we have nice scenery, so that's alright then.

    Robert (Sec. JFM).

  2. Well that press release says absolutely nothing. Eyewash and flannel.

    This is very reminiscent of the search for Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

  3. The mere fact that of the two indicted, only one was convicted (on largely manufactured evidence, as affidavits in the late 2000s from various trial witnesses revealed) is itself sufficient to set aside the original verdict. Who indicts someone with no evidence of their guilt, and then (logically) has to release them?

    More to the point, the original case rested primarily on the idea that the one individual convicted (wrongly) had to have loaded his explosive mechanism from two airports away, and timed it in such a way as it would explode once the final flight left. The amount of permutation and other unknown variables involved in such a strategy - not to mention that all baggage leaving Malta and Frankfurt were accounted for - would make it an entirely inefficient and unlikely strategy from a terroristic standpoint. If it was an altemeter, then the bomb would've gone off after the first two flights, simple. So the most sensible, and likely, theory is the most straightforward. Occam's Razor. A suitcase was loaded onto the cargo container in Heathrow, a timer set, and the rest is history. It isn't such an impossible achievement - far easier than the convoluted and phantasmagorical plot put forward by the prosecution (under US pressure). Think of how many times you've looked out the departures gates windows and seen baggage handlers throwing suitcases onto cargo containers metres away from aircraft. Especially back in 1988, with few security checks and cameras around, all it would take would be a venal airport worker to accept an extra suitcase from an unknown source and toss it into the plane. That's what happened. As for who did it, it was Megrahi or his co-defendant, neither of whom were in England or had any involvement in the case. We'll likely never know who was behind it, but Western intelligence agencies have been loathe to release any paperwork relating to their involvement in the case - a significant fact to think about.

  4. Note: In the last paragraph, "it was" was intended as "it wasn't."

  5. Wrongful Convictions Blog

  6. Well, a terrorist attack where the bomb is loaded on an earlier flight and then transferred isn't unknown. Air India 182 was brought down in exactly that way. However there were two crucial differences. First, the plane disappeared way out over the Atlantic in just the location you'd expect with that modus operandi, and second, after the event the passenger and baggage records showed exactly how it had been done. In the case of PA103, the crash was hours earlier than anyone would set a timer for to achieve the same result, and the records at Malta showed no possible way the case could have got on that plane.

    There were several unaccounted-for items of luggage in the records at Frankfurt, but the paperwork was incomplete and confusing, and the proposition that these records showed the bomb transiting from Malta is simply wrong.

    As for tossing baggage into the plane - that suitcase was very carefully positioned, and the inference that the person who put it in the container knew exactly what he was doing is difficult to avoid. There's no known evidence to incriminate any of the airport staff in this incident, but it would not have been difficult for someone to have interfered with the container while their backs were turned.

    But yes, the bomb was introduced at Heathrow, and the forensic evidence shows that - if you look at the results in their entirety. How they managed to miss that in 1989-90 is a complete mystery to me.