Wednesday, 11 January 2017

George H W Bush and Margaret Thatcher agree to low-key Lockerbie

[What follows is an excerpt from John Pilger’s Tell Me No Lies: Investigative Journalism and Its Triumphs:]

Thatcher’s record on the Lockerbie disaster is quite appalling. She has been the chief architect of the monumental cover-up of what happened. When her new Transport Secretary, Cecil Parkinson, came whining to her last September [1989] asking for a judicial inquiry with Privy Councillors attached (an idea which Parkinson himself had put to the bereaved families) she sent him away with a flea in his ear. She was determined there should be no inquiry (except a Scottish “fatal accident inquiry” which can’t find out how or why the bomb got on the plane and how or why British airport security was so lax as not to trace it).

A report in the Washington Post on 11 January [1990] by Jack Anderson and Dale Van Atta revealed that Thatcher and [President George H W] Bush had spoken about Lockerbie in mid-March last year. Anderson suggested that the two leaders had agreed to “low-key” the disaster because neither could do anything about it and did not want to appear impotent. Their intelligence services had reported “beyond doubt” that the Lockerbie bomb had been placed by a terrorist group led by Ahmed Jibril. The group, the report went on, had been paid by the Iranian Government, which wanted a reprisal for the shooting down of an Iranian airliner by an American warship the previous year. Although they knew the terrorists responsible, however (Anderson’s report concluded) Bush and Thatcher agreed to keep it quiet.

[RB: I cannot find the Washington Post report online. However, I suspect it was in the same terms as this report by Jack Anderson in the Lewiston, Maine Sun-Journal on the same date.]


  1. See also MacAskill confirms it.

    1. I wouldn't necessarily believe Kenny MacAskill if he told me rain was wet. He does nothing but parrot things other people have told him, or things he has read here and there.


  2. Yesterday, I posted a short story regarding the events that unfolded in Iran around that time. These events may very well explain why Bush and Thatcher decided to lowkey the investigation at that very moment. Best, L

    Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani Takes Many Secrets to His Grave

    1. Would you consider approving half a dozen comments I left on your PT/35b blog some days ago? I realise the posts in question go back a bit and I apologise for that, but I'm afraid I have rather wandered off a bit as I wait for you to come to some sort of point.

    2. The thing that intrigues me about all this is that the Lockerbie investigation was already comprehensively, catastrophically off the rails well before the date of this phone call. On 31st December 1988, only ten days after the disaster, the Times published a front-page article declaring that the bomb had come in from Frankfurt. This suggests that elements within the investigation conveyed that message to the press as early as 30th December.

      Now that could be early speculation from an investigation that was still open-minded, but the evidence suggests otherwise. The pig-headed insistence on the Frankfurt routing during the first three months of 1989 is remarkable, as is the blindness of the eye being turned to the flood of evidence coming in from Heathrow pointing to the bomb having been in a suitcase seen there an hour before the Frankfurt flight landed.

      At the same time, underlying the rather obvious pile of evidence pointing to the PFLP-GC, there are repeated hints that some people would like to see Libya take the rap. Reagan was threatening to bomb Libya in retaliation for Lockerbie only a few days after the disaster. Edwin Bollier claims to have been instructed by a stranger, possibly a US agent, to write a letter casting blame on Libya and deliver it to the US embassy in Vienna on the day George Bush Snr was inaugurated as US president (29th January).

      But I digress. The investigators may well have been chasing the right suspects in early 1989, and indeed the PFLP-GC remained the main suspects right through into 1990 despite the "low-key" instruction of March 1989. However, they were not going to catch them if they were looking at the feeder flight whereas the bomb was actually introduced at Heathrow.

      So the instruction of March wasn't going to be hard to follow, because the police were already directing their investigation in the wrong direction. This was simply compounded in early September 1989 when they decided Malta was the scene of the crime. Not much hope of solving it under these circumstances even if they had the right suspects.

      So was the late December/January derail away from Heathrow an independent exercise aimed solely at protecting Heathrow from blame for the disaster, or was it the first move in a more co-ordinated strategy of misdirection?

    3. Oops, Bush snr was inaugurated on 20th January of course, not the 29th. Fat fingers.