[What follows is excerpted from an article headed Criminal Justice or "War by Other Means" that was published on The Masonic Verses website on this date in 2008:]
It is generally assumed that the object of the announcement of the indictment on the 14th November 1991 was the trial of the two suspects (who were eventually handed over on the 5th April 1999.) However the Western powers pursued the case not under the relevant international Law (the 1971 Montreal Convention) but by political means through the UN Security Council and the imposition of sanctions against Libya.
The Lockerbie incident was exploited in order to impose UN sanction upon Libya for political considerations that largely predated the bombing and a trial was actually unwelcome to the West, their primary objective being regime change in Libya. A study of the historical background is necessary to understanding why Libya was blamed, a background that was largely irrelevant to the criminal proceedings.
In February 1986 the United States had imposed unilateral sanctions on Libya and US plans to topple Gaddafi long predated this. The Europeans, far more dependent on Libyan oil failed to support these sanctions to the chagrin of American business interests. Unilateral sanctions were ineffectual if Libya could trade elsewhere and it was an objective of US policy to transform unilateral sanctions into UN sanctions, achieved through the Lockerbie indictment.
Crucial evidence that the objective of the indictment was sanctions not a trial lies in the movements of Lhamin Fhimah (who was indicted solely to give credence to the “Malta” scenario.) In November 1991 Fhimah was again employed by Libyan Arab Airlines and was living openly in Tunis, capital of pro-Western Tunisia. On the day of the indictment Fhimah had returned to Tripoli for a visit when he saw news of his indictment on TV. (2)(3).
Did the Western intelligence agencies not know where Fhimah was living and could they not have sought his arrest and extradition by the Tunisian authorities? Or was Fhimah’s residence outside Libya an embarrassment? According to the former Lord Advocate Lord Fraser he had been asked by the Americans to “hold off” on the indictment while new evidence was developed (4) (likely the testimony of Majid Giaka) but if the object of the indictment was a trial why did they wait until Fhimah was in Libya before announcing it? Indeed the public announcement of the indictment at all was bizarre if the objective was a trial not sanctions.
From the announcement of the indictment until the trial the authorities pretended that the case against Libya was cast iron while dismissing any conflicting evidence. The prospect of a trial laid open the prospect of an acquittal. The announcement of an indictment allowed the authorities to claim the case was “solved” and to a great extent mollified the families of the victims and created a constituency to keep the issue (and the sanctions) going.
Of course if Libyan responsibility was undoubted, as the Americans proclaimed, why were they pursuing sanctions at all? The Americans had bombed Tripoli in response to a relatively minor outrage. This was something many US relatives could not grasp. Following a meeting with the FBI Director Dan Cohen commented:
“As we were leaving I asked Sessions if indictments would really be of any use, whether Pan Am 103 was something for the judicial system at all. After all, this wasn’t a drive-by shooting, it was really a military attack on America and should properly be answered in political or military terms. He thought for a moment and said, “You may very well be right”. (5) Cohen had a good point.
(2) The Maltese Double Cross, writer/director Alan Francovich
(3) Interview with Lhamin Fhimah (following his acquittal) featured
in Cover-up of Convenience by John Ashton & Ian Ferguson
(4) Ashton & Ferguson Interview with Lord Fraser
(5) Cohen, Susan and Daniel Pan Am 103 New American Library
2000 page 139