Monday, 23 February 2015

The official case is now so thin that only concoctions can save it

What follows is an item originally posted on this blog four years ago on this date:

Ex-minister says Gadhafi ordered Lockerbie

[This is the headline over a news agency report from Associated Press. It reads in part:]

Swedish tabloid Expressen says Libya's ex-justice minister claims Moammar Gadhafi personally ordered the Lockerbie bombing that killed 270 people in 1988.

Expressen on Wednesday quoted Mustafa Abdel-Jalil as telling their correspondent in Libya that "I have proof that Gadhafi gave the order about Lockerbie." He didn't describe the proof.

Abdel-Jalil stepped down as justice minister to protest the violence against anti-government demonstrations.

He told Expressen Gadhafi gave the order to Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the only man convicted in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed all 259 people on board and 11 on the ground.

"To hide it, he (Gadhafi) did everything in his power to get al-Megrahi back from Scotland," Abdel-Jalil was quoted as saying. (...)

Expressen spokeswoman Alexandra Forslund said its reporter, Kassem Hamade, interviewed the ex-justice minister at "a local parliament in a large city in Libya." She didn't want to name the city, citing security concerns. (...)

Bob Monetti, of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, whose 20-year-old son Richard was killed in the bombing, said he's glad to hear a former official say what's been clear to him all along. He said officials and the media, especially in the UK, have been denying that.

"Ever since the trial, which was held in a totally obscure location in Holland and was covered by nobody, there's been a drumbeat in the UK about how this is a trumped up thing and Libya had nothing to do with it," he said. "If you went to the trial, there was no question about who did it and why, and who ordered it."

Monetti said he's been following coverage of the Libyan uprising closely.

"I can't wait until we see pictures of Gadhafi hanging by his heels," he said.

[A news agency report from The Press Association contains the following:]

The Scottish Government says it "never doubted" the safety of the conviction of the Lockerbie bomber following reports that Libyan leader Colonel Moammar Gaddafi ordered the attack. (...)

A Swedish newspaper reported that Col Gaddafi had personally ordered the bombing.

The Expressen said Libya's former justice secretary, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, told its correspondent in Libya: "I have proof that Gaddafi gave the order about Lockerbie.

"To hide it, he did everything in his power to get Megrahi back from Scotland." (...)

But the Scottish Government, which has repeatedly said Megrahi was only freed on compassionate grounds because of his terminal prostate cancer, said: "Ministers have never doubted the safety of the conviction."

[On this blog yesterday, the following was posted:]

What’s the betting that, sometime in the next few weeks, the following happens:

1. In the burned out ruins of a Libyan government building, someone finds definitive documentary ‘proof’ that Libya and Megrahi were responsible for Lockerbie, and/or

2. A Libyan official reveals, ‘we did it’.

The official case is now so thin that only such concoctions can save it (although it’s also crossed my mind that a prisoner will come forward who says ‘Megrahi confessed to me' – another hallmark of paper-thin cases).

[RB: Further blogposts relating to the Abdel-Jalil statement can be read here.]


  1. Amusing, is it not, that Jalil's statement was also delivered to BBC Newsnight on April 1st?