Saturday, 6 December 2014

First public mention of Lockerbie "star witness" Giaka

[What follows is an article that appeared fifteen years ago today on The Pan Am 103 Crash Website run by Safia Aoude:]

Senior Scottish prosecutors in the Lockerbie bombing case, led by the prosecutor Norman McFadyen, have recently visited the United States to interview a witness who claims to have seen the two Libyan defendants prepare the bomb, according to the British newspaper The Independent. The identity of the mystery witness a Libyan is known to The Independent and has been protected since the man went into hiding in the US in 1992 or earlier. His credibility will be crucial to the full trial, and The Independent did not print his name.

However, this website can reveal that the mystery witness is former Libyan citizen Abdulmajeed Jaeeka. [RB: He is now usually referred to as Abdul Majid Giaka.] He is number one on the witness list of the prosecution, and his address is the US Justice Department in Washington. The witness insisted on dressing as a woman while being questioned recently by Scottish defense attorneys! [RB: It is instructive that this supposedly crucial prosecution witness was precognosced by the defence before he was ever interviewed by the Crown. This nicely illustrates the extent to which the decision to prosecute and the preparation of the prosecution were in the hands of the US Justice Department rather that the Scottish Crown Office.]

Mr Jaeeka has been in a US witness protection programme in undisclosed locations in America since at least 1992. He claims to know the two Libyan defendants, who worked at the Libyan Arab Airlines (LAA) office in Malta, from which the prosecution alleges the bombing was masterminded. Mr Fhimah was working as station manager for LAA in Malta; Mr Megrahi was chief of the security service's airline security division. When the aircraft blew up Jaeeka is said to have been terrified and to have defected. According to The Independent, Mr Jaeeka is believed to have walked into the US Embassy in Rome as a defector.

According to other sources, Mr Jaeeka was simply at that time already showing mental break-up. In 1988 Mr Jaeeka was allegedly undergoing treatment for mental distability following alcoholic abuse. According to the source, Mr Jaeeka did not enter the Libyan embassy in Rome [RB: Surely "US embassy" is meant] as a defector, but he did leave it as such, following a physical attack on the Libyan ambassador in his office. [RB: I do not follow this. In any event it conflicts with the version of Giaka's defection given at the trial.]

Mr McFadyen took a pre-trial statement from the witness, which will be used in the case against the two Libyan defendants. The witness has been in almost total seclusion for at least eight years, fuelling speculation that he may be in a delicate mental state. The Crown Office in Edinburgh, which represents the prosecution, has declined to comment on its contacts with the witness. The defence team will also be allowed to meet the witness.

The indictment against the alleged bombers who were first named three years after the explosion depends heavily on this man's testimony. Under Scottish law, there should be at least one other witness, to corroborate his testimony. About one third of the people on the 1,000-strong witness list come from the US, and many, like the key witness, have their addresses as the US Justice Department in Washington. Most are FBI Agents but there are thought to be others on the witness protection programme. Like the Libyan witness, they are expected to give their testimony to the trial in the Netherlands from behind a screen. It is yet unclear, whether the Scottish judges will allow anonymous witnesses and/or secret evidence in the trial.

The defence will aim to undermine his credibility by showing that he was either misled or is not telling the truth. But the main focus of their case will be that someone else a Middle Eastern group was directly responsible for the destruction of the aircraft.

[RB: The Zeist judges ultimately assessed Giaka as a wholly incredible witness. Read more about him and the Crown’s dealings concerning him here.]

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