Saturday, 18 July 2015

"I will never understand your motives or your methods"

[In an email of 16 July 2015 addressed to Dr Jim Swire and me, Frank Duggan, President of the US Lockerbie relatives organization Victims of Pan Am Flight 103 Inc wrote: “Prof Black and Dr Swire. Even if you honestly believe that Gadhafi had nothing to do with the Lockerbie bombing, he certainly did enough to lead this list of monsters. I will never understand your motives or your methods.”

The “list of monsters” refers to the Evolution of Evil television series, particularly the programme Gaddafi: Mad Dog of the Middle East.

What follows is the text of Dr Swire’s reply to Mr Duggan, dated 17 July:]

Dear Frank,
I agree with your statement (copied below) that:-
" I (Frank Duggan) will never understand your (Jim Swire's et al) motives or your methods."
My motive is so simple and has been so many times stated that it is clear you are unable to understand that it is simply to know the truth - which includes as much of the truth about what my Government and yours really know as can be forced from their unwilling grasp.
That is my motive: what is yours in maintaining adherence to the story accepted by the Zeist court?
Where were you as the evidence unfolded? Were you there?
I was.
As for my methods they are to question those directly involved wherever possible and make an assessment upon what they say.
Therefore my motive in repeatedly meeting with Gaddafi and other Arab leaders was to see what they had to say and more significantly to try to persuade them to send the accused for trial under Scottish law.
Of course the likes of Nelson Mandela (did you ever meet him? - I did) were of far greater importance than we could ever hope to be, but at least we did our utmost to persuade the late Colonel to send them over.
Did you try to do that?
In the case of Gaddafi I decided that he was inscrutable and that I could never find out what he did or did not know. That is why if you review all that I have said, you will find that since the Zeist trial I have never claimed to know whether he was involved or not, only to being sure (largely courtesy of the Zeist trial evidence) that his man Megrahi was not involved.
I confess that before the trial I believed him to be involved and I wanted his men to be tried, in order to learn the truth. This was wrong in so far as all accused are entitled to a presumption of innocence, but my Government had told me that there was irrefutable evidence about Libyan involvement but none about any other country. I was naive and that is my excuse
As early as February 1989 I had been shown a detailed warning received by the UK Government from the West German BKA in October 1988. It showed that the PFLP-GC of Damascus had perfected bombs which were inert at ground level but, having no user adjustments except an arming plug, on sensing the drop in pressure as an aircraft climbs, they were committed to exploding around 35, plus or minus five, minutes following take off.
Such devices had to be infiltrated at the airport of take off of the target flight, in this case Heathrow: if inserted at Frankfurt they would explode over Europe before reaching Heathrow. All this was repeated with further details by Herr Gobel during the Zeist trial.
Perhaps you remember that the Lockerbie flight lasted 38 minutes from take off?
If you re-examine the evidence led by Mr Bedford, the chief baggage handler at Heathrow, you will see that he reported that two suitcases had been put into the Pan Am baggage container AV4041 with no known security clearance and in his absence, long before the Frankfurt flight had even landed, that no one would admit having put them there, and that one of them was a dark coloured hard sided 'Samsonite type' suitcase occupying the position where the origin of the explosion occurred.
Funny that, it fits the description of the primary suitcase containing the bomb and the court decided without justificatory evidence of any kind that in fact one of the late arriving cases from Frankfurt 'must' have displaced it, apparently using the circular argument that the bomb must have come from Frankfurt.
The point of origin of the explosion can be explored in the Air Accident Investigation Branch report 2/90.
You  might also like to read the book Adequately explained by stupidity? by Morag Kerr which details events at Heathrow.
Of course, the Scottish police/Crown Office had also known from February 1989 that the Heathrow airside security had been broken into 16 hours prior to Lockerbie, but for whatever reason they kept that concealed from the defence and the court.
As the trial progressed we learned that the identifying of Megrahi as the buyer of the famous Maltese clothing depended on the evidence of a man who knew that if his evidence convicted the Libyan he was in line for several million dollars.
Is that a sound basis for reliable evidence do you think?
Then there was the fact, as their Lordships themselves had to admit in their summary, that there simply was no evidence to show how Megrahi  was supposed to have got the bomb on board at Malta.
When I pushed for trial under Scottish criminal law, I believed that the task of the court was to prove a case 'beyond reasonable doubt'.
Do you believe that these proceedings reached that standard?
But of course you will say a fragment of circuit board proved that a long running timer sold to Libya had been used, not one of the cruder fixed run-time devices made in Damascus.
Do you know that that fragment was found by a UK forensic officer within the only Scottish police evidence bag whose label, the court heard, had been illegally tampered with? Could there be reasonable doubt about the authenticity of the bag's contents also?
Do you know that that same forensic officer told the court under oath that the fragment was "similar in all respects" to the boards in the timers owned by Libya?
Have you seen the dated report from him which shows that he knew before giving that evidence that the plating was incompatible?
Have you read the scientific academic reports which confirm that this plating difference could not have been caused by exposure to a Semtex explosion?
In this country we had a philosopher now commonly referred to as 'William of Occam' he was born in 1285 (rather before the Pilgrim Fathers got their act together I fear) in the little Surrey village of Occam.
His best known philosophical statement is nowadays currently rendered along the lines that 'The simplest explanation that fits the known facts is usually the correct one'.
Having studied all the available evidence as best I can I think the bomb was built by Marwhan Khreesat of the PFLP-GC, and put aboard at Heathrow with the dreadful consequences we all know.
William of Occam would no doubt have preferred that conclusion to the complexities of the Megrahi/Malta/Frankfurt scenario.
I am satisfied that the Megrahi/Malta story is nothing more than a fable, because there is far more evidence against it than for it, and that in this case it is wise to follow William's advice.
I wonder what your guess would be as to the origin of the fragment known as PT35b? The realisation that it really could not have come from one of the timers owned by Libya destroys the one anomaly which seemed to genuinely support the Malta hypothesis.
I have not been able to find out what happened between October 1988 when the Germans lost track of at least one of the PFLP-GC type bombs and December 1988 at Heathrow, nor have I been able to discover who broke into Heathrow airside.
I therefore have no idea whether Gaddafi himself was responsible in some way, and that is why I do not claim to know whether he was a guilty party. Study the records again.
You Frank say "Even if you honestly believe that Gaddafi had nothing to do with the Lockerbie bombing, he certainly did enough to lead this list of monsters", I have tried to explain that I do not know whether the late colonel was involved over Lockerbie or not. It looks likely that his right hand man Moussa Koussa probably at least knew of the plot, his body language suggested guilt when I met him, but that would make an even weaker case than the story I heard at Zeist, would it not.
I doubt I shall respond to your emails in future, there is no point if your eyes and ears are closed to fact based discussion, but there are two favours I would ask of you all the same.
1.) I have always been aware that our search for the truth has upset certain US relatives by disturbing what they see as their closure. Of course they would see this email as just 'Swire trotting out the same old arguments again' but it may none the less be upsetting for them to read. Some will have seeds of doubt in their minds aware that the constancy of our position could most easily be explained (though you say you cannot understand it yourself) by having the simplicity of truth; by being in other words correct. I have not found a way to avoid upsetting the US relatives, but if you have their real interests at heart, I think you should not make them read this, instead your time might be better spent in pondering for yourself some of the very real weaknesses of the case we heard at Zeist, perhaps following William of Occam's advice.
2.) I beg you not to encourage 'your' members to hate. The heading "EVOLUTION OF EVIL - Premiering 16th July 2015 on The American Heroes Channel" ... suggests incitement to hate. We have experienced the outpourings of some unfortunate relatives in the form of hatred, hatred for Arabs, hatred for Gaddafi, even hatred for those of us who seek the truth. This is what terrorists do, they thrive on hatred. Every time someone descends to hatred, the terrorists score again, for the consequence of harbouring hatred is destruction of the personal lives of those who harbour it.
No man is simply "AN EVOLUTION OF EVIL" we are all flawed and imperfect, but capable of both good acts and evil ones. I can tell you that Gaddafi was both inscrutable and cyclothymic, but in the running of his country he seems, albeit at terrible cost to his people, to have been rather more effective than the chaos that our Western actions have triggered. following his murder. I fear we do not have the luxury of simplification offered by describing individuals as either pure good or pure evil. The world and we ourselves are far more complex than that.
Of course those who do evil acts like Lockerbie must be brought before the law and agreed punishments administered if found guilty through valid evidence, but you might care to remember the axioms "judge not, that ye be not judged", or perhaps " Send not to ask for whom the bell tolls: it tolls for thee".

[The following are two emailed responses from Mr Duggan:]

1. Dr Swire: there is nothing new in your lengthy email, and no evidence to support any of your theories. Theories are not admissible in court without some proof.
Frank Duggan

2. Dr Swire: attached is a review of Hurley's book which recounts the Channel 4 panel discussion we had in London. The moderator was certainly not impartial, but I was able to explain the warnings you have been talking about for 25 years. I would also note that you were defending the Libyans at this point, before the trial and before you had heard any evidence in court. It is not true that you went into that court with an open mind, and there are other family members who recall conversations with you as to the innocence of the Libyans. One family member said that you had all the arguments that had been prepared by Prof Black, who maintains to this day that no court would find the Libyans guilty.
Frank Duggan


  1. DOSSIER Lockerbie 2015:

    Judgment of the Swiss Federal Criminal Court, Bellinzona, from 25 June 2015 on MEBO website, disclosed.
    Or via direct link


    Urteil des schweizerischen Bundesstrafgerichts, Bellinzona, vom 25. Juni 2015, auf MEBO Webseite, offengelegt.
    Oder über direkten Link:

    by Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd Telecommunication Switzerland

  2. Jim Swire is not really writing this to Frank Duggan.
    He can't read it. If he could, he would not be Frank Duggan.

    'Swire trotting out the same old arguments again'.
    Yes, they might say so. Does age weaken an argument?

    Common to Frank Duggan and his followers is the ability to keep the evidence far away, unconsidered.
    They may even say "it has long been answered", without ever bothering to investigate whether that would be true, or what the answer would be.

    And so Jim Swire will never receive a point-by-point answer.
    Or not even a single answer.
    The Sn-only layer production method that hardly anybody used in Europe at that time and definitely not the suppliers of small-scale productions of printed circuit board.
    No explanation, no problem.

    And so we life in different worlds.
    Those detached from evidence, where all that is needed is faith in what you chose to believe, and those who want to see their conclusions supported.
    There will, in my experience, be many more in the first group. It is also the easiest and less time consuming.
    Who wants to invest their time in conclusions that prove things that is neither flattering to us nor to our advantage?

    - - -

    Mr. Duggan writes "Gadhafi ... certainly did enough to lead this list of monsters".

    Regarding Gaddaffi (and Saddam Hussein, Fidel Castro, Slobodan Milosevic and others).
    I once saw a German news-cast from the heydays of Goebbels and Co.
    In a city liberated by operation Barbarossa, a handful corpses were lying in a row, and concerned citizens told the camera man that they were killed by the Bolshevics, and how happy the city now were to be liberated.

    It has always appeared to me as odd, that these madmen dictators, who, according to our press, hardly did anything else than rape, murder, torture, suppress and pursue and enrich themselves on the expense of their people -
    - consistently end up having their hospital systems are the best in the region. This was the case for both Libya, Iraq and Cuba.'

    People traveled freely, tourism on the rise, old wounds healing.

    While, when we rescue these people some numbers skyrockets, like for child-mortality and for refugees that prefer to risk their life in overcrowded boats.

    We point out they terrible crimes these dictators should have committed by their use of their excessive force - but our improvement is the use of cluster bombs w/ depleted uranium, murder squads, systematic torture, and drones that kills scores of civilians.
    Do we, then, at least see a long term improved picture, to justify the cost? "Getting worse before it gets better?" Sorry, but how long are we supposed to wait?
    Exacly what right do we have to expect that the chaos we have created somehow much yield an improvement over the old regimes?

    It wouldn't be that not so much has changed since the days of Goebbels?
    That our "Operation Freedom"s etc. the day we no longer ourselves rewrite history, will be seen in the same light as we see operation Barbarossa: a murderous attack, based on weapon power, on a people at enormous human costs for political reasons.

    I wonder if there were every in history any power as murderous and effectively self-excusing as ourselves.

  3. I honestly can't believe the chutzpah of Frank Duggan. 'Theories are not admissible in court without some proof.'

    Theories ought not to have been admissible at Zeist without proof - but that is exactly what happened.

    It's a theory that the bomb was loaded onto flight KM180 in such a way as to defeat a tight security system and leave no trace of its having happened. ( And it seems that the Crown Office still clings to the theory that this miraculous infiltration was performed by Lameen Fhimah, who was well known at Luqa airport and would have had no business being airside that day. The explanation is apparently that he used a Harry Potter Invisibility Cloak, the evidence for this being that one hasn't been found yet.) It's a fact that no-one has ever been able to come up with a method by which this could be accomplished. Megrahi's presence groundside, false passport or not, is not evidence that he did, or could have done, anything. Nor is the fact that Fhimah, who wasn't even there, possessed an airside pass evidence that he did, or could have done, anything.

    It's a theory that the tracks of PT/35b were originally tinned with solder, and the lead content sublimed when subjected to the heat of the explosion. It's a fact that experiment has proved that this could not have happened, meaning that PT/35b differed fundamentally from the PCBs made by Thuring.

    It's a theory that the Samsonite hardshell case seen by John Bedford - the only contender for the 'primary suitcase' to have been seen by any eyewitness - was moved to some far corner of the container to make way for baggage from Frankfurt. It's a fact that it was not moved, and that makes it impossible to explain the known facts unless the Bedford bag was the primary suitcase.

    I could go on...

  4. Frank Duggan has never attempted to refute Jim Swire's arguments. His response relies on assertion that the arguments have been refuted, at some time, by somebody unspecified, and he is under no obligation to repeat any of that or even provide a citation. Repeated often enough, people start to assume it's true.

    He told me that he hadn't read my book and had no intention of reading it. He knows I'm wrong without reading it you see. I'd read a book about Lockerbie he wrote, just to see if there was anything in it I didn't know about, if nothing else. But Frank knows everything you see. So long as he continues to believe that, he'll never change.