Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Gadaffi ‘ready to admit guilt’ for Lockerbie

[This is the headline over an article by David Leppard that appeared in The Sunday Times on this date in 2003. It reads as follows:]

Ambassador William Burns, head of the US state department’s Middle East section, is expected to meet Libyan and British officials for talks in London this Tuesday. A formal announcement is expected soon afterwards.
Sources close to the talks disclosed yesterday that officials may be close to finalising a deal in which Libyan leader Colonel Gadaffi finally admits responsibility for Lockerbie.
In exchange for a formal statement of admission, the United Nations Security Council is expected to permanently lift crippling sanctions against Tripoli.
Discussions have been going on for years about compensating relatives of the 270 people who died when Pan Am flight 103 exploded over Scotland in December 1988.
Libya has previously denied reports that it was prepared to pay £7m to each Lockerbie victim, provided sanctions were lifted. It is currently on the US state department’s list of countries that sponsor international terrorism.
This week’s London meeting will involve Burns, a US assistant secretary of state, and a senior Libyan official, probably Mohammed Abdul Quasim al-Zwai, Gadaffi’s ambassador in London. A senior Foreign Office official will also attend.
The security council has demanded that Libya pay “appropriate compensation” and accept general responsibility for the bombing. As well as renouncing terrorism, it must also undertake to comply with any future inquiry.
If those demands are fully met, UN sanctions — imposed in 1992 but suspended at the moment — will be scrapped.
America imposed its own separate sanctions after the Libyans bombed a disco used by American soldiers in Germany in 1986. Libya is desperate to get rid of the sanctions so it can sell oil.
Dan Cohen, who lost his daughter at Lockerbie, said he believed the wording of a statement admitting Libya’s responsibility had already been agreed.
At an international court in the Hague two years ago, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, a senior Libyan intelligence official, was convicted of the bombing. He is now serving a life sentence at Barlinnie high security prison in Glasgow. [RB: The only evidence that Megrahi was an intelligence official came from the defector Abdul Majid Giaka whose evidence on every other issue was dismissed by the court as wholly lacking in credibility. The court gave no reasons for their acceptance of Giaka’s testimony on this single topic.]
Gadaffi has always denied responsibility for the attack. But evidence uncovered during the Scottish police investigation revealed that it had been sanctioned by the head of his own intelligence service. [RB: No such evidence was presented at the trial, nor has any such evidence come into the public domain since.]
The Libyans are said to have wanted revenge for the bombing of their country by American planes, in which Gadaffi’s six-year-old adopted daughter had been killed.

1 comment:

  1. "The Leppard that changed its spots" as Paul Foot put it.

    David Leppard was being fed all sorts of stuff from right inside the police investigation, and he featured it in his Sunday Times articles. He even printed Jurgen Fuhl's original wildly wrong interpretation of the Erac printout. He was right in there with the whole Iran - Syria - PFLP-GC narrative when that was the favoured theory, then did a smart U-turn when the investigators said, no it's Libya.

    His book is a strange mixture of really useful information and total confusion. For example he knew about the Bedford suitcase but simply dismissed it on the thinnest and most implasible grounds, presumably fed to him by his police informant. He also got some things really wrong, like describing the Frankfurt luggage being taken into the interline shed and x-rayed by Kamboj, and crediting Hayes (not Thurman) with the identification of PT/35b to an MST-13 timer.

    He was obviously a mouthpiece for whatever the investigators wanted to be published, and when he went off on his own he tended to make stuff up. Some people have said he was MI5, but some people will say that about anyone.